The Berean Expositor
Volume 6 - Page 145 of 151
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#3.
The Death of Christ.---Apothnesko.
pp. 88 - 91
We have considered the word thanatos ("death") so far as it is used in the N.T. in a
doctrinal connection with the Lord Jesus Christ. We now turn our attention to the word
apothnesk§ ("to die") in its doctrinal connection with Christ. In John 11: 50-52 is
recorded the prophetic utterance of Caiaphas that the Lord Jesus should "die for the
nation that the whole nation perish not," and further that the children of God who were
scattered abroad should be gathered together in one. "This spake he not of himself: but
being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation." To this
the Lord Himself had already referred in John 10: 15, 16.
"I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold;
them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice. And there shall be one flock and
one Shepherd."
"The other sheep," "the children of God scattered abroad," "the nation," these are
the ones for whom the death was accomplished, "to bring into one flock," "to gather
together in one," "that the whole nation perish not," these are the objects for which the
Lord died. What is understood by us the gospel is not prominent in these verses, but
rather the national preservation and restoration of Israel.
"Now is (a) 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 men unto Me. But this He said,
signifying by what death He was about to die" (John 12: 31-33).
The kind of death is here indicated by the Lord, as well as some of its consequences.
"Lifted up." Already this word has been used by Him in earlier passages. In John 3: 14
we meet it, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son
of man be lifted up." John 8: 28, "when ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall
ye know that I am He."
First as the antitype of the brazen serpent, lifted up by the command of God for the
salvation of those who were perishing; then as one lifted up by a people in their ignorance
and blindness, being unknown to them until thus shamefully treated, and finally, lifted up
from the earth with a power to draw all men toward Himself. This consequence or effect
(John 12: 31-33) is ever hardly dealt with contextually, and its full force is therefore
scarcely ever perceived.
The word translated "draw" (helku§, and helk§), leaving out John 5: 44, and the
passage before us the meaning of which we have to determine, is always used in the N.T.
of drawing with force, not merely exercising an attractive influence. John 18: 10 uses
it of the drawing of a sword; John 21: 6-11 of the dragging of a net full of fish;
Acts 16: 19 of dragging Paul and Silas into the market place; Acts 21: 30 of dragging
Paul out of the temple; James 2: 6 of dragging men before the judgment seats. To
substitute the milder idea of "exercising an attractive influence" for the word "drag"