- Christogenea Internet Radio
On the Gospel of John, Part 32: Self-sacrifice is the Ideal Sacrifice
I had chosen to display a portrayal of the sacrifice of Isaac by the 16th century Italian painter Domenichino for this program, because Abraham’s sacrifice was the ultimate sacrifice, as he was willing to give up everything which he had been promised in order to please his God, but he was promised nothing additional in return. His sacrifice was entirely selfless. In an ideal society, that is the sort of sacrifice which all White Christians should be willing to make for one another. If we chose to do so now, perhaps that ideal society which we could call the Kingdom of Heaven would begin to develop before their very eyes.
In our commentary on the first part of John chapter 12, titled Raising Cain, I had made an analogy of the fact that by raising Lazarus, Yahshua Christ had finally brought the wrath of His enemies to the point where they were compelled to act against Him. As He himself had explained in John chapter 8 and elsewhere, His enemies being the children of the devil, by raising Lazarus He had certainly also raised Cain.
Now, as we also explained in that presentation, we are at the point where it is four days before the Passover upon which He was to be executed, which is when He made His triumphal march into Jerusalem, as John had described in verses 12 through 15. Then in verses 17 and 18, John explained that the reason why the crowd had met Christ at the gates of the city and declared for Him to be king, glorifying God, was because they knew that He had raised Lazarus from the dead. So by doing that, His enemies were able to lay a capital charge against Him before the Roman authorities, and the event had sealed His fate, which his something that He Himself had foreseen. So in verse 19 we read where John described the envy and anxiety of the Pharisees and he wrote: “19 Therefore the Pharisees said to themselves: ‘You see that you are not of any help? Behold, Society goes off after Him!’” By this John explains the reason why they sought to kill Him, because they were envious and because by His wonderful deeds their own pretense of authority over the people was threatened, so they were anxious to be rid of Him. They had no care for truth nor for the people themselves, but only for their own pretense of authority which provided for them a comfortable station in life.
As we had also discussed when we reached this verse here in John 12, the gospels of Matthew and Luke had next recorded Christ as having raised Cain once again, where He entered into the temple and overturned the tables of the money-changers and the merchants, accusing them of having transformed a house of prayer into a den of thieves. Mark also records this event, and he records other things as well, and has it taking place the very next day, after Yahshua had returned to spend the night in Bethany. John did not record it at all, but here he records a few things that the others did not. John did record a similar event in chapter 2 of his gospel, so this is at least the second time that Yahshua had done such a thing.
Now before we proceed, in order to help illustrate the fact that the Scribes and Pharisees had no care for the people nor for the truth, but only for their own status and position, we should illustrate a few of the statements which Christ had made to them at this very same time which are only found in the gospel of Matthew. In that gospel, immediately after His triumphal entry into the city, Christ agitated His enemies in the temple, healed a number of the lame and the blind, and then after a brief confrontation with His adversaries He returned to Bethany. The next morning, returning to Jerusalem, we see the withering of the fig tree which serves as a prophetic type for the city, and He exclaimed “Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever”, and then Matthew wrote “And presently the fig tree withered away.”
Entering Jerusalem and teaching in the temple, He addressed a multitude of the people, among which were His own disciples and His adversaries, as it is recorded throughout Matthew chapters 22 and 23. Among the things which He had said to them there, we read in Matthew 23: “2… The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. 8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” So this is all they cared for, their station and authority, by which the people were subject and they were admired by men.
Today we should not find it strange, that if we compare these conditions to the clergies of the modern Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and even the Protestant churches, things have not at all changed, and the similarities are beyond striking.
Now these events we have described from Matthew must have taken place three days before the Crucifixion, as Christ is having said in the opening verses of Matthew chapter 26 that “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.” So the events described in Matthew, as well as the other gospels, happened here at this point in the Gospel of John although John omitted most of them, choosing instead to record things which the other gospel writers did not include. For now, it is apparently still four days before the Passover, and John’s narrative seems to indicate that Yahshua has only just come through the gates of the city after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, where we shall proceed with verse 20:
20 Now there were some Greeks among those going up that they may worship at the feast. 21 Then these had come to Philippos who is from Bethsaida [P66, D and W have “Bedsaida”] of Galilaia and had asked him, saying: “Master, we wish to see Yahshua.”
The word for Greek is Ἕλληνές, but among the Greeks, Ἕλληνές did not distinguish a race. It was generally only a cultural and linguistic distinction, the Greek culture and language being shared by several tribes having distinct origins. The Ionians and Pelasgians were in Greece long before either Dorians or Danaans, yet all were considered to be Greek, while historically they were also often enemies of one another. Another example is found in the Canaanite woman of Matthew chapter 15, who was called both a Greek and a “Syrophoenician by nation”, or by γένος, which is actually race, in the gospel of Mark. So we see that Greek was not her race, but Mark used a regional geographic term to attempt to describe her race where Matthew used the more specific Hebrew term Canaanite. So it is possible that these men, being Greeks in their mode of living, nevertheless may have been circumcised Judaeans, for which reason the apostles were comfortable in their endeavor to introduce them to Christ. It is also apparent that for that reason were they going up to the feast to worship in the first place.
According to Paul’s experiences as they are recorded by Luke in the Book of Acts, there were many Greeks in attendance in the synagogues of the Judaeans which he had visited throughout Anatolia, Macedonia and Achaea. If these men were truly from of the Greek tribes, and converts to Judaism who were not yet circumcised, they may have gone to Jerusalem, but not into the temple or its courts. At that very time, there were warnings posted around the temple which read “No foreigner may enter within the railing and enclosure that surround the Temple. Anyone apprehended shall have himself to blame for his consequent death!” If they were circumcised, as the Pharisees were always seeking to make converts, something which Christ Himself had attested, then they would be permitted to enter the temple, but perhaps it is unlikely that they would have been called Greeks. However as John relates it here, it seems that Philip and Andrew did not know much about these men beyond their general appearance. From the time of Alexander, there were many Hellenized Judaeans, and in various ways that is evident throughout the New Testament and certainly in the histories of Josephus.
In Acts chapter 2, we see a list of men present at the first Christian Pentecost only a few months after these events recorded here in John, and they are described as: “9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and those dwelling in Mesopotamia, and Judaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 and Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya throughout Cyrene, and the Romans who were sojourning – 11 both Judaeans and converts – Kretans and Arabs, we hear their speaking in our own tongues the magnificent things of Yahweh.” So the apostles had typically described Judaeans who had come from outside of Palestine by the nation in which they had sojourned. It is therefore quite likely that these men were Hellenized Judaeans from Greece who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover, as they were all commanded to do in the law. Now in reference to these Greeks, John continues:
22 Philippos comes and speaks to Andreas, [P66 inserts “and then again”; א, W and the MT insert "and again”; D inserts “again” the text follows P75, A and B] Andreas and Philippos come and [P66, D, W and the MT want “come and”; the text follows P75, א, A and B] speak to Yahshua.
This may imply that Philip, and then Andrew with him, had been wary about bringing these men to Yahshua, whereby the argument that they were uncircumcised may be strengthened. But the same process may have occurred in any event, as it is evident that the apostles were often the channel through which outsiders had sought to meet Christ.
23 Then Yahshua replies [A, D and the MT have “replied”; the text follows P66, P75, א, B and W] to them: “The hour has come that the Son of Man would be magnified!
It seems that Christ had shown no interest in speaking to these Greeks, rather choosing to focus on what lay ahead for Him in the days to come. In Matthew chapter 26 Yahshua had told His disciples around this same time that “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.” But here He speaks to them allegorically, and perhaps even in reference to the Greeks who had sought to meet Him:
24 Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falling to the ground dies, it remains alone. But if it should die, it bears much fruit.
If He had not died in the manner which He had, He would have been just another man whom others would claim had performed great deeds which would ultimately have been disbelieved or forgotten. Being resurrected, like the grain of seed which sprouts and bears fruit a thousand-fold, His gospel was sure to persist and bear fruit among men. Now He elaborates on the meaning of His allegory:
25 He loving his life loses it [A, D and the MT have ‘shall lose it’; the text follows P66, P75, א, B, D and W], and he hating his life in this Society keeps it for eternal life!
But hating life here is not merely surviving in misery, and hating life is not denial of necessity. One who survives in misery is of no help to his brethren, but rather, he is more often a burden. Hating one’s life here is to live for the sake of others, and not for the enrichment or edifying of oneself. Hating one’s life here is to neglect oneself, to neglect focusing on one’s own interests and enrichment, and preferring instead to live for one’s brethren by helping them.
26 If [the MT has ‘and if’] one would serve Me, he must follow Me, and where I am there also My servant shall be! If one should serve Me, the Father shall honor him!
The overall theme of this epistle is the importance of individual self-sacrifice for the benefit of the Body of Christ. That is what we had seen in Philippians chapter 1, where Paul discussed the possibility that he may even die for the testimony of the Gospel which he had presented in Rome, and in that manner he exhorted his readers to “stand in one spirit, in one soul together striving in the faith of the good message... in nothing being frightened by the opposition, which to them is an indication of destruction, but of your preservation” [He hating his life keeps it eternally]. He offered the Philippians to engage in the same struggle that he was involved in, in which Christ had also suffered [which was a struggle for the racial message of the Gospel and the truth of God, as, for example, it is described in John chapters 3, 8 and 10]. Then in the second chapter of this epistle Paul encouraged them to self-sacrifice, where he informed them that if there were any encouragement, consolation of love, fellowship of the Spirit, affections and compassions among them that they would be like-minded, having the same love which in the first chapter Paul had described both himself and Christ as having exhibited for them, and that having humility they consider the needs of one another above themselves, which is the essence of brotherly love [self-sacrifice for the benefit of one’s people]. Paul then assured the Philippians that if they did all of those things without complaint, that they would in turn ensure their own mutual preservation. Saying these things, Paul had once again offered Christ Himself as the ultimate example, and then the self-sacrifice of his fellow-worker Epaphroditos, whom Paul described as being sick nearly to the point of death in consequence of his work on behalf of the assembly. [Then] in Philippians chapter 3, Paul explains the former life which he had abandoned for sake of the Gospel, and that too was an act of self-sacrifice for the benefit of the body of Christ. So this is what Paul wanted the Philippians to imitate, to also forsake their own lives for the sake of their brethren.
For the Christian, self-sacrifice on behalf of one’s brethren and community is the ideal sacrifice. But this was the traditional Christian mode of thinking before the advent of Jewish pop culture which has recently developed throughout the urban centers of Christendom. Here I will quote in part from what some Christians may consider to be an unlikely source, from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Volume 1, Chapter 2: Years of Study and Suffering in Vienna:
I experienced a rare spirit of self-sacrifice and loyal comradeship among those men, who demanded little from life and were content amid their modest surroundings. This was true especially of the older generation of workmen. And although these qualities were disappearing more and more in the younger generation, owing to the all-pervading influence of the big city, yet among the younger generation also there were many who were sound at the core and who were able to maintain themselves uncontaminated amid the sordid surroundings of their everyday existence.
Again I will quote from the same source, from Volume 1, Chapter 11: Race and People:
The animal lives only for itself, searching for food only when it feels hunger and fighting only for the preservation of its own life. As long as the instinct for self-preservation manifests itself exclusively in such a way, there is no basis for the establishment of a community; not even the most primitive form of all, that is to say the family. The society formed by the male with the female, where it goes beyond the mere conditions of mating, calls for the extension of the instinct of self-preservation, since the readiness to fight for one's own ego has to be extended also to the mate. The male sometimes provides food for the female, but in most cases both parents provide food for the offspring. Almost always they are ready to protect and defend each other; so that here we find the first, though infinitely simple, manifestation of the spirit of sacrifice. As soon as this spirit extends beyond the narrow limits of the family, we have the conditions under which larger associations and finally even States can be formed.
The lowest species of human beings give evidence of this quality only to a very small degree, so that often they do not go beyond the formation of the family society. With an increasing readiness to place their immediate personal interests in the background, the capacity for organizing more extensive communities develops. The readiness to sacrifice one's personal work and, if necessary, even one's life for others shows its most highly developed form in the Aryan race. The greatness of the Aryan is not based on his intellectual powers, but rather on his willingness to devote all his faculties to the service of the community. Here the instinct for self-preservation has reached its noblest form; for the Aryan willingly subordinates his own ego to the common weal and when necessity calls he will even sacrifice his own life for the community.
The constructive powers of the Aryan and that peculiar ability he has for the building up of a culture are not grounded in his intellectual gifts alone. If that were so they might only be destructive and could never have the ability to organize; for the latter essentially depends on the readiness of the individual to renounce his own personal opinions and interests and to lay both at the service of the human group. By serving the common weal he receives his reward in return.
I have selected these citations in order to illustrate how one Christian man, seeking to liberate his country from the poison of modernism promoted by Jewry, had understood this basic Christian concept of the importance of self-sacrifice for the good of one’s people. We would only disagree with Hitler, that these ideals are not always exhibited in the Aryan race. Rather, they are exhibited by truly Christian communities within that race. Rather implicitly, here Hitler explains the struggle of the Aryan, or better, the Adamic man to overcome the flesh, as Paul had described in Romans chapter 6, and to live in the Spirit, whereby the Adamic man follows the will of Yahweh his God, ceases from the sins of the flesh, and desires instead to serve his people. To cease from seeking the pleasures of this world and to turn to serving one’s brethren is to become a servant of Christ and take an active part in building His kingdom. But to merely hate one’s life by living in misery is also only self-centered, rather than being centered on building the Kingdom of God.
As a digression, in Mein Kampf Volume 2, Chapter 2: The State, Hitler wrote of how the German educational system had failed the people in the 19th century:
The deliberate training of fine and noble traits of character in our schools to-day is almost negative. In the future much more emphasis will have to be laid on this side of our educational work. Loyalty, self-sacrifice and discretion are virtues which a great nation must possess. And the teaching and development of these in the school is a more important matter than many others things now included in the curriculum. To make the children give up habits of complaining and whining and howling when they are hurt, etc., also belongs to this part of their training. If the educational system fails to teach the child at an early age to endure pain and injury without complaining we cannot be surprised if at a later age, when the boy has grown to be the man and is, for example, in the trenches, the postal service is used for nothing else than to send home letters of weeping and complaint. If our youths, during their years in the primary schools, had had their minds crammed with a little less knowledge, and if instead they had been better taught how to be masters of themselves, it would have served us well during the years 1914-1918.
This is the same dilemma we have faced for decades in the West. Children are punished for bullying, so children never learn how to stand up to bullies. Children are rewarded for failure, so children never learn the consequences of failure, and they never learn to strive for excellence since they are equally rewarded for mediocrity. This is the epitome of the indoctrination into cultural Marxism which we have suffered, which can only end in disaster and which explains the plight of our society today, a society which is imbued with whining, complaining, and litigation, a society in which every experiment in deviance and perversion must also be tolerated, or even approved by all.
But for the Christian, the morality found in the commandments of Christ and the will to self-sacrifice must be the ideals, where one sets aside ones own feelings, where one is humble enough not to be offended by words, but where one comes out from among the perverts and clings only to fellow Christians of his own people, seeking to nurture and edify them. That was the example set by the earliest Christians, the apostles of Christ and their disciples.
Returning to John’s account and these words of Christ concerning self-sacrifice, this is not the first time that the disciples of Christ had heard Him say these things. In Mark chapter 8, while they were still in Galilee, we read “ 34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” In Luke chapter 9, upon the testimony of Peter that Yahshua was the Christ, “21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; 22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. 23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels. ”
Losing one’s life is not necessarily dying, although for some of us that may be necessary. Rather, losing one’s life is a giving up one’s own ambitions and aspirations in exchange for activities where one may better serve one’s brethren. All men have to pay their debts and house and feed their families, as Paul had said in 1 Timothy chapter 5: “8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” But above and beyond fulfilling those primary responsibilities, a man should be concerned for his wider Christian community, being willing to sacrifice himself and his personal interests on account of them all. Christ did not die solely for the Israelites of Nazareth, or even of Galilee, and neither did Paul of Tarsus labor solely for his brethren in Judaea or Cilicia.
We see the children of Israel spoken of collectively as the servant of Yahweh in a prophecy in Isaiah chapter 49 which also forebodes the Christ: “1 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. 2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; 3 And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. [So collectively, Israel is the servant of God.] 4 Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God. 5 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength. [So here in this capacity the Messiah is a servant of God.] 6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the [Nations], that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. 7 Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers [Christ is a servant to those who shall justly rule the world, His people Israel], Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. 8 Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.”
So there is no discrepancy here, as these words may apply both to Jacob collectively, and to Christ more specifically, as He is their Redeemer but He is also the “first born among many brethren”, as Paul had explained in Romans chapter 9. So Christ died on behalf of His people, Christ was chosen to raise up the tribes of Israel which were “lost” in the ancient captivities, and it is the destiny of all of the children of Israel to serve Yahweh their God by caring for and serving one another. So we read in Revelation chapter 22, in the description of the City of God: “2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” Ultimately, all of the children of Israel shall serve Yahweh their God by serving one another, dedicating their lives to their people as Christ had done, which in turn builds His Kingdom.
In another place, as it is recorded in Mark chapter 9, Christ had told His disciples “If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” He, having made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of His people, has become first of all. Christians are therefore challenged to serve their brethren in like manner if they themselves desire a similar reward. So describing how he had conducted his own ministry, Paul of Tarsus wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 9: “23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. 24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” In other words, Christians should strive as if there were only one prize, earnestly working to both attain and establish the Kingdom of Heaven. This is done only by serving one’s brethren.
According to what we have just seen in Isaiah, Christ was called from the bowels of His mother “to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel”, and now He acknowledges the fact that He must complete that mission, which was the very purpose of His having come into the world in the first place:
“27 Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? But for this reason have I come to this hour!
This passage supports our assertion, that in the garden of Gethsemane, as it is described in Matthew chapter 26, where Christ had prayed He was praying not for Himself, but as an example to men, where He said “39… O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Here He shows that He certainly did know that He must go through this trial, because it is the very reason for which He had come into the world. Therefore the cup could not be removed, as He said, in our translation of the final clause, “But not as I desire, rather as You do!” He was making an example, that the desires and feelings of man cannot change the will of God. He continues in verse 28, of which we will present the first clause:
28 Father, magnify Your Name!”
The Codex Bezae (D) has a peculiar embellishment for this first clause of verse 28: “Father, magnify Your Name in the honor which it had by You before the Society came into being!” The Codex Vaticanus (B) has this part of verse 28 to read “Father, magnify My Name!” But it seems that Christ was expecting His glorification to result in the glorification of Yahweh, God the Father, that He would be magnified in the gospel and in the eyes of the people by His having magnified the Son through the Resurrection. So we read in John chapter 13: “31 Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.” Of course, Son and Father are one and the same, but the earthly is only an image of the Heavenly.
The words of Christ here in John chapter 12 evoke those of the 6th Psalm: “1 O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. 2 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. 3 My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long? 4 Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake. 5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks? [Yahshua would glorify Yahweh in His resurrection.] 6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. 7 Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies. 8 Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping. 9 The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer. 10 Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.” Of course, Christ would indeed overcome His enemies and put them to shame by emerging from the grave after they had Him put to death.
Continuing with the latter portion of verse 28:
Then a voice came from heaven: “I have both magnified and again I shall magnify it!”
Apparently this means that Yahweh’s name had already been magnified in Christ, and would be further magnified in the events to come. But the crowd was divided:
29 Therefore [B wants “Therefore”; W has “Then”] the crowd which stood and [א and D want “and”] having heard it said “Thunder has come!” [Literally “Thunder happened!”] Others said “A messenger spoke to Him!”
Some of the people perceived the voice to have come from a messenger, or angel. While many of the people did not understand the voice at all, and perhaps they had no inherent ability to hear it, which may be apparent when we read the response of Christ:
30 Yahshua replied and said [א wants “and said”]: “Not on account of Me has this voice come, but on account of you.
So evidently, it is indeed fair to imagine that the voice had come only on account of those who were able to hear it. For those who could not understand the voice, but only thought that they had heard thunder, it cannot be said that the voice had come on account of them, on account of those who did not hear what it had said, because they could not understand it. By this we may see that where Christ had said “My sheep hear My voice”, the crowd was divided for reason that they were not all of His sheep. Later, as it is recorded in John chapter 18, Christ would tell Pilate “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” Now He speaks in regard to His enemies:
31 Now judgment is of this Society; now the ruler of this [P66, D and W have ‘the’] Society shall be cast out! 32 And if I am [B has ‘And should I be’] lifted up from this earth, I shall draw all [P66, א and D insert “things”] to Myself!”
Where Christ says “I shall draw all to Myself”, he must have been speaking about all of the “lost sheep” of Israel for whom He had come. Within a few hundred years, nearly all of Europe and the surrounding regions of the then White world were Christian. This is the provenance of God, that He knew this would happen with absolute certainty, and happen it did.
The “ruler of this Society” seems to be a collective phrase. In the King James Version it is translated as “prince of this world”. Paul of Tarsus referred to them in the singular, but evidently meant to describe a collective singular, where he wrote in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 that: “3 You should not be deceived by anyone, in any way, because if apostasy had not come first, and the man of lawlessness been revealed; the son of destruction, 4 he who is opposing and exalting himself above everything said to be a god or an object of worship, and so he is seated in the temple of Yahweh, representing himself that he is a god.” The “man of lawlessness” was revealed when the rulers of Judaea had Christ executed. So Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 2: “6 Now we speak wisdom among the accomplished; but wisdom not of this age, nor of those governing this age, who are being done away with. 7 Rather we speak wisdom of Yahweh, that had been hidden in a mystery, which Yahweh had predetermined before the ages for our honor, 8 which not one of the governors of this age has known, (since if they had known, they would not have crucified the Authority of that honor)…” In the King James Version, the phrases translated here as “those governing this age” and “governors of this age” are translated “princes of this world”, where it is more evident that Paul was referring to the same people to whom Christ refers here where He exclaimed “now the ruler of this Society shall be cast out!”
There are different levels of abstraction among the reasons for which Christ had to die at the hands of His enemies. Of course, there was the fulfillment of the many prophecies concerning that same thing. But the prophecies by themselves do not explain all of the reasons, unless we go all the way back to Genesis and understand Genesis in harmony with the Revelation and the epistles of the apostles. First and foremost, Christ was to release the children of Israel from the judgments of the law, as He was Yahweh incarnate, so that they could be reconciled to Him. Therefore upon His having died as a man, the children of Israel were no longer subject to condemnation under the penalties for sin in the law, in the manner which Paul had explained in Romans chapter 7. This fact is also established in the opening chapters of the prophet Hosea, in Messianic prophecies in Isaiah chapters 49 and 61 and 62, and in the closing chapters of the Revelation. Ultimately, Yahweh being the Husband of Israel, He also had to take responsibility for the sins of His wife and His children. Note that this is in contrast to Adam, who tried to put the responsibility onto his wife. [Clifton Emahiser discussed this aspect in his Watchman’s Teaching Letter # 156]
Aside from that aspect of His sacrifice, when Adam transgressed, he failed his commission to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Of course, Yahweh God had given him that commission, He had created him to fulfill it, and ultimately God cannot fail. So in Christ, Adam shall ultimately prevail. Two Scriptures are most relevant in relation to this. The first is from the Wisdom of Solomon, chapter 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…” The other is in 1 John chapter 3: “8… For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Yahweh God, dying at the hand of His enemies, redeems his children from the judgments of the law and has every right to avenge His enemies according to the law, something which the children of Israel had failed to do when they were so instructed to begin in the land of Canaan.
Then when Adam accepted Eve, by necessity he accepted Cain, who was not his natural son. Cain being the eldest son therefore had a claim on Adam’s inheritance, and his progeny therefore became the “princes of this world”, which Christ acknowledges here and elsewhere in the gospel, and that is also how Paul identified the adversaries of Christ in his epistles. This is how, in Matthew chapter 4, and in Luke chapter 4, a devil was able to claim to have authority over the kingdoms of the world where he said that they were “delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” But the enemies of Christ having committed the greatest of sins, which is deicide, the killing of God Himself, they and all those who agree with them have judged and condemned themselves. Christ is the root and branch on the Tree of Life, who came to destroy the works of the devil, with the purpose of restoring Adam to the position for which he was originally created.
Here John focuses on the more literal aspect of His words, where Christ had said “32 And if I am lifted up from this earth, I shall draw all to Myself!”, and he explains:
33 Now He said this signifying what sort of death He was about to die.
The words lifted up are a literal translation of the Greek word ὑψόω, which is literally to lift high, raise up. The Roman method of execution was crucifixion, so His words described that means of death. A synonym, αἴρω, the word from which we have our British English aero, relating to flight and air, which is also to raise up, is “away with” in the King James Version of John 19:15 where the people cried out to Pilate concerning Christ “Away with him, away with him, crucify him.” The word crucify in that passage is from a word meaning to stake. So here John infers that ὑψόω is a synonym for the act of crucifixion.
Now John describes the reaction of the crowd, which knew what he meant when He said He would be “lifted up” although He had not mentioned crucifixion explicitly, so apparently ὑψόω was a synonym for the act of crucifixion:
34 Then [A, D and the MT want “Then”; the text follows P66, P75, א, B and W] the crowd replied to Him: “We have heard from the law that the Christ abides forever, and how do You say that [P75 wants ‘that’] it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”
The 3rd century papyrus P75 wants the final clause, “Who is this Son of Man?” I am almost tempted to omit it on this basis, because the people certainly did know who the “Son of Man” would be.
As we discussed at length earlier in this commentary on the gospel of John, the promised Son is a subject of the 2nd Psalm: “7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the [Nations] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” Because of this language, this Son was also properly interpreted to be the “Son of man” in Daniel, and the phrase also often appears in 1 Enoch. So the people were evidently repeating an interpretation of prophecy which informs us that when the Son of Man comes, he would assume the office of King over the world and rule forever, which we find in Daniel chapter 2: “13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
Then again we read in the 21st Psalm: “The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! 2 Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. 3 For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. 4 He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever. 5 His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him. 6 For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance. 7 For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved. 8 Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. 9 Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.”
So the people had correctly anticipated that Christ was the Messiah, but they expected these things to be fulfilled forthwith. They had just declared for Him to be King, earlier this same day, as they met Him at the gates of Jerusalem and exclaimed “Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” They expected their declaration to manifest itself at that very time. However the people had neglected to also consider Daniel chapter 9 where it says that “after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself”. According to Daniel, the Messiah would be cut off and then Jerusalem would be destroyed. In His prayers just before His execution, Christ had described His coming trial as a cup, and in the 116th Psalm we read “13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. 14 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people. 15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” So after that cutting off had happened, even the apostles continued to hold this anticipation that after Christ was risen, He would assume His prophesied throne immediately, where in Acts chapter 1 they had asked Him “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” And there He answered: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Ostensibly, the Jews took advantage of the misunderstandings of the people to facilitate their denial that Yahshua is the Messiah.
This anticipation of a Messiah-King was more widespread than even the gospels attest. In other commentaries here at Christogenea, such as a presentation titled What are the Dead Sea Scrolls? which we made here in May, 2012, we explained that in the War Scroll, which is an apocalyptic document, there was expected the appearance of the Messiah who would lead His people to victory over the Romans in their time. As we had explained:
There was a fourth large sect in Judaea, that of Judas the Galilaian, which Josephus said was noted for their refusal to heed any authority but God, and also for inspiring revolt from Rome. Josephus describes them at Antiquities 18.1.6 (18:23-25). This is in such agreement with the Qumran sect’s apocalyptic documents that this sect is as good a candidate for Qumran as the Essenes.
So there we also said:
A major example of the prophetic writings found among the Dead Sea Scrolls is the War Scroll. The War Scroll found in 4Q491 through 4Q497 and some other Qumran scrolls, [were] peculiar to the Qumran sect, [it] was written by a vain and false prophet who described a grandiose apocalyptic scenario depicting a final battle between the remnant of Israel in Palestine and the “Empire of the Kittim”, which was the name that the sect gave to the Romans, which was also sometimes called the “Empire of Belial” (i.e. 4Q491 Fragments 8-10 Col. I). This battle was to end with the aggrandizement of the remnant of Israel [in Palestine], which they saw as their own sect, and with the fall and destruction of Rome. The sect interpreted parts of Isaiah chapter 10 in this same manner, for which see 4Q161 Fragments 8-10. Since the Qumran sect seemed to know nothing of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D., and even mentions the city on occasion, (i.e. 4Q504, Fragments 1-2, Col. IV) the War Scroll requires a dating for the Qumran sect somewhere between Pompey’s conquest of Judaea where it was subjected to Rome, and the revolt from Rome beginning about 65 A.D. which resulted in Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 A.D., a period of about 132 years. Since the scrolls lack mention of any contemporary historical figures or specific historic events, I know nothing (though others may) by which the scrolls can be dated more precisely.
According to the narrative in Josephus, the original revolt of Judas the Galilaian against the Romans was about 6 AD, so it is quite likely that the War Scroll, or at least the sentiments which it expressed, certainly did exist by the time of the ministry of Christ, beginning in 28 AD. A large portion of the people of Judaea must have held this same Messianic fervor, as the nation was oppressed by the Romans, suffered from the corrupt leaders and temple authorities which the Romans had been appointing, and we see that before they met Christ, as John explains in chapter 1 of his gospel, the men who would become His apostles were already expecting a Messiah, as was the Samaritan woman at the well, and the Magi had announced that same thing in Jerusalem shortly after His birth. All of this is crucial to a proper understanding of the anxiety which was reflected by those who sought to kill Christ here at the end of His ministry.
But to fulfill Scripture completely, the Messiah had to be cut off, Israel had to be freed from the judgments of the law in order to be reconciled to Yahweh in Christ, and even in spite of that, the seven times of punishment which had been decreed also had to be fulfilled, so it would be a long time before Christ returns to assume His throne for Himself, and for that we continue to wait. So the passages relating to the eternal rule of Christ shall not be fulfilled until that time which is described in the final chapters of the Revelation, beginning with the Marriage Supper of the Lamb in Revelation chapter 19, wherein are destroyed all of the goat nations in the manner described in Revelation chapter 20, as they surround the Camp of the Saints, and the final destruction of the enemies of Yahweh as the City of God descends to Earth. Of course, some of this is allegorical, but it certainly shall happen and is happening. Of course, the apostles did not have that message for some time after the Resurrection, and probably could not have deduced it all from the prophets.
Until then, if we as Christians are to be perfected, we must understand His act of self-sacrifice, and seek to follow Him as best we can. When it is for the correct reasons, when it is for one’s own people, self-sacrifice is the ideal sacrifice, and the only legitimate sacrifice for Christians.
In the verses which follow, Christ once again declares Himself to be the Light of the World, which is actually also another claim to Kingship, and Yahweh willing, we shall return soon to resume our commentary at that point.