In the hustle and bustle of the approaching season, its really essential that we stop long enough to reflect on the scriptures to truly understand the mission of the son. When reading the bible, its also important to ask the question of who, to whom and why in order to fully comprehend and understand the context. Who is speaking, to whom are they speaking and why are they saying what was said. The bible also tells us in Isaiah 28:10 that precept must be upon precept, here a little, there a little. Meaning, to fully understand the bible, you must get bits and pieces of scripture and information from all over the bible to get the full content. All that being said, lets now put emotions to the side, use common sense, and like the bible says, search the scriptures to understand what John 3:16 is truly saying.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. The word ‘world’ here is automatically translated by us to mean every single person living on earth, unfortunately, this is an incorrect translation. There are 17 different definitions of the word ‘world’ in the bible, showing us that there is more than one world spoken of in the bible. Hebrews 1:2 talks about ‘worlds’ showing us there is more than one world. Therefore, the question begging to be answered is what world is John 3:16 referring to? In Romans 9:13 God tells us Jacob has He loved. Jacob is the father of the 12 tribes of Israel, so God is saying he loves Jacob, and his descendants fall under the blessing of this love. On the other hand, He says he hates Esau who is Jacobs brother. Esau is the father of the Edomites, so God hates Esau and his descendants fall under the curse of God’s hate. Therefore, by process of elimination, it is clear that God was not talking about the Edomites in John 3:16, or this would be a contradiction and the bible does not contradict itself. In Isaiah 45:17- But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. This is the ‘world’ being referred to in John 3:16, the world of Israel and not the world of everyone on the earth. This was where Christ was quoting the scripture from.
Now we have that out of the way, the next question that begs to be answered is who did God give His son for? Acts 13:23 clearly shows that The Most High gave His son for the nation of Israel. They were the ones who needed a savior, not the entire people on the earth. They needed a savior because they were given a law which they never kept and thus led to their captivity, thus Christ came to be a savior to. Taking religion out of the picture and simply reading the bible as it is using precepts upon precepts, we continue to get understanding. Based on your understanding of how God feels about the Edomites, ask yourself if the ‘whosoever’ in Hebrews 12:16-17 would include them? The bible clearly tells us that God rejected Esau and he found no place of repentance for him and his descendants. Even the Zondervan bible dictionary defines Edom as a nation that never received any promise of mercy from God. Therefore, the word ‘whosever’ is not an all inclusive statement. The bible is directed to the Israelites, so ‘whosoever’ is speaking of whosoever within the Israelites. This is further clarified in Exodus 12:15. Whosoever in Israel that eateth leavened bread would be cut off from the nation. This too is not talking about everyone in the whole world, since they cannot be cut off from the nation of Israel considering they are not a part of the nation.
For more context, we need to read a few verses earlier, John 3:14. Christ gives an analogy saying the same way Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness is the same way he was going to be lifted up. Since Christ was giving a comparison, we need to go back to the old testament to find out who the serpent was lifted up to, so we can determine who Christ will in turn be lifted up to. Numbers 21:5-8 tells us that everyone of Israel that was bitten but looked upon the serpent shall live. This word ‘everyone’ is synonymous with the word ‘whosoever’, and in context is speaking of a specific people and not the whole world. Christ was therefore saying that the same way that Moses lifted up the serpent to the people of Israel is the same way he was going to be lifted up to the people of Israel and die on the cross. Therefore in summary, the who? Christ was speaking. To whom? Nicodemus who was a Pharisee and a leader of the Jews aka Israelites. Why? To tell the Israelites why he was on earth and how they were going to be redeemed.
Revelations 12:9 explains that traditions of men have been passed down from generation to generation and is being used by Satan to deceive the whole world. Now, this world here is actually talking about everyone living on the earth. Those lies satan has told by virtue of religion has become peoples reality, and we need to snap out of it. Ecclesiastes 12:13 tells us that knowing who Christ came for is not what is going to get us into the kingdom of heaven. Also, knowing he came for us does not mean Edomites won’t make it in either. We are to keep God’s commandments, this is what will get us into the kingdom. We are in the soul saving business and our job as we obey His commandments is to lead others to obey His commandments and lead them also to Christ. That is the conclusion of the matter!
Till next time, shalom and blessings.