John 6:37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me

All will Come on The Giving Blog by Cheryl Schatz

John 6:37 All that the Father Gives Me

The Promise

Jesus gives an amazing promise in John 6:37~

John 6:37 (NASB) “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me…

Jesus promises all that the Father gives… Let’s start our search into this passage by looking at the terms “all” and “gives.”

All

What does “all” mean in this context?  Does all mean some?  In other words, is Jesus saying that some of what the Father gives Him will come to Him? Not at all.  I think we can safely say from the context because the Father’s will is expressed in the passage, that all simply means all without exception within the group of those who are given.

Gives

Since “all” is that which is given, what is the meaning of the term gives? The grammar will help us to understand. The term “gives” in the Greek is in the present, active, indicative. The present means that the action is in process without an assessment of the action’s completion. Gives as the present tense means that God is presently giving and is continuing to give. Notice that the grammar is not eternity past, but rather the “now.”

The Greek term for “gives” means to entrust someone to another’s care. Here is a copy of the BDAG lexicon on this entry:

John 6:37 All that the Father gives to the SonThose who are given to Jesus are entrusted to His care.

From Whom and to Whom?

John 6:37 (NASB) “All that theFather gives Me will come to Me…

Jesus said that it is the Father who is the Giver and Jesus is the Receiver. The Father will most certainly give, and the Son will most certainly receive.

Paying attention to the grammar, we can see that John 6:37 shows that the Father is presently entrusting and continues to entrust people to the care of Jesus.

Will come

John 6:37 (NASB) “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me…

The term “will come” is future, active, indicative. So while we know that the context is the Father giving in the present time and continuing to give, “the coming” that Jesus is talking about is presented as future, as an action that people will do themselves in a future time. Jesus now changes the tense to present.

Who comes

 John 6:37 (NASB) “… and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

Jesus now speaks about those who are presently coming. “Who comes” is present, active, indicative, substantival participle.  The present tense means that it is happening when it was written, and it continues to happen with no assessment of the action’s completion. The substantival participle is a participle that is being used as a noun. Thus the one who comes, is the “coming one” who continues to come. It is the one who continues to come who will certainly not be cast out.

Does God give God haters to Jesus?

The question that John 6:37 brings up, is who are those who are given to Jesus? Are those given, people who hate God? Or are the ones given, people who already belong to the Father, who already fear God, and so they are ready to be given to Jesus? The Old Testament gives us the answer to this question.

Malachi 3:16–18 (NASB)

16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.

17 “They will be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”

18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

Who are those who will be God’s possession? They are the one’s who feared the LORD. God said that there will be a distinguishing made between the wicked, those who do not fear God, and the righteous, those who fear the LORD. Only those who fear the LORD will belong to God. “They will be mine,” He said, and “I will spare them.”

Another direct reference is Psalm 25:12-14.

Psalm 25:12–14 (NASB)

12 Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

13 His soul will abide in prosperity, And his descendants will inherit the land.

14 The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, And He will make them know His covenant.

The secret of the LORD

The secret of the LORD is the act or state of intimacy and trust. God reserves this for those who fear Him. Here is the term “secret” in the BDAG lexicon.

 Psalm 25:14 The Secret of the Lord

The secret of the LORD (His state of intimacy and trust with them) is not for those who hate Him but is reserved for those who fear Him.

He will make them know

The Hebrew term to “know” can be a very strong word that expresses intimacy, and a deep understanding. It can also mean to choose something for a special favor. Below is from Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament)

Psalm 25:14 He will make them know His covenant
God Himself will make those who fear Him to “know” His covenant. What is God’s covenant that will be made intimately known to those who fear God?

I will give You for a covenant

An amazing prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ is found in Isaiah 49:8.

Isaiah 49:8 (NASB) Thus says the LORD, “In a favorable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;

The LORD said that He will give You (the Messiah) as a covenant for the people. Thus those who fear God will be given the covenant.

John 6:37 as a fulfilled prophecy from the Old Testament

God promised in the Old Testament, that those who fear Him will be given an intimate relationship with Him and will be given the covenant (Jesus).  In the New Testament, in a fulfilment of the Old Testament, those who feared God were brought to Jesus.

Cornelius, a God-fearer, was given to Jesus.

Acts 10:1–2 (NASB)

1 Now there was a man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort,

2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually.

And Lydia was given to Jesus when God opened her heart to respond to the message of the gospel.

Acts 16:14–15 (NASB)

14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

15 And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

The grace of God was given to God-fearing Jews and proselytes.

Acts 13:42–43 (NASB)

42 As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next Sabbath.

43 Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God.

The New Testament also tells us that God divides between those who fear Him and those who do not, by hearing the prayers of the God-fearers.

John 9:31 (NASB) “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.

The message of salvation is effective in those who fear God.

Acts 13:26 (NASB) “Brethren, sons of Abraham’s family, and those among you who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent.

There is not a single reference to a person who hated God, who was given to Jesus.

The consistent message of the Scripture

The consistent message of the Scripture is that those who fear God will come to Jesus and they will continue to come to Jesus as the “coming ones.”

Questions for Calvinists to answer

1. Can you show a single Scripture that shows a God-hater is given to Jesus?

2. How can God’s giving of people to Jesus be unconditional when God has said he distinguishes between those who serve God and those who don’t? Does God contradict Himself?

In the next few posts, we will continue verse by verse through John 6.

*NOTE: Dr. James White has been reviewing this post, and he was looking for a summary of my position on why people don’t come to Jesus. I have posted the summary here.

Comment to join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Again, detailed research that is appreciated. Jn. 3:16 vs Jn. 3:36. Those who believe become part of the corporate elect. Those who continue to reject His grace (which is not irresistible) will remain condemned. God convicts and convinces by the Spirit/Word/believer, but He does not cause or coerce reciprocal love relationship.

  2. (1) “Can you show a single Scripture that shows a God-hater is given to Jesus?”

    Every single person who was given to Jesus hated God, until they were given a new heart.

    And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 lin which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But3 God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:1-10)

    For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and hrenewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs laccording to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:3-7)

    I ask you, Cheryl, can you show where being a God-lover is the basis upon which the person is given to Jesus? If there is something in the person which entices the Father to give that person to Jesus, then you have just introduced works salvation into the picture.

    (2) “How can God’s giving of people to Jesus be unconditional when God has said he distinguishes between those who serve God and those who don’t? Does God contradict Himself?”

    Seeing that you cite the Old Testament to set up this supposed tension and contradiction, why did anyone in the old covenant serve God?

    For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. (Isaiah 10:22, which is quoted by Paul in Romans 9:27)

    Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; (Isaiah 46:3)

    For thus says the Lord: “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, and raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, ‘O Lord, save your people, the remnant of Israel.’ (Jeremiah 31:7)

    I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob; I will gather the remnant of Israel; I will set them together like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture, a noisy multitude of men. (Micah 2:12)

    Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel–all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him. (1 Kings 19:18)

    This last text is cited by Paul in Romans 11:1-6

    I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham,a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

    All of the elect, whether in the remnant of Israel or the elect peoples under the new covenant, lived by faith, a faith which is kept by the power of God (1 Peter 1:3-5).

    What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
    7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
    8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

    Again, the burden of proof is on you, Cheryl, to provide a biblical basis that election is conditional on the character of the person, or more simply that the Father gives to the Son based on the one who is given…

  3. Hi Benjamin,
    Welcome to The Giving blog. Thank you for your comments and your challenge. I will answer your comments soon. I am going in for surgery in the morning and so will get back to my blog comments as soon as I can.

    One question I have before I get back here: Do you believe that all people belong to the Father?

  4. “Do you believe that all people belong to the Father?”

    Yes, in the sense that He is the Creator of every human being, and hence is sovereign over all of His creation. In other words, he is Lord and King over the universe, and hence “owns” everything in that universe.

    If you are using “belong” in the sense of the family of God, well the Bible is abundantly clear that only those who have been given to the Son, those who have been chosen by the Father, are adopted into the kingdom of God, and hence are partakers of the divine nature and can claim the promises of the new covenant as their own.

    Will be praying for your surgery and recovery! God is our greatest treasure…

  5. You seem to be assuming synergism and using John 6.37 to show this passage is synergistic. First you have to prove the bible teaches synergism. You read synergism into this passage.

    The disciples did not hear a synergistic message. The end of John 6 (John 6.60-69) shows how even the disciples struggled with what Jesus had just said. If this was a synergistic message, what would they have taken offense to? In John 6.65 he restates John 6.37 in a different way and in the very next passage it states many of the disciples turned back and walked with him no longer. Again, if this was the synergistic teaching of you have the ability to believe if you try hard enough, why did many of his disciples turn back and no longer walk with Jesus?

    How do you prove synergism from the bible? If you use Matthew 23.37 please include “your children” in your quotation. You can go back to Erasmus’s Diatribe with Luther and he misquotes it the exact same way synergists misquote it today.

    I too will be praying your surgery goes perfectly.

  6. Welcome to The Giving blog, Benjamin. Also thank you for your prayers! I really appreciate that gift. I am just experiencing tiredness right now so have to pace myself as I heal. The body seems to have a way to signal you to slow down so the healing process can begin once again.

    I appreciate that you took the time to comment and give me a challenge as well. I believe that challenges as well as responses deserve to be answered. I firmly believe that if one believes they have the truth, they should be willing to be challenged by Scripture and by reason. I guess I just never understood why so many back away from a challenge. It is my view that if one is right a challenge will just confirm that in a stronger way. If one is wrong, then the challenge has sharpened and corrected. Either way it is a win-win situation where iron sharpens iron if one loves the truth more than their own rightfulness.

    Having said that I would like to digest your comments and answer back when I have more clarity of mind and body. My tiredness right now after surgery yesterday tells me I still need a little more time away to let things go and not to push myself too soon.

    I liked what you said about God. I do believe that God is our treasure. It reminds me of a man who bought a field just to get the treasure that resided within the field. The Lord Jesus is much more of a treasurer than any treasurer this world has. We need to hold onto Him as a pure treasure who is worth far more than we could ever imagine.

    Thank you again for your comments. I will get back to you as soon as I am capable.

  7. Joshua,
    Welcome also to The Giving blog. I also appreciate that you took the time to stop by and comment. I will reread your comments and questions and expect to answer you back this coming week. Thank you for your patience during this time of my recovery.

  8. Maverick,
    I would also like to welcome you to The Giving blog and ask you a favour. Your comment “This is the worst attempt at refuting Reformed theology.” was very unhelpful. What exactly are you referring to? If you could be so kind as to back up your statement with a problem you saw or a question you had, I would try to answer in a respectful manner. If this is all you have to say, please know that it doesn’t come across as someone who took the time to read and interact. It really has little meaning to me without context.

    In my ministry with those in the cults, I often have Mormons emailing me about how terrible things are written about their faith on our ministry web sites. I tell them that I am unaware of error, but if they could point out the error and show where it is wrong from Mormon sources, I will research it for myself and if there is error, we will correct it. About 99.99% of Mormons that contact me in this manner, never respond back because they are not interested in a discussion of truth. They just want to unload and move on.

    If you are looking to unload and move on, then you are not likely looking for my answer anyway. I hope that others reading this will see what kind of comments promotes dialog and what comments have little value in pursuing.

    It is a strong desire of mine to keep this blog open to respectful dialog of brothers and sisters in Christ who are on opposite ends of the issue of the Sovereignty of God. I think we can benefit by hearing and understanding one another and I know of no other way to accomplish that other than treating all in the honor due them in Christ.

  9. Benjamin,
    I will go back to your first post. My question was “Can you show a single Scripture that shows a God-hater is given to Jesus?”

    You gave Ephesians 2:1-10, and this is a wonderful passage showing that we are saved by grace alone, that our salvation is a gift to us. However what I am looking for is where we are given to Jesus, not where salvation (and Jesus) is given to us. If you have a Scripture showing the giving in that direction, I would consider it.

    Titus 3:3-7 is also a wonderful salvation passage where God pours out the Holy Spirit TO us, however, I don’t see in the passage where it says people are being given to Jesus nor do I see that God haters are given to Him.

    Benjamin you said:

    I ask you, Cheryl, can you show where being a God-lover is the basis upon which the person is given to Jesus? If there is something in the person which entices the Father to give that person to Jesus, then you have just introduced works salvation into the picture.

    Your question deserves to be answered. I do have to admit that I have never seen loving God or fearing God called a “work”. Can you explain why someone responding to the Father in a godly fear would be calling “working” for his salvation? Would you be able to give me a verse that deals with the conclusion because honestly, I have never seen it.

    As far as a passage where people are being given to Jesus because God pays attention to their fear of Him, look carefully at Malachi 3:16-18.

    Malachi 3:16–18 (NASB)
    16Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name.
    17“They will be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”
    18So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

    According to this passage, what is the LORD of hosts paying attention to? (verse 16) Why is a “book of remembrance” written before God? (vs 16) What promise does the LORD of hosts make following the attention he paid to them and because He heard what was said by these people? (vs 17) What is the “possession” that is prepared by the LORD of hosts and who are spared by the LORD of hosts? (vs 17) Why does He say that there must be a distinguishing of people rather than calling all people as God-haters? (vs 17)

    I will answer your next question in another comment box.

  10. Benjamin,
    You asked:

    Seeing that you cite the Old Testament to set up this supposed tension and contradiction, why did anyone in the old covenant serve God?

    I believe that we can safely answer this question by going back to Abraham. Abraham was seen as righteous because he believed God. When someone believes God and puts their trust in Him in response to His actions toward them, like Abraham they will serve God naturally as an outworking of their faith.

    I do not believe that you answered my question about God paying attention to those who fear Him. I do think it is important. Notice in Malachi 4:2 –

    Malachi 4:2 (NASB)
    “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.

    Malachi says that for you who fear His name, the sun of righteousness will rise… Who is the sun of righteousness? He will rise (or come forth) for who?

    Benjamin, you said:

    Again, the burden of proof is on you, Cheryl, to provide a biblical basis that election is conditional on the character of the person, or more simply that the Father gives to the Son based on the one who is given…

    I didn’t say that coming to Jesus is conditional on the character of the person. I would say that coming to Jesus is conditional on believing the Father. The second part of your statement “the Father gives to the Son based on the one who is given”. I don’t understand this. Would you be able to flesh this out so I understand what you are hearing me say? Thanks!

    I am going to create a new post that ties John 6:37-45 together with what Jesus had already said in the book of John. I hope that this will make things clear enough that you can understand me. I believe that understanding and hearing is important. I try hard to be this kind of person, but I am not perfect either in the listening department. I want to learn to do better at hearing, understanding, and reflecting back. If I misunderstand, please correct me.

  11. Joshua,
    You said:

    You seem to be assuming synergism and using John 6.37 to show this passage is synergistic. First you have to prove the bible teaches synergism. You read synergism into this passage.

    I never used the word “synergism” and I don’t think that we would have a meeting of the minds of what this word means. Would you be so kind as to describe what you understand as synergism? Also let me know what you think that I am reading something into the passage?

    Joshua, you wrote:

    If this was a synergistic message, what would they have taken offense to?

    Again, I never used the term “synergistic” message so perhaps you could use another word or explain what you mean? As far as the disciples taking offence at Jesus, are you meaning the 11 disciples (excluding Judas) or do you mean the crowd, or the pharisees? Do you see the 11 disciples as grumbling against Jesus?

    I will be putting a post up on why the Jews took offence at Jesus and I will work hard to get more posts up as quick as I can. I have a full time ministry job and this is part of my work, but it is not the part that has deadlines like the accounting, tax filing, magazine work, video editing, etc. But since my treatments are over and I am getting back to “normal”, I would like to make this blog more of my focus as we prepare for our DVD project. I am also working on a new shopping cart that will allow us to sell video downloads of our DVDs. There is a lot on my plate, but my heart is in the issue of the Sovereignty of God.

    Joshua, you wrote:

    I too will be praying your surgery goes perfectly.

    Thank you so much for your prayers! You brothers have been compassionate and caring and that is wonderful for me to see!

    My surgery went well and I am “working” on healing now. I am not allowed to lift my right arm very much for a couple of weeks so that the stitches won’t tear. Other than that, my tiredness is getting better and I am very well. Thank you!

  12. Benjamin,
    You wrote:

    “Do you believe that all people belong to the Father?”
    Yes, in the sense that He is the Creator of every human being, and hence is sovereign over all of His creation. In other words, he is Lord and King over the universe, and hence “owns” everything in that universe.
    If you are using “belong” in the sense of the family of God, well the Bible is abundantly clear that only those who have been given to the Son, those who have been chosen by the Father, are adopted into the kingdom of God, and hence are partakers of the divine nature and can claim the promises of the new covenant as their own.

    Would you say that if all people belong to the Father because He is the Creator, then would not all people belong to the Word of God as He is also the Creator?

    As Father as my question about all people belonging to the Father, I would like to frame my question around the time of John 6. This was before Jesus died and before the New Covenant had been set up by the blood of Christ. As far as the Father, were there people who belonged to Him who were in relationship with Him by faith that needed to come to Jesus for salvation? Or would you say that all people (including the 11 disciples) were God-haters before they became Jesus’ disciples?

    Benjamin, you wrote:

    Will be praying for your surgery and recovery! God is our greatest treasure…

    Thank you SO much! God indeed is our greatest treasure! And Jesus is our Pearl of great price. I wish I could help more people to see the greatest treasurer that there is came to earth to give His blood for us so that we would be saved. That transaction is far more than I can comprehend sometimes. My value is nothing at all in comparison to Him!

  13. Greetings Cheryl… I think we need to back up here a bit, because my listing of verses has sent us on a bit of a tangent (a valuable one), and we need to stick with the context of John 6…

    You stated in your article:

    “The consistent message of the Scripture is that those who fear God will come to Jesus and they will continue to come to Jesus as the “coming ones”.”

    The problem with this statement, is that is does not discuss just how people come to fear God. Hence my efforts to point to the panoply of Scripture in the discussion of the state of humanity, while in an unregenerate state, justly under the wrath of God, following Satan and the desires of the flesh, unable to submit to the law of God, etc.

    There are two key verses that explain why Jesus began this whole discussion with the crowd who were listening to Him.

    John 6:36; “But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.”
    John 6:64-65; “But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

    Jesus is clearly explaining, first to the crowd, and then to His disciples (the only ones who remained after this “hard” teaching), why some people can see Jesus, see His works, and yet not truly believe in Him – the Father must first grant it to a person before he or she can come to Jesus, or as the verse 44 says

    “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”

    The same person is being discussed throughout this passage – the one who comes to Jesus will be raised up on the last day, and the only way that same person can come to Jesus is if it is granted by the Father, which is synonymous with being drawn by the Father. Jesus’ main point is that the crowd doesn’t believe in Jesus, they simply wanted more signs and more food, and this is ultimately because they have not been given the ability to come to Jesus by the Father. Jesus later discusses Judas (second half of verse 64, see above), and again points to the reason why “some of you do not believe”. This passage is discussing man’s lack of ability to come to Jesus, and then God’s ability to save completely. You really cannot discuss anything else in this passage until you step back and discuss why Jesus is talking this way, especially in light of the fact that the crowd left!

  14. Hey Ben,
    I am preparing a new blog post called “Why are people not coming to Jesus?” It will be set up as a summary of John 6 to verse 45 on the question of why people do not and cannot come to Jesus. I will also provide a link to Jesus’ statements in the book of John that tie in with His statements in John 6. Fair enough? In essence it will include what Jesus is talking about in verse 64, 65 even though I have not reached those verses ion the verse by verse posts. Would it be okay if I finished the new blog post, and put a link to the new post here at this comment section and then could I please have your permission to enter your challenge to my challenge post page here http://www.mmoutreach.org/tg/challenges/ ? I would also provide the link to my answer after your challenges posted there.

    The main reason I want to do it this way is because many people don’t read the comments, just the posts. I also want to keep a record of the questions/challenges and links to the answers for people who are also interested in the same challenge questions.

    Ben, also I would really like it if you would at some point in time consider answering the questions I asked in my three comments above? I understand that this is my blog and I am welcoming questions, and I do not demand answers of commenters, but it is so helpful for me to “hear” your answers so that I can really understand where you are coming from. One of my mottos is to seek first to understand and then to be understood. It is almost impossible for one to be understood if that person does not understand the obstacles that make communication very difficult. If you don’t want to answer, that is okay, but if you are willing at some point to answer my questions, it would be beneficial to me (and I am sure also to those who do read the comments).

  15. BTW for anyone interested I had a bone scan today. It was an all day affair at a hospital away from home. I have an appointment tomorrow with my doctor and I should be getting the printout of my scan. I am really praying that God will give me His grace and mercy as I find out whether the cancer has spread or not.

  16. Dear Cheryl:

    Truly troubles me that you continue to struggle with your health and have to endure all of these tests and procedures – I hope you can find a holistic approach which cures this cancer.

    I am happy to answer any of your questions, I simply wanted to stay on track with the specific issues discussed in John 6. But I will give it a good college try (!) anyhow…

    CHERYL wrote: “Your question deserves to be answered. I do have to admit that I have never seen loving God or fearing God called a “work”. Can you explain why someone responding to the Father in a godly fear would be calling “working” for his salvation? Would you be able to give me a verse that deals with the conclusion because honestly, I have never seen it.”

    I asked this of you because you seemed so focussed on attempting to demonstrate that those who are given to Jesus are the ones who fear God; i.e. the Father offers salvation to all, and then gives people to Jesus who have already come to Jesus through their humble fear of the Lord. The main idea I see you presenting is that for anyone to come to Jesus, they simply have to fear the Lord, and then the Father sees their sincerity and gives them to Jesus in the act of regeneration, adoption, justification, etc. If I have misunderstood you, forgive me. This is why I believe it would be a work, because God’s “election” is suddenly conditional on something in the person, namely their fear of the Lord. I don’t have a specific verse that speaks like this, because I believe the Bible clearly teaches unconditional election, i.e. that God chooses His people from before the foundation of the world based on the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1), and not due to some desirable characteristic in the people.

    CHERYL: “I didn’t say that coming to Jesus is conditional on the character of the person. I would say that coming to Jesus is conditional on believing the Father. The second part of your statement “the Father gives to the Son based on the one who is given”. I don’t understand this. Would you be able to flesh this out so I understand what you are hearing me say? Thanks!”

    My apologies for my ambiguity! My statement was worded to repeat the same principle twice, namely that it seemed as though you were saying that “coming to Jesus is conditional on the character of the person”, in discussing the root condition for the Father giving people to the Son. Again, forgive my misunderstanding of your position.

    CHERYL: “According to this passage, what is the LORD of hosts paying attention to? (verse 16) Why is a “book of remembrance” written before God? (vs 16) What promise does the LORD of hosts make following the attention he paid to them and because He heard what was said by these people? (vs 17) What is the “possession” that is prepared by the LORD of hosts and who are spared by the LORD of hosts? (vs 17)

    Again, with all of the other passages you cited, you fail to discuss just why anyone fears the Lord at all. Your questions are perfectly solid in looking at Malachi 3 (esp. vv. 16-18), but do not specify how the people came to “listen” to God, “feared the Lord and esteemed His name.” Do you believe that man has the ability in him or herself to fear the Lord, without having a new heart beforehand? Do you believe that God gives the grace to fear God to everyone, and then leaves the decision to listen and respond to every person? This is why I believe we need to stick to the immediate context of John 6, especially in regards to the blunt statement Jesus made regarding the unbelief of the crowd who could see and hear Jesus perfectly well, but were not able to come to Jesus because they had not been drawn by the Father….

    CHERYL: “Why does He say that there must be a distinguishing of people rather than calling all people as God-haters? (vs 17)”

    Everyone is a God-hater until they have true belief in Jesus – those who continue on in true faith are distinguished by their works and their spiritual life. That is the whole point – the ones who listen to God, the ones who believe in Jesus, are the ones who have been given to Jesus by the Father…

    25Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” (John 10)

    Notice the similar discussion of ability here as in John 6… Jesus is perfectly consistent in explaining why people do not believe in Him.

  17. Ben,
    You said:

    Truly troubles me that you continue to struggle with your health and have to endure all of these tests and procedures – I hope you can find a holistic approach which cures this cancer.

    Thank you for your compassion! I don’t like all of the doctor’s visits and the tests, but I have entrusted myself to the care of the doctors and nurses and I am truly touched by how much they have compassion and care for those who are fighting this terrible disease. I would give myself the freedom to research and use holistic methods, but I would not use them alone. When you have a very aggressive cancer there is not a lot of time to death with it. In my case the chemo really did a great job — miraculous in fact. I will be updating my personal On the Path blog either later tonight or tomorrow as I have time. My bone scan results are in.

    You wrote:

    I asked this of you because you seemed so focussed on attempting to demonstrate that those who are given to Jesus are the ones who fear God; i.e. the Father offers salvation to all, and then gives people to Jesus who have already come to Jesus through their humble fear of the Lord.

    No, that is not what I believe. For example Lydia did not already come to Jesus before she was given to Jesus. The giving to Jesus happens before the coming to Jesus. I will explain more in the next post that I am working on.

    You wrote:

    The main idea I see you presenting is that for anyone to come to Jesus, they simply have to fear the Lord, and then the Father sees their sincerity and gives them to Jesus in the act of regeneration, adoption, justification, etc. If I have misunderstood you, forgive me.

    No, that is not what I believe. First of all I don’t believe that anyone can simply “fear the Lord” on their own. Neither do I believe that the Father sees people’s “sincerity”. I also do not believe that Abraham is the Father of sincerity. Again, I think the next post will explain more and if it is still not clear, I welcome questions.

    Ben you wrote:

    This is why I believe it would be a work, because God’s “election” is suddenly conditional on something in the person, namely their fear of the Lord. I don’t have a specific verse that speaks like this, because I believe the Bible clearly teaches unconditional election, i.e. that God chooses His people from before the foundation of the world based on the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1), and not due to some desirable characteristic in the people.

    No, I wouldn’t say things this way at all. It is not “suddenly conditional” if God has created conditions for receiving what He has already paid for. Rather it would be a plan from before the creation of the earth and the conditions would be written and communicated over and over again, not just once.

    A condition for salvation is not a work, unless God identifies the fear of God, or faith in God’s revelation as a work. I have not seen such a thing, so I think we can both agree that the fear of God is not a “work” of man. I think we would both agree that faith in God is not a work of man.

    You wrote:

    My statement was worded to repeat the same principle twice, namely that it seemed as though you were saying that “coming to Jesus is conditional on the character of the person”, in discussing the root condition for the Father giving people to the Son. Again, forgive my misunderstanding of your position.

    Apology accepted and thanks for clarifying that. So hopefully I can make this clear that I do not believe that “coming to Jesus” is conditional on the “character” of the person.

    I will continue in the next comment.

  18. Ben,
    You wrote:

    CHERYL: “According to this passage, what is the LORD of hosts paying attention to? (verse 16) Why is a “book of remembrance” written before God? (vs 16) What promise does the LORD of hosts make following the attention he paid to them and because He heard what was said by these people? (vs 17) What is the “possession” that is prepared by the LORD of hosts and who are spared by the LORD of hosts? (vs 17)

    Again, with all of the other passages you cited, you fail to discuss just why anyone fears the Lord at all. Your questions are perfectly solid in looking at Malachi 3 (esp. vv. 16-18), but do not specify how the people came to “listen” to God, “feared the Lord and esteemed His name.” Do you believe that man has the ability in him or herself to fear the Lord, without having a new heart beforehand? Do you believe that God gives the grace to fear God to everyone, and then leaves the decision to listen and respond to every person? This is why I believe we need to stick to the immediate context of John 6, especially in regards to the blunt statement Jesus made regarding the unbelief of the crowd who could see and hear Jesus perfectly well, but were not able to come to Jesus because they had not been drawn by the Father….

    You are looking for why anyone fears the Lord, but in the Malachi 3 passage, the fear of the Lord follows many reasons why people chose to respond in the fear of the LORD. In Malachi 3:1 God gives a prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. He is called the “messenger of the covenant” and he will “suddenly” come to His temple. Next God talks about the need for fear “But who can endure the day of His coming?…He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver… Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the LORD of hosts.

    God gives warnings as well as promises to those who will listen. The LORD of hosts says to “test” Him “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out a blessings until it overflows”.

    God always, always gives reason to fear Him. The fear of the Lord is not conquered up in the heart of a man. It is a response to the warning of God and the promises for those who will heed the warning. It is God-centered. It is always conditional. Malachi verse 16 says Then those who fear the LORD spoke to one another… The first action belongs to God. The response is conditional upon hearing and fearing.

    Ben, you wrote:

    Do you believe that man has the ability in him or herself to fear the Lord, without having a new heart beforehand?

    A new heart is given for one to serve God and for one to walk in His ways. But the bible never says that one must have a new heart in order to fear God. If you have found a verse like this, please let me know where it is.

    You wrote:

    Do you believe that God gives the grace to fear God to everyone, and then leaves the decision to listen and respond to every person?

    I am not sure which verse you are referring to, because I have not seen a reference to God needing to give people “grace” in order for them to fear Him. I do believe that God MUST reveal Himself and reveal truth in order for a person to fear Him.

    You wrote:

    This is why I believe we need to stick to the immediate context of John 6, especially in regards to the blunt statement Jesus made regarding the unbelief of the crowd who could see and hear Jesus perfectly well, but were not able to come to Jesus because they had not been drawn by the Father….

    Malachi 3 is very relevant to John 6 and there are passages that are fulfilled in John 6. The New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old. Yet the context of John 6 and the book of John will buttress the meaning of the sayings of Jesus. You are quite right that the context is key. And it is true that no one could come to Jesus unless the Father draws him. The drawing comes first, not the coming. But the giving comes before the coming as well. More in next comment.

  19. Ben,
    You wrote:

    Everyone is a God-hater until they have true belief in Jesus – those who continue on in true faith are distinguished by their works and their spiritual life. That is the whole point – the ones who listen to God, the ones who believe in Jesus, are the ones who have been given to Jesus by the Father…

    I appreciate that this is your belief, but the Bible doesn’t say this. Cornelius was not a God-hater until he had true belief in Jesus. He was called a God-fearer. Also Lydia was not a God-hater until she knew who Jesus was. She also was called a God-fearer.

    I agree that the ones who believe in Jesus are the ones who have been given to Him by the Father, but I do not see that the ones who listen to the Father were given to Jesus before they listened to the Father. The LORD of hosts says “They will be Mine” not “They already are Mine” in Malachi 3:17. The giving by the Father is of those who already belong to Him in faith and He gives these ones to Jesus so that they can believe in Him and be saved.

  20. Pingback: James White and John 6:37 | The GivingJames White and John 6:37 - The Giving

  21. I am transferring my discussion with Peter from https://mmoutreach.org/tg/jesus-draws-all/ to the article on John 6:37 as this is a better place to put the discussion.

    Peter, I think that we are going to have to work on the top issues first. The issue we have discussed is about John 6:37 and the giving of the Father. What is the biblical history of the giving of people to Jesus?

    The foundation of the giving is in the OT:

    Malachi 3:16–18
    16Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name.
    17“They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.”

    18So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.

    The ones who will belong to Jesus are those who fear God.

    During the time of Jesus there are people given to Jesus. These are Jewish believers who have gone through the baptism of John and repentance. But is the giving limited to Jewish believers before the death of Jesus. If we can find non-Jewish believers who are God-fearing believers who are brought to belief in Jesus, then we have an on-going giving in the same way that Jewish believers were given to Jesus.

    Lydia is one of these believers:

    Acts 16:13–15
    13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled.
    14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.
    15 And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

    Notice that it was the Lord who opened her heart to respond. Someone who belongs to the Father will respond immediately to Jesus because the Father opens up their heart to respond. Lydia’s response that she is to be judged faithful to the Lord, shows that she was a believer in God and faithful to the light that she had been given and now who showed her position as a God-fearer she immediately responded to the message of Jesus.

    God-fearing proselytes were told by Paul to “continue in the grace of God” as those who were already believers in the Father.

    Acts 13:43
    43 Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God.


    The last example is Cornelius. He is another one of these God-fearing Gentile believers who needed to believe in Jesus:

    Acts 10:22
    22 They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you.”

    When Cornelius was brought the message of Jesus, even as Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit descended upon those who had gathered to hear about Jesus.

    Peter sees the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s infilling and he says the “welcome to Him” is given to every nation without partiality.

    Acts 10:34-35
    34 Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,
    35 but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.

    So, the foundation is in the OT, the giving to Jesus is NEVER of unbelievers but of those who fear God, and it continues after the death of Jesus.

    Peter in your interpretation it appears that it is very important to you that the giving of people to Jesus ends at the death of Jesus. I would like to see your foundation for that view. Do you have an OT precedent for John 6:37 “the giving” as prophesied in the OT. Also do you have at least one witness of a NT verse that describes the coming “ending” of that giving to happen at the cross, or do you have a witness of a NT verse after the cross that describes the “ending” of the giving as a thing of the past?

    My views are solidly based on the Scripture and a refutation should have a solid base in the Scripture. In addition, a scriptural refutation should show why we should not take the Bible examples I have given as people given to believe in Jesus.

    I will await your scriptural answer. Thanks!

  22. Continuing on from our conversation on the other thread: https://mmoutreach.org/tg/jesus-draws-all/#comments

    It seems that you are engaging in circular reasoning.

    If we can find non-Jewish believers who are God-fearing believers who are brought to belief in Jesus, then we have an on-going giving in the same way that Jewish believers were given to Jesus.

    It is begging the question when you read your conclusion into the conversions of people like Lydia and Cornelius. It goes without saying that *some* people came to a belief in Jesus – after first having a belief in the Father. But that in no way is conclusive proof that they were given to Jesus by the Father. This is simply you reading into the passage what you need to be there. You are self-interpreting “coming to faith” as being the same as “being given by the Father”. Therein lies the circularly of your claim.

    I could just as easily point out the example of Paul. He was someone who believed in God and yet did not believe in Jesus. As such, he was not one who it could be said that He was given to Jesus by the Father. He was killing believers. He came to faith as the result of a direct encounter with the risen Jesus. The difference between Paul and the ones that were given to Jesus, is that they believed in God in a specific Jesus-is-the- Messiah way – whereas Paul did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. He was not someone who was given to Jesus by the Father. (I am tying my definition of “given by the Father” to the words of John 6 – and not something that it MIGHT mean if we are trying to connect some dots).

    Also, do you think the Roman jailer was a prior believer in God? Was he someone expecting the coming of Jesus? Or did he witness the power of God through Peter and Paul and come to a conviction of truth that caused him to ask how he might be saved?

    My views are solidly based on the Scripture and a refutation should have a solid base in the Scripture. In addition, a scriptural refutation should show why we should not take the Bible examples I have given as people given to believe in Jesus.

    Actually, your views are not based on the Scripture – rather they are based on the way that you want to read them. The passages that you quote are not talking about any kind of GIVING. They are talking about the remnant that God is going to save. Some Jewish people believed in the coming Messiah and some didn’t. Me saying that, is not denying that SOME people who had a belief priorly in God, would not believe in Jesus when they heard about him – even amongst non-Jews. You seem to have a habit of finding proof texts and then championing biblical superiority just by merely quoting them.

    My whole claim is based on this UNIQUE situation in John 6. I mentioned in my last comment on the other thread that there is scriptural evidence that defines this *giving* as a specifically limited event. John 17:6 says:

    I have made your name known to those whom you GAVE me from the world

    Despite the fact that you continue to downplay my use of the scriptures (I find that amusing because ALL I am doing is looking at the relevant text here) – this verse puts a definitive limitation on this narrative in John 6. That is my scriptural answer.

    You are forcing the words of THIS text in John 6:37 by trying to make them normative for all time. But, as I mentioned, it is a unique situation. Using the template of the passage, in today’s world:

    – we do not have a time frame where people are looking ahead to the coming of Jesus
    – we do not have a scenario whereby the Father is passing off His care of believing Jews to Jesus

    What we do have today, is the gospel going out to all people and those who respond in faith doing so because of the power of the gospel. Rather than being cared for by Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit presiding over the affairs of the church – as Jesus presides in heaven. I am not denying that Jesus is not Lord and presently reigning. But His current involvement in human affairs is completely a different affair than it was in John 6 when he walked the earth. In today’s world, we do have some Jews coming to faith. They didn’t priorly believe – and, as such, they cannot be said to have been cared for by the Father. The plain truth of the matter is that their world view is being radically altered as they come to realize that Jesus is the Messiah – having previously rejected that idea. There are so many insurmountable contradictions and road blocks that arise if you think a little more carefully about this.

    Finally, the SCRIPTURAL evidence for verse 37 being setting-specific and not descriptive for all time, is that it is book-ended by the use of “FOR’ at the beginning of verse 38. That link provided by John, clearly identifies the words of Jesus as having primary application to THIS situation. In other words, the giving is occurring during the time of his ministry as He did the Father’s will while he was on earth. As such, phrases such as “gives”, “comes” and “drive away” must have relevance to the conversation at hand – as a FIRST priority of the reading as we try to determine the intended meaning of the passage. Only by acknowledging that, can we then go on to try to determine if this is ALSO a universal principle that applies after Jesus ascends – which makes the “looking ahead to the coming Messiah” a moot exercise. As such, the care of the Father, as one example, takes on an entirely different nuance – as it deviates away from the definition of the term as given in the text.

    At this point, I would merely point out that if there is an ongoing *giving* today – as you point out, it cannot be supported by way of John 6, as John 6 is COMPLETELY setting specific and does not say anything about how one comes to believe in Jesus in today’s world.

    This is basic exegesis and I await your response – at the exegetical level.

  23. Peter,
    You wrote:

    It is begging the question when you read your conclusion into the conversions of people like Lydia and Cornelius. It goes without saying that *some* people came to a belief in Jesus – after first having a belief in the Father. But that in no way is conclusive proof that they were given to Jesus by the Father.

    You are claiming something for me that is inaccurate. Let me phrase it this way, if those who fear God, who have a belief in the Father, come to believe right away in Jesus, what do YOU define your “conclusive proof” that any Jew in the time of Jesus was given to the Father? Let me see if I understand your position. Your “conclusive proof” appears to be that those who believe in the Father already believe that JESUS is the Messiah.

    You wrote:

    The difference between Paul and the ones that were given to Jesus, is that they believed in God in a specific Jesus-is-the- Messiah way – whereas Paul did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah.

    That is a definition of circular reasoning. If these people already believed in Jesus as the Messiah they didn’t need to be given to Him because they were already His.

    I will answer the issue of Paul and the Roman solider at the cross in my next comment.

  24. Peter,
    You wrote:

    I could just as easily point out the example of Paul. He was someone who believed in God and yet did not believe in Jesus. As such, he was not one who it could be said that He was given to Jesus by the Father.

    Paul was not someone who truly feared God. He did not belong to the Father. Paul gave his testimony in 1 Timothy 1:13 of what he WAS and WHY he was saved.

    1 Timothy 1:13 (HCSB) one who was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief.

    Paul did not say that he was a godly, God-fearing man. He said he was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. He found mercy not because he belonged to the Father, but because he acted ignorantly in unbelief.

    Next comment will deal with a soldier.

  25. At the cross Jesus forgave those who put Him to death in their ignorance:

    Luke 23:34 (NASB95) But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.

    A Roman centurion who stood in front of Jesus as He died believed that Jesus was who He said He was.

    Mark 15:39 (NASB95) When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

    Jesus’ asking the Father to forgive them was the catalyst that brought the Father’s revelation to the centurion, but this man was not one who had belonged to the Father. He was not a believer who came to faith in Christ. He was an executioner who received mercy in order to have his eyes open to the reality of who Jesus is.

  26. Peter,
    John chapter 5 comes before John 6 and in that chapter Jesus constructs the requirements for believing in Him.

    John 5:24 (NASB95) “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

    One must believe Him who sent Jesus (believe the Father), and must hear the word of Jesus. Jesus didn’t say that the person must have already believed that Jesus is the Messiah first before hearing His word. Rather, believing the Father brings people to hear the word of Jesus. See the Scripture below.

    Jesus also showed that the evidence of believing the Father would be what people do with His words.

    John 5:38 (NASB95) “You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.

    John 5:46–47 (NASB95)
    46 “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.
    47 “But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

    Believing in Moses comes first, then believing in the words of Jesus.

    The disciples were given to Jesus, but they did not believe that He was the Messiah right away. They did not FIRST believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, BEFORE they became His disciples. If your interpretation is correct then you should be able to prove that the disciples who were given to Jesus, already believe that He was the Messiah BEFORE they were chosen as His disciples.

  27. He found mercy not because he belonged to the Father, but because he acted ignorantly in unbelief.

    But this is in direct contradiction of your previous statement. Paul came to Jesus without having been one who was given to Jesus by the Father. Similarly, your example here of the centurion seem to work against what you previously said. I am confused. In these cases, you have people coming to faith without first “belonging to the Father”. Which was my point…

    The crux of our impasse is that it seems to me that you want to consider that passages that show the role of the Father – as in the case of the Lord opening Lydia’s heart, and insist that it is conclusive proof of that as the Father giving them to Jesus. On the other hand, my view doesn’t deny that there is active involvement by God in the process of salvation. But you seem to be insisting that the one means the other. I simply am saying that there is a difference between the giving as depicted in John 6 – and God working in someone’s life to bring them to salvation. I would point out that there was no guarantee that those *given* in John 6, would be saved. Salvation is determined at the last day and in at least 4 places in scripture – requires that one “continue” in the faith. There is, of course, a great likelihood that they will be saved – but that is yet to be determined in its entirety.

    In any case, it seems that you are importing the term “giving” and how it is defined there in John 6 and trying to force it into a universal blueprint. I am in disagreement with you solely on that point. I don’t disagree that God is active in the lives of people, whether or not they have some sort of prior truthful belief in God’s existence – no matter how large or small that may be. A simple push back in this regard – is that your view seems to hold no hope for an atheist to come to faith. The gospel holds no power for him/her to change his/her mind. To the contrary, I am sure a quick google search could reveal testimonies by former atheists.

    One other seeming fly in your ointment: what about those deceased OT believers who believed in the coming Messiah and who would have believed in Jesus had they lived long enough to see Him? It CANNOT be said of them that they “were given to Jesus” – in that they weren’t around to allow for the process of him caring for them. Can you see how this fact serves to limit the setting as well – only from the prior-to-Jesus-coming vantage point? The setting has an established start date and end date. Your argument with me here should not be on the setting which is clearly in view. Your argument is that the principle of the setting (that Jesus tells them) continues on. On that I disagree that it does. There are too many setting specific details that prevent a leap to a continued “giving” – as you suggest.

  28. Peter,
    You wrote:

    (I am tying my definition of “given by the Father” to the words of John 6 – and not something that it MIGHT mean if we are trying to connect some dots).

    John 6 says nothing about people who had already believe that Jesus is the Son of God. It seems to me that you are trying to connect a huge DOT that you cannot back up by the text. Which part of John 6:37 says that people who WILL be given already believe that Jesus is the Son of God?

    You wrote:

    Actually, your views are not based on the Scripture – rather they are based on the way that you want to read them.

    Seeing that I am the only one going through the verse word by word and grammar by grammar (see the article that these comments are attached to) and you are not going through the verse explaining the words and the grammar, it seems rather disingenuous to me that you are saying my views are not based on the Scripture. How exactly is that so? How would my view be based on the Scripture in your viewpoint? If I ignore the words, ignore the grammar, and state what I think the reader would read into the verse?

    You wrote,

    The passages that you quote are not talking about any kind of GIVING. They are talking about the remnant that God is going to save.

    John 6:37 uses the term “gives” and it is connected in the context to the term “come”. “Come” and “Believe” are synonymous in John 6:37 and John 6:40.

    Jesus chides those who have seen Him, but do not believe His words.

    John 6:36 (NASB95) “But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.

    Why do they not believe? Jesus has already said in chapter 5.

    John 5:46 (NASB95) “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.

    You wrote:

    Despite the fact that you continue to downplay my use of the scriptures (I find that amusing because ALL I am doing is looking at the relevant text here) – this verse puts a definitive limitation on this narrative in John 6. That is my scriptural answer.

    That isn’t a use of Scripture at all! That is a bunch of words that do not reference the verse or give the exact context that you are referring to.

    You say that there is a “definitive limitation”, yet you give NO words that list a definitive limitation. You are not even trying to prove your point by the exact words that are written. Do you believe in divine inspiration of the Word of God? Or is it a concept that you are trying to prove without using the words because the words are not necessary?

    You wrote:

    You are forcing the words of THIS text in John 6:37 by trying to make them normative for all time. But, as I mentioned, it is a unique situation.

    You are misrepresenting me. If you read my words about Paul and the Centurion, you will see that these sinners did not belong to the Father. They received mercy because they sinned in unbelief.

    I will respond more in the next comment.

  29. Peter,
    You wrote:

    Despite the fact that you continue to downplay my use of the scriptures (I find that amusing because ALL I am doing is looking at the relevant text here) – this verse puts a definitive limitation on this narrative in John 6. That is my scriptural answer.

    John 17:6 is referring to those who had already been given to Jesus, and specifically refers to the disciples. John 6:37, the verse we are referring to does not say “gave” but “give” (present tense). Jesus didn’t make a mistake on the grammar. The passage is not talking about those already given, (past tense in John 6:37). You are taking a view that Calvinists hold to as they cannot see the present tense but always go to John 17:6 to the past tense.

  30. Peter, you wrote:

    What we do have today, is the gospel going out to all people and those who respond in faith doing so because of the power of the gospel. Rather than being cared for by Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit presiding over the affairs of the church – as Jesus presides in heaven. I am not denying that Jesus is not Lord and presently reigning. But His current involvement in human affairs is completely a different affair than it was in John 6 when he walked the earth.

    You have said that the Father “gives over” the care to Jesus, and now you are saying that it is the Holy Spirit who presides on earth and not Jesus. However Jesus said that He would disclose Himself to and live in those who believe in Him:

    John 14:21 (NASB95) “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

    John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.

    Revelation 3:20 (NASB95) ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

    Galatians 2:20 (NASB95) “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

    To say that Jesus does not have a current involvement in our human affairs as when He walked the earth is an error. Jesus is with us as He is in us.

  31. Peter,
    You wrote:

    In today’s world, we do have some Jews coming to faith. They didn’t priorly believe – and, as such, they cannot be said to have been cared for by the Father.

    The issue is “believing” the Father. The OT shows that the Father cared for Israel even when the nation as a whole were unbelievers. The care for the unbelieving nation represented by the vineyard in Isaiah 5 is amazing. He says “what more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? That is GREAT care in the face of unbelief.

    Isaiah 5:1–4 (NASB95)
    1 Let me sing now for my well-beloved A song of my beloved concerning His vineyard. My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill.
    2 He dug it all around, removed its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. And He built a tower in the middle of it And also hewed out a wine vat in it; Then He expected it to produce good grapes, But it produced only worthless ones.
    3 “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, Judge between Me and My vineyard.
    4 “What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones?

  32. Peter,
    You wrote:

    Finally, the SCRIPTURAL evidence for verse 37 being setting-specific and not descriptive for all time, is that it is book-ended by the use of “FOR’ at the beginning of verse 38. That link provided by John, clearly identifies the words of Jesus as having primary application to THIS situation.

    Bookended?? The term “For” in verse 38 is not a bookend, it is an explanation. Jesus is explaining why He will not cast out any who are coming to Him. It is because He came to do the Father’s will. That will is to give life to the world. In John 6:38 Jesus says “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” Jesus had already said in verse 33 that He came down from heaven and gives life to the world.

    John 6:32–33 (NASB95)
    32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.
    33 “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”

    Note that in verse 32 the present tense “gives” is said for the Jews, but in verse 33 Jesus said that the “gives” (present tense) is for the world. The world did not come to Jesus when He was here on this earth, so it cannot be limited to the time that Jesus was here on the earth.

    In addition, verse 40 has the same “For” (not a bookend, but a very important revelation of His reason)

    John 6:40 (NASB95) “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

    Verse 40 is so far beyond the time of Jesus when He walked the earth, that Jesus lists the beholding as attached to the believing, and ALL of these will have eternal life and be raised up on the last day. In NO way is this limited to a specific group in front of Jesus, or a specific time period limited to His physical presence. Your “setting-specific” as “primary application to THIS situation” is invalid. Jesus’ coming to earth to give life was NOT limited to a setting-specific with a “primary application” of only Jews.

    What I LOVE about the Scripture is that it refutes false ideas if one keeps reading. There is no sense that Jesus is only referring to Jewish people who will be raised up by Jesus.

  33. Peter, you wrote:

    That link provided by John, clearly identifies the words of Jesus as having primary application to THIS situation. In other words, the giving is occurring during the time of his ministry as He did the Father’s will while he was on earth. As such, phrases such as “gives”, “comes” and “drive away” must have relevance to the conversation at hand – as a FIRST priority of the reading as we try to determine the intended meaning of the passage.

    While what Jesus said applies to the people that He is talking to, it CANNOT be limited to only them as verse 40 shows. So what did the Jews take away from what Jesus said? Did they think that His words were only for a specific time and that is what He meant? No, because they started grumbling about His words that extended His life and His power to beyond that time and beyond those people. The Jews grumbled about how He could come down from heaven if He was a mother and father on earth.

    John 6:41–42
    41 Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.”
    42 They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?”

    They see Jesus’ point as being above this situation, but they are offended by His words. Jesus then explains to them that what He is saying was predicted by the prophets and refers to those who have believed the Father (learned from the Father).

    John 6:45 “It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.

    This is not about a setting-specific, but about a concept-specific. The concept is what Jesus had already said in chapter 5. Only those who have learned from the Father, have believed His word, will come to Him. And Jesus adds in another concept-specific word by saying that those who believe already have eternal life.

    John 6:47 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

  34. Peter,
    You said:

    As such, phrases such as “gives”, “comes” and “drive away” must have relevance to the conversation at hand – as a FIRST priority of the reading as we try to determine the intended meaning of the passage. Only by acknowledging that, can we then go on to try to determine if this is ALSO a universal principle that applies after Jesus ascends – which makes the “looking ahead to the coming Messiah” a moot exercise.

    You are saying that one must see these words as ONLY applicable to the people of the time of Jesus and by determining this, you are not only missing verses that take this as a salvation passage, you are actually practicing begging the question. Having relevance to the people at that time CANNOT disregard people after that time unless the words actually say that. Jesus did not make a mistake by not adding a term that limits the application of time. Instead, Jesus used the present tense without a limiting term. “For” is not a time limit, it is a reason.

  35. Peter,
    I see that you have commented while I was trying to finish answering your first comment. I will address your second comment now.

    You responded to my comment about Paul finding mercy because he acted ignorantly and in unbelief:

    But this is in direct contradiction of your previous statement. Paul came to Jesus without having been one who was given to Jesus by the Father. Similarly, your example here of the centurion seem to work against what you previously said.

    Not at all. You are confused because you have a view in mind that is not what I believe. There is no contradiction. Paul did not come to Christ because he was a believer. He received mercy in spite of being an unbeliever, because Paul was not sinning with a “high hand”. That is a concept when you know the truth but deliberately go against it. It is sinning with your eyes wide open and rebellion. Paul was not that way. He did not commit murder because he knew the truth. He acted in unbelief not by suppressing the truth.

    Here is what I mean:

    Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

    There are those who suppress the truth that they know and these ones do not receive mercy. The Jews act with knowledge but they sinned because they suppressed the truth. In Matt. 27:62-66 these Jews called Jesus a liar and they made it very clear that they understood that Jesus had told them that He would rise from the dead:

    Matthew 27:62–66
    62 Now on the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate,
    63 and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’
    64 “Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.”
    65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.”
    66 And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.

    The Jews knowing the truth of what Jesus said, covered up the truth and sinned with a “high hand”:

    Matthew 28:11–15
    11 Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened.
    12 And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
    13 and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’
    14“ And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.”
    15 And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.

    So while those who believe the word of the Father are promised to be given to the Son, there are those who do not believe the Father, not because they suppress the truth, but because they have been deceived in their unbelief. Paul was among these and Paul received God’s mercy as an example of the worst sinner and God’s perfect patience with those who have not yet believed.

    1 Timothy 1:16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

    You wrote:

    I am confused. In these cases, you have people coming to faith without first “belonging to the Father”. Which was my point…

    Paul explained why he as a Jew, and one blinded by unbelief, received mercy. We must believe Paul that mercy can be given to those who are unbelievers not because they know the truth, but because they are unbelievers through being deceived. Paul gives another great example of mercy given to another one who was deceived by the lie.

    1 Timothy 2:13–14
    13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.
    14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

    Eve’s fall into sin was not because she was sinning with knowledge, but because she had been fully and completely deceived.

    I will make one last comment to complete my response.

  36. While what Jesus said applies to the people that He is talking to, it CANNOT be limited to only them as verse 40 shows

    Actually, this shows the difference between you and I it would appear. I am primarily looking to determine (as a first exercise) what the words of Jesus meant to HIs hearers. In this regard, verse 40 had to have specific application to them – otherwise it is meaningless to them. As such, verse 40 refers to the people of that day FIRSTLY. They were the only ones who did SEE Jesus. You will assert that this has a metaphorical SEEING built into the text – so that it can be exported as a CONCEPT. But this requires you to read into the passage a metaphorical notion of SEEING. And then leads to you making your assertion here. By the way, I am NOT saying that EVERYTHING that Jesus said ONLY applied to them. What I am saying, is that we have to discern (by way of the context) which things were being said ONLY to them. For example, we can take away from verse 40 that if we believe in him we may have eternal life. That fact is applicable to all people across time. But I cannot SEE Jesus today – in the way He is using the word in the text. I can make my own application and consider that I can “SEE” Him in a symbolic sense. But I need to ask FIRSTLY, is that what He is talking about to these folks – who do SEE Him with physical eyes. Would it have made any sense to them, if Jesus were talking about metaphorical seeing – in the text?

    When I point out these things, I am not denying that “he who believes has eternal life”. Many of your objections are based on what I am NOT saying – rather than what I am saying. As I have said in the past, I am simply remaining at the observation stage – and you are jumping past the exegetical reading of the passage in order to get to your interpretation. I fear that you are fighting with the text and not doing the basic reading and asking what the text meant to the original hearers.

    This is not about a setting-specific, but about a concept-specific

    Actually, what you say here is telling. The authors of Scripture (including Jesus) did not write in a vacuum. Much as Paul wrote occasional letters to the church, most of this genre of scripture (unlike poetic and apocalyptic writings) were penned in settings and narratives. If it true that this is what is happening here, and I think you will agree it is, the sequence has to go from setting-specific to concept specific. Of course, all concepts are universal and originate simply as truth statements – but, as far as our grasping of concepts are concerned, concepts are derived by first looking at specific situations in order to determine first what it meant to them – and then what it means for us.

    But it is not good practice – when there are specific situations that Jesus is speaking into, to ignore the specifics of the situations. If we do ignore the situation at hand, we have Jesus walking around preaching concepts that are not tied to situations – or at the very least, preaching concepts that don’t relate to their situation. Reading IN CONTEXT requires that we consider the situations of each text – lest we end up with an interpretation that is lacking in authority. Authority only happens when we stick with the author’s intended meaning. I would suggest that this is the ONLY way to properly read the Bible – if we are to gain the maximum benefit of the authors’ words.

  37. This is starting to get discombobulated – as the comments were coming fast and furious and I missed seeing some of these. I fear that I may have misrepresented you – and I see where you misrepresented me.

    Let’s proceed in short bytes to get back on track:

    Here is where you lost me:

    On the one hand you said :

    “So, the foundation is in the OT, the giving to Jesus is NEVER of unbelievers but of those who fear God, and it continues after the death of Jesus.’

    Then you said

    You are misrepresenting me. If you read my words about Paul and the Centurion, you will see that these sinners did not belong to the Father. They received mercy because they sinned in unbelief.

    I am failing to see how this is not a contradiction. How is that (in view of verse 37) Paul is one that the Father “gave” Jesus? Either he was a believer and was given – or he was not…

  38. By the way, when you say things like:

    Do you believe in divine inspiration of the Word of God? Or is it a concept that you are trying to prove without using the words because the words are not necessary

    I think it is unnecessary to say that. When I am in conversations and people start to resort to ad hominem, I usually take that as a sign that they are unable to refute my points. Some of this is starting to be recycled over again – I am thinking about your “grammar” attack and I don’t see the point of continuing if we are going to do that. I gave you a very good reason for reading verse 37 within the confines of the grammar there. You seemed to accept that I was grammatically on solid ground (given my premise) but it was the “expiration date” premise that you disagreed with. Now you are back to accusing me of tinkering with the grammar. I don’t know what to do with that…

    I have told you I believe in the divine inspiration of the Word of God and have told you that you don’t need to go that route – but you continue to do so. I am afraid I won’t continue if our conversation is going to be at that level.

  39. Peter,
    You wrote:

    The crux of our impasse is that it seems to me that you want to consider that passages that show the role of the Father – as in the case of the Lord opening Lydia’s heart, and insist that it is conclusive proof of that as the Father giving them to Jesus. On the other hand, my view doesn’t deny that there is active involvement by God in the process of salvation.

    The point that I am making is that the giving shows that the people given already belong to the Father. They are believers. They have believed in what has been given to them. They have not yet heard about Jesus and they have not rejected Him. They belong to the sheep fold of the Father. And they will also belong to Jesus.

    It seems to me that you think that when people are given to Jesus, that they no longer belong to the Father, but that wouldn’t be right. They are not transferred from the sheep fold of the Father to the sheepfold of Jesus, but they are jointly owned.

    John 17:10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.

    You wrote:

    But you seem to be insisting that the one means the other. I simply am saying that there is a difference between the giving as depicted in John 6 – and God working in someone’s life to bring them to salvation. I would point out that there was no guarantee that those *given* in John 6, would be saved.

    In the exact same way that a NT God-fearing Jew can be given to Jesus, so a NT God-fearing Gentle can be given to Jesus. The qualification is belief in the light that one has been given. The guarantee is not front being “given” but from the “coming” or “believing” which is present tense – continuous. This means that the one who comes to Jesus and who continues to come to Him is the one who believes in Jesus and continues to believe in Him — this is the one who Jesus will certainly not cast out. John 6:40 reiterates that it is the one who continues to behold the Son (present tense) and the one who continues to believe (present tense) that will have eternal life.

    You wrote:

    A simple push back in this regard – is that your view seems to hold no hope for an atheist to come to faith.

    There is no hope that an atheist can come to faith unless the person gives up their atheism, for God has said in the book of Hebrews:

    Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

    God said that he who comes to God MUST believe that He exists. It isn’t that there isn’t enough evidence in God. It is that a person does not want the consequences of believing in God for then they would be accountable for their sin. I choose to believe Hebrews 11:6 that there is a requirement of believing that God exists in order to come (or draw near) to Him.

    You wrote:

    One other seeming fly in your ointment: what about those deceased OT believers who believed in the coming Messiah and who would have believed in Jesus had they lived long enough to see Him? It CANNOT be said of them that they “were given to Jesus” – in that they weren’t around to allow for the process of him caring for them.

    The giving is not for Jesus to physically feed a person, etc, but the giving is for eternal life. You have created your own definition of what the giving is, but John 6:37-40 LINKS the giving to Jesus with eternal life. That is the proper definition. There is NO link to leading the person around the countryside, but to eternal life and resurrection for those who continue to believe in Him.

    And as far as those who lived long before Jesus came onto this earth, they were promised that they would be given the covenant and would be His. For example, the prophets were those who believed in the Messiah long before He walked this earth. About them it is said that the Spirit of Christ was within them predicting the upcoming suffering and glorification of Christ.:

    1 Peter 1:10–11
    10 As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries,
    11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.

    The cross is a point in time, but its effects go back into the past and forward into the future. Jesus died for people who were in hell for thousands of years before He walked the earth, but He still died for them. His sacrifice goes back to those who feared God and who waited for the Christ, and it also stands as judgment against those who refused to believe God and who died before the cross.

    You wrote:

    Your argument with me here should not be on the setting which is clearly in view. Your argument is that the principle of the setting (that Jesus tells them) continues on.

    No. The setting is not any sort of limitation. Jesus goes from the original bread from heaven in the past which was given by the Father to the present giving out of heaven. Jesus said that the Father “gives” them bread from heaven which goes beyond the original coming down from heaven to the ongoing giving of life in Jesus. If Jesus had meant just a particular setting that He had come from heaven for only this time and this place and this people, then He would have said The Father gave you bread from heaven. But again the ongoing action of Jesus is a life-giving Spirit frames the action as ongoing, not static.

    You wrote:

    There are too many setting specific details that prevent a leap to a continued “giving” – as you suggest.

    Peter you seem to have a limited view of the continued gift of Jesus in this world. You seem to somehow compartamentalize Jesus in Heaven and not see His own Spirit, not the Holy Spirit, at work here on the earth. I know you had told me before that you are a Trinitarian, but do you perhaps have a different view of what the Trinity means? Does Trinity mean to you that God is one person who in the past was the Father, then was seen as Jesus on earth, and now is seen as the Holy Spirit? Please forgive me if I misunderstand you, but it seems like you are limiting Jesus in a way that makes me wonder why.

    As I said before, the miraculous revelation to Cornelius and to Lydia show me that they qualify as those who fear God and who are promised to belong to the LORD of hosts. Their journey is just like the Jewish believers who came before them.

  40. Peter,
    I see that you have replied again while I was finishing my response. I don’t know how much more I can respond tonight and I have a very busy week ahead of me as I let things slide while I was teaching a class.

    You wrote:

    Actually, this shows the difference between you and I it would appear. I am primarily looking to determine (as a first exercise) what the words of Jesus meant to HIs hearers. In this regard, verse 40 had to have specific application to them – otherwise it is meaningless to them.

    Are you serious? Verse 40 has meaning to the crowd, but Jesus doesn’t say that the “everyone” is ONLY the crowd that stands before him. If you are going to limit this to the crowd in front of Jesus, you are going to have a big problem with verse 40 in being meaningless.

    John 6:40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

    Jesus said that “everyone” who believes…this is the entire whole encompassing all. But Jesus said I Myself will raise “him” up. Who is the “him” that Jesus would raise up? Which one of the crowd would be raised up? Surely they see this as an inclusive statement, not exclusive so that only one person is raised up. The inclusivity of language would not be meaningless to the crowd.

    You wrote:

    As such, verse 40 refers to the people of that day FIRSTLY. They were the only ones who did SEE Jesus.

    The seeing is not a physical seeing, but perceiving. The Greek word translated as “beholds” or “sees” means to see with attention, observe, perceive. It isn’t a physical seeing but spiritually seeing. It is in the line of when Jesus said both that the Jews had not seen the Father’s form, yet He also said that he who has seen Jesus has seen the Father.

    John 5:37 “And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form.

    John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

    Jesus is not talking about a physical seeing, but spiritually perceiving.

    You wrote:

    You will assert that this has a metaphorical SEEING built into the text – so that it can be exported as a CONCEPT. But this requires you to read into the passage a metaphorical notion of SEEING.

    I say it is a SPIRITUAL seeing. Just as no one saw the Father physically, yet Jesus said said they has seen the Father. And in the CONTEXT Jesus said that His words were spirit and life in John 6:63 showing that seeing Him and coming to Him is not a physical seeing nor a physical coming, but a spiritual seeing and coming.

    You wrote:

    By the way, I am NOT saying that EVERYTHING that Jesus said ONLY applied to them. What I am saying, is that we have to discern (by way of the context) which things were being said ONLY to them.

    We discern what Jesus meant by the words and grammar that He used. We do not discern by our feelings or by limiting the statement when no limitation is given. The basic understanding should be that Jesus included the crowd but did not limit it to them unless there is clear inspired words to make such a conclusion.

    You wrote:

    For example, we can take away from verse 40 that if we believe in him we may have eternal life. That fact is applicable to all people across time. But I cannot SEE Jesus today – in the way He is using the word in the text.

    The problem that you have is that “everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have stern life” is a “forward pointing target” that goes back to “this” is the will of My Father. The will of the Father is the looking on the Son and believing. It is together. You can’t break it apart for it means the same. It works for you to break the two apart because you have already made up your mind that Jesus is ONLY referring to people who saw His physical body while He was on the earth, but that can’t be substantiated as it is attached to believing and is a forward pointing target in whole. I will take a screen print and try to input this into the conversation.

    John 6:40

  41. I got the graphic added to my last comment.

    Peter,
    You said:

    Of course, all concepts are universal and originate simply as truth statements – but, as far as our grasping of concepts are concerned, concepts are derived by first looking at specific situations in order to determine first what it meant to them – and then what it means for us.

    The meaning is the same to them as it is to us. Looking on the Son = believing in Him. Jesus defined His words as spirit and life.

    You wrote:

    But it is not good practice – when there are specific situations that Jesus is speaking into, to ignore the specifics of the situations. If we do ignore the situation at hand, we have Jesus walking around preaching concepts that are not tied to situations – or at the very least, preaching concepts that don’t relate to their situation.

    The concept is not physical eyes. The blind were able to believe in Jesus. To limit this to physical eyes that physically can see and are not physically blind takes this out of the realm of Jesus words of life. Physical eyes are not need to see.

    You wrote:

    Authority only happens when we stick with the author’s intended meaning.

    Jesus did not mean physical eyes any more than He meant to stick a fork into His flesh and eat it. Jesus’ intended meaning was spirit and life, not cutting Him and drinking His blood or the need for physical eyes that could see Him. Jesus was talking about faith and placing trust in Him.

  42. Peter,
    You wrote:

    I am failing to see how this is not a contradiction. How is that (in view of verse 37) Paul is one that the Father “gave” Jesus? Either he was a believer and was given – or he was not…

    Paul was not a believer that was given to Jesus. Paul came to faith because he was deceived and lived in unbelief.

    John 6:37 says “all that the Father gives Me will come to Me”. It doesn’t say that ONLY those given to Jesus can come to Him. Paul was an unbeliever who had an encounter with Jesus as an unbeliever that turned his life around to faith in Jesus. Paul was not one who belonged to the Father as a believer and thus as a believer was given to Jesus. No. Paul was a murderer, a blasphemer, a violent aggressor. Yet God saw fit to have mercy on Paul. Paul came to Jesus not because he was given, but because he was convicted of his sin. Those who are given to Jesus as ones who have belonged to the Father are not convicted of sin but are convicted of the truth of who Jesus is. These ones WILL come to Jesus because they already believe God. They have listened to the Father and learned from Him.

    I hope this helps.

  43. Peter,
    You wrote:

    I think it is unnecessary to say that. When I am in conversations and people start to resort to ad hominem, I usually take that as a sign that they are unable to refute my points.

    That is not an ad hominem. It was a question. I am sincerely trying to figure out why you do not go through the verse point by point, inspired word by inspired grammar and why you want to see concepts before the inspired words. The inspired words and the inspired grammar will never contradict an inspired concept, but looking for concepts without looking at the building blocks is foreign to me. If I ask a question, it is a question. I rarely get caught up in attacking a person because I am first trying to understand, and then I want to influence a person to have faith in Jesus. Influence rarely happens by attacking a person. If you can give me the grace to believe that, we may go a step further without friction.

    You wrote:

    Some of this is starting to be recycled over again – I am thinking about your “grammar” attack and I don’t see the point of continuing if we are going to do that. I gave you a very good reason for reading verse 37 within the confines of the grammar there. You seemed to accept that I was grammatically on solid ground (given my premise) but it was the “expiration date” premise that you disagreed with. Now you are back to accusing me of tinkering with the grammar. I don’t know what to do with that…

    Listen, I have been through some really tough times with teaching teens about suicide and evil and the necessity to forgive those who have abused you. This was my full-time focus after the recent death of my mother. If I have forgotten your grammar that I somehow agreed with but cannot remember, you will need to remind me. And forgive me. I do not remember you saying that the present tense means an action in process or a state of being with no assessment of the action’s completion. If the completion happens in the future, the completion is noted. To have an “expiration date” at the very time that the truth statement is made by Jesus is a non sequitur. It cannot logically follow. Jesus doesn’t make those kinds of errors.

    You wrote:

    It seems that our words have different meanings. It might be helpful if you define divine inspiration so I can understand what you mean.

    If you don’t want to discuss this issue, that is fine. I enjoy answering challenges. And if you want to bow out should I take that as a sign that you are unable to refute my points? I haven’t bowed out. Let’s talk.

  44. A few comments:

    There is no hope that an atheist can come to faith unless the person gives up their atheism

    Not sure why this needs to be said – as it is a trivial point. It is not different than saying “no one can read the Bible unless they read the Bible”. Your doing this sidesteps my question of how your view deals with atheism.

    If Jesus had meant just a particular setting that He had come from heaven for only this time and this place and this people, then He would have said The Father gave you bread from heaven. But again the ongoing action of Jesus is a life-giving Spirit frames the action as ongoing, not static.

    You are framing this in a way that helps your case but still leaves you in error. I am not sure if it because I am not explaining it properly – or if you are being stubborn. I basically explained this before – but here is another try. Since the words here are quotes of what He said, it is entirely valid to have him speak in the present continuous tense – and yet have those words NOT necessarily represent continuous action forever. The action can be non-static within a time frame – and yet have an end date. We talked about this. Simply by saying that Jesus is a life-giving Spirit is not enough – if the context rules it out. I mentioned before that verse 38 is a book end to the statement of verse 37 and 38 (you misunderstood what I said when you berated me for saying that “for” is the bookend. “For” connects the previous verses and locates the setting as His time on earth. His time on earth and His ministry was that He would lose none of those the Father GAVE him.

    Jesus is not talking about a physical seeing, but spiritually perceiving….I say it is a spiritual hearing

    The context would weigh in against you here then, Because only a few verses prior, Jesus tells them that they have seen him and yet DO NOT believe (verse 36). Surely He can’t be saying there that they spiritually perceived Him and yet do not believe – unless you are saying that spiritually perceiving and believing are not the same thing. Verse 30 also provides a contrast that seems to indicate a physical type of seeing. “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you”? In trying to determine if words are to be taken at face value or symbolically, a good rule is to assume the plain reading should be accepted – unless the genre states otherwise. There is no good reason to reject a physical meaning of seeing in this text. Unless you assert it 🙂

    Either way, this is not significant to my case. I will remain steadfast on the contextual evidence for a unique giving of the Father – and the lack of anything else in Scripture that supports what you are saying. Despite your claim that the grammar is on your side, I simply say that you are refusing to look at the other aspects that limit the setting and, at the same time, do no injustice to the grammar.

    I think I need, at this point, to restate my understanding of the giving. The ones that were given to Jesus throughout His time on earth (as per 17:6) in an ongoing way as he travelled about in an action sense while He lived – were the Jews who believed what the OT scriptures and Moses said about Him. Contextually, the thing that he said about Moses “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for all he wrote about me” – can be taken as good reason to believe that these believing Jews believed in Jesus when He told them who He was. Contrary to what you stated before, they were believers in a coming Messiah as per Moses, and when they heard Jesus they put their faith in Him. This group did not include Paul or the Roman centurion. They came to faith despite not being part of the given group. I still haven’t heard a good answer from you re your seeming contradiction about Paul not being given to Jesus by the Father. Are you saying that some are given to Jesus by the Father – but not all? And Paul is in the “not all” group?

    Are you serious? Verse 40 has meaning to the crowd, but Jesus doesn’t say that the “everyone” is ONLY the crowd that stands before him. If you are going to limit this to the crowd in front of Jesus, you are going to have a big problem with verse 40 in being meaningless.</blockquote.

    I am not limiting the outcome to only the crowd. I am simply stating that the words have application to them as a first exercise. You don't seem to get this. I don't think you like exegesis. By stating that they are the first hearers does not carry an inherent claim that future believers cannot benefit from these words. But He is talking to them First. He is not talking to you and me.

    Who is the “him” that Jesus would raise up? Which one of the crowd would be raised up? Surely they see this as an inclusive statement, not exclusive so that only one person is raised up. The inclusivity of language would not be meaningless to the crowd.

    Those who would be raised up amongst the group he is talking to (the ones we should be most concerned about as a first priority of reading the passage) are the ones who see him and believe Him – so the “him” is another way of saying “whoever fits the bill” or “him who believes”. Its not that difficult. Again, this is what the passage says. You are wanting me to make it inclusive of these ones only. But I am not saying that the truth of the passage is exclusive to these ones – I am just stating what it says. Apparently you don’t like that.

    Peter you seem to have a limited view of the continued gift of Jesus in this world

    Not so. But by you saying this shows that you are not grasping much of what I have said. Your objections are at the interpretation level. As usual, I will simply say that I am dealing with the reading of the text and not trying to prematurely interpret it.

    We discern what Jesus meant by the words and grammar that He used. We do not discern by our feelings or by limiting the statement when no limitation is given. The basic understanding should be that Jesus included the crowd but did not limit it to them unless there is clear inspired words to make such a conclusion.

    There is a limitation given. It is in verse 39 and 40. The giving to Jesus was for the duration of his ministry. John 17 clearly has him providing the wrap up in the past tense. “He lost none of them – except one”. You like to give alternatives – so here’s one: He doesn’t say in chapter 17 that he is “lost none of these – and he is not going to be losing any future ones either”. So the continuous action that you are trumpeting is not there. Will you acknowledge that I presented a clear example of the limitation? Please? No feelings. Just observation and solid reading technique done without being governed by any pre-suppositon.

    Finally, despite the fact that I have presented a sound case with good reason to allow the text to speak for itself, you insist that the giving must continue today. And yet, the notion of your type of giving is nowhere mentioned anywhere in the Bible. These 2 chapters are the only places it is mentioned. And you have not ever countered my points about the awkwardness of where your view takes you. For example, it seems that your view requires someone today to be familiar with and believe the writings of Moses first – before they can come to Jesus. Do you seriously believe that?

  45. One other aspect to consider:

    In John 17, there is a clear distinction between the GIVEN ones and the group of believers who will come to faith as a result of the GIVEN one’s witness. This is indisputable in that they are not said to be included as part of the ones that were originally given to Jesus by the Father. They are a distinct group – who were not included in the first part of the prayer.

  46. As I have ruminated on our conversation, it seems that the core of the argument comes down to the original message in verse 37. In the context of what Jesus is saying, the original hearer of the words of Jesus would have understood that He was referring specifically to OT Jewish believers who likely believed John the Baptist’s testimony of Jesus. He was the one that Moses wrote about. As such, the Father gave the care of them over to Jesus – while He walked the earth after He had been sent from heaven. The Father’s will was that He lose none of these.

    In verse 37, Jesus is telling these ones who have COME (physically) to him with wrong motivation (see verse 25) that whoever COMES (physically – at that time) with right motivation (they have been drawn by the Father as they have heard and learned from Him) that He will not drive away.

    So, if you were to ask someone after the ascension of Jesus, whether this passage had ongoing application for future believers, they would look at you with a bewildered expression on their face. They would ask you how you could come up with such a notion – as the issue had now become moot. The very fact that the whole aspect of GIVING (that was setting and set-group specific) is no longer in view. Jesus has come and been raised, so why would any of the aspects of this narrative have any application to those who put their faith in Him – AFTER THE FACT. I don’t think you are grasping the significance of this vital component. (NOTE I am not saying ALL ASPECTS of the passage here – I am only referring to the GIVING part when I say that. Obviously, there is much truth to be gained for us by reading this – but that truth is extemporaneous to any notion of ongoing giving).

    Also, and unrelated, you previously said that only believers get saved. This seems to be in error and is a strange notion. A believer who comes to faith in Jesus was at one time, an unbeliever. He heeded the words of Paul and Peter to the Roman jailor – “believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…”. Moving from unbelief to belief is what saves a person.

  47. Peter,
    I quoted a Scripture that said that a person must believe that God exists before he can draw near to Him. Your response was:

    Not sure why this needs to be said – as it is a trivial point. It is not different than saying “no one can read the Bible unless they read the Bible”. Your doing this sidesteps my question of how your view deals with atheism.

    That is just plain silly. You are accusing me of saying that no one can come to God unless one can come to God. It seems to me that you are having a difficult time being objective and evaluating a viewpoint that is different than the one that you so strongly embrace. When I read your analogy it seems that you find it somewhat difficult to respond without prejudice.

    I haven’t had time to read through the comments you made as I am squeezed for time and running into serious deadlines over the next number of weeks. The other day I spent an entire day responding to your every point but I rarely have that kind of time. When you respond with a trite comment it makes me concerned about your inability to be objective. Today I just felt compassion for you. I don’t know what your situation is or how many detractors you have had in your journey, but I feel you must have had a lot of enemies. You are fighting so hard for a position that you appear unwilling to stand back from the position long enough to even understand what you are objecting against. I feel a sense of care for you today to pray for you.

    I am only going to respond to one other point that shows up just above the comment box I am typing in. I feel too overwhelmed today to even read through your multiple comments. In your last paragraph you wrote:

    Also, and unrelated, you previously said that only believers get saved.

    If you read the Scripture I quoted, in essence it says that only those who acknowledge God’s existence can come to faith in Him. Those who just acknowledge God’s existence are not yet believers. There are also unbelievers who are not atheists. But Hebrews 11:6 specifically deals with those who deny God’s existence.

    Conversation is great but understanding one point at a time is better. And asking questions without accusing is even better.

    I pray that God’s grace is there for you today as He draws you in His love.

  48. From the beginning of our discussion, we both agreed that we enjoy irenic discussion the best. If you look back to the original comments, you will see that you were the first one to “take the gloves” off. Since then you have accused me of being a dispensationalist, of having a poor regard for the authority of Scripture, having a poor understanding of the Trinity as well as other personal attacks. I have done none of that with you. I have been direct with you since you amped up the heat – in keeping with the same style that you exhibit. Near the beginning, I suggested that I may leave the conversation if you continue to make it a personal thing. More recently, I called you out again and you ignored that comment. Now you are accusing me of accusing you – and are trying to paint me as a dysfunctional, wounded person. I have not questioned your motives at all – just your premise.

    I stand by the same case I have held since the beginning – that being that you are simply wrong at the core or the basic reading level of the argument. No matter how well put together your argument is surrounding the periphery, if you are mistaken at the core level you can never be correct after that. I have tried as well as I can to show you how the passage should be read and you have rejected that. Here is one last attempt to explain my case:

    THE COMING – Let’s do some careful, investigative reading to see if the COMING is a literal one – or carries a symbolic, spiritual meaning WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE WORDS OF THE PASSAGE.

    All mentions of the word “come” in John 6 leading up to verse 37 were in relation to actual people AT THAT TIME, actually, literally “coming”.

    We can see this in:

    – verse 2 – “a large crowd kept FOLLOWING him”
    – verse 5 – “..he looked up and saw a large crowd COMING toward him…”
    – verse 15 – “When Jesus saw that they were about to COME and take him by force…”
    – verse 24 – 25 – “…they themselves got into the boats and WENT to Capernaum LOOKING for Jesus. When they FOUND him…they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you COME here?”
    – verse 26 – “Jesus answered them, Very truly, I tell you, you are not LOOKING for me (*for the purpose of being true disciples)*..” (italics mine)

    Also, in verses 65-67, it is interesting to notice that COMING is juxtaposed against GOING AWAY:

    – verse 65 – “And he said, For this reason (some didn’t believe) I have told you that no one can COME to me unless it is granted by the Father”
    – verse 66 – “Because of this many of his disciples turned back and NO LONGER WENT ABOUT WITH HIM”.
    – Verse 67 – “So Jesus asked the 12, ‘Do you also wish to GO AWAY”?

    So, we can see that, contextually, COMING can be (in the passage) interpreted as physically following – or GOING ABOUT WITH HIM. It can also be understood as: NOT TURNING BACK and NOT GOING AWAY FROM HIM.

    There should be no objection to this as it is not controversial. It is merely drawing a conclusion from doing the basic reading of the text. To ignore these findings FROM the text is to potentially rip the words from their context. Given that all other mention of the word COME carry a literal meaning, do you think that John would:

    – arbitrarily plunk a spiritual meaning of the word in verse 37?
    – arbitrarily switch the nuance of the narrative from a literal understanding (that flows with the narrative) to a theological principle that carries a symbolic meaning, wherein the hearers may have questioned (huh?) and perhaps not understood?

    PROBLEMS WITH A “SPIRITUAL COMING”: (I almost didn’t include this piece – as I fear you will focus on it and not on my MAIN point above).

    – it ignores the context.
    – it ignores the components of the setting: 1. pre-existing people LOOKING FORWARD to the earthly incarnation of Christ. 2. by extension the obvious fact that LOOKING FORWARD is a moot point given the ascension of Jesus. The ones that are said to be the “GIVEN” ones in ch 17 were those who believed in a coming Messiah – not ones that were to believe in a Messiah who had already come.
    – the example of Paul coming to faith without being “given by the Father” defeats the notion of a “spiritual coming” in John 6:44. “No one comes to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me”. Paul’s conversion was post-cross and it CANNOT be said that the Father drew him. Paul’s conversion was all Jesus.
    – your example of Lydia does not hold up as there is no mention of “giving” in the passage – you read that into the text. I am not suggesting that the Father does not involve himself in the lives of people who are seeking truth. This is a descriptive scenario and not a prescriptive one.

    It is clear to me that you are trying to build a doctrinal construct without paying attention FIRSTLY to what the context and the setting are saying. This is not a good method of hermeneutics. To insist, that COMING and SEEING and GIVING are words that have spiritual meanings PRIMARILY is to get there by way of assertion. Doing so ignores the context and the setting and situation/occasion of the text.

    It is a straw man when you object by saying that my premise here denies further application for us today. I AM NOT saying that. What I AM saying is that any application is not useful for us today if we don’t start by CORRECTLY reading the passage as a first exercise. Failing to do that is putting the cart before the horse. After we determine what the passage meant to the original hearers – then we can go on to application for today’s readers.

  49. Cheryl,

    I am sorry if I have come across as accusatory. In the beginning of our discussion, we both agreed that we enjoy irenic discussion the most. I still feel that way. If you go back and re-read the earlier comments you will see that you were the first to “take the gloves off”. If you remember, I pointed that out to you and suggested that I may leave the conversation. More recently, I called you out on some of the patronizing and condescending things that you have said – and you did not respond to that. All I have done is hit back at you a bit with the same style that you have exhibited toward me. It is you who has questioned my motives and my character (you did it again here). I have done none of that with you.

    I have pretty much exhausted everything I have to say. I have tried to convince you from every angle to take a closer look at the text. Believe me, I have no axe to grind with you and when you say:

    You are fighting so hard for a position that you appear unwilling to stand back from the position long enough to even understand what you are objecting against.

    ..nothing could be farther from the truth. I only argue if I think I have a solid case. I believe that I do here. I think I may have hit a nerve with you – otherwise you wouldn’t have spent so much time discussing this. However, I am willing to leave it for now.

    I will leave you with this. I really hope you will read it closely and prayerfully, because I think it may serve to uncover a bit of the underpinnings of your misunderstanding of my position, I take full responsibility for any lack in explaining things properly. But I think this sums up succinctly where I am coming from. If you choose not to respond that is fine. You are busy – but so am I. I only offer this one last comment with the hope that you will stop to argue the points I making and not points I am not making.

    Last comment to follow…

  50. As I mentioned, I have pretty much exhausted the extent of my premise. I am not really interested in any argument that seeks to move away from my last comment. You are adept at presenting a long and detailed case. However, I am convinced that if one is mistaken at the core of the argument (the context) – as I feel you are, it matters not what one draws up to support their premise, in that it avoids the hard, undeniable facts that the context presents.

  51. Peter,

    Sunday is my day off and with so many deadlines, this is probably the only day I can fit in a discussion. I appreciate that you admit that you may have come across as accusatory. I understand that you feel that you were free to “take the gloves off” because you think I was the first to be accusatory. This is the reason that I paraphrased a quote from a Calvinist even though I didn’t quote him directly or even mention that I was paraphrasing someone else. In essence this Calvinist said that people find it hard to be objective and to evaluate issues about which they feel very strongly as they find it extremely hard to have an open mind to hear what the other person is saying and they tend to evaluate the other position with prejudice.

    I happen to agree with that Calvinist and I said you appear very sensitive. This is one of the reasons why I said that – it is not an accusation to ask if a person is an Arminian, a Calvinist, a Dispensationalist, etc. These are categories that help one to understand the box that a person places their doctrine within (although some people have a tendency to go past the edges and it is difficult to put them in any one box). Asking about a theological box is not an accusation. If I took offense at these kinds of questions, I myself would be at a great disadvantage, because I would not be willing to hear the other person, and I could not be an effective witness to others who have accepted a doctrine that is untruthful. I have to try to be objective as much as possible and to hear and ask questions to understand as best I can. So, if you could give me the benefit of the doubt that my comments come from a place of grace and not from an attack, it would probably be easier to have a good iron-sharpening-iron discussion. By the way I am still praying for you. I do not know your circumstances, but it seems to me that there is some kind of deep hurt that may have flowed from theological issues in the past,. The Lord Jesus is able to work in these situations because He knows the hearts of all people. We can pray effectively even while not knowing the details.

    That said, your recent longer post is much more along the line that I have been asking you for. Instead of just saying your view fits with the context and what people were thinking at the time, you actually made an effort to look back at previous verses and spelled out what you mean by the context. I greatly appreciate that and I will respond to that in my next comment.

  52. Peter,
    I had not read your previous comment. Apparently you added a paragraph that was different than the one that did not show up when this blog was in limbo as I transferred my sites to a different provider.

    You wrote:

    More recently, I called you out again and you ignored that comment. Now you are accusing me of accusing you – and are trying to paint me as a dysfunctional, wounded person.

    I don’t know what comment you mean. I have let you know that I have been too busy to respond back as I have major deadlines and cannot spend working time on this blog. Frankly, I have not been able to catch up with all that you have written,. This is again what I mean about being too sensitive. You are accusing me of trying to paint you as “dysfunctional”. You have added a very perjorative term that I did not say and that term and anything like that did not enter my mind. You are extremely sensitive and you are responding to an attack that is not there. I have seen this many times and I have compassion for those who are hurting. I said I was praying for you because I care. I think it is obvious to those who read these responses that you are very sensitive and you feel attacked and are responding to the feeling of an attack that is real for you, but which does not exist in my words.

    Next comment on context.

  53. Peter,

    Your case as presented is that in John 6 the term “coming” is a physical coming that means a physical following Jesus so that those people whom Jesus is talking about in John 6:37 must actually see Him and follow Him. It is to these alone that John 6:37 directly applies.

    To prove your case you bring up words that you believe limit the term “coming” to a physical presence of real people alive at that time that must be able to actually see Jesus.

    This is an evaluation of your contextual proof.

    We look at the Greek words translated “come” in John 6:37 to compare them with the context.

    All that the Father gives me will come – Greek word hēkō

    …and the one who comes to Me – Greek word erchomai

    These are two words that Jesus used that are connected. We will have a look at BDAG lexicon to see if these terms are synonymous with “follow” in a bit. Your point is that while Jesus said “come” He also means physically follow.

    You gave these two as direct context:

    – verse 2 – “a large crowd kept FOLLOWING him”
    – verse 5 – “..he looked up and saw a large crowd COMING toward him…”

    – In verse 2 the term “followed” is the Greek word akoloutheō. It is not a term found in John 6:37.

    – In verse 5 the term “coming” is erchomai. This one is one of the 2 Greek words used in John 6:37.

    You also gave this example as direct context:

    – verse 24 – 25 – “…they themselves got into the boats and WENT to Capernaum LOOKING for Jesus. When they FOUND him…they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you COME here?”

    – In verse 24 “went” or “came” to Capernaum is the Greek term erchomai. This one again matches one of the terms for “come” found in John 6:37.

    – In verse 25 the term “found” is the Greek word heuriskō. This is not a term Jesus used in John 6:37.

    – In verse 25 the term “come” is ginomai. It is not a term that Jesus used in John 6:37.

    You also used as direct context:

    – verse 26 – “Jesus answered them, Very truly, I tell you, you are not LOOKING for me (*for the purpose of being true disciples)*..” (italics mine)

    – In verse 26 the term “looking” is the Greek word ginomai. It is not a term that Jesus used in John 6:37.

    I will talk about the verses you quote that are at the end of John 6 shortly.

    So, in your context that you presented, most of the terms are not the words that Jesus used. We can agree that the crowd was not seeking Jesus because they had faith in Him. They were seeking Him because they wanted a full belly – forever! While the narrative uses different terms than Jesus used, the narrative is helpful for us to understand the mindset of the crowd. But to understand what Jesus meant, we are helped by looking at the context of Jesus’ own words that you missed. Was Jesus telling the crowd that they must physically follow Him?

    Jesus’ interaction with the crowd shows that His intention was faith:

    John 6:29–30
    29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
    30 So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform?

    Notice that in context, the crowd understood Jesus. They

    Notice that the crowd, in context, understood that they were being asked to “believe” Jesus.

    Just before verse 37 Jesus said:

    John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

    Jesus directly connects the term “comes” with “believes” not physically following (following is not a term that Jesus used in verse 37). The Greek term for “comes” in verse 35 is erchomai the same term as Jesus used in verse 37. Verse 35 is a direct context of verse 37 but you didn’t quote it. In verse 35 the direct context of verse 37, Jesus attaches coming with hunger and thirst.

    Jesus says that very same thing in the next chapter.

    John 7:37–38
    37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.
    38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ”

    Here the direct context of the words of Jesus is that “coming” is connected to “drinking” and believing and “living water”. Coming is not connected to following but to a personal experience with Jesus, something that the crowd did not do.

    You also did not quote verse 40 which is the direct context and Jesus attaches the term “beholds” with “believes”.

    John 6:40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

    The Greek term for “beholds” is theōreō. It means to see with intention. What is the intention? To believe.

    The direct context around verse 37 is not what the crowd does, but what Jesus says. He defines His terms, and the crowd does not. Jesus gives more context of His own meaning in chapter 5.

    John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

    The Greek word means to hear with intention. Jesus gave a solemn truth saying here that attaches hearing (just like seeing) with believing. He also attaches this believing with eternal life (passed out of death into life).

    So is it what the crowd DOES in the context, the defining of the meaning of Jesus’ words? You have not proven that the crowd’s actions defines His words.

    Let’s look at the BDAG meaning of the terms that Jesus used in John 6:37. I will add the screen print here.

    hēkō means: of the coming of a worshiper to a deity.

    John 6:37 coming to deity

    https://mmoutreach.org/tg/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/John-6-37-coming-to-diety.jpg

    The other Greek word that Jesus used for “come” is erchomai. This Greek word can mean a natural or sensory phenomena or a transcendent and moral-spiritual phenomena: of spiritual coming of God.

    John 6:37 moral-spiritual phenomena

    https://mmoutreach.org/tg/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/john6-37-spiritual.jpg

    I will continue in the next comment after I insert the actual screen shots into this comment.

  54. Peter,
    You presented the context of John 6:37 as the words of Jesus at the end of John. You wrote:

    Also, in verses 65-67, it is interesting to notice that COMING is juxtaposed against GOING AWAY:

    – verse 65 – “And he said, For this reason (some didn’t believe) I have told you that no one can COME to me unless it is granted by the Father”
    – verse 66 – “Because of this many of his disciples turned back and NO LONGER WENT ABOUT WITH HIM”.
    – Verse 67 – “So Jesus asked the 12, ‘Do you also wish to GO AWAY”?

    The context and the meaning must start earlier because you missed something. Starting with verse 60:

    John 6:60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?”

    The immediate reaction of “many” was to say “who can LISTEN to it”. The term “listen” is the Greek word akouō. This Greek word means to listen, hear, pay close attention to, and usually respond in conformity.

    John 6:60 listen as to conform

    https://mmoutreach.org/tg/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/john6-60conformity.jpg

    What the “many” was NOT saying is who can actually HEAR with the PHYSICAL ears. They were saying who can pay attention to this teaching and respond positively to it.

    Jesus responds to the ones who cannot accept His words with this statement:

    John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

    Jesus defined His own words. They are spirit and life. Then Jesus shows that their response was unbelief.

    John 6:64 “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.

    – In verse 66 the term “no longer walk with Him” is the Greek word peripateō and it means to walk, live. They were no longer willing to listen.

    – In verse 67, Jesus asks if the 12 want to “go away” also. Did Jesus’ disciples interpret this as physically going away? Or did the disciples interpret this to mean are they also going to turn away and not listen to Jesus? The disciples’ answer shows that this is all about whom will they listen to not about a physical walking away.

    John 6:68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.

    The “going” is connected to listening. To WHOM are they to go to listen? Jesus alone has the words of eternal life.

    The context is all about belief and unbelief, willingness to listen and unwillingness to listen. I will answer the last part of your context comment on my next comment.

  55. Peter,

    I have walked through your case and find no evidence that the actions of the crowd define the meaning of the words of Jesus to be a physical looking at, a physical following.

    You wrote:

    It is merely drawing a conclusion from doing the basic reading of the text. To ignore these findings FROM the text is to potentially rip the words from their context. Given that all other mention of the word COME carry a literal meaning, do you think that John would:

    – arbitrarily plunk a spiritual meaning of the word in verse 37?

    The basic reading of the text is the words of Jesus. You did not include most of what He said about believing and coming and eating and drinking in your “context”. Is it not fair to allow Jesus to define His meaning?

    You also suggested that I am reading in John 6 that the apostle John added a spiritual meaning in verse 37. However, John does not define Jesus’ words. Jesus defines His own words. John merely reported the amazing words that Jesus said.

    You also wrote that John would not:

    – arbitrarily switch the nuance of the narrative from a literal understanding (that flows with the narrative) to a theological principle that carries a symbolic meaning, wherein the hearers may have questioned (huh?) and perhaps not understood?

    John’s words about the crowd are indeed the narrative of their following Jesus, but shortly after that John quotes the words of Jesus that their following Him was not for spiritual reasons but was for physical food. John understood that Jesus’ words were spirit and they were life, because he was there when Jesus said it. But John gives no interpretation himself. Jesus does.

    The fact is that the crowd understood that Jesus was telling them that they needed to believe, they needed to listen to Him with intention. They walked away because they were unwilling to do that.

    You wrote:

    PROBLEMS WITH A “SPIRITUAL COMING”: (I almost didn’t include this piece – as I fear you will focus on it and not on my MAIN point above).

    – it ignores the context.

    I have included screen prints of the BDAG lexicon showing the spiritual meaning. If you won’t accept their expertise, who will you listen to? The fact is that most of the words that you appealed to were not in John 6:37. They are the actions of the unbelieving crowd. They cannot be used to determine the meaning of the words of Jesus.

    You wrote:

    – it ignores the components of the setting: 1. pre-existing people LOOKING FORWARD to the earthly incarnation of Christ. 2. by extension the obvious fact that LOOKING FORWARD is a moot point given the ascension of Jesus.

    The context is unbelievers. There is no words that say “looking forward” in the passage. Jesus said that unbelief is the reason why He said what He said in John 6:65.

    John 6:64–65
    64 “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.
    65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

    Notice that Jesus didn’t say that people looking forward to the earthly incarnation of Christ is the reason why He said these words. It is the unbelief that is the direct context of Jesus’ words in John 6:37. If you can find faithful waiting for the Christ from the crowd in this passage, perhaps you can show that to me. You haven’t proven your point at all from the context so far.

    You wrote:

    The ones that are said to be the “GIVEN” ones in ch 17 were those who believed in a coming Messiah – not ones that were to believe in a Messiah who had already come.

    John 17 does not disprove the present tense in John 6:37. You are assuming that your conclusion is true without proving that the present tense of the giving ends without a single verse saying so. This is a logical fallacy. It is called circular reasoning.

    You wrote:

    – the example of Paul coming to faith without being “given by the Father” defeats the notion of a “spiritual coming” in John 6:44. “No one comes to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me”. Paul’s conversion was post-cross and it CANNOT be said that the Father drew him.

    You again are assuming your own conclusions. Jesus Himself stated that His death brings about His drawing.

    John 12:32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

    You wrote:

    – your example of Lydia does not hold up as there is no mention of “giving” in the passage – you read that into the text.

    If this had happened before the cross you would have used this to prove that the people at that time who were believers were given to Jesus. You discount the faith of Lydia and discount the words that the Lord opened her heart as you have already closed the door to believers brought to Jesus through the gospel.

    You wrote:

    It is clear to me that you are trying to build a doctrinal construct without paying attention FIRSTLY to what the context and the setting are saying.

    I am ABSOLUTELY paying attention to the inspired words of Jesus. I am willing to let Jesus define His own words. How on earth would we let the actions of an unbelieving crowd define the words of our Lord and Master? The context is Jesus, Peter, not the actions of unbelievers that put Him into a box.

    You wrote:

    To insist, that COMING and SEEING and GIVING are words that have spiritual meanings PRIMARILY is to get there by way of assertion.

    I said NOTHING of the sort! That is clearly a misrepresentation. The context defines the meaning. When the words are used of the crowd they have a natural physical meaning. Natural meaning is primary in a natural setting. When Jesus uses the words they have a spirit and life meaning, because that us what He said.

    You wrote:

    It is a straw man when you object by saying that my premise here denies further application for us today. I AM NOT saying that.

    I do not believe I ever said this. What I would have said is that your premise denies that people can be given to Jesus today. Your premise sets up a boundary requiring only people alive on the earth when Jesus was here can be given to Jesus according to the words of Jesus in John 6:37. I say that no Scripture limits the giving to those people and no ending date or event is ever listed as fulfilling the outside date of that prophecy.

    You wrote:

    What I AM saying is that any application is not useful for us today if we don’t start by CORRECTLY reading the passage as a first exercise.

    It is completely improper too read the passage by taking the action of unbelievers to define the words of Jesus. John didn’t define the words of Jesus. The crowd didn’t define the words of Jesus. Jesus defined the words of Jesus. Anything less then this is not proper exegesis. You have not taken the time to look up the Greek words and the Greek grammar, but I have. I have tested your theory and it has been found wanting.

    This is not an attack against you. I have just done as I am instructed to do by the Scripture.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;

    Amen! The words of our Lord Jesus will stand firm.

    If you are offended by my testing your theory, I feel for you. But perhaps I have shown you how a theory is tested by the Scripture and with a really good Bible software program. It is amazing in this day and age what we now have available to us at our fingertips with a computer and a good software package. What used to be only available to scholars is now available to the ordinary man or woman. I encourage you to purchase a good software package and use that to test all theories and to prove the integrity of the inspired text. I recommend Logos Bible software. https://www.logos.com. They are having a very good sale right now. I think that it will be worth your while to invest some money into a good software package.

    2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

  56. Cheryl,
    I am not really interested in pursuing the side bar comments about my “issues”. I feel that you have made a number of judgements about me – and I have made none toward you. In any case, I find it to be a distraction and I am happy to focus on the passage. Comments over the internet are often misconstrued and I am happy to leave some things that I have discerned about you alone – as they may or may not be accurate. If I tell you that I am not hurt nor sensitive can you trust me when I say that?

    I appreciate your diligence to do the Greek word studies – as well as the time invested. For what its worth, I don’t have any Greek background (not sure if you do). I do know how to read and that is what i focus on. I trust the translators for the most part and look to lexicons when necessary. Having said that, I think you are missing my point. When you say:

    So, in your context that you presented, most of the terms are not the words that Jesus used.

    my point was not that the words were the same words that Jesus used in verse 37. I merely was pointing out that the different action words DESCRIBED what the people present were doing. The narrative and the group of words used are DESCRIPTIVE of the movements of actual, physical people – who were moving about the land. The type of words were all used in a LITERAL sense – and not symbolically. I mentioned this before, but you are wanting to insert a 21st Century “come to Jesus” notion into the text. I am simply saying that that is not there.

    In your point about “coming” being connected with believing, I don’t dispute that at all. In the passage there are 2 types of “coming” – those who were coming with good intentions (they believed) and those with wrong ones – but you are missing the point there. The point is, the proper way to read the passage is to understand that both types of “coming” were descriptive of existing people PHYSICALLY coming. The passage is all about THEM. FIRST.

    There is no getting away from this. It is indisputable that people WENT AWAY from him. It matters not that they did not want to listen to Him (they didn’t). The fact of the matter was that they went away – physically. They “turned back” (physically) and they “no longer went about with him” (physically). You cannot ignore this fact.

    In verse 67, Jesus asks if the 12 want to “go away” also. Did Jesus’ disciples interpret this as physically going away? Or did the disciples interpret this to mean are they also going to turn away and not listen to Jesus? The disciples’ answer shows that this is all about whom will they listen to not about a physical walking away.

    Again, this is not the issue. I would simply answer your question by saying that it is BOTH. If they physically went away it would have been because they didn’t want to listen to him. If that was the case it seems obvious that they wouldn’t continue to follow him. I disagree with your conclusion here. It is obfuscating the situation. It is a trivial point that if they went away it was for the sole reason that they didn’t want to heed his words.

    In any case, I continue to maintain that the narrative is FIRSTLY, COMPLETELY about the people present – as they were the ones who were the subjects of the narrative. We must first determine what the words of Jesus meant to them. The flow of the narrative is about their coming to Him – with or without proper motivation.

    The context is all about belief and unbelief, willingness to listen and unwillingness to listen.

    AGREED. The question of paramount importance is WHO are the recipients or subjects of the narrative? I maintain that it is the Jews present who were unwilling to listen. It is THEM that Jesus is addressing. You are going down a wrong path by dissecting other avenues and not taking a close look at the narrative as a whole.

    I keep thinking I am doing a poor job of explaining this – especially when you continue to talk about how “coming” is connected to “believing”. You seem to think that I disagree with that somehow. I can only say in the strongest of terms that I am NOT stuck at that point. My entire case rests on the fact that the passage is FIRSTLY about the people present.

    To prove your case you bring up words that you believe limit the term “coming” to a physical presence of real people alive at that time that must be able to actually see Jesus.

    You said this at the beginning of your comment, but I wanted to speak to it. I would simply say that it is the narrative that sets any limit. If the flow of the narrative stays intact by listening to words and accepting that those words apply to the setting and the context, pressing for anything BEYOND the limit is an exercise that is premature and unnecessary – at least until it is established what the passage is about.

    It seems awfully wiggly to me when someone wants to move on quickly to get to the interpretation and application levels. My point, as always, is that if we are mistaken as to the basic reading comprehension level – we risk being mistaken at the next levels. So, to your comment here, as I read the passage I am not thinking about limitations. I am merely thinking about the narrative and trying to understand what it meant to the first hearers. If I let a “limit” enter my thinking, it shows that I am in too much of a hurry to prove a doctrine. I like doctrine by the way.

  57. ou also suggested that I am reading in John 6 that the apostle John added a spiritual meaning in verse 37. However, John does not define Jesus’ words. Jesus defines His own words. John merely reported the amazing words that Jesus said.

    I suggest that, while Jesus does define HIs own words, it is our task to interpret those words. That is what we are doing now. I am trying to be consistent with the context in determining a definition.

    The context is unbelievers. There is no words that say “looking forward” in the passage. Jesus said that unbelief is the reason why He said what He said in John 6:65.

    What i meant was that, today people don’t look forward to the coming of Jesus – they look back. This is one thing that distinguishes now and then – and sheds doubt on the universal giving that you are positing.

    You discount the faith of Lydia and discount the words that the Lord opened her heart as you have already closed the door to believers brought to Jesus through the gospel.

    Actually, I am not discounting anything. I am just saying that you are front-loading your premise into this situation.

    What I would have said is that your premise denies that people can be given to Jesus today. Your premise sets up a boundary requiring only people alive on the earth when Jesus was here can be given to Jesus according to the words of Jesus in John 6:37. I say that no Scripture limits the giving to those people and no ending date or event is ever listed as fulfilling the outside date of that prophecy.

    Although I don’t agree that the Father gives people today – I am not dying on that hill. All I am saying is that you can’t get that from this passage. Doing so goes beyond the context. You have gone from “given” people who were alive at the time – and applied that to future people. The text says nothing about future giving. John 17 specifically portrays a group of existing people.

    It is completely improper too read the passage by taking the action of unbelievers to define the words of Jesus. John didn’t define the words of Jesus. The crowd didn’t define the words of Jesus. Jesus defined the words of Jesus. Anything less then this is not proper exegesis.

    Actually, I am doing proper exegesis – which is asking questions of the text. You have gone on about Jesus defining His own words. But that requires investigation – otherwise we just assert what we think his words mean. I am not sure what you are referring to when you say I am letting the action for unbelievers define his words. What I am is letting their actions and words, help me as I read the passage – in order to figure out what His words might mean in the CONTEXT. Are you suggesting that we not do that? Just read his words in isolation?

    You again are assuming your own conclusions. Jesus Himself stated that His death brings about His drawing.

    Re your comment about Paul here, I am unsure what you mean. My point was that the Father did not draw Paul – thus there was no “giving”. My point was that Jesus did the drawing – not the Father. That fact in itself defeats your premise of a universal, continuous giving. Paul was resisting the truth of Jesus being God in the flesh – but Jesus intervened.

  58. Peter,

    You have ignored all that I posted with the meanings of the Greek words. I went to a lot of effort to help you and you have dismissed it all.

    You have been given the answer. I am praying for you and I mean that sincerely.

    If you would like to answer what I have given you from the lexicons, I would be very happy to allow your comments to go through. This is my blog. Ignore all my hard work and I just ask you to please reread what I have written. Jesus speaks for Himself.

  59. And Peter, if you would like to pray for me, I would welcome prayer. I know that God hears and answers prayer and I could use all the prayers I can get. This is a tough ministry with a lot of pressure. I want my efforts and resources to be used wisely as God gives me the grace.

    I trust that you will take to heart what I have shared with you.

  60. Just a note for those following the discussion. On Sunday, November 26, 2017 I spent six hours on my only day off answering the challenges of Peter McKenzie. I took what he claimed was the truth from the text and I tested that claim using the Scripture. I went to a great effort to help Peter see the context and grammar. I provided a very detailed explanation of the Greek using screen shots of the Greek grammar. Rather than engaging with my argument, Peter chose to brush off all of my hard effort and in his subsequent emails to me he said that he merely scanned through the material rather than reading it. By email he also described my response to him as abusive and arrogant. I have him on moderation and I am praying for him. God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble James 4:14. I simply do not have the hours of time to answer Peter when he is unwilling to even read what I have written.