Isn’t what? Well, isn’t a Gospel, meaning a truthful description of who Yeshua was and of his ministry. I also don’t believe it was written by a Jew, or, at least, by a Jew who was writing to Jews.
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John has long been recognized as being very different from the other Gospels; Matthew, Mark, and Luke are written as historical narratives that relate to the events in Yeshua’s life. John, on the other hand, while mentioning events in Yeshua’s life, is written as a spiritual revelation, and instead of plain language is full of overly spiritual double-talk:
I am he, and he is me; you see me, you see him, and I know him and he knows me but you don’t know me so you don’t know him, but if you knew him you would know me, yadda-yadda-yadda…
The thing about the Book of John that really gets my goat, and yes- this is a personal peeve– is that it seems to be written by a Gentile, to Gentiles, and has many subtle anti-Semitic undertones. And, frankly, I’m not the only one who feels that way.
Only in the Gospel of John do we hear Yeshua refer to the Torah (when talking to the Pharisees in John 10:34) as “your law”. If Yeshua was the word come to life, then why would he differentiate himself from who and what he is? If Yeshua was a Jew, he would never say “your law” when referring to the Torah; he would say “the law” or “the Torah”, but not talk about it as if he had no relationship to it or that it had no meaning to him.
And in the other three gospels, the term “the Jews” is used about 16 times, total within all three, but in John, that term is used some 67 times! When you are talking about your own people, do you refer to them as “those (whatever) people”? Of course not- if you are Jewish, you say “my people” or “them”; if you are Italian and talking about other Italians, you don’t say “those Italians”, you say “them” or “us” or some other term that recognizes your attachment and solidarity with them. But we don’t see that in John- instead, we see Yeshua talking to the Pharisees and Sadducees about the people as if they are different from him.
In the other gospels, it is clear that the real enemies of Yeshua are the power elite, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, but in John, it seems that all the Judeans are against Yeshua.
One really big difference is that in the other three, Yeshua never makes the absolute claim that he is the Messiah, except to his Talmudim (Disciples), whereas in John, he says it outright to the Samaritan woman (John 4:26) and makes claim to being one with God multiple times, and also claims that he is the son of God, whereas in the other gospels he refers to himself as the Son of Man.
In my experience, John is the only gospel that is used when people try to justify that God, Yeshua, and the Ruach HaKodesh are all one-and-the-same entity.
One of the most valuable tools in biblical exegesis is called Hermeneutics, which is the idea that the Bible does not contradict itself. We all have been told, over and over, that God is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow and many believe the Bible to be infallible, and the perfect word of God, directly from God.
For the record, I don’t buy that for a moment, but that’s a different message.
So, if the Bible is infallible and God’s word is perfect, then hermeneutically we can prove John’s gospel is not scripture because it is so different, and does contradict what we read in the other gospels. In John, Yeshua claims to be the Messiah to many people but not in any other gospel; in John, Yeshua’s ministry seems to be only one year but the other gospels make it about three years; in John, Yeshua is tried before the Pesach meal but in the other three, it is after; in John, Yeshua claims to be not just the son of God but God, himself, yet in the other gospels he calls himself the Son of Man.
John was most likely written at the end of the First Century when more Gentiles were converting to this new sect of Judaism than Jews who were accepting Yeshua as their Messiah. And when Jews did accept Yeshua as the Messiah, remember that this was not a conversion: there was no conversion of Jews to Christianity: the early “church” was a synagogue, and the Gentiles who accepted Yeshua as Messiah were learning how to live a Jewish lifestyle, just as Yeshua lived. The truth of the beginning of what we call Christianity today is that the only conversion was from paganism to Judaism, or at best, a sect of Judaism. From the turn of the first century until Constantine created modern Christianity (about 325 CE), there were Jews, those Jews and Gentiles who accepted Yeshua as the Messiah, and pagans. The Believing Gentiles were learning about the Torah and how to live as Yeshua did, although the Gentiles that were taking command of the movement began to leave Judaism and form different worship, such as changing the Shabbat to Sunday (Ignatius of Antioch in 98 CE) and misinterpreting the letter sent by the Elders (Acts 15) as meaning Gentile Believers were excluded from following Torah.
John was, in my opinion, either written by a Gentile using John’s name, or if John, a Jewish follower and Disciple of Yeshua, did write it, he wrote it so that Gentile Believers could separate themselves from Torah and worship Yeshua not just as the Messiah, but as God, as well. That opens the question of why a Disciple of Messiah would reject his own religion.
Many Christians I have known feel that John is the best Gospel, and when I was first open to learning about Yeshua, I was told to read John before any other gospel. Now, some 20 plus years after coming to accept Yeshua and knowing the entire Bible very well, I know that the Gospel of John is an anti-Semitic and separatist book designed so that Gentiles can feel comfortable rejecting the Torah and Judaism as separate from Yeshua, what he taught, and to worship Yeshua as God.
There are many out there who will find this message not just disturbing, but maybe even blasphemous, and that is too bad. I doubt many Gentile Believers who were raised Christian (any denomination) can understand how a Jewish person, Believer or not, feels reading this gospel. The other Gospels are fine because they don’t hate Jews, but the Gospel of John is full of subtle, Jew-hating terminology.
If it was up to me, I would throw the Gospel of John, along with nearly all the Epistles of Shaul (Paul) out of the New Covenant. I would keep Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, Romans, Hebrews, James, and Revelation, and deep-six the rest, or have them in a separate volume, like the Apocrypha.
I hope that no one is offended, but I understand there might be a sense of wanting to defend this gospel because, well, you just need to! “Why?” “Because, that’s why!”
If that’s how you feel, maybe you should consider why you feel that way. I mean, really, if the Gospel of John is verifiable and hermeneutically validated as scripture, you wouldn’t need to say “because” as the reason to defend it, because “because” is not a reason.
That’s my message for today. It is my opinion, you do not have to agree, but if you do agree, I would appreciate you letting me know with a “Like” or something similar, even a comment. And if you think I am out of my mind, please comment as well, but be nice.
In the meantime, thank you for being here; please share these messages (if you dare), and until the next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!