Scriptural metaphors and allegories obviously have their beginnings and their endings, and it isn't always real easy to locate these junctures exactly. It might be compared to a photograph made with a soft focus lens. You've seen them. They are pictures which have good imagery in the center, but, for effect, slowly fade out at the edges. In this final chapter, we are now reaching the end-point in John 11, and while there are yet some fairly clear and detailed images to see, the "edges" are beginning to soften.
In the above verse, we see that there were Jews who had seen the miracle Jesus performed, and having heard His words, believed on Him. That was, of course, part of the idea. Throughout the Bible, God staged events, including teachings surrounding those events, for the purpose of stimulating the audience to believe in Him. Jesus was God in the form of flesh, and no other miraculous incident better proves that He was than the raising of Lazarus. Some of the Jews obviously felt the same way, and subsequently believed on Him.
Now let's look at the long-range aspect of this. Is their a counterpart? I would say definitely so. I've read statistics which say that 1/3 of all Jews still live in America. We've already seen that the USA is one of the primary places God sent Israel to be "fed" while in the "wilderness" (see Revelation 12:6). And while here [in America], the Jews have had the opportunity to see the blessings of God which have been upon this land. Witnessing the work of God in the Church here was the "food" which provided the "nourishment" spoken of by John in Revelation 12:14. Mary played a very important role in leading the Jews around her to see Jesus was, in fact, their Messiah.
There are many examples of how the Jews in Mary's house portrayed the Jews in the USA. Here are two: There are several organizations here that reach out specifically to Jews; some Jewish-Christian, like the "Jews For Jesus"; some Gentile-Christian, like "The National Jew Hour". I believe these groups and others like them are the prophetic fulfillment of the "Jews who came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him."
I believe this verse also looks ahead to the 144,000 Christian Jews during the final Tribulation---the last 3 1/2 years of the 7-year countdown just prior to Jesus' return. These will have a double-portion of God's anointing upon them, just as Elisha had a double portion of the Spirit which was upon His teacher, Elijah. Recall, Elijah was "raptured" without passing through normal death. And he asked Elisha if he could do anything for him before leaving; and Elisha, having witnessed many powerful things he'd seen Elijah do, requested double the amount of whatever his master had. He got it. (See 2 Kings 2 for the complete Biblical account of this story.)
Just as Elisha became God's prophet after Elijah left the earth [alive], so also the Jews will become God's "prophet" after the Church is raptured [alive] at the end of this age. They will need a double portion of the Spirit of God upon them because they will be facing great spiritual opposition, worse than any time since the world began. At that time, Satan will have set up his kingdom and the anti-Christ system will be operating at full force. It will be a difficult time for believers in the God of the Bible, a period called "the time of Jacob's trouble". But the 144,000 born-again Jews, each functioning in a double-powered way against tough odds, will still win souls to Christ.
I included the above brief thoughts on Bible prophecy because it ties in so closely to our current
passage in John 11. I must keep coming back to my other book, The Two Witnesses, because
what you are reading here is so intrinsically-complementary to it. You'll have to read both books
to fully appreciate what I mean.
"But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? For this man doeth many miracles.
If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him; and the Romans shall come and take
away both our place and nation."
[Read this section very carefully.] In any Gospel meeting, some will go away believing and some will go away unbelieving. Those in verse 45 became believers; those in verses 46-48 are the unbelievers. Note that the Jews who went away unbelieving tattled to their leaders, the chief priests and the Pharisees, and that they immediately began to plot what to do about this man Jesus, Who, if they left Him alone, might eventually lead everybody to believe on Him. (Wouldn't that be something?) Of course, this was the beginning of the plotting which later led to Jesus' crucifixion. But, as you might expect from me, I see a fantastic metaphor here relative to the end-times.
God always accomplishes His goals for mankind through remnants---those few who will dare to trust and follow Him. [I need not prove this for surely the reader is aware that even a cursory study through the Old Testament reveals this truth over and over again.] The 144,000 born-again Jews who will receive the double-portion of God's Spirit during the Tribulation, represent the remnant that believed on Jesus as described in verse 45. The unbelieving remainder of the Jews at that time are represented by those who went to the priests and Pharisees to warn them about the 'problem-causing' Jesus. Now let me explain what I believe all this means:
Notice that the concern of the "tattling" Jews was their fear of the Romans. This will be exactly
the same case at the end of the age. We have a verse (and wouldn't you know it, it's found in
John---chapter 5, verse 43) which ties several of these "dots" together for us:
"I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not; if another shall come in his own
name, him ye will receive."
This statement was one of many Jesus made in John 5 in response to the Jews who had just
sought to kill Him. Relative to prophecy, it is a "golden nugget" find. Jesus was making the Jews
aware that He had not, at that time, come to set up a physical kingdom in His own name, but had
rather come in His "Father's name". They didn't like this. The Jews wanted a king who would
remove the Roman rule from over them, then. Jesus went on to predict the future to those Jews
who were attempting to kill Him, by saying, "if another shall come in his own name, him ye will
receive". Well, one is coming in his own name at the end of this age:
"Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day (i.e., the day of the Lord's return) shall not come, except there come the falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."
2 Thessalonians 2:3&4.
This is the 'another' that Jesus was alluding to---the anti-Christ. Indulge me to again use The Two Witnesses as a reference source. The anti-Christ will be a man who ultimately heads up a re-established Roman Empire, an out-growth of the same empire the Jews feared in the Lazarus-Martha-Mary-and-Jesus' story. That kingdom is being set up in this very hour, the rudiments being found in the nations which comprise the European Community, known as the Common Market, or EEC. If you look at the current, 12-nation membership, you will see a striking geographical resemblance of the old Roman Empire. Not exactly the same, nor need it be to fulfill Scripture; it adequately completes the forecast of a national coalition, over which, Satan, in the form of anti-Christ [the 'man of sin'], will someday rule. I'm persuaded that out of one of these nations (I suggest which one in my other book) will come the another that Jesus was referring to when He said that certain Jews would receive. Now why will the Jews receive "one who comes in his own name" as their messiah? That's the issue here.
This will all be occurring at the same time the 144,000 remnant' Jews are broadcasting the Gospel
after the Church has been raptured. By then, unbelieving, national Israel (those represented by the
Jews, the priests and the Pharisees of verse 46), will have no friendly nations to support them.
[My other book tells why Great Britain and America will, at that time, no longer be the "walls" of
Israel.] Many prophetic writers say (and I agree) that in the early days of his reigning, the
anti-Christ will make a pledge to protect Israel. That's really what blinded-Israel has always
wanted---guaranteed, humanistic protection---so that they can do their own thing. (Incidentally,
true to form, the anti-Christ will later break his promises to Israel, which may lead to Israel's "stiff
neck" being broken. It's hard to bow with a stiff neck, and God, in His infinite mercy, will allow
whatever must happen to bring Israel to his knees to acknowledge and worship Jesus. This may
be part of the methodology.)
Now quickly read again John 11:46-48, 2 Thessalonians 2:3&4, and John 5:43 for a recap of how
everything I've just described is pictured in a nutshell in these Scriptures.
"And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,'
Nor consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
And this spoke he not of himself; but, being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of
God that were scattered abroad."
You talk about God's sovereignty in action! This passage is perhaps the most vivid example of it. Caiaphas was one of the ring leaders of the rebellion against Jesus, and yet he predicted here the clear terms of the Gospel message! How could this be? Caiaphas, "...being high priest that same year...", means that he spoke the mind of God on issues that concerned what God wanted relayed to His people. That's how the office Caiaphas held worked! Caiaphas' words were personally malicious, but overriding his evil intent was God's wisdom. This is similar to what Jesus said that to hush praise to Him [at the required time] would result in the stones crying out. When God wants something said, He could say it directly, but it seems He prefers to do it through whatever, or whoever, He has created for the purpose---be it a willing servant, a stone, a donkey, or a high priest who doesn't even believe in Him. This is an amazing reality, one that should cause us to bow down before an awesome God.
In Caiaphas', Satan-inspired mind was merely the idea that to get rid of Jesus would prevent the Romans from killing all the Jews. At best, he was thinking in terms of Jesus being a martyr. Actually, this mentality still lingers. There are many who continue to make this sick claim. If there is anything Jesus wasn't, it's a martyr. [A martyr is one who dies for his faith in something other than his own making.] Scripture says Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world for lost and sinful mankind; it was a plan instituted from the beginning, and Jesus was in on both the planning and the accomplishing of the task. He who knew no sin, was made sin in mankind's behalf! Christians should never think of Jesus as their martyr. Jesus is our Savior.
Now let me backtrack a bit. I appreciate Caiaphas' comment, "Ye know nothing at all,...". This
blunt statement expresses exactly the status of unbelieving Israel. To not know that Jesus came
into the world to die so that "the whole nation perish not" is to be unaware of the most important
event to have ever occurred since man was created. But to know, and disregard, this main reason
Jesus came into the world can only lead to one's own destruction. The net effect is, as Caiaphas
said, "Ye know nothing at all,...".
Verses 51 and 52 are prophetic. It is saying that Jesus' death would be the act which would
provide the power to draw all men unto God, including both Israel and all the Gentile nations as
well. It looks forward to the restoration of Israel, as we have been discussing throughout this
book, and the time when all believers will be assembled with Jesus to begin the seventh
"Then from that day forth they took counsel to put him to death.
Jesus, therefore, walked no more openly among the Jews, but went from there unto a country
near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples."
The metaphorical picture dims further in these verses. Well, that's as you would expect it to be. We are approaching the end of the Lazarus' story.
John moves on here to the plot of the Jews to crucify Jesus. Nothing is more important than this aspect of Jesus' life, which is covered voluminously in the other Gospels too, of course, but is not within the objectives of this study, so I won't go into that now.
I do see a possibility of allegory in verse 54. When Jesus "walked no more openly among the
Jews" could refer to the time Jesus has been absent during the whole Christian era. [Go back and
read the verse slowly and meditatively.]
Notice that Jesus went to a city called "Ephraim", and "there continued with his disciples". There was a city called by this name and, in the natural, Jesus and his disciples went there to keep distance from the Jews until the fullness of His time came (i.e., His appointment at the cross). But I think there is also an allusion here to Jesus being with the Church [His disciples] in a spiritual city we could call Ephraim. Let me explain:
One of the foreshadowers of Jesus was a man named Joshua, whose Hebrew name is the same as Jesus. Joshua was from the tribe of Ephraim. Ephraim was also another name for the northern kingdom of Israel, which had ten tribes that became known as the ten "lost tribes"; called lost because these ten tribes were taken into captivity by Assyria and never again returned to their homeland. [They were dispersed into God-only-knows-where lands.]
Now in the light of this background, can you see the metaphorical conclusion implied in verses 52
and 54? Jesus has been busy during the past 2,000 years doing many things. From His place in
heaven, He has been 'directing the traffic on earth', so to speak, through the Holy Spirit. (See
John 16:13.) Part of His work has been to reach out to those ten "lost tribes" who were dispersed
throughout the earth. John calls these the "children of God that were scattered abroad"; and the
place where these were "scattered" was to the "wilderness"---a "city called Ephraim". Can you
see the image, dear reader? If you can't, just leave it in the Developer a little longer and it will
"And the Jews passover was near at hand; and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.
Then sought they for Jesus, and spoke among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?
Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment that, if any man
knew where he were, he should show it, that they might take him."
As I said earlier, the beginning and the ending of metaphorical Scripture passages are sometimes a
little blurred. This doesn't mean they are any-the-less real, just that it becomes a little more
difficult to see the imagery. Some photographs can be better visualized when held at arms length,
or maybe even across the room. Ever noticed that? Well, I've been attempting to show the reality
of this truth throughout my book, and it shows up particularly-so in these last three verses of John
11. Just carefully read the above verses several times and I think you'll be prepared then to see
what I see.
In the literal realm of things, the above passage is talking about the last passover Jesus would attend during His first advent. In fact, He would be the final passover! Jesus referred to Himself as the bread that came down from heaven. He pictured this the night before He was crucified when He broke bread with His disciples. He said believers were to eat of Him in order to have life more abundantly. This refers to the eternal life which comes only through believing the Gospel truth---that Jesus came to die for sinners who put their trust in Him.
Verse 56 points out that the Jews wondered if Jesus would even come to the feast this time. After all, they thought Jesus and the disciples had simply been hiding in fear of them. The fact was, though, the fullness of time had not yet been completed. Oh yes, He would come.
The short-range meaning of this was fulfilled in that He, indeed, came. The order of events which occurred over the next several days is known in Christianity as Passion Week. The reader is surely aware of this, and of all its consequences. What happened that week was utterly fabulous, and only through pre-determined self-restraint do I not write about it here, that being beyond the scope of this book.
In the final verse (57), the truth really comes out that it was the religious leadership---the chief priests and the Pharisees---who were setting up the conditions to take Jesus and kill him. This too, has a long-range, spiritual, prophetic parallel. In the last days, there will be a religious system combined with a political system, which will team up and attempt to destroy the work of God at that time. Let's look at that a little deeper.
At the end of the age, there is a battle coming known as Armageddon. [Again, this is covered
more thoroughly in The Two Witnesses. I will comment only briefly here.] Now, no one knows
exactly how this all comes together. You can read the highlights in Revelation 19:17-21. But
there is general agreement among current-day "prophets" that God will gather all God's enemies
into one place (i.e., Armageddon) to come against Jesus and His own. All Christians will be
there, and all the evildoers who stand against Christ and His Church will be there. The opposition
will be under the authority of the best that Satan will have been able to muster---including the
anti-Christ, the False Prophet and all nations they will have been able to collect together to come
and fight God! [Can you imagine such an event? How will it develop?]
THE FIRST BEAST---ANTI-CHRIST
According to Jesus, Satan's last-days' delusions will be fantastic.
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
How could the "very elect" (i.e., born-again Christians) even possibly be deceived?
Many teachers today are saying the anti-Christ forces will be a culmination of New Age thought,
and the like. This is nonsense. Now don't misunderstand me; surely, in humanism, paganism,
New Age, and all their counterparts, are found all kinds of Satanic deceptions, and unbelievers by
the billions are attracted to these delusions. But it is preposterous and absurd reasoning to think
that genuine believers---the elect---would believe that God is behind the philosophies which
blatantly deny, by word and deed, the God of the Bible.
Please read the following very carefully: the false messiah, and all his other associates and
emissaries, will have to look almost like the real thing in order to nearly persuade the true Church
that the false system is of God. In other words, they will be using the Bible, and wearing all
manner of cloaks-of-decency in order to camouflage their unbelieving hearts.
[My Christian brothers and sisters, mark the above paragraph indelibly in your mind---please read
it again. It's a super-important point, as is the remainder of this chapter, perhaps the most
important things I've said in this entire book. My chief endeavor here is to help prepare you for
the coming of the final days of deception we all face in the near future. Now let me expound a bit
further on how the true Church---the "elect"---might "possibly" be deceived.]
The word "anti-Christ" pictures being against, which does, partly, describe Satan's objective. But a fuller explanation of all the Scripture references about Satanic forces is more clearly understood by using the prefix ante, meaning "instead of". You see, Satan has been trying to be the world's "savior", too. He wants to be worshipped. That's been his intention since the time he fell from heaven. (See Isaiah 14:12-15.) Thus, Christians need to look for an "instead of" guru---one who mimics Christ, at least in some ways. As to truth, he is a nothing. A big, fat "0". Ironically, though, much of the world will go after his deceptions, delusions and phony promises.
The anti-ante-Christ (remembering both the "against" and the "instead of" factors) is going to be
fantastic [seemingly so, anyway] at resolving world problems. He will do it through all kinds of
maneuvers. (In my other book are listed 23 of his characteristics I found in the Bible.) We must
never forget that Satan's counterfeit system will be quite impressive. Since the Bible says, as
mentioned in the 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2 passage, that Satan enters the "temple of God"
showing himself that he is god, we must look for something that involves the inner workings of
the Church, not merely those obvious delusions outside the Church.
THE SECOND BEAST---THE FALSE PROPHET
Some might think this actually should be discussed first, since the one I'm about to describe precedes the coming of anti-Christ. However, it's proper to put it here because Scripture does (see Revelation 13). I suppose the reason it was ordered this way lies in the fact that the 'second beast' is secondary, in terms of relative importance to Satan in the kingdom he is building.
There is a person the Bible calls the False Prophet. He is a forerunner of the anti-ante-Christ. He paves the way for the #1 beast. He is setting things up a certain way to prepare for the coming of the "instead-of" messiah. Further, he is head of a world-wide ecclesiastical structure he calls "The Church". He is preparing the way for a world leader, who will become the head man over the confederacy of those nations mentioned earlier, the EEC.
Thus, the False Prophet is a religious man, one who has assumed powerful authority---authority
which, I'm convinced, was never given him by God. He even presumes to speak infallibly, for
Christ, to the people of earth. The office he holds has been in existence for centuries,
commencing soon after Jesus ascended. This man is [today] anointing emissaries who are trained
to unquestionably obey him, and sending them throughout the world to do his bidding; these
people are members of a group known as the Opus Dei. By now, the reader surely knows I'm
referring to the pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
I will not be surprised if the Roman Church eventually merges with the EEC. The joint venture would then restore what was once known as the Holy Roman Empire---marriage' between earth's largest ecclesiastical structure and what will then be the world's largest politico-economic-military powerhouse. This is pictured by the apostle John in Revelation 13:3 as he describes a great kingdom of world-wide proportions that appeared to be "dead" but whose "deadly wound was healed". [This passage refers to the return-to-life of an entire empire. Many prophetic teachers believe this refers to a "resurrection" of a dead individual, or at least supposed dead, which could be a secondary application of the law of double reference.]
Even though we come now to the end of John 11, which completes the main picture I wanted to cover in this book, the story doesn't end here. If you'll read on in John 12, you'll see that the story continues regarding Lazarus, Martha and Mary, and so do the metaphors these individuals portray. I believe John 12 even gets into the Millennial Kingdom period. But that's another story, and perhaps another book.