(The ones having received Peter's saying
continually) 'were being patient'/adhered to
the teaching of the apostles and the communion,
to the fragmenting/breaking of the bread
and the prayers. (Acts 2:42)
Welcome to acquaint yourself with what the apostle John has to tell us in his Gospel and in the Revelation. It is a message of an ardent faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, a mutual welcome and a hope of a brilliant, eternal life in company with God.
Above all the two writings of John nevertheless are about who Jesus is. In the Gospel he among other things is described as the Word (John 1:1-4), "I am" (for example John 4:26), the First (John 1:15,30), the Seventh (John 4:18) and the Eighth (John 21:1-4), as the Man (John 7:46; 19:5,34), as the Lord and the God (John 20:28), as the Messiah, the Son of God (John 1:49; 11:27; 20:31). In the Revelation the revelation gradually reaches higher heights. Jesus is represented for example in the first chapter as "the One who is and the One who was and the One who comes, the All-powerful" (Rev 1:8), and in the last chapter in Rev 22:13 he is heightened as "the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End".
The message of the Gospel to You who does not believe is to do it, that is to believe in or better expressed believe into the Vine of God, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to touch this tree like Eve and Adam once “touched” the tree of God in the Paradise, but with the difference that the touch then leading to rejection and death now leads to union and life. Then the matter was about an outer touch and an outer eating leading to the death of the body, an outer ruin. Now the matter is about an inner touch and an inner eating of the soul giving spirit and life, an inner fullness. Then the liar, the adversary of God, exhorted to disobedience saying: : “You will certainly not die!” Now the Spirit of truth exhorts to obedience saying: “You have missed the mark of God with your life by not believing into Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Believe and you will receive life.” ”And Spirit and bride say: ’Come’. And let the one hearing speak: ’Come’. And let the one thirsting come; let the one wanting take water of life as a benefit.”
The tree of knowledge was, like the tree of Life, in the middle of the Paradise. The prophet Zacharias prophesied that the Lord would come pitching a tent in the middle of Zion (Zech 2:10). This prophecy now is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ, who has pitched his tent in the middle of us. Compare John 1:14,26-27; 14:23-24; Rev 1:13, 21:3.
The message to all of you who in faith are united with the godly tree Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is: ”Love one another! Welcome one another!” The mutuality is important. The mutual welcome is the greatest welcome – greater than the welcome of enemies – because this mutual love belongs to the kingdom of God, a kingdom where the Father welcomes the Son, and the Son welcomes the Father, and those who belong to the Son welcome one another mutually. Compare John 5:20; 13:34-35; 14:31.
The Revelation is about the hope of the believers to be allowed to live in a new Jerusalem. In this age the mutual welcome of the believers shall shine as the light from a city being upon a mountain in a world seeking to let it be satisfied by its glittering adornment. In the new Jerusalem light will have its visible source in the glory of God and in the light coming from the lamp of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Before you begin to devote yourself to the johannine texts, you should first take part of some thoughts and directions which can be a help to you at your reading.
It is important to see that this my work is bounded in different respects. Firstly, all deals with trying to understand two of all the holy books of the Bible, the Gospel of John and the Revelation. Secondly, I devote rather great room to the apocryphic books of the Old Testament. I mean that we often have neglected to pay sufficient attention to these writings. Therefore I also have chosen to do still a boundary by concerning other writings in the Old Testament also suppose the Greek Bible text (LXX). A fourth boundary is that I have chosen to compare with one single manuscript of the New Testament, namely Sinaiticus, prima manus (א*). Principally the reason for this is that I think that this text very nearly renders the original one, but also that I have wanted to avoid “endless” discussions about what text which in each specific case is the original. A fifth boundary is that of the New Testament texts I specially have chosen to read the johannine texts in the light of the Synoptics and the Acts.
These five boundaries will not be understood so that I means that the Hebrew Bible text and other texts and manuscripts of the NT are of minor importance. We must of course be conscious of that the “truth” about the Bible and the message of John is a wider idea than what can come out of this work. At the same time I think that a close examination of the two johannine books gives a very good basis to understand the Bible.
In the textmaterial there are certainly shortcomings in great as in little things. When I have worked with the texts I continually have needed to do more or less extensive changes and this work is not ended. What I now do is that I also let other being interested get possibility to influence, correct and improve. If we help one another perhaps we together can do something being edifying in the best meaning of the Word.
What I above all is interested in is to find the words in Swedish (and as far as possible also in English) which best answer to a kind of johannine basic meaning of the Greek words and then especially in the light of the Greek Old Testament and the New Testament texts in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke and in the Acts. The translations are not done foremost to be readable and acessible for a wider circle of readers but to find a so good correspondence for every special Greek word as possible.
Concerning Jewish number symbolism I refer to an article in Illustrerat Bibellexikon (p 5535ff), an article which builds upon a book of the German theologian C.C.W.F. Bärhr: Symbolik des mosaischen Cultus.
Perhaps someone is confused at my calling the apostle John “the eighth and one of the seven”. For further information of this, see my own comments and speculations to John 13:23-25. And in the kingdom which one cannot behold without having been begotten from above (John 3:3), John also in an invisible way can be seen as one of eight (cf. My own comments and speculations to John 21:1-3).
Do you feel unsure to acquaint yourself with my working material and if you do not want to run the risk of needing to revalue the Christian doctrine tradition you belong, I gladly advise you to in stead read and study, for yourself or together with other Christians, the first letter of John in a translation generally being used in your church.
It is with some hesitation I have translated the commentary into English. I hope my Englishspeaking readers have great understanding for my difficulties to use this language and I also think you can help me to improve my choices of words by discovering lacks and faults. However, the strength in the commentary is not, I think, in the first place in any specially advanced knowledge in Greek but in the many relevant references to the OT, the Synoptics and the Acts
Something about the OT (LXX) and the manuscript of the NT, Sinaiticus, prima manus (א*).
“It was on the Septuagint, the Greek version of the OT scriptures, that so many of the early Christians were nurtured. It was the Bible of the Church before ever the NT was written and it coloured the thoughts and the language of the early Church all the time.” (Barclay ”New Testament Words” p 268-269)
For the earliest Christian congregations the Greek OT – the oldest translation of world literature – was well-known, widespread and taken up as the Bible of the Church. The Septuagint, as the translation would be named, initiated a new epoch of cultural community and withdrew part of the old Jewish isolation among the nations. The Church Father Irenaeus witnesses about the authority of the Greek text and as late as in the third century Origen argumented with starting-point from the Bible (Deut 19:14) that the Church would keep the Greek text which it traditionally had used. The Dead Sea Scrolls have also taught us that the Greek text should be respected to have kept a sound text tradition (cf. Blaiclock p 118). With all probability it was the Greek OT in which Apollos from Alexandria was well-informed (Acts 18:24), and it is probably not to say too much, that John knew “his Greek Bible inside out” (Giertz “Uppenbarelseboken” p 33 about the author of the Revelation).
That I devote special attention to the Apocryphic books does not depend on my seeing these writings as more worthful than other writings in the OT but rather as edifying and directing enough to be also considered in the study of the two johannine books. Especially important are the words in Sirach 33:14-15, words saying that the works of God are to be seen two and two and that one deed has its contrast in another deed. In rough outline we can see the salvation history of God in the following restoration perspective: 1) God creates heaven and earth and lays out a garden for man with the tree of life in the middle of it. 2) In the middle of the garden there are also the tree of knowledge which man is not allowed to touch or eat of its fruit. But Adam and Eve are disobedient and are punished with death. 3) Man also is punished by be driven out of the garden. 4) The sin of man increases and at last he is punished by being drowned in water. 5) The restoration begins with the calling of man to a baptism in water meaning that he is cleaned from his sin in stead of as earlier be punished for his sin. 6) The restoration continues and the Man Jesus (and with Him all men) rises in a garden, the garden out of which Adam and Eve were driven out. 7) In the middle of the garden God now places His Son, Jesus Christ, as a tree of knowledge, a vine giving eternal life to the one touching it in faith. In stead of being expelled the believer now is united with this tree and becomes a part of it together with other believers. 8) At last God creates a new heaven and a new earth with a city, where the tree of life gives fruit to the ones living in it.
The manuscript Sinaiticus prima manus from the 4th century is the oldest manuscript including the whole New Testament. The Christians then once reading it, considered this writing holy.
A usual view among Bible interpretors is that differences in the different manuscripts can be seen as irrelevant, when the question is about the primary truths of the Bible. So the use of the Sinaiticus manuscript should not be seen as something leading astray concerning the principal message of the Christian church. At the same time the manuscript, seen in the light of the Greek Bible (LXX), gives further possibilities to understand the Apostolic preaching.
The use of the Greek OT and the oldest ”complete” manuscript of the NT gives an alternative possibility to come near the way of the first Christians to read and interpret the Scripture. Perhaps such a study also can help to better be able to decide what text readings which once have been the original.
The accuracy of the translations from the Greek original text differ from one another. I have tried to reach the best level concerning the translations from the Gospel of John and The Revelation. Next come quotations from other texts in the New Testament. At my second revision, with beginning 2009-09-14, I have specially observed these texts. Concerning the translations from the Old Testament I would have wished a better agreement with the original text. But it is inevitable that the result here cannot be the same. This depends on the thing that I almost wholly have lacked possibility to compare with other translations, because these ones mostly are conspicuous by their absence. However, he references as such should be relevant.
Reading instructions and such like
Because I particularly have tried to discover possible allusions to the Greek OT, I have let every special Greek word be translated by a special Swedish/English word. The choice of suitable word of translation has been done after having considered the meaning of the word in the johannine texts, then especially in the light of the Greek OT. With this I do not want to say anyway that I always manage to find the absolutely best word. Here is place for changes – perhaps at the suggestion of my readers – at which you, however, must reckon with that a new translation of a certain Greek word also can lead to a need of change of other Greek words. Anyhow, such a translation like mine with necessity not seldom becomes difficult to read. To facilitate the understanding I sometimes have added an alternative translation. Compare for instance John 1:5a: “And the light ‘brings to’/gives light in the gloom”, where ‘brings to’ corresponds the basic meaning of the Greek word while ‘gives’ intends to be the more readable word.
When I began the work of the translation I had a relativly free attitude to what could be suitable choice of words, but during the course of the work I have more and more realized the worth of a more literal translation. The final result has become a more exact translation than what from the beginning was my thought. A translation being in all respects faithful to the original text it is however not the point. So the one wanting to have exact knowledge of the original must search the “truth” in this text and not in my translation.
To facilitate the understanding I have marked Greek perfect tense by mention both present and perfect tense for instance “see (and have seen)” or “have seen (and see)” alt. imperfect- and pluperfecttense, for instance “saw (and had sawn)” or “had sawn (and saw)”. Greek imperfect tense has been rendered by within parenthesis put the word “continually”. On the other hand you cannot by the translation see any difference between for instance present infinitive ("continue to ..." or "keep on ...-ing") and aorist infinitive.
(h)istemi, prefect and pluperfect, is translated only with present resp. imperfect. ”Against” shall as a rule not be understood in a hostile meaning but as a “up to”. Optative generally is translated “Oh, that”.
My translations of the Greek texts will be apprehended as careful but not as "perfect". During the time of the work I have for example understood that it for John can be important if the Greek words for God (theos) och the Lord (kyrios) are preceded by definite article or not (see for example John 20:28 and Rev 22:13). I can now only regret that I here have let me too much be influenced by how these words usually have been and still are translated. The reader should therefore be conscious of that the one by me translated word "God" many times should actually be translated with "the God" and the expression "the Lord" with "Lord" or "a Lord".
Where the manuscript Sinaiticus, prima manus parts with the conventional text in Nestle-Aland: NOVUM TESTAMENTUM GRAECE I have marked this by stating א*, but not the following א, to designate the text which only occurs in “prima manus” and by stating א,*א where the text occurs in both א* and א. When divergent text occurs in the manuscripts Vaticanus (B) and Alexandrinus (A) and in the papyri (for instance P19), this is also mentioned. An asterisk * standing alone states that a conventional text in Novum is lacked in Sinaiticus, prima manus.
To translate a large text-quantity by oneself and at the same time aim at accuracy is a nearly hopeless task, if the one who then studies the work would demand a faultless text. During the course of the work I have had to make thousands of changes and corrections, many times owing to defects in used litterature but more often owing to faults for which I myself am to blame. Unfortunately I am convinced that these corrections will continue. It can concern changes of faulty conclusions, too many or too few syllables and characters and such like. This means that I need the help of my readers to be able to improve the quality of the work.
During the course of my studies I now and then have found wordings in the works of others which have helped me to better understand the two johannine books. I then have taken the opportunity to bring in these quotations under the text to which I have associated. Here it must be said with a certain emphasis that it is I myself and not always the quoted one who has made this connection. Sometimes I have referred to the text the author has had in view, but many times the quotation is rendered without any light of the context. Perhaps this specially has reference to the poets having been quoted without you plainly can see if a quotation concerns the poem in its wholeness or only a part of it. I only can hope that the ones I have quoted have understanding for the difficulties to do full justice to their thoughts. Perhaps I can hope that some of my readers search further information by trying to get hold of mentioned literature.
During the first seven years (2009 - 2015) of this website (www.johnbible.se) the following countries (or in a few cases districts) have visited the website (within parenthesis month - year is noted for the first visit): Sweden (February 2009), United States (March 2009), Japan (June 2010), Taiwan (June 2010), Spain (June 2010), Norway (June 2010), Germany (June 2010), Great Britain (June 2010), Finland (July 2010), Russian Federation (July 2010), Israel (July 2010), Australia (July 2010), Switzerland (July 2010), Belgium (July 2010), Denmark (August 2010), France (August 2010), Luxembourg (August 2010), Italy (August 2010), Turkey (August 2010), South Africa (September 2010), Canada (September 2010), Hongkong (September 2010), Netherlands (September 2010), Hungary (September 2010), Nicaragua (October 2010), Estonia (October 2010), Portugal (October 2010), Indonesia (October 2010), Brazil (October 2010), Poland (October 2010), South Korea (November 2010), Austria (November 2010), Ukraine (December 2010), India (December 2010), Slovak Republic (December 2010), Peru (December 2010), China (January 2011), Romania (January 2011), Czech Republic (January 2011), Iceland (January 2011), Georgia (January 2011), Latvia (February 2011), Thailand (February 2011), Faroe Islands (March 2011), Argentina (March 2011), United Arab Emirates (March 2011), Egypt (March 2011), Mexico (March 2011), Ireland (March 2011), Iran (March 2011), Croatia (March 2011), Moldova (March 2011), Chile (March 2011), Angola (March 2011), Greece (March 2011), Malta (March 2011), Singapore (April 2011), Kuwait (April 2011), Uganda (May 2011), Tanzania (September 2011), Saudi Arabia (October 2011), Republic of Serbia (October 2011), Niger (October 2011), Palestinian Territories (November 2011), Philippines (December 2011), Azerbaidjan (January 2012), Qatar (January 2012), Aland islands (February 2012), Jordan (February 2012), Pakistan (April 2012), Kazakhstan (April 2012), Botswana (April 2012), Tunisia (May 2012), Panama (May 2012), Lithuania (May 2012), Virgin Islands (May 2015), Bahamas (May 2012), Bermuda (June 2012), Barbados (June 2012), Colombia (June 2012), Vietnam (June 2012), Seychelles (July 2012), Malaysia (July 2012), Slovenia (July 2012), Vatican City State (July 2012), New Zealand (July 2012), Bangladesh (August 2012), Albania (August 2012), Venezuela (August 2012), Morocco (September 2012), Bulgaria (September 2012), Zimbabwe (September 2012), Myanmar (November 2012), Cyprus (November 2012), Ghana (November 2012), Bosnia-Herzegovina (December 2012), Montenegro (December 2012), Madagascar (January 2013), Monaco (February 2013), Turkmenistan (April 2013), Kenya (May 2013), Macau (May 2013), Paraguay (June 2013), Lebanon (June 2013), Armenia (July 2013), Swaziland (August 2013), Macedonia (September 2013), Bolivia (January 2014), Cambodia (January 2014), Bahrain (January 2014), Ecuador (February 2014), Dominican Republic (February 2014), Algeria (February 2014), Iraq (March 2014), Belarus (March 2014), Greenland (March 2014), Turks and Caios Islands (April 2014), Nepal (April 2014), Guatemala (April 2014), Honduras (May 2014), Antigua and Barbuda (May 2014), Ivory Coast (May 2014), Puerto Rico (May 2014), Namibia (May 2014), Suriname (July 2014), Mauritius (July 2014), Guinea (August 2014), Mongolia (August 2014), Guatemala (August 2014), Cameroon (September 2014), Cape Verde (December 2014), Gibraltar (December 2014), Costa Rica (January 2015), Sri Lanka (January 2015), Trinidad and Tobago (January 2015), Lesotho (May 2015), Maldives (May 2015), Andorra (May 2015), Sudan (August 2015), Syria (September 2015), Oman (September 2015), Uruguay (October 2015).
Any continued follow up and use of literature having been published for the first time after 1st December 2007 is not intended.
Examples of Bible passages and quotations/comments/speculations facilitating (or sometimes, taking a superficial view of things, concerning especially the quotations perhaps making ... difficult) a general understanding of the Gospel of John and the Revelation
The Former Revelation (preliminary translation):
God spoke: “We may make a man according to Our image." ... God made the man according to an image of God. ... He made them male and female.” (Gen 1:26a,27, Greek OT)
God spoke towards Moses: "I am the One who is." And He spoke: "In this way you shall speak to the sons of Israel: 'The One who is has dispatched (and dispatches) me away towards you.'" (Ex 3:14, Greek OT)
(Balaam said:) "I shall show him and/but by no means now. I call him happy, and/but he does not draw near. A constellation shall stick up out of Jacob, and a man shall stand up out of Israel." (Num 24:17a, Greek OT)
(The Lord said:) “Behold, behold that/: ‘I am.’ And it/there is not a god more than Me. I shall kill and I shall make alive. I shall hit and I shall heal.” (Deut 32:39a, Greek OT)
Samuel took the horn of olive-oil and anointed (David) in a middle of his (seven, older) brothers, and a spirit of the Lord sprang against, against David from that day and above. (1 Sam 16:13a, Greek OT)
Jesse begot his first-born Eliab ... Azom/Ozem the sixth, David the seventh. (1 Chron 2:13a,15, Greek OT)
(David said:) “One thing I have demanded from the side of the Lord. This I shall seek out, the thing 'to dwell me'/'that I shall dwell' in a house of the Lord all the days of my life, the thing 'to look me'/'that I shall look' at the amusement of the Lord and inspect His temple.” (Ps 27:4, Greek OT)
(Solomon said: "There is) a seasonable time for every concern underneath the heaven … A seasonable time of the thing to weep and a seasonable time of the thing to laugh. A seasonable time of the thing to cut/mourn and a seasonable time of the thing to dance.” (Eccl 3:1b,4, Greek OT)
(The prophet said:) “A voice crying in the desolate (district): ‘Make the way of a lord ready! Make straight the paths of our God. Every ravine will be completed/fulfilled, and every mountain and hill will be humbled/’made low’.’” (Is 40:3-4a, Greek OT)
"My ways are not just as your ways", the Lord says. "However, as the heaven holds off from the earth, in this way My way holds off from your ways." (Is 55:8b-9a, Greek OT)
(The Lord said to His people: “I have not) chosen a fasting of such kind, however/but (this is the fasting I want) loosen every unrighteous united band (and) loosen throughout violent/difficult entanglements of treaties (and) having quaked/crushed (and quaking/crushing) dispatch and/also away in a ‘letting be’/’setting free’ (and) pull asunder every unrighteous writing down. ‘Grind asunder’/’break ... in pieces’ your bread to a hungering one and lead into, into your house beggarly ones ‘without roof’/homeless. If – according to the circumstances – you may behold a naked one, wrap (him) up in (clothes), and you may not behold over/away from the ones belonging to your household of your seed. (Is 58:6b-7, Greek OT)
(The Lord said to the prophet: "I am the One) ‘drying up’/’letting ... dry’ a light green wood/’piece of wood’, and causing a dry wood/’piece of wood’ to sprout. I, the Lord, have talked (and talk), and I will make/do (it).” (Ezek 17:24b, Greek OT)
(The prophet said:) "Let us go and turn ourselves next to, towards the Lord our God. For He has raped/plundered (and rapes/plunders) (us), and He will heal us. He will hit, and He will heal an open wound to us. (Hos 6:1, Greek OT)
(Solomon said to the Lord:) “You have arranged every thing throughout (with) measure and number and standing-place/balance.” (Wisdom of Solomon 11:20b)
(Jesus, the son of Sirach, said:) "Over against the bad one (stands) the good one, and over against the death the life. In this way a reverent (stands) over against a misser (of the mark of God). And see in this way in, into all the works of the Highest One, two (and) two, one entirely opposite 'the one'/another." (Sir 33:14-15)
(Jesus, the son of Sirach, said:) "All things (are) double, one entirely opposite 'the one'/another. (Sir 42:24a)
(Baruch said:) "God has 'arranged together'/systematized to humble every high mountain and inexhaustible mound and (that) ravines (shall) be completed into/'for the purpose of' a levelling of the earth, in order that Israel may advance in a securely way (with) the glory of God. ... For God will be Israel in command in company with cheerfulness (in) the light of His glory together with mercy and righteousness by the side of Him." (Baruch 5:7,9)
The Latter Revelation:
(Jesus said to His disciples:) "Amen I say to you: 'Till - according to the circumstances - the heaven and the earth may come by the side of, not one "iota" (the smallest letter) or one tittle, may not/certainly not come by the side of from the law, till - according to the circumstances - all things may become/'come about'.'" (Matt 5:18)
The disciples of John come to (Jesus), saying: "Because of what do we and the Pharisees fast * (?*, B), but Your disciples do not fast?" And Jesus spoke to them: "The sons of the bride chamber are not able to grieve against/'up to' as long (time) as the bridegroom is in company with them, (are they)? But days will come, when - according to the circumstances - the bridegroom may be lifted away from them, and then they will fast." (Matt 9:14-15)
(Jesus said to the crowds:) "The wisdom was justified/right from/'owing to' its works." (Matt 11:19b)
(Jesus said to the scribes and the Pharisees:) "When - according to the circumstances - an unclean spirit may come out from the man, it 'comes through'/passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and does not find. Then it says: 'I will turn myself next to, into my house, from which I came out.' And having come it finds (it) being at leisure and and (א,*א) being (and having been) swept and being (and having been) adorned. Then it goes and takes in company with itself by its side seven other spirits more evil than itself. And (on) their having come in it dwells there. And the last things of that man become worse than the first things." (Matt 12:43-45a)
(Jesus spoke to His disciples:) "... Every scribe having been/become a disciple to the kingdom of the heavens is like a man, a master of a house, whoever throws/brings out of his heap/treasure new and old things." (Matt 13:52)
(Jesus said:) "In this way the last ones will be first and the first ones last." (Matt 20:16)
(Peter) began to accurse and swear that/: "I do not know the Man!" (Matt 26:74a)
(Mary said: "The Lord) has taken 'entirely for Himself'/down sovereigns from thrones, and He has heightened humble ones. Ones being hungry He has fulfilled/satiated of/with good things, and ones being rich He has dispatched out empty/empty-handed. (Luke 1:52-53)
(Simeon said to Mary:) "Behold, (Jesus) lies/'lies still' into/'for the purpose of' a fall and a resurrection of many in Israel, and into/'for the purpose of' a sign being gainsaid." (Luke 2:34b)
(John the Baptist said:) "Make the way of (a) Lord ready, make His paths straight. Every ravine will be completed/fulfilled, and every mountain and hill will be humbled/'made low'." (Luke 3:4b-5a)
(Jesus said:) "Woe to you, the ones now being (and having been) 'fulfilled with (bread)'/satiated, because you will be hungry." (Luke 6:25a)
(Jesus said to His disciples:) "I say to you, every/everyone who may - according to the circumstances - confess in/with Me in front of the men, the Son of the Man will confess in/with him in front of * (א*) (the things) of God. But the one having denied Me in the very eyes of the men will be denied 'in the very eyes of'/before * (א*) (the things) of God." (Luke 12:8-9)
(The toll collector said:) "God, be propitiated to me, the misser (of Your mark)." (Jesus said:) "This one descended into his house having been (and being) justified 'to the side of'/'in comparison with' that one, because 'every the'/everyone heightening himself will be humbled, but the one humbling himself will be heightened." (Luke 18:13b-14)
(Jesus said to His disciples): "All the things which have been (and are) written on account of Me in the law of Moses and in (א,*א) the prophets and psalms must be completed." (Luke 24:44b)
Through/during forty days (after His resurrection Jesus appeared to His apostles) saying/speaking the things on account of the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)
(The ones having received Peter's saying continually) 'were being patient'/adhered to the teaching of the apostles and the communion. (Acts 2:42a)
(The Jews in Berea) received the saying in company with every/all willingness 'judging up'/examining the writings 'according to a day'/daily. ... (Acts 17:11b)
The Apostle, the eighth and one of the seven:
In a beginning the Saying (continually) was, and the Saying (continually) was towards God, and the Saying (continually) was God. This was in a beginning (continually) (directed) towards God. (John 1:1-2)
As many as took (Jesus), to them He gave (judicial) authority to become children of God, to the ones believing into His name, who were begotten not out of bloods/blood, nor out of a will of flesh, nor out of a will of a male, however/but out of God. (John 1:12-13)
Jesus answered and spoke to (Nicodemus): "Amen, amen, I say to you: 'If - according to the circumstances - a certain (person) may not be begotten from above, he is not able to behold the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)
In this way God welcomed the adornment/'adorned world', so that He gave the Son, the only descendant, in order that 'every the'/everyone believing into Him may not perish however/but have agelong life. (John 3:16)
(Jesus said to the Jews:) "Do not think that I will accuse you towards the Father. The one accusing you is Moses, into whom you have hoped (and hope), for if you (continually) believed (in) Moses, you (continually) believed - according to the circumstances - (in) Me, for that one wrote on account of Me. But if you do not believe (in) the letters (of the alphabet) of that one, how will you believe (in) My words?" (John 5:45-47)
This (Jesus) (continually/repeatedly) said (P66, א,* א) on account of the Spirit, of (P66, א,* א) which the ones believing (א,*א) into Him (continually) were about to take. For spirit was not yet (continually), because Jesus was not * (א,* א, B) yet glorified. (John 7:39)
The rowers/servants came so towards the priest leaders and Pharisees, and those say (P66, א,* א) to them: "Because of what did you not lead/bring Him?" The rowers/servants answered: "'Nor at any time'/never has a man talked in this way as this One, the Man, talks (P66,א*)!" (John 7:45-46)
Jesus so spoke: "Let (Mary) be in order that she may keep/'take care of' (her ointment oil) into/'for the purpose of' the day of My embalming. For the beggarly ones you have always in company with yourselves, but you do not always have Me." (John 12:7-8)
(Jesus said to His disciples:) A new commandment I give you, in order that you may welcome one another, entirely as I have welcomed you, in order that and/also you may welcome one another. In/'by means of' this all will gain knowledge that you are disciples to Me, if you - according to the circumstances - may have a welcome in company with (א,*א) one another. (John 13:34-35)
Jesus says to (Thomas): "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes towards the Father if not through Me." (John 14:6)
(Jesus said to His disciples:) "I am the vine, you (are) the twigs. The one staying in Me - and I in him - this one carries/produces much fruit, because separate from Me you are not able to make/do nothing/anything." (John 15:5)
(Jesus said to His disciples:) "For (א*) you are My friends, if - according to the circumstances - you may make/do the things I enjoin you." (John 15:14)
Jesus came so out outside, wearing the thorny crown and the purple garment. And He says to them: "Behold, the Man!" (John 19:5)
One of the soldiers pricked the rib (of Jesus) (with) his lance-head, and straight off there came out blood and water. (John 19:34)
Jesus so indeed and/also made many other signs in the very eyes of His disciples, (signs) which it is not being (and not having been) written in this scroll. But these are (and have been) written, in order that you may (א,*B) believe, that Jesus is the Christ/'anointed one', the Son of God, and in order that believing you may have agelong (א,*א) life in His name. (John 20:30-31)
(The four living beings) have not rest, day and night saying: "Holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy, holy (א*) the Lord God, the All-powerful, the One who (continually) was and the One who is and the One who comes." (Rev 4:8b)
(The woman) brought forth a son, a (female) (P47, א,* א)male, who is about to be a shepherd to all the nations in/with a rod of iron. (Rev 12:5a)
(Jesus said:) "I, the Alpha and the Ô/Omega, the First (One) and the Last (One), the Beginning and the End." (Rev 22:13)
I am a witness to 'every the'/everyone hearing the sayings of the prophecy of this scroll: if - according to the circumstances - anyone may 'put upon'/add against them, God will 'put upon'/add against him the blows, the ones having been (and being) written in this scroll. And if - according to the circumstances - anyone may take off/away from these (א,* א) sayings of the scroll of this prophecy, God will take off/away his part from the wood of the life and out of the holy city, the things having been (and being) written in this scroll. The One being a witness to these things says: "Yes, I come quickly." * (א,* א) Come, Lord Jesus. The joybringing (grace) of the Lord Jesus (may be) in company with the holy ones. Amen (א,* א). (Rev 22:18-21)
Exegetes, evangelists and others:
Codex Vaticanus in Rome, Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Cantabrigiensis in England and in particular Codex Sinaiticus are numbered as the most valuable (manuscripts). (Alf Henriksson "Biblisk historia - Nya Testamentet" p 484; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)
By a contrasting second act the Lord restores that which He judged too hard or too lenient in a first act. In the midrashes of the rabbinic Judaism this restoration perspective is described: "Come and see how every wound that the Holy One, blessed be he, inflicts in this world he heals in the age to come. ... All are healed but just as a person goes out, so he comes back to life. If he goes out blind, he comes back blind. ... But the one who brought (the ultimate) injury (of death) on all will not be healed: "And dust shall be the serpent's food." (Jacob Neusner "Genesis Rabbah, The Judaic commentary to the book of Genesis Vol III" p 325-326; Gen 46:28-47:27)
That what went wrong at the creation of the world, because of man's sin, will be righted, at the salvation of the world, by the messiah. So there is a point by point correspondence between what went wrong and what will, in the end, be repaired and remedied. (Jacob Neusner "Genesis Rabbah, The Judaic commentary to the book of Genesis Vol I" p 127; Gen 2:4)
The author (of Wisdom of Solomon) adopts the principle of exact retribution, legal, theological and literary. Everything reaches a just balance. The author of Revelation uses a similar approach." Massyngberde Ford could very well also have referred to the author of the Gospel of John. (J. Massyngberde Ford "Revelation" p 155)
The Old Testament lies at the root of the New. So, when any word is to be handled, we must first question it as to its Jewish origins. At least as important as the Hebrew for this inquiry is the ancient Greek translation. the Septuagint. (Stephen Neill "The interpretation of the New Testament 1861-1961" p 82)
It is not to be wondered that Luther called the Gospel of John "the only sweet right principal gospel". (Edvin Wirén "När han öppnade boken" p 235; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)
A reviewer has recently criticized a study in which a rather rigid and whole-heartedly economic interpretation was applied to a complex set of political and social events. (F. Tannenbaum) concluded (in his article "A Note on the Economic Interpretation of History", Political Science Quarterly, June 1946): "Now, such an extreme position is neither science nor history. It is merely a new theology - not even good theology, because it is uninspired. It has faith in nothing but a verbal formula. It would rule Christ out of the Christian Church, ... Roosevelt and the concept of human dignity out of the battle against the Nazis ... even a great scholor knows a very little and may not understand the little he know. Facts are easily acquired by industry and diligence. The meaning of the facts, all their meaning, is beyond the ken of any scholar - perhaps beyond the ken of mortal man." It would be widely accepted that any satisfactory explanation of political events must leave a place for the role of ideas and for the individual; and the ultimate meaning of facts, indeed, belongs to philosophy, if not to religion, rather than with history or the social sciences. (W.W. Rostow "British Economy of the Nineteenth Century" p 126-127; Economic Factors and Politics)
Pray but work; suffer but hope; the one eye is directed towards the earth, the other towards the stars; not establish oneself and settle down, it is, you know, walking-tour; not home but hostelry, stage; seek the truth for it exists, but only in one place, with one who himself is the way, the truth and the life. (August Strindberg "En blå bok II" p 833; Summa summarum; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)
I had in (H.C.) Andersen's world of fairy-tales found out the existence of another world for certain, a world of a golden age, where justice and mercy existed; where the parents really caressed their children and not only fringed them, where something for me absolutely unknown threw a rose-shimmer even over poverty and humilation, it was called with a now useless word: love. (August Strindberg "Andersen" s 75; Politiken 1905-04-02; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)
We saw states arise, with trouble and struggle develope themselves, and after that be ruined without our ability to see the sense of that. We saw great spirits step forward with a calling to proclaim new truths. After struggle and distress the truth won in order to by succeeding generations be confuted and abolished. Mankind wandered in deserts with ruins without knowing where the course was directed. Many were the guides but no one knew the goal. . . . That men did not know what they do is their excuse, but this would also teach them to realize that they are instruments in the hand of someone, whose intentions they could not understand, but who sees to their best. (August Strindberg "Världshistoriens Mystik" p 54; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)
(The knight) at last felt standing free to his fate. He was devastated on everything but did not murmur; it would in this world of transformation, dissolution and death be preposterous to urgently insist upon a lasting right of possession to temporal happiness. The one playing in the motley play of the life of senses may understand the meaning of the play. The cloud, shining like gold, swimming in the red sky at dawn, is in all its beauty not the right object to eternal feelings. The sparkle on the surface of the water, the billow, raising itself and sinking, the sough in the top of the oak, do you want to demand from them an eternity, which they do not own, do you want to crystallize them in forms, being beyond weathering? And if not, so do not demand eternity from castles with towers and pinnacles, not from richness and glory, not from domestic happiness, not from anything among all things after which the inexperienced seizes and which decease he gives useless tears. The one once having got foothold on the rock of the eternal thing is not afraid, if the spheres of the world burst, heaven and earth fall to pieces in atoms. It is only a sparkle having gone out, a billow having sunk, a sough having become silent. (Viktor Rydberg "Singoalla" p 212; translation from the Swedish text: BG Ask)
Since created things are various and numerous, they are indeed well fitted and adopted to the whole creation; yet, when viewed individually, are mutually opposite and inharmonious, just as the sound of the lyre, which consists of many and opposite notes, gives rise to one unbroken melody, through means of the interval which separates each one from the others. (Irenaeus, The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol I, p 396)
My own comments and speculations (to Rev 17:9b-11):
In the light of number symbolism we can understand Rev 17:9-10 in the following way:
The numbers 7 and 49 belong to the present age, while the numbers 8 and 50-51 belong to a future age (cf. John 2:19-22 and My own comments and speculations to these verses). “Hepta” (seven) occurs here three times, the 49th to the 51st time in the Revelation. It is the 17th time (at the same time as the number seven is used the 49th time) the word “kefalê” (head) occurs here. In Greek the number 17 consists of the words “deka” (tio) and “hepta” (sju) (cf. seven heads and ten horns in Rev 17:7).
The word “oros” (mountain) occurs here the 7th time (at the same time as the number seven is used the 50th time) and the word “basileus” (king) the 8th time (at the same time as the number seven is used 51st time) in the Revelation. In the light of these facts we can say, that the seven heads (49 and 17), the seven mountains (50 and 7) and the seven kings (51 and 8) belong to borderland between the present age and a future age. Compare also with My own comments and speculations to John 21:10-11 and Rev 21:8.
Concerning “seven mountains” we can compare with Ps 68:15-16(16-17), where we have the Greek words “oros” (mountain) five times (1-4 and 7) and “orê” (mountains) once (5-6). The mountain with which God was pleased is number 7 (= Jesus, who also is number 8; cf. My own comments and speculations to John 4:16-18). In a restoration perspective we see how the little wild animal now both is the seventh (mountain) and the eighth (king).
The little wild animal, who is the eighth and out of the seven, corresponds to the eighth horn mentioned in Dan 8:1-12, a horn having come out of the seven horns mentioned before.
Observe that the little wild animal (like the disciple John) is described as "the eighth and one of seven", while Jesus is represented as "the seventh" and "the eighth" (cf. My own comments and speculations to John 4:16-18, 13:23-25 and 21:4-7a). And in the kingdom which one cannot behold without having been begotten from above (John 3:3), John also in an invisible way can be seen as one of eight (cf. My own comments and speculations to John 21:1-3).
Concerning “the seven heads”, see Rev 17:3b. Concerning “the five have fallen, the one is, the another/other has not yet come”, see also John 4:16-18. Concerning “was and is not” and “withdraws into perdition”, see Rev 17:8a.
My own comments and speculations (to Rev 22:13):
Observe the step by step higher confession in Sinaiticus prima manus from "the Alpha and the Omega, a beginning and an end" in Rev 1:8 via "the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End" in Rev 21:6a to the highest point in Rev 22:13 "the Alpha and the Omega, the First One and the Last One, the Beginning and the End".
In Jewish number symbolism the number three is the number characterizing God. Here in Rev 22:13 this number of God occurs three times in a particularly emphasized way. It is the third time "Alpha and Omega" is named in the Revelation (cf. Rev 1:8a, 21:6a). Also "First and Last" (cf. Rev 1:17b, 2:8) and "Beginning and End" (cf. Rev 1:8a, Sinaiticus prima manus, and Rev 21:6a). So we here have a threefold connection to the number three, the number of God, which strengthens the impression of a highest point in the Revelation.
Furthermore, if we disregard the definite articles and the first word "I", which actually also can be seen as an allusion the the God who is "I (am)", the verse so consists of three expressions with three words each. Thus Rev 22:13 becomes something of a crescendo and an elevation of Jesus as God.
Paul said to the believers in Ephesos: "Blessed (be) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the One having blessed us in/with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly (places) in Christ." (Eph 1:3)
To round off with:
You ask why I breed on the azure-blue mountain.
I smile but do not answer - my heart has found peace.
The peach flower flows with the water far away.
There is another world than the one where men sojourn.
(Li Po 701-762)
There is something beyond the mountains,
beyond the flowers and the song
In the Land in the distance
there is a well whispering fairy stories.
"Once upon a time there was a son of a king
being out riding in the moonshine.
He rode through Dusky Wood." . . .
I asked my father the king,
if he knew where Dusky Wood was, and this he knew.
"Dusky Wood is in the Land beyond the mountains",
he said,and his voice all at once sounded so sad.
"Why do you want to know it, Mio, my Mio?"
"I want to ride there tonight,
when the moon is shining", I said.
"Now we are beyond the mountains", Anna said. "But where is my red bird?" Mattias stood still in the winter wood and listened. "Behind the wall", he said. "He sings behind the wall there." There was in front of them a high wall and in the wall a gate. The gate stood ajar as if someone a moment ago had passed forgetting to shut behind him. The snow lay in drifts on the ground and the winterday was frosty and cold, but over the wall a cherry stretched its flowering white branches. "Cherries we also had at home in Sunnanäng (south meadow)", Anna said, "but not even there it flowered in winter."
Mattias took Anna's hand, and so they went in through the gate. And then they saw the red bird, it was the first thing they saw. . . . There were many children playing there. . . . (The children) accompanied Mattias and Anna to the gate in the wall. It still stood ajar, and they could see the snowdrifts outside. "Why is the gate not shut", Anna said. "Of course the snow can blow in." "If the gate is shut, it can never more be opened", the children said. "Never more", Mattias asked. "No, never, never more", the children said. . . .
(After a time they returned to the gate.) Mattias took Anna's hand leading her in through the gate. . . . Anna saw herself back through the gate out towards the darkness and the cold, and she shivered. "Why is that gate not shut", she said. "Oh, little Anna", Mattias said, "if the gate is shut, it can never more be opened, do you not remember it?" "Yes, certainly I remember it", Anna said. "Never, never more." They looked at one another, Mattias and Anna. They looked for a long time at one another, and so they smiled a little. And then they shut the gate quite silent and still.
(Astrid Lindgren "Childhood in Småland")
The one having gone over the mountains
never comes back,
he has seen the Land in the height
and wants to live there, for ever
I am the light of the adorned world.
The one following Me may certainly not
walk about in the gloom,
but will have the light of the life.
the Son of God,
the Alpha and the Ô/Omega,
the First (One) and the Last (One),
the Beginning and the End)
Exegetical concluding comment at the time of the presentation of the final version of www.johnbible.se
It is close at hand for me to relate to the apostolic times to get as good a picture as possible of the characteristics of the original Christianity. The biblical background of the teaching of the apostles we nearest find in Septuaginta, the one of the Jews to the nations presented translation of the Hebrew Bible. Soon sixty years ago, as a pupil of upper secondary school at Jönköpngs Högre Allmänna Läroverk, I had, as a representative of the "free church" student club of the district, the privilege of holding a morning prayer for the teachers and the pupils of the school. Then I got the task to formulate some thoughts about the text in Acts 2:42 about the adherence of the first Christians to the teaching of the apostles. At that time I hardly could have a feeling that the opinions, in itself orthodox, I then presented some time would end with a conviction regarding the apostolic authority of the Johannine writings.
That I more and more have come to understand the value of the manuscript Sinaiticus prima manus can be explained by my studies at Lunds University in the latter part of the twentieth century. I then got in contact with a teacher, Bo Frid, who had special knowledge in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament. It was at that time I began to have a feeling that the copyist (or one or more of them), who in general was regarded as careless in his work in fact very well would be characterized as careful and professional. It is now my conviction that if Martin Luther had had access to this text he would have had every reason to in this text see close author connection between the Gospel of John and the Revelation, not at least concerning number symbolism. Much of the things which, completely natural for Luther in the sixteenth century, was problematic in the field of authorship has got a better light by this in the nineteenth century discovered Sinaiticus text.
(Original version 2007-12-01; revised version 2010-08-04; 2012-09-15; 2014-10-27; 2015-11-30; final version 2018, code updated 2020-09-24)