John chapter 17 - An impassioned prayer
In Heaven God sits on a throne surrounded by four beasts.
REVELATION 4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
REVELATION 4:6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
:7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
Each Gospel represents one of these beasts.
Matthew shows Christ as the Lion, King of the beasts. This is Jesus as King of the Jews.
Mark shows Jesus as the Ox, the suffering Servant.
These two Gospels present the King Who is the Servant.
Luke shows Christ as the ideal Man.
John's Gospel presents Jesus as the great Eagle, God Himself.
These two Gospels present the Man Who is God.
Thus John gives us an insight into how God thinks.
The focus of John is on the thoughts of God the Father that are expressed in His Word, Jesus, Who is the Son of God.
We express our thoughts by the words that we speak.
And God's focus is entirely on the Man Jesus Who fulfills the prophecies of Scripture.
Jesus as the Word of God is the express image of the thoughts and the Will of God.
HEBREWS 1:3 (Jesus) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power,
Real supernatural power comes from the Word of God.
Thus Jesus is the only Man that God fully trusted to perform God’s Will.
The Man Jesus was totally obedient to Scripture and the indwelling Spirit of God inside Him.
That is why Jesus is the only Man Who has God's glory.
This is similar to a car (symbolizing a man) being obedient to the driver (God) and following the route prescribed by the GPS (Bible). The car does not argue, it just responds to the control of the driver. The car does not decide on the path that it must follow. That path was decided long ago by the driver before the journey ever began. The driver does not have full control of the car unless the driver is inside the car.
From John we learn that anything outside of God's thoughts and His Word has no enduring substance as it is temporary and superficial.
Eternity is based on God's thoughts and His Plan coming alive as they are lived out by the lives of people who believe and obey God's Word.
This Chapter 17 has Christ praying for His disciples.
In the face of suffering they must not lose hope and confidence. They must not look at themselves. Thus they must focus on the Will of God and the fulfillment of Scripture which is the Word of God. They must realize that only Jesus can bring God's Will to pass.
The world is a testing ground in which we must not lose our complete faith in the Word of God. However turbulent the events, and however horrific the behaviour of people, God is still in control.
As disciples, we have to learn total faith in God’s Spirit and His Word (the Bible).
MATTHEW 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
We need to put God's Plan for His kingdom first and not be obsessed with our personal needs and wants.
Jesus was about to lose His Life but that did not worry Him. He was only concerned with obeying God's Plan of salvation.
The cross looks very much like the positive sign for addition (+).
So if we seek God's will at the foot of the cross, He will add to us what we need.
This is God's viewpoint and our secret for success.
But as church-goers we like to have certain Bible beliefs about getting saved by grace through faith, which is true. Then, sadly, we easily add in other unscriptural ideas such as church organization and traditions. And we are easily fooled into thinking that there are mistakes and contradictions in the Bible. Whatever you say about the Bible, you are saying about Jesus because He is the Word. And He is Perfect, the Absolute truth.
The fourth eagle beast has amazing eyesight which enables it to return to the insights that the lion had, which represents the true Word of God as written by the apostles.
If we seek to do and believe what God wants done in this last church age, then He will look after us just like an eagle bears its young on its wings.
DEUTERONOMY 32:11 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings:
:12 So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.
The young do not look after themselves. They are looked after by the parent eagle.
"The Lord alone did lead him". At the end the individual can only get guidance from the Spirit of God which reveals the Bible to the individual.
The church is no longer a trustworthy guide. There are 45000 different types of churches and denominations. There are over 100 different translations of the English Bible. So searching for truth in the churches is like walking through a bewildering swamp of opinions. Your church has, at best, one chance in 45000 chances of being right.
Sitting comfortably and complacently in your church is an open door to the Tribulation. Being saved from hell does not save you from the Tribulation. The foolish virgins in the parable of Matthew Chapter 25 were clean women, representing saved churches. Yet they missed the coming of the Lord. They had no oil which symbolizes the Holy Spirit baptism.
JOHN 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:
The evidence of the Holy Spirit baptism is that the Spirit of God can reveal all the Bible mysteries of our last church age to you.
We need this revelation in order to avoid church errors. So it was lack of knowledge of the Bible that doomed the foolish virgins.
They foolishly never searched the Scriptures while there was yet time.
Truth dies in darkness. Insufficient information causes people to just go with the church flow.
"No strange god" is involved when God leads.
On this point the churches fail us.
Christmas has its source in the Roman December pagan festival of Saturnalia and the Roman emperor Aurelian's declaration in 274 AD that 25 December was the birthday of the sun god. Jesus was not born in the freezing mid-winter of Palestine as shepherds were out with their sheep at night. Churches glibly contradict Scripture to establish a pagan custom.
The wise men saw a young Child in a house, not a baby in a manger.
MATTHEW 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother,
So presents were never brought to the birth of Jesus. Birthday presents is unscriptural. "Christmas" is unscriptural.
New year celebrations with it noisiness is a continuation of the pagan Roman new year festival of Brumalia where noise allegedly chased away the demons from the new year. The New Testament has no new year festival. The New Testament never asked us to celebrate the unknown birth date of Jesus. But over the centuries Paganism slyly infiltrated its way into the church.
One historian described the church as baptized paganism.
God never wanted His people to be mixed up in heathen customs and their celebration of annual events on a specific day of the month.
GALATIANS 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
:10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
:11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
25th day. December month. Christmas time. Every year.
The church elevates the Christmas festival as the main church function of the year. This festival includes everything that Paul condemned.
God's problem with the Jews was to try to get them to stay away from all the enticing and attractive heathen customs.
JEREMIAH 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
"The signs of heaven" are the signs of the Zodiac, the 12 groups of stars that the sun passes through each year.
We have these sun signs today as "Your Stars Foretell" or "The Horoscope". This pagan superstition is in almost every newspaper and magazine. Yet commonly read by many Christians on a regular basis. Ancient paganism still fascinates the modern world.
JEREMIAH 10:3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
And so Christians copied the "Christmas" tree from this heathen custom. As if God is impressed.
Not to mention Easter Eggs and Easter Rabbits as if they have anything to do with the Bible. But they also originate from the pagan Ishtar spring festival. The goddess who came down in an egg on the Euphrates river and hatched out. Rabbits, as prolific breeders, were the symbol of her spring festival orgy of new life.
God loves His Word. So if we love the Bible, then God loves us too.
But if we find fault with the Bible and add to the Bible, then God will find fault with us. So that is not a good idea.
All of Satan’s deception is unleashed at the end time just like all of Satan’s deception was unleashed against Jesus in the last day of His Life.
So in this Chapter, as Satan is about to pour out his hatred and corruption, Jesus prays for the protection of His disciples. Without God’s help, the disciples will not have the strength to withstand the Devil. Thus, what Jesus prays about for the disciples on that crucial day, applies also to us Christians at the end time. We face far more demonic hatred and deception than what we realize. Without God’s help we are equally doomed to be ensnared by the errors of the church.
Remember, in order to bring his plans to pass, Satan had to enter one of the leaders of the new church, the apostle Judas Iscariot.
Satan is most effective when he corrupts the church leadership.
Jesus is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending.
REVELATION 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
The first and the last church ages are His main priority.
The first age had the apostles writing down the truth in the Bible. They did this despite the frantic opposition of the Jews and the Roman Empire. So Satan decided on a new tactic, He would infiltrate and capture the church from within. Bible truths were mainly lost and replaced by man-made church traditions. Satan began slowly by elevating the church leaders until a man was in charge of each church.
REVELATION 2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
The laity are the congregation.
Church leaders set out to "conquer the laity" (Nicolaitans) by subjecting the congregation to their man-made commandments and opinions.
Paul spoke to the elders at Ephesus. The leadership of the church in Ephesus was always a group of men, not one man.
ACTS 20:17 And from Miletus he (Paul) sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
ACTS 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
1965 AN EXPOSITION OF THE SEVEN CHURCH AGES. CHAPTER 5.
You will recall that I brought out in the Ephesian Age that the word, Nicolaitane, comes from two Greek words: Nikao which means to conquer, and Lao which means the laity. Nicolaitane means, "to conquer the laity". Now why is this such a terrible thing? It is terrible because God has never placed His church in the hands of an elected leadership which moves with political mindedness. He has placed His church in the care of God-ordained, Spirit-filled, Word-living men who lead the people through feeding them the Word. He has not separated the people into classes so that the masses are led by a holy priesthood. It is true that the leadership must be holy, but then so must be the whole congregation. Further, there is no place in the Word where priests or ministers or such mediate between God and the people, nor is there a place where they are separated in their worship of the Lord. God wants all to love and serve Him together. Nicolaitanism destroys those precepts and instead separates the ministers from the people and makes the leaders overlords instead of servants.
Now this doctrine actually started as a deed in the first age. It appears that the problem lay in two words: 'elders' (presbyters) and 'overseers' (bishops). Though Scripture shows that there are several elders in each church, some began (Ignatius among them) to teach that the idea of a bishop was one of preeminence or authority and control over the elders.
Now the truth of the matter is the word 'elder' signifies who the person is, while the word 'bishop' signifies the office of the same man. The elder is the man. Bishop is the office of the man. 'Elder' always has and always will refer simply to a man's chronological age in the Lord. He is an elder, not because he is elected or ordained, etc., but because he IS OLDER. He is more seasoned, trained, not a novice, reliable because of experience and long standing proof of his Christian experience.
But no, the bishops did not stick to the epistles of Paul, but rather they went to Paul's account of the time he called the elders from Ephesus to Miletus in Acts 20. In verse 17 the record states, "elders" were called and then in verse 28 they are called overseers (bishops). And these bishops, (no doubt political minded and anxious for power) insisted that Paul had given the meaning that 'overseers' were more than the local elder with official capacity only in his own church. To them a bishop was now one with extended authority over many local leaders.
Bishops were elders and there were a group of elders or bishops in each city.
Slowly this changed to becoming one man as the bishop of the city. But this was not Scriptural.
PHILIPPIANS 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Peter also warned the church to be ruled by elders, not one man.
One man as the head is an efficient way to build an organization. But God never wanted the church to be organized by man as that produces denominations due to different human opinions. Pope, cardinal, archbishop, metropolitan, steeple, denomination, Lent, Ash Wednesday, monks, Lutherans, Methodists, and Baptists were just few of the unscriptural labels that men invented.
Once each church had a man as the head of each church it was just a matter of time before a bishop was in charge of a city. Then the Pope was in charge of all the western churches. Human opinions led the church into the Dark Ages where Bible truth almost died out.
The Reformation age and the missionary or holiness age saw a mixture of some restored Bible truth, (which was good) that sadly remained combined with clever Roman Catholic church errors like denominations, Trinity, and water baptism in three titles and so forth. Churches refused to let go of their traditional errors.
Traditional church errors (cold) were intertwined with revealed truth (hot) to produce a lukewarm church that makes God sick in the Laodicean church age.
REVELATION 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
In our age God vomits out the church. The only hope is for individuals who are prepared to be Scriptural in all that they believe.
Only in the last church age have individuals got a chance of returning to the actual beliefs of the first church age.
Thus the main responsibility of our last age is to recover the truth that the first church age once had. The end-time prophet William Branham came to reveal the mysteries of the Bible so that we should be able to prove our beliefs from Scripture.
REVELATION 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write;
REVELATION 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Jesus stands outside the seventh or last church. He appeals to an individual in the church.
The churches themselves offer tens of thousands of different opinions.
A woman symbolizes a church. The true church is the Bride of Christ.
Jesus summed up the state of the church at the end time by comparing it to ten virgins. Clean women. Saved churches. Some had oil which is a symbol of the Holy Ghost.
But here is the sad truth of the parable.
All the women were fast asleep.
That is the state of the end time church age. All the churches are unaware of what is going on because they are fast asleep. God is desperately trying to speak to individuals.
MATTHEW 25:5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
A strange feature of John’s Gospel is that he puts little emphasis on the supernatural.
Jesus fed the 5000, walked on water, turned water into wine, and healed a nobleman's son at a distance. He healed one partially paralysed man at the crowded pool of Bethesda and a blind man. Healing a blind individual is significant for the eagle age of Laodicea where the church is described as being blind. We need Jesus, the Word, to remove our churchianity blindness.
Then came the dramatic resurrection of Lazarus. This is significant for the last church age as that is when the resurrection occurs.
Each miracle is impressive but John mentions only these few.
John puts an emphasis on the times that Jesus healed individuals.
John, as the eagle, is trying to tell us that at the end time it is only the individuals who can be guided to the truth by Jesus. The church groups are no longer in the perfect will of God.
Church-goers have slowly as a group slid unawares into the permissive will of God. They can be saved from hell, live holy, and have gifts of the Spirit. But they are not concerned with the revealed truth of Scripture that alone can prepare us for the Coming of the Lord. And that is the only way to escape the oncoming Tribulation.
Compare John's Gospel to the Gospel of Mark which puts far more emphasis on the number of miracles that Jesus performed.
MARK 1:32 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.
:33 And all the city was gathered together at the door.
:34 And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.
In one night Jesus performed more miracles in Mark than what He did in all of John.
So John is warning us. The supernatural is amazing but believing the Word of God is critical.
Half way through John’s Gospel we get to the last week of Jesus’ life.
Here Jesus emphasizes that we must follow God's Will to the death. We must allow God's Spirit to inspire us so that we can be Scriptural in all that we believe.
The eagle-eye of the fourth beast sees that God wants to dwell in us and make us focus on understanding His revealed Word. We must understand the Word and obey. God only trusts Jesus. God cannot trust us unless the Spirit of Christ is in us and controlling us.
Matthew writes out 70% of his Gospel before getting to the last week.
Mark and Luke wrote about 80% of their Gospels before focusing on these final events.
So the first three Gospels emphasize the ministry of Christ before they get to Calvary.
John's Gospel quickly completes the ministry of Christ. Than almost half the Gospel deals with the final events that were so confusing that only Jesus knew what was going on. The disciples were out of their depth.
This is a warning to us. At the end of the seventh church age events are going to be very confusing. We will be out of our depth. We need to understand and follow what the Bible reveals about our age. The Bible, which is Jesus, is all that we can trust. He alone knows what is going on in our turbulent age.
Trump, whose behaviour defies our usual standards, became president of America against all the odds. Why? God needed a man to defy the Muslim world and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Other world leaders were scared to do this. So prophecy got fulfilled. That was the important issue that decided the 2016 American election.
John's Gospel emphasizes the trial and death of Jesus.
But Jesus had to die as a Man in order to take our sins on Him.
Men do not normally have supernatural help.
So Jesus went through the agony as a Man, without the help of His Father. Not only did the Father not help Him, but God the Father had to pour out His wrath against sin onto Jesus. God had to punish Jesus for our sins. And Satan and his demonic horde had freedom to pour out their hatred against Him. Waves of spiritual torment and wrath swept over Him on the cross. But when the waves subsided, the Rock of our Salvation still stood firm. No other human being would have had any hope to face all that excruciating agony and venomous loathing.
ISAIAH 53:12 ... because he hath poured out his soul unto death:
We can suffer torments in our minds, which are spirit. Jesus went beyond that to suffer agony in His soul.
So John is pointing out that we humans are helpless. Saving us from hell at Calvary and then saving us from the Tribulation in the last age depends entirely on what Jesus does. All the disciples, then and now, could only believe on Him and trust and follow His Word. If we follow a church, we have no hope of missing the Tribulation.
So Jesus had to obey God's Will and the prophecies of God's Word. He received no supernatural help at His trial and death, though He could have called for angelic help if He wanted to. Far from being helped supernaturally, He was actually beaten and whipped physically until His physical strength gave out as He dragged the cross. All He had left was His faith in God's Word.
Thus the Gospel of John puts little emphasis on the miracles performed by Jesus. The focus is on the Word of God. The Word of God is our Absolute. Miracles are used to attract attention to the Word. But the real substance of our faith comes from Scripture. Miracles are an exciting bonus.
Jesus was the perfect sin Offering because He believed in the Word and obeyed the Word completely. He mixed no pagan customs into His beliefs, just to keep friends, family, and other people happy.
Whatever happened, He concentrated on God’s Plan that was written out in Scripture.
When the sins of the world came on Him in Gethsemane, the indwelling God could no longer communicate with Him.
ISAIAH 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
God cannot look at sin.
So although God was in Jesus, God hid His face from Him and refused to talk or commune with Him.
This was probably the hardest anguish that Jesus had to bear.
We remember His death with "communion".
Our greatest prize is to have communion with God. The biggest loss to Jesus was to lose communion with the inner Spirit of God.
So Jesus, as a Man, kept His focus on the Word of God which expressed the thoughts of God. God could trust Jesus never to let the side down despite all the demonic hatred that was poured out against Him from the pit of hell.
Thus John does not emphasize the supernatural, amazing though that is. John emphasizes keeping and believing the Word of God which we can only do if the Spirit of God dwells within us.
Twice John’s Gospel is critical of people who require signs and wonders in order to believe.
JOHN 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
JOHN 4:48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.
If we never see a miracle but can believe on Jesus, we are blessed.
MATTHEW 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
What we believe comes out in our words. So if we believe the Word of God then we will be Scriptural in what we speak. Our justification comes from being Scriptural, not from producing the supernatural.
MATTHEW 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
Seeking a supernatural sign from God is wrong. We should be seeking an understanding of His revealed Word.
The performance of miracles by people is not proof that they are in the will of God.
MATTHEW 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
These people performed miracles in the name of Jesus. But God did not want them.
Jannes and Jambres performed three of the miracles of Moses, but they were devil inspired magicians.
Producing a miracle is no evidence of being right with God.
JOHN 11:51 And this spake he (Caiaphas) not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
:52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
Caiaphas who condemned Jesus to death also prophesied.
The disciples laid the foundation for the early church and we at the end, must build on that same foundation. We will know more details about the history of the church, but we must have the same basic beliefs as the early New Testament church.
The church is a spiritual structure built up out of the lives of God’s saints over 2000 years. Each church age has a certain portion of this spiritual blueprint that they must fit into.
I CORINTHIANS 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Thus Christ is praying for the disciples who laid the foundation, and also for us at the end time who have to be restored back to that foundation that was hidden by the rubble of human opinions and church traditions.
Christ was God in the flesh. His humanity is the mediator between mankind and the supernatural Spirit of God that lived in Him.
He knows God because He is God.
He also knows us because He lived as one of us for 33 tough years.
So He knows our problems and weaknesses.
COLOSSIANS 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Jesus was God made flesh.
JOHN 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Jesus was the supernatural Body that God lived in.
JOHN 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Jesus is the only perfect Man that God could trust Himself to live in.
Comparing a man to a car. Jesus was the only car that God could drive in and know that the car would never break down on a rough road.
The human Man Jesus, when He prayed, was praying to the supernatural Spirit within Him.
This was our perfect example.
JOHN 17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
Three lessons are to be learned from this verse.
The first lesson is that Jesus lifted up His eyes to Heaven.
The Plan and Purpose of Heaven and not the circumstances around us on earth is where we must focus our vision.
He was basically saying, “When the outlook is bad, try the uplook”
Let us look at the starting line of the most famous of prayers.
MATTHEW 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
The emphasis is on the kingdom of Heaven. This is mentioned first. The Kingdom of God will come one day and over-ride everything that man has done on earth.
What is done on earth, in order to be of value, must line up with what is done and planned in Heaven.
The second lesson is that there is only one Man who can be glorified on earth, Jesus Christ.
God has used great men to spread His truth but none of these men can compare with Jesus.
We must not glorify the great men that God has used. Only Jesus must be glorified.
Only Jesus is the Door to Heaven.
The third lesson is that the Man Jesus does everything to glorify the supernatural Spirit of God within Him.
The glory of Jesus was to willingly obey the Spirit of God as God drove Him to an awful death.
Jesus sought no earthly gain. He was prepared to lose everything in order to fulfill Scripture.
JOHN 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
Jesus has supreme power over all mankind.
He gives eternal life to all that God has chosen.
He is the Potter that shapes His chosen vessels out of soft, miry clay that can be moulded. We, as soft vessels, must be hardened in the fires of persecution and temptation. Thus Jesus also has full power over unbelievers, atheists, and enemies of truth. Their attacks and criticisms are the fiery coals that toughen us up. Every opposition planned by Satan is carefully controlled by Jesus in order to strengthen us. Mockers, scoffers, hardship, disaster, and violence, all play their role in reinforcing our faith. Satan uses opposition to try to destroy us but ends up making us stronger, because Jesus has “power over all flesh”, the good and the bad.
Satan killed 6 million Jews in the awful Holocaust during the second world war. He wanted to eliminate the Jews. But the Jew-hating world was so sickened that in a brief moment of guilt they voted in the United Nations to give the Jews a homeland in Palestine. So instead of being killed off, the Jews are now firmly established in Israel. Thus the Devil's brutal attack on the Jews actually established the Jews in their Promised Land.
Jesus has full power over the bad people.
He can turn their worst deeds into His Plan. In that sense, even the Devil unknowingly brings God’s will to pass.
Thus Christians can find peace in all circumstances.
ROMANS 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
If we love God then we want to fulfill His purpose.
So then we must not question the path that He leads us on.
We must not focus on gain.
I TIMOTHY 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Contentment is achieved just by the privilege of being given a part in God’s Plan.
Just to have a chance of doing something for Him. The security and sense of belonging that comes with being a part of something that is much bigger than ourselves.
JOHN 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Our only contact with the eternal Life of God’s Spirit is through Jesus Christ.
God lived inside Jesus. So if you wanted to get to God, you had to approach Jesus, Who was the Word of God. Thus we approach God through the Bible, which is Jesus in Word form, as the Bible expresses the thoughts of God. God sends out His thoughts by expressing them as His Word.
JOHN 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
Jesus always wanted to do God’s Will, never His own will.
He did all that the Scripture said He would do. That was His mission in life, to fulfill Scripture.
When a person does something Scriptural, that is then the main way to glorify God. So our biggest problem is to recognize God’s Will for our age so that we can fulfill what God wants done.
Staying in a church tradition is a trap to keep us from finding the right path.
JOHN 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
Jesus was the supernatural Body that the invisible God made for Himself so that He could create Heaven and be visible to the newly created angels who would worship Him.
JOHN 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time.
We can never see the Spirit of God.
ISAIAH 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another,
God will never give His glory to another person.
So Jesus has to be the visible Body that God dwells in.
God’s problem is that in order to come down to our level He has to have a Body to dwell in. We are not sufficiently spiritual to see God as a Spirit.
JOHN 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
Jesus is the only Man that God can trust to fully perform His Will. The rest of us, even when we try to serve God, get distracted by our own self-interest and faults. We are also limited by our ignorance.
Jesus was so self-disciplined in His desire to fulfill Scripture that He set the perfect example.
That is why Jesus alone can be the High Priest of the church.
I PETER 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
All Christians are priests and thus no Christian is above another. The only Person above any priest is the High Priest. The only Person above any Christian is Jesus.
Jesus had called the disciples to Himself but had been careful to choose those whom God had showed Him. Jesus trained the disciples which enabled the disciples to see that Scripture was being fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus. Thus the disciples were beginning to realize how important it was to base their beliefs on Scripture.
Pharisees and Sadducees were never part of the Old Testament Law. Thus the Jewish religion had been taken over by man-made leadership and traditions. The Jewish religion had got involved in politics. The High Priest Caiaphas was appointed in 18 AD by the Roman prefect Valerius Gratus in the place of Annas, when Gratus deposed Caiaphas’ father-in-law Annas. The next Roman prefect or procurator was Pontius Pilate who began ruling in 26 AD. Thus the High Priest had to submit to Roman policy.
In the Law of Moses, the High Priest was a descendant of Aaron who ruled until he died.
That is how far Jewish religious leaders had got away from Scripture.
We face the same problem today as Jesus stands outside the Laodicean church. The unscriptural “Christmas” on the unbiblical date of 25 December is just further proof of the church being led away from the Bible by church leaders.
But God wanted to use Matthew, John, James, and Peter, to write part of the New Testament. Thus they were taught the need to believe in all Scripture as being inspired of God.
PROVERBS 30:5 Every word of God is pure:
Nobody who believed that the Scriptures had mistakes, or contradictions, or irrelevant details, would be fit to write the New Testament.
Keeping God’s Word was to be the foundation of the New Testament.
Human opinions and man-made beliefs would be the source of endless error.
JOHN 17:7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
The disciples had come to realize that everything about Jesus came from God. God was the Spirit inside Jesus that motivated, and empowered Him, and inspired His speech.
JOHN 17:8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
Here Jesus puts the main emphasis on the words which He spoke, rather than the supernatural that He performed.
God sits on a throne of unimaginably deep thought which He expresses as His Word so that we can begin to understand His thinking. The Word of God is the expression of the Will of God.
A Will is a Testament.
The Writer of the Old Testament was about to die. Thus a New Testament was to be written and spread world-wide. This great responsibility would rest on the disciples.
The supernatural was to attract attention and vindicate the ministry of Jesus. But the Word that He spoke was the revelation of God’s actual thinking and proof that He was God’s mouthpiece.
Jesus wanted the disciples to convey His words and God’s thoughts to the early church.
JOHN 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
Jesus prayed for the disciples, not for the world. We can see a separation occurring here.
Some people will come out of the world and believe the Scriptures. These are the special souls that God has chosen. God will inspire these people to believe but the rest of the world will rush on in ignorance of God’s Will.
JOHN 17:10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
Jesus knew that it was the supernatural Spirit of God within Him that attracted the disciples. But the supernatural Spirit of God the Father was also manifest in the behavior and beliefs of the Son of God, the human Man Jesus.
Father and Son were one and the same Person.
You as a person are everything that is within you.
Because God was in Jesus, thus Jesus was God.
I TIMOTHY 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit,
God was the invisible Spirit that was made manifest by the behaviour and the words of Jesus.
Jesus would be glorified in the faith that His disciples had in Him.
JOHN 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
Jesus was about to die and leave this world. After His resurrection He would ascend to Heaven.
God the Father had taken on the human name of Jesus. Thus the name of Jesus would be the most powerful name that would be available to the future church.
The enemy would deceive the future church into believing that “the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”, is a name.
To call three Titles a name is obviously wrong.
“Trinity” is an unscriptural word. Three Persons cannot have one name, especially as the Holy Ghost is never given a name in Scripture.
Thus the Trinity God has got no name.
“Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me”.
The human name of God the Father is Jesus. Faith in this human name of Jesus is what would keep the Christians through all the difficulties of the church ages.
“that they may be one, as we are”.
Jesus was one with God because the Spirit of God dwelt in Him. This made Jesus and God One-and-the-same Person.
Thus the only way that Christians can be one is for each Christian to have a portion of the Spirit of God dwelling within each person. Then each born again person is a part of God. Then that portion of God’s Spirit that is in a person will guide that person into all truth. This revelation of truth will bring believers together.
JOHN 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:
The evidence of the Holy Ghost baptism is the ability of a person to be guided into all truth.
In addition, the humanity of Christ’s Spirit will make each believer into the true person that God intended for them to be. As each person finds their place in God’s Body or church, thus they will all be drawn together as members of the same Body.
JOHN 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
Jesus chose the disciples as God’s Spirit gave Him the leading to do so. At the end of His ministry all the disciples were still with Him. This shows the power of Jesus to choose, to train, to instruct, and to keep His disciples. Thus we can all respond to the call of Jesus in our lives, knowing that He can keep us safe despite all the turbulence of world events.
He chose Judas knowing that he would betray the Word for money. A warning to our modern church about the money-making frenzy of Christmas. We were never asked to celebrate the birth of the Lord. Birthdays were never celebrated by Christians in the early church. Only Herod and Pharaoh, two murderers, celebrated their birthdays in the Bible. Birthday celebration was a pagan custom.
Money makes us forsake Scripture, just like Judas.
But the Scripture to the Laodicean church in Revelation Chapter 3 said that Jesus stands outside the church door and knocks. So church-goers indulge in a mania for what is not Scriptural, just to prove this prophecy is correct.
JOHN 17:13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
Jesus again shows how God’s thinking is different to ours. He is about to die the most gruesome of deaths and yet His joy is fulfilled because that is what God’s Word requires of Him. To Jesus, events were not happy or sad in themselves, otherwise life would be dominated by emotions. Jesus was only full of joy when Scripture was being fulfilled.
JOHN 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
The key thing is that Jesus had given the disciples His Word. Anyone who is Scriptural is hated by the world. So to be Scriptural is the only way that we can be sure that we are not of this world. The Bible is the authority of God and must rule us. The world wants to run their own lives and thus hates what the Bible says.
The Word of God thus separates between God’s people and the rest of the world. Similarly, there is light and darkness in nature. Light and darkness cannot mix as light destroys darkness. Thus darkness hates the light as darkness can only survive in an absence of light.
JOHN 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
Jesus knows that the disciples have to spread the Gospel in the world. That way light can spread.
So He does not want the disciples to be taken out of the world that will seek to destroy them. They have to be in the world but also need to be protected by God. So God must protect His people from evil in this sinful world. God thus limits the amount of evil that sin can do against the righteous. Like the sea rolling up against the sea shore, the sea can only go so far and then it has to recede. So the evil that men do can only do so much damage, then God restrains the spread of evil.
JOHN 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
The disciples no longer belong to this world as they now desire to follow Scripture, just like Jesus dedicated His life to fulfilling Scripture. Once you focus on the Bible as being the Absolute truth then you are no longer of this world.
JOHN 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
If we believe and obey all Scripture then we are cleansed from our sin and unbelief by the truth. The King James Bible, which is the Word of God, is truth. Every written Word.
JOHN 17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
God was living in Jesus when Jesus was sent on His mission.
So a portion of the Spirit of Christ must dwell in each believer before Christ sends them out into the world.
Christ wants to guide, control, and illuminate, each individual Himself.
JOHN 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
To set the example and pay the price for sin, Jesus sanctified Himself by strictly fulfilling all the Scriptures that spoke of Him. Jesus was careful to believe all the Scriptures because they expressed the thoughts of God. Only by believing and obeying all the Scriptures can we be sanctified. Our most important mission in life is to seek out God’s Will for our day so that we can fit into His Plan. The churches set up a routine and traditions and then just keep on believing their man-made beliefs. They cannot grasp that God is changing direction as the Word of God gets revealed.
The only way to be cleansed from unbelief is to believe the revealed Word for our day.
JOHN 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
This is a very important verse.
Jesus has the disciples as His key group who will write and then spread the Word of God. Jesus knew that He would appoint Saint Paul to replace Judas Iscariot. Paul would play a huge role in writing and spreading the new Testament faith.
But everything that Jesus prayed for that involved the disciples would also involve all the Christians as well.
We can only believe on God through the written Word of the these disciples who became better known as apostles.
So the apostles became the spiritual fathers of the early church as they had to teach all the believers.
Thus the apostles are also our spiritual fathers as we can only learn about God from what they wrote.
JOHN 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Jesus was in the Word of God by living His life to believe and fulfill the Scriptures. Jesus was in the Will of God because He understood which Scriptures applied to His day. The fullness of the Spirit of God lived bodily in Jesus. Thus the Spirit of the Father was in Jesus and Jesus was fully in the Word and Will of God. Thus the Father and the Son were one Person, with the humanity of Christ being completely subject to the supernatural Spirit that indwelt Him.
That is our model. We must believe the Word of God and fulfill the Word for our day to be in the Will of God. Then alone can we be one with God when we allow a portion of His Spirit to dwell within us. God’s Spirit then not only guides us and teaches us but also makes us into the men and women that God wants us to be. Being one with God means part of God lives inside us and controls us.
The final proof to the world that God sent Jesus is not just the perfection of His life, but also His ability to change us sinners into saints.
JOHN 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
The only glory that a Christian can have is to have Christ living within the person.
Christ is the only Person Who has the glory of God.
If our lives reflect the indwelling Christ to others, that is the only glory we can ever have. The fact that God used us in some way for His own glory.
A donkey cannot glory in itself. A horse is faster and a mule is stronger. But the donkey can glory in the fact that Jesus once rode on it.
To be one with Christ, we must die to self so that only Jesus is alive within us.
His Spirit provides the new humanity that He wants from us.
He wants to be in full control of our lives, just like the Spirit of God was in full control of His life.
I CORINTHIANS 15:31 … I die daily.
The humanity of the Spirit of Christ wants to kill our old human nature and then shape us and make us as humans into His image.
COLOSSIANS 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Only with Christ dwelling in us can we be one with Christ.
JOHN 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
The secret of success. The supernatural God inside the Man Jesus. Then by means of the Holy Ghost baptism a portion of the Spirit of Christ, with both supernatural and human attributes, comes into the hearts of the believers. The humanity of Jesus is the only way whereby we humans can be bonded to the supernatural God.
The human portion of Christ’s Spirit replaces our old human nature and makes us into a new human creation, fit for God to dwell in.
Then we are one with the supernatural God as He lives in us and controls us. God sent Christ to make us into the image of Jesus. Then God will love us in the same way that he loved Jesus.
JOHN 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
Jesus was the supernatural Body that God dwelt in right at the beginning. God first made this Body for Himself. Then he created the angels and Heaven as a place for the angels to dwell in. That was long before God began to create the world. But in that supernatural Body that God made for Himself there were human attributes. God loved this first created Body that He lived in. Our human attributes were in the mind of Jesus long before He created the earth.
God said to Job:
JOB 38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?
:7 and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
The sons of God were God’s saints from the Old and New Testament.
We were all somehow in the Spirit of God way back then, although we do not remember. Yet somehow we cheered when we saw the earth, our future home, being created.
Levi, the great grandson of Abraham, was just a speck in the loins of Abraham and yet he somehow agreed with Abraham paying tithes to Melchizadek. Generations later, Levi became the collector of Jewish tithes.
HEBREWS 7:9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
:10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.
Those of us who were in the mind of God at the beginning, were somehow in some complex manner, able to respond to the actions of God. Thus when the Word of God is revealed to us in our age today, we are able to respond to the revealed Word and believe what God is doing in our day. Christ’s Spirit in us makes us part of the Body of Christ which has been built up over 2000 years during the seven church ages.
PSALM 42:7 Deep calleth unto deep
There is a deep desire in the saints of God to respond to the deep revelations of God's Word.
The disciples were going to lay the foundation for the first church age. They were like a seed that was planted. We are the last age where the germinating seed in the Reformation, which had been buried in the dirt of the Dark Ages, finally produces a seed that is identical to the first age planted seed.
MATTHEW 17:11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
Elias is the Greek for Elijah the prophet. William Branham, the end time Gentile prophet, has to restore us back to the beliefs of the first church.
He came to restore us to the Bible, not to replace the Bible with his quotes.
JOHN 17:25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
God is invisible and works in mysterious, hidden ways. The world cannot see God at all.
The world cannot know the invisible God.
But Jesus as a Man knew Who dwelt within Him. The life of Jesus had convinced the disciples that God controlled Him. Now these same disciples would convince people in the world that Jesus controlled them.
The whole success of Christianity boils down to believing the Bible and allowing God to have complete control over every persons’ life.
God wants to reshape each individual and make them into the person that God wants them to be.
JOHN 17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
The human name of God is Jesus. God has His deep thoughts which He expresses in His Word. So God loves His Word (which is Jesus) because His Word tells us about what God is thinking.
God wants us humans to love His thinking. God is looking for people who regard the King James Version of the Bible as their Absolute and are prepared to believe every word that is written in the Bible. In the same way that you believe the words of someone that you really trust. If we find any fault, or mistake, or contradiction, or irrelevant portion in the Bible then we have found a fault, or mistake, or contradiction, or some irrelevance in Jesus.
Then we do not really love Him.
To love Jesus, the way God loves Jesus, we have to regard Him and the Bible as perfect.
We have to love the Bible in the same way that we claim to love Jesus, with all our hearts and not believing that there are any faults in Him.
The Spirit of Christ in us loves the Bible and endlessly seeks to get a deeper understanding of Scripture.
We want to know the deeper mysteries of the Bible. We want to be taught.
REVELATION 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished,
The seventh angel or messenger preaches to the seventh or last church of the Laodiceans.
Thus much of the Bible, that was previously a mystery, will be made known at the end time.