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On the Epistles of John, Part 7: Dichotomies, False and True
This may be an unusual title for a Bible commentary, but the world today is full of traps – prisons both intellectual and psychological – which keep men locked into false dichotomies, while the true dichotomies which actually define or govern our very existence as it is mandated by our Creator are virtually ignored. Then, by the grace of God, once we are able to recognize those true dichotomies, we are despised by the world. Yet the world often stands in contradiction of itself, as hypocrisy and the tendency to lie are qualities which are part of the Intrinsic Character of the enemies of God. Since “the whole world lies in the power of the Evil One”, as John had said in the closing verses of this epistle, we should expect the world to reflect those same qualities which the Devil innately possesses as a part of his own character. But of course, when I refer to the Devil I speak collectively of all of the enemies of God, and regardless of their professed religion.
According to one Oxford English dictionary, a dichotomy is “A division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different.” But then the dictionary offers an example of the use of the word in a statement which purports that there is “a rigid dichotomy between science and mysticism”. While it is only an example, the example reflects what the world believes, however we know that this is not true. While there is legitimate science which is found in the investigation of nature and matter, much of what passes for “science” originated in ancient paganism and the Jewish Kabbalah, and it truly is mysticism.
Modern science began with medieval Alchemy, which had its origins in the Kabbalah, and to a great extent that has not changed. Among this so-called science are concepts such as the big bang theory, the theory of evolution, theoretical physics, string theory, parallel universes, and more. All of these things are actually mysticism because they are not observable science and can not be proven in spite of the insistences of their proponents. In fact, some of these theories are promoted as “science” contrary to actual scientific evidence which discredits them. While there are natural substances which may cure or alleviate various diseases, many pharmaceuticals are a form of sorcery, they fail as often as they may appear to succeed, and in that manner they also qualify as a form of mysticism. Therefore it may be asserted that the “dichotomy between science and mysticism” is indeed false, because mysticism is often labelled as science. But the world wants us to believe that the dichotomy is true. This false science is actually demonic Jewish propaganda leveraged in their ages-old struggle against both God and man. In fact, the satanic propaganda outlet which calls itself Scientific American has recently published a claim that the denial of a belief in their evolution theory is tantamount to so-called “White Supremacy”, and thereby they have demonstrated once again their hatred for both God and man.
But in contrast, here in this first epistle of John the apostle explains a true dichotomy, and also explains to us how we may see where the line is drawn between two irreconcilable entities. This true dichotomy is structured around the physical reality of the origin and nature of men, if for the sake of our demonstration we may even refer to them all as men. But for John the terms of that reality are defined in the Word of God, and not by the world. The world sees all men as the same, as equals of like origin. But in the Word of God, there are children of God which are men born of God, and there are “men” who are born as antichrists which are the children of the Devil. These are the wheat and the tares of the parables of Christ.
While these two groups of people, if it is proper to call all of them people, are entirely different from one another and are also naturally opposed to one another, they are not always identifiable by their physical appearance. So in our last presentation in this commentary, which we titled Separating the Wheat, we observed the apostle John’s own explanation of how the children of God may be distinguished from the children of the Devil. Yet we have not arrived at the point in this epistle where that explanation is complete, as it continues through its final verses.
As we saw in chapter 2 of this epistle, antichrists are not of the people of Israel even if they had come from out of Judaea, and they are antichrists by nature of their birth, as John wrote that “even now many antichrists have been born” and “they came out from us but they were not from of us.” Of course, history reveals that they were Edomite bastards. But then, in contrast, in chapter 3 of this epistle, John attested that “9 Each who has been born from of Yahweh does not create sin, because His seed abides in him, and he is not able to sin, because from of Yahweh he has been born.” So as we have already discussed at length here in this commentary, the children of the Devil cannot help but sin even if they imagine that they may do good, and the children of God cannot sin even if they cannot help but to sin, because they are born from of God, who manifested Himself in the flesh so that He may destroy the works of the Devil.
Another false dichotomy promoted by those of the world supposes that men are of God when they do good, but they are of the Devil when they sin. We have seen here that such is not true, as the children of God do sin, and they cannot deny that they sin, yet they have a propitiation in Christ when they sin. However the children of the Devil cannot ever be of God, because even if they profess Christ, He shall tell them “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” So the true dichotomy separates those whom God knows from those whom He has never known, whether they sin or not. Those whom God has never known are workers of iniquity for that reason alone.
The first man Adam was called the son of God (as we read in the Gospel in Luke 3:38), and therefore as Paul had attested, for example in Acts chapter 17, all of Adam’s descendants are children of God (Acts 17:28-29) even if the privilege of the position of children was granted only to the children of Israel (which Paul professed at Romans 9:4). The children of Israel, who had come to inherit the entire Adamic world as it was promised to Abraham (as Paul wrote FACT in Romans 4:13) were at the same time put off in punishment, scattered abroad to be later reconciled to God in Christ (as Yahweh pronounced in Jeremiah 30:11, 46:28, Amos 3:2, and various places throughout Hosea and Isaiah). Speaking of that punishment, Paul had written in Hebrews chapter 12: “8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”
So we see that if one is not a son, then one must be a bastard, and Paul was teaching in his own words this same dichotomy which John had taught here in this epistle. In the law, in Deuteronomy chapter 28, we read that “2 A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD…” and while the word for bastard does not appear very often in Scripture, the concept of being a bastard does appear more often. The origins of bastards may be seen in the Book of Genesis in chapters 3, 6, 14 and 15, and elsewhere throughout the Scripture, such as in Malachi 2:11 where it is announced that Judah had “married the daughter of a strange god”, a reference to his Canaanite wife. The Canaanites, having mixed their race with those of the Kenites, Rephaim and others, the bastard offspring of the Nephilim or fallen angels, were therefore never known by Yahweh, because they are a corruption of His creation. While Judah had other, legitimate offspring, Esau had also taken Canaanite wives, and the Jews are his descendants (as Paul explained in Romans chapter 9, and as it is attested in the histories of Josephus and Strabo).
The concept of a bastard appears in the law, for example in Leviticus chapter 19 where we read: “19 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.” Then in Deuteronomy chapter 22: “9 Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.” In the passage from Leviticus, both the phrases diverse kind and mingled seed are from the same Hebrew word, and that word also appears in the passage from Deuteronomy as diverse seeds. But the word, kil'ayim, כלאים (Strong’s # 3610) is neither singular nor plural in its grammatical form. Ancient Hebrew, ancient Greek and certain other languages have a dual form of a noun which represents two of a thing. This word kil'ayim, כלאים is a dual form of the noun kele', כלא (Strong’s # 3608), which is a prison. As a digression, I am persuaded that the word kele' (כלא) is the very source of our English word cell, by way of Latin and then French. The Latin word cella is a cell or a compartment, and in classical Latin the letter ‘c’ is hard, like our English and like the Greek ‘k’, and the ‘c’ is often hard in English, as it is in car or compartment. This is not the only elementary Latin word which has its origins in Hebrew, as the Romans were also the descendants of true Israelites.
The word kele' (כלא) meaning prison in Hebrew, Strong defined the dual form kil'ayim, כלאים as being “in the original sense of separation; two heterogeneities”. The word heterogeneity is commonly defined as “the quality or state of being diverse in character or content”, but in reference to a living organism, that state can only describe a bastard, which is a hybrid individual. So in these contexts where it appears in the law, the word kil'ayim (כלאים) represents something diverse or mingled but which at the same time consists of two diverse types which are locked together, or imprisoned, in a single cell. A bastard is a person, if we should use the term person, or any animal or plant of two different sorts or types of parentage contained in the same body. That is a living dichotomy, as dichotomy is the essence of a bastard. We therefore assert that every bastard is in itself a sort of walking dichotomy, and since it is naturally opposed to what God had created it is a true dichotomy as it stands in defiance of God and His creation. Every bastard is a result of sin.
During the time of His ministry, Yahshua Christ had repeatedly told His adversaries that they were not of God, that God was not their Father, that they were born “from below” while making a reference to men who are born from above and explaining that only such men who are born from above can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But in John chapter 3, the words of the apostle are typically mistranslated as “born again”, and other passages in John’s Gospel, particularly John 1:12, are also mistranslated in a way which leads men to believe that they may somehow become children of God, that they may choose to make themselves into children of God by their own merit. Translated properly and consistently within the context of Scripture, John 1:12-13 should read: “12 But as many who received Him, He gave to them the authority which the children of Yahweh are to attain, to those believing in His Name: 13 not those from of mixed origin nor from of desire of the flesh nor from of the will of man, but they who have been born from Yahweh.” This is the dichotomy of God, and the apostle was referring to the apostolic gifts bestowed upon the faithful through the Holy Spirit on the first Christian Pentecost. But the popular translations claim that “to them”, where they suppose that the recipients are anyone who purports to believe, “gave he power to become the sons of God…” That is a false dichotomy which is absolutely contrary to Scripture, as we have seen the apostle himself demonstrate here in this epistle. In fact, in chapter 11 of his Gospel the same apostle John had made a reference to “the children of God that were scattered abroad”, speaking in the past tense, and they were called the children of God long before they had ever had a chance to hear anything of Christ.
Now, continuing with chapter 3 of this first epistle of John, the apostle continues to inform his readers as to how to separate the wheat, as the parable of the wheat and the tares also describes this same true dichotomy between the sons of God and the sons of the Devil which is defined in the Word of God:
III 16 By this we know love: that He has laid down His life on our behalf, and we are obliged to lay down our lives on behalf of the brethren.
Here John is offering a conclusion which he must have derived from the words of Christ as he had recorded them in chapter 15 of his Gospel, where Christ had said: “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.” This same concept is expressed indirectly in the words of Christ which are recorded in all three of the other gospel accounts, but here we will cite the version found in Luke chapter 9, where Christ is recorded as having said: “23… If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”
But this does not mean that all men should literally die for their brethren, even if in certain situations, that ultimate sacrifice may sometimes be necessary. There are ways to give up one’s life which do not necessitate death. Christians deny themselves, or lay down their lives on behalf of their brethren by caring for and providing for their brethren. Working for one’s own profit, and then sacrificing part of the proceeds of one’s labors for the care or maintenance of others is a form of self-denial, and that is also Christian charity. Father’s typically do such things for their children, and husbands for their wives, but the entire Body of Christ is also worthy of such consideration. Therefore John asks:
17 Now who would have the substance of Society and should see his brother having need and shuts off his affections from him? How does the love of Yahweh abide in him? 18 [the MT inserts “My”] Children, we should not love in word nor with the tongue, but in deeds and in truth.
Here we should discuss another false dichotomy, which is the dichotomy between Capitalism and Communism, which in modern times is often mistakenly called Socialism, of which there are different types. We must include Marxist Socialism with our perception of Communism, which is where it belongs. Another type of socialism, National Socialism, is not at all Communist. Wicked men would interpret certain episodes described in Scripture as if God had advocated for Communism, and other wicked men would endorse contrary attitudes expressed in other episodes in Scripture as if God had advocated for Capitalism. But setting Communism and Capitalism against one another is also a false dichotomy. This is especially true as it can be demonstrated that in modern times, it is the Jewish capitalists who have been the leading advocates and supporters of Communism for all, for all but themselves.
The truth is that Capitalism, the making of money from usury which is taken from the labor of others is essentially evil as it is an organized way of stealing. But Communism, the organized redistribution of the profits of a man’s labor, is also evil because it is also stealing. So whether we are Capitalists or Communists, the result is that we are ruled over by men who steal the profits of our labors. In a true Christian community, a man is entitled to the fruits of his labor, and there are many commandments in the Word of God which protect the property rights of man. Yet in a true Christian community, there may be times when the redistribution of wealth, in whole or in part, is necessary for the survival of the group as a whole, and a Christian should be willing to make such sacrifices as are necessary towards attaining that objective.
So in Acts chapter 2 we read: “42 And they were firmly adhering to the teaching of the ambassadors and in the fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs came through the ambassadors. 44 And all those believing were in the same place and held all things in common. 45 And possessions and belongings they sold and distributed them to all just as anyone had need. 46 And each day persevering with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at each house, they partook of food in exultation and in simplicity of heart, 47 praising Yahweh and having goodwill toward all the people. And the Prince added to those being saved daily in that place.”
Here Yahweh God is described as having blessed what is apparently a communistic community. Even the Greek word translated as fellowship, which is κοινωνία, is communion, which properly describes things which are common to a group. The word communion does not describe a ritual, but rather describes an act or instance of sharing. But Communism is forced sharing, and the Word of God states that “thou shalt not steal”.
In Acts chapter 4 there is a similar description of that first Christian community and we read: “32 And the multitude of those believing were of one heart and soul, and no one reckoned any of his belongings to be his own, but everything was common to them. 33 And with great power the ambassadors delivered the testimony of the resurrection of Prince Yahshua, and great favor was with them all. 34 Indeed neither was there any deficiency among them, for as many as were owners of farms or houses, selling them brought the proceeds of the things sold 35 and set it by the foot of the ambassadors, and they distributed to each just as any had need. 36 Then Ioseph, who was called Barnabas by the ambassadors, which is interpreted “son of consolation”, a Levite, a Kupriot by birth, 37 selling a farm belonging to him brought the money and set it before the feet of the ambassadors.” Then in Acts chapter 5, Ananias and his wife Sapphira had sold an estate, and when they dishonestly withheld part of the proceeds they fell dead. They were not punished for withholding part of the proceeds, but evidently they were punished for their dishonesty because they did not keep their vow to the apostle to hand over all of the proceeds.
The first Christian Pentecost described in Acts chapter 2 was very public event in Jerusalem, and there were thousands of witnesses. Having accepted Christ, many of them very likely became anathema to friends, employers, and their native communities. Yet the apostles were being mocked by some, and in the subsequent chapters their inevitable persecution was recorded, while at the same time they were forming the community which we have just seen described in those same accounts. So we may determine that the men and women joining this first Christian community, those who had seen and heard and believed the Word of God, were pleased to surrender both themselves and their property over to the common good, or commonwealth of that community. These early Christians, under threat of persecution, were placing their future well-being into the hands of the apostles, and hoping to receive further instruction in the Truth of God in return. Those committed to the message of the Gospel would then work for the continued spread of the Gospel. Barnabas is an example of such a man. That is a commitment of faith.
So it seems that the community which the apostles organized in the early chapters of Acts, which to us today seems communistic, was organized in such a manner out of necessity for the collective survival of the group while they were trapped in a hostile environment. But they were not the only outcasts in Judaea. A much older outcast group, which seems to have despised the Pharisees and Sadducees but which had no voice in the government, was the Essenes. Of them, Josephus had written in Book 2 of his Wars of the Judaeans, in part: “122 These men are despisers of riches, and so very communicative as raises our admiration. Nor is there anyone to be found among them who has more than another; for it is a law among them, that those who come to them must let what they have be common to the whole order, – insomuch that among them all there is no appearance of poverty or excess of riches, but everyone's possessions are intermingled with everyone's possessions; and so there is, as it were, one patrimony among all the brethren.” While the model of the Essenes may have been even more extreme than what we may determine of the early Christians, it seems that living in such a manner was also for them a reaction necessary for the survival of the group.
While to the casual reader today the apparent communism, or community, of Acts chapters 2 and 4 seems to support the modern Communist forms of government, that is an abuse of the context and of other Scriptures. The proceeds from sales of their “possessions and belongings” did not necessarily represent every last article of their possessions or their means of sustenance. From the context of the passage in Acts chapter 2, they still had houses in which they lived, where it says that they were “breaking bread at each house”, and apparently they also maintained their method of making a living, whether they worked at a business or trade, or they would not have been able to eat in the first place.
Then in later Scriptures and in different circumstances, there are many other examples of early Christians who held their own property, yet they were still considered to be Christians. The apostle Peter apparently never required anything of Cornelius, the Roman centurion, and he must have been a man of considerable estate. Simon the Tanner, “whose house is by the sea”, was another such man, and Peter stayed in his home but never required anything of him, so Simon continued in his home after Peter departed. In the epistle to Philemon, he was apparently a man of estate and a slave owner. He was also a Christian, and while Paul asserted the right to require things of him, he wanted nothing from him besides the request that he voluntarily consider releasing the slave Onesiphorus from his bonds so that he may serve the gospel of Christ along with Paul.
Later, as it is apparent in his epistles to the Corinthians, Paul also had made a collection from the assemblies of Greece on behalf of the Christians in Judaea who were suffering persecution by the Jews. Doing this he exhorted the people of those assemblies to contribute whatever they could, informing them that they were not compelled to give, but rather asking them to give voluntarily and sincerely. So we may see that there is a balance, where Christians should be committed to their communities, but where Christians may also work and maintain their own property, the fruits of their labors.
When Paul urged the Christians of Greece to give in order to sustain the poor and oppressed Christians in Jerusalem, even though their giving was voluntary Paul had cited the experience of the Israelites in the Exodus who were being sustained in the desert with manna. So in 2 Corinthians 8:15 Paul quoted from Exodus chapter 16 where he wrote: “Just as it is written, ‘The great have not had excess, and the small have not been diminished.’” In the original passage from Exodus, from the King James Version we read: “15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat. 16 This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. 17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. 18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.”
But the Israelites of the Exodus, like those first Christians of Judaea, were a community which had to rely upon one another in order to ensure their common survival. But it is also apparent that Yahweh their God was their true provider. In a hostile environment, it is a matter of necessity for such a community to share all things equitably to ensure the survival of the entire group. But in other circumstances, Abraham was blessed with great wealth, and Jacob and many others after him, and in the Old Testament kingdom the law protected the wealth of men, and their individual property rights were upheld and respected. But men were also expected to provide for the poor, as Christians should also seek to provide for one another's necessities.
In this manner, Paul had also told the Corinthians, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” So Paul would not compel anyone to give what he himself did not want to give. But there is another aspect of balance in communion, where we read in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3: “10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.”
So in reality, the Scriptures do not support either Communism or Capitalism, but there are times when community is necessary and certain times demand more extreme community than others, while men also have the right to work and eat their own bread, which is to keep and to use the profits of their own labor as they themselves see fit. The wicked world would bind a needy brother in usury, or in some other manner put him in bondage forever on account of his need. If the community is able, it should help a brother avoid such bondage, but there is also a difference between a brother in want and a brother in need. In the false dichotomy of the world, the wicked profit from the systems of Communism and Capitalism, feeding off both the fortunes and the misfortunes of the righteous, while the righteous suffer under either system while being compelled either to ascribe to or to submit to one or the other.
But in the dichotomy of God, Christians should always be willing to provide for their brethren in need, and He will bless them for that, while in better times, as Paul wrote in Romans chapter 12, they should treat one another in “9 Love without acting; abhorring wickedness, cleaving to goodness: 10 brotherly love affectioned towards one another; in honor preferring one another 11 with diligence, not hesitating; fervent in Spirit, serving the Prince.” But as for the wicked, the children of the Devil, as we read in Matthew chapter 13, “49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
Now John makes a statement in reference to his admonition where he had asked “who would have the substance of Society and should see his brother having need and shuts off his affections from him?” and “How does the love of Yahweh abide in him?”, and where he then admonished: “Children, we should not love in word nor with the tongue, but in deeds and in truth.” So now he continues and says:
19 [א, C and the MT insert “And”; the text follows A and B ] By this we know that we are from of the truth, and we shall persuade our hearts before Him, 20 because perhaps our hearts may condemn us, since [A wants “since”] Yahweh is greater than our hearts [א, C and the MT have “heart”; the text follows A and B] and He knows all things.
Where John says “by this we know that we are from of the truth”, he is referring to the correct answer to his question, where he had asked “who would have the substance of Society and should see his brother having need and shuts off his affections from him?” And of course, every Christian should want to provide for his brother in need, so that his brother is not forced into bondage. However the admonition to provide for a brother in need is not an advocacy of Communism. In Isaiah chapter 65, in a prophecy of an Israel reconciled in Christ to Yahweh their God, we see a description in which men are portrayed as working for their own sustenance, while being given the full expectation of enjoying the fruits of their own labors. So we read in words attributed to Yahweh God: “19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. 20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed [because life would be made long and good for the obedient, but miserable for the sinner]. 21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. 22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat [as it is under the curses of disobedience]: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.” So this is the ideal economic model for Christians, that a man works and is able to enjoy the fruits of his own labor.
Where John had further urged that on account of this need to help one’s brother that “we shall persuade our hearts before Him”, he is putting in his own words what Paul had said more elaborately concerning the duty of a Christian towards the body of Christ, in Romans chapter 12: “1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. [“we shall persuade our hearts before Him”] 3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” So being members of one another, we should rely on one another and help one another, and for that we persuade our hearts, conforming ourselves to Christ as He laid down His life for us, and doing so we seek to fulfill the will of God by serving our people as Christ had also done.
Then, just as John had written here, we see a similar exhortation in James chapter 1: “22 Now you must be doers of the Word and not hearers only, defrauding yourselves. 23 Because if one is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man observing the appearance of his race in a mirror, 24 for he observes himself and departs and immediately forgets of what sort he was.” Then a little further on, in James chapter 2: “14 What is the benefit, my brethren, if one should claim to have faith, but does not have works? Is faith able to save him? 15 If a brother or sister becomes naked and lacking daily food, 16 and one from among you should say to them: ‘Go in peace, be warm and fed’, but you would not give to them the provisions for the body, what is the benefit? 17 Thusly also faith, if it should not have works, is by itself dead.” John, Paul and James all taught the same Gospel message, but in their own way.
21 Beloved [א has “Brethren”], if perhaps the heart does not condemn [א, A and the MT insert “us”; the text follows B and C], we have openness with Yahweh 22 and that which we should ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and we practice acceptable things before Him.
In verse 21, the word translated as openness, παρρησία, may have been freespokenness, or even license. The word describes what we term today as freedom of speech. The King James Version has confidence. Rather than “we have openness”, the Codex Vaticanus (B) has “it has openness”, referring to the heart.
If the heart does not condemn us: it is because hearing the Word of God we are not accounted guilty provided that we have conformed ourselves to Christ, so our conscience would remain unburdened. So Paul had written in 1 Timothy chapter 1, although in a somewhat different context: “5 Now the result of that command is love from a clean heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned, 6 from which some having failed have turned to talking vainly, 7 wishing to be teachers of the law, understanding neither the things they speak nor concerning things which they strongly maintain. 8 Yet we know that the law is good, if one would use it lawfully. ”
Now, because Christians keep the commandments of Yahweh their God, John offers a summary:
23 And this is His commandment, that we shall [0245 wants “shall”; א, A and C have “should”; the text follows B and the MT] believe in the name of His Son [A wants “Son” but retains the word for “His” (!)] Yahshua Christ and we love one another, just as He has given a commandment to us [the MT wants “to us”; the text follows א, A, B, C and 0245]. 24 And he keeping His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, from of the Spirit which He has given to us.
The Spirit which He has given to us is the Adamic spirit which, if we are one of His children in the first place, is a part of our own intrinsic nature. So Paul wrote in Romans chapter 8, writing to some of the “children of God that were scattered abroad”: “15 Therefore you have not taken on a spirit of bondage anew to fear, but you have taken on a spirit of the position of sons, in which we cry: Father, Father. 16 That same Spirit bears witness with our Spirit, that we are children of Yahweh. 17 And if children, then heirs: heirs indeed of Yahweh, and joint heirs of Christ; if indeed we suffer together, that also we will be honored together.” Then in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 Paul explained that “42 In this way also is the restoration of the dead. It is sown in decay, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in honor. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; if there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual.” Resurrection is through the Spirit, and therefore Christ had also said, in John chapter 6: “63 It is the Spirit which produces life, the flesh does not benefit anything. The words which I have spoken to you are Spirit and are life.” It is the Spirit that produces life because the image of God is the Spirit which He instilled in man, as we read in the Wisdom of Solomon, in chapter 2, that “23… God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity.”
But while the Spirit instilled within the Adamic man is from God, and through that Spirit may the Adamic man attain the Resurrection, not all spirits are from God, so we read in the opening verses of chapter 4 of this epistle yet another admonishment:
IV 1 Beloved, do not have trust in [or “believe in”, πιστεύω] every spirit, but scrutinize whether the spirits are from of Yahweh, because many false prophets have gone out into Society. 2 By this you know [א has “we know”; the MT has “one knows”; the text follows A, B and C] the Spirit of Yahweh: each spirit which professes [or “agrees with”, ὁμολογέω] that Yahshua Christ has come in the flesh is from of Yahweh, 3 and each spirit which does not profess [or “agree with”] Yahshua is not from of Yahweh, and this is the Antichrist, whom you have heard that it comes, and is already now in Society.
This is the ultimate dichotomy: that all spirits are not from of God, and then when we realize that John was really speaking about people, we must conclude that all people are not from of God, and it becomes clear once again in Scripture that the enemies of God have an origin other than God. Then we must also realize that no people who are not from of God will ever be accepted by God and for that profession the world will hate us even more. But in spite of their hatred, this is the dichotomy which matters more than all others, and understanding it we can truly love our brethren, and shun His enemies.
Here the spirits which are not from God are associated with false prophets, and we read in 2 Peter chapter 2: “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.” Then in Jude: “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.” So it is manifest that these false prophets are not of the children of God, but rather they are men which had privily, or secretly, stolen their way into the assemblies of God, as Christ Himself had said in John chapter 10: “1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”
However John is not speaking of disembodied spirits here. John certainly did not expect Christians to engage in necromancy. Christians are forbidden to engage in sorcery, and sorcerers are also identified with false prophets. For example Elymas, a false prophet of Acts chapter 13, is described in this same manner where Luke had written of the travels of Paul and Barnabas and said: “6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus.” Then in the Revelation of Yahshua Christ we read, in chapter 21: “8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Likewise, the law explicitly forbid Christians from consulting with necromancers, in Deuteronomy chapter 18: “10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. 13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.”
Therefore John is not advocating for necromancy here, but warning of spirits, he warns of embodied spirits. These embodied spirits of which he warns are not from God, and in John’s time they denied that Yahshua is the Christ, so John explains that they are the antichrist. We should understand that designation of antichrist as a collective describing many individuals, since here John is speaking in the context of a plurality of spirits, and in 1 John chapter 2 he had already warned that “even now many Antichrists have been born” and he asked, while also answering his own question: “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!”
Ostensibly, the spirits which are not from of Yahweh God are bastards, as they are children of the Devil. Being children of the Devil, they themselves are devils. So Peter warned his Christian readers in chapter 5 of his first epistle to: “8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Ostensibly, because he was called a devil but was never said to have been guilty of any sin, Judas Iscariot was also born a devil. But the fact that devils were born was not revealed until the ministry of Christ. So here, speaking of embodied spirits, it is evident that John is speaking of people. So by the time John wrote this epistle, he came to understand that there are Devil People, people who did not come from God. Foremost among these are those same Edomite Jews who sought to devour the assemblies of Christ right from the beginning, which we have already mentioned as it had been described in Acts chapters 2 through 5. These are the same Edomite Jews of today who despise White men as being “supremacists” simply because they believe in God, and not in their own contrived “science” of evolution.
In the Dead Sea Scrolls the fallen angels are often called Watchers. There, as well as in the surviving manuscripts of the Ethiopic version of 1 Enoch, we have an explanation of the origin of spirits which are not from of God. So in the Enoch literature discovered among the scrolls, in the Dead Sea Scroll designated 4Q204, we read in part a command: “Exterminate all the spirits of the bastards and the sons of the Watchers, because they have caused evil to be done to men” (The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, Florentino Martinez and Eibert Tigchelaar, Brill, 1997, Volume 1 page 415). Likewise, in the Dead Sea Scroll designated 4Q510, a fragment of what is called the Songs of the Sage, in a part of Fragment 1: “...declare the splendour of his radiance in order to frighten and terrify all the spirits of the ravaging angels and the bastard spirits, demons, Lilith, owls and jackals … and those who strike unexpectedly to lead astray the spirit of knowledge, to make their hearts forlorn” (The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, Florentino Martinez and Eibert Tigchelaar, Brill, 1998, Volume 2 pages 1027-1029).
So the spirits of bastards, the spirits born of the world rather than having been born from above, are also the spirits of demons. As demons are the disembodied spirits of bastards, then naturally bastards are the embodied spirits of demons! But because we cannot always tell them apart on sight, these we are to try, and if they reject sound Christian doctrine, we are expected to shun them, as they are the antichrist. Christ vs. Antichrist, the children of God vs. the children of the Devil, the sheep as opposed to the goats, the wheat vs. the tares, the seed of the woman as opposed to the seed of the serpent, those born from above vs. those born from below, sons as opposed to bastards, the dichotomy is all the same, and it is the only dichotomy which truly matters as one side cannot embrace the other and still imagine that he may be pleasing Yahweh our God.
Yahweh willing, we shall resume our commentary with 1 John chapter 4 in the weeks to come.