The Lord was able to say that “Now is the judgment of this world” (12:31) because the sins of the world were judged as He hung on the cross. But how could He say “now,” when He was still hours from the cross? The same way He could say what He said in John 16:5; 17:11,13—He “call-eth those things which be not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17). Since there would be no backing out on His part, in His mind, His payment for our sins was as good as done!
Just because the world’s sins were judged doesn’t mean everyone is saved, because as our Passover (ICor.5:7) His blood has to be applied by “faith in His blood” (Rom.3:25).
“The prince of this world” (John 12:31) is Satan (14:30 cf. IICor.4:4). How was He cast out? The first time this phrase was used, it referred to how Ishmael was cut off from his inheritance (Gen.21:10). The Canaanite nations were heirs of the promised land until God cast them out (Ex.34:24). The Levites were once cut off from their inheritance in the priesthood by being cast out (IIChron. 13:9), and Coniah was cast out from his inheritance in the throne (Jeremiah 22:28). Jews will be cast out of their inheritance in the kingdom if they don’t believe (Mt.8:12).
Satan became heir of the world when Adam sold his birthright for a piece of fruit. But the Lord “spoiled” him of his inheritance at the cross (Col.2:14,15). You see, sin was the thing that spoiled Adam of his inheritance, and once the Lord paid for our sins, He reclaimed Israel’s in-heritance in the earth and ours in heaven. Satan’s casting out will take effect in the middle of the Trib (Rv.12:7-9).
The Lord explained what He meant by being “lifted up” (John. 12:32) in the next verse. His death on the cross (v.33) was like the lifting up of the serpent in the wilderness (John 3:14). People looked to Moses to save them, but he represented the Law and couldn’t. The brass of the serpent represented judgment (Deut.28:15,23), and the serpent itself represented how He was “made sin” for us (IICor.5:21).
What did the Lord mean He’d “draw all men” to Himself? He’d been drawing Jews for years, but in context, when some Gentiles wanted to see Him (12:20-22) He said He had to die before He could draw Gentiles to Himself (23-24). Gentiles weren’t supposed to come to Him until the kingdom (Isa.2:2-4), which couldn’t come until after He paid for our sins. Were all men drawn to Him? A Jew was (Luke 24:42), as was a Gentile (Mt.217:54). They were drawn as God always drew men, with love (cf. Ho.11:4).
When He was lifted up, men knew He was the Christ (John 8:28) by the prophecies He fulfilled, and that’s what men had to know to be saved at that time.
The Law did say Christ would abide forever (Jo.13:34 cf. IISam.7:4-13; Isa.9:6,7; Ezk.37:24,25), specifically that “the son of man” would (Dan.7:13,14). But these verses didn’t say He wouldn’t die first, and other verses did (Isa.53:8; Dan.9:26), verses Jews like these chose to ignore.
The Lord doesn’t argue, He just reminded them He was the light of the world (John 12:35) and that while the physical light of the world abides forever (Ps.89:20,36), it goes away every night, suggesting that just because He had to go away didn’t mean He wouldn’t abide forever. He told them to walk in the light because that was the gospel, that of faith plus the work of following Him. This would make them the lights to the Gentiles that God always wanted them to be (v.36).
The arm of the Lord (John 12:38) is His strength (De.26:8), and Christ showed His arm in His miracles, which men refused to believe (John 12:37,38). They couldn’t believe (v.39) because God closed their eyes (v.40) by giving them so much light that they closed their own eyes (Mt.13:14, 15). God closes eyes by making hearts “fat” with knowl-edge (Isa.6:10). They “couldn’t believe” because they didn’t want to believe (cf. Gen.37:4). God hardened their hearts (John 12:40) the same way, by giving men too much light, as God gave Pharaoh (Ex.14:8 cf. 8:32). Because of this they couldn’t be converted (John 12:40 cf. Ps.51:13) or healed from their sins (John 12:40 cf. Psalm 41:4).