John 5:29
And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
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(29) Damnation.—Better, judgment. See Note on John 3:20. On “done good” and “done (practised) evil,” see Notes on John 3:20-21. It is remarkable that these are the only instances where the words here and there used for “practice” and for “evil” occur in St. John. This double opposition, and the use of words which He does not use again, support the distinction in the earlier Note. The passages are comments on each other. The law of the spiritual resurrection now is the law of that which shall be hereafter. Those who, working out the truth, come to the light now, that their deeds may be manifested, because they are wrought in God, shall in the final testing, when the secrets of every heart shall be revealed, rise unto the resurrection of life, to dwell in eternal light. Those who, practising evil, choose the darkness now, shall in that final testing, when whatsoever has been spoken in the darkness shall be heard in the light, rise unto the resurrection of condemnation (Acts 24:15), bound in chains of darkness, and be cast into outer darkness. (Comp. Notes on Matthew 8:12; Matthew 25:46 and 1Corinthians 3:13 et seq.)

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.Shall come forth - Shall come out of their graves. This was the language which he used when he raised up Lazarus, John 11:43-44.

They that have done good - That is, they who are righteous, or they who have by their good works "shown" that they were the friends of Christ. See Matthew 25:34-36.

Resurrection of life - Religion is often called life, and everlasting life. See the notes at John 5:24. In the resurrection the righteous will be raised up to the full enjoyment and perpetual security of that life. It is also called the resurrection of life, because there shall be no more "death," Revelation 21:4. The enjoyment of God himself and of his works; of the society of the angels and of the redeemed; freedom from sickness, and sin, and dying, will constitute the life of the just in the resurrection. The resurrection is also called the resurrection of the just Luke 14:14, and the first resurrection, Revelation 20:5-6.

The resurrection of damnation - The word "damnation" means the sentence passed on one by a judge - judgment or condemnation. The word, as we use it, applies only to the judgment pronounced by God on the wicked; but this is not its meaning always in the Bible. Here it has, however, that meaning. Those who have done evil will be raised up "to be condemned or damned." This will be the object in raising them up - this the sole design. It is elsewhere said that they shall then be condemned to everlasting punishment Matthew 25:46, and that they shall be punished with everlasting destruction 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; and it is said of the unjust that they are reserved unto the day of judgment to be punished, 2 Peter 2:9. That this refers to the future judgment - to the resurrection then, and not to anything that takes place in this life - is clear from the following considerations:

1. Jesus had just spoken of what would be done in this life - of the power of the gospel, John 5:25. He adds here that something still more wonderful - something beyond this - would take place. "All that are in the graves" shall hear his voice.

2. He speaks of those who are in their graves, evidently referring to the dead. Sinners are sometimes said to be dead in sin, but sinners are not said to be "in a grave." This is applied in the Scriptures only to those who are deceased.

3. The language used here of the "righteous" cannot be applied to anything in this life. When God converts men, it is not because they "have been good."

4. Nor is the language employed of the evil applicable to anything here. In what condition among men can it be said, with any appearance of sense, that they are brought forth from their graves to the resurrection of damnation? The doctrine of those Universalists who hold that all people will be saved immediately at death, therefore, cannot be true. This passage proves that at the day of judgment the wicked will be condemned. Let it be added that if "then" condemned they will be lost forever. Thus, in Matthew 25:46, it is said to be "everlasting" punishment; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, it is called "everlasting" destruction. There is no account of redemption in hell - no Saviour, no Holy Spirit, no offer of mercy there.

29. resurrection of life—that is, to life everlasting (Mt 25:46).

of damnation—It would have been harsh to say "the resurrection of death," though that is meant, for sinners rise from death to death [Bengel]. The resurrection of both classes is an exercise of sovereign authority; but in the one case it is an act of grace, in the other of justice. (Compare Da 12:2, from which the language is taken). How awfully grand are these unfoldings of His dignity and authority from the mouth of Christ Himself! And they are all in the third person; in what follows He resumes the first person.

And come forth; not all to be made partakers of eternal life and glory; there shall be a resurrection unto life, which only they shall obtain

who have done good, walking in the commandments of God; not because they have done good, as if their goodness had merited any such thing, for eternal life is the gift of God, Romans 6:23. But others, who have, wrought iniquity, and died without repentance and faith in me, shall arise, that the justice of God may by me, the Judge of the quick and the dead, be exceeded upon them unto eternal condemnation. This Daniel, Daniel 12:2, calleth shame, and everlasting contempt. Our Saviour, Matthew 25:46, calls it everlasting punishment.

And shall come forth,.... Out of their graves, as Lazarus came forth from his at the word of command, and as the bodies of the saints did after the resurrection of Christ, when their graves were opened:

they that have done good; which none of Adam's posterity naturally do, or can do of themselves: such are designed here who believe in Christ, which to do is the work of God, and the greatest and best of worlds; and without which it is impossible to please God in any; and indeed, whatever is not of faith is sin, and cannot be a good work: a good work is that which is done according to the will of God, from love to him, in faith, and with a view to his glory; and those that do such works shall come forth

unto the resurrection of life; that is, unto everlasting life, glory, and happiness; this is the first and better resurrection; and those that have part in it, over them the second death shall have no power. All shall rise to life, to an immortal life, so as never to die more; yet only good men shall rise to enjoy an happy and glorious life; which will lie in communion with God, angels, and saints, and in conformity to Christ, and in the everlasting vision of him:

and they that have done evil; who give up themselves to work wickedness; whose continual employment, and the business, series, and course of whose lives it is to commit sin; who are slaves unto it, and vassals of it, and are properly workers of iniquity; otherwise there is no man but what does that which is evil, and that daily: these shall come forth

unto the resurrection of damnation; that is, to everlasting damnation, shame, and reproach; they shall be condemned by the Judge of the whole earth, and shall be pronounced cursed; and shall be ordered to go into everlasting fire, and shall go into everlasting punishment; which will be a punishment both of loss and sense: they will lose, or be deprived of, the presence of God, and feel his wrath in their consciences. All will rise, but with a difference; the dead in Christ will rise first, in the morning of the resurrection, in the beginning of the thousand years, and therefore are here mentioned first; the rest the wicked, will not rise until the evening of that day, till the thousand years are ended, and therefore are spoken of last. The former will rise by virtue of union to Christ, the other by his power, and both at hearing his voice; the saints will rise with bodies glorious, powerful, and spiritual; and wicked men, though with bodies immortal, yet vile, and dishonourable: the one will rise to a life of joy and happiness that will last for ever, and which will be properly life; the other, though they will rise and live for ever, yet in misery and woe, and which will be the second, or eternal death; see a like distinction in Daniel 12:2, to which there seems to be some, reference here. And he at whose voice all this shall be, must be equal to God.

{8} And shall come {l} forth; they that have done good, unto the {m} resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

(8) Faith and infidelity will be judged by their fruits.

(l) From their graves.

(m) To that resurrection which has everlasting life following it: against which is set the resurrection of condemnation, that is, which is followed by condemnation.

29. done evil] Or, practised worthless things. See on John 3:20.

unto the resurrection of damnation] Better, unto the resurrection of judgment. It is the same Greek word as is used in John 5:22; John 5:27. These words are the strongest proof that spiritual resurrection cannot be meant. Spiritual resurrection must always be a resurrection of life, a passing from spiritual death to spiritual life. A passing from spiritual death to judgment is not spiritual resurrection. This passage, and Acts 24:15, are the only direct assertions in N.T. of a bodily resurrection of the wicked. It is implied, Matthew 10:28; Revelation 20:12-13. A satisfactory translation for the Greek words meaning ‘judge’ and ‘judgment’ cannot be found: they combine the notions of ‘separating’ and ‘judging,’ and from the context often acquire the further notion of ‘condemning.’ See on John 3:17-18.

John 5:29. Ἀνάστασιν ζωῆς) the resurrection of life, ordained to live.[107] [108][107] τὰ φαῦλα, evil) Dost thou desire to know whether thy portion shall be in the resurrection of life or of condemnation? Then sift thoroughly thy course of action, whether it is good or bad; but remember to examine thine accounts, not according to thine own fancy, but according to the truth of the case.—V. g.

[108] ἀνάστασιν κρίσεως, the resurrection of condemnation) It would be inappropriate to term it the resurrection of death: but yet it is opposed to the resurrection of life. Therefore sinners indeed shall rise again, but from death to death; their resurrection shall not be a regeneration [Matthew 19:28.—E. and T.], but an abortion.—V. g.

John 5:29Have done good - have done evil

Note again the use of the different verbs for doing with good and evil. See on John 3:21. On the word for evil (φαῦλα), see on John 3:20.

Resurrection of life (ἐὰν ἐγὼ)

The phrase occurs only here in the New Testament: so resurrection of judgment (ἀνάστασιν κρίσεως).

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