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It's obviously significant since he repeated it four times, but what actually is the significance of the phrase?

The phrase is translated from the Greek ἀναστήσω αὐτὸ (ἐν) τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ which occurs in the following four verses:

  1. John 6:39

English translation

And this is the will of the Father who sent me, that everyone who He gave me - I shall lose none of him, but rather, I shall raise him on the last day.

Textus Receptus (Estienne, 1550)

τοῦτο δέ ἐστιν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντός με πατρός, ἵνα πᾶν ὃ δέδωκέν μοι μὴ ἀπολέσω ἐξ αὐτοῦ ἀλλὰ ἀναστήσω αὐτὸ ἐν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ

  1. John 6:40

English Translation

And this is the will of Him who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him has eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.

Textus Receptus (Estienne, 1550)

τοῦτο δὲ ἐστιν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πέμψαντος με, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ θεωρῶν τὸν υἱὸν καὶ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον καὶ ἀναστήσω αὐτὸν ἐγὼ τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ

  1. John 6:44

English Translation

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I shall raise him on the last day.

Textus Receptus (Estienne, 1550)

οὐδεὶς δύναται ἐλθεῖν πρός με ἐὰν μὴ ὁ πατὴρ ὁ πέμψας με ἑλκύσῃ αὐτόν καὶ ἐγὼ ἀναστήσω αὐτὸν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ

  1. John 6:54

English Translation

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.

Textus Receptus (Estienne, 1550)

τρώγων μου τὴν σάρκα καὶ πίνων μου τὸ αἷμα ἔχει ζωὴν αἰώνιον καὶ ἐγὼ ἀναστήσω αὐτὸν τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ

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12 Answers 12

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The significance is that the author wants to emphasize his belief that Jesus is the agent God will use to resurrect people on the last day. The Pharisees already believed and taught that there would be a resurrection on the last day, that God would raise people up on the last day. But the author wants to win us over to belief that God has given Jesus the authority to be the one to do the resurrecting at that time.

Thus we find in the exchange between Mary and Jesus in John 11 that Mary says concerning Lazarus "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." (John 11:24) Notice, she does not say "I know that you will raise him up at the last day" but "he will rise," because Mary believed God would do the raising personally. But the author has Jesus reply:

I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

Mary's response:

Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

So the purpose of the author is to teach that one of the prerogatives of the Messiah is to be the one to raise the dead on the last day.

The emphasis each time Jesus is presented as saying "I will raise him up on the last day" is on the "I," because per John 6:39 it is the Father's will for Jesus to be the one to do the raising.

The same is also found in John 5:25-27

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. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

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  • David it is indeed a very correct answer. – Ozzie Ozzie Dec 21 '17 at 20:44
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In eschatological terminology, the last day is that specific day which will end this age and will immediately precede the glory of the age to come. In other words, the last day of this present evil age will never be followed by another day marred by sin and death. It will be the day in which the word of Christ will judge men according to that which they did in the body (John 12:48; 2 Cor. 5:10). It will also be the very day in which Christ will raise all who were given to Him by the Father for the purpose of redeeming them from their sin -- those who have eternal life through faith in the finished work of Christ (John 6:39-40). Thus, the last day will be Resurrection Day for both those who have done good and those who have done evil (John 5:28-29).

This does not contradict the spiritual resurrection of believers (John 5:21-27) who will have passed from death in trespasses and sin to life in Christ at the point of regeneration (Eph. 2:5-6; Col. 2:12-13; 3:1-4), because there must first be a resurrection of the believer's spirit (regeneration) before his body can be raised at the last day. Otherwise his body would be raised in the resurrection of judgment, whose portion of eternity would be the second death.

In other words, when Jesus said "... I will raise him up at the last day", He ended all speculation as to when Resurrection Day will be. It will be the last day of history as we know it. It will be at the end of the world. It will be the day on which He will return in glory.

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  • (+1) for calling attention to the phrase "at the last day". Thanks and welcome to the site. – user10231 Dec 19 '16 at 12:18
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Why is it that so many are blinded to the promises and predictions Jesus made? I believe it is that Satan has done all in his power to blindside us into thinking that our souls are wafting around in heaven, waiting to be reunited with our bodies. My soul is a gift from God. It's what makes me the person I am. It's unique. Like the hairs on my head. It's my personality. Hopefully it is growing some of the fruits of the Spirit. This is what almighty God is protecting. Not some wafting formless ghost-like thingamyjig playing a harp. When He says that those who loved Him will be raised up on the last day (the dead in Christ), then they which are alive and remain, He means what He says. And just as those Jesus restored to new life, were recognized by their family and friends, so will God's children be restored. New life, new breath, new body, same personality without a sinful bent, same hairs on our heads, sparkle in our eyes, gratitude in our hearts. Not one day goes by but that we don't hold fast to hope in HIS faith, in HIS love, in His promises.

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  • Welcome to BH. Up-voted +1. Please add a paragraph break, here and there, or you may end up with the dreaded 'wall of text'. Your answer is refreshing. Much appreciated. Please see the Tour and Help (below, bottom left) as to the purpose and the functioning of the site. – Nigel J Mar 25 at 22:52
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John made a big deal about Jesus' promise to raise his disciples from the dead at the end because his audience really needed to be reassured of this. Why? Because it had been 20 years since the last Scriptures were written and Jerusalem was decimated, almost 60 years since Jesus was murdered, all of the other Apostles were dead -- and almost all of the people Jesus made this promise to, and these 2nd and 3rd generation Christians were starting to wonder "if" and "when" as they mourned the continual losses of their brothers in Christ.

John's Gospel offered strong encouragement to his readers from Jesus' own promises concerning the future resurrection, and it serves the same purpose for readers today.

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    Jas 3.1 Your response seems to weave a thread of cynicism into the syntax of those passages. Is it an attempt to evaporate the incredible power of their meaning? If theopneustos is to be taken seriously as the essential prerogative of God communicating His divine will and plan to us, then assuming that John simply has the emotional contentment of his post-ressurection readers as his primary purpose in recording Christ's promises, is to miss the point! Scripture teaches that our bodily resurrection on that Last Day will be the Glorious Palingenesia for which Jesus gave his all to secure. – user5524 Dec 4 '14 at 21:41
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    @DavePritchard The Scriptures are the word of God to His people. They are simultaneously ancient human communication. The two should not be divorced. Understanding the Scriptures requires that we read them in context. That means we need to understand the original setting, including the occasion of the writing and the effect the author was seeking to have on his audience. This does not diminish the power of the Scriptures; it is actually the foundation of it. – Jas 3.1 Dec 5 '14 at 19:50
  • @DavePritchard We can continue our discussion here. – Jas 3.1 Dec 8 '14 at 3:56
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Everyone stands before the great white throne. Everyone. The dead, small and great are the righteous. Jesus brings the souls, that are sleeping in their graves, with him when he returns at the last day, 1 Thes 4. They will be rejoined with their resurrected bodies made incorruptible. The souls were made immortal when the body died and went to heaven. 2 Corinthians 5:5 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. I believe Paul is teaching that when the Christian dies his soul puts on imortality, mortality is swallowed up, is gone. 1 Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. Seems to me the dead put on incorruption to be joined with their immortal souls and the living are changed and put on incorruption and immortality at the same time. I believe this lines up with the souls reigning with Christ in heaven now, the 1000 years.

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No where in the Bible is the term "physical resurrection" mentioned! Acts 2:38 explains how we are "spiritually" raised from the dead (i.e. from dead in sin to alive with the Holy Spirit within us) Acts 2:38 commands adult full immersion Baptism and it says it is then that we receive forgiveness of sins and the Gift of the Holy Spirit. NOTE - Having the Holy Spirit is essential since it says in Romans 8:9-11 it unless you have the Holy Spirit you don't belong to Christ! Now since all Scripture says that God is deed "spirit and wishes to be worshipped in spirit and according to His Word" then upon physical death our resurrection will be a spiritual body like the angels meaning that body all Scripture says will not die and go on forever. PILGRIM - this new body is not a physical body but a spiritual body like the angels ... therefore there is no physical resurrection. Our Scripture John 6:39 and other John passages is talking about a spiritual resurrection since everything on the other side is spiritual not physical. The bible teaches that first comes the physical then comes the spiritual (i.e. resurrection)! Respectfully submitted, a watchman of His Word

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    Welcome to BH.SE! Please take the tour to get a feel for how the site functions. An answer is not the place to elaborate on what you believe, it is for the purpose of addressing the question that was asked, i.e. "In the Gospel of John, why does Jesus say (four times), 'I will raise him up at the last day'?". Please edit your answer to do so. Also, please break up your text into paragraphs to make what you have to say easier to read. – enegue Mar 12 '18 at 6:29
  • Jesus Christ himself rose from the dead physically. He invited his disciples to handle him, physically. And if he arose physically, then so shall all the dead. – Nigel J Nov 15 '19 at 7:56
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Peter Berian, you're misinterpreting the Gospel by confusing life that is promised to those who die in Christ before the parousia with the general resurrection that occurs at the end of time. As Christ told the good thief, he would be in Paradise that very day, and as you've quoted, Christ said the dead would be like angels, these people all died before the parousia. The resurrection of the body does not occur until the end, eschatologically. This means the individual spirit will be reunited with the body on Judgement Day. There were some who suspected the state of Heaven enjoyed by sleeping, spiritually living souls is less blissful or perfect than when they will be rejoined with their earthly bodies on the last day, such as Pope John XXII. It was an error to say this, and he retracted, however it is not difficult to speculate why such a distinction of state may appear true to the logical mind. You must hold the resurrection of the body in order to be a Christian. Do not allow yourself to slip into gnostic heresies. It is in the Apostles' Creed and all Apostles and Fathers preached it. By His Mercy and Love for us, the resurrected bodies of the redeemed will be as His was, both spiritual and bodily, and malleable in mysterious ways. This divine mandate is part of the Restoration of All Things to God. Nothing is forgotten that is His. Nothing is discarded that is His. Even the creatures will be raised. Mk 16:15,Rev 5:13.

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  • Dando, If you have a comment or want to dialogue with someone, do so below his/her question or answer. Please give your answer separately. Thanks. – John Martin Aug 13 '19 at 19:46
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I certainly agree with Dando. Christ Jesus is the resurrection period. Few persons ever mention Enoch and Elijah. They are most certainly with the Lord Christ Jesus as well as Moses, and,in all probability, many others who took advantage of this period of grace. When Jesus told Mary that he was the resurrection he was telling Mary, and all of us that as the Apostle Paul said we will be with the Lord in a twinkle of eye,or spiritually resurrected.

Moses was in the Mount of Transfiguration and he died a long time ago. That means the Lord Almighty, that is his name Jeremiah 51:19 took him to heaven, and later came to talk with Christ Jesus at the Mount. Enoch and Elijah demonstrates the unlimited power of the Lord Almighty, He just took them. And they are with Him in paradise/heaven with tens of thousands of others that took advantage of this period of Grace.

This period of Grace will come to an end. Then will come the judgement before the Great White Throne, and no one wants to come before that throne. Think, how will anyone be able to explain why they ignored, laughed, and criticize the son of God, Christ Jesus, and his followers while on earth. Separation from God is eternal death,and in sheol/hell.

Many people don't believe anything about our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, and while on earth that is their choice. And while here on earth we humans will have an opportunity to make many choices, just hope you make the right choices.

We are all sinners before the Lord Almighty, but cleaned by Christ Jesus. So,pray that the lost come to Christ Jesus while still on planet earth. According to Christ Jesus one can be a lousy, no good, sinner, and if his or her heart in not harden as in pharaoh's situation, then their is still an opportunity (Gospel of John 3:16) to save your soul from the ever burning fires of hell forever!

For those of you new followers of Christ Jesus if you are looking for direction may I suggest making the Proverbs part of your decision making processes. The Lord Almighty left these commands in the scriptures for us! I tell the men and women at the Union Gospel mission that reading the scriptures is easy,but internalizing the commands in the Proverbs is a challenge! However, with the help of the Spirit of Truth or the Holy Spirit you can make them a part of your decision making system, and do well before the Lord Almighty and mankind, it in the Proverbs 22:17.

Charles Pineda, Jr. UGM Preacher, Sacramento

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  • Hello user30755, welcome to BHSE! If you have the time, make sure to take the tour, to get yourself familiar with this site, and to see how we are different than other sites or forums. Thanks! hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour – sara Aug 13 '19 at 6:28
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Jesus is not an agent of God,He is God that's why He can raise the dead,judge and give eternal life to those who love Him and eternal shame to those who hate Him or do not believe in Him. God can't give His glory to another,Jesus is not an agent or subordinate,He is equal to God.

And many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to everlasting life, but others to shame and everlasting contempt.Daniel 12:2

Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out—those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. John 5:28

Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. John 5:25

For the LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our King. He will save us.Isaiah 33:32

Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son.John 5:22

I am the LORD; that is My name! I will not give My glory to another or My praise to idols.Isaiah 42:8

that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.John 5:23

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well.John14:1

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The significance of the phrase is when one lives in the Spirit, at the end when his old self is finally over, he will be resurrected fully into The Spirit.

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  • Welcome to BHSX, Peter, so glad to have you with us. Please take the tour to get yourself familiar with the site. Enjoy ! hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour – sara Nov 17 '19 at 13:41
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Jesus makes this outrageous statement and repeats it over and over, "I will raise him up at the last day." It's an outrageous claim and he knows it is and he wants to make sure everybody hears it so he repeats it. It is a massive statement that his audience (both then and now) would have to deal with. What is the significance of what he was saying? He was saying that I am the Christ, the son of the living God and all that is his is mine, his power, his majesty, his wisdom, his glory and his honor. "And I will raise him up at the last day."

This is not the claim of an ordinary human being. No human being could be honest and say this. No human would think to say this. It was an impossibility that a human being would be able to raise up anyone, much less every one that believed at the last day. Only God can do this. But Jesus says it boldly and with great certitude. And we are left to deal with it.

To further the impossibility of it in his listeners ears, He tells them that he is not raising them up to an ordinary life (although he had demonstrated that he could do this while on earth), He was raising them up to an everlasting life, an eternal and endless life. How can he do that? Except he were God.

And now we come face to face with the question of the ages, Is Jesus who he claims to be? A question I think every man will have to answer.

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The four-fold use of the phrase "I will raise him up on the last day" is bookended by two important ideas:

1.) Of all that the Father had given Jesus, Jesus would not suffer the loss of any, because it was the Father's will that Jesus not lose any.

John 6:39 (ESV),

39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day...

Not the emboldened phrase"I should lose" above. It is the Greek word ἀπολέσω (apolesō), which is the aorist subjunctive active, first person singular of the Greek verb ἀπόλλυμι (apollumi).

It means to perish/perish completely or destroy/destroy utterly.

2.) The chapter ends with a reference to Judas Iscariot:

John 6:70-71 (ESV)

70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.

We know from a later text in the Gospel of John that Judas was a thief:

John 12:4-6 (ESV),

4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.

Further, in between what Jesus says in John 6 and what we learn of Judas in John 12, we have in John 10 the following idea:

John 10:10 (ESV)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Note the use of destroy above. Here, it is ἀπολέσῃ (apolesē), the third personal singular aorist subjunctive active of ἀπόλλυμι (apollumi), meaning the same things as from John 6:39.

Jesus, by indicating four times that He will raise what the Father committed to His trust on the last day, not losing any, in conjunction with the reference to Judas as a devil, that is, a thief whose only interest is in stealing, killing, and destroying, is making a reference to the Mosaic law of a four-fold restitution whenever a theft has taken place, particularly for a sheep (See: Exodus 22:1, 2 Samuel 12:6, and Luke 19:8).

It is important here to distinguish the fact that the four-fold restitution is specifically for sheep.

First, let it be noted that a common comparison of humans falling into sin is with sheep going astray (See, e.g.: Psalm 119:176, Isaiah 53:6, and Jeremiah 50:6).

Second, note that in John 10:11 Jesus tells His audience that He is the "good shepherd" of the sheep. He goes on to say He will lay down His life in order to rescue the sheep of His sheepfold whenever either thieves and robbers come up, or when wolves are on the prowl.

This surrendering of the life of the good shepherd is the means whereby Jesus procures the restoration of the lost sheep who have gone astray, so that they may have eternal life and be saved. It is how He fulfills the will of the Father and makes certain that, on the last day, none of them are lost.

Jesus emphasizing that fact four times within just a matter of a few verses in John 6 then indicates that He will restore four-fold that which has been taken away from the Father, that is, Jesus will make good on what the Thief, that is, the Devil, has stolen, namely, the human race.

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