First John: 1 John 5:7-8-The Spirit, the Water and the Blood Agree in Their Testimony Lesson # 193

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First John: 1 John 5:7-8-The Spirit, the Water and the Blood Agree in Their Testimony

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1 John 5:7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. (ESV)
1 John 5:7 Therefore, three are testifying: 8 the Spirit, the water as well as the blood. Indeed, these three are in agreement. (My translation)
1 John 5:7-8 contains two assertions.
This first assertion declares that the Spirit, the water and the blood are testifying.
The second advances upon and intensifies the first assertion and states that these three are in agreement with regards to their testimony.
The first assertion in 1 John 5:7-8 presents result or the inference from the previous assertions recorded in 1 John 5:6, which contains four assertions.
The first assertion in 1 John 5:6 declares that Jesus Christ is the person who appeared publicly by means of water as well as blood.
We noted that the former speaks of Jesus Christ’s baptism whereas the latter refers to His death on the cross.
This declarative statement is followed by an emphatic correlative clause which serves to reaffirm it in emphatic terms.
It states that Jesus Christ absolutely did not appear publicly by means of this water only but rather by means of this water as well as by means of this blood.
The third assertion which appears in 1 John 5:6 corresponds to the preceding emphatic correlative clause.
It states that the Spirit is the person who testifies about Jesus Christ.
Therefore, the correspondence between these two assertions is that Jesus Christ appearing publicly by means of His baptism and by means of His death and the Spirit’s testimony about Jesus of Nazareth that He is the incarnate Son of God and the Christ.
Both ideas correspond to each other since the Spirit’s testimony about Jesus took place throughout His entire three and a half year ministry which began with His baptism and ended with His death on the cross.
The apostle John mentions the Spirit’s testimony here in 1 John 5:6 in conjunction with the water and the blood, which speak of Jesus Christ’s baptism and death respectively.
Thus, the water and the blood mark the beginning and the end of Jesus Christ’s public ministry.
The Spirit testified during Jesus Christ’s ministry that He was the incarnate Son of God and the Christ, the Savior of the world.
Therefore, as John writes, the baptism and death of Jesus Christ and the Spirit all testify that Jesus of Nazareth is the incarnate Son of God and the Christ, the Savior of the world.
Furthermore, the Spirit testifies to the truth of the first statement in 1 John 5:6 that the Jesus Christ appeared publicly by means of water and blood since He inspired John to write this and this doctrine originates from Him.
The fourth and final assertion is a causal clause which presents the reason for the assertion that the Spirit is the one who testifies about Jesus Christ.
It states that the Spirit possesses eternally and inherently the characteristic or attribute which is unique to Himself as deity, which is truth.
The water and the blood are being personified here as witnesses to the incarnation and subsequent hypostatic union of Jesus Christ.
They are personified as witnesses to the fact that Jesus of Nazareth is eternal life incarnate and thus the incarnate Son of God and the Christ.
As we noted in detail in our study of 1 John 5:6, “the water” refers to John the Baptist baptizing Jesus of Nazareth in the Jordan River, which marked the beginning of the latter’s public ministry, which lasted for approximately three and a half years.
John 1:26, 31 and 33 record Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist.
When Jesus was baptized, the Father spoke from heaven and said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:13–17).
Simultaneously, John 3:32-44 records John bearing witness that the Spirit descended like a dove and rested on Jesus, which was the Father’s manner of identifying for John the Baptist that Jesus was His Son.
The “blood” is a reference to Jesus of Nazareth’s physical death on the cross, which marked the end of His public ministry.
This interpretation is indicated by several factors.
First, as Jesus’ death drew near the Father is recorded as saying in John 12:28 that “I have both glorified (My name) and will glorify it again.”
Also, the Father brought about supernatural darkness during the last three hours of the crucifixion followed by an earthquake, which tore the temple veil in two (Matt. 27:45, 50-53).
Consequently, a centurion cried out “Truly, this was the Son of God!” (Matt. 27:54).
Also supporting this interpretation that the blood is a reference to Jesus’ physical death on the cross is that the only other reference to His blood in First John is 1 John 1:7 where it is used of His death on the cross.
Consequently, together, the water and the blood refer to Jesus Christ’s three and a half years public ministry.
Therefore, the reference to water in 1 John 5:6 is alluding to His baptism which marked the beginning of His public ministry and the reference to blood as alluding to His death on the cross, which marked the end of this ministry.
John mentions Jesus Christ’s baptism and death on the cross because the proto-Gnostic teachers, whom John describes as “antichrists” (1 John 2:18), and non-believers (1 John 2:19) and “false prophets” (1 John 4:2), taught that the divine Christ descended on the human Jesus at His baptism but left him before His crucifixion.
Consequently, they denied that one Person, Jesus Christ appeared publicly by water and blood.
Cerinthus was well-known in the late first century A.D. as propagated this false doctrine about Jesus Christ.
Here in 1 John 5:6-8, the apostle John makes crystal clear that this doctrine does not originate from the Holy Spirit.
1 John 5:11 identifies the content of the testimony of the baptism and death of Jesus Christ and the Spirit.
1 John 5:11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (ESV)
Therefore, the baptism and death of Jesus Christ as well as the Spirit all were in agreement in testifying that God the Father gave John and the recipients of First John eternal life and this life is an attribute of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Consequently, they are testifying that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ (cf. 1 John 2:22; 4:2; 5:1) and the incarnate Son of God (cf. 1 John 3:8; 4:15; 5:5), which John has asserting throughout First John.
Since Jesus is eternal life incarnate, He is the Son of God since eternal life is an attribute of God.
Since Jesus is eternal life incarnate, then He is the Christ and Savior of the world since God the Father provided salvation for all of sinful humanity by sending His Son into the human race to become a human being in order to redeem and reconcile sinful humanity to Himself.
1 John 5:10 is therefore, parenthetical to John’s argument.
Therefore, 1 John 5:6-12 are reiterating the contents of the prologue which asserts that Jesus Christ is eternal life incarnate.
Notice, in 1 John 5:8 that the Holy Spirit is given priority over the water and the blood. In other words, He is mentioned first before the water and the blood.
The reason for this is that the Spirit testified through the baptism of Jesus of Nazareth that He was God the Father’s one and only Son.
He also testified through the death of Jesus on the cross that He was God’s one and only Son as the centurion testified through the Spirit after Jesus’ physical death (cf. Matt. 27:54).
By presenting three witnesses who testified that Jesus Christ is eternal life incarnate, the apostle John employing a principle taught in the Mosaic Law that the truth of a matter can only be confirmed on the basis of two or more witnesses (cf. Deut. 17:6-11;19:15).
The Lord Jesus Christ cited this Old Testament principle of two or more witnesses to establish a matter (Matthew 18:16; John 8:17) and the early first century apostolic church was governed by it (2 Corinthians 13:1).
This law of multiple witnesses is alluded to in other passages in the New Testament (Matthew 18:19-20; 27:38; Mark 6:7; Luke 9:30, 32; 10:1; 24:13; John 20:12; Acts 1:10; Hebrews 6:18; Revelation 11:3-4).
Is John fully justified in personifying inanimate objects such as water and blood as witnesses along with the Holy Spirit?
Indeed, he is justified since in John 5:36 Jesus declared that His own works bear witness to Him.
In Hebrews 11:4, the author asserted that Abel’s sacrifice which was the result of his faith still speaks today.
Also, in Genesis 31:48 a heap of stones put up by Jacob and Laban were called to be a “witness” (cf. Josh. 22:10, 27; 24:27).
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