John 1:46-51
John 1:46 (KJB)
And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
Nathanael answers Philip in a different way, in almost being a skeptic. When Philip told him that Jesus was from Nazareth, the son of Joseph, he asked if any good thing could come out of Nazareth. Philip was from Cana which was about 8-9 miles north of Nazareth and Philips’s remark could be related to the village squabbles that were prevalent back then. I live 40 miles east of Philadelphia and it could be situation like this. Someone comes to me and says, “We have found Him of whom the prophets speak in South Philly” and I may respond, “can anything good come out of South Philly?” There are many Christians in South Philly bringing the Gospel to a tough area. Instead of Philip chiding Nathanael for what he said, he tells him, “come and see.” Many claim that Nazareth may not have been a city with a great reputation and some state that it was just like the other cites of Israel. No matter what the city was like, something good did come out of Nazareth. Knowledge and understanding will always be a remedy for skepticism as Nathanael will find out.
John 1:47 (KJB)
Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!
Guile - Deceit or craftiness
Here we have an amazing event. Nathanael was coming to see Jesus on Philip’s invitation and while he was approaching Jesus, Jesus makes a tremendous statement about him, that there was no guile in him! Guile is deceit or craftiness and is a sin which is normally not seen, but Jesus states that Nathanael has no guile. This is a tremendous revelation in that Jesus is stating that Nathanael has become saved. (Rev 14:5 KJV) And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. In Revelation 14:5, we are told that the believers stand before the throne without any guile, which is an evidence of having their soul totally cleansed by the Lord Jesus Christ through His sacrifice. Nathanael was also a true Israelite which means his lineage could be traced back to the family of Jacob. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel. Jesus came through the lineage of Jacob, through his son Judah. These things show us that Jesus knows the character of every person as He knew Nathanael’s. (John 2:25 KJV) And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. Further in John, we read that Jesus knows what is in every man. This shows His omniscience which is a characteristic of deity.
John 1:48 (KJB)
Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.
Nathanael then questions Jesus and asks Him basically how do you know me? Then Jesus gives him details that He saw him sitting underneath a fig tree. Here is another instance of Christ showing His omniscience in that he saw Nathanael sitting under a fig tree. How would Jesus know that he was sitting under a fig tree, when Nathanael was coming toward Him and was no longer sitting. This gave Nathanael the confirmation of who Jesus was. If a person is coming toward me, how would I know where they were sitting previously? I could not because I am not God, but Jesus knew very well where He was. (John 10:14 KJV) I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. Jesus being the good shepherd, would know exactly where all His sheep are and what they are doing at any given time. What Jesus did with Nathanael caused him to know the good shepherd.
John 1:49 (KJB)
Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
Here Nathanael makes a declaration that only a saved person would make because he has identified the true nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God which makes Him King of Israel. (Psa 2:6 KJV) Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. Nathanael would have been a student of Scripture and would have known about Psalm 2:6 and how God was going to set His king on the holy hill of Zion. Now there are two Israels in Scripture. There is the physical Israel which is the land where Jesus came to and spiritual Israel which is made up of all the believers. (Rom 2:29 KJV) But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. (Rom 9:6 KJV) Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
Nathanael belonged to both. He was a true Israelite by lineage and since he became saved, he was a true Israelite according to the Spirit. Since the physical nation of Israel did not want Jesus to reign over them, Jesus became the King of Israel but of the spiritual Israel, which is the body of believers, those He came to save. So when the term “King of the Jews” is used in reference to Jesus, it is speaking of being king of all the true believers. (Rev 15:3 KJV) And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. In Revelation 15:3, Jesus is praised as the “King of Saints” and unsaved Jews are not saints, like any other unbeliever.
John 1:50 (KJB)
Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.
Greater - More and of greater degree - Comparative degree of word “megas” which is the Greek word for “great."
Jesus asked him basically because I told you I saw you under the fig tree, you believe? In other words, to Nathanael, this was a great revelation and miracle which Jesus performed but to Jesus it was business as usual. Jesus then goes on to tell him that those two things which he witnessed of Jesus, was only the beginning and he will see much greater things then these. Over the next three years Nathanael would be witness to some of the greatest miracles ever seen on this earth.
John 1:51 (KJB)
And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.
Here Jesus likens what Nathanael will see to what Jacob saw in a dream. (Gen 28:12 KJV) And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. (Gen 28:16-17 KJV) And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not. {17} And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. Jacob had a dream about a ladder which reached from earth to Heaven and the angels of God were going between earth and Heaven on that ladder. The fact that the angels were ascending and descending shows that angels were used of God for His purposes. Now it does not mean that they had to climb the ladder because the ladder was only a foreshadow of the Lord Jesus Christ. The angels are ministering spirits to those who will be or have become saved. (Heb 1:14 KJV) Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
When Jesus states that Nathanael will see Heaven open, he is not speaking of him actually looking into Heaven. Jesus is speaking of the fact that once He goes to the cross, then no longer will the way to God be hidden behind the veil of the temple. The Mosaic system will be disbanded and now God will be evangelizing the entire world and not limited to one country. To see Heaven opened means that the way to God is now through the Lord Jesus Christ who portrays himself as the ladder which reaches from earth, where believers initially live, to Heaven, where believers finally go. The way of grace has opened up Heaven for the Elect of God. Now the angels will be ascending and descending for the purpose of ministering to the believers while still on earth and those who physically die are guided to Heaven by the angels. On the last day, they will go forth and gather all the Elect of God into Heaven. (Mat 24:31 KJV) And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.   The gate of Heaven is now open!