Gospel of John

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On the Gospel of John, Part 7: Challenging Orthodoxy

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Our last segment of this series, titled On the Gospel of John, Part 6: The Wedding Feast at Cana, was presented here on July 6th. Now I shall resume with Part 7 before we travel again to East Tennessee in order to attend a League of the South event at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park on September 29th. Yahweh willing, we will resume the series once more in mid-October, and stay with it through winter, hopefully completing it in early 2019.

On the Gospel of John, Part 7: Challenging Orthodoxy

Before commencing with our presentation and commentary on the Gospel of John, I have a short digression, and this will necessarily lead me to another and much longer digression. In our previous portions of this commentary I explained that some of the disciples of Yahshua Christ had at first been disciples of John the Baptist, and that they, namely Andrew the brother of Simon Peter and John himself, the author of this gospel, had sought Christ immediately after John the Baptist had declared Him to be the Lamb of God. Upon attaching themselves to Him, they introduced to Him Simon Peter. Immediately after that the small group returned to Galilee where Philip, Nathanael and the others – such as the younger James, the brother of John – were also introduced to Him. These opening chapters of the Gospel of John are the earliest records of the development of the association of Christ with His apostles.

Since our last presentation, which discussed the marriage feast recorded in John chapter 2, I was confronted by a friend who claimed that both John and James, the sons of Zebedee, were known to Yahshua Christ even before that, where he asserted that the Salome who is mentioned in the Crucifixion account in Mark’s gospel was their mother, and that she was also the sister of Mary the mother of Christ. But these assertions I must reject, since they are taken from apocryphal tales repeated by some or other of the so-called “Church Fathers”, but which are not based upon any Scripture.

On the Gospel of John, Part 6: The Wedding Feast at Cana

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On the Gospel of John, Part 6: The Wedding Feast at Cana

In John chapter 1 the apostle had made many bold statements proclaiming the deity of Jesus, or Yahshua Christ. The assertions that He is the Word made Flesh, the Light of the World, the Lamb of God, and the declaration of the purpose of the ministry of John the Baptist all assert that Yahshua Christ is indeed Yahweh God incarnate. He is THE Son of God because He is the manifestation of God Himself, as it was promised in the Psalms and the prophets. This is better understood once the many passages from the Old Testament which also refer to these things are examined and considered, even if they were not all explicitly cited by John himself. The New Testament cannot be properly understood outside of the context provided by the Old Testament, and we sought to elucidate many of those passages as we presented John chapter 1 over the first five parts of this series.

The gospels of Luke and Matthew open with accounts of certain events from the birth and early life of Christ. But in the third chapter of each of those gospels there is the testimony of John the Baptist. The gospel of Mark, similar to that of John, says nothing of the birth or early years in the life of Christ, and opens with the testimony of John the Baptist. So the testimony of John is the event by which all four gospels open their descriptions of the beginning of the ministry of Christ. Doing so, all four gospels cite Isaiah 40:3, attributing the words to John as they are spoken in reference to Christ, where it describes “3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God,” and explains that John the Baptist was that voice. If John was that voice, then Yahshua Christ must be Yahweh incarnate, the God for whom he prepared the way.

Mark, in that first chapter, also cited Malachi 3:1 in reference to John the Baptist, where it says “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” Yahshua Christ Himself had later cited this also, in reference to John, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 11 and Luke chapter 7. Both of these passages, from Malachi and from Isaiah, are prophecies of John the Baptist and of Yahshua Christ, and if John was the messenger to prepare the way before the Lord (Hebrew, adon) who would come to His temple, then Yahshua Christ is Yahweh Himself, who came to His temple in fulfillment of that prophecy. Once again, if we believe the testimony of Isaiah and Malachi, then Yahshua must be God incarnate.

On the Gospel of John, Part 5: The Focus of the Disciple

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We apologize to the live listeners who did not hear the last 8 minutes of this podcast. Our streaming computer, which has been quite reliable these past few years, suddenly cut off and Windows 10 began updating itself. This behavior is, of course, contrary to the settings which are supposed to preclude it from doing that during a live program.

On the Gospel of John, Part 5: The Focus of the Disciple

All four of our Christian gospels are written in a very simple and forthright manner, and they describe very little outside of the interactions of Yahshua Christ with His disciples and the people who He had encountered directly, along with some of His teachings and the miracles which He had done, and, of course, His final clash with the authorities. While sometimes they mention a few significant historical figures or events which relate to the birth and life of Christ or the beginning of His ministry, little is described of the world outside of the immediate Gospel narrative. So there are no deep explanations or descriptions of history or current events, nor is there much concern for the political, economic or social conditions in Judaea or the greater part of the Roman empire.

The disciples of Christ are focused upon Yahweh their God and their own immediate circumstances, putting their trust in God, and evidently they did not care if the king was bombing Syria, or invading Arabia. Now, that may seem like a sarcastic allusion to today’s circumstances, and it certainly is, but there were similar things happening at the time of John the Baptist, and the writers of the gospels and the portrayals of the characters involved in the ministry of Christ had no concern for them at all.

Before continuing, we must have a digression. Herod the Tetrarch, or Herod Antipas, appears often in all of the gospel accounts of the ministry of Christ. He is a son of the first Herod known from Matthew chapter 2 at the birth of Christ. He is also mentioned in Luke 3:1 as “tetrarch of Galilee”, where we also find another Herod, called Philip, who is called the tetrarch “of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis”. Herod Agrippa I is the Herod of Acts chapter 12. His son Herod Agrippa II is the Agrippa of Acts chapters 25 and 26, and the Bernice mentioned there is the younger Agrippa’s sister, and she is also alleged to have been his wife. The elder Herod Agrippa’s sister is the Herodias of the accounts of the slaying of John the Baptist in the synoptic gospels, and the Herod mentioned there is Herod Antipas. Herod Antipas and Herod Philip were half-brothers, and they had another half-brother, Artistobulus IV, who was the father of the elder Herod Agrippa. All three of the half-brothers had different mothers. Not all writers used the same names consistently for each Herod, so they are very difficult to follow through Scripture and history.

On the Gospel of John, Part 4: The Lamb of God

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On the Gospel of John, Part 4: The Lamb of God

Presenting Part 3 of this commentary on the Gospel of John, which was titled The Sons of God, we gave a full explanation of our translation of John 1:11-13, and we cannot sufficiently stress how important it is to understand the impact which one’s worldview can have upon one’s interpretation of Scripture. I also understand that these presentations may at times be very technical and hard to digest. However we must develop a scholarly basis for a proper understanding of the text before we can even begin to claim to understand the Bible. If one is persuaded by the commonly-accepted interpretations of the Jews concerning the ministry of Christ, then it is easy to accept the King James Version and other popular translations of these verses. So like a lamb being led to the slaughter, one may helplessly be led to believe that the universalist perspective of Scripture is true, and that all those who merely profess a belief in Jesus must therefore be accepted as having somehow become “sons of god” by a mere profession of their lips, and as if they could possibly even make that choice on their own.

However that position is actually in direct conflict with Scripture. Christ Himself had said, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 7, that “21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Likewise, the apostle James said that “19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” So we see that mere belief is not enough to somehow make one a child of God, even if it is a belief which is accompanied by “many wonderful works”. But if we believe that every word of God is true, and that the Scriptures do not conflict with themselves, then it is evident that these passages, along with many others found in the gospels, such as the parable of the tares of the field or the statement by Christ concerning plants which Yahweh did not plant, sufficiently indicate that the common interpretations of John 1:11-13 must be wrong.

On the Gospel of John, Part 3: The Sons of God

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On the Gospel of John, Part 3: The Sons of God

In the opening portions of this commentary on the Gospel of John, we hope to have sufficiently illustrated from Old Testament Scriptures, as well as from the Revelation and other sources, the meanings of the assertions that Yahshua Christ is the Word made Flesh and the Light come into the World, assertions by which the apostle had poetically and confidently attested that Yahshua Christ was indeed Yahweh God Himself, the God of the Old Testament incarnate as a man, and that He was the true Messenger to man sweeping aside all of the false claims of antiquity. So we saw that John, attesting that Christ is the light come into the world, had also made an assertion in reference to Christ which had formerly been claimed by the great kings of antiquity, those of the Hittites, Babylonians, Egyptians and others, who had made that same claim for themselves, even imagining for themselves to be the incarnation of the Sun on earth. Later, in John chapter 12, Christ Himself is recorded as having originated the assertions which John has made for Him here, as the event actually preceded the record.

Then coming to verse 10 of this first chapter of John, we contended with the King James translation of the passage, which reads “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” The meaning of this passage clearly may have been different in the original understanding of the English of 1611, the word world now having a different meaning. Examining that word world, we came to the conclusion that the word would better be translated as society, since it does not refer to the entire planet and everything on it in the way that it is often interpreted today. There are passages in the classical Greek writings where the word appears in broad contexts and may be interpreted as universe, however that is not necessarily the manner in which it was used in the New Testament, and it was not always the manner in which the classical Greek writers had used the term...

On the Gospel of John, Part 2: The Light of the World

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On the Gospel of John, Part 2: The Light of the World

Introducing our presentation of the Gospel of John in the opening segment of this series, we gave evidence from the earliest post-apostolic Christian writers, the so-called Church Fathers, and from the texts of those books of our Bibles which are attributed to John, which is sufficient to demonstrate that one and the same John the apostle – the young man who of all the apostles had been closest to Christ – was indeed the author of the Revelation, the first epistle of John, and this Gospel. There was also circumstantial evidence given to help establish that John was indeed the author of the two shorter epistles which have been attributed to him from the earliest times.

Here we shall offer a brief summary of our discussion. Little is known of the life of John after the early chapters of Acts, and he last appears in Scripture in Jerusalem in 47 AD, in the events which are recorded in Acts chapter 15 and the early verses of Galatians chapter 2. Later in his life, ostensibly after the deaths of the elder James around 62 AD in Jerusalem and Paul of Tarsus about that same time in Rome, John is in Ephesus where he committed this Gospel to writing. Then during the reign of Domitian, some time after 81 AD John was exiled to Patmos on account of his Christian profession, which is where he received the Revelation. After the death of Domitian in 96 AD, John was able to return to Ephesus. If the Revelation was not already committed to writing, it certainly was after John’s return, which is indicated in the accounts of the early Christian writers. All of John’s three epistles were also written in Ephesus, and very likely around this late time, as John fulfilled the role of an elder and apostle to the Christian assemblies at Ephesus and the neighboring districts. This John had reportedly done until his death some time during the reign of Trajan, which began in 98 and ended in 117 AD. If John were 16 when the ministry of Christ began in 28 AD, he would have been no younger than 86 when he died.

On the Gospel of John, Part 1: The Word Made Flesh

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On the Gospel of John, Part 1: The Word Made Flesh

Here we shall endeavor a presentation and commentary of the Gospel of John. This Gospel is unlike any of the others, which parallel one another in many ways and which are for that reason called the Synoptic Gospels. None of the writers of these other gospels were witnesses to the entire ministry of Christ, and therefore they also relied on accounts provided by others, in whole or in part. Before discussing John, we shall explain this briefly, but we must warn that the documentation or reasoning which supports these brief explanations is found throughout our other commentaries, and we can not repeat it all here. We will, however, see some of our evidence in the words of the early Christian writers as we cite them in our discussion of John.

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