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Re: [John_Lit] Water and Blood in 1 John 5:6

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  • Matthew Estrada
    Hi Matthew, Thanks for taking the time to read through my lengthy paper. You are right in that I do not deal with Jn 19 in any depth in my paper. My focus was
    Message 1 of 33 , Aug 14, 2010
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      Hi Matthew,

      Thanks for taking the time to read through my lengthy paper.

      You are right in that I do not deal with Jn 19 in any depth in my paper. My
      focus was on the first four chapters of John and I John 4:6-8. Also, I am not
      sure how to interpret "water" in that passage.

      I make the distinction between "water" and "living water" only because John
      does, in Jn 4. He compares/contrasts the water (the Law and the Prophets) that
      is drawn from Jacob's well with the living water that Jesus provides, later in
      Jn 7 identified as the Holy Spirit. In the first four chapters of John he does
      this again and again, never discrediting the Law and the Prophets. Rather, he
      has the Law and the Prophets (= Moses and the Baptist who are personifications
      of the Law and the Prophets) testify that Jesus is the Christ. This is the
      purpose of his gospel- to show others that Jesus is the Christ. How does he do
      this? He has the Law and the Prophets speak in Jesus' favor.

      I continue to disagree with your interpretation of "water" as a symbol for "the
      Spirit" in I Jn 5:6-8. As you point out, I Jn 5:6 (This is the one who came by
      water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and
      blood.) refers back to I Jn 4:2-3 (This is how you can recognize the Spirit of
      God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is
      from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.).
      There were many who were denying that the Messiah (= Christ) had come. These
      people believed in "the Law and the Prophets" (= water), but they denied Jesus
      the Christ (= blood). The author of I John, in 5:6-8 is stating, even as he does
      in chapter 4, that the Christ did appear, not only by "water" (in the Law
      and the Prophets = the Father) but also by "blood" (in the flesh of Jesus), and
      the Spirit, whose outpouring many had experienced, testifies of this.

      Read these verses, Matthew:

      "There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a
      witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might
      believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
      9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world."

      "15John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I
      said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' "
      16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after
      another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through
      Jesus Christ."

      Now, re-read these verses seeing the Baptist as a personification of the Law and
      the Prophets. Don't see the historical figure the Baptist. Rather see the symbol
      "The Law and the Prophets".

      "There came [the Law and the Prophets] who was sent from God; his name was [the
      Law and the Prophets]. 7He [the Law and the Prophets] came as a witness to
      testify concerning that light, so that through him [the Law and the Prophets]
      all men might believe. 8He [the Law and the Prophets] himself was not the light;
      he [the Law and the Prophets] came only as a witness to the light. 9The true
      light that gives light to every man was coming into the world."

      "15John [the Law and the Prophets] testifies concerning him. He [the Law and the
      Prophets] cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I [the Law and the Prophets]
      said, 'He who comes after me [the Law and the Prophets] has surpassed me [the
      Law and the Prophets] because he was before me[the Law and the Prophets].' "
      16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after
      another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through
      Jesus Christ."


      The author John does not put down the Law and the Prophets. He shows their
      purpose- to testify in favor of Jesus, to announce his coming, and to give way
      to his revelation, even as Jesus announces the coming of the Spirit and gives
      way to his coming via his death.

      Thus in Jn 2 the "water" (law and the prophets) is changed into "wine" (Spirit)
      via Jesus' "hour" (death and resurrection). Thus in Jn 3 John has Jesus state,
      "You must be born of water and the Spirit". "Nicodemus" needs no explanation of
      what it means to be born of water. He was a student of the Law and the Prophets.
      That is why John only provides an explanation to him of what it means to be born
      of the Spirit- to see Jesus as the Christ. Thus in Jn 4 John has Jesus provide
      "living water" (the Spirit) in contrast to the "water" (Law and the Prphets)
      from the patriarch Jacob's well. Thus in I Jn 5:6-8 the author again uses "the
      Spirit, the water, and the blood" to signify the Trinity and their 3
      dispensations.

      Thanks for pointing out Trudinger's insights. I dealt a little with the Genesis
      theme in John 1-2 in my paper, but I feel now, looking back on it, that it
      probably could be left out. It is already too long and complicated.

      Matt Estrada

       
       
       
       

      ________________________________

      From: logosmadeflesh11 <logosmadeflesh@...>
      To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Fri, August 13, 2010 6:47:38 PM
      Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Water and Blood in 1 John 5:6

      Thanks Matthew I'm enjoying the discussion.

      I once again apologize for posting two very similar messages, one to Tom and the
      other to you. I'm new to the group and I'm still trying to figure out how the
      posting works.


      You said,

      > This is where we disagree. I do not believe that "water" refers to the Holy
      > Spirit. "Living water" does, but "water" refers to the Father.

      I'm a bit confused by this limited distinction. Is not the "water" that flows
      from Jesus in John 19:34 foreshadowed in John 7:37-39 and therefore a reference
      to the Holy Spirit? I read a great deal of your paper and I was somewhat
      surprised that you didn't discuss this, the climax of John's water motif.


      I think describing water as "the father" or the "dispensation of the father"
      goes beyond what John has in mind with these early water passages. There is
      certainly an element which is connected with the past, namely with Jewish ritual
      and tradition(e.g. John's baptism, Stone waterpots for purification, father
      Jacob's well, the healing water of Bethesda). But the "father"? Despite your
      arguments I still find that a stretch.


      Symbols in John are best understood as illustrations of John's worldview, they
      have two meanings, an above and a below (3:12, 8:23).


      For water, this two-tiered meaning is established in none other than John the
      Baptist's opening testimony. The underlying allusion illustrates the specifics
      of this relationship (Trudinger, L.P. `The Seven Days of the New Creation in St.
      John's Gospel: Some Further Reflections', Evangelical Quarterly 44 (1972), pp.
      154).

      Trudinger notes the obvious conclusion that John links the opening of his gospel
      with Genesis' creation week. The beginnings of both books are transparently
      similar (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1). John also delineates a series of seven days
      (1:1-29, 1:29-35, 1:35-39, 1:39-43, 1:43-2:1, 2:12). Yet even more than similar
      wording and a related outline, Trudinger argues for an analogous relationship
      between the two sequences. For example, on the first day of both Genesis and
      John a distinction is made between light and darkness (Genesis 1:3-5, John
      1:4-8).


      John's statement concerning the two different baptisms falls on the second day
      and thus on the day which God separated the waters (Genesis 1:6-8). This
      connection is instructive. "Above" and "below" easily fit into John's narrative
      dualism while the emphasis upon the separation of the water's corresponds to the
      Baptist distinction between the two methods of baptism. According to this
      allusion, John's baptismal water signifies earthly water or water below while
      Christ's Spirit stands for water from above.


      Jesus' call to a birth of "water and Spirit" in John 3:5 further establishes
      this implicit description. Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born of the
      Spirit which he again through the word anothen describes as "from above." Jesus
      uses "water and Spirit" as a singular rephrased indicator of this heavenly
      birth. "The fact that both water and Spirit are joined by kai and governed by a
      single preposition suggests they are one. If two acts were involved, normally
      two prepositions would occur. Though this construction is not without its
      exceptions – e. g. 1 John 5:6, context, as we have already seen in John 1,
      supports this interpretation.


      Interpreting water as "the father" also may make sense of the Johannine comma
      but it fails to make sense of that which is actually written by John. 1 John 5:6
      appears to refer to the denial found in John 4:2 and 1 John 7. Thus blood
      appears to mean flesh. How this meaning would correspond to the father is beyond
      me. But interpreting water as the Spirit as it is so often done in the gospel of
      John makes for both a better correspondence as well as contrast.

      Matthew Miller
      Canby Bible College
      Logosmadeflesh@...







      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Matthew Miller
      ... Essentially.
      Message 33 of 33 , Aug 20, 2010
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        > I believe that I understand your argument: You want to interpret the first thing
        > in the comparison (water) in a literal fashion- as normal earthly "water" that
        > can only do what it was meant to do in whatever context it is found within John,
        > and then you want to interpret the second thing being compared/contrasted as
        > referring to something "symbolic"- something "more" than what the first thing
        > can do that is being compared/contrasted. Thus your "earthly" and "heavenly"
        > descriptions. Am I correct?

        Essentially.
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