John Chapter 5
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which
testify of me” (John 5:39).
by Tim Malinowski
In John, Chapter 5, we read about the healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. This individual had an apparently hopeless and chronic condition for the last 38 years of his life. If anyone was in need of healing, he was the perfect candidate. To add to this man’s unfortunate condition, he was unable to reach the pool himself in time and be healed by the waters. Others could reach the pool before him.
It was to this weary and heartsick soul that our Lord kindly asked, “Wilt thou be made whole” (verse 6)? The invalid responded in the affirmative. Yes, he wanted to be made whole. Our Lord responded immediately, not even waiting for him to express his faith. Our Lord allowed the man’s faith to be testified by his obedience, obeying our Lord’s command to take up his mat and walk. He obeyed, not even recognizing who had healed him.
The man did not know our Lord and therefore had no particular faith or belief in Jesus’ ability to heal. He was also a sinner, as we learn later when Jesus met him in the temple and told him to “sin no more.” We see in this a picture of the nation of Israel. It has been lame for centuries, non-existent as a nation, and is now being restored. They do not yet believe or understand that Jesus has restored them as a nation. Likewise, the world of mankind, during the mediatorial phase of Christ’s kingdom will be brought back to life. They will be resurrected, brought to full perfection, and be able to walk in righteousness before God. This miracle being performed on the Sabbath day illustrates the healing of the Sabbath, or Seventh Day, the millennial day.
The miracles which our Lord performed were intended to establish his identity and not for the healing of the world, nor of the Church. The Lord’s great healing time is designated in the scriptures as “times of restoration” (Acts 3:21 RV). When the Millennial Kingdom is established, the healing of the nations will be part of the great work. It will not merely be a physical healing, but also a mental and moral healing. It will gradually bring all into a proper heart condition, back to what was lost in Eden, with increased knowledge and obedience resulting from experience.
The Greater Sabbath
As word of this miracle spread, Jesus received the attention and increased opposition of the Pharisees. The Pharisees with their hardened hearts mistook the real object and purpose of the Sabbath day. They had added to the divine command the traditions of the elders making the Sabbath a mere outward form, robbing it of its true meaning. Our Lord performed so many of his miracles on the Sabbath, not to signify any disrespect to the day nor any desire to provoke the Pharisees. Rather, it was to point out the blessings of the great Seventh Day Sabbath, the Millennial Day, the seventh thousand-year period of man’s history. Then, the antitypical and far greater miracles and blessings of Christ’s earthly kingdom will come to mankind. These “miracles did Jesus … and manifested forth [beforehand] his [coming] glory” (John 2:11).
Our Lord’s reply respecting his authority further angered the Pharisees, not because he declared himself to be Jehovah, as many seem to think, but because he declared himself to be the Son of Jehovah. As such, he had been given a work to do by his Father. They did not misunderstand him, nor his work. Their anger was because, in claiming to be the Son of God, he was claiming an honor and place so much higher than theirs. This implied a closeness in relationship and in character to Jehovah, a claim they considered blasphemous.
Among the greater works (verse 20), the Lord mentions the quickening of the dead. He claimed that as the Father has the power to raise the dead, this same power would be granted to the Son. Our Lord was not referring to the awakenings of Lazarus, the son of the widow of Nain, or the daughter of Jairus. These were not, in the full sense of the word, resurrections. These individuals were not lifted up completely out of death into the perfection of life. Rather, our Lord was looking down to the future, to the resurrection of the Church in glory, honor, and immortality, and to the subsequent resurrection (under trial or judgment) of the world during the Millennial Age.
A Judgment Worth Waiting For
This thought is borne out by the statement of verse 22, that all judgment has been transferred to the Son. Attaining eternal life is to be the reward of those who will successfully pass the judgment. The first resurrection will be the reward of those who are “overcomers” in their trial during the Gospel Age under the conditions of the high calling and its narrow way to glory, honor, and immortality.
The Lord will judge the world of mankind, redeemed by his own sacrifice, during the Millennial Age. In that judgment he has promised to associate with himself the Bride class, whose trial is now in progress (1 Corinthians 6:2). Those of mankind, awakened from the grave and brought to trial during the Millennial Age, who develop characters in harmony with righteousness, and fully acceptable to the Judge, shall attain to life, complete and everlasting, at the close of the Millennial Age. The residue will be cut off in the second death.
This judgment of the world did not begin at our Lord’s first advent, as he stated: “I came not to judge the world” (John 12:47). His declaration, “My word shall judge you in the last day,” confirmed mankind’s judgment to take place in the last thousand-year day of the seven, the Millennial Day. In harmony with this the Apostle declares, “God hath appointed a day [period, epoch] in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained” — the Christ, Head and body (John 12:48, Acts 17:31, 1 Corinthians 6:2).
Soon, the time will come when this great seed, the Christ, shall be fully developed and glorified, all of the members sharing in the glory of the Head. Then, as the Apostle declares, “The God of peace shall bruise [Greek, crush completely] Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16:20). It is this great Deliverer, whose head and Lord has redeemed the world with his own precious blood, that the Father has appointed to be the Judge of the redeemed race.
This work will not be complete until all evil has been thoroughly subjugated, which will be at the close of the Millennial Age. He will reclaim, by a learning of truth, and chastisements and corrections in righteousness, as many as are willing. The unwilling shall be destroyed from among the people (Acts 3:23). When Christ shall have put down all opposing authority, rule, and power, the Apostle assures us he will deliver up the Kingdom to God, the Father. Thus, the Father has committed the work of reconciliation of man to the Son, and also the judgment of the race. He will receive mankind back again under divine jurisdiction, when, through the Son as his agent, he shall have made all things new (1 Corinthians 15:24, Revelation 21:5).
The Dead Shall Hear and Live
In verse 25, the general judgment of mankind during the Millennial Age is specially referred to. Then, all the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, be brought to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4), and they that hear (and obey) shall live. They shall be rescued not only from the tomb, but also from all of the imperfections — mental, moral, and physical — which have come upon the world through sin. They will be raised up to perfection of life. The fact that this judgment work begins with a little flock during the Gospel Age is suggested by the expression that the hour for the dead to hear the voice of the Son of Man has already commenced — “now is.” From the divine standpoint, the world is spoken of as dead because it is under the sentence of death. It was from this standpoint that our Lord said to one, “Let the dead bury their dead” (Matthew 8:22).
Jesus told the Jewish leaders not to just take his word for it. There is another who testified of him. John the Baptist came before our Lord, testifying of him, as we read in John 3:27-36 (NASB). “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.” This was the witness of John the Baptist, who was transformed by the word of God. The same transformation should have been accomplished in the Jewish religious leadership.
In John 5:36, our Lord explained that the works he performed should have been a witness to them. His miracles proclaimed his identity. They should have recognized that Jesus was the Messiah, for whom they long awaited. Had they truly learned the Law of Moses, were the students of the Jewish scriptures, and had the word of God within them, they would have recognized Jesus as the fulfillment of those scriptures. Rather, they loved the praise of each other instead of the love from God. They coveted the approval of their peers and “are of the devil” (John 8:44). In contrast, John the Baptist did not covet any man’s approval.
Moses was another witness of our Lord since Jesus said that Moses had written of him (verse 46). “The method by which Moses wrote of Christ … was by figure, type, and allegory. … Moses wrote of the ransom in every sin-offering enjoined, the life of the beast which typified the man Christ Jesus being given as a propitiation [satisfaction] for the sins of the people. …Moses wrote of the ransom when he told of how God clothed the guilty pair expelled naked from Eden, with coats of skins to cover their nakedness. … Moses wrote that the one who would ‘bless’ all the families of the earth must first redeem them with his own life, in that touching narrative of the offering of Isaac, in whom centered the promise, a sacrifice upon the altar. … Moses wrote that the new covenant must be ratified, made operative, sealed, with the blood of the covenant, i.e., by the death of him who ratified it … Moses wrote not only of the value of the blood of the Lamb of Passover, but of the necessity that all who would be of the first-born spared, must be under that blood of sprinkling as well as have the Lamb within. … And Moses wrote further of Christ and the results of his ransom in the typical Jubilee year announcing the restitution of all things” (Reprint 692). If the Pharisees had a true, deep appreciation of the word of God and understood the true spirit of God’s word, they would have recognized our Lord as their Messiah.
Those who have been blessed with eyes that see and ears that hear, can understand and recognize the greater miracles performed by our Lord throughout this Gospel Age. Some of the weakest and most powerless have been morally healed, strengthened, renewed, and transformed through faith in and obedience to our Heavenly Father and His plans and purposes. As miraculous and encouraging as these events are, they are but few when compared to the kingdom work when the world of mankind will become acquainted with and healed by the Great Physician.