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Re: "hora" in Gospel of John

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  • Tom Butler
    ... I came across your earlier response to Diane Yoder in ... the first intended readers of the gospel. This marker guides the reader s search for signs
    Message 1 of 12 , Mar 29, 2006
      --- kalvachomer <kalvachomer@...> (Kevin)wrote:

      I came across your earlier response to Diane Yoder in
      which you wrote:

      > I'm exploring the theory that this word [Gk. hora]
      > is used as an internal marker for those who were >
      the first intended readers of the gospel. This >
      marker guides the reader's search for signs in the >
      Gospel, reminding them to stop (at the end of >
      each "hour") and search for the light (full >
      meaning) of the signs woven into the text that has >
      been read since the last "hour." The source from >
      which these signs were drawn is the Septuagint, and >
      their full meaning will be seen by those who >
      recognize both the signs and their meanings in >
      their original context.

      This is ingenious; did it prove fruitful?

      Yes, it is fruitful. Some of the material between
      hours is extensive and some of it is less than a
      single verse.

      I'm still pondering what the purpose of having as many
      as three "hours" in two verses might be. Does it
      suggest that the material preceding that verse is so
      important that the reader should review it at least
      twice before going on, or does it suggest that an
      editor, aware of the importance of "ora" as a marker,
      left the marker in the narrative, but removed some of
      the material?

      I'm leaning toward the former explanation, but am open
      to the possibility that others may have a better
      theory.

      For your convenience, here are the 24 citations
      (written as digital clock settings):
      1:39; 2:04; 4:06; 4:21; 4:23; 4:52(a); 4:52(b); 4:53;
      5:25; 5:28; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23; 12:27(a); 12:27(b);
      13:01; 16:02; 16:04; 16:21; 16:25; 16:32; 17:01;
      19:14; 19:27

      Note that they are spread fairly well throughout the
      narrative, except for chapters 20 and 21. If this
      theory is proven, it may offer support for the theory
      that both chapters 20 and 21 were added to the older
      narrative (chapters 1-19).

      > I'm orking with the wedding at Cana and having
      > difficulty with "my hour has not yet come." To what
      > "hour" could Jesus be referring here? It doesn't
      > make sense to refer it to Jesus's death.

      Why not? This clock theory is a sort of count down,
      leading to the final "hour" when Jesus is on the cross
      just before he dies. It seems realistic to me that if
      Jesus knows that he will have a limited period of time
      to achieve His mission, he might be reluctant to start
      the clock ticking. "Mother! My time clock isn't
      supposed to start yet!" Could that be what "My hour
      has not yet come" means?

      > I suppose it could be taken as the "hour" of >
      Jesus's own "wedding" to his "bride," the church, >
      but that seems a bit strained, particularly for the >
      late first century.

      I agree.

      > It occurred to me that in Hebrew an "instruction" is
      > "hora'ah," from the same root as "Torah," and
      > although that hardly causes a flash of
      > recognition (for me, anyway) it does open other
      > possibilities.

      I'll consider that, since it appears that the "ora"
      markers woven into the narrative of the 4G may have
      been used for a didactic purpose. Your observation
      may be another sign pointing to the Torah as the
      primary cipher for the signs used in the Gospel.

      > What do you make of "hora" in the Cana context?

      As I indicated above this "hour" is connected to 23
      other "hours," so the answer to your question cannot
      be limited to its meaning in the Cana context. I
      think the commonly accepted theory, that Jesus is
      anticipating the hour of his death all the way through
      the Gospel, is even what it means in the Cana context.


      Yours in Christ's service,
      Tom Butler

      <DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=system color=#0000ff>Yours in Christ's service,</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>
      <DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=System color=#0000ff>Tom Butler</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>
    • Timothy P. Jenney
      Tom Butler said, ... I d certainly agree with that interpretation, common though it is. I think we need to remember that the crucifixion was a shock to Jesus
      Message 2 of 12 , Mar 30, 2006
        Tom Butler said,

        >
        > As I indicated above this "hour" is connected to 23
        > other "hours," so the answer to your question cannot
        > be limited to its meaning in the Cana context. I
        > think the commonly accepted theory, that Jesus is
        > anticipating the hour of his death all the way through
        > the Gospel, is even what it means in the Cana context.

        I'd certainly agree with that interpretation, common though it is. I think
        we need to remember that the crucifixion was a shock to Jesus' followers. 4G
        goes to great lengths to emphasize it was not a shock for Jesus.

        My own theory is that the common conception of the Messiah's arrival was
        commonly celebrated in the themes of Tabernacles: blessing [and cursing on
        enemies], harvest and abundance, weddings, dancing and feasting and finally
        [at least during the monarchy and the Hasmoneans] the ritual enthronement of
        the king, where his ascension to the throne was woven together with
        God/god's defeat of the forces of chaos.

        4G reinterprets the mission of the Messiah in the themes of Passover:
        sacrifice, freedom from oppression, release from judgment, forgiveness.
        Jesus is the "Lamb of God" (John 1:29) by design, not accident. Jesus' self
        knowledge [to return to the theme of this thread] is indicated by the
        repetition of the term "hour." He not only knows what he is to do from the
        outset, he knows when it will happen.

        Tim
        ==
        Timothy P. Jenney
        Adj., NT prof
        Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando
      • David A. Reed
        Does anyone know of any good books or articles on Exodus motifs in John s Gospel? Also, has any work been done on the Isaianic Exodus in John? Just curious,
        Message 3 of 12 , Mar 30, 2006
          Does anyone know of any good books or articles on Exodus motifs in
          John's Gospel? Also, has any work been done on the Isaianic Exodus in John?

          Just curious,

          David Reed
          U of Toronto
        • kalvachomer
          ... To my response, ... Tom replied, ... I m sorry, this leaves me puzzled. Your earlier post suggested to me that you thought that references to Jesus s
          Message 4 of 12 , Mar 30, 2006
            --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, Tom Butler
            <pastor_t@...> had written:

            >> > I'm exploring the theory that this word [Gk. hora]
            > > is used as an internal marker for those who were >
            > the first intended readers of the gospel. This >
            > marker guides the reader's search for signs in the >
            > Gospel, reminding them to stop (at the end of >
            > each "hour") and search for the light (full >
            > meaning) of the signs woven into the text that has >
            > been read since the last "hour." The source from >
            > which these signs were drawn is the Septuagint, and >
            > their full meaning will be seen by those who >
            > recognize both the signs and their meanings in >
            > their original context.

            To my response,
            > This is ingenious; did it prove fruitful?

            Tom replied,

            > Yes, it is fruitful. Some of the material between
            > hours is extensive and some of it is less than a
            > single verse.
            >
            > I'm still pondering what the purpose of having as many
            > as three "hours" in two verses might be. Does it
            > suggest that the material preceding that verse is so
            > important that the reader should review it at least
            > twice before going on, or does it suggest that an
            > editor, aware of the importance of "ora" as a marker,
            > left the marker in the narrative, but removed some of
            > the material?
            >
            > I'm leaning toward the former explanation, but am open
            > to the possibility that others may have a better
            > theory.

            I'm sorry, this leaves me puzzled. Your earlier post suggested to
            me that you thought that references to Jesus's "hour" served as
            markers, indicating that another "sign" had been revealed, and by
            asking whether your idea had proved fruitful, I meant to ask whether
            you had been able to identify the corresponding signs and relate
            them, as you hoped, to their biblical antecedents. It appears you
            haven't been able to do that, but perhaps I misunderstood you in the
            first place.

            BTW, if an editor understood that "hora" was being used as a marker,
            I would think that he would remove material only after identifying
            the sign to which each "hora" referred and making sure it remained
            in the text. It's hard to posit that an editor deleted material
            unless you can also posit a persuasive reason for deleting it. If
            each editor had removed as unnecessary whatever he didn't
            understand, we would have a much more compact Bible!

            > For your convenience, here are the 24 citations
            > (written as digital clock settings):
            > 1:39; 2:04; 4:06; 4:21; 4:23; 4:52(a); 4:52(b); 4:53;
            > 5:25; 5:28; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23; 12:27(a); 12:27(b);
            > 13:01; 16:02; 16:04; 16:21; 16:25; 16:32; 17:01;
            > 19:14; 19:27
            >
            > Note that they are spread fairly well throughout the
            > narrative, except for chapters 20 and 21. If this
            > theory is proven, it may offer support for the theory
            > that both chapters 20 and 21 were added to the older
            > narrative (chapters 1-19).

            Thanks, Tom, I will save the list. The more potential puzzle-pieces
            one has in hand the better.

            I asked about the meaning of "my hour has not yet come" at the
            wedding at Cana, saying that it doesn't make sense to refer it to
            Jesus's death, to which Tom responded:

            > Why not? This clock theory is a sort of count down,
            > leading to the final "hour" when Jesus is on the cross
            > just before he dies. It seems realistic to me that if
            > Jesus knows that he will have a limited period of time
            > to achieve His mission, he might be reluctant to start
            > the clock ticking. "Mother! My time clock isn't
            > supposed to start yet!" Could that be what "My hour
            > has not yet come" means?

            My problem was that in context, it appeared Jesus was saying that he
            was indifferent to the fact that there was no more wine ("what is
            this to me and to you?") and/or that he was unable to perform, or
            was not supposed to perform, the miracle impliedly requested,
            because "my hour has not yet come." Because Jesus did respond to
            human needs many times with miracles before his death, I have
            difficulty reading "my hour" here as referring to the time of
            Jesus's death.

            Assuming that Jesus knew the time and manner of his death doesn't
            resolve my difficulty, unless, as you suggest, Jesus had the power
            to choose when to "start the clock" -- but also did not have the
            power to prevent the clock from starting whenever he performed his
            first miracle. Frankly, I think that creates a bigger
            Christological problem than it solves.

            I'll also throw in that Jesus's statement would have been
            unintelligible to his mother, although I grant that (a) we aren't
            told what Jesus had shared with his mother regarding his mission,
            and (b)intelligibility to his hearers is frequently not a concern
            for John's Jesus.

            My suggestion that "hora" be taken as punning
            on "horaah," "instruction," makes sense here, although I don't know
            whether it would elsewhere. So understood, Jesus would be saying
            that the time is not ripe because he has not yet given the teaching
            that would make the miracle symbolically meaningful, and not just a
            display of supernatural power. Jesus does not want his "coming
            out," the first public revealing of his uniqueness, to put him in
            the role of a magician rather than a teacher, for whom a miracle is
            both a teaching device and proof of God-given authority. But Jesus
            decides to seize the symbolic potential of the situation --
            the "hora" is indeed right -- and does the miracle, leaving the
            meaning be explained later. For the reader, this is a clue to look
            to later teachings and/or miracles to explain this one.

            In fact, it is explained in the next pericope involving water, that
            of the Samaritan woman at the well, where Jesus describes himself as
            the source of "living water." In Jewish usage, "living water"
            refers to rainwater and naturally occurring surface water suitable
            for purification; water drawn from a well is not "living
            water." "Living water" is a common rabbinic expression for "the
            Torah" (the five books of Moses)as well as "Torah," religious
            teaching generally.

            At the well in Samaria, Jesus calls his teachings living (new)
            water/Torah, superior to Torah drawn from the received Israelite
            tradition shared (in large part) by both Jews and Samaritans and
            symbolized by Jacob's Well. At Cana, the stone containers probably
            collected rainwater as "living water" for purification. Jesus uses
            vessels meant to hold rainwater, metaphorically living water/Torah
            from heaven, has them filled with the available "non-living" well
            water, and transforms it into excellent wine, which needs no further
            exegesis here.

            Kevin Snapp
            Chicago, IL
          • Tom Butler
            Kevin, I m sorry that I misunderstood your question. Thank you for clarifying it. Let me try again to reply to the question you were asking, instead of
            Message 5 of 12 , Mar 30, 2006
              Kevin,

              I'm sorry that I misunderstood your question.
              Thank you for clarifying it. Let me try again to
              reply to the question you were asking, instead of
              replying to the question I thought you were asking.

              The "ora" markers in the 4G are simply reminders to
              the reader to stop and search for signs (usually more
              than one) in the material that the reader has read
              since the previous "ora." The markers themselves do
              not necessarily identify specific signs; they only
              suggest that the reader should search for signs at
              that point in the narrative. I suspect this functions
              like a quiz for people engaged in the study of the 4G
              as a textbook. The quiz will be conducted orally.
              The marker identifies the material that the next oral
              exam will cover.

              What is necessary to identify the signs in the 4G is
              a recollection of the specific language used in the
              Septuagint version of the Pentateuch. Often the word
              used in the 4G stands out as an unusual word, a word
              that is also unusual in the LXX. If the reader is
              motivated to find where that word was used in the LXX,
              then it is instructive to discern the meaning of that
              term in the LXX, then apply that meaning to the new
              context in the gospel as a midrash-like commentary on
              the Jesus narrative.

              Clearly this process takes a serious effort. Does
              it produce fruit? Yes. Let me offer an example.

              The first "hour" appears at Jn. 1: 39, suggesting to
              the reader who has been clued into this marking system
              that there are signs in the material just read. Going
              back over the previously read material in the 4G,
              searching for words in it that are familiar from the
              LXX, the reader finds "In the beginning..." which is
              clearly the opening of the Torah, the beginning of the
              first creation story.

              In the context where the marker (the first "hour")
              appears, two disciples of John the Baptist have taken
              the initiative to follow Jesus after hearing John's
              declaration regarding Jesus (Jn 1: 35-37). He asks
              them "What (whom?) do you seek?" They reply "Rabbi,
              where do you abide?" He says, "Come and see." They
              came and saw where he was abiding and remained (abode)
              with him that day. It was the 10th hour(Jn. 1:
              38-39).

              (Though in the narrative we are told this is the
              10th hour, it is the first time that the word "ora"
              has been used, so as a marker it is the first hour.)

              As a didactic tool (midrash), the teacher would ask
              the student to expound upon the meaning found within
              the first hour of the text (4G). As I understand the
              midrash method, the object was to use the language of
              scripture to explain the meaning of scripture. Being
              a method developed to instruct Hebrew students, the
              preferred language was the language of the Torah
              written in Hebrew. For the early Christians the
              language of the Torah was most readily available in
              the LXX, written in Greek.

              This first "hour" in the 4G may well have been
              interpreted as an account of two creation stories.
              One is what we know as the prolog. The other is the
              beginning of the story of the new creation ("the first
              day") when Disciples seek "the light" (to know where
              Christ abides). A student (disciple) could expound at
              length on this theme, using language borrowed from the
              creation stories in Genesis.

              --- kalvachomer <kalvachomer@...> wrote:

              > I'm sorry, this leaves me puzzled. Your earlier
              > post suggested to me that you thought that
              references
              > to Jesus's "hour" served as markers, indicating that
              > another "sign" had been revealed, and by asking
              > whether your idea had proved fruitful, I meant to
              > ask whether you had been able to identify the
              > corresponding signs and relate them, as you hoped,
              > to their biblical antecedents.
              > It appears you haven't been able to do that, but
              > perhaps I misunderstood you in the first place.
              >
              > BTW, if an editor understood that "hora" was being
              > used as a marker, I would think that he would remove
              > material only after identifying the sign to which
              > each "hora" referred and making sure it remained
              > in the text. It's hard to posit that an editor
              > deleted material unless you can also posit a
              > persuasive reason for deleting it. If each editor
              > had removed as unnecessary whatever he didn't
              > understand, we would have a much more compact Bible!

              You are quite right. It is more likely that the 4G
              was a work in progress. While the markers were in
              place, all of the material had not been finished to
              fill out each hour when something happened (the
              collapse of the community from which it came?) to stop
              the process of writing it.
              As I said, I'm still pondering why so many markers
              are grouped so close together in two places within the
              Gospel. Since all of this is a theory, I must
              acknowledge that the details of the theory are far
              from finished.

              > My problem was that in context, it appeared Jesus
              > was saying that he was indifferent to the fact that
              > there was no more wine ("what is this to me and to
              > you?") and/or that he was unable to perform, or
              > was not supposed to perform, the miracle impliedly
              > requested, because "my hour has not yet come."

              Kevin, I find myself asking "What is the sign here?
              What does it mean?" Why were those stone jars filled
              with water in that place? What is it that happens to
              the symbol of the rite of purification when Jesus
              instructs his disciples to pour water meant for the
              ritual of purification into the cups of those
              celebrating a marriage covenant, and it is recognized
              as fine wine? Is it possible that the primary symbol
              in the ritual of purification is being transformed?

              By asking such questions, I might expound upon the
              Cana story by suggesting that Jesus resisted offering
              a sign when prompted by his mother, because the time
              for revealing his mission had not yet come. Yet, when
              she instructed his disciples to do as he directed, he
              did reveal the sign. Wine consumed as a symbol of the
              new covenant in Christ's blood now replaces the water
              of purification meant to prepare a person to come
              close to (abide with) God. Would this not be first
              century Christology?

              > Because Jesus did respond to human needs many times
              > with miracles before his death, I have difficulty
              > reading "my hour" here as referring to the time of
              > Jesus's death.
              >
              > Assuming that Jesus knew the time and manner of his
              > death doesn't resolve my difficulty, unless, as you
              > suggest, Jesus had the power to choose when to
              > "start the clock" -- but also did not have the
              > power to prevent the clock from starting whenever he
              > performed his first miracle. Frankly, I think that
              > creates a bigger Christological problem than it
              > solves.

              What is the Christological problem that you are trying
              to solve, Kevin?

              > I'll also throw in that Jesus's statement would have
              > been unintelligible to his mother, although I grant
              > that (a) we aren't told what Jesus had shared with
              > his mother regarding his mission, and (b)
              > intelligibility to his hearers is frequently not a
              > concern for John's Jesus.
              >
              > My suggestion that "hora" be taken as punning
              > on "horaah," "instruction," makes sense here,
              > although I don't know whether it would elsewhere. So
              > understood, Jesus would be saying that the time is
              > not ripe because he has not yet given the teaching
              > that would make the miracle symbolically meaningful,
              > and not just a display of supernatural power. Jesus
              > does not want his "coming out," the first public
              > revealing of his uniqueness, to put him in the role
              > of a magician rather than a teacher, for whom a
              > miracle is both a teaching device and proof of God-
              > given authority. But Jesus decides to seize the
              > symbolic potential of the situation -- the "hora" is
              > indeed right -- and does the miracle, leaving the
              > meaning to be explained later. For the reader, this
              > is a clue to look to later teachings and/or miracles
              > to explain this one.

              I would say that what Jesus provides is a sign,
              leaving the meaning to be discerned by those present,
              especially His disciples and, in terms of the 4G, the
              readers of the narrative. Where one would look for
              the meaning of this sign would be in the extant
              scripture.

              > In fact, it is explained in the next pericope
              > involving water, that of the Samaritan woman at the
              > well, where Jesus describes himself as the source
              > of "living water." In Jewish usage, "living water"
              > refers to rainwater and naturally occurring surface
              > water suitable for purification; water drawn from a
              > well is not "living water." "Living water" is a
              > common rabbinic expression for "the Torah" (the five
              > books of Moses) as well as "Torah," religious
              > teaching generally.

              I believe, Kevin, that you and I are not so far apart
              in our recognition of the important role that the
              symbolic language (signs) in the 4G plays as a guide
              to the reader seeking meaning.

              > At the well in Samaria, Jesus calls his teachings
              > living (new) water/Torah, superior to Torah drawn
              > from the received Israelite tradition shared (in
              > large part) by both Jews and Samaritans and
              > symbolized by Jacob's Well. At Cana, the stone
              > containers probably collected rainwater as "living
              > water" for purification. Jesus uses vessels meant
              > to hold rainwater, metaphorically living water/Torah

              > from heaven, has them filled with the available
              > "non-living" well water, and transforms it into
              > excellent wine, which needs no further exegesis
              here.

              Well, Kevin, exegesis is the fun part of what we're
              doing; isn't it? The midrash method (if that is
              indeed what I'm suggesting we use here) is all about
              giving the readers (us) the tools to make really cool
              exegetical commentaries. Surely you're not saying,
              "We will serve no wine before its time!"

              > Kevin Snapp
              > Chicago, IL

              Tom Butler
              Sparks, NV

              <DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=system color=#0000ff>Yours in Christ's service,</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>
              <DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=System color=#0000ff>Tom Butler</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>
            • Tom Butler
              Tim, I find the symbols associated with the rituals of sacrifice woven into the 4G. I gather you see the themes there; do you also see the symbols? Tom Butler
              Message 6 of 12 , Mar 30, 2006
                Tim,
                I find the symbols associated with the rituals of
                sacrifice woven into the 4G. I gather you see the
                themes there; do you also see the symbols?

                Tom Butler

                --- "Timothy P. Jenney" <drjenney@...>
                wrote:
                >
                >
                > Tom Butler said,
                >
                > >
                > > As I indicated above this "hour" is connected to
                > > 23 other "hours," so the answer to your question
                > > cannot be limited to its meaning in the Cana
                > > context. I think the commonly accepted theory,
                > > that Jesus is anticipating the hour of his death
                > > all the way through the Gospel, is even what it
                > > means in the Cana context.
                >
                > I'd certainly agree with that interpretation, common
                > though it is. I think we need to remember that the
                > crucifixion was a shock to Jesus' followers. 4G
                > goes to great lengths to emphasize it was not a
                > shock for Jesus.
                >
                > My own theory is that the common conception of the
                > Messiah's arrival was commonly celebrated in the
                > themes of Tabernacles: blessing [and cursing on
                > enemies], harvest and abundance, weddings, dancing
                > and feasting and finally [at least during the
                > monarchy and the Hasmoneans] the ritual enthronement
                > of the king, where his ascension to the throne was
                > woven together with God/god's defeat of the forces
                > of chaos.
                >
                > 4G reinterprets the mission of the Messiah in the
                > themes of Passover: sacrifice, freedom from
                > oppression, release from judgment, forgiveness.
                > Jesus is the "Lamb of God" (John 1:29) by design,
                > not accident. Jesus' self knowledge [to return to
                > the theme of this thread] is indicated by the
                > repetition of the term "hour." He not only knows
                > what he is to do from the outset, he knows when it
                > will happen.
                >
                > Tim
                > ==
                > Timothy P. Jenney
                > Adj., NT prof
                > Asbury Theological Seminary-Orlando

                <DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=system color=#0000ff>Yours in Christ's service,</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>
                <DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=System color=#0000ff>Tom Butler</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>
              • Stan Harstine
                David, The standard work is T. Francis Glasson, Moses in the Fourth Gospel, Studies in Biblical Theology (Naperville, IL: Alec R. Allenson, Inc., 1963) and
                Message 7 of 12 , Apr 1, 2006
                  David,

                  The standard work is T. Francis Glasson, Moses in the Fourth Gospel, Studies
                  in Biblical Theology (Naperville, IL: Alec R. Allenson, Inc., 1963) and
                  there is a work by Robert Houston Smith, "Exodus Typology in the Fourth
                  Gospel," Journal of Biblical Literature 81 (December 1962): 329-342.
                  Discussions of these can be found in Moses as a Character in the Fourth
                  Gospel by Stan Harstine, Sheffield Press, 2002.

                  Stan Harstine
                  Friends University


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • matt_estrada
                  Hi David, I would encourage you to read my paper on my interpretation of the Cana Miracle, which finds its base in my theory of how the author uses, in
                  Message 8 of 12 , Apr 3, 2006
                    Hi David,

                    I would encourage you to read my paper on my interpretation of the
                    Cana Miracle, which finds its base in my theory of how the author
                    uses, in particular, Exodus 2 as source material for, in part, the
                    Cana Miracle. I admit that it is not an easy paper to read, and that
                    it is very lengthy, but I also believe you may find it rewarding. The
                    lnink is: http://www.fourthgospel.com/estrada.doc.

                    Sincerely,

                    Matthew Estrada



                    --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, "David A. Reed"
                    <da.reed@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Does anyone know of any good books or articles on Exodus motifs in
                    > John's Gospel? Also, has any work been done on the Isaianic Exodus
                    in John?
                    >
                    > Just curious,
                    >
                    > David Reed
                    > U of Toronto
                    >
                  • matt_estrada
                    This post is in response to Diane s, Kevin s, and Tom s ponderings concerning the meaning of my hour in Jn 2. I agree with Tom in that the meaning of my
                    Message 9 of 12 , Apr 3, 2006
                      This post is in response to Diane's, Kevin's, and Tom's ponderings
                      concerning the meaning of "my hour" in Jn 2. I agree with Tom in
                      that the meaning of "my hour" in this text cannot be divorced from
                      the meaning where it occurs throughout the gospel. It does refer to
                      Jesus' hour of death and resurrection. The question is- why, after
                      having stated "My hour has not yet come", does Jesus perform the
                      miracle of turning "water" into "wine"? The answer to this question
                      lies in interpreting his "hour" to have "come" somewhere between the
                      time that he said it had not come (Jn 2:4) and his performing of the
                      miracle (Jn 2:8). In other words, Jesus' death and resurrection
                      occurs in the filling of the "six stone water jars" with "water".
                      One must understand that the author is using "water" to
                      symbolize "the Law and the Prophets", and that in the filling of the
                      six stone jars (used by the Jews for ceremonial cleansing) with
                      this "water", we are actually seeing time pass before our eyes-
                      UNTIL the jars are filled "to the brim"- this phrase, in Greek, can
                      be interpreted "the end of a period of time" (Gal 4:4). Thus in Jn
                      2:8 Jesus can say "NOW, draw some out..." in contrast to the "not
                      yet" in Jn 2:4. Jesus' death and resurrection occurs in this text in
                      a hidden way, and via his death the "wine"/Holy Spirit is
                      provided. "He thus revealed his doxa, and his disciples believed in
                      him" (vs 11).

                      Sincerely,

                      Matthew Estrada

                      --- In johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com, Tom Butler
                      <pastor_t@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > --- kalvachomer <kalvachomer@...> (Kevin)wrote:
                      >
                      > I came across your earlier response to Diane Yoder in
                      > which you wrote:
                      > ...
                      > > I'm working with the wedding at Cana and having
                      > > difficulty with "my hour has not yet come." To what
                      > > "hour" could Jesus be referring here? It doesn't
                      > > make sense to refer it to Jesus's death.
                      >
                      > > I suppose it could be taken as the "hour" of >
                      > Jesus's own "wedding" to his "bride," the church, >
                      > but that seems a bit strained, particularly for the >
                      > late first century.
                      >
                      >
                      > > What do you make of "hora" in the Cana context?

                      >Tom wrote:

                      > As I indicated above this "hour" is connected to 23
                      > other "hours," so the answer to your question cannot
                      > be limited to its meaning in the Cana context. I
                      > think the commonly accepted theory, that Jesus is
                      > anticipating the hour of his death all the way through
                      > the Gospel, is even what it means in the Cana context.
                      >
                      >
                      > Yours in Christ's service,
                      > Tom Butler
                      >
                    • Tom Butler
                      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
                      Message 10 of 12 , Apr 3, 2006
                        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.

                        If my theory is correct, then the second hour may
                        well be, as you put it, "the passing of time" as the
                        Law and the Prophets complete the first creation (ie:
                        filling time to the brim - "the fullness of time").

                        In Mosaic terms, the six jars represent the first
                        six days of creation. During that time, the hour of
                        the Son of Man has not yet come. The hour of the Son
                        of Man comes on the seventh day of creation, on which
                        Jesus proclaims (contrary to Mosaic Law), "My Father
                        is still working, and I am also working" (Jn. 5:17.)

                        The text tells us (Jn.2:6) that the water is used
                        for the rites of purification. In the daily offerings
                        by fire wine is used (Nu. 28: 1-8) along with
                        anointing oil and incense to make "a pleasing odor to
                        the LORD."

                        (The image I get from reading the directions for
                        rituals of sacrifice in the Leviticus and Numbers is
                        that when the head, legs, and fat from the entrails of
                        the sacrificial animal are laid upon the live coals on
                        the altar along with incense, smoke begins to rise.
                        When the scented oil and wine are poured on this
                        smoldering offering, flame jumps up from the offering
                        and a larger cloud of scented smoke rises from it,
                        thus making the offering "a pleasing odor to the
                        Lord.")

                        [Can anyone on this list suggest a source for a more
                        detailed study of the symbolic function of the wine,
                        anointing oil and incense used in the offerings? I
                        have found Houtman's "On the Function of the Holy
                        Incense (Ex XXX 3-8) and Sacred Anointing Oil (Ex.XXX
                        22-23" in Vetus Testamentum, XLII, vol 4, (1992) to be
                        quite helpful, but Houtman does not address the
                        function of the wine in this article. ]

                        I'm guessing that in the Mosaic context since the
                        blood of the sacrificial animal is drained from the
                        flesh before it is offered as a sacrifice, the wine
                        represents the life blood of the animal/worshipper as
                        it is offered to God (not the Holy Spirit as I
                        understand you are suggesting, Matt.)

                        What I'm reaching for here is a direct connection
                        between the wine offered during the rituals of animal
                        sacrifice in the Mosaic tradition and the wine offered
                        during the Eucharist in the Christian tradition. My
                        theory is that the writer(s) of the 4G is (are)
                        portraying Jesus, in beginning the new creation, as
                        transforming (recycling?) the symbols of the Mosaic
                        tradition for use in the Jesus tradition,
                        "upgrading" the tradition into the new creation.

                        Thank you, Matt, for sharing your thought-provoking
                        post on the significance of the six jars of water.

                        Yours in Christ's service,
                        Tom Butler

                        --- matt_estrada <matt_estrada@...> wrote:

                        > This post is in response to Diane's, Kevin's, and
                        > Tom's ponderings concerning the meaning of "my >
                        hour" in Jn 2. I agree with Tom in that the meaning >
                        of "my hour" in this text cannot be divorced from
                        > the meaning where it occurs throughout the gospel.
                        > It does refer to Jesus' hour of death and >
                        resurrection. The question is- why, after having >
                        stated "My hour has not yet come", does Jesus
                        > perform the miracle of turning "water" into "wine"?
                        >
                        > The answer to this question lies in interpreting >
                        his "hour" to have "come" somewhere between the
                        > time that he said it had not come (Jn 2:4) and his
                        > performing of the miracle (Jn 2:8). In other words,
                        > Jesus' death and resurrection occurs in the filling
                        > of the "six stone water jars" with "water".
                        >
                        > One must understand that the author is using "water"
                        > to symbolize "the Law and the Prophets", and that in
                        > the filling of the six stone jars (used by the Jews
                        > for ceremonial cleansing) with this "water", we are
                        > actually seeing time pass before our eyes-UNTIL the
                        > jars are filled "to the brim"- this phrase, in >
                        Greek, can be interpreted "the end of a period of >
                        time" (Gal 4:4). Thus in Jn 2:8 Jesus can say "NOW, >
                        draw some out..." in contrast to the "not yet" in >
                        Jn 2:4. Jesus' death and resurrection occurs in >
                        this text in a hidden way, and via his death the >
                        "wine"/Holy Spirit is provided. "He thus revealed >
                        his doxa, and his disciples believed in him"(vs 11).

                        <DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=system color=#0000ff>Yours in Christ's service,</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>
                        <DIV><STRONG><EM><FONT face=System color=#0000ff>Tom Butler</FONT></EM></STRONG></DIV>
                      • Matthew Estrada
                        Tom Butler wrote: Matt, Your theory is intriguing. Let me walk with you for a moment on this. You suggest that the six stone jars
                        Message 11 of 12 , 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.

                          Tom,

                          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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                        • Matthew Estrada
                          Two corrections to the below: 1) so in Jn 4, the old water from Jacob s well (the Law and the Prophets- in error, I typed Spirit) is compared/contrasted to the
                          Message 12 of 12 , Apr 4, 2006
                            Two corrections to the below:
                            1) so in Jn 4, the old water from Jacob's well (the Law and the Prophets- in error, I typed Spirit) is compared/contrasted to the living water that comes from Jesus (the Holy Spirit).

                            2) clarification- as the "water" (the Law and the Prophets) is being poured into the six stone jars, we are seeing time pass before our eyes, until the jars are "filled to the brim" (can be translated in Greek as "the end of a period of time"). What "end of a period of time" is being referred to? The end of the ministry of the Law and the Prophets. Now Jesus' death and resurrection occur, and then begins the beginning of the period of time of the ministry of the Holy Spirit (=wine). The "water" that is turned into "wine" can only have occured because Jesus' hour had now come. This miracle of water into wine contains within it the death and resurrection of Jesus, and as a result, the transition from the old ministry of the Law and the Prophets into the new ministry of the Holy Spirit.

                            Matthew Estrada <matt_estrada@...> wrote:


                            Tom Butler
                            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.

                            Tom,

                            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.

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                            Matthew Estrada

                            113 Laurel Court

                            Peachtree City, Ga 30269


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