The Gospel of John:
Truth for Today?
As I said in the first article in this series, John’s Gospel lines nicely up together with Matthew, Mark and Luke as historical writings, and is no foundation for Doctrine of Faith to the Church dispensation. It is not truth for today. It was true during the Acts period 28-62 CE.
THE TWELVE APOSTLES TO ISRAEL WAS A FROZEN NUMBER
We notice easily what took place after Judas’ suicide: By casting of lot it was God’s will to fill the vacant place in the flock, so they could be twelve and not just eleven, Acts 1:21-26 AMP Bible,
«21So of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus spent with us,
22beginning with the baptism by John [at the outset of Jesus’ ministry] until the day when He was taken up from us—one of these men must become a witness with us [to testify] of His resurrection.”
23And they put forward two men, Joseph, the one called Barsabbas (who was surnamed Justus), and Matthias.
24They prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know all hearts [their thoughts, motives, desires], show us which one of these two You have chosen
25to occupy this ministry and apostleship which Judas left to go to his own place [of evil].”
26And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.” Editor’s emphasize.
At the same time, we notice also that Paul was not taken in to fill this position. He came on stage around three years later, in Acts 7 when he witnessed and gave consent to the stoning of Stephen. Verse 4,
“Then they drove him out of the city and began stoning him; and the witnesses placed their outer robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.”
God wanted Paul free from that flock, for He knew that he should be the one to go especially to the Gentiles, and none of the twelve. The twelve were designated to preach to Israel only, within their land in the Acts period. John was one of them. And, even more than that: He was one of the three prominent leaders among them (Peter, James and John). It was John that accompanied Peter when he healed the lame beggar outside the temple gate in Acts 3:1-10; and it was John who went to Samaria with Peter to assist Philip in Acts 8:4-16 as they had Philips converts getting baptized in the Holy Spirit by laying on of hands.
In short, John was busy going with the apostles to preach the Kingdom-gospel to Israel inside the land all the time of Acts period. And on top of this: The ‘wall of partition’ between Jew and Gentiles was in full effect all of the time, - the Law of Moses and also the New Covenant to Israel.
We find no word on God having chosen John for any other ministry than to stay in that flock of chosen apostles, twelve in a frozen number.
Actually, Paul’s words in Gal. 2:7, 8 – directed at Peter’s ministry to the circumcised (Jews) compared to his own ministry to the uncircumcised (Gentiles) must be held true for the entire flock. All twelve apostles were sent to the Jews,
“But on the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised (Gentiles), just as Peter had been [entrusted to proclaim the gospel] to the circumcised (Jews);
8(for He who worked effectively for Peter and empowered him in his ministry to the Jews also worked effectively for me and empowered me in my ministry to the Gentiles).”
In the times of Acts, 28-62 CE, John was one of the twelve and was never taken over into a new and different ministry. That position was reserved for Paul only:
Acts 9:15 is clear,
«9And he was unable to see for three days, and he neither ate nor drank.
10Now in Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
11And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul; for he is praying [there],
12and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him, so that he may regain his sight.”
13But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man, especially how much suffering and evil he has brought on Your saints (God’s people) at Jerusalem;
14and here [in Damascus] he has authority from the high priests to put in chains all who call on Your name [confessing You as Savior].”
15But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a [deliberately] chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;” (Editor’s emphasize).
Paul was the only man chosen by the Lord in Acts period, to go to Gentiles specifically – as a permanent ministry.
None of the twelve were ever sent outside of Israel to preach to Gentile nations.
JOHN’S GOSPEL REPORT OF PETER GOING
TO THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL
Yes, it is John’s Gospel history which reports of Peter (and of course the other eleven) ordered to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
This complies nicely with what Jesus said of Himself in Mat. 15:24, to the Gentile woman,
He answered, “I was commissioned by God and sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
The same goes for the twelve, with the leader of the flock being told the task, John 22:15-17, Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples at the beach, and talked to Peter,
15So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do—with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16Again He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”
17He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you [really] love Me [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend]?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep».
The emphasized orders spoken to Peter in verses 15-17, reveals to us that they shall be doing the very same ministry which He had come for with caring for Israel, His flock of lost sheep: Feed My lambs, Shepherd My sheep, Feed My sheep.
Same ministry as Jesus: To take care of the lost sheep of the house of Israel!
John was one of the twelve doing so. He never stepped out of this frame of ministry. The Bible proves it by the fact that no contra-order was given to John to change his ministry.
They who say he went to Gentiles with a Grace-type of Gospel are entirely wrong. They are telling fairy-tales. John was involved and committed by Jesus to only go to Israel, the lost sheep Jesus was sent to in His first Advent.
Paul was the only apostle God sent to us Gentiles!
Eph. 3:1-9, Editor’s emphasize,
«1For this reason [because I preach that you and believing Jews are joint heirs] I, Paul, am the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—
2assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was entrusted to me [to share with you] for your benefit;
3and that by [divine] revelation the mystery was made known to me, as I have already written in brief.
4By referring to this, when you read it you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
5which in other generations was not disclosed to mankind, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the [Holy] Spirit;
6[it is this:] that the Gentiles are now joint heirs [with the Jews] and members of the same body, and joint partakers [sharing] in the [same divine] promise in Christ Jesus through [their faith in] the good news [of salvation].
7Of this [gospel] I was made a minister by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power.
8To me, [though I am] the very least of all the saints (God’s people), this grace [which is undeserved] was graciously given, to proclaim to the Gentiles the good news of the incomprehensible riches of Christ [that spiritual wealth which no one can fully understand],
9and to make plain [to everyone] the plan of the mystery [regarding the uniting of believing Jews and Gentiles into one body] which [until now] was kept hidden through the ages in [the mind of] God who created all things.”
THE JOHN 3:16 ‘HOOK UP’ (OR HICK UP?)
As Jesus once said – to Nicodemus,
“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
These words must be read under the ‘umbrella’ of Mat. 15:24 -
“He answered, I was commissioned by God and sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Editor’s emphasize.
John 3:16 was NOT spoken to other than the Jews, exclusively. The translations are bad…and give the impression that Jesus was directing this speech to the entire world, all the ethnos, the Gentiles as well as the Jews.
This passage should have read: “For God so loved and dearly prized THE NATION (Israel), that He gave His only begotten Son….”.
John wrote himself explicitly that ‘Jesus came unto His own, and His own did not receive Him…’ (John 1:11).
John was present when Jesus told His disciples, Mat. 10:5, 6,
«5Jesus sent out these twelve, instructing them: “Do not go among the Gentiles, and do not go into a city of the Samaritans;
6but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Editor’s emphasize.
Again and again we find Jesus repeating the importance of going to Israel, the circumcised, and NOT to the Gentiles (ethnos).
But in full disobedience to Biblical truth, Christian pastors today quote John 3:16 as if this were meant for Gentiles! They actually are reading this passage into Paul’s two Church epistles, as if it has validity outside the context described in John 3, namely God speaking only to His people, the Jews, and not Gentiles.
When Jesus said those words, Israel and the Jews they were segregated by the ‘wall of partition’ (Eph. 2:14, 15) – which was the Law of Moses. God kept Jews entirely to Himself and did not want to interfere with the Gentile world at that time.
Take a true lesson from me: ALL NEW TESTAMENT writings except Paul’s two prison epistles (plus Philemon), were written for Israel and her proselytes during Acts period 28-62 CE, and the wall of partition – the Law – kept them segregated entirely.
As Paul had the revelation given to him by God of the Mystery mentioned in Ephesians 3 and Colossians 1, He also revealed to him that He had let the Law of Moses (the wall of partition) be abolished, torn down, annulled, blotted out. It was crucified with Christ, but not revealed until Paul in 63 CE wrote Ephesians and Colossians from the jail in Rome.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John never got that revelation (of the free Grace Gospel) like we find with Paul.
He certainly was the only apostle entrusted with this revelation. The twelve were apostles sent only to the circumcised, the Jews.