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On the Gospel of John, Part 16: The Son of Man
Here we shall once again continue our commentary on the Gospel of John, resuming with our presentation of John chapter 5. The theme where we had left off with our last presentation was The Sabbaths of God, but it may have been called The Sabbath of God. That is because Yahweh God is still in His Own day of rest, as Paul of Tarsus had explained in Hebrews chapters 3 and 4, where he informs us that the children of God still have an opportunity to enter into His rest. However where Yahshua Christ had attested that “My Father labors until now, and I labor”, it becomes apparent that Yahweh has been compelled to occupy Himself during His Sabbath Day’s rest by helping His people Israel, and the greater Adamic race as a whole. For that reason, Yahshua Christ had asserted that He had a moral compulsion to heal His people on the Sabbath, for example where He said as it recorded in Mark chapter 3 “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill?” Therefore all Christians should follow His example.
Furthermore, we had discussed the fact that under the Old Covenant, it was necessary for the Levites to work on the Sabbaths in their service to the people of God, making sacrifices and performing other rituals on their behalf, or acting as porters, singers or musicians in the temple, or conducting the readings of the Scriptures throughout the assemblies. So the priest is one who serves Yahweh God by serving the people of God. We also hope to have demonstrated from the Scriptures that there can be no true Sabbath without obedience to God throughout the rest of the week. The children of Israel who have returned to Yahweh in Christ are a nation of priests, as Peter explained in his first epistle that “you are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, so that you should proclaim the virtues for which from out of darkness you have been called into the wonder of His light...” Christians should also seek to keep His commandments, as He had commanded, so if they truly seek to be obedient, only then may they enjoy proper Sabbaths. Enjoying proper Sabbaths, being a nation of priests, they should spend their Sabbaths in service to their people.
The original sense of the Greek word λειτουργός (or leitourgos) is a public servant, the capacity in which he functioned was a λειτουργία (or leitourgia) and this is the word from which we have the English church-word liturgy. Now the churches have corrupted the original meaning of the term, but originally a λειτουργός was someone who freely performed a service to the public. In ancient Athens, each notable or wealthy citizen was called on at least once a year to perform a service for the public good, whether it was the building of a ship for the navy, or the production of a play for a festival or some other lesser deed. The true Christian liturgy is to freely serve one’s people for their edification. So being obedient to Yahweh God, and seeking to help one’s brethren, one’s fellow Christian brethren, that is the way that Christians should spend their Sabbaths, as that was the example of Christ.
A man can spend his Sabbath days at rest, and doing that he may justify himself. But seeking to serve his people, he makes sacrifices on behalf of them and seeks to edify them, where in a sense he justifies them, believing that they are worthy of his efforts. Serving Yahweh on the Sabbath by serving one’s people, as Paul of Tarsus had asked in Romans chapter 14, “4 Who are you to be judging another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he shall stand; indeed the Prince is able to establish him. 5 While one distinguishes a day contrary to another day, yet another distinguishes every day. Each in his own mind must be fully assured.”
Continuing with our examination of John chapter 5, there is something even more significant which is revealed in this dialogue offered by Christ to His adversaries, where He is claiming to have received from God Himself the power of life and death, and the authority to judge men. So in our last presentation, we have already commented on verses 21 through 25 where Christ had said “21 For just as the Father raises and makes the dead to live, thusly also the Son makes live whom He wishes. 22 For neither does the Father judge anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23 in order that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He not honoring the Son would not honor the Father who has sent Him. 24 Truly, truly I say to you that he hearing My Word and believing in He who has sent Me has eternal life and does not come to judgment, but has passed from death into life! 25 Truly, truly I say to you that the hour comes and is now, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of Yahweh and those hearing shall live!”
There is a type for certain aspects of this dialogue of Christ which is found in the writings of Ezekiel. In each of Ezekiel chapters 20, 22 and 23, the prophet himself was addressed by Yahweh, who described to him certain of the sins of the children of Israel and asked “Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge them?” So we see that Yahweh called the prophet after the formula “son of man” and asked him if he would judge the people. But in each instance, it is Yahweh Himself who declared that He would judge the people for their sins, so in the end, the prophet could only announce to the people both their sins and the message of their impending judgment.
However here there is something quite different. Here Christ has proclaimed that now it is He who would judge the people, and not the Father. Doing this, He must be asserting that He is the promised Son of the Psalms, where we read in the 2nd Psalm “7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” So here, in the face of His enemies, Christ has proclaimed for Himself to be the Son of which David had spoken, He who would be the ultimate judge of the nations. This is again declared in the 110th Psalm, and Christ Himself had informed us elsewhere in the Gospel that this passage indeed refers to the Messiah: “1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool…. 4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. 5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. 6 He shall judge among the nations, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries….”
The impending judgment of all of the enemies of Yahweh is and shall be fulfilled in Yahshua Christ, who is the ultimate Son of man. But in spite of the fact that here Christ has asserted that the judgment of the Father has been given to Him, it was not His purpose to sit as judge of men in the course of His earthly ministry. So we may read where He said in John chapter 8: “14 Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. 15 Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. 16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.” The matters of judgment prophesied for the Messiah are reserved by Christ Himself in His Revelation, as well as in certain of His parables, where He explained how He shall execute that judgment. This ongoing, and in many aspects, impending judgment is and shall be fulfilled in Yahshua Christ, who is, as we have said, the ultimate Son of man.
Now Yahshua Christ continues with His rather bold assertions:
26 For just [א, D and W want “just”] as the Father has life in Himself, thusly also He has given the Son to have life in Himself.
John had, in part, opened his Gospel with the words: “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” It is evident in the Genesis account of creation that Yahweh God is the source of life, and as He created man, he “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”, so only God has life in Himself. Man may have life breathed into him, but man cannot of his own power perpetuate or transmit that life into others, outside of the natural reproduction process which was already created by God. However while Christ says here that “thusly also He has given the Son to have life in Himself”, that must be because the Son is one with the Father, that Christ is God come as a man. David also wrote, in the 143rd Psalm, that “… in thy sight shall no man living be justified”, a concept which Paul repeated in chapter 3 of his epistle to the Romans, and therefore Christ must be more than merely a living man.
Thus we read in Isaiah chapter 54: “5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” Then again in Isaiah chapter 59: “20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.” Yahshua Christ is that Redeemer, being the Bridegroom He is the Husband, and He must also be Yahweh of hosts as Yahweh promised to betroth Israel to Himself forever, in Hosea chapter 2. Later in the Gospel of John, there is record that Yahshua informed His disciples that He is God, in no uncertain terms.
As we have already seen in the Psalms, Yahweh God would give to a particular son the authority to make judgment, and here Yahshua Christ is proclaiming that He is that Son. Having life in Himself, He must also be God, and we see later in the Revelation of Christ, that Christ is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” From the beginning of Creation Yahweh must have planned to take a part in His Own creation, and therefore come as one of His own children. When Christ Himself cited the 110th Psalm in reference to Himself, as it is recorded in Luke chapter 20, He asked: “44 Therefore David calls Him ‘lord’, yet how is He his Son?” If the Messiah is both David’s lord and David’s son, then the Messiah must be Yahweh God, who is the origin of life from the beginning. Yahweh incarnate is God, and at the same time He is The Son of God, being one of His Own Creation. For this same reason He is described in Isaiah chapter 11 as a branch from the root of Jesse, David’s father, and in the Revelation as the root and offspring of David. Yahweh being the Father of Adam, as it states in Luke chapter 3, is the root of David and the root of the entire race, Yahshua Christ must be Yahweh incarnate as a man.
So now where He reasserts His authority to judge men, He also refers to Himself in another fashion:
27 And He has [D and the MT add “also”; the text follows P66, P75, א, A, B W, and 070] given authority to Him to make judgment, because He is the Son of Man.
Christ had referred to “the Son of man” three times earlier in John, in chapter 1 speaking to His disciples, and in chapter 3 speaking to Nicodemus, and while on each occasion He was speaking of Himself, the reference was not quite as explicit as it seems to be here. It is also recorded throughout all of the other Gospels, where Christ had frequently referred to Himself as the “Son of man”.
By itself, there is nothing which is apparently special about the label, “son of man”. It is used in the book of Numbers, in Job, and in the Psalms as a reference to the mortal aspect of man, for instance in Psalm 146 where we read: “3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help”, and there the mortality of man is further lamented, and contrasted to the eternal quality of God. This we also see where the phrase appears in Isaiah chapter 51: “12 I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; 13 And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth…” The phrase appears elsewhere in Isaiah, a few times in Jeremiah, and perhaps ninety-three times in Ezekiel, where it is usually attributed to Yahweh as an address to the prophet himself.
The portrayal of the mortal aspect of man which the phrase is often used to convey is also apparent in Hebrews chapter 2 where Paul was quoting from the 8th Psalm, and had written “6 Rather one has testified, saying somewhere: “What is man, that You would be mindful of Him? Or a son of man, that You would watch over Him?” There is no definite article in that passage of Hebrews, so the phrase should properly be read in English as “a son of man”. Likewise it appears once in that same fashion in Daniel chapter 8, where Daniel had a vision and he was addressed by an angel as a “son of man”.
But where Christ uses it in reference to Himself, there is always a definite article, and He calls Himself “The Son of man” in that fashion as it is recorded throughout all four Gospels, except for this one occurrence here in John 5:27 where the article does not appear in the Greek, although our translation included it. Here Christ actually may have only said “because He is a Son of Man”. Ostensibly, if all of the children of Israel were obedient to Yahweh, they should all be judges of His Creation, as we read in the 82nd Psalm, “1 God stands in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. 2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?” I am persuaded, and this shall be discussed later in this commentary on the Gospel of John, that this passage was fulfilled in the ministry of Christ. Perhaps in this same manner, Adam’s commission was to have dominion over, or tread down, the lesser elements of the Creation. Paul of Tarsus also says, in chapter 6 of his first epistle to the Corinthians and pertaining to the Christians of the assembly at Corinth: “3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?”
The term “Son of man” appears again in Daniel chapter 7, where it is used to refer to a certain man who would ultimately judge the nations: “13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” But even in Daniel 7, where we see the phrase “the son of man”, properly it is “a son of man”, since there is no definite article, and the word man is from the Chaldaean form enash (Strong’s # 606), which refers to a man in the mortal sense. But the important point here is a prophecy that one who is like a son of man, but who actually came from heaven, would be given his own kingdom, and judgment over all people, nations and languages. In that same sense, describing a similar figure, the phrase “Son of man” appears frequently in certain sections of the writings now known as part of 1 Enoch, in a section subtitled The Parables in Charles’ edition. Charles also has an appendix devoted to the subject. But so far as I have seen, the Enoch literature in the Dead Sea Scrolls is wanting that particular section of the Ethiopic 1 Enoch. But in any event, Yahshua Christ is that Son of man who is spoken of in Daniel chapter 7, and when He appeared, He called Himself “The Son of man”.
So ostensibly, any son of Adam can be called a “son of man”, and there is nothing special about the term. But if God Himself employs that same term to refer to Himself, it is indeed special on that occasion. It is a sign of the humility of God, that He would choose to live a humble life on earth as one of His Own creation, and subject Himself to that same mortality for which the term was so often used as a reference, all in the service of His people.
Now, speaking of the power of life which He had from God, Christ continues:
28 Do not be astonished at this, because the hour comes in which all those in the tombs shall hear His voice, 29 and they shall go forth:
Christ had already said, in verse 25: “Truly, truly I say to you that the hour comes and is now, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of Yahweh and those hearing shall live!” In relation to this, we discussed the first epistle of Peter, where in chapters 3 and 4 he explained that Christ “6 For … this cause … preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” Here again we see that judgment is not necessarily damnation.
As we alluded when we discussed verse 25 in our last presentation, the spirits of the dead were imagined to have been captives in a prison, being alienated from God. So there is an apparent double meaning in Isaiah chapter 61 where we read a passage that Christ had also cited in reference to Himself, as it is recorded in Luke chapter 4: “1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound”. Those who were captives in prison could refer to those pagan Israelites of the captivities who were prophesied to be reconciled to Yahweh in Christ, however Peter more explicitly applied the concept to those who had died, even to those who had died in the flood of Noah, who were alienated from Yahweh and who were in need of that same reconciliation.
There was a token resurrection recorded in Matthew chapter 27: “50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” This seems to be a token fulfillment of prophecy such as that which is found in Isaiah chapter 26: “19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”
But the event recorded in Matthew can only be symbolic of the ultimate resurrection described by Paul of Tarsus in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. Until then, the spirits of the dead must be gathered to Yahweh, as Christ Himself said to His disciples, speaking of the time of His Own departure in John chapter 15: “33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.” Then they questioned Him, and a few verses later we read: “36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.” So where Christ, speaking of the dead, said at the beginning of this verse, “and they shall go forth”, He must not have meant that they shall go forth in this earthly realm, but only spoke of where they shall go and where Peter would later follow, evidently after his own earthly death. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
Now Yahshua continues, in verse 29:
those having done good things to a resurrection of life, but [P66 and W have “and”; B wants “but”; the text follows P75, א, A, D, 070 and the MT] those having practiced wicked things to a resurrection of judgment.
Similarly we may read in Daniel chapter 12, in reference to the promised resurrection, “2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
The King James Version reads the end of verse 29 to say that some will arise in a “resurrection of damnation”, however the word is κρίσις, which is judgment whether it be good or bad, and if there is mercy in judgment, as the children of Israel have been promised mercy, then judgment does not necessarily mean damnation, or condemnation. The entire purpose of a Messiah was as an expression of Yahweh’s mercy upon the children of Israel, so that they may be reconciled to Him, and we read in Luke chapter 1 in reference to the promised Messiah that “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.”
This concept of mercy in judgment is expressed consistently throughout the Scriptures, yet there are always certain men who voice objections to the promises of eternal life which are extended even to sinners. As Yahweh said in Isaiah chapter 28, in another clearly Messianic prophecy, “17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. 18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.” Yahweh promised mercy to the children of Israel, and mercy they shall receive, even in spite of themselves.
So Paul of Tarsus speaks of the mercy promised in the coming judgment and he says, in 1 Corinthians chapter 3, “12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
Now we may speculate, as we often have in the past, that Paul’s sinner with a lack of reward is congruous to those whom Daniel described as being resurrected to “to shame and everlasting contempt.” The concept of everlasting contempt is, after all, everlasting. We have equated the two in the past, and it does not seem unreasonable. Some of these men, but not necessarily all of them, would be among those who, “having practiced wicked things”, would ultimately “go forth to a resurrection of judgment”, but that does not necessarily mean that they face absolute condemnation, or destruction in the Lake of Fire. As Christ Himself said earlier, one who repents and hears Him and believes in this life, ostensibly also keeping His commandments as He Himself has commanded in His Word, already “has eternal life and does not come to judgment, but has passed from death into life!” In reference to this same thing, Paul had said in 1 Timothy chapter 5 that “24 Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.”
Now Christ once again appeals to Yahweh God as the source of His proclaimed authority:
“30 I am not able to do anything [literally “nothing”; P66 has “not even one thing”] by Myself. Just as I hear, I judge, and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of He [the MT has “of the Father”] who has sent Me.
In his epistle to the Hebrews, Paul of Tarsus cited the 40th Psalm in reference to Yahshua Christ. Here we will cite a little more of the Psalm than Paul had, in order to also illustrate the mercy of Yahweh God as well as the purpose of Christ in relation to the will of God: “7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. 9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. 10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation. 11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. 12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me. 13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.” So we see once again, that there is mercy in judgment.
Now Christ speaks concerning His testimony:
31 If I should give testimony concerning Myself, My testimony is not true. 32 It is another who is testifying concerning Me, and I know [א and D have “you know”, which is odd, and some late copies have “we know”] that the testimony is true which he testifies concerning Me. 33 You sent to Iohannes, and he testified to the truth.
Where Christ had said “You sent to John”, we see in John chapter 1 where John had testified of Christ to those who came to examine him that “they which were sent were of the Pharisees”, and among other things, John said to them that “26… I baptize with water: but there stands one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose”, where he was speaking of Yahshua Christ. So this is the testimony to which Christ refers, but then regarding Himself He says:
34 Yet I do not receive testimony from man [D has “men”], but I speak these things in order that you may be preserved.
Not all of the Pharisees which opposed Christ were Edomites or bastards. Many were of true Israel, but they were caught up in the party politics and false doctrines of the times, much like we see in our own churches and centers of government today. Christ knew who they were, as the apostle testified in John chapter 2: “24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” While only Yahweh God can profess to be able to know the hearts of men, once again, Christ must be God incarnate as He had that same ability. As Christ Himself said in chapter 2 of His Revelation: “all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.”
Later, in John chapter 12, we see that many of the Pharisees, although they continued in the party politics of Judaea, did indeed believe Christ but would not admit it. There we read: “42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” We have already discussed the fact that Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea were among those of this group, as John informs us elsewhere in his gospel (i.e. John 19:38).
Where Christ had said “in order that you may be preserved”, the primary purpose of the Gospel is to call men to obedience in Christ that they may be preserved in this world, and withstand the trials of this world. The purpose of God and the desire of Christians is to see the Kingdom of Heaven established on earth. But destruction was about to come upon Judaea, as Christ had prophesied elsewhere, and those who turned to Christ avoided suffering in that judgment as the Romans put down the rebellions of the Jews.
Now speaking further of John, He says:
35 He was a lamp burning and shining, and you had desired for awhile [literally “for an hour”, ὥρα (Strong’s # 5610)] to rejoice in his light.
We are not told precisely who Christ is addressing in this discourse, as John the apostle referred to them only as “the Judaeans” earlier in this chapter, and he did not identify them any further. But John the Baptist, in spite of his having been slain by Herod, must have had a good report among the Pharisees, and according to the words of Christ here, many of them must have actually appreciated John. The later Judaean historian Flavius Josephus, who was also a Pharisee, wrote perhaps fifty years after the death of John, and he said the following in reference to him, in his Antiquities, Book 18, after describing how Herod had suffered a military defeat:
116 Now some of the Judaeans thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist; 117 for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Judaeans to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness toward one another, and piety toward God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission] of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body: supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. [Here Josephus seems to be attributing to John some of the beliefs of the Pharisees.] 118 Now, when [many] others came in crowds about him, for they were very greatly moved [or pleased] by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise,) thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it would be too late. [This seems to reflect some political spin of John’s execution on the part of Herod. Perhaps Herod did not want to admit that a girl whom he had lusted after, his own niece who danced for him, had put him up to the deed.] 119 Accordingly he was sent as prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Macherus, the citadel I before mentioned, and was there put to death. Now the Judaeans had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God's displeasure to him.
So while we see a slightly different perspective on the purpose of John the Baptist from the viewpoint of Josephus, it is nevertheless evident that he was respected among the Pharisees, and that Christ had rightly said to them that “ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light”, as it reads in the King James Version. As a digression, in Part 5 of this commentary, titled The Focus of the Disciple, we discussed how John may have had the ability to lead an uprising against the rulers of Judaea, but refrained in favor of fulfilling his God-given mission in life. Now Christ continues in reference to His Own mission:
“36 But I have testimony greater than Iohannes, for the works which the Father gave [A, D and the MT have “has given”] to Me in order that I shall complete them, those same [P66 has “these”, P95 only “the”] works which I should do testify concerning Me, that the Father sent Me!
These Judaeans had wanted to kill Christ simply because He had evidently healed a man on the Sabbath. But as we explained when we discussed the earlier portions of this chapter where that event was recorded, they seem to have missed the point that if Christ was able to miraculously heal a man who had been crippled for so many years, then the healing must have actually come from Yahweh, and if it came on a Sabbath, that also must have been the will of Yahweh. So in reality, the Judaeans were in opposition to Yahweh. So Christ attests that the healing of the man was tantamount to a testimony onm His behalf which was directly from God:
37 And the Father who has sent Me, He [P66, A and the MT have “the Father Himself who sends Me, He”; D has “the Father who sends Me, He Himself”; the text follows P75, P95, א, B and W] 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!
Believing in Christ, one also acknowledges having heard the voice and having seen the form of Yahweh God, as Christ Himself had later said to Phillip, in John chapter 14: “9… Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? ”
Reading the later verses of the 2nd Psalm once again: “7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
In Exodus chapter 23 we read “20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. 21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.” This is esteemed to be a prophecy of Joshua the son on Nun in the immediate sense, and of Yahshua Christ in the transcendental sense, and we certainly agree that it is a Messianic prophecy in that sense.
Again, the Father testified of Christ through the lips of Moses, in Deuteronomy chapter 18 where it says: “15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken”. The apostles had cited this same passage in Acts chapters 3 and 7, understanding that it had referred to Christ. So we read a little further on in that same chapter of Deuteronomy: “18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”
The works which Christ had performed proved by themselves that He was speaking in the name of Yahweh, and those who rejected him had the warning of the Scriptures in the 2nd Psalm: “12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” Those who did not put their trust in Him were evidently not worthy to be blessed, and demonstrated it by their refusal to believe Him. So Christ further tells them:
39 You must examine the writings, because you suppose by them to have eternal life, and these are they which testify concerning Me. 40 Yet you do not wish to come to Me in order that you would have [D adds “eternal”] life.
Of course, there are Scriptures such as the Wisdom of Solomon which explicitly state that the Adamic man has eternal life, but that can also be found in the so-called canonical Scriptures, such as in Daniel chapter 12 concerning the resurrection, or in the 16th Psalm where David had written “10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” However the first promise of such life is made with a condition, in Genesis 3:23 where it says concerning Adam: “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…” In chapter 2 of the Revelation, Christ asserted for Himself to be the steward of that Tree of Life: “ 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” However it is also evident that Christ is the Tree of Life, as He told His disciples, in John chapter 15, “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…. 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.” Christ being God incarnate, rejecting Christ one must reject God, and evidently did not belong to Him in the first place.
“41 I would not receive an opinion from men, 42 but I know you, that you do not have the love of Yahweh in [or “among”] yourselves.
Verse 41 may just as literally be read “I would not receive honor from men”, or in either case, “I do not receive...” since the present-tense first person singular form of the verb is identical in the Subjunctive and Indicative moods. The Greek word δόξα (Strong’s # 1391), which is usually honor here, and more often glory in the King James Version, is literally “a notion, true or false… expectation… an opinion, judgment… the opinion which others have of one, estimation, reputation, credit, honour, glory”, according to the Intermediate Liddell & Scott Greek-English Lexicon. Here in this context, and not talking about Himself but about those listening to Him, opinion seems to fit the context better than honor. Evidently, Christ not receiving the opinions of men, He was not a slanderer, or a gossip, but instead had judged men by their fruits, by the result of their labors and their actions. Christians should also accept that model as an example for their own edification.
43 [P66 adds “But”] I have come in the Name of My Father, and you do not receive Me. If perhaps another would come in his own name, him you would receive.
Men often receive those who claim to be prophets or have special knowledge of their own accord, who are thereby coming in their own names. Later on, in the Book of Acts, Simon Magus was one example of such a man. Unfortunately, men also continue to accept such charlatans even after the prophecies and visions which they claim to have turn out to be false and it is evident that they fail. Anyone who continues to accept a man who has uttered false prophecies and vain visions is just as guilty as the false prophet. No man prophecies truth without the inspiration of Yahweh, and those who claim to have such inspiration had better be right on every single occasion, in every single instance, or they are liars.
44 How are you able to believe an opinion being received from each other, and the opinion from the One and Only you do not seek?
After the phrase which is rendered here as “the One and Only”, the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece has the Greek word for “God”, without citing what manuscripts it relies upon for an authority, and attesting that the 3rd century papyri P66 and P75 and the Codices Vaticanus and Washingtonensis all want the word. Some of the earliest Latin manuscripts also want the word for “God” here. Therefore I did not include it, and have rendered μόνος (Strong’s # 3040, 3041) metaphorically as “One and Only”, rather than simply One or Only. Now, having access to the Internet and the ability to check manuscripts myself for such anomalies, I can see that the word for “God” is found in this place in the Codices Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus, however I will refrain as yet from amending the text of the Christogenea New Testament.
In any event, Christ is telling His opponents that they are quick to believe each others’ opinions, yet they reject the Word of the only and true God. We can still see that this is a prevailing attitude among people to this very day, where so many are lazy and dependent upon others, and they would believe some man’s opinions without actually studying the Scriptures for themselves and discovering the greater reasons for believing God. Doing that, they follow men according to their popularity, or by how nice or how persuasive they are, by how sweetly they speak or by how attractive or how successful they appear to be, and not examining the truth of the Scriptures for themselves, they are always led down the road to hell.
For that, Christ did not even have to judge them, because by their actions they had already judged and convicted themselves, so He tells them:
“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.
We have already provided a few of the significant Messianic prophecies found in the books of Moses, which were esteemed by the apostles to refer to Christ, which ultimately Christ had indeed fulfilled, and which for that reason we can certainly believe that Moses was referring to Christ. Claiming to embrace Moses, and rejecting Christ, one is found to be a hypocrite who really does not believe Moses at all. So Christ concludes and tells them:
47 But if in his writings you do not believe, how shall you believe My words?”
Rejecting Christ one can not truly believe what Moses wrote, and one can never believe what Christ had spoken. The concept that there are different so-called “Abrahamic religions” is a trick of the devil. Judaism is a fraud, because it rejects Christ. Islam, or Mohammedanism, is a fraud because it belittles Christ, demoting Him from a status other than that of being God Incarnate and elevating an illiterate pedophile and caravan robber to a higher position. Even the so-called “New Testament Christian” is a fraud, because the authors of the Old Testament were also Christians, as they all wrote in anticipation of Christ, and because the apostles of Christ were Christians before any New Testament even existed, citing the Old Testament alone to support their faith in Christ.
The only “cult”, and I use that term in a good sense, which accepts both New Testament and Old in one consistent and harmonious paradigm of the Revelation of truth and the Dispensation of Yahweh God is what we refer to as Christian Identity. We accept Moses, the historical books, the wisdom books, the prophets and the Gospel of Christ, and therefore Identity Christians are the authentic catholic church, as the so-called Church Fathers originally used the term catholic. Identity Christians are also the true orthodoxy, because we accept and endeavor to adhere to the entire Scripture, as it was also taught by Paul of Tarsus. But perhaps a better term for what we believe is simply Christianity, because that is what the faith of Christ should be, as He Himself explains it here.
This concludes our commentary on the Gospel of John through chapter 5. Yahweh willing, we will proceed with chapter 6 in the near future.