FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD AND HIS CHILDREN
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Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
1 John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: παιδια εσχατη ωρα εστιν και καθως ηκουσατε οτι αντιχριστος ερχεται και νυν αντιχριστοι πολλοι γεγονασιν οθεν γινωσκομεν οτι εσχατη ωρα εστιν
Amplified: Boys (lads), it is the last time (hour, the end of this age). And as you have heard that the antichrist [he who will oppose Christ in the guise of Christ] is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen, which confirms our belief that it is the final (the end) time. (Lockman)
Barclay: Little children, it is the time of the last hour; and now many antichrists have risen, just as you heard that Antichrist was to come. That is how we know that it is the time of the last hour. (Barclay's Daily Study Bible).
Berkley (Modern Language): Children, the final hour is here and, as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen, from which we gather certainly that it is the last hour.
ESV: Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
HCSB: Children, it is the last hour. And as you have heard, “Antichrist is coming,” even now many antichrists have come. We know from this that it is the last hour.
NET: Children, it is the last hour, and just as you heard that Antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. We know from this that it is the last hour.
NIV: Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
NLT: Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come.
Phillips: Even now, dear children, we are getting near the end of things. You have heard, I expect, the prophecy about the coming of the anti-Christ. Believe me, there are anti-christs about already, which confirms my belief that we are near the end.
TLB: Dear children, this world’s last hour has come. You have heard about the Antichrist who is coming—the one who is against Christ—and already many such persons have appeared. This makes us all the more certain that the end of the world is near.
Weymouth: Dear children, the last hour has come; and as you once heard that there was to be an anti-Christ, so even now many anti-Christs have appeared. By this we may know that the last hour has come.
Wuest: Little children under instruction, it is a last hour in character. And even as you heard that Antichrist comes, even now, antichrists, many of them, have arisen and are here; from which fact we know by experience that it is a last hour in character.
Young's Literal: Little youths, it is the last hour; and even as ye heard that the antichrist doth come, even now antichrists have become many--whence we know that it is the last hour;
KJV = Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
- Little John 21:5
- it is 2 Timothy 3:1; Hebrews 1:2; 1 Peter 1:5,20; 2 Peter 3:3; Jude 1:18
- ye have 1Jn 4:3; Matthew 24:5,11,24; Mark 13:6,21,22; Acts 20:29,30; 2Thessalonians 2:3-12; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2Ti 3:1-6; 4:3,4; 2 Peter 2:1
- antichrist 1Jn 2:22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7
- whereby 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1
- Reciprocal:, Genesis 14:14 - his brother Daniel 11:34 - cleave Matthew 13:47 - and gathered 1 Corinthians 10:11 - upon 2 Corinthians 11:3 - so 2 Corinthians 11:13 - false Galatians 1:7 - pervert Galatians 5:10 - but Colossians 2:4 - lest 2 Thessalonians 2:7 - doth 2 Timothy 3:8 - resist Titus 1:10 - there 1 Peter 4:7 - the end 2 Peter 2:2 - many 1 John 4:1 - many
John Hannah's Outline (excellent resource for sermon preparation!)
The test of perseverance (1Jn 2:18-29)
1. The failure of apostates (1Jn 2:18-23)
a. The presence of unbelievers - stated (1Jn 2:18)
b. The presence of unbelievers - sustained (1Jn 2:19-23)
i. Their departure (1Jn 2:19-20)
ii. Their unbelief (1Jn 2:21-23)
2. The exhortation to believers (1Jn 2:24-29)
a. To continue in sound doctrine (1Jn 2:24-26)
b. To continue submitting to the Spirit (1Jn 2:27)
c. To continue practicing righteousness (1Jn 2:28-29)
Hiebert nicely summarizes where we are at in the letter - In the preceding portion of the epistle (1Jn 1:5-2:17) John presented grounds for assurance through the test of fellowship. He wrote of the contrasts between light and darkness, truth and error, obedience and disobedience, things temporal and things eternal. In the long section beginning with 1Jn 2:18 John turned to offer his readers assurance through the conflicts of faith (1Jn 2:18-4:6). Assurance concerning one’s Christian faith can be drawn from the nature of the enemies he encounters. John insisted that these enemies must be exposed for what they are and believers encouraged to understand the dangers they present and to defeat them with the spiritual equipment God has provided. These conflicts are portrayed under four aspects: (1) the conflict between truth and falsehood (1Jn 2:18-28); (2) the conflict between the children of God and the children of the devil (1Jn 2:29-3:12); (3) the conflict between love and hatred (1Jn 3:13-24); and (4) the conflict between the Spirit of God and the spirit of error (1Jn 4:1-6). (1 John 2:19-24 Exposition)
Steven Cole - In 1John 2:18-23, John applies his third test by which you may evaluate the soundness of a teacher, as well as your own life. He has already given us the moral test of obedience to God’s commandments (1John 2:3-6). He has given the relational test of love (1John 2:7-11). Now he gives the doctrinal test of truth about the person and work of Jesus Christ (1John 2:18-27). He says, To avoid spiritual deception, be discerning of people and doctrine. The section (1John 2:18-27) falls into three parts. In 1John 2:18-20, John shows that to avoid spiritual deception, you must develop discernment with regard to people. In 1John 2:21-23, he shows that you must develop discernment with regard to doctrine, especially, the truth about Jesus Christ. In 1John 2:24-27, he shows that the means of developing such discernment is to abide in the Word and in the Spirit. (Avoiding Spiritual Deception, Part 1 - 1John 2-18-23) (Bolding added)
Children (3813) (paidion diminutive of pais = child) in this context emphasizes their relative immaturity and their need to pay attention to the apostle's instructions. While he later states they know the truth, nevertheless his use of this word (rather than teknion) suggests they were still in need of some "child rearing" so to speak (Aren't we all! cp Titus 2:11-12-note where "instructing" ~ "child rearing"). He is speaking however not just to those who are new in the faith but to all the believers, for none are immune to wiles of deception of Satan's servants who like their father (2Cor 11:14) "disguise themselves as servants of righteousness." (2Cor 11:15)
Similarly, Paul had warned the elders of the church at Ephesus of the coming antichrist deceivers, declaring "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse (diastrepho) things, to draw away (apospao) the disciples (Notice how Paul referred to the believers - disciples are not a category of "super" believers as is often spuriously thought, but is the Biblical moniker [name] for all believers and is most common name Luke uses for believers in Acts! How could it be more clear? See mathetes) after them. Therefore be on the alert, (present imperative= command for this to be their and our continual attitude) remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears." (Acts 20:29-31-note)
Plummer - It is difficult to see anything in this section specially suitable to children: indeed the very reverse is rather the case. (Ed note: This section is not just for the immature but for all believers.)
John Trapp - Children may easily be deceived, and made to take a sheep counter for an angel, because broader and brighter; so young Christians are soon seduced; hence they are cautioned.
Westcott feels that John "addresses his readers with the authority of age and experience, and not as dwelling on the thought of spiritual kinship (teknia)." (1 John 2 Commentary)
THE LAST HOUR
It is the last hour - The Living Bible renders it “this world’s last hour has come.” As you develop your skills of inductive Bible study, remember to always be on the alert for clues such as those provided by expressions of time. Ask questions such as "What time is it?," "When is this time?," "What happens during this time (e.g., John gives several characteristics - what are they?) As you develop your skill at asking questions, you will find that you are usually forced to observe the context." And in essence what you are doing is learning not just to study the Scriptures, but even better, to Meditate (see also Primer on Biblical Meditation) on the Scriptures. And you can rest assured that your diligent efforts to rightly divide God's Word of Truth will be richly rewarded by God Himself not only in the future (Read 2Ti 2:15-note), but also in the present = Read Ps 1:2-note, Ps 1:3-note, Joshua 1:8-note.
Last hour - The first question to ask is whether John's use of "hour" is literal or figurative? The answer from the context is that John is using "hour" (time) metaphorically. Most conservative commentators identify this time phrase as a synonym of the more common phrase the last days.
See related discussion -
The synonymous time phrases last days or last times occur 6 times in the NT. Take a moment and read through each passage, making a note of the characteristics of this critical time period (days in which we now live)…
(Acts 2:17) ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; (Note: This interpretation of the prophecy Peter is quoting from Joel 2:28 has been subject to a variety of views. If one reads the passage literally, it is notable that Peter did not say this prophecy would be completely fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, the day when it began to be partially fulfilled. In addition, the phrase "pour fourth My Spirit on ALL mankind" was definitely not fulfilled at Pentecost. This prophecy therefore awaits a future fulfillment when the King returns, for it is only as He inaugurates His Messianic Kingdom that His Spirit will be poured out on ALL mankind. In short every soul that enters the Millennial Kingdom will be a Spirit filled believer!)
(2Ti 3:1-note) But realize (present imperative = Command to continually be aware of) this, that in the last days difficult (dangerous, perilous) times will come (specifically those all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus - cp 2Ti 3:12).
(Heb 1:2-note) in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
(Jas 5:3) Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure!
(1Pet 1:20-note) For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you
Similar time phrases in the Old Testament - Compare the 6 uses of last days in the OT = Isa 2:2-note; Jer 23:20; Jer 49:39; Ezek 38:16; Hos 3:5; Mic 4:1-note. A similar phrase latter days is found 7 times in the OT = Deut 4:30; 31:29; Job 42:12; Jer 30:24; 48:47; Da 2:28-note; Da 10:14-note. It is notable that all the 13 OT uses except one (Job 42:12) have an eschatological (future) fulfillment, one which will occur at the end of this age just before the King returns to set up His glorious Kingdom on earth. Maranatha!
Wuest on "hour" - The article is absent before “hour,” and the emphasis is not therefore upon the fact of a particular, definite time, but upon the character of that particular, definite time. Vincent says that John uses the word “hour” as marking a critical season. (See below for Vincent's explanation of this "season").
Marvin Vincent - The phrase last hour is only here in the New Testament. On John’s use of hour (hora), as marking a critical season, see John 2:4; 4:21, 23; 5:25, 28; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23, 27; 16:2, 4, 25, 32. The dominant sense of the expression last days, in the NT, is that of a period of suffering and struggle preceding a divine victory. See Acts 2:17; Jas 5:3; 1Pet 1:20. Hence the phrase here does not refer to the end of the world, but to the period preceding a crisis in the advance of Christ’s kingdom, a changeful and troublous period, marked by the appearance of “many antichrists.”
David Legge on the last hour - the time between the first coming and the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ - more specifically, the time between Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came, and the second coming of our Lord Jesus. It is the church age, it is the age in which we can say, 'It is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation (2Cor 6:2). Today, if you hear His voice, harden not your heart'. (Preach The Word - 1, 2 and 3 John Part 7 - The Christian And False Doctrine)
David Guzik - John lived in the constant expectancy of Jesus’ return, regarding his time as the last hour. This is an expectancy that we should also have, knowing that the Lord’s return can come at any time. Seeing the nature of our times and what the Bible says about the end times, we should regard ourselves as being in the last few minutes. (1 John 2 - David Guzik Commentary on the Bible)
Warren Wiersbe on the last hour - Since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God is doing a "new thing" in this world. All of Old Testament history prepared the way for the work of Christ on the cross (Ed: It was as if the OT was a "finger," all of it pointing to the Coming Messiah!). All history since that time is merely preparation for "the end," (Ed: Cp Jesus' promise in Mt 28:20) when Jesus will come and establish His kingdom. There is nothing more that God must do for the salvation of sinners (Ed: Compare Jesus' word on the Cross TETELESTAI – IT IS FINISHED! PAID IN FULL! - Jn 19:30-note). You may ask, "But if it was 'the last hour' in John's day, why has Jesus not yet returned?" This is an excellent question (Ed: Unless it is asked in a mocking manner! See 2Pe 3:3-4-note) and Scripture gives us the answer. God is not limited by time the way His creatures are. God works in human time, but He is above time (cf. 2Peter 3:8-note). "The last hour" began back in John's day and has been growing in intensity ever since. There were ungodly false teachers in John's day, and during the intervening centuries they have increased both in number and in influence. "The last hour" or "the last times" are phrases that describe a kind of time, not a duration of time. "The latter (later) times" are described in 1Timothy 4:1. Paul, like John, observed characteristics of his time, and we see the same characteristics today in even greater intensity. In other words, Christians have always been living in "the last time"—in crisis days. It is therefore important that you know what you believe and why you believe it. (The Bible Exposition Commentary) (Bolding and color added)
In summary, the last hour is understood by most conservative commentaries to denote the period immediately preceding the return of Christ.
The culmination or terminus of the last hour (Jesus' Second Coming) was not revealed even to Jesus on earth, and in light of this uncertainty He repeatedly warned His disciples …
(Matt 24:36, cp Mk 13:32) “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
(Matt 24:42) “Therefore (Why is Jesus using this term of conclusion? See Mt 24:36 and Mt 24:37-41) be on the alert (gregoreuo in the present imperative = calling for this to be His disciples' lifestyle! Contrast what is essentially the opposite lifestyle = 1Jn 2:15-17), for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.
(Matt 24:44) "For this reason (What reason? See Mt 24:43) you be ready (Again the present imperative = calling for us to continually maintain this state of readiness, ever anticipating that He might break through the eastern sky at any moment!) too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.
(Matt 25:13) "Be on the alert (gregoreuo in the present imperative = calling for this to be His disciples' lifestyle!) then (Why "then?" What has Jesus just described? Mt 25:1-12), for (term of explanation = What's Jesus explaining?) you do not know the day nor the hour.
(Mark 13:33-37) "Take heed (blepo in the present imperative), keep on the alert (agrupneo in the present imperative = command for these attitudes to be our continual mindset!); for (term of explanation = Why? What is Jesus explaining?) you do not know when the appointed time is. 34 "It is like a man, away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. 35 "Therefore (term of conclusion), be on the alert (gregoreuo in the present imperative)-- for (Why? term of explanation) you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, at cockcrowing, or in the morning-- 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all, 'Be on the alert! (gregoreuo in the present imperative)'" (Ed: Clearly Jesus is trying to get the full attention of His disciples! He knows that the anti-god world system is subtly seductive and can easily lull us into spiritual somnolence (sleep), if we do not maintain a heart attitude of continually alertness (cp Pr 4:23-note)! And beloved, the ONLY WAY to remain continually alert is not by self-effort [that can lead to legalism], but by daily surrender to the Spirit, allowing Him to fill and control us, so that we are enabled to walk in His supernatural power [dunamis], not our natural efforts! Eph 5:18-note, Gal 5:16-note, cp Col 3:1-note, Col 3:2-note, see our part, our responsibility in Php 2:12b-note, but the Spirit's provision in Php 2:13-note. See Paul's "clue" for how we can be continually filled with the Spirit - chart comparing being filled with the Spirit and "filled with" the Word)
Jesus did however did describe the characteristics of this time…
(Matt 24:11-12) “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.
(Mark 13:22-23) for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.
John's description in this section indicates that the characteristics of the end-time as foretold by Jesus had already begun to manifest themselves in John's day.
Hiebert - The presence of the incarnate Messiah brought human history face to face with the reality of the eschatological kingdom. Because Israel rejected her King, the kingdom in its eschatological character was not established; that awaits His return in glory. (1 John 2:19-24 Exposition)
J. H. Newman - Up to Christ’s coming in the flesh, the course of things ran straight toward that end, nearing it by every step; but now, under the Gospel, that course has (if I may so speak) altered its direction, as regards His second coming, and runs, not towards the end, but along it, and on the brink of it; and is at all times near that great event, which, did it run towards it, it would at once run into it. Christ, then is ever at our doors. (Newman Reader - Parochial & Plain Sermons 1896 - Sermon 17 "Waiting for Christ")
I Howard Marshall critiques Newman's comment writing "This is a helpful analogy. It preserves the sense of urgency and imminence (See Imminency) found in the New Testament on the basis of the principle that God is capable of extending the last hour (for the excellent reason in 2Pet 3:9-note) while retaining his own secret counsel on its duration." (The Epistles of John The New International Commentary on the New Testament)
Last (2078)(eschatos from ek = from, primarily as it relates to place) an adjective which means last in time or space/place (most remote) (Acts 1:8, Acts 13:47). Eschatos gives us our English word eschatology, which is literally a study of last things and thus speaks of prophecy, usually future, unfulfilled prophecy.
Kistemaker reminds us that John had just described the anti-god world and now proceeds to describe the anti-god persons writing "In light of the immediate context (Ed: Remember that we must keep context king in order to assure an accurate interpretation), we see that persons who love the world (1Jn 2:15-note, 1Jn 2:16-note) and its pursuits have placed themselves in opposition to Christ and therefore are called antichrists." (New Testament Commentary - James, Epistles of John, Peter, and Jude)
Illustration of the Last Hour - IT'S LATE - A young boy was playing in his grandmother’s house near a large grandfather clock. Noontime was approaching, and when both hands of the old timepiece reached 12, the chimes began to ring.
As he always liked to do, the boy counted each gong as it sounded. This time, however, something went wrong with the clock’s inner mechanism. Instead of stopping at 12, it kept right on chiming—13, 14, 15, 16 times.
The boy couldn’t believe his ears! He jumped to his feet and ran into the kitchen, shouting, “Grandma! Grandma! It’s later than it’s ever been before!” In his excitement, the youngster expressed a truth we all would do well to consider.
It is later than it’s ever been before—in the history of the world, in the days allotted to man, and on God’s calendar of events. With each passing hour, the words of James 5:8 take on added significance: “The coming of the Lord is at hand.”
This fact is both comforting and sobering. It is reassuring to know that the day our Savior will come for us may be near. But at the same time, we must honestly ask ourselves, “Am I living in a way that will bring His commendation?” Think about it!
Remember, “It’s later than it’s ever been before!”
May I live so that I will be ready
With joy my Savior to meet,
And feel no alarm at His coming
But hasten His heralds to greet.
Be ready for the last moment
by being ready at every moment.
THE SIGN OF
THE LAST HOUR
Even now - John proceeds to expound on the meaning of the last hour, noting that it had already arrived even in his day (even now)!
Just as you heard - John (and presumably the other apostles, eg, see Matthew's description - Mt 24:15 referring to the coming antichrist as the abomination of desolation of which Daniel had prophesied over 500 years earlier (Da 9:27-note).
And what was the sign that it was the last hour? Many antichrists have arisen, which identifies it as the last hour, but he first warns about a specific manifestation of the antichrist spirit in a single man, who is commonly referred to as "The Antichrist." These men were like the false shepherds Jesus described in John 10:12-13.
Is coming (erchomai) is used here of the antichrist (here it refers to the individual) and in 1Jn 4:3 it refers to the spirit of antichrist. Both uses are in the present tense ( in 1Jn 4:3) which Vincent (and other scholars) interpret the reference to the the future antichrist as the "prophetic present," which is "equivalent to is about to come."
Children, it is the last hour; and that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour
INSTEAD OF and/or AGAINST
Antichrist (500)(antichristos from anti = instead of or against + Christos = anointed) conveys one of two main meanings depending on how one interprets the prefix "anti." Anti can mean in lieu of, in place of, over against, opposite, instead of, and in comparisons it denotes contrast, substitution.
Note that a number of the Bible translations capitalize the first use of Antichrist in 1Jn 2:18 (HCSB, NET, NLT, Wuest, TLB), indicating that they interpret this name as a proper noun, specifically the designation of a distinctive individual (man = the noun is masculine, singular). While the ESV does not capitalize Antichrist the ESV study notes state "cf. the “man of lawlessness,” 2Thes 2:1-10… ) Broadly, an “antichrist” is anyone “who denies that Jesus is the Christ” (1Jn 2:22). More specifically, John understands such a person to be a human representative of the “evil one” of whom Jesus spoke (Jn 17:15)… Just as humanity in Adam has rejected God and has been plunged into ever greater depths of sin as a result (Ro 1:18-32), so it will move into all-out rebellion against God when the Antichrist appears (2Th 2:4). (ESV Study Bible. Crossway Bibles)
Ralph Earle - John uses antichristos to describe anyone who denies the deity (1Jn 2:22) or the humanity (1Jn 4:3; 2John 1:7) of Jesus Christ. The latter was denied by the Docetic Gnostics of John's day (Docetism-What is Docetism?). They said that Jesus only seemed to have a physical body. Following the lead of some Early Church fathers, we have applied the term antichrist to the beast of Revelation. (Earle, R. Word Meanings in the New Testament)
Marvin Vincent explains the difference between a false Christ and the antichrist - Antichrist. Peculiar to John in the NT. The absence of the article shows its currency as a proper name. It may mean one who stands against Christ, or one who stands instead of Christ; just as antistrategos may mean either one who stands in the place of a strategos, Praetor, a Propraetor (see Intro to Luke, and note on Acts 16:20), or an opposing general. John never uses the word pseudochristos false Christ (Mt. 24:24; Mk 13:22). While the false Christ is merely a pretender to the Messianic office, the Antichrist “assails Christ by proposing to do or to preserve what he did, while denying Him.” Antichrist, then, is one who opposes Christ in the guise of Christ. Westcott’s remark is very important, that John’s sense of Antichrist is determined by the full Christian conception of Christ, and not by the Jewish conception of the promised Saviour.
John MacArthur has a fairly detailed discussion of the Antichrist - "The Bible is clear that one man will be the final, most complete and powerful Antichrist. He will appear in the future history of the world in a time which is called the time of the Tribulation. This is a time that will end man's day. It is a time, a seven-year period of time divided into two three-and-half year sections in which Satan releases his power in the world, at the same time God releases judgment in the world. And there will be in that day a world ruler who is identified as the Antichrist. He is the culminating and final one, that's why we have here the singular "Antichrist is coming."" (See more discussion of Antichrist in Christians and Antichrists, Part 1)
Complete Biblical Library Commentary - The spirit of Antichrist includes all false teachers and enemies of the truth. This opposition to God may be expected to increase and intensify as time goes on, culminating in the person and activities of one who will gather together under his banner all the anti-God forces in a final attempt to dethrone God. The Book of Revelation depicts his activities and defeat.
Antichristos - Used 5x in 4v and not found in Septuagint - from these uses notice that one can derive a "descriptive definition" of antichrist as coming on the scene of the world in the last hour, this appearance even being a marker if you will of this time in world history. The antichrist lies, denies that Jesus is the Messiah (denies that He is fully God and fully Man) and by "default" denies God the Father. Antichrist does not agree that the Man Jesus came from God, again impugning His deity. Finally, antichrist is a deceiver, of which there are many throughout the entire world and they again deny that Jesus Christ was fully God, fully Man. Notice the resemblance of these characteristics to Satan, who is a liar (Jn 8:44, Ge 3:1-6) and a deceiver (Rev 12:9-10-note, 2Cor 11:3, 1Ti 2:14). And remember that the best defense against the lies and deception of the dark forces (whether demonic or human) is the truth, God's Word! Are you memorizing the Word of Truth so that you always have access to it in the moment of need. For example, notice Jesus' quick recall of the Word of truth, the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17-note) from Deuteronomy which He used to counter the frontal assaults from Satan - Mt 4:1-11. And remember that although Jesus was God, He emptied Himself of His divine prerogatives so that He might give us the perfect example of how a man can live in a fallen world. As such I am convinced that Jesus avidly memorized Scripture from His childhood (See Luke 2:40). See Memorizing His Word OR Memory Verses by Topic
1 John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.
1 John 2:22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.
1 John 4:3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.
H A Ironside - John is the only writer who uses that particular term; other terms are used in other parts of Scripture;—the Idol Shepherd, the Lawless One, the Willful King, the Son of Perdition, the Man of Sin, the False Prophet, and the one who shall come in his own name. These different terms describe the same person, the one who shall arise in the days of the great tribulation and lead guilty apostate Christendom and Judaism farther away from God than they are at the present time. (1 John 2 Commentary)
Many - Don't miss the adjective - not just a few, but many (Gk = polus - BDAG says "a large number, many, a great number of"). Many individuals had already arrived on the Biblical scene even before the close of the first century (First John was written about 90AD).
Many antichrists (nominative masculine plural) - It is amazing that the church is less than a century old and John could identify many antichrists on the scene, presumably infiltrating the ranks of the true Body of Christ. The Prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2-note) knew what was at stake in this spiritual war for souls and sought to gain an advantage by quickly dispatching his evil henchmen to sow doubt and confusion in the Body of Christ about the true nature of Jesus Christ. And remember that this was not just a first century problem but one that would rear its ugly serpentine head throughout the age of the Church. If one distills the cults down to their most basic false teaching, one finds that it almost always involves an attack of the truth of Jesus, especially His mysterious nature as fully God and fully Man. As a corollary truth, remember that just because someone uses the Name "Jesus" does not mean that they are referring to the authentic Jesus Christ, for in fact they are preaching "another Jesus" whom Paul did not preach and thus a different Gospel, (cp 2Cor 11:4), which is really not a Gospel at all! (cp Gal 1:8-9) And so we see Mormons (Church of Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ) make the lying, deceiving claim that they believe in Jesus, when in fact they are of the spirit of antichrist, for they are proclaiming "another" Jesus, who is really not the Biblical Jesus. If the great Deceiver Satan can dupe people into placing their faith in a false "Jesus," then he has ensnared them and their soul is in great jeopardy if they never come to their senses and escape his snare (2Ti 2:24-25-note). If they die with the name "Jesus" on their lips and He is not the Biblical Jesus, they are destined to spend eternity out of the presence of God's glory in a place of utter darkness, horrible suffering ("Lake of fire") where their worm does not die! (see 2Thes 1:7-9) Those who believed in another Jesus, will surely be in those that the real Jesus addresses in Mt 7:21-23-note when He declares to them to depart from Him, for He never knew (was in new covenant union with) them. I personally cannot image the horror of this day for these individuals and it greatly motivates me to share the true Gospel and true Jesus Christ, while today is still called today and they still have a chance to reject the lie and receive the Way, the Truth and the Life, so that they might have eternal access to the Father through His Son, Christ Jesus.
Have appeared - Ginomai (to come into being, to happen, to become) is in the perfect tense indicated that they had arisen and were still present. The perfect tense "recognizes their historical arrival and their present impact on the church and the world. (Hiebert) These workers of evil have arisen and are on the scene even as John writes this warning! They have infiltrated and established themselves in the midst of the Church. Wuest adds "What will be true of the personal Antichrist when he comes is true of these men in a lesser sense, or in a lesser degree. They are imbued with the spirit that will animate Antichrist. John will have occasion to describe these false teachers as to their attitude towards the Person of the Lord Jesus in succeeding verses (1Jn 2:22-23) of this chapter."
Have appeared can be rendered "have come into being" - Hiebert comments "The verb, literally “have come into being,” marks a contrast between these antichrists who have their origin during the course of history and Christ who is from all eternity (John 1:1; 1John 1:2)." (1 John 2:19-24 Exposition)
H A Ironside - The spirit of antichrist is the putting of man in the place of God and His Christ—self-worship, humanism—and the babes need to be warned against this. The worst of it is that many of the advocates of these unholy systems were once numbered among the Christian company. They took their places at the communion-table, had fellowship outwardly with the people of God, went through Christian baptism, but now have turned away from the Christianity of this blessed Book, from the simplicity that is in Christ, and deny the precious blood that once they confessed. In the light of Scripture testimony which says, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand" (Jn 10:27-28), how are we to account for people who have for years walked in the Christian company and seemed to be just as real as any other professed believers, but now count "the blood of the covenant, wherewith they were sanctified, an unholy thing, and have done despite unto the Spirit of grace" (Heb 10:29-note), and spurned the love of our Lord Jesus Christ? The answer is, "They were not altogether of us, or they would have continued with us." (1 John 2 Commentary)
Steven Cole - The false teachers rise up within the church and present a system that subtly presents something instead of Jesus Christ. The false teacher may use the same label, “Jesus Christ,” but he will not be the same Jesus that is presented in the Bible. If a gullible person takes the bait, he is led farther away until finally he is in total opposition to Christ. These false teachers, whom John labels antichrists, did not carry pitchforks and wear red suits with horns and a tail, or T-shirts saying, “Warning: I am an antichrist!” Rather, they arose in the churches. Some of them may have been elders or pastors, who for a while had taught the truth. Paul warned the Ephesian elders, “from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). Now these men were leaving the churches to form new groups, saying, “We have come into a deeper knowledge of the truth. Follow us and we’ll let you in on this secret knowledge.” False teachers invariably adopt Christian terminology and posture themselves as being Christians, but they are not. They usually begin within the church (1Jn 2:19) and at first, their teaching is orthodox. They often have attractive personalities and they build a following of people who seem to be helped by their teaching. But, eventually, they begin subtly to veer from the truth. (Avoiding Spiritual Deception, Part 1 - 1 John 2:18-23)
From this (for which reason, wherefore) - Train yourself to ask simple questions like "From what?" This may seem "simplistic" or even "simple-minded" (and in this case the answer is very obvious), but as you develop this discipline, you will be pleasantly surprised at the positive impact it has on your Scripture reading. Clearly the answer to the question "from what?" is from the fact that many antichrists have come onto the scene. And what in turn does that help believers understand? That we are now in the last hour. If we were playing in a timed athletic context, be it soccer, football or basketball (etc), and we knew it was the last quarter or the last half and the referee would soon blow his whistle, we would have a sense of urgency and intentionality regarding our actions, and especially if there was a huge award or reward at stake. While believers are not in an athletic contest, we are in spiritual struggle (see agon), with the sands of the hour glass running out, and the fate of human souls hanging in the balance. Because of these truths, a time phrase like the last hour should strongly motivate us to redeem the time for the days are evil and should counter the fleshly tendencies we all posses that gravitate toward apathy (over the fate of every soul we meet every day) and spiritual stupor created by worldliness (see 1Jn 2:15-note). In fact John has just given the believers a "time phrase" declaring that the world is passing away and even its lusts! (1Jn 2:17-note) These time phrases beg the simple, but convicting question, will we live today (and the rest of our days on earth) with a temporal or an eternal perspective? A simple question, but our answer has eternal ramifications not only for the souls of others, but for us throughout eternity (cp Ps 62:12-note, Mt 6:19-21-note, 2Cor 5:10-note, Gal 6:7-note, 1Peter 1:17-note, Da 12:2-3-note, Rev 22:12-note, et al)
Wuest quips - "With 1900 years of Church history behind us since John’s time, and Modernism (Wikipedia description) sweeping the visible Church, how close must the Rapture and then the Second Advent be. The Church is in its last period, the Laodicean or apostate stage."
We know (1097)(ginosko, source of English Gnosticism) means that they (note John includes himself = "we") had experienced these antichrists. They had experienced a personal encounter with these men who were were liars and deceivers, especially regarding the truth about Jesus, fully God and fully Man.
Hiebert - From the presence of these antichrists John drew his conclusion about the character of the time: “from this we know that it is the last hour” (1Jn 2:18c). Their presence pointed to the coming Antichrist and showed that “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work” (2Thes 2:7), making clear the character of the hour. While John felt it necessary to remind his readers of the spiritual significance of the situation, his use of the comprehensive “we know” implies that “the actuality is evident to every believer without exception.” John was well aware that these contemporary antichrists were possessed by the spirit of the coming Antichrist. But it is unwarranted to assume that John thereby “historicized” and “rationalized the myth” of the personal end-time Antichrist. John simply insisted that these “many antichrists” point to the coming of the future Antichrist in that they already manifest the spirit of that final opponent of Christ. (1 John 2:19-24 Exposition)
Trench discusses antichrist - To me St. John’s words seem decisive, that resistance to Christ, and defiance of Him, this, and not any treacherous assumption of his character and offices, is the essential mark of Antichrist; is that which, therefore, we should expect to find embodied in his name; … one who shall not pay so much homage to God’s Word as to assert its fulfillment in himself, for he shall deny that Word altogether; hating even erroneous worship, because it is worship at all, and everything that is called ‘God’ (2Th. 2:4), but hating most of all the Church’s worship in spirit and in truth (Da 8:11); who, on the destruction of every religion, every acknowledgment that man is submitted to higher powers than his own, shall seek to establish his throne; and, for God’s great truth that in Christ God is man, to substitute his own lie, that in him man is God.” (Trench's New Testament Synonyms)
Trench then discusses pseudochrist - The pseudochristos does not deny the being of a Christ; on the contrary, he builds on the world’s expectations of such a person; only, he appropriates these to himself, blasphemously affirms that he is the foretold One, in whom God’s promises and men’s expectations are fulfilled. The distinction, then, is plain. The antichristos denies that there is a Christ; the pseudochristos affirms himself to be the Christ. Both alike make war against the Christ of God, and would set themselves, though under different pretences, on the throne of His glory. And yet, while the words have this broad distinction between them, while they represent two different manifestations of the kingdom of wickedness, there is a sense in which the final ‘Antichrist’ will be a ‘Pseudochrist’ as well; even as it will be the very character of that last revelation of hell to gather up into itself, and to reconcile for one last assault against truth, all anterior and subordinate forms of error. He will not, it is true, call himself the Christ, for he will be filled with deadliest hatred against the name and offices, as against the whole spirit and temper of Jesus of Nazareth, the exalted King of Glory. But, inasmuch as no one can resist the truth by a mere negation, he must offer and oppose something positive in the room of that faith which he will assail and endeavor to utterly abolish. And thus we may certainly conclude that the final Antichrist will reveal himself to the world—for he too will have his apokalupsis (revelation) (2Th 2:3, 8), his parousia (advent) (2Thes 2:9)—as, in a sense, the Messiah of God, but still as the world’s saviour; as the one who will make the blessedness of as many as obey him, giving them the full enjoyment of a present material earth, instead of a distant, shadowy, and uncertain heaven.” (cp Rev 14:9-11) (Trench's New Testament Synonyms)
See RBC Ministries booklet -
ILLUSTRATION - Albert Einstein was a man whose genius was so unique his name has become synonymous with genius. Being a bit eccentric, many stories evolved about this genius of a man. One of my favorites is the story of what supposedly happened on one his lecture tours. Einstein was on a lecture tour which took him from university to university, talking about the theory of relativity. He did not drive, so he had a special chauffeur who drove him from place to place. One day the chauffeur said to Einstein, "You know, I've heard this lecture so many times now I could give it myself." Einstein said, "O.K. The people at the next university have never seem me so they won't know who I am. You put on my clothes and I'll wear your uniform and cap. You introduce me as your chauffeur and I will introduce you as Dr. Einstein." Everything went according to plan, and the chauffeur delivered the speech on relativity without a hitch. His performance was flawless. But then something happened they had not anticipated. The moderator said, "We have about fifteen more minutes so I wonder if any of you would like to ask Dr. Einstein a question?" A mathematics professor stood up and asked a complicated, technical question involving mathematical formulas and language the chauffeur did not understand. When the professor finished his question, the chauffeur responded, "Sir, the solution to that problem is so simple I am really surprised you would even ask me to answer it. Anybody can answer that simple question. To prove it, I'm going to have my chauffeur come up and answer it." In his letter to the church, John introduced someone known as the "antichrist." But confusion prevailed as to how they could recognize this antichrist. - Brian Harbour
This excerpt is from Dr. Tony Garland (whose commentary on Revelation is the best literal interpretation and is available free online - A Testimony of Jesus Christ) has an excellent summary of the Antichrist (A Testimony of Jesus Christ - The Beast), also known in the Revelation as the Beast. Dr Garland writes…
Elsewhere, we discuss reasons why Nero cannot be the Beast of Revelation. Here, we consider the real Beast of Revelation—a future figure who has yet to appear. A person who will far surpass anything Nero exhibited in the way of Christian persecution and worldwide influence.
Man of Many Names - The title “Beast” is used of the evil individual who figures large in various passages of the book of Revelation (Rev. 11:7; 13:1-4, 11-12, 14-15, 17-18; 14:9, 11; 15:2; 16:2, 10, 13; 17:3, 7-8, 11-13, 16-17; 19:19-20; 20:4, 10). This title reflects his vicious character and appears to form an intentional contrast against that of Christ as the “Lamb” (Rev. 5:6, 8, 12-13; 6:1, 16; 7:9-10, 14, 17; 12:11; 13:8, 11; 14:1, 4, 10; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7, 9; 21:9, 14, 22-23, 27; 22:1, 3). As parallels between the book of Revelation and Daniel make plain, this individual is also connected with the final beastly kingdom described in Daniel (Dan. 7:4-11, 19-20 cf. Rev. 13:2). A systematic study across Scripture reveals many names which are applied to this individual.
Among the more obvious epithets are: little horn (Dan. 7:8), insolent king (Dan. 8:23), prince who is to come (Dan. 9:26-note), one who makes desolate (Dan. 9:27-note), despicable person (Dan. 11:21), strong-willed king (Dan. 11:36), worthless shepherd (Zec. 11:16-17), man of lawlessness, and the son of destruction (2Th. 2:3); the lawless one (2Th. 2:8), the beast (Rev. 11:7; 13:1; 14:9; 15:2; 16:2; 17:3; 13; 19:20; 20:10).1 (NOTE: All footnotes are at end of this entry)
These various names, titles or descriptions simply portray the various facets of his character. Taken together, these names portray him as the epitome of evil in the human realm, just as Satan is the epitome of evil in the angelic realm. The various names are as follows: The Seed of Satan (Gen. 3:15); The Little Horn (Dan. 7:8); The King of Fierce Countenance (Dan. 8:23); The Prince That Shall Come (Dan. 9:26-note); The Desolator (Dan. 9:27-note); The Willful King (Dan. 11:36); The Man of Sin (2Th. 2:3); The Son of Perdition (2Th. 2:3); The Lawless One (2Th. 2:8); The Antichrist (1Jn. 2:22); The Beast (Rev. 11:7).2
Among all these titles, his most commonly known title is “the Antichrist.” Although this title appears in only one passage (1Jn. 2:22), it is an apt description of his character and ministry.
The vast majority of prophetic scholars have used a single name for this future world dictator: the Antichrist. Although this may not be his most common name in Scripture, it is a well-chosen title. It is a title that describes his true intent, which is to be against Messiah. All the other names essentially portray the various characteristics which he will use in his opposition to Messiah.3
Since that is his most widely-used name, we will refer to the Beast as the Antichrist throughout this discussion.
A Pre-Christian Concept - Some have thought the Antichrist to be a Christian invention, but it predates Christianity. This is to be expected since the Old Testament reveals considerable detail concerning this individual.
David Flusser… an expert on Second Temple Judaism and the origins of Christianity, … categorically states: “The idea of Antichrist is strictly Jewish and pre-Christian.” This is evident from the expression itself, for just as the Greek word Christos (Christ) is the translation of the Hebrew word Mashiach (Messiah), so “Antichrist” is in fact “Anti-Messiah.”4
Among the Dead Sea Scrolls is found the description of an individual who sounds like the promised Messiah, but is said to be an opponent of Israel. This is the role of Anti-Messiah.
In a fragmentary pseudo-Daniel text from Qumran Cave 4, the description of an evil end-time king who oppresses Israel includes the words: “[ ]he shall be great on earth … [all] will worship and all will serve [him] … great … he shall be called and by His name he shall be designated. He shall be named son of God and they shall call him son of the Most High.” (4Q246 1:8-10) This might appear to be a reference to the Messiah rather than the Antimessiah if it were not describing an opponent of Israel.5
Among the legends of Judaism, he is known as Armilus (also Armilius):
Armilus: legendary name of the Messiah’s antagonist or anti-Messiah. Armilus appears frequently in the later Apocalyptic Midrashim, such as Midrash Va-Yosha, Sefer Zerubbavel, and Nistarot shel R. Shimon b. Yohai. He is also mentioned in the Targum pseudo-Jonathan, Isa. 11:14 and in the Targum Yerushalmi A (Deu. 34:3). Armilus is first mentioned otherwise in Saadiah Gaon’s Emunot ve-De’ot (Ma’amar 8), apparently under the influence of Sefer Zerubbavel.6
Armilus is first mentioned in the Targum pseudo-Jonathan: “The earliest reference to Armilus dates from the seventh century. It is found in the Targum to Isaiah 11:4 … which it renders, ‘And with speech of his lips he shall slay the wicked Armilus.’ ”7 Notice how similar this passage is to Paul’s comments in 2Th. 2:8. One reference to Armilus even calls him “Antichrist.”8 Although there are many aspects of the Armilus legend which are unbiblical and fanciful, other aspects of the legend reflect Scriptural truths such as his claim to worship (Dan. 11:36). “He will say to them: ‘I am your god, I am your Messiah and your god!’ … (T’fillat R. Shim’on ben Yohai, BhM 4:124-26).”9 In contrast to the claims of the preterists, Judaism understands this coming figure as ruling the entire world, not just first-century Rome. “the whole earth, … will tell him that he is the Messiah, … and the whole earth will submit to him, and he will slay those who do not submit… (Ma’ase Daniel, pp. 222-25).”10 He was also expected to banish Israel into the wilderness (Rev. 12:6-15).
Works such as Sefer Zerubbavel and those by Saadiah Gaon reveal … Armilus will deceive the whole world into believing that he is God and will reign over the whole world… Armilus is expected to persecute and banish Israel to the wilderness and it will be a time of unprecedented distress for Israel … and the Gentiles will expel the Jews from their lands.11
Whereas some expect the Antichrist to arise from Dan (see below), others suggest Armilus will arise from Ephraim: 12 Interestingly, both of these tribes are omitted in the list of tribes which are sealed for protection during the Tribulation (Rev. 7:4-8). See Commentary on Revelation 7:4.
Jewish or Gentile? - Some have held that the Antichrist will be Jewish in origin. Among the reasons cited for this view are:
1 His acceptance by Israel is thought to imply a Jewish connection (Dan. 9:27; John 5:43).
2 His role as a “false” Messiah (pseudo-Christ).
3 The omission of the tribe of Dan from the 144,000 of Revelation 7 is inferred as a hint as to his possible origin.13
4 He may be key in initiating the rebuilding of the Tribulation Temple and interpreted as the Messiah who fulfills Zechariah 6:12.
5 The KJV translation refers to “the God of his fathers” [emphasis added] (Dan. 11:37) which is thought to be a reference to the true God of the Jews.
There are numerous problems with the reasons given: First, they are all inferences and not direct statements by Scripture; Second, the reference by the KJV to “the God (singular) of his fathers” is a translation of the Hebrew word elohim which is plural. Depending upon the context, it can be rendered as either “gods” or as “God” (a plural of majesty, possibly hinting at the Trinity). Many other translations (e.g., ASV, NASB, KJ2000, NIV) render it as “gods” in Daniel 11:37 so it is not sound to place undue emphasis upon this detail of the text.
Price gives additional reasons against supposing a Jewish origin.
Does the person who rebuilds the Temple have to be considered the Messiah? Note that neither the Jewish governor Zerubbabel nor the Judean king Herod—both of whom rebuilt the Second Temple—were thought by the Jewish people to be the Messiah… the Gentile Persian emperor Cyrus… made possible the rebuilding of the Second Temple through his edict… It is an outsider who has to sign a legal document [Dan. 9:27] with the Jewish people, not one of their own… since the object of Satan’s attacks during the Tribulation are all ethnic Jews (Rev. 12:13), it would seem unlikely that the one Satan empowers would also be Jewish (Rev. 13:2)… it would be contrary to the prophetic sequence of Daniel to have a Jewish kingdom (Dan. 2:32-45; Rom. 11:25)… to say that the Antichrist is to be a Jew would contradict the very nature of the times of the Gentiles… two different beasts are described as arising from the ‘sea’ and the ‘earth.’ The ‘sea’ is a literary image that often indicates the ‘Gentile nations’ (Dan. 7:2-3). This would mean that its opposite term here, ‘earth,’ would refer to ‘the Jews.’ There is support for this in that the Greek word can be used as a technical expression for ‘the land of Israel.’ If this is so, then the first beast, which is from the sea, the Antichrist, is Gentile. And the second beast, the false prophet, is Jewish… While Zec. 6:12 indicates that the Messiah (‘the Branch’) will build the Temple, Zechariah is referring to the Millennial Temple. This allows for the Third (Tribulation) Temple to be built by someone else… the text of Rev. 11:2 that identifies the Antichrist with the Temple in its desecration does so in terms of Gentile occupation of the site.14
But the main reason to oppose this notion is found in a direct deduction from an explicit statement of Scripture which supports his Gentile origin (Dan. 9:27 coupled with the facts of the Roman overthrow of Jerusalem in A.D. 70).
That the Antichrist is to be a Gentile is seen first by looking at biblical typology. The only biblical type of the Antichrist is given in the person of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a Gentile… Another argument for the Gentile nature of the Antichrist is found in biblical imagery. Whenever the word sea is used symbolically in the Scriptures, especially in the book of Revelation, it is a symbol of the Gentile nations. Since the Beast of Revelation 13:1-10 rises out of the sea, and since the sea represents the Gentile nations (Rev. 17:15), this points to the Antichrist as being of Gentile origin… It is agreed by most Premillennialists that the Times of the Gentiles does not end until the Second Coming of Messiah. It is further agreed that the Antichrist is the final ruler of the Times of the Gentiles … if this is so, how then can a Jew be the last ruler when only the Gentiles can have the pre-eminence? … not only does the Bible reveal the fact that the Antichrist is to be a Gentile, it also reveals the very nationality of the Antichrist. The nationality of the Antichrist can be deduced from Daniel 9:26-27-note… The obvious conclusion, then, is that the Antichrist is a Gentile of Roman origin. [emphasis added]15
Highly Intelligent - A notable characteristic of the Beast will be his great intelligence. Daniel describes him as a horn (kingly power) which had “eyes like the eyes of a man” (Dan. 7:8, 20). Eyes are often mentioned in connection with intelligence (Eze. 1:18; 10:12; Rev. 1:14; 2:18; 5:6).
Being empowered by Satan (2Th. 2:9; Rev. 13:4), he may be the most intelligent man, with the exception of Jesus, ever to have walked the planet. Scripture records, “Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule” (Dan. 8:24). These are characteristics common to many of the ruthless personalities who have squandered the lives of millions upon the stage of history, but in the beast we find the ultimate effort that Satan can put forth in the way of cunning.16
Master Imitator - In keeping with his title of “Antichrist,” he will be an imitator of Christ (e.g., the object of worship, worldwide dominion, a throne). This tendency to imitate must be seen as an indicator of his Satanic empowerment (Dan. 8:24; 2Th. 2:9; Rev. 13:2). Pink masterfully contrasts Christ and Satan providing an indication of the extent of the devil’s tendency toward imitation.
Do we read of Christ going forth to sow the ‘good seed’ (Mat. 13:24), then we also read of the enemy going forth to sow his ‘tares’ - an imitation wheat (Mat. 13:25). Do we read of ‘the children of God,’ then we also read of ‘the children of the wicked one’ (Mat. 13:38). Do we read of God working in His children ‘both to will and to do of His good pleasure’ (Php. 2:13), then we are also told that the Prince of the power of the air is ‘the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience’ (Eph. 2:2). Do we read of the Gospel of God, then we also read that Satan has a gospel - ‘Another gospel, which is not another’ (Gal. 1:6, 7). Did Christ appoint ‘apostles,’ then Satan has his apostles too (2Cor. 11:13). Are we told that ‘the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God’ (1Cor. 2:10), then Satan also provides his ‘deep things’ (see Greek of Rev. 2:24). Are we told that God, by His angel, will ‘seal’ His servants in their foreheads (Rev. 7:3), so also we read that Satan, by his angels, will set a mark in the foreheads of his devotees (Rev. 13:16). Does the Father seek ‘worshippers’ (John 4:23), so also does Satan (Rev. 13:4). Did Christ quote scripture, so also did Satan (Mat. 4:6). Is Christ the Light of the world, then Satan also is transformed as an ‘angel of light’ (2Cor. 11:14). Is Christ denominated ‘the Lion of the tribe of Judah’ (Rev. 5:5), then the Devil is also referred to as ‘a roaring lion’ (1Pe. 5:6). Do we read of Christ and ‘His angels’ (Mat. 24:31), then we also read of the Devil and ‘his angels’ (Mat. 25:41). Did Christ work miracles, so also will Satan (2Th. 2:9). Is Christ seated upon a ‘Throne,’ so also will Satan be (Rev. 2:13, Gk.). Has Christ a Church, then Satan has his ‘synagogue’ (Rev. 2:9). Has Christ a ‘bride,’ then Satan has his ‘whore’ (Rev. 17:16). Has God His ‘Vine,’ so has Satan (Rev. 14:19). Does God have a city, the new Jerusalem, then Satan has a city, Babylon (Rev. 17:5; 18:2). Is there a ‘mystery of godliness’ (1Ti. 3:16), so also there is a ‘mystery of iniquity’ (2Th. 2:7). Does God have an only-begotten Son, so we read of ‘the Son of Perdition’ (2Th. 2:3). Is Christ called ‘the Seed of the woman,’ then the Antichrist will be ‘the seed of the serpent’ (Gen. 3:15). Is the Son of God also the Son of Man, then the son of Satan will also be the ‘Man of Sin’ (2Th. 2:3). Is there a Holy Trinity, then there is also an Evil Trinity (Rev. 20:10).17
The Antichrist occupies the role of “the son” in the ultimate mimic, the so-called “unholy trinity.”
Is there a Holy Trinity, then there is also an Evil Trinity (Rev. 20:10). In this Trinity of Evil Satan himself is supreme, just as in the Blessed Trinity the Father is (governmentally) supreme: note that Satan is several times referred to as a father (John 8:44, etc.). Unto his son, the Antichrist, Satan gives his authority and power to represent and act for him (Rev. 13:4) just as God the Son received “all power in heaven and earth” from His Father, and uses it for His glory. The Dragon (Satan) and the Beast (Antichrist) are accompanied by a third, the False Prophet, and just as the third person in the Holy Trinity, the Spirit, bears witness to the person and work of Christ and glorifies Him, so shall the third person in the Evil Trinity bear witness to the person and work of the Antichrist and glorify him (see Rev. 13:11-14).18
(Editorial note: A W Pink has written an entire book on the Antichrist [Table of content - The Antichrist], and while much of it is very good, the reader is advised to read it with his Bible open and a prayerful dependence on his Teacher the Holy Spirit, as Pink tends to interpret the Scriptures from a Supernaturalistic perspective [See discussion-Is Your Interpretation Supernaturalistic, Naturalistic, Existentialistic, Dogmatic].)
|called the Christ (Mat. 16:16)||called the Antichrist (1Jn. 4:3)|
|the Man of Sorrows (Isa. 53:3)||the Man of Sin (2Th. 2:3)|
|the Son of God (John 1:34)||the Son of Perdition (2Th. 2:3)|
|the Seed of woman (Gen. 3:15)||the seed of the Serpent (Gen. 3:15)|
|the Lamb (Isa. 53:7)||the Beast (Rev. 11:7)|
|the Holy One (Mark 1:24)||the Wicked One (2Th. 2:8)|
|the Truth (John 14:6)||the Lie (John 8:44)|
|Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6)||profane Prince (Eze. 21:25)|
|glorious Branch (Isa. 4:2)||abominable Branch (Isa. 14:19)|
|the Mighty Angel (Rev. 10:1)||the Angel of the Bottomless Pit (Rev. 9:11)|
|the Good Shepherd (John 10:11)||the Idol Shepherd (Zec. 11:17)|
|the number of His name (the Gematria [or here] of “Jesus” in the Greek) 888||the number of his name 666 (Rev. 13:18)|
|came down from heaven (John 3:13)||comes up out of the bottomless pit (Rev. 11:7)|
|came in Another’s Name (John 5:43)||comes in his own name (John 5:43)|
|came to do the Father’s will (John 6:38)||will do his own will (Dan. 11:36)|
|energized by the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14)||energized by Satan (Rev. 13:4)|
|submitted Himself to God (John 5:30)||defies God (2Th. 2:4)|
|humbled Himself (Php. 2:8)||exalts himself (Dan. 11:37)|
|honored the God of His fathers (Luke 4:16)||refuses to (Dan. 11:37)|
|cleansed the temple (John 2:14, 16)||defiles the temple (Mat. 24:15)|
|ministered to the needy (Isa. 53:7)||robs the poor (Ps. 10:8, 9)|
|rejected of men (Isa. 53:7)||accepted by men (Rev. 13:4)|
|leads the flock (John 10:3)||leaves the flock (Zec. 11:17, cp Zech 11:15-16)|
|slain for the people (John 11:51)||slays the people (Isa. 14:20)|
|glorified God on earth (John 17:4)||blasphemes the name of God in heaven (Rev. 13:6)|
|received up into heaven (Luke 24:51)||goes down into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20)|
Supernatural Origin? - The most controversial aspect of the Antichrist concerns his origin. Clearly he is empowered by Satan (Dan. 8:24; 2Th. 2:9). Scripture also records his ascent from the bottomless pit (Abyss, Rev. 11:7; 17:8). As Pink notes above, there is also a striking contrast between the “seed of the woman” and the “seed of the serpent” in various passages. Fruchtenbaum notes his ascent from the bottomless pit and suggests a connection with fallen angels which are also associated with the Abyss: “[The Abyss] is never associated with human beings; it is always associated with fallen angels with the exception of the Antichrist. Since the Antichrist will be conceived by the power of Satan, he is connected with angelic beings and therefore also with the Abyss.”20
The nature of the Antichrist’s connection with Satan, his origin, and his supernatural powers, have led some to conclude his origin will mimic21 the incarnation of Christ.22 Perhaps the most radical view concerning his emergence from the abyss is that it denotes the possible reincarnation of Judas Iscariot or Nero.23
The Timing of His Ascent - Although the previous views are provocative, it seems more likely that the ascent of the beast from the Abyss denotes his revival rather than his conception. His ascent from the Abyss (Rev. 11:7; 17:8) is related as one of a series of events concerning His life history (Rev. 17:8):
The beast was.
The beast is not.
The beast will ascend out of the bottomless pit.
The beast will go into perdition (Rev. 17:11; 19:20; 20:10).
If the grammatical sequence of Revelation 17:8 reflects his actual history, it implies that the beast comes into existence, receives a deadly wound, ascends from the Abyss, and is finally destroyed. His ascent from the Abyss may be connected with his reappearance upon the stage of history rather than his initial origin. Scripture indicates that the beast will receive a serious wound which results in his death. His miraculous revival from the wound contributes to his worship:
Woe to the worthless shepherd, who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm and against his right eye; his arm shall completely wither, and his right eye shall be totally blinded. (Zec. 11:17)
And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. (Rev. 13:3)
And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. (Rev. 13:14)
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. (Rev. 17:8)
It seems best to understand the ascent of the beast from the Abyss as denoting the demonic supernatural means by which he returns from the dead. His restoration from a fatal wound will parallel the resurrection of Christ from the dead and result in even greater worship: “So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’ ” (Rev. 13:4)
After his death he will come to life again. When he does, he will come back in a demonic rather than a purely human form to establish his world domination. This explains why the abyss, the abode of demons (Luke 8:31; Rev. 9:1, 2, 11) is his origin.24
If the restoration of the beast is to result in the greatest impression upon the global population, then it seems his fatal wound must have also been witnessed by these same individuals and that both his initial appearance on the stage of history and his subsequent peril and restoration must take place during the last time. This would preclude the idea that his personal restoration involves the resurrection (or even reincarnation) of the likes of Judas or Nero who both died many centuries ago and whose restoration would be difficult, if not impossible, to validate.
Preterist interpreters connect the beast’s recovery with the Nero Redivivus Myth which arose some time after the suicide of Caesar Nero in A.D. 68, but this connection is problematic. See Revival Myth.
The mystery surrounding his origin, the nature of his ministry and works, and the extent to which Satan is a Great Imitator will all play a factor in how the beast comes upon the scene. Only time will tell if the imitation will extend to matters of the conception or resurrection of Antichrist.
Relation to the Pope - If the identity of the Antichrist were established by popular vote throughout history, the reigning Pope of any given time would undoubtedly be the most popular candidate:
Following Augustine’s lead the Reformers took the Scriptures pertaining to the antichrist and the mark of the beast as an allegory of either the Pope, Islam (Constantinople had fallen to the Turks in A.D. 1412), or both. The Waldenses held the Pope to be the antichrist. Wycliffe also was of this opinion as was Tyndale. Luther regarded the Pope and the Turks both as antichrist, … Calvin took the Antichrist’s desecration of the Temple to be an allegory of the Church and the Pope to be the desecrator, … Arminius also held “that the Roman pontiff, who calls himself the head and spouse, though under Christ, is Antichrist.”25
Although the Papal system is an ever-popular candidate for the beast, we believe that this view falls short of serious consideration on at least two counts:
1 The Antichrist is an individual and not a position or system (Dan. 7:8; 7:11, 20-26; 8:23-25; 9:26-27; 11:36-45; John 5:43; 2Th. 2:3-9; 1Jn. 2:18; Rev. 11:7; 13:1-8, 12-18; 14:9-11; 15:2; 16:2, 10, 13; 17:8-13; 19:19-20; 20:4, 10).
2 It appears the Antichrist will be an emerging political leader rather than the existing leader of an established system of religion (Dan. 7:20-25; 8:25; 11:36-39; 2Th. 2:8; Rev. 13:4-5).
Although the last Pope will undoubtedly play an important role—along with all other false religions—in helping to establish the Antichrist and his political system, it is unlikely that the Pope himself will occupy the role of Antichrist. If anything, the last Pope will more likely be related to the False Prophet (Rev. 13:11), although there are reasons for questioning this association too.26
Throughout history, the Scriptural teaching regarding Antichrist has continually suffered perversion in service of near-term political or polemic motivations of Christian interpreters of the day who have readily filled the shoes of Antichrist with their opponents. Not mindful of the fact that the church will not be present to watch for the Antichrist (see Rapture), this trend continues to our own day.
If we learn anything from the history of interpretation, we learn that great patience is necessary in relation to prophetic passages. Rather than attempting to shoe-horn prophecy into our own near-term experience, we must patiently wait for God’s timing which alone is sure:
Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” (Hab. 2:2-3)
A Statesmen’s Dream - When the Beast finally appears on the world stage, he will present an irresistible solution to the troubles of his age. So much so that he will be worshiped by those whose names are not written in the Book of Life (Rev. 13:4, 8, 12, 15; 14:9, 11; 19:20).
One cannot assert that the “beast” is finally to be equated with any single person or power that has yet appeared. Expositors have identified him with almost every sinister figure known, from Nero to Mussolini… But as the concept of world government becomes more popular, and as world powers gain more territorial influence in every succeeding generation, it is easy to see that the Revelation points the way in which civilization is traveling. One government, materialistic in philosophy and absolutist in character, ruled by a single political and economic genius, is predicted in Revelation. Such a government, unthinkable a generation or two ago, now seems not too remote a possibility. The dictatorship of one man over the world might be welcomed if he could offer some assurance of universal peace and prosperity. What seemed like a dream to statesmen of yesterday is prophesied in this book, and as the years roll by it comes closer and closer to fulfillment.27
1 Randall Price, “Antichrist,” in Mal Couch, ed., Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996), 43.
2 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 207.
4 Randall Price, “Jewish Views of the Antichrist,” in Mal Couch, ed., Dictionary of Premillennial Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996), 47.
5 Ibid., 48.
6 Geoffrey Wigoder, ed., Encyclopedia Judaica CDROM Edition Version 1.0 (Keter Publishing House, Ltd., 1997), s.v. “Armilus.”
7 Raphael Patai, The Messiah Texts (Detroit, MI: Wayne Statue University Press, 1979), 156.
8 “Remarkable in the statement of one version of the Midrash that he is called ‘Antichrist.’ ”—Ibid., 157.
9 Ibid., 158-159.
10 Ibid., 163.
11 Price, Jewish Views of the Antichrist, 49.
12 “That man will be of the Children of Ephraim… who says, ‘I am the Messiah your king and your prince… (Ma’ase Daniel, pp. 222-25)’.”—Patai, The Messiah Texts, 163.
13 “Hippolytus (Commentary on the Benedictions of Isaac and Jacob [Gen. 49:14]) … began the Christian tradition that the Antichrist originates from the Israelite tribe of Dan … [He] apparently made this connection from the Jewish Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs … which states that evil spirits would be active in the tribe … that Satan was their prince … and that they would be hostile in the future to the tribes of Levi and Judah.”—Price, Jewish Views of the Antichrist, 49.
14 Randall Price, The Coming Last Days Temple (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1999), 477-480.
15 Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 212-213.
16 “In Dan. 7:20 he is represented as ‘A horn that had eyes.’ It is a double symbol. The ‘horn’ prefigures strength; ‘eyes’ speak of intelligence. Again, in Dan. 8:23 he is referred to as ‘A King of fierce countenance.’ who shall ‘understand dark sentences.’ That which baffles others shall be simple to him. The Hebrew word here translated ‘dark sentences’ is the same as the one rendered ‘hard questions’ in 1 Kings 10:1, where we read of the Queen of Sheba coming to Solomon with her ‘hard questions’ in order to test his wisdom. It is also the word that is used in Samson’s riddle in Judges 14. It indicates that the Antichrist will be master of all the secrets of occult science. Eze. 28:3 declares of him ‘Beholding, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee.’ This will be one of his most alluring attractions. His master mind will captivate the educated world. His marvelous store of knowledge, his acquaintance with the secrets of nature, his superhuman powers of perception, will stamp him as an intellectual genius of the first magnitude.”—Arthur Walkington Pink, The Antichrist (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1999, 1923), s.v. “The Genius and Character of the Antichrist.”
17 Ibid., s.v. “The Antichrist Will be the Son of Satan.”
19 [Pink, The Antichrist, s.v. “Comparisons between Christ and the Antichrist”] (We do not necessarily agree with every Scriptural identification of the Antichrist made by Pink.)
20 Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 749.
21 The word mimic is supremely important in this statement. For it appears that only the Creator has the necessary power to bring forth creatures. God alone has true life-giving power: Job 27:3; 33:4; Eze. 37:9, 14; John 6:63; Rev. 11:11. Whatever Satan achieves will not be the true creation of life, but the perversion of that which God has already established as part of the system of life. “Satan does not have the power to give life. Since Christ alone has the power of resurrection, Satan could not bring one back to life.”—J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), 335. However, “The question of whether Satan has the power to restore a dead person to life (Walvoord) requires no answer here. Whether the beast performs this marvelous feat through deception or through power permitted by God, it still brings him into the limelight as never before.”—Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 8-22 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1995), Rev. 13:3.
22 “If the Seed of the Woman is Messiah, the seed of Satan can only be the Antichrist. From this passage [Gen. 3:15], then, it can be deduced that Satan will counterfeit the virgin conception and will some day impregnate a Roman woman who will give birth to Satan’s seed who is going to be the Antichrist. The woman herself may not be a virgin, but the conception of Antichrist will be through the supernatural power of Satan. By this means, the Antichrist will have a supernatural origin. Another passage dealing with this is II Thessalonians 2:9… The Greek word translated working is the word energeo, which means ‘to energize.’ His coming, then, will be brought about by the energizing of Satan… A time is coming when the situation of Genesis six [Gen. 6:4] will be repeated. A fallen angelic being, this time Satan himself, will impregnate a Gentile woman of Roman origin who will then give birth to Satan’s son. The end-product will be a counterfeit god-man.”—Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 215-216. We would depart from Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s interpretation here. It is our view that one simply cannot make a clear case for this provocative idea on the basis of Scripture. There is much one could say, but for one thing, the “seed of Satan” need not refer to physical offspring, but rather spiritual children (Mat. 13:38; John 8:41-43; Acts 13:10; 1Jn. 3:10).
23 “We have the first reference to ‘the Beast’ in the Apocalypse: ‘The Beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit.’ Here the Antichrist is seen issuing forth from the Abyss. What is the Abyss? It is the abode of lost spirits, the place of their incarceration and torment - see Rev. 20:1-3, and Luke 8:31, ‘deep’ is the ‘abyss’ and cf. Mat. 9:28. The question naturally arises, How did he get there? and when was he sent there? We answer, When Judas Iscariot died! The Antichrist will be Judas Iscariot reincarnated. In proof of this we appeal to Acts 1:25 where we are told, ‘that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.’ Of no one else in all the Bible is it said that at death he went ‘to his own place.’ Put these two scriptures together: Judas went ‘to his own place,’ the Beast ascends out of the Abyss.”—Pink, The Antichrist, s.v. “The Antichrist Will Be Judas Reincarnated.” “Some have held that the Beast will be the reincarnation of Nero.”—Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, 335. “But there would be little point in a resurrected Judas; how would anyone recognize him, since no one would know what he looked like?”—John MacArthur, Revelation 12-22 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2000), Rev. 13:2. “Victorinus, voicing an impression that was very common in early Christian centuries, says, ‘Nero will be raised from the dead, appear again at Rome and persecute the Church once more, and finally be destroyed by the Messiah.’ Augustine first mentioned this idea concerning Nero. Even Tacitus, the Roman historian, spoke of many believing rumors about Nero’s possible return … Sulpicius Severus said, ‘It is current opinion of many that he (Nero) is yet to come as Antichrist.’ Note carefully, we are not insisting at all that Nero will be the Antichrist, but that the early Christians believed that a Roman imperial persecutor, possibly Nero, would be the Antichrist.”—William R. Newell, Revelation: Chapter by Chapter (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1994,c1935), 200.
24 Thomas, Revelation 8-22, Rev. 17:8.
25 Hal Harless, “666: The Beast and His Mark in Revelation 13,” in The Conservative Theological Journal, vol. 7 no. 22 (Fort Worth, TX: Tyndale Theological Seminary, December 2003), 347.
26 “The second beast which is described, Rev. 13:11-17, as coming out of the earth, and having two horns like unto a lamb, and speaking as a dragon, and exercising all the authority of the first beast in his sight, is referred to the papacy. The false prophet receives a similar application. So Luther, Vitringa, Bengel, Auberlen, Hengstenberg, Ebrard, and many English divines.”—Philip Schaff and David Schley Schaff, History of the Christian Church (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997, 1916), 1.xii.101. Some commentators interpret the reference to the false prophet “coming up out of the earth [or land]” (Rev. 13:11) as a possible reference to his Jewish origin. If the last Pope were to be the false prophet, then a Jewish Pope is always a possibility. (Dr Garland's discussion of the Beast)
1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: εξ ημων εξηλθαν αλλ ουκ ησαν εξ ημων ει γαρ ησαν εξ ημων μεμενηκεισαν αν μεθ ημων αλλ ινα φανερωθωσιν οτι ουκ εισιν παντες εξ ημων
Amplified: They went out from our number, but they did not [really] belong to us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us. But [they withdrew] that it might be plain that they all are not of us. (Lockman)
Barclay: They have gone out from among us but they are not of our number. If they had been of our number, they would have remained with us. But things have happened as they have happened, that it may be clearly demonstrated that all of them are not of us.(Barclay's Daily Study Bible).
Berkley (Modern Language): They went out from us but they never belonged to us; for had they been ours, they would have remained with us. But it had to become clear that not all belong to us.
ESV: They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
HCSB: They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us.
NET: They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us, because if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But they went out from us to demonstrate that all of them do not belong to us.
NIV: They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
NLT: These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.
Phillips: These men went out from our company, it is true, but they never really belonged to it. If they had really belonged to us they would have stayed. In fact, their going proves beyond doubt that men like that were not "our men" at all.
TLB: These "against-Christ" people used to be members of our churches, but they never really belonged with us or else they would have stayed. When they left us it proved that they were not of us at all.
Weymouth: They have gone forth from our midst, but they did not really belong to us; for had they belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But they left us that it might be manifest that professed believers do not all belong to us.
Wuest: Out from us they departed, but they did not belong to us as a source. For if they had belonged to us, they would in that case have remained with us. But they departed in order that they might be plainly recognized, that all do not belong to us as a source.
Young's Literal: out of us they went forth, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but--that they might be manifested that they are not all of us.
KJV = They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
- went out Deuteronomy 13:13; Ps 41:9; Matthew 13:20,21; Mark 4:5,6,16,17; Luke 8:13; John 15:2; Acts 15:24; 20:30; 2 Peter 2:20,21; Jude 1:19
- for Job 17:9; Ps 37:28; 125:1,2; Jeremiah 32:38-40; Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22; John 4:14; 6:37-39; 10:28-30; 2 Timothy 2:10,19; 1 Peter 1:2-5; Jude 1:1
- they might Romans 9:6; 11:5,6; 1 Corinthians 11:19; 2 Timothy 3:9; Hebrews 10:39
- Reciprocal References:, Genesis 21:10 - Cast out Deuteronomy 13:3 - proveth Ruth 1:15 - gone back 2 Kings 2:2 - I will not Job 23:12 - Neither Job 24:13 - nor abide Psalms 18:21 - have not Psalms 36:3 - he hath Psalms 94:15 - and all Psalms 101:3 - them Psalms 119:33 - I shall keep Psalms 119:102 - for thou Proverbs 2:13 - leave Proverbs 15:31 - abideth Proverbs 21:16 - wandereth Song of Solomon 1:7 - for Ezekiel 3:20 - When Ezekiel 18:24 - when Ezekiel 33:13 - if he Daniel 11:34 - cleave Matthew 7:25 - for Matthew 12:30 - that is Matthew 12:44 - he findeth Matthew 13:47 - and gathered Matthew 22:10 - both Matthew 25:2 - General, Luke 2:35 - that Luke 6:49 - immediately Luke 22:32 - thy faith John 6:66 - of his John 8:31 - If John 10:5 - General, John 13:21 - one John 15:6 - he John 17:12 - and Acts 2:42 - they Romans 11:22 - if thou Romans 16:17 - cause Galatians 1:7 - pervert Ephesians 4:14 - tossed Philippians 3:8 - doubtless 1 Timothy 1:19 - concerning 1 Timothy 5:15 - General, 2 Timothy 2:18 - overthrow Hebrews 10:38 - but 1 Peter 4:7 - the end 2 Peter 2:1 - even Revelation 2:26 - keepeth
THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH:
GENUINE VERSUS FALSE
This passage describes the sifting of the church, the separation of the genuine from the counterfeit, the professors from the possessors. In contrast Jesus declared that the wheat and the tares (Greek zizanion) "would grow together until the harvest," and the counterfeit nature of the tares will not be apparent until the final harvest (Read Mt 13:25-30). As an aside the tares probably represent the weed known as darnel - "Darnel usually grows in the same production zones as wheat and is considered a weed. The similarity between these two plants is so great that in some regions, darnel is referred to as "false wheat". It bears a close resemblance to wheat until the ear appears." (Darnel)
They went out from us - They refers to the antichrists of 1Jn 2:18. Out from is one preposition (ek) which indicates that these antichrists were once in fact members of the community of believers ("us" is the the body of Christ. the genuine believers), but had now seceded from it, which proved they were never genuine members of the community. John does not say these antichrists were thrown out (ex-communicated as it were), but that they went out voluntarily (went out is active voice = the subject is the doer of the action which speaks of volitional choice). Furthermore, when they went out it was not simply a matter of leaving one church to join another. Thy left the church, much as Judas left the fellowship of the disciples, indicating his betrayal of Jesus and denial of the faith (Jn 13:30)
Van Gorder observes that “this pronoun (us) is used five times in 1Jn 2:19, underscoring the wonderful fellowship that marked the early believers.” Hiebert adds John used “of us” (ex hemon) four times and “with us” (meth hemon) once in this verse to stress the unity of the true believers with whom John associated himself.
It is interesting that one of the actions of the coming Antichrist (See Comparison of Christ and Antichrist) is that he too will "leave the flock" (see Zech 11:15-17)!
John MacArthur wrote that
"One helpful Scripture in defining apostasy is 1 John 2:19." (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Hebrews)
- What is apostasy and how can I recognize it? - Here is an interesting excerpt indicates that apostates do not always "go out from the church!" -
"A recent example of this process is a 2010 study done by prominent atheist Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola called “Preachers Who Are Not Believers”. Dennett and LaScola’s work chronicles five different preachers who over time were presented with and accepted heretical teachings about Christianity and now have completely fallen away from the faith and are either pantheists or clandestine atheists. One of the most disturbing truths highlighted in the study is that these preachers maintain their position as pastors of Christian churches with their congregations being unaware of their leader’s true spiritual state."
- If our salvation is eternally secure, why does the Bible warn so strongly against apostasy?
- See in depth commentary on Hebrews 10:26-31 a passage that deals with the fate of those who apostasize.
Augustine - 'like bad humours in the body of Christ: when they are vomited out, the body is relieved; it is still under treatment, and has not yet attained the perfect soundness which it shall have only at the resurrection' (Augustine, 'Ep. John, Tract,' 3,4).
Charles Ellicott - The special instances in his mind were of men who had seemed to belong to the body of Christ, but were never really penetrated by His Spirit. (Comp. Matthew 13:3-7; Matthew 13:24-30; Matthew 13:47-50.) (Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers)
Wuest says out from signifies that the antichrists "went out from the true believers in the sense that they departed doctrinally from the position of the Church as to the Person of the Lord Jesus, a position which they had held only in an intellectual way. It was a mental assent to but not a heart acceptance of the doctrines concerning, the Person of Christ."
They were not really of us - The plain sense is that there were (and are today) those in the Body of Christ who look for all the world like authentic, genuine believers. They were not born of God's Spirit (Jn 3:3-5) They say the right things (speak "Christianeze" so to speak), pray the right words (even with great oratory), etc, but their heart is unregenerate. Their spirits are dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1-3-note). They have never been born again. It is one thing to be a pagan idol worshipper in the deep, dark jungle, but to be a religious faker in the presence of the True Light is one of the greatest of all tragedies. Jesus sternly warned that all individuals who have much "light" exposure, will suffer much greater condemnation when they enter their eternal abode in abject darkness (Read Jesus' sobering pronouncements - Mt 11:21-24, Lk 10:12-16).
C. H. Dodd - Membership of the Church is no guarantee that a man belongs to Christ and not to Antichrist.
A. E. Brooke - External membership is no proof of inward union.
Hiebert - Outwardly they had been members of the church, but inwardly they never shared the inner spiritual fellowship of the group. Their defection had the effect of purifying the church and marking the clear distinction between truth and error.
Steven Cole - Beware of anyone who breaks from the true church to form a new group with new theology. John’s words here do not apply to people who get disgruntled in one evangelical church and leave to join or form another evangelical church. While that practice is usually regrettable and sad, it is wrong to label those who left as heretics, unless they also have abandoned core Christian truth. Heretics not only eventually separate themselves from true Christians to form their own groups, but also, they deviate from orthodox Christian doctrine on major issues. They claim that they have the truth and that others do not, or that they now see things that others do not see. And, invariably they try to recruit others from within the church to join them. While such situations are painful and unpleasant, John’s words here should prepare us not to be surprised or disheartened when it happens… Sometimes sincere Christians have to agree to disagree or even to work in separate parts of the Lord’s vineyard. But if the doctrinal issue is a core matter of the faith, purity is much more important than unity or church growth. We should not measure a church’s success by the numbers who attend, but rather by its faithfulness to the truth of the gospel. (Avoiding Spiritual Deception, Part 1 - 1 John 2:18-23)
Guy King - Many a defaulter has been spoken of as a backslider (see Backsliding) when, in reality, they never had been Christians at all. Like those that Peter speaks of, "It is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire", 2Peter 2:22-note. They never were sheep, though they were thought to be. Now the veneer was off; and in their reversion to type, they were seen to have been dogs and pigs all the time. A following of righteousness proves their new birth (1Jn 2:29), a wallowing in unrighteousness shows they never were truly "new [creatures - see kainos]", 2Corinthians 5:17-note. (1 John 2:15-29 The Perils of the Fellowship)
Paul presents a similar picture of those who are Jews and yet not truly sons of Abraham (believers) - But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; neither are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: " THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED." (Ro 9:6-7-note)
Wuest - In the words, “They were not really of us,” we have the ablative of source. That is, the antichrists did not have their source in the Mystical Body of Christ composed only of true believers. They were merely members of the visible, organized church on earth. They did not partake of the divine life animating the members of the Body of Christ, made up of true believers. All of which means that an apostate is an unsaved person who has mentally subscribed to the doctrines of the Christian faith and who then rejects those doctrines while still remaining within the organization of the visible church and posing as a Christian.
H A Ironside on they were not really of us - I remember how my heart was stirred after the war as I read of one of our great American preachers, great from the standpoint of ability, culture, and rhetoric, but who knew nothing of the saving grace of God. He said that after he had been to Europe and after his experience in the trenches, he threw overboard the doctrine of blood-atonement through the precious sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, gave up the doctrine of the deity of Christ, and scoffed at His virgin birth and His resurrection. How could so great a preacher repudiate these things? We are not left to speculate about this, for the explanation is given by the Holy Spirit Himself in verse 19, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." Their going out made it manifest that they were not genuinely of the believers. They bore the Christian name, they joined some Christian church, the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit was called over them in holy baptism, they took the bread and the wine at the table of the Lord, but He who seeth not as man seeth said, "The hand of him that betrays Me is with Me on the table" (Luke 22:21). He knew what Judas really was, and so said, "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (Jn 6:70). He was never anything else. God knows who are the unreal among His people today. He knows all who mingle with the people of God, who profess the name of Christ, but have never known the blessing of regenerating grace, never bowed in repentance at the cross of Christ, who have never been washed from their sins in the Saviour's precious blood. The hardest thing in the world to do is to attempt to live a Christian life and meet the obligations of a Christian, when you have no Christian life to live. As well might one of the beasts of the field set himself up in a mansion and try to live the life of a millionaire human being, as for an unregenerated sinner to try to live the life of a Christian. "Ye must be born again." "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (Jn 3:3). And so here were these men mingling with Christians and outwardly looking like them, but John says, "They were not of us;" they were not genuine. Oh, may each one of us search our hearts in the presence of God and ask the questions, "Have I really faced my sins in the light of the cross of Christ; have I truly turned to God in repentance, owning my guilt, acknowledging my iniquity, and fled for refuge to the hope set before me in the gospel? Have I the evidence of a regenerate soul—do I love the brethren, do I love the commandments of God, is the Word sweet to me, do I delight to feed upon it, is it my joy to serve Him, or, after all, are these things to me but a weariness of the flesh?" I am persuaded, and I say it in all charity, that there are tens of thousands of people today whose names are on the church-rolls of this and other lands who have never had their names enrolled in the Lamb's Book of Life—tens of thousands of people struggling to live a Christian life, and making a complete failure of it because they have never yet been born again. When that great revival comes for which many have been praying for so long, if it pleases God to send it ere the return of His blessed Son, one of the first evidences of it will be that people who have used the Christian name and passed for Christian workers will begin to find out that they themselves have never been converted, and there will be a breaking down before God, a confessing of their sins and judging of their iniquities and selfishness. What a fearful thing never to find out the truth until in the day of doom it is too late to rectify the error! Here were these people going on with the Christian company, "But," says the Spirit of God, "they were not of us," and so by and by they went out, and when outside they became the worst opponents of those who stood for the truth of God. There is no one who hates the gospel like the man who at one time professed to be saved but afterward turned to a life of sin because there was no reality there. These were the antichrists against whom John warned the little children in his day. (1 John 2 Commentary)
I am very surprised to read such comments as those by Smalley describing those who "went out" and "were not really of us" for he explains -- “It is possible, in this instance, that those who later allowed their heretical thought and actions to run away with them (when it could obviously be said, ouk esan ex emon, ‘they were not of us’) were in the first place believers with a genuine, if uninformed, faith in Jesus." (Bolding mine) While anything is possible, the plain, simple reading of the text says they were (absolutely - John uses the strongest negative ouk!) NOT of us! Beloved, be wary (Acts 17:11-note) when reading the comments in even the most highly rated commentaries (most consider Smalley's Word Biblical Commentary on 1John to be in the "Top 5"; cp Consult Conservative Commentaries), for their comments (as is true of those you are now reading) are NOT inspired! I personally prefer the conservative ESV Study Notes interpretation which says "Though they outwardly belonged to the church, their departure revealed that they were not truly of us; that is, they did not have genuine faith." (Bolding added)
There are four basic categories of claims regarding Christianity…
1) Those who think they are saved, but aren't. Mt 7:21-23
2) Those we think are saved, but aren't. 1John 2:18-19
3) Those who are saved, but don't act like it: See Corinthians.
4) Those who are saved, and they act like it. Mt 5:16
For - Always pause to ponder this term of explanation asking at least one question "What is the author explaining?" In this case John is explaining departure allowed one to discern these antichrists were not of them, not in the family of God, in short, not believers. "The departure of the heretics revealed their true nature, making clear that “they were not really of us” (Hiebert)
If they had been of us (belonged to us), they would have remained with us - If these antichrists had been genuine believers, truly members of the Body of Christ, the Church, they would have retained the same sound doctrine as the true believers.
Calvin - Where God's call is effectual, there will be sure perseverance.
Wuest explains that "they departed from the doctrinal position of the Church so that it could be shown that they did not belong to the company of the saints."
Remained (3306)(meno) means they would have stayed or continued to dwell with the believers. Meno is in the uncommon tense of pluperfect, which indicates that they went out once and for all in past time.
But - Always note this term of contrast, asking "What is being contrasting?" Sometimes the answer is easy as it seems to be in this passage. John contrasts staying versus leaving. The antichrists left the body rather than staying in the body of believers.
They went out - This is added by the NAS translators.
Many (most) of the so called disciples who followed Jesus "went out" - "As a result of this (What? See context Jn 6:61-65) many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore." (Jn 6:66)
Jude says men like this are "the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit." (Jude 1:19-note)
THE PURPOSE OF
So that (in order that) - So that can be used to explain the purpose (the reason why something is done). What was the purpose of the antichrist's going out? Their departure from the body of Christ shows their true colors so to speak. In 1Jn 3:10 John says the counterfeits are made apparent by their failure to practice righteousness.
It would be shown that they all are not of us - It would be clearly manifest on whose side they were.
John Stott - Their departure was ‘their unmasking’ (Law). What is counterfeit cannot remain for ever hidden (cf. 1Cor. 3:13; 4:5). ‘There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known’ (Luke 12:2). (The Letters of John Tyndale New Testament Commentaries)
Shown (disclosed, revealed) (5319)(phaneroo from phanerós = manifest, visible, conspicuous in turn from phaino = give light; become visible in turn from phos = light) literally means brought to light and thus make visible, manifest, make know, clearly reveal. The exit of the antichrists made it very clear they were not part of the body of Christ.
Phaneroo is used 9 times (out of a total of 49NT uses) in First John - 1 John 1:2; 2:19, 28; 3:2, 5, 8; 4:9 and all except 1Jn 2:19 refer to the appearance of Christ (first or second coming).
John MacArthur - The verse also places emphasis on the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Those genuinely born again endure in faith and fellowship and the truth (1Co 11:19; 2Ti 2:12). The ultimate test of true Christianity is endurance (Mk 13:13; Heb 3:14). The departure of people from the truth and the church is their unmasking. (MacArthur Study Bible)
F F Bruce - Continuance is the test of reality.
Paul said I am "confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Php 1:6)
That they all are not of us - "their going showed that none of them belonged to us." (NIV)
W E Vine - It was according to the divine purpose that these teachers should be manifested in their true character, as not belonging to the family of God. The apostle is not teaching here that a Christian cannot fall away and backslide. That is not the subject with which he is now dealing. He is making clear the distinction between the genuine and the false in matters of doctrine, as he does in the next chapter in regard to matters of practice. (Collected writings of W. E. Vine)
John Stott - Light is shed by this verse upon… the perseverance of the saints… ‘He who stands firm to the end will be saved’ (Mark 13:13), not because salvation is the reward of endurance, but because endurance is the hallmark of the saved. If the false teachers had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. This is stated as a principle. Those who belong to us stay with us. Future and final perseverance is the ultimate test of a past participation in Christ (cf. Heb. 3:14). ‘Those who fall away’, on the other hand, ‘have never been thoroughly imbued with the knowledge of Christ but only had a slight and passing taste of it’ (Calvin). (Ibid)
- Perseverance - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology
- Perseverance - Holman Bible Dictionary
- Perseverance of the Saints - Dr Wayne Grudem
- Perseverance of the Saints - 2 lectures by Dr Grudem - see Chapter 40
ILLUSTRATION OF 1JOHN 2:19- HE COULDN'T GET AWAY - The five-year-old boy became angry with his mother and decided to run away from home. He walked out of his house with a small suitcase and trudged around the block again and again. Finally, when it was beginning to grow dark, the policeman stopped him, "What's the idea?" The little boy answered, "I'm runnin' away." The officer smiled as he said, "Look, I've had my eye on you, and you've been doing nothing but walking around the block. You call that running away?" The little fellow burst into tears, "Well, what do you want me to do? I ain't allowed to cross the street." The youngster obviously respected his parents and knew that they loved him. He couldn't really run away.
Sometimes God's children become discouraged and even rebellious. They may disobey the Lord and seek their own way for a while. But if they truly belong to Christ, they will find they are held by a power beyond themselves. Like the little fellow who could not carry out his threat to run away, the child of God cannot absolutely and finally depart from God. The apostle John tells us that those who completely and irrevocably leave the Christian faith never really knew the Lord. Their departing is proof that they did not truly receive Christ—were never actually born again. Child of God, you need not live in continual fear that you may deny the Lord and be finally lost. The Lord who saved you will keep you (Jude 1:24-note) and someday usher you into Glory.
Now I would abide in His shadow,
Ne'er restless nor fearful would be;
But should I e'er stray from the pathway
He'll never forget to keep me!
When a man is truly in Christ, he is safe;
all the devil can do is worry him!
1John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: και υμεις χρισμα εχετε απο του αγιου και οιδατε παντες
Amplified: But you have been anointed by [you hold a sacred appointment from, you have been given an unction from] the Holy One, and you all know [the Truth] or you know all things. (Lockman)
Barclay: But you have received anointing from the Holy One and you all possess knowledge.(Barclay's Daily Study Bible).
Berkley (Modern Language): Besides, you have an anointing from the Holy One and you know all things.
ESV: But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
HCSB: But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge.
NET: Nevertheless you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.
NIV: But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.
NLT: But you are not like that, for the Holy One has given you his Spirit, and all of you know the truth.
Phillips: God has given you all a certain amount of spiritual insight, and indeed I have not written this warning as if I were writing to men who don't know what error is.
TLB: But you are not like that, for the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you know the truth.
Weymouth: As for you, you have an anointing from the holy One and have perfect knowledge.
Wuest: But as for you, an anointing you have from the holy One, and all of you have the capacity to know.
Young's Literal: And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and have known all things;
KJV = But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
- ye have 1Jn 2:27; 4:13; Ps 23:5; 45:7; 92:10; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38; 2 Corinthians 1:21,22; Hebrews 1:9
- the Holy Ps 16:10; 71:22; Isaiah 43:3; Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34; Acts 3:14; Revelation 3:7; 4:8
- and ye Proverbs 28:5; John 10:4,5; 14:26; 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:15; Hebrews 8:11
- Reciprocal References:, Exodus 28:41 - anoint them Exodus 30:26 - General, Exodus 37:29 - he made Exodus 40:9 - the anointing oil Exodus 40:13 - anoint him Leviticus 2:1 - pour oil Leviticus 7:35 - portion Leviticus 14:15 - General, Numbers 18:8 - by reason Judges 9:9 - wherewith Psalms 104:15 - oil to make his Psalms 119:33 - I shall keep Proverbs 9:9 - General, Isaiah 10:27 - because Isaiah 30:21 - thine ears Isaiah 32:3 - General, Isaiah 35:8 - the wayfaring Isaiah 54:13 - all Jeremiah 31:34 - for they Ezekiel 16:9 - anointed Matthew 13:21 - root Matthew 25:4 - oil Acts 2:27 - thine Romans 5:18 - all men 1 Corinthians 2:10 - by 1 Corinthians 2:12 - that 1 Corinthians 2:14 - neither Galatians 5:18 - if 1 Thessalonians 4:9 - ye need Revelation 3:18 - anoint
THE FIRST RESOURCE:
But (term of contrast) - The contrast is with those who went out from the Body and thus proved they were not part of the Body, they were not genuine believers. In light of this disturbing truth, John directs these remarks to his readers to assure them of their authenticity! In so doing, he explains that his believing readers have the spiritual equipment (so to speak) to be able to stand against the presumably seductive lies of the antichrists.
You have (echo) is in the present tense which signifies this (the anointing ~ the indwelling Spirit) is the saint's permanent possession.
You have an anointing (unction) - What is the anointing? In 1Jn 2:27 (see notes) John says this anointing was one they had received from God and abides in them and is something that teaches them. While John does not clearly identify the anointing, these associated features (especially teaches) would strongly support the premise that the anointing represents the Holy Spirit. We know Jesus sent Him to abide in believers and to teach us and lead us into truth declaring "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come." (John 16:13)
John Piper explains anointing - Acts 10:38 says that Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit. And 1 John 4:13 says that God has given us of his Spirit. So the anointing referred to in 1Jn 2:20 (see note) and 1Jn 2:27 is probably the pouring of the Holy Spirit into our hearts when we are born again. So we can go back and rephrase 1Jn 2:20 like this: “You have the Holy Spirit from God in you and so you know the truth.” And 1Jn 2:27 would go like this: “The Holy Spirit which you received from God abides in you and so you have no need that any one should teach you. That is, you don’t need these progressive prophets who claim to add new information about Christ beyond the truth you heard at the beginning.” What is plain from these two verses is that without the Holy Spirit we would not know the truth. Knowing the truth about Christ is a gift of the Holy Spirit. (1 John 2:18-27 Let What You Heard Abide in You)
Luke also records Jesus of Nazareth was anointed "with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." (Acts 10:38, cp Acts 4:27)
This anointing of the believers and its resulting knowledge were what distinguished those who remained in the Johannine community from those who left it (1Jn 2:19-note).
Wiersbe - False Christians in John's day used two special words to describe their experience: "knowledge" and "unction." They claimed to have a special unction (anointing) from God which gave them a unique knowledge. They were "illuminated" and therefore living on a much higher level than anybody else. But John points out that all true Christians know God and have received the Spirit of God! And because they have believed the truth, they recognize a lie when they meet it.
From the Holy One - It is a divine anointing from God the Son. Vine adds that "While Christ Himself was anointed by the Holy Spirit in the days of His flesh (Acts 10:38), here He, as the Holy One, is the anointer."
Hiebert - The anointing was received “from the Holy One”, stressing the sanctity of the Giver. The reference may be to God the Father, “the Holy One of Israel” (Isa 1:4; etc.) or to the incarnate Son, “the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24; John 6:69; Acts 2:27). Views differ as to the intended identity. Biblical references associate both the Father and Jesus Christ with the coming of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26; Acts 2:33). The Spirit is indeed “the Spirit of God” (Rom 8:9) as well as “the Spirit of Jesus” (Acts 16:7). While a study of the pronouns in 1 John 2:27-28 strongly suggests that the reference is to Christ Himself here, Smalley suggests that “John is possibly being deliberately ambivalent at this point.” Elsewhere John’s pronouns often do not draw a sharp distinction between the Father and the Son, implying John’s unquestioned acceptance of the full deity of the incarnate Son. (1 John 2:18-28 Exposition - Part 4/10)
Marvin Vincent's comment is especially pithy explaining that "The anointing is from the Anointed." I would add the "chrisma from the Christos." But Who is the Holy One? Recall that one of the best commentaries on Scripture is Scripture (See Compare Scripture with Scripture). The following NT descriptions support the identification of the Holy One as Jesus the Christ.
(Mark 1:24) (The demons were) saying, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are-- the Holy One of God!"
(Luke 4:34) (The demons cried out to Jesus) "Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are-- the Holy One of God!"
John 6:69) “We have believed and have come to know that You (Jesus) are the Holy One of God.” (Context Jn 6:68, 70).
Comment: This reference is especially helpful as it is the same term (Holy One) used by the same writer (John) and clearly refers to Jesus in the Gospel. See John's reference in Rev 3:7).
(Acts 2:27) BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.
(Acts 3:14) “But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One (In context this is clearly Jesus) and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
(Acts 4:27) “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,
(Acts 4:30) while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”
(Acts 13:35) "Therefore He also says in another Psalm, 'YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.'
(Rev 3:7-note) “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He (Jesus) Who is holy, Who is true, Who has the key of David, Who opens and no one will shut, and Who shuts and no one opens, says this… (Context = Rev 3:8-12).
The identity of the Holy One is seen even in an Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah (quoted in Acts 13:35 by Paul, cp Acts 13:16)…
(Ps 16:10-note) For You (God the Father) will not abandon my soul (refers prophetically to Jesus) to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay (prophecy of Jesus' resurrection from the dead).
(Hab 3:3-note) God comes from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His splendor covers the heavens, And the earth is full of His praise.
Comment: Habakkuk is almost certainly giving a description of the Messiah at His triumphant Second Coming. See Habakkuk 3 Commentary. (See also Proposed Sequence of events at Messiah's Second Coming)
Later John explains that "By this (By what? see 1Jn 4:12) we know that we abide (live, dwell, are at home) in Him (Christ) and He (Christ) in us (cp Col 1:27-note), because (How do we know? = term of explanation) He has given us of His Spirit." (1John 4:13) Assuming the anointing (in 1Jn 2:20) is the Holy Spirit, John is explaining that the Spirit is from Him ( from Jesus = "He has given us of His Spirit"). John also reminds his readers of "the Spirit Whom He has given us" in 1Jn 3:24. In His Upper Room Discourse, Jesus gives His worried disciples a prophecy concerning the Holy Spirit, promising "if I go, I will send Him (the Spirit) to you." (Jn 16:7-11) In Luke 24:49 Jesus said "I am sending forth the promise (referring to the Holy Spirit) of My Father upon you, but you are to stay in the city (Jerusalem) until (expression of time) you are clothed (enduo = figuratively ) with power (dunamis) from on high," which begs the question "What is the Source of this power?" In Acts Jesus explains that His disciples would "receive power (dunamis) when the Holy Spirit" had come upon them (Acts 1:8-note) In summary, the anointing from the Holy One is His gift of the Holy Spirit from Jesus to His disciples (believers). Indeed, the Holy Spirit is to be our supernatural Source of power for supernatural ministry, including the discerning of good from evil as well as true from false, as in the present context of false teaching about the Christ.
As an aside, it is interesting that some sources (e.g., Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary) don't even mention the possibility of the Holy Spirit as being related to the anointing. Instead, they mention things such as baptism or the carrying out of "an initiatory anointing with oil" (which itself sounds almost "cultic!"). How could either of those "humanistic" maneuvers produce spiritual illumination? I think this would be highly unlikely. Remember that context must be kept king in order to assure an accurate interpretation, and the context states these believers have a "beyond a shadow of a doubt" knowledge (an "eido-type knowledge") in the very next phrase (and you all know - see discussion below). Not to mention that 1Jn 2:27 gives us a description of the anointing which certainly sounds like it is supernatural and not natural!
Köstenberger - One (christos) was “anointed” by the Spirit at the beginning of His Messianic mission (Luke 4:18; see Isa 61:1), so Christ’s followers are to be “little anointed ones.” (Ed: Albeit NOT "little christs") (A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters: The Word, the Christ, the Son of God. Biblical Theology of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan).
John Stott - As Tyndale put it, ‘Ye are not anointed with oil in your bodies, but with the Spirit of Christ in your souls: which Spirit teacheth you all truth in Christ, and maketh you to judge what is a lie, and what truth, and to know Christ from antichrist.’ Nor are we an esoteric, enlightened minority, such as the heretics claimed to be. It is probable that they used the word chrisma as a technical term for initiation into a special gnosis. If so, it is in direct contradiction to their exclusive claim that John says all his readers have the same gnosis because they have all received the same chrisma, the Spirit of truth (cf. Col. 1:28). ‘You, no less than they, are among the initiated’ (NEB). (The Letters of John - Tyndale New Testament Commentaries).
Guzik - Among some Christians today, there is a rather magical or superstitious approach to this idea of anointing. In their mind, the anointing is like a virus or a germ that can be spread by casual contact or infect a whole group. Usually these folks think that when one “catches” the anointing, you can tell because they begin acting strangely. This isn’t the Bible’s idea of anointing. Anointing has the idea of being filled with, and blessed by, the Holy Spirit. This is something that is the common property of all Christians, but something we can and should become more submitted and responsive to. “As oil was used among the Asiatics for the inauguration of persons in important offices, and this oil was acknowledged to be an emblem of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, without which the duties of those offices could not be discharged; so it is put here for the Spirit himself, who presided in the Church, and from which all gifts and graces flowed.” (Clarke) (1 John 2 - David Guzik Commentary on the Bible)
Expositor's Greek Testament - An expression of confidence in his readers: they will not be led astray; they have received “a chrism,” the enlightening grace of the Holy Spirit, “which He poured forth upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 3:6-note, cp Ro 5:5-note). Baptism was called chrisma in later days because of the rite of baptismal anointing’, but there is no reference here to this rite, which was of a later date and was derived from our passage. (1 John 2 - The Expositor's Greek Testament)
Vine comments that "The believer is therefore not justified in praying for the anointing, for that is his by reason of his regenerate condition. He may pray that the power of the Spirit may be experienced, and that he may be filled with the Spirit, but to ask for the gift that has already been imparted indicates a lack of the apprehension of the goodness and grace of God in having bestowed it." (Ibid)
Jamieson (unabridged) - Those anointed of God in Christ alone can resist those anointed with Satan's spirit, Antichrists, who would sever them from the Father and the Son. Believers have the anointing Spirit from the Father, as well as from the Son; even as the Son is anointed therewith by the Father. Hence, the Spirit is the token that we are in the Father and in the Son; without it one is none of Christ's. The material unguent of costliest ingredients, poured on the head of priests and kings, typified this spiritual unguent, derived from Christ, the Head, to us, His members. We have no share in Jesus, except we become truly Christians, being in Christ, anointed with that unction from the Holy One. (1 John 2 - Bible Commentary)
Guzik relates the story (it is not in the Bible but it is interesting) that "This idea of anointing - literally, to be blessed with oil - was the reason behind one of the punishments given to John in persecution. The Roman emperor Domitian cast John in a boiling vat of oil, as if to say, “You have an anointing? Here’s your anointing!” John emerged from the vat of boiling oil unharmed, because he was anointed indeed!"
Anointing (5545)(chrisma from chrio = to daub, smear, anoint with oil; English word = Chrism = consecrated oil used in certain ceremonies) is a noun which literally means what has been spread on, such as an ointment.
Chrisma is "that with which the anointing is performed — the unguent or ointment." (Vincent)
In the Septuagint of Daniel 9:26-note, chrisma refers to the Messiah, the "Anointed One."
In secular Greek, medically chrisma was used to denote a “healing ointment.”
Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary - The noun chrisma has a considerable range of meaning. In its broadest sense it refers to anything smeared onto something else, for example, coatings of plaster applied to walls (Liddell-Scott). Thus, in Sirach 38:30 the “anointing of pots” refers to the glaze applied to pottery before it is fired in order to give it color and finish. It also has the more limited use to denote a “scented ointment,” often consisting of a mixture of oil and herbs used for the purpose of anointing either persons or things. Chrisma as an anointing oil was distinguished from muron, “ointment, perfume,” in that chrisma was of a thicker consistency. This use of chrisma is found several times in the Septuagint text of Exodus referring to the “spiced oil of anointing” used to consecrate both the priests and the tabernacle and its fixtures (see Exodus 29:7; 30:25, etc - see passages below.). Chrisma occurs three times in the New Testament, at 1 John 2:20 and 27 (twice). In each of these cases chrisma refers to an anointing that provides the believers with knowledge by teaching them “all things.” By drawing on the connection between this effect and Jesus’ promise concerning the Paraclete in John 16:7-14 (“the Spirit of truth … will guide you into all truth”), it is possible to understand this use of chrisma as referring to the anointing with the Holy Spirit. This anointing and its resulting knowledge were what distinguished those who remained in the Johannine community from those who had left it. Chrisma was later used to designate the post-baptismal anointing with oil that symbolized the receiving of the Holy Spirit (see Lampe, Patristic Greek Lexicon). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)
The verb chrio is the root of not only chrisma, but also the noun christos, which strictly speaking applies to one who has been anointed, the anointing serving to symbolize appointment for some task. Thus christos is used in the Septuagint to describe "the anointed (Heb = mashiach from mashach = to smear or anoint; Lxx = christos) priest" (Lev 4:5, 4:16, 6:22). In First Samuel christos is used in the Septuagint to describe the king of Israel as God's "anointed." (mashiach; Lxx - christos) (1Sa 2:10) Finally, christos is used of prophets in 1Chr 16:22. In the NT, christos is used over 500 times and in the NAS is translated as follows - Christ(516), Christ's(11), Messiah(4). In 49 of the NT uses of Christos, the definite article (ho) precedes Christ and literally identifies "the Messiah," the One long expected by faithful Jews.
Hiebert notes that chrisma "does not denote the act of anointing but rather the result of the action. In the Septuagint the noun is used of the “anointing oil” (cf. Ex 29:7; 30:25), and in Da 9:26 (note) it is used metaphorically of “the Messiah.” In the NT the term occurs only in 1Jn 2:20, 27 [twice]). John did not identify this “anointing,” but it is generally agreed that it refers to the Holy Spirit imparted to the believer at regeneration. The figure of anointing is used of the Holy Spirit in connection with Jesus’ ministry (Lk 4:18; Acts 10:38), and in 2Cor 1:21-22 it is used of God’s work in establishing the believer ("Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, Who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge."). John’s statement here seems reminiscent of the promise of Jesus in the fourth Gospel about the coming of the Spirit (Jn 14:17; 15:26; 16:13)… The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit establishes believers in their faith and enables them to understand God’s truth.
Thayer - Anointing was the inaugural ceremony for priests (Ex 28:37; 40:13 (15); Lev 6:22; Nu 35:25), kings (1Sa 9:16; 10:1; 15:1; 16:3, 13), and sometimes also prophets (1Ki 19:16, cp Isa. 61:1), and by it they were regarded as endued with the Holy Spirit and divine gifts (1Sa 16:13; Isa. 61:1).
Vine - Anointing (chrisma) signifies that which is carried out by the act of anointing, and thus stands here for the effect of the act itself, the impartation of the Holy Spirit, who was symbolically set forth by the material oil with which the act was carried out in the former age in the nation of Israel in the case of kings, priests and prophets. (Ibid)
Wuest - Two words in the New Testament, aleiphō and chriō, refer to the act of applying something to something else for a certain purpose. Aleiphō was used, for instance, in the papyri of the act of greasing the yoke-band of an ox, namely, the act of applying grease to the yoke-band so that it would not irritate the sleek hide of the ox. Chriō was used of the application of a lotion to a sick horse. Thus, the anointing with the Holy Spirit (Ed: Clearly Wuest believes the "anointing" in this verse refers to the Holy Spirit) refers to the act of God the Father (applying to the believing sinner) sending the Spirit in answer to the prayer of God the Son to take up His permanent residence in the believer. James 4:5 reads in the Greek text, “Do you think the scripture says in vain, The Spirit who has been caused to take up His permanent residence in us has a passionate longing to the point of envy?” This refers to the initial coming of the Spirit into the heart of the believing sinner at the moment he places his faith in the Saviour. This anointing is never repeated. The OT priests were anointed with oil just once, when they were inducted into their office. The NT priest (the believer) is anointed with the Spirit just once, when he is inducted into his office as a priest (when he is saved). This anointing is only potential. That is, in itself it offers no help to the believer. The help the saint receives from the Spirit is through the fullness or control of the Spirit, which control is consequent upon his yieldedness and trust (Ed: See Eph 5:18-note). The anointing is for the purpose of placing the Holy Spirit in a position where He can be of service to the believer, namely, in the saint’s inner being (cp Eph 3:16-note). From His position in the believer, the Spirit performs all His office work for him. (Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)
Kruse - The cognate verb 'to anoint' (chrio) is found in several other places, where it refers mostly to Jesus being anointed by God with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27; 10:38), once to Jesus being anointed by God with 'the oil of gladness' (Heb 1:9), and once to Paul being anointed by God, who put his Spirit upon him (2Cor 1:21-22). Apart from the one metaphorical use of the verb 'to anoint' in Heb 1:9, its consistent use in the NT is in relation to an anointing whose agent is God and whose medium is the Holy Spirit. In the light of this, the cognate noun 'anointing' (chrisma) used in this verse to describe the anointing that the readers have from the Holy One is best interpreted as a reference to the Holy Spirit with whom they had been endowed by God (when they first believed), and who confirms to them the truth of the message that they heard at that time (see 'A Note on Chrisma, Spirit or Word?' pp. 109-10). (The Letters of John Pillar New Testament Commentary - ranked one of top five First John commentaries)
Chrisma - 3x in 2v -
1John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.
1John 2:27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
Chrisma - 8 uses in the Septuagint (Lxx) and at least 4 times the usage refers to the anointing oil, used to consecrate the priests and tabernacle.
Exodus 29:7 "Then you shall take the anointing (mishchah from mashach = to smear something on; Lxx chrisma) oil and pour it on his head and anoint him.
Exodus 30:25 "You shall make of these a holy anointing oil, a perfume mixture, the work of a perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil.
Exodus 35:19 the woven garments for ministering in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests.'" (Lxx adds this - "and the anointing oil, and the compound incense."
Exodus 40:9 "Then you shall take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and shall consecrate it and all its furnishings; and it shall be holy.
Exodus 40:15 and you shall anoint them even as you have anointed their father, that they may minister as priests to Me; and their anointing (mishchah from mashach = to smear something on; Lxx chrisma) will qualify them for a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations."
Daniel 9:26 (note) "Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah (the Anointed One) (Hebrew = Mashiach = 04899 [See note on Messiah] ; Lxx = chrisma) will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.
See Related Resources on Anointing…
- Anointing - Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament
- Anointing, Anointed - Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
- Anointing - International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
- Anointing - Nave's Topical Bible
- Anointing - Torrey's Topical Textbook
- Anointing of the Holy Spirit - Torrey's Topical Textbook
- Anointing - 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
- Anointing - Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia
- Anointing - The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia
THE SECOND RESOURCE:
KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH
And you all know - Notice that some translations like KJV render it "ye know all things." The better rendering of the Greek is "you all know." (See NET Notes technical explanation) This begs the question "Know what?" The truth (See context - 1Jn 2:21). In context this seems to be the truth about Jesus. The implication is that men were speaking lies about Jesus, about His humanity and/or about His divinity. These crucial doctrines of Christ are still the focal point of attack of the cults (and by default Satan). If you are "fuzzy" about the Person of Christ (fully God, fully Man), then I strongly suggest you take some time to study two resources by Dr Wayne Grudem - (1) The Person of Christ - An Outline (includes synopses of major heresies) and (2) Three corresponding Mp3's on the Person of Christ (scroll down to "Chapter 26").
Regarding the variant rendering as "you know all things" Kruse comments "The reference to knowing 'all things' here needs to be understood in the context, in which the subject under discussion is the denial that Jesus is the Christ, God's Son come in the flesh. Nothing they need to know about these matters has to be learned from the secessionists. Everything they need to know is taught them by the anointing they have received." (Ibid)
John MacArthur on anointing and know - In this text it (anointing) refers figuratively to the Holy Spirit (cf. 2Cor. 1:21-22), who has taken up residency in believers at the behest of Jesus Christ, the Holy One (cf. Luke 4:34; Acts 3:14), and reveals through Scripture all they need to know (John 14:26; 16:13; 1Cor. 2:9-10).
Steven Cole - John is telling his readers that spiritual knowledge is not restricted to some elite inner circle. Rather, they all know the truth of the gospel because they all have the anointing from the Holy One, which refers to the indwelling Holy Spirit that Jesus, the Holy One, promised to send. The false teachers may have been using the word “anointing” as a technical term for being initiated into their special gnosis, or knowledge. But John takes their term and uses it of the Holy Spirit. At the moment of the new birth, God’s Spirit opens our blind eyes to see the truth about our sinfulness and the all-sufficiency of what Christ did on the cross to pay for our sins. This simple gospel message is what these believers had heard from the beginning (1Jn 2:24). (Avoiding Spiritual Deception, Part 1 - 1 John 2:18-23)
Barclay - John reminds his people that in matters of faith the humblest Christian need have no feeling of inferiority to the most learned scholar. There are, of course, matters of technical scholarship, of language, of history, which must be the preserve of the expert; but the essentials of the faith are the possession of every man. (1 John 2 Commentary Daily Study Bible)
Know (eido) is not knowledge obtained by experience (ginosko as John had just used in 1Jn 2:18), but is an intuitive knowledge, specifically "intuitive" spiritual knowledge illumined by the anointing, the Holy Spirit. The idea is that the believers (all of whom are indwelt by the Spirit of Truth, Read Ro 8:9 carefully - What does it teach about those who do not have the Spirit? See notes) know this to be true beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Guzik - Previously John used the word (ginosko) meaning knowledge by experience; here he used the word (eido) meaning knowledge by intuition. We know some things intuitively by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
In John's Gospel Jesus had promised to send His disciples a supernatural "Substitute Teacher," the Holy Spirit (He Himself had been their primary Teacher for over 3 years but was leaving soon - Jn 16:7). And so Jesus promised that "He (the Paraclete [parakletos], the Holy Spirit) will teach you all things" (Jn 14:26) and “when He, the Spirit of truth (Contrast with the antichrists who had a spirit of lying - 1Jn 2:22), comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come." (Jn 16:13) It was through the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit (the "anointing" they had all received) that the believers had come to a point of knowing, otherwise unknowable, spiritual truth, for the Spirit had illumined that truth to their hearts and they were in a present state of certainty regarding the truth (reflecting the past completed action with continuing results conveyed by eido in the perfect tense), especially the truth about Jesus Christ.
As an aside, it is notable that John uses the verb eido 15x in First John and most of the uses follow his mention of the saints having received an anointing. 1John 2:11, 20, 1Jn 2:21 (twice), 1Jn 2:29; 3:2, 5, 14-15 (twice in v15); 1Jn 5:13, 15, 18-20
(1John 2:11) But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (So this use of eido does not apply to believers but is used to show what unbelievers lack -- spiritual knowledge given by the Spirit!)
(1John 2:20) But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.
(1John 2:21) I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
(1John 2:29) If you know (eido) that He is righteous, you know (ginosko) that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.
(1John 3:2) Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
(1John 3:5) You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
(1John 3:14) We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.
(1John 3:15) Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
(1John 5:13) These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (A gift of the indwelling Spirit! cp Ro 8:16)
(1John 5:15) And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
(1John 5:18) We know that no one who is born of God sins (habitually, non-stop!); but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.
(1John 5:19) We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
(1John 5:20) And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know (ginosko - know by practical, daily experience with Jesus) Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
1John 2:21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: ουκ εγραψα υμιν οτι ουκ οιδατε την αληθειαν αλλ οτι οιδατε αυτην και οτι παν ψευδος εκ της αληθειας ουκ εστιν
Amplified: I write to you not because you are ignorant and do not perceive and know the Truth, but because you do perceive and know it, and [know positively] that nothing false (no deception, no lie) is of the Truth. (Lockman)
Barclay: I have not written this letter to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. (Barclay's Daily Study Bible).
Berkley (Modern Language): The reason I am writing is not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it and that nothing false originates from the truth.
ESV: I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
HCSB: I have not written to you because you don’t know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie comes from the truth.
NET: I have not written to you that you do not know the truth, but that you do know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
NIV: I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.
NLT: So I am writing to you not because you don’t know the truth but because you know the difference between truth and lies.
Phillips: I write because your eyes are clear enough to discern a lie when you come across it.
TLB: So I am not writing to you as to those who need to know the truth, but I warn you as those who can discern the difference between true and false.
Weymouth: I have written to you, not because you are ignorant of the truth, but because you know it, and you know that nothing false comes from the truth.
Wuest: I am not writing to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because every lie is not out of the truth as a source.
Young's Literal: I did not write to you because ye have not known the truth, but because ye have known it, and because no lie is of the truth.
KJV = I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
- because ye know not Proverbs 1:5; 9:8,9; Romans 15:14,15; 2 Peter 1:12
- Reciprocal References:, 1 Kings 17:24 - the word Psalms 119:118 - their deceit Proverbs 11:9 - through Isaiah 32:3 - General, John 10:5 - General, 1 John 2:12 - write 1 John 2:27 - and ye 1 John 5:13 - have I 2 John 1:1 - known Revelation 2:2 - thou hast
JOHN WRITING NOT TO INFORM
BUT TO CONFIRM & AFFIRM
I have not written to you because you do not know the truth - In other words, what he was writing them was simply reminding them of truth that they already knew. He had just said that because they had the anointing they "all knew" (1Jn 2:20). John was sure that his readers knew the truth.
Paul wrote a similar statement of affirmation to the saints in Rome - "And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God." (Ro 15:14-15-note)
Expositor's Greek Testament - An experience (because you do know it) is an anchor to the soul in time of storm. “Tell me,” said the dying Cromwell to a minister, “is it possible to fall from grace?” “No, it is not possible.” “Then I am safe, for I know that I was once in grace” (Morley’s Oliver Cromwell, V. x.).
But because you do know it - This statement is in accord with what Jesus (quoting the promise to Israel given in Isaiah 54:13) had declared in John that "It is written in the prophets, ‘AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me." (John 6:45) Indeed they knew because they had been taught of God the Spirit (an anointing in 1Jn 2:20).
Westcott: "The object of the apostle in writing was not to communicate fresh knowledge, but to bring into active and decisive use the knowledge which his readers already possessed."
In a parallel passage describing the New Covenant promise to the house of Israel and the house of Judah (Jer 31:31-33), Jeremiah recorded "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for (term of explanation - What is God explaining?) they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jer 31:34) As an aside it is often a surprise to many modern saints to come to the realization that the New Covenant was not promised initially to the Gentiles but to the Jews, and it is a promise that has not yet been completely fulfilled, but will be when Messiah returns (see Ro 11:25-27-note).
Paul writing to the saints at Rome - And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God. (Ro 15:14) So just as with the believers John was addressing, the saints at Rom needed not so much to be taught new truth but to be reminded of (and to live out) old truth they had already been taught. Isn't this true with most of us who have walked with Jesus for a number of years? Our greatest failures are often a result of failing to remember and/or obey truths we were taught years ago! Our prayer should ever be the hymn writer's words "Prone to wander Lord I feel it, here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above." Amen!
Barclay - The greatest Christian defense is simply to remember what we know. What we need is not new truth, but that the truth which we already know become active and effective in our lives… It is the simple fact of the Christian life that things would be different at once if we would only put into practice what we already know. That is not to say that we never need to learn anything new; but it is to say that, even as we are, we have light enough to walk by if we would only use it. (1 John 2 Commentary Daily Study Bible)
Know (eido) is intuitive knowledge given by the Spirit of Truth to John's believers. They know the truth beyond a "shadow of doubt." John uses this same verb twice in this introductory phrase.
Truth (225)(aletheia is the manifestation of a hidden reality (eg, click discussion of Jesus as "the Truth") Truth then is the correspondence between a reality and a declaration which professes to set forth or describe the reality. To say it another way, words spoken or written are true when they correspond with objective reality. Persons and things are true when they correspond with their profession (which we describe with words like integrity, sincerity, non-hypocritical, etc). In other words, "what you see is what you get." Hence a truth is a declaration which has corresponding reality, or a reality which is correctly set forth. Since God is Himself the great reality, that which correctly sets forth His nature is pre-eminently the Truth of Creation (Natural Revelation) and the Truth of Scripture (Special Revelation). Thus it is not surprising that rebellious, sinful men actively hold down or suppress the Truth of Creation (and the glorious Creator) (Ro 1:18) and even exchange this clearly manifested (and objective) reality (Creation) for a lie (Ro 1:25).
In the present context, the truth to which John refers is the objective reality of Jesus as the long promised Messiah, God incarnate in human flesh. This is the truth the antichrists were seeking to distort with their lying doctrine (Jn 2:22-23). Yes, the readers knew the truth about Jesus, but John's goal in this section is to warn them of these deceivers who had gone out from them and were distorting the truth about the Deity and Humanity of Jesus, the very thing virtually every modern antichrist cult seeks to do, whether they be named Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc! Apparently many in the modern church have either not heard this truth or sadly have not been taught this truth by faithful pastors. Why do I make this statement? While I cannot quote the source, I recall several years ago reading that some of the largest numbers of Mormon "converts" were individuals with former affiliation with Baptist churches! These individuals went out from among the genuine believers and joined a cult invented by antichrists, and thereby themselves became antichrists! This ought not be so! Dear pastors, feed the sheep the truths of First John, because the only defense against subtle, seductive error of the antichrist cults like Mormonism is the Truth of God's Word! "Preach the Word (of Truth about Jesus Christ); be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction." (2Ti 4:2-note and notice every verb is in the aorist imperative which is a command that speaks of doing so with a sense of urgency! It is vitally important!)
Related Resources on the Lies concerning the Truth of Jesus Christ:
- Mormonism, LDS, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints
- A test- Do You Have The True Jesus- - The true Jesus of the Bible
- Mormonism and the atonement of Jesus-Is Mormonism atonement belief Biblical
- Hinckley says Mormons Believe in a Different Jesus-In Mormonism, Jesus is a creation
- Jehovah's Witnesses - Jehovah Witness - Multiple References
- Did Jesus rise from the dead in the same body He died in
Because no lie is of the truth - What is John saying with this phrase? He is saying in essence that the truth which his readers know is 100% true and is not a lie! The truth they know is wholly true and self-consistent. The truth in which they abide is not like the lies being spread by the antichrists (whose father is the devil "for he is a liar and the father of lies." - Jn 8:44). A corollary is that whatever contradicts biblical truth is by definition a lie! Truth and error are like oil and water -- they are incompatible (However, Satan is crafty and he will mix truth with error in order to deceive us - see the phrase "secretly introduce" [pareisago] in 2Pe 2:1-note). Jesus highlighted this exclusivity of truth when He declared "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No (absolute negation, no exceptions) man comes to the Father but through Me." (Jn 14:6). The truth of the exclusivity of Jesus is incompatible with the lies of the antichrists who as discussed below deny the truth of Jesus Christ! The believer's best defense against lies is to hold fast the faithful (trustworthy) Word (Titus 1:9-note)! Are you holding it fast? How? Reading it daily (Mt 4:4)? Memorizing it? Meditating on it? If we hold fast to the Truth, it will HOLD us when the winds of doctrine (lies) begin to blow!
Vine - The truth springs from God “who cannot lie” (Titus 1:2-note): lying springs from the devil (John 8:44). There is no neutral ground between truth and error, just as, as the apostle has pointed out, there is no neutral ground between the mere professor and the actual possessor. Truth is truth, and error is error. Their source and their practice are entirely removed one from the other. (Ibid)
Hiebert - John "was certain that truth and falsehood cannot mingle, that a lie can never be an inherent part of the truth."
John MacArthur adds that John "then closes the verse with the axiomatic statement that no lie is of the truth—something cannot be simultaneously true and false. Because Christians are taught by the Spirit to know the truth, they can recognize doctrinal error for what it really is (cf. 1Cor. 2:10-16). The apostle wrote as he did because his readers already knew the gospel and its attendant truths and would understand his appeal to the exclusivity of biblical truth. (1-3 John- MacArthur New Testament Commentary)
MacArthur in his book I would highly recommend (Why One Way? - see pages 59-65) goes on to say - "As Christians we must understand that whatever opposes God’s Word or departs from it in any way is a danger to the very cause of truth. Passivity toward known error is not an option for the Christian. Staunch intolerance of error is built into the very fabric of Scripture. And tolerance of known error is anything but a virtue. Truth and error cannot be combined to yield something beneficial. They are as incompatible as light and darkness. "What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols" (2Corinthians 6:14-16)? We can’t tell the world, "This is truth, but whatever you want to believe is fine, too." It’s not fine. Scripture commands us to be intolerant of any idea that denies the truth. All the truth that is necessary for our salvation can be easily understood in a true way by anyone who applies common sense and due diligence in seeking to understand what the Bible teaches. And that truth—the core message of Scripture—is incompatible with every other system of belief. We ought to be dogmatic about it. No wonder postmodernism, which prides itself on being tolerant of every competing worldview, is nonetheless hostile to biblical Christianity. Even the most determined postmodernist recognizes that biblical Christianity by its very nature is totally incompatible with a position of uncritical broadmindedness. If we accept the fact that Scripture is the objective, authoritative truth of God, we are bound to see that every other view is not equally or potentially valid. There is no need to seek middle ground through dialogue with proponents of anti-Christian worldviews, as if the truth could be refined by the dialectical method. It is folly to think truth given by divine revelation needs any refining or updating. Nor should we imagine that we can meet opposing worldviews on some philosophically neutral ground. The ground between us is not neutral. If we really believe the Word of God is true, we know that everything opposing it is error. And we are to yield no ground whatsoever to error." (Why One Way?)
In his second epistle John wrote "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ (This Teaching is True and is not a lie), does not have God (He is an unbeliever!); the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching (The truth), do not receive him into your house (Because no lie is of the truth), and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds." (2John 1:9-11)
The apostle Paul wrote a similar warning to the churches in Galatia for they were in danger of being seduced by a somewhat different antichrist lie, one that added legalism to grace (100% incompatibility!) - "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a Gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a Gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!" ((Gal 1:8-9-note)
Steven Cole on truth, relative or absolute? - The late philosophy professor Allan Bloom began his 1987 best-seller, Closing of the American Mind- How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today's Students. p. 25), “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.” He goes on to say (pp. 25-26), “The danger they have been taught to fear from absolutism is not error but intolerance. Relativism is necessary to openness; and this is the virtue, the only virtue, which all primary education for more than fifty years has dedicated itself to inculcating.” He was right: We live in a day that has rejected the idea of absolute truth, especially in the spiritual realm. It smacks of arrogance to say that you know the truth and that others who do not share your view are wrong. You’re free to have your own spiritual opinions, as long as you don’t claim that your view is the only true view. This prevailing tenant of postmodernism has now invaded the church through the “emergent church.” (What Is the -Emerging Church? John Piper) (What's So Dangerous About the Emerging Church? John MacArthur) This growing movement downplays preaching (what could be more arrogant than for one man to stand up and say that he is proclaiming the truth?). And it magnifies sharing personal experiences in an accepting, non-judgmental atmosphere. (Avoiding Spiritual Deception, Part 1 - 1 John 2:18-23)
Lie (5579)(pseudos from pseudomai = to lie) describes an untrue statement, an intentional violation of the truth, a lie or a deception. Falsehood is that which is in the state of being untrue. Pseudos is the content of a false utterance and is thus conscious and intentional falsehood. In a broad sense, pseudos is whatever is not what it seems to be or professes to be (the antithesis of truth).
Webster says a lie is an assertion of something known or believed by the speaker to be untrue with intent to deceive. It is an intentionally false statement. Biblically since God is truth unchanged and unchanging, a lie is the very antithesis of Who He is and who we are to now be in Christ. The old adage says "Like father, like son." When we speak truth, we are like our Father, but when we speak falsehoods, we are more like our old father, Satan (Jn 8:44)!
A lie is any statement or act designed to deceive another person. The motivation for most lying is a desire either to hurt the one against whom the lie is directed or to protect oneself, usually out of fear or pride.
Pseudos - 10x in 10v - NAS Usage: false(1), falsehood(1), lie(5), lying(2), what is false(1).
John 8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies ("lies" is not in Greek, added by translators).
Romans 1:25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie (literally "the lie" - cp Satan's lie that “You surely will not die!" = Ge 3:1-6), and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Ephesians 4:25 Therefore (Why is Paul drawing this conclusion? See Eph 4:20-24 - term of conclusion), laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.
2 Thessalonians 2:9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,
2 Thessalonians 2:11 For this reason (What reason? See 2Th 2:10 = a term of explanation) God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,
1 John 2:21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
1 John 2:27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
Revelation 14:5 And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless (the 144,000 Rev 14:1-5).
Revelation 21:27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices (habitually, as their lifestyle) abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices (habitually, as their lifestyle) lying.
ILLUSTRATION - BEWARE! - When Secret Service agents train bank tellers to identify counterfeit bills, they show them both fake money and real money, and they study both. To detect a counterfeit problem, they must look for the differences in the genuine bill compared to the counterfeit—and not the similarities.
In 1 John 2, the apostle John helps to protect believers from heresy by showing them examples of counterfeit Christians and teachers. One of the signs of the last days is the coming of antichrists (1 John 2:18). Antichrists are those who claim to have His power and authority but don’t, or those who reject and oppose Him and His teachings.
John gave three marks of false teachers who are controlled by the spirit of the antichrists: They depart from the fellowship (v.19), they deny Jesus as the Messiah (v.22), and they draw the faithful away from Jesus (v.26). He encouraged believers to protect themselves against the spirit of the antichrists by depending on the indwelling presence of the Spirit, knowing the truth, and remaining in fellowship with Jesus.
We can protect ourselves from error and deception by knowing the false but relying on the Truth—Jesus Christ. - Marvin Williams
The devil may add
a few grains of truth
to what is false.
Over the past few years, the U.S. government has spent millions of dollars reissuing paper currency. In addition to a new, off-center design, several other features were added, such as a watermark. Although this was costly, it was considered necessary to make counterfeits more difficult. Consumers and businesses lose a great deal from counterfeit money, yet the consequences of spiritual counterfeits are far more serious. That’s why John warned his readers about these pretenders, whose offer of salvation was a deadly counterfeit.
ILLUSTRATION - REVELATION OR IMAGINATION - Today I received a long letter from a man who says he believes in both God and the “Christ spirit,” but not in “the historical Jesus as portrayed in the New Testament.” He doesn’t mind that I believe as I do, but he wants me to show respect for him by acknowledging that our beliefs are of equal merit. That I cannot do!
A belief is either true or false. Either Jesus is Lord and Savior, God in the flesh, or He is not. When considering who Christ is, we choose to believe either in the Jesus of our own imagination or in the Jesus of biblical revelation.
We are not being arrogant or unloving when we say that those who reject the Jesus revealed in the Bible are wrong. We follow the example of the apostle John. He referred to such teachers as “antichrists” who had no right to be counted as members of the fellowship of believers (1 John 2:18-19). He exhorted his readers, “Let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning” (v.24). What had they “heard from the beginning”? None other than the teachings of Jesus Himself, as well as the dynamic eyewitness testimony of those who intimately knew the life, person, and work of our Lord.
They had strong reasons for believing in Jesus—and so do we! It’s not our imagination. It’s the revelation of God! - Herbert Vander Lugt
The one who lies about the Son,
Denies the Christ, the only One.
Jesus is Lord—yes, it is true!
God was made flesh—He died for you.
To detect what is false,
study the truth.
1John 2:22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: τις εστιν ο ψευστης ει μη ο αρνουμενος οτι ιησους ουκ εστιν ο χριστος ουτος εστιν ο αντιχριστος ο αρνουμενος τον πατερα και τον υιον
Amplified: Who is [such a] liar as he who denies that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah)? He is the antichrist (the antagonist of Christ), who [habitually] denies and refuses to acknowledge the Father and the Son. (Lockman)
Barclay: Who is the liar but the man who denies that Jesus is the Anointed One of God? Antichrist is he who denies the Father and the Son. (Barclay's Daily Study Bible).
Berkley (Modern Language): Who is the liar if it is not the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is the antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.
ESV: Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
HCSB: Who is the liar, if not the one who denies that Jesus is the Messiah? This one is the antichrist: the one who denies the Father and the Son.
NET: Who is the liar but the person who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This one is the Antichrist: the person who denies the Father and the Son.
NIV: Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist--he denies the Father and the Son.
NLT: And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist.
Phillips: And what, I ask you, is the crowning lie? Surely the denial that Jesus is God's anointed one, his Christ. I say, therefore, that any man who refuses to acknowledge the Father and the Son is an anti-christ.
TLB: And who is the greatest liar? The one who says that Jesus is not Christ. Such a person is antichrist, for he does not believe in God the Father and in his Son.
Weymouth: Who is a liar compared with him who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He who disowns the Father and the Son is the anti-Christ.
Wuest: Who is the liar if not the one who is denying that Jesus is the Christ? This one is the antichrist, the one who is denying the Father and the Son.
Young's Literal: Who is the liar, except he who is denying that Jesus is the Christ? this one is the antichrist who is denying the Father and the Son;
KJV = Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
- Who 1Jn 2:4; 1:6; 4:20; John 8:44; Revelation 3:9
- he that 1Jn 2:23; 4:3; 1 Corinthians 12:2,3; 2 John 1:7; Jude 1:4
- He is 1Jn 2:18
- Reciprocal References:, Matthew 10:40 - and he that Matthew 16:20 - Jesus John 8:55 - shall 2 Timothy 2:12 - if we deny 1 John 5:1 - believeth 2 John 1:9 - abideth not Revelation 2:2 - thou hast Revelation 3:8 - and hast not Revelation 21:8 - and all
OF THE LIAR
Who is the liar - This is a rhetorical question because John immediately gives a description of the liar.
Steven Cole - The March, 2006, issue of Reader’s Digest features a cover story on ten money scams to beware of. It seems that the Internet and other modern technologies have opened many doors of opportunity for con artists who are after your money. To avoid being ripped off you must stay alert. It’s traumatic when thieves steal your identity and your money, but there is something far more traumatic and tragic, namely, when spiritual con artists, who claim to be Christian, deceive the unsuspecting. The stakes are much higher than someone’s life savings. The eternal destiny of souls is at risk! Since the days of the New Testament, Satan has planted these deceivers in Christian churches, where they prey on the untaught or on those who are disgruntled. To avoid spiritual deception, you must develop biblical discernment and be vigilant at all times. But we live in a day when the whole idea of spiritual discernment is minimized because spiritual truth is minimized. The slogan is, “Doctrine divides. Let’s set aside our doctrinal differences and come together on the areas where we agree.” Another popular mantra is, “Jesus said that they will know that we are His disciples by our love, not by our doctrine.” The implication is, “Set aside your doctrinal views and accept anyone who says that he believes in Jesus.” Tolerance, unity, and love are viewed as much more important than doctrinal truth, which often smacks of pride. (Avoiding Spiritual Deception, Part 1 - 1John 2-18-23)
Vincent on "the liar" - By the definite article ("the"), the liar, the lie is set forth in its concrete personality: the one who impersonates all that is false, as antichrist represents every form of hostility and opposition to Christ. The denial that Jesus is the Christ is the representative falsehood. He that denies is the representative liar.
Webster's 1828 Dictionary - A person who knowingly utters falsehood; one who declares to another as a fact what he knows to be not true, and with an intention to deceive him. The uttering of falsehood by mistake, and without an intention to deceive, does not constitute one a liar.
Pseustes - 10x in 10v in NAS - John 8:44, 55; Rom 3:4; 1 Tim 1:10; Titus 1:12; 1 John 1:10; 2:4, 22; 4:20; 5:10
Kistemaker - He is not addressing a person who occasionally misrepresents the truth, but one who strikes at the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. John confronts the person who is bent on turning the truth of Jesus' humanity into a lie. The heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus is perfect God and perfect man. In the Athanasian Creed of the fourth century this doctrine is carefully formulated in articles 30-32: "For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of the substance of his mother, born in the world. Perfect God and perfect man."… (Ibid)
JESUS IS THE CHRIST
But the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? - John identifies "the liar" as one who denies that Jesus is the long awaited, prophesied Messiah. John has alluded to these individuals in 1Jn 1:8, 10, 1Jn 2:6, 1Jn 2:9, but now he identifies their unsound doctrine, the denial of Jesus as the Christ. Note, that they this is not simply denial that Jesus was the Messiah about which the OT prophesied. They denied that Jesus was God incarnate, God in the flesh.
David Guzik - In other words, someone could say, “I believe Jesus is the Christ … as I define “Christ.” But we must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, as the Bible defines Christ - the Messiah, who is fully God and fully man; who perfectly revealed God the Father to us. (1 John 2 - David Guzik Commentary on the Bible)
John Stott - "The antichrists probably taught (as some later Gnostics certainly taught) that Jesus was born and died a man, and that ‘the Christ’, by which they meant a divine emanation, was within him only during his public ministry, descending upon him at his baptism and leaving him before the cross. They thus denied that Jesus was or is (estin, 1Jn 2:22) the Christ or the Son. They made Him a mere man who for a brief period was invested with divine powers or even adopted into the Godhead, but they denied that the Man Jesus and the eternal Son were and are the same Person, possessing two perfect natures, Human and Divine. In a word, they denied the incarnation. John’s black and white contrasts are healthily clear-sighted. Opposing views are not to him ‘complementary insights’ but ‘truth and error’ (cf. 1Jn 2:21, 27). If we claim to enjoy fellowship with God while we walk in darkness, ‘we lie’ (1Jn 1:6). He who says he knows God but disobeys his commands ‘is a liar’ (pseustēs, 1Jn 2:4). So is the person who claims to love God but hates his brother (1Jn 4:20). But what shall be said of him who denies that Jesus is the Christ? We must pronounce him ‘the’ liar (ho pseustēs, 1Jn 2:22, rv, rsv, neb, niv), the liar par excellence. Indeed, you can tell that this is the arch-lie, because he who perpetrates it is none other than the antichrist, not the personal antichrist who is still to come (see 1Jn 2:18), but a living embodiment of the spirit of antichrist (1Jn 4:3; cf. 2 John 1:7). The heretics’ theology is not just defective; it is diabolical. The fundamental doctrinal test of the professing Christian concerns his view of the Person of Jesus. If he is a Unitarian, or a member of a sect denying the Deity of Jesus, he is not a Christian. Many strange cults which have a popular appeal today can be easily judged and quickly repudiated by this test. The extreme seriousness of the lie is that a second denial is implicit in the first: he denies the Father and the Son. (Ibid)
Steven Cole - His point is that if you deny cardinal truth about Jesus Christ and yet claim to know God, you are deceiving yourself. This is not to say that a new believer must be able to give precisely correct theological statements about the trinity or the two natures of Christ in order to be truly saved. But it is to say that if someone knowingly makes heretical statements about Christ and is not open to correction, his salvation is suspect. Sound doctrine (hugiaino = "healthy, wholesome" + didaskalia = what is taught) necessarily goes along with a genuine personal relationship with God. Most heresies go astray with regard to the person or work of Jesus Christ. John Calvin pointed out that since Christ is the sum of the gospel, heretics especially aim their arrows at Him. The only way that we can know the Father is through the Son (John 14:6). These false teachers were denying that Jesus is the Christ (1Jn 2:22). This probably was more than a denial that Jesus was the Old Testament Messiah. The context here, which refers to Jesus as the Son of God and which closely links the Father and the Son, indicates that these false teachers denied the full deity of Jesus Christ. They denied the incarnation, that God took on human flesh in the virgin birth of Jesus. They taught that “the Christ” came upon the human Jesus at His baptism and departed at His crucifixion. John says that they denied both the Father and the Son.The modern cults all go astray on the person and work of Jesus Christ. They deny His deity and His substitutionary death on the cross. They deny the trinity. Some of them speak in Gnostic fashion of “the Christ within us all.” By denying the Son of God, they do not have the Father. In the words of this apostle of love, they are liars, deceivers, and antichrists. (Avoiding Spiritual Deception, Part 1 - 1 John 2:18-23)
Hiebert - Anyone characterized by this crucial denial cannot escape justly being branded as “the liar.” If he is not “the liar,” then no one is. He is the liar par excellence. He is identified by his characteristic denial, “the one who denies (present tense = continually) that Jesus is the Christ… It is not a matter of doubt but of an open refusal to accept this basic Christian doctrine. He openly rejects the apostolic teaching of the Incarnation (cf. John 1:14, 18-note; 1John 1:1-3-note). It is not merely a Jewish rejection of Jesus of Nazareth as the personal Messiah, since John identified Him as “the Son.” It is the denial that in Jesus of Nazareth God and man are indissolubly united… Docetic Gnosticism held that the divine Christ-spirit was too holy to have been united with human nature. Cerinthian Gnosticism held that the aeon-Christ came on the man Jesus at His baptism and empowered His ministry but left Him before His crucifixion, and only a man died on the cross. (1 John 2:19-24 Exposition)
Subsequent centuries saw frequent attacks on the nature of Jesus Christ - e.g., Arianism (circa 320 AD)
While Muslims acknowledge Jesus, they deny the truth about Him for according to the Koran (Quran) Jesus did not die on the Cross, but was taken to heaven, leaving someone to be crucified in His place! See What does the Quran say about Jesus?
Below is Dr Wayne Grudem's Outline of some of the Heresies Related to Jesus Christ (Note that the outline and lectures correspond to Chapter 26 in his book Systematic Theology- An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, which I would highly recommend as a reference.
You might also want to listen to Dr Grudem's 3 lectures on the Person of Christ (about one hour for each message) - it will greatly enhance your comprehension of this crucial doctrine…
- The Person of Christ: Part 1 - The Humanity of Jesus Christ
- The Person of Christ: Part 2 - The Deity of Jesus Christ
- The Person of Christ: Part 3 - How Can Jesus Be God and Man in One Person?
The Incarnation: deity and humanity in the one person of Christ. "Jesus Christ was fully God and fully Man in one Person, and will be so forever." (Systematic Theology, page 529)
1. Three inadequate views of the Person of Christ
a. Apollinarianism (Apollinaris of Laodicea became bishop in Laodicea about A.D. 361)
(1) Christ had a human body only
(2) mind and spirit of Christ were from divine nature
(3) example: meeting “Mickey Mouse” at Disney World
(4) Problem: our minds and spirits need salvation too! (such a Christ: not really true man to represent us)
(5) Christ had human mind, spirit: Lk 2:52; Jn 12:27; 13:31; Heb 4:15; Heb 5:7, etc.
(6) Rejected by several church councils (362-381)
b. Nestorianism (Nestorius was a popular preacher at Antioch; after 428: bishop of Constantinople)
(1) Christ was 2 distinct persons in one body: (a) the human person; (b) the divine person
(2) Example: circus “horse”
(3) Problem: Gospels show Jesus as “I” not “we” -- never seen as two persons in Gospels
(4) Nestorius probably never taught the heretical view that goes by his name
c. Monophysitism (Eutychianism) (Greek monos, “one”, and physis, “nature”) (Eutyches [378-454] was the leader of a monastery at Constantinople)
(1) Human nature absorbed into divine nature
(2) Something entirely new resulted (greater than human, less than divine)
(3) Example: drop of ink in water
(4) Problem: both humanity and deity are lost!
2. Solution to the controversy: Chalcedonian Creed (451) (Chalcedon: a city near Constantinople) Affirmed by Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches ever since
3. Combining specific texts on Christ’s deity and humanity
a. One nature does some things that the other nature does not do (“the property of each nature is preserved” … Chalcedonian Creed)
(1) Jesus’ human nature ascended to heaven and is no longer in the world, but His divine nature is everywhere present. (John 16:28; 17:11; Acts 1:9-11; Matt. 28:20; John 14:23)
(2) Jesus was 30 years old (Luke 3:23), but also eternally existed (John 1:1-2; 8:58)
(3) Jesus was weak and tired in his human nature (Matt. 4:2; 8:24; Mark 15:21; John 4:6), but his divine nature was omnipotent (Matt. 8:26-27, Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3)
(4) While Jesus was a sleep in the boat (Matt. 8:24) he was also “continually carrying along all things by his word of power” (Heb. 1:3).
(5) Jesus’ human nature died (Luke 23:46; 1 Cor. 15:3), but his divine nature did not die, but was able to raise himself from the dead (John 2:19; 10:17-18; Heb. 7:16)
b. To preserve the reality of Jesus’ human nature, we must say that Jesus had two wills (a human will and a divine will) and two centers of consciousness (human and divine)
(1) Jesus’ human consciousness did not know the time of his return (Mark 13:32), but his divine consciousness knew all things (John 16:30)
(2) Jesus’ human will was tempted (Heb. 4:15) but his divine will could not be tempted (James 1:13)
4. Anything either nature does, the person of Christ does
Jn 8:58 “Before Abraham was, I am”
Jn 16:28 “I am leaving the world”
Matt 28:20 “I am with you always”
1 Cor. 15:3 “Christ died for our sins”
THE CHALCEDONIAN CREED (451 A.D.)
We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial [homoousios-- “same nature”] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us. (Outline)
See related booklets:
- 10 Reasons to Believe God Became A Man - Discovery Series (RBC)
- Who is This Man Who Says He is God? - Discovery Series (RBC)
Denies (720)(arneomai from "a" = negation + rheo = say) literally means "to say no", to say one does not know about or is in any way related to some person. Webster says that to deny implies a firm refusal to accept as true or to acknowledge the existence of something. In short, deny is a strong verb! In other words, this one is refusing to accept or acknowledge or concede the truth about Jesus Christ as fully God and fully Man. John goes on to describe more details related to Jesus…
(1John 4:2-3) By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
(1John 4:15) Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
(1John 5:1) Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.
Arneomai carries the idea of a conscious, purposeful action of the will and in essence means to say "no," in the present context to deny that Jesus was fully God and at the same time fully Man.
John uses the present tense which denotes the habitual denial. Denies is also in the middle voice which is reflexive ("reflexive" as relating to, or constituting an action directed back on the subject as in “he perjured himself”) and indicates that these individual initiate the action of denying and then experience participating in results of that action.
Vincent - Literally, the one denying, the one who habitually represents this attitude towards Christ. The words are aimed at the heresy of Cerinthus, a man of Jewish descent and educated at Alexandria. He denied the miraculous conception of Jesus, and taught that, after His baptism, the Christ descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and that He then announced the unknown Father and wrought miracles; but that, towards the end of His ministry, the Christ departed again from Jesus, and Jesus suffered and rose from the dead, while the Christ remained impassible (incapable of suffering) as a spiritual being.
Cerinthus lived in the last days of John the and in addition to denying the deity of Christ, taught other heresies such as the belief that God did not create the world. The heresies of Cerinthus can be detected in the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, and Mormonism. Cerinthus also propounded a fleshly doctrine of the Millennium, teaching that at His coming Jesus would introduce 1,000 years of sensuous pleasure, an absurd statement which is no where taught in Scripture!
Calvin - 'Everyone who denies the Son, has not the Father either' (1John 4:2-3); 'inasmuch as God hath given Himself to us wholly to be enjoyed in Christ.'
Jude warned that "certain persons have crept in unnoticed (secretly, stealthily, subtly insinuating themselves), those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly (corrupt in doctrine, depraved in conduct) persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness (unrestrained vice, gross immorality) and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." (Jude 1:4)
Paul described individuals in Crete who "(continually) profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny (present tense = the habit of their life, continually disown and renounce) Him (by their actions), being detestable (loathsome, root word means to "stink"!) and disobedient, and worthless (unable to do anything that pleases God) for any good deed." (Titus 1:16-note)
Guy King (Ibid) summarizes what antichrists deny about Jesus - Movements and teaching professing to be Christian who yet "[deny] the Son" (1Jn 2:23)
- some deny His Deity,
- some deny His miracles,
- some deny His virgin birth,
- some deny His Word,
- some deny His atoning death,
- some deny His bodily resurrection,
- some deny His personal return.
This is the antichrist - John specifically identifies the liar as the antichrist (antichristos), the one who claims that Jesus is not the Christ.
The one who denies the Father and the Son - John again uses denies (arneomai) in the present tense denoting that they habitually deny both Persons of the Godhead. To deny Jesus is to deny His Father. Clearly these individuals are not genuine believers.
Hiebert - Whatever may have been their teaching about God, John declared that these anti-Christian heretics had no personal relationship with God as “Father” because their denial of “the Son” inevitably involved a denial of the Father, who revealed Himself in the incarnate Son. This absolute designation “the Son” occurs here for the first time in the epistle. In the first part of this verse Jesus is accepted as “the Christ”; now He is called “the Son.” The two designations relate to one Person. (1 John 2:19-24 Exposition)
Kistemaker - "If there is no Son, there is no Father. In his epistle, John teaches that the Father and Son are intimately related (1Jn 1:2, 3; 2:1, 23, 24; 4:3, 14, 15; 5:9, 10, 11, 12, 20). John reveals the heart of the gospel: God the Father has sent his Son Jesus Christ to redeem sinners. If a person rejects Jesus Christ, he also rejects God the Father and nullifies the message of the gospel of Christ. Such a person, writes John, is the antichrist." (Ibid)
Steven Cole - A popular sentimental, syrupy view goes, “It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere.” When you share Christ with someone who buys into this thinking, he will respond, “It’s nice that you believe that, but I have my own beliefs.” According to this view, sincerity is the main thing; truth doesn’t matter. That is utter nonsense! You can sincerely drink poison, believing that it is medicine, but it will kill you just the same. Sound doctrine (hugiaino = "healthy, wholesome" + didaskalia = what is taught) really matters! (Avoiding Spiritual Deception, Part 1 - 1 John 2:18-23)
1John 2:23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. (NASB: Lockman)
Greek: πας ο αρνουμενος τον υιον ουδε τον πατερα εχει ο ομολογων τον υιον και τον πατερα εχει
Amplified: No one who [habitually] denies (disowns) the Son even has the Father. Whoever confesses (acknowledges and has) the Son has the Father also. (Lockman)
Berkley (Modern Language): No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father as well.
ESV: No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.
HCSB: No one who denies the Son can have the Father; he who confesses the Son has the Father as well.
NET: Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father either. The person who confesses the Son has the Father also.
NIV: No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
NLT: Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
Phillips: The man who will not recognise the Son cannot possibly know the Father; yet the man who believes in the Son will find that he knows the Father as well.
TLB: For a person who doesn’t believe in Christ, God’s Son, can’t have God the Father either. But he who has Christ, God’s Son, has God the Father also.
Weymouth: Everyone who denies the Son, not even does he have the Father. The one who confesses the Son also has the Father.
Young's Literal: every one who is denying the Son, neither hath he the Father, he who is confessing the Son hath the Father also.
KJV = Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
- denies 1Jn 2:22; 4:15; Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22; John 5:23; 8:19; 10:30; 14:9,10; 15:23,24; 2 John 1:9-11
- Reciprocal References:, Job 31:28 - for Matthew 10:33 - deny me Matthew 10:40 - and he that Mark 8:38 - ashamed Luke 12:8 - Whosoever Luke 12:9 - shall John 1:34 - this John 14:6 - no John 20:31 - believing Colossians 3:17 - God 2 Timothy 2:12 - if we deny Titus 1:1 - the acknowledging 1 John 1:3 - our fellowship 1 John 5:1 - believeth 1 John 5:12 - that hath the 2 John 1:3 - the Son Revelation 3:8 - and hast not
TWO OPTIONS REGARDING JESUS:
CONFESS HIM OR DENY HIM
Whoever - Whoever is literally "all" (Greek word pas means all without exception). This is a universal, incontrovertible truth! John had just explained that this man is the antichrist because he denies that Jesus is the Christ (1Jn 2:22). Presumably some of these antichrists were professing reference for the Father while rejecting the Son, something which John says is impossible. If you don't love Jesus, you don't love His Father, for in Jn 10:30 John states Jesus and "the Father are one” or one in unity and one in their very essence. Thus you cannot deny one without denying the other. Notice also that while Jesus and Father indicate there is more than one Person in the Godhead, the verb "are one" indicates that God is one being. Mysterious? Absolutely! Humanly explicable? Absolutely not! See Dr Wayne Grudem's four lectures on the Trinity (Refer to Chapter 14) and his corresponding outline - God in Three Persons: The Trinity.
Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father - In other words every person (no exceptions) who denies Jesus does not know God the Father and thus is not a child of God. They have no personal relationship with God the Father! They have no share in God the Father. The only one who is a child of God is the one who receives (believes in) the Son, John writing that "as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God (cp 1Jn 3:1), even to those who believe in His Name (Jesus, cp Acts 4:12)."
To fail to confess (receive, believe in) Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, is to lose the Father's Presence, Protection, Promises, Provision and Paradise! Oh, how great will be the loss of these antichrists!
Guzik - Often times it is said, “We all worship the same God. You have one name for Him and I have another. But that doesn’t matter. We are just talking about different roads to the same God, because we all have the same God.” Here is the question to ask in response: “Was your God perfectly revealed in Jesus Christ?” If their God was, then you have the same God. If their God wasn’t perfectly revealed in Jesus, then they do not have the same God as the Bible. There are many people who seem rather spiritual or religious, yet reject Jesus Christ. While their religion or spirituality may do them much good in this life - giving them a basis for morality and good behavior - it does them nothing before God, because in rejecting Jesus they reject God. (1 John 2 - David Guzik Commentary on the Bible)
Paul wrote "If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us." (2Ti 2:12-note)
Peter described false teachers who denied Christ - "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying (present tense describes continual denial.) the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves." (2Pet 2:1-note)
Hiebert - By their denial of the Son “they ipso facto excommunicate themselves from the great Christian family in which Christ is the Brother, and God is the Father, of all believers.” (1 John 2:19-24 Exposition)
I H Marshall - If the heretics thought that they could “have” God without believing in Jesus, they were completely mistaken. It is only through the Son that we know that God is Father, and it is only through the Son and his propitiatory death that we can have access to God as Father. Thus to deny that Jesus is the Son is to deny the Christian doctrine of God, or at least to deprive it of its essential basis. The Christian doctrine of a personal, fatherly God is dependent on the revelation of God given in Jesus. (The Epistles of John. The New International Commentary on the New Testament).
I have heard believers say that "I denied Jesus at the workplace when I should have spoken up for Him." If we are honest, all of us have had times when we in effect "denied" Jesus. I think of times when I have heard someone casually use the Name of "Jesus" as a curse word and yet I stand by mute, passive, and, if truth be told, even somewhat embarrassed to speak up and defend His Name. So yes, we all "deny" the Son from time to time, and we are sad when find ourselves in such situations (E.g., Peter - Mk 14:30-31, Mk 14:66-72 but compare a Spirit filled, emboldened by the Spirit Peter in Acts 2:14, 36). The good news is that John uses the present tense which describes not an isolated episode of denial but a lifestyle of denial. Those who continually deny the Son are not believers. Believers have the indwelling Spirit of Christ and one of His purposes is to testify and glorify the Name above all names (Jn 15:16, 16:14).
The one who confesses the Son has the Father also - (Literally, "the one confessing") The verb confesses is singular indicating this is a personal (not a corporate) confession (cp Ro 10:9-10-note). To confess means "To own, avow or acknowledge; publicly to declare a belief in and adherence to." (Webster's 1828 Definition).
Confession is the antithesis of denial. Instead of denying Jesus, he confesses Jesus and in context openly, unashamedly agrees with the truth revealed in Scripture that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully Man.
Stott - John has in mind more than a private belief and disbelief. As when the same verbs are used by Jesus, a public confession and denial of him ‘before men’ are implied (cf. Mt. 10:32-33; Jn 12:42; Ro 10:9-10). On such a confession or denial depends not just our conception of, but our possession of, the Father. (Ibid)
Kistemaker - Some twenty years after John wrote this epistle, observes Bruce, John's disciple Polycarp, then bishop of the church in Smyrna, sent a letter to the Christians in Philippi and said: "For everyone who does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is an anti-Christ"; and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the Cross is of the devil: and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord for his own lusts, and says that there is neither resurrection nor judgment—this man is the firstborn of Satan." The believer anointed with the Holy Spirit is able to discern truth from error, oppose heresy, and withstand the attacks of Satan. Whenever someone comes to you with religious teachings that either add to the Bible or take the place of the Bible, beware. (cp 2Jn 1:10-11) (Ibid)
Jesus spoke often about His relationship to His Father…
(Matt 11:27) “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.
(John 1:18-note) No one has seen God (the Father) at any time; the only begotten God (Jesus) Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
(John 5:23) so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
(John 8:19) So they were saying to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.”
(John 8:42) Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.
Comment: This passage is especially interesting as Jesus is addressing an audience of Jews who have professed to believe in Him (Jn 8:30-31). Jesus proceeds to demonstrate that their so-called belief (faith, trust) was nothing more than intellectual belief. In other words, their faith was not authentic saving faith, and thus their claim that God was their Father (Jn 8:41) was erroneous. In a sense, they denied Jesus and so the denied His Father just as John explains in the present section! Jesus went on to say that if they really knew His Father, they would love the Father's Son! Instead, as their subsequent actions proved, not only did they not love the Son, but they even sought to kill the Son! (See Jn 8:40 and compare with Jn 8:58 -- For the full context read John 8:30-58).
(John 10:30) “I and the Father are one.”
(John 12:44-45) And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him (God the Father) who sent Me. He who sees Me sees the One (God the Father) Who sent Me.
(John 14:9) Jesus said to him (Jn 14:8), “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
(John 14:6-7) Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
(John 14:9-10) Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
(John 15:23-24) “He who hates Me hates My Father also. “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.
(1Tim 2:5) For there is one God, and one mediator also between God (the Father) and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
(1Jn 2:1-2) My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous
Confesses (acknowledges) (3670)(homologeo from homos = one and the same or together with+ lego = to say) literally means to say the same thing as another. Five of the 26 uses of homologeo are in First John - 1John 1:9; 2:23; 4:2-3, 15. In the present context, John is saying that this one acknowledges the Biblical truth (the sound doctrine) about the nature of Jesus Christ. John uses the present tense which indicates their confession is ongoing.
The verb homologeo means to confess or concede that something is factual or true, to admit.
To confess something is the opposite of to deny something as true. For example, John records the testimony of John the Baptist writing that "he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” (John 1:20)
(1John 5:1) Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.
(Mt 10:32-33) Jesus declared "Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."
(Rev 3:8) ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name.
Marshall - John’s thought is moving toward exhortation to his readers to hold fast to their Christian confession, and not to be swayed by the persuasions of the heretics. (Ibid)
Vine notes that "not only does confession of the Son, that is, confession that Jesus is the Christ and all that is involved therein, carry with it the confession of the Father, it involves, too, divine relationship and communion with the Father. That is more than holding an article of faith or knowing the will of the Father. Confession of Christ goes with possession of Christ, and those who receive Him become children of God (John 1:12, cp Ro 10:9-10). To acknowledge the fatherhood of God and deny the deity of Christ is utterly incompatible. For the association of the truth that Jesus is the Christ, with that of His relationship with the Father see Peter’s confession (Mt. 16:16-17)." (Ibid)
Warren Wiersbe illustrates the importance of believing in the real Jesus - It makes no difference what you believe, just as long as you are sincere!" That statement expresses the personal philosophy of many people today, but it is doubtful whether most of those who make it have really thought it through. Is "sincerity" the magic ingredient that makes something true? If so, then you ought to be able to apply it to any area of life, and not only to religion. A nurse in a city hospital gives some medicine to a patient, and the patient becomes violently ill. The nurse is sincere but the medicine is wrong, and the patient almost dies. A man hears noises in the house one night and decides a burglar is at work. He gets his gun and shoots the "burglar," who turns out to be his daughter! Unable to sleep, she has gotten up for a bite to eat. She ends up the victim of her father's "sincerity." It takes more than "sincerity" to make something true. Faith in a lie will always cause serious consequences; faith in the truth is never misplaced. It does make a difference what a man believes! If a man wants to drive from Chicago to New York, no amount of sincerity will get him there if the highway is taking him to Los Angeles. A person who is real builds his life on truth, not superstition or lies. It is impossible to live a real life by believing lies. (The Bible Exposition Commentary)
Steven Cole - We should be diligent to preserve the unity of the body of Christ, but not at any cost. There is no room for compromise on the core beliefs of Christian orthodoxy, especially the truths about the person of Christ and the gospel. During World War Two, Neville Chamberlain of Britain tried to keep the peace by appeasing Adolf Hitler. After giving Poland to Hitler, Chamberlain went back to England proclaiming “peace in our times.” But Winston Churchill wisely observed, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” Sure enough, Hitler later tried to eat Britain, too. If we compromise truth to appease a heretic or to keep him in the church, it will lead to our ultimate spiritual demise. To avoid spiritual deception, be discerning of people, especially of religious people who claim to have some new truth. Be discerning of sound doctrine. Know your Bible well. Study systematic theology. Study church history. Most errors today have been around for centuries. (Avoiding Spiritual Deception, Part 1 - 1 John 2:18-23)
ILLUSTRATION - HEAD OR HEART? by Dave Brannon - In the span of 7 days he won the hearts of a busload of people. We were visiting the Holy Land, and the personable man was our tour guide. Each day he greeted us with his winning smile, clever sense of humor, and incredible knowledge of Israel. From the story of Abraham and Isaac to the account of Jesus’ resurrection, our guide had it all down.
Yet as the week went by, people began to ask, “Is he a believer?” “Does he know Jesus?” Sadly, the answer was no. He knew the Bible better than most of us. He daily walked where Jesus had. He had been giving tours to Christians for years. But he didn’t know his Messiah.
Could that be your situation? Could you have a knowledge of God and His Son Jesus in your head but not in your heart? It’s not all that unusual.
The words in 1 John 2:22 seem harsh: “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?” But the truth is that knowing about Jesus is not the same as knowing Him. We must acknowledge Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16). We must accept His forgiveness for our sins and enter into a personal relationship with Him.
Have you trusted Jesus? Or is your knowledge of Him in your head but not in your heart?
What will you do with Jesus?
Neutral you cannot be;
Someday your heart will be asking,
"What will He do with me?"
Knowing about Jesus
is not the same as knowing Him.