In this book of John we learn that real light is not what we, through our flesh eyes, perceive it to be.
The name "John" is Ioannes in the Greek and comes from the Hebrew word Yohanan which means "Yahveh has been gracious" or "Yahveh's gift". And certainly our Father has been most gracious to all of us in giving us His Word through this "disciple whom Jesus loved", the apostle John.
John was a son of Salome and Zebedee, who was a master fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. He was also the brother of James, who suffered martyrdom under Herod Agrippa I as recorded in the Book of Acts:
And whereas our Lord and Savior would call Peter "Cephas", which means rock, He would surname these two brothers, James and John, "Boanerges", which means the "Sons of Thunder".Acts 12:1
Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
It would be this same John, a son of thunder, who would be taken in spirit to the great Day of Lord, the first day of the Millennium, and SHOWN the actual events of the 7 Seals and 7 Trumps recorded in the Olivet Prophecy by the other three Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark and Luke.Mark 3:17
And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and He surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:
It was this same John who sat at the right hand of Jesus Christ at the Last Supper and who leaned on His bosom. And it was John who was the only disciple of the 12 who was at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified, until the Lord sent him away with His mother. And so it was John who was taken to the third heaven and privileged to actually SEE the lightings and thunderings which usher in the return of Jesus Christ at His second advent. He records all of it for us to read and study and understand in the great book of the unveiling, the Book of Revelation.
Furthermore, John, along with Peter and James, was the only Gospel writer who saw the Lord in His Glory at the mount of transfiguration. It is no wonder then that the Divine purpose in the Gospel of John is to present the Lord Jesus as God. Dr. E. W. Bullinger writes in the Companion Bible in his preface to the Book of John, "This is the one great feature which constitutes the difference between this Gospel and the other three." Again in his notes he writes, "The purpose of the Holy Spirit by John, in his presentation of the Messiah, is to say to us and to all, 'Behold your God'; and His Deity is observed throughout this Gospel."
Knowing then that the presentation of "Jesus as God" and "Behold your God" is the overall theme of his Gospel, John himself gives us the reason why the events contained in this incredible Gospel were written.Isaiah 40:9
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
So John writes to give us documentation that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Divine God. And he tells us again in the third chapter that if you believe in Him, then you shall have eternal life.John 20:31
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Behold, the Gospel of John:
Where have we heard "In the beginning" before? Right! In the beginning of the Word of God, in Genesis 1:1 to which this same time frame refers. Of course "kids" always want to know when "in the beginning" was. We tell them that God "always was" and "always will be" and they say, "I don't understand, is that the best you can do?" Well, perhaps. But know this, time is not a measurement of the spiritual dimension just as a "thought" has no length, or breadth or height, does it?John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Man has his limitations in the flesh. If he could hear all sounds in the city, he would be deafened. If he could see all the molecules and particles in the air, he would be blinded. He can only reach about three feet and jump so high. And the same limitations apply to the flesh mind. I like to use the "carrot" test to illustrate the point.
Close your eyes and envision 3 carrots. Pretty easy, isn't it? Now close your eyes and see exactly 148 carrots. You can't do it? Our minds can't even SEE 148 objects and yet we want someone to explain infinity and then the Trinity. There are some things that lie beyond man's ability to comprehend. They belong to the other dimension, behind the veil which separates this one from that one.However, there is one thing we do know as revealed in God's Word, and that is that "In the beginning" was BEFORE CREATION! Yes, there was a time before this planet earth even existed, but He who always was and always will be was there, even the Father, the Word and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
Wisdom was with God before any of His works, i.e. creations.Proverbs 8:22-26
The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
There was no earth "In the beginning". I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
Was "the beginning" only 6,000 years ago as the unlearned claim? Hardly! It was aions ago, or as the late Carl Sagan would say "Billions and billions and billions of years ago". When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
So what did exist "In the beginning"? We just read it in the first verse of John. Let's read it again:
John certainly knows who the Word of God is. He saw Jesus Christ many times, in the flesh, transfigured, and while in heaven. Here's his description of Him in heaven.John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
So the Word of God was in the beginning with God, because He was God.Rev. 19:13
And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.
Christ is the Living Word of God. He always was and He always will be. He changes not!John 1:2
The same was in the beginning with God.
So when we read Genesis 1:1 we now know Who it was that did all the creating. It was the Word of God who created the heaven and the earth. All things were made by Him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Hey, the apostle Paul knew it was the Word of God who created the heaven and the earth:Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
We understand through faith because "that's the best we can do" because of the "Carrot Factor", i.e. the problem we have seeing into the other dimension. So we don't know how He did it, but we know He did it.Hebrews 11:3
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
The apostle Peter knew it was the Word of God who created the heaven and the earth:
Everyone knows it was the Word of God who created the heaven and the earth, don't they? Oh, I forgot about the public school systems and the scoffers who are willingly ignorant of God's Word. They have no idea and so they keep "big banging" their heads trying to figure it all out.2 Peter 3:5
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
And everyone knows that life can only come from life, don't they? Life existed before the creation of the world, and it is that life from which all that has life comes.
Yes, but unfortunately we know there was one who didn't want to walk in that light, and his name was Lucifer.And he brought darkness into the "world that then was" but he did not prevail.John 1:4
In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.
"Comprehend" is the Greek word katalambano; Strong's #2638, and means to take eagerly, to seize, or to overcome. Satan wanted to seize or usurp the light, the throne of God, but the darkness could not overthrow the Light.John 1:5
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
And as everyone knows (don't they), God destroyed the "world that then was", the first earth age (2 Pet. 3:5-6) and created the heaven and earth age that exist now.
All Gone! You can see the fossils and remains of the dinosaurs, etc., in the bedrock all over the earth.2 Peter 3:5-7
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
And so in Genesis 1:2 the earth became utterly wasted, and was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
That's right! God separated the darkness from the light! The Word of God separated Satan from the Light of men and He sentenced him to outer darkness and eternal death! And following this present earth age, when the plan of salvation of the sons of God is complete, there shall come a new heaven and a new earth, the final one which will last for all eternity.Genesis 1:3
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
There will be a new heaven and a new earth after the Millennium. John actually got to see the New Jerusalem come right down out of heaven (Rev. 21).2 Pet. 3:7
But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
And so it is that John has given credentials to Jesus Christ as God Himself. He is the very Living Word of God and we have His Written Word in our hands.Rev. 21:1
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
What say we then? Shall we walk in darkness or in light? Here are Christ's words as recorded by John:
The choice is yours!John 8:12
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Was Jesus Christ actually God? The Gospel of John declares Him so! So anyone who tells you that He wasn't is a liar and the truth is not in him. This same John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, declares them so in his epistles.
Next we will learn about the forerunner of Jesus Christ who was sent by God to declare that the Word of God, the Light of men, was come into the world to dwell among men.
We call him John the Baptist, and he wasn't a self proclaimed prophet, for he was the very last prophet before the Messiah, and he was SENT from Almighty God in the Spirit of Elijah with a specific mission which will be defined in the next verse. In fact, he was sent [placed in his mother's womb] just 6 months before Mary's miraculous conception on the day we now celebrate as Christmas.John 1:6
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
It should be noted that the word "sent" used here is the Greek word apostello and it means set apart and sent out. It is the very word from which we get "apostle". And as we read the next few verses we will discover that John indeed was the apostle sent forth to proclaim and bear testimony of the Light which was to come, even God Himself, the Word, in the flesh.
So John the Baptist didn't just happen along. His birth was perfectly planned, perfectly timed, and perfectly well announced by a very high ranking angel, and Luke perfectly documents it with specific and revealing details. Don't think for one minute that the Holy Spirit moved Luke to just tell a nice "story" of the birth of John and Jesus so we could have material for Christmas plays and pageants. There are no "filler words" and wasted space in the Word of God. Therefore much can be learned when one knows there is a reason and a purpose for ALL that is written.
So if you take the time to read and rightly divide the account of Luke concerning how John the Baptist was SENT into this world you will discover some amazing truths which are "hidden" from the majority of Christianity. Understand, they [the amazing truths] are only "hidden" because people refuse to "take heed" and study His Word seriously, like as if it was written from the Creator of all the Universe. Think about it! Either the Bible is the Word of God, or it isn't! Your belief as to the verity of that statement determines the seriousness of your study.
So here are some examples of the wonderful gems you can possess from reading the account of John the Baptist's birth:
(Gem #1) The reason it is documented that both Zecharias and Elizabeth, John's parents, were descendents of Aaron is to show that they were both of the tribe of Levi, the tribe from which the "priesthood" came. Why is that important? Because it is also written that Elizabeth was Mary's cousin, which means that their mothers were sisters.Note: For a further study and more details on the SENT of John the Baptist and the BIRTH of Jesus see appendix 179 in the Companion Bible. There you will find some more gems explained.
Note: Mary's genealogy is given in Luke chapter 3 beginning with her father Heli, who was of the tribe of Judah as the account shows. Don't be confused because the genealogy begins with Joseph, Mary's husband. Even a cursory examination of the scriptures shows that Joseph was the "son-in-law" of Heli, which is what the phrase "as was supposed" means in the Greek. Joseph's genealogy is given in Matthew chapter 1.
So what does all this mean? It means that Mary was 1/2 of the tribe of Judah, the Kingship line, and 1/2 of the tribe of Levi, the Priesthood line. AND SO, Jesus Christ qualified right down to His very genealogy as The KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS. Both the ROD and the SCEPTER belong to Him BY HIS VERY BIRTHRIGHT! He is our KING and our HIGH PRIEST! Is the Word of God perfect or what?
Note: Next time someone tells you that Jesus was a Jew, you can confirm that they are partially correct. He was also a Levite.
(Gem #2) The reason Luke wrote that Zacharias was in the Course of Abia is so that we could know what time of year it was! Why is that important? You see, we are told that it was 6 months after John the Baptist was begotten that Mary was found to be with child. Do you realize that if we only knew when John the Baptist was conceived we would know when Christ was conceived and thus WHEN JESUS WAS BORN !And guess what? WE DO and it wasn't December 25th!
The actual DATES for the 24 Courses of the Levitical priests are GIVEN in the Book of I Chronicles, chapter 24! How many people do you know who have ever read the Book of Chronicles? In fact, for those of you who sometimes think that we're a little too "hard" on the ignorance of Christianity, especially those who are in charge of leading and teaching Christians, then perform this little test anytime, anywhere. Ask a professing Christian what the Course of Abia was that the father of John the Baptist, Zacharias, was performing in the "Christmas story" account of Luke. Your answer will be "The Course of What?" You'll know right then and there that they are believers in the traditions of men and believe Christ was born on December 25th. They probably also believe there were 3 Wise Men when there is absolutely no documentation as to how many there were (except for the song "We Three Kings", the lyrics of which are not scripture). They also construct Nativity Scenes with the Wise Men in attendance, when only the shepherds from the field were present. The wise men entered into Joseph and Mary's house in Nazareth when Jesus was about 2 years old.
The point is, WHERE are the teachers of our people?
Well, if you want to know when Christ was born you'll need the Book of Chronicles. We are not going to go into detail, but you will find that John the Baptist was conceived around June 24, 5 B.C., and that 6 months later, on December 25th, CHRISTMAS DAY, Jesus Christ was CONCEIVED. He was then born on September 29th, 4 B.C., on the 1st Day of the Feast of Tabernacles! Do you know what the Feast of Tabernacles signifies? God dwelling in the FLESH, an earthly tabernacle, a temporary dwelling! Is God's Word perfect or what?
(Gem #3) If you calculate the conception of Jesus to His birth you will find there were EXACTLY 280 days, which is the perfect gestation of a human being! In Biblical numerics it is 40 weeks or forty sevens, or 7 x 5 x 8= 280. Now you know why a lot of babies are considered a little past due.
(Gem #4) Do you recall the account when Mary, who had just conceived, immediately ran to her cousin Elizabeth and the babe, John the Baptist, leapt in his mother's womb? Now you know the answer to the question, "When is a fetus viable?" There is life at CONCEPTION! I didn't say that life began at conception, for those who are familiar with the "world that then was" know that ALL of us were with our Father before He SENT us here too!
Let us now return to the Gospel of John and read why God sent John the Baptist.
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. John the Baptist came to bear a witness, i.e. to declare that the Light is coming and to prepare, as he himself said in John 1:23 "He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias."John 1:7
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
Again, John was not the Light, but he was SENT to testify and bear witness of the Light. Even as we read this Gospel he is bearing witness of the Light, isn't he? I guess we could say he "left the light on". He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
And that Light is there for any and every one who "will" be illuminated by Him. It is hard to imagine that there are those who prefer darkness rather than light, but there are. Jesus Christ said it's because they have something to hide, like sins and evil deeds. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
As we read this next verse keep in mind from the first verses of this chapter that the true Light created all things and that nothing was made that was not made by Him. Think about how He must have felt.John 3:19
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
The world didn't recognize their very Creator. But they will ALL recognize Him the next time He comes!John 1:10
He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew him not.
Even His own kinfolk did not receive Him as Messiah. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
It takes POWER to be a Child of God. Whether you like it not, or whether you believe it or not, there's a spiritual WAR going on out there. The forces of darkness are Waging War against the Children of Light. Most of us only think about and have concern for our physical well being, but our real problem, whether we know it or not, or whether our flesh mind can comprehend it or not, is from the forces of evil we constantly face, i.e. those principalities and powers, rulers of darkness and wickedness from high places in the spiritual world which we can't see with our flesh and blood eyes, yet exists all around us! But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
So let's be about using that POWER and stomp some Dragon!Ephes. 6:12
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Again, He gave us the power! We have the power! But it is up to us to use it!Luke 10:19
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Who are those serpents and scorpions, i.e. our enemies? Well, who was the serpent in the garden? Yes, Satan of course, and his troop of fallen angels, i.e. the locusts we learn about in the book of Joel and in Revelation 9:7. They are coming to earth in person very soon and are already here in spirit. Yes, locusts the size of horses, with stingers in their tails!
And He will never let us down.Ephes. 6:10
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Do you have the power to become a son of God?
John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:
Just what does it mean to believe on His name?
The answer lies in knowing "What His Name Is"!
And John told us earlier in Chapter one.
Rev. 19:13 And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.
is the Word of God that gives power to those who believe on His
for His name is the Word of God.
this may sound really simple,
because it is,
but do you have the Word of God?
Do you read it daily?
Then you have the power!
Continuing with the subject of the Light coming into the world. Some might say that this verse is simply talking about being "born again" of the spirit, and if that is how you see it, that is OK, but on a deeper level this verse addresses the subject of predestination. Let's read it first.
Instead of "Which were born" (the word born meaning begotten) some of the manuscripts (as noted in the Companion Bible) read "Who was begotten", which is singular, referring to the subject being discussed of the Light coming in to the world, i.e. Jesus Christ. And of course the begetting and birth of Christ was not dependent on mankind, or on the course of nature, or on the will of the flesh, or on family planning. No, His birth was due to the Will of God.John 1:13
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
But didn't we just read that the begetting of John the Baptist was also by the will of God? Our Father SENT him here, right?
We also read the following verse earlier:
Are you one of those to whom He has given power? Do you believe on His name, the Word of God, both Living and Written? Then as one of God's elect your begetting and your birth WAS NO ACCIDENT either. It was also not dependent on mankind, or on the course of nature, or on the will of the flesh, or on family planning. No, your birth, like John's, was due to the Will of God.John 1:12
But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:
If you have studied with us through the books of Genesis or Ephesians or Peter, etc., then you are familiar with the "World that then was" (II Pet. 3:6), before God destroyed it at the rebellion of Satan. And before He even formed this present earth age He set your time to be sent here, as one of His.
Your Father SENT you here to be a part of this final generation of the fig tree. You are somebody! You are a child of the Living God and you are truly well blessed indeed!Ephes. 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
And because of His love for His children, having made them all to be born in the flesh, He Himself became born of flesh to dwell among us. (No one will ever be able to say at judgment, "Oh yeah, you try living in one of those flesh bodies once." He did!)
Dr. Moffat translates "full of grace and truth" as "full of grace and reality".John 1:14
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
And John the Baptist, who was sent by God in the Spirit of Elijah, as the voice crying in the wilderness, bare witness of Jesus Christ that He was indeed the Word of God, the One who existed in the beginning, the One by whom all things were created, who now was made flesh and dwelled among us.
The Word was in the Beginning, long before John or you or me. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me.
And get this next verse:
We can get all spiritual here and overlook the fact that ALL we have received, from our very souls to this beautiful place called earth, yes, the very air we breathe, came from Him. EVERYTHING! And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
Plus we have all received grace because of His grace, His love.1 Cor. 10:26
For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.
And we need grace because we are all yucky sinners. The law, that wonderful schoolmaster that sets the standard, lets us know we indeed fall short.
But through Jesus Christ grace and reality are ours.John 1:17
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Have you seen God at any time? See, the Bible is true! No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.
Flesh man cannot see behind the veil into the spiritual dimension, so the Word became flesh that the Father might be declared.You see, Christ could actually be SEEN so that we know the Father!
Just wait until we get to chapter 14 and Thomas and Philip are talking face to face with the Word of God in the flesh and the subject of the Father comes up.
This is way too deep for Philip so he speaks up, "I don't see anyone, Lord, just show us the Father and I be satisfied."John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him.
"Come on Philip, old buddy, old pal, get with the program. He that has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you saying, Show us the Father?" Philip is now formulating a new phrase "Like Father, like Son!" Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Next we have the account of John the Baptist discussing "who's on first" with the confused religious leaders of the Jews. Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Priests: "Hey, you over there!"John 1:19
And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
John: "Who me?"
Priests: "Yes, you, the one with the honey coated locusts. Who are you?"
John: "Well, I'm certainly not the Messiah, if that's what you are thinking! Want to try again?" And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
Priests: "What then? Are you Elijah? And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
John: "Nope, wrong again. I'm not Elijah."
Priests: "Are you the prophet we await?"
John: "No! So you guys are priests, huh? You're not too good at playing 'What's My Line?' are you?"
Priests: "All right, we give up. Look, we have to report back to the Jews who sent us to find out who you are. So tell us who you say you are." Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
John: (Thinking to himself how clueless these priests are, he decides to give them a "clue" and quote from Isaiah 40:3).
Of course these guys didn't want to ask a "layman" what that verse meant, so they moved to the next question.John 1:23
He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
Oh, now we see who these dudes really are! Careful John! And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
Priests: "So tell us, what are you doing baptizing people if you are not the Messiah, or Elijah, or that prophet? Where are your credentials?" And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
John: "Oh, I just baptize with water! But there is One among you, of course you don't know Him anymore than you know who I am, Who comes after me, Whose shoes I'm not worthy to untie. Tell that to those who sent you! Good day gentlemen." John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
There are basically two approaches to reading and studying the Bible.
The first approach is where you already have a doctrine or even a theory that you believe,
since you already believe this doctrine to be truth,
after all the church is a good church,
the people are good people,
and the minister is a good minister,
you then read the Bible and look for scriptures to support that doctrine.
This method is very safe.
only problem is that the Word of God is secondary to the doctrine,
or the tradition,
i.e. the religion comes first,
then the Word of God, but only to the point it backs up the religion.
too, the entire church group itself also serves as a prejudiced grand jury
which will not permit new evidence,
even if it is directly from scriptures,
to be entered into the body.
The second approach, however, is much riskier
It may require one to admit he or she has been or is wrong!
a legal term meaning gathering information and facts
which can be a lot of work,
is often required before beginning to rightly divide the truth from the spin.
course you must then use your own mind
instead of trusting someone else's!
Let's use an example from earlier.
There are those who teach and believe that John the Baptist was actually Elijah the Prophet. After all, during discovery you will find it is recorded in Malachi 4:5, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:". This passage was well known by the scribes in Christ's time and we find in Mat. 17:9-13 and Mark 9:11-13 that the disciples told Christ that the scribes were saying that "Elijah must come" before the Messiah. Jesus said, "Yes I know, but they are clueless for Elijah is come already and they knew him not."
You see in Mat. 11:10 Jesus was discussing John the Baptist and He quoted Mal. 3:1, not Mal. 4:5, which says, "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me..." Then in verse 14 of Mat. 11, Jesus said that "IF you will receive", i.e. if they had repented and believed, "this is [represents] Elijah, which was for to come." In other words, Christ would have ushered in the Kingdom of God had the nation repented and accepted Him and John the Baptist would have been reckoned as Elijah. (See notes on Mal. 4:5 in the Companion Bible).
Then Christ said "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." That is a statement made to God's elect, to those to whom He has "given power", i.e. to those whom He has sent. The Pharisee's were sent by MAN. John the Baptist was sent by GOD. The Pharisees therefore did not have ears to hear.
Now for someone to say that John the Baptist came in the "Spirit of Elijah" would be quite accurate indeed, for we just read that he would have been reckoned as Elijah had the nation received the Messiah. But to teach that he actually "was" Elijah is quite another matter.
Do you know of any servant of God who didn't know who he was? If you asked Isaiah if he was Jeremiah, what do think he would say? If you asked Daniel if he was Ezekiel, what do think he would say? If you asked John the Baptist, "Who are you?", do think he would say "Hmm, I don't really know. I know I have been sent by God so maybe I'm Elijah the Prophet!" Well, for those who don't have eyes to see or ears to hear it sometimes has to come down to this level. Remember, there are no "filler words" in the scriptures, so the discourse between the priests, sent by man, to ask John the Baptist, sent by God, if he was indeed Elijah, is recorded for a purpose and a reason.
And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias?
Question: Was John the Baptist Elijah the Prophet?And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
Answer using Method #2: No!
Answer using Method #1: Well, that depends on your definition of the word "No!"
We now move to the beginning of the ministry of the Messiah according to the Gospel of John. The account is still of John the Baptist's witness.
John the Baptist obviously knew the Oracles of God, the scriptures, very well. He quoted from Isaiah to the Pharisees and now declares Jesus as the Lamb of God, even the Passover Lamb, the sacrifice of which is for the remission of sins. This comes directly from Isaiah 53:7.John 1:29
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
So did John know that Christ would not be accepted and that He would be the Lamb Slain? Of course he did!
And what did Jesus have to say for Himself at His midnight trial? He fulfilled this verse!Isaiah 53:7
He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not his mouth.
When a true prophet says so, it happens! John already documented the Word was from before the foundation of this earth in the beginning of this chapter.John 1:30
This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for He was before me.
John the Baptist was Jesus' cousin, remember? However, there is no Biblical record of where Jesus was from age 12 until this verse where He is age 30. We'll read later in chapter 6 of this book that even the townspeople said "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?" And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
So here in verse 31 John says, as Dr. Moffat better translates it, "I myself did not recognize Him." (Moffat) Why didn't John and the people recognize Him? Because He had been away! History records that Jesus traveled abroad with His mother and His very wealthy uncle, Joseph of Arimathaea, back and forth to Glastonbury, England, and other diverse locations.
Note: If you haven't read the booklet "The Traditions of Glastonbury", by E. Raymond Capt, then you are in for a real treat should you decide to get a copy and read it. You will find it at www.artisanpublishers.com
So we read in verse 31 that John's mission was to preach repentance, baptizing with water, and making known to ISRAEL that He was coming.
And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
John was named by God, and sent by God, and told by God, Who gave him his commission, that he would know Him when he saw the Spirit "descending" and "remaining" on Him. And I knew him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
Andrew and John, the writer of this Gospel, were these two disciples of John the Baptist. I'm sure he had more. So in other words, they were students of the Word, taught by John the Baptist, who documented in scripture that the Lamb of God was coming. I'm sure that was exciting! Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;
Wow! That had to be an awesome experience.John 1:36
And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
They heard John the Baptist speaking, not Jesus. Verse 40 documents it. And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and asked them what they wanted. They opened their mouths to say "ARE YOU REALLY THE MESSIAH?" and out came "Uh, hi Rabbi, where are you from?" Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
Since it was about 4 PM Jesus figured He'd invite them over for dinner.
 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.
Andrew means "manly", Peter means "rock". One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
Andrew, all excited no doubt, went and found Peter, his brother, and said, "Peter, He's here! We have found the Messiah that John's been teaching us about in God's Word. You've got to come meet Him." He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
And so Andrew brought his brother to the Lord. What a wonderful thing to do! And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
How is that you came to follow Jesus Christ? Are you one of those who have searched and even wandered from church to church? Have you somehow always intuitively known that something was amiss or missing and that the truth and the "true church" just had to be "out there" somewhere?
And then one day you hear or read His Word being taught boldly and straight forward and your "ears" perk up and you begin to "see" things you can't believe you overlooked before and marvel why it is you were never taught them before! And it begins to make so much sense to you and you "know" it is the truth and you now are driven by an insatiable "hunger" to dig for more precious manna from His Word. Such is a common story often told by God's elect and not so very different as the calling out of the disciples of Jesus about whom we are currently studying.
We saw John and Andrew and Peter follow after Jesus without an altar call and without any emotional pleas. You see, they heard His voice and immediately knew it was Him, just as it is documented later in this Gospel of John that His sheep do "know" His voice! Let's jump ahead and read it:
Notice that Jesus "goeth before them" and leads His sheep, He does not have to drive them. They hear His voice and they follow after Him, even as they did in "the world that then was", before the foundation of this earth age, at the rebellion of Satan. Thus were God's elect, of Christ's day and of today, chosen then. Paul documents it in Ephesians:John 10:4
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
Now remember what John has been documenting in this Gospel of John: His "voice" is the Word of God.Ephes. 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Jesus Christ is the true Shepherd. And when He speaks, i.e. when the true Word of God is spoken, those who are His, His elect, "intuitively" know His voice, and that it is indeed the true Word of God that is being spoken.
And once God's elect have been "called by His voice", they can never again follow after strangers for the stranger's voice now rings hollow and no longer rings true. They will flee from them and that means even changing the channel. They have now been set free from the shackles of the traditions of men, from religion that looks like Christianity, and have entered into "grace and reality" (Jn. 1:17), which is Jesus Christ. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
The late E.W. Bullinger, one of the greatest Christian scholars of our modern era, writes, "Only now can they know "the God of Peace" (Rom. xv. 33)". On page 416 of his book, "How to Enjoy the Bible", he writes most profoundly on this subject. He says regarding those who know that "peace":John 8:32
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Think about it. Are you free from "religion"?Only such have leisure to be occupied with God.
Only such can "sit at the Lord's feet and hear His Word" (Luke 10:39).
All others must be "cumbered about with much serving." They must needs be occupied with themselves; either as sinners taken up with their sins, or as penitents with their repentance, or as believers with their faith, or as saints with their holiness.
And know this also regarding the voice of strangers. There is a "stranger" coming in the image of the Lamb slain, whom the whole world with the exception of God's elect will follow after, believing he is indeed Jesus Christ. But he will be the false Messiah and God's elect will NOT follow after him. His voice will sound to most like the voice of the true Shepherd but it will be the voice of a dragon for it will be The Dragon, even Satan himself.
Note: "Horns" are symbolic of "power" and the Dragon, who is the spurious messiah, Satan himself, will have control of the New World Order as well as the Religions of the world, including Christianity. In other words he is coming as the King of kings and Lord of lords, only he will be an imposter.Rev. 13:11
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
So are you one of God's elect? Do you have "eyes to see" and "ears to hear"? If so, you were also chosen before the foundation of this earth age. Now we will also see that Jesus knew His disciples before they came to Him. We begin with day four of John's ministry.
Again, notice there was no pleading, no emotionalism, and no altar call, followed by no argument from Philip.John 1:43
The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
Beth-saida means "house-of-fish", the city of the big fisherman, Peter, and his brother.John 1:44
(Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.)
Philip also knew the Word of God and the prophecies of the coming Messiah, as did Andrew and John who we read were both disciples, students, of John the Baptist. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
Though Jesus was born in Beth-lehem (meaning "house-of-bread") on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, He was circumcised on the eighth day and presented in the temple 33 days later according to the law in Leviticus, and then He and His mother and Joseph left for Nazareth where they established their residency. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
Jesus greeted Nathanael as though He knew him, which He did, and called him an honest man and an Israelite. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
Nathanael then said to Jesus, "How do you know me?" Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
Jesus told him He "saw" him under the "fig tree" before Philip called him. You see, Jesus didn't physically go to the fig tree with Philip, so how would He know Nathanael was there? Of course he saw him spiritually.
Nathanael correctly called Jesus the King of ISRAEL, not just King of the one tribe of Judah! Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
Sure he would see greater things than that, for Christ knew He would perform all kinds of healings, raising people from the dead, and other miracles.John 1:50
Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.
And if you are one of His you will also see heaven open and the 3rd and final Earth Age established on this earth (Rev. 21-22). And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
What a privilege and an honor to be one of His sheep and to know His voice, His Word. The security and peace in knowing Him surpasses all that the strangers have to offer, which is really only religion and bondage.
Do you know the truth? Then you are free indeed to "sit at the Lord's feet and hear His Word"!
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