Signs in John's Gospel
Arlen L. Chitwood
1. PURPOSE FOR JOHN’S GOSPEL
2. STRUCTURE OF JOHN’S GOSPEL
3. SIGNS, WONDERS, MIRACLES
4. THE WORD MADE FLESH
5. GENESIS, JOHN
6. THE WEDDING FESTIVITIES (First Sign)
7. EXCEPT A MAN . . . (1)
8. EXCEPT A MAN . . . (2)
9. EXCEPT A MAN . . . (3)
10. A NOBLEMAN’S SON HEALED (Second Sign)
11. TWO DAYS IN SAMARIA, THEN . . . .
12. A CERTAIN MAN HEALED (Third Sign)
13. FEEDING THE MULTITUDE (Fourth Sign)
14. DELIVERANCE DURING A STORM (Fifth Sign)
15. A BLIND MAN HEALED (Sixth Sign)
16. THE RESURRECTION OF LAZARUS (Seventh Sign)
17. THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST (Eighth Sign)
18. THESE ARE WRITTEN, THAT . . . .
The New Testament, a continuation of the Old, opens with four gospel accounts. These four gospels record God dwelling among the Jewish people for a period of time once again, though in a manner quite different than previously seen in the Old Testament.
In the Old Testament God had dwelt among His people, in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle and Temple, within a theocracy (Exodus 25:8, 9, 21, 22; 33:7-11, 18-23; 40:33, 34; Leviticus 16:6, 7, 17, 18; 2 Chronicles 5:1-14).
In the New Testament, in John 1:1-14, God is seen becoming flesh and dwelling (tabernacling) among His people in the person of His Son. And God dwelling among His people after this fashion at this time was done apart from an existing theocracy.
(The word “dwelt” in John 1:14 is a translation of the Greek verb, skenoo. The noun form of this word, skene, means a “tent” or a “dwelling place,” often used in the New Testament to reference the “tabernacle” in the Old Testament, which was a tent; and, textually, the type dwelling seen through the use of the verb, skenoo, draws from the tabernacle in the Old Testament.)
The Old Testament theocracy came to an end at the time of the Babylonian captivity (Ezekiel 10:4, 18; 11:22, 23). And though a temple existed in Israel six centuries later, at the time of Christ’s first coming, there was no glory in the temple and, thus, no existing (no restored) theocracy.
(Note in the preceding respect Ezekiel’s account of the future restoration of the glory, and thus a restoration of the theocracy. The glory will be restored to the temple that Messiah Himself will build [Zechariah 6:12, 13], showing God once again tabernacling among His people [Ezekiel 43:2-5].)
God, tabernacling among His people in the person of His Son, as seen in the four gospel accounts, offered to the Jewish people a restoration of the theocracy, contingent on national repentance (Matthew 3:1, 2; 4:17-25; 10:5-8; cf. Acts 1:6; 2:37, 38; 3:19-21 [an offer of the kingdom is seen in the gospel accounts, and a subsequent re-offer of the kingdom is seen in the book of Acts]).
This restored theocracy though would not come at this time through an offer and acceptance of the kingdom covenanted to David (that facet of the kingdom that had existed in the Old Testament for about eight centuries and that will exist again yet future [2 Samuel 7:12-16; 2 Chronicles 6:16; 7:17, 18]). Rather, the restored theocracy would come through an offer and acceptance of the kingdom of the heavens (cf. Genesis 22:17, 18; Matthew 4:17-25). The proffered kingdom was the kingdom of the heavens, not the kingdom covenanted to David (in both the offer and the re-offer).
The kingdom as it relates to this earth, whether past, present, or future, consists of two realms — heavenly and earthly. “The heavens do rule” (Daniel 4:26b), whether from God’s throne in the far reaches of the north or from the throne of a ruler whom God has placed over a province in His kingdom (the earth being one such province).
The proffered kingdom of the heavens referenced the heavenly part of the theocracy, not the earthly part that had previously existed. That is, the Jewish people were offered that part of God’s overall kingdom in relation to this earth ruled at that time (with a continuing, unchanged rule today) by Satan and his angels from a heavenly sphere (cf. Daniel 4:25, 26; Ephesians 1:19-21; 3:9-11; 6:12).
But the Jewish people spurned the offer (Matthew 12:22-32), rejecting the One who had made the offer (Israel’s announced King [Matthew 2:2], God Himself, dwelling in the nation’s midst once again). And the Jewish people climaxed this rejection by not only crucifying their King (very God of very God) but also by pledging their allegiance to the Gentile ruler of the world power of that day — Caesar — a pagan ruler exercising power directly under Satan and his angels (Daniel 4:25, 26; 10:12-14, 20; Matthew 21:38, 39; John 19:14, 15).
Nothing in the annals of Israel’s history presents a bleaker picture than can be seen in the events surrounding Calvary. God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22, 23), the only nation on the face of the earth in possession of the rights of primogeniture, which included the regal rights among the nations, not only called for their King’s crucifixion but placed themselves in subjection to a pagan Gentile ruler.
Through so doing, the people comprising the one nation on earth that existed apart from Satan’s kingdom and rule (Daniel 10:21) removed themselves from any possibility of a restored theocracy at that time and placed themselves, regally, in subjection to a ruler and nation that existed within Satan’s kingdom and under his rule. And, through this means, the nation called into existence to be the channel through which God was to bless all of the Gentile nations further removed itself from this position. This left all of the Gentile nations continuing in their estranged and alienated position (Ephesians 2:11, 12), with God’s blessings for the nations, through Israel, withheld because of Israel’s actions (Genesis 9:26, 27; 12:1-3).
Then the gospels end by recording Jesus’ resurrection and brief accounts of His earthly ministry prior to His ascension, with Mark and Luke including a statement at the end of their gospels concerning Jesus’ ascension back into the heavens (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51).
All four gospels present exactly the same message, though each presents the message from a different perspective. Each gospel has its own peculiar place in presenting one part, one facet, of a complete word picture. And the picture becomes complete, as God would have man to see it, only through viewing that which is revealed in all four gospels together.
This same thing is seen in the types, the parables, and other parts of Scripture. No one type on a subject records the complete picture surrounding that subject. Rather, all of the types, set alongside the antitype, record the complete word picture. Likewise, no parable on a subject records the complete picture on that subject. Rather, exactly as in the types, all of the parables, set alongside that to which they relate (prior revelation), record the complete word picture. And Scripture as a whole can be viewed in exactly the same light. No single book out of the sixty-six books, comprising the canon of Scripture, presents the complete picture in and of itself. Rather, all sixty-six books taken together present the complete word picture of God’s revelation to man concerning Himself, His plans, and His purposes as they pertain to man.
And God’s plans and purposes surrounding man have to do with man not only exercising regal power and authority over the earth (millennial) but with man ultimately exercising regal power and authority out in the universe itself (beyond the millennium, in the eternal ages).
The gospel of John records one facet of the complete word picture as it would pertain to the message presented by the four gospels; and John presents this in a manner quite different than that seen in the other three gospels. John records historical information, structured after a particular fashion, similar to the other gospels. But John, led by the Spirit, recorded eight signs around which this historical account is built, for a specifically stated purpose (five of these signs are peculiar to the gospel of John); and this purpose is revealed near the end of the gospel, in John 20:30, 31 (see rear cover data, which is placed along side of the introductory book photo).
The recording of the gospel of John, in this respect, stands alone. None of the other three gospels records a statement of this nature. But, though the gospel stands alone in this respect, it forms an intricate part of the complete, overall word picture presented by all four gospels. And, in this manner, it can only reflect upon and show the purpose for a manifestation of signs seen throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, set forth in the other three gospel accounts as well. And viewing the purpose for these signs after a correct fashion forms a major key necessary to properly understand the central message seen throughout all four gospels.