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On the Epistles of John, Part 4: The Children of Yahweh
In our last presentation in this commentary, which discussed the final verses of John chapter 2 and which was titled Christ and Antichrist, we sought to describe what it was that the apostles and others had believed the Christ to be from their own professions as they are recorded in the Gospel accounts, and which they themselves must have attained through their understanding of the words of the prophets. So by understanding what the apostles had believed the Christ to be, only then can we properly understand what John could have meant where he wrote in that chapter and asked: “22 Who is a liar, if not he denying that Yahshua is the Christ? He is the Antichrist, who denies the Father and the Son!”
So we must ask, how could one deny the Father by denying that Yahshua is the Christ? Then John had once again led us to discuss the inseparable nature of Yahshua Christ and Yahweh God the Father in his declaration that “23 Each denying the Son has not the Father either; he being in agreement with the Son also has the Father.” To summarize our conclusions briefly, as well as answering our own question, the only valid Christian understanding is that Yahshua Christ is Yahweh God incarnate, the Father as the Son, the invisible God and Creator taking part in His Own Creation as King, Redeemer and Savior of His people. To understand any differently is to imagine that the words of Yahweh which were recorded by the prophets are lies, and that Yahweh destroyed His Own law, having transgressed it, rather than understanding how Christ had fulfilled the law while at the same time never having transgressed the law.
Yahweh promised that He would be Savior of Israel, that He would be their King, that He would be their Redeemer, and He attested that there would be no other. Yahweh attested that He alone was God, and that there was no other God formed either before Him or after Him. Yahweh also attested that He is the Father, while at the same time having promised a Son who whose “name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”, as we read in Isaiah chapter 9, and of that Son it was then said that “7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” The only way that all of these promises could be true is if the Son is indeed the Father, just as it says in that passage of Isaiah. They are not different persons, but rather, they are one, just as Christ had said that “I and My father are One.”
The denominational churches do not understand this relationship, as it was a matter of contention that was argued by the Judaizers from the beginning. In the world of the New Testament, discounting those who were still pagans and ignorant of Christianity, only the Jews claimed to worship God without Christ, denying that Yahshua was the Christ, and the Judaizers ostensibly sought to uphold the validity of the Jews. John referred to them as “those leading you astray” in this very same context in verse 26 of that very same chapter, 1 John chapter 2. Therefore, in order to settle the differences, turning to worldly philosophies the early Roman Catholics had developed the false doctrine of the trinity. Yet in 1 Timothy chapter 3 Paul of Tarsus, who must have known that there would be contention over this issue, had written that “16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles [or Nations], believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
Therefore Yahshua Christ was God manifest in the flesh, and there being only one God, as Paul also declared in chapter 2 of that same epistle where he plainly said “For there is one God”, Christians must accept that Yahshua Christ is Yahweh God incarnate, and that there is no other God, nor any other so-called persons in a so-called Godhead. In fact, if we accept the translation of Godhead, as the trinitarians typically do, Paul did not explain that Christ was some different person in the Godhead, but Paul did explain that the fulness of the Godhead was in Christ where he said, according to the King James Version in Colossians chapter 2, “9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” The 1899 American edition of the Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims version of the Bible reads that passage almost identically to the King James Version: “9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporeally.” So Christ is not a person in the so-called Godhead, but rather, the fulness of the Godhead is in Christ, He must therefore be Father, Son and Holy Spirit all in one, and the trinitarians are proven wrong even by their own translations.
We left off our commentary with the end of 1 John chapter 2 and John’s assertion that “29 If you know that He is righteous, you also know that each who is practicing righteousness has been born from of Him.” The denominational churches may interpret this to mean that a man can choose for himself to practice righteousness, or at least, what he thinks is righteousness, and somehow become born of God by his practice. But that cannot be true, and John will later clarify what he means by saying “born from of Him.” It cannot be true by the words of Christ Himself, who had said in Matthew chapter 7 where we read: “22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
What is true is that every man is right in his own eyes, as we read in Proverbs chapter 16: “2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.” What is also true is that no flesh can imagine to be righteous, as we read in the 143rd Psalm: “2… for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.” But fortunately, what is also true is that Yahweh declares what is right, and that Yahweh has promised to justify the ancient children of Israel, as we read in Isaiah chapter 45: “17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. 18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. 19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right…. 25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” So John must be referring to something besides a man’s apparent conduct where he wrote that “each who is practicing righteousness has been born from of Him.”
These men whom Christ rejected in Matthew chapter 7 could not have been rejected merely for some sin, and no specific sin was attributed to them, as Christ had come to die so that sins would be forgiven. Rather, He rejected them on the basis that “I never knew you”, as He also told His adversaries that “Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world”, as it is in John chapter 8, and in that same place He denied them that God was their Father where we read: “42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.”
Neither could John himself be implying that one may become a child of God merely for one’s behavior, since he already said in the opening verse of chapter 2 of this epistle that “1… if one should do wrong, we have an Advocate with the Father: the righteous Yahshua Christ. 2 And He is a propitiation on behalf of our errors; yet not for ours only but for the whole Society.” So ostensibly, the children of God may sin, and the children of Israel would inevitably sin, as John also wrote in chapter 1 of this epistle that “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us,” but even when they sin they are still children of God, having an advocate in Christ. John cannot be interpreted in a manner which forces him to contradict himself.
For now we shall commence with 1 John chapter 3, where in spite of their sin John exclaims to his readers:
III 1 Look at the sort of love which the Father gave [A has “given”] to us [B has “you”, the text follows א, C and the MT], that we should be called children of Yahweh! And we are. For this reason Society does not know us [א, C and the MT have “you”; the text follows A and B], because it did not know Him.
When the children of Israel are obedient to Yahweh their God, they naturally become alienated from the world. The apostle Peter described the process in chapter 4 of his first epistle: “1 Therefore with Christ suffering in the flesh, you also be equipped with the same mind, because he who suffers in the flesh ceases from wrongdoing, 2 for which no longer in the desires of men, but in the will of Yahweh should he live the remaining time in the flesh. 3 For enough of the time has passed perpetuating the will of the heathens, having walked in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revelries and lawless idolatries. 4 While they are astonished, they blaspheme at your not running together in the same excess profligacy.” The word heathens there is an appropriate translation of ἔθνος, as in this context it refers to non-Christians of any race, all of which were pagan and all whom had lived licentiously. Christians who keep the commandments suffer these same things today, as the world seeks to demonize and even dehumanize them, all the same things which the Jews had also done to Christ.
But here we should wonder about and even investigate what it is to which John was referring, as he is referring to God the Father and not to Christ, where he wrote “Look at the sort of love which the Father gave to us, that we should be called children of Yahweh! And we are.” John is making this statement in the context of sin, where John had attested in the previous chapter that Christ was a propitiation for sin, and where he already explained that those who deny that Yahshua is the Christ have not the Father, and therefore they could not have been His children. Sin is still the subject in this chapter, as we shall see in subsequent verses. It must be noted, that the Majority Text wants the clause “And we are”, which is attested in the older witnesses.
In his Gospel, in John chapter 11, the apostle recorded an exclamation of the high priest that one man, referring to Christ, should die for the people, a statement which was made from his own corrupted perspective even though it was also true in other ways from the perspective of God. So John responded to that exclamation and he wrote “51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” There it is evident that the children of God were already scattered abroad as John had written that, and they were already the children of God even before they could have ever heard of the Gospel of Christ.
In this verse, John expressed the fact that the privilege of being recognized as children of God comes on account of the love of God which He has for His children, where by saying “and we are” he is affirming that they are already His children. This privilege is what Paul had referred to as υἱοθεσία, which is the position of a son but which the King James Version unfortunately translated as adoption. However Paul also informed us of the scope of such an adoption, as it is limited to the children of Israel, the same Israelites of the Old Testament, where in Romans chapter 9 he defined Israelites as “3… my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; 5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came…” All of these things which Paul mentioned were exclusive to Israel in the Old Covenant, and in that explanation Paul affirms that they are exclusive to Israel in the New Covenant. Furthermore, since Christ took upon Himself the seed of Abraham so that He could be “made like unto His brethren” (Hebrews 2:16) and He was therefore “the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29), those brethren must also be “kinsmen according to the flesh”, as Paul explains here. There is no Israel other than Paul’s “kinsmen according to the flesh”.
In Deuteronomy chapter 7 we see that Yahweh God had loved the children of Israel, even in spite of their many sins which they had committed both during and after the Exodus, where we read: “6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. 7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: 8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” Then we read a little further on, in Deuteronomy chapter 14: “1 Ye are the children of the LORD your God… 2 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.” It is this love, and these children of God, to whom John must have been referring in his opening statement here in 1 John chapter 3.
But in spite of this love and all of these promises, on account of their sin the children of Israel, who were the children of God, were scattered abroad, as John had said, in the Assyrian and Babylonian deportations and in the subsequent prophesied migrations to which they would be subjected. But later, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, Yahweh announced that He will at some future time regather those same children, as we read in Isaiah chapter 43, in a prophecy which was written to the children of Israel after the Assyrian deportations, and none of them were Jews: “3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”
In a similar prophecy found in Isaiah chapters 59 and 60 there is also a statement of the purpose of Christ: “59 20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. 21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever. 60 1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come [a prophecy of Christ], and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee [which is symbolic of the Resurrection]. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people [the darkness of the day of the crucifixion being an allegory in itself]: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3 And the Gentiles [the Nations of Israel scattered abroad] shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising [Acts 9:15]. 4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.”
Only the children of Israel were ever considered to be the children of God throughout the Old Testament, and even in their captivity the promises remained exclusively to them and their seed forever, which is their physical offspring. Then in spite of the fact that Adam was the son of God (Luke 3:38) the other branches of the Adamic race were not acknowledged by Yahweh as being His children, as Paul explained in Acts chapter 14 that Yahweh had “16… in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways”, and they all went off into idolatry and fornication while Yahweh had promised preservation for the children of Israel and that Abraham would inherit the earth through Israel. So when they sinned, the children of God were scattered abroad in their punishment, and as we have cited Isaiah, and John had said that Christ came to gather in one the children of God which were scattered abroad, who are the very same Israelites whom Yahweh promised to gather here in Isaiah chapters 43 and 60, which we have just cited. This process of scattering and gathering and the reasons for it are summarized in Amos chapter 3, where the Word of Yahweh says “2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
This is how to read a book in context, and its Author, Yahweh God Himself, never lies nor contradicts Himself, and He never changes His will. Nothing has changed this, and Christ Himself certainly never said anything which would change it, as God does not change. Christ upheld the words of the prophets, He did not set them aside. Concerning this very thing, we read in Malachi 3:6: “ 6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Then in Hebrews chapter 13 Paul declares “8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”
Therefore upon the coming of the Messiah, over 700 years after Amos and Isaiah, we read of the purpose of Christ, in Luke chapter 1, in the words of Mary: “54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.” Then a little further on in that chapter, in the words of Zacharias the father of John the Baptist: “68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.” Once again, perhaps 25 years after the Resurrection, in Romans chapter 15 Paul of Tarsus had attested: “ 8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.”
Confirming the promises made to the fathers, which was made to them and to their seed, or offspring, forever, the identity of the children of Yahweh could not have changed from Old Testament to New Testament, or God, Christ, the apostles and all of the prophets are liars. But God is true, and it is men who are the liars. So Christ came “but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24) and therefore He is not a liar, and neither are His apostles nor His prophets.
However Judaea at the time of Christ was a Roman province, and not a Godly kingdom, which was dominated internally by Edomites and others. These Edomites were always counted among the enemies of God, and they are the objects of His wrath, as He had spoken in Obadiah, Malachi, Isaiah chapters 34 and 63 and elsewhere. On the Day of Wrath which Christians anticipate, the Edomites are the objects of His wrath. The Israelites of Judah who had returned to establish Jerusalem, whose number was only a little more than 42,000, had settled in and around Jerusalem and Galilee. But after the Assyrian and Babylonian deportations of Israel and Judah, most of the rest of the land of ancient Israel was occupied by Edomites (Ezekiel chapter 35) and whatever other remnants of the Canaanites had remained, with only a few Israelites who had escaped captivity. After the building of the second temple, by the end of the 2nd century before Christ, all of the aliens had been converted to Judaism, which is attested by the 1st century historian Flavius Josephus and corroborated by early 1st century Greek historian Strabo of Cappadocia, who died before Josephus was born. Then once Judaea was made a kingdom subject to Rome, the Edomite Herod was appointed king and Edomites came to dominate the government and the priesthood. It is these to whom John referred where he spoke of the antichrists and said in chapter 2 of this epistle that: “19 They went out from us, but they were not of us…”
Concerning Christ, we read in our own translation of John 1:11-13 that: “11 He came into His own land, and the men of the country received Him not. 12 But as many who received Him, He gave to them the authority which children of Yahweh are to attain, to those believing in His name: 13 not those from of mixed origin, nor those from of the desire of the flesh, nor from of the will of man, but they who have been born from Yahweh.” The historical circumstances of ancient Judaea as well as the Greek grammar uphold the veracity of our translation. But the denominational churches have twisted these and many other New Testament passages to support their own claims that merely by professing a belief in Jesus one may somehow become a child of God. Yet Christ Himself denies that where He told certain men who claimed to worship Him that “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”, in Matthew chapter 7.
All of this is relevant to John’s epistle, and it is important to understand, because in the parable of the wheat and the tares, just as the wheat was planted by God, and as the tares were planted by the devil, in that same manner were the people of Judaea, being either Israelites or Edomites and Canaanites. The Gospel of Christ was meant to divide the wheat from the tares. The Gospel is meant to sort them out so that it would be manifest what each of them are, either wheat or tare. As Paul had explained in Hebrews chapter 4: “12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Christ’s sheep heard His voice and ultimately turned to Him, while He had told His enemies, in John chapter 10, “26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” They were not His sheep because they were not Israelites. Rather, they were Edomites and for that reason they did not believe Him.
Then Christ had also said, as it is recorded in the very next verses of that same chapter: “27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 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.” So the sheep, having a propitiation for sin, not even sin can pluck them out of the hand of Yahshua Christ. His profession in that same chapter of John, that He had come to gather the sheep, is in fulfillment of another prophecy which concerns the ancient children of Israel which is found in Ezekiel chapter 34, written at a time when Israel had already been sent into captivity: “6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them… 11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.” The prophecies of Ezekiel being the Word of God, we cannot imagine that the Word made Flesh, who professed to be fulfilling the prophets, would contradict Himself in any way, and therefore the sheep He came to gather are the same sheep which He had much earlier promised to gather: the lost sheep of the House of Israel, the physical descendants of the ancient Israelites.
There is a similar prophecy in Jeremiah chapter 31, which leads up to the promise of the New Covenant: “10 Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.” Christ is Yahweh God fulfilling that promise that He would come and gather His sheep, as we read in John chapter 10: “14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine….” So Christ is the Shepherd of Israel who is addressed in a prophecy of Asaph, a prophet of the captivity, in the 80th Psalm, and the apostle Peter referred to Christ where he had said in chapter 2 of his 1st epistle: “25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” Then in reference to the promise of the return of Christ in chapter 5 of the same epistle: “4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”
For anyone to be able to return to the Shepherd they must have been Israelites in the first place, as Asaph declared in the 79th Psalm “13 So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.” The mercy which they received in Christ is in answer to the punishment they suffered in captivity, and Asaph had written in the 74th Psalm asking: “1 O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture? 2 Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt.” Asaph’s question was rhetorical, as he also prophesied the mercy of God upon Israel. So we read in Jeremiah’s Lamentations, in chapter 3: “31 For the Lord will not cast off for ever: 32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies.”
So the children of God, the lost sheep which He came to gather, have not changed from the Old Testament to the New Testament, and they cannot change. The same children of God, the ancient children of Israel and their descendants, who were the subjects of the promises in the Old Testament, are the subjects of Christ in the New Testament. Neither can they lose their position as children of God when they sin, because if they sin they have an advocate with the Father, which is Yahshua Christ and there is nothing anyone can do to take them out of His hand. So now John writes further in reference to them:
2 Beloved, now we are children of Yahweh, and not yet has it been made manifest what we shall be. We know that if He is made manifest, we shall be like Him, since we shall see Him just as He is.
While John did not record it in his own Gospel account, we read in Matthew chapter 10, in words attributed to Christ, that “ 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord…” Then we read in Luke chapter 6, once again in words attributed to Christ: “40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” So here John wrote “we know that if He is made manifest, we shall be like Him” because that is what Christ had taught. Yet, as he also said, we do not yet know exactly what that shall be, as it had not yet been fully revealed. This is in spite of the fact that John must also have heard the words recorded in Luke chapter 20, which are also attributed to Christ where He said in reference to those who would have eternal life: “36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” John is not contradicting any of those statements, but rather, being humble he is not claiming to know any more than what is recorded.
Now because his intended readers are children of God, John says:
3 And each who having this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Here, in regard to that hope, as only the ancient Israelites had the hope of the promises, John is actually also giving advice to the children of God. But first, in regard to the hope of the promises, Paul of Tarsus had also explained that it was only made for the descendants of the twelve tribes of the ancient Israelites, in Acts chapter 26 where he was speaking before Herod Agrippa II and he said “6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: 7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.” Paul never thought he was judged or in chains for any other people but the twelve tribes of Israel.
At greater length, Paul also gave the same advice to his readers as John has here, in an epistle where he also explained that they were descendants of the ancient Israelites, where he wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 6: “9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
So as John proceeds in verse 4, we see that he certainly was teaching the same things which Paul had taught in that passage, but while Paul had given specific examples of sin, John speaks in general terms:
4 Each who is practicing wrongdoing also practices lawlessness, and wrongdoing is lawlessness.
Yet here John makes a distinction which Paul did not make in 1 Corinthians, and which is either unnoticed or ignored by all of the denominational translations. In the Greek Scriptures, the noun ἁμαρτία is commonly sin, and the verb ἁμαρτάνω is commonly to sin, as they are typically translated in the King James Version and others. Seeking to demystify the concept of sin, we translated the words by their meanings to ordinary Greek readers of the time, as ἁμαρτία, a noun, is defined to mean: “... a failure, fault ... error of judgment ... 2. ... guilt, sin ...” So sin is a failure to keep the commandments of God, which brings guilt and under the law and ultimately punishment. The verb ἁμαρτάνω is defined to mean to: “... miss the mark, especially of a spear thrown ... 2. generally, fail of one’s purpose, go wrong ... II. ... do wrong, err, sin ...” It was the purpose of the children of Israel to keep the law, as they themselves had promised when they received it at Sinai, and they have failed in that purpose.
But here where John speaks of sinning, he used another verb, ποιέω, which Liddell & Scott define as having been: “Used in two general senses, make and do. A. make, produce ... 2. create, bring into existence ... invent ... II. bring about, cause ... B. do, much like πράσσω ... practise ... to be doing, act ... operate ...” This verb appears four times previously in this epistle: in 1 John 1:6 where the King James Version has practice, in 1:10 where it has make, in 2:17 where it has doeth, and in 2:29 where it has practices once again. This verb ποιέω is not a special verb, since in various contexts it appears over six hundred times in the New Testament.
Yet there must have been good reason for John’s having purposely used the phrase ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν, which is a definite article with the verb ποιέω as a Substantive, and then another definite article along with the noun for sin, to describe one “who is practicing wrongdoing”, as we have tranlsated the phrase here, rather than simply having used the verb for sin, ἁμαρτάνω. So John is making a more specific statement than merely referring to the incidental sinner. John makes the same distinction once again, in relation to both sin and justice, four times in each of verses 7 through 10 in this chapter.
Admittedly, here I struggled with this translation, and I still do, not because I am unsure or confused about what John was saying, but because it is difficult to fully express in English in a plain translation without a detailed explanation in notes the concept which John was conveying. So in light of John’s statements in verses 7 through 10 in this chapter, we may have translated this verse to read in its primary sense, which is to make or create:
4 Each who is authoring wrongdoing also authors lawlessness, and wrongdoing is lawlessness.
Here the King James Version translated the Greek word ἀνομία, which literally means without law or lawless, as “transgression of the law”, but one must have a law in order to transgress that law, so the translation is truly not accurate. As Paul had said in Romans chapter 5, “13 For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” Only the children of Israel were ever given the law, as we read in the 147th Psalm: “19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. 20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.” So only the children of Israel required the mercy and propitiation in Christ, and He only came for them. Therefore Paul wrote in Galatians chapter 4: “4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Once again, the adoption only pertained to Israel, according to Paul in Romans chapter 9, and the Galatians, being descended from the Israelites of the Assyrian deportations, were indeed Israelites who had been under the law, and therefore, redeemed in Christ.
However here the context of John’s statement in verse 4 is in reference to those of his readers who had purified themselves from wrongdoing, so they were merely sinning, and they were not necessarily the authors of sin. But on the other hand, the children of God departing from sin upon receiving the Gospel, only the enemies of God are left to the devices of sin, they are practising sin, and there we see that the separation of the wheat and the tares in the Gospel of Christ is made evident.
The Ephesians also having descended from ancient Israelites, Paul of Tarsus wrote very similarly to his readers, in Ephesians chapter 5, first where he admonished them to conduct themselves as children of God and he exhorted: “1 Therefore you must be imitators of Yahweh [the example having been made in Christ], as beloved children, 2 and walk in love, just as Christ has also loved us, and surrendered Himself on our behalf, an application and sacrifice to Yahweh for an essence of sweet aroma. [This is the same love which God had declared for the children of Israel in Deuteronomy.] But fornication and all uncleanness or greediness you must not even specify among you, just as is suitable with saints [separated ones], 4 and abusiveness and foolish speaking or ribaldry, which things are not fitting, but thanksgiving instead. 5 This is known by you: that any fornicator, or unclean or greedy person - who is an idolater, has no inheritance in the Kingdom of the Anointed and of Yahweh. 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.”
Then, in reference to the fact that before they received the Gospel they had been sinners just like the sons of disobedience, he next wrote: “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.’” A reference to that same light prophesied in Isaiah chapter 60: “1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.”
Saying this, Paul was repeating something he had already explained in chapter 4 of that same epistle where he wrote: “17 Therefore I say this, and I call you to witness with authority, no longer are you to walk as the nations who walk in the vanity of their minds, 18 being darkened in understanding, being alienated from the life of Yahweh because of the ignorance that is within them, because of the hardness of their hearts, 19 those who feel no sorrow surrendering themselves to licentiousness, to the practice of all uncleanness with arrogance.”
But as Christ told His adversaries, “ 26… ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep”, neither are the goat nations, who are accounted as tares, able to receive the Gospel of Christ. This Paul taught in Romans chapter 8, where he instructed that those with the spirit of God could indeed overcome the lusts of the flesh by that spirit, and he said: “7 Because the purpose of the flesh is hostile to Yahweh, then to the law of Yahweh it is not obedient; neither is it able to be; 8 and they that are in the flesh are not able to satisfy Yahweh. 9 However you are not in the flesh, but in Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of Yahweh dwells in you; and if one has not the Spirit of Christ, he is not of Him: 10 but if Christ is in you, indeed the body is dead because of fault, but the Spirit alive because of righteousness.” So while all men sin, those with the spirit of God, the children of God, can overcome sin through the spirit, and their spirits live because they are righteous, as they are children of God.
John himself will repeat this in a different way in verse 9. But for now, he once again makes a statement relating to the purpose of Christ:
5 And you know that He has been made manifest that He may remove errors, and there is no wrongdoing in Him.
The word ἁμαρτία, the noun meaning sin, has been translated here as errors in the plural, and wrongdoing in the singular, for reasons which we have already discussed.
As we have also already enumerated many of the aspects of the nature and purpose of Christ which had been professed by the apostles, so that we could see what the apostles had believed the Christ to be and therefore we could understand what John meant by denying that Yahshua is the Christ, here is yet another which we did not yet discuss: that Christ came into the world to remove sin. Yet in the books of the prophets, it was Yahweh who had promised that He would remove the sins of Israel.
So in Isaiah chapter 43, after Yahweh had told the children of Israel that “thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities”, He promised them that: “25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Then again, in Isaiah chapter 44: “21 Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. 22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.” This return was fulfilled when Israel turned to Christ, as the nations of Europe and the Middle East became Christian.
Then in Jeremiah chapter 31, in the prophecy concerning the New Covenant: “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.” Then again, in Jeremiah chapter 33: “7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. 8 And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.” And once more, from Jeremiah chapter 50: “ 20 In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.”
Therefore once again, Yahshua Christ is Yahweh who blotted out the transgressions of Jacob for His Own sake, and who has pardoned the iniquity of Israel, so in that manner Christ is their propitiation if they do sin, as John explained in the opening verses of chapter 2 of this epistle. Now John informs his readers that once the children of God accept that their sins have been blotted out in Christ, they are expected to abide in Him, where he says:
6 Each who is abiding in Him does not do wrong. Each who is doing wrong has not seen Him nor does he know Him.
Twice in our translation here the verb ἁμαρτάνω, to sin, is to do wrong. By saying “Each who is doing wrong has not seen Him nor does he know Him”, John may be referring to the aliens who are not expected to receive the Gospel of Christ, or to apostate children of God who have not yet heard or accepted His Gospel.
John is not speaking enigmatically, but rather he is teaching in his own words just what Paul had also taught in Galatians chapter 5 where he wrote: “16 Now I say, you must walk in the Spirit, and desire of the flesh you should not at all fulfill. 17 The flesh desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; indeed these are in opposition to one another, in which case you should not do these things that you desire. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are under no law. 19 Manifest are the deeds of the flesh, such things are fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, use of drugs, hostilities, contention, rivalry, wrath, intrigues, dissensions, sects, 21 envyings, drunkenness, revelries, and things like these; which I have announced to you beforehand, just as I have said before, that they who practice such things shall not inherit Yahweh’s kingdom. 22 Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control: there is no law against such things. 24 But they of the Anointed crucify the flesh along with those affections and those desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, in the Spirit we also should walk.”
Then as John informs us that those who do not abide in Christ do not know Him, Paul taught in a different way that we may know Christ, where he said in his similar discourse in Romans chapter 8 that “14 Indeed as many as are led by the Spirit of Yahweh, these are sons of Yahweh. [They are proven to be sons by walking in the Spirit and forsaking the lusts of the flesh.] 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. 17 And if children, then heirs: heirs indeed of Yahweh, and joint heirs of Christ; if indeed we suffer together, that also we will be honored together.”
Here John has spoken of abiding in Christ, and doing that he evokes the words of Christ in John chapter 15, so we see yet another concept from John’s Gospel put to a practical application in this epistle. There Christ had said, in part: “1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 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. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”
So to abide in Christ is to keep His commandments, which includes His commandment that Christians love one another. Of course there are many other commandments which Christians should keep, and they are explained elsewhere by both Christ and His apostles. However later on in this very epistle, in 1 John chapter 5, the apostle describes how Christians are expected to express their love for one another, where he wrote: “2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
In this same manner the children of God make manifest their righteousness, as John now attests:
7 Children, let no one deceive you, he who is bringing about justice is just, even as He is just.
Justice is also found in keeping the commandments of Yahweh, as we read in Isaiah chapter 58: “2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.” Then, as it is professed in the 119th Psalm: “172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.”
Justification, or righteousness, being in the eyes of God, so we read in Acts chapter 13 in reference to Christ: “38 Therefore it must be known by you, men, brethren, that through this for you is remission of errors declared, and because of all whom were not able to be justified by the law of Moses, 39 by this all who are believing are justified.” But of course as Christ Himself had said, believing Christ necessitates keeping the commandments which are also found in the laws of Moses, and in that manner may one abide in Him.
Once again in Romans chapter 8, Paul of Tarsus explained who is justified by God, and professed that it is God who justifies where he wrote: “29 Because those whom He has known beforehand, He has also appointed beforehand, conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be first born among many brethren. 30 Moreover, those whom He has appointed beforehand, these He also calls; and those whom He calls, these He also deems worthy; while those whom He deems worthy, these He also honors. 31 Now what may we say in reply to these things? If Yahweh is for us, who is against us? 32 Who indeed spared not His own Son, but for all of us handed Him over, how then with Him will He not favor us in every way? 33 Who shall bring an accusation against the chosen of Yahweh? It is Yahweh who renders justice.”
Where Yahweh had said in Amos chapter 3, which we have already cited here, that “you only have I known of all the families of the earth”, only the children of Israel could possibly be those whom Yahweh did foreknow. The word for conform in that passage is σύμμορφος, which means to be formed together with or formed like something or someone. Thus we read in Isaiah chapter 43, again of the children of Israel: “21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.” But as Paul explained in Hebrews chapter 2, which we have also already cited here, that since Christ had “16… taken upon Himself of the offspring of Abraham, 17 from which He was obliged in all respects to become like the brethren”, we see that the children of Israel, the offspring of Abraham, are indeed formed together with Him. Furthermore, the Adamic man having the Spirit of God, we read in chapter 2 of the Wisdom of Solomon: “23 For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity.”
But conforming ourselves to Christ is also through obedience, as Paul had urged in Romans chapter 12: “2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” This also is the prophesied destiny of the children of Israel, as it was written concerning them alone, in Isaiah chapter 45: “23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” Paul also cited this passage, in Romans chapter 14. Then in that same place in Isaiah it was promised, as we have also already cited: “25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” Yahweh decides who is justified, and men cannot justify themselves by their conduct alone.
Now we are going to skip ahead to verse 9, and we will return at this point in out next presentation, as verse 8 turns us away from discussing the children of God and compels us to discuss the children of the devil. So after that turn, John returns to the children of God and he says:
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.
When Adam sinned, after his punishment was announced, we read in Genesis chapter 3: “22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.” Yahshua Christ is the Tree of Life, He is the True Vine, and His people being branches on that vine, to abide on the vine is to love one’s own people, which is also to grasp onto the Tree of Life. Adam was the son of God (Luke 3:38), and all of his descendants are also children of God for that reason, as Paul of Tarsus had told the Athenians, who were not of Israel but who were Ionian Greeks and therefore they were descendants of Javan the Japhethite, as it is recorded in Acts chapter 17: “28… as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” The Hebrews and Persians both called the Ionian Greeks Yavana, which is Javan.
Abiding on the vine, one loves his own people and one does not commit fornication, as Adam and Eve had eaten of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, having committed fornication. Fornication is the going after of strange, or different flesh, as the apostle Jude described it in his lone epistle, and Paul of Tarsus agrees in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 where he used the same word to describe the race-mixing event at Baalpeor, recorded in Numbers chapter 25, where the men of Israel had joined themselves to the daughters of Moab.
In an admonishment in 1 Peter chapter 1 we read: “22 Your souls having been purified in the obedience of the truth for brotherly love without hypocrisy, from of a pure heart you should love one another earnestly, 23 being engendered from above not from corruptible parentage, but from incorruptible, by the Word of Yahweh who lives and abides, 24 since ‘All flesh is as grass and all of its glory as a flower of grass; the grass withers and the flower falls off, 25 but that which is spoken by Yahweh abides for eternity.’ Now this is that which is spoken, which is announced to you.” While all flesh dies, men with the spirit of Yahweh have eternal spirits, having been made in the image of God’s own eternity. But the others are “twice dead, plucked up by the roots” as Jude described them later in his epistle, so when their tree is cut down they are just as dead in the spirit as they would be in the flesh.
In the Wisdom of Solomon we see a description of the fate of the ungodly, or impious, in Wisdom chapter 3: “10 But the ungodly shall be punished according to their own imaginations, which have neglected the righteous, and forsaken the Lord.” Here we see that these were children of God who had turned their backs on their own people. So Solomon continues and says: “11 For whoso despiseth wisdom and nurture, he is miserable, and their hope is vain, their labours unfruitful, and their works unprofitable: 12 Their wives are foolish, and their children wicked: 13 Their offspring is cursed…” So evidently perhaps the women themselves are not necessarily foolish, but the choice of wives made by the wicked men is foolish, as they turned their backs on their own people and for that reason the children are cursed.
Then, after putting these in contrast with the pious, Solomon continues to speak of the impious again and says: “16 As for the children of adulterers [a word which was also often used in Greek writings of race-mixing], they shall not come to their perfection, and the seed of an unrighteous bed shall be rooted out.” The seed of an unrighteous bed would be the children of marriages which are contrary to the law of God, who had forbidden the children of Israel from race-mixing fornication, and had often condemned them for it, as He had in Numbers chapter 25 with the sin at Baalpeor. Then returning to the impious once again further on, in chapter 4, Solomon further verifies our interpretation of his words and says: “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.” That last statement evokes language from Jude in his own condemnation of the wicked, who are “twice dead, plucked up by the roots”.
Likewise, Paul of Tarsus had said of the race-mixing Esau, in Hebrews chapter 12, “16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” The children of Esau, from whom was descended many of the Judaeans of the time of Christ, were bastards since they were Canaanites, and for that reason they were not true children of Abraham. The Pharisees understood this when they argued with Christ, as it is recorded in John chapter 8, as He told them that they were not true children of Abraham, and they claimed in turn that they were not children of fornication. But in fact, the record exposes them as Edomites, and not Israelites, and they were indeed children of fornication, even if they themselves were not aware of it from their own perspective. For that reason, because they were not His sheep, they were rejected by Christ. Therefore Paul had also said in Hebrews chapter 12: “8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” While the wicked may sometimes suffer, they are not chastised, as chastisement is punishment for correction, which if the wicked suffer it is only for their destruction. That is another lesson from the Wisdom of Solomon.
But as John had said here, one born of God cannot do wrong, “because His seed abides in him”. It is Yahweh God who declares what is good, and when He created the Adamic man, He declared that His creation is good, as we read in Genesis chapter 1: “31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” So Paul of Tarsus said in 1 Corinthians chapter 15: “22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”, as that is the plan of God from the beginning, and bastards have no place in that plan. We read in Ecclesiastes chapter 3, where Solomon speaks about the vanity of life and he says “ 10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.” Likewise we read in Romans chapter 8, where Paul was speaking in reference to the particular Adamic creation, as opposed to other things which Yahweh had created, and said: “18 Therefore I consider that the happenstances of the present time are not of value, looking to the future honor to be revealed to us. 19 Indeed in earnest anticipation the creation awaits the revelation of the sons of Yahweh. 20 To transientness the creation was subjected not willingly, but on account of He who subjected it in expectation 21 that also the creation itself shall be liberated from the bondage of decay into the freedom of the honor of the children of Yahweh.”
If one is what God had created, an Adamic man whose seed is in him, meaning that he is not a bastard, that being what God had created one has the Spirit of God and the promises in Christ of eternal life, and one cannot do wrong for reasons which we shall discuss in our next presentation, concerning the children of the devil. We have already cited Wisdom chapter 2 concerning man and the image of God’s eternity. Here in verse 8 of this chapter John declares that “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” So in the very next verse of that same chapter of Wisdom we read “24 Nevertheless through envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of his side do find it.” By this we see what works Christ came to destroy, and as the Adamic man was created to be immortal, in the destruction of those works all of Adam shall be made alive, as Paul had said. So long as one is of Adam, that his seed is in him. If there is some other seed in him, then he is a bastard, and not a son.
We shall return to this discussion, Yahweh willing, as soon as next Friday.