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1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Between Christ and the Bible there is, whether designed or not, a remarkable and instructive similarity. It is to be traced in their origin, nature, name, moral character, claims, mission, teaching, characteristics, works, history, preservation, incorruptibility, and God's will respecting them.
The Word of God existed before it was sent forth, either in its written or personal form-
"In the beginning was the word, and the word was with-God, and the word was God."
This word embraces God's purpose concerning the earth and man upon it. He created them not in vain, but to manifest His glory (Is. xlv. 18; Numb. xiv. 21).
"This word, which by the gospel is preached, endureth for ever."
The Bible is an elaboration of this word in its multifarious bearings, but all converging upon its consummation. History confirms the verity of Deity's utterances, foreshadows heavenly things, and exhibits the working out of the purpose. Christ likewise exhibits these features.
He was the word made flesh (John i. 14) Deity's purpose in embryo-the life made manifest-the seed which will bud and blossom and fill the earth with fruit. God was in both Christ and the Bible-they are one.
"Search the Scriptures"-"They are they which testify of me," said Christ. In like manner Christ testifieth of the Bible. To believe one involves a belief in the other. "Everyone taught of God" cometh to the two. ATJ
The Christadelphian, Feb 1887. p66
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
The Eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14) as Creator, is necessarily before all things, and is, therefore, the "Theos," and the "Logos" of John 1:3, where it is testified that
"all things were made on account of Him; and without Him was made not one thing which exists." -
Phanerosis - Yahweh manifested in the cherubim.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
He says that because a few Jews rejected Christ, that is sufficient evidence to him that Jesus was not the Messiah. I should like him to define the principle upon which this argument is based. If he could say every Jew rejected Jesus, I could understand the argument. If every Jew contemporary with Jesus rejected him, there would certainly be strong ground for Jews of all subsequent ages to take the same attitude; but all Jews did not reject him. Thousands of Jews accepted him; and the subsequent belief in him by the Gentiles, was owing to the activity of Jewish preachers.
Will Mr. Stern deny this? He cannot. The Gentiles accepted Jesus because Jews came out from Jerusalem and declared he was the Messiah. Therefore when talking of the Jews who rejected Jesus, let him not forget the multitudes of Jews who accepted him. Let him try to explain to himself why the believers believed. If he takes the scepticism of a part of the Jewish nation as proof that the Messiah has not come, how does he ask me to deal with the belief of those who believed in him?
Let him remember that belief is of more weight than unbelief, for belief is the result of positive reasons: whereas unbelief may be the mere result of ignorance of evidence that exists. Those who were farthest from the evidence were those who rejected him; the Scribes and Pharisees, who stood apart in an attitude of hostility, stung to the quick by Christ's denunciation; for he told them to their faces that they merely appeared righteous, but they were like the beautiful graves that inwardly contained rottenness and dead men's bones.
It is no wonder that the Scribes and Pharisees rejected him and that the nation under their leadership rejected him. Their rejection is no evidence against him at all. A large section of the common people heard him gladly, and at one time they wanted to take him by force, and make him a king, but the time had not come, and he took occasion to withdraw from them. --
Bro Roberts - Was Jesus of Nazareth The Messiah?
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:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Answers to Correspondents...
You think water had nothing to do with the birth here referred to, but a moment's reflection will show that this conclusion is a short-sighted and a groundless one. The phrase "born of God," determines nothing. Of itself, it reveals nothing of the process by which the result is accomplished. This we have to learn from other testimony, and it may be learned. The inception of a man's divine sonship is caused by the truth presented to his mind. This is evidentfromthe fact that the method adopted for the creation of sons is the preaching of the gospel which, Paul says, is the power employed of God in the salvation of man.-(Rom i, 16.)
When the truth of the gospel is received, the believer is begotten. His divine relationship has commenced; but it is evident that unless this begettal advance to the stage of birth, the result is abortive. Now, Jesus connects water with the birth, (John iii, 4), and baptism with the belief of the gospel. (Mark xvi, 16.) Hence, it is a divine arrangement for a believer to be immersed in water for the purpose of being fully born into the divine family. A man may scorn the idea of water having to do with such a result, but he cannot deny it, if he believe the New Testament.-(Acts x, 47; viii, 36; Hèb x, 22; 1 Peter iii, 20, 21.) This birth of water, however, may very naturally, as a matter of speech, be ascribed to the "word" leading to it, because water immersion would do nothing for an ignorant person. Baptism is "a washing of water by the word."-(Eph v, 26.)
The word is the inceptive and creative power; immersion but the external act, by which it has legal efficacy. Hence Peter speaks as follows of those who had believed and had been immersed:-"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever * * * * and this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."-(1 Peter i, 23.)
Now, if believers can be said to be born by the word of God, surely with more appropriateness still, they can be said to be "born of God," for this covers the whole ground. But it would be quite a wresting of the word to our own destruction to say that because certain are said to be born of God, they were not baptised. Is one part of the word of God against another? Surely not. All must agree. To be "born of God," which is but a general form of speech requiring the light of specific information before it can be understood, is to believe the truth, and be immersed into Christ.
Those mentioned by John in the passage in question had been the subjects of this double process, for all that received Christ were baptised. Christ himself set the example by being baptised of John. All Christ's are born of God in this way. This is a birth, "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man." Human appointment has nothing to do with it. It is entirely divine. From a natural point of view, it is foolishness. It is a part of the system of "base things and things which are not," which God has chosen to accomplish his ends in relation to the human family "that no flesh should glory in his sight.-(1 Cor i, 28, 29.)
But it remains to be said that it is doubtful if John i, 13, refers to the class mentioned in the verse immediately preceding. On this point, we quote the following from the Diaglott:"Griesbach notes a different reading of this verse. Instead of hoi egenetheesan, he has hos egenthee; the singular pronoun and verb for the plural, which would make the passage read 'who was not begotten of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,' thus referring it directly to the physical generation of the Messiah by the spirit of God, rather than to the moral regeneration of believers." This would get rid of your difficulty very summarily. There is no difficulty either way, but there would be less appearance of difficulty if the improved reading be adopted, and it certainly harmonises better with the context than the usual reading.
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.
Thus, "the Logos became flesh, and dwelt among us," says John, "and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth;" for "the law was given through Moses; the grace and the truth came through Jesus Anointed" (John 1:14, 17). Now, "Theos was the Logos," says John; that is, Deity was the Word; and this Word became flesh in the manner testified. Was the product, therefore, not Deity? Did the unions of spirit with flesh annihilate that spirit, and leave only flesh? Was the holy thing born a mere son of Adam? or "the fellow" and "equal" of the Deity? (Zech. 13:7; John 5:18 Phil. 2:6). The latter unquestionably.
After this manner, then, THE ETERNAL POWER, or Yahweh, became flesh; and commenced the initiation of His promise, that He would be to Israel for Elohim. The chief Eloah was now born; and, as the STAR OF JACOB cradled in a manger, received the homage of the wise, and the acclamation of the heavenly host. This babe was the "body made in secret" through which "THE ETERNAL SPIRIT," when it should attain to "the fulness of the times," designed to manifest himself. That time had arrived when "Jesus began to be about thirty years of age."
He was now to be "sent forth;" "being made under the law, that them under law he might purchase from it, that we might obtain THE SONSHIP" (Gal. 4:5). His sending forth was subsequently to his immersion, and preceded by his anointing with holy spirit. Though born of "YAHWEH's Handmaid" six months after John the Immerser, John said of him, "after me cometh a man who hath been preferred to me; for he was before me." Isaiah styles him YAHWEH and Elohim, in his prophecy concerning John as "The Voice" that was to herald his manifestation; saying, "Prepare ye the way of YAHWEH, make straight in the desert a highway for our Elohim" (40:3).
The Father was one Eloah, and Jesus was another; so that in this unity were developed two, who, in the Hebrew plural, are termed Elohim.
Here, then, was a practical illustration of the phrase, so often occurring in the scriptures of the prophets, "YAHWEH Elohim," most incorrectly rendered in the English Version, "LORD God." Based upon this combination of holy spirit and flesh, Jesus said to Nicodemus,
"I say unto thee, WE speak what WE do know, and testify what WE have seen; and ye receive not OUR Witness".
Here was plural manifestation IN UNITY. This is abundantly evinced in all the New Testament. Hence, on another occasion, Jesus said to the Jews, "I and the Father are one" one what? We are, in the words of Moses, "ONE YAHWEH."
31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
Baptism is a recognition of uncleanness and a seeking for cleanness. John's baptism was another link between the Old and the New.
The Law had its washings and purifications. The principle of symbolic cleansing by water was already established. The wisdom of God carried it a step further in John's ministry, and made it a public act and testimony of repentance from sin, and allegiance to righteousness.
The way was thus gradually prepared for the full significance of baptism as a death to the Old and a resurrection to the New -- an entering into, and becoming part of, Christ and his sacrificial death and life bringing resurrection.
To further establish the smooth continuity, Jesus -- as he began his ministry -- associated disciples with himself by baptism, and gradually came to baptize more disciples than John (Jn. 4:1). Thus was the transition gently made --
"He must increase, but I must decrease" (Jn. 3:30)
32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
'...the Spirit descending in the form of a Dove was Yahweh, or the Logos; and Jesus, the Eloah of Israel, who, when anointed, became, as the voice of John proclaimed, "our Elohim," or the Logos, the Eloah from heaven, become flesh in Jesus, the other Eloah of the house of David. These two Elohim dwelt among the Jews, as "the Only Begotten of the Father" -- Son of Power and Son of Man -- who hath declared the Invisible Deity to men'.