John 3:31 – Jesus is Above All

John 3:25 There arose therefore a questioning on the part of John’s disciples with some Jews about purification.
John 3:26 They came to John, and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, the same baptizes, and all men come to him.”
John 3:27 John answered, “A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven.
John 3:28 You yourselves testify about me, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before him.’
John 3:29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. This, my joy, therefore is made full.
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 3:31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is from the Earth belongs to the Earth, and speaks of the Earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.
John 3:32 What he has seen and heard, of that he testifies; and no one receives his witness.
John 3:33 He who has received his witness has set his seal to this, that God is true.
John 3:34 For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for God gives the Spirit without measure.

Unless noted otherwise, all Biblical quotations herein are from the World English Bible edition.

According to some trinitarians and oneness believers, one of the above verses, John 3:31, means that Jesus is Yahweh (Jehovah) since it stated that Jesus “is above all.” This verse is then compared with verses such as Psalm 97:9, which states: “For you, Yahweh, are most high above all the earth. You are exalted (superior) far above all gods (elohim).” The “gods” — elohim — here are evidently the same “gods” spoken of in verse 7, that is, the man-made idol gods, which, indeed, of themselves, are nothing, and they have no might in themselves. —  1 Corinthians 8:4; Galatians 4:8.

Nevertheless, by saying that Jesus “is above all,” is John the Baptizer stating that Jesus is Yahweh? Absolutely not! In verse 34, John plainly states that Jesus is “he whom God has sent.” He also said that Jesus “speaks the words of God,” and to Jesus “God gives the spirit without measure.” John does not say that God Himself came from above; John does not say that God Himself spoke; John does not say that God gave to God the spirit without measure.

The Greek word that is rendered “all’ in John 3:31 is a form of the word “pas.” This word always looks to context and common evidence for what is included or excluded in the “all” being spoken of. The context and other scriptures give evidence that “God” Himself is being excluded, since Jesus was sent by the only true God. (John 17:3) The words that Jesus spoke were the words given to him by the only true God, Yahweh, who had sent him. (Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Matthew 22:32; 23:39; Mark 11:9,10; 12:26; Luke 13:35; 20:37; John 3:2,17,32-35; 4:34; 5:19,30,36,43; 6:57; 7:16,28; 8:26,28,38; 10:25; 12:49,50; 14:10; 15:15; 17:8,26; 20:17; Acts 2:22,34-36; 3:13,22; 5:30; Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 8:6; 11:31; Colossians 1:3,15; 2:9-12; Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 1:1) Thus, as Paul spoke in 1 Corinthians 15:27, “it is evident that he is excepted who” sent Jesus is excluded. Likewise, “it is evident that he is excepted who” gave the words for Jesus to speak.

Additionally, the “all” in context is speaking of man here on the earth, of which John the Baptizer was one. John had never been in heaven, nor could John say that he was “from heaven.” Jesus, however, had been with his God and Father long before the “the word was made.” (John 17:5) Therefore, Jesus could say, as no other man could truthfully say: “As my Father taught me, I say these things.” (John 8:28) He knew of heavenly things, of which things no other man could know. No man has ever ascended into the heavens to know of these things, but he who descended from heaven knew what he was talking about. (John 3:12,13) Having descended from heaven, thus Jesus’ knowledge was superior to that of all other men, and that is what John the Baptizer was relating.

Likewise, when John the Baptizer said “no one receives his witness,” he did not mean that absolutely no man on earth received the witness given by Jesus, for the Gospel writer John had earlier stated: “as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God’s children.” (John 1:12) However, the world in general, even God’s chosen nation, did not receive him. (John 1:11) Thus, one has to understand the words “no one receives his witness” as applying generally, and not exclusively.

Notwithstanding, the attribute of being “Most High” is never, in the Bible, attributed to Jesus. Jesus is the son of the Most High, but not the “Most High.”  — Genesis 14:22; Psalm 7:17; 83:18; 92:1; Luke 1:32; John 13:16.

Nevertheless, none of this means that Jesus has the divinity — the glory — that only belongs to his God and Father.

 

         
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