Therefore, out of love for them He tells them what they are about to do. Not to cause them distress but in order to let them know that knowing their betrayal beforehand He nonetheless loves them past present and future.
Verses 14-15 read:
“14 He (The Holy Spirit) will glorify, cause to think, be of the opinion of (doxazo[G]) Me, for He will carry (lambano[G]) of Mine and will announce it, make it known (anaggello[G]) to you. 15 All individual and collective things (pas) as far as they extend (hosos[G]) and are held (echo[G]) by the Father (ho Pater[G], ha Av[H]) are Mine; therefore I said that He carries (lambano[G]) of Mine and will announce it, make it known (anaggello[G]) to you.”
16 “In a little (mikron[G]) while, indeed you will no longer see, look at, behold, be a spectator of (theoreo[G], tironiy[H]) Me; and anew (palin[G]) in a little (mikron[G]) while, indeed I will allow Myself to be seen (optanomai[G], techezoniy[H]).”
Yeshua explains that His death is imminent, thus “In a little while”. His disciples will no longer look upon Him in the flesh because He will be in the tomb. This may be seen as a progression in that the majority of the disciples desert Him at Gan Shemenim (Gethsemane) while Peter and John remain, until Peter flees after being identified as one of Yeshua’s followers, leaving John to observe the remaining parts of Yeshua’s trial. Therefore, some of the disciples would not see Yeshua for a longer period of time than others. Ultimately, as I have already stated, Yeshua is referring to His death and interment and further His ascension following His resurrection.
The Hebrew “me’at” meaning “in a short time, a little while” etc. denotes immediacy, as is seen by its use in Haggai 2:6 and elsewhere.
The Greek palin can be translated “again” but is better translated here as “anew”, which denotes both a return and a rebirth (not reincarnation but born anew in this world). This refers to His resurrection and to His transformed body. Therefore, He is the firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5) and the first of many children (Rom. 8:29). His body which was perishable is made imperishable. He is not remade but made anew. This is consistent with Jewish belief in the resurrection of the body. We believe according to the Tanakh that we will rise physically at the last day and that the righteous will be transformed as metaphysical and everlasting beings. Our bodies do not cease to be material in the Olam Haba (World to come) rather they are sinless, body, mind, soul, physical and transcendent.
While the standard English translation “and again in a little while you will see me” is technically correct because by making Himself seen Yeshua is providing the disciples the opportunity to see Him, it is nonetheless more accurate to translate “I will allow Myself to be seen”. This means that Yeshua will reveal the authority He has been given by the Father to both lay down His life and take it up again. Additionally, He will impart true sight to His disciples, allowing them to see Him for Who He really is in all His resurrected glory.
Concerning the Messiah’s death and resurrection the prophet Hosea prophecies the perspective of the people who benefit from the redemptive act of God saying:
“After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.” -Hosea 6:2 KJV
Therefore, Yeshua’s death and resurrection will also result in the resurrection of Israel, both physical and spiritual and will begin with His immediate disciples. Note that the text of Hosea says “we shall live in His sight” rather than “we will see Him”. This is consistent with Yeshua saying “I will allow Myself to be seen.”
17 Therefore, His talmidim[H] (mathetes[G], disciples, pupils) then said to one another, “What is this thing He is telling us, ‘A little (mikron[G], umik’tzat[H]) while, indeed you will not see, look at, behold, be a spectator of (theoreo[G], tironiy[H]) Me; and anew (palin[G]) in a little (mikron[G]) while, indeed I will allow Myself to be seen (optanomai[G], techezoniy[H])’; indeed, ‘because I go to the Father (Ho Pater[G], Ha Av[H])’?”
The questioning of the disciples tells us that they were still unsure of the timeframe of the coming events and considered Yeshua’s words to be figurative and thus they were trying to understand Him figuratively and were coming up empty.
The added phrase “because I go to the Father” refers to verse 10 and the work of the Holy Spirit that will result from Yeshua returning to the Father. This is not a reference to Yeshua’s location during death but to His ascension to the Father following the resurrection and the forty days of appearances to His wider body of disciples. Therefore, the disciples seem to be trying to understand the timeline. “Will He go to the Father first? Is He talking about dying? How does this all work out?” and so on.
18 Therefore, they were asking, “What is this that He says, ‘A little (mikron[G], k’tzat[H]) while’? We don’t see, perceive (eido[G]) what He’s talking about.” 19 Yeshua[H] (Iesous[G], Joshua, YHVH Saves, Jesus) knew, had knowledge (ginosko[G], vayeida[H]) of what they wished to question Him about, and He said to them, “Are you discussing this together, that I said, ‘A little (mikron[G], k’tzat[H]) while, and you will not see, look at, behold, be a spectator of (theoreo[G], tironiy[H]) Me, and anew (palin[G]) in a little (mikron[G], k’tzat[H]) while, indeed I will allow Myself to be seen (optanomai[G], techezoniy[H])’?
Yeshua is said to have knowledge of what the disciples were discussing among themselves. While it is possible He overheard them the inference of the text is that He knew this by way of Divine knowledge rather than by practical means.
We note that the vision of the disciples is limited because it is based on physical sight (eido[G]), whereas the vision of Yeshua is metaphysical, transcendent and is an expression of Divine knowledge (ginosko[G], yeda[H]).
The Talmud Bavliy Sanhedrin 93:2 says that the Messiah will have a discerning spirit concerning both men and things, according to Isaiah 11:3.
20 Amen[H] [G]Amen[H] [G] (B’emet[H], B’emet[H]), In truth, In truth, It’s certain, it’s certain, I (Aniy[H]) say to you, that you will mourn (klaio[G]) and wail (threneo[G]), but this world (ho de kosmos[G], ha olam[H]) will rejoice, be glad (chairo[G], yismach[H]); you will be made sorrowful (lupeo[G]), but your sorrow (lupe[G]) will become, receive being, begin to be (ginomai[G]) joy, gladness (chara[G], lesason[H]). 21 Whenever a woman is in labour she has sorrow, pain (lupe[G]), because her certain definite time, hour (hora[G]) has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the pressing together, pressure, anguish, distress, travail (thlipsis[G]) because of the joy, gladness (chara[G], s’meichah[H]) that a child has been born into this world (ho kosmos[G], ha olam[H]).
The familiar “Amen, amen” reminds us that what follows has been firmly established. The promise given is one of mourning, sorrow, and suffering while the fallen world rejoices. Nonetheless while this was specifically said concerning the immediate struggles of the disciples it is in principal a certain reality for all true believers. The good news is that the sorrow of the disciples will be turned into temporal joy (sasson[H]) and subsequently, following the travail of their labour for the Kingdom within the fallen world, into transcendent joy (simchah[H]). All this based on the foundation of the travail experienced by the Father in the Son as He gives birth to the true B’nay Elohim (Children of God).
We note that the same Greek word used to convey the sorrow/pain of labour during the birth process also express the sorrow that the disciples will experience (lupe[G]). Yeshua is using a living mashal (example) to convey the metaphysical rebirth intrinsic to His resurrection. This is a complex teaching. The plain meaning likens the coming sorrow of the disciples to that of a woman giving birth and promises a joyous outcome of sound birth and new life that will cause them to forget their temporal sorrow/pain. At a deeper level the sorrow/pain of Yeshua, and indeed of the Father, in rebirthing the disciples, and by succession every believer, will inevitably lead to the greatest of joys in producing everlasting children of life. Put crassly, the womb of God will suffer the pain of birthing His predestined children through the blood of Messiah, and the outcome will be children of transcendent joy (simchah[H]) living eternal lives in God.
22 Therefore you too at the present time (nun[G]) have sorrow, pain, grief (lupe[G]); but anew, and returning (palin[G], ashuv[H]) I will allow Myself to be seen by you (optomai[G]), and your heart, inner being (kardia[G], leiv[H]) will rejoice exceedingly (chairo[G], sas[H]), and no one will carry away (airo[G]) or separate (apo[G]) your joy (chara[G], simchatchem[H]) from you.
Yeshua acknowledges the present sorrow being experienced by the disciples as they struggle to understand while knowing deep down that all this is leading to His death and their disillusion.
As is so often the case in Yeshua’s ministry He disregards His own anguish in order to minister to the anguish of others with selfless perfection. In the soil of their sorrow He plants the seed of hope. He is promising to return to them anew, revealing His true nature to them and filling their inner beings with exceedingly great and transcendent joy. Additionally He affirms that the joy He will impart to them will be immutably secure, no one in all creation under any circumstance will be able to take the joy of Yeshua in God from them.
23 In that day (hemera[G], vayom[H]) you will not question, request of, entreat, beg of (erotao[G]) Me concerning anything. Amen[H] [G]Amen[H] [G] (B’emet[H], B’emet[H]), In truth, In truth, It’s certain, it’s certain, I (Aniy[H]) say to you, if you ask the Father (Ho Pater[G], HaAv[H]) for anything in My name (bishmiy[H]), He will give (yitein[H]) it to you.
This is the culmination of the teaching begun in John 14:13. “In My Name” means “In My Character”, “In My Will”, “In My Identity”, “In My Purposes”, “In My eternal perspective” and so on. The prerequisite to receiving anything asked for in Yeshua’s Name is that the thing asked for is “In His will”, “According to His purposes” etc.
The double amen denotes established truth and what follows affirms Yeshua’s teaching concerning prayer. We are to speak directly to the Father through the Son. This does not mean that we must tag “In Yeshua’s Name Amen” onto every prayer we pray as if the repetition of a mantra validates prayer. Rather, it means that in Yeshua and according to the Holy Spirit we are to pray to the Father God as sons and daughters. In this Yeshua is indicating the fact that He will be seated at the right hand of the Father and will no longer be present in material body on earth, until that day when He returns to reign.
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence which we have [a]before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
-1 John 5:13-15 NASB
24 Until just this moment (arti[G]) you have asked, desired, begged (aiteo[G]) for nothing in My name (bishmiy[H]); ask, desire, beg (aiteo[G]) and you will receive, so that your joy (chara[G], simchat’chem[H]) may be made full (pleroo[G]).
The disciples had not thought to ask things of Yeshua perhaps because they were constantly seeing Him work miraculous signs that they might have otherwise asked for but need not request because they were witnessing them as an outworking of Yeshua’s ministry. Therefore, now that Yeshua is about to leave He is instructing them to desire, ask, plead for the things of Him, so that they might continue to work as sent ones of the Kingdom and that in the receiving of the good things of God might see the salvation of many, that their joy might be made full.
25 “These things I have spoken to you using mashaliym [H] figurative, unusual language, parables (paroimia[G]); a certain definite time, hour (hora[G]) is coming when I will no longer speak to you in mashaliym [H] figurative, unusual language, parables (paroimia[G]), but will tell you frankly, plainly, devoid of ambiguity, fearlessly, unreservedly (parrhesia[G]) of the Father (Ho Pater[G], HaAv[H]).
Yeshua has taught in mashalim (parables) for a reason. All that Yeshua revealed was conveyed in a progression so as to bring understanding to its fullness at the right time according to God’s redemptive purpose. Had Yeshua spoken plainly from the beginning His work might have been impeded. This would have been a form of disobedience toward God, something that the Messiah is incapable of. Now the definite time is at hand when He will reveal the Father to the disciples and ultimately to all who receive Yeshua as the King Messiah.
26 In that day (hemera[G], bayom[H]) you will ask, desire, beg (aiteo[G]) in My name (bishmiy[H]), and I do not say to you that I will request (erotao[G]) of the Father (Ho Pater[G], HaAv[H]) on your behalf;
This is important, Yeshua is clear to teach that we are to pray in His Name to the Father. He emphatically states “I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf”. While it is true that Yeshua is One with the Father, and that He intercedes for us (Rom. 8:34), it is also true that Yeshua instructs us to pray to the Father. I do not pass judgement on those who pray “Jesus, please…” but I do ask, where does Yeshua instruct us to pray to Him?
27 for the Father (Ho Pater[G], HaAv[H]) Himself has familial love (phileo[G], Oheiv[H]) for you, because you have had familial love (phileo[G], ahav’tuniy[H]) for Me and have believed, trusted, been persuaded (pisteuo[G], v’he’eman’tem[H]) that I came forth from, beside, near (para[G]) the God (Ho Theos[H], kiy-meieit Elohiym[H]).
It is hear that the disciples and all believers begin to understand just how awesome the work of Yeshua is. Through His life, ministry, death, resurrection and ascension Yeshua has made it possible for each one of us who receives Him and is reconciled to God to become part of God’s family. The text says that God has familial love (phileo[G]) for the disciples (and all who believe) because they (we) have chosen to have familial love (phileo[G]) for Yeshua and have trusted that He has come from the Father God.
Therefore, with the Spirit of Messiah in us we cry “Abba, Father!”
28 I came forth from the Father (Ho Pater[G], HaAv[H]) and have come into the world (ho kosmos[G], ha olam[H]); anew (palin[G]) I am leaving the world (ho kosmos[G], ha olam[H]) and going to the Father (Ho Pater[G], HaAv[H]).”
Yeshua had come into the world from the Father in order to perform the ultimate act of sacrificial love by shedding His blood for us. He was then anew to leave the fallen world and go to the Father so that His Spirit could be poured out on all who believe and thus spread the good news of God’s redemptive love throughout the world giving all an opportunity to receive salvation and eternal life.
29 His talmidim[H] (mathetes[G], disciples, pupils) responded saying, “We see, perceive (eido[G]) now You are speaking freely, plainly, frankly, without ambiguity (parrhesia[G]) and are not using a mashal[H] figure of speech (paroimia[G]).
At this point the disciples claim to see and perceive what Yeshua is telling them. To them “leaving the world” meant death. Yeshua was plainly telling them that He was about to die, however what He meant by “going to the Father” was that He would ascend to the Father’s right hand following His resurrection from the dead.
30 Now we see, perceive (eido[G]) that You see, perceive (eido[G]) all things, each individually (pas[G]), and have no need for anyone to question You; because of this we believe, trust, are persuaded (pisteuo[G], na’amiyn[H]) that You came from God (Theos[G], Elohiym[H]).”
In part this seems to have been triggered by Yeshua’s supernatural knowledge of their dilemma and the subsequent explanation concerning His having come from the Father and His need to return to the Father. However, what follows causes one to question how deep the disciples’ understanding was when they made this claim.
31 Yeshua[H] (Iesous[G], Joshua, YHVH Saves, Jesus) answered them, “Do you just now at this moment (arti[G]) believe, trust (pisteuo[G], ta’amiynu[H])?
Yeshua’s question, is intentionally ambiguous, it asks, “Is your faith simply in the moment or is it perpetual?” and, “After all you’ve seen and heard you just now worked it out?”. As is often the case when He addresses issues of faith and discipleship, Yeshua invokes sober self-examination in the hearts of His beloved disciples. There is a note of mild incredulity here, or is it sadness. With all they have seen and experienced of Him are they just now coming to true faith? Will their professed faith hold? The truth is that the fullness of their faith does not come until after His resurrection.
32 Behold, now, pay attention (Hineih[H]) a certain definite hour (hora[G]) is coming, and has come, for you to be scattered, each to his own, and to leave Me alone; and I am not alone, because the Father (Ho Pater[G], HaAv[H]) is with Me.
Yeshua is alluding to the prophet Zechariah:
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.” -Zechariah 13:7 KJV
Yeshua knows that the disciples genuinely mean what they have said, He also knows the frailty of humanity and that they will act in an entirely contrary way when He is arrested tried and crucified. Therefore, out of love for them He tells them what they are about to do. Not to cause them distress but in order to let them know that knowing their betrayal beforehand He nonetheless loves them past present and future. In other words:
“I know you mean what you say, that you have believed in the father and have received me in faith, and I know that your frailty will cause you to abandon me. But don’t fall into utter disappear when that happens, remember what I’ve said, that I knew you would do these things and have loved you knowing it. I will not be alone, the Father is with Me.”
33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace, wholeness, wellbeing (shalom[H]). In this world (ho kosmos[G], ha olam[H]) you have pressing together, travail, distress, troubles (thlipis[G]), nevertheless, be of good courage (tharseo[G]); I have conquered (nikao[G]) this world (ho kosmos[G], ha olam[H]).”
Note that He informed His disciples of their coming abandoning of Him in order that they might have peace.
The Greek thlipis links the pressing troubles that the disciples endure in this sin affected world to the birthing process described by way of mashal (figure) earlier in the chapter. Therefore, we read “In this world you will have temporary troubles, nevertheless, be of godly courage (only God is good); I have conquered this sin affected world.”
Note the past tense “have conquered”. That which Yeshua is about to do He has already done outside of time and space. He will die and be raised transcendent and therefore transcends His temporal earthly life and ministry being God with God before the creation of the world (John 1). Thus, “I have conquered this world”. Note also that in conquering the fallen world He has defeated and conquered its temporal ruler Satan (Prince of the world) just as He said He had done earlier in this extended section of teaching and dialogue with His disciples (John 12:31). This means that the hold of Satanic power and the fallen nature is broken for all who would receive Yeshua and be reconciled to God. Therefore, in Messiah we sin when we forget who we are. For the child of God in Yeshua sin is the act (be it in thought or deed) of being who we are not.
Copyright 2020 Yaakov Brown
“Because you are children, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our core being (heart), from where He is perpetually crying, “Abba! Father!”” -Galatians 4:6 (Author’s paraphrase)
As in the case of the former chapters, this chapter continues the discourse that was begun in chapter 13 and follows the words of Yeshua, “and you will testify, bear witness also, because you have been with Me from the beginning, origin, head.” Meaning that the disciples will bear witness as a result of the receipt of the Holy Spirit Who is coming to empower them and that they are qualified to bear witness of the factual events of Yeshua’s ministry because they have literally been with Him from the beginning of His three year ministry throughout the land of (Roman occupied) first century C.E Israel. It is worth considering that the disciples are qualified by their relationship in Yeshua and not by the works they have done. They qualify based on their willingness to follow and their belief in Yeshua, and ultimately because He first chose them.
1“These utterances (laleo[G]) I have spoken to you so that there is not the least stumbling block (skandalizo[G]) before you. 2You will be made to be excluded from sacred assemblies (aposunagogos[G]), nevertheless coming is a certain definite season, hour (hora[G]) when everyone who kills you will think, be convinced (dokeo[G]) that he is doing a service in worship (latreia[G]) to the God (ho Theos[G], ha Elohiym[H]).
What utterances? The utterances of the previous chapters, all of the things: the warning of their coming denial of Yeshua, His coming death, the fact that one from among them will betray Him, the need to honour one another as priests and the washing of feet, the cost of obedience and the guarding of the miztvot (commandments) of both the Father and the Son, the need to entirely love one another just as Yeshua has loved them, the need to abide in Yeshua Who is the Vine and receive the living spiritual waters that flow from Him, the knowledge that when the Vinedresser (the Father) cleans/prunes He does so for the purpose of increasing fruit, the promise that those who have hated Yeshua will also pursue the disciples with hatred but those who have honoured Yeshua will also honour the disciples, and the promise of a Helper like Yeshua (the Ruach HaKodesh/Holy Spirit) Who will come along side and remind them of the things of Yeshua bearing witness to and testifying of Yeshua for the purpose of giving glory to the Father God as His Kingdom is outworked through the disciples.
We notice that Yeshua has imparted these words to the disciples so that they might not stumble in delusion, disbelief or become convinced of conspiracy theories and misdirection. Sadly many ancient first century Jews were lied to by their religious leaders concerning Yeshua’s resurrection, being told that His body was stolen from the tomb etc. The Talmud Bavliy goes to great lengths to discredit Yeshua, but in spite of this hundreds of thousands of Jews from the land and throughout the known world came to faith in Yeshua following His resurrection as a result of the outpouring of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) and the testimony of the disciples.
The Greek text does not use the specific noun “Synagogue” but rather the Greek for public or sacred corporate assembly “aposunagogos”. It is therefore technically incorrect to translate “Synagogue” because it is understood in the modern world to refer to a building used for localized Jewish worship. This exclusion from sacred assembly is an escalation in the weight or degree of excommunication from the religious Jewish community of first century Israel. Earlier in John’s Gospel the parents of the man born blind are afraid of a lesser form of separation from the religious community [Niduiy](9:22; 12:42), but here the very real threat of being disallowed access to the Aliyot or Regalim (going up festivals of God)[Cherem, Shamata], which are specifically commanded to Israel, is the intended meaning. This would be received as horrific news to the observant disciples of Yeshua who saw how Yeshua also had venerated the Torah and the festival practices of Israel’s religious community, even to the extent of keeping many of the customs of the Mishnah (Oral Law).
“nevertheless coming is a certain definite season, hour when everyone who kills you will think, be convinced that he is doing a service in worship to the God.” Stephen the first Messianic Jewish martyr was killed by men believing they were honouring God through their actions (Acts 7). Rav Shaul (Paul) prior to meeting Yeshua in a vision and repenting, made it his life’s work to seek out and put to death the Messianic Jewish “Heretics” (so called) [Acts 22:3-5].
3 And these things they will do because they have not known, come to know (ginosko[G], loyodau[H]) the Father (ho Pater[G], ha Av[H]) or Me. 4 Nevertheless these utterances (laleo[G]) I have spoken to you, so that when their certain definite season, hour (hora[G]) comes, you may remember, call to mind, be mindful (mnemoneuo[G]) that I told you of them. I didn’t say these things to you from the beginning, origin, head (arche[G], umeirosh[H]), because I was with you.
Yeshua has given all this knowledge to the disciples in order to properly prepare them for what is ahead. Like a truthful diagnosis regarding the results of testing in the case of a terminal illness, the words of the doctor who is both forthright and hopeful are the most effective in giving the patient the best hope of recovery. Yeshua’s words afford the disciples the opportunity to practice a hopeful realism that finds its foundation in the love of God through Yeshua. They have been promised a Helper, and will not be abandoned in the struggle that is to come.
Yeshua did not tell them all these outcomes at the beginning because He was present to comfort them as His ministry unfolded. Now because He is going to the Father and there will be an interim period before the Ruach HaKodesh is poured out, He gives them full knowledge of what is to take place so as to tide them over. When the events take place the disciples will remember that Yeshua had imparted them knowledge of what was to take place and that they could trust that He spoke as One who speaks the end from the beginning and that therefore, the promises of fullness of Joy and everlasting life could also be trusted. Thus they would be comforted in the midst of their suffering.
“The certain definite hour” is both the hour of their opponents’ rising against them (Luke 22:53) and the hour of apparent defeat (Yeshua’s crucifixion), which is in fact an hour of victory.
5 “Now moreover I am leading under, withdrawing, going (hupago[G]) to the advantage of, toward, near to (pros[G]) Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 But because I have spoken these utterances (laleo[G]) to you, sorrow (lupe[G]) has filled your heart, inner being (kardia[G], levav’chem[H]).
The disciples, having a very real sense of Yeshua’s coming death are afraid to ask where He is going because they presume the answer is “Sheol”. Therefore, they are filled with sorrow at the prospect of loosing their beloved Rabbi and friend.
7 Nonetheless I tell you the immutable truth (ho aletheia[G], ha emet[H]), it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper, One Who comes along side, Who pleads another’s cause, intercedes (parakletos[G]) would not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict, refute, bring to light (elegcho[G]) the world (ho kosmos[G], ha olam[H]) concerning sin, missing the mark of God’s holiness, rebellion (hamartia[G], hacheit’[H]) and righteousness, acceptable condition before God (dikaiosune[G], v’hatzedek[H]) and concerning a separating, trial, selection, judgment (krisis[G], v’hamishpat[H]);
The Ruach HaKodesh cannot come unless Yeshua goes away for at least two clear reasons. First, without Yeshua’s vicarious sacrifice the Ruach HaKodesh cannot dwell in the believer because uncovered sin is abhorrent to God and the manifestation of His holiness in the human being within the fallen world would mean instant death (as is the case with Ananias and Saphira [NT] and many others [OT]) and second, the Ruach HaKodesh is the Spirit of the father and the Son present within the believer. Thus the Father and the Son pour out the Spirit and He is received by the believer who has been purchased by the blood of the King Messiah. Therefore, the Son must be present with the Father in order to impart the Spirit to redeemed human beings.
The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin and reveal righteousness, pointing out the coming judgement against sin. This is why Yeshua said “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven human beings, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man (Yeshua) will be forgiven, but whoever speaks continually against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either in this world or in the world to come.” (Matt. 12:31-32) Why? Because once Yeshua has ascended to the Father it will be the Ruach HaKodesh that ministers and convicts of sin as the Gospel is preached throughout the world and those who perpetually refuse Him (Holy Spirit) have no other means of redemption. Therefore, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the perpetual choice to refuse God’s redemptive offer of love through Yeshua the King Messiah as presented to the human heart (core being) by the Holy Spirit of the Father and the Son.
9 concerning sin, missing the mark of God’s holiness, rebellion (hamartia[G], hacheit’[H]), because they do not believe, trust, have faith (pisteuo[G], he’emiynu[H]) in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, acceptable condition before God (dikaiosune[G], hatzedek[H]), because I go to the Father (ho Pater[G], ha Av[H]) and you will no longer be able to observe, see (theoreo[G]) Me; 11 and concerning a separating, trial, selection, judgment (krisis[G], hamishpat[H]), because the ruler, prince of this world (sar haolam[G]) has been separated, judged (krino[G]).
The Ruach HaKodesh will expose our disbelief in Yeshua. He will expose our lack of righteousness because the Righteous One will no longer be walking the earth but will be seated at the right hand of the Father. He will expose the defeat of Satan and the judgement of God concerning the eternal destiny of the Devil and his minions through the death, resurrection, and the glorious victory of Yeshua’s life giving Spirit.
“Concerning sin, because they (fallen human beings) do not believe in Me” The mind of fallen humanity seeks to reduce sin to an excusable process of trial and error meant to train the life path of a human being. This lie is perpetuated in many esoteric eastern religions and new age western spiritual theosophy. Wilfully proud humanity hates the idea that we are guilty, wrong, self-harming in our actions and have therefore alienated ourselves from the Holy God. Of course, we have excelled in the belief that there is no God in spite of the evidence all around us. Thus we have rejected Yeshua, Who came to establish God’s loving redemptive plan for all who would receive Him. This is why the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) has come, to expose the foolish delusion of the prideful human consciousness.
“concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me” Meaning that the Holy Spirit will reveal the means of redemption and accessibility to righteousness through Yeshua Who will then be unseen in terms of His earthly ministry, being seated at the right hand of the Father where He intercedes on behalf of the redeemed (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25;1 John 2:1)
“concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” The Holy Spirit will reveal the fact that Satan has already been judged and found wanting and that his just punishment is imminent. This also means that because Satan is defeated as temporal ruler of the fallen world, the Holy Spirit has access to the very hearts of humanity in order to give everyone past, present and future (because the Spirit of God transcends time and space) the opportunity to either receive or reject God’s redemptive offer through Yeshua the King Messiah and Son of God.
12 “Still I (eti[G]) have much more (polus[G]) for you to hold (echo[G]), nevertheless you do not have the ability (power) to take it up with your hands, carry (bastazo[G]) it now. 13 But when He, the Spirit (ho pneuma[G], haRuach[H]) of the immutable truth (ho aletheia[G], ha emet[H]), comes, He will guide you into all the truth (ho aletheia[G], ha emet[H]); for He will not utter (laleo[G]) on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will announce, make known (anaggello[G]) to you what is to come.
We note that Yeshua speaks to His disciples only so much as they can receive and comprehend at this point in their faith journey. There is a lesson here for every believer. Messiah in us brings us step by step through the journey of repentance and sanctification as He reveals to us daily the purposes of God in us.
We are informed of yet another aspect of the Spirit’s nature and practice in relationship to us. He is the Spirit of Truth, just as Yeshua is the Truth. The Spirit speaks of the Father and the Son that which He hears from them and imparts the truth of God to the disciple (believer). What He discloses to the disciple concerns what is to come. This is exactly what an effective comforter and guide does in order to pre-empt panic that results from a lack of knowledge, the Spirit imparts spiritual knowledge and practical advice that will enable the disciple (believer) to cope with the hardships ahead.
By explaining that the Ruach HaKodesh is the Spirit of Truth and thus intrinsically linking both Himself and the Father to the Spirit, and further asserting that the Spirit will guide the disciples in all truth and utter the very words which He hears from the Father and the Son, Yeshua is validating the then yet to be penned HaBrit HaChadashah (NT) which would be written by those to whom the Spirit of Truth would announced the word of the Living Word of God.
Notice that the Holy Spirit does not “initiate” but that He conveys that which He hears. Just as the wind from a person’s mouth does not initiate the blowing out of a flame, so too the Holy Spirit does not initiate but rather proceeds from the mouth of God.
Our rabbis have this to say concerning the guidance of the Ruach HaKodesh:
"Rav Phinehas says, the Holy Spirit rested upon Joseph from his youth to the day of his death, and "guided him into all wisdom", as a shepherd leads his flock, according to Psalm 80:1” -Pirke Eliezer, c. 39.
14 He will glorify, cause to think, be of the opinion of (doxazo[G]) Me, for He will carry (lambano[G]) of Mine and will announce it, make it known (anaggello[G]) to you. 15 All individual and collective things (pas) as far as they extend (hosos[G]) and are held (echo[G]) by the Father (ho Pater[G], ha Av[H]) are Mine; therefore I said that He carries (lambano[G]) of Mine and will announce it, make it known (anaggello[G]) to you.
The “He” in question is the Ruach HaKodesh. We now learn that the Holy Spirit’s role is to glorify Yeshua and to take from that which belongs to Yeshua and reveal it to the disciple (believer). Further, all that belongs to Yeshua He has received from the Father. Therefore, that which the Spirit conveys from Yeshua has also come from the Father. Thus, God is echad, HaAv, HaBen v’Ruach HaKodesh. The Father sends the Son and the Father and the Son send the Spirit and the Spirit cries out from within the believer back to the Father saying “Abba, Daddy, Av sheliy, My Father”.
“Because you are children, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our core being (heart), from where He is perpetually crying, “Abba! Father!”” -Galatians 4:6 (Author’s paraphrase)
Copyright 2020 Yaakov Brown
For goodness sake, at least take the time to learn a full Hebrew phrase or sentence before you go making doctrines out of ox heads and crosses!
Primarily the reason that determining interpretation based on the pictorial form of ancient Hebrew leads to misunderstanding is that pictographic Hebrew when collected into complete words, was never intended to be understood according to each individual pictogram within the whole, whereas, for example, the hieroglyphs of Egypt (not remotely similar to paleo Hebrew) are.
The meaning of words is not determined by individual characters within words but by the collected characters, their root words and meanings. Therefore, seeking to use individual characters and their pictorial meanings to interpret Hebrew Scripture often leads to grave error.
Even in their pictorial form the characters of a whole word are collected to convey a convergent meaning. Therefore, to single out each pictogram in order to glean a so called "deeper meaning" is to misinterpret the meaning. This type of interpretation is often entered into by people who lack knowledge of the Hebrew language, its meaning and grammar, people who seek "Deeper Knowledge" or "Deeper Revelation" which is in fact more closely connected to the gnostic and higher learning esoteric heresy of the early Gentile Church than it is to authentic Hebrew spirituality. These kinds of heresies are spoken against by Rav Shaul (Paul) Hashaliach (the sent one), and are of significant danger to the hearts and minds of Messiah followers.
As is always the case, if a method other than the interpretation of the plain meaning of the text produces an interpretation that contradicts the plain meaning, that interpretation is error!
Dear Messiah followers, do not be led astray by ear tickling nonsense. We are of the sound mind of Yeshua our King, we are not conspiracy theorists, secretly knowledgeable or superior to the Word. To the contrary, we speak the Word plainly and clearly for all to hear and thus afford others the opportunity to understand and receive salvation through Yeshua and reconciliation to God.
For goodness sake, at least take the time to learn a full Hebrew phrase or sentence before you go making doctrines out of ox heads and crosses!
-Rav Yaakov Ben Yehoshua
Beit Melekh Messiah Following Jewish Community
Generally speaking the Torah slavery/servitude laws were put in place to alleviate poverty and provide families for orphans and communities for aliens. They are no less than an ancient form of social welfare law.
The Torah instructions concerning slavery or servitude are largely concerned with alleviating poverty within the multi-tribal community of Israel during her wandering period and as a precedent set for moral practice when entering the promised land.
Set against the backdrop of an ancient world where enemy nations sought to wipe out the people of Israel the regulations regarding foreign slaves/servants differed for good reason. Foreign slaves/servants were often the product of both defensive and offensive warfare. Therefore, different laws were needed for the treatment of foreign slaves/servants because the bitterness of war would often lead to resentment and derision in the hearts of those who had become members of the wider commonwealth (community) of Israel as slaves/servants.
God’s plan for Israel as it is revealed throughout the Tanakh (OT) requires her to be a light of morality to the then largely immoral nations who surrounded her. Therefore, as an expression of Israel’s familial tribal unity God made certain that those who were of the tribes of Israel (Hebrews) were given familial treatment when impoverished, whereas those who were foreigners and often enemies of Israel were required to continue to pay their debts to Hebrews while serving the community, and were to be treated justly. God instructed fair treatment of foreigners, reminding Israel that she was “once a slave/servant to Egypt.”
Therefore, generally speaking, if the text of the Torah is properly read from the Hebrew or Greek (Septuagint) the conclusion reached concerning the laws of slavery/servitude is one of justice, restitution, charity and distinction.
In many ways the differences in the laws for native and foreign slaves/servants is similar to the difference in laws between citizens and non-citizens in modern western democracies. In socialist democracies where a citizen may pay taxes for healthcare and thus receive healthcare without additional payment, a foreigner is nonetheless required to pay for healthcare up front to offset the cost. This is not considered unjust or unreasonable.
Much of the modern misunderstanding of the Torah text as it pertains to slavery/servitude comes as a result of viewing history, religion, ethnicity, language, and culture through the lens of a neo-postmodern worldview. This has manifest itself as historical and cultural revisionism and often misapplies new thinking to ancient documents. In this case the Bible.
Slavery – Servitude:
The Hebrew “eved” can mean “servant, slave, paid servant etc.” Context and qualifying words define its meaning within the text. However, the root “avad” literally means “to serve.” Therefore, when we lack qualifying terms we should always read “servant.” This fact alone defuses many of the misunderstandings surrounding the so called “problematic slavery” passages of the Torah.
Correctly reading and understanding Shemot (Exodus) 21:20-21
A Standard English Translation:
20 “If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies [a]at his hand, he shall [b]be punished. 21 If, however, he [c]survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his [d]property. -Exodus 21:20-21 NASB
What the Hebrew literally says:
Exo 21:20 וכי־יכה אישׁ את־עבדו או את־אמתו בשׁבט ומת תחת ידו נקם ינקם׃
Exo 21:21 אך אם־יום או יומים יעמד לא יקם כי כספו הוא׃
Verse 20 (Transliterated Hebrew and English)
Vechiy-yakehH And if/because he (leader of the household/father) strikes iyshH a man et-avdoH the paid male servant of his (v.21 qualifies the specific type of servant in question) o_H or et-amatoH the paid female servant of his (see prev. ref.) basheivetH with a branch umeitH and that one dies tachatH under yadoH his hand (leader of the household/father) nakomH avenge/punish yinakeimH with the most severe punishment.
Verse 21 (Transliterated Hebrew and English)
AchH Howbeit if im-yomH within a day o_H or yomayimH a period of days ya’amodH continuing to stand (the paid servant) lo yukamH do not punish (the leader of the house) kiyH because chaspoH he (the leader of the house) is the source of money/income hu_H for him (the paid servant).
A better reading in modern English would be:
And if the father of the household unreasonably disciplines/strikes the paid servant, either male or female with a switch (stick) and kills that one by his own actions, he should be punished to the full extent of the law. However, if in spite of the father’s unreasonable actions the paid servant lives and continues to require financial support and a place to stay. Do not punish the father (leader of the household) to the full extent of the law because the paid servant is reliant upon him (the father) for his or her income, shelter, food and clothing. (Author’s paraphrase)
With regard to ancient Israel and her wandering (nomadic) lifestyle surrounded by enemies as she approached the promised land, the subject of the servitude of foreigners cannot be properly understood through the lens of a modern revisionist view of Biblical history.
In the context of the passage of Scripture in question the servant is not a “Slave” in any sense, modern or otherwise. We know that the Hebrew root “avad” means “to serve” and the Hebrew noun “eved” means “servant. Therefore. The only question is “What kind of servant are we reading about?” The answer is in verse 21 where we read that the servant is reliant on the household leader for his or her income. Thus the servant in question is a paid servant who is a member of the household. Therefore, this law has more in common with domestic abuse laws in modern western democracies than it does with any form of slavery.
In the case of the paid servant it was most common for that person to be considered a member of the ancient Hebrew household and to be reliant on the household leader and the household collectively for shelter, clothing, food and any additional income that might be needed. Therefore, for all intents and purposes this person was no different from the modern live in nanny or gardener.
The “striking” yakeh (strike, hit, beat, slay, smite etc.) has so many meanings that it can convey everything from a light slap to a severe beating. This is why we are best to understand the present passage as a situation where an unreasonable disciplining is performed, and in the case that it leads to death is considered a vile act of murder. That is why the Torah requires the most severer of punishments by doubling the Hebrew root nakam meaning “to avenge”.
Finally, in ancient Israel a paid servant had few prospects outside of the home in which he or she lived, and in the case of being a foreigner was likely to be devoid of familial connection within the community. Therefore, the very existence of that person was reliant on the provision of the household in which he or she resided and worked. This is why the text says, “If the servant survives the beating the leader of the house should not be put to death or maimed because his status, income and property are the means by which the servant survives…” To remove the servant’s means of income and security because of the foolish actions of the leader of the household would be tantamount to punishing both the servant and the other members of the household. The text does not mean to say that the leader of the household will go unpunished but that he will not be punished to the level of severity prescribed in the case of murder. Thus, he remains to provide for all the household including the servant for whom he has an obligation of care.
Correctly reading and understanding Vayikra (Leviticus) 25:45-50
Some complain that the Torah’s treatment of foreigners regarding slavery/servitude in ancient Israel is inequitable and unfair. It is true that it is inequitable and for good reason, as I’ve said previously the majority of foreigners who were living among the Israelites had found their way into the community through warfare and or by fleeing other nations bringing their differing religious views and resentment for Israel with them. God had set Israel apart to be a light of His morality, a light He did not want defiled by false belief and idolatry. Therefore, He made a distinction between the laws concerning the native Hebrew and those concerning foreigners. These laws were intended to protect Israel and teach those foreigners living among her the morality of the One True God. Therefore, it is not true that God’s law in this regard is unfair.
A Standard English Translation:
45 Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have [a]produced in your land; they also may become your possession. 46 You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your [b]countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.47‘Now if the [a]means of a stranger or of a sojourner with you becomes sufficient, and a [b]countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to him as to sell himself to a stranger who is sojourning with you, or to the descendants of a stranger’s family,48 then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him,c]if he prospers, he may redeem himself.50 He then with his purchaser shall calculate from the year when he sold himself to him up to the year of jubilee; and the price of his sale shall correspond to the number of years. It is like the days of a hired man that he shall be with him.” -Leviticus 25:47-50 NASB
Given what we have already learned concerning the context of ancient Israel’s servitude laws it is sufficient to use this English translation and illuminate several Hebrew word meanings in order to clarify it for the modern reader.
In this passage the Hebrew kanah translated “buy” essentially means “to create, acquire”. Therefore, it is overly simplistic to translate “buy”.
The Hebrew “achuzzah” meaning “to possess” from the root “achaz” meaning “to grasp, take hold of,” does not mean “to treat as an object” but rather “to take hold of” as a member of the family. In the context of this passage, to bring into the wider family. To make part of the familial inheritance for future generations. This is why the modern people of Israel are so diverse. It is because other bloodlines married into the Hebrew bloodline and have created a convergent blood line based in Hebrew ethnicity. DNA science has now progressed to show a common DNA marker shared by Jews from the east (Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Morocco etc.) and Jews from Europe (Italy, England, Germany, Russia etc.) this even though they also have other differing DNA markers. The reality is that many of the foreigners being spoken of in these texts eventually became a part of the lineage of Israel. We see this in the case of Rahab the prostitute of Jericho and Ruth the Moabitess among others. Therefore, to read “possession” in the sense of ownership is to entirely misunderstand the text and its context.
Leviticus 25:45-47 Line by line
45 Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have [a]produced in your land; they also may become your possession.
Paraphrase for the modern reader:
“Also you may acquire workers (who will eventually become part of your wider family) from the foreigners dwelling among you, and from their descendants too if they need work as servants, because they are with you, and they can become part of all you possess as a people to pass on to the next generation…”
46 You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your [b]countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.
Paraphrase for the modern reader:
You’re welcome to take them as an inheritance to your children so that your children receive them and hold tight to them (grasp = achaz). And they will become generational employed servants. And (not “but”!) in addition, you shouldn’t rule over your fellow Israelites.
NB: the correct translation “And” rather than the mistranslation “But” (which does not appear in the Hebrew) shows that the second clause is entirely separate from the first clause and is a general principal related to the former and following instructions regarding native Hebrews.
47‘Now if the [a]means of a stranger or of a sojourner with you becomes sufficient, and a [b]countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to him as to sell himself to a stranger who is sojourning with you, or to the descendants of a stranger’s family,
Paraphrase for the modern reader:
“If a foreigner living among you as a member of your wider community becomes wealthy and a poor Hebrew sells himself to the foreigner in order to survive…”
48 then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him,
Paraphrase for the modern reader:
“Whenever a foreigner purchases a Hebrew brother or sister, that foreigner must always be willing to immediately allow you to redeem that one.”
49 or his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or one of his blood relatives from his family may redeem him; or [c]if he prospers, he may redeem himself.
Paraphrase for the modern reader:
“That goes for any relative, or even if he himself becomes wealthy enough to redeem himself, the foreigner must allow him his freedom…”
50 He then with his purchaser shall calculate from the year when he sold himself to him up to the year of jubilee; and the price of his sale shall correspond to the number of years. It is like the days of a hired man that he shall be with him.”
“You Hebrews are to give the appropriate price in payment to the foreign purchaser of your fellow Hebrew, don’t dupe the foreigner out of what is rightfully his…”
In most cases within the ancient Hebrew community so called “slaves” were in fact “paid servants”, and were eventually “taken hold of” as members of the family and as part of the inheritance of filial corporate wealth, participating in the receipt of that wealth along with their descendants, they were possessed in the sense that a father possess a son and a son a father and not in the sense of an object possessed in ownership. After all, the Torah clearly teaches that objects are for use but people are for relationship.
Generally speaking the Torah slavery/servitude laws were put in place to alleviate poverty and provide families for orphans and communities for aliens. They are no less than an ancient form of social welfare law. In fact, up until recently many western democracies have based their social welfare laws on the principals of the Torah due to the proliferation of Christianity and Judeo-Christian morality throughout the western world. Sadly, the positive affect of the Biblical principal is now being dismantled by a pervasive atheistic neo-postmodern amoral liberalism.
The servitude laws of the Torah differed between Israelis and foreigners as a protection against foreign usurping of Israeli nationhood, religion, culture, ethnicity and identity. This is neither unjust or unfair but it does make a just distinction between Hebrew and foreign servants.
Finally, to read the ancient text of the Torah in English (often poorly translated) with a neo-postmodern western worldview at the driver’s seat is like attempting to fuel a car by putting sand in the petrol tank. Context: historical, literary, religious, linguistic, cultural, local, global, ancient and otherwise is essential to a correct interpretation of the text, of any text for that matter.
Therefore, the Torah does not advocate for slavery but does allow for paid service the redemption of the poor, and the growth of just community as alluded to in Exodus 21 and Leviticus 25.
NB: When the just laws of the Bible are replaced by laws resulting from a godless worldview humanity reaps the tragic consequences. Many of the once well-established just laws resulting from the spread of Christianity and Judeo-Christian morality are now being systematically dismantled by the modern amoral agenda of atheistic liberalism and are being replaced by unjust and unbiblical laws that are already producing abhorrent outcomes including but not limited to the lawful ending of the lives of the disabled, elderly and mentally ill, the systematic murder of unborn children up to nine months gestation and into the birth canal, selective murder of unborn children due to the determining of disabilities, the selective murder of unborn children due to determination of sex, and so on.
Perhaps instead of seeking to criticize the Torah based on ignorance we would be better to critique the modern worldview through the lens of Torah.
Copyright 2020 Yaakov Brown
If we sing “Come Holy Spirit” we have already missed the point, it is the Holy Spirit in us Who sings “Welcome Yeshua, Glory to YHVH!” To promote the Holy Spirit at the expense of the Father and the Son is to blaspheme the entire Godhead.
This chapter continues the discourse of the previous two chapters and follows Yeshua’s words “rise let us go from here.” Based on these words numerous modern scholars claim that a documentary or a redactive method was applied to compile John’s Gospel. However, later scribal manipulation is not the only explanation for why Yeshua says “rise let us go from here” and then continues His discourse through to Chapter 18 of John’s Gospel where Yeshua and His disciples are said to have gone forth over the brook of the Kidron to Gan Shemanim (Gethsemane) [John 18:1].
The most likely explanation for the two allusions to “going” is that Yeshua following His calling of the disciples to rise and go, rose with His disciples, left the place where they had shared the meal, and then had begun to walk slowly through the narrow winding streets and alleyways of the city of Jerusalem, a rabbit warren today and certainly even more so in the first century. Therefore, as they walked through the city Yeshua continued to speak. Thus, as they neared the edge of the city Yeshua’s speech concludes, and we read in John 18:1 “When Yeshua had spoken these words He went with His disciples over the brook of the Kidron…” This quite literally means that the words spoken between chapters 14 and 18 were said on the west side of the Kidron. This does not mean that all of Yeshua’s words spanning chapters 14 to 18 were said in the home where the meal was eaten. Yeshua’s going over the Kidron is not the same as Yeshua’s leaving the home where He shared the meal with His disciples.
Therefore, Yeshua called His disciples to rise and go with Him (John 14:31), walked and talked with them as they made their way to the edge of Jerusalem and then down to where they would cross the brook of the Kidron valley, at which point Yeshua ended this section of speech and both He and the disciples “went over the brook of the Kidron to Gan Shemanim (Gethsemane)…”
What follows picks up again on the themes of Yeshua’s submission to the Father, His unity with the Father and the Spirit, the intrinsic connection between Himself and His disciples, His disciples’ relationship to each other, the disciple’s relationship to the world and a further illumination of the role and work of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).
1“I Am, I exist (ego eimi[G], Anochiy[H]) the vine (ampelos[G], hagefen[H]) of the immutable truth (alethinos[G], haamitiyt[H]), and My Father (ho Pater[G], Aviy[H]) is the Husbandman, Tiller of the soil, Vinedresser (georegos[G], Hakoreim[H]).
In the same way that the “Servant” Messiah of Yishayahu (Isaiah 49, 52, 53 etc.) is intrinsically linked to the “Servant” Israel (Isaiah 41, 44, 48 etc.) the Vine Messiah is intrinsically linked to the vine of Israel.
Throughout the Tanakh (OT) Israel is called both the vine and the vineyard of God (Isaiah 5:1-7, 27:2-6; Jeremiah 2:21, 12:10; Ezekiel 17:5-6; Hosea 10:1; Joel 1:7; Psalm 80:8-16). Yeshua also describes the land and people of Israel as a vineyard (Matthew 21:33-43; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19). However, it is as the living manifestation of truth that the Vine Yeshua nourishes the people of God. Therefore, just as the Servant King Messiah of Isaiah comes out of and stands out as a sign to the servant people of Israel, so too the Vine Messiah comes out of and stands as a sign to the vine of Israel (ethnic, religious, chosen, empirical).
A clear and precise understanding of both the ancient vine-dressing method and the distinct language describing the process is essential to understanding this text.
First, Yeshua once again makes an inference to His present deity by saying “Anochiy” (ego eimi) I AM, thus the Vine (as a figure) is intrinsically linked to the Father God while also being distinct in its representation of Yeshua.
The Father’s role in this mashal (parable, metaphor, allegory) is that of Vinedresser, an art known in old English as vine husbandry (an appropriate title given God’s relationship to Israel). We note that the Father as Vinedresser, tills the soil and acts as a Husband to the Vine (Both Messiah & Israel). He addresses the needs of the Vine and its branches which grow from the Vine. In this allegory Yeshua is conveying the spiritual reality that those who come to God through Him grow out of Him rather than toward Him. This affirms what He has taught concerning mitzvot (outworked commands) being the fruit of His Salvation and not the means of it.
Does a branch attach itself to the Vine? Of course not! The branch is feed by and grows from the Vine. It is the same with the disciple of Yeshua redeemed by grace through faith. The disciple grows from God through Messiah. We are as incapable of attaching ourselves to the Messiah (Vine) as a branch is of attaching itself to a vine, only the Vinedresser (God) can make the graft, and once grafted we feed from the source of the Vine and bear fruit, not of ourselves but of God (the Vinedresser) through Yeshua (the Vine).
We note that Yeshua as represented by the vine is not a counterfeit vine but the true Vine or Vine of truth, of God. There are different types of vines, some look appealing but bear bitter fruit. In the case of the true Vine the fruit is sweet and robust, good for the body and soul. On the other hand the fruit of the bitter vine is like a lie, it appears to be of value but when received into the body it sickens the belly and destroys the soul. Many false Messiah’s had come and would come to Israel. Therefore, Yeshua makes it clear that He alone is the true source of life and sustenance for His people.
The mashal (parable/metaphor/allegory) of the Vine and the Vinedresser concerns the ancient first century practice of tending to the grape vine. Modern methods of vine dressing notwithstanding, there are still vinedressers throughout the world who use these same ancient methods today (in particular certain Zinfandel growers in California).
The rabbis of the Kabbalah say that the Shekinah (manifest feminine glory of God) is called Gefen (a vine) [Zohar in Exod. fol. 70. 2. & Kabbalah denudata, par. 1. p. 241.] In addition they understand Genesis 49:11 to be using “vine” to refer to the King Messiah [Zohar in Gen fol. 127. 3.].
“The sceptre shall not depart from Yehudah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloach (the sent One) comes,
And to Him shall be the obedience of the tribes.
11 He binds his foal to the gefen (vine),
And his donkey’s colt to the sorekah (choice species of vine, “true Vine”);
He washes his garments in wine,
And his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 “His eyes are made white from wine,
And his teeth are made white from milk.” -Yishayahu (Isaiah) 49:10-12 (Author’s Translation)
The Mishnah (Oral Law) notes that there was a golden vine that stood over the gate of the temple, propped up with a specially designed structure; and whoever offered a leaf, or a grape, or a cluster, (a piece of gold offered to the temple, in the shape of a leaf, grape or cluster of grapes) would bring it as a freewill offering and attach it to the golden vine. [Mishnah. Middot, c. 3. sect. 8. Talmud Bavliy Chullin, fol. 90. 2. & Tamid, fol. 29. 1, 2. ] Josephus the Roman Jewish historian also notes the existence of such a golden vine in Herod’s temple [Antiquities of the Jews. l. 15. c. 11. sect. 3.] Suffice to say the imagery was well known to first century Jews.
2 Every individual (pas[G], kol[H]) tender, flexible branch (klema[G], sariyg[H]) in Me (biy[H]) that does not bear, carry (phero[G]) fruit (karpos[G], p’riy[H]), He lifts up, elevates, raises from the ground (airo[G]); and every individual (pas[G], kol[H]) that bears, carries (phero[G]) fruit (karpos[G], p’riy[H]), He prunes, cleans, purifies (kathairo[G]) that one, so that it may bear, carry (phero[G]) more fruit (karpos[G], p’riy[H]).
We note two very important things in the opening clause of verse 2. First, every single, flexible branch refers to the new seasonal growth on the vine and not to established vine stock or dead branches. Second, the new growth (green branches) being referred to are all “in” Yeshua. Therefore, even before we read on we already understand that the Messiah is speaking of those who are in Him and therefore already eternally secure. It is essential at this point to understand that when vines branches are green, flexible and growing in season they are NOT cut! The cutting of branches only occurs when the vine is dormant. Therefore, what is being alluded to here are the growing branches in season and not the dormant plant.
Next we see that the flexible green branches being spoken of are not yet bearing fruit. Therefore, the Vinedresser “lifts them up” or “carries them” or “raises them from the ground” (airo[G]). No ancient Vinedresser worth his salt would cut off a new branch that had been hidden under old growth and was struggling for lack of sunlight. Rather, he lifts up the branch, which has been struggling on the ground beneath the canopy of the leaves and ties it to an established branch nearer the top of the vine wear it can receive the sunlight it requires to be strengthened and produce fruit. This image denotes the strengthening of a fruitless branch by tying it to a mature branch (a lesson of discipling).
The author of the Greek text is careful to provide us with two very different Greek words to describe what happens to the vine branches. The new growth branch is airo, “lifted from the ground” while the strong fruiting stock is pruned, cleaned (kathairo) to provoke new growth, better quality fruit and more of it. The “pruning” or “cleaning” described here is not a cutting off but the removal of dead leaves and the cleaning away of moulds and compromising abrasions. As I have said, it is important to understand that the pruning is done when the vine is dormant during the winter months at the end of the season so as not to do harm to the branches, while the “lifting up” and “cleaning” (pruning) is done during the season in order to promote fruiting.
The Vinedresser does not “cut off” (a misleading English translation) the non-fruiting branches, rather He encourages them to fruit by “lifting” or “carrying” them up into the light. It is therefore, utter nonsense to say as some do, that this analogy points to the possibility that believers can lose their salvation. No one, having received Yeshua and who remains “in” Him, can ever be “cut off” from Him.
Regarding fruiting in general, newly planted fruit trees and vines take time to establish themselves in the earth. Most fruit vines will abort or fail to fruit for up to three years from planting (Leviticus 19:23). In the fourth year they will generally present their first successful harvest of fruit. Therefore, the gardener/vinedresser does not place unreasonable expectations on the plant, knowing that it requires time to establish itself. This is another important lesson for those discipling new believers.
Yeshua is speaking here of both physical and spiritual fruit. Spiritual fruit inevitably overflows into physical action (Galatians 5:22-23 fruit of the Ruach HaKodesh; Matthew 13:1-23 fruit of faith in Yeshua; Romans 6:21-22 fruit of righteousness).
3 Now already you are pruned, clean (kathairo[G]) through the word, essence, substance (ho logos[G], hadavar[H]) which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide, remain (meno[G]) in Me, and I in you. Just as the tender, flexible branch (klema[G]) cannot bear, carry (phero[G]) fruit (karpos[G], p’riy[H]) of itself unless it abides, remains (meno[G]) in the vine (ampelos[G], hagefen[H]), so neither can you unless you remain (meno[G]) in Me.
Yeshua explains to His disciples that through Himself, the Davar (Word), and by
His word God has already pruned and cleansed them. Therefore, He admonishes them to rest and abide in Him as the source of the fruit that they will inevitably bear in His Name.
It is possible that by saying “Now already you are pruned, clean through the word, essence, substance which I have spoken to you.” Yeshua is making a connection to the Torah as it applies to fruiting trees and vines in the promised land:
“And when you come into the land, and have planted numerous varieties of trees for food, then you should consider their fruit as being uncircumcised (unclean): for three years it is to be considered uncircumcised (unclean) to you: it shall not be eaten of.” -Leviticus 19:23
Therefore, the comparison is to the three years of Yeshua’s ministry which the disciples have participated in. Figuratively they were a freshly planted vine in Him at the beginning of His ministry and had been considered uncircumcised (unclean) fruit up to the point that His cleansing word had made their fruit circumcised (clean) for harvesting. That is, at the end of the three years according to the Torah allusion. Of course in counter distinction to this Yehudah (Judas Iscariot) had not stayed the course unto completion and therefore his fruit remained uncircumcised (unclean).
5 I Am, I exist (ego eimi[G], Anochiy[H]) the Vine (ampelos[G], hagefen[H]), you are the tender, flexible branches (klema[G]); the one who abides, remains (meno[G]) in Me and I in him, he bears (phero[G]) much fruit (karpos[G], p’riy[H]), for separated (choris[G]) from Me you don’t have the power (dunamai[G]) to do anything. 6 If anyone does not abide, remain (meno[G]) in Me, that one is thrown away, dropped, discarded (ballo[G]) outside (exo[G]) as a tender branch (klema[G]) that is indeed dried up (xeraino[G]); and they gather them, and into the fire (pur[G], eiysh[H]) they cast, throw away, drop, discard (ballo[G]) them and they are burned.
The branch is entirely reliant on the vine and its root system to supply all the nutrients it needs to grow strong and bear fruit. Therefore, if the branch is not connected to the vine it cannot bear fruit. We note that the branch that is thrown into the fire is not one that has been cut off by the Vinedresser but one that has become detached and is gathered up from the ground where it has dried out and become good for nothing other than the fire. This is consistent with the fact that one has to wilfully refuse God’s offer of redemption and sustenance through Yeshua in order to be burned in the spiritual fires of eternal torment. God doesn’t send people to eternal punishment, rather they choose to go there.
Once again Yehudah (Judas Iscariot) is alluded to as the branch that did not remain in the Vine and is therefore, fallen off the Vine and will be collected and thrown into the fire.
7 If you abide, remain (meno[G]) in Me, and My spoken words (rhema[G]) abide, remain (meno[G]) in you, ask whatever you desire (thelo[G]), and it will be done for you. 8 My Father (Ho Pater[G], Aviy[H]) is glorified (doxazo[G]) by this, that you bear, carry (phero[G]) much fruit (karpos[G], p’riy[H]), and become, are seen to be (ginomai[G]) My Talmidim[H] (disciples, devoted students).
This is the qualification for John 14:13, “Whatever you ask in My Name” means “If you abide, remain in Me, and My spoken words abide, remain in you, ask whatever you desire, and it will be done for you.” The result is the same as is described in John 14:13, “that the Father may be glorified, extoled, celebrated, praised in the Son…”
How is the Father glorified in the Son through the disciples? It is by their fruit, seen by the fallen world. The same is true of all who believe.
9 Just as the Father (Ho Pater[G], Ha Av[H]) has entirely loved (agapao[G], aheivaniy[H]) Me, I have also entirely loved (agapao[G], ahavtiy[H]) you; abide, remain (meno[G]) in My all-encompassing love (agapao[G], ahavtiy[H]). 10 If you keep, guard (tishmeru[H]) My mitzvot[H] (commandments), you will abide, remain (meno[G]) in My all-encompassing love (agapao[G], ahavtiy[H]); just as I have kept (shamartiy[H]) My Father’s (Ho Pater[G], Ha Aviy[H]) mitzvot[H] (commandments) and abide, remain (meno[G]) in His all-encompassing love (agape[G], ahavato[H]).
The mitzvot of Yeshua are the continuation and illumination of the Torah as expressed through Yeshua’s words and ministry, and the mitzvot of the Father which Yeshua has guarded and practiced are both the Torah and the direct instruction of the Father concerning Yeshua’s redemptive purpose. Therefore, for the disciples the miztvot of Yeshua transform their understanding of punitive law into an understanding of the law of freedom in Messiah (Yaakov[James] 1:25).
Yeshua’s instruction is simple, “Hear, listen, receive and comprehend Israel, YHVH our God YHVH is echad (One). Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength and all your mind; and love your neighbour as you love yourself… Love one another as I have loved you…” There is perfect continuity in Yeshua’s words. The Torah has pointed to Yeshua (its Author) and He has in turn revealed Instruction where Law was once seen. He has revealed the Father, Shepherd of Shepherds, with His crook and staff, come to lead and guide, discipline and nurture His sheep.
All this is born of the fact that the Holy God has entirely loved the Son and the Son has entirely loved us, and now we are tasked to choose to remain in Him and entirely love one another.
We are reminded that love produces obedience and that obedience is our response to love and not the means by which we earn it.
11 These utterances (laleo[G]) I have spoken (dibartiy[H]) to you so that My joy (chara[G], simchatiy[H]) may be in you, and that your joy (chara[G], simchatechem[H]) may be made full (pleroo[G]). 12 “This is My mitzvatiy[H] (commandment), that you entirely love (agapao[G], tehehavun[H]) one another, just as I have entirely loved (agapao[G], ahavtiychem[H]) you.
Yeshua makes a clear distinction between the Torah[H], mitzvot[H], rhema[G], and the intimate spoken utterances (laleo[G]) that He has spoken directly to His disciples. This discourse spanning five chapters of John’s Gospel is an intimate relational pep talk intended for His trusted few close friends. While it is accessible to all who believe it is first and foremost spoken for the edification of the twelve (-1).
The purpose of Yeshua’s utterances to the disciples is so that His transcendent joy might be in them and that they, having understood why He has told them these things in advance would live to see the fullness of that same joy manifest within time and space.
To His mitzvot (plural) Yeshua confirms His mitzvah “Mitzvatiy” (singular): “Entirely love one another just as I have entirely loved you.”
13 Greater (mega[G], rabah[H]) love (agape[G], ahavah[H]) has no one than this, that a certain one (tis[G]) lay down, gift (hanotein[H]) his life breath, soul (psuche[G], nafsho[H]) in behalf (huper[G]) for his beloved friends (philos[G], yediydayn[H]). 14 You are My beloved friends (philos[G], yediyday[H]) if you do what I command (entellomai[G], mitzaveh[H]) you.
Most English translations are misleading here. They make this phrase sound like a universal idiom or general life coach. It is not. The Greek text in particular is very precise, saying “a certain one” and not “one”. Furthermore, the certain individual in question lays down his life for his friends (plural), often mistakenly rendered in the singular by English translations presuming an idiomatic application rather than a phrase pertaining to a specific individual. Therefore, we correctly read “Greater love has no one than this, that a certain one lay down, gift his life, breath, soul for his friends.” Yeshua is not teaching a general principal but is speaking specifically about His coming sacrificial death. His friends are defined as those who obey Him. This is why He goes on to say:
15 No longer do I call you bond servants (doulos[G], avadiym[H]), for the bond servant (doulos[G], haeved[H]) does not see, perceive (eido[G]yodeia[H]) what his lord (kurios[G], Adonayu[H]) is doing; but I have called each of (pas[G]) you a beloved friend (philos[G], yediyday[H]), for all things that I have heard, received, applied (akouo[G]shama’tiy[H]) from My Father (Ho Pater[G], Ha Aviy[H]) I have made known (gnorizo[G], hoda’tiy[H]) to you.
While the disciples may have heeded Yeshua’s call to service three years prior, they had now been cleansed by His word and had become dearly loved friends. Following His death, resurrection and ascension the disciples will become Yeshua’s brothers and sons of God (Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 3:27-4:8). Thus the progression from servants to friends to brothers. From within time and space the adoption as children of God and therefore brothers and sisters to Messiah could not happen until after His death and resurrection. This is why at this point Yeshua calls them friends rather than brothers and sisters.
We note that Yeshua had made known to the disciples all that He had received from the Father up to that point. As we would expect of our perfect Redeemer, Yeshua was a transparent Leader of impeccable integrity. The Greek says “known” (gnorizo) rather than “seen” (eido) because the knowledge has been revealed, received and become all-encompassing as a result of the disciples having seen (eido) the living Messiah.
16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and set you in place (tithemi[G]) so that you would go and bear fruit (karpos[G], p’riy[H]), and that your fruit (karpos[G], p’riy[H]) would abide, remain (meno[G]), so that whatever you ask of the Father (Ho Pater[G], Ha Av[H]) in My name (bishmiy[H]) He may give (yitein[H]) to you.
“You did not choose Me” does not mean the disciples had no choice in the matter but that they did not initiate the choosing. In other words, He chose them and they had to choose to accept Him. Having being chosen they chose to be predestined. This does not teach predestination over freewill but predestination and freewill.
“I chose you” means both “I physically searched you out and chose you, asking you to follow me in person” and “I chose you before the creation of the world”. To deny either is to be devoid of the revelation of the Ruach HaKodesh.
Yeshua chose them for a purpose, “so that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would abide, remain so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”
Yeshua’s choosing of His disciples was contrary to the rabbinical custom where disciples would seek out a rabbi and not the other way around.
“If you wish to make yourself a Rav (great rabbi/ great one), choose yourself a lord and become his pupil (companion)” -R. Yoshuah ben Perachiah, (said to be the master of Yeshua of Natzeret), Pirke Avot (Wisdom of the Fathers), c. 1. sect. 6. [Ganz Tzemach David, fol. 24. 2.]
"He has chosen me, and I have chosen Him:'' -Song of Songs 2:16 Praphrase Zohar in Exod. fol. 9. 1.
17 This I command (entellomai[G], mitzaveh[H]) you, that you entirely love (agapao[G], tehehavun[H]) one another. 18 “If this world (ho kosmos[G], haolam[H]) pursues you with hatred (miseo[G]), you know, have learned (ginosko[G]deu[H]) that it has pursued Me with hatred (miseo[G]) before you.
The disciples had witnessed the way the world had treated Yeshua and were to see yet greater proof of the world’s hatred toward Him. Therefore, Yeshua warned them to expect trouble. A true follower of Yeshua will be pursued by the hatred of those bound to the fallen world. There is a certain comfort in understanding this. Rather than presuming a life devoid of hatred and harm we are admonished to expect it and understand why it’s happening.
19 If you were of this world (ho kosmos[G], haolam[H]), this world (ho kosmos[G], haolam[H]) would have filial love for (phileo[G]) you as its own; but because you are not of this world (ho kosmos[G], haolam[H]), but I chose you out of this world (ho kosmos[G], haolam[H]), because of this, the present world (ho kosmos[G], haolam[H]) pursues you with hatred (miseo[G]).
We see that the disciples and indeed all who follow Yeshua are no longer of the fallen world. The evidence is in the fact that the fallen world sees no filial (family) connection to them. Therefore, because Yeshua has chosen His followers and lifted them out of filial connection to the sin affected world, the sin affected world detests them as being aliens living among the inhabitants of the fallen creation. Thus, following Yeshua’s resurrection, the Father will recognize the followers of Yeshua as sons and daughters of God. Therefore, our filial (family) connection is no longer to the first Adam but through the last Adam (Yeshua).
The Talmud teaches something similar in its distinguishing of the wise men as set apart from anashiym l’olam “men of the world” (Talmud. Bavliy. Kiddushin, fol. 80. 2.).
20 Remember this word, essence, substance (logos[G], davar[H]) that I said to you, ‘A bond servant (doulos[G], haeved[H]) is not greater than his lord (kurios[G], Adonayu[H]) [John 13:16].’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept, guarded, attended to (tereo[G]) My word, substance, essence (kurios[G], Adonayu[H]) they will keep, guard, attend to (tereo[G]) yours also.
Part of what it means to recognize that a servant is never greater than his lord is to understand that to whatever degree the lord was persecuted the servant will also suffer persecution, and in turn, those not a part of the servant’s group who none the less honoured the teaching of the servant’s lord, will also honour the teaching of the servant. This means that the disciples can expect both persecution and honour. They will be the sweet fragrance of salvation to those being saved and the stench of death to those being lost (2 Corinthians 2:15).
21 But all these things they will do to you through (dia[G]) the Name (onoma[G]) of Me, because they do not see, perceive (eido[G]) the One who sent Me.
Most English translations read “these things they will do because of My Name” meaning, because the people of the world hate Yeshua’s Name and teaching they will show the same hatred toward His disciples. This is qualified by the last clause which says “because they do not see the One Who sent Me.” However, the Greek literally says “these things they will do through the Name of Me, because they do not see the One Who sent Me.” Meaning, people claiming to act in Yeshua’s Name will persecute the true followers of Yeshua.
This is exactly what happen by the turn of the first century CE when the then predominantly Gentile Christian Church began to make it difficult for Jewish believers to maintain Jewish identity within the body of believers. Subsequently the same kind of persecution has been a mainstay of the political Christian Church throughout the centuries and is at present manifest in the mainstream evangelical, charismatic and orthodox Church (as well as the Roman Catholic, Eastern and Greek Orthodox Church) in the form of Continuationism (the latest version of Replacement Theology).
Communities like our own (Beth Melekh) are disliked equally by Orthodox Jews and Continuationist Christians.
22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have retained their sin, missing the mark of God’s holiness (hamartia[G]), but now they have no sacrifice upon the face of their sin (elta al apay chtiythuvn[A]).
This concerns those who were a part of the generation who witnessed Yeshua’s ministry in person and rejected Him. As a result they are without means of covering for sin because of their disbelief. Of course sin is always without excuse, which is why the Aramaic text reads “now they have no sacrifice upon the face of their sin” rather than “they are without excuse…”
23 He who pursues Me with hatred (miseo[G]), hates My Father (Aviy[H]) also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have retained their sin, missing the mark of God’s holiness (hamartia[G]); but now they have both seen and pursued Me with hatred (miseo[G]) and have hated My Father (Aviy[H]) also.
This is extremely significant for Jewish people. One of the central prayers of our Rosh Hashanah service acknowledges God as Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father, Our King). Yeshua is saying, “Those who hate Me hate YHVH!”
25 But to fulfil the word, essence, substance (logos[G], davar[H]) in the Tanakh (Torah)[H] (nomos[G], Law) that belongs to them (autos[H]), ‘They hated Me without a cause.’ [Psa. 35:19; 69:5(4)]
Numerous English versions needlessly infer separation between the Tanakh and Yeshua by translating this verse as “So is fulfilled the word written in their Scripture”. While this is technically correct it is none the less extremely misleading. Yeshua intends to convey the fact that the Scripture belongs to the Jewish people both believing and unbelieving because God has given them the Scriptures as a gift to be shared with the nations. This is why Rav shaul Hashaliach says “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29). Therefore, we better translate “But to fulfil the word, essence, substance in the Tanakh that belongs to them.” Note that “the Word (Davar) in the Tanakh belongs to them.” Yeshua is the Davar (Word, Essence, Substance).
The quote is from Psalms 35:19 and 69:5(4). Therefore, as is the case today, Torah (nomos[G]) is sometimes used to denote the wider body of inspired Hebrew Scripture. To “hate without cause” is the ultimate indictment in that every opportunity had been given for those disbelievers to believe and turn in love to God through Yeshua.
26 “As soon as the Helper, One Who stands alongside (parakletos[G]) comes, Whom I will send to you from the Father (Ho Pater[G], HaAv[H]), that is the Spirit, Breath, Wind (Ha Ruach[H]) of truth (Emet[H]) Who proceeds from the Father (Ho Pater[G], HaAv[H]), He will testify, bear witness (martureo[H]) about Me, 27 and you will testify, bear witness (martureo[H]) also, because you have been with Me from the beginning, origin, head (arche[G], rosh[H]).
The Ruach HaKodesh will be sent by Yeshua from the Father. It is important to note that the Ruach HaKodesh has a specific role as the Spirit of the Father and the Son with us. He is the Helper Who comes alongside in support of us and dwells within us through Yeshua. He proceeds from the Father to testify to and bear witness of the Son.
The Ruach HaKodesh does not seek glory for Himself any more than the Son sought glory for Himself. Rather the Ruach HaKodesh seeks to bring glory to and testify about the Son. This challenges the theology of many modern Christian denominations who insist on making a mantra out of chanting or calling on the Name of the Holy Spirit. The only place in Scripture where God instructs us to invoke the Name of the Holy Spirit is in the tevilah (immersion) of believers, immersed into the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). Note the order and role of each distinct and unified person of the Godhead.
King David speaks to the Father of the Holy Spirit in Psalm 51:11 but does not call on the Holy Spirit. Isaiah speaks of the Holy Spirit but does not call on the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 57:15; 63:10-11). John the Immerser speaks of the Messiah immersing (baptising) with the Holy Spirit but does not call on the Holy spirit (Matthew 3:11). Yeshua warns against blaspheming the Holy Spirit (not the same as invoking the Spirit’s Name or praying to Him Matthew 12:32; Luke 12:10).The Holy Spirit is said to give the persecuted believer words to speak (Mark 13:11). Ananias is accused of lying to the manifestly present Holy Spirit of God (Acts 5:3). So we see that the Holy Spirit is present among believers both corporately and individually and that His role is to point us to the Father and the Son.
When asked how they should pray Yeshua responded to the disciples by saying “When you pray, pray this way, ‘Avinu shabashamayim (Our Father Who Dwells in the heavens…)” Yeshua also says “Whatever you ask in My Name” meaning that He expects we will invoke His Name in prayer. However, He never teaches us to pray in the Name of the Holy Spirit or to invoke the Spirit’s Name. Here Yeshua is very clear about the role of the Spirit. He explains that the role of the Spirit is to testify to and bring one’s focus upon the Son unto the Father. Previously Yeshua has said that the Holy Spirit will bring to remembrance the things of Him (Yeshua). Tragically, those who invoke the Holy Spirit and promote His Name in repeated worship phrases are acting in direct contradiction to the role of the Holy Spirit Himself. Put simply, the Holy Spirit wants you to testify to the Name of Yeshua and give glory to the Father.
When you know that you are tasked with promoting someone else and are doing everything you can to celebrate and honour that person but those listening ignore that person and instead praise you, how do you respond? If we sing “Come Holy Spirit” we have already missed the point, it is the Holy Spirit in us Who sings “Welcome Yeshua, Glory to YHVH!” To promote the Holy Spirit at the expense of the Father and the Son is to blaspheme the entire Godhead.
If a helper has come into your home and dwells in your living room and has lived with you and helped you for many years, never leaving or forsaking you, would it not be rude to act as if He weren't already sitting beside you as a member of your family? Would it not be the height of rudeness to scream out loud "I invite You to enter" when He is right there having already long since entered? This is what we are doing when we pretend to invite the Holy Spirit to attend our worship gatherings. If you need to invite Him He is not in attendance. And yet many who do so claim that He dwells in them and see no contradiction.
We notice that in receiving the Holy Spirit we are reminded of Yeshua’s teaching and have the affirmation of His identity and Truth. As a result we do as the Spirit in us has done, testifying to others. In the context of this passage it is the disciples who are specifically tasked with the work of testimony as a result of the presence of God’s Spirit in order that those who hear might receive the truth of the Gospel from those who were present and witnessed the life and ministry of Yeshua on earth. They had been chosen to be with Him from the beginning of His ministry for this very purpose.
© Yaakov Brown 2020
Spiritual leader of Beth Melekh Community, Auckland, Aotearoa, N.Z.