February 7, 2014
I John 2:18-23
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Yes, I know that the Apostle John was not a dog – I think the nose belongs to a dog! But because of the blog title – John’s Nose! – I wanted a photo of a big nose! So……..
I also realize that using the title – John’s Nose! – is just an attention-getter. We are really looking at John’s Knows – what he ‘knows’ for certain about the truths God has revealed. He uses two Greek words translated ‘know’ – or some other form of ‘know’, or another word meaning ‘know’ – 42 times in this short letter of I John.
The next series of ‘knows‘ we will examine are found in I John 2:18 through 23:
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is
coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is
the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they
had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that
they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. But you have
an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not writ-
ten to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and
that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the
Christ? He is antichrist, that denies the Father and the Son. Whoever
denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the
Son has the Father also.
There are three ‘knows’ in this passage:
• Verse 18 – “…we know that it is the last hour.” What does John mean by “the last hour”? It is a phrase meaning the same as, “the last days,” the latter being used by Old and New Testament writers, and both mean much the same as “the last time” and “the day of the Lord.” Such language refers to the closing of this age when God will judge the ungodly world system and prepare for Jesus Christ to return in glory.
I have heard it asked by many who have observed what is going on in this world,
“Do you think we are in the last days?” I point them to Acts 2:16 and 17 where Peter
explained the phenomena which accompanied the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on
the day of Pentecost. “…this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days,’ says God, ‘that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh….’ ” If it was ‘the last days’ almost two thousand years ago, surely it is ‘the last days’ now! We may even be in the last of ‘the last days’!
How do “…we know that it is the last hour”? Because ‘antichrists’ are among us!
John goes on in verses 22 and 23 to explain that an ‘antichrist’ is one who “…denies that Jesus is the Christ…,” who “…denies the Father and the Son.” Paul wrote in
II Timothy 3:1, 2 and 5: “…know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. For men will be…having a form of godliness, but denying its power….” The power of true godliness is Jesus Christ. And if one denies the power, they are denying the Son, and so also the Father. So they are ‘antichrists’.
• Verse 20 – “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.” Who, or What is the ‘anointing‘? It is the Holy Spirit, which Jesus asked the Father – ‘the Holy One’ – to send to us to dwell in every believer (see John 14:16 and 17). The reference here to “…know all things…,” is the potential that all believers have to understand spiritual truths as God – through the Holy Spirit – teaches us. And He is our Chief Teacher. In verse 27, John writes:
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you,
and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing
teaches you concerning all things, and is truth, and is not a lie, and
just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
John is writing against the heretic Gnostics who taught that we need special human
teachers to impart deep and secret knowledge about God and His kingdom! Yes,
God has given His Church teachers – and other spiritually gifted people also – to help us grow up in Him (see Ephesians 4:11 through 16). But the Holy Spirit is our Main Teacher.
• Verses 28 and 29 – Finally – and this is a bit longer of a blog than others – John gives
his third ‘know’:
And now, little children, abide in Him [Jesus Christ], that when He
appears, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him
at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that
everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.
Yes, Jesus abides in us by His Holy Spirit. But we are told to “…abide in Him….”
Stay close to the Lord by reading and study of the Word, prayer and obedience. This will give us “…confidence, and [we will] not be ashamed before Him at His coming [again].” We ‘know’ that our Savior “…is righteous….” By obeying Jesus, His life will be manifest through us, and so each obedient believer’s life will be reflected as one “…who practices righteousness….”