John 21:22 Study Archive
Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me
Did John Live Until Christ’s Return?
Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me
Tarry while I am coming ?
(cf. Matthew 26:64 – ‘from henceforth’)
B.F. Westcott – “abide till I come] The exact force of the original is rather “while I am coming”). The “coming” is not regarded as a definite point in future time, but rather as a fact which is in slow and continuous realisation. The prominent idea is of the interval to be passed over rather than of the end to be reached. Comp. ix. 4, xii. 35 f. ; Mark vi. 45 ; I Tim. iv. 13 ; Luke xix. 13 ; Matt. v. 25.”
Alfred Edersheim – “The saying went abroad among the brethren that John was not to die, but to tarry till Jesus came again to reign, when death would be swallowed up in victory. But Jesus had not so said, only : ‘If I will that he tarry while I am coming.’ “
Henry Barclay Swete – “But Peter gained nothing by his curiosity but a rebuke, and a renewal of the personal command : If I will that he tarry while I am coming? what is that to thee ? follow thou me? Strange that the restoration of this great Apostle should need to be balanced, like the reward of his confession, by a stern reproof!”
J. W. McGarvey – “And there seems to be a studious indefiniteness in ” If I will that he tarry while I am coming, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.”
Sir Thomas Browne (1646)
“Againe, they were mistaken in the Emphaticall apprehension, placing the consideration upon the words, If I will, whereas it properly lay in these, when I come: which had they apprehended as some have since, that is, not for his ultimate and last returne, but his comming in judgement and destruction upon the Jewes; or such a comming as it might be said, that that generation should not passe before it was fulfilled: they needed not, much lesse need we suppose such diuturnity; for after the death of Peter, John lived to behold the same fulfilled by Vespasian:7 nor had he then his Nunc dimittis, or went out like unto Simeon;8 but old in accomplisht obscurities, and having seen the expire of Daniels prediction, as some conceive, he accomplished his Revelation.” (Pseudodoxia Epidemica VII:x)
“As He spake them, He joined the symbolic action to His ‘Follow Me.’ This command, and the encouragement of being in death literally made like Him — following Him — were Peter’s best strength. He obeyed ; but as he turned to do so, he saw another following. As St. John himself puts it, it seems almost to convey that he had longed to share Peter’s call, with all that it implied. For, St. John speaks of himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved, and he reminds us that in that night of betrayal he had been specially a sharer with Peter, nay, had spoken what the other had silently asked of him. Was it impatience, was it a touch of the old Peter, or was it a simple inquiry of brotherly interest which prompted the question, as he pointed to John : ‘ Lord — and this man, what ? ‘ Whatever had been the motive, to him, as to us all, when, perplexed about those who seem to follow Christ, we ask it — sometimes in bigoted narrowness, sometimes in ignorance, folly, or jealousy — is this the answer : ‘What is that to thee ? follow thou Me.’ For John also had his lifework for Christ. It was to ‘tarry while He was coming ‘ — to tarry those many years in patient labour, while Christ was coming.
But what did it mean ? The saying went abroad among the brethren that John was not to die, but to tarry till Jesus came again to reign, when death would be swallowed up in victory. But Jesus had not so said, only : ‘If I will that he tarry while I am coming.’ What that ‘Coming’ was, Jesus had not said, and John knew not. So, then, there are things, and connected with His Coming, on which Jesus has left the veil, only to be lifted by His Own Hand — which He means us not to know at present, and which we should be content to leave as He has left them.” (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, p. 651)
“Of the four, St. John alone, so far as we know, survived the destruction of Jerusalem.” (vol. 3, p. 150).
John 21:22 “abide till I come] The exact force of the original is rather “while I am coming”). The “coming” is not regarded as a definite point in future time, but rather as a fact which is in slow and continuous realisation. The prominent idea is of the interval to be passed over rather than of the end to be reached. Comp. ix. 4, xii. 35 f. ; Mark vi. 45 ; I Tim. iv. 13 ; Luke xix. 13 ; Matt. v. 25. “Abiding” is the correlative to “following;” and according to the manifold significance of this word it expresses the calm waiting for further light, the patient resting in a fixed position, the continuance in life. The “coming” of the Lord is no doubt primarily “the second coming” (John ii. 28) ; but at the same time the idea of Christ’s “coming” includes thoughts of His personal coming in death to each believer. And yet further the coming of Christ to the Society is not absolutely one. He “came” in the destruction of Jerusalem. Thus St John did tarry till the great “coming,” nor is there anything fanciful in seeing an allusion to the course of the history of the Church under the image of the history of the apostles. The type of doctrine and character represented by St John is the last in the order of development. In this sense he abides still. Comp. xiv. 3, note; and Rev. ii. 5, 16, iii. 11, xvi. 15, xxii. 7, 12, 20.” (The Gospel According to John, p. 71)
“But the age which he attained — far surpassing, if some of our accounts are true, the ordinary three score years and ten — only deepened the impression that he would not die till Christ returned. He did not die till Christ had returned, in that sense of the ‘close of the aeon’ to which His own words and that of His Apostles often point (Farrar, The Early Days of Christianity, pp. 403-404).
“Till I come: that is, till I come to destroy the city and nation of the Jews.” (John Lightfoot, vol. 3, p. 451).
“This generation shall not pass, &c. Hence it appears plain enough, that the foregoing verses are not to be understood of the last judgment but, as we said, of the destruction of Jerusalem. There were some among the disciples (particularly John), who lived to see these things come to pass. With Matt. xvi.28, compare John xxi.22. And there were some Rabbins alive at the time when Christ spoke these things, that lived till the city was destroyed, viz. Rabban Simeon, who perished with the city, R. Jochanan Ben Zaccai, who outlived it, R. Zadoch, R. Ishmael, and others.” (vol 2., p. 320).
Thomas Newton (1754)
“‘The coming of Christ’ is also the same period with the destruction of Jerusalem, as may appear from several places in the Gospels, and particularly from these two passages; ‘There are some standing here,’ saith our blessed Lord, ‘who shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom,’ Matt xvi. 28, that is, evidently, there are some standing here who shall live, not till they end of the world, to the coming of Christ to judge mankind, but till the destruction of Jerusalem, to the coming of Christ in judgment upon the Jews. In another place, John xxi.22, speaking to Peter concerning John, he saith, ‘If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?’ what is that to thee, if I will that he live till the destruction of Jerusalem? as in truth he did, and long. ‘The coming of Christ,’ and ‘the conclusion of the age,’ being therefore only different expressions to denote the same period with the destruction of Jerusalem, the purpose of the question plainly is, when shall the destruction of Jerusalem be, and what shall be the signs of it?’” (Newton, p. 374)
John Humphrey Noyes
“I first advanced into actual heresy in the early part of the summer of 1833 while still a student at New Haven Seminary. In the course of my Bible studies my attention was arrested by Christ’s expression in John 21:22: “If I will that he [John] tarry till I come, what is that to thee.” This seemed to imply that Jesus expected his disciple John to live until his second coming, and the disciples so construed it. The church on the contrary taught that Christ’s second coming was still far in the future. I had long been in the belief that the Bible was not a book of inexplicable riddles, and I determined to solve this mystery. Accordingly, I read the New Testament ten times with an eye on the question as to the time of Christ’s second coming, and my heart struggling in prayer for full access to the truth.” (George Wallingford Noyes, ed. The Religious Experience of John Humphrey Noyes (New York, The Macmillan Company, 1923), 69. )
“….we can now understand what Jesus meant when he spoke of his parousia as of an event which some of his contemporaries would experience (Matthew 10:23; 16:28; John 21:22): he was referring on these occasions to the fall of Jerusalem.” (Quoted by Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Future, p. 130).
Henry Barclay Swete
“But Peter gained nothing by his curiosity but a rebuke, and a renewal of the personal command : If I will that he tarry while I am coming? what is that to thee ? follow thou me? Strange that the restoration of this great Apostle should need to be balanced, like the reward of his confession, by a stern reproof!”
J. W. McGarvey
“And there seems to be a studious indefiniteness in ” If I will that he tarry while I am coming, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.
Date: 02 Dec 2003
I believe that Saint John IS here today,or I should say his spirit has remained,and walked with various men throughout the centuries as the spirit of Elijah did.It says of John that he will prophecy again and I surmise that this will be around the time of the 2 witnesses.Now let me ask you,if John was here would’nt Satan have an interest in this? And how would that interest manifest itself? Here is an interesting thing from the world of Rock-n-Roll ;find the CD from Aerosmith Permanent Vacation and listen to the song”St. John”,also find their CD Nine Lives and listen to the song”Circle”.Pretty strange!
- Date: 04 Feb 2004
- Time: 12:37:21
I don’t know what to think, Jesus said “seek and ye shall find” , Has any one been looking for John? and if they have, to whose glory would it be to find him ? I want to know all these secrets too, But I must remind myself that everything Jesus did was to glorify his father (our Father)and we must be careful what we seek. I fear God, the pharises searched for the same types of signs. Just believe, wait and be prepared for you will soon know the answers. Glorify Him who sent the Son of Man and be patient!
- Date: 04 Oct 2004
- Time: 11:32:21
It is a fact that Christians fled Jerusalem before Titus arrived. The traveled east towards Qumran and later crossed the Jordan (amen – the moment of our redemption in more ways than one praise Jesus!) before finally heading north to Pella, Jordan. The testimony to these events abounds out of every work of this era and immediately following. Even into the 4th century, Chrysostom states that “no man gainsays” the vengeance of that generation as being the fulfillment of the Olivet Prophecy — the backbone of Preterism.
- Date: 15 Nov 2004
- Time: 01:40:10
This could have been a statement made by the Lord stating in a literary context as to coming back after speaking to Peter…. There is not always a need that every Word of the Gospel should be digged beyond measure such that it loses its simpicity & beauty….Getting over spiritual doesn’t mean we are going to get more revelations from the Word of God.. We should be just sensitive to His Spirit & not ridiculing or judging or disputing of His Scripture..
Date: 06 May 2006
The secret things belong to the Lord our God but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. Deut 29:29 by: John the Apostle
Date: 12 Oct 2006
that Apostle John is still alive according to
2 Tim.1 v 10.
Date: 17 Jul 2007
I like that someone else has brought up the inquiry about Jesus’s statement of John. On three occasions, I have seen him. Once when I requested to see him, I saw him in a church revealed in his true physical human form. He was placing a bouquet at the feet of the Madonna shrine that was lit with candles. He came closer until he saw that I was terrified, because we were the only ones in the church. Then he disappeared right before my very eyes. Was it someone playing with my eyes? I don’t know. I also saw him in a vision. He showed me some of the history that transpired in his previous life. The bottom line was that the Jews as a religious group were totally against him, and that when he comes he may come to wage war against them. His coming will not be good for the many that turned his back on them. Some of them will be reincarnated strictly for the purpose of being annihilated, I believe. The one other time I saw him is when I was undergoing severe pain during labor. I saw him pass my destiny over to the accuser for a while. I was shocked and dismayed and for a long time I did not know why he did it. After the trials I endured during and shortly after the birth of my daughter, I realized why. I cannot talk about these. Jesus is a very tall man. He is very delicately boned however. His frame is lanky and he has a very bohemian look. His hair is fiery red with brown tones mixed in. His eyes are soft light brown. He has hair on his chin but no moustache. When he appears in the present, he wears the clothes of a camper-plaid heavy cotton shirts and jeans and earth shoes. His hair is as long as to his shoulders and no longer. It is not thick. It is very thin. On one side of his forehead his hairlines rises higher than the other. He has a rift on one side of his nose which is aquiline and fine boned. His lips are small and youthful looking. He has broad cheek bones and an oval face. He is the most beautiful if not handsome man I have ever seen. His skin is milky white and smooth. He is not black, nor copper red, nor brown. He is white. His feet are broad and fine boned. When I was with him in the spirit I was told I had to come back. I did not want to leave his side. I wanted to leave my whole life for him. He has there was a lot I had to experience and do. I believe I saw him. I think many other people have. He appears to his own. I feel privileged to think that I am his own. I do not deserve to belong to him, and yet I do. That’s the mystery.
Date: 19 Feb 2013
Brian Gilley. Child of God. Knowing too many details only swells the head! Referrring to my friend Jesus, in John 21.22. For they were all now friends, Jesus, in verse 21.5 called out to them, “friends, havnt you any fish?” and in John 16. 31 Jesus said “You believe at last!” He said this after the dicipals said, now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. So they were finally one with God and Jesus was now there friend. This means that what Jesus said in 21.22 If I want him to remain alive untill I return, what is that to you? You must follow me. Jesus was just talking as a friend. He was talking to the one guy John that he loved, liked and had the most affection for. He was my favorite, he leaned on Jesus at the last supper. You have all missed the point of God and His msin intetest, Love. They were buddies. Yay!