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Nathaniel - A Jew Indeed

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Nathanael - Expecting Messiah

Nathaniel, the friend of Philip, is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible. We know nothing of his heritage, or his lineage, but in this text, John is giving us the history of the call of Jesus’ first apostles to be his disciples. Andrew, Peter, Philip are all apostles. So what about Nathanael? D. A. Carson notes that the most likely suggestion is that Nathanael is the personal name of ‘Bartholomew’. The name Bartholomew is a patronymic, a Aramaic and Jewish nick-name identifying someone as the son of someone else. One of the most well known patronymics is the name Ben-Hur. Ben-Hur is a movie staring Charlton Heston about Judah Ben-Hur, which is literally Judah the son of Hur.
Similarly, the Bar-Mitzvah, the Jewish celebration of a young boy becoming a man comes from two words, Bar - meaning Son of, and Mitzvah - meaning the Commandment, so Bar-Mitzvah means the “Son of the Commandments”.
Thus Bartholomew means “Son of Tholomeaus”.
The most likely suggestion is that Nathanael is the personal name of ‘Bartholomew’, which is then understood to be an Aramaic patronymic (i.e. identifying the person as the son of someone: ‘the son of Tholomaeus’ or the like). In three of the four lists of apostles, this Bartholomew is linked with Philip
In three of the four lists of apostles, this Bartholomew is linked with Philip, so it seems that Nathanael is this disciple.
So what do we know about Nathanael. Well, in the text we find some things out that are important for us to understand.
D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 159.
Nathanael was an Israelite indeed. Though Nathanael may have been blunt in his criticism of Nazareth, he was an Israelite without shady motives who was willing to examine for himself the claims being made about Jesus.
Nathanael shows some of the rivalry that is typical in small towns. Like the Puckett people who call Pelahatchie Pelatrashy, or the Pelahatchie fan who calls Pisgah - PissGah, Nathanael is shocked that Jesus is from Nazareth
“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
This
But, he is still willing to hear when Philip says simply, “Come and see.”
Nathanael may have been blunt in his criticism of Nazareth, but he was an Israelite without duplicitous motives who was willing to examine for himself the claims being made about Jesus
2. Nathanael was a thoughtful Israelite. Jesus’ mentioning of Nathanael “when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” In rabbinic literature, the shade of the fig tree is associated with a place for meditation and prayer, a place where one is taught the Word.
in rabbinic literature its shade is associated with a place for meditation and prayer
D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 160.
when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
Nathanael, like so many in his day, with the coming of John the Baptist, the herald of the King is thinking about Messiah, about his coming, about God’s promises.
D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 161.
That’s why Philip says to Nathanael, “ We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
u See ;
v See
w ch. 6:42;
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .

Nathanael - Believing in God’s Promises

What made Nathanael unique, and different from the Pharisees is that Nathanael was trusting in and looking for the fulfillment of God’s promises. He wanted Messiah to come, he was longing for it.
Nathanael was trusting in a whole host of biblical promises.
Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14)
Isaiah 7:14 ESV
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isaiah
Messiah would be born in Bethlehem ()
Micah 5:2 ESV
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Micah 5:1–2 ESV
Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike the judge of Israel on the cheek. But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Messiah would be of the Tribe of Judah ()
Genesis 49:10 ESV
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Messiah would be a descendant of David ()
Jeremiah 23:5 ESV
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
Messiah would be preceded by a messenger (,)
Isaiah 40:3 ESV
A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Isaiah
Messiah’s Ministry Foretold ()
Isaiah 61:1–2 ESV
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
And on and on. In fact, Rabbi identified over 400 distinct prophesies about Messiah. And of these Jesus fulfills them all.
This is the promise that God made, and this is the promise that Nathanael hoped for.This Messiah, this one that Nathanael was hoping for, looking for, waiting for was here, right in front of him.
This Messiah, this one that Nathanael was hoping for, looking for, waiting for was here, right in front of him.
2 Peter 1:19–20 ESV
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.
The Bible is the eye witness report of supernatural events (), that took place in the fulfillment of specific prophecies ().
2 Peter 1:18–20 ESV
we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.
2 Peter 1:18 ESV
we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
The Bible is the eye witness report of supernatural events (), that took place in the fulfillment of specific prophecies ().
2 Peter 1:19–20 ESV
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.
We serve a God who keeps his promises! And that give us joy, because he has made us some amazing promises! As we come to this season, we too should be looking with joy, believing that the God who promised Messiah will keep his promises to us!

God’s Promises to You

God enjoys blessing his children and wants to bless you! “I will enjoy blessing them. With all my heart and soul I will faithfully plant them in this land.” (GW)
As we come to this season, we too should be looking with joy, believing that the God who promised Messiah will keep his pr
“You will experience all these blessings IF you obey the Lord your God: You will be blessed in your towns and in the country. You will be blessed with many children and productive fields. You will be blessed with fertile herds and flocks. You will be blessed with baskets overflowing with fruit, and with kneading bowls filled with bread. You will be blessed wherever you go, both in coming and in going. The Lord will conquer your enemies when they attack you… And the Lord will bless everything you do and will fill your storehouses with grain.” (NLT)
Deuteronomy 28:2–8 ESV
And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
(NLT)
God wants to bless you visibly in front of others as a testimony.
“Lord, you have stored up great blessings for those who honor you. You do much for those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world.” (NLT)
God blesses you so you can be a blessing to others!
“I will cause my people and their homes around my holy hill to BE a blessing. And I will send showers, showers of blessings, which will come just when they are needed.” (NLT)
God’s blessing can be passed on to generations. You can create a legacy. “After Abraham’s death, God poured out rich blessings on Isaac.” (NLT)
It’s never too late to start living a God-blessed life! “The Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the first half of his life.”
God promises to bless my life IF I meet with him daily.
“Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching DAILY at my doors, waiting at my doorway.”
God promises to bless my life IF I study and do his Word.
“Blessed is the man… whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his word he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
“The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”
God promises to bless my life IF I tithe my income.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”
God promises to bless my life IF I help others in need, especially the poor.
“A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.”
God promises to bless my life IF I share the Good News.
“The man who PLANTS and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.”
“Good people bless and build up their city.”
God promises to bless my life IF I participate in fellowship with other believers.
“I’m eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other.”
So what are the blessings of God I can claim this Christmas, and this is by no means an exhaustive list! God promises:
Abide in God and God and Jesus Christ will Abide in you -  You will be Loved by God - Abide in God's Love -  You'll be able to Love God and one another - , Abundant Life - Jesus will never forsake you or leave you - Assurance - All of Heaven will rejoice when one sinner repents - , Spiritual Cleansing of all unrighteousness- ; God will refresh, restore your soul - Comfort - God will put angels in charge over you - ; God will give you a Future and a Hope- Deliverance - God gives Grace to the humble - ;6 Goodness and Love will follow you all the days of your life - You will be Delivered from the power of darkness - ; There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus - God will have Compassion on you and abundantly pardon you - Everlasting, Eternal Life - Good Spiritual Fruitfulness - Born again of Spirit - God will cause all things to work together for good - Gifts of the Holy Spirit - 1 Corin. 12 Gift of prophesying - Receive Godly Wisdom - Receive Godly Wisdom more precious than gold, silver, rubies- ; Receive Understanding - Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law - Rest - , Joy - Peace, Spiritual - The peace of God will guard you heart and mind in Christ Jesus - Security, Protection from God -  God will be your Helper, you will not fear men - God will send the Holy Spirit, the Helper, to you - God will provide all of your needs - , God's thoughts towards you are more than the grains of sand - , Provides delight; provides counsel,-  You will do greater works -    Makes us grow to spiritual maturity -  Ask whatever you desire & it shall be done for you - , You'll be able to Love and forgive everyone -  ; Your reward will be great when you Love your enemies - Receive strength from God - Receive a heavenly home - Receive physical  healings - , , Receive spiritual healings - You can know the Truth and be set free - , You will fear no evil - You can be forgiven of all your sins - Receive God's Righteouness - You will receive the crown of life - Direction for your life - God is rewarder for those who diligently seek Him- You will have Hope - , Rejoices the heart -  God restores our soul; makes wise the simple -  God gives us Faith -          Makes us prosper; gives us success -    God will write His Laws of upon our hearts and minds - God will remember our sin no more - , Keeps our way pure; keeps us from sin -, Gives comfort in affliction -        Provides warnings; provides rewards -         Keeps us from "slipping" -    Provides spiritual nourishment -          Guides us: watches over us in unguarded moments -      We are sanctified by God - Many will believe through the word which we share -         Gives us hope for the future -  Where two or three gather in His Name Jesus will be with you - Whatever you bind on earth, will be bound in heaven - Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.- Your reward will be great in heaven -  Victory - Spiritual Treasures - Inheritance - Answers to prayer - To know God - Seek and you will find, Knock and the door will open - , God will produce Endurance within you, through what you suffer - God will produce Character within you, through what you endure - God produces Hope within you, through the character that He establishes - God will be Faithful - 1 Corin 1:9 Receive God's Forgiveness -  Jesus Christ will be Mediator between you and God the Father - A Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ is Reconciled to God - 2 Corin 5:18,19; A Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ is Justified by God - A Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ is translated into the Kingdom of God - You are made a partaker of the Holy and Royal Priesthood - , You will be part of a Chosen generation, a Holy nation, a peculiar people - You are made the Bride of Christ - , You are a gift from God to Jesus Christ - ,,, You are Transformed by the renewing of your mind by God - Jesus will come again  -  He has prepared a place for us, and will take us with Him - , God will create a New Heaven and a New Earth - God will wipe away every tear -  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain -   God will crush satan under your feet - When we lose our ( selfish old nature) lives, we find our Life - God will give you a Crown of Life - ; ; Corin 9:25-27
You will be Loved by God -
You'll be able to Love God and one another - ,
Abundant Life -
Jesus will never forsake you or leave you -
Spiritual Cleansing of all unrighteousness- ;
God will refresh, restore your soul -
God will give you a Future and a Hope-
God will give you a Future and a Hope- Deliverance - God gives Grace to the humble - ;6 Goodness and Love will follow you all the days of your life - You will be Delivered from the power of darkness - ; There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus - God will have Compassion on you and abundantly pardon you - Everlasting, Eternal Life - Good Spiritual Fruitfulness - Born again of Spirit - God will cause all things to work together for good - Gifts of the Holy Spirit - 1 Corin. 12 Gift of prophesying - Receive Godly Wisdom - Receive Godly Wisdom more precious than gold, silver, rubies- ; Receive Understanding - Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law - Rest - , Joy - Peace, Spiritual - The peace of God will guard you heart and mind in Christ Jesus - Security, Protection from God -  God will be your Helper, you will not fear men - God will send the Holy Spirit, the Helper, to you - God will provide all of your needs - , God's thoughts towards you are more than the grains of sand - , Provides delight; provides counsel,-  You will do greater works -    Makes us grow to spiritual maturity -  Ask whatever you desire & it shall be done for you - , You'll be able to Love and forgive everyone -  ; Your reward will be great when you Love your enemies - Receive strength from God - Receive a heavenly home - Receive physical  healings - , , Receive spiritual healings - You can know the Truth and be set free - , You will fear no evil - You can be forgiven of all your sins - Receive God's Righteouness - You will receive the crown of life - Direction for your life - God is rewarder for those who diligently seek Him- You will have Hope - , Rejoices the heart -  God restores our soul; makes wise the simple -  God gives us Faith -          Makes us prosper; gives us success -    God will write His Laws of upon our hearts and minds - God will remember our sin no more - , Keeps our way pure; keeps us from sin -, Gives comfort in affliction -        Provides warnings; provides rewards -         Keeps us from "slipping" -    Provides spiritual nourishment -          Guides us: watches over us in unguarded moments -      We are sanctified by God - Many will believe through the word which we share -         Gives us hope for the future -  Where two or three gather in His Name Jesus will be with you - Whatever you bind on earth, will be bound in heaven - Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.- Your reward will be great in heaven -  Victory - Spiritual Treasures - Inheritance - Answers to prayer - To know God - Seek and you will find, Knock and the door will open - , God will produce Endurance within you, through what you suffer - God will produce Character within you, through what you endure - God produces Hope within you, through the character that He establishes - God will be Faithful - 1 Corin 1:9 Receive God's Forgiveness -  Jesus Christ will be Mediator between you and God the Father - A Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ is Reconciled to God - 2 Corin 5:18,19; A Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ is Justified by God - A Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ is translated into the Kingdom of God - You are made a partaker of the Holy and Royal Priesthood - , You will be part of a Chosen generation, a Holy nation, a peculiar people - You are made the Bride of Christ - , You are a gift from God to Jesus Christ - ,,, You are Transformed by the renewing of your mind by God - Jesus will come again  -  He has prepared a place for us, and will take us with Him - , God will create a New Heaven and a New Earth - God will wipe away every tear -  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain -   God will crush satan under your feet - When we lose our ( selfish old nature) lives, we find our Life - God will give you a Crown of Life - ; ; Corin 9:25-27
You will be Delivered from the power of darkness - ;
Good Spiritual Fruitfulness -
God will cause all things to work together for good -
Receive Godly Wisdom -
Rest - ,
Joy -
Peace, Spiritual -
Security, Protection from God - 
God will be your Helper, you will not fear men -
God will send the Holy Spirit, the Helper, to you -
God will provide all of your needs - ,
You will do greater works -   
You'll be able to Love and forgive everyone -  ;
Receive strength from God -
Receive a heavenly home -
Receive physical  healings - , ,
Receive spiritual healings -
You will receive the crown of life -
Direction for your life -
You will have Hope - ,
Makes us prosper; gives us success -   
God will remember our sin no more - ,
Keeps us from "slipping" -   
Your reward will be great in heaven - 
Answers to prayer -
God will produce Endurance within you, through what you suffer -
God will produce Character within you, through what you endure -
And on and on. There is no limit to the blessing of God. God has a blessing for you this Christmas season. He has a future and a hope for you. He loves you and wants to bless you, fi you will ask him to bless you. Will you seek him this year?
Nathanael was looking for God’s promised blessing, are you?
This Christmas, I want you to know that God has a blessing for you. It’s a blessing beyond your imagining. It’s a blessing of his presence, of peace of hope, of joy. But it’s a blessing that you must seek.
I think many of us miss a blessing because like Nathanael we believe the Devil’s lies, but just like Nathanael, God wants you to know that he loves and blesses his people.
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