If you look on the Internet for an answer to this question, you will find many different viewpoints. I have often read that the other three gospels are synoptic, while John’s is spiritual; this seems to be the main explanation for the significant differences between John and the other three gospels. .
But is that really an explanation?
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One person said that we need to look at the audience, and I think that is somewhat on the right track, in that John is written so differently, with a subtle anti-Semitic tone to it, that I do not believe it was written by the Apostle John, at all. And neither do I believe it was written to Jews.
In fact, I don’t even think it was written by a Jew!
“WHOA!! Hold your horses, Steve! How can you even think that?”
I’ll tell you why.
Here are some of the differences I noted in John that do not appear in the other gospels, are exactly the opposite of the other three, or appear (to me, being a Jew) to not have been written by a Jewish person at that time:
- When talking to the Pharisees, Yeshua often uses the term “your Torah”. Now, for a Jewish person living then, which is no different than for a Jewish person living now, we do not say “your Torah” when discussing the Torah. We say “the Torah” or just, “Torah”. By emphasizing that the Torah is “theirs”, Yeshua implies that it is not his. Now, if John starts out by saying the Word became flesh, and we have to assume the Word is the Torah (since there was no other “Word” then), how can the living Torah separate himself from the written Torah? The sense one gets from this dichotomy is that Yeshua is teaching something different than the Torah, which is wrong. By using the term “your Torah”, the writer is separating Yeshua from the Torah. No Jewish disciple of Yeshua would ever state or even imply that Yeshua taught anything other than what is in the Torah.
- The writer often refers to the people who were against Yeshua as “the Judeans”. Sometimes we read the writer differentiate the Judeans from the Jerusalemites, but overall the implication is that all Jews were against Yeshua. Of course, this is not true, and not implied in the other gospels, which indicate that it was the Pharisees and Scribes (also called Torah teachers) who were the main impetus behind having Yeshua arrested. They were also the ones who threatened the people with excommunication if they followed him. This subtle anti-Semitic tone leads one to believe that all the Jews rejected Yeshua, when the truth is that thousands accepted him.
- One of my major complaints about the gospel of John is that of all the New Covenant writings, this gospel is the only one with any indication that Yeshua is God. Whether you are a Unitarian or a Trinitarian, the fact remains that nowhere else in the entire New Covenant does Yeshua even imply he is God; yet, in just this gospel, his language is so overly spiritual, way too metaphorical, and containing confusing double-talk that leads one to think Yeshua says he is God. For example, there are many instances where Yeshua says something to the effect of he knows the Father and the Father knows him, and if they knew the Father they would know him, but they don’t know the Father, so they don’t know him, but he and the Father are one, so when they reject him they reject the Father, who will reject them because…yadda…yadda…yadda! Too much metaphorical mishigas! Throughout history, these types of statements (which we find only in John) have been used to justify that God and Yeshua are one and the same entity. This is one of the major reasons that Jews cannot accept Yeshua as their Messiah– we Jews have one God, and just one God, and he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He promised to send a Messiah to bring us back into communion with God, gather us back to our homeland, Israel, and re-establish the Temple service. The Messiah, for Jews, is a man with supernatural powers that come from God, but he is not God, himself. The gospel of John is written in such a way as to make it impossible for any Jew to accept Yeshua, and no Jewish disciple of Yeshua would ever write anything like that.
- Thomas says “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28) when he sees Yeshua after being resurrected. This is not stated in any of the other three gospels.
- Yeshua gives his disciples the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh by breathing it on them (John 20:22). This happens when he is with them after his resurrection. According to the other three gospels, not only does this not happen, but the complete opposite thing- Yeshua tells them to wait for the Holy Spirit, which will come from God. And in Acts Chapter 2, we are told that the Ruach didn’t come upon the disciples until they were celebrating Shavuot, which was some 50 days after Pesach (Passover).
- In the other three gospels, Yeshua never clearly states he is the Messiah or the son of God, referring to himself instead as the “Son of Man”. But in John’s gospel, he claims to be the son of God and the Messiah a number of times (John 4:25; 10:36; 18:36).
- In the other three gospels, Yeshua refuses to help anyone other than the lost tribes of Israel, but in John 4:25 he not only tells the Samaritan woman at the well that he is the Messiah, but stays for two days teaching the people in Samaria!
- The only gospel that mentions the Apostles going to the grave is Luke, and he says only Kefa (Peter) went. In John’s gospel, it says John and Peter went, and that he got there before Peter (when the writer of John refers to the “talmid that Yeshua loved”, this is a clear reference to John).
- Finally, we have to remember one of the most important and necessary tools to use in biblical exegesis, which is hermeneutics, and when we review the gospel of John hermeneutically to the other three gospels, the many differences between John’s gospel and the other three MUST indicate that the gospel of John is – at the very least- questionable with regards to its accuracy and trustworthiness.
In fact, the Complete Jewish Bible even points out that many biblical scholars believe one part of this gospel, John 7:53 – 8:11, wasn’t even written by John but possibly by a talmid (student) of his. I say, if the scholars believe that part of this gospel was written by someone else, why stop there?
I think the gospel of John wasn’t written by John, or even by a Jew, because everything about it screams traditional Christian anti-Torah teaching to me!
I don’t think it should even be in the New Covenant.
If it is so wrong, why is it there? I believe it is there because by the time the New Covenant was being canonized, the Christian religion had mutated into a totally anti-Torah religion and the Gentiles putting this “Bible” together needed something to really support their doctrines. The gospel of John does this very well, what with the many references to Yeshua saying that he and God are the same, to “your Torah”, to “the Judeans”, filled with overly spiritual and metaphorically intense sentences designed to confuse the masses, and with a writing style that is so very different from the other Jewish writings that it would appeal to those who are easily fooled into thinking that something sounding spiritual must be true.
I realize that many Christians swear by the gospel of John, and consider it to be the best of the four gospels. When I was first learning about Yeshua, a very spiritually mature Christian I worked with helped me to come to salvation through Messiah Yeshua. However, of all he did to help me, the one thing he did that was not helpful, at all, was to tell me that I should begin my introduction to the New Covenant by reading John’s gospel.
Today, if I wanted to help a Jewish brother or sister know their Messiah, I would direct them to Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, Hebrews, James, and Revelation. I would tell them not to even look at any other writings until they were sure they knew what Yeshua was teaching and only after I was able to prepare them for the true meaning of the Epistles.
And I would tell them to ignore the gospel of John, altogether.
What I am about to say might stun and possibly offend or upset many Christians, but I fully believe the gospel of John was written by someone who was not Jewish, and whose aim in writing it was to support Christian separation from Judaism.
Christianity seems to just brush off the significant differences between John’s gospel and the other gospels, and ignores the fact that these differences are not just “off” a little, but are totally in opposition to what we read in the other gospels and in the book of Acts.
I’m sorry, but I can’t ignore this! John’s gospel is not trustworthy and I believe it should be ignored, completely, because it is not the true representation of Yeshua’s ministry, but rather a propaganda gospel designed to direct Gentiles away from the Torah, and Jews away from their Messiah.
If any of you now want to leave my ministry or block me, that is your decision, and I am sorry to see you go, but I calls ’em as I sees ’em, and this one is so very clear to me I cannot hold back, any more.
The truth is what sets us free, and more often than not, gaining that freedom can be so uncomfortable as to be painful.
Thank you for being here, and especially now if you’ve decided to stay. Please share these messages, subscribe to my website and YouTube channel, buy my books, and remember that I always welcome your comments.
That’s it for today, so l’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!