3 X 2 Witnesses That Jesus Is The Son of God
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 11/7/04
Text: 1 John 5:5-9
In the Old Testament Law, God clearly established a standard for proving something as fact. Turn to Deuteronomy 19:15 – "One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established." Two or three witnesses were required to prove a person guilty. Likewise, when we come to 1 John 5:5-9, the Apostle John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit produces three witness to prove that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. That is the focus of this message today.
1 John 5:6 & 8 "This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."
The witness "by water" is referring to the Baptism of Jesus Christ. Water refers to Christ's baptism at the beginning of His public ministry, through which He declared His purpose to fulfill all righteousness. God had revealed to John the Baptizer (Baptist) how he would know who Son of God and Savior was. We read about this in John 1:1-36. The companion pass that we must look at is Matthew 3:13-17 "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Christ was identified as the Son of God, the Messiah and Savior at His baptism.
The Witness By Blood
Verse 6 says, "This is he that came by…blood." Blood refers to His bloody death upon the cross for the sin of the world. Turn in your Bibles to Romans 5:8-9 -- "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
The work that Jesus Christ began at His baptism was finished on the Cross! You will remember the words of our Savior recorded in John 19:30 -- "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." As I have told you the Greek word under "it is finished" is tetelestai – tetelestai, which means paid in full. The blood shed by the Son of God on Calvary obtained eternal redemption for all who believe. Hebrews 9:12 says, "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."
But someone might say, "how do we know that the blood of Jesus Christ was different than anyone else’s blood that was crucified on a cross. For the answer we must turn to Romans 1:4 "And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:" All of the other people who were ever crucified died and stayed dead. But not the Lord Jesus Christ. On the third day He arose from the dead, never to die again. The blood that Jesus Christ shed on the Cross is a witness. It proves that He accomplished the task for which God the Father sent Him. And why did God send Him? 1 John 4:14 "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."
These two past facts in the Lord's life are a permanent witness to us, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Savior. But there is another witness…
The Witness By The Spirit
Verse 6c reads – "And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth." The Holy Spirit is the third and the chief witness that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 1) He witnessed at Christ’s baptism. 2) the Holy Spirit bore witness to Christ’s Messiahship, after his ascension, by descending, according to his promise, on his apostles, and by accompanying the message which they delivered with saving power to thousands in Jerusalem, Acts 2. 3) he still bears the same testimony in the conversion of every individual who becomes a Christian, convincing them that Jesus is the Son of God.
Verse 8 summarizes the three witness -- 1 John 5:8 "And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."
1 John 5:7 "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."
The technical name of 1 John 5:7 is the "Johannine Comma." Many nearly all modern versions of the Bible leave out this powerful verse supporting the Trinity (RV, Ne, NIV, RSV, GN, LB, NASV; NEB, NWT JB. AMP italicizes the words; NKJV, NSRB margin note says that the words have no manuscript authority and are an interpolation). But is that true that there is no early manuscript evidence for the verse?
Before I answer that question you must realize that the greatest corruptions to the New Testament Received Text took place during the first 100 years after of its existence according to Dr. Scrivener and Dean Burgon. Paul warned that it was happening in his day as we see in 2 Corinthians 2:17 "For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ." He even mentions false letters that were circulating which were supposed to be from Him. Turn to 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand." Even Peter mentions the perversion of the Scriptures in 2 Peter 3:15-16. So, what is the truth? Was 1 John 5:7, that powerful witness to the Trinity, added at a later date? My answer is "NO!" It was removed at an early date by Bible corrupters. You will hear skeptics say that the verse does not appear in Greek manuscripts before the 1500’s. First of all, that is NOT true. I appears in at least five Greek manuscripts that are before the 1500’s. And there is more. There are a number of early Latin manuscripts that contain 1 John 5:7. Since these Latin versions were derived from the Greek New Testament, there is reason to believe that 1 John 5:7 has very early Greek attestation, hitherto lost. There is also reason to believe that Jerome’s Latin Vulgate (AD 340-420), which contains the Johannine Comma, was translated from an untampered Greek text he had in his possession and that he regarded the Comma to be a genuine part of First John. Jerome in his Prologue to the Canonical Epistles wrote, "Irresponsible translators left out this testimony [i. e., 1 John 5:7f] in the Greek codices." In fact there is a long list of early "church fathers" who reference 1 John 5:7 in their sermons and other writings. Here is a partial list – Tertullian (200 A.D.) quotes the verse. In 250 A.D. Cyprian, who writes, "And again concerning the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit it is written: 'and the Three are One'" (Vienna, vol. iii, p. 215). In 350 A.D. Priscillian cites the verse (Vienna, vol. xviii, p. 6) as does Idacius Clarus and Athanasius. The list goes on and on. I agree with the conclusion of Dr. Edward F. Hills who wrote, "It was not trickery that was responsible for the inclusion of the Johannine Comma in the Textus Receptus, but the usage of the Latin speaking church."
The new versions are missing the boat when it comes to
1 John 5:7. The Father, The Word and The Holy Ghost are the Heavenly
witnesses that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and Savior. Is He your