If Another Comes In His Own Name John 5.43-47

43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.

If another comes in his own name, you will receive him has been interpreted by many to be a reference to the coming Anti-Christ. Even if this is a new thought for you, you can see how this idea might be relevant in this context. However, I do not think it is possible to confidently state what Jesus is referring to here.

There is another interesting possibility that has been largely overlooked. In Jesus’ time, the concept of the Wicked Priest was known among Essene-influenced Jews. Writings regarding the Wicked Priest are well represented in the Qumran Collection (Dead Sea Scrolls Collection). Presumably the Qumranite Jewish monks, who left Jerusalem in protest and established the headquarters of the Israelite Essene movement in Judean Desert (a century before Jesus), were persecuted by this Wicked Priest (of Jerusalem Temple). The Essenes had a figure they called the Teacher of Righteousness who was the oppositional counterpart to the figure of the Wicked Priest.

We read about both of them in the Qumranite Commentary on the Book of Habakkuk (words in italics below are from prophet Habakkuk, and in regular fonts from Qumran leaders):

“Because of the blood of men and the violence done to the land, to the city, and all its inhabitants. Interpreted, this concerns the Wicked Priest whom God delivered into the hands of his enemies because of the iniquity committed against the Teacher of Righteousness and the men of his Council, that he might be humbled by means of a destroying scourge, in bitterness of soul, because he had done wickedly to His elect.” (1QpHab, col. 9, lines 8-12, translated by G. Vermes)

Among many other references we cite this passage:

“… the arrogant man seizes wealth without halting. He widens his gullet like Hell and like Death he has never enough. All the nations are gathered to him and all the people are assembled to him. Interpreted, this concerns the Wicked Priest who was called by the name of truth when he first arose. But when he ruled over Israel his heart became proud, and he forsook God and betrayed the precepts for the sake of riches. He robbed and amassed the riches of men of violence who rebelled against God, and he took the wealth of the peoples, heaping sinful iniquity upon himself …” (1QpHab, col. 8, lines 4-11, translated by G. Vermes)

Theories as to the identity and dating of both of these figures (if historical at all) vary greatly. There is certainly no consensus. There is, however, an influential theory that the Wicked Priest is a composite that includes a series of various wicked priests whose administration of the Jerusalem Temple covered several centuries.

Though one cannot be certain, I speculate here, that it is possible in vs. 43b that Jesus referred either to present or past events involving the Wicked Priest/s (Remember Jesus was very familiar with Essene movement and no doubt was aware of these interpretations).

I, however, want to underscore that my thinking here is no more than a speculation (only a possibility). We cannot be sure if Jesus referred to something particular such as the above mentioned possibility, or to something hypothetical, or to something that was yet in the future as Anti-Christ.

 

44 How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

Jesus’ argument is simple. How can I trust you (hoi Ioudiaoi) to make a judgment about me if you yourself need each other’s approval to remain in power? His point is also simple – there is a conflict of interest.  A judge who stood to lose or gain, or was in some way personally connected with a case would be disqualified and not considered able to judge righteously.  Jesus strongly criticized the entire Temple establishment, more particular its contemporary leadership and its administration. These leaders were in danger of losing their position and authority. It was logical, therefore, for Jesus to refuse to submit to their judgment.

 

45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

Jesus justified and defended himself, but he also “stuck to his story.” He did not come to condemn those whose evil stood clearly exposed by the light of his person, words and deeds. He insisted that judgment was not his role. His job was to save and not to condemn. This does not imply that the role of the chief prosecutor against evil was necessarily a negative role, but rather that the chief prosecutor of Israel had long since been appointed by the God of Israel himself. His name was Moses.

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© By Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, Ph.D.

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  1. abey

    Jesus said “I come in my FATHERS name & you receive me not but if one is to come in his own way him you will receive” This means the one who will come in his own name is one who will unsurp his own father & thus come in his own name & would be against everything called “FATHERHOOD”. An idol of Zeus/Jupiter was installed in the 2nd temple to the Physical Abomination from which comes the Spiritual Abomination Prophesied by Daniel & warned by Jesus & this is the one Jesus referred to come in his own name . He comes not as the Anti but as the Pseudo & hence there would be a great amount of deceit involved. He who is the god of freemasonry in turn is governed by his mate going by the name Diana( the false virgin) to the various pagan religions called “Egypt” to the sexual corruptions unto the Sodom & its Agendas of the day. Zerchaiah Ch. 5 prophesies of the Flying scroll(Freemasonry) & the wickedness in an Ephah that drives it, respectively. This delusion can be seen by the many alters figured in the Freemasonic Israeli supreme court – That Lie come down from Eden through the manifested “Golden Calf”

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Shalom, friend. I am not sure that I understood all your points here, but I approved the comment in the hope that others would. I wonder though what is the connection with Israeli Supreme Court.

  2. Nancy Russell

    I THINK CHARLOTTE HAS IT RIGHT

  3. David

    In my simplified view of post New Testament history, the imminent interpretation of the other “that comes in his own name must refer to that megalomaniac Simon bar Kokhba who led the third Jewish revolt in 132 CE. Jews and Christians in Judea (of course they were all Jews) took up arms to follow him. After being proclaimed the messiah the Christians could no longer follow, causing animosity between the Jews and Christian Jews which remains until this day. The Jews who continued to follow him were led to destruction. I agree that each generation can see some fulfillment of these powerful prophetic words; but the ultimate fulfillment will come with the beast with the blasphemous name of Revelation 13.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      David, this is of course also possible. Thank you for your comment.

  4. David Gibbons

    On Verse 43: The second clause has come (ἔλθῃ) as a subjunctive, thus one way to translate it would be “If another were to come in his own name, you will receive him.” Translated like that, it seems to me that the most obvious reading is the hypothetical one.

    On 45-47: How far we have come from Jesus’ attitude! I am in almost constant debate with t hose who prefer judgement to love, who see principle as more important than people. In Jesus it was the other way around (e.g. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath). We don’t need to point out the darkness any more than Jesus did, we need to shine as He did.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      David, it reads hypothetically, I know. But I think our interpretational feeling is conditioned by all the teachings about this we heard before. In a way we must re-imagine ourselves hearing this again. If we do hear it again I think the theory that there was a series of wicked priests and that there may be more, would make more sense.

      As to your second comment I hear you. 🙂 Did you happened to see Steve Brown’s talk I have in video’s? (God’s Voice). Here is the link http://iibsblogs.wpengine.com/2013/04/gods-voice-by-dr-steve-brown-key-life-network/

      1. David Gibbons

        I agree, Eli. I spend a lot of time trying to get people to look with fresh eyes at the text, not through dogmatic/denominational blinkers. I think your ideas on this are very interesting, and given that there are various views today, one can quite imagine that the hearers who first heard this also had different ideas. Perhaps some saw it just as hypothetical, others may have seen the wicked priest possibility.

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          It’s a possibility. One of my goals is to get people unconvinced of their own unjustified inflexibility in biblical convictions :-). I don’t think we think enough.

      2. Drs, Charles van den Berg

        The statemement of ‘a series of wicked priests and that there may be more ‘ is confirmed in 1 Joh. 2, 18 ‘ as you have heard the Antischrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen’.

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          very cool. never thought of that before this way. Thanks.

  5. Charlotte Mecklenburg

    I have a view point about the Wicked Priest/Anti-Christ that has come as a result of studying Tagmemics in Linguistics. We had slots we made for a language for each part of speech. Then we found the words that fit into the slots. One day it came to me in every generation we have a Beast (government) we have to over-come. There always seems to be a Wicked One and sometimes a Righteous Teacher that fit into that slot. Some have been more distinctive than others. This way each generation is able to understand the scriptures and relate it to their lives. This means that eventually there will be the final Wicked One and the final Righteous One that bring a climax to this age. A true prophet is going to understand the scope of things or at least the words he received will be able to be used in every generation to some degree or another. I believe our Father wants to be relevant to everyone. So this is another way to look at the world.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Charlotte, I am not sure I follow your logic. Blessings, Dr. Eli

      1. Charlotte Mecklenburg

        I was trying to not make it long. In otherwords, in the scheme of things G-d has designated a ruler (Meshiach) over the earth when he told Adam to have dominion. This designation makes a slot. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil indicates another slot that some being fills. Daniel mentions a king of the North and a king of the South, two more slots that someone fits in. A prophet slot at some point in the unfolding of God’s plan for the world. I may not have enumerated all the different positions that are filled with different people from generation to generation but those who fill these designations fulfill a purpose during that generation. Maybe what I see is personal and not comprehendable for others. Sorry for sending it, if that is the case.

        1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

          That’s fine, Charlotte. Thank you for your comment. Let’s keep thinking together!

        2. Drs, Charles van den Berg

          Thank you Charlotte. You do not need a sorry to say. It is a pretty key for me to continue thinking about. I think that you are right. It is the constant struggle between good and evil that each generation takes shape and in which God ultimately overcomes the evil through Jesus Christ. Your stating principle is clearly visible in the Book Judges. For example, you can see it also in the stories of Ahab/Jesabel versus Elijah and Saul versus David.