The Book of John-Chapter 3

(1) Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus (Nakdimon in Hebrew. He is probably Nakdimon Ben Gurion, a wealthy Jew in Jerusalem in the first century. Scholars have suggested he is the same man mentioned in the Talmud, Gittin 56a), a ruler of the Jews (a member of the Sanhedrin); (2) this man came to him by night (Yeshua would not trust himself to those who believed when seeing miracles (2.24) so it was necessary to do this) and said to him, “Rabbi, we (the rulers may have sent him, they were inquiring about him) know that you come from God as a teacher (the Jewish expectation was that the Messiah would be a teacher); for no one can do the signs that you do unless God is with him (he had seen some of the miracles).” (3) Yeshua answered and said to him, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (or “born from above” with no effort of his own and that by incorruptible seed (John 1.13), as opposed to fleshly descent through Abraham).” (4) Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old. He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he (Nicodemus understood the typical Jewish teaching of the time that a Gentile proselyte needed a new birth, but that the Jews needed one confused him. The concept of being born again is associated with the New Moon festival and how the moon was “born again” from the heavens each month, which Nicodemus knew of. He also knew of the change of status from clean to unclean and vice versa, but by this time many of these concepts were lost due to tradition. All living creatures are a “nefesh” and the “ruach” distinguishes man from an animal. A “neshamah” is a “soul of hearing” that seeks the Lord. Now, the waters of Eden are still found in the water around us today, they have their root in Eden due to the water cycle (Job 38.28-30). The Hebrew word for “heaven” is “shamayim” which means “there (sham) is water (mayim)”, so the water of “life” comes from heaven. A mikvah, or immersion bath, connects us to Eden through the water. Yeshua’s immersion recreates Gen 1 and the “new” creation. It also recreates his death, burial and resurrection. When a person enters a mikvah, he enters the realm of the non-living, hostile to human life. He can’t live there for too long. So, when he emerges he takes a breath and is seen as “reborn” and that is why a mikvah was in the ground. He is conceived in the new womb, the waters of Eden. Yeshua was conceived in a “new” womb, a virgin. He came out alive. He was buried in a “new” tomb, he came out alive. Womb and tomb are related and are the same word in Hebrew, “kever.” The terms “live” and “circumcision of the heart” are found in the Torah and these words are synonymous with “born again.”)?” (5) Yeshua answered, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit (“and” can mean “which is”), he cannot enter the into the kingdom of God (in other words, a person must be born from above, by the Ruach ha Kodesh). (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh (natural birth), and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit (regenerated by the Spirit of God). (7) Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ (8) The wind (another term for “ruach” and the wind can play a harp, which is symbolic of our hearts) blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is every one who is born of the Spirit (like the wind, the Spirit works how, when and where he pleases, unseen, but we can see his work).” (9) Nicodemus answered and said to him, “How can these things be (the people believed that they were righteous because they were descendants of Abraham. What Yeshua is saying is that each individual must come in repentance to God spiritually, not just be born from a woman, Ezek 33.23-29, where the people in Ezekiel’s time thought that since God gave Abraham the land, the survivors now thought that the land was theirs and since they “escaped” the exile, they were “blessed.” They thought that if Abraham sacrificed one son and inherited the land, they had sacrificed many and would surely inherit it. But, they needed to repent individually because they were just as evil as those who died or were taken into captivity, and if they didn’t, they would lose everything. Nicodemus had the same mentality. He didn’t see he was just as much a sinner as anyone else)?” (10) Yeshua answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel (not just an ordinary teacher in the synagogues, but in the Sanhedrin, the “eyes” of the people of Israel) and do not understand these things? (11) Truly, truly I say to you, we (speaking of himself in the plural, as he did in Mark 4.30, which backed up in the next verse) speak that which we know and bear witness of that which we have seen; and you do not receive our witness (an aggravation of their sin and unbelief-John 3.32). (12) If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things? (13) And no one has ascended into heaven (not before the resurrection of Yeshua), but he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man (“Bar Enosh” of Dan 7.13, a messianic title). (14) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (those who were bitten by a serpent could look upon the serpent on the pole and be healed), even so must the Son of Man (Bar Enosh) be lifted up (15) that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life (the word for “fiery” in Num 21.8 is “seraph” meaning a “burning one” where “seraphim” comes from and Moses makes a bronze serpent, a “nachash” and sets it on a pole. So, when the Lord looks at the pole, he see’s his son, a burning “seraph”, but when the people look at it, they see a cursed serpent. Yeshua was put on the cross, seemingly cursed by God, but he wasn’t, only the people thought that. If they would look to the cross by faith, they would be saved from the bite of the serpent called sin, because the Father saw his son, but the people saw one cursed. But it didn’t work that way in God’s eyes). (16) For God so loved the world (the Gentile world, God’s elect among them, not just Israel’s elect) that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life (Jew and Gentile alike). (17) For God did not send the son into the world to judge the world (like Israel thought he would, especially the Romans), but that the world (the elect in general) should be saved through him (Isa 49.6). (18) He who believes in him is not judged (no condemnation in Messiah), he who does not believe has been judged already (he remains in condemnation), because he has not believed in the name (meaning authority) of the only begotten son of God. (19) And this is the judgment (the cause of it), that the light (of divine revelation, the “sun” of righteousness, Messiah) is come into the world, and men (Jew and Gentile) loved the darkness (of misunderstanding and ignorance) rather than the light, for their deeds are evil (as defined by the Torah). (20) For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed (discovered, reproved, put to blame). (21) But he who practices the truth (as found in the Torah, the Scriptures) comes to the light (of understanding) that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God (God is the one working in him).” (22) After these things (Passover, driving out the merchants, the miracles, Nicodemus) Yeshua and his talmidim came into the land of Judea; and there he was spending time with them, and baptizing (his talmidim, in his name-John 4.2). (23) And John also was baptizing in Aenon (means “springs”) near Salim (means “peace”) because there was much water there (John continued his mission until told otherwise); and they were coming, and were being baptized (by John). (24) For John had not yet been thrown into prison. (25) There arose therefore a discussion on the part of John’s talmidim with a Jew about purification (which was a common practice. The purity laws were an important part of their lives and it was a big topic). (26) And they came to John, and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have borne witness (meaning Yeshua), behold, he is baptizing, and all are coming to him.” (27) And John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven (John and his office, his calling). (28) You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah’, but, ‘I have been sent before him (in the role of Elijah-Mal 4.5-6).’ (29) He who has the bride is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegrooms voice. And so this joy of mine has been made full (these are Jewish wedding terms. John has been assigned to the bridegroom, to bring him to the bride. Moses was assigned to the bride, to bring them to God. These are the two witnesses, the Torah (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah). In a Jewish wedding, the friend of the bridegroom would stand at the door and wait for the voice of the bridegroom to tell him that the marriage was consummated). (30) He must increase, but I must decrease (this is using terms from the New Moon. Messiah is the sun, and as the sun increases, the moon (John) will eventually disappear from sight). (31) He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. (32) What he has seen and heard of (of the Father, his will, his mind) that he bears witness (will testify about); and no man receives his witness (few gave any credence to it). (33) He who has received his witness has set his seal to this, that God is true (some received the testimony, and God is faithful to fulfill his promises). (34) For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God (found in the Torah); for he gives the Spirit (the Ruach ha Kodesh) without measure (to Yeshua, something that he did not do with the prophets of old. Yeshua had the fullness). (35) The Father loves the son, and has given all thing into his hand. (36) He who believes in the son has eternal life, but he who does not obey the son shall not see life, but the wrath of God (condemnation) abides on him.”

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Understanding the New Testament, Verse-by-Verse Bible Studies

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