See WCF 2. In both the OT and the NT, important matters were resolved only with the testimony of two or three witnesses see notes on Deut. The second and third witnesses operate together in Christ: blood and water signify his human body and death, as well as, his bodily resurrection see notes on Jn.
Water and the Spirit are also referenced by Jesus as he spoke to Nicodemus see notes on Jn. There John affirms the necessity of both physical and spiritual birth to enter the kingdom of God. Here, the three witnesses agree about the identity of Jesus the Messiah as the God-man, fully human and fully divine. Water and blood - 1 John water and blood. See BC See note on In Greek mythology, the gods of Olympus did not have blood, but ichor, a watery substance.
The Spirit, The Water, And The Blood – Grace thru faith
It is likely that those who left John's congregation recognized Christ's deity, but not his humanity. This reference to water and blood shows Jesus Christ was both God and man. In his Gospel, John uses the words by water three times in reference to John the Baptist see notes on Jn. Therefore, it is possible John is referencing Jesus' baptism with water at the beginning of his ministry, and the end of his earthly ministry with blood that references his crucifixion Testimony of God - 1 John testimony of God.
See WCF 1. John provides yet another group of three witnesses: the Father, the Spirit and the believer. Even the heavenly powers and the glory of the angels and the principalities both visible and invible, except they believe in the blood of Christ. They withhold themselves from Communion and prayer, because they confess not that communion is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which flesh suffered for our sins, and which in His loving-kindness the Father raised up.
Wengst rightly points out the difficulty of finding examples of Gnostic teachers who considered that Jesus was made up of a watery substance, without any human blood. There is some evidence, however, to suggest that some later Gnostics did think of Christ as consisting of an ethereal substance Tertullian, De carne Christi 6 and Adv.
Tertullian states, " Thus the official record of both substances represents him as both man and God: on the one hand born, on the other not born: on the one hand fleshly, on the other spiritual: on the one hand weak, on the other exceeding strong: on the one hand dying, on the other living. That these two sets of attributes, the divine and the human, are each kept distinct from the other, is of course accounted for by the equal verity of each nature, both flesh and spirit being in full degree what they claim to be: the powers of the Spirit of God proved Him God, the sufferings proved there was the flesh of man.
Indeed, in a passage which explicitly quoted John , Origen himself seems to make a similar point against celsus in Contra Celsum 2.
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In this passage Origen sees the water which flowed from the side of the crucified Jesus as a miraculous indication of his divinity. Celsus had asked, " What is the nature of the ichor in the body of the crucified Jesus? Is it such as flows in the bodies of the immortal god's". Celsus had drawn this conclusion in part from the Illiad, where Homer states concerning the wounding of Aphrodite, " and blood immortal flowed from the goddess, ichor, that which funds in the veins of the blessed divinities; since these eat no food, nor do they drink of the shinning wine, and therefore they have no blood and are called immortal.
Finally it should be noted that the notion of the water being a celestial substance which was part of Jesus' make-up is not as far-fetched as may appear at first sight.
After all, it is apparent from certain Jewish cosmogonies that water is one of the pre-existent substances which is used to make the world. It is not inconceivable therefore, that the author of 1 John wants to make the point that, as well as a celestial substance, there was human blood in Jesus' veins. As Joseph noted, is it certainly that something like a proto-Gnosticism in view, although recent scholarship has pushed back the dates of Gnosticism considerably later than was earlier assumed. Still, ideas start somewhere, and we seem to be seeing evidence in 1 John of at least a sort of incipient Gnosticism sufficient to deny the full reality of the humanity of Jesus.
We should note the concern that John has with the Messianic character of Jesus. In , he has said that it is everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah Christ who is born of God, and in , he notes the importance of believing that Jesus is the Son of God. Such a believer is the one who overcomes the world. The term "Son of God," among other things, is Messianic and harkens back to passages such as Psalm 2 see vv 7, 12 for explicit reference to "son" language spoken by Yahweh to His "Anointed," His Messiah.
Passages such as these reinforce the Davidic element, and thus in John's context, the matter of genuine human lineage. His use of "blood" here apparently is in line with John , where he uses the idea of being born "of blood" to refer to genealogical descent. Even if that is connoted, I think, however, John probably has the cross primarily in view which if anything would be even more offensive to the view he is countering.
Jn Blood is more difficult, but it is not very clear to me that John would naturally say that the blood of descent "bears witness. This is not of course to deny that he believed Jesus was the Son of David; just a note that this is not a major element in the themes that concern him.
The other thing that makes the cross the referent attractive is that it fits well with the other two witnesses as well as with biblical ecclesiology. The Messiah has objective witnesses in the Spirit, the public baptism, and the cross; He has given the Church these witnesses, as well: the outpouring of the Spirit, water baptism, and the eucharist.
Paul at least appeals to the Spirit and baptism to provide assurance of divine acceptance see Gal —5; , and to the Eucharist to refer to participation in Christ's body and blood see 1 Cor — At any rate, I would think that the cross has heavy overtones in the "blood" reference here, even if one is apt to make genealogical descent central. Joseph's view of "water" being a reference to eternal life is intriguing and a possible dimension given John's own usage.
Indeed, again the overtone is probable. I suspect, however, that the primary referent is to Jesus' own baptism, which with the attendant descent of the Spirit, and the consequent divine identification of Jesus as "Son"—see my comments on Ps 2 for the significance of that turned out to be His public designation and anointing as Yahweh's Messiah.
This of course was recorded in all the Gospels, but in John's literature, the Baptizer recounts the event in John —34, offering the climactic statement, "And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God. It would seem that the "proto-Gnostics" or whatever designation we assign to those John is opposing had less problem with Jesus' baptism than with His death, which is not surprising; in the past, even angels had occasionally eaten, and therefore presumably spirits and manifestations of various sorts could be baptized with water.
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And so John pushes the point: Not by water only, but also by blood. In other words, Jesus was not only anointed as Messiah at His baptism; He died as the Son of God in fulfillment of that offensive and mysterious role. It may be that when 1 John says by "water" it means physical birth and "blood" it means physical death. The Spirit is His presence. That is how I understand the gospel of John where Jesus says in v5 "unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God," followed by v6 where Jesus says "That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
I believe that verse 6 is parallel with verse 5. Water is equated with physical birth. Whereas, Spirit is equated with spiritual birth. So Jesus says you must not only be born physically but spiritually. John spends many verses in the epistle of 1 John countering the gnostic arguments of the day floating around where some of them taught that Jesus either never came in the flesh, or some taught that Jesus was some kind of phantom, or some taught that the Christ nature entered Him at baptism and exited Him just before the crucifixion.
If this is the case, John may be saying that "the Word made flesh" Jesus physically came and physically died. John would then be saying that the Spirit bears witness of this truth because the Spirit is truth. The "water" "blood" and "Spirit" being in agreement in verse 8 would simply be summarizing the fact that Jesus was born, died, and resurrected. This runs contrary to the gnostic teaching of the day but compliments John's other claims throughout the book defending Jesus' true Personhood. Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site the association bonus does not count.
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead? Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. Ask Question. Matthew Miller Matthew Miller 3, 11 11 gold badges 36 36 silver badges 48 48 bronze badges. Joseph Joseph The Standard View: Water and Blood as Baptism and Death It is tempting to suppose that the reference to water in this passage is a reference to Jesus' baptism and the blood to his death on the cross.
So what then does the water mean? Because it's equating the water and Spirit. Tim Gallant Tim Gallant 1, 13 13 silver badges 9 9 bronze badges. Brandon Wedel Brandon Wedel 21 1 1 bronze badge. I'm very grateful for your participation here. We're a little different from a forum, so do take the site tour if you haven't already. Answers are expected to have informed argument, cite evidence primary and secondary.