History of John the Disciple of Jesus

To learn the history of John, the disciple of Jesus, we begin with his life before he met Jesus. John, his brother James, Peter, and Andrew were all partners in the fishing business before they became disciples of Jesus. John was the son of Zebedee who was also a fisherman in Galilee. John's mother's name was Salome and some say that Salome was the sister of Jesus' mother, Mary. John owned a home in Jerusalem. Shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD, John moved to Ephesus. John pastored a church in Ephesus. He communicated with other churches in the area as stated in the book of Revelation. He advised and counseled many people who would later become believers in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. By order of the Roman Emperor, Domitian, John was exiled to the island, Patmos. Domitian ordered his exile because he saw John as a threat to his rule. However, his popularity and influence in the Christian community continued through correspondence with all the churches. John wrote the book of Revelation during his exile. When he was released from exile, he returned to Ephesus. John founded and built churches all through Asia until he was old, and died the sixty-eighth year after our Lord's passion, peacefully in Ephesus. During his life, John wrote the book of John and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd book of John and the book of Revelation. Near the end of his life, it is said that he constantly repeated the phrase, "Little children, love one another!" He did that because he believed it was the Lord's most important commandment. [link]

1st John – **Let us Love One Another – Because God’s children have experienced such love, the command that comes to them to love each other is not the “ought” of external compulsion but the “ought” of internal constraint (Bruce 1970:109) – So strong is John’s confidence that the Christian community will fulfill this command that he writes that mutual Christian love manifests the presence and action of the invisible God (v. 12; Smalley 1984:246) – When he writes no one has ever seen God, he calls to mind the same statement in the Gospel of John (1:18) – *In both cases, he is not trying to tell us what God is like but how God is known – And God is known not only in the revelation that comes to us in Jesus (Jn 1:18) but also by the manifestation of our love for each other (1 Jn 4:12) [in and through Jesus Christ]

Let Us Love One Another: One of the best-known works of Western art is surely that section of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel which depicts God reaching down to touch Adam's fingertip and give him life. So well known is this portion of Michelangelo's monumental work that it appears not merely in art histories and coffee-table display books, but is also used and caricatured in advertising and political cartoons. Only the most jaded of tourists can fail to marvel when gazing up at the mural, so laboriously and painstakingly painted, so powerful in its depiction of the life-giving power of God. We stop, study, appraise and admire. What a masterpiece! What an artist! -- In this section of the epistle, John writes, This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world (v. 9). We might be tempted to exclaim, What a masterpiece! What an artist! But "The Sending of the Son" is not simply the title of a painting that we study, admire and appreciate. Michelangelo's painting has power not just because of its artistic merits, but because we can virtually feel the life that flows from God's hand to Adam. Even so, John writes not just that God showed his love among us but that he did so by sending the Son into the world that we might live through him. God's life-giving love, then, is the theme of this passage. As John develops this theme, he makes three important points: God is the source of all love (4:7-8); God models what genuine love is (4:9-10); and God commands us to love each other (4:11-12). We move from the assertion that God is love to the command that we are to love each other. Indeed, the whole point of the passage is to trace the relationship between God's love and human love, and to show how human love flows from God's own love. The Source of Love (4:7-8). -- In exploring the relationship between God's love for us and our love for each other, the Elder makes two statements: love comes from God (v. 7), and God is love (v. 8). The second statement is more far-reaching than the first. To comprehend the sweeping character of the statement God is love, substitute the name of anyone you know--your mother, pastor, friend, a well-known Christian or hero of the faith or even yourself--for "God." Few are the people we would describe simply with the word love. Mom may be the most loving person you have known. She may have shown you what mature, self-giving, genuine love is like. But no matter how full, rich and steadfast her love, the statement "Mom is loving," can never be changed into "Mom is love." For love does not characterize her as it characterizes God. Because God is love, love comes from God. God is the source of love. Like the electricity running through electrical wires, love comes from God to us, then flows through us to others in the community. When John exhorts his readers, let us love one another, he is encouraging them to allow God's love to flow through them. For because God is love, love must characterize those who claim to be born of God or to know God (v. 7; 3:10, 14; 4:20-21). Those who claim to be doing the will of God and reflecting God's activity in the world will be known by the love they manifest for God and for each other. This was what Jesus told his dis ciples (Jn 13:35). ... First, just as God's love was manifested in the sending of the Son, so John expects that we will demonstrate love in action to others (compare 3:16-18). Christians will live out their love in kindness, generosity and service to others. But, second, the Elder's argument moves quickly beyond the example that God's love provides for us to an examination of its active and redeeming character (vv. 9-10). God has loved us in a way that has given us life. The atoning death of Jesus provides the means by which believers come into a life-giving realm where love is received and expressed (John 3:16). We do not simply gaze at the painting on the wall; we are touched by the hand of God and given life-giving love. And, third, because life and love come from God, it is God's activity and not our own behavior and efforts that defines the essence of love. The Command to Love (4:11-12). Because God's children have experienced such love, the command that comes to them to love each other is not the "ought" of external compulsion but the "ought" of internal constraint (Bruce 1970:109). On its own, the commandment cannot provide the incentive or the power to fulfill it, and this might foster either discouragement or indifference. But those who are in touch with the very source of love, who have been shown what love is and who are the recipients of a great and healing love, can receive the commandment with hope and joy. For they are not commanded to do something that is alien to their experience or beyond their ability to learn and to do. So strong is John's confidence that the Christian community will fulfill this command that he writes that mutual Christian love manifests the presence and action of the invisible God (v. 12; Smalley 1984:246). When he writes no one has ever seen God, he calls to mind the same statement in the Gospel of John (1:18). In both cases, he is not trying to tell us what God is like but how God is known. And God is known not only in the revelation that comes to us in Jesus (John 1:18) but also by the manifestation of our love for each other (1 Jn 4:12). The love of believers makes evident and concrete the activity of God among them. In fact, when the Elder writes that this is how [God's] love is made complete, he means that it reaches its intended goal when it flows from God, through us, to our fellow believers. The love with which God loved us must in turn be extended to the fellowship of believers. In short, God not only gives us the command to love but has also modeled for us what true love is, just as Jesus modeled love for his disciples when he washed their feet before his death (Johnn 13:1-17). Love that does not express itself concretely and in service to others is not love (1 Jn 3:16-18). But even more, God also empowers us to love. By confession of the Son whom God has sent, we are born of God and come to know God, who is love (v. 7); we are given life (v. 9); our sins are forgiven (v. 10). We come into the realm of life and love, in which we are given life and are empowered to extend the same kind of life-giving love to others. We come to know the source of love. [link]

Background of First John – Only in John among the biblical writers does the word ‘antichrist’ occur – It is mentioned in 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3 and 2 John 7 – Anti means [‘instead of,’ replacement – replacement chirst (savior) – not Jesus Christ but a replacement – antichrist either as self or eventually Antichrist as Satan in the body of a human] ‘one who takes the place of, or opposes or stands against’ – The essence of the antichrist essentially is a denial of the incarnation and deity of Christ – This means the destruction of the redemptive work of Christ, which was the basis for the destruction [works] of Satan himself – Without the work of Christ, Satan would continue in his evil ways – However **the cross [of Jesus Christ] puts an end to antichrist and all his plans [and abilities of entrapping and enslaving mankind]

Occasion: John writes near the end of the first century to define and defend the nature of the person of Christ against heretical teachings affecting the early church. The name given to the heresy which John addressed was Gnosticism from the Greek word for 'knowledge'. Gnosticism taught that only the spiritual was good and matter was evil. Thus for the Gnostics the goal of salvation was to free oneself from the material world through physical denial. Only a preoccupation with spiritual matters was good. Salvation was found in a mystical knowledge of the secret mysteries of this path of salvation. This view was a direct attack on the person and work of Christ. If matter was evil then Jesus could not become a physical man and so the incarnation was denied by the Gnostics. Jesus in his humanity was only a shadow. He only seemed to be Jesus but was not really there, therefore no one really died on the cross making the work of Christ null and void. This view of the person of Christ is called Docetism from the Greek word meaning 'to seem to be'. John also writes to deal with an enemy of the gospel called Cerinthus. While Cerinthus is not mentioned in the book of 1 John he is known to John from tradition. Irenaus an early church father tells the story that Polycarp a disciple of John used to tell. 'There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerintus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, Let us fly, lest even the bath - house fall down, because Cerintus, the enemy of the truth, is within.' -- John sets forth the deity of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Message: The theme is best described in John's own words in 1 John 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.' John proceeds to give a check list of standards by which one can gage their spiritual health. Has all known sin been confessed to God? Is there obedience to God's word? Is there demonstrated love for the brethren? [link]

1 John 1 – John the beloved Disciple and Apostle of Jesus Christ begins his first of three letters (epistles) – The first letter is to the general Church at large then his next letter is to a specific Church fellowship while his third letter is to an individual — ‘1 John 1:1-4 That [Jesus Christ] which was from the beginning, which *we have heard, which *we have seen with our eyes, which *we [Apostles] have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life; For the life was manifested [Virgin Birth], and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that **eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested [Resurrection] unto us; That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, ***that ye also may have fellowship with us [Christian Apostles]: and truly **our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.’

1 John 1:5-10 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. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the Truth: 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. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth [of the cross and resurrection] is not in us. If we confess [agree with God] our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us [with a new eternal life] from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. - Note: The Gospel of John, the Book of Revelation and the his three epistles (letters) were all written very late [around 90 A.D.] in the life of the beloved disciple of Jesus Christ yet the "Message" of Jesus Christ is the one and only central theme in all the writings of the Apostle John.

1 John 2 – The Disciple and Apostle John writes of the works accomplished and completed in Jesus Christ for the Salvation of the entire world — ‘1 John 2:1-2 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: And He is the propitiation (full payment) for our sins: and *not for ours only, **but also for the sins of the whole world.’ {Note: Everyone who chooses to be forgiven of their sin and to enter into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ will be accepted by God into a personal relationship with God.}

The Disciple John explains how we are to know if we are in God and how we are to know if others are in God as well: 1 John 2:3-17 And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments [Love God and love one another]. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected [completed]: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him **ought himself also so to walk, even as He Walked. Brethren, I write no new Commandment unto you, but an old Commandment which ye had from the beginning. The Old Commandment is the Word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a New [insight] Commandment I write unto you, which thing is true *in Him and *in you: ***because the darkness is past, and the True [Resurrection] Light now shineth. He that saith He is in the [eternal resurrection] light, and hateth his brother, is in [spiritual] darkness even until now. **He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. I write unto you, little children, **because your sins are forgiven you for His Name's sake [so God can fellowship with and among us]. I write unto you, fathers [faithful, tested Christians], because ye have known Him [Jesus] that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men [those strong in the Christian faith], because ye have overcome [Satan] the wicked one. I write unto you, little children [those new in the Christian faith], because *ye *have *known [God] the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and **the Word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome [Satan] the wicked one. 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. For all that is in the **world [system], 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 [system]. And the world [system first then 1,000 years later the earth itself] passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever [eternally]. Little children, it is the Last Time [the last time (age) mankind will have to experience and endure separation from God]: and as ye have heard that *Antichrist [Satan manifested] shall come, even now are there many antichrists [self-saviors]; whereby we know that it is the Last Time [continuing into the 7th Kingdom]. They [some] 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 [Christians]: but they went out, **that they might be made *manifest [visible] that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction [anointing] from the Holy One [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit], and ye know all things [eternally]. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. **Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist [self-savior], that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but **he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide [remain] in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And *this is the promise that He hath promised us, even **eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them [false teachers] that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same [Holy Spirit] anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him [Jesus Christ]. And now, little children, abide in Him [Jesus Christ]; that, when He shall appear [2nd Coming], we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If ye know that He is Righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him.

1 John 3 – The Disciple John explains that our partaking in the Love that has been and is manifested in Jesus Christ reaches its ultimate conclusion in our eternal life in Jesus Christ — ‘1 John 3:1-3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons [lit. children] of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons [lit. children] of God [see also – Romans 8:14, Sons of God], and it doth not yet appear what we shall be [in the resurrection]: but we know that, when He shall appear [2nd Coming], we shall be [bodily] like Him [Jesus Christ]; for we shall [bodily] see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope [eternal life] in him purifieth himself, even as He [Jesus Christ] is pure.’

The Disciple John explains that God is far greater than our own uncertain heart, fears and worries and that to trust in Jesus Christ with our life is to receive a full eternal life from Jesus Christ: 1 John 3:4-24 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that He [Jesus Christ] was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen [lit. perceive - Horao, G3708] Him, neither known Him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the Devil [Lucifer, Lucifer]; for the Devil sinneth from the beginning [of mankind]. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works [strength] of the Devil. Whosoever is born [again] of God doth not commit sin [separation from God]; for His seed [Holy Spirit] remaineth in him: and he cannot [separate from God] sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the Devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew [Abel] his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and [Abel] his brother's righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto [eternal] life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer [like Cain]: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. **For if our heart [thoughts] condemn us, ***God is greater than our heart [thoughts and imaginations], and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him [as we have need], because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the Name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He [Jesus Christ] gave us Commandment. And he that keepeth His Commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, **by the [Holy] Spirit which He hath given us.

1 John 4 – The Disciple John warns everyone about the deceiving, manipulating and evil spirits that are out to destroy mankind and that often the evil spirits work directly through mankind — ‘1 John 4:1-3 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets [evil spirits] are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the [Holy] Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth [agrees in word and actions] that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not [in word and lifestyle] 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.’

The Apostle John declares our certain victory over our own sin and this world in the love and faithfulness of Jesus Christ: 1 John 4:4-21 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them [false teachers]: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. **Hereby know we the *Spirit of Truth, and the *spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born [again] of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was *manifested the Love of God toward us, because that ***God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him [Jesus Christ]. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us [first], and sent His Son to be the propitiation [full payment] for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen [the complete Divine fullness of] God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit. And **we have seen [God in Jesus] and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess [agree with God] that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. **God is love [commitment]; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect [complete], **that we may have boldness **in the day of judgment: because as He is [holy and righteous], so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love Him [God], because He first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this Commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. - Note: God is Love therefore we are to love one another. The Love of God is an attribute of God and it is one of the many attributes and characteristics of God; including God's Love and also His faithfulness, His Righteousness, His Justice and His eternal life being.

1 John 5 – The Disciple John explains that our victory over our sin and this world leads to fellowship – Fellowship both with our fellow mankind and our personal fellowship with God — ‘1 John 5:1-5 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ [Savior] is born of God: and every one that loveth Him [Father God] that begat loveth Him [Jesus Christ] also that is begotten of Him [Father God]. By this we know that we love the Children of God, when we love God, and keep His Commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His Commandments: and His Commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born [again] of God overcometh the world: **and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even **our faith [belief in the finished work of Jesus; Creation, Cross, Resurrection]. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?’

The Bible's book of 1 John concludes with another declaration that the Christian does already have eternal life in Jesus Christ: 1 John 5:6-21 This is He [Jesus Christ] that came by [physical] water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the [Holy] Spirit that beareth witness, because the [Holy] Spirit is Truth. ***For there are three [Tri-unity] that bear record in heaven, the *Father, the Word [Jeus Christ], and the Holy [Spirit] Ghost: **and these three are one [Tri-unity]. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit [(living - breathing, John 3:5) Jesus physically manifested], and the [physical] water {Virgin birth, Baptism John 1:31, death on the cross (water and blood)}, and the [physical] blood, John 19:34 {stories, myths, legends and ghosts go not breath and bleed human blood (water and blood)}: and these three [the physical manifestation] agree in one [that Jesus came in human physical flesh]. If we receive the witness of men [good], [but] the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath Testified of His Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. **He [human] that hath the Son [Jesus Christ] hath [eternal] life; and he that hath not [Jesus Christ] the Son of God hath not [eternal] life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the Name [Jesus Christ] of the Son of God; **that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the Name [Jesus Christ] of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask [in prayer] anything according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him [God hears our prayers and answers them according to His will in our life]. If any man see his brother sin a sin [ordinary unrighteous sin] which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death [unbelief, rejection of Jesus Christ]: I do not say that he [intercessor] shall pray for it [intercessory cannot override the unbelief of the human will]. *All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born [again - with faith/belief] of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not [eternally]. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him [Father] that is True, and we are in Him that is True, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the True God, and *eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

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