LIFE OF THE MESSIAH – 011
DR. ARNOLD G. FRUCHTENBAUM
M. Instruction Concerning the Kingdom – Paragraphs 84-85
2. The Promise Transfiguration: The Revelation of the Kingdom
Paragraph 85 – Mark 9:2-8; Matthew 17:1-8; Luke 9:28-36
Let’s pick up at paragraph 85, the revelation of the Kingdom, the Transfiguration. As far as the timing element between paragraph 84 and paragraph 85, Mark 9:2 and Matthew 17:1 says “after six days,” Luke 9:28 says “about eight days” and notice it says “about” not to be specific, and probably what Luke is counting is both the day of departure and the day of return whereas Matthew and Mark only focused on the actual six days between the day of departure and the day of return.
And there were some that were not to die until they saw the Kingdom coming with power, until they saw the glory He will have in the Kingdom, and the three men we are now introduced to is Peter, James or Jacob, and John, the three key of the twelve apostles. And Mark 9:2 says “into a high mountain apart by themselves….” Let’s look at the map here; where the traditional site of the Transfiguration has been placed is at Mount Tabor on the lower center part of the picture. And that’s where the Catholic Church has built a church called The Church of the Transfiguration, and that is the traditional Catholic site of this event. But as the text here shows this was an area which was quite excluded with no population and furthermore just before this event, remember He was in Caesarea Philippi and it’s probably more correct to make it Mount Hermon in the northeast part of the country. Tabor is not an exceptionally high mountain; it’s no higher than some of the other mountains of lower Galilee and the Nazareth hills. Mount Hermon is a very significant mountain, the highest mountain of the Holy Land. And that would be, I think, the more correct place because geographically it fits better with where He just has been in Caesarea Philippi.
At the point the event happens we need to look at all three Gospels to see all that happened. And Mark says at the end of Mark 9:2, “He was transfigured before them: and His garments became glistering, exceeding white; so as no fuller on earth can whiten them.” And what Mark observes is that the clothing of His clothes became so exceptionally white no detergent can make it any whiter than it was at that moment. Matthew says in Matthew 17:2, “He was transfigured before them; and His face did shine as the sun, and His garments because white as light.” As far as the garments, he points out the garment was white as the white light itself and he adds that the face of the Messiah began to shine with the very brightness of the sun.
And Luke says in Luke 9:29, “And as He was praying, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment became white and dazzling.” So what Luke adds about the clothing is it began to reflect light as well. But Matthew is the one that connects it most with the experience of Moses on Mount Sinai and his face was also shining, though not with the brightness because Moses was reflecting the Shechinah glory light whereas Yeshua is the Shechinah glory light.
Now Mark and Matthew simply mention the fact that the two men appear with Him, identified as Moses and Elijah, talking with Him. Luke tells us what the discussion was between these three men. Luke 9:30, “with Him two men, which were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory, and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.” And the topic of discussion, notice, is His coming decease. His coming death He will soon accomplish in Jerusalem something the apostles do not as yet understand. He does not use the normal word for death; he uses the word “exodus,” the same name as the second book of our English Bibles, but the word “exodus” became a technical term for the departure from Egypt. You notice in the footnote he gives you a more literal Greek rendering: “departure.” And for Israel the departure, the Exodus from Egypt, brought liberation from slavery. By the same token His exodus, His departure from Jerusalem will bring a liberation; now for Him it will liberate Him from the limitations of His humanity. And for the believer it will liberate the believer from enslavement to the sin, the world and the devil.
And Luke, at the end of Luke 9:32 notice that “when they were fully awake they saw His glory.” The very thing that was promised to them in paragraph 84 is now fulfilled; “they saw His glory,” the Shechinah glory, the Shechinah, the glory He will have in the Messianic Kingdom. As Peter observes this he makes a suggestion in Matthew 17:4, that he be allowed to build three tabernacles; one for the Messiah, one for Elijah and one for Moses. Mark points out in Mark 9:6, “For He wist not what to answer; for they became sore afraid.” Now many sermons and even in some commentaries poor Peter is often castigated because by offering to build three tabernacles either he’s demoting the Messiah to the level of Elijah and Moses or promoting them to the Messiah’s level, and so Peter’s the topic of many sermons and commentaries based upon what he said.
Let me give you a Jewish perspective on this passage. The Jewish perspective would be it’s a correct response based upon what he does understand. The timing is incorrect because of what he does not yet understand. Let’s remember three things from the previous paragraphs. Number one, he understands clearly who Yeshua, who Jesus is; He’s “The Messiah, the Son of The God, The Living One.” He clearly understands who Yeshua is. Secondly, what he’s seeing here is the glory the Messiah will have in the Kingdom; he sees the glory the Messiah will have in the Kingdom. And he knows from Zechariah 14:16-21 that the Messianic Kingdom is the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles. What fulfills the Tabernacles Feast? The Messianic Kingdom. So seeing the glory He will have in the Kingdom, recognizing Him to be the Messianic King, not yet understanding the program of death and resurrection, he’s assuming the Kingdom is about to be set up and offers to build three tabernacles in celebration of the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles.
So it’s a correct response based upon what he does understand. His timing is wrong because of what he does not yet understand. He does not yet understand that Passover must be fulfilled before Tabernacles can be fulfilled and the Feast of Passover is fulfilled by Messiah’s death, the point he does not yet understand and won’t until after the events occur. So he was not allowed to build the three (?) tabernacles but he didn’t have to worry. The Catholic Church has proceeded to build all three tabernacles for Peter. Originally on Mount Tabor they were three separate units but earlier in the 20th century it was all unified under one large church structure which is what you see now when you go up there but if you go inside the church you’ll see the remains of those three places. But again, they picked the wrong mountain and they missed this one by about 45 miles; they’ve done worse.
At this point in Matthew 17:5 the Shechinah glory cloud comes down and once again you have about call, once you have a voice from heaven, the voice of God speaking. He first of all repeats what He said at the baptism of Jesus, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” and then He adds something He didn’t say before, “Hear ye Him.” Now Moses is there representing the Law, Elijah is there representing the prophets. They’ve heard the Law, they’ve heard the prophets, now they must hear Him; He’ll be the final revelation of God to man. As if to drive that point home, when the cloud finally does lift in Matthew 17:8 they see Jesus only.
Now certain key events in His life have certain implications, as we saw with the baptism for example; let’s talk about the theological implications of the Transfiguration. First of all, it authenticated the Messiahship of Jesus, rejected by men but accepted by God. So although there is massive rejection happening it is still a fact that God affirms.
Secondly, it anticipates the establishment of the future earthly Kingdom and Peter, one of three eyewitness of this event, as he reflects on what he saw on this mountain that’s the point he makes in 2 Peter 1:16-18; it anticipates the establishment of the future earthly Kingdom.
Thirdly, it guarantees the fulfillment of all Scripture; also a point that Peter makes in 2 Peter 1:19-21. Now again remember that Moses is there representing the Law; Elijah is there representing the prophets, and He will fulfill all which was written, the Law and the prophets. What has not been fulfilled at this point of time will be fulfilled in the future.
Fourthly, it’s a pledge of life beyond the grave. Notice again Moses and Elijah, Moses is someone who did die; Elijah is someone who did not die. So Moses represents the saints who are to be resurrected, Elijah represents the saints who are to be translated, either by resurrection or by translation there is life beyond the grave. On Elijah notice it says in Luke 9:31, “who appeared in glory,” which shows, by the way, that Elijah is not someone that can die; he already has been glorified. As we’ll see later on when we finalize the discussion about Elijah and John the Baptist in the very next paragraph, Elijah will someday return, but he’s not one of the two witness of Revelation 11, those two witnesses do die; Elijah is in glory, he cannot die.
Now fifthly, it’s also a measure of His love for us. It shows what it cost Him to come; it meant He had to veil His glory twice. The first time He veiled it was at the incarnation; He was temporarily revealed here in paragraph 85 but it’s veiled again by the time He comes down from the mountain. Only with His ascension and enthronement at the right hand of God the Father was it finally unveiled forever and when John sees Him again in Revelation 1:12-18, what he sees is the glorified Son of Man. At the Second Coming, as we’ll see in the paragraph we’ll look at next weekend, when He comes again he will come with power and great glory.
N. Instruction Concerning Elijah
Paragraph 86 – Mark 9:9-13; Matthew 17:9-13; Luke 9:36
Now we come to paragraph 86, instruction concerning Elijah, here’s the final correlation between Elijah and John the Baptist. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus tells the three men in Matthew 17:9, not to tell anyone of what they have just seen until He rises from the dead. But again, they do not yet understand the program of death and resurrection, so Mark 9:10 says “they kept questioning among themselves what the rising again from the dead should mean.” Now of course they knew about the common Jewish teaching that when Messiah comes He will raise the dead. But about Messiah’s own program of death and resurrection, that’s the point they do not yet understand.
Now that raises a question in Mark 9:11, “And they asked Him, saying, the scribes say Elijah must first come,” that’s the scribal teaching but it’s based upon Scripture, based upon Malachi 4:5-6. And the reason they’re asking the question is well, the Scribes teach Elijah must come first and if Jesus is the Messiah how come Elijah did not arrive before Jesus did. And having just seen Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration that raises the question. By the way, notice that although the others obviously never saw Elijah and Moses before, they knew who they were, and so we will be recognizable as to our identity in the resurrection body. We don’t know how they recognized, how they knew who those two men were, maybe they had name tags, I don’t know. But somehow it was known and they kept their individual identity. The same thing will be true of us. So again, if He’s the Messiah how come the Scribes teach Elijah must come first?
Notice how he answers in Mark 9:12, “And He said unto them, Elijah indeed comes first, and restores all things:” here He validates the Scribal teaching, yes Elijah will come first and restore all things. And thus the teaching of the Scribes was based upon Scripture which is why it’s valid; Malachi 4:5-6. Then He adds, “and how it is written of the Son of man, that he should suffer many things and be set at naught?” Now remember they don’t yet understand the program of two comings. The point here is this: if Elijah came before the First Coming and restored all things, then how will the prophecies about the sufferings of the Messiah be fulfilled? Again, if Elijah came before the First Coming and restored all things, how would that fulfill the prophecy of Messiah’s sufferings? In the Malachi context he doesn’t promise Elijah before the First Coming; he promises Elijah only before the Second Coming, in the context of Malachi 4.
Then he adds in Mark 9:13, “But I say unto you, that Elijah is come, and they did also unto him whatsoever they listed, even as it is written of him.” And Matthew specifies in Matthew 17:13 that He was speaking of John the Baptist now.
Now Malachi actually prophesied two separate forerunners; the first forerunner is in Malachi 3:1 and our main forerunner before the First Coming; the second forerunner is Malachi 4:5-6, Elijah individually before the Second Coming. Let’s begin to tie these things together. This we know about John the Baptist in connection up until now; first of all, when he was asked, Are you Elijah? Remember he denies being Elijah, he says I am not Elijah.
Secondly, before he was born the angel said that the son of Zacharias will come in the spirit and power of Elijah, have the same spirit, the same power of Elijah. But when he was asked are you Elijah the answer was no.
And thirdly, we saw previously, if the kingdom offer would have been accepted, then John would have fulfilled Elijah’s function and do the work of restoration. Again, if the kingdom offer would have been accepted then John would have fulfilled Elijah’s function in the work of restoration. But the kingdom was rejected and John did not do the work of restoration; he did fulfill his actual call to have a people ready to accept the Messiah once he identified who the Messiah is to be.
In this paragraph we now come to the rest of it, and here Yeshua says Elijah will indeed come first and do the work of restoration; before Elijah can do that the Son must suffer many things first. The Son must suffer many things first. Only after Messiah’s suffering will Elijah come to do the work of restoration, but in a sense He says Elijah has come already in that Elijah is the forerunner of the Second Coming and John was the forerunner of the First Coming and both came in the same spirit and power. And so the forerunner of the First Coming is John who is a type of Elijah; and the forerunner of the Second Coming will be Elijah personally, and so named. That brings all the teachings about John and Elijah and how the correlate and how they do not correlate.
O. Instruction Concerning Faith
Paragraph 87 – Mark 9:14-29; Matthew 17:14-20; Luke 9:37-43
Now paragraph 87, instruction concerning faith. Now they finally come down off the mountain and go back to where the other nine apostles were left. And there’s a quandary happening, and notice what caused the quandary; Mark 9:14, “And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great multitude about them, and the Scribes questioning with them.” The Scribes were questioning these apostles because as we see there was a miracle needed that they could not perform. And this somehow reflected on the claim that they are following the One who is truly the Messiah. So it was an issue with the Scribes over why they could not perform a specific miracle.
And the problem is that there was a lad that was demonized and again we have a rather extreme description of an extreme demonized state. Luke says in Luke 9:39, “a spirit takes him and he suddenly cries out; and it tears him and he foams, and it hardly departed from him, bruising him sorely.” It’s a form of epilepsy but it’s not a physical epilepsy; it’s an epilepsy caused specifically by a demon. And now He’s coming down the mountain and the multitudes begin running to Him. And again, Mark 9:19, notice again the emphasis on that specific generation, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long will I bear with you?” And to avoid the public situation in Mark 9:20 notice “they brought him,” meaning the lad, “unto Yeshua.” And now he’s away from the crowd. And the demon understands he will soon be cast out of the lad so again he begins to act up tremendously in verse 20.
And when Jesus asked the father how long has he been this way the answer in Mark 9:21, “Since he was a child,” so it’s been going on for a prolonged period of time. And the demon cast the lad into the fire, and into the water, trying to kill him one way or the other. But then the father says “have compassion on us, help us.” If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. He does express, notice, a personal need, please help me. But he says “if you can do anything” is not an expression of faith. And again He’ll perform miracles on the basis of personal need but also on the basis of faith so He tells the father in Mark 9:23, “If you can! All things are possible to him that believes.” And the father cries out at this point I do believe, help my unbelief, and now he exercises faith.
And now note the timing of the event in Mark 9:25, “And when Jesus saw that a multitude came running together,” the lad was taken away from the multitude there was a private conversation, and now the multitudes came running towards Him again and this is not a miracle for their behalf. So at that point He cast out the demon.
Now by this point of time, remember, in previous paragraphs the apostles had a lot of experience in casting out demons. And they were well versed in demonic exorcisms and they could not understand why they could not cast this kind of a demon out. So in Mark 9:28 “And when He was come into the house His disciples asked him privately, Why couldn’t we cast it out?” And He points out there are two problems; first of all, end of Mark 9:29, “This kind can come out by nothing, save by prayer.” Some translations have prayer and fasting but the fasting part is missing from our many better manuscripts. But the focus here is this kind cannot come out save by prayer and generally the commentaries focus on the need to be praying more which is a point while it’s true but they’re missing the phrase “this kind.” He says “This kind,” “This kind of demon can only come out by praying him out.” You cannot use normal exorcism upon him.
And the question we have to ask is, well what kind of demon was it. Go back to Mark 9:17 and in Mark 17 notice it was a dumb spirit, a mute spirit. So at least on this second Messianic miracle notice Yeshua does verify that the Pharisaic teaching is correct, dumb demons were different. And dumb demons cannot simply be cast out even in Yeshua’s name. And so the disciples could force other demons out merely by using the power of the name of Jesus but dumb demons cannot be cast out that way; so this kind can come out “save by prayer.” And while they tried to cast the demon out what they did not do is simply pray that the Father will do it.
And that raises a second problem, found in Matthew 17:20, a lack of faith; a lack of faith is seen in their lack of praying. They came upon a difficult situation, they couldn’t do anything about it, the proper response is resorting to prayer. He says, “ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence” and the place shall be moved. If He means literally the mountain will be that of Mount Hermon from which He just came down, but in this context He’s dealing with a demonic satanic battle, more likely this word “mountain” here is used symbolically; when the word “mountain” is used symbolically it always refers to a king, kingdom, or throne. And this context would be the satanic kingdom. And by means of faith exercised properly, which includes backing up by prayer, they can overcome the satanic kingdom.
P. Instruction Concerning the Death of the King
Paragraph 88 – Mark 9:30-32; Matthew 17:22-23; Luke 9:43-45
Now paragraph 88, instruction concerning the death of the King, here is a second clear announcement of His coming program of death and resurrection. Mark says in verse 31, “The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill Him, and when He is killed, after three days He shall rise again.” But notice verse 32, “But they understood not the saying,” and Luke says in Luke 9:45, “they understood not this saying, and it was concealed from them, that they should not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him bout this saying.” So the second time He spells out the program of the resurrection, and again they don’t understand what He is saying so when it happens it catches them by surprise.
O. Instruction Concerning Sonship
Paragraph 89 – Matthew 17:24-27
Paragraph 89, instruction concerning Sonship. The issue here is paying the temple tax, a yearly tax to be paid based upon Exodus 30:11-16 where every Jew had to pay the half shekel; the timing of the payment would be Passover. But now as we shall see in context we are very near to the Feast of Tabernacles and so Yeshua has not paid the tax and is six months late. So the tax collectors came; they come to Peter and say “Does not your master pay the half-shekel? Peter answers but doesn’t quite know how to approach Jesus with it. But Jesus already knows what happened.
And He points out a lesson concerning Sonship; now Romans, who are citizens, did not pay taxes. And furthermore, the sons of the king were exempt from paying taxes. So tax was collected from other peoples that were not Roman citizens. Now Jesus happens to be the Lord of the temple and those who are believers in Him become the sons of the King, sons of the Messianic King, and therefore they are exempt from paying the temple tax. (?) to avoid unnecessary stumbling will pay the tax; go out and just for today go back to your fishing business, catch one fish; the fish you will catch will have a shekel in the mouth and that will pay My half shekel and your half shekel and we’re covered for the year.
Now if you go to Israel they always take to one of the restaurants around the Sea of Galilee, (?) and they order for you what is called Saint Peter’s fish because one of the few fish in the Sea of Galilee is not big enough for the shekel coin. And it’s based upon this story here.
R. Instruction concerning Humility
Paragraph 90 – Mark 9:33-37; Matthew 18:1-5; Luke 9:46-48
Now paragraph 90, instruction concerning humility. Now Matthew 18:1 points out, “In that hour,” within the same time that the shekel was paid, and so this event follows the previous lesson that was given to Peter. And Jesus did not pay the temple tax for all of His apostles, only for Peter. Furthermore, three of these apostles not too long ago before this saw the Transfiguration. And probably these various events led to the conflict, they begin to argue among themselves who among them will be the greatest. It’s a problem of superiority within the apostolic group.
And so He teaches them several lessons here; first of all, children have no concern for status in their home, they know their parents rule the house. So secondly, it’s necessary for a person to turn to God as a child. And thirdly, this should be followed by a humbling. Fourthly, there should be a spirit of receptiveness of the significance of a child; because fifthly, a child is dependent upon his father, upon his parents. So sixthly, the means of attaining greatness in the Kingdom is becoming least and becoming a servant.
And so to enter the Kingdom they must become as children and simply trust the Father, and we simply trust the essence of the gospel which gives the authority to go into the Kingdom. But the position of (?) in the Kingdom will be determined on taking the place of a child. And whoever will receive authority in the Kingdom is becoming servants at the present time. So to enter the Kingdom all we have to do is believe the gospel; to receive a position of honor and authority in the Kingdom we must be discipled, exercising humility. The focus of paragraph 90 is to be child-like.
S. Instruction Concerning Exclusiveness and Pride
Paragraph 91 – Mark 9:38-50; Matthew 18:6-14; Luke 9:49-50
And now the focus of paragraph 91 is to receive those who are child-like. And now He gives them instruction on exclusiveness and pride. The situation arose in Luke 9:49, “And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out demons in Your name; and we forbade him, because he followed now with us.” And now the apostolic group feels that they have a closed society and therefore what they do no one else should be doing. It’s an expression of an exclusiveness. They thought (?) the person they saw casting out demons was not part of the apostolic group. It may have been a disciple of the outer group, like the seventy; it may have been a disciple of John the Baptist, but it was someone that had faith of the Messiahship of Jesus.
The lesson they learn in Mark 9:39, one can accomplish great things for the Messiah without being part of the inner circle. So humble works, even the smallest of works, like a prophet giving one a glass of water to drink, will be marked as worthwhile to be rewarded. And here we should be careful not to cause others to stumble and not to offend others, and of course they had offended the man performing the miracle. And all cause of stumbling must be put away, especially if it’s a stumbling against children who believe. There’s nothing about infants here but of small children. And the consistent attitude of pride only shows the failure to be obedient to Him.
And so all matters of stumbling He says must be put away, in Matthew 18:8. Even members intended for useful purposes need to be put away to provide for the greater good. He’s not teaching here self-mutilation; He’s dealing here that we have to deal with the root problem. It’s far better to remove all stumbling blocks to coming to faith than to persist with stumbling blocks and lack to come to faith only ending up, He says, and burning in hell.
Then He brings in the issue of salt in Mark 9:49, “For every one shall be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its saltiness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace one with another.” Now there is a Talmudic discussion about the nature of saltiness. And the expression, “if salt has lots it flavor” actually is “if salt has lost its savor,” is an expression that appears frequently in rabbinic writings but focuses on the impossible; it’s impossible for salt to lose its saltiness.
And the Jewish practice was that every sacrifice was salted with salt. It was a symbol of the incorruptible and a symbol of something higher. And in rabbinic thinking the salt was compared to the soul. And salt was used to emphasize the eternality of the soul; the soul was used as a symbol of the acuteness of the intellect. In the Bible the salt is used as a sign of God’s covenantal relationship with Israel. It was a preservative and it was also used to make food more tasty. The disciples are to have salt in themselves, to provide the type of fellowship that makes life worth living.
Now there was a type of salt that would lose its savor and that’s the salt that came out of the Dead Sea. While the salt of the Dead Sea never looses its saltiness the degree of saltiness it has does become less and less the older it gets. And the Talmud teaches the world cannot survive without salt and salt was the necessity of life. It was used because it was used to preserve food from putrification. And salt from the Dead Sea could become insipid. And so the salt from the Dead Sea…, you can also have a different application; the disciples can lose the salt-like quality which can mean losing ability to show the kind of truth necessary for light for the world. But they are to retain the salt-like character and this will be shown having peace with each other; in place of arguing who will be greatest they should be living in peace with each other and not be jealous when one is elevated above another; but that will not happen with this case.
Another point He makes in Matthew 18:10 is that it shows that children have guardian angels and we know from Hebrews 1:14 that all believers have guardian angels; here we learn that all children have guardian angels. At what age the angel may leave and not come back till that person believes we’re simply not told. But little children do have their own guardian angels, which doesn’t mean that nothing bad can happen to them but it does mean nothing can happen to them outside the will of God.
T. Instruction Concerning Forgiveness
Paragraph 92 – Matthew 18:15-35
Now paragraph 92, instruction concerning forgiveness. Here we have a statement of church discipline. Here’s the second passage where the church is mentioned, whereas in Matthew 16 it focused on the universal church, this one is more on a local church. But he points out the four steps for church discipline. And in verse 15, “If your brother sin against you, show him his fault between you and him alone: if he hears you, you have gained your brother.” He’s not dealing with a moral sin here, per se, because if it’s a moral sin the elders can move right in, as in the case of 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. The issue he’s dealing with right here has to do with a disagreement or some offense one believer caused another. It’s not a moral issue per se, it’s an offensive issue.
And the first stage is that the offended brother must approach the offender privately to confront him of what happened. But the responsibility falls upon the offended brother to confront the offender privately. If this does not help then there is a second stage that happens; he must confront him again but this time take with him one or two witnesses; at the mouth of two or three witnesses the issue can be established. If this does not bring in repentance, then comes the third stage, verse 17, “tell it to the church.” And if this does not bring about the repentance then comes stage number four, also in verse 17, “let him be unto you as the Gentile and the publican.” In the Jewish context that means untouchable, it means to be excommunicated from the assembly.
Exactly what this means is spelled out in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5; it means that the person is put back under Satan’s authority for the destruction of the flesh. As a general rule Satan has no authority of physical death for believers, and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15 teaches when a believer dies it is Yeshua, it is Jesus, who puts the believer to death. That’s the norm, but there’s one exception to the rule; if a believer has been excommunicated then Satan has the authority to put him to physical death. But it goes on to say the spirit is still saved; it does not affect his salvation or his physical life. That’s what John refers to in 1 John 5:15-16, the sin unto death that a believer commits. And the sin unto death is whatever sin caused them to be removed from the local fellowship.
Then we have several verses that are traditionally pulled out of context and made to mean something they were never intended to teach. Matthew 18:18, “Whatsoever things you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever things you shall loose on earth shall be loose din heaven.” And again the binding and loosing here has nothing to do with the spiritual warfare, but again, as we saw earlier, the binding and loosing is used in a legislative sense and here in a judicial sense; to bind meant to punish, to loose meant not to punish.
If a believer does not respond in the first three stages of discipline, the fourth stage is excommunication. Again the church has the authority judicially to appoint excommunication and if the church does it correctly the excommunication order will be recognized by heaven and therefore heaven will allow Satan to put this believer to death.
Matthew 18:19, “Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall see (?), it shall be done of My Father which is in heaven.” This verse has been pulled out of context to teach a principle of prayer; that if you as a believer ask the Lord for anything He will do it and people have used this as a prayer promise and agreed to have this thing done it doesn’t come to pass then one accuses the other of not having sufficient faith. But the context here is church discipline; the two or three of verse 18 is the same two or three of verse 15-16, the two or three witnesses who witness to a church the brother has not repented of his sin. And so it’s not a prayer verse, it’s a disciplinary verse; there are two witnesses at whose testimony the church does pass the excommunication order.
And then in Matthew 19:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them,” and people have used verse 20 as a definition of a church, a church is whenever two or three are gathered together. When you have two or three believers gathered together what you have is two or three believers gathered together. You don’t have a local church; a local church is a more organized, unified element with elders and deacons and organized with lines of authority and things of that nature. Again, the two or three of verse 20 are the same two or three of verses 15-17, the two or three witnesses at whose testimony the church excommunicates the sinning brother. It uses the verifying their testimony which is why Satan is then permitted to put that believer to death.
At that point Peter raises a question, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?” He’s actually being generous based upon the rules of that day because in Pharisaic Judaism you’re obligated to forgive someone three times. You would not be required to forgive them after that. Here Peter is offering forgiveness double what the Pharisees offered plus one extra time. And here He says not seven times but seventy times seven. You can take this very literal and say you have to forgive someone 490 times but the principle here with number seven being the number of completeness, you are to forgive as often as they seek forgiveness, with no counting of numbers, because the act of counting shows only external forgiveness, not internal forgiveness.
Suppose a brother sins against you and then says to you I’m sorry, please forgive me, and then you say all right, I forgive you, that’s once! The second time, okay, that’s twice! Again he offends you, again for him that’s three times! And then you can stop at Pharisaism, with Peter you have four more times. But the very act of counting shows external forgiveness but not internal forgiveness from the heart, and the principle is as often as they seek forgiveness, just as often we have to be willing to extend our forgiveness to that person.
In the parable He tells about the unforgiving steward. It teaches three basic points. First of all, having received forgiveness from God should be the basis of our forgiving our brother. We ourselves have been forgiven by God, how much more shall we therefore be willing to forgive a sinning brother. Secondly, the forgiving Father has to be imitated by His children. And thirdly, an unforgiving person cannot expect to be forgiven himself. He says in Matthew 18:35, “So shall also My heavenly Father do unto you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts.” This is not salvation forgiveness because salvation forgiveness has only one requirement, to believe. This is family forgiveness. If as believers we sin and the means of receiving forgiveness as individual believers is by means of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse from unrighteousness.” For that reason we confess our sins.
However, if we don’t have a forgiving attitude towards our sinning brother we shouldn’t anticipate receiving family forgiveness ourselves. And obviously can we cannot extend forgiveness until they seek it but the attitude of willingness to forgive no matter what must always be there. And so we’re dealing here with family forgiveness and not salvation forgiveness.
U. The Challenge by the Brothers
Paragraph 94 – John 7:2-9
Now go to paragraph 94; here again is one of those places where A. T. Robertson breaks with Luke’s order, and again whenever he breaks with Luke’s order I choose to stay with Luke’s order because he does tell us he puts it in chronological sequence, and so the order now is paragraph 94, 95 and then 93. In paragraph 94 we have the challenge by the brothers. It’s now approaching the Feast of Tabernacles, and the common Jewish knowledge based upon Zechariah 14:16-21 is that the Messianic Kingdom is what’s going to fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles. And so His own half-brothers were not believers in what He claims at this stage. Basically they challenge Him to go to Jerusalem at this festival and make Himself King. John 7:5 says “For even his brethren did not believe on Him.” The response of Jesus is that he will not go to Jerusalem for that purpose. He will go up to Jerusalem on the Feast of Tabernacles but He is not going to go there for the purpose of making Himself King on this occasion. His time is not yet fulfilled for this.
V. The Journey to Jerusalem
Paragraph 95 – Luke 9:51-56; John 7:10
Now paragraph 95, the journey to Jerusalem. As John points out, only after the brothers leave does He begin moving towards Jerusalem. And this time He wants to go by means of Samaria, rather by means of Perea along the Jordan valley. As we mentioned in the case of the Samaritan woman, the Samaritans did not bother Jews leaving Jerusalem and going through Samaria but they were objecting to Jews traveling through Samaria to get to Jerusalem and because, as Luke 9:51 points out, His face was steadfast set to go to Jerusalem, the Samaritans refused to give Him passage.
And the reason is spelled out in Luke 9:53, because he was going towards Jerusalem. This was quite a common incident in first century Israel. So James and John, and keep remembering, John later became known as the apostle of love, so James and John suggest to Jesus that He give them the right to rain fire from heaven and wipe out these Samaritans … not exactly showing love for them. The response of the disciples is showing anti-Samaritanism, just as the Samaritans showed anti-Semitism. And so in verse 55 He rebuked them, and they went a different route.
Instruction concerning Discipleship
Paragraph 93 – Matthew 8:19-22; Luke 9:57-62
Now paragraph 93, instruction concerning discipleship, here again we have three lessons. First of all, count the cost. That’s in Matthew 8:19-20, count the cost. It’s based upon a man saying I’m ready to become your disciple; He says to him, “foxes have holes, and the birds have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay His head.” Before one should commit himself to be a disciple he should be interested to count the cost. There must be self-denial; there will be no assurance of having a comfortable lifestyle. This was someone that was simply too quick and too hasty. And for him it is he needs to yet deny himself.
The second principle of discipleship is that one should count the cost; one should answer the question how much are you willing to invest to become a disciple and He demands everything; once you’ve made the commitment don’t delay in fulfilling it. Once you’ve made the commitment there should be no delay in fulfilling it. You see this in Luke 9:59, He said to another, Follow Me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.  But He said unto him, Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but go you and publish abroad the Kingdom of God.”
This is someone that’s ready to become a disciple but he wished to wait to be able to bury his father and the question arises, why wouldn’t Jesus let him do the burial of the father, isn’t that part of honoring the parents? The Jewish context of Israel, as it is even to this day in certain Jewish circles, Orthodox circles, the issue is not that the father is already dead and he only has to bury him. The father was still living.
But the teaching of Pharisaism was the firstborn son must continue living at home until the father dies because in Jewish practice for the first year of (?) special prayer in the service called the Kaddish, k-a-d-d-i-s-h, the Kaddish prayer, which is a special prayer honoring God for those who have died. And so he wished to stay home long enough for his father to die, to be buried, and to stay a year for the Kaddish prayer, then become a fulltime disciple. But Jesus said let those who are spiritually dead worry about these things, having made the commitment you need to no longer delay. This is teaching the necessity of immediate surrender; this one was too slow and too hesitating. The lesson for him is let him take up his cross; let him take up his cross.
Then the third lesson is there should be no division of loyalty, that once you have made the commitment, follow through and don’t go back. Severe all ties with anyone that would hold you back from fulfilling the commitment you made to discipleship. And this one was too easy and too undeciding, and he has to follow the principle, let him follow Me. Let him deny himself, let him take up his cross, and let him follow Me.
V. THE OPPOSITION TO THE KING, Paragraphs 96-111
A. The Conflict at the Feast of Tabernacles – Paragraph 96
We now come to a fifth major division of His life called the opposition to the King, comprising paragraphs 96-111. And the motif of this section is the phrase that will come up several times: and there was a division. And what we’re going to see here is that the masses begin to accept the leader’s explanation. The masses begin to accept the Pharisaic explanation that He is demon possessed, and now the charge of being demonized will come from the multitudes and not just the leaders as it has been heretofore.
It’s a section that covers a three month period, from the Feast of Tabernacles which falls in October until the Feast of Dedication that falls in December. It’s also a period of His life covered by only two of the Gospel writers, by John and by Luke, and while John focuses more upon His ministry in Jerusalem, Luke focuses more upon His ministry in the countryside.
And paragraph 96 is the conflict of the Feast of Tabernacles. Here we have the fourth of John’s seven discourses, the fourth of his seven discourses, discourses on the waters of life. Now the two main ceremonies in the Feast of Tabernacle, so (?) respond to both key ceremonies. The first key ceremony was the outpouring of the water. Now every day for seven days the priest came down from the temple compound and went down to the bottom part of the Sea of David where the pool of Siloam is located; they will fill pitchers of water with the water of the pool of Siloam, and they’d hike back up into the temple compound and they went into the outer court.
And when you went to the outer court from the inner court you would ascend fifteen steps. And when they stood on the first step they sang, I forget the passages now, I’ll come back to that in a moment, they would sing a total of 15 psalms, and those Psalms all go by the phrase, a song of ascents. As they stood on the first step, one psalm; second step, the next psalm and so on until all fifteen psalms were song. They went inside the inner court, they would then pour out the water into the base of the altar and the outpouring of the water was followed by great rejoicing so that the Mishnah says: he that has not seen rejoicing at the outpouring of the water has not seen rejoicing all of his life.
Now the rabbinic interpretation of that ceremony is to represent the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days upon Israel because five times in the prophets in the prophets they prophesied the Spirit would be poured out upon the whole nation. And this outpouring of the water was symbolizing the offering of the Spirit upon the whole nation.
The second key (?) morning was the kindling of the lampstands and for the temple compound they erected huge lampstands, they had four lights. Around those, those who were the priests in training would light these four lamps, and because of all these lamps there was so much light coming out of the temple compound that the Talmud says, the Mishnah says that there’s not a courtyard anywhere in Jerusalem that did not receive light from the temple compound. And again, the rabbinic interpretation of that ceremony represents the Shechinah glory light; it represents the Shechinah glory light. The Psalms they would sing is Psalm 120-134.
Now John 7:11, “The Jews therefore sought Him,” notice the word “Jews,” John will use the term Jews a total of 71 times; 71 times, he uses it in three different senses. Sometimes he means Jewish people in general; Jews, people who were the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Sometimes he will mean Judeans in contrast to Galileans; Galileans and Judeans. And the third way he uses it which is often the phrase here; he will use it of the Jewish leaders. So context tells you which way he intends for it to be used: all Jews in general; Judeans in contrast to Galileans, or the Jewish leaders in contrast to Jewish people.
1. Messiah’s Authority Questioned – John 7:11-15
On your outline I’ve divided this paragraph into seven subdivisions; I’ll follow the outline and summarize as we proceed. The first segment, in John 7:11-15 we have His authority, Messiah’s authority questioned. Verse 12 shows there was a division among the masses; some believe He’s the Messiah, some believe He’s something else, and some believe He’s a false teacher. They already knew that the rulers had rejected Him. And verse 13, “Yet no one spoke openly concerning Him, for fear of the Jews. Here the word “Jews” is used as Jewish leaders in contrast to Jewish people. And in verse 15 they therefore modeled, saying how know this man letters having never learned, and the point they make is that Jesus never went to any rabbinic academy, any rabbinic seminary, He had received no rabbinic training whatsoever, so where is He getting all of this knowledge He’s propagating?
2. Messiah’s Explanation – John 7:16-24
So point 2, we have Messiah’s explanation. He makes a two-fold claim in verses 16-24. First of all, His teaching was God received; and secondly, He was sent by God to teach it. And while He’s keeping the Law perfectly, He points out in John 7:19-20 they are failing to keep the Law and their failure to keep the Law is seen in their desire to try to kill Him.
Now look at John 7:20, “The multitude answered, You have a demon: who seeks to kill You.” And notice who was saying the demonized state is now the multitude saying this, not jus the leaders but the multitudes. They’re beginning to accept the Pharisaic explanation; and that becomes the basis for their rejection of His claims.
The response in John 7:21-24, the problem is not that He has become a Law violator but He’s simply misconstrued the purpose of the Sabbath. It’s because of their misunderstanding what God intended how the Sabbath should be kept; they made the faulty assumption that His healing on the Sabbath violates the Sabbath; it does not. And if a child, a lad is eight days old on the Sabbath day they go ahead and practice circumcision on the Sabbath day, showing certain ritual was allowed on the Sabbath day, including for Him the work of healing.
3. Messiah’s Person Questioned – John 7:25-27
Now point 3, His person is questioned in John 7:25-27 and from the questions they raise it’s obvious they do not understand His divine origin.
4. Messiah’s Explanation – John 7:28-30
So point 4 we have His explanation in John 8:28-30; He points out to them, while they understand His human nature, His human origin, they don’t understand His divine origin. But claiming divine origin meant in verse 39, “They sought therefore to take Him: and no man laid hands on Him, because His hour was not yet come.” Here again all attempts to kill Him prematurely will always fail.
5. The People’s Response – John 7:31-36
Now point 5 we have the people’s response. The response again is a point of division among the people, some saying He was the Messiah, some saying He’s not the Messiah. When the Pharisees hear of this what they do in John 7:32 is send a group of the temple police to have Him arrested. He’s teaching them, again He states it in terms they do not understand, He’s still speaking parabolically to them. And He talks about soon having to leave and they will not see Him again, notice their response in verse 35, “Whither will this man go that we should not find Him? Will He go unto the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? What is this word that He said, Ye shall seek Me, and shall not find Me: that where I am, ye cannot come?” Again He puts it in parabolic terminology so they simply cannot and do not understand.
6. Messiah’s Invitation – John 7:37-44
Now point 6, Messiah’s invitation in John 7:37-44. Now verse 37 says “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast,” the last day would be the seventh day of the feast; it was a special occasion because on the first six days as they came into the court with their jugs of water they marched only once around the altar; on this day they marched around the altar seven times. Also on this day they began praying for rain because the Feast of Tabernacles falls in the time of transition from the dry season to the rain season. And so they begin praying for the rain season to being only on the seventh day of the festival.
And (?) raises the question, why do we wait till the seventh day; shouldn’t we begin to pray for rains to fall on the first day, and the rabbis gave a logical answer. They point out, don’t forget that during the seven days of Tabernacles we have to live in these booths, these tabernacles; the roof is made up of branches which provide more shade than sun but you can see through it, you can see the stars at night. Now suppose we prayed for the rain for the first day of the feast and suppose God answered the prayer on the first day of the feast? We would be rained out; we have to live in these booths for seven days, eat and sleep in them. And so to avoid being rained out they waited until the seventh day. But the seventh day was a day of praying for water. Israel receives a (?) a ceremony.
John 7:38, “If a man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink; He that believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  But this spoke He of the Spirit, which they that believed on Him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given because He was not yet glorified.” And He gives the same interpretation as the rabbis do; the water represents the Holy Spirit. But He gives an individual application, that those individuals who believe on His Messiahship will have the Spirit indwelling them, providing them with the satisfaction of their spiritual thirst. The Spirit was not yet given because He was not yet glorified, and of course the Spirit will not be given until Acts 2.
That leads to, again, a discussion among the Jewish people about who He is and if He is who He claims to be. And in verse John 7:43 you see the motif of this section; “So there arose a division in the multitude because of Him.”
7. The Pharisaic Response – John 7:45-52
Now point 7, the Pharisaic response. The temple police now come back but they come back empty handed, and the Pharisees asked them, why did you not arrest Him? The response was “Never a man so spoke” at the end of John 7:46. Now they did not understand what He had to say but they were impressed with the way He said. The response of the Pharisees is,  “Are you also led astray?  Have any of the rulers believed on Him, or of the Pharisees?  But the multitude which knows not the law are accursed.” And the point they’re making is that no intelligent Jew will accept this person as the Messiah and these temple police have simply been deceived, but none of the Pharisees have believed on Him.
But there was one Pharisee that has begun moving toward faith, the one person we met earlier in our series, Nicodemus. And Nicodemus at this point, this is the second time he appears in John’s Gospel, there will be one more time we’ll see next weekend, though he’s not yet a believer, he’s willing to defend the right of Messiah, of Jesus, to be heard before being condemned. He reminds them that Pharisaic law teaches this. John 7:51, “So does our law judge a man, except it first hear from himself and knows what he does?” And the other Pharisees respond emotionally,  “Are you also of Galilee? Search, and see that out of Galilee arises no prophet.” It’s an overstatement because we know some prophets that came from the Galilee, such as Hosea, Jonah, and Elisha. Hosea, Jonah and Elisha were all Galileans.
B. The Conflict Over the Law
Paragraph 97 – John 7:53-8:11
Now paragraph 97, the conflict over the Law. Now again as we saw earlier this evening, they never have a single opportunity of accusing Him of violating the Mosaic Law; that He keeps perfectly down to every jot and tittle. They only have a basis of accusing Him of violating Mishnaic law; as we saw earlier tonight this never makes much of an impression; He rarely admits breaking Mishnaic law. What happens in paragraph 97 is an attempt made to get Him to say something that would contradict the Mosaic Law. If they can get Him to say one thing that would contradict the Mosaic Law they would have a basis of accusing Him and therefore falsifying His own claim to keep the Mosaic Law perfectly. The seven days of Tabernacles is over. It is now what now referred to in Jewish writings as Shemini Atzeret, meaning the eighth day of assembly, an eighty day required by the Mosaic Law, that was a separate holy day but distinct from Tabernacles.
And in John 8:3, “the Scribes and Pharisees bring a woman” to Him, and they’re waiting for an opportunity to when He’s teaching publicly they want to discredit Him publicly. And they say in verse 4, “Master, this woman has been taken in adultery, in the very act.” And verse 6 points out this was simply an attempt to entrap Him, because the way they present the case is an obvious entrapment because they bring this woman over to Jesus and say “this woman has been taken in adultery,” and to let Him know there’s no doubt about her guilt they point out she was caught “in the very act” of adultery, and that’s where they gave themselves away because you cannot be caught in the act of adultery unless there’s two people involved. You can be singularly accused of it but to be caught in the very act of it requires at least two people. In California where I moved from it’s usually three or more. So where is the male counterpart to this relationship? That’s not really their concern.
Now John 8:5, “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such; what do You say of her?” And the Greek is a bit more emphatic; the way the Greek reads is something like this: “Now in the Mosaic Law it says to stone her, but You, what do You say we should do? Moses said this “but You, what do You say we should do?” An obvious attempt to have Him speak a point that will violate the Mosaic Law.
Initially He does not respond but in John 8:6 says He “stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground.” When they pressed Him for an answer He finally gives them one and then in verse 8, for the second time, “He stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground.” I’ve always been fascinated by reading the commentaries, how often they try to tell us what it was He was writing on the ground, as if after 2,000 years there’s something left in the dust to that they still decipher. But in the Greek text it focuses not on the writing but upon the finger.
Now in Greek you can say the same thing in different ways but the point you want to emphasize you put in the front of the sentence; it’s referred to as the emphatic state. And what’s the emphatic state is the finger, with the finger in the ground He wrote. And why would the emphasis be on the finger? Of the 613 commandments God gave to Moses, 603 of these are written on parchment with the pen of a man; but ten were inscribed into tablets of stone; that includes the law against adultery. Furthermore, the ten in stone were not chiseled out with the chisel of a man but four times we’re told they were chiseled out with the very finger of God… four times! If you want it, here they are: Exodus 31:18; Exodus 32:15-16; Deuteronomy 4:13 and Deuteronomy 9:10; four times was inscribed with the finger of God. And the focus on the finger is that He is the author of that command; He knows exactly what the Mosaic Law said about this command and its punishment. He knows all the Mosaic Law said about this sin and punishment.
The specific thing He told them is in John 8:7, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” And people pull this out of context to make it teach against something it was not intended to teach. And often it’s used to point out that we should not be judging others because we are all sinners, and that we should not condemn anybody else. But that would violate other principles that we are taught; sometimes we have to judge. We saw earlier tonight the four principles of church discipline; that requires judgment. If we confront believers with sin, that requires judgment. Sometimes we have to issue judgment.
Furthermore, if He were saying only if you’re perfect sinlessly should you cast the first stone, then it would violate the Mosaic Law and they would have grounds of accusing Him. The Mosaic Law did not require sinless perfection before a sinner could be executed; otherwise you could never have executions for sins as certain sins required execution, adultery being one of them. So again, if He was saying only if you’re sinlessly perfect should you cast the first stone then He would be violating the Mosaic Law and they would have a base of accusing Him.
But the issue is the Mosaic Law in this context. The point of His response is this: if we judge on the basis of the Mosaic Law we should judge on all that the Mosaic Law said about this sin and punishment; and yes, the Mosaic Law does say anyone guilty of adultery must be stoned to death. That’s an order Moses said. Moses also said no one could be stoned to death except at the testimony of two or three witnesses. There must be two or three witnesses that observed the sin taking place. Now this much they do have because they claim she was caught in the very act.
Even so, that’s not all that Moses wrote. Moses also said the two or three witnesses (?) his testimony one is condemned to death they are responsible to cast the first stone. The first stone must be cast by the actual accusers. Even so, that’s not all that Moses said. But in two passages on witnesses, that’s Deuteronomy chapter 13 and chapter 17, one other point is made in rabbinic interpretation of those passages. The two or three witnesses (?) his testimony one is condemned to death anyone responsible to cast the first stone, they must not be guilty of the same sin the accused is accused of. They must not be guilty of the same sin the accused is accused of. So he that is not guilty of the same sin, let him cast the first stone. And guess what happened?  “One by one” they stroll away, implying at least among the accusers and the witnesses they were not innocent of the same sin; perhaps even among them is even the one with whom she was supposedly caught in the very act. And so eventually she’s left alone.
So He asked her in John 8:11, “did no man condemn you? And she said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn you,” now He’s not excusing her sin. He warns at the end of verse 11, “from henceforth sin no more,” but the issue was the illegal condemnation based upon the Mosaic Law. And because the two or three witnesses were not willing to cast the first stone there was no legal grounds of condemning her.
Now again, this was the one attempt they make to get Him to say something that would contradict the Mosaic Law and it failed. They won’t try the ploy again. From this point on they go back to the accusations of breaking Mishnaic law. Let me take just a few more paragraphs and then we’ll call it a night.
C. The Conflict Over the Light
Paragraph 98 – John 8:12-20
Paragraph 98, the conflict over the light. Now paragraph 98 and 99 together is the fifth of John’s seven discourses; the fifth of his seven discourses, the discourse on the light of the world. And in paragraph 98 you have the second of His seven “I AM’s,” “I AM the light of the world.” This is His response to the second key ceremony of Tabernacles, the kindling of the lampstands. And the rabbinic explanation was this represents a Shechinah glory; He claims to be that Shechinah glory.
And you have here, in John 8:12, another example of John’s sub theme of the conflict of light and darkness, “I AM the light of the world: he that follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” When the Pharisees claimed that His testimony cannot be true because only He testifies of it, He responds by pointing out that not only He testifies of this fact but God the Father also testifies of it. John 8:18, “I am He that bears witness of Myself, and the Father that sent Me bears witness of Me.” And the Father spoke, albeit from heaven, at the baptism where many heard.
D. The Conflict Over His Person
Paragraph 99 – John 8:21-59
1. Messiah, the True Object of Faith – John 8:21-30
Now paragraph 99, the conflict over the Person of the Messiah. On your outline this is divided in a bit more detail; we’ll follow the outline that you have. And point 1, Messiah, the true object of faith in verses 21-30. Here again He’s teaching them publicly but He teaches them in ways they do not understand. He’s still using parabolic language ever since paragraph 64. And the points He makes is that He will leave, depart, to a place they cannot follow, while they will end up dying in their sins. He points out in this segment He is from above but they are from beneath, and they will die in their sins but He is the “I AM.” He was sent from the Father and they will undergo judgment by Him and the Father. He also points out you will crucify Me.
2. Messiah the True Deliverer- John 8:31-59
Now point 2 is Messiah, the true deliverer, in verses 31-59, from three things. First of all, from sin; now He’s addressing the part of the audience that believed on Him. Verse 31, “Jesus therefore said to those Jews which had believed on Him.” And He points out that if they continue following Him they’ll find themselves becoming free indeed, while the Pharisees were teaching that because they were sons of Abraham they are free automatically, that simply is not true. They’ll be free from sin as long as they follow Him; So He will give them freedom from sin.
Furthermore in John 8:41-48 they will also be freed from Satan. And he points out the devil is really their father because the devil is the father of lies and because they’re lying about Him it shows they follow their father; this is addressed to the unbelieving element of the crowd. Furthermore, the devil is the first murderer; the fact they’re trying to kill Him also shows they a murderous spirit. So they’re guilty of being the true sons of Satan: the desire to kill Him and the desire to lie about Him.
He issues them a challenge in John 8:46, “Which of you convicts Me of sin?” Here’s the opportunity, can they raise one sin and He’s guilty of sin based upon Mosaic Law, not rabbinic traditions. And they could not think of a sin He’s committed. And since they do the acts of Satan they are Satan’s children.
Now look at John 8:48, “The Jews answered and said unto Him, Say we not well that You are a Samaritan, and has a demon?” Notice again the accusation of being demonized is coming from the multitudes, from the people, not from the leaders only. They are beginning to follow the leaders here.
How does the word “Samaritan” fit into here? Probably… He may be referring to… it might be a negative attitude of the crowd towards Him by calling Him a Samaritan. There might be something else involved in light of the fact it’s followed by the phrase, you are demonized, because in rabbinic demonology there was a leading demon called Shomroni, and in Hebrew the word Shomroni could mean Samaritan or it could mean the name of a demon, Shomroni, S-h-o-m-r-o-n-i. And Shomroni of Asmodai, A-s-m-o-d-a-i; Asmodai was the prince of demons. So they’re using Shomroni not in its ethnic identity but in its demonic identity which would fit well with this context.
And the third thing He will save them from is from death, in John 8:49-59, and those who believe on Him, He points out, will have eternal life. And He puts it parabolically, will not see death. In John 8:52, “The Jews said unto Him, Now we now that You have a demon.” Again, notice how often the charge of demonized state now comes from the people and not just from the leaders.
When they asked Him who He claimed to be He says He’s the One that the Father glorified, He’s that the One that the Father has sent; He’s also the One whom Abraham sought. And He says  “Before Abraham was, I AM,” “Before Abraham was I AM,” now by using the phrase “I AM” He means in the divine state, I AM the God that revealed Himself to Moses, “I AM that I AM.” He claims to have a deity and preexistence to Abraham, and they point out He’s not yet fifty years old, how could He have seen Abraham? His humanity is under fifty and His divinity existed well before Abraham. That raises the problem of blasphemy and in John 8:59 “They took up stones” again He is able to escape, He cannot die before His time.
Tomorrow we’re going to try to do the next 28 paragraphs to get us to paragraph 127; I think we can make it, we’ll see how things go. But paragraph 100 we’ll pick up tomorrow.
I’ll take about five to ten minutes to take some questions if you have any and I’ll give you a couple of rabbi stories to keep you happy till tomorrow morning.
[Can’t hear question] Well the application to Israel is that the result of this was rejection of the Messiah which happened in paragraph 61; Paul says that they have been partially hardened, that’s Romans 11:25-27, so being partially hardened means that only a remnant will come to faith but the nation as a whole will not recognize His Messiahship. But just before the Second Coming the whole nation will recognize the Messiahship. That’s when the partial hardening will be removed. So now they are partially blind; in the future the blindness will be removed.
[Two questions; the first one, something about Elijah is not going to be one of the two witnesses, and I assume Moses is not going to be one too, is that correct.] I would say that’s correct; I don’t know why people have this need to identify the two witnesses with historical characters; (?) Israel’s future; these are two Jewish men that will be living at that point that God will use for that purpose. There’s no reason to make them either Enoch and Elijah or Moses and Elijah, there’s no reason to do that.
[Second question, it seems like there were a lot of demon possessed people back then (?)] There’s actually… let me put it this way. Through the whole history of the Old Testament you have demon activity here and there but it’s low level. In 4,000 years of human history it’s very low keyed. When we come to the Gospels you have this massive explosion of demonic activity. We get into the book of Acts it drops down to the Old Testament level. Acts is the biggest book in the New Testament; it covers 30 years of church history. How often are demons mentioned? Only four times, that’ it. And the reason the Gospels are unique is spelled out in Revelation 12:1-5. Normally Satan has demons spread throughout the world doing his bidding. While the Messiah was here on earth he gathered them all into the area of the land of Israel to try to thwart the purpose of the First Coming. And that’s why in the Gospels you uniquely have this sudden explosion of demonic activity. That’s not true before to true after, and that’s because He was here on earth.
[Question it is appointed unto man once to die and Elijah never died so (?)] When believers are raptured alive will they ever die? [No.] There’s the key. The statement in Hebrews about it’s appointed unto men once to die and then there’s the judgment is a general principle; it’s not an absolute rule. There are two exceptions; some people die twice; people who are raised from the dead died again a second time. So for most people we die only once but some die twice. And then some don’t die at all. Elijah, Enoch, and living church saints at the time of the rapture will never come to divine institution.
Question from e-mail: A primary ministry is to provoke Jews to jealousy so that they may come to believe, obviously being spiritual is important. Can you elaborate on some of the means that the Holy Spirit might use for a believer in this ministry? Also, all preparation believers should make to be better enabled? As far as being better enabled I think you just need to learn some general principles of how to witness to Jews, I cannot get into this in this Q and A session but in Ariel Ministries we have a series of tapes all put together by one of our former workers, Bob Morris, it’s a very good series on how to witness to Jews and it’ll give you all the principles and so on.
Now the “provoke Jews to jealousy” in the context of Romans 11:11-15 would be to be able to relate to God in such a way that would render the Jews jealous. In other words, most Jewish people now who are believers were led to faith by Gentile believers who provoked them to jealousy. That’s true of my own case. Because the person that first led me to the Lord then the people she was with, they talked about God as if they really knew Him. And I’m a Jew, I’m supposed to know more about God than these Gentiles did; but I didn’t know Him and so on. And so I was provoked to jealousy because… and it involves two things, number one, yes we have to live a spiritual lifestyle, the kind of life we live has to be in conformity with what we believe. But nobody will be saved by how we live. At some point there must be a presentation of the gospel. So it’s how we live but also a presentation of the gospel that will provoke Jews to jealousy and that’s how many Jews have come to faith and continue to come to faith at this day. In Ariel Ministries we have both Jewish and Gentile staff; in fact our most effective witnesses have been the Gentile staff; my Gentile staff has led more Jews to the Lord than my Jewish staff, and God said that’s the way it would be in Romans 11.
Last question [can’t hear]. Right, the boy didn’t die, he was just in a dead faint but the text does not imply that he was actually dead per se, so I doubt he died.
Okay; the background to the story I’ll tell you is that among the Jewish people there’s always a tendency to like to argue a bit; so there’s even a saying if you have two Jews together they’ll end up with three different opinions. And Jewish people also tend to argue with their hands a lot, and this is not the story I’ll tell you, but it will illustrate it. In New York City in the middle of winter you have two Jewish men and one is arguing, arguing, arguing, arguing and arguing with the other, waving his hands back and forth, and he finally says, you argue for a while, my hands are cold. The second thing to note is that in the synagogue service after you… at some point you get up to say the Shemah, and the Shemah is the Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear Israel,” and so on and so on.
There was a Jewish man who lived in a city with many synagogues but then moved into a smaller town because of a job change with only one synagogue, so with no options he joined it. And the first Sabbath came he decide to go to the service and when it came time to say the Shemah to his surprise a big argument broke out between two groups. This group says we have to say the Shemah standing; this group says we have to say the Shemah sitting. The whole service all they do is argue on how to say the Shemah. He (?) it will be better next week. And so came back and the second Sabbath and when it came to say the Shemah it happened again; do we say it standing, do we say it sitting. After several Sabbaths he got tired of it; he made an appointment with the president and asked the president of the synagogue isn’t there an older member here that was here when the synagogue was first planted; maybe that person remembers what the first tradition was. Then let’s just agree, whatever the first tradition was, whether it was standing or sitting we’ll follow the first tradition and cease arguing every week. And the president said you know, the rabbi who first began this synagogue is still living, and he’s living in an old age home, he’s still lucid, go talk to him and we agree, whatever the first tradition was that’s the one we’ll follow. The man went to see the rabbi and says Rabbi, I joined the synagogue you began but I’m very disappointed and discouraged because every Sabbath we have the same big argument and I came to ask you what the first tradition was: was the tradition to say the Shemah standing? The rabbi says say the Shemah standing? No, no, that’s not our tradition; if you say the Shemah standing you must all convert to Christian; no, we don’t say the Shemah standing. The man says well in that case the first tradition was to say the Shemah sitting? The Rabbi says say the Shemah sitting, no, no, no; that’s not our tradition; if you say the Shemah sitting you must all become Muslims. No, we don’t say the Shemah sitting either. The man says Rabbi, I’m confused, I came here to ask what the first tradition was because every Sabbath we have the same big argument, do we say the Shemah standing, do we say the Shemah sitting; week after week it’s the same fight, the same argument. The Rabbi said now that’s the tradition.