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John 5:28

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Marvel not - Do not wonder or be astonished at this.

The hour is coming - The “time” is approaching or will be.

All that are in the graves - All the dead, of every age and nation. They are described as “in the graves.” Though many have turned to their native dust and perished from human view, yet God sees them, and can regather their remains and raise them up to life. The phrase “all that are in the graves” does not prove that the same particles of matter will be raised up, but it is equivalent to saying “all the dead.” See the notes at 1 Corinthians 15:35-38.

Shall hear his voice - He will restore them to life, and command them to appear before him. This is a most sublime description, and this will be a wonderful display of almighty power. None but God can “see” all the dead, none but he could remould their frames, and none else could command them to return to life.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Our Lord declared his authority and character, as the Messiah. The time was come when the dead should hear his voice, as the Son of God, and live. Our Lord first refers to his raising those who were dead in sin, to newness of life, by the power of the Spirit, and then to his raising the dead in their graves. The office of Judge of all men, can only be exercised by one who has all knowledge, and almighty power. May we believe His testimony; thus our faith and hope will be in God, and we shall not come into condemnation. And may His voice reach the hearts of those dead in sin; that they may do works meet for repentance, and prepare for the solemn day.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Marvel not at this - I think it quite necessary to follow here, as noted above, the punctuation of both the Syriac, the Armenian, Chrysostom, Damascenus, Theophylact, Euthymius, and others; which is found also in some very good MSS. Theophylact says that the common method of reading this, which he highly objects to, was the invention of Paul of Samosata. In John 5:26, John 5:27, our Lord, speaking of himself as envoy of God, said, the Father had given him to have life in himself, so that, like any of the ancient prophets, he could vivify others; and that he had given him authority to execute judgment, probably referring to that judgment which he was shortly to execute on this unbelieving nation, and apparently in direct reference to Daniel 7:13, Behold one like the Son of man came with the clouds, etc., a place which the Jews expound of the promised Messiah. In this verse he anticipates an objection, as if they had said: "This cannot be: thou art a man - thou wast born among us." Our Lord answers: Don't marvel at this, Because I am a man - for greater things than these shall be done by me: he who now addresses you, though disguised under the form of a man, shall appear in the great day to be the Judge of quick and dead: by his almighty power, he shall raise all the dead; and, by his unerring wisdom and justice, shall adjudge the wicked to hell, and the righteous to heaven. The first sense, however, of this passage, appears to some the most probable; though they both amount nearly to the same meaning.

Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 544

“The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. While life is the inheritance of the righteous, death is the portion of the wicked. Moses declared to Israel: “I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil.” Deuteronomy 30:15. The death referred to in these scriptures is not that pronounced upon Adam, for all mankind suffer the penalty of his transgression. It is “the second death” that is placed in contrast with everlasting life. GC 544.1

In consequence of Adam's sin, death passed upon the whole human race. All alike go down into the grave. And through the provisions of the plan of salvation, all are to be brought forth from their graves. “There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust;” “for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Acts 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15:22. But a distinction is made between the two classes that are brought forth. “All that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28, 29. They who have been “accounted worthy” of the resurrection of life are “blessed and holy.” “On such the second death hath no power.” Revelation 20:6. But those who have not, through repentance and faith, secured pardon, must receive the penalty of transgression—“the wages of sin.” They suffer punishment varying in duration and intensity, “according to their works,” but finally ending in the second death. Since it is impossible for God, consistently with His justice and mercy, to save the sinner in his sins, He deprives him of the existence which his transgressions have forfeited and of which he has proved himself unworthy. Says an inspired writer: “Yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.” And another declares: “They shall be as though they had not been.” Psalm 37:10; Obadiah 16. Covered with infamy, they sink into hopeless, eternal oblivion. GC 544.2

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 482

Every man's work passes in review before God and is registered for faithfulness or unfaithfulness. Opposite each name in the books of heaven is entered with terrible exactness every wrong word, every selfish act, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling. Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs neglected, wasted moments, unimproved opportunities, the influence exerted for good or for evil, with its far-reaching results, all are chronicled by the recording angel. GC 482.1

The law of God is the standard by which the characters and the lives of men will be tested in the judgment. Says the wise man: “Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment.” Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14. The apostle James admonishes his brethren: “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” James 2:12. GC 482.2

Those who in the judgment are “accounted worthy” will have a part in the resurrection of the just. Jesus said: “They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, ... are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” Luke 20:35, 36. And again He declares that “they that have done good” shall come forth “unto the resurrection of life.” John 5:29. The righteous dead will not be raised until after the judgment at which they are accounted worthy of “the resurrection of life.” Hence they will not be present in person at the tribunal when their records are examined and their cases decided. GC 482.3

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 211

Bidding His hearers marvel not, Christ opened before them, in still wider view, the mystery of the future. “The hour cometh,” He said, “in which all that are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done ill, unto the resurrection of judgment.” John 5:28, 29, R. V. DA 211.1

This assurance of the future life was that for which Israel had so long waited, and which they had hoped to receive at the Messiah's advent. The only light that can lighten the gloom of the grave was shining upon them. But self-will is blind. Jesus had violated the traditions of the rabbis, and disregarded their authority, and they would not believe. DA 211.2

The time, the place, the occasion, the intensity of feeling that pervaded the assembly, all combined to make the words of Jesus before the Sanhedrin the more impressive. The highest religious authorities of the nation were seeking the life of Him who declared Himself the restorer of Israel. The Lord of the Sabbath was arraigned before an earthly tribunal to answer the charge of breaking the Sabbath law. When He so fearlessly declared His mission, His judges looked upon Him with astonishment and rage; but His words were unanswerable. They could not condemn Him. He denied the right of the priests and rabbis to question Him, or to interfere with His work. They were invested with no such authority. Their claims were based upon their own pride and arrogance. He refused to plead guilty of their charges, or to be catechized by them. DA 211.3

Instead of apologizing for the act of which they complained, or explaining His purpose in doing it, Jesus turned upon the rulers, and the accused became the accuser. He rebuked them for the hardness of their hearts, and their ignorance of the Scriptures. He declared that they had rejected the word of God, inasmuch as they had rejected Him whom God had sent. “Ye search the Scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of Me.” John 5:39, R. V. DA 211.4

In every page, whether history, or precept, or prophecy, the Old Testament Scriptures are irradiated with the glory of the Son of God. So far as it was of divine institution, the entire system of Judaism was a compacted prophecy of the gospel. To Christ “give all the prophets witness.” Acts 10:43. From the promise given to Adam, down through the patriarchal line and the legal economy, heaven's glorious light made plain the footsteps of the Redeemer. Seers beheld the Star of Bethlehem, the Shiloh to come, as future things swept before them in mysterious procession. In every sacrifice Christ's death was shown. In every cloud of incense His righteousness ascended. By every jubilee trumpet His name was sounded. In the awful mystery of the holy of holies His glory dwelt. DA 211.5

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 314

F has a work to do, through the grace of God, to control her feelings. She knows that she is not in heaven, but in a world where death reigns and where our loved ones may be removed from us at any moment. She should feel that the great burden of life is to prepare for a better world. If she has a right hold on eternal life, it will not disqualify her for living in this world and nobly bearing life's burdens, but it will help her in the performance of self-denying, self-sacrificing duties. 5T 314.1

As a family you have talked darkness and complaining until you are changed into the same image. You seem to work upon one another's sympathies and to arouse nervous excitability until you have a dark, sad, dismal time by yourselves. You have held mourning services, but these do not attract angels around you. If you do not change your course, God will come a little closer and deal with you in judgment. Is it not time that you hold thanksgiving services in your home and recount with rejoicing the blessings that have been bestowed upon you? 5T 314.2

The power of the truth should be sufficient to sustain and console in every adversity. It is in enabling its possessor to triumph over affliction that the religion of Christ reveals its true value. It brings the appetites, the passions, and the emotions under the control of reason and conscience, and disciplines the thoughts to flow in a healthful channel. And then the tongue will not be left to dishonor God by expressions of sinful repining. 5T 314.3

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Ellen G. White
Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 266

“My sickness has taught me my own weakness, and my Saviour's patience and love, and His power to save. When passing sleepless nights, I have found hope and comfort in considering the forbearance and tenderness of Jesus toward His weak, erring disciples, and remembering that He is still the same,—unchangeable in mercy, compassion, and love. He sees our weakness, He knows how we lack faith and courage; yet He does not cast us off. He is pitiful and of tender compassion toward us. LS 266.1

“I may fall at my post before the Lord shall come; but when all that are in their graves shall come forth, I shall, if faithful, see Jesus, and be made like Him. Oh, what joy unspeakable, to see Him whom we love,—to see Him in His glory who so loved us that He gave Himself for us,—to behold those hands once pierced for our redemption, stretched out to us in blessing and welcome! What will it matter though we toil and suffer here, if we may only attain to the resurrection of life! We will patiently wait till our time of trial ends, and then we shall raise the glad shout of victory.” LS 266.2

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