Ye know all things.
The apostle John, the disciple Jesus declared his love for, wrote some of the most insightful and important portions of the inspired scriptures. He was the one chosen to witness the vision of Christs victory over the enemies and to record that vision in prophetic form in the Revelation. As the time closely approached for that vision to come to pass in the destruction of the Jewish state, John wrote the three letters which are recorded in the New Testament. In many ways, 1 John is a culmination and affirmation of the rest of the New Testament. Where questions are posed earlier, John answers them. Where promises are made or remembered, John affirms their fulfillment or very near fulfillment. A repeating phrase throughout I John is we know , we know , we know , What is it that the Christian brethren knew?
In chapter 2:8, John says:
I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him [Jesus] and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
Although we might think John was referring to the darkness of the tribulations that were passing, the symbols darkness and light are, as always when used this way, referring to knowledge or the lack of it. It was the darkness of the old world that is, the lack of knowledge of God, which the Jews had while they were bound by the old Law of Moses (and of course, the complete lack of such knowledge by the Gentiles). They could never gain his presence because they were never made clean from sin. It was only after Christ that the true knowledge concerning God and salvation was available. This is what John means when he says and the true light is already shining. This light, or knowledge, was comprehensive. It was everything that there was or is to know in this life about God and his relationship with mankind. Even the prophecies were revealed and fulfilled in Christ in that generation. Yes, it was true what John stated in chapter 2:20
But you have an unction [anointing] from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
The brethren knew everything they needed to know about the Kingdom of God and how to enter it and obtain eternal life. They knew everything about prophecy, as well, and how those things that were happening around them were part of that final plan. They knew that it was soon to be over and that they would win the spiritual victory. They knew that Gods Kingdom would then continue on in the glorified state of victory for ever and ever.
Paul spoke of this knowledge, too, in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16. He says:
We...speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of Gods secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
The good news of Christ was the great wisdom that had been hidden, and that the rulers of the Jewish world could not understand. That world and those rulers are coming to nothing they would be destroyed in the upcoming war.
And what of the other knowledge, the knowledge of the heavenly realm and the state of believers in relationship to God once the age came to its end? Paul goes on to quote Isaiah 64:4 and then to amend that passage:
However, as it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what god has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit....We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us....For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
This is why, concerning so many of the implications of Christianity, John is able to say with such complete confidence we know He does not say we suppose, or we think we know, or we have reason to believe. He says we KNOW! Let us look at some of the things he states that we know.
WE ARE OF GOD AND IN GOD, AND HE IS IN US:
We do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
Whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in him.
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
And hereby we know that he abideth [lives] in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
WE KNOW THE TRUTH:
I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it
WE KNOW THAT WE ARE OF THE TRUTH:
And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
WE KNOW THAT GOD IS RIGHTEOUS AND HE CAME TO TAKE AWAY SINS:
Ye know that he is righteous .
And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
WE KNOW THAT GOD LOVES US:
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
WE KNOW THAT GOD HEARS US AND ANSWERS OUR NEEDS:
And if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
WE KNOW THAT WE KEEP OURSELVES FROM SIN:
We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
WE KNOW THAT IT IS THE
(for John and that generation if it was the last hour for him, it cannot be the last hour to us):
It is the last time [literally, hour]: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time [hour].
WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE AND THOSE WHO SIN DO NOT:
We know that we have passed from death unto life....
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
...Ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
WE KNOW THAT THE SON OF GOD IS COME
(not did come, but is come present tense):
Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that coiifesseth that Jesus Christ is conic in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God
And we know that the Son of God is come....
How did Jesus Christ come in the flesh if his coming was spiritual? John puts it plainly in chapter 4:4
Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
It is the spirit of God living in the flesh of his people. This is why John so assuredly claims that Jesus Christ was and is in them and with them right then. In the same
manner, he is with us today and forever more.
Let us bring this study to a close with one other teaching that John makes clear in his first letter. We know that Jesus Christ came to fulfill the old Law of Moses. We began this study with a pivotal verse in Matthew 5:17-18. Let us read again, with the perspective we have gained, the words of Jesus Christ contained in that verse:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Jesus binds these events together like the elements of a formula. The purpose of his coming as a fleshly man was to bring to a fulfillment all of the prophecies of the old Law, and to close and replace the old Law itself. Until that happened, not even the tiniest part of the Law of Moses would be nullified. If Christ did fulfill the Law, then it is nullified and it is gone, replaced by another Law or Covenant.
Also, if that has happened as Jesus claimed, then heaven and earth have indeed passed away. We know what that means, now that we understand the symbolic imagery used in prophecy, and the spiritual nature of the Kingdom of God. We know that that heaven and earth was the old Jewish religious and political nation which was being fulfilled and taken out of the way by Christ. We know that Christ brought a new heaven and earth the spiritual kingdom of his Church.
What then, is the nature of the new Covenant, the new Law that Christ set up in place of the old Law of Moses? Is it a law of rules and regulations like the old Law? Is it strict and difficult to obey in full, like the Mosaic Law?
John tells us what that new law the Law of Christ is in 1 John 3:23
And this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
It is the crowning glory of Christianity that the nature of Christs Law for his followers is not a law of regulations and strict rules. It is a simple and all encompassing mandate. We shall live by the rule of LOVE. Love is like a wonderful and comprehensive filter for our lives. If we truly love, then everything else takes care of itself, for love is incompatible with evil and selfishness.
If we truly form ourselves with the attitudes and manners and actions of love, then we truly become like God, for we know that God is love (ch. 4:8;16). Paul taught the same message concerning love in Romans 13:8-10
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continning debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not covet, and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Christ did not truly change the rules. The Law of God has always been the same, for God has always been the same. It is to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. If anyone truly loves, then that person will be righteous and will be well pleasing in Gods sight. Christ came to this earth to fulfill the old Mosaic Laws prophecies, rules, regulations, and rituals. He replaced it with the Law of the spirit, stripped clear of entangling roots and burnished to shine with the true light of knowledge in the world of men. It is so simple a law that it escapes many who rely on rules to do their thinking for them, or to provide excuses to hide behind.
It is the Law of Love not a languid, feel good emotion, but a life pervading and energizing attitude, made evident in our actions toward our fellow Christians and the unsaved world. Let us remember Johns exhortation in chapter 3:18
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
John said ye know all things. If they knew, then we also know. We truly know all things about Christ, the heavenly Kingdom, eternal life, judgment, and the fulfillment of the prophecies. By following Christs new Law of Love, and remaining faithful to it and to him, this is our heritage and our family inheritance, that we live eternally with our Father, the God of the Universe, and that we live our lives through love. With great peace and joy, we live with him now and forever in his glorious spiritual Kingdom. We join with the rest of the thousands upon thousands of saints who, in the fulfilled vision of Daniel, take the kingdom and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
We are citizens of that great and glorious kingdom of Heaven. It is, and always will be, Gods perfect church.
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