11 August, 2016

John 6:32—"My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven"

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven (John 6:32 KJV).


Rev. Herman Hoeksema

[According to advocates of the well-meant offer], the terms “give” and “bestow,” whenever these appear in Scripture and the Confession, often could be exegeted in such a way that they mean the same thing as ‘offer of grace and salvation.’ . . . [Consequently, John 6:32] must mean: "My Father puts you objectively in possession, offers you all, head for head, the bread that cometh down from heaven." Now there were among the Jews to whom Jesus directed the word many who did not believe and who were offended at Him. Therefore it must follow that if the explanation [of the well-meant offer men] is correct, we have in these words a general offer of grace.

However, there is also another explanation possible. According to this other explanation the word “giveth” retains its ordinary and full meaning of ‘to impart, to make one a possessor’. Only [in this case] the “you” does not refer to all the Jews, head for head and soul for soul, but must be understood in the organic sense. The Savior is speaking to the Old Testament Church, to Israel. That church was also represented among those to whom Jesus was speaking there at Capernaum. For He says to them just a little later: “But there are some of you that believe not,” in which it certainly is implied and included that there were also those who did indeed believe. Besides He spoke also to His own disciples. The word of Jesus then means: "My Father gives you, His church, His people, the true bread from heaven.”

This explanation has everything for it, and nothing against it. In the first place, it has in its favor that it is the ordinary manner of speaking in Holy Scripture. Although Israel is never so wicked, Scripture always addresses the people as the church of God. In the second place, with this explanation we do not need to tamper with the word giveth, as [the well-meant offer men certainly do] when [they want] to change it into offers. And finally, this explanation is also much more in harmony with the context. As far as the word “giveth” is concerned, this occurs more often in the context. And it occurs not in the sense of offers, but in the sense of actually bestowing, imparting, putting in possession. Thus, for example, in verse 37: "All that the father giveth me shall come to me." The present tense of the word giveth which is here used proves indeed that it does not have reference to an objective putting in possession, but to the bringing of His own to Jesus by God. Otherwise the Savior would have said: “all that the Father has given Me." Thus also in verse 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." Also here it is plain that the word give is used in the sense, not of offer, but of actual putting in possession. And besides the entire context, as already appears from the verses quoted above, is particular. Thus it is also in verse 39: "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." The entire context, therefore, militates against the presentation of [the general well-meant offer teaching] and pleads for our presentation.



More to come! (DV)

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