John 12:48 - He That Rejecteth Me

SCRIPTURE: John 12:48 - He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

QUESTION: These words were originally spoken by the Lord to disbelieving Jews. Those who rejected his words were guaranteed resurrection in order to be judged in the "last day." In this record no requirement is mentioned of anyone having to be touched by the blood of Christ to be amenable to resurrection for judgment they just needed to have heard and understood his command to repent. In the light of the words in John 20:31, the Gospel recorded by the Apostle John also applies to every reader of the record. This passage (John 12:48) is a powerful statement of the Lord based on Deuteronomy 18:18-19. Do these words apply to the reader of this record today?

ANSWER: This question assumes the thing to be proven! For example, there is nothing in John 12:48 that says anything about resurrection, and the verse that precedes it - if any man hear my words and believe not, I judge him not, strongly militates against the inference that verse 48 reflects the judgment seat of Christ. Further, the question draws unwarranted conclusions that these "disbelieving" individuals were "guaranteed resurrection" or that they understood the word they "rejected" and "received not."

The context of this passage makes it clear that it is dealing with unbelievers... not with enlightened rejecters - though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him - vs. 37; Lord, who hath believed our report - vs. 38; therefore, they could not believe - vs. 39; their eyes blinded and their hearts hardened - vs. 40; if any man hear my words and believe not, I judge him not - vs. 47. These were those of whom Isaiah had prophesied, Hear ye indeed, but understand not, and see ye indeed, but perceive not (6:9), and as confirmed by Christ, ...their ears are dull of hearing, their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart... (Matthew 13:15). In John 15:21-22 Jesus further confirms, they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin. The indictment was not for rejection of a mental enlightenment of the gospel, but for rejection of the evidence that Jesus was the Son of God and the Messiah, which evidence appealed to their sight and hearing. John records that they loved darkness (3:12, 19), and Christ confirmed that they neither know me nor my Father (8:19).

The verse previous to the subject verse (John 12:47) states, If any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not, yet in verse 48 he states regarding the "word" he spoke...the same shall judge him in the last day. We know Christ will personally judge those appearing at his judgment seat! The judgment "through his word...in the last day" references the judgments determined upon Israel in the last days of their age as foretold by the prophets and confirmed by Christ... affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation (Olivet prophecy, Mark 13). Jesus had given ample warning confirmed by signs and wonders, that the killing of the "heir" by the wicked husbandmen would fill up their sins (Matthew 23:32-33) and bring the judgments prophesied upon them and their city in the "last days" of the commonwealth.

Yes, these words have general application to all who are exposed to evidence that Christ is the Son of God and do not believe in it as they love darkness. Such are condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18-19), and will succumb to the condemnation they are under in their last day. Deuteronomy 18:18-19 indeed indicates God will "require it of him" who does not "hearken unto my words," but God's judgments are carried out in this life as well. The testimony of Deuteronomy 18:18-19 is referenced in Acts 3:20-23, where it is not given the construction implied in the question (i.e., not a resurrectional application, but rather a threat of destruction); And he shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you. Whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things...for Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.