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John 10 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on John 10 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

(10:8) "All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers."
Everyone that ever lived before Jesus was a thief and a robber.
The author of the SAB interprets the phrase “all that came before” as simply everyone. But the text clearly indicates that not just everyone who ever lived is meant. Those “all” had one thing in common, they tried to speak to the sheep. And not only speak, they tried to lead them away. Because Christ is the door, (verse 9) anyone not taking the sheep through this door, is a thief and a robber. So that clearly excludes John the Baptist, Moses and all other prophets who pointed to Christ, and not away from him. See also John Calvin on this verse.

9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.

14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

(10:16) "Other sheep"
The Book of Mormon identifies the "other sheep" to be the Nephites who would be visited by Jesus in the New World after his resurrection.
BOM 3 Nephi 15:17
(10:16) "There shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
Jesus falsely prophesies that "there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." This will never happen as long a Christian beliefs are based on the Bible.
BOM 1 Nephi 22:25
(10:17-18) "I lay down my life ... No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself."
Did Jesus commit suicide?
What the Bible says about suicide

15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

The other sheep are simply the Gentiles. At present they were not part of the fold as only the Jewish nation had received the revelation of God. But they would be afterward when the gospel would also be spoken and received by the Gentiles.
The same is indicated by one fold: the distinction between Jew and heathen would disappear, Eph. 2:19. This prophesy has come to pass.

17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

19 There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.

20 And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?

(10:20) "Many of them said, He [Jesus] hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?"
Many of those who saw Jesus firsthand thought he was mad and possessed by a devil.
Isn't that sad? And they couldn't produce a single witness accusing him of anything, chapter 18:29-30. But take note of the others in the next verse (verse 21). This text is a clear indication of what is said in chapter 9:39.

21 Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?

22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.

23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.

24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

(10:28) "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
Is it possible to fall from grace?
It is not possible to fall from grace. This verse simply would be meaningless if this was so. Jesus says he gives them eternal life. That's either true or not. He does not say he gives them the possibility of eternal life, if they so choose. If eternal life depends on their decision, it's not a gift, but a voucher: you can either redeem it or not.
If would also make meaningless the second half of the text. It means that Satan and the world have a real chance in plucking them out of God's hand. They just have to persuade the believer to give up. God and Satan fight for the soul on equal footing. Thank God's mercy that this isn't the case.
Readers interested in the subject should also read What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism which is a gentle introduction and shows that the doctrine of perseverance of the saints cannot be decoupled from other doctrines.
See the other texts the author of the SAB mentions such as Gal. 5:4 to see what is meant by these verses. They clearly do not describe believers, but those who are described in the parable of the sower, Luke 8:5-15. There are those who receive the gospel, but have no root, or where the seed falls among the thorns.

29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

30 I and my Father are one.

(10:30-31, 38-39) "I and my Father are one."
Is Jesus God?
BOM: 3 Nephi 28:10
As this verse clearly indicates: yes, Jesus is the same God with God the Father.

31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

(10:34) "Ye are gods."
The Jews threatened to execute Jesus for blasphemy, since he claimed be God. But Jesus defended himself by quoting Ps.82:6: "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?"
How many gods are there?
If the meaning of this verse is that everyone is a god, the word god has become rather meaningless. In this verse the word god is not used to describe persons with godlike powers. But the reason some are called gods is because the word of God came to them, verse 35. Jesus says that His Father send him in this world to carry out the work He told Him to do, verse 36. Jesus does not so much defend himself, or try to get out of a tough spot as the author of the SAB claims in Ps. 82:6, but affirms that indeed He as the Son does the work of His Father. And after this affirmation they tried again to kill him, verse 39.

35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.

38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

39 Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,

40 And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.

41 And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.

42 And many believed on him there.