John 16:23-33 – Yeshua Has Come Forth From the Father

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POSTED 06 NOVEMBER, 2017

“In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full. These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.’ His disciples said, ‘Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.’ Yeshua answered them, ‘Do you now believe? Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.’”

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume I

Hints and clues about the identity of Yeshua the Messiah are dropped within His conversation with the Disciples at the Last Supper or Last Seder. That Yeshua has a very unique and significant relationship, with God the Heavenly Father, cannot be denied. He informs His Disciples, “In that day, you will ask Me nothing. Amen, amen I tell you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you” (John 16:23, TLV). Here, this is rightly taken as meaning that a time is coming when the Disciples will not need to inquire or probe Yeshua about things beyond; the Disciples will instead have the knowledge that they need, and they will have the confidence to ask the Heavenly Father for provision, and He will give it. What needs to be recognized, in order for the Heavenly Father to give such provision, is that it needs to be requested via the name or authority of Yeshua, and cannot be asked directly without Yeshua’s work or activity in redeeming humans not being invoked. This is a new ability accessible to the Disciples, who are observed up to that time as not having asked the Heavenly Father for anything (John 16:24).

Some alterations are coming, in terms of how Yeshua will speak to His Disciples of His Heavenly Father—as He tells them “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father” (John 16:25, NRSV). This will presumably be a time when, after having witnessed His execution and resurrection from the dead, that the Disciples will have progressed in enough of their experiential knowledge, so that they can handle more direct statements about God. So, it can be a bit perplexing for some readers to encounter Yeshua saying, “In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf” (John 16:26, NIV). It is commonly concluded among evangelical interpreters that the focus of statements appearing in Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; and 1 John 2:1 is on the meditatorial role of the Messiah in salvation, whereas John 16:26 focuses on the prayer requests of Believers issued to God.[1]

That the Father and Son have an interconnected relationship is clear enough from John 16:27-28. The relationship that the Messiah’s followers are to have with the Heavenly Father, is something dependent on the love that they have for the Messiah: “For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me” (John 16:27a, TLV). But, being a grand beneficiary, of the love of the Heavenly Father, is dependent on recognizing that Yeshua came forth from the Father: “and have believed that I from – God came forth” (John 16:27b, Brown and Comfort),[2] kai pepisteukate hoti egō para [tou] Theou exēlthon. An obvious reference to Yeshua’s birth or Incarnation (John 1:14) is seen in “I came from the Father and I have come into the world” (John 16:28a, Brown and Comfort),[3] exēlthon para tou patros kai elēlutha eis ton kosmon.

A few questions might be raised when encountering the two common renderings that appear in English versions for John 16:28b: “I am leaving the world again and going to the Father” (NASU); “now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father” (NIV). The source text palin aphiēmi ton kosmon kai poreuomai pros ton patera appears in the Brown and Comfort interlinear as, “again I leave the world and go to the Father.”[4] The word of note in this clause is palin, “back; again, back again” (Mounce and Mounce).[5] While more versions than not simply take John 16:28b as a reference to “now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father” (Mounce and Mounce),[6] if palin is rendered as “again,” then what it could serve to indicate is that Yeshua’s return to Heaven anticipated here, is not the first time that He had returned to Heaven. Hence, John 16:28b, “I leave the world again and go to the Father” (LITV), should prompt an investigation of various passages from the Tanach or Old Testament, where there may very well have been pre-Incarnate manifestations of Yeshua the Messiah on Earth. As already explored, these may have involved the figure of the angel/messenger of the Lord, the supernatural figure present in the fiery furnace of Daniel, and even the Patriarch Abraham dining with God in human form, among others.

The Disciples, upon hearing this, respond favorably: “See, now You’re speaking plainly and not in metaphors. Now we know that You know everything and have no need to be asked anything. By this we believe that You came forth from God” (John 16:29-30, TLV). The Disciples acknowledge that Yeshua came forth from God: “by this we believe that from God you came forth” (Brown and Comfort),[7] en toutō pisteuomen hoti apo Theou exēlthes. And indeed, we are reminded once again that our investigation, into the identity and nature of Yeshua of Nazareth, is very much contingent on us evaluating what it means for Him to have come forth from God.

After asking His Disciples if they truly believed (John 16:31), He informs them of an uncomfortable reality about to befall, namely as His betrayal, humiliation, and death are imminent: “Look, the hour is coming—indeed has come—when you will be scattered, each to his own, and you will abandon Me. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (John 16:32, TLV). In matters of His human Incarnation for certain (cf. John 16:38a), Yeshua is not alone and is very much reliant on His Heavenly Father: “and I am not alone, because the Father with me is” (John 16:32b, Brown and Comfort),[8] hoti ho patēr met’ emou estin. This is the Father who would notably be responsible for resurrecting the Son from the dead. And so, it should hardly be surprisingly to see the Lord inform His Disciples, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world” (John 16:33, HCSB). What the Disciples are about to witness, while causing some momentary abandonment on their part, is actually something with significant cosmic, redemptive dimensions! It will give them the confidence in the future, to recognize the supremacy of Yeshua over worldly powers.


NOTES

[1] Cf. Carson, in NIV Zondervan Study Bible, 2188.

[2] Brown and Comfort, 388.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Mounce and Mounce, 1130.

[6] Ibid., 429.

[7] Brown and Comfort, pp 388-389.

[8] Ibid, 389.

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