John 14:7 – …from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Was Jesus Proclaiming Himself To Be God?
Many of us who carry the banner of being Apostolic/Oneness have often used John 14:7-9 to support the teaching that the man Jesus Christ was actually proclaiming himself to be God the Father as well as being the Son of God. Having been brought up in an Apostolic home I am familiar with this teaching. I consider myself Apostolic, in that I follow and believe the teachings of Jesus Christ and the doctrine taught by his disciples the Apostles. However, in my reading and study of the scriptures, this is not what John 14:7 (nor John 14:9) says or implies.
Let’s take a careful look at each line.
If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
There are three statements made within this first passage alone, each one makes it abundantly clear that Jesus is referencing someone else.
First, Jesus’ reference to “my Father” is in reference to someone other than himself.
Second, it says “henceforth you know him” (it doesn’t say “henceforth ye know me”),
Third, it ends by saying “and have seen him” (it doesn’t say “and you see me” – present tense)
Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Many ignore the significance of this passage also. Philip certainly didn’t have the impression that Jesus was proclaiming himself to be God the Father because he asked Jesus to show Him the Father.
The request was actually a challenge to Jesus to produce some visible evidence (shew us that it sufficeth us) to show them God.
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Even in this particular passage, we can ascertain that Thomas and Philip had been with Jesus for a long time (as his disciples/students) and Jesus was challenging their recall of His teachings. Like many of us, they apparently forgot the fact that Jesus (Yahshua) in his response in John 14:7-9 was speaking about the authority He had been given from God to speak for God (John 12:49-50) (See also: Is God And Jesus The Same Person?)
There are at least 2 questions we should be able to answer, concerning these passages:
Have you ever wondered why Jesus DID NOT say
“I am the Father?”
Jesus was not teaching in parables in his response to Philip. If Jesus wanted his disciples to believe he was God the Father, He could have stated, “I am the Father, I am standing right here before you.” But the fact is, Jesus never once claimed to be God during His lifetime (on Earth or in Heaven). Jesus is not a liar, pretender, or a fake. Jesus never said he was God, he never pretended to be God and he never tried to make anyone believe it either.
So when we look at the teachings of the men Jesus personally selected and taught (the Apostles) and what they taught others it becomes impossible to deny that what many churches are teaching today is not the same. These men actually knew Jesus personally, they followed him throughout his ministry, ate with him, and watched his life and his ministry; I believe they were more of an authority on the teachings of Jesus than any of us especially when they received it directly from Jesus Christ. None of these men, those that were closest to Jesus, believed, preached, or taught anyone that Jesus was God the Father. These men are the men Jesus trusted to carry his gospel into the entire world, in the New Testament writings these men, especially Paul, clearly delineate between God and Jesus. They are not confused, they are not contradicting the teachings of Jesus Christ, and they are carrying the message they were given without adding to or taking away from the truth they were handed.
Many pastors today preach with great vigor and with great conviction but their message (if preaching Jesus to be God the Father) is not one taught by any of the Apostles, those men that knew Jesus well enough to count it an honor to die for his message. I certainly believe the Apostles will be caught up in the air to be with Christ when Christ returns, not only for the life they lived but also for believing Jesus to be the Son of God as they taught. Not one of these men taught Jesus was God the Father. In fact here is what the record declares (John 6:69 – “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”)
Surprisingly, people even manage to ignore the proceeding passage that follows (John 14:7-9) and clarifies Jesus’ statement.
“I Speak Not Of Myself”
“….the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works…..”
Most importantly, it is this statement, in verse 10, from Jesus himself, “I speak not of myself,” that makes clear that Jesus was not speaking about himself as being God the Father, literally, but that He was being moved by God (God’s Spirit) and therefore could speak with such authority.
Jesus was clearly speaking as He was moved by the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit that dwelt within)
Note: God gave Jesus the commands (instructions) as to what He should say and do.
John 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
John 12:50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
All of the Bible passages have to be read and understood in such a way that they are both sound in doctrine and harmonize without contradicting God’s Word given us through Christ (Heb 1:1-5)
(See also: Frequently Asked Questions About Creation ).
Why would you have to believe that Jesus is God in order to obtain God’s Plan of Salvation?
Why should anyone be required to believe Jesus is God (or teach others the same) in order for man to obtain God’s Plan of Salvation when the Word of God sets forth no such terms or conditions as requirements?
Why should we teach others to believe some non-biblical man-made criteria (Jesus is God the Father) and then present it through our preaching as if it is true and necessary for God’s plan of Salvation?
Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
The Word of God clearly says that we are to BELIEVE Jesus is the SON OF GOD, just as the Bible says. (John 3:16, 6:40; 1 John 4:14-15, 5:5, 5:10)
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