Revelation 2:7a: “He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
This phrase ends every one of the messages to the Seven Churches. The main theme of the messages to the Churches is the refrain: “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches.” It is a message of warning in light of the fact that Jerusalem is being destroyed because she closed her mind to Christ. On that Great Day of the Lord, at His appearing to reward His saints and to judge His enemies in the overthrow of Jerusalem, the appeal was to open their minds to Christ, the Word. The Spirit is still speaking this message to the Churches today.
A closed mind is the final stage of apostasy, beyond which there is no hope of repentance. As long as a person has an open mind, he may be taught the truth and corrected in his errors, but when he closes his mind, he seals himself into a chamber with no exit.
The closed mind accepts popular belief as authoritative and does not test doctrines or philosophies by Scripture. One attitude that reflects a closed mind is the expression: “Everyone knows –(thus and so).” Scriptures may be taken out of context as ‘proof-texts’ without weighing the evidence from the whole Bible.
“Rightly Interpreting the Word”
Interpretation is a stronghold; like a building, it is a system. It is indeed frustrating when a neat system of doctrine is upset by finding error in the foundational premises. Much effort, dedication, and persistence are required to rethink a whole system and make necessary adjustments. An attitude typical of the closed mind is: “I know what I want to believe, so don’t confuse me with the facts.”
It is painful to have to admit error or ignorance, especially when one has taught these errors to others. It is scary to take responsibility for an opinion. The easy way out is to simply say: “Our church teaches (thus and so).” It is unpleasant to the Flesh, but sweet to the Spirit to experience Truth firsthand.
Church Dogma – An Idol Not To Be Questioned
Closed minds are prevalent in the religious world, and are especially reflected in the area of dogma. Religious organizations typically lay down a body of doctrines that are considered as the authoritative principles of that religious body. Upon this basic dogma, other doctrines are built. But, while doctrinal principles may be discussed, refined, proven or disproven, the dogmatic foundations of those doctrines are expected to be accepted as true without question.
The word ‘doctrine’ implies a principle accepted by a body of believers, while ‘dogma,’ though a synonym of ‘doctrine,’ implies a doctrine that must be accepted without question merely upon the authority of the founders of the body. Obviously, if these founders were ignorant, unaware, deceived or malicious, their dogma will be faulty, and doctrines built upon that dogma will not be sound. Dogma thus assumes a blind belief in the infallibility of the founders of a religion and becomes an idol.
The Dogma of the Pharisees
Christ faced just such a situation when He ministered to the scribes and Pharisees. Their minds were closed to the truth He taught because of the dogmatic teaching of the rabbis. Many of these teachings were supposedly the authoritative interpretation of Scripture, but were actually perversions and distortions. Jesus refuted these errors consistently, for example, in the Sermon on the Mount: “You have heard that it was said …. but I say unto you….” He pronounced “Woes” and judgments upon those who refused to hear Him, (Matthew 23).
Christ referred these Pharisees to the Scriptural foundations. He quoted from the prophet Isaiah, (Isaiah 6:9-13). Isaiah was called to preach to the nation of Israel to warn them that judgment for their sins was coming and to call them to repentance. Yet, he was told he would not succeed in turning the nation, for “hearing they would not hear and seeing they would not perceive.” Isaiah would fail, for their minds were closed.
When he asked: “How long, O Lord?” the answer was: “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without men, and the land is utterly desolate, and the Lord removes men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.” (RSV)
Their destruction was assured because of their closed minds. Yet, though the nation would not be saved, his preaching was not in vain for a remnant would hear and be saved.
Christ knew that He faced the same situation – people with closed minds, accepting only the interpretations of their malicious leaders; people whose ears were closed to hearing and whose eyes were closed to seeing the truth, (Matthew 13:14-17; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:9-10; John 12: 39-40.) This willful blindness and deafness greatly grieved and frustrated our Lord. It was this that prompted Him to so often repeat the refrain: “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Jesus Calls Us To “Hear”
The series of parables in Mark 4:1-33 begins with the command: “Hearken!” (KJV) or “Listen!” (RSV). The series ends with the statement that Jesus taught the larger crowds by parables only as they were able to hear, (v. 33). The reason for using parables as a method of teaching is given in verse 12:
“So that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven.” (RSV)
The principal point of the parables is given in verses 24 and 25: “Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.”
In context, when He speaks of the ‘measure,’ He is speaking of the measure of the Word which a man has allowed to take root and to bear fruit in his life. To him that has thus incorporated the Word into his life, more of the Word will be given, but to him that has only accepted the surface meaning of the parables, and who refuses to allow the Word to impart a deeper spiritual meaning, even the Word that he has heard superficially will be taken from him.
The Parable Of The Candle
The parable of the candle, (Mark 4:21-22), is about the entrance of the Word into a man. Psalm 119:130: “The entrance of thy words giveth light: it giveth understanding unto the simple.” The Word enters a man through the channel of hearing. Unless the hearer places the ‘light’ of the Word upon a ‘candlestick,’ that is, gives it a place of prominence and honor, it will not give him light. But if it is given its proper place, it will illuminate his inner man, cleansing him from the secret sins of the heart and mind.
Those with closed minds do not allow the Word to penetrate their hard exterior of religious dogma. As both the fulfillment and the embodiment of the Word, Christ emphasized its acceptance as a means of salvation. So Christ punctuated the parables, as well as the messages to the churches with the refrain: “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
Search The Scriptures – Learn Their Context
Genuine faith in the Scriptures does not fear to subject them to careful scrutiny and analysis. The doctrine of the infallibility of the Scriptures has been well examined and has proven reliable. The Holy Bible has been preserved and transmitted down to us as a faithful witness to the Truth by many generations of saints. But examining our dogmatic beliefs can be unsettling, for our entire philosophy of life rests upon them. In rooting out false dogma, we must carefully examine them in the light of the Scripture and hold fast that which is good.
The Scriptures establish that Jesus is the Messiah Savior, the Son of the Living God, whose coming was foretold by the Prophets. His words have been tried and proven for 2000 years. We can accept His authority. Upon His authority, we can accept Christ’s Spirit, which says: “Let God be true and every man a liar.”
The Spirit of Truth
This Spirit of Truth will reveal our weaknesses and errors and give us full assurance of pardon if we repent and allow the Truth to rule our conduct and thinking, although here we only know in part – our knowledge is not perfect. The Spirit of Truth is also the Spirit of Love. Because He loves us, we have the security to examine the Scriptures without bias and without fear of condemnation. We can postpone an opinion until we have gathered more information and we can change our opinion when we find we are wrong. In other words, we can be teachable.
The greatest hindrance to enlightenment is a closed mind. The greatest challenge to teaching is not how to fill a mind, but how to open it. “The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back,” (Isaiah 50:5).
 In Hebrew perhaps “Hearing, let him hear… (with acceptance)“.