John 3:16, What It Says And What It Doesn't

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This evening, rather than present my commentary on the balance of John chapter 3, something which I am not yet quite prepared to do, I decided to present a related paper by Clifton Emahiser, and offer an expanded commentary on that. The paper is titled John 3:16, What It Says And What It Doesn't, and was finalized by Clifton on March 8th, 2004. Doing this, I will necessarily repeat several things which I said in Part 9 of my commentary on the Gospel of John, and also some things which I hope to state in Part 10, which is soon forthcoming. Doing this, the evolution of our opinions on John 3:16 may also be better understood, although I wish that Clifton were here to share that. In this paper, Clifton employed several of my own notes which I had sent to him on the subject, but also, because he was copying something I wrote to him in a letter, he referred to several other of my writings, which I shall endeavor to include or elaborate upon here.

John 3:16, What It Says And What It Doesn't

Most of Clifton’s pamphlet-sized essays were written in response to someone that he had questions from, or someone whom he questioned, or sometimes something he saw in the media. I do not remember the specific reason why Clifton had written this essay, but because he included a couple of paragraphs from a letter I wrote to him on the subject, and because they discussed the errors of a certain individual whom Clifton addresses here, we must have had an ongoing dialog leading up to this publication. As the impetus for this essay, Clifton recalls a trip he made to Louden, Tennessee, for a Christian Identity gathering in 1996. During the course of his nearly 20-year ministry, Clifton had made quite a few responses to what he had seen and heard at that particular gathering, and this was perhaps the last of them. Among those responses, he was compelled to write his papers on the Ephraim-Scepter Heresy, a Defense of Matthew & Luke and more significantly, the first 21 of his Watchman’s Teaching Letters, which were all subtitled with the question Just Who is This Patriarch, Judah? So it might even be safe to say that the single gathering in Louden was also the real impetus for Clifton’s starting his ministry.

Clifton had explained in his second Watchman’s Teaching Letter, for June of 1998, that “On October 4, 1996, I went to Louden, Tennessee at the Piney Ruritan Community Center for the Feast Of Tabernacles. There were four speakers scheduled to speak: James P. Wickstrom, Richard Hoskins, Paul Burnham, and a fellow by the name of Scott Vaught. All the speakers did quite well except this Scott Vaught who was supposed to be an expert in Paleo Hebrew. Listed third on the billing was this person by the name of Scott Vaught and this was his credentials: “Constitutional Delegate of Arkansas, student, teacher, and researcher of Paleo Hebrew, our ancestral native tongue, for over 15 years.” As I was to learn later, Scott Vaught was a fountain of misinformation of a monumental degree. As I listened in amazement, he spewed out one vial of poison after another.”

The very first paper Clifton wrote in response to what he had heard at that gathering is a thirteen-thousand word diatribe titled The Lies of Scott Vaught. I have two electronic copies of it in our files, one which was completed in October of 1996, which could not have been long after Clifton returned home from Louden, and a second, slightly edited copy from May of 1998, just before he began his ministry. Much of the content of that paper was later used by Clifton in his first few dozen Watchman’s Teaching Letters. But Clifton only distributed the original paper amongst a small circle of acquaintances, and it was never completely published on the Internet. One day I may publish it, but I would probably want to edit and annotate it first. Later on, from prison, as I became more involved in Clifton’s ministry, I also corresponded with Scott Vaught, and a companion of his named Russell Walker. I can only say that I have never in my life met a more wayward and obstinate pair of men, who fabricate their opinions based on particular agendas, who will uphold any lie so long as they imagine that it supports their agenda, who support one another’s lies even though they contradict their own, and who accept not an ounce of correction regardless of the authority from whence it comes. Several years after I got home from prison, Russell Walker even denied corresponding with me, perhaps some time around 2005, and I embarrassed him by producing the letters I had saved.

On the one hand, it is a blessing that Christian Identity does not have a catechism, because the discovery of truth is an ongoing phenomenon and we constantly need to adjust ourselves to any new facts which can be soundly established, but on the other hand, it invites every heresy that the many charlatans which it attracts can contrive and spread with deceit. Addressing this problem was the basis for Clifton’s entire ministry.

Now with this background, we shall present:

John 3:16, What It Says And What It Doesn't, by Clifton Emahiser

We have been told by many throughout the years that John 3:16 is the “golden text” of the Bible. But labeling it as such seems to imply [that] it holds priority over all the other verses found in Scripture. Therefore, we must ask, why is this passage elevated above all others, and what is the motivation in support of such a position? In considering such a claim, one must admit that such a stance places all other Biblical passages in a subordinate role. This paper is not an argument that there are not cardinal Biblical passages that stand above others, but do all Biblical passages stand or fall on John 3:16? Or is it possible [that] John 3:16 supports a cardinal passage of greater importance than itself? We must further question whether or not we even understand John 3:16 as it was originally written in the Greek. Did the translators do the Greek justice?

There are some that go so far as to make the claim that John 3:16 was never in the original manuscripts. [This claim is made by some Identity Christians of several passages in John, without substantiation. - WRF] On October 4, 1996, I went to Louden, Tennessee, at the Piney Ruritan Community Center for the Feast Of Tabernacles. There were four speakers scheduled to speak: James P. Wickstrom, Richard Hoskins, Paul Burnham, and a fellow by the name of Scott Vaught. Wickstrom got so upset with Scott Vaught that he packed his things and left, whereupon another speaker was invited to take the pulpit in Jim’s place.

Clifton first learned of Two-Seedline from James Wickstrom, and he and Wickstrom got along well for a long time. Then Clifton became discouraged when Wickstrom started promoting the Y2K hysteria and hardly spoke of him, and not at all to him, after that nonsense had made a lot of Identity Christians of the time look foolish. But Clifton had told me much later that Wickstrom was upset foremost with Scott Vaught’s Paul-bashing. To his credit, even with all of his other faults, Wickstrom never accepted the lies of the Paul-bashers. Later, two men much closer to Wickstrom would also become Paul-bashers, which are Ralph Daigle and Gary Blackwell. I really never knew Blackwell, but Daigle was a good friend of mine from a point quite early in my own studies, as I associated with him for two years while I was in prison. Daigle was in prison as a tax protester. Daigle and Blackwell were both partners in Wickstrom’s Detroit-area church, and went off into Paul-bashing as Wickstrom took to womanizing, leading up to their final split over his Kathy Kallstrom affair in 2005, something which was also a great embarrassment to the Christian Identity community. At the time, Daigle petitioned a letter from me relating to some of Wickstrom’s claims, where he tried to abuse Scripture in order to justify himself, and I happily complied. Now Clifton continues, speaking of Wickstrom’s replacement at this 1996 meeting:

His name was Jeremias Faulkner and [he] lived near there at the time. [Faulkner, a former resident of Louden Tennessee, seems to be the same man who passed away on November 4, 2009, in West Palm Beach, Florida. - WRF] In one of his presentations he said the following about John 3:16, which I have on audio tape:

[Faulkner speaking:] “Let me try to explain some things to you that you might not know about this book. Like my friend, brother Wickstrom, I don’t like to call it the Bible. It’s a collection of Scriptures, okay. And the Bible’s oldest complete manuscript that we have in existence today only dates back to the 700s, which are in St. Peter’s Cathedral at Rome. And older than that are the Scriptures in Aramaic that we have that are [from the] 300s, and they rest right now in Kurdistan. [of course, none of this is accurate. - WRF] We have broken copies of the Scriptures from the Dead Sea Scrolls. But when you hear somebody get up and say that they are now going to quote from the original; original what? And it’s about as original as we can get. You know, 700 A.D. in St. Peter’s Rome. I have a friend, he has two doctorates, one including a Ph.D. Once a year it is his privilege by authorization of the Pope to fly into Rome and examine the earliest manuscripts in existence, okay? Then he takes the plane on to Kurdistan because he is a professor in Aramaic, and gets a chance to see the Scriptures in the Aramaic language. Do you know how much these are guarded? He has to wear a mask just like a doctor. I mean ... you’re not allowed to ... suppose you sneeze or cough or spit on one of these things? And just like a doctor he goes in robes and has a mask on, and he goes all the way across the ocean ... the last time ... he told me ... gets a plane fare to Rome ... to Kurdistan and on home to do four verses ... four verses! Do you think it would be worth it all? And yet we being so prolific ... and we get up and do chapters and verses ... and go on and on and on. But sometimes I think we’d be better doing three or four words even in one verse, and try to get some kind of understanding of it.

I read a similar story once by another supposed Christian Identity pastor who used almost the same tale to convince his audience that John 8:37 said something other than it does, and both men are liars. It is a shame that anyone would have to resort to such nonsense, but they do it with stunning regularity. During the course of my own ministry, I have alienated many men just like this, for this very reason, and because they would not stand correction. Continuing with Clifton’s transcription of Faulkner:

“I want to get your attention somehow. I want to get you thinking. I’m not here to give you any doctrine or to put any of my views upon you. But if I can get you thinking, there is a chance in the end that truth might come in. [As if it can be obtained through lies. - WRF] Can I shock you with something I’m sure you will be shocked with? John 3:16 ... John 3:16. How many could almost quote it if you had to? ... John 3:16? This friend of mine, who examines these Scriptures once a year, told me the last time we were in California. He said, I can share this with you, but I don’t know anyone else I can share it with. I said, likely I’m going out to share it with everybody I meet. Do you know that John 3:16 isn’t in any of the original Scriptures? Do you know when it was inserted in there? In the 13th Century, but not even in the Scriptures. Just in a marginal note, and it never even got into the Scriptures to [sic till] the fifteen hundreds. Do you know why it never got into the Scriptures until the fifteen hundreds? Can anybody guess? Because it is not true. I hate to tell you, but it’s not true. It starts off with a premise; if you believe John 3:16, you yourself are really going nowhere. John 3:16 says this, ‘For God so loved the world, [sic] he gave his only begotten Son’ ... not true ... not true ... not true! And if the churches in this world can stand on the high pedestals and look down at you folks in a pew or a seat someplace, and tell you that God only has one Son, you will never amount to anything. Only a sinner, you know, partly saved by grace singing from the old hymnbooks. You see, Yahshua that came here to earth wasn’t His first son either. Well not if Luke 3 and 38 [sic Luke 3:38] is true. Because of the genealogies it says ‘so and so begat so and so begat Adam ... the what? ... ‘the son of God’.’ Really? And when they put the marginal note in, this is how it read; it said, ‘For God the only Father.’ Hey, this is beginning to make a difference ... ‘God the only Father’ ... it’s not the ‘only Son’, it’s ‘God the only Father’.’ ... And He did give a dearly beloved Son. That was the marginal note. But when these church people went to put it in ... you can just take my word for it ... he goes to Rome once a year and says it’s neither in the Aramaic, nor is it in the Scriptures in St. Peters. Does that shock or amaze any of you? It kind of gets your attention ...”

To Faulkner’s credit, he knew something was wrong with John 3:16, at least as it is translated, and in multiple respects. But to his discredit, he manufactured lies to refute it, rather than studying and finding the truth. Even his elaboration is a lie, where he claims that the original note should have read “God the only father’, and both Malachi 2:11 and John 8:44 would refute that assertion. Clearly, the devil can also be a father, to children which have nothing to do with God. But in fact, just about everything Faulkner said about the manuscripts here is a lie. Now Clifton humbly admits his error for being persuaded by this subterfuge:

Seeming somewhat reasonable, I, like many others, fell under Jeremias Faulkner’s sway. I questioned, why would “God so love the world” at John 3:16, and at John 17:9 say “... I pray not for the world”? In 1996 I was not as advanced in my research as I am now, so at that time, I didn’t question Faulkner’s story.

With this paper, we’ll examine this subject in greater detail.

The following two paragraphs were adapted by Clifton from a long letter which I had written to him on the subject. Clifton himself was only marginally acquainted with the Nestle-Aland edition of the New Testament, but by this time I had been studying it for several years, and had been employing it daily as I was translating the New Testament. So Clifton continues and says:

Faulkner claimed these manuscripts were at “St. Peter’s Cathedral at Rome.” Faulkner failed to notice that, in the Nestle-Aland “Novum Testamentum Graece”, 27th edition (NA27) list of Greek manuscripts that it employs, the Vatican holds many Greek manuscripts, some of them very old indeed, and many others were copied as recently as the 16th century, and still in Greek! Many other Greek manuscripts of great antiquity are held in various libraries throughout the Western World. The NA27 also cites Latin versions, and provides a listing of those which it employed in its critical apparatus, but these are far fewer in number than the Greek. Apparently, contrary to popular opinion, the Vatican has a long tradition of Greek manuscript preservation. The NA27 lists the Vatican Library as “Citta’ del Vaticano, Bibl. Vat. [Biblioteca Vaticana]”, and surely this is not “St. Peter’s Cathedral” as Faulkner states!

The Vatican Library is actually located inside the Vatican Palace, and the entrance is through the Belvedere Courtyard. It should not be confused with St. Peter's Basilica, even if it is less than a kilometer distant. Today, if you can navigate to the appropriate catalog numbers, you can see at least many of the manuscripts which are stored there on the Internet, at the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana website. [You can view the entire Codex Vaticanus online there, right where the NA27 says it is cataloged. The Gospel of John begins in the right-hand column of page 1349 of that manuscript.] But Faulkner’s story is quite puerile, and obviously an outright fabrication. People who are ignorant concerning certain things often assume that everyone else is just as ignorant, and when they have agendas they somehow think they can make up stories and get away with it. That is the modus operandi of Scott Vaught, Russell Walker and, evidently, Jeremias Faulkner. Clifton continues to address Faulkner’s nonsense from my letter:

The NA27 cites several Syriac (Aramaic) versions in its critical apparatus. The versions cited include the Syrus Sinaiticus dating to the 4th or 5th century A.D.; the Syrus Curetonianus which dates to the 5th century; the Peshitta, which is “the most widely accepted of the Syriac versions”; the Philoxeniana, the “first Monophysite Syriac Bible version, commissioned by Bishop Philoxenus of Mabbug in A.D. 507/508”; and the Harklensis, “The version made by Thomas of Harkel in A.D. 616 is the only Syriac version containing the entire New Testament.” With the exception of the Philoxeniana, of which most of its content has been lost and so can not be spoken for, there is no indication that John 3:16 is missing from any of these.

This shows that Faulkner was lying about the contents of the Aramaic manuscripts for John 3:16. Now Clifton will actually quote from a part of my letter, for which he assigned a subtitle. I do not remember writing this as a separate paper, so it must be from my letter. Another thing I should note here, is that I did not actually undertake my translation of the writings of John until 2007, apparently completing them, according to my marginal notes, in September of that year. So now Clifton presents:


John 3:16 in the A.V. reads thusly: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The Greek from which this verse was translated, from the NA27 reads: οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον [for God so loved the society, or “world”], ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν [that He gave the most-beloved, or “only-begotten”, Son], ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων [in order that each who, or “whosoever”, believes] εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται [in Him would not be lost, or “perish”] ἀλλ᾽ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον [but would have eternal life]. In order to properly understand this verse, that is, in a Biblical context and in the time it was written, we must comprehend the meanings of certain terms as they were then written. Especially important are the terms κόσμος (“world”), ὁ μονογενής (“only begotten”) and πᾶς (“whosoever”), which will be discussed here.

To properly understand the meaning of the word “world” in the Bible, one must first learn that there are two Greek words which have been translated “world”, and investigate the meanings and usage of those words in the Greek vernacular.

The first word, οἰκουμένη appears in the New Testament 15 times (according to A Concordance to the Greek Testament, edited by W. F. Moulton and A. S. Geden) and is defined by Liddell & Scott in their Greek-English Lexicon: “the inhabited world, a term used to designate the Greek world, as opposed to barbarian lands ... so in Roman times, the Roman world, New Testament.”

I do not know why, when I wrote this, I neglected to consider that a third word, αἰών, was also translated as world in the King James Version. I must have known that, especially since I had completed my translations of the epistles of Paul in 2003, but perhaps I did not think it was important to this particular discussion. Several years later, in August of 2010, I wrote a more complete essay on the topic titled What is the World? Continuing with Clifton’s citation of my letter:

Strabo the Geographer, who died in 25 A.D. used this word οἰκουμένη often, and described it fully in 17 books, most of which survive today. The οἰκουμένη of Strabo, his “world”, included all of Africa north of the Sahara from the Straits of Gibraltar to the horn of Africa, east to the Ganges river in India, north to the Jaxartes river in Asia, and west to the British Isles. This was the Greco-Roman “world” in spite of the fact that Eratosthenes (whom Strabo quotes and refers to often) calculated the circumference of the planet a couple of centuries before Strabo, and that they knew of land masses beyond their “world.” They knew the planet was a sphere, and Eratosthenes’ calculation of its size was within reason. This world, as described by Strabo and all of the Greeks before him, was astonishingly White (Adamic), and the non-white races or mixed races at its fringes were quite marginalized. [Of course there were Canaanites, as the tares were always among the wheat, but they were also mostly white in appearance.]

The second word translated “world”, κόσμος, appears in the New Testament approximately 182 times, of which 102 are in John’s books, and 51 in Paul’s letters (Moulton & Geden) and is defined by Liddell & Scott: “order, ... 2. good order, good behavior, decency ... 3. the form, fashion of a thing ... 4. of states, order, government ... II. an ornament, decoration, embellishment, dress ... III. a regulator ... IV. the world or universe, from its perfect order ... 2. mankind, as we use ‘the world’, New Testament.”

At this point in my studies, I was only just becoming aware that the word κόσμος would best be translated as society, and I was seeking academic corroboration for that opinion, which so far I have found only in a 2004 article by Gregory Nagy. So I cited the Nagy article in my 2010 article What is the World? Of course, I remain convinced that quite often in the New Testament κόσμος is best translated as society, as it is now in my translations. But at this time, and when I first published the Christogenea New Testament on the Internet, I often left the word untranslated, transliterating it as cosmos, because frequently the concept it represents is difficult to express accurately with a single English word. Even the word society falls short in some respects. Returning to Clifton’s citation of my letter:

Once it is realized that “mankind” in the Bible is truly only Adamkind (e.g. Romans 5:12-14; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 45; 1 Timothy 2:13; Jude 14; Acts 17:26 and Deuteronomy 32:8; Romans 8:21, 39; Luke 3:38 and Genesis 5:1-2; et al.) and that the οἰκουμένη in Roman times encompassed the very same lands discussed at Deuteronomy 32:8, in which the Genesis 10 Adamic Nations were long before distributed, and that the Greco-Roman “world” – and the New Testament “world” – was limited to this, then a much deeper understanding of the scope of the Bible may be realized. In all actuality the κόσμος is the state of order within the οἰκουμένη (extended to the heavenly bodies also, which the ancients perceived as being much more a part of their “world”); the κόσμος is the decorum of the οἰκουμένη! The οἰκουμένη was that portion of the planet inhabited by the White Adamic Race, or MANkind.

It would not be improper to translate οἰκουμένη “the inhabited [by Adamites] earth” and κόσμος “the Adamic world”, and anything short of such definitions allows room for those who would want to cause confusion concerning such things.

Even what is pictured in the minds of most of us hearing the word society today is a corruption from what we could imagine that it described at the time of Christ, or in Medieval Europe. Here I had not yet discovered that the Wisdom of Solomon describes precisely the “world” of the New Testament promises, which is the twelve tribes of Israel whom Yahweh had promised would inherit the earth. Neither had I yet discovered that the Wisdom of Solomon also explains what is “born from above”, which is the Israelite society which was exclusively given the laws and blessings of God, and which is the world that Christ came to save. Now Clifton continues his citation of my letter as it moves on to the next subject of the discourse:

?? “ὁ μονογενής” ??

The literal meaning of ὁ μονογενής is “the only begotten.” But is that what John meant when he wrote his gospel? Did John mean to call Yahshua Christ τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ, “the only begotten Son”, in spite of Luke 3:38 [where Adam is called “the son of God”] and Deuteronomy 14:1 [where the children of Israel are called “the children of Yahweh your God”]? Or does the phrase have another meaning, idiomatic and unnoticed by many translators and commentators? There is definite proof that the term does have an idiomatic meaning, as “best loved” or “most beloved” etc., and in writings quite contemporary to John, even in the New Testament! Yet few have taken notice of this…

I must add, that the translators and commentators also have an apparent agenda. If Christ is the ONLY son of God, then the rest of us are all alike and any one of us can choose to come to Jesus. But if there is a particular race of people who alone are designated the children of God, then the entire universalist paradigm disintegrates. Clifton continues citing my letter:

William Whiston’s edition of Josephus’ Antiquities, at 1:13:1 (1.222) begins: “Now Abraham greatly loved Isaac, as being his only begotten ...” And a footnote reads: “Note, that both here and Hebrews 11:17, Isaac is called Abraham’s only begotten son, though he at the same time had another son, Ishmael. The Septuagint expresses the true meaning, by rendering the text the beloved son.” At Antiquities 20:2:1 (20.17), Josephus describes the birth of a son, Izates, to Monobazus, king of Adiabene, who “had indeed Monobazus, his elder brother, by Helena also, as he has other sons by other wives besides. Yet did he openly place all his affections on this his only begotten son Izates...” And Whiston has in a footnote here: “Josephus here uses the word monogenê, an only begotten son, for no other than one best-loved, as does both the Old and New Testament; I mean, where there were one or more sons besides Gen. 22:2; Heb. 11:17.”

[That ends my citation of Whiston, and now Clifton continues to cite my letter:] In the King James Version, Genesis 22:2 begins: “And He said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest ...” and the Septuagint translators recognized the idiom, writing (as Brenton has it): “And He said, Take thy son, the beloved one, whom thou hast loved – Isaac ...” Paul at Hebrews 11:17, referring to this very thing, states (as the King James Version has it): “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that received the promises offered up his only begotten son”, where that same word μονογενής was used.

So here we have two instances in Josephus, another in the Old Testament, and then Paul, where the best beloved of multiple sons is referred to as “only begotten”, and so there should be no doubt that the term serves as an idiom for “best beloved”, and should be interpreted in that manner when we encounter its use in places such as John 3:16 and 1 John 4:9, not forgetting Luke 3:38 and Deuteronomy 14:1! Not to do so, but to insist upon a purely literal translation in spite of the evidence presented, is brazen intellectual dishonesty!

There are instances where secular Greek writers used the term μονογενής, like the Latin phrase sui generis, to mean one of a kind or unique. There is no doubt that Yahshua Christ was unique, being God incarnate, but it is arguable that the writers of Scripture had that view in mind. Rather, Paul went out of his way to illustrate the fact that Yahshua was just like the rest of the Adamic race, calling Him “firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29) and attesting that He, being God, had taken upon Himself of the seed of Abraham (Hebrews chapter 2), and significantly that he was of the same nature as the rest of His race, where he said in Hebrews chapter 4: “15 For we do not have a high priest having no ability to sympathize with our weakness, but who being tested by all things in like manner, is without sin.” Therefore we would rather imagine μονογενής to have been used in the same way as the Hebrew idiom, explained in the manner in which Genesis 22:2 was translated in the Septuagint, an idiom which Paul also followed in Hebrews chapter 11, rather than in the way that secular writers sometimes used the term.

The word translated “whosoever” in the A.V., πᾶς, properly means “all” or “the whole”, depending upon whether one refers to many entities, or a single one. The translation of πᾶς as “any” must be limited to certain contexts and circumstances, for which see Liddell & Scott [in the large 9th edition of their lexicon at] πᾶς III. 2. where use of the Accusative case πᾶν is illustrated. Proper ways to say “whosoever” in Greek, found often in the New Testament, are ὃς ἐάν, ὃς ἄν or ὃστις (for which see Liddell & Scott, ὅς, II. 4. and also ὅστις). The word “his” in John 3:16 [where the King James Version reads “his only begotten son”] does not appear in the earlier manuscripts, but in a papyrus, P63, dating to 500 A.D., and some other uncials and miniscules. I would omit “his”, as does the NA27.

In light of all of this, I would translate John 3:16: “For Yahweh so loved the cosmos [the order or adornment of the οἰκουμένη] that He gave the best-beloved [or ‘most-beloved’] Son, in order that all who are persuaded in Him [or ‘all who are believing in Him’] would not be lost [or ‘destroyed’] but would have eternal life.”

So here once again we see that in March of 2004 I was not quite as confident to render κόσμος as society as I was in 2010, however I certainly wouldn’t have translated it as world. In at least one place in the Christogenea New Testament it is rendered as order. So far as I remember, I did not begin to emend my translations to reflect this understanding until 2010. Now Clifton continues his citation of my letter under the subtitle:


There are twenty-two ancient papyri – discovered via archaeology – [which are] employed by the NA27 among the “consistently cited witnesses” for the Gospel of John. Three of these are dated to the second century, and eight to the third. Of these eleven – of course none are complete – three papyri contain any part of John 3: P66, P75, and P80, which is but a fragment of John 3:34 only and must be discounted here. P66, said to be “circa 200 A.D.” is complete from John 1:1 to 6:11, 6:35 to 14:26, and has fragments of chapters 15, 16, and 20. P75, from the third century, is complete from John 1:1 to 11:45, and has fragments through the rest of chapter 11, and chapters 12 through 15. Of course neither P66 nor P75 have any part of the noted interpolation of John 7:53-8:11. Neither is John 3:16 wanting in either of these manuscripts! With this verse’s presence in these ancient papyri, and no indication from the NA27 of the verse’s absence in any of the uncials, miniscules or other manuscripts handed down since the fourth century, it must be asked, by what source or authority is this verse to be considered a marginal reading? With such overwhelming evidence, one must treat John 3:16 as part of the text!

In order to understand the definitions of the terms “cosmos” (for which see my recent essay in reply to Dave Barley), the context of the phrase “whosoever believeth”, and the meaning of τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ, or “only begotten Son”.

There seems to be something missing from the text here, as the grammar is not complete. I do not have the original letter to check against Clifton’s transcription, although I may have a copy of it in storage. I wrote two letters to Dave Barley, but I do not know when I wrote this letter to Clifton. Here I had called the Barley letter “recent”. I first wrote to Dave Barley on September 17th, 2003, and my second letter to him was written some time in January, 2004. Clifton first compiled them into a single document on January 26th of that year. So this letter which Clifton is quoting from in March of 2004 must have been written very soon after the Barley letter. In that second letter to Dave Barley, I spoke at length on the subject of the world, and wrote one of my earliest attempts to describe the distinction between κόσμος and οἰκουμένη. It is not posted at Christogenea, although I have been a long time thinking about doing that, however it was published soon after it was transcribed and compiled by Clifton, at the Israelect website, where it can still be found. Now Clifton cites the balance of this final paragraph of my letter:

For “whosoever” must be limited to the Adamic race, and for “only begotten Son”, I would translate “best beloved Son.” Please refer to the notes which accompany my Hebrews translation at Hebrews 11:17 (page 115 of my notes), where this idiom is explained at least concisely, with examples cited from the Septuagint and Josephus. The word “his” in John 3:16 does not appear in the earlier manuscripts, but in a papyri, P63, dating to 500 A.D., and some early uncials and miniscules. I would omit “his”, as does the NA27, (where I have [αὐτοῦ] above).

My words here were originally intended only for Clifton, or I would have sent him my own pamphlet-length essay. So I did not really expect him to repeat them in one of his papers, but of course I could not object once he chose to do so. He did that often during the years I helped with his ministry from prison. So far as I can tell, the earliest complete paper of mine which Clifton had published was Herodotus, Scythians, Persians & Prophecy in December, 2003. Now this is the end of his citation of my letter, and Clifton himself continues under the subtitle:


Galatians 4:1-6 is very important to bring John 3:16 into its proper context and reads as follows: “1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might recover the position of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

Galatians 4:1-6 is also very important to understand the context and Paul’s original intent in Galatians 3:16. The plurality of heirs mentioned in Galatians 4 being the children who were under the law, we see that the seed of Galatians 3:16 must be the collective seed of the descendants of Jacob, as opposed to the other seeds, the children of Esau, Ishmael, and the sons of Keturah who, regarding the covenant, were not designated as heirs. This explanation was the purpose of my later essays, The Seed of Inheritance, which I think were published by Clifton in the Spring of 2005. Clifton continues in relation to Galatians 4:4, and asks:

Who else was under the Law but Israel? Also, the phrase “made of a woman” in verse 4 in the King James Version takes us to Genesis 3:15 in the center reference. Inasmuch as Eve was made from Adam, that excludes all non-Adamic peoples from this discussion. Not “all men”, or as the AV renders it, “whosoever” in a universal context as mainstream churchianity interprets it! When are we ever going to learn that our Redeemer is a Kinsman Redeemer, and that only a Kinsman can Redeem a Kinsman! Now don’t try to pull that fiction that Israel is Redeemed and the other races are “saved” business, for Luke 19:10 says: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Who else was “lost” but Israel? So, too, only Israel can be “saved”!

I have now presented evidence showing both sides of the story about John 3:16. It will now be each individual’s responsibility to decide what he believes to be the truth on the matter. But there still remains another side of the story concerning John 3:16, for there is probably no other verse in Scripture taken so entirely out-of-context to support the false doctrine of “universalism.” The universalists seize upon the words “world” and “whosoever” to support their universalist orientation. They clutch onto many passages, taking them completely in error, to build their unstable position. John 3:16 is only one of the passages the universalists have used to erroneously prop-up their unsound theory. No doubt, it has been the universalists, past and present, who have dubbed John 3:16 as the “golden text” of the Bible. Using Yahweh’s Word in such a manner causes it to become of no effect.

They will use Matthew 13:44 about the “treasure hid in a field” to try to prove that our Messiah purchased the entire world, which they claim represents the “field”, in order to obtain the true treasure, the Israelites. They will then back up to Matt. 13:38 and point out that it says “The field is the world.” They entirely overlook that Matt. 13:44 designates “that field”, not the entire farm! The Greek word for “that” at Matt. 13:44 is #1565, and means: a place ... that place ... that one ... (same) ... selfsame ... that (same, very) ...” The universalists claiming to be Israel Identity take the position that our Messiah purchased all the other races in order to acquire the true treasure, the Israelites. They also completely overlook the fact that these are two distinctly different parables, and that the word “field” might have an entirely different idiomatic application in the two separate parables. Poor old God, can’t do anything right! This is the kind of defective reasoning the universalists use.

There were many universalists claiming to be Christian Israel Identity back in 2007, and there are probably just as many now. We like to call these CI people “Compromise Identity”. All of those whom Clifton and myself have encountered over the years have despised us, and especially clowns such as Ted Weiland. From what I understand, Dave Barley has repented of his universalism, which is much to his credit, and he even wrote me a kind note this past summer when Clifton’s health began to decline. I still need to answer him, and I do hope to answer him soon. Here, however, it is unclear precisely which universalists in Identity Clifton had in mind, so he continues:

What ever happened to the statement by our Messiah that, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”, Matt. 15:24? Or what ever befell the proclamation, “You (Israel) only have I known of all the families of the earth ...”, Amos 3:2. These two passages are hardly in context with the idea of “buying the whole world”! Such nonsense must be forcibly read into the Scriptures for it isn’t there!

Now, under the subtitle:


By this time, the reader should be acquiring some idea of what John 3:16 says and what it doesn’t, but there is one more factor we should consider. And while chiding others, I must also condemn myself, for I too once believed in a “trinity.” Since John 3:16 speaks of a “best beloved Son”, we should know who that Son is. This can all be cleared up with the passage at John 14:7-10, which says:

“7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8 Philip saith unto him, Yahshua, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Yahshua saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”

While there is a sense of Fatherhood and Sonship involved, the two are but one person. How much plainer can it be “... he that hath seen me hath seen the father ...” Our Redeemer expected Philip and the other Disciples gathered there with Him at that occasion to believe His statement! I am quite sure that if one of us today were to make the same request as Philip, we would receive a very similar reply although we have not as yet seen Him! Let’s follow that one with John 20:29: “Yahshua saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

Christ spoke those words immediately after Thomas declared Him to be “My Lord and my God,” something which Clifton evidently expected his reader to understand here. If Christ is Thomas’ God, then Christ and Yahweh are one and the same, since Israel has only one God. Christ did not somehow become another god, or a second God, but He was God in the first place, which Thomas recognized and exclaimed after realizing the implications once he realized that Christ had indeed been resurrected. Now Clifton concludes:

Looking back, which is nothing more than 20/20 hindsight, I realize that I should have questioned Jeremias Faulkner’s presentation more thoroughly about John 3:16 not being in the original manuscripts. To say the least, I no longer hold to Faulkner’s concept, and will no longer pass his testimony along to others as being credible. If you want to know what Faulkner said on this subject, it’s all contained in this brochure.

In October 1996, in his introductory paragraph to The Lies of Scott Vaught, Clifton described the other speakers of that October, 1996 Louden, Tennessee conference, among them “another unscheduled speaker, a Reverend Jeremias B. Faulkner, who gave some very informative teachings.” So Clifton’s first impression of Faulkner was indeed very good, and as he explained here, he accepted Faulkner’s claims without having checked them sufficiently. This has always been a problem among Identity Christians, so we have a plethora of errors such as the 6th & 8th Day Creation heresy, or the idea that the Hebrew word chay is a technical term for non-Adamic races of people, and specifically for negros. Most of this happens only because people seek answers for things, and when they do not find them they use their imaginations to manufacture their own. Once they think they have something that makes sense, they then teach for truth the precepts of men, and they often refuse to be corrected because they do not want to be convicted of their error – or perhaps, of their stupidity. We all fall for errors, and none of us can avoid it. But humility is displayed when we admit that we can learn something better, and when we recognize our mistakes, we can then exchange our opinions for a better-established truth.

Of course, few Christians even in Identity can be expected to have an intimate acquaintance with all of the many hundreds of surviving ancient Greek manuscripts. However what discernment should be necessary for us all is this: that whenever something which is novel is claimed in reference to Scripture, that it should be examined closely before it is ever accepted and believed, regardless of from whom it comes. Clifton himself would certainly agree to that.

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