From Plainer Words

The Exaltation And The Compelling Force

Posted in: 2006
By Tom L. Ballinger
Mar 15, 2008 - 8:33:24 PM

January 18, 2006


The Exaltation

In the Gospel of John, the Holy Spirit inspired John to use the Greek word, “hupsoo.” He used the word five times. Each occurrence, it was translated “lifted up.” The other instances in which it is used in the NT, it is translated; “exalt,” “exalted,” and “exalteth.” This is very significant. There were six other words in the Greek language which could have been used by John to indicate; “to lift up.”

Epairo: (Strong’s No. 1869). To raise-up; exalt self. KJV = lift up or raise up.
Egeiro: (Strong’s No. 1453). Awaken, rise, stand, or rear-up.
Anakupto: (Strong’s No. 352). To unbend. To be elated. KJV = lift up, look up.
Anistema: (Strong’s No. 450). Arise, raise-up (again), to stand-up
Tuphoo: (Strong’s No. 5187). To envelope with smoke; to inflate with self conceit.
Airo: (Strong’s No. 142). To take-up, or away. KJV = lift up.

Now, if John was simply going to express the idea that the Lord Jesus was going to be “lifted up” on the cross he would have used either “epairo,” “anakupto,” or “airo.” Neither of these three words have anything to do with “exalted!” However, “HUPSOO” clearly does. “Hupsoo” is the key to understanding John 12:32.

“But I, when I am lifted up [hupsoo] from the earth, will draw all men to Myself" (John 12:32) NIV.

During the days of His flesh was the time of His humiliation. The ultimate act of His humiliation was dying on the cross.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).

“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:7-8).

John 12:32 does not reflect His despising the shame and the humbling of Himself. It speaks volumes to those who have ears to hear—when He is exalted (hupsoo) from the earth—which is still a future event.

Isaiah prophesied of the Exaltation of Christ in Isaiah 45:23. The Apostle Paul referred to this prophecy in Romans 14:11; he then expands on this prophecy in Philippians 2:

“ …He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:8-11).

“Highly exalted” is the word, “hupsoo,” with the prefix, “huper,” added. This biblical usage of the word, “huperupsoo,” interprets for us what the Spiritual meaning of “hupsoo” is in John 12:32—exalted. “And I, when I am exalted from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

Our Savior’s death on the cross was an ignominious death. He, Who knew no sin, was made sin for us (1 Cor. 5:21). It was not a time of His exaltation. The Lord Jesus Christ endured the shame because of the joy that was set before Him—His future exaltation.

We believe that many orthodox scholars, as well as many students and teachers of the Word, take a very superficial view of John 12:32. This is evidenced by their interpretation of Christ being “lifted up” on the cross.

“And when I am lifted up [on the cross], I will draw everyone to me" (John 12:32) TLB.

“The Living Bible” inserts [on the cross], simply, to solidify an almost universal interpretation of the text.

Taking “The Living Bible’s” version of the verse, it is really saying; And when I am exalted [on the cross], I will draw everyone to me.” It is utterly preposterous to even think that Jesus Christ was exalted on the cross.

“The Amplified New Testament” says much the same; “And I, if and when I am lifted up from the earth [on the cross], will draw and attract all men [Gentile as well as Jew] to Myself.”

“The Living Bible” and “The Amplified New Testament” are, in reality, commentaries on the standard orthodox teachings and meanings given to verses in the Bible. There is no Scriptural justification for inserting [on the cross]. In other words, they give the reader the orthodox meanings of the verses by means of their amplification.

The Compelling Force

The focus of our attention will now be on the next portion of verse thirty-two; “I …will draw all men unto Me.” The Greek word, here, is “helkuo.”

When the Lord Jesus Christ is exalted, that is, praised “from the earth,” He will draw all men to Himself. This exaltation accompanies the Epiphany (Epiphaneia] of His Kingdom (2 Tim. 4:1). The “drawing” of all men that will take place is not that of a Divine “wooing,” but rather it will be the result of a Divine COMPELLING FORCE. The very word, itself, has the idea of something being moved by the force of something else.

A bucket draws water from a well. The water is forced to be drawn by the bucket. A wagon is drawn by a horse. The wagon is compelled to move by the force exerted by the horse. A man is drawn into the military by conscription (or a draft). The instances of “to draw” are many.

Here are five biblical usages of “draw” in which “helkuo”is used :

"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?” (John 4:11) NIV.

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).

“Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus” (John 18:10).

“And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes” (John 21:6).

“But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?” (James 2:6).

The Greek for “draw” is very instructive. It is the word, “helkuo;” Strong’s Concordance gives the definition as being, “to drag.” Thayer’s Lexicon gives a very penetrating definition: “To unsheathe a person forcibly and against his will.” An example of “unsheathe” is to draw a sword from a scabbard, or draw a pistol from a holster! With this in mind, now consider John 12:32:

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.”

Mankind will be “unsheathed.” The compelling force will be exerted by the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of Truth would have us recognize that there is coming a day when all men, everywhere, will be forcibly compelled, even if against their will, to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is LORD! What a great Day this will be. Can you think of a more appropriate name for that Day than the DAY OF JESUS CHRIST? We cannot.

In the biblical sense of the word, “helkuo,” men are not being drawn to Jesus Christ during the Dispensation of the Grace of God. They are not being compelled to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. To apply John 12:32 to the present dispensation is wrongly dividing the Word of Truth and is the height of credulity.

However, men will be compelled to acknowledge Him when He is exalted and praised from the earth.

Tom L. Ballinger

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