The Evangelical Universalist Forum

JRP's Exegetical Commentary: John 10:22-28


Not currently being in His flock could be the cause of them not trusting Him – the grammar allows this meaning.

This would run along with a generally uncontroversial theory that until whenever the Holy Spirit calls someone, they’re unable to come to trust God – along with other generally uncontroversial theories such as, so long as someone is rebelling against being in the flock they are unable to come to trust God. (These ideas should still apply regardless of which Christology and Pneumatology is true, btw.)

How those ideas get applied can be controversial, such as a Calv belief that God never intended, much less acted, for some persons to be in His flock. I’m arguing elsewhere according to context that they’re not in His flock by being rebel members of the flock, not because He’s excluding them from His flock. Similarly there are two ways someone can be your king: you can accept and follow him as your king, and he can be in royal authority over you. These aren’t mutually exclusive, and a king can be in proper authority over someone who rebels against that proper authority. Consequently in one important sense he is not their king, but in another (I would argue more) important sense he is still their rightful king.

This really shouldn’t be controversial either – even Calvs acknowledge and agree with the principle – but then Calvs turn around and force a controversial schism in the idea in order to stick with their explanation for how the Gospel assurance of God’s victorious salvation can be true and yet some sinners are permanently lost after all: they aren’t in the flock because God (including the Son, in trinitarian Christology) never intended for them to be in the flock at all, therefore never empowers them to be in the flock much less ever leads them to be in the flock.

But the grammar of that one place does not necessarily require this idea; and the immediate and local contexts exclude that idea (I’m arguing along the way.)

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@JasonPratt in light of what you’ve said about John 10, what are your thoughts on how elsewhere in John it says the Father has given all to the Son?


I would actually put it the other way around: John 10 should be understood in light of where John reports Jesus elsewhere (chp 17 for example) about the Father giving all things to the Son – so that the Son may be giving eonian life to all things which the Father has given Him!

See comments here for example: JRP's Exegetical Compilation: John 17


Invernessian calling Dave 2.0

This discussion on Quora might help!

Why don’t Americans say “g” in words ending with “ing”?

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@JasonPratt but it’s not like those Jews, much less everyone become a sheep between the time of the events of John 10 and John 17. Hence my confusion.


True, not everyone has been given eonian life yet between the afternoon of John 10 and later that same evening of John 17. Or between John 10 and now.

But those Jews are still among the all things whom the Son has been given authority over by the Father, and the Son is still going to glorify the Father by giving eonian life to everything over which He has authority.

That those particular sheep don’t accept the authority of the Son yet, doesn’t mean they don’t get to have eonian life eventually. (The problem is that they aren’t in the flock; the question is in what sense are they not in the flock? – by being crocodiles and not sheep, or by being rebellious baby goats? Is the not-flocking a rebellion against rightful authority, or being purely other in which case there would be no moral judgment because there could be no rebellion?)


What the hell are you saying?:grimacing:


I’m only saying that the Jews opposing Jesus at the time of that incident in John 10, don’t have to have eonian life yet by the time of John 17 in order to eventually receive eonian life.

Their rebellion at x-point in time doesn’t prevent the Son from glorifying the Father by eventually leading them to do good and to positively honor-value the Son and the Father (and the Holy Spirit, per other verses). They could even (per other verses) be dying in their sins for rejecting that the Son is “I AM”, and yet end up praising the Son with Psalms for glorifying God.

So at best, I don’t understand Qaz’s objection (which he may be reporting from someone else and just passing on here, perhaps). The opponents are already part of God’s flock in the sense of God having authority over them whether they’re rebelling or not. If they aren’t “sheep of the flock” yet, that can only be due to their rebellion against accepting the leadership of the Shepherd. Whether they’re loyal sheep by the time of Jesus’ final discourse several hours later on the same day is completely irrelevant to whether they will ever be loyal sheep of the flock: they’re already part of the everything given to the Son by the Father so that the Son may glorify the Father by giving eonian life to everything over which the Son has authority.


I wonder how @davo reconciles John 10 which says some people are not Jesus’ sheep with John 3:35 which says the Father has given all things to the Son, and John 17 which says the Son will give eternal life to as many as the Father has given him.


@JasonPratt John 3:35 came to my mind. That verse, combined with John 17, would seem to be strong evidence for universalism. But John 10 cuts right between them.


Jesus is talking against the same people (categorically) in John 10 whom He’s talking against even more strongly in John 6, which also “cuts right between” John 3 and John 17.

But in John 6, Jesus talks about all people given to the Son by the Father being saved by being dragged to Him; and this not only includes people already loyal to Him, but (per Jesus’ reference to Jeremiah 32) also includes people who were previously rebelling against Him coming to Him in loyal repentance (with YHWH forgiving their injustices and remembering their sins no more) – which Jesus connects to resurrecting everyone given to Him by the Father. Per John 5, those who dishonor the Son are raised to judgment so that all may be honoring the Son and the Father, thus coming out of the dying and into eonian life.

Moreover, this pretty obviously includes the opponents whom Jesus is prophecying (in John 8, categorically the same opponents later in John 10) will die in their sins for not accepting that Jesus is “I AM” (when they have all the advantages to knowing and accepting Him, but are refusing for their own petty prideful reasons): even they shall come (per GosMatt’s Greater Condemnation report, taking place a day earlier) to praise and accept Jesus as YHWH.

It all fits together quite well. John 10 isn’t an exception: it relates topically back and forward to that same overall plan.


I’m not sure where you’re seeing the potential conflict, contradiction or contention between these texts…

Jn 3:35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.

This is simply John’s way of expressing Matthew’s recorded sentiment, as per Mt 28:18 etc.

Jn 10:26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.

This seems pretty clear to me… had these unbelieving Jews believed they would be his sheep; that they chose not to believe shows they weren’t. Believers are elsewhere described as servants… by the nature of things servants serve — clearly, not everyone is a servant.

Jn 17:2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, (Mt 28:18; Jn 3:35) that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.

All those given to Him received eternal life i.e., KNOWLEDGE of Him… as per the next verse.


This probably doesn’t pertain to Qaz’ problem, but in my study on Exodus this week (I’m reading two Jewish commentaries concurrently, one by a Jewish Christian teacher), I ran across another connection between the question of Jesus’ rebel Pharisee disciples in this half of GosJohn, to the idea that they’re looking to promote themselves by Jesus instituting an earthly kingship to overthrow the Romans.

Their question, “when will you be lifting up our souls?” looks like a translation into Greek (probably through a contemporary Aramaicism) of one of the Hebrew phrases for pardoning someone: to lift up the head (of the one being pardoned). So they could be trying to seem repentant of their earlier behavior, although they’re doing so by not only demanding pardon but on the terms they insist upon (that Jesus should declare Himself the Messiah in the particular way they want).

The phrase “to lift up the head” is also used, in Exodus, as a technical term to describe the half-shekel Temple tax, because this tax also functioned as a military census! Each (loyal) Jewish man at least twenty years old (so that he would have had time to give at least some children to his wife) was required to pay the half-shekel tax (for the tabernacle originally) as a special sin offering to indicate that if he had to fight in a war over the next year the manslaughter wouldn’t count as murder. So the phraesology of the tax indicates the census (of counting faces, analogically) and also as a preliminary repentance for any lives that might be slain during any wars of the coming year.

So they might be asking by a polite euphamism when Jesus will mustering Israel to war as the King Messiah that they’re expecting. But He has already indicated over and over that He hasn’t come to lead them in war.


@Paidion how do you explain Jesus telling some people they don’t believe him because they’re not his sheep. IMO it’s the most convincing evidence for a limited atonement.


Incidentally, why would this one verse (obviously being cited without the slightest contextual examination whatsoever) be considered convincing weight for Justice Himself never even intending much less acting to empower and lead some doers of injustice to do only justice injustice (i.e. “limited atonement” as that phrase is understood by Calvs), over-against many other verses (including their context) weighing toward the intention of Justice to bring all doers of injustice to do justice instead?


JP - Haven’t had my first jolt of Joe; I’ll re-read that after the caffeine hits…:woozy_face:


Hmm :slightly_frowning_face:


@maintenanceman what are your thoughts on Jesus telling certain people they weren’t his sheep?


Jesus said…
So He said to them again, "Truly, truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before Me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture.

Jesus could well be speaking of the coming calamity the Jews were about to endure. His sheep were his people, there were many it seems who were dictating and possibly trying to decipher what the prophets of old were actually saying.

Seems kind of clear to me.

If you look and read john 10:19 and beyond it tells the story. I hope it helps.


The sheep were faith filled Israelites who were… “waiting for the Consolation of Israel” (Ezek 37:11-12; Mk 15:43; Lk 2:25-26, 38; 23:51; 24:21; 19:11; Acts 1:6) i.e., such as Jesus designates to be “true Israelites” (Jn 1:47). The thieves and robbers were the religious hierarchy of the day, i.e., the lawyers… aka, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites who had in fact themselves not entered the kingdom, aka the reign of God, and yet were actively hindering those pursuing such (Mt 23:13; Lk 11:52).

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