Grace Bible Church of Rolling Meadows

Highlights in John


Presented by Steve Walker

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Highlights in John

The Disciples Pt. 3

Jan 05, 2023

God's Eye View

We finished up getting our “God's Eye View” of who Jesus really is. We have been through the Prologue, the testimony of John the Baptist and the testimony of the disciples. As God answered Jacob's prayer for salvation some 2,000 years before by sending a Man who turned out to be God to confirm His promises to the Fathers of Israel (Gen. 32), so too here in the earthly ministry of Christ God answers the prayer of the Believing Remnant for salvation by likewise sending a Man who turned out to be God to confirm and partially fulfill God's promises to Israel's fathers (Lk. 1-2; Rom. 15:8). Once we have a this “God's Eye View” of who Jesus is, we can go on to watch what happens when Jesus--the eternal Word (Jn. 1:1), the Creator of all things (1:3), the Life and Light of men (1:4), the only-begotten Son of God (1:14, 18, 34, 49), the Messiah/Christ (1:17, 41), the Prophet like unto Moses (1:21, 30), the I AM Jehovah God of Israel (1:23), the Lamb of God (1:29, 36), the One who baptizes with the Spirit (1:33), the Fulfiller of all that Moses and the Prophets wrote about (1:45), the King of Israel (1:49), and the Son of Man (1:51)--interacts with ordinary everyday people engaged in ordinary everyday activities, beginning in John 2 with Jesus' Mother, Mary and the changing of the water into wine.

Throughout this message we also pointed out what we lose today when we confuse God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel with His Mystery Program for the Body of Christ.

Highlights in John

The Pattern For Jesus's Encounters

Jan 12, 2023

One thing anyone who reads the Gospel of John notices is that Jesus' responses don't always seem to correlate with the comments or questions characters say or ask in the story. The Jewish leaders in the Temple, for instance, ask Jesus for a sign, and He starts talking about destroying the Temple and raising it in three days (Jn. 2:14-20). Huh? Nicodemus comes talking about how good Jesus is, and Jesus responds with you must be born again (Jn. 3:3). Huh? The Samaritan woman is all concerned about natural well water, and Jesus talks about living spiritual water and how many husbands she has had (Jn. 4:9-14). Huh? The nobleman asks for his son to be healed, and Jesus responds by crying out: Unless ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe (Jn. 4:47-48). Huh, Huh?

Sometimes we have to just scratch our heads and wonder about what is really going on, and that's ok. That is exactly what the text is trying to get us to do. Rather than getting frustrated, we need to get inquisitive. To help with this problem, John gave us the master pattern that explains how Jesus interacts with others in John 1 where Jesus interacted with Peter and especially Nathaniel. Jesus didn't just “see” outward appearances. He “saw” the inner being of the person. He “saw” into Simon and knew who he was and who he would become and renamed him Cephas, Peter (Jn. 1:42). Jesus' encounter with Nathaniel begins with Nathaniel asking a rather ordinary everyday question: Can anything good come out of Nazareth (Jn. 1:46)? But Jesus sweeps that aside and ignores it, and instead “sees” into the core of Nathaniel's being, identifying him as an Israelite indeed a member of true Israel, the Believing Remnant of Israel (Jn. 1:47). But that is not all. He also “saw” what Nathaniel was doing in the past under the Fig Tree (Jn. 1:48) and what he would be doing in his future ministry (Jn. 1:50-51).

So, here we have a pattern, that will help us better understand Jesus' responses when He encounters people. Jesus “sees” not only the person's past and future but also into the very core of their being. Therefore, Jesus won't be forced to respond directly to the external ordinary everyday concerns of people. Rather, He will respond to their deepest, most longed for needs and desires of their hearts and souls and spirits—concerns, desires, needs that they themselves may not even know they have.

Take Jesus' interaction with Mary, His Mother, at a wedding feast in Cana. Here we are at an ordinary everyday wedding feast in Israel (Jn. 2:1-11). Mary makes the rather mundane comment that the wine has run out. Seems plain, simple and ordinary enough. Then Jesus responds pointedly with: Woman, what have I to do with thee? And then rather mysteriously: My hour has not yet come (Jn. 2:4). This is a great first example because unlike other characters in the Gospel of John, WE ACTUALLY KNOW what is in Mary's mind, soul, spirit and heart!

We know from Luke 1:26-35 that Mary's MIND was concerned with the words of the angel Gabriel, who explained to her about the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus. Her Son would be named Jesus, Jehovah Our (Israel's) Salvation, the fulfiller of all God's promises to Israel. He is the Son of the Highest, the Son of God. He is the One to whom God has given the everlasting throne of David to reign in Israel and through Israel the world in the everlasting earthly Kingdom of peace, prosperity and joy. Mary, we are told, thought diligently about these things in her MIND!

And we know from Luke 2:46-55 what was in Mary's SOUL and SPIRIT. Her soul magnified the Lord and her Spirit rejoiced in God her Savior because God had blessed her. Through her son Jesus, God would deliver Israel, destroying all enemies and delivering them into the long-prophesied Kingdom to receive His everlasting mercy in fulfillment of the Davidic and Abrahamic Covenants. Mary, we are told, filled her SOUL and SPIRIT with these things!

Finally, we know from Luke 2:8-19 and 2:46-51 what Mary held most deeply and dearly in her HEART. Mary's son would be the Davidic Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah/Christ Deliverer, the LORD God of Israel, who will work on her behalf to establish the earthly Kingdom of righteousness, peace and prosperity, which would become good news and great joy to the whole world. Mary, we are told, kept thinking about these things and pondered them deeply in her HEART!

With all this in mind we can return to John 2 with some fresh insight. With this information, we can “see” into Mary the way Jesus “saw” into Mary. Like Jesus, we actually know what she cherished in her MIND, SOUL, SPIRIT and HEART! And with this insight, we recognize that while it appeared that Jesus was refusing Mary's comment, He was, in fact, just responding to it on a whole different level, a higher plane. Rather than limiting His response to her outer, ordinary, everyday concern—they ran out of wine--He plunged down to the inner, deepest and dearest concerns of her HEART and SOUL!. He didn't just address her ordinary concern about wedding wine. He displayed the glory of God and gave her a foretaste of the overflowing, super-abundant joy of Kingdom blessings that will come to her and Israel at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in the everlasting Kingdom of God on earth!

Now, as we come to additional encounters in John, we have a “leg up on the horse” in understanding them. Even if we don't know other characters deepest and most longed for and dearly held thoughts, concerns, needs and desires, we know that Jesus does.

Highlights in John


Jan 19, 2023

If the purpose of the “signs” John includes were written that believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His Name (Jn. 20:31), then it would probably be a good idea to have an idea of what those “signs” are right up front in our study (Jn. 2:11).

Using three basic criteria:

  1. Something performed by Jesus in His public ministry;
  2. Something that is identified as a “sign” in the text; and
  3. Something that displays the Glory of God in Christ;

We end up with 6 signs that virtually everyone agrees upon:

  1. Water to Wine (Jn. 2:1-11; identified as a sign in 2:11)
  2. Healing of the Nobleman's Son (Jn. 4:46-54; identified as a sign in 4:54)
  3. Healing of the Lame Man (5:1-15; identified as a sign in 7:21-31)
  4. Feeding of the Multitude (6:1-15; identified as a sign in 6:26)
  5. Healing of the Man Born Blind (Jn. 9:1-10; identified as a sign in 9:16)
  6. Raising of Lazarus (Jn. 11; identified as a sign in 11:47 and 12:18)

If we don't limit ourselves strictly to these criteria, other possible “signs” in John are:

  1. Cleansing of the Temple (Jn. 2:13-23; Meets criteria #1 and #3 and might include criterion #2 as well if we take into consideration Jn. 2:18 in comparison with Jn. 6:30 for a potential pattern (also Jn. 2:23). Of course, this would be a “sign” not in the sense of a miraculous display of supernatural power (miracle) but in the sense of a prophetic sign (ex. Is. 20:3; Ezek. 4:3).
  2. Walking on the Water (Jn. 6:15-21; Meets criteria #1 and #3 but the text does not identify it as a sign, therefore, failing criterion #2).
  3. Death and Resurrection of Christ (Jn. 19-20; Meets criterion #3 but probably fails criterion #1 (although that depends on how one takes “something performed by Jesus in His public ministry”). As far as criterion #2 it be identified as a “sign” indirectly in Jn. 2:18-23 and is actually called a “sign” in Mat. 12:38-40.
  4. The Surplus of Fishes (Jn. 21:6-8; Meets criterion #3 but probably not criteria #1 or #2).

Highlights in John

The Two Heart Extremes in Israel

Feb 09, 2023

Thursday night in our study of John's Gospel, we saw that John gives us right up front in Jn. 2 an understanding of the two extremes of what's in the hearts of Israel in Jesus's day. At one end of the spectrum, we have Mary, who represents the Believing Remnant of Israel (Jn. 2:1-12). What Mary treasured in her heart was generally what the Believing Remnant of Israel treasured in its heart, and we know what Mary is treasuring in her heart because Lk. 1-2 tells us. She was treasuring in her heart all the promises God made to her about her Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He would be the fulfiller of all the promises God made to Israel. He would be Israel's Redeemer and Deliverer. Her Son would save Israel from all its enemies. He would be the one to establish Israel in her long-prophesied Kingdom on earth. And He would be the source of the righteousness, peace and prosperity that would reign in the Kingdom. In short, Mary longed for God to fulfill all His promises to Israel THROUGH HER SON, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

At the other end of the spectrum, however, was the group of Israel's religious leaders, who represented the unbelieving apostate Nation of Israel. We know what was in their heart (as a group) as well because passages like Mat. 3:7-9, 15:3, 23:27-33; Lk. 7:30, 11:39; Jn. 8:37-44 tell us. They were a generation of vipers, the spiritual progeny of the devil, who were corrupt on the inside with unrepentant hearts while thinking everything was okay just because they were the natural progeny of Abraham through the line of Isaac and Jacob. They thought that they automatically were in a right relationship with God. They thought they were automatically excused from God's wrath. They thought that they would automatically see and enter the Kingdom with privileged positions of rulership. No wonder that in the verses that follow, Jesus tells a representative of this group (Nicodemus) that they all needed to be born again (Jn. 3:3)! In short, the religious leaders as a group (not necessarily every single individual) longed for God to fulfill His promises to Israel, not through Mary's Son but THROUGH THEM!

Every character Jesus encounters in the rest of John's Gospel will fall somewhere between these two extremes. Jesus will try to encourage and strengthen the former (come to Mary's Son) and correct and alleviate the latter (leave the Vain Religious System).

Highlights in John


Mar 02, 2023

Thursday night in our study of John's Gospel, we used the Passover context of Jn. 2 (Jn. 2:13 and 2:23) to start a short overview of God's Prophetic Calendar for the Nation of Israel. Israel's Feast days gave believing Israelites an opportunity to annually partake in a display (prophetic sign act) that showed how God will accomplish Israel's NATIONAL salvation in the future. We noted that it is important to understand that Israel's Prophetic Calendar pictured Israel's NATIONAL salvation and NATIONAL forgiveness of sins before Christ at His 2nd Coming—Israel's NATIONAL restoration. If we don't appreciate this and think they picture individual personal spiritual salvation, justification before God and His Tribunal, we might erroneously conclude that Old Testament saints were individually/personally saved before God by Faith PLUS Works. But that would be a very great error. Salvation before God--justification unto eternal life, a right-standing before God—ALWAYS WAS, ALWAYS IS AND AWAYS WILL BE BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH, believing God's Word to them. Abraham believed God and God counted His faith for righteousness (Gen. 15:6--WITHOUT WORKS!). Then once Abraham was personally saved and all his individual sins forgiven and in a right-standing before God, God could go on and do other things for Abraham and ask Abraham to do things for Him, giving him opportunities to participate in His Prophetic Program with Israel. While participating in these things (like the Abrahamic Cov., circumcision, offering his son Isaac, etc.) had no bearing on his personal individual justification before God unto eternal life, they could have a bearing on how he participated in Israel's national salvation before Christ at His 2nd Coming for entrance into Israel's Millennial Kingdom on earth and having a privileged place there.


When we overview Israel's ancient history, one remarkable thing of note is how rarely Israel actually observed the Passover. We tend to think that they observed the Passover every year (religiously), like they were supposed to. But let's look at the biblical record.

Of course, the Passover was given and fully observed when Israel was in Egypt—blood smeared on the door's cross-posts and all (Ex. 12). Then it was again the next year at Sinai in the wilderness in tents (Num. 9:1-5). Then, it was NOT observed again for some 40 years when they entered the Promised Land under Joshua, again in the wilderness in tents (Josh. 5:10-11). The latter two observances, however, didn't have cross-posts (they carried tents), and they probably didn't have enough lambs (there were 2 to 3 million Israelites). Therefore, these observances, as complete as they were, were not carried out exactly as they were in Egypt.

Then, the Passover was not observed again for some 300 years later during the “revival” under David and Solomon. While not stated explicitly, David and Solomon most likely observed the Passover at the establishment of the Tabernacle in Jerusalem and in the new Temple (see below for further explanation).

Then it isn't mentioned again in the Scriptures until Hezekiah's “revival” some 300 years later! Only in this case, it is not observed properly because it had to be observed in the 2nd month rather than the 1st month of the year. While Moses did give an exception whereby “certain men,” who for various reasons were unable to keep the Passover in the prescribed 1st month, could observe it in the 2nd month (Num. 9:6-7—ie., handling a dead body, travelling, etc.), it must be admitted that the intent of the exception was for individual people not the WHOLE NATION! So, even though Hezekiah observed it with the nation, it is not really done properly because the whole nation wasn't ready.

Then it isn't mentioned again in the Scriptures until Josiah's “revival” some 100 years later with these words: And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the Lord your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant. Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah (2 Kgs. 23:21-22). That's shocking! This passage sums up Israel's whole embarrassing Passover history and supports what we have said so far. According to this passage, the Passover was not held (at least properly) throughout all the days of the Judges (from Joshua to David)! Nor was it observed in all the days of the kings of Israel (from Solomon to that time with Josiah)! In between the days of the Judges and the days of the Kings, reside the golden reigns of David and Solomon when most likely the Passover was kept. Another interesting note of this passage, is that Josiah did not consider Hezekiah's observance of the Passover as countable, probably for the reasons mentioned above. Unfortunately for Josiah, however, it was too little too late. The wrath and judgment the Passover was supposed to protect Israel from was going to come anyway. Josiah's near perfect Passover observance was not enough to steer God's wrath away. Israel would enter the 5th Course of Punishment and be carried into exile by the Babylonians (2 Kgs. 23:26).

Then it is not observed again until the remnant of Israel returns to the land under Ezra's “revival” when the Temple is restored (Ezra 6:21-22). During the next 400 years Israel will develop into the pharisaical, Vain Religious System, that is present in Jesus's day. By then, they had stolen the Passover away from the LORD (Ex. 12:11) and made it the Passover of the Jews, degrading it to just another empty ritual in their Vain Religious System (Jn. 2:13). Thus like Hezekiah and Josiah, Jesus's “revival” begins with the cleansing of the Temple (Jn. 2:14-15).

This history of Israel's Passover observance or more properly NON-observance shocks us. How can this be? If it was God's Word to them, why didn't they do it? How could they be so foolish? Well, I will answer those questions by asking other questions. Why has most of historical Christianity totally disregarded God's Word to us today for the last 2,000 years? Why has it for the most part thrown away Pauline Grace Mystery Truth? Why is it that we could go into almost any so called “Christian church” in the world and while finding a whole lot of things going on, very little if any of it actually having anything to do with God and His Word? The answer, of course, is the same for us today as it was for Israel in the past. Just as most of Israel's history was spent in apostasy, so too, most of “Christianity's” history has been spent in apostasy. We are all cut from the same cloth: Sinners with rebellious hearts, who In our idolatry replace God and His Word with man and his traditions, leading to our detriment, loss and destruction.

Fortunately, this can all be alleviated by clinging to God's Truth for today: Pauline Grace Mystery Truth!

Highlights in John

The Leaven Principle

Mar 09, 2023

Thursday night in our study of John's Gospel, we continued to look at the first of Israel's annual feasts, and specifically the role of leaven in them. Leaven is often automatically equated with sin. Leaven = Sin/s. But we saw things are not really that simple. When God commanded Israel to remove all leaven from their households, it wasn't so much that He wanted to remove all sin/s from their household (although that is certainly true as well!!) but that He wanted them to remove all reliance on anything associated with Egypt and her gods and idolatries (which, of course, is a form of sin). Where we just go to the symptoms—SIN/S—God, however, goes down to the underlying disease—RELYING AND TRUSTING IN SOMETHING OTHER THAN GOD. God wanted them to leave Egypt as unleavened dough (NOT bread) so that He could knead His Own things into them during the trip from Goshen in Egypt to Sinai, teaching them along the way that if they were going to be the great nation he created them to be, they must rely solely on Him and the Grace resident in His Jehovah Name. Removal of leaven had more to do with sanctification/separation than redemption/forgiveness. While Israel's national forgiveness of sins was provided for at the death of Jesus Christ (Passover) it will not be dispensed until the Fall Feasts (Atonement) in fulfillment of the New Covenant at His 2nd Coming with Israel's national forgiveness of sins. In this light, Israel's Spring Festivals progress something like this: The LORD redeemed Israel out of Egypt (Passover through blood and power), which the Israelites were to participate in by sweeping away all reliance upon Egypt, her gods and her idolatries so that they could learn to rely solely on the one true God of Israel (Unleavened Bread) (Ex. 12-13), whereby God would permeate, inflate and raise them up during their trip through the wilderness (bear them along--Ex. 19:4), kneading His Own things into them through testing and trials (Ex. 14-17), so that once they got to Sinai, the nation that started out as the deflated slaves of Egypt would be raised up as God's great nation, who were already beginning to fulfill His purpose by proclaiming His Name to the Gentiles (Firstfruits and Pentecost) (Ex. 18).

The Leaven Principle

Leaven is one of those words that ignites an automatic knee-jerk reaction with many Bible commentators: Leaven = Sin. Period. End of story. It's an established fact of the universe. We know it. Absolutely, 100%! Next topic. But a professor in college once told me that when something becomes so certain that it is beyond discussion, that's probably a good time to re-evaluate everything you think you know about it.

So, let's do just that and see if it increases our understanding and enjoyment of the Bible. Let's run a little thought experiment with regard to the word “leaven,” starting with its literal meaning and common use. According to the Oxford, Merriam-Webster and Collins dictionaries, leaven is defined as a substance that is used in dough to make it rise; then, a pervasive influence that modifies something or transforms it for the better. We use leaven everyday to raise dough to make bread, for instance. We use the leaven of humor to lighten a boring speech. And it gives us the word levity—Let's add a little levity to the argument.

The Hebrew definition of leaven (se'or) comes from the root word that means “what remains, what is left over; a remnant.” It was used of Noah's family after the flood (Gen. 7:23) and, of the Believing Remnant of Israel (1 Kgs. 19:18; Is. 4:3; et al.). It is something small that has the power to affect something large, permeating the whole thing, causing it to rise up. The most common literal use for this is in breadmaking whereby a small amount of left-over leavened dough is held back and used in a future batch of dough as a raising additive, causing it to rise and when baked produce a loaf of bread.

These meanings converged into the general idea that leaven is something that when added to something else, even in extremely small amounts, gradually and powerfully affects the whole thing. I call this the “leaven Principle.” This principle is neutral on its own and requires something explicit in the context to indicate it is something positive or negative. Take the proverbial saying: A little leaven leavens the whole lump, for instance. On its own with no context it is neutral. It can be either positive or negative. When Paul used this proverb to the Corinthians it was in the context of how one person's sexual immorality affected the whole church (1 Cor. 5:6). Here, of course, the proverb is used negatively but that isn't inherent in the proverb's itself. It is derived from the context in which it is used.

Now, let's get back to the Bible. Commentators almost always insist that the word leaven always carries a negative connotation in the Bible. Leaven = Sin! They are virtually synonyms. Usually, they try to justify this by suggesting that the reason for this is that leaven causes fermentation, and fermentation always corrupts. No doubt, most of the world would be very shocked to hear such a thing. The Middle East and Israel had innumerable treasured and life-giving fermented foods—fermented milk and cheese and vegetables and grains—that saw them through the vagaries of war and weather. It is doubtful that the Nordic nations could have survived without their innumerable cherished, health-giving, life-sustaining fermented foods that have preserved them through long, cold, dark winters. Fermenting food makes them healthier with much longer shelf-lives.

And then there is wine. While bread may ferment a day or two, wine ferments for months and years. Yet God commanded it be used in the Temple Worship service even in offerings God took part in, offerings of fire. So, if leaven is always used negatively in the Bible, it is not because it is fermented and, therefore, causes corruption.

It might be worthwhile to ask if the Bible does always use the word leaven negatively? It is true that God commanded leaven could not be used in some offerings and the Passover (Lev. 2:11; Ex. 12). But it is also true that God commanded it be used in others (Lev. 7:12; Amos 4:5; Pentecost--Lev. 23:17). Yes, Jesus did warn about the negative leaven of the teachings of the Pharisees (Mat. 16:6), but in the same Gospel He also described the Kingdom of God as being like leaven, surely something good (Mat. 13:13). So, perhaps the answer to how the Bible uses the word leaven is not as definitive as commentators suggest.

But setting all that aside, let's concede for the sake of argument that whenever the Bible uses the word “leaven,” it is always with negative connotations. Doing this, we must likewise concede that when God powerfully works, He does positively what leaven does negatively. Let's see how this plays out by reading some passages not just taking note of when the specific word “leaven” is used, but also taking note of when the “leaven principle” (something small added to something big that permeates the whole, powerfully effecting it-) is used.

This is where the thought experiment comes in. Let's look at the Book of Exodus. Exodus opens with a very small Israel (just 70 souls—Ex. 1:5) being added to a very large Egypt (est. 3-5 million Egyptians). Israel was fruitful, AND increased abundantly AND multiplied AND GREW EXCEEDINGLY MIGHTY AND THE LAND WAS FILLED WITH THEM (Ex. 1:7). Does that remind you of anything? Perhaps the “leaven principle?” This grieved Pharoah, and he decided he needed to purge the Israelites out by killing their infant sons. One could say that Pharoah considered the Israelites leaven that needed to be purged out.

With this in mind, doesn't it make you smile to next see God instructing Israel to remove all of Egypt's leaven—all reliance on the Egypt's gods and idolatries—from their households—purge it all out! Oh, the irony's delightful! What Pharaoh wanted to do with the LORD's Israel (purge them out), the LORD's Israel was supposed to do with Pharaoh's Egypt! And the Passover week was given to memorialize their national salvation. They were to purge out all reliance on Egypt and her gods and rely solely on the LORD, the one true God of Israel. Something similar only far greater will happen at Christ's 2nd Coming when He calls the Believing Remnant out from the nations, causing Satan's whole world system to collapse.

But let's keep going in Exodus. While Israel leaves Exodus as unleavened dough (Ex. 12:34), after being with the LORD for a short time (40-50 days), God raised them up as a nation. When they got to Sinai, they were already fulfilling God's plan for them to be the proclaimer of His Name to the Gentiles (Ex. 18:8-12). Here's how the LORD describes what He did with them: He bare them along (lifted them up, raised them, carried them along) on eagles wings, bringing them to Himself (Ex. 19:4). Those who started as slaves in Egypt were raised-up to become the Nation God designed her to be. The “leaven principle” is at work here as well.

But that's not all. A little later in Exodus there is the Golden Calf Incident. In response the LORD said to Moses: Let me alone that My wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation (Ex. 32:10). God would use little old Moses to raise up a whole new great nation. Once again, we see the “leaven principle.”

What a fun Bible study this makes! Once we start looking for it, we find it everywhere in the Bible. One might go so far to say that this little “leaven principle” permeates the whole Bible (yes, pun intended!). For instance, Jesus said, Verily, Verily, I say unto you: Except a seed of wheat falls into the ground and die, it abides alone. But if it die, it brings forth MUCH fruit (Jn. 12:24). One little buried seed results in a huge harvest of seeds. The “leaven principle.”

Let's look at an example from Paul:

In Rom. 5:12-14, Paul states that it was through one man's one transgression (Adam) that the whole old humanity was permeated and raised-up with sin and death. One commentator even entitles this passage as: The Leaven of Sin. But in the very next verses, Paul states that likewise it was through one man's one act of Righteousness (Jesus Christ and His Cross) that the whole new humanity was permeated and raised-up with righteousness and life (Rom. 5:15-18). If the commentator called the former the Leaven of Sin, why didn't he call the latter the Leaven of Righteousness? No doubt, because he thought leaven = sin and could not be applied to the work of God and Christ. But we do see the “leaven principle” displayed here.

But this passage doesn't stop here. Paul goes on to explain that when the little Law (something good—Rom. 7:12) entered the nation of Israel, it caused the nation to rise-up with abounding iniquities. And then, when iniquities abounded God's Grace super-inflated, massively rose-up and SUPER-ABOUNDED. Once again, the “leaven principle” is seen at work.

In conclusion, perhaps we can say that in the Bible, the negative application of the “leaven principle” refers to those things that permeate a person or group, affecting the whole by powerfully leading them away from God and causing them to rise-up in rebellion against God. The key words here being “iniquity” and “idolatry.” The positive application of the “leaven principle” in the Bible, however, refers to those things that permeate a person or group, affecting the whole by leading them to God and causing them to rise-up in faith and reliance on Him. Perhaps the key word for this is firstfruits, which, by the way, is the feast that occurs after the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread! The Feast of First-Fruits.

Highlights in John

The Correctly Operating Church

Mar 16, 2023

Because many people asked, on Thursday we looked at our Apostle Paul's use of Passover terminology in 1 Cor. 5. If we remember that the Passover was not a sacrifice for sin/s but a sacrifice for separation that removed believing Israel from Satan's outside realm of sin and death, wrath and judgment, and brought them into the Lord's realm of safety and peace; and that it was to be carried out with great haste (Ex. 12:11), we will understand why Paul uses the Passover as an analogy in dealing with the Corinthian problem in 1 Cor. 5. While the man engaged in ongoing sexual immorality was horrible (1 Cor. 5:1), what was even more horrible for Paul was that the Corinthian church hadn't done anything about it yet (1 Cor. 5:2)!

The Correctly Operating Church

We all know that Paul gave complete and lengthy instructions for how assemblies of believers are to operate today in the Dispensation of grace in the Pastoral Epistles. But that is not the only place we find such instructions, and here in 1 Cor. 5:3-5 Paul gives us about the shortest and most concise explanation of a correctly running church possible! Because it is so short, perhaps the best way might be to look at 1 Cor. 5:3-5 all at once like this:

A correctly functioning church begins with recognition and appreciation of the fact that we, as members of the Body of Christ in the Dispensation of Grace, are under Paul's apostolic authority (1 Cor. 5:3). This is important because it is through Paul's distinct apostleship that God is now revealing the Glory of His Name to the world, especially the Gentiles (1 Cor. 5:4a; Rom. 1:5). Then, once we are going to our apostle, the Apostle Paul, and are enjoying all that is true of the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in his Scriptures, then he invites us to come together with him as an assembly (1 Cor. 5:4b), which releases the power of Christ in our lives (1 Cor. 5:4c) so that we can be obedient to his authoritative apostolic instructions (5:5), which, in this specific case, meant kicking the man out of the assembly ASAP! Of course, the corollary of this is that if your church is not operating in this way, it is NOT operating correctly!

Highlights in John

The Spectrum of Believing

Mar 23, 2023

On Thursday we continued our look at Jesus's encounters with various people and representatives of people in the Gospel of John. Jn. 2 gives us the spectrum of belief and unbelief that ranges from the unbelieving hearts of the Vain Religious System (VRS) as represented by the Temple leaders in Jn. 2:13-23, who think God is going to fulfill His promises to Israel through them, and goes on to the believing hearts of the Believing Remnant of Israel as represented by Mary in Jn. 2:1-11, who thought God was going to fulfill all His promises to Israel through her Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Everyone else we encounter in the Book of John will fall somewhere between these two extremes on their journey of faith or lack thereof.

What is the Spectrum of believing and not believing? Here is a slide that illustrates:

Highlights in John

Jesus and Nicodemus

Apr 06, 2023

On Thursday we continued our look at Jesus's encounter with the Pharisee Nicodemus. The discussion opens with Nicodemus claiming “to know” something (Jn. 3:1), but it closes with Jesus saying Nicodemus (as the representative of the religious leaders), you all don't know anything at all (Jn. 1:10)! So, Jesus mercifully plunges to the depths of Nicodemus's truest needs in his inner man, the deepest longings of his heart of hearts, and takes him by the hand, leading him step-by-step through God's whole salvation plan for the Nation of Israel that results in the long-prophesied earthly Kingdom. To do this, John doesn't read Paul into Jesus's words to Nicodemus. He reads the Psalms and Ezekiel into His words to Nicodemus. And that is the way Nicodemus would have understood it as well.

Highlights in John


Apr 20, 2023

We continued our look at Jesus's encounter with the Pharisee Nicodemus. Rather than reading Paul into this passage, and personal salvation in the Dispensation of Grace, we looked at John's ties to the Old Testament, especially the Book of Ezekiel. When we do that, we get a better understanding of what being “born again” and being “born of water and flesh” mean as we watch Jesus lead Nicodemus step-by-step through Israel's national salvation plan that will bring the nation of Israel into their long-prophesied Kingdom on earth.


When Israel entered the 5th Course of Punishment because of her rebelliousness against God, she went into Gentile captivity, and she died as a nation (Ezek. 33:7-11). Her country was desolate, her cities forsaken, her beloved Jerusalem and the Temple destroyed, and the people carried away into the graves among the Gentiles (Ezek. 36:4). Israel's fall profaned the Name of the Lord among the Gentiles because it caused them to think that their gods were greater and more powerful than Israel's God (Ezek. 36:20-23)! Of course, we know that this isn't true. We know that God was just using Babylon as His tool to chastise the Israelites, and once the 70 years captivity was over, God used the Medo-Persians to destroy the Babylon Empire, which freed the Israelites to return to the land. But their return to the land did not restore the nation. Only a small number of Israelites returned, there were no more Israelite Kings, and the nation remained under Gentile control. By the time Jesus arrived in His earthly ministry some 400 years later, the Nation of Israel was ruled by a Vain Religious System, that was ruled by the Gentile nations, that were ruled by Satan and his devils.

Israel was born the first time when the LORD brought her out of Egypt. But that birth fizzled out because she didn't learn the lesson God tried to teach them in the Exodus: If they are going to be His people, fulfilling His purpose for them, they NEEDED TO RELY SOLELY ON THE LORD TO DO IT FOR THEM! All God wanted them to do is to rely on the Grace Resident In His Jehovah Name by holding up the Rod Of God Of Faith. If they just did that, He would do everything else for them (Ex. 14:13-25). But they didn't learn the lesson. Instead, at Sinai, they decided to do everything themselves through the power of the flesh, and they failed miserably (Ex. 19:8), spending the next 1500 years under the Curses of the Law in the Courses of Punishment (Lev. 26:16-34).

Which brings us to Jesus's encounter with Nicodemus. What Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews (Jn. 3:1) and the hoped for master teacher of Israel (Jn. 3:10) needed to know was that for Israel to be God's “peculiar treasure and holy nation” (Ex. 19:5-6), the nation as a whole needed to be “born again.” They needed a 2nd birth, a 2nd Exodus that would teach them again about the need to rely solely on God's Jehovah Name. This will ultimately take place at Christ's 2nd Coming when they will all do what they should have done at the 1st Exodus: They will fall on the Grace resident in His Jehovah Name (Hos. 14:2), and He will then make them the head of the nations rather than the tail, establishing them in Israel's long-prophesied earthly Kingdom (Deut. 28:13) as a reborn Nation of Israel that honors and sanctifies the Name of the Lord among the Gentiles. This is Israel's National Restoration, Israel's National Salvation.

In John 3, Jesus takes Nicodemus step-by-step through how the Nation of Israel will be “born again” :

  1. Jn. 3:3: In order for someone to “see” (spiritually perceive) the Kingdom (which at that time was embodied in the presence of the King, Jesus Christ), he or she must be “born again.” This gives them the spiritual eyes to “see” the King/Kingdom.
  2. Jn. 3:5: Then, once they “see” the Kingdom, they could “enter” the Kingdom by being brought forth (born) of water and the Spirit by going through Israel's national cleansing program (Jn. 3:5; Ezek. 36:25-27), typified in a foretaste manner with John the Baptist's and Jesus's water baptism in the Gospel Accounts and Peter and the 12's water baptism and Christ's Spirit baptism in early Acts (Jn. 1:25-26, 31-34; 3:22-34; Acts 2-3). These types will ultimately be fulfilled by the LORD Himself at Christ's return when He regathers believing Israel and restores them to the land, sprinkling them with water and giving them the Spirit (Ezek. 36:24-28).
  3. Jn. 3:8: Then God will blow a wind (Spirit) over this “born again” people, raising them up from their Gentile graves, and through a 2nd greater Exodus, bringing them forth out of the Gentile nations. He will gather them together and usher them into the Promised Land, enlivening them with His Spirit thereby giving birth to the “born again” Nation of Israel, God's Own Nation, His conduit of blessing and salvation to the rest of the world (Jn. 3:8; Ezek.37).

That gets us through Jn. 3:10 but there is still one pivotal, all-important piece of information that Jesus needs to give to Nicodemus. HOW is someone “born again” so that they can “see” and “enter” the Kingdom and participate in Israel's national salvation and restoration in the Kingdom? HOW?? Jesus explains that the beginning point of everything is BELIEVING IN GOD AND HIS WORD, WHICH HERE IS THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (Jn. 3:18). Believing in His Name, trusting in Him, relying on the grace resident in His Jehovah Name now embodied in Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:14; 2:23; 20:31). Faith in God and His Word was the essential ingredient.

This is the very opposite of what the Vain Religious System of Israel was doing. They thought they would “see” and “enter” the Kingdom just because they were the natural progeny of Abraham through the line of Isaac and Jacob according to the flesh (Jn. 8:37-58; Mat. 3:9-12). Jesus, however, says that is not enough. The King (Jesus) was present in Israel, but they didn't “see” Him. John the Baptist came calling the people into Israel's national repentance and cleansing program, but they didn't think they needed it. They thought that as the natural children of Abraham they were automatically qualified to participate in Israel's National Salvation, but Jesus shows Nicodemus that they are not qualified at all. They are excluded. Without believing, they would not participate in Israel's “new birth,” and without the “new birth” they could not participate in Israel's cleansing program. Not only could they not “enter” the Kingdom, they could not even “see” the Kingdom (Jn. 3:36; 9:39; 12:40). By rebelling in unbelief, the only thing they were automatically qualified for was darkness and condemnation, wrath and perishing (Jn. 3:18-21).

Nicodemus should have known all of this, but he didn't. But HE KNOWS IT NOW! Now Nicodemus the Pharisee is equipped with Jesus's teaching needed to go and convert his Pharisee co-workers; who then needed to go and convert the rest of the religious leaders; who then needed to go and convert all Jerusalem; who then needed to go and convert all Judea and Galilee; who then needed to go and convert all Samaria. And then, once all Israel was saved, they needed to take God's salvation out to the whole world. Come on Nicodemus! Get with the program!! THE WHOLE WORLD IS WAITING for you (Jn. 3:16)!!!

Highlights in John


Apr 27, 2023

In His discussion with Nicodemus, Jesus was telling Nicodemus to follow in the footsteps of Abraham.

  1. First, Israel needed to recognize that following in Abraham's footsteps wasn't just being born of Abraham through the line of Isaac and Jacob according to the flesh. A spiritual birth, a spiritual bringing forth was also required.
  2. Second, to follow in the spiritual footsteps of Abraham required them to believe in God and His Word. God gave Abraham Good News. Abraham believed God and God counted his faith for righteousness. Likewise, in the Gospel of John, God was giving the Israelites Good News through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Mat. 4:23), and upon believing, God would likewise count their faith for righteousness. This is Justification before God and His Tribunal by faith WITHOUT works unto eternal life with all personal and individual sins forgiven--Gen. 15:6. This is what gave Abraham in his day the spiritual eyes to “see” the King and the Kingdom (Jn. 8:56; Heb. 11:10). And this is what will give the Israelites in Jesus's day the spiritual eyes to “see” the King and the Kingdom (Jn. 9:39).
  3. Third, in His Prophetic Program, God then places those He justified by faith without works into the Believing Remnant of Israel, where He gives them opportunities to serve Him. For instance, He gave Abraham the opportunity to participate in a picture of what He would do with His Son on Calvary 2,000 years later by sacrificing his own son, Isaac, on Mt. Moriah. Later He gave believing Israel an opportunity to participate in a picture of what Christ would do for them on the Cross 1,500 years later in the Passover ritual. And in Christ's earthly ministry, God gave members of believing Israel an opportunity to participate in a picture of what the Lord Himself is going to do to them when He restores the Nation of Israel. He is going to sprinkle them with water and give them the Spirit, making them into a reborn nation (Ezek. 36:24-29)-. By participating in Israel's national cleansing and repentance program--beginning with John's water baptism and leading to Christ's Spirit baptism--they gave an advance picture of this during Christ's earthly ministry (the Gospel Accounts), the ministry of the 12 (early Acts) and especially during the Tribulation Period, which would enable them to “enter” into the Kingdom. This is Justification before Christ at His 2nd Coming by faith PLUS works whereby, they would participate in Israel's national forgiveness of sins and enjoy a privileged position in the Kingdom.
  4. Finally, once God has transformed His “born again” People (the Believing Remnant) into His “born again” Nation (the Nation of Israel), God's Own “peculiar treasure” and “holy nation,” He will use them as the conduit of His blessings to the whole world, saving it (Jn. 3:16).

Nicodemus should have known all of this, but he didn't. But HE KNOWS IT NOW! Now Nicodemus the Pharisee is equipped with Jesus's teaching needed to go and convert his Pharisee co-workers; who then needed to go and convert the rest of the religious leaders; who then needed to go and convert all Jerusalem; who then needed to go and convert all Judea and Galilee; who then needed to go and convert all Samaria. And then, once all Israel was saved, they needed to take God's salvation out to the whole world. Come on Nicodemus! Get with the program!! THE WHOLE WORLD IS WAITING for you (Jn. 3:16)!!!

Highlights in John


May 04, 2023

Thursday night we are in the familiar passage of Jn. 3. The biggest mistake we can make in this passage is to assume that “seeing” and “entering” the Kingdom (Jn. 3:3, 5) is the same thing as saying “getting saved” in the Dispensation of Grace. Rather it refers to how an Israelite in the Nation of Israel can not only “see” the King and the Kingdom with spiritually empowered eyes, but can also “enter” the Kingdom through faithfully being brought forth (born) through Israel's National repentance and cleansing program, beginning with John the Baptist's and Jesus's water baptism in the Gospel Accounts, Peter's water baptism and Christ baptism of the Believing Remnant of Israel in early Acts, continued in the Tribulation Period and fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ at His 2nd Coming. At that time He will gather the scattered Believing Remnant, sprinkling them with clean water that cleanses them from their association with Israel's National debt of sin and giving them the Spirit, who will cause them to obey the Law so that they can receive its blessings rather than its curses, whereby they can be brought into their long-prophesied earthly Kingdom with no chance of failure: A “born again” Nation of Israel, God's Own holy Nation and Kingdom of Priests. The classic example of what Jesus is talking to Nicodemus about is Moses. Moses was allowed to “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom but was not allowed to “enter” into it (Num. 27:12-14; Deut. 34:1-6).

Israel: Seeing and Entering the Promised Land/Kingdom. (Jn. 3:1‑5)

After the 1st Exodus and after 40 years wondering in the wilderness Israel could be broken down into the following categories:

  1. The bulk of the nation did not “believe on His (Jehovah) Name. Therefore, they did not have spiritual eyes to “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom and were not allowed to “enter” into the Promised Land/Kingdom. The whole first generation (except Caleb and Joshua) died in the wilderness.
  2. Some of Israel did “believe on His (Jehovah) Name.” Therefore, they were empowered with spiritual eyes to “see” the Promised Land, but because of lapses in faithfulness were not allowed to “enter” the Promised Land/Kingdom. The classic example of this is Moses, who had the spiritual eyes to “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom but was not allowed to “enter” it (Deut. 34:1-6).
  3. Two additional Israelites from the first generation, Caleb and Joshua “believed in His Jehovah Name.” Therefore, they not only had the spiritual eyes to “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom (Num. 13:2, 18; 14:6-9), they could also “enter” the Promised Land/Kingdom (Num. 14:21-24, 30).
  4. This failure for the Nation of Israel at their first Exodus/Birth was because they entered into the Law at Sinai relying on the power of their own flesh rather than on the power of the Grace resident in the LORD's Jehovah Name, resulting in falling under the curses of the Law. When Israel is “born again” at Christ's 2nd Coming, they will believe on His Name and will be given the Spirit, who will cause them to walk in His statutes and keep His judgments and do them (Ezek. 36:27), the reverse will be true. They will receive the blessings of the Law rather than the curses, and the Courses of Punishment will be over. At that time, the bulk of the Nation will enter the Kingdom and only a very small number will be excluded.

See a summary chart below:

Exodus/New Birth Motif Israel's 1st Exodus/Birth in Exodus and Numbers 2nd Exodus/Birth in “End Time” Prophecy (Is. 66; Psalms; Ezek.)
Signs and Wonders to believe/trust/rely on His Jehovah Name (Ex. 3-4; Jn. 1:12-13; 2:23) Most of the nation did not believe in His Name, wanted to return to Egypt and decided to do it on their own according to the flesh under the Law, and they died in the wilderness. Most of the nation will not believe in His Name and stay with the VRS according to the flesh and will die outside the Kingdom.
Seeing” the Promised Land/Kingdom (Num. 27:12-14; Deut. 34:1-4a; Jn. 3:3) Those who do believe in His Name are empowered to “see” the Promised Land. Those who do believe in His Name are empowered to “see” the Kingdom.
Entering” the Promised Land/Kingdom (Num. 13:2, 18, 14:6-9; 27:14; Deut. 34:1-6 Jn. 3:5) Those who at certain points faithfully obeyed could “enter” the Promised Land—only Joshua and Caleb of the 1st generation. Everyone else of that generation, including Moses, could not enter the land and died in the wilderness. Only Caleb and Joshua. Those who obey by being brought through (born) Israel's cleansing and repentance program can “enter” the Kingdom. This time, while a few might be excluded but most will “enter” to become the 2nd born again Nation of Israel.
Empowered by the Flesh/Empowered by the Spirit Contrast (Ex. 19; Num. 27:18; Jn. 3:6, 8) They failed for 1500 years, falling under the curses of the Law and the COPs because they entered the Law according to the flesh rather than falling on the grace in His Jeh. Name. The bulk of the Believing Remnant will enter because this time they will fall on the grace in His Name and He will give them the Spirit who will cause them to obey the Law, falling under its blessings rather than curses

Highlights in John

Jesus and Nicodemus: (Pt. 6):
Putting It All Together Pt. 2 (Jn. 3:1‑16)

May 11, 2023

Thursday night we finished looking at Jn. 1:1-16, a well-known passage but unfortunately not a well-understood passage.

The past few weeks we had to spend some time getting up to speed on the Old Testament context for this passage. This passage has nothing to do with personal salvation in the Dispensation of Grace, in spite of what most theologians, preachers and even famous sports stars may say. And there is nothing magical and mystical about the numbers 3:16 (that's just pagan superstition cloaked under the name of Christianity). Neither John nor Nicodemus nor anyone else at that time knew anything about God's Mystery Program with the Body of Christ. God and Paul tell us over and over again that what He is doing today through the distinct apostleship of Paul in the Dispensation of Grace had been kept secret since the world began, kept secret that is until the Risen Lord Jesus Christ made it known to Paul through a DIRCET revelation (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:2-4; Gal. 1:11-12).

Before Paul, no one knew about it (Eph. 3:5). In fact, you could get all the supercomputers in the world, put them all together and search for Mystery Truth in all human wisdom, worldly and angelic knowledge and even the non-Pauline Scriptures (the Old Testament, Gospel Accounts and Ministry of the 12) and the result would always be the same: NO MATCHES FOUND. But we needn't bother because God explicitly told us that it was UNSEARCHABLE until He revealed it to the Apostle Paul, who recorded it in the Scriptures (Eph. 3:4, 8; Rom. 16:25-26). And contrary to what most of historic Christianity teaches, it wasn't hid in the Old Testament; it was HID IN GOD from eternity past (Eph. 3:9). While John and Nicodemus might have known something about the Gentile nations being blessed with the Nation of Israel and through her rise in accord with the Abrahamic Covenant, they knew absolutely nothing about the riches of God's Grace being dispensed to the world today, especially to the Gentiles, apart from Israel and through her Fall (Rom. 9-11). So, if we are going to properly understand this passage we must go to the Old Testament, especially the Exodus Account (Exodus 3-19), Israel's Entrance into the Promised Land (Numbers 13-14, 27) the Psalms (Ps. 41:13; 72:19; 89:52), Isaiah (Is. 66:7-9) and Ezekiel (chapters 37-38). If we do that, we will see Jesus leading Nicodemus and the whole nation, step-by-step, into Israel's national salvation program so that they can not only “see” the long-prophesied earthly Kingdom, but they can “enter” it as well (Jn. 3:3, 5).

Highlights in John

“Seeing” and “Entering” the Kingdom

May 18, 2023

While last time we looked at the Old Testament passages for the background for Jn. 3:1-16, this week we jumped into the future to see how a foretaste of what Jesus is talking to Nicodemus about plays out after the resurrection through the ministry of Peter and the 12 and the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

“Seeing” and “Entering” the Kingdom

To not understand what Jesus is trying to teach Nicodemus, we must not go to Paul's Mystery Scriptures but to the non-Pauline Scriptures of God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel. We can get a good idea of what Jesus means by “seeing” and “entering” the Kingdom, that is, Israel's long-prophesied, literal, physical earthly Kingdom, centered in the Land of Canaan, by what it looked like at Israel's first entrance into the Promised Land (home of the Kingdom) in Numbers and Deuteronomy (Num. 13:2, 18; 14:6-9; 27:12-14; Deut. 34:1-4a); then what it looked like at Pentecost after the Death and Resurrection of Christ (Acts 2-5); and finally what it will look like when Christ returns and establishes Israel's Kingdom on Earth (Ezek. 36- 48).

1. Numbers and Deuteronomy: If we just focus on Moses and the 12 spies, we discover a representative sample of the spectrum of the Israelites and their relationship to the Promised Land/Kingdom.

  • Of the 12 spies that went in to scope out the land, 10 of them could not “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom. All they saw were giants and enemies too powerful for them to defeat, danger and destruction at every turn. They did not believe on the I AM Jehovah Name that God gave to them before the Exodus (Ex. 3) and, therefore, didn't fall on the Grace resident in that Name whereby the Lord would do everything they needed for them. Therefore, because of their unbelief, they were not only excluded from “entering” the Land/Kingdom because of unfaithfulness, they couldn't even “see” it because they didn't have spiritual eyes that come from believing in His Name (Num. 13:28-29; 14:29-30).
  • On the other end of the spectrum, we have the 2 spies, Joshua and Caleb, who believed on the Name of the Lord, relying on the Grace resident in His Jehovah Name to do everything for them (Num. 14:6-9). Therefore, they not only had spiritual eyes to “see” the Kingdom (Num. 14:7), they could also actually “enter” the Land/Kingdom (Num. 14:29-30).
  • Then between these two extremes we find Moses. Moses believed in the Name of the LORD and relied on the Grace resident in His Name (Ex. 14:14‑25), therefore He could “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom (Num. 27:12-13; Deut. 34:1-4). But because of an act of unfaithfulness (Num. 20:2-13), He was prohibited from “entering” the Promised Land/Kingdom.

This is the same pattern we find in John 2:23-3:5: Step #1: Believe in the Name of the Lord and become the children (born ones) of God by faith without works (Jn. 2:23; 3:15-16). Step #2: This gave them the spiritual eyes they needed to “see” the Kingdom (Jn. 3:3). Step #3: Then the Lord invited them to “enter” the Kingdom by being brought through (born of) faithfulness (faith plus works) by going through Israel's National Repentance and Cleansing Program, beginning with John the Baptist's and Jesus's water baptism before His resurrection, and advancing afterwards with Peter's water baptism and Christ's Spirit baptism of the Believing Remnant of Israel at Pentecost in early Acts.

2. Acts 2-5: Here we find a picture of how this all works in a foretaste manner as they await the arrival of the Kingdom in their own lifetimes because according to Daniel's Time Schedule it would arrive about 7-8 years later.

  • Step #1: Peter preached to the Men of Jerusalem, Judea and Israel (Acts 2:14, 22), and they believed God's Word through Peter with regard to who Jesus is, the embodiment of the Name of the Lord, and God counted their faith for righteousness (Acts 2:37). They are justified before God unto eternal life, all personal sins forgiven and eternally secure.
  • Step #2: Those who believed in His Name and were justified before God are then given an opportunity to be justified before Christ at His 2nd Coming for entrance into the Kingdom (Acts 2:37, 41, 44): Repent and be water baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and receive the Holy Spirit (2:38).
  • Step #3: Then they were brought into a foretaste of New Covenant and Kingdom Blessings, “entering” into the manifestation of the Kingdom at that time (2:42-47; 4:31-37). But two members of the Believing Remnant, who had been water baptized and participated in the reception of the Spirit, rebelled against Him and were put to physical death. This makes an interesting comparison. Whereas at the 1st Exodus the whole 1st generation of Israel died physically in the wilderness because they tried to do it through the power of the flesh and only 2 people (Joshua and Caleb) were allowed to enter the Promised Land/Kingdom, in Acts 2-5, we find the whole group of believing Israel entering the blessings of the Kingdom because the Lord did it for them through the Spirit (Acts 2:42-47; 4:31-37) and only 2 were excluded from the Kingdom.

Once again, we find the same pattern Jesus describes to Nicodemus in John: Believing in His Name leads to “seeing” the Kingdom through faith alone, which gives longing to “enter” the Kingdom by faithfulness by going through Israel's national cleansing program, which would make them into the “born again” Nation of Israel.

3. Ezek. 36-36

Ezekiel brings all of this together by explaining the end time events that will culminate in the complete fulfillment of all God's promises to Israel, making her His Own holy nation and the source of a Kingdom of priests (Ex. 19:6).

  • Ezek. 33: When Israel went into captivity, they died as a nation. At Sinai, they entered the Law declaring “we will do all that you say through the power of our own flesh,” and that decision put them under the Curses of the Law that culminated in the 5th Course of Punishment, their exile from the Promised Land and their subjection to Gentile rule that continued in the days of Jesus's earthly ministry.
  • Ezek. 36:1-23: Step #1: They needed a new beginning that is better than the one in their past. They needed to be enabled this time to sanctify His Name by believing on it and falling on the Grace resident in it, so that this time He could do everything for them, guaranteeing success this time (36:11). This would give them spiritual eyes to “see” the Kingdom (Ezek. 36:23; 37:20; Jn. 1:12-13; 2:23; 3:3).
  • Ezek. 36:24-38: Step #2: Then the LORD will gather believing Israel and sprinkle them with clean water, cleansing them from all association with apostate Israel's national debt of sin. Then He would give them the Holy Spirit, who would cause them to walk according to God's commandments, so that they would never accrue a national debt of sin ever again.
  • Ezek. 40-48: Step #3: The establishment of Israel's Kingdom on Earth for the enjoyment of those who could “see” and “enter” it forevermore.

Highlights in John

Verse-By-Verse: John 2:23-25

May 25, 2023

There has been a large amount of interest in the our study of John 3. While this passage contains some of the most familiar verses in historic Christianity, it contains some of the least understood passages as well. Many of you have contacted us with many similar questions and comments. Therefore, rather than responding to every question individually, I have decided to instead put together a Verse-By-Verse explanation of this passage, beginning with Jn. 2:23 and going through Jn. 3:16 and beyond.

Verse-By-Verse: John 2:23‑25

Let's go through this passage verse-by-verse in the light of the Old Testament, not reading Paul into this passage, but reading the Exodus Account, Numbers, the Psalms and Ezekiel 36-37 into this passage.

John. 2:23: Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in His name, when they saw the signs which He did.

  • Believing in His Name, refers Israel back to when God gave them His I AM Jehovah Name just before the Exodus out of Egypt (Ex. 3:13-15). To an ancient Israelite, when one referred to believing in His Name, it referred to the I AM Jehovah Name of the God of Israel. That Name encapsulated all that God is for the Nation of Israel: I AM (blank space) whatever you need Me to be. God designed the wilderness wanderings to teach Israel that if they were going to be the people He created them to be, HE WOULD HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING FOR THEM. To believe in His Name was to believe in the I AM Jehovah God of Israel, fall on the Grace resident in that Name, which in John was now embodied in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Along with His Jehovah Name, God also gave Israel signs and wonders so that they might believe (Ex. 4:1-9). For an ancient Israelite to say they believed in His Name after experiencing the signs (remember, John does not use the word “miracle” (dynamis) but the word “signs” (semeion)), indicated that they believed God, relying on the Grace resident in His Jehovah Name, and like Abraham, God would count their faith for righteousness, ie., justification unto eternal life--Gen. 15:6. This is exactly the way God intended it to work when He gave them the signs to believe (Ex. 3‑4).
  • Recognizing that the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus in Jn. 3 flows out of Jn. 2 (see below), Nicodemus may very well have been one of those who believed in His Name when they saw the signs which He did. Nicodemus “saw” something in Jesus, recognizing that He was someone sent from God and that God was with Him (Jn. 3:2). Most commentators say that faith based on signs was not sufficient, was not “saving” faith. But this cannot be so because in the Prologue, when John was setting the groundwork for reading his Gospel, he explained that while the bulk of Israel would reject Christ, those who received Him, to them gave He power to become the children of God, and how did they receive Him: EVEN TO THEM THAT BELIEVE IN HIS NAME, which were born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor the will of man but of God (Jn. 1:12-13). So, when John states in the very next chapter that many believed on His Name (Jn. 2:23), it should be understood as “saving” faith. They became the children, the born ones of God. Just like Abraham, they believed God and God counted their faith for righteousness (Gen. 15:6). They were justified before God and His Tribunal unto eternal life; they were brought into a right-standing before God with all individual and personal sins forgiven; they were eternally secure.
  • This happened at or on the Passover, which takes the reader back to when God delivered Israel out of Egypt, giving birth to the nation the 1st time. The Passover was eaten at night and right after that, they left Egypt. Therefore, the background to Jesus's encounter with Nicodemus is the night of the Passover and the Exodus, through which Israel was “born” the 1st time (Jn. 3:1-2).

John. 2:24-25: But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man.

  • Many use these verses to argue that believing based on the signs was insufficient for “saving” faith. But as we saw in the previous point, this confuses everything. Salvation isn't the result of Jesus trusting or believing in them! It is the result of them trusting and believing in Him!! Jesus didn't trust in ANY human: NOT EVEN HIS OWN MOTHER (Jn. 2:4). Humans are fallible, limited, and prone to faltering. If Jesus had trusted in His Mother, He would have operated contrary to His ”hour,” contrary to the will of His Father as revealed in Daniel's time schedule (Dan. 9). Jesus goes on to say that He also doesn't need ANY human testimony: NOT EVEN JOHN THE BAPTIST'S (Jn. 5:33-34)! Jesus doesn't trust in or need the witness of any fallible human. He only trusts in and needs the witness of the Father. He only needs the testimony of the Father's Words and Works and the Scriptures (Jn. 5:33-39). In short, if Jesus's not trusting in Mary and not needing the testimony of John the Baptist doesn't call into question their “salvation,” it likewise doesn't call into question the “salvation” of those who believed in His Name, when they saw the signs! Let me say again: Thanks to God that “salvation” isn't God believing in us! It is us believing in God and His Word!!

Highlights in John

Verse-By-Verse: John 3:1-2

May 25, 2023

John 3:1: There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

  • Jn. 2 ends with people trusting in Jesus, but He doesn't trust in any man (not even His Mother—Jn. 2:1‑12); nor does He need any man's testimony (not even John the Baptist—Jn. 5:33-34). Then Jn. 3 opens immediately with Nicodemus described as a man of the Pharisees, which seems to connect these two passages. Therefore, Nicodemus is most likely one of those who believed in His Name when they saw His words and signs at the end of chapter 2. In other words, he believed in God and God counted His faith for righteousness, justified before God unto eternal life.
  • In addition, reference to the “night” connects the scene back to the Passover context also at the end of chapter2 (Jn. 2:23). The Passover was eaten in the “night,” after which, the LORD delivered Israel out of Egypt. Nicodemus came out of the darkness of the prophetic night of Israel under the 5th Course of Punishment and came into the Light of Jesus (Jn. 1:4-5, 7), which seems to meet the criterion of Jn. 3:21: He that does the truth comes to the Light that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought by God (Jn. 3:21). Any one of these reasons alone would be sufficient to indicate that Nicodemus believed in His Name thereby becoming a child (born one) of God (Jn. 1:12-13) and, therefore, was “saved” in the sense of being justified before God and His Tribunal unto eternal life by faith without works, all personal and individual sins forgiven. But if we put all these reasons together, it seems to make it certain.
  • Through Jesus's teaching in the next verses, Nicodemus is supposed to progress from being just a teacher of the Jews (Jn. 3:1) to being THE TEACHER OF ISRAEL (Jn. 3:10—see notes on that verse).

John 3:2: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with Him.

  • We noted above that believing in His Name meant believing in the I AM Jehovah Name of the God of Israel now embodied in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here Nicodemus gives us sone initial information on what he “saw” with regard to Jesus when He believed. Nicodemus “saw” Jesus as a teacher who came from God, and that God was with Him. Many shrug off this “confession” as being woefully inadequate, and use it to prove that Nicodemus didn't have “saving” faith. But we mustn't set the bar higher for Nicodemus than we do for everyone else in the Gospel of John. No one really understood what was going on at the time.

For instance, Nicodemus's faith is called into question because he just called Jesus Rabbi. But is this so woefully inadequate when we remember that that is how the disciples initially identified Jesus as well (Jn. 1:38)? And while on the surface it may look like the disciples came along a lot faster and further in their descriptions of Jesus (Jn. 1:36-51), we must also remember that they had a considerable head start. They had already been under the teaching John the Baptist for a long time. Nicodemus, however, had been a member of the Vain Religious System and, therefore, had a lot further to go.

It is also important to note that when Nicodemus recognized that Jesus was sent by God and that God was with Him, he was saying the same thing that Jesus said Himself over and over again throughout the Gospel! In this very chapter, for instance, Jesus states that He is with God the Father in Heaven (3:13), and that He came from God the Father (Jn. 3:17). Over-and-over He says things like: I and my Father are One (Jn. 10:30). And, I am sent of the Father (Jn. 7:29). These themes are present everywhere in this Gospel. They are two threads that run through Jesus's whole earthly ministry in John, tying everything together. Here are a few examples: Jn. 4:34; 5:17, 24; 6:29, 38-57; 7:18-33; 8:54; 14:10-11; 17:7-8, 11-17, 21, et al.

Based on all of this, Nicodemus's initial perception of Jesus is consistent with a heart of faith that gives him the spiritual eyes needed to begin to “see” Jesus is (the King) and, therefore, begin to “see” the Kingdom. He recognized that Jesus could lead him into the long-prophesied Kingdom of Israel. He just needed to grow in that understanding, which is exactly what Jesus is going to try to accomplish in the next few verses. Nicodemus pops up occasionally in the Gospel of John (Jn. 7:50; 19:39), and we can look for evidence of this progression. While Nicodemus's perception of Jesus showed a heart of faith and ability to “see” Him, it also showed a complete lack of understanding. Again, we must not set the bar higher for Nicodemus than others in the Gospel. The disciples themselves understand very little as well (Jn. 6:32-35; 12:16; Mk. 6:52; Mat. 15:16; 16:21-23; et al.).

Afterall, how many of us today, even with the complete Scriptures and 2,000 years to think about it, could really explain the intricacies of the Trinity or verbalize the details of our salvation in great detail using all the right concepts and words? As noted in the previous section, it is a very good thing that salvation doesn't come by God believing in us! But by us believing in God!!

  • It is worth noting that when Nicodemus tries to explain his understanding, it is faulty. As a (self-proclaimed) expert in the Law, he should have known that doing signs and wonders does NOT automatically mean God is working with someone. In Deut. 13:1-5, Moses explains that the signs must be corroborated by verifying that they are in accord with God's Word. They must be in accord with the commandments of the LORD. Jesus identifies such false-sign people in Mat. 7:21-23, and they will be especially active in the Tribulation Period (2 Thes. 2:9).

Highlights in John

Background to Jn. 3:1‑16—Pt. 1:
Israel's 1st Birth (Exodus and Numbers)

Jun 01, 2023

John 3:1-16: OVERVIEW


  • This passage is one of the most well-known in all the Bible. Unfortunately, it is also one of the least understood. The biggest mistake we can make is reading the Apostle Paul and the Body of Christ in the Dispensation of Grace into this passage. Today it is commonly assumed that John's use of “born again” is just another way of saying “getting personally saved.” While today we talk about being “saved” personally as being “born again,” that is most certainly not what Jesus was talking about with Nicodemus. John and Nicodemus didn't know anything about Pauline Grace Mystery Truth. Rather, in this passage Jesus was reminding Nicodemus as the representative of the religious system of Israel, how Israel's NATIONAL salvation would be accomplished, and He used Old Testament Scriptures to do it, Old Testament Scriptures that Nicodemus should have known inside out and backwards.

    Jesus was pointing him back to the Exodus Account, the Psalms and, especially, Ezekiel, refreshing his memory with what was required for Israel to not only “see” the Kingdom, the long-prophesied Kingdom of Israel on the Earth (Acts 2:3, 6), but to “enter” it as well. This Kingdom is not some spiritual kingdom that most of historic Christianity has tried to turn it into. It is the literal/physical Kingdom of Israel, centered in the literal/physical Promised Land, in the literal/physical Middle East with Christ reigning literally and physically on His literal/physical throne in literal/physical Jerusalem. Therefore, to understand this passage, we must not go to Paul but to the Old Testament. And the first stop is the Exodus Account where Israel was born the 1st time.
  • Background #1: The Passover and the Exodus

    This passage flows out of the context of the Passover (Jn. 2:23), which God gave to Israel when He delivered them out of the land of Egypt. At that time, the Nation of Israel was “born” the 1st time (Ex. 4:22). This birth fizzled out because they did not learn the lessons of relying on the Grace resident in God's Jehovah Name (Ex. 14-19) , and instead wanted to become His special people through the power of their own flesh (Ex. 19:8). Instead of relying on the LORD to do everything for them, they rebelled and said we will do it ourselves (Ex. 19:8).

    As a result, they spent the next 1500 years under the curses of the Law in the Courses of Punishment that culminated in the 5th Course of Punishment when they were taken captive under Gentile rule and exiled into their nations. When that happened they died as a nation (Ezek. 33). Even when a small number returned to the Promised Land after the Babylonian Captivity, they were still under Gentile rule and would continue that way even in the days of Jesus Christ's earthly ministry. When Jesus visited the Nation of Israel, they were ruled by a Vain Religious System, which was ruled by the Gentiles, who were ruled by Satan. They needed new life, they needed a 2nd birth: THEY NEEDED TO BE BORN AGAIN AS A NATION.
  • Background #2: Past Israel
    Called on to “See” and “Enter” the Promised Land/Kingdom
    (Numbers and Deuteronomy).

    Now fast forward 40 years after the Exodus, and we find Israel at the borders of the Promised Land of Israel, the land on which Israel's long-prophesied earthly Kingdom would be centered. The whole 1st generation would die in the wilderness with only two—Joshua and Caleb—allowed to enter the Promised Land (Num. 14:22-24, 30). If we focus on Moses and the 12 spies he sent to spy out the Land, we will see the whole “faith” spectrum of the Israelites. On one end of the “faith” spectrum you have the 10 spies who went into the land but could not “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom. All they saw was walled cities, giants and armies too strong for them to conquer because they were relying on their own strength rather than believing on the Name of the LORD and relying on His strength. Therefore, they could not even “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom, let alone enter it (Num. 13:28-29, 31-33).

    At the other end of the spectrum there was the remaining 2 spies, Caleb and Joshua. They went into the same land, but when they looked at the rivers, they didn't see them flowing with water. They “saw” them flowing with milk and honey! And when they saw the enemy, they didn't just see the giants and their armies, they saw the LORD destroying the enemy for them. Why, it took two men just to carry one cluster of grapes (Num. 13:23, 27, 30; 14:6-9)! The 2 spies believed in His I AM Jehovah Name and relied Him to do EVERYTHING FOR THEM! Therefore, because of their FAITH (without works), they had the spiritual eyes they needed to “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom. And because of their FAITHFULNESS, their faithful report on the Land, they were allowed to “enter” the Promised Land/Kingdom as well (Num. 14:30).

    Between these two extremes was Moses. While he certainly believed on the Name of the LORD and, therefore, had the spiritual eyes needed to “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom (naturally--Num. 27:12; and supernaturally--Deut. 34:1-4), he was not allowed to enter the Land because of an act of unfaithfulness in the desert of Zin in Kadesh (Num. 27:13; Deut. 34:4-5).

    This is the “seeing” and “entering” of the Kingdom that Jesus is talking to Nicodemus about in John. 3. In order for Israel to participate in Israel's National Salvation and Restoration in the Promised Land/Kingdom, they will need to:
    1. Believe on the Name of the LORD—Ex. 3-4 with Jn. 1:12-13; 2:23; 3:15-16, et al. This was participated in by faith without works—justification before God and His Tribunal unto eternal life, forgiveness of all individual and personal sins, eternally secure.
    2. Those who believed became the children (born ones) of God (Jn. 1:12-13; 2:23) and were placed into the Believing Remnant of Israel and given spiritual eyes to “see” the Kingdom—Num. 13:27, 30; 14:6-9; 27:12; Deut. 34:1-4 compare Jn. 3:3, 36. At the time Jesus was speaking with Nicodemus, the manifestation of the Kingdom was the presence of the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His signs (Lk. 11:20).
    3. But those who “see” the King and the Kingdom don't want to just “see” the Kingdom like Moses, they want to “enter” it as well, like Joshua and Caleb—Num. 14:30 compare Jn. 3:5. This is participated in by faithfulness. We will see in a future installment that the faithful act believing Israel is called on to do is to participate in Israel's National Cleansing Program by being brought forth (born of) by baptism of water and of the Spirit.

Here's this information in chart form:

Highlights in John

Background to Jn. 3:1-16 (Pt. 2) (Psalms and Ezekiel)

Jun 08, 2023

  • Background #3: Amen, Amen/Verily, Verily and the Psalms

    When Jesus introduces His teaching to Nicodemus with Amen, Amen or in our KJV Verily, Verily or in some other versions Truly, Truly, we must not simply reduce it to a plain a statement like: Most assuredly (NKJV) or very truly (NIV). To do so hides its clear reference to the Old Testament that Nicodemus would have immediately recognized. John's Gospel is the only place in the New Testament that uses the double Amen phrase. And in the Old Testament it is only used 5 times, three of which are placed strategically at the end of each of the first three books of the Psalms: Ps. 41:13, 72:19; 89:52.

    When we remember that the five books that make up the Psalms have to do with the Davidic Covenant, which provides for Israel's National Salvation Package, we will appreciate Jesus's use of this terminology with Nicodemus, who knew his Old Testament inside out and backwards. Using the double Amen phrase, the Psalmist used the first Amen to close one Book while using the second Amen to open the next Book. For instance, the Amen, Amen, in Ps. 41:13 closed Book 1 of the Psalms (Ps. 1-41), which proclaimed: The LORD is Israel's Redeemer and led into Book 2 (Ps. 42-72), which proclaimed: The LORD is Israel's Deliverer. The Amen, Amen, in Ps. 72:19 closed Book 2 and led into Book 3 (Ps. 73-89), which proclaimed: The LORD is Israel's Avenger. Finally, the Amen, Amen, of Book 3 (Ps. 89:52) closed Book 3 and led into Books 4 and 5 (Ps. 90-150), which proclaimed: The LORD is Israel's King and Blesser.

    Put another way, once Israel's redemption, deliverance and avengement are accomplished (Books 1-3), the LORD will usher saved Israel into her long-prophesied earthly Kingdom and its blessings (Books 4-5). This is what Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus about in Jn. 3 (Jn. 3:3, 5, 8).
  • Background #4: 2nd Exodus: Future/End Time Israel Called on To “See” and “Enter” the Promised Land/Kingdom (Ezekiel 33-39, especially 36-37).

    Ezekiel reiterates what we learned in the previous section although giving more detail. It goes a step further, pushing everything into the future in the light of Israel's captivity. Let's proceed step-by-step:

    Ezek. 33 with Jn. 8:37-47, 11:48 et al. : When Israel went into captivity under Gentile rule they died as a nation. That is still their condition in the days of Jesus's earthly ministry. They were still ruled by a Vain Religious System, who were ruled by the Gentiles, who were ruled by Satan.

    Ezek. 36:1-23 with Jn. 1:12-13; 2:23; 3:3, 15-17: Therefore, Israel needed new life; a new beginning that would accomplish what their previous beginnings didn't (Ezek. 36:1-15, esp. vv. 8-11). They needed to be “born again,” be born a 2nd time by believing on the Name of the LORD so that they could be empowered to sanctify the Name of the LORD in faith rather than profaning it in unbelief (Ezek. 36:11 vs. 36:20). Then, once Israel was believing and sanctifying the Name of the Lord, they would be enabled to proclaim the LORD to the rest of the world so that the Gentiles could sanctify His Name with and through God's holy Nation, the “born again” Nation of Israel (Ezek. 36:23). And when this occurs, it results in the salvation of the world in accord with God's Prophetic Program with Israel and the Abrahamic Covenant (Jn. 3:17).

    Ezek. 36:24-38 with Jn. 3:5-7: In that future “end time” or “last days” of Daniel's Time Schedule, the Tribulation Period ends with the 2nd Coming of Christ, who will regather Believing Israel, sprinkle them with clean water to cleanse them from all association with apostate Israel's National debt of sin. Then He will give them the Holy Spirit, who will cause them to walk in His commandments so that they never accrue a National debt of sin again. (This is pictured in water baptism by men and Spirit baptism by Christ—acts 2-3.) Having received these New Covenant and Kingdom blessings, the Lord will create His Own debt- free Nation of Israel from them, a holy Nation of Israel, to be a Kingdom of priests to the world. He will plant them in the Promised Land/Kingdom of Israel, restoring them and making them into the greatest of nations (Deut. 28:13), the envy of the world, the reflector of God's Glory and Light, and the proclaimers of His Word and Name to the whole world (Is. 60:1-3), fulfilling God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel.

    Ezek. 37:1-14 with Jn. 3:8: The LORD's Wind, His Spirit, scattered Israel throughout the Gentile world (Ezek. 5:1-2), and it will be His Wind/Spirit that will regather them. He will blow over the dead bones of Believing Israel laying in graves amongst the Gentiles, raising them up, giving them life, gathering them to Himself and planting them in their own Promised Land/Kingdom, a restored, regenerated (re-born) Nation of Israel ready to carry out God's plan and purpose for them.

Highlights in John

Verse-By-Verse: John 3:3‑5

Jun 15, 2023

On Thursday night, we finished our look at the progressive “lifting up” of the Son of Man to be looked upon, beginning with God lifting Him up in His earthly ministry to Israel ... to His lifting up on the Cross ... to His lifting up through His resurrection and exaltation ... and to His return in Glory when the whole earth will look upon Him in His Glory (Mat. 24:30).

John 3:3-4: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

  • Verily, Verily (see Background #3).
  • As He did with Nathaniel, Mary and the Temple leaders, Jesus sweeps away all Nicodemus's blather and plunges to the depths of his deepest longings: “Seeing” and “entering” Israel's long-prophesied Kingdom, the Kingdom of God on Earth (Acts 1:3, 6). Since Nicodemus appears to be one of those who believed in His Name at the end of chapter 2 (Jn. 2:23), he is a child of God, a born one of God (Jn. 1:12-13) and has the spiritual eyes to “see” (like Moses, Caleb and Joshua— see Background #2) the Kingdom, which was manifested at that time in the presence of the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, tabernacling among them (Jn. 1:14).

    Nicodemus recognized that in some way Jesus was the embodiment of the I AM Jehovah God of Israel, their Messiah and King. He “saw” that Christ came from God, and that God was with Christ (Jn. 3:2). Some say this is insufficient faith but this is the way Jesus refers to Himself throughout the Gospel of John (see Jn. 3:13, 16-17; 10:30; 13:20; et al.). Nicodemus “saw,” perceived spiritually, that this was Someone who could lead him and the Nation of Israel into their long-prophesied literal, physical earthly Kingdom that would be centered in the literal/physical Land of Canaan, the Promised Land. God promised this earthly Kingdom to Israel going all the way back not only to Moses (Ex. 19:5-6; Deut. 28:12-13, et al.) but to Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3), and really all the way back to Adam and Eve in the Garden (Gen. 1-2).
  • To “see” the Kingdom one (John uses “you” in the singular—Nicodemus and all Israelites) must be born again, becoming born of God, the children of God, by believing in His Name (Jn. 1:12-13). In v. 7, Jesus changes to the “you” in the plural, YE, You All, referring to the Nation of Israel as a whole. In other words, the “born again” Nation of Israel will only consist of the “born ones” of God. More on this in v. 6.
  • Nicodemus isn't keeping up with Jesus's teaching and doesn't understand its meaning. Instead of thinking about the regeneration (rebirth) of the Nation of Israel as described in the Exodus Account, the Psalms and Ezekiel 33-39, he's still thinking about the natural human birth. So, Jesus tries to lead him another step forward.

John 3:5: Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

  • But Nicodemus and Israel didn't want to just “see” the Kingdom (like Moses—see Background #2), they wanted to also “enter” the Kingdom (like Caleb and Joshua-- see Background #2). Because they believed in His Name, by faith without works Caleb and Joshua were given spiritual eyes to “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom. And because they were faithful in their good report about the Land, they were allowed to “enter” the Land/Kingdom as well. They were the only two of that generation to do so. Contrast this with Moses, who while he believed in His Name and, therefore, could “see” the Promised Land/Kingdom, he was not allowed to “enter” the Land/Kingdom because of an act of unfaithfulness.

    Jesus is leading Nicodemus step-by-step: First, he and all Israel must believe in His Name (Jn. 1:12-13; 2:23; 3:15-16). Second, doing that would give them the spiritual eyes to “see” the Kingdom (like Moses). Third, once they “saw” the King and Kingdom, they were invited to participate in a faithful act to “enter” the Kingdom. And at the time of Christ's earthly ministry, that faithful act was being brought forth through (born of) Israel's National Cleansing and Repentance Program. He gave them the opportunity to picture what He Himself is going to do at His 2nd Coming when He sprinkles them with water and gives them the Holy Spirit in fulfillment of the New Covenant.

    This participation in Israel's National cleansing Program began with water baptism by men, starting with John the Baptist's in the Gospel Accounts (Jn. 1:15‑34; 3:22‑36), which progressed to Peter's baptism with water and the addition of Christ's baptism with the Spirit at Pentecost in early Acts (Acts 2‑3). Picturing this will continue through the Tribulation Period and will ultimately be fulfilled at Christ's 2nd Coming when the LORD Himself will gather believing Israel when He will sprinkle them with clean water, separating them from all association with apostate Israel's National debt of sin, and give them the Spirit so that they never accrue a National debt of sin again in accord with Ezek. 36‑37 (see Background #4).

    The Spirit given in early Acts gave believing Israel a foretaste of Kingdom and New Covenant blessings, empowering them to have perfect knowledge of God's Word and the apostle's doctrine, live in complete harmony with one accord and walk in accord with all God's commandments (Acts 2-4). This foretaste of blessings provided by the Spirit will start up again in the Tribulation Period when it will be especially needed as they go through its severe persecutions, trials, tribulations, and temptations.

    Water baptism by men and Spirit baptism by Christ gave and will give Believing Israel an opportunity to “picture” or be a type of what Christ will do in full at His 2nd Coming when He completely fulfills and implements the Davidic Covenant, New Covenant and Abrahamic Covenant, thereby ushering believing Israel and her believing Gentile friends into the Kingdom.

Highlights in John

Verse-By-Verse: John 3:6‑10

Jun 22, 2023

We reach the culmination of everything Jesus has been trying to teach Nicodemus: Israel's National Salvation/Restoration MUST START with faith. The “born again” Nation of Israel will only be made up of the “born ones” of God.

Verse-By-Verse: John 3:6‑10

John 3:6-7: That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye (you plural—the whole Nation of Israel) must be born again.

  • This brings everything together, going from individual Israelites to the Nation of Israel as a whole.

    Individual Israelites are qualified to be members of true believing Israel by being born not just of the flesh but of the Spirit as well:

    Individual Israelite's 1st BirthBorn of the Flesh: Yes, they must be born the natural progeny of Abraham through the line of Isaac and Jacob according to the flesh. But that is not the sole qualification.

    Individual Israelite's 2nd BirthBorn of the Spirit: They must also be born the spiritual progeny of Abraham by following in His footsteps of faith thereby becoming the children (born ones) of God according to the Spirit. Abraham believed God and God counted His faith for righteousness (Gen. 15:6). This is what the nation was missing. They all met qualification #1, but very few met qualification #2 and were, therefore, excluded from not only “entering” the Kingdom but even “seeing” it as well.
  • This extends to the Nation of Israel as a whole:

    Nation of Israel's 1st Birth—The Exodus when God brought them forth out of Egypt and unto Himself (Exodus Account).

    National Israel's 2nd Birth—The greater Exodus in their future that will occur at the end of the Tribulation Period when Christ returns and delivers them out of their Gentile graves, giving them new life and planting them in the Kingdom as His Own “born again” Nation of Israel, a holy Nation and a Kingdom of Priests (Ex. 19:5; Ezek. 36-39; Is. 60, et al.)

John 3:8-10: The wind blows where it lists, and thou hears the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him: How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him: Art thou a (Gk. THE) master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

  • Starting with Israel's need of a new beginning, a new birth, that would come about by believing in and sanctifying the Name of the LORD (Jn. 3:3-- “born again” to “see” the Kingdom--Ezek. 36:1-23; Jn. 1:12-13; 2:23), Jesus goes on to explain that Israel needed to be brought through her National Cleansing Program (Jn. 3:5--“born of water and the Spirit” to “enter” the Kingdom—Ezek. 36:24-38; Jn. 1:25-34; 3:22-36). Next, He explains that Israel's national restoration will occur when God blows of His “Wind,” His Spirit, over them, raising Israel out of their grave among the Gentiles, giving them new life, planting them in their Promised Land, creating of them His Own holy Nation (Jn. 3:8—Ezek. 37:1-14). God's Wind/Spirit scattered Israel (Ezek. 5:2-5), and it will be God's Wind/Spirit that will re-gather them. See Background #4.

  • At this point, we have the basic outline of Israel's National Salvation package as promised in the Old Testament, going all the way back to Moses and Abraham and even Adam. Nicodemus as a Pharisee was an “expert” in the Old Testament, and he should have known these things.
  • Jesus now invites Nicodemus to progress from being just “a ruler of the Jews” (Jn. 3:1) to being THE Master Teacher of all Israel (Jn. 3:10). Now, that Jesus has reminded him about how Israel's National Salvation will be accomplished, Nicodemus has the opportunity to keep rolling the ball that Jesus and John the Baptist set in motion by teaching and converting his fellow Pharisees ... who in turn would teach and convert the whole religious system ... who would teach and convert all Jerusalem; who would teach and convert all Judea; who would go teach and convert Galilee; who would go and teach and convert Samaria. And when that happened, all Israel would be saved, sanctifying the Name of the Lord in faith, and God would use her to take His salvation out to the whole world in accord with the Abrahamic Covenant (Jn. 3:16).
  • But all this hinges on and begins with FAITH, believing in God and His Word, believing in His Name (Jn. 1:12-13; 2:23; 3:15-16).

Highlights in John

Verse-By-Verse: John 3:11‑13

Jun 29, 2023

On Thursday night, we concluded our study of Jesus's encounter with Nicodemus in the first half of John 3, culminating in everybody's favorite verse Jn. 3:16. Whereas most of historical Christianity uses this verse by removing Jesus's and John's teaching from it and reading Paul, the Dispensation of Grace and the Church, the Body of Christ, into it, we looked at it keeping Jesus's and John's teaching in place and understanding it through the Old Testament.
We concluded the study of Jn. 3:16 by looking at the ministries of two professional football players:

  1. One player used Jn. 3:16 to introduce people to Jesus Christ. The night he put Jn. 3:16 in his face paint, Google said there were 84 million searches for it. This is good. I am very glad that perhaps 84 million people were introduced to Christ through this, and I thank God for it. But this player thought the verse referred to the Church, the Body of Christ in the Dispensation of Grace. So, when he explained the verse, he had to remove what Jesus, John and Nicodemus were actually talking about and replace it with Paul's teachings, especially as summed up in Rom. 3 and 5. Then, since he didn't rightly divide the Scriptures, he didn't know what God is really doing today. Therefore, while he introduced people to Christ (very good), but he didn't know what to do with them next (very bad). So, he steered them astray into a man-centered Christianity that thought of salvation as our way to get God involved in our things; our way to get God to do what we want (Get saved, and you can get God to do what you want, just like He did for me! He will enable you to throw the ball farther or run faster or take your business to the next level, etc.), which leads to little more than pagan superstition dressed up in Christian verbiage (When I put Jn. 3:16 in my face paint—you're not going to believe this--miraculously I averaged 31.6 yards, I threw 316 yards, time of possession was 31.06, the game rating was 31.6, etc. See! God is really working for me, and He'll do the same for you if you get saved!). The truly sad thing is that He thought this was true, spiritual Christianity when, in fact, it was just carnal, fleshly Christianity.
  2. Now, let's think about another professional football player. Like the first one, he also introduced people to Christ. But because he rightly-divided the Scriptures, he took them to Christ directly through Paul's Scriptures (without any sleight of hand) with verses like Rom. 3:21-26 and Eph. 2:1-11, which really are for the Church, the Body of Christ, in the Dispensation of Grace. In addition, because he rightly-divided the Scriptures, he knew what God is really doing today. Therefore, He could not only introduce people to Christ, he could also lead them into a God-centered Christianity that realized getting saved is God's way to get us involved in His things, His plans, His purpose. Getting saved isn't our way to get God to do what we want! Getting saved is God's way to get us to do what He wants! which leads them out of human thinking and pagan superstition and brings them soundly into God's thinking and true, spiritual Christianity. While the first player's ministry is good! The second player's ministry is much, much better!!

Verse-By-Verse: John 3:11‑13

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

  • Verily, Verily links us back to Israel's National Salvation Package as God promised to David in the Davidic Covenant and revealed in detail in the Psalms (see Background #3).
  • We: This refers at the least to Jesus and John the Baptist (and perhaps the disciples). But when we remember the Prologue where we learned of Jesus Christ's heavenly origin in eternity past where He was with God (Jn. 1:1) and always resides in the bosom of the Father (1:18); and when we remember that the subsequent verses refer to heavenly things (3:12-13); it is more likely that here Jesus's WE refers to the Triune Godhead. In addition, it is interesting to note that Nicodemus opened the scene saying: We (Israel's mostly apostate religious leaders) know something (3:2), and Jesus closes the scene saying We (especially the Triune Godhead, but also including John the Baptist, the disciples and ultimately believing Israel, who would see Heaven open) are trying to teach you something (1:51).
  • Ye: Earlier in the passage everything was in the singular—a man, one (Jn. 3:3, 5). Then in verse 7 everything changed to the plural YE, You All, the religious leaders as a group and ultimately the Nation of Israel as a whole. What was treated as general principle in verses 3-6 is applied to the whole nation in verse 7-12. The whole Nation must be “born again” and will be made up of the “born ones” of God: Those who believe.
  • YE believe not does not necessarily rule out the possibility that Nicodemus was a true believer (Jn. 2:23) because while the YE, You All, could include every single person in the group, but it could also simply refer to the group as a whole, not necessarily to every single individual in the group. This is a common usage. A coach tells his winning team that you (Pl.—you all) played well even though the shortstop fumbled the ball numerous times. The team played well as a whole but not necessarily every single individual player. While the group of religious leaders as a whole rejected Jesus Christ, that doesn't necessarily mean every single individual in the group rejected Christ (like, perhaps, Nicodemus).
  • The Son of Man (God the Son, especially in relationship with humanity) descended out of eternity and the Heavenlies via the Incarnation, and He will ascend back up into eternity and the Heavenly through the Ascension via His Own will and power. Enoch and Elijah do not contradict this because they did not ascend by their own will and power but were taken by God (Heb. 11:5; 2 Kgs. 2:9-11).
  • Between His descending and ascending in time, the Son of Man was simultaneously perfect Man on Earth and absolute eternal God in Heaven.

Highlights in John


Jul 20, 2023

Thursday night, in our Gospel of John Bible study fellowship, we looked at how everything begins with and hinges on Israel believing in His Name (Jn. 1:12; 3:18) thereby falling on the Grace resident, the Grace that resides in God's Jehovah (LORD) Name by which He will make Israel into His Own holy nation and Kingdom of priests (Ex. 19:6). Israel's only job was to access this Grace by Faith (Ex. 3-4).

One very good question came up: What is the relationship between the Grace Resident in God's Jehovah Name for the Nation of Israel as revealed in the non-Pauline Scriptures (the Old Testament, Gospel Accounts and the ministry of Peter and the 12) and the Riches of God's Grace for the Body of Christ as revealed in the Pauline Scriptures (Romans through Philemon)? That is the topic in the below Highlights Article entitled: What Grace?


The Grace Resident in God's Jehovah Name (LORD in our English Bibles) is one of the most important concepts in His Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel. The Mosaic Law called for immediate and complete vengeance, wrath and judgment on rebels and idolaters (Ex. 20:5; Ex. 32:10). If God only dealt with Israel based on the Mosaic Law, they would have been completely consumed and destroyed before they got out of the starting gate (Ex. 32:1-10).

But God isn't limited by the Law. He reserved the right to deal with Israel outside the Law in accord with the Grace Resident in His Jehovah Name (LORD). God partially revealed to Moses the Glory of this Name, explaining “how” it worked to preserve the Nation of Israel in spite of her breaking of the Law. He revealed to Moses that His Name worked because it reversed the order of divine responses. According to the Law, God's FIRST response was to in vengeance and wrath against the disobedient (i.e., Moses, get out of the way, I'm going down to consume them—Ex. 32:10a), then, after that, He would extend mercy and grace to the obedient (i.e., Moses, I will make of you a great nation—Ex. 32:10b). But according to the Grace Resident in His Name, His FIRST response was to be merciful and gracious to the disobedient (Ex. 32:11-14), then He would respond in vengeance and wrath if the disobedient continued in their rebellion and increased in their idolatry; thereby taking His Jehovah Name in vain, throwing its longsuffering mercy and grace away, treating it as though it was nothing.

This is important not only because it opens up the Old Testament, but because it is also the very basis for the Gospel of John. In John's Gospel, Jesus is identified with God's I AM Jehovah Name no fewer than 32 times. In John's Gospel, God reveals to Israel what Moses wanted to know but couldn't: the full glory of His Name. In John's Gospel, Israel learned not just “how” His Name worked (that is what He revealed to Moses in Ex. 34:6-7) but “who” and “what” was the very source of the Grace Resident in that Name: The Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ for national Israel (Jn. 1:14-18). In John's Gospel, God gave the greatest display of the Grace Resident in His Jehovah Name that He had ever given: He Himself enfleshed Himself into the human line of David to reveal His glory person to person to Israel in all its fullness. What Moses longed for some 1500 years before, actually appeared in the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in the Gospel of John.

And this brings us back to our question: What is the relationship between the Grace Resident in His Jehovah Name for the Nation of Israel and God's Riches of Grace for the Body of Christ in the Dispensation of Grace as revealed through the distinct apostleship of Paul?

Remembering that one of the key distinctions between God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel and His Mystery Program with the Body of Christ is that the former manifests the Righteousness of God IN SAVING HIS FRIENDS AND DESTROYING HIS ENEMIES whereas the latter manifests the Righteousness of God IN SAVING HIS ENEMIES BECAUSE HE HAS NO FRIENDS (Rom. 3:21-26; Rom. 5:1-11). The Grace Resident in His Name was sufficient for God to save His Own people, His friends, the Nation of Israel, especially as encapsulated in the Believing Remnant of Israel. But God's Riches of Grace dispensed through Paul's apostleship is sufficient for God to save His enemies, ungodly sinners on enemy status before Him. In the former Christ died for His friends (Jn. 15:13). In the latter Christ died for His enemies (Rom. 5:8-10). The former certainly consists of a fullness of divine grace, but the latter consists indeed of the infinite, boundless, immeasurable RICHES OF HIS DIVINE GRACE in Christ!

Highlights in John

Salvation of the World

Aug 03, 2023

In Jn. 3:31-36 we saw the culmination of the witness to Jesus that began with the Prologue, John the Baptist, and the disciples in Jn. 1, continued with the 2 signs in Jn. 2 and reached its high point when Jesus revealed Himself as the One who will provide Salvation for the World, beginning with the Salvation of Israel.

Highlights in John

Who Are The Samaritans?

Aug 10, 2023

To appreciate Jesus's encounter with the Samaritan woman more fully, we have to first answer the question who, exactly, are the Samaritans in Jn. 4? Most Bible teachers go to 2 Kgs. 17:29. But are the “Samaritans” referenced in 2 Kgs 17 in 722 BC the same as the “Samaritans” 750 years later in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ (30 AD)? Most assume so, but let's take a closer look:

  1. In 1 Kgs. 12:16-33 we read about the Nation of Israel in the 2nd Course of Punishment (Lev. 26:19) being divided into the Northern Kingdom (10 Tribes under Jeroboam and variously called Israel/Ephraim/Samaria) and the Southern Kingdom (2 Tribes—Judah and Benjamin--under Rehoboam and variously called Judah/Jerusalem) in 975 BC. Jeroboam set up his own religious system in the Northern Kingdom and worshipped on Mt. Gerizim. Jeroboam introduced all kinds of idolatrous worship, including worship of the golden calves, that would lead to the Northern Kingdoms downfall.
  2. Now, fast forward 250+ years to 722 BC and the account in 2 Kgs. 17. Here we find that after 250+ years of the LORD being longsuffering, extending the Grace resident in His I AM Jehovah Name to the Northern Kingdom, they treated it as nothing, taking it in vain. Rather than believing and returning to the LORD, they continued and actually increased in their rebellious idolatry. Having taken the Name of the LORD in vain, they would receive His wrath and judgment by being removed from the land and His sight. The Assyrians took away the people who had special skills and talents—the leaders, businessmen, tradesmen, the young, the literate, etc—and left behind those who had none. Then Assyrians brought foreign Gentiles with their false Gods and false worship into the Samarian province to rule on their behalf.

    These Gentile rulers from all their nations made gods of their own and put them in the houses of the high places which the SAMARITANS had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt (2 Kgs. 17:29). These pagan Gentiles brought in from the idolatrous nations set up shrines to worship their own pagan gods using the shrines the idolatrous Northern Kingdom, beginning with Jeroboam, had used. Those SAMARITANS in context are the leaders and priests and tradesmen of Samaria's idolatrous system that began with Jeroboam. They were carried off into captivity, and they never returned. THESE ARE NOT THE SAMARITANS OF JOHN 4!
  3. Fast forward another 200-300 years, and some think they see a reference to the SAMARITANS in Ezra 4:1-4. But there is no reference to SAMARITANS in that passage. All this passage shows is the basis for division between Samaria, now under the rule of pagan Gentiles, who mixed Jehovah worship with the worship of their own gods, and Judah, who worshipped the one true Jehovah God. To make this clear, many identify these people (mostly Gentile brought in by the Assyrians) as Samarians to distinguish them from the SAMARITANS, who would come later.

    The SAMARITANS were a sub-group of Samarians in that they were Samarians who belonged to a sect of Judaism that continued to worship the LORD alone albeit in Mt. Gerizim: SAMARITANS. Understanding this, Ezra 4 says nothing about a division between Judeans and SAMARITANS. At best, it speaks at that time of a division between the Judeans and the Samarians, which no doubt laid some groundwork for the future division between Judeans and SAMARITANS.
  4. It isn't until they built a temple at Mt. Gerizim dedicated to the LORD in about 400 BC that we get our first real glimpse of the SAMARITANS. This is historically between the Old and New Testaments, establishing a clearly visible and self-identified group centered in Shechem in 300-200 BC called the SAMARITANS. These were the SAMARITANS of Jesus's day. They considered themselves pure descendants of the Israelites who remained in the Land after the Assyrian Captivity. In about 200 BC they developed the SAMARITAN Pentateuch, which consisted of the 5 books of Moses. They rejected the rest of the Old Testament because of its insistence on Jerusalem as the true place of worship. (Now before you gasp in surprise, that's what most Christians do as well—they keep what they like from the Bible and throw away what they don't like!)

    The Judean and SAMARITAN Israelites lived in relative peace until 120 BC when a Judean named Hyrcanus destroyed the SAMARITAN temple and devastatingly attacked the SAMARITAN population, forcing them under Judean control in the days just prior to Jesus's earthly ministry (120 BC), which drove a large wedge between them and is the source of the separation that Jesus and the SAMARITAN woman speak of in Jn. 4:9, 20.
  5. The SAMARITANS of Jn. 4 were not half-breed idolaters that most commentators make them out to be. They were a closed knit group, who believed they were faithfully worshipping the one true God of Israel. They had minimal intermarriage with the Gentiles and considered themselves descendants of the pure line of Israelites who had been left behind during the Assyrian Captivity. They held firmly to the 5 books of Moses and revered their fathers to be the patriarchs of Israel: Jacob, Joseph and Ephraim (Jn. 4:5-6, 12). They considered themselves pure Israelites, who belong to a sect of Judaism.

Highlights in John

Samaritan History Chart And Maps

Aug 17, 2023

Highlights in John


Aug 24, 2023

The poor Samaritan Woman has been denigrated by mostly male teachers for centuries. Usually, she is presented as being a woman of ill-repute, only concerned about her next illicit conquest. They explain that she came to the well at noon, because she was an outcast and couldn't go earlier when all the good women of her city were there. Usually, this passage is taught in an evangelistic way, suggesting that if Jesus could interact and save some one as bad as her, He can save anyone; of course, the underlying assumption is that the preacher and his audience aren't as bad as her!

But does the context really demand this traditional teaching? Or can the context offer a different plot line? We have already swept away some of the errant presuppositions that haunt the Samaritans in general, let's now sweep away the errant presuppositions that haunt this poor Samaritan Woman in specific.

Set Aside Presumptions of Traditional View:

First, there is nothing in the passage taken as a whole that indicates she is spurned by her fellow Samaritans. In fact, they listen to her closely and respond to her quite enthusiastically (Jn. 4:28-30). Second, there is nothing in the passage taken as a whole that indicates she was some great immoral sinner called to repentance and confession of her sin. Jesus doesn't tell her to go and sin no more as He does with the adulterous women a couple of chapters later (Jn. 8:11). As we will see, her marital status can be explained in other ways.

Alternate View of Jn. 4:5-12:

Can we offer a different plot line if we take into account what we have already learned about the Samaritans in general, keeping in mind the geography of land where all this happens (Shechem, Sychar), and using only the details John gives about her in the text? I think we can.

Instead of a bad woman slinking through the countryside in the heat of the day to avoid the good women of the city, only thinking about her next illicit conquest, what if she came with head held high, skipping along, thinking about other things altogether? What if she came in the full heat and sun of the day because like Jesus, she had been on a journey and was simply thirsty? Or maybe she got water earlier with the other women but ran out? Maybe she had unexpected visitors. Or, maybe any one of a million other possibilities.

Or even more likely, what if this is a play on John's theme of LIGHT in this Gospel? Jesus is the LIGHT, who LIGHTENS everyone that comes into the world (Jn. 1:7-9). If Nicodemus could leave the darkness of night and came into the LIGHT of Jesus (Jn. 3:2), why can't the Samaritan Woman come to Jesus THE LIGHT by coming into the full light of the noon day sun? After all, John just told us that He that does truth comes into the LIGHT (Jn. 3:21), thereby showing that God is working in them! Why can't this be the plot line?

If we recognize this, we realize that we can know at least some of her inner thoughts and deepest longings of her inner person. For instance, we know she was thinking about the well, and that she wasn't going to just any old well. She was going to her father Jacob's well! The well the patriarch Jacob went to meet the needs of his family--of which she was one (Jn. 4:6, 12). Thinking about Jacob would bring to mind Jacob's son, Joseph, whose bones were buried not far from that very spot (Jn. 4:5)! And thinking about Joseph would bring to mind Joseph's son, Manasseh, and his tribe, from which the Samaritans especially descended. And thinking about all these patriarchs, would bring to mind the patriarch of patriarchs Abraham, who worshipped God near here 2,000 years before (Gen. 12:6-8). And with all this floating around in her mind, perhaps a well of worship opened in the depths of her soul (Jn. 4:20), revealing her heart-felt longing for Messiah, the Christ, who would tell her and the Samaritans all things (Jn. 4:25).

Why can't this be the plot line? Why can't this be the Samaritan Woman's inner thoughts and deepest longings of the heart? I think it can and should. After thousands of years of misusing this woman, it's time, nay, high time, to let her off the hook and set her free.

Highlights in John

Not primarily about individual salvation

Sep 14, 2023

In last Thursday's Bible Study Fellowship, we drove home the point that John 4 isn't primarily about personal evangelism and individual salvation. It is about Israel's national salvation, which requires the re-unification of the whole nation—Judea and Samaria—centered on the Lord Jesus Christ. By the time you get to Jn. 4, Jesus had already been to Jerusalem, Judea and Galilee (which was ruled by Judea at that time). Now, in Jn. 4, He MUST NEEDS go to Samaria (Jn. 4:4) to complete the picture of Israel's national restoration. Remember, after the reign of Solomon in about 950 BC, Israel's power was broken, and they divided into two nations, two kingdoms: The Southern Kingdom was called Judea (which included the capital city of Jerusalem and two Tribes of Israel) and the Northern Kingdom called Samaria (which included the capital city of Samaria and ten Tribes of Israel) (1 Kgs. 12; Lev. 26:19). In order for national Israel to be saved and restored, it needed to be re-unified. Samaria MUST NEEDS be brought back into the fold of the House of Israel, centered on the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, “saved” Israel is made up of “saved” individuals. While personal salvation is not the primary purpose of Jesus's encounter with the Samaritan Woman, it is also not completely absent from the account.

Highlights in John


Sep 21, 2023

Bible teachers (mostly men!) use these verses to categorize the Samaritan Woman as someone who is involved in gross sexual immorality, even a harlot. But are there other options for her marital situation? It must be noted that there is nothing in John 4 about sin--repentance, confession, acknowledgement of sin. Jesus doesn't tell her what He told a woman whom we know committed adultery just a few chapters later: Go, and sin no more (Jn. 8:11).

It also must be noted that when we listen to what the Samaritan woman actually talks about, it is not her next illicit conquest, but about Jacob, His well and his children, of whom she considered herself to be one of (Jn. 4:12). And in thinking about Jacob's children, she would have thought of Joseph, whose bones were buried nearby (Jn. 4:5), and his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, with whom the Samaritans closely associated themselves. She goes on to talk about worship (Jn. 4:20), perhaps remembering that Abraham worshipped near this spot centuries before (Gen. 12:6-8). Then she talks about how she is waiting for Messiah, the Christ, who will tell her and the Samaritans all things (Jn. 4:25). Finally, she freely shares Christ with the whole Samaritan community (Jn. 4:28-29). None of these things lead to the traditional conclusion that she is sexually immoral, let alone a harlot, who is excluded from the good people of the Samaritan Community.

It must also be noted that unlike modern society, in ancient Israel woman were almost completely dependent on men. It was a patriarchal society. Unless a woman had significant means of her own, she would of necessity have had to rely on a man in one way or another just to survive. In addition, marriages were of need not necessarily of love and were usually arranged by others, who may have hoped love would come later, but it often didn't.

One final thing to note is that harlots don't typically marry their clients. And men don't marry harlots. The Prophet Hosea is the exception that proves the rule: Shockingly, he married a harlot to display metaphorically Israel's broken relationship to the LORD. So, what are the other options available that might explain this woman's life situation of having five husbands and the one she now has is not her husband (Jn. 4:18) without demeaning her character?

  1. She could be a victim of easy divorce made available to men by the vain religious system of Israel that allowed for men to divorce their wives for almost any reason whatsoever. Jesus condemned this strongly in the Gospel of Matthew (Mat. 5:31-32; 19:3-8). The Samaritan woman may have been guilty of many things—ie., not good at cooking and cleaning or may have been difficult to get along with—resulting in men divorcing her, but it doesn't make her sexually promiscuous, let alone a harlot.
  2. She may have been caught in a Levirate marriage, which was commanded by the Mosaic Law the Samaritans revered (Deut. 25:5-10). If a woman married the eldest son in a family of multiple sons, and he died, she would have been expected to marry his brother. And if the 2nd brother died, she would have been expected to marry the next son, and so on until the family ran out of available sons. Levirate marriage was designed to keep a family's and tribes inheritance from being lost to them during difficult times.
  3. She may have also just had a very unfortunate life, losing husbands to a variety of circumstances beyond her control like war, disease, accidents, etc.


  1. Tamar and Judah (Gen. 28):
    While Moses codified Levirate marriage in the Law, the patriarchs practiced it as well. Jacob's son Judah had three sons. Tamar married the oldest, but he died. So, she married the 2nd son, but he died as well. So, she expected to go on to marry the 3rd son, but Judah refused to give his youngest to her. If he had, Tamar would have had 3 husbands, and if Judah had had more than three sons, she could have potentially had even more. While a sordid account, it paints Tamar as the one in the right. Judah is the one in the wrong. If Judah had done what he was supposed to do, Tamar wouldn't have had to resort to her sinful deception. Finally, the whole account ends with Tamar coming under the protection of a man WHO WASN'T HER HUSBAND, Judah.
  2. Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1):
    Remember, Naomi went with her husband and two sons to Moab because of a famine in the land of Israel. While there, her two sons married women, one of them being Ruth. But in time, Naomi's husband and two sons died. Ruth went with Naomi back to Israel and then married a near kinsmen of Naomi's, Boaz. Therefore, in this account as it is presented in the Bible, Ruth had at least two husbands.

    But now let's think through it a little. When Ruth's 1st husband and Naomi's son died, Ruth would have been expected to marry Naomi's 2nd son in accord with the Levirate Law. Of course, she didn't because he was already married. Naomi says as much when the wives of her two deceased sons insist on staying with her, and Naomi responds: Why will you go with me? Are there any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? She goes on to say that even if she got married that night (and got pregnant), Would ye tarry for them until they were grown? Would you stay for them from having husbands (Ruth 1:11-13)?

    The point is that if Ruth's husband died, and Naomi's 2nd son wasn't already married, Ruth would have married him, making him her 2nd husband. And if he died and Naomi had more sons, Ruth would have married one or more of them—3rd or 4th husbands—and none of this would have called into question her character or morality. Then, after all that marriage and death in Moab, Ruth returned with Naomi to Israel and married Boaz, a near-kinsman. But it is important to note that even before they got married, Ruth went to Boaz, and he covered her with his protection (Ruth 2-3). In other words, THE MAN SHE HAD NOW WAS NOT HER HUSBAND. Let's go one step further. What if Boaz died before Ruth—he was probably significantly older than her? Ruth would have been perfectly free to marry again if she wanted. Or, if after multiple marriages, she decided not to get married again, she would have moved in with or lived near another male protector, probably in her case a son: A MAN WHO WASN'T HER HUSBAND.
  3. Mary, the Mother of Jesus (Jn. 18:26-27):
    We know she was married to Joseph early in the Gospel accounts (Mat. 1; Lk. 1). But by the time you get to Jesus's earthly ministry, some 30 years later, Joseph is completely off the scene and not mentioned again. Most commentators assume that he had died. While it appears Mary did not marry again, she was certainly free to do so, which would have resulted in multiple husbands. What we do know, however, is that at the end of the Gospel accounts, Mary is not married, and while on the Cross, Jesus stops everything to hand her over to another man, the beloved disciple, saying: Woman, behold thy son! Then He said to the disciple: Behold thy Mother! And from that hour, the disciple took her unto his own home (Jn. 19:26-27). In other words, with the early death of Joseph, Mary could potentially have had multiple husbands, and the man she had after the Cross was A MAN WHO WASN'T HER HUSBAND.

    With these examples in mind, is it impossible that the Samaritan Woman, while perhaps not a paragon of virtue (after all, she was a sinner like the rest of us!) may have been the victim of many unfortunate situations, mostly brought about by a male dominated society and a vain religious system? Ease of divorce that encouraged the selfish desires of men mixed with Levirate marriage requirements mixed with unfortunate accidents, could reasonably add up to five husbands, and the man she was now living with not being her husband—a son, brother, father, close family friend or relative, etc.

    The Samaritan woman suffered at the hand of the Jewish patriarchal system that ruled in ancient Israel in her day, and she has continued to suffer at the hands of mostly male Christian theologians for the last 2,000 years. Could it be that rather than being sexually immoral, even a harlot, she was actually a member of the Believing Remnant of Israelites in Samaria, who already belonged to the Father through faith, and, therefore, recognized the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, when He came and spoke (Jn. 8:47)?