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On the Epistles of John, Part 11: The Truth of God
In our commentary on the opening verses of 1 John chapter 5 we had discussed The Spirit, the Water and the Blood, and now we shall resume that discussion here, as there is still much to consider in regard to verses 7 and 8 of this chapter. However first we shall offer a summation of some of our remarks concerning verse 6, where John had written, speaking in reference to Christ Himself, that “6 This is He having come through water and blood, Yahshua Christ. Not by water only but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit which testifies, because the Spirit is the Truth.” By writing this, John the apostle placed an emphasis on the importance of Christ’s having come into the world through blood, and since all living creatures have blood, either man or beast, it must have been John’s intention to refer to a particular blood.
As we had also elucidated, Paul of Tarsus had explained this same thing in a different way, where he had written that Christ was bound to come in the same flesh and blood which belonged to His children, in Hebrews chapter 2 where he wrote that “14 Therefore, since the children have taken part in flesh and blood, He also in like manner took part in the same… 16 For surely not that of angels has He taken upon Himself, but He has taken upon Himself of the offspring of Abraham, 17 from which He was obliged in all respects to become like the brethren…” It is also evident that Christ had come for children of that same flesh and blood, as He Himself had professed that He came “but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” in Matthew chapter 15. The children of which Paul had spoken are indeed the genetic children of Abraham, as they must be brethren of Christ who was of the seed of Abraham, and in Paul’s words they were brethren before Christ had come.
The blood of verses 7 and 8 of this last chapter of the first epistle of John must be the same blood of verse 6, and the simple presence of men of His same blood here on earth giving their testimony of Him is in itself an attestation to the truth and fulfillment of the promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the ancient children of Israel. So as we made the assertion that John’s use of the word blood here in verse 6 is a reference to the race or nation of origin of the Christ, while water referred only to the natural birth itself, we also asserted that John must have used the word for blood in that same manner in chapter 1 of his Gospel, in verse 13, and we found that Joseph Thayer in his Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament agrees with that conclusion, citing John 1:13 and stating that “Since the first germs of animal life are thought to be in the blood… the word serves to denote generation and origin (in the classics also)…”
However even with that candid admission of truth, Thayer ignored the fact that in that passage, John had used the term in the plural and in a negative context. So when we translated that chapter of John’s Gospel, we interpreted the phrase which literally means “not from bloods” to mean “not of mixed origin”, since if blood refers to one’s origin, as Thayer had stated, then in that same context bloods must refer to multiple origins, which for people is to be of mixed origin. In this manner our translation of that passage in John chapter 1 is fully vindicated, where we wrote “12 But as many who received Him, He gave to them the authority which the children of Yahweh are to attain, to those believing in His Name: 13 not those from of mixed origin nor from of desire of the flesh nor from of the will of man, but they who have been born from Yahweh.”
After having stressed the importance of Yahshua’s having been born “Not by water only but by water and blood”, we read in verses 7 and 8: “7 For there are three bearing witness, 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood, and the three are in One.” Yet we do not believe that he meant to refer to Christ alone, or to the Holy Spirit, when he wrote those words. Rather, John having used a present tense verb, it was the apostles of Christ and their immediate disciples who were testifying of Him in John’s time, and being one with Christ in Spirit, while also being of the same blood, collectively they are the witness of which John was speaking. As we read in Acts chapter 1, in words attributed to Christ, speaking to His disciples in the moments before His Ascension, He told them “8 Rather you shall receive power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you and you shall be My witnesses in both Jerusalem and in all Judaea and Samareia, and unto the end of the earth.” In this aspect did they also fulfill the prayer which Christ had made concerning them, which is found in John chapter 17 where He said “11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” In his own epistles, Paul of Tarsus explained this as the Body of Christ.
Furthermore, John himself had stated in the opening verses of chapter 4 of this epistle that there are spirits bearing the Gospel of the Christ, where he was referring to men. This is found in verse 2 where he wrote: “By this you know the Spirit of Yahweh: each spirit which professes that Yahshua Christ has come in the flesh is from of Yahweh…” So the “spirit, the water and the blood” are men of kindred origin who have turned to Christ, and for that reason they stand as witnesses to the truth of God.
In the promises of the reconciliation of Israel to Yahweh, we see that Yahweh referred to Himself as the “God of truth” in Isaiah chapter 65, speaking of the sins of ancient Israel and Judah, where the Word of Yahweh says in part: “9 And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there…. 14 Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit. 15 And ye shall leave your name [the sinners of the remnant in Jerusalem being the subject] for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name: 16 That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.”
Likewise we read in Zechariah chapter 8: “2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. 3 Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain…. [Zion is an allegory for the people of Israel] 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; 8 And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.”
So here in verse 6, John explained that “it is the Spirit which testifies, because the Spirit is the Truth”, as the children of Israel scattered abroad are being reconciled to Yahweh in Christ. For this same reason, Paul of Tarsus had written in chapter 15 of his epistle to the Romans that “8 Therefore I say, Yahshua Christ came to be a minister of circumcision in behalf of the truth of Yahweh; for the confirmation of the promises of the fathers; 9 and the Nations for the sake of mercy honor Yahweh; just as it is written, ‘For this reason I will profess you among the Nations, and I will sing of Your name.’ 10 And again it says, ‘Rejoice, Nations with His people.’” As Paul had earlier explained in that same epistle, in chapter 4, those nations to which he referred were the children of Israel, as he described the faith of Abraham “18 who contrary to expectation, in expectation believed, for which he would become a father of many nations according to the declaration, ‘Thus your offspring will be.’” As it was under the Old Covenant, so it is under the New Covenant, that Christ, confirming the promises to the fathers on behalf of the Truth of God, came only for the lost sheep of the ancient children of Israel, for their legitimate descendants, and any other interpretation is a lie.
As for the text of our translation, the King James Bible has a longer version of verses 7 and 8 of this chapter, which were evidently inserted by certain scribes no earlier than the 10th century, and they do not appear in any Greek manuscript which dates prior to that time. Ostensibly, the words were added in order to lend further support to the so-called Trinity Doctrine. In order to exhibit how readily certain men were willing to corrupt the Scriptures so that they could support to support their own false doctrines or wicked agendas, here we shall read verses 7 and 8 with the added words: “7 For there are three bearing witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit and the water and the blood, and the three are in One.”
So while we must reject those added words, we do see that whoever first added them had understood that it was the Spirit, the water and the blood which were testifying in earth, and therefore our assertion that the authentic portions of 1 John 5:7-8 refer to the apostles and disciples of Christ is corroborated by the author of the spurious addition. In Latin texts there are various versions of this addition which are similar to this insertion in verses 7 and 8 found here in the King James Version, but they are not exactly the same. Some of them add considerably more words to the text than we have here in the King James Version. In various forms, these additions are found in the Latin Vulgate, in the Latin text of Clement of Alexandria but evidently not in the Greek copies of his writings, and also in some of the Syriac translations of John’s epistle. Adding to the Scriptures, men actually wrestle with and corrupt the Truth of God. Adding people of other races to the covenants and the promises made to the fathers, men further contend with God Himself, blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
Now, since it is manifest that the authentic text of the passage in verses 7 and 8 refer to the testimony of men, John continues by stating that:
V 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of Yahweh is greater….
We shall pause at this point in verse 9.
Writing to the Corinthians some time towards the end of his three-year sojourn in Ephesus, which is described in Acts chapter 19, Paul of Tarsus had attested, in chapter 15 of his first epistle to the Corinthians: “3 For you are among the first that I had transmitted to that which I also had received. That Christ had been slain for our errors [or sins], in accordance with the writings [i.e. Isaiah 53]; 4 and that He had been buried, and that He was raised in the third day, in accordance with the writings [i.e. Hosea 6:2]; 5 and that He had appeared to Kephas, then to the twelve. 6 Thereafter He had appeared to more than five hundred brethren at the same time, of whom the greater number remain until presently, but some have died.” Evidently, those words were written between 55 and 58 AD, at least twenty-six years after the Resurrection. These witnesses to the Resurrection of Christ were the “Spirit, the Water and the Blood” who had been giving testimony concerning Him throughout those early decades, and their credibility is the reason why we are Christians today, referring to the lost children of Israel who are of that same blood and who have returned to Yahweh their God in Christ.
But many of these witnesses to the Resurrection, beyond the twelve apostles, must have also been witnesses to at least portions of His earthly ministry, for which reason they were among those five hundred to whom He had appeared. In the account of events leading up to the triumphal march of Christ into Jerusalem a week before the Crucifixion, we read in Luke chapter 19: “37 Then upon His approaching, already near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of students rejoicing began to praise Yahweh with a great voice concerning all of the feats which they had seen, 38 saying ‘Blessed is He coming, the King in the Name of Yahweh! Peace in heaven and honor in the heights!’”
Their subsequent testimony, along with that of the apostles themselves, is the testimony of men to which John refers here, and now he continues by describing the greater testimony of God:
9… Now this is the testimony of Yahweh that [the MT has “which”; the text follows א, A and B] He testified concerning His Son:
Before we read John’s account of that testimony in verse 10, we shall take another digression.
While I usually do not give much attention to late Greek manuscripts, or to Latin manuscripts, it is interesting to see how at least many medieval Orthodox or Roman Catholics had intentionally added to the Word of God or to the testimony of the apostles of Christ for their own pleasure, or perhaps to promote some agenda or false doctrine, as we have seen here in verses 7 and 8.
According to the apparatus of the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, the 9th century Greek Codex Athous Laurae (ψ 044) adds words to the end of verse 9 which we would translate to read: “And this is the testimony that God has given to us, eternal life.” However in the manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate, as well as in the writings of the 8th century Spanish monk Beatus of Liébana, there is a 27-word interpolation which is not found in any Greek manuscript, and which in English may read: “He whom the Savior sent upon the earth, and the Son gave testimony on earth, perfecting the Scriptures; and we testify that we have seen him, and we report to you that you may believe” (quem misit salvatorem super terram, et filius testimonium perhibuit in terra scripturas perficiens, et nos testimonium perhibemus quoniam vidimus eum et adnuntiamus vobis ut credatis, et ideo). At the time, this interpolation was significant, since Latin manuscripts had a much more prevalent use in the Medieval Church in Western Europe.
So while it was evidently not sufficient for Medieval Roman Catholic priests, who in many ways had trampled upon the Truth of God, John’s explanation of the testimony of God should indeed be sufficient for us, where he next wrote that:
10 He believing in the Son of Yahweh has the testimony [A inserts “of God”] within him [א and 0296 have “himself”; the text follows A, B and the MT].
Now we shall also pause here, halfway through verse 10, in order to reflect on this statement.
The manifestation of the Son of Yahweh, Yahshua Christ, was the fulfillment of the promise of a New Covenant between Yahweh God and the children of Israel. This is an explicit subject of prophecy in Jeremiah chapter 31, and according to the testimony of Zacharias the father of John the Baptist in Luke chapter 1, as well as that of Paul of Tarsus which we have already cited here from Romans chapter 15, it is the manner in which Yahweh God had confirmed the promises made to the fathers. So we read from that chapter of Jeremiah: “31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
So not only did Yahweh promise to put His law into the hearts of the children of Israel, but also attested that “they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them”. Therefore in John chapter 10 we read in the words of Christ that “27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” and in that same place He informs us that He is also the “Me” of Jeremiah chapter 31 where Yahweh said “they all shall know Me”, as He continued and said: “28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one.” So to know Christ is to know Yahweh God Himself, and therefore later, in chapter 14 of John’s Gospel, responding to the apostle Thomas we read: “6 Yahshua says to him: ‘I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one goes to the Father except through Me! 7 If you have known Me, you should also know My Father. Even now you know and have seen Him!’”
Yahshua Christ Himself is the Truth of God because He is God. So immediately after Christ had answered Thomas, the apostle Phillip had asked Christ to “show us the Father, and it shall satisfy us.” In response to that question, Christ once again answered and said: “For so long a time I am with you and you do not know Me, Philippos? He who has seen Me has seen the Father! How do you say ‘show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words which I speak to you I do not say by Myself, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 You should believe Me, that I am in the Father and the Father in Me. But if not, on account of His works you should believe.”
If we have the testimony of Yahweh within us that is because, as Yahweh had promised in Jeremiah chapter 31, His law is written in our hearts, and we shall know Him when we hear Him because His sheep hear His voice, and they follow Him. But if we do not follow Him, we accuse Him, as John continues to explain the Truth of God in the second half of verse 10:
He not believing in Yahweh [A has “in the Son”; the text follows א, B, 0296 and the MT] makes Him a liar, because he does not believe in the testimony which Yahweh has testified [048 wants “which God has testified”] concerning His Son.
The Codex Alexandrinus has the first clause of verse 10b, the second sentence of the verse, to read “He not believing in the Son makes Him a liar”, where the pronoun for him seems out of place. Regardless of the difference, John is equating a belief in the Son to a belief in God Himself, while at the same time he is stating that a man who does believe in the Son has that testimony within himself.
As we have asserted in reference to earlier portions of this epistle, the Son, who is also the Messiah or Christ, is the promised Son of the 2nd Psalm. From that and other Scriptures, Paul of Tarsus had made a summary description of the nature of this Son, in the opening verses of his epistle to the Hebrews where he wrote: “1 On many occasions and in many ways in past times Yahweh had spoken to the fathers by the prophets. 2 At the end of these days He speaks to us by a Son, whom He has appointed heir of all, through whom He also made the ages. 3 Who being the radiance of the honor and the express image of His substance [or person], and bearing all things in the word of His power, bringing about a purification of errors [or sins] has sat at the right hand of the majesty in the heights. 4 Becoming so much better than the messengers [or angels], He has inherited a name so much more distinguished beyond them. 5 To which of the messengers [or angels] did He ever say: ‘You are My Son, today I have engendered You’? And again: ‘I will be a Father to Him, and He will be a Son to Me’? 6 Then again, when He introduces the First Born into the inhabited world He says: ‘and all messengers [angels] of Yahweh must worship Him.’”
However it is not merely the Word of Yahweh which testifies of the Son, but also the works which Yahweh had done in the Son. The people in Judaea who were blessed with the opportunity to observe the ministry of Christ and His works were told by Him not only that they must believe Him, but also why they should believe Him, and that they should not simply take Him for His Word. Rather, as He had told His adversaries, where it is recorded in John chapter 10: “25… I have spoken to you and you do not believe! The works which I do in the name of My Father, these things testify concerning Me.” Yet many of His Own people were also loathe to accept Him, as we read in Matthew chapter 13: “54 And having come into His fatherland He taught them in their assembly hall, so for them to be astonished even to say: ‘From where in this man is this wisdom and abilities? 55 Is this not the son of a craftsman? Is not His mother called Mariam and His brothers Iakobos and Ioseph and Simon and Iouda? 56 And are not His sisters all here with us? So from where in this man are all these things?’ 57 And they were offended by Him. But Yahshua said to them: ‘A prophet is not dishonored except in his own fatherland and household!’ 58 And He did not do many works of power there on account of their disbelief.”
Here we have already cited the words of Christ from John chapter 17, where He said to His disciples that “11 You should believe Me, that I am in the Father and the Father in Me. But if not, on account of His works you should believe.” Earlier, in John chapter 5, Christ had once again explained that the testimony of God was in the works which He had done, where the subject was John the Baptist, and He said: “36 But I have testimony greater than Iohannes, for the works which the Father gave to Me in order that I shall complete them, those same works which I should do testify concerning Me, that the Father sent Me! 37 And the Father who has sent Me, He testified concerning Me! And you have not ever yet heard His voice, nor have you seen His form, 38 and you do not have His Word abiding in you, because He whom He has sent, in Him you do not believe!”
Those last words are the very reason why John had written here in this epistle that “He not believing in Yahweh makes Him a liar, because he does not believe in the testimony, either written or in miracles, which Yahweh has testified concerning His Son.” So Christ gave one other reason as to why men should believe Him, later in that same discourse in John chapter 5 where He said: “45 Do not suppose that I shall accuse you before the Father. There is one who is accusing you: Moses, in whom you have hope. 46 For if you had believed in Moses, you would have believed in Me, for he had written concerning Me. 47 But if in his writings you do not believe, how shall you believe My words?” Professing to believe Moses, the enemies of Christ are convicted because Moses also wrote concerning Him.
John has described the Truth of God, and now he describes the testimony born by men who have been blessed with that Truth:
11 And this is the testimony: that Yahweh has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He having the Son has the life; he not having the Son of Yahweh does not have the life.
In Hosea chapter 6 there is a message of punishment and reconciliation for Israel, which we have already referred to here as Paul of Tarsus accepted it as an indication of the salvation which is in the Resurrection of Christ: “1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.” For this Paul had also written, speaking of true Christian Baptism in Romans chapter 6: “4 So we were buried with Him through that immersion [or baptism] into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the honor of the Father, so then we in newness of life should walk. 5 Therefore if united [or planted together, being of the same blood] we have become in the likeness of His death, then also shall we be of His resurrection…”
Then later on, in chapter 8 of the epistle to the Romans, Paul wrote in a different way of the testimony which is within men, where he wrote: “14 Indeed as many as are led by the Spirit of Yahweh, these are sons of Yahweh. 15 Therefore you have not taken on a spirit of bondage anew to fear, but you have taken on a spirit of the position of sons, in which we cry: Father, Father. 16 That same Spirit bears witness with our Spirit, that we are children of Yahweh.”
Contrasting those who have the testimony of God with those who do not, John is not offering men a choice. Rather, he is expressing a statement in fact. As we read in the words of Christ recorded in Luke chapter 10: “22 All things have been given over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is if not the Father, and who the Father is if not the Son, and the Son shall reveal it to whom He should determine.” Man cannot know the Father without Christ, and Christ has chosen those men who may receive it. As He had also said in John chapter 6 “65… no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father”, he also said in John chapter 14 that “6 I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” So a man cannot have either God or Christ, but must have both, and must be chosen by Christ Himself in order to have either. Yahshua Christ being Yahweh God Incarnate, there is no part of or with God that is without Christ.
Now John tells his readers how they themselves may know that they have life:
13 These things I have written to you in order that you would see that you have eternal life, to [A wants “to”] those believing in the Name of the Son of Yahweh.
The Majority Text has this verse to read: “These things I have written to you, to those believing in the Name of the Son of Yahweh, in order that you would see that you have eternal life and in order that you would believe in the Name of the Son of Yahweh.” Of course, the addition is nonsense, but the interpolation is found in manuscripts as early as the 9th century, in the Codices Porphyrianus (P 025) and Athous Laurae (ψ 044), the later of which also had a long interpolation following the text of verse 9 of this chapter. So even if it did not suffer some of the lengthy interpolations that are found in the Latin copies, the King James Bible was subject to many interpolations found in Medieval Greek manuscripts.
Addressing the text of John’s statement here: Believing in the name of the Son of Yahweh has implications which lead us to conclude that one really does not believe in His Name if one does not accept and obey the entire Scripture, which includes His commandments. So, as it is recorded in both Matthew chapter 4 and Luke chapter 4, Christ Himself had said to His tempter, upon being challenged to turn stones into bread, that “Not by bread alone shall man live, but by every word going out through the mouth of Yahweh.” Of course, according to the Gospel of John, Christ Himself is that Word made flesh, and He also described Himself as the Bread of Life..
Now John describes true Christian liberty:
14 And this is the freespokenness which we [A inserts “may”, or perhaps “might”] have before Him, that whatever we may ask in accordance with His will [A has “Name”] He hears us.
In chapter 4 of this epistle, speaking of the love of God, John wrote: “17 By this the love is perfected among us, that we would have freespokenness in the day of judgment, because just as He is, we also are in this Society.” This does not negate what John had said in reference to freespokenness in the earlier chapters of this epistle, but rather he is only speaking of a different aspect of Christian liberty. Commenting on that passage we said in part that “Here John asserts that Christian liberty is realized once love is perfected in the Christian, and love is in the law, so John relates it to the day of the judgment of God.” We had asserted that love is in the law not only because both Christ and the law command us to love one another, but also because keeping His commandments in the law is the primary way in which we should exhibit our love for one another. So in Revelation chapter 22 we read in the description of the City of God: “14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”
Here John relates Christian liberty, or freespokenness, to prayers and the expectation that they may be answered if they are asked “in accordance with His will”. Christ made an example in John chapter 17 where He prayed that the burden He had to face be lifted, but only if it were the will of God. That prayer was not granted, as it was clearly not God’s will, and Christ also knew that. On the other hand, the apostle James wrote explaining the contrary side of John’s statement, in chapter 4 of his epistle, of prayers which are clearly not “in accordance with His will”, and he said: “2 You desire, and you have not. You murder and strive and are not able to succeed. You fight and battle. You do not have for reason that you do not request. 3 You request and do not receive for reason that you request evil, in order that you may be consumed in your pleasures!” So once again we may see that a belief in Christ is nothing without obedience to Christ, as Christ Himself had said, as it is recorded in John chapter 15, that “5 I am the Vine, you are the branches. He who is abiding in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you are not able to do anything. 6 If one should not abide in Me, he shall be cast outside like a branch that has withered and they gather and they cast them into the fire and it burns. 7 If you abide in Me and My words should abide in you, whatever you should desire you may ask and it shall come to you. 8 In this My Father is honored: that you would bear much fruit, and you would be My students.”
Abiding in Christ, John had already explained on many occasions in this epistle the need to keep the commandments of Christ. So having that as the basis for his confidence, he now says:
15 And if we know that He hears us, that which we may request, we know that we have the requests which we asked from Him.
Keeping the commandments of Christ and loving one’s brethren, one has license, or freespokenness, to ask and receive in order to satisfy one’s needs, so long as those needs are within the will of Yahweh. So Christ also tied the answering of prayers to the keeping of His commandments in John chapter 14 where He is recorded as having said: “12 Truly, truly I say to you, he believing in Me the works which I do he also shall do, and he shall do greater than these, because I go to the Father. 13 And whatever you shall ask in My Name this I shall do, that the Father would be magnified in the Son. 14 If you should ask Me anything in My name I shall do it.” But then in the very next verse: “15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
Now John speaks of something for which men should not ask:
16 If one should see his brother committing an error [ἁμαρτάνοντα ἁμαρτίαν, perhaps sinning a sin] not resulting in death, he shall ask and he shall give life to him, to those doing wrong [or sinning] not resulting in death [literally not for death]. There is an error [or sin] resulting in death [again, not for death]. I do not speak concerning that, that one should ask!
It may conjectured that a sin resulting in death is a sin punishable by death in the law, but John is not speaking of the law. Rather he is speaking of the gospel of Christ in relation to the promise of eternal life in the gospel of Christ, and there is a difference, since such sin is not forgiven in the law.
In chapter 6 of his epistle to the Ephesians Paul had exhorted that they be found “18 Through all prayer and entreaty worshiping at all times in Spirit, and for this very thing being watchful with all persistence and entreaty on behalf of all of the saints.” But for certain sinners Paul did not advise prayer, and rather only admonished the Corinthians to put them out of the assembly, so that they would be judged by God. So he wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 5: “11 But presently I have written to you not to associate with any brother if he is being designated a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or abusive, or drunken, or rapacious; not even to eat with such a wretch. 12 What is it to me to judge those outside? Not at all should you judge those within [or among] you. 13 But those outside Yahweh judges; ‘you will expel the wicked from amongst yourselves.’”
But Paul’s words alone do not mean that such sins are unforgivable. There is an unforgivable sin, and Yahshua Christ described it in a different manner, as “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit”. The following excerpt is from a sermon I presented at the Fellowship of God’s Covenant People in October of 2016, which was titled Scatterers and Gatherers. We cannot present all of our arguments and proof texts from that sermon, but perhaps we can repeat our key points here:
Yahshua Christ links three concepts in Matthew chapter 12, which are scattering and gathering, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and good and bad trees. There should be no doubt that He is linking these concepts, as the language fully demonstrates. Here we shall read from the King James Version: “30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. 31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. 33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.”
Here it is evident, that if Christ informs us that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the sin which cannot be forgiven, then that is also the sin for which we should not ask [in prayer] for forgiveness for others.
The language is important. Many readers attempt to extricate verses 31 and 32 from their context, and define blasphemy of the Holy Spirit for themselves. But here Christ says “he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad”, and then He says “wherefore”, from the phrase διὰ τοῦτο, which means on which account or for which reason. Saying “wherefore” He warns against blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and therefore blasphemy of the Holy Spirit must be something which is committed by those who scatter, in opposition to Christ who has come to gather.
In another place Yahshua Christ again mentions the act of gathering along with good and corrupt trees, where He links these concepts with two other concepts, which are the strait gate and the false prophets who are not truly sheep but who are really wolves. From Matthew 7: “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”
So ravening wolves would attempt to gather thistles and thorns to the grapes and figs, or goats rather than sheep, and that in turn produces corrupt trees, all of these things being allegories for people.
Because Christ Himself has linked these things together for us, it is not improper for us to list and evaluate all of these basic concepts in order to determine just what these allegories which He uses represent. First we shall list the concepts once more, but all together this time: 1) scattering and gathering; 2) blasphemy of the Holy Spirit; 3) the strait gate; 4) false prophets; and 5) good and corrupt trees. While many men have attempted to understand each of these things by themselves, they can truly only be understood in relation to one another, because Yahshua Christ related these things to one another.
Presenting that sermon in 2016, we discussed each of those five concepts at great length, in order to arrive at the conclusion that the introduction of aliens into the assemblies of God, and the race-mixing fornication which naturally results from trying to convert people of other races to Christ, is indeed blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and is therefore also the Unforgivable Sin.
In reference to scattering and gathering, we said in part:
Yahshua Christ is recorded as having said in John chapter 10 “7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.... 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture”. The same Yahshua Christ also said, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 15, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” And the same Yahshua Christ who said in John chapter 10 “14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine” is that God Incarnate who said to the children of Israel in Amos 3:2: “You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
… So wherever there are prophecies of gathering in the Old Testament, we see that the gathering includes only those same twelve tribes. There are no prophecies of gathering for anybody else, and Christ came “but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”.
His gathering is the gathering of the sheep only, the children of Israel, and anyone gathering anything else is scattering rather than gathering with Him. Then, in reference to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit is one facet, one expression or manifestation, of the being which is Yahweh our God, who demands of the children of Israel in Leviticus chapter 19 to be holy as He also is: “1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy….”
A holy nation in Biblical terms is a nation set apart for the purposes of Yahweh God, separated from all other nations. Therefore Peter, knowing that his intended audience was the children of those same Israelites [who had been] dispersed in antiquity, and knowing that this plan of God's for the children of Israel had not changed with the New Covenant (i.e. Jeremiah 31:31-37, Matthew 15:24), makes a direct appeal to the words of God at both Exodus 19:5-6 and Hosea 1:10, a prophecy which also concerns the children of Israel exclusively. This is found in his first epistle, in 1 Peter chapter 2: “9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
Therefore blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which in Matthew chapter 12 Yahshua Christ connects to both scattering and gathering and the making of a tree good or corrupt, must refer to speaking against the command that Israel be a holy and separate people.
In reference to the Strait Gate, we said:
Yahshua Christ is the door of the sheep. He only came for the sheep. No one gets to the Father except through Him. So only the sheep, only the children of Israel, have access to God. Of course, Christ was not speaking to anyone but Israel when He spoke these parables, so no one else was ever a candidate: for Israel alone has the promises of redemption and salvation mentioned throughout the Bible. The City of God described in the Revelation has on its gates the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. The gate is strait indeed.
In reference to false prophets, we said in part:
Yahshua Christ linked the false prophets who are inwardly ravening wolves to those who would gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles, in Matthew chapter 7. Let's read it once again: “13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”
Therefore the false prophets would be those universalists who would insist upon gathering something other than sheep to the sheepfold. These are those who would cause the scattering and destruction of the sheep. Christ never told His followers to feed anything but sheep. They are not wolves, dogs, goats, pigs or swine who are fed and then somehow become sheep. That concept is found nowhere in Scripture! Rather, they must be sheep in the first place, and then they may be fed.
Finally, in reference to good and corrupt trees:
The 80th Psalm … written by Asaph in the captivity, tells us that Israel is a vine planted by Yahweh. It links the sheep of Yahweh's pasture with the branches of the vine, which reinforces the fact that this last item in our list truly represents a concept related to sheep, as opposed to goats, or grapes and figs as opposed to thorns and thistles. As the Psalm tells us, the vine is the race of people that Yahweh brought out of Egypt. Christ later said to His apostles in John chapter 15: “5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
When the children of Israel were found mingling with the Canaanite races and adopting their idolatrous practices, Yahweh exclaimed in Isaiah chapter 17: “10 Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips:” Likewise in Jeremiah chapter 2 He spoke of their race-mixing adultery and said: “21 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?” Israel taken into captivity is portrayed as a ruined vine, and also as a ruined fig tree, in several places in Ezekiel, in Joel and in Nahum. There is a promise of cleansing in their captivity, where the Word of God says in Amos chapter 9: “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.”
In Matthew chapter 12, immediately after explaining that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit would not be forgiven, Yahshua Christ said “33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.” Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is speaking against Yahweh's command of separation for the children of Israel. Yahshua related that to the making of the tree either good or corrupt. The only way that man can make the tree, the vine of Israel, anything is to breed and multiply, whereby he may sprout up as a noble vine, or a strange slip. Therefore when the ancient Israelites engaged in idolatry they began race-mixing, and they set Yahweh's vine with “strange slips”, or turned it into the “degenerate plant of a strange vine”. So it says of the sins of Israel, in Hosea chapter 5, that: “They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children”.
These “strange slips” and the leaves of this “degenerate plant of a strange vine” are bastards. Yahweh pronounces in the Scripture at Deuteronomy chapter 23 that “2 A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.” The phrase “tenth generation” is an allegory which means forever, since after nine generations a bastard is still a bastard, for there is no correcting such hybridization. Paul speaks of the chastisement of the children of Israel in Hebrews chapter 12, and he says “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Salvation is destined for sons, and not for bastards, as Paul had explained in chapter 2 of that same epistle, “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren”. A bastard is not “of one”, or one would not be a bastard. Bastards, by definition of the word, can only be of two or more. Therefore Yahshua Christ said in Matthew chapter 15, “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” Every bastard is a race of a different kind, something which Yahweh God did not create.
Therefore John had said, in chapter 1 of his Gospel which we have already cited here: “12 But as many who received Him, He gave to them the authority which the children of Yahweh are to attain, to those believing in His Name: 13 not those from of mixed origin nor from of desire of the flesh nor from of the will of man, but they who have been born from Yahweh.”
The apostle Paul had taught that fornicators could repent and be accepted once they repented, and that is true. So we read in 1 Corinthians chapter 6: “9 Or do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of Yahweh? Do not be led astray: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminates, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor rapacious shall inherit the kingdom of Yahweh. 11 And these things some of you may have been, but you have cleansed yourselves; moreover you have been sanctified, moreover you have been deemed fit, in the name of Prince Yahshua Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”
Rather, race-mixing fornication is the unforgivable sin because, as it says in the law, in Deuteronomy chapter 23, that “2 A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD…” and as Christ had said in Matthew chapter 15, “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” Yahweh God created the Adamic man, but He did not create bastards, and therefore, as we read in the Wisdom of Solomon, in chapter 3: “16 As for the children of adulterers, they shall not come to their perfection, and the seed of an unrighteous bed shall be rooted out.” Then a little further on, in chapter 4, where Solomon also explains what he meant in the earlier passage: “3 But the multiplying brood of the ungodly shall not thrive, nor take deep rooting from bastard slips, nor lay any fast foundation. 4 For though they flourish in branches for a time; yet standing not last, they shall be shaken with the wind, and through the force of winds they shall be rooted out.” It is not by chance or coincidence that Yahshua Christ, along with both Solomon and Paul as well as the prophets had all used such similar terms to describe the end of bastards.
17 All wrongdoing is injustice, yet there is wrongdoing not resulting in death.
The words wrongdoing and injustice may have been translated as injustice and sin. All injustice is sin, but that injustice must be reckoned according to the laws of God, and not the precepts of men. Therefore Christ is recorded in Matthew chapter 15 as having said to His adversaries: “7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy concerning you, saying: ‘This people honors Me with the lips, but their hearts are far from Me. 9 And vainly do they worship Me, teaching for education the commandments of men.’”
Revisiting the words of Christ concerning blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, in yet another way we may see how John was correct earlier in this epistle, in chapter 3, where he attested that “9 Each who has been born from of Yahweh does not create wrongdoing, because His seed abides in him, and he is not able to do wrong, because from of Yahweh he has been born.” This is evident where Christ had said “31 For this reason I say to you, every error [or sin] and blasphemy shall be remitted for men, but blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be remitted. 32 And whoever should speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be remitted for him, but whoever should speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be remitted for him, neither in this age nor in that which is coming!” So, as we tried to explain in Scatterers and Gatherers, the mere existence of a bastard is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and the bastard cannot have life, and therefore race-mixing fornication is the sin resulting in death. It cannot be said of a bastard that “His seed is in him”, since a bastard comes from a joining of diverse seeds, resulting in a creature which Yahweh God did not create. As for every other sin, the Adamic man cannot sin because “His seed is in him” and in the end his sin will not be imputed to him for that very reason.
This is the ultimate truth of God which John has endeavored to teach throughout this epistle. So for that same reason, John continues and expresses that same concept once again:
18 For we know that each who has been born from of Yahweh does not do wrong, rather he born from of Yahweh, keeps himself and the Evil One does not touch him.
The Evil One may destroy the body, but cannot destroy the Spirit. If we keep ourselves, His seed is in us, and we shall be forgiven our sins as John had explained in chapter 2 of this epistle, that even if we sin we have a propitiation for our sins in Yahshua Christ. For those who commit the act of race-mixing fornication, the Evil One has touched them because the resulting offspring is from of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, a bastard which was not created by Yahweh and therefore, not being engendered from above, it can have no part with Him.
19 We know that we are from of Yahweh and the whole Society lies in the power of the Evil One.
As John wrote here in verse 13, “these things I have written to you in order that you would see that you have eternal life.” So here, because he believes that his readers are of the blood, that they believe Christ, and that they keep His commandments and love one another as he has explained throughout this epistle, with confidence he says that “we know that we are from of Yahweh”.
The whole society, or world, is in the power of the evil one: Through the fallen angels, where the world outside of the garden of God was called Nod, which is wandering or sin, and then on account of the disobedience of Adam, and the later disobedience of the children of Israel, the enemies of God and Christ had come to control the entire world. Paganism had prevailed, and in his epistle to the Colossians Paul had referred to that as the “worshipping of angels”, ostensibly meaning fallen angels.
Yet the world to John was only the world of the children of Israel, as Solomon had said in chapter 18 of his Wisdom “24 For in the long garment was the whole world, and in the four rows of the stones was the glory of the fathers graven…” The “children of God scattered abroad” were still nearly all pagans as John wrote this epistle, so they were “in the power of the Evil One.”
In Luke chapter 4 we read, in the temptation of Christ in the wilderness: “5 And bringing Him up he showed Him all of the kingdoms of the inhabited earth in a moment of time, 6 then the False Accuser [or Devil] said to Him: ‘I will give to You the authority over all this, and their honor, because to me it was delivered and to whomever I wish I could give it. 7 Therefore if You would worship before me, it shall all be Yours.’ 8 And replying Yahshua said to him: ‘It is written, Yahweh your God you shall worship, and you shall serve Him only.’” While aspects of this account, including the nature and identity of the Devil, are obscure, we do not believe that this Devil was some demon, and the enemies of Christ have dominated at least most of the known world since before the fall of Adam.
In Acts chapter 26, Paul of Tarsus had attested that “6 … for the hope of the promise having been made by God to our fathers I stand being judged, 7 for which our twelve tribes serving in earnest night and day hope to attain, concerning which hope I am charged by the Judaeans…” Then later in the chapter he describes his mission to those same twelve tribes, attesting that Christ had told him: “16 … For this have I appeared to you, for you to be a chosen assistant and witness both of the things you have seen by Me and of the things I shall reveal to you, 17 taking you out from among the people and from the nations to whom I send you [Paul being from the people and nations to whom he is being sent, they are all of the same blood as he was, being a Judaean of the tribe of Benjamin ], 18 to open their eyes, for which to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of the Adversary to God, for them to receive a remission of errors and a portion with those being sanctified by the faith which is in Me.”
When the adversaries of Christ had arrested Him, and He knew that His Crucifixion was imminent, He said to them “53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Later, in Ephesians chapter 6, Paul uses a similar allegory to describe the same concept which John professes here, that the “whole society lies in the power of the Evil One”, and he says: “11 Put on the full armor of Yahweh, for you to be able to stand against the methods of the False Accuser [or Devil], 12 because for us the struggle is not against blood and flesh, but against realms, against authorities, against the rulers of the order of this darkness, against the spiritual things of wickedness among the heavenly places.” Those “heavenly places” are the seats of government and offices of the institutions of men.
Turning the scattered children of Israel from darkness to the light of Christ, Paul wrote in Ephesians chapter 5 that: “6 No one must deceive you with empty words, for on account of these things the wrath of Yahweh comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore you must not be partakers with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but are now light in the Prince. Walk as children of light. 9 (For the fruit of the light is in all goodness and justness and truth, 10 scrutinizing what is acceptable to the Prince.) 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead even reprove them. 12 For the things being done by them secretly it is disgraceful even to speak of. 13 Now all things being reproved by the light are made manifest. 14 For everything being made manifest is light. Therefore He says: ‘Awaken, you who are sleeping, and rise up from among the dead, and Christ shall shine upon you.’”
So it is evident, that if the children of Israel turn to obedience to Christ, the world would no longer be in the power of the Evil One. Evidently, the Jews may continue to prevail over men until that moment finally arrives, or until Christ Himself finally intervenes on their behalf.
The penultimate verse in this first epistle of John offers an assurance:
20 Yet [A has “And”; the text follows א, B and the MT] we [the MT inserts “may”; the text follows א, A and B] know that the Son of Yahweh has come and gave to us an understanding that we may know the truth, and we are in the truth [A has “the True God”], among the number of His Son [literally “in His Son”, see Liddell & Scott, ἐν, I. 3.] Yahshua Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
In spite of all of the lies of the Evil One, which are the lies of the antichrist Jews, Yahweh God is True, and Yahshua Christ is the physical expression of the Truth of God, being Yahweh God incarnate. If we are of the Spirit and the blood, if His seed is in us and if we were engendered by Him, as John has explained throughout this epistle, then by believing Him and keeping His commandments while loving our brethren, we can know that we are in the truth of God. In this corrupted world, which is in the control of the enemies of God, there is no other way.
On that same note, John ends his epistle with an admonition:
21 Children keep yourselves from idols. [the MT appends ἀμὴν, or Truly. The text follows א, A and B.]
The Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece has “themselves”, ἑαυτὰ, following unspecified manuscripts. The text has ἑαυτοῦς, following the Codices Alexandrinus (A) and Vaticanus Graecus 2061 (048). The text agrees with the verb, φυλάξατε, which is an imperative aorist active 2nd person plural form of φυλάσσω.
The love of the world is idolatry, and love as it is defined by the world is also idolatry. Therefore James warns in chapter 4 of his epistle “4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” For this Christ Himself had said, as it is in John chapter 12: “25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” For that same reason John wrote in chapter 2 of this epistle admonishing his readers and saying “15 Do not love Society nor the things in Society. If one should love the Society, the love of the Father is not in him.” Then, concerning idolatry, he said in the very next verse: “16 Because all which is in Society, the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the pretense of life, is not from of the Father but is from of Society, 17 and the Society passes on, and its desire, but he doing the will of Yahweh abides forever.”
This concludes our commentary on the first epistle of John.