The 8 'Signs' of the Gospel of John
-brief study notes setting forth the message of each 'sign'-
Introduction: the Gospel of John records only 8 "signs"-
(the Greek signifies 'that which makes something known')
of the "many" performed by Jesus- John 20v30,31. The
reason is in ch.20v31- "But these are written, that ye
might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;
and that believing ye might have life through his name".
The purpose then is two-fold:
Firstly (a) "that (we) might believe"- Bullinger's Critical
Lexicon -'to be persuaded, to rely upon, to trust'.
Secondly (b) "that believing (we) might have life through
his name"..that is, by fully adopting the Divine charac-
teristics we might eventually attain to eternal life.
IT IS HOPED THESE NOTES WILL ASSIST US
TO GAIN ETERNAL LIFE IN GOD'S KINGDOM.
Points to bear in mind:
1. The "signs" are (a) progressive & (b) complementary.
Thus, (a) when they are placed together, the 8 "signs"
show us a composite (designedly complete) message
which demonstrates God's purpose and the essential
principles of our pilgrimage in the Truth.
And, (b) as we comprehend the message of each
"sign", we are able to see a linkage of thought (moral
guidance), which stimulates the necessary process of
being "transformed by the renewing of (the) mind"
Romans 12v2 – link to 'structure'.
TO SUCCEED REQUIRES TOTAL DEDICATION-
& THE WORD OF GOD WILL TRANSFORM US.
2. The 8 "signs" each summarise the lessons contained
in the particular section of John in which they appear.
This is closely parallel with what we find in the Reve-
lation, as 8 Visions of Glory- link to 'the Lord's day'*.
THIS IS TREMENDOUSLY BENEFICIAL FOR US,
GIVING US MORE INSIGHT INTO GOD'S WORD.
*John is termed "the disciple whom Jesus loved"#, and he wrote not
only his gospel, but also 3 epistles (letters) & the Revelation (Apoc-
alypse) of Jesus Christ. In his gospel he recorded 1He "which was"^;
in his epistles he recorded 2He "which is">; & in the Apocalypse he
recorded 3He "which is to come"< #John 13v23;21v7,20-25
^John 14v6-11 >1st John 3v1,2 <Revelation 1v8.
This is the revelation of 1 the Father 2 the Christ 3 the Christ-Body,
with Christ as the Head, and comprising the redeemed of all nations.
The study of the 8 "signs" can assist us to be amongst that number.
The no. 8 signifies perfection - link to 'the Lord's day' - 8th Vision
The 1st "sign" - water into wine - John 2v1-11
PRINCIPAL LESSON - 'AN HOLY CALLING'
'God..hath..called us with an holy calling' - 2nd Timothy 1v9
v1 '..there was a marriage'- representative of the greater marriage of Jesus Christ and His bride, the ecclesia-
cp. Ephesians 5v25-27. 'Cana of Galilee' - the location also of the 2nd 'sign', ch.4v46 - and from whence came
also Nathanael- ch.21v2. 'Nathanael' is of Hebrew derivation, signifying 'given of God'. 'Nazareth' was a des-
pised place, ch.1v46..which stigma all who are called to the Truth must bear (cp. ch.17v12)..it has several poss-
ible derivations from the Hebrew, i.e. 'nehtzer' sig. 'a branch', cp. Isaiah 11v1-10; Zech.6v11-13, & 'nahzar' sig.
'to separate', i.e. bringing to mind the separation of the Nazarite, cp Numbers 6v1-21.
v2..'Jesus was called, and his disciples' - we can be included in the call here typified, cp. ch.17v21..v1 'the third
day', pointing specifically to resurrection and a new life - cp. Acts 10v40; 2nd Kings 20v1-11..this was also the
7th day from the beginning of John's narration - cp. ch. 1v19, 29, 35, 43 - the number 7 points to completion,
or rest - see the 7th 'sign'..v6 'six waterpots of stone' - this is a contrast, the number 6 representing man in his
fallen state - link to 'structure' & 6th 'sign'..the 'waterpots of stone' highlight the Mosaic ritual, which
could not save, and was 'a figure for the time then present', Exodus 34v1; Hebrews 9v8-10, and 'the work of
men's hands' in which they trusted - Isaiah 37v19..v7 'Fill the waterpots with water' - a transformation from
a "stony heart" to "an heart of flesh" by the "living water" is necessary - ch.4v19; Isaiah 55v1-3; Ezekiel 36v
26; Romans 12v1,2; 2nd Corinthians 3v3; Revelation 22v1,17..'Draw out now, and bear' - Jesus is the
Greater than Moses, cp Deuteronomy 18v15-19, whose name means 'drawn out', cp. Exodus 2v10.
Jesus works a far greater deliverance..v9- 'the bridegroom'-pointing to Jesus - ch. 3v27-29..'the servants which
drew the water knew..whence it was..the ruler..knew not'-ch. 7v16,17-if any man will do his will, he shall know
of the doctrine'..Matthew 11v25 - '(the) Father..hast hid these things from the wise and prudent,and hast reveal-
ed them unto babes'..v10 'thou hast kept the good wine until now' - this represents 'the new covenant in
(Jesus') blood' - Luke 22v20..'In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which de-
cayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away' - Hebrews 8v13 - link to 'grace'..we must totally identify with
the truth of the Sacrifice of Christ - ch.6v53-56; Matthew 10v38..link to 'sacrifice'. WILL WE RESPOND?
The 2nd "sign" - the nobleman's son - John 4v43-54
PRINCIPAL LESSON - 'FAITH TOWARD GOD'
'(a) principle of the doctrine of Christ..faith toward God' - Hebrews 6v1
v44 '..a prophet hath no honour in his own country'- this is the rejection all who desire to follow the Truth must
experience - ch.15v18-21; Hebrews 13v12,13..v45 '..the Galilaeans received him (Weymouth = 'welcomed him
eagerly')..do we have the same welcoming attitude to the Lord, especially when others reject Him?..v46..Jesus
came again into Cana of Galilee' - thus linking it with the 1st 'sign' - i.e. our calling must be secured by faith..
'a certain nobleman' - literally ' a royal officer' - especially chosen..v47 '..he went unto (Jesus), and besought
him (to) heal his son' - he had faith in the power of God vested in Jesus, cp. Hebrews 11v6 - 'without faith it is
impossible to please him (God)'..and he loved his son, even as God loved His Son - ch.3v35 cp. Matthew 3v17..
v50 '..thy son liveth..the man believed' - a majestic and merciful declaration followed by a simple and strong
faith;such faith is needed for salvation ch.3v16,17..v52 'at the seventh hour' - the number 7 points to completion
or rest - see the 7th 'sign'..v53 'it was at the same hour' - thus demonstrating the great power of 'the Son', cp.
ch.3v34-36..'and himself believed' - now he believed also that Jesus was the Christ - our faith must grow, cp.
Romans 1v17 - 'For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just
shall live by faith'..'and his whole house' as with the house of Joshua, cp. Joshua 24v14,15. Here then is the
anti-typical Joshua (the Hebrew equivalent from which the name 'Jesus' is derived, signifying 'Yahweh saves').
The law of Moses has been superseded by the principle of faith-i.e.the foundation of the New Covenant, link to
'grace'. There is a parallel with the healing of the centurion's servant in Matthew 8v5-13. DO WE HAVE
THIS STRONG FAITH IN WHAT GOD HAS PROMISED IN CHRIST? 'But without faith it is impossible
to please him:for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligent-
ly seek him' - Hebrews 11v6..Let us then have faith in what God has promised - link to 'promises' -
and not in 'cunningly devised fables' 2nd Peter 1v16 -link to 'departure'.
The 3rd "sign" - the impotent man - John 5
PRINCIPAL LESSON - 'BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED'
'For by grace are ye saved through faith..it is the gift of God' - Ephesians 2v8
'Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus' - Romans 3v24
v2..'Bethesda' signifies 'the house of mercy' and epitomizes the lesson of this 'sign'..'having five porches' - the
number 5 has the meaning of the unmerited grace and the mercy of God plus works of faith..we note that in this
chapter we find the following..(a) 5 titles of Isaiah 9v6 find expression in v20-24..(b) 5 witnesses to Jesus as the
Messiah are found in v33,36,37,39,46..(c) 5 separate utterances by Jesus are recorded in v6,8,14,17,19-47..
v5..'a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years'..he was representative of the sinful
condition of the whole nation,which Jesus had the power to heal, cp. v14,Matthew 12v43-45;Deuteronomy 2v14.
v6..'Wilt thou be made whole?'..the individual awareness and acknowledgment of our sicknesses is necessary
for healing, whether they be natural or spiritual..'Sir, I have no man'..a confession that help cannot come from
flesh,cp.Psalm 146v3-5..v8..'Rise, take up thy bed, and walk'..this is a command to demonstrate the principle of
faith, for'without faith it is impossible to please..God' Hebrews 11v6..note the progression from the 2nd 'sign',
which involved only belief. Here in this 3rd 'sign' we see the need for faith in action as shown by Abraham - cp.
James 2v20-26. We see a further progression 'from faith to faith' Romans 1v17 as stated under the 2nd 'sign'.
It is in God's purpose that the Gospel be preached"to all nations for the obedience of faith" Romans 16v25,26..
v9..'And immediately the man was made whole'..see notes 2nd 'sign' re ch.4v53..'and on the same day was the
sabbath'..the 7th day signifies rest..v17..'Jesus answered..My Father worketh hitherto, and I work'..this results
in deliverance, associated with the sabbath, cp Deuteronomy 5v15..Jesus has now entered into this great work,
as we also are commanded to do, so that we might, with Him, find eternal rest in the Kingdom of God, cp Heb-
rews 4v9-11 & link to 'grace' - page 2. In these verses we see that to gain the eternal inheritance we must
firstly "rest from (our) own works" or sins. Jesus underlines this vital principle to the one who was healed..
v14..'Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more'. Spiritual healing brings life-long obligations to serve God.
The 4th "sign" - the feeding of the multitude - John 6v1-14,22-65; Matthew 14v13-21
Mark 6v31-44; Luke 9v10-17
PRINCIPAL LESSON - 'THE LIVING BREAD'
'If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever' - John 6v51
'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God' - Matthew 4v4
("Signs" 4 and 5 are intimately related, and are shown to be so by their immediate connection in the text.
The doctrine which we learn in this "sign" must be put into practice in the next - this is personal growth -
the principles are shown in 1st Peter 2v2 - 'desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby')
(the quotations are from John 6 unless otherwise indicated)
v2..'A great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles'..the popularity of Jesus was at its peak, cp
v15..v3..'Jesus went up into a mountain..withhis disciples', demonstrating the difficulty of the way for those who
would truly follow Him. Many later forsook Jesus - some remained. Do we continue with the Master?..v4..'the
Passover..was nigh'..again our minds are directed to deliverance from bondage- and that being offered by Jesus
- cp Romans 8v21 - was greater than the temporary deliverance under Moses - cp v49,50..v5..'Whence shall we
buy bread, that these may eat?'..the question was directed to Philip, who came from nearby Bethsaida (ch.1v44)
and so he would fully appreciate the problem in finding food in that remote area. Philip also had a Gentile name,
and thus was representative of the Galilean multitude; salvation was to be offered to both Jew and Gentile..
v6..'he(Jesus)himself knew what he would do'..contrast the certainty of Jesus with the uncertainty of Moses in
similar circumstances, Numbers 11v1-14..the law could not save, but faith in Jesus Christ could..v9..'five barley
loaves, and two small fishes' which was the food of the poor,who had 'the gospel preached to them'Matt.11v5..
v10..'the men..about five thousand'..again bringing in the number 5, speaking of the gracious provision of God
for all nations..v12..'When they were filled'..all who acknowledged their need were "filled'..v12..'Gather up the
fragments'..pointing forward to the work of the Apostles,represented here by v13..'twelve baskets'..'basket' =
'a vessel..meet for the master's use' 2nd Tim 2v21, cp Acts 1v8..v12..'that nothing be lost'..this represents the
spiritual body of Christ, which will come from all nations Galatians 3v26-29..Of this body Jesus said He 'should
lose nothing', v39 cp ch.17v12, Amos 9v9. Will we be included? It requires sustained effort now on our part to
ensure that we will be part of that blessed number..let us therefore determine that we will serve the Lord!
v14..'This is..that prophet' - the reference is to Deuteronomy 18v15-19.
The 5th "sign" - the calming of the storm - John 6v15-21, 22-65; Matthew 14v22-33
PRINCIPAL LESSON - 'BECAUSE HE TRUSTETH IN THEE'
'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee' - Isaiah 26v3
'Show thy marvellous loving-kindness,O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee'
- Psalm 17v7
("Signs" 4 and 5 are intimately related, and are shown to be so by their immediate connection in the text.
The doctrine learnt in the 4th "sign" must be put into practice in the 5th - the necessity of action is shown
clearly in James 2v22,26 - 'by works was faith made perfect...so faith without works is dead')
(the quotations are from John 6 unless otherwise indicated)
v15..'Jesus..departed..into a mountain..alone'..He would ascend into Heaven after His great sacrificial work;
again we see Him as a greater than Moses..v16,17..'when even was..come..it was now dark'- representative of
'the times of the Gentiles', Luke 21v24 cp Daniel 7v2,13;Isaiah 60v2..these are our days,when 'darkness shall
cover the earth, and gross darkness the people' - the symbolic 'sun' of Israel is 'gone down while it was yet day'
- Jeremiah 15v9..but her 'sun shall go no more down' - Isaiah 60v20..for Jesus Christ as the 'Sun of righteous-
ness (shall) arise with healing in his wings (beams)' - Malachi 4v2..(concerning symbology see 'Colossians_1').
In the meantime we walk by the illumination of 'Jesus..the light of the world' - ch.9v1-5 cp 6th 'sign'..v16..'his
disciples went down unto the sea' - i.e. figuratively 'the troubled sea (of nations), when it cannot rest, whose
waters cast up mire and dirt' - Isaiah 57v20,21..however after Jesus Christ and the redeemed administer the
righteous judgments of God, it will appear as 'a sea of glass mingled with fire' - Revelation 15v2..& ultimately
all nations and rebellion will disappear, with sin and death, after 1000 yrs - see 'the Lord's day' - 8th Vision.
v17..'toward Capernaum' - which was Jesus' adopted dwelling-place - cp Matthew 4v12,13..'Capernaum' sig.
'a protected or covered village, a place of comfort or consolation' - cp ch.14v1-3;Psalm 107v28-30..pointing to
the time spoken of in Hebrews 4v9 - 'there remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God'.
However there is a vital point in Psalm 107v30..this 'rest' & 'place of comfort' must be our 'desired haven'
or we will not arrive there. Psalm 145v19 states - 'He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will
hear their cry, and will save them'. If our desire is centred upon this evil age, we cannot hope to receive of
God's mercy in the day of judgment. 'Let thy mercy, O Yahweh, be upon us, according as we hope in thee' -
Psalm 33v22. And so if the coming Kingdom of God upon earth is our consuming passion in life, God will (as
we see below) 'make the storm a calm' & we will be 'glad' and 'quiet' even now, and later in the Kingdom.
In v17 we read that 'Jesus was not come to them'. The RSV renders 'Jesus had not yet come to them'. It was
certain that He would come to them, but the time was not yet fulfilled. This is our situation today if we truly
believe in God. Jesus has not yet returned, but it is certain that He will...Acts 1v11 - 'this same Jesus..shall
so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven'...the disciples had seen that Jesus 'departed
again into a mountain himself alone' (i.e. figuratively into heaven)..v18..'the sea arose..a great wind', even as
we today experience tribulation from the world & can be 'tossed to and fro' by 'every wind of doctrine'
which is 'contrary' to the Truth, Ephesians 4v14*; Matthew 14v24; Psalm 107v25-27. We must always be on
our guard, lest, like the disciples,our hearts become 'hardened' to the things which really matter,Mark6v52 -
'For they considered not the miracle of the loaves:for their heart was hardened'.
There will still be tribulation in the world, Acts 14v22, but we will not be overcome by it. 'Be not overcome
of evil, but overcome evil with good' - Romans 14v21. *link to 'proverbs' - page 2
v19..'they see Jesus walking on the sea'having power over the elements as later He was given power over the
nations, see Matthew 28v18. Peter, in answer to the Lord's invitation, also 'walked on the water', Matthew
14v29. But being 'afraid' because 'the wind' was 'boisterous', he began 'to sink' and 'cried, saying, Lord,
save me' - see Hebrews 12v2,3,15. We must fix our gaze firmly upon the Saviour or we will be lost. When the
Lord and Peter 'were come into the ship, the wind ceased' Matthew 14v32..'and immediately the ship was at
the land whither they went', i.e. Capernaum, representative of the Kingdom (see above). Consider the reward
held out to those who 'love (Jesus') appearing', 2nd Timothy 4v8. Truly, 'unto them that look for him shall he
appear the second time without sin unto salvation'. There is one final point to take note of, and it is a very im-
portant one in the light of the world-wide apostacy of these last days in which we live. See Matthew 14v25 -
'And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea'.
The 'fourth watch' is the last period of time before the dawn..figuratively just prior to the return of Christ,who,
as 'the Sun of righteousness' shall 'arise with healing in his wings (beams)' - Malachi 4v2..see para. above
on v15..the present evil Gentile 'night' operates spiritually according to Roman time, which used four watches,
whereas the Jewish watches were three - link to 'apocalypse'. We must reject all association with Rome.
The 'wind(s) of doctrine' (see above) are very deceptive in 'the (prophetic) fourth watch' - 'proverbs' - p.2.
'The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the
armour of light' - Romans 14v12..'Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you' - 1st Peter 5v7.
Those who take the time to look carefully at Psalm 107v23-30, from which we quote above, will find quotations
and direct allusions in the NT records in John, Matthew and Mark. Here is another fascinating thought:
The Psalms have 5 sections, which answer to the first 5 books in the Bible - we cannot expound this now!
Each section ends with a prayer of praise. Psalm 107 begins the 5th and last ('Deuteronomy') section, which
deals with God and His word and the Kingdom Age to come. It teaches us to always rely upon Divine guidance
through God's inspired word in the storms of life. How fitting this is to our subject. As Psalm 150v6 records -
'Let every thing that hath breath praise Yahweh. Praise ye Yahweh!'
The 6th "sign" - the healing of the blind man - John 9 & 10
PRINCIPAL LESSON - 'MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE'
'My sheep hear my voice...and they follow me' - John 10v27
'For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see
might be made blind' - John 9v39 - 'And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world,
and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil' - John 3v19 - 'If ye were
blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth' - John 9v41
(the quotations are from John 9 unless otherwise indicated)
v1..'a man..blind from his birth' - i.e. one who was incomplete, representative of the present sinful state of the
Creation, which is now in 'the bondage of corruption', Romans 8v21; one who was chosen to reveal God's
'works' (v3) - especially that Jesus is 'the light of the world' (v5)*. Note that God's 'works' were to be 'made
manifest in him' (i.e. the blind man)-v3 cp v15-38..'..he (i.e. Jesus) anointed the eyes of the blind with the clay'
..Jesus is now demonstrating His purpose to make a new creation, no longer marred by the effects of sin - cp
Genesis 2v7..v7..'wash in the pool of Siloam (which is by interpretation, Sent)' - as was Jesus Himself v33,39..
As we pointed out in the introduction, "the 8 "signs" each summarise the lessons contained in the particular
section of John in which they appear".The attentive reader will have noticed this in each of the signs covered
thus far and will notice it also in the remainder. Nowhere is this more noticeable than in this 6th 'sign'.
*this term is applied to His disciples in Matthew 5v14-16 - we must also 'walk in the light' - link to 'appeal'.
This 6th section runs from ch.7v1 to ch.10v41 inclusive. In ch.10v22,23 we read of 'the feast of the dedication'
i.e. 'hanukkah' - see re 'light' - & Jesus 'in the temple'. In ch.7v2 we read that 'the Jews' feast of tabernacles
was at hand'.Of all the feasts,the feast of tabernacles pointed forward to the time when the Creation will have
when it is re-instituted in the Kingdom Age,Zechariah 14v16-21) by its 8th day sabbath the 8th period of 1000
years (cp 2 Peter 3v8). This wonderful time, soon to be brought nearer by the return of the Lord, was at the
centre of this 6th 'sign' - epitomized in the healing of the blind. The number 6 is the number of man, for he
was created on the 6th day - Genesis 1v26,27,31. But after the Fall, it also represented 'sinful flesh'.
It is also representative of the conquest of sin - on the 6th day man was given dominion over the creation -
Genesis 1v26-28 - cp Psalm 8v4-6 which is quoted by Paul in Hebrews 2v6-8 and applied (and expounded) by
him in v8-18 to the conquest of sin (note especially v14).This becomes extremely significant when we come to
consider the subject of division - between two parties which can never be reconciled - link to 'promises' and
chapters - see ch. 7v43; 10v19. Whereas the number 3 speaks of separation from sin (error) in the world, the
number 6 speaks of separation from sin within the ecclesia (those called out from the world). It is at this time
that the sharpest trial is felt, and those so afflicted must crucify their own 'sinful flesh'. It is only when
disciples learn to truly hate sin in themselves that they can gain the dominion over sin. And even then we are
convicted of sin & must seek for forgiveness through the Lord Jesus Christ-Romans 7v22-25. The divisions
in John 7-10 take place within the Israel of those days (i.e. within the nation called out from the world) -
& it is for this reason that they appear in the 6th 'sign'. To contrast the numbers 3 & 6 link to 'structure'.
In both situations, division from the world and from apostacy within the body, we must make decisions -
v39 cp ch.3v19-21. Relations, "friends", ecclesial halls, possessions, numbers will mean nothing 'in the day
when God shall judge the secrets of men' - Romans 2v16...link to 'proverbs' - page 3.
A decision was made by the Jews (and notably the Pharisees) - 'for the Jews had agreed already, that if any
man did confess that he (i.e. Jesus) was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue' - v22. A decision was
also made by the man's parents - 'These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews' - v22.
(Fear was the motivating factor with many, for we read 'Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many
believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the
synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God' - ch.12v42,43.)
Both of these decisions were made for only one reason, and that was present advantage. We can 'sow to the
flesh' & 'reap corruption', or we can be wise & 'sow to the spirit' & 'reap life everlasting'-Galatians 6v8.
But the right decision was made by the man who 'had been blind, and received his sight' - v18. It is good
to read his marvellous testimony to Jesus in v15,25,27,30-33. And to Jesus he said 'Lord, I believe' - v38.
His choice to 'walk in the light' was made clear when he very strongly reproved his accusers in ch.9v24-34,
and in so doing he became a living example of the words of Paul written later in Ephesians 5v11 -
'And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them'.
There is much more to be said concerning this 6th 'sign', & the section in John where it is placed (ch.7-10).
However we must draw our remarks to a conclusion with several comments:
1. The theme of darkness into light explored above in ch.9 continues in ch.10. Although 'they (i.e. the Jews)
cast him out' (ch.9v34) in reality 'the shepherd of the sheep..leadeth (him) out' (ch.10v2,3).
'Jesus..said unto him,Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said,Who is he, Lord, that I
might believe on Him? Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him' (ch.9v35-38).
'Jesus answered them..my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me' (ch.10v25-27).
We may regard the parable of ch.10 as a Divine commentary upon the events of ch.9. In a similar way,
we read of people and historical events in 1 & 2 Kings and God's estimation of them in 1 & 2 Chronicles.
2. The theme of 'the good shepherd' and His 'sheep', & also 'hireling' and 'wolf' etc. is based largely upon
Ezekiel 34. The sheep would be 'scattered', but God (in Christ) would 'search (His) sheep,and seek them
out', and 'seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away' (v5-7,11,16).
'Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him..' (John 9v35).
Cp Matthew 18v10-14…'the Son of man is come to save that which was lost...he rejoiceth more of that
sheep...it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones ('which believe in me' v6)
should perish'. This chapter is notable also for instructions re withdrawal from corruption - see below.
What a time of joy for this follower of Jesus! Having gone through the 'open door' of faith, which had
been 'shut' by evil men - link to 'foundation' - page 1 - he now enjoyed fellowship with 'the Son of God'
- an inestimable blessing which is promised to all faithful ones who likewise separate or are separated
from corrupt assemblies - link to 'foundation' - page 2. This is true in all ages, including our own.
The focus of Ezekiel 34 is the 'good fold' of v14, which is taken up in the 'one fold' of John 10v16.
This then is the 'fold' (the only true one) into which the man who 'had been blind, and received his sight'
was delivered. It was a 'fold' which was established upon the Truth, and not upon lies. We have heard of
many termed "shepherds in Israel".Their credentials must be examined,Ezekiel 34v1-10;Matt.7v15-20.
If their words and deeds do not harmonize with those of 'the good shepherd' we will know what to do.
Link here to 'departure' - page 1 for the identification of 'false prophets..wolves..in sheep's clothing'.
The 7th "sign" - the resurrection of Lazarus - John 11
PRINCIPAL LESSON - 'I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE'
'he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live' - John 11v25
(the quotations are from John 11 unless otherwise indicated)
This 7th 'sign' has been called "the greatest miracle of them all". And so it was of the "signs" performed by
Jesus. The one which follows,the 8th 'sign' was even greater, and was performed by God. Lazarus was raised
to a continued state of mortality. Jesus was raised to eternal life, and only God was able to do this.
There is a close connection between the numbers 7 and 8. Whereas the number 7 represents completion, the
number 8 represents perfection. One leads to the other..'Give a portion to seven, and also to eight' -
Ecclesiastes 11v2. The 7th period of 1000 years (the Kingdom Age) - which completes the salvation of those
selected from the race of Adam - ushers in the 8th period of 1000 years (the Age of Perfection) - when only
those who are accepted in Christ will remain to grace the earth - 'that God may be all in all' - 1st Cor.15v28.
for more details on this magnificent theme see 'grace' - page 2 item 9.
v1..'a certain man was sick, named Lazarus' - we have seen this phrase 'a certain man' previously in ch.5v5,
the 3rd 'sign'..it signifies a chosen vessel in which the glory of God revealed in Jesus will be shown..Lazarus
was one whom Jesus loved, v36, and thus an appropriate choice..'Lazarus' signifies 'God hath helped', and
is a form of 'Eleazar', who succeeded his father Aaron as high priest. And so he appears as a type of Jesus
Himself, and therefore his resurrection pointed forward to that of the 'high priest for ever after the order of
Melchisedec' - Hebrews 5v6; 6v20. It was directly after this miracle that the Jewish leaders made the final
decision to kill Jesus - v46-57. It is also significant that a short time before, Jesus had spoken the parable
of the rich man and Lazarus - in which He made this prediction -
'If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead' -
Luke 16v31. This saying pointed forward to both the resurrection of Lazarus and also His own. For a more
complete commentary on this parable link to 'mortal' - page 2. The recorded plans of the Jewish leaders to
kill both Jesus and Lazarus endorse our comments above - see John 11v53 & 12v10.And after the raising of
Jesus, they concocted a lie, in order to hide the glorious truth which they greatly feared- Matthew 28v11-15.
v6..'When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was' -
in order to establish fulness of faith in those whom He loved, see v15, 22, 32, 39-45. And in 2nd Peter 3v8,
'one day' is likened to 'a thousand years'. As there were six literal days of the physical Creation - Genesis
1 - so there are six periods of one thousand years allocated for the spiritual Creation. And having 'abode'
for almost two of these long 'days' in heaven, building faith in His people in anticipation of the raising of the
dead and the great consolation, Jesus is about to return to those whom He loves (even as He loved the three
at Bethany - v1, 5). The Greek for 'Bethany' signifies the 'the house of afflicted ones' - cp. Isaiah 61v1-3.
v4..'this sickness is..for the glory of God,that the Son of God might be glorified thereby'-the death of Lazarus
necessitated a miracle which would beyond all doubt reveal 'the glory of God' - i.e. His omnipotent power &
His righteous character, see Exodus 33v12 to 34v7. The raising of Lazarus demonstrated these same eternal
principles in Jesus - cp. ch.1v14 - 'and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full
of grace and truth'. Believers of the prophets would draw the parallel with the 'two days' of Hosea 6v1,2 -
and would thus discern that the resurrection of Lazarus pointed forward to the future resurrection of Israel -
link to 'the time of the end'.
v25..'I am the resurrection and the life' - yes, Martha and Mary and those who grieved understood that their
dear one Lazarus had not 'gone to a better place'. They grieved, as all others grieve in similar circumstances,
because he was dead. It would be of advantage to any who cannot see the significant difference between the
truth of this vital doctrine and current apostate theories of "immortal souls" to consult this link - 'mortal'.
Their only hope was expressed by Martha in v 24 when she said 'I know that he shall rise again in the resurr-
ection at the last day'. This hope was repeated by Paul in Acts 23v6 and 24v15 - 'of the hope and resurrection
of the dead I am called in question...and have hope toward God..that there shall be a resurrection of the dead'.
At that time, those who belong to God will be granted eternal life,while the rejected will perish. Note the order
set out above - resurrection must come before life - to invert the order, as many wish to do, is completely false.
But that time has not yet come (though as these words are written it is very near). And in the time of Jesus, in
point of time it was far off. However, as we find in several other places, the graphic enactment of resurrection
(in this case literal and in others illustrative*) was also meant to demonstrate to the eye of faith the final result
of the resurrection of faithful ones which will result in eternal life.v35..'Jesus wept' - what few words, but they
express far more. In the history of the Truth there have always been 'weepers' - Jesus wept here because of
his love for the family at Bethany, & also on another occasion because of the spiritual desolation of Jerusalem
& Israel - concerning 'weepers' link to 'the Yahweh-Nissi altar'. v43..'Lazarus, come forth' - representative of
the summons to those in the grave at the coming of the Lord-cp John 5v28,29.v44..'he..came forth, bound hand
and foot with graveclothes' - that is, shackled with mortality, as will all of those at the future resurrection.
*cp Daniel 10v8-11; Revelation 1v17,18.
But also in this miracle, for those who have eyes to see and faith in their hearts, we find a graphic portrayal of
acceptance of beloved Lazarus.v44..'Loose him, and let him go' - what joy if these words are spoken of us at the
Judgment Seat of the Lord Jesus Christ! If accepted at that time, we shall obtain deliverance from 'this body of
death' - from which 'bondage of corruption' Paul (and all faithful) will be 'delivered...into the glorious liberty
of the children of God' - Romans 7v24mg & 8v21. Shortly after the raising of Lazarus, in this 7th section of the
Gospel of John, Jesus set out the basis of resurrection and judgment in ch.12v48 - 'the word that I have spoken,
the same shall judge him in the last day'.Read v44-50, to see the various responses to the words of Jesus, & the
subsequent future results. We are happy to enlarge on this matter if any wish to write to us - address is below.
Because of the Jews' unbelief, Jesus, after this 7th 'sign', 'departed, and did hide himself from them'. And He
spoke sadly of their rejection of 'the light' and their consequent descent into 'darkness' when he left them -
ch.12v35,36 - cp.v37-41. What could be more calculated to wake us to our only hope than the words of Jesus in
v35 & 36 - 'Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you..While ye have light, believe in the light,
that ye may be the children of light'.
We have now completed the 7th 'sign'. As time permits, we hope to move on to the 8th 'sign'. We have never
seen the true significance of this beautiful section of John explained elsewhere. It is something so amazing that
we are awestruck at what, in reality, is a fitting and glorious climax to John's testimony of Jesus as
'the Son of God' - cp ch.20v30,31. As Christadelphians, we sing in one of our beautiful hymns -
"Fulfil ye the joy of the Father and Son, By seeking the peace which their counsel hath won". No more fitting
words could be chosen as an introduction to the final section of John's Gospel which contains the 8th 'sign'.
(study to be concluded)
this study is a continuing one, please visit regularly
IMPORTANT NOTE TO OUR VIEWERS
There has been an enormous interest in the 8 'signs' of the Gospel of John, and we are trying to
find the time to complete this exposition.
In the meantime,there is something very important to consider. The 'signs' in the Gospel of John
are not the only ones which Jesus Christ left for us.In the Gospel of Matthew He has expounded
THE TWO GREAT 'SIGNS' OF THESE LAST DAYS - link here for the details.
Although these are not named as 'signs', it is self-evident that they are. And they add important
and vital information concerning the political and ecclesial events of these last days.
We must understand & act upon this information, so that the salvation promised in the 8 'signs'
of John will be of benefit to us in the day of account when the Lord returns.
That time is now imminent - link to 'prophecy'.
We welcome correspondence to: