A Commentary of the 2nd Epistle of John
A PROPHETIC PREVIEW
The author is not evident from the text, only the self-designation "elder" points to a man older than the recipient. According to our understanding, the aging apostle John wrote the letter, just as he is the author of the first and third letters of John. This can already be seen from the inner connections of the three letters. All three letters are of a personal nature, i.e. John writes to members of the family of God. In the first letter, the elder addresses all generations, the fathers, the young men and the children, of the heavenly Father. The second letter he writes to the mistress, who also calls God her Father. The recipient of the third letter, a very highly placed man, also has God as his father.
The Present Testimony of The Church
Those who are already familiar with our structures know that we have assigned all the doctrinal letters of the New Testament to the seven churches, i.e. for the letters of John: the first letter of John must be assigned to the church of Thyatira, the second to the church of Sardis and the third to the church of Philadelphia. These three, as can be easily seen, form the current testimony that will continue until the Rapture. Thyatira stands for the Roman Catholic Church, including the Orthodox churches of the East. Sardis represents the Protestant Church, including various Christian groups that arose before and during the Great Reformation. Philadelphia represents the Evangelical Churches, which are distinguished primarily by the fact that they are local assemblies and did not have supra-local hierarchies in the beginning. In addition, they were and are evangelizing churches, practice the general priesthood, and have fellowship with all who hold the truth and live in the truth. Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia also show us the historical course of the church, because indisputably Sardis emerged from Thyatira and Philadelphia from Sardis. With the rapture the time of the three ends. The summer is over and a new constellation arises in the autumn.
The Future Testimony of The Church
After the Rapture, i.e. after the time of Philadelphia, the time of Laodicea begins to run, whose future historical development can be told on the basis of the seven feasts of the Lord. The details are completed by the seven letters of James, Peter, John and Jude. Their teaching letters must be assigned chronologically to the seven churches beforehand, this is necessary because the feast cycle results in a different order of the churches of Revelation. We do not change the assignment of the teaching letters to the seven churches, but order the seven according to the festival cycle.
The order of the seven churches according to the festival cycle in connection with the previously assigned teaching letters.
As we can see from the above table, the 2nd Epistle of John remains assigned to the church of Sardis, except that according to the festival cycle Sardis comes after Philadelphia. Sardis stands for the first autumn feast, the feast of the trumpet hall.
The Prophetic Interpretation of the 2nd Epistle of John
Verses 1 and 2: The elder of the chosen woman and her children, whom I love in truth; and not I alone, but also all who have known the truth, for the truth's sake, which abides in us and will be with us forever.
John introduces himself as the elder, and he is indeed, yes, even in the absolute sense, for he is one of those two disciples who, without having known Jesus, followed him only in response to the speech of John the Baptist. John 1:37: "And the two disciples heard him speak, and followed Jesus."
As this elder, he writes to the chosen woman who represents the church of Sardis, where people continue to come to faith in Jesus. This woman and her children John loves, but not only he loves Sardis, also all who have known the truth. And because we are in the autumn cycle, it is mainly the believers from the churches of Pergamos and Thyatira. These three groups form the faithful of the end times, while those who stray from the truth form the ecumenical triad.
Which truth has the mistress and her children recognized? It seems that truth is only mentioned in the abstract, referring exclusively to the fact that Jesus once said, "I am ... the truth." John 14:6. Of course, this is true, but John wants to say more in view of the end-time currents and the appearance of the Antichrist.
Verse 3: There shall be with you grace, mercy, peace, from God the Father, and from (the Lord) Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
John assures the Lady and her children: It will be with you:
Before we take a closer look at the three terms a warning: Whoever threatens with the words: "All only grace", avoid him, because he belongs to the enemies who have also strayed from the truth.
What does grace mean?
The Greek word is charis and means: grace and that as a benefit. It is the divine influence on the heart and at the same time its reflection in life. Its word root, forming much more than a mere connotation, is chairo and means: "to be joyful", "to be happy". God's friendly approach causes a cheerful mood and a happy heart. This is perfectly matched by the Hebrew equivalent, which is chen and means: gracious, kindness, favor and beauty. The word is derived from the root chanan and means: to bow down in kindness to a subordinate; furthermore, it means: to favor, to gift.
What does mercy mean?
The Greek word is “Eleos” and means: compassion, pity, mercy, sympathy. Now the English word mercy is explained in different ways, so let's look at a Scripture passage on the word mercy - Eleos. The first time we find the word is in Matthew 9:13, where Jesus replies to the reproaches of the Pharisees, "The strong have no need of a physician, but the sick have. But go and learn what this is. "I want compassion, not sacrifice, for I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Mercy in this sense means that God turns to the sick person to heal him completely, or to call the sinner, not only to forgive his sins, but to pronounce him righteous.
What does peace mean?
The Greek word is “Eirene” and means: peace but also prosperity, the word root means: to unite. Now John writes primarily to a Jewish mistress who also knows the Hebrew word for peace, it describes peace more comprehensively, the word is: Shalom! It means among other things: to be safe, to be good and happy, prosperity, health and peace. If we consider still the word root, what we should always do, then it means besides: to be completed; to be perfected, to be friendly.
John wishes all this to the Jewish mistress and her children when he writes: It will be with you: Grace, mercy and peace.
From whom do these glorious things come?
From God the Father and from (the Lord) Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father. We say it up front: what is put in brackets does not belong to the original text, even if, as Dr. Roger Liebi argues: "the majority text testifies to it". In fact, this reasoning is not a scientific argument at all, but the assumption that the many must be right. If Dr. Liebi takes a closer look at the text, he too could see that this is the real subject of the letter, the truth that is so mysteriously referred to again and again in this letter. And what truth is at issue here? What truth is being torpedoed more and more violently in our days? We have been able to hear it abundantly clear for some years in our Christian countries. We, the authors, heard it in a pedestrian zone loudly and with great force: God has no son!
Therefore, for the sake of truth, the text must read: Peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father. If we would have left the expression "to the Lord" in the text, we would not have been able to recognize at all that it is about the proclamation of an eternal truth. Also Dr. Roger Liebi knows, the expression "Son of the Father" is a hapax legomenon, it denotes a word or expression that occurs only once in the Bible and as we, the authors, have noted, a hapax legomenon points to the end times. The truth in which the Jewish mistress and her children walk is: God, the Father and the Son, therefore John writes:
Verse 4: I rejoiced greatly that I found some of your children walking in the truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
Even among the Messianic Jews, there are and will be some children after the Rapture who walk in this truth, which we can hear especially in their prayers.
What is the commandment of the Heavenly Father?
Well, John still speaks of a commandment that he and other disciples received. Again, Dr. Roger Liebi has "not read carefully" and researched when he quotes 1 Kings 2. John is indeed old, but then again not so old to hear a commandment of the Father in the Book of Kings. No, we don't really have to go back that far in time. It is enough if we turn the page back to the Gospel of Matthew: While he was still speaking, behold, a light cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Watch out! Here it comes: "Him hear!" This is the Father's commandment to John and Peter and James, and this is the commandment that the elder reminds the Jewish mistress and her children, the Father's commandment, "Him hear!"
Verses 5-6: And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote thee a new commandment, but that which we have had from the beginning, that we should love one another. And this is the love, that we walk according to his commandments. This is the commandment, as ye have heard from the beginning, that ye should walk therein.
John reminds the Jewish mistress of the commandment of love among God's people, pointing out that it is not a new commandment, but a commandment of the Son, which both the mistress and her children should listen to and do. They are asked to remember what Jesus said in John 13:44. It was new then, now it needs reviving: a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, so that just as I have loved you, you also may love one another. The love of the many will grow cold, like trees frozen in winter and standing as if dead in the landscape. Oh, may spring come to their hearts, then the world would know that we are his disciples.
Verse 7: For many deceivers have gone out into the world, who confess not Jesus Christ coming in the flesh; this is the deceiver and the antichrist.
John seems to come to a new topic with verse 7, but this is not the case. Verses 5 and 6 describe the love among the sincere and faithful. They are so clearly different from the character of Antichrist even in front of people that they can recognize who the Antichrist is. This one is driven by self-love, envy and above all by the love of money, that are essential characteristics of all deceivers. The last part of verse 7: " ... this is the deceiver and the antichrist", indicates that the antichrist comes from which church? Based on our assignments of the teaching letters to the seven churches of Revelation, only Sardis comes into consideration. Certainly, in the first letter of John, which we have assigned to Thyatira, many antichrists are spoken of (1 John 2:18), but " the Antichrist" will come from Sardis.
Verse 8: Look to yourselves, that we may not lose what we have worked for, but may receive full reward.
A clever move by John when he reminds us of the reward. If the Jewish mistress as well as her children live according to the Father's commandment by listening to the Father's Son and walking in it, especially loving one another, then not only will John receive full reward, but so will the recipient along with her children. Teamwork is an Original Christian characteristic.
Verse 9: Anyone who goes on and does not remain in the teaching of Christ does not have God; the one who remains in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
The above verse is woolly in its translation of the word "go on," for inevitably the question arises: what is meant by the expression "go on"? Luther's translation here is clear, plain and unambiguous, for he says: "He that transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ hath no God."
"Whoever transgresses" points to the transgression of the two commandments we explained earlier: 1. "Hear Him" and 2. "Love one another." Whoever transgresses these two commandments does not have God. This is clearly the description of the Antichrist and the members of his synagogue. But he who lives in the teachings of Christ, that is, in the previously mentioned commandments, has both the Father and the Son. We see that great theme of this letter is the eternal love relationship between the Father and the Son, which can be seen in the Jewish mistress and in some of her children, if they abide in it, abide in the teaching of Christ. The apostle Paul wrote on this subject, "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, and that is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Gal. 5:14. Paul holds up a mirror to the Galatians in verse 15: "But if you bite and devour one another ..." Such mores have also become common among evangelical scholars. Instead of presenting and also living the sound doctrine and calling the false teachings by name, personal attacks are launched again and again.
Verses 10 - 11: If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house and do not greet him. For whoever greets him participates in his evil works.
At this point we want to point out an error. The verse does not say that we should not greet people in everyday life with a "hello" or "good day." It is simply not proper to disrespect the neighbor, the vendor, or anyone else, and pass by them without a word. No matter what someone's religion, we are to treat everyone with equal kindness. What John is concerned with is not having spiritual fellowship with those, that is, no common prayers and no common worship services, as has become customary in the mainline churches today. Those who do not bring the teachings of Christ, we should not wish them shalom or chaire, but everyday greetings we may and should very well address to them. For those who still do not know how to handle the difference, read again the remarks on verse 3.
Verse 12: Since I have many things to write to you, I did not want to do it with paper and ink, but I hope to come and talk to you orally, so that our joy may be complete.
Isn't it strange, John has so many things on his mind and yet he breaks off and refers to the fact that when he comes he will talk things over orally with her and her children. Why does he do this? Prophetically, Jesus' return is hinted at here. Let's not forget, John is writing to Sardis, the first autumn church, which is under the impression of the Feast of the Feast of Trumpets. There are only 14 days left until the seventh and final feast, the Feast of Tabernacles. And when the Lord says he is coming, he comes promptly.
Verse 13: The children of your chosen sister greet you.
Who is the chosen sister? The question can be answered accurately only if we consult the assignments from the hidden structures. We have assigned the 2nd letter of John to Sardis, thus we have found out that Sardis represents the first autumn festival. Before the first autumn feast. it was some time ago, the last and fourth spring feast took place, which we assigned to Philadelphia. But now Philadelphia is raptured, so we must assume, prophetically, John is sending the letter from heaven. When the chosen sister sends her greetings, she does it, one can hardly believe it, from heaven. We have described the same phenomenon in the article: "Introduction to the Revelation". John is to write seven letters and deliver them personally. How we have to imagine this, we have explained in the article: "Introduction to the Epistle to the Hebrews". Also after the Rapture we are no spectators, on the contrary, we will get all kinds of things to do, whatever that may look like.
Note: In the historical course, Sardis is in fifth place and Philadelphia in sixth. Because of the festival cycle Philadelphia slips to the fourth position and is chronologically before Sardis. And because not only Philadelphia is placed in position 4, but with it also the third letter of John, the closing part of the third letter gets a deeper meaning. Philadelphia experiences a "somewhat" different ending.
"I would have many things to write to you, but I will not write to you with ink and pen, but I hope to see you soon, and we will talk orally." John does not get to the recipient of the letter, and yet he wishes they would see each other soon. How can this happen? Of course, here the Rapture is hinted at. The Lord meets his bride halfway. Twice this happens, once after the second round for the heavenly bride and a second time during the last round, at the end of the summer of salvation, for the earthly bride. As I said, the raptures always take place after Philadelphia.
Some things may be new to you. Do not reject them, but move them in your heart and study the scriptures.
Berlin, June 12, 2023
© Copyright by H. Randy Rohrer