John is the English form of the Hebrew name Yochanan meaning, “YHVH has been gracious.” He was an Apostle, the son of Zebedee, the brother of James. Not the James, Yahshua’s brother. Harmonizing Matthew 27:56 with Mark 15:40 suggests that John’s mother was Salome. If she was also the sister of Yahshua’s mother (Yochanan 19: 25), then Yochanan was Yahshua’s cousin.
The sons of Zebedee were among the first disciples called (Matt. 4:21-22; Mark 1:19-20). They were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee and probably lived in Capernaum. Their father was sufficiently prosperous to have “hired servants” (Mark 1:20), and Luke 5:10 states that James and Yochanan were “partners with Simon” Peter.
Yochanan was always among the “inner three” who were with Yahshua on unique occasions in the Synoptic Gospels: the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:37), the transfiguration (Mark 9:2), and the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-33). Andrew joined these three when they asked Yahshua about the signs of the coming destruction of Jerusalem (Mark 13:3).
Five books of the B’rit Chadasha have been attributed to Yochanan the Emissary: the Gospel, three Epistles, and Revelation. In each case, the traditional view that the apostle was the author of these books can be traced to writers in the second century. Neither the Gospel nor the epistles identify their author by name. The author of Revelation identifies himself as “John” (1:1, 4, 9; 22:8) but does not claim to be the apostle. Much of the weight of the traditional view of the authorship of the Gospel rests on the testimony of Irenaeus, bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul (A.D. 130-200). The writer of 1 Yochanan identifies Yahshua in the prologue as the Word (Torah) and as existing from the beginning. This is construed as internal evidence that the writer of this Epistle is the same author as the Gospel John. Trinitarians use these verses here and in John to support their thesis of a Trinity or 3 in one.
Many people are confused by the doctrine of the Trinity, and resort to calling it a mystery for lack of explanation. Athanasius the Bishop of Alexandria, a center of Hellenistic teaching, formulated this doctrine in the forth century CE and is known as the Athanasian Creed. It defined the G-dhead in the following terms: “The Father is G-d, the Son is G-d, and the Holy Ghost is G-d. And yet they are not three G-ds; but one G-d.”
The “Trinity” is a contradiction in terms. Sha’ul in 1 Cor. 14:33 taught that “G-d is not the Author of confusion,” and there is a lot of confusion concerning this doctrine. Here is a good place to briefly examine one aspect of it and give some light on the subject. This can best be done by examining the words “brought forth” and “begotten.” The Father’s initial manifestation was the Word (Torah) “brought forth. Modealism or “Jesus only” in differing modes is equally as erroneous as is the manmade trinity. Instead, what we are dealing with are two eternal aspects of the Elohim of Israel. One is the Father and the other is the Son. In John 4:23 we are told, “True worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him, ” and unfortunately the trinity doctrine muddies the waters.
By understanding the relationship between The Father and the Son, we can then understand G-d’s relationship with us His children.
There are many scriptural references to prove that Yahshua pre-existed prior to His first parousia (advent) into the earth. For instance a little quoted scripture is Mishle (Proverbs 30:4) where we see YHVH Elohim and His Son defined as both being partners in creation. The Hebrew reads: “Mah shemo ooh ma shem bainoh ki tadah?” So the fact of Messiah Yahshua’s pre-existence was an established fact that had Solomon’s attention. Now, as we are about to discover, the Son of YHVH was “brought forth” before He was “begotten.” He always existed in the Father’s bosom, a metaphor. In John 1:18 we read: “No man hath seen G-d at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Yet, He was not brought forth from the Father, until the Father spoke Him forth! Since Yahshua was in the bosom of the Father, He is said to be His eternal Son! However, experientially for us, He did not become the Son until the Father YHVH took him out and away from His bosom and revealed Him to us. We see this startling understanding confirmed by Sha’ul in Colossians 1:15, where Yahshua is not only called the likeness of the invisible Father but the Father-YHVH’s first act of personal manifestation. Yahshua the Word (the Living Manifested Torah) is the firstborn of YHVH and the term firstborn in the Greek is prototokos the chief manifestation of the Father, taking place before all creation! Messiah Yahshua was the visible result the first time the Father decided to cast Himself in a new and in an extraordinary way, and thus reached into Himself or metaphorically into His bosom, and caused the engrafted Word, the Living Torah, the Manifested Torah to go forth. Jewish as well as Christian doctrine purports that the Word created the universe.
We have to understand that being “brought forth” and “being begotten” is not the same thing and unless we understand that crucial difference, many believers will continue to be confused. The “brought forth” declaration was an event in eternity past, that you and I missed, at the beginning of YHVH’s purpose for revealing Himself to the world. In John 1:1 we read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was G-d. He was in the beginning with G-d. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” Here we see the Word “brought forth” from YHVH’s bosom and in John 1:14 we see the Word “begotten,” for we read: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” In John 1:1 through 1:3 we see reference to this Word that was “brought forth from the Father’s bosom” in eternity past and in John 1:14 this Word has come into the world, in order to be “begotten” into humanity!
From these scriptures, John 1:1, we witness the initial firstborn manifestation of YHVH, His own Word that emanated from His own bosom. Before the Word was sent forth or brought forth, it was with Elohim, as an eternal, internal, and integral part of Elohim. Therefore the Word was Elohim Himself! As long as YHVH the Father has existed so has His Word that resided in Him, since He and His Word are inseparable. Since YHVH has no beginning neither does His Word, and both the Father and His Word, (not 2 persons) existed in each other. When YHVH released His Word from His bosom, He brought forth His very own Word in what seemed like an act of creation, but was not. It was a mere transference of the abiding engrafted Word (His Torah) from an internal to an external setting. Once released from the bosom, this Word unleashed its creative powers upon the universe and thus created all things. Colossians 1:16 confirms this unleashing of the energy of His spoken Word and all things became subject to His Word, which was the Father’s first manifestation of His self-contained glory. Once that glory had been brought forth out of The Father, all things that His Word created, became His Word’s property and through Him the Father’s property. That is why Yahshua said many times all that the Father has is mine and all I have is His (John 17:9-10).
John 1:18 makes it fully clear that once His Word was brought forth, that Father YHVH immediately named this recast manifestation of Himself with the title: “The Son” or “My Son.” YHVH Himself renamed His Word as “The SON”! Yahshua is the manifested Living Torah as Scripture teaches. Torah or G-d’s Word is an ever living and abiding part of the Father. The Word was named the SON and the Son was named Yahshua, or Emmanuel (G-d with Us). Every father gives his son a recognizable name. Proverbs 30:4, makes it clear that the Son had His name before being begotten. In Micah 5:2, we read: “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” Israel’s Governor, Yahshua is here described as being “brought forth” from and to YHVH the Father in eternity past! Failure to understand that YHVH brought forth His Son by sending Him from His own bosom, before coming forth from a human womb, is what will continue to confuse those who choose to be confused.
In John 1:14 we read “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
The preceding Verse tells us that the Word (Torah, Law, Yahshua) was not only brought forth from YHVH’s bosom, but he was also begotton: “not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of G-d” (John 1:13).
In Psalm 2:7 we see a prophecy of Yahshua’s Mikvah, “I will declare the decree: YHVH hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” The Ruach HaKodesh came upon the Virgin Mary, and by this miraculous means, the Son of G-d was born into this world. In Mat 3:16 we read of Yahshua’s Mikvah: “And Yahshua, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of G-d descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” We then see in John 3:34 that “For He whom G-d has sent speaks the words of G-d; for He gives the Spirit without measure.
In Heb 1:5, it reads: “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?”
Emmanuel (G-d with us) is this Yahshua who was begotten. The transcendent G-d who being hidden for no man may see Him and live became immanent in the person of Yahshua, G-d with us. The Father prepared a body like Adam’s, not imbued with original sin and filled it without measure of His Spirit. This is the Word brought forth, and then begotten as Yahshua our Messiah, G-d Immanent, who intercedes for us with the Father, and integral and inseparable unity with YHVH Elohim. If Torah the Word is dead then so is Yahshua.
Now back to some of the background of Yochanan. There are other works attributed to Yochanan that are not included in the cannon. The Apocryphon of Yochanan is an early Gnostic work that purports to contain a vision of the apostle John. Copies were found among the codices (manuscript version of scripture) at Nag Hammadi. The work itself must go back at least to the second century because Irenaeus quoted from it.
Another work, The Acts of Yochanan is a third-century apocryphal writing which records miraculous events, Yochanan’s journey to Rome, his exile on Patmos, accounts of several journeys, and a detailed account of his death. In theology this work is Docetic, an opinion especially associated with the Gnostics that Yahshua had no human body and only appeared to have died on the cross, and it was eventually condemned by the Second Nicene Council in 787.
The apostle Yochanan also has a place in the martyrologies of the medieval church. A fifth-century writer, Philip of Side, and George the Sinner, of the ninth century, report that Papias (second century) wrote that James and Yochanan were both killed by the Jewish authorities (Acts 12:2 records only James the brother of John killed), but these reports are generally dismissed as fabrications based on interpretations of Mark 10:39, which is misinterpreted and misused to bolster the agenda of the Constantine church to demonize Jews.
Section 1:5-2:2 of this Epistle deals with the relationship both to sin in general and to sins in particular. We see a threefold message here.
1. We are admonished to put away sin
2. Even though it seems impossible to live without sinning
3. Nevertheless, none of us has the right to give up the battle against sin.
We have this same concept expressed in the Mishna;
“He [Rabbi Tarcon], 2nd Century C.E.) used to say, “you are not obligated to complete the task, but you are still not free from working at it.” (Avot 2:16)
In verses (7-9) we are told to acknowledge our sins, confess them. The Greek word “omologeo” translated, “acknowledge, and confess,” literally means, “say the same thing.” That is we are to regard sin just as YHVH regards sin and judge it in the same manner and we are incapable of doing that if we don’t know and live Torah, for in 1 John 3:4 we are told, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law (Torah). We also read in Rom 2:13 that (For not the hearers of the law are just before G-d, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” We are not to continue sinning and expect that YHVH will forgive us if we do not expiate sin from our lives. In other words we are not to suppose that a shallow form of repentance without a wholeheartedly condemnation of the sin that brought us to repentance will suffice. Such a condemnation will also lead us away from sin. In the past at churches where they weekly call for rededication to G-d I have seen the same people coming forward to rededicate their lives confessing the same sin over and over again. If they were really repentant and judged sin as YHVH, there would be no shallowness toward sin as apparently they have. Do you really think YHVH will be mocked at this type of confession or repentance? Scripture does not support it and if they were made to realize it, it might bring them to reality. Then they might truly repent and be saved, for repentance means a turning away from sin.
In chapter 3 verse 4 we see that sin is defined as a violation of Torah. “So how can pastors preach that Torah is dead?” How can well-meaning Christians believe that Torah is dead? “Conversely, in Romans 4: 15 Sha’ul teaches that “where there is no law, there is also no violation.” Without Torah we would not need Yahshua nor would we know what sin is or what is forbidden. We would not have a standard to live by, and each man would be a law unto himself. Would you like that? Someone stronger could take your property with immunity. Could violate your wife and children without penalty. Torah is necessary in all things.
Yochanan goes on to say that if we continue sinning, do not follow Torah, we are false believers for no one who has the Father in them keeps on sinning. He warns that those who do not follow Torah and do not love their brother is not of YHVH, but instead are servants of the Adversary.
In chapter 4 he warns us about trusting every spirit, and we should test them to see if they are from YHVH. Do we trust our own feelings in these matters, heaven forbid, we try the spirits by consulting Torah and learning from the Word what is permitted and what is forbidden. Any spirit teaching otherwise is not from YHVH. How can we then deny Torah in our lives if we truly love YHVH Elohim? What of those that do not care enough to consult YHVH’s Word? Will they be the false believers addressed by Yahshua in Mat 7:22 where it reads: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘L-rd, L-rd, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ Mat 7:23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ Aren’t we required to seek Him with all our strength and will? Will He forgive those that do not, even if they profess Yahshua? James tells us even the Demons profess Yahshua but they are lost. This book of Yochanan also warns of False Prophets (meaning preachers/teachers) that were promised by Yahshua to lead us away from Torah. We are warned that the world would listen to them, because they have inching ears and practice lawlessness, but not those who teach Torah.
Verse 8 demands some attention because it has been so perverted by those who teach and live permissive lives. “God is Love” (here and in v. 16) this slogan has become a callow refrain in which YHVH has been pictured as some sort of teddy-bear. squeeze toy, accepting everything and judging nothing. Yochanan warns us of such people and tells us not to be preoccupied with them trying to win them back (go to 1 Timothy 1:20). Rather, we should take as our guideline that “whoever knows YHVH listens to us; whoever is not from YHVH doesn’t listen to us” and like Yochanan we can be satisfied with that.
Some of you may now understand why I tell you it is a waste of time to continually try to convince some of your friends, acquaintances, and even relatives the importance of obedience to Torah as a condition of salvation. They do not know YHVH. They will not listen. Believers must not only proclaim YHVH’s love (through Yahshua) but also His hatred of sin (through Torah). And we must guard the Torah from human pride that presumes on Him, teaching their antinomian way (their tradition); YHVH is not mocked.
In the final analysis of this book we are told to guard ourselves from false gods. Torah is defined as truth in the scriptures, and anything outside Torah is defined as untruth. YHVH is the father of Truth and Scripture calls Satan the father of lies. So it follows that anyone who teaches that Torah is dead, obsolete and not to be obeyed is of his father HaSatan and a teacher of lies. Those that teach Torah, including the Messianic Scriptures, the B’rit Chadasha, that is given as Torah as testified to in the Jewish NT at Heb. 8:6 will have the truth in them.
So that we may know that the NT is given as Torah let me read from Hebrews 8:6 “But now the work Yahshua has been given to do is far superior to theirs, just as the covenant he mediates is better. For this covenant has been given as Torah on the basis of better promises.” (Jewish New Testament)
In closing, I have in the past told you that Yahshua came not only to reconcile us to YHVH Elohim, but to interpret Torah for us, and as I earlier have said, that is exactly what He did, giving us the spiritual dimensions to YHVH’s Torah that far exceeds the literal interpretation.
May our hearts and minds be turned to YHVH’s Living and Written Torah the “brought forth and begotten Word” of G-d.