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The Gospels & Acts discuss The angel of the Lord at the pool in John 5:4 in the The Scriptures forums; John 5:4. for an angel of the Lord went down at certain times into the pool, and stirred up the water. Whoever stepped in first ...

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    The angel of the Lord at the pool in John 5:4

    John 5:4. for an angel of the Lord went down at certain times into the pool, and stirred up the water. Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made whole of whatever disease he had.

    There is written about the Angel of the Lord at the pool and those sick, blind, lame, or paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water, and those who were first were healed.

    These verses were always difficult fot me to understand.

    What is the meaning or lesson concerning this Angel that was send be God ?

    Why only those who were not as handicapt or paralyzed hath the oppertunity to be healed , while those who could not walk at all could not be healed (until Jesus came by the man who were sick for thirty-eight years) ?

    Does anyone has some background information or practical lessons for these verses ?

    [Edited on 5-30-2006 by Mayflower]
    * Ralph Wilms (7-10-1974)
    * Church : Becoming catholic

    It is clear that he does not pray, who, far from uplifting himself to God, requires that God shall lower Himself to him, and who resorts to prayer not to stir the man in us to will what God wills, but only to persuade God to will what the man in us wills."-ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (1225–1274)

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    VirginiaHuguenot is offline. Puritanboard Librarian
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    This verse is contested by some Biblical critics, but I am in agreement with the Traditional Text that it rightfully belongs in the Bible.

    Matthew Henry:

    5. What virtue it had for the cure of these impotent folks (John 5:4). An angel went down, and troubled the water; and whoso first stepped in was made whole. That this strange virtue in the pool was natural, or artificial rather, and was the effect of the washing of the sacrifices, which impregnated the water with I know not what healing virtue even for blind people, and that the angel was a messenger, a common person, sent down to stir the water, is altogether groundless; there was a room in the temple on purpose to wash the sacrifices in. Expositors generally agree that the virtue this pool had was supernatural. It is true the Jewish writers, who are not sparing in recounting the praises of Jerusalem, do none of them make the least mention of this healing pool, of which silence in this matter perhaps this is the reason, that it was taken for a presage of the near approach of the Messiah, and therefore those who denied him to be come industriously concealed such an indication of his coming; so that this is all the account we have of it. Observe,

    (1.) The preparation of the medicine by an angel, who went down into the pool, and stirred the water. Angels are God's servants, and friends to mankind; and perhaps are more active in the removing of diseases (as evil angels in the inflicting of them) than we are aware of. Raphael, the apocryphal name of an angel, signifies medicina Dei"”God's physic, or physician rather. See what mean offices the holy angels condescend to, for the good of men. If we would do the will of God as the angels do it, we must think nothing below us but sin. The troubling of the water was the signal given of the descent of the angel, as the going upon the tops of the mulberry trees was to David, and then they must bestir themselves. The waters of the sanctuary are then healing when they are put in motion. Ministers must stir up the gift that is in them. When they are cold and dull in their ministrations, the waters settle, and are not apt to heal. The angel descended, to stir the water, not daily, perhaps not frequently, but at a certain season; some think, at the three solemn feasts, to grace those solemnities; or, now and then, as Infinite Wisdom saw fit. God is a free agent in dispensing his favours.

    (2.) The operation of the medicine: Whoever first stepped in was made whole. Here is, [1.] miraculous extent of the virtue as to the diseases cured; what disease soever it was, this water cured it. Natural and artificial baths are as hurtful in some cases as they are useful in others, but this was a remedy for every malady, even for those that came from contrary causes. The power of miracles succeeds where the power of nature succumbs. [2.] A miraculous limitation of the virtue as to the persons cured: He that first stepped in had the benefit; that is, he or they that stepped in immediately were cured, not those that lingered and came in afterwards. This teaches us to observe and improve our opportunities, and to look about us, that we slip not a season which may never return. The angel stirred the waters, but left the diseased to themselves to get in. God has put virtue into the scriptures and ordinances, for he would have healed us; but, if we do not make a due improvement of them, it is our own fault, we would not be healed.

    Now this is all the account we have of this standing miracle; it is uncertain when it began and when it ceased. Some conjecture it began when Eliashib the high priest began the building of the wall about Jerusalem, and sanctified it with prayer; and that God testified his acceptance by putting this virtue into the adjoining pool. Some think it began now lately at Christ's birth; nay, others at his baptism. Dr. Lightfoot, finding in Josephus, Antiquities, 15.121-122, mention of a great earthquake in the seventh year of Herod, thirty years before Christ's birth, supposed, since there used to be earthquakes at the descent of angels, that then the angel first descended to stir this water. Some think it ceased with this miracle, others at Christ's death; however, it is certain it had a gracious signification. First, it was a token of God's good will to that people, and an indication that, though they had been long without prophets and miracles, yet God had not cast them off; though they were now an oppressed despised people, and many were ready to say, Where are all the wonders that our fathers told us of? God did hereby let them know that he had still a kindness for the city of their solemnities. We may hence take occasion to acknowledge with thankfulness God's power and goodness in the mineral waters, that contribute so much to the health of mankind; for God made the fountains of water, Rev 14:7. Secondly, It was a type of the Messiah, who is the fountain opened; and was intended to raise people's expectations of him who is the Sun of righteousness, that arises with healing under his wings. These waters had formerly been used for purifying, now for healing, to signify both the cleansing and curing virtue of the blood of Christ, that incomparable bath, which heals all our diseases. The waters of Siloam, which filled this pool, signified the kingdom of David, and of Christ the Son of David (Isa 8:6); fitly therefore have they now this sovereign virtue put into them. The laver of regeneration is to us as Bethesda's pool, healing our spiritual diseases; not at certain seasons, but at all times. Whoever will, let him come.
    Matthew Poole:

    John 5:4. This water had not always in it this healing virtue, but only when it was troubled, and this was at a certain season, how often the Scripture hath not determined; some will have it to be only at their great feasts, of the passover, and Pentecost, etc., but the Scripture saith no such thing. None must think that the angel appeared in any visible shape, but the rolling or troubling of the waters was a certain sign, that that was the time when alone they were medicinal; nor were many healed at one time, but only one person, that could first get into this water, he was healed, let his disease be what it would. The waters not being constantly medicinal, but, first, at a certain time, when they were troubled; and then, secondly, not for all, but only to him who could first get in; and, thirdly, for any disease, of what sort or kind soever his disease was; sufficiently confutes the opinion of those who fancy that the waters derived this healing virtue from the entrails of the beasts offered in sacrifice being washed there; for besides that this is denied by some, who say those entrails were washed in a room on purpose for that use within the temple; if they had derived their healing virtue from thence in a natural, rational way, they would have exerted their virtue upon more than him who first stepped in, and not at the time only when they were troubled, nor would their virtue have extended to all kinds of diseases. Of whatever use this pool therefore was before, certain it is at this time God made use of the water in it to heal, and so as men might see that it healed not by any natural, but a miraculous operation. The Scriptures of the Old Testament make no mention of it. And it is observed by those who are versed in the Jewish Rabbins, that neither do they make the least mention of it. Which makes it very probable, that they had this virtue, not from the time of the building of the sheep gate by Shallum, Neh 3:15; nor from the time when the Asmonean family was extinct; or the rebuilding or further building and adoring the temple by Herod; but a little before the birth of Christ, as a figure of him being now coming, who, Zech 13:1, was a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and from whom is both our cleansing and our healing, as these waters, which before had a cleansing, and now received also a healing virtue.
    John Calvin:

    4. For an angel went down. It was, no doubt, a work peculiar to God to cure the sick; but, as He was accustomed to employ the ministration and agency of angels, so He commanded an angel to perform this duty. For this reason the angels are called principalities or powers, (Colossians 1:16) not that God gives up his power to them, and remains unemployed in heaven, but because, by acting powerfully in them, he magnificently shows and displays his power. It is, therefore, wicked and shameful to imagine any thing as belonging to the angels, or to constitute them the medium of communication between us and God, so as to obscure the glory of God, as if it were at a great distance from us, while, on the contrary, he employs them as the manifestations of his presence. We ought to guard against the foolish speculations of Plato, for the distance between us and God is too great to allow us to go to the angels, that they may obtain favor for us; but, on the contrary, we ought to come direct to Christ, that, by his guidance, protection, and command, we may have the angels as assistants and ministers of our salvation.

    At intervals. God might have at once, in a single moment, cured them all:, but, as his miracles have their design, so they ought also to have their limit; as Christ also reminds them that, though there were so many that died in the time of Elisha, not more than one child was raised from the dead, (2 Kings 4:32) 3 and that, though so many widows were famished during the time of drought, there was but one whose poverty was relieved by Elijah, (1 Kings 17:9; Luke 4:25.) Thus the Lord reckoned it enough to give a demonstration of his presence in the case of a few diseased persons. But the manner of curing, which is here described, shows plainly enough that nothing is more unreasonable than that men should subject the works of God to their own judgment; for pray, what assistance or relief could be expected from troubled water? But in this manner, by depriving us of our own senses, the Lord accustoms us to the obedience of faith. We too eagerly follow what pleases our reason, though contrary to the word of God; and, therefore, in order to render us more obedient to him, he often presents to us those things which contradict our reason. Then only do we show our submissive obedience, when we shut our eyes, and follow the plain word, though our own opinion be that what we are doing will be of no avail. We have an instance of this kind in Naaman a Syrian, whom the prophet sends to Jordan, that he may be cured of his leprosy, (2 Kings 5:10.) At first, no doubt, he despises it as a piece of mockery, but afterwards he comes actually to perceive that, while God acts contrary to human reason, he never mocks or disappoints us.

    And troubled the water. Yet the troubling of the water was a manifest proof that God freely uses the elements according to his own pleasure, and that He claims for himself the result of the work. For it is an exceedingly common fault to ascribe to creatures what belongs to God alone; but it would be the height of folly to seek, in the troubled water, the cause of the cure. He therefore holds out the outward symbol in such a manner that, by looking at the symbol, the diseased persons may be constrained to raise their eyes to Him who alone is the Author of grace.
    Richard Sibbes, The Soul's Conflict With Itself, And Victory Over Itself By Faith (1635):

    True peace arises from knowing the worst first, and then our freedom from it. It is a miserable peace that riseth from ignorance of evil. The angel "troubled the waters," John 5:4, and then it cured those that stepped in. It is Christ's manner to trouble our souls first, and then to come with healing in his wings.
    Andrew

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    SolaScriptura's Avatar
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    Andrew, on what textual grounds do you base your agreement that the Textus Receptus is correct?
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    VirginiaHuguenot is offline. Puritanboard Librarian
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    Originally posted by SolaScriptura
    Andrew, on what textual grounds do you base your agreement that the Textus Receptus is correct?
    As a general rule, I accept the Traditional Text because I believe in God's providential preservation of his word and reject the efforts of rationalistic scholars who would like to excise certain miracles and passages of great theological significance from God's word. In this case, I believe the manuscripts which omit all or portions of this passage are not reliable (specifically the Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) or consistent among themselves (see below). The Patristic testimony to this verse is sound, and I see no valid reason to disbelieve that it is canonical, nor have countless other Biblical scholars through the millennia.

    Thomas Holland, Crowned With Glory: The Bible From Ancient Text to Authorized Version:

    John 5:4

    For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

    This verse is usually consigned to footnotes in most modern English versions, and is generally considered an addition by some scribe in order to convey a traditional story regarding the healing pool at Bethesda. Yet, to consider this text as a figment of tradition is conjecture. The passage should be considered genuine since it appears in the Greek Textus Receptus, the majority of all existing Greek manuscripts, the Authorized Version, and the New King James Version.

    If we are to accept a reading based on its wide geographical distribution, we should accept this reading because it has old textual support with the greatest amount of geographical distribution. It is found in codices A, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, D, Q, P and the third corrector of C. The Greek minuscules overwhelming support the verse and is contained in 28, 565, 700, 892, 1009, 1010, 1071, 1195, 1216, 1230, 1241, 1242, 1253, 1344, 1365, 1546, 1646, and 2148. It is also included in the majority of Old Latin manuscripts and early translations.

    The verse is found in the Old Coptic Version as edited from the Coptic manuscript Huntington 17 and is translated into English as follows:

    There was an angel (who) came down every hour in the pool, and moved the water. And any one (who) shall come down first after the moving of the water shall be healed of every sickness which (may) be his. [1]

    The same is true of the Old Syriac. James Murdock's translation of this passage from the Peshitta reads:

    For an angel, from time to time, descended into the baptistery, and moved the waters; and he who first went in, after the moving of the waters, was cured of whatever disease he had. [2]

    The passage also has patristic citations. It is found in the Diatessaron of the second century. Tertullian (200 AD) notes that an "angel, by his intervention, was wont to stir the pool at Bethsaida." [3] The passage is also cited by Ambrose (397 AD), Didymus (398 AD), Chrysostom (407 AD) and Cyril (444 AD), demonstrating that both Greek and Latin fathers accepted the reading as genuine.

    [1] The Coptic Version Of The New Testament: In The Northern Dialect, vol. II (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1898), 377-379.

    [2] Murdock, 172.

    [3] The Writings Of Tertullian 3:2:5.
    Edward Hills, The King James Version Defended, pp. 145-146:

    2. The Angel At The Pool (John 5:3 b-4)

    The next test passage in which the Traditional reading ought to be examined is John 5:3 b-4, the account of the descent of the angel into the pool of Bethesda. For the benefit of the reader this disputed reading is here given in its context.

    2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, He saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? 7 The impotent man answered Him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked.

    The words in italics (John 5:3 b-4) are omitted by Papyri 66 and 75, Aleph B C, a few minuscules, the Curetonian Syriac, the Sahidic, the Bodmer Bohairic, and a few Old Latin manuscripts. This disputed reading, however, has been defended not only by conservatives such as Hengstenberg (AD 1861)[13] but also by radicals such as A. Hilgenfeld (AD 1875)[14] and R. Steck (AD 1893).[15] Hengstenberg contends that "the words are necessarily required by the connection," quoting with approval the remark of von Hofmann (an earlier commentator) that it is highly improbable "that the narrator, who has stated the site of the pool and the number of the porches, should be so sparing of his words precisely with regard to that which it is necessary to know in order to understand the occurrence, and should leave the character of the pool and its healing virtue to be guessed from the complaint of the sick man, which presupposes a knowledge of it." Hilgenfeld and Steck also rightly insist that the account of the descent of the angel into the pool in verse 4 is presupposed in the reply which the impotent man makes to Jesus in verse 7.

    Certain of the Church Fathers attached great importance to this reference to the angel's descent into the pool (John 5:3 b-4), attributing to it the highest theological significance. The pool they regarded as a type of baptism and the angel as the precursor of the Holy Spirit. Such was the interpretation which Tertullian (circa AD 200) gave to this passage. "Having been washed," he writes, "in the water by the angel, we are prepared for the Holy Spirit."[16] Similarly, Didymus (circa AD 379) states that the pool was "confessedly an image of baptism" and the angel troubling the water "a forerunner of the Holy Spirit."[17] And the remarks of Chrysostom (circa AD 390) are to the same effect.[18] These writers, at least, appear firmly convinced that John 5:3 b-4 was a genuine portion of the New Testament text. And the fact that Tatian (circa AD 175) included this reading in his Diatessaron also strengthens the evidence for its genuineness by attesting its antiquity.[19]

    Thus both internal and external evidence favor the authenticity of the allusion to the angel's descent into the pool. Hilgenfeld[20] and Steck[21] suggest a very good explanation for the absence of this reading from the documents mentioned above as omitting it. These scholars point out that there was evidently some discussion in the Church during the 2nd century concerning the existence of this miracle working pool. Certain early Christians seem to have been disturbed over the fact that such a pool was no longer to be found at Jerusalem. Tertullian explained the absence of this pool by supposing that God had put an end to its curative powers in order to punish the Jews for their unbelief.[22] However, this answer did not satisfy everyone, and so various attempts were made to remove the difficulty through conjectural emendation. In addition to those documents which omit the whole reading there are others which merely mark it for omission with asterisks and obels. Some scribes, such as those that produced A and L, omitted John 5:3 b, waiting for the moving of the water, but did not have the courage to omit John 5:4, For an angel ... whatever disease he had. Other scribes, like those that copied out D and W omitted John 5:4 but did not see the necessity of omitting John 5:3 b. A and L and about 30 other manuscripts add the genitive of the Lord after angel, and various other small variations were introduced. That the whole passage has been tampered with by rationalistic scribes is shown by the various spellings of the name of the pool, Bethesda, Bethsaida, Bethzatha, etc. In spite of this, however, John 5:3 b-4 has been preserved virtually intact in the vast majority of the Greek manuscripts (Traditional Text).

    [13] Commentary on the Gospel of John, (Eng. trans.), Edinburgh, AD 1871, vol. 1, p. 263.

    [14] Historisch-Kritische Einleitung, Leipzig, AD 1875, p. 782.

    [15] Theologische Zeitschrift aus der Schweiz, vol. 4 (AD 1893), p. 97.

    [16] MPL, vol. 1, col. 314. Also, Vienna, Pars I, AD 1890, p. 205.

    [17] MPG, vol. 39, cols. 708, 712.

    [18] MPG, vol. 59, col. 204.

    [19] Tatians Diatessaron, Preuschen, p. 131.

    [20] Einleitung, p. 782.

    [21] T Z aus der Schweiz, vol. 4, p. 97.

    [22] MPL, vol. 2, col. 677.
    Andrew

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    SolaScriptura's Avatar
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    Ok. I was just wondering.
    Ben
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    Originally posted by VirginiaHuguenot
    This verse is contested by some Biblical critics, but I am in agreement with the Traditional Text that it rightfully belongs in the Bible.

    Matthew Henry:

    5. What virtue it had for the cure of these impotent folks (John 5:4). An angel went down, and troubled the water; and whoso first stepped in was made whole. That this strange virtue in the pool was natural, or artificial rather, and was the effect of the washing of the sacrifices, which impregnated the water with I know not what healing virtue even for blind people, and that the angel was a messenger, a common person, sent down to stir the water, is altogether groundless; there was a room in the temple on purpose to wash the sacrifices in. Expositors generally agree that the virtue this pool had was supernatural. It is true the Jewish writers, who are not sparing in recounting the praises of Jerusalem, do none of them make the least mention of this healing pool, of which silence in this matter perhaps this is the reason, that it was taken for a presage of the near approach of the Messiah, and therefore those who denied him to be come industriously concealed such an indication of his coming; so that this is all the account we have of it. Observe,

    (1.) The preparation of the medicine by an angel, who went down into the pool, and stirred the water. Angels are God's servants, and friends to mankind; and perhaps are more active in the removing of diseases (as evil angels in the inflicting of them) than we are aware of. Raphael, the apocryphal name of an angel, signifies medicina Dei"”God's physic, or physician rather. See what mean offices the holy angels condescend to, for the good of men. If we would do the will of God as the angels do it, we must think nothing below us but sin. The troubling of the water was the signal given of the descent of the angel, as the going upon the tops of the mulberry trees was to David, and then they must bestir themselves. The waters of the sanctuary are then healing when they are put in motion. Ministers must stir up the gift that is in them. When they are cold and dull in their ministrations, the waters settle, and are not apt to heal. The angel descended, to stir the water, not daily, perhaps not frequently, but at a certain season; some think, at the three solemn feasts, to grace those solemnities; or, now and then, as Infinite Wisdom saw fit. God is a free agent in dispensing his favours.

    (2.) The operation of the medicine: Whoever first stepped in was made whole. Here is, [1.] miraculous extent of the virtue as to the diseases cured; what disease soever it was, this water cured it. Natural and artificial baths are as hurtful in some cases as they are useful in others, but this was a remedy for every malady, even for those that came from contrary causes. The power of miracles succeeds where the power of nature succumbs. [2.] A miraculous limitation of the virtue as to the persons cured: He that first stepped in had the benefit; that is, he or they that stepped in immediately were cured, not those that lingered and came in afterwards. This teaches us to observe and improve our opportunities, and to look about us, that we slip not a season which may never return. The angel stirred the waters, but left the diseased to themselves to get in. God has put virtue into the scriptures and ordinances, for he would have healed us; but, if we do not make a due improvement of them, it is our own fault, we would not be healed.

    Now this is all the account we have of this standing miracle; it is uncertain when it began and when it ceased. Some conjecture it began when Eliashib the high priest began the building of the wall about Jerusalem, and sanctified it with prayer; and that God testified his acceptance by putting this virtue into the adjoining pool. Some think it began now lately at Christ's birth; nay, others at his baptism. Dr. Lightfoot, finding in Josephus, Antiquities, 15.121-122, mention of a great earthquake in the seventh year of Herod, thirty years before Christ's birth, supposed, since there used to be earthquakes at the descent of angels, that then the angel first descended to stir this water. Some think it ceased with this miracle, others at Christ's death; however, it is certain it had a gracious signification. First, it was a token of God's good will to that people, and an indication that, though they had been long without prophets and miracles, yet God had not cast them off; though they were now an oppressed despised people, and many were ready to say, Where are all the wonders that our fathers told us of? God did hereby let them know that he had still a kindness for the city of their solemnities. We may hence take occasion to acknowledge with thankfulness God's power and goodness in the mineral waters, that contribute so much to the health of mankind; for God made the fountains of water, Rev 14:7. Secondly, It was a type of the Messiah, who is the fountain opened; and was intended to raise people's expectations of him who is the Sun of righteousness, that arises with healing under his wings. These waters had formerly been used for purifying, now for healing, to signify both the cleansing and curing virtue of the blood of Christ, that incomparable bath, which heals all our diseases. The waters of Siloam, which filled this pool, signified the kingdom of David, and of Christ the Son of David (Isa 8:6); fitly therefore have they now this sovereign virtue put into them. The laver of regeneration is to us as Bethesda's pool, healing our spiritual diseases; not at certain seasons, but at all times. Whoever will, let him come.
    Matthew Poole:

    John 5:4. This water had not always in it this healing virtue, but only when it was troubled, and this was at a certain season, how often the Scripture hath not determined; some will have it to be only at their great feasts, of the passover, and Pentecost, etc., but the Scripture saith no such thing. None must think that the angel appeared in any visible shape, but the rolling or troubling of the waters was a certain sign, that that was the time when alone they were medicinal; nor were many healed at one time, but only one person, that could first get into this water, he was healed, let his disease be what it would. The waters not being constantly medicinal, but, first, at a certain time, when they were troubled; and then, secondly, not for all, but only to him who could first get in; and, thirdly, for any disease, of what sort or kind soever his disease was; sufficiently confutes the opinion of those who fancy that the waters derived this healing virtue from the entrails of the beasts offered in sacrifice being washed there; for besides that this is denied by some, who say those entrails were washed in a room on purpose for that use within the temple; if they had derived their healing virtue from thence in a natural, rational way, they would have exerted their virtue upon more than him who first stepped in, and not at the time only when they were troubled, nor would their virtue have extended to all kinds of diseases. Of whatever use this pool therefore was before, certain it is at this time God made use of the water in it to heal, and so as men might see that it healed not by any natural, but a miraculous operation. The Scriptures of the Old Testament make no mention of it. And it is observed by those who are versed in the Jewish Rabbins, that neither do they make the least mention of it. Which makes it very probable, that they had this virtue, not from the time of the building of the sheep gate by Shallum, Neh 3:15; nor from the time when the Asmonean family was extinct; or the rebuilding or further building and adoring the temple by Herod; but a little before the birth of Christ, as a figure of him being now coming, who, Zech 13:1, was a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and from whom is both our cleansing and our healing, as these waters, which before had a cleansing, and now received also a healing virtue.
    John Calvin:

    4. For an angel went down. It was, no doubt, a work peculiar to God to cure the sick; but, as He was accustomed to employ the ministration and agency of angels, so He commanded an angel to perform this duty. For this reason the angels are called principalities or powers, (Colossians 1:16) not that God gives up his power to them, and remains unemployed in heaven, but because, by acting powerfully in them, he magnificently shows and displays his power. It is, therefore, wicked and shameful to imagine any thing as belonging to the angels, or to constitute them the medium of communication between us and God, so as to obscure the glory of God, as if it were at a great distance from us, while, on the contrary, he employs them as the manifestations of his presence. We ought to guard against the foolish speculations of Plato, for the distance between us and God is too great to allow us to go to the angels, that they may obtain favor for us; but, on the contrary, we ought to come direct to Christ, that, by his guidance, protection, and command, we may have the angels as assistants and ministers of our salvation.

    At intervals. God might have at once, in a single moment, cured them all:, but, as his miracles have their design, so they ought also to have their limit; as Christ also reminds them that, though there were so many that died in the time of Elisha, not more than one child was raised from the dead, (2 Kings 4:32) 3 and that, though so many widows were famished during the time of drought, there was but one whose poverty was relieved by Elijah, (1 Kings 17:9; Luke 4:25.) Thus the Lord reckoned it enough to give a demonstration of his presence in the case of a few diseased persons. But the manner of curing, which is here described, shows plainly enough that nothing is more unreasonable than that men should subject the works of God to their own judgment; for pray, what assistance or relief could be expected from troubled water? But in this manner, by depriving us of our own senses, the Lord accustoms us to the obedience of faith. We too eagerly follow what pleases our reason, though contrary to the word of God; and, therefore, in order to render us more obedient to him, he often presents to us those things which contradict our reason. Then only do we show our submissive obedience, when we shut our eyes, and follow the plain word, though our own opinion be that what we are doing will be of no avail. We have an instance of this kind in Naaman a Syrian, whom the prophet sends to Jordan, that he may be cured of his leprosy, (2 Kings 5:10.) At first, no doubt, he despises it as a piece of mockery, but afterwards he comes actually to perceive that, while God acts contrary to human reason, he never mocks or disappoints us.

    And troubled the water. Yet the troubling of the water was a manifest proof that God freely uses the elements according to his own pleasure, and that He claims for himself the result of the work. For it is an exceedingly common fault to ascribe to creatures what belongs to God alone; but it would be the height of folly to seek, in the troubled water, the cause of the cure. He therefore holds out the outward symbol in such a manner that, by looking at the symbol, the diseased persons may be constrained to raise their eyes to Him who alone is the Author of grace.
    Richard Sibbes, The Soul's Conflict With Itself, And Victory Over Itself By Faith (1635):

    True peace arises from knowing the worst first, and then our freedom from it. It is a miserable peace that riseth from ignorance of evil. The angel "troubled the waters," John 5:4, and then it cured those that stepped in. It is Christ's manner to trouble our souls first, and then to come with healing in his wings.
    Thanks Andrew for the commentary's!
    * Ralph Wilms (7-10-1974)
    * Church : Becoming catholic

    It is clear that he does not pray, who, far from uplifting himself to God, requires that God shall lower Himself to him, and who resorts to prayer not to stir the man in us to will what God wills, but only to persuade God to will what the man in us wills."-ST. THOMAS AQUINAS (1225–1274)

  7. #7
    VirginiaHuguenot is offline. Puritanboard Librarian
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    Originally posted by Mayflower
    Thanks Andrew for the commentary's!
    You're welcome, Ralph!
    Andrew

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