Saturday, July 15, 2023

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (John 14)

John chapter 14 continues Jesus's parting message to the Apostles. He talks a lot about Heaven and the Holy Ghost. Speaking of Heaven, When was heaven created? The verses on this page are talking about different things. "In the beginning" and "when the earth was created" are the same time. As I'm pretty sure I mentioned in Genesis somewhere, the Jews believed in three "heavens": the atmosphere, outer space, and the dwelling place of God (in 2Corinthians 12:2 Paul talks about being "caught up to the third heaven"). Now here in John 14, Jesus is not talking about creating Heaven, but essentially preparing it for guests in some way. Theologically, up until now, nobody has been in Heaven but God and his angels.

I just talked about the disciples asking where Jesus was going in the previous chapter. The SAB marks Jesus's claim to be the only way to Heaven as intolerant, and while I suppose it may be, if it's the truth, it's the truth. Now of course there are Christians who believe in universal salvation, and they would say everyone gets to Heaven because Jesus died for the sin of the world, which is certainly possible, but seems unlikely given other things Jesus says. Jesus says, "if you have seen me you have seen the Father," prompting the SAB to ask, "Can God be seen?" (which I answered in John chapter one) and "Is Jesus God?" (which I answered in another post in John one).

Jesus says, "whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do." This the SAB calls, "The greatest lie ever told." Now I understand why someone would think that, because on the straightforward fully literal sense, it's not true. Once again, I don't think it's saying what the SAB thinks it's saying. The phrase "in my name" doesn't mean, "If you tack the name Jesus onto the end of any prayer, your wish will be magically granted." Rather, as I've discussed before, a person's "name" is like their reputation, and in Jesus's case--and here in this verse--it means the essence of who Jesus is. The point here, and I know skeptics are going to call it a cop-out, is that if you ask for something that aligns with God's will, you will see your prayer answered.

Will Jesus's second coming be visible to all? I don't think this is really a contradiction. Once again, this is a matter of taking "no more" to be a more absolute statement than Jesus is meaning it to be. I think it suffices to say that nobody living at the time Jesus spoke those words would see Jesus again on earth after his ascension. Who sent the Holy Ghost? Again, not a contradiction; both Jesus and the Father sent him.

Is Jesus peaceful? I'm sure I covered this somewhere in one of the other gospels, but yes, these verses can be confusing. Let me clear up a handful that don't really belong here. The Matthew 26 and Luke 22 passages are not about peace or war, but are simply about self-defense; in the Luke passage, Jesus suggests the Apostles should arm themselves, because they will likely find themselves in danger after Jesus is gone, and in Matthew, Jesus is just telling Peter to let things unfold as peacefully as possible rather than starting a fight he can't win. As for the rest, the peace that Jesus brought to earth was peace between man and God by taking away the sin of the world. However people who accept this peace will often find themselves in struggle against those who do not accept it. And of course, in the Revelation passage, there is a literal war, with Jesus as the commander-in-chief of one side.

"Is Jesus God?" and "Who is the Lord of the earth?" are questions I answered in John chapter one and John chapter 12 respectively.

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