- Christogenea Internet Radio
This program, a commentary on John chapter 15, is titled Genesis Synthesis because the Bible is the same book, and the plan of Yahweh our God has never changed from beginning to end. Doing this, I am going to repeat some of the concepts which we have presented over our last few presentations, but here in John chapter 15 Christ also repeats certain concepts on several occasions, so I won’t feel too terribly about it.
In our last two presentations of this commentary On the Gospel of John, which were titled The Way and The True Vine and the Tree of Life, we have made the assertion that Yahshua Christ is the Tree of Life, and that the tree itself also represents the race of Adam which Yahweh had created, as the creation is described in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. Here we will continue to make those assertions, and offer further proof of their veracity as we proceed through John chapter 15. We also hope to elucidate the synthesis of the gospel of Christ with the fall of Adam in the Genesis account, as the overall plan of Yahweh God for the Adamic man which He had initially created is indeed revealed in the gospel. As we may read in the Wisdom of Solomon, in chapter 2, “23… God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity.” We cannot imagine that God would fail.
Now, as it is recorded here in John chapters 15 through 17, Yahshua is speaking to His disciples after departing from the house where they had shared their famous so-called Last Supper, and it would be only a few hours longer before He is arrested and subsequently executed. We would assert that in these chapters where John had recorded some of the final words of Christ to His apostles there is profound significance, as we see a synthesis between the gospel and purpose of Christ in the redemption of the Adamic race, and the failure of purpose by which the Adamic race had come to need that redemption in the first place, as it is described in Genesis, which was written by Moses over fifteen hundred years before the gospel was announced.
Christ had said in the opening verses of John chapter 15 that “1 I am the True Vine and My Father is the Planter. 2 Each branch in Me not bearing fruit He takes it, and each bearing fruit He cleanses it, in order that it would bear more fruit.” Yahweh did indeed plant the Vine, and Christ is declared to be both a root and a branch of the race of Adam, in the words of the prophet Isaiah and in the Revelation. So where He had said earlier in John chapter 14 that “I am the way, the truth, and the life”, calling Himself the “True Vine” here we see that He certainly must be the Tree of Life, which the Adamic man was told that he must take hold of if he is to “eat, and live for ever”. For that same reason Christ had earlier described Himself as the Bread of Life, in John chapter 6.
Yahweh planted the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden when He created the Adamic race, and the first Adam was given a commission to tend that garden, which we see as an allegory for the cultivation of a society. That is the same way that Christ describes God as pruning branches on the vine in His discourse here. But where the first Adam had sinned he failed in that commission, and Yahshua Christ, whom Paul of Tarsus had described as the last Adam, also being God incarnate would ultimately tend the garden for Himself. Elsewhere, in his epistle to the Hebrews, Christ is described as both “a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec”, in fulfillment of a prophecy of David found in the Psalms, and as “a son over his own house”, ostensibly because all things being created on His account, and He being Yahweh God incarnate, although He was not born for over five thousand years after Adam He can nevertheless assert that He is both the Root and the Branch of the tree, both a Son and the Originator of the household.
As we had also explained, understanding the symbol of the cherubim helps us to establish the veracity of this interpretation of the Tree of Life and the way which they had kept, as we read in Genesis chapter 3 that there were “placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” We would assert that the cherubim were placed at the east end of the garden because, metaphorically speaking, that is where the Sun rises. As it is written in Malachi chapter 4, “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings…” and Christ says of Himself in Revelation chapter 22 that “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” So He is the Tree of Life, and He is the Sun which would rise to heal His people. Of course, the wordplay with the sound-alike words sun and son is only effective in English, and perhaps also in German.
The purpose of the cherubim was “to keep the way of the tree of life”, and they are next found atop the ark of the covenant in which the tablets of the law were kept, on each side of the judgment seat of Yahweh. Here we should know that the cherubim were placed as symbols to make certain that man would be preserved, that he would be able to find the way to the Tree of Life, because the law, the keeping of which is the path, was indeed kept and therefore man would be able to see both the path and the objective, which is Christ. The law and Word of God would cleanse the Adamic man of his sins, as here in John chapter 15 Christ had next told His disciples that “3 You are already clean through the word which I have spoken to you.” In the subsequent verses, He also explained to them that they would be clean so long as they abode in His Word.
But what He said to them immediately following that statement also helps to establish our assertion that they, being of the race of Adam, were also of the Tree of Life, where He told them “4 You abide in Me, and I in you. Just as the branch is not able to bear fruit by itself unless it should abide on the vine, thusly neither do you unless you would abide in Me. 5 I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who is abiding in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you are not able to do anything.”
When the children of Israel continue in sin, they continue to suffer in punishment, so Christ had also warned them: “6 If one should not abide in Me, he shall be cast outside like a branch that has withered and they gather and they cast them into the fire and it burns.” When the first Adam sinned, he was cast outside, out of the garden of God, and it was foretold that he would suffer where Yahweh had said: “cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” So it is evident that Adam, while he was promised a way to return, was nevertheless like a branch broken off from the tree.
Later, Paul of Tarsus would use this same analogy of the Romans, in chapter 11 of that epistle, where he told them that as wild olives they were being grafted back into the cultivated olive tree in Christ. The Romans were indeed of the ancient dispersions of the children of Israel, as they had the truth of God, a truth which was only given to the children of Israel. So Paul admonished them in Romans chapter 1, because they had “changed the truth of God into a lie” and that “for this cause God gave them up unto vile affections”, speaking of the rampant debauchery of ancient Rome. Then Paul, comparing them to the disbelieving Israelites among the Judaeans, said that they would be as branches broken off for as long as they remained apostate from Christ.
Adam had been given only one specific commandment: not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and breaking that commandment he fell from the grace of God. The reference to thorns and thistles also seems to be to people, as the Canaanites were called thorns and pricks later in Scripture, that many of Adam’s children would be bastards as a result of his sin. It is later described, in Genesis chapter 6, that his descendants also sinned and were punished, as they were race-mixing with the ostensibly fallen angels. They must have broken the same law that Adam had broken, because they were punished severely, and according to Scripture, sin is transgression of the law, and sin is not imputed where there is no law. But when they sinned, there was still one law, the same law concerning the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil found in Genesis chapter 2, which was given to their first father Adam. So in their punishment we can determine what they had been punished for, which is fornication. To remain in the good graces of God, men must keep the Word of God, which includes His law, and in that manner Christ continues as we proceed with John chapter 15:
7 If you abide in Me and My words should abide in you, whatever you should desire you may ask and it shall come to you [P66 and D want ‘to you’].
Sadly, many Christians, and even some so-called Identity Christians, read this statement and lift one portion out of its context, where it says “whatever you should desire you may ask and it shall come to you”, and then they imagine that whatever they desire, for whatever reason, Yahweh must give it to them simply because they believe in Jesus. This is the essence of what is often called “Prosperity Gospel”, which is preached by charlatans who feed themselves by feeding the lustful desires of others with lies and deceit. But it is simply not true. Here Christ is speaking to His disciples, and He is encouraging them in relation to the commission which He is giving to them. So He further states that:
8 In this My Father is honored [or ‘magnified’]: that you would bear much [P66 has ‘more’] fruit, and you would [א, A and the MT have ‘shall’; the text follows P66, B and D] be My students.
Just as Adam was given charge to tend a garden, now the apostles would be charged with reattaching broken branches to the vine by the gospel of Christ. The apostles of Christ would have whatever they may need that they would be able to bear much fruit, bringing the gospel to the people. This becomes evident as the dialogue progresses, and He says “I have chosen you and I have ordained you in order that you should go and bear fruit” and then He spoke of their impending persecution. Later, at the end of this chapter, He tells them that the Advocate, which is the Holy Spirit or “Spirit of Truth”, would testify concerning Him, and He says “But you also shall testify, because you are with Me from the beginning.”
They who were with Him from the beginning would be His apostles to bring the gospel to the “lost sheep” of the house of Israel. This is the context in which He says “whatever you should desire you may ask and it shall come to you”, that they may have whatever they need to fulfill the mission for which He had chosen them. Christians cannot imagine that the words apply in any other context which is of their own choosing.
The apostles would become the heralds of the Melchizedek priesthood, an office now held by Yahshua Christ alone. Melchizedek meaning “king of righteousness”, the nature of the office is partly revealed in Peter’s statement in chapter 2 of his second epistle, where the Greek reads that Noah was the “eighth preacher of righteousness”. Noah, being the tenth generation from Adam, was the eighth of those patriarchs who had outlived their fathers, so two generations of men before him – which are Enoch and Lamech – did not hold the position of patriarch, or elder of the race. But once Yahweh became incarnate as Yahshua Christ, He is the true patriarch of the race, and He alone can naturally assume the Melchizedek priesthood, which had evidently been left idle since the time of Abraham in Genesis.
As John had written in his first epistle, “the whole world lieth in wickedness”, or in our translation, “the whole Society lies in the power of the Evil One.” Paul also spoke in this manner, where he said in Acts chapter 14 that God had “in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.” In Joshua chapter 24 we learn that even Abraham’s fathers had taken to idolatry, where Joshua appealed to the people and said: “14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood [a reference to the River Euphrates], and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.” So it seems that some time after Noah, the children of Adam had deserted the Melchizedek priesthood so that it became abandoned, and Abraham was called out of the corrupt world of that day. Perhaps with that understanding of antiquity, we may see by how narrow a path it was that the way to the Tree of Life had been preserved.
Now once again we may discern that the keeping of the law is the path to the Tree of Life, which is what was represented by the cherubim placed atop the ark of the covenant:
“9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you. You abide in My love. 10 If you will keep My commandments you shall abide in My [P66 wants ‘My’] love, just as I [א and D insert ‘also’] have kept the commandments of My [P66, P75 and B have ‘the’; the text follows א, A, D and the MT, but my handwritten notes from 2007 indicate that I intended to follow the alternate reading, and perhaps this was a typographical error which was not caught in proofreading] Father and I abide in His love.
Yahshua Christ, being without sin, set the example of one who would abide in the love of the Father. Christ being the Tree of Life, no man can grasp Him without also keeping His commandments. Yet the instructions here are not new. In the Exodus, when the law was given at Mount Sinai, the children of Israel had consented to follow the law, and that was the basis of the Old Covenant and their abiding in the love of the father. We read in Exodus chapter 19 “5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. [Then, speaking to Moses:] These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” From there Yahweh proceeded to lay down the law, beginning with the commandments which are given in Exodus chapter 20.
The entire Levitical covenant was predicated upon the statement “if ye will obey my voice indeed”, and when the people failed, Yahweh put them out of His garden once again. Speaking of the sins of the people Yahweh had said, in Jeremiah chapter 11: “16 The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken. 17 For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.” So here where He declares Himself to be the True Vine, and His disciples the branches, Christ is only reiterating the lessons of the Old Testament, as it is the will of God to bring the children of Israel into obedience.
Where I make the assertion that the law was kept, and that was the path which the cherubim had preserved, I do not mean to imply that the people had kept the law. The children of Israel were punished for not keeping the law in that regard. But rather, the law was kept in the sense that the Scriptures were maintained down through the centuries, so that men could read them and choose to keep them. If the Scriptures were not maintained, we would never understand the significance of a Christ, and we would not have the knowledge of the commandments in order to know the Way to Life. If the Scriptures were not maintained, we would be ignorant of our own origin and destiny, and as Paul had written in Ephesians chapter 2, we would remain “… apart from Christ, having been alienated from the civic life of Israel, and strangers of the covenants of the promise, not having hope and in the Society without Yahweh.”
All of the children of Adam had already long gone off into idolatry, which Paul had described in Colossians chapter 2 as the “worshipping of angels”, ostensibly the worship of fallen angels, as the ancient Mesopotamian inscriptions also reveal. Then in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 Paul also called it the worshipping of devils, as the fallen angels were described in the Revelation, so he himself made the connection which we present here. Then, because the children of Israel were disobedient, and they all took to worshipping the idols of the other nations, they engaged in fornication, which is race-mixing. Thus we read in Jeremiah chapter 2: “20 For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress [this is a reference to the deliverance from Egypt and the promise to keep the law at Sinai]; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot. 21 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? 22 For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.” In relation to that same thing, speaking of the “spirit of whoredoms” among the children of Israel, we read more explicitly in Hosea chapter 5 that by doing so, “7 They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children.” Grasping the Tree of Life, the man would have to cling to his own race and love his own race, contrary to the sin of commingling with the fallen angels and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
So for that same reason, Paul of Tarsus encouraged the Corinthians, in chapter 6 of his first epistle to them, to “18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without [outside] the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” By committing fornication the body one defiles is the body of Christ as Paul, speaking of the children of Israel who were being called back to Christ, wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 that “we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” Earlier in that chapter he encouraged them not to commit fornication as their Israelite ancestors had done, for which Yahweh had punished them. Then a little later he says “18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?… 20 But I say, that the things which the Nations sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.” So the devils to which he refers must be those same Canaanites and other mixed and non-Adamic races that also plagued the ancient Israelites.
Now Christ speaks of joy, because man should rejoice that he can be reconciled with God:
11 These things I have spoken to you in order that My joy would be [א and the MT have ‘abide’; the text follows A, B and D; the readings of the papyri must be fragmented here] in you and your joy would be fulfilled.
In a Messianic prophecy in Isaiah chapter 29 we read: “18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. 19 The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.”
Likewise, in another Messianic prophecy, one which Christ had cited in reference to Himself, as it is recorded in Luke chapter 4, we read of the redemption of Israel in Isaiah chapter 61: “1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” So once again the “planting of the Lord”, the Tree of Life, is represented in the race of the children of Israel.
But keeping the law and rejoicing in Yahweh upon learning of their salvation, the children of Israel must also care for one another, to cling to their own tree, so Christ continues:
12 This is My commandment: that you love one another just [P66 wants ‘just’] as I have loved you.
From the Wisdom of Sirach, chapter 25, from a pious man who lived three hundred years before the birth of Christ where shows his understanding of this precept: “1 In three things I was beautified, and stood up beautiful both before God and men: the unity of brethren, the love of neighbours, a man and a wife that agree together.” But ostensibly, Sirach was able to write that because it is was also a precept found in the law, in Leviticus chapter 19: “18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” Christ was only repeating and reinforcing what the children of Israel had long ago been instructed under the Old Covenant. With this, we also see that one’s neighbor is one of “the children of thy people”, so it is interesting that the next laws which are mentioned in Leviticus are related to fornication even in animal husbandry and agriculture, where we read in the verse which follows: “19 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee.”
Christ continues to speak in relation to love for one’s fellows:
13 A greater love than this no one has: that one [P66, א and D have ‘he’] would lay down his life on behalf of his friends.
As we also discussed earlier in this commentary on John, Self-sacrifice is the Ideal Sacrifice, that a man would sacrifice himself on behalf of his brethren. In a Messianic prophecy found in Zechariah chapter 13 we read: “5 But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth. 6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.”
Presenting our commentary on that passage here in August of 2016 we wrote the following:
Christians, those bearing the Gospel of Christ, should allegorically bear the marks of Christ, as Paul told the Galatians, “for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” So legitimate prophets of God in the Christian era carry the Gospel of Christ as their message. Yahshua Christ claimed to be the shepherd, the Good Shepherd, but during His earthly ministry He never directly claimed to be a prophet, letting others do that for Him. So He sets an example for those who would aspire to be true prophets, that they should be shepherds instead, caring for the flocks of God.
Yahshua Christ, the Good Shepherd, bore the wounds in His hands when He was wounded in the house of His friends. Of course, it may be protested that the Edomite Jews were not His friends, and that is true – the devils could never be the friends of God. But Judaea and Jerusalem were not rightfully the house of the Edomite Jews. Rather, the Edomite Jews were infiltrators into the house and the body of the people of God.
Yahshua Christ distinguished between those who were opposed to Him and His friends, for example in Luke chapter 12 where it is written that “1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. 3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. 4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.”
So even during the time of His ministry, those who followed and obeyed Christ were considered His friends. In John chapter 10 Yahshua Christ had attested that He would lay down His life for His sheep, where we read: “11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 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.”
Here we must admit that Yahshua did not lay down His life on behalf of the hireling or the wolf, but only for the sheep. So He certainly did not die for all men, just as Cain was sent into the land of Nod and there he found other people, got married and built a city, but those people he found were not of the race of Adam. In Matthew chapter 23 and in Luke chapter 11, Christ professed that He will ultimately avenge the blood of Abel, where He said, as it is recorded in Luke, that “49 For this reason also the wisdom of Yahweh says: ‘I shall send to them prophets and ambassadors, and some of them they shall kill and they shall persecute’, 50 in order that the blood of all the prophets spilled from the foundation of the Society should be required from this race, 51 from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias who was killed between the altar and the house. Yeah, I say to you, it shall be required from this race!” As it is also revealed in John chapters 8 and 10, the adversaries whom Christ was addressing were actually of the race of Cain, Canaan and Esau, and not of Israel. Cain having killed Abel, Christ shall be the avenger of the blood of Abel. But first, the descendants of Cain would also kill Christ. Abel having been a shepherd, perhaps it is fitting that Christ describes Himself as the Good Shepherd.
But of the sheep, those who keep the commandments of God can evidently enter into friendship with God and Christ:
14 [א and D insert ‘For’] You are My friends if you would do the things which [A and the MT have ‘if you should do as much as’; B has ‘if you should do that which’; the text follows P66, א and D] I command you.
In that same manner, Abraham did everything which God had asked of him, and he was called a friend of God. This we read in James chapter 2: “21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”
Of course, Abraham’s works were the things which he had done which Yahweh God had asked of him, because he believed God he did them. So believing Jesus is not a mere mental state. Rather, a belief in Christ necessitates a keeping of the Word of Christ, or one does not really believe Christ at all. But Christ also knew from the beginning that His apostles would do what He asked of them, which becomes evident as we continue, but first He proclaims them to be friends for another reason:
15 No longer do I call you a servant, because a servant does not know what his master does. But you I have proclaimed friends [P66 has ‘But you I call friends’] because all things which I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.
The purpose of Christ, what things He would do, were stated in the books of the prophets, and elucidated in the gospel of Christ. But whom did Yahshua ever call His servant? While often He used servants as subjects in His parables, there is no record in the gospels that He ever directly referred to or called any His apostles servants. So His words here must be a general reference to the children of Israel, who were often referred to as the servants of Yahweh in the words of the prophets. In Isaiah chapter 41 we read: “8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.” Both Abraham and Jacob were called the servants of Yahweh in the book of Genesis, but as it is recorded, only Abraham was called a friend. Then in the next verse of that chapter of Isaiah we see that Yahweh expressly chose Jacob to be His servant: “9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.” This was after the Assyrian deportations of most of Israel and Judah, and Yahweh is reassuring Jacob that he is not cast away, as it is the purpose of Christ to gather those same children of Israel to Himself. So we read of the purpose of Christ in Luke chapter 1: “54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.”
Now Christ indicates that His apostles will indeed fulfill the task which He requires of them:
16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have ordained you [P66 has ‘but I have chosen and ordained you’] in order that you should go and bear fruit and your fruit would abide, that whatever [א wants ‘that’; the verse would be read in part ‘… and should your fruit abide, whatever’] you may ask the Father in My Name He would [א has ‘shall’] give to you.
Once again we see that where Christ said “that whatever you may ask the Father in My Name He would give to you”, the promise is tied directly to the statement that “I have chosen you and I have ordained you in order that you should go and bear fruit and your fruit would abide”. Ostensibly, they would have anything they ask only if they bear fruit and if their fruit abides. Therefore it is a safe conclusion that Yahweh is not bound to give us whatever we desire, but only what we need in order to fulfill the mission in life for which we have been chosen and ordained by Him. The apostles were blessed, in that they were told explicitly and in person just what it was that Christ would expect of them. Since then few others, if anyone at all, can honestly make such a claim.
As a digression, perhaps it may be deduced that if we do not have what things we need, then we are on the wrong path and not doing what it is that God wants us to do. Prayer may alleviate that situation, but I have often said that our failure is God’s way of steering us towards what He wants us to do.
Bearing fruit in this manner is what that first branch, which is the first Adam, had failed to do when he fell from the grace of God. Once he fell, he could no longer fulfill the task he was given in Genesis chapter 2 where we read: “15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Rather, we read in Genesis chapter 3 that “23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims”, by which he could only await his redemption in Christ.
In the meantime, it was told him that as a result of his sin, “cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” But grasping the Tree of Life, the man must cling to his own race, to love his neighbor contrary to his sin with the serpent and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Therefore Christ admonishes His disciples once again:
17 These things I command you, that [P66 and D want ‘that’] you love one another.”
When asked which of the commandments were greatest in the law, Christ responded, as it is found in Matthew chapter 22, “37… Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” For this reason we read in James chapter 2 that “8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well.”
But as we have also often explained, where this commandment is first seen in the law in Leviticus chapter 19 the Hebrew word which is translated as neighbor comes from a verb meaning to graze together, or in other words, to be of the same flock. So it is evident that a sheep cannot be forced to be the neighbor to a wolf, regardless of geographical proximity. So the same passage in Leviticus also describes one’s neighbor as one of “the children of thy people”, meaning that a neighbor can only be one of one’s own race and nation, a branch from one’s own tree. Christ is telling His disciples to love one another, and that cannot ever nullify His profession that He came “but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”, so “one another” must be understood to be exclusive of all but those for whom He had come.
Now Christ makes a profession that indicates that He certainly does not love everybody, as many false prophets like to claim:
“18 If Society hates [P66 has ‘shall hate’] you, know that it hated Me before you [א and D want ‘you’, where the word for ‘before’ would instead be translated as ‘first’]. 19 If you were from of Society, Society would have loved its own. But because you are not from of [P66 inserts ‘this’] Society, but I have chosen you out of Society, for this reason Society hates you.
Of course, that word society is usually translated as world, but the Greek word κόσμος more accurately refers to a society than it does to the entire planet, which is how the word world is generally used today. The world of the Scriptures was the Greco-Roman society, as we see in Luke chapter 2 that “1… it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” Likewise, Paul wrote in the opening chapter of his epistle to the Romans that “8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world”, again referring to the Greco-Roman world, as that was indeed the world of the apostles.
In Genesis, Yahweh made a garden and the Adamic man was expected to keep it. Outside of that garden was the land of Nod, or wandering, which is also a metaphor for sin. When Adam fell from grace, his descendants eventually occupied a much larger portion of the planet, and the presumed people who had occupied Nod before him had never went away, they are among us and dwell all around us to this very day. But they are not of the race of Adam and never had a part in the promise of recovery in Genesis, that the man may one day “put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.”
The “whole Society” being “in the power of the Evil One”, as the apostle John professed in his first epistle, the apostle James wrote “4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” The Society, or world, being engaged in idolatry, is sinful and antithetical to obedience to God. One cannot love the world and keep the commandments of God, because the world and those who are in it hate God.
Here Yahshua is telling His disciples that He has chosen them, but His disciples have a mission to bear fruit in His gospel, which is the good message of redemption and salvation to the “lost sheep” of the children of Israel. This is a subject of a Messianic prophecy in Isaiah chapter 52: “4 For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. 5 Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the LORD; and my name continually every day is blasphemed. 6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. 7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” Good tidings is the meaning of the word gospel. The gospel, being a subject of several prophecies in Isaiah and another in Nahum, was prophesied for the children of Israel alone. Where Isaiah chapter 52 says “My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause”, he is referring to two captivities, the captivity of Egypt from which the people were delivered in the Exodus, and the captivity of most of Israel and Judah in Isaiah’s own time, a captivity from which they never returned, but instead during which time they established many of the nations of Europe as Kimmerians, Galatae and Scythians. Christ having come to fulfill the words of the prophets, as He Himself exclaimed, His gospel cannot have any other purpose than that which is outlined in the words of those same prophets.
So while the apostles were chosen to spread the gospel of Christ, they were also chosen to bear fruit among the nations of Israel, as Israel did indeed become many nations in the period of their captivity, and in their many earlier migrations. It was prohesied several times in Genesis that the children of Israel would become many nations, and they certainly did. Therefore Paul was able to tell the Corinthians, in chapter 10 of his first epistle to them, that their fathers were with Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and say, as we have already cited, “Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?” and “… the things which the Nations sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.” Paul was referring to the nations of the Greco-Roman world with which the Corinthians were familiar. In their captivities, the children of Israel had all taken to paganism, as the Old Testament also attests. Paul explained once again, in Romans chapter 4, that those same nations were indeed the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham, that his seed would become many nations, and that to them was the promise certain. The gospel is the assurance of the fulfillment of that promise, in which the children of Israel should rejoice.
As we have also already read from Isaiah, chapter 41, the children of Israel remain the chosen of God even after they were taken into Assyrian captivity: “8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. 9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.” This is evident again in Isaiah chapter 44: “1 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: 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, whom I have chosen. 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 [the Holy Spirit of Pentecost], and my blessing upon thine offspring: 4 And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.” The water poured upon the dry ground is the water of life of the gospel, promised to the children of Israel and described as the “former rain” in a Messianic prophecy found in Joel chapter 2. Where the apostle James cited that passage from Joel in chapter 5 of his epistle, we see that is how the apostles were expected to bear fruit, where he wrote: “7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” The early rain came in the form of the Holy Spirit, the deposit or earnest as Paul called it, at the first Christian Pentecost, and we await the latter rain today.
The children of Israel were to be a separate people, called out of the ancient world from the beginning. We have already read that from Exodus chapter 19, and it is repeated in Deuteronomy chapter 14: “1 Ye are the children of the LORD your God… 2 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.” Then in Deuteronomy chapter 26: “18 And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments; 19 And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken.” Then in words attributed to Solomon in 1 Kings chapter 8 he interprets these passages from Moses: “53 For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD.”
This commandment still stands under the New Covenant. To this day, the children of Israel, which are the nations of Christian Europe wherever they are today, are commanded to be a separate people. So we read in the first epistle of Peter, in chapter 2: “9 But you are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, so that you should proclaim the virtues for which from out of darkness you have been called into the wonder of His light, 10 who at one time were ‘not a people’ but now are the people of Yahweh, those who ‘have not been shown mercy’ but are now shown mercy.” That last passage is a citation from Hosea chapter 1 which can also apply only to the children of Israel, as in the eyes of God they became “not a people” when they were carried away captive by the Assyrians, but they were granted mercy in Christ, being reconciled to Him. This is also found in Jeremiah chapter 30, written perhaps a hundred and fifty years later than Hosea: “2 Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.”
Not only Peter, but Paul of Tarsus also keeps the same commandment. First, in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, he admonished them by saying “8 Neither should we commit fornication, just as some of them had committed fornication, and in one day twenty-three thousand had fallen.” Doing that, Paul was citing a race-mixing event where the Israelites had sinned by taking women of the daughters of Moab, and they were punished for it. Then, in his second epistle to the Corinthians, Paul wrote “16 And what agreement has a temple of Yahweh with idols? For you are a temple of the living Yahweh; just as Yahweh has said, ‘I will dwell among them, and I will walk about; and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ 17 On which account ‘Come out from the midst of them and be separated,’ says the Prince, and ‘do not be joined to the impure [or unclean], and I will admit you’. 18 ‘And I will be to you for a father, and you will be mine for sons and daughters, says the almighty Prince.’”
The impure, or unclean, are not Israelites, as only the children of Israel were cleansed by the blood of Christ, as it was also promised in the prophets. This promise is found in Jeremiah chapter 33: “7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. 8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.”
Perhaps we have digressed somewhat from our purpose here this evening, which is to elucidate the synthesis between Genesis and the purpose of Christ through our commentary on John chapter 15. But the wider Adamic race was long ago permitted to go into off sin and idolatry by God, as Paul explained, while other races have no part at all in any of the Word of God. Amongst those of the race of Adam, only Abraham and his seed through Jacob were called out of the resulting world of idolatry to be the peculiar people of God. That condition persists in the New Covenant as well as it did in the Old, and therefore they alone are the called, the chosen among whom the apostles of Christ were expected to bear fruit.
With that in mind, and speaking once again of that joy which Christ had expected His apostles to have, we read in Isaiah chapter 51: “1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. 2 Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him. 3 For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” If one is not a child of Jacob, one has no way by which to “look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you”, and therefore one was never called or chosen by God.
Now referring to His friends as His servants, Christ makes an analogy of the inevitable fate of those who are called out of the world:
20 Remember the word [D has ‘words’] which I spoke to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they have persecuted Me, they shall also persecute you. If they have kept My word, they shall also keep yours.
Christ is speaking of His enemies, knowing that they would both kill Him and persecute His disciples after His departure. As it says in Zechariah, “smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” The Edomite Jews who were in political control of Judaea at the time were never candidates for conversion, or God could have converted them, rather than permitting them to persecute those who endeavored to spread His gospel. Rather, Christ had told them that “ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” He had told them that they were not His people only a short time before, where it is recorded in John chapter 8 that they are the children of Cain, who was a devil and murderer from the beginning, and indirectly, that they were bastards for that reason, they were not true children of Abraham. So where He says “A servant is not greater than his master”, if Yahshua Himself would not convert the Jews, then no servant of Christ should ever attempt to convert a Jew. Those Jews who did convert to the Roman Church in the Middle Ages and later had ultimately only corrupted it, and it is corrupt to this very day.
“If they have kept My word, they shall also keep yours”: Yahweh had promised in Jeremiah chapter 31 that His law would be written on the hearts of the children of Israel with whom He would make a New Covenant, and that is the covenant in Christ. But as Paul had explained in Galatians chapter 3, speaking to Galatians, who were some of the descendants of the Israelites of the Assyrian deportations, “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Ostensibly, many Israelites of the captivities, although they were pagans, still maintained many aspects of the law through the cultural acclimation which their ancestors had developed over the centuries in ancient Israel. In Romans chapter 2, Paul had commended them for keeping the law written in their hearts. Keeping that law, they would not have become mixed with the aliens, but kept to themselves, and therefore they would be able to hear the Word of God, having the Spirit of God, and being able to accept the Spirit of Truth as Paul had explained it in Romans chapter 8.
Of those who accept the Spirit of God and keep His commandments, Paul wrote in Romans chapter 8: “14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption [or the position of sons], whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” While the world is full of deception, if one can accept the Spirit of Truth, that may well be a good indication that one is of the Truth.
21 But all [D wants ‘all’] these things they shall do to you [א wants ‘to you’] on account of My Name, because they do not know He who has sent Me.
In Malachi chapter 1, in a prophecy where the people of Judaea in the second temple period were being chastised for defiling the Name of their God, we read “11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles [Nations]; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen [Nations], saith the LORD of hosts.” Prophecies such as this further prove the veracity of the Scriptures, as this became true in spite of the fact that the whole world was pagan at the time, including most all of the scattered children of Israel. Furthermore, this became true in spite of the fact that His enemies did hate Him, and they did persecute His disciples, and they did everything they could to suppress His name, which they hate to this very day. Christianity persisted, and His enemies failed. So His Name is known to us to this day.
But long before Malachi, the children of Israel in captivity were prophesied to learn the Name of their God even in their captivity, for example as we read in Jeremiah chapter 16: “19 O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Nations shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. 20 Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods? 21 Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The LORD.” This same thing is expressed in Isaiah, in another passage which we have already cited this evening, in chapter 52 where it says in part: “4 For thus saith the Lord GOD, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. 5 Now therefore, what have I here, saith the LORD, that my people is taken away for nought?… 6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.” When they heard the gospel of Christ, they did indeed realize it was that God of the Old Testament who was speaking through Him. The only way that could be possible is if the Gospel of Christ was successful, and the end of the gospel, that the European world became Christian, is the most profound proof of the truth of God. But the enemies of Christ, to this very day, endeavor to distort His message and extinguish His Name. So to this very day, if apostolic Christians endeavor to teach the true gospel,. They are still persecuted, the persecutions of the truth are still ongoing.
In Isaiah chapter 29, we see another example of the prophecies that the children of Israel would sanctify the name of Yahweh in the places where they were scattered, and we read: “22 Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. 23 But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.” This also would have failed but for the success of the gospel of Christ in spite of His enemies.
Now He speaks concerning those who were opposed to Him:
22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no error, but now they have no excuse concerning their [P66 has ‘the’] errors.
Every Israelite, being under the law, has sinned, or as we translate the term, has committed error. So Paul wrote in Romans chapter 3 “23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. Then in Romans chapter 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”. Then he adds: “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” The law was only given to the children of Israel, and Paul explained in Romans chapter 7 that “I had not known sin, but by the law”, that it is the law which had made him conscious of sin.
Here, Yahshua Christ, speaking of those who were opposed to Him, states that if He had not spoken to them, they would have no sin, and He is speaking in regard to how they would treat both Him and His disciples. So in that manner, whether they were of Israel or not, being Judaeans, they were responsible for their actions and would be judged on account of their deeds. So we see that Yahweh has a just cause to destroy His enemies. He is not merely a racist for hating the progeny of Esau, He also hates them for their behavior, even if their behavior is a natural part of their intrinsic character. So in John chapter 16 he warns the apostles: “2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” Likewise He warns them here:
23 He hating Me also hates the Father! 24 If I had not done among them works which no one else has done, they would have no error. But now they have both seen and hated both [P66 and D want ‘both’ here] Me and My Father, 25 but in order that the Word would be fulfilled which is written in their [P66 has ‘the’; the text follows P22, א, B, D and the MT] law, that ‘They have hated Me for naught.’
Perhaps the end of verse 25 may have been translated “They have hated me gratuitously.” The passage is from Psalm 35, a psalm of David where he prayed against his own enemies and said: “17 Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions. 18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people. 19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.” A similar passage is found in another psalm of David, Psalm 69, where he lamented that “They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head.”
Here Yahshua called the law “their law”, except that one ancient papyrus, the 3rd century P66, has only “the law”. Another papyrus just as old, P22, verifies the reading of “their law” which is found in the later Uncial manuscripts and in the Majority Text. Whether they are of Esau or of Israel, as the Judaeans were of either or both races, they circumcised themselves and took the law upon themselves, professing to be Judaeans, and therefore the law was “their law”, and Christ had proven many times that they could not keep it. Where He says later in chapter 16 that those who hate Him and would persecute His disciples “have not known the Father, nor me’ He proves that they were not truly of Israel, as He also said to them in John chapter 10 that “ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep”.
“26 When [A, D and the MT have ‘But when’, the text follows P22, א and B] the Advocate should come, whom I shall send [D has ‘whom I send’] to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth which goes out from the Father, that shall testify concerning Me.
Christ had already informed His disciples, in John chapter 14, that the Advocate, or Comforter, as the King James Version has the word, is the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Truth, so they are all one and the same. Then, in connection with that first promise of such an Advocate, He professed that it would be He Himself that would come to them. But He also gave varying statements as to how the Comforter would be sent to them. In John chapter 14, according to the King James Version, Christ had said that “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter”, and “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” But here He says “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father”, and then in chapter 16 He says “for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” All of these statements can only be true if Yahweh God the Father, Yahshua Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which is the Comforter, are all different manifestations of one and the same God. But they are not a Trinity, as Christ had also said that “I and My Father are One”, and not three, so therefore they must be a Unity. Furthermore, there are other manifestations, as Paul had said that the Rock in the Desert was Christ, in 1 Corinthians chapter 10. The Old Testament also describes other manifestations of God, such as the burning in the bush or the fire on the mountain.
Paul described the receiving of the Holy Spirit, which began on the first Christian Pentecost described in Acts chapter 2, as a deposit of the Spirit which all of the children of Israel would one day receive. That Spirit of Truth ultimately guided the apostles through the Scriptures to help them arrive at the Truth, which we have discussed here in relation to the Book of Acts and the learning experience which the apostles had in the years after the ascension of Christ. But the Holy Spirit also drove the spread and acceptance of the gospel in the formative years of Christianity, as it was persecuted and prevailed over its persecutors. This is also evident in the Book of Acts, and especially in the ministry of Paul of Tarsus, who was a signal example of a man ordained to spread the gospel and guided in that endeavor by the Spirit of God. But in addition to the Holy Spirit, the spread of the gospel was facilitated by those who were witnesses to the ministry of Christ from the beginning, so now He tells His disciples:
27 But you also shall testify, because you are with Me from the beginning.
Here is the task for which they were chosen and ordained, as He had told them in verse 16, “ 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you”. Earlier, in chapter 6 of this gospel, Christ asked them “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” John had added the understanding that He was speaking of Judas Iscariot when He referred to one of them as a devil. Now we know that Judas is not present here in John chapter 15, as he has already gone off to betray Him.
So while Judas was with Christ throughout His ministry, he never received this commission from Christ, as he was chosen for a very different reason, being a devil. Judas certainly acted in the pattern first observed in Cain, as he had loved gain more than loving his own supposed brother. The very name Cain is related to a word which can mean to get or to acquire, and it is evident that Judas was one of his descendants. With all of this, perhaps it becomes evident that men cannot choose God, but it is God who chooses men – and not always for their good.
There is a perfect synthesis between Genesis and the gospel of Christ, and excepting some errors which had been introduced by men, the concepts and phenomenon described in them both are entirely consistent and manifest from one to the other.
This concludes our commentary on John chapter 15.