Berean Bible Study Notes

John 9

Amazing grace
Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Thru many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me;
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow;
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun.

The hymn, Amazing Grace, by John Newton, was inspired by the chapter that we are going through today. John Newton was a slave trader, and one day in a terrible storm, he begged God to save him from the storm. However, there in the crashing sea, he realized that he merited nothing good from God. He was a terrible sinner. It was at that point that he actually understood why he needed a savior. So, he asked for forgiveness, and God saved him - from the sea and from his sins. He went on to become a pastor and later wrote the hymn we love so much as a commentary on his former spiritual blindness.

John 9

John 9:1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.

John 9:2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

John 9:3 "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.

John 9:4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.

John 9:5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

John 9:6 Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes.

John 9:7 "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

In order to get the picture, we need to go back to chapter 8. That was the 8th day of the Feast of Tabernacles, which is a special Sabbath, regardless of what day it fell on. It was the same day that Jesus stood in the Temple court and said that He was the Light of the World.

John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."

John 8:57 "You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!"

John 8:58 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"

John 8:59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

Then the next verse comes, but there is a word missing in English:

John 9:1 (and) As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.

That Greek word "kai," usually translated "and," ties related things together. For that reason, it would seem that this is that same day. There may be a lot more related than that.

So, Jesus has slipped away from those who would stone Him in the Temple courts. This is some amount of time later, but still that same day, apparently. As Jesus goes along, He sees a blind man. That word "see" is eido {i'-do} or oida {oy'-da} It means to perceive with the eyes or really any of the senses, to notice, to discern, to know. In fact, it is translated "know," 218 times in the New Testament. The word is in the aorist tense, which has that element of being outside time. So, this is way more than we'd see when we're walking along. Jesus KNOWS this man, knows all about him. He knows that he was born blind, and knows why. This is another of those divine appointments that Jesus kept.

John 9:2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

So, the disciples somehow also know that the man was born blind. They want to pin down blame for it, and at least, they know the right person to ask.

John 9:3 "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.

John 9:4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.

John 9:5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

Verse three starts out pretty straight forward: this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. So, this wasn't on account of sin, but so that the work of God might be displayed. In other words, this man was blind so that Jesus could cure him. In a couple of chapters, we'll find out that is why Lazarus got sick and died.

Don't scoot past that too quickly. Think about what that means. This was a grown man, "of age," it says later, which means he was at least 20 years old. For more than 20 years, this man has been blind. We'll see in a bit that he was a beggar. He has lived a life of hardship so far - all preparing him for this moment. Were there days when he asked, "Why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this?" Of course there were. That was the first thing the disciples assumed - that he or his parents had done something to deserve it. And yet, it was so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. That could be true of so many things, couldn't it? Your friend's cancer, maybe - or your husband's job loss. It can put things in a different light.

Then Jesus goes on:

John 9:4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.

John 9:5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

I admit that I only have a superficial understanding of verse four. We have limited time to do the work that God has for us. We've been given a certain period of grace, a certain time to do what God has in mind for us. In that case, "night" would be our death, versus the "day" that we are here on earth.

Yet, if you study "light", "darkness", "day" and "night" in the Bible, you get the idea that perhaps something more is meant. It seems to imply something evil.

John 12:35 Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. 36 Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light."

1 Thessalonians 5:4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

Jesus goes on to say:

John 9:5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

We've talked about that quite a bit in the past. He said it first in John 8:

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

But the idea of Jesus being our light came up even in John 1:

John 1:4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

Jesus put His spirit in us when we became believers, so that now, we are also the light of the world:

Matthew 5:14 "You are the light of the world . A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Back to our text:

John 9:3 "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

6 Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. 7 "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

Notice, now, that the blind man has not said one word yet. Jesus found him; he did not find Jesus. He did not ask to be healed. He's not showing any faith ahead of time. There's no evidence that he even knows who Jesus is at this point. Why the mud? Usually, Jesus just touched the blind, and they received their sight immediately:

Matthew 20:30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"

31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"

32 Jesus stopped and called them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked.

33 "Lord," they answered, "we want our sight."

34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

In Mark 10, Jesus doesn't even touch blind Bartimaeus:

Mark 10:46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

49 Jesus stopped and said, "Call him."

So they called to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

51 "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see."

52 "Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

I don't know why the mud. It was right for this man. It's referred to four times, which often refers to the earth. Maybe, to this man born blind, He was showing that He was lord of creation. He had formed this man in his mother's womb, and in this case, had purposely made his eyes unseeing. Yet, the creator is also the restorer.

Genesis 2:7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Regardless of why, Jesus tells him, "Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam," and the guy obeys! He went, he washed and came home seeing. Through the Holy Spirit, the Apostle John makes a point of telling us that Siloam means "sent." Jesus had just told them that He had been sent by God:

John 9:4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me.

The Holy Spirit is telling us, "there's something to be understood here." Now, what it is, other than the obvious relation to verse 4, I don't know. It's interesting that the Greek word for sent (Siloam is the Hebrew word) is apostello {ap-os-tel'-lo}, which is where we get our word apostles from (the sent ones).

John 9:8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?" 9 Some claimed that he was.

Others said, "No, he only looks like him."

But he himself insisted, "I am the man."

10 "How then were your eyes opened?" they demanded.

11 He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see."

12 "Where is this man?" they asked him.

"I don't know," he said.

I'll come back to this when we go through the overall picture that John is making. Kind of a fun conversation, actually, and very true-to-life, isn't it? So, the neighbors and other witnesses, not knowing what to make of it, take him to the Pharisees, who, of course, always have the right answers:

John 9:13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man's eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. "He put mud on my eyes," the man replied, "and I washed, and now I see."

16 Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath."

But others asked, "How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?" So they were divided.

17 Finally they turned again to the blind man, "What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened."

The man replied, "He is a prophet."

The Pharisees are not in agreement as to Jesus. Some of them are reaching for anything to discredit Jesus. Others seem to be unwilling to definitely speak against Him. So, they turn to the (formerly) blind man himself and ask him. When his neighbors and other witnesses asked about his healing, he said that a man named Jesus healed him. Now, he has gone from man to prophet. Remember that he has yet to actually SEE Jesus. Jesus told him to go wash, and he did.

John 9:18 The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man's parents. 19 "Is this your son?" they asked. "Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?"

20 "We know he is our son," the parents answered, "and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don't know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself." 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, "He is of age; ask him."

Remember that "the Jews" implies the Jewish leadership, throughout the Gospel of John. So, the leadership is grasping at anything here to discredit the miracle. Now, they jump to the idea that the whole thing is a hoax. They refuse to believe the miracle is real until they can verify that the man was really born blind, so they call the parents of the man. The parents distance themselves from their son. They don't want to be put out of the synagogue, which they equated with salvation. You would think they'd be thrilled to death that their son could see, but instead, they kind of abandon him, even knowing that he is likely to be put out of the synagogue. Maybe, to put them in the best light, they were just hedging for time, hoping it work out well (what they considered "well") for everyone. Perhaps they trusted that their "church leadership" knew best.

The effect however, is that the family is split apart. It seems to be a fulfillment of these verses:

Matthew 10:35 For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — 36 a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' 37 "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;

So, the Jews send for the (formerly) blind man again:

John 9:24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. "Give glory to God," they said. "We know this man is a sinner."

That Give glory to God is a formal statement requiring him to speak truthfully. Now, that word "know" is eido {i'-do} or oida {oy'-da}again, that was used when Jesus originally "saw" the blind man. However, there it had been in the aorist tense. Jesus saw the man and totally KNEW him in a way that is outside of time. Here, the same word is used in the perfect tense. Now, it means they have absolutely determined in the past that He is a sinner, and they're not going to change their minds. Their minds are totally made up.

John 9:25 He replied, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" (Those famous words from "Amazing Grace" come from right here)

26 Then they asked him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?"

27 He answered, "I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?"

Now, the man has taken a bold step and deliberately antagonizes the leadership. He may not be fully aware of all Jesus is, but he's convinced he's from God. Perhaps that's what gives him courage. The Pharisees are saying that Jesus is a sinner and not from God. So, the man may not know exactly what is right - but he knows the Pharisees are wrong.

John 9:28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, "You are this fellow's disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't even know where he comes from."

30 The man answered, "Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."

34 To this they replied, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!" And they threw him out.

The leadership can't discredit the miracle, and they can't directly discredit Jesus, so now they attack the man himself. However, he's more convinced than ever that Jesus was from God, and stands up to them boldly. I don't know of another example in the Bible of anything quite like it. The Jews react in anger and throw him out of the synagogue.

John 9:35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"

36 "Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him."

37 Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you."

38 Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshipped him.

I love this story. The young man has been tossed out of his empty "religion," but the Lord of the Universe seeks him out. Remember, he hasn't seen Jesus to this point, so he has no way to recognize him. Jesus finds him and asks if he believes in the Son of Man. (The KJV and NKJV say Son of God, but both are titles of Messiah, and that is what Jesus is really asking. Basically, he is saying, "Do you believe I am the Messiah?")

The "seen him" is more than casually looking. It means to really see, to look with understanding. It's in the perfect tense, which again, is something completed in the past, with ongoing effects. Notice how the man worships immediately. Somehow this man understands that the Messiah is God - something that escaped most people, even those who might have accepted that Jesus was the Messiah.

John 9:39 Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind."

J. Vernon McGee says of this section (McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible Commentary Series - John. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1991):

John 9:40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?" 41 Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

It's easy to make too little of those verses and perhaps too much. Here is what the People's Bible has to say (Baumler, Gary. The People's Bible: John. Northwestern Publishing House, Milwaukee, 1997):

I think a couple of verses are good commentary on John 9:41:

Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."

20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

OK, we've had a whole chapter on the healing of a blind man. This was the sixth specific miracle in the Gospel of John. First, He turned water into wine. Second, He healed the royal official's son. Third, He healed the invalid at Bethesda. Fourth, He feeds over 5,000 people. Fifth, He walked on water (and made Peter walk on water, calmed the storm and got them immediately to shore) and now sixth, He finds and heals a blind man. (There are some who believe the specific miracles chosen and the order they're in have great significance. If you get the point where you figure out what it is, let me know).

There are many things to note here. For one thing, this miracle was really a two-part miracle. You'll notice that the blind man had no problem adjusting to seeing, even though he had been blind from birth. Jesus healed his sight, but He also healed the man's brain. There is another healing where Jesus separates the two events:

Mark 8: 22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?" 24 He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." 25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

Here is a portion of an article that explains why there were two miracles, not just one:

The Bethsaida miracle - Jesus healing a blind man

Another thing to note about this particular blindness is that it was caused by God in order that His glory might show in the man's life.

Exodus 4:11 The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say."

This description of the physical healing of the blind man in John 9 is also a picture of the healing of spiritual blindness. Jesus hints that there is more going on than the physical miracle when He says:

John 9:39 Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind."

Although He made many physically blind people see (the most common miracle in the New Testament), Jesus is talking about spiritual blindness here.

We were all born spiritually blind, trapped in darkness:

Psalm 51:5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness , but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."

When we are spiritually blind, there is nothing we can do for ourselves:

1 Corinthians 2:14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

We were actually dead in our sins. We couldn't seek God. He had to seek us first, just as Jesus sought out the blind man:

Ephesians 2:4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

God begins to work in us, and suddenly we see things that we didn't before. Things start to make sense and become more clear. We may not know the full truth at that point, just as the formerly blind man didn't yet know that Jesus was not just his healer, but his Savior. It reminds me of this verse:

Romans 8:30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Perhaps as you look at the story of the blind man in John 9, you'll see other parallels to the healing of spiritual blindness. There are a few ways that the story doesn't fit perfectly, though. Remember that God caused this man's blindness. Does God cause people to be spiritually blind? Not usually. Who does?

2 Corinthians 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

There is another possible picture here in John 9, and that is the picture of blinded Israel. I'm not going to give you a lot of commentary. I'll just give you some verses to consider. If the Holy Spirit makes them make sense to you in this context, great. If not, don't worry about it. I'm probably wrong, anyway.

A picture of blinded Israel?

Luke 19: 41 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."

Romans 11:7 (NKJV) What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. 8 Just as it is written: "God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see, And ears that they should not hear, To this very day."

9 And David says: " Let their table become a snare and a trap, A stumbling block and a recompense to them. 10 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see, And bow down their back always."


Matthew 13:10 The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?"

11 He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

"Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. 14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

"'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. 15 For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'

Matthew 13:34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:
"I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world."


Deuteronomy 29:2 Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them:

Your eyes have seen all that the LORD did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. 3 With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those miraculous signs and great wonders. 4 But to this day the LORD has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.


John 12:37 Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"

39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:

40 "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn — and I would heal them."


Romans 11:25 (NKJV) For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

"The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins."

Read Isaiah 29. Ask yourself - who is being talked about? Is this about Israel? Is this about the church? (Ariel is Jerusalem). When does this take place? The first verses sound like the seige of Sennacherib the Assyrian in 701 BC or Nebbuchadnezzer in 586 BC or possibly Titus in 70 AD. If you recall, the Assyrian army was devastated when the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 in the night, which does sound like this:

Isaiah 29:5 But your many enemies will become like fine dust, the ruthless hordes like blown chaff.

But, what do you do with this?

Isaiah 29:5b Suddenly, in an instant, 6 the LORD Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.

There was not thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest. In fact, it all happened so silently, that when men tried to tell the people of Jerusalem that the Assyrian army was dead, they weren't believed. It didn't happen that way with Nebuchadnezzar or Titus, either. In both of those cases, the invaders were successful, and Jerusalem was destroyed.

Isaiah 29:7 Then the hordes of all the nations that fight against Ariel, that attack her and her fortress and besiege her, will be as it is with a dream, with a vision in the night — 8 as when a hungry man dreams that he is eating, but he awakens, and his hunger remains; as when a thirsty man dreams that he is drinking, but he awakens faint, with his thirst unquenched. So will it be with the hordes of all the nations that fight against Mount Zion.

It actually kind of sounds like the first few verses of Zechariah 14 or Revelation 19:11-21.

Isaiah 34 & 35 sound similar to Isaiah 29. Please read the whole chapters together. Here is just a portion:

Isaiah 34:1 Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it!

2 The LORD is angry with all nations; his wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter. 3 Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will send up a stench; the mountains will be soaked with their blood. 4 All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree.

5 My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; see, it descends in judgment on Edom, the people I have totally destroyed. 6 The sword of the LORD is bathed in blood, it is covered with fat — the blood of lambs and goats, fat from the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah and a great slaughter in Edom. 7 And the wild oxen will fall with them, the bull calves and the great bulls. Their land will be drenched with blood, and the dust will be soaked with fat.

8 For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion's cause. 9 Edom's streams will be turned into pitch, her dust into burning sulfur; her land will become blazing pitch! 10 It will not be quenched night and day; its smoke will rise forever. From generation to generation it will lie desolate; no one will ever pass through it again. (Just a note - Edom is current day Jordan)

Isaiah 35:3 Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4 say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you."

5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.

Is this Jesus' first coming? When does this take place? Who is it talking about? Is this Israel? Is this the church? Is this all spiritual allegory?

OK, now, just to make you really uncomfortable (who ever said Bible study was comfortable?), let's look at that last verse in John 9 one more time:

John 9:40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?" 41 Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

What does that mean, exactly? I still don't know. Does it have anything to do with Romans 11? I'm not sure. Just another thing to ask about when I get there!

So, is the story of the man born blind a picture of blind Israel? Maybe. Maybe not. I know that I haven't given you all my reasons for thinking it might be. I don't want to suggest it too strongly, as I may be wrong. I think it's OK to wonder - to suggest the possibilities - but not to insist. God knows what He means by it. If He wants us to understand it in this world, He'll teach us. If not, well, we've got all eternity to find these things out.

The Berean Bible Study of the Gospel of John


Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. - Acts 17:11

© 2012 This study was written by Jacqui Komschlies and last updated 3/6/2012. If you have questions, comments, corrections or concerns, please write me.

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