NOTE TO THOSE SEEING THIS STUDY ON THE WEB SITE:
Our aim is to regularly post a new lesson on the first part of each month. So if you wish to follow this course of study, please check regularly each month. If no new lesson appears at the beginning of a particular month, it indicates that we were unable to get it ready in time. In such a case, please check for it after the first of the following month. Your questions or comments are welcomed and will be responded to as much as possible.
PATHWAY OF LIGHT STUDY COURSE
by R. W. Young
“But the path of the just is as a shining light that shines more and more unto the perfect day.” (Prov. 4:18)
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of Yahweh; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13)
LESSON 165, 1 John 5
We now continue, and conclude, our study of this great little book of 1 John. Verse 5 ended with, “Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Yahshua is the Son of Yahweh?” We continue from there.
Verses 6-12 This is he that came by water and blood, even Yahshua Messiah; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. (7) For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (8) And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (9) If we receive the witness of men, the witness of Elohim is greater: for this is the witness of Elohim which he hath testified of his Son. (10) He that believes on the Son of Yahweh hath the witness in himself: he that believes not Yahweh hath made him a liar; because he believes not the record that Yahweh gave of his Son. (11) And this is the record, that Yahweh hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (12) He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
There are a variety of opinions by notable bible scholars as to what the apostle John meant when he said Yahshua came “by water and blood”. Some such as Augustine said John was referring to the blood and water which flowed out when the Roman soldier thrust a spear into His side on the cross (or torture stake). A number of others take it to refer to the “sacraments” of water baptism and the Master’s Supper. Tertullian, Lange, Neander, Erdmann, Weiss, and many others take it to refer to Yahshua’s baptism by John the Baptizer and His death for our sins. Several others take “by water” to refer to the baptism appointed by Messiah (believer’s baptism, I assume they mean) and “blood” to to refer to the death of Messiah (blood). The various commentators make different combinations of these various ideas.
I believe those are right who say that when John said Yahshua came by water he was referring to His baptism by John the baptizer, and that His coming by blood was referring to His shedding His blood on the stake at Calvary. He came into His public ministry, and began His mission on earth at the time when the Holy Spirit came on Him at His baptism in water by John. The final fulfillment of His ministry on earth was His death on Calvary when He shed His blood and declared with a load voice, “It is finished” (Greek teleo, “completed”, “accomplished”) as we read in John 19:30.
In other words, Messiah’s entire mission on earth began at His baptism by John and was completed when He died to pay for our sins. His work was finished at Calvary. This brought Him to the resurrection by which He came in His humanity back into the glory – the divine life – that He had with the Father (with Yahweh Elohim) before He was made flesh.
Even though from all eternity past He was born out of the Infinite One as the Word or Expression of Yahweh (John 1:1) just as the rays of the sun have been born out of the sun ever since it came into existence, and even though He was the only begotten Son of Yahweh by being born into humanity by the Holy Spirit in the virgin womb of His mother Miriam, yet Acts 13:33 says He became the Son of Yahweh in His resurrection. Acts 13:33 says, “Yahweh hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Yahshua again; as it is also written in the second psalm, ‘Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.”
In His resurrection the man Yahshua was born into the life of Elohim (“God”). His flesh and bone took on spirit life after His human, blood life was gone. As we read in 1 Corinthians 15:45, “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening (or “life giving”) spirit.”
Thus by His ministry on earth (which began at His baptism and was concluded with, and completed by, His death for our sins) the man Yahshua came into His new, born again, life –the Eternal Life – the life of Yahweh. As John said, He came “ by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.”
The Holy Spirit bore witness to Him at Yahshua’s baptism when the Holy Spirit descended on Him. We read in John 1:32-34, “And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of Elohim.” John bore witness indeed, but at the same time it was really the witness of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit also bore witness by raising Him up from the dead. (Rom 8:11)
Also the Holy Spirit bears witness to us so that we have the witness in our hearts as John the apostle says in verse 10 of this chapter. Paul also writes to that effect in Romans 8:16, which says, “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
But first, the apostle John says, in verse 8, “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”
Verse 7 is generally not considered as being in the original scriptures, but is considered to have been added by some copier in the margin (which is why I put it in italics). However, I wonder about this, for I wonder why he says “And there are three that bear witness” and adds the words “in earth” instead of just saying “there are three that bear witness” when he names the three: as the Spirit, water and blood.
Whether that verse (7) was in the originals or not I could argue that what it says is true according to other scriptures. The Father, the Word (which is Yahshua) and the Holy Spirit are indeed in heaven. And that the three are one is also very clear from the scripture. John 1:1 says “the Word was with Elohim and the Word was Elohim”, and yet the Bible clearly states that Elohim is one.
However you understand that oneness, it still says “There is one Elohim...” (1 Tim. 2:5), which is all that the questioned verse 7 says.
Also, the Holy Spirit is called “the Spirit of Elohim”, and 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of Yahweh is, there is liberty.” (KJV) Kurios in the Greek, translated “the Lord” in the KJV should either be read as “Yahweh” , or “the Master”. So these, and many other scriptures I could bring in, do show that the Father (Yahweh Elohim) and the Word (Yahshua as the Word made flesh and now seated in heaven), and the Spirit, called the Spirit of Yahweh (1 John 4:2, et. al.) and the Spirit of Messiah (1 Pet 1:11) are one, however you understand that oneness, which would also be true of John’s statement in verse 7 if he did write it.
That is where we will just have to leave it for now. All I am saying is that the statement made in verse 7 is true whether it was in the original scripture or not. This is a subject I have somewhat addressed before and probably will again. So now let’s move on.
The three that bear witness “on earth” are “the Spirit and the water and the blood.” Then, it says ‘these three agree in one”. This can also be translated (maybe even better) “the three are one” (as translated in the Douay-Rheims translation and by Tyndale and Wycliffe). Yet it does mean that they are one in the sense of agreeing together. We see that the Holy Spirit was involved in all aspects of Yahshua’s life and ministry including the water (His baptism that began His earthly ministry) and the blood (that was the final purpose of, and conclusion of, His earthly ministry), so that the three are all in harmony or agreement.
So John goes on with an allusion to the teaching in the law that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (as rendered by Yahshua in Matt 18:16) by saying that if we receive the witness of men, the witness of Yahweh is greater.
The witness he is referring to is Yahweh’s witness to His Son, which was orally given at His baptism, given constantly by His miracles that He did in Yahweh’s name, and finally given by His resurrection from the dead.
If we believe in His Son we also have the witness in ourselves. Those who don’t believe Yahshua make, or “call”, Yahweh a liar by not accepting the record He has given of His Son. This record is found in the prophets, and in the spoken and written word of the eye witnesses to Yahshua’s life and resurrection from the dead. It is witnessed to, as John tells us, by the Spirit, water and blood.
What is that record? It is that “Yahweh has given to us Eternal Life, and this life is in His Son.” Then, John tells us that if we have the Son, Yahshua the Messiah, we have life – Eternal Life. But if we don’t have the Son of Yahweh we don’t have life. As other scriptures point out, we are, then, still dead in sins and trespasses.
VERSE 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
This brings us to the verse that we considered in the beginning of our study of this letter in order to highlight the things John was referring to as the proofs of our being true believers and, therefore, possessors of Eternal Life. All through the book we have seen those evidences.
To use this verse by itself to assure someone that if only you believe you, therefore, have Eternal Life, as I used to be taught in the Baptist Church, and is taught in other fundamentalist churches can be deceitful. It leads people to think that just because they have a mental persuasion of the facts of the gospel and agree that they accept or believe in the Savior they have eternal life.
We used to ask a person, “Do you believe in Jesus?” If they said, “Yes”, then, we said, well it says right here to those that believe that they have eternal life.
But, as pointed out in the beginning of our study, John was in effect saying he had written to them to show them the proofs or evidence that you are a true believer in the Bible sense of that term. If you find “these things” in your life, then, you are a true believer and, therefore, do have Eternal Life. If they are not true in your life, then, you are not true believer and ,therefore, do not have eternal life.
VERSES 14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hears us: (15) And if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
If we fit the picture of a true believer, then, we know that Yahweh hears us and will answer our prayers. But of course those prayers must be according to His will and be prayed as the Bible teaches with earnestness and persistence of faith.
VERSES 16-19 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin
unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. (17) All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. (18) We know that whosoever is born of God sins not; but he that is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one touches him not. (19) And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
This is an amazing thing that we can actually pray for a fellow believer whom we see committing sin and will, thereby, be giving life to such. (But that is only if it is a sin that is not sin unto death.) This seems to be in keeping with our functioning as priests, as mentioned in 1Pe 2:9: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood ....”.
James 5:20 says, “Let him know, that he which converts the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” So, perhaps, praying for the brother or sister whom we see sinning also implies that we need to, then, warn him or her and seek to bring about that person’s repentance of the sin being committed.
In any case it is necessary that our prayers somehow bring about the repentance of that person for whom we pray, for Yahweh will not forgive those who are willfully sinning, as Hebrew 10:26 states. However, there are sins of ignorance, as stated in the Law of Moses, and, in whatever way it works, the promise is that when we pray for a fellow believer whom we see sinning a sin not unto death we will, thereby, be giving life to that fellow believer.
But notice this is not a suggestion that we thus pray. It does not say “If” we pray we will give life to that fellow believer. It says “If” we see the brother sinning a sin not unto death, then, we “shall ask”. This is more of a command than a mere suggestion that is optional. It is telling us to ask.
John points out that “all unrighteousness is sin”. That is to say, anything that is not right to do is sin. James 3:2 tells us, “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” In other words we all offend (Greek ptaio “trip up, err, sin, fail”); we all miss the mark in many things. We certainly need one another’s prayers.
But John says there is “a sin” unto death. He says, “I do not say you should pray for it.” He does not say “There are sins unto death”. He is not talking about a certain category of sins that are called “mortal sins”, but about some specific sin that it is useless to pray about. In other words, “it” is a specific sin, a very serious sin, which it appears there no remedy or forgiveness. What sin is it? What is the sin unto death?
There are two places that refer to a sin that there is either no forgiveness for, or no possibility of repentance for. In Matthew 12:30-32 Yahshua says, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathers not with me scatters abroad. Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”
Yahshua was talking to men who saw His miracle working power, such as casting out devils by His word, and yet so hardened their hearts that, instead of acknowledging that He was the Messiah and repenting of their sins, they set their hearts against Him and accused Him of doing His miracles by the power of Satan.
Also, in Hebrews 6:4-6 we read, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, And have tasted the good word of Yahweh, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of Yahweh afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
This is not talking about the ordinary backslider who gets gradually, caught up in sin so as to temporarily start walking in a sinful, worldly life. Such can repent and get restored, even as Yahweh said to Israel, in Jer 3:22, “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art Yahweh our Elohim.” Rather it is talking about the person who had so advanced with Yahshua into a completely full salvation, wherein they experienced the fullness of Holy Spirit, but then at some point made a decision to turn back and stop following Him. (I personally knew such a person.)
In the first instance mentioned in Matthew 12:30-32, that of the religious leaders of Israel who rejected the Messiah and spoke against the Holy Spirit, this kept them from entering into His salvation and eternal life. In the situation mentioned in Hebrew 6:4-6 it is talking about those who were by all appearances true followers of Yahshua, therefore, our brethren, but who turned away from Him, in other words, became apostates. In both cases the end result was the rejection of Yahshua as the Messiah and as Savior.
They are the ones of whom John says he does say you should pray for them. Such prayers would not bring life to them, because, “it is impossible to bring them to repentance”. They have crucified “ to themselves the Son of Yah afresh, and put him to an open shame” or have just hardened their hearts against Him.
VERSES 20-21 And we know that the Son of Yahweh is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in his Son Yahshua Messiah. This is the true Elohim, and eternal life. (21) Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
Rather than being as the anti-messiah’s about whom John previously wrote, “We know that the Son of Yahweh is come.” And we know that He has given us an understanding in order that, through Him, we may know Yahweh the true Elohim.” We know Yahweh, and may come to further know Him, the true Elohim, through His Son and through Him alone.
As Yahshua said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) And again we read in Matthew 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”
Now, in his concluding remarks John makes it clear the relationship between Yahweh, who is the Heavenly Father and the One and only Elohim, and the Son, who is “the image of the invisible Elohim”(Col 1:15) and “in whom dwells the fullness of Elohim bodily” (Col2:9), go together. You can’t have one without the other.
He says, “ we are in Him that is true, even in his Son Yahshua Messiah.” By being in Yahshua the Messiah we are in Elohim, for, as quoted, He is the fullness of Elohim dwelling bodily”.
Then John says, “This is the true Elohim, and eternal life.” The Greek word translated “This” in the KJV, means “This one”. It refers back to “Yahshua the Messiah” as the antecedent of the pronoun “this”. So John is saying “This one”, “Yahshua the Messiah” is the true Elohim and eternal life.
John began his book by saying, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us. (1 John 1:1-2) In other words here in the beginning of writing his book John declares the Yahshua is the eternal life.
So also in the end of his writing he makes the same declaration. He says we are in “Him that is true even in His Son Yahshua Messiah” and, then, adds, “This is the true Elohim and Eternal Life”, as many translations such as YLT(Young’s Literal Translation) DLNT, LEB, MOUNCE, NET and TLV all translate it, and as all the others gives its meaning.
Then, John adds, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” Any worship aside from the worship of Yahweh in and through His only begotten Son, Yahshua Messiah, is idolatry. Thus John concludes his writing by saying, “We are in Him that is true, even in his Son Yahshua Messiah. This One is the true Elohim, and Eternal Life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”