Sunday, June 26, 2016

Pharisees and High Priests were "the Princes of this world"

Friends,

It is generally believed that the expression "the prince of this world", found in the gospel of John (Joh 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), points to Satan / Devil.

The Prince of this world had to be cast out during Jesus' times.

Joh 12:31 NowG3568 is the judgment of this world: nowG3568 shall the prince of this world be cast out.

In this statement 'now' stands for the point of time at which Jesus spoke these words, and not the time at which you read them. The Greek word translated as "now" in this passage is νῦν (noon, G3568 in Strong's Lexicon.) In the New Testament, this word is rendered as:
  • 'now' 121 times.
  • 'this time' 7 times.
  • 'henceforth' 4 times.
  • 'present time' 4 times.
It would be utter chaos if the 130+ verses in which this word is used is understood with any futuristic connotations.


The Prince of this world who came to arrest Jesus!


Joh 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

Though Jesus told his disciples that he won't speak to them much, what follows in one of his longest speeches, laid out in the 15th and 16th chapters, followed by the well known prayer of Jesus in the 17th chapter. And, once the prayer is done, here comes the prince of this world!
Joh 18:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.
Joh 18:2 And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.
Joh 18:3 Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.
While Jesus told "I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh", was not Jesus pointing to these men who came to arrest him? Yes, he was! The Old English usage of for in Joh 14:30 means "because of". [Because (since) the prince of this world is coming, I won't be able to talk to you much.]

One may object that the chief priests and Pharisees not physically present at the spot of Jesus' arrest. Luke has the answer for the objection:
Luk 22:52 Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves?

If the Chief Priests and Pharisees sent a band of officers to arrest Jesus, aren't they the instigators?

The Prince of this world was judged before the day of Pentecost!


The next "the prince of this world" passage is from Jesus' predicting the arrival of the Holy Spirit (the Comforter) on the day of Pentecost.

Joh 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Joh 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Joh 16:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
Joh 16:10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
Joh 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

So, the prince of this world is cast out and judged before the arrival of the Holy Spirit. If the reference were about Satan, as believed by many, he/she/it is already judged and cast out before the day of Pentecost!

The identity of the Prince of this world, according to Paul.


John has his own unique writing style and expressions. He is the only one who referred to Jesus Christ as the Word. He is the only one who referred to the Holy Spirit as the Comforter. Often do translators find it hard to translate John's writings, because of their poetic quality and unique expressions.

Paul is there to help us identify whom John refers to as the prince of this world:

1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
1Co 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Whoever got Jesus crucified is/are the prince of this world. the Devil/Satan has no role in the crucifixion of Jesus! It was the Jewish religious leaders who got Jesus killed!
1Th 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
1Th 2:15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:

Were the Chief Priests and Pharisees judged and cast out during the first century?


If your concept of judgment is that it has to be followed by immediate execution of throwing into a fiery place called hell, I don't think such things have happened. 

Have you ever wondered what would happen to Stevie Wonder if he is prohibited from singing? Or what would happen to a musician or singer if they lose their voice? They won't become common men and women. They would feel as if they were dead. The plight of the Jewish clergy was almost the same during the 40 years between the crucifixion of Jesus and the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD. Read this from the Jewish Talmud (the book of instruction) about the Day of Atonement celebrations after the times of Jesus:
Our Rabbis taught: Throughout the forty years that Simeon the Righteous ministered, the lot [‘For the Lord’] would always come up in the right hand; from that time on, it would come up now in the right hand, now in the left. And [during the same time] the crimson-colored strap would become white. From that time on it would at times become white, at others not. (Talmud, Tractate Yoma 39b, read the full text here.)
Lev 16:8-9 tells us that lots have to be cast to decide which of the two goats have to be the LORD's goat and which one has to be the scapegoat. We are not told about the process of casting lots. This is how it is done: The two goats are placed in front of the high priest. There is a wooden box containing two small wooden tablets. On one of the tablets it was written “for Jehovah,” and on the other “for Azazel” (scapegoat). The high priest, after shaking the box, would put both his hands into it and simultaneously takes out the two tablets, one in each hand. Whichever tablet comes in his right hand is for the goat across his right hand, and the other one for the other goat. It appears that the tablet with inscription "for Jehovah" used to came in the right hand of the high priest, consistently, indicating divine approval. During the 40 years prior to the destruction of the temple, the lot for LORD's goat sometimes used to come in the high priest's right and sometimes in his left, showing lack of divine approval.

After the scapegoat is selected, a crimson ribbon is tied on its horn and it is sent to the wilderness, accompanied by a man, a Levite. Half way into the wilderness, the crimson ribbon used to turn white, and the man accompanying the goat would indicate it to the high priest who would be waiting at the entrance of the tabernacle/temple, signifying that the high priest may go ahead with the rest of the atonement day sacrifices. (The man accompanying the scapegoat would push it down some cliff in the wilderness. The goat wou!d be completely dismembered before reaching the bottom of the cliff.) This crimson ribbon turning to white also became erratic during the 40 years after Christ.

There were many more indicators for God having rejected the Jewish sacrificicial system and their priesthood. What's a priest, once he is rejected by the deity, whom he is supposed to be serving? 

And as the final nail on the coffin, the temple was destroyed in 70AD, bringing an end to their priesthood! 1.1 million Jews were killed, thousands were sold as slaves, and many more thousands fled their land. 

The punishment that the Law of Moses suggested for Israelites (Jews) who reject the prophet that God would raise up after him (Moses) was that they would be cut off from among the people (and NOT HELL).
Acts 3:22-23 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. (The days in which Peter was speaking these words)
The moment Jews and their clergy rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah, their judgment happened and they were cast out from the presence of God.

In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal