In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
Now that Advent has passed and the Christ child has been born into true Christians, the Church liturgy enters into the Twelve Days of Christmas, which covers one Sunday this year. The twelfth day of Christmas is Friday, January 5, 2018, with the Epiphany recognized on Saturday, January 6, 2018. This reading repeats part of the Advent 3 reading (that where “John” is mentioned – verses 6-8), while adding in the parts that were omitted, before and after that duplicated part. It will be read aloud in a church by a priest on Sunday, December 31, 2017, as the first (and only) Sunday of Christmas. This reading is important because John places focus on “the Word” (capitalized) and “the Word became flesh,” which was Jesus Christ.
It may be confusing to read “the Word” and come away with a concrete grasp of the meaning. Certainly, we are reading “words” to see that, so Jesus can be the reason for the Holy Bible – a collection of many books with lots of words. However, there has to be more to John’s use of “Logos,” because divine Scripture comes from the Godhead, through a prophet, and has multiple meanings.
There are 331 variations of the word logos in the New Testament, with another 276 other forms from that root word. The New American Standard Bible (NASB) shows 38 different translations of the 331 uses, with “word” the most frequent in the singular number (179 times). Still, “statement” is the translation eighteen times, with “speech” and “message” the translations ten times each. When that multiplicity of meaning is understood, it is not beyond the scope of reason to translate verse 1 as saying, “In beginning was the Statement, and the Speech was with the [One] God, and God was the Message.” Such a translation might be easier for some to grasp than the one we all know and love; and that would not be a mistranslation.
The Greek word (capitalized) “Houtos” has been translated as “He,” which leads the reader to assume “the Word” is a male entity; but the word is more commonly used (in the masculine singular) to denote “This,” which is relative to that stated prior. The word “Logos” is a masculine noun, such that a masculine pronoun would be used to denote it. This means “This” is the condition of verse 1, where “Logos” is “This” that was the focus of verse 1. Thus, verse 2 states, “This – the Plan – was in beginning with the [One] God,” repeating that statement, while implying yet another translation of “Logos.”
Verse 3 uses the masculine pronoun “autou” (the masculine genitive of autos), where, “him” has to be understood as God. When “Panta” (variation of “Pas”) is translates as “All things,” with “hen” the assumption of “one [thing],” then verse 3 says all Creation, in the material plane, came “through God,” as the physical manifestation of God’s Idea of Reason (other translations of “Logos”). Nothing came into being by accident or haphazardly by chance. So, if one leans towards the randomness of a Big Bang theory, that theory is dismissed by John. Everything has come according to God’s Master Plan.
Verse 4 is split into two segments: “In him life was” and [following a comma] “and the life was the light the [One] of men.” The repeated word “zōē” says “life,” which has to be understood as the “breath of God,” which is more than the physical oxygen taken in from the atmosphere (air), but the spiritual presence of “life” within, which causes a body of flesh to draw upon that through breathing. This means the “light” (“phōs”) is that “radiance” that is the soul “of men.” The “light” of the soul is the extension of God into human beings; and it is this “light” that lets mankind sense a higher purpose in “life.” Through the soul, God’s Thought (another translation of “Logos”) is heard.
In verse 5, where John wrote, “And the light in the darkness shines,” this is like the Creation story, where it was written, “Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning–the first day.” (Genesis 1:3-5) In all of this, especially when Genesis says, “God separated the light from the darkness,” and “darkness [God] called night,” the symbolism of “light” and “darkness” is “life” and “death.” This means the “darkness” (“skotia”) is matter that is void of “life,” but when the “light” of a soul enters into dead matter (“light in the darkness shines”), then spiritual “life” is extended to the material realm.
When verse 5 ends by John writing, “and the darkness it not overcame,” where the implication is that “darkness” cannot put out the “light” of “life,” the opposite is also true. Just as “light” can illuminate through the “darkness” and expose that which does not naturally emit “light,” the “darkness” does not cease to be, because of “light.” In the Creation story, both “light” and “darkness” are physical realities of the material realm; but the “light” of “life” is absent of physical features that can be measured. This means the power of verse 5 is the “spiritual light” that is the soul, connected to God, “appears” (variation of “phainei” – “shines”) without being seen. As long as “life” exists, the “darkness” of death cannot overcome it.
While all of the first five verses of John’s Gospel can be read as the “light” of Christ, and thus applicable to Jesus Christ, the real focus is on God and His Master Plan that existed “in the beginning.” Jesus Christ was part of that plan, but everything (including Jesus) came through Him, as without Him not one can be.” Think of a candle with its wick unlit. Its only purpose is to become a “light” in the “darkness.” That becomes reality through thought in the darkness – inspiration leading will.
Verse 6 has the capitalized word “Egeneto” beginning it, which is the imperfect tense of the verb “ginomai,” meaning “to come,” which is relative to the past but still on-going. This means “Came” is a better translation than “There was” because “Came” does not imply no longer being present, as does “was.” Thus, verse 6 says, “Came man (one known as “Adam”) having been sent alongside of God.” The Greek word “para” means “alongside of,” such that it is the root of the word “parallel.” Thus, “Came man” as “an Apostle” (“having been sent” is rooted in “apostelló”), who is one knowing God, through His “light.”
After a comma, John then wrote, “onoma autō Iōannēs,” which literally states, “name his John,” but when the name “Iōannēs” is known to translate (from the Greek application unto Hebrew) as “Yahweh Is Gracious,” it says, “name his God Is Gracious.” That says the “name” is that of the one who “Came,” as a lineage to “mankind,” that was “alongside of God.” That bloodline is proof that “God Is Gracious.” As such, in that lineage, there will be named one or more named “John,” in honor of that graciousness.
Because lineage is relative to the “names” of one’s forefathers (see the lineage of Jesus in Luke and Matthew for proof), the relationship of John the baptizer and Jesus is through the “name” of Mary’s and Elizabeth’s father (Aaron), who raised righteous daughters. In this same vein of thought, John (the author of this Gospel) is also of the “name his [the “man” who “Came alongside of God], because he honors “God Is Gracious” by proper name. Because John was an Apostle and prophet, he was of that righteous lineage sent by God. That states, indirectly and directly, that John the Beloved was a blood relative of Jesus.
The word “onama” not only means “name,” but also “authority” and “cause.” This means there is less importance in the “name” of “a man” who “Came,” although the name Jesus is readily recognized by hundreds of millions of people (if not billions). Still, the greatest impact comes from knowing the “authority” that is applied to “a man,” such that “a man” is known by the “reputation, fame, and character” synonymous with the “name.”
Verse 7 then repeats (in a different manner) the statement “Came a man,” by stating “He came,” which follows the name “John.” The repetition is not coincidence, as “John came” because of the one who “Came” before him. By seeing this duplication of Jesus in John, one is able to grasp that him coming “as a witness” means more than simply being able to say, “I saw him.” The Greek word “martyrian” not only means “a witness” but also as “evidence,” to bear the same “reputation.” One does not do that by saying, “I was born of the bloodline of holiness,” as that has repeatedly been shown in Scripture to failures of righteousness. John could only come to be evidence of Jesus Christ by carrying on that reputation of Spirituality.
That “reputation” is then (following a comma) the act of “testimony,” that is the “Word” of the LORD, spoken by the Son, from the Father. The condition “that he might testify” as a “witness” is “concerning” (from “peri”) his spreading the truth of the “light.” That truth cannot be recited from memory and explained as if reading a book of instructions. They are spoken from the source, as Jesus spoke the Word, so other “might believe through him” – Christ John. This also includes John the Baptist, as when he said, “There goes the lamb of God,” the first disciples of Jesus “believed” and “through him” (John the Baptist) became Apostles of Jesus Christ.
Following a period mark, verse 8 states “Not was he the light.” This reference to “the light” returns the reader to the explanation that “the life was the light of man,” which was God. God’s “light” leads all who are part of His Holy lineage. Thus, Jesus admitted frequently that he spoke for the Father, who was “the light.” Since all Apostles after Christ have become replications of Jesus, as Christ, the Holy Spirit brings the Christ Mind, which is “the light” of God the Father. Therefore, John “was not the light,” any more than Jesus was “not the light,” because “the light” is God.
Following a comma, John repeated that “John” (as an Apostle) “came that he might witness (give evidence, testify, or give a good report) [in words] regarding the light” of God. This restates the purpose of an Apostle-Saint, each reborn as Jesus, all who speak the truth of the Father so that “light” can guide others to God and Christ. That is then stated in verse 9, as, “Was the light the [One] true, that which enlightens every man, coming into the world.”
It is important to see the end segments of verse 9 as saying “the [One] light (“that”)” is not limited to one “man.” It “enlightens every man,” or is “revealed to all men” that has met the qualification set by God, which is what denotes an Apostle and Saint. The comma that separates the segment that says, “coming into the world,” is not telling of a physical birth process that brings enlightenment, but each “man enlightened” is a newly reborn Jesus “coming into the world.”
The power of verse 10 is the power of Christianity and its universal spread. Once God sent His Son Jesus, the Messiah, into “the world,” his coming and going (Ascension) began that spread. It was more than hearsay that convinced others to believe in that “man” who “Came.” Still, the translation above that says, “the world came into being through him” is better translated as, “the world through him was born.” While Jesus “Was in the world,” Jesus then “emerged, came back, was reborn” (the essence of “egeneto” – “he came”). The final segment says, “and the world him not knew” (or “the world did not know the man Jesus – in the flesh”), yet the world believed.
Verse 11 then begins with the statement, “He came to what was his own” (literally, “To the own he came”), which says only those who had proven themselves worthy received the Holy Spirit and the Mind of Christ. The translation above that says, “and his own people did not accept him,” refers to the Jews who rejected Jesus the “man,” who did not receive the Holy Spirit. This not only means the Jews who had Jesus killed but to Judas Iscariot and others who proved themselves unworthy of “receiving” God and Christ within.
Verses 12 and 13 are shown above as stating, “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.” This is a series of segments about the Apostles and Saints who did “receive him,” which means they were reborn as Jesus. They “received him” through marriage to God, filled with the Holy Spirit. Thus, the reason they “believed” was because they had become “in his name” – Jesus reborn. The aspect of being the “children of God” is due to this rebirth of the Son of God within all Apostles and Saints, so all became the children of the same Father. To be “born,” but “not of blood (relationship) or of the will of the flesh (one’s brain devoted to self needs) or of the will of man (which is to live for death and reincarnation) means this was not a normal birth, but one of Spiritual birth. Because it involved the Holy Spirit, this birth was due to God.
Verse 14 seems to make a transition that focuses on the life of Jesus. Because John repeats the word “Logos” here, as “And the Word became flesh” is the only other use of that word since verse 1. Because John wrote “Logos,” rather than naming Jesus, its use cannot be limited to only that identity. It still means the “Plan” of God was to place His “Message” in a human “body” (“flesh”). Without the limit of only Jesus, this segment’s statement returns to the beginning of holy men sent to earth, such that Jesus became the final reincarnation of one soul into human form. This segment beginning with the capitalized conjunction “And” (“Kai”) says incidence of the “Word becoming flesh” was preceded by others before.
When the second segment states, “and he lived among us,” the plural pronoun implies life of God’s Messenger in his lifetime. This presence then became noticeable, as segment three states, “and we beheld the divinity (or glory) of him,” which is the documented miracles the followers of Jesus witnessed. Those “divine” oral words and manifestations of miracles was proof that Jesus was like the “only Son of God,” who was “alongside of the Father,” as God extended to earth. Jesus proved to be “full of messages from God” and those were the “truth.”
At this point, verse 15 repeats the name John, which states, “John testifies concerning him.” The above translation shows this as an aside, placing the verse in parentheses, but to states this information is unnecessary to the flow of the text is wrong. Because the author does not name himself in his book, the reference here is to John the Baptist, which acts as a direct example of Jesus coming as God’s Messenger of truth. The use of the Greek word “peri,” meaning “concerning, about, conditions, and around,” says that “John testified” of the measure that will prove the follower to John will be greater than he. It is not a specific announcement of Jesus as the Messiah that was “witnessed.”
In that regard, John reported that “John” was “saying” in his words of testimony, “This” is what to look for as far as “who John spoke.” First, the public attention gained by John as a baptizer would mark the timing to which another would “come after,” The one who would come will be “of higher rank” than John, in the eyes of God. Finally, on a Spiritual level of divinity, this one to follow will be “most important” to Judaism and the world. This was the testimony of John the Baptist.
Verses 16 through 18 are not directly attributable to John the Baptist, as John the author returns to using the plural pronoun “we” (“hēmeis”), which included him as one who could testify to the “fullness” or “completion” of the Baptist’s “conditions.” The use of “plērōmatos” compliments the statement of John’s “condition” of the Messiah, who would be “full of grace (or divinity) and truth,” with “full” representative of the Greek word “plērēs.” That proof was the presence of “grace upon divinity we all received” from Jesus Christ.
John testified for himself and others, who were Jews. As a religious group to whom Jesus came in the flesh, they all knew “the law through Moses was given” to lead the children of Israel. However, “the divinity” of that law, “and the truth” the words of that law held were not grasped until “through Jesus Christ” that depth of meaning “came.” The timing of that understanding was not during the life of Jesus in the flesh, but after he had died, risen and ascended, then returned through the Holy Spirit.
Verse 18 is divided into four segments, with the first one stating that “No one has ever seen God.” That matches what God told Moses, where one has to be a soul to be in the presence of God, so Spiritual “sight” allows that view. As a follow-up to that statement, John then repeated the word “monogenēs,” which means “only-begotten” or “unique.” He used the same word in verse 14, where the implication was Jesus had the “divinity as unique (or only-begotten) alongside the Father.” Here, the only way for one to know the Father is to be “God’s only-begotten,” which comes from God’s presence in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit only comes when “the [One] being in the bosom,” where the Greek word “kolpon” implies the heart, but also physical union, synonymous with “intimacy.” This is being married to “the Father,” such that the laws of God are written in one’s heart, giving birth to the Christ Mind. It is from the Christ Mind that “he [God] has made himself known” to an Apostle.