The Gospel of John, part 13, Reflections on the first chapter
Sep 24, 2019
In part 11 of this series, I mistakenly identified Nathanael as being Philip’s brother. I must have been thinking of Simon and Andrew, who were brothers. Anyway, I will be making that correction shortly, so those who are making copies of the weblogs should replace it with the new one tomorrow.
It is good to finish the first chapter of John, which serves as an introduction to the eight miracle-signs in this gospel. The first sign, of course, is the marriage feast in Cana, and that account begins in chapter 2. I don’t know if I will start on that study before heading out of town tomorrow. The next week all of my time will be occupied, so I may not post very many weblogs, and if I do, they will probably be news articles that are of interest.
My friend, Alan Newton, who does a lot of Hebrew language studies, wrote a comment on yesterday’s weblog in regard to Jacob’s pillar stone that was anointed, and which became a type of Christ (“anointed one”), who is “our Rock” (Deuteronomy 32:31).
Letter/Study from Alan Newton
Stephen wrote: When Jacob awoke, he anointed the stone that he had used as his pillow, for he perceived that the angels of God had ascended and descended upon “that stone”.
At the risk of sounding like an ‘infatuated admirer’, this writing is as mature and challenging as anything I have ever read. I honestly believe this is your finest work; your finest hour; the culmination of 60 years of seeking, praying, studying and researching. You may see this differently, but I just wanted to convey my approval; not that you need it.
Some years back I began to take Hebrew words apart, comparing the parts that make up a recognized ‘word’, and see how all of the pieces that make up a word actually work together to convey a higher thought, or level of understanding. To me, now, this is the most fascinating and fulfilling portion of Bible study; seeing how Our Father revealed His entire pageant, encapsulated in small individual words that reveal a much larger picture than just the small word itself. I hope that communicates.
One of the more beneficial words, at least for me, is in the word ben (son; bn), from the unused and/or unrecognized primary root ‘bnn’ but only recognized today in the root ‘bnh’. As you know, these all have to do with communicating the concept of ‘building’, as in a building project that has more importance as a finished product than can be recognized when observing all of the individual components that make up the completed building project; the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I think that is a fair comparison of what I am trying to say.
The reason this particular word/concept is so important to me is that the word we translate as ‘stone’, the Hebrew eben ((abn), when considered in this fashion, must also be recognized as a necessary component of the process of going from ‘son of man’ to ‘Son of God’; from ‘adam’ to ‘Christ’.
Let me explain that statement.
The impact of this ‘revelation’ came to me when I began to recognize that adding the ‘aleph’ as a prefix to a stand-alone word gives the word to which the aleph is prefixed a unique characteristic. In this revelation, the impact of the aleph prefix is synonymous to translating into English as “...I will; I desire; I shall”. The aleph prefix adds the component of having the desire to do, or pursue, or become the ‘thing’ to which the aleph gets prefixed.
There are many places in the O.T. where the aleph prefix actually gets translated into English as “I will:; or “I shall”. A very important aspect of this ‘rule’, if I can refer to it that way, is in the word ‘a dam’, where the aleph is prefixed to the word ‘dm’. A thorough research of all of the uses of the ‘dm’ concept reveals that ‘blood’ is really a small portion of the ways this two-letter word ‘dm’ is recognized. The most prominent use of the word ‘dm’ is as ‘likeness’. Hence, ‘a-dam’ can very accurately be translated as “...I will (desire; intend) to be like”.
If that supposition can be trusted, then the word eben ‘abn’ may also have an “I will” component, prefixed to the word we recognize as ‘son’; bn. If that scenario is valid, what insights can be had when considering the word eben, “I will to be the son”) in the verse that tells us “...the very stones shall cry out”. [Luke 19:40; Habakkuk 2:11], for the ‘stones’ are those that have the desire to be the son; from son of man, to Son of God.
This component also applies to the concept implied in the word we translate ‘salvation’; y’sha. There are many places in the O.T. where the words “...cry out” (there are several different words translated as ‘cry out’, including the word “y’shva”, to cry out for help) appears before the word “y’sha” (salvation), to indicate the desire or need to ‘call out’ for ‘salvation’. Again, Luke 19:40 and Habakkuk 2:11, 1:2.
I just had to share this with you, even though it may not speak to you as it does to me. The Gospel of John series is superb, and it is causing light ‘bulbs’ to flash once again. Thank you very much! alan
Comment: I will probably incorporate some of this in the book (commentary) when the study is completed. The books always contain more material than the weblogs. I always appreciate Alan’s in-depth word studies. I have learned much from him over the years.
Mark Eaton is another friend who has been helping me with word studies (particular Greek) ever since I did my Luke study in 2013. His insights, too, have been valuable, although most of the time he too remains in an anonymous background. I am fortunate to have knowledgeable friends who can provide small but valuable details that enhance these studies.
This is part 13 of a series titled "The Gospel of John" To view all parts, click the link below.