The Contextual identity of "all" in John 6:45

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by The Biblicist, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
    45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
    46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.



    A. The Issue:

    The question is who does the word "all" refer to in John 6:45? There are two basic views. (1) It refers to the new covenant people of God; (2) It refers to all mankind. The answer is crucial to the identifying who are being drawn in verse 44 because Christ is quoting Old Testament prophets to explain what he means by drawing in verse 44 and who it is that is being drawn.


    B. Old Testament Scriptures:

    Plural "prophets" - Jesus is primary quoting word for word from the first phrase in Isaiah 54:13 which reads:

    Isa. 54:13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
    Jn. 6:45 - And they shall be all taught of God.

    However, Christ says "prophets" plural and so the other texts that use "all" or its equivilent synonyms that God teaches are:

    Jer. 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

    Nearly all commentators from every denominational persuasion are agreed that Christ was at least referring to these two prophets and these two statements.

    Do these two prophetic passages help identify "all" in John 6:45. I believe they leave no question at all who that "all" is and who it is not.

    A. Isaiah 54:13


    Isa. 54:13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

    Significantly "all thy children" denies a universal application to all mankind without exception, as all mankind without exception are not "thy children"

    Some may respond that all humanity are "thy children" in the sense of being his creation rather than in the sense of salvation. However, does the context of Isaiah 54 support that interpretation?

    10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.
    11 ΒΆ O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.
    12 And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.
    13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
    14 In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.
    15 Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.
    16 Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.
    17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.


    He is not speaking about the world at large or all mankind but the children of "the covenant of my peace" (v. 10) or those he describes as "the servants of the Lord" (v. 17) who are all taught by God so that the consequence is "great...peace" of that covenant. There is no possible way that "all" in this context can refer to all mankind without exception as it is restricted to "thy children" and 'thy children" are restricted to the "covenant" people of God. Hence, John 6:45 has reference to the "all" in John 6:37-39 or those given to the Son by the Father.


    B. Jer. 31:31-34

    31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
    32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
    33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
    34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.


    Again, there is no possible way that "all" in verse 34 can be interpreted to include all mankind without exception. Again, these are "all" the covenant children of God which has the effectual consequence that every single one of this "all" are saved "from the least of them unto the greatest of them" know him in the sense of forgiveness of sins.

    POSSIBLE OBJECTION: Some may object and say, these passages refer to the future salvation of Israel, so Mark you cannot use them to restrict drawing to "all" given by God to the Son or the children of the new covenant. However, I am not the one who quoted these scriptures to explain John 6:44 am I? Jesus chose them and he selected scriptures that restricted the "all" to covenant children and made it impossible to interpret "all" to mean all mankind without exception.

    Second, the new covenant children are not restricted to future Israel but the very same passage is applied by the writer of Hebrews to first century Christians:

    Heb. 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
    11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
    12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.


    Third, the nature of this teaching done directly by God without human instrumentality as it is ALL INTERNAL instruction that only God can do ("I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts;") and God denies it is man that does the teaching ("they shall not teach every man his neighbor").

    Jesus explained how Peter came to the realization that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God (Mt. 16:16) was not due to human instrumentality - "For flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father in heaven" (Mt. 16:17). Paul explains that true understanding of the gospel occurs inside man and that is solely the area of instruction directly by God as a creative act (2 cor. 4:6).


    C. "Everyone that hath heard and learned of the Father cometh to me" - Jn. 6:45b

    this is an epexegetical explanation of what it means to be "taught" of God. Remember, the scriptures of the prophets Jesus quoted demanded that all thus taught by God are all saved, all become his children "from the least to the greatest" of that "all." Remember, also that this instruction by God is entirely INTERNAL as described by the prophets.

    It is impossible to claim to have been "taught" by anyone without hearing what is taught and having learned it. Indeed, the word translated "heard" includes obedience as "hear" in the scriptures means to receive and respond accordingly. Remember this teaching by God is all INTERNAL and so "hear" means to receive and respond accordingly within, while "learned" refers to experiencing knowing God in a saving way by revelation within. Paul explains it this way:

    2 Cor. 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
    7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.


    This revealed knowledge is the "substance" of saving faith which is received as a creative act of God. It is also the object of saving faith and the basis of our "hope" (Heb.11:1). Therefore, faith cometh by this kind of hearing (internal) and this kind of hearing by the creative COMMAND of God (rhema - word of command - Heb. 10:17).

    (CONTINUED)
     
  2. The Biblicist

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    - CONTINUED

    D. Not All are Drawn by God - Jn. 6:64-65

    64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
    65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.


    Verse 64 provides an explanatory statement concerning unbeleif of some of the disicples which had existed "from the beginning" of their profession (false profession).

    Verse 65 provides an explanation for why they were in this continuing state of unbelief. The second sentence in verse 64 is John's additional explanation Christ's word in the first sentence. So the second sentence "For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should be tray him" should in parenthesis. So leaving out the parenthesis verse 64-65 would read:

    But there are some of you that believe not.And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father

    So verse 65 is a direct explanation to his assertion that some believed not as "therefore" indicates. The explanation is "that no man can come unto me, except IT were given unto him of my Father." Jesus had said this unto them in verse 44. However, here he drops the word "draw" and replaces it with "IT were given unto him." What does the "it" refer to? The purpose for drawing by the Father is because "no man CAN COME" and the "it" refers to the ability to come to Christ by faith for eternal life.

    CONCLUSION: I have restricted my investigation to the immediate context and the scriptures that Christ himself used in this context and there is no possible way that "all" in John 6:45 can refer to all mankind without exception. There is no possible way in this context to say that that "all" have heard but some of this "all" have not learned because "all" in the prophetic contexts demands that "all" have both heard and learned and therefore "all" do come. Hence, "all" who are drawn in verse 44 contextually defined demand they are the same "all" who were given in verse 37-39.
     
  3. HankD

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    "the future salvation of Israel" some sectors in dispensationalism would make this objection.
    That this applies not only to Israel but to the entire world during the millennium.

    When Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost he referred to Joel chapter 2 as a fulfillment of what was happening as the Spirit was being poured out on that particular day in history.

    Acts 2
    16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
    17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
    18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
    19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
    20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

    21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    Since the emboldened text did not happen because (they would say) national Israel rejected the message of both Christ(recorded in the gospels) and the apostles (recorded in the Book of Acts) and they must now come by grace through faith:

    Matthew 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

    Acts 18
    5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
    6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

    Only a partial fulfillment has been given and only to the church (collective of those who have been born of the Spirit) until the "times of the Gentiles" are over:

    Luke 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

    I know this exceeds your scope of context but are you willing to make comments on this?

    Thanks
    HankD
     
  4. The Biblicist

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    But Hank, he is providing this as an explanation for why certain of his own disciples living right then and there in his presence remained in unbelief "from the beginning" of their profession, rather than making a commentary on those living after His second coming. For anyone to claim this has a yet future application that does not occur until after the second coming of Christ has no immediate contextual basis anywhere in chapter six and indeed contradicts the very explicit application being made in chapter six.
     
  5. HankD

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    OK, are you willing to comment on Acts chapter 2 where Peter quotes a fulfillment of Joel 2?

    Thanks again
    HankD
     
  6. The Biblicist

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    Ok, I am confessedly a post-tribulational pre-millennialist. Therefore, consistent with that position I believe Joel 2 is partially fulfilled in Acts 2 and then ultimately fulfilled in the millennium with the salvation of Israel as a nation at the precise point of His return while still in the clouds of the first heaven. I don't want to get into an argument over pre versus a millennialism. However, if you will look at my post at http://www.baptistboard.com/threads/the-contextual-identity-of-all-who-are-given-in-jn-6-37.100955/
    you will find the contextual based evidence that deals directly with the supposition that John 6 is primarily applicable to a restricted time or restricted to Israel or to the apostles. If you can put a hole in the evidence I presented, I would be more than happy to look at it.
     
  7. HankD

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    Thanks B,
    I have no desire to "put a hole" in your exposition of these chosen parts of John 6.
    I have learned (sincerely) from your presentation as well as from others here on the BB and after I have looked at your presentation more closely there may be a question (or even an objection) or two but it won't be confrontational much less combative.

    After 50 plus years I am still learning and enhancing my views.
    Most are solid convictions - "The fundamentals" (Trinity, Incarnation, Virgin Birth, Resurrection, etc..).
    Fine tuning of election, predestination, eschatology - still fuzzy needing more focus.
    So I'm open to anything that's not blatantly off base.

    Thanks again
    HankD
     
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  8. The Biblicist

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    Your welcome Hank. I greatly prefer less combative conversation as I think it promotes not only more friendliness but more light.
     
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  9. HankD

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    IMO this is a good thread in spite of the differences between the two prominent stake holders.

    Why? Because it show some clear differences between C and A views - spelled out.

    Personally, the calvinistic view appeals to my mind and the theologian.
    The arminius view - to my heart and the missionary.

    Probably not in the very near future these two will some how be reconciled.
    Don't know how but it will.

    To me the biggest problem is the difference between eternity and the present flow of the time stream continuum in which we are imprisoned.

    It seems from scripture that God's counsel after His own will was done in eternity signified by "from before the world was" or "from the foundation of the world".

    Again, we are encapsulated in a world which is caught up in the time stream although part of eternity or the 4th dimension.

    Imagine if we did not have the set of eyes (two of them) positioned in the from of our heads - bi ocular vision - allowing for us to see in 3D. That would be a difficulty for us which some in the animal kingdom have.
    Some have no vision capacity at all - e.g. earthworms.

    Well I believe we have a similar problem in that we either have not the capacity or a very limited capacity to think in eternal perceptions. So the Spirit reveals the strategy and tactics of eternal salvation in verbs with tenses and other grammatical particles (prepositions) as that which is suitable to us who can only perceive past, present and future.

    e.g. The scripture talks about the setting and rising of the sun which is a truthful perceptual view but not a scientific view of that which happens at "sunset" and "sunrise".

    How much more the events of salvation which were executed in eternity and then revealed in the time continuum as a reality for us with our limited (or missing) perception of eternity.

    I don't know about anyone else but this is awesome to me and gives me a mind migraine.

    So one group may argue that the sun does not really "set" it does not move relative to the earth but it's the earth rotating on its axis giving the perception of "setting" while the other faction will say just look at what happens in the evening and believe what you see with your own eyes, the sun moves down from the sky slowly going below the horizon.

    Both views are correct - the perceptual and the scientific.

    IMO there will be a meeting of the heart and mind only "after" we receive our resurrected glorified bodies with the capacity to understand eternity in truth.

    Until then the debate will go on (and on, and on...).


    HankD
     
    #9 HankD, Aug 16, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  10. The Biblicist

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    I understand the angst you convey and there is a happy medium where sovereignty and responsiblity meet. However, with regard to this text, all the particulars are supplied by the immediate context and the scriptures cited by Christ himself to irrevocably condemn any idea that "all" in John 6:45 has any possible kind of application outside the covenant children of God.

    If I am wrong here, I am certainly open to the contextual based evidence that I am wrong. However, from what is supplied I can't see how any such contextual evidence can be found to teach contrary to what I have laid out.

    I am about to do another post on John 12 in its context and its relationship to John 6 with John 6:44 and John 12:32 as the primary focus.
     
  11. Iconoclast

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    Hankd,

    Let me just sneak this in for you to consider;
    Hank,

    Some will say that this completely happened in Acts2.....[your bolded portion]
     
  12. HankD

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    Well, my angst is that we often feel it necessary to get ugly with one another over this disagreement.

    I like Dr TomC's statement that it's all about Christ and centered around Him
    In that we can agree and get along.

    I do tend to agree with you B but I do have a small affinity for the - all inclusiveness - of "all" in John 6.

    IMO you did a good exposition of the verses presented.

    Also looking forward to John 12:32 exposition.

    HankD
     
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  13. HankD

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    Yes, I am aware that preterists believe it did in AD70.
    Is that what you are addressing or something else?

    Thanks
    HankD
     
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  14. The Biblicist

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    I agree. Thank you for the encouragement. I wish we could all discuss such issues like you and I are doing and just keep it to the issues while treating each other with respect rather than getting personal and upset.
     
  15. HankD

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    Hey, let's all give it a try!

    HankD
     
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