The Lord attends the Feast of Tabernacles
6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.
His words were true in a double sense. The time that he had determined upon for attending the feast had not arrived: he did not purpose being there at the opening. This was the superficial meaning. The deeper meaning was that the time had not come for him to make such a display of his power as would compel the universal acceptance which his brothers derided. That time has not yet come, but will come. It is an appointed and a fixed time. There is a plan in the great matters to which it stands related.
"Your time is always ready." Present and instant gratification is the rule of merely natural wisdom and natural men. There is no plan in the policy of their lives: no principle to guide the development of their affairs: no rational patience in their posture. How different it is with the ways of God, of which Jesus was the great and long-promised instrument.
In these there is a plan, involving delay, labour, waiting, growth, ripening, harvest, and a climax of transcendent interest.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 39.
14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.
Feast was seven days so the midst would be the third or fourth day.
15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
This was a complete answer. It was an admission of the two points involved. -- 1st. That he had not qualified as a teacher in the customary method; and 2nd, that he yet exercised the office of a teacher with all the ability usual only with trained experts. It went further. It disclaimed personal credit for the fact. He did not take the glory to himself, as is the egotistical habit of most self-taught men. "My doctrine is not mine:" whose then? "His that sent me." Who sent him? "My Father, of whom ye say that He is your God." "I am not come of myself, but He sent me."
He attributed his teaching ability direct to power from God. This was high ground. How could he expect them to receive it? He indicates a rule of test. "If any man will do His will (the Father's will) he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of (or by the power of) myself."
Nazareth Revisited Ch 39.
"God," said Jesus "is spirit" --pneuma ho Theos. Heathen Greek writers, whether poets or orators, generally meant by Theoi, the plural of Theos, nothing more than supernatural beings of a higher order than men.
The word, in itself, had attached to it none of those more metaphysical conceptions which belong to our term Divine as significant of the uncreated and eternal. The great teacher, Jesus of Nazareth, did not use the word Theos at all, inasmuch as he discoursed not in Greek. The probability is that he used the word Ail; and that John, who wrote in Greek, selected Theos in the singular number, and appropriated it to a Hebrew signification, which the teaching of Jesus would explain.
"There shall not be there other Elohim before Me." This was said by Yahweh to Israel. When Jesus, therefore, spoke about God in relation to bowing down, and serving or worshipping Him, he had doubtless referred to Ail-Shaddai, who afterwards named himself Yahweh, commonly pronounced Jehovah. "Theos is Spirit," then, is equivalent to saying AlL or Yahweh is Spirit. But the proposition of Jesus is not limited to individual unity; its scope is multitudinous.
Spirit is Theos; that is, whatever is Spirit is Theos -- is of a higher nature than that of mortal men. Hence he declared to Nicodemus, "that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit." Here are two natures the Man-nature and the God-nature. We all know by experience what flesh is. It is a wind that passeth away. It is vanity and "profiteth nothing."
We do not, however, know experimentally what the God-nature is: all we can at present know is what is testified concerning it in the teaching and experience of Jesus and the word. He was flesh, having been born of the flesh, though not by the will of man; and he is now Spirit, having been born of the Spirit from the grave to incorruption.
Jesus then is Spirit. Paul styles him "a life-imparting Spirit," and "the Lord the Spirit" Being Spirit, he is therefore Theos or God. He is now no longer flesh and blood; but HOLY SPIRIT NATURE - a flesh and bones embodiment of Spirit; and therefore of the One Yahweh.
Jesus is the type, or pattern, in whom is illustrated the plural manifestation of divine and multitudinous unity -- ONE in many, and yet that many ONE, as symbolised in the Mosaic Sh'ma Yis-raail. This idea was the basis of the doctrine, which Jesus said was not his, but the teaching of Him that sent him -- that is, of the Eternal Spirit or Father.
...His doctrine consisted of "the words" which Moses predicted in Deut. 18: 18, the Eternal Spirit, Yahweh, would put into his mouth; and to which, if anyone will not hearken, "he shall be destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:23).
Phanerosis - Belief The Basis of God-Manifestation
17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
No man can do his will who is not intelligent in "the truth as it is in Jesus;" because his will demands an enlightened obedience.
Jesus is the type, or pattern, in whom is illustrated the plural manifestation of divine and multitudinous unity -- ONE in many, and yet that many ONE, as symbolised in the Mosaic Sh'ma Yis-raail. This idea was the basis of the doctrine, which Jesus said was not his, but the teaching of Him that sent him -- that is, of the Eternal Spirit or Father... His doctrine consisted of "the words" which Moses predicted in Deut. 18: 18, the Eternal Spirit, Yahweh, would put into his mouth; and to which, if anyone will not hearken, "he shall be destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:23). We hope all who contend for the sufficiency of the faith of the demonized in the divine Sonship of Jesus will defer to this. We repeat, for the illumination of such speculators in Old Man theology:
That justification unto life and glory in the kingdom of God, is predicated upon three things:--
1. Upon believing the testimony concerning Jesus Christ;
2. Upon receiving the doctrine of the Eternal Spirit he delivered to the world; and
3. Upon one so believing, yielding an assured and affectionate obedience to the precepts he enjoins.
''I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him''. (Deut 18:18)
'For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. (Acts 3:23).
Phanerosis - belief the basis of God manifestation
18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
In this Christ stands absolutely alone -- that though he was worthy as no man ever was, it was not his own elevation, his own credit, or his own advantage, that he aimed at in his whole work. He was the disinterested, zealous, faithful servant of Yahweh. It was his Father's will he sought to exalt; his Father's honour and glory he sought to achieve.
A judgment of him by this fact can yield but one verdict. Every effect must have efficient cause. If Christ was an exception among men in the fundamental motives that moved him, it could only have its explanation in the fact constantly asserted by him: that though a man among men, he was not of man, but of God, and sent by Him to manifest His name, declare His will, and execute His work.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 39.
19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
The adversaries who personally antagonised him in the days of his sojourn upon the earth, professed a zeal for Moses as the excuse for their antagonism, and yet were not obedient to Moses in whom they boasted....
20 The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?
Sinners always repudiate the character for sin. The wickedest man likes a good reputation. No evil-doer owns to his intentions. There is a power of self-deception in men that enables them, with a sort of muddy sincerity, to disclaim the very things they have in contemplation. The Jews were laying traps for Christ. Yet when he alludes to the publicly avowed animosity, the reply is a scornful scepticism, and the suggestion that he must be mad.
Thou hast a devil
These worldly wise find their counterparts in those who attribute foolishness and error to parts of the Sacred Word-hesitating not to criticise and condemn the work of God. Others with whom Christ was brought in contact were characterised by unmitigated brutality and ignorance. These mocked and reviled and finally murdered him. Their fellows are not now wanting among the adversaries of the Bible. Such tell us that the Inspired Volume "contradicts science, outrages reason, and our moral sense." They say, in effect, "Away with him, Crucify him!" Thank God, the days of the enemies of Christ and the Bible are numbered!
The Christadelphian, March 1887
23 If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?
He had done well on the Sabbath day, and it was lawful to do that. ..Thus had the Son of God to humble himself in controversy with unreasonable and wicked men, enduring the contradiction of sinners against himself.
24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
We are all weak, we are all erring, we shall all continually fail of perfection - but we MUST all work together in compassion and understanding to build the unity and communion of the Body of Christ.
We must be very careful that we judge and decide on FACTS, and we must be sure our "facts" ARE facts. The evil tendency of all flesh (our own included) is to misunderstand and to thoughtlessly misrepresent, to think and expect and say, the worst of others on any occasion of stress or annoyance or disagreement.
We must have enough sense and maturity to recognise this fleshly tendency in ourselves and others, so that our conclusions and statements about others are godly and not fleshly. Truly, we must not close our eyes to reality. But we must be very careful, especially in bad situations, to be sure we do not make them worse by fleshly or family partiality for or against, by jumping to conclusions, by alarm and exaggeration, and above all, by the dreadful presumptuousness of playing God in judging motives.
Truly, many mistakes are made in trying to deal with problems, but if the motive is right and godly, and the goal is the Truth's welfare, then we must have compassion with the human errors of implementation.
Our sympathy must be, not with ties of blood, but with those who are struggling to uphold the principles of the Truth and the standards of the ecclesia, even if we feel they err in their methods.
Our sympathy must not be with those who by their fleshliness are pulling down these principles and standards and creating the problems for those trying to obey. Closeness of relationship must not colour our judgements in matters relating to God and His Truth.
27 Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.
Illogical speculation of the crowd
It was true they knew the proximate origin of Christ very well, for he had been brought up from childhood at Nazareth in their midst; but in what way did this conflict with the fact that when the day for the manifestation of his power should arrive, he will appear upon the scene in a manner as absolutely inexplicable to the common run of men, as his birth as the son of a virgin?
When Christ steals into the world "as a thief" from heaven, it will be absolutely true that "no man knoweth whence he is," although they all knew, in the day of his humiliation, he came from Nazareth.
28 Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.
When Jesus said to the Jews:
"Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am"
he did not speak inconsistently with the words he uttered next day (8:14, 19):
"Ye neither know me nor my father. . . . Ye cannot tell whence I come nor whither I go."
Because the two statements refer to the two separate aspects of Christ. To the eyes of men, he was merely the eldest son of Joseph of Nazareth, and "came out of" that place. They all knew Jesus in this aspect.
But there was a higher aspect which could be known only to God, and which was revealed by Him, and attested by Him in the works which He enabled Jesus to do-viz., his origin from heaven.
He was the product of the Holy Spirit which came down from Him. Had the Jews known this, they would have known who he was. As he said on the same occasion,
"If ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also."
The Christadelphian, Oct 1898
29 But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.
This simple, gentle affirmation of truth offended the immediate speakers. There was a rush to apprehend him, but it came to nothing...
30 Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.
31 And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?
The cry was taken up. It passed through the multitudes in the temple court with the quickness of an electrical movement. It threatened to become a serious demonstration in favour of Christ. Then authority openly interfered.
37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
That the water of life represents the Spirit in all its relations and effects, is evident from the words of Jesus...
... A stream of this pure, transparent water of life was poured out upon the apostles on the Day of Pentecost. That, however, though great and marvellous in its effects, was only the earnest of what is yet to follow.
It anointed them with knowledge, wisdom, and power; but it left them as it found them, subject to disease, sorrow, pain, and death.
Now, people have so much Holy Spirit in them as they have of the words and ideas of the Deity understood, affectionately believed, and obeyed (John 6:63). But, when the time of the great Pentecostian outflow of Holy Spirit shall arrive, the assembled multitude of the approved convened before the judgment seat of Christ, will be filled, and covered over, and thoroughly saturated in all the atoms of their substance, with the flood of downpouring Spirit from unapproachable light; whereby they will be changed, and all that is in them of earthiness and mortality "swallowed up of life".
Henceforth, the pure, transparent stream of living water is distributed through them as its channel to mankind, until the knowledge of YAHWEH the fountain of living waters, shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Isa.45:8)
Eureka Ch 22.1.
46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
They were filled with wonder also but the belligerence of the pharisees crushed the gentle voice of truth and kindness.
51 Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
Nicodemus was there. He was one of them. What were his thoughts in the face of this contemptuous challenge? This was just a few months before the Crucifixion. He had had three years to ponder on the words of Jesus, whom he had confessed to be a teacher sent from God.
He does speak up. Truly very mildly and timidly and uncommittingly from the point of view of a robust faith, but he does speak out against them...
....finally, at the last moment possible, Nicodemus' secret faith burst forth in loving, fearless, public service to the dead body of a condemned and executed prisoner.
Two women are watching as these two men, these two well-known rulers of the Jews, but doubtless strangers personally to them, carefully take down the body, prepare it for burial and carry it a little way into a tomb nearby. They were Mary Magdalene and the "other Mary," that is, the wife of Cleophas.
Bro Growcott - Woman, Why Weepest thou