The Omnipresent Christ on Earth


By Thomas Golda


"And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man WHICH IS IN HEAVEN."  John 3:13


John 3:13 is one of the most powerful verses in the entire Bible.  Jesus Himself states that while He was on earth, at the same time He also was in heaven.  Proving an "omnipresent Christ while on earth" and the greatest statement of the Deity of Christ by Christ Himself. The phase WHICH IS IN HEAVEN that Jesus said is missing from some modern day Bibles. No surprise that the missing phrase is linked with "only one" text-type.  The corrupt Alexandrian manuscripts.  But we will see that Alexandria itself witnesses to the Byzantine Greek, and well as other manuscripts and early witnesses.


Virtually every Greek manuscript of John 3 contains the words, as do all the Latin, and Syriac versions, the Coptic, Ethiopic, Georgian and Armenian versions.


The words “which is in heaven” are found in the vast Majority of all Greek manuscripts including A, E, F, G, H, K, M, S, U, V, Gamma, Delta, Theta, Pi, Psi, the Old Latin copies of a, aur, b, c, f, ff2, j, l, q, r1.

It is also the reading of the Syriac Peshitta, Curetonian, Harkelian, some Coptic Boharic copies, the Armenian, Ethiopian, Georgian and Slavonic ancient versions.

Of the early church fathers in support of this passage, and some of these go back to the SECOND CENTURY AD -  2nd Century: Hippolytus; 3rd Century: Dionysius of Alexandria, Novatian, Origen; 4th Century: Artibrose, Aphraates the Persian, Athanasius, Augustine, Basil, Chrysostom, Didymus, Epiphanius, Hilary, Jerome, Lucifer, Theodorus Herad; 5th Century: Cyril of Alexandria, Marius Mecator, Nonnus, Paulus, Bishop of Emesa, Theodoret, Theodorus Mops, Victorinus (possibly 4th cent.); 6th Century: Severus; 8th Century: Amphilochus, Cosmas, John Damascene. Berry's Greek text supports this passage.  A couple early ones are below:


"And no man hath ascended up into heaven, except him that descended from heaven, the Son of man, WHICH IS IN HEAVEN." Tatian (140 AD), Diatessaron

"No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man WHICH IS IN HEAVEN." Hippolytus, (170-236 AD), Against Noetus


However, other Alexandrian witnesses, most notably several manuscripts of the Bohairic dialect, indicate that the original phrase were also known early in Egypt. Moreover, concerning the patristic evidence, the testimony of Origen, an Alexandrian father apostate, indicates he was acquainted with the local text as preserved in Greek witnesses and versions. The phrase is found in nearly all the uncial and minuscule manuscripts of the NT as well as in nearly every ancient version, including the Bohairic of lower Egypt.

The testimony of the Coptic and Ethiopic translations, as well as that of Origen, and other Alexandrian witnesses add further early versional and patristic support to this important array of Greek manuscripts.

Moreover, this reading is not limited to manuscripts of only one geographical area. The reading was accepted as genuine over a wide geographic area, encompassing most of the then civilized ancient world: Rome and the West, Greece, Syria and Palestine, and even Alexandria, the literary capital of Egypt.

The external evidence shows almost the entire ancient tradition supporting the phrase including the Old Latin [Itala], which establishes the date of the longer reading as at least the last quarter of the second century.  The origin of the Itala "before the second century had passed," places the earliest Latin translations in North Africa within "the last quarter of the second century."


Also significant is the geographical distribution of the witnesses in support of the longer reading. Being from such a wide geographical it is highly improbable that there is any genealogical relationship between them. The testimony of the Greek manuscripts, ancient versions, and Church Fathers thus forms, as it were, a strong THREE FOLD CHAIN that cannot be broken.