John 12:34
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
The crowd spoke up, "We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this 'Son of Man'?"

New Living Translation
The crowd responded, "We understood from Scripture that the Messiah would live forever. How can you say the Son of Man will die? Just who is this Son of Man, anyway?"

English Standard Version
So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”

Berean Study Bible
The crowd replied, "We have heard from the Law that Christ will remain forever. So how can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?"

Berean Literal Bible
Then the crowd answered Him, "We have heard from the Law that Christ abides to the age, and how do you say that it behooves the Son of Man to be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?"

New American Standard Bible
The crowd then answered Him, "We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?"

King James Bible
The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then the crowd replied to Him, "We have heard from the scripture that the Messiah will remain forever. So how can You say, The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?"

International Standard Version
Then the crowd answered him, "We have learned from the Law that the Messiah remains forever. So how can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?"

NET Bible
Then the crowd responded, "We have heard from the law that the Christ will remain forever. How can you say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?"

New Heart English Bible
The crowd answered him, "We have heard out of the law that the Messiah remains forever. Then how can you say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up?' Who is this Son of Man?"

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
The crowds were saying to him, “We have heard from The Law that The Messiah abides forever. How do you say that The Son of Man is going to be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The crowd responded to him, "We have heard from the Scriptures that the Messiah will remain here forever. So how can you say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up from the earth'? Who is this 'Son of Man'?"

New American Standard 1977
The multitude therefore answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”

Jubilee Bible 2000
The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that the Christ abides for ever; and how sayest thou, It is expedient that the Son of man be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?

King James 2000 Bible
The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abides forever: and how say you, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?

American King James Version
The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ stays for ever: and how say you, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?

American Standard Version
The multitude therefore answered him, We have heard out of the law that the Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?

Douay-Rheims Bible
The multitude answered him: We have heard out of the law, that Christ abideth for ever; and how sayest thou: The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?

Darby Bible Translation
The crowd answered him, We have heard out of the law that the Christ abides for ever; and how sayest thou that the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this, the Son of man?

English Revised Version
The multitude therefore answered him, We have heard out of the law that the Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?

Webster's Bible Translation
The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?

Weymouth New Testament
The crowd answered Him, "We have heard out of the Law that the Christ remains for ever. In what sense do you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is that Son of Man?"

World English Bible
The multitude answered him, "We have heard out of the law that the Christ remains forever. How do you say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up?' Who is this Son of Man?"

Young's Literal Translation
the multitude answered him, 'We heard out of the law that the Christ doth remain -- to the age; and how dost thou say, That it behoveth the Son of Man to be lifted up? who is this -- the Son of Man?'
Study Bible
Jesus Predicts His Death
33He said this to signify the kind of death He was going to die. 34The crowd replied, “We have heard from the Law that Christ will remain forever. So how can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35So Jesus told them, “For a little while longer, the Light will be among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going.…
Cross References
Psalm 110:4
The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek."

Isaiah 9:7
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

Ezekiel 37:25
"They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons' sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever.

Daniel 7:14
"And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.

Matthew 8:20
Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head."

John 3:14
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,

John 8:28
So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing on My own, but speak exactly what the Father has taught Me.

John 10:34
Jesus replied, "Is it not written in your Law: 'I have said you are gods' ?

John 12:32
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."

Hebrews 7:24
But because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood.
Treasury of Scripture

The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ stays for ever: and how say you, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?

the law.

John 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, You are gods?

John 15:25 But this comes to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is …

Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law said, it said to them …

Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came on all men to condemnation…

Christ.

2 Samuel 7:13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne …

Psalm 72:7,17-19 In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace …

Psalm 89:36,37 His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me…

Psalm 110:4 The LORD has sworn, and will not repent, You are a priest for ever …

Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, …

Isaiah 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare …

Ezekiel 37:24,25 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall …

Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, …

Daniel 7:14,27 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that …

Micah 4:7 And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast …

who.

John 3:14-16 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must …

John 5:25-27 Truly, truly, I say to you, The hour is coming, and now is, when …

John 8:53-58 Are you greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets …

Matthew 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his …

Matthew 21:10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, …

Matthew 22:42-45 Saying, What think you of Christ? whose son is he? They say to him, …

(34) we have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever.. . . . .--The term "law" refers to the whole of the Old Testament Scripture, as we have seen in John 10:34. (Comp. Note there.) They may have referred to such passages as Psalm 89:36; Psalm 110:4; Isaiah 9:6; Daniel 7:13-14. This remark is an instance of the knowledge of Rabbinic theology which interpreted such passages of a temporal Messianic reign. They had witnessed His triumphal entry into the royal city, and had joined in the acclamations which hailed Him as their King. They expected Him to free them from Roman bondage, and to rule over them in an earthly paradise to which there should be no end. The Christ they thought was to abide for ever.

How sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up?--His words have conveyed to them the idea of His death, and we find "lifted up" used not unfrequently in the Rabbinical writings in this sense; but they do not understand more than this. It contradicts all their visions of a Messianic reign. The Son of man to be lifted up! What meant, then, such words as these--"And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:14)? They cannot reconcile these things, and they ask Him to explain them.

He had not at this time used the exact words they quote, if St. John has given to us the conversation in full, but they occur in John 3:14, and the title "Son of man" occurs in this context in John 12:23. It was, moreover, present to their thoughts from the passage in Daniel, and must have been familiarly known as used by Christ of Himself. (Comp. Note on John 1:51.)

Who is this Son of man?--"Who is this Son of man?" they would say. "We know who is the Son of man who is to abide for ever, but this Son of man who is to die we know not." The words express that they are wavering in their attachment to Him. The question was asked probably on the Wednesday. It came midway between the "Hosanna" of the entry into Jerusalem and the "Crucify him!" of the trial.

The words are remarkable as throwing light upon the sudden changes of feeling which swayed the multitude from the pole of faith to that of rejection. They heard words from Christ or saw works done by Him which carried conviction to all minds; but then there came some technical interpretation of an Old Testament passage declaring what the Messiah was to be, and in the cooler moments, when no word was speaking to the ear and no work presented itself to the eye, this test seemed fatal to the claim, and disbelief took the place of belief, and hatred that of love. We have met this again and again in the case of the priests and Pharisees. They did not, we may well believe, during the last days, leave any means untried by which they might move the fickle minds of the masses. (Comp. Matthew 27:20.)

Verse 34. - The audience of Jesus on this occasion has swollen into a vast group. The few Greeks, with Philip and Andrew, the other disciples, the smaller circle of sympathetic listeners, the disturbed and feverish crowd, are all about him, as he claims by death itself to judge the world, to win all men, and east out the spirit and prince of the world from his usurped throne. The multitude then answered him, We heard - received information by public teaching - out of the Law that the Christ abideth forever. Numerous passages may have been reasonably in their minds - Psalm 110; Isaiah 9; Ezekiel 37:25; Daniel 7:13, 14 - in which the glories of an everlasting kingdom were predicted. In ver. 23 the Lord had in their hearing spoken of himself as "Son of man." Meyer, by giving the dominant sense of glorification to the ὑψώθω, thinks that the people must be contrasting, in pert criticism, the lowly "Son of man" before them with the "Son of man" of Daniel's vision. But it would be far more probable that the people accepted Christ's intimation of the manner of his death, and hence felt the incongruity of such a Son of man - One who dies, and therefore lives again - with the glowing pictures of Daniel or the 'Book of Henoch.' "The Christ abideth forever." And how sayest thou that the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man? They did not identify "the Son of man" with the Messiah. They probably supposed two manifestations. They may have doubted, as John the Baptist did, whether Jesus had fulfilled the whole conception of the ἐρχόμενος. It was once more a vague, dull inquiry, "Who art thou?" We are still in doubt who thou art, and how thou canst claim to be the Christ of our prophecies. To be our Christ, and die, is a contradiction in terms. The people answered him,.... Not the Greeks, but the Jews, and these not such as were friends to Christ, but cavillers at him:

we have heard out of the law; not the five books of Moses, but the Prophets, and Hagiographa; even all the books of the Old Testament are called the law; See Gill on John 10:34;

that Christ abideth for ever; referring to those places which speak of the perpetuity of his priesthood and the everlasting duration of his kingdom, Psalm 110:4, in which last text express mention is made of the son of man, and that and the first may be more especially respected; from whence it appears, that these passages were understood of the Messiah by the ancient Jews: they knew he was designed in Psalm 110:4. He is David's Lord that was bid to sit at the right hand of Jehovah, after he was raised from the dead, and had ascended on high; whose Gospel went forth with power, and whose people, by it, were made willing to submit to him, to his righteousness, and the sceptre of his kingdom; and who also is a priest for ever; and which is appealed to as a proof of the nature, kind, and duration of Christ's priesthood, Hebrews 5:6; and so it may be observed it is expressly applied to him by Jewish writers: in Zechariah 4:14 it is said "these are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth"; of which this interpretation is given (f).

"These are Aaron and the Messiah; and it would not be known which of them is (most) beloved, but that he says, Psalm 110:4, "the Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, thou art a priest for ever"; from whence it is manifest that the Messiah is more beloved than Aaron the righteous priest.''

And so another of them (g), speaking of Melchizedek, says,

"this is that which is written Psalm 110:4, "the Lord hath sworn", &c. who is this? this is he that is just, and having salvation, the King Messiah, as it is said, Zechariah 9:9.''

So the 45th Psalm is understood by them of the Messiah; the King, in Psalm 45:1, is by Ben Melech, said to be the King Messiah; Psalm 45:2 is thus paraphrased by the Targum,

"thy beauty, O King Messiah, is more excellent than the children of men.''

And Aben Ezra observes, that this Psalm is either concerning David, or the Messiah his son, whose name is David, Ezekiel 37:25 (h); and the passage in Psalm 72:17 is frequently interpreted of the Messiah and his name, and is brought as a proof of the antiquity of it (i); and Psalm 89:36 is also applied to him; and as for Daniel 7:13, that is by many, both ancient and modern Jews, explained of the Messiah (k) and since then they understood these passages of him, it is easy to observe from whence they took this notion that the Messiah should abide for ever; but then they should have observed out of the same law, or Holy Scriptures, that the Messiah was to be stricken and cut off, was to be brought to the dust of death, and to pour out his soul unto death; all which is consistent with his abiding for ever, in his person and office; for though according to the said writings, he was to die and be buried, yet he was not to see corruption; he was to rise again, ascend on high, sit at the right hand of God, and rule till all his enemies became his footstool; his sufferings were to be in the way, and in order to his entrance into the glory that should always abide. The Jews have entertained a notion that Messiah the son of David shall not die, and they lay down this as a rule, that if anyone sets up for a Messiah, and does not prosper, but is slain, it is a plain case he is not the Messiah; so all the wise men at first thought that Ben Coziba was the Messiah, but when he was slain it was known to them that he was not (l). And upon this principle these Jews confront the Messiahship of Jesus, saying,

and how sayest thou, the son of man must be lifted up? for it seems Christ used the phrase the son of man in his discourse, though John has not recorded it; he attending to his sense, and not to his express words. The Jews rightly understood him, that by the son of man he meant the Messiah, and by his being lifted up, his death; but they did not understand, how the Messiah could die, and yet abide for ever; and therefore since he intended himself by the son of man, they concluded he talked very inconsistent with the Scriptures, and with the character he assumed, and ask very pertly,

who is this son of man? is there any other son of man besides the Messiah? and can the son of man, that is the Messiah, be lifted up, or die, who is to abide for ever? and if thou art to be lifted up, or die, thou art not the Messiah or Daniel's son of man, whose kingdom is everlasting: but how come the Jews themselves to say, that the days of the Messiah, according to some, are but forty years, according to others seventy, according to others, three hundred and sixty five (m)? yea, they say, he shall be as other men, marry, have children, and then die (n). And how comes it to pass that Messiah ben Joseph shall be slain (o)? the truth of the matter is this, they having lost the true sense of the prophecies concerning the Messiah, and observing some that seem to differ, and which they know not how to reconcile, have fancied two Messiahs, the one that will be much distressed and be overcome and be slain; the other, who will be potent and victorious.

(f) Abot R. Nathan, c. 34. (g) R. Moses Hadarsan in Galatin. de cath. ver. l. 10. c. 6. (h) Vid. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 49. 2.((i) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 54. 1. Nedarim, fol. 39. 2. Bereshit Rabba, fol. 1, 2. Echa Rabbati, fol. 50. 2. Pirke Eliezer, c. 32. (k) Zohar in Gen. fol. 85. 4. Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 13. fol. 209. 4. Jarchi & Sandiah Gaon in Daniel 7.13. & R. Jeshua in Aben Ezra in ib. (l) Maimon Hilchot Melacim, c. 11. sect. 3, 4. Vid. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 98. fol. 86. 2.((m) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 99. 1.((n) Maimon. in Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 11. sect. 1.((o) T. Bab. Succa, fol. 52. 1.34. We have heard out of the law—the scriptures of the Old Testament (referring to such places as Ps 89:28, 29; 110:4; Da 2:44; 7:13, 14).

that Christ—the Christ "endureth for ever."

and how sayest thou, The Son of Man must be lifted up, etc.—How can that consist with this "uplifting?" They saw very well both that He was holding Himself up as the Christ and a Christ to die a violent death; and as that ran counter to all their ideas of the Messianic prophecies, they were glad to get this seeming advantage to justify their unyielding attitude.12:34-36 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.
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