First Born -Jesus  The Word and read JOHN-3-16--Bible Publishers are removing the words only begotten

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The Greek word logos is often rightly translated as word. However, logos implies an even greater meaning than that: The expression of a thought. So, when John called Jesus 'the Word,' he was really saying that Jesus is the complete expression of God's thoughts.

People have often wondered why John used the unusual wording in John 1:1 to start this book, which was his literary masterpiece. Yet, if you closely examine the exact wording (especially in Greek), you'll see that he was obviously explaining Genesis 1:1-3. For, notice how that scripture reads, 'In the beginning, The God created the skies and the lands. But the land was unsightly and unfinished, darkness covered its abysses, and God's Breath moved over its waters. Then God spoke (gr. eipen), saying, May there be light, and light came to be.'

As you can see; God spoke, and the things came into existence by means of some unnamed person or force.

Now, follow John's opening words (at John 1:1-4) and notice how they dovetail with and explain Genesis 1:1-3: 'In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with The God (gr. Ho Theos) and the Word was a powerful one (gr. theon). This one was with The God in the beginning, and through him it all came to be… life came to be, and this life was the light of all men.'

As you can see, the account in Genesis says that God spoke things into existence, and John is explaining what God said (what the 'Word' was). In other words, God 'spoke' and the 'Word' (Jesus in his pre-human existence) did the work.

So, if John 1:1 appears to support the idea of a trinity to some, this is unintentional. John was simply trying to impress on his readers that; Although Jesus isn't mentioned in Genesis 1:1, he was there with God and was himself a powerful god who actually did the work, when God 'spoke' the heavens and earth into existence.

Then, are we to conclude from John's writing here that Jesus' heavenly name is ton Logos (the Word or Expression of a thought)? No! Recognize that John was just employing an inspired play on words to draw attention to the phrasing of Genesis 1:1. Jesus' pre-human name could likely have been MichaEl, which means: Who is Like God (not a question but a statement). And John called him 'the Word' in order to point out Jesus' most ancient high position as a co-worker with God, who created whatever things God spoke.

Does this mean that Jesus existed before the creation of our universe? Yes, that is what is implied. For more information, see the linked document, Does the Bible Promise Everlasting Life?

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Is Jesus God?

The simple answer is yes… if you understand what the word god means. This idea may be a bit difficult to grasp for those of us who were raised in a monotheistic society where God refers to just One. However, remember that the Greeks (whose language we are translating) were a polytheistic society (they worshiped many gods), and to them the word theos (or theon) referred to a large group of individuals who were simply more powerful than men. So, theos just meant a powerful one, not the Creator (which is what the Hebrew name Jehovah implies –He who causes to be).

To prove that translating the word theos as powerful is correct, notice how the Bible speaks of other (unfaithful) messengers of God as gods at Psalm 82:6 (which scripture Jesus also quotes at John 10:34-36), where it says, 'I said, You are gods; of the Most High you're sons!'

Also, notice that at Exodus 7:1, God told Moses, 'Look! I've made you a god to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron is your Prophet.'

So, the terms god and gods just refer to the powerful. And even men can be gods… that is, in the truest sense of the word's meaning (powerful ones). Thus, a word-for-word literal translation of John 1:1 can read, 'In the beginning was the Word; and the Word was towardthe Powerful One; and powerful was the Word.'

Then, why did we use the term God rather than Powerful One at John 1:1 to describe The God? We've left the first term (God) in place, because that's what people call the Divine One today.

So, is the Logos The God or just god (powerful)? From the context of John 1:1, it appears as though Jesus (the Logos) is theos – powerful – but not The God (gr. ton theon). For, notice that Jesus described himself as simply God's son (gr. Uios tou Theou eimi) at John 10:36.

Also notice that at John 1:1 the words Logos (λογος) and Theon (θεον) are both preceded by the definite article the (ο λογος and τον θεον), except in the case where the Logos is referred to simply as theos (θεος). By employing such wording, John was obviously differentiating Jesus from The God. You can clearly see the differences in the words when you read John 1:1, 2 in Greek: ' αρχη ην ο λογος, και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον, και θεος ην ο λογος. Oυτος ην εν αρχη προς τον θεον.'

That the early Christians didn't view Jesus as The God is supported by the fact that Christians still worshiped at the Temple of Jehovah in JeruSalem until shortly before it was destroyed in 70-C.E. (see Acts 3:1-3). This is because Christian Jews didn't consider Christianity to be a new religion with a new god (Jesus), but rather, that it was the natural outgrowth of the old, and Jesus was the promised 'Messiah' or 'Anointed One of God' who was to assume 'the throne of David his father.'

For more information, see the document, Who Was Jesus?

To see how Jesus was described at John 1:1 in the most ancient Coptic texts, see the linkhttp://depts.washington.edu/cartah/text_archive/coptic/coptjohn.shtml.

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Age, Eternal, Perpetual, Everlasting, Immortal, or Forever?

Two words imply infinite states in the Bible; one is the Greek word athanasia (undying), which is only found in two places, 1 Corinthians 15:53, where it mentions resurrected ones as clothing themselves with immortality, and at 1 Timothy 6:16, where Paul speaks of Jesus alone as having it. The other Greek word is aidios, which is used at Romans 1:20 to describe God's Power and Might as eternal, and at Jude 6when speaking of the perpetual state of gloomy darkness that rebellious angels have been confined to.

However, the Greek word aionos, which is used throughout the Bible in various conjugated forms and is often translated as eternal andforever, is what the English word eon is derived from. It means an indefinite period, and there is no exact English word to translate it. The best equivalents are age or era.

Where the singular form (aionos) is used, this appears to mean a period such as a lifetime, generation, or era. And where the plural form of the word (aiōnōn) is used, it refers to a longer time… at least multiple generations. Also, where the term ages of the ages is used (such as atEphesians 3:21

), which is usually said in reference to The God, we would assume that this truly means forever.

It is noteworthy that aionos is the word that is used in the Greek Septuagint in place of the Hebrew word ohlam, which is also translated asforever and time indefinite in popular versions of the Ancient Scriptures of IsraEl. So, this one word (aionos) is translated as forever, everlasting, eternal, system of things, time indefinite, [end of] the world, long ago, from of old, etc. Obviously, something is very wrong here, because the word can't mean a period having a definite end in one place and infinity in another.

Take for example, the unique way that aionos is used in the question that Jesus' Apostles asked him, which is found at Matthew 24:3: 'Tell us; When will these things happen… what will be the signs when you are to arrive and this age will come to its conclusion?' Notice thataionos is also translated as world here in many Bibles, such as the KJ, and as system of things in other Bibles, such as the NWT. However, if the Apostles had meant any of those things, they would have used the Greek word cosmos (world or arrangement), not aionos.

You can see that aionos obviously doesn't mean forever, everlasting, or eternal in this case, nor did it mean world or system of things. It simply meant the age, or, the time before the end would come. And for them, that meant the age when God's Temple in JeruSalem would be destroyed, because that's what Jesus was explaining to them.

Yet, there are instances when some forms of the word could imply forever, such as when we find it in the form aiōniŏn. This is an adjective in the singular case, which, when combined with the Greek word zoe (in its various forms) is usually translated in other Bibles as everlasting life. However, that isn't a totally-accurate description.

In the past, we had tried to reconcile the words zoe aiōniŏn as meaning, life in the age. However, the word age in this instance would not be an adjective, so we have recently chosen, in most cases where we find this word combination, to translate them more accurately as age-long life, which we will agree could mean everlasting life.

For more information, see the linked Scriptural Commentary, Does the Bible Promise Everlasting Life?

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Soul

The Greek word psyche (as in psychology) has been translated many ways, including soul, life, etc. However, psyche actually meanssomething that breathes. It is used in the Bible to describe both breathing animals and breathing humans. So by definition, a soul cannot leave the body, because a soul is what the living body (whether human or animal) is (see Genesis 2:7).

In ancient Greece, philosophers eventually added another meaning to psyche: The inner person (as opposed to the person that others see and come to know). And with time, the pagan religion of Greece started to teach that this inner person is its own entity and can never die (is immortal). Over the centuries, this pagan Greek doctrine thereafter crept into the Christian religions. Please see the Wikipedia definitionSoul for more history of the word.

However, such Greek philosophical thought never influenced Jesus and his Apostles. So, they consistently used psyche to indicate a living person or animal. Therefore, the later teaching that the soul is immortal stands in direct conflict with Jesus' promise of a resurrection, because, if a person is immortal (can never die) he/she can never be resurrected (brought back to life).

In addition, the teaching of the immortality of the human soul is totally without support from the Bible. For the word immortal(ity) (Gr:athanasia or undying) is only mentioned in the Bible in two places, and it isn't used with or applied to the word soul in either case. Both of these scriptures show that immortality is only given by God as a reward for righteousness. And as EzekiEl 18:4 says, 'The person (gr. psycheor soul) that is sinning will die (gr. apothaneitai).'

Of course, there are places in the Bible where the word soul means more than just a living, fleshly body. For example, God is recorded to have spoken of 'My Soul' in several places. Obviously, God is much more than just a 'soul' as most people think of that term, and He surely wasn't talking about His having a human body. So we must conclude that what He was referring to is His life or His person.

Then there are Jesus' words found at Matthew 10:28, which read, 'Don't be afraid of those who kill the body but can't kill the person (psyche or soul). Rather, be afraid of him who can destroy both the person (soul) and the body in the garbage dump.' Here, Jesus is using the word psyche (soul) to refer to the value of life that remains with God until the resurrection. And he obviously isn't referring the soul as immortal in this instance, because he says God will destroy (gr. apolesai) the [unrighteous] soul or person.

Unfortunately, no single word can be used to translate psyche in every possible Bible application, so various terms are used herein, depending on the circumstances, but always in an attempt to harmonize with the meaning.

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Breath

The Greek word pneuma (as in pneumonia, a breathing disease) means breath or wind – the movement of air. In other Bible translations, this word is often translated as spirit or ghost, as in Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. However, spirit is just a shortened form of the Latin wordspiritu, which just means breath in Latin. And ghost conveys another meaning altogether.

In the Bible, the most common use of the word pneuma is to convey the idea of a force that can't be seen, such as breath or wind. And the problem with translating it as spirit or ghost, is that those words have been given religious meanings that aren't implied by the Greek texts.

Therefore, to prevent confusion, the Greek word pneuma is frequently translated as breath herein. However, there are exceptions, as in instances where the Bible refers to demons as 'spirits.' Translating pneuma as breath in these cases, although correct, might just be confusing. There are also places where we have left pneuma translated as spirit, when the word implies a person's tendency (or spirit). And, since the nuance implied by the word spirit in the English language (an unseen power) is correct, we recently changed back to translatingpneuma as spirit in several places, when referring to God's Holy Spirit. However, recognize that pneuma is often best defined by calling it[God's] Holy Breath. For an example, see the Note Worshiping God In Spirit and Truth.

Another important use of the word pneuma is in the phrase, 'Breath of Life.' This phrase appears to mean more than just breathing, for it seems to refer to the entire mechanics of life itself. It's the unseen force of life for all creatures… it's what makes each cell alive. However, nowhere does the Bible describe the 'pneuma' as immortal, nor is it the same as the soul (a breathing thing), so it can (figuratively) 'return to God' at death,' because all hope of future life depends on God and His promise of a resurrection.

Note in particular how the term Breath is used at Job 27:3, where Job spoke of God's Breath or Spirit. For there he asked, 'Does the Breathof the Divine One remain in my nose?' As you can see from his application of this word, pneuma obviously referred to God's Breath, not to a person or to an unseen force. He was talking about that which comes from God and which caused him (Job) to breathe… the Breath of Life.

It is interesting that at Genesis 6:3, God said concerning the wicked people on earth before the Downpour: 'I won't allow My Breath to stay with these men through the age, for they are fleshly.' In Greek that reads, 'Ou me katameine to pneuma mou en tois anthropois toutoiseis ton aiona, dia ai einai autous sarka,' or, 'Not not should stay the Breath Mine with these men the age through, their being flesh.'

While the words Breath Mine (pneuma mou) here can refer to God's Holy Breath, it seems more likely that He is referring to the breath of life that He gave to Adam. So it appears as though what God was saying here, is that the breath of life (of the people of that age) would be removed prematurely. However, since God referred to it as 'My Breath,' there may be a link implied between God's Holy Breath and the breath of life.
For more information, see the linked document, 'The Powers of God's Holy Spirit.'

However, when Jesus died (as the words recorded at John 19:30 say), 'he hung his head and gave up the breath' (gr. kai klinas ten kephalen paredoken to pneuma, or, and inclined his head giving/up the breath). In this case, the obvious reference is to 'the breath of life,' or that force which gave him life as a human.

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'In'

The Greek word εν (en) simply means in. However, it is translated as in, one, in union with, and as other words, depending on the context.

Especially in the book of John do we find the question raised, 'Was Jesus really the same person as The God?' This a question has been raised because the text at John 10:38 literally says, '… in order that you should know and you may be knowing that in (en) me the Father and I in (en) the Father.' And in many Bibles, this text is translated as saying, 'I and my father are one.' Is this the true meaning of what Jesus said? Is Jesus 'one with' (the same as) the Father?

That could be a correct translation if the verse is pulled out of context. However, notice what Jesus said later on, as found at John 14:20: 'εν εκεινη τη ημερα υμεις γνωσεσθε οτι εγω εν τω πατρι μου και υμεις εν εμοι καγω εν υμιν,' or, 'In that the day you will know that I in (εν) the Father of me, and you in (εν) me, and I in (εν) you.'

So, if John 10:38 means that Jesus is the same person as his Father, then John 14:20 means that all of Jesus' followers are the same person and that they are also the same persons as Jesus and his Father. Is this a logical conclusion? No, because it doesn't harmonize with numerous other scriptures that show his followers to be individuals, but one with (or, in unity with) Jesus and God.

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Cross or Pole?

The Greek word stauros simply means pole. So, regardless of popular tradition and doctrine, there is no mention of a pole with a cross piece (cross) in the original Bible. Also, the Greek word staurotheto (which is translated crucified or hung on a cross) is translated as impaled(put on a pole or stake) here, because that's what it means.

Does this mean that Jesus didn't die on a cross? Not necessarily, for there is a lot of historical evidence which indicates that he did (see the link Dispute about Jesus' Execution Method). Yet, whether the Romans used just an upright pole or one with a cross beam as a means of torture and execution is really unimportant. If one views such a thing as an object of worship (which many do), then this is condemned in the Bible as idolatry… and they are also missing the point. For, what should be held as sacred to us is the one who gave his life on our behalf, not the disgusting object of his execution.

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The Kingdom

The word Kingdom is translated from the Greek word basileia, which refers to the realm of a king (basil).

A common misconception about the Kingdom of God, is that it isn't real… that it's just a state of mind. This conclusion is based on Jesus' words found at Luke 17:21, which say (in Greek), he basileia tou Theou entos hymon estin (the Kingdom of the God in you is). And we have quite literally translated this verse as, 'for God's Kingdom is within you.' However, some object to our translating his words this way, because, notice that (at Luke 17:20) Jesus said this in reply to a question which was raised by the Pharisees; and he probably didn't think that the Kingdom was in their hearts (although some Pharisees did become his followers).

So, what did Jesus really mean? Well, some religions have concluded he was saying that: He, the king of that Kingdom, was there in their midst, and that the hope of becoming kings in that Kingdom was being offered to them. But it's also true that real Christians ever since that time have believed and acted as members of that Kingdom in their hearts. So, the Kingdom of God was truly within some of them… but this doesn't necessarily mean (as some religions have concluded) that the Kingdom won't come at some actual future time and become the realm of the kingship of Jesus and his faithful followers.

Notice, for example, Jesus' own words found at Luke 22:16, where he told his disciples (concerning the fermentation-free bread), 'Because I say to you; I won't eat it again until it's fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.' So, he was clearly saying that the Kingdom was to be a future thing, and thus is was not just an existing frame of mind.

Also notice that; Since it appears as though he and his elected ones will rule from heaven, the place from which they will rule could be called 'the Kingdom of Heaven.' However, the term, the Kingdom of Heaven appears to refer to the rule from heaven, and not to the place where those who are ruled will all live. We draw this conclusion from Jesus' words as found at Matthew 8:11, where it is recorded that he said: 'Many from the sunrise and sunset will come and recline [at the table] with AbraHam, IsaAc, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven.'

Although those words would seem to confirm the thought that faithful ones such as AbraHam, IsaAc, and Jacob would rule from heaven; realize that AbraHam, IsaAc, and Jacob weren't really in heaven at the time when Jesus said that. This is confirmed by what Jesus said (at John 3:13), 'No one has gone to heaven other than he who came from heaven, the Son of Man.' And while not being dogmatic on this point, we understand that the ancient patriarchs were never promised life in heaven (for more information, see the linked document The Hereafter)

So, Matthew 8:10-12 must be referring to AbraHam and his descendants living under the rule of a heavenly Kingdom government. These faithful ones don't appear to qualify to be rulers in heaven themselves, because they weren't 'born again' to receive the value of a spiritual life, nor were they part of the 'Sacred Agreement for a Kingdom' (Luke 22:29) that Jesus had made with his Apostles just prior to his arrest and execution.

Notice again, how Jesus showed that the Kingdom of God hadn't already arrived at the time he was speaking; for we are told at Luke 19:11, 'While they were listening to these things, he told them another illustration, because he was getting close to JeruSalemand they all thought that the Kingdom of God was about to happen instantly.' So, although the Kingdom of God (or as Matthew describes it, 'The Kingdom of Heaven') may have been in their hearts, there was still to be an actual Kingdom rulership over IsraEl and the earth.

Then Jesus told the parable about the Kingdom (in Luke 19:12-27)) of a man who (like himself) made a long trip to a distant land to receive kingship. So, this parable shows that there was to be a long period between the time when Jesus would leave on his journey (to receive kingship in heaven), and the time when he would return to reward his faithful slaves.

Therefore, there is a definite time for this Kingdom to start its rule, and this is made clear by the words of Revelation 12:10, where we read: 'Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say, This is the moment when the salvation, the power, the Kingdom of our God, and the authorization of His Anointed begin. Because, the one who has been accusing our brothers has been thrown down… he who has been complaining about them day and night in front of our God!'

So, when the Opposer and his messengers are expelled from heaven, God's Kingdom begins there.

Then, what IS the Kingdom? The term appears to refer to a coming rulership of the earth from the heavens by Jesus and his elected, who will rule on the earth, for John wrote at at Revelation 5:9, 10, that a heavenly group sang this song to him about Jesus:
'You bought people for God with your blood,
From every tribe, language, ethnicity, and country.
Then you made them rulers and Priests to our God,
And they'll rule as kings on (gr. epi) the earth.'

Then at Revelation 2:26 it's recorded that Jesus promised: 'I'll give he who conquers and obeys whatever I tell him to do down to the end, power over the nations.' And again (at Revelation 3:21) Jesus promised: 'Then I'll allow the one who conquers to sit down with me on my throne, just as my Father has allowed me to sit on His throne, because I have conquered.'

For more information, see the linked document, The 'Seed' – God's Kingdom.

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Satan, Devil, Lucifer, BeelZebub

It is appropriate that the heavenly name of the great Opposer and Slanderer of God is never given in the Bible. However, several terms (and one mistakenly) have been used to describe him. Here is a list of those descriptions:

· Satan: This is a Hebrew word meaning, opposer, resistor, and a wily person who does things just to serve his own interests. It was applied to the Evil One, because of his opposition to God. And so, to keep from misleading people into thinking of Satan as a name, it is translated as 'the Opposer' herein.

· Devil: This is the only Greek word (Diabolos) used in the Bible to describe the evil one. The first part of the word, dia, means through, and bolos means throw (it's where we get the English words ball and bowl). So, Devil means one who throws through, which amounts to being a slanderer (using the Greek colloquialism), so that's the way it's translated herein.

· Lucifer: Lucifer is commonly thought of as another name for the Biblical Opposer. However, this word doesn't appear as a name in most translations of the Bible. It does appear once in the King James Version, at Isaiah 14:12, in which the King of Babylon is referred to as Lucifer, Son of the Morning. However, the original Hebrew words were: Helel ben Shahar or, Day/star, son/of the/dawn. So, there is no direct link in the Bible between the entity known in Hebrew as Satan to Lucifer. Changing the description day star son of the dawn into a name (Lucifer) was done by Augustine, when he was translating the text in IsaiAh from the original Hebrew into Latin.

· BeelZebub: There are eight references in the Bible to this Hebrew noun, and it does refer to the Slanderer. However, once again, this is not a proper name. It appears to be a title. Beel (like Baal) means Lord, and Zebub appears to refer to flies (the insects). So, BeelZebub likely means Lord of Flies.

Is the Opposer (Slanderer or BeelZebub) a real person? All one has to do is look at the titles he was given above to realize that he is. To deny his existence negates the rest of the Bible. For example, when dealing with Adam's sin, why did God adhere so closely to a law, when other options were available to Him? Why didn't he just destroy rebellious Adam and create another man?

The fact is, He created men and His spirit sons (messengers or angels with the ability to choose whether to serve Him or not; so none are automatons. And as a man failed in the Paradise of Pleasure, we can assume (and as the Scriptures support) that there were failures (and rebels) in the heavens also. This is the reason why it became necessary to have a law that clearly outlined what rebellion against God constituted, and what the consequences for violating that law would be. It was obviously for the sake of the millions of millions of heavenly spirit (breath) creatures that the issue of rebellion here on the earth had to be resolved by legal means, and in a way that demonstrated the love and loyalty of God's first-born son, which resulted in the painful need for a 'ransom' (Jesus' death).

The idea (which some religions have promoted) that the Slanderer isn't real, but only a state of mind, creates some conundrums. For example:

· When Jesus was being tempted in the desert, was he simply struggling with the bad within himself rather than against a real, evil personality? If so, we would have to conclude that there was bad in Jesus.

· Is the battle in heaven that is spoken of at Revelation the Twelfth Chapter to be just figurative, and not a real war against the Opposer and his messengers? If so, then in what sense would 'the Opposer' and his 'messengers' lose the battle and be confined to the earth? Also, why would this entity, if just internal evil be 'angry' in knowing that he just has 'a short period of time left?'

· And lastly, when the Opposer entered God's presence and spoke to Him (as spoken of in Job the First Chapter), could we assume that this inherent evil was found in God? That isn't likely.

However, there is some question as to the use of the Greek word Diabolos found at 1 Chronicles 21:1 (in the Greek Septuagint), where 'a slanderer' had urged King David to take a census of Israel. Since Diabolos is a Greek word and First Chronicles was written in Hebrew, we would assume that Diabolos (Slanderer) was substituted for the Hebrew word Satan (Opposer) when the Bible was first translated into Greek. But the text seems to imply that a slanderer, not the Slanderer, had come to David. So, we don't really know if the text implies that the Evil One came to him personally, if it was just an evil spirit that came over or to him, or if some bad human had urged David to defy God and take a census of IsraEl.

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Resurrection

It has often been said that the Ancient Scriptures of IsraEl (Old Testament) don't really speak of the hope of a resurrection of the dead. However, the Hebrew word, which might be rendered as resurrection, is simply never translated that way in most other Bibles. But in the Greek Septuagint version of the OT, the word for resurrection (anastasia) appears several times.

For example: we find it first used in the song that HanNah sang to Jehovah after she had offered her young son SamuEl to serve at God's Sacred Tent (in First Samuel 2:8). This is particularly interesting, for, although most would consider her words just a record of an unimportant song, the woman spoke a truly inspired and important prophecy, which applied back then and is still being fulfilled in our day. Yet, resurrections had apparently never been seen on earth before her time. For more information, see the linked document, The Resurrection.

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Scroll or Book of Life

The first place in the Bible that speaks of the Scroll of Life (in those words specifically) is found in one of the songs of King David (Psalm 69:28), where he wrote, 'From the Scroll of the Living may their names be erased, and among the righteous may their names not be written.' However, the first actual mention of such a scroll timewise, is found in Exodus 32:33, where God said to Moses, 'I'm going to erase [the names] of all those who have sinned against Me from My scroll.'

So, we must assume that as early as the early fifteenth Century B.C.E., God's faithful worshipers had some concept of a record that God keeps of people whom He counts as being 'the living.' And as God Himself pointed out, their names can also be erased from His scroll after they had been written there (so much for the concept of once-saved, always-saved).

What is this Scroll, how does a person get his or her name written in it, and what does this mean for them?

Although God surely needs no actual written record to remember His faithful ones, the phrase 'the Scroll of Life' is mentioned enough times in the Bible to assume that God does remember (or record) the names of those righteous whom He counts among 'the living,' as opposed to those whom He numbers among 'the dead.'

Who are 'the living?' They are likely the same as the ones of whom Jesus spoke at John 5:24, when he said, 'I tell you the truth: He who hears what I say and believes in the One that sent me will have age-long life… he won't have to be judged, for he has come out of the deathand into the life.'

So, we must assume that some conscious act of faith by each individual causes him or her to cross over 'from death to life,' and that is likely the time when a person's name is written in the Scroll of Life. Then, as Jesus said, 'He won't have to be judged' thereafter, when he (or she) is resurrected.

What is this act of faith? Today, it would surely be the conscious act of choosing to be baptized. However, since baptism wasn't practiced during the time of David, it appears as though all IsraEl had their names written in that Scroll when they were born into that nation which was chosen by God; and their names remained there for as long as they were faithful. Notice how this concept fits into David's words about their names being erased.

Then at Revelation 20:11, 12, we read of several 'scrolls' being opened and of the 'dead' being judged by the things that are written in those scrolls. Who are these 'dead?' Well, remember that those whose names are written in the Scroll of Life will not be judged, so they aren'tthe dead. And that (following the order of the series of events described here), all the resurrections will already have taken place before these scrolls are opened (see Revelation 20:4-6); so these dead individuals aren't physically dead any longer, for they are seen to be standing. As the result, this must mean that; Although they are no longer literally dead, they are still counted as dead (or dying). And so they must be judged before their names can be written in the Scroll of Life.

So with this understanding, notice again the exact words of Revelation 20:12: 'Then I saw the dead – the great and the small – standing before the throne, and several scrolls were opened. Then another scroll was opened, which was the Scroll of Life. And the dead were then judged by the things that were written in the scrolls, according to the things that they did.'

Therefore, we must assume that those who remain faithful worshipers of God have their names permanently sealed in God's Scroll of Life upon their deaths and are considered 'the living' by Him. Then, when they are resurrected, there is no need for them to be judged thereafter.

As for 'the dead' whom the Revelation says are 'judged by the things written in the scrolls;' this likely means that they too will be resurrected, but they will be judged by the things they do after the resurrection and during the thousand-year period that the Slanderer is bound and in the pit (See Revelation 20:2-6).

Demons

2 Peter 2:4 speaks of 'messengers' or 'angels' who were put into 'Tartarus' for bad acts they committed during the time of Noah. Genesis 6:3 speaks of these as 'sons of God' (gr. uioi tou Theou) and it tells of their coming to earth to marry 'the daughters of men' (gr. thygateras ton anthropon). However, these 'sons of God' don't appear to be quite the same as the 'messengers' who are to be thrown out of heaven during 'the Lord's Day,' mentioned at Revelation 12:7-9. Since the 'sons of God' who came to earth and assumed human bodies in Noah's day couldn't be destroyed by the downpour (flood) and they had forsaken heaven, they were apparently put into a prison-like state here on the earth, where they are no longer able to roam. This group is specifically referred to as the demons in the Bible.

It is interesting that; except among modern materialistic and scientific societies, demons are recognized as real throughout the world by almost all of its religions. And such universal acknowledgement by diverse peoples with no cultural ties, is one of the strongest arguments for their existence.

Demon is a Greek word that seems to be derived from diameno, which means, fixed in one place. From other Bible accounts about demons, it appears as though this 'fixing in one place' means that they must be associated with either living or non-living things, which is referred to as 'possession.'

At Acts 17:18 the Epicureans and Stoic Philosophers of Greece asked about Paul's teaching a 'foreign demon.' And although most translations render his words as 'foreign god,' they truly said 'demon' (gr. daimonion). This is also true of Paul's reply found at Acts 17:22, 'Men of Athens; I see that you have a greater fear of the demons than do others.'

The reason why this term was used is obvious: The many pagan idols and Gods of Athens, although made of metal and stone, had the backing of demons. And the people recognized the power that was given to these lifeless objects through 'possession' by their gods.

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Day of the Lord

Throughout the Bible, we find references to 'the Day of Jehovah,' and 'the Day of the Lord' (Jesus). Are both of these references to the same time, and if so, how do we know?

There is no conflict between the two Days; in fact, they appear to be the same. Notice what we are told in the Revelation, when it is speaking of the beginning of that Day (at Revelation 12:10), 'Now it has come to pass; the salvation, the power, the Kingdom of our God, and the empowerment of His Anointed One!'

As you can see, the purposes of that Day are tied together. For, the establishment of God's Kingdom (with the battle in heaven and the ouster of the Opposer and his messengers) and the empowerment for Jesus (the Lord) to begin his rule, appear to begin at the same time.

So, does the Lord's Day begin when the things spoken of in the Revelation start to happen? It appears to be so, because it starts out with John's words (at Revelation 1:10), 'Through the Breath [of God] I found myself in the Lord's Day.'

What are some of the features of that Day? Well, they appear to start with the ouster of the Opposer and his messengers from heaven (See Revelation 12), which is followed by the destruction of 'The Great Babylon' (See Revelation 17, 18). Then in rapid succession there comes the 'marriage of the Lamb,' the Battle of Armageddon, tossing the Opposer and his messengers into the abyss, and the resurrection (see Revelation 19, 20). And finally, the Opposer is released for a short time, which precipitates the battle against Gog of Magog , and is thereafter followed by the descent of 'New JeruSalem' to the earth and the making of the 'new earth and sky' (see Revelation 21).

Also, in the prophecy found at Joel 2:1-12, 'the Day of the Lord' appears to start with the destruction of JeruSalem by worldly armies, and this is followed by the destruction of the worldly armies (see Joel Chapter Three). Then, in between these two events, we read of the marvelous outpouring of God's Breath upon His faithful servants (Joel 2:28-32).

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Bless or Praise?

This is a tough one, and we won't say that our position on the translation of this word can't be changed. The Greek word that we are struggling with is eulogetos. The first part of the word eu, is Greek for good. The last part of the word, logetos, means words (orexpressions). So, a literal translation of eulogetos is good words. And our question is: Is this all that a blessing amounts to?

Yes, we know that eulogetos has been translated as bless, blest, and blessing in other Bibles. So why rock the boat? Because these translators have simply found too many errors in a lot of commonly-accepted renderings. And here, for example, if eulogetos is properly translated asblessing each time (which carries the English nuance, 'causing good things to happen'), then, how can humans 'bless God?' We do know that we can praise God, however.

Eulogetos is the word that we derive the English word eulogy from… that is, the kind words that are said of the deceased at a funeral. Such words are never said as a blessing (it's a bit late for that); they are said in praise of the deceased individual. However, there are definitely places where eulogetos can't be translated as praise or praising.

So, perhaps the real meaning is (or is at least is similar to) praise. And when praises come from God, this means blessings to humans.

This isn't the same word that we have rendered as blest in other portions of this translation (for an example, see Matthew 5:5). The word in question there is makarios, which is rendered as happy in certain other Bibles. However, we believe that blest is the proper way to translate that Greek word.

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The Last Days

Throughout the Christian Era Scriptures (New Testament), we read of a time that is referred to as 'the last days' (gr. tas hemera eschata). And in each case, these words seem to be speaking of the same period or periods; however, many religious groups prefer to identify them as separate and distinct eras. Take for example, the prophecy of Joel that Peter quoted on the day of Pentecost, 33-C.E. There we read (at Acts 2:17-21):
'In the last days
I'll pour some of my Breath on all flesh,
And your sons and daughters will then prophesy,
Your young men will have visions,
And your old men will dream dreams.
I will pour out some of My Breath in those days,
And My male and female slaves will then prophesy.
And from the skies above I'll send omens and signs,
And to the earth below, blood, fire, and smoky mist.
Before the great and shining day of the Lord,
The sun will be changed into darkness
And the moon into blood.
And all calling on the Name of the Lord will be saved.'

Peter's application of this prophecy clearly indicates that it was fulfilled (at least initially) at the time he was saying this… during and after Pentecost 33-C.E. So, many religions teach that Joel's prophecy concerning the last days only applied to the last days of ancient JeruSalem… before its destruction by Roman armies in 70-C.E. On the other hand, where these same words (last days) are found in other Bible verses, the same religions teach that the fulfillment comes just during 'the Lord's Day.' For example, notice the words found at 2 Timothy 3:1-5:
'Recognize that the last days will bring fierce times. People will love themselves and money. They will be braggers, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to their parents, unthankful and disloyal. They won't love their families or be willing to agree on anything. They will be slanderers who don't have any self-control. They will be wild and won't love anything that is good. They will be betrayers who are headstrong and proud. They will prefer pleasures to caring about God. They will have some form of religion, but they won't follow it.'

Obviously, at least in the prophecy of Joel, the last days do refer to the time between Pentecost of 33-C.E. and 70-C.E. However, notice that the prophecy also mentions its fulfillment as happening during 'the great and shining day of the Lord;' so it seems to also indicate another fulfillment as coming in some future last days.

That there would be such a future period of last days (which would come after JeruSalem's destruction), appears to be indicated by Jesus' words as found throughout the Bible book of John. For example, John wrote (some 29 years after JeruSalem's destruction) that Jesus said (at John 6:39. 40), 'This is what the Will of the One who sent me is: That I shouldn't destroy anything He has given me, but that I should resurrect it on the Last Day. This is what my Father's will is: That everyone who pays close attention to the Son and believes in him should have age-long life, and I will resurrect him on the Last Day.'

It is noteworthy that John didn't thereafter add any comment to explain that the resurrection had already started back on Pentecost 33-C.E. (before JeruSalem was destroyed). So apparently it hadn't, and the resurrection was still to come in some future last day. In fact, John's writing of the Revelation indicates that the resurrection wouldn't come until after 'the battle of Armageddon' (Revelation 16-20) is fought. Such conclusions lead us to believe that there are actually two periods referred to in the Bible as the last days:

1. The last days of JeruSalem

2. The Lord's Day.

That both last days would see similar fulfillments is indicated by Jesus' words as found in Matthew 24 and Mark 13. If you read these chapters and reference the linked Notes, it seems clear that both last days would see the fulfillment of many (but not all of the same) prophecies. So, is there to be some future fulfillment of the outpouring of God's Breath and its gifts as seen at Pentecost? Although every religion has reached strong (but differing) opinions and doctrines on this, the answer isn't totally clear.

That there will be some special outpouring of God's Breath in the last days, is clearly indicated by Joel's prophecy. However, while many religions that already claim to experience these gifts usually express it through healing, snake handling, and speaking in tongues; notice that Joel's prophecy speaks specifically of miraculous prophesying. And Paul, when speaking of such gifts at 1 Corinthians 12, 13, 14, actually discouraged speaking in tongues, putting prophesying and developing Christian love as foremost. Also, although the early Christians actually did Divine healing, this gift isn't mentioned in Joel's prophecy. So, if there is to be some modern fulfillment of Joel's prophecy, it seems to center on prophesying (something more than sharing our personal interpretations of Bible doctrines) and on an unusual outpouring of brotherly love.

See also the linked documents, The Last Days, and The Powers of God's Holy Spirit.

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Cosmos or World?

In Jesus' discussion about the sheep and goats, found at Matthew 25:34, he said, 'Then the king will tell those on his right, Come, you who've been praised by my Father, inherit the Kingdom that's been prepared for you from the founding of the arrangement.'

In Greek, the words we have translated as founding of the arrangement are katabole kosmou. You may recognize that the English wordcosmos is a derivative of kosmou. And cosmos is the word that modern peoples usually use when referring to the universe today. So, why have we translated it as arrangement, and what is meant by the term, founding of the arrangement?

Actually, the closest English meaning of Greek word kosmos is arrangement. For example, when Paul urged Christian women to dress modestly, he used the word kosmos to describe well-arranged clothing. However, in other Bibles kosmos is usually translated as world.

Although it has been said that the word world doesn't appear at all in the Hebrew texts of the Ancient Scriptures of IsraEl (OT), the wordkosmos does appear there several times in the Greek Septuagint. The reason why some say that world (or kosmos) doesn't appear there, is because the equivalent Hebrew word (te·vel) is often translated (in different Bibles and in different places) as arrangement, ornamentation, honor, delight, universe, earth, army, etc. Yet, in the Christian Era Scriptures (NT), where kosmos appears several times, it is usually translated as world… as in the world of Noah, the light of the world, the field is the world, etc. However, there are some fifteen definitions given to the word world in English dictionaries, and most don't carry the same meaning as the Greek word. So, world is a poor choice when translating kosmos. For example: kosmos never seems to apply to the earth (which is how we often think of it). Rather, it often applies to the arrangement or situation of human society, and often about the IsraElite or Jewish arrangement with God. So, system of things is often the better word choice.

Take a look, for example, at Jesus' often quoted words as found at John 3:16: 'For God so loved the world that He gave his only-begotten Son... ' Is this the same 'world' of which He spoke at Isaiah 13:11, saying, 'I'll punish the world for its evil; or at 1 John 5:19, where John wrote, 'the whole world is lying in [the power of] the wicked [one]; or what James wrote at James 4:4: 'If you're a friend of the world you're an enemy of God?' Obviously not. So, we must assume that what Jesus was referring to at John 3:16 wasn't the whole wicked world; but rather, he appears to have been speaking of God's arrangement for His true worship in Jerusalem! So, although we know that God has greater plans for all of righteous mankind; understand that many of the things which Jesus said about 'the world' referred specifically to what was about to happen to the Jewish 'arrangement' or 'system of things' that was going to be destroyed by the armies of Rome for their infidelity to God.

This is also the point that Jesus was making at John 12:14, when he said, 'I didn't come to judge the [Jewish] system of things, but to save it!' You can see that we've added the word Jewish in brackets here. Why? Well, recognize that those words of Jesus were said just before the Jews put him on trial and had him killed. So, it appears as though he wasn't talking about trying to save the whole wicked world of mankind, but of trying to save the system of God's 'arrangement' for His worship in JeruSalem.

Actually, two different Greek words are often translated as world in the Septuagint, kosmos and oichonomeo; and oichonomeo does appear to refer to the earth, because it means the habitation, or, the place where [man] dwells. So the Greek text clearly delineates the two meanings, which are both commonly translated as world in other Bibles.

Notice how the word kosmos was used by Paul at Romans 5:12, 'Sin entered the arrangement (kosmos) through one man, and this sin resulted in death. So, death spread to all men and everyone has sinned.'

Thus, it seems likely that the general arrangement, which we call 'the world,' started around the time of Adam's sin in Paradise, when man created for himself (and for all life on earth) a new arrangement or set of circumstances… and this was something other than what God had planned. We have come to this conclusion based on the many scriptures that refer to the world (or kosmos) in a negative context, and that it (the current set of negative circumstances) will soon be done away with.

Yet, the Scriptures also indicate that the present worldly arrangement or system of things began after the Downpour of Noah's day, and that Noah had inherited the arrangement prior to that time. For, notice what we are told at Hebrews 11:7: 'Because of his faith, Noah (after being given a divine warning of things he hadn't seen yet) trusted in God and built a large chest to save his family. And due to this righteous faith,he condemned the arrangement (or world) and became its heir.'

Also notice what was said at 2 Peter 2:4, 5: 'Why, God didn't spare the messengers who sinned, but threw them into the dark pits of Tartarus, where they are awaiting His justice. And He didn't spare the first arrangement. Yet, He guarded Noah (who was a preacher of righteousness) along with seven others, when He brought a downpour on a system (kosmos or world) of godless people.'

So, apparently there have been at least three different worlds or arrangements: the one that Noah inherited and which started before the Downpour, followed by the second arrangement or system that started after the Downpour, and the third arrangement or system of things that God created for His worship in JeruSalem.

Thus (from the above), we may conclude that: What Jesus said about the Kingdom having been prepared for the sheep since the founding of the arrangement could mean that the Kingdom was God’s plan for the righteous since at least the of Adam’s sin in Paradise, or possibly since the time of the Downpour, or even since the time that He establish a system for His true worship in JeruSalem.

However, the words of Revelation 13:8 could indicated that a fourth arrangement or system of things began with the death of Jesus and the establishment of the New Sacred Agreement. For, there it says concerning him: 'he who had been slaughtered from the founding of the arrangement' (gr. esphagmenou apo kataboles kosmou or, who/was/slaughtered from foundation – or down-throw – cosmos). Therefore, we could be living in an entirely new world, arrangement, or system of things since the time of Jesus' death.

So, while we recognize that those words in Revelation could be talking about Jesus' death having been the ultimate purpose of God (which it was), the verse could also mean that a new arrangement (the New Sacred Agreement) began at his death.

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What did John Mean by Jew?

First, understand that the word 'Jew' is a unique English pronunciation of 'Judean.' And when Mark and John spoke of the Judeans, they were usually referring to people who came from or lived in the Roman Province of Judea. Since Jesus and eleven of his Apostles (although of the Tribe of Judah) lived in the (northern) Province of Galilee, the Judeans called them Galileans (see Mark 14:70), and the Galileans referred to the people around JeruSalem as Judeans (or Jews).

With the above said, it becomes easier to understand what the scriptures mean when they speak of the water jars at wedding reception at Cana being there for the 'Judeans' to wash in, and that the 'Judeans' were looking to kill Jesus, and that the 'Judeans' rejected Jesus. In these cases, the texts aren't referring to the nation as a whole, but to the people who lived in Judea and JeruSalem specifically.

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God's Chosen People

The idea that the Jews are still God's chosen people and that they will eventually rule over the earth from the City of JeruSalem, is becoming popular among many fundamentalist religions today. However, this concept appears to disregard the promises and teachings of the Bible.

For instance, notice Jesus' words to the people of that city as found at Matthew 23:37, 38, 'O JeruSalem, JeruSalem… you killer of Prophets and stoner of those who were sent to you! How often I wanted to gather your children the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you didn't want it. Look! Your house has been taken from you!'

So, their 'house' (the position of special favor with God) was removed from them due to their repeated rejection of God's ways and His Prophets, and for murdering His Son.

Notice how Jesus pictures this rejection of the Jews as God's chosen people in his parable of the king who hired laborers to work in his vineyard (at Matthew 21:33-41). The story ends when the cultivators killed the king's son. And what was the result? Verse 41 says, 'Then he will hire others to cultivate the vineyard who will give him the fruit when it's due.'

In Chapter 22 (verses 1-10) Jesus repeats this theme with the parable of the king who invited guests to a grand meal, but none of those who were invited (the Jews) showed up. In fact, they killed his messengers, and then his son. The account says, 'So, he sent his army to destroy the murderers and burned their city.' Then he sent his attendants out to invite 'others' to this great feast.

Who are these 'others?' Well, out of respect for His Sacred Agreement with AbraHam, God continued to offer the opportunity to be 'kings and Priests' in the Kingdom exclusively to the Jews and the related Samaritans for the next 3-1/2 years. Then the opportunity to become 'Spiritual Jews' was offered to the first 'Gentile' converts, Cornelius and his family. Thereafter, the Bible speaks of growing numbers of Gentile converts, as Paul was appointed the 'Apostle to the Nations.'

Also, notice Jesus' words as found at Matthew 8:12, where he foretold, 'However, the Sons of the Kingdom will be thrown into the darkness outside. There they will cry and grind their teeth.' Since the Jews were 'the sons of the kingdom' or the sons of the AbraHamic promise, the indication here is that they as a nation were being rejected.

Then in the letters of Paul, we read scripture after scripture that shows these Gentiles were thereafter included in the promise to AbraHam, and that they comprised a 'New JeruSalem.' Notice what Paul wrote at Romans 2:28, 'So, a Jew isn't what you are on the outside, nor is circumcision something that's outside on the flesh.'

In other words, the faithful Gentiles had become 'spiritual Jews,' or the symbolic 'twelve tribes of IsraEl.' So, it was to this 'new nation' that all the promises and Sacred Agreements apply, not to the earthly city of JeruSalem, for JeruSalem had been rejected. Why? Well notice what the people in that city replied to Pilate's question when they were calling for the murder of God's Son (at Matthew 27: 25): 'At that, all the people said, 'May we and our children be responsible for his blood.' And (at John 19:15), 'We have no king but Caesar.'
So, the Jews were not only rejected by God, but they verbally rejected God and asked for the blood of Jesus to be on them and their children (all future generations). This is why the prophecies regarding
JeruSalem appear to have nothing to do with a literal city in Palestine today.

Also, notice how Paul addressed the non-Jews in the Congregation at Corinth, Greece (1 Corinthians 12:2): 'You know that when you were people of the nations, you were led to be followers of dumb idols.' As you can see, he clearly viewed 'gentile' Christians as Spiritual Jews.

Paul also wrote (at Romans 9:6-8): 'Now, the word of God didn't fail; because, not all who came from IsraEl are really IsraEl, nor are all of AbraHam's seed his children. For [it's written], That which will be called your seed will come through IsaAc. However, [IsaAc's] fleshly children aren't the children of God. The children of the promise are that seed.'

Then he added at Romans 9:27, 'Isaiah shouted this about IsraElAlthough the sons of IsraEl may become as many as the sands of the sea,only a few will be saved.'

And again, Paul wrote (at Romans 9:30-33): 'So, we can say that people of the nations (although they weren't trying to become righteous) became righteous with the [type of] righteousness that comes from faith, while IsraEl (which was following a righteous Law) just didn't make it! And why was that so? Because [IsraEl] didn't look for it in faith, but in the things that they were doing… they tripped over thestumbling stone! As it is written: {Look!} I'm putting a stumbling stone and a rock to trip over in Zion. But he who has faith in him will never be shamed.'

So, the Jews (those who practice Judaism) can never be considered righteous as long as they continue to trip over the 'stumbling stone,' their promised Messiah, Jesus.

For more information, see the linked document, JeruSalem and the IsraEl of God.

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Eating Jesus' Flesh and Drinking His Blood

At Jesus' 'Last Supper,' which fell on the first day of the Jewish celebration of the Passover, he instituted a ritual that he told his Apostles to continue to do in memory of him and of his death. At Luke 22:19, 20, we read: 'Then he took a loaf [of bread], gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to them saying, This is my body, which is being handed over for you. Keep doing this in memory of me. And he did the same thing with the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new Sacred Agreement of my blood, which is being poured out for you.'

Notice that he didn't say this means; he said this is (gr. tauto estin). However, contrary to the beliefs of some (that these emblems actually become flesh and blood), they appear to have been just symbols. So, partaking of Jesus' 'flesh and blood' likely symbolizes that those who do so are expressing their desire to become a party to the 'New Sacred Agreement,' which he had just inaugurated.

Speaking ahead of time concerning this ritual, Jesus said (at John 6:53-56), 'I tell you the truth: If you don't eat the flesh of the Son of Man or drink his blood, you won't live. For, if you chew my flesh and drink my blood, you'll have life within yourself, and then I'll resurrect you on the Last Day, because, my flesh is truly food and my blood is truly a drink. Those who chew on my flesh and drink my blood will stay in me and I [will stay] in them.'

It is isn't surprising that these words of Jesus were considered disgusting to most Jews that he was speaking to, for their dietary regulations (from the Law) forbade drinking any blood or eating unclean (human?) flesh. As the result, many of Jesus' disciples stopped following him at that time. So surely, Jesus said this to test and cull out those who believed in his miracles, but wouldn't understand his death and resurrection. However, Jesus' Apostles stayed, because, as Peter said (in verses 68, 69), 'Lord, whom should we go off to? You say the words of age-long life, and we have known and believed that you're the Holy One of God!'

When should this Memorial of Jesus' Death be observed? The fact that it was instituted on the Passover, gives us a clue. This Jewish Observance was held annually on the night of the full moon closest to the Spring Equinox in JeruSalem. And what the Jews were celebrating was symbolic of Jesus' death, namely, the saving of the IsraElite 'firstborn' when God's messenger brought the last plague upon Egypt (which resulted in God's people being set free). For more information, see the linked document, The Passover and the Lord's Evening Meal.

Who should partake of the symbolic bread and wine at that time? The Scriptures say, those who want 'age-long life' and who wish to be resurrected 'on the Last Day.'

For more information, see the linked document, 'The New Covenant.'

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John

John (who wrote the Bible books of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation) was apparently one of Jesus' earliest followers. And although many Bible critics and commentators have pointed out that John my not have written the books attributed to him (because of language and style differences), remember that; when he did his writing he was almost 100 years old, so like Paul, he likely used others as secretaries to do the actual writing, and this would explain the variations in writing styles.

John and his brother James, whom Jesus had appointed to be his Apostles (or Sent Ones), were Galileans (considered 'country bumpkins' by people in Judea) who worked as fishermen for their father in a business that seemed to be co-owned by Peter (Simon).

Some Bible critics have describe John as a laid-back dreamer. However, notice that Jesus referred to him and his brother as 'the Sons of Thunder' (at Mark 3:17). So this common view of John's passive personality doesn't seem to be well founded.

It is interesting that John appears to have been known and liked by the Jewish Chief Priest, CaiAphas. For, notice what the account at John 18:15, 16 tells us, 'Now, Simon Peter (and another disciple) followed Jesus. The Chief Priest was familiar with that disciple, so he went into the High Priest's courtyard along with Jesus, but Peter stood outside at the door. Then the disciple who knew the High Priest went outside and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in.'

So, many of the things that happened and were said inside the Chief Priest's house (as well as in the palaces of Pilate and Herod after Jesus' arrest) seem to have come to us as the result of John being there and serving as an eyewitness. Therefore, Peter wasn't the only disciple who stayed with Jesus after his arrest.

So, why was John (a disciple of Jesus) allowed into this important meeting? It appears as though John was a relative of the High Priest, for Acts 4:5, 6 tells us: 'Then the next day, they held a meeting in JeruSalem that included the rulers, elders, and Scribes, as well as AnNas the Chief Priest, CaiAphasJohn, Alexander, and all the rest of the Chief Priest's relatives.'

It's a fact that; whenever Peter and John were together, as when they stood before the Jewish High Court, Peter did most of the talking. However, this doesn't appear to have happened because Peter outranked John in the Congregation, or because John was tongue-tied or shy. Rather, it seems as though John deferred to Peter because he was older, and a friend and his father's business partner. You will notice that later on, John, Peter, and James (not John's brother, who was an early Christian martyr, but James the half-brother of Jesus and the writer of the book of James) were referred to by Paul as the 'pillars' of the early Christian Congregation in JeruSalem. And thereafter, James served as the spokesman for the three, when the matter of circumcising the gentiles had to be decided.

As Jesus prophesied, John appears to have lived the longest of all the Apostles, dying at around the age of 100, either by execution or as the result of old age, or poor health (from his long stay in an ancient prison). And it was shortly before his death that he did all his writing. So, the book of John is quite different in its format from the Gospels of Mark and Luke, which seem to be more based on and influenced by the book of Matthew.

For this reason, the Gospel of John provides us a far greater insight into who Jesus actually was and the things that he thought and did. John was obviously very impressed with the privilege he had of being 'the loved Apostle' of the most important individual who ever walked this earth, and of the privilege that he and others would have of becoming 'one' with Jesus and his Father in heaven. So, the opening words of the book of John reflect that awe, as he poetically tried to impress us with the full meaning of who Jesus actually was in his pre-human life as 'the one-and-only' son of God.

John's three epistles (letters) were written to congregations to warn of the dangers that they were facing from within. This is because 'the great turning away' that Paul foretold was already in progress. For, 'Christians' were starting to deny that Jesus was the 'Promised One,' or perhaps that there ever was a Jesus. So, John labeled them as the 'Antichrists,' and he told Christians not to have anything to do with such individuals.

In John's book of Revelation, he recorded a vision of 'the Lord's Day,' which he received from God through Jesus. And although some critics have concluded that this was some sort of hallucination, the Revelation provides a fitting climax to the entire Bible by bringing together the four mysterious characters mentioned in the first Bible prophecy (Genesis 3:16) about the snake, its seed, the woman, and her seed. There it fills in all the gray areas as to who each of these individuals would prove to be, and it shows the full meaning of the roles they will play in God's purposes. Far from a hallucination, the Revelation explains in detail what is really happening to us today, what will soon happen, and what hope there is for all obedient mankind. For more information, see the linked document, The Seed - God's Kingdom.

We have noted that some 'Bible scholars' have concluded that there were actually three Johns who wrote the Bible books… one who wrote the book of John, one who wrote the epistles, and a third one who wrote the Revelation. Part of the reason for this conclusion is that John didn't identify himself by name in the books bearing his name, but he uses his name frequently in the Revelation. However, certain common words that are used in each of the writings clearly identify John as their author, and they show that each of the works were written at about the same time. The unique description of Jesus as the Word at John 1:1 and Revelation 19:13, ties both of those writings to the same John. And the number of similar words and phrases between the book of John and his epistles are too numerous to discuss here. So, there was definitely only one Bible writer named John.

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The Dead

Revelation 20:12 speaks of the 'dead' 'standing before the throne' and 'being judged.' Since they are able to stand for judgment, in what sense are they dead?

Note that at Matthew 9:60, Jesus said, 'Let the dead bury their dead.' And at Romans 8:10, Paul speaks of the body being 'dead' because of sin. Then at 1 Corinthians 15:22 he explains that, 'Because of Adam, all men are dying.'

So the conclusion we must reach is that all men are considered as dead and dying before God, due to inherited (and their own) sins. Thus, the scriptures in Revelation Twenty appear to be speaking of people who are no longer physically dead (for they will have already been resurrected), that will stand before God and be judged either to age-long life, or to the permanent destruction of the 'lake of fire.'

However, from the promises of Jesus, it does appear as though people can be considered no longer dead even before the resurrection. For, notice what is recorded that he said, at John 5:24: 'I tell you the truth: He who hears what I say and believes in the One that sent me, will have age-long life… he won't come into the judgment, for he has crossed over out of the death and into the life!'

And John wrote again at 1 John 3:14 'Because we love our brothers, we know that we've crossed over from death to life. However, those who don't love stay dead.'

So, it appears as though a person is no longer considered to be 'dead' by God, when his/her name is written in 'the book of life.' This doesn't mean that they won't die, but that they are considered as 'alive' in God's eyes, and they will not be counted among the dead who are raised in the resurrection (for more information, see the linked document, The Resurrection).

This appears to be the meaning of Jesus' words at Matthew 22:32, which say, 'Haven't you read what God told you about the resurrection of the dead, [when he said], I am the God of AbraHam, the God of IsaAc, and the God of JacobHe isn't the God of the dead, but of the living!'

Also, this appears to be the meaning of his words as found at John 6:54-56, where he said, 'For, if you chew my flesh and drink my blood,you will have life within yourselves, and then I'll resurrect you on the Last Day, because my flesh is truly food and my blood is truly drink. Those who chew on my flesh and drink my blood will stay in me and I [will stay] in them.'

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Who Are the Anointed?

Notice that in this Bible translation, 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22 (for example) says, 'The One who guarantees that we all belong to the Anointed One, and He who anointed us, is God.'

So, why didn't these translators just go ahead and render the word (Anointed) as Christ – as countless other translators have done? For two reasons:

· Because Christ has almost totally lost its meaning to most Bible readers today, and most have come to believe that 'Christ' was Jesus' last name. It wasn't.

· Because Christ is a word that was made up by early Bible translators and is only used in that form when they think that the Bible was speaking of Jesus. In other places it is correctly translated as anointed.

If you look at the above verse in Greek, you'll see that it reads, 'Ho de bebaion hemas syn hymin eis Christon kai chrisas hemas Theos,' or, 'The of stabilizing us with you into Anointed and anointing us God.'

You will notice here that Christon (Christ or Anointed) and chrisas (anointing) are both derived from the same root word, which by the way, is Greek for olive oil. Why olive oil? Because that substance was traditionally poured over the heads of those whom God chose to be kings or priests over IsraEl. For example, David and Solomon were both anointed (oil was poured over their heads) in proof of the fact that they had been chosen by God to be kings over IsraEl.

So, the word means anointed. But if you prefer the word Christ, then Saul, David, and Solomon were Christs, for you can't have it both ways. As an example; look at the words that David spoke about Saul, as found at 1 Samuel 24:6 (LXX): 'Kai eipin David pros tous andras autouMedamos moi para kiriou ei poieso to hrema touto to kyrio mou to christo kyriou epenegkai cheira mou ep auton hoti christoskyriou estin autos,' or 'Said David to the men of/his: By/no/means of/me from the/Lord if I/should/do this thing to my/Lord to/the Christ (Anointed) of/the/Lord to/raise my/hand against him, for the/Christ (Anointed) of/the/Lord this is.'

So as you can see; if Christos should be translated as Christ, then unrighteous King Saul was also Christ. However, almost all Bibles translate christos as anointed in this case (one of many instances).

Such a physical anointing with oil appeared to picture receiving God's Holy Breath, which happened to Jesus at his baptism, to 120 of Jesus' disciples at Pentecost of 33-C.E., and to other First-century Christians. So Jesus didn't really become the Christon (Christ, Anointed, or Chosen One) until he was anointed with Holy Breath at his baptism (when the 'dove' came down on him).

If you understand this nuance, you get the true meaning of the word Christ (Anointed) as it applies to Jesus; it means that he was the one who God chose to be king over His people. Also, Paul was telling the Christians in Corinth that they too would be anointed… become 'christs.' For, when they were 'anointed' and sealed in their hearts by God's Holy Breath, they were selected to be 'kings on the earth' (Revelation 5:10).

Notice what can be learned from a proper understanding of the Greek words by looking at Matthew 24:24. For there, many Bibles say that Jesus foretold the coming of false Christs and false prophets. But what he actually said was, 'Because false anointed ones and false prophets (gr. pseudo christon kai pseudo prophetai) will arise and they will perform great signs and omens to mislead (if possible) even the elected.'

So, Jesus wasn't necessarily saying that people would come claiming to be him, but people would come falsely claiming to be the anointed and prophets. For more information, see the linked document, False Anointed and False Prophets.

Another example of the poor use of the title Christ (implying Jesus) by Bible translators can be found at 1 Peter 1:10, 11, which reads in this Bible: 'When it comes to salvation, the Prophets looked and searched for this loving-care that's being shown to you. They tried, through the spirit of anointing that was in them, to determine the exact time and circumstances of the sufferings of the Anointed One and of his being glorified, which they knew about even back then.'

Other Bible say that it was the Spirit of Christ that was in the ancient Prophets. However, as we pointed out above, Jesus didn't become the Christ or the Anointed until after his baptism.

So, what Peter was saying in those verses, is that those ancient Prophets tried through the power of God's Breath which had anointed them to be Prophets, to determine the time and circumstances of the glorification of Jesus. For, if you check the wording of those verses in Greek, you'll see that there is no definite article preceding the first christou (anointed), which would be required if it was saying that the Spirit of the Christ (or the Anointed One) was in them.

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Never Die?

According to some Bible Translations, Jesus said (as recorded at John 8:51), 'Most truly I say to you, if anyone observes my word, he will never see death at all.' Yet, all of Jesus' faithful Apostles and disciples (who had certainly observed his word) died, for the Bible tells of how some of them did die. So, did Jesus lie?

No, rather, the way those words are translated in other Bibles is what is wrong. In Greek, John 8:51 reads, 'Amen, amen, lego hymin, ean tis ton emon logon teresethanaton ou me theorese eis ton aiōna,' or, 'Amen, amen (truthfully) I/say to/you, if/ever anyone the my word should/observe, death not not he/shall/behold into the age.'

Notice that the word death (thanaton) precedes age (aiōna), and the word for age is in the singular accusative tense; so he was saying thatthey wouldn't know death through the era or age. In other words, they would die, but they wouldn't be counted as dead through the age.

You will notice that Jesus used the same sentence structure at John 11:26, where he said, 'kai pas ho zon kai pisteuon eis eme ou me apothane eis ton aiōna, pisteueis touto?' or, 'and everyone the living and believing into me not not should/die into the age. Believe/you this?'

Therefore, we have translated the verse as, 'and all the living who believe in me won't be dead through the age. Do you believe this?'

For more information, see the linked document The Hereafter.

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Worshiping God in Spirit and Truth

What did Jesus mean when he told the Samaritan woman at the well (at John 4:24): 'For God is spirit, so those who worship Him must worship him in spirit… and in truth?'

To understand the meaning of what he was saying, it's best to look at the context. For, you will see that she had just said to him (in verse 20): 'Our ancestors worshiped here on this mountain, but you people say that JeruSalem is where people must worship.'

And Jesus then told her (verse 21), 'Believe me, woman; The time is coming when you won't worship the Father on this mountain or in JeruSalem!'

So what he was saying, was that the old form of worshiping God in designated places (such as at the Temple in JeruSalem) would soon end. And this was the setting for his words that followed (in verses 23, 24), where he said: 'The time is coming (and it's now), when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth… because the Father is searching for people like this to worship Him. For God is spirit, so those who worship Him must worship him in spirit and truth.'

Notice that in Greek, verse 24 reads: 'πνευμα ο θεος και τους προσκυνουντας αυτον εν πνευματι και αληθεια δει προσκυνειν,' or, 'breath is/the God and those worshiping him in breath and truth need him/worship.'

So, what did Jesus mean when he spoke of worshiping God in spirit (πνευμα pneuma – as in pneumonia)?

To arrive at the best meaning in this case, you have to think like ancient peoples who didn't have the benefit of our modern scientific discoveries; for to them, pneuma referred to the movement of air (as in wind or breath), which was a mysterious unseen power. And when Jesus spoke of God as being pneuma, he was simply saying that He is an unseen force. Then (in John 4), he went on to argue that since God is an unseen force, such tangible things as temples were no longer necessary, so God would thereafter be worshiped in unseen ways, without the need of tangible aids.

But, what about truth (as in spirit and truth)? Perhaps the best definition of what Jesus was saying can be found in his own words. For Jesus said (as recorded at John 17:17), 'Your Word is the truth.' And Paul wrote at Ephesians 6:17, 18, 'Also, accept the helmet of salvation andthe sword of the Spirit, God's word.'

So from those scriptures, we see that truth is found in God's word (the Bible), and that it is the sword of God's Breath (or Spirit). And the conclusion that could be logically reached, is that Jesus was telling us that the present arrangement for worshiping God must be based on our personal relationship with Him and on an intense study of the Bible.

For more information, see the linked document What Is Truth?

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Advocate, Helper, Comforter, or Savior?

The Greek word ParaCletos (pronounced: para-clay-toss), as found at John 16:7, has been translated many ways, and we aren't implying that these translations are wrong. However, the two words that make up this single combined word are para (next to) and cletos (caller); so, this combination of words appears to refer to an entity that stands next to us and calls out to God on our behalf. An online search for other meanings of ParaCletos turned up the word Lawyer, which implies someone who represents us legally, but we have chosen to translate it asAdvocate wherever it is found, (such as at 1 John 2:1, 2).

Another view of the meaning of ParaCletos comes from an Aramaic translator, who claims that the word is of Aramaic origin, and meansSavior, or, Another Savior. And we will allow that this quite different translation could be correct, because we know that Jesus likely spoke Aramaic to his Jewish disciples.

One argument that we found online presented Jesus as being the ParaCletos, because he was called the paraclete at 1 John 2:1, 2. However, the words of Jesus himself at John 16:7 seem to dispel that theory, for he said: 'For, if I didn't go away, the Advocate wouldn't come to you. But if I go, I'll send him to you.' In Greek this reads: 'εαν γαρ μη απελθω ο παρακλητος ου μη ελθη προς υμας εαν δε πορευθω πεμψω αυτον προς υμας,' or (literally), 'if/ever for not I/should/go/off the ParaCletos not not would/come toward you. If/ever but I/should/goI/shall/send him toward you.' And if Jesus was the ParaCletos, he would simply have said, 'I will come to you.'

Therefore, we have assumed that the reference to Jesus being the ParaCletos in First John was not implying that Jesus was the Holy Spirit, but this is a simple reference to the fact that Jesus is also our advocate before God.

Of course, much has been made of Jesus' use of the personal pronoun him, when speaking of the ParaCletos or the Holy Spirit. This is because Trinitarians, in an attempt to tie him (or it) into a triune relationship with God and Jesus, like to speak of the ParaCletos as a third personality in that relationship. So, the use of the word him in these cases is a hotly-debated topic.

Then, what is the ParaCletos? Well, the answer is simply unclear (not enough information in the Scriptures), so we choose not to reach a firm conclusion (we like to leave jumping to conclusions to others). Could it be a person? That is strongly indicated by what Jesus said, as recorded at John 16:13-16. For, there we read: 'However, when that one (the Spirit of Truth) arrives, he will lead you to all truth. He won't be speaking from himself; he'll just tell you what he hears, and announce the things that are coming. That one will glorify me, because he will receive things from me and announce them to you.'

So, yes! It does sound like this Spirit could be a person. However, there are places in the Bible where good qualities (such as Wisdom) are also personified. So, it is difficult to reach a firm conclusion on whether Jesus was saying that this Spirit was another powerful individual. For, there are other indications that it is the power (or Spirit) of Jesus. Notice, for example, Paul's words at Romans 8:9, 10, where he wrote: 'However, if God's Breath lives in us, we aren't fleshly but spiritual… and whoever doesn't have the Spirit of the Anointed One doesn't belong to him. So, if the Anointed One is in you, your body is indeed dead through sin, but the spirit is alive through righteousness.'

Now, it's important to recognize that the Holy Spirit that was poured out upon Christians on Pentecost 33-C.E. was something quite different from the Holy Spirit that the Apostles already had. For, Jesus had imparted Holy Spirit to them when he sent them out to preach sometime before his death. Thus, they had already used this power to cure illnesses, infirmities, and to cast out demons. So, this was clearly not the same a the Holy Spirit that they received and which allowed them to perform great works and powers on Pentecost!

Therefore, since Jesus' Apostles already had God's Spirit or Breath, as did many other ancient faithful Prophets and leaders, we might assume that this Advocate (ParaCletos), which arrived on Pentecost of 33-C.E. was the Spirit of Jesus, and that it performed in an even more powerful way on behalf of early Christians, literally calling out to God on their behalf, and making them one with Jesus. However, at Acts 1:4, this Spirit or Breath was said to have come from the Father.

Notice that Jesus gave a further description of this special Spirit at John 14:16, where he called it the Spirit of Truth. And at Acts 1:5, Jesus said that his disciples would be baptized in it. So, similar to the visible outpouring of God's Spirit or Breath on Jesus at his baptism (which appears to be the point of his anointing and receiving special powers), the outpouring of Holy Spirit on Pentecost appears to be the point where the disciples were anointed, given special powers, and it is when they were born from above (John 3:3).

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People or Men?

The Greek word anthropois, which is usually translated as men, actually refers to man as the species, not necessarily to the gender; so, we have often translated it as people, to show that gender may not be implied in a particular case.

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Tent

The statement found at Leviticus 26:11 ('I will pitch My tent among you') may sound unusual to most people. For, why would God refer to Himself as living in a tent?

The Greek word that we have translated as tent is skene (pronounced skaynay). This word is used throughout the Bible and may also be translated as booth and as tabernacle. But really, none of these words (tent, booth, or tabernacle) is an accurate description of what skenemeans in the English language. It implies a temporary-type dwelling that can be made of cloths, skins, or sticks and branches. For example, God's Sacred Tent in the desert was made of cloth and covered with skins, while the tents that the IsraElites were to live in during what has become known as 'the Festival of Booths,' was made of sticks and branches.

The Greek word oikos (pronounce oy-koss), on the other hand, refers to a permanent dwelling, and it is usually translated as house. For example; When the IsraElites were wandering in the desert, the Sacred Tent of Jehovah was to be temporary, but Solomon later built His Temple, which was often referred to as a House, since it was a permanent structure. However, house in this case doesn't mean home, because God never really lived there. And that may be the reason why He refers to His coming to 'tent' with mankind (as at Revelation 21:3). The term likely refers to His temporary presence or representation, not to His coming to the earth to live among us.

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Gods

At Psalm 82:1 we read, 'Our God has stood in the gathering of gods, and in the midst of the gods He judges.'

This verse – in fact, this entire Chapter – is usually not (or is only vaguely) understood. Who are the 'gods' that God meets with and judges? Psalm 82:6 tells us, 'I said You are gods; of the Most High you're sons.' So, these words seem to apply to individuals who were created directly by God… His messengers (angels), and what became known as the demons (spirits who had receive God's adverse judgment).

The usual explanation of Psalm 82:6 is that God was speaking to humans, for Jesus quoted this scripture at John 10:34-36, when he said, 'Isn't it written in your Law, I say that you are gods? If He called those who were spoken against in God's Word gods (and you can't void the Scriptures), how can you tell me (one who was made holy and sent into the world by the Father) that I blaspheme because I say I'm God's Son?'

However, notice that Jesus wasn't saying that his listeners were gods; he was saying that those who God met with and judged (as mentioned in the Psalms) were called gods. And these were not only God's sons (direct creations of God), but they lived in 'dark places' or Tartarus (seePsalm 82:5).

God has not come and met with gatherings of men, but He has met with all His spirit creation, as Job 1:6 tells us. So from the context, we must assume that God was calling His wicked spirit sons gods, and He was warning them that when the old 'lands and skies' pass away (see 2 Peter 3:12, 13), they too will be destroyed.

Notice that at Exodus 7:1 God told Moses, 'Look! I've made you a god to PharaOh, and your brother Aaron is your Prophet.' So, was Moses literally turned into a god? Yes he was, if you understand what the word really means.

We recognize that this concept may be a bit difficult to grasp for people who were raised in a monotheistic society where the word god refers to just one individual. However, remember that the Greeks (whose language we are translating) were a polytheistic society (they worshiped many gods), and to them the word theos (god) referred to a large group of individuals who were more powerful than men. So in Greek, theosjust means powerful one, not Creator (which is what the Hebrew Name Jehovah implies – He who causes to be).

Also, notice how God again used the word gods at Exodus 22:28 to refer to men. In Greek this verse reads, 'theous ou logeseis,' or, 'of/godsnot speak/badly.' But if you read the context, you will see that God was telling the IsraElites not to speak badly of powerful humans here.'

Therefore, recognize that the terms god and gods just refer to the powerful. And even men can be gods… that is, in the truest sense of the word's meaning (powerful ones). So a word-for-word literal translation of John 1:1 (for example) can read, 'In the beginning was the Word; and the Word was toward the Powerful One; and powerful was the Word.'

Then, why did we use the term God, rather than Powerful One at John 1:1 to describe The God? We've left the first term (God) in place, because that's what people call the Divine One today.

So, is the Logos the God or just god (powerful)? From the context of John 1:1, it appears as though Jesus (the Logos) is theos – powerful – but not The God (gr. ton Theon). For, notice that Jesus described himself as simply God's son (gr. Uios tou Theou eimi) at John 10:36.

Also, notice that at John 1:1, the words Logos (λογος) and Theon (θεον) are both preceded by the definite article the (ο λογος and τονθεον), except in the case where the Logos is referred to simply as theos (θεος). By employing such wording, John was obviously differentiating Jesus from The God. You can clearly see the differences in the words when you read John 1:1, 2, which says in Greek: ' αρχη ην ο λογος, και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον, και θεος ην ο λογος. Oυτος ην εν αρχη προς τον θεον.'

That the early Christians didn't view Jesus as The God is supported by the fact that Christians still worshiped at the Temple of Jehovah in JeruSalem until shortly before it was destroyed in 70-C.E. (see Acts 3:1-3). This is because Christian Jews didn't consider Christianity to be a new religion with a new god, but rather, that it was the natural outgrowth of the old, and Jesus was the promised 'Messiah' or 'Anointed One of God' who was to assume 'the throne of David his father.'

As you can see, Jesus (who is referred to as 'the Word' here) was called 'powerful' (or godlike), but the following verses show that he wasn't 'The powerful one' (The God). Rather, he was just powerful like (but greater than) Moses. It is the same as in the case of God's words to Moses at Exodus 7:1, where He said that Moses was to be PharaOh's god. Moses was given a position of power over PharaOh.

For more information, see the document, Who Was Jesus?

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Hate, Dislike, or Care Less for?

The Greek word meso means middle (as in the English term, meso soprano). However, it is often translated as middle, midst, among, andHATE in other Bibles. Obviously, hate (an extreme emotion) isn't conveyed by the word middle, which simply means less. For that reason, the word is translated as dislike (or the equivalent) herein, when it refers to the emotion.

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