See also: Rev. 12:17; 19:10; 20:4; Psa. 19:8; 1John 5:9-11
The questions Yeshua (Jesus) answered in John 14:15-31 are “Where is Yeshua going?” and “Where are we going?” We are living in the time of “now and the not yet.” The “now and not yet” of Moses day was the Exodus from Mitsraim (Egypt) to Canaan. The first generation experienced the “not yet,” while the second generation experienced the “now.” The “rest” promised them is the same as it is for us today (Hebrews 3-4). We need to know where our Provider is. He is with us now but He is taking us somewhere else too.
We will start today’s talk with the second half of John 14. This is a transition from John 14 into John 15-17. Yeshua has been dropping subtle and not so subtle hints to His Apostles that He will not be on earth much longer. It seems like Yeshua is talking in circles a bit but as we go through we can figure it out.
There are two phases to the “now and not yet” for us in the 21st Century, the “not yet” are the future events of the “Day of the Lord” and Messiah’s return with power. But this is not the only time in history that God’s people have had to live through a “now and not yet” promise. We can see that the children of Israel under Moses also lived under the shadow of “now and not yet” through the Exodus. Their “not yet” was their goal of settling returning to the Promised Land that was originally given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The first generation did not understand their moment, they were looking back towards Egypt so much that they did not see their “now” and did not see their future.
The relevance of the plagues, the escape from Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the army of Egypt drowning in the Red Sea escaped the generation that experienced it. They didn’t see God in the “now” so they didn’t trust Him in the “not yet.” Our Provider is with us today and also going to take us to our destination.
You’ll notice in John 14-15 the phrases such as “If you keep my word,” “if you keep my commandments” “my word is in you.” etc. pop up frequently. What is keeping the commandments?
The Greek word for the word that is translated as commandments in John 14-15 is entolē (Strong’s G1785). It’s the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word mitzvah (מצוה), which is translated as such in the Septuagint (Greek) version of the TaNaK. The plural (entolai) is used as a translation for the Hebrew word פקודים piqudim, which English translators translate as precept, order, command, charge, precept. An example of this is:
“The precepts [δικαίωματα, פִּקּוּדים] of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment [ἐντολή, מִצְוָה] of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (Psa. 19:8)
In Hebrew, there’s one word called shamar, which means guard. In Greek there are a couple of different words for shamar.
One of the main themes of the Book of Revelation is the connection between “commandments” and “testimony.” This thread runs all through Revelation. This will helps anchor us as we review the testimonies of the Prophets in the Tanak.
When you see how this is said in Revelation, you can take that lesson and see the connection. What are the things that do not change? The law and the testimony. Consistent with the now-and-not-yet message, the “now” comes via the testimonies of God and His Mashiakh, Yeshua.
“So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” (Rev. 12:17)
The word here for commandment is entolē, which we have noted before, is a Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word for mitzvot or mitzvah. The word that is translated here in English as testimony is the Greek word marturia (Strong’s G3141) which comes from matrurion (Strong’s G3142). Our English word martyr comes from this word. As we continue, you will discover what a true martyr is.
The Hebrew word for martyr is ‘eduwith (H5715) which means “testimony” or “witness.” You’ll often see this word used in the context of “The Testimony” which is an euphemism for the 10 commandments and the Tabernacle was called the “dwelling/tent of The Testimony.” This testimony is the source of all the mitzvot.
This word has a couple of Hebrew roots you need to keep in mind as we move forward:
- עֵד ʿed (H5707); contracted from H5749; concretely, a witness; abstractly, testimony. This is a consistent testimony where the story is the same every time it is repeated or recollected.
- עוּד ʿuwd (H5749); a primitive root; to duplicate or repeat; by implication, to protest, testify (as by reiteration, or repeat); intensively, to encompass, restore (as a sort of reduplication). A faithful witness repeats the same way each time the story is retold. It doesn’t change over time.
When God says “I am the LORD, I change not,” that is the testimony of God. He is dependable. He is not like the pagan deities who change on a whim. His unchangeability is rock solid. The mitzvot comes from the testimony of God.
When Yeshua says “there’s a new commandment I give you” go back to the testimony of God, of who He is and where He is going. When Moses asks God to reveal Himself, the list God gives Moses of His attributes looks a lot like the fruits of the spirit recorded by Paul in Galatians because God’s character does not change.
Every new moon, we read Ps. 19 but we also see it in Ps. 119. This is an expression of God’s character. The mitzvot are expressions of God’s character.
The testimony of God is about things that happen over and over again that are a faithful witness of where they come from and they are expressions that happened in time. They are fixed upon.
We encounter the word marturia frequently in the New Testament.
“If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. 11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” (1John 5:9–11)
Just as with the children of Israel in the Exodus, God had determined back in Abraham’s day that they would end up in the promised land. That was God’s testimony to them. He made a promise and He would fulfill it by any means necessary.
We can’t see over the horizon but God knows what is beyond that horizon is good for us and we are called to trust Him, regardless of how difficult the path. Do we trust in God and what He says about Himself or what others say about Him?
“I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Rev 1:9)
In John’s preamble, he uses this phrase “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” We see this phrase come up again later towords the end of Revelation.
“Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’ ” (Rev. 19:10)
“Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:4)
John 14 tells us that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. We think that prophesy is about predicting the future but prophesy is speaking for God. Prophets were faithful martyrs and witnesses.
It is about being a faithful witness, a faithful “martyr” for God. They are all talking about the same thing. These people who go through the Day of the Lord, are speaking to and are faithful witnesses of what they had heard, which are the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus. They are martyrs.
“Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.“He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” (John 14:23–24 NASB)
Yeshua was the faithful witness to God and with the Spirit, the Apostles would become faithful martyrs and witnesses for Him.
We are called the sons and daughters of God in the hear and now. The key phrase we see in John 14:18:
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18–19 NASB)
The Spirit is there to help remind us of God’s faithfulness. Just as God travel with Israel through the 40 years, He travels with us as our generations travels along waiting for the Day of the Lord.
This is fantastic news. The Good News is not just about a one-time historical event, such as the Exodus or the death and resurrection of Messiah. The salvation of the Lord is not just one point in time but continues on through time. This is why when the Scriptures talk about the Spirit being a Helper, the Helper is also an Adovcate. God doesn’t expect us to figure Him out on our own. God is not just taking us away from something but towards something. He is making us a new creation.
“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37–39)
The water pouring ceremony of Sukkoth, which was the setting for Yeshua’s words in John 7 echo Isaiah’s words in Is. 12:1-6. This future indwelling the Holy Sprit that Yeshua prophesies was also prophesied in the Tanak.
“Then you will say on that day, ‘I will give thanks to You, O LORD; For although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, And You comfort me. 2 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the LORD GOD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.’ 3 Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation. 4 And in that day you will say, ‘Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.’ 5 Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth. 6 Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isa. 12:1–6)
When we talk about Yeshua’s great expectation during Sukkot. Although God was angry, God would turn His anger away, not turn His people away. He had to discipline them but He didn’t abandon them.
This can give us comfort as we face the future. We are not orphans.
We sing this Hebrew song from Isa. 12:3: וּשְׁאַבְתֶּם־מַיִם בְּשָׂשׂוֹן מִמַּעַיְנֵי הַיְשׁוּעָה ush’avtem mayim b’sason mima’yiney ha-yeshua (We will draw water joyfully from the wells of the salvation.)
Holding on and clinging onto to God leads us to overcome and persevere through the horrendous things that are coming in the Day of the Lord.
We don’t want to be like the first generation who approached the land and saw the people of the land were too big and too much. They freaked out and lost faith.
We want to be like the generation who had faith in God’s power and saw His power was more than the power of man and cling to what God has gone and where He wants to take us. God took them out of Egypt and He could take them into the land of Canaan.
We are called to hold on to the memory of God. Yeshua had asked, as recorded in Matthew and Revelation, if He would find faith on the earth when He returns.
We don’t learn from history and because human nature hasn’t changed, God has to intervene in the same way to return the course. The fact that history repeats is the fingerprint of God, because He does not change.
Speaker: Jeff. Summary: Tammy.