On the Gospel of John, Part 42: Out of This World


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On the Gospel of John, Part 42: Out of This World

It is easy for any so-called priest or pastor to tell other men what to do, and to find one verse of Scripture or another to justify his position, especially if he does not have to do those things himself. So if he is not humble, he himself may ultimately become a parasite, feeding off the body of his flock while they themselves wither and die. This is probably the state of most denominational churches today, and especially the Roman Catholic Church, which is why they always seek new audiences, for which they turn to South America, Africa and Asia. No different than the international banks and global corporations, the so-called churches constantly need to find new ways to satiate their thirst for money and power.

So far as can be determined, it was John Selden, a controversial 17th-century scholar and jurist who had opposed many of the policies of the Church of England, who had first recorded the saying “Do as I say, not as I do”, and when he wrote those words he was attributing that sentiment to the preachers of his time. So we see that at least one learned Englishman understood the frequently-occurring hypocrisy of those who put themselves in authority over men, as Christ had also said of the Pharisees: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” The scribes and Pharisees of ancient Judaea were the teachers of the law, but they themselves did not keep the law. Fortunately for us, Moses’ seat was torn down by the Romans in 70 AD, and today no man can claim to occupy it.

In recent times, and especially among Identity Christians, we often hear the admonition to “get out of Babylon”, as the saying usually goes, and for many people that evokes the thought that Christians can somehow go off into the wilderness and survive on their own while they isolate themselves from a corrupt Society. But this is impractical, and perhaps even impossible. There is no more hospitable wilderness which may be peacefully inhabited, especially since modern transportation and surveillance technology have put even the most remote areas of the habitable earth under the scrutiny of earthly rulers. Perhaps there are a few exceptions, but the vast majority of Christians today cannot “get out of Babylon” and continue to feed and shelter themselves and their families. So even before we argue over the hypothetical prospects of success, we must inquire as to whether this is even what Christian leaders should be teaching.

In order to do this, perhaps the first thing to examine is the experiences of the apostles themselves. Paul of Tarsus was a tent-maker and it is evident that he worked whenever he could. From his words and actions, he clearly preferred to support himself even if throughout most of his ministry he could not, and for that reason he was often supported by the Christian assemblies which he had founded. In spite of the fact that Paul was under house arrest in Rome, as Luke records in the final chapter of the Book of Acts, he was nevertheless able to abide “two whole years in his own hired house,” where it is evident that he was supported by those assemblies up to the time of his execution. Paul had sometimes discussed this issue in his epistles, for example in 1 Corinthians chapter 9 where he explained that he had the authority to be sustained by the assemblies even if he would rather work to support himself. But we only mention this here because it supports the illustration which we need to consider, which is the fact that Paul worked making and selling tents to support himself rather than isolate himself from society completely. If an apostle of Christ had to make his way in the corrupt Roman world by working and selling his goods, how are Christians today any better or any different?

Now one may wonder how this is even relative to John chapter 17. Yet it certainly is relative, because we must determine what it is to be “out of the world”. After hearing these things from Christ, were the apostles demanding that Christians leave their occupations and desist from of all their economic endeavors in order to go off into the wilderness to form their own communities? No, they certainly were not doing that, or if they were, Paul would not have been working in Corinth as a tent-maker, which was perhaps about eighteen years after his conversion on the road to Damascus. Furthermore, Paul would have been a hypocrite if he thought that he should “get out of Babylon” while he himself was being sustained by men who were working within the system of the time.

Even after Christ had told His disciples that “ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world”, in John chapter 15, the apostles nevertheless continued to interact with the world around them. In John chapter 21, shortly after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, Peter and the other disciples are found having returned to their old vocation, fishing in the Sea of Galilee in order to sustain themselves. Surely they would have needed money for bread, boats and other supplies in order to work their trade, and surely they would have sold the fish which they caught in order to help pay for those other things, even if they also ate some of them. While barter was always a possibility, the Scripture is clear that even the apostles were accustomed to using the coin of the time for exchanges in trade. This is evident in John chapter 13, where Judas Iscariot is described as being the group’s treasurer, holding the case where their money was kept.

After the events of Acts chapter 2 and their having received the Holy Spirit, the apostles did endeavor to separate themselves from the world and form a distinct community. This is found in Acts chapters 4 through 8, in an account far too lengthy to repeat here. Then, once that first Christian community grew large enough to attract the attention of the authorities, the stoning of Stephen resulted and we read in Acts chapter 8: “And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.” The apostles themselves had for a time managed to remain together in Jerusalem, but we must remember that James the son of Zebedee was slain by Herod Agrippa I around 42 AD, Peter himself was arrested and only escaped by a miracle, and ultimately, after the arrest of Paul, the elder James, the brother of Christ, was slain by stoning, around 62 AD.

Where the apostles had once been arrested, in Acts chapter 5, it was the wise Gamaliel who said “if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it”. If Yahweh God had wanted Christians to live permanently in their own separate enclaves, it is evident that He would not have permitted the followers of the apostles of Christ to have been scattered. After that initial scattering in Judaea, the apostles never again mentioned any renewed attempt to set up any other such community elsewhere. They did find safer cities to dwell in, such as Antioch or Philippi, but they did not renew an effort to concentrate themselves in any one place.

Likewise, in recent times, if it were truly the will of God then perhaps the Christian Identity experiments at Elohim City or Hayden Lake may have also been successful. But even while those endeavors for a short time had appeared to be successful, they nevertheless required funding from people working outside in order to survive. Perhaps there are a few small exceptions, but most modern Christian sects which have sought to set up their own separate and distinct communities have failed, and their followers have been persecuted and scattered throughout society, or sometimes even slain by the government. There are some Christian Identity churches, but those which have sustained themselves over decades have discretion and cooperate with the wider society, or they would certainly also be persecuted.

If we examine the Biblical command to “get out of Babylon”, as it is often stated in Christian Identity circles, we find that Christians actually have no compulsion to get out of Babylon until Babylon falls. This is found in Revelation chapter 18: “1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” This is certainly descriptive of our present circumstances, but with this it must be noted that there is no way out of these circumstances until Babylon falls, and only then we shall hear, and only then must we obey, the call to “Come out from her my people”, however it happens to be announced.

Until that time, we are held captive in the sins of our ancestors, on account of which the ancient children of Israel were taken into captivity in the first place. The ancient Judahites, being taken into captivity in Babylon, were told, in Jeremiah chapter 29, “4 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; 5 Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; 6 Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. 7 And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.” They had no choice but to do otherwise, if they were going to survive.

Likewise today, we are in the time where it says in Revelation chapter 17 “17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” So we have no choice but to remain in this unholy union until that time. We know the society is corrupt, and we have no choice but to suffer it. That does not mean that we must agree with the corruption, or take part in its sins.

For that same reason, Christ gave a parable recorded in Luke chapter 19 where He spoke in illustration of Himself and “12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.” Then, where He was evidently speaking in illustration of His disciples, He said “13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.” Unfortunately, that word occupy is usually misinterpreted today because it had a different meaning in the English of the early 17th century, and this passage has been abused even by Identity Christians to mean something other than what it truly means. One hint to its true meaning is where the English word appears again in Ezekiel chapter 27 in reference to the ancient merchants of Tyre and it says “all the ships of the sea with their mariners were in thee to occupy thy merchandise.”

In Luke chapter 19, the word translated occupy is πραγματεύομαι, and in that context it simply means to be engaged in business, to spend one's time in business, as it was also used in the classical writings. The root word, πρᾶγμα is a noun describing a deed or an act, and also an “occurrence, matter, [or] affair”, according to Liddell & Scott. That is clearly the context where it is used in that parable in Luke, since when the nobleman had told his servants to do that he had given them each a pound, or in the Greek language of the first century, ten μνᾶς or minas, a weight which was equivalent to 600 shekels, or 1000 Greek drachmae, which was a considerable sum of money at the time. The servants were later rewarded according to what each of them had done with the money which their master had invested in them.

It is not that Christ would reward us merely for making money in the markets, but the illustration is that Christ rewards His servants according to how well they do with whatever it is that He expects of them, and they are indeed told in His gospel what it is that He expects of them. So in the later letters of the apostles of Christ, Christians are given no explanation of any need to physically separate themselves from the surrounding world, while instead they are instructed to separate themselves from the evil conduct which is in the world, and to do so as an example and as a witness to the world.

In the King James Version of the New Testament, in 17 verses from the epistles of both Peter and Paul, and once from the epistle of James, there is a word translated as conversation, which more appropriately means conduct. The Greek word is usually ἀναστροφή, or its corresponding verb, but sometimes πολίτευμα or a verb related to that word. The words are not quite synonyms but the meanings are similar in the context of these scriptures. In similar contexts in the classical writings, ἀναστροφή can refer to one’s mode of life or behaviour, while it also had other meanings. More precisely, πολίτευμα describes the conduct of the business of government but could more generally describe an act of administration. Paul used it in reference to the administration of their own lives when he told the Philippians, in the opening chapter of his epistle to them, to “let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Of course, Christians should govern their lives as if Christ were their Governor, because ultimately He is their only King and Lawgiver.

Elsewhere in their epistles, these same apostles describe the lusts and passions of society as the things which Christians should seek to separate themselves from, but not the society itself. This we find, for example, in Ephesians chapter 2 where Paul wrote “1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Then he repeats the concept in chapter 4 of the same epistle, where he wrote “17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other [Nations] walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Earlier, when writing his epistle to the Hebrews, Paul admonished them telling them in chapter 13 to “5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

In James chapter 3 we read “13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation [or conduct] his works with meekness of wisdom.” So good works are evident in one’s good conduct, which from the epistles of the other apostles is an abstinence from the sins of the world. Through such works, Christians demonstrate themselves to be disciples of Christ and citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, even if it has not yet arrived. For this Paul had urged the Thessalonians, “12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory”, in chapter 2 of his first epistle to them.

Speaking of Lot in his second epistle, in chapter 2, Peter referred to the conduct of the Sodomites as “the filthy conversation of the wicked”. But in his first epistle, he admonished Christians to continue to act as sojourners within the world, where he wrote in chapter 2: “11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the [Nations]: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

Christians should view the world as strangers and sojourners, as spectators of its evil deeds but not as partakers in its evil deeds, where their Christian profession also serves as a witness to the world in a rebuke of its sins.

As we had tried to explain in our last presentation of this commentary on John chapter 17, titled God Glorified, when the children of Israel learn that Yahweh God does indeed keep His promises, it is for that reason that God shall be glorified. But in the meanwhile, Christians, through their good conduct, by their actions demonstrate beforehand their belief that God certainly is true, and that He shall keep His promises. So by good conduct and a refusal to participate in the sins of the world, Christians testify of God, that He is true.

As we also asserted earlier in this commentary, on several occasions, the apostles only began to learn the significance of the gospel in relation to the history of Israel and the Word of God after they had received the Holy Spirit at the first Christian Pentecost, and here in the discourse of these chapters of John, Christ Himself had told them that after His departure, the Holy Spirit would guide them in all truth. So the Book of Acts records glimpses of that learning process which the apostles underwent, and their epistles, written much later, reflect many of the things which they had learned.

So in the early chapters of Acts, the apostles attempted to form a separate and distinct Christian community, and it failed when the Christians were persecuted and scattered. But later, in his epistles, Peter wrote expecting Christians to have their conversation, or conduct, “among the Gentiles”, or nations. This indicates a different sort of separation, something other than a physical separation, as Peter must have ultimately known what was also revealed to John in the Revelation, that there is no call to come out from Babylon until after Babylon falls.

We have already explained several times that from John chapter 13, where Christ and His disciples shared their Passover meal, through John chapter 17, that John records his perspective of the things that Christ had said to His disciples over the course of the last evening which they had spent together immediately before His arrest and crucifixion. So in words which were spoken by Christ to the disciples earlier this same evening, in John chapter 15, we read from the King James Version: “18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

Later here in this chapter, Christ prays to God not that they are taken out of society, but that they are kept from evil, and again we see how Christians should separate themselves, to keep themselves from evil. Immediately before He had said those things which we have just cited from John chapter 15, Christ had also said “17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.” So it is evident that through love for one another Christians may better survive in this evil world. Christ had just prayed for His disciples, as we have already discussed in our last presentation, because they would stay in the world, where the King James Version reads: “11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.”

We have explained that, in all probability, Judas Iscariot was an Edomite. For that reason Christ had said, as it is recorded in John chapter 6, “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” Here Christ is certainly referring to Judas once again where He said “and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” That word perdition is translated from the Greek word ἀπώλεια, the same word which is translated destruction in the King James Version at Romans 9:22, where Paul likened the children of Esau to “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.” Comparing Jacob and Esau in that chapter, Paul was explaining why many Judaeans would not accept the gospel of Christ, as many of them were not Israelites, but were actually descended from the Edomites who had occupied much of Judah and Israel after the Assyrian and Babylonian deportations. Those Edomites were forcibly converted to Judaism and became Jews during the period of the Maccabees, the Hasamonaean dynasty, mostly from the rule of John Hyrcanus to that of Alexander Jannaeus, or from about 125 BC down to 76 BC. From the time of the political dominance of the first Herod, about 40 BC, the Edomites had come to control Judaea and their control endured under the Roman empire even after 70 AD. These are the Jews of today.

Speaking of the Edomite Jews who were in control of the temple and priesthood when he wrote his second epistle to the Thessalonians, some time around 50 or 51 AD, Paul said “3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Saying “son of perdition” Paul once again used that same Greek word, ἀπώλεια.

As for where Christ says that the son of perdition is lost “that the scripture might be fulfilled”, there is no explicit prophecy foretelling of this in relation to Judas, but that in itself seems to also be proof that Judas must have been an Edomite, and no Israelite. So we read in Deuteronomy chapter 32, in the Song of Moses as it reads in the Septuagint version: “35 In the day of vengeance I will recompense, whensoever their foot shall be tripped up; for the day of their destruction is near to them, and the judgments at hand are close upon you.” Once again, that word for destruction is ἀπώλεια. However a prophecy which does relate to Judas gives us another hint, as it also seems to evoke Genesis 3:15 where it says in a Messianic prophecy in the 41st Psalm: “9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”

In any event, it is evident that Christ knew and had professed in this prayer that after His departure His disciples would remain within the Roman society. Because they would remain in the world, Christ had next said, in verse 13: “13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” Remaining in the world, they would need the consolation of expectation which His words had given them, and in that consolation they would have joy. So continuing His prayer where we left off in our last presentation, and commencing with verse 14 of John chapter 17, Christ continues to describe the challenges which His disciples would have, and for that reason He prays for them:

14 I gave to them Your Word and Society has hated them, because they are not from of Society just as I am not from of Society. 15 I do not ask that You would take them out of Society, but that You would keep them from the evil one.

The 3rd century papyrus P66 and the 5th century Codex Bezae (D) both want the portion of verse 14 which reads “just as I am not from of Society.”

Where Christ says “I do not ask that You would take them out of Society”, that helps to preclude the so-called rapture, but also the concept that Christians should “come out of Babylon” prematurely. If Christ is to have witnesses to His gospel, then those witnesses need to be in the society.

As a digression, Adam was the son of God, as it is stated in Luke chapter 3, and therefore all of Adam’s descendants are “born from above”, as Christ was also born from above and had attested in John chapter 3 that “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Adam was created in order to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish [or properly, fill] the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over [which is to tread down or tread upon] the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was already in the garden when Adam was created, and when Adam sinned, he failed in his commission to have dominion over, or tread down “every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” So in his punishment as it is described in Genesis chapter 3, he was told “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 those thorns and thistles are not actually plants, but rather they are a metaphor for people. Fornicating with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, many of the children of Adam would produce thorns and thistles rather than filling the earth with children of God. Later, in the books of Numbers and Judges, the enemies of the children of Israel, whom they were commanded to exterminate were described in that same manner. So Christ asked later, in His gospel, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 7: “16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” He was also speaking metaphorically of people, and specifically of wicked people as thorns and thistles. The devil has children, and it is the intrinsic character of those children to be wicked.

The words “evil one” here in this passage are from the Greek phrase τοῦ πονηροῦ, which is the definite article followed by a form of the word πονηρός, which in turn is an adjective with a wide range of negative meanings but which most basically means oppressed by toils. With the definite article, the construction is a Substantive, which basically means that the phrase is employed as a noun. It may have been translated merely as evil, since the forms of the words are either neuter or masculine. In some contexts it is merely evil, but in others, such as Matthew 13:38 where the King James Version has “but the tares are the children of the wicked one”, it is used as a synonym for the devil, which is equated with the fallen angels in Revelation chapter 12, and also identified with the serpent of the Genesis accounts. In the New Testament context, of these and other passages where this phrase appears, in this context we would prefer the reading of our text, evil one, as John later uses the phrase in that manner in his first epistle, and as Peter later wrote in chapter 5 of his own first epistle, “8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” where he was also speaking of people. Furthermore, Christ did not mean that the apostles should be kept from toils, from evil or from troubles as the word may also be translated, since He had already told them, as it is recorded in John chapter 16, that “In the world ye shall have tribulation”, and He is not contradicting Himself. So here the phrase τοῦ πονηροῦ should indeed be translated as “the evil one” rather than merely “evil”.

From the prayer of Hannah in 1 Samuel chapter 2 we read: “6 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. 7 The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. 8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them. 9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.”

When Hannah made her prayer, it was a response to her having been blessed with a child, which turned out to be Samuel the prophet. But it was also a prayer of hope for all of the children of Israel, expressing gratitude that Yahweh had lifted them up from out of poverty and slavery in Egypt, and she hoped that they would be exalted. Where Hannah said that “the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them”, we see that the world was not the earth, but rather, it was regarded as the society which God had set upon the earth.

In a prophecy which promises the destruction of His enemies, we read in Isaiah chapter 27, speaking of Yahweh, that “6 He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.” But the children of Israel, in ancient times and also more recently as Christians, had failed to maintain their own obligations in order to attain the object of that hope which Hannah had expressed. So they were not kept from the evil one and, consequently, evil has overtaken the world, where the wicked are no longer silent in darkness but instead they parade loudly and openly in the streets. This circumstance had also frequently manifested itself in ancient Rome, and especially from the days of Nero.

As we explained in Part 8 of this commentary, titled Origin and Destiny, the world of the Scriptures was also the society which was born from above, as we read in the Wisdom of Solomon, chapter 19, where he was describing the collective children of Israel and their establishment as a distinct nation and he said “For the whole creature [creation] in his proper kind was fashioned again [πάλιν literally means again] from above [ἄνωθεν, meaning, fashioned by God], serving the peculiar commandments that were given unto them, that thy children might be kept without hurt….” Then once again, in Part 9 of this commentary, titled The World of Salvation, we explained from Solomon’s description of the world of the Scriptures that it was limited to the twelve tribes of Israel, as he said in chapter 18 of that same work: “24 For in the long garment was the whole world, and in the four rows of the stones was the glory of the fathers graven, and thy Majesty upon the diadem of his head.” This is the world, the society, which Christ came to save.

As another digression, in that passage from Solomon we see that in the keeping of the law Solomon believed that the children of God would be “kept without hurt”. Likewise, the apostle John, using that same phrase τοῦ πονηροῦ which we have here as “the evil one”, had written in chapter 5 of his first epistle that “18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” The phrase appears again in the very next verse of John’s epistle, but in the Dative rather than the Genitive case (τῷ πονηρῷ), although that alone should not change the meaning. There the King James Version has “19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” The Christogenea New Testament has the same verse to read “19 We know that we are from of Yahweh and the whole Society lies in the power of the Evil One.” This is the world which Christians are told that they must despise. This is the world in which Christians, as children of Adam, have no proper part as their original commission, and the later commission of the children of Israel, was to tread down and destroy this world, and they failed. Ultimately, Yahshua Christ shall trample it down as He describes in His Revelation, and as He described in the words of the prophets.

In that manner, Christ continues His prayer for His disciples:

16 They are not from of Society, just as I am not from of Society. 17 Sanctify them in the [the MT has ‘Your’; the text follows P66, א, A, B, C, D and W] truth. Your Word is truth. 18 Just as You have sent Me into Society, I also have sent them into Society. 19 And on behalf of them I sanctify Myself, in order that they also [P66 wants ‘also’] would be sanctified in truth.

Again, the 3rd century papyrus P66 wants the portion of verse 18 which reads “I also have sent them into Society.” But Christ did indeed send His apostles into society, where He instructed them, as the Christogenea New Testament reads the closing verses of the gospel of Matthew: “19 Therefore going you instruct all of the Nations, immersing them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to keep all things whatever I have commanded to you. And behold, I am with you all the days until the consummation of the age!” We would assert that the nations to which they were sent are the nations which had come of the ancient children of Israel, as the epistles of the apostles also prove. In most popular translations there is a vaguely similar statement near the end of the gospel of Mark, but that is a part of a spurious interpolation which we cannot accept. However the intention of Christ which was expressed in those last verses of Matthew is also elucidated in Matthew chapter 24 where He said “14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” So if the apostles and disciples of Christ are to preach the gospel to society as a witness and until the time of the end, then they certainly cannot come out from Babylon until Babylon falls.

So it is clear that Christ did indeed send His disciples into the society, although they themselves, like all of the children of Adam, did not originate from the society. As we have already mentioned, in John chapter 3 Christ had said that “Unless a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” But arguing with His adversaries, as it is recorded in John chapter 8, He said “Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world,” denying that God was their father, and telling them that their father was the devil, yet they refused to be considered children of fornication although it was nonetheless true that they were. Therefore it is manifest that the enemies of God are indeed branches on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, as Malachi prophesied of that very exchange and attributed the sins of the people to the fact that Judah had “married the daughter of a strange god”, a historic reference to the marriage of the patriarch Judah to a Canaanite woman, and a prophetic reference to the merging of Judaea with the surrounding Canaanites and Edomites in the days of the Maccabees.

Here we also see that it is in the truth, and not in water baptism and worldly rituals, that the disciples of Christ had been sanctified. So Christ had told them, in John chapter 15, “3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” As in other areas, the apostles were initially baptizing men coming to Christ in water, but later they learned of a better baptism. In Acts chapter 11 Peter expressed that greater revelation, that those of the household of Cornelius had received the Holy Spirit without having been baptized in water, so he explained to the other apostles that “16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.” Later, in his first epistle, he explained that Christian baptism was “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God”, a sanctification which can only be achieved through His Word.

For that same reason Paul had later written, in Ephesians chapter 5 speaking of the love which Christ has for the collective assembly of His people, which is the true church, “26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” So the children of God are cleansed by His Word, and when they keep His commandments they hope to be kept from the devil.

But where Christ had said that “on behalf of them I sanctify Myself”, He was speaking of a different sort of baptism. Much earlier in His ministry but after His having been baptized by John, as it is recorded in Luke chapter 12, Christ had exclaimed that “I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” He made other allusions to this baptism in Matthew chapter 20 and Mark chapter 10, but He was speaking of the baptism of His death. For that reason, Peter compared water baptism to the true baptism in the Word, and for that same reason Paul had written in Romans chapter 6 that “4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Recognition of the resurrection of Christ is also recognition that God is true, and that all of His children shall have life in that resurrection, as Paul had also explained in that same epistle.

Now in the prayer of Christ here in John, we see a corroboration of that very assertion:

20 I do not ask for these alone, but also for those believing in Me through their word, 21 that they would all be one, just as You, Father are in Me and I in You, that they also would be [א, A and the MT insert ‘one’; the text follows P66, B, C, D and W] in Us, in order that Society would believe that You have sent Me.

Not only should the disciples of Christ be one in Christ and in the Father, but also “those believing in Me through their word”, but of course their words were meant only for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”, as both their epistles and their actions also elucidate. As we have also often explained throughout this commentary, Yahshua Christ had the spirit of Yahweh within Him, as He was Yahweh God incarnate. However the objective of God is to dwell with man, as He professed in the prophets, and that can only happen as Christ had explained it, in John chapter 14 where He said “23… If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” So by keeping the commandments of God, not only does man have a hope that he would be kept from the devil, but also has a hope to have fellowship with God.

22 And the honor which You gave to Me I gave to them, that they would be one just as We are one, 23 I in them and You in Me, that they would be perfected in one, in order that [P66, א, and W have only ‘and’; A and the MT ‘and in order that’; the text follows B, C and D] Society would know that You have sent Me and You [D has ‘I’] have loved them just as You have loved Me.

In 1 Kings chapter 10 we read in words attributed to the ancient Queen of Sheba, addressing King Solomon: “9 Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.” Likewise, in Hosea chapter 11: “1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.”

Later, we see the purpose of Christ expressed in a Messianic prophecy in Isaiah chapter 43, where Yahweh professes that He shall redeem the children of Israel even at the expense of other peoples, including the people of the Queen of Sheba in spite of her profession which she made over three hundred years earlier: “3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”

Long after Israel had been scattered, in Jeremiah chapter 31, the same chapter where we find the explicit promise of a New Covenant, we read: “1 At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. 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. 3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

The purpose of the captivities and punishment of the ancient children of Israel was described in Amos chapter 3: “2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” It was also described in that same manner in Jeremiah chapter 30: “11 For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.” Later Paul had described his ministry as a ministry of reconciliation, the world of the scriptures being the world which Yahweh God established in the children of Israel, for example in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 where he wrote: “18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” They had already been punished for their iniquity, and would be corrected in their reconciliation in Christ, being expected to keep His commandments so that they may be glorified with Him.

When the children of Israel glorify their God in the knowledge that He keeps His promises, for which they should be willing to keep His commandments, then He in turn glorifies them. When the children of God are glorified, in that He is all the more glorified, so there is a reciprocal relationship between Yahweh God and His children. We read examples of this in a Messianic prophecy in Isaiah chapter 60, speaking of the dispersed children of Israel as it addresses them in captivity: “7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory… 9 Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the LORD thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.” Many of the children of Israel left Palestine in ancient times on the ships of Tarshish, which is ancient Tartessus in what is now southeastern Spain, and they settled in the far west, in Iberia and Britain and the coasts of northern Europe. Glorifying His people, God Himself is glorified, so we read near the end of that chapter: “21 Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.” Then a little further on in Isaiah, in chapter 61, we read in a passage which Christ had cited in reference to Himself and speaking of the purpose of the announcement of the gospel: “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.”

For this we may also read: “18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” where Paul is explaining what it says in Isaiah, that the children of Israel would be glorified in their God, in Romans chapter 8. So we have seen Christ pray here that “the honor [or glory] which You gave to Me I gave to them”, which is an assurance of what we have seen from Paul and Isaiah. So it is apparent that Yahweh would be glorified in Christ, and that ultimately Israel also would be glorified upon their obedience to Christ.

For this Paul had also written in Romans chapter 8 that “16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Then, further on in the chapter, he continues to expound on this where he explains in a different way that it applies only to the children of Israel, and says “29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

This glorification for which the children of Israel may hope is also their perfection, as Christ had also asked here in His prayer “that they would be perfected in one”. In the famous Sermon on the Mount, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 5, Christ said “48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Then, as Luke recorded it in chapter 6 of his gospel, Christ also said “40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” Christ, keeping the law, being as Christ one must also keep the law as He Himself commanded.

So in Romans chapter 12, Paul of Tarsus explains what it is to be “not of this world” where he wrote “1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” This is how Israel may be glorified, by keeping obedience to God. So Paul also explained, in his second epistle to Timothy, how man may achieve that perfection where he stated that “16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” As James had also said, in chapter 2 of his epistle, “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.” So once again we are led to a conclusion which we asserted in our last presentation of this chapter, the God is glorified when the children of Israel realize that He keeps His promises, and for that they are obedient to His Word, keeping His commandments as Abraham had also done for the sole reason that He believed God.

The apostle Peter also spoke of perfection as a result of obedience to God, and the trials suffered in the world as a consequence of obedience, where once again we shall cite 1 Peter chapter 5, but offer a little more of the chapter than his warning concerning the devil: “8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” So Christ prayed stating that He passed onto His disciples the glory which He receives from the Father, and Paul explains that Christians would be glorified in Christ, and Peter explains that Christians are called to eternal glory in Christ.

Now continuing with this prayer:

24 Father, that which [A, C and the MT have ‘they whom’; the text follows א, B, D and W] You gave to Me, I wish that where I am, they also would be with Me, in order that they would see My [D has ‘the’] honor which You gave to Me because You have loved Me before the founding of Society.

Christ was the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” because as soon as the world was conceived, Yahweh God knew that He would manifest Himself as a part of His creation. This we discussed at length where earlier in this chapter Christ had prayed “5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” Yahshua Christ lived as the perfectly obedient Son, for an example to man of the object of the love of God, that He would love and glorify all those who would be obedient to Him.

Where He prayed that “where I am, they also would be with Me” He presents an expectation which was later anticipated by Paul of Tarsus, who in chapter 5 of his second epistle to the Corinthians had contemplated death and then confidently stated that he was “willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Paul believed that once his earthly body died, he would be in the presence of Christ, and that reflects the expectation which all Christians should have as Christ prays for it here. For the children of Yahweh, there is no more death and no more hell, except that at least some of them may apparently be resurrected to everlasting contempt.

25 Righteous Father, although Society has not known You, yet I know You; and these, they know that You have sent Me.

Since the ancient children of Israel certainly did know Yahweh, and since in Jeremiah chapter 31 it is prophesied that the children of Israel would all know Yahweh, here Christ must be speaking of the corrupt world which “lies in the power of the Evil One”, as John later informs us in his first epistle. In Romans chapter 1 Paul had even written of the Romans, who were also descendants of the ancient Israelites, that “19… that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them” and “21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” and then they “23… changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” So the children of Israel knew God, but the corrupted society of the first century had not known God.

As for the apostles, they knew from the beginning that Christ was from God, as it is evident in the exclamation of Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, which is recorded in John chapter 1 where we read that: “40 One of the two which heard John [the baptist] speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.” So that profession necessarily indicates a belief that Christ was from God.

Now Christ concludes His prayer:

26 And I have made known to them Your Name, and I know that the love with which You have loved Me is in them, by which I also am in them.”

It is evident that he was describing this very thing, where the apostle John had written in chapter 5 of his first epistle that “1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” Of course, that faith must be the faith that Abraham also had, which was that his seed would inherit the world, and that is the world of the Scriptures.

As John had said earlier, in chapter 4 of that epistle, “19 We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” So Christians may manifest themselves as the children of God by obedience through keeping His commandments, and by love for one another. By that same thing, they also make manifest the fact that they are not of this world.

This concludes our commentary on John chapter 17.

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