John 3:13 – And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven
No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. <1>John 3:13 – NIV-Text omits who is in heaven.
John 3:13 (NKJV)
According to Jesus, no man (John 3:13) (or no human) has ever entered into heaven “but he” (except Jesus), the “son of man” (the son of a human). I admit that the grammatical structure of this statement can be understandably confusing. But if you do not keep the proper perspective that there is only one God and that God is NOT a man (human), you can find yourself distorting this passage as indicating that God is somehow also called the Son of Man, which is a terminology never used by any of the prophets, apostles or Jesus to describe God the Father. This title is only given to a man.
There are however several undisputed and important facts that can be obtained from this passage.
1. Jesus is clearly and specifically speaking about humans only (no man); identifying which humans, if any, have (or have not) entered into heaven itself.
2. Jesus clearly and specifically claims himself to be the ONLY man (the only human/the son of man), who has ever “ascended up” to heaven.
3. Jesus also did not refer to himself as being God anywhere in this passage.
In this passage, the reference to “man” is speaking of the spiritual essence of man (his human soul/spirit), not his physical body. We know this because:
(1 Corinthians 15:50) “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”
Also in this passage, the reference to “who came down from heaven” is arguably a matter of interpretation. Many would like to argue that this indicates Jesus was actually God. Unfortunately, Jesus is speaking and he is not proclaiming himself to be God but rather he is professing himself to be a man speaking the words of God. It is better supported that this is in reference to the fact that Jesus came from God (from heaven). (See also: For I Came Down From Heaven John 6:38)
(John 3:34-36) “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. 35 The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into his hand. 36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
1. This is another example where there is variation in some of the “original manuscripts”; some contain this section as worded in bold italics others do not. <2>Remember ONLY the scriptures are recorded as being inspired of GOD, yet we have known variations that exist in some of the original manuscripts. Therefore, we must always be mindful that not every translation will necessarily be the same nor does it mean the translation used is the correct one!
(John 3:13 (NIV)) “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. <3>Some manuscripts add, who is in heaven
2. Most notably however, in reference to who is in heaven, Jesus did not claim to be God rather he claimed himself to be the “Son of man”, and we know neither Jesus nor God told lies about who they were. One was the Father, and the other (Jesus) was called the Son.
Enoch, Elijah, and Abraham
By faith, Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him. (Hebrews 11:5)
And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (2 Kings 2:11)
It should be noted that the Scriptures do not record the specific place to which Enoch was taken–only that he was taken.
For Elijah, he was taken up to heaven. However, the word heaven is used to refer to different things, namely the sky, the domain of the stars, and the dwelling place of God. It seems that Elijah however arose into the sky.
|⇑1||John 3:13 – NIV-Text omits who is in heaven.|
|⇑2||Remember ONLY the scriptures are recorded as being inspired of GOD, yet we have known variations that exist in some of the original manuscripts. Therefore, we must always be mindful that not every translation will necessarily be the same nor does it mean the translation used is the correct one!|
|⇑3||Some manuscripts add, who is in heaven|