By James Jacob Prasch
Our subject today is an extended Bible study from John 8. We begin in chapter 7 to get the background and continue into chapter 8.
The gospel of St. John in Hebrew among the first Jewish Christians was called Ha Besora B al’ pei Yonathan, the good news according to the mouth, literally, by the lips of John. John and Matthew, Matitiyahu (Matthew”s Hebrew name) are the two most Hebraic, the two most Judaic, the two most Jewish of the gospels. They are written largely for a Jewish readership. Luke has Judaic material that is not in Matthew or John only because the Jewish Christians would have understood things on which Gentiles had to be instructed. Luke is the most Gentile of the gospels, and Luke is concerned with teaching Jewish concepts to non-Jews. So, again, there is certain Jewish material, Judaic material, in Luke not found in Matthew or John, but Matthew and John are the most Jewish of the gospels.
We need to understand John”s theme. We are told at the end of the gospel that it was written so the Jews of the first century would believe. That doesn”t mean it is not for us today, but it does mean we have to understand what it meant for its own time. John”s theme is Jesus is God. It points to the deity of Christ more than any other of the gospels. It points to His deity as the incarnate logos, or what the Jews or the Greeks called logos, what the Hebrews called ‘Dvar‘ or in Aramaic ‘Mamra‘. (We have other teachings on this.) Nonetheless, if a Jewish Christian at the end of the first century were reading John”s gospel, he would read it quite differently than most of us would. He would say it is the story, or the narrative, of the new creation. He would also say this story is a midrash on Braeshiek, on the book of Genesis. He would say that John 1, 2, and 3, particularly, and then continuing throughout the gospel, is a midrash on the story of creation. The new creation in John is a midrash on the creation in Genesis. Midrash is the way that Jews and rabbis, like Jesus and Paul, interpreted scripture in the first century. It is the midrash, an inquiring into.
In Proverbs 8, we have Jesus in the creation. Then we link Genesis and John with Proverbs 8. That is Jesus next to the Father. He preexisted from eternity. So this Jewish Christian reading John 1, 2, and 3 at the end of the first century would say, €œThis is a midrash on the creation. This entire story of the new creation is a literary parallelism that illuminates the creation story in Genesis.” This first century Jew would say, €œGod walks the earth in the creation in Genesis. Now the Word becomes flesh?” God walks the earth in the new creation in John. He would say, €œGod comes to separate the light from the dark in the creation in Genesis.” Now, God comes to separate the light from the dark, ‘hoshek‘ in Hebrew, ‘phos‘ in Greek, in John 1. He separates the light from the dark in the creation, and He separates the light from the dark in the new creation. The first century Jewish Christian would say, €œIn the creation in Genesis, you have the small light and the great light. Now in the new creation in John, you have _Yochanan Ha Matbil and Yeshua Hamashiach, John the Baptist, the small light, and Jesus, the great light.” He would also say, €œThe Spirit moves on the water and gives forth the creation in Genesis, now born of water and the Spirit. The Spirit moves on the water and gives the new creation in John.” He would say, €œOn the third day, God does a creative miracle with water in Genesis, and Jesus begins His public ministry with the miracle on the third day at the wedding of Cana as it says in John 2:1.” God begins His first plan for man with a marital union with Adam and Eve. Of course, man falls and loses what God had for him. When Jesus comes to restore that, He begins His public ministry at a wedding.
More than that, in Judaism, the tree of life that we call Atz Hayim that we see in Ezekiel 47 and in Revelation and Genesis, is represented by a fig tree. The subject of the fig tree is a complicated subject, but the fig tree represents the tree of life. So, you have the tree of life in the garden, but in John 1:48, Nathanael asks Jesus, €œHow do you know me?” Jesus answered, €œBefore Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Jesus obviously saw him under a literal fig tree, but what Jesus was really saying to Nathanael, in midrash, in Jewish metaphor, was, €œI saw you in the garden, from the creation, from the foundation of the world.” I”m not a Calvinist, but God does know us from eternity, and He does know who will be saved.
John is new creation that parallels the book of Genesis. This is a theme that runs throughout the entire gospel as well as pointing to Christ as God becoming man.
In John 7, we have the background of the Feast of Tabernacles which draws on the imagery of the millennium in Ezekiel 47. The meaning of the Hebrew Feast of Tabernacles is the millennial reign of Christ. That is why when Jesus comes back (Zechariah 12) and the Jews look upon Him Whom they pierced when He sets up His millennial kingdom, they begin celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14).
The Hebrews had three spring feasts which were Passover, First Fruits, and Pentecost, or Weeks. Jesus fulfills those in His first coming, but in His second coming, He fulfills the autumn feast, the final one, the Feast of Booths, Hag Sukkoth, which is what we see in John 7. In His first coming, He totally fulfills the spring feasts but only partially fulfills the autumn feasts. In His second coming, He will fulfill the autumn feast in its totality.
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, [Yeshua is His name] Jesus stood and cried out, saying, €œIf any man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scriptures said, “From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.””
This again draws on the millennial imagery in Ezekiel 47.
The Latter Day Rain movement and the Manifest Sons of God heresy, of course, pervert this out of all context to arrive at a lot of silly nonsense. I once watched a video of a Pensacola meeting, and they were saying, €œThe river is going to come through the wall at exactly a quarter to 8. Don”t stand here. You all might get swept away.” John Kilpatrick”s wife was there. The women of Pensacola (I call them the harlots of Babylon) are all standing there and waiting for the river to come through, and at a quarter to 8 precisely, they all swoon. Now I am a Pentecostal myself, but that is not Biblical Pentecostal. That is absurdity.
The meaning of Ezekiel is, of course, in the millennium. Jesus draws on this background when he says I will give you €œliving water. But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive, for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus [Yeshua] was not yet glorified.” €œI will pour out My Spirit” as rain comes from Isaiah 44:3.
Living water, what we call in Hebrew Mayim Hayim, was formed by rain going into the water table. It is a figure of the Holy Ghost. Jesus says this to the woman at the well in John 4 that He will give her l
Another characteristic of John”s gospel is this. Jesus is speaking on a midrashic level. He is addressing things in one context, but the people are understanding Him only on a natural level. You must be very careful of this. There is something called Gnosticism when the Bible is spiritualized with mystical interpretations. Midrash never does that. Midrash, Jewish hermeneutics, Jewish interpretation, only uses symbolism to illuminate, to illustrate doctrine. We never base doctrine on it. When people base doctrine on symbols that is very, very dangerous! It is spiritual seduction. On the other hand, to ignore Midrash is also an error. So, living water is a figure of the Holy Spirit in Isaiah 44:3, John 4, and John 7.
Some of the multitude, therefore, when they heard these words were saying, €œThis certainly is the Prophet.” Others were saying, €œThis is the Messiah.” Others were saying, €œSurely the Messiah is not going to come from Galilee, is He? Has not the Scripture said that the Messiah comes from the offspring of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” (John 7:40-42)
They did not know where He was born. They only knew Him by His Galilean accent. There was a prejudice against Galileans; in fact, it was later written in Talmudic literature that a Galilean would not be allowed to read the Torah in a synagogue because he could not properly pronounce the difference between the Hebrew letters aleph and ayne. The rabbis did not like the Galilean accent.
So there arose a division in the multitude because of Him. And some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him. The officers therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees, they said to them, €œWhy did you not bring Him?” [But] the officers answered, €œNever did a man speak the way this man speaks.” The Pharisees therefore answered them, €œYou have not been led astray, have you? [No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him.] But this multitude which does not know the Law is accursed. “Nicodemus said to them (he who came to Him before, being one of them), €œOur Law does not judge a man, unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?” They answered and said to him, €œYou are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.” And everyone went to his home. (John 7:43-53)
Understand the background. This was the last day of the feast that lasted a week. On the last day of the feast was an elaborate ritual called Simchat Beit Ha Shoyiva, a festival of joy, when the Levites would go to the pool of Shiloach, usually called Siloam in English, almost the same word as €œapostle.” The Levites would take water in a procession up to the Temple Mount and pour the living water, Mayim Hayim, out on the pavement. It was in reference to this ritual that Jesus said, €œI will give you living water.” He was saying that He was the Messianic fulfillment of what the feast meant. He would be the One to give the Holy Spirit just as He told the woman at the well. Nicodemus pops up here in this context. Again, Jesus was speaking on a spiritual level, but the people were thinking on a physical level. When Jesus said to Nicodemus, €œYou must be born again. Are you a ruler of the Jews? You don”t know this?” As a member of the Sanhedrin, Nicodemus knew midrash. He should have known what Jesus meant by new birth. The Jews had multiple concepts of new birth including having the bar mitzvah, becoming a rabbi, and getting married, but ultimately, it was this thing the Messiah would do.
Lazarus is asleep. Jesus was speaking of biological death. They thought He simply meant that Lazarus took a nap. He”s speaking spiritually. The people are thinking physically.
So it is with living water. Jesus is speaking spiritually. The people are thinking physically. This was what was happening in the gospels, and it was one of the reasons the Sanhedrin hated Him. Instead of being servants to the people, they used their supposed knowledge of scripture to make themselves overlords. They used their knowledge to create a political, and certainly financial, power base for themselves. €œThe people do not know the Torah. They are accursed. We know the Torah. Knowledge is power.” This very much began to approximate the Gnosticism of the pagans who said, €œWe have the secret knowledge.” Jesus did not like that. Ordinary people were called the Am Ha Aretz, the people of the land. This is found in Matthew, for instance. It says the Pharisees knew He spoke the parable about them, but He had to explain it privately to the disciples. The religious establishment knew what He was teaching, but they were going through the roof because He was taking these mysteries, what Solomon called €œthe words of the wise,” and their riddles, and taking the interpretation of Proverbs and of what we call Hebrew, mashalim or mishla, parables and giving it to the ordinary people.
He was giving it to fishermen. He was giving it to farmers. He was giving it to tradesmen. He was giving it to slaves. This was the key to their power, and He was giving it to ordinary people whom the religious establishment thought were accursed. The establishment did not like Him. He is speaking spiritually. The people are thinking physically, but then He begins explaining what these spiritual things are. This He spoke of the Spirit.
John”s gospel is the most festal. It has the most to do with Jewish feasts. In John, we clearly see Jesus as the fulfillment of the feasts. He is the fulfillment of Hanukkah, the Jewish Feast of Dedication in John 10. He is the Messianic fulfillment of Passover; the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. (If you went to Catholic school, you have my sympathy, but perhaps you remember your Latin, Agnus Dei Qui Tolles Pecatamundi.) Here, it is Jesus as the Messianic fulfillment of the Feast of Booths, the Feast of Tabernacles.
The Hebrews had three pilgrim feasts. They had Passover, and they had Pentecost – Hag Shavuot (or Weeks) in the spring, but at this time of year in the autumn, there was another one, the Feast of Booths. By Jesus” day, after the Maccabees, there was a fourth one. The pilgrim feasts were when Jews came from other places to Jerusalem to celebrate. That was Hanukkah. The time between the Feast of Booths and the Feast of Hanukkah could be less than two months, sometimes seven weeks. Considering they had to walk all the way down from Galilee and then back again, often they would do what Jesus did, just stay in Jerusalem with friends or relatives, celebrate both holidays at once, and then go home again. It was the holiday season. One holiday season in the spring ranged from Passover to Pentecost, and a second holiday season in the autumn ranged from Booths all the way to Hanukkah, and these were both harvest seasons. So, after people did the work, then they would have a kind of religious holiday, a kind of vacation in Jerusalem after reaping the fruits of the harvest.
So everyone is in Jerusalem, and they are contending with Jesus because He is teaching the people these things. Notice the attit
ude of the religious leaders. It is exactly what you see today. €œWho is this man who is teaching the people things we don”t want them to know? Who is this man who is publicly exposing our corruption and hypocrisy? Who is this man who is threatening our power base by teaching them the Word of God? These people are accursed! They don”t know the Torah. We know!” Well, in fact, they did not know. They did not know at all. No prophet comes from Galilee? What about Jonah? He was from Gath Hepher less than two miles from Nazareth. They did not know themselves. They should have known, but they did not. They were more concerned with church politics and preserving their own financial and positional interests. They say, €œThe people are accursed!” They set themselves up. Nicodemus is here. (The Greek prefix €œnico– €œ is also the one used for Nicolaitians which means €œsuppression of the people.”)
Nicodemus was a good man in the Sanhedrin, but he tried to change the system from within and failed. Today, in so many of our denominations, some good people are trying to change the system from within but are failing. There are godly men in the church, but other men and denominations are ordaining homosexuals and opening heroin rooms. There are some godly pastors left within the Assemblies of God while the national executive leadership has taken the church from one heresy and deception after another. There are people, like Nicodemus, who are still part of the system trying to call the church back to repentance or to implement God’s standard but are frustrated by the corruption of the system.
The state of Judaism, when Jesus came the first time, very closely mirrors the state of the church before His second coming and is one of the things that testify to the deplorable state of the church in the last days, particularly in the West. It is the same thing. €œWho do these people think they are?” They made themselves a clergy class. €œWho are you to question us?” It is the same attitude we see today. Many people over recent years have seen things which they knew were not of God, perhaps deceptions that were heretical or unethical, and they try to go to the pastors of the leadership, but these pastors have, basically, set themselves up as overlords, and instead of dealing with issues Biblically, they made everyone think that they [the pastors] understood the Bible. €œWho are you to question us?” How many people have encountered that attitude in the past five years? We get similar numbers of response in America, England, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. That is exactly what Jesus was up against, and it is what we are up against today. They set themselves up over you, making believe they know things that they do not.
One person trumpeting pop psychology today is a psychologist in the Assemblies of God. I am not slinging mud. His name is Allen Davies, and he was teaching New Age visualization in his so-called Bible College. He did that. I am just reporting facts, not attacking. He makes himself out to be this Biblically knowledgeable man who is running a Bible college. He wrote an article in Evangel Magazine where he said the demoniac in Gerasenes, that the man”s name was €œlegion“. The text, Mark 5:9, says the demon”s name was legion €œfor we are many.” I do not expect everyone to be able to read Greek or Hebrew. It is a plus if you can, but I certainly expect a minister with a degree in psychology to be able to read English! Yet, these pastors and ministers set themselves up over the people, not knowing what they want you to think. €œWho are you to question us?” That is what they say. This is not Biblical! €œWho are you to question us?” And if there is someone like Nicodemus speaking up from within the system, they put their feet down. €œWe”ll take your credentials away!” And if you are someone outside the system, like Jesus, they will send a lynch mob after you if they can.
People ask why I am not comparing myself to Jesus, and people ask why I walk back and forth while I preach. It is more difficult to hit a moving target. That is the background. That is the introduction. Now we get into Simchat Torah, John 8, the Jewish background of John 8.
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. And the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the midst, they said to Him, €œTeacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” And they were saying this, testing Him in order that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground. (John 8:1-6)
In the Greek text, when Jesus uses His finger to write, this indicates that action is emphatic.
But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, €œHe who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And when they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she had been, in the midst. And straightening up, Jesus said to her, €œWoman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” And she said, €œNo one, Lord.” And Jesus said, €œNeither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more.” And therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, €œI am €¦.” (John 8:7-12)
Notice that term, €œI am,” and how many times it appears. The Greek word would be Ego Ami. (I only know how to read Greek. I do not know how to speak it. Jesus gets closer and closer. There is a progression here in the Greek text. Jesus gets clearer and clearer in the progression through the Greek text to identifying Himself as the I AM. God. He is the God of the book of Exodus. I AM who I AM identified Himself to Moses. He gets clearer and clearer, the way the text says I AM, until He finally identifies Himself as God. Here is the first I AM the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
The Pharisees therefore said to Him, €œYou are bearing witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.” Jesus answered and said to them, €œEven if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true; for I know where I came from, and where I am going. You people judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone. But even if I do judge, My judgment is true, for I am not alone in it, but I and He Who sent Me.” [He associates Himself with God.] Even in your law [meaning the Torah] it has been written, that the testimony of two men is true. (John 8:13-17)
I have to point out here that there must have been two witnesses against the woman in order for her to be stoned under the Torah, the Jewish Law. There had to be two witnesses who were not guilty of the same sin. Jesus is
dealing in juridical terms here. There must be two witnesses to verify every fact that would bring any kind of indictment, according to the Torah, and Jesus is appealing again to the same juridical principles from the Torah. Jewish Law with rabbinic additions was later called halacha.
€œI and He Who sent Me” in verse 17 is the testimony of two which meant it was true, or correct. In verse 18, Jesus says, €œI am He Who bears witness of Myself, and the Father Who sent Me bears witness of Me.” This points to a future event when two liars are brought against Jesus at His trial. This is the same idea and a continual theme throughout the text.
€œAnd so they were saying to Him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me, nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.”” This relates back to John 5 where Jesus told the Hebrews, €œIf you believed Moses, you would believe Me also.”
My family is Israeli, and I have been an evangelist to the Jews for over twenty years. I can tell you this. The problem of the Jewish people is not that they reject Christ. Their rejection of their Christ is not their problem. Their rejection of their Messiah is the result of their problem. Their problem is that they reject the Torah.
They do not believe in Moses. If they believed Moses, they would know Jesus is the Messiah. Their problem is that they reject Torah by substituting Torah with Talmud or reading Torah through the prism of Talmud as rabbinic commentary. This is much the same as Roman Catholicism corrupting the New Testament or liberal Protestantism or Greek Orthodox corrupting the New Testament, so the rabbis, after rejecting Jesus, corrupted the Torah. If they knew the Father, they would know the Son. If they believed Moses, they would believe Jesus was the Messiah. That is why I do not witness to Jewish people from the New Testament until I show them from the Old Testament. That is my approach.
Look at verse 18. €œI am He.” This is a play on words from the Greek text again. €œThese words He spoke in the treasury” (verse 20). Jesus always hits people where it hurts, and the religious establishment was into what they are into today. You know what is going on? You know what is really in back of all this hype artistry and manipulation? Money. They copy these hype artists and religious con men from American and South African television, and they want to be like these Americans with the big cars and mansions, and of course, their ministries become their tickets to a form of success they could not have in the secular world.
With some sense of embarrassment, I admit to being a Pentecostal preacher. The old time Pentecostals did not have many Greek or Hebrew scholars, but they knew the Word of God. They knew their Bibles. They knew why they believed what they believed. They knew why they were pre-millennial. They could give a coherent argument why they believed the gifts of the Spirit still operated in the church, not based on experience but based on Scripture. They could argue. There were some Pentecostal scholars, academics, in America and Scotland, but they are largely gone. There are exceptions today, but most contemporary Pentecostal ministry has become a dumping ground for people who cannot do anything else. Again, there are exceptions but not many. These men in church leadership roles would not have these cars, this international travel, this income if they were not Pentecostal ministers. They would not be good enough to be dentists, plumbers, skilled tradesmen, or professionals, so they become Pentecostal preachers because there is no standard anymore. Unless they can rightly divide the Word of God according to Timothy and Titus, they have no Biblical right to be in the ministry, most of them. They stand up, take some verses out of context, give a lot of waffle and hype, and they do not even know what they are talking about. They are mindless babblers. It is a disgrace. The Pentecostal ministry has become a dumping ground for people who cannot do anything else. It becomes their ticket to some middle-class success because they could not make it in a secular profession or business. There are exceptions. Faithland is an exception. Oak Park is an exception. The Assemblies of God where I would speak are exceptions, but they are exceptions. The mainstream is not what it was twenty-five years ago when the Assemblies of God and other Pentecostal movements rejected what we see now. They would have nothing to do with William Branham or E. W. Kenyon or A. A. Allen. They rejected the Manifest Sons of God and the Latter Day Rain movements in the 1940s and 1950s. The very things their fathers rejected, they have now accepted. These Assemblies of God no longer exist in the sense of what they once were. It is just another movement with the same name. They are gone. This kind of decline is terrible, and it was that kind of decline that Jesus was up against in the Judaism of His day.
€œHe said therefore again to them, “I go away and you shall seek Me, and shall die in your sin; where I am going [a play on words again], you cannot come.” [I AM]. Therefore the Jews were saying, “Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, “Where I am going, you cannot come”?”” (John 8:21-22)
Notice the repetition of I AM. In the Greek text, the progression is very clear. When it says €œthe Jews,” it does not mean people who are Jewish. They were all Jewish, including Jesus. What it meant, and there is a translation problem from the Greek word iaodaoi, was the Judeans, the religious establishment in and around Jerusalem and those whom they influenced and controlled as opposed to the rank and file Jew. It refers to the religious aristocracy and those whom they directly controlled largely based in and around Jerusalem. They are all Jews. So, when the text says €œthey” wanted to stone Jesus, it meant the religious establishment and those they controlled around Jerusalem.
€œAnd He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world. I am [I AM] not of this world. I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He [I AM He], you shall die in your sins“” (John 8:23-24).
This harkens directly back, and He would have been speaking Aramaic from the Targumim. It would have been exactly Exodus 3:14. Now, He is almost calling Himself God. He gets closer and closer with the I AM expressions.
And so they were saying to Him, €œWho are You?” Jesus said to them, €œWhat have I been saying to you from the beginning? I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He Who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world.” They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. (John 8:25-27)
Again, he is speaking spiritually. They do not realize it. €œJesus therefore said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me“” (John 8:28). Notice that He did nothing on His own initiative.
This ridiculous idea that we can go around laying hands on every sick person commanding them to be healed is absurd. Jesus only laid hands on people as His Father directed. If the Holy Spirit empowers you in a given situation and you say, €œThat cancer be gone,” it will be gone. If the Holy Spirit empowers you to say, €œGet out of that deathbed,” that person will get out of the deathbed. However, if you are going around yelling and commanding it, ranting and raving like an idiot, that is all you are behaving like, an idiot. In Corinthians, Paul uses the word €œidiot” (idiota) for those who are spiritually ignorant. You see people going around commanding poor people to be healed, and when they do not get healed, that puts them under condemnation. €œYou don”t have any faith.” This is just idiocy. Can you imagine a precious, old saint of God, say a widow on a pension, at the end of her day; she is ill, sick, with nothing left except her faith in Jesus. They have taken all her money. All she has left is her faith in Jesus, and they even want that too because she is not being healed. At best, this is being done out of ignorance, but however you look at it, it is the worst form of psychological cruelty because they are perverting the Christian message to do it.
Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing. He never used His divine power even once. In Matthew 4, when Satan tempted Jesus, Satan was trying to get Jesus to act out of concert with His Father, to use His divine power apart from the Father”s leading. Jesus would not do it. He tried to get Jesus to act in the flesh. Jesus would not do it. The idea that you can go around demanding this and speaking that into being is Gnosticism. It is arrogance. It is motivational psychology. But it is not Christianity!
Jesus said He only did what He saw His Father doing. His only acts were the initiative of the Father. €œ €¦but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He Who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:28-29). He walked perfectly in the Spirit as our example. €œAs He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him” (30).
Those who are sincere of heart will always know spiritual authority as opposed to heavy shepherding and Nicolaitanism. They will know real anointing if they are right with God, and they will know the difference automatically. It will not even take much discernment. They will know automatically what is an anointing and what is hype artistry. They will know automatically what is spiritual authority and what is heavy shepherding. €œMany came to believe in Him” (30).
€œJesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed in Him, [Now, He is touching the religious establishment.] “If you abide in My Word, then you are truly disciples of mine; [This idea of €œword” goes back to John 1.] and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free“”(31-32).
Elsewhere, Jesus is defined as the Truth. This is another problem today. During the laughing, drunken deception a few years ago, one of that group tried to tell Philip Powell that €œGod is bigger than His Word.” Philip Powell, who used to be an Assemblies of God executive in this country, had too much integrity to keep his mouth shut when the heresy began taking over. Philip Powell showed this man in Isaiah where it says, €œGod magnifies His Word above His name,” and said, €œWho is right? You or the Bible?” He had no response to Philip Powell. Philip was dead right because the Bible is right. €œYou shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” After people have been in psychological bondage to cult groups and then they learn the truth, they are free.
€œThey answered Him, “We are Abraham”s offspring, and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, “You shall become free”?””(32). Jesus is speaking about slavery to sin. He is speaking spiritually. They are thinking physically, temporally.
€œTruly, truly, €¦.” When you see the words, €œtruly, truly” in the gospels, or €œverily, verily,” this tells you the original language was not Greek. It tells you the original language was Hebrew, or more likely, the Hebrew dialect, Aramaic. In Semitic languages, like Aramaic, Hebrew, Hamo Semitic, other Chaldean dialects such as Syriac or Acadian, to make something emphatic, or to make it superlative, say it twice. If you want to say, €œIt is very cold,” you say, €œcold, cold,” or €œvery warm” say, €œwarm, warm.” When you say something twice or you see that emphatic repetition, that is driving the point, and it means the rest of the text, everything that follows, hinges on that verse.
€œTruly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin” (34). The Greek text here is present continuous. The Greek language has no present tense as English does. In Greek, John is not John the Baptist. First of all, he was a Pentecostal. In Greek, he is John the Baptizer.
In John 8:34 , it says, €œ €¦everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” That does not mean that every time we sin, we are slaves to sin. It means we do not practice sin. €œHe who is born of God does not sin.” It is present continuous active. Christians may fall into sin, but they do not practice it habitually.
And the slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. If therefore the son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. [Now He is getting close to calling Himself God’s Son.] I know that you are Abraham”s offspring; [Here He is speaking anthropologically.] yet you seek to kill Me, because My Word has no place in you. I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father. They answered and said to Him, €œAbraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, €œIf you are Abraham”s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, €œWe were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” Jesus said to them, €œIf God were you Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My Word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar, and the father of lies.” (35-44)
When you see the money preachers lying, they are speaking from their own nature because they are of their father, the devil. People ask how can I speak so strongly about preachers. How could Jesus tell them they were of their father, the devil? I honestly believe that John Avanzini, Kenneth Copeland, and Benny Hinn are of their father, the devil. €œBut because
I speak the truth, you do not believe Me” (45). If I were to stand up here and lie to you, put on a show, blow on you, put my coat on you, and con all your money out of you, I would be acceptable to the Sanhedrin. But if I tell you the truth, I stand here condemned.
He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God. The Jews, [that is, the Judeans] answered and said to Him, €œDo we not say rightly that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” (47-48)
When you point out their heresy and their con artistry, these people say you are demonic. Many people did not go along with the Assemblies of God bringing in Benny Hinn or did not go along with the laughing and drunken thing, and they were told there was something demonic about them. How many of you were told something like that? They will always say something like that and those who speak against it are told they are demonic. We have a video of the lawyer of Pensacola, John Kilpatrick, the liar, lying about the vibrating girl. He lied saying that she was from a good Christian family, and he knew her parents when, in fact, she grew up in a broken home. He lied, and he was caught lying on video. He also predicted, gave this big prophecy, against Hank Hanegraaff who warned that Pensacola was not of God. Kilpatrick said God was going to bring down Hank Hanegraaff in three months. Hank Hanegraaff had a countdown on American radio, and at the end of three months, he pronounced John Kilpatrick a false prophet. While I don”t endorse Hank Hanegraaff now, he was right concerning this situation and at the end of the three months, John Kilpatrick, the leader of Pensacola, fell off a roof, smashed his pelvis, and was brought out in a wheelchair. The only one God brought down was John Kilpatrick, and now the women of Pensacola are coming to Kevin Conner”s place. What do you expect?
€œJesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. But I do not seek My glory; there is One Who seeks and judges. Truly, truly, [There it is again.] I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death” (49-51).
Again, this is present continuous active. This does not mean you will not die. It means death will not be a permanent, ongoing state because of the resurrection.
The Jews [the Judeans] said to Him, €œNow we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, “If anyone keeps My word, he shall never taste of death.” Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, €œIf I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, “He is our God”; and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I shall be a liar like you €¦.” (52-55)
Notice how He talked to these people in front of the congregation where the biggest religious leaders of the day were liars and deceivers. That is what Jesus did. Now I am not like Jesus, but I am supposed to try to be like Him. I want to be like Him in righteousness and in love, but I also want to be like Him in truth.
€¦but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad. The Jews therefore said to Him, €œYou are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said,. [There it is again. It is emphatic in the Greek, in its meaning in the original spoken Aramaic, or in Hebrew, Ani Hu Ani. This is it! This is it!] I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple. (55-59)
This happens in the holiday season between Feast of Tabernacles and Hanukkah. Hanukkah is the Jewish Feast of Miracles and Lights. Right after Tabernacles, the morrow day when this takes place is known as Simchat Torah, the Joy of the Torah, which is the climax of the Feast of Tabernacles. To this day, Orthodox Jews take the Torah scrolls, and they dance with the scrolls, and people throw rice at them like at a wedding because the Jew is married to the Torah. It is usually the members of the Jewish community who have contributed the most to the Jewish causes of the synagogue who are invited to dance with the scrolls. They are called the calim, the bridegrooms. It is the only time during the year that the little boys who have not yet been bar mitzvahed are allowed to pray the blessing in the synagogue. This is Simchat Torah. The Jews read the Law and the prophets the Torah and Ha Torah, annually, an election, an annual liturgical cycle together with the prayer book called the Siddur. The annual cycle begins on Simchat Torah. This very day goes back to Genesis 1:1.
When Jesus gives a new law, it is the idea of a new beginning, a harkening back to the beginning, the creation and the new creation. The theme of new beginning becomes paramount.
Simchat Torah is the Jewish Feast of Light. Two giant menorahs, lamps, with seven candlesticks (like we see in Revelation 1) would be topped up with oil. At Hanukkah, it had nine branches, but the normal one in the temple had seven. They were about three and a half stories high, pure beaten gold, but hollow inside. It was at this time of year that the Sanhedrin would top up the tanks in the lamps with olive oil that came from the Mount of Olives. This was the time of year the lamps were filled, and the wicks were trimmed.
It was against this background that Jesus says, €œI will give living water.” In verse 1, He comes down from the Mount of Olives and says, €œI am the light of the world.” He took what was being done in the temple and applied it to Himself. These lamps are symbols of the Word of God. Jesus says, €œYou do not believe My Words?” What are these words? €œThy Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). The wise virgins will have oil in their lamps. Faithful Christians will understand the Scriptures when Jesus comes back in the darkness at the end. Jesus is taking the background of Simchat Torah to explore and explain everything that is happening here. To understand what this is and how it works, we have to read about Simchat Torah in Leviticus 23.
This is the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
You shall live in booths for seven days; all the native-born in Israel shall live in booths, so that your generations may know that I had the sons of Israel live in booths when I brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God. [There it is again.] So Moses declared to the sons of Israel the appointed times of the LORD. (Leviticus 23:42-44)
Notice the parallel between Leviticus and John. John 8 is Leviticus 24 fulfilled in Jesus. We have the end of the Feast of Booths at the end of Leviticus 23, and the beginning of Simchat Torah in chapter 24. The New Testament parallel of Leviticus 23 and 24 is the end of the Feast of Booths in John 7 and then Simchat Torah in John 8 when they go back to Genesis.
n the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, €œCommand the sons of Israel that they bring you clear oil from beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually” (Leviticus 24:1). The Levites are bringing the olive oil from the Mount of Olives to the temple to trim up the lamps. In John 8:1, Jesus, the light of the world, comes down from the Mount of Olives. He is the light of the world. He is going to explain the Scriptures. The Levites were very sure about the lamp and how to fill it up physically. Jesus was speaking about what it meant spiritually. Outside the veil of testimony in the tent of meeting, Aaron shall keep it in order from evening to morning before the Lord continually; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations. He shall keep the lamps in order on the pure gold lamp stand before the LORD continually. (3-4)
In the ancient near East, in order to maximize the amount of sun, or light, inside a room, you have a convex, concave architectural design. The windows were wide outside with decreasing angulation, a funnel effect, coming to the inside, so the sun made spotlights to light a room. The temple was the opposite, like a reverse triangle, so the light of the Torah would shine out over Jerusalem. The lamps represented the Word of God, so they had to burn day and night, so light would always be coming out of the temple. His Word is the lamp, always shining out over His people and over His city.
Then you shall take fine flour and bake twelve cakes with it; two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each cake. And you shall set them in two rows, six to a row, on the pure gold table before the LORD. And you shall put pure frankincense on each row, that it may be a memorial portion for the bread, even an offering by fire to the LORD. (5-7)
There are twelve cakes, one for each of the tribes. The grain comes first. Only after you had the grain did you have the incense. We are told in Revelation that frankincense represents the prayers of the saints. It is our prayer and worship. Notice, the grain must come first. There must be oil in the lamp. The illumination of the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures and the grain must be there. Then and only then can there be worship! There is no doxology without theology. In other words, if the doctrine is not right, there is no acceptable worship. The Father wants to be worshipped in Spirit and in truth. If you do not have the truth, the Spirit is wrong. This takes place at the Jewish Feast of the Bible, the Feast of Booths, followed by the Simchat Torah.
In Nehemiah 8:1, at the Feast of Tabernacles, living water flows. Ezra the scribe stands. The book is opened, and in verse 8, the men with Ezra and the Levites translate the Law for the people. After their capture by Babylon, most of the Jews did not know Hebrew anymore. They knew Aramaic. So, they were given the original meaning of the words of the original language. The priority of the original languages is Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. This is more important than any translation. God gave His Word through these languages, and the priority of the original languages comes first when scripture is expounded.
Some of the King James only fanatics actually are lifting up a seventeenth century edition of a translation over the original text. Some people in this country are influenced by this identity movement and neo-Nazis like Wendy Howard and Wendy Booster on the Gold Coast. They are into this idea that lifts up translations over the original texts. In Nehemiah 8, they expound the original meaning of the original language.
Notice, in verse 3, it was an all-day Bible study from early morning to midday. The people studied for hours, and then, and only then, did the people stand up with their hands raised and say, €œAmen. Amen.” They bowed down and worshipped. First, the living water flows, and the Word of God is preached and expounded. Then, when people understand what God wants them to understand, they worship Him in Spirit and in truth. This is one of the reasons that after thirty years the Charismatic movement has totally failed to bring revival. It is the New Age movement that has changed society, not the Charismatic movement
The New Age movement and the Charismatic movement began at the same time in the late 1960s when the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi came to England to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Hollywood film stars. This was the same time the Charismatic movement got going. Both movements declared they were going to spiritually transform Western society. After thirty years, which one has done it? Has the Charismatic movement made it more Christian, or has the New Age movement made it more New Age? The New Age movement has. The Charismatic movement has failed shamefully and indefensibly. It has not changed society. It has not changed the church, and one of the reasons it has failed so totally and miserably is that it is experiential theology. It is not Bible based. In a real move of God, the Jews expounded the Scriptures. Then they worshipped. The Charismatic movement said, €œWho needs this? We will just worship.”
So you have an Alpha course book? Put a match to it. Jesus never said to make converts. He said to make disciples. Alpha is not Biblical. Alpha, among other things, is nemocentric. It is based on the Holy Spirit. Our faith is based on Christ. It is Christocentric. In John 14 and 16, the Spirit of God points people to Christ, never to Himself. He lifts up Jesus. All this, €œGood morning, Holy Spirit; come Holy Spirit. We worship you,” is not Biblical. We worship the Holy Spirit? How? In the context of the Trinity of God, yes, but not one place, not one time is He ever prayed to alone outside of the Trinity. That tells you that is not His Spirit. Old time Pentecostals” emphasis on the Holy Spirit was to point people to Christ. Old time Pentecostals used to sing, €œGive me oil in my lamp. Keep it burning.” They loved the Bible. Some people say, €œWe do not need the Bible. We just need experience.” That is New Age. That is not Christianity. Today, most of the Pentecostal movement is theologically or philosophically New Age. It is not Christian, and I am a Pentecostal.
After more than thirty years, the Pentecostal movement has failed, and it has failed because there is no worship. What we see today is the worship of worship, the worship of experience. The purpose of Alpha, according to Nicky Gumbel, is the Holy Spirit weekend away to get people the Toronto blessing. None of it is Biblical. Again, Jesus never said to make converts. They say, €œOh, so many people are being saved.” Saved into what? The Pharisees made converts, and they became twice as much the sons of hell as they used to be. In England, where Alpha comes from, a poll was taken of over two hundred people who took Alpha. Only four of them could explain the gospel, and it is likely they were saved before they took the Alpha course. If you took Alpha, put a match to it. (We have tapes and a book dealing with Alpha.)
I am only using this to illustrate a point. There is no doxology without theology. There is no right worship and praise without right doctrine. The Charismatic movement is a lot of garbage, but not Charisma, not the gifts, but the movement has failed and failed miserably. People have been saved, but saved
into what? A zoo?
In the Bible, first they top up the lamps with the oil. The grain was there, and only after the grain was there was there incense. This is what Jesus was explaining. In Leviticus 24:10, something happens. There is a radical shift in the literary genre. It goes from ritual prescription to a narrative, a story, of a blasphemer with a false father. What happens in John 8? Jesus speaks of blasphemers with a false father. This very text, Leviticus 24, is what the Jews would have read concerning that feast day, but they did not understand what they were reading.
Now the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the sons of Israel; and the Israelite woman”s son and a man of Israel struggled with each other in the camp. And the son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name [YHWH, I AM] and cursed. So they brought him to Moses. (Now his mother”s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.) And they put him in custody so that the command of the LORD might be made clear to them. Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, €œBring the one who cursed outside the camp, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head; then let all the congregation stone him. And you shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, “If anyone curses his God, then he shall bear his sin.”” (10-18)
Look at John 8 now in light of what is happening in Simchat Torah. There are similar elements. In Leviticus 23 and in John 8, there are the lamp and olive oil, shemen zayit, and Jesus comes to the Mount of Olives where they get the olive oil. There is a story of a stoning. There was somebody who was anthropologically a Jew but paternally had the wrong father. Jesus says in John 8, €œI know you are Abraham”s children, but he is not your father.” Simchat Torah in Leviticus 24 and John 8 are the same day of the Hebrew calendar. (You will not get this from commentaries which are written by people who think Christianity is a Greek, or Hellenistic, religion.)
Look at John 8 in light of the Simchat Torah. The very day they bring the olive oil from the Mount of Olives to put in the lamp, Jesus comes down from the Mount of Olives and says He is the light. A woman is caught in adultery. Generally, the Jews stoned people to death for most crimes. Sometimes certain people were burned or slain with the sword, but the normal capital execution was stoning. Why? What does Paul tell us in 1 Corinthians 3? The Law of Moses was the Law of death engraved on stones. It is a midrashic illustration. The Law shows us we are condemned. Stoning shows we are condemned by the Law. The whole purpose of the Law is to show us that we are fallen. We are condemned, we need a Savior, and we cannot keep the Torah. Through the example of the Jews, we cannot keep God’s Law. The Jews exemplify the human dilemma. God has a standard we cannot keep, and it shows we need someone who can fulfill it and keep it for us. We need a Savior. The Jews are an illustration of this €œstoned people,” but now with a new beginning, grace will triumph over mercy. In the Greek text, Jesus writing with His finger is emphatic. €œThou shalt not commit adultery” is one of the decalogues, the Ten Commandments.
All Torah is based on the Old Testament. The New Testament is based on the Old Testament. The New Testament is simply the Messianic fulfillment of the Law and the prophets. There is nothing in the New Testament not found in the Old except for the New Covenant, but the doctrine and teaching are there. Again, the New Testament is the Messianic fulfillment of the Law and the prophets. The Law and the prophets, however, are based on the Ten Commandments, the Decalogue. All other Scripture was given by God through human agency written by people inspired by God, except for the Ten Commandments. God wrote those with His own finger. That is scripture that was not the inspired of God because it was simply The Word of God ; God inspired no else to write it. So, by Jesus writing with His finger, He is showing Himself as the I AM. €œI gave the Torah.” This is the Simchat Torah, the joy of the Torah? Jesus is showing them what the joy of the Torah is. The Law says we are condemned, but the real joy of the Torah is that He Who gave the Torah is here to save us.
This is similar to the Blue Laws we have in the United States. A Blue Law is not normally enforced. The Jews would not normally stone a woman for adultery. Islam will still do it with Sharia law, but the men usually get away with it, especially if they are connected with the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia, but they will stone women. By the second temple period, the Jews did not normally stone adulterous women, but the law was still o