90 Had Jesus been born the Holy One, or had He been called Holy? Luke 1;35

Had Jesus been born the Holy One, or had He been called Holy? Luke 1;35

Where one puts a comma can sometimes have an effect on the meaning of a sentence. In Luke 1:35 we have an example of this. I quote from Marshall’s interlinear Greek-English New Testament. The words in brackets represent a single word in Greek. “wherefore also {the thing being born} holy {will be called} Son of God.”

The underlined bold word “holy” can equally well be combined with either the preceding word “the thing being born” or with the following word “will be called”. Therefore both the renderings found in the KJV as well as that found in the Bible in Basic English (BBE) are grammatically correct. KJV: “… therefore that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

BBE: “and so that which will come to birth will be named holy, Son of God.”

With Gill, in this phrase I see an acknowledgment as well as part description of the two natures of Jesus in one person.  Both his Godly, Divine nature and his human nature were combined in one person at His conception. His Divine nature is very strongly grounded in the words of the angel Gabriel in verses 30 – 35. After the description of who Jesus is, and what He will do, an explanation of His conception is described in verse 35: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” Here Gabriel announces that we have to do with a divine intervention by the Holy Spirit into the life of Mary. By the announcement that “the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee”, the divine conception is proclaimed. Thereby His divine nature is strongly grounded. He is the Holy One that will be born.

But the essence of Jesus’ being is not dependent on the acknowledgement of man. He is what  He is, the Holy One that will be born, regardless of whether people recognize it and confirm it by the name they call Him, or not.

But his divine nature will be so obvious through His words and deeds that people will acknowledge it. That becomes clear in the second half of the phrase.

In the Bible it quite often happens that the true essence of something is pronounced by the name it is called. That is why Adam had to “name” all the animals.

Though the divine heritage stands firm by the divine conception, this nature will shine through so clearly that people will call Him the “Son of God”.

The Jewish background as well as the Old Testament portrays clearly that the term “Son of God” does not indicate ancestry, but rather the essence of His substance. The term “Son of David” denotes a direct descendant, be it a child, grand child or anyone that can trace his ancestry genealogically to David.

The term “Son of God” on the other hand is used in a unique way in the Old Testament. In Gen. 6:2 and 6:4 as well as Job 1:6, 2:1 and 38:7, we clearly have to do with supernatural beings. But God also adopts the king and the tribe of Israel as His son (Ps. 2:7; Hos. 11:1) Yet neither the king, nor Israel is ever called the “Son of God”.

In Matthew we find an interesting development in the use of the term “Son of God”. At first it is Satan who recognizes Jesus as Son of God (Mat.4), and later the demons (Mat. 8:28) Next it was the disciples who acknowledged Jesus as such (Mat. 14:33). The High priest challenged Jesus to declare Himself as Son of God (Mat. 26:63). The same with the passersby at Calvary (Mat. 27:40) even so the church leaders, (Mat. 27:43) leading to the final declaration by the centurion that Jesus was indeed the “Son of God” (Mat. 27:54). In the same way the term “Son of God” in the rest of the New Testament  is used in connection with Jesus only.

What then is the essence that we have to do in this phrase? The Angel says to Mary: “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you.” Thereby the Angel indicated the source of the conception. In other words, the child  that will be born is in essence already divine and holy. This is a fact of His existence and does not depend on the acknowledgement of man. Therefore being linked to the preceding word is in fact a confirmation of what Gabriel had said. Jesus is the “Holy one” that will be born, irrespective of whether man would recognize it and acknowledge it by the names they call Him. However, Jesus will live out his divinity to such an extent that people will admit and acknowledge Him by calling Him the “Son of God”, or a supernatural being, according to the fuller meaning of that term.

I prefer the link of “holy” to the preceding word: “ Therefore the Holy One to be born, will be called the “Son of God.”

The first part of the phrase states unequivocally what the angel Gabriel has said while the second part represents   the confirmation by the people.

Please share your opinion directly on the blog, or via e-mail

God bless,


About Herman of bibledifferences.net

The reasons for the differences between older Bibles like the King James Version and newer Bibles like the New International Version have fascinated me ever since my studies in Theology at the University of Pretoria in the seventies. I have great respect for scribes through the ages as well as Bible translators, so there must be good reasons for the differences. With more than 5600 Greek manuscripts and more than 19000 manuscripts of ancient translations to our disposal, the original autographs of the New Testament can be established without doubt. I investigate the reasons behind the differences and publish the facts in a post on my blogs www.bibledifferences.net (Afrikaans: www.bybelverskille.wordpress.com) to enable my readers to judge for themselves. Personally I love to make an informed decision based of facts. That is why I endeavor to provide that same privilege to the readers of my blogs. Since 1973 I am married to my dear wife and greatest friend, Leah Page, founder director of Act-Up Support (www.actup.co.za) a prayer ministry for families struggling with drug-, occult- and other dependencies. We are blessed with two daughters and two sons, four grand sons and two grand daughters. God is alive and omnipotent! Glory to His Name! Herman Grobler.
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