Grace Bible Church of Rolling Meadows

Highlights in John

2024

Presented by Steve Walker




First, just a comment on these summaries of the Bible Studies. I have written them so that you do not just know “what” I taught, but “why” I taught it from the Word rightly divided. Heaven help us all if anyone believes something I say just because I said it. I want to show you from God's Word why you should believe it. I do not want you to rely on me. I want you rely on God. So, if they seem a little wordy at times, now you know the reason why.


You can also find more details in the Bold To Speak The Mystery Bible Study Newsletters.






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Highlights in John

Were The Samaritans “Saved”?

Jan 04, 2024

In our Bible study in the Gospel of John, we drew to a close our study of the Samaritans in John 4. Were the Samaritans “saved”? Did they become John's “ideal” disciples?

Were The Samaritans “Saved”?

Because the traditional view considers the Gospel of John to be a book of evangelism for individual personal salvation in the Dispensation of Grace, it is often taught that in Jn. 4 Jesus is “evangelizing” on the one hand a grossly immoral Samaritan woman and on the other hand the idolatrous Samaritan people. We have challenged this view, however. The passage contains no mention of sin or idolatry. Rather, it portrays them as revering the patriarchs of Israel and being devoted to Moses as they waited for the Prophet/Messiah, who would come to tell them all things (Jn. 4:25). Recognizing this opens another option for why Jesus's MUST NEEDS go through Samaria.

Could it be that Jesus had to go to this Samaritan community not to save unbelieving sinners, but to call out believers who ALREADY BELONGED to the Father? Could it be that this group of Samaritans in particular was part of the true Believing Remnant of Israel located in Samaria? Could it be that this community of Samaritans responded instantly and immediately to Jesus in faith, recognizing Him as the Christ, the Savior of the World, because they belonged to the Father, therefore, they recognized the Father in the Son and received Him in faith?

In the light of God's Prophetic Program with Israel, could it be that the primary purpose for Christ's earthly ministry was NOT first of all “evangelism” (as important as that is!) but to call the Believing Remnant of Israel that already belonged to the Father out of the apostate nation of Israel? What if in Christ's earthly ministry the Father was handing His Own people over to His Son, who would prepare them for and safekeep them through the upcoming Tribulation Period for entrance into the Kingdom?

There is much in the Gospel of John that indicates that these questions should be answered in the affirmative.

  1. Repeatedly in John, Jesus determines who belongs to the Father based on whether they receive the Son or not. Those who claim to know the Father but reject the one He sent, His Son, are liars and do not have His word in them. Those who belong to the Father before Jesus arrived on the scene, however, will receive Jesus when He arrives because He speaks the words and does the works of the Father. In short, those who already belonged to the Father will recognize the Father in the Son and receive Him as well (Jn. 5:37‑38; 8:19; 14:10‑11).
  2. Repeatedly in John, Jesus explains that the Father has given Him His Own. For instance, Jesus says: All those who have (already) heard and learned of the Father, come to Me (Jn. 6:37‑39, 44‑45, 65). Those who (already) belong to the Father, love Jesus because He proceeded forth from God (Jn. 8:42), and they will hear His words because they are the words of God (Jn. 8:47). In the parable of the Good Shepherd, Jesus calls the Father's sheep, and they will follow Him because they know His voice for it's the voice of the Father (Jn. 10:4).
    The capstone passage is Jn. 17 where Jesus says no fewer than 7 times that the Father gave Him His Own (Jn. 17:2, 6, 9, 11, 12, 24). To give them to Jesus, they must have already belonged to God, or as Jesus says succinctly: Thine they were, and You gave them to Me (Jn. 17:6).

Based on the traditional teaching of the Gospel of John, we can get the idea that before Jesus arrived on the scene there were no believers in Israel. But this is wrong. Certainly, Anna and Simeon were already believers in Israel, as were Mary and Joseph. Certainly, John the Baptist, who twice tells emphatically that he did not know Jesus (Jn. 1:31, 33), was already “saved” personally and already belonged to God. Certainly, like Abraham, he had already believed in the Lord and the Lord had already counted His faith for righteousness (Gen. 15:6) before Jesus came on the scene. And certainly, this is true for his disciples and many others in Israel, who already belonged to God and were already members of the Believing Remnant of Israel before and because of that, they received the Son when He came.

So, what does it mean when John says the disciples believed on Jesus in Jn. 2:11 and 16:31? It certainly doesn't mean that at that moment they believed unto justification before God. They already had that! It means that those who already believed in the one true God of Israel and were, therefore, personally and individually “saved” now believed that Jesus was sent from God, the Christ, God the Son, the embodiment of the I AM Jehovah God of Israel and would follow Him as though they were following the Father.

In conclusion, the primary (though not exclusive) purpose for Christ's earthly ministry was to call the Believing Remnant of Israel out of the apostate unbelieving nation to prepare them for and to safekeep them through the upcoming Tribulation Period, after which they would receive the Kingdom. In this light, the Samaritans responded so completely and positively because they already belonged to the Father, they were the Believing Remnant of Israel in Samaria, and Jesus was re-uniting them with the Believing Remnant in Judea as represented in Himself.

Highlights in John

Jesus' Food: He MUST Do The Will Of The Father!

Jan 11, 2024

In our Bible study in the Gospel of John, we learned what Jesus's food is. We were told earlier that the Father sent the Son (Jn. 3:17), and here in Jn. 4:34 we learn what for: To do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work (Jn. 17:4; 19:30).

Jesus' Food: He MUST Do The Will Of The Father!

Whereas Jn. 3:17 told us that the Son was sent by the Father, Jn. 4:34 tells us why: To do the will of the Father and to finish His work (Jn. 17:4; 19:30). He MUST do the work of the Father: I must work the works of Him that sent Me (Jn. 9:4). John's MUST (NEEDS) statements form a trail of breadcrumbs that leads us through the whole Gospel of John.

Jn. 3:7: The Nation of Israel MUST be born again.

In order to accomplish that:

Jn. 3:14: The Son must be lifted up by the Father in His earthly ministry for Israel to look upon in faith to be healed and restored as a Nation.

But the Nation of Israel requires more than healing and restoration of Judea. It also needs re-unification with Samaria under the Davidic King, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jn. 4:4: Therefore, Jesus MUST NEEDS go through Samaria to call out the Believing Remnant of Israel there, re-unifying them to Judea through Himself, a Jew.

Jn. 4:24: His purpose in all this is to look for all true believers. Those who worship God in Spirit and Truth.

Jn. 9:4: Therefore, He MUST do the works of the Father while it is still day by the Light of His Glory that comes from proclaiming the Name of the Lord (Jn. 1:4‑5).

Jesus's Glory passed by the Believing Remnant in Judea and Samaria in His earthly ministry, but what about the Believing Remnant that is scattered out among the Gentile nations (Acts 1-8), but especially those scattered during the Tribulation Period (Ezek. 11:17)?

Jn. 10:16: He MUST bring them into one fold together with Judea and Samaria under One Shepherd, Himself.

But Jesus Christ is not just lifted up figuratively by the Father in His earthly ministry (Jn. 3:14), He will also be lifted up literally by the apostate Nation of Israel and the Gentiles (Jn. 8:28).

Jn. 12:32‑34: He MUST be lifted up by unbelieving Israel to His death on the Cross. Through this work for Israel on the Cross, God's Light and Glory, Salvation and Blessings, will go out to the whole world in accord with the Abrahamic Covenant (Is. 60:1‑3).

But in order for this work to be effectual:

Jn. 20:9: He MUST rise again from the dead, and He did!

Highlights in John

The Nobleman's Son

Jan 18, 2024

In our Bible study in the Gospel of John, Jesus's encounter with the Galileans and the Nobleman in Jn. 4:43-54, brought up a number of very good questions.

Some of those questions were:

What did Jesus mean when He said a prophet has no honor in His own country?

Is it significant that John says here that the Galileans received Jesus because they saw the works/signs He did in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, but he doesn't say they believed in Jesus? After all, earlier he had said that many in Jerusalem (who saw those same signs!) believed in Him (Jn. 2:23)?

Was the nobleman a Jew or a Gentile?

If John tells us that his purpose in writing the Gospel was to provide a record of the signs so that they might believe (Jn. 20:31), why does Jesus here seem to be demeaning those who need signs to believe?

Does the nobleman's NOT returning to his son in Capernaum until the next day say anything about his faith?

How has the relationship between signs and believing changed going from the 1st sign in Cana to the 2nd (Jn. 2:1-11; 4:46-54)?

And did the idea of rightly dividing the Scriptures really begin in the 1800s as our critics suggest? Or, was Jesus rightly-dividing the Scriptures in a Nazareth synagogue some 2,000 years before (Lk. 4:16‑21)?

Highlights in John

The Purpose of Christ's 1st Coming

Jan 25, 2024

In Thursday night's Bible Study Fellowship, we set the groundwork for our next journey that begins in Jn. 5. Before continuing we have to have a solid understanding of 3 things: 1. What, exactly, did Israel need to be “saved” from at that time? 2. How, exactly, is the Lord going to “save the world” in His Prophetic Program with Israel (Jn. 3:17)? 3. And for what purpose, exactly, did the Father send His Son at His 1st Coming? To do this, we will need to set aside the traditional teachings on the Gospel of John by those who in rebellion against God have rejected Paul's distinct apostleship, and instead we must focus on the Word rightly-divided.

The Purpose of Christ's 1st Coming

If we reduce the Gospel of John to little more than an instruction manual for evangelism in the Dispensation of Grace, which most of historic Christianity has done, we will miss a major reason for Christ's earthly ministry. According to Lk. 4:16‑21, Jesus reads from Is. 61:1‑2, proclaiming that He was sent at His 1st Coming to preach Good News unto the meek ... broken-hearted ... and the captives ... and that the Acceptable year of the LORD (Is. 61:1‑2a) was being carried out in His earthly ministry for this day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears (Lk. 4:21; Is. 61:2a). This shocked the hearers because Jesus stopped in the middle of the sentence, which goes on to say: AND the Day of Vengeance of our God (Is. 61:2b). Jesus was rightly-dividing the Scriptures, distinguishing His 1st Coming (Is. 61:1-2A) from His 2nd Coming (Is. 61:2B-11).

According to this passage and many others like it, God sent His Son to preach and proclaim Good News to the meek, the broken-hearted and the captives. Who was that? The Believing Remnant of Israel, who were suffering under the rule of the proud Vain Religious System (VRS). The VRS had brought the Nation of Israel to ruin, persecuting God's people and holding them captive. Because of the VRS, the Nation of Israel was suffering under the Curses of the Law in the 5th Course of Punishment that will culminate in the Great and Terrible Day of Wrath of the LORD. In short, Jesus was sent at His 1st Coming to preach Good News to those who ALREADY belonged to God, who ALREADY believed in God and His Word whereby He ALREADY had counted their faith for righteousness (Gen. 15:6).

He was sent to call the Believing Remnant of Israel out of the unbelieving apostate Nation of Israel in order to train and prepare them, preserve and safeguard them, to continue His ministry after He departed, and especially through the Tribulation Period and the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord's Wrath (ex. Sermon on Mount, Jn. 2-4, etc.), after which He will usher them into the Kingdom and make them into His own true Holy Nation of Israel, a Kingdom of Priests, whereby He will “save” the world (Mat. 21:43; Jn. 3:17). In God's Prophetic Program, God couldn't save the world without a saved Israel. And He couldn't save Israel without a saved Jerusalem. What Jerusalem rejected in the Old Testament and in Christ's earthly ministry and in the ministry of Peter and the 12 in early Acts, she will receive at Christ's 2nd Coming. Jerusalem and all Israel will be saved. The world will be “saved” with Israel and through her RISE (Is. 60 and 61).

Repeatedly in the Gospel Accounts, and especially in John, Jesus states that those who come to Him ALREADY belonged to the Father. In fact, it was because they ALREADY belonged to the Father that they recognized, believed and received the Son, for the Son was saying the words and doing the works of the Father (Jn. 12:49; 14:10). In short, in Christ's earthly ministry at His 1st Coming, the Father was handing His Own people--those who ALREADY belonged to Him (think Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zacharias, Simeon and Anna, John the Baptist and his disciples, ie., the Believing Remnant of Israel (Is. 61:1‑2a)--over to His Son for safekeeping until the complete fulfillment of His Prophetic Program with Israel to re-establish His Glory on the Earth (ie., saves the world— Is. 61:2B-11 ). John doesn't say by believing in Christ they receive eternal life. Rather by believing in Christ at His 1st Coming, they demonstrate that they ALREADY have, possess, eternal life because they ALREADY belong to the Father through faith (Jn. 3:16).

Let's just look at a few examples:

Jn. 3:21—Those who come to the Light (the Lord Jesus Christ—Jn. 1:4-9) are those who ALREADY are doing truth. They already are hearing and believing the truth of the Father (Jn. 15:26; 17:17). They were those whose deeds manifested that God was ALREADY working in them.

Jn. 5:24: By hearing Jesus's word and believing in the Father, a person has eternal life. They have passed out of the death and judgment, condemnation and wrath, that belongs to unbelieving Israel, which will reach fullest intensity in the Great and Terrible Wrath of the Lamb in the Tribulation Period (Rev. 6:15‑17). John defines eternal life as follows: That they might know Thee, the only true God (being in a right relationship with Him—Individual Personal Salvation—justification before God and His Tribunal), and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent (justification before Christ at His 2nd Coming for entrance into the Kingdom—Israel's National Salvation) (Jn. 17:3).

Jn. 5:37‑39—John uses the perfect tense here. The Father had born witness of Christ in the past with the ongoing result being that those who rejected the Son did so because they did not receive the Father's witness; and they didn't receive the Father's witness because they did not know the Father or have His Word abiding in them in the first place. Of course, this implies that those who received the witness of the Father ALREADY knew the Father and ALREADY had His Word abiding in them. In other words, because they recognized the Father in the Son, they believed in and received His sent one, the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 5:24).

Jn. 6:37, 65—Those that go to the Son are those that the Father gives to Him. This is NOT Calvinism or its errant sisters. This isn't God choosing who He will and will not “save.” In Christ's earthly ministry, God sent and gave His Son so that He could hand over to the Son those who ALREADY belonged to the Father. Logic demands that the Father couldn't give Jesus people He didn't ALREADY have. Jesus would not cast out or lose any of them—He kept them safe in the Father's I AM Jehovah Name—especially as they were to go through the Tribulation Period (Jn. 17:12).

Jn. 6:44—No one can come to the Son unless the Father draws them. The Father was handing those who ALREADY belonged to Him over to His Son. Again, this is not Calvinism. Those who ALREADY believed in God and His Word, knew Him. Therefore, when they heard and saw the Son, they believed in Him because they recognized the Father in the Son, and the Son will be the One to raise them from the dead.

Jn. 6:45—Only those who have ALREADY been taught of God—those who have ALREADY heard and learned of the Father—go to the Son. Again, the Father is handing those who ALREADY belong to Him by faith over to His Son.

Jn. 8:42, 47—Those who ALREADY have God for their Father will love the Son because the Father sent the Son. Those who ALREADY belong to God hear His Words through Jesus.

Jn. 10:29 and 17:11, 24‑25—As in Jn. 6:37—the Father gave those who ALREADY belonged to Him and who were ALREADY in His hand over to the Son.

Jn. 18:37—Now we return full cycle back to Jn. 3:21. Those who were ALREADY of the Truth, who ALREADY believed and belonged to God, heard, believed and received Jesus's voice for it was the voice of the Father (Jn. 12:49‑50).

In conclusion, according to Jesus Christ and the prophets, the main reason for Christ's earthly ministry at His 1st Coming was to call out those who ALREADY belonged to the Father by faith and were suffering at the hands of the Vain Religious System that ruled Israel. The Father was handing His Own over to the Son so that He could train and prepare them, safeguard and preserve them, for their ministry after He departs, and especially as they were to be “saved” through and delivered out of the great wrath of the Tribulation Period and ushered into Israel's long-prophesied earthly Kingdom of Peace and Righteousness whether physically alive or dead (Jn. 6:37, 44).

Of course, when Jesus publicly proclaimed His message to the Believing Remnant of Israel, unbelievers would have heard as well and would have been invited to believe. New converts, unbelievers who believed in the Father through the ministry of Christ, were, like Abraham (Gen. 15:6) instantly “saved” in the sense of justification before God and His Tribunal and placed into the Believing Remnant of Israel where they were then invited to participate in Israel's National Salvation in the sense of justification before Christ at His 2nd Coming for entrance into the Kingdom and obtaining a privileged place there.

Highlights in John

The Pattern of John 5

Feb 15, 2024

We begin laying the groundwork for the next 7 chapters:

1. What was the purpose of Christ's 1st Coming;

and 2. What is the purpose of the signs?

We also saw that Jn. 5 provides the pattern for everything that follows.

The Pattern of John 5

John 5 is an important chapter in the Gospel of John because it sets the pattern for everything that follows. It exposes the ruined state of the Nation of Israel under its Vain Religious System, which causes them to reject Him when He came (Jn. 3:20). And it all springs from Jesus's rebuke in Jn. 4:48: Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The traditional teaching on this verse says Jesus is diminishing and even denigrating sign-based belief. But if this were the case, Jesus would be denigrating John's whole Gospel, for John states clearly, categorically and explicitly that his purpose for recording the signs was so that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Jn. 20:31)!

This, of course, cannot be the case, so there must be another explanation. Irony plays a large role in John's Gospel, and Jesus is being ironic, if not down-right sarcastic, here. He took something they had said and threw it back into their faces to reveal their lie. In Jn. 2:11ff, for instance, Jesus displays the sign of the cleansing of the Temple, and what do the religious leaders do? They come out demanding a sign: Show us a sign (Jn. 2:18). The implication is that if He showed them a sign, they will recognize His authority and believe in Him. The irony is that He had just shown them a sign and they didn't believe, exposing their lie!

We see this again in Jn. 6. Right after Jesus displayed the miraculous sign of the feeding of the 5,000 men (probably 15,000-20,000 people if women and children were included!) with only 5 barley loaves and 2 small fish (Jn. 6:9). So, what do the people ask for afterward? They demand He show them a sign so that they might see and believe (Jn. 6:30). The irony is that He had just shown them a massive public miraculous sign but they still didn't believe, exposing their lie!

With these examples in mind, Jesus's statement in Jn. 4:48 becomes ironic. He is throwing their own statement back at them revealing it for the lie it was. They claimed that if He would show them signs they would believe, and in chapters 5-11, Jesus is going to do just that in ever increasing magnitude and publicity-- healing the lame and the blind before the multitudes in the heart of Jerusalem, feeding the thousands in Galilee, and raising Lazarus from the dead--and yet they still will NOT believe thereby exposing their lie! In fact, the increasing magnitude and publicity of the signs only cause them to become more hostile, reject Him more completely and plot His death more adamantly (Jn. 5:18, et al.).

And Jn. 5 sets the pattern for this. Here is a simple outline of the chapter:

  1. Jn. 5:1-15: The gracious coming of Jesus to the lame man: Will you be healed? This represents the gracious coming of the Son to Israel, graciously offering to heal and restore the nation. Christ's coming is God's greatest display of the Grace Resident in His I AM Jehovah Name He had ever given to Israel. But do they want it?
  2. Jn. 5:15-18: Jewish leaders, representing the Nation of Israel, don't “know” Jesus and don't “see” the sign. They just focus on their man-made traditions.
  3. Jn. 5:19-30: Jesus explains that He was sent from the Father and only does His will. He only speaks the words and does the works of the Father.
  4. Jn. 5:31-47: But Jesus reveals their lie. They claim to believe in the one True God of Israel, the Scriptures and Moses, but if they really did, they would have believed in the Son. If they truly knew the Father, they would have recognized the Father in the Son and received Him because the Son was speaking the words of the Father and doing His works (Jn. 5:38). If they really believed the Scriptures, they would believe in the Son because the Scriptures testified about Him (Jn. 5:39). And if they really believed Moses, they would believe in the Son because Moses wrote about Him (Jn. 5:46‑47).

In short, they were just a bunch of phonies. Israel was held captive to a Vain Religious System that had nothing to do with God, the Scriptures or Moses in spite of what they claimed. Jesus's words are true: Every one that does evil hates the Light, neither comes to the Light, lest his deeds should be reproved (Jn. 3:20). The Word incarnate, the Light, the Lord Jesus Christ, was reproving national Israel, stripping away the cloak they used to cover their sin, and it made them mad, exposing their lie (Jn. 15:22).

Yes, He came to His Own but His Own rejected Him (Jn. 1:11). But those who did receive He gave the power to become the children of God, born ones of God, even to those who believed in His Name (Jn. 1:12-13).

Highlights in John

The Purpose of Israel's Signs

Feb 22, 2024

We begin looking at the purpose for Israel's signs. Did God give them to Israel to make believers out of unbelievers? Or, is there some other more fundamental purpose the signs?

The Purpose of Israel's Signs

In our study of the Gospel of John, it is important to have a good understanding of the purpose for which God gave signs to Israel. If John's whole purpose for writing this book is: But these (the signs) are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name (Jn. 20:31), then signs must play a big role in Christ's earthly ministry. Some who don't rightly-divide the Scriptures and don't understand the purpose of Christ's 1st Coming, suggest that Jesus disparaged the signs, and that the faith they generated was deficient and insufficient, usually based on such verses as: Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe (Jn. 4:48).

But when we rightly-divide the Bible and note that the Gospel of John is not primarily about individual person salvation in the Dispensation of Grace but about participation in Israel's national salvation, and we note the role of irony in John's Gospel, we will see that this is not the case. If Jesus was disparaging the signs, He would also be disparaging John's Gospel, and that is impossible! In Jn. 4:48, Jesus is being ironic as He is again and again in this book. He is throwing their own words back at them. They say we won't believe without a sign thereby implying that if Jesus gives them a sign THEY WILL BELIEVE (Jn. 2:18; 6:30; et al.). But Jesus exposes their lie in Jn. 5-11. He performs signs with increasing magnitude of wonder and publicity, and they still don't believe. In fact, the increasing signs just bring about increasing hostility against Jesus, ultimately leading to them putting Him to death.

So then, what is the proper role for the signs in Jesus's ministry? To answer that, we need to remember why God gave signs to Israel in the first place by going back to Ex. 3-4. In these chapters, God gives Israel His I AM Jehovah Name (Ex. 3:13‑15) and the signs (Ex. 4:1-9). Both were initiated by Moses's questions and concerns. With the former, God answered Moses's question about what he should tell the Israelites when they ask: What is His Name (Ex. 3:13). God told him to tell them that I AM sent you: the LORD (Jehovah) God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has sent you (Ex. 3:14‑15).

And with Moses's latter concern, God gave Israel signs (Ex. 4:2-9) to address Moses's concern: But behold, they will not believe ME, nor hearken unto MY voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto THEE (Ex. 4:1). So, God gave him signs NOT so they would believe in God (that was assumed)! But so they would believe IN MOSES as God's sent one, His spokesman, the one whom God was working through in the redemption and deliverance of the Nation of israel (Ex. 4:1, 5, 8‑9).

In general then, when God's Word was accompanied with a sign, it softened the hearts of BELIEVERS in God, leading them to also believe in the one He sent, in this case Moses. For those who didn't believe in God and had rejected His Word (like Pharaoh and unbelieving Israel), however, the signs hardened their hearts in stiff necked unbelief.

Now, in the Gospel Accounts, and John in particular, the greater Prophet like unto Moses had been sent by God, and as the LORD handed Israel over to the Prophet Moses to lead them into the Promised Land centuries before, so too now in the Gospel Accounts, the Father was handing Israel over to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the greater Prophet like unto Moses, who would lead them into the Promised Land of the long-prophesied Kingdom. Where Moses and Israel failed at the first Exodus, the Lord Jesus Christ will succeed at the 2nd greater Exodus out of the “Egypt” of the world and through the Tribulation Period, leading them successfully and permanently into the everlasting Kingdom forevermore.

Highlights in John

Why Is It So Difficult For Us To Understand the Gospel Accounts?

Feb 29, 2024

In Thursday night's Bible Study Fellowship in the Gospel of John, we clarified why it is so hard for us to understand the Gospel Accounts and because of that, the Purpose for Christ's 1st Coming AT THAT TIME.

Why Is It So Difficult For Us To Understand the Gospel Accounts?

After discussions with several people after the series entitled: "What was the purpose for Christ's 1st Coming?" (Jan 25, 2024) , it was apparent that it is very difficult for us to answer this question. Part of the problem may be that I didn't ask the right question. A better question would be: What was the purpose for Christ's 1st Coming AT THAT TIME?

It is important to add the phrase AT THAT TIME because it must be remembered that in the Gospel Accounts, Israel is in the 4th time installment of the 5th Course of Punishment (COP). God had revealed to Jeremiah and Daniel that the entire 5th COP would be made up of 5 time installments that would consist of 560 years. When Daniel prophesied, the 1st time installment (the 70-year Babylonian Captivity) had been completed, leaving 490 years. Daniel revealed that after 483 of those 490 years Messiah would be cut off (put to death) and raised up again (Dan. 9:24‑26ff). Jesus Christ fulfilled this TIME SCHEDULE exactly, not only to the day, but to the exact hour as well (Jn. 17:1; 19:14). With that prophetic information, it is easy to figure out that He would be born some 30-40 years before that. For centuries, Israel had been waiting for God to send Someone to save the ruined NATION of Israel (Is. 1; Mat. 5; etc.) so its suffering citizens could instead flourish. At Christ's 1st Coming THAT TIME HAD FINALLY ARRIVED!

This is straightforward enough, but we are immediately thrown off this biblical course by the traditional teaching of most of historical Christianity, even most of believing Christianity, that teaches that God is all done with the literal, physical Nation of Israel, NATIONAL Israel. They say, He has replaced them with us. We are the new and true Israel. We are spiritual Israel. They get all the curses; we get all the blessings! Their underlying assumption is that what God couldn't accomplish with the Jews, He will accomplish with us Gentiles! What a bunch of nonsense. The Apostle Paul denounces and warns against this kind of thinking in Romans 9-11, identifying it for what it is: just vain Gentile arrogance that comes from being ignorant of God's truth for today—the revelation of the Mystery (Rom. 11:25).

If we accept this false teaching, we are immediately driven away from God's Word and onto a course that follows man's word into confusion and error. For if God really is all done with NATIONAL Israel, then there is no need for Israel's NATIONAL salvation, and the minute we conclude that, we will miss the whole purpose of Christ's 1st Coming AT THAT TIME. This is a dangerous business. Once you start spiritualizing away God's Word, it is a very slippery slope indeed. When God talks about Israel and her NATIONAL salvation, we are told, He isn't really talking about those things. He's talking about us and our individual, personal salvation. When God mentions Israel, for instance, we are told to throw away His NATION of Israel and replace it with us, His spiritual Israel. And when God talks about Israel's NATIONAL salvation, we are told to replace that with our own individual salvation. And when God talks about the Messiah King Jesus ruling on the Throne of David in Israel's long-prophesied Kingdom on earth, we should throw all that away and replace it with Jesus ruling on the throne of our hearts in the inner spiritual Kingdom of our souls.

These false teachings from man-made religious systems and man-centered theological systems, erase God's Word/s and pencil in their own word/s in their place. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for this when He said: You make God's Word of none effect (Mk. 7:13). But it is a slippery slope. Why stop there? When you see God saying in the Bible something about Jerusalem, don't think of a literal, physical Jerusalem; replace it with your hometown. And if you read something about David, throw away God's word “David” and replace it with your own name. Once you get going, there is really no end to the fun you can have making God's Word of no effect (Mk. 7:13). Such is the danger of a slippery slope!

With such errant teaching is it any wonder we can't understand the Scriptures, in particular the Gospel Accounts? What if instead we operate on the assumption that what God actually said is what He actually meant? And what He meant was what He said? What if instead of throwing away God's Word/s and putting our own word/s in their place thereby nullifying the Scriptures (Mk. 7:13); what if we just let God's Word stand and speak? What does God's Word say was the purpose for Christ's 1st Coming AT THAT TIME?

Lk. 1:14-17: Here, at the birth of John the Baptist, the Angel explained to his father Zacharias that NOW was THE TIME for God to take the promises He had given to the patriarchal fathers and fulfill them to their children who lived AT THAT TIME. It was NOW TIME for God to faithfully fulfill the next stage of Israel's NATIONAL salvation as promised in Daniel's Time Schedule. Two thousand years before, for example, God had promised Abraham that He would make of him a great NATION (Gen. 12:2). And five hundred years after that, He had promised Moses that He would make the Israelites into His Own holy NATION, a source of priests for the Kingdom on earth (Ex. 19:6). Now, hundreds of years later, God was beginning to accomplish all the promises He had made to the Nation of Israel throughout the millennia. He sent His Son at His 1st Coming to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. In short, Christ came AT THAT TIME to save the NATION of Israel.

Lk. 1:30-33: Mary rejoiced when the Angel told her that her Son Jesus (Jehovah Our (Israel's) Salvation), would be God's anointed One, who would rule on the Throne of David: the literal, physical everlasting Throne of David, in the literal, physical city of Jerusalem situated in the literal, physical NATION of Israel as established in their long-prophesied literal, physical everlasting Kingdom on the earth. In short, Mary rejoiced that through her Son, God was providing for Israel's NATIONAL salvation AT THAT TIME.

Lk. 1:46-56: While Mary is certainly thankful for belonging to God and for the privilege of God using her for His purpose, she praises Him because AT THAT TIME He was beginning to bring about the salvation of the NATION of Israel by showing mercy and grace to the persecuted righteous (those who fear and believe in Him, the Believing Remnant of Israel) and dispensing wrath and judgment to His enemies (those who rejected Him in unbelief, apostate Israel). The current ruined NATION of Israel under the rule of the Vain Religious System (Is. 1; Mat. 5) would be replaced with the saved and restored NATION of Israel under the rule of her Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who would usher them into their long-prophesied Kingdom of Righteousness and Peace on earth thereby fulfilling all God's promises to Israel's fathers. In short, Mary was praising God for sending Christ AT THAT TIME to provide for Israel's NATIONAL salvation.

Lk. 1:68-79: Zacharias, prophesying by the Spirit, announced that AT THAT TIME, the Lord God of the NATION of Israel has come (in the person of Jesus Christ) and redeemed His people (believing Israel—this is the 1st mandate of the Davidic Covenant—Redemption). AT THAT TIME, He has raised up a powerful horn to provide for the salvation of the House of David (ie., the NATION of Israel), which He had spoken about since the world began: BUT NOW it has arrived! This salvation provided for the destruction of all the Nation of Israel's enemies in fulfillment of all the promises God made to Israel's fathers. In fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant, He will reign on David's Throne. In fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant, He will establish Israel as His Own NATION and through her send His blessings out to the friendly Gentile nations. And in fulfillment of the New Covenant, He will set free believing Israel from all connection with apostate Israel's NATIONAL debt of sins, especially those that put Christ to death on the Cross (Acts 2-3).

Lk. 2:25-32; 38: Simeon and Anna are praising God for the Consolation and Redemption of the Nation of Israel--in short, Israel's NATIONAL salvation.

Taking all these clear statements together, Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zacharias, John the Baptist and his disciples, Simeon and Anna, and many others, were waiting and watching for God to send Someone to provide for Israel's NATIONAL salvation, Someone to save the ruined NATION of Israel in fulfillment of all His promises to Israel's fathers and in accord with Daniel's prophesied Time Schedule. And at Christ's 1st Coming, He did just that!

Perhaps Paul summarizes it most succinctly: Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision (in His earthly ministry for Israel) for the truth of God, to confirm (make sure, establish) the promises made unto the fathers (of the NATION of Israel) (Rom. 15:8). If we cling tightly to this truth of God, rightly-dividing the Scriptures, recognizing Paul's distinct apostleship and his revelation of the Mystery to guard against Gentile arrogance (Rom. 11:25), we will find that the Scriptures in general and the Gospels Accounts in specific aren't that hard to understand after all. The Purpose for Christ's earthly ministry AT THAT TIME He was primarily to accomplish the final stages of Israel's NATIONAL salvation in accord with Daniel's Time Schedule.

Highlights in John

The Purpose of Christ's 1st Coming According to Acts

Mar 07, 2024

Last time we looked at the purpose of Christ's 1st Coming as revealed in the Gospel Accounts. This time we look at it as revealed in Peter and the 12's ministry at Pentecost in early Acts.

The Purpose of Christ's 1st Coming According to Acts

If we are going to understand Christ's 1st Coming, we have to understand its at least primary purpose. Last time we looked at the purpose for Christ's 1st Coming AT THAT TIME as revealed in the Gospel Accounts:

  1. Lk. 1:14-17: AT THAT TIME, after hundreds and thousands of years (God gave His promises to Abraham some 2,000 years before, to Moses 1500 years before, to David 1,000 years before and to Daniel some 500 years before!) and NOW, FINALLY, AT THIS TIME, after all their waiting, God sent Someone, His Son, for the purpose of confirming His promises to Israel's Fathers by beginning to fulfill them (Rom. 15:8). And the first and foremost promise of all was to make of Abraham's physical descendants through the promised seed of Isaac and Jacob His Own GREAT NATION (Gen. 12:2), His Own peculiar treasure, His Own source of priests in the promised earthly Kingdom, His Own HOLY NATION (Ex. 19:5‑6). In short, to bring about the NATIONAL SALAVATION of the ruined Nation of Israel.
  2. Lk. 1:30-33: AT THAT TIME through Mary's son, God is going to provide for the SALVATION of the Nation of Israel—Jehovah OUR (Israel's) Savior/Salvation. He will be the One to reign from David's throne in Jerusalem and usher in and establish Israel's long-prophesied literal, physical Kingdom on earth.
  3. Lk. 1:46-56: AT THAT TIME, God sent His Son through Mary. He would show mercy to believing Israel (those who fear the Lord) and justice to unbelieving Israel, upturning the whole order of the Vain Religious System and replacing it with God's benevolent and gracious order in accord with the promises He gave to Israel's fathers.
  4. Lk. 1:68-79: AT THAT TIME God was visiting and redeeming His people, the people of Israel, raising up a horn of SALVATION for the Nation of Israel in accord with everything He had spoken about since the world began. Finally, now, AT THAT TIME, God was “remembering” all the promises and covenants He made to Israel's fathers and, by sending His Son to fulfill them, providing for Israel's NATIONAL SALVATION that will culminate in the establishment of Israel's Kingdom of Righteousness and Peace where they would receive the New Covenant blessings, including participation in the remission of Israel's NATIONAL debt of sins.
  5. Lk. 2:25-32, 38: In short, the Believing Remnant of Israel was waiting and watching for God to send Someone to bring in the Consolation of Israel and the Redemption of Jerusalem, in short, to bring in Israel's NATIONAL salvation!

But what about in early Acts with the ministry of Peter and the 12? Most of historic Christianity claims that God started something new at Pentecost. It was the birth of the Church, the Body of Christ. But what saith the Scriptures? What does the Holy Spirit say through Peter? Peter insists that what was happening at that time was NOT something new, it was something old: It had been spoken about by God since the beginning of the world (Acts 3:21)! This is the same thing the Holy Spirit said at the birth of Christ through Zacharias (Lk. 1:70)! It is not until Paul comes that the Holy Spirit reveals that God is doing something new: Something that had been kept SECRET since the world began (Rom. 16:25).

Now let's look at the purpose for Christ's 1st Coming as revealed by the ministry of Peter and the 12 in early Acts:

  1. For Peter (like Zacharias), Christ's earthly ministry was all part of God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel (NOT God's Mystery Program with the Body of Christ!) to SAVE believing Israel while destroying unbelieving Israel, fulfilling the promises to Israel's fathers (Acts 2:16‑21; 3:22‑26.)
  2. For Peter (like Mary), Christ's death was according to the Old Testament Scriptures (Acts 2:24; 3:18), and He was raised from the dead to sit on David's Throne in Jerusalem the capitol city of the Nation of Israel (Acts 2:30).
  3. For Peter (like Simeon and Anna), Christ came to provide for Israel's NATIONAL salvation, which would bring in Israel's NATIONAL times of Refreshing from the presence of the Lord, who will reign on the Throne of David, in Jerusalem, in the Nation of Israel. Then, through the SAVED NATION of Israel, He will restore all things on earth, establishing Israel's long-prophesied Kingdom in accord with what all the prophets had spoken about: Fulfilling the Davidic Covenant (Acts 2:30), the New Covenant (which they were having a foretaste of that at the time—Acts 2:1‑4, 42‑47) and the Abrahamic Covenant (Acts 3:25‑26).

To conclude, the purpose of Christ's 1st Coming as revealed in the Gospel Accounts and the ministry of the 12 in early Acts was to usher in Israel's NATIONAL salvation by confirming and beginning to fulfil God's promises to Israel's fathers (Rom. 15:8). In doing so, God announces LOUD-AND-CLEAR what most of historic Christianity denies: He is NOT DONE WITH THE NATION of Israel! He will faithfully fulfill every promise He had given to Israel literally!

Highlights in John

The TWO Salvations of God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel

Mar 14, 2024

Having established the primary purpose for Christ's 1st Coming as recorded in the Gospel Accounts, we went on to establish the primary purpose for the signs in the Gospel of John.

The TWO Salvations of God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel

Several years ago, I attended an adult Sunday School class led by the head of the board of a Bible church. The class was studying Romans, and this teacher was in Romans 8 getting ready to teach eternal security. But when the class started, the teacher was very distraught, almost in tears. He said the day before he read through the Gospel Accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and wrote down in one column every verse that seemed to say you could lose your salvation and in the next every verse that seemed to say you couldn't. To his shock, the former column was a lot longer than the latter! Based on this math, he concluded that to be true to God's Word, he could no longer teach eternal security even though that is what he had always been taught, and what he had always believed.

Of course, this teacher's primary error was caused by not rightly dividing the Scriptures. In God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel to re-establish His Glory on the earth as recorded in the Gospel Accounts, there are TWO salvations! One is the one we usually think about when we hear the word salvation: Individual salvation before the Tribunal of God unto forgiveness of all personal sins unto eternal life. This salvation is participated in by grace through faith WITHOUT works. This is how every person born into the world since the fall of Adam has been justified before God and receives eternal life.

But in God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel, there is a second salvation, Israel's NATIONAL salvation! This salvation involves the restoration and reunification of the ruined and divided Nation of Israel of the Old Testament and the Gospel Accounts. This “salvation” provides believing Israel with separation (remission) from all association with apostate Israel's NATIONAL debt of sin, which had been accruing under the Curses of the Law for 1500 years. With this blessing, God will use them to create His Own great and holy debt-free Nation of Israel in the Kingdom, fulfilling the promises to the fathers (Gen. 12:2; Ex. 19:6). This salvation is participated in by faith PLUS works/faithfulness.

On one hand, Paul's Epistles manifest, focus on, bring to the forefront, explain the ins and outs of, in all its nuts and bolts, the former: How a sinner participates in individual, personal salvation by faith without works for justification before God at His Tribunal. On the other hand, the non-Pauline Scriptures, including the Gospel Accounts, the ministry of Peter and the 12 in Acts and the Jewish Epistles, such as James, manifest, focus on, bring to the forefront, explain the ins and outs of, in all its nuts and bolts, the latter: How believing Israelites participate in Israel's NATIONAL salvation by faith PLUS works for justification before Christ at His 2nd Coming for entrance into the Kingdom.

Israelites were not only tied to sins that came from being associated with fallen Adam (like everyone else born into the world), but they were also tied to the sins that came from being associated with their NATION'S debt of sins. An excellent example of this can be seen in Daniel 9. There we see Daniel making “his” confession, but we notice immediately that the sins he is confessing are not ones that he actually did or was involved with. Rather he was confessing the sins of his rebellious NATION as an Israelite. He confessed that “we” rebelled against the LORD (Daniel never rebelled against the LORD!); and we haven't kept your commandments (if there is one thing Daniel did, it was keep God's commandments—Dan. 1-5!); and we have committed evil (Daniel didn't commit evil—he was one of the good prophets!) (Dan. 9:3-19).

When Daniel believed God, God counted his faith for righteousness, and he was individually saved with all his own personal sins forgiven. But Daniel was here waiting and watching for another salvation: The salvation of his ruined Nation of Israel. He was hoping for Israel's NATIONAL salvation, a salvation that would separate believing Israelites (like Daniel) from all association with Israel's NATIONAL debt of sin. That is one of the New Covenant blessings (Jer. 31:31‑34).

Now fast forward about 500 years, and we arrive at Christ's 1st Coming. The Nation of Israel was still in complete ruin. It was run by a Vain Religious System, which was ruled by the Gentiles, which was under the control of Satan! The Believing Remnant of Israel—people like Joseph and Mary, Zacharias and Elizabeth, Anna and Simeon, John the Baptist and his disciples—those who had already received individual, personal salvation--were still waiting and watching for God to fulfill His promises to the fathers and send Someone who could save their NATION. Like Daniel, they were waiting and watching for God to fulfill His promises to the fathers, the first of which being to make them into a Great and Holy Nation (Gen. 12:2; Ex. 19:6). And at Christ's 1st Coming AT THAT TIME, God was doing just that. He was sending His Own Son to provide for Israel's NATIONAL salvation, confirming His promises to the fathers of Israel by beginning to fulfill them (Rom. 15:8) . Or as Simeon and Anna put it: Provide the Consolation of Israel (Lk. 2:25) and the Redemption of Jerusalem (Lk. 2:38).

Of course, if you have swallowed the lie of most of historic Christianity, even most of believing Christianity, that God is all done with the literal Nation of Israel, and that He has replaced her with us, spiritual Israel, then you will rule out of your thinking the need for God to provide for Israel's NATIONAL salvation. But if you let God's Word stand, rightly-divided, the teacher I mentioned earlier would not have fallen into despair, nor would he have led others into despair as well.

Summary Chart:

Highlights in John

Evangelism and the Gospel of John

Mar 21, 2024

Because of the large amount of interest with regard to the topic of the purpose of Christ's 1st Coming over the past few weeks, I have put together a final overview that brings together all the aspects of the Purpose for Christ's 1st Coming, and its relationship to the Gospel of John. It is a little longer than usual, but it addresses all the interests, comments and questions that have come up regarding this important topic.

Evangelism and the Gospel of John

The Gospel of John is taught traditionally as the instruction manual for personal evangelism for individual/personal salvation in the Dispensation of Grace. We have demonstrated that this is a great error and is not what Christ's earthly ministry was primarily about. Paul says it best and most succinctly: Christ came AT THAT TIME to bring about Israel's NATIONAL salvation by confirming and fulfilling God's promises to Israel's fathers through which the Gentiles would worship God with Israel and through her rise (Rom. 15:8‑12). The first promise He made to Abraham and reiterated to Moses was that He would make of you a great and holy NATION (Gen. 12:2; Ex. 19:6). Of course, if historic Christianity's great lie that God is all done with the literal physical Nation of Israel is accepted, and that He has now replaced her with us, the new spiritual Israel, then you will not see a need for Israel's NATIONAL salvation, and in ruling it out of your thinking, you will make the Gospel Accounts mean whatever you or your religious and theological systems want it to mean.

Recognizing this does not diminish one bit the importance and value of individual salvation and personal forgiveness of sins. I am sure there were many individual unbelievers in Israel during Christ's ministry who heard and believed God's word through Jesus and were instantly and eternally personally “saved.” Jesus and the angels rejoiced (Lk. 15:10), and so do I! But God had continuously been providing individual salvation for sinners going all the way back to the fall of Adam. Abraham believed God and God counted His faith for righteousness (2,000 BC) and so did Moses (1,500 BC), David (1,000 BC) and, Daniel (500 BC), and it was still happening in Jesus's day (30 AD).

While it was always the right time to provide sinners with individual personal salvation by faith, Christ came AT THAT TIME, a very specific time, God's time as revealed in Daniel's Time Schedule (Dan. 9:25‑26). It was now time to provide for Israel's NATIONAL salvation. The NATION was in ruin. It was held captive to a Vain Religious System (VRS) under the rule of the Gentiles, who were under the rule of Satan. Mary and Zacharias, Simeon and Anna (Lk. 1-2) were all waiting and watching for God to send Someone to rescue and deliver the NATION of Israel. Someone who could fulfill God's promises to Israel's fathers and make them into His Own Great and Holy Nation (Gen. 12:2; Ex. 19:6). In short, Someone needed to come to provide for Israel's NATIONAL salvation. The Gospel Accounts announce that that time had come, and that Person was God's Own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ was the greater prophet like unto Moses that God had promised to send (Deut. 18:15, 18). He will lead believing Israel, the Believing Remnant of Israel, through a greater Exodus than that of Moses. An Exodus out of apostate Israel and the whole Gentile world so that He could make of them His Own great and holy Nation, whom He will raise above all other nations (Deut. 14:13; Is. 60) and through whom He will establish His Kingdom of Righteousness and Peace on the Earth. Jesus Christ primarily came to call His Own people, the Believing Remnant of Israel, those who ALREADY believed in God and had ALREADY received individual salvation, out of unbelieving Israel and the world (Jn. 17) so that they could participate in Israel's NATIONAL salvation as well.

In this light, verses that had been twisted to refer to personal evangelism can be left standing straight. Verses like:

Jn. 2:11—After the miraculous sign of the changing of water into wine, John says the disciples believed on Him. HUH? Wait a minute. Is this evangelism? Is this the disciples participating in individual salvation? Justification before God and His Tribunal with forgiveness of all personal sins unto eternal life? Certainly, not! Before Jesus arrived on the scene, the disciples had ALREADY been the followers of John the Baptist and were ALREADY believers in God! Certainly, they had already believed in GOD, and like Abraham, God had ALREADY counted their faith for righteousness—individual personal salvation (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3)!

Here we find the disciples, who were ALREADY believers in the God, are now in Jn. 2 believers in Jesus, believing in Jesus as God's Sent One. The One like Moses who would lead believing Israel (those who were ALREADY participating in PERSONAL salvation) out of the apostate nation and Gentile world and into their long-prophesied Kingdom so that they could also participate in Israel's NATIONAL salvation—justification before Christ at His 2nd Coming with forgiveness of sins they had as Israelites associated with Israel's NATIONAL debt of sins by faith plus works.

Jn. 3:21—Here we have a clear statement of what is happening in the Gospel of John. He that doeth the truth comes to the Light that his deeds might be manifest that they are wrought in God. HUH? Wait a minute! Is this personal evangelism? Doesn't evangelism, in fact, say the very opposite? In this verse those who were ALREADY practicing the truth and who were ALREADY doing good works, come to the Light. Evangelism, however, says sinners need to first come to the Light, the Lord Jesus Christ, by faith and then they can participate in the truth and do the good works of God. Many commentators recognize the problem here, and if it weren't so serious, it is almost comical watching the hoops they will jump through to try to throw away what God says in this verse and twist it into agreeing with their theological presuppositions.

But let's let God's Word stand. This verse says that those who are ALREADY doing the truth—who ALREADY belong to the God of truth, who are ALREADY participating in the truth, worshipping God in spirit and truth—and who ALREADY have God working in and through them—are the ones who go to the Son when He arrives! In other words, God the Father is handing those who ALREADY believe in and belong to Him--those who are ALREADY participating in individual personal salvation--over to the Son, so that they can also participate in Israel's NATIONAL salvation, enjoying their eternal life in the presence of the King in Israel's Kingdom of Heaven on Earth forevermore. In short, those who ALREADY believe in and belong to the Father, will recognize the Father in the Son when He comes because Jesus only speaks the words and does the works His Father told Him thereby receiving Him by believing (Jn. 8:38).

Jn. 5:38, 39, 46, 47—Here we have the corollary to Jn. 3:21. There, those who believe, receive and follow the Son do so because they ALREADY believe in and belong to the Father. Here, the reason people don't believe, receive, and follow the Son is—despite their claim otherwise--because they don't really believe in God, the Scriptures or Moses. In short, it is because they don't really know God, they don't recognize the Father in the Son and reject Him in unbelief. Jesus the Light exposes their lie, and they hate it. If they really knew God, they would receive the Son because the Father sent Him. If they really believed the Scriptures and Moses (He is talking to those who claimed to be the experts in the Scriptures, especially those of Moses!), they would believe in Jesus because the Scriptures testify of Him, and He is the One Moses wrote about. In rejecting participation in individual personal salvation by not believing in God, they also rejected participation in Israel's NATIONAL salvation by not believing in Jesus their Lord, Messiah (Christ) and King.

Jn. 6:44‑45—No one can go to Jesus Christ unless the Father draws, leads them to Him. Those who ALREADY have God working in and through them (Jn. 3:21) and who had ALREADY heard and learned and been taught of the Father, are the ones who come to His Sent One, the Lord Jesus Christ. These were ALREADY believers in God. They ALREADY had INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL salvation, but now the Father draws them to the Son, so that Jesus can equip and train, safekeep and preserve them for their ministry in His absence, especially as they go through the Tribulation Period and are ushered into the Kingdom at His 2nd Coming. A classic example of this is with Peter and his confession in Mat. 16:16‑17.

Jn. 8:37‑38, 42‑47—Notice here that it is those who ALREADY love the Father, who ALREADY belong to the Father, who will love and believe the Son because He says the words and does the works of the Father. Evangelism says the exact opposite: God saves ungodly sinners on enemy status before Him (Rom. 5:6‑10)! In Jn. 8:47, he that is ALREADY of God—who ALREADY belongs to God—hears His Sent One because Jesus spoke the words of the Father. Those who rejected the Son in unbelief, had ALREADY rejected the Father in unbelief.

Jn. 10:1-12—This passage epitomizes what the Gospel of John is presenting. Notice, the Good Shepherd is calling His Own sheep, those sheep that ALREADY belong to Him. They follow Him because they know His voice. He will “save” His sheep. “Save” them from what? In context, it is the robbers and thieves that want to kill and destroy them, typified of the Vain Religious System of Israel that was holding the Believing Remnant of Israel captive and causing them to suffer (Mat. 4:23-5:12). He will die for His sheep, which John later identifies as His friends (Jn. 15:13). This is the exact opposite of personal evangelism. Here the sheep are those who ALREADY have received individual salvation and are now following their Shepherd who will lead them safely into Israel's NATIONAL salvation—the Kingdom.

Jn. 14:1-11—Believe in God, believe also in Me. HUH? Wait a minute. Here we are at the very end of Christ's earthly ministry and the disciples have been with Him for about 3 yrs., and He is now telling them to believe in Him? I thought at the very least they had already believed in Him way back at the beginning of His ministry in Jn. 2:11! If this refers to personal evangelism, are we to think that the disciples still haven't believed in Christ unto individual salvation and personal forgiveness of sins—ie., justification before God at His Tribunal by faith? Of course, this is self-evidently not true. They had ALREADY believed in God and participated in individual salvation, and now they must believe in Jesus as God's Sent One, who will lead them into Israel's NATIONAL salvation where they are set free from their association with Israel's NATIONAL debt of sin so that God can make of them His Own debt-free great NATION—ie., justification before Christ at His 2nd Coming by faith plus works.

Jn. 17:6-16—The Father gave His Own people—those who ALREADY belonged to Him--over to the Son. The Son in turn took them out of the world so that He can bring them into the Kingdom of God on Earth.

Jn. 18:37—and here we come full circle with Jn. 3:21. All who ALREADY belong to and were the truth, all who ALREADY belong to and believe in the Father, worshipping Him in S/spirit and Truth, hear the Son, whom the Father sent to lead them into the Kingdom for He is the Father's Anointed One (the Messiah/Christ), the true King of Israel who will usher them into His Kingdom (Ps. 2).

If the Gospel of John is really an instruction manual for personal evangelism in the Dispensation of Grace, John's got everything backwards. Thankfully John doesn't have it wrong, historic Christianity's mostly vain religious system has it all wrong. The Gospel according to John, John's Good News to Israel, is that after waiting and watching for hundreds and thousands of years for God to send Someone who could save the Nation of Israel by fulfilling all the promises God gave to her, He has finally, now, AT THAT TIME, sent His Son to do just that. Finally, after all those years, the desires and hopes of the Believing Remnant of Israel—those of the Marys and the Josephs, the Annas and the Simeons, the Johns and the Peters—would be fulfilled by God's Sent One, His Own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who had ALREADY believed in God to participate in individual salvation and receive personal forgiveness of sins unto eternal life, now were to believe in Jesus Christ, God's designated leaders so that they could also participate in Israel's NATIONAL salvation and receive remission (set free) from Israel's NATIONAL debt of sins becoming God's Own great, holy, debt-free NATION of Israel.

This topic is extremely important because when we go to the Gospel Accounts for the nuts-and-bolts explanation of individual, personal salvation it causes all kinds of confusion about the terms of that salvation. If Christ only died for His friends (Jn. 15:13), then we must have to make ourselves friends of God to be saved. We need to do a certain amount of “good” works or receive certain religious rites and rituals to make ourselves presentable to God; and even if we manage to make ourselves good enough for God, our salvation is still not eternally secure for we must endure to the end, resulting in lives of fear and despair. Or, you will accept the great error Calvinism and its various offshoots, which pretty much land you in the same terrible place of fear and despair. But all this confusion instantly disappears when we simply recognize that the Gospel Accounts don't give us the nuts-and-bolts explanation on how to participate in INDIVIDUAL salvation. They give us the nuts-and-bolts explanation of how a believer in God's Prophetic Program with Israel, who has ALREADY participated in INDIVIDUAL salvation, can now participate in Israel's NATIONAL salvation as well.

THANKS BE TO GOD! Paul is the one who fully explains the nuts-and-bolts of individual, personal salvation. It is based on the Good News of the Death and Resurrection of Christ, who died for us while we were yet weak, ungodly sinners on enemy status before Him. And because it is not based on who we are and what we do but who Christ is and what He did and does for us, it is—AGAIN, THANKS BE TO GOD--eternally secure (Rom. 3:21-25; 4:1-4; 5:6-10; 8:32-39; et al.). Today in the Dispensation of Grace, God is not working with the Nation of Israel, therefore, participating in Israel's NATIONAL salvation is not for us. Where the Gospel Accounts manifest, reveal, magnify and focus on God's provision of Israel's NATIONAL salvation, Paul's Epistles manifest, reveal, magnify, focus on God's provision of INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL salvation.

Once again, we see the importance of rightly-dividing the Scriptures.

Highlights in John

Outline of John 5

Mar 28, 2024

In Thursday night's Bible Study Fellowship in the Gospel of John, we watched as Jesus dispense life to the lame man, making him whole. This represents what He can do for the lame, infirm, ruined, dead Nation of Israel, which had fallen under the Curses of the Law and was being held captive by a vain religious system, who were ruled by the Gentiles, who were ruled by Satan. But did they want to be made whole (Jn. 5:6)?

Outline of John 5

  1. Jn. 5:1-16: WHAT JESUS DOES—God's source of Kingdom Blessings through which will come Israel's National Healing/Salvation (Is. 35:5‑6).
  2. Jn. 5:17-32: WHO JESUS IS—He is God's authorized Messiah King, Daniel's Son of Man (Dan. 7:13‑14; Ps. 2), who has come at the appointed hour in accord with Daniel's Time Schedule (Dan. 9:25‑26), and who is the Dispenser of Life and Judgment (Dan. 12:1‑3).
  3. Jn. 5:33-47: WHY THEY DON'T BELIEVE—They reject the King and the Kingdom because, contrary to what they say, they don't really believe in God, the Scriptures or Moses!

Highlights in John

Israel and the Lame Man

Apr 18, 2024

Thursday night we saw in the account of the healing of the lame man a picture of the impotent state of the ruined Nation of Israel suffering death under the Curses of the Law. What Jesus graciously did for the infirm man is what He came to graciously do for the infirm Nation of Israel, fulfilling God's promises to Israel's fathers, first and foremost of which is: I WILL MAKE OF YOU A GREAT AND HOLY NATION (Gen. 2:2; Ex. 19:6).

Israel and the Lame Man

The Gospel Accounts, including the Gospel of John, explain the purpose for Christ's 1st Coming, and they tell us that He came AT THAT TIME to bring about Israel's long-prophesied NATIONAL salvation in accord with the promises God made to her father's, first and foremost being: I will make you into a Great and Holy NATION (Gen. 12:2; Ex. 19:6). It was the TIME to do that.

We see an excellent example of this in the account of the Healing of the Lame Man. We know John is not focusing on the man as an individual because he does not say explicitly whether the lame man believed or did not believe. This seems odd if John's emphasis was on individual salvation. The same oddness grows when we remember that John also did not explicitly say that Nicodemus believed, nor did he say explicitly that the Samaritan Woman believed. We might surmise from their subsequent words and actions that they did or did not believe, but John doesn't say it explicitly.

What John does say explicitly, however, is whether the groups in Israel those individuals represented believed or not. While John doesn't say definitively about the individual Nicodemus, he does say definitively that the group he represented in Israel, the religious leaders, for the most part did not believe (Jn. 3:12; 5:38, 46‑47; 8:45‑47). While John doesn't say definitively about the individual Samaritan Woman, he does say definitively (in fact, no fewer than three times!) that the group she represented in Israel, the Samaritans, for the most part did believe ( Jn. 4:39, 41, 42). In the case of the Nobleman, we are told definitively that he believed, John immediately goes on to tie his believing to the believing of his household, representing the Household of Israel (Jn. 4:50, 53).

My point is not that individual salvation wasn't important to John, it was. Any unbeliever in Israel who heard Jesus preach and believed God's Word through Him, was instantly and eternally saved individually and personally. But God had been providing individual salvation going all the way back to the fall of Adam! But NOW, at Christ's 1st Coming, it was TIME for God to provide Israel with her national salvation. NOW was the time for those who believed in God and His promises to Israel, and who were individually saved, the Believing Remnant of Israel, to participate in Israel's NATIONAL salvation by believing in God's Sent One, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One who would fulfill all the promises God gave to Israel, and the One who would lead Believing Israel into her long-prophesied Kingdom on Earth. In short, make them participants in Israel's NATIONAL salvation.

We saw this in Jn. 1-4 as we watched Jesus teach His disciples about how He would “save” and restore the Nation of Israel, beginning in Jerusalem, extending to Judea/Galilee, and including their re-unification with Samaria. Now in Jn. 5, He asks the million-dollar question: Does Israel want to be saved and healed? What He graciously does for the lame man is what He wants to graciously do for the lame, ruined, impotent Nation of Israel as well. Everything in Jn. 5 is presented in the context of the Nation of Israel. Let's look at a few just from the account of the Healing of the Lame Man.

  1. Jn. 5:1‑2: The whole episode occurs at a feast of the Jews, the people of the Nation of Israel (not the Gentiles) in the city of Jerusalem, the capital city of the Nation of Israel (not Chicago or your hometown) near the Temple, the worship center of the Nation of Israel (not your church) at the Pool of Bethesda (not your local food pantry or skid row). This is all about the Nation of Israel.
    If we make a closer reading, we see that John calls this a feast of the Jews, i.e., not necessarily a feast of the Lord. And Jerusalem was supposed to be the city of Peace and Bethesda, the Pool of Mercy and living/flowing water. But there was no peace and well-being in Jerusalem, and there was no mercy at the Temple. Jerusalem was ruled by religious leaders that remembered the little things of the Law while forgetting the big things of the Law, like justice, faith and MERCY (Mat. 23:23). The Temple had become a den of thieves and a place of merchandise (Mat. 21:13; Jn. 2:16). And this pool of living-water had become a gathering place for those Israelites who were suffering under the death brought in by Israel's Vain Religious System that was ruled by the Gentiles, who were ruled by Satan.
    In short, this passage is not just about Israel, but about the infirm, ruined, impotent, lame condition of the Nation of Israel under the death-sentence of the Curses of the Law.
  2. At this pool, there was a great multitude of sick and infirm people. But unlike the Gentile nations, there wasn't supposed to be any sickness in Israel! Israel was God's Own Nation. When the nation is in a right relationship with God, they would be: Blessed in the city and blessed in the field, blessed in the body and blessed in the basket, and He would make them into the greatest Nation on Earth (Deut. 28:1‑6). But here they were, the lowest of nations, sick and infirm, in which from the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness in it (Is. 1:6). There were even devils in Israel (Mat. 4:23‑24)! Something was terribly wrong with Israel. They needed God to send Someone to SAVE the NATION. And that is exactly what God was doing in the Gospel Accounts.
  3. Jesus deliberately selected someone who had been infirm for 38 years in order to tie this account to Israel's history. The Israelites suffered death in the wilderness for 38 years (Deut. 2:14) until they were “saved” from the rebellious generation of the Exodus and were led into the Promised Land by Joshua (Gk. JESUS). Now, at Christ's 1st Coming, it was time for the Israelites to be saved from the rebellious generation of that day so they could be led into the “Promised Land” of the KINGDOM by Jesus (Heb. JOSHUA!) (Mat. 3:2, 7; Acts 2:40).
  4. The lame man represents the infirm Nation of Israel and their need for KINGDOM blessings. Jesus shows in this account that He is the One who is able to provide them: Then shall the lame man leap as a hart ... (Is. 35:5).
  5. The multitude was waiting for the troubling of the water, by which John tied this account back to the time when God delivered the Nation of Israel by troubling the water at the Exodus in their past (Ps. 77:15‑16). They needed God to send a greater Prophet like unto Moses (Deut. 18:15), who was more powerful than an angel and able to redeem and deliver Israel through a greater Exodus out of the Egypt of the world, destroying their (and His) enemies, beginning with apostate Israel and ending with the Gentile nations. And that is exactly what God began doing when He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, at His 1st Coming.
  6. What the infirm, lame ruined Nation of Israel needed to do was the same thing the lame man did—acknowledge their utter inability to do anything for themselves (Jn. 5:7). They needed to fall on the Grace resident in God's I AM Jehovah Name embodied in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 4:26), who would do everything for them (Jn. 5:8) thereby healing the NATION of Israel so that her citizens could flourish (Jer. 33:6).

We must reject all the nonsense we are taught by most of historic Christianity, even most of believing Christianity, that tells us that we are being “spiritual” when we make God's Word mean whatever we want it to mean. Everything God is referring to in Jn. 5 is about the salvation of Israel as a NATION in fulfillment of all the promises to their fathers; the first and foremost being: I will make of you (the Israelites) a Great and Holy NATION (Gen. 12:2; Ex. 19:6).

Of course, if you accept the error of most of historic Christianity that God is all done with the Nation of Israel, that He has permanently cast her away and replaced her with us, the Body of Christ, then you will see no need for God to save the NATION and will spiritualize it all away by replacing God and His Word/s (Jews, Jerusalem, Temple, etc.) with man and his word/s (us Gentiles, your hometown, your church, etc.). This trivializes God's Word, emptying it of its meaning, and this is the farthest thing from being “spiritual.” In fact, it is just being carnal, fleshly and rebellious.

Highlights in John

A Little Sympathy, PLEASE!

Apr 25, 2024

We looked at the lame man sympathetically to see if we can salvage his reputation a little as we did with the Samaritan Woman in Jn. 4. Is he really as bad as most commentators make him out to be?

A Little Sympathy, PLEASE!

Like the Samaritan Woman in Jn. 4, the Lame Man in Jn. 5 has suffered at the hands of commentators who don't rightly-divide the Scriptures and have swallowed the great lie of most of historic Christianity that God is all done with the literal physical Nation of Israel. They say, “We have replaced the Nation of Israel.” We are the new Israel, spiritual Israel. Once this error is accepted, the need for the Nation of Israel to be saved will be ruled out, and you will reduce the Gospel of John to a handbook on evangelism in the Dispensation of Grace.

When we reject this error, however, and stick with God and His Word without spiritualizing it away, we realize that God is not all done with literal Israel. He sent His Son AT THE RIGHT TIME to bring about Israel's NATIONAL salvation and provide for Israel's NATIONAL forgiveness of sins that has been accruing under the Curses of the Law for the last 1500 years. This explains why in many instances, John does not explicitly say whether an individual believed or not. For example, John doesn't say explicitly that Nicodemus believed (Jn. 3). Nor does he say explicitly that the Samaritan Woman believed (Jn. 4). And nor will he say explicitly in Jn. 5 that the Lame Man believed. It may be implied in their words and future actions (Nicodemus—Jn. 2:23; 3:2; 7:50‑51; 19:39 —Samaritan Woman—4:29; Lame Man—5:6‑9), but John doesn't say so explicitly. This seems very strange if John's focus is on personal evangelism! And this leads us to ask: If John is not primarily focusing on individual salvation what is the purpose for these individuals in his Gospel Account?

For John these individuals are especially representatives of groups within the Nation of Israel that needed to be redeemed and re-united if the Nation of Israel was to be saved and turned into God's own Holy and Great Nation, the Greatest Nation on Earth, through which He would save the world (Gen. 12:2; Ex. 19:6; Deut. 28:1). While John doesn't tell us explicitly that Nicodemus believed, he does tell us explicitly that the group Nicodemus represented, the religious leaders, did NOT believe. While John doesn't tell us explicitly that the Samaritan Woman believed, he does tell us explicitly that the group she represented—the Samaritans—did believe (no fewer than 3 times in Jn. 4:39‑42). Even in the account of the healing of the Nobleman's son, where we are told explicitly that he believed, John goes on immediately to tie it to the believing of his whole household (Jn. 4:49‑53), thereby representing the Household of Israel.

Which brings us to the account of the healing of the Lame Man. Most commentators present him in a negative light and use him as an example of those who rejected Christ and did not believe. Let's look at some typical negative comments about this man and see if they can be seen in a more positive light.

  1. Some say he was just acting superstitiously at the pool, indicating unbelief (Jn. 5:3‑4). But in God's Prophetic Program, angels play a special role in ministering to the Nation of Israel (Mat. 4:11; Acts 7:53: Heb. 1:13‑14). Why couldn't He be doing something like that here?
  2. Some say he didn't “know” Jesus, indicating unbelief (Jn. 5:13). But John explains in that text that the reason the man didn't “know” Jesus was not because of unbelief, but because Jesus disappeared into the crowd (Jn. 5:13).
  3. Some say the man betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders, indicating unbelief (Jn. 5:15). He's another Judas! But a close reading of the text reveals that he didn't tell the Jews that that Jesus was the One who told him to violate their Sabbath traditions. Rather he told them that He was the One who miraculously healed him—something only God could do (Jn. 5:11, 15)! Throughout the passage, John, Jesus, and the healed man strive to make the religious leaders see the sign (Jn. 5:10, 11, 13, 14, 15). If they saw the sign, they would see the One who did the sign, and the violation of their Sabbath tradition would fade away. But they refuse to see the sign. They don't even mention it.

With this miraculous sign, John is emphasizing the purely gracious nature of the healing. What Jesus does to this lame man is what He is offering to do to the whole Nation. God sent His Son AT THIS TIME to dispense the Grace resident in His I AM Jehovah Name (Jn. 4:26) needed to save the Nation of Israel from its lame, ruined, impotent condition. In this context, John isn't so much focused on whether this man received the grace and believed, but on whether the group he represents received the grace and believed. It becomes evident in their response and the discourse that follows that they do not.

Out of the multitude of infirm people, Jesus chose a man who had been lame for 38 years (Jn. 5:3, 5), the exact span of time Israel wandered in the wilderness until the 1st rebellious generation died off, and it was time for them to enter the Promised Land (Deut. 2:14). And now, fast forwarding 1500 years, God sent His Son to heal and save the Nation of Israel, and lead them into the Promised Land of THE KINGDOM. Where Moses and Joshua failed, God's Son--the greater Prophet-Like-Unto-Moses and Joshua's greater namesake (the name Joshua in Hebrew is Jesus in Greek)--will succeed completely and perfectly. But DO THEY WANT IT (Jn. 5:6)?

Let's paint a more sympathetic and compassionate picture of the Lame Man.

  1. Unlike the unbelieving religious leaders who don't think they need healing; the Lame Man recognized he needed healing and wanted to be made whole otherwise he wouldn't have gone to the great effort and difficulty getting to this pool.
  2. John portrays the Lame Man interacting with Jesus at the Sheep Gate of the sheepfold unlike robbers and thieves (the religious leaders) who try to enter in other ways to lead the sheep astray (Jn. 10:1‑4, 7‑8).
  3. While looking up into the gracious face of the Lord Jesus Christ, he acknowledges his lameness and complete inability to get to God's place of healing on his own. This sounds a lot like a confession. Isn't he doing what Israel should have done back at Sinai, what God wants Israel to do now, and what believing Israel will do in the future (Hos. 14:2): Fall on the Grace resident in God's I AM Jehovah Name, which is now embodied in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, pleading with Him to treat them graciously? He may not really understand. He may not be able to put it into theological terms. But few can, not even His closest disciples!
  4. After this confession, Jesus heals the man with a command: ARISE, pick up your mat and walk! John stresses the point that the man IMMEDIATELY heard Jesus and obeyed (Jn. 5:8). Isn't this one of the chief characteristics of a true disciple of Jesus?
  5. After finding the man in the Temple later, Jesus tells him that having been made whole, stop sinning. When John talks about sin, it is usually the sin of not believing that Jesus was sent from God (Jn. 8:24; 15:22; 16:9). Even late in His ministry, Jesus warned even his closest disciples about not committing that sin (Jn. 14:1). Could it be that because of the questioning by the religious leaders that the healed man was second guessing whether Jesus was really sent by God? That God had really worked in and through Him?

After Jesus reminds the healed man to not sin, the man immediately goes to the Jews and tells them that the One who HEALED him was Jesus—Jehovah Your Salvation—Joshua, the One God sent to bring us into the Promised Land of Israel's long-prophesied KINGDOM! Notice, the man doesn't say Jesus is the One who told him to break their Sabbath traditions! He tells them He is the One who HEALED me (Jn. 5:15)! Could it be that he was trying to get them to see the miraculous healing for if they did, their Sabbath violation would no longer matter? Isn't he here, in fact, testifying of Jesus to others? Which is another chief characteristic of a true disciple.

Jesus's choice of this Lame Man to graciously heal serves as the perfect example of how the Nation of Israel was supposed to at least begin to receive His ministry. The Nation needed to acknowledge that they were in complete ruin, trapped under the accumulated debt of 1500 years under the Curses of the Law, a predicament that they were powerless to remedy on their own. They needed to correct the answer they gave at Sinai (Ex. 19:8). Instead of saying: We will do all that You say! They need to cry out: LORD, we can't do what You say! You need to do everything for us graciously! We are impotent, infirm, dead, and we cannot help ourselves (Is. 1; Mat. 4:23-5:12). LORD, You need to put us back up on Your eagles wings and keep carrying us along, bringing us to Yourself and giving us Your Life (Ex. 19:4).

And, it seems to me, that that is exactly what Jesus did in John's account of the healing of the Lame Man.

Highlights in John

AND IT WAS THE SABBATH

May 02, 2024

After looking at the Lame Man and his ambiguous individual response—did he believe or didn't he believe?--we move on to John's main point: The response of the group that the lame man represented, the infirm and powerless Nation of Israel under the leadership of a Vain Religious System. And here there is absolutely no ambiguity. John is clear that they rejected Jesus and did not believe in Him.

AND IT WAS THE SABBATH

After looking at the Lame Man and his ambiguous individual response—did he believe or didn't he believe?--we move on to John's main point: The response of the group that the lame man represented, the infirm and powerless Nation of Israel under the leadership of a Vain Religious System. And here there is absolutely no ambiguity. John is clear that they rejected Jesus and did not believe in Him.

They threw away the miraculous sign, even though John (Jn. 5:9, 10, 13), Jesus (Jn. 5:6, 14) and the healed man tried to draw their attention to it. It was as though they hadn't even seen it, therefore they see the Healer, which means they didn't receive and believe in Jesus! All they were interested in was the supposed violation of their Sabbath traditions.

If they had allowed themselves to see the sign of the healing of the man who had been lame for 38 years, something only God could do, they would have shifted their eyes from the Sabbath violation to the Healer, who must be from God and have God working in and through Him (Jn. 3:2), perhaps perceiving that the LORD of the Sabbath stood before them (Mk. 2:28). But they didn't. They were so focused on the petty Sabbath violation of their traditions that when the Great LORD of the Sabbath passed by they missed Him. Paul put it this way: For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes (Rom. 10:3‑4).

Israel's problem was that the religious leaders had thrown away God and His Word and replaced them with man and his traditions. They overemphasized and regulated the easy less important things of the Law like tithing anise seeds and the washing of pots, while ignoring the harder great things of the Law like dispensing justice, showing mercy and proclaiming faith (Mat. 23:23‑26; Mk. 7:1-13; Is. 1), thereby creating a Vain Religious System. They appeared to keep the letter of the Law but were completely ignorant of the Purpose of the Law, the spirit of the Law. In doing this they took the virtue of God's Sabbath and turned it into the vice of their vain religious system, adding to Israel's enslavement and prolonging its suffering.

Jesus explains the purpose and spirit of God's Sabbath commands, and how they were supposed to work. First, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mk. 2:27). The Sabbath was provided to benefit humanity, not the other way around. It was designed by God to be a time of setting free, of releasing from suffering and of restoring to life (Ex. 31:12-18; Deut. 15:2‑3; Lev. 25:8-13) at that time, resumed in the Tribulation Period (Mat. 24:20) and culminating in the future when Christ brings believing Israel into the full Sabbath rest of their Kingdom (Is. 66:23; Ezek. 46:1). Israel's VRS turned that divine plan for the Sabbath on its head, transforming it into a burden and a new enslavement of its own, and Jesus had just one word for them: HYPOCRITES (Mat. 23 as a whole and Mat. 23:23 in particular).

Second, according to Jesus, it was ok to do good on the Sabbath. Once again exposing their hypocrisy, Jesus asked them who of you wouldn't pull an ox out of a pit on the Sabbath day (Lk. 14:5)? Of course, they all would! They showed more mercy for an ox than for their fellow human beings, which brings us back to Mat. 23:23! And if it is ok for people to do good on the Sabbath, how much more is it ok for the Lord Himself to do good on the Sabbath, freeing the lame man from his enslavement and suffering (Jn. 5:1-8). When God rested on the 7th day, He rested from His Creative work of the previous 6 days, not from doing anything at all! He continues to maintain and preserve Creation on all days including the Sabbath day. And now in the Gospel Accounts He is still working in Jesus's earthly ministry to bring about Israel's national salvation, freeing it from their sins and restoring them unto His Glory (Mat. 5:17).

Now, with this divine interpretation the Sabbath Law and the explanation of the SPIRIT of it from the Lord Jesus Christ, we can understand Old Testament references to the Sabbath. The spirit of the Sabbath was to prevent Israel from carrying out the burdensome work that they did during the week to earn a living and support themselves and their families in their business or profession during the week. In trusting reliance upon Him, they weren't supposed to do on the 7th day what they did the other 6 days of the week—themselves, their family members, their servants and even Gentile strangers in the Land. They were to reserve the 7th day to focus on the LORD. In short, they were to rest from their daily burdensome occupations to focus on and enjoy the Lord (Ex. 20:8‑10; 23:12; Jer. 17:21‑22; Neh. 13:19‑20).

In order to accomplish this, the Israelites were to carry out some commonsense things. They were not to do the burdensome work on the Sabbath. They were not to do the work of their occupations, business of professions. And they were to do whatever they could to prepare for the Sabbath beforehand. So, harvesting their fields and opening their stores were violations because these things would be part of their normal business activities. Gathering sticks and lighting fires were violations because they could be planned for ahead of time (Num. 15:32; Ex. 35:3). Jesus's healing of the Lame Man and instructing him to pick up his bed met neither of these conditions. His bed wasn't a burden because it was just a straw or fabric mat that he would roll up and carry under his arm. It also wasn't part of his daily business, he probably didn't have one. And he couldn't have planned in advance for it, Jesus appeared out of the blue. Jesus dispensed God's life even on the Sabbath. The religious leaders should have rejoiced in it.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

Highlights in John

Old Testament Context of Jn. 5:17-30

May 09, 2024

In our most recent message from the Gospel of John, we looked at Jn. 5:16-30 where for the 1st time in John Jesus gives an in depth explanation of who He is and what He is doing. In Jn. 1 we heard about who Jesus is through the mouth of others. Here we have Jesus Himself explaining who He is. He is equal with God but not in the way the Jews were thinking. He is not a competing God with His Own agenda. Rather, He is the 2nd Person of the Triune Godhead, who is related to the Father as a Son and does all that He hears and sees the Father do.

Old Testament Context of Jn. 5:17-30

When we realize that John's main purpose was to explain that Christ came at that time to begin accomplishing Israel's NATIONAL salvation, and that individual Israelites could participate in it by believing, we won't fall into the error of most of historic Christianity that trivializes John, turning it into little more than a handbook for personal evangelism in the Dispensation of Grace.

Jn. 5:17-30 provides an excellent example that shows how the Gospel of John opens up and blossoms when we read it in the context of God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel. When they went into captivity, Israel DIED as a nation (Ezek. 33:9‑11, 21). They needed to be given life. And that is exactly what God sent Christ to do in the Gospel Accounts. He sent His Son to Israel to begin to give them life, raising them from the dead and making them into His own great (Gen. 12:2) and holy (Ex. 19:6) Nation. These verses overflow with Old Testament prophetic indicators that have to do with Israel's NATIONAL salvation. We don't pick up on these prophetic indicators because we are so ignorant of the Scriptures, having been taught by our own vain religious system to throw the Old Testament away by spiritualizing it. But the Jews of Jesus's day would have picked up on them instantly. Let's look at a few from this passage:

  1. Jn. 5:19, 24, 25: Verily, Verily/Amen,Amen—Only John uses this double Amen terminology. It is also used rarely in the OT, and that most conspicuously at the close of the first 3 books of the Psalms (Ps. 41:13; 72:19; 89:52). When we remember that the 5 Books of Psalms are structured on the 5 mandates of the Davidic Covenant, Jesus's use of the Amen, Amen terminology becomes extremely important. Through the Davidic Covenant, the LORD promises David that He will enflesh Himself into the line of David to do what no other Israelite could do, not even David, and that is to provide for Israel's NATIONAL salvation. He will be Israel's Redeemer (Ps. 1-41), Deliverer (Ps. 42-72), Avenger (Ps. 73-89), King (Ps. 90-106), and Blesser (Ps. 107-150). Through the double Amen, Jesus wasn't just saying: “Hey guys, this important! Listen up” (as some translations like the NKJV suggest). No, he is pointing back to the Davidic Covenant, especially its first 3 mandates, announcing to the Jewish leaders and all Israel that He is the One who will fulfill the Davidic Covenant thereby accomplishing Israel's NATIONAL salvation!
  2. Jn. 5:23, 24, 30: Sent by God—When Jesus said this, He was pointing back to a promise the LORD gave to Moses in Deut. 18:15-21: I will raise up a (greater) Prophet-Like-Unto-Moses, who will speak My words and lead believing Israel through a greater Exodus out of apostate Israel and into the Egypt of the Gentile world so that (like His namesake Joshua--Hebrew=Joshua but in Greek=Jesus) He can lead them into the Promised Land of Israel's long-prophesied earthly Kingdom. What Moses and Joshua accomplished partially and temporarily, Jesus will accomplish fully and forevermore. Jesus speaks the words and does the works of the Father. Those who hear Jesus and believe the One who sent Him (the Father), possess what they need to participate in the everlasting Kingdom: Everlasting Life. Those who don't hear and believe remain under God's condemnation and wrath (Deut. 18:18‑19; Acts 3:22‑26; Jn. 3:18), and all of this is in accord with the Abrahamic Covenant (Acts 3:25‑26). Jesus announced that He is God's promised Prophet-Like-Unto-Moses!
  3. Jn. 5:25, 28: The Hour Comes And Now Is/The Hour Comes: When Jesus uses this terminology, He is referring back to various prophesies of Daniel's Time (Hour) Schedule for Israel's NATIONAL salvation (Dan. 9:24‑27, et al.). The hour is coming and now is indicates that while Jesus's giving of life—physical and spiritual—to believing Israel will be fulfilled completely in the future at His 2nd Coming when they enter the Kingdom, He has already begun to dispense life right now in a foretaste manner at His 1st Coming—healing the Nobleman's son and the lame man, Lazarus, etc--(Jn. 5:25). Then Jesus refers to a coming time (that has not yet begun) and that is Daniel's future prophetic resurrection hour that when fulfilled will include all humanity (Jn. 5:28; Dan. 12:1‑2). Jesus announced to the Jews that He is the ultimate dispenser of Life and Judgment!
  4. Jn. 5:28: Resurrection Unto Life or Unto Condemnation: Jesus is referring to the complete fulfillment of the hour or time of resurrection (Dan. 12:1‑2) when both Old Testament saints and Tribulation Period believers who died will be resurrected unto life at Christ's 2nd Coming (Jn. 11:24; Rev. 20:6) and unbelievers will be resurrected unto condemnation at the end of the Millennial Kingdom (Rev. 20:11‑15). Neither of these resurrections have to do with the resurrection of members of the Body of Christ who have died in the Dispensation of Grace. They will be resurrected at the Rapture Event that ends the Dispensation of Grace, the ambassadorial stage of God's Mystery Program for the Body of Christ (1 Thess. 4:16). Jesus announced to the Jews that He is the One who will be carrying out the full resurrection of humanity!
  5. Jn. 5:24: Hear and Believe: This has always been the key characteristic of God's true, living Nation of Israel going all the way back to the Exodus when God brought them out as a nation (Ex. 3:14‑18; 4:1, 9; 19:9). Jesus announced to the Jews that to participate in this they must believe God and receive Him as His Sent One because He is the one who can lead them into the safety of God's Life!
  6. Jn. 5:27: Son of Man: Jesus is referring to the Son of Man prophecy in Daniel, who will destroy all kingdoms on earth and replace them with His Own everlasting Kingdom centered in Israel and ruled by Him from David's Throne in Jerusalem (Dan. 7:9‑14). The Lord Jesus is THAT Son of Man! Incidentally we might add that the relationship between the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man in Dan. 7 looks a little like the relationship between the Father and the Son in Jn. 5.
  7. Jn. 5:25: The Dead Hear His Voice and Live—Jesus is referring to the prophecy in Ezek. 37:1-14 where the LORD speaks and blows the wind, the Spirit, over the dead bones of Israel, giving them life, raising them from the dead, and making them into His Own great and holy Nation. They must be born again (Jn. 3:6‑8), and Jesus is the One Whom God has sent to accomplish all of this!

Once we understand this Old Testament prophetic background, the passage opens up and blossoms for our learning, encouraging us in patience and longsuffering in hope (Rom. 15:4, 13), for when we see God faithfully fulfilling every promise He ever made to the Nation of Israel in His Prophetic Program, we can rest assured that He will be just as faithful to fulfill every promise He has made to us in the Body of Christ in His Mystery Program.

Highlights in John

(Loose) Paraphrase of Jn. 5:19-23

May 16, 2024

In our most recent message from the Gospel of John, we looked at the Divine Dance of Life and Love between the Father and Son and Jesus as the fulfiller of the Davidic Covenant, God's promise about the Prophet-Like-Unto-Moses (and Jesus's namesake Joshua) and Daniel's prophecies about the Son of Man, the hours/times and the two resurrections of God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel. In short, Jesus explains that He is the One the Father Sent to bring about Israel's NATIONAL salvation.

(Loose) Paraphrase of Jn. 5:19-23

Because we have been taught mostly by those who reject Paul's distinct apostleship and God's Mystery Program for the Body of Christ, we miss out on much of what Jesus is talking about in the Gospel Accounts, especially the Gospel of John. What would John look like if instead of throwing away what John says and replacing it with what Paul says we instead read John the way God and John intended: IN THE CONTEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE FULFILLMENT OF GOD'S PROPHETIC PROGRAM WITH THE NATION OF ISRAEL? Let's find out with the following loose paraphrase of Jn. 5:19-23:

Jn. 5:19: Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily: This points back to the closing verses of the 1st three books of the Psalms (Amen, Amen--Ps. 41:13; 72:19; 89:52), which refer to the Davidic Covenant, which provided for Israel's NATIONAL salvation through five mandates—Jehovah (I AM) Israel's Redeemer (at the Cross), Deliverer and Avenger (through and out of the Tribulation Period), King and Blesser (in the Kingdom). In short, Jesus was announcing to the Jews that He has come to begin fulfilling the Davidic Covenant for Israel, especially its first three mandates!

I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: In response to the Jews understanding of His being equal to God (Jn. 5:18), Jesus explains that He is equal to God but not in the way they were thinking. He is not a competing God with His Own agenda and will. Rather He is the 2nd Person of the Triune Godhead, who is related to the Father as a Son and does only what He sees and hears the Father do and say (Jn. 5:19, 30). In short, He is the Son of the Father, whom God promised some 1,000 years before when He revealed the Davidic Covenant to David and Israel—I will be His Father and He will be My Son (2 Sam. 7:14). There the LORD promised He would enflesh Himself into the line of David to fulfill His promises to David, restoring and saving the Nation of Israel under the Davidic Monarchy of the Lord Jesus Christ. In short, at Christ's 1st Coming, when the eternal Word became flesh (Jn. 1:14), that process began!

for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise: While on the one hand, Jesus is not a competing God with His own agenda but God the Son working in complete harmony with God the Father; on the other hand, He is equal to God. He does EVERYTHING the Father does—only God can do that!

Jn. 5:20: For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all things that himself doeth: The Son is not a competing God trying to carry out His own agenda, jealously and sneakily spying on the Father, watching from behind tress or listening behind closed doors, trying to steal away the Father's things for His Own advancement. No, the Son resides in the bosom of the Father (Jn. 1:18) in the most intimate close relationship of love possible, and the Father willingly and joyfully shares with Him all His things. And now, in Christ's earthly ministry, the Son is sharing them with Israel and through Israel the whole world. In short, Jesus is announcing to the Jews that as the Son, He is the visible manifestation of the invisible Father!

and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel: This manifestation of the Father's works will increase as the Gospel of John progresses throughout Jesus's earthly ministry and what follows in early Acts, but especially at His 2nd Coming when all things will be fulfilled.

Jn. 5:21‑22: For as the Father raises up the dead, and quickens (makes alive) them; even so the Son quickens whom he will. For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son: The Son has all the prerogatives of deity, like raising the dead and giving life, in such complete harmony with the Father's will that He can do it to whomever He pleases. Not only that, the Father has also entrusted to the Son all judgment. He is the one who will decide who stays in condemnation and who is removed from it (Jn. 1:5; 3:17‑18). In short, Jesus was announcing to the Jews that He has all the divine prerogatives necessary to fulfill God's promises to save the Nation of Israel, restoring her to life and judging her (and God's) enemies, so that He can make them into His Own Holy Nation through whom He will rule all nations on Earth (Deut. 28:13; Is. 60:12)!

Jn. 5:23: That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father who has sent him: That the Father sent the Son refers back to the promise God gave to Moses that He would raise up a greater Prophet-Like-Unto-Moses (Deut. 18:15-21), who would speak only the words of the LORD (Jn. 5:30; 12:49), who like Moses would redeem, deliver and avenge Israel through a greater Exodus out of the “Egypt of the world”—the apostate Nation of Israel and enemy Gentile nations--and who, like His namesake Joshua, would lead Israel into the “Promised Land of the Kingdom.” In short, Jesus was announcing to the Jews that because of all the things He said in the preceding verses, they must honor the Son as they honor the Father rather than persecuting Him and plotting His death (Jn. 5:16, 18)! If they don't, it shows that they don't really honor the Father!

Highlights in John

Old Testament Context of Jn. 5:19-30

May 23, 2024

In our most recent message from the Gospel of John, we looked at the Divine Dance of Life and Love between the Father and Son and Jesus as the fulfiller of the Davidic Covenant, God's promise about the Prophet-Like-Unto-Moses (and Jesus's namesake Joshua) and Daniel's prophecies about the Son of Man, the hours/times and the two resurrections of God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel. In short, Jesus explains that He is the One the Father Sent to bring about Israel's NATIONAL salvation and is the way those hearing Him can participate in that salvation.

Old Testament Context of Jn. 5:19-30

Highlights in John

Commentary on Jn. 5:19-30 in the Light of OT Context

May 30, 2024

What we learned in this passage helps us to properly understand one of the most famous verses in all Scripture, Jn. 3:16. To the leader/s of Israel (Jn. 3:1, 10), Jesus said with my commentary: For God (the Father) so loved the world (but only to the extent of dying for His friends—Jn. 15:13!) that He gave His only begotten Son (in fulfillment of Is. 9:6—He is the Son of the Father/Son team that would fulfill the Davidic Covenant that provides for Israel NATIONAL salvation in accord with 2 Sam. 7:14) that whosoever believes in Him (as the given of the Father, the Sent One of the Father (Jn. 3:17) in fulfillment of Deut. 18:15-22—the Greater-Prophet-Like-Unto-Moses, who must be heard and believed because He will lead Israel through that greater Exodus and into the “Promised Land” of the Kingdom that this time (unlike the 1st Exodus) would be accomplished permanently and everlastingly) should not perish (under association with Israel's NATIONAL condemnation, death and debt of sins, which has been accruing for 1500 years under the Curses of the Law in the Courses of Punishment—Acts 3:21-26) but has everlasting life (possesses everlasting life now that will be lived out fully in Israel's long-promised everlasting Kingdom). In other words, this verse explains how believing Israelites could participate in Israel's NATIONAL salvation, and through saved Israel God will send His salvation out to all the nations of the Earth, thereby saving the world.

Commentary on Jn. 5:19-30 in the Light of OT Context

Because we have been taught mostly by those who reject Paul's distinct apostleship and God's Mystery Program for the Body of Christ, we miss out on much of what Jesus is talking about in the Gospel Accounts, especially the Gospel of John. What would John look like if instead of throwing away what John says and replacing it with what Paul says we instead read John the way God and John intended: IN THE CONTEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE FULFILLMENT OF GOD'S PROPHETIC PROGRAM WITH THE NATION OF ISRAEL? Let's use Jn. 5:19-30 as a test case:

Jn. 5:19: Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily: This points back to the closing verses of the 1st three books of the Psalms (Amen, Amen--Ps. 41:13; 72:19; 89:52), which refer to the Davidic Covenant, which provided for Israel's NATIONAL salvation, especially its 1st three mandates that go from Christ's 1st Coming to His 2nd Coming (minus the Dispensation of Grace)—Jehovah (I AM) Israel's Redeemer (at the Cross) and Deliverer and Avenger (through and out of early Acts and the future Tribulation Period). In short, Jesus was announcing to the Jews that He has come to begin fulfilling the Davidic Covenant for Israel, especially its first three mandates!

I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: In response to the Jews understanding of His being equal to God (Jn. 5:18), Jesus explains that He is equal to God but not in the way they were thinking. He is not a competing God with His Own agenda and will. Rather He is the 2nd Person of the Triune Godhead, who is related to the Father as a Son and does only what He sees and hears the Father do and say (Jn. 5:19, 30). In short, He is the Son of the Father/Son team whom God promised 1,000 years before when He revealed the Davidic Covenant to David and Israel—I will be His Father and He will be My Son (2 Sam. 7:14). The LORD promised He would enflesh Himself into the line of David to fulfill His promises to Israel, restoring and saving the Nation under the Davidic Monarchy of King Jesus the Christ. In short, at Christ's 1st Coming, when the eternal Word became flesh (Jn. 1:14), that process began. He is the One who will fulfill all the promises God gave to Israel!

for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise: While on the one hand, Jesus is not a competing God with His own agenda but God the Son working in complete harmony with God the Father; on the other hand, He is equal to God. He does EVERYTHING the Father does—only God can do that!

Jn. 5:20: For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all things that himself doeth: The Son is not a competing God trying to carry out His own agenda, jealously and sneakily spying on the Father, watching from behind tress or listening behind closed doors, trying to steal away the Father's things for His Own advancement. No, the Son resides in the bosom of the Father (Jn. 1:18) in the most intimate close relationship of love possible, and the Father willingly and joyfully shares with Him all His things. And now, in Christ's earthly ministry, the Son is sharing them with Israel and through Israel the whole world. In short, Jesus is announcing to the Jews that He is God the Son, the visible manifestation of the invisible Father (Jn. 1:18)!

and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel: This manifestation of the Father's works will increase as the Gospel of John progresses throughout Jesus's earthly ministry, through what follows in the ministry of Peter and the 12 and the Holy Spirit in early Acts, and especially through the Tribulation Period and His 2nd Coming when all things will be fulfilled.

Jn. 5:21-22: For as the Father raises up the dead, and quickens (makes alive) them; even so the Son quickens whom he will. For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son: The relationship between the Father and the Son is like a divine dance of life and love. The Father leads with a step, and the Son follows that step. The Father raises the dead, the Son raises the dead. The Father imparts life, the Son imparts life. Then the Father twirls the Son out and gives the Son all authority to judge. Then the dance starts all over again. In short, the Son has all the prerogatives of deity. In short, Jesus was announcing to the Jews that He has all the divine prerogatives necessary to fulfill God's promises to save the Nation of Israel, restoring her to life and judging her (and God's) enemies, so that He can make them into His Own Great and Holy Nation through whom He will rule all nations on Earth (Gen. 12:2; Deut. 19:6; 28:13; Is. 60:12)!

Jn. 5:23: That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father who has sent him: This divine dance in the Triune Godhead means that to honor the Son is to honor the Father. To not honor the Son is to not honor the Father. Jesus has now turned the courtroom around. The Jews thought they were the judges, sentencing Jesus to death. But now Jesus is the Judge and not honoring Him means that they don't honor the Father, and they are condemned already and sentenced to death.

The Father sent the Son refers back to the promise God gave to Moses that He would raise up a greater Prophet-Like-Unto-Moses (Deut. 18:15-21), who would speak only the words of the LORD (Jn. 5:30; 12:49), and who, like Moses, would redeem, deliver and avenge Israel, leading them through a greater Exodus out of the “Egypt of the world”—the apostate Nation of Israel and enemy Gentile nations--and who, like His namesake Joshua, would lead Israel into the “Promised Land of the Kingdom.” In short, Jesus was announcing to the Jews that He is the fulfillment of God's promise to Moses and Israel. He is the greater Prophet-Like-Unto-Moses who must be heard. For if they don't, they will be destroyed from among the people ( Deut. 18:19; Acts 3:23).

Jn. 5:24: Verily,Verily refers back to the Davidic Covenant, especially its 1st three mandates (see notes on Jn. 5:19).

He that hears by Word and believes on Him that sent Me refers back to the beginning of the 1st Exodus when God commissioned Moses. In order for the Exodus to work, the Israelites needed to hearken and believe ( Ex. 3:18; 4:1,9 . Of course, they didn't hearken and believe so the 1st Exodus ultimately failed. The 2nd greater Exodus that will be carried out by the Lord Jesus Christ, the greater Prophet-Like-Unto-Moses, and it will not fail because it will only include those Israelites who hear and believe. Only believing Israel will be made into His Holy and Great Nation of Israel. What Moses and Joshua accomplished only partially and temporarily, Jesus will accomplish completely and everlastingly.

Has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life: Now is the time--beginning at Christ's 1st Coming, continuing through the ministry of the 12 in early Acts, picking up again in the Tribulation Period and culminating at Christ's 2nd Coming—to possess the substance (life here is a noun) of everlasting life, having it put in their bank accounts--by hearing and believing. This removes them from the condemnation of being under Israel's National debt of sin that has been accruing under the Curses of the Law during the Courses of Punishment for the last 1500 years, and that unbelieving Israel remains under. They won't ever come under it because they have already passed out of the sphere of condemnation and death and now reside in the sphere of life and no condemnation. This is believing Israel, the Believing Remnant of Israel, from whom God will create His Own Holy Nation of Israel, who will take His salvation out to the rest of the world.

Jn. 5:25: Verily, Verily (see notes on Jn. 5:19).

The hour is coming and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live: This coming hour refers to Daniel's Prophetic times. The time for taking possession of everlasting life by hearing and believing began at Christ's 1st Coming (and now is), continued through the ministry of the 12, will pick up again in the Tribulation Period and then be completely fulfilled at His 2nd Coming (the coming hour). At that time/hour, the time for hearing and believing will be over. Christ will return, deliver those who heard, believed and possessed everlasting life, leading them into the everlasting Kingdom to live that life out. At the same time, He will also destroy all who didn't believe, destroying them from among the people and excluding them from the Kingdom (Acts 3:22-21-26).

Here, we have a play on the word “hear.” The dead shall “hear” the voice of the Son—that is what Jesus is doing as He spoke with the Jews who stood before Him. They “heard” His words with their physical ears but rejected it. Only some “heard” His words with the spiritual ears of faith. As v. 24 said, those who hear and believe possess everlasting life now, and they will live that life out in Israel's long-promised everlasting Kingdom.

Jn. 5:26‑27: See notes on Jn. 5:21‑22. Jesus again picks up the divine dance of life and love between the Father and the Son team that will fulfill the Davidic Covenant for Israel.

The Son of Man refers to Daniel's prophecy about the Son of Man (Dan. 7:13‑14). Jesus was claiming to be the One with all life giving and judging authority. He is the One Daniel spoke about. The One who would destroy all the kingdoms on earth and replace them with His Own everlasting Kingdom on Earth given to Him by the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:13‑14). This sounds like a Father and His Son!

Jn. 5:28‑29: Marvel not at this: The Jews listening to Jesus are marveling at all Jesus claims regarding Himself. He is the One who can accomplish the Davidic Covenant on behalf of Israel because He is the Son of the Father/Son team mentioned in 2 Sam. 7:14 and absolute God. The Father has sent Him to lead believing Israel through a greater Exodus because He is the Greater-Prophet-Like-Unto-Moses. Where Moses and Joshua only succeeded partially and temporarily, He will succeed completely and everlastingly. Therefore, they are to honor Him as they honor the Father, and if they don't, they don't honor the Father, will remain in condemnation and will be destroyed from among the people, being sent into everlasting death and excluded from the Kingdom. No wonder they marveled! But they should have known all this. All Jesus has been saying has come straight out of the Old Testament Scriptures, the Old Testament Scriptures they claim to be experts in!

For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. You want to marvel at something, marvel at this! I am the One who will carry out the ultimate judging and life-giving of all humanity via the full resurrection from the dead in accord with Daniel's Prophecy regarding the resurrection in God's Prophetic Program (Dan. 12:1‑3). They that have done (the) good, those who participated in God's GOOD by believing (Old Testament saints, the saints who died at Christ's 1st Coming and the saints who die in the Tribulation Period) unto the Resurrection of Life at Christ's 2nd Coming to participate in the Millennial Kingdom (Jn. 11:24; Rev. 20:6). They that have done (the) evil, those who rejected God's GOOD in unbelief in OT, Christ's earthly ministry and the Tribulation Period, unto the Resurrection of Damnation at the end of the Millennial Kingdom (Rev. 20:11‑15).

Jn. 5:30: See notes on Jn. 5:19. It is as though Jesus, after expanding into the infinite size of His divine role, shrinks back down to human size. Now, He makes clear that the Son of God and Man that He has been talking about is Him, the “I” of this verse, who does nothing on His Own but only the will of the Father who sent Me.

Highlights in John

Why They Don't Believe

Jun 06, 2024

In the last part of Jn. 5 Jesus explains why the Israel as a whole didn't believe. It was because they didn't really believe in the God of Israel, the Scriptures or Moses!

Why They Don't Believe

When we appreciate that Christ's earthly ministry was NOT primarily to engage in evangelism unto individual salvation and personal forgiveness of sins (contrary to most of historic Christianity), but to call the Believing Remnant of Israel (those who already belonged to God, who already believed and had already received individual/personal salvation) out of the apostate unbelieving Israel so that they could participate in Israel's NATIONAL salvation and NATIONAL forgiveness sins as well, we will understand why Israel as a whole rejected the Lord Jesus Christ at His 1st Coming. As we have seen, Jesus in Jn. 5:19-30 revealed to the Jews that He has come to fulfill the Father's promises to David in the Davidic Covenant, which provided for Israel's NATIONAL salvation (Verily, Verily). In fact, He is the Son of the Father and Son team that God promised would accomplish Israel's NATIONAL salvation—I will be His Father and He will be My Son (2 Sam. 7:12-14a).

Jesus goes on to explain to the Jews that to accomplish this, Israel will need to go through a second greater Exodus, and He is the One who can lead them through it because He is the Sent One of the Father, the greater Prophet-Like-Unto-Moses, God the Son. Where Moses and Joshua only succeeded partially and temporarily at the 1st Exodus, Jesus Christ will succeed completely and everlastingly at the 2nd greater Exodus. He is the One who can usher them into the “Promised Land” of the Kingdom! In short, He is the One who can fulfill all God's promises not only to David and Moses, but to Daniel, his Time Schedule and all the other prophets as well. Like the 1st Exodus, the key is that they must hear God's sent One (in 1st Exodus, Moses; in 2nd Exodus, Jesus Christ) and believe (Ex. 4:1, 9). Where the 1st  Exodus failed because the bulk of the nation didn't hear and believe, the 2nd Exodus will succeed because God will only use those who hear and believe, the Believing Remnant of Israel (Jn. 5:24).

So, why didn't they believe? Why did Israel as a whole reject the Son of the “Father and Son team” promised when God gave Israel the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:14)? Why did they reject the greater Prophet-Like-Unto-Moses God raised up for them from among the brethren (Deut. 18:15)? John answers these questions in the last part of Jn. 5. They didn't receive the Son because they didn't really believe in the Father. They didn't believe the Son's Word/s (which were really the Word/s of the Father--Jn. 5:19, 30!) because they didn't know God's voice, didn't have His word dwelling in them by faith (Jn. 5:37‑38).

Of course, the corollary of this is that those who did receive and believe the Son, were those who already belonged to the Father, who already had God's Word/s dwelling in them by faith, therefore, they recognized the Father in the Son. These were Israelites who were already individually, personally saved, most before Jesus even arrived on the scene—think Mary and Joseph, Anna and Simeon, Elizabeth and Zacharias, John the Baptist and his followers, etc. The Father's primary purpose for Christ at His 2nd  Coming was to hand over those who already belonged to Him as saved individuals to the Son, so that He could begin gathering them into the “little flock,” for instruction and preservation through the Tribulation Period in preparation for their entrance into Israel's long-prophesied earthly Kingdom at His 2nd Coming (Lk. 12:32).

This does not diminish the importance of individual salvation one bit. God had always been individually saving people and forgiving their sins going all the way back to the Fall of Adam. 2,000 years before Christ's 2nd  Coming, Abraham believed God and God counted His faith for righteousness—he was justified before God and His Tribunal by faith without works, individually saved with all personal sins forgiven (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:3). And the same thing would happen to any unbeliever in Jesus's day who heard His Word, the very Word of God, and believed. He would, like Abraham, be individually and personally saved. Jesus and the angels would rejoice! But God had always been doing that. The Son was sent by the Father AT THAT TIME, however, to bring about Israel's NATIONAL salvation, and that required gathering all believers in Israel, those who already belonged to the Father and were already individually/personally saved, so that they could now participate in Israel's NATIONAL salvation, which included being set free from their association as Israelites under Israel's NATIONAL debt of sin, thereby equipping them to enter into the everlasting Kingdom where they would live out their everlasting life.

Unfortunately, the record indicates that the vast majority of unbelieving Israel did not respond to Jesus in faith but rejected Him in unbelief. Despite their claims to believe in the God of Israel, their rejection of the Son revealed that they didn't really. And if they didn't believe in God, they didn't believe in His Scriptures or even His previous sent one, Moses (Jn. 5:39‑40; 45‑47)! Because they were not saved individually/personally, they were also excluded from participating in Israel's NATIONAL salvation, and they remained under the condemnation and judgment of Israel's NATIONAL debt of sins.

In summary, overwhelmingly, those who received and believed in Jesus Christ were those who already were believers in the God of Israel and His Scriptures, who already belonged to and knew the Father, so that when the Son came, they recognized the Father and His voice in the Son because the Son only did the works and spoke the words of the Father (Jn. 5:19, 30).

And this leads into Jn. 6 where we will meet several groups of Israelites, but only a few hear and believe, some disciples, especially the 12, revealing that they belong to the Father and possess eternal life through the Son.

Highlights in John

Who Is The YE In Jn. 20:31?

Jun 13, 2024

Traditional teaching claims that John's YE is WE, the Body of Christ in the Dispensation of Grace. But is it? After looking at who Peter, James and John said they ministered to, and who Paul says they limited their ministry to, we focused on the ministry of the 12 in early Acts. Just as we have seen that it is a great error to reduce the Gospel of John to evangelism for individual salvation and personal forgiveness of sins in the Dispensation of Grace, it is just as great an error to reduce the preaching of Peter and the 12 (which includes John) in early Acts to evangelism for individual salvation and personal forgiveness of sins in the Dispensation of Grace. Rather, Peter was primarily introducing believing Israelites (those who believed God and belonged to Him, especially those of the Jewish diaspora who were in Jerusalem for Pentecost, and who knew nothing about Jesus and had nothing to do with Israel putting Him to death 40+ days before) to the fact that God had sent His Son to fulfill all the promises made to the Nation of Israel AT THAT TIME. AT THAT TIME, the Father was taking those who belonged to Him (believing Israel) and was handing them over to His Son for instruction and safekeeping, especially through the upcoming Tribulation Period, as He leads them into Israel's long-prophesied Kingdom. Now was the time for them (those who had already participated in individual salvation and personal forgiveness of sins) to participate in Israel's NATIONAL salvation and be freed from their association with Israel's NATIONAL debt of sin that had been accumulating for the last 1500 years under the Curses of the Law in the Courses of Punishment, and that had now culminated in Israel joining hands with the Gentiles in putting their King and Messiah, Lord and Savior to death on the Cross (Acts 2-3). In short, Peter and the 12 were saying what Jesus said in John 14:1: YE believe in God (believing Israel whether inside or outside the Land), believe also in Me (as the One the Father sent to lead you into the everlasting Life of the everlasting Kingdom).

In addition, we saw that Peter tells us explicitly that what was going on in early Acts was not God beginning something new. It was God continuing something old. It is what God HATH SPOKEN by the mouth of all His holy prophets SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN (Acts 3:21). God did not begin His Mystery Program with the Body of Christ in the Dispensation of Grace with Peter at Pentecost! It is not until the raising up of Paul that God began something new, something that God HAD KEPT SECRET SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:1-11)! Next week I will provide a Commentary/Paraphrase of Acts 2-3 taking into account these things and include it as the Highlights Article next time.

Highlights in John

What's Really Going on in Early Acts? Pt. 1

Jun 20, 2024

In our Thursday night Bible study fellowship on the Gospel of John, we considered who, exactly, the YE are that John is writing to in Jn. 20:31 by looking at the ministry of Peter and JOHN and the 12 in early Acts.

What's Really Going on in Early Acts? Pt. 1

Introduction

We have tried to demonstrate that one of the biggest mistakes we can make when coming to the Gospel of John is to assume it has to do primarily with evangelism for individual salvation with forgiveness of personal sins. The real reason Christ came AT THAT EXACT PROPHETIC TIME was to bring about Israel's national salvation and provide for the forgiveness of Israel's NATIONAL debt of sins. Well, the same things hold true for the ministry of Peter and the 12 in Early Acts. Most of historic Christianity have been errantly taught that God began something new at Pentecost—the Church, the Body of Christ and the Dispensation of Grace--and that Peter's preaching was primarily about individual, personal salvation and forgiveness of sins. But this teaching ignores, no discards, some very important things that God says in this passage.

CLEANING HOUSE: Sweeping Away The Errors of Historic Christianity

1. The Nature of the Kingdom (Acts 1:3, 6)

We are taught by most of historic Christianity that the 12 didn't understand what Jesus was teaching about the Kingdom. They suggest that Jesus wasn't teaching the literal earthly kingdom promised in the Old Testament centered in the Nation of Israel, but a metaphorical, spiritual Kingdom centered in people's hearts. They say God is all done with the literal, physical Nation of Israel, planted in the literal, physical land of the Middle East. He has replaced them with us, the Church, the Body of Christ. WE are spiritual Israel. What a bunch of nonsense.

It throws away the revealed facts Luke (the author of Acts) gives in the account. He tells us that Jesus taught His apostles for 40 days in His post-resurrection ministry, speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3; Lk. 1:66-79; 24:21-47), and the apostles understood Jesus to be referring to the long-prophesied, literal and physical earthly Kingdom that belongs to Israel (Acts 1:6). The question the apostles asked—Lord will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6)--wasn't about the nature of the Kingdom (they knew it was a literal/physical Kingdom on Earth), but about its timing. Would it come immediately? Or would there be a short time gap as the prophets seemed to indicate? Of course, now in hindsight, we know that because of Israel's continued rejection of Christ, God temporarily set aside His Prophetic Program with her at the stoning of Stephen, which put Israel's Earthly Kingdom into abeyance, and began a new program through the Apostle Paul: His Mystery Program for the Body of Christ to re-establish His Glory in the Heavenlies (Rom. 9-11; Eph. 1-3). So, I am going to stick with apostles who were indwelt with the Holy Spirit and had just received an in depth course on the Kingdom from the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ rather than go along with what the mostly vain religious system of Christianity says.

2. Witness of Me in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the World (Acts 1:8)

Jesus told the apostles to go to Jerusalem where they would receive the Holy Spirit, who would empower them to witness of Him in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost part of the earth. We are taught by most of historic Christianity that what Jesus meant was that they were to go to Jerusalem and witness of Christ. If that didn't work (which it didn't) and Jerusalem rejected Christ in unbelief, that was ok, they should just go on to Judea. And if that didn't work either, no problem, they were to just go on to Samaria and the rest of the world. But saying this shows a complete ignorance of the Scriptures! For in God's Prophetic Program, salvation went out to the Gentiles with Israel and through her RISE, and Israel couldn't RISE without their capital city, Jerusalem (Ps. 102:21‑22; Is. 59:20-60:5; Micah 4:6-8; Zech. 8)!

Jesus, in fact, meant the exact opposite. Jesus was instructing the apostles to go to Jerusalem and stay there until Jerusalem received their witness of Christ. Then, once Jerusalem received Christ and was saved, Jerusalem and the apostles would go and witness of Christ to Judea. And once Judea received Christ, the apostles, Jerusalem and Judea would witness of Christ to Samaria, bringing her back into the Household of Israel and the Davidic Monarchy. And once Samaria received Christ, then ALL ISRAEL would be saved, and God would make her into His own Great and Holy Nation, which would take Christ out to the other nations on the Earth in fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophesies (Gen. 12:2; Ex. 19:6; et al.). When Peter preached in Jerusalem a few days later, he used a text that described Israel's NATIONAL salvation, and it all begins with the deliverance, the salvation of Jerusalem: For in Mt. Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call (Joel 2:28‑32; Acts 2:17‑21).

This is supported by the fact that even a decade later, the 12 (filled and under the control of the Spirit—Acts 2:2‑4; 4:8) remained in Jerusalem, not even under severe persecution that drove most of the Believing Remnant out of Israel, scattering them among the Gentiles. They didn't stay in Jerusalem because they were bigoted Jews who refused to obey God's instructions to go out to the Gentiles (as J. Vernon McGee and many others teach). No, the only bigoted and disobedient people here are those who teach such things. The 12 knew exactly what they were doing and followed God's will and plan to the T, to perfection. They knew that as long as Jerusalem continued to reject Christ in unbelief, they could NOT advance to the rest of Israel, let alone the rest of the world. Jerusalem's continued rebellion against God and rejection of His Son, their King and Messiah, threw a monkey wrench into the machinery of God's Prophetic Program, SHUTTING IT DOWN.

3. The Selection of Mathias (Acts 1:16-26)

Another false teaching of a historic Christianity is that Peter and the 11 (at that point) were wrong to fill the vacancy left by Judas' death. They say Peter ran ahead of God. He should have waited on God because God wanted Paul to be the 12th apostle not Mathias. Now, Peter messed it all up. Now, Paul would have to be the 13th apostle! Again, what nonsense. Paul is not the 12th or the 13th. He is God's one distinct and unique Apostle, with a distinct and unique apostleship of grace that brings salvation to the Gentiles APART FROM ISRAEL AND THROUGH HER FALL in accord with God's Mystery Program with the Body of Christ! Peter and the 12 were doing the exact opposite. In accord with God's Prophetic program salvation would go to the Gentiles WITH ISRAEL AND THROUGH HER RISE! No, Peter knew exactly what the Lord, the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures wanted him to do, and that was to appoint Matthias to take Judas's place. Paul, in fact, didn't even qualify. For to be a member of the 12, one had to have been with Jesus through His whole earthly ministry, going all the way back the baptism of John. Paul hadn't.

4. Something New Began At Pentecost (Acts 2:1ff)

We have also been falsely taught by our own vain religious system that God began something new at Pentecost. He began the Dispensation of Grace and with it, the Church, the Body of Christ! But again, this throws away what God actually says in Peter's preaching! Peter explains that what was happening at that time wasn't something new but something old: It had been spoken about since the world began (Acts 3:21). Not only had God not started anything new at Christ's 1st Coming (Lk. 1:70), He hadn't started anything new at Pentecost either! It is not until the Apostle Paul that God declares He is doing something new, something He had kept secret since the world began (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:1-11, et al.). In other words, everything Peter was preaching about in early Acts is in accord with God's Prophetic Program with the Nation of Israel as revealed by the Old Testament Prophets like Joel (Acts 2:16), David (Acts 2:30) and all the prophets since Samuel (Acts 3:24).

5. Baptism of the Spirit (Acts 2:1‑4)

One final error of historic Christianity we will sweep away is the claim that the Baptism with the Spirit in early Acts and the Baptism of the Spirit in Paul's Epistles are the same. Once again, this is not true. In Acts, Christ is baptizing the Believing Remnant of Israel with the Spirit (Acts 2). Once the Transition Period was over, this spiritual baptism was no longer available. In Paul's letters, however, the Holy Spirit baptizes believers into Christ, identifying us with His death, burial and resurrection (Rom. 6:1‑6; 1 Cor. 12:12‑13). Both water baptism and Christ's baptism with the Spirit that began at Pentecost were done away with when Israel's Prophetic Program was put on hold, Israel was temporarily cast away and her earthly Kingdom put into abeyance. The only baptism operative today in the Dispensation of Grace is Paul's one spiritual baptism into Christ (Eph. 4:5).