John 1:29-34 – Yeshua Existed Before John the Immerser

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POSTED 05 NOVEMBER, 2017

“The next day he saw Yeshua coming to him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, “After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.” I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.’ John testified saying, ‘I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, “He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.” I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.’”

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume I

Some of the supernatural activity, associated with Yeshua the Messiah, is narrated, with the dialogue issuing some significant statements from John the Immerser/Baptist. When he sees Yeshua from afar, John the Immerser testifies, “Behold, that is God’s Lamb, who takes and bears away the sin of the world” (John 1:29, Montgomery New Testament), with likely associations with Isaiah 53:7, 10 and Genesis 22:8, 13, but almost certainly the Exodus 12 Passover lamb. A repetition of what was previously said in John 1:15 is seen in John 1:30: “This is He about whom I said, After me comes a Man who has been before me, for He was preceding me[1].” Within the scope of what has been communicated in this Gospel, Yeshua ranking before John—who was notably born after John—is something predicated on Yeshua’s pre-existence and Yeshua’s creation of the universe (John 1:1-3). While Yeshua and John the Immerser were both related as cousins, and had doubtlessly encountered each other multiple times before, John had not known that Yeshua was the promised Messiah, until He had been immersed by him in water: “I myself did not know who he was, but the reason I came immersing with water was so that he might be made known to Isra’el” (John 1:31, CJB/CJSB).

John the Immerser states how “I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of Heaven, and He abided upon Him” (John 1:32, PME), something which was recorded in the Synoptic Gospels (Mark 1:10; Matthew 3:16; Luke 3:22), and was a fulfillment of Tanach prophecy (Isaiah 11:1; 42:1; 61:1). John further acknowledges how he did not know that Yeshua was the Messiah, but how he had such a truth Divinely revealed to him. As he says, “I myself did not know who he was, but the one who sent me to immerse in water said to me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining, this is the one who immerses in the Ruach HaKodesh’” (John 1:33, CJB/CJSB). The entity labeled as “He who sent me to immerse in water” (PME) is obviously God proper, the Father. Yeshua, the Son, “is the One who immerses in the Holy Spirit” (PME), an anticipation of how resultant of His sacrificial work, the decisive presence and bestowal of the Holy Spirit would be granted to His followers (i.e., John 7:37-39; 14:15-17, 26; 15:26; 16:5-15; 20:22; also Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4, 38-39). John concludes, “I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34, RSV).

It is very easy for many Bible readers to encounter John 1:29-34, appreciate the testimony of John the Immerser, recognize some of the activities of Yeshua the Messiah, and continue reading on. However, when we read John 1:29-34, it cannot be avoided how we encounter the presence of God the Father (John 1:33a), Yeshua the Son (John 1:29-31, 32b, 33b, 34), and the Holy Spirit (John 1:32a, 33c). While there are many who today’s Messianic people will encounter, who will claim that the concept of a triune Godhead is completely pagan and non-Biblical, a (revealed) triune Godhead of Father, Son, and Spirit is something that can be deduced from reading the Scriptural text. Father, Son, and Spirit are certainly all present in John 1:29-34.


NOTES

[1] Grk. opisō mou erchetai anēr hos emprosthen mou gegonen, hoti prōtos mou ēn.