A Cipher to the Book of
More than one scholar has called the Gospel According to John a book of signs. However, most have not recognized the fact that virtually the entire Gospel is written in the language of metaphors, most of which were borrowed from The oracles. I do not claim to know all that there is to know about the metaphors in the Gospel According to John, or the signs and oracles in the Septuagint, nor do I claim to have found all of the metaphors in either the or the . I am convinced, however, that the depth of meaning in the is not fully understood unless and until the reader makes an effort to recognize which Gospel word is a metaphor, and then finds how each of these words is used in the , where their full meaning is defined. I believe that the authors of the Gospel expected such an effort would be made by serious readers., where many metaphors are called signs or
My theory is that these authors were world class scholars, teachers in an established school for rabbis in the first and early second centuries C.E., when what later would become known as Christianity was still a movement within Judaism. These scholars were creating what might be called a Christian Torah. They were writing the Gospel story using signs and oracles from the canonical Scripture.and using some signs and oracles that were already a part of the emerging oral narratives of the Jesus tradition. These authors were dedicated to their work, writing The Gospel According to John, both because they saw the need for a Christian Torah and because by writing it, they were creating a textbook for the rabbinical students in their school. The textbook was an important tool through which these Christian rabbinical students learned how to expound upon the Jesus story using the sacred language of
External forces were poised to prevent or destroy the full message to be found in The Gospel According to John if its complete message were to be revealed to casual readers. The Gospel’s authors were compelled by this threat to write Thein a kind of code, i.e., metaphorical language from the . That code was so successfully written that it has not been cracked for 2000 years. The purpose of the code was to convey truths that could not be easily recognized by casual readers or severe critics. As with any code, a cipher had to be provided to guide the informed reader about how to decipher the code. That cipher is not hidden as most ciphers are, but is to be found at the beginning of The in what Biblical scholars call The Prologue (John 1:1-18).
A Key to the Cipher: The Prologue (John 1:1-18)
The cipher of the Gospel is the Septuagint, which is the Greek version of the , including the Torah, the Prophets and the Holy Writings. The cipher itself requires a key. Without this key it is next to impossible to use the cipher to break the code, and thus to see and understand the full depth of meaning in the Gospel. The key to this cipher is not kept secret as is the case for most keys to a secret code. This one is placed at the very beginning of the Gospel where anyone can find it, read it and learn from it, but unless a reader discovers or has been instructed to find the key and learn how to use it, it remains hidden in plain sight and the secret depths of the Gospel remain locked away.
Some scholars have suggested that the Prologue may have been a song or a poem used by the community from which the Gospel came. If that is its origin, the lyrics are certainly adapted. It seems more likely that the Prologue has been written specifically as a key to the cipher.
|John 1: 1|
|NRSV||In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.|
In the beginning… points the informed reader first to the Greek Torah as the cipher of the Gospel’s code. The first three words of the Gospel According to John (NRSV) are a translation of two Greek words, In beginning (Ἐν ἀρχῇ – en archē) from the first book of the Greek Torah, Genesis. These words constitute the first sign used in the Gospel, the meaning of which is to be found in the Greek Torah, attributed to Moses. Mosaic signs and oracles require the reader to seek out a deeper meaning than is at first apparent to a casual reader of the Gospel. This sign guides the reader to the first two Greek words of The to find that deeper meaning.
Careful scholars discover there are more than a few meanings to be found of the various forms of the Greek word beginning (ἀρχῇ – archē) in the Septuagint. In addition to beginning this Greek word with a different diacritical mark (ἀρχὴ) is translated rule/rulers/jurisdiction and various other forms of this word are translated first/ origin/ early/ position/ basic/ and corners. We are not concerned with, nor will we be distracted by any other form, of this Greek word. We will search the Greek Torah for exactly the same form as the one that appears in the Greek version of The . I believe that the authors of the Gospel took these Greek words directly from the Greek Torah, without changing them. That is how we will find them.
The word beginning (ἀρχῇ – archē) in the Gospel appears in this form including the same diacritical marks in the Greek Torah only in Genesis 1:1. In Genesis 10:10 and Exodus 12:2 this word is translated beginning in the NRSV, but the Greek version of these verses has a different diacritical mark (ἀρχὴ) than the one in Genesis 1: 1 and John 1:1. In Numbers 24:20 and Deuteronomy 21:17 this same Greek word in this other form (ἀρχὴ) is translated as first in the NRSV.
This is a clue for those who are searching for the source and meaning of all Mosaic signs and oracles found in the Gospel. This clue tells us to look in the Greek Torah, i.e., in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers or Deuteronomy. Henceforth in our study of the Gospel we will seek out exactly the same form of any Greek word that we may suspect is a Mosaic sign or oracle in the Greek Torah. After we find it there, we will seek to understand the meaning of this word where we find it in the Greek Torah. Then we will apply this meaning to the context of the word where we find it in the Gospel, thus revealing the otherwise hidden meaning of this sign / oracle / metaphor as it is used in the Gospel.
In the beginning was the word (ἦν ὁ λόγος – en ho En archē) and the fourth Greek word in the Gospel which is translated, In the beginning was the (ἦν ὁ λόγος – en ho ). They sound similar, but they are different words. While In (Ἐν – En), is a preposition, was (ἦν – en) is a past tense form of the verb meaning to be / to exist / to be on hand (εἰμί – eimi).). Notice the similarity and slight difference in the pronunciation of the first Greek word in the Gospel translated, In the beginning (Ἐν ἀρχῇ –
The thought begun by the first three words is continuing. In the beginning was… Consider the implications of using the alternative definitions of the root word, to be/to exist/to be on hand (εἰμί – eimi) here: In the beginning was…/In the beginning existed…/In the beginning was on hand… To appreciate the full sense of this word we might add another word in an American English translation: already, so it reads: In the beginning already was/In the beginning already existed/In the beginning already was on hand … While In the beginning… points us to the start of the first creation story in Genesis without changing any word from its source, the verb was is the first word in a by the authors of the Gospel on that creation story in Genesis.
The Genesis story begins, In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth … (NRSV). A 21st century commentary on Genesis 1:1 would need to focus on the next two phrases of the text in Genesis: when God created and the heavens and the earth. Instead, the authors of the Gospel are creating a as modern Bible scholars like to call it, on the creation story in Genesis. I have expanded the Gospel’s commentary on the meaning of the first phrase in the Genesis story, i.e. in the beginning, by adding already to the possible variations of the first word of the Gospel’s commentary on the Genesis story to explain its meaning. The Gospel’s commentary is that something or someone already was with God in the beginning. This commentary is added to the sacred language of the Torah before the time when the first creation story in the Hebrew or Greek Torah declares what was created by God.commentary, an explanation or
In the first century and early second century when the Gospel According to John was being written, the best known form of a commentary on the Torah was called a . Midrash is normally written in Hebrew along with the verse or verses from the Hebrew Bible that it explains. In this case the commentary is written in Greek and the verses that this commentary explains or expounds upon come from the Greek Torah in The .
The rule forin the first century C.E. was that the meaning of a passage of Scripture was to be explained orally or written using the words of Scripture, preferably words from the Torah. In other words for (λόγος – ) to be used in the Gospel as a of Genesis 1:1, the term word (λόγος – ) must be found in canonized Scripture, preferably in the Greek Torah.
The translators who contribute to the NRSV use the English term In the Greek Torah only one of the words translated in the NRSV is word (λόγος – ). This single occurrence is found in Numbers. Compare these two translations:27 times in translating the Hebrew Torah.
“The Lord said to Moses, Is the Lord’s power limited? Now you shall see whether my will come true for you or not” (Nu. 11:23 NRSV).
The meaning of any word in Scripture is derived from the way it is used in context with other words. The context of this passage begins when the Hebrew elders complain to Moses that they have no meat to eat in the wilderness. Moses takes their complaint to God, and God promises Moses that all of them will be given more than enough meat to eat for a month. When Moses expresses doubt that even God can do this, God speaks the words quoted in Nu. 11: 23. What follows God’sin this context is the story of a huge flock of quail flying from the Mediterranean coast into the wilderness of the Arabian peninsula and falling dead to a depth of 3 feet surrounding the Hebrew encampment.
How does this meaning help us to understand word (λόγος – logos) in the context of John 1:1? Consider each of the words in the Greek Torah translated as word or Word in the NRSV. Word describes the words spoken by God, but the message is not merely in each word (ῥῆμα – rhēma) or (ῥήματι – rhēmati) or in all of the words (ῥήματα – rhēmata) that God speaks, not only in the word/words of the Lord (ῥήματος κυρίου – rhēmatos kyriou) or (ῥήματα κυρίου – rhēmata kyriou). It is a quality, a certainty, a truth found also in the divine oracles (λόγιά – logia) given by God. It is all of these, but in this form, word means the power of the Lord to call all that God conceives or wills to come into existence.
Words, of course, are a necessary means of speaking, i.e., verbalizing thoughts, ideas, plans. The Greek terms . They virtually describe the history of the Greek culture, even the development of the Greek language. The basic root meaning of speak/say is to gather/to reap. It implies succession/repetition and judgment/logical separation. By the first century C.E., speak/say implied the expression of rational thought and planning, considered by Greek speaking people to be the very nature of divine language, reflective of the language of God when human beings spoke to each other or when God spoke to them.(λόγος – ) and speak/say (λέγω – lego) share a common
The first and only use of speak/say (λέγω – lego) in the Greek Torah is in Exodus.
Clearly the Lord is speaking to Moses in this verse, telling Moses to tell Pharaoh what He says. In the first creation story in Genesis LXX God speaks, but the phrase used in that story over and over again is And God said (καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεός – kai eipen ho theos). In the creation story from Genesis LXX, God is not telling a human being to communicate God’s words. Instead, God is saying the words that command the elements of the universe to come into being. The emphasis in the story is on the commands, but the fact is that the story tells the reader that God speaks those commands. Theologically speaking and consistent with the theology expressed by the authors of The Gospel According to John, it must be assumed that God has already willed the creation to begin and has already created the means by which the creation will occur, namely that God will speak a command, and whatever God speaks/commands comes into being. God creates everything through the spoken .
The Gospel commentary on this creation story from the Greek Torah is that thealready exists before the creation begins. The earliest use of in the Greek culture means counting, as in counting crops or counting sheep. That meaning evolves to accounting as in reporting the numbers, and it means giving an account as in telling a story. It is used to deliver an account of thoughts or ideas which have been carefully planned. Finally the term is used to describe the care and planning that is represented in the universe, in the physical world and in the realm of ideas as described by the great thinkers of ancient Greece. As it is used in the Gospel, much more is meant and will be revealed about the meaning of The .
The Torah has always existed in two forms: written and oral. The written Hebrew Torah was and remains carefully expressed using the Hebrew alphabet. Hearing the Hebrew Torah spoken from memory or read aloud is akin to hearing God Himself speaking for faithful Hebrews. When the Hebrew Torah was translated into Greek for the , knowledge of the oral Torah may well have influenced the translators’ choice of Greek words used in the translation. Hearing the holy words of the Greek Torah spoken from memory or read aloud was and remains a spiritual experience for the faithful whose common language was or is Greek. God speaks through Scripture. Devoted translators sometimes find that the translation of the word of God is guided by the Spirit of God.
Translating Scripture from one language to another always requires a degree of interpretation of the meaning found in one language in order to express that meaning in another language. The translation is not always word for. The meaning found in the oral Hebrew Torah may well have influenced the choice of Greek words used by the Hebrew scholar or scholars who translated the written into the written Greek . Readers of modern translations of the Bible will find that some verses in The Septuagint, when translated into American English, are slightly different or even significantly different than parallel passages in the Old Testament of the NRSV. Regardless of what other influences may have produced these differences, the Septuagint has been accepted and used as the holy language of Scripture by the authors of The Gospel According to John and many others.
In the beginning was the(Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος – En archē en ho ) is part of the key to the cipher for the entire Gospel. It literally directs the reader to find specific words in the Greek Torah. It teaches, to find the meaning of the Greek words in the Gospel, which are borrowed from the Greek Torah, search the Greek Torah.
This first verse of the Gospel explains its commentary more completely by telling the reader, The Word was with God and The Word was God. This sounds impossible. How can anything or anyone be at once with God and at the same time be God? The only explanation that seems to make sense is that God is an unlimited, undefined being, greater than all that has been or ever will be created. In order to create a finite universe, including the heavens and the earth, especially the world as we human beings know it, God set aside a part of God’s being, not only to be the means through whom the finite universe, including the heavens and the earth and all that would exist, but to be in relationship to all that was about to be created. The Word was with the eternal, unlimited, undefined God as the means through whom the creation could occur, and The was and is and always shall be God in relation to all that God creates through The Word.
The following verses expound further on this thought.
|John 1: 2|
|NRSV||He was in the beginning with God|
This is the first repetition in the Gospel. Repetition is a critically important indicator of the presence of a sign or an oracle within the Gospel text. The Mosaic sign in this case is the one we have already identified in the commentary on Jn. 1:1, theas found in Nu. 11: 23. The meaning of that first verse is so important that the authors are repeating it here to make sure that the readers get it.
Note that in this verse theis not actually written, but in case the reader has assumed the in Jn. 1:1 is anything other than a Living Being, the in this verse is referenced as He. Later in the prologue we readers will learn more about who He is.
Adding He to a reiteration of the Midrash of Genesis 1:1 found in John 1:1, we may now understand the meaning of Jn. 1:1 and John 1:2 more clearly as in prose:
He, The Word, through whom God created light
and everything else that was created after the light,
already existed with God
when the rest of the universe was created.
He, The Word, is God.
|John 1: 3|
|NRSV||There was a man sent from God, whose name was John..|
This is the second repetition, once again emphasizing him as the agency through which all creation occurred. The point is important enough that it is stated in vs. 1, repeated in vs. 2, and repeated again in vs. 3. The point is that God created everything through Him, i.e., through The. There is also an important clarification regarding came into being (ἐγένετο – egeneto). A different form of this verb is used at the end of the verse: has become (γέγονεν – gegonen).
Let come into being (Γενηθήτω – Genēthētō): light (φῶς – phōs)
firmament(στερέωμα – stereōma)
Let be gathered together(Συναχθήτω – Synachthētō) : water (ὕδωρ – hydōr)
: dryness (ξηρά – xēra)
: tree ((ξύλον –xylon)
: living souls (ψυχὴν ζῶσαν – psychēn zōsan)
: quadrupeds (τετράποδα – tetrapoda)
: creeping things
: wild animals
Let come into being (Γενηθήτωσαν – Genēthētōsan) : luminaries (φωστῆρες – phōstēres)
: in darkness and in light
: aqua quadrupeds
: winged things
Let us make (Ποιήσωμεν) – Poiēsōmen) : humankind (ἄνθρωπον) – anthrōpon)
After each command some part of creation is named or is described and then named. Each command and name is then echoed by a statement: And came into being (καὶ ἐγένετο – kai egeneto) name. For example, Let come into being light (Γενηθήτω φῶς – Genēthētō phōs), And came into being light (καὶ ἐγένετο φῶς – kai egeneto phōs). There is order; there is rhythm, there is beauty in each command, all of which rhyme in couplets. Humankind is made according to our image (εἰκόνα- eikona) and our likeness (ὁμοίωσιν – homoiōsin) indicating that human beings are made according to the creative capacity of God the Creator and in the form of God the , i.e., capable of conceiving, expressing and creating ideas and things like God the Creator, and shaped in the image of God the Word.
In John 1:3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being what has come into being. The word came into being is repeated twice in this verse, and arguably a third time at the end of the sentence in a different tense. This repetition tells us that came into being (ἐγένετο – egeneto) is a Mosaic sign within a Mosaic oracle, the story of creation, upon which the Gospel authors comment.
|John 1: 4|
|NRSV||In him was life, and the life was the light of all people|
There are two key words in this verse: life (ζωὴ – zōē) and light (φῶς – phōs). To the informed reader these are obviously words with specialized meanings. They are metaphors, and there is a particular relationship between these two metaphors. How shall we discover what these metaphors mean and what the particular relationship between them is? We will seek out their meaning in the Greek Torah and determine whether either of them is a Mosaic sign or a part of a Mosaic oracle.
“I call to witness against you today both the sky and the earth. I have given life (ζωὴν – zōēn) and death before your face, the blessing and the curse. Choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, to love the Lord your God, to listen (to) his voice and to be close to him. For this (is) life (for) you and the length of your days to dwell (for) you on the land that the Lord swore (to) your fathers, Abraam (Abraham) and Isaak (Isaac) and Iakob (Jacob), to give to them” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20 LXX).
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life (ζωὴν – zōēn) and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life and length of days to you, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NRSV).
These two verses conclude a long lesson that begins in Deuteronomy 28:1 and ends in Deuteronomy 30:20. This is the blessings and curses oracle given by Moses to the people of Israel before Moses chooses his successor. The lesson is summarized in Deuteronomy 30:19-20, which, as part of a larger Mosaic oracle, defines what it means: to choose life is to love the Lord your God, to listen to His voice, i.e., obey Him, and to be close to Him, i.e., to remain steadfastly with Him.
Just as the Greek word life is used 7 times in the Greek Torah, it is used seven times in the Gospel According to John. It appears 2 times in John 1:4 and 5 more times later in the Gospel. I believe that this is not a coincidence. The authors of the Gospel intended that careful readers like their own students would associate this part of the prologue with the use of life in the Greek Torah, and thereby define the meaning of life in the prologue in the way it is defined in the Greek Torah.
Deuteronomy 30: 20 NRSV says it quite clearly in American English: You and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you. The meaning of life in the prologue to the Gospel, however, is not limited to what is found in this passage from Deuteronomy, because life is tied to a second Mosaic sign: light (φῶς – phōs). The cypher for this word is once again found in the Greek Torah, and it appears again 7 times in the Greek Torah. The first time light appears in the Greek Torah is when it is created. It appears 2 times in Genesis 1:3 LXX, and Genesis 1:4-5 LXX continues the lesson, adding to the meaning of light.
The Meaning of Light
Let come into being light
God saw that the light was good
And God went up into the midst of the light and the darkness
and separated light and darkness.
And there was evening and there was morning, Day One
Light comes from God. God sees that it is good, and God separates the light from the darkness by going up between them. This separation implies a contrast between light, associated with good and order, and darkness, associated with evil and chaos.
In Gn. 1:5 LXX God calls the light Day and the darkness Night, thus establishing the recurring rhythm of the passage of time as light fades to darkness in the evening and darkness gives way to light in the morning. Note that The was created before evening and morning, day one, i.e., before time began, and Light was created before God separated light from darkness, day from .
To summarize: In Him was Life, i.e., choosing to love, listen/obey and be close/hold fast to God, and the Life was the Light of all people. Light is how God separates goodness from evil for all people, and only after God created light could time begin for all people. In other words the Life that is in Him is the fundamental goodness of those people who love God, listen to/obey God and are close/hold fast to God, and this character/quality, this Life/Light existed in Him before time and before people came into being.
There is another word in John 1:4 that deserves our attention. It is the generic plural men/people (ἀνθρώπων – anthrōpōn). The first mention of the generic singular of humankind/humanity (ἄνθρωπον – anthrōpon) in the Greek Torah in the first creation story is in Genesis 1:26-27 LXX, but the first mention of the generic plural of men/people (ἀνθρώπων – anthrōpōn) is in Genesis 5:1-2. This is the first of 7 occurrences of this plural term in Genesis. Here it is in four different translations:
“This is the list of the descendants of Adam. When God created humankind, he made them in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them humankind when they were created” (NRSV).
“This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created” (ESV).
“This is the book of the generation of humankind on which day made God Adam according to the image of God he made him male and female he made them he blessed them and he named – name their Adam on which day he made them.”
Above is the literal translation from the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint and below is my translation from this literal version into American English:
This is the book of the generation of humankind on the day God made Adam. God made him according to God’s (own) image, male and female He made them. He blessed them and named their name Adam on the day He made them.
There is obviously something wrong with my literal translation. In fact, when compared to the literal translation from the Greek, there is obviously something wrong with each of the translations presented here. That may well be because the original Greek itself appears to be garbled or incorrectly written. The word translated men/people is plural, yet in all of these translations Adam is the single name given to both the male and the female of humankind. This error in the text virtually requires the reader or translator to correct the error in order to resolve the problem, as is effectively done by substituting Man for Adam or deleting Adam’s name in the translations above. Consider, however, what if this is not an error? What if this plural word referring to a single person is used intentionally as a Mosaic sign pointing to a Mosaic oracle, i.e., a story full of metaphors? Our method compels us to go to the Greek Torah to learn more about this use of men/people (ἀνθρώπων – anthrōpōn) named Adam there.
In Genesis 5:1-2 we find a reference written in the Greek Torah to a generic plural word, men/people (ἀνθρώπων – anthrōpōn) that is out of place or inconsistent with the single proper name Adam in the text. The use of this same plural form men/people not only in Genesis 5:1-2, but in John 1:4, could indicate that the writers of the Gospel found and recognized this Mosaic sign that points to a Mosaic oracle in the Greek Torah and used it as such in the Gospel as a Mosaic sign. So if what I have called an error is intentional, not only in Genesis 5:1-2, but in John 1:4, and if this error is a Mosaic sign pointing to a Mosaic oracle, what is that Mosaic oracle?
The proper name Adam is not used in the first story of creation. The singular generic name for human (ἄνθρωπον – anthrōpon) is used only 2 times in the first story of creation in Genesis 1:26, 27. This same form of human, along with its root word human (ἄνθρωπος – anthrōpos) is used in the 2nd story of creation in Genesis. 2:7,15. Then in Genesis 2:16 LXX Adam is used as a generic term, because it sounds like the Hebrew word for human. Adam (Heb: human) then transitions to an individual proper name in Genesis 2:18-19 LXX and is consistently used as a proper name thereafter. After identifying Adam as male and female Genesis 5:1-2f begins a genealogy with the words, This is the book of the generations of humankind..
The genealogy is written in a pattern. It lists the name of the first male offspring of 9 generations following Adam, a period of time covering about 8,000 years. The name and age of each first-born male is given until the time that he fathers and names his first-born child. Then the text indicates that more un-named sons and daughters are fathered by this man, with no mention of their male or female names or of the names of their mothers. Then the age of the father of that generation is given when he dies. This genealogy begins with Adam and is interrupted 9 generations later in Genesis 6 after the genealogy of Noah begins.
The Noah story is an oracle that tells how humans (ἄνθρωποι – anthrōpoi) become too numerous upon the land.
“And it happened when humans (ἄνθρωποι – anthrōpoi) began to become numerous upon the land and daughters became/were born. The sons of God (οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ θεοῦ – hoi huioi tou theou) having seen the daughters of the humans that they were beautiful, took for themselves women from all whom they picked out. The Lord God said, ‘My breath will not reside in these humans (ἀνθρώπων – anthrōpōn) for the age, because they are flesh, but their days will be 120 years.’ Now giants were upon the land in those days, and after that whenever the sons of God entered to/into the daughters of humans, they fathered children for themselves. Those were the giants who were from long ago, the people of renown. Now the Lord God, having seen that the wicked actions were multiplied upon the land and everyone was focused in his heart carefully upon evil things all their days, considered that He made humankind (ἄνθρωπον – anthrōpon) upon the land and intended / to be minded. And God said, ‘I will discard humanity (ἄνθρωπον – anthrōpon) whom I made from the face of the land; from humanity to the cattle and from creeping things to winged things of heaven, because I am angry that I made them” (Genesis 6: 1-7 LXX).
“But Noe (Noah) found grace before the Lord God. Now these (are) the generations of Noe. Noe (was) (a) righteous human (ἄνθρωπος – anthrōpos), perfect among his generation; Noe was pleasing to God” (Genesis 6:8-9 LXX).
“Now the land was marred before God, and the land was full of wrong-doing. (The) Lord God saw the land and it was corrupted because all flesh was corrupting its way upon the land. God said to Noe, ‘The time of all humanity (ἀνθρώπου – anthrōpou) has come before me, because the land was full of wrong-doing from them, and behold, I am destroying them and the land. So then make for yourself an ark …” (Genesis 6: 11-14a LXX).
God gives Noah specific instructions about how to build an ark, and he and his family build the ark according to these instructions. When the ark is finished, God provides more instructions.
“I will establish my testament with you, and you will enter into the ark, you and your sons and your wife and the wives of your sons with you. And of all the cattle and of all the creeping things and of all the wild animals of all flesh, two by two of all you will bring into the ark in order that you might feed them with yourself; male and female they will be. Of all the winged birds according to their kind and of all the cattle according to their kind and of all the creeping things which are creeping upon the land according to their kind two by two of all will enter with you to be fed with you, male and female. You will take for yourself of all the food that you will consume and you will gather it together to yourself and it will be for you and for them to eat. …Of the clean cattle lead in for yourself seven by seven, male and female. Of the not clean (lead in) two by two, male and female” (Genesis 6:18-21; 7:2 LXX).
The flood comes and destroys every living soul, i.e., all of the people and all of the birds, creeping things and animals, on the earth except those that Noah and his family gather together to be placed in the ark. After 40 days of darkness, torrential rain, wind, lightning, thunder and high waves, God remembers Noah and the animals on the ark. He brings a wind on the water that causes the water to abate. 150 days later, the ark lands on solid ground, but the world is still under water. Only later, when his dove returns with an olive branch, does Noah know that it is time to release his family and all of the birds and animals from the ark.
Noah builds an altar and offers whole burnt offerings of every clean animal and bird to God. God is pleased with this offering.
“And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, Increase and multiply and fill the earth and exercise dominion over it” (Genesis 9:1 LXX).
“And God spoke to Noah and his sons with him saying, ‘Behold I am establishing my covenant with you and your seed after you. And for every soul which is living with you, from birds and cattle and all the wild animals of the earth, as many as are with you from all those who came out of the ark. And I will establish my covenant with you and all flesh will no longer die from the water of the flood and no longer will there be a flood of water for destroying all the earth.’ And said the Lord God to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I am giving, a going up (in) the middle (of)/ between me and you and a going up (in) the middle (of)/ between every living soul which is with you for lasting generations. I am placing my rainbow in the cloud and it will be a sign (semeion) of the covenant, a going up (in) the middle (of)/between me and the earth. And it will be at the time when I collect clouds on the earth my rainbow will be seen in the cloud and I will remember my covenant which is going up (in) the middle (of)/ between every living soul in all flesh and no longer will be water for a flood so as to wipe out all flesh. And my rainbow will be in the cloud and I will see (it) in order to remember a lasting covenant, a going up (in) the middle (of)/ between me and a going up (in) the middle (of)/ between every living soul and among all flesh that is on the earth.’ And God said to Noah, ‘This (is) the sign of the covenant which I arranged, a going up (in)the middle of/between me and a going up (in) the middle (of)/ between all flesh that is on the earth” (Genesis 9:7-17 LXX).
We are literally told that there is ain this oracle attributed to Moses. It is the rainbow, a reminder to God, to human beings and to all of the living creatures on the earth, that God will never again destroy the earth through flooding. This whole story is an oracle, meaning that the story is full of metaphors, . I have summarized much of this story and printed only the most important parts of it as translated from the Greek Torah here. I have also provided the Greek word and its translation and transliteration for all of the forms of human/ humans/ men/ people and humanity within these translated passages.
Now we can see why this oracle begins with what appears to be an error, i.e., the indication that God created humans as male and female, but provides only one name for them, Adam, in Genesis 5:1-2. The reader is supposed to ask, why are two beings given one name? For nine generations the offspring of Adam are identified only by the name of the first-born male of that generation. Each of those first-born men live an average of 900 years. Their sons are called the sons of God, but there is no mention of the women who bear these sons and no mention of the names of the sons beyond the first-born, nor is there any mention of the names of the daughters born to these first-born men until the sons of God notice how beautiful the daughters are and pick these beautiful women for their wives. These women give birth to children for themselves and the human population begins to explode. This occurs during a time associated with the presence of giant humans. Unfortunately these giants focus their hearts on evil things, so God decides to discard these human beings. What displeases God about human beings is that their hearts are focused upon doing evil things. They are not truly living, i.e., loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him. They do not see that only this way of living is truly living; only thisis life.
When the ark lands, God has destroyed the earth and all the living souls, including all humans and all birds, creeping things and animals on the earth, except those that have been gathered together by Noah and his family. Noah and his family are pleasing to God, because of they truly live in the light, even during the long and violent storm that destroys the earth and all that is living upon it. At this time, according to this story, all of the direct or indirect descendants of Adam die, and everything that may indicate their presence is now wiped away. The men/people who remain on the earth are descendants of Noah. God establishes a covenant between Himself and all living souls, including Noah and his descendants and all of the animals and birds from the ark. Theof this covenant is the rainbow.
However, the rainbow is not the only sign in this oracle. Noah and his family enter the ark only after God establishes His testament with Noah. The ark preserves that testament, the life of every living soul, including animals, aboard. This is not unlike The Ark of the Covenant which contains God’s Ten Commandments for life. Noah and his wife and his three sons and their wives, a total of eight individual people lived for 40 days in the very definition of chaos: total darkness blocking out any sign of the horizon or of any boundary other than the ark itself. This is a storm with torrential rain constantly pouring out of the dark sky accompanied by hurricane force winds, lightning and thunder, high waves crashing against the ark, rocking it to and fro. What gives them relief from that terrifying darkness, that chaos? How do they live? Most likely they use tiny olive oil lamps resembling shallow bowls with a lip on one side on which a flaming wick protrudes. Held in the palms of their hands as they tend the terrified animals throughout that ordeal, these tiny lamps make movement through the dark ark possible. The huge vessel without a rudder and without sails being tossed up and down and from side to side, rocking one way and then another for 40 days would cause even the most seasoned sailor to cry out to God for salvation, even today. An answer to such desperate prayers is finally received in the form of a dove carrying an olive branch from a living tree. All of theseappear in this ancient oracle at a time when a total of 8 people share a covenant with God.
Then God informs Noah and his descendants of the covenant that goes up in the middle of God and all living souls. The covenant that God creates is between God and all living souls, including all of the people and all of the animals on the ark and all of their descendants. The covenant separates those who live in the light of the covenant from those who perish in the darkness of chaos without a covenant with God. Along with this covenant, God blesses the survivors from the ark in the same way God blesses the first human beings. He tells them to increase and multiply and fill the earth and exercise dominion over it.
Returning to John 1: 4, … in Him was life, and the life was the light of all people (NRSV), the plural form of the Greek word for people is a Mosaic sign that points to the fact that the first humans are destroyed by God because all but one family of them focus upon doing evil things in their hearts all their days, including bearing children for themselves. Only the people who descend from Noah, only those who are granted or are born under the covenant that God creates, promising life and not death by the will of God, continue to live upon the earth.
|John 1: 5|
|NRSV||In him was life, and the life was the light of all people|
Notice that this verse begins in the present tense and ends in the past tense. While the darkness did not overcome the light in the past, the light does overcome the darkness in the present; it shines in the darkness. In him was life: choosing to love, obey and hold fast to God. And the life was the light of all people. Life is good and light separates life from darkness and establishes the passage of time. The Life in Him is the fundamental goodness of all who love God, obey God and hold fast to God, and this character in Him / in Life / in Light exists before time begins. Even before time begins this light is shining in the darkness. … and the darkness did not overcome it.
To overcome (κατέλαβεν – katelaben) may also be translated catch up with/grasp/comprehend. This word appears in the Greek Torah only 2 times, both in the same context: Genesis 31:23 and 25. Jacob flees from his father-in-law, Laban’s, home. Jacob takes his two wives, his children and his livestock without Laban’s knowledge. Compare these two translations of this one passage:
“On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. So he took his kinsfolk with him and pursued him for seven days until he caught up (κατέλαβεν – katelaben) with him in the hill country of Gilead. But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream by … . (Genesis 31: 22-25a NRSV). , and said to him, Take heed that you say not a word to Jacob, either good or bad. Laban overtook (κατέλαβεν – katelaben) Jacob
“It was reported to Laban the Suros (Syrian) on the third day that was running away Jacob and taking along all kinsmen his with himself he pursued after him a journey days of seven and he overtook (κατέλαβεν – katelaben) him at the mountain of Galaad. Came the God to Laban the Suros (Syrian) during (his) sleep (through) the night and said to him, Guard yourself lest you speak with Iacob (Jacob) evil things and overtook (κατέλαβεν – katelaben) Laban Iacob …” (Gn. 31: 22-25a LXX).
which tells us how Laban caught up with Jacob. One might argue that it is God who caught up with Laban in the darkness, warning him not to speak with Jacob evil things. Laban complains, but cannot prove a legitimate complaint against Jacob. He agrees that Jacob has a right to take his family and flocks and to return to his, Jacob’s, own homeland.(νύκτα- nykta) appears in this context,
So the darkness/night, i.e., the context of evil or evil things, cannot overcome the light, that which is good, i.e., the word of God. As a consequence of all of this Laban and Jacob make a peace covenant. So Jacob took a stone, and set it up as a pillar. And Jacob said to his kinsfolk, Gather stones, and they took stones and made a heap; and they ate there by the heap. Laban called it Heap of the Testimony (Βουνὸς τῆς μαρτυρίας – Bounos tēs martyrias). Jacob called it Witness Heap (Βουνὸς μάρτυς – Bounos martys) (Genesis 31:47 LXX).
In the Greek Torah(νύκτα – nykta) functions as a Mosaic sign for the context in which evil or evil things are spoken and/or are done. The word of God spoken in the midst of darkness overcomes such evil things. The is The Light, and as the Gospel puts it, the darkness cannot overcome it, but The Light can and does overcome the darkness. The Word of God can and does overcome evil.
Jacob and Laban, having experienced this truth, create a covenant of peace marked by piles of stones that are Mosaic signs for witnessing/ giving testimony about the truth that they have seen. All of this relates to the Prologue beginning in the next two verses.
|John 1: 6|
|NRSV||There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.|
A man sent by God is named John. This name is not a Mosaic oracle; it does not appear in the Greek Torah. John appears 22 times in the Gospel: 12 in the nominative case (Ἰωάννης – Iōannēs), 8 in the genitive case (Ἰωάννου – Iōannou), and 2 times in the accusative case (Ἰωάννην – Iōannēn). All but 4 of these 22 verses refer to John the Baptist. All but 2 of the 18 remaining verses connect John the Baptist to a form of testimony/witness (μαρτυρία – martyria). Clearly John the Baptist is associated with witnessing. He is the model witness in this Gospel. This gives rise to the possibility that the nickname Jesus gives to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, may infer that Jesus assigns to Simon Peter the role of witness, modeled after, as in son of John or modeled after John the Baptist, the model witness.
With this verse the authors of the Gospel introduce Johannine signs and parables, which function like Mosaic and Septuagint signs and oracles. They guide the reader to another Scriptural context for a definition of their meaning, but they guide the reader not to the Septuagint, but to other contexts within the Gospel where they are defined and used. While Mosaic signs and oracles must appear in the Gospel exactly as they appear in the , Johannine signs or parables are not limited to a specific form. Any form of the Greek word identified as a Johannine sign or parable is a sign or parable wherever it appears in the Gospel. It’s meaning is defined in one context, and that is its meaning in all other Johannine contexts where it appears. In John 1:6 the Johannine sign is sent (ἀπεσταλμένος – apestalmenos). The meaning of this sign is clearly defined there. John’s authority comes from God, who sent him. He speaks the word of God, which is the truth. The authority of The Sender, God, will be identified with the one(s) being sent and with the message that the sent one brings. John sends two of his disciples to Jesus; Jesus sends His disciples out into the world, and Jesus describes Himself the same way John the Baptist describes himself, as one who is sent by God.
If we didn’t follow the clues in the previous two verses, we are told outright in this one that John was sent by God as a witness (μαρτυρίαν – martyrian) in order that he could witness (μαρτυρήσῃ – martyrēsē) about the light. Witness (μαρτυρίαν – martyrian) only appears in the Septuagint as a false witness, so it is not a Mosaic oracle. Its defining verse is in the Gospel, so it is a Johannine oracle.
“The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth is from the earth and speaks from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. What he has seen and heard this he testifies and no one accepts his testimony/witness. The one who accepts his testimony/ witness has attested that God is true. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God, for (he does) not give the Spirit by measure/ sparingly” (John 3: 31-34).
Though the NRSV infers that this is part of the narrative of the Gospel, it is clearly an oracle spoken by John the Baptist, following his declaration, He must increase, but I must decrease. Jesus is from above, i.e., from heaven. John is from below, from earth. John considers himself to be the only one who accepts the testimony of Jesus. He is the one who accepts His testimony and the one who has attested that God is true and Jesus is the One whom God sent, the One who speaks the words of God, the One who does not give the Spirit sparingly. John is not a character playing a supporting role in the drama of the Gospel; he is the first human being named in the Gospel who is sent by God to testify about the light. He is the model witness.
We have four connections between He, theand The Light:
(1) John 1:4, In him was life and the life: loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to Him, is the light of all people.
(2) John 1:5, The Light, the Word of God, shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
(3) Genesis 31: 22-25a, the word of God spoken in the darkness, leading to creation of the Witness Heap.
(4) The witness of John the Baptist testifying about The Light, so that all would believe through Him.
The Midrash of the Septuagint is expanding and becoming the Scripture that its authors intend it to become: a new Torah, known to us as a Gospel. Beginning with Thein Whom is Life, the commentary explains, expounds, expands the Life is the Light of humanity and asserts that John’s witness causes all people, all humanity, to believe in the Word/the Life/the Light.
This is more than a repetition like the one in John 1:1-3. It is another layer of meaning. These layers are in the Gospel to be found along with the hidden story line that becomes visible through the use of Mosaic and Septuagint signs and oracles and Johannine signs and parables. With each layer of meaning the reader is required first to be able to see that meaning is being expanded. What’s more, the reader is expected to learn how to expound upon the meaning already discerned in what the reader already knows, and then to ask questions. For example, Who is the? Who is John? What is the life? What is the light? What is the world? Who are those who believe after hearing John’s testimony? What is a testimony or witness? What must I do to give my testimony or to become a witness? Asking the right questions is as important to those using the Midrash approach to learning, i.e., the Midrash didactic, as knowing the right answers. As we continue to read and study, we shall discover the answers to our questions. We shall learn how to find those answers, which are hidden in the text for us to find. After we find these answers, we are free to ask more questions of the text, expecting the Gospel text will provide us with the answers if we read it as carefully as its authors intend for us to read it.
As the key to the cypher, The Prologue to the Gospel According to John is teaching us readers to pay close attention to the words, phrases and stories in it. We are also learning to pay close attention to the source passages in the Septuagint and in the Gospel itself. From these source passages we are finding the meaning of the signs and oracles with which the Gospel is written. We can see how the authors expound upon the meaning of these words, signs, passages, and oracles.
The prologue of the Gospel is more than a key to the cypher, the Septuagint. It is also a primer for the Gospel, teaching the reader how to study the text and thereby to grow spiritually from that study. It is entirely possible that we who engage in this Midrash didactic, i.e., in this approach to learning, will also be able to expound upon the meaning of the Gospel texts using the sacred words, phrases and stories of the ancient Hebrew Scriptures, The Old Testament. That is clearly the intent of the authors of the Gospel, and the prospect of achieving that capability adds immeasurably to the value of our study.
|John 1: 8|
|NRSV||He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.|
A careful reader will find four lessons to learn from this sentence.
(1) If the reader misreads the previous verse, i.e., makes the mistake of concluding that the light is John or comes from John, this sentence is designed to correct such a misunderstanding.
(2) This verse emphasizes through repetition that John’s role is to testify about the light, not to testify to the light or to be the light. The word could testify (μαρτυρήσῃ – martyrēsē), though not in the LXX, appears 2 times in the Gospel. We read it in John 1:7. It appears again here in John 1:8, which is its defining context, as a Johannine sign. He came in order that he could testify about the light.
(3) The name John is always found in the context of a testimony, usually his own testimony. He testifies.
This is clearly a didactic, a teaching text, designed not only to impart information to the reader, but to correct any misunderstanding a reader may have after reading a previous verse/ sentence. The Gospel According to John is written in a manner that is designed to challenge the reader to understand, not only the apparent messages, but the deeper ones as well. The authors expect readers will learn the lesson in each verse, check what they have learned in subsequent verses, and build on their growing knowledge by asking questions and seeking answers using the Midrash method.
Like a good teacher, this text repeats the point of each lesson to assure the careful reader of a correct understanding before moving further into the lesson. For example, when the translator of the NRSV translates, … he came to testify to the light, suggesting that the witness, John, is telling the light, i.e., Jesus, what John has seen, the text corrects the error, repeating, in order that he (John) could testify about the light, which suggests that the witness is telling others about the light, i.e., telling others about the Christ the witness sees in Jesus.
|John 1: 9|
|NRSV||The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.|
This Is the second repetition following the first reference to light in John 1:4 and the first repetition about the light in John 1:5. It expands the message found in John 1:6-8, clarifying that it is the true light that sends forth light /fills with light /enlightens (φωτίζει – phōtizei). This Greek word appears only in Exodus, describing how Moses creates the Lampstand for use in the Tabernacle.
“And he made the lamp stand which sends forth light with solid gold for its stem” (Exodus 38:13 LXX).
This is the defining context for this Mosaic sign. In the Gospel it is only found here in John 1:9. The authors are cautioning the reader not to infer that John gives light or fills with light or enlightens everyone; the True Light does all of that; the True Light sends forth light.
The words true light appear together only in this verse. While light (φῶς – phōs) appears 7 times in the and 19 times in the Gospel According to John, the word true (ἀληθινόν – alēthinon) appears only 2 times in the Greek Torah, both times describing accurate weights and measures, not light. The word true (ἀληθινόν – alēthinon) appears 3 times in the Gospel, first in this verse describing true light, then once describing the true bread used for the Eucharist and 1 time describing the True God. This unique combination of words suggests that true light is a Johannine sign. It implies that this true light is not ordinary light, but a special, even primordial light, given what we know about the connection between light in Genesis 1:3 and references to light in this prologue.
We want to know what/who the true light that enlightens everyone is. Who or what is the true light (φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν – phōs to alēthinon) that is coming (ἐρχόμενον – erchomenon) into the world? What does it mean when the true light gives light (φωτίζει – phōtizei) to every person? Having formulated the right questions, the Teaching Gospel permits us to continue reading, correcting us when we misunderstand, reassuring us when we get it right, then expecting us to build upon what we already know, trusting that we will find the answers to our questions in the Gospel text.
|John 1: 10|
|NRSV||He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.|
The mysterious he/him is the focus of this verse, along with world in two forms (κόσμος – kosmos)/ (κόσμῳ – kosmō) in this one sentence. The Greek words often translated as world (κόσμος – kosmos – nominative)/(κόσμον – kosmon – accusative)/(κόσμου – kosmou – genitive) appear in the Greek Torah a total of 4 times, and in none of those appearances does it mean world. Adding (κόσμῳ – kosmō – dative) to these forms of the same word, world appears 45 times in the Gospel. All but chapters 20 and 21 of the Gospel (NRSV) contain at least one reference to the world, leading to the conclusion that the entire Gospel is addressed to the world. The world is a Johannine sign defined in John 3: 16-20.
Notice the irony in the play on words here. All/everyone/everything in the world and even beyond the world came into being through him, but the world didn’t recognize/know him when he came into the world. This is obviously an indictment of all that came into being in the world, especially an indictment of all of the people in the world. These people in the world are not only blind; they are unfair and unjust.
There is a tone of repressed frustration, a sense of incredulity being expressed in this verse. How can it be that the world does not recognize the One through whom it was created? Can you feel that frustration as you read this verse?
|John 1: 11|
|NRSV||He came to what was his ownc and his own people did not accept him.|
If you, reader, do not feel the incredulity or repressed frustration in the previous verse, this verse spells it out. The irony giving rise to these feelings expands through the use of the phrase his own.
The literal translation here is technically correct, but in my opinion is not a good translation. The NRSV comes closer to what I believe to be the actual intent of this verse, though it too adds information that is not necessary to understand the intent. His own is a Johannine sign which appears 7 times in the Gospel. A pattern seems to be emerging from the Gospel, hinting that when words from the Greek Torah, i.e., Mosaic signs or oracles, or words used only in the Gospel, Johannine signs, are used 7 times, they are special . The Hebrew mystics believe the number 7 means perfect /complete/holy. The creation is complete, beautiful, perfect after 6 days, so the 7th day is holy, a time to rest and see all that is good in God’s creation. If anything appears 7 times in Scripture, it too is holy.
The NRSV provides a footnote (c) that in some contexts is elevated to the text: the word home is inserted to change the translated word from his own to his own home. Some scholars assume that home is inferred because own (τὰ ἴδια – ta idia), as in own property, and own (οἱ ἴδιοι – hoi idioi), as in own people, do not appear to make sense in English without the addition of home. He came into his own property, i.e. the world, and his own people did not receive him conveys the full meaning. However, the Gospel’s authors intended a simpler, more elegant phrase, and it works well. He came into his own and his own did not receive him.
The only passage in the Greek Torah where this phrase is used is a Mosaic oracle in Genesis.
“Then the Lord said to Abram, ‘Know this for certain, that your offspring shall be aliens in a land that is not their own (γῇ οὐκ ἰδίᾳ – gē ouk idia), and shall be slaves there, and they shall be oppressed for four hundred years‘” (Genesis 15:13 LXX).
The repressed frustration is appropriate, not only for Him in John 1:10-11, but for His people who become aliens in a land that is not their own. Past the first generation of those who migrate to Egypt, the Hebrew people are born into Egypt, but they are not in their own land/ property there. They are not accepted there; they are oppressed there. This is the specialized meaning that is used 7 times in the Gospel as a Johannine sign. He doesn’t find home where He should be able to find it, i.e., in His own property/ in His own nation/ in His own world, among His own people. They do not receive Him; they do not accept Him.
The Greek word that the translators can’t seem to agree upon: receive/accept means to take to/ with oneself, e.g.: in close fellowship (παρέλαβον – parelabon). That disagreement may occur because this word from the Greek/ Hellenistic culture carries a different implication when used in the context of the ancient Hebrew culture of Israel.
“In the Greek world the relation between teacher and pupil is largely controlled by personal confidence. In the Jewish schools, however, it is the material which is the binding link. …In view of the fact that the objective tradition claims infallibility, the relation between teacher and pupil is strongly authoritarian. The confidence of the pupil is not in the man, but in the bearer of the tradition. In the last analysis the content of the tradition includes both the Torah and its exegesis (the prophets, too, are regarded as handers on of the Torah), and hence the exegesis acquires a derivative and increasing authority … (as in), it was handed down to me.”
The people of the world do not take Him / theto themselves (παρέλαβον – parelabon) as their Teacher, their Rabbi, the Author of their religious tradition, the Authority bearing and transmitting the true meaning of the Torah. The One who created the world and all that is in it, is not received, not accepted as the Lord of all creation, the Ultimate Authority, their God. The ancestors of the Israelites see the glory of God in the powerful signs and wonders of the Exodus: the plagues that affect only the Egyptians, the pillar of fire that stands between the liberated Hebrew slaves and Pharaoh at the head of his army, the awesome display of divine power on Mount Sinai: the earth shakes; dark clouds gather; bolts of lightning strike the mountain near where God’s people are standing; the frightening glow on the face of Moses when he returns from talking with God; the pillar of fire by night and the pillar of cloud by day leading them; the miraculous provision of manna, water and even meat in the midst of the arid desert; the sound of the voice of God booming out from the clouds that cover Mt. Sinai. God’s people fear their God. This One identified by John the Baptist is … a man! If they put their faith in this Man and in His teachings, and if they are wrong to worship Him, what horrible consequences are bound to come upon them? Are they not safer placing their trust and their hope in the ancient and sacred words of Scripture and in the voices and examples of the authorized priests and rabbis among them? These are people they know. These are people they believe they can trust. These are the people that God puts into place to instruct them and to guide them. How can they follow the One that even John the Baptist says he did not know?
|John 1: 12|
|NRSV||But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.|
So it is not a precondition that He is recognized, accepted, received as the world’s Teacher but as many of those people in the world who do recognize, accept or receive Him, that is all those who believe He has the authority of God, who believe in Him by name, they receive from Him authority to become children of God, i.e., God’s people, God’s family, God’s own.
With this verse, we readers are learning to look beyond the meaning of the text itself, to begin perceiving the implications of what the text does not explicitly say. For example, consider what becoming God’s children with Him as their Teacher implies. Those who have been previously authorized to teach the children of God using the Scriptures that God gives them fail to fulfill that responsibility. God commands the priests of Israel to teach God’s people, using God’s own words from familiar passages of the Torah. These teachers are recognized and accepted and known because their Scriptural source is written in their own Hebrew language, or for those living in the diaspora, in the language of their own Greek/Hellenistic culture. The prime example of this is:
“And you shall put these words in your heart and in your soul, and you shall fasten them as a sign upon your hand and they will be a permanent (thing) before your eyes. And you shall teach them to your children, talk about them when they are sitting in your house and when they are walking in the road and when they are lying down and when they are getting up” (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 LXX).
Returning to the Gospel text and to what clearly is not written, but what the authors assume the intended readers know, we learn that those who do not believe/do not accept/ do not receive Him fail to fulfill God’s law. Apparently they fail to understand and to obey God’s commandment to teach God’s Word to God’s children. The implication in this verse is that God no longer authorizes them teach the children of God. They are being replaced!
The word authority (ἐξουσίαν – exousian) appears 15 times in the Septuagint. The NRSV translates it as rule in 2 verses in the Psalms, and as authority given by government in Proverbs. It appears 6 times in Daniel when kings are told by Daniel that their authority comes from God. Then Daniel has a vision, where authority appears 6 more times in 2 contexts:
“I continued to watch in a vision of the night. And lo upon the clouds of heaven, (a being) like a son of mankind came, and that of the Ancient of Days was present (Aramaic: he came up to the Ancient of Days) and (his) attendants were present with him (Aramaic: and his attendants brought him near). And authority (ἐξουσία –exousia) was granted to him (so that from) all the peoples of the earth according to (their) races all honor and authority will be directed to him, and his authority is an everlasting authority which will not be removed, and his kingdom will not perish” (Daniel 7:13-14 LXX).
“Then the kingdom and the authority and the majesty and dominion of them (kings) and of all kingdoms under heaven, he (the Ancient of Days) gave to the holy people of the Most High to rule (in) an everlasting kingdom, and then all authority will be placed under him and they will obey him” (Daniel 7: 27 LXX).
It is not difficult to see what the authors of the Gospel see in these passages. Ancient of Days is a metaphor for Creator God and a being like the son of mankind is a metaphor for the Word become flesh.
Carrying the meaning of this word authority from its defining context in the book of Daniel, we see the He in John 1:12 to be the One fulfilling Daniel’s vision, granting authority to those who receive Him/take Him to themselves and who believe in His name. They are the holy people of the Most High God who rules an everlasting kingdom where all authority is placed under Him. These holy people obey Him.
Clearly authority functions like a Mosaic sign or oracle or a Johannine sign or parable, but its defining context is not in the Greek Torah or in the Gospel According to John. It comes instead from a context outside of the Greek Torah, but still within the, i.e., from the book of Daniel. It is a Septuagint oracle.
The indictment has been expanded, expounded, elaborated both literally and by implication. This sentence explains what the spiritual condition of the world is when He comes into it. The sentence does not end in John 1:12. It contains a reference to children of God (τέκνα θεοῦ – tekna theou), which is defined in the next verse of the Gospel, John 1:13.
|John 1: 13|
|NRSV||who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.|
The phrase children of God in John 1:12 is further defined in this verse, where three phrases seem to be contrasting with a fourth partially implied phrase. In all four of these phrases the explicit and implied meanings are derived from the use the same key word will (θελήματος – thelēmatos). I will underline the implied words to this verse to explain my point: who were not born of blood nor born of the will of the flesh, nor born of the will of man, but were born of the will of God.
Even with the implied language inserted into the text the nuances of this word will are not clearly visible. The first three uses, two explicit and one implied, refer to the usual means by which a child is conceived and born. Born of blood acknowledges the role of woman who physically bears and gives birth to a child. Born of the flesh is a more generic phrase that refers to the necessity of both woman and man to conceive. Born of man refers to the intention of the male to conceive a male heir.
While the subtleties of these three uses of the term may require some degree of correction when read by 21st century readers, it is clear that this ancient Greek word is carefully used in the Gospel to imply the sexual/physical roles in human conception leading to the birth of children. Yet that is not the point of this verse. The point is made in the fourth phrase, namely that Children of God are not conceived that. They are conceived by the will of God. This word will (θελήματος – thelēmatos) is a Johannine sign.
|John 1: 14|
|NRSV||And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory,
the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
There is an implied transitional explanation between the previous verse and this one: When He, the Word, came into the world, He became flesh. Instead of this transitional explanation, the authors provide a shorter explanation: And the Word became flesh. We’re not told how the Word became flesh, i.e. whether or when or from whom the Word was born, but we have been told that human beings were made in the image/form of God, which may suggest that the word became flesh before any living soul, including human beings, became made flesh.
The phrase lived among us, literally tented in us/took up residence among us deserves some careful study. The word translated tented (ἐσκήνωσεν – eskēnōsen) stands out as a rare verbalization of a noun, suggesting there may be more meaning in it than is at first apparent, i.e., that it may be a Mosaic sign. Using our method to find its meaning, we will search the Greek Torah for this word tented.
There is only one context in the Greek Torah that uses tented (ἐσκήνωσεν – eskēnōsen) in this form.
“Abram settled in the land of Canaan, but Lot settled (κατῴκησεν – katōkēsen) in a city of the surrounding region and tented /took up residence (ἐσκήνωσεν – eskēnōsen) in Sodoms. The people who were in Sodoms were very evil and sinful before God” (Genesis 12:13-14 LXX).
Clearly a distinction is being made in this verse from Genesis between settled (κατῴκησεν – katōkēsen) and tented/took up residence (ἐσκήνωσεν – eskēnōsen). These are two different words regarding the nature of an abode, a place where someone, in this case Lot – the nephew of Abram, chooses to abide. These words sound similar, but have different meanings. They are a play on words, and as such, they are a Mosaic sign which defines the word translated literally as tented in John 1:14.
Abram settled in Canaan, a region, a land. Lot settled in an area defined by its relationship to a city, the city of Sodoms (sic). Lot tented/took up residence, not in the area around the city, but within the city itself. We are told that the people who are abiding in Sodoms are very evil and sinful before God. When Lot, his family and all of his possessions are taken prisoner by the enemies of Sodom(s) and its sister city, Gomorrah, Abram and those who travel with him, fight a battle to save Lot and his family. Later, Abram negotiates with God for the salvation of the city of Sodoms to save it from divine destruction due to the sinfulness of its residents, negotiating on behalf of a decreasing number of righteous people who might live there. This story is about the need for salvation from sin.
Returning to the use of this word translated as tented in the prologue of the Gospel, what meaning may we now transfer from the only use of that word in the Greek Torah? Clearly the theme of the prologue thus far is that the divine Word/Light/Life is coming into the world that is made through Him, but the people in that world do not accept or recognize Him or His authority. The world, i.e., the people in the world, are unable to see or do not see the Light coming into the world, i.e., they do not see the Light coming to/into them. The world is in spiritual darkness, the context of evil, but readers now know that the darkness cannot overcome the Light. He, the Word/ the Life/ the Light, tented/ took up residence in the dark world to bring salvation, i.e., Light, to those who cannot otherwise see, receive or accept Him. Those who do see/ receive/accept Him/the each one to become one of His own, to receive salvation from his/her own sin and the sin of the dark world in which they live./ the Life/the Light are given authority by Him to become children of God,
The verse continues …and we saw (ἐθεασάμεθα – etheasametha) his glory (δόξαν – doxan)… . The word glory appears 10 times in the Greek Torah. The 7th appearance of this word is in Exodus 33:18 LXX in a well-known context, Exodus 33:12-24 LXX, in which Moses asks God to manifest /reveal Himself. Moses wants to see God. Specifically, Moses asks to see God’s splendor/glory (δόξαν – doxan). God agrees to reveal Himself to Moses, but points out that human beings cannot see the face of God. To look upon the face of God could cause any human being to die, so God arranges a way that Moses can see God’s back, but not His face. He places Moses in the cleft of a rock cliff. God’s hand shelters Moses from seeing God’s face as God passes by the cleft. Then God removes His hand from the cleft, so Moses can see God’s back as God passes out of the narrow view afforded by the cleft in the rock cliff. Thus with limits imposed to protect him, God grants Moses his request to see God’s glory, presumably a receding but brightly glowing light.
The 8th appearance of glory is in Numbers 12:1-15 LXX. Miriam and Aaron say to each other, Has the Lord spoken to Moses only? Has he not also spoken to us? Then the Lord calls the three siblings to The Tabernacle of Witness/Tent of Meeting where the Lord tells them any prophet among them will know God through visions or dreams, but, God says,
“My servant Moses is not so; he is faithful in all my house. I will speak to him mouth to mouth apparently/ clearly, and not in dark/enigmatic speeches; and he has seen the glory of the Lord…” (Numbers 12:8 LXX).
God makes a distinction between people who have clearly heard the word of God and people who have spoken with God mouth to mouth. Miriam, the sister of Moses, and Aaron, the brother of Moses, have clearly heard the word of God, but Moses has spoken with God mouth to mouth, and Moses has seen the glory of the Lord!
The 9th appearance of the word glory is found in the context of an appeal by Moses to God, seeking God’s forgiveness for the sins of the children of Israel (Numbers 14:10b-45 LXX).
“…the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am gracious to them (the children of Israel) according to thy word (the word of Moses). But as I live and my name is living, so the glory of the Lord shall fill all the earth. For all the men who see my glory and the signs which I wrought in Egypt and in the wilderness and have tempted me this tenth time and have not hearkened to my voice surely they shall not see the land which I swore to their fathers…’” (Numbers14: 21-22 LXX).
In this passage God announces His intention that the glory of the Lord shall fill all the earth. Still, it appears that those who should be able to see the glory of the Lord and see the signs which God did in Egypt and in the wilderness, but still tempt God instead of tenting with/believing in/obeying Him, cannot expect to see the Promised Land. The promise, For all the men who do see my glory and the signs which I wrought in Egypt and in the wilderness… is announced but not fulfilled during the life of Moses. It is fulfilled later as we shall see.
The 10th time the word glory appears is in the context of Deuteronomy 5:23-26 (LXX), when Moses explains/expounds on the law. Moses recounts the day when the Ten Commandments are given. He says to the leaders of the tribes of Israel,
“And it came to pass when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the fire, for the mountain burned with fire, that ye came to me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders; and ye said, Behold, the Lord God has shown us his glory, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: this day we have seen that God shall speak to man and he shall live. And now let us not die, for this great fire will consume us if we shall hear the voice of the Lord our God anymore and we shall die. For what flesh is there which has heard the voice of the living God, speaking out of the midst of the fire as we have heard, and shall live?”(Deuteronomy 5:24 LXX)
In this passage the leaders of the Children of Israel hear the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire, but have not seen His face, and they have lived. God has shown them His glory, and they are sufficiently frightened by their experience to plead with Moses to listen to God for them. They believe that Moses hears God’s voice, and when Moses tells them / testifies to them what God says, they believe him (Moses), but they fear that if they continue to listen to the voice of God, they will surely die.
So now we have not one, but ten passages from the Greek Torah that define what glory means. We have considered the final four of these ten passages. These four passages show a progression in meaning that unfolds during the life and witness of Moses.
(1) Moses asks to see God’s glory and with limits that protect him God grants his request. Moses can see God’s back and hear God’s voice.
(2) God clarifies that Moses has seen God’s glory and that Moses enjoys a special access to God, who speaks with Moses mouth to mouth, a privilege not given to other prophets or priests, including Miriam and Aaron.
(3) When God is angry with the Children of Israel because they continue to sin, Moses negotiates, much as Abram did with God for the people of Sodoms, pleading with God to forgive the Children of Israel of their sins. In response to this appeal God begins a vow, But as I live and my name is living, so the glory of the Lord shall fill all the earth. This promise is not yet fulfilled because of the sinfulness of the Children of Israel.
(4) The leaders of the Children of Israel, having heard the voice of God and lived to tell about it, i.e., to give witness at least to Moses and to each other about what they have seen and heard, plead that Moses alone should continue to hear God’s voice, and see the glory of God and converse with God mouth to mouth. They know that it is possible for humans to hear the voice of God and live, and yet they are afraid that if they continue to listen directly to God they will surely die.
With that background, what does it mean when in the prologue we read, and we have seen His glory? I believe it means that the authors of the Gospel have seen the face of God, have heard the Word of God directly from God, and have talked with God mouth to mouth. God’s vow to Moses has been fulfilled in them. They have not only lived to tell about it, i.e., to witness having seen the Light and having heard the Word of the Lord, they are testifying in this Gospel, so the glory of the Lord shall fill all the earth.
As pointed out in the introduction to A Day with Jesus, the authors of the Gospel face an extraordinary threat, yet they do not back away from their opportunity to give witness about what they see and hear. In writing what we call John 1:14 they claim a relationship to God that is superior to the exalted relationship previously granted by God only to Moses and perhaps to Isaiah before them. Now we are witnesses of what they are revealing, namely that they have seen the glory of God!
John 1:14 NRSV continues, the glory as of a father’s only son . . . The phrase father’s only son uses a Greek word with a specialized meaning: only (one) born/only begotten/one and only (μονογενοῦς – monogenous). In other words, the glory of the One called He, the glory of a male offspring, the glory an only son, is the glory of the father/the glory of The Father (παρὰ πατρός – para patros), i.e., is the glory of the only Son of God.
While this specialized term meaning only begotten is not used in the Greek Torah, it is used in Judges 11:34 LXX in the context of the story of Jephthah’s daughter, Judges 11:30-40 LXX. Obviously this is not the story of an only son; it is the story of an only daughter, who is sacrificed by her father. Judges 11:34 is the source definition of the word translated only begotten (μονογενοῦς – monogenous) as it is used in John 1:14.
This story doesn’t come from the Greek Torah, so it is not a Mosaic oracle. It is, however, a story from a part of the Septuagint outside of the Torah, and it uses this singular word, a metaphor full of meaning. It is, therefore, a Septuagint oracle.
In any case the use of only (one) born/only begotten/one and only does imply a highly emotional intent behind the choice of the authors of the Gospel to use it to describe the significance of the Word became flesh in this Gospel context. It conveys a passionate association with the decision of a father to sacrifice his only child and the child’s acceptance of that decision. This is comparable to the decision by Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. In that case, however, it cannot be said that Isaac is Abraham’s only begotten son. Abraham banished his first begotten son, Ishmael, before binding his second begotten son, Isaac, for sacrifice.
John 1:14 ends with a phrase that clearly declares three of the observed qualities of character in the only Son of the Father. He is 1.full, 2.of grace, 3.and truth. This phrase only appears in John 1:14. Full (πλήρης – plērēs) appears 2 times in the Greek Torah, both times in the context of the burial of two patriarchs: Abraham and Isaac, each of whom is described as full of days, a phrase frequently used when closing the record of a great Biblical character. However, these two passages hardly seem to provide a definition for the word full in John 1:14. In the context of a sentence declaring, we have seen His glory and the complete phrase full of grace and truth, we might expect the defining passage for full to contain at least one of these 3 key words, glory, grace or truth. Other than the two passages from Genesis already mentioned the first and best candidate for such a Scripture is in Isaiah:
This passage includes an assertion by the prophet Isaiah. He saw the Lord and the house, that is the Temple, was full of His, God’s, glory. Once again this passage of Scripture is not from the Greek Torah, but it is as sign in a Septuagint story. This metaphorical use of the word Full defines that story as a Septuagint oracle.
In Jn. 1:14 it is not the building/the house/the Temple that is full; it is The Word who became flesh and took up residence among us/in us, i.e., in the authors of the Gospel that is full. Their witness is, We have seen His glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son. How could they not see His glory? He is full of glory. Full is an adjective explaining not only how much grace and truth is in Him, but how much, i.e., all of the glory of God is in Him. Borrowing meaning from the defining text in Isaiah 6:1 LXX, we find a shorthand term: full, suggesting the complete phrase full of glory.
Grace and truth are also qualities of His identity. The Greek word grace (χάριτος – charitos) is not found in the Greek Torah, but it does appear in Zechariah, where it is defined.
“And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the ones who dwell in Jerusalem a spirit of grace (χάριτος – charitos) and of mercy (οἰκτιρμοῦ – oiktirmou) and they will look attentively to me instead of dancing triumphantly, and they will mourn for (Jerusalem) with a mourning like for a beloved (only child) and they will be grieved (with) a grief like for a first-born” Zechariah 12: 10 LXX.
As with Judges 11:34 and Isaiah 6:1, this passage is a Septuagint oracle: The Oracle of the Word of the Lord concerning Israel….” Zechariah 12:10 is a source of meaning for John 1:14. It defines the emotional state of the authors of the Gospel, the ones with whom He took up residence, the persons who identify themselves with the declaration, We saw His glory. They have received from Him a spirit of grace in the midst of their grief as they write their witness, remembering His sacrifice and the salvation He provides continuously for them.
A Psalm of David
“Sing to the Lord a new song, because the Lord did wonderful things. His right hand and His holy arm saved for Him. The Lord made known His salvation before the nations. He disclosed His righteousness. He remembered His mercy (οἰκτιρμοῦ – oiktirmou) to Jacob and His truthfulness (ἀληθείας – alētheias) to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth saw the salvation of our God. Shout aloud to God all the earth! Sing and rejoice exceedingly and sing psalms! Sing psalms to the Lord in a lyre, in a lyre and the voice of a psalm! With silver trumpet and a voice of a trumpet horn shout aloud before the King, the Lord! Let the sea be shaken and the fullness of it, the inhabited world and those who dwell in it! The rivers will clap in hand together. The mountains will rejoice exceedingly because He comes near to judge the earth, to judge the inhabited world in righteousness and the peoples in uprightness!”(Psalm 97:1-9 LXX).
This entire Psalm appears to relate to the prologue, causing the reader who makes the connection or to reflect on how the world should be receiving the Word became flesh. The world should be singing praises, giving voice to shouts of joy and hearing the voices of musical instruments accompanied by the triumphant sounds of the natural world heralding the coming of the One through whom everyone and everything is created for the sake of judgment and salvation. This Psalm is a Septuagint oracle.
In John 1:14 we readers are encountering what seems to be a shift in the way the prologue is written. Tradition emphasizes the primary use of language from the Torah as a Midrash source of Scripture, but the authors of the Gospel are practical enough to adapt themethod for use with the Greek translation of the entire Hebrew Bible, ie. The Septuagint, as their canonical Scripture source.
The Midrash method focuses attention on specific words, phrases, stories or dreams, ones that are likely to catch the attention of persons reading a Midrash commentary, persons who are very familiar with the source material. The source must be a fixed canonical text, considered the revealed word of God by both the writer and the reader. The entire Septuagint then with a preference for the Greek Torah, but including well-known passages from other parts of the Septuagint, is used as a source of language, especially the metaphorical language of signs and oracles, in the writing of the Gospel According to John.
|John 1: 15|
|NRSV||John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said,
‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ ”
Clearly this verse indicates that John testifies about / concerning (περὶ – peri) Him and not to Him as in the NRSV. His witness is to his own disciples, and John’s testimony is not polite or quiet. He screames / loudly proclaims / cries out with a loud and raucous voice like the voice of a raven (κέκραγεν – kekragen). This word appears once in Isaiah in the context of a long oracle concerning the Moabites, enemies of Israel; it describes a cry heard a long distance away.
What John cries out is confusing in Greek and in English. It includes a set of three prepositions, one of which is also an adverb, describing the relationship between himself and this one, Him. John’s proclamation may at first appear to the reader to be a description of a spatial relationship, showing position, but upon closer reading it is a description of a temporal relationship, showing time. Those prepositions are: after (ὀπίσω – opisō), in front of / ahead of / before (ἔμπροσθέν – emprosthen) and first / earlier / before (πρῶτός – prōtos). This is classic double entendre. Each word has two different meanings, depending upon how the one hearing or reading them understands the speaker’s or writer’s intention.
The first of these words, after, is both a preposition, showing a spatial relationship, i.e., place, and an adverb, showing a temporal relationship, i.e., time. A translator can indicate that John is talking about someone who is following after him, a spatial relationship. Upon a careful reading the entire verse, however, the translator may understand that John is telling the disciples who follow him about someone they will see after they see John. This is a temporal message, as in after you see me, then you will see Him.
The translator may be excused if he or she considers the next preposition in front of/ahead of/before to mean that John is talking about someone standing, walking or ranking in front of John, as in spatial
relationship. Instead, it means someone exists before John, as in a temporal relationship.
The temporal nature of this entire witness / proclamation becomes clearer because of the use of the final preposition first / earlier / before because it is more easily recognized as a temporal indicator.
At first the meaning may appear to be the opposite of the first preposition in this witness as in He who came before me is after me – a description of spatial relationship that makes no sense. It is possible that those who hear John screaming these words or those who read this verse quickly might simply conclude that John is an irrational man who is screaming nonsense. It is also possible that the writers of this verse intend that only those who want to understand it will take the time to ponder it and comprehend its meaning. This is a Johannine sign. The meaning behind John’s proclamation is this: John testified about him, crying out loudly, This is the one about whom I said, He whom you will see after me ranks ahead of me / higher than me, because he existed before me.
While this verse in some ways is simpler than the one before it (John 1:14), careful reading is required even of this verse. It is by far easier to simply skim over it, assuming that it must mean something that the reader cannot understand than to pause and reflect upon what it might mean. Whenever we are readinglanguage, we must take the time to recognize the alternate meanings that may well be hidden beneath what we may simply assume is obscure, mysterious language.
There is another clue to the meaning of this verse. When John reminds his followers that he has already told them, He whom you will see after me ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me, we are reminded of the first lesson about John, where he testifies about the light / the Word. That takes us all of the way back to the beginning of the prologue: In the beginning was / already existed the. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and without Him not one thing came into being. Now the witness in John 1:15 makes more sense. He exists before John exists. We know from the Prologue that He exists before anything or anyone else came into being.
John is telling his followers, his disciples, that the Living Word of God, the Light of the World, the Life that is the Light of all people, is coming into the world. It is John’s role simply to prepare those who will listen to his witness that God is coming into the world.
The Gospel According to John is written in layers of meaning. If we readers want to understand what the next layer means, we must ponder the present layer until we understand it. Only then are we prepared for the next challenge in understanding. This verse, John 1:15, is a kind of test to see if we will pause, ponder, remember and apply what is revealed in the present verse, rather than skimming over it and mentally ignoring it, because it appears to be too hard to understand.
In this verse John is offering a temporal timeline: The Word = God > (is greater than) John’s witness > John’s Disciples’ witness. Note that other than the spiritual language relating to God, i.e., Word, Light, Life, John’s name is the first human name written in this Gospel. The timeline that John provides, a timeline that the writers of the Gospel are obviously honoring, gives us a hint as to how this Gospel comes to be known as The Gospel According to John. It is the Good News According to the Witness of John. The writers acknowledge that God gives the Light to John and John gives the Light to his disciples before the authors begin to witness through the Gospel and before their own teaching about Jesus begins.
|John 1: 16|
|NRSV||From His fullness we have received grace upon grace.|
Here fullness (πληρώματος – plērōmatos) is a different form of full (πλήρης – plērēs), which appears as an adjective in John 1:14. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only Son full of grace and truth.
Fullness as a noun is not found in the Greek Torah or in any part of the Septuagint. It belongs to the same word group as the adjective full. Used twice in the letters of Paul, it does not appear again in the Gospel. While full, as used only in John 1:14, indicates quality of character, in this verse fullness indicates a totality of glory, grace, truth, light and life.
From His fullness we have received grace upon grace means we / all of us, as members of the community from which the Gospel comes, not only receive grace once or occasionally, but continuously, like water from an ever-flowing stream or waves washing up continuously upon our souls, grace upon grace upon grace. Such a meaning implies that those who are recipients of this constant flow of grace feel the fullness of grace themselves. Fullness is a Johannine sign.
This verse is a remarkable revelation from the authors of the Gospel. We already know that they are extraordinary scholars of the Septuagint, brilliant writers, masters of the Greek language and of the language of the Septuagint. Now we can see that they are also disciples, faithful followers of The Word / The Logos / The Light / The Life / The Truth / He/ Him, whoever He is. We readers still don’t know His name, though I doubt that anyone reading the Gospel is unable to guess His name.
|John 1: 17|
|NRSV||The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.|
Now we know that the authors are Jewish Christians. They acknowledge the important role of Moses, and they consider the grace and truth that has come to them through Jesus Christ to be a spiritual gift they value more than the extraordinary gift delivered through Moses: The Law.
The most exquisite treasure in this verse, however, is the name of the subject of the entire prologue. The Word / the Logos / the Light / the Life / He / Him is… Jesus Christ. Just as everything that is created comes into being through the is the . The law is rigid and must be defined. Grace and truth are forgiving and must be known., grace and truth come into being through Jesus Christ, who
Grace (Χάρις – charis) and truth (ἀλήθεια – alētheia), are both Septuagint oracles. In the Gospel they are a shorthand way of describing The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Grace is used in the Septuagint in Zech. 12:10, which is the defining context for its use in the Gospel. Truth is described in Psalm 97:1-9, which expresses the joy that should be expressed when theincarnate, Jesus Christ, comes into the world. In John 1:14 The Son of the Father, Jesus Christ, The Son of God is described as being full of grace and truth.
Truth (ἀλήθεια – alētheia) appears here in Jn. 1:17 in a different form than truth (ἀληθείας – alētheias) in Jn. 1:14. Truth (ἀλήθεια – alētheia) is found in two Psalms: 95:7-13 LXX and 118:137-160 LXX. The latter is a Septuagint oracle.
“You are righteous, O Lord, and righteous in your judgment. You commanded your testimonies in righteousness and truth exceedingly. The zeal of your house melted me because my enemies forgot your words. Your word has burned exceedingly and your servant has loved it. I am a young and scorned man. I did not forget your righteous ordinances. Your righteousness is forever and your law (is) truth. Affliction and tribulation found me. Your commandments are a care of mine. Your testimonies are righteous forever. Instruct me and I will live. I cried aloud with my whole heart. Hear me, O Lord. I will seek your righteous ordinances. I cried out to you, ‘Save me and I will keep your testimonies!’ I came early in darkness and I cried aloud. I hoped in your words. My eyes came near with the dawn to meditate on your words. Hear my voice O Lord according to your mercy. According to your justice make me alive. Those who pursued me approached in lawlessness, but from your law they were removed. You O Lord and Your commandments are truth. From the beginning I knew your testimonies that you laid down for them forever. See my humiliation and deliver me, because I did not forget your law. Judge my judgment and redeem me on account of your ” (Psalm 118: 137-160 LXX). . Make me alive far away from sinners. Salvation is because they did not seek out your righteous ordinances. Your compassions are many O Lord. According to your justice make me alive. Many are those who persecute me and afflict me. From Your testimonies I did not turn away. I saw those who break covenant and I pined away, because they did not keep your words. See that I loved your commandments, O Lord. With Your mercy make me alive. The beginning of your words (is) truth. And (into the) forever (are) all of your righteous judgments
Using this verse, which as part of Psalm 118 is read or recited from memory at least annually during the Passover festival in every Jewish community, we can derive a definition for the word truth (ἀλήθεια – alētheia). In the Gospel truth is God’s testimonies, God’s law, God’s commandments, and God’s words. In this Septuagint oracle truth appears 4 times:
(1) You commanded your testimonies in righteousness and truth exceedingly.
(2) Your righteousness is forever and your law is truth.
(3) You, O Lord, and your commandments are truth.
(4) The beginning of your words is truth.
Each of these declarations is worthy of the reader’s effort to expound upon its meaning. I suspect that the authors of the Gospel as rabbis/ teachers in a first century Jewish Christian rabbinical school, a first century seminary, challenged their students to expound upon this part of Psalm 118. If you, dear reader, see yourself as one of their students, as a student of their teaching text, the Gospel, why not accept this challenge?
There is more in this oracle than the source definition of truth in the Gospel. Note that the oracle includes 3 prayers to God, repeating one prayer as a fourth heart-felt plea to be made alive.
(1) Instruct me and I will live.
(2) According to your justice, make me alive.
(3) Make me alive far away from sinners.
(4) According to your justice make me alive.
One can imagine this as a prayer inspired by and then used by Jesus Christ, along with much of the rest of the oracle.
There are also 3 declarations in this oracle that are consistent with the preaching of John the Baptist.
(1) Your word has burned exceedingly and your servant has loved it.
(2) I cried aloud with my whole heart.
(3) I cried out to you, ‘Save me and I will keep your testimonies!’
|John 1: 18|
|NRSV||No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son,e who is close to the Father’s heart,f
who has made him known.
Perhaps the self-revelatory statement in John 1:17 and the extraordinary statement in John 1:14 motivate these scholars to clarify an important point before they end the prologue, just to be sure that their readers understand the truth they are telling fully, and that their readers do not misunderstand the meaning of what they read. The authors write, …we have seen his glory, the glory as of the father’s only son. They also write, no one has ever seen God. The emphatic point they are making is that they see His glory, that is, the glory as of the Father’s only Son. They do not see, as readers might misunderstand, the face of God. What they see is the face of Jesus Christ. They see His glory, and through Him they know God.
The assertion that no one has ever seen God at any time, however, suggests that these authors, though they are Jewish Christians, believe that neither Moses nor Isaiah actually sees God. This is contrary to the Greek Torah, especially the verse that says, And then the Lord conversed with Moses face to face, just as when a person talks with his own friend…” Most scholars and translators suggest that Isaiah sees a vision of God, but Isaiah 6:1 does not call his report a vision. Moses sees the glory of God, and that is reflected in his own face when he reports what God tells him, mouth to mouth. Isaiah sees the glory of God filling the temple. Some scholars resolve this contradiction by suggesting that the glory of God is revealed when a faithful person hears God’s word, but does that mean that these persons see God face to face?
So, was I wrong in my exegesis of John 1:14 and 17? The defining contexts of two more words: has heard (ἑώρακεν – heōraken) and at any time (πώποτε – pōpote) and one more phrase: in the(εἰς τὸν κόλπον – eis ton kolpōn) in this verse remain to be found. Perhaps they will reveal what seems to be the hidden meaning in this final verse of the Prologue.
In John 5:1-18 Jesus heals a lame man on the Sabbath, which prompts “the Jews” to start persecuting Him. They are seeking to kill him, because He is not only breaking the Sabbath, He is calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God. In response to this Jesus speaks directly to His persecutors, saying, And the Father who sent me has testified about me. You have neither heard His voice at any time (πώποτε – pōpote) nor seen (ἑωράκατε – heōrakate) his form, and you do not have His Word residing in yourselves because the One whom that One sent, in this One you do not believe.
Jesus is declaring that “the Jews” who are persecuting Him do not at any time hear the Father’s voice or see God’s form, let alone see God’s face, because God’s Word is not residing/abiding in them. This verse does not suggest that neither Moses nor Isaiah sees or hears God, but it seems to be the reason for the explanation provided in John 1:18 by the authors of the Gospel. Notice that the declaration by Jesus, …you do not have His Word residing/abiding in yourselves, is a declaration that Jesus Christ has the unique authority to make. Jesus Christ is His , and He knows that “the Jews” do not reside/abide in Him, because they do not believe in Him, even though That One, God, sends This One, Him, Jesus Christ.
This verse alone is not the defining verse for this important word has seen (ἑωράκατε – heōrakate). Two different forms of this word translated with the same meaning are used in the defining verse, John 14:9, which quotes Jesus’ disciple, Philip, and Jesus. Philip says to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.’ Jesus says to him, ‘Am I with you so long a time and you have not known me, Philip? The one who has seen (ἑωρακὼς – heōrakōs) me, that one has seen (ἑώρακεν – heōraken) the Father. How can you say, ‘show us the Father?’
Consistent with John 5:1-18, Jesus declares, One who has seen me has seen the Father. This is also consistent with the declaration in John 1:1, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1: 14 tells us that the Word became flesh and tented/ resided/ abode among/ within us, i.e. we, the authors of the Gospel, have seen his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only son.
Now in John 1:18 we are told that the one and only God or the one and only Son of God, the one who is in the The use of this phrase emphasizes the importance of translating only (one) born /only begotten / one and only as the meaning of (μονογενὴς – monogenēs) like (μονογενοῦς – monogenous) in Jn. 1: 14. In that case the word means only begotten son. In this case it clearly refers to Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.(εἰς τὸν κόλπον – eis ton kolpon) of the Father, this One has made Him known. The phrase in his is a Mosaic sign. It is used to define a close familial relationship in the Greek Torah.
So the prologue ends by proclaiming that no one without the Word of God abiding in them can see God. Only the Son of God has made God known. Those who have seen Jesus Christ have seen God. The form of God is Jesus Christ. Without this form, God is invisible. When Abraham, Moses, Isaiah or others see God, they are seeing the, Jesus Christ, though they do not know God by this name.
A Summary of Primer Points in the Prologue:
How the Key to the Cypher Works
The prologue to the Gospel According to John is a key to the cypher, The Septuagint, from which key words, metaphors called signs and oracles come to convey a deeper meaning to the readers than what a reader might derive from an initial or casual reading of the text. This approach to the writing of the Gospel allows those who study the Gospel carefully to recognize and understand a part of the Gospel that is hidden from uninformed Roman, Jewish and even orthodox Christian authorities, who might choose to destroy it to prevent others from reading it.
The prologue is a primer designed to teach students how to discover this deeper hidden meaning. It teaches a series of lessons to serious and motivated readers. Those lessons are as follows.
1. Find the source word, the context and the meaning for key words in the Greek Gospel.
These may be signs or oracles from the Books of Moses, i.e., the Greek Torah, or they may be signs or oracles from outside of the Greek Torah in the rest of the Greek Bible, i.e. the Septuagint, or they may be signs or parables found and used only in the Gospel. Signs are metaphors. Oracles or parables are stories full of signs. When they come from the Greek Torah, they are called Mosaic signs or Mosaic oracles. When they come from the Septuagint, they are called Septuagint signs or Septuagint oracles. When they come from the Gospel, they are called Johannine signs or Johannine parables.
The original students, using the Gospel as their text book, are expected to be so familiar with The Septuagint, especially with the Greek Torah, that they are able to make these discoveries on their own. The intended readers of the Gospel are students in a school for Jewish Christian rabbis. The Gospel is the product of the Midrash method of commentary/ exegesis. Expounding upon the meaning of a Septuagint Scripture using the language of canonical Scripture is the didactic/teaching method of this rabbinical school. In other words, the Gospel is conceived and produced by world class Jewish Christian scholars as a text book, a Christian Torah or Gospel for Jewish Christian rabbinical students. The final version of the Gospel, including Midrash commentaries, is created over time by both teachers and students from this school/community. The Christian twist to this use of the Midrash method is that the canonized Scriptures of their time, Theare ultimately not only used to create a commentary on the traditional Hebrew Scriptures, or a commentary on the Jesus tradition, but new Scripture, a Gospel, called The Gospel According to John.
2. The meaning of a Mosaic sign or oracle found in the Gospel may be found within the context of exactly the same Greek form as the exact same word in the Greek Torah.
Modern students of the Gospel may be thankful for this important requirement. Most modern students of the Gospel do not study the Septuagint so carefully as to be able to discover the location of specific words, i.e., the same words as found in the Greek version of the Gospel, on their own. However, in the 21st century modern students who have access to the extraordinarily powerful digital software used to create A Day with Jesus can find those exact words in a matter of seconds. Such students can also determine whether these exact words or phrases do not exist in the Septuagint. Without this software, a commentary like this one would require a lifetime of study and research.
3. The reader must watch for what linguists call plays on words; they sound alike, but they are different words with different meanings, orwords that are single words with more than one meaning, depending upon the context in which they are used.
The authors of the prologue and the Gospel, like the authors of the Septuagint and the Tanakh, are not only serious scholars of the first order, but they love and enjoy what they do. They play with the language, using plays on words as teaching tools. Plays on words are used in the Septuagint, which is the source of the language used in the Gospel. These scholars are excellent teachers who use plays on words to inject humor into the laborious studies that their students are required to make. Just a wee bit of laughter makes the scholarship go down! (Sorry, Mary Poppins!)
4. Mosaic signs or oracles may be found in a single verse in the Greek Torah or in a context where the same sign is repeated or where numerous different oracular words, i.e., in oracles, are found. Identifying a Mosaic sign or oracle that serves as the source of meaning for a Greek word found in the Gospel requires that the student carefully study the context or all of the contexts in which that word is used in the Greek Torah or in the entire Septuagint.
Finding a word that only appears once in the Greek Torah makes the search for meaning easier, since consideration of the only context in which that word appears reinforces the theory that this word was specifically chosen for use in the Gospel because of its meaning in its one and only context in the. Finding that the word appears more than once in the Greek Torah requires the student to study each of the contexts in which the word is found. Often there is significance to the order of these appearances. The first use is often the one that offers the definition of its meaning. In some cases it may be the third or fourth or seventh or tenth or the last one of many verses.
5. Repetition of the same word in a Gospel verse once or twice is a hint to the reader that an important meaning is hidden in that word or in the context shared with that word. Repetition is virtually always an indication of the presence of a Mosaic oracle or sign or a Septuagint sign or an oracle or a sign or parable from The Gospel According to John itself.
Repetition is a way for the authors of the Gospel to capture the attention of the reader, essentially saying, Did you see that first oracle or sign? If not, here it is again. To be sure that you see it, here it is a third time. Are you paying attention? Close study of Scripture strains the eyes of a serious student. Repetition, once recognized as the Teaching Text repeating a word, can awaken tired eyes and minds to the fact that something important is hidden within the text that the serious student is reading.
6. Both in the Gospel According to John and in the context of the source word that defines the meaning of the signs, oracles or parables in the Greek Torah, the Septuagint, or the Gospel, patterns of meaning emerge. These patterns of meaning are as valuable as the signs and oracles or parables themselves to the inquisitive reader.
For example in the prologue the Greek phrase translated, In the beginning …guides the reader to the Greek Torah and the beginning of the first of two creation stories in Genesis. The first creation story follows a distinct pattern as we have seen. Though the calendar of creation lists a different set of divine creative acts for each day, marked by the repetitive evening and morning the (next numbered), the pattern of a divine command, naming, or describing and then naming, of what is being created, and then the declaration that each creation came into being conveys a singular design and purpose. Metaphorical references to the Creator and to elements of this design and purpose are scattered throughout the Septuagint and consequently throughout the Gospel.
7. Words, phrases or sentences that appear to be mistakes are not always mistakes.
The Gospel text is sometimes written in a way that appears to scholars to have been edited or altered in some way, because a word or phrase or an entire sentence may appear to be inconsistent with a particular word or its context. Some translators assume that such errors should be corrected. However, in many cases, the error may not be an error at all. Rather, it may be a clue that the sentence includes a Mosaic sign or oracle or a Septuagint sign or oracle or a Johannine sign or oracle. The garbled Greek word or sentence as it appears in the Gospel can almost always be found in the Greek Torah or the Septuagint, whether it is an error there or not. The authors of the Gospel obviously do not assume that they have the authority to correct sacred Scripture. The important thing is that a definition of the word appears in that context, and that meaning is important in the Gospel. Readers must learn to trust the text as is presented, and recognize apparent errors as possible indicators of metaphors.
8. Ask questions about what the Gospel text is saying.
Readers should be mindful that the Gospel is written as a teaching text, a textbook. The intended readers are supposed by the authors to be students seeking instruction from the Gospel. Such readers are encouraged to ask questions about what they are reading and to search for the answers to their questions. The Midrash didactic requires students to search and research Scripture, then to declare/give witness to what meaning they find in the canonical Scripture by using its words to tell a part of the Good News/the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Asking and answering questions of the text is an important part of the discipline of studying this Gospel. Studying any Scripture should include the challenge that comes from asking questions and seeking answers to one’s own questions from the Scripture. Again, readers can trust the Gospel text, because its authors often anticipate the questions and provide the answers, right or wrong, that students might provide. Quite often in subsequent verses the authors of the Gospel clarify points that students might question or misunderstand.
9. Be aware of your emotions as you read this Gospel. The text is an emotion-packed script.
Doing one’s homework, i.e., searching for the meaning of virtually every key word in the Gospel, is a learning exercise. Sometimes words that don’t at first appear to be key words or words that turn out not to be key words, will prompt the reader’s emotions. Feeling those emotions is one indication that the reader is on the right track. Ponder this. What do you know about the kind of author or authors who writes or write to touch the deep feelings of his/her/their readers?
10. Seek out information about the cultural context of the settings and language of the Gospel.
The names of people and places in the Gospel and in the Septuagint have meanings born of the Hellenistic and Hebrew cultures in time period when the Jewish people live in the first and early second centuries, C.E. Few 21st century Christian readers have a familiarity with these two ancient cultures. Seeking out these culturally based meanings is a worthwhile discipline for serious students.
11. As readers encounter the lessons of this Gospel, it is appropriate to reflect not only upon what the meaning for those who live in the time and culture of the Scripture may be, but what meaning can be found there now for our present time and our current culture.
The lessons in the Gospel According to John are not limited to the time, the place, the people, the context, the century or the culture in which Christians or the Jewish people that appear as characters in a novel live. These lessons are intended to be and are universal and timeless.
12. Johannine signs and oracles are words, phrases or stories that carry deep meaning in the Gospel. That meaning is defined in one context within the Gospel and that meaning is used in other parts of the Gospel.
These signs function much as the signs and oracles in the Septuagint function. The difference is that the source definition is not found in other canonized Scriptures. It is found within the Gospel itself.
13. In some verses of the Gospel a Semitic or rabbinic practice is reported, but not explained. For example well known Scriptures are not always fully quoted.
In a cultural context where it is assumed that everybody knows the Scriptures, like in a rabbinical school, the speaker/writer may recite only the first few words or phrases of a well-known passage. This is considered to be sufficient, because those hearing such words or phrases can fill in the blanks, mentally completing the passage in their own minds. This may work well for the earliest intended readers, but it produces significant challenges for students of the Gospel who are not familiar with this practice. Careful, detailed scholarship as is required in A Day with Jesus can help to overcome this challenge.
14. Some phrases used in the Gospel are shorthand references.
Similar to the Semitic practice described above, some phrases like The Law or grace and truth, as in John 1:14 and 17, are shorthand references for The Torah/The Hebrew Bible/The Tanakh or The. As the reader becomes more familiar with the text, these shorthand references are easier to see and use.
15. Not all of the oracles or signs of the Septuagint are found in the Greek Torah.
Sometimes the source definition of specific metaphoric language is found outside of the Greek Torah. Usually such source material is well known and often quoted Scripture used repetitively during worship, certainly during the first and second centuries, but in many 21st century churches as well. When the research points to these passages, the reader is likely to recognize them as familiar, well-known texts.
End Notes: The Prologue
22 Aland, K., Black, M., Martini, C. M., Metzger, B. M., Robinson, M., &Wikgren, A. (1993; 2006).The Greek New Testament,
23 Tan, R., de Silva, D.A., The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament. (2009). Logos Bible Software, (Jn. 1:1).
24 Tan, R., de Silva, D.A., & Logos Bible Software, The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint, (2009), Logos Bible Software (Gn. 1:1).
25 The most complete copy of The Septuagint available to scholars today is The Codex Alexandrinus, written ca. the 3d and 1st century BCE.
26 See The Greek New Testament, Fourth Edition, Op. cit.
27 Pronounce the transliterations found inside of the parentheses, so you can hear the similarity of these two words.
28Arndt W., Danker F.W., &BauerW., A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature,third ed.,2000,pg.282,
29 “Ais a series of explanatory notes or annotations, often forming a treatise on a text,”
30(ῥῆμα–rhēma), word/words (ῥήματα–rhēmata): Gn. 15:1, 44:18; Ex. 9:20,21; Nu. 22:38, 24:13, 27:14, 36:5; Dt. 8:3, 18:20, 21, 22,
The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear , Op. cit. (Nu. 23 LXX). LXX (Roman numeral 70) = .
32 See also John 17:17.
33 My definition based on its use in Nu. 23:11.
34Anthe origin and development of a word, phrase, etc.; the tracing of a word or other form back as far as possible in its own
35 A. Debrunner, “λέγω, λόγος, ῥῆμα, λαλέω, λόγιος, λόγιον, ἄλογος, λογικός, λογομαξέω, λογομαχία, ἐκλέγομαι, ἐκλογή, ἐκλεκτός,”
36 The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint, Op. cit. (Ex. 6:29 LXX The preferred passage).
37 See truly, truly I tell you Jn. 1:51; 3:3, 5, 11; 5:19, 24, 25; 6:26, 32, 47, 53; 8:34, 46, 51, 58; 10:1, 7; 12:24; 13:16, 20, 21, 38; 14:12; 16:20, 23;
38 See, The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet: The Sacred Letters as a Guide to Jewish Deed and Thought, Rabbi Michael L. Munk, ed.,
39The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:2)
40The Greek New Testament, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:2)
The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:2)
42The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:3)
43The Greek New Testament, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:3),
44 The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:3)
45 The NRSV appears to be in error by making the last phrase what has come into being appear to be a separate sentence.
46 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Op. cit. (Jn. 1. 4).
47The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition with Morphology, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:4)
48 The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:4)
49Gn. 7:11; 8:13; 23:1; 27:46; 30:20; Dt. 28:66 (2); 30:20
50– a passage, usually short, from a written work. Webster’s New World College Dictionary, fourth ed. Op. cit.
51The Lexham Greek- English Interlinear Septuagint, Op. cit. (Dt. 30:19 – 20 LXX).
52The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Op. cit (Dt. 30: 19-20)
53 See John 1:4 (2 x); 6:63; 11:25; 12:50; 14:6; 17:3. ζωὴν (22 x), ζωῆς (6 x), ψυχὴν and ζῳοποιοῦν -1 x each). (x=times)
54 See Gn.1:3 (twice), 1:4, 1:5; Ex. 10:23; 27:20; Lev. 24:2.
55 My literal translation.
57“The ancient Hebrewconsisted of day and night, and according to the cultus it officially began in the evening (Ex. 12:18;
58 “The Hebrew day began when a hair held between the thumb and forefinger of both hands with arms extended could no longer be seen
59 See Gn. 5:1; 6:2; 8:21; 11:15; 24:43; 32:29; 44:1.
60Adam has been replaced by humankind and him has been replaced by humankind. (NRSV fn.)
61 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Gn. 5:1–2). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
62The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint, (Gn. 5:1-2),Op. cit.
63Eve is not mentioned in the first story of creation either. In the second story after God creates her Adam names her woman
64Adam as a proper name in Gn. 2:19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25; 3:9, 12, 17; 4:1 LXX. Some scholars resolve the problem I have identified in Gn. 5:1-2 by suggesting that Adam means human being/ humankind, because the name Adam has cognates in Northwest Semitic languages where it means human being.
65 For a definition of clean and unclean animals for food, see Lev. 11; Dt. 14:3-21 LXX or NRSV.
66The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint, Op. cit. (Gn. 6:18-21; 7:2 LXX)
67 Compare this with the blessing in the first creation story in Gn. 1:28-30
68The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (Jn. 1:5), Op. cit.
69The Greek New Testament, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:5).
70The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:5)
71 Compare shines (φαίνει – phainei) only in John 1:4 to glorified (δεδόξασται – dedoxastai) in Ex.15:1,16;15:21; esp. 34: 29; 35 LXX:
See also in the Glossary of Terms (Appendix B)
72Louw, J.P., &Nida, E.A., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains,(electronic ed. of 2nd ed.),
73The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear, Op. cit. (Gn. 31:22–25).
74 See Gn. 1:4-5: God separates and names the lightand the darkness . See Ex. 13:21: God leads Israel by a pillar of fire
75 See Gn. 31:43-55
76The NRSV uses the Aramaic name Jegarsahadutha for Laban’s Heapof Testimony and the Hebrew name Galeed for Jacob’s
77The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (Jn 1:6). Op.cit
78The Greek New Testament, Op. cit. (Jn 1:6).
79 The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament. Op.cit. (John 1:6.)
80 See Jn. 1:6, 15, 19, 32, 35; 3:23, 24, 27; 4:1; 10:40 and in 10:41 twice.
81 See Jn. 1:19, 28, 40, 42; 3:25; 21:15, 16, 17.
82 See Jn. 3:26 and 5:33.
83The exceptions refer to Simon Peter, whom Jesus calls Simon, son of John. See Jn. 1:42; 21:15, 16 and 17.
84In those two verses, Jn. 3:34 and 10:41, the words translated speak or say appear in the context of witnessing.
85:of or like the contents of The Gospel According to John, (an adjectival form of the name John.)
87“The English transliteration of a Greek word meaning one who is sent out, an apostle is a personal messenger or envoy,
88The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Jn. 1:7).
89The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology), Op. cit. (Jn. 1:7).
90 The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, Op. cit. (247) (Jn. 1:7).
91 Ex. 20:16; Dt. 2:20 (LXX). See also Prov.12:19 (LXX): Truthful lips establish testimony, but a hasty witness has an unjust tongue.
92The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, Op. cit. (Jn. 3: 31-34)
93ἐκμέτρου “an idiom, literally from measure, a scalar point marking considerable limitation in the extent of some activity –
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, Op. cit. vol. 1, 78.12.
94 See Jn. 3:30 NRSV.
95The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. Op. cit. (Jn. 1:8)
96The Greek New Testament, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:8)
97 The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, Op .cit. (Jn. 1:8).
98:Jn.1:1(3),14; 2:22; 4:50; 5:24,38; 8:31,37,43,51,52,55; 10:35; 12:38,48(2); 14:23,24; 15:3,20(2),25; 17:14,17,20; 18:9
Life: Jn.1:4; 3:15,16,36(2), 4:14,36, 5:21(2),24(2),26(2),29,39,40, 6:27,33,35,40,47,48,51,53,54,63(2),68, 8:12,10:10,11,15,17,28,
Light: Jn.1:4,5,7,8,9; 3:19,20,21; 5:35; 8:12(2); 9:5; 11:9,10; 12:35(2),36,46.
99The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:9).
100The Greek New Testament, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:9).
101 The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:9) Words in parentheses are my own.
102 Comp. true light with true weights and measures (Dt. 25:15 LXX) (Dt. 25:15 NRSV: full weights and measures), true bread (Jn. 6:32 NRSV),
103 See Hans Conzelman, The enlightened are the children of light (regarding Jn. 12:36) in “φῶς, etc.,”TDNT, Vol. 9, Op. cit
104 See Gn. 1:3 (2), 4, 5; Ex. 10:23; 27:20-; Lv. 24:2.
105 See Jn. 1:4, 5, 8, 9; 3:19(2), 20(2), 21; 8:12(2); 9:5; 11:9, 10; 12:35(2), 36(2), 46.
106 See Dt. 25:15 (2)
107 See Jn. 6:32; 17:3108 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:10).
108The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:10). c Or to his own home (NRSV fn.)
109The Greek New Testament, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:10)
110 The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament. Op. cit. (Jn. 1:10) The NRSV translates ἔγνω–egnōas know.
111 See ornamentation(κόσμος – kosmos) Gn. 2:1, Ex. 33:5,6. ornaments (κόσμον – kosmon) Dt. 4:19. hostas in host of heaven
is considered to be a later editorial addition to the Codex Alexandrinus, i.e..: The .
SeeHermann Sasse,“κόσμος in the LXX.: The Concept of the Cosmos in Judaism,” TDNT, Op. cit., Vol. 3: (880–881).
112 See Jn. 1:20; 6:33; 7:4; 9:5; 12:25; 13:1; 14:22; 16:33; 17:11(2),13; 18:20
113 “The concept of the κόσμος as the totality of all created things, of universal space and everything contained in it,comes to
114The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:11)
115The Greek New Testament, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:11).
116 The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, Op. cit., (Jn. 1:11). I changed the translation of εἰς from in to into.
117 “ἴδιος, α, ον: pertaining to being the exclusive property of someone – one’s own, one’s property. τὰἴδια
118 “οἱἴδιοι: persons who in some sense belong to a so-called reference person – his own people, as in οἱἴδιοιαὐτὸν
119 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version Op. cit. (Gn. 15:13).
120 See Jn. 1:11; 4:44; 10:3, 4, 12; 16:32; 19:27.
121 See “Παραλαμβάνω: The Question of Tradition in Judaism,” G. Delling, TDNT, Op. cit. Vol. 4, (12–13).
122The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. Op. cit. (Jn. 1:12).
123 The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology) Op. cit. (Jn. 1:12
124The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, (247) Op. cit. (Jn. 1:12)
125Later in the Gospel we shall learn that these authorities are not true children of God themselves! See Jn. 8:31-59
126 See Psalm 135:8, 9 NRSV, sun and moon rule(have authority) over day and. Prov. 17:14 (LXX), Government by justice gives
127 See Daniel 3:97; 4:17, 31; 5:16, 29; 6:4; 7:13-14 (4 times); 27 (2 times) (LXX).
128 See Jn. 1:14
129The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Op. cit., (Jn. 1:13).
130 The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology) Op. cit.,(Jn. 1:13).
131The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament. (247).Op. cit. (Jn. 1:13).
132 Though the word appears three times in the LXX (See Ps. 27:7; 103:30; Eccl. 12:10) it is not defined there. It is also used in the letters
133 “2b…in a sexual or erotic sense ‘to take pleasure in’ ‘to experience desire or impulse’ ‘to come together’ and even
134The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (Jn. 1:14).dOr the Father’s only Son (NRSVfn.)
135 The Greek New Testament, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:14)
136 The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, (Jn. 1:14)
137 The Lexham Greek-English InterlinearOp. cit., (Gn. 13:12). (Note: Sodoms is not a misspelling. It is a plural name
138And ye shall not defile the land whereon ye dwell, on which I dwell in the midst of you; for I am the Lord dwelling the midst
139we saw/ we beheld (ἐθεασάμεθα–etheasametha)God is not in the LXX. It appears in Jn.1:14, 1 Jn.1:1. It is a Johannine sign.
140 See Gn. 31:1, 16; 45:13; Ex. 16:7; 28:2,40; 33:18; Nu. 12:8; 14: 22 and Dt. 5:24 (LXX).
The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English, Op. cit. (Nu. 12:8 LXX). See also Exodus 34:29-35 (NRSV).
142 Ibid. (Nu. 14: 21-22 LXX).
143 See Dt. 1:5ff in NRSV, LXX. In the 1st Century expounding upon the meaning of Scripture was.
144The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English Op. cit. (Dt. 5:24 LXX).
145 Nu.14:22 (LXX) and (NRSV).The linking of seeing God’s glory and seeing the signswhich God wrought in Egypt and
146 “Only John uses μονογενής to describe the relation of Jesus to God … believers who as children of God are called
147 This is consistent with the Midrash method. “Midrash is a type of literature, oral or written, which has its starting point in a fixed
148 See Genesis 21, 22 (NRSV, LXX). Heb. theologians emphasize that Isaac is the son of the promise of God to Abraham.
149The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint, Op. cit. (Is 6:1).
150 The Lexham Greek-English InterlinearOp. cit. (Zech. 12:10). See also Zech. 4:7.
151See also the heading that sets this passage apart at Zechariah 12:1 (NRSV)Jerusalem’s Victory: An
152 See Gn. 24:48; 32:10; Dt..22:20; Job 9:2; 19:4; 36:4; Ps. 30:6; 44:5; 97:3; 118:30; Prov.11:18; 22:21; Eccl. 12:10; Song of Solomon.16:10;
153 The Lexham Greek-English InterlinearOp. cit. (Ps 97:1–9 LXX, esp. vs. 3). Compare to. Ps. 98:1-9 NRSV.
154 Gary Porton, Op. Cit. See endnote #7 in the Introduction of A Day with Jesus.
155 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:15).
156 The Greek New Testament, Op. cit.(Jn. 1:15)
157The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament Op. cit.(Jn. 1:15)
158 Walter Grundman, “κράζω, ἀνακράζω, κραυγή, κραυγάζω,”TDNT,Op. cit.,Vol. 3,
159 The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament Op. cit.(Is. 15:4 LXX). See also Is. 15:1 – 16:11 NRSV.
160(a commonly used French expression re: words that must be heard twice, because they have two meanings.)
161The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (Jn. 1:16). 162The Greek New Testament, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:16).
163The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, Op. cit. (Jn. 1:16).
164 See The Greek New Testament, Op. cit (Ephesians 1:10; 4:13).
165 “In the LXX the word is used only spatially, mostly content (Qoh. 4:6), esp. fullness or totality, e.g.: inhabitants and riches of the sea (3 x)
(v. b: πλήρωμα fullness or simply waters (v. a: πλήρωμα, what is filled.” GerhardDelling, “πλήρωμα,”.TDNT, Op. cit. Vol. 6, (298–300).
166The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. Op. cit. (Jn. 1:17)
167The Greek New Testament (4th ed.) Op. cit. (Jn. 1:17)
168The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament. Op. cit. (Jn. 1:17)
169 My own literal translation based upon our study of came into being (ἐγένετο–egeneto) beginning in John 1:3.
170 “Between the Law as the word of Scripture and the revelation of God in Jesus there is a positive inner connection.
Walter Gutbrod, “νόμος” TDNT, Op. cit. Vol. 4 (1083–1084).
171 Note that Psalm 118 in the LXX is Psalm 119 in the NRSV. Compare them. e Other ancient authorities read It is an only Son, God, or
172The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Op. cit., (Jn. 1:18).
173The Greek New Testament, 4th ed., Op. cit., (Jn.1:18).
174The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, (248), Op. cit., (Jn.1:18).
175The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint, Op. cit., (Ex 33:11).
176The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, Op. cit. (Lit. trans. Jn. 5:18)
177The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, Op. cit. (Lit trans. Jn. 5:37-38). You may prefer the NRSV.
178The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, Op. cit. (Lit. trans. Jn. 14: 9)
179 See Gn. 16:5 LXX Sarah entrusts her servant girl into theof Abram; Ex. 4: 6, 7 (LXX) God commands Moses,
because they are God’s children, not the children of Moses. See also in the (ἐντῷκόλπῳ–entōkolpō) in Dt. 28:54 LXX
translated …wife whom he embraces and Dt. 28:56 LXX translated …husband whom she embraces in the NRSV.
180This raises the possibility that the authors of the Gospel were using a kind of numerology called gematria as used
See also Rabbi Munk, “The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet: the sacred letters as a guide to Jewish deed and thought,” Op. cit. (163-166).