Thursday, October 30, 2008

John 7

Candy has the latest installment in her series on the Gospel of John. Here are our previous installments:

Let's Study The Bible! (John 1)
John 2
John 3
John 4: Sanctifying Grace and Infant Baptism
John 5
John 6

Although Candy's notes start on verse 5, the note is initially a comment on Mat 1:23-35. We recently discussed this in the comments section here on our blog. "Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son."

From my Navarre Bible:
The word "donec" (until) of itself does not direct our attention to what happened afterwards; it simply points out what has happened up to that moment, that is, the virginal conception of Jesus Christ by a unique intervention of God. We find the same word in John 9:18, where it says that the Pharisees did not believe in the miraculous cure of the man blind from birth "until" (donec) they called his parents. However, neither did they believe afterwards. Consequently, the word "until" does not refer to what happens later.

This is common in Biblical language. To read more into the word "until" is to apply English grammar to a non-English language. See also 2 Samuel 6:23 "As to Michal daughter of Saul, she had no child till the day of her death."

This is by no means a new interpretation.

"And when he had taken her, he knew her not, till she had brought forth her first-born Son.' He hath here used the word till,' not that thou shouldest suspect that afterwards he did know her, but to inform thee that before the birth the Virgin was wholly untouched by man. But why then, it may be said, hath he used the word, till'? Because it is usual in Scripture often to do this, and to use this expression without reference to limited times. For so with respect to the ark likewise, it is said, The raven returned not till the earth was dried up.' And yet it did not return even after that time. And when discoursing also of God, the Scripture saith, From age until age Thou art,' not as fixing limits in this case. And again when it is preaching the Gospel beforehand, and saying, In his days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken away,' it doth not set a limit to this fair part of creation. So then here likewise, it uses the word "till," to make certain what was before the birth, but as to what follows, it leaves thee to make the inference.” John Chrysostom, Gospel of Matthew, V:5 (A.D. 370).
It is worth noting that St. John Chrysostom was cited positively in the preface to the King James Version of the Bible. "S. Chrysostom that lived in S. Jerome’s time, giveth evidence with him: “The doctrine of S. John [saith he] did not in such sort [as the Philosophers’ did] vanish away: but the Syrians, Egyptians, Indians, Persians, Ethiopians, and infinite other nations being barbarous people translated it into their [mother] tongue, and have learned to be [true] Philosophers,” he meaneth Christians. [S. Chrysost. in Johan. cap.I. hom.I.]"

As to verse five in St. John's Gospel, it says "For even his brethren did not believe in him." The Jewish custom was for close relatives to be called "brothers."

Candy says "Christ has half siblings. Here, verse 5 tells us that Jesus' very brethren did not believe Him. Familiarity breeds contempt. Jesus' half brother James didn't believe on Him until after the resurrection."

Mark 6:3
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

Matthew 27:55-56
And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedees children.

There is more than one Mary in the New Testament. It is entirely likely that Mary, the mother of James and Joses is a relation of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Therefore, they would be his brethren, as close relations.

Skipping ahead to verse 15, Candy writes: Oh, how very like those religious people of Jesus' day, are so many of the large religious organizations of this day! They think that one can't have knowledge of God, unless that person has special training, such as going to seminary, or getting a college degree.

I am not aware of any branch of Christianity which teaches that one can't have knowledge of God without special training. If that were the case, only the clergy would be considered Christians. One can have knowledge of God without special training, but you can also learn a lot from your elders, and the wisdom of others. Candy, herself, often points to the notes in her Dake Bible as an authority. The King James Bible translators spoke highly of the Early Church Fathers.

In verse 16, Candy makes an allusion to her perceived persecutions: Christian, how many times have people attacked you, because they didn't like the Gospel message you spoke? Maybe they calledLink you such names as "hater," "naive," or worse. Remember, the world thinks the Gospel is foolish (1 Cor. 1:12). Yet, we Christians are not declaring that so and so is going to hell, we are simply being messengers of God, as God commanded us to do. We are spreading the Gospel message of salvation. Logically, if the world doesn't like that message, then the world should go after the originator of that message (God), and not shoot the messenger (Christians). However, this fallen world is quite illogical in many ways, isn't it?

Candy says that Christians are not declaring that individuals are bound for hell. Candy once wrote "Angie, it's nice that you believe in Jesus Christ - whatever that means. I believe in Abraham Lincoln, but that's not getting me into heaven. Also, I already told you that I'm not condemning you, GOD has ALREADY done that, and I gave you scripture which proved it.

Candy also wrote "You can be the most sincere, devout person in the world, but if you haven't accepted God's free gift the way the BIBLE says to, then you are sincerely going to hell." and
"In fact, it is highly likely, and quite sad to say, but highly likely, that Mother Theresa is in hell right now. Good works will never get one into heaven."

As I've written many times before, we have no problem with Candy sharing the Gospel message. We just disagree that posting lies about the Catholic Church is the same as sharing the Gospel. Must you believe the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon and a cult in order to attain salvation? Because she certainly posts more about the Catholic Church than about the Biblical message of salvation.

Verse 17: This is a warning against taking any religious authority's word without checking it against Scripture.

We don't disagree with that message. Fortunately, Catholicism is completely Scripture compatible.

Verse 38: Spiritual rivers of living water flow from my belly, because I believe on Christ. This is the living water of life which quenches my soul, as per John 4:14. After having partaken of this water, I have no more thirst. Christ fills my spiritual thirst. Verse 39 makes it clear that Christians won't literally have water splashing out of their bellies.

My Navarre note: Furthermore, when Jesus speaks of "rivers of living water" flowing out of his heart, he is probably referring to Ezekiel 36:25 where it is announced that in messianic times the people will be sprinkled with clean water and will be given a new spirit and their heart of stone will be changed for a heart of flesh. In other words, Jesus, once he has been exalted as befits his position as Son of God, will send at Pentecost the Holy Spirit, who will change the hearts of those who believe in him.

This is similar to John chapter 6, where the Bible is clear that Jesus is spiritually the Bread of Life as well as the drink of life, but not literally physical food and drink - "he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." - John 6:35b. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit." - John 6:63b Just as Jesus doesn't literally turn into some Eucharist cracker upon communion, Christians do not literally have water spewing forth from their bellies. John 6 and John 7:38 are talking about how Jesus fulfills our soul's hunger and thirst.

I think we've covered this pretty extensively. And we don't believe Jesus turns into a cracker. The "cracker" is changed into Jesus.

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Milehimama said...

I took issue with her claim that Nicodemus was "saved" in John ch. 3.

How could he believe Christ died for his sins... if Christ hadn't died yet?

Elena said...

Nice work Kelly!

Kelly said...

Yes, Milehi, but Candy also points to the good thief as being "saved" because Jesus promised that he would be in heaven.

I'm not sure that she's thought either through theologically.

LauraAnne said...

I am somewhat thread-jacking here, but am wondering if you could put up a post about the bible translation manuscript thing she posts about every now and again. This whole idea of the ancient manuscripts disagreeing and the different lines of thought is really confusing to me.

Having said that, I am Catholic and accept our bibles as being ture and think she is being overly scrupulous about this, but I'd like to know where she is getting this idea. Thanks, Laura

Kelly said...

Hello lauraanne,

Elena wrote about Candy's KJV claims here: