Antichrists and the Children of God
Comments for Study 3
1 John 2:18-29
Memory Verse: 18
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I. Anointing For the Holy One (18-27)
1. How does John label the followers of the Gnostics and those who failed to test of discipleship which he mentioned? (18) Why?
2. Why is their coming the evidence of the last hour? (2 Thes. 2:3, Rev. 13:1-10) Why shouldn't true believers fear?
1 John 2:18 "Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour."
* "Dear children" -One of many times John addresses the receiver of this letter in this way. Just because a human wrote this does not mean that God was not behind it. In fact "all Scripture is God breathed" is what the Bible says elsewhere. Since this letter, as it was decided with prayer a long time ago, is a part of the Bible; then God was behind its writing. In that case it is not just John saying "Dear children", but rather God. This is confirmed by John (and the Father) in 3:1.
God loves me with great affection, as a father does his son. At thirty I have a son; I (in my limited human way) have learned as he has grown some of the depth of God's love for me.
I see that not only did God make me his child, but he addresses me as his child.
This letter is very direct and pointed. The author took no short cuts nor did he use a soft tone, to directly tell me how I should live my life; that is, against the world. This is not easy, since I a sinner, am not made perfect totally yet, and therefore have times of weaknesses and am overcome to sin. Therefore these words can be taken in the wrong contest and in the wrong attitude. That is why these words, "Dear children" are important for me to note.
* "this is the last hour" -With other New Testament writers, John viewed the whole period beginning with Christ's first coming (more precisely his ascension) to his second as the last days. (Acts 2:17, 2Ti 3:1, Hebrews 1:2, and 1 Peter 1:20) They understood this to be the "last" of the days because neither former prophecy nor new revelation concerning the history of salvation indicated the coming of another era before the return of Christ. The word "last" in "last days," "last times" and "last hour" also expresses a sense of urgency and imminence. I as a Christian am to be alert, waiting for the return of Christ. (Matt. 25:1-3) Last day also refers back to the six days of creation and the one day of rest. We are now at the last hour of the sixth day. The next day, the Sabbath rest, starts when Jesus comes again.
* "and" -Just knowing that it was the last days was not a end. Rather it was a beginning to an action which includes knowing more about it, spotting its end, and living accordingly. Today, I believe, that many people know it is the last days and even the end of the last days. But I see that they have not made any response to this. They do not turn to God. This is true even with professed Christians.
Since this letter was dressed to God's dear children, then it indicates that us having the knowledge that this is the last hour is not enough.
* "as you have heard that" -The second coming of Christ was often taught by John, Paul and the leaders of the church in those days. They were made aware of the reality of the days that they lived in. I, as a Christian, need to be aware of the days that I am in so that I may be alert not be pulled into it's current.
* "antichrists" -"Anti" in Greek is "an-tee". It is a prim. particle meaning opposite, i.e. instead or because of (rarely in addition to). It's often used in composition to denote contrast, requital, substitution, correspondence, etc. More simply it means "against." Antichrist is against Jesus coming in the flesh, against his teachings, against his physical death and burial, against his resurrection, against his life purpose, against his second coming, and against his church. Antichrist is only used in John's three letters.
* "Christ" -Greek for the Hebrew word Messiah. Anointed one, anointed by God, anointed king, priest, and prophet.
* "that the antichrist is coming" -John assumed his readers knew that a great enemy of God and his people will arise before Christ's return. That person is called "antichrist", "the man of lawlessness" (2 Thessalonians 2:3), and "the beast" (Revelation 13:1-10).
* "even now many antichrists have come" -Prior to the one great antichrist, there will be many antichrists. John noted that they were in his times. The word "even" indicates that it might be a shock for the first receivers of this letter to learn this.
Most likely the ones that John was referring to in his times was the Gnostics. Many of the Gnostics teachings are still here today. They are very deceptive. I thank God that he lead me to the truth and that I was lead to believe.
* "This is how we know it is the last hour" -The only way I assume John and others knew this was that the Old Testament has prophecies of antichrists' comings. However, I don't know of any that directly say they will come. The Old Testament does speak of things at the end of this age. Jesus also told of signs of the end of the age. Perhaps Jesus told them them this often as he did as recorded in Matthew 24. Since the last days started with Christ's ascension, I am lead to believe that John learned of the antichrist during the direct revelation as recorded in the book we call Revelation. John wrote that on the island before he wrote this document.
* 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God."
* Revelation 13:1-10 "And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?" The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.
And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. He who has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.
* Matthew 24:10-11 "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people."
3. What are the characteristics of the Antichrist? (19, 22-23) How should the believers in Jesus view them and their origins? How have they pulled people away from the truth? (i.e. think of the parable of the sower.)
1 John 2:19 "They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us."
* The following are indicators of antichrists. In every case these are people. These people have ideas. After the people died their ideas were still taught so that now "antichrists" are associated with ideas that go against Christ just as much as the people who form those ideas.
* "They went out from us" -Both the people and their ideas (teachings) went out from people who were initially in a congregation. They started out with Christians with Christians idealogical.
* "But they did not really belong to us" -Even though they were with Christians they were not really Christians. Therefore, they know all about Christians and our beliefs. These antichrists kept with them some of Jesus' teachings (at least initially) to deceive those who would be Christians, into becoming one of them. It has always been the devil's way to use some of the truth when telling a lie.
These facts and others makes it hard to tell antichrists from true believes, along with their teachings. However, if one has the Bible in his heart and mind, through prayerful studying and meditating (thinking deeply), with the prompting of the Holy Spirit about what the Bible teaches; then we cannot be fooled by their lies. It is MOST IMPORTANT (I am fully convinced because I have seen the opposite in people) THAT IT IS GOD THROUGH THE SPIRIT (not just with feelings does the Spirit work) THAT TELLS HIS CHILDREN WHAT IS THE TRUTH AND WHAT IS A HALF TRUTH (and therefore a lie). Many have been fooled who study the Bible, live within Christian like groups, and do some sort of prayer. Why is this so? Because in their hearts they rejected the truth, especially concerning Jesus' identity, position, and characteristic. This is also why some may have started in antichrist type groups and were eventually lead to the truth; because GOD THROUGH THE SPIRIT LEAD them.
* "For if...belonged to us" -Belonging to Jesus is because of the work of God. God does it not man. See above statement. God works in the heart, through the Holy Spirit is the most important thing.
* "But their going showed that none of them belonged to us" -There are groups that use this sentence to erasure those who stay in their group after another leaves. The reassurance is to keep others from leaving. But in context to the whole paragraph John says this to reveal the truth about the antichrists; that they are in and with groups of believers (i.e. churches) and eventually leave.
4. How did the true followers of Jesus come to know the truth and receive an anointing? (20; John 14:17, 16:13) What does anointing refer to here?
1John 2:20 "But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth."
* This sentence was meant as an assurance to the first readers. But as I have written below, it applies to as much as the first as it is to the second, third, fourth, etc.
* "But you have" -"You" meaning true Christians. It does not mean the all encompassing reader for many have read this letter (1 John). Not all who read this letter have the anointing
* "anointing" -In Greek is "khris'-mah"; meaning charisma. (From the Greek "khree'-o". Meaning contact of, to smear or rub with oil with the intent to consecrate to an office or religious service.) In whole meaning an unguent or smearing, i.e. the specific endowment ("chrism") of the Holy Spirit.
This comes from the Old Testament practice of anointing with oil. The anointing of oil symbolized what God had already done. Prophets, kings, and priests were anointed with oil. The Holy Spirit is the true anointing of God.
* "from the Holy One" -God's anointing is especially spelled out because the anointing of oil was very seldom given to Christians when they believed. However, now the Roman Catholic church anoints with oil at (I believe) the age of eleven. Other churches and denominations also anoint with oil.
* "all of you" -Not just a few Christians, but all Christians know the truth.
* "know"-It is implied that this means understand AND accept and believe.
* "all of you know the truth" -It is very important to note that antichrist (those who leave the church) reject the truth.
* "truth" -Implies the whole truth about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the truth in the Bible.
* John 14:17 "the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you."
* John 15:26 "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me."
* John 16:13 "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."
* John 3:5-8 "Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
1 John 2:21 "I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.
* This verse is very import to note in regard to studying the Bible. Those who John wrote had Biblical knowledge (as the church should have now). Christians should not be ignorant believers. Prayerful Bible study is thus very important as well as studying with an elder either one to one or in a small group or both.
* "no lie comes from the truth" -In this redundancy John makes is clear.
* John did not say, "because you feel good", or "because you have a manifestation of the Holy Spirit (i.e. talking in tongues)".
1 John 2:22 "Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist--he denies the Father and the Son.
* "Who is the liar?"-This question adds dimension to the statement in verse 21, "no lie comes from the truth". Not only was John talking of the abstract identities of "lie" and "truth", but also those who talk, live and teach them.
* "It is the man that denies that Jesus is the Christ" -Not the only indicator, but one of them for many liars may not say this, but still be liars.
This does not go to say that if we lie we are an antichrist. A good example of this is Peter immediate lie after proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ. (Matthew 16:13-20)
* Hebrews 5:11-6:12
1 John 2:23 "No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also."
* "Son" -Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew).
* "Father" -God the father, the head of the trinity God. Jesus often called himself the Son of Man referring to his birth in the flesh by the virgin Mary. His disciples recognized that he was the Son of God and called him that. Demons also called him that, but he told them to keep quiet when they said it.
* "acknowledges" -meaning verbally in public.
* 'has... also" -This verse shows the oneness of Jesus and God the Father.
5. What are the characteristics of the way in which the truth is revealed to Christians?
1 John 2:24-25 "See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us--even eternal life."
* "from the beginning" -stick and adhere to the apostles teachings. The apostles teachings reflect Jesus' teachings. Jesus' teachings are in the four gospels. The apostles teachings are in the letters.
* "remains in you" -Implying that it can be taken away and/or made ineffective. Jesus taught this in the parable of the seeds. The unproductive were eaten by birds, others landed on rocky soil, and others in thorny soil. The produced produced a crop.
* "eternal life" -Jesus is eternal life. He said, "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
6. What are the things the believers of Jesus should be reminded of to avoid being mislead by the false teachers?
1 John 2:26-27 "I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit--just as it has taught you, remain in him."
* "trying to lead you astray" -like a sheep is lead astray from the shepherd. Christians can be lead astray. They can wander away too. This does not mean that we can loose our salvation. That is impossible. It just means that the evil one wants Christians from being productive. If we sin we are not productive; we are the opposite.
* "not counterfeit" -the Gnostics had a counterfeit anointing ceremony.
* Jesus taught that if we obeyed him commands then we would remain in his love.
II. The Children of God (28-29)
7. What are the most important things a believer in Jesus should do to not be ashamed when Christ returns (28, 24, 27)
8. What kind of life-style does this imply for the children of God who are born of God?
9. Review what Jesus told John to write to the seven churches in Revelation chapters 1-3. How do those letters help in understanding this passage?
1 John 2:28-29 "And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him."
* "when he appears" -Jesus will return in the flesh.
* "we may be confident and unashamed before him" -Jesus will judge those who are his. Some will gain a reward and other will suffer lose of reward. This is based on what we did in this life.
* The day that we meet before Jesus is described by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians. “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Cor. 3:11-15)
What does gold, silver and costly stones represent? What will survive? Later in his first letter to the Corinthians Paul tells us, “And now these remain faith, hope and love.” (1 Cor. 13:13a) When Jesus loved ones come before their King and Bridegroom his glory will burn away all that was not done with faith, hope, and love. All that will remain is what was done with faith in Jesus, hope in his kingdom, and love for him and others. This day marks the day when Jesus will give rewards to his bride according to what they did during their first lives. (Rev. 22:12, 5:10, 4:2, 1:5-6, and 2 Cor. 5:10, and 1 Cor. 6:2, Dan. 7:22, 12:1-13, Luke 19:11-27, Matt. 25:14-30, Jam. 1:12, and 1 Pet. 5:4, etc.)