- Christogenea Internet Radio
On the Gospel of John, Part 2: The Light of the World
Introducing our presentation of the Gospel of John in the opening segment of this series, we gave evidence from the earliest post-apostolic Christian writers, the so-called Church Fathers, and from the texts of those books of our Bibles which are attributed to John, which is sufficient to demonstrate that one and the same John the apostle – the young man who of all the apostles had been closest to Christ – was indeed the author of the Revelation, the first epistle of John, and this Gospel. There was also circumstantial evidence given to help establish that John was indeed the author of the two shorter epistles which have been attributed to him from the earliest times.
Here we shall offer a brief summary of our discussion. Little is known of the life of John after the early chapters of Acts, and he last appears in Scripture in Jerusalem in 47 AD, in the events which are recorded in Acts chapter 15 and the early verses of Galatians chapter 2. Later in his life, ostensibly after the deaths of the elder James around 62 AD in Jerusalem and Paul of Tarsus about that same time in Rome, John is in Ephesus where he committed this Gospel to writing. Then during the reign of Domitian, some time after 81 AD John was exiled to Patmos on account of his Christian profession, which is where he received the Revelation. After the death of Domitian in 96 AD, John was able to return to Ephesus. If the Revelation was not already committed to writing, it certainly was after John’s return, which is indicated in the accounts of the early Christian writers. All of John’s three epistles were also written in Ephesus, and very likely around this late time, as John fulfilled the role of an elder and apostle to the Christian assemblies at Ephesus and the neighboring districts. This John had reportedly done until his death some time during the reign of Trajan, which began in 98 and ended in 117 AD. If John were 16 when the ministry of Christ began in 28 AD, he would have been no younger than 86 when he died.
In our opening presentation we discussed only the first five verses of John’s Gospel. We shall repeat them here and offer another summary of some of our conclusions. From John chapter 1:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Yahweh, and the Word was Yahweh. 2 He was in the beginning with Yahweh. 3 All things were through Him, and without Him was not even one thing [P66, א and D, “was nothing”]. That which was done 4 in Him was [א and D, “is”] life, and the life was the light of men [B wants “of men”]. 5 And the light shines in the darkness; yet the darkness comprehends it not.
We have already explained the depth of the meaning of the word λόγος, and everything which its use here implies. From that we concluded that Yahshua Christ is the fleshly embodiment of everything which the Word of Yahweh stands for in the Old Testament, and therefore He is the physical manifestation of man’s estimation of the God of the Old Testament. He is the God of the Creation taking part in His creation, and He is the Law and the Prophets. This is the essence, or the fabric, of Christianity.
For example, the Word of God says in Genesis chapter 15: “1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Therefore Yahshua Christ is the manifestation in the material world of that promise, “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”
Again, we may read in 2 Samuel chapter 22: “31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. 32 For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?” Later, in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, Paul of Tarsus, speaking of those who were with Moses in the Exodus, said “4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” So once again we may see that Yahshua Christ is the physical manifestation of the same God who presented Himself in different ways to man in the time of the Old Testament. A rock in the desert is no less a physical manifestation than the body of a man, which even Abraham proclaimed was only “dust and ashes” (Genesis 18:27). So rather than a trinity, Scripture may describe a quadernity, but then there is the burning in the bush, so perhaps we should perceive God as a quintinity, or the fire on the mountain, which gives us a hexinity, or the glory in the temple, so we may see God as a heptinity. Yet there are other physical manifestations of one and the same God, so we can count an octinity, noninity, decinity, or more. But Yahweh is truly an infinity, and our God cannot be contained by the comparatively fatuous numerological systems of men. Here I only endeavor to illustrate the folly of what is called the trinity, since it is evident that Yahweh had said to Moses “I AM THAT I AM”, as the King James Version reads in Exodus 3:14, and Yahshua Christ is the I AM that He chose to be: the very Word made flesh. He is another physical manifestation of God, but He is not a separate person from God.
That Yahshua Christ is the fleshly incarnation of this same God is evident in many other ways in John and in the rest of the New Testament Scriptures, such as the event where Thomas had realized that Yahshua had overcome death, and therefore he exclaimed “My Lord and my God.” In contrast, Herod Agrippa I was struck dead because when the people imagined him to be a god, he did not deny them. So we read where after Herod had given a speech, in Acts chapter 12: “22 And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. 23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.”
But where Thomas had referred to Yahshua Christ as God, the response was not a denial, rather, it was a confirmation, where it is written in John chapter 20: “29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” What did Thomas believe except that which he had exclaimed, that Yahshua Christ is his God? This is the same Christ who professed that “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord”, as it is recorded in Mark chapter 12.
In the prelude to the promise of the New Covenant, in Jeremiah chapter 31, we read: “10 Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. 11 For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.” Yahshua Christ is that Shepherd, the Good Shepherd, and therefore Yahshua Christ is also “He that scattered Israel” as well as He that “hath redeemed Jacob”, the fulfillment of the promise being certain long before the act was completed.
The apostle Peter, in chapter 1 of his first epistle, said: “25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” Yahshua Christ is the physical embodiment of that Word as well as the God who uttered it, because “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Yahweh, and the Word was Yahweh.” There is no distinction.
During our first discussion of these opening verses of John, I had made a few last-minute comments concerning the dangers and fallacies of the so-called trinity doctrine. I wanted to elaborate on that here, and then I realized that I had already discussed the topic in the recent past, in a presentation of the prophecy of Malachi, in Part 2, The Corrupted Priesthood. So here I shall repeat and revise that:
We must reject any notion of “trinity” as a doctrine. Yahweh our God is real, He is omniscient, and He is omnipotent – but He is also One, regardless of how He chooses to manifest Himself. So He can be God the Father, and God the Son, and the burning in the bush, and the rock in the desert, and the fire on the mountain, and the voice from out of the clouds. He can be all of these things at once and at any given time if He so desires. When the apostles realized that He had overcome death, they proclaimed Him as God not because Jesus somehow became as God, but because they themselves realized at that point that He was God, knowing from the implications of the Scripture that He was Yahweh who had promised that He would redeem Israel. That is the essence of the Word made flesh.
Some fools have said to me, ‘Oh, God was not the pillar of fire, but He was in the pillar of fire.’ That is tantamount to saying ‘Oh God was not Christ, God was only in Christ.’ But the very purpose of the physical manifestation is to represent the ethereal being for which the physical manifestation is a vessel, and the physical manifestation would not at all exist except for that purpose. So the fools are foolishly splitting hairs. Even our physical bodies are not the real us, so to speak. Our bodies are only vessels for our spirits; our spirits are the real us, so to speak. The pillar of fire, the rock in the desert, the glory in the temple and the man who stood on the mount of Olives were all vessels for the spirit of one and the same God.
The trinity doctrine is the first of heresies. There is no real support for it in the original Scriptures, except for the coincidence that in the apostolic age God manifested Himself first in two ways, from the spiritual plane as a voice from heaven, and in the form of the Son of David, and then in a third way which is referred to as the Holy Spirit, which is merely the manifestation and operation of the spirit of that same God within our physical world and without a vessel to represent it physically. This is not really a third person at all but rather it is only another manifestation of the first person. When Christ was near to His departure and He promised the apostles a Comforter, He proclaimed “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you.” This is the reading of the King James Version, but the word for comfortless in that passage is from the same Greek word ὀρφανίζω, from which we derive the English word for orphan, and it really means fatherless, showing that Christ is also God the Father as well as God the Holy Spirit, where He assured them that they would receive a Comforter and He said “I will come to you.” He did not say “He will come to you,” but “I will come to you.”
The trinity doctrine is a dangerous heresy because it leaves space for antichrists to claim that they can worship a part of the Deity which is somehow void of Christ. Therefore Christians are deceived into imagining that Jews and Muslims and other antichrists ultimately have the same God, which is a lie and a deception. Therefore the trinity doctrine is really just a way to compromise with devils. The antichrists themselves introduced this doctrine so that they can maintain a facade of legitimacy, but beneath the veneer there is every form of wickedness. With it, they can lay claim to a piece of the Godhead and purport to have a path to piety without Christ, when in the gospel Christ Himself informs us that “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one goes to the Father except through Me!” Then almost immediately after that He said “He who has seen Me has seen the Father!” So Christians must understand that Christ being Yahweh God manifest in the flesh, there is no part of the Deity which could possibly be void of Christ! One cannot read the Word of that Old Testament God without imagining that those are the words of Christ, who is that Word made flesh, and one cannot read the words of Christ without imagining that they are the Word of Yahweh, the Old Testament God, because He is that Word made flesh. Where He spoke to Himself, where He prayed to Himself, He did so because He lived as a man for an example to men, for the benefit of men and not for Himself. Therefore all of the devils must be rejected, because there is no God without Christ, who is God. There is no room for devils in the Kingdom of Heaven, and neither should there be any space given to them here on earth.
Now we shall commence with our presentation of John chapter 1:
6 There was a man, having been sent by Yahweh [θεός, where D has κύριος], whose name was Iohannes. 7 He came for a witness, in order that he would testify concerning the light, that they all would believe through him.
The phrase “whose name was Iohannes” is literally “the name for him Iohannes”, or in the Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Bezae (D), “the name for him was Iohannes.” There are very few variations among the ancient manuscripts in the first fourteen verses of John’s gospel, and none of them are significant. Of course, Iohannes is the Greek form of the common name John. I chose to maintain Greek forms of names throughout our translations, except in a few cases, such as for Noah or Abraham, or for God and Christ where I retained transliterations of the Hebrew for purposes which I have already explained elsewhere. But I have not yet fully explained my reasoning for maintain the Greek forms of most names. My thinking in this area was to bring an awareness of a separation of culture to the reader, since often modern readers fail to understand that the words expressed, in the context of their original culture, often do not mean what they mean to modern readers. So I thought that keeping the foreign forms of the names would help the reader understand that in some degree we are outsiders looking into a different world. While I am not yet certain of its effectiveness, I realized the potential utility of this method when in 1998 I had read the translations of Homer by Robert Fitzgerald, who had done that same thing in his English versions of the Iliad and Odyssey.
There are two apparent prophecies of John the Baptist in the Old Testament. The first is in Isaiah chapter 40. But this is a prophecy with an immediate fulfillment, as well as a long-term fulfillment. Earlier, in Isaiah and in the historical accounts in Kings and Chronicles, we see that Hezekiah had taken ill, that much of Judah had been carried into Assyrian captivity, and Jerusalem itself was threatened. So we read in Isaiah chapter 40: “1 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins. 3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
In the immediate context, Jerusalem had a reprieve from the Assyrians and a time of relative peace which lasted almost a hundred years, until the earlier prophecy of Isaiah chapter 39 was fulfilled with the Babylonian captivity. Isaiah himself was the voice which cried that message in the wilderness. However throughout the surrounding chapters there is also an overarching theme of salvation for Israel and Judah in spite of the conquests of their enemies, and this prophecy also continues that theme. The true pardon for iniquity is in the person of Yahshua Christ, and John the Baptist was the prophetic fulfillment of the voice crying in the wilderness. In that regard, we read a little further on in the same chapter: “10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. 11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”
So in Matthew chapter 3, it is explained that John the Baptist is indeed the subject of the prophecy of Isaiah chapter 40, where the apostle wrote: “1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias [Isaiah], saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” The connection of John the Baptist to this prophecy in Isaiah was also made very clearly in Luke chapter 3. There are many scoffers who often claim that the apostles of Christ took passages of prophecy out of context in order to apply them to Christ. That is certainly not true, because the scoffers fail to see the aspects of prophecy which clearly have a dual meaning, which in our presentations of Zechariah we described as a near-vision and a far-vision.
The second significant prophecy of John the Baptist is more explicit, and is found in Malachi chapter 3: “1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: 3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.”
That messenger, John the Baptist, prepared the way for Yahweh, incarnate in the person of Yahshua Christ. Part of that preparation was to “purify the sons of Levi”. Then, when Christ Himself was baptized by John, he proclaimed “behold the Lamb of God”. With this it is evident that John symbolically fulfilled the role of the Levitical priest, being a Levite himself, and washing both the priests and the lamb before the Passover, as the law required. Anyone else that he may have baptized along the way was only a collateral benefit, and those who refused his baptism were not legitimate priests in the first place. By that means John was a refiner, as the silver and the dross were made evident in his baptism.
Now while Matthew and Luke connected John the Baptist to Isaiah’s voice crying in the wilderness to announce the coming of Yahweh, John’s language does not identify John the Baptist precisely as either the messenger of Isaiah chapter 40 or of Malachi chapter 3. However generally, it can be understood to refer to either of those prophecies. John’s gospel instead focuses on the purpose of the messenger and his message, having informed us that he was to testify concerning the light, and saying:
8 Not that he was the light, but that he would testify concerning the light. 9 The light was the truth, which coming into the Society enlightens every man.
This is of course the same light which John described in verse 5 where he said “5 And the light shines in the darkness; yet the darkness comprehends it not.” The theme is continued in verse 14 of this chapter, and the connection to the God of Genesis is reiterated, where he wrote “14 And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, and we beheld His splendor, splendor as the most-beloved by the Father, full of favor and truth.” There the word for splendor, or glory in the King James Version, is δόξα. This word characterizes what we had said of the word λόγος, that λόγος is not only the thought projected by God in His Word, but it is also the estimation which men have of the Old Testament God by His Word, the concept of God as it can be understood from the body of His Word, since before Christ men could only know God through that Word. This word δόξα, translated as glory in the King James Version and as splendor here, is primarily an expectation, a hoping for, opinion, estimation or repute. The meaning is deeper than a mere appearance and here in verse 14 it describes the character of Christ, it refers to the truthfulness of His words as well as to His ability to express them; to form and substance, not merely to form.
In a Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 9:1, in relation to the children of Israel who were being incrementally taken into Assyrian captivity, we read: “1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee [or the circuit] of the nations. 2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” This light was connected to Yahshua Christ and His ministry in Matthew chapter 4, which professes that Christ fulfilled this prophecy.
In Psalm 43 in a plea to Yahweh we read: “3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.” In Psalm 119: “105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” The Septuagint version had law rather than word. Of course, Christ is also that Word made flesh.
Here, insisting that Christ was the light come into the world, John once again identifies Yahshua Christ as Yahweh, the God of Creation, the Light of Truth, at least according to an interpretation which we are now going to propose. In Genesis chapter 1 we read: “3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” But physical light cannot exist unless something burns energy in order to generate it. This was upon an earth which was “without form, and void”, and the creation of the sun and moon are yet to be described. The light of day and the darkness of night preceded them, and therefore they are still only concepts, rather than actual physical manifestations, as it is only the first day, and there is no sun until the fourth day.
So we believe that this aspect of the creation account in Genesis is actually describing the order of an important concept, that before anything else existed on earth or in the heavens, light and darkness are distinguished as what emanates from God, and what is not of God. So we read “4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.”
The light makes manifest darkness; we cannot even comprehend darkness is it were not for light, the existence of darkness is manifest when light is created. But Yahweh never spoke the darkness into existence, it did not need to be created, and He never called the darkness good. The formation of light created darkness. In the same manner, sin is not manifest without the law. The Creation account is not a scientific treatise. Rather, it is written in a way so as to teach men particular lessons, and the lesson here is that everything which does not originate with God is darkness. Yahshua Christ, whom John tells us is the Light, is also the lamb slain before the foundation of the world, so John’s words certainly seem to imply that Christ being the Light come into the world is also Yahweh God Himself coming into the world as an element of His Own creation.
Everyone who is of God can understand Yahshua Christ, because there is light in them, that light representing the spirit of man which comes from God. So we read in Isaiah chapter 8: “16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. 17 And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. 18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion. 19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? [Or why should the living – the children of Israel – seek after the dead?] 20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
Later, in his first epistle, John writes in the opening chapter: “6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Likewise, in another Messianic prophecy found in Isaiah chapter 42 we read a promise from Yahweh in regard to the scattered children of Israel: “16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.”
The children of Israel, who had fallen into the idolatry of the accursed people around them, were described as being in darkness. So a little earlier in that same prophecy we see another allusion to the Genesis creation where it says: “5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: 6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Nations; 7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. 8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” The Word of God represents the Light, the first words spoken by God in Scripture called Light into existence, and Christ being that Word made flesh is the Light come into the world.
But here John wrote “9 The light was the truth, which coming into the Society enlightens every man.” Yahshua Christ, the light coming into the society, enlightens every man. In him, the darkness is made light before the children of Israel. But not all presumed men can accept Yahshua Christ, and that brings us back to our theory. Those which are from God can maintain the word of God, and those who can not keep the Word of God do not have the spirit of God in them. Therefore, they cannot be from God, and according to John, we can deduce that they cannot properly be men, because the light “enlightens every man.” The light reveals what every man is made of, and it is made evident by Christ Himself that there are men who were planted by Himself, the wheat which are the sons of God, and there are men who are spurious, the tares planted by the devil. As Paul had written in Hebrews chapter 13, one is a son, or one is a bastard, and there is no third choice. One is of the day, being born from above, or born from of God, or one is of the night, being born from below, or born out of rebellion to God in the corruption of His creation.
Paul himself alluded to this in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, where he wrote: “1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they [evidently the children of darkness] shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” As we see in Genesis, Yahweh did not create the darkness on the earth, it was already there. So Paul wrote in Ephesians chapter 5: “13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.” And John in this gospel wrote in chapter 3: “21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” So while the light “enlightens every man”, the apostles knew that there were people here, if we can call them people, who could never be thus enlightened. Their failure to be enlightened reveals their true nature.
Asserting that Yahshua Christ is the light come into the world has meaning in yet another dimension. It is a direct refutation of the ancient claims of kings to be the bearers of light, and the ancient assertions of many pagan religions. We see in Isaiah chapter 14 an admonishment directed at the king of Babylon which reads in part: “12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” That word, Lucifer, was not written by Isaiah as a personal name or title. Rather, it means “light-bearer”, and using it Yahweh is mocking a man, the king who thought that he was the light of the world, that he could be as God.
In ancient times, the kings of the nations believed themselves to be the light of their respective worlds, or their particular societies. Therefore they esteemed themselves to be the incarnation of the sun on earth. This is evident in Hittite inscriptions presented Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (hereinafter ANET), edited by James B. Pritchard, and published in its third edition in 1969 at Princeton University Press.
On page 203 there is a treaty between the Hittite king Mursilis and Duppi-Tesseb, king of the Amorites, which opens with the following lines: “These are the words of the Sun Mursilis, the great king, the king of the Hatti land, the valiant, the favorite of the Storm-god, the son of Suppiluliumas, the great king, the king of the Hatti land, the valiant.” A footnote by the translator says “Sun is the title with which the Hittite king is addressed.” The Hittite kings thought that they became gods when they died, so further on, speaking of a rebellious subject king, Mursilis said “When my father became god and I seated myself on the throne of my father, Aziras behaved toward me just as he had behaved toward my father.” Later, on page 204, in a clause regarding future relations, we read again: “As I, the Sun, am loyal toward you, do you extend military help to the Sun and the Hatti land. If an evil rumor originates in the Hatti land that someone is to rise in revolt against the Sun and you hear it, leave with your foot soldiers and your charioteers and go immediately to the aid of the king of the Hatti land!”
On other Hittite inscriptions, on pages 210 and 211 of ANET, are preserved letters of instructions from the Hittite king to the commanders of the border guards. Regarding the pagan temples situated in the various towns, they are commanded to “make an inventory of the god's utensils and send it before the Sun”, or to submit the inventory report to the king himself. Then further on, concerning matters for judgment: “If anyone brings suit by means of a sealed brief, the commander of the border guards shall judge it according to the law and set it right. If the case is too much, he shall send it before the Sun”, meaning that the king himself would hear cases involving great amounts.
In another context, in a chapter containing Sumero-Akkadian hymns and prayers presented in ANET on page 389, there is a line referring to “the enemy of the king”, and an accompanying footnote says: “The word translated ‘king’ means literally ‘sun’ and is fundamentally the same word as the name of the sun-god. In this case the scribe has indicated by a phonetic complement that the word is to be read šamši; elsewhere in the text he writes the name of the sun-god consistently without a phonetic complement even when it is grammatically in the genitive case. It is probable, then, that the sun-god is not meant here. Frankfort has pointed out in Kingship and the Gods, [pages] 307-8, that in Mesopotamia as well as in Egypt the king often bore the epithet ‘the sun.’ Such an interpretation of the text fits in well here with the general context.”
As it was in Sumer and Akkad and among the Hittites, so it was in Egypt. The Egyptian pharaohs also believed that they became divine after death, as also did the later Roman Caesars. In early Egypt, the sun god Ra was closely associated with the pharaoh. The pharaohs were seen as the embodiment of Horus, and Ra and Horus were linked together with the title Ra-Horakhty, or “Ra Horus of the Horizons”, for which various interpretations are given. From the 5th Dynasty the pharaoh was referred to as the son of Ra and the name of Ra was a part of the throne name of every king thereafter. As Egypt became an empire, composite gods Amun-Ra and Atum-Ra emerged, and the concept of a creator god was fused with the concept of a sun god. Not long after the time of the Exodus, Pharaoh Amenhotep III gave himself the epithet Aten-tjehen which means “the Dazzling Sun Disk”.
Returning to ancient Babylon, from a time which is far earlier than that of Isaiah, we see in a chapter of ANET titled Laws from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor, on p. 165, a portion of the Code of Hammurabi which makes the following boast: “… the king, who made the name of Inanna glorious in Nineveh in Emishmish; the devout one, who prays fervently to the great gods; the descendant of Sumu-la-el; the powerful son and heir of Sin-muballit, the ancient seed of royalty, the powerful king, the sun of Babylon, who causes light to go forth over the lands of Sumer and Akkad; the king who has made the four quarters of the world subservient; the favorite of Inanna am I. When Marduk commissioned me to guide the people aright, to direct the land, I established law and justice in the language of the land, thereby promoting the welfare of the people.” That was perhaps 1,200 years before Isaiah addressed the king of Babylon as Lucifer, or the Light-bearer, in his own time, and shows for how long these pagan ideas had prevailed.
Around the same time as the birth of Christ, the Zoroastrian cult of Mithra was beginning to spread had Helios, they were relatively minor gods in ancient literature. But Mithra was an angelic divinity of light, a protector of truth, and the god of oaths and covenants. So the assertions concerning Christ were also an affront to the pagan religion of ancient Persia, which at that time was a significant portion of the Parthian empire.
So the assertion of Yahshua Christ, and of John on His behalf, to be the Light and the Truth come into the world, supplants the claims of all of these kings and law-givers and the pagan religions of the surrounding nations from the dawn of antiquity. Later on in John’s gospel, in chapter 12, we see this same assertion in words attributed to Christ Himself: “46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” Here we are quoting the King James Version, and as we shall see, we would translate that word world as society.
Those who reject Christ reveal by their rejection their own true nature and origin, since “the light… enlightens every man”, and His Word, which is the Word of God, shall judge them in the end, where they will ultimately be rejected.
Finally, we read in Revelation chapter 21, in the description of the City of God: “ 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. [The person of Christ remains as the physical manifestation of Yahweh, the invisible God.] 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.” Yahshua Christ is the creator of Light, He was the only Light at the beginning, and He shall be the only Light at the end.
Continuing with one more verse from John chapter 1:
10 He was in the Society, and the Society came to be through Him, yet the Society knew Him not.
The King James Version has this passage to read “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” So here we must ask, what is the world? Is the world the entire planet, as denominational Christians typically claim? Or is the world only a small portion or a certain segment of the planet?
So here we shall present, and also augment with more recent research, an article which we first wrote and presented at Christogenea in August of 2010, titled What is the World? We are obligated to include this here because we cannot expect those now following our commentary on John to find this much older article.
One cannot possibly understand the gospel of John as he wrote it without first understanding what he could have meant when he used words which are now translated as world. Notice that we said words:
There are three Greek words which appear in the Scriptures of the New Testament and which are commonly translated as world in English. They are αἰών (aeon), κόσμος (cosmos), and οἰκουμένη (oikoumene, oy-koo-men-ay). The first two of these words give us our English words eon and cosmos. It has become very important to the doctrines of mainstream denominational churches that whenever these words appear and are translated as world, that they are understood to refer to the entire planet and everything or everyone on it. However that was certainly not the case to the ancient Greeks, it was certainly not what was meant by the apostles, and it is the meaning of these words to Greek readers in the first century which should govern how Christians must understand them, because the modern conception of the word is certainly alien to any ideas which the Greeks themselves had when the New Testament was written. It was also alien to later Christian writers such as Irenaeus and Martin Luther.
First, each of those three words often translated as world shall be discussed. Unless otherwise noted, the definitions are all from Liddell & Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon.
The first word, αἰών (Strong’s # 165) is “a period of existence...one’s lifetime, life...an age, generation...a long space of time,… a definite space of time, an era, epoch,… period...hence its usage in plural, εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας for ever…” The related word αἰώνιος (166) is “lasting for an age… everlasting, eternal…” According to Strong’s Concordance, these words were rendered world(s) a total of 42 times in the King James Version of the Bible. While the word world has meanings which transcend its ordinary spatial sense, and, as we shall see below, the original meaning of the term was, indeed, temporal and not spatial, the general perception of the word's meaning today is certainly spatial, and not temporal. Rendering αἰών and αἰώνιος, which always have a temporal sense in Greek, as world, which today is most often perceived with a spatial sense in English, can create serious misconceptions in the interpretation of scripture.
The next word, and the word which appears three times in this passage of John, is κόσμος (Strong’s # 2889), which appears approximately 182 times in the New Testament. According to a count of verses in Moulton-Geden’s Concordance to the Greek Testament, about 85 percent of those occurrences are in the writings of John and Paul. The related verb, κοσμέω (Strong’s # 2885), is “to order, arrange...to deck, adorn, equip, furnish, dress....” The definition of a related verb is always important to understanding the definition of a noun. So κοσμέω means to order or arrange, and Liddell & Scott define κόσμος as “order… good order, good behaviour, decency… the form, fashion of a thing… of states, order, government… II. an ornament, decoration, embellishment, dress… III. a regulator… IV. the world or universe, from its perfect order… mankind, as we use ‘the world’, N.T.” That last definition, where Liddell & Scott show how the various New Testament translators and commentators perceive the meaning of the word world in the Bible, deserves further scrutiny.
But first, of the other words translated world in the King James Version, αἰών and αἰώνιος, discussed above, are literally age and lasting for an age, temporal and not spatial terms, and that in itself may give further insight into the flexibility of the meaning of the word world in the King James translators’ minds, especially once the original meaning of the word itself is examined. Second, there is another word translated world that does indeed explicitly refer to a geographic area, and that is οἰκουμένη. Once we understand what οἰκουμένη means, and how it was used, then perhaps we can perceive the meaning of the word κόσμος as the Greeks did.
In the edition of the Merriam-Webster dictionary found on the Internet, two relevant definitions of the modern English word cosmos are given. 1) “an orderly harmonious systematic universe”, which is the way the term is used in modern times, and 2) “a complex orderly self-inclusive system”, which is close to the original Greek meaning of the term. A κόσμος is the order of something, and in Biblical and historical writings the κόσμος is the order of the οἰκουμένη.
Liddell & Scott define οἰκουμένη, which appears in the New Testament approximately 15 times, as “the inhabited world, a term used to designate the Greek world, as opposed to barbarian lands… so in Roman times, the Roman world…” Strabo, the geographer, who died about 25 A.D. and therefore who had written not long before Paul, described the οἰκουμένη in his 17-book Geography. It included practically all of the lands inhabited by the White races – and not only the Romans, but the Parthians, Scythians and others of Asia, and all of northern Africa, as well as western Europe. Diodorus Siculus, writing about 40 B.C., referred to the lands about India as the “limits of the inhabited world”, using that same word οἰκουμένη, in his Library of History (1.19.7). This was the οἰκουμένη – the physical world which the race of Adam inhabited (Deuteronomy 32:8; Acts 17:26) – the physical world in spite of the fact that Strabo, Diodorus and others who used the term knew very well of the lands inhabited by alien tribes in places such as Africa to the south and India or China to the east, which were not considered a part of the οἰκουμένη, nor could they be included in their perception of the κόσμος.
In Luke chapter 2, we see this same use of the word οἰκουμένη, where it is translated as world and it says “1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” So “all the world” to Luke was the land ruled over by Caesar Augustus which he had the authority and the ability to tax, and that was actually only a very small portion of the planet. So the following is from Strabo of Cappadocia, the famous Greek geographer who died in 25 AD, so he wrote this not long before the ministry of Christ began, in defense of the importance of the study of geography:
And that other argument, it seems to me, is adduced with especial force in reference to present-day conditions, namely, that the greater part of geography subserves the needs of states; for the scene of the activities of states is land and sea, the dwelling-place of man. The scene is small when the activities are of small importance, and large when they are of large importance; and the largest is the scene that embraces all the rest (which we call by the special name of "the inhabited world") and this, therefore, would be the scene of activities of the largest importance. Moreover, the greatest generals are without exception men who are able to hold sway over land and sea, and to unite nations and cities under one government and political administration. It is therefore plain that geography as a whole has a direct bearing upon the activities of commanders; for it describes continents and seas — not only the sea inside the limits of the whole inhabited world, but also those outside these limits. And the description which geography gives is of importance to these men who are concerned as to whether this or that is so or otherwise, and whether known or unknown. For thus they can manage their various affairs in a more satisfactory manner, if they know how large a country is, how it lies, and what are its peculiarities either of sky or soil. But because different kings rule in different quarters of the world, and carry on their activities from different centres and starting-points, and keep extending the borders of their empires, it is impossible either for them or for geographers to be equally familiar with all parts of the world; nay, the phrase "more or less" is a fault much in evidence in kings and geographers. (Geography, 1.1.16)
Where the word world, or the phrase inhabited world appears in this portion of Strabo, the Greek word is οἰκουμένη, and we can clearly see that the οἰκουμένη was not the entire planet, as he explicitly mentioned portions of the planet within and outside of the οἰκουμένη. An overall examination of Strabo’s οἰκουμένη reveals a description of the lands inhabited almost exclusively by the White race of his time. In this manner Luke used the same word to describe only that portion which Caesar had the power to tax. The greater portion of the White world in Europe, northern Africa and the Middle East was indeed under the power of Rome.
It should be quite evident that if the οἰκουμένη was the portion of the physical world inhabited by the Adamic man, the White man, then the κόσμος described the order, decorum, and arrangement of that οἰκουμένη. While the οἰκουμένη was the physical world, the κόσμος was its society and its embellishment, or arrangement. Of course, the heavenly bodies were considered by the Greeks and Romans to be only another part of that arrangement, and much more an important part of their ancient world than we perceive them to be of ours today. The ancients actually used the heavenly bodies to keep track of the times and seasons, to govern their lives in areas such as travel and agriculture. But that was only a small part of the κόσμος. The sum total of the ancient concept of κόσμος can only be described by us in one word as society, and that is the way in which we translated it in the Christogenea New Testament.
Support for this idea that κόσμος is society is found in the May-June 2004 issue of Archaeology Odyssey, on p. 26 in an article entitled “Is Homer Historical?” by one Gregory Nagy, and while I can’t agree with all of the author’s opinions concerning Homer and his writings, the definition of κόσμος found in the article on p. 31 is a good one, where he explains that to the Spartans, the κόσμος was the sum total of their government and their social order – their society. There Nagy specifically stated that “the Cosmos also referred to the social order of Sparta as idealized by the Spartans – the cosmos, as it were, of their society.”
We have just seen in ANET an assertion by the ancient king of Babylon, the lawgiver Hammurabi, that he was “the king who has made the four quarters of the world subservient.” Since four quarters are a whole, did Hammurabi rule over the entire planet? Or did he rule only a portion of the ancient Near and Middle East? It is plainly evident in history that he only ruled over a small portion of the planet, but to him that small portion was all four quarters of his world.
From a source much closer to the translators of the King James Version, which is a Christian writer that they all must have at least been familiar with, we shall see once again what is meant by the word world. We recently said the following here in a presentation titled Christianity in the Old Testament, Part 1, an Introduction: What is a Catholic?:
Now, we have already made the assertion that the “world” is not the “planet”. Here we want to quantify that statement. There are statements throughout the early Christian writers that refer to the “whole world”. For instance, Irenaeus, in Against Heresies, Book 1, Chapter 9, makes the remark that “The Universal Church, moreover, through the whole world, has received this tradition from the apostles.” Unfortunately, the translators themselves display a Roman Catholic bias here. But if we examine the Greek manuscripts, the word καθολικός was translated as “universal”, however we have already demonstrated that such was not the meaning of the word. The corresponding Latin phrase in Irenaeus is Ecclesia autem omnis per universum orbem hanc accepit ab apostolis traditionem. The English translation here is deceptive, as universum is an adjective modifying orbem, or world, but definitely not ecclesia, or church. Literally, it should say, in regard to what had preceded, that “The whole assembly throughout the entire world received this from apostolic tradition.” This one example, among many, helps to establish that the world of Irenaeus was not the entire planet. In his time, Christians were not spread all over the planet, but only within the White European world. The “world” of Irenaeus was the Roman world, and not the entire planet.
But nevertheless, to Luther the whole world was not the entire planet. This is evident where Luther mentions the “world”, in Chapter 13 of On the Jews and Their Lies. There he wrote:
It is a great, extraordinary, and wonderful thing that the Gentiles in all the world accepted, without sword or coercion, with no temporal benefits accruing to them, gladly and freely, a poor Man of the Jews as the true Messiah, one whom his own people had crucified, condemned, cursed, and persecuted without end.
Luther was most likely confused and thought that Jesus was a Jew because he learned much of his Christianity from converso-Jews. Now, we can certainly establish with many proofs from History and Scripture that Christ was a Judaean, but He was certainly not a Jew – not as we know the term Jew or the people it represents. His sheep heard His voice, and they followed Him. The Edomites, Canaanites and other bastards rejected Him because they, who retained the label of Jew to this very day, are not His sheep, as He Himself had told them. Notice, however, that Luther said that “the Gentiles in all the world accepted” Christ, using the past tense. At Luther's time, the Indians, Asians, Arabs, Turks and others were rejecting Christ while Roman Catholicism, which Luther rejected as Christianity, was being forced on the squat monsters of the Americas by the sword: in a manner which Luther also rejected! Therefore, to Luther, Christian Europe alone represented “the Gentiles… all the world”.
This is certainly a far departure from the universalist theologian’s view of the world as the planet and everyone in it, which is surely not an accurate view when compared with the ancient texts and the original meanings of the words. Yet by necessity, in the Biblical context I must understand the word to refer to the society in the sense of Adamic society. Anything more or less is intellectually dishonest. Interpreting scripture, like interpreting any other archaic writing, one cannot honestly change the meaning of a word or assign a word a modern meaning, contrary to the way it was used by its original authors and still presume to understand the original message.
Now to take all of this a step further, it may very well be that the way in which the King James Version translators understood the word world is itself quite different than how we understand it today. If we investigate the word world in the American Heritage College Dictionary, 3rd Edition, we find that it is derived from an Old and Middle English word, weorold, and we are referred to an entry for a supposed proto-Indo-European word (wi-ro) in their appendix of Indo-European Roots. When we check this entry, we find that the word world comes from the Germanic word wer, which is akin to the Latin vir, for man, and the Germanic word ald, which is a life or an age, and that is the word from which we get our word old. When the Germanic words wer and ald are put together the word world means age of man. Therefore, originally, in English, world is a temporal term and not a spatial term! It means to refer to our Adamic age, and it does not mean to refer to everyone and everything on the planet, or especially to the planet itself! Our confusion over the meaning of this word has led us into total confusion when attempting to understand our own literature, and especially our Bibles! Why do we let satan publish dictionaries? The world is the age of Adamic man, and it should be nothing else, because it is only the (White) Adamic nations which Yahweh our God concerned Himself with throughout our Bibles, as evidenced in Genesis Chapter 10, Deuteronomy 32:8, Luke 2:1 and Acts 17:26!
The world is not the planet and all that it contains – not even in King James’ English, and certainly not in our Bibles!