Q & A What does John 6:62 mean?



The answers to these other questions can be found in the Greek text.  You are at a serious disadvantage without a quality Greek-to-English interlinear, but I’ll give you some simple answers from my research.


John 6:62 "What then if you should behold the Son of Man ascending where He was before? NAS


This verse must be interpreted in light of the previous context, all of which were figurative (e.g. – drinking his blood, etc) for spiritual things.  The reason this is so important is because Jesus again uses LITERAL language (i.e. – ascending to where he is before) to represent something FIGURATIVE.  The Greek word for “before” in John 6:62 is próteron, and normally in a literal sense means, “before as in time,” but keep in mind, Jesus is throwing the disciples a curve, and using literal things to symbolize figurative applications, as the previous context in John chapter six indicates. 


Thus we must use the FIGURATIVE application for próteron FIRST; as such, the definition means, “Figuratively of precedence, preference, dignity).  The figurative application would render John 6:62 something like this:


John 6:62 "What then if you should behold the Son of Man ascending where He exists as first in dignity and preference?”


What Jesus means requires the disciples to stop and think before rashly jumping to the wrong conclusions. As he did with using the symbols of eating his flesh and drinking his blood in prior verses of John chapter six, verse 62 is no exception.  What he means by ascending to the place where he exists “before” really means ascending to where he will exist with the greatest dignity and preferential position.  This is meant to show his place of delegated authority from the Father.


One last comment on próteron is that the typical use of the word is referring to what was first, meaning what came first in former time (i.e. – before); however, in 2 Corinthians 1:15 próteron IS used to refer to the apostle Paul’s “preference” to first come and see them when he is traveling thru Macedonia.  Read the entire context of this passage and then translate that meaning into verse 15 (below):


·         2 Corinthians 1:13-17 For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end; 14 just as you also partially did understand us, that we are your reason to be proud as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus. 15 In this confidence I intended at first (próteron) to come to you, so that you might twice receive a blessing; 16 that is, to pass your way into Macedonia, and again from Macedonia to come to you, and by you to be helped on my journey to Judea. 17 Therefore, I was not vacillating when I intended to do this, was I?  Or what I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, so that with me there will be yes, yes and no, no at the same time?  NASU


You can see without altering the context what Paul’s intent was; he intended to “first” (i.e. – preferentially) come to the Corinthian church, so that the second time he passed their way, they would receive a double blessing from him.


Therefore it is not unreasonable to interpret John 6:62 as referring to Jesus’ preferential position; that is, when he ascends to the place where he is considered as, “first,” in rank and dignity and honor.  This does not make him deity, nor does it imply that Jesus existed “before” his day of birth in Bethlehem.





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