Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Now is the judgment of this world.—For the word “judgment” comp. Notes on John 3:17-19; John 16:11. There is here, following on the coming of the Greeks, which He reads as a sign, and upon the voice from heaven, which was a sign for the multitude, the thought of the Messianic kingdom, of which the first members were then present, and which was to comprehend all men. This thought includes—(1) the judgment (condemnatory) of this world; (2) the casting out of the prince of this world; (3) the establishment of His spiritual kingdom (John 12:32).
Now shall the prince of this world be cast out.—The title “prince of this world” was the regular Rabbinic title for Satan, whom they regarded as the ruler of the Gentiles, the Jews not being included in his kingdom. The reign of the true Messiah is over the Gentile and Jewish world alike; Gentiles as well as Jews are at this moment in the temple listening to Him; Jews as well as Gentiles have been subjects of the prince of this world (John 8:44; Romans 2). The world itself, as opposed to Christ, is condemned, for its unbelief crucifies Jesus Christ; but the Resurrection and Ascension are Heaven’s witness that He is the Son of God. The world’s condemnation is followed by the casting out of its ruler.
The whole future is present to the mind of Christ, and in the confidence of victory He uses the emphatic “now” of both the judgment of the world and the dethronement of its prince. It should be noted, however, that the tenses differ. The one is thought of as the immediate result of His death; the other is the gradual victory of truth, and is spoken of in the same future as the drawing all men of the following verse.John 12:31-33. Now is the judgment of this world — Which I am going to conquer and condemn, that by my death my followers may both be taught and enabled to triumph over it, and those may be convinced of sin that believe not in me. Some interpreters render the clause, Now is this world come to its crisis: and others explain it of the redemption of the world, or its vindication from the bondage of Satan. “But this,” says Dr. Doddridge, “is so unusual a sense of the word, [κρισις, judgment,] that I choose, with Dr. Whitby, to understand it of the condemnation of the world, or of the judgment passed upon its wicked principles and practices, and of the victory which Christians were to gain over it, in consequence of the death of Christ. See John 3:18-19; and John 16:8; John 16:11. Now shall the prince of this world — Satan, who has gained possession of it by sin and death; be cast out — That is, judged, condemned, cast out of his possession, and out of the bounds of Christ’s kingdom. In other words, The devil, who has so long reigned in the hearts of the children of disobedience, is about to be dethroned. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth — This expression seems to be a Hebraism that signifies dying. Death in general is all that it usually imported. But our Lord made use of it, rather than others that were equivalent, because it so well suited the particular manner of his death. As our Lord cannot be supposed, in this passage, to speak of his own death as a thing uncertain, the Greek expression, εαν υψωθω, should be translated, not, if I be lifted up, but, when I am lifted up; I will draw all men unto me — Multitudes of Gentiles, as well as Jews: and those who follow my drawings, Satan shall not be able to retain in his power. In other words, I shall lay a foundation for conquering the most stubborn hearts by so rich a display of my love, and shall, by a secret but powerful influence on their minds, persuade multitudes of all ranks and all nations to enlist themselves under the banner I raise. Signifying what death he should die — Even by crucifixion, in which the person suffering was lifted up on high, and hung as it were between heaven and earth.John 12:47; John 8:15, and he has clearly declared that there shall be a future day when he will judge all mankind. The meaning of it may be thus expressed: "Now is approaching the decisive scene, the eventful period - the crisis - when it shall be determined who shall rule this world. There has been a long conflict between the powers of light and darkness between God and the devil. Satan has so effectually ruled that he may be said to be the prince of this world; but my approaching death will destroy his kingdom, will break down his power, and will be the means of setting up the kingdom of God over man." The death of Christ was to be the most grand and effectual of all means that could be used to establish the authority of the law and the government of God, Romans 8:3-4. This it did by showing the regard which God had for his law; by showing his hatred of sin, and presenting the strongest motives to induce man to leave the service of Satan; by securing the influences of the Holy Spirit, and by his putting forth his own direct power in the cause of virtue and of God. The death of Jesus was the determining cause, the grand crisis, the concentration of all that God had ever done, or ever will do, to break down the kingdom of Satan, and set up his power over man. Thus was fulfilled the prediction Genesis 3:15, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel."
Now shall the prince of this world - Satan, or the devil, John 14:30; John 16:11. He is also called the god of this world, 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:12; "The rulers of the darkness of this world" - that is, the rulers of this dark world a well-known Hebraism. He is also called "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience," Ephesians 2:2. All these names are given him from the influence or power which he has over the men of this world, because the great mass of men have been under his control and subject to his will.
Be cast out - His kingdom shall be destroyed; his empire shall come to an end. It does not mean that his reign over all men would entirely cease then, but that then would be the crisis, the grand conflict in which he would be vanquished, and from that time his kingdom begin to decline, until it would finally cease, and then be free altogether from his dominion. See Luke 10:18; Colossians 1:18-20; Acts 26:18; 1 Corinthians 15:25-26; Revelation 20:14.
now shall the prince of this world be cast out—How differently is that fast-approaching "hour" regarded in the kingdoms of darkness and of light! "The hour of relief; from the dread Troubler of our peace—how near it is! Yet a little moment, and the day is ours!" So it was calculated and felt in the one region. "Now shall the prince of this world be cast out," is a somewhat different view of the same event. We know who was right. Though yet under a veil, He sees the triumphs of the Cross in unclouded and transporting light.judgment and world are taken so variously in the New Testament, and particularly in this very Gospel, that they have given interpreters a great liberty to vary in their senses of this passage. It seemeth reasonable to agree that our Saviour doth expound in this verse what the voice from heaven uttered; that the Father had already glorified his name, and would yet further glorify it. How?
Now (saith he) is the judgment of this world; that is, (say some), the condemnation of the wicked men in it: and certain it is, that the term world doth sometimes so signify, John 15:19 John 17:6,9 1 Corinthians 6:2 1 Corinthians 11:32. But this sense seemeth not to agree with John 3:17, where Christ tells us, that this his first coming was not to condemn the world. Others do therefore here by judgment better understand, the dispensation of Divine providence, by which a great change or catastrophe was to be made in the world by the reformation of it; the beginning of the time of the restitution of all things, Acts 3:21. But it seems best to be understood of the deliverance and vindication of mankind from the power of the devil, who had a long time held mankind in an unjust possession. The devil had got a dominion over mankind by the fall of Adam, and had exceedingly tyrannized over them, keeping the far greatest part of the world in slavery by idolatry, and keeping many others, who were no open idolaters, yet captives to his will. Now, saith our Saviour, the time is come when this shall be altered; Satan shall be bound up; I will deliver a great part of the world from the yoke of idolatry; another part of them from the power and dominion of sin. The devil, who is not by any right the prince of this world, but boasteth himself to be so, Matthew 4:9, and acts in it like a prince, powerfully working in the children of disobedience, Ephesians 2:2, and as the god of this world blinding men’s eyes, 2 Corinthians 4:4, taking the world as his house, and keeping it as a strong man, Matthew 12:29, shall be cast out of my redeemed ones; so as though he will still be going about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, and molesting the best of men by his temptations, yet he shall not prevail over them, God will bruise him under their feet; he that had the power of death shall (as to his dominion) be destroyed, and those who are in bondage through the fear of it, shall be delivered, Hebrews 2:14,15; the tempted shall be succoured, Hebrews 2:18, and God with the temptation shall give a blessed issue. And the devil’s kingdom kept up by idolatry, shall also in a great measure be destroyed in the world; many nations now under that slavery shall embrace the gospel, and throw away their idols.
now shall the prince of this world be cast out. The phrase, , "the prince of the world", is much used by Jewish writers (d), by whom an angel is meant; and they seem to design the angel of death, which is the devil: and it is certain, that he is here intended, and is so called, not because he has any legal power and authority over the world; but because he has usurped a dominion over it, and has great power and efficacy in the hearts of the children of disobedience, who yield a voluntary subjection to him, as if he was their proper lord and sovereign: now the time was at hand, when he should be cast out of the empire of the world he had assumed, and out of the temples of the Gentiles, and out of the hearts of God's elect among them.Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 12:31. It was a trial not so much of Him as of the world: νῦν κρίσις ἐστὶ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου. In the events of the next few days the world was to be judged by its treatment of Jesus. Cf. John 3:18, John 5:27. Calvin, adopting the fuller meaning given to the Hebrew word “judge,” thinks that the restoration of the world to its legitimate rule and order is signified. A fuller explanation follows in the clauses, νῦν ὁ ἄρχων … ἐμαυτόν. Two rulers are represented here as contending for supremacy, the ruler who is spoken of as in possession and Jesus. The ruler in possession, Satan, shall be ejected from his dominion by the cross, but Jesus by the cross shall acquire an irresistibly attractive power. “Si quis roget, quomodo dejectus in morte Christi fuerit Satan, qui assidue bellare non desinit, respondeo ejectionem hanc non restringi ad exiguum aliquod tempus, sed describi insignem illum mortis Christi effectum qui quotidie apparet.” Calvin. The πάντας is a general expression looking to the ultimate issue of the contention between the rival rulers. ἐλκύσω Hellenistic for Attic ἕλξω.31. Now … now] With prophetic certainty Christ speaks of the victory as already won.
the judgment of this world] The sentence passed on this world (see on John 3:17 and John 5:29) for refusing to believe. The Cross is the condemnation of all who reject it.
the prince of this world] Literally, the ruler of this world. This is one of the apparently Gnostic phrases which may have contributed to render this Gospel suspicious in the eyes of the Alogi (see Introduction, Chap. II. i): it occurs again John 14:30, John 16:11, and nowhere else. It was a Gnostic view that the creator and ruler of the material universe was an evil being. But in the Rabbinical writings ‘prince of this world’ was a common designation of Satan, as ruler of the Gentiles, in opposition to God, the Head of the Jewish theocracy. But just as the Messiah is the Saviour of the believing world, whether Jew or Gentile, so Satan is the ruler of the unbelieving world, whether Gentile or Jew.
shall … be cast out] By the gradual conversion of unbelievers. This is a process which will continue until the last day.John 12:31. Νῦν, now) Now, at this moment. This νῦν now, is to be taken in the precise sense, in antithesis to the lifting up from the earth [John 12:32], which followed a few days subsequently. From this point of time Jesus, with the sweet toil [efforts] of His soul, strove [pressed forward] towards the glorifying of Himself more than heretofore: ch. John 13:31, John 14:30, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you; for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me;” John 17:1, “Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify Thee.” Comp. ἄρτι, now, by a new step in advance, Revelation 12:10 [ἄρτι ἐγένετο ἡ σωτηρία, καὶ ἡ δύναμις, καὶ ἡ βασιλεία, Now is come salvation, and power, and the kingdom, etc.]—κόσμου, of the world) not, by the world; not, into the world. It is the Genitive of the object: the judgment concerning this world, is as to who is hereafter about to be rightful possessor of the world. Comp. ch. John 13:3, “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands,” John 16:11, “The prince of this world is judged;” Colossians 2:15, “Having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it (the cross);” Hebrews 2:14. “Himself likewise took part of the same (flesh), that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”—ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, the prince of this world) This appellation is referred to at ch. John 14:30, John 16:11, and occurs nowhere else. Comp. 2 Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not.” He had been rather the adversary of this world through sin and through death.—ἐκβληθήσεται, shall be cast out) An abbreviated expression: i.e. he shall be judged [taken out of “Now is the judgment,” etc.] and condemned, and cast out from his former possession as one tried and found guilty. Afterwards, being led in triumph, he is cast out as an accuser: Revelation 12:9,  “Satan was cast out into the earth—the accuser (κάτηγωρ) of our brethren is cast down.”—ἔξω, out) from the bounds of the kingdom, given to Me on high. With this corresponds the word ὑψωθῶ, when I am [if I be] lifted up, occurring presently after. Satan never possessed the kingdom itself, which was given to Christ on high; but he from time to time entered its limits and borders, from which he is doomed ultimately to be cast out.Verses 31-36. - 5. The judgment of this world. Verse 31. - Still more emphatically does Christ expound the heavenly voice, and vindicate for himself the most solemn position with reference to the world and its prince. The" world," or humanity evolving itself to the highest form of a complicated civilization, was present to him far more vividly than when the tempter showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. Instead of holding them in royal fee of the devil, and of compelling them to do his bidding, he declares that his hour, which had come, was an hour of judicial condemnation for the world. The corruption of the world, the radical injury done to human nature, starts out on its beautiful and decorated front like the leprosy did on the face of Naaman. Now is a judgment of the world. Observe, not κρίσις. This is compatible with the statements of John 3:17-19, and not inconsistent with the frequent references in John 5. to the "last day." Because John gives prominence to the great principles of judgment, and implies that the books of remembrance and condemnation are written all over indelibly by the hand of the world itself, there is no proof that the Lord (in John) says nothing of the great catastrophic judgments of which the synoptic Gospels preserve the prophecy. Our Lord has rather revealed (according to John) the principles which make the judgment of the great day credible. What a man has become at any epoch of his existence, what a nation is about at any crisis of its history, whatsoever act represents the spirit of the whole world, is in each case the judgment which God, by his providence, passes upon him or it. Still more impressively with a second, Now, he adds, shall the prince of this world be cast out. The phrase, "archon of this world," is a well-known later Hebraic phrase for "the ruler of the darkness of this world," the shir-olam of the rabbinical books, the angel of death, to whom was entrusted the rulership of the world outside of the sacred family. Christ declares that his own hour, in which the world and its prince would seem to be triumphant, would be the hour when he should be cast out of earth as he had been already cast out of heaven. This expulsion and destruction of the power and works of the devil was one great end assigned to the manifestation of the Son of God (1 John 3:8). It is important, however, to notice the difference of tenses. "Now is the judgment of this world," - this is the immediate result of his death; "Now shall the prince of this world be east out" describes the gradual victory of truth, which is pursued more explicitly in the next verse.
Shall be cast out (ἐκβληθήσεται ἔξω)
In every case but one where the word ἐκβάλλω occurs in John, it is used of casting out from a holy place or society. See John 2:15; John 9:34, John 9:3; 3 John 1:10; Revelation 12:2. Compare John 10:4.
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