The Inclusion In The Gospel Of John
By Jonathan Mitchell

On offer, here, are a few verses from the Gospel of John that seem to point to the final inclusion of all humanity in God's eschatological work of salvation throughout His plan of the Ages. We will look at both context and verse in this short study, then you can make your own decision.

In the Prologue (1:1-18), John begins with a pronouncement about all of creation and its relationship with the Word, the divine Logos, and then he proceeds to show how the Logos/Word relates to people. We begin by offering a few of the potential renderings of Jn. 1:1 that are on offer in the Jonathan Mitchell New Testament expanded translation. We suggest that the inclusiveness found in the Prologue sets the tone for the entire Gospel of John.

1. Within a beginning (or: In union with Headship and centered in Sovereignty) there was the Logos (the Word; the Thought; the collection of thoughts; the Idea; the Reason; the discourse; the speech and communication; the verbal expression; the Message; the reasoned, laid-out and ordered arrangement). And the Logos (the idea; the thought; the expression; the Word) was facing, [directed, and moving] toward, (or: continued being face to face with) God. And the Logos (the Word; the thought; the idea; the reason; the expression) continued being God.

Please observe the parenthetical expansions on offer for the semantic range of the Greek word "Logos." Just meditating on this one word should reveal to us that the scope of the semantic range involved in this verse is the entire scope of the Deity. This verse, and the subject of this Prologue, is about the Logos/Word, and about Its relationship with and to God. We will next observe, in vs. 3, that the Prologue also included the Word's relationship to creation and ALL HUMANITY (see below), and then in vss. 4-5 we find that the Logos/Word has the qualities of Light and Life - both keeping the same relationship in their created existence that the Logos/Word has with and to God. So far, the topics of discussion are both cosmological and theological.

But before we move on, in the focus of this short study, here are a few other optional renderings of vs. 1:

a) Originally, within the midst of the first principle, the Word, a Patterned Design, was existing and continued to be; and then the Word, or Patterned Design, was being [projected] toward God. And this Word, or Patterned Design... It continued existing actually and essentially being God.

b) The Thought, or The Concept, was in the midst of [the] Source. The Thought, or The Concept, was oriented toward the Deity. And the Thought, or The Concept, was Deity.

c) In beginning, the collected and put side by side Thoughts continued in progressive existence, and the collected and put side by side Thoughts continued being a progression to God, and God ("the Divine Mystery" - Paul Tillich's definition of theos) was in continued existence being those collected and put side by side Thoughts.

d) The Logos continued being within Arche (Source; = The Son was in the midst of [the] Father; [note: I owe to Jean-Yves Leloup the connecting of Arche with the Father]), and the Logos continued being in a movement toward God (= The Son existed in a movement toward the Father), and the Logos continued being God (= The Son was [part of? Within?] the Father).

e) = Centered in, and in union with, a starting of a Beginning, there was existing, and continued being, the transfer and input of Information that was conveying Meaning [= the Word and Will], and this transfer and input of Information that conveyed [purposed, causal] Meaning continued being projected with God as its Aim, and God continued in existence in this transfer and conveyance of Meaning-bearing Information (or: this "Flow of Information that is a Pattern-forming Influence;" = "God's self-expression in a creation"). [note: I owe the concepts of these interpretive renderings in this final option to an essay, "The science of complexity: a new theological resource?," by Arthur Peacocke, citing John Macquarrie, in Information and the Nature of Reality, Paul Davies & Niels Henrik Gregersen, Editors, Cambridge Univ. Press 2010]

In option e), please note that it begins with an "=" that indicates, in my translation, that what follows is a paraphrase. Here, the paraphrase begins with the second clause of the verse. I have included this paraphrase because of the discussion of the Logos in the work that I cited. We highly recommend reading this book. In meditating on this verse, I discerned the importance of Peacocke's and Macquarrie's insights in relation to it. We advise meditation on this paraphrase. Next, let us consider the range of context that is expressed in vs. 7,

"This one came into a testimony (or: went to witness; came for evidence), to the end that he may give testimony (be a witness; show evidence) about The Light, so that all humanity (or: everyone) would at some point come to believe and trust through It (or: by means of Him; or: through him)."

Note the extensiveness of the reason and intent for John being a representative that was sent (vs. 6) to give testimony, witness and evidence "about The Light." It was so that "all humanity (or: everyone) would at some point come to believe and trust through It." How many people? All; Everyone. With all of the above in mind, let us move on to the next verse that offers us insights of the Word's inclusion of all humanity, vs. 9 and vs. 11,

9. It was (or: He was, and continued being) the True and Genuine Light which (or: Who) is continuously (repeatedly; progressively) enlightening (giving light to) every person (or: human) continuously (repeatedly; progressively; constantly; one after another) coming into the world (or: the ordered system of culture, religion, economics and government; aggregate of humans; or: the universe) (or: It was the real Light, progressively coming into the world {organized system and aggregate of humanity}, which is progressively enlightening {or: shedding light on} every human).

11. It (or: He) came into Its (or: His) own things (possessions, realms, or people), and yet Its own (or: His own) people did not receive It (or: Him) or take It (or: Him) to their side.

The first rendering uses the pronoun, "It," to emphasize the continued subject of this Prologue: the Word. Because of the Word's relationship to Jesus, I also parenthetically offer the rendering "He." In the text, there are no expressed subjects of the verbs. These subjects are implied in the third person, singular, forms of the verbs. Because of the Word's OT association with Wisdom, a possible candidate for designating the subject would be "She," were it not that the fact of the Incarnation, found in vs. 14, below, points out that the subject matter of vss. 9-11 is, in fact, Jesus.

We can observe creation-wide inclusion from these words in vs. 9,

"which (or: Who) is continuously (repeatedly; progressively) enlightening (giving light to) every person (or: human) continuously (repeatedly; progressively; constantly; one after another) coming into the world, (or: progressively coming into the world {organized system and aggregate of humanity}, which is progressively enlightening {or: shedding light on} every human)."

Verse 11 can have either a particular interpretation, i.e., "His own people," or, Israel, or, it can be interpreted creation-wide, since vs. 3 informs us,

"All things (or: All humanity; [The] whole) come to be (or: was at some time birthed; occur; or: came to be; were birthed; or: suddenly happened) through and by means of It (i.e., the laid-out Word; or: Him)."

Note that "All," here, function in the Greek for both things and people (it is both neuter and masculine, in function). Reading this as, "All humanity/people," shouts of the inclusionary tone of the Prologue.

Verses 12 and 13 explain the particularity of individuals being born to be "God's children," and thus brothers of Jesus, as Paul explains in Rom. 8:29b, and instructs us that this is something in the "God" realm, not on the physical plain of existence. We find Paul's explanation of the individual, existential aspect of this in 1 Cor. 15:23,

"yet each person within the result and effect of his or her own class (or: ordered place; appointed position [in line]; arranged time or order of succession; = place in a harvest calendar, thus, due season of maturity)," as developing his statement in vs. 22, "For just as within Adam all humans keep on (or: everyone continues) dying, in the same way, also, within the Christ, all humans will keep on being made alive (or: in union with, and within the midst of, the Anointed One, everyone will one-after-another be created with Life)."

The next verse of this Prologue describes the Incarnation of the Word/Logos (etc.) as a spiritual explanation of the Christ/Messiah coming upon the scene in the firstt century AD:

14. And so That Which had been Laid Out as a transfer of Information, i.e., The Word (the Idea; the Thought; the Reason; the Discourse; the Message; The Collected Expression of Rational Logic; The Logos; = the meaning, plan and rational purpose of the ordered universe), births Itself flesh (or: became flesh; came to be [in] flesh; came into existence being flesh; = God's thought, the ground of all real existence, became projected into creation as an immanent power within the world of mankind, inhabiting flesh), and lives in a tent, within us (or: set up a tent and tabernacled among us), and we view (attentively gaze at; looked at so as to contemplate) Its (or: His) glory and assumed appearance (Its manifestation which calls forth praise; Its appearance which creates and effects opinions in regard to the whole of human experience; His imagination; = His manifest presence): a glory (= prestige and importance; reputation and opinion-forming appearance) as of an only-begotten person at a father's side (or: [the] glory in the presence of [the] Father, like a uniquely-born One), full of grace and truth (filled and replete with joy-producing favor, as well as reality and genuineness).

So what we read in vs. 1 now became a human being, one of us. The Incarnation is in Itself the Gospel, and demonstrated God's solidarity with humanity. Note that John did not specify that It/He became an Israelite, or even a descendant of David. The emphasis of this verse is that The outgrowth of the Mind of God took the form of flesh, a servant (Phil. 2:7), in order that He "will progressively drag [note: drag as with, or in, a net; or: draw, as drawing water with a bucket, or a sword out of a sheath] all mankind (or: everyone) to [Himself]" (Jn. 12:32).

And now, we have 1:16,

"because we all at some point receive (take with our hands) from out of the result of His filling (or: the effect of Its full contents; that which fills Him up): even grace in the place of grace (or: favor corresponding to and facing favor; a [new fresh] gracious favor in the place of and replacing [the previous] gracious favor; [one] joyous favor after and exchanged for [another] joyous favor)."

Here, I emphasized the punctiliar aspect of the aorist tense of the first clause, "at some point." I also rendered this verb, "receive," as a timeless aorist. You see, "WE ALL at some point receive," from out of His filling all things with Himself (Eph. 4:10). And with Him comes "a [new fresh] gracious favor in the place of and replacing [the previous] gracious favor," in a never-ending flow of His Life (your see, He is the Same, yesterday, today and on into the Ages - Heb. 13:8).

Our next visit in John's Good News is in chapter 3. We will begin in vs. 7,

7. "You should not be amazed (or: begin to marvel; at some point be filled with wonder; suddenly be astonished; or: Don't be surprised) that I said to you, 'It is necessary and binding for you folks to be born back up again to a higher place (or: for you people to be given birth from above).'

8. "The Spirit (or: Breath-effect, or, exhaled Breath; Attitude) habitually breathes and blows where It (or: He) is presently intending (willing; purposing), and you continually hear Its (or: His) voice, but yet you have not seen, and thus do not know, from what source It continuously comes, and where It progressively goes and habitually brings [things and folks] under [Its] control. Thus is everyone (or: does everyone constantly exist being) - the one being birthed, having been born forth from out of the midst of the Spirit (or: In this manner exists all mankind, which is in the state of being born from the Breath-effect)."

Observe the plural pronoun, which I have emphasized by expanding "you," to "you folks." He was speaking of "the Jews," in this context. He was being inclusive of all of them, and Paul picks this up in Rom. 11:

26. So then, thus, in this manner and with this result: all Israel will progressively be delivered (rescued, saved, made whole and restored to their original position [in the olive tree]), according as it has been written,"The One continuously dragging out of danger and drawing to Himself (The Rescuer; The Deliverer) will repeatedly arrive and be present from out of Zion; He will continue TURNING irreverence AWAY from Jacob.

27. "And this [is] the arrangement for them from beside Me (or: And this [will be] My covenant in, to and for them) when I take away their failures (deviations; sins; mistakes; misses of the target; shooting amiss of the goal)." [Isa. 59:20-21; 27:9]

The discussion with Nicodemus continues, and in vss. 11-13 Jesus explains the upcoming work of the Christ to bring about the fruition of God's love for humanity, which we will observe in vss. 14-16:

14. "And so, just as (or: correspondingly as) Moses lifted up (elevated; raised up high) the serpent, within the wilderness (desert; desolate place) [Num. 21:7ff], thus it is necessary and binding for the Son of Mankind (Humanity's Son) to be lifted up (elevated; raised up high; exalted),

15. "with the result and end that all - this progressively believing and successively (one-after-another) trusting humanity - in union with Him (or: in order that all humanity, who being constantly loyal, centered in and within the midst of Him), would continuously have eonian life (life having the state of being, qualities and characteristics of the sphere pertaining to the Age [of the Messiah]; age-quality and eon-lasting life)! [with other MSS: so that all, while continuously trusting into Him {others: on Him}, may not lose or destroy themselves, but rather may continuously hold age-abiding life (eonian life; life that continues on through the ages).]

16. "For thus God loves (or: You see God, in this manner, fully gives Himself to and urges toward reunion with) the aggregate of humanity (universe; ordered arrangement; organized system [of life and society]; the world), so that He gives His uniquely-born [other MSS: the only-begotten] Son, (or, reading 'oste' as an adverb: You see, in this manner God loves the sum total of created beings as being the Son: He gives the Only-begotten One; or: reading 'os te': For you see, [it is] in this way [that] God loves the aggregate of humanity - even as it were His Son: He gives the uniquely-born One), to the end that all humanity - who progressively trusting and successively believing into Him and thus being constantly faithful to Him - would not lose or destroy itself, or cause itself to fall into ruin, but rather can continuously have (or: would habitually possess and hold) eonian life (age-durative life with qualities derived from the Age [of the Messiah]; living existence of and for the ages).

In vs. 15, if we move from the subject, "all," directly to the verb, "would continuously have," we see the basic intent of John's meaning. The participial clause, set off by dashes, modifies the subject, "all," by explaining the process (note: the participle is in the present tense, which is durative as to its action). I render this existentially ongoing process (also known as the Way) in the rendering "progressively believing and successively trusting." Since people keep on being born into the world, I also offer this durative action as "one-after-another." This clause begins with the Greek letter "omicron." Later MSS added diacritical marks to make this the definite article "the," or as originally used, "this." So my first rendering reflects this possible rendering. However, since the older MSS did not have these diacritical marks (nor punctuation marks), this omicron, "o" could be a neutral form (which would include both men and women) of the relative pronoun "which; who." So my parenthetical rendering of the first half of the verse reads, "in order that all humanity, who being constantly loyal, centered in and within the midst of Him" then the verse continues, "would continuously have eonian life (etc.)."

We find the same syntactic construction in 16b, "to the end that all humanity - who progressively trusting and successively believing into Him and thus being constantly faithful to Him - would not lose or destroy itself, or cause itself to fall into ruin, but rather can continuously have (or: would habitually possess and hold) eonian life." This, along with vs. 15, explains what "For thus God loves the aggregate of humanity" really means, and intends, and which in turn is the result of vs. 14. Note again, in vs. 16, "to the end that all humanity... would not lose or destroy itself..." The inclusion of these words once again shouts to us.

We find similar Greek constructions in Jn. 6:

40. "You see, this is the purpose (will; intent) of My Father, to the end and intent that all mankind - which, in continuously watching (or: the one repeatedly gazing at) the Son, in contemplative discernment, and then progressively trusting (believing) into Him - would possess (or: can have; may hold) Life, Whose source is the Age (or: eonian life; life having the qualities and characteristics of the Age [of Messiah]; an age-enduring and eon-lasting life), and I will proceed to (or: can; should; would) be raising him up to and for the last Day (or: in the Last Day; by and with the final day)."

John Gavazzoni just pointed me to the "work" of trusting and believing, and whose "work" that is, in Jn. 6:29,

29. Jesus considered and answered, saying to them, "This is God's work (the work whose source is God): that you folks would continuously trust and progressively believe into that One whom He sends forth with a mission.

Gavazzoni says, "He isn't sent into our hearts because we believe, He's sent into our hearts in order for us TO believe. As I put it in an article, He comes in with batteries included, i.e., He comes in inclusive of His faith to grant us participation in that 'Faith OF Christ.'" He further points us to Gal. 4:

6. Now, because we exist being (are presently and continuously) sons, God at once sends forth (or: at one point sent off from out of [His] midst) His Son's Spirit (or: the Breath-effect, which is His Son) as an emissary into the midst of our hearts, repeatedly crying out (habitually calling out or exclaiming in an inarticulate cry; even: screaming, shrieking [verb also means: croak, as a bird]), "Abba (Aramaic: = Dad, or, Daddy!), O Father!"

This, folks, is God's work. Paul put it this way, in Rom. 5:5,

"God's love (the urge toward reunion and the unambiguous, uniting acceptance from God; God's giving of Himself to [us]) has been poured out in a gush and shed forth so that it now floods within our hearts, permeating the core of our being, through the Set-apart Breath-effect (or: Holy Spirit; Sacred Attitude) being given to us (in us; for us)."

As Gavazzoni posits, above, we trust and believe because God does this to us. He impregnates us with Himself, and then the Jerusalem which is above travails in birth "until Christ may be suddenly formed (= until the Anointing would be at some point birthed) within [us]" (Gal. 4:19). Peter brings Paul and John together in 1 Pet. 1:

23. being folks having been born again (been regenerated; been given birth back up again), not from out of a corruptible (or: perishable) seed that was sown, but rather from an incorruptible (imperishable; undecayable) one: through God's continually living and permanently remaining Word/Logos (or: through a message or expressed thought of [the] continuously living and constantly abiding God; or: through means of a living and dwelling Thought, Idea and Logically laid out Expression and Communication, which is God).

Paul informs us in 2 Cor. 4:

6. because the God suddenly saying (or: the God Who once was saying), "Light will shine forth (give light as from a torch; gleam) from out of the midst of darkness (dimness and shadiness; gloom and the absence of daylight)!" [is] the One who shines forth within the midst of our [previously dark] hearts, with a view to illumination of the intimate and experiential knowledge of God's glory - in a face of Christ (or: [is] He Who gives light in union with our hearts, [while] facing toward an effulgence and a shining forth which is an intimate knowing of the praise-inducing manifestation whose source and origin is God, and which is God, [while] in union with face to face presence of Christ [other MSS: Jesus Christ]).

Now in Jn. 6:45, we are further instructed:

45. "It exists having been written within the Prophets: 'And all mankind (all people) will continue existing being God's taught-ones (or: folks having had God as the source of instruction).' [Isa. 54:13] All humanity - which, in hearing from the Father (or: the person listening at the Father's side), and learning [D and others read: progressively learning] - is progressively coming toward Me!"

Once again, removing the modifying participial phrase in vs. 40, above, we have there,

"to the end and intent that all mankind would possess Life..."

Now doing the same thing here, in vs. 45b, we have,

"All humanity is progressively coming toward Me!"

In vs. 40, the participial phrase explains how the Life will come into their possession:

"in continuously watching, or repeatedly gazing at the Son, and then progressively trusting/believing into Him."

What came to mind was the picture given in Rev. 14:10 where those having taken the mark of the beast nature or behavior are dwelling in God's transforming and purifying Fire (cf Mal. 3:2-3) which John there describes as

"Fire (i.e., God - Heb. 12:29) and Deity (theion; also: the Divine Nature - which transforms all of us, as we behold His glory: 2 Cor. 3:18)."

Notice, in this Rev. 14 passage, that such folks are

"in the presence of the Lamb, and His set-apart agents (the called-out communities)."

We suggest that this is happening right here and now. The called out communities are the Lamb's Lampstand (Rev. 1:20; 2:1) among whom He is continuously walking. We saw them as lamps in Acts 2:3. The Lamb in Rev. 14:10 is like the serpent on the pole in Nu. 21:8-9, to which Jesus compared Himself in Jn. 3:14 and 12:32, above. All these folks have to do is to look at the Lamb and be healed of the serpent's bite and mark (see this allusion in the Nu. 21 incident).

Returning to John's Good News, we should soak in the inclusiveness of these two statements in Jn. 6:45,

a) "'And all mankind (all people) will continue existing being God's taught-ones!'"
b) "All humanity - which, in hearing from the Father (or: the person listening at the Father's side), and learning [D and others read: progressively learning] - is progressively coming toward Me!"

What beautiful promises! Existentially, we all come into realization of the work of Christ, one at a time. As with natural birth, so is spiritual birth. Paul used this same metaphor in Gal. 4:26,

"the Jerusalem above is (continues being) free, who is (or: which particular one continues being) our mother."

We began our study with all things coming into existence through the Word/Logos. We saw how John expressed the process of the expanding creation bringing Life, Light and inclusion, both corporately and individually. Paul expressed the inclusiveness of the aggregate of humanity being in God when he spoke to the unbelieving Athenians in Acts 17:

26. "Besides this, He made (formed; or: constructs; or: produced) from out of one [man, or, source; D and other MSS add: blood] every ethnic group of mankind, to continue dwelling (or: to be repeatedly residing) upon all [the] face of the earth (or: land)....

27. "to be continuously seeking God [D reads: the Deity], since really, in fact, they could feel about and grope, and then at some point might (or: possibly) find Him! And, to be sure, [He] is continuously being an Originator (or: He is constantly subsisting, being inherently [the] Under-beginner) not far away (or: a long distance) from each one of us!

28. "For you see, within the midst of and in union with Him we continuously live (or, as a subjunctive: could be constantly living), and are constantly moved about and put into motion, and continue existing (experiencing Being). Even as certain of the poets down among you people have said, 'You see, we are also a family of the One (or: we even continuously exist being a race whose source is the One; or: we also are His species and offspring; we are even a family which is composed of the One and which is the One).'

29. "Therefore, continuously and inherently subsisting from under a beginning, being God's family (a species of God; a race whose source is God; [the] kind of being having the qualities and characteristics of God; [the] offspring birthed from God)..."

Then, in Rom. 11:36, he presents for us the final outcome of the work of the Word/Logos:

"Because, forth from out of the midst of Him, then through the midst of Him (or: through means of Him), and [finally] into the midst of Him, [is; will be] the whole (everything; [are] all things; or: = Because He is the source, means and goal/destiny of all things - everything leads into Him)!"

Our final quote of the NT will be Jn. 3:17, where we see the Father's intent for sending the Word to be Incarnate, and for its humanity-wide effectiveness:

"You see, God does not send forth His [other MSS: the] Son as a Representative or Emissary into the world (or: System; aggregate of humanity) to the end that He should continuously separate and make decisions about the world (or: would at some point sift and judge the System, or the aggregate of humanity), but to the contrary, to the end that the world would be delivered (or: for the result that the System could be healed and made whole; so that the ordered arrangement should be restored to health; to the end that the aggregate of mankind may be saved - rescued and re-established in its original state): through Him!"

In vss. 18-21 Jesus moves to the individual picture, where we existentially live and walk out our lives. But knowing the overarching plan of the ages lets us see the Heart of God. We will end with Isa. 55:11,

"So shall My Word become, that shall go forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but rather it DOES what I desire and PROSPERS in that for which I sent it" (CVOT).

May these observations from the Gospel of John enlighten our Path,


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