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Chapter 6, Great Gospel of John Book 1
31. ‘I myself did not know Him before, but that he might be revealed to Israel I came to baptise with water (the ones waiting for Him)’
1. Naturally, the emissaries thereupon asked John, ‘Since when have you known this strange man, and how was what you have just said about him made known to you?’ - Here John replied quite naturally that he, as a man, had not known him either, but that his spirit had revealed this to him and induced him to prepare men for This One and to cleanse them with the water of the Jordan of their gross contamination through sins.
32. And John testified further, saying (after the baptism); ‘(As I baptised Him) I saw the spirit of God (as evidence for me) descending from heaven just like a dove that gently lowers itself, and this spirit stayed above Him.’
2. Here John makes known that he, too, is seeing Me for the first time in person before him, and that My Spirit within him has revealed this to him. Naturally, the emissaries observed this man during the short performance of the baptism with water, which John had initially refused to perform on me with the significant remark that I should baptise him rather than he Me. But when I insisted that it had to be done in this way, John gave in and baptised Me. But he saw what I Myself had revealed to him through My Spirit within his spirit as I had sent him to Bethabara, how the Spirit of God, that is, My very own eternal, primordial Spirit, descended upon Me from the heavens full of light like a shining little cloud in the way a dove descends, and stayed above My head. At the same time he heard the familiar words:
3. ‘This is My beloved Son, or this is My light, My own primordial essence in which I, as the eternal, primordial essence of love, am well pleased. Listen to him!’
33. ‘I would not have known Him either: but He who sent me to baptise with water, said to me; upon whom you will see the spirit descending, and remaining upon Him, He is the one who will baptise with the holy spirit.’
4. That is why John says, ‘ I would not have recognised Him either.’
34. ‘And I saw it and am now testifying that this is truly the Son of God.’
5. Only after this baptism does John tell the emissaries what he had seen and heard and insist that the Baptised, Whom he had already as He was approaching announced as the revealed Lamb of God, was truly the Messiah for whom all Israel had been waiting. This is truly the Son of God, that it, God’s actual primordial fundamental essence within God.
6. He, John, had seen with his own eyes God’ Spirit descending upon Him and remaining above Him. Not as if this man had only then received that spirit, but this manifestation took place as evidence for him (John) since he had not known Him before.
7. Here the question arises whether these emissaries from Jerusalem had not perceived these things with their own eyes and ears. The answer to this is always one and the same: These things shall be revealed only to the babes and the simple, but to the worldly wise they will remain hidden and veiled.
8. Thus the emissaries from Jerusalem also saw here nothing but the baptism with water and were quite annoyed when John told them what he had seen and heard. They did not perceive any of this and, therefore, abused John saying that he lied to them. However, several of John’s disciples who were present joined them and testified that John had spoken the truth.
9. But the emissaries shook their heads and said, ‘John is your master and you are his disciples, wherefore you are confirming his statement. We are learned and wise in all things of prophets and recognise from your words and actions that you and your master are fools, that you do not see and know a thing and with your foolishness drive many people crazy, and that to such an extent that this mater has already for some time been regarded as a nuisance by the high priests of the temple. It would be best to put a stop to your activities by force.’
10. This angered John and he said, ‘You snakes, you vipers’ brood: Do you think you can thereby escape retribution? Look, the axe with which you would like to destroy us is already laid to your roots; see how you can escape perdition. Unless you repent in sackcloth and ashes and let yourselves be baptised, you will face destruction.
11. For truly, this was the One about Whom I had told you: After me will come the One Who has been before me; for He was there before I was. From His fullness all of us have received grace upon grace.’
12. Following these forceful words, some remain with him and have themselves baptised, but most of them leave greatly enraged.
13. These verses deal with purely historical facts and do not have much inner meaning which can be easily recognised from the previous explanations. Here it must be pointed out that such verses are all the easier to understand if given with the then well-known circumstances. For at the time, the evangelist recorded the Gospel it was customary to omit as unnecessary sentences dealing with all kinds of generally known circumstances and record only the main sentences, leaving all secondary details ‘between the lines,’ as you would say today. In order to throw more light on this for that time most noteworthy matter, we will have a closer look from this angle at the three following verses and the style of that time will become quite clear and recognisable.
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