After the resurrection of Lazarus, the machinations of the Jewish leaders moved into high gear.
“What are we to do, because this man performs many signs? 48 If we let him alone this way, they will all put faith in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”” (Joh 11:47, 48)
They saw that they were losing their power over the people. It is doubtful that the concern about the Romans was anything more than fear mongering. Their real concern was for their own position of power and privilege.
They had to do something, but what? Then High Priest Caiaphas spoke up:
“But a certain one of them, Caʹia·phas, who was high priest that year, said to them: “YOU do not know anything at all, 50 and YOU do not reason out that it is to YOUR benefit for one man to die in behalf of the people and not for the whole nation to be destroyed.” 51 This, though, he did not say of his own originality; but because he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was destined to die for the nation,” (Joh 11:49-51)
Apparently, he was speaking under inspiration because of his office, not because he was a pious man. That prophecy however seemed to be what they needed. To their minds (and please forgive any comparison with Star Trek) the needs of the many (them) outweighed the needs of the one (Jesus). Jehovah wasn’t inspiring Caiaphas to incite them to violence. His words were true. However, their evil hearts moved them to apply the words as justification for sin.
“Therefore from that day on they took counsel to kill him.” (Joh 11:53)
What I found interesting from this passage was John’s clarification as to the full application of Caiaphas’ words.
“…he prophesied that Jesus was destined to die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but in order that the children of God who are scattered about he might also gather together in one.” (Joh 11:51, 52)
Think of the time frame. John wrote this almost 40 years after the nation of Israel ceased to exist. For most of his readers—all but the very old—this was ancient history, well outside their personal life experience. He was also writing to a community of Christians in which gentiles outnumbered Jews.
John is the only one of the four gospel writers that makes mention of Jesus’ words regarding “other sheep which are not of this fold”. These other sheep were to be brought into the fold so that both folds (Jews and gentiles) could become one flock under one shepherd. All this John wrote about in just the previous chapter to the one under discussion. (John 10:16)
So here again John reinforced the idea that the other sheep, gentile Christians, are part of the one flock under the one Shepherd. He’s saying that while Caiaphas was prophesying about what he would have taken as only the nation of natural Israel, in fact, the prophecy included not only Jews, but all the children of God who are scattered about. Both Peter and James use the same phrase, “scattered about”, to refer to the holy or chosen ones of both Jewish and gentile extraction. (Ja 1:1; 1Pe 1:1)
John concludes with the thought that these ones are all ‘gathered together in one”, nicely dovetailing with Jesus’ words quoted only a chapter earlier. (John 11:52; John 10:16)
Both the context, the phrasing, and the historical time frame provide us with yet another piece of evidence that there is no secondary class of Christian who should not consider themselves children of God. All Christians should consider themselves as children of God based on, as John also says, the faith in the name of Jesus. (John 1:12)
I have just had a quick look at all the comments. I wish I had more time to read them all. I also wish I had more time to add a longer, textually supported comment, but my circumstances don’t allow it right now. But, I would like to add that from my studies of the scriptures, my conclusion is that the other sheep are Gentiles who have been brought into a covenant relationship, a covenant for a kingdom. Any not in the covenant do not benefit. One or more commentators have expressed that it is hard for some to believe… Read more »
Having read the entire commentary dismembering the heavenly calling, I’m left to wonder just how much anyone can re-interpret scripture before a new doctrine is created. Throwing in a “lost-in-translation” Greek argument while paying no attention to the ancient Hebrew construct, to prove nobody goes to heaven because earth is a more suitable and humble place to live, is just another conclusion made to win a preconceived argument in my opinion. Not only that, it smothers every argument thereafter with a rhetoric so excessively long and complex that I cannot think of anything but Jesus’ warning words in Matt 23:4.… Read more »
Hello sw1, I saw that you recently posted here, and I wanted to take a few moments to reply. Since I am the one who has promoted the idea that no one is going to heaven, I am assuming you are referring to me. I cannot say I fully understand your argument, or what it is you are complaining about. I will do my best to respond. You seem very concerned about the issue of “rhetoric”, mentioning it three times. Some definitions I found for “rhetoric” were, “the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing, especially the use of… Read more »
The tone of this discussion is starting to deteriorate. I understand how that can happen as it has happened to me. Nevertheless, the subject matter is important and the questions raised deserve to be answered. However, BP is not the best forum for this type of discussion. I would ask you both (and anyone else wanting to contribute) to hold on to your thoughts and research for a week or two. Apollos and I are working on a way to provide for this type of discussion under a refined set of commenting guidelines. If you will grant us the time,… Read more »
You may delete my post, if you wish.
Your explanation of the other sheep is clear and correct. It is obvious that Jesus was referring to those of the gentiles who would become Christians alongside the Jewish Christians to make up one flock.
Meleti, thank you ?
Great article Meleti, and good comment TRA, everything you say makes sense. I’m wondering if somebody could solve something for me? I really struggle with Revelation 20:5 and where it fits in chronologically. If you take it at face value, it would appear that everybody not part of the first resurrection (the kings) are part of the second resurrection which happens at the end of the 1,000 year reign, only to be judged immediately, which doesn’t seem fair or make sense – after all who will the kings reign over? But then why are they referred to as “the dead”… Read more »
The rendering of Revelation 20:5 is problematic. First, it is important to note that the Greek text does not contain parentheses, much less any other kind of punctuation – and some texts don’t even put spacing between words but run everything together. (Try proof-reading THAT.) It turns out that only about half the English translations use the parentheses. Some even switch the ordering of the phrases in this verse. These translation choices can cause the reader to infer some subtle connotations about what is or is not being conveyed here, and those inferences may or may not have been intended… Read more »
I think you are on the right track, TRA. Jesus told Martha that whoever believes in him will never die at all. (John 11:25-26) Obviously Martha did exercise faith in Jesus, yet she died (as we might view death) but Jesus used the whole Lazarus episode to instruct us about God’s view. He showed us that Lazarus was asleep, not dead. Jesus woke him up. The trick for us is viewing things as God sees them. I think that what we need are some new words. “Death” is too vague, too ambiguous. There was a book years back called “Brave… Read more »
Meleti, It is quite interesting that Jesus first tells his disciples that “Lazarus our friend has gone to rest, but I am journeying there to awaken him from sleep.” (John 11:11) The reason it’s interesting is that, from the standpoint of a physicist, the term “rest” simply means, “not moving”. It does not mean “dead” or “non-existent”. Perhaps it can be explained by an illustration. If we have a computer, but the computer is turned off, it’s “not moving”, so to speak. It’s not doing anything. But, assuming the hard drive, the memory and other components are not damaged, it… Read more »
Thanks everyone for your insights. You’ve given me lots to think about!
To your very last point (and somewhat off topic), but I’ve recently wondered if the last ‘DAYS’ of 2 Tim 3:1 , where it states ‘But know this..in the ‘LAST DAYS’ might not have similar application. We have the proclamation of Jehovah, as you mentioned, stating that in the ‘DAY’ of Adam and Eve’s eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, they would surely die. (the ‘DAY’ meaning equivalent to 1,000 years. (2 Pet 3:8) Then of course, Judgement day in the new order/system is a thousand years. Rev 20:4 Thank you for letting me interject… Read more »
Meg, if we look at how God treated Adam and Eve, the Bible does not record Him ever speaking to them again after He pronounced sentence on them. He must have been very hurt and disappointed that they did this to Him. In His eyes, they were “as good as dead”, and so their deaths in the future were certain to come about. Using a common figure of speech, we might say that “He wrote them off” and that their death sentences were “a done deal” – so certain to occur that one could treat it as if they had… Read more »
But God looked after Adam and Eve by making them clothes of animal skin.
We’ve touched on this elsewhere on the site, though perhaps not in great detail. My view is that Peter’s words in the opening of Acts indicate that the last days coincide with the development of Christianity.
Thanks Meleti. Every now and then I try to discuss this topic with my wife. And every time she denies that she is or can be considered a child of God. Her reply is always: no, I just support the little flock. Last time she asked me what I think of the words in 1 John 5:19 which reads: We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. She wanted to discuss the latter part (not uncommon for JW’s to only discuss a few words of a verse). I commented… Read more »
Have patience with your wife, it has to sink in and this takes time. I know I am in the same situation with my hubby, while I am awakening and this is difficult enough. We have to take care of our family too, because we love them and we want them on the same page as us.
She is probably terrified of letting any other viewpoint of the scriptures in to her mind apart from the one taught by the witnesses . The fear of being misled from the so called truth grips people the fear of letting anyone else in to the mind apart from ( jehovah ) . People dont trust thier own power of reason . This is what is drummed into the witnesses . That they are not to think for themselves . Love is the answer .
Father jack, I agreed with your comment and share your view!
This is true. I have been “awakened” for some time now, and after a lifetime of “theocratic progress” (have you ever noticed that when a brother asks you, how are you doing? or how is so and so doing? It usually is referring to How you or So and So are “progressing” in the congregation?). I understand that with my wife I must be really patient. I have spoken to her in a kind manner about disagreements I now have with WT doctrine. AT first is was a big surprise for her, as I was an Elder for many years,… Read more »
1 john 5;1 NLT Is interesting meleti it says that EVERYONE who believes jesus is the christ has become a child of god .as you correctly say there is no second class christian . Its obvious to most bible readers who the other sheep of john 10 ; 16 are anyway yet again the whole concept is based on a misinterpretation of the verse perhaps to make it fit thier own ideas . I also think that even if there are those christians who will enjoy special assignments wether in heaven or earth it does not make them a different… Read more »
opps meant to post that as a separate comment ..
for you today Meleti in full agreement ..(but I knew that before my association with JW’s mayhaps one reason we did not “fare well” there … CHILDBIRTH You have consummated the dream upon its fertile mind have given birth your Sons are to be Kings for ruling in the earth like life I wish that we would never part our connection like the beating of one heart because I have believed your heart was true therefore did I give mine permanently to you You have shown me a love of Sons of Men not of his clothing but what he… Read more »
Meleti, I know you are familiar with my views, but they bear repeating in light of your consideration of this topic. Since John 10:16 tells us that the other sheep (the Gentiles) will become one flock under one shepherd along with natural Israelites, the other sheep cannot be a separate class of Christians – as though one class would exist on earth as humans (including some, living near the time of Armageddon, who will never end up dying), and the other class who supposedly die and are resurrected as spirit persons in heaven to live with God and Christ. If… Read more »
Hi TRA:) I agree with most of your insights . Those take a futurist approach to the book of Revelation will note that the apostle John was invited into the heavens to receive a direct revelation from Jesus Christ and in this revelation most of the scenes are in heaven. IJA ,Nightingale, Michael M and a few others helped me to come to the realization that most Christians ( maybe western Christianity as whole) read into certain key texts to support a life in heaven . However TRA, I don’t show scripturally where being with him in paradise means that… Read more »
Hello GWIT, It is true that the future of mankind is not described in precise terms in the Bible. If it were, there would not be 2,000 years of debate on this subject. Unquestionably, sincere Christians throughout the ages have pondered and debated this matter, and applying what they thought at the time were sound reasoning, came up with very different conclusions. It is (regrettably) necessary to infer many of the details. The best we can do is to try to find an explanation that fits ALL of the facts (that is, the truth of the entire Bible and not… Read more »
I agree with GWIT, that Jesus will be coming back to join Heaven and Earth in a NEW creation that is really beyond our capacity to comprehend. Rev 21:1-3 Consider possible new laws of physics, because what about the fact that our current middle-aged sun will go Red Giant to White Dwarf at some point? 🙂 As for the thief on the cross getting an undeserved reward, I believe Jesus’ parable in Matt 20:13-15 addresses just such generosity. When it comes down to it, undeserved kindness is what all of us need. “We all fall short of the glory of… Read more »
I like your “out of the box” creative thinking, but I am not sure how or why new laws of physics are needed. The laws we even know about are extraordinarily complex. If new laws were made, it seems like that would mean the existing laws were inadequate. God seems to have been perfectly capable of creating the universe and living things on earth with the existing laws. Does He really new ones? As for the sun changing, the sun and the stars are billions of years old, while we are but a blink of an eye in comparison. Are… Read more »
Hi TRA, 🙂
I certainly can agree we look forward to a new government and persons at peace with God, but I don’t see that our eternal future necessarily is to resemble current conditions.
As to the Creation: Romans 8:19-22
As to Humans: 1 Corinthians 15:42-49
Yes, a Biblical MESSAGE of change is simple, but as to God’s mechanisms: 1 Corinthians 2:9
We just don’t know what the future holds. All we can say is that God will handle matters to our benefit. Consider 3:10-13: “Yet Jehovah’s day will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a hissing noise, but the elements being intensely hot will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be discovered. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought YOU to be in holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion, 12 awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of… Read more »
Yes, and I did like your idea of God recharging the sun with hydrogen.
TRA ? Amen and there will be peace and oxigen tasting like champagne bubbles ?
These are not new laws of physics. They are simply waiting for us to discover and explore.
These unknowns have always existed. We are limited at this stage. Creativity is the key to making some progress and sense of what is in the bible. There are clues throughout the bible., We who like the printed word, are the ones who like a black and white definition of everything. This is a dangerous mistake and has caused pain and grief for thousands of years. I like “out of the box thinking” it is the most creative thing our creator gave us.
I try not to concern myself with events that are more than 1.2 billion years in the future, give or take a million years. Anything closer than that keeps me up at night. 🙂 There is this, however: 25 Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth itself, And the heavens are the work of your hands. 26 They themselves will perish, but you yourself will keep standing; And just like a garment they will all of them wear out. Just like clothing you will replace them, and they will finish their turn. (Ps 102:25, 26) When clothing wears out, we… Read more »
Right! Back to BEING children of God! 🙂
TRA said: “In regard to the new heavens and new earth, we must ask, why would the literal heavens need to be replaced? The stars and planets that occupy the universe are inanimate objects. It is not as though they could do anything “wrong” or deserve “punishment”. But if we view the heavens and earth as figurative, it makes sense. Yes, WT has proposed that “heavens” mean the established ruling arrangement, and the “earth” meant the subjects of that government. I don’t see anything wrong with such a concept. (I know WT is greatly in the wrong on many things,… Read more »
Hey TRA, I agree with some of what you said. I am leaning to the conclusion the people mentioned in Rev 5:9-10 ‘out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation’, are the same ones mentioned in Rev 7:9-17 and who are also said to be ‘out of all the nations and tribes and peoples and tongues’. But what confuses me is, yes Rev 5:10 says they rule as kings ‘upon’ the earth but Rev 7:9 says they are standing ‘before the throne and before the Lamb’ so I take this to mean they are in heaven; even if… Read more »
I had questions like yourself. But another key to understanding the whole scenario (which I rejected at first), is this: Jesus did not preexist. At first I thought this was some crazy idea from an individual. But it is the Jewish concept. You can study this in depth. The book of John is the only book that may raise questions, since he used expressions like “I am from the realms above” and so on. But the Bible is from the realms above as well. Doesn’t mean it was literally there. I have always been fascinated by John 1:1. It stands… Read more »
I disagree with this interpretation. I believe it dishonors our Lord and is inconsistent with the Scriptural record. However, since you’ve raised it, you are welcome to make your case. Please use of DiscussTheTruth.com for that purpose.
We have discussed this vigorously:
I am looking forward to your thoughts!
Vincent, it does make sense that Paradise is on earth, and Christ is returning visibly to earth, and will likely meet this man from the past again in the resurrection. When Christ appears again as a man, it will be in a temporary, materialized body, not the body in which he was put to death. If he were to literally reclaim his executed body, it would amount to taking back the ransom sacrifice, something that would never happen. It is reasonable to conclude that when Christ returns, it will be primarily to assist the earthly kings and priests in their… Read more »
I sometimes wonder why a JEWISH concept or view would be more reliable than a Western, non-Jewish view. The Jews did not have a very good reputation regarding loyalty to God or when it comes to paganism or false gods and their views of Jesus where rather unfriendly. And I am referring to the Jewish nation or their religious leaders. I know that many individuals did not follow them in these bad practices. I am not saying Western are by default better but I also do not believe it is correct to assume these Western views are by default worse… Read more »
Hello bjfox1, I will try my best to answer your questions. Like everyone else, I am mystified by much of Revelation, especially since from our perspective here, so much of what WT has taught us on these and other matters has proven untrustworthy. I will repeat what I have said previously, that we need to examine the scriptures carefully, apply our best reasoning ability, and then humbly admit that we could right or we could be wrong. Here goes … and again, apologies for the long post. Revelation 5:9-10: “And they sing a new song, saying: “You are worthy to… Read more »
TRA, yes, that does help a lot. ( Oh and I have no problem with a long post) That does make sense. So this is what I see from what you said: Revelation 5:9-10: “And they sing a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings ON [not OVER] the… Read more »
Hi TRA, nice review, just one point. In John 14:1-4, Jesus seems to confirm that He will prepare rooms in the house of His Father, John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be distressed. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you. 3 And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may… Read more »
Apologies in advance for the lengthy reply … Many Christians have looked to John 14 as confirmation of a heavenly hope. Because the NT language regarding our future is somewhat vague, and omits many details, it is understandable why some might feel that way. It is easy to read into verses like this our own preconceived ideas, and it can be difficult to consider matters objectively. Since the scriptures don’t really answer all possible questions, we run the risk of interpreting the Bible the way we want to, rather than allowing it to speak for itself. Let’s try to examine… Read more »
Thanks for your feedback. Interesting view, I need to re-read it to fully understand your views :-). Nevertheless, my point was not that all believers or followers of Christ will go to heaven, but just that the apostles, Verse 3 and 4 of John 14 do carry that thought in my view. I agree house can mean place: 3G2532And G1437whenever G4198I should go G2532and G2090should prepare G1473for you G5117a place, G3825again G2064I will come G2532and G3880take G1473you 4314to G1683myself; G2443that G3699where G1510.2.1I am,G1473 G2532[3 also G14731you G1510.32should be]. 4 G2532And G3699where G1473I G5217go G1492you know,G2532and G3588the G3598way G1492you know. As… Read more »
Hello Menrov, I know there are countless billions of religious adherents that have been raised and taught that people go to heaven, or some form of it, when they die – both inside and outside of Christian religions. They look upon this prospect with great fondness and reverence. That is as true for JWs as anyone else. The average JW views the “anointed class” with awe and wonder. It is extraordinarily hard to let go of such feelings, for the very fact that FEELINGS are involved, and these are hard to reason against. We don’t want to let go of… Read more »
I absolutely agree. When I first left the Watchtower, I had no desire to go to heaven. Absolutely no desire. Made no sense. But what choice did I have at that point? Then my friend introduced me to this thought. At first I rejected the thought without any research. But then I did deep research. What I found is absolutely amazing!!! The Bible became a book that I could relax and read like a storybook. When Yahweh makes a promise, he means what he says. The promise to Abraham will be fulfilled in a literal sense. His words in Micah… Read more »
Vincent, I couldn’t agree more. When I suspected that no one was going to heaven, I started searching and cross-referencing everything in the Bible about heaven. About the time Ray Franz was expelled from the GB, a document was circulating around Bethel, called “Where Is The Great Crowd Serving God?” They concluded that the Greek word “naos” meaning “temple” or “temple courtyard” was used both to describe the location where the 144,000 were located and where the great crowd was. They were astounded, but their reaction was that it must have meant that both were in heaven. That conclusion got… Read more »
Great thoughts Meleti! There are so many comments I could make …… Acts 15:7-9 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Throughout the Gospel we see the… Read more »
And what of Paul’s explicit affirmation of the reconciliation of Jews to Gentiles through Christ in Ephesians 2?
Thank you for posting that chapter . It’s is one of my favorites ! The JW’s interpretation for this subject is a huge FAIL. All of the Jews could not have rejeceted Jesus in the sense that we understand rejection to mean. There was a faithful remnant of Jews who accepted Christ before He died. Besides all of the first “Christians” were all Jews.
1 Corinthians 2:9 (TLB)
9 That is what is meant by the Scriptures which say that no mere man has ever seen, heard, or even imagined what wonderful things God has ready for those who love the Lord.