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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 8

The Path to Oneness

Jesus told His disciples that He was going away and that they would “follow later” (John 13:36). Peter thought He was talking about leaving to go to another earthly country, but Jesus was referring to His journey to the Father. He was to go ahead of them “to prepare a place” for them. When Thomas questioned Him further, Jesus told him, “I am the way, and the truth and the life.”

So it is plain that this was no ordinary journey. It was not a path that a fleshly man could travel, as if going from one town to another. It was a spiritual journey, patterned after Israel’s 40-year journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, a journey from Passover (“the way”) through Pentecost (“the truth”) and on into the feast of Tabernacles (“the life”).

To finish the historic journey, the body of Christ has had to walk through the Passover Age from the first Passover (under Moses) until the Passover in which Jesus was crucified, a journey of 1480 years. To go through Pentecost was to learn the truth by being led by the Spirit, a journey of 40 Jubilee cycles (33 to 1993 A.D.). We are now in the transition into Tabernacles, extending for a thousand years, patterned after the Most Holy Place (10 x 10 x 10 cubits).

On a more personal level, all who claim to be Jesus’ disciples must walk their own journey, and in the next verses we find that it is about coming into oneness with the Father. That is the real journey that is pictured in Israel’s allegorical journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. Jesus’ ascension to the Father completed this oneness in Himself, but it also set the path by which all of us might one day come into full unity and reconciliation with our heavenly Father.

Knowing God

To be one with God, one must know Jesus Christ. John 14:7 says,

7 If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him and have seen Him.

How do we know God? The purpose of Christ’s coming to earth as a man was to reveal the nature and purpose of our heavenly Father. The heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1), and everything in creation reveals a portion of the Creator’s attributes (Rom. 1:20); but Jesus reveals the intimate relation of a Father and Son. To know the Son is to know the Father.

Philip now speaks up and presses Jesus further on this topic. John 14:8-10 says,

8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.”

If the disciples could scarcely comprehend the purpose of Christ’s coming, that He had come to manifest the glory of God, that He was the image of the Father duplicated in human flesh, how much more difficult is it for us today to understand this? Yet we have an advantage of time. Many have had revelation about this to share with the church over the centuries. In spite of this, however, Christians have failed to understand what Jesus was telling His disciples.

When we study the context of Jesus’ teaching and see how this is built upon Christ’s ascension to be one with His Father, we may then place ourselves in the shoes of the disciples and learn with them. Our journey is to the Father, and to know Jesus is “the way,” or the path toward knowing the Father and obtaining the promises of God in our “Promised Land.”

Many have missed this great truth, because they did not see Jesus’ ascension as the final step of His journey toward oneness between Father and Son. Most were too focused on using this passage as a proof text for the Trinity, or for the view that Jesus is actually the Father Himself, or perhaps some other view about the “Godhead.”

But when we look at the context of this passage and the entire Gospel of John, it is clear that Jesus was the mirror image of the Father and that His unity with the Father was a unity of nature and purpose, not a unity of Personhood. Father and Son are not presented as being the same Being but two Beings having the same mind and will.

Further, Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God expresses a subordinate relationship, based on the Fifth Commandment, “Honor your father.” To honor is to reverence and respect one’s father as the giver of life and as one’s elder. Jesus’ life and Being was derived from His Father “in the beginning” of universal history. Jesus pre-existed at the beginning—perhaps even before Time was created—but His existence was somehow secondary to the Father’s existence. Otherwise, the terms “Father” and “Son” lose meaning.

So Jesus told Philip that if he wanted to know the Father, he must know the Son, because the Father was “in” the Son. This truth is the essence of the Gospel of John, where the apostle sets forth eight miraculous signs by which the Son manifested the glory and the nature of the Father in the earth.

Since these eight signs also represent the eight days of Tabernacles, it is plain that this feast in particular is what we must fulfill to become the sons of God, so that we too may do the works of our heavenly Father. It is the feast by which we too become express images of our heavenly Father and thereby become one with Him.

The more we know Jesus, the more we know His Father. This knowledge is not mere head knowledge but is an intimate relationship. In Hebrew thought, “to know” implies an intimate relationship by which we produce offspring. Hence, “Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived” (Gen. 4:1, KJV). The NASB reads, “Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived.”

In other words, the sexual relationship was always meant to express a spiritual relationship of oneness, designed to bring the glory of God from heaven to earth. The marriage relationship of being “one flesh” (Gen. 2:24) was to be a mirror image of being “one spirit.”

If Adam and Eve had brought forth children prior to their sin, those children would have been true sons of God, and they would have truly fulfilled the Fruitfulness Mandate (Gen. 1:28). Unfortunately, their children were conceived after they had fallen into mortality and corruption, and so these were born in their own distorted image. Hence, another way was provided by which true sons of God might be conceived, born, and manifested in the earth (John 1:12, 13).

The path to sonship is thus set forth in the Scriptures and made clear in the New Testament. We are begotten through our ears by the hearing of the word, received by faith through Passover, nurtured by the leading of the Spirit through Pentecost, and finally brought to birth through the feast of Tabernacles.

Evidence of sonship is when we, like Jesus, do not speak on our own initiative but are Amen People, responding to our heavenly Father in all things. As we mature spiritually, we do this more and more, and the distortion in our Adamic nature is refined gradually throughout our journey along “the way” to the Promised Land.

Believing in Him

To believe (pisteu) is to have faith (pistis). To believe is to receive the seed of the word, allowing God to conceive a spiritual son within us. The disciples found it difficult to believe such a thing, for how could they believe what they did not even understand? Was blind faith sufficient? Could one be impregnated by the seed of the word without understanding? I think so, otherwise very few, if any, would become sons of God. Nonetheless, we are urged to gain understanding so that we can truly be of one mind and heart with our heavenly Father.

John 14:11 says,

11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.

Verse 11 shows that there is more than one level of faith. Some believe that Jesus is in the Father; those who are unable to believe this are to “believe because of the works themselves.” There are many who believe when they see the works of God demonstrated, even if they do not yet understand or believe that “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.” Hopefully, faith grows and changes with understanding. There is one path, one “way,” but not everyone has progressed to the same place on that path.

John 14:12 continues,

12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to the Father.

Those who have progressed into this higher form of faith—those who understand that not only Jesus but they themselves are in the Father—will do “greater works than these.” Such greater works seem to depend upon this higher form of faith, which is made possible by Jesus’ ascension “to the Father.”

As we will see later, it was necessary for Jesus to complete His journey to the Father in order to make the way for all of us to follow in His footsteps. John 14:13 says,

13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

This explains the “greater works” that the sons of God will do. Jesus says that the purpose of doing these “greater works” is “so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

This has a double meaning. On one level, when Jesus did His Father’s works, the Father was glorified in the Son. Yet on another level, when the sons of God do “greater works than these,” the Son is also glorified in those disciples.

Every good father wants his son to be greater than he was and to do greater works than he did. By making his father proud, the father is glorified by the works of his son. So it is also with Jesus Himself. Though He did the greatest work of all by paying for the sin of the world, yet insofar as His miraculous ministry was concerned, He restrained Himself so that we would be able to do greater works than even He did.

Why? So that the works of the sons of God would bring glory to the Son of God, and in turn, bring glory to His Father as well.

Walking in His Nature

John 14:14, 15 concludes,

14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. 15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Doing these greater works is not condition free. The context shows first that a greater level of faith is required, one that involves an understanding of sonship. Secondly, nothing should be done on one’s own initiative but only as a response to what we see our Father doing. This is restated as “keep My commandments.”

To believe in Him is to love Him. To love Him in a Pentecostal manner is to obey Him, because Pentecost is the celebration of the giving of the law. The purpose of Pentecost is to teach us obedience until we arrive at the point where obedience is swallowed up by agreement that comes through the feast of Tabernacles.

There are two ways to “keep My commandments.” The Old Covenant method is to subject one’s carnal will to the law of God and force it to be subject to the will of God. The New Covenant method is to have faith that God will fulfill His vow to make us obedient and to write His law in our hearts. When the law is written internally, we will no longer need to force our will to be obedient, for our will and God’s will have become one.

At that point, the Ten Commandments become the Ten Promises of God, and when God has fulfilled His promise in us, we do His works naturally. In fact, we would not even want to do anything else. We would have no desire to act upon our own initiative. We then will do the works of God by doing only what we see Him do.

This is what it means to do all things in His name. His name is His nature. To speak in His name is to speak according to His nature and do all things according to a single nature—His and our nature being the same. When we thus keep His commandments by nature, we may ask anything in His name (nature), and He will do it.