|Chapter 21||The Great Gospel of John, Book 1|
Continuation of the discussion: about the mission of the Messiah, about judgment and punishment. [John 3:16-21]
John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
1. I say, 'I tell you: god is love and the Son is His wisdom. And God loved the world so much that He gave His only-begotten son, that is, His wisdom, emanating from Him from eternity, into this world that all who believe in Him may not die but have eternal life. - Tell Me, is this too incomprehensible to you?'
2. Says Nicodemus, 'I have the feeling as if I should understand it, but then I really do not understand. If only I knew where the Son of Man fits in, then I should be all right. You also spoke of God's only-begotten Son, whom God's love gave into the world. Are the `Son of Man' and `God's only-begotten Son' one and the same individual?'
3. Say I, 'Look here. I have a head, a body and hands and feet. The head, the body, hands and feet are flesh, and this flesh is the Son of Man, for what is flesh comes from the flesh. but in this Son of Man who is flesh there dwells God's wisdom, and that is God's only-begotten Son. Not God's only-begotten Son, but only the Son of Man will, like the brazen Moses-serpent in the wilderness, be lifted u[p, and many will be taking offence at that. Those who do not take offence, but believe and will adhere to His name, to them He will give the power to be called children of God, and their life and kingdom will be everlasting.
John 3:17: "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
4. You must not expect some judgement of the world as, for instance wars, floods or even a fire from the heavens consuming all the heathens. For behold, God did not send His only-begotten Son (divine wisdom) into the world (into this human flesh) to judge (destroy) this world, but to fully save it, that is, that also the flesh might not perish, but may rise to eternal life together with the spirit. (Under flesh in this case not so much the actual flesh of the body is to be understood, but rather the fleshly desires of the soul.) However, in order to attain to this, the material feelings of exaltation in the flesh must be eradicated by belief, namely belief in the Son of Man that He has come into the world, born from eternity out of God, so that all shall have eternal life who believe in His name and adhere to it.
John 3:18: "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."
5. Whosoever, be he Jew or Gentile, will believe in Him, shall not ever be judged and thereby perish, but the one who will take offence at the Son of Man and not believe in Him, then already judged, for the fact that he will not and cannot believe because his feeling of exaltation causes him to take offence at the name and nature of the Son of Man, is already such a man's judgement. do you understand this now? I have presented it to you with great clarity.'
6. Says Nicodemus, 'Yes, yes, I halfway do understand the meaning of your highly mystical words, but they appear to have been spoken to no purpose, as long as the by you so highly regarded Son of Man in whom there dwells the fullness of God's wisdom is not present and you are either unable or unwilling to give details of the time and place where he will be appearing.
7. Thus also your judgement, which you connect mainly with unbelief, sounds rather mysterious. If the judgement is neither a flood nor war or pestilence and also not a consuming fire, but only unbelief as such, to tell the plain truth, dear Master, I still cannot grasp the meaning of your words. For whoever does not comprehend just one or maybe two points of a speech fundamentally does not comprehend the entire speech. What actually does your `judgement' mean? What new meaning do you ascribe to this concept?'
8. Say I, 'My friend, soon I too could say to you: I find it hard to understand why you are unable to grasp the perfectly clear sense of My words. You say you do not understand the concept of `judgement' and I have made it so plain to you.
John 3:19: "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were and are evil."
9. Behold, this is the judgment that not the God-light from the heavens has come into the world, but men having been released from the darkness and set into the light still by fare prefer the darkness to the Go-light now in abundance before their eyes. That men reject the light is proved by their works which are evil all through.
10. Where can you find an initial complete faith, where the right piety? Where does one love another, except he has some selfish motive? Where are those now who loved their wife for the sake of fertility? they love the young harlots for sensual pleasure, lechery and harlotry. for he who carries on with the other sex in downright idolatry of lust and fornication commits true harlotry, and this the evil of all evils. - Where is there a thief who would take a lamp and steal visibly?
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