What Did Christ Mean?
About “Judgment” & “Ruler” of this World & “Drawing All People to Him”
John 12:31, 32
Jesus the Christ (Gk. Christos: the Anointed One, the Messiah), the Son of God (i.e., God manifested in the flesh), made a number of exceedingly significant statements during His ministry prior to being crucified on Calvary.
Near the end of Christ’s earthly ministry to Israel, when it was quite apparent that as a nation repentance would not take place, Christ turned more deliberately to His ultimate purpose (vs. 27b) of coming to earth in flesh (John 1:1, 14), becoming the substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of mankind on the cross of Calvary. But as for the human (flesh) nature of Christ, He faced the ordeal with pain and trepidation (vs. 27a; Hebrews 5:7). Superseding all that Christ faced in the flesh was the following, which He expressed as follows:
(31) Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
(32) And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.
This He said, signifying by what death He would die (vs. 33). But what did He mean?
He meant not only was His coming crucifixion imminent, but that it signified/entailed three distinct purposes/outcomes.
In the first place, His coming crucifixion signified/entailed “the judgment of this world.”
The word “world” is translated from the Greek word kosmos, essentially meaning an orderly arrangement, i.e. decoration; by implication, the world in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively (morally). Here Christ is speaking of the world-system, all that was in opposition to God and His righteousness, which emanated from the introduction of sin by man in the Garden of Eden.
It was on the cross where sin was ultimately and totally judged. Jesus Christ became (absorbed, became immersed in) the sin of the world, for every person in the world throughout all of time. He did this most amazing and sacrificial act in order to pay the penalty that God had imposed on man for sin, a penalty that would take man an eternity to pay, but even then would be insufficient.
This Christ did in a matter of three hours “from the sixth hour until the ninth hour” suffering the penalty, desertion from God the Father while “there was darkness over all the land” – a sacrificial act of such intensity and worth that only God could do to Himself.
Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
(Matthew 27:45, 46; cf. Mark 15:33, 34)
For He (God the Father) made Him (Jesus Christ, God the Son) who knew no sin to be sin for us (mankind), that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21; cf. Isaiah 53:6; Romans 5:19; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 3:5)
In the second place, His coming crucifixion signified/entailed the event/foundation upon which “the ruler of this world will be cast out.”
Christ was referring to Satan, the provincial ruler over the portion of God’s universe in which resides earth, who in eons past rebelled against God taking with him a third of God’s angelic beings (Ezekiel 28:14-16). It is Satan who in Scripture is referred to as the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), the “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2), and “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), who, along with his debased angelic followers, referred to as “the rulers of the darkness of this age. . . spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12), that presently rules over the present earth.
But the rule that Satan established over the restored earth, a portion of God’s kingdom, will soon come to an end. The event that serves as the foundation of Satan’s fall was/is the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ – His crucifixion – on the cross of Calvary. This most significant fact – the most significant event of all history – is what will restore the very purpose for which the earth and man was brought into existence.
The following is a small portion of the book, The Spiritual Warfare, by Arlen L. Chitwood, which speaks of the purpose of earth and man, and, its eventual end, as follows:
The earth had been brought into existence for a purpose — “to be inhabited,” i.e., to be an inhabited province in God’s kingdom (Isaiah 45:18); and, following its ruin, the earth was restored in order that God’s purpose for the earth might be realized.
Man, likewise, had been brought into existence for a purpose (Genesis 1:26-28); and following man’s ruin, God began a work of restoration in order that His purpose for man’s existence might be realized.
As God (following Satan’s fall) restored the ruined material creation over a six-day period, He (following man’s fall) is presently restoring another ruined creation — ruined man — over the same length of time, with each day in the latter restoration being 1,000 years in length. Then, as God rested for a day following the prior restoration (Genesis 2:1-3), He will rest for a day, for 1,000 years, following the present restoration (Hebrews 4:4-9). . . .
Satan and his angels are to be put down, and Christ and His co-heirs are to take the kingdom. That is the clear testimony of Scripture, beginning in Genesis and concluding in Revelation. The matter will occur after exactly the same fashion set forth in Daniel 4:17.
. . . by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will . . . (Daniel 4:17)
The Most High will one day give the kingdom to His Son (Daniel 7:13, 14; cf. Revelation 11:15), Satan and his angels will be put down (exactly as Nebuchadnezzar in history was put down, for that will be “the decree of the Most High” [Daniel 4:23-31]), and the Son will then take the kingdom and rule, holding the scepter.
At that time God will place redeemed, qualified individuals in positions of power and authority as co-heirs with His Son (Daniel 4:17, 25, 32; Matthew 20:23); and Christ, with His co-heirs, will hold the scepter (cf. Psalm 2:6-9; Revelation 2:26, 27).
Christ’s co-heirs will have previously been shown qualified at the judgment seat; and following the Father positioning these co-heirs on the throne with His Son, Christ and His co-heirs (who will form His wife in that day) will then rule the earth from His throne in the heavenly Jerusalem for 1,000 years.
Israel will have been restored to the nation’s earthly land, and the kingdom covenanted to David will have been restored to Israel. David’s throne will have been given to Christ; and He will rule from this throne on the earth as well as from His own throne in the heavens (note that David will also rule from this throne [cf. Ezekiel 34:23; 37:24; Luke 1:31-33]).
Thus, Christ will have a dual reign during the Messianic Era. And it will be after this fashion that Christ will exercise power and authority over the earth for 1,000 years.
Christ’s rule from the heavens will involve His co-heirs (His wife), who will exercise power and authority with Him over the nations. And Christ’s rule on the earth will involve the Jewish people (the restored wife of Jehovah) who will also exercise power and authority with Him over the nations.
Accordingly, the Gentile nations, in this manner, will be governed from two realms during this time — heavenly and earthly; and blessings will flow forth through Abraham’s Seed from both realms (cf. Genesis 12:3; 22:17, 18; Romans 9:4, 5; Galatians 3:16, 29).
And the object of Christ’s rule after this fashion will be to bring order out of disorder, to effect a cosmos out of a chaos.
“All rule and all authority and power” must be put down; “all enemies” must be put “under His [under Christ’s] feet,” even “death.” And when “all things are made subject to Him [Christ],” the kingdom will be “delivered up” to “God the Father” in order that “God may be all in all [‘God may be all things in all of these things’]” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).
This is what the whole of Scripture, beginning in the opening verses of Genesis, anticipates; and to bring the matter to pass, the Son, in conjunction with His co-heirs in the heavens and the nation of Israel on the earth, will rule the earth for the duration of that seventh day — for 1,000 years — foreshadowed by the seventh day seen at the very beginning, in Genesis 2:1-3.
(End of Portion from The Spiritual Warfare)
In the third place, His coming crucifixion signified/entailed that He would “draw all peoples to” Him.
Christ was not saying that all human beings would be saved, i.e., receive eternal life – the salvation of the soul. One cannot be a serious student of Scripture and believe that, for there are a number of passages that assert otherwise, e.g., Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:32, 33, 46; John 5:28, 29; Revelation 20:11-29.
On the other hand, Scripture also stresses that God’s plan of redemption for mankind includes the entire world, all human beings.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16; cf. 1 John 4:14)
This being the case, what exactly did Christ mean? He meant that He, just as His Father (John 6:44), would draw indiscriminately from all classes of people, inviting everyone, regardless of tribe, language, people, and nation to believe on Him for personal, eternal salvation (Revelation 5:9; cf. John 10:16; Romans 10:12; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 2:11-16; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11).