Come Follow Me LDS- Apr 29 – May 5, Part 1, John 7-10

‘Tabernacles, A Woman & A Serpent’

– Christ comes to the temple at The Feast of Tabernacles

– Woman caught in adultery as a Day of Atonement ritual scene

– Jesus as the Brazen Serpent

I Am The Good Shepherd

Podcast

Raw Transcript

 

“I Am the Good Shepherd” Part 1

 

this episode is about Tabernacles a

woman and a serpent here we go

alright so let’s set the stage here in

John seven we have Jesus up in Galilee

who is getting ready to come down to

Jerusalem for the feast of tabernacles

remember the Feast of Tabernacles

includes the Day of Atonement we’re

going to go over the ritual of the Day

of Atonement and why this is such an

important thing for John as he goes

through the descriptions here of John

seven through 10 of the events that

happened during this time here in

Jerusalem Jesus says brethren his

siblings or family members are going to

head down to the Feast of Tabernacles

they do not seem to believe in him again

a prophet is not a prophet in his own

land and I guess not even in his own

family even if you are the Messiah and

the Son of God and they’re going to head

down to Jerusalem from Galilee a lot of

the disciples of Jesus say that he is

going to be killed if he goes down to

the Feast of Tabernacles and down to

Jerusalem and again this would be just

like the Passover this would be a

situation where Jerusalem is just packed

with people a lot of his followers his

disciples that would be in the Land of

Jerusalem that would be in other lands

perhaps even would expect or hope to see

him there

and so Jesus is saying he’s not going to

go at first he’s going to wait at least

and then he eventually decides that he

is going to go down to the Feast of

Tabernacles in Jerusalem to the

celebration John chapter 7 opens with

these two verses it says after these

things Jesus walked in Galilee for he

would not walk in Jewry je w ry

because the Jews sought to kill him so

again he’s hesitant to go down into the

land of the Jews and this also brings up

a very important point it is often

thought from a distance that the Jews

are all one people and that is not

necessarily the case we don’t know

always exactly who is referred to when

we talk about the Jews it might be just

those that are in power that is the

typical list of names that Jesus seems

to constantly call out the high priests

the Sadducees the Pharisees the elders

the scribes these are typically who are

put into a group that Jesus typically is

chiding and oftentimes this is who he is

referring to when he talks about the

Jews that’s not everybody and there are

several groups and sets of Jews so to

speak within the land of Judah and

around Palestine so he’s saying here

that he may he’s not going to walk in

jewelry and maybe that’s just the land

of Jerusalem or maybe it’s in areas

where those groups have control and then

verse 2 is now the Jews Feast of

Tabernacles was at hand so this is John

set up for these events that are going

to happen and it’s very important he’s

framing the narrative here so at first

Jesus

heads down to Jerusalem for the feast of

tabernacles it says in verse 10 but when

his brethren were gone up so they went

before him then went he also up unto the

feast not openly but as it were in

secret so at least at first he’s kind of

just there in secret the feast lasts

many days and so at first he may be kind

of hiding out maybe talking to his

disciples maybe heading hanging out in

Bethany for a while we don’t know but

John says in verse 11 then the Jews

sought him at the feast and said where

is he and there was much murmur

among the people concerning him for some

said he is a good man others said nay

but he deceiveth the people howbeit no

man spake openly of him for fear of the

Jews so there is a lot of talk in

Jerusalem about who this Jesus is is he

the Messiah and again the thought of who

the Messiah is to these Jews that are

here at the Feast of Tabernacles might

be very different from what we think of

as the Messiah is this a warrior is this

a king for the most part this is not the

Son of God

this is not Jehovah that they are

thinking about so people are talking

about him and who he is and against this

is a theme that we find throughout the

New Testament but here John is bringing

it back again he’s setting up the stage

for the Feast of Tabernacles here and

who is he is he a great prophet is he

Elijah is he a good man is he a deceiver

is he the Messiah is he according to his

followers the Son of God is he Jehovah

and that is what John is talking about

here because the theme of the Feast of

Tabernacles is the Lord coming to

Jerusalem it is the coming of the Lord

is the day of the Lord it is Jehovah

sitting in his throne in the temple as

the Messiah as the Son of God and that

is what John is trying to show here so

all of these different sacks all these

different people talking about Jesus and

who he is but all are afraid of the Jews

they’re all afraid to talk about it and

that’s the environment in Jerusalem if

you talk about it might you be pulled in

for questioning freedom of religion

freedom of expression freedom of speech

is not really at least in practice

something that exists here in Jerusalem

so then sometime in the middle of the

feast week Jesus decides he’s going to

go up to the temple regardless of the

fact that they are seeking him to kill

him he’s going to go up to the temple

and to teach and this is what should

happen during the Feast of Tabernacles

this is what would happen during the Day

of Atonement the Lord Jehovah would

appear in the temple so this is where he

goes and this is typically where he’s

found when he is in Jerusalem in the

temple teaching and we find here right

away a very similar scenario to Obinna

died preaching to King Noah and the

priests and he says here down in verse

19 did not Moses give you the law and

yet none of you keepeth the law why go

ye about to kill me and so he’s saying

just like a Ben and I you say you

believe in the law of Moses but you

don’t even follow it and there’s

something even well beyond the law of

Moses a higher law which he is teaching

them and then we get this scenario again

where Jesus specifically is saying that

he is the son of God that he is Jehovah

it says for example they’re wondering

where he came from could a messiah

really come from Galilee he says you

know whence I am and I am not come of

myself but he that sent me is true whom

II know not but I know him for I am from

him and he hath sent me so he is saying

that he is coming from the father that

he is the son of God then they sought to

take him but no man laid hands on him

because his hour was not yet comp so

again John especially now mark has this

as well but John especially gives us

this distinction between being the

Messiah and claiming that he is the

Messiah and actually saying that he is

Jehovah that he is the son of God that

is where he really gets into trouble

when he says that he’s the son of God

that is the blasphemy that the Jews want

to kill him for just like with Obinna

die they want to kill him because he

claims that God himself that Jehovah

will come down to the earth and be born

of a woman and take on the sins of the

world and then we get an important point

as well and again this is confirming

kind of the idea of what’s happening

with the people in Jerusalem there are

many that believe in in G

but there are many that don’t it says

here down in verse 43 so there was a

division among the people because of him

is he the Messiah is he the son of God

can we really believe in him and you can

just imagine the political influence

that these sides are coming from trying

to influence all of the people about who

he is or who he isn’t and those in power

definitely trying to tighten down the

screws on the talk about Jesus and can

you even whisper about him and say

something about him because the Jews

whoever they might be are going to be

around there listening and wondering are

you trying to promote this person as the

Messiah and the son of God and then we

get the chief priests and the elders and

others sending officers to go take him

but they don’t because they say never

has a man ever spoken like this so just

like when they are there listening to

him he in a way is able through his

words able to confound them and they

don’t end up taking him Nicodemus is

given as an example of someone who is

supporting him and saying look we are

law it does not condemn a man without

hearing him out and so he’s saying let’s

listen to what he has to say and

Nicodemus is a great example Joseph of

Arimathea they may have been quiet later

on during the time when Jesus is taken

and crucified but there is not a mass

amount of people that are at the

beginning of that Easter week with the

palms that are supporting him and seeing

him as the king of kings and then all of

a sudden later in the week they are

condemning him and saying crucify him

crucify him it’s not saying there aren’t

some that could have crossed over but

for the most part you have a very you

have a splinter of a group of groups

here that are some are supporting Jesus

some are

baptized by John even and by the

disciples and they’re holding church

perhaps and listening to his teachings

and others are with the Jews that is the

Pharisees the Sadducees chief priests

elders scribes etc where they are trying

to get rid of Jesus and stick with the

status quo with the establishment and

then we go over to chapter 8 and we have

the great story of the woman who is

taken in adultery and here John

remember our principle of authorship

john is really trying to set the stage

here about the Feast of Tabernacles and

the Day of Atonement so let’s go through

this and see how he does this and maybe

get a clearer understanding of what’s

happening here in the context of the

Feast of Tabernacles and remember that

this is a temple setting Jesus is in the

temple when this happens and here in

verse 3 it says and the scribes and

Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken

in adultery and when they had set her in

the midst so that’s in the middle of all

the group Jesus is teaching everybody

it’s probably packed in the temple here

people listening to him some afraid they

might get recognized who knows but he’s

in the middle of a large group of people

that are listening to him and the

Pharisees and the scribes brought unto

him a woman taken in adultery and when

they had set her in the midst they say

unto Him master this woman was taken in

adultery in the very act now Moses in

the law commanded us that such should be

stoned but what sayeth thou so again

what are they trying to do here they’re

trying to trap him they’re trying to

give him no way out you know this is

completely contrived by them to try and

set him up for failure so that they can

take him and in verse 6 this they said

tempting him that they might have to

accuse him I think this is an important

word an important concept to understand

they want to accuse him of something

that’s usually not a positive thing

we’ll see later on here just what I’m

talking about in terms of act accusers

here but Jesus stooped down and with his

finger wrote on the ground as though he

heard them not so let’s get this in our

mind right how this happens there’s a

video from lds.org that doesn’t have

this portrayed properly and I think that

this is important the video has Jesus

stooped down but it has the woman down

on the ground and that’s not what the

scripture here says and I think it’s

important to understand what’s happening

here because John is setting this up in

a certain way but Jesus stooped down and

with his finger wrote on the ground as

though he heard them not this is very

possibly a reference to a scripture in

the Book of Jeremiah where it says that

the apostates

will be their names will be written in

the dust on the ground and he may very

well be doing this looking up at them

and writing names down or Pharisees or

something like that but for whatever

reason he’s stooped down and writing in

the dust and not answering them and

verse 7 says the following so when they

continued asking him and this is the key

I think here he lifted up himself now

the Greek in this is basically saying

that he unbend it himself right so if

he’s kind of kneeling down or stooped

down he’s straightening himself out but

this is an important phrase he lifted up

himself and said unto them he that is

without sin among you let him first cast

a stone at her there’s a lot going on

here so again in our mind the woman were

going to find out is standing she is

standing there they’ve brought her in

there they are ready to stone her for

what has happened she’s caught in the

act

she’s guilty I’ve seen a number of

references to this scenario where it

says well maybe she wasn’t guilty and

these are just some harsh men that are

accusing her of something that maybe she

wasn’t respond

before or consenting to that takes away

completely from the story I believe I

think we want to understand that she is

guilty because we want to understand

that we are the woman right so that’s an

important distinction here of what seems

to be written more and more about this

case I think it’s important to

understand that she is probably guilty

because it’s about us so Jesus is down

on the ground writing in the stone in in

the dust the woman is standing up and

for the first time he now he lifted up

himself now let’s go back and look at a

couple things here that I think are

important John is trying to show Jesus

as Jehovah as the Lord that would come

to the temple and this is the scenario

of the drama the temple drama that would

have happened in ancient times not in

the time right now of Jesus probably but

anciently before in the time of Lehi and

previously where they’re the temple

drama would have had the king the

Davidic King acting as Jehovah coming to

his throne in the Holy of Holies in the

temple that is what John is trying to

show here and during the Feast of

Tabernacles which is where we’re at

right now in Jerusalem one of those days

is the Day of Atonement and anciently

what would happen and I’ve gone over

this before so I’m going to do it briefly

here but what would happen is is one of

the things part of the ritual would be

that the high priest would take two

goats identical and he would put his

hand or hands on one of the goats and

remove all of the sins and that would

now be a pure goat without any blemish

and then he would go to the other goat

on this is on the altar and he would

place all of those sins onto the other

goat and then the pure goat would be

sacrificed for the people and the blood

would be sprinkled on all of the people

and on them on the altar and through

the temple to cleanse everything to

purify everything that’s the blood of

Christ and then the other goat is what

we call the scapegoat now right that’s

where this is where this comes from and

that goat would be sent off out of the

city of Jerusalem and actually run

eventually off of a cliff so the two

goats the pure one and the one that has

all the sins on it so that’s an

important thing to understand to

understand what John is trying to set up

here I believe the second thing is going

back to what John refers to at least a

couple of times separately in his book

in his gospel here and that is the

raising of the brazen serpent by Moses

in the desert as you recall the

Israelites are bitten by the fiery

serpents that’s the poisonous serpents

and they have to look to the brazen

serpent that Moses has put up on a pole

and when they look if they just simply

look than they are going to be healed

from this venom that has struck them so

again let’s go back and look at this and

think about the actors here between the

brazen serpent and also with the Day of

Atonement with the high priest and the

two goats okay

so again in verse 7 so when they

continued asking him he lifted up

himself

think of the brazen serpent and said

unto them he that is without sin among

you let him first cast a stone at her

and again he stooped down and wrote on

the ground so think about the sins and

how we’re going to move accusations and

sins from one place to another because

that’s what he’s setting up here the

other thing I think we need to think

about is collectivism with this and mob

rule because that is what ends up

happening I wonder in this scenario or

in any scenario like this which by the

way still happens in the Middle East if

there is just one person that would be

there with a stone in their hand are

they willing to do this

– this woman even if she’s completely

guilty how much easier is it for these

people to do this horrific thing if

there’s a number of them if there’s ten

men there 20 men there and they all have

stones how much easier is it for them to

throw those stones as opposed to just

being one person collectivism any form

of collectivism I think makes it much

easier for us to be part of a club and

part of a unifying ideology that allows

us that permits us that encourages us to

make mistakes and to do wrong and I

think about the emotion that would be

behind being willing to do this why is

there a rage for this why is there

because that’s what it is why is there a

hatred why is there a feeling of we need

to punish this person and think about

how that might rise to the high higher

level of a value than mercy would be and

has that happened in your life have you

felt at times in your family in your

community in your ward or maybe someone

has made a mistake and it’s become

public and are we more willing at times

to throw those stones as a group at that

individual is judgment on that person

the higher value or is love charity and

mercy the higher value because there is

certainly a draw a a magnetic draw

toward a collectivist group mob

mentality that allows us to somehow say

we are going to purify ourselves right

by basically getting rid of expunging

distancing ourselves

from something that we can easily judge

and put down and so here I think that’s

how do you explain that feeling that’s

how it seems to me that this idea of

purifying the group ends up in a

horrific act and a collectivist

mentality that says we’re going to get

rid of this sinner this sin from our

group at all costs but of course that’s

not what happens here we learn something

completely different about a higher law

from Jesus so he has stood up once he

has lifted himself up once as John says

and then he again is stooped down so he

said he has said to them he that is

without sin among you let him first cast

a stone at her so the scenario is as

follows you have those that are supposed

to be pure right that are good there’s

their thinking that the of themselves as

the good guys looking at this woman who

is the bad guy and they’re going to take

their purity basically out on her that’s

what the scenario is

think of the two goats they think of

themselves as the pure goat and they’re

going to get rid of the goat that has

the sin so after he Stoops down again

and writes again in the dust it says and

they which hurt it being that who’s

going to cast the first stone being

convicted by their own conscience went

out one by one beginning at the eldest

even unto the last and Jesus was left

alone and the woman standing in the

midst against usually we see her down on

the ground

ashamed and what she probably was but

down on the ground and it’s not she’s

standing right she’s standing probably

looking down at Jesus who’s writing in

the gooiness in the dust so where is the

sin we have the pure goat we have the

goat with all the sin on

where is the sin at first the scenario

is the Pharisees that inscribes that

brought her in there the Pure Ones in

their minds and the and she is the

accused right they are accusing her who

is the original accuser you need to be

very careful and we’re looking at

accusations and accusing people

the original accuser based on the book

of Revelation also from John right this

is this gospel is written actually after

he writes down after he sees the vision

of the book of Revelation even though

that’s the last book the Gospel of John

here is actually written after he’s

already gone through the vision of the

book of Revelation and so he’s very

familiar with this scenario of course

the day of atonement and the scenario of

the pre-existence where Lucifer Falls

and what does he call him what is the

title that John gives him in the vision

of the book of Revelation it’s the

accuser right he is the accuser where

the third of the hosts of heaven fall

from heaven because they’re the accusers

what are they accusing they’re accusing

people that are good they’re accusing

people that maybe aren’t as good but

that’s what they do they accuse they

throw epithets they throw brandings

labels they are accusers and in the

scenario that John gives in the book of

Revelation this is a pretty bad thing so

here he’s giving the example of the

accusers who are the Pharisees and the

scribes so what happens now in this

scenario the eldest has been leaves

leaves first because of their own

conscience well now where is the sin

what has Jesus brought up the sin is on

themselves they understand they are the

sinners and it says the eldest leaves

first why probably because he’s had the

longest life maybe he’s had the most

experience maybe he’s made the most

amount of mistakes and maybe John is

pointing out maybe he’s got the most

sense and so the oldest

first and then the next and then the

next so who actually gets expelled from

the temple here it’s the Pharisees and

the Sadducees they’re the goat they’re

the scapegoat they have the sins and

they end up leaving because there is an

intermediary who is the high priest who

is pointing out where the sins are and

that’s Jesus so the oldest leaves even

under the last and Jesus was left alone

and the woman standing in the midst

so I’m guessing the misses all of the

other people that were there that we’re

listening to him already

and maybe that have come since the woman

here was brought in and then verse 10

again John says when Jesus had lifted up

himself again he is the healer

he is the brazen serpent and saw none

but the woman he said unto her woman

where are those thine accusers hath no

man condemned thee and she said no man

Lord and Jesus said unto her neither do

i condemn thee go and sin no more so

this is a beautiful example of

understanding how sin works and how it

works amongst all of us where the sin

lies the sin lies with all of us and

Jesus points this out be careful about

judging somebody else be careful about

thinking that they’re the scapegoat you

probably have sins as well maybe they’re

not as grave maybe they’re more grave

but to act in a way where you are trying

to expunge somebody else or distance

somebody else who may have done wrong is

to be an accuser and that’s not a

category or a label that you would want

obviously now Dallin a jokes brings up

an interesting point about this in verse

11 here Jesus says to her neither do i

condemn thee go and sin no more

he’s not saying you’re forgiven right

here he’s not forgiving her necessarily

right this is what Dallin a joke says

about this he says the Lord obviously

did not justify the woman’s sin he

simply told her that he did not condemn

her that is he would not pass final

judgment on her at that time

this interpretation is confirmed by what

he then said to the Pharisees ye judge

after the flesh I judge no man this is

later in verse 15 the woman taken in

adultery was granted time to repent

mortalities a time of probation as we

learn in the Book of Mormon that time

that would have been denied by those who

wanted to stone her so they were willing

to take away her time her probationary

time for repentance for what she had

done so using again the authorship we

understand how John is setting this up

the scenario up as a day of atonement

and Feast of Tabernacles scenario it’s a

stage that is set for this drama and

when we understand the rituals that took

place in the context that John remember

John was a priest in the temple probably

high up and he’s setting this up so that

we understand that this is Jehovah the

son of God not just someone looked at

looked on as a messiah but an actual

savior of the world that would take on

their sins and then we understand the

ritual of the Day of Atonement with the

two goats and how this would work and

that he is the brazen Serpent John

earlier in the Gospels refers to this

example of Moses raising up the brazen

serpent and then later in the chapter as

Jesus is explaining who he is John gives

us this again in verse 28 then said

Jesus unto them this is all that are in

the temple when you have lifted up the

Son of man then shall you know that I am

he basically

no if you need he in there he if you’ll

notice on this verse is in italics it’s

actually not there this is probably him

just saying then shall ye know that I am

that is a go AME

right I am that I am he’s saying he’s

Jehovah he is not even in there and that

I do nothing in myself but as my father

hath taught me I speak these things

so here again John gives us the

reference to being raised up he’s

talking about the reference of the

brazen serpent so I think that if we

couple that into the understanding of

authorship and how this is being put

together we understand that as Jesus

lifts himself up with the woman caught

in adultery we understand that he is the

healer that he is in the process of

understanding how the spiritual economy

here works where the sins lie and that

he is the healer he is the great High

Priest that would be affecting the

ritual of the Day of Atonement and that

he is the son of God who during the

Feast of Tabernacles would be coming to

the temple and sitting in his throne on

the day of the Lord as the king of kings

as the great I am the understanding of

this context gives us a richer deeper

understanding of the woman here who is

taken in adultery

we are the Pharisees and scribes at

times we are the accusers we can be and

sometimes maybe we lift up the stone and

we’re ready to hurl it at somebody but

of course in other scenarios we are also

the woman and adultery is always used in

the scriptures as an example of breaking

covenants and so when we are not

following with our covenants but we are

breaking those covenants and putting

something else above the importance of

Christ in our lives then we are the

woman and it’s Jesus that lifts himself

up as the brazen serpent and says to us

as we stand in the midst of everybody go

and say

no more I’ll talk to you next time

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5 Comments

  1. I love your insights into this story of the woman taken in adultery and how it ties in with the Day of Atonement. I was interested in your comments about Christ writing in the dust on the ground. I would like to read the scripture in Jeremiah that you referenced. I hadn’t heard that before. I have also heard someone say that His writing was symbolic of Him being the Lawgiver, writing the Ten Commandments in stone with His finger. I am loving Come Follow Me and am grateful for the scriptural knowledge that is available for studying. Thank you for sharing your insights!

    • Thank you for your feedback. The scripture I am referencing in this episode is Jer 17:13. Remember that Jesus had just explained how He was the Living Waters. Also, take a look at the first verse in this chapter, Jer 17:1 which gives a segway into the chapter.

      Thank you for listening to these episodes! Feedback is always welcome.

      • Wow! Interesting scripture!
        Another question: You have mentioned in a few episodes that John was a priest in the temple. How do you know that?

        • There are few explicit references and many, many implicit references for this. The more explicit references are mostly from letters written by church leaders after John was ‘gone’. Even then, they are not perfectly explicit.

          Many scholars believe that John was a priest. He writes, even more than the other gospel authors, in a temple theme similar to other priestly authors of scripture such as Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah. He focuses on Jesus’ teachings in the temple as compared to the other synoptic authors where he is mostly shown teaching in Galilee. He references Old Testament priests more and speaks more of the priests and Levites than the other authors. He is very possibly traceable to a ‘cousin’ of John the Baptist, is known by the High Priest at the temple and is given permission to enter the court when Peter is not and even seems to know what Caiaphas, the High Priest says in secret counsels when other authors don’t. John also mentions more disparagingly the ‘Jews’ who were the ruling class, of which he would have had a very close relationship as a priest.

          In all, there is nothing concrete, but as for me, there is enough to convince me. When speaking of him as a priest, everything seems to fit.

  2. Thank you for your reply! Very interesting stuff I had not considered before.

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