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The Gospel of John: Manifesting God’s Glory Book 4

Jesus manifested God's glory through 8 miraculous signs in the gospel of John. These are a revelation of the feast of tabernacles.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 18

Imparting the Logos

In Jesus’ prayer for the disciples, John 17:6 reads,

6 I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept your word.

This is a clear recognition of God’s sovereignty and of the law of devotion. The disciples had been chosen by God and entrusted to Jesus’ authority. Therefore, Jesus had chosen them, He had manifested His “name” (i.e., nature) to them, and He had trained them with the word (logos). Jesus Himself was the Logos (John 1:1), which manifested His name/nature, and this was given to the disciples, so that they might know Him and keep His word.

To Keep the Word

What does it mean to keep His word? The Greek word used is tereo, which means “to guard, to attend carefully, to take care of, to observe.” It is not to guard (phylasso) in the sense of preventing one’s escape, but to guard in the sense of keeping an eye on something. The disciples were not forced to keep the word, as if in a prison, but had carefully observed the glory of His name and nature through the seven signs set forth in the Gospel of John.

Jesus, then, was satisfied that His disciples, other than Judas Iscariot, had received the word in their hearts. Even though they would run in fear and appear to abandon Him at the cross (except for John), the word would remain and grow in strength.

John 17:7, 8 continues,

7 Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; 8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You; and they believed that You sent Me.

The key is knowing for certain that Jesus was indeed sent by God with a message or word that He repeated verbatim. The disciples received Jesus’ words as from the Father Himself. By receiving His words, they believed that Jesus was the Logos, the embodiment of the word.

Recall that the Greek word logos was the equivalent of the Hebrew word dabar, “word,” and that this was applied to the concept of the Memra, who, like Moses, was a living manifestation of the word, one who lived the word by nature. Hence, at the beginning of John’s gospel, we were introduced to the true Memra/Logos who was with God from the beginning and who was sent to earth with a message. Christ then manifested the glory of God in the earth through eight signs (the last one being after His resurrection), so that men might see and retain the word in their hearts.

Those who believe the word of the Word are not those whom God has imprisoned by force but are those whom He has called and trained by demonstration of that word through concrete signs that they could see and hear.

Jesus was successful, of course, in imparting that word to the disciples that God had devoted to Him.

The Ultimate Manifestation of Glory

John 17:9, 10 says,

9 I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; 10 and all things that are Mine are Yours; and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.

What exactly was Jesus asking the Father? He says, “I ask on their behalf,” but He does not tell us immediately the nature of the petition. The answer is found further down in John 17:21,

21 that they may all be one, even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Jesus was asking the Father to bring unity—the same unity that the Son enjoyed with the Father, the unity of the word, the same message and purpose, the same nature, and the same glory.

But at the time, Jesus understood that the Father had given Him only a few. So He said in John 17:9, “I do not ask on behalf of the world.” Even as God had chosen one man, Abraham, to bless the world and turn all men from their iniquities (Acts 3:25, 6), so also had Jesus chosen a few disciples to manifest His glory to bless the rest of the world.

It is important, then, to understand that God did not choose a few for salvation while casting away the vast majority of humanity, as Calvinism has mistakenly assumed. God has chosen the few to bless the many. To be so “chosen” is, essentially, to be saved first and trained to become part of the living Word so that all men can be saved later. Those who are chosen first we term overcomers. The favored Old Testament term is the remnant. Paul thus speaks of “a remnant according to God’s gracious choice” (Rom. 11:5).

The doctrine of Calvin did not recognize the principle of choosing the few to bless the many. He assumed that those chosen were the only ones to be saved. But if that were true, then only Abraham himself was saved, or perhaps only the eleven disciples were saved. Obviously, Calvin did not limit salvation to them, nor would any serious Bible student. He included himself among the chosen ones, as most people do. Hence, Calvin too was one of the many being blessed by the few.

Nonetheless, by limiting salvation to the chosen few, Calvin left them in this world to manifest the glory of God to those who could not possibly see or understand the word. The persecutions served only to refine or distinguish the saved from the unsaved, not to be a blessing but ultimately a curse to all families of the earth who reject the word of God on account of their not being chosen.

Such a view of the nature of God is inaccurate, for it does not describe His nature (love) properly. Calvin had a fairly good understanding of the sovereignty of God in Romans 9 but did not understand the nature of God’s love in Romans 5. That was his weakness.

By understanding the principle of choosing the few to bless the many, we are able to comprehend the love of God for all men, as well as His plan to save all of them in the end.

Meanwhile, speaking of His disciples, Jesus stated in His prayer that “I have been glorified in them.” When the word is lodged in our hearts, He is glorified in us. The purpose of the eight signs in John was to manifest His glory (John 2:11), but now we see more specifically that He was manifesting His glory in the disciples. The rest of the world saw His glory, but because they were not yet “chosen,” the word had not yet lodged in their hearts.

To put it in New Covenant terms, “I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts” (Heb. 8:10). Only in this way can we too become living words, little extensions of the Logos Himself. Hence, even as Christ was sent into the world, so also are we sent into the world. In both cases, the purpose of being chosen and sent is to manifest the nature of Christ to the world, so that they know that “God is love” (1 John 4:8).

No one can truly manifest the name/nature of Christ without understanding Paul’s definition of love in Rom. 5:7-10. This was Paul’s introduction to the divine plan to justify all men in the end (Rom. 5:18). Without understanding this, even a well-intentioned believer is handicapped in every attempt to manifest the love of God to the world.

“Turn or burn” is hardly a message of love, for therein is God’s love turned into a mere warning or threat. The true message, however, is seen in 2 Cor. 5:18, 19,

18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

This is the logos that we are called to give to the world. The Sovereign God of Love has decreed the salvation of the world and has taken steps to ensure the success of His plan. If we, as ambassadors of Christ, are to be the living words of God, we ought to know the message that we are to give to the world. “Turn or burn” has certainly frightened many into becoming believers in Christ, but only a message of love can cause the world to love Him.

Love is the ultimate manifestation of God’s glory. Love is not devoid of judgment, of course, but the ultimate purpose of judgment is to bring all men to repentance so that all may be in unity with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Love’s discipline is fruitful in the end.

Passing the Baton

In John 17:11 Jesus says,

11 “I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.”

As Jesus was about to leave the world and return to His Father in heaven, He was passing the baton to His disciples, who were to continue the work of manifesting His name/nature to the world. Jesus’ prayer was for the Father to “keep them in Your name.” In other words, let them continue to manifest the nature of Christ. All who share in that nature are in unity, not because they are the same Being but because they have one heart and have the same law of God written in their hearts and minds.

John 17:12 says,

12 While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded [phylasso] them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition [apoleia], so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

Jesus’ use of the word phylasso is interesting, because it can be contrasted with tereo. The disciples had guarded or “kept” (tereo) the word given to them in the sense of observing, seeing, and understanding the word. Now Jesus says that He has “guarded” (phylasso) the devoted ones, a word that refers to preventing their escape.

In other words, He will not lose them, except for Judas Iscariot, whose loss was prophesied in Scripture and, hence, foreordained. Judas is therefore called “the son of perdition.” The word translated “perdition” is apoleia, from apollumi, “to ruin, destroy, or lose.”

So apoleia is used in John 17:12 to mean “lose,” as a contrast to the other disciples who were not lost. Christ guarded the eleven disciples so that He would not lose any of them, but Judas escaped, so to speak. Judas was not one of the devoted ones.

The Son of Perdition

Paul prophesies about a future “the man of lawlessness [anomia], the son of destruction [apoleia]” in 2 Thess. 2:3. Most people misunderstand this because they fail to relate it to Judas, the son of apoleia, “perdition, loss.” Judas was the believer who betrayed Jesus, not some “antichrist” who was to arise. In fact, Judas sided with the antichrists, even as Ahithophel had sided with Absalom who usurped the throne of David a thousand years earlier.

It is only by connecting Judas to David’s friend who betrayed him (Ahithophel) that we can begin to understand Paul’s prophecy behind the son of perdition. The role of Absalom, the antichrist (who usurped the throne of David) was replayed by Caiaphas. The role of Ahithophel was replayed by Judas. The role of David was replayed by Jesus.

At the second coming of Christ, this story is being replayed a third time on a greater scale. Once again, the Jewish leadership is attempting to usurp Christ’s place so that they may rule the world in their own carnal manner according to an Old Covenant understanding of the law. Zionism itself supports their counterfeit Kingdom, and the Judas of the day is Christian Zionism, which betrays Christ by supporting those who hate Him without a cause.

Hence, even as Judas was the disciple who was “lost,” so also the Judas company today is the modern “son of perdition” that supports the usurpers of Christ’s throne. Such betrayal was prophesied many times in the psalms when David wrote about his friend, Ahithophel. We see it again in the New Testament in the story of Judas. We are now watching it unfold on a greater scale in the world in relation to the second coming of Christ.

But Jesus prayed that the eleven would not be lost, and we may also include with them a greater body of people, those who have kept the word that Christ gave them, those who have been faithful to be ambassadors of Christ with the ministry of reconciliation.