John 5:24-29


John 5:24-29 NKJV
24 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

It seems to me that this passage - specifically, the “resurrection of condemnation” - may not be referring to the resurrection when Christ returns to restore all things; rather, this a spiritual resurrection that occured at an “hour” not long after Christ spoke these words.

Let’s look at the context in v24. Jesus says that those who hear and believe pass from death to life. When one passes from death to life he has been resurrected (spiritually in this case). This is the resurrection of life; the same resurrection of life spoken of in v29. It follows then that the resurrection of condemnation is likewise a spiritual resurrection, albeit an unpleasant one to be sure.

Consider the word “death” in v24. We are speaking here of someone who is dead in sin, but not dead physically. Spiritually speaking, it could be said that this person who was dead in sin, was in the graveyard of sin (or simply, in the grave). Using this logic, the “graves” spoken of in v28 must be speaking of the same spiritual graves of v24 - not dead physically, but spiritually.

So what then is the “hour” that was coming in v28? I believe He was speaking of the advent of the Holy Spirit. Consider this verse.

John 16:7-8 NKJV
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

One of the missions of the Spirit was to convict the world of sin. This mission, which continues to this day, could be the “resurrection of condemnation” spoken of in John 5:29. Those who are dead in sin are under the condemnation of the Spirit who calls all men to repentance. Consider the following quote from Paul.

Acts 17:30
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

God now commands all men everywhere to repent. How does He do that?..through the conviction of the Holy Spirit.


Final Thoughts on UR

Conviction is not condemnation. Convicting has to do with prodding or convincing. The Hound of Heaven. There’s No condemnation in God. Frankly, I think THAT’S what He’s trying to convince sinners of to free them from the captivity of sin and death. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our guilt in regard to sin - but not our sins themselves - God is not counting our sins against us. He is NOT condemning man.


The main point of this thread was to assert that the “resurrection of condemnation” is a spiritual one, just as is the “resurrection of life.” When one passes from death to life (John 5:24), he is resurrected spiritually; this is the resurrection of life. Similarly, when one is made aware of his guilt, he has experienced the resurrection of condemnation.

John 5:25
Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.

Here Jesus speaks of an hour that “now is” in which those who are dead in sin “hear his voice.” The time that “now is,” is referring to His earthly ministry; He made disciples of those who heard Him speak.

John 5:28
Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice

Here Jesus speaks of a time to come, in which all who are dead in sin would hear his voice. I have suggested that everyone heard His voice when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon all flesh. Those who are overcome in sin may have been condemned already (John 3:18), but it is the Holy Spirit that convicts the heart of sin thereby awakening (or resurrecting) the soul of condemnation.



Condemnation by whom?

If all who have done evil are condemned (and who hasn’t?), then Christ must mean death, not more condemnation.

That certainly happened - He preached to the disobedient dead from the Flood. He wasn’t preaching to only the choir.

Let’s get this straight:
Satan accuses and tells us we are condemned. He lies. (his stuff rings hollow now)
The Holy Spirit convicts and tells us we are redeemed.
There’s no condemnation in God.


To be “condemned,” as I see it, means to suffer the natural consequences of your own sin. These consequences end at death.

So you see John 5:28 referring to when Christ preached to the spirits in prison (1 Pet 3:19)? Maybe so, but how then do you explain the following verse (John 5:29) which says, “all who are in the graves will come forth”? According to Matt 27:52 only “many” were raised.

I’ll have to think about that. I do know that Jesus says those who do not believe are condemned already, but it’s not intuitively obvious He was referring to a condemnation of Satan.



Paul said everyone is raised, the good, the bad, the dead! The resurrection is universal. All that the Father gave Christ will be raised. That turns out to be everyone. Surprise! He’s given all of humanity for your kingdom, Lord! And the icing on the cake? All of them will confess you as Lord. What a nice present from Dad! Love does that.

And what? You want to bean count? What a party-pooper!


Okay, you see this as speaking of the resurrection at the return of Christ. Please describe then your view of the “resurrection of condemnation.”



Judgment is always based on works. We’re all sinners and all condemned to die.

Salvation is the justification of sinners as righteous. We (of ourselves) don’t deserve salvation - we didn’t earn it. Unless one thinks confessing Christ as Lord is earning salvation. Of course, the more enlightened view is that the confession is in response to the salvation revealed. There’s some love and gratitude going on to what turns out to be a Gift. Which is all fine unless it’s too easy, too free, or too true. All the resurrected (which is everyone) will confess Christ - which is bothersome for some people because it doesn’t seem fair - the same complaint the field workers had when everyone got paid the same wage.

We all deserve the ‘resurrection of condemnation’. If there were such a thing. There is no condemnation in God. That fact has been revealed to us along with the Gift. Neither can be ignored without making a mess of things.


Hi RanRan,

The “resurrections” to which Christ is referring in John 5:28-29 should be interpreted in light of verse 25 of this chapter. There, we read, “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Christ links the then-present and ongoing spiritual vivification of those who are said to be “dead” (v. 25) with a then-future event in which these very same people (whom he categorizes as “those who have done good” and “those who have done evil”) will come out of “the tombs” (v. 28). Those of whom Christ spoke (i.e., those who were passing “from death to life” in response to hearing his voice at that time – see verse 24) were not literally dead. The “death” in view in vv. 24-25 is a figurative “death” (i.e., “dead in transgressions and sins”). In verses 28-29, Christ is simply building off of his already-established metaphor of death and resurrection, and referring to the consummation of what had already begun to take place due to the proclamation of the gospel.

In verse 27, Christ is referring to that which was yet future when he says “the hour is coming,” and to that which was still present when he says “and is now here…” He says “and is now here” because this figurative “resurrection” had already begun taking place, and was to continue and culminate at a yet-future time. Throughout John’s gospel, Christ uses the phrase “an hour is coming” in reference to a time that was in the relatively near future. In John 4:21-23 we read,

“Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not now; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” John 4:21-23

Similarly, we read later in chapter 16:

They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God…But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you…I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father… Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. John 16:2-4, 25, 32

As used in the above passages, the expression “the hour is coming” evidently refers to the period of tribulation and persecution leading up to, and climaxing in, the overthrow of the Jewish nation in 70 AD. Jesus adds “the hour is now here” because what he was referring to had already begun, and would continue until and culminate in, the hour that was still “coming” (which, by the time the apostle John wrote his first epistle, had already drawn near – see 1 John 2:18). Those who were “passing from death to life” in v. 25 are the same persons who would later come out of their “tombs” at the future time in view, to receive either “life” or “judgment.”

If these verses are understood literally, however, then they actually prove too much. If “the tombs” of which Christ speaks (v. 28) refer to literal tombs, then Christ would be saying that only those who are in literal tombs will be raised (for he doesn’t say anyone else will be). But what about all the literal dead who weren’t placed in tombs? What about all the dead who weren’t buried at all? A literal interpretation of Jesus’ words in vv. 27-28 is simply not tenable, and disregards the immediate context. The “dead” of whom Christ is speaking are not literally dead (no more so than the “dead” of whom Paul speaks in Eph 2:1 and 5:14, and of whom Peter speaks in 1 Pet 4:6), nor are the “tombs” literal tombs (no more so than the “graves” of which we read in Ezekiel chapter 37, when God declares, “Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people.”). The people of Israel are likely represented by Christ as being in “tombs” to more forcibly represent their low and undesirable condition of sitting “in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Luke 1:79). But as the gospel was being proclaimed throughout Judea, multitudes were responding to it in faith, and were consequently being enlightened with the truth of the gospel and receiving “life.”

This passing from death to life (cf. Eph 2:1, 5-6) continued throughout the ministry of the apostles, even up until the time when the city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by the Romans (something John reveals was greatly feared by the Jewish leaders at that time – see 11:48-50). Among those who believed the gospel, some (“many,” according to John 12:42-43) did not confess their belief for fear of what others would think, and because they didn’t want to be “put out of the synagogue.” Thus, while they were awakened to the new life of the gospel, they either failed to go public with their faith, or ultimately “fell away” from the truth of the gospel altogether and returned to their former way of life (see Heb 2:3, 6:4-8; 10:26-29; John 8:30-33, 37, 44; 2 Pet 2:20-22; etc.). If any among the people of Israel “fell away” from the truth of the Gospel at some point prior to Christ’s coming in his kingdom (and thus did not “endure to the end” as Christ exhorted his followers to do in order to be “saved”), they exposed themselves once again to the coming judgment upon their nation. Christ himself warned his disciples, “If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned” (John 15:6). Christ is here talking about those who had “passed from death to life” and were abiding in him (cf. John 6:54, 56), but subsequently fall away from the faith. It is these people who were “resurrected to judgment” when the “hour” came. Having “fallen away from grace,” they were consequently judged with the rest of the nation when Christ came to establish his kingdom in the world, and found themselves awakened not to “life” but to the “shame and everlasting contempt” prophesied in Daniel 12:2. (I find it is significant that Paul, in Eph 5:14, combines the metaphors of “sleeping” and “awakening” found in Daniel 12:2 with that of being “dead” and “arising,” and applies it to circumstances taking place in his day).



That was wonderful, Aaron. The sword Christ came bearing was against Israel, not mankind. When will people understand that? In spite of THAT sword - all of Israel will be saved - which is the greater truth. That’s Paul speaking and he knew the Gospel.