Monday, July 27, 2015

John 10:19-24 comments: tell us plainly

19 ¶  There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. 20  And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? 21  Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?

    22 ¶  And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. 23  And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. 24  Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

This last part of chapter 10 is very interesting for a number of reasons. One of which is the modern scholar’s assault on its verses. It seems that starting in the late 1800’s some priests and scholars thought that the true Bible had been lost for 1800 years and Christians, even the most celebrated from John Chrysostom to John Wesley, had been using the wrong Bibles with the wrong verses with the wrong wording in them.

Based mainly on the authority of two corrupt manuscripts, Codexes Vaticanus and Sinaiticus; ignoring the writings of the early church fathers, ancient Bible versions, and lectionaries the modernists dropped, “as I said unto you,” from verse 26, the, “my,” out of, “my Father’s hand,” in verse 29, the, “my,” from, “my Father,” in verse 32, and, “believe, that the Father is in me,” to a number of variations to include in place of believe; such as understand and recognize. The major English Bibles before the influence of The Enlightenment and the victory of German theology and rationalism read as the King James Bible based on a textual heritage of 1500 years while the Bibles after this, admittedly in some of the most modern cases to get a copyright perhaps, made the seemingly minor changes based on a lost Bible that these men somehow discovered beginning in the late 1800’s. (Thanks to Dr. Ken Matto for his work which I consulted for this last paragraph.

These changes are also examples of the differences of opinions that affect translation and, yet, for the common man who is not an avid student of the Bible they call into question the authority of the Traditional Text and the once-common Bible of the English speaking world when really there is no cause to call into question at all. Perhaps the blame should not be laid at the feet of unbelieving or carnal Christian scholars but at the feet of Christians who will not be troubled to read what they have.

In any event, verse 19 shows that some of the Jews thought Jesus was possessed by a devil, some thought He might be insane, while others were not sure and raised questions about how a man could be suffering either of those two issues and speak with such power and authority and do a miraculous work of healing as Jesus did.

Moving forward in time to the Feast of the Dedication in the winter we are now at a time for remembrance of the cleansing of the temple from the pollution caused by Antiochus Epiphanes. This was instituted by order of Judas Maccabeus around 164BC. Inheriting his authority from one of Alexander the Great’s generals, representing the Hellenic Greek Seleucid Empire, Antiochus IV disliked the Jews intensely. Alexander had conquered the Near East, what we call the Middle East. It was Antiochus’ desire to completely Hellenize the Greeks and destroy their religion.  He sacked Jerusalem, settled Greeks and undesirables in the city, and offered sacrifices to Zeus on the temple altar. The Jews revolted and Judas Maccabeus’ guerrilla army routed the Greeks and ordered the rededication of the temple, its cleansing from the pollution of the pagans. This was remembered by the Festival of Lights or Dedication. (15) This is what is known as Hanukah today, the Jewish winter holiday that is near to the time of Christmas.

An apocryphal book that is in non-Protestant and non-Jewish Bibles, 1Maccabees, describes these events also. However, it is written in Greek not Hebrew and, with 2Maccabees, contains some very conflicting accounts of how Antiochus died. They are not part of either the Protestant or the Jewish canon but are found in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament, for which we have no complete copy before the Codexes Vaticanus and Sinaiticus from the 4th century AD, if they are truly that old.

The Jews thronged about Jesus as He walked on Solomon’s porch in the temple (see Acts 3:11; 5:12), demanding that He state clearly that He was the Messiah, the Christ, which had been done on several occasions as shown in this commentary. John the Baptist had already declared Him during His ministry. Andrew also declared that Jesus was the Messiah and Christ.

John 1:40  One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

Jesus told the woman at the well who He was.

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.

Many Samaritans believed.

John 4:40  So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41  And many more believed because of his own word; 42  And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Simon Peter, Andrew’s brother, also declared his belief.

John 6:68  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.

Many Jews believed during the Feast of Tabernacles.

John 7:31  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?... 40  Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet…41a  Others said, This is the Christ…

The man born blind believed and declared it.

John 9:35 ¶  Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36  He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37  And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38  And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

So, rather than standing on a pinnacle of the temple and declaring it to the crowds Jesus has had individual people themselves declare His Messiahship. This is a very important principle. Not with ceremony or ritual did Christ declare His arrival, not with pomp and pageantry did He manifest His mission, and not to a stadium full of adoring fans did He reveal His identity. He did it with the mouths of others; the hated Samaritans, the grateful who had received healing, His few disciples who would follow Him, and people who had come to honor God’s law at the Feast of Tabernacles.  God does extraordinary things, miracles of space and time, yes, and there were, on occasion, visions and voices from heaven. But, God uses the hands, the feet, and the mouths of people much of the time to do His will and to express His truth. It does not save you that the Bible declares that Jesus is Christ, the Messiah, and God Himself. It saves you that you declare it and believe it.


(15) Unger, Archaeology and the New Testament, 41.

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