August 8, 2007
Who wrote John?
Well... I went and deleted the correspondence with this person. Since their primary topic was about sign-making equipment, I deleted, clearing out mail folders; not planning to address the "John" topic publicly. But I've done a little browsing in my Wycliffe commentary, here, and it seems right to address something ever-so-briefly.
MY INITIAL ANSWER:
This person is pretty much universally understood/accepted as "John". But of course, there is no specific Scripture that says it was "John", the brother of Jacob, the son of Zebedee (Mt4:21) Part of the 'Peter-Jacob-John' threesome inner circle. (Mt17:1, Mk5:37, Mt26:37)
THE PERSON REPLIED:
Also: as a side-note... the writing style of the book was very much like these info-mercials where they talk on and on and on, telling you what their book -will- tell you, but never coming right down to the topic and saying it. The author spent chapter after chapter, explaining how he was "going to" explain it. Once he finally got around to actually saying what he had to say...he could have included all the statements, arguments and supportive Scripture in about 3-4 pages. But of course, such brevity does not sound as "scholarly", nor will it provide enough pages to make up a 'book', which can also be sold. Last week we addressed "sideways" talking...the book was a boringly flowerly wordy example of such. It's the kind of 'spinning' of words that, when I start reading/hearing such, my immediate reaction is: "This person is a liar" and "What are they selling/peddling?" (either product or false teaching)(2Co2:17)
One major problem I have with Lazarus being the author, is that the writer of the book writes -about- Lazarus as an observer (while Lazarus is dead in the tomb), not the object (through his own death and resurrection). And also, it would seem as though Peter and Jacob/John had previously had a friendship, association, bond before as fishermen, which is exemplified when Peter and 'John'(?) go running to the tomb after Jesus' resurrection.
Just because Jesus 'loved' John would not preclude Jesus -also- 'loving' Lazarus. (He also loved Martha and Mary Jn11:5) Was Jesus' love limited to one person? In His coming He exemplified the Father's love for the -whole- "world" (Jn3:16) The one who came running, asking what he needed to do for Eternal Life, after they dialogue briefly, it says, "Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him..." (Mk10:21) Is that the one "Jesus loved"; and perhaps wrote the book? See the point? Jesus' "love" for a person is not sufficient 'evidence', around which to base a conclusion.
In terms of the straw man, "elder", what is wrong with both being the same person? If it was "John", he could have been younger when Jesus called him away from the fishing boats at 30AD, and by the time he is the "elder" it is nearly at the end of the 1st century. Obviously an old man due to the passage of time. An "elder" is not -born- an "elder". By definition, an "elder" is someone who is, well... "elder/older" than he was before when he was younger.
I also browsed through the Wycliffe commentary on Matthew, Mark, Luke, etc. In none of these cases is the author named IN THE TEXT, either.
And for another point of consideration: Neither do most of the books in the Bible have a special 'code' indicating that they are part of the "canon" of Scripture.
So...how do we know that -any- of it is God's Word, that it was intended to be the Bible, the "Holy Scriptures"? (Rom1:2, 2Tim3:15)
History of Tradition, of the first century churches. If you want to read detailed writings on this, if you ignore their KJ-only slant to everything, the www.wayoflife.org website is a good repository of information on this topic. Essentially, by the time Jerusalem had been destroyed by Rome, and the Church was centered in Antioch (Ac11:26), the initial missionary efforts had been fulfilled, churches were established, elders/pastors appointed, the epistles had been written. Paul claims it had all been delivered, and that anything new that might come along was accursed. (Ac20:20-21,27, Ga1:8-9) Judas proclaimed that it had been "once for all delivered" (Ju1:3) The 1st century churches -knew- what was God's Word, and what were merely 'epistles' and other miscellaneous communications. They also knew 'who' had written 'what' books. And these 'traditions' were handed down. (2Th2:15)
Thus, we know 'who' wrote the books the same way we know 'which' books belong in the collection. 1st century Antiochal church tradition.
In the Christian life we "walk by faith, not by sight" (2Co5:7) and we trust that God has -preserved- His Word.
Mt 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will by no means pass away.
1Pe 1:25 but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Now this is the Word which by the gospel was preached to you.
Those names are IN THE TEXTS. Both Jacob and Judas open their epistles the way they wrote back then. Today we begin a letter with "Dear So-n-so" (recipient) and then sign off at the end with "Sincerely, etc.etc." (sender) But they would open their letters with self-identification; which both Jacob and Judas do.
Now, as far back as I have English Bible translations, they all use "James" I don't know 'when' (or how) "James" got started. But for "Judas" we don't have to go back all that far. The Wycliffe (1384) and Tyndale (1525) both say "Judas" And we don't need to rely on 'tradition' or 'history' for those. They are IN THE TEXTS that way. When translations say "James" or "Jude", those are -deliberate- deviations from the (obvious) Greek.
But as for the authors of books, when the texts don't say? I am not such an expert that I can go contrary to what has been handed down by tradition, presumably from the 1st century church.
Does doubt about the human penmanship change the Divine authorship through the Holy Spirit? (2Pet1:21) The Jews also doubted Jesus' Deity; but even Jesus 'belittles' Himself in favor of the Word: "The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life." (Jn6:63b)
If we don't happen to have certainty as to which -person- held the pen in their hand to write, does it change God's Word; such that we suddenly are doubtful as to His commands and His will? Do we, thus, suddenly no longer need to repent of sin and receive Salvation through faith in Christ? Do we suddenly no longer need to live holy lives, separated from the world's corruption? From time to time people also e-mail to complain that PB's 'name' isn't plastered all over the website. (Who are you??? Who wrote this??? Stand behind your ideas and words and identify yourself!!) What their -real- complaint is, is that they object to God's Word being proclaimed, so they are looking for some human to point the blame at, in order to discredit the message in their own hearts.
At these kinds of taunts John identified himself as a "voice in the wilderness". Jesus identified Himself: "Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham came to be, I AM." (Jn8:58)
What better book, than "John", to try to discredit its authorship: since the book presents Jesus as Deity, the Son of God..!! If the author is discredited, perhaps the message will be, also??
Written Scripture not necessary?
I am sure that just because Aaron 'actually' spoke to Pharaoh as Moses was :-Exo 4:10 And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.
And referring to Aaron, God said:-Exo 4:16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.
I am also sure that just because the words came via Aaron, neither the plagues were lessened, nor the eventual escape of the Israelites thwarted.
How come the nit pickers don't go for that, just maybe,.....if Moses had spoken it it may?? have had a different outcome >smile< (vehicles to drive across the red sea, maybe? instead of walking).
Sorry if I come across as sacrilegious but I really get tired of this type of questioning in order to sow doubt - God has proved to ME that He controlled the writing of His word from start to finish, sufficient for salvation, regardless of whom held the pen, translated the languages, twisted the odd sentence (He said Search the Scriptures and in so doing we will find out the truth) or left out entire chapters or books -
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse,
so it appears that technically, we do not actually require the Scriptures to find God, regardless of who held the pen - (again very tongue in cheek, I am eternally grateful for the Scriptures!)
Many thanks and much blessings and guidance from Him who loved us,
Whatever did humanity do for 2500 years until Moses started penning the Scriptures? Cain killed Abel, and was held guilty. The world was flooded for their guilt even though there were no written Scriptures.
Circumcision was -written- in the Law, but Abraham observed it without it being written. It is that which is "of the heart" (Rom2:28-29) Yes, God had His prophets (Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Eber, etc) But even though Moses gave the Law from God, and wrote it down, what does he summarize?
Like we've suggested a few times in the past: No....a -written- set of Scripture is not strictly 'necessary'; the first 2500 years of humanity didn't have them; and people died either as Believers or pagans. But it certainly -seals- the judgment of the sinner.
It is NOT "in the heart"!
Election - Those who've Not heard the Gospel?
"The heavens declare the glory of the Mighty God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork. Day unto day pours forth speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor words where their voice is not heard." (Ps19:1-3)
"For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is clearly recognized by them, for God has revealed it to them. For ever since the creation of the world the unseen things of Him are clearly perceived, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they know God, they do not glorify Him as God, nor are thankful, but become vain in their reasonings, and their stupid hearts are darkened." (Rom1:18-21)
They see an ancient earth as being a "hostile environment" with no life. Well, the Bible already tells us that in Gen1:2 "And the earth was without form, and void, with darkness on the face of the deep"
But then they refuse to acknowledge all evidence that stares them in the face regarding creation and Noah's flood, as Peter said they would do in the "last days" (2Pet3:3-8) how God took that nothingness and created a habitable place for man and life.
If they don't accept that which stares them in the face, why would they then receive Jesus Christ that we do not see right now? (1Pet1:8) It is as Jesus said: They don't receive Him (Jesus) -because- they don't acknowledge the Father. (Jn15:21-16:3) So, in God's wisdom, if He knows they have rejected Him (the Father), why should He cast His "pearls (Jesus Christ) before swine"? (Mt13:46,7:6) when He "foreknew" them?
Should Christians be involved in politics?
Is this scriptural, for Chritians to be involved in political offices?
I dont see anywhere in the Holy Scriptures where the LORD Jesus Christ and the apostles (our examples) encouraged this.
Many like these do these things for the very reasons you state. It is a "kingdom" mentality. Many who share these views also tend to not believe in the coming Rapture, where Believers go to be with the Lord, but instead want to prepare a righteous world for Christ to come to. And indeed, there are some with such mindsets who believe the book of Revelation is not part of the canon of Scripture.
Some who wish to take over the government and make it "Christian" have Israel and the Church mixed up in their minds, thinking the prophecies about Israel are now about the Church. Many of them, also along with the Arab world, would not be averse to Israel disappearing off the map. Israel's physical existence over there is a little 'fly' in their ointment of "Christian" global domination. What they consider to be "Dominion" theology....not -God's- mandate for man to "have dominion" over the creation (Gen1:26,28)
That God has placed Believers in places of world governance throughout history is fact. Joseph was in Egypt, second only under Pharaoh. (Gen41) And if there is any credence to Jasher in this, Joseph's position under Pharaoh was that of "king"; which also agrees with his prior dreams where his family (including father) bowed to him. (Gen37) And when the time came for fulfillment of the dreams, Joseph gives reassurance that it had been "God" who put him in that position. (Gen45:7) Of course we know how Daniel and his three friends were in positions of political power in Babylon. Not to mention Moredecai and Esther.
However, as Israel was looking for a political messiah to liberate them from Rome, Jesus teaches to "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mk12:17) And Paul teaches to "be subject to the higher authorities" (Rom13:1) even to the paying of taxes. (vs6-7) Notice that was written to the Romans, under the rulership of Rome's Caesar; to whom Paul (a Jew) also appealed legally. (Ac25:11) While it might be true that, for now, satan has rule over the world (Lk4:6, Eph6:12); his rule is not without God's authority. (Ac17:26) Even when he wishes to do harm and test a Believer, he can only do so with God's permission and limits. (Job1:12, 2:6)
Should Christians be politically active? Would that not depend on the country into which God has placed them, either through birth or migration. In some countries there is freedom and it is part of the political system that citizens can be active to whatever degree they wish. Other countries do not have such freedoms, and citizens are subject to 'whatever' their government is.
We might draw from something Paul says in another context....
But does a Christian fill the office with their own Christian 'values'? Is this not what all officials do? Liberals -believe- in liberal ideologies, and so they seek to forward liberal agendas. In like fashion, a Believer would govern according to their own spiritual conscience. Politics involves debate, campaigning, efforts at persuasion. So a Christian would engage the political arena in similar fashion. That's what party "platforms" are about.
But that is the -individual- Believer, as a citizen, under Caesar.
However for the Church, as a body....when the disciples asked Jesus, on the occasion of His ascension to Heaven, whether or not it was time for political activism ("will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" Ac1:6); He responded, "It is not yours to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority." (vs7)
In other words, politics is not the Church's realm of responsibility; it is God's.
But what were they to do?
Wait for the Holy Spirit, as 'promised'; and "be witnesses" to Jesus throughout the world. (Ac1:4,8)
Remember: Jesus told Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight..." (Jn18:36) And when Peter draws his sword, Jesus tells him to put it away. (Mt26:52)
The Church's mission is not "onward christian soldiers...with the cross of Jesus" like the Medieval crusades. The 'weapons' in Ephesians 6 are for "defense" to the aim that "having done all, to stand" against satan spiritually (Eph6:13) Nothing about "attack" there; or shooting, bombing, etc for politico/spiritual righteousness. The "weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of the flesh).." (2Co10:4)
Because our "citizenship is in Heaven" (Php3:20)
If a Believer gets into office, they let their "lights shine". If they are attacked and thrown into the fiery furnace or lion's den, their trust is on God for deliverance; just like was the case for Daniel and his three friends. The Christian's duty is to make sure one's life is pure before God, so that if retribution comes for behaving like a Christian, a child of God, there is God's blessing.
Second Coming - Rapture (re: Mt24:36-44)
It's not the redemption of the body, but the saving of Israel that is the subject. The rapture will happen in the blink of an eye with no warning signs at all.
Care to comment?
27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.
Remember the "painting"? Remember the "blob" within the painting? Most strictly/contextually speaking, vs27 & 28 are not together. vs27 ends a paragraph that began with vs5-8 (take your pick) Remember how the painting of the Day of the Lord is a 3000 year painting. This particular paragraph begins with Jesus telling the destruction of the temple, just like in our current Mt24 rerun. 3000 years are condensed down into a relatively 'few' verses, just like Isaiah 61.
Do you remember mailing #110? The "gathering of the elect" (Mt24:31) is NOT the Rapture of the Church. It is the gathering of Israel back from the dispersion.
Indeed Lk21:27 is Jesus' "Second Coming" when He comes for the "Kingdom" (2Tim4:1) after the "gospel of the kingdom" has been proclaimed (Mt24:14) And like last week's mailing suggests, the Second Coming -can- be known, down to the 'day' of His return. When the "covenant" of the 70th week is signed, and the mid-way events of antichrist have been done, those 3 1/2 years can be counted off, down to the day. That's leading up to the "Kingdom"
But His "appearing" (2Tim4:1) we are not given such a 'count' of days, when "your Lord" comes. (Mt24:42) When "these things begin to happen" (Lk21:28) -which- things? That paragraph of verses covers 2000 years. vs28 is a new paragraph. Indeed, generically Jesus is talking about "Israel" and the kingdom. But also notice that vs36 is also tucked in there about "escape". From everything we have in Scripture, Israel is going -through- "Jacob's trouble". They don't get to escape it. 2/3 killed? Yes. (Zec13:8) a third protected? Yes. But they are 'there' -through- it. (Zec12:12-14, Rev12:14)
"Redemption" Jesus has -already- provided and declared it "finished" (Jn19:30) "through His blood, the remission of sins" (Eph1:7, Col1:14) Israel, today, who knows nothing of Jesus except that He is "this man", continually talks about Israel's "redemption". Refusing to acknowledge that He is Messiah, they are looking for a -future- Redemption, not acknowledging the Redemption that has -already- been provided. Jesus is NOT going to be crucified -again-! To do so would be a "public disgrace" (Heb6:6) (Something the RCC does everytime they celebrate the mass)
Yes, according to Jer31:31-34 and multitude of other similar passages, God is going to make a "new covenant" with Israel and give them a new heart. But that will happen when they "look on Me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for Him..." (Zec12:10) The "piercing" has -already- happened (Jn19:34) (He already "came to His own...Israel, but His own did not receive Him" Jn1:11) The Redemption -already- provided. Thus, other than the redemption that happens for Israel as they are "gathered" from the dispersion, there is only one other "redemption" that is awaited in this present topical context. The "redemption of the body" (Rom8:23)
Jesus says, "-your- redemption" (Lk21:28) Remember from the Mt24 study, He has been talking about Israel and the world...'them', but then speaks about when "your Lord" comes. (Mt24:42) 'They' will see the Son of Man coming (vs27) but (new paragraph) it is 'your' redemption (vs28) And it is not a precise 'moment' He tells them, as we have already said how the days to His "coming" can be counted. But when these things "begin to happen". "begin to happen" is quite a wishy-washy way to -specify- a 'moment'. That paragraph covers 2000 years.
We ("you") will not see Him coming, because the Believe is part of the "saints" that come "with" Him. (Zec14:5) -They- (the world and Israel) will see the Son of Man coming, and -they- will also see us ("you") coming with Christ ("your Lord") The Believer won't 'see' (i.e. observe as a bystander) the Second Coming because the Believer is 'PARTICIPATING' -IN- IT...and is -part- of the event TO BE SEEN -by- 'them'.
Ooooh! Those kingdom/dominionists! Many of them don't believe in the Rapture, want to "christianize" this present world and welcome Christ to it. Such SMALL MINDS!!! They are missing out on soooo much! They are so busy concentrating on their own (christian) "world views", when they should be focusing on the Heavenly! The Believer's citizenship is in Heaven. (Php3:20)
"The rapture will happen in the blink of an eye with no warning signs at all."
Perhaps Yes? ...perhaps No?
There was a time some years ago I would have agreed 100%, and some earlier writings at the website probably also say so. But you see, 1Co15:52 has been assumed to refer to the Rapture. However, when it says "twinkling of an eye", that is not the Rapture, but the "change"
Rom8:23 speaks of the "redemption of the body" because 1Co15:50 informs us (speaking to Christians) that "flesh and blood" cannot get to Heaven in our current "corrupt" state. We are saved in our spirits, but at present our Salvation is a "promise" through the Holy Spirit (Eph1:13) Who is the "earnest of our inheritance" -until- the "redemption" (vs14)
When does the change take place? Well, the "dead will be raised" (1Co15:52) "and" we who "shall not all sleep" are changed. Does the resurrection and change take place at the same time? Paul assures us that the dead do not lag behind, but that the dead in Christ are raised, and "then" those raised dead and the alive ones are caught up "together" into the air to be with Christ. (1Th4:15-17) Strictly, that passage also does not specify if the change happens at the same time as the resurrection or not. But Paul's discussion earlier in 1Co15 would seem to suggest that it is
But it does seem clear that the resurrection happens first, and "then" the ascension to be with Christ. (Logic understands that unresurrected dead people cannot go anywhere.. they first need to be raised) In other words, -both- the raised dead, as well as those who are alive at that moment, get "Raptured"...caught up, together at the same time, to be with Christ.
But "no warning signs at all"? Don't you think, when the dead are raised and start appearing, that that will suggest that "something is up"??? Don't you also suppose that, if the "change" happens to the living at the same time the dead are raised, that they will -know- it for whatever the time span is between the resurrection and rapture? (I suspect my arthritic shoulder, and other joints, will stop aching; and can throw these tri-focals away! WooHoo!!!) There was enough time for Jesus to carry on a conversation with Mary before He ascended (Jn20:17) after He was resurrected, and before He talked with Mary He had already been raised for a period of time. Whatever happened with Jesus, He was the "firstfruit" and we are "Christ's at His coming" (1Co15:23)
These days I am less-inclined to believe that buses, cars and airplanes will crash "driverless" to the extent that we used to speculate. If the living know that they have just been "changed", won't they know to "pull over" off the hiway? Won't a pilot turn the controls over to the co-pilot, or find a place to land quickly? If the resurrected ones are appearing to people, will the newly 'changed' ones also be doing the same? When Jesus says, "one is taken and the other is left", He didn't say that they "vanish". Remember, 1Co15:52 is talking about being "-CHANGED-; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye"...nor does it address the Rapture, at all. The Rapture, specifically, is 1Th4:17; the just-resurrected and already-alive ones, together at the same time.