The Historical or "Bird's Eye" view of John 6

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by The Biblicist, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    It was a pleasure to listen to Leighton Flowers rather than merely have a written debate with him, as it made a complete difference of how I viewed him. I think if he could listen to me, rather than merely read what I say it would make a complete difference in his perspective of me as well.


    Leigton Flowers argument that the "bird's eye" view of John 6 has to do with judicial hardness to Israel and that Jesus is dealing with the Apostles and only the apostles, while admitting there is a secondary application to us, is deeply flawed.

    1. The audience being addressed is not the apostles but those who had followed him over the sea of Galilee and had been witnesses of the feeding of the 5,000 - Jn. 6:2,5,14,22,24,41

    2. The Synagogue in Capernaum is the place where this discussion took place which no doubt included the religious leaders - v. 59

    3. The apostles were among a host of other disciples and there is no direct address to His disciples or the apostles until after verse 59, and only then because of the results it produced in some "disciples." The other disicples only come into the narrative because of the question directly addressed to those who remained which were MORE than the apostles as Acts 1:21-22 proves and the sending out of 70 proves.

    4. There is NO DIRECT ADDRESS to the apostles in this chapter - NONE



    So Flowers is wrong when he says the address in John 6:29-59 was directed to the apostles or the apostles were the direct audiance.


    Second, His view of judicial judgement is fundamentally wrong.

    Hardening is a progressive action that progresses with exposure to truth and the mental development to understand or comprehend. For example, mud progressively hardens according to the measure of direct exposure to the sun. The "mud" is mud by nature and so hardening is the NATURAL reaction whenever exposed to sunlight. The degree of hardening is determined by the length and/or intensity of sunlight it is exposed to. At some point it removes all moisture, and is thus in a permanent hardened condition. However, that does not mean it was not in the progress of hardening from the very moment it was exposed to sunlight. Likewise, the fallen man by nature is fallen, meaning the law of sin resides within him and permeates his whole being. Therefore, hardening begins at the very point of exposure to the Light of Truth and increasingly progresses according to the intensity of exposure to light.


    1. Flowers argument fails because he fails to understand that ALL human beings enter this world EXPERIENTIALLY and thus consciously ignorant of their own sin nature and of God's Law. However, this ignorance does not mean that either their sin nature or God's Law is absent. The consciousness of both is a matter of progression in mental growth and exposure to light, as it is this exposure that triggers the response of indwelling sin which sets off or triggers an internal struggle that may extend for moments to months depending upon how the individual can justify his experiential struggle in attempting to keep the law. However, it ALWAYS ends in experiential condemnation as explained by Paul in Romans 7:7-10.


    2. Israel had been directly exposed to the most intense form of Light in the Person, works and teaching of Jesus Christ. So the conscious experience between Israel and Christ entered into such a struggle over a prolonged period of time that eventually ended in all moisture removed and a hardened resistance and complete condemnation resulted.

    3. However, what is true of Israel as a nation is equally true of any fallen individual as nations are merely made up of individuals. That is why Jesus did not say "no NATION can come to me" but "no MAN can come to me" as all men are by nature totally destitute of ability to "come to Christ" by faith. All that truth does is manifest their nature. The struggle that persues is a hardening process which always results in complete hardness of heart.

    Flowers argues that their eyes had to be open, and ears had to be open before they could be shut or closed by divine hardening. However, he is confusing the NATURAL abilities of comprehension with SPIRITUAL abilities to comphrend and receptivity. They do have ears, which hear audible sounds and eyes that see visible sights, and minds that comprehend words, and thus have eyes that see not spiritual things and hear not the Holy Spirit or minds that perceive not spiritual things. Hardening is a PROCESS that is the CONSCIOUS EXPERIENCE of reaction of indwelling sin with truth that ALWAYS ends in condemnation and death.
     
    #1 The Biblicist, Mar 26, 2015
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  2. The Biblicist

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    7 ¶ What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
    8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.
    9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
    10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
    11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.


    Paul came into this world without any consciousness of indwelling sin or any consciousness of the Law of God. Sin became "KNOWN" by interaction with the Law (v. 7) but not until he was of sufficient age to exercise rational discernment and comprehension of what the Law says. He would have "not known lust" does not mean he was not lustful already - as the law of sin is manifest in a human from birth - he simply was not EXPERIENTIALLY capable of discerning that nature or the Law.

    Verse 8, explains that only with experiential interaction with the Law was the sin nature made manifest consciously to himself. Prior to that interaction there was no CONSCIOUS condemnation. However, that does not mean he was not "condemned already" born in a state of unbeleif - He was simply not conscoius of that condemnation as that comes consciously and experientially through conscious interaction with the Law of God.

    Verse 9 - Prior to this experiential interaction he was EXPERIENTIALLY and CONSCIOUSLY without any guilt of sin, therefore experientially and consciously UNCONDEMNED and thus "ALIVE" as far as his own conscious experience. It is the conscious experiential interaction with the Law of God in a progressive manner that ultimate brought him experientially to a conscious sense of condemnation, thus death by interaction with the Law.

    Verse 10 "FOUND" has reference to the progressive experience through interaction with the law. He sincerely believed at first that he could attain life by justification instead of condemnation. However, through this process of experiential interaction with the Law he found that all his attempts to keep the law were frustrated by indwelling sin. Hence, it is through this progressive interaction with the law that he consciously learned both the nature of indwelling sin and the nature of the Law's actual demands - sinless perfection.

    Verse 11 "DECEIVED" - the deception was the Law said "do this and live" but all that occurred in his experience of interaction with the law was his discovery of his sin nature or inability to "do this" and therefore, what he thought was a means to obtain life became the means to discover his own spiritually deadness and condemnation by the Law to death.

    Hardening is the NATURAL consequence of the fallen nature in its progressive conscious interaction with light. The light merely stirs the dormant sin nature to rebellion and exposes it. The more experiential interaction to light the more experiential progression in hardening toward light.

    Hardening is merely the NATURAL progressive condition of experiential interaction between the law of indwelling sin and the Law of God. Closing the eyes and shutting the ears merely describes the NATURAL reaction of the Law of Sin to the Law of God as the degenerate man is progressively made consciously aware of his inability to keep the Law. This progressive conscious interaction is like the exposure of wet clay with the sun. Depending upon the progressive exposure to the sun there is only one possible outcome for clay and that is the hardening process. The hardening process begins with first exposure, the degree of hardening is determined by the exposure and intensity of that exposure. Likewise, the conscious experience of a lost person when indwelling sin within them is exposed to the Law of God begins the experiential and conscious process of progressive hardening. The more exposure and more intensity the light the more experiential progression in conscious hardening. Hardening is simply the experiential and conscious reaction of indwelling sin to exposure of the Law of God.

    Man is born with hatred of the light by nature, although that hatred lies dormant until there is interaction with light:

    And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
    20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.


    God has to do an inward creative work within man to change his LOVE life, meaning, God must give them a NEW heart before they can love what he loves and hate what he hates. All who come to the light do so as evidence of this inward change "wrought" by God:

    But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

    Coming To Christ and doing the truth is EVIDENCE they are "IN God" rather than the CAUSE for being "IN God" as some falsely teach. Those who misinterpret this text do not understand the difference between evidential consequence versus cause.
     
    #2 The Biblicist, Mar 27, 2015
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  3. The Biblicist

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    Leighton says in his response to James White that he believes that none can come to Christ except they be "drawn by the truth." However, Jesus says the very opposite in John 3:19-20. He says the lost HATE the light/truth and will not come to the light.

    He misunderstands John 6:45 to mean EXTERNAL revelation of truth by the Father when it is INTERNAL revelation of truth by the Father. Jesus quotes "prophets" PLURAL which are primarily Isaiah 54:13 and Jeremiah 31:33-34 which are both the new covenant INTERNAL revelatory work of God as explained by Paul in 2 Cor. 4:6. urthermore, the "all" of John 6:45 is the same "all" in Isaiah 54:13 and Jeremiah 31:33-34 which Jeremiah demands is effectual to "all" it is applied to under the new covenant. Hence, it is the same "all" used by Christ previously in John 6:37-39.

    It is this playing loose with the text, context and wording of the Scripture that sustains his false position.
     
    #3 The Biblicist, Mar 27, 2015
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  4. The Biblicist

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    Leighton in his response to James White in defining "contextualization" uses Peter's denial as an example of how he feels John 6 is being applied to the apostles. He argues that Peter's denial does not apply to all men without exception because all men without exception do not deny Christ, but and if, you or I do deny Christ then what is said to Peter applies to him. Thus, he makes this his application of John 6 to the apostles and to Israel.


    However, this illustration and application to John 6 is simply false! It is false for several reasons.

    1. John 6:37-39 does apply to "ALL" that come to the Father with no exceptions. - not to just apostles or Israel tries to justify under "contextualization."

    2. John 6:44 does apply to all fallen human beings without exception as Christ says "NO MAN." He does not say "ISRAEL cannot." not to just apostles or Israel tries to justify under "contextualization."

    3. John 6:64-65 applies to ALL false confessions without exception as Jesus directly attributes their false false profession to the universal principle of John 6:44 (Jn. 6:65) which includes all fallen human beings without exception: not to just apostles or Israel tries to justify under "contextualization."

    So what Leighton/skandalon is doing is inventing a non-existent contextualization out of thin air in order to directly repudiate the universal language used by Christ in this passage.
     
    #4 The Biblicist, Mar 27, 2015
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  5. The Biblicist

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    Leighton in his response to James White over John 6 explicitly states

    "he is dealing with the apostles in John 6 and only with the apostles in John 6."

    This is absolutely and completely false. In fact he NEVER deals with his apostles in John 6. Look at the explicitly stated audiance being addressed in chapter six:

    2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.
    3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples
    .

    He did not say "apostles" but "disciples" and remember "many" of these disciples ceased following him by the end of the chapter and so there is no possible way to limit or interpret "his disciples" to mean "only his apostles."

    23 (Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks:)
    24 When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus.
    25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?
    26 Jesus answered them


    Notice Jesus is not addressing the apostles or his disciples. He is addressing "the people" as "they found him" and he "answered them"

    28 ¶ Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

    [I]29 Jesus answered and said unto them, [/I]

    It is the same "they" and "them" as in verse 25-26 not his disciples or apostles.

    35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
    36 But I said unto you,


    Again, it is the very same people. It is not the disciples or the apostles as Leighton claims.

    41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.
    42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?
    43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.



    47 Verily, verily, I say unto you,


    So the whole disputed passage from John 6:23-47 is directed solely to the same audiance, and not to his disciples or apostles as Leighton tries to claim.

    49 Your fathers

    52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
    53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,


    Again, Jesus has not and is not addressing his apostles or disciples up to this point from verse 23, directly contradicting Leighton's claim.

    In fact, his apostles are NEVER addressed in this chapter at all. His disciples are NEVER addressed between verses 23-60. Only in verses 60-65 are the UNBELEIVING disciples addressed. Jesus turns to the remaining disciples which include the apostles when he asks the question in verse 66, which Peter answers in behalf of all the remaining disicples that include much more than the twelve apostles as Acts 1:21-22 demands existed from the baptism of John and continually assembled with him as did the apostles.


    So Leighton's "contextualization" is pure fabrication and non-existent. He NEVER addresses the Apostles or even his disciples in regard to the debated passages (Jn. 6:29-45). The language in Jn. 6:37-38 is UNIVERSAL "of all" those given to him and not just his apostles or immediate disicples. The language in John 6:44-45 is UNIVERSAL "no man" which is inclusive of all fallen humanity and not just his apostles or disciples.

    Leighton says that understanding the contextual audiance is "101 to hermeneutics" and yet this is precisely where he errs himself. He says of Dr. White that such a man of that high of scholarship should be able to clearly see this problem, but infers he has and is just intentionally ignoring it. No! It would be my educated guess that Dr. White sees through this flawed argument and dismisses it as poor scholarship.
     
    #5 The Biblicist, Mar 27, 2015
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  6. The Biblicist

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    In Leighton's response to James White, he says that becoming calloused "has everything to do with human ability." This is patently false and a failure to understand the Biblical teaching of hardening. Hardening is the manifestation of inability not ability.

    What he fails to understand is that all fallen humans come into this world with the law of indwelling sin = sinful nature BUT are not conscious of that condition nor are they conscious of the Law of God. It is the PROGRESSIVE conscious experiential interaction between indwelling sin and the Law of God whereby progressive hardening begins just as Paul explains in Romans 7:7-11. The only thing required for hardening is conscious experience with interaction with the Law of God. When a child becomes of age when he is able to intellectually discern between good and evil he begins the hardening process when confronted consciously by Law and conscience. He begins to willfully violate the law at a very early age. As he becomes more exposed to the light the more conscious resistance is manifested.

    Hardening occurs in different areas of consciousness, depending upon what avenue of his life is being exposed to light.

    Israel was being directly exposed to the most intense form of light in the Person, word and works of Jesus Christ for three and a half years. As soon as they are exposed to that intense form of light, hardening began until it climaxed in his death by their hands.

    This is the normal process of hardening which is not a manifestation of ability but the manifestation of inability according to experiential interaction between indwelling sin and the Law of God/light. What is true of an unregenerate nation is true of all unregenerate individuals. The closing of eyes, shutting of ears refers to the progressive consequences of experiential interaction between indwelling law of sin and the law/light of God. Hardening is a CONSCIOUS EXPERIENCE which requires progressive discovery of the law of sin by exposure to the law of God - ?Rom. 7:7-11.
     
    #6 The Biblicist, Mar 27, 2015
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  7. The Biblicist

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    In Leigton's response to Dr. White he claims attempts to illustrate a difference between being "immoral" and being "hardened." He pits a prostitute with a religious self-righteous hypocrit. He claims one is immoral while the other illustrates hardening. He claims the Muslim or hypocritical religious is hardened in their belief system. This is a false analogy for many reasons.

    First, prostitutes have been morally HARDENED in that trade, they are no longer sensitive to their violation of God's Law written on the conscience. They are just as hardened in their immorality as the religious person is in his belief system. They have already been through the hardening process with their consicence (internal light) and indwelling sin.

    The religious self-righteous hypocrit (Mt. 23) has simply went through a different area of hardening. Hence, Leighton is attempting to make a distinction where none exist except in the specific area of hardening.
     
    #7 The Biblicist, Mar 27, 2015
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  8. The Biblicist

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    Leighton claims in his response to Dr. White that Christ speaks only to Israel by parables in John 6 because it is his intent to completely harden them because of their previous rejection. This is also false for many reasons.

    He confuses illustrations or analogies meant to enlighten with parables which are more mysterious. There are NO PARABLES in John 6. There are analogies and metaphors and illustrations, but all these are methods to impart truth rather than to conceal truth.

    John 6:29 is stated in clear explicit language followed by an analogy concerning Moses and manna. John 6:36-39 is stated in clear explicit language without analogies, illustrations or parables.

    John 6:44-47 is stated clearly and explicitly drawing from Scriptures to enforce his teaching (Isa. 54:13; Jer. 31:33-34).

    John 6:49-60 he uses a common metaphor in the Old Testament Scriptures for believing in the Word or in something. Eating and drinking are used commonly in the Old Testament in regard to God's word as being eaten or drunk = partake of.

    John 6:61-71 there are no parables at all but clear specific teaching.

    Leighton's view is simply wrong as is his whole interpretation of John 6. Jesus illustrates that hardening is simply exposure to the light (Jn. 3:19-20) whereby only a work "wrought in God" can prevent natural hardening (Jn. 3:21).
     
  9. Yeshua1

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    His views on hardening of isreal was something that was done by God JUST in that time period, and for JUST the purpose of having them reject Jesus and have we gentiles included into salvation does not agree with all of the scripture message though, as it seems to deny the full effect of the fall of adam unto ALL of us!

    So we are all spiritual blind and dead in our sinfulness, and no need to have God "Judicially harden" us!
     
  10. Van

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    I see we have yet another thread, posted not in the Cal/non Cal debate forum, pushing Calvinist doctrine, this time total spiritual inability.

    If that doctrine were true, then their would be no need for Jesus to speak in parables or for God to harden hearts. The Calvinist answer, Jesus did not speak in mystery and hardening does not mean hardening. LOL
     
  11. Skandelon

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    Hey, biblicist. A friend sent me a link to this post and honestly I'm swamped with everything so I don't have time to interact with all these points, but I will attempt to rebut what I perceive to be the root of your misunderstanding of my view (or at least my misunderstanding of your expressions of my view)

    I agree and have readily argued that online interactions have made us all much "meaner" and less understood than face to face (or at least voice to voice) interactions.

    If you're in Dallas I'll buy your lunch and we'll talk. :)

    To be more clear. I never denied that the audience included all those you have mentioned above, nor have I ever attempted to argue that the truth revealed in the text would not be applicable to us all.

    I have only attempted to argue for good hermeneutical practices in our discovery of the author's original intent given his context. The fact (not my opinion) that Israel is being "judicially hardened" by God while Christ is on earth is a contextual matter worthy of noting as we seek to discern the true intentions.

    Jesus only entrusted himself to a relative few while "down from heaven" and clearly he did not plan to reveal his identity to all:

    Jesus stated, "See that you don't tell this to anyone.” Mark 1:40-44 (also Mt 8:1-4, Lk 5:12-15)

    Jesus spoke in parables to PREVENT them from coming to faith for a reason (Mt. 13, Mk 4). Clearly you see that differently, but those are the facts of the matter. Facts can be interpret differently, but they cannot merely be dismissed.

    I'm not sure why you think I would disagree with this?

    Again, I'm not sure how you feel my interpretation brings these things into question.

    Again, you are misunderstanding the hermeneutic.

    Who is the audience? Israelites of all kinds (which included his apostles, the only ones who stuck around when he got done preaching on eating his flesh)

    Just pointing out who his audience is (a fact, not an opinion) doesn't mean the truth of what is stated to that audience isn't applicable or meaningful for others. It only serves to understand the potential intention of the author in his given context.

    The fact that Jesus is purposefully hiding the truth of who He is from most of Israel while only entrusting himself to a select few while he is "down from heaven" is an important piece of information when attempting to discern the intention of an author regarding man's abilities to come/believe/learn from Jesus while on earth (as in contrast with their abilities later, or the abilities of others later, after Christ has been raised up--Jn 12:32).

    I wish I had more time to stop in and visit...maybe after my doctoral work is completed. :praying:

    Blessings!
     
  12. Yeshua1

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    Do you hold then that the events in Gospel of John 6 were peculiar to those peoples of just that setting, and so we cannot use it past that time forward in order to formulate our theology then?
     
  13. Skandelon

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    I honestly felt as if what I just wrote answered this exact question. I'm sorry I am not clear, but I do not know how to state it more plainly. The first goal in hermeneutics is to find the intention of the author in HIS OWN CONTEXT, so that you apply his meaning rightly in YOUR OWN CONTEXT.
     
  14. Yeshua1

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    But how can a sinner get saved now any different than they were during the time and ministry of Jesus while he was here on earth?

    Would not all of us be just as spiritual deaf/dumb and blind as those jews who he called children of the devil then?

    Did those who rejected him as messaih do so just the same way all lost still keep on doing today?
     

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