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Economic Equality and Subordinationism in John 5:17-47

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  • Economic Equality and Subordinationism in John 5:17-47

    In John 5:17-47, Jesus debates with the Jews concerning his miracle of healing on the Sabbath. This passage is quite rich, but we will be concentrating particularly on what the passage contributes to our understanding of the significance of Jesus’ works to his person and relationship with the Father.

    Indeed, this is the theme of the entire passage. In verse 17, Jesus defends the works which he does (including healing on the Sabbath and commanding the healed man to take up his bed) by the relationship of his works to the Father's works, with important implications for his relationship to the Father. Jesus states the relationship in two parallel clauses, which are literally translated “My Father works until now and I work.” It is quite probable that this coordinate statement is meant to emphasize the parallelism of the activities, and hence the equality of the work (John elsewhere is quite capable of showing subordination, either by the use of clauses or participles). Perhaps a good dynamic equivalency would be “Even as the Father works until now, so do I.” This suggests that the relationship of the Father and Son is a close intimacy with respect to the work which they share, and thereby suggests a relationship of equality. It also validates that which Jesus does. The Father may have indeed "rested" on the Seventh day, but this does not mean that he ceased from all activity. God manifestly continues to sustain the universe on the Sabbath day, and if the proper implications be drawn from Scripture, engages in a whole host of other activities as well. One of the implications drawn from this passage is that the work of redemption also continues. However, what is in view in this discussion is the relationship which is suggested.

    Certainly there is nothing in the phrase that contradicts this idea of equality. In fact, the Jews sought to kill him, not only because of Sabbath-breaking, but because “he called God his [own, I;dion] Father, making himself out to be equal to God.” In his use of the singular (the Jews sometimes called God "our" Father) Jesus is in fact claiming a special relationship with the Father, a relationship that can only be characterized as Father-Son. Surely Jesus’ comments on the parallel work of himself and the Father contribute to the Jews' correct understanding of what is implied about their relationship. Their response is that Jesus is guilty of the death penalty for claiming equality with God, a charge which would certainly be subsumed under the general heading of "blasphemy" (cf. John 10:33-39). It may well be that the Jews felt that Jesus, in claiming equality with the Father, was setting himself up as some sort of rival God, a possibility to which the Jews, living in the context of a pagan environment, would have been well sensitized. In the rest of the passage, Jesus qualifies what he has said. He does not deny his equality with the Father, but he attempts to teach the Jews that this relationship is a legitimate one in which he himself plays a certain very definite role. And significantly, we note that Jesus’ work is the Father's work. The work which Jesus does (and this discussion is explicitly related to the healing miracle which has just preceded) reveals a relationship of equality to and dependence on the Father. This is in particular a relationship of economic equality (the Father and the Son do the same sorts of activities) with nevertheless ontological implications. At the same time, the relationship is one best characterized by the relationship between Father and Son, a distinctly personal role differentiation which implies a type of subordination.

    Verses 19-29 explicate this. Jesus’ relationship to the Father, in terms of role, is one that is perfectly appropriate to a Son. Jesus is a dutiful, obedient Son who only acts in accord with the purpose of his Father. He does not act on his own, but he does that which he sees his Father doing. The Father loves the Son and shows (present tense, δείκνυσιν) to him all things which he does. The term all things (πάντα) should be underscored. There is nothing in the context which might suggest a metaphorical usage of the term “all,” such as when we say something like “I told you everything I did last Tuesday” when obviously this does not mean absolutely everything. Rather, this πάντα is meant comprehensively, an interpretation which is underscored by the anarthrous usage of the substantive. There is nothing that the Father withholds from the Son. There is an implicit (almost explicit) claim to deity here. Only the Son of the Father is capable of comprehending and doing all things that the Father himself does. Indeed, what the Jews have seen is only a tithe compared to what will be done.

    This is emphasized by the following. Note the types of works with which the Son is entrusted (and of course, these logically are only a subset of “all”). The works particularly highlighted are works of an eschatological nature, the raising of the dead and the final judgment. The Son is responsible for what in the OT and in most of the inter-testamental literature is seen as solely the provenance of the Father, the Day of the Lord. As the Father raises the dead and brings to life whom he pleases, so the Son. As the Son is the trusted agent of the Father in creation (1:3ff) so the Father has entrusted all judgment to him. And for what reason has the Father done this? So that the Son might receive the same type of honor that is due to the Father. Failure to honor the Son is failure to honor the Father. In other words, the Son does the works of the Father, and therefore is to be honored to the same extent as the Father.
    Indeed, the criterion for obtaining eternal life and avoiding eschatological judgment is belief in Jesus. Jesus is the one who controls the resurrection. Here, the voice of Jesus is emphasized. It is at Jesus’ speech that the dead will hear his voice and live. While time and space would fail us to exhaust the Biblical-theological background of this, it will be noted that even as the speech of the Father is efficacious (Cf. Gen 1; Isa 55:10-11; Jer 25:30-31; Ezek 37:4-6, et al.) so also is the speech of the Son.

    Note also that what is in effect covenant relationship with the Son is what is in view. In other words, the same type of relationship with Jahweh which saves in the OT is the type of relationship which the believer must have in Jesus. As in the OT one cleaves to Jahweh alone, abandoning vain idols and hoping in him alone for salvation both material and spiritual (cf. Exod 6:6-8; 20:1-26), so the believer in the NT trusts only in Jesus, guarding himself from idols (cf. 1 John 5:21).

    John makes this relationship between the Father and Son even more explicit. The γάρ supplies the reason or ground for the preceding thought. Vs. 26, “For just as the Father has life in himself, so he grants to the Son to have life in himself.” Godet comments:

    "Here is the boldest paradox which it is possible to declare. Life in himself, what in theology is called aseity, self existence, given to the Son."

    Broader systematic concerns aside, why is the Son able to call the dead to life? The reason is that he has life in himself. This life is the same life that the Father has, ὥσπερ being used here of a direct equation. Since the Son has life, he may give it to whom he will, and this life that he has is the same life as the Father. The Father and the Son share the same life. In view of such passages as 1:1-18 and 8:58, which clearly teach the eternal pre-existence of the Son, this life is not something which was given at a particular point in time, but has been shared by the Son and the Father from all eternity.

    This ontological relationship frames the context for the functional as well. Not only has the Son been granted life from the Father from all eternity, but he also has been granted authority “because he is the Son of man.” Certainly, whatever one may consider the origin of the “son of man” sayings in the synoptics, John here references the apocalyptic vision of Dan 7 as the background for this statement. Not only is the reason for the granting of this authority the relationship between the Father and the Son, but it is also the role to which the Son has been called, the role of the judge of all the earth. The Son of man will speak and the dead will come forth from the grave, some to everlasting delight, others to eternal torment.

    Verse 30 perfectly restates the theme statement of the passage (v 19) and supplies the transition for the next statement (which, however, is not a new subject but another approach to the same theme). The Son is not able to act on his own, but instead seeks the will of the Father. The use of ἐμόν rather than the pronoun μου emphasizes the possessive: “not my will.” The judgment that he hears from the Father he enacts. While this language certainly suggests the obedience of the Son to the Father, it seems to suggest more than simple obedience, especially considering the overall context of the chapter. To borrow the language of Paul in Col 1:15, we see that the Son is the perfect image (εἰκών) of the Father, or in the language of the author to the Hebrews, the perfect representation (1:3, χαρακτήρ) of God. We might say that the Son flawlessly represents the Father in terms of both the Father's will and his activity.

    The witness theme must be understood in this context. All along, Jesus' defense of the works that he does has been from the perspective of his relationship with the Father. Now he invokes witnesses, first the witness of John, a bona fide prophet. If John is a valid prophet, his witness must be true, for a true prophet simply speaks as the mouthpiece of Yahweh, at the risk of severe penalty for doing otherwise (Deut 18). But what if, for the sake of argument, John were a false prophet? Significantly for our purposes, Jesus has a greater witness. God the Father witnesses directly on behalf of Jesus with out any intermediary. As Carson correctly points out, the evidence for this witness is Jesus himself. The argument is that if Jesus truly so perfectly represents the Father in purpose and activity, then the works which Jesus does will no doubt corroborate the interpretation which he gives to those works. And this is exactly the reality of the situation. “The very works which the Father has given me to do give witness concerning me that the Father has sent me.”
    This section closes with the witness of Scripture, and particularly Moses, a theme that does not directly concern us here. However, it may be noted that in the view of the Jews of this period, Scripture was the verbatim words of God (cf. 10:34-35, in which Jesus reminds the Jews of what must be a commonly held assumption). The Scriptures give testimony to Christ. Moses, the premier prophet of the Old Covenant, the author of the Torah, the one with whom God spoke face to face, accuses (καταγορέω — note the unmistakable legal term) the Jews for their unbelief. Their guilt is compounded by the fact that under normal circumstances they are willing to accept trustworthy human testimony, but the most secure testimony of all, God's testimony, given through John, the works of Jesus, and the Scriptures they reject. The implication is also present that the words of Jesus as the revelator Dei (here his self interpretation) perfectly coincide with his works. Both his words and his works are given to him by the Father (7:16-18), represent the purpose of the Father, and are in complete accord with one another.

    A rapid survey of thematically related passages will reveal the accuracy of this interpretation. Nowhere else in the Gospel do the works of Jesus receive such exhaustive treatment, but the relationship of Jesus to the Father is frequently referenced. In the passage closest to 5:17-47, 10:31-42, the Jews attempt to stone Jesus because of blasphemy, because he has claimed a special position of sonship with regard to the Father. As in John 5, Jesus does not correct them, but corrects their misunderstanding of what this legitimate relationship with the Father involves. Jesus brings up the miracles he performs as evidence that what he says and does must be mutually interpretative, and specifically that what he does confirms what he says. On his relationship with the Father see also 7:28-29; 16:15; 17:1-19. On the relationship of works to character and nature, cf. the clear implications of 8:39-47.

    In conclusion, we may note that the works of Jesus are integrally related to the relationship that Jesus has with his Father and the purpose for which he is sent. Jesus’ works, which are particularly (although not exclusively) his miracles, are revelatory of this relationship. Through them the Father witnesses to the true nature and purpose of the Son. The relationship that the Son has with the Father is a relationship of equality and complete dependence, but dependence nuanced in such a way as to perfectly reveal the Father. The accent falls on Jesus’ perfect agreement with the Father and work on his behalf. Jesus, in fact, as the Son, has become the premier prophet who perfectly reveals the person, will and activity of the Father.


  • #2
    This belongs in the Trinity forum, not biblical languages. Also nothing concrete here about Christ’s so-called “Deity.”

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by John Milton View Post
      This belongs in the Trinity forum, not biblical languages. Also nothing concrete here about Christ’s so-called “Deity.”
      Translation: "I don't want to deal with real arguments." You'll also note that the original language is referenced several times.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Barry Hofstetter View Post

        Translation: "I don't want to deal with real arguments." You'll also note that the original language is referenced several times.
        There is no argument here to deal with. Just because you say a couple of things about the Koine does not mean that you’re making a grammatical argument about anything.

        What is your OP claim anyway ? Long post, little to no substance.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Barry Hofstetter View Post
          In John 5:17-47, Jesus debates with the Jews concerning his miracle of healing on the Sabbath. This passage is quite rich, but we will be concentrating particularly on what the passage contributes to our understanding of the significance of Jesus’ works to his person and relationship with the Father.

          Indeed, this is the theme of the entire passage. In verse 17, Jesus defends the works which he does (including healing on the Sabbath and commanding the healed man to take up his bed) by the relationship of his works to the Father's works, with important implications for his relationship to the Father. Jesus states the relationship in two parallel clauses, which are literally translated “My Father works until now and I work.” It is quite probable that this coordinate statement is meant to emphasize the parallelism of the activities, and hence the equality of the work (John elsewhere is quite capable of showing subordination, either by the use of clauses or participles). Perhaps a good dynamic equivalency would be “Even as the Father works until now, so do I.” This suggests that the relationship of the Father and Son is a close intimacy with respect to the work which they share, and thereby suggests a relationship of equality. It also validates that which Jesus does. The Father may have indeed "rested" on the Seventh day, but this does not mean that he ceased from all activity. God manifestly continues to sustain the universe on the Sabbath day, and if the proper implications be drawn from Scripture, engages in a whole host of other activities as well. One of the implications drawn from this passage is that the work of redemption also continues. However, what is in view in this discussion is the relationship which is suggested.

          Certainly there is nothing in the phrase that contradicts this idea of equality. In fact, the Jews sought to kill him, not only because of Sabbath-breaking, but because “he called God his [own, I;dion] Father, making himself out to be equal to God.” In his use of the singular (the Jews sometimes called God "our" Father) Jesus is in fact claiming a special relationship with the Father, a relationship that can only be characterized as Father-Son. Surely Jesus’ comments on the parallel work of himself and the Father contribute to the Jews' correct understanding of what is implied about their relationship. Their response is that Jesus is guilty of the death penalty for claiming equality with God, a charge which would certainly be subsumed under the general heading of "blasphemy" (cf. John 10:33-39). It may well be that the Jews felt that Jesus, in claiming equality with the Father, was setting himself up as some sort of rival God, a possibility to which the Jews, living in the context of a pagan environment, would have been well sensitized. In the rest of the passage, Jesus qualifies what he has said. He does not deny his equality with the Father, but he attempts to teach the Jews that this relationship is a legitimate one in which he himself plays a certain very definite role. And significantly, we note that Jesus’ work is the Father's work. The work which Jesus does (and this discussion is explicitly related to the healing miracle which has just preceded) reveals a relationship of equality to and dependence on the Father. This is in particular a relationship of economic equality (the Father and the Son do the same sorts of activities) with nevertheless ontological implications. At the same time, the relationship is one best characterized by the relationship between Father and Son, a distinctly personal role differentiation which implies a type of subordination.

          Verses 19-29 explicate this. Jesus’ relationship to the Father, in terms of role, is one that is perfectly appropriate to a Son. Jesus is a dutiful, obedient Son who only acts in accord with the purpose of his Father. He does not act on his own, but he does that which he sees his Father doing. The Father loves the Son and shows (present tense, δείκνυσιν) to him all things which he does. The term all things (πάντα) should be underscored. There is nothing in the context which might suggest a metaphorical usage of the term “all,” such as when we say something like “I told you everything I did last Tuesday” when obviously this does not mean absolutely everything. Rather, this πάντα is meant comprehensively, an interpretation which is underscored by the anarthrous usage of the substantive. There is nothing that the Father withholds from the Son. There is an implicit (almost explicit) claim to deity here. Only the Son of the Father is capable of comprehending and doing all things that the Father himself does. Indeed, what the Jews have seen is only a tithe compared to what will be done.

          This is emphasized by the following. Note the types of works with which the Son is entrusted (and of course, these logically are only a subset of “all”). The works particularly highlighted are works of an eschatological nature, the raising of the dead and the final judgment. The Son is responsible for what in the OT and in most of the inter-testamental literature is seen as solely the provenance of the Father, the Day of the Lord. As the Father raises the dead and brings to life whom he pleases, so the Son. As the Son is the trusted agent of the Father in creation (1:3ff) so the Father has entrusted all judgment to him. And for what reason has the Father done this? So that the Son might receive the same type of honor that is due to the Father. Failure to honor the Son is failure to honor the Father. In other words, the Son does the works of the Father, and therefore is to be honored to the same extent as the Father.
          Indeed, the criterion for obtaining eternal life and avoiding eschatological judgment is belief in Jesus. Jesus is the one who controls the resurrection. Here, the voice of Jesus is emphasized. It is at Jesus’ speech that the dead will hear his voice and live. While time and space would fail us to exhaust the Biblical-theological background of this, it will be noted that even as the speech of the Father is efficacious (Cf. Gen 1; Isa 55:10-11; Jer 25:30-31; Ezek 37:4-6, et al.) so also is the speech of the Son.

          Note also that what is in effect covenant relationship with the Son is what is in view. In other words, the same type of relationship with Jahweh which saves in the OT is the type of relationship which the believer must have in Jesus. As in the OT one cleaves to Jahweh alone, abandoning vain idols and hoping in him alone for salvation both material and spiritual (cf. Exod 6:6-8; 20:1-26), so the believer in the NT trusts only in Jesus, guarding himself from idols (cf. 1 John 5:21).

          John makes this relationship between the Father and Son even more explicit. The γάρ supplies the reason or ground for the preceding thought. Vs. 26, “For just as the Father has life in himself, so he grants to the Son to have life in himself.” Godet comments:

          "Here is the boldest paradox which it is possible to declare. Life in himself, what in theology is called aseity, self existence, given to the Son."

          Broader systematic concerns aside, why is the Son able to call the dead to life? The reason is that he has life in himself. This life is the same life that the Father has, ὥσπερ being used here of a direct equation. Since the Son has life, he may give it to whom he will, and this life that he has is the same life as the Father. The Father and the Son share the same life. In view of such passages as 1:1-18 and 8:58, which clearly teach the eternal pre-existence of the Son, this life is not something which was given at a particular point in time, but has been shared by the Son and the Father from all eternity.

          This ontological relationship frames the context for the functional as well. Not only has the Son been granted life from the Father from all eternity, but he also has been granted authority “because he is the Son of man.” Certainly, whatever one may consider the origin of the “son of man” sayings in the synoptics, John here references the apocalyptic vision of Dan 7 as the background for this statement. Not only is the reason for the granting of this authority the relationship between the Father and the Son, but it is also the role to which the Son has been called, the role of the judge of all the earth. The Son of man will speak and the dead will come forth from the grave, some to everlasting delight, others to eternal torment.

          Verse 30 perfectly restates the theme statement of the passage (v 19) and supplies the transition for the next statement (which, however, is not a new subject but another approach to the same theme). The Son is not able to act on his own, but instead seeks the will of the Father. The use of ἐμόν rather than the pronoun μου emphasizes the possessive: “not my will.” The judgment that he hears from the Father he enacts. While this language certainly suggests the obedience of the Son to the Father, it seems to suggest more than simple obedience, especially considering the overall context of the chapter. To borrow the language of Paul in Col 1:15, we see that the Son is the perfect image (εἰκών) of the Father, or in the language of the author to the Hebrews, the perfect representation (1:3, χαρακτήρ) of God. We might say that the Son flawlessly represents the Father in terms of both the Father's will and his activity.

          The witness theme must be understood in this context. All along, Jesus' defense of the works that he does has been from the perspective of his relationship with the Father. Now he invokes witnesses, first the witness of John, a bona fide prophet. If John is a valid prophet, his witness must be true, for a true prophet simply speaks as the mouthpiece of Yahweh, at the risk of severe penalty for doing otherwise (Deut 18). But what if, for the sake of argument, John were a false prophet? Significantly for our purposes, Jesus has a greater witness. God the Father witnesses directly on behalf of Jesus with out any intermediary. As Carson correctly points out, the evidence for this witness is Jesus himself. The argument is that if Jesus truly so perfectly represents the Father in purpose and activity, then the works which Jesus does will no doubt corroborate the interpretation which he gives to those works. And this is exactly the reality of the situation. “The very works which the Father has given me to do give witness concerning me that the Father has sent me.”
          This section closes with the witness of Scripture, and particularly Moses, a theme that does not directly concern us here. However, it may be noted that in the view of the Jews of this period, Scripture was the verbatim words of God (cf. 10:34-35, in which Jesus reminds the Jews of what must be a commonly held assumption). The Scriptures give testimony to Christ. Moses, the premier prophet of the Old Covenant, the author of the Torah, the one with whom God spoke face to face, accuses (καταγορέω — note the unmistakable legal term) the Jews for their unbelief. Their guilt is compounded by the fact that under normal circumstances they are willing to accept trustworthy human testimony, but the most secure testimony of all, God's testimony, given through John, the works of Jesus, and the Scriptures they reject. The implication is also present that the words of Jesus as the revelator Dei (here his self interpretation) perfectly coincide with his works. Both his words and his works are given to him by the Father (7:16-18), represent the purpose of the Father, and are in complete accord with one another.

          A rapid survey of thematically related passages will reveal the accuracy of this interpretation. Nowhere else in the Gospel do the works of Jesus receive such exhaustive treatment, but the relationship of Jesus to the Father is frequently referenced. In the passage closest to 5:17-47, 10:31-42, the Jews attempt to stone Jesus because of blasphemy, because he has claimed a special position of sonship with regard to the Father. As in John 5, Jesus does not correct them, but corrects their misunderstanding of what this legitimate relationship with the Father involves. Jesus brings up the miracles he performs as evidence that what he says and does must be mutually interpretative, and specifically that what he does confirms what he says. On his relationship with the Father see also 7:28-29; 16:15; 17:1-19. On the relationship of works to character and nature, cf. the clear implications of 8:39-47.

          In conclusion, we may note that the works of Jesus are integrally related to the relationship that Jesus has with his Father and the purpose for which he is sent. Jesus’ works, which are particularly (although not exclusively) his miracles, are revelatory of this relationship. Through them the Father witnesses to the true nature and purpose of the Son. The relationship that the Son has with the Father is a relationship of equality and complete dependence, but dependence nuanced in such a way as to perfectly reveal the Father. The accent falls on Jesus’ perfect agreement with the Father and work on his behalf. Jesus, in fact, as the Son, has become the premier prophet who perfectly reveals the person, will and activity of the Father.
          In John 5:17-47, Jesus debates with the Jews concerning his miracle of healing on the Sabbath. This passage is quite rich, but we will be concentrating particularly on what the passage contributes to our understanding of the significance of Jesus’ works to his person and relationship with the Father.

          Indeed, this is the theme of the entire passage. In verse 17, Jesus defends the works which he does (including healing on the Sabbath and commanding the healed man to take up his bed) by the relationship of his works to the Father's works, with important implications for his relationship to the Father. Jesus states the relationship in two parallel clauses, which are literally translated “My Father works until now and I work.” It is quite probable that this coordinate statement is meant to emphasize the parallelism of the activities, and hence the equality of the work (John elsewhere is quite capable of showing subordination, either by the use of clauses or participles).
          During this time there was quite a dispute over Law in general, and halakha law (relating to the commandments) in particular between Sadducees and Pharisees. So then Jesus' and later esp. Peter and Paul's discourses and interactions within Judaic parameters are in context of these disputes.

          The study of Jesus and the law is, like any other study of law, highly technical. In general, the legal disputes in the Gospels fall within the parameters of those of 1st-century Judaism. Some opposed minor healing on the Sabbath (such as Jesus is depicted as performing), but others permitted it. Similarly, the Sadducees regarded the Pharisees’ observance of the Sabbath as too lax. There also were many disagreements in 1st-century Judaism about purity. While some Jews washed their hands before eating (Mark 7:5), others did not; however, this conflict was not nearly as serious as that between the Shammaites and the Hillelites (the two main parties within Pharisaism) over menstrual purity. It is noteworthy that Jesus did not oppose the purity laws. On the contrary, according to Mark 1:40–44, he accepted the Mosaic laws on the purification of lepers (Leviticus 14).

          This from Encyclopedia Brittanica https://www.britannica.com/biography...the-Jewish-law

          Since I am no expert on Jewish Law, I will leave this subject alone, presenting only a bare outline as above, since I've been warned by the reference that this is a "highly technical" issue.

          It is evident to me however, that Jesus having a connection of inspiration and anointedness directly to God, as opposed to any faction, rabbi or teacher of the day, spoke the way he did.

          "My Father works until now, and I work." I do not dispute the apparent meaning. First glance however and it seems to me this might actually mean, "My Father works 24/7 to this very point in time, and I work as servant to Him."

          MEANING that he had no choice! God, via Spirit prodded Jesus to act, and so he did. This is a PENTECOSTAL mechanism, well known in this denom. I should say, well known to the devout and fervent ones, which I skirt the edges or boundaries concerning.

          So instead of EQUALITY here, Jesus is actually expressing his obedience. And two unqualified statements in John affirm this same concept.

          My Father is greater than I Jn 14 and

          My Father is greater than all, Jn 10.

          See how the logical mind can rationalize either way? Equality: Jesus works the SAME WAY his Father works, 24/7 ultimately sustaining and maintaining the universe (if not creating, the rabbinical distinction of Genesis).

          Unitarian: Jesus works in OBEDIENCE to his Father who prodded him to do a work of faith on the sabbath. And you are right, Barry. Jesus was perfectly capable of expressing his SUBORDINATIONISM to his God and does so many many times in John.

          Continued...


          Shema will change the Christian World.

          Turn it upside down. To where it once was, the POV of JESUS, his DISCIPLES and his SERVANTS.

          Know God YHWH Elohim is One. And love Him with all. Mk 12, red letter words.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Barry Hofstetter View Post
            In John 5:17-47, Jesus debates with the Jews concerning his miracle of healing on the Sabbath. This passage is quite rich, but we will be concentrating particularly on what the passage contributes to our understanding of the significance of Jesus’ works to his person and relationship with the Father.

            Indeed, this is the theme of the entire passage. In verse 17, Jesus defends the works which he does (including healing on the Sabbath and commanding the healed man to take up his bed) by the relationship of his works to the Father's works, with important implications for his relationship to the Father. Jesus states the relationship in two parallel clauses, which are literally translated “My Father works until now and I work.” It is quite probable that this coordinate statement is meant to emphasize the parallelism of the activities, and hence the equality of the work (John elsewhere is quite capable of showing subordination, either by the use of clauses or participles). Perhaps a good dynamic equivalency would be “Even as the Father works until now, so do I.” This suggests that the relationship of the Father and Son is a close intimacy with respect to the work which they share, and thereby suggests a relationship of equality. It also validates that which Jesus does. The Father may have indeed "rested" on the Seventh day, but this does not mean that he ceased from all activity. God manifestly continues to sustain the universe on the Sabbath day, and if the proper implications be drawn from Scripture, engages in a whole host of other activities as well. One of the implications drawn from this passage is that the work of redemption also continues. However, what is in view in this discussion is the relationship which is suggested.

            Certainly there is nothing in the phrase that contradicts this idea of equality. In fact, the Jews sought to kill him, not only because of Sabbath-breaking, but because “he called God his [own, I;dion] Father, making himself out to be equal to God.” In his use of the singular (the Jews sometimes called God "our" Father) Jesus is in fact claiming a special relationship with the Father, a relationship that can only be characterized as Father-Son. Surely Jesus’ comments on the parallel work of himself and the Father contribute to the Jews' correct understanding of what is implied about their relationship. Their response is that Jesus is guilty of the death penalty for claiming equality with God, a charge which would certainly be subsumed under the general heading of "blasphemy" (cf. John 10:33-39). It may well be that the Jews felt that Jesus, in claiming equality with the Father, was setting himself up as some sort of rival God, a possibility to which the Jews, living in the context of a pagan environment, would have been well sensitized. In the rest of the passage, Jesus qualifies what he has said. He does not deny his equality with the Father, but he attempts to teach the Jews that this relationship is a legitimate one in which he himself plays a certain very definite role. And significantly, we note that Jesus’ work is the Father's work. The work which Jesus does (and this discussion is explicitly related to the healing miracle which has just preceded) reveals a relationship of equality to and dependence on the Father. This is in particular a relationship of economic equality (the Father and the Son do the same sorts of activities) with nevertheless ontological implications. At the same time, the relationship is one best characterized by the relationship between Father and Son, a distinctly personal role differentiation which implies a type of subordination.

            Verses 19-29 explicate this. Jesus’ relationship to the Father, in terms of role, is one that is perfectly appropriate to a Son. Jesus is a dutiful, obedient Son who only acts in accord with the purpose of his Father. He does not act on his own, but he does that which he sees his Father doing. The Father loves the Son and shows (present tense, δείκνυσιν) to him all things which he does. The term all things (πάντα) should be underscored. There is nothing in the context which might suggest a metaphorical usage of the term “all,” such as when we say something like “I told you everything I did last Tuesday” when obviously this does not mean absolutely everything. Rather, this πάντα is meant comprehensively, an interpretation which is underscored by the anarthrous usage of the substantive. There is nothing that the Father withholds from the Son. There is an implicit (almost explicit) claim to deity here. Only the Son of the Father is capable of comprehending and doing all things that the Father himself does. Indeed, what the Jews have seen is only a tithe compared to what will be done.

            This is emphasized by the following. Note the types of works with which the Son is entrusted (and of course, these logically are only a subset of “all”). The works particularly highlighted are works of an eschatological nature, the raising of the dead and the final judgment. The Son is responsible for what in the OT and in most of the inter-testamental literature is seen as solely the provenance of the Father, the Day of the Lord. As the Father raises the dead and brings to life whom he pleases, so the Son. As the Son is the trusted agent of the Father in creation (1:3ff) so the Father has entrusted all judgment to him. And for what reason has the Father done this? So that the Son might receive the same type of honor that is due to the Father. Failure to honor the Son is failure to honor the Father. In other words, the Son does the works of the Father, and therefore is to be honored to the same extent as the Father.
            Indeed, the criterion for obtaining eternal life and avoiding eschatological judgment is belief in Jesus. Jesus is the one who controls the resurrection. Here, the voice of Jesus is emphasized. It is at Jesus’ speech that the dead will hear his voice and live. While time and space would fail us to exhaust the Biblical-theological background of this, it will be noted that even as the speech of the Father is efficacious (Cf. Gen 1; Isa 55:10-11; Jer 25:30-31; Ezek 37:4-6, et al.) so also is the speech of the Son.

            Note also that what is in effect covenant relationship with the Son is what is in view. In other words, the same type of relationship with Jahweh which saves in the OT is the type of relationship which the believer must have in Jesus. As in the OT one cleaves to Jahweh alone, abandoning vain idols and hoping in him alone for salvation both material and spiritual (cf. Exod 6:6-8; 20:1-26), so the believer in the NT trusts only in Jesus, guarding himself from idols (cf. 1 John 5:21).

            John makes this relationship between the Father and Son even more explicit. The γάρ supplies the reason or ground for the preceding thought. Vs. 26, “For just as the Father has life in himself, so he grants to the Son to have life in himself.” Godet comments:

            "Here is the boldest paradox which it is possible to declare. Life in himself, what in theology is called aseity, self existence, given to the Son."

            Broader systematic concerns aside, why is the Son able to call the dead to life? The reason is that he has life in himself. This life is the same life that the Father has, ὥσπερ being used here of a direct equation. Since the Son has life, he may give it to whom he will, and this life that he has is the same life as the Father. The Father and the Son share the same life. In view of such passages as 1:1-18 and 8:58, which clearly teach the eternal pre-existence of the Son, this life is not something which was given at a particular point in time, but has been shared by the Son and the Father from all eternity.

            This ontological relationship frames the context for the functional as well. Not only has the Son been granted life from the Father from all eternity, but he also has been granted authority “because he is the Son of man.” Certainly, whatever one may consider the origin of the “son of man” sayings in the synoptics, John here references the apocalyptic vision of Dan 7 as the background for this statement. Not only is the reason for the granting of this authority the relationship between the Father and the Son, but it is also the role to which the Son has been called, the role of the judge of all the earth. The Son of man will speak and the dead will come forth from the grave, some to everlasting delight, others to eternal torment.

            Verse 30 perfectly restates the theme statement of the passage (v 19) and supplies the transition for the next statement (which, however, is not a new subject but another approach to the same theme). The Son is not able to act on his own, but instead seeks the will of the Father. The use of ἐμόν rather than the pronoun μου emphasizes the possessive: “not my will.” The judgment that he hears from the Father he enacts. While this language certainly suggests the obedience of the Son to the Father, it seems to suggest more than simple obedience, especially considering the overall context of the chapter. To borrow the language of Paul in Col 1:15, we see that the Son is the perfect image (εἰκών) of the Father, or in the language of the author to the Hebrews, the perfect representation (1:3, χαρακτήρ) of God. We might say that the Son flawlessly represents the Father in terms of both the Father's will and his activity.

            The witness theme must be understood in this context. All along, Jesus' defense of the works that he does has been from the perspective of his relationship with the Father. Now he invokes witnesses, first the witness of John, a bona fide prophet. If John is a valid prophet, his witness must be true, for a true prophet simply speaks as the mouthpiece of Yahweh, at the risk of severe penalty for doing otherwise (Deut 18). But what if, for the sake of argument, John were a false prophet? Significantly for our purposes, Jesus has a greater witness. God the Father witnesses directly on behalf of Jesus with out any intermediary. As Carson correctly points out, the evidence for this witness is Jesus himself. The argument is that if Jesus truly so perfectly represents the Father in purpose and activity, then the works which Jesus does will no doubt corroborate the interpretation which he gives to those works. And this is exactly the reality of the situation. “The very works which the Father has given me to do give witness concerning me that the Father has sent me.”
            This section closes with the witness of Scripture, and particularly Moses, a theme that does not directly concern us here. However, it may be noted that in the view of the Jews of this period, Scripture was the verbatim words of God (cf. 10:34-35, in which Jesus reminds the Jews of what must be a commonly held assumption). The Scriptures give testimony to Christ. Moses, the premier prophet of the Old Covenant, the author of the Torah, the one with whom God spoke face to face, accuses (καταγορέω — note the unmistakable legal term) the Jews for their unbelief. Their guilt is compounded by the fact that under normal circumstances they are willing to accept trustworthy human testimony, but the most secure testimony of all, God's testimony, given through John, the works of Jesus, and the Scriptures they reject. The implication is also present that the words of Jesus as the revelator Dei (here his self interpretation) perfectly coincide with his works. Both his words and his works are given to him by the Father (7:16-18), represent the purpose of the Father, and are in complete accord with one another.

            A rapid survey of thematically related passages will reveal the accuracy of this interpretation. Nowhere else in the Gospel do the works of Jesus receive such exhaustive treatment, but the relationship of Jesus to the Father is frequently referenced. In the passage closest to 5:17-47, 10:31-42, the Jews attempt to stone Jesus because of blasphemy, because he has claimed a special position of sonship with regard to the Father. As in John 5, Jesus does not correct them, but corrects their misunderstanding of what this legitimate relationship with the Father involves. Jesus brings up the miracles he performs as evidence that what he says and does must be mutually interpretative, and specifically that what he does confirms what he says. On his relationship with the Father see also 7:28-29; 16:15; 17:1-19. On the relationship of works to character and nature, cf. the clear implications of 8:39-47.

            In conclusion, we may note that the works of Jesus are integrally related to the relationship that Jesus has with his Father and the purpose for which he is sent. Jesus’ works, which are particularly (although not exclusively) his miracles, are revelatory of this relationship. Through them the Father witnesses to the true nature and purpose of the Son. The relationship that the Son has with the Father is a relationship of equality and complete dependence, but dependence nuanced in such a way as to perfectly reveal the Father. The accent falls on Jesus’ perfect agreement with the Father and work on his behalf. Jesus, in fact, as the Son, has become the premier prophet who perfectly reveals the person, will and activity of the Father.
            While admittedly, I haven't yet read all of what you have said above, from what I have read, I would actually agree with a lot of what you have said, but would submit that the equality in view is one of functional equality, not ontological. My main reason for arguing for functional equality, as opposed to ontological equality, is that scripture clearly shows that Jesus performed miracles as a man empowered/anointed by God (e.g., John 14:10-11; Acts 2:22; 10:38).

            Indeed, everything Jesus says and does, he does so by His Father's authority (John 5:43).

            "I have come with my Father's authority, but you have not received me; when, however, someone comes with his own authority, you will receive him" (John 5:43, GNT)

            Obviously it is not in his capacity/identity as God that he says and does everything by/in His Father's authority, but rather in his capacity/identity as a man, right?

            Secondly, I would submit that whenever Jesus prefaces or qualifies a statement with "My Father," he is clearly speaking as a man, not as God or God-Man.

            James F. McGrath's comment on John 5:18, as quoted by Kegan A Chandler, The God of Jesus, p. 327, pretty much captures the essence of the issue at hand:

            "For John, Jesus functions, in practical terms, as equivalent to God, in accordance with the basic principle of agency that "the one sent is like the one who sent him"...The issue central to the conflict is whether Jesus "makes himself equal to God," rather than being God's appointed agent. The Johannine Jesus avidly denies that he is making himself anything; rather, he does the will of him who sent him."

            James F. McGrath, Jerry Truex, "Two Powers and Early Jewish and Christian Monotheism," Journal of Biblical Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1 (2004), pp. 50-51, emphasis added.

            Comment


            • #7
              His post is clearly confusing. He seems to be saying a lot of the stuff ( on the surface) which Unitarians could Agree with, but the Devil is in what he leaves out.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by forever4truth View Post

                While admittedly, I haven't yet read all of what you have said above, from what I have read, I would actually agree with a lot of what you have said, but would submit that the equality in view is one of functional equality, not ontological. My main reason for arguing for functional equality, as opposed to ontological equality, is that scripture clearly shows that Jesus performed miracles as a man empowered/anointed by God (e.g., John 14:10-11; Acts 2:22; 10:38).
                You have just defined economic equality, which is what the outline I posted explores.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Barry Hofstetter View Post

                  You have just defined economic equality, which is what the outline I posted explores.
                  The word "economic" in theology and Christology:

                  Ontology is the study of being. When we talk about the ontological Trinity, or as some theologians term it, the “immanent Trinity,” we are referring to the Trinity in itself, without regard to God’s works of creation and redemption. In the Trinity, there are three persons —the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—who together are one being. The ontological structure of the Trinity is a unity (Deut. 6:4). When we speak of the economic Trinity, on the other hand, we are dealing with the activity of God and the roles of the three persons with regard to creation and redemption.

                  https://www.ligonier.org/blog/whats-...nomic-trinity/

                  So then the word "economic" is in opposition to the concept of "ontological."

                  This you agree with?

                  So then...in regards to my presentation of two clauses in Jn WITHOUT qualification:

                  My Father is greater than I, Jn 14

                  and

                  My Father is greater than all, Jn 10...

                  ...you are saying that these are both ECONOMIC qualifications as statements. "My Father is greater than I" in OFFICE or ROLE or ACTIVITY or AUTHORITY or FUNCTION only. NOT ontologically.

                  Agreed? Of course...when we come to the word AUTHORITY now things get just a LITTLE more COMPLICATED for the trinitarian, verdad? NOW the trinitarian has to bring the so-called TWO NATURES of Jesus into play. The HYPOSTATIC UNION.

                  Jesus as GOD is equal in authority to the Father. Jesus as MAN is subordinate to his Father. Not exactly the fork-tongued speaking for the American Indian. Rather, forked BEANY brain.
                  Shema will change the Christian World.

                  Turn it upside down. To where it once was, the POV of JESUS, his DISCIPLES and his SERVANTS.

                  Know God YHWH Elohim is One. And love Him with all. Mk 12, red letter words.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Barry Hofstetter View Post

                    You have just defined economic equality, which is what the outline I posted explores.
                    in OFFICE or ROLE or ACTIVITY or AUTHORITY or FUNCTION only. FOREVER'S position.

                    Well, not exactly I don't think. Both words, "authority" and "function" function IN TANDEM with ONTOLOGY. The authority of Jesus was considered BY HIMSELF to be LESSER than his Father. But as SHALIACH he represented his Father in guess what? AUTHORITY. Having the AUTHORITY of YHWH he spoke for YHWH, had supernatural power FROM YHWH, and relationship TO YHWH.

                    And functionally he was OBEDIENT to YHWH. These things are never said versa vice. The FATHER is never FUNCTIONAL in subordination to the Son, OR authoritative in secondary function to the Son, or INSPIRED by the Son, or SENT by the Son in any way shape fashion or form. In other words, the things above mentioned are not RECIPROCAL.

                    This is the BOON among the BOONDOCKERS. Knowing whatsup, verdad? Both words, authority and function, DEPEND theoretically upon ontology. Jesus is ONTOLOGICALLY an elohim but not the SUPERLATIVE Elohim of all elohim.
                    Shema will change the Christian World.

                    Turn it upside down. To where it once was, the POV of JESUS, his DISCIPLES and his SERVANTS.

                    Know God YHWH Elohim is One. And love Him with all. Mk 12, red letter words.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nothead View Post

                      The word "economic" in theology and Christology:

                      Ontology is the study of being. When we talk about the ontological Trinity, or as some theologians term it, the “immanent Trinity,” we are referring to the Trinity in itself, without regard to God’s works of creation and redemption. In the Trinity, there are three persons —the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—who together are one being. The ontological structure of the Trinity is a unity (Deut. 6:4). When we speak of the economic Trinity, on the other hand, we are dealing with the activity of God and the roles of the three persons with regard to creation and redemption.

                      https://www.ligonier.org/blog/whats-...nomic-trinity/

                      So then the word "economic" is in opposition to the concept of "ontological."

                      .
                      I do not believe that they are necessarily in opposition, no.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Barry Hofstetter View Post

                        I do not believe that they are necessarily in opposition, no.
                        Not in opposition, but distinct in comprehension, right? Jn 10 Jesus speaks of the EXACT ontological relationship he had to his Father and IRONICALLY this was SEEN as a what did you say, "dynamic EQUIVALENCE" to his Father?

                        The words, "I and my Father are one?"

                        The EXACT ontological relationship Jesus had was as he described, likened to the gods of Psalm 82 sir. Elohim NOT YHWH Elohim.
                        Shema will change the Christian World.

                        Turn it upside down. To where it once was, the POV of JESUS, his DISCIPLES and his SERVANTS.

                        Know God YHWH Elohim is One. And love Him with all. Mk 12, red letter words.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Barry Hofstetter View Post
                          I Note also that what is in effect covenant relationship with the Son is what is in view. In other words, the same type of relationship with Jahweh which saves in the OT is the type of relationship which the believer must have in Jesus. As in the OT one cleaves to Jahweh alone, abandoning vain idols and hoping in him alone for salvation both material and spiritual (cf. Exod 6:6-8; 20:1-26), so the believer in the NT trusts only in Jesus, guarding himself from idols (cf. 1 John 5:21).
                          A creepy word, never used in the Hebraic corpus, and that does match up with the dark-side Jupiter.

                          This junk word is refuted by the theophoric names, the Masoretic text and the rabbinical declarations, and more.

                          Be careful whenever you see this devil-work lifted up Sometimes there is simply total confusion, like Anthony Buzzard trying to jump back and forth. The real name is Jehovah as in the AV, or Yehovah..Accept no substitutes, counterfeits or infiltrators.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Steven Avery View Post
                            A creepy word, never used in the Hebraic corpus, and that does match up with the dark-side Jupiter.

                            This junk word is refuted by the theophoric names, the Masoretic text and the rabbinical declarations, and more.

                            Be careful whenever you see this devil-work lifted up Sometimes there is simply total confusion, like Anthony Buzzard trying to jump back and forth. The real name is Jehovah as in the AV, or Yehovah..Accept no substitutes, counterfeits or infiltrators.
                            Technically the real word is YHWH transliterated. You cannot be 100% sure of your claim sir. Go 'head stand onnit. But...you're standing on your head sir. And the blood rushes to your face sir...
                            Shema will change the Christian World.

                            Turn it upside down. To where it once was, the POV of JESUS, his DISCIPLES and his SERVANTS.

                            Know God YHWH Elohim is One. And love Him with all. Mk 12, red letter words.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              NEXT section of BarryHof:

                              Note also that what is in effect covenant relationship with the Son is what is in view. In other words, the same type of relationship with Jahweh which saves in the OT is the type of relationship which the believer must have in Jesus. As in the OT one cleaves to Jahweh alone, abandoning vain idols and hoping in him alone for salvation both material and spiritual (cf. Exod 6:6-8; 20:1-26), so the believer in the NT trusts only in Jesus, guarding himself from idols (cf. 1 John 5:21).


                              Wayell, you are actually DESCRIBING Jn 17 sir, "that they may be one as we are."

                              But, JUST as Jesus is ontologically AND functionally subordinate to YHWH in heaven and then on earth, WE are both ontologically and functionally subordinate to Jesus, as our "only L(l)ord."

                              SINCE he is the glorified elohim at the RIGHT HAND of God and we are at best human elohim, more anointed and sent than the average peon.

                              This IS by the way the REASON WHY Jesus is in my view only said to be elohim -- theos two times in NT. Jn 20:28 and the parallel view of Hebrews to Psalm 45 (which is also by the way an address to a HUMAN king).

                              And what was the "dynamic equivalent" TERM for this, the superlative elohim of all elohim EXCEPT YHWH Elohim for us? L(l)ord Jesus, said 51 times ALONGSIDE Theos/Father.
                              Shema will change the Christian World.

                              Turn it upside down. To where it once was, the POV of JESUS, his DISCIPLES and his SERVANTS.

                              Know God YHWH Elohim is One. And love Him with all. Mk 12, red letter words.

                              Comment

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