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Thursday, September 20 2012
The Epistles: First John
The apostle John (see also The Kinsfolk Of Jesus Of Nazareth) was the only one of the Twelve who survived to old age. One of his last tasks was the writing of the epistle that has become known as the Book of Revelation (as will be covered in the last study in this series), however we also have other writings by John - the Book of John (known as one of the "four Gospels") and three epistles.
John's first epistle was a general letter to the Church of God (see Can You See The Church?). The apostle was most-likely at Ephesus when he wrote it, although there are other possibilities. The island of Patmos, where John was given to write Revelation, as he was being held as a political prisoner by the Romans, is just offshore from Ephesus (see also Where Are The Seven Churches Of Revelation Today?).
"1:1 That which was from the beginning [see Who Is The LORD?], which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life [see What Does Word of God Mean To You?]; 1:2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full." (1 John 1:1-4 KJV)
All humans are in spiritual darkness until such time that they are enlightened by the Holy Spirit (see Paul's Blindness Lesson).
"1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all [see The First Act Of Faith]. 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin [see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners].
Living a truly Christian life is about striving to obey the Law of the LORD (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Law Of The LORD). The LORD Himself (see Who Is The LORD?) pays the difference between our being perfected and His Perfection (see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners).
"2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world [see The Day Of Atonement: It's All About Christianity].
"If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him"
John wrote his epistles under the same forces of persecution that, as we've covered in this series up to now, Paul, Peter and James did in the time of their epistles - the Roman Empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). Many modern-day sayings and gestures (see also What And Where Is Babylon Today?) originated from that era of persecution e.g. the illustration shows the Roman "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" vote, that people mimic today (usually unknowingly), that the crowds gave to decide the fate of a contestant in the coliseum - the same "vote" whereby many Christians were martyred.
"2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him [see Satan's Fall: From Conservative To Liberal]. 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1 John 2:15-17 KJV)
No pope existed in the time of John (the Papacy was created by the Roman Emperor Constantine centuries later; see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy), but John plainly warned "even now are there many antichrists."
"2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists [see The Messiah's Warning About Christian Charlatans]; whereby we know that it is the last time. 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." (1 John 2:18-19 KJV)
God is called "The Father" because the Kingdom of God will be inhabited entirely and solely by the children of God who will be natural born citizens of God's Kingdom. That's what "born again" is all about, as John also recorded (see What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?).
"3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him [see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin]; for we shall see him as he is. 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1 John 3:1-3 KJV)
The lake of fire will exist for those who refuse to repent (see The Lake Of Fire Into An Ocean Of Fire - When?).
"3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law [see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners, Works Means Obedience and The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God]. 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
Truth is based upon the Word of God. Notice carefully that "false prophets" have another "spirit."
"4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world [see What's The Bible Word For False Prophet?]. 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His Commandments"
Those who truly love God truly love to do all that is humanly possible to obey God (see God's People Run To The LORD, Not From Him).
"4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world [see What Does Word of God Mean To You?], that we might live through him [see The Church: Mission Accomplished]. 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins [i.e. see What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?]. 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments."
"5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous [see Works Means Obedience]. 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:1-5 KJV)
The LORD hears those who listen to Him.
"5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will [see How To Pray], he heareth us: 5:15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." (1 John 5:13-15 KJV)
Fact Finder: What does the Holy Bible actually say about "the mark of the beast"?
This Day In History, September 20
480 BC: The Greek fleet under Thermistocles defeated Persian naval forces of Xerxes. The Persian empire and Xerxes are recorded the Bible's Book of Esther (see Has Another Haman Arisen?; also Israel In History and Prophecy: Babylon and Persia).
357 BC: Alexander the Great was born. The young Greek king conquered much of southern Europe, the Middle East and southern Asia before dying at age 34 (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids).
451: The Battle of Chalons in what is today France - regarded by some historians as the largest battle in the ancient world. Roman forces under Flavius Aetius defeated Attila the Hun (see Legions Of Men And Angels).
1187: Saladin began his Siege of Jerusalem (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1260: The Prussian Uprising against the Teutonic Knights began.
1378: The Great Schism in the Roman Catholic Church began when Robert of Geneva (known by some as "the Butcher of Cesena") was elected as anti-pope Clement VII. The division went on for almost four decades, during which there were 2 and sometimes even 3 competing popes at one time (see The Struggle For The Papacy).
1519: Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan left Spain with 5 ships on the first-ever around the world voyage. Although Magellan himself was killed in the Philippines, and 4 of the ships were lost in the 3 year exploration, 1 ship did return home after successfully circling the earth. The voyage proved that the earth was indeed round (which believers in the Holy Bible already knew - see No 'Flat Earth' In The Bible) and that North America and Asia were separate continents.
1586: An Englishman, Anthony Babington, Roman Catholic priest John Ballard, and 5 others were executed for high treason. In an attempt to return England to Roman Catholicism, they planned to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I (ruled 1558-1603) and install the Roman Catholic rival, Mary Stuart (Mary, Queen of Scots) on the English throne. Mary was also executed a few months later, on February 8 1587.
1633: Galileo Galilei was brought to trial before the Church of Rome's "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith." Galileo was later released after he "repented" of his "heresy" - his correct teaching that the Earth orbits the Sun (see also No 'Flat Earth' In The Bible).
1697: The Treaty of Rijswijk was signed by England, France, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and the Dutch Republic. It ended the Nine Years' War (1688-97).
1854: The Battle of the Alma during the Crimean War. The victory by the British and the French left the Russian naval center of Sevastopol vulnerable and endangered the entire Russian position in the war.
1870: Italian troops under Victor Emmanuel II conquered Rome in the name of the Kingdom of Italy. The population of the city, the Romans, later voted to become part of the Italian Kingdom.
1909: The Parliament of the United Kingdom passes the South Africa Act 1909. It created the Union of South Africa from the British-established colonies of the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Orange River Colony, and the Transvaal Colony.
1934: In New Jersey, Bruno Hauptmann was arrested for the kidnapping and murder of the infant son of U.S. aviator Charles Lindbergh. He was found guilty and executed by electrocution in 1936.
1952: Scientists confirmed that DNA holds hereditary data.
1967: The British liner Queen Elizabeth II was launched at Clydebank, Scotland.
1977: Vietnam, as a single nation again, became a member of the United Nations. The Vietnam War, in which the U.S. involved itself, years after the war had already started (after another imperial power, France, had divided Vietnam into North and South), was actually a civil war between the Vietnamese people.
2005: Simon Wiesenthal died at age 96. The Jewish Holocaust survivor became famous as a relentless Nazi war criminal hunter.
2011: The U.S. military ended its "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, thereby allowing homosexuals to serve openly for the first time.