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5455Re: [John_Lit] Re: "hora" in Gospel of John

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  • Matthew Estrada
    Apr 3, 2006
      Tom Butler <pastor_t@...> wrote: Matt,
      Your theory is intriguing. Let me walk with you for
      a moment on this. You suggest that the six stone jars
      (Jn.2:6) represent the passage of time. I have
      suggested that one of the motifs in Jn. 1:1-2:4 (The
      First Hour) is the creation/new creation story.


      I wasn't as clear as I could have been in my previous post. I believe the six stone jars represent the "imperfect (the number 6) Law ("stone"/lithos) as carried out by the Jews ("the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial cleansing"). I believe that the author is alluding to II Corinthians 3:1-18 in his use of the word "stone"/lithos, which is the same word used several times in II Cor 3. Once one understands the symbols in Jn 2:1-11, one can see other connections between these two passages, especially the comparison/contrast that is being made between the ministry of the Law and the ministry of the Spirit, between Moses and Jesus, between one glory/doxa and another greater glory/doxa.

      The "water" that is filling the stone jars is symbolic of "the Law and the Prophets". I demonstrate (in my paper, via some 10 different parallels between the two stories) how the author uses Exodus 2 as one of his source materials for the Cana Miracle (and not just the Cana Miracle). What led me to Exodus 2 in the first place was "John's" use of the word "to draw out"/antelew, which is also used in Ex 2. Once there, I discovered many other connections that could not have been "coincidence" (see below). I then asked myself- why is "John" leading us to this Exodus passage via these connections? Then I realized that he was doing so to show us from where he was drawing his "water" symbolism, in part. Moses- the first and greatest of the Law and the Prophets- was "drawn" from the "water". He is thus connecting Moses to his "water" symbolism. Secondly, he also connects John the Baptist- the last and greatest of the Law and the Prophets- to his "water" symbolism by having him
      state 3x in chapter 1 that "I came baptizing with water"- which he drew from the Synoptics. Thus this author has now connected both Moses and John the Baptist with his "water" symbolism, enveloping all of the Law and the Prophets, from the first to the last, under this "water" symbolism. So in Jn 1, the author has the Baptist state for the 3rd time, "I came baptizing with "water" but the one who comes after me will baptize with the Holy Spirit". So in Jn 2, the "water" (=the Law and the Prophets) is changed into the "wine" (= the Holy Spirit). So in Jn 3, Jesus says to Nicodemus, you must be born of "water" (= the Law and the Prophets) and the Spirit. So in Jn 4 the old "water" (=the Law and the Spirit) is compared/contrasted to the new "living water" (= the Holy Spirit) that Jesus provides. "Water", for this author, symbolizes the Law and the Prophets. Thus, in the filling of the six stone jars with "water", we are seeing TIME pass before our eyes, and once the jars are
      filled "to the brim" (=to the end of a period of time", THEN has Jesus' hour arrived. That is when his death and resurrection occur, and that is when he can perform the miracle of providing "wine" (=the Holy Spirit), changing the time of the ministry of the Law and the Prophets into the time of the ministry of the Holy Spirit via his death and resurrection.

      I have much more detailed evidence of this theory in my paper. This is a very complex allegory, in my opinion. Sincerely, Matt

      a) Both passages contain the “rescue” motif. Our Exodus 2:11-25 text has three rescue scenes, with Moses as the hero in each one. He first rescues an Hebrew from an Egyptian. He then rescues two Hebrew brothers from each other. And finally, he rescues the seven shepherdesses from the bad shepherds who would have kept them from watering their flocks. These three rescue scenes serve as an introduction to the one great rescue scene that Moses is about to be involved in- rescuing the Israelites from their slavery. In our John 2:1-11 text, we encounter Jesus as hero/redeemer, rescuing His people from a spiritual famine and providing them with God’s Spirit, and in doing so, He rescues all who would believe in Him from their slavery to sin.

      b) According to Exodus 12:40, the Israelites lived in Egypt some 430 years, and then their “redeemer” Moses came to them and led them out of their slavery. So, too, were there some 430 years (more or less) of “silence” that separated the last of the prophets (Nehemiah) from the time of the arrival of the new redeemer Jesus who would lead all who believe in Him out of their slavery to sin.

      c) In our rescue scene in Exodus 2:16, we are told that the seven daughters of Jethro came to “draw” water. The Greek word used is “hntloun”, from the Greek infinitive antlein, which is the same Greek word used by the author of John in John 2:6, antlhsate. If you read the commentaries on this verse in John, you will note, almost without exception, that the scholars comment upon the strangeness of this verb “to draw” used here by John in this context. Why? Because, they say, this word antlew is almost always used in the context of a well-scene (drawing water from a well), and there is no well-scene in John 2. This is the “intertextual flag” that MacDonald was referring to when he stated that “Ancient authors frequently included unusual details to alert readers to the presence of their models…” (“Mimesis and Intertextuality in Antiquity and Christianity”, p.2). Indeed, it was this “red flag” that drew my attention to seek out its source, which eventually led me to my
      discovery of reading the Cana miracle as an allegory (and not just the Cana miracle but much of John). The same Greek word for “to draw” is used in Exodus 2:17 and 19.

      d) After Moses rescues the seven daughters, and draws water for them to water their flocks, the daughters return home to their father and are asked why they have returned home so early. Their answer is that “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds.” We have, therefore, the “mistaken identity of the savior” motif in our Exodus story. Moses was no Egyptian. He was a Hebrew. But they mistook him for an Egyptian most likely because of his clothing, mannerisms, and speech that he learned while growing up in Pharaoh’s household. So, too, in our John story do we have the “mistaken identity of the savior” motif. In John 1:45, Philip tells Nathaniel,

      “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

      Philip is mistaken on two counts. First, he believes Jesus is from Nazareth, and evidently has no clue that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, as the Synoptics proclaim in accordance with the prophecy found in Micah 5:2. Secondly, he believes Jesus to be the son of Joseph, and has no clue that that Jesus was born of a virgin, as the
      Synoptics proclaim, and therefore born of God. Nathaniel responds to Philip in John 1:47, exclaiming,

      “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”

      John, the omniscient narrator, knows that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (via the Synoptics) and expected his audience/hearers to share in this “omniscience”, also via the Synoptics (just as we readers do today).

      In John 6:42 we read of “the Jews” grumbling against Jesus because of Jesus’ statement,

      “I am the bread that came down from heaven” (6:41).

      There, we read,

      “They said, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

      John shows “the Jews” to be mistaken in that they believe him to be of human descent. Again, John expects his readers/hearers to be familiar with the Synoptic material which taught that Jesus was born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and was thus from above.

      In John 7:27 we hear the people saying,

      “But we know where this man is from (poqen estin); when the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from (poqen estin).”

      John states, via irony, that even though the people think they know where Jesus comes from, they really do not. Again, they are mistaken on two counts- both his earthly and heavenly origins.

      In John 7:41 we read:

      “Still others asked, ‘How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?’”

      The Scriptures say the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem and come from David's lineage (Micah 5:2). According to the Synoptics, Jesus fulfills these requirements (Mt.2:4-6). Thus John, who knows the Synoptic material and expects his readers to also be familiar with it, is showing these “others” who question Jesus' identity as the messiah (Jn 7:41-42) to be ignorant of Jesus’ birthplace. As such, they err in allowing their mistaken assumption (that Jesus is from Galilee) prevent them from accepting Jesus as the Messiah.

      Again, in John 7:52 we read the Pharisees’ response to Nicodemus’ defense of Jesus when they state,

      “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”

      Again, according to the Synoptics, Jesus also meets this requirement (Mt 4:14-16). The Scriptures say that from out of Galilee a great light will shine forth in the darkness (Is 9:1-2). Thus John, who plays off the Synoptic material, and who expects his readers to understand his use of irony, shows "the Jews" to be mistaken (Jn 7:52). First, Jesus was from Bethlehem, and as we have already seen, the Scriptures state that the messiah will come from Bethlehem. And secondly, Jesus grew up in Galilee, and as we have already seen, the Scriptures also state that a “great light” will shine in Galilee- the land of darkness. We find Matthew’s gospel, who we argue that John used as one of his source materials, and that his readers were familiar with, to show that Jesus met both of these messianic requirements.

      Finally, in John 9:29, we hear the Pharisees confess,

      “We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from (ouk oidamen poqen estin).”

      They know, and yet they do not know where Jesus comes from. They think he is from Nazareth of Galilee, and still they confess that they do not know where He comes from.

      Many of the scholars themselves believe that the author of the gospel of John was not aware of the tradition found in the Synoptics that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Why? Because he does not plainly state that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in his gospel. This serves as one proof for them that the gospel author was not aware of the Synoptic tradition, or that he disagreed with it. However, as I am arguing here, the reason why the author of John does not mention that Jesus was born in Bethlehem is because he was comparing Jesus to Moses. Like Moses, whose identity was mistaken by the seven daughters of Jethro, and was taken to be an Egyptian when he was really a Hebrew, so, too, does the author of John show the people to have mistaken the identity of Jesus. They did not realize that he was born in Bethlehem, in accordance with the Scriptures (contra Jn. 7:52), nor did they realize that Jesus was God in the flesh, conceived by the Holy Spirit. That John knew of Jesus’ birth in
      Bethlehem is clear from his statement that he places on the lips of those who wonder about Jesus’ messiahship:

      “Still others asked, ‘How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?’” (Jn. 7:43).

      He would not be alluding to Micah 5:2 were he not sure that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, for he earlier stated, in Jn. 5:39:

      “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me…”.

      John was intent on showing the Scriptures to testify in favor of Jesus being the Messiah. Thus for him to allude to an OT text that spoke against this possibility would be defeating his own goal.

      The author of John’s gospel has Jesus say, in John 8:14,

      “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going (oti oida poqen hlqon kai pou upagw). But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going (de ouk oidate poqen ercomai h pou upagw).”

      John is the omniscient narrator. He knows everything in his story world. The "audience/readers" also share in this "omniscience". John does not state outright that Jesus is from Bethlehem because of the "mistaken identity of the savior" motif that he is using in his comparison of Moses to Jesus ("when the messiah comes, no one will know where he is from" 7:27). Even as the first deliverer-Moses- was thought to be an Egyptian, but was really a Hebrew, so, too, the second deliverer-Jesus- was thought to be a Galilean, but was really born in Bethlehem, just as the Scriptures state (7:42). More importantly, the people did not realize that Jesus had heavenly origins. It was not until after Jesus' death and resurrection, via the gospels, that "everyone" realizes that Jesus was from Bethlehem, and, more importantly, from above, in fulfillment of the Scriptures. John, having his audience look back in retrospect, helps them to realize that Jesus was/is the Christ.

      We can confirm that John knew Jesus to be from Judea by examining John 4:44. There we read:

      "Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country."

      Where was Jesus given no honor? Well, the next verse says,

      "When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him" (Jn 4:45).

      So in Galilee, he "was welcomed" (=given honor). We can confirm that Jesus “was welcomed” in Galilee if we look at other verses in John’s Gospel (cf Jn 7:1). Therefore, we can now cancel out "Galilee" as Jesus' "own country", per John. We can confirm that it was in Judea where Jesus was not honored if we look at other verses in John (cf. Jn 4:1-3; 7:1). Therefore, Judea was Jesus' "own country", per John. We can try and argue that this verse was an addition by a later redactor, but this is not dealing with the text as we have it.

      e) When the seven daughters tell their father that they were “rescued” by an Egyptian, and that this Egyptian “drew” water for them and watered the flocks, Jethro responds with, “And where is he? (kai pou estin)”. When Jesus tells the servants to “draw” some of the water out of the jars that has now been changed to wine and take it to the master of the banquet, we are told that the master of the banquet “did not know from where it came” (kai ouk hdei poqen estin). Again, the “mistaken identity” motif, coupled with the phrase kai pou estin, links John 2:1-11 with Exodus 2:11-25.

      f) After Jethro asks, “Where is he (kai pou estin)? Why did you leave him?”, he states, “Invite (kalesate) him to have something to eat” (Exodus 2:20). The verb “to invite” (kalew) is the same verb that John employs in John 2:2: “Jesus was invited (eklhqh) and His disciples to the wedding”.

      g) In verse 21 of Exodus 2 we are told that “Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage (gunaika).” In John 2:1 we read,

      “On the third day there was a wedding (gamoV) in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus was invited and His disciples to the wedding (gamoV).”

      So even though the same word for “wedding” is not used in both stories (gunaika means “wife”), both our Cana story and our Exodus story contain the “wedding” motif. We should also note that Jesus addresses his mother as gunai (“woman”), which would mean, in continuing with the parallel between Exodus 2 and John 2, that even as Moses took Zipporah to be his “wife” (gunaika), so, too, does Jesus take his mother (who symbolizes the OT church) to be his “wife” (gunai). See Revelation 12.

      h) The wedding in John 2 takes place in Cana (Kana) of Galilee. This Greek word Kana means, according to Gerhard Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Vol. III, p. 596), “a basket woven from reeds”, which should recall to our minds Exodus 2:3:

      “But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds (eiV to eloV) along the bank of the Nile.”

      Again, though the Greek words in the LXX are different, taken together with all of the other parallels that are between these two texts, we can assume the allusion again to the birth story of Moses.

      i) Exodus 2:23-25 states: “During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.” The “God remembering His covenant” motif that is found in our Exodus story is also implied in our John 2 Cana miracle story. After 400 years of silence, as prophesied by Amos in 8:11-12, we are told by the author of the gospel of John that the Word breaks the silence by becoming flesh. The people of Israel are again in bondage, both to the Romans and to Sin, and they are “staggering from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it”, until God “hears their groaning and remembers His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob”. It is then, and only
      then, that the Word becomes flesh, that the hour has arrived for the Son of God to die on the cross and rise from the grave, and thus change the water into wine so that all may be satisfied- that is, all who will believe in Him!

      j) Lastly, having asked why else John might mimic Exodus 2:11-25 in the creation of John 2:1-11, I happened upon what I consider to be my most important discovery- the symbolic meaning of “water” for the author of John. In Exodus 2:10 we read:

      “When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, ‘I drew him out of the water’ (Ek tou udatoV auton aneilomhn).”

      Moses was named Moses because he was “drawn from the water”. Even though the verb “to draw” in the Greek is not the same verb in Exodus 2:10 that is used in John 2:8 (although the Greek verb for “to draw” used in Ex.2: 16, 17, and 19 are the same as that used in John 2:8), we can still demonstrate that the author of the Gospel of John had Exodus 2:10 in mind when creating the symbolic meaning of his use of the word “water”. The name “Moses” sounds like the Hebrew word meaning, “to draw out”. Scholars have already noted the wordplay in Exodus on Moses’ name. Even as the name “Moses” was given to him on account of him being “drawn from the water”, so, too, does God use Moses to “draw from the water” the Israelites, and save them in their escape from the Red Sea when fleeing from the Egyptians. The Egyptians, unlike the Israelites, are drowned in the water. And even as the name “Moses” comes from the Egyptian verb meaning “to be born”, so too does God use Moses to bring
      about the birth of the Israelite nation. But what the scholars have not noted before, to my knowledge, is that Moses himself, in this verse in Exodus 2:10, is connected with “water”. Moses = water because he was “drawn from the water”. How can we be sure that John expected his readers to pick up on the equation of Moses with “water”? We will return to offer more proofs later, but first I would like to present the last source material that I have found the author of the Cana miracle story to have used in the composition of this story.

      Matthew Estrada

      113 Laurel Court

      Peachtree City, Ga 30269

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