"I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come." (John 8:21)

Jesus is speaking very clearly with these Jewish officials who were in the crowd as he spoke in the temple.

The high priests and pharisees were confident of their knowledge of Jewish law, and were challenging Jesus’ authority to speak on behalf of the Supreme Being.

Jesus states that he will be leaving them and they will not be able to go where he goes, nor be able to find him. Where is this special place that he is going, which they cannot go?

Jesus is speaking of returning to the spiritual realm to be with the Supreme Being:
“Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” (John 20:17)
Jesus also indicated that he came from the spiritual realm:
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38)
Jesus also taught that each of us can return to our home in the spiritual realm and be with the Supreme Being:
"And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and He is in heaven." (Matt. 23:9)
"When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." (Mark 12:35)
In John 8:21 above, Jesus clarifies that while the pharisees and other Jewish officials in the crowd were pompously considering themselves elevated and certainly going to heaven because of their great positions of authority within the temple, Jesus identifies clearly that they will die in their sin - and thus not return to the spiritual realm. What does "die in their sin" mean?

The word "sin" here is being translated from the Greek word, ἁμαρτία (hamartia). This means, according to the lexicon, "to err, be mistaken, to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong" and "that which is done wrong, an offence, a violation of the divine law."

The word thus means to reject our relationship with the Supreme Being - as one of His loving servants. And "dying" in that consciousness means to completely lose ones ability to remember the Supreme Being. This is the position of animals, insects and plants: They have become completely ignorant of their relationship with God due to their previous choices.

But weren't the Jewish priests doing the right things? They were strictly following the rules and rituals of the Jewish doctrine, but they were still not going where Jesus is going. Why not?

Jesus was clear that returning home to the Supreme Being in the spiritual realm requires a certain consciousness:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21)
Jesus is clear that returning to the spiritual realm requires one to come to love and serve the Supreme Being.

Those Jewish priests' focus was not upon loving and pleasing God. Their focus was upon gaining and keeping the respect of others. Their concern was their authority, and Jesus was undermining their authority.

This quest for authority is not different from the search for power we see all around us. This seeking of power and authority is manifested into the desire to be king, queen, ruler, CEO, president, rock star, media queen or any other position of power, prestige, respect and the admiration from others. Why do we seek these positions of power, prestige, respect and admiration?

The quest for authority is none other than a deep-rooted envy of God's ultimate authority. This is the root of sin. We are each here in this physical dimension because at one point or another, we became envious of God's authority. We became jealous of his power, prestige, respect and the admiration of His loving servants. We no longer wanted to serve God: We wanted to be God. This was expressed by the serpent - the symbolic representation of our envy - as he spoke to Adam about eating the fruit:
"For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:5)
What is it to "be like God"? This means to enjoy as God enjoys. It means to have the authority of God. This is manifested into our self-centered desires that we execute here in the physical world.

Notice that God then threw Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden (the spiritual world) and put them into physical bodies:
The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. (Gen. 3:21-23)
What were the "garments of skin"? Are we talking animal skins? No. We are talking about these temporary physical bodies - these "garments of skin" we wear for 50-100 years or so.

Furthermore, "to work the ground from which he had been taken" could only mean that the "garments of skin" were of the same composition as the physical world, and Adam would toil within the physical world. While the text translations slightly confuse the spiritual person of Adam with Adam's physical body, but it is nevertheless the practical purport of the symbolic event.

Jesus also confirms this position in his statement. Jesus is indicating that the high priests and pharisees will not be going where he is going: "Where I go you cannot come."

Was Jesus talking about a physical place here? Was he talking about a place up in the clouds where there are people playing harps on little chunks of clouds? Or perhaps another planet? Where is Jesus going, and why can't they also go?

The reason they cannot go is the same reason that God also threw Adam out of the Garden of Eden (spiritual world). Because Adam became self-centered and rejected God's authority, Adam no longer fit in with the consciousness of the spiritual world. The consciousness of those in the spiritual world is love. There is no selfishness among the inhabitants of the spiritual world. Everyone is focused on God's happiness, and the happiness of God's associates. There is no room for those who seek to gain God's position, and enjoy as God enjoys.

Those persons, as Jesus indicates here, will stay here in the physical world to "die in your sin."

When Jesus says "die in your sin," does he mean to physically die? No. Since everyone's physical body physically dies at some point - and even Jesus' physical body died, as evidenced later - the type of dying that Jesus is discussing is spiritual death.

Let's use an analogy: Let's say that a person had a great career as a teacher, and then one day he hurts a student. A person might say that the teacher's career is dead, yes? The teacher may not have physically died, but his ability to teach is now gone. As a teacher, he is dead.

In the same way, one who is dead spiritually does not have a relationship with God. They cannot experience the joy of loving and serving God, because they are wrapped up in their own happiness. They are seeking their own authority, and thus do not accept God's authority.

This is the case for those Jewish high priests and pharisees, as is the case for any so-called religious leader whose intent and purpose is to expand and enjoy their own authority rather than love and serve God. Today we find that many will even use Jesus to gain authority, as they seek political appointment as priests, bishops, cardinals, popes, ministers and other positions of authority - so they can experience authority over others.

This is epitomized by those catholic priests who abused their parishioners and altar persons. As those who were abused stepped forward to describe their abuse, they recalled how the priests would exert their power during the abuse.

This quest for authority was also symptomized by those with higher authority in the church that not only covered up these abuses, but allowed the priests to move to other churches where they could continue their abuses. As the church officials' motivations for looking the other way became evident, it became obvious that they were afraid of undermining the authority of the church - and ultimately their own authority. If the church lost their moral authority, no one would respect the training and the education of the priests. People might think that the church and their priests, popes, bishops and cardinals were not empowered by God.

This of course is the case: Why else would those high officials seek to criminally cover up abuse in order to falsely prop up the authority of the church? They do not have the empowerment of God. They do not represent God's authority. Rather, they are composed of individuals who are seeking to exert their own authority. Like those high priests and pharisees that were challenging Jesus' authority and empowerment, they do not represent God. They only represent their own quest for authority.

And this is also why ecclesiastical sectarian institutions and their teachers must hide behind their rituals and ceremonies. They, like the high priests and pharisees who criticized Jesus, have to hide behind empty pomp and circumstance, ritual ceremonies and automatic dogma because they have no ultimate empowerment by God. They cannot speak plainly as Jesus spoke in the language of the people. They merely use various power phrases in an attempt to establish their own authority.

The temple high priests and pharisees that heard Jesus speak were envious of Jesus' authority: Jesus displayed real authority because he was representing God. And they saw how he was able to affect others.

Jesus has a special relationship with God, and he represented God. So he was describing that he would be returning to God’s spiritual world upon the death of his physical body. The place he is describing is the spiritual dimension. This is the dimension where God is the center of attention and authority, and there is an exchange of loving relationships between God and His loving servants and associates.

Those of us whose focus is upon ourselves, and our own authority over others; we will stay in the physical dimension to suffer the results of our self-directed activities. Even if we go to church and yell out “praise Jesus” in order to feel saved, and impress others with our religiousness, we won't be returning home to God - at least until we change our consciousness from self-centeredness to God-centeredness:
“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21)
Doing the “the will of my Father” means to accept God's authority. Those who do God's will no longer seek their own authority. They no longer seek power. Rather, they seek to please God. This was Jesus' consciousness, what he taught, and how he lived.


(For a more appropriate translation of Jesus' statement, see the Devotional Translation of the Gospel of John Chapter Eight - translated from the original Greek texts without ecclesiastical sectarian influence.)