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When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
This is the Gospel selection for the second Sunday of Easter, Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will be preceded by the mandatory reading from Acts (Acts 4 this Sunday), which says, “With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” That is followed by a reading from Psalm 133, which sings, “For there the Lord has ordained the blessing: life for evermore.” Additionally a reading from John’s first epistle is read, which states, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.”
This selection is poorly translated, simply because there is a disconnect between Judaism and Christianity, such that Christians today do not understand a Jewish writing that implies another Jew would readily understand the meaning of references to time. The timing elements being explained make this lesson clearer to understand.
When the translation says, “it was evening on that day,” the operative word here is “day” [“hēmera”]. That becomes a statement of it being daytime, or when the sun is shining, with the Hebrew clock being divided into two times: day and night. The aspect of “evening” [“opsias”] can better be translated as “late” (a viable option), so it is “late” in the day, such that “evening” of “day” is after 3:00 PM, before 6:00 PM. The word translated as “that” [as “that day” or literally “day that,” from “hēmera ekeinē”] implies “the same day,” which is Easter Sunday.
Where the translation says, “the doors of the house,” there is nothing that says anything more than “doors.” The Greek words “thyrōn kekleismenōn” can translate to state “doors having been shut” or “gates having been closed,” but nothing says a house is where the “doors” were. Because this day is connected to the story in Luke, of the two traveling the road to Emmaus with Jesus (in unrecognizable form), after they realized it was Jesus (and he disappeared) they hurried back to Jerusalem, their rush was so they would get back before they closed the gates. That event was still an hour or so away at this point, meaning the timing of Jesus appearing here, with his disciples, was around the same time he was seen walking the road to Emmaus, unrecognized by his uncle Cleopas and aunt Mary.
Where Luke 24:33 states, “[Cleopas and Mary] got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven and those with them, assembled together,” there is nothing stated there that says they entered within the city walls. One can assume they stayed in a house, one which was a safe place where the Jews of the Temple could not easily find them. That could mean they found refuge in the upper room, where the Passover Seder had been held eight days before [a Sabbath evening], but that is not stated. As that room [presumed to have been in the Essene Quarter of Jerusalem] was not property owned by any of the disciples, a more likely place would be the property of Joseph of Arimathea. That estate would have been close to the cemetery where he owned a tomb, in which Jesus' body had been placed; and, as a wealthy man, one could presume Joseph had a place large enough that a numerous group could seek refuge there, discretely. However, such a place for Joseph would most likely have been outside the walls of Jerusalem.
Relative to Jesus suddenly appearing among his disciples [women and men], saying, “Peace be with you,” the capitalized Greek word “Eirēnē” is written. That does translate as “Peace,” but the capitalization raises the meaning beyond a physical state of calmness or serenity, lifting the meaning to a divine state of being. On a mundane level, the lower case spelling could mean “peace,” which was a commonly used Jewish word of farewell; so, it could have been heard the first time [by some] as if Jesus appeared to them, to say “goodbye.”
To grasp a divine level meaning, the capitalization makes one become aware of the root meaning, which comes from the word "eirō." That etymology is explained as such: “from eirō, "to join, tie together into a whole.” Thus, the word “properly [implies] wholeness, i.e. when all essential parts are joined together.” (HELPS Word-studies)
When directed “to you” [dative plural], “Eirēnē hymin” [“Peace to you”] is a command, gently stated, which called them all to become United or Joined, such that the capitalization becomes a directive for all in the group to be married with God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus thus announced to all a proposal for marriage, to each individually, all together as one.
This becomes important to grasp, when Jesus later repeated this gentle command, saying “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
In that verse [John 20:21], there is a semi-colon after “hymin” [“to you”], such that there is not a complete pause following, with no separate statement being made. The presence of a semi-colon says the “Unity” that comes “to you” from marriage with Yahweh is [a literal translation available], “according to the manner in which has sent forth me this Father.”
At that point there is a comma mark making that statement be separated, such that Jesus just said, “Unity to you” is “according to the manner in which I have been sent,” where “Unity” or “Joining” is “this”[from “ho”] that Jesus referred to as “Father.” That says Jesus was a soul married to Yahweh, via His Holy Spirit, so “Union” is the way Jesus was put on earth. That then leads to Jesus adding [after the comma], “I also put forth you.”
In the use of “pempō,” which is the first person singular stating, “I put forth,” or “I send,” the same word can translate as meaning, “I produce.” [Wiktionary] This is not so much a statement that says, "because Jesus is married to Yahweh he can make decisions about sending out people," as it is more a statement that the “Unity to you” makes all become just like Jesus. It implies each will become Jesus reborn, so “I put forth” or “I produce” is then relative to the result of being married to Yahweh.
When Jesus then said the capitalized word “Father,” immediately before the comma mark that leads to “I put forth,” the divinity of the capitalization certainly makes “Father” be Yahweh. Still, from the comma, it is possible to see the first person singular now coming from the voice of the “Father” within Jesus, who says “I put forth you” or “I send you.” That speaks as Him saying through Jesus His Son that it was Yahweh who sent Jesus to the world. Likewise, Yahweh will "produce" more like Jesus.
The repetition of “Eirēnē” makes “Marriage” to Yahweh be the utmost message to receive here, because after all: Jesus just suddenly appeared through closed doors, as one risen from a gruesome death they all had witnessed. That was not Jesus being superman, but the power of Yahweh manifesting before their eyes. The metaphor becomes the voice of God to those souls still trapped in bodies of mortal flesh, saying, "You see I raised Jesus to eternal life. I can do the same for you … if you accept the proposal and let's get married."
When one realizes the presence of Yahweh in the body of Jesus, one can then read the next words with divine insight: “When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
Here, the third person singular form of “emphusaó,” as “he breathed upon” [from “enephysēsen”] must be seen as God’s breath of life. All possessed the gift of life in the flesh because of God’s “ruach” or “breath, wind, spirit.” Therefore, Jesus, in a risen body that had been dead just a day before [or so], was not breathing upon his disciples. It has to be seen as Yahweh doing that breathing, based on “Eirēnē” and “Patēr” being manifested in “Kyrion Iēsous” [“Lord Jesus”], with “Jesus” a name meaning “Yahweh Will Save.”
That aspect of divine essence in capitalized words, where even Jesus is an extension of Yahweh [Jesus is not a co-equal of God], the third person singular of “legó” [“legei”] has Yahweh again speak, saying “Labete Pneuma Hagion” or “Receive Spirit Holy.”
When the capitalization is recognized as Yahweh speaking, these words speak as a Husband to a wife [each individually, while all collectively the same] to allow Him to penetrate their souls [His breath – “ruach”] with His presence. This divine ‘insemination’ merges their souls with His Spirit, such that the one capitalized word “Pneuma” means Holy Spirit, without the necessity to add a word that says “Holy” to it. Therefore, when the word “Hagion” is added, this becomes the result of that divine ‘insemination,” where one’s being becomes “Holy,” as was Jesus, with “Hagion” also translating as “Sacred” or “Set apart by God” (i.e.: a Saint).
If it wasn't for the halos, everyone would still look exactly the same as before.
A quick point about the element of "sins." The only one who can forgive anything that would condemn a soul is Yahweh. A soul has no power to forgive anyone or anything, because that means raising one's ugly brain to some level of self-importance or self-righteousness. Once married to Yahweh, Yahweh does all the talking and the soul can only say "Yessir." Thus, if Yahweh says to do something that might have once been a sin one enjoyed doing, but now ceases because Yahweh says so, those past sins are forgiven by Yahweh. If something a soul has thought to be a sin, even if it did help others from time to time, so it sinned and hid it has been judged by Yahweh not to be a sin at all, then those limited acts can be kept, forgiven as not sins after all.
The point of this is this: If you are married to Yahweh you become a most holy temple, with Yahweh on the throne of your heart, where all Law is written. You walk where Yahweh sends you to walk. Thus, no matter where you go, you always remain within the limits of the Law.
At this point, John’s Gospel shifts to explain that Thomas was not there when Jesus appeared. That says two things: First, it says Jesus disappeared after appearing and saying those words. This is similar to his speaking and then suddenly disappearing when at the home of Cleopas and Mary. While it is certainly within the realm of possibility of Yahweh, to have His Son appear at two different places at the same time [the truth of the concept of Christianity], the appearance and disappearance of Jesus while Thomas was away says that was planned. God knew Thomas was away, so He sent His Son to establish the protocol that will forever remove any excuses for doubting Yahweh, because Jesus in the flesh is not around to “prove himself.”
This again brings up the timing factor. In this, one needs to realize the fear that had grasped the hearts and brains of the disciples and followers of Jesus. Amid the fear, there was still a need for food for the group. Mary had prepared food for Jesus in her home in Emmaus, because it was time to eat. She and Cleopas invited the stranger that was Jesus into their home for supper. In the same way Mary made bread, Thomas had been sent out to find bread and fish for the group to eat, as they were not in a house they owned, one stocked with food. Thus, Jesus appeared at two places at the same time, disappearing each place after making a point for faith in Yahweh; so, while Cleopas and Mary were walking quickly back the seven miles to Jerusalem, Thomas was out seeking food to purchase, most likely trying to remain incognito while doing so.
Again returning to Luke’s version of what happened, he wrote about Cleopas and Mary returning to where the others were holed-up, writing: “While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” This says Tomas returned with fish and bread after Jesus disappeared, but before Cleopas and Mary could get back to them [probably an hour and a half, walking very quickly]. This then means Thomas had returned and the group had eaten, as the two relatives of Jesus walked back. It was then after they walked in and were talking about having seen Jesus that Jesus reappeared, when everyone was all together. This would place the time not long after 6:30 PM, when the gates of Jerusalem would have been closed and more closely guarded.
This is where the NRSV [and every other version I checked – NIV, NASB, KJV] mistranslates the Greek text, so it says, “A week later” (or “After eight days”). That is not what is written. The Greek text states, “Kai meth’ hēmeras oktō,” where one must take note of a capitalized “Kai,” which always denotes importance to follow. The capitalization of that word now elevates that importance to a divine level of understanding. Thus, it is the capitalization of “Kai” that says the following timing is divinely related.
The Greek words following “Kai” then literally translate to state, “in company with of day eight.” Even by using the word “after,” so it reads “after of day eight,” the genitive singular spelling of “hémera” says “of a day,” not a total “of days.” In the genitive singular, the spelling of “hēmeras” says it use implies: “within a certain number of days; by day; sometime during a particular day.” (Wiktionary) When the capitalized “Kai’ is seen as an indicator of divine elevation in meaning, John was speaking in terms that Jews would readily understand, while Gentiles would read and think he said, “A week later.”
This means the timing of John is a statement that the time has now gone beyond 6:00 PM, when the first day of the week has changed to the second day of the week. In Jewish ritual, which Christians make a point of not learning or knowing anything about, the week that follows the Passover feast [aka the Seder meals] is called the festival of the Unleavened Bread. There are two Seder meals, on beginning at 6:00 PM on 15 Nisan (the evening of 14 Nisan), and at 6:00 PM on 16 Nisan (the evening of 15 Nisan).
In the middle of the festival of the Unleavened Bread there is a day set aside for the feast of the First Fruits. The First Fruits are green grains and fruits set in the Temple of Jerusalem [back then], which would be blessed by the high priest on Shavuot, which takes place on the Fiftieth Day [Pentecost]. The ritual was then to nightly say a prayer for those fruits left to ripen, in what is called “the Counting of the Omer,” where an “omer” is a dry measure of grains or fruit. Each night the Jews pray and add a day in the count, with the first day in the counting of the omer being at 6:30 PM 16 Nisan [or when night has clearly fallen]. Thus, John was making a statement that this he was writing about here “Importantly” ["Kai"] was “in company with” that counting “of day,” which at 6:00 PM became the number “eight” in that count "of days." That is then setting the date to 23 Nisan.
The Passover feast [second Seder meal] was when Jesus was arrested [16 Nisan]. He was arrested on the first day of the week [a Sunday, early in the morning]. The first day was the first day of the counting of the omer. After seven days of counting, it was Sunday, 22 Nisan [numbered at 6:00 PM on 21 Nisan, when it became the 22nd]. Thus, at 6:00 PM on Sunday evening [when it officially became the 23rd], that was when all devout Jews would say a prayer in the counting of the omer, declaring it “day eight.” So, all John was saying was 6:00 PM on Sunday had come, making it the eighth day in a count to forty-nine [seven weeks, such that Shavuot means the festival of Weeks]; but, it was just Sunday night in Christian minds.
That then establishes the timing, such that it was after the Jews determine “night,” with each “day” beginning with night and ending in day. It does not say it was dark, as in most months of the year it is still light outside at 6:00 PM, thus evening of “night” [the “Evening Watch” by the guards at the gates of the walls of Jerusalem]. That was when Jesus reappeared to the group, just as suddenly as he had before.
The purpose of that planned second visit was so God could speak through His Son, saying, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” This demands closer inspection as to what was written.
The Greek text shows Jesus saying, “Hoti heōrakas me , pepisteukas ; makarioi hoi mē idontes , kai pisteusantes .” This statement breaks down into four segments that need to be understood separately, with the last word being very important to grasp, because it is preceded by the word ”kai.” These four segments literally can translate to state the following:
“Because you have perceived me ,”
“you have shown belief ;”
“to be envied those not having experienced ,”
“kai having faith in .”
The root word of “heōrakas” is “horaó,” which means, “I see, look upon, experience, perceive, discern, beware.” The root word for “idontes” is the same “horaó.” Thus, the multiplicity can be read in a number of ways that are not the same. As such, I have translated above: "have perceived" and "having experienced."
While it is easy to know that Thomas had eyes and Jesus appeared in solid flesh, which Thomas touched with his hands, the key goes back to the capitalized word “Hoti,” which places “Because” in a divine state of being. Everything Thomas did “to see” Jesus had risen was actually him [and the others watching] having a most religious “experience” with Yahweh, through His Son. By physically being able to see a dead body alive again, one they had all “seen” hanging lifeless on a cross, “watching” a Roman guard pierce the side of Jesus with a spear, so fluids poured out of his lifeless body, they were then “seeing” Jesus and “believing” he had some magic power to return to life. They had all been raised spiritually to a divine state of being, which “Caused” them all “to see” Jesus risen. "Because" they physically "perceived" Jesus does not prove he was real, as if God did not "Cause" them to have a mass hallucination and sense his presence, like all were living in a most vivid dream.
In the Easter Sunday readings last week, either from Mark or John, both Gospels tell of perceptions of Jesus. He did not look like Jesus: he looked like a young man robed in white; and, he looked like the gardener. In the Luke story on the road to Emmaus, Jesus did not appear as Jesus. In all three appearances, it became understood that what was being seen was Jesus. The all “perceived” him. The disciples, on the other hand, saw Jesus (without Thomas) and, “The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” However, as the saying goes: "Seeing is believing." But, that is the flaw of logic that magicians play upon, using tricks that prove “the hand is quicker than the eye.”
By realizing this, the repetition of “horaó” needs to be seen in Spiritual terms. Thomas looked upon God, manifested as the man known as Jesus of Nazareth. Thus, Thomas “believed” in Jesus. Thomas then becomes metaphor for the divinely elevated state of belief in God or a god that is Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity [any other religions where proof is reason for belief], because there are physical tests that can be done which prove each religion is believable. They each “have shown belief” as the tests proving worthy of their support.
That says all Christians who see the powers of Jesus as reason to believe in him [not Yahweh] and count on him returning [not Yahweh] and any number of other things that make Christians get down on their knees and pray to Jesus [not Yahweh] that devotion to Jesus acts as the weakness that reduces them to needing proof to believe in God. They say they believe what they read written in mistranslated versions of the Holy Bible. They say they believe what some minister, preacher, priest, rabbi, or theological scholar [most likely bestselling author] states as his or her reasons for belief in Jesus. In that sense, the Word as shown by the NRSV, as orated by pulpit speakers, becomes belief in the physical body of Jesus, which comes complete with holes you can drive a truck through. [Don't ask questions, just believe what you are told!] It makes waiting for Jesus to return be nothing more than a sad state of faithlessness.
Thomas reflects a human being who demands God jump through a hoop, like a trained dog [God spelled backwards, in the lower case English], at the command of a human being. With Jesus, it seems so much easier to get God to do what one wants, because Jesus is like one's mother. Jesus is not the Father, who always says, "No!" Instead, when one has “United” with Yahweh in marriage, having totally submitted one’s sense of self to the Will of Yahweh, then one has so much more than belief. One KNOWS there is no "I' left to my flesh, as Yahweh Commands and wives comply … with love and "Peace."
This means the Greek word “makarioi” (translated by the NRSV as “blessed [are]”) bears the truth of those “to be envied,” because those “[are] happy.” The meaning of “blessed” is so meaningless coming from the mouths of Christians these days. The word is used commonly, as "Have a blessed day," like the one saying that is so holy that he or she can save Yahweh any excess work blessing lives of human beings. To think like that says one thinks "blessed" means, “Jesus has jumped through another hoop for me today! I am so blessed by having received something meaningless!”
Those who do not need to see Jesus to have true faith KNOW that God is their husband, who totally leads them through life. They are the one’s always “happy.” They are the ones who must “be envied,” because they are truly “blessed” by Yahweh, by having their souls promised salvation. They do not simply “believe” in Jesus, they ARE JESUS REBORN.
When John then wrote, “Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples,” the heading appears in the NRSV that says, “Why This Gospel Was Written.” Few people are able to see just how clearly that says, “Jesus became one with each of his disciples, so in his presence [THEM AS JESUS REBORN] they did many other signs.”
What would be the point of Jesus doing many other parlor tricks for his disciples? Wasn’t seeing him alive, after being dead and still bearing the gaping holes in his flesh as evidence, enough of a “sign” to keep them believing? They became the green fruit picked from the Jesus vine. They were maturing in Christ [meaning as "Anointed ones" by Yahweh], so that after six more weeks they would be deemed ripe for ministry.
John did not write his Gospel so “many would believe in Jesus.” Certainly, many Christians believe in Jesus and they point to the Gospels as why they believe in all the stories told about Jesus. However, Christianity today is so far removed from what Christianity was at the beginning, is there any wonder the world is going to hell in a handbasket because so many Christians are just like doubting Thomas? There is no need to see Jesus come back in the flesh, just so believers can point at all the bad people, saying, “See! I told you he was real!”
As the Gospel selection for the second Sunday of Easter, the theme of the season needs to always be kept in mind. John is telling us what we each need to do individually, which is marry Yahweh and become His Son reborn. We need to “Unify” or “Join” with Yahweh in marriage, where our souls are offered up to God in submission, in return for eternal salvation. We have to each Receive the Spirit of Yahweh and become His Saints. The Easter season is when we should be practicing being Jesus, so we can perform the signs that tell God we are ready for ministry.