John 5:25
Truly, truly, I say to you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) The hour is coming.—The same solemn words repeat in another form the same great truth. The reference here, as in the whole of this paragraph (John 5:21-27), is to the spiritually dead. This is shown by the “now is,” which cannot be applied to the physical resurrection (comp. John 5:28), and cannot be explained by the instances of physical restoration to life during the earthly ministry of our Lord; and also by the last clause, where “live” must mean the higher spiritual life, as it does in the whole context. It is shown too by the parallelism of the clauses with those of the previous verse:—

“He that heareth”. . . . “the dead shall hear”

“My word”. . . .“the voice of the Son of God,”

“Hath eternal life”. . . . “they that hear shall live.” The world is as a vast moral graveyard where men lie dead in sin,—sense-bound hand and foot, with spirits buried in bodies which should be holy temples, but have become as unclean tombs; but the voice of the Son of God speaks, and spirit, love, life, passes through the chambers of death, quickening souls whose death is as yet but a sleep, and those who hear and obey come forth into new life.

5:24-29 Our Lord declared his authority and character, as the Messiah. The time was come when the dead should hear his voice, as the Son of God, and live. Our Lord first refers to his raising those who were dead in sin, to newness of life, by the power of the Spirit, and then to his raising the dead in their graves. The office of Judge of all men, can only be exercised by one who has all knowledge, and almighty power. May we believe His testimony; thus our faith and hope will be in God, and we shall not come into condemnation. And may His voice reach the hearts of those dead in sin; that they may do works meet for repentance, and prepare for the solemn day.The hour - The time.

Is coming - Under the preaching of the gospel, as well as in the resurrection of the dead.

Now is - It is now taking place. Sinners were converted under his ministry and brought to spiritual life.

The dead - Either the dead in sins, or those that are in their graves. The words of the Saviour will apply to either. Language, in the Scriptures, is often so used as to describe two similar events. Thus the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world are described by Jesus in the same language, Matthew 24-25. The return of the Jews from Babylon, and the coming of the Messiah, and the spread of his gospel, are described in the same language by Isaiah, Isaiah 40-61. Compare the notes at Isaiah 7:14. The renewal of the heart, and the raising of the dead at the judgment, are here also described in similar language, because they so far resemble each other that the same language will apply to both.

The voice of the Son of God - The voice is that by which we give command. Jesus raised up the dead by his command, or by his authority. When he did it he spoke, or commanded it to be done. Mark 5:41; "he took the damsel by the hand, and said, Talitha cumi." Luke 7:14; "and he came and touched the bier, and said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise." John 11:43; "he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth." So it is by his command that those who are dead in sins are quickened or made alive, John 5:21. And so at the day of judgment the dead will be raised by his command or voice, though there is no reason to think that his voice will be audibly heard, John 5:28.

Shall live - Shall be restored to life."

25-29. The hour cometh—in its whole fulness, at Pentecost.

and now is—in its beginnings.

the dead—the spiritually dead, as is clear from Joh 5:28. Here He rises from the calmer phrase "hearing his word" (Joh 5:24), to the grander expression, "hearing the voice of the Son of God," to signify that as it finds men in a dead condition, so it carries with it a resurrection-power.

shall live—in the sense of Joh 5:24.

The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: some understand this concerning the special resurrection of such bodies as Christ raised while he was upon the earth from death to life, of which number was Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus, &c. Others understand it of the general resurrection, spoken of John 5:28,29. That which favoureth this sense is, because here is no mention of believing, but only hearing a voice. But the most and best interpreters rather understand these words of those who are dead in trespasses and sins, and the quickening and life mentioned Ephesians 2:1, which is called

the first resurrection, Revelation 20:5, because of what was said immediately before, that such a one is passed from death to life; and what was said before, He that heareth my word, agreeth with what is said here of hearing the voice of Christ; and what followeth seemeth better to agree with this sense. And John 5:28,29 speak plainly of the second and general resurrection of the body.

They that hear shall live; those who so hear the voice of Christ in the gospel, as to give a firm and steady assent to it, and, upon the credit of it, shall receive Christ as their Mediator and Saviour, shall live eternally; they do live the life of grace, and shall live the life of glory. Verily, verily, I say unto you,.... With the same asseveration as before, and for the further illustration and confirmation of the same thing, occasioned by the last clause of the preceding verse, as well as improving upon the argument in John 5:21 for his equality with the Father, which he is still pursuing:

the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live; which may be understood either of a corporeal resurrection, and of some particular instances of it, which should shortly be; and of some persons who would be in the state of the dead, and to whom the voice of Christ would be attended with such power as to cause them to hear and live; as did Jairus's daughter upon his saying "Talitha Cumi", damsel arise, and the widow of Naim's son upon his saying, young man arise, and Lazarus, upon his calling to him, Lazarus come forth; and which is a full proof of his being equal to God that quickens the dead: or rather this is to be understood of a spiritual resurrection, and the rather, because this sense best agrees with the foregoing verse; and a corporeal resurrection is expressed in somewhat different words, and seems to be distinguished from this in John 5:28. And besides, the hour, or time of the resurrection of the above particular persons, was not strictly come; nor could they, with propriety, be said to be dead; to which may be added, that the phrase, "they that hear shall live", and none but them, best agrees with this sense: so then by the "dead" are meant such who are dead in trespasses and sins; who are separated from God, alienated from the life of God, and in whom the image of God is defaced; who are dead in all the powers and faculties of their souls, to that which is spiritually good; and are without spiritual breath, sense, feeling, and motion. And by "the voice" of Christ is intended his Gospel, which is a voice of love, grace, and mercy, of life and liberty, of peace, pardon, righteousness, and salvation by him; and which being attended with his power, is the means of quickening dead sinners; who may be said to hear it, when it comes not in word only, but in power, and works effectually in them; and is spirit and life, and the power of God unto salvation to them; when they receive it, understand, believe, and obey it: and such persons "shall live"; comfortably, pleasantly, and delightfully, a life of faith on Christ, a life of communion with him, and shall live eternally with him hereafter.

{6} Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

(6) We are all dead in sin and cannot be made alive by any other means, except by the word of Christ apprehended by faith.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 5:25. Jesus re-affirms what He had already asserted in John 5:24, but in the more concrete form of allegorical expression.

καὶ νῦν ἐστιν] i.e. in its beginning, since Christ’s entrance upon His life-giving ministry. Comp. John 4:23. The duration of this ὥρα, however, continues till the second advent; already had it begun to be present, but, viewed in its completeness, it still belonged to the future. The expositors who take the words to denote the literal resurrection (see John 5:25, even Hengstenberg), refer καὶ νῦν ἐστιν to the individual instances of raising from the dead which Jesus wrought (John 11; Mark 5:41; Luke 7:14; Matthew 11:5); but this is as inappropriate in general as it is out of keeping with John’s Gospel, for those individuals were not at all awaked to ζωή in the sense of the context, but only to the earthly life, which was still liable to death. Olshausen, who illogically explains John 5:25 as referring to the resurrection of the body, appeals to Matthew 27:52-53.

οἱ νεκροί] the spiritually dead; Matthew 8:22; Revelation 3:1; and see on John 5:21.

τῆς φωνῆς] according to the context, the resurrection summons (John 5:28), which is here really, in the connection of the allegory, the morally life-giving preaching of Christ. The spiritually dead, generally, according to the category οἱ νεκροί, will hear this voice, but all will not awake to its call; only οἱ ἀκούσαντες, which therefore cannot be taken in the same sense as ἀκούσονται, but must signify: those who will have given ear thereto. Comp. John 8:43; John 8:47. In Latin: “Mortui audientet qui audientes fuerint,” etc. It is the ἀκούειν καλοῦντος, Plut. Sert. 11, al., ἀκούειν παραγγέλλοντος, and the like, ἀκούειν τοῦ προστάγματος (Polyb. xi. 19. 5). If we understand the words of bodily awakening, οἱ ἀκούσαντες with the article is quite inexplicable. Chrysostom: φωνῆς ἀκούσαντες ἐπιταττούσης; Grotius: “simul atque audierint.” All such renderings, as also the vague explanation of Hengstenberg,[211] would require ἀκούσαντες merely without the article;[212] and ζήσουσιν would, in opposition to the entire context, signify “to live” generally, in an indifferent sense. Olshausen, indeed, supplements ἀκούσαντες—which, nevertheless, must of necessity refer to Τῆς ΦΩΝῆς—by ΤῸΝ ΛΌΓΟΝ from John 5:24 : “they who in this life hear the word of God.” It is just as impossible to hold, with Luthardt (so far as he would include the literal resurrection), that ΟἹ ἈΚΟΎΣΑΝΤΕς refers to those “who hear the last call of Jesus differently from others, i.e. joyfully receiving it, and therefore attain to life.” This is an imported meaning, for there is no such modal limitation in the text; but οἱ ἀκούσαντες alone, which, so far as it must differ from the general ἀκούσονται, can only designate those who give ear, and by this the literal resurrection is excluded. For this double meaning of ἀκούειν in one sentence, see Plat. Legg. p. 712 B: θεὸνἐπικαλώμεθα· ὁ δὲ ἀκούσειέ τε καὶ ἀκούσας (cum exaudiverit) … ἜΛΘΟΙ, and also the proverbial expression ἈΚΟΎΟΝΤΑ ΜῊ ἈΚΟΎΕΙΝ.

[211] The article is said to indicate the inseparable connection between hearing and life.

[212] See Eurip. Hec. 25, 26, and Pflugk thereon. But οἱ ἀκούσαντες with the article is: quicunque audiverunt.John 5:25. Ἀμὴν … introducing a confirmation of the preceding statement, in the form of an announcement of one characteristic of the new dispensation; ἔρχεται ὥρα καὶ νῦν ἐστιν, cf. John 4:3. In this already arrived “hour” or epoch, the message of God is uttered by the voice of Jesus, τῆς φωνῆς τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ and οἱ νεκροὶ, they who have not made the transition spoken of in the preceding verse, ἀκούσονται, shall hear it; καὶ οἱ ἀκούσαντες ζήσονται [or ζήσουσιν], not “and having heard shall live,” nor “and when they hear shall live”; but “and those who have heard [or hear] shall live”. The insertion of the article indicates that not all, but only a certain class of the νεκροί are meant: all the dead hear but not all give ear (Weiss). ἀκουσούσιν in the former clause means hearing with the outward ear, ἀκούσαντες hearing with faith. The question, how can the spiritually dead hear and believe? is the question, how could the impotent man rise in response to Christ’s word? Perhaps psychologically inexplicable, it is, happily, soluble in practice.25. Repetition of John 5:24 in a more definite form, with a cheering addition: John 5:24 says that whoever hears and believes God has eternal life; John 5:25 states that already some are in this happy case.

The hour is coming] Better, There cometh an hour: comp. John 4:21; John 4:23.

and now is] These words also exclude the meaning of a bodily resurrection; the hour for which had not yet arrived. The few cases in which Christ raised the dead cannot be meant; (1) the statement evidently has a much wider range; (2) the widow’s son, Jairus’ daughter, and Lazarus were not yet dead, so that even of them ‘and now is’ would not be true; (3) they died again after their return from death, and ‘they that hear shall live’ clearly refers to eternal life, as a comparison with John 5:24 shews. If a spiritual resurrection be understood, ‘and now is’ is perfectly intelligible: Christ’s ministry was already winning souls from spiritual death.John 5:25. Οἱ νεκροί, the dead) Used literally, in the body, as Jairus’ daughter, the young man at Nain, and Lazarus: ch. John 11:23, etc.; who all were raised up after that these words had been spoken: comp. Matthew 27:52, etc., “The graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” There follows a gradation: all, John 5:28; in which verse the words [added to] the hour, the time that “now is” [καὶ νῦν ἐστίν], are not repeated; [but there is added mention of the graves, which, since Jairus’ daughter and the young man were not yet in the grave (when restored to life), is in this ver. omitted.—V. g.]—ἀκούσονται) Middle: also at John 5:28; a rare form.Verse 25. - Once more the solemn asseveration, Verily, verily, I say unto you, is repeated, when our Lord still further emphasized the authority of his own word, the Father's confirmation of its accuracy, and the Divine signature and testimony to its power. The hour is coming, and now is. There will be more wonderful attestations to the truth than any which as yet have broken the silence of the grave. Not only will the physically dead rise from their bier or their grave in the fulness and strength of resume, life, but the spiritually dead in vast multitudes will pass from death into eternal life, will know that the bitterness of death is over, and that there shall be no more condemnation for them. The Holy Spirit was, when Jesus spake, about to convict the world of sin, and to unveil the glory of Christ to the eye of faith. Pentecost would confirm the word of Jesus, for the Spirit will bear witness to the reality of the risen Lord. But whereas that hour was only "coming," that marvellous day had yet to dawn upon the world, Jesus added it now is - while I am speaking the reality of this vast spiritual change is taking place. There are proofs enough already. "Now," already, at this very moment, the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God. The spiritually dead shall be disturbed in their slumber and roused from their indifference, be made to know that the summons of supreme power and authority is addressed to them. Emphasis is laid upon the Divine force which is at work upon heart and conscience. "The Son of God," not "a son of man" merely, is uttering his voice. And they that have heard - accepted the summons, "heard the word," and believed, not merely him that sent me (the teaching of ver. 24), but that he who has been sent is none other than the "Son of God" - these, said Christ, shall live. The form of the expression ἀκούσαντες can only designate those who give ear, and by this the literal resurrection of all the dead is excluded. The teaching of this verse reasserts the teaching of ver. 24, and adds to it, and clothes the truth in the imagery of the general resurrection. The awful suggestion is involved that many of these dead ones will hear the voice of the Son of God, and not give heed to it. Hengstenberg endeavours to overthrow this general interpretation of the verse, making it equivalent to vers. 27, 28 rather than an expansion of ver. 24. The "now is," according to him, covers the whole period to the second advent, and the future ἀκούσονται points to a future epoch in the ὥρα. But the emphatic omission of the νῦν ἔστι in the later and more explicit statement is against such a view, and the ἀκούσονται is best explained by its adaptation to the whole clause. "The hour is coming" as well as "now is." The ζήσονται "shall live," rather than shall be "made alive," is far more applicable to the resurrection of dead souls than of defunct bodies. It is equivalent to "have eternal life" of the previous verses. The dead

Spiritually.

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