In chapter 7 His brethren after the flesh, still sunk in unbelief, would have Him shew Himself to the world, if He did these great things; but the time for this was not yet come. At the fulfilment of the type of the feast of tabernacles He will do so. The passover had its antitype at the cross, pentecost at the descent of the Holy Ghost. The feast of tabernacles, as yet, has had no fulfilment. It was celebrated after the harvest and the vintage, and Israel joyfully commemorated, in the land, their pilgrimage before entering on the rest which God had given them in Canaan. Thus the fulfilment of this type will be when, after the execution of judgment (whether in discerning between the wicked and the good, or simply in vengeance [See Footnote #33], Israel, restored to their land, shall be in possession of all their promised blessing. At that time Jesus will shew Himself to the world; but at the time of which we are speaking His hour was not yet come. Meanwhile, having gone away (v. 33, 34), He gives the Holy Ghost to believers (v. 38, 39).
Remark here, there is no pentecost brought in. We pass from the passover in chapter 6 to the tabernacles in chapter 7, in lieu of which believers would receive the Holy Ghost. As I have remarked, this Gospel treats of a divine Person on earth, not of the man in heaven. The coming of the Holy Ghost is spoken of as substituted for the last or eighth day of the feast of tabernacles. Pentecost supposes Jesus on high.
But He presents the Holy Ghost in such a way as to make Him the hope of faith at the time in which He spoke, if God created a sense of need in the soul. If any one thirsted, let him come to Jesus and drink. Not only should his thirst be quenched, but from the inner man of his soul should flow forth streams of living water. So that coming to Him by faith to satisfy the need of their soul, not only should the Holy Ghost be in them a well of water springing up into everlasting life, but living water should also flow forth from them in abundance to refresh all those who thirsted. Observe here, that Israel drank water in the wilderness before they could keep the feast of tabernacles. But they only drank. There was no well in them. The water flowed from the rock. Under grace every believer is not doubtless a source in himself; but the full stream flows from him. This however would only take place when Jesus was glorified, and in those who were already believers, previous to their receiving it. What is spoken of here is not a work that quickens. It is a gift to those who believe. Moreover at the feast of tabernacles Jesus will shew Himself to the world; but this is not the subject of which the Holy Ghost thus received is especially the witness. He is given in connection with the glory of Jesus, while He is hidden from the world. It was also on the eighth day of the feast, the sign of a portion beyond the sabbath rest of this world, and which began another period-a new scene of glory.
Observe also that, practically, although the Holy Ghost is presented here as power acting in blessing outside the one in whom He dwells, His presence in the believer is the fruit of a personal thirst, of need felt in the soul-need for which the soul had sought an answer in Christ. He who thirsts, thirsts for himself. The Holy Ghost in us, revealing Christ, becomes, by dwelling in us when we have believed, a river in us, and thus for others.
The spirit of the Jews plainly shewed itself. They sought to kill the Lord; and He tells them that His relationship with them on earth would soon be ended (v. 33). They need not hasten so much to get rid of Him: soon they would seek Him and not be able to find Him. He was going away to His Father.
We see clearly the difference here between the multitude and the Jews-two parties always distinguished from each other in this Gospel. The former did not understand why He spoke of the desire to kill Him. Those of Judea were astonished at His boldness, knowing that at Jerusalem they were conspiring against His life. His time was not yet come. They send officers to take Him; and these return, struck with His discourse, without laying hands on Him. The Pharisees are angry, and express their contempt for the people. Nicodemus hazards a word of justice according to the law, and brings their contempt on himself But each one goes away to his home. Jesus, who had no home until He went back to heaven whence He came, goes to the Mount of Olives, the witness of His agony, His ascension, and His return-a place which He habitually frequented, when at Jerusalem, during the time of His ministry on earth.
The contrast of this chapter with Judaism, even with its best hopes in the future that God has prepared for His earthly people, is too evident to be dwelt upon. This Gospel, throughout, reveals Jesus outside all that belonged to that earthly system. In chapter 6 it was death here below on the cross. Here it is glory in heaven, the Jews being rejected, and the Holy Ghost given to the believer. In chapter 5 He gives life, as the Son of God; in chapter 6 He is the same Son, but not as divinely quickening and judging as being Son of man, but as come down from heaven, the Son in humiliation here, but the true bread from heaven which the Father gave. But in that lowly One, they must see the Son, to live. Then, as so come, and having taken the form of a servant, and being found in fashion as a man, He (v. 53) humbles Himself, and suffers on the cross, as Son of man; in chapter 7 He, when glorified, sends the Holy Ghost. Chapter 5 displays His titles of personal glory; chapters 6, 7, His work and the giving of the Spirit to believers consequent on His present glory in heaven, [See Footnote #34] to which the presence of the Holy Ghost answers on earth. In chapters 8, 9 [See Footnote #35] we shall find His testimony and His works rejected, and the question decided between Him and the Jews. It will be observed also, that chapters 5 and 6 treat of the life. In chapter 5 it is given sovereignly and divinely by Him who possesses it; in chapter 6, the soul, receiving and being occupied with Jesus by faith, finds life, and feeds upon Him by the grace of the Father: two things distinct in their nature-God gives; man, by grace, feeds. On the other hand, chapter 7 is Christ's going to Him that sent Him, and meanwhile the Holy Ghost, who unfolds the glory He is gone into, in us and by us, in its heavenly character. In chapter 5 Christ is the Son of God, who quickens in abstract divine power and will, what He is, not the place He is in, but alone judges, being Son of man; in chapter 6, the same Son, but come down from heaven, the object of faith in His humiliation, then the Son of man, dying, and returning again; in chapter 7, not yet revealed to the world. The Holy Ghost is given instead when He is glorified above, the Son of man in heaven-at least contemplating His going there.
Footnotes for John 7