Q & A – What is the Meaning of John 17:5?

 

Subject: Question Regarding John 17

 

Hi Craig:

I want to begin by thanking you for publishing the studies you have on your web site.  I reference them as I am studying various topics in the Bible, and the work you've done has been a great help.  I wanted to access a study you did on the entire chapter 17 of the gospel of John.  It's been several weeks or longer since I read it, and I could not locate it when I searched your site today.  I saw the study of John 17:5 in the FAQ section.  Is my memory correct that you have a study of the entire chapter 17?  Is it still available to view?  I have pasted the paragraph from your site that is one of the scriptures I am interested in:

 

“Below is the breakdown of the Greek to produce a more accurate version of John 17:5 as the Greek transliterated text - Kaí nún dóxasón me sú Páter pará seautoó teé dóxee heé eíchon pró toú tón kósmon eínai pará soí.  The Appropriate Translation for John 17:5, reflecting the contrast between the glory Jesus shared in the transfiguration with the existence or condition of the world’s inhabitants reads as follows:

 

John 17:5 And soon, at the fit time, glorify me with Thyself Father, in the power of Your presence, with the magnificence, kingly dignity and honor I held together with You in preeminence to this world existence.”  (TAT)

 

I have notes from a study from over 20 years ago that handled this verse by stating that God had Jesus in His foreknowledge and that is what Jesus meant when he refers to the preeminence of the world.  My notes are not complete, and I'm sure there was much more to the study.

 

I'm in need of a more detailed way to PROVE the meaning of this verse is NOT that Jesus existed with God prior to the creation of the world.  The entire Bible stands in contradiction to the belief that Jesus existed with God prior to creation.  There is an explanation of why John 17:5 does not fit, and the liberties the translators took seems an obvious answer, but I do not understand fully what those liberties were.

 

The usage of the word kósmon tells us that Jesus was talking about the cultural life of people and not the terra firma.  Could you further elaborate on this aspect and how it directs the overall meaning of the sentence?  The above translation you have provided on your site is a beginning of understanding this, but it would be of great help if you could share any more insight into this verse.

 

By studying the Bible, I have been convinced that Jesus is not God, and I know that this verse has errors in translation or in my understanding.  To give some background on how I arrived to studying 17:5, I have been studying John 14-16 for many months and when I began chapter 17, I realized that I have not learned vs. 5 with the clarity that I need.  By the way, Chapters 14-16 are awesome!  Jesus teaches about the fruit of the spirit, prayer life, Holy Spirit and more.  I intend on reading your work on Holy Spirit in the upcoming week because Jesus speaks so much on that subject in 14-16.

 

Thanks for reading this and I hope you can offer some more information on John 17:5.

 

With much gratitude, and God bless!

 

Nicole

 

Craig’s Reply & Answers


Hi Nicole,

 

I combined both sets of questions you asked into one narrative, and clarified some aspects of your inquiry.  I suggest rereading that portion of the email, as it will benefit you in the future, as you seek inquiry regarding scriptural knowledge.  Your questions are first prefaced by comments about some study notes, (notes you took over 20 years ago) that explain John 17:5 as meaning, “God had Jesus in His foreknowledge and that is what Jesus meant when he refers to the preeminence of the world.”  Obviously, this study contradicts what you now believe, evidenced by your request pasted below:

 

I'm in need of a more detailed way to PROVE the meaning of this verse is NOT that Jesus existed with God prior to the creation of the world.  The entire Bible stands in contradiction to the Christian church’s belief that Jesus existed with God before creation; theirs’ is an explanation of John 17:5 that does not fit.  The explanation for the doctrinal conflict regarding the nature of Jesus Christ appears to me to be the fault of the erroneous Bible translation liberties, which errors were made by Bible translators as the byproduct of their preconceived ideas about the pre-existence of Christ.  Just the same, I do not understand fully what those erroneous liberties were.  Could you further elaborate on this aspect and how it directs the overall meaning of the sentence in John 17:5?  The above translation you have provided on your site is a beginning of understanding this, but it would be of great help if you could share any more insight into this verse. 

 

Nicole, I sympathize with the social and inner conflict you have undoubtedly encountered firsthand from well-meaning, but woefully ignorant Christians, who arbitrarily decide to, “set you straight,” concerning your denial of the deity of Christ.  You may find that my reply to your inquiry is remarkably lengthy, but I assure you, most of what is written here is relevant and substantial in your continued research.

 

Equally as important, the information provided for you here, may assist in determining how you respond to the challenges and questions of other born-again Christians.  The subject matter phrased in the body of your email message is much more complex than either you or I realize, but thru Jesus Christ, God the Father is directing spiritual traffic in our lives, so no worries!  Through your diligent efforts to seek Him in spirit AND in truth, God has brought you to a wonderful place of revelation in His word, and I rejoice with you.  I certainly identify with your desire to, “PROVE,” the meaning of the verse in John 17:5, (as other than the pre-existence of Christ). 

 

No doubt, your180 degree turn is a change of theological direction that has generated conflict amongst the ranks of the local Christian community (i.e. – relationships with Christian friends, family, & church members).  Denying the deity of Christ is a radical departure from orthodox Christology, and I commend your courage in the Lord Jesus.  If your experience is parallel to mine, and to that of others that have made and continue making the same discoveries, I’m certain it has been disconcerting, to say the least, when close friends and/or family members disagree with you.

 

The doctrines of the trinity, and the deity of Christ have become the proverbial, “holy grail,” of Christendom.  As a believer, you stand as part of what could be called a, “Christological and theological minority,” just as Jesus did, as Paul did, and the rest of the disciples did.  Sometimes you run into the, ‘not-so-nice,’ side of fellow born-again Christians, whose emotional and verbal fisticuffs bear down upon you, in the hopes you will concede to their orthodox view of Jesus.  Or perhaps your pastor, (or former pastor J), sat down with you, and then, with a somber look on his face, used his ecclesiastic prowess, and tried to make you acquiesce in repentance for your rebellion.  Does this sound familiar? 

 

These types of exchange have the tendency to make a person like you or me be on the defensive; there are even times, when the ferocity and aggression of others is so intense, that it becomes necessary to prove the veracity of your belief with an overwhelming display of scriptural evidence.

 

Over the years, my experience involved in the same type of conflict situations, is that most discussions of this nature are really nothing more than arguments and wrangling over words, which rarely if ever results in the other person’s change of mind, even though you persuade them in love with the truth.  You know the old saying, “He that is convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still!”  Pray and ask Jesus to guide you away from being drawn into this type of trap; the devil can use it to rob you of much of the joy of studying the scriptures.  Be content with what you know, and be satisfied that you know the truth, and don’t let the antagonism of other Christians that oppose you influence your studies.

 

Just because the majority of Christians believe that Jesus is God doesn’t mean you, me, or any one else with the truth, should feel pressured or threatened by the antagonism of ignorant Christians.  I felt compelled to share this exhortation with you, and to whoever else reads this article/study, because you are a true seeker, and it behooves me as your brother in Jesus, to stand with you in deed and truth.  God’s plan is to use your passion for the truth, and to reveal what has been hidden from the eyes, minds, and hearts of those with, ‘ears to hear,’ what the spirit is saying to the churches for many centuries.

 

Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying; there is a time for making a defense for the truth, and scripture exhorts us to be ready to give an answer to anyone that asks us about the hope that we have within us.  Whenever I study scripture, I do not try to prove my point of view, because when I try to provide evidence for my point of view, I will inevitably miss God’s inspired revelation in the interpretation of the text I am studying. 

 

Don’t despair, I will explain John 17:5, but I wanted to encourage you to continue this marvelous adventure, and be used mightily of God to make the crooked ways straight, and prepare the way for the parousia of Jesus the Christ.  To begin our study, I need to point out a few things that you said, which are true, but are only a smaller part of the overall picture.   I agree 100% with you that the entire Bible stands in contradiction to the Christian church’s belief that Jesus existed with God before creation.  I agree 100% with you that theirs’ is an explanation of John 17:5 that does not fit. 

 

Erroneous Doctrinal Prejudice Is the Foundation for Translation Errors

 

In your email message, you said the reason for the doctrinal conflict regarding the nature of Jesus Christ, appears to be the fault of the erroneous Bible translation liberties.  I agree the Bible translators took liberties and altered the text of scripture in many places; however, the problem did not begin with Bible translators, but rather, it began with Roman Catholic Church theologians, who deviously invented the doctrine of the trinity, from whence came the doctrine of the pre-existence of Christ. 

 

You have been studying this subject for some time now, and I have numerous articles and studies that document the origins of the various errors in Christian church theology and Christology, which can be historically documented as originating as early as the 1st century A.D.  The pace was accelerated and but became prolific in the 3rd and 4th centuries, beginning with the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. 

 

There is a pervasive, subliminal fear among born-again believers today, concerning the belief in deity of Jesus Christ.  Church congregations have, for centuries since the Great Reformation, been clutching tightly to this illogical and contradictory view, which is based almost entirely in Catholic creeds!  Yet most born-again Christians, save for those that attend the Roman Catholic Church, are ready to dispute the legitimacy of the Catholic religion!  Go figure that one out.  They fear that if the Lord Jesus is identified as being entirely human and not as Deity, they will be robbed of an, “Almighty,” Savior. 

 

The ‘Jesus is God doctrine’ has several variations, just as trinitarian theology does; some Christians actually believe that when Jesus died, it was, “God’s blood,” that was spilled.  One gentleman sent me a very aggravated email message, and told me that if Jesus’ blood was not, “Divine,” then he died in vain!  You may wonder what all of this has to do with explaining the correct interpretation of John 17:5, but every point made thus far is relevant to Christological apologetics.  You asked for a solid interpretation to, “PROVE,” that John 17:5 is not a reference to Christ before the creation of the terra firma, so it is vital you also have a good handle on what the church, “world,” (kósmon) believes so that you can have your words of truth, “seasoned,” with grace, to bring edification to the hearer.

 

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned as it were, with salt, so that you may never be at a loss to know how you ought to answer anyone who puts a question to you.  Amplified Bible

 

Colossians 4:6 Speak pleasantly to them, but never sentimentally, and learn how to give the proper answer to every questioner.  Phillip’s New Testament

 

Colossians 4:6 Be gracious in your speech.  The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.  The Message Bible by Eugene Peterson 2002

 

Without a definitive understanding of the historical development of dualism in the Hellenized world, even if you are able to accurately define from the Greek text the meaning of John 17:5, you are still left with a huge void as to understanding why Christians hold so tenaciously to the deity of Christ.  In this lengthy, in-depth reply, I will take you thru centuries old beliefs that paved the way for the Roman Catholic Church Christology, explaining in simply terms a very complex subject.  By approaching you question from this angle, you will see the benefit only as you near completion, but it will put you on solid ground by adding truth from the scriptures, history, and a variety of documented sources.

 

Syncretic dualism, (or simply, ‘dualism’), the scholarly term applied to the hypostatic union of Jesus’ “God” and his “human” nature into one cohesive nature, predates even the earliest beginning’s of the Roman Catholic Church and starts as far back as the earliest Greek philosophers and Greek mythology.  The so-called, ‘big gun,’ in the Bible that ‘Jesus is God’ adherents use as foundational support for their err is found in the text of John 1:1.  Using this scripture verse to verify the “Deity,” of Jesus is laughable; just the same, the destructive way it is applied to misrepresent God and His son Jesus has done unimaginable damage to literally millions of people’s lives over the course of the history of mankind.

 

John 1:1says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,” (a terrible translation by the way; the ‘Jesus is God doctrine’ identifies the, “Word,” as the Son of God, Jesus Christ.  The fundamentals of this lie are based in a form of syncretism, or dualism, which is an ancient Greek pagan concept, whereby two distinct natures, one human and one divine, are amalgamated into one nature, purportedly thru a mysterious process, known as, “hypostasis.”  In other words, they believe John 1:1 as the, “Word,” was in reality the, “God,” portion of Jesus that was already in existence, before the creation of the universe and therefore prior to all beginning, in a timeless age which transcends time, in eternity.  Further, Jesus’ eternal, personal existence is maintained in the phrase, “The Word (ho Lógos) was with God (eén prós tón Theón),” pointing to his equality with God. 

 

This view can be historically traced to Trinitarian theology, which says Christ existed in the ‘form of God’ because he himself is God; then during the, ‘Incarnation,’ Jesus was still God's equal, (as the 2nd Person of the trinity), but in His self-abasement he did not hold fast to this equality, but emptied Himself of it, and instead took the lowly form of a bond-servant.  In his amazing self-abasement, he purportedly did not renounce his attributes as a divine Person; but instead, he veiled them beneath His lowly human garb, save when occasion demanded their display.  Both Omnipotence and Omniscience belonged to Him while on earth, and he often exhibited both in the sight of men.”[1]  Gag.

 

Essentially, the ‘Jesus is God doctrine’ defines the nature (i.e. – existence & characteristics) of Jesus Christ as being part human, and part Divine.  A remarkably high percentage of church leaders, teachers, and Christian book authors refer to Jesus as, “the God-Man.”  The idea of an incarnate deity (i.e. – a god or goddess personified in the flesh) was not new or particularly inventive.   In the 2nd, 3rd, and the 4th centuries A.D., the Roman Catholic Church fathers, theologians, and religious philosophers created a blended form of theology utilizing fundamental precepts derived from Hellenistic religions, and combining them with the preexistence of God (Hebrew = Elohiym) in the Old Testament.  These convoluted mixtures of dogma mixtures were subsequently united them with Neo-Platonic interpretations of the, “logos,” in the Greek and Latin New Testament manuscripts available to them at the time. 

 

Neoplatonism, Greek Mythology & the Invention of Christ as the God-Man

 

Plato, a secular Greek philosopher and a disciple of the philosopher Socrates (Socrates was also a convicted pedophile), taught a philosophy that was steeped in mysticism and his theory of forms and ideas shaped the earliest theology of the Roman Catholic Church fathers.  Plato taught that the ‘logos’ (reason expressed) emerged from the ‘nous’ (mind & knowledge) of the demiurge.  Plato was purely secular, but the Greeks liked and used his ideas in their mythological procreation of the pantheon, a plethora of personal gods and goddesses.  He taught the demiurge was a mystic, cosmic force from which all “essential” life forms were originated.  By ‘essential’, he meant everything that relates to the non-material cosmos, and he placed particular emphasis on forms (morphe) and ideas (logon).

 

Plato believed the only aspect of human existence worth merit was the pursuit of knowledge (gnosis, from nous) and wisdom, (sophia).  Even today, Plato’s philosophical ideas are still embraced and taught as part of the ‘humanities’ curriculum in nearly every major secular university.  Over time, mystic sages (so-called ‘wise men’) took hold of select ideas gleaned from Platonic philosophy, and then melding these together with mythological Greek gods and goddess with various forms, oftentimes as incarnations.  Essentially, Greek mythology is simply the reinvention of ancient Baal, Ashtaroth, and Jupiter worship; with the advent of Hellenism, the number of actual deities increased significantly to conform to the Greco-Roman trend of making deities more personal to the individual worshipper. 

 

The pantheon was not genuine or unique; it was merely a resurrection of earlier Semitic false deities.  For example, ancient Assyrian worship of Jupiter was later adopted by the Greeks, who renamed him ‘Zeus.’  Zeus was then propagated throughout the world, after Alexander the Great founded Alexandria as the center of learning for civilization for centuries.  The Greeks also added personality (persona) to each individual deity by making each god or goddess by inventing strange stories about their origins.  These bizarre tales, known today as Greek mythology, embody a group of myths used by Greek and later Roman culture as a means of describing the history of their ancestors, heroes, gods, and other supernatural beings. 

 

In Greek mythology, Zeus, most powerful of all the gods, is ‘personally’ associated with the atmosphere and the constellations, which every Greek worshipper could relate to thru the senses.  Zeus was the god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods, and during the time of Christ, the Romans adopted this pagan deity by reincarnating him as the Roman god Jupiter.  Homer considered Zeus to be the ‘father’ of the gods and mortals.  Homer’s use of the word, “father,” did not mean Zeus created the other gods or that he created humans. 

 

To the Greeks, the term, “father,” was applied to their principal deity to portray him as protector and ruler of the human race, as well as lording it over the other gods.  Zeus was lord of the sky, the rain god, and the cloud gatherer, who wielded the terrible thunderbolt.[2]  Because so much of their well being was dependent on the weather, it made sense to them to worship at least one deity, who could control it all. 

 

Later, the Romans adopted Greek heroes into their own mythology.  Perhaps the best-known figure was the Greek hero Heracles, who became known in Rome as Hercules.  When I was a kid, I can still remember going to the movies to watch Steve Reeves, the world’s strongest man, turned actor in Hollywood, playing the part of Hercules, son of Zeus.  In the movies, Hercules killed weird monsters, dragons, and spoke audibly to the unseen god-father (Zeus), who would occasionally boom from the clouds, rumbling the earth with thunder, sending lightning bolts across the sky.  Whether or not Hollyweird portrays these Greek mythological characters as viewed by the ancient Greco-Roman society is doubtful, but it shows the extent of Hellenization’s influence, even thousands of years into the future. 

 

The Greeks and Romans carved ornate statues of their gods and goddesses, often depicting them as fully or partially human.  Zeus (or Jupiter) is depicted with a man’s head, long, curled hair, with a massive torso, powerful bulging muscles in his chest and arms, often rising up from a cloud.  Some icons depicted him holding a bolt of lightening, as if to strike the earth in judgment at any moment.  During the Renassaince, artistic expressions are a visual concept what Roman Catholic Church theology did in mischaracterizing the of God of the Bible, painting Him as an angry old man, with bulging muscular arms and with white, curled hair and long, white beard, sitting atop and among the clouds, just as Zeus was portrayed by the Greeks millennia earlier.

 

One need not be an art lover, or archaeologist to observe the strong Hellenistic influences in the Christology of Christendom throughout the world today and in the ages past.  Displayed hanging in the National Gallery in London, England is the painting by Italian artist Tintoretto, ‘The Origin of the Milky Way’.  Completed between A.D. 1575 and 1580, the painting depicts a legend describing how the Milky Way was formed.  Jupiter (also known as Zeus), hoping to immortalize his infant son Hercules (who was born to a mortal woman), placed the baby on Juno’s breast.  Her milk spilled up, forming the Milky Way.[3]  Many people that view this paining mistakenly assume it is a portrayal of God, Christ, and Mary (as the queen of heaven); little do they realize it is a relic from the ancient Greek pantheon!

 

Christianity borrowed from the Greco-Roman belief that each ‘intermediate’ deity could be personalized.  In the Christian church’s infancy, during the 1st century A.D., false teachers combined Greek mythology (i.e. – Zeus) by identifying him as the same deity as God the Father mentioned in the synoptic gospels.  Iconoclastic depictions of Greco-Roman gods and goddesses still remain in tact today in certain areas of Europe, such as Greece, Rome, etc.  Archaeological discoveries stand as visual proof that false deities of this ancient era inspired the Roman Catholic Church fathers and theologians, who adopted and then embodied them in emergent theological and Christological doctrines.  Statuary of ethereal heavenly rulers, coexisting as half human and half divine, date back in time as early as the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. 

 

The same Roman Catholic Church fathers and theologians, who developed a defiled brand of Christology, made use of the popularity of mythology, Neoplatonism and Philonic Judaism in the Roman Empire.  Philonic Judaism is a term used to describe Philo’s dogma in relation to the Old Testament God.  Philo Judaeus, also Philo of Alexandria (circa 20bc-ad50), was Jewish-Hellenistic philosopher and a contemporary of the man Christ Jesus.  Philo was a mystic Jewish rabbi, but also considered the greatest Jewish philosopher of his age, who amalgamated so completely the doctrines of Greek philosophy with his own musings from the Hebrew Pentateuch, that he must also be considered a Greek philosopher. 

 

To Philo the divinity of the Jewish law was the basis and test of all true philosophy.  He maintained that the greater part of the Pentateuch, in both its historical and legal portions, could be explained allegorically, and that its deepest and truest significance is to be found through such interpretation.  Philo conceived God as a being without any characteristic traits, defining Elohiym of the Old Testament as the God whose nature is indescribable and superior to human comprehension. 

 

Philo made such a lasting impression upon religion, that his rhetoric remains in use today, even among Christendom’s ecclesiastical elite.  If someone asks one of these so-called, ‘Christian Bible scholars,’ to explain the nature of the Trinity and/or the deity of Jesus Christ, oftentimes the only ‘Bible answer’ a man receives does nothing more than to mirror the language of Philo.  One popular radio program host frequently refers to God as being, “ineffable, beyond comprehension,” and that which can only be, “apprehended,” by mere mortals. 

 

Philo said God was so exalted above the world (kósmon) that an intermediate class of beings is required to establish a point of contact between Him and the world.  To Philo, the spiritual world of ideas was not purely Platonic, (in the sense of being formless and ethereal), but very real, active powers, as a plethora of beings surrounding God as attendant servants.  Satan was behind this evil, and in the First Century church, false teachers crept into the church teaching destructive heresies inspired by Philonic Judaism, opportunistically drawing away to themselves Jewish converts that had formerly shared in the mystical (Qabbalistic) teaching of rabbis that followed Philo’s school of thought.  No more prolific was this deception in the church than seen in the ministry of the apostle Paul, whose journeys took him into the very heart of Greco-Roman mythology and religious philosophy.

 

Colossians 2:4-8 I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.  5 For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.  6-7 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.  8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.  NASU

 

In Colossians 2:8, Paul’s reference to, “philosophy and empty deception,” is aimed squarely at Neoplatonic philosophical teachings by imposters (posing as apostles) in the church that were teaching other believers that Jesus Christ was, in fact, one of the principal heavenly beings ranks of the Philo’s, “intermediate class of beings.”  Taking advantage of the widespread popularity of the Greco-Roman gods, especially in Asia Minor and among Jewish intellectuals, false teachers began aggressively promoting their own modified version of Philonic Judaism.  The New Testament did not exist in its modern written form, so these messengers of Satan, disguised as apostles of the true faith, blended Philo’s concept of, “intermediate beings,” whose primary function was attendants surrounding God and acting on His behalf as the, “point of contact,” between, “God and humans.”

 

Contrary to what the vast majority of today’s Bible scholars and Bible study tools say, gnosticism was NOT the prevailing doctrinal dilemma facing the apostle Paul, John, Peter and the other apostles.  Rather, as the gospel was expansively spread, the rapid birth of hundreds of new churches compelled them to earnestly battle against the didactic pollution being simultaneously introduced by false teachers, who were hell-bent on twisting the nature of the man Christ Jesus, presenting a, “different Jesus,” than Paul and the other apostles preached. 

 

Galatians 1:1-9 Paul, an apostle — sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead  and all the brothers with me, to the churches in Galatia: 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.  6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel7 which is really no gospel at all.  Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.  8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!  9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! NIV

 

2 Corinthians 11:3-6 But I fear that somehow you will be led away from your pure and simple devotion to Christ, just as Eve was deceived by the serpent.  4 You seem to believe whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach about a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. 5 But I don't think I am inferior to these, “super apostles.”  6 I may not be a trained speaker, but I know what I am talking about.  I think you realize this by now, for we have proved it again and again. NLT

 

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. NASU

 

These men were messengers of Satan, disguised as apostles of the true faith, redefining Christ as only one of many, “intermediaries,” that served as, “attendants,” of Elohiym as His, “point of contact.”  The apostle Paul’s words, “an angel from heaven,” in Galatians 1:8 actually expose this false teaching, when he says, “But even if we {apostles} or an angel from heaven {referring to Philo’s teaching about intermediaries dispatched by Elohiym} should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!  This false message undermined two essential truths by which men are saved:

 

1.      There is only ONE God, the Father; He alone is God (‘Elohiym’) and He alone is the Creator of all things; His covenant name is Yahweh.

 

2.      There is only ONE mediator between God and men, which is the MAN Christ Jesus.

 

Greek pantheism seeks to rob God of His sovereignty and Philo’s perverted dogma degrades the only acceptable sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the propitiation for sin, by reducing him to only on of a myriad of intermediaries that act as a point of contact between God and man.

 

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.  NKJV

 

Paul’s letters to the churches at Galatia and Corinth demonstrate just how problematic this redefinition of God and Christ had become.  The scriptural teaching about the nature of God was being distorted by men he calls, “false apostles, and deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.”  Claiming to be, “super apostles,” these men were religious mystics using the name of Christ and blending it into the didactic philosophical foundation that Philo had already established amongst many rabbinical circles.  The proof for this expose is seen by Paul’s words, “I may not be a trained speaker, but I know what I am talking about.”

 

False teachers discovered opportunities abounding because of Philo’s influence, particularly his didactic version of the Logos, or “expression” of the Demiurge.  This is what the apostle Paul is fighting against, described in Galatians as, “a different gospel,” that was throwing the church into confusion. 

 

At the same time as the gospel was being preached, Philo was promulgating his version of the intermediate powers.  Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2002 says of Philo’s teaching:

 

“All these intermediate powers {that Philo espouses} are known as the Logos, the divine image in which persons are created and through which they participate in the deity.  An individual's duties consist of veneration of God and love and righteousness toward others. Humans are immortal by reason of their heavenly nature, but just as degrees in this divine nature exist, degrees of immortality also exist.  Mere living after death, common to all humanity, differs from the future existence of the perfect souls, for whom paradise is oneness with God.”[4]

 

If I had not explained to you the reader that the aforementioned quote was from Encarta’s portrayal of Philo, you’d think it was a sermon from some pastor of a church!  Now you can see why so many Christians have fallen into the snare of the devil by embracing Jesus as, “God,” because they believe he is the co-eternal, “Logos,” of God.  This false doctrine, born of Philonic interpretation of the nature of God, developed into a personal identity for God and His intermediaries by combining with Philo the mythology of the Greco-Roman deities, whose intrinsic nature was said to co-exist as part human and part divinity.  False teachers in the early church took their cue from Philo when identifying Jesus as the ‘Logos’ of Elohiym.

 

Later, Roman Catholic Church theologians would further embellish this lie of the devil by making Christ one of three divine members of the most venerable triune deities, just as had been done amongst all pagan polytheistic worship.  The Greeks and Romans had their own trinity, with Jupiter (Zeus) as the ‘father’ god, Heracles (Hercules) as the god-son and the divine expression (Logos), and the identity of the third member varies, depending upon the source and purpose.  Most agree it was (at first) was Mary, mother of Jesus, whose pagan counterpart was the goddess Juno.  In Roman mythology, Juno was the queen of the gods, the wife and sister of the god Jupiter.  She was the protector of women and was worshiped under several names.  Juno is the Latin counterpart of the Greek queen of the gods, Hera.  Some authorities believe that the month of June was named after Juno.[5]

 

When finally the Roman Catholic Church solidified the ‘deity” of Christ in church dogma, the term used to describe the mystical merge of two natures, one human, the other divine, it is called, “syncretic dualism,” or simply, “dualism.”  Today, dualism is called  the doctrine of the Pre-existent  Christ, but it is nothing more than one of many reincarnations of Greek philosophy, religion, mythology and the scriptures.

 

In addition to the historical record, and the teaching against Greek mythology in the New Testament, the Book of Acts documents events whereby the people of the Hellenistic Age, whose principal deity was Zeus (also known as ‘Jupiter’), reacted to the TRUE God’s miracle (done thru Paul in Acts 14:8-12), by calling the apostle Barnabas by the name of, “Zeus,” and the apostle Paul by the name of the Greek god, “Hermes,” the intermediary for Zeus that delivers his messages to thers.

 

Acts 14:8-12 Now it happened at Lystra that a man was sitting who had no power in his feet. He had in fact been lame from birth and had never been able to walk.  He was listening to Paul as he spoke, and Paul, looking him straight in the eye and seeing that he had the faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand straight up on your feet!”  And he sprang to his feet and began to walk about.  When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!”  They began to call Barnabas, “Zeus,” and Paul, “Hermes,” since he was the chief speaker.  Phillip’s New Testament.

 

Further proof of the extensive influence of Greek mythology in the Roman Empire is found in the notes about Acts 19:35, taken from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia’s comments on the topic of dualistic syncretism (below):

 

“In addition, the Greek stem appears in diopetous, in Acts 19:35, English Versions of the Bible read, “which fell down from Jupiter,” but the word means, “from the clear sky,” (compare, “from heaven,” in the Revised Version margin).  Jupiter was considered the Latin equivalent of the Greek, Zeus,” the highest god in the developed Greek pantheon, and Zeus in turn, in accord with the syncretism of the period, was identified with countless deities in the local cults of Asia Minor and elsewhere.  So in Acts 14:12-13, “Zeus,” and, “Hermes,” are local deities that had been renamed. On the other hand, the Zeus of 2 Maccabees 6:2 is the genuine Greek deity, who had been adopted as a special patron by Antiochus Epiphanes and to whose temple in Athens Antiochus had contributed largely.  The title, “Olympius,” (2 Maccabees 6:2), is derived from the early worship on Mt. Olympus, but had come to be thought one of the god's highest appellations.”[6]

 

It should by now be evident the reason why Bible translators in the 16th and 17th centuries A.D. were doctrinally prejudiced toward the deity of Christ.  I know that some translation errors were done maliciously with forethought and intent; however, the majority of them were a natural byproduct of the long-held, centuries old dualism that was the foundation for trinitarian doctrines.  Without the trinity in Christendom, you don’t have the Pre-Incarnate Christ because to be consistent with the parallels in Greek mythology, there must exist more than one deity.

 

Guilt by Association

 

Nearly all Christian churches today hold to one form dogma or another that supports the belief in Jesus’ deity.  Even the United Pentecostal Churches, first formed in the early 1900’s, when a group of Christians split with the Assemblies of God over the doctrine of the trinity and baptism in Jesus’ name, continued believing Jesus was, “fully God and fully man.”

 

Translators of the A.D.1611 King James Version used a Latin New Testament as the primary Greek translation text.  The Latin translation was prepared by a Dutch scholar named Desiderius Erasmus, a professor of Greek and divinity at Cambridge from A.D.1511 to 1514, where he translated the New Testament from Greek into Latin there.[7]  By the time Erasmus and other Greek scholars began translating, the doctrine of the deity of Christ was considered, “indisputable,” and of course, this led to spurious mistranslations of key Greek and Hebrew words in key passages of the Bible.

 

Charles Taze Russell, (1852-1916), was the founder of the International Bible Students Association, also known as Jehovah's Witnesses.  Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Russell rejected orthodox Protestant views about the nature of Christ, denying his deity.  Early in his life, Russell studied the Bible independently and in 1872, he organized a group devoted to Bible study.  In 1879, he began publishing The Watchtower, a journal setting forth his views.  In 1884, he founded the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.  Today, the, ‘International Bible Students Association,’ is no different than the Jehovah's Witnesses, and as part of its organizational structure, promulgates deception via the Internet.  The ‘door-to-door’ work of Jehovah's Witnesses continues also, with its representatives acting as the devil’s agents for each local, “Kingdom Hall,” which is their version of an organized church.

 

The reason I bring up the Jehovah's Witnesses is quite clear: Guilt by Association.  In other words, for you, me, or any other born-again Christian that denies to accept the doctrine of the Deity of Christ, the orthodox mainstream Christian local Christian community labels us as, ‘Jehovah's Witnesses.’

 

This notion of guilt by association stems from the ‘cult phobia’ that pervades mainstream evangelical culture.  The advent of self-appointed, “cult experts,” in the mid-to-late 1970’s introduced Christianity to their messages thru volumes of cult awareness books, tracts, tapes, and the use of ‘Christian radio’ broadcasting. 

 

Like a new diet fad, lukewarm, purposeless born-again Christians just couldn’t get enough cult awareness knowledge, since just about everyone knows or knows of a friend or relative that is either a Mormon or a Jehovah's Witness.  The hype on the subject of ‘cult- awareness’ is waning these days, but the irreparable damage done by careless Christians that pointed fingers, and made false accusations about their fellow Christians will linger for many years to come.  Since cult mania started in Christianity, more false accusations have been made by Christians against other Christians, than in all the years before the Great Reformation.  So much for reform, eh?  Now the church needs a healthy dose of good, old-fashioned conviction, repentance, love, mercy and reconciliation.

 

When the issue of cult-awareness began, there was much debate over the criteria necessary as the, “essentials,” of the Christian faith.  Indecisive attempts at unification were made by well-meaning pastors and ministers crying, “Unity in diversity,” instead of reasoning from scripture and realizing there will always be opposition to the truth.  Since that time till now, it seems that what evolved as the universal standard criteria for judging whether or not a person was a TRUE Christian believers was whether or not he or she believed in the following precepts, manmade or otherwise:

 

1.      The full Deity of Jesus Christ, (i.e. - that he was fully God & fully man).

 

2.      Jesus’ vicarious death upon the cross to atone for mankind’s sin, (by this it was meant, “Divine Blood,” was shed, not human blood; otherwise, the sacrifice was not valid).

 

3.      The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ in the flesh, (by this it was meant that Jesus, as, “God,” resurrected Himself from the dead; (go figure).

 

4.      The doctrine of the Trinity, that God subsists as three, distinct, co-equal Person’s of God, united as One God; separate, yet equal as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

 

What most Christian theologians and scholars eventually did to cooperate with each other, was agreed that all cults had one common denominator: They ALL denied the full Deity of Christ; this included, at the time, the United Pentecostal Churches of America, (labeled as the, “Jesus only,” cult). 

 

Even though the United Pentecostal Church continues to holds fast to and profess the full Deity of Jesus Christ, it is their denial of the Trinity doctrine that has earned them the title of, “heretical cult,” among mainstream, orthodox Christendom.  About the only thing I have in common with United Pentecostal Church is that they deny the Trinity, but I oppose their doctrine concerning the, “full Deity of Jesus Christ,” which is another modified form of dualism.

 

An example of the blatant hypocrisy driving Christianity’s cult phobia is the mainline evangelical acceptance in recent years of the Worldwide Church of God into its stuffy brand of lukewarm ecclesiastical circles.  The Worldwide Church of God was founded by Herbert W. Armstrong, and for years was considered to be a cult because its theology rejected the deity of Christ and the Trinity.  However, in the 1980's, Joseph Tkach Sr., and later his son, Joseph Tkach Jr., who presently leads the church, began discarding its doctrines, including full acceptance of the Trinity (gag) and the full deity of Christ.  Today, the vast majority of Evangelical Christians and so-called ‘cult experts’ no longer consider the Worldwide Church of God to be a cult, simply because they changed their long-standing denial of the Trinity.  Thereafter, they were openly embraced as, “Christian brethren,” by the same bunch that colluded for the ‘essentials’ of the so-called, “Christian faith.” 

 

It is a common for Christians to attack the character of those who oppose their teachings by associating them with cults and using sarcasm to express their inner security by saying, “You believe like the Jesus only people,” (i.e. – by the words, ‘Jesus only,’ trinitarians actually mean, the United Pentecostal Church).  Reacting out of fear, and ignorance, born-again Christians that embrace the Trinity are quick to make rash judgments about anyone that denies the Deity of Christ.  Their ‘guilt by association’ tactics align anyone that denies the deity of Christ with the United Pentecostal Church and/or the Jehovah's Witnesses, and in God’s eyes, this is wrong!  The irony of these false accusations is that those doing the finger pointing use as the basis for their doctrinal foundation, an appeal to the Roman Catholic Church councils and creeds!  They blow their cover by accusing us of being like, “Arian,” who taught that Jesus was not God, but rather, a created being.  Duh.

 

Studying the Text of John 17:5

 

As you can see, there is a great deal of history behind the translation errors in our modern Bible.  From the earliest times, mankind has sought various forms of worship involving the deification of humans, or the mortification of deities.  Either way you look at it, people have always wanted their principal god to have human characteristics, so that they can worship gods and/or goddesses in a tangible way.

 

Man’s history is fraught with futile attempts conceptualize the unseen powers of the spiritual realm by use of whatever imagery seems fitting, rather than put faith in the one, unseen God, whose spiritual attributes can be ‘seen’ (i.e. - understood) thru His creation, yet without making Him synonymous with it.  This is the gist behind the apostle Paul’s introductory words to the Roman church, a church weighed down by centuries of Greco-Roman iconoclastic deities.

 

To determine the meaning and application of Greek word, “kósmon,” translated as, “world,” in John 17:5, below is Thayer’s Greek Lexicon dictionary definition:

 

Kósmos = NT: 2889 kósmos, kósmou, ho;

 

1.      An apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order

 

2.      Ornament, decoration, adornment: 1 Peter 3:3

 

3.      The world, i. e. the universe Acts 17:24; Romans 4:13

 

4.      The circle of the earth, the earth Mark 16:15

 

5.      The inhabitants of the world: 1 Corinthians 4:9

 

6.      The ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ John 7:7

 

7.      Worldly affairs; the aggregate of things earthly; the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments, riches, advantages, pleasures, etc., which, although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ: Galatians 6:14

 

8.  Any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort James 3:6[8]

 

As you can see, there are a wide range of meanings for kósmon, depending upon the context and how the word is used in any given composition.  This is why it is VITAL to determine how a specific author such as the apostle John uses kósmon.  There’s no substitute for lots of study and hard work, if you really want to find the truth. 

 

If you have Englishman’s Greek Concordance, then enter 2889 into the Englishman’s search engine, and begin first by searching the Book of John.  The logic behind this is simple; to be objective, and narrow the field, and for the sake of accuracy, you want to determine HOW the author (John) uses the particular word in question, because that will assist you when you broaden the field of search.  Also, by first working directly out of the gospel of John, you strengthen your argument in the event you need to make a defense for the faith to some hot-headed Christian brother or sister who needs your patient confidence to break down walls of pride and defuse their anger.

 

Below is the Englishman’s Greek Concordance list for kósmon in John’s gospel; this is your first line of defense.  By sheer volume of context, it is obvious that kósmon speaks of the world’s inhabitants.  .  You need to look up each context, establish what kósmon represents in each passage, and by context alone, you have proven that it refers to the world’s inhabitants. 

 

We have already seen that the word, kósmon is used in several parts of this last discourse of our Lord to signify the Jewish people only.  Also Nicole, since you now realize the doctrine of the Trinity is false, and is responsible for the deity of Christ doctrine, note in the list of verses below the mistranslation of prepositions, which are highlighted in red.  In Greek, prepositions often govern direction, as well as instrumentality (showing the object of some action).  However, prepositions are just as often used in a figurative context to represent status.

 

Our staff Greek scholar Dave Maas has done an excellent study about the use and misuse of preposition in the composition of sentences.  Below I have provided for your use the link to Dave’s study:  Do Greek Pronouns Predicate Personhood?  I highly recommend you take the time to read what he has written here, and brush up on this area of study, as you will find it presents numerous translation difficulties in its present misuse in the New Testament in all Bible versions.

 

John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 1:10 He was in the world (kósmon), and the world (kósmon) was made by him, and the world (kósmon) knew him not. KJV

 

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world (kósmon), that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  KJV

 

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world  (kósmon) to condemn the world (kósmon); but that the world (kósmon) through him might be saved.  KJV

 

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world (kósmon), and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  KJV

 

John 4:42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 7:4 For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly.  If thou do these things, show thyself to the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 7:7 The world (kósmon) cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.  KJV

 

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world (kósmon): he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  KJV

 

John 8:23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world (kósmon); I am not of this world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 8:26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world (kósmon) those things which I have heard of him.  KJV

 

John 9:5 As long as I am in the world (kósmon), I am the light of the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world (kósmon), that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.  KJV

 

John 10:36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world (kósmon), Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?  KJV

 

John 11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day?  If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 11:27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 12:199 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing?  Behold, the world (kósmon) is gone after him.  KJV

 

John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world (kósmon) shall keep it unto life eternal.  KJV

 

John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world (kósmon): now shall the prince of this world (kósmon) be cast out.  KJV

 

John 12:46 I am come a light into the world (kósmon), that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.  KJV

 

John 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world (kósmon), but to save the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 13:1 Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world (kósmon) unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world (kósmon), he loved them unto the end.  KJV

 

John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world (kósmon) cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  KJV

 

John 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world (kósmon) seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.  KJV

 

John 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world (kósmon)?  KJV

 

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world (kósmon) giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  KJV

 

John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world (kósmon)  cometh, and hath nothing in me.  KJV

 

John 14:31 But that the world (kósmon) may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.  Arise let us go hence.  KJV

 

John 15:18 If the world (kósmon) hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  KJV

 

John 15:19 If ye were of the world (kósmon), the world (kósmon) would love his own: but because ye are not of the world (kósmon), but I have chosen you out of the world (kósmon), therefore the world hateth you.  KJV

 

John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world (kósmon) of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  KJV

 

John 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world (kósmon) is judged.  KJV

 

John 16:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world (kósmon) shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.  KJV

 

John 16:21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 16:28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world (kósmon): again, I leave the world (kósmon), and go to the Father.  KJV

 

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world (kósmon) ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before (pró) the world (kósmon) was.  KJV

 

John 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world (kósmon): thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.  KJV

 

John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world (kósmon), but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.  KJV

 

John 17:11 And now I am no more in the world (kósmon), but these are in the world (kósmon), and I come to thee.  Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.  KJV

 

John 17:12 While I was with them in the world (kósmon), I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.  KJV

 

John 17:13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world (kósmon), that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.  KJV

 

John 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world (kósmon) hath hated them, because they are not of the world (kósmon), even as I am not of the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world (kósmon), but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  KJV

 

John 17:16 They are not of the world (kósmon), even as I am not of the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world (kósmon), even so have I also sent them into the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world (kósmon) may believe that thou hast sent me.  KJV

 

John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world (kósmon) may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.  KJV

 

John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world (kósmon).  KJV

 

John 17:25 O righteous Father, the world (kósmon) hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.  KJV

 

John 18:20 Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world (kósmon); I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.  KJV

 

John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world (kósmon): if my kingdom were of this world (kósmon), then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.  KJV

 

John 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then?  Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king.  To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world (kósmon), that I should bear witness unto the truth.  Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.  KJV

 

John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world (kósmon) itself could not contain the books that should be written.  Amen.  KJV

 

It’s unquestionable that John’s use of kósmon refers to human inhabitants, and not terra firma; the problem is that all Bible translators are biased, and their doctrinal prejudice causes them to inadvertently insert word mistranslations for Greek prepositions that do not agree with the Greek, but are suited to their doctrinal view of Jesus as the Pre-Incarnate God-Man.  Concerning the cultural significance of kósmon, in John 1:9 (That cometh into the world kósmon”), or, “coming into the world,” is the Greek phrase, “erchomenon eis ton kósmon.”  This was a common phrase among the rabbis, to express every human being.[9]

 

As to its use elsewhere, the apostle Paul uses kósmon in 1 Corinthians 7:31, “For the fashion of this world.”  The Greek reads, “To scheema toú kósmon toútou,” and signifies properly the present state or constitution of things; the frame of the world, that is, the world itself.  But often the term kósmon, rendered, “world,” is taken to signify the Jewish political state and the destruction of this was then at hand, and this the Holy Spirit might then signify to the apostle.[10]  John’s gospel seems to emphasize the Jewish people whenever he uses kósmon and this includes the Jewish antagonism toward the gospel message of Christ, especially among the religious elite.

 

For example, in John 7:7 Jesus said, “The world (ho kósmos) cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.”  The phrase, “the world cannot hate you,” is very likely that the term world means here the Jewish people only, and Clarke says this frequently occurs in John’s gospel.  In John 17:6 we find powerful evidence that the kósmon is specifically directed at the Jews as Jesus speaks in his prayer to the Father, “I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest me out of the world (kósmon): thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.”  The phrase, “Out of the world,” means from among the Jewish people; for in this sense is the word kósmon must be understood in various parts of our Lord's last discourses because his disciples were ALL Jewish!  This occurs again in John 17:21 in the phrase, “That the world may believe.” 

 

One primary example that you need to deal with is the preposition pró used in John 17:5, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before (pró) the world (kósmon) was.”  Typically, in relation to the deity of Christ doctrine, which teaches Jesus is the ‘Creator’ of the world, the Greek preposition pró is the most misused of all.

 

In fact, when you asked me for ironclad ‘proof’ that would dispel the deity of Christ teaching that Jesus existed before the terra firma, your search was slightly misguided, in that you were only looking at the various types of uses and applications for kósmon, without first examining the prepositions.  It was reasonable for you to identify and define the meaning of kósmon, but as you have learned from what has already been taught, and from the list of scripture verses available in a query of the New Testament via Englishman’s Greek Concordance, kósmon has many various meanings.

 

Even if you define kósmon as referring to the world’s inhabitants and not referring to the terra firma, as you have already done in your research, you are still left without definitive proof that John 17:5 does not portray Jesus as existing “before” the world’s (kósmon) inhabitants.”  In other words, in John 17:5, when Jesus says, “… the glory which I had with thee before (pró) the world (kósmon) was,” he still appears as having existed in some form of ‘glory’ with the Father before there were any humans alive, being that kósmon is used almost exclusively in John’s gospel to refer either to the Jewish populace, or to the Gentile populace, or to the global population. 

 

Without a proper understanding of the correct definition and application of the Greek preposition pró, you are left holding the bag.  Strong's Exhaustive Concordance with Expanded Greek Dictionary defines pró as follows:

 

Pró = (NT: 4253) is a primary preposition and it means, “fore, i.e. in front of (i.e. – forefront), or prior.”  Used figuratively, pró means, “superior to.”[11]

 

I had to change my translation below, also known as The Appropriate Translation of John 17:4-5 in light of some information a fellow scholar shared today; since it is always my desire to seek truth impartially, I felt it was the honorable thing to do.  Hence I have modified the final pages of this study to reflect my change in views and my what my brother in Jesus shared.  Rather than re-email the entire study, I opted to send the last portion via email.  Whenever we think we have “arrived,” and are no longer willing to shift our doctrinal position, it is a sure sign we are stagnating, and hearing less from God thru Jesus, the Parakletos.

 

The Greek words below are color-coded to match those in the text box, so you won’t have trouble referring back and forth, to get an idea of what I did to retranslate John 17:5 at the end of the study.

 

Kaí (NT: 2532) is a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words, such as: and, also, both, but, even, for, if, or, so, that, then, therefore, when, yet.[12] I feel kaí is best rendered in John 17:5 simply as, “Therefore…”

 

Nún (NT: 3568) means, “Now, at the actual present time.”

 

Dóxasón (NT: 1392; aorist imperative active tense) - refers to the recognition, honor, or renown belonging to a person.  The predominant meaning of the noun dóxa in Scripture is recognition.  It may denote form, aspect, or that appearance of a person or thing which catches the eye, attracts attention, or commands recognition.  It is thus equivalent to splendor, brilliance, and glory in the sense it is attracting the recognition in the form of another person’s gaze. The aorist imperative active tense denotes a command, request, or entreaty that is happening now, at this very moment.[13]  

 

(NT: 3165) is a personal pronoun, an abbreviated form of the emphatic emé; it simply means, “me, I, or my.”

 

(NT: 4771) is the person pronoun “you” (the second person singular).

 

Páter NT:3962 is a primary word simply defined as, “a father.”

 

Pará (NT:3844)  = pará is a preposition governing the genitive, dative, and accusative.  It means primarily, “Near, nearby and is expressing the notion of immediate vicinity or proximity.”  When pará is used with the genitive, as it is in John 17:5, it is expressing the meaning, “from near, from with.”  In the New Testament, when para is used only with a genitive of person, such as it is used in John 17:5, this preposition is implying a going forth or proceeding from the near vicinity of someone, from the presence or side of someone. [14] 

 

Seautoó = (NT: 4572) in genitive case from NT:4571 and NT:846; it simply means, “of (with, to) thyself.”  In John 17:5, it could be rendered with the preposition para as meaning, “near to Yourself.”

 

Heé (NT: 3739) = which, who, what, that.

 

Teé (NT: 3588) = the, this, that; (the, this, that); the definite article (teé), in all genders, when placed before the genitive of substantives indicates kinship, affinity, or some kind of connection, association or fellowship.[15]

 

Dóxee (NT: 1391)  = Basically, in the Bible it refers to give recognition, honor or renown that is due someone; it means to magnify the honor belonging to a person.  The predominant meaning of the noun dóxa in Scripture is recognition.  It may denote form, aspect, or that appearance of a person or thing which catches the eye, attracts attention, or commands recognition.  It is thus equivalent to splendor, brilliance, and glory attracting the gaze.[16] 

 

Eíchon 2192 =  lay hold of, have been closely joined to; have held; here eíchon is in the active voice, imperfect tense; the imperfect tense is only used in the indicative mood and it refers to continuous or linear action in past time.[17]  Jesus emphasizes how he always recognized his Father’s honorable position in the past.  In grammar, the indicative mood is the form of the verb eíchon that indicates (affirmation or denial); that is, which affirms or denies.  Jesus AFFIRMS his Father’s place of honor before men, during his ministry in the past. 

 

Pró (NT: 4253) = is a primary preposition and it means, “fore, i.e. in front of (i.e. – forefront), or prior.”  Used figuratively, pró means, “superior to.”  As a preposition governing the genitive, pró means, “Before,” and used both of place and time.  In John 17:5, it is used of place, referring to the world’s inhabitants, to whom Jesus proclaimed the gospel, and ‘before’ whom he gave recognition and honor (i.e. – ‘glory’) to the Father, God.  When pró is used of place means, “in front of, in the presence of.”[18]

 

Toú (NT: 3588) = the, this, that; (the, this, that); the definite article, in all genders, when placed before the genitive of substantives indicates kinship, affinity, or some kind of connection, association or fellowship.

 

Tón (NT: 3588) = the, this, that; (the, this, that); the definite article, in all genders, when placed before the genitive of substantives indicates kinship, affinity, or some kind of connection, association or fellowship.

 

Kósmon (NT: 2889) = this world’s inhabitants; the structured order that has been established by mankind.

 

Eínai (NT: 1511) = In John 17:5, eínai is in the present infinitive, meaning, to exist.”  It is best translated here as a verb of existence.[19]  In John 17:5, Jesus uses this verb to describe his desire, that the world’s inhabitants come to (exist in) the Father.  It is sometimes translated as, “come to exist,” and in John 17:5, refers to the state of spiritual existence the world’s inhabitants may come to be, or exist as and in.

 

Pará (NT:3844)  = pará is a preposition governing the genitive, dative, and accusative.  It means primarily, “Near, nearby and is expressing the notion of immediate vicinity or proximity.”  When pará is used with the genitive, as it is in John 17:5, it is expressing the meaning, “from near, from with.”  In the New Testament, when para is used only with a genitive of person, such as it is used in John 17:5, this preposition is implying a going forth or proceeding from the near vicinity of someone, from the presence or side of someone. [20] 

When pará is used the second time in John 17:5, in essence, Jesus is saying, “I held You (God) in highest honor, that when the world beheld my words and actions, they too would be drawn to come, “alongside and near,” to You.”  This is the most likely interpretation of John 17:5b, the second used of para in this verse. 

 

Soí (NT: 4671) = this variation of the singular pronoun sú means, “to you.”

 

John 17:4-5 The Appropriate Translation:

 

4 “I magnified You upon the earth; I completed the work, which You gave me to do.” 

 

5 “Therefore, at this time, I recognize and honor you Father, by going forth from Your presence, magnifying you Yourself, with the same recognition and honor that I have been holding in front of (before) the world’s inhabitants, that they may come to You {come to find their existence in You}.” 

The Appropriate Translation

 

Below is a color-coded Greek-to-English interlinear translation of John 17:5:

 

Text Box: Therefore  now     honor      I        you    Father,  with Yourself  with  the same  honor   I  held      front of    in the        world    come to   near   to You
2532         3568      1392      3165   4771   3962    3844   4572        3739    3588      1391        2121      4253   35883588       2889       1511       3844     4671
Kaí           nún    dóxasón    me      sú     Páter    pará  seautoó     heé       teé     dóxee    eíchon      pró    toú tón         kósmon   eínai       pará       soí

 

 

 

 

 

 

In closing, I hope you begin to understand what treasures lay hidden beneath 2000+ years of tradition.  Retranslating is not for beginners, but you have to start somewhere.  The reason I say it is not for the novice to retranslate is you must acquaint yourself with many aspects of Greek, grammatical construction, verb tenses, mood, voice, etc.  Jesus’ prayer in John 17:5 is a plea to his Father God to begin final recognition, for the honor He will bestow upon His son, once Jesus has finished the work, and pain the ultimate price on Calvary.

 

As you're aware, "world" or 'kósmos' does not necessarily refer to the physical globe, though it can.  In John, it is primarily used to refer to mankind or humanity, usually in opposition to God, and sometimes John even uses it to refer specifically to the Jews who opposed Jesus (though not always as in John 3:17-17).  To make John's usage clear we might translate 'kósmos' idiomatically in John 17:5 as the "world order."  It is a reference to mankind estranged from God and not to the globe or the physical creation.

 

The preposition 'pro' has a basic meaning of "before, in front of" something.  The issue is not the rendering "before" but the failure to recognize that it can be used temporally ("before" something in time) or SPATIALLY ("before" something in regards to location), just as our English term can be so used.  Only the immediate context can tell us (and note how 'pro' is used spatially in John 5:7).  It is my contention that 'pro' is used in John 17:5 spatially to refer to WHERE (not WHEN) Jesus' glory was manifested.

 

To summarize, earlier in John Jesus displayed glimpses of his later glory (or God glorified him) BEFORE men, before representatives of the present world order (John 2:11; 11:4; 12:28).  Jesus is now asking God to glorify him with that promised ultimate glory, a glory that Jesus had previously manifested before, “the existing world order,” a request that culminates or takes place on the cross, or at least begins there.

 

God bless and keep you, and keep digging for the eternal treasures in the scriptures.

 

With love in Jesus,

 

Craigo

 

Craig Bluemel - The Bible Answer Stand Ministry (www.bibleanswerstand.org) 

1 Peter 3:15 Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.    

 

 

 


 

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[1] The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft

[2] Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

 

[3] Ibid

[4] Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

[5] Ibid

 

[6] From International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.

[7] ‘Cambridge’ from Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2002. © 1993-2001 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

[8] Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.

[9] Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved

[10] ibid

[11] Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.

[12] Ibid 

 

[13] The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament © 1992 by AMG International, Inc. Revised Edition, 1993

[14] The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament © 1992 by AMG International, Inc. Revised Edition, 1993

[15] Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

[16] The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament © 1992 by AMG International, Inc. Revised Edition, 1993

[17] The Complete Word Study Bible Copyright © 1991, 1994, 2002 AMG International, Inc.

[18] Ibid

[19] Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[20] The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament © 1992 by AMG International, Inc. Revised Edition, 1993