Thursday, 25 June 2020
For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 2 John -7
John now says, “For.” There is debate if he is speaking in this verse about what he has previously said and then making this a statement based on that, or if he is speaking about what he will say next. What seems more likely, is that he is referring to what he says afterward in verse 1:8. This is particularly so because in verse 1:9, he continues with the thought of deception and not abiding in proper doctrine. Looking at it from that perspective, John says, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world.”
The word translated as “deceivers” signifies one who attempts to get others to go off course. It comes from the word planáō, which signifies “to wander.” It is the root of “planet,” because the planets appear to wander in the sky rather than stay fixed like the stars do. The word was used in Matthew 27:63 and 2 Corinthians 6:8. John will use the word twice in this verse, and it will not be seen again in Scripture.
What John means by saying that they have “gone out into the world” is that they go wherever they can, and at any time, to proclaim their deceitful message. It is these deceivers “who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.” The Greek reads, “those not confessing Jesus Christ coming in the flesh.” Vincent’s Word Studies explains the significance –
“The article with the participle describes the character of this class of deceivers, and does not merely assert a definite fact concerning them.”
The words here are in accord with his words of 1 John –
“Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:22, 23
“By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” 1 John 4:2, 3
To fully understand what is conveyed there, refer to the commentary on those verses. But the main significance of what John is relaying speaks of the incarnation – that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully Man. To deny this is the mark of such a deceiver. With that established, John then says, “This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” The translation is poor. There are definite articles before both words – “This is the deceiver and the antichrist.”
In other words, the deceiver is identified directly with his master. Just as those who believe in Christ are identified as being “in Christ,” these people are in the Antichrist. Those who have the Son also have the Father. Those who have the Antichrist have the devil. There are no other options but these two. The devil wants to keep his own, and so he sends out those who will do his bidding to keep others from ever coming to the truth of Christ.
Life application: The problem that needed to be addressed concerns “many” deceivers going out into the world. Imagine this! Within the lifetime of the apostle who had physically resided with, eaten with, and touched and heard the Word of God – Jesus – people were denying the very truth of the message he and the other apostles heralded. O man, o man… if people were already doing this then, how much more in the 2000 years since then.
False teachers fill our churches, our TVs, and our minds with deceit – for personal gain; it is always for personal gain. Some deceive for money, some for worldly power, and some for spiritual power, but the attack at its core comes down to personal gain. John, again, as he has done in his gospel and in 1 John, focuses specifically on anyone who denies that Jesus Christ has come “in the flesh.” In other words, the incarnation; God uniting with man. It is the continued focus of his writings, and it is the pivotal point on which all heresy revolves.
The claim is that He is either God, but not Man, or He is Man, but not God. Fanciful inventions of the mind all try to diminish the Person and work of Jesus. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are perfect examples of this, as are the Mormons. They proclaim a false Jesus, and thus they are the antichrist.
We must remember that if the incarnation isn’t true, then there is absolutely no foundation on which the ethics of Christianity can be proclaimed – exactly what a deceiver is ultimately after – casting off the authority of God.
O God, You are God and we are Your creatures. May we never attempt to diminish the work of Christ and thereby cast off Your rule and authority. Instead, may we proudly and boldly confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, and that it is to Him that our obedience is due. Hallelujah to the King of Glory!! Amen.