Note the more frequent use of πάλιν in the Septuagint (LXX) is to with translating the Hebrew verb meaning return. That is also a common meaning in the New Testament when used with a word meaning come/go. Since leaving the Earth again doesn't make sense, πάλιν goes with going to the Father; thus returning to the Father.

 ⸋ἐξῆλθον ⸀παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς⸌ καὶ ἐλήλυθα εἰς τὸν κόσμον· πάλιν ἀφίημι τὸν κόσμον καὶ πορεύομαι πρὸς τὸν πατέρα.* (John 16:28, NA28)

 I came from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” (John 16:28, HCSV)

Use of πάλιν in the LXX; שׁוּב is how a modern Hebrew translation translates πάλιν in John 16;28 The modern Hebrew translation is:

יָצָאתִי מֵאֵת הָאָב וּבָאתִי אֶל הָעוֹלָם; שׁוּב, עוֹזֵב אֲנִי אֶת הָעוֹלָם וְהוֹלֵךְ אֶל הָאָב

ha-Berit ha-ḥadashah. (2000). (John 16:28). Israel: The Bible Society in Israel.

Translated to English: I went forth from the Father and came to the world; returning, I'm leaving the world and going to the Father.

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1 Answer 1


The Greek of John 16:28b is

πάλιν ἀφίημι [= I leave] τὸν κόσμον καὶ πορεύομαι [= I go] πρὸς τὸν Πατέρα.

In this construction it is difficult to make πάλιν apply to "go" rather than "leave" because of two reasons:

  • proximity - "leave is MUCH closer
  • separation - καὶ [= and] separates the two phrases, "I leave the world" and "I go to the Father"

There is one other possibility - πάλιν might apply to the both phrases as a whole making the translation something like:

Again, I am leaving the world and returning to the Father

I actually prefer this latter idea precisely because it best fits both the grammar and the sense because in the OT we regularly see the pre-incarnate Jesus visiting people with special messages. See appendix below.

APPENDIX - Jesus in the OT.

The following passages make it clear that the “Angel of the LORD” is almost always, the LORD (Jehovah) Himself, probably Jesus in particular. Gen 16:7-13, 22:11-17, 32:24-30, 48:16, Ex 3:2-6, 32:34, Num 22:22-35, Josh 5:13-15, Judg 2:1-4, 6:11-23, 13:3-23, Isa 63:9, Dan 3:25, 28, Hos 12:4, 5, Zech 3:1-7, Mal 3:1.

A closely related phrase, “Angel of God” who is clearly God as in Gen 6:13, 8:15, 9:8, 17, 15:13, 17:3, 4, 21:12, 16-21, 35:1, 10, Ex 4:3-8, 6:2, 23:20, 21, Deut 1:6, 1 Kings 12:22, etc.

In Isa 63:9, “the Angel of His [LORD’s] presence saved them”, and is almost certainly a reference to the same being. The same is true of Ex 23:20, 21, Josh 5:13-15.

In view of the clear statements in John 1:18, 5:37, 6:46, 1 John 4:12 that no one has seen God the Father, and the numerous cases listed above of people seeing the LORD and the Angel of the LORD, etc, it appears that these epiphanies were of the pre-incarnate Jesus. In other places we see that the LORD sends the LORD:

  • Zech 2:6-12 – the LORD (= YHWH) claims three times that He has been sent by the LORD.
  • Isa 48:11-16 – again, the LORD has been sent by the LORD.

Thus, unsurprisingly, Jesus is the messenger to the human race and underlines the importance that the Godhead places upon such messages.

  • What do you think about the Hebrew translation I added to the question section?
    – Perry Webb
    May 4, 2021 at 21:27
  • @PerryWebb - I agree with your assessment. However, the tet of John 16:28 should be treated on its own merits.
    – Dottard
    May 4, 2021 at 22:58

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