SIN, DARKNESS, AND DEATH
With this review in mind, we may go on to consider the signs in chapter eight. Have you ever studied chapter eight in the Recovery Version of John? If not, I urge you to study this chapter, paying careful attention to the outline and the notes.
In chapters eight through eleven of John’s Gospel three negative things are dealt with: sin, blindness, and death. Sin is dealt with in chapter eight; blindness, which is spiritual darkness, is dealt with in chapters nine and ten; and death is dealt with in chapter eleven. Although we have been regenerated, have been transformed to some extent, have had our hunger satisfied by the Lord as the bread of life, and have had our thirst quenched by the living water, we still have the problems of sin, darkness, and death. How can we overcome these negative things? How can they be dealt with in our daily living? In the first seven chapters of John we have a picture of how we have been regenerated, satisfied, and supplied with living water. As a result, we may be quite happy. However, we still need chapters eight through eleven to show us how we can overcome the three problems of sin, darkness, and death.
A BOOK OF SIGNS
The Gospel of John is a book of signs. In this Gospel John does not speak of miracles; instead, he uses the word “signs.” For example, the feeding of the five thousand is a sign that the Lord Jesus is the only One who can truly feed us and that He feeds us with Himself as the bread of life. This bread is the bread of God, the true bread, the living bread, the bread that came down from heaven. Therefore, the feeding of the multitude in chapter six is a sign of the Lord feeding us with Himself as the true bread. As we shall see, the story recorded in chapter eight of John is also a sign.
When I was young, the account of the woman caught in adultery and brought to the Lord by the scribes and Pharisees was merely a story. However, this is not merely a story, an account of certain facts; it is also a sign.
SLAVES OF SIN
The sign in 8:1-11 indicates that every human being is a slave of sin. When some hear this, they may say that they are not like the woman in this chapter because they have never committed fornication. Do not be quick to respond in this way. Do you know what the significance of fornication is in the Bible? According to the Bible, fornication means that a person gives up God and goes after other things. Fornication is thus a matter of departing from the way ordained by God.
God has ordained that regarding married life there should be one husband for one wife, and one wife for one husband. Furthermore, married life is a shadow, a figure, of the relationship between God and man. God is the real Husband, the universal Husband, and we human beings, both male and female, are in the position of the wife. This means that God is the Husband, and humanity is His wife. After God created Adam, He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Gen. 2:18). In typology this indicates that it is not good for God to be alone. God desires a counterpart, and His counterpart is man. Hence, man was created by God and for God. This means that man must be for God. But if man is not for God, according to the significance before God, that is fornication.
In the Bible fornication is related to idolatry. Idolatry is spiritual fornication. In the Old Testament the children of Israel committed fornication before God in their high places, in the places where they worshipped idols. Their worship of idols was fornication, and that was abominable in the sight of God.
To go after something else in place of God is fornication. Because we all have left God to pursue other things, in His sight we all are females who have committed spiritual fornication. This means that in the case of fornication in chapter eight of the Gospel of John is a sign of spiritual fornication. Before God, we all are fornicators, and we all are slaves of sin.
(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 23, by Witness Lee)