John 3:33 MEANING

John 3:33
(33) He that hath received.--Better, he that received. "Hath set to his seal," better, set his seal. It had been so. Earlier disciples, as Andrew and John (John 1:40), had passed from the Forerunner to the Great Teacher, and had heard in His words that which went to the divine in their own spirits, and had come from the short first meeting with the conviction, "We have found the Messias." They received the witness, and, as they heard it, they too became witnesses. Just as a man sets his private seal--here, probably, the common Eastern stamp that affixed the name is thought of--and by it attests the truth of a document, so they attested, in the power which that witness had over their lives, their recognition of it as truth. It has always been so. The moral fitness of Christianity to meet the spiritual needs of men, and its moral power over the lives of men in all the varying circumstances of culture, race, and creed, has raised up in every age an holy army of witnesses, who have set their seal to its divine truth. (Comp. for the thought of sealing, John 6:27; Romans 4:11; Romans 15:28; 1 Corinthians 9:2; &c.)

Verses 33-36. -

(3) The consequences of accepting and rejecting the supreme revelation. Verse 33. - He that receiveth his witness - i.e. his testimony to what he hath personally seen and heard in the heaven from which he has come - sealed - (ἐσφράγισεν), confirmed by such very act, ratified arid vindicated as trustworthy and stable (cf. Romans 4. l 1; 15:28; 1 Corinthians 9:2; 2 Corinthians 1:22. In other places the idea or image of a "seal" is used for guaranteeing a special commission, John 6:27 (see notes); Revelation 7:3; Ephesians 1:13) - that God is true; i.e. admits that the words of Christ are the words of God, are absolute truth and reality - an idea which is made more obvious by ver. 35, where Jesus is the Ambassador of God. It may even mean more than this, viz. that in Jesus "all the promises of God are Yea and Amen," that God is true in himself, and the witness of Christ embraces all that for which prophecy and promise and previous revelation had prepared the way (see Luthardt and Westcott). Such an idea is certainly beyond the scope of John's ministry or message.

3:22-36 John was fully satisfied with the place and work assigned him; but Jesus came on a more important work. He also knew that Jesus would increase in honour and influence, for of his government and peace there would be no end, while he himself would be less followed. John knew that Jesus came from heaven as the Son of God, while he was a sinful, mortal man, who could only speak about the more plain subjects of religion. The words of Jesus were the words of God; he had the Spirit, not by measure, as the prophets, but in all fulness. Everlasting life could only be had by faith in Him, and might be thus obtained; whereas all those, who believe not in the Son of God, cannot partake of salvation, but the wrath of God for ever rests upon them.He that hath received his testimony,.... For there was here and there one that did, who believed in him as the Messiah, and embraced his Gospel, and submitted to his ordinances, and truly and sincerely followed him: and for the encouragement of such, it is said,

hath set to his seal that God is true; faithful in fulfilling the promises he has made concerning the Messiah, and his coming: he firmly believes that God is true to every word of his, and will make good every promise; and this he seals, ratifies, and confirms by his embracing the testimony of Christ; whereas, on the contrary, he that believes not makes God a liar, than which, nothing can be more reproachful to him, 1 John 5:10. The Jews have a saying (z) that "the seal of the blessed God is truth". The Arabic version renders it, "he is already sealed, because God is true"; and the Ethiopic version, "God hath sealed him, because he is true"; namely, with his holy Spirit; see 2 Corinthians 1:22.

(z) T. Hieros. Sanhedrin, fol. 18. 1. & T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 64. 1. & Yoma, fol. 69. 2.

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