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When I had first written this, and a mistake I had made was pointed out to me by a friend, I thought I had better hold onto it, and give it more careful consideration, so here it is. Not to make excuses, but doing my best to present a serious and comprehensive Bible Commentary sometimes only hours after it is written, I guess I am going to make some mistakes. But it is my earnest intention to get it right, and make it stick when I publish it. What we call Christian Identity is really only Truth, and I pray I can continue to prove that through Scripture to the point where it is absolutely irrefutable.
On the Gospel of John, Part 15: The Sabbaths of God
Thus far in John Chapter 5 we saw Yahshua Christ return once again to Jerusalem, for an unidentified feast, and upon encountering a man who had spent 38 years hoping to be healed of his ailment at the pool called Bethzatha, or perhaps, Bethesda, He healed him and sent him on his way. The Pharisees, seeing the healed man walking away with his cot, chastised him for violating their Sabbath-day regulations. But upon learning why he carried his cot on the Sabbath, the Pharisees sought to know who had healed him, evidently seeing such a healing done on a Sabbath day as an even greater violation of their rules than the carrying of the cot. They were much more concerned for their legalistic views of the law than they were to see such a wonderful miracle where the man was healed after so long a time suffering, so they neglected to even consider the hand of God in his healing. But if Yahweh God was responsible for his healing, then there is a greater purpose for the Sabbaths than what the legalistic Pharisees would want to admit.
So once the Pharisees learned who it was who had done such a thing, we read:
16 And for this reason the Judaeans pursued Yahshua [A and the MT insert “and sought to kill Him”; the text follows P66, P75, א, B, C, D and W], because He did [P75 has “He had done”] these things on the Sabbath.
Ostensibly, the Sabbath days were the most opportune times to encounter the lame and the sick, as the people typically gathered at the temple or at synagogues or rivers and other public places on that day. So therefore, as Christ passed through the crowds of people who were gathered together, among which were those who needed healing, when He encountered them they were healed. On other days of the week, many of these sick people may not have been out in public, as they were only out of their houses on the Sabbaths to fulfill the obligation of gathering on the Sabbath. However in the case of this man, since he evidently did not carry his bed to the pool on the Sabbath, he may have spent all or at least part of the week at the pool. If he did not spend the entire week at the pool, then perhaps he traveled with his cot on the days before and after.
The law concerning the Sabbath is interpreted by the Word of Yahweh in Jeremiah chapter 17: “21 Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; 22 Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. ”
While it is evident that the children of Israel were commanded to do no work on the Sabbath, the Pharisees took that commandment to the extreme and sought to regulate every act that could possibly be construed as work, and forbid it on the Sabbath. Many modern Jews won’t even switch on an electric light on the Sabbath, or turn on a stove. The Pharisees even set arbitrary limits on the distance which a man could travel on that day, so we see in the New Testament the phrase “A Sabbath Day’s journey”, in Acts chapter 1. That represents a concept that is not explicit in the Old Testament, although the law does say “abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day”, in Exodus chapter 16,. We nevertheless see throughout the New Testament that people gathered in the synagogues on the Sabbath. So these acts of healing on the Sabbath had incited the Pharisees, who imposed their own standards and pretenses of piety upon the people of Judaea, and rather than being overjoyed that there were such marvelous things done among them, instead they had persecuted Christ for doing them. But according to the contrary attitude of Christ, it is not a good work by itself which profanes the Sabbath.
Looking for ready examples of good works that were permissible on the Sabbath, I initially thought that I had found one in the collection and distribution of manna in the wilderness, and ran ahead with that without examining the accounts closely enough. It is probably something I should have remembered. The manna was not collected on the Sabbath, and rather, a double portion was collected the day before. This is in spite of the fact that on the other days of the week, manna kept overnight was spoiled with worms by the following morning. But looking for an easily available example of good works being performed on the Sabbath, and thinking I found one, I did myself a disservice by not looking at the larger picture in order to find the proper example.
While there are no explicit precedents found in the Old Testament Scriptures for the miracles which Christ had done on the Sabbath, it is still evident that in the earliest times it was ordained by God that certain good works which were necessary to be done, were done even on the Sabbath. So Christ had said in another place where the Pharisees had accused Him of wrongdoing for healing a man on the Sabbath, as it is recorded in Luke chapter 6, “Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?” So the Sabbath was never intended to prohibit a man from doing good.
On the Hebrew calendar, the Passover is a Sabbath day, and we may read in Exodus chapter 12 that on the very first Passover Yahweh had said that He Himself “12… will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt,” where it is evident that when it is necessary for the good of the people, Yahweh God works on the Passover. Then later in that same chapter we read “51 And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.” So we see that when it was for the good of the people, it was permitted for the children of Israel to travel on the Passover. This may sound like a legalistic counter-argument in response to the legalism of the Pharisees, however it will be further demonstrated as we proceed.
In 1 Chronicles chapter 9 we see an account of some of the duties of the Levites who were porters, and it says “ 20 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar was the ruler over them in time past, and the LORD was with him. 21 And Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was porter of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 22 All these which were chosen to be porters in the gates were two hundred and twelve. These were reckoned by their genealogy in their villages, whom David and Samuel the seer did ordain in their set office. 23 So they and their children had the oversight of the gates of the house of the LORD, namely, the house of the tabernacle, by wards. 24 In four quarters were the porters, toward the east, west, north, and south. 25 And their brethren, which were in their villages, were to come after seven days from time to time with them. 26 For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in their set office, and were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God. 27 And they lodged round about the house of God, because the charge was upon them, and the opening thereof every morning pertained to them. 28 And certain of them had the charge of the ministering vessels, that they should bring them in and out by tale (tally, or count). 29 Some of them also were appointed to oversee the vessels, and all the instruments of the sanctuary, and the fine flour, and the wine, and the oil, and the frankincense, and the spices. 30 And some of the sons of the priests made the ointment of the spices.”
Then in 2 Chronicles chapter 23 we read: “4 This is the thing that ye shall do; A third part of you entering on the sabbath, of the priests and of the Levites, shall be porters of the doors; 5 And a third part shall be at the king's house; and a third part at the gate of the foundation: and all the people shall be in the courts of the house of the LORD. 6 But let none come into the house of the LORD, save the priests, and they that minister of the Levites; they shall go in, for they are holy: but all the people shall keep the watch of the LORD. ” Furthermore, that sacrifices were commanded to be made on the Sabbath days is fully evident in the law, for instance in Numbers chapter 28: “8 And the other lamb shalt thou offer at even: as the meat offering of the morning, and as the drink offering thereof, thou shalt offer it, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD. 9 And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: 10 This is the burnt offering of every sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.”
So we see that the priests who performed the sacrifices, who were of the offspring of Eleazar, were compelled to work on the Sabbath in order to accomplish the necessary sacrifices. The Levites who were porters, who were of the other sons of Levi, were also compelled to work on the Sabbaths, in performance of their task of ministering to the congregation. Other Levites who worked on the Sabbath for that purpose were leaders, readers and interpreters in the synagogues, and all the priests who were involved in maintaining the temple, the altar, and the implements used in sacrifices and the burning of incense. So it is evident that a class of men, in this case the Levites, were bidden to work on the Sabbath day in order to serve the congregation of Yahweh. They had no other vocation, and that was their vocation, in service to Yahweh and to the people. While Christ was not a Levite, He was indeed a priest of a different order, “according to the order of Melchizedek”, although that was certainly not recognized by His adversaries.
A little later in this chapter Christ Himself exclaims that “My Father labors until now, and I labor!” This also reveals a deeper purpose for His laboring on the Sabbath. In Genesis chapter 2 we read “2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” Of course, a day to the Lord is as a thousand years, or even longer, since Peter was only making a general example, using a simile, where he had written that in his second epistle. Yahweh God being outside of the earthly constraints of time, a day to the Lord may as well be a hundred thousand years. In Hebrews chapters 3 and 4 Paul of Tarsus made an example of the fact that Yahweh remains at rest, He is still in His seventh day, which is an example that was already made in the Psalms. Therefore, citing Psalm 95, Paul explained that Yahweh was still in that period of rest, since for their disobedience Yahweh had precluded the Israelites from a chance to enter into that rest along with Him in the days of Joshua, but that He was now making that offer of entering into His rest through Christ, where Paul had written in Hebrews 4:11: “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
The Genesis account informs us that Yahweh had “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made”, yet Yahshua Christ proclaims here that “My Father labors until now”, and it is evident that Yahweh is compelled to labor in service to His people, as they failed to enter into His rest when they had the first opportunity, in the days of Joshua. We read in the 95th Psalm: “6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. 7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. 10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: 11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.” Then we read in Matthew chapter 28, in the words of Christ: “28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The true Sabbath day’s rest is found in obedience to Christ.
So it is evident that Yahweh Himself, although on the seventh day He rested, cannot truly rest until the children of Israel are obedient to His will, for which He also must work to serve them. We read in a Messianic prophecy in Isaiah chapter 62, in reference to the captivity of Israel: “4 Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. 5 For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. 6 I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, 7 And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” The passage is informing us that the watchmen are to continually cry out, giving Yahweh no rest until He establishes His Kingdom. So there is no true Sabbath without obedience, and until Israel as a race achieves obedience, those who seek to serve the people of God must work in that endeavor even on the Sabbath. This is the example we can derive from the Levitical priesthood, and from the miracles which Christ had worked, to heal His people on the Sabbaths. Yahweh works until now, with the objective of healing His people. Of course, this by itself is no excuse to break the Sabbath, to bear burdens for reason of commerce or to work at a trade, as those things are sinful. (Our relation to the Sabbath law today is another matter entirely, which shall not be discussed here in detail.)
In the time of Christ, the Judaeans had pretended to be keeping the Sabbaths, but they were not necessarily the Sabbaths of Yahweh. For example, in Hosea chapter 2, where the sisters are an allegory for Israel and Judah, which are the subjects of the prophecy, and the mother is an allegory for the nation of all twelve tribes, we read “1 Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah. 2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; 3 Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst….” Then a little further on, “10 And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand. 11 I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts. 12 And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.” As we shall see, it was also announced in Isaiah, that Yahweh had rejected the Sabbaths, having caused them to cease.
In the words of the prophets it also becomes manifest that profaning the Sabbath has a much deeper meaning than merely committing some arbitrary act that another might classify as “work”. In Ezekiel chapter 22, it is evident that even if one keeps the Sabbath day perfectly, one has profaned the Sabbath if he has acted as a sinner on the other six days of the week, where we read: “6 Behold, the princes of Israel, every one were in thee to their power to shed blood. 7 In thee have they set light by father and mother: in the midst of thee have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in thee have they vexed the fatherless and the widow. 8 Thou hast despised mine holy things, and hast profaned my sabbaths. 9 In thee are men that carry tales to shed blood: and in thee they eat upon the mountains: in the midst of thee they commit lewdness. 10 In thee have they discovered their fathers' nakedness: in thee have they humbled her that was set apart for pollution. 11 And one hath committed abomination with his neighbour's wife; and another hath lewdly defiled his daughter in law; and another in thee hath humbled his sister, his father's daughter. 12 In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD.”
By oppressing sojourners, and by despising orphans and widows, the disadvantaged of the people of Israel, the nobles of the ancient Israelites despised the “holy things” of Yahweh, and profaned the Sabbaths that they kept only for the pretense of piety. For some of these same sins, Yahshua Christ had later condemned the Pharisees as hypocrites. To that they added more grievous sins, such as fornication, adultery and incest, and John the Baptist had rebuked Herod Antipas for that same thing, a rebuke which cost him his life. Yet it is clear, that the people of Judaea as a whole had tolerated Herod’s flaunting of the law. It matters not that Herod was an Edomite, but that the people as a whole had tolerated the sin committed by the Edomite, for which they merited punishment. One cannot please Yahweh by keeping the Sabbath while having hands soiled with sin, which includes ignoring or even approving of the sins of others.
We may see how Christians should truly venerate the Sabbath in Ezekiel chapter 44, where it speaks in reference to the priests of a prophetic temple: “23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 24 And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they shall judge it according to my judgments: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all mine assemblies; and they shall hallow my sabbaths.” The objective of the Elijah ministry for the last days is to “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers,” and to do that properly it is also necessary to teach the children of Israel the difference between the holy and the profane. Only then will they be able to properly distinguish between dogs, pigs and sheep. Only then may they have an opportunity for a proper Sabbath.
Again, we see a similar passage in Ezekiel chapter 20: “19 I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; 20 And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God.” Then further on in the chapter: “23 I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the nations, and disperse them through the countries; 24 Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers' idols.” So we may see that the Sabbath is holy only when men abide in the commandments of Yahweh throughout the rest of the week. When one is a sinner all week, it is a vain thing to keep the Sabbath, and professing to keep it, the sinner is really only profaning it and multiplying his sin. For that reason, Christ makes an exclamation:
17 Then Yahshua [P75, א, B and W have “He”; the text follows P66, A, D and the MT] replied to them: “My Father labors until now, and I labor!”
And upon that exclamation John explains:
18 Then [א and D want “then”] for this reason still more the Judaeans sought to kill Him, because not only did He break the Sabbath, but also said that Yahweh is His own Father, making Himself equal with Yahweh.
Christ Himself had not really violated their Sabbath rules, except by their own perception, which proves that they actually had no true faith in God in the first place. If they had perceived that the healing of the man was from God, they should have believed Christ. However here it is recorded that the Pharisees were offended even more greatly merely because Christ had repeated a concept which is found throughout the Old Testament: that the children of Israel are the children of Yahweh their God. This we first read in Deuteronomy chapter 14 where it says: “1 Ye are the children of the LORD your God…” but the concept is as old as Genesis. If Adam fathered a son, Seth, who was “in his own likeness, after his image”, as we read in Genesis 5:3, and if Adam himself was fashioned in the image and likeness of God, as we read in Genesis 1:26, then ostensibly Adam is the son of God every bit as much as Seth is the son of Adam, and Luke informs us explicitly that Adam was indeed the son of God, in chapter 3 of his Gospel.
Furthermore, when Isaac was placed on the altar by his father Abraham, this was a sort of adoption ritual, whereby Isaac and his children became the property of Yahweh, as it was commonly practiced in the ancient world that anything placed upon an altar became the property of the god to whom the altar was dedicated. Therefore Abraham had actually given over custody of his son to Yahweh. So in Exodus chapter 4, the Word of Yahweh refers to Israel collectively and He tells Moses: “22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: 23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.” So the children of Israel were recognized as the children of Yahweh even before the giving of the law at Sinai.
Christ referred to God as His Father, and we read in Jeremiah chapter 3 a prophecy that the children of Israel would indeed refer to their God as their Father: “18 In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers. 19 But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.” So we see there was nothing wrong with Christ or any man of Israel referring to Yahweh his God as “my Father”.
Later we read a similar statement in Jeremiah chapter 31: “7 For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. 8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. 9 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.”
In Isaiah chapter 43 Yahweh refers to the children of Israel as “My sons… and My daughters”. In John chapter 10 Christ Himself cites the 82nd Psalm, where speaking of the children of Israel it says “6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” If the children of Israel are the children of Yahweh, then Yahweh is their Father, as He also proclaims in Isaiah, for example in chapter 1: “2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.” Then again in Isaiah chapter 44: “2 Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun [“upright one”], whom I have chosen.” It seems apparent that those who seek to raise themselves up above their fellows may find such scriptures inconvenient, and make an offense of them. But only a Father has an inherent right to rule over his children, and therefore only Yahweh can justly rule over the children of Israel. But simply because any man of Israel can assert that he is a son of God does not mean that he is equal to God, as he also is merely an element of God’s creation.
Therefore the Pharisees seem to be judging Christ not from an Old Testament perspective, but from a Roman perspective. In Roman law, a man without male issue adopted a fellow Roman as a son, thereby making him his heir. In this manner the adopted man was acknowledged as the equal and heir of the father, as much as an adult son taking over the family business would be the equal and heir of his own father. We wrote in our May, 2012 commentary on Luke chapter 1:
The Pharisees saw Christ's claims to be the Son of God through Roman customs rather than through Hebrew customs. In Rome, the man whom the Emperor adopted as his son, and beginning with the adoption of Tiberius by Augustus in 4 AD, was recognized as second-in-command of the empire, and equal to the emperor that he would replace. This is the basis for the Pharisees later accusations against Christ, that by calling Himself the “Son of God” He was committing blasphemy and attempting to subvert the empire by declaring Himself King, as they accused him of making himself “one with God” and “equal to God”. The living emperors were also deified by the Romans from the time of Augustus, and were being worshipped as gods.
We may further elaborate upon this. Actually, Julius Caesar had adopted Octavian, who later became Augustus, and Augustus had begun using the title “son of god” after the deceased Julius Caesar was deified by the Romans, ostensibly making himself the equal of Caesar his god. However Caesar was never actually emperor, but only a dictator, and Octavian himself became the first emperor. From the time of Tiberius a son adopted by the emperor for the purpose of succession, or a natural son who was chosen as successor, was given the title Caesar, something which was mentioned by the historian Tacitus, and he was thereafter seen as being the equal of the emperor, whereas the emperors themselves often had their own cults which claimed for them to be gods. The emperor being seen as a god, his appointed successor would be “equal with god”.
The Roman historian Tacitus, in his Annals of Imperial Rome, records the words of a certain Pallas, a member of the emperor Claudius’ court, just before that emperor had adopted the future Nero, although Claudius had a natural son, Britannicus, who was still living, and he reported in Book 12 that Pallas had said: “Just as the divine Augustus, though supported by grandsons, advanced his stepsons, and Tiberius, with children of his own, adopted Germanicus; so Claudius too ought to provide himself with a young future partner in his labors.” Because Tiberius had adopted Germanicus, several times in the Annals Tacitus had referred to him as Germanicus Caesar, although he did not ever become the emperor, having been assassinated many years before Tiberius himself had died. When Germanicus died, Drusus, a natural son of Tiberius, was granted the title of Caesar and designated as his father’s partner and successor. But he too died an untimely death, and eventually his brother Gaius, who was called Caligula, had succeeded Tiberius.
It must also be noted, that the attitude displayed here by the enemies of Christ is quiet hypocritically contradicted by them in John chapter 8 where they are recorded as having said “We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” However it also must be noted, that perhaps the Pharisees already had the notion that Christ was claiming to be the Son of God after the manner described in the 2nd Psalm, where it says “7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” This is certainly possible, as they may well have already heard concerning Yahshua at least some of the things which He Himself is about to tell them here.
But for now, in essence, Yahshua informs them that it was actually God Himself who performed the act of healing on the Sabbath, and therefore it should not be considered a sin:
19 Therefore Yahshua [P75 and B have “He”] replied and said to them: “Truly, truly I say to you, the Son [D inserts “of Man”] is not able to do anything [literally “nothing”; D has “anything”] by Himself except what He sees the Father doing. For the things which He would do, these things also the Son does likewise.
It seems that nothing is more blinding than self-righteousness. The important point which the Pharisees were missing is the fact that the healing of the man, who was crippled for 38 years, must have come from God. All Yahshua Christ had done is to ask the man if he wished to be made whole, and when the man expressed exasperation, Christ said to him “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” So Christ Himself really did nothing apparent which would break the Sabbath regulations of the Pharisees. When self-righteous men oppose that which comes from God, they expose themselves as pretenders.
Where Christ had said For the things which He would do, meaning Yahweh the Father, these things also the Son does likewise: Later in the Gospel, the disciples of John were sent to inquire as to whether Yahshua was truly the Messiah, and we read, as it is recorded in Luke chapter 7: “22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. 23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” All of these things were prophesied in Isaiah, in connection with the promises of Yahweh to save the children of Israel, for example in chapter 35 we read: “4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” So the healing of the blind and the lame by Yahshua Christ was symbolic of the greater healing that all of Israel would ultimately receive through Him, as we read in Isaiah chapter 53, “the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” For the moment when these words were spoken as it was recorded by Luke, the words bore an immediate sense, but these are indeed the things which Yahweh had said that He would do, to heal the blind, the deaf, the dumb and the lame.
Doing the will of Yahweh even on the Sabbath Day, one can be a repairer of the breach, which was also a function fulfilled by Yahshua Christ, as we read in Isaiah chapter 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. 12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. 13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: 14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” Christ, healing the lame and opening the eyes of the blind on the Sabbath, gave the glory to the Father and sought to repair the breach between God and Israel. Christ did not do His Own pleasure on the Sabbath day, but that of the Father. Resting in an armchair and watching television all day, one may be following the letter of the law of the Sabbath, however one really only does his own pleasure and is ultimately good for nothing. Rather than the Sabbaths of men, Christians should seek to fulfill the Sabbaths of God – seeking to do good things for one another, working to help repair that breach between Yahweh and His people Israel, after the example of Christ.
The response of Christ continues:
20 For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all things which He Himself does.
Through Christ, the things of God should certainly be known and declared among men who love Him, as we find in the 16th Psalm, which is a Messianic prophecy: “7 I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. 8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” So we have already read in John chapter 1: “18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son [or best-loved Son], which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
This is also stated in Isaiah chapter 12, which is another Messianic prophecy: “1 And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. 2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. 3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. 4 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. 5 Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. 6 Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.” The knowledge of these excellent things which Yahweh has done has come through the Messiah. Here we also see the relationship of the knowledge of God to the “living water” mentioned in John chapter 4. Without the coming of the Christ, today we would not know of the God of the Scriptures, and therefore we would have no “living water” or “water out of the wells of salvation.” Without Christ, we would never have known the doings of Yahweh among our people.
Perhaps the best type for this declaration of Christ that “the Father loves the Son and shows Him all things which He Himself does” is the entire Book of Proverbs, which is written as a father addressing a son and showing him “all things which he himself does”. At the beginning of the book we read: “8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 9 For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” It may be argued here that the mother represents the Wisdom of God, personified as a woman further on in the same chapter. Then later, we read in Proverbs chapter 28: “5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.” Those who seek the Lord must find Christ, and through Him they shall understand all things, as Paul also explained (i.e. 1 Corinthians 2:14), and also John (1 John 2:20). Continuing with the response of Christ in verse 20:
And He shall show Him greater works than these, that you may be [P75 has “you shall be”; א “you are”] astonished! [Or …that you may marvel!]
The concept that the enemies of Christ would be astonished is found several times in the Psalms and prophets, for example, in the 40th Psalm, it is expressed in the prayer to “14 Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it…” In Isaiah chapter 52 it says “ 13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14 As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men….” Again, we read in the 35th Psalm: “4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.” The shaming of the enemies of Christ is also a subject of the 86th Psalm, which is another Messianic prophecy: “14 O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them. 15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. 16 O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid. 17 Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.”
Continuing with the response of Christ to the accusations of the Pharisees:
21 For just as the Father raises and makes the dead to live, thusly also the Son makes live whom He wishes.
Now there should be no doubt with this statement that Christ is indeed asserting that “the Son” is equal with the Father, although the initial accusation of the Pharisees was premature. Here, while He refers to “the Son”, His implication is that He is “the Son” where He had already said “and I work” in verse 17, later it becomes more explicit in verse 24.
There are allusions to resurrection in the Old Testament, in Deuteronomy 32:39, 2 Kings 5:7, and 1 Samuel 2:6 where we read “6 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.” Hosea chapter 6 is a little more enigmatic, where it says “1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.” While David’s words in the 16th Psalm are a Messianic prophecy, the language of the original reveals that they also referred to himself in the immediate sense, or to any of the saints of Yahweh, where he wrote “10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” The 49th Psalm speaks similarly, “15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me.”
Paul of Tarsus indicated that resurrection occurred in ancient times, in spite of the fact that we do not have any such record in our modern Bibles, where speaking of the faith of the heroes of the Old Testament he had written in his epistle to the Hebrews that by it, among other things, “Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection…” Here Christ asserts that He has that same power and authority, and therefore He must be God. Now He makes the same assertion in different manner:
22 For neither does the Father judge anyone [literally “no one”], but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23 in order that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He not honoring the Son would not honor the Father who has sent Him.
Here Yahshua Christ is making the most explicit admission to His enemies thus far that He is the Messiah, by informing them that the judgment of God has been given to Him. Notwithstanding any interpretation of Genesis 49:10, in the Old Testament, this is first prophesied explicitly in the 110th Psalm, A Psalm of David. Later in the Gospel, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 22 and in Luke chapter 20, the understanding that this Psalm indeed describes the Christ is made clear: “1 The LORD [Yahweh] said unto my Lord [adon], Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. 2 The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. 3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. 4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. 5 The Lord [Adonay] at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. 6 He shall judge among the nations, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. 7 He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.” That judgment in this manner is committed to the hands of Christ is also apparent in Daniel chapter 9 where it says, speaking of Messiah the Prince: “27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make
it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
In 1 Enoch, chapter 69, we read in verse 27 of the edition by R. H. Charles: “And he sat on the throne of his glory, And the sum of judgment was given unto the Son of Man, And he caused the sinners to pass away and be destroyed from off the face of the earth, and those who have led the world astray.” Then again we see in Daniel, in chapter 7: “9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Then a little further on in the same chapter: “13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Now as Christ continues, His claim becomes even more explicit:
“24 Truly, truly I say to you that he hearing My Word and believing in He who has sent Me has eternal life and does not come to judgment, but has passed from death into life!
Those of the children of Israel who repent and accept Christ in this life and keep His commandments already have life, as their sins are already forgiven. So we read in Hosea chapter 13: “14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” Paul of Tarsus cited this same passage where he explained the resurrection of the dead in 1 Corinthians chapter 15: “54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Christ continues in this same manner:
25 Truly, truly I say to you that the hour comes and is now [א wants “and is now”], when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of Yahweh and those [א and P66 want the article rendered as “those”, where we would add “they” to the translation of the final verb] hearing shall live!
This statement may be interpreted in two ways, allegorically and literally, each of which are certainly valid. First, the reference to the “dead” is an allegory for the estranged children of Israel, the “lost sheep” who were put off in punishment, as we read in Hosea chapter 13: “1 When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. 2 And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.” That is the very context of the later statement in Hosea that we have already cited here and which may also be interpreted in the same two ways, where it says: “I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction…”
In a literal manner, this statement was also fulfilled by Christ, where Peter had explained in his first epistle, in chapter 3: “18 Because Christ also suffered once for all sins, the just on behalf of the unjust, in order that He may lead you to Yahweh, indeed dying in the flesh but being made to live by the Spirit. 19 At which also going He proclaimed to those spirits in prison, 20 who at one time had been disobedient – when the forbearance of Yahweh awaited in the days of Noah’s preparing the vessel in which a few, that is eight souls, had been preserved through the water.” There are some who imagine that this is also an allegory, but Peter specifically said here that Christ had preached even to those who died in the flood of Noah, so it must have a literal meaning. Peter himself clarifies that in chapter 4 of the same epistle, where he wrote “6 Indeed for this also to the dead the gospel has been announced, that they may indeed be judged like men in the flesh, but live like Yahweh in the Spirit.”
So repentance can come after death, and judgment does not necessarily mean death, but for those of the children of Israel who accept and believe Christ while they live, and who keep His commandments, there is already an assurance of life. For this, Paul had wrote in 1 Timothy chapter 5 that “24 Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.” For this, Paul had also written in 2 Timothy chapter 1 as if death were already abolished: “8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Nations.”
As we have also already mentioned, in Hebrews chapter 4, Paul of Tarsus explains that the children of Yahweh were offered an opportunity to enter into His sabbath – to enter into His rest – back in the days of Joshua. But they were disobedient, so they failed to enter. Thus Paul had written, in Hebrews chapter 4: “3 For we who are believing enter into that rest, just as He spoke: ‘So I have sworn in My wrath, whether they should enter into My rest.’ And indeed those works have been done from the foundation of the Society. 4 Somewhere He spoke in this manner concerning the seventh day: ‘And Yahweh rested in the seventh day from all of His works.’ 5 And with this, again: ‘Whether they should enter into My rest.’ 6 Therefore since it remains for some to enter into it, and those who formerly heard the gospel did not enter in on account of incredulity, 7 again He determines a certain day, in David saying ‘Today,’ after so long a time just as it is said before hand: ‘Today if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’ 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken concerning another after that day. 9 So a period of rest remains for the people of Yahweh. 10 He who is entering into His rest, he would also rest from his works, as Yahweh from His own.”
There is an adage, that there is no rest for the weary, and another, that there is no rest for the wicked. In truth, there is no rest for the disobedient, and until the children of Yahweh God are obedient, there is no true rest for Him as Christ had attested, “My Father works until now, and I work”. As it says in Isaiah, Yahweh’s watchmen are not to let Him rest until He establishes His Kingdom. The Sabbaths of Yahweh require obedience from the children of Israel, and so long as one is disobedient, he only profanes the Sabbath when he claims to keep it. Thankfully, for that we have mercy in Christ.