Bible Rank: 130
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” NIV
Bible Rank: 130
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” NIV
24 [a] When Saul returned from following the Philistines, he was told, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Wildgoats’ Rocks. 3 And he came to the sheepfolds by the way, where there was a cave, and Saul went in to relieve himself.[b] Now David and his men were sitting in the innermost parts of the cave. 4 And the men of David said to him, “Here is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you.’” Then David arose and stealthily cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 5 And afterward David’s heart struck him, because he had cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 6 He said to his men, “The Lordforbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord‘s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the Lord‘s anointed.” 7 So David persuaded his men with these words and did not permit them to attack Saul. And Saul rose up and left the cave and went on his way.
8 Afterward David also arose and went out of the cave, and called after Saul, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth and paid homage. 9 And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men who say, ‘Behold, David seeks your harm’? 10 Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you.[c] I said, ‘I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord‘s anointed.’ 11 See, my father, see the corner of your robe in my hand. For by the fact that I cut off the corner of your robe and did not kill you, you may know and see that there is no wrong or treason in my hands. I have not sinned against you, though you hunt my life to take it. 12 May the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’ But my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? After a dead dog! After a flea! 15 May the Lord therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.”
16 As soon as David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept.17 He said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. 18 And you have declared this day how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day.20 And now, behold, I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand. 21 Swear to me therefore by the Lord that you will not cut off my offspring after me, and that you will not destroy my name out of my father’s house.” 22 And David swore this to Saul. Then Saul went home, but David and his men went up to the stronghold.
Bible Rank: 131
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. NIV
Intimacy with God is available to you. It is as accessible to you as God’s promises. And God’s invitation to you to enjoy intimate fellowship with him is that thing that is putting your faith to the test more than anything else (James 1:2–4).
Intimacy is what we call the experience of really knowing and being known by another person. We frequently use spatial language when describing this experience. An intimate friend is someone we feel very close to; they know us at a deep level. If something happens that damages the intimacy with our friend, they feel distant from us. Or a person who doesn’t know us intimately knows us at a superficial level.
But of course intimacy is not spatial but relational. We all know what it’s like to be sitting right next to a person with whom we feel distant and we can feel close to a person who is four thousand miles away.
Biblical knowledge is far better than gold when it fuels our trust in God. Otherwise, it only fuels our pride.
What makes us feel intimate with another person? While there are many ingredients to intimacy and each intimate relationship we have has a different recipe, common to all of them is trust. We cannot be intimate with a person we don’t trust.
Trust is at the heart of intimacy. The more we trust someone, the closer we let them get to us. The degree to which trust is compromised in a relationship is the degree to which intimacy evaporates.
This is as true in our relationship with God as it is in our relationships with other human beings. Our experience of God’s nearness or distance is not a description of his actual proximity to us, but of our experience of intimacy with him. Scripture shows us that God is intimate with those who trust him. The more we trust God, the more intimately we come to know him. A felt distance from God is often due to a disruption in trust, such as a sin or disappointment.
This reality is vitally important to understand. As Christians, we want to experience intimacy with God. With the psalmist we say, “for me it is good to be near God” (Psalm 73:28). And we want to heed James’s exhortation and realize its promise: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8). But we can seek that nearness in ways that don’t produce it.
One common mistake is thinking that nearness to God can be achieved through knowledge accumulation. Now, of course, to intimately know God, we must know crucial things about God. Jesus said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32) and he pointed out that many worship what they do not know (John 4:22).
But never in the history of the Christian church has so much theological knowledge been available to so many people as it is today. The American church enjoys perhaps the greatest amount of this abundance. We are awash in Bible translations, good books, insightful articles, recorded sermons, interviews, movies, documentaries, music, and more. And much of it very good. It is right for us to be very thankful.
But America is not abounding in Enochs (or finding them frequently disappearing), saints who walk with God in a profoundly intimate way (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5). Why? Because knowledge is not synonymous with trust. That’s why Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day, some who possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of Scripture,
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 5:39–40)
Biblical knowledge is far better than gold when it fuels our trust in God, because it fuels our intimacy with God (Psalm 19:10). But when biblical knowledge replaces our trust in God, it only fuels our pride (1 Corinthians 8:1).
Another common mistake is trying to achieve intimacy with God through subjective aesthetic experiences. We might call it a “Field of Dreams” approach: If we build the right environment, God will “come.”
Some pursue this in high liturgical environments designed to inspire an experience of transcendence and mystery. Others pursue it in contemporary worship events designed to inspire an experience of immanence. Others chase revivals, thinking that proximity to God’s power will result in proximity to God. If we truly trust God, such environments can encourage our intimacy with God. But none of them inherently possesses the power to conjure God’s nearness to us.
God is impressed with our faith, not our feats.
Think of it like this: A candlelit dinner with romantic music may encourage a sweet moment of relational intimacy between a husband and wife, but only to the degree that the environment encourages and deepens their mutual trust and love. If there’s relational distance between them due to a lack of trust, the aesthetics themselves have no power to bridge the distance. Only restoring the trust will do that.
The secret to drawing near to God and having him draw near to us is revealed clearly in the Bible: we draw near to God through faith in Christ who alone gives us access to him (Hebrews 4:14–16; 7:25; Philippians 3:9), and we put our trust in all of “his precious and very great promises” which find their Yes to us in Christ (2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 1:20).
God is impressed with our faith, not our feats. Where faith is lacking, he is not pleased with the quantity of our knowledge or the quality of our aesthetic events.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
When God sees someone whose heart fully trusts his promises and lives by them, God comes to strongly support that saint (2 Chronicles 16:9) and manifests himself to him:
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)
What you must trust God most for right now is where he means for you to draw closer to him.
God wants intimacy with you. Christ has done all the hard work in the cross to make it possible. All he requires is that you believe in him (John 14:1). He wants you to trust him with all your heart (Proverbs 3:5).
Which means his invitation to you to enjoy intimacy with him is the providences in your life that are testing your faith more than anything else. What you must trust God most for right now is where he means for you to draw closer to him.
It is likely an invitation that your flesh wants to decline. But as you read your Bible, do not the great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) all agree with James and Peter that the greatest testing of faith is the path to the greatest joy (James 1:2–4; 1 Peter 1:8–9)? And do they not agree with Paul that it is not worth comparing to the joy of knowing Christ and the coming glory (Philippians 3:8; Romans 8:18)?
Intimacy with God often occurs in the places where we must trust him most. Heaven on earth is the inexpressible joy and the peace that surpasses understanding that comes from trusting God wholly (Philippians 4:6–7). For, as the old hymn writer said, “they who trust him wholly find him wholly true.”
|Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time
The apostle Paul perfectly expresses the most earnest desire of every true follower of Christ: “That I may know him” (Philippians 3:10).
“Knowing Christ,” in the Pauline sense is not the sort of mystical relationship many people imagine. Paul wasn’t longing for some secret knowledge of Christ beyond what is revealed in Scripture. He wasn’t asking that private messages from Christ be whispered into his ear.
In fact, the knowledge of Christ Paul sought was anything but mystical. What he longed to know was the power of Christ’s resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings, and conformity to His death.
We err greatly if we think of intimacy with Christ as some lofty level of mysterious, feelings-based communion with the Divine—as if it involved some knowledge of God that goes beyond what Scripture has revealed. That idea is the very heart of the gnostic heresy. It has nothing in common with true Christianity.
Just what do we mean, then, when we speak of intimacy with Christ? How can we pursue knowing Christ the way Paul had in mind in Philippians 3:10? Scripture suggests at least five aspects of true intimacy with Christ:
The Intimacy of Faith
Notice what prompts Paul’s comment about knowing Christ in Philippians 3:10. He had already spent several verses describing his life before Christ (Philippians 3:4-6). He cited all the spiritual advantages he enjoyed as a Pharisaic Jew. But then he declared that he had discarded all those spiritual advantages for Christ’s sake: “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8).
As a Pharisee, Paul had sought to earn God’s favor by legal obedience. But he came to realize that the law sets a standard he could never meet. And so he scrapped all his own works of righteousness as if they were filthy rags (cf. Isaiah 64:6). This does not mean that he ceased doing good works, of course, but that he gave up trusting in those works for his salvation. Instead, he put all his faith in Christ—and was clothed in Christ’s perfect righteousness instead of his own imperfect works.
This is the doctrine known as justification by faith. Scripture teaches that our sins were imputed to Christ, and He paid the full penalty for them in His death. Now Christ’s own righteousness is imputed to us, and we receive the full merit of it. Without this reality we could enjoy no relationship whatsoever with a holy God.
Moreover, justification by faith—because it means we are clothed in Christ’s own righteousness—establishes the most intimate imaginable relationship between the believer and his Lord. It is an inviolable spiritual union. That’s why Paul often described believers as those who are “in Christ.”
In other words, all true intimacy with Christ has its basis in faith. In fact, no relationship with Him whatsoever is possible apart from faith (Hebrews 1:1). As the apostle Peter points out, we love Him by faith, even though we have not seen Him (1 Peter 1:8).
The Intimacy of True Worship
In Hosea 6:6 the Lord says, “I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”
That verse means we should not imagine that worship consists of rote acts of religious ritual—like sacrifices, burnt offerings, and other ceremonies. Instead, we need to realize that real worship is grounded in the true knowledge of God.
If we want God to delight in our worship, we must think rightly about Him. The very essence of idolatry consists in wrong thoughts about God. And conversely, true knowledge of God means knowing Him as He is revealed in Scripture.
To put it another way, sound doctrine, not liturgy and ritual, is the litmus test of whether our worship is acceptable.
Right thinking about God is therefore essential to true intimacy with Him. Anyone who would know Him intimately must know what He has revealed about Himself. And again, this does not mean we should seek some mystical knowledge about God. All we can know with any certainty about God is what is revealed in Scripture. Those who would know the true God in the true way must therefore seek to be thoroughly familiar with His Word.
The Intimacy of Prayer
Jesus himself taught us to seek intimacy with God through private prayer. Prayer is where the worshiper pours out his heart to God. And Jesus Himself stressed the importance of private prayer: “when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret” (Matthew 6:6).
He was confronting the practice of the Pharisees, who loved to pray publicly, for show. Jesus was not teaching that prayers should never be offered publicly, for there are obviously times when Scripture calls us to corporate prayer.
But the true Christian seeking intimacy with God will pray most often, and most fervently, in private. The true audience of all our prayers is God Himself. And if we understood what an incomprehensible privilege it is to be invited to come boldly before His throne of grace, we would surely spend more time there, pouring out our most intimate thoughts, fears, desires, and expressions of love to Him.
The Intimacy of Obedience
Jesus said to the disciples, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14). Thus Christ Himself made obedience to Him an absolute requirement for true spiritual intimacy.
Let no one claim intimacy with Christ whose life is marked by disobedience rather than submission to Him. Those who refuse to obey Christ as Lord cannot claim to know Him as a friend. Scripture plainly declares that He is Lord of all (Acts 10:36), and He is therefore entitled to demand our allegiance to His Lordship.
As a matter of fact, those who withhold that allegiance are His enemies, not His intimates (cf. James 4:4). That’s why true intimacy with Him is utterly impossible without unconditional surrender to His divine authority.
Again, this takes the matter of intimacy with Christ out of the realm of the mystical and defines it in terms that are intensely practical.
The Intimacy of Suffering
Returning to Philippians 3:10, we note once again what kind of intimacy with Christ Paul was seeking: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”
Of course, we easily understand why Paul wanted a share in the power of Christ’s resurrection. But why did the apostle desire to know the fellowship of Christ’s sufferingsand be conformed to His death?
We can be certain that Paul had no perverse love of pain and suffering. Elsewhere he testified how he repeatedly besought the Lord to deliver him from a “messenger of Satan” that was like a thorn under his skin (2 Corinthians 12:7).
In the midst of that experience Paul discovered that God’s grace is sufficient to see us through all our sufferings. Moreover, God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
God gives a special measure of grace to those whom He calls to endure suffering. In a familiar passage in the Beatitudes, Jesus said this about suffering:
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you (Matthew 5:10-12).
There is a special blessedness known only to those who suffer for Christ’s sake. Those who would desire true intimacy with Him must be willing to endure what He endured.
Add all those things together to get the full picture: True intimacy with Christ involves suffering, obedience, much prayer, a good knowledge of God’s Word, and a life of faith.
Notice that those are not advanced skills for second-level Christians. They are the most elementary issues of the Christian life. That underscores the truth that intimacy with Christ is not some sort of mystical secret. It is the whole point of our life in Christ. Indeed, it is the chief end for which we were created: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A183
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by James White
|The Gospel of John has come under great fire in recent centuries for its incredibly high Christology. On this basis alone certain form-critics have rejected the book as having any historical authenticity whatsoever, assuming (without foundation) that such a high Christology could only have evolved after quite some time of “theological formulation” and hence placing its writing well into the second century. Fortunately, not all scholars share the same unfounded presuppositions.
The person of Christ as presented in John’s Gospel is indeed of an exceptionally high character – John asserts that Jesus is “the Word become flesh” (John 1:14). He says that this Word is eternal, has always been “with” God (pros ton theon) and indeed shares the very being of God (John 1:1). John describes Jesus as the unique God (monogenes theos) in John 1:18. He portrays Jesus saying that He is the way, the truth, and the life – that man’s very life and salvation is dependent upon his relationship with Him (a claim nothing short of blasphemy for a mere created being!), and the Gospel climaxes in Thomas’ confession of Jesus as his “Lord and God”.
Though the evidences of the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ are numerous in this book, one set of these evidences has always fascinated theologians. Jesus utilizes the specific phrase ego eimi of Himself frequently in John’s Gospel, and a number of times He does so in a pregnant way, not providing any immediately identifiable predicate. John’s recording of these sayings is also significant, as he provides rather obvious settings for these sayings, emphasizing their importance. Is there a significance to this phrase? What is it’s purpose and meaning? Does this phrase present yet another aspect of the Deity of Christ? This shall be the topic of the following investigation.
Usage of ego eimi in the Gospel of John
The specific phrase ego eimi occurs 24 times in the Gospel of John. Seventeen of these times it is followed by a clear predicate. 1 Some of these instances would be John 6:35, “I am the living bread” (ego eimi ho artos tes zoes) or John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd” (ego eimi ho poimen ho kalos). 3 times the usage does not fall into a clear category – these would be 4:26, 6:20, and 9:9. In 4:26 Jesus says to the woman at the well, “I am, the one speaking to you” (ego eimi, ho lalon soi) which is strangely reminiscent of the LXX rendering of Isaiah 52:6 (ego eimi autos ho lalon). In 6:20 it seems to be a rather straight-forward self-identification to the frightened disciples in the boat. 2 And in 9:9 we find the man who had been healed of his blindness insisting that he was indeed the man of whom they spoke. This last instance is similar to the sayings as Jesus utters them, in that the phrase comes at the end of the clause and looks elsewhere for its predicate.
Given the above usages, we are left with 7 usages that have been described as “absolute”. 3 These would be John 8:24, 8:28, 8:58, 13:19, 18:5, 18:6, and 18:8. It is these seven passages that make up the bulk of the discussion concerning the use of ego eimi by John. For the sake of accurate examination, the transliterations of these phrases are provided below:
John uses this phrase of Jesus more than any other writer. The phrase does occur in Mark 14:62-64 as well, however. It is to be noted that in the above list, the phrase itself comes at the end of the clause in each instance. This will have significance when the Septuagint background of John’s usage is examined.
The main verses that will undergo examination here are 8:24, 8:58, 13:19, and 18:5-6. In the author’s translation these passages read as follows:
Translation of ego eimi
Before the exact meaning or significance of ego eimi in John’s gospel can be adequately addressed, the proper translation of the phrase must be determined. There are a very small number of translations that avoid a direct translation of the present indicative ego eimi. Moffat renders it, “I have existed before Abraham was born!” The Twentieth Century New Testament has, “before Abraham existed I was.” Kleist and Lilly have “I am here–and I was before Abraham!” C. B. Williams gives “I existed before Abraham was born.” Schonfield renders the last clause “I existed before Abraham was born.” And the spiritist Johannes Greber (who claimed to get his translation through a spirit medium!) has, “I am older than Abraham.” The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ own translation, the New World Translation, renders ego eimi as “I have been”.
Allegedly many of these translations are viewing the phrase as what Robertson calls a “progressive present”. Robertson writes,
There are many instances in historical narrative or conversation where the Greek will use a present tense verb that is best rendered in English by the perfect. John 15:27 would be a good example: “because you have been with me from the beginning.” The verb, este, is in the present tense, but the context makes it clear that it is in reference to both the past and the present, or, as Moulton said above, it “gathers up past and present time into one phrase.” Robertson correctly notes that this is a common idiom in the New Testament, though he also adds the fact that, in his opinion, John 8:58 is “absolute” and should be rendered as such (which he always does in his works 5). It should also be noted that it is the deficiency of the English that is to blame for the rendering – to place weight on the meaning of the English perfect tense when rendering the Greek present in this way would be in error.
So why should John 8:58 not be rendered in this way? Why do so few translations follow this path? Because to so translate is to miss the entire context and content of what is being said! The vast majority of translators see, as many commentators do, that there is a clear differentiation being made here between the derivative existence of Abraham and the eternal existence of the Lord Christ. That this is understood by the translators of our modern editions can be seen from a look at the translations that render this phrase either as “I am” or “I Am” or “I AM”:
This writer is not aware of a single version, produced by a team or group of scholars, that renders ego eimi at John 8:58 in a perfect tense. Even those who do not see here a reference to the Deity of Christ (such as Barrett 6) do not change the translation to something else. Rather, many scholars rightly point out the same contrasting of verbs as seen in the prologue of John (between the aorist ginomai and the imperfect en) as well as the same kind of differentiation found in the LXX rendering of Psalm 90:2. 7 They also recognize that the response of the Jews would be rather strong if this was simply a claim of bald pre-existence. The oft-repeated charge of blasphemy as found in John makes this clear. Rather, the usage of a term used of God Himself (as will be shown later) would be sufficient to bring the response of verse 59.
The phrase was so understood by the early church as well. Irenaeus showed familiarity with it as “I am” 8 as did Origen 9 and Novatian. 10 Chrysostom wrote, “As the Father used this expression, “I Am,” so also doth Christ; for it signifieth continuous Being, irrespective of time. On which account the expression seemed to them to be blasphemous.” 11 The context of this passage is far too strong to allow this to be rendered as a simple historical narrative, resulting in the conversion of the present indicative into a perfect tense. Alford added,
Old Testament Background of ego eimi
An extensive discussion of this topic is beyond the scope of this paper. 13 Suffice it to say that the position taken by this writer reflects a consensus opinion of many scholars, that being that the closest and most logical connection between John’s usage of ego eimi and the Old Testament is to be found in the Septuagint rendering of the Hebrew phrase ani hu in the writings (primarily) of Isaiah. 14 It is true that many go directly to Exodus 3:14 for the background, but it is felt that unless one first establishes the connection with the direct quotation of ego eimi in the Septuagint, the connection with Exodus 3:14 will be somewhat tenuous.
The Septuagint translates the Hebrew phrase ani hu as ego eimi in Isaiah 41:4, 43:10 and 46:4. In each of these instances the phrase ani hu appears at the end of the clause, and is so rendered (or punctuated) in the LXX (just as in these seven examples in John). The phrase ego eimi appears as the translation of a few other phrases in Isaiah as well that are significant to this discussion. It translates the Hebrew anoki anoki hu as ego eimi in 43:25 and 51:12. Once (52:6) ani hu is translated as ego eimi autos (basically an even more emphasized form). And once (45:18) we find ego eimi kurios for ani Yahweh! This last passage is provocative in that it is in the context of creation, an act ascribed to Jesus by John (John 1:3) and other New Testament writers (Colossians 1:16-17, Hebrews 1:2-3).
The usage of ani hu by Isaiah is as a euphemism for the very name of God Himself. Some see a connection between ani hu and Yahweh as both referring to being. 15 That it carried great weight with the Jews is seen in 8:59 and their reaction to the Lord’s usage of the phrase. If one wishes to say that Jesus was not speaking Greek, but Aramaic, the difficulty is not removed, for the identification would have been just that much clearer!
There seems to be a direct connection between the Septuagint and Jesus’ usage of ego eimi. In Isaiah 43:10 we read, “that you may know, and believe, and understand, that I am He” (personal translation). In the LXX this is rendered thus: hina gnote kai pisteusete kai sunete hoti ego eimi. In John 13:19, Jesus says to the disciples, “from now on I tell you before it comes to pass in order that when it does happen, you may believe that I am.” (personal translation). In Greek the last phrase is hina pisteusete hotan genetai hoti ego eimi. When one removes the extraneous words (such as hotan genetai which connects the last clause to the first) and compares these two passages, this is the result:
Even if one were to theorize that Jesus Himself did not attempt to make such an obvious connection between Himself and Yahweh (which would be difficult enough to do!) one must answer the question of why John, being obviously familiar with the LXX, would so intentionally insert this kind of parallelism.
Another parallel between the usage of ego eimi in John 13:19 and its usage in Isaiah has to do with the fact that in 13:19 Jesus is telling them the future – one of the very challenges to the false gods thrown down by Yahweh in the passages from Isaiah under consideration (the so-called “trial of the false gods) This connection is direct in Isaiah 41:4, “Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, – with the first of them and with the last – I am He.” Here the “calling forth” of the generations – time itself – is part of the usage of ani hu. The same is true in John 13:19. In the same chapter of the book of Isaiah references above, in verse 22 we read, “Bring in your idols, to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come…” That this reference to knowledge of the future would appear in the same section that uses ani hu as the name for God, and that this would be introduced by the Lord Himself in the same context in John 13:19, is significant indeed.
Johannine Usage of ego eimi – Interpretation
It is not hard to understand why there have been many who have not wished to make the connection that John makes between Jesus and Yahweh. One cannot make this identification outside of a trinitarian understanding of the Gospel itself, as one can certainly not identify Jesus as the Father in John’s Gospel, hence, if Jesus is identified as ego eimi in the sense of the Old Testament ani hu, then one is left with two persons sharing the one nature that is God, and this, when it encounters John’s discussion of the Holy Spirit, becomes the basis of the doctrine of the Trinity! Indeed, many of the denials of the rather clear usage of ego eimi in John 8:24, 8:58, 13:19 and 18:5-6 find their origin in preconceived theologies 18 that are nearly unitarian, subordinationist, or so enamored with naturalistic rationalism as to be antisuper-natural. An interpreter who is unwilling to dismiss the words of Scripture as simply “tradition” (and hence non-authoritative) or to interpret Scripture in contradiction with itself (as in a violation of strict monotheism in the positing of a being who is quasi-god, mighty, but not “almighty”) will be hard pressed to avoid the obvious conclusions of John’s presentation. Lest one should find it hard to believe that John would identify the carpenter from Galilee as Yahweh Himself, it might be pointed out that he did just that in John 12:39-41 by quoting from Isaiah’s temple vision of Yahweh in Isaiah 6 and then concluding by saying, “These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory and he spoke about Him.” The only “Him” in the context is Jesus; hence, for John, Isaiah, when he saw Yahweh on His throne, was in reality seeing the Lord Jesus. John 1:18 says as much as well.
It is self-evident that such a far-reaching and in reality astounding claim as is made by the Lord Jesus in John 8:24, 58 is hard to accept outside of the highest estimation of His person. Indeed, Augustine wrote,
But can the usage of ego eimi withstand that much weight? Though being a “scholar” does not guarantee infallibility in judgment, it should at least provide assurance of factual understanding. Given this, the scholars seem to feel that it can.
Leon Morris has written,
Warfield has written concerning this,
The great expositor J. C. Ryle noted,
Luther, like Augustine before him, wrote in no uncertain terms:
A.T. Robertson certainly did not see any linguistic problems here:
And finally, William Hendrickson put it rather bluntly:
This writer feels that there is no way that John could have been any more obvious in his intention to invest in ego eimi a significance far beyond the simple function of identification that it can, and does at times, perform. In 8:58 the Jews pick up stones to stone Jesus. The other two times this occurs are right on the heels of claims to deity as well – first in John 5 where Jesus has just claimed equality with the Father both by calling God His own Father in very special terms as well as claiming the same right to work on the Sabbath as the Jews understood to be God’s in upholding the universe; secondly in John 10 after Jesus claims that He and the Father are one in their role of bringing salvation to God’s elect – His “sheep”. In both instances John spells it out clearly that these claims were understood to be claims to equality with God – can 8:58 then be different?
In John 13:19 the introduction of the phrase in correlation with the revelation of future events just as is found in Isaiah, even to the point of nearly quoting the LXX rendering, is far too specific to be overlooked. And in 18:5-6, John repeats the phrase in verse six to make sure that the reader understands the reason for the soldiers’ falling backwards. And why would the soldiers fall backwards if not for the awesomeness of the words of Jesus? Some of the naturalistic explanations brought forward for this incident are so ludicrous as to be absurd. John’s meaning cannot be mistaken.
If each of these instances were examined solely in a vacuum, separated from the others, without any thought of the entire book of John, one might see how their collective significance could be missed. But this is not the way of scholarly interpretation. These statements are not made in a vacuum – they are placed in a book that is rich with meaning and purpose. It has been well said that John intends the entire Gospel to be read through the “interpretive window” of the Prologue of 1:1-18. Given the teachings of that passage, can one seriously doubt the meaning of ego eimi in the above examined passages? It would seem not.
It could fairly be admitted that an immediate and unqualified jump from the ego eimi of John 8:58 to Exodus 3:14 is unwise. The connection that is much more properly traced is the one given here, that of ego eimi/ani hu as found in Isaiah. The connection between Isaiah and Exodus 3:14 is so obvious as to be undeniable.
We have seen that John uses ego eimi in more than one way – the majority of the time providing a predicate. Even these are astounding in their majesty in regards to the person of Christ. Here Jesus is said to be the way, the truth, and the life; the light of the world; the bread of life; and the good shepherd, each of which it should be noted, has parallels to statements made by Yahweh in the Old Testament. But the bulk of this paper has been devoted to those passages where the phrase is used in a specific sense – in an “absolute” sense.
Upon examining these we have seen that they find their origin and background in the book of Isaiah’s usage of the Hebrew term ani hu and its translation as ego eimi in the LXX. We have seen the close parallel between Isaiah 43:10 and John 13:19, both in form as well as thought content.
We have also seen how the context of the passages themselves – the setting and teaching of the entire book of John – makes the identification of ego eimi and its resultant presentation of the deity of Christ inevitable. We have seen how John purposefully emphasizes these phrases, helping us to grasp their significance.
In closing, we might do well to look, then, with this understanding in mind, at Jesus’ words at John 8:24: “unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins.” Jesus here gives us the content and object of saving faith – faith, real faith is that which comes to the real Jesus. A faith that demands a change in Jesus before a commitment is made is not real faith at all. The Jews standing about Him during this conversation most assuredly would not have denied that He was a man – but that was not sufficient for faith. Some had just recently proclaimed Him as Messiah – but that was not sufficient for faith. Some might hail Him as a prophet or a miracle worker, blessed by God – but that was not sufficient for faith. Some today say He was a great moral teacher and philosopher – but that is not sufficient for faith. Some call Him “a god” or a great angel – but that is not sufficient for faith. No, Jesus Himself laid down the line – unless one believes Him for whom He says He is – the ego eimi – one will die in one’s sins. There is no salvation in a false Christ. If we are to be united with Christ to have eternal life, then we must be united with the true Christ, not a false representation. It is out of love that Christ uttered John 8:24. We would do well to heed His words.
1. These are: John 6:35, 6:41, 6:51, 8:12, 8:18, 10:7, 10:9, 10:11, 10:14, 11:25, 14:6, 15:1, 15:5.
25. William Hendrickson, New Testament Commentary: The Gospel of John, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953) pg. 67.
Bible Rank: 132
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee NIV
Bible Rank: 133
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: KJV
Bible Rank: 134
He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” NIV
Bible Rank: 135
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” NIV
Bible Rank: 136
“God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.”” NIV
Bible Rank: 137
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals NIV
On Galatians 3-4, the ESV Study Bible comments:
3:6-9 The Gospel in the OT (1): Abraham. Paul issues a second direct appeal to the Galatians: it is not just their own experience of receiving the gospel by faith that should teach them that salvation is not by the law by grace. Rather, the OT example of Abraham also teaches that it is through genuine faith, not the law, that one is counted righteous (see Gen. 15:6).
3:10-14 The Gospel in the OT (2): Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Habakkuk. Any attempt to be justified by the law leads to a curse, for righteousness comes only by faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ. All those indwelt by the Holy Spirit enjoy the blessing of Abraham.
4:21-31 The Gospel in the OT (3): Abraham Sons. Paul continues to emphasize the chasm between being a free child of God and being a slave to the law, sin, and false gods. The background to this passage is Genesis 16-17 and 21. Abraham’s son Ishmael–technically the firstborn–represents the slave sons of Abraham and hence the enslaving Sinai covenant, because he was Abraham’s son through the slave woman Hagar. Isaac, on the other hand, represents the free sons of Abraham (see Gal. 3:7, 29).
Bible Rank: 139
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” NIV
Bible Rank: 140
He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. NIV
If we navigate carefully, we can find modest websites that have a personal ad section, free and open to anyone. It just occurred to me to try posting on a relatively clean one, making sure to stress the importance of my faith. Now I’m waiting to see if it’ll yield any results. This could be a temporary solution pending the creation of the godly ANR dating site we all want.
Bible Rank: 141
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. NIV
Bible Rank: 142
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. KJV
Bible Rank: 143
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: KJV
The moralist tends to see sex as dirty or at least a dangerous impulse that leads constantly to sin. There will be an approach-avoidance relationship with sex. The uneasy conscience of the moralist will lead to either complete avoidance OR to a very driven, breathless need for sexual experience. Both come from a glory-vacuum within, which makes sex into a way to fill the emptiness. On the other hand, the hedonist sees sex as merely biological and physical appetite. Thus the hedonist may be less convoluted and troubled about sex, yet they have also given up on the deep longing of their heart to have union with someone sexually that is completely, unconditionally, and permanently true to them.
But the gospel shows us that sexuality is to reflect the self-giving of Christ. He gave himself completely without conditions. So we are not to seek intimacy sexually but then hold back control of our lives. If we give ourselves sexually we are to give ourselves legally, socially, personally – utterly. Sex is only to happen in a totally committed, permanent relationship of marriage. Through Christ’s transformation of us, that ideal is somewhat realizable even between two sinners.
– Tim Keller
Answer: In the New Testament, the word most often translated “sexual immorality” is porneia. This word is also translated as “whoredom,” “fornication,” and “idolatry.” It means “a surrendering of sexual purity”, and it is primarily used of premarital sexual relations. From this Greek word we get the English word pornography, stemming from the concept of “selling off.” Sexual immorality is the “selling off” of sexual purity and involves any type of sexual expression outside the boundaries of a biblically defined marriage relationship (Matthew 19:4–5).
The connection between sexual immorality and idolatry is best understood in the context of 1 Corinthians 6:18, which says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” The bodies of believers are the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). Pagan idol worship often involved perverse and immoral sexual acts performed in the temple of a false god. When we use our physical bodies for immoral purposes, we are imitating pagan worship by profaning God’s holy temple with acts He calls detestable (1 Corinthians 6:9–11).
Biblical prohibitions against sexual immorality are often coupled with warnings against “impurity” (Romans 1:24; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 4:19). This word in the Greek is akatharsia, which means “defiled, foul, ceremonially unfit.” It connotes actions that render a person unfit to enter God’s presence. Those who persist in unrepentant immorality and impurity cannot come into the presence of God. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8; Psalm 24:3–4). It is impossible to maintain a healthy intimacy with God when our bodies and souls are given over to impurities of any kind.
Sexuality is God’s design. He alone can define the parameters for its use. The Bible is clear that sex was created to be enjoyed between one man and one woman who are in a covenant marriage until one of them dies (Matthew 19:6). Sexuality is His sacred wedding gift to human beings. Any expression of it outside those parameters constitutes abuse of God’s gift. Abuse is the use of people or things in ways they were not designed to be used. The Bible calls this sin. Adultery, premarital sex, pornography, and homosexual relations are all outside God’s design, which makes them sin.
The following are some common objections to God’s commands against sexual immorality:
1. It’s not wrong if we love each other. The Bible makes no distinction between “loving” and “unloving” sexual relations. The only biblical distinction is between married and unmarried people. Sex within marriage is blessed (Genesis 1:28); sex outside of marriage is “fornication” or “sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 7:2–5).
2. Times have changed, and what was wrong in biblical times is no longer considered sin. Most of the passages condemning sexual immorality also include evils such as greed, lust, stealing, etc. (1 Corinthians 6:9–10; Galatians 5:19–21). We have no problem understanding that these other things are still sin. God’s character does not change with culture’s opinion (Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 13:8).
3. We’re married in God’s eyes. This argument implies that God is cross-eyed. The fallacy of this idea is that the God who created marriage in the first place would retract His own command to accommodate what He has called sin. God declared marriage to be one man and one woman united for life (Mark 10:6–9). The Bible often uses the imagery of a wedding and a covenant marriage as a metaphor to teach spiritual truth (Matthew 22:2; Revelation 19:9). God takes marriage very seriously, and His “eyes” see immorality for what it is, regardless of how cleverly we have redefined it.
4. I can still have a good relationship with God because He understands. Proverbs 28:9 says, “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” We fool ourselves when we think that we can stubbornly choose sin and God does not care. First John 2:3–4 contains a serious challenge for those who persist in this line of thinking: “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.”
Hebrews 13:4 makes God’s expectation for His children crystal clear: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” Sexual immorality is wrong. The blood of Jesus can cleanse us from every type of impurity when we repent and receive His forgiveness (1 John 1:7–9). But that cleansing means our old nature, including sexual immorality, is put to death (Romans 6:12–14, 8:13). Ephesians 5:3 says, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
Recommended Resources: Why True Love Waits by Josh McDowell…
Source: Got Questions
Bible Rank: 144
And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. KJV
By far, the most searched for terms on the internet are related to pornography. Pornography is rampant in the world today. Perhaps more than anything else, Satan has succeeded in twisting and perverting sex. He has taken what is good and right (loving sex between a husband and wife) and replaced it with lust, pornography, adultery, rape, and homosexuality. Pornography can be the first step on a very slippery slope of ever-increasing wickedness and immorality (Romans 6:19). The addictive nature of pornography is well documented. Just as a drug user must consume greater quantities of drugs or more powerful drugs to achieve the same “high,” pornography drags a person deeper and deeper into hard-core sexual addictions and ungodly desires.
The three main categories of sin are the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Pornography definitely causes us to lust after flesh, and it is undeniably a lust of the eyes. Pornography definitely does not qualify as one of the things we are to think about, according to Philippians 4:8. Pornography is addictive (1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Peter 2:19), and destructive (Proverbs 6:25-28; Ezekiel 20:30; Ephesians 4:19). Lusting after other people in our minds, which is the essence of pornography, is offensive to God (Matthew 5:28). When habitual devotion to pornography characterizes a person’s life and he continues in sin without seeking help, making no attempt to stop or feeling no desire to change his behavior, it demonstrates the person may not be saved (1 Corinthians 6:9).
For those involved in pornography, God can and will give the victory. Are you involved with pornography and desire freedom from it? Here are some steps to victory: 1) Confess your sin to God (1 John 1:9). 2) Ask God to cleanse, renew, and transform your mind (Romans 12:2). 3) Ask God to fill your mind with things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable (Philippians 4:8). 4) Learn to possess your body in holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4). 5) Understand the proper meaning of sex and rely on your spouse alone to meet that need (1 Corinthians 7:1-5). 6) Realize that if you walk in the Spirit, you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). 7) Take practical steps to reduce your exposure to graphic images. Install pornography blockers on your computer, limit television and video usage, and find another Christian who will pray for you and help keep you accountable.
Source: Got Questions
22 for they did not believe in God
or trust in his deliverance.
23 Yet he gave a command to the skies above
and opened the doors of the heavens;
24 he rained down manna for the people to eat,
he gave them the grain of heaven…
37 their hearts were not loyal to him,
they were not faithful to his covenant.
38 Yet he was merciful;
he forgave their iniquities
and did not destroy them.
Time after time he restrained his anger
and did not stir up his full wrath.
39 He remembered that they were but flesh,
a passing breeze that does not return.
Bible Rank: 145
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. KJV
Bible Rank: 146
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. KJV
Bible Rank: 147
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. KJV