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John 12:31

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Now is the judgment of this world - The judgment spoken of in this place is applied by some to the punishment which was about to fall on the Jewish people for rejecting Christ. And the ruler or prince, ὁ αρχων, of this world, is understood to be Satan, who had blinded the eyes of the Jews, and hardened their hearts, that they might not believe on the Son of God; but his kingdom, not only among the Jews, but in all the world, was about to be destroyed by the abolition of idolatry and the vocation of the Gentiles.

The epithet העולם סר sar ha -olam, prince of this world, is repeatedly applied to the devil, or to Samael, who is termed the angel of death. The Jews fabled that, into the hands of this chief, God had delivered all the nations of the earth, except the Israelites. See Lightfoot. The words are understood by others as addressed to these believing Greeks, and to have the following meaning, which is extremely different from the other. "In a short time (four or five days afterwards) ye shall see what sort of a judgment this world passes. I, who am its ruler and prince, shall be cast out, shall be condemned by my own creatures, as an impious and wicked person. But do not be discouraged: though I be lifted up on the cross, and die like a malefactor, nevertheless I will draw all men unto myself. The Gospel of Christ crucified shall be the grand agent, in the hand of the Most High, of the conversion and salvation of a ruined world." But see on John 14:30; (note); John 16:11; (note).

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Now is the judgment of this world - Greek: “crisis.” This expression, doubtless, has reference to his approaching death, and whatever he means by judgment here relates to something that was to be accomplished by that death. It cannot mean that then was to be the time in which the world was to be finally judged, for he says that he did not come then to judge the world John 12:47; John 8:15, and he has clearly declared that there shall be a future day when he will judge all mankind. The meaning of it may be thus expressed: “Now is approaching the decisive scene, the eventful period - the crisis - when it shall be determined who shall rule this world. There has been a long conflict between the powers of light and darkness between God and the devil. Satan has so effectually ruled that he may be said to be the prince of this world; but my approaching death will destroy his kingdom, will break down his power, and will be the means of setting up the kingdom of God over man.” The death of Christ was to be the most grand and effectual of all means that could be used to establish the authority of the law and the government of God, Romans 8:3-4. This it did by showing the regard which God had for his law; by showing his hatred of sin, and presenting the strongest motives to induce man to leave the service of Satan; by securing the influences of the Holy Spirit, and by his putting forth his own direct power in the cause of virtue and of God. The death of Jesus was the determining cause, the grand crisis, the concentration of all that God had ever done, or ever will do, to break down the kingdom of Satan, and set up his power over man. Thus was fulfilled the prediction Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

Now shall the prince of this world - Satan, or the devil, John 14:30; John 16:11. He is also called the god of this world, 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:12; “The rulers of the darkness of this world” - that is, the rulers of this dark world a well-known Hebraism. He is also called “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience,” Ephesians 2:2. All these names are given him from the influence or power which he has over the men of this world, because the great mass of men have been under his control and subject to his will.

Be cast out - His kingdom shall be destroyed; his empire shall come to an end. It does not mean that his reign over all men would entirely cease then, but that then would be the crisis, the grand conflict in which he would be vanquished, and from that time his kingdom begin to decline, until it would finally cease, and then be free altogether from his dominion. See Luke 10:18; Colossians 1:18-20; Acts 26:18; 1 Corinthians 15:25-26; Revelation 20:14.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The sin of our souls was the troubled of Christ's soul, when he undertook to redeem and save us, and to make his soul an offering for our sin. Christ was willing to suffer, yet prayed to be saved from suffering. Prayer against trouble may well agree with patience under it, and submission to the will of God in it. Our Lord Jesus undertook to satisfy God's injured honour, and he did it by humbling himself. The voice of the Father from heaven, which had declared him to be his beloved Son, at his baptism, and when he was transfigured, was heard proclaiming that He had both glorified his name, and would glorify it. Christ, reconciling the world to God by the merit of his death, broke the power of death, and cast out Satan as a destroyer. Christ, bringing the world to God by the doctrine of his cross, broke the power of sin, and cast out Satan as a deceiver. The soul that was at a distance from Christ, is brought to love him and trust him. Jesus was now going to heaven, and he would draw men's hearts to him thither. There is power in the death of Christ to draw souls to him. We have heard from the gospel that which exalts free grace, and we have heard also that which enjoins duty; we must from the heart embrace both, and not separate them.
Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 68-9

The sacrificial offerings were ordained by God to be to man a perpetual reminder and a penitential acknowledgment of his sin and a confession of his faith in the promised Redeemer. They were intended to impress upon the fallen race the solemn truth that it was sin that caused death. To Adam, the offering of the first sacrifice was a most painful ceremony. His hand must be raised to take life, which only God could give. It was the first time he had ever witnessed death, and he knew that had he been obedient to God, there would have been no death of man or beast. As he slew the innocent victim, he trembled at the thought that his sin must shed the blood of the spotless Lamb of God. This scene gave him a deeper and more vivid sense of the greatness of his transgression, which nothing but the death of God's dear Son could expiate. And he marveled at the infinite goodness that would give such a ransom to save the guilty. A star of hope illumined the dark and terrible future and relieved it of its utter desolation. PP 68.1

But the plan of redemption had a yet broader and deeper purpose than the salvation of man. It was not for this alone that Christ came to the earth; it was not merely that the inhabitants of this little world might regard the law of God as it should be regarded; but it was to vindicate the character of God before the universe. To this result of His great sacrifice—its influence upon the intelligences of other worlds, as well as upon man—the Saviour looked forward when just before His crucifixion He said: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto Me.” John 12:31, 32. The act of Christ in dying for the salvation of man would not only make heaven accessible to men, but before all the universe it would justify God and His Son in their dealing with the rebellion of Satan. It would establish the perpetuity of the law of God and would reveal the nature and the results of sin. PP 68.2

From the first the great controversy had been upon the law of God. Satan had sought to prove that God was unjust, that His law was faulty, and that the good of the universe required it to be changed. In attacking the law he aimed to overthrow the authority of its Author. In the controversy it was to be shown whether the divine statutes were defective and subject to change, or perfect and immutable. PP 69.1

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 323

As the sinner looks upon the Saviour dying on Calvary, and realizes that the sufferer is divine, he asks why this great sacrifice was made, and the cross points to the holy law of God which has been transgressed. The death of Christ is an unanswerable argument as to the immutability and righteousness of the law. In prophesying of Christ, Isaiah says, “He will magnify the law, and make it honourable” (Isaiah 42:21). The law has no power to pardon the evildoer. Its office is to point out his defects, that he may realize his need of One who is mighty to save, his need of One who will become his substitute, his surety, his righteousness. Jesus meets the need of the sinner; for He has taken upon Him the sins of the transgressor. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). The Lord could have cut off the sinner, and utterly destroyed him; but the costlier plan was chosen. In His great love He provides hope for the hopeless, giving His only-begotten Son to bear the sins of the world. And since He has poured out all heaven in that one rich gift, He will withhold from man no needed aid that he may take the cup of salvation, and become an heir of God, joint heir with Christ. 1SM 323.1

Christ came to manifest the love of God to the world, to draw the hearts of all men to Himself. He said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). The first step toward salvation is to respond to the drawing of the love of Christ. God sends message after message to men, entreating them to repentance, that He may forgive, and write pardon against their names. Shall there be no repentance? Shall His appeals be unheeded? Shall His overtures of mercy be ignored, and His love utterly rejected? Oh, then man will cut himself off from the medium through which he may gain life eternal; for God only pardons the penitent! By the manifestation of His love, by the entreating of His Spirit, He woos men to repentance; for repentance is the gift of God, and whom He pardons He first makes penitent. The sweetest joy comes to man through his sincere repentance toward God for the transgression of His law, and through faith in Christ as the sinner's Redeemer and Advocate. It is that men may understand the joy of forgiveness, the peace of God, that Christ draws them through the manifestation of His love. If they respond to His drawing, yielding their hearts to His grace, He will lead them on step by step, to a full knowledge of Himself, and this is life eternal. 1SM 323.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW), 1137-8

50, 51 (ch. 18:14). Caiaphas Prophesied Unknowingly—[John 11:50, 51 quoted.] These words were uttered by one who knew not their significance. He had lost the sense of the sacredness of the sacrifices and offerings. But his words meant more than he or those connected with him knew. By them he bore testimony that the time had come for the Aaronic priesthood to cease forever. He was condemning One who had been prefigured in every sacrifice made, but One whose death would end the need of types and shadows. Unknowingly he was declaring that Christ was about to fulfill that for which the system of sacrifices and offerings had been instituted (The Review and Herald, June 12, 1900). 5BC 1137.1

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1113

(Isaiah 45:21, 22; Matthew 16:24; John 1:29.) Look and Live—Hanging upon the cross Christ was the gospel. Now we have a message, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” Will not our church members keep their eyes fixed on a crucified and risen Saviour, in whom their hopes of eternal life are centered? This is our message, our argument, our doctrine, our warning to the impenitent, our encouragement for the sorrowing, the hope for every believer. If we can awaken an interest in men's minds that will cause them to fix their eyes on Christ, we may step aside, and ask them only to continue to fix their eyes upon the Lamb of God. They thus receive their lesson. Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. He whose eyes are fixed on Jesus will leave all. He will die to selfishness. He will believe in all the Word of God, which is so gloriously and wonderfully exalted in Christ. 6BC 1113.1

As the sinner sees Jesus as He is, an all compassionate Saviour, hope and assurance take possession of his soul. The helpless soul is cast without any reservation upon Jesus. None can bear away from the vision of Christ Jesus crucified a lingering doubt. Unbelief is gone (Manuscript 49, 1898). 6BC 1113.2

(Psalm 85:10; see EGW on James 2:13.) The Cross of Christ Moves the World—The cross of Calvary challenges, and will finally vanquish every earthly and hellish power. In the cross all influence centers, and from it all influence goes forth. It is the great center of attraction; for on it Christ gave up His life for the human race. This sacrifice was offered for the purpose of restoring man to his original perfection. Yea, more, it was offered to give him an entire transformation of character, making him more than a conqueror. 6BC 1113.3

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