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Elaborate on John 1 please.

The Word made flesh!

Thank you for your question.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Using Strong’s Concordance

Word 3056 logos

Translated in the AV-word 218 times, saying 50 times, account 8 times, speech 8 times, Word (Christ) 7 times, thing 5 times, not translated 2 times, misc 32 times; Logos appears some 330 in the New Testament

Range of meaning

Speech; a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea.

In respect to the MIND alone; mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning, calculating.

Account, i.e. regard, consideration; reckoning, score; answer or explanation in reference to judgment

Cause, reason, ground.

This term was familiar to the Jews and in their writings long before a Greek philosopher named Heraclitus used the term Logos around 600 B.C. to designate the divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe.

The phrase ‘word of God’ is not a name for a pre-existent son. It encapsulates the whole of the divine intention to make man in his own image. It incorporates everything that God intended man to be in his declared purpose to fill the earth with his glory. The glory which Paul says all have come short of.

verse 2 The same was in the beginning with God.

The required character, plan and purpose were there with God right from the beginning.

verse 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Everything was made in accordance with this plan. The dark, the light, the sequence, the timing, the things made, the laws they conform to, the mode of construction - all say something about the plan and purpose of God with men on the earth.

verse 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

In the plan and purpose revealed to man was life (eternal life). The word of God revealed what God required of men so that they might not walk in darkness.

Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

verse 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended (did not ‘lay hold of’ it in the sense of understanding it) it not.

The word of God in the Old Testament was not generally understood by the Jews who metaphorically ‘walked in darkness’.

verse 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

Although born in the normal way John is nonetheless said to have been sent from (or of) God in the same way that the Old Testament prophets were sent.

verse 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

John was sent to bear witness of the light that was to follow. The light was the prophet promised through Moses, whose teaching they were to listen to.

Deuteronomy 18:15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;

So the Jews asked him

John 1:21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

verse 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

verse 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

Isaiah 42:6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

verse 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

Jesus was not the creator of the physical world. It might at first glance seem so. Similarly in Hebrews:

Hebrews 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

But if we go to Isaiah:

Isaiah 51:16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.

And contrast it with:

Isaiah 42:5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:

Isaiah 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

Isaiah 51:13 And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth...

Here it is obvious that God himself created the literal heavens and the earth, not Jesus.

But God intends there to be a new heavens and a new earth.

Isaiah 65:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

Not a literal replacement of the heavens and the earth, but a new order of things of which Jesus is the new foundation.

1 Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

So those in Christ wait for the new heaven and new earth of which Christ laid the foundation and is even now working through the gospel to bring it to fruition.

2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

This makes sense of what we read in Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 4:23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

This refers to the spiritual state that the Jewish heavens and earth (God’s kingdom) had sunk into. When the Jews had become blind leaders of the blind Christ was born to bring in a new covenant whereby a new heaven and earth will be established. This will of course be the restored kingdom of David bearing rule over all the earth.

verse 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Jesus was a Jew, the natural heir to the throne of David. He came to his own people, a people chosen by God, and they rejected him.

verse 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

verse 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

verse 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

We understand from Paul:

2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.

Jesus Christ was the manifestation of the character of God in the flesh. He spoke the words of God; he did the will of God. He demonstrated the love of God.

verse 15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

Jesus was before John not in existence but in pre-eminence in the purpose of God.

1 Peter 1:20 Who verily was foreordained (foreknown) before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

verse 16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

It seems probable that v16-18 are the comments of John (the Apostle) not John Baptist.

We have received the benefit of his ‘fulness’ in that he fulfilled the Law of God in righteousness and made atonement for us that the grace (undeserved favour) of God might be extended to us.

Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Colossians 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;

20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

verse 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

verse 18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

‘No man hath seen God at anytime’ rules out heaven-going at death.

‘In the bosom of the father’ is John’s comment on Jesus’ present position at the right hand of God.

‘he hath declared him’ - the declaration was both by example and teaching.

verse 19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?

verse 20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.

verse 21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

John denies being Elijah whose coming is prophesied in Malachi 4:5, or the Prophet promised by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15.

verse 22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

verse 23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

Isaiah 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:

5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

verse 24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.

verse 25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

verse 26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;

John’s baptism was for the remission of sins and provided the means whereby Jesus himself (though sinless) could be baptised as an example to his followers. For the Jews, those that recognised their sin and need for remission were baptised. Those that were self-righteous and refused to recognise publically their sin were not baptised.

verse 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

verse28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

From the other gospels we can see that v29 occurs after Jesus has returned from the wilderness temptations, some 40+ days after his baptism.

verse 29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

verse 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.

verse 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.

Jesus was John’s cousin and John obviously knew enough about Jesus to know that Jesus was more righteous than himself. Hence his comment in Matthew 3:

Matthew 3:14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?

John is making clear that it was not a plot made up between himself and Jesus but rather that God had given him a specific sign whereby he would recognise the messiah.

verse 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.

verse 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Spirit.

There were just two baptisms with the Holy Spirit: One at Pentecost and one at Caesarea.

Acts 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

verse 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

This is John’s testimony of Christ.

verse 35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;

The two disciples were John and Andrew.

verse 36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

verse 37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.

verse 38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?

verse 39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

verse 40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.

verse 41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.

verse 42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

verse 43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

verse 44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

verse 45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

verse 46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

verse 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

verse 48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.

Here we have an insight into the possession of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was able to perceive events and the thoughts of others in a way not naturally possible.

Jesus’ knowledge of Nathaniel being under the shade of the fig tree before Philip called him was enough to initially convince Nathaniel.

verse 49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.

John is building up a picture of Christ ‘the Son of God; the Lamb of God; the King of Israel’.

verse 50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

Nathaniel would certainly see greater miracles in the works of Jesus.

verse 51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

I think that this is one of the sayings of Jesus which was not to be understood literally – there is no record of it happening in plain sight of the disciples.

Rather I think he is bringing attention to Jacobs dream in Genesis 28:

Genesis 28:12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;

14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.

17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

A consideration of Jacob’s experience brings together the promises first made to Abraham concerning the possession of the land; the number of his offspring; the seed in which all nations will be blessed; the house where God would place his name and the way to the kingdom of God.

All brought together and made possible in this one man.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

1 Peter 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

I hope this helps,

Glenn Smith

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