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1 John 2:18, 19

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Author Topic: 1 John 2:18, 19  (Read 410 times)
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« on: January 16, 2009, 07:01:59 am »

I wanted to see what a Bible dictionary said about the word "antichrist" and I found a couple of interesting sentences:

"In the NT the only use of the term "antichrist" is in the Johannine epistles.  First John 2:18 speaks of the antichrist who is the great enemy of God and, in particular, antichrists who precede that great enemy.  These antichrists were human teachers who had left the church.  Such antichrists deny the incarnation (1 John 4:3) and Christ's deity (1 John 2:2).  In 2 John 7, the antichrists are identified as deceivers who teach that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh..."  (italics mine) Holman's Illustrated Bible Dictionary

This got me thinking about what I had read in some introductions to John, talking about how John probably wrote this letter in response to gnosticism.  We don't know for sure that it was definitely gnosticism, but it is certainly clear that there were divisions and sects that were deeply troubling to the early church, and this is why he wrote what he did and chose the topics that he did.  Here are a few things I pulled from Holman's Bible dictionary about gnosticism:

"The church was torn by heated debates over the issues, and by the end of the second century many of the gnostics belonged to separate, alternative churches or belief systems viewed by the church as heretical.  Gnosticism was thus a major threat to the early church..."

"The gnostics who broke away or were expelled from the church claimed to be the true Christians..."

"Matter was seen as evil; thought or knowledge distinguished persons from matter and animals, and was imperishable, capable of revealing God, and the only channel of redemption... The God who revealed Himself in Jesus and through the additional secret teachings was, on the other hand, the absolute transcendent God.  He was not incarnate in human flesh because the absolute God would not enter evil matter - Christ only seemed or appeared to be a human person, but He was not."

I can see why John felt such a strong need to write to the Christians and give them straight answers and encouragement.  It's equally encouraging for us to read today in the light of transcendentalism, relativism and other modern movements.  I guess heretical movements have been around since the beginning and will exist until Jesus comes again, and this is one of the reasons God gave us John's epistles as a lasting part of His Word!
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