Lazarus: The Seventh Sign
Oct 06, 2006
Each year since 1999-2000 we have noted how the miracle-signs in the Gospel of John reveal something of the divine plan year by year. These signs overlay the seven vials of wine, but more specifically, they manifest the seven vials of water being poured out each year.
Since we are now at the time of the seventh vial, we are also seeing how the seventh sign in John's Gospel reveals what God is currently doing. The seventh sign is the raising of Lazarus, recorded in John 11. So it is of significance that the gematria (numeric value) of the name Lazarus is precisely 144. This is the number associated with the elect ones, particularly those who are raised from the dead.
Lazarus is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew name Eliezar, "God Helps." The name refers to the concept of the Comforter (paraclete), who is the "helper" or Advocate (defense attorney) in a court room. After raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus spoke of the Comforter that He would send. In that context, this was the promise of the Holy Spirit seen at Pentecost.
In Genesis 24:4, Abraham sent his trusted steward, Eliezar, to find a bride for Isaac. Here Eliezar is a type of the Holy Spirit, who is sent into the world to find a bride for Christ. When Eliezar finds Rebekah through answered prayer, and he sees her good character, he knows immediately that she is the one for Isaac. He then gives her an "earring" and "two bracelets."
The "earring" is literally a "face ring," and it speaks of the glorified face. In this way, it is best seen in the incident where Moses' face was glorified in Exodus 34:29. Since "face" and "presence" are from the same Hebrew word, the glorified face indicates the "presence" of God, or God with us (Emmanuel).
The presence of God is what the Holy Spirit has to offer the bride of Christ. But there is more. Rebekah also received two bracelets. The Hebrew word for bracelet is tsamid, which happens to have a gematria of 144. A bracelet speaks of the works of one's hands and the ability to be a servant. When Eliezar asked Rebekah for some water, not only did she give him a drink, but she also drew water from the well for his entire entourage of camels. That was a lot of water, and it shows her generous and willing character.
Incidentally, since Eliezar gave Rebekah TWO bracelets, one might extend this symbolism of the 144 to 288. The Hebrew word charaph, "betrothed," has a gematria of 288.
Likewise, in the New Testament Greek, Rev. 21:9 speaks of "the Bride, the Lamb's wife." This phrase has a gematria of 2880, or 10 x 288.
In 2 Tim. 1:9, "a holy calling" (klesei hagia) has a gematria of 288 as well.
The number 288 is important, because when David set up His Kingdom, he had a National Guard of 288,000, or 24,000 from each tribe that rotated month by month (1 Chron. 27:1). He also had 288 singers in his choir (1 Chron. 25:7).
In the book of Revelation, we see two groups of 144,000. The first is in Revelation 7, where the theme is military, and later in Revelation 14, where it is about the choir singing the new song. The "sealed" ones in Rev. 7 are military, because it was the practice of the military to place a tav("mark," or sign of the cross) on the foreheads of those soldiers who came out of battle unscathed. They were considered to be divinely protected. See also Ezekiel 9:4.
So the 144 and the 288 are intertwined when studying the mathematical patterns of Scripture to learn what God is saying under the surface. These numbers have to do with the Holy Spirit's job in calling forth the bride of Christ. Lazarus, therefore, was a type of the Bride company, even as was Rebekah in the Old Testament. When Jesus said in John 11:43, "Lazarus, come forth," He was calling forth this company of people out of death and into their calling.
So how does this sign apply today? More and more this past year we have seen that a new move of the Holy Spirit is about to begin in the earth. This is like Eliezar being sent out once again in an intensified, short-term work that will finish what was begun at Pentecost in Acts 2.
And so this is the significance of the water that will be poured out on Oct. 7 at two cemeteries. While I do not expect to see any dead people literally raised to life at that time, I do expect to see the results of the word in the time ahead. It is a time of coming to life out of our Babylonian death.
Addendum: Lazarus, along with his sisters (Mary and Martha) were said to be the children of a woman named Eucharia, of the House of David, who married a Syrian Prince, Theophilus. Perhaps this is the same Theophilus to whom the book of Acts is addressed (Acts 1:1).
After Jesus' ascension, the general persecution of Christians in Judea eventually drove the Bethany family to foreign lands. Lazarus was reputed to be the first bishop of Cyprus after the stoning of Stephen. When he later moved to Marseilles in what is now southern France, he was succeeded by Barnabas, who was martyred in Salamis. Lazarus died later in Marseilles, where his tomb is with us to this day.