This then is ( καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν )
Rev., correctly and literally, and this. According to the proper reading the verb stands first in order ( ἐστὶν αὕτη ), with emphasis, not merely as a copula, but in the sense “there exists this as the message.” For a similar use of the substantive verb, see 1 John 5:16, 1 John 5:17; 1 John 2:15; John 8:50.
Message ( ἐπαγγελία )
This word, however, is invariably used in the New Testament in the sense of promise. The best texts read ἀγγελία , message, which occurs only at 1 John 3:11; and the corresponding verb, ἀγγέλλω , only at John 10:18.
We have heard of Him ( ἀκηκόαμεν ἀπ ' αὐτοῦ )
A form of expression not found elsewhere in John, who commonly uses παρ ' αὐτοῦ . See on John 6:46. The phrase here points to the ultimate and not necessarily the immediate source of the message. Not only John, but others in earlier times had heard this message. Compare 1 Peter 1:10, 1 Peter 1:11. Ἁπό points to the source παρά to the giver. Thus, John 5:41, “ I receive not honor from ( παρά ) men.” They are not the bestowers of honor upon me.” John 5:44, “How can ye believe which receive honor from ( παρά ) one another;” the honor which men have to give, “and seek not the honor that cometh from ( παρά ) God;” the honor which God alone bestows. On the other hand, 1 John 3:22, “Whatsoever we ask we receive from ( ἀπό ) Him,” the ultimate source of our gifts. So Matthew 17:25: “Of ( ἀπό ) whom do the kings of the earth take custom - of ( ἀπό ) their own children or of ( ἀπό ) strangers?” What is the legitimate and ultimate source of revenue in states?
Declare ( ἀναγγέλλομεν )
Compare the simple verb ἀγγέλλειν tobring tidings, John 20:18, and only there. Ἀναγγέλλειν is to bring the tidings up to ( ἀνά ) or back to him who receives them. Ἀπαγέλλειν is to announce tidings as coming from ( ἀπό ) some one, see Matthew 2:8; John 4:51. Καταγγέλλειν is to proclaim with authority, so as to spread the tidings down among ( κατά ) those who hear. See Acts 17:23. Found only in the Acts and in Paul.
God is Light ( Θεὸς φῶς ἐστὶν )
A statement of the absolute nature of God. Not a light, nor the light, with reference to created beings, as the light of men, the light of the world, but simply and absolutely God is light, in His very nature. Compare God is spirit, and see on John 4:24: God is love, 1 John 4:8, 1 John 4:16. The expression is not a metaphor. “All that we are accustomed to term light in the domain of the creature, whether with a physical or metaphysical meaning, is only an effluence of that one and only primitive Light which appears in the nature of God” (Ebrard). Light is immaterial, diffusive, pure, and glorious. It is the condition of life.
Physically, it represents glory
; intellectually, truth
; morally, holiness
. As immaterial it corresponds to God as spirit
; as diffusive, to God as love
; as the condition of life, to God as life
; as pure and illuminating, to God as holiness
. In the Old Testament, light is often the medium of God's visible revelations to men. It was the first manifestation of God in creation. The burning lamp passed between the pieces of the parted victim in God's covenant with Abraham. God went before Israel in a pillar of fire, descended in fire upon Sinai, and appeared in the luminons cloud which rested on the mercy-seat in the most holy place. In classical Greek φῶς lightis used metaphorically for delight
, and is applied to persons as a term of admiring affection, as we say that one is the light of our life
, or the delight of our eyes
. So Ulysses, on seeing his son Telemachus, says, “Thou hast come, Telemachus, sweet light
( γλυκερὸν φάος )” (Homer, “Odyssey,” xvi., 23). And Electra, greeting her returning brother, Orestes, “O dearest light
( φίλτατον φῶς )” (Sophocles, “Electra,” 1223). Occasionally, as by Euripides, of the light of truth
(“Iphigenia at Tauris,” 1046). No modern writer has developed the idea of God as light with such power and beauty as Dante. His “Paradise” might truthfully be called a study of light. Light is the only visible expression of God. Radiating from Him, it is diffused through the universe as the principle of life. This key-note is struck at the very opening of “the Paradise.”
“The glory of Him who moveth everything
Doth penetrate the universe, and shine
In one part more and in another less.
Within that heaven which most His light receives
“Paradiso,” i., 1-5.
In the final, beatific vision, God Himself is imagined as a luminous point which pours its rays through all the spheres, upon which the spirits gazed, and in which they read the past, the present, and the future.
“O grace abundant, by which I presumed
To fix my sight upon the Light Eternal,
So that the seeing I consumed therein!
I saw that in its depth far down is lying
Bound up with love together in one volume,
What through the universe in leaves is scattered;
Substance, and accident, and their operations,
All interfused together in such wise
That what I speak of is one simple light.”
“Paradiso,” xxxiii., 82-90.
“In presence of that light one such becomes,
That to withdraw therefrom for other prospect
It is impossible he e'er consent;
Because the good, which object of will,
Is gathered all in this, and out of it
That is defective which is perfect there.”
“Paradiso,” xxxiii., 100-105.
“O Light eterne, sole in thyself that dwellest,
Sole knowest thyself, and, know unto thyself
And knowing, lovest and smilest on thyself!
“Paradiso xxxiii., 124-126.
Light enkindles love.
“If in the heat of love I flame upon thee
Beyond the measure that on earth is seen,
So that the valor of thine eyes I vanquish,
Marvel thou not thereat; for this proceeds
From perfect sight, which, as it apprehends,
To the good apprehended moves its feet.
Well I perceive how is already shining
Into thine intellect the eternal Light,
That only seen enkindles always love.”
“Paradiso,” v., 1-9
See also “ Paradiso,” cantos xxx., xxxi.
In Him is no darkness at all ( καὶ σκοτία οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν αὐτῷ οὐδεμία )
It is characteristic of John to express the same idea positively and negatively. See John 1:7, John 1:8, John 1:20; John 3:15, John 3:17, John 3:20; John 4:42; John 5:24; John 8:35; John 10:28; 1 John 1:6, 1 John 1:8; 1 John 2:4, 1 John 2:27; 1 John 5:12. According to the Greek order, the rendering is: “And darkness there is not in Him, no, not in any way.” For a similar addition of οὐδείς notone, to a complete sentence, see John 6:63; John 11:19; John 19:11. On σκοτία darknesssee on John 1:5.