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On the Gospel of John, Part 36: The Way
When Yahshua Christ chose His apostles from among the men who had first encountered Him at the start of His ministry, which is when He was baptized by John, they were simple and uneducated laborers, and for the most part, fishermen from the shores of Galilee. These men were not schooled in Scripture except for their attendance at the synagogues on the sabbath days, and the customary reading from the law of Moses which is referred to by James in Acts chapter 15. So far as in Acts chapter 4, at least some of the apostles were still considered unlearned, where we read “13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Since the synagogues were the instruments of religious organization in Judaea, the teachings would have naturally been in accordance with the doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees, who dominated religious and political activity throughout Judaea.
But Christ did not occupy the course of His ministry schooling the apostles in the details of Scripture and giving them an education in letters. In fact, as we see in that verse from Acts chapter 4 which we have just cited, their testimony of Christ was even more valuable and made more of an impression because they were unschooled. These were simple men who witnessed profound events and gave plain and simple testimonies concerning the substance of those events. For that reason, the gospel accounts were written without craft or guile. As Paul later attested in his first epistle to the Thessalonians, “For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak”.
Rather than instructing the apostles in letters, they instead served Christ as companions, fellow-workers and then, most significantly, as witnesses, while He Himself was focused upon instructing His people in a better and more pure way to please their God, urging them to a sincere repentance in ways which were contrary to the elaborate doctrines and rituals of the Pharisees, whose spiritual authority He had challenged. This caused an ongoing confrontation with the officials in the temple, which He knew would ultimately lead to His execution – fulfilling the very purpose for which He came.
An objective look at the Scriptures, especially comparing the apostles' attitudes and statements as they are recorded in the Gospels to that which is found in the Book of Acts and then later in their epistles, shows that they made a great progression in their knowledge over that time, however that progression was not consummated until long after the Crucifixion of Christ. But where the Gospel accounts were first written, it is evident that the apostles responded to Christ, and interpreted many of the events of His ministry in accordance with the lesser knowledge that they formerly possessed, which they had learned in the synagogues of the Pharisees. The apostles believed Christ, they knew that He was the Messiah, but it would be a long time before they could digest all that they had been taught from Him into a Christian worldview, where previously their worldview was formed from what they had learned in those synagogues.
As Christ conducted His ministry and taught the people the reasons for good and evil, He spoke of trees and fruit, and He declared that “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up”, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 15. This is certainly not a reference to literal trees and fruit. We would assert that this is a direct reference to one tree in the Garden of Eden which Yahweh did not plant into the ground, which is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Genesis chapters 2 and 3 are written in the form of parables, in allegorical language, so that at the advent of the Messiah, He could “utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world”, as He had declared where it is recorded in Matthew chapter 13. Saying that, He was referring to how and why He had distinguished people as either wheat or tares, and explained that the tares were planted by the devil. So there were people present who were not planted by God, and they are still among us today.
During the course of His ministry, these things were purposely related only in parables, and while Christ made some explanations privately to His disciples, it is evident that the apostles did not even understand those immediately. However it is also evident that much later, at the time when Peter, Jude and John had written their epistles, they did understand these things. However even then, they were not fully revealed until John recorded the Revelation which he had received from Christ on Patmos.
It is not precisely clear when Jude may have written his one short epistle, but verse 17 seems to be a reference to things written by both Peter (2 Peter 3:2-4) and Paul (2 Timothy 3:1-5) where he wrote “beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Therefore the epistle of Jude may have been even later than those written by Peter, although that is not entirely certain.
In his epistle, Jude identified the corruptions among the children of God with the angels who left their first estate, that they were the origin of the false teachers and infiltrators who corrupted the people. To them he related the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, the way of Cain, the error of Balaam and the gainsaying of Core. While Core, or Korah, was an Israelite, it is evident as it is described in Numbers chapter 16 that he was challenging the order of government and commandments as they were being established by God. That is what the “angels that sinned” had also done, and it resulted in a corruption of the Creation of God by which there came to be a Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The error of Balaam was to encourage the king of Moab to induce the children of Israel to commit fornication, and Cain was also a product of fornication, which was also one of the sins for which Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Jude was warning the people of his own time to beware of these same fornicators, whom he had called “12… spots in your feasts of charity… clouds… without water… trees whose fruit withereth… twice dead… raging waves of the sea… [and] wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever…” These are certainly the plants which Yahweh did not plant. The rebellious fallen angels were also metaphorically described as stars in Revelation chapter 12.
Likewise, in his second epistle, Peter had also described many of these same things which Jude explained so concisely. He also related those false prophets and false teachers of both the past and the future to the “the angels that sinned”. Then, speaking of those in his own time, he called them “natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed”, among other things. In these epistles, both Peter and Jude display a knowledge which they evidently did not yet have while Christ was still with them.
We can determine when Peter had written his epistles. His second epistle was written to the same people to whom he had written the first, which is found in 2 Peter chapter 3 where he said “1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance.” Then, in that same chapter, he recommended the epistles of Paul to his readers as if his readers should have already known them. So he wrote “15… even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” The earliest surviving epistles of Paul, those to the Thessalonians, were written in the early 40’s AD.
Reading the opening verse of Peter’s first epistle, we see that it is addressed “to the strangers [or better, sojourners] scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia”. Here it is evident that Peter’s audience must have been those churches in western Anatolia which were established by Paul of Tarsus, as Peter professed that they already had the epistles which Paul had written to them. Speaking of Paul in retrospect in his second epistle, Peter’s two epistles were therefore written some time after the end of Paul’s ministry, after Paul had written his epistles, and Paul was almost certainly executed in 62 AD. So by that time Peter had fully understood that devils were people too, as he wrote to those same assemblies in 1 Peter chapter 5 warning them to “8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
However the apostles did not have that understanding in the earlier years. Yahshua had informed them, perhaps in the third year of His ministry as it is recorded in John chapter 6, “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” But in spite of that, maybe about six months later at the Last Supper as it is recorded in John chapter 13, they still could not discern that Judas was that devil, and even after they witnessed that Judas would be the betrayer, having dipped his hand in the bowl and receiving the morsel from Christ, they continued to imagine that Judas was departing from the dinner in order to do something good. Not yet understanding that Judas was one of those “devil people”, from a plant which Yahweh God did not plant, in both the gospels of Luke and John we read that “Satan entered into” Judas, which is how they explained the motivation for his evil actions, based upon the knowledge they had at that time. Regardless of how we may interpret that, it does not take away from the fact that Judas did what he did because he was a devil in the first place. Judas was a devil over six months before he betrayed Christ, and here in John chapter 13, Christ had said “I know whom I have chosen”, after inferring that Judas was not clean even if he had been washed.
As we also said in our last presentation of our commentary on John, Judas was not a devil because he betrayed Christ, rather he betrayed Christ because he was a devil. If he were not a devil, he may have been cleansed of his sin. Therefore, summarizing something else which we have already explained, John wrote both his gospel and his epistles rather late in his life, and as he himself attests in Revelation chapter 1, his gospel was already written some time before the Revelation. His gospel may have even been a part of the reason why he was in exile on Patmos, and the opening statements in his first epistle also seem to indicate that his gospel was already written. That first epistle expounds upon many concepts which are already found in his gospel.
However in that first epistle, John himself explains in very different language the same concepts found in the epistles of Jude and Peter. Statements which John made in that epistle demonstrate his later understanding that the children of Israel are cleansed of their sins by nature of their origin, where he says “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” Likewise, he attributed the evil of those who denied Christ to the fact of their origin, in 1 John 2:19 where he wrote “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” Those who came out from the Judaeans, but who were not of the Judaeans, are the Edomite Jews, the antichrists, who were also of the same general origin as the infiltrators, the false prophets and false teachers who were spoken of by Peter and Jude.
So while it is evident here in John chapter 13 that as these events were actually taking place before the Crucifixion, not even John knew the true nature of Judas, since he had actually written his account of these events much later in his life he was able to add the several parenthetical remarks which described the true nature of Judas. Therefore we can see the progression of John’s knowledge from the time when these events took place to the time when he wrote his gospel and epistles, just as Peter and Jude also had a great progression in their own knowledge. It is immaterial whether that education had come from book learning, or from the Holy Spirit in prayer, or by the help of Paul of Tarsus, who came along later and who was a learned man, or even by some combination of these things, which is more likely since Christ told them here in this chapter that they had the Spirit of Truth, and in chapter 16 that the Spirit of Truth would guide them in all truth. The fact is that these first apostles, namely Peter, John and Jude, as they wrote their epistles much later in life, certainly had a much greater understanding of Christ, ofd the enemies of Christ and of Scripture than they had while He was with them.
Now, returning to the narrative found in the conclusion of John chapter 13, Christ had told the apostles that He was about to depart from them, and that where He was going they could not follow. While He did reassure them that they could follow Him afterwards, Peter’s response once again indicates that not even he had understood what it was to which Christ was referring. Both Matthew (chapters 16, 17 and 20) and Luke (chapters 9, 13 and 18) record in their gospels that on at least 3 occasions before this time Christ had warned His disciples that He was going to be taken and crucified, and that on the third day He would be resurrected. Yet none of the disciples could connect the implications of those previous statements which He had made with His assertion here in John chapter 13 that He would be betrayed. Rather, in verse 19 of the chapter, He said “Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.”
Then later, after His resurrection as it is described in Luke chapter 24, as the women go to seek the body of Christ in the tomb, we read the words of an angel which said: “6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” So even though Christ had warned them all ahead of time concerning what was going to happen, they did not recognize what was happening as it was about to happen. Then after these things were completed, they had to remember what He had told them previously so that they could understand what had happened. But his statement in John 13:19 proves that was His plan from the beginning, that only “when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.” After that, it took them as many as 30 years to realize and understand all of the implications of His words and reconcile them with the Old Testament Scriptures, and then be able to teach them to others.
Up to this point, Christ had told His disciples once again that He was going to depart from them, and Peter had once again rebelled, causing a digression where he was told that on that very night he would deny Christ three times. The very fact that this happened in such a short time, even though Peter had just been warned it would happen, and he was not able to change it although he had just been warned, helps to prove our assertions here, that even though the apostles were told ahead of time exactly what was going to transpire, they did not recognize what they were told as it transpired. They only recognized it and were able to understand it much later, and therefore they could only understand why these things happened much later. Now, speaking once again in reference to His imminent departure, Christ intends to comfort them all, as we commence with John chapter 14:
XIV [D inserts: “And He said to His students:”] “1 Your hearts [literally ‘heart’] must not be troubled. You have faith in Yahweh and you have faith in Me.
Having faith in both God and Christ, we must know that we shall be established in our trials regardless of their difficulty. The disciples have been with Christ for three-and-a-half years at this point, and now He is telling them that they will be without Him. Not yet knowing what else they should do, for a short time, at least, they will return to their old vocations which they had before He called them. That also helps to show that in the aftermath of the resurrection of Christ, the apostles had begun a learning process. For now, everything which Christ says in this dialogue from this point, He said in order to comfort them in His absence.
As He speaks, they are still in the place where they had eaten their last supper. As John records it, the group does not depart from the house where they had shared their last meal until Yahshua speaks to them for quite some time. None of what we read here in chapters 14 through 17 is recorded in any of the other Gospels. The other gospel writers were not wrong, but they simply chose not to include this long conversation in their accounts, for whatever unknown reason. So at the end of chapter 14 Christ tells His disciples “Arise, we must go from here”, and that must be where they leave the house of the last supper. Then the dialog in chapters 15 and 16 must have occurred on the way to the Mount of Olives, or once they gotten there, but they had not yet entered Gethsemane. As John opens chapter 18 of his gospel, Christ and His disciples are at the Mount of Olives, and cross over the brook Kidron to enter Gethsemane. This place is not mentioned by name in the gospels of John or Luke, but it is in those of Matthew (26:36) and Mark (14:32). In John chapter 18, in a description by John in verse 1 and in another statement in verse 26 which is attributed to one of the servants of the high priest, Gethsemane is referred to only as a garden. But the name Gethsemane describes an oil press, and being at the foot of the Mount of Olives near the brook Kidron. That use of the place seems like a natural reason for the name, as it must have had a garden, and had also had been the location of an oil press.
Both Matthew and Mark record the disputation of Peter seen here at the end of John chapter 13, where Christ told him that he would deny Him three times before he heard the crowing of the cock, which is before the break of the coming dawn. Then immediately after that, each of them state that Christ and the disciples had come to a place called Gethsemane, where He prayed. Luke also records the disputation of Peter (22:33-34), but after that he records another statement of Christ which is also not given in any other gospel, before informing his readers that Christ left the house of the last supper and came to the Mount of Olives with his disciples, not naming the more specific place.
The dialogue which Luke records at this point has Christ continuing from his statement to Peter about denying Him, where we then read: “35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. 36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. 37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. 38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.” It is not clear whether Christ had said these things before or after the dialogue recorded here in John chapters 14 through 17. But it certainly seems that they preceded what John now records that He also spoke here, because they are related to the possibility that the disciples may indeed need to defend themselves after His departure, as Peter disputed that he could defend Him now. So if I were to attempt to synchronize the accounts from each of the gospels, I would insert Luke 22:35-38 just before what we see here in John 14:1.
Here Christ had urged His disciples that “Your hearts must not be troubled” and then He made a statement of fact, that they did have faith in both God and in Him, and now He continues to speak for their encouragement:
2 In the house of My Father there are many abodes. But if not, I would have [א and W want ‘would have’] told you that [P66 and the MT want ‘that’] I go to prepare a place for you.
The word translated as abodes here is a plural form of the Greek word μονή (Strong’s # 3438), and it is also a matter of much speculation. According to Liddell & Scott, the word is primarily an “abiding, tarrying…” and was used opposite of an ἔξοδος, or exodus, which is a going-out, or also opposite or a φορά, a carrying or giving, or κίνησις, which is movement or motion. It is further defined as “persistence, continuance… permanence… preservation…” In later uses it describes a “stopping-place, station… apartment, quarters [or] billets”, and much later, in the time of Justinian, a monastery. So the most common uses of the word, as well as the context here in John, informs us that we should read it as abode, a permanent place of residence from which one may not be expected either to move or to be moved. At the end of this verse, the word τόπος (Strong’s 5117) is a place, which is plainly literal.
A related word, μονία, can mean either changelessness or solitude. The root word, μόνος, has many uses but is primarily alone, solitary or only. Here, μονή is plural, described as many in a particular house, so it must refer to an abode but may also have been translated as room.
Since the words of Christ relate to His departure, their being able to follow Him afterwards, and His endeavor to offer them encouragement here, the fact that in the house of His Father there are many abodes, rooms or dwelling-places, assures them that a place has been reserved for each of them in the Kingdom of Heaven. That place is already reserved for them, where He says “But if not, I would have told you that I go to prepare a place for you.” So whether or not He must prepare a place for them, He will come and take them again to Himself, as He next says:
3 And if I should go and prepare [A and W have ‘And if I should go, I shall prepare’; D has ‘And if I go to prepare’; the text follows P66, א, B and C] a place for you, I come again and take you to Myself, in order that where I am you also would be. 4 And where I go, you know the way.”
The 3rd century papyrus P66, the Codices Alexandrinus (A) and Bezae (D) and the Majority Text all have verse 4 to read “And you know where I go, and you know the way.” Our text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Washingtonensis (W).
In his epistles, in Philippians chapter 1, Paul of Tarsus considered the possibility of his being executed, where he would then be present with Christ, but preferred to live longer for the sake of his readers, and therefore he said “21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: 24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” So Paul was absolutely confident that death brought him to Christ, and that same confidence is expressed here by Christ Himself, where He said “… I come again and take you to Myself, in order that where I am you also would be. And where I go, you know the way.”
In any event, where He goes, they did already know the way, as He had preached to them for over three years. But now, as Thomas’ response reveals, they did not yet know that they knew the way, the answer to which is why Christianity was later known as “The Way’, as it is the only way:
5 Thomas [D inserts “who is called Twin”] says to Him: “Prince, we do not know where You go! How do we [P66 and W have ‘How are we able to’; א, A and the MT have ‘And how are we able to’; D has ‘And how do we’; the text follows B and C] know the way?”
We first read of the way in Genesis chapter 3 where it says: “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: 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
Contrary to what many denominational churches believe, the cherubim were not placed to prevent Adam from returning to the garden and the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is not a mere wooden tree. Rather, Adam had no choice but obedience as his punishment was pronounced by God and had to be fulfilled. The cherubim were placed to preserve a path so that Adam could ultimately find his way back to the Tree of Life. In the garden of Eden, the cherubs were placed to keep the path to the tree of life, meaning to preserve that path, in order to ensure that men may ultimately find their way back to it. The next time that the cherubs are seen in Scripture, they are atop the Ark of the Covenant, guarding the mercy seat and the tablets of the law, the manna, and the staff of Aaron which were inside the ark. These things are also all representative of Christ, and Christ being the True Vine, keeping the law is the way to return to Him, as He is that Tree of Life.
Christ, being resurrected to eternal life, had already told His disciples that this is the way to eternal life, for example, in Luke chapter 10: “25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” That is the way to the Tree of Life. This is why the cherubs were set to guard the path to the Tree of Life, and this is why the cherubs were sitting atop the ark around the mercy seat, or seat of judgment, where the law was kept.
Then in John chapter 10: “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.” If His sheep hear His voice, they will keep His commandments, and love their fellow sheep. Then, for another example, in Mark chapter 10: “29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, 30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. 31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.” Later in this chapter of John, Christ shall also tell His disciples, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” That word for abode is the same Greek word μονή which we already saw here where Christ had said “In the house of My Father there are many abodes.”
So loving God, keeping His commandments, and loving one’s kindred neighbor as oneself, that is the way, that is the only way, that way is only for the people created and chosen by God, and that is the path which was preserved by the cherubs which ensured that they could get to, or actually, return to the tree of life, which is Christ. For that reason we read in Matthew chapter 22: “ 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Therefore it is evident that all along, the symbolism employed in Genesis and the organization of the Levitical priesthood and the Old Testament kingdom were all designed by God as steps on a path to lead men back to Christ, the Tree of Life, who is the Light of the World created by Yahweh God at the very beginning as the physical manifestation of Himself, in Genesis chapter 1. So we now read here in John:
6 Yahshua says to him: “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one goes to the Father except through Me!
Yahshua Christ being the physical manifestation of God within His Own creation, the image of the invisible God and the first-born of all Creation, as Paul of Tarsus described Him in Colossians chapter 1, there is no other path to God except through Him. Being the Life, He is also the Tree of Life, as He calls Himself the True Vine in John chapter 15. However He came only for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”, so ostensibly, of all men, only those of the house of Israel have a path to God, although the other branches of the race of Adam still have a part in the earlier promises of God, those which were made to Adam and to Noah.
This statement also invalidates all other religions and belief systems. Since there is only one God, Yahweh, and since no man can stand before that God except through Christ, then Christianity is the only valid Truth, and the only valid religion or belief system. But it is meant only for the children of Israel, because it is also a covenant which Yahweh God had made exclusively with those specific people. Christianity according to the gospel of Christ and the subsequent writings of His apostles is The Way, and it is the only way, it is the only path to life, and for everyone and everything else, there is only corruption and ultimate death. Now Christ once again professes that He is Yahweh:
7 If you have known Me, you should also know [P66, א, D and W have ‘you shall also know’; A and the MT, which the King James Version follows, have ‘you also would have known’; the text follows B and C] My Father. [P66, א, A, D, W and the MT insert ‘And’; the text follows B and C] Even now you know [P66, א, A, D, W and the MT insert ‘Him’; the text follows B and C] and have seen Him!”
The apostles, in the presence of Christ, were in the presence of and had seen the Father for themselves, so therefore Christ must also be the Father. But Philip, and probably the others with him because he uses a pronoun which also refers to them, did not yet have that understanding:
8 Philippos says to Him “Prince, show us the Father, and it shall satisfy us.”
Philip made the mistake of imagining that Yahweh God was a separate person from God the Son, which is Christ. In essence, they are one and the same, and Christians should actually believe in a Unity rather than a Trinity. There is a Christian sect defined as Unitarianism which is nearly five centuries old, but while it views God as one person, it discounts Christ as an aspect or manifestation of that person, so it is a heresy which must be rejected, and it is clearly in conflict with the professions of Christ Himself here in John chapter 14. Now, answering Philip:
9 Yahshua says to him: “For so long a time I am with you and you do not know Me, Philippos? He who has seen Me has [P75 inserts ‘also’] seen the Father! [A, D and the MT insert ‘And’; the text follows P66, P75, א, B and W] How do you say ‘show us the Father’?
Christ had told His adversaries, as it is recorded in John chapter 10, “30 I and my Father are one.” He did not say “I and My Father are Two out of Three”, but “I and My Father are One.” Here He plainly states that “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” because God is invisible, and Christ is the physical incarnation of God in the natural world which He created. If Christ is not God, or if Christ is only a separate person in the Godhead, then He could not justly say that “He who has seen Me has seen the Father!” Moreover, where He asked Philip “How do you say ‘show us the Father’?”, Christ indicates that He expected Philip to already have this knowledge, and if there is a source where Philip could have understood it, it probably would have been from Isaiah.
In Isaiah chapter 52, in a prophecy of the gospel itself, we read: “6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. 7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” Here in Isaiah, Yahweh God is asserting that when the gospel is preached, it will be He Himself who is doing the preaching. So He tells us in the prophets that He Himself is the coming Messiah.
Among other examples of this assertion that God Himself is also the Redeemer and Savior, which is the Christ, in Isaiah chapter 48 we read: “16 Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me. 17 Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go. 18 O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” So Yahweh asserted that He is the Spirit, and that He is the Redeemer who would come to lead Israel by The Way. Following Christ is the objective on The Way by which His people must go, He came to lead them to Himself, and we see once again that The Way is found in the keeping of the commandments. Yahweh said in Isaiah that “therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I”, and when Christ spoke, it was Yahweh who was speaking, as He Himself had said on many occasions that “I am He.” This is also what He had meant in John chapter 13 where we read why He told His apostles what would happen before it did: “19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.”
Now Christ in that same regard continues to admonish Philip:
10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words which I speak [P66, א, A, W and the MT have ‘say’; D ‘have spoken’; the text follows P75 and B] to you I do not say by Myself, but the Father [א, A, D, W and the MT insert ‘who is’; the text follows P66, P75 and B] abiding in Me does His works [P75, A, W and the MT have ‘does the works Himself’; the text follows P66, א, B and D].
The body of a man can do nothing without God, but Yahshua Christ was God, the body being a mere vessel for the true essence of a person, which is the Spirit. For this reason and more, Paul of Tarsus had written of Christ in chapter 2 of his epistle to the Colossians “9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Divinity bodily.” As much of what is the almighty, invisible God could occupy the body of a man, Christ was that man. For that reason also, Paul of Tarsus directly equated Christ with God by crediting Christ with the Creation, in chapter 1 of that same epistle, where speaking of Christ he wrote: “15 Who is the likeness of the invisible God, first born of all the creation. 16 Because by Him all things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, those visible and those invisible, whether thrones or dominions or realms or authorities, all things are created by Him and for Him; 17 and He is before all, and all things by Him endure; 18 and He is the head of the body: the assembly. He who is the beginning, first born from among the dead, that in all things He would be holding the first place.” Paul could only write this if Christ is God, and if Christ is the same God who spoke those words described in Genesis chapter 1 where He said “Let there be”, and there was. So likewise, in chapter 1 of this gospel John had spoken of Christ where he said that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us”.
11 You should believe Me, that I am in the Father and the Father in Me. But if not, on account of His [the NA27 offers no witnesses and has ‘these’ (as also the NA28); the text follows P66, P75 and B] works you should believe [A, B and the MT insert ‘Me’; the text follows P66, P75, א, D and W].
As we had often explained when commenting on those times in His ministry that Christ had challenged His adversaries, He appealed to them to believe in Him not on account of His assertions, but on account of those wonderful things which Yahweh had done through His hands, as He always gave Yahweh the credit for the works which He was able to do. Seeing the works, the healing of the lame and the blind and the deaf, things which were written in the prophets that the Savior of Israel would do, men should have believed in Him for that reason alone. So now He tells His apostles that same thing, that they should believe that it is God within Him who had done these things, and in essence, that He is that God. As it says in Isaiah chapter 35, in part: “4… your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened…”, and as it is recorded in John chapter 10, the father of the man who was blind from birth, but who was healed by Christ, had attested and said “32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.” So by this alone it should also be clear that Yahshua Christ is that God who, in the words of Isaiah, had promised to come.
Now He makes a promise to those who would believe these things:
“12 Truly, truly I say to you, he believing in Me the works which I do he also shall do, and he shall do greater than these [P66 wants ‘than these’], because I [P75 inserts ‘shall’] go to the Father.
So far as I can find not all of the explanations for some of the things which Christ had said or done are found in the Scriptures, so there are times when we can only make assumptions or develop opinions. Evidently when Christ goes “to the Father” it signifies that His sacrifice is complete, and the children of Israel are released from the condemnation for their sins which is found in the law, thereby allowing them to be fully reconciled to Yahweh their God. No sacrifice is completed until it is offered to Yahweh.
Where He professes here that “he believing in Me the works which I do he also shall do”, He may not have been speaking in a future sense, but only in an immediate sense. In the apostolic age there are reports of miracles performed by the hands of the apostles, which is especially evident in Acts chapters 3 through 5 where, for example, we read: “14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.”
But these miracles only facilitated the spread of the gospel, and established the apostles as legitimate representatives of God. Once the gospel was established, the apostolic age passed, and the miracles passed with them. In that same manner, Moses and Aaron were able to perform certain miracles before the Pharaoh and the people of Israel, so they would be established as the legitimate representatives of God in their own time. The same ability to perform miracles was given to some of the prophets, and especially to Elijah and Elisha, who were sent as representatives of God in the age of apostasy characterized by the rule of Ahab and Jezebel. So in the context in which these words are spoken here, I am persuaded that they apply to the disciples of Christ, who were employed as His representatives to bring His Word to the dispersed children of Israel. In that same manner He says:
13 And whatever [P66 has ‘And that which if’] you shall [P75 and B have ‘would’] ask in My Name this I shall do, that the Father would be magnified in the Son. 14 If you should ask Me [א and D want ‘Me’] anything in My name I shall do it [the word ‘it’ is inferred; P75, A, B and 060 have ‘this’ explicitly].
Once again, Christ is speaking to the apostles, and not necessarily to all future believers, even though people often assume He was speaking to all future believers when they read these words, and then they make excuses when their prayers are not answered as they had made them. For that reason, certain fools which I know personally never did become millionaires, never did receive their mansions on the beach, and now they openly follow after Satan, having abandoned God because He did not answer their lustful prayers.
Even if Christ was only speaking to His disciples here, in an immediate sense, men may still ask of God what they require, but it must be according to the will of God, and not their own will. For this, James issues a warning in chapter 4 of his epistle: “1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” Making requests of our God merely to fulfill our own carnal desire for material goods or riches in the world, we ask amiss and we shall not receive.
Rather, a Christian should focus on being obedient to his God and seeking to please Him, so Christ once again tells them The Way:
“15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 And I shall ask the Father and He will give to you another advocate, that it would be with you forever,
The Greek word παράκλητος (Strong’s # 3875) is advocate here. According to Liddell & Scott, the word, an adjective, means “called to one's aid, in a court of justice”, and therefore as a Substantive, which is a noun, it is a “legal assistant, advocate… intercessor”. The word appears 4 times in John in chapters 14 through 16, and again only in 1 John chapter 2, although it appears elsewhere in other forms, and in John’s first epistle we find what is meant by the term where John wrote: “1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” So Christ Himself is the advocate, and as John describes, He is the advocate for our offenses, and here we shall indeed learn that He is speaking in reference to Himself, but first He continues to describe this advocate as:
17 the Spirit of Truth, which Society is not able to receive, because it does not see [A and the MT insert ‘it’; D inserts ‘Him’; the text follows P75, א, B and W] nor does it know it [P66 and D have ‘Him’]. [A, D and the MT insert ‘But’; the text follows P66, P75, א, B and W] You know it [P66, D and W have ‘Him’], because it [or perhaps ‘He’] abides with you and it [or perhaps ‘He’] is [the NA27 has ‘shall be’, not specifying the manuscripts; the text follows P66, B, D and W] in you.
The Spirit of Truth was already in them, which his the Spirit that Yahweh God had instilled in their first father, Adam. Earlier, John had also described Christ in this sense, in the opening chapter of this gospel where he wrote that Christ was the light come into the world, and then he described that: “9 The light was the truth, which coming into the Society enlightens every man. 10 He was in the Society, and the Society came to be through Him, yet the Society knew Him not. 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 the children of Yahweh are to attain, to those believing in His Name.” It is that authority which Christ is promising here in John chapter 14 to those who believe in Him.
Now Christ makes a short and direct statement identifying Himself as the Father, and as the advocate which the Father will send, and as the Spirit of Truth which the world cannot receive:
18 I shall not leave you fatherless: I come to you.
The King James Version of this passage translates the Greek word παράκλητος in the previous verses as Comforter, and has this verse to read: “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” The verb form of the word, παρακαλέω, and the noun, παράκλησις, are comfort and consolation in the King James Version where they appear several times each in the opening verses of the first chapter of 2 Corinthians. There in that context we interpreted those words as enourage and encouragement.
Even if we disagree with the definitions, the connection which the King James Version maintains between the Comforter and Christ’s departure leaving the apostles comfortless is good, but we could not maintain it for other reasons which I felt were more important. Here, where the King James Version has comfortless and we have fatherless, the Greek word is ὀρφανός (Strong’s # 3737), an adjective which Liddell & Scott define as “orphan, without parents, fatherless” and as a Substantive, where it is a noun, as an orphan. This is, of course, the source for our English word orphan. While the term came to have a general use indicating something that is bereaved or bereft of another thing, as it is also sometimes used in English, even then it was mostly used of children without parents, or even of parents who were bereft of their children.
Here, Christ had just told his disciples that He is the Father, but He had also told them that He was departing from them, so here I can only translate ὀρφανός by its most literal meaning, which is fatherless. Then, where Christ had already said that the Father “will give to you another advocate… the Spirit of Truth”, here in this verse He said “I will come to you”, informing us that He is also that other advocate and Spirit of Truth. The words of Christ in this chapter make it plain, that He is one with the Father, and that He is also one with the Holy Spirit, the promised advocate or Comforter, and therefore Christians should not believe in a Trinity, but in a Unity, that all of these – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – are only different manifestations of the same God, Yahweh.
This distinction is often considered a mere matter of semantics, but we are persuaded that the common misunderstanding of the oneness of God with Christ is quite dangerous to a sound Christian profession. Christ said here that “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one goes to the Father except through Me!” But the denominational churches, which accept the false concept of a trinity, imagine that there can be a “person” in the Godhead which is separate from Christ, and have now advocated what they call “interfaith ministries”, where Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant officials and leaders are advocating cooperation with Jews, Muslims, and all sorts of other idolaters and devils, all under the false assumption that they worship the same God. But they certainly do not worship the same God. So here I shall repeat part of what I had written in my commentary on The Prophecy of Malachi – Part 2, titled The Corrupted Priesthood:
… I want to say a word concerning the so-called trinity doctrine, which we do not think is a doctrine at all. Yahweh our God is real, omniscient, and omnipotent – but He is also One, regardless of how He chooses to manifest Himself. So He can be God the Father, and God the Son, the burning in the bush, the rock in the desert, or the fire on the mountain. When the apostles realized that He had overcome death, they proclaimed Him as God not because Jesus somehow became as God, but because they themselves realized that He was God, knowing from the implications of the Scripture that He was Yahweh who had promised that He would redeem Israel.
The trinity doctrine is the first of heresies. There is no real support for it in the original Scriptures, except for the coincidence that in the apostolic age God manifested Himself first in two ways, from the spiritual plane and in the form of the Son of David, and then in a third way which is referred to as the Holy Spirit, which is not really a third at all but rather is only another manifestation of the first two. When Christ was near to His departure and He promised the apostles a Comforter, He proclaimed “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.” But the word for comfortless in that passage is from the same Greek word from which we derive the English word for orphan, and it really means fatherless, showing that Christ is also God the Father as well as God the Holy Spirit.
The trinity doctrine is a dangerous heresy because it leaves space for antichrists to claim that they can worship a part of the deity which is somehow void of Christ. Therefore Christians are deceived into imagining that Jews and Muslims and other antichrists ultimately have the same God, which is a lie and a deception. Therefore the trinity doctrine is a compromise with devils. The antichrists themselves introduced this doctrine so that they can maintain a facade of legitimacy, but beneath the veneer there is every form of wickedness. They lay claim to a piece of the Godhead and a path to piety without Christ, when the Gospel informs us that “6 Yahshua says...: ‘I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one goes to the Father except through Me!’” Then almost immediately after that He said “He who has seen Me has seen the Father!” So Christians must understand that Christ being Yahweh God manifest in the flesh, no part of the deity could possibly be void of Christ! Therefore all of the devils must be rejected: there is no room for devils in the Kingdom of Heaven, and neither should there be any space given to them here on earth.
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all one, or Christ could never have said “I will not leave you fatherless, I will come to you”, while He was speaking of the Father sending to them an advocate, which is the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of Truth.
19 Shortly yet and Society shall no longer see Me, but [P66 wants ‘but’] you shall see Me, because I live and you shall live.
When Christ was resurrected, He did not appear to the world, He did not confront His enemies, but rather, He appeared only to His disciples. Paul had described that in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 where he wrote: “3 For you are among the first that I had transmitted to that which I also had received. That Christ had been slain for our sins, in accordance with the writings; 4 and that He had been buried, and that He was raised in the third day, in accordance with the writings; 5 and that He had appeared to Kephas [or Peter], then to the twelve. 6 Thereafter He had appeared to more than five hundred brethren at the same time, of whom the greater number remain until presently, but some have died. 7 Then He had appeared to Iakobos [or James], then to all of the ambassadors; 8 and last of all, just as if from a wound [in the sense of an appeal because Paul was persecuting His assemblies], He had appeared to me also.” His appearances to His disciples, as well as their ability to do wonderful things, also facilitated the spread of the Gospel, in a way that would fulfill the prophecy that Christ was about to make concerning those who saw Him not, and yet believed in Him.
So Christ says of those who would see Him after His resurrection:
20 On that day you shall know that I am in My Father and you in Me and I in you.
When the apostle Thomas awoke from his skepticism and had finally realized that Christ was indeed resurrected from the dead, as it is recorded in John chapter 20, he immediately exclaimed: “My Prince and My God!” Then Christ responded to him and made the prophecy to which we have just referred, where He said: “Because you have seen Me you believe! Blessed are those not seeing and believing!”
There is only One God, and Thomas recognized Yahshua Christ as that God. Yahshua Christ is God the Father in His physical manifestation, and He is also the Holy Spirit, which is the Advocate that He had spoken of here. He is also the Way, the Truth and the Light, and keeping His commandments while loving one’s brethren is the only manner by which one may travel that Way. He was The Way from the beginning, as the cherubs were established to keep the path to the Tree of Life so that men may return to Him. But without Him there is only darkness, where men can only stumble and fall out of The Way.