Did Jesus Contradict Himself about His Plans to Go to the Feast of Tabernacles in John 7:7-10?


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Did Jesus Contradict Himself about His Plans to Go to the Feast of Tabernacles in John 7:7-10?

Did Jesus give a straight answer to His brothers when they asked Him about whether He was going to the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:7-10)?  When analyzing whether Jesus gave a straight answer to His brothers, it's best to use the reading found in verse 8 that is derived from the Byzantine text (also know as the Majority or Received text):  "You go up to this feast.  I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet been fulfilled."  Notice the first use of the word "yet," which is omitted in typical modern translations based on the Alexandrine or Critical text.  This use of the word "yet" removes the difficulty that you perceive in the Scripture.  Jesus simply said that He wasn't going to the Feast yet, but would go later.

Now, what are some of the basic arguments for the Byzantine/Majority text-type anyway?  The main one is that somewhere around 80 to 95% of all handwritten New Testaments are of this text type.  It also has a smaller number significant variations within this much larger number of manuscripts compared to the variations appearing within the much smaller number of Alexandrine/Critical text type manuscripts.  But what's the basic argument for the Critical text type?  Why do most scholars generally support this text type instead?  Its readings were originally based on the oldest major manuscripts, the famous fourth-century Vaticanus and Sinaiticus manuscripts.  But is older always better?  These manuscripts (and others) were preserved in Egypt, which has a very arid climate that helps preserve paper from rotting, while the Byzantine text type is much more geographically widespread.  But there's a key problem with the "older is better" argument in this case:  Often one can cite Byzantine textual readings in the the Bible quotes of early Catholic writers (excepting Origen mainly, who lived in Egypt) that precede the fourth century!  Hence, an excellent argument can be made that the last 12 verses of Mark were in the original autograph based on this reasoning. How can a scholar cite the fourth-century Vaticanus and Sinaiticus to omit these verses when they appear the second-century Old Latin and Syriac versions, and Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian all cite them?  Mark 16:9-20 also appear in third-century Coptic and Sahidic versions.  Hippolytus, Vincentius at the seventh council of Carthage, the "Acta Pilati," and the "Apostolic Constitutions" in two places, also cite from them.  Hence, the Alexandrine/Critical Text type is on very shaky ground when it argues these verses should be omitted.  Therefore, if the first use of the word “yet” appears in the Received text for John 7:8, we should believe it was there in the original manuscript. 


So if Jesus simply said to His brothers that He wasn’t “yet” going to the Feast, the problem is easily removed. 


Eric Snow




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