Mighty In Battle

by Bill Somers

The episode of the Woman Taken in Adultery in one of the most dramatic of all Jesus' encounters with the Pharisees. Yet it is also one of the most mysterious as well. Here is the text.

John Chapter 8:

1. Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.

2. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

3. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

4. They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

5. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

6. This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

7. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

8. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground

9. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

10. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

11. She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

This commentary hopes to remove some of the mystery and share some exciting things the Lord has shown me regarding this passage. I have gone over this text many times in its preparation. I suggest that the reader will get the most benefit by going over it more than once.

The idea of a spiritual meaning behind this passage came to me several years ago while listening to a tape by Bob Jones, one of the Kansas City Prophets. Brother Jones explained that the woman is a type of the Church, and that the story is prophetic of her redemption. That is, just as the woman is caught in her adultery and has her sin openly exposed, so the Church is about to have her sin exposed and to be accused, of all manner of things. As the woman in the story repents and is set free, the church also will go through a similar experience that will lead to revival. [Some are now prophesying this in terms of a Civil War.]

Therefore this text has a special prophetic significance. As it says in 1st Corinthians 10:11 "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."

There is a pattern in this story; a pattern of revival, specifically of end-time revival. The church is about to experience a severe attack of the enemy. This will in fact be a judgment from the Lord. (...Judgment must begin at the house of

God 1st Peter 4:17) This in turn brings the Church to the place of Repentance. Revival will take place, which will include Divine commissioning, a mandate and an anointing that empowers her to complete the Great Commission and bring in the Harvest.

There is another pattern here found widely throughout scripture: An Encounter with The Lord, in which He reveals Himself for Who He is.

This encounter produces several results that are typical of revival. (After all, isn't revival the result of a meeting with the Lord?) The one having the encounter receives the Fear of the Lord. They become very meek and humble. They worship the Lord. They receive new revelation knowledge from the Lord. Then they are used by the Lord. (Where before they could not be used because they lacked these things.) This happens to greater or lesser degree depending directly upon the degree to which God reveals himself.

This is true of almost all major characters in the bible. Consider the degree to which He revealed Himself to Saul of Tarsus, and the thoroughness of his dramatic conversion to Paul the Apostle. (Another story typical of revival.) Another way of describing an encounter with the Lord is this: The Revelation of Jesus Christ! Which is to say, Revival is the Revelation of Jesus Christ! And this is seen in the very next Verse (12) which says "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world:"

Let's go back to the text.

John Chapter 8:

1. Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.

2. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

First, notice that Jesus has come down from the mountain. He went up to the mountain; so, reading between the lines, to get to the temple, he had to come back down.

This speaks of his coming down from heaven. "The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple." (Mal. 3:1) We see this scripture from Malachi fulfilled several times in the Bible. Indeed this has been the pattern of Divine visitations throughout our history in the Great Awakenings and world wide revivals. "He came again." Suddenly the Lord Comes AGAIN and visits his people in judgment and blessing!

And now we see Jesus, sitting in the temple. Or in other words we Behold The Lamb Upon The Throne. The Lord God, the King of Israel reigning in Zion. The scene is a shadow of the throne room in heaven! Note also that with Jesus sitting there we have an illustration of the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is born out, as we see, since He immediately has a case brought to Him to judge.

Since he is in the Temple, He is among His people for the people are the Temple and the Temple is the people. The Lord indwelling His people also speaks of revival.

Verse 2 also mentions that he taught the people - a mark of revival. On first reading this text it is easy to assume that while He was teaching, the Pharisees and Scribes came and interrupted him. We are not told what he taught them, but the text shows us. For you see the incursion of the Pharisees & Scribes was not an interruption of the lesson, it was the lesson!

The Bible says that "The Lord thy God, in the midst of thee is Mighty!" (Zephaniah 3:17) We see this demonstrated here as Jesus, the Captain of the Host, reigning in the midst of His people, is about to do battle with his enemies.

3. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

4. They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

5. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

6. This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with [his] finger wrote on the ground, [as though he heard them not].

The scribes and Pharisees speak of ruling principalities and powers, demon princes, the rulers of wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12). First they were over the people. Their social position speaks of a higher spiritual position. Second they are accusers (v. 4). The bible describes Satan as the accuser of the brethren. Third, they are enemies of the woman (the church), seeking to steal, kill and destroy her (v. 5). And fourth, they are also enemies of God seeking to accuse Him, or catch him in a contradiction (v.6). Thus showing the enemies of the church to be enemies of God. Because for Him to deny His Word would be to deny Himself meaning He would cease to exist.

This shows the seriousness involved in Satan's challenging the Word of God. The entire scene reminds me of Job chap 1 and 2 where the sons of God came and presented themselves and Satan came amongst them to accuse Job, and to challenge God Himself. There is an even greater resemblance to the scene in Psalm 82.

Psalms 82

1. God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.

2. How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? 6.1 have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

7. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.

There we see God confronting his enemies, just as here in John 8, when we see him pronouncing judgment on them. "Ye shall die like men."

Now back to our story.

3. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery;

The pharisees have brought in a woman taken captive. ("For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, ", 2 Timothy 3:6). Who is this woman? Don't imagine that this is some errant young girl who was unlucky enough to get caught fooling around! No way! These Pharisees are naturally going to bring in a common prostitute of Jerusalem, someone that everybody knows is a whore and has no doubt as to her guilt. Who is this woman? none other than the town whore! So that in the eyes of the spectators (the world) she is not worthy of any sympathy whatsoever! And why is this? Because they want to put all the pressure on Jesus. So here we have them bringing in the town whore. Who is this woman? She is someone that everybody hates. As all the world hates the church, she is a type of the Church. Isn't this an accurate picture of the Church's present condition? (Notice she (the church) does not come to the place of repentance on her own, but only by the doings of the enemy!)

She began silently to pray. She prays somewhat in the spirit of the following verses; perhaps even quoting parts of them.

Ps 119:25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

Ps 41:41 said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.

Ps 31:9 Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.

Ps 51:2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Ps 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Ps 86:14 O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them.

To understand what happens here we must visualize the scene as in a drama on a stage. This scene is illustrated by a painting in some editions of the bible. It shows the woman, lying at Jesus feet, weeping. However the text does not mention this. Only that at the end she is found standing. She may well have initially fallen at His feet but at some point He must have bid her to rise. ( "Shake thyselffrom the dust; arise, ...O Jerusalem: loose thyselffrom the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.") (Isaiah 52:2.) First because he has answered the above prayer for mercy. It doesn't take long at all for God to hear and answer prayer. "...as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth " (Isaiah 66:8) Second because he will need room on the ground in front of him for what he is about to do next.

6. This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

Now in verse 5, the accusers attribute a certain command to Moses, that the woman should be stoned. "but what sayest thou?" they add. Some commentators point out that this is a ploy to entrap Jesus. If he agrees, he puts himself at odds with the Roman rulers who alone held the right to condemn someone to death. If he disagrees, he contradicts the Law of Moses. (But John 3:17 says "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.")

At this point the Pharisees are thinking that after all their attempts they have finally gotten something on Jesus. They tried to trick him with the Roman tax coin, they tried to trap him with the question about the Baptism of John, and other such questions. So many times they have tried, but this time they're sure they have him. They are so confident that they come against him right in the very Temple and in front of all the people. (But Job 20:5 says "That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?")

At this point things have suddenly become deadly serious. I can just imagine the spectators sucking in their breath as the tension mounts! "Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?" (Isaiah 49:24)

Now it is thought that by saying nothing in answer to their accusation, he avoids the trap and puts the burden of executing judgment on them. "...and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

But there is much more to it than that. Let's look at three elements here. What did He write, what was he doing as he wrote, and why did He write it instead of saying it?

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