17

John 7:8:

"...You go to the festival. I am not[a] going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come."

The all important footnote:

[a] John 7:8 Some manuscripts not yet

It seems strange that many manuscripts omit "yet", especially when there is a second "yet" in the verse (and both are the same Greek word; see Strong's).

My questions are:

  1. Was "yet" added in later manuscripts so that Jesus could not be seen to lie?
  2. If the "yet" is not added, is there any way we can understand this verse such that Jesus was not lying (since according to verse 10 he did go to the festival)?
  • 1
    It is clear from the surrounding context (v. 3-4 and 10-11) that a public appearance was intended. – Lucian Aug 9 '17 at 7:34

12 Answers 12

1

The same verse in the NKJV is:

You go up to this feast. I am not yet[a] going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come

The footnote here is the following:

a. John 7:8 NU-Text omits yet.

Now this footnote tells us more specifically what's the point regarding this verse. NU stands for Netsle-Aland Greek New Testament/United Bible Society. These are texts based on the oldest, but not the most numerous ancient manuscripts.

It could be an equally valid hypotesis that actually, these which are the oldest available manuscripts, but that are a minority and come from a specific area (the area of Alexandria of Egypt, see Wikipedia), could have been modified, in order to prove Jesus wrong.

It is pretty hard that a majority of Bible manuscripts have been modified in this specific verse almost everywhere in Europe, Africa and Asia (at least history would have accounted of some kind of rebellion or schism among believers for such a change).

It is more likely that such a change could happen in a specific place, from which later spread an heresy such as the Arian heresy that spread from Alexandria of Egypt.

Of course, that's an hypothesis, but it's worth thinking about.

  • 2
    A good answer to this question will address textual criticism, but you suggest a hypothesis out of left-field -- that the oldest texts represent those trying "to prove Jesus wrong" -- but you offer no proof or even argument! This is really poor hermeneutics. – Schuh Nov 18 '16 at 21:00
  • @Schuh "A good answer to this question will address textual criticism" I disagree with that. In fact Christianity didn't begin with textual criticism and can continue to live without it. Jesus never used such a method of interpretation, but always considered Scripture as the inspired Word of God, self-explanatory (see Lk 24:27) and unchangeble (see Jn 10:34-36). The arguments of my answer may be faulty, but the premise of your accusation does not have biblical support. – clami219 Nov 29 '16 at 14:44
  • Actually, that was my positive feedback on your answer. A discussion about manuscripts, as you offer, IS textual criticism. Your whole answer is a claim that the NU text is unreliable. You can make a textual claim, but I'm suggesting you back it up with evidence. – Schuh Nov 29 '16 at 16:53
  • 2
    @Schuh I understand what you are saying. What I am saying is that the modern approach to textual criticism IMHO brought greater unbelief and doubts about the Bible than did trusting the majority of existing biblical manuscripts (the previous approach). My argument is based on statistics (it's very hard to change something everywhere) and history (no proof of a schism whatsoever because of this). I'm using large scale evidence, which is simple to check, and common sense. I'm not using a "critical" approach, because it implicitly denies that there is a God who kept His own Word through history. – clami219 Nov 30 '16 at 15:34
  • 1
    @AlexStrasser thank you for the clarification. Sure enough there was a misunderstanding there on my side. My apologies on that... – clami219 Jun 16 at 15:14
9

Aside from the manuscript evidence, which seems inconclusive, the most practical reading is to take it exactly as it is. Or as a not in the NET Bible says in a note on v. 8...

"Jesus may simply have been refusing to accompany his brothers with the rest of the group of pilgrims, preferring to travel separately and “in secret” (v. 10) with his disciples."

Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006).

Whether the original author included "yet" or not it seems like he meant for readers to understand that Jesus wanted to go later secretly. Perhaps we need to re-evaluate what we consider deception. It is one thing to purposely mislead someone so you can take advantage of them. It is another thing to keep you own counsel. Jesus did not owe it to his followers to let them know his future plans. All they needed to know at the moment is that they should go ahead and go without waiting for him. He wasn't going. He didn't say, "I will never go."

Just because Jesus didn't reveal his intentions doesn't mean it wasn't technically true that he wasn't (at the moment) going with the disciples. Semantically, it likely feels worse in English. Including "yet" might even have been an appropriate translation choice if the original copyist was familiar with the underlying Aramaic.

In Genesis 2:17 God says of the Tree, "you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."

Whoever first wrote that down knew the rest of the story. They knew God didn't kill Eve on that very day. They also didn't go back and edit it to say "you will eventually die."

In the same way, it is hard to imagine that John is trying to portray Jesus as a liar. Jesus was unpredictable. A characteristic John found all the more attractive. "Jesus told us he wasn't coming, which was disappointing to hear; but then he showed up anyway! It was amazing." If it were immoral deception it seems the disciples would have made a bigger issue of it in a negative sense. On the contrary, the event is reported with awe. In fact Jesus, who could have remained in secret and avoided questioning, boldly stood up and revealed himself even when others were afraid to mention his name.

4

I see where codices P66 P75 (both c. 175-225 CE) and 03 (c. 325-375 CE) contain ΟΥΠΟ (ουπω, not yet) at John 7:8, while the later codex 01 (c. 375-425 CE) has ΟΥΚ (ουκ, not) at that place.

I also see no patristic allusions referring to this verse albeit Robertson (Word Pictures in the NT) wrote:

"Some of the early Greek Fathers were puzzled over the reading ouk (I go not up) as contradictory to John 7:10 wherein it is stated that Jesus did go up.... Almost certainly ouk (not) is correct and is not really contradictory when one notes in John 7:10 that the manner of Christ’s going up is precisely the opposite of the advice of the brothers in John 7:3(-4)."

I found several explanations for the change in reading. IMO, based on my cursory readings of those explanations, the best explanation seems to be:

*"Οὔπω ... is possibly a correction ... substituted for οὐκ to avoid the charge of the heathen critic Porphyry, that Jesus here shews ... deceit, and therefore cannot be Divine. But the sense is the same, whether we read οὐκ or οὔπω;... He does not say ‘I shall not go.’ The next two verses shew exactly what the negative means." (Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges, Vol. 5 at John 7:8; cp. Metzger & Ehrman, The Text of the New Testament--Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration 4th ed. (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2005), p. 267).

  • I don't understand your answer, perhaps you can help? Are you saying this is an early example of a typo? – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Apr 10 '14 at 4:46
  • 2
    @Wikis: a typo, no; a spurious alteration to the text after Porphyry's accusation that Jesus lied, possibly. – Pat Ferguson Apr 13 '14 at 18:56
3

"not yet" occurs in the earliest manuscripts for this verse (p66 and p75) as well as the vast majority of manuscripts (96.5%)

John 7:8
ουπω—f35 P66,75 B,N,T,W [96.5%] CP,HF,RP,OC,TR
not yet

ουκ—אD [3%] NU
not

Problem: Since Jesus did in fact go to the feast (and doubtless knew what He was going to do), the NU text has the effect of ascribing a falsehood to Him.

Discussion: Since the NU editors usually attach the highest value to P75 and B, isn't it strange that they reject them in this case? Here is Metzger's explanation: "The reading ["not yet"] was introduced at an early date (it is attested by P66,75) in order to alleviate the inconsistency between ver. 8 and ver. 10" (p. 216). So, they rejected P66,75 and B (as well as 96.5% of the MSS) because they preferred the "inconsistency". NASB, RSV, NEB and TEV stay with the eclectic text here.

-Wilbur N. Pickering, Identity of the New Testament Text III, (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2012), 202.

  • Welcome to BH.SE! Please take the tour to get a feel for how the site functions. Christopher, can you provide a link to the stuff you have quoted. It doesn't appear to be rendered properly. – enegue Oct 18 '17 at 7:30
2

I wonder if it has something to do with the use of the present indicative tense in "I am not going up"? (I'm getting that from BibleHub, which appears to use the Nestle 1904 text).

If I understand this tense correctly, it means that at that moment, he (Jesus) was not going up to the feast, which is a statement of fact, but that this situation could change in his future. We see in our past that he did in fact go up. Several verbs connected to this in 7:9 and 10 are in the aorist indicative tense, meaning that he went ahead and did various things that are in our past (he remained,7:9; he went up, 7:10) and are reported after the fact. Jesus' words in 7:8 are reported as a conversation in his present, where he hasn't actually said that he will not go up, simply that he isn't currently on his way up, hence the use of the present indicative.

1

Understanding Jesus' apparent lie in John 7:8

Since none of us are the scribe who wrote the words, it is impossible to say with 100% certainty that yet was added to protect the veracity of Yeshua. But with the majority of mss. omitting "yet" that would seem to be a valid supposition.

However, Yeshua needs no such protective monitoring. The words Yeshua speaks, "are spirit and life (John 6:63 AV)." The timing involved in this exchange may best be viewed from two different perspectives (public and private). Verse 8 looked ahead to verse 10, but verse 9 is found in between the two. So, basically, Yeshua tells the brethren that they should go on ahead to the feast (meaning they should make a public appearance). He would stay behind because, "it was not yet time for him to go." Thus, after the words of verse 8 (read also with verses 1 & 3), we see Yeshua waiting around in Galilee. The brethren head for the feast and later, after they were gone, Yeshua determined that it was now time for him to also go to the feast.

The "timing" here would seem to indicate that Yeshua wanted at least a partial "private" (in secret) celebration of Tabernacles, and did not desire to be thronged "publicly" by either the brethren or the crowd in general. This is, in part, collaborated by verse 11 where we find the Jews seeking to find him.

For more details here see THE NEW AMERICAN COMMENTARY, Volume 25A, pages 281-282.

  • 1
    Sorry, but I must disagree. Jesus did desire to be publicly present. He taught in the temple (v17), he cried out (v28) and spoke in a loud voice (v37). – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Apr 9 '14 at 17:40
  • 1
    @Wikis No reason to be sorry about disagreement; this is how we grow beyond ourselves. Yes, he did teach publicly, but his public appearance was not until the halfway mark of the feast. – DrFry Apr 9 '14 at 19:59
  • @Wikis: The verses you quote describe events which happened days later. – Lucian Aug 9 '17 at 7:34
1

A simpler, and yet more definitive reason Jesus stated to His disciples He was not going was He truly did not know if He was going or not. Remember, He did what He saw the Father was doing (John 5:19), He had already faced the threat of death the last time He went up to Jerusalem(John 5:13), and He knew it wasn't the "time" of His entry(John 7:8) into Jerusalem on a white donkey-indicating that David's Son would rightly take the throne.(1 Kings 1:38)

But just as He said to His mother, "My hour is not yet come"(John 2:4), so He said the same thing to His disciples(John 7:6), and yet the Father had other plans for Him; turning water into wine, performing His 1st public miracle in the 1st incidence, and going to Jerusalem in John 7:10.

Jesus did not 'lie', first of all, a 'lie' is a deliberate falsehood who's motive is to harm God or one's neighbor, secondly, He did what He saw the Father doing, and just like us, He didn't always see what the Father was doing ahead of time, He had to pray, like we do, and discern the Father's Will in a given situation-just like we do.

Jesus is the 2nd Adam, we forget that in talking about His Divinity, therefore He is the model and example of how we are to live out our lives daily.

  • Not sure about this. He could have said, "I don't think I'm going" but actually He said, "I'm not [yet] going." – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Apr 10 '14 at 6:48
  • @Wikis That's presumptive of "He knew He was going...". My comparison is to the miracle at Cana-at first He says,"My time is not yet come", and yet his time apparently had come when He performed the miracle.If He is not duplicitous(and there's nothing in the text that says He is), then the answer is simply 'He didn't know He was going at that time'. – Tau Apr 10 '14 at 8:18
  • 1
    Jesus was fully God and fully man. Living as a man, he lived within the constraints of space and time. As God in heaven, He is not bound by those constraints. – Tau Apr 10 '14 at 8:25
0

They (adelphos) mounted a trap in John 7:1-3.

The Elipse indicates an intentional omission of a word (the heavens) from a text without altering its original meaning.

I am not yet going up (the heavens) in this feast (tabernacles).

Jesus was saying to his adelphos that the rise time of the heavens would not occur in the feast of Tabernacles, but in the Easter feast.

0

Here's how I would translate John 7:1-15:

1 And after these things, Jesus walked in Galilee. Indeed, he did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him.
2 Now, the Jews' Feast of Tabernacles was at hand, 3 so his brothers said to him, "Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may behold your works that you do. 4 No one does anything in a private place when he, himself, wants to be in the public [eye]. If you do these things, then show yourself to the world."
5 Not even his brothers put faith in him.
6 Then Jesus said to them, "My time is not yet at hand. But the time ‒ your time ‒ is always ready at hand. 7 It is not possible for the world to hate you. It hates me, though, because I testify against it, that its works are evil. 8 You, yourselves, go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast myself, for my time has not yet been fulfilled."
9 Then, having said these things, he continued in Galilee.
10 Though, as soon as his brothers had gone up to the feast, he then went up himself, also. Not publicly, but just as one in private.
11Now, the Jews sought him at the feast, and they said, "This man! Where is he?"
12 And there was much murmuring about him in the crowds. Some people said that he was a good man. Others though, said he wasn't, but rather, he deceived the people. 13 Nevertheless, no one spoke openly about him because of the dread of the Jews.
14 By the time the Feast was half-way complete, Jesus went up into the Temple and taught. 15 Therefore, the Jews marveled, saying, "Not having learned, how does this man know writing?"

Comments:

  1. The passage opens with the author telling the reader that Jesus, "did not want to walk in Judea". This is an important piece of information, because it sets the background for Jesus' response to his brothers. So, when he said, "I am not going up to this feast myself", his intent was clearly, not to go.

  2. In verse 2, the author informs us that the Feast of Tabernacles was "at hand". What does "at hand" mean? Well, it's hard to know for sure, but it certainly wouldn't mean "in an hour's time". It is far more likely to mean in "some days" time.

    So, "some days" out from the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus' brothers challenge him with the taunt, "No one does anything in a private place when he, himself, wants to be in the public eye.", i.e. that, since he is seeking to be a show off, then Judea is the place to get the most attention, not Galilee.

    This idea of "some days" out from the Feast, is reiterated in verse 9, where the author writes, "Now, having said these things, he continued in Galilee."

  3. The brother's taunt sets the context in which the Greek expression ἐν κρυπτῷ is to be understood. It is given in the KJV as "in secret", but everything his brothers had witnessed Jesus do, was in fact, in public. So, their meaning can only be along the lines of "secluded/remote/less populated", rather than "secret". So, "in a private place" is a good choice, for three reasons:

    • there was nothing "hidden" about what Jesus did;
    • κρυπτῷ is an adjective that stands on its own, without a noun to modify. In such cases, the adjective modifies a generic noun, and the context determines the choice: for person, "one"; for object, "thing"; for location, "place";
    • it is a better choice as the opposite of ἐν παρρησίᾳ, which, given the taunt of Jesus' brothers, is best rendered as "in the public eye".
  4. When Jesus decided to attend the Feast, he clearly wasn't going with a clandestine intent. After all, the author informs the reader in verse 14, "By the time the Feast was half-way complete, Jesus went up into the Temple and taught.". No, Jesus wasn't being secretive, he was making sure his message was heard, despite the efforts of the Jews to destroy him. So, he had to travel to the Feast as one would in private.

    In verse 11, the author writes, "Now, the Jews sought him at the feast, and they said, 'This man! Where is he?'", reiterating the need for caution. So, the public arena at this Feast was the safest place for Jesus to be, but getting there had to be done privately.

Conclusion:

At the time Jesus responded to his brothers' taunt, he had no intention of going to the feast, since the Jews were seeking to kill him. Over the days during which Jesus "continued in Galilee" (v. 9), he must have been moved in his spirit to change his mind, and attend the Feast after all. However, he couldn't do so publicly because the risk of being taken by the Jews still remained.

There is clearly no lie being told here, and therefore absolutely no need for anyone to think an additional "yet" is necessary.

0

He said He would not go to that feast, that is to say the feast His brothers were going to. But in the word "to go" there is a deep symbolism involved. As it is enough for Peter to have his only feet washed and not also other parts of the body (John 13:10), but, objectively speaking, this is a lie, for nobody can be called "cleansed" or "washed" in a direct sense, if he has only his feet washed. Imagine Peter washing only his feet after this event, and walking like a chimney man for the rest of his life! Fortunately for him, he had a sense of poetry employed here by his divine teacher. So, why feet, then? Because the feet are symbol of going, of intention and motion, of proclivity and drive of soul. And here also, the "go" in the "go to the feast" expression is clad by a deep symbolism, implying the intent and motive.

Now, Jesus' brothers' intent and motive in that feast was to show off Jesus, be proud of Him - to boast for having Him, the doer of so many wonderful things: healings, miracles etc., - as their brother (cf. John 7:3): Jesus coming to a spotlight would shed glaze of popularity also on them. Thus, that was the place where they were "going": to a vainglory, to their earthly desires and expectations, to total neglect of the things divine and eternal. Would Jesus "go" to such a feast? No, of course, for that is certainly not His feast. Thus, in the words "you go there, I will not go", is implied exactly that: "I will not participate in the vainglory, this is not my intent; my feast cannot be contaminated by such naughty things, thus the feast you are going to is not mine".

Just for an example, if you tell your friend: "Let us go to the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, they have a wonderful coffee&cheesecake there", and he answers, "You go there, I will not go", and then you see him walking there watching the paintings with amazement. Would you consider him to have lied? I would rather felt shame on behalf of myself, for that he really came to appreciate Van Gogh's genius, while I came here for my base gourmet interests, thus we are not in the same spiritual place, even if we bodily are in the same geographical spot simultaneously.

Therefore, if one takes a spacio-temporal dimension only, then, yes, Jesus' saying did not comply with the spacio-temporal objectivity, similarly as His words did not comply with objectivity in the above example of Peter being cleansed only with his feet being washed, or that "Lazarus is asleep" (John 11:11), for he was dead and not asleep; but if one takes deeper dimensions, Jesus not only did not lie, but said an enigmatic, edifying and even reprimanding and shaming truth to his brothers.

0

Jesus told His brothers that this was their time, not His. The verb ἀναβαίνω is the key. It means ‘ascend’ which was used regularly to describe the uphill journey to Judea, but it’s implication here is the reality of the statement. This was the time for men to go to the pilgrimage festival to satisfy the Law. Jesus is the embodiment of the Law (and Grace). The 7 Moedim are prophetic in nature and describes the divine and powerful work of redemption that only God can achieve. The Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot, is the feast that prophetically displays the work Christ will bring about when He returns and establishes His Kingdom on this Earth for 1,000 years.

When He says, I will not ἀναβαίνω ‘ascend’ or ‘arise’ to THIS festival, He is saying something they do not understand, but He is fully aware of. He will physically join the festival, like always, but He will not ‘arise’ to accomplish the divine messianic role of establishing His Kingdom on Earth. It is a play on words, but it is for our benefit that He gives us the clue. John wrote the words exactly as the Spirit led him to, and John may not have fully understood it at that point (but John did understand a great significance to Jesus being crucified, buried, and risen on the first 3 Moedim, and then the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the 4th, Shavuot/Pentecost). It was still man’s time to perform the dress rehearsal of the Moed of Sukkot. Jesus will fulfill the 3 Fall Moedim upon His Return.

The matter is not so much semantics, it is contextual upon prophecy. It is for our benefit that Jesus ‘skirts a lie’ because it brings clarity to this matter, and He knew it would force us to find the truth.

-2

Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee. (John 7:6-9) [ESV Throughout]

Understanding the "apparent lie" is best seen not from the variants of text, but from the calendar and customs of the Jewish people while the Temple was still standing.

The Feast of Booths is an 8-day event which takes place during the seventh month:

“Speak to the people of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths to the LORD. On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work. For seven days you shall present food offerings to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present a food offering to the LORD. It is a solemn assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work. (Leviticus 23:34-36)

Booths was one of the three times which attendance in Jerusalem was mandatory:

“Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed. (Deuteronomy 16:16)

This is the annual calendar of feast days showing mandatory attendance in Jerusalem:

Feast             Mandatory Attendance
Passover          No
Unleavened Bread  Yes 
First Fruits      See note
Pentecost         Yes
Trumpets          No
Day of Atonement  No 
Tabernacles       Yes

Since Jesus and His brothers are in Galilee, about 70 miles from Jerusalem, they have a trip which could take several days. Their planning requires a decision how far in advance of the feast they will leave to be "on time." In order to observe the feast, they must build their temporary lodging, the "booth" for which the feast is named. The first day is a day of no work so they must allow enough time to gather the branches and build their booth (or bring or gather the materials during the trip). finally, there are the practical considerations associated with a large number of people traveling to Jerusalem who will also be building booths: arriving early would be prudent.

Someone traveling from Galilee will necessarily plan on arriving at least 1-2 days before Booths begins. It would be natural to consider attending The Day of Atonement which is 4 days before Booths. Thus there are two possible scenarios which fit the introduction given in verses 7:1-8:

  1. The brothers of Jesus went to Jerusalem to observe only the Feast of Booths.
  2. The brothers of Jesus went to Jerusalem to observe both the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Booths.

Option 1 is consistent with when Jesus is first placed in attendance:

About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. (7:16)

"About the middle" would be on the fourth day. Jesus brothers arrived before the feast. Jesus left after His brothers and arrived sometime after the 7-day feast had begun. In this case Jesus attended the feast but He did not attend the entire 7-day period.

Option 2 is the more likely sequence. Despite the lack of mandatory attendance, the Day of Atonement is considered the most holy day of the year. Observing the Day of Atonement in Jerusalem also allows 3 full days to prepare of Booths. This feast Jesus did not observe.

None of the Gospel writers mention the Day of Atonement which occurred 2,3, or 4 times during Jesus public ministry. John does make references to sin which, when considered in the context of the annual calendar should be seen as allusions to the Day of Atonement:

And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (8:7)

So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” (8:21)

I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” (8:24)

These references, coming so close to the Day of Atonement speak to the lack of efficacy of the Day of Atonement ritual. In other words, 10 or so days after the ritual which should have made atonement for all sin, Jesus says for one who is without sin to act and then says, "Unless you believe I AM, you will die in your sins." Not, unless the High Priest enters the Most Holy Place to make atonement for your sins.

John's introduction to the Feast of Booths is purposeful to consider the Day of Atonement since the events which follow speak to the issues of being without sin and dying in your sins.

When the "time" is seen to include the Day of Atonement it is not the right time in any sense of the language for Jesus to be in Jerusalem.


Note: The Feast of First Fruits is not specifically called out for mandatory attendance. It is observed on the day after the first Sabbath after Passover and will usually fall during the 7-days of Unleavened Bread except in a year which the Passover is on a Sabbath. Observing Unleavened Bread in Jerusalem will almost always result in a man being in Jerusalem for First Fruits. As was the case the year Jesus was crucified.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.