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On the Epistles of John, Part 3: Christ and Antichrist
In our last presentation in this commentary on the epistles of John, which we had titled The Propitiation for Sin, we sought to explain how the law stood in the way of any reconciliation between Yahweh God and the divorced children of Israel. Among other things, we cited the law where it says that every man (which includes every woman) must die for his own sin. When a man sins a sin for which he is liable to death, then he himself must die, and there is no other option under the law. But the ways in which the law obstructed the reconciliation of Yahweh and Israel is evident in even more ways than we had explained. For example, once the divorce of Israel was announced in the words of the prophet Hosea, Yahweh instructed the prophet, in Hosea chapter 3 where we read “1 Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.” In Hosea chapter 2 Yahweh had already spoken of Israel and said: “7 And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.” In spite of that, Yahweh had also sworn later in that same chapter that He would betroth Israel once again, and betroth Israel forever. This is a paradox, as we must know that Yahweh would not transgress His Own law.
So we must ask, could Israel return to her first husband? Or could the Husband take back an adulterous wife? The law forbids that, as we read in Deuteronomy chapter 24: “1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife. 3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; 4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” So even if Israel sought to return to Yahweh, there was no way under the law by which that was possible, and Yahweh’s law does not change.
One of our detractors, a sophist, immediately responded that the righteousness of Christ is outside of the law, and that is absolutely true. Then he accused us of denying aspects of Scripture which we never denied. But Christ Himself had professed, as it is found in Matthew chapter 5, “17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” So we cannot imagine that His reconciliation with the children of Israel would violate the law in any way. Yet we can be confident that the ordinances against the children of Israel were removed on the cross of Christ, as Paul had explained in his epistle to the Colossians. But furthermore, we have also already explained that Christ, the Bridegroom of the children of Israel, cannot have His Father’s wife, according to the law. And if that law was no longer valid and in force, it would not have been just for Paul of Tarsus to denounce a man who had done that very thing, in 1 Corinthians chapter 5, an epistle which was written shortly before Paul left Ephesus around 56 AD. So the law is still valid and Christians are expected to keep its commandments.
The children of Israel were under penalty of death according to the law, and there was no way around that penalty, according to the law. Repeating ourselves once again, there is nothing in the law which provides that a son, whether a Son of God or of Israel, and of course Christ was both, could die in order to satisfy the penalty of a mother’s sins against a husband, or the sins of an entire people against their God. So nothing in the law explains how Christ was a propitiation for the sins of Israel, although Christ was indeed a propitiation for the sins of Israel. As Yahweh had promised in Hosea chapter 13: “14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” Where He said “repentance shall be hid from my eyes”, Yahweh is strengthening His promise to redeem Israel from the grave, that He will not change His mind in that regard.
So there are several paradoxes. A son cannot be put to death to satisfy the law for sins committed by a parent or by anyone else, as that is contrary to the law. A husband cannot justly be reconciled to an adulteress, as that is an abomination according to the law. A son cannot have his father’s wife, as that is also an offense for which death is prescribed in the law. But in spite of these laws, Yahweh promised that Israel would live, and He promised to redeem and to betroth Israel forever. He promised to do these things while at the same time fulfilling the law and declaring that it would not fail until it was fulfilled. Therefore, with all of these circumstances preventing the reconciliation of Israel, we explained from the words of Paul of Tarsus in Romans chapter 7 how Christ was a propitiation in spite of the law but neither changing nor abrogating law, which is that He is Yahweh God incarnate, the Husband of Israel, dying in order to release the wife from the law of the husband. A son cannot release a wife, only a husband can do that. But Christ released Israel from the punishments of the law, and Christ is also the Bridegroom and in Christ is also the way, the truth and the life, the redemption of Israel, and none of these things flaunt the law because He is Yahweh. Christ is the Redeemer, yet in the words of the prophets Yahweh alone is the Redeemer of Israel, and the prophets cannot be wrong but neither are the apostles of Christ. That is precisely why Paul had made such an explanation as he did, and we should not even have to explain it as Paul had written his explanation quite clearly.
However in order to understand Paul’s explanation, we must understand and accept the fact that Yahshua Christ is Yahweh God incarnate. He is the Father, the Husband of Israel dying to release the wife from the law, and at the same time He is the Son, the Redeemer of Israel whom Yahweh God had promised that He Himself would be. So Paul wrote in part, “2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.” Yet while even this is not specified in the law, there are examples of it in practice. When Naomi’s two sons had died, we read in Ruth chapter 1: “8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.” So they were released from any obligations which they had to their husbands, although Ruth would not have it, and she chose to stay with Naomi.
So in that manner we may see the righteousness of God apart from the law. The only way that He could free Israel from the judgments of the law was to die so that Israel would be free from the law of the husband. But what Paul had written in Romans chapter 3 is this: “21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.” In order for all of the conditions of the law and the prophets to be satisfied, Yahshua Christ must be Yahweh God Incarnate as His Own Son, and that is the only way that the Husband could have died to released the wife from the penalty of the law, as Paul had explained. There is no other way possible by which Israel could live.
We shall return to discuss the inseparable nature of God and Christ as John presents it later in this chapter. But now, John turns to discuss the adversaries of Christ, by which we should also know their true nature:
18 Little children, it is the last hour, and just as you have heard that the [א, B and C want “the”, A wants “that”] Antichrist comes, even now many Antichrists have been born, from which we know that it is the last hour.
We do not really know how John’s listeners would have “heard that the Antichrist comes”, except perhaps for certain prophecies in Isaiah and Daniel that may have been misinterpreted, and are still misinterpreted today. Here John is correcting what they should perceive concerning an antichrist.
Translating this passage, the King James Version virtually ignores the verb γίνομαι, which, according to Liddell & Scott, means in its absolute sense, to come into being opposed to εἶναι, which is simply to be, and then, of persons, it is to be born. Here it is certainly to be born, as the verb is in the indicative perfect active form, which is a past tense but which is used here to refer to people of John’s present time. So it must be referring to their having been born, and not simply to the fact that they are, for which an appropriate present tense form of εἶναι would have been sufficient, and where the verb should not have been in a past tense.
So here it is evident that antichrists come into the world as a matter of their birth, and John informs us in his next verse that these antichrists are not of Israel where he says:
19 They came out from us but they were not from of us. For if they were from of us, they would have abided with us, but so that they would be made manifest that they are all not from of us.
Here John speaks of the inevitable separation of two groups of people who were not of the same people to begin with, explaining the divergence with the assertion that “they were not from of us” and suggesting that if they had been, then they would also be Christians but that instead, they are now antichrists. So John is repeating another concept taught by Christ which is found in his Gospel, for which we may cite any one of several chapters, but we will choose to cite John chapter 10, where the following exchange is recorded: “24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. [They came out from us but they were not from of us.] 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. [For if they were from of us, they would have abided with us…] 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one.”
The opponents of Christ did not believe Him because they were not His sheep, “as I said unto you”, which seems to be a reference to the lengthy argument which He had with them as it is recorded in John chapter 8, which had happened a short while before. The events of John chapter 8 occurred at the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2), which was in late September or early October, and the events at the end of John chapter 10 had occurred a few months later, at the Feast of Dedication (John 10:22) which was in December. That feast was not an Old Testament feast, but it was initiated by the Hasmonaeans around 165 BC, after the temple was restored since it had been defiled and damaged by the Seleucids. The word for dedication in Hebrew is chanukkah, and that is where today’s Jews derived the name for their modern December abomination. Ironically, Jews continue to celebrate the restoration of a temple that was never theirs, and which was destroyed again in 70 AD, not yet being rebuilt.
So if John warned his readers that those who were born as antichrists “came out from us but they were not from of us,” then Christians should have an obligation to investigate the Scriptures and the history of the era in order to find out how that could be, that there were Judaeans who were not “of us”, as John says, where he is writing to Christians in Ephesus. Around this same time the same apostle John had also recorded the series of visions which he had received on Patmos as the Revelation of Yahshua Christ. In the Revelation, Christ is recorded as having warned the churches of both Smyrna and Philadelphia regarding “those who say they are Jews [or Judaeans] and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”
The word antichrist is abused by the denominational churches who ignore the plain message here in John’s epistles. These epistles are the only place that the word antichrist appears in Scripture, yet the churches do not use the word with the same meaning as John had used it. In John’s epistles, the word antichrist described those who had denied that Yahshua is the Christ in his own time, and therefore it can only describe Jews. The word cannot be properly applied to Romans, as Roman pagans would not expect a Christ, or Messiah, in the manner in which the Hebrews had, and therefore Romans would be too ignorant of the issues involved to be expected to make an informed decision. So the word antichrist as John had used it could only refer to Jews, and while we see that antichrists are born, as John described them, it could only refer to Edomite Jews.
While John does not give a lesson in history here in order to explain how certain Judaeans were “not from of us”, Paul of Tarsus did give such a lesson in Romans chapter 9, where he said that “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel”, where he professed to praying only “for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites”, and where he proceeded by comparing Jacob and Esau, likening one to “vessels of mercy” and the other to “vessels of destruction”, which are obvious references to the collective offspring of each of them. Therefore seeing the testimony of Paul, that at least many of the Judaeans are not Israel, but are actually of Esau, we can understand and accept the more detailed account of how the Edomites became known as Judaeans, which is found in the histories of Flavius Josephus, and for which there are also corroborating statements by other historians, such as Strabo of Cappadocia. Then we can accept how John had said “They came out from us but they were not from of us.” In any event, Romans chapter 9 clearly identifies as Edomites “those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”
Many times here we have provided the citations from Josephus, and the corroboration from Strabo, that the Edomites occupied Judah and Israel after the Assyrian and Babylonian deportations, which the prophet Ezekiel also explains, and how they were forcibly converted to Judaism under the Hasmonaean high priests, namely John Hyrcanus and Alexander Jannaeus, in the 2nd century BC. While we shall not repeat it all now, we did recently discuss it in Part 23 of our recent commentary on the Gospel of John, which was titled The Devil has Children. In Book 13 of his Antiquities, Josephus gives details concerning those forced conversions of Edomites to Judaism in nearly three dozen cities and regions of Palestine under the rule of the Hasmonaeans.
So we may see from here in John, from Paul, and also from other sources both within and apart from the Bible that the opponents of Christ in Judaea were not true Israelites, although under Roman rule they bore the designation of being Judaeans. Josephus, speaking of the Edomites converted to Judaism, attested that from that time “that they were hereafter considered to be Jews.” In turn, the Israelites of Judaea who had turned to Christ had eventually lost the designation of being Judaeans, or Jews, assuming the name of Christians, so that in the end only the enemies of Christ were ever called Jews. Now John makes a contrasting remark and says:
20 Yet you have an anointing from the Holy One and [B wants “and”] you all know.
The Codices Alexandrinus (A) and Ephraemi Syri (C) and the Majority Text have “… and you know all things.” But here we have corrected our own reading of the text, as the form of the adjective πᾶς, which is a masculine plural form in the Nominative case, πάντες, is not properly the object of the verb for know, and rather it is an adjective modifying the subject of that verb, which is the pronoun translated as you.
Assuming that the intended readers of John’s epistle are also familiar with John’s Gospel, he is informing them that they have an anointing from God and all of them should know and understand what he is saying here, as these things are also fully evident in his Gospel. So evidently, the antichrists are those Jews who had opposed Christ, and John is warning his readers about them once more here, as they continued to oppose Christ, and to deny that Yahshua is the Christ. So in the Gospel of Christ, according to this statment of John’s, we should also see the fulfillment of the Word of Yahweh in Isaiah chapter 54: “13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”
That passage in Isaiah is also from a Messianic prophecy, and earlier in the chapter we read the words of Yahweh which said: “8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.” Yahweh being Redeemer, until the time when Christ had died for the redemption of Israel He had hid His face from them. So as Paul explained in Hebrews, speaking of Yahshua Christ where he described Him as “the express image of his person,” speaking in reference to Yahweh God, we may say that Christ is the face of Yahweh which is no longer hid from His people, and begins to teach them anew, as it is prophesied in Isaiah, and He Himself had exclaimed to Philip that “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?”
Now John expresses the expectation that his readers did already know these things:
21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it and because any lie [C has only “and that a lie”] is not from of the truth.
This also seems to evoke the words of Christ to His adversaries which are found in John chapter 8: “54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.” Christ had already rejected His adversaries even before they rejected Him, where, for example, in John chapter 5 He had told them “39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. 41 I receive not honour from men. 42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you.”
So as a result of such a testimony, John exclaims here:
22 Who is a liar, if not he denying that Yahshua is the Christ? He is the Antichrist, who denies the Father and the Son!
Denying that Yahshua is the Christ, His adversaries also denied God, as Christ had told them later in John chapter 5: “45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” In the Old Testament, actual people and events very often stood as types for the Messiah which are prophecies in themselves, and the apostles of Christ later cited them as prophecies.
There is a prophecy in Malachi chapter 3 which says “1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” But a very similar statement was made by Moses of Joshua the son of Nun, in Exodus chapter 23 which reads: “20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. 21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.” Joshua the son of Nun had succeeded Moses in the leadership of Israel in the fleshly world. Yet Yahshua Christ, who bore the same Hebrew name as Joshua, succeeded Moses in the greater plan of Yahweh for Israel.
So the apostles themselves, in Acts chapter 4, had understood another reference in the writings of Moses to be a prophecy of Christ, where it says in Deuteronomy chapter 18: “15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken… 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” But of course Moses prophesied of Christ in other ways, such as in Genesis chapter 3 where we read: “22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever”, and again in a prophecy concerning Judah in Genesis chapter 49, which is also a type for the victorious Messiah of the Revelation which says: “10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. 11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: 12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.” Upon His triumphant march into Jerusalem, Christ had come “sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass”, in fulfillment of yet another prophecy found in Zechariah chapter 9, but which evokes that prophecy concerning Judah.
While we may discuss other passages in Moses, perhaps it is more fitting to see from the Gospel accounts what John and the other disciples had thought about the nature of the Christ, so that we may see the significance of what John thought it was to deny that Yahshua is the Christ.
In Matthew chapter 2, the Magi had come from the east and they are portrayed as “2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Judaeans? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” While the Magi later found Him and rejoiced, upon their having asked that question in Jerusalem we see that “3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” But according to Flavius Josephus, Herod was also an Edomite. The fact that Yahshua Christ was indeed the legitimate King of the Judaeans was a point of contention among the Judaeans at His crucifixion. Christians now recognize Yahshua Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, yet in Hosea chapter 13, speaking of Israel cast off in punishment, we read: “9 O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. 10 I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? 11 I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.” Yahshua Christ, Yahweh God Incarnate, is the fulfillment of this prophecy where Yahweh had said “I will be thy king”.
In Luke chapter 2, when the Christ child is born in a manger, we read “8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” But in Isaiah chapter 43, where the Word of Yahweh is addressing Israel in captivity, we read “3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.” Then a little further on in the chapter: “10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me (this was fulfilled in Christ), and understand that I am he (this was also fulfilled in Christ, who professed that ‘I am He’): before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour (Christ is Yahweh, our Savior).” There is no saviour besides Yahweh, and there was no God formed besides Yahweh, so if Christ is God and Saviour, He must be Yahweh Incarnate, and not a separate God or a separate person.
Upon encountering Christ, Andrew had exclaimed to Simon Peter, as it is recorded in John chapter 1, that “41… We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.” The Hebrew form of the word for Messiah is used often in Scripture of men who are anointed as kings or priests, or of the people Israel as they were chosen by God. However in the sense where Andrew had used it, it is most apparent in Daniel chapter 9, in the 70-weeks prophecy by which the people of the time must have anticipated His coming. So the Samaritan woman at the well, who was also an Israelite, had exclaimed, as it is recorded in John chapter 4: “25… I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.” As we saw in Isaiah, “And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD”. The Gospel of John reveals that Andrew, John and Simon Peter were disciples of John the baptist before they encountered Christ, and perhaps it was from John that they had concluded that Yahshua was the Messiah when they met Him. But the further experiences and professions of the other witnesses in Scripture, such as the Magi and the Samaritan woman, attest that the people were gladly anticipating the Messiah, and that they understood the nature of that Messiah as being of God, and as being God. In Luke chapter 1, Mary, who was yet pregnant, was addressed by her cousin Elisabeth who said “43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” So Elisabeth was already referring to the unborn Christ child as Lord, using the Greek word κύριος which was a title for Yahweh, and that is the context in which she used it. Otherwise, how could an unborn child be her Lord? So Elisabeth must have understood that the Messiah would be God Himself.
On the basis of these prophecies and many others, John now asserts that:
23 Each denying the Son has not the Father either; he being in agreement with the Son also has the Father.
The first clause contains a word, οὐδὲ, which is split as not and either in our translation. We may have written “Each denying the Son neither has the Father”. The entire second clause is not found in the manuscripts of the Majority Text, but something similar appears in italics in the King James Version. The clause as we have translated it does appear in the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Ephraemi Syri (C).
There is no part of God without Christ, and therefore one cannot have the one without the other. As Paul had said, Christ is the image of the person of God, and Christ is the fullness of the Divinity bodily. Christ being the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”, there was never any part of God void of Him. As Christ Himself had said, as it is recorded in John chapter 14, “6… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” The so-called Trinity and other false doctrines which seek to separate God and Christ leave an opening for the concept that people can worship God apart from Christ, and therefore without Christ. That in turn leads to cooperation and ecumenism with antichrists, which in itself is an act of blasphemy against God. Jews, Muslims and others do not worship the same God as Christians, because they do not worship Christ, and Christ did not come for them in the first place, so they cannot worship Him. The gods of the Jews and Muslims are idols, and they have no part with Yahweh, the God of Creation.
In the second clause here, a present participle masculine singular form of the verb ὁμολογέω is treated as a Substantive and rendered “he being in agreement”, as it is accompanied with a masculine singular definite article. Where the King James Version has in italics the words “he that acknowledgeth” the meaning of ὁμολογέω is much stronger, as it is defined by Liddell & Scott to mean agree with, say the same thing as…” and then “correspond, agree with, whether of persons or things...” One may acknowledge someone without necessarily agreeing with them.
To agree with Christ is much more than to merely acknowledge Him, which any man may claim to do without any worldly consequences, while he ignores what Christ Himself had said. To agree with Christ is to believe statements such as “I am come but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”, or to accept and obey His admonition that “If ye love me, keep my commandments”, or even to accept the consequences of His profession that “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.” It also means that one must agree with Him where He attests in Revelation chapter 2 that He will kill the children of fornicators, which are race-mixers. So if one hears the Gospel, but does not agree with these things, then it cannot be said that one “also has the Father” as one is not truly agreeing with Christ.
So for that same reason, John accompanies the statement with a warning:
24 That [the MT has “Therefore that”; the text follows א, A, B and C] which you have heard from the beginning must abide in you. If that which you have heard from the beginning should abide in you, you also shall abide in the Son and in the Father.
As we have explained, John’s first epistle teaches a practical application of the things which may also be learned from his Gospel. So here once again he evokes the words of Christ as they are found in John chapter 15, which we shall only cite in part: “1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you…. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
There are other passages in the Gospel of John which exhort Christians to keep the commandments, and that on that account, God would abide with them. For example, one of several such statements in John chapter 14: “23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” Now John refers to an accompanying promise:
25 And this is the promise which He promised to us [B has “to you”]: eternal life.
We have already cited the words of Christ in John chapter 10: “27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
Not long after the discourse of the True Vine, while He was still with His disciples on the night of the Last Supper, Christ made a prayer to the Father as an example to His disciples and we read in the opening verses of John chapter 17: “1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
Now John seems to once again refer to the antichrists, and perhaps he reveals the reason why he even mentioned them here in this epistle:
26 [א inserts “Now”] I have written these things to you in reference to those leading you astray.
The form of the verb rendered “leading…astray”, πλανάω, may have been rendered as deceiving. The King James Version has seduce, which is appropriate. The word is literally to make to wander, to lead astray or to deceive in the active sense, but to wander or stray in the passive. So metaphorically it was also used to describe transgression. While John does not explain how anyone was leading the Christians of Ephesus astray, it seems that we may deduce that through the many positive things which he has told them here in response. Therefore it seems that those who deny that Yahshua is the Christ have intruded into the assemblies of Ephesus in order to deceive them and lead them away from Christ.
In the message to the seven churches of the Revelation, Christ had told them in the message to the church at Ephesus that “ 2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.” However they do seem to have been led astray, where it next says: “4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” If this is a reference to their first embrace of Christianity, then it is clear that the Ephesians abandoned what they had been taught by Paul of Tarsus, 40 years before John recorded those words in the Revelation.
Of this, Paul had warned the elders of the church at Ephesus, before he journeyed to Judaea where he was arrested, and he had sent for them from Miletus, as it is recorded in Acts chapter 20, where once they arrived he had said to them, in part: “29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” So Jews were attempting to infiltrate and corrupt Christianity right from the beginning, and they have never relented to this day.
The attempts of the Jews to spoil Christianity by infiltrating it must have been endless, and also successful in large degree as many departures from the words of the apostles are evident in the doctrines of the various Medieval churches, and especially the Roman Catholic Church. However the other apostles, namely Peter and Jude, were also warning of this same thing in their own epistles. So Jude said in his epistle “4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ”, and he proceeded by speaking of the actions of those men among the Christian assemblies of his own time. Having “crept in unawares” these are certainly the same men whom John described as having “19… came out from us but they were not from of us.”
Likewise Peter in chapter 2 of his second epistle had warned “1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” While Peter did not immediately connect such false prophets to infiltrators among the congregations of Christ, he did make that connection later, in the subsequent verses of that chapter. In turn, Paul had actually warned of intruders from among the Jews perverting Christian assemblies in many other ways, such as where he warned in Philippians chapter 3 to “ 2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. 3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Then again, in Galatians chapter 4, speaking of certain Judaizers: “3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage.”
Now John makes a second reference to Christians as having received an anointing from God, where he writes:
27 And the anointing which you have received from Him, it abides in you [A has “us”; the text follows א, B, C and the MT] and you have no need that one should teach you, but as [B wants “as”] His anointing [א has “His Spirit”; A and the MT “that same anointing”; the text follows B and C] teaches us concerning all things and is true and is not a lie, then [A wants “then”] just as He has taught you, you [the MT inserts “shall”; the text follows א, A, B and C] abide in Him.
Sadly, I have witnessed supposed Christians who use this verse as an excuse not to study Scripture, assuming to know everything simply because they claim to believe in Jesus.
The Codex Vaticanus (B) has χάρισμα, which is a favor or gift, rather than χρῖσμα or anointing. Where John wrote in verse 20 “Yet you have an anointing from the Holy One”, and where the word anointing appears here, the word for anointing is χρῖσμα, a noun which actually describes the substance with which one may be anointed, which was usually some sort of oil. The word is a noun from the verb χρίω, which is to rub, anoint with scented unguents or oil, and as it was often used in the Septuagint of the Hebrew custom of anointing, to anoint in token of consecration, which was customary in the anointing of kings or priests. The adjective formed from χρίω is χριστός, which is anointed, or in reference to Yahshua Christ, is transliterated as the title Christ. In 2 Corinthians chapter 1 Paul of Tarsus used the verb χρίω where he wrote “ 21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God.”
In the Old Testament, the anointed of God often referred to kings such as David. But it also often referred to the people of Israel as a whole, and while the references are debated, it first appears in this sense in 2 Samuel chapter 2, in verses 10 and 35. The use is clearer in the 105th Psalm, and repeated in 1 Chronicles 16:22, where it is speaking in general of the children of Israel and we read “15 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” Likewise in the 19th Psalm, the term anointed refers to the people in general where we read “5 We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions. 6 Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand. 7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. 8 They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright. 9 Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.” This is also true in the 28th Psalm: “8 The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed. 9 Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.” So it is evident that the children of Israel in general are the anointed of Yahweh God, and the apostles John and Paul both recognized that in their epistles. That anointing was received in the Old Testament, and it has not ever been changed.
Yahshua Christ had said “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”, but ostensibly they must hear Him before they can follow. The anointing was upon His sheep, the ancient children of Israel. If one is of Israel, one has that anointing. If one has the anointing, being of His sheep one should be able to hear Him, but hearing Him is through the accounts of the prophets and the Gospel. For this reason Paul also wrote in Romans chapter 10: “13 Indeed ‘all who would call on the name of Yahweh shall be delivered.’ 14 How then would they call to Him that they have not believed? And how would they believe of Him they have not heard? And how would they hear apart from proclamation? 15 And how would they proclaim, unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How fair are the feet of those bringing the good news of good things.’ 16 But they have not all listened to the good message. Indeed Isaiah says, ‘Yahweh, who has believed our report?’ 17 So then, faith is from hearing, but through hearing the word of Christ.”
So where John says “His anointing teaches us concerning all things”, that does not mean that His people simply know everything, or anything, without any form of study. In John chapter 6 we read “45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” So studying the Old Testament Scriptures would lead one to Christ. This is a reference to Isaiah chapter 54, which we have already cited where it says “And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD…” but earlier in Isaiah, in repsonse to the sins of Israel, and especially of the priests and the prophets, we read in chapter 28: “9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.” Then at the end of Isaiah chapter 29: “22 Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. 23 But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. 24 They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.”
So just because one has the spirit of the Adamic man which is from God does not mean that one can know anything without study. Here John must have expected his readers to have already acquired the knowledge in the Gospel of Christ, and that is why he says to them “His anointing teaches us concerning all things”, because it is they who would have His Gospel. Then Paul had also written in Romans chapter 15: “4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” John is not advocating that we abandon study, as he wrote here “just as He has taught you”, which also must be a reference to the accounts of the Gospel.
This seems to be what Paul also meant where he wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 2: “12 Now we do not receive the spirit of the Society, but that spirit from Yahweh, in which case we should know the things granted to us by Yahweh; 13 which also we speak of, not instructed in words of human wisdom, but instructed in of the Spirit, by the spiritual compounding with the spiritual. 14 Now the natural man does not accept that of the Spirit of Yahweh, for it is folly to him, and he is not able to know because it is inquired of spiritually; 15 but the spiritual inquires into all things, and it by no one is examined. 16 ‘For who has known the mind of Yahweh? Who will instruct Him?’ But we have the perception of Christ.” Having the Gospel and learning it, one may have the perception, or as the King James Version has it, the mind of Christ, because in the Gospel His will is revealed. Christ being Yahweh God, through the Gospel one may begin to comprehend the will of God.
So Paul wrote to Timothy, in chapter 6 of 1 Timothy, speaking in reference to the doctrine of God: “3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” Once again we also see that to agree with Christ is to consent to His words, In the end there is no learning without study, but having the anointing, there is hope that the spirit will guide you to a proper understanding of what is read.
Now John refers to true freedom of speech, which is also in Christ:
28 And now, children, you abide in Him, that if He should appear, we would have freespokenness and would not be dishonored by Him at His presence.
The Codex Sinaiticus wants the first clause of the verse, “And now, children, you abide in Him”, where the phrase which follows would be read as a continuation of the sentence from the end of verse 27. The Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th edition, rightly explains how the omission was most likely caused by a scribal error due to the similarity of the phrase at the end of verse 27. Also, rather than “at His presence” at the end of this verse, the Majority Text has “when He should appear”. The text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Ephraemi Syri (C).
We have already cited Isaiah 54:13 where it says “And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD…” In the very next verse of that chapter we read: “14 In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee.” This is also a Christian expectation, provided one keeps the commandments of Christ.
The word translated as freespokenness here is παρρησία, which appears perhaps 31 times in the New Testament. It is a compound word formed from a preposition and the word ῥῆσις which means speech. So is defined by Liddell & Scott to mean “outspokenness, frankness, freedom of speech, claimed by the Athenians as their privilege”. In modern times, παρρησία should be claimed by God-fearing Christians as their own privilege, which is something that John also implies here. While the King James Version has confidence instead of freespokenness, that is not the meaning of the word, and it actually obscures what is meant where it is used by the apostles. It seems that the King James Version often obscured the meaning of this word purposely, in order to uphold the authority of the Church of England over men, however its true meaning is evident in John chapter 7 where it says, speaking in reference to Christ: “13 Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.” So there we see the identity of the first oppressors of free speech is made evident.
Now, in contrast to his profession that many antichrists have already been born, John says:
29 If you know that He is righteous, you also [B and the MT want “also”; the text follows א, A and C] know that each who is practicing righteousness has been born from of Him.
This is Christ, this is His collective people as the Anointed, as opposed to antichrist, which is those who stand opposed to the anointing of God, and they are the children of those who had originally rebelled against the order of God. For that reason, both Jude and Peter had associated the intruders into the assemblies of Christ with the angels that sinned in antiquity.
When we read John chapter 3, we shall discover that where John refers to those who have been born of God, he certainly does refer to the circumstances of their physical birth, just as he had referred to the birth of the antichrists earlier in this chapter, that many antichrists had already been born.