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The Gospel of John: Manifesting God’s Glory Book 1

Jesus manifested God's glory through 8 miraculous signs in the gospel of John. These are a revelation of the feast of tabernacles.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 14

The Wedding in Cana

The first chapter of the Gospel of John is the apostle’s introduction to the eight signs by which Jesus manifested heaven’s glory in the earth. These eight signs overlay upon the eight days of the feast of Tabernacles, the feast that prophesies of the glory of God that shall yet come upon the sons of God in preparation for the following Age.

John’s introduction runs parallel to Moses’ introduction in the first four chapters of the book of Deuteronomy. Whereas Moses was the forerunner of Joshua (Yeshua), John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus (Yeshua). Both Joshua and Jesus came out of the wilderness at the same place in the Jordan River to begin their ministries after being commissioned earlier.

After his introduction, Moses’ first speech expounding upon the law is given in Deuteronomy 5-8. This correlates with the first miracle-sign that Jesus performed, followed by commentary (John 2-4). The rest of Moses’ speeches continue to expound upon the law, and each corresponds in turn to one of the signs in the Gospel of John.

Deuteronomy and John: The Parallel

John’s gospel was meant to portray the eight days of the feast of Tabernacles. Each year during that feast, the Jews customarily read the book of Deuteronomy. Hence, they established the link between Deuteronomy and the Gospel of John.

The Introduction: Deuteronomy 1-4 corresponds to John’s introduction (John 1).

1. Deut. 5-8 corresponds to the wedding in Cana (John 2-4).

2. Deut. 9-13 corresponds to healing the ruler’s son (John 4:46-50).

3. Deut. 14-16 corresponds to healing the man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5).

4. Deut. 17-20 corresponds to feeding the 5,000 (John 6:1-14; 6:24-71).

5. Deut. 21-23 corresponds to walking on the water (John 6:15-23 and chapters 7, 8).

6. Deut. 24-26:19 corresponds to healing the blind man (John 9, 10).

7. Deut. 27-28 corresponds to the raising of Lazarus (John 11).

The Interim

Deut. 29-31 establishes the New Covenant and commissions Joshua, which corresponds to Jesus’ death on the cross as the Mediator of the New Covenant and His commissioning to lead us into the Promised Land (John 12-20).

The Climax (The Post-Resurrection Sign)

8. Deuteronomy 33-34 is the Song of Moses and his Blessing upon the Tribes, corresponding to the 153 fish that were brought to the shore (John 21).

The first seven “Law” speeches of Moses and the first seven signs that Jesus performed prophesied of the first seven days of Tabernacles. The eighth speech and sign completed this sequence and prophesied of the eighth day of Tabernacles.

John also structured his gospel by using the Hebraic tool known as a chiasm, or parallelism, where the first and eighth sign correlate, the second and seventh, the third and sixth, and the fourth and fifth form the heart of the message correlating with the middle of the feast of Tabernacles. The structure itself provides us with the lens through which he meant for us to view his gospel. Knowing this provides us with many insights that would be otherwise hidden.

The Four Days

John 2:1 begins the story of the first sign manifesting the glory of God in the earth.

1 And on the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.

The first and most obvious question is what is the “the third day”? This cannot be tied to the first chapter of John, where events from four days are recorded:

Day 1: The Pharisees Question John (John 1:19-28).

Day 2: “The next day” John baptizes Jesus (John 1:29-35).

Day 3: “The next day” Andrew and Simon follow Jesus (John 1:36-42).

Day 4: “The next day” Philip and Nathanael follow Jesus (John 1:43-51).

These four days in the first chapter of John suggest a prophecy based on a day being a thousand years (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8). Jesus came to minister in the fourth day, that is, toward the end of the fourth millennium from Adam.

The wedding in Cana took place “on the third day” after the fourth day of the previous sequence (above). It was a full day’s journey from Bethsaida to Cana, so most likely, Jesus walked to Cana on the day following that conversation, and the wedding then took place the next day after that. In fact, since Nathanael was from Cana (John 21:2), it is likely that he was the one who invited Jesus to the wedding. If so, Jesus certainly walked to Cana with Nathanael the day after their encounter, and the wedding then took place on the third day.

From the standpoint of prophecy, the previous “days” (in John’s first chapter) spoke of the fourth millennium since Adam. Now the “third day” prophesied of the third millennium dating from Christ’s first appearance. The marriage of the Lamb is associated with His second coming (Rev. 19:7).

Dating from Christ’s birth at the feast of Trumpets in 2 B.C., we know that September of 1999 was Jesus’ 2000th birthday. Dating from His death on the cross, Passover of 2033 will be 2000 years from His death and resurrection in 33 A.D. It was prophesied that He would rise again on the third day (Hosea 6:2; Luke 13:32), and in long-term prophecy, this prophesied of the third millennium dating from His resurrection. Hence, the year 2033 is a stronger date for the end of the second “day” and the start of “the third day.”

We are now (2020) in the middle of the two endpoints between 1999 and 2033. At this point it is still unclear when the wedding feast of Cana will be fulfilled prophetically, along with the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

From another perspective, I showed in my book, Secrets of Time, the 120th Jubilee from Adam occurred from 1986-1987, which was the year 5880-5881 from Adam. It seems reasonable to believe that the feast of Tabernacles will be fulfilled in the 121st Jubilee, which ends in September of 2035. Hence, there may prove to be a short window from Passover of 2033 to the start of the year of Jubilee in 2035.

We are living also toward the end of the sixth day when the labor laws could be fulfilled. Adam was sold into slavery on account of his sin (Gen. 3:17-19). The law, however, mandates that slaves be released after six years (Exodus 21:2). The word for “year” (shaneh) is from the root word shanah, which means “to repeat, duplicate.”

Each year we see a repeat of seasons, just as each day repeats a sunrise and sunset. Hence, the word may technically apply either way. Another word, yowm, can mean either day (as in Gen. 17:26) or year (as in Lev. 25:29; Amos 4:4). From a prophetic standpoint, a day often represents a year (Num. 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6) or even a thousand years (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8).

The point is that we are approaching the end of the “six years” of Adamic bondage, where a release must be declared for the seventh millennium.

Further, man was created at the end of the sixth day in Gen. 1:24-31. It is reasonable to believe that the New Creation Man (as a body) will be formed at the end of the sixth millennium from Adam. Individual people have been formed since the beginning of time, of course, but a complete body of overcoming sons of God will be formed by the end of six “days” in order to be commissioned to do their greatest Kingdom work in the seventh “day.”

Attending the Wedding Feast

It is probably no coincidence that the apostle introduces Nathanael of Cana just before telling us how Jesus was invited to a wedding in Cana. This suggests that Nathanael was instrumental in obtaining the invitation for Jesus to attend the wedding, since he was from Cana (John 21:2). Was Nathanael the best man or even the groom? Sadly, we do not know.

The wedding feast in Cana was the first miracle-sign that Jesus performed to manifest the glory of God in the earth. John 2:2 says,

2 And both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.

Jesus did not yet have twelve disciples, for this was very early into His ministry. In fact, since John the Baptist was yet ministering, Jesus had not been able to fully enter His ministry. John baptized Jesus on the Day of Atonement in September of 29 A.D., which was “the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar” (Luke 3:1), who succeeded Augustus when he died on August 19, 14 A.D.

At the wedding, it is likely that Jesus had only four disciples: Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, and Nathanael. Not even the Apostle John himself had been called yet, for he and his brother James “were partners with Simon” (Luke 5:10) and were called shortly afterward. James and John were probably carrying on with their fishing business while Simon Peter and his brother Andrew were attending the wedding.

In other words, John was recording an event that he heard about later. John only tells us that Jesus’ disciples were invited to the wedding along with Jesus Himself.

No More Wine

John 2:3 says,

3 When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

Perhaps the crowd was larger than expected or that this was the result of poor planning. Either way, it was part of the divine plan providing Jesus with an opportunity to manifest the glory of God in the earth. The wedding host was always responsible to provide sufficient wine for the guests. To run out of wine must have been a terrible embarrassment to the host.

When Jesus took upon Himself the responsibility to provide the wine, He prophesied that He Himself was the true Host of the marriage feast yet to come. Seeing as how this first sign points to the first day of the feast of Tabernacles, we should know that this feast was to be celebrated with joy. Wine signifies joy. So Lev. 23:40 says,

40 Now on the first day [of Tabernacles] you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.

That feast is likened to a seven-day wedding feast. By turning water to wine, Jesus illustrated the truth that He is “the true vine” (John 15:1), the Source of the new wine used to celebrate Tabernacles.

There are no accidents. Even mistakes work out for the glory of God in the end. This mistake showed that He is the Lord of the Feast.

The Aramaic word for a wedding feast is mistila. This word does not appear in the Hebrew or Greek scriptures, but it was a word that was well known to the first-century Judeans, as most of them spoke Aramaic as their common language. Mistila literally means “a drink festival,” revealing the importance of wine at wedding feasts.

John 2:4, 5 says,

4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

Many years ago, David DuPlessis, an early Charismatic evangelist, was attending a Roman Catholic meeting, and he was asked what he thought of the Virgin Mary. He responded, “I believe that we should do everything Mary said to do.” The priests looked at each other, wondering if he were becoming a Roman Catholic. Finally, they asked what he meant. He said, “Mary told us, ‘Whatever Jesus says to you, do it’.” That was a wise response.

The Stone Waterpots

John 2:6 NASB says,

6 Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.

The NASB is trying to be helpful by telling us the capacity of the waterpots in modern terms. The six waterpots held between 120 and 180 gallons. (6 x 20 = 120; 6 x 30 = 180.)

While this is technically accurate, it is more helpful to know the biblical measurements, because they give us numbers that are prophetic and meaningful on a deeper level. John 2:6, KJV reads,

6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

These were large waterpots, used to pour water over their hands before meals (Mark 7:2, 3, 4). In this way they purified their hands in case they had touched something unclean (such as a fly or gnat). No doubt these had been filled with water so that the wedding guests might cleanse their hands as they entered the house.

The Six Waterpots Held 153 Gallons

Archeologists tell us that a firkin is about 8.5 Imperial Gallons, or about 10.2 American Gallons. (The British gallon is larger than an American gallon.) In British terms, one of these waterpots contained a maximum of 3 firkins, multiplied by 8.5 gallons each. This comes to 25.5 gallons. Hence, six such waterpots would contain 153 British gallons, if each was filled to capacity. (3 x 8.5 x 6 = 153)

Using the American gallon, which is smaller than a British gallon, we have to take into account John’s estimation, “two or three firkins apiece.” If we figure that the waterpots averaged 2.5 firkins each, each waterpot contained 2.5 firkins times 10.2 gallons each, or 25.5 American gallons. Six such waterpots, then, would have held 153 gallons once again. (6 x 25.5 = 153)

Perhaps John meant for us to understand that half of the waterpots could hold 3 firkins, but that some were smaller and held only 2 firkins. In John 2: 7 we read that the servants “filled them up to the brim.” The waterpots, then, should have held an average of 2.5 firkins apiece, and the actual amount of water turned into wine was 153 gallons by the American gallon.

Nonetheless, the British gallon also remains in the background as a double witness, for either way we may calculate 153 gallons. Did God know how we would measure capacity in gallons many years later at the end of the age? Who invented the gallon? Who really invented the gallon?

This calculation, of course, remains somewhat meaningless until we come to the end of John’s gospel, where Jesus’ eighth sign was to catch 153 large fish (John 21:11). Hence, in John’s Hebrew chiasm, the first sign parallels the last sign and must be compared to each other in order to obtain the full meaning of each.

But before we study the meaning of these signs, we must finish the story itself.

The Miracle

John 2:7-10 says,

7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the headwaiter.” And they took it to him. 9 And when the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, 10 and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when men have drunk freely, then that which is poorer; you have kept the good wine until now.”

There is a Hebrew metaphor seen clearly in Matt. 23:32, where Jesus condemned the scribes and Pharisees, saying, “Fill up then the measure of the guilt of your fathers.” This metaphor pictures the judgment and mercy of God, because judgment is withheld or delayed until the sin of a man (or a nation) reaches its fulness.

In the case of Jesus’ miracle, it suggests a mercy cycle, rather than that of judgment. It applies to the idea of “the fulness of the time” (Gal. 4:4, KJV). In agriculture, this refers to the time of ripened grain harvest or ripened fruit. One ought not to harvest grain or pick fruit before it has ripened. In the same manner, Christ came on schedule at “the fulness of the time,” so that He would be thirty years of age when He began His ministry and so that He would die on the cross at Passover of 33 A.D. precisely seventy weeks of years (490) after the prophecy of Daniel 9:24 began its countdown. (See my book, Daniel’s Seventy Weeks.)

The Prophetic Meaning of the Miracle

Jesus’ miracle (above) applies more specifically to the beni h’elohim (“sons of God”), which, in Hebrew, carries a numeric value of 153. The sons of God are the “waterpots” in John 2:6 as well as the “fish” in John 21:11. This metaphor, then, suggests that there is an appointed time for the sons of God to be transformed into the “new wine.” Since this is the first sign presented to us in the sequence, explaining the first day of the prophetic feast of Tabernacles, we must take note that this was the first day in which the drink offering (Num. 29:12, 16) of wine was poured out at the feast of Tabernacles.

There were three first fruits offerings given to God each year: barley at Passover; wheat at Pentecost, and wine at Tabernacles. Historically, Christ presented Himself to the Father in heaven the moment the high priest waved the sheaf of barley shortly after Christ’s resurrection. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to the church. At Tabernacles, the sons of God will be transformed from “water” to “wine” and offered as first fruits to God.

Being transformed atomically from water to wine signifies a change of nature, as Paul describes in 1 Cor. 15:51, 52, 53,

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed 52 in a moment [atomos, “atomically”] in the twinkling of an eye [quickly], at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Hence, Paul interprets Jesus’ first miracle-sign in terms of being changed from perishable (“corruptible,” KJV) to imperishable (“incorruption”) and from being mortal to immortal. This is pictured in the transformation of water to new wine, making it eligible to be presented to God as the first fruits of the grape harvest.

Just as there are appointed “seasons” that God established at the beginning (Gen. 1:14), so also are there appointed times and seasons for the divine plans to be fulfilled. There are personal seasons governing our own growth as we mature in Christ, and there are historical times and seasons at the end of thousands of years, which govern the divine plan for creation as a whole.

John 2:10 tells us that God saves the best for last. This suggests that throughout the past six “days” of history, many individuals have already enjoyed “new wine” status, but they died without coming to perfection. It is only at the end of time that the best wine is brought forth, where the sons of God are made incorruptible, imperishable, and immortal, as Paul says.

Manifesting His Glory

John’s conclusion to the story of the first sign is given in John 2:11,

11 This beginning [or “first”] of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.

We must view this as a prophecy of the fulfillment of the first day of the feast of Tabernacles, at which time the sons of God will be transformed into the image of Christ. Two weeks earlier, at the feast of Trumpets, the dead in Christ will rise “at the last trumpet,” that is, the seventh trumpet. The trumpet was blown at the start of each month when two witnesses saw the first crescent moon in the evening sky.

The seventh trumpet marked the start of the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar. It was “the last trumpet” (i.e., month) of the original feast days established by Moses. The feasts of the seventh month prophesied the completion of the divine plan, especially in regard to the second coming of Christ.

The feasts in the first month (Passover and wave-sheaf offering) and the second month (Pentecost) prophesied of Christ’s first work: His death and resurrection, followed by the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The feasts in the seventh month (Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles) prophesied the completion of Christ’s second work, wherein He gives the sons of God immortality and incorruption so that they may “reign with Him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).

Hence, we see the manifestation of Christ’s glory on two levels. The first was personal; the second will be in conjunction with His body. In the second fulfillment, He is pictured as the Head of a larger body, rather than as a single individual. For this reason, in this second fulfillment, when Tabernacles is fulfilled historically, the sons of God themselves will manifest His glory.

Finally, this miracle was done in Cana of Galilee. Cana (Hebrew: Qana or kana) means “reeds” and has great prophetic significance, which we will explain next. John relates it to the next story, where Jesus cleansed the temple of its merchants (i.e., Canaanites) by His “zeal” (kina). There is no doubt that John understood the similarity of these Hebrew terms, as they were all derived from the same root word—kana, or Cana of Galilee.

John’s gospel sets forth each sign that Jesus performed, followed by stories and commentary on those signs, either in the form of another incident or through Jesus’ actual teaching. As we will see, the story of Jesus’ cleansing the temple gives us a further explanation of the first miracle where He turned water into wine. It is pictured as cleansing the temple of our bodies, so that we might be an acceptable house for the Holy Spirit to indwell.