JESUS…OUR SYMPATHETIC HIGH PRIEST: 

Part One: Jesus the Anointed One

 

By Craig Bluemel

 

 

This series is about the true identity of the man, Jesus of Nazareth: of his human weakness, temptations, and obedience to Yahweh his Father, as he was perfected through suffering.

 

 

JESUS THE ANOINTED ONE

 

IS HE OUR

SYMPATHETIC HIGH PRIEST AS A MAN?

 

OR IS HE OUR…

SYMPATHETIC HIGH PRIEST AS A GOD-MAN?

 

 

The dual nature of Christ doctrine is not only false and confusing, but it is self-contradictory.  The contradiction is obvious to the logical mind, yet the majority of Christendom continues to believe that Jesus Christ is two persons (one ‘human’ & the other person ‘divine’), which live in one body of flesh and blood.  The portrayal of Jesus co-existing equally as ‘God’ (Deity) and as ‘Man’ (mortal human being) in an eternal ‘hypostatic union’ (i.e. the merging of two beings into one existence) is a depiction of him as a spiritual schizophrenic ‘God-Man.’  However, those believers whose minds are continuing to function properly, and have maintained a reasonable, logical approach to biblical hermeneutics, will identify the aforementioned theophanic nonsense as a portrayal of ‘another Jesus’ that the apostle Paul warns the churches to beware of.

 

&                2 Corinthians 11:3-4 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted — you may well put up with it!  New King James Version

 

I recall sitting in a classroom full of Bible College students many years ago.  We were listening to a theological lecture by one of my Bible College teachers.  This particular course was part of the required curriculum and it laid forth the rudimentary teachings of Christian church theology and Christology.  By ‘theology’, I mean the study of God’s inherent characteristics and by ‘Christology’ the study of the nature of Jesus Christ as ‘God’ & ‘man.’

 

In most Christian theological circles, the term ‘ineffable’ (i.e. beyond description & incomprehensible) is frequently used whenever logic and reason begin to shine the light of God’s truth from scripture on the nonsensical Deity of Christ theory.  One popular Christian radio program broadcaster that deals with radio callers questions live on air, uses a term ‘Theophany’ to depict Jesus as ‘God’ in the Old Testament period, when he was yet unborn (i.e. uncreated; not yet conceived by God in Mary’s womb & not yet born in Bethlehem).  Below are the basic word meaning definitions that I downloaded from Microsoft Encarta’s Dictionary to familiarize the reader:

 

THEOPHANY = appearance of the gods

1.     The appearance of deity to person.

2.     The appearance of a god in a visible form to a human being.

3.     Its origin is the Mid-17th century via medieval Latin from the Greek ‘theophaneia,’ which is literally ‘appearance of the gods.’

 

HYPOSTASIS = noun; the essential nature of Jesus Christ, in which the divine & the human are believed to be combined.

1.     Philosophy essence: the essence or reality of something.

2.     Christianity one of Trinity: any of the three persons of the Christian Trinity.

3.     Christianity essential nature of Jesus Christ.

4.     Medicine settling of body fluid: the abnormal settling of fluid in an organ or other part of the body, as a result of poor circulation, in patients kept in bed, and after death.

5.     Its origin is the early 16th century and it comes via the late Latin, which is from the Greek compound word ‘hupostasis,’ meaning, ‘sediment, foundation.’  hupostasis then later came to mean, ‘ “essence,” from the Greek, ‘huphistasthai,’ (hupo = ‘to stand under, support,’ and histasthai = ‘to stand.’

*Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

 

Oftentimes the class teacher would point to the four gospel accounts to illustrate how Jesus sometimes speaks as a ‘man’ (i.e. a human, mortal being), while at other times, he speaks as ‘Deity’ (i.e. – he speaks as the Almighty God).  On one occasion, the teacher illustrated one of his points by having all of the students open their Bibles to John chapter 8, verse 40.  He uses John 8:40 as one of his New Testament proof texts in support of the ‘human’ aspect of Jesus Christ (i.e. when Jesus speaks as a ‘man’ not as ‘God’).

 

&                John 8: 40 But, in fact, you {Jews} are longing to kill me {Jesus}, a man who has spoken to you the truth which I have heard from God.  Abraham did not do that.”  Weymouth New Testament Translation

 

Then, immediately following this example, the teacher read aloud from Jesus’ words of rebuke to the Jewish scribes and Pharisees in John 8:58.  He pointed out that in the original Greek manuscripts, from which the New Testament is translated in to our modern English versions of the Bible, the words that Jesus spoke to the Jews when he said, ‘I AM,’ are Greek terms ‘égoó eimi.’

 

&                John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM (égoó eimi)” New King James Version

  

My Bible College teacher said the words spoken in John 8:58 are uttered by Jesus as ‘God’ (i.e. as a divine oracle in which ‘God’ speaks in or thru the human flesh of Christ).  Specifically, he took pains to present his interpretation of John 8:58.  He contended that Jesus’ words ‘I AM’ spoken to the Jews in John 8:58 are the same as the Old Testament words spoken to Moses by Yahweh (God’s OT Name) in the first person singular form ‘I AM’ found in Exodus 3:14.  This incident in Exodus 3:14 occurred when Moses asked God what His Name was, so that he could tell his people Israel when he led them out of Egypt.

 

The original Hebrew words that are rendered ‘I AM that I AM,’ in Exodus 3:14 are transliterated to English as, ‘ehyeh asher ehyeh.’  My Bible College teacher pointed out the similarity in usage of the same Greek counterpart equivalent ‘égoó eimi’ (John 8:58 above) in the Greek Septuagint (Old Testament in Greek instead of Hebrew).  The Septuagint replaces the Hebrew ‘ehyeh’ (‘I AM’) in Exodus 3:14 with the exact same Greek terms used in John 8:58 ‘égoó eimi.’  These Greek words ‘égoó eimi’ being identical in the Greek Septuagint version of Exodus 3:14, he reasoned that it is biblical proof that Jesus speaks as ‘God’ (Yahweh of the Old Testament) in John 8:58.  Of course, his reasoning is not only illogical, but based solely upon his own theological and doctrinal prejudice. 

 

For readers who are unfamiliar with the Septuagint Old Testament Bible version, this is a Greek translation version of the ancient Hebrew Old Testament Bible.  The Septuagint was prepared by Jewish scribes for use by the rabbinical teachers in Alexandria, Egypt about 340-320 BC (approximate dates).  The Septuagint was needed as a Greek version of the ancient Hebrew Old Testament manuscripts, which were scarcely few available due to the demographics at this point in history. One major difficulty for rabbis who taught students of the Old Testament Bible was the widespread discontinuation of the use of the Hebrew spoken dialect.  For the most part, the Hebrew language had fallen into disuse and most rabbinical schools in Alexandria exclusively spoke and read Greek, the language universal of the day.

 

Today, most theology professors in Christian seminaries and Bible College teachers choose to interpret instead of correctly translating the words spoken by Jesus of Nazareth to the religious Jews ‘I AM’ in John 8:58.  It is merely their interpretation, and is NOT an accurate translation to allege that the ‘I AM’ spoken by Jesus in John 8:58 is identical in meaning, use, and application to the words, which Yahweh spoke to Moses in the context of Exodus 3:14.  My Bible College teacher did not have an evil motive for his false theology, but he taught the scriptures thru a doctrinal filter of church tradition.  He did not see the inconsistencies of his interpretation and because I had so little knowledge of the Bible at the time, neither did I.

 

&                1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, to prefer as child, to reason as a child: now I have become a man, I have laid aside the things of the child!

 

Like everyone else in the classroom, I was a young, impressionable Christian man that was newly saved and had no Bible background.  Naturally, I believed whatever my Bible College teachers were teaching and in my naivety, I took every word they said to be the gospel truth.  Now, some 34+ years later, having been a Bible teacher myself for nearly three decades, and I have a much deeper appreciation for the sincerity and dedication of all Bible teachers.  As much as we ought to appreciate those who teach scripture, we must give a much greater weight of appreciation and be diligent to search the scriptures daily, to determine what the truth about Jesus is from God’s perspective.  In reality, ‘sincerity’ and ‘truth’ are quite frequently opposites, particularly when it comes to the correct interpretation and/or translation of the Bible.  Many sects and cults today are sincere, yet they are deceived in what they propagate to others.

 

Eventually, I discovered that my college teachers were wrong about John 8:58 and their use of ‘I AM.’  It is a serious responsibility to be a teacher of scripture, and should not be taken lightly.  For the past 14 years, I have been diligently reexamining all of my former beliefs, especially my previous theological and Christological views.  I do not claim that my teachings are flawless, or that mine is the only correct view.  My responsibility and what I strive for every day of my life as a believer and teacher is to be as thorough as possible whenever researching and seeking God’s help to interpret and teach the Scriptures to others in the body of Christ. 

 

~ John 8:58 ~

A Thorough Explanation

Whenever identifying the meaning, use, or application of any Greek word, especially Greek prepositions like the word ‘prín(John 8:58; ‘prín’ = ‘before’), one must consider the context of the surrounding narrative.  As is the case in English grammar, words such as prepositions have multiple and varying uses and application.  For example, prín is derived from another root word in Greek ‘proand pro means ‘before, first in order or rank, superior to, in front of, afore, etc.’ This Greek preposition pro and its related word prín are used in a variety of alternate uses for either order of time, position, relation (to others or compared to others), and more. 

 

Our English language derives many of its individual words from pro, such as professional, protect, program, promote, proceed etc.  Obviously, when pro is constructed with parts of other words, its meaning and application dramatically changes.  The same occurs with the preposition ‘prín,’ except prín takes on a more targeted, specified usage and is the basis for our English words such as ‘principle (as in an important precept), principal (one in charge or highest rank, such as the principal of the school), princely, etc.

 

To demonstrate how easily Bible translators make mindless but costly errors in Bible translating, nearly every modern Bible version today renders the word ‘prín’ as ‘before,’ in John 8:58 thereby making it as a measure of time ‘… before (prín) Abraham was born, I AM.’  Earlier, I discussed the Greek words used in the sentence construction of ‘I AM’ in the text of John 8:58 are the words ‘egoó eimí’.  These two simple Greek words egoó eimí are tantamount to the English equivalent of ‘I am he’ or ‘I am the one,’ or, ‘I am the person {you seek},’ or a similar grammatical construction and application.  However, modern Bible versions combined their misguided interpretations of egoó eimí with their misguided interpretations of preposition prín, and in the New King James Version, John 8:58 reads: Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” 

 

The phrase at the end of the sentence, ‘before Abraham was, I AM,’ is a poorly constructed and improperly translated text and makes it seem as if Jesus existed literally BEFORE Abraham in time.  The Bible translator’s personal, theological prejudice (i.e. the belief that Jesus is ‘God’ in human form) has interfered with his or her objectivity in the translation process.  Below is a side-by-side comparison between the entire Greek text of John 8:58 and its New King James Version English Bible counterpart:

 

&                Greek= Ieesoús eípen autoís, “Ameén, ameén légoo humín prín Abraám genésthai egoó eimí.”

 

&                NKJV =  Jesus  said  to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

 

Making proper use of the Greek grammatical construction of John 8:58, the phrase highlighted in red above ‘prín Abraám genésthai egoó eimí,’ uses prín as a particle of distinction.  if properly rendered, the Greek version of John 18:5b (‘prín genésthai egoó eimí’) reads as follows, ‘in former times, before Abraham’s birth, I was preferred.’  In other words, the forefathers of Israel’s original patriarch (Abraham) such as Noah, Enoch, and others, gave their future Messiah a place of honor and preference in their lives and hearts, even though yet unborn or uncreated.

 

The Messiah is prophesied in the entire first chapter of the Book of Genesis; later we will examine this chapter concerning Yahweh’s plan of redemption from the foundations of the earth.  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all true Old Testament believers looked with hope to the future coming of Messiah, even though they only saw from a distance by faith. 

 

The Jews were boasting to Jesus about their genetic ties to Abraham and earlier in the chapter, in John 8:56, Jesus rebukes them saying, ‘Abraham your forefather exulted in the hope of seeing my day: and he saw, and was glad.’  Abraham did not literally see the physical day that Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem, but rather, he saw by faith.  Abraham rejoiced in the hope of a Redeemer one day being sent to atone for the transgressions of his descendants.  By faith, he looked to the Creator and Giver of all life and he believed that Yahweh would even raise His Anointed One.  

 

Abraham’s son Isaac is described in Hebrews chapter 11 (see below) as a ‘type’ or symbolic of Jesus & his propitious death by crucifixion; the parallel typology is prefigured in the scenario of Abraham obedient to Yahweh’s Command, willingly places his only begotten son on the stone altar to sacrifice.  As Abraham raises the knife to slay his only son, who lay upon the of sacrifice, Yahweh intervened & the boy was spared; he was saved by the ram caught in the nearby bush. 

 

&                Genesis 22:8-18 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.”  So the two of them went together.  9 Then they came to the place of which God had told him.  And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac  his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.  10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.  11 But the Angel of Yahweh called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!”  So he said, “Here I am.”  12 And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”  13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns.  So, Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.  14 And Abraham called the name of the place, Yahweh-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of Yahweh it shall be provided.”  15 Then the Angel of Yahweh called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says Yahweh, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.  18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice." New King James Version (with author’s replacement of ‘the LORD’ in text with ‘Yahweh’)

 

The ram is given as Yahweh’s provision and the Book of Hebrews describes Abraham’s inner conviction that Yahweh is able & willing if need be to raise the dead to fulfill His unshakeable promise.  Abraham’s faith wasn’t flawless, and though he wobbled and backslid a few times, as we all do, he remained steadfast in the conviction that Yahweh would fulfill His oath of promise.  The ancient eastern Semitic custom of cutting covenant between God and men, or between two men was always given a final mutual witness, in which both parties participated.  This final mutual witness is generally called the ‘oath of promise’ in scripture.

 

It was common practice in covenants of substantial importance, to kill and sacrifice either a sheep, a goat, or a bullock.  Before the animal was placed upon the altar of fire and offered up to Yahweh for divine approval and as testament to the agreement, the body of the sheep or goat was split in half lengthwise.  The two halves were slightly parted and as a sort of bloody, ritual signature on their covenant agreement, both parties walked together between the split halves of the sacrificial animal.  This bloody rite to us, living in today’s 21st century, food from shelving of stores, while enjoying our sterile, bacteria-conscious modern-day amenities, cannot imagine such gore and crudeness.  Yet, for the ancient Semitic day-and-age, it served its purpose and was done to honor each man’s solemn word (oath) before the Yahweh, the Judge of all men.

 

When Yahweh gave his oath of promise to Abraham concerning his future, spiritual posterity (i.e. ‘in your seed shall all nations be blessed’), HIS word WAS the guarantee.  In reality, when Yahweh gives His promise, the cutting of covenant with a sacrificial animal isn’t a necessary requirement.  Yahweh IS God, so He cannot swear by anyone else’s word because HIS word (oath of promise) to anyone is ALWAYS greater (more sure) than that of the human party to whom He makes the covenant agreement..  Abraham in scripture is described as ‘the friend of God.’  Concerning his future, spiritual descendents & Yahweh’s promise to him that all nations will be blessed in Abraham’s seed, he knew for a certainty God would raise the dead if necessary to fulfill His unshakeable & unwavering word.

 

&                Hebrews 11:8a, 9-10, 12-13, 16-19 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed…9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God…12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. 13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance…16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.  17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, "in Isaac your descendants shall be called."  19 He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.  New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition

 

&                NOTE: Additional reading about Abraham’s covenant with Yahweh: Genesis 15:5,6; Genesis 22:1-10, 17; 32:12; Genesis 23:4; Psalms 39:12

 

When Jesus uses the phrase, ‘‘in former times, before Abraham’s birth, I was preferred,’ he is emphasizing either the faith of Israel’s pre-Abrahamic patriarchs or he is speaking of Yahweh’s preference in choosing Jesus as Messiah before the foundations of the earth were created (i.e. in Yahweh’s prophetic plan, which is veiled in the creation accounts of Genesis chapters One, Two, & Three).  Jesus is reaching back in time long before the birth of Abraham. 

 

Another way of wording this phrase is, ‘in former times, before Abraham’s birth, I was favored (chosen).’  If this is the correct rendering, (which I believe it is), then the words that Jesus speaks to the Jews in John 8:58 are an affirmation of his calling as Israel’s ‘chosen’ Messiah.  This being the case, Jesus also affirms as a bold rebuke to these wicked religious hypocrites, that Yahweh’s initial calling and choosing (i.e. – selecting Jesus as Israel’s Messiah) took place before the inhabited world (i.e. human population). 

 

The aforementioned implications found at the heart of Jesus’ message about Abraham, caused the religious façade worn on the countenance of the learned Jewish elders to be unmasked for what is beneath the exterior religion.  He uncovered their hateful and murderous hearts and evil motives.  They reacted by seeking to seize Christ and have him stoned to death.  One other possibility does exist for retranslating John 8:58, which in all fairness to the objective truth ought to be presented.

 

In effect, this next and final rendering of John 8:58, is very likely the way that the Jews heard and interpreted the meaning of Jesus’ claim, ‘‘in former times, before Abraham’s birth, {before God created the heavens & earth) I was His preferred & chosen {as the One to be His Anointed}.’  The words ‘favored’ and ‘chosen’ are simply English synonyms that help convey the same basic idea, but these words do so from a modern, western viewpoint.  Most Christians are unfamiliar with the way that the ancient Semitic people looked at time and prophetic events.  They did not look at the ‘future’ the same as our modern conceptualization of time and space.  In Yahweh’s spiritual realm, they saw things only as He {Yahweh} revealed them. 

 

&                Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He also has planted eternity in men's hearts and minds; a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy; yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.  Amplified Bible

 

We also must remember that once Adam sinned, sin had a progressive, deteriorating effect upon things in the physical, atomic dimension.  The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics kicks in, and everything begins to wear down and wear out.  Since Adam sinned, the properties of time have not changed, but human perceptions of time have been dramatically altered and distorted because our societies are increasingly godless.  The reason that our perceptions of time have changed also has to do with multiple factors, including advances in technology and man’s understanding of the properties of light, physics, etc. 

 

&                Ecclesiastes 12:11-14 The words of the wise prod us to live well.  They’re like nails hammered home, holding life together.  They are given by God, the one Shepherd.  12 But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy.  There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else.  13 The last and final word is this: Fear God.  Do what he tells you.  14 And that’s it.  Eventually, God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it’s good or evil.  The Message Bible by Eugene Peterson 2002

 

None of mankind’s great scientific achievements or any of mankind’s advanced capabilities (mental prowess) thru computerization, mathematical equations, philosophy, or even religion will ever change the reality of this human, mortal existence.  God told Adam, ‘In the day that you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall surely die.’  This applies to every person, without exception.

 

&                Genesis 3:15-16 Yahweh said to the serpent, “And, enmity, will I {Yahweh} put between you {the serpent & the devil} and the woman {Eve}, and between your {serpent} seed {representative of all humans that hate the light of truth & who love the darkness of sin}, and her {woman’s righteous} seed; he {seed of Abraham, which is the man Christ Jesus} shall crush your {the serpent’s} head, but, you, shall crush his {Messiah’s} heel {which occurred when Jesus heel was fastened with a metal spike to the cross, crushing the tendons & other smooth, striated muscles, and ligaments}.”  16 Unto the woman {Eve}, he {Yahweh} said, “I will, increase, your pain of pregnancy, in pain, shall you bear children; yet, unto your husband, shall be your longing, though, he rules over you.”  (Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible + Author’s notes inserted in scripture text in {bracketed} words for clarification of identity & continuity).

 

The ancient Hebrew people saw the messianic promises of Yahweh and His future redemption as if they are already existed in the passage of Genesis 3:15-16 above.  From a personal point of view, my interpretation of the incident when Eve was deceived, but Adam chose to willingly disobey Yahweh’s command, she was the more spiritual and mature of them.  Also, as I will later prove, this incident portrayed in Genesis chapter 3 as the first sin, which involves two trees, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, are similes to depict sin that occurs over roughly 980-1100 years of earth’s first period of existence.

 

A case in point for illustrating this, Hebrew grammatical construction uses certain revelatory-related terms, in verb form, using the perfect mood.  In such cases, any significant future events that are conceived in the sentence construction are presented so vividly and so realistically , that the ancient Hebrew mind regards them already having virtually taken place (in times past), as well as existing in the present, though unfulfilled literally.  At first, this kind of faith and thinking sounds peculiar, even strange, but in reality, it is just as our own faith today.  The inner conviction of women and men that believed in ancient days is the same faith that we share today because God (Yahweh) is not a man that He should lie, neither is He a son of man as Jesus (Read Numbers 23:19).

 

&                Micah 5:2-15But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me {Yahweh} to be ruler in Israel.  His {Messiah’s} goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.  3 Therefore He {Yahweh} will give them up until the time when she who is in labor {looking back in time to God’s promise concerning the seed of the woman Eve} has borne a child {looking forward to the time when Yahweh will conceive His son Jesus in the womb of a virgin named Mary}.  Then the remainder of His brethren {Jew & Gentile as one flock under Jesus as Messiah} will return to the sons of Israel {the church of overcomers}.  4 And He {Messiah} will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of Yahweh, in the majesty of the name of Yahweh, His {Messiah’s} God.  And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth.  5 This One {Messiah} will be our peace.  (*New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition + Author’s notes in {brackets} for clarification of identity)

 

Though Yahweh Elohiym cursed the ground when Adam and his wife sinned, He also gave the Messianic hope thru the ‘seed of the woman.’  It might seem hazy and ambivalent to us in 21st century America, but in the Hebrew text of Genesis 3:15, there is an unmovable promise from the Almighty Himself and a guarantee of future redemption for all the ‘seed’ of the righteous!

 

&                Psalms 105:1-10 Give your thanks to Yahweh, call upon his Name, make known, among the peoples, his doings; 2 Sing to him, make your music to him, speak of all his wonders.  3 Make your boast in his holy Name, joyful be the heart of them who are seeking Yahweh.  4 Search out Yahweh and his strength,{i.e. His Messiah or Anointed One} seek diligently his face at all times.  5 Remember his wonders which he has done, His portents {i.e. His prophecies}, and the just decisions of his mouth.  6 O you Seed {Messiah} of Abrahamhis servants, sons of Jacob—his chosen ones: 7 Yahweh himself, is our God, through all the land, are his just decision.  8  He has remembered, unto times age-abiding, his covenant, The word he commanded, to a thousand generations; 9  which he solemnized {i.e. made official; honored; sanctified} with Abraham, and his oath, to Isaac; 10 and confirmed it unto Jacob for a statute, to Israel, as a covenant age-abiding. Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible

 

When rebuking these hardhearted Jews, Jesus says in essence, ‘In olden times, your forefathers long before Abraham was even born {who prophesied my coming} gave me preference of distinction.’  Below are some parallel passages of the New Testament, which attest to the veracity of my translation of John 5:58, and which testify to Abel, Noah, and Abraham, all of which gave Jesus preference in honor millennia before he was conceived in Mary’s womb and born in Bethlehem.

 

&                Matthew 23:29-39 {Jesus rebukes the Jewish religious leaders saying}, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'  31 So, you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.  32 Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers.  33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?  34 Therefore, behold, I {Jesus} am {afterward, following my death, resurrection, & my ascension to the Father’s right hand of authority} sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.  36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.  37 " Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!  How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.  38 Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!  39 For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’” {See Psalms 118:26-27a – Jesus quotes to these evil Jews a prophecy about his coming as their Messiah to shine light on their darkened minds}!’”  (*Matthew 23:29-39 =New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition + Author’s notes inserted in {bracketed words & phrases} for clarification of identity & continuity)

 

In Matthew 23:37, there is an interesting side note, which is only apparent to those familiar with the Hebrew language of the Old Testament.  Jesus says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem…  How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.”  The portrayal is of a brooding hen over her chicks; this idea is parallel to another Hebrew word used in Genesis 1:2, when the Spirit of God was ‘brooding’ (or ‘hovering over’) the surface of the deep waters. 

 

&                Genesis 1:2-4 Now, the earth, had become waste and wild, and, darkness, was on the face of the roaring deep; but, the Spirit of God, was brooding on the face of the waters.  3 And God said, “Light, be.”  And light was.  4 And God saw the light, that it was, good, and God divided, the light, from the, darkness.  Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible

 

Genesis 1:1-31 is prophetic of Yahweh’s design and plan to make believers into His image, according to His likeness.  The reason we know it is prophecy is due to many places in this chapter of Genesis 1, which are constructed as future tense (e.g. Genesis 1:26 ‘Let us make’ = future).  The illustration that Jesus uses in Matthew 23:37 is familiar to these Jewish experts in the Torah.  It is further testimony to them that long before Abraham was born, Yahweh’s future Messiah was revealed to His people and His prophets, all of whom were anticipating with preference the future Messiah’s appearance (parousia).

 

&                Luke 11:46-54 And He said, “Woe to you also, lawyers!  For you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.  47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.  48 In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs.  49 Therefore the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute; 50 that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple.  Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.  52 Woe to you lawyers {experts in the Law & Old Testament Scriptures}!  For you have taken away the key of knowledge.  You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”  53 And as He said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to assail Him vehemently, and to cross-examine Him about many things, 54 lying in wait for Him, and seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him.   (*Luke 11:46-54 = New King James Version + Author’s notes inserted in {bracketed words & phrases} for clarification of identity & continuity)

 

NOTE: FOR ADDITIONAL READING OF NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES THAT AFFIRM THE AFOREMENTIONED INTERPRETATION, SEE: Hebrews 11:4-19 & Hebrews 11:4-19

 

The Jews that Jesus rebukes realize the implications of his words.  They were aware that he was appealing back to the righteous blood of the first prophet named Abel.  The Jews also knew that he was implicating them as being like Cain whose attitude caused him to murder his righteous brother Abel.  Abel’s offering to Yahweh was preferred above that of his brother Cain, which took place long before Abram was even born (i.e. predating Abraham, back to creation).  His statements in Matthew 23:29-39 and Luke 11:46-54 run parallel in concept to what Jesus said about Abraham to the Jews in John 8:58, which angered the Jews so much that they tried to stone him.  In John 8:58, as the context proves, Jesus is NOT claiming to physically exist before Abraham was born.  In John 8:57 the Jews said earlier, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ 

One other important note to my readers concerns what Jesus says to the lawyers, who were the so-called ‘experts’ in the Law.  For all of their cranial capacity to retain and regurgitate manmade interpretations of the Old Testament Scriptures, Jesus chided them saying, ‘You have taken away the key of knowledge! You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”  Jesus makes an intimate association between the ‘KEY’ to ‘knowledge and what the lawyers failed to ‘ENTER IN’ to, as well as having ‘HINDERED’ those who were entering in.

 

It wasn’t ‘knowledge’ itself that these self-righteous advocates of law failed to enter into; rather, it was the absence of the ‘LOVE-KEY’ that kept them and those whom they hindered from entering thru the locked door of God’s kingdom.  The Greek word for ‘key’ in Luke 11:52 is kleída and it comes from a root word meaning ‘to close’ (as in closing & locking of a door).   In the Book of Revelation, Jesus commends the church in Philadelphia for possessing and righteously making use of this key to knowledge:

 

&                Revelation 3:7-8 “And to the messenger of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens:  8 ‘I know your works.  See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept my word, and have not denied my name.’”  New King James Version

 

The name of king ‘David’ is both messianic and a fulfillment of Yahweh’s plan for the Messiah’s people in the spiritual kingdom of God known as the church.  The name David means ‘loving’ and is from a root word in Hebrew that means ‘boiling’ (with affection & love); it is used of love for one’s uncle or friend; this portrays the ‘family-like’ love that God desires expressed in absolute purity and warmth amongst His people in the church (and not with any purification of sexual immorality).  This drives home the need to eradicate pornography from the lives of God’s men in the church, otherwise there can never be a true participation in expressing God’s love without purity and holiness.  Those who continue in porn and sexual immorality will not inherit the kingdom of God, nor will they enter the kingdom of heaven.  Those who indulge in sexual immorality (i.e. adultery, sodomy, pornography, fornication, oral sex, and any other form of perversion that is contrary to the purity of Jesus).

 

The words, “in Philadelphia,” are transliterated literally from the Greek as ‘Filadelfeía’ and when combined together with the literal meaning of the Greek words for ‘the church’ in Revelation 3:7 (teés ekkleesías Filadelfeía) it means: Those called from and into the direction of being in a fixed position, of close association in dear, and active fondness as friends, coming from the same womb…” 

 

“Philadelphia” means friendship that is fixed and stable; unshakable, regardless of circumstances.  This is to be the primary direction for the Philadelphian church and the friendship of the Philadelphian church is described in its intimacy by the terms, “close association in dear and active fondness.”  This implies a mutual care, love, and concern for one another, which is demonstrated in its “active” state.  After all, faith without works is dead.  The church in Philadelphia loves in both word and deed.

 

In the Greek text, the root word origin of “Philadelphia” ends with the Greek word, “delphus” (i.e. womb).  The womb is a metaphor to describe spiritual birthing.  As ‘born-again’ believers, we enter into a spiritual relationship with God and we share the same with each other.  The Spirit of God (John 3:3-8) makes contact with our human spirit once the sin and shame for sin has been removed thru faith in the sacrificial propitiation of the man Christ Jesus, the only mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5).  The Father, Yahweh, imparts ‘new life’ to our human spirit and immediately we are transformed.  We become “brothers” and “sisters” of a spiritual family of God.  The “womb” obviously infers the place in which the birth takes place.

 

The church is referred to in the feminine gender (Ephesians 5:25-33; Galatians 4:24-31) and is represented in the scripture oftentimes as a woman or a bride. In figurative language, God’s spirit plants His eternal “seed” (i.e. Jesus; see Galatians 3:13-16) in the “womb” of the church.  At full term, the church goes into labor pains trying to be delivered of this man child (Revelation 12:1-6).  These are believers that have matured in truth and love.  They shall rule and reign together with Christ in the new heavens and new earth, with New Jerusalem as the capitol city located on the heavenly Mount Zion.  Here there are myriads of those who are the spirits of righteous people made perfect thru obedience in what they suffered in this life, just as their sympathetic High Priest Jesus! 

 

In ancient times, the steward of a wealthy family, especially of the royal household, was given a key, probably a golden one in recognition of his office. Therefore, the phrase referring to giving a person the key naturally grew into an expression of raising him to great power (See Isaiah 22:22 with Revelation 3:7).  The Lord designated the apostle Peter as the first messenger first to open the kingdom of heaven to a great crowd of devout Jews in Jerusalem at Pentecost (Read Acts 2) and later at Caesarea, which was of the Gentiles (Acts 10).

 

In addition, we may take this to refer to the power (dunamis; see Acts 1:8 with Luke 24:49) that the Lord Jesus later gave to all believers in binding and loosing the sins of those who repent.  This does not mean that believers have the actual power to forgive sins as God.  As believers, we declare the forgiveness granted by God to others by working as co-laborers together with the glorified spirit of the man Christ Jesus.  Jesus is able to continue working thru us when we obey his Father, God, and do whatever He commands us (i.e. loving in good deeds and words).

 

In summary on this point, the ‘key of knowledge’ referred to in Luke 11:52 is the means of attaining true knowledge in respect to the kingdom of God.  It is God-given authority to explain the Law and the Prophets, which was given among the Jews by the delivery of a key.  Also, a note on the Old Testament origin of the ‘key of David’ (Revelation 3:7) alludes to the promise made to Eliakim (Isaiah 22:22 [cf. 2 Kings 18:18]) and signifies the capacity of the spirit of Jesus working in and thru his household, the Church.

 

&                Revelation 19:7-10 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready."  8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.  9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’”  And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”  10 And I fell at his feet to worship him.  But he said to me, “See that you do not do that!  I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus.  Worship God!  For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."  New King James Version

 

When the messenger says to the apostle John, ‘Worship God,’ it is meant as an unmistakable rebuke.  In his rebuke to John for his misplaced veneration, this messenger on assignment gives his identity as being equal to that of John’s ‘fellow servant.’  The Greek word súndoulós is a compounded word form for ‘fellow servant’ that connotes strong association with fellow human identity in its literal ‘one who serves the same master with another.’ 

 

What exactly is meant when the messenger says ‘For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy?’  The phrase begins with ‘for’ and a common synonym used in place of ‘for’ is the word ‘because.’  Of these, two words either ‘for’ or ‘because’ are used grammatically in construction to join clauses and show dependence upon the antecedent.  If we replace ‘for’ with ‘because’ and improve upon the translation, the phrase reads, ‘Worship God, (emphatic) because in order {for anyone} to bear witness to Jesus as a martyr {requires} a life that is inspired by revelation.’

 

This messenger is explaining to John that he is not Deity, but simply as your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. The Greek words used in Revelation 19:10b give far more insight than standard English Bible versions. For example, the Greek word marturían is rendered as ‘testimony,’ (as in testimony of Jesus’), and is from a root word cognate martus; martus is defined literally to mean ‘a witness’ (judicially or figuratively); by analogy, it means ‘martyr.’ 

 

Our English word ‘martyr’ is derived from this Greek root martus and in Acts 22:20, the apostle Paul describes his former life as a Jewish rabbinical persecutor of the church that was consenting to the stoning to death of the ‘martyr’ (martus) Stephen.  However, the word martus itself has a much broader use and application and is not limited to martyrdom alone.  In Matthew 18:15-16, when Jesus teaches his disciples how ‘brother’ ought to confront a fellow brother (both human, by the way), if the man who has sinned refuses to listen when privately corrected, Jesus said, “…take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses (martus) every word may be established.' 

 

The meaning of our replacement translation for Revelation 19:10b is affirming that if a believer truly bears personal ‘martus’ type witness to the persecuted form of life that Jesus of Nazareth suffered, he or she would only do so if they were in an inspired relationship with the same God and Father that Jesus as a fellow servant served and died to please.  In fact, the closest sense in English that we can relate to when describing martus in 21st century America, is perhaps as a ‘material witness’ in our legal system. 

 

The difference between an eyewitness and a material witness is personal involvement.  The material witness was actually participating in whatever event or incident he or she is testifying to.  Who in their right mind would willingly testify in a courtroom where they knew the sentence would be unjust and result in the distinct probability they would be executed at the end of the day?  Without divine leading and personal revelation to carry you, it is not only unlikely, but impossible to bear such a testimony to Jesus.

 

In composition (súndoulós) the preposition ‘sún’ is literally denoting union; with or together and denotes association, community, fellowship & participation together.  The other half of the compounded súndoulós is the noun doulós, which is the typical Greek term used throughout the entire Roman Empire for a slave.  A slave was usually a house-servant as one of a few or many slaves belonging to one owner.  Hence, the term súndoulós came to mean resemblance, possession, and even companionship as a fellow-servant; or as one who serves the same master with another.  In case the reader is unfamiliar with the Book of Revelation, this servant-messenger is first mentioned in Revelation 1:1-2, 5-6, 9 (see below):

 

&                Revelation 1:1-2, 5-6, 9 The Revelation of Jesus the Messiah, which God gave to him, to show to his servants the things that must shortly occur: and he signified it by sending, through his messenger, to his servant John; 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus the Messiah, as to all that he saw…5  and from Jesus the Messiah, the Witness, the faithful, the First-born of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth; who hath loved us, and released us from our sins by his blood; 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.  9  I John, your brother, and partaker with you in the affliction and suffering that are in Jesus the Messiah, was in the island called Patmos, because of the word of God, and because of the testimony of Jesus the Messiah.

 

The language of these verses with words in bold black and red highlights are indicative of the same use of Greek words related to those used in Revelation 19:10, all of which testify to Jesus the man, not deity… who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus the Messiah the Witness the First-born of the dead and released us from our sins by his blood and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father I John, your brother, and partaker with you in the affliction and suffering that are in Jesus the Messiah because of the testimony of Jesus.

 

OTHER VERSES CONTAINING: “the testimony of Jesus” (Greek = teén marturían Ieesoú)

 

&                Revelation 12:7-12, 17 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.  9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.  11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.  12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time… 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. New King James Version

 

OTHER VERSES CONTAINING: “the testimony of Jesus” (Greek = teén marturían Ieesoú)

 

&                Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them, and the souls of those who have been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus, and because of the word of God, and who did not bow before the beast, nor his image, and did not receive the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand, and they did live and reign with Christ the thousand years.  Young's Literal Translation Bible

                                      

The testimony of Jesus IS the ‘spirit of prophecy’ that works in and thru believers, whenever we are willing to make our lives into a ‘living sacrifice’ (Romans 12:1-2).  Jesus is able to show himself alive and reveal his Father God thru willing vessels, who daily pour out their love for the Father, Yahweh, via the dunamis ability given to them.  This point is emphasized and punctuated ‘daily’ if we abide with him in the spirit, because there’s no way it will happen thru or by means of our fleshly efforts.

 

I believe this is the primary reason for speaking in other tongues.  Even though the glossalalia spoken during prayer in tongues is unknown, our spirit is praying and doing so via the glorified man Christ Jesus, our mediator and sympathetic High Priest, which ever lives to make intercession on our behalf.

 

Now read the verses surrounding John 8:58 (below); but this time, let’s insert my translation of verse 58, and see how it flows with the overall meaning of what Jesus is explaining about his former preferred status.

 

&                John 8: 52-59 “Now,” exclaimed the Jews, “we know that you {Jesus} are possessed by a demon.  Abraham died, and so did the Prophets, and yet *you* say, ‘If any one shall have obeyed my teaching, he shall in no case ever taste death.’  53  Are you really greater than our forefather Abraham? For he died.  And the prophets died.  Who do you make yourself out to be?”  54  “Were I to glorify myself,” answered Jesus, “I should have no real glory.  There is One who glorifies me—namely my Father, who you say is your God.  55 You do not know Him, but I know Him perfectly; and were I to deny my knowledge of Him, I should resemble you, and be a liar.  On the contrary, I do know Him, and I obey His commands.  56 Abraham your forefather exulted in the hope of seeing my day: and he saw, and was glad.”  57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” cried the Jews, “and have you seen Abraham?”  58 “In most solemn truth,” answered Jesus, “I tell you that ‘in former times, before Abraham’s birth, I was preferred as {the} greater.  59 Thereupon, they took up stones with which to stone Him, but He hid Himself and went away out of the Temple. (New King James Version = John 8:52-57,59 + John 8:58 = The Appropriate Translation + Author’s notes inserted in {bracketed words & phrases} for clarification of identity & continuity)

 

Curious about my new discoveries in scripture, and excited to learn that I could rediscover the true Jesus of the Bible, I restudied many passages of the Bible that were formerly viewed as ‘proof text’ that support the alleged ‘Deity of Christ.’  One keen example that is almost laughable once you read the text in its proper context is the claim of Jesus speaking again as the Great ‘I AM’ at his arrest by the Roman cohort sent by the Jewish high priests.  As the soldiers approached Jesus and his disciples who were with him in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus stood in front of the disciples, as to protect them, and asked the arresting soldiers, ‘Whom do you seek?’ 

 

The soldiers, temple guards, and the servants to the High Priest answered Jesus saying, ‘We seek Jesus of Nazareth.’  Notice, they did not say, ‘We seek Yahweh God,’ or, ‘We seek the Great I AM.’  In response to their words, Jesus answers them saying, ‘I am he.’  In other words, Jesus is affirming his identity as Jesus of Nazareth.  As he spoke these words, the entire regiment of Roman soldiers, and the crowd that accompanied them with clubs, torches, and weapons to arrest Jesus and his disciples… all of them fell backward!  Imagine that scene! Below is the text that best illustrates this scenario:

 

&                John 18:1-14 After offering this prayer Jesus went out with His disciples to a place on the further side of the Ravine of the Cedars, where there was a garden which He entered—Himself and His disciples.  2 Now Judas also, who at that very time was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often resorted there with His disciples.  3 So Judas, followed by the battalion and by a detachment of the Temple police sent by the High Priests and Pharisees, came there with torches and lamps and weapons.  4 Jesus therefore, knowing all that was about to befall Him, went out to meet them.  Who are you looking for?”  He asked them.  5For Jesus the Nazarene,” was the answer. “I am he,” He replied. (Now Judas who was betraying Him was also standing with them.)  6 As soon then as He said to them, “I am he,” they went backwards and fell to the ground.  7 Again therefore He asked them, “Who are you looking for?” “For Jesus the Nazarene,” they said.  8I have told you,” replied Jesus, “that I am he. If therefore you are looking for me, let these my disciples go their way.”  9 He made this request IN ORDER THAT THE WORDS HE HAD SPOKEN might be fulfilled, "As for those whom Thou hast given me, I have not lost one.”  10 Simon Peter, however, having a sword, drew it, and, aiming at the High Priest’s servant, cut off his right ear.  The servant’s name was Malchus.  11 Jesus therefore said to Peter “Put back your sword.  Shall I refuse to drink the cup of sorrow which the Father has given me to drink?”  12 So, the battalion and their tribune and the Jewish police closed in, and took Jesus and bound Him.  13 They then brought Him to Annas first; for Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was High Priest that year.  14 (It was this Caiaphas who had advised the Jews, saying, “It is to your interest THAT ONE MAN SHOULD DIE for the People.”)  Weymouth New Testament Translation

 

Jesus first approaches the mob of around 500 or more soldiers, temple guards, temple servants, etc.  It is commonly held that this large show of force was for a twofold purpose.  First, they planned to arrest not only Jesus, but also the twelve disciples, minus the traitor Judas Iscariot, who was with the mob.  Secondly, the show of force had much to do with the fact that literally tens of thousands of people were flocking to Jesus daily to hear him teach and witness his miraculous signs (e.g. healing the sick, casting out of evil spirits, etc).  Should this force of 500 or so men run into a crowd of 30-40,000 angry people, even this amount would be insufficient.  This is why they came at twilight; it was thought by this time of evening, most people were bedded down for the night.

 

The assumption that is commonly made by the Christian church that leads to the misidentification of Jesus as ‘Deity’ in John 18:1-14 is when he answers the Roman battalion leader.  First Jesus asks them, ‘“Who are you looking for?”  They replyFor Jesus the Nazarene,” was the answer.  I am he,” Jesus replied, as Judas was now greeting Jesus with the betrayers kiss & marking Jesus out by standing with them.  As soon then as Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they went backwards and fell to the ground.    

 

I was taught in Bible College that when Jesus said, ‘I am he’ it was Yahweh speaking in him saying ‘I AM,’ just as He (Yahweh) spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai.  Many Christian theologians use this event of Jesus’ arrest to allege as ‘proof’ that only Jesus as ‘God’ could have made an entire Roman battalion fall backwards.  I would agree that ‘God’ knocked the cohort of soldiers down, not the man Jesus.  However, this manifest power of Yahweh is not equal to changing the human identity of Jesus into that of ‘Deity.’  In other words, just because a miraculous sign has happened, it does not make or prove that Jesus of Nazareth is one and the same as ‘God.  Let’s examine the text and see what it really says.

 

Notice in John 18:7-9, that after the soldiers got themselves pancaked by Yahweh’s backhand,  they fell down and collided with each other.  What a scene that must have been.  Picture in your mind, what a mob of 500 angry men, bug, burly soldiers, at a time of evening dark enough to require the light of flaming torches to see their way.  I’m sure they felt cocky and confident this would go down without a hitch.  They probably expected Jesus and his disciples to scatter and run, which means they anticipated a chase. 

 

Jesus blows their whole scheme to smithereens the first time; when he walks up to them, meek, humble, yet extremely confident in his Father’s strength.  We must also recognize, that aside from the confidence Jesus held as his own in the spirit of God, he was still a human being, with the same experiences we at times encounter, such as  fear, trepidation, anxiety, apprehension, confusion and other types human emotions and feelings.

 

After all, it would seem perfectly normal for Jesus to have his pulse and blood pressure elevate anticipating the cruel torture and the taunting and mocking of his faith, his God, and his purpose in redeeming Israel.  I’m certain that Jesus had the same endocrine system and internal organs, glands, and skin as normal human beings.  His adrenaline would be pumping overtime and helping his flight/fight response to danger. 

 

In all of this, and much more than I’m capable of describing, Jesus stayed constant in his inner communion with the Father.  How else could he remain so placid, so meek, so quiet, and go to the slaughter like a lamb without a voice?  Undoubtedly the scriptures that Jesus cherished and meditated upon his entire adult life were now brought to his remembrance by the spirit of God, especially the psalms, and the prophets.  I can hear him reciting the words, ‘He will keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed upon You Father.’

 

I would liken the same odds that Jesus was facing on the day of his betrayal and arrest to the plight of little David, when he decided to challenged Goliath, the Philistine from Gath.  As he approached over 500 heavily armed, extremely vicious, battle-hardened Roman troops, all of them armed to the man with razor-sharp broadswords, the famed Roman long spear (like a well-balanced javelin with a sharpened, metal point), and many others wielded heavy wooden clubs, made of olive burl wood, oak, or other hardwood, then hardened over and over in the fire.  The wooden clubs were fierce, close-combat weapons designed to crush the human skull with one blow.  Some of these clubs were weighted by adding resin to saturate the pores of the wood and make it heavy and dense with multiple, hardened layers of saturated pitch.

 

In spite of the Roman’s ‘in your face’ show of force, Jesus is not intimidated; he simply walks toward them, and asks, ‘Hey, who are you guys looking for?’  A captain of the guard, a surly, giant of a man, hollers with a deep, strong voice, ‘Jesus the Nazarene.’  As soon as Jesus affirms to them that he is indeed Jesus of Nazareth, “BAM!”  Over 500 guys, flat on their butts!  What would happen if 500 guys fell backward holding flaming torches, clubs, spears, swords, and this is on a relatively steep incline, at night, on unfamiliar terrain, and with a mishmash group of combined temple guards, servants, and soldiers that are not familiar with each other or the land?

 

Once they had fallen down all over each other finally got back up, dusted themselves off, and collected the torches, put out the singed hair that must have caught fire when they crashed into each other, not to mentioned how many swords and clubs conked each other on the noggin, they did not go back for more!

 

You can bet on one thing for sure… they were reticent and feared approaching Jesus a second time.  Since Jesus was spiritually and mentally aware that his time of suffering had arrived, as purposed and planned by his Father God, it is Jesus who reproaches the soldiers a second time.

 

Fear grips each man’s heart as they see Jesus approaching them AGAIN!  What would you do if you were in their sandals?  Again, Jesus asks them, “Who are you looking for?”  “For Jesus the Nazarene,” they peeped…sheepishly, and with great respect; no doubt, they said, ‘Sir.’

 

“I have told you,” replied Jesus, “that I am he.  If therefore you are looking for me, let these my disciples go their way.”  He made this request in order that the words He had spoken might be fulfilled, "As for those whom You {Yahweh} have given me {Jesus}, I have not lost one.” 

 

This act of Yahweh in knocking the soldiers backwards was in order to fulfill a word that the Father had spoken to His Messiah son, that says Jesus would not lose any of his disciples, whom God had given to him for the work of the gospel. 

 

The final text to examine before moving to the next section, is yet another alleged ‘proof’ text that Christian church pastors and Bible teachers misuse.  Below, the context of John 10:31-36 is so obvious, it warrants little commentary or explanation by me.  Jesus never laid claim to being ‘God’ but the Jews misinterpreted and misconstrued Jesus’ words to make it appear that he claimed to be deity.  In reality, the context plainly shows that Jesus makes only one claim… ‘I am the son of God.’

 

&                John 10:31-36 Again the Jews picked up rocks to throw at him.  32  Jesus said, "I have made a present to you from the Father of a great many good actions. For which of these acts do you stone me?”  33 The Jews said, "We’re not stoning you for anything good you did, but for what you said—this blasphemy of calling yourself God."  34 Jesus said, "I’m only quoting your inspired Scriptures, where God said, ‘I tell you; you are gods.’  35 If God called your ancestors ‘gods’ and Scripture doesn’t lie 36 why do you yell, ‘Blasphemer! Blasphemer!’ at the unique One the Father consecrated and sent into the world, just because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?  Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible

 

Our final set of verses to end Part I are found in John 5:31-44, oftentimes referred to by scholars as Jesus’ ‘fourfold witness.’  In this context, Jesus repeatedly uses the Greek word ‘marturían’ as was examined earlier in Revelation 19:10.  The New King James Version translates it properly as ‘witness’ and as you will read, Jesus consistently refers to the One and only ‘witness’ that he needs for validation… his Father, God. 

 

&                John 5:31-44 "If I bear witness (marturían) of Myself, My witness (marturían)  is not true.  32 There is another who bears witness (marturían) of Me, and I know that the witness (marturían) which He witnesses (marturían) of Me is true.  33 You have sent to John, and he has borne witness (marturían) to the truth.  34 Yet I do not receive testimony (marturían)  from man, but I say these things that you may be saved.  35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.  36 But I have a greater witness than John's; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish — the very works that I do — bear witness (marturían) of Me, that the Father has sent Me.  37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified (marturían) of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.  38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.  39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.  40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.  41 "I do not receive honor from men.  42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.  43 I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.  44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?”  New King James Version

 

Part 2 will discuss the testimony of John the Baptist and examine in depth the human soul of Jesus of Nazareth.  We will also detail why it was necessary for Jesus to be baptized by John the Baptist, whose water baptism was for the remission of sins.  There will be many ties to the Old Testament prophecies, plus some new translations for Isaiah 53 that I think will prove a blessing to you and make you closer to Jesus.

 

SELAH…Pause and reflect

 

 

Continued in Part Two

 

 

Craig Bluemel

The Bible Answer Stand Ministry

1 Peter 3:15 Always be ready to give reasonable justification to anyone who asks you for an explanation of the hope that is within you,  but do it considerately and courteously.

 

 

 


 

Go directly to these parts of the “Jesus…Our Sympathetic High Priest” Study:

Part 1: Jesus the Anointed One

Part 2: Deity of Christ Doctrine Refuted

Part 3: John the Baptist Prepares the Way

Part 4: Jesus GAVE His Human Soul as an Offering for Guilt

Part 5: The Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness

Part 6: Was it "Divine Blood" that Jesus Offered in Sacrifice on the Cross?

 

 


 

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