Keeping it Simple Yet Somewhat Scholarly

John 4:43-54

And after the two days He went forth from there into Galilee. For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things that He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves also went to the feast. He came therefore again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain royal official, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him, and was requesting Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. Jesus therefore said to him, ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.’ The royal official said to Him, ‘Sir, come down before my child dies.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your son lives.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he started off. And as he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living. So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. They said therefore to him, ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.’ So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, ‘Your son lives;’ and he himself believed, and his whole household. This is again a second sign that Jesus performed, when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.

Context is king– and according to the context, Jesus left Judea because “the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John.” But on the way to Galilee, Jesus had a divine date with a woman at a well in Samaria, staying in the city, preaching himself as the Messiah, for two days.

“And after the two days He went forth from there into Galilee. For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things that He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves also went to the feast.”

I firmly believe that the Bible, which was written over a thousand years by multiple, mortal men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit, was not necessarily written to the wise and prudent but to average and even “below average” people. Yet there exists wonderous wisdom in the words which are able to transform the average reader into a wise person. It takes time and discipline however and a consistent hermeneutical process, the most important of which is to always consider the context.

The Bible was not written to scholars… but nearly 2000 years removed from the last of the Biblical writings being written, sometimes we, the simple minded, must take a somewhat scholarly approach to stymie the secular scholars. What’s worse, we often have to dig deep to silence the dogmatic and legalistic within our own ranks. We’re supposed to be one people of God but the legalistic and dogmatic are like their arch enemies, the Democrats, they only want to speak and never want to listen. Their position is right, firmly implanted in their minds and no one will be given a chance to change their minds, much less actually change their minds.

My favorite dubious dogma is the following: “Jesus would be clean shaven if he lived in our times.” Notice the “if” in that sentence. How would one derive this conclusion from any context? More likely, one would be opposed to shaving, given the negative connotation and undertone of Isaiah.

“In that day the Lord will shave with a razor, hired from regions beyond the Euphrates (that is, with the king of Assyria), the head and the hair of the legs; and it will also remove the beard.”

Also excluded is any explanation which includes a erroneous eisegesis emphasizing that the shaving of one’s beard was foreign to the fist century. It’s not anachronistic it was prophesied three quarters of a millenia before the time of Jesus. It’s one of those dubious dogmas of lethal legalism that pastors should let go. It doesn’t edify and turns those who sport their natural, God-given, facial-hair away. This dubious dogma is a false fabrication formed by what some pastors and preachers, theologians and teachers think the Bible states by reading things into the Bible and ripping verses out of context. Also, usually, they are following and exaggerating taught traditions, much like the Pharisees and Sadducees. It’s utterly ironic that about the only thing that the Pharisees and Sadducees agreed upon was that Jesus needed to be eliminated. But this full discussion will have to wait for another time but we will see it again.

Because today’s text appears to contradict what other gospel accounts claim, we should take a little time to examine examples. And if we were to read it with the same fast-food, American approach that darkens our understanding, like the Pharisees and Sadducees, we would run to ruin. We will utilize the CAGED method of Biblical hermeneutics to unlock the caged Scripture, where; context is king, author’s aspirations to his audience are apex, genre is the general, expository exegesis of examples enlightens and dividing rightly the word of truth either confirms or cancels our preconceived notions and presuppositions. It sounds scholarly and a bit daunting but it really is quite simple, it just takes time– time we don’t think we have. “Give us this day our daily bread” and not a crumb. Nevertheless, we have to be a bit scholarly today and practice apologetics.

Here’s the problem: “And after the two days He went forth from there into Galilee. For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him.”

It doesn’t appear to make sense upon first glance. Also, Luke recorded something similar but with a drastically different outcome. If a prophet has no honor in his own country, how could the Galileans receive him? The waters get even more muddied.

In Luke we read of Jesus in Nazareth; “And He said to them, ‘No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, “Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your home town as well.”‘ And He said, ‘Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his home town. But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” And all in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they rose up and cast Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He went His way.”

Two similar sayings to two similar people in the same region but with completely contradictory conclusions (this happens frequently). One group belived Jesus and the other group wanted to throw him off a cliff; a theme we see throughout John’s gospel account– watch for it. The simple answer is that it was two different times, to two different groups and the statement was not exactly the same either. Before we dig deeper and get scholarly, we keep it simple. Honestly, any abled bodied student should be able to see that these two different scenarios happened close in both time and place, yet they were not the same scene. This is what happens when one rips verses out of context. Most of the time clarification comes by simply continuing to read or by remembering what you have already read.

Nevertheless there are those who would claim a contradiction so we zoom in and do some digging. First, we notice the contrasts contained in the context amidst the similarities. Nazareth in Luke, Galilee in John– different angles and times, etc. It’s fairly obvious. John has Jesus leaving Judea, going through Samaria while Luke’s different story is after the temptation in the wilderness. It’s cleary two sepearate occasions based on the contexts. This is the kind of internal evidence one wants.

Almost as much as I write to consider the context and keep it simple, I write, “by two or three witnesses shall everything be confirmed.” Luke and John wrote about the Messiah but from different angles and perspectives. Yet we see enough similar sayings and situations to believe both are true. Even the synoptics differ in many respects and that is exactly what the intuitive investigator wants to see. If the four gospel accounts were word for word copies of each other, one would think that they were nothing more than carbon copies and therefore plagiarized and unreliable because only one source would exist and they would be superfluous and redundant. But we have four very similar and yet distinct accounts given by three eyewitnesses and an investigator and researcher in the likes of Luke. Almost every alleged contradiction in the gospels is easily explained by considering the continuing context. Jesus did and said several of the same things to different audiences. Some of the audiences were made up of some of the same people. Speaking of the audience, what were the aspirations to these two similar audiences?

Would you be surprised if I hypothesize that the aspirations of the author were almost identical even though the conclusions were different? Let’s look again at the context.

John writes; “And after the two days He went forth from there into Galilee. For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, having seen all the things that He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves also went to the feast.”

This goes to remembering the continuing context. What did Jesus do at the feast? “He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the moneychangers, and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, ‘Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise.’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘ZEAL FOR THY HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.'”

Good for the disciples because they remembered what was written. We should do the same, rather than rip verses out of context and string them together ourselves. Also while in Jerusalem at the feast, Jesus performed many “signs, But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man for He Himself knew what was in man.”

All of this waa predicted in the Old Testament– everything that Jesus did was predicted in the Old Testament. The New Testament is the fulfillment and enlightenment of the Old. The New Testament is the lexicon for the Old Testament and vice versa. Love and marriage, horse and carriage, peas and carrots, fuel and fire–you can’t have one without the other.

We look for the sublime string and themes which carry from one to the other. Both Luke and John describe fulfillment of prophecy. John himself has written, “and he came to his own and his own did not receive him.” Yet John also wrote that “the Galileans received him.” Watch this develop as we continue, slowly, simply and scholarly.

We search the Scripture to see what it prophecied concerning this. “But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them. Thou shalt multiply the nation, Thou shalt increase their gladness; They will be glad in Thy presence As with the gladness cof harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil…

Isaiah continues; “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”

Yet the prophecy pundits proclaim pestilence and persistent perishing as the world gets worse and worse. Problem; Jesus said that he came to save the world yet his grammar indicates that it is a long process. But I digress a bit– but not too much because it is all in the continuing context of John’s gospel account. For time’s sake we are zooming in on the fulfillment of prophecy in Jesus being recieved in Galilee but not in Nazareth and not in Jerusalem. However I wanted us to see the context of Isaiah 9 and see how it fits in John’s gospel account. Let the Old Testament tutor be our lexicon for the gospel accounts. We don’t want bits and pieces of ripped out-of-context verses but want to see the big picture. Isaiah defines Galilee for the book of John. One cannot ignore the themes.

In Isaiah 9 we read; “The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.”

John writes; “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not ccomprehend it.” And, “There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

For time’s sake we can’t touch on every example here and now, but read Isaiah and John for yourselves, in toto, and let Isaiah be the lexicon for John and let John be the lexicon for Isaiah.

To sum up to this point; Jesus came to Israel but much of Israel, especially the higher-ups in the hierarchy, did not receive him, as promised but to those of Israel who did receive him, they became our “church” fathers. In Nazareth, Jesus was rejected but in other parts of Galilee, Jesus was received because of what he did in Jerusalem, which rejected him, for the most part. So we did some shcolarly searching to keep it simple. This continues as we cruise through the context.

“He came therefore again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain royal official, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him, and was requesting Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. Jesus therefore said to him, ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.'”

Let’s focus on the miracle first and then the indictment of the people from Jesus. John mentioned many miracles but almost flippantly, like Moses wrote, “he created the stars also.” Billions of nuclear burning balls in the universe and they hardly get a mention. John has written in the same way concerning the miracles done in Jerusalem. Yet in the little village of Cana, of Galilee, John describes in detail, two miracles early on in his gospel account. He must have had a reason. This is confirmed by the narrative itself. By considering the continuing context and exploring examples, we ascertain the author’s aspirations to his audience. We can clearly see why John includes these two miracles in Cana.

There is a clear distinction between Galilee and Judea in John’s gospel account. There is a just juxtaposition between the north and the south. We see it in Isaiah 9 and in Jeremiah 3, among many other Scripture passages.

In Jeremiah 3 we read; “And the LORD said to me, ‘Faithless Israel has proved herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say, “Return, faithless Israel,” declares the LORD; “I will not look upon you in anger. For I am gracious…”‘”

Are we awaiting a far future fulfillment or do we see this unfolding in John’s gospel account? Let’s look again at more of Jeremiah 3, remembering what we have read in Isaiah and in John’s gospel account.

“‘Return, O faithless sons,’ declares the LORD; For I am a master to you,
And I will take you one from a city and two from a family, And I will bring you to Zion. Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.'”

In John Jesus is the bread of life and the good shepherd. But far beyond this, Jesus is taking a select few from the north into true zion. Before I can change minds, I have to call into question what’s in our minds. What are our taught traditions and presuppositions and preconceived notions? The dogmatic dispensationalists and prophecy pundits run rampant on the radio, podcasts and other social media claiming a far future fulfillment of what we read in Jeremiah, rather than see the fulfillment in Christ. Dispelling this dubious dogma is easy, whether or not one cares to accept it depends upon how involved one’s mind is in the dubious dogma. For example, say one makes millions of dollars promoting prophecy of future fulfillment– as much as we would like to think that truth triumphs over money, we are not there, yet. Also, time is a huge factor. The longer one believes something, the more powerful that belief becomes. Nevertheless, for dogmatic dispensationalism to exist, a parenthetical people, with a parenthetical plan must be established in the Scripture. The prophecy pundits proclaim that this “gap” of a parenthetical plan and people is found in Daniel 9.

“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place. So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have inothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Did you see the gap? Can you pinpoint the place where Israel ceases to be the people of God in exchange for the church until the church serves its purpose and is removed giving way for Israel to become the people of God again? Of course you don’t, it’s not there and it’s far from scholarly and not at all simple. And if it is not there, like a house of cards in a hurricane, dogmatic dispensationalism deteriorates into oblivion. Not all dispensationalists are are quite this dogmatic. I agree with the premise that God works differently in different dispensations. Yet I disagree vehemently with the model or program.

And while I am off on a tangent, let me dispel all the models of “eschatological theology.” Covenant theologians believe in two covenants– works, in the garden and grace after the fall. Most are amillenialists, believing that the kingdom is God’s people in either heaven or in heavenly type conduct. Progressive Covenant theologians believe that grace slowly worked its way in, culminating at the cross. Many are amillenialists or historic premillenialists. Some in both camps are postmillennialist. Here’s what I see, and it’s a bit of a mix between all, but different then all and doesn’t fit any particular mode or model. Therefore we shouldn’t divide over them because all attempt to scholarly simplify the already fairly simple, but we should dump dogmatic dispensationalism: God has only ever had one covenant, progressively illuminated and confirmed through different dispensations and that Covenant is to believe God.

Go back to the garden and see that they believed a talking snake and not God. Not eating from a tree has a “works” undertone but not doing something isn’t work unless it is tempting, which it was. Nevertheless, God gave them grace in telling them not to eat but they didn’t believe God’s warning. Even after, God granted grace and a promise that was revealed progressively, during different dispensations. We don’t have to divide over models and programs but we should stop with the dubious dogmas. It’s all about believing God and he never said that there would be a gap in the 70 weeks.

Ironically enough, when Daniel was told about the seventy weeks, he was reading Jeremiah and confessing his sin and the sin of his people. Like in Jeremiah’s seventy years, there is no gap in Daniel. Also ironic is that one of the greatest prophecies about Jesus is ascribed to the “Antichrist.” As a reminder, don’t let the dogmatic dispensationalists define Antichrist for you. Let the apostle John be your lexicon. Probably the single biggest error in dispensationalist teachings that pushed me away was not the missing gap in Daniel but that they can’t keep the Antichrist and The Beast separate. If one cannot derive at the distinction between Antichrist and The Beast from the Sea, I have to doubt their hermeneutical approach. But I wildly digress– we’re supposed to be looking at the miracle in Cana which actually occurred in Capernaum.

It’s a remote miracle, which is beyond impressive. But notice the historical context. The man wasn’t able to text his son to see if he was well, he actually had to go and find out for himself. This also means that the people present didn’t actually witness the miracle in real time. Yet notice how the royal official reacts.

When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him, and was requesting Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. Jesus therefore said to him, ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.’ The royal official said to Him, ‘Sir, come down before my child dies.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your son lives.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he started off.”

Without texting, calling or anyway to find out if Jesus actually healed the man’s son, he took Jesus at his word and left without asking for a sign. His faith was confirmed when he arrived home, even at the exact hour he was told.

Yet Jesus said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.” To whom was Jesus speaking? He wasn’t speaking only to the royal official, his grammar was plural. The man believed Jesus before he saw the sign. Obviously he had heard what Jesus did, but it certainly appears that he had never witnessed a miracle for himself. Jesus was speaking to all the people present.

Go back to the garden– Adam and Eve didn’t believe without a sign either. The prophecy pundits look at everything as a sign. The royal official left Jesus without a sign but therein lies the rub.

He left Jesus to find his son made well. He did need a sign, not to believe but to confirm his belief. This is why the prophecy pundits point to astronomical events, Covid19, Israel, and everything else that can be misconstrued as “end time” events, because they too need signs. The problem is that as they look to Israel, they act like Israel in their need for signs. Yes, even the disciples wanted signs of the end times. The difference is that the disciples received the signs. Matthew 24 can only be about their generation. While we have covered this extensively, it bears repeating to understand today’s text.

“And Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He answered and said to them, “Do you [personal pronoun, second person, plural; throughout] not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down.’ And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads youyou will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened…Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name…Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath…Behold, I have told you in advance. If therefore they say to you, “Behold, He is in the wilderness,” do not go forth…But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky…Truly I say to you, this [near demostrative] generation will not pass away until all these things take place.‘”

It’s important to understand literary language by using the Old Testament as a lexicon for the New–Psalm 18 is an excellent example of apocalyptic, literary language. We take the plain meanings such as “you” and “this” literally but for literary language we use our Old Testament tutor as a lexicon to translate this “sign” language. “Coming” never means the second coming but coming in judgment. Sun, moon and stars represent Israel as they did in Joseph’s dream. This is all simple, but it takes time and discipline. It also takes homework and therefore a little shcolarly searching.

Hopefully we have a change of perception and perspective so that we can ascertain John’s aspiration to his audience. In the very basic, John’s aspiration is that Jesus is who he said he was, did what he promised to do and that the only way to God is through belief in the finished work– repeat, finished work of his death, burial and resurrection. We are the temple, there’s no going back to the temple. Again, the author of Hebrews makes this abundantly clear, as does Jeremiah 3. As dogmatic dispensationalism falls like leaves on a breezy autumn day, make room for the continuing context of John and latch on the the themes, understanding the imagery. John doesn’t compile a book of his favorite stories about Jesus, hes painting the picture as the prophets did before him.

The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he started off. And as he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was living. So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. They said therefore to him, ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.’ So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, ‘Your son lives;’ and he himself believed, and his whole household. This is again a second sign that Jesus performed, when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.”

Following the theme of belief and the juxtaposition and distinction between Galilee and Judea, let’s look at the seven miraculous signs Jesus performed in John and the response. First, in Cana of Galilee, Jesus changed worthless water in pots for purification into wonderful wine. Response: “This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.”

Next, Healing a son in Capernaum from Cana of Galilee. Response: “So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, ‘Your son lives,” and he himself believed, and his whole household. This is again a second sign that Jesus performed, when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.”

Third; Healing a sick man at Bethesda in Judea. Response; “For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God… ‘And you do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.'”

Fourth, “After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias)…Jesus said, ‘Have the people sit down…Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. Jesus therefore took the loaves; and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. And when they were filled, He said to His disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments that nothing may be lost.’ And so they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten.” Response; “When therefore the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, ‘This is of a truth the Prophet who is to come into the world.'”

Fifth; “But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach…And as He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth…” Jesus spat on the ground, put the mud on his eyes and sent him to wash in the pool of Siloam, in Judea. The man could now see and everyone could see that he could see; enter the Pharisees. Response; “Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, ‘This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.'”

Sixth; “Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, [yes, Galilee] and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. And it had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. And the sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. When therefore they had rowed about three or four miles, they beheld Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. But He said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ They were willing therefore to receive Him into the boat; and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.” The multitudes saw the boat and the disciples but Jesus was no where to be found. Eventually they searched for and found Jesus; they asked him, “‘rabbi, when did You get here?’ Jesus answered them and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life.'” Response; very mixed, Lord willing we will cover it in great detail in the future. However Jesus responded to the mixed multitude by saying “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

Seventh sign; “Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.” This is in Judea, just a metaphorical stone’s throw from Jerusalem. You know the story, Jesus raised Lazarus from the stinking dead, but do you remember the response after some believed? Response; “Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council…So from that day on they planned together to kill Him. Jesus therefore no longer continued to walk publicly among the Jews, but went away from there to the country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim; and there He stayed with the disciples…”

Do we follow the themes of the prophets and John by considering the context or do we rip verses out of context like the Jehovah’s Witness, L.D.S, and the Joel Osteen’s of the mega-church movement? You can read the Bible simply and scholarly by keeping to a consistent hermeneutic. Let the sublime string shine through Jesus Christ.

I have gone way too long for a missive, however to truly study the Bible takes time. To see the sublime string and themes unfold, reading the Bible is a lot like fishing, learning to play a musical instrument, learning a foreign language or raising children, you have to put your time in. Hopefully this time was at least a bit enlightening. The good news is that despite the prophecy pundits proclamations, God is not herding Jews to Israel to slaughter two thirds of them, of whom are two millenia removed from the Pharisees and Sadducees. They were punished in their generation for there unbelief exactly as prophecy proclaimed. Nevertheless, anyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ and believe his own words concerning himself, will likewise perish. It’s really quite simple, scholarly speaking.


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