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1 In the beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Word was with God [Theos], and the Word was God.
In this text, then, there is ONE DEITY, and he is styled THE LOGOS. This word signifies, "the outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known; also, the inward thought or reason itself. So that the word comprehends both the ideas of reason and speech."
Hence, by John styling Him the Logos, it was equivalent to affirming that he was a reasoner and a revelator: or, as Daniel declared to Nebuchadnezzar, that "the Elahh in the heavens revealed secrets," even "the deep and secret things."
But was the Deity reason and speech only? In other words, an abstraction independent of substance; or, as some affirm, "without body or parts"? To preserve us from such a supposition, John informs us that "the Logos was with the Theos," Here was companionship and identity - "the Logos was with the Theos, and Theos was the Logos." Never was there a conceivable point of time, or eternity, when the one existed without the other.
"Yahweh possessed me," (Prov. 8:22) saith the Logos, "in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from olahm (the hidden period) from the beginning, or ever the earth was. were no depths I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the open places, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the deep; when he established the clouds above; when he strengthened the fountains of the deep; when he gave to the sea his decree that the water should not pass his commandment; when he appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by him as one brought up with him (the Logos was with the Theos): and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth, and my delights with the sons of men"
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
What Think Ye of Christ
...here the Word is proved to have existed co-eternally with the Father; but he evidently fails to perceive-like the rest of those holding his faith-that "the Word" is not equivalent to "Jesus Christ"; and that the eternity of "the Word" does not prove the eternity of Jesus.
John distinctly says also, "the word was God." We can only understand this, by ascertaining the meaning of "word." A word is a sound by which the mind or will is expressed, and in the case of command, the expression of the mind, by word, leads to action. The action is the result of the word; and the word may be spoken of as the direct cause.
Hence "the Word" created all things, "in the beginning," and was "with God," and "was God." God's will is the antecedent; it is part of Himself, as it were-it is God. The enunciation or giving forth of this word or command, presents the phase expressed by the words "with God." The spirit was the vehicle, instrument, or channel.
The "Word," originating with God, was the first cause. Hence we read "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth." "He spake and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast."-(Ps. xxxiii. 6. 9.) "The worlds were framed by the word of God."-(Heb. xi. 3.) "By the word of God, the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water."-(2 Pet. iii. 5.) "God said Let there be light, and there was light;" the light shining as the result of the word spoken. But are we to say the "Word" in these passages signifies a personal agent distinct from the personality of the Father who commanded? By no means.
It is merely a personification of the will of the Almighty. After the style of language that personifies wisdom in Prov. viii. "The Word" existed from eternity; Jesus, who was its living expression, did not; yet, whilst going about his holy mission, he was not less the Word of God than if he had pre-existed. He was the Word made flesh. The spirit rested upon him, without measure, which gave him wisdom and power above mortals, and enabled him to speak with the authority of God.
He was the Word, in living revelation. God manifested himself and spoke through him. This is Paul's declaration in Heb. i. 2, "God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath, in these last days, spoken unto us by his Son."
It might be argued from this passage, that the prophets, equally with Christ, were constituted the Word, by God's use of them to declare his mind. To a certain extent, this was the case; but God only spoke through them in a partial manner, and by means of visions and messages. They were not the complete exemplification of the Word; neither did they, like Christ, owe their birth to the power of the Word which spake through them.
They were the mere instruments of the specific divine impulses brought to bear on them; Jesus was the embodiment and living reflex, as it were, of the Word. He could reveal the whole will of the Father; and received the knowledge he possessed, directly from the Father, being as it were, en rapport with him, in the Spirit.
"The Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that Himself doeth."-(Jno. v. 20.) "The Father who sent me, he gave me commandment what I should say and what I should speak."-(Jno. xii. 49; vii. 16; viii. 25-28.) Hence, he could say "I am come in my Father's name:" (v. 43.) If he had been the Deity himself, he surely would never have used such an expression as this. As we have said, he never once ascribes the works he did to his own power.
REPLY TO AN ORTHODOX ATTACK
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.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
He sent light, first of all to dispel the darkness that was upon the face of the deep, in the beginning of the creation of the heavens and earth.
This also in a figure represents that light which is intellectual, moral, and spiritual, emanating from the Word of God: and dispelling the darkness of the natural mind. As saith the
Psalmist, "The entrance of thy words giveth light." And the prophet, "To the law, and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in
them" (Isa. 8:20).
The manifestations of the name of Yahweh recorded in the Scriptures are accompanied by Spirit-light, fire and glory. When the angel communicated the memorial to Moses, it was
out of the midst of a bush, all aglow with Spirit-flame. Spirit-fire and glory were with the angel, shrouded in the Pillar of cloud, which gave light to the children of Israel in their wanderings. The Spirit-light that shone out from the cloudy Pillar, shed light upon the pathway of the children of Israel, when passing through the darkness of night through
the wilderness. "In the day-time he led them with a cloud and all the night with a light of fire" (Ps. 78:14).
Hidden within the shadows of the Tabernacle service, Spirit-fire and light performed its appointed mission, in relation to the refining, preparatory work of priesthood. Spirit-fire consumed the sacrifices upon the brazen Altar: and the "Urim," (lights) were reflected from the precious stones of Aaron's breastplate. And at times, the light of the glory of Yahweh
illumined the cloud from between the Cherubim that overshadowed the mercy-seat. In the subdued, quiet light of the Sanctuary, the light and glory pertaining to the day of sufferings
were prefigured: which also contained shadows pertaining to the day of future glory: when the name of "Yahweh,Tz'vaoth." "He who shall be of hosts," shall be manifested as the substance in complete fulness of the glory-illuminated pillar of cloud.
When the time came for the giving of the law and commandments to Israel, it is testified that "Yahweh descended upon Mount Sinai in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly" (Exod. 19:18). Moses, alone, was permitted to draw "near unto the thick darkness where God was," called to go up into the mount, that he might receive light. Not the resplendency of outward and visible glory: but the light contained in the law of commandments.
From the light that shone there, the "shadows of good things to come" were cast into the Mosaic constitution. The body or substance, being of Christ, remained hidden and veiled from the outer sight. Another element of the name of Deity appears prefiguredthere: as expressed in the words of the apostle Paul, "Our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:7.9). The Spirit-fire, which was so beneficent a medium of blessing to the faithful children of Israel, also became instrumental in the destruction of the ungodly.
According to the testimony concerning certain transgressors under the law: "there went out a fire from the Lord and devoured them" (Lev. 10:2). The prophet Isaiah, foretelling of the day of judgment yet to come, saith: "The Light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his holy One for a flame; and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briars in one day" (Isa. 10:17).
Yahweh Elohim Ch 1
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:
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 evident from the 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.) - ...
'Power to become the Sons of God'! That is the power we seek. What a marvelous thought that there is such a power available to the weak mortal sons of men: power to become Sons of God; power to be 'filled with His Glory'; power, like Jesus, to be 'full of Grace and Truth'-FULL: no room for anything else. No room for worldliness, or self-pleasing, or bitterness, or unkindness, or any kind of pettiness: just Grace and Truth.
Just conceive of the divine beauty of a society of individuals who are all full of Grace and Truth-wholly united in single-hearted mutual love of God and of one another. How dull and empty do the things of the world seem when placed beside the glory of this power to become the eternal, grace-filled Sons of God! Let this be clear: no one can be a Son or Daughter of God who just lives and spends his time in his own interests and concerns and pleasures, like the rest of the world.
Bro Growcott - Let there be Light
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
...'who was not begotten of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,' Griesbach - Diaglott footnote - ie birth referring to Messiah's physical birth (not by Man's goatish/ pushfull will).
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."
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.
"Is preferred before me," means that Jesus was higher and greater than John. "For he was before me," points to the fact that this greater rank always pertained to Jesus. The two "befores" mean the same thing. No Trinitarian, therefore, can deny that the statement affirms the pre-eminence of Christ. Christ was fore-ordained from the foundation of the world-(1 Peter i. 20, ) as the Christ, the anointed of God, and as such anointed one, he was always (even before his existence), in the mind or purpose of God, the highest of created beings.
Ambassador of the Coming Age, Aug 1868.
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.
The statement that Christ was in the bosom of the Father, is no proof whatever of pre-existence of any sort. It is a metaphor taken from the custom current among the Jews, of favoured persons reclining whilst at meat, in the bosoms of their superiors; and is merely an intimation of the position of favour that the Saviour occupied, and now occupies, in relation to the Deity.
So far from proving the godhead of Jesus, it proves the reverse; for it shows that Christ's nature and position were derived from and dependent upon the Father. It is one of the legion of texts which demonstrate the subordination of Jesus to the Father.
Ambassador of the Coming Age, Aug 1868.
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'.