3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
It is very easy to see from this text, that to obtain "eternal life," a knowledge of two things, or rather persons, is indispensable. A correct idea of one insures a proper understanding of the other. This is proved by the statement Jesus made to the Jews, as recorded in the 8th of John and 19th verse.
"Then said they unto him, where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also."
Now if the Jews-who had many advantages over the Gentiles-did not know "the Father and the Son," it need astonish nobody if it should be found that an incorrect understanding is gone abroad among the Gentiles concerning them. We hardly need remark that the knowledge referred to is not a personal knowledge, for as regards the Father, that were impossible.
He is "the invisible God,"-Col. i. 15-
"dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen,
nor can see."-(1 Tim. 6:16.)
And as touching Jesus Christ, the Jews addressed were familiar with his outward appearance. To know the Father and the Son, therefore, implies an acquaintance with something else pertaining to them. And this is the mind or will, purposes and nature.
The Jews doubtless, knew a good deal concerning the Eternal by experience, that is, by judgments and mercies upon their nation. Still, they were ignorant of the divine purpose in the Messiah, or else they must have known Jesus to be he. Being deficient in this, they are said not to have known the Father. Hence it follows that a knowledge of the Father comes through a knowledge of the Son. As Jesus said to Philip,
"Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?"
"He that hath seen me hath seen the Father."-(Jno. 8:9)
Up to that time, the disciples had not the eyes of their understanding opened, so they had neither "seen" Jesus nor the Father: but soon afterwards, their eyes were opened. Z
Ambassador of the coming age, Dec 1868
That they might know thee
I cannot unite with those who see only flesh in the man Christ Jesus, and who attribute his mind, wisdom, and intelligence to the evolutions of a superior organization of flesh; but neither can I endorse definitions which mean (whether intended to mean so or not) that we are to see no flesh at all in the man Christ Jesus, but a new and mongrel nature, made up of a mixture of flesh and spirit.
I stand out for Jesus being the seed of Abraham (Heb. ii. 16), the seed of David (2 Tim. ii. 8), the flesh and blood of the children (Heb. ii. 14). the likeness or form of the flesh of sin.-( Rom. viii. 3.) But I recognise that, in his case, it was the Spirit converted into this nature (like unto his brethren), and that with this nature, so produced, the spirit (afterwards superadded) dwelt not as a physical element of the flesh of sin, but as an abiding or overshadowing presence of wisdom and power resting on or in the" body prepared."
Bro Roberts TC Jan 1874.
Paul warningly speaks of "another Jesus." What is "another Jesus?" Clearly it means attaching a meaning to the name and personality that is not in harmony with the revealed facts. The name Jesus is on every tongue, but how many really know Jesus? How easy it is to have a form of words without any true conception behind it! We cannot know Jesus without continually reading and thinking upon what is written about him. Mere familiarity with the name and a few surface facts is useless.
We must be intimately familiar with the person for whom the name stands. And this familiarity must be actual. It must arise from the fulfillment of the promise --
"If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him." Although this is spiritual, it is still actual, and must happen if there is to be any hope of salvation -- (Jn. 14).
Bro Growcott - The Test of True Love
We must be able to go to bed each night knowing a lot more about God and His Word than we did the night before. This is the only real purpose of our life, and any day this is not true is a day criminally wasted: a day to give account of at the judgment seat of Christ.
"This is life eternal, to know Thee, the only true God" -- and "knowing" God is not just meeting Him only, but a constant, ever-expanding understanding and familiarity and intimacy.
To "know" God is not to know ABOUT Him, but to be allowed into His friendship and company and interest -- and this is granted to those only whose life's ambition is that their hearts may be increasingly pure: increasingly emptied of the flesh and filled with the Spirit.
4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
Jesus being what he was, the "Word made flesh," the manifestation of the God of David in the seed of David, and therefore David's "Lord" -- it is impossible to disconnect his mentality from the Eternal Power in which he was rooted; and that, although as the Son of David and the man Christ Jesus, his existence dates from his conception "of the Holy Spirit," the consciousness within him whose foundation was laid by the Holy Spirit may have reflected previous relations in a way that pure earth-borns like ourselves have no experience of.
... "They (the disciples) have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou did'st send me."
And again (previously)
"I came forth from the Father and am come into the world: again I leave the world and go unto the Father" (Jno. xvi. 28);
and again John's remark --
"Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father ... Jesus knowing ... that he was come from God and went to God" (Jno. xiii. 1-3);
also the expressions,
"I come down from heaven." "Before Abraham was, I am," and his question: "What, and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before?"
All these expressions imply reminiscence of the preexisting relation of things, which cannot be surprising if we realise that all wisdom and knowledge and memory are stored in the Eternal Father-Spirit of whom Jesus was the expression... The Father element in Jesus must always be kept in view in judging the expressions that came from his mouth.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 55
5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
To glorify another "with his own self" is to impart to that other his own nature, which was done when the Lord Jesus was "changed into the same image or likeness," so that in Jesus now "dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. ii. 9).
This glory, he says,
"I had with thee before the world was."
Nazareth Revisited Ch 55
6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
In this we have a glimpse of the inner side of the work of the Gospel: its divine side: its aspect as seen from the standpoint of God and Christ. From this, it is an affair of manifesting God. To man, it may sometimes seem the mere announcement of changes to come: the return of Christ, the immortality of justified man, the setting-up of the Kingdom.
But rightly apprehended, all these are the manifesting of God. Without God, they could have no occurrence or meaning. It is to carry out His purpose, to enforce His supremacy, that the performances planned and announced in the Gospel will be carried out.
A reception of the truth, therefore, that limits itself to the skeleton facts of the Gospel, is an inadequate reception. The truth, as exhibited in the Bible, has God in its sky like the sun, from whose fructifying beams, all other forms and things derive life and light.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 55
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
It might seem to follow that therefore the best thing is for believers to withdraw themselves into the seclusion of separate communities, after the manner of the Mormon settlement or nunneries and monasteries, and some more recent American examples. This part of Christ's prayer is a complete discountenance of this conclusion.
It would be very pleasing to retire into the harmonious sphere of love and communion; but it would not serve the object for which men and women are called. It is necessary that Christ's people should remain in the world, though not of it, that they may be tried in the tribulation that comes from contact with it. Their separation is a separation from "the evil" that is in it and not from the forms of life that prevail in it.
Faithfulness in this separation is the ground of their final promotion to a state in which there shall "neither be adversary nor evil occurrent;" and there would be no scope for this faithfulness if they were bodily and socially separated from the world as soon as they received the truth.
They have to "endure hardness" in obeying the commandments under circumstances of difficulty. The process is painful, but the upshot is unutterably glorious when the short conflict is over.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 55.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
When Jesus prayed for the sanctification of His disciples, He said, 'Sanctify them by the truth: thy doctrine is truth.' The Spirit sanctifies when the doctrine of God sanctifies; and a man's sanctification by the truth is known when, confessing what Jesus confessed before Pilate, he is washed, sanctified, and justified, by his name and God's Spirit. '-(1 Cor. vi. 11; Rom. x. 8; 1 Tim. vi. 3, 4, 12, - 13.)
The sanctification of men, be they dipped or sprinkled, baptised in ignorance of the promises covenanted to them who love God, is a dogma of the Apostacy, which we sincerely, earnestly, and faithfully advise all to repudiate, who favour a return to the doctrine and practice of the primitive believers."
Bro Thomas - The Christadelphian, Jan 1878
What is the essence of the idea here but this, that the false impression of the senses is to be combated by the implantation of knowledge which is beyond the reach of the senses? Christ is not within reach of the senses, because he is absent from the earth. If we trusted to our senses, we should believe that he was nothing - past, present, or to come.
God's communications with Israel and His deeds on their behalf are beyond reach of the senses, because we live not in the day of their occurrence, but in the interregnum of the divine work on earth.
... thus our natural selves are to ourselves the devil, whose impositions and temptations are to be continually resisted by the weapon of knowledge provided in the word.
This applied to the mind creates, and constantly applied, maintains, the right impression with regard to all these things; and this right impression, sedulously cultivated and obeyed, gives us the victory: for what is the victory that overcometh the world? Even our faith (1 John 5:4)
Bro Roberts - Light and darkness
A correspondent writes (from another group, troubled about the fog of spectulation and "new thought" and "non-traditionism" that is filling the Christadelphian air), "That's the thing about the Berean [magazine]: you never have to worry about what some writer is driving at."
We accept this comment thankfully, and as a great responsibility.
The Truth does not change: people just tire of it. What was sound in the days of our pioneer brethren Thomas and Roberts is sound today; and what was unsound then is unsound today.
"Progress" has an appealing ring: but from where to where? From soundness to unsoundness? From clarity to fog? From the Rock to the quicksand? We are old-fashioned, stick-in-the-mud, "traditionalist" -- everything that is anathema to the modern wave of speculation and "new thought", and we are thankful that in God's providence through brethren Thomas and Roberts we have been shown the soundness of the original Faith, and we intend, God willing, never to budge from it.
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
To be included in Christ's prayer may seem a light and even sentimental matter at present. It will be apparent as a great and solid privilege when the prayer is answered in its final fulness: 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 has sent me"
This evidently refers to what Paul calls
"the day of the manifestation of the sons of God."
The world will "believe" when the saints are visibly revealed in the earth in their corporate unity and completeness, under Christ, at "the general assembly and ecclesia of the first-born" to whom the wealth and dignity and glory and honour of all the kingdoms of the world will be transferred.
The glory of their assembly will be their deathlessness and their absolute unity in mind and nature, caused by the brooding and indwelling among them of the One Eternal Spirit of Christ, who is "the Lord, the Spirit," through whom they will be one with the Father as he was.
Such a body of rulers and governors the world has never seen; strong and glad and beautiful in every faculty, a joy to one another, and a pure blessing to the nations of mankind over whom they will be placed; a perfect satisfaction to Christ, and a praise and a glory to the Father in heaven.
The development of such a body was the subject of Christ's prayer. It is a poor view of his words that limits the petition to mental unity among the few and weak disciples at any time living upon the earth during the dark days of probation. Such a unity is doubtless a beautiful thing, but it is never seen to perfection and never among "all" and has never had power to convince an unbelieving world.
The unity of an immortal multitude will be a very different thing. It will overawe with its impressiveness, and strike conviction into universal man, and tend to evoke that "glory to God in the highest" which is the first characteristic of the age of blessing which Jesus came to prepare the way for.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 55
21 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.
Now the apostles have proved beyond all confutation that Jesus is the Messiah or Christ of Yahweh promised to Abraham, David and Judah. Hence, all that is said about the Christ in the Old Testament must, sooner or later, be fulfilled in Jesus.
But the prophets exhibit the Christ, not as a solitary man only, but also as a man of Multitude, as we have abundantly shown. Therefore, Jesus and his apostles preached the Christ in the same form -- as One Person, and a Multitude in that One, in and through all of whom the Eternal Spirit would dwell and manifest His power.
"I and the Father," said Jesus, "are One" ONE YAHWEH; and concerning his apostles, and all Jews and Gentiles believing into him through the apostles' testimony, he also said, "I pray 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 they may be one even as we are one; I in them and Thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one" (John 17:21) -- in One YAHWEH; that is, in the one perfect Man of the Spirit, styled Jehovah, Yahweh, or Yah, because HE SHALL BE.
"Hear, O Israel, Yahweh, our Mighty Ones is One Yahweh."
Phanerosis - And At His Feet As The Aspect Of Glowing Brass