Tom: We are continuing with the gospel—we are in the Gospel of John, chapter 14. Dave, last week you gave our listeners an assignment. I hope they came back with their assignment completed and it has to do, I’m pretty sure, with verse 28. Let me read that: “You have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.” I think the last part there—“my Father is greater than I”—was the assignment you gave. How can that be, Dave? How can God—Jesus, who is God, fully God, God made flesh, who came in the flesh—how could the Father be greater than Jesus if Jesus is God?
Dave: Well, of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses love that expression, and they say that proves that Jesus is not God. Well, we have it over and over—six chapters ago, we read in John 8, where He said to the Jews, “Except you believe that I Am…” and he didn’t say “I Am he”… “I Am,” that’s the declaration “Yahweh.” “My name is Yahweh.” God says, “I Am that I Am.” So Jesus says, “If you don’t believe that I Am [in other words, “that I am God”], you will die in your sins and where I go you cannot come.”
Now, you could say on the one hand, “He is saying this as a man,” and certainly as the man Christ Jesus, He is in subjection to his Father, God the Father. On the other hand, you know, “greater” doesn’t mean necessarily greater in power or of greater importance, but the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—we get the impression from the Bible that, on the one hand, they are all equal. On the other hand, none of them acts independently from the other, and the Father seems to be honored in this Trinity as—I don’t know, the one who is the source, the one who is first—Father, Son, Holy Spirit, there is an equality. For example, the marriage between husband and wife—the wife is in subjection to her husband, but it doesn’t mean that he is better than she is. There is a unity, a oneness, and yet someone is acknowledged as the one who…I don’t know how to say it, Tom—the chief authority—but it’s a relationship of love, it’s a relationship of harmony, and a relationship of equality.
And so, Jesus certainly is saying this as man, but, well, when we get to chapter 16, verse 13: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself.” I can remember, years ago, I used that verse against Pentecostal people, and I said, “They are always talking about the Holy Spirit, but it distinctly says the Holy Spirit doesn’t talk about himself.” But that’s not what it says: “He shall not speak of himself”—that means on His own initiative. He doesn’t initiate what He is saying, and it goes on, and it says: “But whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.” So the Holy Spirit doesn’t launch out independently. Jesus doesn’t launch out independently. The Father doesn’t launch out independently. They work as one, and yet Jesus is honoring the Father. Tom, I cannot explain it. He’s honoring Him not just as man, but as within the Godhead. Jesus says He doesn’t do anything that the Father doesn’t say, doesn’t initiate, and the Holy Spirit is the same.
Tom: So, in no way is this indicating any inferiority whatsoever.
Dave: Right. Exactly.
Tom: We have a priority of things.
Dave: It’s an honoring of the Father, but He says, “I am going away, and I’m going to go away and come again,” and the disciples did not understand this at all. They didn’t want Him to go away. They thought He was going to take David’s throne, and they would be ruling beside Him. We commented on that, I think, last week. It shocked them! It saddened them that He would be going away and leaving them, and He has been telling them that in this entire section here of the Gospel of John: “You have heard how I said [I have already said it], I’m going to go away,” and that’s how John 14 began. “I go away. I will come again to receive you unto myself. If you love me you would rejoice because I am going to the Father. I came from the Father, I am going back to the Father and…” —remember at the beginning of this chapter, He said, “If I go back to my Father, I’m going to prepare a place for you, that where I am, you might be there. I am going to receive you up there.”
And you know, we talk about the Rapture, and there are people who say, “Well, the rapture is not in the Bible, you know.” Well, 1 Thessalonians 4, we do have rapere or raptus. In the Latin Bible, “rapture” is certainly there, an ecstatic catching away. But what else could you get out of this? Jesus said, “I am going to the Father’s house, but I’m going to come again and take you up there.” Now, isn’t that taking us from this earth into heaven, to his Father’s house? So, call it what you will, Jesus said He’s going to take His own out of this world, and He’s going to take us to His Father’s house.
And the Bible indicates—you know, this ties in with what we have been saying earlier. This world is ripening for judgment. There is a time of wrath—God’s wrath is coming upon this whole world. It’s going to be horrible, incomprehensible. I mean, you read of it in Revelation, and you can’t even face it. I mean, it’s too horrible to imagine, and this is what is coming. He’s not going to leave His own on this earth during that time. He will be taking us out of here.
Tom: Dave, just let me go back to one thing you said. I find it curious. Rapture—and you said in the Latin what is it, rapturio?
Dave: Raptus or rapere.
Tom: Rapere, right. Now that would only be in a Catholic Bible, right? But Catholics don’t believe in the Rapture. Yet we are using the very term, “the rapture,” out of their Bible. This would be the Vulgate, Jerome’s Bible.
Dave: Yeah, but it’s not just they don’t believe in this catching away—they don’t have much to say about…well, I guess you eventually get to heaven down the line somewhere, but the Catholic church—although Jesus said, “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight; but my kingdom is not of this world.” The popes built a huge kingdom—in fact, they intended to take over the world “for God,” of course! And you would get that from Augustine, The City of God, that they are trying to build, the city of God on this earth, and this was what John Calvin tried to do in his own way in Geneva. And you know that we have the so-called Preterists, who believe that the church is supposed to take over the world today, and the Reconstructionists use Geneva, Calvin’s Geneva, as kind of their model. “We’re going to take over the United States; we are going to take over—get our people in high political office. We’re going to take over the media and the schools and make this a Christian country and a Christian world.” Jesus distinctly said, “No, you are not going to do that. You’re not going to take over the world, and that’s not our idea. I want you to preach the gospel in order to fit people for heaven, because I’m going to take them out of this world to my Father’s house.” A big distinction!
Tom: Right. Verse 29: “And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” There we have almost prophecy, but immediate prophecy related to what Jesus is going to do.
Dave: And Tom, you could tie that in with Isaiah:46:9,10, where God says, “I am the God of prophecy. I will prove my existence, and I will prove that the Bible is my word by telling you what is going to happen before it happens, and when it happens, then you will know that I am God.” And Jesus is doing the same thing, and He has said this before also. You get this in chapter 13, where He says, “One of you will betray me, and I’m telling you what’s going to happen before it happens so you will know…[there He says], So you will know that I Am,” and there again, you have the declaration that He is God. So Jesus is very clearly saying that He is Yahweh of the Old Testament; He is the God who said, “I’ll tell you what will happen before it happens.” It’s fantastic how this Bible all hangs together. You cannot escape it—this is God’s Word and this should have brought great joy to the disciples, and it certainly brings great joy to us today to know the one in whom we have believed.