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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 1 - Verse 9

Verse 9. That was the true Light. Not John, but the Messiah. He was not a false, uncertain, dangerous guide, but was one that was true, real, steady, and worthy of confidence. A false light is one that leads to danger or error, as a false beacon on the shores of the ocean may lead ships to quicksands or rocks; or an ignis fatuus to fens, and precipices, and death. A true light is one that does not deceive us, as the true beacon may guide us into port or warn us of danger. Christ does not lead astray. All false teachers do.

That lighteth. That enlightens. He removes darkness, error, ignorance, from the mind.

Every man. This is an expression denoting, in general, the whole human race—Jews and Gentiles. John preached to the Jews. Jesus came to be a light to lighten the Gentiles, as well as to be the glory of the people of Israel, Lu 2:32.

That cometh into the world. The phrase in the original is ambiguous. The word translated "that cometh" may either refer to the light, or to the word man; so that it may mean either "this true light that cometh into the world enlightens all," or "it enlightens every man that cometh into the world." Many critics, and, among the fathers, Cyril and Augustine, have preferred the former, and translated, "The true light was he who, coming into the world, enlightened every man." The principal reasons for this are,

1st. That the Messiah is often spoken of as he that cometh into the world. See Joh 6:14; 18:37.

2nd. He is often distinguished as "the light that cometh into the world." Joh 3:19: "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world." Joh 12:46: "I am come a light into the world." Christ may be said to do what is accomplished by his command or appointment. This passage means, therefore, that by his own personal ministry, and by his Spirit and apostles, light or teaching is afforded to all. It does not mean that every individual of the human family is enlightened with the knowledge of the gospel, for this never yet has been; but it means,

1st. That this light is not confined to the Jews, but is extended to all—Jews and Gentiles.

2nd. That it is provided for all and offered to all.

3rd. It is not affirmed that at the time that John wrote all were actually enlightened, but the word "lighteth" has the form of the future. This is that light so long expected and predicted, which, as the result its coming into the world, will ultimately enlighten all nations.

{m} "true light" Isa 49:6

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