Caroleem, friends and brethren,
I was confused by this topic some years ago, however, I am now as clear as I know about this topic as I am with my salvation! I would like to share with all of you some principles which will guide you to the answers and do encourage you to search the scripture to know Him who has died on the cross to save you and me (Philippians 3:8-9). Yes, the more you know the Lord Jesus (good), the more you know yourself (evil)! This topic requires you to deny yourself, be not wise in your own eyes and trust only the Lord in His Word (Proverbs 3:5-7). Fear the LORD, fear to dishonour His name. If you fear to dishonour His name then you will put His Word high above any man’s word! (Psalms 138:2)
Firstly, if you understand this topic enough, you will notices there are many big names who said God does blinds people’s eyes and hardened people’s hearts. People like John MacArthur, John Piper and many others who interpreted “He” to be God in this verse John 12:40, well I caution you that the Bible warns “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.” Psalms 118:9, “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” Psalms 146:3.
Now, notice also that there is no way you can verify who is “He” when these big names interprets “He” is God in verses like John 12:40, you just have to trust them, trust their reasoning! Well, the truth is either you trust God or you trust men! You have to believe God who told you “He” a third party who has blinded the people or you believe these big names who interpreted the verse and changed and twisted the word, and then tell you:
“God hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and God should heal them.”
Well, it is your choice really, if you do not want to search the scripture for yourself, then you just have to rely on their interpretation and their reasoning! I don’t and as such I am blessed! I searched the scripture and now I know the depth of His marvelous love & mercy towards mankind, and I know His justice and His holiness!
The guiding principles are as follows:
- Bible is our sole authority of faith and practice.
- Literal interpretation subsequent scripture.
* Literal interpretation because the Lord chose to progressively reveal the truth, the new testament explains the old testament. Subsequent chapter, books reveal the concealled in the previous chapter, books.
- Rightly divide the word of truth, 2 Timothy 2:15.
Now principles pertaining to interpretation of the verses such as John 12:40, Exodus 7:14:
- God is the only good, Matthew 19:17, Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19
- Men are evil (Matthew 7:11, Luke 11:13), you and I are evil, even when we are saved, there is still that old man in everyone of us. (Romans 6:6, Ephesians 4:22, Colossians 3:9)
- The simple is the truth and not the complex or complicated (2 Corinthians 1:12, 2 Corinthians 11:3)
Now questions pertaining to the general interpretation:
- Will God who is the only good, plan the salvation of man for thousands of years and in the fulness of time, sent forth His Son into the world, to bring forth His salvation to man through the Jews, and yet He blinded the Jews so that the gospel can be hid from them, His own chosen people? Does it makes sense? This argument should cause any who think the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) is the God who created the world and man, to think twice. the god of this world is certainly Satan and Satan is a literal person, the fallen angel who has blinded the minds of them who believe not the Bible!
- Will God uses deception to accomplish His plan and purposes? (Proverbs 12:22) The word “Blinded” is the same word in greek as 2 Corinthians 4:4, the god of this world who has blinded those who believe not; and Satan blinds by using deception as he did in the garden of Eden, mixing truth with lies. ( Genesis 3:13, Revelation 20:3, Revelation 20:8, Revelation 20:10)
- Why should the pronoun “He” be changed to “I” in John 12:40? Should there be 2 persons revealed in this verse, “He” - one person, “I” - another person? Did Isaiah specifically mentioned God is the one who blinded the people? (Isaiah 6:8-10) Should I find answer to verse John 12:40 in Isaiah or in the Epistles instead? Or maybe in the verse (John 12:40) itself?! Can the pronoun “He” be used interchangeable with “I”?
The above should present a very good guide to truth seekers who will honour God by their noble Berean character (Acts 17:11), who search the scripture, who will not be satisfy with the mere words of men.