John Chapter 10: Parable of the Good Shepherd

Dec 23rd, 2009 | By | Category: John, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

John Chapter 10: Parable of the Good Shepherd

John 10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

This parable was uttered on the same occasion as the healing of the man who was blind from birth, and the two are related. Those who climb into the sheepfold other than by the door are thieves and robbers of the sheep. The nation of Israel was under the Law Covenant, and Jesus was criticizing the scribes and Pharisees for not properly discharging their duties. They added burdens and traditions to the Law and also sought honor and wealth for themselves. They were not good shepherds, for instead of helping the people, they hindered them. The scribes and Pharisees closed the door to heaven; they did not enter themselves and they forbid others.

The sheepfold pertained to those in special covenant relationship with the Lord God in Jesus’ day, that is, to Israel. There is a parallel to nominal spiritual Israel in the Gospel Age, of which Jesus is primarily concerned with the robbing of the true sheep.

John 10:2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

In verse 7, Jesus said he is “the door of the sheep,” whereas according to verse 2, Jesus, the Shepherd, enters by the door. What is the distinction? Jesus had to perfectly obey the Law and be faithful unto death before he could become the real door, the real Shepherd.

The Jewish priesthood were the supposed shepherds of the flock prior to Jesus, but they did not properly discharge that duty. Instead of telling the Israelites how to enter the door, they devised other methods—human theories and traditions such as the Talmud. By doing this, they not only blocked the way for others but failed to enter in themselves. The true Shepherd, Jesus, entered the door by fulfilling the requirements of the Law. It was necessary for him to do this before he could bless and redeem Israel, for the people not only were under the curse of Adam but also were condemned under the Law.

John 10:3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

“To him [Jesus] the porter [the Law] openeth [the way to the sheep].” In fulfilling the Law, Jesus had the right to redeem Israel. In fact, that is how he gained the life rights that constitute the Ransom as far as Israel was concerned. Jesus had to perfectly obey the Law before he could redeem those under the Law. Others, who were condemned only in Adam, could have been redeemed another way, but not Israel, who was doubly condemned.

The “porter” was the custodian of the life rights of the Law. Expressed another way, the porter was Justice. When Jesus fulfilled the Law, Justice said, “Okay. Now the sheep are yours.”

Evidently, the picture is progressive as far as the Shepherd is concerned. First, Jesus had to enter in and gain access by the porter. Once having done that, Jesus had the key to the gate of the sheepfold. Hence the picture changes from the porter being at the door to Jesus now being the door (verse 7).

“And the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” The sheep are on the inside, in the pen. When the sheep hear Jesus’ voice, he leads them out of the bondage, or yoke, of the Law. The sheep escape, as it were.

Jesus calls his own sheep “by name.” This shows a very personal relationship with regard to the call. The Christian is singled out in a personal way. In the Mideast, there was an experiment with sheep. The shepherd changed clothes with a stranger, who then called the sheep, but the sheep would not respond until the real shepherd called them. An entire herd of sheep can be individually named, and each will respond to the calling of its name.

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.

The shepherd can walk ahead and not even look back, for the sheep will voluntarily follow him.

The lesson is that now, during the Gospel Age, the call is voluntary, and those who respond follow Jesus. However, in the Kingdom, the call will be mandatory, and the world will hear a voice behind them giving instruction (Isa. 30:21). Now individuals spontaneously give their heart in a freewill offering—and that is the subsequent relationship all through life too. If Christians want to go astray and stop heeding the Master’s voice, they will. (Sometimes there are mitigating circumstances that distract, and the Lord, realizing the individual is still loyal, will give a little prodding to wake him up to the situation lest he lose out.)

Jesus goes before the Christian in another sense too. From a dispensational standpoint, he is the beginner or front runner who pioneered the high calling, the Christian calling. Jesus finished his course and set an example for the sheep to follow.

Thus, from an individual standpoint, Jesus calls each of his followers by name and deals individually with each. Of course other Scriptures tell that the Father actually initiates the call, but the cognition is tendered through Jesus. We walk in the footsteps of Jesus—he leads and we follow. The sheep do not know where the shepherd is leading them—they just follow blindly and trust. When we consecrate, we do not know the path we will take—we just make a covenant and trust. “I know not what awaits me” are the words of a hymn.

Earlier the Law was the porter, the means of access to God. Then Jesus became the door, the means of access. The hierarchy of “shepherds” is as follows: Jehovah is the Great Shepherd, Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and the Church are the undershepherds.

Although the parable was not understood at the time, it would later be of comfort to the blind man who had just been excommunicated by the scribes and Pharisees yet refused to be intimidated by them. As soon as Jesus identified himself as the Son of God, the blind man joined himself to Jesus. This parable about the sheepfold would have comforted him, for he was hearing the voice of the true Shepherd and did not have to be concerned about not responding to the thieves and robbers.

John 10:5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

“And a stranger will they [the sheep] not follow.” Verse 5 suggests an acuteness of hearing on the part of the sheep, for they can differentiate between the true Shepherd and strangers. Sheep (antitypically, the true followers of Jesus) are not dumb animals. Down through the Gospel Age, many have looked for leadership without discriminating between proper leaders and leaders with improper motives such as money, honor, etc. The true sheep of Jesus’ fold exercise discretion between proper and improper leadership. These sheep hunger and thirst after salvation and knowledge of God. Those who sincerely, humbly, and meekly seek for this guidance are able to discriminate, for their ears are attuned to the answers of their heart’s desire. There is a ring to the message of truth, which Jesus’ followers realize is sound and true and based on Scripture.

Jesus had no fear that he would miss some who were hungering, for God would make sure they came to him. The true sheep hunger and thirst and hear Jesus’ voice and know that it has the ring of truth; they will not listen to the voice of a stranger. The implication of verse 5 is that there are “strangers” who try to climb up another way than by the door and are thus thieves and robbers.

This parable addresses two classes: the guides (shepherds) and those being guided (sheep).

There are false shepherds and false sheep, some with evil motivations and some without evil motivations. The latter class are not really cognizant of what is going on, whereas the evilly motivated ones are more aggressive. And there are true shepherds and true sheep. Hence there is responsibility on our part, and Jesus continues to fulfill the responsibility on his part.

John 10:6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

Who understood not? Scribes, Pharisees, Jews who were on the fence, Jews who believed Jesus, his own apostles, and even the blind man—none understood initially. It took time for such instruction to percolate in their minds, and the same is true today. When we consecrate, we have a little understanding, but it takes time to realize the depth of truths we thought we already knew. Here, too, there was subsequent understanding.

John 10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

“Verily, verily,” which was characteristic of Jesus, means that he had given considerable thought to this theme. For a long time, he realized that he was the door to the sheep. He came to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel,” and in the parable under consideration, he referred to the true sheep of the house of Israel, who hunger and thirst. Throughout his entire ministry, he had the thought of being the Shepherd to the sheep. Jesus said again, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.”

John 10:8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

Prior to Jesus, false shepherds came; they were false messiahs. Matthew Chapter 24 shows that there were (and are) false messiahs subsequent to the First Advent as well. In contrast, true prophets continually remind the people not to attach too much importance to them personally but to hear the instruction received of the Lord. Consequently, the ones listening develop an affection for God. They appreciate the messenger, but the messenger is continually saying, “Thus saith the LORD.”

We should weigh the advice, counsel, etc., of those who present themselves as proponents of truth. If the instruction is self-centered—not based, strictly speaking, on Scripture but on imaginations and doctrines foreign to the Word—they are not true representatives of the Lord. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak [and teach] not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).

Here in the tenth chapter of John’s Gospel, we see the concern of the Shepherd for the true, eternal, lasting welfare of the sheep. And we see the condition of the true sheep. They are careful to listen to the true voice, the voice of the Lord. The true sheep shall all be taught of God.

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

“By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved [from Adamic condemnation], and shall go in and out.” The sheep were already in the pen. To go “in” the door means to exit the sheepfold; to go “out” means to return to the sheepfold. The Jews were under the Law, and that Law was good.

If they accepted Jesus, they were no longer under its bondage but could still appreciate and live by the principles of the Law.

When a Jew was freed from the Law by accepting Christ, he could still go back to that Law by studying, consulting, and meditating on it—but on a different basis. Although such Jews were no longer prisoners under the Law, they could still get benefits from it as well as pasturage. In other words, there were blessings and pasturage both in and out of the Law to the Jew in Christ (and to us too). We study the Law to see certain pictures and principles. This parable is deep. The righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in those who walk not according to the flesh but according to the spirit (Rom. 8:4).

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

“The thief cometh … to steal.” The thief steals the affection of the sheep for the Lord by turning it to himself. By directing the sheep to himself, the thief alienates them from a true covenant relationship with God. Thus the thief robs God of His children by destroying the relationship.

Matthew 23:15 would apply: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell [Gehenna] than yourselves.”

“The thief cometh … to kill.” The thief can, by evil speaking and false accusation, kill the reputation of the true undershepherds, so that the sheep do not benefit from their instruction.

The thief also kills the reputation of the sheep who will not listen to him. The thief wants to minimize the influence of those not in harmony with his false precepts.

“The thief cometh … to destroy.” Even after a person dies, the thief wants to make sure his reputation is destroyed forever. Thus a stigma is cast on the memory of the deceased one who was previously slain (literally or figuratively). Even if one dies a natural death, his memory can be desecrated. For example, Wycliffe’s remains were dug up, burned, and cast into a brook. The thief finds out who is for him and who is against him, and exerts opposition accordingly. The motivation of the true shepherd is the opposite; namely, he wants the sheep to have life— and more abundantly (immortality, divine nature).

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

John 10:12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

Verses 11 and 12 are common-sense reasoning. One who is hired to tend the flock of another person is not apt to risk life and limb for the sheep if a wolf comes along.

Q: Do both the “wolf” and the “hireling” represent the scribes and Pharisees?

A: In regard to the “hireling,” many of the scribes and Pharisees looked upon their position as a secure, comfortable form of life. They liked the admiration of others in connection with the office they held and the robes they wore, but they did not have a sense of responsibility for the welfare of those they were instructing. They lacked a personal concern for the sheep.

Now consider the wolf, which can picture many things. The term “wolf” refers to someone who has a disposition with the traits of a wolf whether in or out of the priesthood. A wolf eats and takes advantage of the sheep. An example of such tactics is an individual who pressures others to make out their wills to him. The scribes and Pharisees devoured widows’ houses; that is, the religious element finagled to get property, money, etc., regardless of a widow’s needs. Under duress from the loss of her husband, a widow might deed over to the priesthood things she really needed—at their urging. Properties were seized ostensibly in the name of the Lord but in reality for their own pocketbooks. Another wolfish trait is manifested when an individual wants to build up a following or a congregation and in so doing promotes himself.

Jesus called the sheep his own, but he purchased them with his own life. The Good Shepherd gave his life for the sheep. Getting the sheep cost him something, whereas there was no cost to the hireling. The hireling was on the receiving end, not the giving end; consequently, his rapport with the sheep was much inferior (there were far less concern and interest).

Under the Law, if a wolf came and devoured a sheep, the shepherd was required to bring back a piece of the sheep to prove that he had risked his own life to try to save the sheep. Spiritually speaking, one might risk his own reputation to defend a brother who is being attacked.

John 10:13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

“The hireling fleeth.” To “flee” would be to disregard a matter, to turn one’s back on sheep that are in jeopardy, to not want to get involved where duty dictates standing up for principle, to turn a deaf ear to avoid an issue when the sheep are being threatened. The hireling can see that a situation is about to develop—a wolf is coming—but he does not want to get involved.

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

A two-way recognition exists between Jesus and the individual under his charge. From experience, the individual realizes that the Lord is dealing with him, that Jesus has a personal interest in him. It is a back-and-forth, mutual understanding.

Verse 14 suggests the Parable of the Hundred Sheep, in which one sheep goes astray. Logic would say that if the shepherd goes to save the one sheep, the other 99 are left unattended.

Suppose a person is drowning and you are a good swimmer. The normal emotional impact is such that, hearing the screaming, you would forget your own circumstance and concentrate all your energy on saving the drowning person. And so the good shepherd would go to the rescue of the one sheep in trouble. The other sheep are just temporarily left unattended, for the shepherd is concerned with all of the sheep. Sometimes immediate action is required, for the longer a matter is procrastinated, the greater the damage. Procrastination can be dangerous.

John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

The sheep belong to both the Good Shepherd and the Great Shepherd. As the intermediary, the Son is more directly involved with caring for the sheep. Just as the Good Shepherd knows his sheep and cares for them, and the sheep know the Good Shepherd and his concern for them, so the same relationship exists between Jesus and his Father. “The Father knows me, and I know the Father” is the thought. It is a reciprocal relationship. Because we know the Good Shepherd, we also have an insight into the Father. Jesus is our Advocate in the sense of interceding for us, but he is also our link to the Father.

Only six months hence Jesus would literally give his life on the Cross. It is interesting how many times he alluded to that sacrifice in this chapter: verses 11, 15, 17, and 18.

John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

While it is true that there will be others in the Kingdom in the sense of the pyramid figure (all things will be gathered under the one head, Jesus), the reference here seems to be more specific and limited. Jesus administered to the lost sheep of the house of Israel at his First Advent. Hence the “other sheep” here are those not of Israel who would become his subsequently during the Gospel Age. While on his way to the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:20,21). This text specifically refers to all who would take up their cross and follow Jesus during the Gospel Age.

“And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold.” “This fold” refers to the Jewish fold—the lost sheep of the Jewish fold were to be added to by the “other [Gentile] sheep” to come, so that all of the Christian sheep would be of “one fold.” The expanded picture is also true. All things in heaven and in earth will ultimately be in the one fold, including reconciled fallen angels.

Earlier in this tenth chapter of John, a door to a sheepfold, or pen, was mentioned. There are sheep inside this pen. When Jesus came, the porter (the Law) opened to him. The Law had been a barrier, keeping the Israelites under bondage, unable to be rescued, but by obeying the Law and obtaining the key to life, Jesus replaced the porter and became the door himself. As a result, not only are the sheep led from the pen, but they can go in and out as they please— because Jesus, not the porter, is now the custodian of the door. The explanation is that we, as Christians, have access to the beauties of the Law given to the nation of Israel; that is, we can study the precepts of the Old Testament. Even though the precepts are not obligatory in the sense that they are to the Jew, we can study the Law and imbibe the principles. Hence the sheepfold pertained to the Jews—it was the Jewish fold (John 10:1). Jesus freed from the Law those Jews who accepted him, and now (verse 16) he referred to others who would become his sheep during the Gospel Age.

John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

Other Scriptures tell us that the Father raised Jesus from the dead. Certainly Jesus did not raise himself. Thus verse 17 refers to the life rights that Jesus laid down faithfully at Calvary, and now he has them again to pay over to Justice in due time. In a unique way, the Pastor explained about the life rights of Jesus. He could see that the Law had a prize: life. And Jesus obtained the right to human life when he died. Of course it was necessary for the Father to raise him, but Jesus had the understanding before he came down here that the Father would raise him. From that standpoint—if we knew we were going to die and we were laying down our life for the sheep, but we also knew that the Father would awaken us after we had fulfilled our obligation—we could speak the way Jesus did here; namely, it was a sure thing that Jesus would lay down his life and take it up again in the sense that, when raised, he would have the right to two lives: a right to life in the spirit realm as well as his human life that he never forfeited. Jesus allowed his human life to be taken, but he did not forfeit it—it is his. That very right to human life Jesus will give to humanity. The life rights are the prize, the Ransom value that will be given to the world. “I lay down my life, that I might take it again.” In short, the Father having subsequently raised him, Jesus has the life rights at his disposal.

Not only did Jesus have love for the sheep, but the love originated with the Father. John constantly mentioned the rapport between Jesus and the Father. Whenever Jesus talked about how much love he has, he included the Father. Jesus was following the Father’s yearning for the salvation of others, and he was merely acting as the go-between to accomplish that salvation. God is the only Savior, as it were. “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God” (Matt. 19:17). John’s Gospel is remarkable.

John 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Jesus’ life was a willing sacrifice. It was not forfeited through disobedience. The Father authorized Jesus to pay the Ransom price—He gave Jesus power to lay down his life and to take it up again. Jesus did not presume to do this but was called of God just as Aaron was (Heb. 5:4). Jesus waited to be invited.

“This commandment have I received of my Father.” Jesus’ life and ministry were thoroughly discussed before he came down here: the nature of the work, the objective the Father had in mind, the suffering that would be entailed, and also the reward for faithfully performing this work. Jesus received “this commandment” from his Father; that is, the Father assured him. The Father not only laid out the work to be done but also gave Jesus additional assurance. Yes, Jesus needed instruction, but he also needed definite, concrete assurance of what he would do.

John 10:19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.

John 10:20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?

John 10:21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?

Previous chapters showed a division in sentiment among the people. A little earlier there were three classes; now there were two. The three classes were (1) those Jews who believed Jesus, (2) those who did not believe him, and (3) those who were wavering and needed confirmation.

The two classes were (1) those who said Jesus had a devil and (2) those who said he did not. In other words, some were truly sympathetic to Jesus, and others were polarized into opposition.

The latter were convinced he was a false prophet. The former felt that, in view of his works, he must be a great man of God.

This incident with the two classes occurred at more or less the same season or time, for there is no distinct breakdown chronologically except that the events beginning with Chapter 7 all took place approximately six months prior to the Crucifixion.

John 10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.

Verse 22 can be taken two ways: (1) as the introduction of that which follows or (2) as the insertion of a statement to show that a time period had elapsed. The second option seems more likely.

The Feast of Dedication was observed annually in December. Three official dedications are mentioned in Scripture: the Tabernacle, Solomon’s Temple, and Zerubbabel’s Temple. When Herod’s portion of Zerubbabel’s Temple was completed, there was also a dedication. It is uncertain which dedication they were celebrating here except that it was celebrated annually.Of the one unofficial and the three official dedications, this one may have been Solomon’s.

Notice that John’s style was to use “and” repeatedly (verses 20, 22, 23, 40-42). The whole Gospel of John needs to be studied from a certain standpoint in order to get his type of reasoning. John was a little different from the other apostles in his mannerism of thought.

John 10:23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.

John 10:24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

The Jews wanted a simple yes or no. It was for this reason that the previous verse about the Feast of Dedication was inserted. The Feast of Tabernacles had taken place much earlier (John 7:14). Then, in the beginning of Chapter 9, there was a break. From then until now, Chapter 10, was more or less the Feast of Dedication period. Verse 23 in regard to Solomon’s Porch and verse 22 about the Feast of Dedication seem to tie in what was said earlier. A division existed in which some were for Jesus, thinking he was a prophet, and some were definitely against him.

The ones who were questioning Jesus were of the latter category (see subsequent verses). They were trying to get Jesus to openly declare himself so that they would have something specific against him: “I am the Christ, yes” was what they wanted him to say so that, from their perspective, he would ensnare himself.

John 10:25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

Earlier Jesus had said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” etc. He had certainly given enough information that he should not have had to boast about his being the Messiah now.

Jesus was walking, and we can picture his opposers circling around him in Solomon’s Porch. Then they said in effect, “Tell us plainly. Are you the Christ or not?”

John 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

Jesus had just said this earlier, so these verses are a tie-in. It was the Feast of Dedication. Some statements on this same occasion were made prior to verse 22, and some were made after.

Verse 22 was merely inserted to give a proper time perspective. No doubt some in the crowd were of Jesus’ sheep, but those who were pressing him to entrap him were not.

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Verse 27 is similar to verses 3 and 4 of this same chapter.

John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

John 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.

How do we understand the statement “they shall never perish” in view of the fact that Jesus’ followers did die? This statement must be considered in context with his general teaching; it cannot be isolated. “They shall never perish” is the emphasis. Jesus did not mean they would not die but that they would not go into everlasting oblivion, into perdition.

Jesus and the Father were one on this issue—that none would perish or that none would be able to pluck them out of either his or the Father’s hand. The thought is that none others could pluck Jesus’ followers out of his or the Father’s hand, but we could remove ourselves. Romans 8:35,38,39 expresses a similar thought: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Nothing external can separate us, so there is one obvious alternative left: self. Therefore, the Scriptures urge us to keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 21).

Probably when Jesus spoke, he spoke slowly. He made a statement and then paused to let it sink in. Otherwise, his hearers could never have grasped the depth of his meaning in any significant sense. To just ramble along as if reading the statements would have been too much. For one thing, his hearers did not have the Holy Spirit. Secondly, the words would have been too fast to think on each of the points he brought up. By pausing, Jesus enabled others to grasp at least some of his points. Even if their understanding was lacking, they retained what he had just said. Therefore, Jesus was very unusual. He spoke slowly yet did not drag his statements.

Clarity and distinction were important.

Comment: First, Jesus stressed himself: “No one can pluck them out of my hand.” Then he went one step higher: “My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all. No one can pluck them out of His hand either.” It is evident there is not equality between these two beings.

Reply: Yes, Jesus kept bringing in the Father. A reasoning mind sees that there is a higher meaning than just literally accepting the statement “I and my Father are one.” This statement follows the comment “My Father … is greater than all.” Context is so important. We should not isolate a statement.

Jesus always honored the Father. When he said, “My sheep follow me,” one might think he was boastful, but immediately afterward he said, “My Father gave me this commission. It is His doing.” A false humility so deprecates self that the individual allows others to walk all over him and give no credence to his statements. The Apostle Paul frequently had to remind others with the words “I, an apostle of Jesus Christ,” not just “I, Paul, am writing to you.” Any one of us could make a statement, but to add “an apostle” gave added weight to Paul’s writings.

When a person advances a reason, his past must be taken into consideration. For example: Is he reliable? Are his arguments reasonable? What is his motivation? Each of us must think on these things and weigh the reasoning used.

John recorded Jesus’ statement later on, in prayer, that his followers would be one with him as he and the Father were one (John 17:11,21,22). This statement is in the same Gospel by the same author as the statement “I and my Father are one.” Trinitarians fail to look further and harmonize line upon line.

Recently the pope had prayers with those who worship Buddha and the Great Spirit—heathen religions—yet within the so-called Christian world, the “orthodox” religions are trying to discriminate against “cults.” We must be careful of the “team” spirit that wants all to conform to certain doctrines and practices. “Peace” is an emotional issue. Everyone wants peace. The whole world groans, longing for peace, but we cannot compromise and go contrary to Scripture in the desire for peace. When Jesus came as “the Son of God,” he was crucified. Now here, at the end of the age, we who are not Trinitarians but say Jesus is “the Son of God” will be persecuted for the same reason. The Trinity, a commonly accepted axiom of “truth,” was introduced subsequent to Jesus’ and the apostles’ teachings.

John 10:31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

John 10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shown you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

We can almost see Jesus there. As the Jews bent down to pick up stones, Jesus could have absented himself, but first, he wanted to tell them the reason for their actions.

John 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Notice, they acknowledged that Jesus did do good works. Earlier the Jews were annoyed at Jesus’ good works because they were done on the sabbath, but that issue was pushed under the rug because they now had a stronger charge: blasphemy. First, they said the devil was doing the good works, but now they admitted Jesus did them.

“Thou … makest thyself God.” Did Jesus make himself God? No! According to the original (interlinear) Greek in the Diaglott, Jesus made himself a god. The Greek is not ho theos but theos.

Many will not accept reasoning that is based on the Diaglott because they have been warned it is a book used by cultists. However, the logic Jesus used in subsequent verses would make no sense at all if he were saying he was God. Jesus showed that “god” is used for a number of applications throughout Scripture. In fact, his whole argument was based on the understanding that he made himself a god, not the God.

Nestle’s New Testament tried to counteract the Diaglott by inserting a blank and a dash and then giving the title. The same is true for John 1:1. However, Nestle’s treatment is not justifiable—the translators are making a mistake. What they want to do is to support the Trinity and to counteract any reasoning along the lines of the Diaglott or a study of the Greek.

The scholarship and degrees of the translators are emphasized, but the application is improper. In one or two places, the translators cannot improperly apply the Greek. In the meantime, however, the reader has been indoctrinated with footnotes regarding a word being a subject and not the predicate or vice versa, whereas actually the translators were mixing up the subject and the predicate. The reader takes their conclusion for granted because they are Greek scholars. The theological seminaries back up these wrong conclusions.

Proponents of the doctrine of the Trinity tend to take things out of context. The grammar of these “great” students is incorrect, but because they can speak the Greek language, their sophistry is accepted. They have subtly introduced rules and regulations that do not properly apply.

Jesus was a god, a superior being, who did great works with the Father’s power. The Jews back there realized that Jesus did not claim to be Almighty God. He was familiar with the Father and likened himself to a Son, and that was the blasphemy—that he put himself on a “divine” plane of being, having been there previously.

John 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

This statement is found in Psalm 82:6. “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes” (Psa. 82:6,7). The Pastor applied verse 6 (“gods”) to the Church. These two verses were inserted in Psalm 82 to explain the experience to be anticipated by the true Church in the context of the nominal Church.

John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

Verse 35 in the King James Version does not quite convey the correct thought because of the verb “came.” The Jerusalem Bible properly uses “was addressed.” Therefore, the thought should be, “If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God was addressed.” It is to the true Church that the Word of God was, and is, addressed.

Psalm 82 is showing that the last members of the true Church will experience a situation very similar to that of Jesus, “one of the [two] princes.” According to appearances, they will die like ordinary people, like other children of Adam, but actually they will die a sacrificial death. When Jesus was on the Cross, the Israelites saw him as just a human being who was put to death, whereas in reality, he was a sacrifice on the Cross.

John 10:36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

The Diaglott interlinear reads, “… because I said, A Son of the God I am?” Jesus did not say he was God. And even if one insisted on using “I am the Son of God,” Jesus still was not saying he was God. One cannot be the “Son” of God and yet be God Himself.

John 10:37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.

John 10:38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

Earlier the Jews had said, “For the good works we do not stone thee,” so Jesus was now saying, “All right, believe those works. Forget everything else, but believe the works.”

John 10:39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,

The Jews had picked up stones to throw at Jesus (verse 31), but then Jesus started to reason with them. “Now tell me, what really is the problem? Give me some substantive evidence that I am an impostor.” The Jews listened at that point and did not throw the stones. When Jesus finished reasoning with them, they resumed their original intent.

John 10:40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.

In AD 29, Jesus presented himself to be baptized in the Jordan River near Jericho, but here the Apostle John was picking up a thread of a later event. When Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days and came back to where John the Baptist was baptizing, the latter was way up north at the southern end of the Sea of Galilee near Salim in Aenon (John 3:23). Verse 40 refers to this latter site. Here Jesus abode.

John 10:41 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.

John 10:42 And many believed on him there.

John the Baptist did no miracles, yet he was renowned—probably for several reasons. Being brought up in the wilderness, he was a strong character. He dressed like Elijah, wearing rough clothing. The last two verses of the Old Testament are, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” (Mal. 4:5,6). Hence the Jews were looking for Elijah the prophet.

John the Baptist came out of the wilderness dressed like Elijah and had a rugged personality. To the Pharisees and Sadducees, he said, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for [worthy of] repentance” (Matt. 3:7,8). He spoke strongly also of the coming judgment. Thus John the Baptist had charisma plus a psychological edge, as it were, to prepare the way for the Lord. The common people reasoned very well—they put two and two together and believed Jesus was the Messiah.

(1986–1987 Study)

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