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1 John – Cycle 11

The eleventh cycle brings us to Atonement, where the theme is the “Covenant Oath” of Israel. However, since Jesus was entirely faithful to the Mosaic Oath as our High Priest, John turns this theme inside-out and calls upon other witnesses to testify to that faithfulness.

The position of this passage within the letter, combined with acknowledgment of its composition for a Jewish audience, relates it to the Covenant Oath required of Israel on Mount Sinai. At the first Pentecost, Israel was given the Law, those of accountable age (there it is, folks) agreed to obey it, but then they rebelled and manufactured the golden calf. 3,000 were slain by the Levitical sword. Likewise, Christ ascended to heaven, opened the New Covenant scroll and sent His Spirit at the last Pentecost. 3,000 Jews believed, but the Herodian Priesthood subsequently turned the Temple itself into an idol, “the image of the beast.” That is the context of this cycle: “Who is the true High Priest? The one in heaven, or the one still peddling obsolete rites on earth?” Cleansing comes by water and blood, but the question John asks is whose water and blood?

TRANSCENDENCE (Genesis/Creation)

TRANSCENDENCE
This is the one (Creation)
HIERARCHY
having come by water and blood, (Division)
ETHICS
Jesus Christ; (Ascension)
not by water only (Testing)
but by water and by blood. (Maturity)
OATH/SANCTIONS
And the Spirit is the one testifying (Conquest)
SUCCESSION
because the Spirit is the truth. (Glorification)

  • The order of the water and blood here is significant. Moses’ third sign to Pharaoh was tipping water onto the ground which would miraculously transform into blood. Egypt’s river of life would become a stinking river of death, just as it had when Pharaoh ordered Hebrew boys to be thrown into the Nile. But in the wilderness, the priests were told to tip the sacrificial blood upon the ground “as water.” The atoning blood would cleanse the Land of its blood guilt and bring forth fruit. The water and blood order here is toggled to the negative, which means it refers to the washing of the sacrifice (Jesus’ baptism) and its atoning death (Jesus’ crucifixion). After His death, John records that “blood and water” came from Jesus’ pierced side. The order is reversed, and the Land is cleared of its blood guilt. The Father had forgiven them because they did not know what they were doing.
  • The order of the content of the stanza is strange, but it seems to be a microcosm of the first century history, with Jesus’ witness and death at Division/Passover, and the Apostles’ witness and death at Maturity/Trumpets. Revelation describes that latter witness as a ministry of reminding the Jews of the Law and the Prophets using images of Moses and Elijah, two legal witnesses who could shut up the sky and turn water into blood. Note the reversed chronology of Elijah and Moses there: water first and then blood. That is order of vengeance upon Egypt. Judah was forgiven for the murder of Christ, but for the murder of His bride there would be no forgiveness. After Pentecost, the Jewish rulers knew exactly what they were doing. Their sin was no longer a “wandering astray” but high-handed (Numbers 15:22-31). They had despited not only the Word of the Lord but blasphemed His Spirit, and for that they would be utterly cut off. They would atone for this sin with their own blood.

HIERARCHY (Exodus)

TRANSCENDENCE
For there are three (Initiation)
HIERARCHY
that testify: (Delegation)
ETHICS
the Spirit (Presentation: Priesthood)
and the water (Purification: Kingdom)
and the blood; (Transformation: Prophecy)
OATH/SANCTIONS
and the three (Vindication)
SUCCESSION
are to the one. (Representation)

  • The Hierarchy stanza unites the earthly testimony (water and blood) with the heavenly testimony (Spirit) as one, the corroborated witness “of two or three” (Deuteronomy 17:6; Matthew 18:20) Thus, the final line does not refer to these three being one, but to their witness concerning “the one.”
  • The unusual order of Spirit, water blood as the triune office refers to the sending of the Spirit at Jesus’ ascension, the Pentecostal baptism of Israel, and the martyrdom of the Apostles. These three – sourced in Christ – could not have occurred unless Jesus was the true High Priest ministering in heaven.
  • Not only does the structure of the stanza rejects the “Johannine Comma,” but the identification of the purpose of the entire cycle through its position in the second half of the epistle does also. The Father only testified to Jesus at His baptism and His transfiguration (John 8:15-18). After Pentecost, there is no place for the “Word” in heaven testifying to Jesus’ High Priesthood, since that Word had become flesh and fulfilled the Law. He who “speaks from heaven” (Hebrews 12:15) was now speaking through the Apostles by the Spirit, a validation of His testimony on earth (John 5:21; 8:14; ). John’s epistle is not a list of isolated doctrinal statements but a meticulously structured logical argument. To include the Comma is to miss the actual point of the passage.

ETHICS (Leviticus)

If the testimony of men (Transcendence)
we receive, (Hierarchy)
the testimony of God (Ethics: Priesthood)
is greater. (Ethics: Kingdom)
For this is the testimony of God, (Ethics: Prophecy)
that he has testified (Oath/Sanctions)
concerning his Son. (Succession)

  • At the center of the cycle, John calls for discernment. The position makes this an allusion to the “Adam of sin” currently seated in the Sanctuary, and the various Cains and Balaams in his employ. The stanza begins with the false Adams and ends with the true one.
  • “Greater” at the very center of the entire cycle alludes to the “mighty men” of the Bible, especially the “men as gods” who were the final outcome of the serpentine lie before the flood (see Destroy This Temple). The kingdom of the Herods was Cainite like that of Lamech, a tyranny of vengeance against the lambs of God. This is why Jesus alludes to Lamech’s oath (Genesis 4:24; Matthew 18:22), a “legal testimony” which resulted in a world filled with violence and the end of animal blood mediating as a substitute for sinful men.

OATH/SANCTIONS (Numbers)

The one not believing God, (Transcendence)
a liar has made him, (Hierarchy)
because he (Ethics: Priesthood)
has not believed (Ethics: Kingdom)
in the testimony (Ethics: Prophecy)
that God has testified, (Oath/Sanctions)
concerning his Son. (Succession)

  • Now, John condemns the Jewish rulers and their followers across the empire, those who would ultimately be trapped in the city of Jerusalem by General Titus when they traveled there for Passover. Rather than believe the Jesus had fulfilled the Mosaic Oath on their behalf, they maintained their own righteousness before God.
  • Worse, like Cain, they expressed this in the slaughter of those who mediated for them before God. The blood of all the righteous from Abel to Zechariah would be avenged upon them, and animal sacrifices would cease. This is why Jesus comes against Jerusalem with a sword in His mouth. It is the self-maledictory oath fulfilled (Priesthood), “inverted” (Kingdom) and weaponized (Prophecy).

SUCCESSION (Deuteronomy)

TRANSCENDENCE
And this is the testimony, (Ark of the Testimony / Day 1 / Initiation)
HIERARCHY
that life eternal (Veil / Day 2 / Delegation)
ETHICS
God has given to us, (Bronze Altar & Table / Day 3 / Presentation)
and this life is in his Son. (Lampstand / Day 4 / Purification)
The one having the Son has life. (Incense Altar / Day 5 / Transformation)
OATH/SANCTIONS
The one not having the Son of God (Mediators / Day 6 / Vindication)
SUCCESSION
has not life. (Shekinah / Day 7 / Representation)

  • The final stanza works through the Creation-Tabernacle, which is also expressed in the process of sacrifice and Israel’s Festal Calendar.
  • The positives only go as far as step 5, the legal witness of the Apostles as New Covenant prophets. That corresponds to the Pentateuch and the hiding of the body of Moses in the earth, and later the commission of Elijah on Sinai and the hiding of his body in the heavens. The Law and the Prophets are the “two witnesses” against Israel in Revelation 11. Once the legal witness are gone, their blood poured out upon the ground and their bodies rising like a cloud of fragrant smoke to heaven, there is no more sacrifice for sins. Steps 6 and 7 are Joshua and Judges fulfilled upon earthly Jerusalem, which is named Sodom (Abraham), Egypt (Moses) and Babylon (Isaiah/Jeremiah) in the Revelation, and then presented as Jericho, the firstfruits city devoted to God and placed entirely under the ban.

If you are new to this method of interpretation, please visit the Welcome page for some help to get you up to speed.

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