John 3:12

If I told (ei eipon). Condition of the first class, assumed to be true. Earthly things (ta epigeia). Things upon the earth like ta epi th gh ( Colossians 3:2 ), not things of an earthly nature or worldly or sinful. The work of the kingdom of God including the new birth which Nicodemus did not understand belongs to ta epigeia. If I tell you heavenly things (ean eipw umin ta epourania). Condition of the third class, undetermined. What will Nicodemus do in that case? By ta epourania Jesus means the things that take place in heaven like the deep secrets of the purpose of God in the matter of redemption such as the necessity of the lifting up of Christ as shown in verse Colossians 14 . Both Godet and Westcott note that the two types of teaching here pointed out by Jesus (the earthly, the heavenly) correspond in general to the difference between the Synoptics (the earthly) and the Fourth Gospel (the heavenly), a difference noted here in the Fourth Gospel as shown by Jesus himself. Hence the one should not be pitted against the other. There are specimens of the heavenly in the Synoptics as in Matthew 11:25 ; Luke 10:18 .