40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.”
40 “He has blinded their eyes
Verse 40 is God’s response to Israel’s persistent rejection of the evidence for Christ’s Messiahship. Since they repudiated Christ as Messiah, they entered a stage of intransigence against God. The Light of the world had shown Himself to them, but they rejected that clear light (Jn 12:36).
God chose to use their negative volition for His own purposes. The blindness here is judicial blindness. Their stubborn negative volition was at the heart of this blinding.
and hardened their hearts,
People can reach a stage of callousness toward God. The hardening of hearts here is also judicial. The verb “hardened” had to do with the forming of a callus. Their hearts became very hard against revelation. Their deliberate choice was the cause of this hardening toward God. God involves Himself in the consequence of our choices.
Lest they should see with their eyes,
John made no reference to ears and hearing but only mentioned “eyes.” The emphasis on sight refers to people observing the signs or miracles that Jesus did firsthand.
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
Isaiah’s emphasis on understanding “with their hearts” goes beyond superficial belief. His interest was the turning of their “hearts” or souls toward God.
So that I should heal them.”
There is a parallel between the people of Isaiah’s day and those to whom Christ spoke. Healing miracles made no difference, either in Isaiah’s day or in John’s.
People cannot believe in Christ without supernatural revelation.
Those who reject what the Bible says are those who turn negative toward Jesus. God will harden the hearts of those who willfully and constantly reject the credentials of Christ. The Lord will judicially lock these people in their unbelief. This is not inconsistent with their option to believe. They have repeatedly had that option but have reached a point of no return. They had their opportunity to choose.
People can reach a stage of callousness toward God so that the Lord will no longer appeal to their heart.
Other occurrences of God’s hardening of those who do not believe His credentials are found in Exodus 9:12, Romans 1:24, 26, 28, and 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12. This hardening is not arbitrary but a condemnation of a previous hardening. God is sovereign over the process of His concursus over His creatures.
It is dangerous to harden ourselves against God’s Word. God makes it clear what will happen to those who reject the pure message of the gospel. The responsibility lies with our volition. We need to see how God is just in His dealings with us.
Christianity today has entered into a stage of unbelief. Even among evangelicals there has been great departure from the faith. Many evangelical seminaries now reject correspondent inerrancy; that is, they accept the idea that there are factual errors in the Bible.
2 Th 2: 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.