John Chapters 5 to 8, Part 2
by Karl Kemp
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We continue this verse-by-verse study of John chapters 5-8 here in Part 2, starting with John 5:24, which is a very important verse.
(24) Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word [[Compare John 8:47. We cannot hear Jesus' word (mostly referring to the gospel of salvation through and in Christ Jesus) in an adequate way (with faith, which includes obedience) until we know and are committed to the fact that He is God the Son, the Messiah/Christ, who has been sent from God the Father.]], and believes Him [[Compare John 12:44. I prefer a translation like the following: "believes in Him" NKJV; Jerusalem Bible; "believeth on Him" KJV; "has faith in him" NAB; and "believes and trusts in and clings to and relies on Him" Amplified Bible. We must believe in (be committed in faith to) God the Father (and God the Son) to be saved.]] who sent Me [cf., e.g., John 3:17, 34; 5:36, 38; 6:29, 38, 57; 7:29; 8:42; and 10:36], has eternal life, and does not come into judgment [[I would translate "into condemnation" with the KJV; the NIV has "will not be condemned." The Greek noun is "krisis" (derived from the Greek verb "krino"). The BAGD Greek Lexicon (third edition, page 569, under krisis) lists John 5:24 (and John 5:29 and other verses) under this sub-heading: "The word often means "judgment" that goes against a person, "condemnation," and the sentence that follows...." See the discussion of John 3:18, 19 in my paper on John 1:19-4:54; krino is used in John 3:18 (twice); krisis is used in John 3:18.]], but has [already] passed out of death into life. [[Compare John 6:40, 54. Those who submit (in faith) to the Lord Jesus Christ and His word (mostly referring to the gospel) have already had their final judgment and already participate in the eternal life of God. Those disciples who had faith in Christ in the days before He died and poured forth the promised LIFE-GIVING, sanctifying, gift-dispensing Spirit (starting on the day of Pentecost) couldn't be born again yet - they could only participate in eternal life in a very preliminary sense through their relationship with Christ. Those who are BORN AGAIN/BORN FROM ABOVE by the LIFE-GIVING Spirit already participate in ETERNAL LIFE in a very substantial sense through the indwelling SPIRIT OF LIFE (cf., e.g., John 3:3-8, 15, 36; 4:14; 7:37-39; 17:2, 3 [These verses from the Gospel of John are all discussed in this present paper or my papers on John 1:19-4:54 and John chapters 18-20, which are available on this Christian article site.]; Rom. 8:1-17 [These super-important verses are discussed in my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin."]; 1 John 3:14; and 5:11-13). The fullness of eternal life, however, is reserved for the end of this age, when we will be born into the fullness of eternal life and glorified with Christ (cf., e.g., Rom. 2:7; 5:21; 6:22, 23; Gal. 6:8; 1 Tim. 6:12; Titus 3:7; Rev. 7:17; and 12:5).]] (25) Truly [Amen], truly [amen], I say to you, an hour is coming and now is [See John 4:21, 23 9 (see under John 4:21, 23 in my paper on John 1:19-4:54); 5:28], when the dead [spiritually dead; cf. Matt. 8:22; Luke 9:60; 15:24, 32; Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13; and 1 Pet. 4:6] will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. [[Here Jesus is speaking of the fact that the spiritually dead will hear (they will hear with repentance and faith) the voice of the Son of God (they will hear the new-covenant gospel of salvation in Christ) and they will live, starting with the new birth/being born from above. See under verse 24.]] (26) For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself [cf. John 1:4; 5:21; and 6:57]; (27) and He gave Him authority to execute [or, "to do"] judgment [[The Greek noun behind "judgment" here is "krisis." See under verse 22. His "executing/doing judgment" here includes His giving eternal life to those who submit to Him and the gospel in faith and His condemning those who reject Him and the gospel throughout this age, and it includes His judging (both positive and negative judging) at the end of this age.]], because He is the Son of Man. [[On the "Son of Man" see under John 1:51 in my paper on John 1:19-4:54. I'll quote a few sentences from what Leon Morris says regarding this title, Son of Man ("Gospel According to John" ["Eerdmans, 1971], page 172). "In the Gospels it is used by Jesus as His favourite self-designation, occurring in this way over eighty times. Nobody else ever uses it of Him except Stephen (Acts 7:56) and the people in this Gospel [John] who inquire who Jesus means by the term (12:34). ... The origin of the term is probably to be sought in Dan. 7:13f...."
John (and the New Testament in general) makes it clear that the title "Son of Man" was not chosen to focus on the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ, but His humanity is included; for one thing, the Son of Man came from heaven (John 3:13; 6:62), being God the Son (cf., e.g., John 1:1-18). I'll quote a few verses that relate to the Son of Man's having authority to execute judgment; then I'll list some other relevant verses: "...son your sins are forgiven. ... ...but so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins..." (Matt. 9:2-8). "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, (42) and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (43) Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, He who has ears, let him hear" (Matt. 13:41-43). "Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. (25) For whoever wishes to save his life [his life in this world] will lose it [will lose his soul and real life]; but whoever loses his life [his life in this world] for My sake will find it [will save his soul and find real life]. (26) For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (27) For the SON OF MAN [my emphasis] is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS [WORKS]" (Matt. 16:24-27). "...hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, AND COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN [He is coming to reign, which includes His works of saving and judging]" (Matt. 26:64). Also see Matt. 19:28; 24:30, 31; 25:31-46; Mark 2:10; 8:38; 13:26; 14:62; Luke 5:24; 21:27; and Acts 7:56.]] (28) Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice [[At the end of this age, all the dead (physically dead) will be raised/resurrected. If we were limited to the information contained here in verses 28, 29, we would have to assume that all the dead, the righteous and the unrighteous, will be raised at the same time. Other verses make it clear, however, that the believers (the righteous) will be raised earlier, at the time Jesus returns ((cf. Luke 14:14; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 12:5; and 20:4, 5 [I had a footnote: Revelation 20:4 pictures the resurrection of the believers who will be martyred during the reign of Antichrist in the second half of Daniel's 70th week. They will be resurrected at the end of Daniel's 70th week to join the large number of saints raptured at the time Christ returns (in the middle of Daniel's 70th week). Those raptured in the middle of Daniel's 70th week have already been reigning with Christ for three and one-half years. The fact that they are pictured seated on thrones at the beginning of Rev. 20:4 shows that they are reigning; that verse shows them reigning before the saints killed by Antichrist are resurrected.)) and that the "rest of the dead" (Rev. 20:5) will not be raised (for their final judgment at the great white throne judgment) until the end of the millennium (Rev. 20:5, 11-15). (The verses cited in this sentence are all discussed in my paper on Revelation chapters 20-22 that is available on this Christian article site.)]], (29) and will come forth; those who did the good deeds [or works] to a resurrection of life [[Compare Dan. 12:2. The righteous (the believers) will be resurrected into the fullness of eternal life with glorified bodies when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to begin to reign. This will include the believers of Old Testament days and all true Christians who will have died before that time. Their good works (their righteous lives) will demonstrate that their faith was real, and especially in the case of Christians (new-covenant believers) because they had been born again/born from above by the life-giving, sanctifying Spirit of God. As I mentioned, I believe the Lord Jesus Christ will return and the resurrection, glorification, and rapture will take place right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week.]], those who committed the evil deeds [or works] to a resurrection of judgment [[Greek krisis. I would translate "resurrection of condemnation" with the NKJV. The NIV has, "will rise to be condemned"; the KJV has, "resurrection of damnation." See under verses 22, 24. The unrighteous (the unbelievers) will be resurrected bodily (cf. Rev. 20:11-15), but they will not be resurrected into eternal life. Those whose names are not found in the Lamb's book of life at the great-white-throne judgment will be cast into the eternal lake of fire, which is the second death (Rev. 20:11-15). ((I had a footnote: As I discussed in some detail in my papers on Revelation chapters 20-22 and Matthew chapter 25 and "More Regarding God's Salvation Plans for the Nations," I believe (without being dogmatic) that the names of some of the people who are raised from the dead to stand before God at the great-white-throne judgment will be found in the Lamb's book of life and that they will have a place in God's never-ending kingdom as part of the nations, with the nations being distinct from God's true Israel (who reign with Christ throughout the millennial kingdom and then forever). If it is true that some of the names of these people will be found in the book of life, it is clear that they will be saved through the grace of God in Christ and His atoning death (cf., e.g., Rev. 21:27), and it is clear that their salvation was part of God's plan from before the creation of the world. The New Testament makes it clear that those who have been confronted with the gospel and rejected it have already had their final judgment, but (for one thing) many people have died with being confronted with the gospel.))]]. (30) I can do nothing on My own initiative. [The Greek prepositional phrase behind "on My own initiative" would more literally be translated "of Myself" or "from Myself." The Greek here is the same as in verse 19, where it was translated "of Himself" by the NASB; KJV; and NKJV.] As I hear [from the Father], I judge [In this context Jesus was speaking of His being given the authority to judge all people throughout this age and at the end of this age (cf. John 5:19-29).]; and My judgment is just [righteous], because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me [cf. John 6:38]. [[We can speak of God the Son's being subordinate in some ways to God the Father in His role throughout eternity ((I had a footnote: See under John 1:1 (including the footnotes) in my paper on John 1:1-18. Also see my subsequent papers, "Who Do We Worship?"; "Who Do We Pray To?"; "More on the Trinity"; and "The Name Yahweh and God the Father and God the Son." The last four papers are available on this Christian article site and the first paper will be on this site in the near future; all of these papers are available on my internet site.)), but it was clearly necessary for the Son to be subordinate to and dependent on the Father in a special sense during the time of His life on earth as the God-man (He never ceased being deity), since He had temporarily laid aside the glory and some of the prerogatives of deity to become a man (but not just a man) and live on the earth.]] (31) If I alone testify about Myself, My testimony is not true. [[It seems that Jesus' primary point here was that if God the Father did not testify to the truthfulness of what He said about Himself and His ministry, then His testimony would not be true, but, as Jesus goes on to show, the Father did testify to the truthfulness of what He said. ((I had a footnote: Note that the Son's subordination to, and dependence on, the Father is strongly emphasized in John 5:17-30. I'll quote a sentence from what Marcus Dods says here ("Expositors' Greek Testament," Vol. 1 [Eerdmans, 1974 reprint], page 743), "Here...He means: Were I standing alone, unauthenticated by the Father, my claims would not be worthy of credit." Once we understand who Jesus really is (the God-man), we understand that His testimony is all the testimony we need to settle any issue.)) Jesus' Jewish opponents would have agreed that the testimony of God the Father was all that was needed to settle any dispute.
As reported in John 8:13, "the Pharisees said to [Jesus], 'You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not true ["is not valid" NIV].' " I'll quote Jesus' response to this charge of the Pharisees given in John 8:14-19, "Jesus answered and said to them, Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I came from or where I am going. (15) You judge according to the flesh.... ... (17) Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true. (18) I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me." Two witnesses were required according to the Mosaic Law (cf. Deut. 17:6; 19:15).]] (32) There is another who testifies of Me, and I know that the testimony which He gives about Me is true. [Jesus was speaking of God the Father here (see verse 37).] (33) You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. [John the Baptist testified to the truth regarding who Jesus was and what He had been sent to do (cf. John 1:6-8, 15, 19-36; 3:25-30).] (34) But the testimony which I receive is not from man [Jesus was speaking of the testimony of God the Father (see verse 37) and "the works which the Father [had] given [Him] to accomplish" (see verse 36).], but I say these things so that you may be saved. [[Jesus knew that the Jews (and the Gentiles) could not be saved apart from believing that He was God the Son, the Christ/Messiah, the Lamb of God, who had come from heaven to save mankind (to save all who submit to Him and the gospel in faith) from sin, Satan, spiritual death, and eternal condemnation, and to give them a place in God's eternal kingdom.]] (35) He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. [[Many Jews submitted to the ministry of John the Baptist (cf., e.g., Matt. 3:5-9; Mark 1:5; and Luke 7:24-30), and the religious leaders hadn't stopped him (some of them would like to have stopped him), but "the Pharisees and the lawyers ["experts in the Mosaic Law" (margin of NASB)] rejected God's purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John" (Luke 7:30).]] (36) But the testimony which I have is greater than the testimony of John; for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish - the very works that I do - testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me. [[I'll quote John 10:24, 25, "The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, 'How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.' (25) Jesus answered them, 'I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me.' " The fact that God had prophesied in the Old Testament that the Christ/Messiah would do these works made these works all the more effectively testify to the fact that Jesus was the One sent from the Father (cf., e.g., Isa. 35:5, 6; 53:4-6 [with Matt. 8:14-17; 1 Pet. 2:24, 25]; 61:1-3 [with Luke 4:17-21]; Matt. 11:2-6; Luke 7:18-23; John 2:23; and 3:2).]] (37) And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. [I'll quote 1 John 5:9-11, "If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God [God the Father] is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony of God concerning His Son. (11) And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." The Father had testified to Jesus in more than one way (including the works mentioned in verse 36; the miracles and revelations that attended His incarnation, birth, and young life; His speaking audibly from heaven regarding His Son when Jesus was baptized in water; and the revealing, drawing, testifying work of the Spirit), but the idea here (in this context) seems to be that the Father testified of Him in substantial, glorious detail in His Word, the Old Testament (cf., e.g., Luke 24:25-27, 44-47). (The New Testament is God's Word too, but it hadn't been written yet.) Note that Jesus goes on to speak of "[God's] word" in verse 38 and of "the Scriptures" (which are God's word) and of the "writings" of Moses (which are part of the Scriptures) in verses 39, 46, 47.]] You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. [[Jesus' opponents (unlike Moses [cf., e.g., Ex. 3:1-4:23; 19:1-6; chapter after chapter in the Mosaic Law speaks of God's speaking to Moses; 33:18-23] and to others) had not heard God's voice or seen His form. ((I had a footnote: I'll quote two sentences from what Andreas J. Kostenberger says here ("John" [Baker, 2004], page 192). "Old Testament figures who heard the voice of God include Noah (Gen. 7:1-4), Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3), Moses (Exod. 3:4-4:17; 19:3-6, 9-13; 33:11), Samuel (1 Sam. 3:4, 6, 8, 11-14), and Elijah (1 Kings 19:13, 15-18). Abraham (Gen. 18:1, 2), Jacob (Gen. 32:24-30), Moses (Exod. 33:11), and Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-5) all 'saw' the Lord in one sense or another (see Carson 1991: 262; Morris 1995: 291)." The issue of seeing or hearing God (Yahweh) in Old Testament days is complicated by the fact that sometimes they were seeing or hearing God the Son in His preincarnate state, the Angel of the Lord (Yahweh). I have to assume, for example, that He was the One that Abraham saw and talked with in Genesis chapter 18. See my paper, "The Name Yahweh and God the Father and God the Son.")) They were not to be faulted for this, but they were to be faulted for not believing the word of God in the Old Testament (cf. John 5:46, 47), which was given through Moses and others, who had been chosen by God to write His word. It was essential for the Jews to submit to God and His word, to understand His word, and to act upon His word.
Jesus' Jewish opponents would have agreed on the need to submit to God and His word, very much including the writings of Moses, and they would have claimed that they were doing these things (cf. John 5:39, 45), but Jesus said that they did not really love God (verse 42) or really believe Moses (verses 46, 47), which they proved by rejecting Jesus (verse 38-40), and in other ways, including their receiving glory from one another and not seeking the glory that comes from God (verse 44).]] (38) You do not have His word abiding in you [contrast 1 John 2:14], for you do not believe Him whom He sent. [See under verse 37.] (39) You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life [[I'll quote a few sentences from what Raymond E. Brown says here ("Gospel According to John 1-12" [Doubleday, 1966], page 225), "In Hebrew thought, the Law was par excellence the source of life. "Pirqe Aboth' ii 8 says: 'He who has acquired the words of the Law has acquired for himself the life of the world to come'; vi 7: 'Great is the Law for it gives to those who practice it life in this world and the world to come.' "]]; it is these that testify about Me [See under verses 36, 37. Compare Acts 13:27-29.]; (40) and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. [[Compare Matt. 23:37-39. Jesus showed in this discourse (John 5:37-47) that the unwillingness of His opponents to come to Him and to submit to Him and the gospel in faith stemmed from their unbelief (lack of faith) and lack of love for God the Father and His word. Their problem went much deeper than ignorance of the true meaning of God's word; they had a sinful heart problem, and they (most of them) were not open to their need to repent. (Faith and unbelief [and real love] are, at root, matters of the heart.) Their unbelief regarding Christ demonstrated that they were not willing to do God's will (see John 7:17). It was (temporarily) easier to reject Christ as a blasphemous sinner and to reject what He was saying.]] (41) I do not receive glory from men [Jesus always put God first and sought the glory that comes from Him (as we must), but He charged His opponents with living in the flesh (in a worldly way) and receiving glory from one another rather than seeking the glory that comes from God (see verse 44).]; (42) but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. [The context helps show (and most commentators agree) that Jesus was speaking of their not loving God, in spite of their claims to the contrary.] (43) I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. [The ultimate example of receiving another will be Israel's reception of Antichrist (cf. Dan. 9:27). False messiahs/prophets/teachers typically tell people what they want to hear, for one thing.] (44) How can you believe, when you receive glory ["Or honor or fame" (margin of NASB); "praise" NIV] from one another [cf. John 5:41; Matt. 23:5; and 1 Thess. 2:6] and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God? [[Compare Rom. 2:29. If religious people (including Christians) aren't very careful they can get so caught up in their religion and valuing the approval of their peers that God (for all practical purposes) is left out of the equation. Many such people never knew the reality of salvation in God to begin with, whether living under the old covenant or the new covenant. Those who seek God from the heart in faith (in accordance with the terms of His covenant with them) and the glory that comes from Him will know His approval throughout this age and will be rewarded with eternal glory at the end of this age (cf., e.g., Rom. 8:17, 18; Col. 1:27).]] (45) Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope [cf. John 9:28; Rom. 2:17-29]. [["The Jews" (cf., e.g., John 5:10, 15, 16, 18) were accusing Jesus of breaking the Law given through Moses, but Jesus says that in reality Moses was accusing them for not believing in Him, including their not believing what he wrote about Him in the five books of the Law (and what is written about Him in the other books of the Old Testament). The apostle Paul (along with Christ Jesus and others) frequently pointed out that the Jews were not keeping the Law given through Moses (cf., e.g., Rom. 2:1-29; 3:9-20; and 7:1-8:4).]] (46) For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. [[See Luke 24:25-27, 44-47; Acts 26:22, 23; 28:23-28 (cf. Acts 3:18, 24; 7:52, 53; 10:43; 13:28-30; and 1 Pet. 1:10). There are quite a few prophecies about Christ in the Pentateuch (cf., e.g., Gen. 3:15; 49:10; Num. 24:17-19; Deut. 18:15-19 [with Acts 3:22]), and Moses' writings are full of very important types of Christ, including the sacrificial offerings that prefigure the Sacrifice of the Lamb of God, especially the sacrifices of Passover (cf., e.g., Ex. 12:46 and Num. 9:12 with John 19:37) and the Day of Atonement. Furthermore, the Angel of the Lord that Moses (and others) wrote about in the Old Testament was God the Son in His preincarnate state (cf., e.g., Gen. 18:1-33; 22:1-19). (See my paper, "The Name Yahweh and God the Father and God the Son."]] (47) But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?' " [[Compare Luke 16:29-31. I'll quote part of a paragraph from what F. Godet says under verses 45-47 ("Gospel of John" [Zondervan, 1969 reprint], page 490). "... Every true disciple of Moses is on the way to becoming a Christian; every bad Jew is on that towards rejecting the Gospel. ... The words: 'wrote of [about] me,' allude to the Proto-gospel [Gen. 3:15], to the patriarchal promises, to the types such as that of the brazen serpent, to the Levitical ceremonies which were the shadow of things to come (Col. 2:17), more especially to the promise Deut. 18:8: 'I will raise up unto them a prophet like unto thee'; - this last promise, while including the sending of all the prophets who followed Moses, finds it consummation in Jesus Christ. - Ye would believe on me: in me as the one whom Moses thus announced. In truth, many of the prophecies had not yet found in Jesus their fulfillment. But we must think especially of the spirit of holiness in the law of Moses and the theocratic institutions, which found in Jesus its full realization. Moses tended to awaken the sense of sin and the thirst for righteousness, which Jesus came to satisfy. 'To give access to this spirit, was to open one's heart in advance to the great life-giver' (Gess)."]]
We will continue this verse-by-verse study of John chapters 5-8 in Part 3, starting with John 6:1.
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