1 John 2:18-27 – Denying the Father and the Son

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POSTED 28 JANUARY, 2018

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume II

“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antimessiah is coming, even now many antimessiahs have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Yeshua is the Messiah? This is the antimessiah, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”

The Apostle John warns his audience about the then-present activities of antichristos (1 John 2:18). While there is a future antimessiah or antichrist figure to be anticipated in history (Daniel 8:9-12, 22-25; 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 13:1-9), the demonic presence of a spirit of antimessiah is something that always has to be fought against. This was something that John’s audience had to guard itself against, as it is attested how various persons who had been among their faith community in the vicinity of Ephesus, were later shown to be of antimessiah: “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 it might be plain that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19, RSV). John’s audience is attested to be those who know the truth and will not be deceived (1 John 2:20-21).

John inquires, Tis estin ho pseustēs ei mē ho arnoumenos hoti Iēsous ouk estin ho Christos, “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus {not} is the Christ?” (1 John 2:22a, Mounce and Mounce).[1] We should rightly take the statement “Who is the liar, if not the one who denies that Yeshua is the Messiah?” (TLV), as being a denial of the Messiahship of Yeshua. This was a denial that Yeshua of Nazareth was the prophesied Redeemer and King of Israel, and a denial that His accomplished work at Golgotha (Calvary) meant anything. The paralleling word of 2 John 7 says, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Yeshua the Messiah as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antimessiah.” As is implied by the previous indication (1 John 2:19), there were those once inside the local faith community to whom John wrote, who had once recognized Yeshua as the prophesied Messiah in some way, but later had denied Him.

(It is unfortunate to observe, but there are people today—Jewish and non-Jewish alike—who were once part of the Messianic movement, and have later denied Yeshua of Nazareth as the prophesied Messiah of Israel. While there is always a spiritual or supernatural component as to why people deny Yeshua, much of this can and does involve an evaluation of prophesies in the Tanach ascribed to Him.)[2]

That Yeshua the Son and God the Father are significantly interconnected, is seen in how John communicates outos estin ho antichristos, ho arnoumenos ton patera kai ton huion, “this one is the antichrist, the one denying the Father and the Son” (John 2:22b, Brown and Comfort).[3] The presence of the demonic force of antimessiah manifests not only when someone denies Yeshua the Son, but it also involves a denial of the Heavenly Father. The Son is not an independent actor in the salvation process, but nor is the Father the only actor in the salvation process, either. A seeming denial of the Son as the Messiah not meriting a denial of the Heavenly Father, is, according to John, something unsustainable. A supernatural experience involving both the Father and the Son, is necessary, according to John, in order to be truly redeemed: “No one who denies the Son has the Father; the one who acknowledges the Son also has the Father” (John 2:23, TLV).

Those who hold to a low Christology of Yeshua, perceive Him as a supernatural, albeit created, agent, which enables mortal humans to access the Heavenly Father. But, that there is a co-participation of Son and the Father is something further specified by John. He says, “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father” (1 John 2:24, RSV). It is directed, en tō huiō kai en tō patri meneite, “in the Son and in the Father will remain (abide)” (Brown and Comfort).[4] It would hardly have been out of place for John to have said, “As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in God” (1 John 2:24, NASU modified). Instead, John specifies the spiritual abiding, the Believer’s sphere of spiritual growth and maturation, to be in both the Son and the Father—with the Son notably mentioned first in 1 John 2:24. This could hardly be a statement by one seeing Yeshua the Son as a created entity.

Interestingly enough, with it just having been stated, “you will also remain in union with both the Son and the Father” (1 John 2:24, CJB/CJSB), John then communicates, “And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life” (1 John 2:25, ESV). What is intended by the statement, kai autē estin hē epangelia hēn autos epēngeilato hēmin? Specifically, who is the “He” of 1 John 2:25 intended to be? Is this the Father or the Son? Contextually it could be either, and preferably we should take the “He” as involving the Father and the Son as co-members of a plural Godhead, who were to both serve as the focal point of a Believer’s abiding in faith (1 John 2:24). While Smalley ultimately concludes that the Son is the “He” mentioned in 1 John 2:25, he also indicates how interconnected the work of the Father and the Son are in salvation:

“In 1 John the pronoun [autos] (‘he’) usually refers to God or to Jesus (but see 3:24; 4:15). Here the allusion could be to either or both: eternal life is a pledge which is given to the believer from God through Jesus…This accords with the fact that both the Son and the Father are mentioned in v. 24. However, perhaps…the primary reference is to the promise, or pledge, of Jesus himself.”[5]


NOTES

[1] William D. Mounce and Robert H. Mounce, eds., The Zondervan Greek and English Interlinear New Testament (NASB/NIV) (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008, 2011), 917.

[2] The succeeding volume, Salvation on the Line, Volume III, will be addressing the Messiahship of Yeshua.

[3] Brown and Comfort, 833.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Smalley, 121.