John 11 - Part I
Awake out of Sleep
Why did Jesus only teach in parables (Mark 4:33-34)? Because those without ears to hear the voice of the Lord will never see the hidden things of God in the parables, nor those in Bible stories that can be viewed allegorically, as Paul used (Galatians 4:22-24), to reveal important spiritual lessons. While Jesus taught in parables, spiritual lessons can be learned from the things he actually did - i.e. turning water into wine, walking on the sea, etc. When viewed allegorically, the story of raising Lazarus from the dead has a spiritual lesson for those with ears to hear.
John 11:1-16: 1. Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) 3. Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick. 4. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. 5. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. 7. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judea again. 8. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone you; and go you there again? 9. Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world. 10. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him. 11. These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleeps; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13. How be it Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. 16. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
Look at verses 9 & 10 again - Jesus is speaking metaphorically. What he is about to do at the tomb of Lazarus, we are to view allegorically concerning mankind’s relationship to God. He whom you love is sick - God so loved the people of the world that He sent His Son (John 3:16-17); This sickness is not unto death - every person is sick with the disease of sin. Those with ears to hear the voice of the Spirit in their conscience and obey, will be spiritually resurrected (John 5:24-25), and will be in the first resurrection when Jesus returns (1Thes 4:14-16); Why/how? Because he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world - Jesus said, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12). 1John 1:7: ...if we walk in the light, as he (the Father) is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.
He abode two days still - Jesus always obeyed the will of his Father (John 6:39). Therefore, he intentionally waited two days before going to Lazarus so that in our day we could look at this event as a type, or as an allegory pertaining to the promise of God for each of His children.
John 11:17-27: 17. Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the [tomb g3419] four days already. 18. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: 19. And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 20. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. 21. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if you had been here, my brother had not died. 22. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou will ask of God, God will give it you. 23. Jesus saith unto her, Your brother shall rise again. 24. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26. And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Believe you this? 27. She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, who should come into the world.
The proper meaning of the Greek (mnemion g3419) word for grave is any visible object for recalling the memory of a person or thing, monument. The context implies a sepulcher or tomb carved out of rock (verse 38). Lazarus had been interred four days in a tomb carved from rock, which had a stone covering the entrance. Jesus came at the request of Martha and Mary. As do most today, Martha and the others only understood the resurrection of the physical body, at the end of time. By this incident, Jesus set up a type for us to understand both, the spiritual and physical resurrection. The spiritual resurrection happens within a person’s lifetime, which is eternal, even though they may die physically. Hosea 13:14: I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: God’s people are delivered from a spiritual pit, as well as the physical grave.
John 11:28-46: 28. And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calls for thee. 29. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him. 30. Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. 31. The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goes unto the grave to weep there. 32. Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if you had been here, my brother had not died. 33. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. 34. And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 35. Jesus wept. 36. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 37. And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? 38. Jesus therefore again groaning in himself came to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39. Jesus said, Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinks: for he has been dead four days. 40. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto you, that, if you would believe, you should see the glory of God? 41. Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that you have heard me. 42. And I know that you hear me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that you have sent me. 43. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. 45. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. 46. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
Some observations: Neither Lazarus nor his sisters were married; They lived in the same household; Lazarus’ name means God protects, helps, and according to church history he was 30 years old (Jesus was 30 when he began his ministry - Luke 3:23; David, a type of Christ, was 30 when he began to reign in Jerusalem, 2Samuel 5:4); Both the names of Mary and Martha mean rebellious. It appears that Jesus was a close friend and a frequent visitor in their home. The first time the name Lazarus appears in the N.T. is in a parable (Luke 16:20). The story of the person of Lazarus starts with his death, followed by Jesus’ visit (John 12) in the house of Simon the leper (Mark 14:3), in Bethany. Lazarus and his sisters were present, and it at this time that Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with an expensive spice, and wiped them with her hair (not the same incident recorded in Luke 7:37-38).
For several years now, I have understood the story in Genesis one to be an allegory of mankind’s spiritual growth and completion, by coming into the stature and fullness of Christ and resting in his love 24/7. Imagine this:
| | | | | | | |
Night: | n | d | n | d | n | d | n | d | | | | | | |
precedes Day: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 [see PDF file for a more accurate display of of this chart]
Lazarus as a type, representing the spiritual condition of all mankind are before they cry out to Jesus:
Sisters: our rebellious heart.
Unmarried: not yet partaking of the marriage supper of the Lamb as the bride of Christ.
Tomb: Buried in the darkness of a man’s understanding.
Four days: walking in an earthly understanding until we see that Jesus is the light of the world.
Stone blocking entrance/exit: erroneous spiritual concepts about God we hold, keeping us in the darkness of sin.
The Genesis story, where darkness precedes the light, will help one to understand the story of Lazarus, and how it applies to our spiritual experience. Each day is a level of experience: To enter the light of day one, a person accepts that they a sinner in need of the Lord in their life. In day two of our spiritual growth, God reveals to us that heavenly waters (Deuteronomy 32:1-2) are different from earthly waters (Proverbs 18:4). In day three, dry land is brought forth out of the earthly water so that seed can be planted, producing spiritual fruit. By the time of entering the light (sun - Malachi 4:2) of day four, one understands (stars) that the law (moon) is spiritual, and they are now listening to the voice, or the spirit of Christ to explain it. THIS is when a person is born from above (KJ = born again, John 3:1-12), and when they are called forth from the spiritual tomb. Until then, the person is only converted and in the process of having their way of thinking changed.
Did you notice that the entering the light of day four is at 3 ½ days? Revelation 11:1-4: 1. And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 2. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. 3. And I will give (authority) unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
This prophecy uses the setting of the tabernacle in the wilderness:
* Reed like unto a rod: Message of correction (Isaiah 11:4; Proverbs 22:15).
* Two witnesses, two olive trees, two candlesticks: Anointed twice (oil); two understandings (light); Christ’s experiences before and after the cross. It is also why the Battle of Armageddon at the end, takes place at the table of show bread, where there are two piles of bread - six in a pile (Leviticus 24:5-9).
* Thousand two hundred and threescore days: is equal to 1260 day, or 3 ½ years.
* Forty and two months: also 3 ½ years. Why give the prophecy of the same time frame by two different methods? The 144,000 reach a level of understanding which enables them to give the final message to a dying world. The spiritual gentiles on the other hand, trample the message (new Jerusalem, or mind of Christ) and continue to cling to their own understanding. One born from above (priest) enters the tent; a person (gentile), who may be converted but does not have ears to hear, enters not into an abiding relationship with Christ.
The SUN (our understanding of God) governs the day, and the MOON ( our understanding of the law) governs the night (cf Galatians 3:23-27). The stars are the light we carry, and must fall (Genesis 1:16). Revelation 6:12-13: 12. And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake (shaking of self); and the sun (my old understanding) became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon (my old opinion of the law) became as blood (man’s understanding); 13. And the stars of heaven (what we considered as light) fell unto the earth (realized it was a man’s opinion), even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind (voice of God stirring my conscience). Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand (Revelation 1:3). Amen!
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