John 7:30-37 – Israel’s Most Wanted



We open with another attempt on the Lord’s life, which failed because His hour was not yet come (v.30). The Lord knew about when He’d die from Daniel 9:25,26, which predicted that He would die “after” Palm Sunday. The Lord then knew the day He’d die since He knew He was the Passover lamb (ICor.5:7). If He knew the exact hour, it was because He was a prophet.

“Many” believed on Him because of the miracles (John 7:31). When they began to murmur that He might be Christ, the Pharisees sent officers to arrest Him (v.32). But the Lord dissuaded them from taking Him by telling them they needn’t be concerned with Him, He was leaving soon and would be out of their hair. The Lord’s prediction that they’d seek and not find Him (v.34) came true after the disciples started preaching the resurrection. To shut them up, Israel’s religious leaders no doubt looked for His body in an effort to silence all that resurrection talk.

The “dispersed” (John 7:35) were the Jews dispersed in the Babylonian captivity (Ezekiel 12:15, cf. 1-14). In this pas-sage, Ezekiel is told to act out what will happen to Israel’s king Zedekiah and the rest of the nation. Zeke was told to pack for a journey, make a hole in the wall in full view of the people, and leave town with his face covered so he couldn’t see the ground. This was to symbolize how Nebu-chadnezzar would dig through the city wall and capture and blind him, and force him to carry his things to Babylon.

The unfaithful Jews who did not return to Israel after the captivity were later dispersed from Babylon, the head of the nations, to all nations. When the Lord announced He was going someplace they couldn’t follow Him, they thought He was going to these dispersed Jews, for Jerusalem Jews would not follow him “among the Gentiles” (John 7:35).

“The last day” of the feast of tabernacles was a “great day”

(7:2 cf. 7:37). It was the “eighth day” of the 8-day feast, and 8 is the number of new beginnings. There are 7 days in a week, and the 8th day starts a new beginning. There were 8 people on the ark with Noah, and they all stepped off the ark to a new beginning. There were 8 people raised from the dead in the Bible to a new beginning.

The feast of tabernacles, the last of Israel’s feasts, was a type of the kingdom, the last number on Israel’s program. So the last day of the feast was symbolic of the last day of the millennium, when God will make a new beginning with the New Heaven and New Earth. The feast started and ended with a Sabbath (Lev.23:39), because believing Jews will begin the millennium by resting in the kingdom, and end the millennium by resting in the New Creation

Notice also that “fire” is associated with the eighth and last day of the feast (Lev.23:36), a symbol of the fire of the battle of God and Magog that will come at the last day of the millennium (Rev.20:7-90, and the fire that will end the old heaven and earth (IIPet.3:10-13; Rev.21:1). You say, “but the fire of Leviticus 23:36 was an offering.” True, but just as it was at Armageddon, if you reject the sacrifice of Christ for your sins, you must become an offering for your sins.

Now remember on the last day of the feast, the Lord challenged all who thirsted to come to Him—just as He will on the last day of the millennium (Rev.22:17). The book of John is a book of symbols.

Thirsting after God was a concept with which the Jews should have been familiar (Ps.42:1,2; 63:1). Only He can satisfy the innate thirst in man for something more in life. On the cross, the Lord cried “I thirst” (John 19:28) so that you don’t have to thirst spiritually in this life, nor in hell in eternity.

According to the Superman legend, when Krypton was about to explode, scientists Jor-el put his son in a rocket and launched him to earth, where he became the man of steel. But when the elements are melting with a fervent heat (IIPet.3:10) and the heavens are on fire (v.12), this plan will not work. If you are not saved, “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

John 7:14-29 – Israel’s Memorial Day



The feast of tabernacles (John 7:2) was also known as the feast of booths. The Jews had to dwell in booths to memor-ialize how they dwelt in booths in the wilderness (Lev.23: 42,43). The Lord went up to Jerusalem in the “midst” of this 8 day feast (John 7:14). Why’d He wait 4 days?

To soften them up. Dwelling 4 nights in a booth reminded them of how they dwelt in booths in the wilderness because of their rebellion against the doctrine of Moses. He was hoping that once softened up, they wouldn’t rebel against His doctrine. Also, on the feast’s first day they offered 13 bullocks, on the second day 12, etc., God’s way of teaching them that by sacrificing less they should be sinning less. He hoped this might affect their plans to kill Him!

This was the Lord’s third trip to the temple. In the first trip, He cleansed the temple (John 2), in the second trip he healed a man (John 5), and now He was teaching. This is symbolic of how at His second coming He will cleanse the temple, then heal His people, then begin to teach them.

You used to hear about “a man of letters,” a man of education. Not knowing letters (7:15) meant the Lord hadn’t been to their schools, which only taught the traditions of the rabbis, their doctrine. That’s why the Lord replied, “My doctrine is not mine” (v.16). This statement should have identified Him as Messiah (Deut.18:18).

Some think only the elect will know if Christ’s doctrine is true, but John 17:17 says if any man will do His will, he’ll know if His doctrine is of God. The Lord’s message was “repent” (Mt.4:17). Men who thought they had nothing of which to repent rejected it. Men who were willing to do God’s will and repent recognized it as doctrine from God.

Preachers should not seek their own glory by preaching themselves, but the glory of the one who sent them (John 7:18cf.IICor.4:5). The Lord sought His Father’s glory (John 7:18). He was always saying that His Father did the works, not Him, and that His doctrine was God’s, not His own.

It was true that there was “no unrighteousness” in the Lord (7:18), but why would He say this? He was beginning to respond to their charge that it was unrighteous for Him to heal on the Sabbath (cf. v.23) as He had done in John 5.

Moses gave them the Law that said “thou shalt not kill,” but they didn’t keep it (John 7:19), they were trying to kill Him—for breaking the Law! The Lord brings this up here to point out their hypocrisy and inconsistency. They played dumb (v.20), saying he was possessed. Possessed people acted crazy (Mt.17:15; Mark 5:5), so they were saying He was crazy for thinking they were trying to kill Him.

The Lord had done many miracles, but only “one work” of which they disapproved (John 7:21), i.e. healing on the Sabbath. The Lord knew they thought Moses was better than Christ, since Christ admitted His doctrine was not His own. They thought Moses didn’t get anything from anyone, but the Lord points out that Moses got circumcision from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (John 7:22).

The Lord points out that He may have healed on the Sabbath, but they themselves circumcised babies on the Sabbath if it fell on the 8th day (7:23 cf. Mt.12:5). The Lord was pointing out they should have been more concerned with the spirit of the law than with the letter of it. Instead they judged Him according to the outward “appearance” of what He had done (v.24).

They denied trying to kill Him, but it was common knowledge (v.25). He spoke to the leaders like no one dared speak to them (v.26). Some of the people sounded like they believed on Him (v.26), “howbeit” they weren’t sure (v.27). They knew where Christ came from, and mistakenly thought that no one could know where Messiah would come from (cf. Mt.2:1-6; 19-23), so they figured He couldn’t be Messiah.

They knew where He came from, but they didn’t know who He came from (John 7:28). And they didn’t know the Lord (v.28), an expression that means they weren’t saved (ISam.2:12 cf. Jer.31:34).

John 7:1-13 – Murder or Manslaughter?



The nation of Israel was obviously guilty of pre-meditated murder (7:1), but Peter reduced their charge to manslaugh-ter (Acts 3:17). But how could he do this, when Israel was so obviously guilty of murder? The law said murderers must die (Num.35:16), and not even God can bend the rules

Peter was employing a legal loophole. His use of the word “ignorantly” reminds us of Deuteronomy 19:4, where God draws a difference between murder and manslaughter (v.1-13). But how could Peter say they killed the Lord ignorant-ly? Israel’s law said blasphemers must die, and they thought He was blaspheming saying He was God. They could have known He was God from the prophets, and indeed should have known, but the fact is they didn’t know, and so Peter allowed that they killed Him in “ignorance.”

What should Israel have done in response to this reduced charge? Well, under the Law, a manslayer was to “flee” to a city of “refuge” (Num. 35:10-12). Hebrews 6:18-20 speaks of Hebrews who had “fled for refuge” to Christ. The Old Testament cities of refuge were types of Christ. He prayed “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”—in other words, they killed Him ignorantly! Usually the defense looks for loopholes like this, but with Christ, the murder victim looked for the loophole.

The Greek word for “Jewry” (7:1) is usually translated Judaea, and is a term of derision (Dan.5:13). Because Jerusalem Jews were trying to kill the Lord, God used this term of her. The name Judaea is taken from Judah, which means “he shall be praised,” but there was nothing praiseworthy about trying to kill the Lord. Since they weren’t living up to their great name, God changed it here.

Tabernacles (7:2) was one of the 3 feasts each adult male Jew was required to attend. The Lord’s half brothers told Him to go show His miracles to Jerusalem disciples, since all His local disciples left Him (7:3 cf. 6:66). They argued that no man who wants to be famous or “known openly” does miracles in secret in Galilee (7:4). They thought the Lord wanted to be famous, and showing miracles in the spiritual headquarters of the world would be showing them “to the world” (7:4). But they said this not to be helpful, but because they didn’t believe on Him (7:5). They perhaps thought the sophisticated Jerusalem leaders would see through His “fake” miracles. Or if He succeeded, they could capitalize on His fame.

When the Lord spoke of His “hour” He meant the cross, but when He said “My time is not yet come” (7:6), in context He meant the time for Him to be “known openly” in the kingdom. He told His unsaved family “your time is always ready” because unbelievers are always ready to be famous!

The world hated Him because He told the world of its sins (7:7). But how could He not go to the required feast (7:8,9)? Ah, He said He wasn’t going “yet,” perhaps fearing His brethren would sell Him out as Joseph’s brethren did. He knew Joseph was a type of Himself.

When He said His time was not yet “full come” for Him to be famous, it had kind of come. Tabernacles (7:2) was Israel’s last feast, a type of the last number on her program, the kingdom. It had come in type, but not in full. Later when it says “the day of Pentecost had fully come” (Acts 2:1), it meant the fulfillment of all previous Pentecosts had come when the Spirit came. But while the feast of Tabernacles had come, it was not yet fully time for the kingdom.

The Lord of course finally went to the feast (7:10) because to not go would be disobedience to the Law He was made under (Gal.4:4). The Jews who were looking to kill Him (John 7:1) were looking for Him when He got there (7:11). They knew He had to come to the feast, so thought they had him for sure, as Saul thought he had David, who he thought had to come to the new moon (I Samuel 20).

Christ always divided men into those who believed on Him, and those who didn’t (7:12). At this point in time, some believers feared to speak of Him (7:13), but denying Him later would cost them their souls (Luke 12:9 cf. Pr.29:25).

John 6:66-71 – The Ultimate Desertion



The people who deserted the Lord weren’t real believers; they only believed because they ate the bread the Lord multiplied (6:26,66). Soldiers that desert from the army can get the death penalty, but what is the penalty for deserting the Lord Jesus Christ? Zephaniah 1:6 speaks of deserting the Lord, and says that such people will be punished with the Second Coming of Christ (v.1-7).

True believers in the kingdom program would never turn their back on the Lord, and He will never turn His back on them (Isa.49:15,16). Isn’t it interesting this Mother’s Day that the prophet claims that God’s love for Israel surpasses a mother’s love for her son (cf. Isa.66:13).

Did you notice the Lord said nothing to those who deserted Him? It broke His heart to see them go, but there are two reasons He didn’t run after them. First, the Lord will never interfere with the free will of men. Second, He didn’t have any other gospel to offer them! If they didn’t believe He came down from heaven and was the Christ of God, there was no Plan B.

The 12 apostles knew this, so when the Lord asked if they would go away also (v.67), Peter replied by asking where else they could go (v.68). To the Saducees, who denied the Word of God? To the Pharisees, who made the Word a burden it was never meant to be? Those were the only choices back then, and come to think of it, these are the only choices today! Most every church either claims the Bible is a fairy tale, just be a good person and you’ll go to heaven, or else says the Bible’s plan of salvation is to do this, that and the other thing!

Peter correctly stated that the Lord had the words of eternal life (6:68 cf. 63), just as Moses did in his day (Deut. 32:45-47). What were the words of eternal life in Moses’ day? The Law. What were the words of eternal life in the Lord’s day? That He was the Christ (John 6:69). That was enough to save you in that day, while today you must believe that Christ died for your sins.

Now that Peter had told the Lord who He was, the Lord tells the twelve who they are—at least one of them! (6:70,71). Notice the Lord “answered” Peter. Peter had said that “WE believe…thou art the Christ,” but the Lord knew that one of them didn’t believe.

But why would the Lord have chosen Judas if He knew Judas was “a devil”? Because Psalm 41:9 had to be “fulfilled” (John 13:18), the friend who would eat bread with Him—the bread of the last supper—had to betray Him. God knew Judas would betray the Lord, so He predicted it. That meant the Lord had to choose him to fulfil Scripture.

But why call him a devil? Webster’s first definition for this word is “an evil spirit or being,” and Judas was certainly an evil being. If the definition of a demon or devil was an angel that fell, what better word for an apostle that fell than devil?

It is also possible Judas will be raised from the dead to become the Antichrist. The only other person to be called “the son of perdition,” other than Judas (John 17:12), is the Antichrist (IIThes.2:3). Revelation 17:8 says that the Beast “was” on the earth at one time, but now as John was writing “is not” on the earth, but “shall ascend out of the bottomless pit.” This is the pit of hell, a pit in the heart of the earth that is round like a ball, and a ball has no bottom. Only dead people are there, and so for Antichrist to ascend out of this pit, he must be a reincarnated dead man. If Elijah and Moses will rise from the dead in the Tribulation, why not Judas?

Psalm 55:12-14 talks about Judas, but later in the same psalm it talks about the Antichrist (v.20,21). Psalm 109:8 is talking about Judas (cf. Acts 1:20), but Psalm 109:6 is talking about the Antichrist, for the devil will give him his power and authority (Rev.13:1-3). Zechariah 11:12-17 speaks about Judas, but 11:15-17 speak about Antichrist. In Acts 1:25, it says that Judas went to hell, but it calls hell “his own place.” The Antichrist will probably be Judas, who will probably go by his Hebrew name, Judah.

John 6:60-66 – A Hard Saying



What had the Lord said that they considered a “hard saying” (v.60)? Commentaries suggest they were speaking of when He said they had to eat his flesh and drink His blood (v.56), but the Lord’s answer indicates otherwise. When He asked, “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before?” (v.62), it shows they were having trouble believing when He said He came down from heaven (v.58). He was saying, “If you see me go back to heaven where I came from, will you believe I came down from heaven?” They knew He was born in Bethle-hem, and since they knew souls did not pre-exist, they knew He was saying He was God. And that’s what they found to be “a hard saying.” These disciples were following only because they tasted the bread he multiplied (8:26). Announcing He was God was too much for them. John once again emphasizes the Lord’s deity when he says He “knew in Himself” what they were saying (v.61)

If I tell you that tomorrow I’ll ascend into heaven and the next day the world will end, you wouldn’t be worried. But if the next day I ascended, you’d be worried! These folks wouldn’t believe the Lord when He said He came down from heaven, and if they believed on Him they’d be saved. But if He proved He came down from Heaven, they’d accept that they could be saved by believing on Him.

Obviously the Lord knew from Scripture He was going to die, rise, and ascend into heaven. But don’t envy Him just because His whole life was laid out for Him in Scripture. Yours is too! You too will die (if the Lord doesn’t come), rise, and ascend into heaven at the rapture. You say you want the Bible to lay out the details of your life? The Bible didn’t do this for the Lord, why should it do it for you?

They had trouble accepting that believing on Him could give eternal life because He was just a man of flesh and blood, so the Lord said that His flesh “profiteth nothing” (v.63). We know He was talking about His flesh because that was the context (v.51-55). His flesh couldn’t heal the sick or raise the dead, He always made it clear His Father did those things (14:10). Now He says that His flesh couldn’t quicken anyone, only His “spirit” could, because His spirit was the Holy Spirit (cf.Gal.4:6). But it must be remembered that the Spirit quickened using “the words” the Lord spoke, which He said were “life” (v.63).

Here the Lord was probably thinking of Deuteronomy 32: 45-47, where Moses said his words were life! The Lord used the same words to show a dispensational change was taking place. Like Paul did when he used the words of Psalm 106:30,31 in Romans 4:5. The Lord was adding the kingdom program to the Law, He was adding His words to the words of Moses. Both were now required for salvation.

When the Bible says that sinners are dead in sins (Eph.2:1), our Calvinist friends say they are too dead even to believe the gospel, that God must quicken them and give them life so they can believe. But the Lord here says that His words “are life.” The words of the gospel are the power of God unto salvation (Rom.1:16). There’s power in the Word of God. Power for godly living too. If you have trouble living a godly life, get in the Book!

The Lord knew “from the beginning” who would betray Him (John 6:64), but the beginning of what? Not from the beginning of Creation (cf. John 1:1). True, He knew from the beginning of Creation, but forgot when He was born. He also forgot how to talk, etc. No, He was talking about how He knew from the beginning of His ministry (cf. 8:25).

But if the Lord knew Judas would betray Him, and seem-ingly serve God by providing the world a Savior, how can He later judge Judas? Well, God will judge the Assyrian (Isa.10:12), who seemingly does God a favor by chastening Israel (10:5,6). He didn’t “mean” to serve God (v.7), he was just the kind of man who liked to conquer (v.8). And he claimed he was able to conquer Israel by his own wisdom, when he could have had no power against Israel unless God gave it to him (v.13). That’s why God was righteous to punish him, and that’s why He will be right to punish Judas. Judas didn’t mean to serve God by betraying Christ, he was a thief and betrayed the Lord for the money.

John 6:55-59 – Risen Indeed!



The word “indeed” (v.55) means in reality or in truth. The Lord has been talking about the meat or manna that fell in the wilderness, and now says that His flesh is meat in truth and in reality. Does that mean the manna wasn’t true or real? No, calling the heavenly tabernacle “the true taber-nacle” (Heb. 8:2) didn’t mean that the one Moses pitched wasn’t real. This is just the Bible’s way of saying it was symbolic of the heavenly tabernacle (cf. v.1-5). Likewise, the manna was real, but it was only a symbol of the Lord, the true manna. The Greek word for “true” (Heb.8:2) is the adjective form of the word translated indeed in John 6:55.

Besides manna, there are many types or symbols of Christ, and of His resurrection. Since it is Resurrection Day, let’s name a few. In the Flood, all humanity “died” and rose again in Noah. The ark rested on Aararat the same day of the year the Lord rose, and Noah began a new life, just as He did. That doesn’t mean Noah wasn’t a real person, it just means he was a type of Christ. The feast of firstfruits was celebrated the 3rd day after Passover, just as Christ rose the third day after He became our Passover (ICor.5:7). Firstfruits guaranteed more fruits to come, just as Christ’s resurrection guaranteed ours (ICor.15:23). But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a real feast, it was just a type of Christ.

When Aaron’s dead rod budded, it proved he was God’s anointed, just as when Christ arose, it proved He was God’s anointed. Moses then showed Aaron’s rod to the people, just as the apostles showed Christ’s resurrection to the people in early Acts. Moses then put the rod back in the tabernacle, just as Christ ascended back into the heavenly tabernacle. All this doesn’t mean Aaron’s rod wasn’t real, it just means it was a type of Christ. If a leper wanted to be cleansed, he had to kill a bird and dip the wing of a live bird in its blood and release it, a type of Christ’s death and resurrection. This doesn’t mean it never happened, it just means Christ was the true resurrection. You must believe in the types, else you can’t believe Christ “rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,” for no Scriptures outside of the type of Jonah said He’d rise the third day (Mt.12:40).

We’ve seen that eating the Lord’s flesh and drinking His blood (Jo.6:56) is symbolic of believing on Him (v.40 cf. v.54). So Verse 56 is saying that Jews who believed on the Lord dwelt in Christ, but not in the Body of Christ. All men are either “in Christ” or “in Adam” (ICor.15:22). Even when Old Testament saints believed, God put them into Christ (Rom.3:25), but not into the Body of Christ. Paul says the Body of Christ was “new” with his ministry (Eph.2:15). Israel had a different gospel, a different program, and a different hope, and you must keep them separate to understand the Bible!

Dwelling in God is nothing new. Hebrew believers under the Law were saved and dwelt in God (Ps. 90:1). We know that they were secure in Him because the person being talked about in Psalm 90:9-12 is also said to have made God his habitation, and it was talking about Christ (Mt. 4:6)! So Hebrew believers were as safe in God as Christ!

When the Lord told the Jews that if they’d believe it was also true that He’d dwell in them, this means they were in-dwelt by Christ. But how could this be, since He was stand-ing next to believers when He said that? He explains in the next verse, where He says that He indwelt them in the sense that His life was in them (v.57), the same life that was in His Father. His Father’s life was in Him, just as your parents’ life is in you since you have their blood and “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev.17:11 cf. Acts 20:28). And this is the life the Lord promised to give to believers.

Now this is different than the indwelling of the Spirit. When Hebrew believers believed, they were indwelt by Christ, but the Spirit was only “with” them; only at Pente-cost would He be in them (John 14:16,17). Do you see how Pentecost was nothing new (certainly not the begin-ning of the Body of Christ) but was rather just a continua-tion of what God was already doing among the Jews. Here we see a dispensational difference, for when we get saved, we are indwelt by the Son and the Spirit at the same time.

Those who believe you can be saved by eating communion are emphasizing symbolism over substance!

John 6:44-54 – God’s Tractor Beam



How does the Father “draw” men to Christ (v.44)? I used to believe God used an irresistible tractor beam that He only aimed at the elect He had chosen to be saved. But like all verses, this verse has a context that defines it. Verse 45 says that all who are taught and hear and learn of God in His Word come to Christ. Thus we know that God draws men to Christ with His Word. Since only some choose to believe what they hear and are taught, only some come.

But are “all” men “taught of God” (v.44)? No! The Lord is quoting Isaiah 54:13, a verse that won’t be fulfilled until the kingdom of heaven on earth is established (v.14). But even then, men will have to choose to be taught of God (Isaiah 2:1—5), just as men had to choose to be taught of God in our Lord’s day and come to Him.

God always draws men “with lovingkindness” (Jer. 31:3). He tells men they are sinners, but tells them how to get their sins paid for. In the Old Testament, they got their sins paid for by animal sacrifices. Today we get our sins paid for by believing Christ paid for them on Calvary. Hosea 11:4 says God drew Israel “with cords of a man.” Men have no mysterious tractor beam power to draw others to themselves, and neither does God. He draws people with the cords of a man, with “bands of love.” Love draws peo-ple to people, and it is what draws people to God, when He tells them He loves them, and gave His Son to die for them.

The Lord knew that when you go to school you can see the teacher. So after talking about being taught of God, He says, “not that any man hath seen the Father” (v.45). But why would He then make sure to tell them that He had seen the Father? It was because they trusted in Moses (5:45), and they believed Moses had seen God (Ex.33:11). But since no man can see God’s face (33:20) we know that see-ing God “face to face” is a figure of speech, for we read that Israel saw God face to face when He gave the ten commandments (Deut.5:4-8), and Israel fled from the face of God that day. Seeing God “face to face” was a figure of speech for the plain way in which God spoke to Israel when He gave them the 10 commandments. That’s how Moses saw the Father, but the Lord saw the Father literally.

Kingdom saints had eternal life, as a present possession (John 6:47), just as we do. In the Old Testament, God’s name was “I am” (Ex.3:14), i.e., “I am whatever you need me to be.” In the New Testament, the Lord claims to be the “I am” of Exodus 3:14, but gets a little more specific when He says “I am that bread of life” (John 6:48), “I am the good shepherd,” etc.

After the Lord fed the 5,000 with a few loaves, the Jews reminded him that Moses fed millions—for 40 years! (6:31). The Lord reminded them that Moses didn’t give the manna, God did (v.32), and now reminds them that that whole generation that ate the manna died before reaching the promised land because of unbelief (6:49). He wasn’t putting Moses down, He was just trying to get them to let go of old truth in favor of new truth. We run into the same problem with people who won’t let go of the Lord’s earthly ministry in favor of Paul’s ministry.

We know eating the Lord (6:50) is a figure of speech for believing on Him because the Lord said if you eat Him you will “not die,” i.e., die spiritually. Of course, just because the Lord gave His flesh “for the life of the world” doesn’t mean the world is saved, any more than John meant to say that the sins of the world are taken away (John 1:29). Only believers get their sins taken away and get life from Christ.

The Jews thought He was speaking literally (6:52 cf. 3:4; 4:15). Two common Bible study mistakes are taking figurative things literally and literal things figuratively. When the Bible speaks of a literal hell, people think it is figurative (Ezek. 20:49).

Another way we know the Lord was speaking figuratively is when He talked about drinking His blood, something prohibited by the Law (Lev.3:17, etc.). Taking this figure of speech literally led our Catholic friends to believe the bread and cup become the body and blood of Christ and that these elements must be eaten to be saved. Not so!

John 6:35-43 – Got Bread?



Just after feeding the 5,000 with a few loaves, the Lord used a figure of speech when He called Himself “the bread of life” (v.35). Bread is made when wheat is planted in the ground, just as the Lord grew up “a tender plant” (Isa.53:2). Wheat then matures, just as the Lord did (Luke 3:23). Wheat is then cut down, as the Lord was at Calvary. Wheat is then ground to powder and placed in fire, as the Lord was under the judgment of God on the cross. Wheat then rises, as the Lord rose 3 days later. Only then can the wheat give physical life, and only then can Christ give eternal life.

“Never hunger” and “never thirst” are more figures of speech, figures for believing on Him (cf. 4:14). “Cometh to me” is another figure of speech, or at least you’d better hope so, as you cannot come to Christ physically (IICor.5:16). Plenty of the Lord’s enemies came to Him physically, but didn’t believe on Him, and coming to Him was a figure of speech for believing on Him.

Why is the Lord multiplying figures of speech? That’s how you preach the gospel, by illustrating it every way you can. Just as bread does you no good unless you eat it, Christ does you no good unless you believe on Him.

When had the Lord “said” they had seen Him (v.36)? When they “saw” His miracles (v.26). When people see what you do, they see you. When people saw the Lord still the waves they knew He was God, and when they saw Him feed the multitudes, they knew He was compassionate.

Who were the ones the Father gave Him (v.37)? Our Calvinist friends say this was the elect, but it actually refers to those who were believers before the Lord came (cf. “thine they were” [17:6]). The Lord said that all these “shall come to me” (6:37). Of course! They got saved before He came by believing the Bible, so they would naturally believe the Bible’s predictions about a compassionate Messiah who would be God in the flesh. The Lord has to assure such people that He wouldn’t cast them out because God had told the nation He would cast them out if they sinned (I Kings 9:6,7; II Kings 17:20).

People still need the assurance that God won’t cast them out. And when He says that He will “in no wise” cast out believers (6:37), we know He takes those words seriously (cf.Mt.5:18). The word “for” in John 6:38 means that the reason the Lord won’t cast out believers is because they are the reason He “came down from heaven.” Of all these people who were believers before He came, He vowed to “lose nothing” of them (v.39), but raise “it” up in the last day, referring to either their physical body, or to the “body” of these believers corporately that the Father delivered Him

Many people saw the Lord, but they had to see and believe on Him to be saved (v.40). But seeing him physically isn’t required (I Peter 1:8). Job saw the Lord after the Lord showed him His works (Job 42:5), and we can similarly see the Lord by seeing His works in Scripture.

Four times in this passage the Lord promises to raise up believers from the dead (6:39,40,44,54). He never prom-ised us an easy life, despite what the prosperity preachers claim, but He has promised to raise us to a new life.

When “the Jews then murmured at Him” (6:41), it proves there is no pleasing some people. Three times in Luke they murmured at Him (5:30; 15:2; 19:7) for hanging around sinners, i.e., because He was not as holy as they were. Here He claims to come down from heaven, which to them meant He was claiming to be more holy than they were! How typical! People think God should be exactly like they are! God created man in His own image, and ever since that, men have been trying to return the favor! People say, “I think God doesn’t mind abortion,” and the reason they say that is because they don’t mind abortion. They say, “I think God accepts homosexuality” because they accept it.

Familiarity breeds contempt (John 6:42). And even though they had murmured among themselves (v.43), the Lord knew what they were saying. The gospel of John emphasizes His deity, and this shows His omniscience.

Berean Searchlight – January 2016

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