Tuesday, June 30, 2015

John 8:31-37 comments: "...my word hath no place in you."

31 ¶  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33  They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35  And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 37  I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

 Jesus states that if these new believers are truly His disciples they will be faithful to His words.  A disciple is someone who is willing to give up everything to follow Jesus.

Luke 14:33  So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26). Many of those today who call themselves Christians are not His, “disciples indeed.” They have elected to follow men, not God, and have substituted political dogma, cultural beliefs, and personal bigotry for the doctrine that came from Christ and His Apostles. They have replaced Christ’s doctrine with their own convictions and a self-righteous elitism that places themselves on the throne or an apathy that regards God as a mere idea in their mind and not a person worthy of their worship.

Do we continue in His word? How many of you have even read the Bible from cover to cover or listened to it read one time? How many of you regard God’s words of grace as being important enough to occupy a considerable part of your day? Jesus refers to the Scriptures, says, “it is written,” referring to the written, word many times, and refers to His spoken words which He will have disciples put to writing. If the written word is important to Christ, why is it not important to you? Can you truly be His disciple if you don’t regard as important what He regards as important? You say, “but, I am doing things for God. I belong to the right political party. I believe the right things about right and wrong. I do many acts of service for God. I faithfully listen to people talk about His word.” These Jews would have made the same profession, I assure you.

Christ is the truth as He will say Himself very soon, in chapter 14. If you continue in His word you will know the truth and the truth shall make you free according to that knowledge.
One likely explanation of these passages following is that the ones who said they had never been anything other than free were Jews and Pharisees of verses 13 and 22 but I am going to take a different tack than that just by the literal structure of the sentences.

The Jews, and these are the new believers amazingly, respond by making the absurd claim that, by virtue of their heritage in Abraham, they have never been in bondage to any man. Of course, we know that they had been in bondage to many nations from Egypt to Rome. But, Jesus isn’t talking about politics. He is talking about their bondage to sin, sin against God. The only freedom that they can possibly have from that is through Him, regardless of their heritage.

People often, but not always, tend to wear their personal sins on their bodies as they get older. The bowling ball beer paunch of the late middle-aged man, the dried-out tanned-too-much lizard look of the late middle-aged woman are examples of man and woman’s love of the flesh and pride of vanity. But, there are many more sins that don’t show an outward appearance necessarily on one’s face or belly such as bitterness, envy, hatred, sloth, apathy and contempt for God.

The Jews had created their own religion which was far from what God had originally intended for them. It was a system of rules and regulations that not only did not bring them closer to God but created themselves as a type of their own gods. Like many American Christians in history and now they spent too much time patting themselves on the back to have their hands together in prayer.

Jesus casts doubt on these new believers’ sincerity and accuses them of trying to kill Him. This seems a strange way to talk to people who appear to want to follow you now but as He talks to them it becomes more clear that their faith is a shallow one and does not bear close examination like many a modern Christian in America who, like Peter will do, proclaims their belief in Christ but denies Him at a crucial moment. So, this passage began with, “if  ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed,” and ends with, “my word hath no place in you.”

Sunday, June 28, 2015

John 8:21-30 comments: obedient to the Father

21 ¶  Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. 22  Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come. 23  And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. 24  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. 25  Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. 26  I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. 27  They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. 28  Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. 29  And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. 30  As he spake these words, many believed on him.

Jesus is talking about going back to the third Heaven (2Corinthians 12:2) and these Pharisees will die in their sins because of their rejection of Him and will not go where He is going. The Jews questioned whether or not He was speaking of taking His own life because they didn’t understand what He was saying. But, Christ here points out that they are of this world and He is not. That’s why they will die in their sins, because they do not believe in Him as the Messiah, the Christ, although He doesn’t immediately reference those words.

So, the Jews demand that He declare who He is, something that has repeatedly been done, as we have seen. Jesus has declared who He is through the mouths of people around Him and He said it Himself.

Nathanael declared Him in 1:49 and He confirmed it, not denying;

49  Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. 50  Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.51  And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

Jesus declared Himself to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews in John 3, although that was not a public statement. John the Baptist acknowledged who Jesus is in John 3 also.

Jesus declared it to the woman at the well and she believed;

John 4:25  The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26  Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he…29  Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

The Jews understood His declaration of who He was and were furious.

5:18  Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

Jesus then again declared Himself.

24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.. 39  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Again and again He has established His true identity. So this question the Jews put to Him is rather disingenuous. Jesus repeats that He is only presenting to them the will of God the Father, the soul of God, the origin of God’s will and self-identity. I have already explained how God has three parts to Him, as per the Bible, and is not three separate persons, because God is one. Each of the three parts share the same will which resides in the Father.

Verse 28 is a reference to His Crucifixion and Resurrection. He made a similar allusion before to Moses placing the serpent on the pole (Numbers 21:5-9).

John 3:14  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Proof of Jesus’ power and authority and identity did not necessarily come from raising people from the dead or healing them of their sicknesses. Others claimed to be able to do that in religious traditions. The proof would come when man put His human body to death in a manner that could not honestly be contested and then He got up from the tomb. The empty tomb is the proof of Christianity.

John 10:18  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

To be a Christian you must believe that.

Romans 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Jesus states here that He is obedient to the will of the Father. Many here believe on Him even without the proof of the Resurrection, which, of course, has not happened yet. Blessed were those who believed Jesus’ words without having the reality of them fulfilled. This is a fundamental of the Bible from Job to the Apostles.  As Hebrews 11 makes clear, the triumph of faith is believing what God has promised and that He will provide it long before you receive it in reality. Believing God is then the essence of salvation which is why Satan’s first effort revolved around getting a man and a woman to question what God said.

John 20:29  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Friday, June 26, 2015

John 8:12-20 comments: the light of the world

12 ¶  Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. 13  The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. 14  Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. 15  Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. 16  And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. 17  It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. 18  I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. 19  Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. 20  These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.

John 1:1 ¶  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2  The same was in the beginning with God. 3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

    5 ¶  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

Jesus will continue this point of doctrine.

John 9:5  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

John 11:9  Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.10  But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.

John 12:35  Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 36  While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them…46  I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

Before God had created sun, stars, and moon He called forth light to be revealed.

Genesis 1:3 ¶  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4  And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5  And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

On the physical level of this multidimensional book from God this is light that preexisted what we commonly think of as sources of light. It is light that illuminates. On a spiritual level this is light that is good.

Mark 10:18  And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

It is separate from the darkness, even spiritual darkness, which cannot begin to understand it nor take hold of it or seize it, and conquer it or bring it into subjection, definitions and implications of comprehend in the Bible (Job 37:5; Isaiah 40:12) and according to the Early Modern English database called Lexicons of Modern English (http://leme.library.utoronto.ca/search/).

John 1:5 ¶  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

1John 1:5  This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

The Pharisees insist that Jesus is lying, that He has no authority on which to back up His claims. Jesus denies that and tells them He is telling the truth and that, while they do not know from where He comes or where He is going, He does.

Verse 15 says, “Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.” This is sentence means that Jesus does not judge any man after the flesh. There is no need to include, “after the flesh,” after, “I judge no man.” Notice this type of wording in James 1:13;

James 1:13  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

It is not necessary to put, “with evil,” after, “tempteth he any man,” because it is implied by the sentence. You can look for this sentence construction elsewhere. Jesus did not judge after the flesh but after the spirit, the reality of the human heart, as God does not tempt any man for the purpose of seeing him fall, as Satan does, but of proving him.

Jesus has the confirmation of God the Father, the record and witness of the Holy Ghost.

1John  5:7  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

Jesus’ declaration that God the Father witnesses with Him is in fulfillment of the Law given to Moses.

Deuteronomy 17:6  At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

Deuteronomy 19:15  One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

Of course, the Jews are not going to accept this argument as they ask, perhaps haughtily, “where is your father?” But, Jesus replies that they don’t know Him or His Father because if they had known Him they would have known the Father. Here is a declaration that the only proof of your knowledge of God is your acceptance of Christ. Later He will say that most emphatically as being the only way to God. This is planting the flag, so to speak. Who can miss what He is claiming, the essence of Christianity, that Jesus is and was God in the flesh?

And no one could take Him into custody because it just wasn’t time yet for that to happen by God’s plan.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

John 8: 1-11 comments: an interruption becomes a teaching moment

1 ¶  Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2  And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3  And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4  They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5  Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6  This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7  So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8  And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9  And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

This passage, including the last verse of the previous chapter, is often disputed by those who believe the Alexandrian versions of Scripture are the best and German Higher Criticism is correct. One of the problems with that point of view is that the passage is found in many manuscripts of what these same scholars call the Byzantine text type along with ancient versions such as the Old Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, and Ethiopic. As well, it is referenced by early church fathers including Jerome and Augustine. So, we can safely dismiss the contentions of unbelieving Christians who cling to the fantasies of nineteenth century Anglo-Catholics.

The event presented here reveals a great teaching moment as Christ denies those who, perhaps guilty of the same crime, single out one person for punishment, and it is usually the woman who receives the brunt of such hypocrisy.  The old saw about when you point a finger at someone you have three fingers of your hand pointing back at you applies.

The questions always come up, had they all committed adultery with her? What was Jesus writing with his finger on the ground? I will leave that up to other commentators and pastors to expound on the possibilities there. What is clear to the eye here is that Jesus has clarified and sharpened a moral command of God for the Jews.

Leviticus 20:10  And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

The context insists that the sin He was referring to was this sin that the men were wanting an excuse to kill this woman. So, guys, with which one of you was she taken in adultery? Shall you be stoned also? What if all of them had been guilty at some time with this woman? Was this an attempt to clear the books?

The hypocrisy of how moral laws are implemented by the Taliban, the Saudi police, or even Christian fundamentalists in America wanting the government to enforce religious rules is clear here. You may throw the stone but only if you are not guilty of the crime as well and for the Christian that means additionally, in your heart.

Matthew 5:28  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

2Corinthians 10:5  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

How then shall any of us justify throwing the stone? One of the great tragedies of fundamentalism in America is its placing the burden of sexual sin on the woman’s shoulders. You will hear people, even women, declare that it is a woman’s responsibility not to entice a man, as if we don’t own our own sin and a man simply cannot help his behavior if tempted. This is wickedness and evil for we are responsible for how we respond to temptation.

In a different context these words are said and they apply well to this context.

Matthew 18:7 ¶  Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

For we have no excuses. In even another context is a verse that is applicable to this situation.

1Corinthians 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Jesus did not give the woman, standing alone, a pass. He admonished her not to sin, and the context insists that He is referring to this particular sin, anymore.

Now, remember the first verses here. He was interrupted by the scribes and Pharisees while He was teaching people.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

John 7:37-53 comments: on the last day of the feast

37 ¶  In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)  40  Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. 41  Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? 42  Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? 43  So there was a division among the people because of him. 44  And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.

Leviticus 23:33 ¶  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 34  Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. 35  On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 36  Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein.

On the last day of the feast, Jesus stood and spoke when the maximum number of people would be there to hear Him, no man having arrested Him as the impulse to do that was denied by God due to His timetable. The officers themselves would not have known that it was God preventing them as they would have assumed they made their own decision but that is how God works in manipulating the hearts and minds of men to do His bidding while at other times influencing them and at other times giving them wisdom and understanding and then even at other times permitting their free will to exert its own weight in full.

With regard to verse 38, while there is no individual Scripture to be found regarding this it appears that Christ has drawn together several Scriptures to make this point. See all the Scriptures that compare what God has to give us with water.  Examples are;

Isaiah 44:3  For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:

58: 11  And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

While it is certainly acceptable for the author of Scriptures to show us an application He intended by drawing together several passages to create a doctrine it is certainly questionable for a human  preacher to take verses completely out of context to make a point not clearly presented in the context. We know God’s agenda in His ministry as Jesus but we do not know a human preacher’s agenda. If we are going to draw many verses together to reveal a doctrine it better be just what God has already revealed by His own clear statements or the clear statements of the writers to whom He has given certain inspiration.

John writes that Jesus is making this reference to the Holy Spirit which would come, filling His believers, and acting on the world through them. We are to be conduits for God’s will to flow using talents, skills, and abilities He has provided us to impact a lost world.

While some insist that this is the Prophet that Moses spoke of others acknowledge that He must be the expected Messiah, the Christ. Some, though, not realizing that He was born in Bethlehem, doubt simply because He had lived in and came from Nazareth of Galilee.

Micah 5:2  But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

People did not agree, then, on His legitimacy and while there were those who wanted to grab Him to shut Him up there was too much disagreement for anything to be done.

    45 ¶  Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? 46  The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. 47  Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? 48  Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? 49  But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. 50  Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them, 51  Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? 52  They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. 53  And every man went unto his own house.

The officers sent by the chief priests then returned empty-handed. They were too impressed with Jesus’ gracious speech to be able to arrest Him. This is clearly the hand of God in preventing and arranging events. It is a rare occasion in history when police refuse to arrest someone just because they were impressed with his speech.

Nicodemus, if you remember from chapter 3, was a secret follower of Jesus within the leadership. He came to Jesus by night back in chapter 3, which this is a reference to and if your favorite Bible version leaves out the, “by night,” that is one more example that should cause you to question whether it is a version you should use. Just read John 3:1,2 and compare.

The last verse in this passage has everyone going home. This is the first verse of a disputed passage which I will discuss in the next chapter. It is disputed by scholars whose minds have been poisoned by the declarations of the Counter-Reformation, the Enlightenment, and apostate German theology of the eighteenth century. This thinking resulted in the Protestant Bibles we have today.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

John 7:14-36 comments - at the Feast of Tabernacles

14 ¶  Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. 15  And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? 16  Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 18  He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. 19  Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? 20  The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? 21  Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. 22  Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. 23  If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? 24  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. 25  Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? 26  But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? 27  Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. 28  Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. 29  But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me. 30  Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. 31  And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? 32  The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him. 33  Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me. 34  Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come. 35  Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles? 36  What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?

In the middle of the feast Jesus began teaching in the temple. The Jews were amazed because they knew that this man was supposedly uneducated.  The implication is that they thought He was illiterate. So, the Jews are amazed at both His miracles and His knowledge although they did not believe Him because they thought they knew Him and we know that familiarity does often set our expectations, as mentioned previously.

Mark 6:2  And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? 3  Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

But, Jesus explains that what He has to give them came directly from God the Father, the seat of will of self-identity, the soul of God, if you will receive it. Jesus is glorifying God the Father, as His representative on earth, in what He says and does. Are we?

Jesus accuses them in that Moses gave them the Law but they don’t keep it. Paul makes a similar argument in talking of how the law does not justify men in his argument in the first chapters of Romans as the Jews who have the Law do not keep it and the Gentiles, who don’t have the Law, often follow its precepts not meaning to, as a law unto themselves.

The same can be said for those of us who are conservative Christians, who might call themselves fundamentalists, as we are notorious for gossiping when we say we aren’t, committing fornication in our hearts when we say we’re pure in that regard, and being filled with hate and envy when we are told that is not of God. This goes right along with seeking wealth for its own sake, power to dominate others, and adopting the world’s standards of entertainment and pleasure. We have a standard as well from God and don’t follow it ourselves.

In verse 20, in response to Jesus accusing them of wanting to kill Him, the Jews accuse Him of being possessed by a devil. By doing so we are shown that it was expected that one of the consequences of having a devil was thought to be confusion and paranoia.  This is basically what they are accusing him of. Remember how King Saul became when an evil spirit attended him in 1Samuel 16, 18, and 19? In the context the Jews are accusing Jesus of being controlled by a devil. A similar thing is done in Mark 3:29.

Jesus healed the handicapped man at the pool in the first part of chapter 5 and this was done on the Sabbath so the Jews wanted to kill Him for that. Jesus pointed out that the Jews obeyed Moses who ordered them to be circumcised, a requirement of God that came down from before Moses’ time. This could be done on the Sabbath. So, they found it no issue to remove part of a man on the Sabbath but were angry that Jesus had made a man whole on the Sabbath. Go figure. He tells them not to judge things by the way they look but to judge them by a righteous judgment, which could be taken to mean, by the context, to judge things for what they really mean, not by your slavish devotion to ritual and vain repetition to try to justify yourselves before God. In this, Jesus appears to be likening circumcision, being made one of God’s people by a sign, with being healed, made whole, by God, both of them being good things to have done on a Sabbath day.

Then, some of them ponder how He can speak so openly and boldly when so many are out to get him? They wonder if the rulers actually think He is the Christ, the Messiah to come. They then express their disbelief because they claim they know Jesus personally but no one is supposed to know the Messiah, “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2) For, as Jesus in Hebrews 7:1-3 has Melchisedec as a type of Himself, perhaps even it was Him, it has been argued, they did not truly know from whence He was, as He came from God.

In verse 26 modern versions remove, “very,” which takes the emphasis away that these Jews are asking, do the rulers think this is the true Christ?

Starting in verse 28 Jesus declares that they know Him. Presumably, from the context He is saying that they think they know Jesus but the one that sent Him they do not know, and that is God the Father. Back in verses 17 and 18 Jesus had made the statement that if a person was doing God’s will he would understand the doctrine that Jesus delivered from the Father. The point that righteousness flows from seeking God’s glory and not your own is an important point to understand. Put away your justifications for the desires of your flesh, your paranoia, your bigotry, and your fear. Seek to lift up God, not the world or your flesh. Righteousness is not found in your human heart, but only in God through Christ.

Jesus knows the Father because He came from the Father with the Father’s instructions. Again the Jews try to apprehend Him but He does not permit Himself to be caught because it is not in His timetable to be taken at this time. People then believed on Him with a question, as if another person claiming to be the Messiah came (and I have read that many did) could he do more miracles than Jesus? It appears to be a very weak statement of faith but people have come to Christ saying that His doctrine makes the most sense, answers the most questions about life, or is  the most consistent religious belief, and who else offers more than this? They’ll be the first to run in a pinch, though.

The Pharisees become even more vexed and the chief priests send the police to grab Jesus. We go from a mob to the authorities who want to end His ministry now. This is what you would expect to be directed by Satan who was denied in three attempts to subvert Jesus’ mission, if you recall Luke 4 and Matthew 4.

Then, Jesus speaks vaguely about the end of His mission on earth. He’s going to be leaving soon and they cannot go where He is going. They ask the question, is He going to spread His message among the Jews dispersed among the Gentile nations? What does He mean by saying He will be with us for a little while and we’ll look for Him and not find Him and where He is going we cannot come?

This is a puzzle to them. At this point the question has arisen whether or not the Jewish leadership believes Jesus, as they seem to be making little effort to arrest Him. A question of authority, a tension is created, and the credibility of the leadership is challenged. Jesus warns them that there is little time left for them to believe. Officers have been sent with orders to bring Him in but God’s timetable is certain and now is not the time.

Monday, June 15, 2015

John 7:1-13 comments: before the Feast of Tabernacles

1 ¶  After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2  Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. 3  His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. 4  For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. 5  For neither did his brethren believe in him. 6  Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. 7  The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. 8  Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. 9  When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee. 10  But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. 11  Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? 12  And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people. 13  Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.

Wisely keeping Himself in a position to be taken only when He had so planned Jesus walks in Galilee. Here, it clearly says that His brethren, His close relations, like the other Jews, were taunting Him by saying that He should go to Judea (Jewry of verse one) and practice openly, showing Himself for who He claimed to be to, “all the world,” which is clearly a case of them exaggerating as it is equally a matter of common sense that they were referring, not to people on the earth everywhere, but to the many Jews who would assemble around the temple in Jerusalem.

The world, typically, means the culture and civilizations of men. We have the world of politics, the world of sports, the world of entertainment, etc. etc. A great book that Bob Jones, Sr. admired was written by Philip Mauro and entitled The World and Its God, written early in the 1900’s, which discusses how Satan rules the world of men and women.

One definition of world in the Bible is the inhabitants of the earth.

Revelation 3:10  Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Another definition is the earth itself as the location of the world system of men and women.

Jeremiah 25:26  And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.

A world can be also thought of as an age in that it encompasses the thoughts that dominate the civilization that is most powerful. For instance, today the world of science is dominated by atheistic materialism. It is not that there are no doubts among scientists of the truth of Darwin’s or the Neo-Darwinists’ natural selection. In fact, the great materialists like Dawkins and Crick admit in their books that creation looks as if it is designed by a designer and not randomly generated. However, they, along with scientists like Lewontin, make it very clear that they will not consider any other explanation than atheistic materialism as their worldview demands it and rejects even the possibility of there being a God whom they cannot experiment on or theorize about. Even when the evidence, as it often does, overwhelmingly undermines their worldview they cannot allow themselves to look in that direction because worldview is more important than facts or evidence, and other possible answers must be ignored or derided as unscientific or irrational.

So, it is here, that the Jews have a mindset that is their worldview and it must not be challenged. Like Muslims six hundred years later they believe in a Deity who is far away, majestic, almighty, and to be served out of fear alone as He is not personal to them. They do not understand His love or His desire to know each of them personally. Jesus is committing a revolutionary act. He is showing Himself to be the very God, howbeit in the flesh, of which their writings speak, and they reject Him. The resurrection, the power of His very authority as God to conquer death, is therefore also rejected by the two religions of Judaism and Islam.

Jesus speaks of a timetable in verse 6 in that He has a specific time designated when He will offer Himself as the sacrifice for man’s sin, the ransom for man’s soul, and the justifier of those who believe. But, their time is always ready. Any man or woman can die at any time and there is nothing stopping it from happening but God Himself.

Jesus condemns the world system as being evil as He does elsewhere. As an example in the following is His condemnation of  Mammon, a Syriac word personifying wealth, riches, and the economic system in which a person lives.

Matthew 6:19 ¶  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22  The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Another example is His condemnation of all that mankind holds as valuable.

Luke 16:15  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

We tend to ignore these verses when questioning the system about our savings, our IRAs, 401ks, investments, Social Security, pensions, or life insurance. Not that prudent behavior in saving and preparing for the welfare of your family in the event of your death is wrong but consider the system from which these things are generated and who or what it worships and holds in high esteem. The world hates Jesus because He shines a light on its evil and the one thing that an evil system hates, like an evil person, is to be exposed.

Note that in verse 8 Jesus says to His remaining disciples that He is not, at the time that they are, going to the Feast of Tabernacles observance. He goes a short while later. Modern versions, based on the musings of Biblical scholars steeped in Enlightenment theology and modernist views on science  remove the, “yet,” making this look like a lie on Jesus’ part. Jesus made Himself unrecognizable as He went to the feast alone. The Jews were looking for Him. It was not safe to even speak His name because of the animosity of some of the Jews, who called Him a deceiver. But, He will reveal Himself and teach openly in the temple as events unfold.

Friday, June 12, 2015

John 6:48-71 comments: the bread of life

48  I am that bread of life. 49  Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 52  The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58  This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. 59  These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.

Jesus uses a figure of speech (a synechdoche or transfer – the exchange of one idea for another as per Bullinger in Figures of Speech in the Bible cited earlier) to describe Himself as the bread of life that came down from Heaven. The Hebrews in the wilderness ate physical manna and died but Jesus is the bread of life that if anyone eats spiritually they will live. Notice how He did this in chapter 3 by equating two ideas, natural childbirth or, “born of water,” with the spiritual rebirth that is brought about by salvation in, “born of the Spirit.” So, there, we not only had two different births but two completely different kinds of birth, one physical and one spiritual.

Here, there is physical food that satisfied temporarily not preventing those who partook of it from dying physically and spiritual food that satisfies permanently and the promise is made that those who partake of it will never die. There are then two things to be considered here. One, that Jesus is not saying that His body is physical food that they must eat to live like cannibals nor is He promising that physical, biological death is prevented by eating this food. As in John, chapter 3, we move from the temporal world to the eternal world by these comparisons.

As unbelieving people, with minds clouded by slavish devotion to meaningless religious ritualism will do these people do not understand His meaning and are asking why or how they should eat and digest the speaker.

Bible versions created after the Enlightenment, the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation, and the triumph of German theology and Higher Criticism translate verse 58 without, “manna,” after, “your fathers did eat,” based on a handful of corrupt manuscripts.

    60 ¶  Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61  When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62  What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63  It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64  But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65  And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.  66  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67  Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68  Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69  And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. 70  Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? 71  He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

In verse 65, the modern Bibles influenced by heresies of German Higher Criticism remove, “my,” and replace it with, “the.” As well, in verse 69 those same counterfeit Bibles remove, “Christ, the Son of the living.” They repeat the testimony of devils in Mark 1:24 and Luke 4:34 and say, “the Holy One of God.”

Jesus’ own disciples are having trouble with this concept. Jesus asks them, “doth this offend you?” Now, we think of being offended as an outrage against our finer sensibilities like an insult made against us, unintended or intended. But, in the Bible, to offend can cause to stumble or even cause someone to sin as in Matthew 5:29, 30 as well as to sin against as in James 2:10. One way of looking at this exchange is to think of Jesus saying, does this trip you up? You don’t get it? It’s making you doubt? Just wait until you see me ascend to Heaven. How are you going to handle that?

In verse 63 Jesus goes on to make the distinction clear by saying that the spirit makes alive while the flesh has no lasting value. The Jews ate manna in the wilderness and hungered again but those who believe in Him will eat spiritual food and never need anything else. Physical food provides temporary relief while the spiritual food He offers lasts for an eternity.

The implication in verse 64 is that Judas doesn’t really believe. There were probably others who had doubts, like Thomas (John 20:26-31).

Verse 65 reinforces what was already said in verse 44, reinforcing God’s part in drawing men to Christ. Remember the first chapter of the gospel.

John 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

At this point many of those who followed Him walk away. Belief in the supernatural claims of Christ and the Bible are essential for a person to honestly call themselves a Christian but for people such as Thomas Jefferson and others those claims were and are impossible to accept. They either leave the faith of their youth or they adopt the teachings of Christ as a standard and deny the supernatural claims. They are as lost as any atheist, however. To be a “Christian gentleman” without belief in the extra-natural, the supernatural claims of Christ, is to be no Christian. To believe in a Christian philosophy without believing in the supernatural claims of Christ is to believe in nothing different from anyone else. There are many good, by the world’s standards, persons of every faith or no faith at all who will match such a so-called Christian’s behavior and ambitions but without believing what Christ said about Himself they are bound for an eternity of agony and suffering as if they were a Stalin or the most selfish person on earth.

John 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

It is then that Peter expresses the understanding that is the basis of salvation, that Christ is God in the flesh and that God is a living being.

Jesus then reveals that He has, one, chosen all of them, and, two, that one of the ones He chose is a devil, that being Judas Iscariot who would betray Him. Later, He will refer to Judas as, “the son of perdition,” in John 17:12. At the end this son of perdition will be revealed. See 2Thessalonians 2:3. Some would claim that Judas himself will return at the end to be Satan’s person on earth based on this phrase and the following verse;

Acts 1:25  That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

Then, in Revelation, there is this statement;

Revelation 9:11  And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

With the human Judas being dead then, if this were the case, he would have his eternal body in which he will eventually be cast into the lake of fire. This is not a reincarnation of Judas but a continuation in the spiritual world.

Another possible explanation is the way John the Baptist was described. First, the prophesy about Elijah;

Malachi 4:5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

And this one before John’s birth;

Luke 1:17  And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias [Elijah from the Greek rather than the Hebrew], to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

And finally, Jesus’ statement about John;

Matthew 11:11  Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12  And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 13  For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14  And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. 15  He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

So, if John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah but was not the reincarnation of Elijah, a possibility not allowed for in the Bible as per Hebrews 9:27, then the Beast of Revelation, popularly called the Antichrist, could come in the spirit and power of Judas.

In any event, Judas is a devil, according to Jesus, and that means that a person can be a devil and not know it but act in accordance with his nature. It is perhaps true that some of the greatest villains in history such as Hitler, Stalin, or even H.H. Holmes may have been acting from their basic nature rather than due to some traumatic event in their lives that turned them bad. It may be that some people are just evil even by human standards, which, based on the genocides of the last hundred years, aren’t very high.

Monday, June 8, 2015

John 6:43-47 comments: one person, three parts

43  Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44  No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45  It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 46  Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. 47  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

To murmur, in the Bible, carries with it the act of speaking against someone, particularly those who are tasked with leading.

Exodus 16:7  And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that he heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us? 8  And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD.

In verse 45 Jesus refers to verses in Isaiah (2:3;54:13), Jeremiah (31:33, 34), and Micah (4:2).

Here, the point is clearly made of God’s participation in our ability to believe. No person can believe in Christ unless that person has been drawn to Him by God. So, there is an influence of the Holy Spirit on the human heart that is active in belief, as I mentioned earlier that Calvin so prominently pointed out. However, Calvin and his followers went too far in saying that this meant that God then, by necessity, had purposed this person to go to Hell and that person to go to Heaven because He predestinated it to be so. The Bible doesn’t say that, doesn’t go to that extreme.

First, God wants every person to be saved from eternal suffering and loss.

1Timothy 2:4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

God created our souls, our self-identity, our personhood.

Isaiah 57:16  For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.

We are born in sin, destined to die, in rebellion toward God through our heritage received from Adam.

Romans 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

A person’s name is written in God’s book.

Exodus 32:32  Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin — ; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. 33  And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

Revelation 3:5  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

A child’s name then would be in that book until such time as they rejected God. It is then that they would be lost. It is not God’s desire that any of them should be lost as is revealed by these verses within a talk Christ gave to His disciples centered around children and belief.

Matthew 18:10  Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven…14  Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Keep in mind also these Old Testament statements, first where God took an infant, apparently to deliver him from the evil of his family and the disaster that living to adulthood would impose on his eternal soul;

1Kings 14:13  And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him: for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.

And this admonition to Jonah about having compassion on Assyrian children;

Jonah 4:11  And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

Until such time in our lives that we are capable of understanding our wickedness we are not held accountable. It is not a matter of whether or not you accept or understand that you are a sinner against God but whether or not you have the capacity to understand. So, people who are born with severe mental handicaps and children cannot be held accountable. In fact, under the Law an age of accountability was set at twenty. When the Hebrew male reached twenty he gave an offering to the Lord and that is when he went to war and that is the age of accountability for the people in the wilderness who were able to or not allowed to enter the Promised Land. Whether or not that says anything about the age of accountability for salvation you cannot say for sure but, nevertheless, there must be a capability present to understand.

Children are not able to understand.

It is not God’s purpose or desire that anyone should go to Hell and eternal destruction except for Satan and his angels, for whom such destruction was prepared. You go there by your own choice which is hard for a modern person to understand because they want to do whatever they choose and to be rewarded for it even if it is wicked.

Matthew 25:41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

No one is predestinated to Hell. You are only predestinated, in the Bible, to things that happen to you after you are saved because you believed and were given faith to move forward for God. In Ephesians, chapter 1, you are chosen because of God’s foreknowledge from the foundation of the world to something because you will believe and come to the knowledge of the truth. You were chosen by virtue of your being, “in Him,” upon your new birth. Note that He chose us, “in Him,” to be, “holy and without blame before Him in love,” and it does not say chose us to be saved. Paul is talking to people who are already believers and presumably saved from Hell and eternal destruction. We are also predestinated to the adoption, the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23).

  Ephesians 1:3 ¶  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8  Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

As Peter says, we are elect according to God’s foreknowledge.

1Peter 1:2  Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

As Paul says, we, who are saved are predestinated to be conformed to Christ’s image, not to salvation.

Romans 8:29 ¶  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Jesus uses the phrase, “everlasting life,” here. This isn’t just a long time. This is forever and ever. This is life without end. This is the promise that awaits the believer.

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

It is important to understand that if your Bible doesn’t have, “on me,” in verse 47 you should probably look it over for other errors. Many post-Enlightenment, post-German theology, post-Higher Criticism translated Bibles have removed it based on a small number of manuscripts they prefer. It is clear that it is Jesus Christ you must believe in for salvation, regardless of what a modern translator feels is appropriate.

46  Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

We’ve already been told earlier in John that no man hath seen God at any time. Verse 46 explains again that no one has ever seen God the Father, the soul of God, the seat of will and self-identity.

1:18  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

1Timothy 6:16  Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

1John 4:12  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Jesus said earlier that God the Father is a Spirit, invisible.

John 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

God is composed of three parts, as we are;

1Thessalonians 5:23  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

2Corinthians 13:14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

1John 5:7  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

However, God’s three parts can act independently, while ours cannot. This explains the use of, “us,” in Genesis 1:36; 3:22; & 11:7 . Jesus is the visible image of God, the body of God, if you can grasp it.

Colossians 1:15  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Hebrews 1:3  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

So, Jesus will say to Philip that to have seen Him is to have seen the Father. That’s as close as you’re going to get in this flesh, Philip.

John 14:9  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

The Son of God, God in the flesh, and God the Father are one.

John 10:30  I and my Father are one.

So, God is one person with three parts, not three persons.

…And Jesus is the only way to the Father.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

John 6:41-42 comments: preconceived notions

41  The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42  And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

At least some of these Jews have known Jesus in His human form, as the child of Joseph and Mary. He declares that He is the true bread from heaven but, because they think they know Him they are, at the least, skeptical. How do we know who someone is? We think we know them by how we identify them. They are someone’s child, someone’s friend, a co-worker, a team-mate, or something similar. Once we have identified them that way they are stuck in a certain box in our mind. We then supply them with a role and boundaries that go along with that box. They cannot be anything other than what they are according to those identifiers. If you found from reading a newspaper that the co-worker you had been standing next to at your machine for five years was the rightful heir to the throne of England your mind would have a great difficulty in understanding or “attaining unto” (Psalm 139:6; Philippians 3:11) the very idea because that person’s convenient identification in your mind was destroyed. We confine our reality to narrow definitions and, by doing so, often miss great truths by which God is trying to teach us something.

Modern scientists insist that dinosaurs are 80 million years old or thereabouts and when red blood cells are found in their bones instead of questioning their established dating method of comparing a fossil to the previously assumed age of the layer of dirt in which its found they marvel at how red blood cells can last so long in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Even, when using their own dating method of C-14 they discover that dinosaurs lived recent to our time they simply ignore the information because it interferes with the convenient box in which they keep the information that contains their belief in long ages of geological time. They cannot perceive what this new information actually means, that they could be completely wrong about how old things are. They cannot question their most basic assumptions.

When you come to the Bible you will define words as you understand them or, if you are interested in that sort of thing, as the translators would have in Elizabethan and Jacobean England based on early modern English meanings. However, you must free yourself from those constraints and define the words as the Holy Spirit does, in context, within the Bible, using it as your map legend, so to speak, with the words being alive, speaking to you.

As an example, an Elizabethan scholar will say to you that the phrase, “after that,” found in Acts 1:8 means, “when,” and that isn’t apparent by the archaic rendering. However, not being aware of how the King James Bible defines itself he will not know that what he is saying simply isn’t true. In its first use, “when,” follows it in the context showing you how to use it (Genesis 6:4).

We have been taught many things about God’s word, from skeptics who dismiss it to so-called men of God who both wrench words and verses out of context to make them mean things they were never meant to mean. These things we are constantly unlearning as we read God’s word and let Him speak to us without the narrow identifiers that we have grown accustomed to accepting. For instance, there are no angels with wings in the Bible, the angels didn’t sing at Christ’s birth, they spoke, and the great fish prepared for Jonah doesn’t represent a particular species we know today as it was specially prepared for its purpose.

Someone is always trying to take the Bible away from you by telling you if you don’t speak and read Hebrew, Greek, and Latin you can’t understand it. They might say the English is archaic and hard to understand. They might say the doctrine is too deep for the unlearned to grasp or that only the words of the original writings were inspired by God and only the message in the translation of the day is inerrant and infallible. But, those people are doing Satan’s job. Because they want to rip this Book from your hands and remove it from your mind.

These Jews could not receive Jesus’ statement because they could not grasp that what they knew about Him was wrong or incomplete and that something now was being revealed greater than their understanding.

Matthew 13:54  And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55  Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56  And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?

Some of you who are believers led a deplorable, wasted life before you were saved and some even after for a time. Your family and friends are incredulous that you claim to be a follower of Christ now. They scoff at your declaration of faith and look for any proof they can find that you are lying through your teeth or mentally disturbed. Some of your extended family will never believe that you are no longer worthy of their utter contempt because it is convenient to keep you in that place in their mind. It justifies them and allows their continuing pretension of their superiority to you.

John 4:44  For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country.

They will say they want proof but even with overwhelming evidence they will not believe that you are anything but what you were; immature and selfish, a pain in the neck, a failure, a criminal, or a mooch.

Here in this passage, familiarity does breed contempt. These Jews knew Jesus as a youngster probably and thought of Him as, perhaps, a religious young man of their culture and obedient to His parents although Luke, chapter 2, gives us an indication of His devotion to His mission and obedience to the Father at an early age.

Luke 2:41 ¶  Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 42  And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. 43  And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. 44  But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 45  And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46  And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47  And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 48  And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 49  And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? 50  And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 51  And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52  And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

In times past we did not worship individuality as we do today. A person was not easily able to  extricate himself from the cultural context in which he was born and lived. Clearly, also, from this context, Jesus did not spend His time doing tricks for his family and neighbors growing up, bringing dead animals back to life, and making it rain in a drought. Clearly, He revealed Himself when He did and the people who knew Him were unaware of His nature as fully God and fully man until the time. They may have thought of Him as a very bright young man whose devotion to God and the Law given to Moses was exemplary but this new information is beyond the grasp of their minds due to their spiritual condition.

People who say Jesus must have done miracles as He was growing up, other than perhaps for His mother as is apparent from John 2:1-5, are just as foolish as those who say the Old Testament Jews were looking forward to the Cross. In order to believe either thing you have to deny the Scripture’s clear statements. They Jews did not know Him, He revealed Himself and performed miracles that they would require, and yet they still denied the proof they had been given.

John 1:11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

What incorrect information are you holding onto that keeps you from believing in Christ? Is it that nothing can be real that you don’t already know about and believe? Are you able to question your most basic assumptions about life? I know I had difficulty with it. It couldn’t be true because I wasn’t taught it in school, I wasn’t raised that way, and there are so many different opinions, who knows? My forebears had allowed so-called men of God and so-called scholars to remove the true Bible from their churches and homes replacing them with Bibles translated from German theology and the apostasy of the phony “science” of textual criticism and each generation strayed further from the truth until I grew up with the only thing teaching any kind of spirituality being the television and movies, and they were filled with lies.

It is established in the Gospel According to John up to this point that Jesus is not only the Creator (John 1:1-3), but also God in the flesh, the only time this ever happened in history (John 1:14-18), and He is the Messiah, the Christ (John 4:25-26), and the Prophet that Moses predicted (John 6:14).

Will you believe?