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John 12:34

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

We have heard out of the law - That is, out of the sacred writings. The words here are quoted from Psalm 110:4; but the Jews called every part of the sacred writings by the name, The Law, in opposition to the words or sayings of the scribes. See on John 10:34; (note).

That Christ abideth for ever - There was no part of the law nor of the Scripture that said the Messiah should not die; but there are several passages that say as expressly as they can that Christ must die, and die for the sin of the world too. See especially Isaiah 53:1, etc.; Daniel 9:24, Daniel 9:27. But as there were several passages that spoke of the perpetuity of his reign, as Isaiah 9:7; Ezekiel 37:25; Daniel 7:14, they probably confounded the one with the other, and thus drew the conclusion, The Messiah cannot die; for the Scripture hath said, his throne, kingdom, and reign shall be eternal. The prophets, as well as the evangelists and apostles, speak sometimes of the Divine, sometimes of the human nature of Christ: when they speak of the former, they show forth its glory, excellence, omnipotence, omniscience, and eternity; when they speak of the latter, they show forth its humiliations, afflictions, sufferings, and death. And those who do not make the proper distinction between the two natures of Christ, the human and the Divine, will ever make blunders as well as the Jews. It is only on the ground of two natures in Christ that the Scriptures which speak of him, either in the Old or New Testament, can be possibly understood. No position in the Gospel is plainer than this, God was manifest in the flesh.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

We have heard out of the law - Out of the Old Testament; or rather we have been so taught by those who have interpreted the law to us.

That Christ - That the Messiah.

Abideth for ever - Will remain forever, or will live forever. The doctrine of many of them certainly was that the Messiah would not die; that he would reign as a prince forever over the people. This opinion was founded on such passages of Scripture as these: Psalm 110:4, “Thou art a priest forever;” Daniel 2:44; Daniel 8:13-14. In the interpretation of these passages they had overlooked such places as Isaiah 53:1-12; nor did they understand how the fact that he would reign for ever could be reconciled with the idea of his death. To us, who understand that his reign does not refer to a temporal, an earthly kingdom, it is easy.

How sayest thou … - We have understood by the title “the Son of man” the same as the Messiah, and that he is to reign forever. How can he be put to death?

Who is this Son of man? - “The Son of man we understand to be the Messiah spoken of by Daniel, who is to reign forever. To him, therefore, you cannot refer when you say that he must be lifted up, or must die. Who is it - what other Son of man is referred to but the Messiah?” Either ignorantly or willfully, they supposed he referred to some one else than the Messiah.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The people drew false notions from the Scriptures, because they overlooked the prophecies that spoke of Christ's sufferings and death. Our Lord warned them that the light would not long continue with them, and exhorted them to walk in it, before the darkness overtook them. Those who would walk in the light must believe in it, and follow Christ's directions. But those who have not faith, cannot behold what is set forth in Jesus, lifted up on the cross, and must be strangers to its influence as made known by the Holy Spirit; they find a thousand objections to excuse their unbelief.
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 621-6

“And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: the same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.” DA 621.1

At this time Christ's work bore the appearance of cruel defeat. He had been victor in the controversy with the priests and Pharisees, but it was evident that He would never be received by them as the Messiah. The final separation had come. To His disciples the case seemed hopeless. But Christ was approaching the consummation of His work. The great event which concerned not only the Jewish nation, but the whole world, was about to take place. When Christ heard the eager request, “We would see Jesus,” echoing the hungering cry of the world, His countenance lighted up, and He said, “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” In the request of the Greeks He saw an earnest of the results of His great sacrifice. DA 621.2

These men came from the West to find the Saviour at the close of His life, as the wise men had come from the East at the beginning. At the time of Christ's birth the Jewish people were so engrossed with their own ambitious plans that they knew not of His advent. The magi from a heathen land came to the manger with their gifts, to worship the Saviour. So these Greeks, representing the nations, tribes, and peoples of the world, came to see Jesus. So the people of all lands and all ages would be drawn by the Saviour's cross. So shall many “come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 8:11. DA 621.3

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Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 452.2

Greatest Sinner Needs Greatest Saviour—If you feel yourself to be the greatest sinner, Christ is just what you need, the greatest Saviour. Lift up your head and look away from yourself, away from your sin, to the uplifted Saviour; away from the poisonous, venomous bite of the serpent to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.—Letter 98, 1893. 2MCP 452.2

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Ellen G. White
Reflecting Christ, 119.3

Let the bright beams from the face of Jesus shine into your hearts, to shine upon others through you. “Ye are the light of the world.... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). We must lift up Jesus before the people.... RC 119.3

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