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On the Gospel of John, Part 30: Raising Lazarus
During the course of His three-and-a-half year ministry, Yahshua Christ had opened the eyes of the blind, healed the lame, cleansed the lepers, cured the deaf and the dumb, and had already raised the dead, as He Himself had announced in Matthew chapter 11, at a point much earlier in His ministry than that which we see recorded here in John chapter 11. All of these things were in accordance with the prophecies for Israel concerning a Messiah, or Savior, for which reason He was known to be the Christ, a term which means the Anointed One and the very meaning of the Hebrew word for Messiah. But while many of these acts were recorded in the other three gospel accounts, most of them are not found in John. It seems that John had only recorded certain of the miracles which were performed by Christ not only in order to prove that He is the Messiah, but also to demonstrate His humility, to illustrate the division that His works caused among the people, and to explain the resulting contention that they had caused with the authorities in Judaea in spite of His humility.
The first miracle recorded by John was the changing of water into wine, and while Yahshua was reluctant, He was urged by His mother, which even caused Him to deny her any authority over His purpose in life. While there are other acts recorded in John’s gospel which revealed the prescience of Christ, that He must have been sent from God, the second significant miracle was the healing of a sick nobleman’s son, in Capernaum in Galilee. The descriptions of these two miracles illustrate the humility of Christ, that although He was able to do these things, He was reluctant at first, He refused to make any exhibition when He did them, and He wanted no credit for Himself when they were done.
These first two miracles, as John informed us in chapter 4, were done in Galilee, and they were well-received. But then John relates the healing of the lame man in chapter 5, which offended the authorities in Jerusalem, and which compelled Christ to declare to those who opposed Him that He was indeed the promised Son of the the prophets, the promised Savior and Judge prophesied even by Moses. While His works should have led them to believe Him, the rulers, scribes and priests in Jerusalem had instead despised Him. After another miracle in Galilee, the feeding of the multitude in the wilderness, and then the circumstances of His arrival in Capernaum and the resulting Bread of Life discourse, many of the people who did not understand Him departed from Him, but they did not seek to kill Him. In contrast, in John chapters 7 through 10, at a Feast of Tabernacles celebration Christ was once again confronted by His enemies in Jerusalem, and He explained to them why they rejected Him, as it was a result of their true nature as bastards. They wanted to stone Him for that, and leaving them He immediately healed a man who was blind from birth, which precipitated a second confrontation with them that same day. Four months later, at the Feast of Restoration, they wanted to stone Him again.
Apparently, John sought to create a narrative by illustrating only certain events that he thought would best relate a particular message: the contention which His great works had raised between Him and His enemies, because His enemies were devils. They were not the children of God and neither could they be His children, because they were devils and they were not true children of Abraham. Christ needed no exhibition of history and genealogy to prove these things, as the innate nature of His enemies as it was manifested in their own actions was sufficient proof. Now upon this last great miracle before the Crucifixion, the lust of His enemies for His death finally culminated, because they could not deny His works, and being devils, neither could they accept the implications of His works. So the rulers, scribes and priests in Jerusalem exploited the fears, confusion and divisions among the people to their own advantage, so that they could kill Him.
There are historical patterns which have repeated themselves many times in history, and even once again today, and Christian men have never learned from them even though their root causes are fully revealed here in the gospel of John, in a narrative which John had purposely constructed by illustrating particular events in the life of Christ so that we would know and recognize those patterns – if only we would believe what he wrote. But men to this day do not believe what he wrote, and they believe lies instead. So for that reason we have seen the French Revolution, and the Bolshevik Revolution, the world wars and the resulting corruption of all Christian society today, while the very same culprits are chiefly responsible for all of the subversion.
Now the last miracle which John describes leading up to the crucifixion is the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and when we discuss John chapter 12, it is this event to which John attributes the motivation of the people who worshiped Him as He made His triumphal entry through the gates of Jerusalem six days before the Passover upon which He was crucified. So John seems to be using this event to illustrate the fact that Yahshua was indeed the Messiah, and upon this miracle He was declared to be so by the people, although that act had only stoked the hatred of His enemies who responded by immediately executing a plot to kill Him. The synoptic gospels did not record the raising of Lazarus, and their writers evidently did not realize the significance of the act in the same manner and circumstances in which John presents it here.
This may only have been because Lazarus was not the first to be resurrected from the dead. In Matthew chapter 11, for example, Christ had announced that He had already raised the dead, and even if He denied she was dead, explaining that she was only sleeping, He had raised the young girl in Galilee, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 9. This was also recorded in the gospels of Mark and Luke. A similar incident which is only recorded in Luke is the raising of a man from the dead in Nain, a town in Galilee, the son of a widow as it is described in Luke chapter 7. These things happened at a much earlier time in His ministry.
The belief that men could be raised from the dead is quite old. The legend of Inanna is found in ancient Akkadian and Babylonian inscriptions, where she is delivered from death and the underworld, but her husband is abducted to take her place. This legend is alluded to in Scripture as the “women weeping for Tammuz” in Ezekiel chapter 8 (8:14). A similar legend appears in the tragic poets, in Euripides' tragedy Alcestis. The heroine dies in place of her husband, and is later rewarded for her deed by being brought back from the underworld by Heracles. While we should only account these pagan myths as fables, they do reveal that the phenomenon of continued life after death and the possibility of resurrection was understood in ancient times, and Homer and other poets had also depicted the spirits of the dead having consciousness in Hades, or the underworld.
There were at least three people raised from the dead in the Old Testament, one by Elijah (1 Kings 17), one by Elisha (2 Kings 4), and apparently, although indirectly, another posthumously by Elisha (2 Kings 13). But there must have been many more, as Paul had written in chapter 11 of his epistle to the in Hebrews that by faith, among some of the other things which the saints of the Old Testament had experienced, “35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection…” Paul must have been referring to something which is not presently found in our Bibles, but the “better resurrection” to which he referred must be the “resurrection on the last day” which Mariam professes in faith here in this chapter. In any event, these Old Testament incidents of resurrection had evidently all taken place before the fourteen books of the prophets which we have in our Bibles were written, which prophesy that Yahweh will bring the children of Israel out of their graves.
An earlier testimony to the prospect of resurrection is found in Job chapter 19, which was apparently written during the period of the Judges, where we read: “25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Another allusion to resurrection is found in Job chapter 14 (14:12-14).
We have already discussed the chronology of events and how some of the perspectives and conclusions which may be deduced from the other gospel accounts may differ from the perception of the sequence of events as it is described here by John. I will only repeat that each of the gospels was written from different perspectives and in a very concise manner, and simply because one event is wanting in one or more of the accounts, does not mean that it did not happen. Even where Matthew wrote in chapter 21 of his gospel “1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,” and Mark agrees, that does not mean that other things did not happen along with those events. It is more likely that the writers of those gospels simply chose not to record them. As we have also explained, another purpose of John’s gospel seems to have been to record certain events which he felt were significant but which, for whatever reason, the other gospels did not record.
So now we shall proceed with John chapter 11, and the account of the raising of Lazarus, which is only found here in the gospels. We last left off with verse 17, where Christ had just arrived in Bethany, and as John described it, Lazarus had already been dead four days: “Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.”
18 Now Bethania was close to Jerusalem, about [D and W want “about”] fifteen stadia, 19 and many of those of the Judaeans [D has “many of those from Jerusalem”] had come to [P45, A and the MT insert “those around”; the text follows P66, P75, א, B, C, D and W] Martha and Mariam [P66, א, A, W and the MT have “Maria”; the text follows P75, B, C and D] in order that they may comfort them concerning the [A, C and the MT have “their”; the text follows P45, P66, P75, א, B, D and W] brother.
John gives the proximity of Bethany to Jerusalem as the reason that many Judaeans had come to comfort Martha and Mariam upon the death of Lazarus. The stade, or στάδιον, was a Greek unit of length which was also used by the Romans, and before them apparently by Persians, Babylonians, Phoenicians and others. While Herodotus described its length as 600 πόδες, or feet, it had apparently varied in measure because in diverse places the length of the πούς, the Greek foot, had varied in measure. In Latin it is stadium, and of course that is the source of our modern English word. In the King James Version, however, it was usually translated as furlong, which is an English measure of 660 feet.
Various commentators over the centuries have offered different calculations for the lengths for the πούς and the στάδιον, sometimes deduced from various relics or other archaeological discoveries. But if we accept the foot as being close to or equivalent to our own, then 15 stadia is about 3,000 yards, or just over 1.7 miles. Most differences in the measurement of the στάδιον are within proximation of this. As we have also seen, Bethany was near the Mount of Olives, which in Acts chapter 1 was considered a “sabbath day’s journey”, or the distance which the Pharisees had deemed it appropriate for men to travel on the day of the Sabbath.
20 Then as Martha heard that Yahshua comes she went to meet Him, but Mariam [P45, P66, P75, א, A, B, C, D, W and the MT all have “Maria” here, where only some late manuscripts have “Mariam”] sat in the [P66 has “her”] house.
Here there seems to be a reversal of the roles which the two women are perceived to characteristically fulfill, as we shall see later, at the dinner which is described in chapter 12, that Martha is more concerned with housework and Mariam with attending to Christ. Now as Martha encounters Him, she makes an exclamation:
21 Then Martha said to Yahshua: “Prince [B wants ‘Prince”, or ‘Lord’], if You were here my brother would not have died! 22 But even now [P75, א, B, C want ‘But”, where we would write ‘Yet now”; the text follows P45, P66, A, D, W and the MT] I know that whatever You should ask Yahweh, Yahweh shall give to You!”
Saying this, Martha confesses a great degree of faith along with an acknowledgement that Christ could yet do things which were beyond even her expectations. For that Christ responds rather candidly and confidently, but Martha did not understand exactly what He meant, so by her expression of faith she was not anticipating what it was that He was about to do:
23 Yahshua says [P75 has “Then Yahshua said”; א “And Yahshua said”] to her: “Your brother shall be resurrected.” 24 Martha says to Him: “I know that he shall be resurrected in the resurrection on the last day!”
Martha had begged Him with her confession that “I know that whatever You should ask Yahweh, Yahweh shall give to You!” But saying that, here we see that she was not imagining that her brother could be brought back from the dead immediately. Yet she does profess a “resurrection on the last day”, so we see how the Israelites of first century Judaea had interpreted the Old Testament prophecies concerning resurrection, that at the final judgment there would indeed be a physical resurrection of the dead.
25 Yahshua said to her: “I am the Resurrection and the Life [P45 wants ‘and the Life’]. He believing in Me shall live even if he may die, 26 and each who lives and believes in Me [W wants ‘in Me’] shall not die forever. Do you believe this?”
There are schools of thought even among Identity Christians, that immortality and eternal life are attained only through child-bearing, that men only live forever in their descendants. That concept is pagan in its origination, and it is not at all Christian. It was a matter of discussion as early as Plato, from the 4th century before Christ, for example in Plato’s Symposium, and it is an aspect of that worldly philosophy which is contrary to God and rejected by the earliest Christians. Here it is plainly refuted by Christ. It seems also to be a refutation of earlier pagan myths, since when Paul spoke to the Athenians, in Acts chapter 17, they had also scoffed at the possibility of resurrection. So the Athenians, evidently under the spell of their own ‘modern’ philosophers, rejected Paul because they had rejected their own myths and legends.
Yahweh God is the Word of the Old Testament, which said “Let there be….”, and whatever He willed to be then came into existence by His Word. Yahshua Christ is that Word made flesh, which had created the Adamic race to be immortal, and ultimately they all shall believe in Him. For that reason He preached to the spirits of the dead, even those who died in the flood of Noah, so that they would believe and have liberty as it is described in the first epistle of Peter, in chapters 3 and 4. As it says in the Wisdom of Solomon, which we have already cited in relation to earlier chapters of John, “2:23 For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity. 24 Nevertheless through envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of his side do find it. 3:1 But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them. 2 In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure is taken for misery, 3 And their going from us to be utter destruction: but they are in peace.”
If Yahweh spoke all things into existence, and if Yahshua Christ is Yahweh God incarnate, then we must believe Him where He said that “each who lives and believes in Me shall not die forever.” He was not speaking of progeny, but of each and every individual of that race which He had created to be immortal, as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, “22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” The envy of the devil by which death befell the sons of Adam is the same works of the devil which Christ had come to destroy, as John explained in chapter 3 of his first epistle. If we do not believe that the God who said “Let there be” can make it so, then we are not Christians. We cannot believe Christ if we do not imagine that God can indeed transcend His Creation, and also take part in His Creation, which is the essence of the Christ.
The Greek word πᾶς (Strong’s # 3956) is each here, where the King James Version has “whosoever”, a reading which we must reject. According to Liddell & Scott, the word is in the plural all, and among many other uses, in the singular each or every. To understand the context, each of what or whom, other statements by Christ must be found that describe the parameters. In Matthew 15:24 He said “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”, so we cannot imagine that the use of πᾶς here negates that statement. Rather, that statement defines the use of πᾶς here, as each of the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This is verified in Luke chapter 1 where we read “68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,” and we see that each of those people have a promise of eternal life in Isaiah chapter 45 where it says in verse 17 “Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end”, and then in verse 25 “In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
Likewise, Paul said in Acts chapter 26 “6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: 7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come.” So it is each of those for whom Christ had come who are the subjects of the statement of Christ here. There is an older and transcending promise to the wider Adamic race, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15 that “ 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”, and the word for all on both occasions is that same word πᾶς. So each, or all, of the children of Adam shall be made alive, but not all of the people on this planet are from Adam. Yahweh created one race in Genesis, and as we see in the story of Cain, and later in the descriptions of the Rephaim and Nephilim and the later accounts of alien peoples dwelling along with the Canaanites, other people already existed elsewhere who are not of Adam. It is demonstrable through Scripture, History and Archaeology that the White race alone descended from Noah and the list of his descendants in Genesis chapter 10, and for that the apostles of Christ had brought the message of the gospel to the people of Europe and the Near East, to areas which were inhabited by the White race at that time, and in a short time, they all accepted it in a relatively short time.
But concerning the resurrection and eternal life, it is not for us to speculate how these things are done, and then attempt to make doctrines out of that speculation. That is what the Jews have done in their Kabbalah: they have speculated as to how God creates, searching for magic substances and incantations, so that they too can create, and all they have ever actually accomplished is to corrupt His creation. Both Medieval and modern alchemists and sorcerers are men who have been lured away from truth by the Jewish Kabbalists, and they continue among us today. Doubting that only Christ can give life they pretend to be gods themselves. Modern science is largely based on medieval alchemy and Kabbalah, and there was a February, 2018 article by Fox News titled Want to live forever? You just have to make it to 2050. In that article, one supposed scientist, a so-called “esteemed futurologist” called Dr. Ian Pearson, is cited as having said “If you're under 40 reading this article, you're probably not going to die unless you get a nasty disease.” That arrogant, hubristic statement was followed by a list of ways where it is speculated how people would live forever in the very near future. All of this is idolatry, the hope in a false god promoted by the same people who had created the Kabbalah, the Jewish rabbis, and through the Masonic lodges and Academies of Science they have propagated sorcery under the pretense of scholarly inquiry throughout Christendom for the past four hundred years. In the end man will find that there is no life without God, and the gift of eternal life will only be a reality in accordance with His Creation and His Word.
Martha, believing His Word, and having also understood and believed the words of the Old Testament prophets, was then able to deduce the correct conclusion based upon what Christ had told her:
27 She says to Him: “Yes, Prince [P66 inserts ‘I believe’]! I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of Yahweh coming into Society!”
So Martha professed to believe what Christians should believe to this very day, that Yahshua was indeed the promised Messiah and Savior, and the appointed Son described by the Old Testament prophets. Now He must have sent her for her sister, although John does not record it explicitly:
28 And saying this [P66, A, D and the MT have “these things”; the text follows P75, א, B, C and W] she departed and called Mariam [P45, P66, א, W and the MT have “Maria”; the text follows P75, A, B, C and D] her sister, saying secretly [D has “quietly”; P66, D and W insert “that”]: “The Teacher is present and calls you!” 29 Then [P66, A, D and the MT want “Then”; the text follows P75, א, B, C and W] as she heard, she arose quickly and went [P45, P66, A and the MT have “rises quickly and goes”; D “arose quickly and goes”; the text follows P75, א, B, C and W] to Him.
John did not explain how Yahshua expressed a desire for Mariam to be present, but the account implies that He did want her there, ostensibly to witness the raising of her brother. At the house, Mariam was surrounded with comforters, but for whatever reason Martha, and ostensibly Christ Himself, desired for Mariam alone to come with her to meet Him. This seems to be another portrayal of the humility of Christ, that He was going to raise Lazarus, but had expressed the intention of doing it privately, even if He knew that it would not happen in that manner. Now we learn that this exchange took place before Christ had even entered Bethany:
30 Not yet then had Yahshua [D has “For Yahshua had not”] come into the town, but He was still [P45, A, D and the MT want “still”; the text follows P66, P75, א, B, C and W] in [P45 and P66 have “by”] the place where Martha had met Him.
Earlier, in verse 20, we read that “Martha heard that Yahshua comes”, and “she went to meet Him”. So it seems that someone must have gone well ahead of Yahshua and those who were with Him, to inform Martha of His coming, and therefore she was able to go out to meet Him even before He had entered the town.
31 Then the Judaeans who being with her in the house and comforting her, seeing that Mariam [P66, א, A, W and the MT have “Maria”; the text follows P75, B, C and D] arose quickly and departed, followed her supposing [P66, A and the MT have “saying”; the text follows P75, א, B, C, D and W] that she goes to the tomb that she may weep there.
Mariam evidently being the reason for their presence, her departure from the house could not have escaped notice and they would naturally be curious as to why she left. If she were going to the graveside to mourn, her comforters would naturally also want to comfort her there. But perhaps this also happened by the provenance of God, because in that manner many people would witness the raising of Lazarus in spite of the fact that Christ had apparently asked for Mariam alone.
32 Therefore as Mariam [P45, P66, א, A, D, W and the MT have “Maria”; the text follows P75, B and C] came to where Yahshua was, [P45 and P66 insert “then”] seeing Him she fell at His feet saying to Him [P66 and D want “to Him”]: “Prince, if You were here my brother would not have died!”
Like Martha, Mariam knew that Yahshua could have healed her brother and prevented his death, but she did not imagine that Christ could, or would, bring him back from the grave immediately.
33 Then as Yahshua saw her weeping, and the Judaeans having come with her weeping, He was deeply moved in Spirit and Himself disturbed [P45 and D have “troubled in Spirit as if being deeply moved”] 34 and said “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him “Prince, come and look!” 35 [א and D insert “And”] Yahshua shed tears, 36 therefore the Judaeans said “See how He has affection for him!”
But Yahshua did not weep for the death of Lazarus. Instead, He weeped for the grief which it had caused these people who were His fellows. So we see in the promise of ultimate salvation in Revelation chapter 21: “3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [which is Christ] is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” The same promise was made to the children of Israel much earlier, in Isaiah chapter 25: “8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.”
37 Then some from among them said: “Was He not able, who opens the eyes of the blind, to make it that also this man would not die?”
This is not necessarily skepticism, but a profession of faith from someone who was unaware that Yahshua, upon learning that Lazarus was sick, had purposely tarried in Galilee and let him die so that a greater miracle could be witnessed, as He had said to His apostles earlier, even before they had left Galilee, that “Lazaros has died, yet I rejoice on account of you, that you shall have faith, because I was not there, but we must go to him.” This is found earlier in this chapter, in verses 14 and 15.
38 Then Yahshua, again being deeply moved within Himself, comes to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone laid upon it.
Or perhaps, “a laid stone against it”, if it was above ground like the tomb in Jerusalem in which Christ was later buried. The word for cave is σπήλαιον and could merely describe a cavity in the ground. Both types of tombs were used in ancient Judaea, and evidently above ground tombs were preferred by the wealthy, while the poor settled for shafts which were dug into the ground. The narrative here seems to insist that the tomb of Lazarus was above ground, as it may have been difficult for him to climb out of a burial shaft on his own.
39 Yahshua says “Remove the stone!” Martha, the sister of he who is dead, says to Him “Prince [P66 wants ‘Prince”, or perhaps “Lord”], he already smells, for it is the fourth day!”
Martha only assumed that the rotting cadaver would already smell. But if Yahweh can create life from nothing, then He can certainly also assume control of nature, reverse the process of decay, and restore the dead to life.
Christ must have known where the grave was even before He had asked, and He could not have expected the women to remove the stone. In Mark chapter 16, the women who had later gone to tend to the body of Christ were described as having expressed concern that they would not be able to move a stone from a similar tomb. But here, the presence of others evidently also helped to facilitate the removal of the stone.
40 Yahshua says to her “Did I not say to you that [P66 wants ‘that’] if you would believe, you shall see the splendor of Yahweh?”
Displaying humility, Yahshua always attributed His actions and abilities to God, and all men should do the same.
41 Therefore they removed the stone [A has “the stone where he was”; the MT “the stone where the dead man was lying”]. Then Yahshua lifted the [D has “His”] eyes up and said “Father, I am thankful to You that You have heard Me.
Here Yahshua, being Yahweh God incarnate, sets another example to men, praying to His higher Self and offering thanks to God for the blessings granted to men. This is a paradox which scoffers exploit in order to undermine Christianity. However Christ did not come to play God on earth, but rather to live and die as a man for an example to men.
Paul explained this in Hebrews chapter 2: “14 Therefore, since the children have taken part in flesh and blood, He also in like manner took part in the same, that through death He would annul him having the power of death, that is, the False Accuser, 15 and He would release them, as many as whom in fear of death, throughout all of their lives were subject as slaves. 16 For surely not that of messengers has He taken upon Himself, but He has taken upon Himself of the offspring of Abraham, 17 from which He was obliged in all respects to become like the brethren, that He would be a compassionate and faithful high priest of the things pertaining to Yahweh to make a propitiation for the failures of the people. 18 In what He Himself has suffered being tested, He is able to help those being tested.”
The next verse supports our argument more fully, where Yahshua concludes His short prayer:
42 Now I have known that You always hear Me, but on account of the crowd which is present have I spoken, that they may believe that You have sent Me.”
Here Christ informs us that He did pray publicly as an example to men, where He says “on account of the crowd which is present have I spoken”, as there are many examples in Scripture that men do not need to utter their words vocally in order to be heard by God. For example, in 1 Samuel chapter 1 the prayer of Hannah was heard by God, where “she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard”. Furthermore, where it is attested that Yahweh, the Father, always heard Yahshua Christ, a claim which no other man could make, that must be for reason that Christ is Yahweh incarnate.
43 And saying these things He cried out with a great voice: “Lazaros, come out!” 44 The [א, A, W and the MT have “And the”; D has “And immediately the”; the text follows P45, P66, P75, B and C] dead man came out bound at the feet and hands with swathing bandages and his face wrapped with a cloth. Yahshua says to them: “Untie him and let him go.”
Here the greatest of miracles is manifested in a manner which is very likely as humble as humanly possible. As John has recorded the incident, Christ had never made a vocal request that Lazarus be raised from the dead, but that is indeed what had happened. Instead, the words which He uttered were only a mere profession of faith, reflecting the belief that Lazarus was already back among the living.
As we have also already discussed, the name Lazarus is evidently from the Hebrew name Eleazar, which is in turn a phrase which means whom God helps. So we read in the 116th Psalm: “8 For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. 9 I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.” While Yahshua Himself would fulfill those words after His resurrection, Lazarus had also fulfilled them. Lazarus means whom God helps, and in Luke chapter 1 we see in the words of Mary in reference to the coming of the Messiah that “54 He hath holpen [or helped] his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.” So in Him, all of Israel shall once again “walk before the LORD in the land of the living.”
Now John describes the reaction of the Judaeans:
45 Then many from among the [D has “those”] Judaeans, they [D wants “they”] having come to Mariam [P45, P66, א, A, W and the MT have “Maria”; the text follows P6, B, C and D] and observing [P45, P66 and D have “having seen” rather than “and observing”] the things which [P66, B and D have “that which”; the text follows P6, P45, א, A, W and the MT] He had done, believed in Him. 46 Then some from among them went off to the Pharisees and told them the things which [A has “told them as much as”; C and D “told them that which”] Yahshua had done.
Whether they went off to report Him or to boast in Him is immaterial, as Paul had later expressed to the Philippians, “15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: 17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. 18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” In any event, when the matter is reported to the Pharisees, the nature of the act of raising Lazarus could not be doubted. The enemies of Christ, as it is even apparent in the Jewish Talmud, must nevertheless acknowledge Him even when they profess to hate Him, which is what they continue to do to this very day.
As we have already illustrated from the words of the prophets in relation to the earlier miracles of Christ which were recorded by John, where He healed the lame or opened the eyes of the blind, those acts had fulfilled the prophecies in the Scriptures literally, while at the same time they were symbolic of the promises of Yahweh to do those same things for all of the children of Israel, for example in chapter 35 of the prophet Isaiah, which we have already cited in relation to these things. There we read in part: “4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” In the later chapters of Isaiah, especially chapters 42 and 43, the children of Israel in their captivity are described as “the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears” who are in need of this very healing. Of course, in those passages the conditions of being blind, deaf, dumb or lame are metaphors for the condition of the children of Israel who are lost in the wilderness in their captivity, and the gospel of Christ would be the means by which they are eventually healed.
The same is true where Christ had resurrected the dead. In this regard, we read a Messianic prophecy, one that Christ had also cited in reference to Himself, in Isaiah chapter 28: “15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: 16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. 17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. 18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.” A little later on, in chapter 29, there is a prophecy of a day of deliverance whereby we can see that these concepts are related, and it says: “18 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.”
A similar and more explicit promise of resurrection is found in Hosea chapter 13, in reference to Ephraim, which is the name that the prophet used to describe the tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel taken into Assyrian captivity: “12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid. [Ultimately, that sin could only be hid by the mercy which is in Christ.] 13 The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children [the place of their captivity]. 14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” In Hosea 6:2 we read: “After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.” In His Own third day, in the passion of Christ, He did raise up the children of Israel, as their salvation was assured.
Another explicit promise is found in Daniel chapter 12, although it is rather enigmatic, and it does not promise blessings for all of those who are resurrected: “1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
But the first promise of eternal life is found in Genesis chapter 3, in verse 22 where we read “22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever”. Yahshua Christ being the True Vine is indeed the Tree of Life, and the cherubims kept the path to Him, to ensure that the Adamic man would have a path by which he could return to the grace of God. For that reason Paul wrote “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Those who discredit the concept of resurrection from the dead fail to realize the greater objective of Creation described by Solomon in his Wisdom, that “God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity.” Paul of Tarsus did realize this objective, and he wrote in Romans chapter 8: “19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”
The creature or creation of which Paul spoke was the Adamic creature, the Adamic creation, which is clearly evident within the context of that whole chapter. But by saying that, Paul was once again only explaining what was already written by Solomon, where he had said in Ecclesiastes chapter 1: “13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man [Adam] to be exercised therewith.” Man can only be exercised in vanity if indeed he is immortal, and therefore Paul explained that the Adamic man was subjected to vanity by God in expectation of the promise that they would ultimately be released “from the bondage of corruption” into that very immortality for which they were created in the first place. The raising of Lazarus was surely symbolic of that promise, which God can and will fulfill.
When we return to John chapter 11, we shall see that the act of Raising Lazarus had also raised Cain.