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The Letters of John

BC Weekly Digest
Monday, April 27 1998

In this issue:

	1 John 2:15-17
	1 John 2:18
	1 John 2:19
	1 John 2:20,21
	1 John 2:22,23
	1 John 2:24

1 John 2:15-17

"The world is passing away..."
  Material things decay- pass away! Jesus 
taught from the beginning that we should not 
be attached to material treasures that decay,
but rather set our hearts on heavenly things.
We can not love and serve 'mammon' and the 
living God ( Matthew 6:19-24 ).
  Paul instructed the Colossian believers to
'seek the things that are above, not the things
that are upon the earth'( Colossians 3:1,2 ). In
his writing to the Corinthians  Paul declares all
visible things temporal, it is the unseen things
( spiritual ) that are eternal. Man's body, the 
outward man, is decaying but the inner spiritual
man can be constantly renewed ( 2 Corinthians
4:16-18 ).
  The world of visible things is destined "to pass
away with a great noise ... and the elements
shall be dissolved with fervent heat" ( 2 Peter 3:
10-12) - but those who do the will of God will live
forever. Read also John 6:47-51; 11:25,26; 17:3.
J.Lee Roberts


1 John 2:18

1 John 2:18 (OPV)
18 Little children, it is the final hour. And as you heard 
that antichrist was coming, even now many antichrists have 
arisen, by which we know that it is the final hour.
2:18 "It is the final hour"
  Widespread apostasy had been foretold by Christ and His
Apostles (Matthew 7:22-27; 24:10-12, 24,25; Acts 20:29,30;
2 Peter 2:1-3).
  When Paul wrote his second letter to the Thessalonians,
which is considered to be among the earlier books of the 
New Testament, a widespread apostasy had not yet occurred.
"Now we beseech you, brethren, touching the coming of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him; to
the end that ye be not quickly shaken from your mind, nor
yet be troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by 
epistle as from us, as that the day of the Lord is just at
hand; let no man beguile you in any wise: for [it will not
be,] except the falling away come first, and the man of 
sin be revealed, the son of perdition, he that opposeth 
and exalteth himself against all that is called God or 
that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of 
God, setting himself forth as God. Remember ye not, that,
when I was yet with you, I told you these things?" 
(2 Thes 2:1-5 ASV).
  When Paul wrote this letter, he used the fact that a 
great apostasy had not yet occurred to refute the false 
claims of some that Christ's return was already there. 
The Lord's prediction of an apostasy would have to be 
fulfilled before the Day could come.
  But when John wrote his letters, some thirty or forty 
years later, this prediction had been fulfilled. From then
on, Christ could come at any moment. John describes this 
as being 'the final hour'.
2:18 "And as you heard that antichrist was coming, even
now many antichrists have arisen, by which we know that it
is the final hour"
  Some have accused John of an error in thinking it was 
the final hour when almost two thousand years have passed 
since then. But the expressions "the final days" and "the 
final hour" refer to the entire Christian age. In verse 16
John had said, "the world is passing away." The Day of 
Pentecost was the beginning of the end for this old world.
Referring to the coming of the Spirit, Peter said: "But 
this is that which hath been spoken through the prophet 
Joel: And it shall be in the last days, saith God, I will
pour forth of My Spirit upon all flesh (Acts 2:16,17 ASV).
  It is still the final hour. Christ can come at any 
  Failing to understand the meaning of "the man of sin,"
"the son of perdition," "the antichrist," sensationalists
in every generation have been quick to identify some 
prominent personage in their own time as "THE antichrist,"
not realizing that they themselves were antichrists. In 
our own times I have heard at least six or seven different
men being given this 'honor' including Adolf Hitler and 
Henry Kissinger.
  In his second letter John tells us who 'the' antichrist 
is: "For many deceivers are gone forth into the world, 
[even] they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in 
the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist" 
(2 John 7 ASV).
  The MANY DECEIVERS who go forth into the world are THE
  Peter wrote: "The end of all things is at hand" (1 Peter
4:7). In his second letter he explains that this does not
prevent much time passing before the Lord's return: "But 
forget not this one thing, beloved, that one day is with 
the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one 
day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some
count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not 
wishing that any should perish, but that all should come 
to repentance" (2Pet 3:8,9 ASV).
Roy Davison


1 John 2:19

1 John 2:19 (OPV)
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if 
they had been of us, they would have stayed with us. But 
[they left] so they could be made known, because all of 
them are not of us.
2:19 "They went out from us"
  These antichrists had formerly been among the faithful 
believers. Actually, false teachers often do more harm 
while they are still among the faithful than they do after
they leave. A separation usually occurs in time, however.
"Shall two walk together, except they have agreed?" (Amos 
3:3 ASV). Paul mentions in his letter to Corinth that 
division is inevitable to separate the faithful from the 
false. "For first of all, when ye come together in the 
church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and I 
partly believe it. For there must be also factions among 
you, that they that are approved may be made manifest 
among you" (1 Cor 11:18,19 ASV).
  What did they leave? They left the fellowship of Christ 
and His Apostles! Remember that in chapter one John had 
said: "What we have seen and heard we also proclaim to you 
so you may also have fellowship with us. And our 
fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus 
Christ" (1 John 1:3 OPV).
2:19 "But they were not of us, for if they had been of us,
they would have stayed with us"
  Jesus had told His Apostles: "He that heareth you 
heareth me; and he that rejecteth you rejecteth me; and he 
that rejecteth me rejecteth him that sent me" (Luke 10:16 
  Sometimes people think that the problems in Christendom 
could all be solved if we had living Apostles among us. 
But not so, for even while Apostles were still living 
there were false teachers who rejected them! This need not 
surprise us, since Jesus Himself was crucified by the 
religious leaders!
2:19 "So they could be made known"
  Jesus told us how to recognize false teachers. "Beware 
of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, 
but inwardly are ravening wolves. By their fruits ye shall 
know them" (Matt 7:15,16a ASV).
2:19 "Because all of them are not of us"
  Notice that John makes a clear distinction between those 
who are and who are not of us. In Revelation we find false 
religion being represented by Babylon. Just as Israel was 
to flee from Babylon and return to the true religion of 
God at Jerusalem, so now true believers are charged to 
come out of all false forms of religion and worship God 
according to His word: "And I heard another voice from 
heaven, saying, Come forth, my people, out of her, that ye 
have no fellowship with her sins, and that ye receive not 
of her plagues" (Rev 18:4 ASV).
Roy Davison


1 John 2:20,21

1 John 2:20,21 (OPV)
20 But you have an anointment from the Holy One, and all 
of you know.
21 I did not write to you because you do not know the 
truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of 
the truth.
2:20 "You have an anointment from the Holy One"
  The word 'Christ,' which is a transliteration of a Greek 
word into English, means 'The Anointed One'. The word 
'Messiah' comes from the Hebrew word with the same 
  For everyday purposes, scented oil was used to cleanse, 
refresh and treat the skin (Ruth 3:3). It was a luxury 
item because oil, and especially perfumed oil, was 
expensive (Luke 7:44-46).
  Scented oil was also used religiously to consecrate and 
appoint priests (Exodus 28:41; 29:7; 30:30; 40:13,15) and 
kings (Judges 9:8,15; 1 Samuel 9:16; 15:1; 16:3,12; 1 
Kings 1:34). It was also used to consecrate items for use 
in service to God (Exodus 29:36; 30:26; 40:9-11). The 
prominent idea in connection with religious anointment was 
consecration. For example, the following expressions are 
used in the above passages in connection with anointment: 
"consecrate them, and sanctify them" (Exodus 28:41); 
"anoint it, to sanctify it" (Exodus 29:36).
  This description of the anointment of the tabernacle 
makes the meaning clear: "Moreover Jehovah spake unto 
Moses, saying, Take thou also unto thee the chief spices: 
of flowing myrrh five hundred [shekels], and of sweet 
cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty, and of 
sweet calamus two hundred and fifty, and of cassia five 
hundred, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of olive 
oil a hin. And thou shalt make it a holy anointing oil, a 
perfume compounded after the art of the perfumer: it shall 
be a holy anointing oil. And thou shalt anoint therewith 
the tent of meeting, and the ark of the testimony, and the 
table and all the vessels thereof, and the candlestick and 
the vessels thereof, and the altar of incense, and the 
altar of burnt-offering with all the vessels thereof, and 
the laver and the base thereof. And thou shalt sanctify 
them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them 
shall be holy" (Exodus 30:22-29 ASV). 
  Thus, when John says, "You have an anointment from the 
Holy One," he is reminding followers of The Anointed One 
that they too have been consecrated and made holy. Peter 
wrote: "But ye are a elect race, a royal priesthood, a 
holy nation, a people for [God's] own possession, that ye 
may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out 
of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9 ASV). 
2:20 "All of you know"
  "For this is the covenant that I will make with the 
house of Israel After those days, saith the Lord; I will 
put my laws into their mind, And on their heart also will 
I write them: And I will be to them a God, And they shall 
be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his 
fellow-citizen, And every man his brother, saying, Know 
the Lord: For all shall know me, From the least to the 
greatest of them" (Heb 8:10 ASV). 
2:21 "I did not write to you because you do not know the 
truth, but because you know it"
  Because of the widespread influence of existentialism, 
many people today believe that it is not possible to know 
the truth. They deny that truth exists. For them, 'truth' 
is simply whatever you think is true. Theologians have 
been active in promoting this idea. It allows religious 
people to believe whatever they want, rather than 
requiring them to submit to the word of God. Actually, 
this is a fundamental denial of God Himself, "the God of 
truth" (Ps 31:5; Is 65:16).
  Jesus told His followers: "You will know the truth, and 
the truth will make you free" (John 8:32). Paul designates 
Christians as those "who believe and know the truth" (1 
Tim 4:3). In his second letter, John speaks of "all those 
who know the truth" (2 John 1).
2:21 "No lie is of the truth"
  John has a way of making an extremely obvious statement, 
which powerfully exposes the utter stupidity of the false 
doctrine being opposed. Truth is truth and lie is lie. 
Truth simply cannot be compromised. Yet the world is full 
of people who try.
Roy Davison


1 John 2:22,23

1 John 2:22,23 (OPV)
22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is 
the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one denying the 
Father and the Son.
23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father. He who
confesses the Son has the Father also.
2:22 "Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is 
the Christ?"
  Belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God is the 
foundation stone of Christianity. Peter had confessed, 
when Jesus asked him: "But who do you say that I am?" 
(Matt 16:15): "You are the Christ, the Son of the living 
God" (Matt 16:16).
  One cannot become a Christian without confessing Jesus 
to be the Christ. "Nevertheless even of the rulers many 
believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not 
confess [it], lest they should be put out of the 
synagogue: for they loved the glory [that is] of men more 
than the glory [that is] of God. And Jesus cried and said, 
He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him 
that sent me" (John 12:42-44 ASV). 
  The word that saves must be in our heart and in our 
mouth: "The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy 
heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach: 
because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus [as] 
Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him 
from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man 
believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth 
confession is made unto salvation" (Rom 10:8-10 ASV).
  Confession of Jesus as the Christ is a prerequisite for 
baptism: "And as they went on the way, they came unto a 
certain water; and the eunuch saith, Behold, [here is] 
water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? [And Philip 
said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. 
And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is 
the Son of God.]" (Acts 8:36,37 ASV). 
  Confessing Jesus as the Christ means that one accepts 
Him as King. This is called the good confession. "Fight 
the good fight of the faith, lay hold on the life eternal, 
whereunto thou wast called, and didst confess the good 
confession in the sight of many witnesses. I charge thee 
in the sight of God, who giveth life to all things, and of 
Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed the good 
confession, that thou keep the commandment, without spot, 
without reproach, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus 
Christ: which in its own times he shall show, who is the 
blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of 
lords" (1 Tim 6:12-15 ASV). When Pilate asked Jesus if He 
were a king, He replied: "Thou sayest that I am a king. To 
this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into 
the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. 
Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice" 
(Joh 18:37 ASV). 
2:22 "This is the antichrist"
  Notice that the antichrist is not once certain person, 
but that anyone who denies Christ is "the antichrist" 
which is a collective term for anyone who is 'anti' 
(against) Christ. Anyone doing this is also "the liar."
2:22 "The one denying the Father and the Son"
2:23 "Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father"
  It is not possible to serve God while denying that Jesus 
is the Christ, the Son of God. This truth is repeated 
several times in this letter. "And we have seen and 
testify that the Father has sent the Son [as] the Savior 
of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of 
God, God abides in him, and he in God" 
(1 John 4:14,15 OPV).
  The Father has given ample testimony for His Son. A 
rejection of the Son is a rejecting of the testimony of 
God Himself.
  "If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of 
God is greater, for this is God's testimony, that He has 
testified concerning His Son! The one believing in the Son 
of God has the testimony in himself. The one not believing 
God, has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in 
the testimony that God has testified concerning His Son"
(1 John 5:9,10 OPV).
2:23 "He who confesses the Son has the Father also"
  Jesus gives us this promise and warning: "Every one 
therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also 
confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whosoever 
shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my 
Father who is in heaven" (Matt 10:32,33 ASV).
Roy Davison


1 John 2:24

1 John 2:24 (OPV)
24 As for you, let what you heard from the beginning 
remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning 
remains in you, you also will remain in the Son and 
in the Father.
2:24 "Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you"
  This is the gospel John and the other Apostles had 
preached to them. "What we have seen and heard we also 
proclaim to you" (1 John 1:3). "The old commandment is the 
word which you heard" (1 John 2:7). "For this is the 
message which you have heard from the beginning: that we 
should love one another" (1 John 3:11).
  John emphasizes the same truth in his second letter: 
"And now I entreat you, lady, not as though I were writing 
a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from 
the beginning, that we should love one another. And this 
is love: that we walk according to His commandments. This 
- -- as you have heard from the beginning -- is the 
commandment in which you should walk" (2 John 5,6 OPV).
  Luke refers to this original message at the beginning of 
his Gospel: "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw 
up a narrative concerning those matters which have been 
fulfilled among us, even as they delivered them unto us, 
who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of 
the word" (Luke 1:1,2 ASV).
  Their testimony included the words of Christ, since they 
had been with Him from the beginning. He had told them: 
"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you 
from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which 
proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me: 
and ye also bear witness, because ye have been with me 
from the beginning" (John 15:26,27 ASV).
  We must be careful not to drift away from this original 
message brought by Jesus and reported by His Apostles with 
the Holy Spirit confirming their word: "Therefore we ought 
to give the more earnest heed to the things that were 
heard, lest haply we drift away [from them]. For if the 
word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every 
transgression and disobedience received a just recompense 
of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a 
salvation? which having at the first been spoken through 
the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard; God 
also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, 
and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, 
according to his own will" (Heb 2:1-4 ASV).
  We must mark and avoid false teachers who teach 
something different from what we have heard from the 
beginning: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them that 
are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, 
contrary to the doctrine which ye learned: and turn away 
from them. For they that are such serve not our Lord 
Christ, but their own belly; and by their smooth and fair 
speech they beguile the hearts of the innocent" (Rom 
16:17,18 ASV). 
  Jude gives the same admonition in the face of similar 
false teachings. Some were changing God's grace into 
license: "Beloved, while I was giving all diligence to 
write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained 
to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for 
the faith which was once for all delivered unto the 
saints. For there are certain men crept in privily, [even] 
they who were of old written of beforehand unto this 
condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God 
into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master and Lord, 
Jesus Christ" (Jude 1:3,4 ASV). 
2:24 "If what you heard from the beginning remains in you,
you also will remain in the Son and in the Father"
  If the word remains in us, we remain in the Son.
  For the sake of superficial cooperation among 
denominations with conflicting teachings, many in our time 
view doctrine as 'unimportant'. This is actually a denial 
of truth, as John so clearly points out in this letter.
  The last time I visited Canada, a young man came to me 
before services and asked if I had a Scripture I would 
like to have read before my lesson. I told him I would be 
speaking about the truth, so he could select some suitable 
passage himself. With an arrogant sneer he replied: "Oh, 
you are going to talk about 'the' truth, are you?"
  Only if the word remains in us, do we remain in the 
Father and in the Son.
  As John says in his second letter: "Anyone going beyond 
- -- and not remaining in -- the teaching of Christ, does 
not have God. He who remains in the teaching, has both the 
Father and the Son" (2 John 9 OPV).
Roy Davison