WAS, I AM
( A Deeper Look At The Gospel of John - Chapter 8 )
by Pastor Jeromy John Visser
Good evening, tonight I'd like to center in on one section of scripture that gives us some much-needed information in these end times. The passage is found in the Gospel of John, Chapter 8 so please turn there now if you've brought your Bibles. Unlike my past few messages where we've done a lot of 'scripture hopping,' tonight we'll stay in John 8 for a majority of the sermon and we'll focus more on the powerful words of Jesus Christ.
In this chapter we will be covering 'the woman taken in adultery' and Jesus' own dealings with both the Pharisees and some imposter Judeans that were spawned directly from Satan himself. All the verses in this chapter take place in or around the temple at the mount of Olives during the feast of tabernacles. You might recall from last Wednesday's message New American Standard: Corrupt, Period where the NAS makes Jesus out to be a liar over this same festival. It dropped the word 'yet?' Well, this is now the time appointed for Jesus to teach.
Tonight's lesson is titled "Before Abraham Was, I AM: A Deeper Look At John 8" and I hope to show you that there are many deeper teachings in this chapter that Christ spoke for our benefit using the most simplistic speech to dumfound our enemies. We should also be able to learn from Christ's example on how to deal with certain liars or false prophets and exactly in what manner we should address them if the situation arises. This sermon will run a little bit longer than usual because we'll be covering this entire chapter so feel free to read along if you feel so inclined.
(The Adulterous Woman:)
We'll begin reading the first two verses; "Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them (John 8:1-2)."
This is the setting -- Jesus goes to the mount of Olives on the last day of the feast of tabernacles in an attempt to avoid 'the snares the Jews' and was teaching the people that gathered around Him. The Mount of Olives lay eastward of Jerusalem only about one mile from it and Lazarus, Martha, and Mary were most likely present all living at Bethany which also not far from this same place.
Continuing on; "And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground (John 8:3-6)."
Jesus' first line of questioning came from the scribes and Pharisees so this is where we'll focus. The term Pharisee is of Hebrew origin and taken from the word Pharisaios (pronounced far-is-ah'-yos) which literally means 'a separatist (Strong's #G5330).' The Hebrew root is pârâsh (pronounced paw-rash') and means 'to separate, disperse or scatter (Strong's #H6567)' so that gives you a little background on who was 'scattering' the tribes that we read about in James 1:1. In short, the Pharisees of old were Rome's equivalent of America's government preachers today, thoroughly corrupted.
The thing to notice is that they said to Jesus "Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned." For one, they were lying -- Moses commanded that they were to be 'put to death' (Leviticus 20:10, Deuteronomy 22:22) but not that they should be stoned, unless the adulteress was espoused, not married, or was a priest's daughter (Deuteronomy 22:21). If you're familiar with this account you also might notice that these same scribes and Pharisees had just called Jesus a 'deceiver' the day before but here slyly call Him 'Master.' The Bible never says what Jesus wrote on the ground with His finger so use your imagination.
Let's read the next two verses; "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground (John 8:7-8)."
Notice that Jesus planned His response? The fact is that had Jesus said 'yes' they would've reported Him for tyranny and had He said 'no' they would've turned Him in for rebellion -- it was a trap. Jesus not only protected Himself with His planned-out answer honoring the context of both laws but also played their consciences against them knowing that they we're even greater sinners than the adulterous woman they had desired to see stoned so swiftly.
Let's read on; "And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more (John 8:9-11)."
His answer to the scribes and Pharisees convicted their hearts so everyone leaves the temple and Jesus is now left alone with the adulterous woman. His admonition to her is "Go and sin no more" meaning this is the condition of her final pardon. Jesus is very merciful, but does not excuse sin. This situation obviously had an emotional effect on our Savior because He exits this section of the temple and begins to address the general masses on the topic of 'judgment.'
(The Light Of The World:)
Let's read the next two verses; "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true (John 8:12-13)."
This exchange of words happened in the 'temple treasury' that was most times illuminated by two massive golden lamp-stands that held numerous lamps and was usually lit after the evening sacrifice. Jesus is making reference here to a prophecy found in Isaiah 42:6 which reads "I Yahweh have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles." Also notice that the Pharisees denied His claims and as Christians we must follow Him, not vise-versa.
Here's how Jesus replies; "Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me (John 8:14-16)."
One could not begin to count the wisdom found in these words from Jesus showing the contrast between man's twisted ruling and the righteous judgment of Almighty Yahweh. This evil aspect of judging is rampant in the governments of the world today and the recent debate about the Ten Commandments monument in Texas instantly springs to my mind. Is it so strange that a drunken, homeless man can bring a charge against the entire state of Texas stating the display was a violation of his 'rights?' Not only has he obtained a decent lawyer but the courts themselves are even entertaining the notion of removing the statue stating that a majority of Yahweh's Laws are not illegal under man's secular laws today. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
Let's keep reading; "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. 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. These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come (John 8:17-20)."
There are several things to notice in this passage of scripture -- Jesus calls the Mosaic Law 'theirs' and he's referring to Deuteronomy 19:15 which commands us; "One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established." This is a blatant teaching of the Godhead equating Jesus on the same level as Yahweh that the Pharisees couldn't see or simply refused to accept. He had already claimed to be the great "I AM" when he said "I am the light of the world."
Most of the Pharisees in Jesus' time lived comfortable lifestyles compliments of Rome as long as they did what Ceaser commanded them so as a result they taught the 'holier than thou' aspect of Hebrew law and disdained sinners, of which they were the worst. Our Saviour's answer of "Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also" rings true today as a majority of America's 501c3 tax-exempt status churches also deny Jesus as God. A little later in this same chapter it will be time for people to 'lay hands on him' and you might just be surprised to find out who tries it and exactly how Jesus deals with the situation. In fact, they're the very next group of listeners to question Jesus.
(Ye Are From Beneath:)
Here's where this particular chapter gets a bit more 'meaty' so be sure to pay close attention; "Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come (John 8:21-22)."
As of this point, the scribes and the Pharisees are long-gone so the only ones left to answer Jesus are the common Judeans, here called 'Jews.' While at first glance this 'battle of wits' may seem pretty strait-forward but if you pay close attention you'll notice that this particular group of rebels weren't even Judeans so Jesus continually exposes them as imposters. In the book of Revelation Jesus himself says about these same enemies; "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan (Revelation 2:9)." Here in a few moments you'll understand where I'm going with tonight's study.
Jesus answer these 'imposters' like this; "And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins (John 8:23-24)."
Notice how Jesus tells them that they "are from beneath" and are "of this world?" Right here is the first clue that these so-called 'Jews' are not His fellow Israelites but rather from 'the synagogue of Satan.' Just like in most of the New Testament Jesus is also denied by this group as He just was from the hard-hearted scribes and Pharisees. The teaching in these verses are clear as day -- "If ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins" or better put -- "if ye believe not that I am Yahweh, ye shall die in your sins."
Just like today, these accusers didn't know Jesus then so their next question is; "Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even that I said unto you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father (John 8:25-27)."
These 'Jews' didn't know and refused to accept Jesus as God so here Christ states that He is 'the same from the beginning' and that He has 'many things' to judge of them. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary says about this same passage; "They allow him to have been a Prophet, an excellent Teacher, and even more than a creature; but cannot acknowledge him as over all, God blessed for evermore. Will not this suffice? Jesus here answers the question. Is this to honour him as the Father? Does this admit his being the Light of the world, and the Life of men, one with the Father?"
Again, Jesus claims equal footing with Yahweh; "Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am, and I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. As he spake these words, many believed on him (John 8:28-30)."
As of this point it's safe to say that many people did believe and followed Jesus due to this very resistance. Here's the third time in John Chapter 8 that Jesus addresses himself as the 'I AM.' This is also the second time that Jesus tells the Jews He does all things for the Father and He's a part of that same perfect Godhead. Sadly, "narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:14)" but fortunately for us "His sheep hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27)."
(We Be Abraham's Seed:)
These next few passages of scripture unlock so many important aspects; "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:31-32)."
Jesus taught "Thy Word is truth" in John 17:17 and He himself is called the 'The Word of God' in Revelation 19:13. This is a conditional promise of freedom to the believing Judeans that stems from knowing the truth of Yahweh's precious Word. The prerequisite of this blessing is that they, like us, must stay or 'continue' in His word. All truth stems from God's Word and every strange cult or Biblical mistake can be traced back to not 'living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).'
Continuing on; "They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (John 8:33-36)."
"Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin" was the answer from Jesus in this verse and this same statement ties in perfectly with John's prudent words; "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8)." This is the second clue that these so-called 'Jews' were just imposters. They say to Jesus that they are 'Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man' but does that fit the description of an Israelite descended from the tribe of Judah? Never in bondage they said? Were they talking about the Egyptian captivity? The Assyrian or Babylonian captivities? During this time the chosen Israelites were in bondage to Rome so it's obvious that this statement is a total lie. Still, Jesus addresses this situation being 'wiser than the serpent' as the rest of this chapter will soon show.
Here's how our Savior dealt with these snakes; "I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father (John 8:37-41)."
Where to begin? Jesus acknowledged that these imposters were of 'Abraham's seed' because even Esau whom Yahweh hated was descended through Abraham's loins through his son Issac. In fact, these deceivers have so many of the characteristics of the Edomites that Jesus Christ tells them "my word hath no place in you" and "ye do that which ye have seen with your father." Notice the lower-case 'father?' In a few moments Jesus will tell us who their father is because He's already told us that these 'Jews' are not Abraham's children due to their thirst for murder.
Let's keep reading, shall we? "Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? because ye cannot hear my word (John 8:41-43)."
I'm sure by this point in tonight's lecture you can already piece together why so many modern-day preachers don't preach on this chapter very much. After being accused of not being Abraham's children these play-actor Judeans reply "We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, God" to which Jesus retorts "If God were your Father, ye would love me" and "ye cannot hear my word" even going as far as saying they speak another language. Those familiar with the seedline doctrine might have a deeper understanding of what this 'fornication' is they're speaking of. Not to worry though, Jesus tells us in the next few verses exactly who these snakes where descended from.
(The First Murderer:)
Not to be missed; "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell the truth, ye believe me not (John 8:44-45)."
Let's cover these two verses one step at a time, okay? Jesus told these 'Jews' that they where born of their father the devil. Was this the first time our Savior taught that Satan had physical children? Not at all -- "the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil (Matthew 13:38-39)." Not only that, Jesus even gives us a clue as to where they were procreated when He states "He was a murderer from the beginning." As Bible believers, who was the first recorded murderer in our beloved scriptures? Yes, indeed -- that dishonor is held by Cain himself and the account is found in Genesis 4:8. I've already touched upon the serpent in the garden of Eden a few weeks back in my sermon Trees and Stars In The Garden of Yahweh and this title cannot be held by Lucifer because he was a perfect angel 'in the beginning.' As far as 'liars' go, read this passage in 1 John 2:22 that says "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son."
Jesus continues to ask them; "Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil (John 8:46-48)."
A Christian knows full well that Jesus is our everything, including the 'truth' being our Living Word. Here Christ says to the devil's children "He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear not, because ye are not of God" not only exposing them one more time for being spawned from Satan but plainly teaching these enemies are not from Yahweh or to be considered 'Children of God.' Notice their weak comeback? They exclaim "Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil" referring to an earlier incident found in John 7:20 where our Lord is falsely accused of being possessed by a demon. The term 'Samaritan' means "no Israelite at all" and it was another attempt at disrespect on the part of our enemies (John 4:9).
"Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself (John 8:49-53)?"
Take note that any disrespect aimed towards Jesus is a direct attack on Yahweh Himself and as such we have several 'marks' of the enemy found within these later verses. Remember the story of Cain and Abel? When Cain entreated Yahweh after his judgment was passed for the murder of his brother a 'mark' was placed on him. This very mark is the opposite of the seal of God (Revelation 9:4) and these lasting characteristics are what forever separates us from Satan and his children. I leave it to you to compile the list for your own Christian walk.
Another thing to notice is that what Jesus Christ does isn't for His own glory but more for the advancement of Yahweh's kingdom here on earth (Matthew 6:11). A sure-fire sign of a false prophet is one who's "teaching" to promote himself rather than Jesus Christ. Sadly, so many ministers in the world today ignore Jesus' warning in Matthew 5:17-18; "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Friend, if your Pastor is teaching that Yahweh's perfect Law is done away with then your church is helping to promote 'the lawless one.'
(Depart From Evil:)
I'd like to finish out the final six verses in two parts; "Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw, and was glad (John 8:54-56)."
The same rule applies to our lives today. If we honor ourselves in place of Yahweh the effort is all in vain because we can do nothing outside of Almighty God. Notice here that Jesus says it is Yahweh that honors Him? Naturally this relationship of respect is in equal parts throughout the Godhead but how many false prophets today would even quote this verse? We should also take notice that Jesus said "ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him" meaning that His enemies then, like today, claim to serve the same God of the Christians. This is another lie of course -- Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father (1 John 2:23)."
In these passages Christ also teaches us that He cannot be a liar, an absolute trait of Yahweh Himself as we read in Hebrews 6:18; "it is impossible for God to lie." As if the claim wasn't enough proof that Jesus was God he continues to say "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw, and was glad." Wouldn't real Judeans claiming to be descendents of Abram at least be aware that he received a blessing and tithed to Melchizedek king of Salem (or 'peace') and that this very 'man' Jesus was "a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec (Psalm 110:4 & Hebrews 7:21)?" Perhaps not, and that's probably why Christ does what He does in the final three verses.
"Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by (John 8:57-59)."
Seeing only in the flesh these enemies of Christianity ask "Thou hast not yet fifty years, and hast thou seen Abraham (Darby Bible)?" again denying Him his position as God to which He explains -- "Before Abraham was, I am." A final reaffirmation of truth and these so-called 'Jews' begin to pick up stones to murder Jesus. This act was illegal by the way which not only proves these were 'children of the wicked one' but also that they had no honor of even the Mosaic Law they tried to claim for themselves. We should also notice that Jesus "hid himself" and then left the temple entirely through the heavy crowd. Proverbs 22:3 teaches us "A prudent man seeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished" and Jesus Himself taught "when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another (Matthew 10:23)." Run for it I say.
I hope that tonight I was able to show you a few things you might not have ever noticed about Jesus Christ. I pray that we're able to use His perfect example of how to deal with our enemies in today's times as well. We should always notice that Jesus taught the Word and upheld Yahweh's Law perfectly in order to be a flawless sacrifice for our sins. Jesus never lied, He never claimed anything less than equality with the God of Israel and this very chapter has several examples of this we can use.
Tonight I hope to have shown you in Jesus' own words that he existed before Abraham was even born. In this day and age, if I'm able to even get that basic fundamental of Christianity across to somebody who's never heard it than I'm a very rich man. There are many false prophets out there and by Biblical definition they all deny Christ his rightful position as Lord of lords and God of gods. We studied the term 'antichrist' in Jesus, Yahweh Or Not? so let's not be deceived today.
Jesus commanded us to "be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" in Matthew 10:16. This is a spiritual military command to be discreet as Christian soldiers, subtle, crafty and much smarter than our enemies. The fact of the matter is they're bound under us anyways so we should use every opportunity to work from the inside to promote the Gospel. There are many example of 'spy tactics' used by our people throughout the Bible -- never forget Daniel who worked from within Babylon government but always remained loyal to Yahweh's Law even while in a fiery furnace.
Like usual, I pray that Jesus Christ will use this study to touch those seeking truth -- in all things we should give God the honor! War for Christ! Amen.
Wednesday, March 9th,
Last Page Update: March 28, 2010
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