Oct 22, 2008

Robertson on John 3: 3

Brian, a commenter who jumped into the debate at Steve Camp's blog, made this comment to my friend Ian.


Must not the new birth precede seeing the kingdom? At what point does a person first see the kingdom? At salvation! Praise God!

BTW..."see life" does not appear in John 3:3..."see the kingdom of God" does. The word "see" in verse 3 is in the aorist infinitive, which does not designate a future eschatological action, but a present ability of perception and knowledge and understanding of.

John gill says, "if this is not the case [no birth from above], a man can have no true knowledge of the kingdom of the Messiah, which is not a temporal and carnal one".

I think the "enter" in verse 5 is indeed referring to a future entry into the kingdom, but that the "see" in verse 3 refers to a present ability to see/perceive/know of the kingdom of God."

Now, Ian can surely answer for himself, but I must add a few of my own thoughts here. Steve Camp "dropped the ball" on our little discussion on the "born again before faith" error (more on this in an upcoming post) so the discussion over there is over (it seems). I have already addressed this scripture and the arguments the "born again before faith" crowd make from it (see my series on "Hardshell Proof Texts" in the Hardshell link and archive). But, let me cite Robertson and another passage or two that refutes what Brian is saying (as well did D. A. Carson).

""He cannot see the kingdom of God" (ou dunatai idein tˆn basileian tou theou). To participate in it as in Lu 9:27. For this use of idein (second aorist active infinitive of hora) see Joh 8:51; Re 18:7."

(A. T. Robertson - "Word Pictures in the New Testament")

"I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God." (Luke 9: 27 NIV)

This is eschatological life, what is to be enjoyed when "thy kingdom come."

"I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death." (John 8: 51 NIV)

1 comment:

Ian D. Elsasser said...


You are diligent! I appreciate your support. I just posted a follow up comment on Steve Camp's blog. John, not to mention the whole NT, is not concerned with the ordo salutis scheme imposed by systematics. It often leads to misinterpretation of texts and needless debate.

God bless.