And greeting friends. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.
And today’s news could be good if we knew the way. If we knew the way to peace, to happiness, to prosperity, to everything good. There is a way and we just reap what we sow. Well, why is it my friends that the teaching of Jesus Christ has not been taught today? Why is it that when God Almighty sent a message to this world by Jesus Christ; the way to peace, the way to happiness, the way to prosperity, the way to everything good, that men not only rejected that way, they rejected that message. Then they accepted the man, they accepted His name, and they began preaching a gospel about His person, telling what a wonderful man He was, in order to hide the message and to keep it from the people.
Why is it that we believe exactly the opposite today from what the Bible says? Why is it that we believe and practice exactly the opposite of that which Jesus Christ believed, and taught, and practiced? Exactly the opposite of what the early church, when it was really inspired by the Holy Spirit, and when the members were really converted, and were really children of God. And we believe exactly the opposite, and we practice customs totally different, today. Why? Again, I say get out your Bible, open up your Bible, blow the dust off of it, look at it and see! Look at it and find the way, and learn why things are as they are today. Why we have all this world disturbance. Why we have all the sickness and disease. Why we have all of the crime in this country that we have — more than any other nation on earth. Why there is so much inequality, so much unhappiness. There is a reason for it all. Shouldn’t be that way. When will we wake up and come to our senses?
Now, I am going through the gospels to see what Jesus Christ did preach, and what He practiced, and what His teaching really was. We are now in the eighth chapter of John. I’ve read just a few verses into it, but we want to begin again because I didn’t have time to complete it in the preceding program. Now;
“Jesus [had gone out] unto the Mount of Olives, and early in the morning he came again into the temple…” (John 8:1-2)
Now this is apparently the day after the great fall festival, the Feast of Tabernacles, or Festival of Tabernacles, had ended. And this was undoubtedly in the year of 30 AD. And Jesus had gone back now into the temple, because people probably stayed around there several days, even though the festival was over. A number of them perhaps had gone on home, and had started back because they came from all over, from wherever the Jews were, all over Palestine. And even other Jews that had moved into other parts of the Roman Empire. And proselytes, who had accepted their religion of Judaism. Which was a perversion of the religion of Moses, by the way, and was not the same religion as the people had gotten from Moses. And anyway there were still people around. And Jesus went back into the temple the next morning.
“…early in the morning he came again to the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.” (John 8:2)
Now He sat down with them to teach them. You know it just makes me think, I have been in so many cases like that today where we sit down. Where I don’t stand and preach to a lot of people, or another minister for that matter. But where we sit down, and teach and talk. Sometimes we call it having a Bible study, people ask questions, and we sit down and just open the Bible, and expound, and explain it, and answer their questions.
A Challenge for Surrendered Minds
Well, the scribes and Pharisees…this really means the leaders in the church. Here were the big pompous leaders, and they wanted to keep their positions. Now, just like people today they had gotten clear away from the truth. They had gotten away from their religion that had come through Moses. Just like people now have gotten away from the religion of Christ. And they have gotten away from it! And if you think they haven’t, I just challenge you; open your Bible. Get prejudice out of your mind. Don’t judge the things you hear on this program by what you believe, and what your preacher has said, but judge it by what God has said in His Word. And if you can do that, you will get your eyes opened.
And that’s my challenge, I challenge you to do it for your own sake, and for your own good. It’ll be the greatest thing that ever happened to you, if you can open your mind to do that very thing. Of course you will have to admit you’re wrong in a good many places, if you’re going to do it. Not because I’m telling you you’re wrong, but because God’s Word, if you’ll read it, will tell you that you’re wrong. And it’ll show you a lot of things wrong with you. If you can’t take it, and you can’t admit where you are wrong, and if you can’t be corrected and reproved, and if you can’t take instruction in righteousness, if you are not teachable, if you are not willing to admit where you were wrong, and to repent and to change, you’ll never understand the Bible. You’ll never like it, and you’ll never get any real understanding.
A lot of people are not willing to do that. They don’t understand. But they like to argue the Bible, and claim that they have understanding. And they can argue with others. But you know, a person that is really surrendered to it doesn’t argue, he doesn’t debate. When they go around wanting to argue about it all the time, and they’re angry, and mad, and all that sort of thing, you know somehow, God’s never gotten hold of their hearts.
They haven’t yielded and surrendered. If they had they would be so busy wanting God to show them where they’re wrong. They would be wanting to open up their hearts and their minds to receive God’s truth. And they would rejoice in it so much. And if they saw others that didn’t agree, instead of being so angry, and trying to debate with them, and all that sort of thing, well, they would perhaps be sorrowful. And it would hurt them just as it did Jesus, because they would have the true love of God in their hearts. And that’s the love of God.
Well, now let’s get on with this. Here were these leaders and they were so jealous of Jesus. They were afraid of their own positions. And there’s just something about the truth, that just turns the people who haven’t gotten it, and won’t accept it, it turns them violently against it.
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God…” (Romans 8:7)
That’s what it is, it’s enmity against God. And it’s God they’re fighting, not the man, or the preacher who has the truth. And it wasn’t against Jesus, it was against the truth and against God.
The Question of the Death Penalty for Adultery
“[Well] the scribes and the Pharisees [now] brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst [now you see there was a crowd of people there. Jesus had sat down with them and was teaching them, and they sat her down in the midst of these people], They [said] unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.” (John 8:3-4)
Now, and there are evidences that, if you read all of it, that this woman probably had been physically beaten by them. And she had been forcibly brought there, of course. They had dragged her in there, and thrown her down. Naturally, she was hiding her face with shame. And probably trying to resist, but they dragged her in and threw her down.
“Now [they said] Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what [saith] thou?” (John 8:5)
Can you see the trickery, and the deceit, and the hypocrisy, and the pretense in what they are doing? Now, do you understand the facts? Let me explain something to you. In the first place, ‘fornication,’ which is committed before marriage, and ‘adultery,’ which is unfaithfulness to a mate in marriage, had become so rampant in Palestine in that time. And it had become so common, that nobody was paying any attention to what Moses had said back in Leviticus 20 and Deuteronomy 22, about putting them to death. Now, they were only to be stoned if they were engaged to be married. And so evidently this girl was one who had actually been engaged to be married. Because they knew the law, and they said that she should be stoned according to the law. Well, according to the law of Moses, yes; but you know it had become so customary that that law was not being enforced, and hadn’t been for a long time. And more than that, the Romans had taken away from the Jews the power of executing any death sentence.
You see the Jews in Palestine were under the Roman government. And they had been now for 600 years. Ever since 604 BC, when the Chaldean, well not under the Romans that long, but well, what I mean is, ever since the Chaldean army had invaded them. And they were under the Chaldeans, or the armies of Babylon at that time. And then later the Persian Empire, and then the Greco-Macedonian Empire. And now ever since Rome had come in, about 31 BC, they had been under the Romans. And they were now under Roman government, and there was a Roman governor over there, of course you know. And Pilate was a Roman that condemned, finally, and turned over Jesus to be crucified, later.
And so the Romans had denied the Jews the power of carrying out those phases of the law of Moses, of the death penalty, capital punishment. And the Roman law did not fix any death penalty for adultery. Adultery was such a common thing that the Romans didn’t pay much attention to it. They didn’t consider that a very bad crime, if any crime at all. It was something that was quite general. Just like it is again today, and we are going the way of Rome once again today. And it is quite general today. A lot more than a lot of people would like to admit. Yes, a lot of people are hiding skeletons in their closet, just like these men that accused this woman.
A Cunning Trap is Laid
Now I am going to show you that every one of these men that dragged her in there was guilty of the same identical thing. They were all adulterers — every last one of them, but that was alright, they were men! They found this woman, caught her in the act, they dragged her in here to accuse her before Jesus. Now here was the little trick that they had. And, oh the hypocrisy, as they said so sanctimoniously;
“…Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” (John 8:5)
Now, they thought they had Jesus in a trap. If Jesus said, “Well, I can’t do it because the Roman law won’t allow it.” Then He was condoning sin, and they would have said, “See, He goes around, and sin is alright. He doesn’t even condemn sin anymore, and He doesn’t uphold the law of Moses.” And then they would have condemned Him.
But on the other hand if He had condemned her to death, then they would have accused Him to Pilate. And they would have said, “This man is a traitor. We demand that you kill Him.” And for ‘traitorism’ to Caesar and for being a traitor to the Roman government, He could have been put to death. And that is just what they wanted. In fact, they finally got Him on that very ground by false accusation of trying to overthrow the government of Caesar. He wasn’t trying to do anything of the kind. He was telling them that God Almighty is going to overthrow that government, and every other government on earth — in due time — by an act of God.
Just as I tell you today. And it’s still going to happen and now we are in the generation when it’s going to happen. They weren’t then, but we are now. But that’s an act of God. We’re merely advance agents telling the world what is going to come, what God is going to do. We’re not going to do it. We’re not trying to tear down any government. We believe in every respect in the world, to the government under which we live. We believe that we should pray for our leaders, and the President of the United States. We believe we owe the deepest debt of gratitude to the United States, for, oh, the freedom that they give us. Freedom to worship as we please, freedom of speech, these wonderful precious blessings that we have under this great nation, and in every sense of that sort we’re very loyal to it. But we know what God is going to do.
Now, Jesus knew too and that is all that He was proclaiming. But they wanted to accuse Him to those who wouldn’t understand. And so if He had said, “All right I condemn her to death. You go ahead and stone her.” Because it was in the law of Moses, they would have accused Him to Pilate. Always they were trying to get Him in a corner, and by some trickery, and deceit, and pretense, and hypocrisy, to get Him condemned. They wanted to kill Him.
“This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him…” (John 8:6)
Why Did Jesus Write in the Sand?
That is, of course, before the governor and before the Roman officials. Well, what did Jesus do? He didn’t answer them a word. Jesus did something He had never done before or since. He wrote something, and this is the only case where we have any evidence whatsoever that Jesus ever wrote a word. You can’t find a place where Jesus wrote anything on paper in all His life, not one thing.
I will tell you one reason, there may be others, but one reason is this; if Jesus had written anything on a piece, of course they didn’t use paper. We have degenerated, so we use a very cheap paper today. You know what they used then? It was parchment, sheepskin, and it would endure and endure and endure. And if Jesus had written this, on a piece of real parchment, and it had been preserved and taken care of, it would still be in existence today. It wouldn’t have rotted. It would be in good shape probably even yet today. And if such a document existed, that Jesus had written with His own hand, people would worship that thing. They would make an idol of it. They would make a false god out of it.
God knew that, He didn’t let anything of the sort ever happen. Instead God used Jesus, who is His Word, His voice, His Spokesman, to inspire His message. He preached it verbally, and then He inspired the apostles, and the writers of the New Testament, in writing that part of it. And it was done through human agencies. And even those original manuscripts are nowhere to be found. People probably would even worship them, because they were inspired.
But other men that were not inspired copied them, and there are thousands of copies. And so that even though some one man might have made a mistake here, and another man there, out of all of the copies — over a thousand copies of the Greek New Testament — we can tell absolutely what is exactly right. We can get at the exact word for word truth of the New Testament as it was inspired. But it’s all come down through — to finally, we have gotten it through uninspired men, in such a way that nobody can worship it. Well, that is the way of God.
“…[Now] Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground [but He did this writing in the dust, and it is all gone, it was blown away immediately or very soon. It’s not there now, and nobody can go and find that writing. With His finger He wrote on the ground], as though he heard them not.” (John 8:6)
Now, that doesn’t mean that He didn’t hear them. He did hear them, but just as though He didn’t. That is He ignored them totally.
“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him [cast the first] stone at her.” (John 8:7)
Oh, the wisdom of that. They didn’t know how to take it. Now we don’t know what He wrote in the ground, nobody knows. There are some copies of the New Testament, not enough of them though to apparently be accurate. There are some copies of the New Testament, I don’t have the exact words here, but that Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground their sins, or the sins of all of them.
Now there are some texts that have some such words as that. And I haven’t even tried to memorize them, because there is no evidence that those words were inspired. And they are not in the majority of the copies of the original Greek of the New Testament. But some have it. Well, anyway the supposition is that, that is exactly what He wrote.
Where You Find Accusers, You Find the Guilty
Now when He said; “…He that is without sin among you” (John 8:7)…. that Greek word, that is here translated ‘sin’ in this case, is the word that indicates fornication and adultery. And it indicates that they were every one of them guilty of the same identical sin, that they were accusing this woman of. They had just now caught her in the act, but they had been guilty of it long before they caught her.
People today, they’re willing to accuse others, and let me tell you something my friends, I’ve learned this, I didn’t get this out of the Bible, but we learn some things by human experience. And so I just give this to you as an experience, and you can check up in your own experience to see how far it’s true. But in my experience, I have checked many, many, many cases and I have never yet found an exception, that when you find anyone going around accusing others, and who is more or less a promiscuous accuser, just accusing people. And there are people like that, they just love to go around accusing. Some people like to come and accuse me all the time. And then they’ll turn and accuse others. I’ve seen it.
And where you find anyone accusing people, you put this down, and mark this well, and see if it doesn’t work out. I’ve found it does: they are always guilty of the very thing they are accusing others of. Now you try that. You think back of people that have accused you. And you investigate their lives, you get back in the secret recesses of their lives, and see if they’re not guilty of the same thing.
I have never yet known an exception. An accuser is guilty of the very thing that he accuses others of. I don’t know what it is, it’s something I guess, in this complex of guilt. If a man has done something he likes to accuse others of having done the same thing. And that’s what makes him do it, I presume. I don’t know. You can ask a psychologist if he knows anything, which I doubt in a case of that sort. But you will find that’s nearly always true. And it was true in this case. And the original Greek language, here, indicates that they were guilty of the same identical thing.
“…He that is without sin among you [in other words you are all guilty of the same thing; that was the insinuation. And apparently that’s what He had been writing on the ground], let him cast the first stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.[Now something He wrote had something to do with the result here, and they listened Here it is:] And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience.” (John 8:7-9 paraphrased)
Ooh! They were guilty, yes they were. And their own consciences now convicted them.
“…they…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 [in the midst of all these other people, that He had previously been talking to, before they had brought her in, they were all gone]. And when Jesus had lifted up himself, he saw none [that is none of those people] but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are thine accusers?” (John 8:9-10)
Have you ever marveled at the wisdom with which Jesus got out of these traps, and tricks, and things where people tried to back Him up into a corner? Now here is the thing, my friends; Jesus, He didn’t have to worry. He couldn’t be caught in any wrong. He had always done right. And they were trying to falsely accuse Him. And He had the wisdom to always just trap them. And turn it right back on them. They had just slunk away, one by one.
“When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are 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.” (John 8:10-11)
Did Jesus Condone Sin?
Now, did He condone sin? Some people say He did. He said, “Well, that’s alright, lady, you just go and continue to commit all the adultery you want.” Oh no, no, not at all. When He said, “Go and sin no more.” He acknowledged she had been sinning! And when He said, “Sin no more.” — that means repent.
What is it to repent? Too few people know. He didn’t say be sorry. He said just quit doing it. Turn around and go the other way. How is anyone going to do that if they’re not sorry enough to do it? That includes being sorry, but you know it’s more than an ordinary human sorrow;
“Even godly sorrow works repentance…” (II Corinthians 7:10 paraphrased)
And He commanded her to repent. He commanded her to turn around and go the other way. And when He commanded her to repent, He was commanding her to obey God, God’s law about adultery. He told her to “…go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
Now another thing, adultery, she was either already married, or she was committing adultery with a married man. Or otherwise, it would have been called fornication, because adultery is an act committed by a married person.
Now again, let me remind you of something else. Jesus Christ could not have condemned her anyway, because He was not a judge. And it should, to be done legally according to the law of Moses, He was not sitting in the seat to do the judging. And again He couldn’t do it without a trial. And He couldn’t hold a trial without witnesses. Now all of her witnesses were gone. All of those that witnessed against her, her accusers were gone. The witnesses had fled. He couldn’t carry out a trial. You see, He just couldn’t go on doing it, He couldn’t condemn her. And all He could say is, “You’ve been sinning lady, but don’t do it anymore.” And when He said, “…go, and sin no more,” that was certainly telling her she had been sinning. He didn’t dispute the fact she had been caught in the very act. He didn’t condone what she did. He said, “Repent, go and do it no more.” That’s the teaching of Jesus all the way through.
Follow Christ, the Light of Life
“[Well] Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Now light means truth. Light means, it’s the opposite of darkness. It represents truth, and righteousness, and the right way. And He said, “follow me.” That is an act of moving. It’s an act of doing. And here He’s teaching doing. I told you He set us an example we should follow His steps. Jesus said; “…I have kept my Father’s commandments…” (John 15:10)
And here again He is teaching us to follow Him, and to do as He did. Why don’t the churches today do like Jesus did? They don’t. They don’t observe the same day for worship Jesus did. They don’t observe the annual holidays Jesus did. They don’t do any of the things that Jesus did. Oh, my friends, why?
I know that isn’t popular, but it happens to be true. And my friends, you can’t look right down into it and check the history of what was taught by the pagans in those days and what Jesus taught, and look at what’s taught, and practiced, and followed today, and deny it. It’s the truth.
People just kind of look down their noses, and they get miserable, and a little unhappy, and turn the other way, and try to get out of it, and go right on doing these ways. And that’s why this world is unhappy. That’s why the world is in chaos and upset. That’s why we’re now threatened with a war of annihilation, hydrogen bomb war, that’s why. Oh, people hate to admit it, don’t they?
Well, Jesus said; “…I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness [the world today is walking in darkness, that’s why it is suffering so much, that is why there is so much human anguish], but he shall have the light of life [and that life can be everlasting life]. The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.” (John 8:12-13)
You’re just talking about yourself. And you’re lying; you’re record isn’t true
And “Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true [He denied it and called them liars. That is not in so many words, but that’s what it means]: for I know whence I came [that is where I came from], and whither I go; but [you] cannot tell whence I [came], and whither I go.” (John 8:14)
He was going back up to heaven. And He had come from heaven. And He said you cannot go there, and yet people talk about people going to heaven. And Jesus said; “…no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even [Himself] the Son of man…” (John 3:13)
Today the churches believe that when you die you go to heaven. That isn’t what Jesus taught. That’s what the pagans believed. And every heathen religion in the world has some kind of a life after death where people go to, to either a happy hunting ground, a heaven, or something of that sort.
Now that’s oh! That’s very dangerous to say a thing like that, isn’t it? What are we going to do? Go by what people that don’t know anything about it, decided to believe? Things that are lies, things that are not true. Things that can’t happen, never will happen? Or are we going to look to the God who is the Creator and the Ruler of all, and what He reveals and what He says is the truth.
We’re just going to get our feelings hurt because someone says something that is contrary to what all of the people have decided to believe? I don’t teach what the people believe, my friends. I teach the truth of God Almighty, like Jesus Christ, I bring you the light. And Jesus said He brought light into the world, but “…men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)
And they didn’t want to repent or acknowledge it.
Jesus said; “[You] judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.” (John 8:15-16)
And so, oh, I hate to break off there, but I just have too. And He continues to show that we have to obey God and follow Him.