In John’s gospel, readers were told that when Lazarus of Bethany was on his deathbed, Martha and Mary sent Jesus an urgent message alerting Him that they urgently needed His assistance. However, Jesus stayed where He was for two more days (11:6).

The name Lazarus is synonymous with the Hebrew, “Eliezer.” It means “my God is help.” Bethany in Hebrew means, “house of the poor,” which may cause us to think that the area where the family lived was dedicated to the ministry of mercy in the Judean region that Josephus refers to in Jewish Wars (2.124). The irony here is significant.

Jesus was at least one day’s journey away from Bethany (10:40). By the time the message reached him, Lazarus had already died (11:11). Jesus waited for two additional days, timing His arrival to take place exactly on the fourth day after Lazarus’ death (11:17). But why?

The answer may lie in a Jewish tradition that can be traced back to the time of Jesus. The soul of a deceased person was believed to linger behind, hovering over the dead body for three days, desperately trying to get back inside the body.

“Berei and R. Pappi, R. Joshua of Sikhnin in the name of R. Levi: ‘For the first three days after death the soul floats above the body, thinking that it will return to the body. When the soul sees the body, that the appearance of the face has changed, it leaves the body and goes its way.'” (Jerusalem Talmud, Yebamot 16:3)

When Jesus arrived, He declared: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies…” (11:25). Being deeply moved by the sorrow of His fellow Jews over the death of Lazarus, He resurrected him from the dead at exactly the time He had planned to do so all along (11:36-38).

Why was Jesus late? He was late to show that resurrection is not something that He does; resurrection is something that He is!



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  2. 10.12.17. Detaching spirits/souls lingers for plus/minus 3 days *depending* on how earth bound the spirit is. Even the Jewish Jesus, possessing Divine Power, could only *lawfully recall* a spirit back into its body provided the spirit hasn't *completely* severed itself from its body with which it wishes to continue to communicate, which can even take months. Why was no Jewish tradition considered by Jesus in other instances? Who Is, and where is The Spirit of Truth promised by The Jewish Jesus Christ Himself in John 16:13, Who will surely lead us into *all* Truth?! "Seek and he shall find!" Jesus

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    • Hi I was meant understand biblicajy that the dead know nothing for their love and hatred is peished. And King Solomon said plaiely that the dead know not anything. And John quoted jesus saying time Is coming when the dead shall hear that voice of Christ and shall resurrect unto life eternal and some to condemnation. The question now is what is going to be resurrected when some soul are departed leaving the body to rot in the ground. The boy consists of three things. Ie Body. = The ability to use 5 sences Soul = The intelligence Spirit ability

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    • I know Jesus didn't believe that Jewish 3 day Hocus pocus, and resurrected Lazerus on the fourth day to prove it was Hocus as well as to prove he is the resurrection and the life.

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    • Chuck Lasekan, you sir are either ignorant or trying to start trouble. There are at least a few instances mentioned in the Bible when someone dies and was brought back to life. This instance as was well explained was to prove the resurrection.
    • Chuck Lasekan What does God mean by soul? in Gen 2 God blew into Adams nostrils the breath of life and man became a breathing soul or creature. We breath we live we stop breathing and we die.. Once dead we need the resurrection when Jesus returns to live.

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  4. I've put in off long enough. In January when I get paid I will start a basic course. How do I pay.i have no credit card.also can you explain about the length of the course is it by month.thankyou
    • I think that possibly Jesus was not grieved so much about the death of his friend, (he was about to have him back alive) but for the false grief that these pharisee's were showing. These same men would be conspiring to kill Lazarus AGAIN in the very next chapter. John 12:10

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  5. Funny how no one sees the mystery here. Eliezer represents the son of Aharon and the Priesthood, which in the 1st century was corrupt and about to die (Hebrews 8 I believe). It was allowed to die, but is to be resurrected by Yeshua when he returns as pictured in Ezekiel's Temple. Too little space to explain here- but contemplate it. Good article.
    • Why do you think that there is a connection between Eliezer's death and corruption of the priesthood? I think you can make your point clear in 100 words. :-)
    • The problem with most people is that they fail to see what tge temple if Israel represents, the polluted human body. The 3rd temple of Ezekiel is Christ's glorified body. The body we will take up when we are ressurected. There does not have to be a third temple built for Jesus to return to, he is the 3rd temple. Satan cannot pollute this temple so it cannot be built by hands for him to pollute. I have no doubt satan will build a third temple for him to sit in and set up his worldly kingdom.

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  6. I would eagerly join your learning comunity, but it is something beyond my possibilities because my incomes are extremingly short. May the Lord Jeshua bless you while you make His name known.
    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with Exodus and The New Testament or Jewish Insights Into Scriptures I. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!
    • This is beautiful once again I love your teachings! When time is right I believe God will provide funds for me to join & learn more, until then thank you so much for the opportunity to learn in free lessons! I learn the little I can on my own.
  7. You are right. He was late because he wanted to demonstrate that regardless how long ago one dies, he will resurrect and the author of it was present. According to Jewish thinking, (some), at that time, no one could bring back to life after 3 days...the body starts to decay and even stinks by the day 4. He wanted to show, just before his Crucifixion, that he Christ was the son of God and was sent by God. Few people, at that time, understood Moses' teaching that some one like him was to be brought up among them to be
  8. Well didn't it say for God's Glory! He wasn't late he showed two lessons he is able to feel our infirmity weep or rejoice with us and nothing is impossible for God it was his plan
  9. Something to think about ? Larzarus is a representative of the Jews that have passed away before the NOEL of Christ. If you don't know the meaning of the word NOEL look it up, Jesus was born 4 thousand years after Adam so in waiting an additional 2 days Christ completed the 4 thousand years that the Jews that were dead were waiting for there Messiah. Remember this is something to think about .
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