- Christogenea Internet Radio
On the Gospel of John, Part 25: How the Blind Can See
As John chapter 8 came to a close, the enemies of Yahshua Christ had wanted to stone Him, since He exposed them for what they truly were: children of the devil and not true children of Abraham. Doing this, Christ did not confront them not on the basis of their genealogy, a knowledge of which had evidently been suppressed by the Herodians, nor did He confront them on the basis of the events in the recent history of Judaea, and the Edomite takeover of Judaea. Rather, Christ confronted them on the basis of their character, as it was their character which most effectively revealed their genealogy. If they were truly Abraham’s children, they should have exhibited a nature which is congenial to God, which Abraham had also done. Yahweh knows those who are His, as Paul informs us in 2 Timothy, and they should each have a disposition patterned after the character of the man which Yahweh had created. Even when he sinned, Adam did not dispute his punishment, and in the subsequent generations his sons continued to seek after the very same God who had prescribed that punishment. But Christ had informed His enemies that their apostasy was congenital, that it was due to the circumstances of their origins because Yahweh was not their father. So in that manner it was said elsewhere in the Gospel, such as in Luke chapter 6: “43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.”
Therefore it is the nature of the beast, of those which are bastards, to contend with God, and the Jews who were contending with Christ knew exactly what He had meant when He told them that God was not their father, where they responded and said “We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” When Christ answered this, He told them that they were liars, and that their true father was the devil. As we also discussed, Malachi had prophesied of this very thing, even of this very conversation, and his prophecy also explained that the reasons for the division among the priests was that they had transgressed the covenant of Levi, and that Judah had “married the daughter of a strange god”, a prophecy which was fulfilled in history as the remnant of Judah from the time of John Hyrcanus had begun converting Edomites and other Canaanites, systematically circumcising them and subsuming them into the citizenship of Judaea.
The absorption of the Edomites and others who adopted the customs of the Judaeans into the general population of Judaea was attested by the Greek historian and geographer Strabo, and explained in detail by the Judaean historian Flavius Josephus. The prophets Malachi and Zechariah in the Bible along with the recorded history of Judaea explain the words of Christ in John chapter 8, as well as those pertaining to impostor Judaeans in the Revelation, and the explanations of apostasy in the epistles of Paul, namely in Romans chapter 9, 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 and 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. In John chapter 8, Christ had explained the consequences of the things which those prophets foresaw in the events of history. Together all of this testimony creates a picture-perfect tapestry of the true nature and identity of the enemies of Christ, the synagogue of Satan of the Scriptures from which today’s Jews are all descended.
Today’s Jews display the same character as those Jews who disputed with Christ two thousand years ago, as they continue to contend with God. They display the same character as that of the original fallen angels, the Satan from whom they are descended, as they continue to corrupt the creation of God and make war against the Adamic man. They also quite naturally promote and elevate one another so that they can consolidate power among themselves wherever they are found, as they had done under the leadership of the family of Herod in first century Judaea. Then once they achieve power, they insist on controlling the thoughts, beliefs and expressions of others in order to insulate their power and protect it from criticism. As they did in first century Judaea, they also do today. So by comparing the Jews of today with the Jews who opposed Christ, we have further assurance that their apostasy is congenital, as well as their own lust for power, it has been carried down throughout all of their generations.
Now as Christ departs from those Jews who contended with Him and He leaves the temple, He is found outside encountering a man who was blind from birth. Healing the blind man, he is once again confronted by the Jews, since it is still a Sabbath. This is still “the last day, that great day of the feast” which John first began to describe in chapter 7 of his gospel (7:37). This only becomes evident once it is realized that the verses from John 7:53 through John 8:11 were not a part of the original gospel of John, as we have also explained at length.
So on the same day, the last day of the feast of tabernacles six months before the Crucifixion, we have the revelation of the true nature of the adversaries of Christ found in John chapter 8, then there is the healing of a man blind from birth here in John chapter 9, and then the teaching of Christ concerning the good shepherd, the hirelings, the wolves and the sheep in John chapter 10. John’s record of the day does not end until verse 21 of that chapter, where it ends rather abruptly. This sequence of events is not coincidental, and once its significance is realized, then we may realize just how it is that the blind can see.
In the King James Version, the last verse of John chapter 8 reads: “ 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” We did not comment on how Yahshua had “hid himself”, since it is beyond our understanding and the witnesses did not leave a precise description. Knowing, however, that it is Yahweh God who permits men to see, or who prevents them from seeing, as it is asserted in the books of the Prophets, the metaphysical nature of the event can be noted without conjecture only so long as it is not belabored. There is a similar occurrence described at John 12:36. So now we shall continue with John chapter 9, after Christ had departed from the temple:
IX 1 And passing by He saw a man [D adds “sitting”] who was blind from birth. 2 And His [D has “the”] students asked Him, saying “Rabbi, who has done wrong, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” 3 Yahshua replied: “Neither has this man done wrong nor his parents, but so that the works of Yahweh would be manifest by him.
It was evidently a belief of the Judaeans, as it is also expressed by the enemies of Christ later, in verse 34 of this chapter, that if a man is born blind, or, ostensibly, with any birth defect, it is due to some sin. Yet here in the words of Christ, we see that is not true, and that men born with defects may be born that way for the ultimate glory of God.
In the Scriptures, as well as in history, it is clear that children suffer from the mistakes, or sins, of their forebears. This is evident, for instance, in Lamentations chapter 5 where it speaks of the sins of Israel collectively and the consequences of those sins: “6 We have given the hand to the Egyptians, and to the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread. 7 Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities. 8 Servants have ruled over us: there is none that doth deliver us out of their hand.” Similarly we read in Daniel chapter 9, just before the promise of the Messiah: “16 O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.” If a man’s parents squander their estates, of course the man suffers because his parents diminished, or even lost, his inheritance.
But on a more intimate level Yahweh speaks of the children of Israel in their dispersions, and says in Ezekiel chapter 18: “19 Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. 20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”
There are some sins for which the entire nation or tribe is punished collectively, but the sins of individuals are not passed on to their children. So while the nation as a whole suffers from the consequences of the sins of previous generations, it cannot be said that a child born with a defect is so born because of the sins of his parents, but that is evidently what the people of Judaea believed, and Christ refutes that belief here.
Of course, there are some who would claim that Ezekiel’s words can apply to the children of fornication, to those of mixed race. But Ezekiel was prophesying in reference to sons, and not in reference to bastards. As for the children of fornicators, Christ Himself has vowed to destroy them, in Revelation chapter 2. Paul continues to uphold the law in Hebrews chapter 12, speaking about the historic failure of the children of Israel to resist sin, where he wrote “8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” By chastisement Paul means not merely suffering, but suffering for the purpose of correction as it is foretold of the children of Israel in the prophets.
Christ continues to respond to the question of His disciples:
4 It is necessary for us [A, C and the MT have ‘Me’; the text follows P66, P75, א, B, D, W and 070] to accomplish the works of He who has sent Me [P66, P75, א and W have ‘us’] while [C, W and 070 have ‘as’] it is day; when the night comes no one is able to work. 5 Whenever I may be in the Society, I am the light of the Society!”
Men cannot see without light, and Christ is the Light of the World, as John attests in the opening chapter of his gospel. Here Christ makes the same assertion for Himself, as He also did in John 8:12 where He said “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” So in that same manner, Christ now alludes to His earthly ministry as Day, and to His imminent death and departure as the coming of Night.
Paul of Tarsus made a similar analogy in Romans chapter 13, where speaking of the imminent return of Christ, or the return of Christ which all Christians should esteem as being imminent, he wrote: “12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” At night, men cannot see. But Christ being the light of the world, with him men can see quite clearly.
Christ said to those who would follow Him, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 5: “14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Speaking once again to His disciples, in John chapter 12 we read: “35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.”
Once again, Paul made similar analogies to those statements in some of his other epistles. In 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 he wrote: “5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” Then in Ephesians chapter 5: “6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”
So to Paul, light comes with obedience and sin leads to darkness. Children of light should keep the law of God, and coming to Christ, the children of Yahweh are in His light and manifest the Kingdom of God. The children of disobedience cannot keep the law and will always be in darkness. Of course, the things done by them in secret are now, this day, come out of the closet as the Jewish media pushes to normalize things such as sodomy, gender confusion, pedophilia and beastiality [I do not know how it is typically spelled bestiality, so I contest that]. So we await fire from heaven to reprove them as also happened to the ancient cities, Sodom and Gomorrah.
So Christ is the light, Christ is the light of men, as John informed us in the opening chapter of his gospel, and outside of Christ all are in darkness, and are therefore blind, whether they be of the children of Israel or not. But Christ had come only for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”, and therefore ultimately, only they can come to the light. When the children of Israel rebel against God, for example as we read in the 107th Psalm, He makes them to sit in darkness: “10 Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; 11 Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High”.
The children of Israel can come out of darkness and into the light. But the enemies of Christ are “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day”, as the apostle Jude informs us, and that is the day of wrath in which they are all destroyed as he further informs us that they are “wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”
For this same reason, that the children of Israel would be called into the light of Christ, we read in a Messianic prophecy in Isaiah chapter 42: “6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Nations; 7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. 8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Corresponding to this prophecy, we see the purpose of John the Baptist, to prepare the way for the Lord, explained in the prophecy of Zacharias in Luke chapter 1 and in part it says: “77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, 78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, 79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” The dayspring was Christ Himself, the Messiah whom John the Baptist was to announce.
So in Christ, the blind can see, and His healing of this man who was blind from birth is a parable representing the much greater healing of the blindness of the children of Israel upon hearing His gospel. The fact that it happened at this point in His ministry informs us of just what it is that we must open our eyes to, since it is that collective blindness which Christ intends to heal.
Now, in returning to the account of the man who was blind from birth:
6 Saying these things He had spat on the ground and made a clay out of the spit and smeared him with the clay [B has “and placed upon him the clay”; the text follows P66, P75, א, A, C, D, W, 070, 0216 and the MT] upon the [D has “his”] eyes [A, C, W and the MT add “of the blind man”; the text follows P66, P75, א, B, D, 070 and 0216]. 7 And He said to him: “Go wash in the pool of Siloam (which is translated ‘Sent’).” Then he departed and washed and came seeing.
The Roman-period Pool of Siloam which is mentioned in the New Testament only here in this chapter was discovered by archaeologists in Jerusalem in 2004, after the ground above it was broke for a construction project, and the findings as they were reported in several archaeological journals seem to be very credible. There is another pool nearby which was called by the same name, but which was actually built by the Byzantine Greeks in the 5th century. Whether the site of the Roman-era pool is the same as that of the Old Testament pool of the same name is often debated, but I believe it to be so. There seems to be no reason why the Roman-era pool is not the same as the Pool of Siloah mentioned in Nehemiah chapter 3. In Nehemiah we read of “the wall of the pool of Siloah by the king's garden,” and in an article describing the 2004 discovery and titled The Siloam Pool: Where Jesus Healed the Blind Man, published in Bible History Daily on May 12th, 2018, we read: “The Siloam Pool is adjacent to the area in the ancient City of David known as the King’s Garden and is just southeast of the remains of the fifth-century church and pool traditionally believed to be the sacred Christian site.” We may note that once again, the church tradition, like many of its traditions, is a 5th century innovation.
Perhaps the clay used to heal the blind man represents the dust of the earth from which Adam was made, to which the children of Israel are often compared in Scripture. If that is so, then for me it invokes thoughts of Isaiah chapter 51: “1 Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.” Looking unto the rock from which they were hewn, the children of Israel in their captivity certainly shall find the remedy for their blindness. Of course this is inviting, especially because of the manner in which Christ is described making the clay here, but we prefer not to elaborate on conjecture.
So the blind man, who was probably escorted to the pool by someone nearby, was healed by the act of being anointed with the clay and washing in a pool of which the name means “Sent”, and to which he was sent for his healing. We read in Isaiah chapter 42, where it is speaking collectively of the children of Israel: “18 Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. 19 Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD'S servant? 20 Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.” In any case, it is certainly not Christ who is blind, but the ancient Kingdom of Israel was itself a messenger to the greater Adamic world merely by its existence, and the scattered people of Israel would also be messengers in their subsequent history – being sent into captivity in their punishment in order to prove the existence of God and the certainty of His promises, as we read in Isaiah chapter 43: “10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. 12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.” By coming to Yahshua Christ, the children of Israel scattered throughout Europe and the Near East proved that Yahweh is God, even if their eyes were not yet fully opened immediately.
Once the man was healed, many of his own neighbors were incredulous:
8 Then the [P66 has “his”] neighbors and those having observed him before, because he was a beggar [the MT has “because he was blind”], said “Is this man not he who sits and begs?” 9 Others said that [P66, א and W want “that”] “It is he!” Others said “No, but he is like him.” [A, D and the MT have “But others that ‘he is like him.’” א has “But others said ‘No, but he is like him.’” 070 has “But other ‘No, but he is like him.’” The text follows P66, P75, B, C and W.] [P66, א, A and 070 insert “But”; the text follows P75, B, C, D, W and the MT] The man [ἐκεῖνος, more literally that person] said that [P66 and 070 want “that”] “I am!” [Or “I am he!”]
This man being mature, as his parents later indicate, and being blind from birth, must have been at least twenty years old, and therefore these “neighbors and those having observed him before” must have known him for a long time. Yet being so astonished that he could suddenly see, at least some of them could not believe that it was actually him in spite of how long they had known him. So once his identity was established:
10 Therefore they said to him “Then [P75, A, B, W and the MT want “then”; the text follows P66, א, C, D and 070] how have your eyes been opened?” 11 He replied [א and the MT insert “and said”]: “The man who is [P75 and C have “A man who is”; A, D, W and the MT only “A man”; the text follows P66, א, B and 070] called Yahshua made clay and smeared it on my eyes and said to me that [P75 A, D, W and the MT want “that”; the text follows P66, א, B and 070] ‘Go to [A and the MT insert “the pool at”; the text follows P66, P75, א, B, D, W and 070] Siloam and wash’. Then departing and washing I saw!”
The man is not an informant. He could not have had any understanding that the leaders of the Jews wanted to kill Christ. He is only relating innocently what he had experienced. Of course, he must have been extremely excited, rejoicing that for the first time in his life he had the ability to see. We may not be able to imagine what it is like being blind for twenty years or longer, never having seen anything, and being out in the streets of a large city which is crowded due to the feast, suddenly being able to see. However once we understand the true message of this day, described in John chapters 8 to 10, and what blindness Christ intends to cure by this account in His gospel, we can attain a small and vicarious taste of the euphoria which this man had experienced. The Jews are the Devil, the Gospel of Christ opens the eyes of the blind, and the blind are the sheep who accepted Him upon hearing the Gospel, whereby the European nations became Christendom, and that in turn is the light on the hill which cannot be hid. But as it is also prophesied, the Devil is still making every effort to destroy it.
12 And [P66, D and the MT have “Then”; A wants “And”; the text follows P75, א, B, W and 070] they said to him “Where is He?” He says “I do not know.”
John often used verbs in the present tense, where we made every effort to follow his usage, so we often see present tense verbs in our translation, where in our modern English we may expect a past tense.
Apparently at least some of the people did want to inform on Yahshua, and although we cannot be certain that was their motive it certainly seems to be what John was implying as his description continues:
13 They brought him who was once blind to the Pharisees. 14 Now it was a Sabbath on the day which [A, D and the MT have “a Sabbath when”; 070 “a Sabbath on the day”; the text follows P66, P75, א, B and W] Yahshua had made the clay and opened his eyes.
As we have explained, it was the same Sabbath John mentioned where this account begins in chapter 7, the Sabbath which was the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Once we dispose of the rather lengthy interpolation concerning the woman caught in adultery, we can see that the context never breaks from John 7:37 through John 10:21. John 10:22 begins a description of a subsequent event which occurred about two months later.
Now the formerly blind man stands before the Pharisees, some of whom had wanted to stone Christ only a short while before this time, perhaps only a couple of hours.
15 Then again the Pharisees also were asking [P66 has “the Pharisees were asking him] how he now saw. And he said to them “He smeared clay on my eyes and I washed myself and I see!” 16 Then some from among the Pharisees said “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath!” But [P66, P75, A and the MT want "But"; the text follows א, B, D, W and 070] others said “How is a sinful man able to do signs such as these?” And there was division among them.
Here it is once again evident, that the first reaction of some of the Pharisees was to contend over the law, and thereby to contend with God Himself, rather than to consider the possibility that the great miracle by which the man was healed must have been from God. But some of them did understand, and as Christ had explained in John chapter 8, those who are the true children of Abraham have the same character and nature that Abraham had, who believed God rather than contending with Him. Even when, in the eyes of men, Abraham seems to have had legitimate reasons to contend with Yahweh, he did not, but rather he complied with every demand out of faith and trust in Yahweh.
So the contenders continue to question the man:
17 Then they again said to the blind man “What do you say concerning Him, that He opened your eyes?” So he said that “He is a prophet!”
How could the man believe otherwise, having experienced what Christ had done to him, what Christ had told him would happen if he did as he was told, and how it happened exactly as Christ had said that it would? The man is candid, but then again, he could not have known the underlying motives of the Pharisees, so he was only being honest. Yet even with that, the enemies of Christ sought reason not to believe him:
18 Therefore the Judaeans [perhaps Jews would by this point be more appropriate, but nevertheless technically incorrect] did not believe it concerning him, that he was blind and now saw [D wants the phrase “that he was blind and now saw”], until when they had called the parents of him [P66 has “called his parents”] whose sight had been restored. 19 And they asked [P66 and D have “questioned”] them, saying “Is this your son, whom you say that he had been born blind? So how does he now see?” 20 Therefore [D, W and 070 want “Therefore”] his parents responded [A, D and the MT insert “to them”; the text follows P66, P75, א, B, W and 070] and said “We know that he is our son and that he had been born blind. 21 But how he sees now we do not know, or who has opened his eyes we do not know. You ask him. He is mature, he may speak concerning himself.”
The papyrus P75 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Washingtonensis (W) and 070 all want the phrase “You ask him”, but all vary in the order of the words in the rest of the sentence. The Codex Alexandrinus (A) and the Majority Text have “He is mature, you ask him, he may speak concerning himself.” Our text follows the papyrus P66, the Codex Vaticanus (B), and the Codex Bezae (D) which also varies slightly.
Where we have mature, the King James Version has of age. The word is ἡλικία (Strong’s # 2244), which is in this context, according to Liddell & Scott, “mostly, the flower or prime of life from about 17 to 45, man’s estate, manhood… to be of age...” But the perspective here is Hebrew rather than Greek, the parents being Judaean, and according to the Scriptures a man was not counted until his twentieth year, as it is evident in the Book of Numbers. A man could not function as a priest or teacher until his thirtieth year, or, according to the Septuagint where it is rather remarkably consistent, his twenty-fifth year. This man may have been much older, as he is never described as a youth, but we can rather safely assume that he was at least 20 years of age. In contrast, while he was also already a man of sufficient age to be of service to the temple, Paul of Tarsus was nevertheless described as a youth in Acts chapter 7 (7:58).
Where they had asked the parents “Is this your son, whom you say that he had been born blind?” and “So how does he now see?”, there seems to have been an implication that perhaps they were lying about the man’s blindness in the first place, as they could not honestly have been expected to be able to answer such a question as “so how does he now see?” John now implies that the parents had referred the Pharisees back to their son for fear of the Jews:
22 His parents said these things because they feared the Judaeans. For already the Judaeans agreed that if one should profess Him as Christ, he would be put out of the assembly hall.
The Codex Bezae (D) has this verse to read in part “if one should profess Him to be Christ”. Our text agrees with all of the other witnesses which we have already cited for this section of the chapter, except that in our translation, the word as in the phrase “as Christ” is inferred from the text., where to be would also be appropriate
Here John is also suggesting that the parents knew of the intention of the Pharisees to excommunicate anyone who professed Yahshua as the Christ. So this seems to be the first explicit indication that their attitude concerning Him was known to the general public of Jerusalem. So John explains that:
23 For this reason his parents said that “He is mature, you question him”.
The 3rd century papyrus P66 has this verse to read in part “… his parents said that ‘He is mature’ and ‘you question him.’” The Codex Alexandrinus (A) has “… his parents said that ‘He is mature’ and ‘you ask him.’” The Codex Bezae and the Majority Text have “… his parents said that ‘He is mature, you ask him.’” Our text follows the 3rd century papyrus P75 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Vaticanus (B), Washingtonensis (W) and 070.
The man himself did not go so far as to declare that Yahshua was the Christ, but only a prophet. As we learned earlier in John, the people also generally esteemed John the Baptist to have been a prophet. But nevertheless, the Pharisees now attempt to compel this man to disclaim Yahshua Christ, which is yet another tactic that their descendants the Jews employ to this very day:
24 Therefore they called the man who was blind for a second time and said to him “You must give the honor to Yahweh, we know that this man is a wrongdoer!”
A wrongdoer, or a sinner, they demanded that the man who was blind from birth, and who was suddenly able to see, denounce Yahshua, who miraculously healed him, as a sinner, and the man refused to do so. The shameless insolence of the enemies of Christ in the face of such a miracle is astounding, but perhaps it also helps us to understand the congenital nature of His enemies today.
All of this is happening before large numbers of the general population who witnessed the healing of this man, and who were in Jerusalem on the last great day of the feast. Reports of this event must have been spreading through the crowd as this conversation is transpiring. In the years subsequent to the Ascension of the Christ, as Christianity was spreading in spite of its ongoing persecution by the Jews, many men went to their deaths rather than denounce the miracles of Christ which either they themselves had witnessed, or which they received knowledge of firsthand through the many witnesses who had seen them. Therefore miraculous acts such as the healing of the blind assured the spread of the gospel so that the blind could be healed, and Satan, the Jew, has made every effort throughout history and unto this very day to either divert or prevent the European people from keeping to their Christian faith. Evidently, Satan did not want the blind to see, and he does not want the blind to see now. But this man refuses to denounce his Healer:
25 Then he replied: “I do not know if He is a wrongdoer. One thing I do know, that being blind now I see!”
The man told the plain and simple truth, and for that the enemies of Christ despised him, and like lawyers pursuing a verdict to which they are predisposed, they continued to badger him:
26 Therefore they said to him [P66, A, 070 and the MT add “again”; the text follows P75, א, B, D and W]: “What has He done to you? How have your eyes been opened?” 27 He replied to them “I told you already and you did not hear! [P75 and B add “Therefore”] Why [or perhaps “What”] again do you wish to hear? Do you also wish to become His students?”
The 3rd century papyrus P66 has verse 27 to read in part “I told you already and you heard!” In the context of the passage, the verb should be understood with its fullest meaning, which is to hear and understand, beyond mere mechanical hearing, as explained by Liddell & Scott in their Intermediate lexicon at ἀκούω, IV., 3.
The final question here is preceded by the negative particle μή, which is a negative particle that was often employed as an interrogative where a negative answer was expected, and therefore it was not translated here. Perhaps in this context the question may have been better rendered “Don’t you also desire to become His students?” Evidently the man could not even imagine how they would reject Him, after seeing and verifying with more than two witnesses so great a miracle.
In the 146th Psalm we read: “1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. 2 While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. 3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. 4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. 5 Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God: 6 Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever: 7 Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The LORD looseth the prisoners: 8 The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous: 9 The LORD preserveth the [sojourners]; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. 10 The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD. ” Of course, from the very first hint that a Messiah was born in Judaea, and the Magi had announced the arrival of “He that is born King of the Judaeans”, which we see in Matthew chapter 2, we are informed that “3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”
So the Pharisees did reject the man whose eyes were opened, and they began to deride him for telling the truth:
28 And [P66, A and the MT want “And”; D has “But”; the text follows P75, א, B, W and 070] they abused him and said “You are a student of that man, but [P66 has “for”; D wants “but”] we are students of Moses! 29 We know [P66 has “Now we know”] that Yahweh spoke to Moses [D adds “and that Yahweh does not hear wrongdoers”], but we do not know where He is from!”
They did not really believe Moses, but rather they only appealed to Moses as a pretense by which they could uphold their own power and authority. If they had truly believed Moses, they would have also believed Christ, as He had professed to them earlier, as it is recorded in John chapter 5, after His first miracle in Jerusalem when He healed the man who had been lame for thirty-eight years by the pool of Bethesda. The sort of work which the law proscribed on the Sabbath is not the same sort of work which Christ had done to heal the blind man. So the work which Christ did to heal did not challenge the law of God, rather, it only challenged the authority of the rulers who themselves, as the Psalm informs us, could do nothing for the lame, sick and blind. Now the formerly blind man makes another profession which must have irritated them greatly:
30 The man replied and said to them “For in [P66 wants “in”] this is a wondrous thing, that you do not know where He is from, yet He opened my eyes! 31 We know [A, W and the MT have “Now we know”; the text follows P66, P75, א, B, D and 070] that Yahweh does not hear wrongdoers, but if one should be reverent and would do His will, that man He hears.
This is the basis upon which Christ had challenged His adversaries, that His works demonstrated His righteousness. As it says in Proverbs chapter 15, “29 The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous. 30 The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat. 31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. 32 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. 33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.” Of course the enemies of Christ displayed no humility, and therefore they could not understand the correction of the Scriptures.
Earlier in that same chapter of Proverbs, we read: “9 The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness. 10 Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.” These Pharisees certainly hated the reproof of this man, who was born blind, but evidently knew the Scriptures more intimately than the Pharisees themselves. In ancient Judaea, the people attended the synagogues each Sabbath day to hear readings of the Scriptures by the priests. Sometimes men from the community would also stand to read. This man, being blind from birth, would have attended the synagogues each Sabbath day and perhaps he listened more attentively since he could not have had any visual distractions.
One such occasion where Christ had stood to read in the synagogue in Nazareth is recorded in Luke chapter 4: “16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. 22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?”
When the people witnessed the recovering of sight to the blind man, they should have known that Yahshua was the Messiah. So now the man proclaims:
32 From of old it has not been heard that the eyes of one born blind have been opened! 33 Unless this man were from Yahweh, He is not able to do anything [literally ‘nothing’, the double negative being common in Greek is not translated into English]!”
The phrase ἐκ τοῦ αἰῶνος is “from of old” here, but in the King James Version it is “since the world began”. Elsewhere in the New Testament the phrase appears only in Galatians 1:4 where it should be interpreted literally, as “from the age”. The phrase as John uses it here is employed in the same manner as a similar phrase used by Luke, ἀπ᾽ αἰῶνος, in Luke 1:70 and Acts 3:21 and 15:18. There the King James Version renders that phrase similarly to how it translates John’s phrase here. In their Intermediate lexicon, Liddell & Scott have at αἰῶνος, “3. a long space of time, an age”, and then explicitly of Luke’s phrase, “ἀπ᾽ αἰῶνος of old, for ages”, which is how we interpret both Luke’s use of ἀπ᾽ αἰῶνος and John’s use of ἐκ τοῦ αἰῶνος here.
As for the declaration of this man who was healed of his blindness, in the prophets, in the 146th Psalm and in several places in Isaiah, it is explicitly declared that Yahweh, the saviour and redeemer of Israel, the Messiah, would open the eyes of the blind. When Christ read the passage in the synagogue at Nazareth which referred to the “recovering of sight to the blind” He was citing what we now know as Isaiah chapter 61. Yet these Pharisees wanted to kill Him, and as John said above, they had already “agreed that if one should profess Him as Christ, he would be put out of the assembly hall.” So now they resort to slandering a man who merely told them the truth:
34 They replied and said to him: “You were born entirely in sin and you teach us?” And they cast him outside.
As they had done to Christ, they also do now, they dehumanized this man with slander as an excuse to reject his testimony. There is no Scripture that teaches explicitly that if a man is born blind it is on account of some sin. So there is no way that this man could justly be labeled a sinner. Yet as we had seen earlier, in verse 2 of this chapter, even the apostles themselves had that impression, and Christ had refuted it.
Yahweh also refutes it in Exodus chapter 4. There, where Moses complains that he is not eloquent enough to speak on Yahweh’s behalf to the children of Israel, Yahweh answers: “11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?” So a man is not born with a birth defect on account of sin, but on account of the purpose and glory of God. As Paul also explained that Christ had said to him, where he wrote in 2 Corinthians chapter 12, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
But here the Pharisees needed an excuse by which to belittle this man and his testimony in spite of all of the Scripture which proves that the man was right. Once again, they employ the same tactics to this very day, and often with a lot more cunning.
So the focus changes as the man is expelled from their presence:
35 Yahshua heard that they cast him out and finding him said [P66, A, 070 and the MT add “to him”; the text follows P75, א, B, D and W] “Do you have faith in the Son of Man?”
The Codices Alexandrinus (A), 070 and the Majority Text have the last phrase of this verse to read “Do you have faith in the Son of God?” Out text follows the papyri P66 and P75 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Vaticanus (B), Bezae (D) and Washingtonensis (W).
As we have explained in earlier presentations of our Commentary on the Gospel of John, but perhaps not as concisely: where Christ used the phrase “Son of Man” in reference to Himself, he was citing the Messianic prophecy of Daniel 7:13-14, and where He used the phrase “Son of God” in reference to Himself, he was citing the Messianic prophecy of the 2nd Psalm and its description of a particular Son who would ultimately be appointed to possess and rule over the nations, just as the prophecy in Daniel.
So the man blind from birth answers in a way that also corresponds to the spread of the gospel to the blind sheep of Israel:
36 He replied and said “And who is He, Master, that I should have faith in Him?”
The papyrus P66 has this verse to read “He replied ‘And who is He?”, he said, ‘Master, that I should have faith in Him?’” Papyrus P75 and the Codices Vaticanus (B) and Washingtonensis (W) have “‘And who is He?”, he said, ‘Master, that I should have faith in Him?’” The Codex Alexandrinus (A) has “He replied ‘Who is He, Master, that I should have faith in Him?’” The codex 070 has “And he said ‘Who is He, Master, that I should have faith in Him?’” Our text follows the Codex Bezae (D) and the Majority Text, and the Codex Sinaiticus (א) which only wants the word “And” at the beginning of the man’s question.
37 Yahshua said to him [A and the MT have “Then Yahshua said”; D has “Yahshua replied to him”; the text follows P66, P75, א, B, W and 070]: “You have both seen Him, and it is He who is [P66 has “and it is He Himself”] speaking with you.” 38 Then he said “I do believe, Master!” And He worshipped Him.
At this point the man learns that Christ is indeed the Messiah, and knowing the Scriptures as he did, which is apparent in his testimony before the Pharisees, the man must have made the realization in relation to both his experience and the profession of Christ. So that profession continues:
39 And Yahshua said: “For judgment I have come into [P75 has “spoken to”] this [P66 has “the”] Society, that those not seeing would see and those seeing would be made blind!”
The 3rd century papyrus P75, the Codex Sinaiticus (א) and the Codex Washingtonensis (W) want all of verse 38, and the opening words “And Yahshua said” here in verse 39. The dialogue of this verse would then be appended to the statement of Christ from the end of verse 37, although it seems that must be an error common to these particular manuscripts, since the two statements make better sense in the context of the text as we have it, where they are separate and distinct responses.
In John chapter 12 Christ says “for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” But as we had demonstrated discussing John 3:16 in Part 9 of this commentary, subtitled The World of Salvation, the world which He came to save is the world which was promised to come of the children of Israel in the words of the prophets. Christ came not to judge the world, but He nevertheless came for judgment. If He lived, Israel would not be released from the law, since He is Yahweh the husband incarnate, and they would all have to die instead. If He died a death other than that which He had suffered, Israel may have been freed from the law, but His enemies would not be responsible for the blood of all the prophets, since He was also a prophet. But if He died at the hand of His enemies, He is also justified when they are judged, as He also said in John chapter 12, “48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” For that reason, the way in which He was to die was also written in the prophets, and according to that, His enemies shall be judged. So He came into the world so that the children of Israel could ultimately be saved, and so that His enemies could ultimately and righteously be condemned.
In any event, here our interpretation of this event on the greater scale of the relationship of Yahshua Christ and the lost sheep of the children of Israel is vindicated in the words of Christ Himself. The enemies of Christ had claimed to see, as they themselves are about to attest, and yet they were made blind as to the true meaning of the Old Testament. For that, Paul of Tarsus had written in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, speaking of those who rejected Christ: “15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart”, explaining that rejecting Christ, they could not possibly understand the Scriptures.
Where the prophet Isaiah is writing in reference to the children of Israel who were carried off into captivity, and he had written this in the 8th century before Christ, in Isaiah chapter 42, where we see in a Messianic prophecy: “1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Nations. 2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. 3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. 4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.” For judgment Christ had come, as He also said here in John. This is a prophecy of Christ, who shall ultimately judge the nations.
So we shall continue with Isaiah: “5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: 6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Nations; 7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”
The children of Israel in captivity are the blind, and they are the prisoners in the prison house, having been alienated from God. So we see that it is the Christ, the Messiah, who shall come to open their eyes and free them from their alienation. This is the “deliverance to the captives, and recovering the sight of the blind” of which Christ had spoken in Luke chapter 4, where He also cited Isaiah from chapter 61.
Continuing with Isaiah chapter 42, skipping a few verses which mention the idolatry of the children of Israel for which they were being punished, and where Yahweh demands that in the places where they are scattered they should worship Him: “15 I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools. 16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. 17 They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. 18 Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. 19 Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD'S servant? 20 Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.” So we see this blindness is indeed a punishment upon the children of Israel for their sins, and it was the Messiah who was to heal that blindness.
Now as we proceed with Isaiah chapter 42, we shall see with certainty that it is Israel which is blind as a punishment for their sins: “21 The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable. 22 But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore. 23 Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come? 24 Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law. 25 Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.”
Then in Isaiah chapter 43 we read an assurance that the children of Israel shall be kept safe where they are scattered and that they shall ultimately be restored in Christ: “1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. [So there are truly no Negros who may be Christians.] 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. 8 Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. 9 Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.”
The reference to “all the nations” is a reference to the many prophecies that the children of Israel would become many nations in their captivity, and as the chapter progresses it remains clear that Yahweh is only addressing the children of Israel. The children of Israel are the “blind people that have eyes” throughout these chapters of Isaiah, and the prisoners that sit in darkness. The healing of the blindness of the people is a common theme in the writings of the prophet. Isaiah also informs us as to where they would be scattered, in chapter 66 of his prophecy. This is written in relation to the final destruction of Israel in Palestine, as it also mentions those who mourn for Jerusalem, and in verse 19 we read: “19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them [those who survive the captivities] unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Nations.”
Isaiah had written this in the 8th century before Christ, and in the centuries which followed the Keltic and Germanic tribes emerged in history in these very places, as they can all be identified in the Scriptures with lands ranging from Mesopotamia and the Black Sea north and west as far as Iberia. Tarshish in Scripture is Iberia, Lud is Lydia and Etruria, Javan are the Ionian Greeks and Tubal was north of the Caucasus Mountains, for which White Europeans are called Caucasians. There are many other proofs of these migrations in both history and archaeology, but Isaiah described them beforehand. These are the blind whose sight Christ had come to restore.
Now the Pharisees respond to the words of Christ concerning their own ability to see, perceiving what He meant when he exclaimed that “those seeing would be made blind”:
40 [A and the MT add “And”; D adds “Then”; the text follows P66, P75, א, B and W] Some of the Pharisees being with Him heard these things [א and D want “these things”] and they said to Him “Are we also blind?”
This last question also begins with the negative particle, μή, whereby it is evident that the Pharisees had the audacity to expect a negative answer from Yahshua Christ, the Messiah whom they had rejected.
41 Yahshua said to them: “If you were blind, you would not have fault. But now you say that ‘We see’, [P75 inserts ‘and’; A and the MT “therefore”] your fault remains [D and W have “faults remain”]! [The text of verse 41 follows P66, א and B.]
Paul had not known sin, except by the law. The Pharisees claimed to see, claimed to know the law, and rejected the plain and simple truth which was spoken by the prophets, and then brought before their very eyes in Christ. Rejecting Him and claiming to see, their insolence demonstrates the nature of their character, and their apostasy is congenital, proving that they were truly not the children of Abraham, nor of Yahweh.
Even those of them who were of Israel had only cared for their own position and office and authority within the greater community, as we read in John chapter 12: “42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
For this same reason we read in Isaiah chapter 56: “9 All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest. 10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. 11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. 12 Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.” The watchmen of the Second Temple period, being hirelings, allowed the wolves into the sheepfold to devour the sheep, and that is the main subject of the discourse of Christ as He responds to this very situation in John chapter 10. The same circumstance persists to this very day.
Once the identity, character and nature of the enemies of Yahweh are revealed, as Christ does in John chapter 8, once it is realized just who the blind are that He came to cure, as He makes an example in chapter 9, and once the identity of His people is manifest, as He demonstrates how that would be done in John chapter 10, that is how the blind are made to see, and that is how these chapters must be interpreted if we are ever going to understand the fullness of the message of the Gospel of Christ.