Good evening and welcome to eBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of 2nd John. Tonight is study number 10 and we will be reading 2 John 1:7, which says:
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
We are not surprised that the Bible says “many deceivers are entered into the world.” Actually, we rather expect it, considering, that this other verse is in the Bible, in Jeremiah 17:9:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
So in Jeremiah 17:9, God is speaking of the hearts of all man and He is saying that each sinner’s heart, or each human being’s heart, is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. So, obviously, there would be many deceivers in the world. That is not surprising at all.
But, when we read in 2 John 1:7 that many deceivers are entered into the world, in this verse, God is not talking about mankind’s deceitful nature. He is speaking of deceivers in the sense of those that bring the Gospel and that have association with the Bible. And so, these are the deceivers. To put it in another way, not everyone in the world that has a deceitful heart. Yes; they are unsaved and so they do possess deceitful and desperately wicked hearts, but not all of them involve themselves in the spiritual matters of the Bible. That is done only by those that enter into the churches or who respond to the Gospel call in some way, and many of those are not saved. It is only the few that are the elect, that God says, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” And so, those individuals that were called and then involved in Christianity, and in Christian things (like the Bible and its teaching), are the deceivers that 2 John 1:7 is referring to.
We need to have a word of caution before we continue on, in order to recognize that there are some in the churches that believe that we (God’s people, who believe that May 21 was Judgment Day and who believe the church age is over and other things that God has opened up during these last days of the great tribulation and now, in these days after) are the deceivers. They believe, with assurance, that we are the deceivers. They stand for the truth of their church and their history. They believe that the traditions of their churches are true and faithful. When we teach things from the Bible that are contrary to those traditions, they think we are the deceivers.
This is not out of the ordinary. It is actually to be expected. It does not disturb the child of God at all, and it really does not bother us, that those in the churches and congregations have this opinion of us, because we just know the Bible and we trust God’s Word. We are concerned with what God thinks, not with what man thinks, or with what the church’s corporate entity believes. That is not our concern, and especially, we are not that concerned if we are thought of as deceivers, because that would place us in very good company.
For instance, in the Gospel of John, it says in John 7:11-12:
Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.
They were referring to Christ. There were Jews who thought, “he deceiveth the people.” Why did they think that? Because He was teaching things contrary to what the scribes and the Pharisees and the fathers had taught with their traditions. He was going against the grain of the Old Testament church of Israel. And so obviously, since the church could not be in error, no their traditions had been handed down, in some cases, for centuries—they must be true. No; this man is the deceiver. He is the one who is deceiving the people. This was taught by the leaders of Israel.
We find in Matthew 27:62-63:
Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
Then they are asking Pilate to command that the sepulcher be made sure until the third day. But notice how Christ (and this is the Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal God, JEHOVAH, who became man and entered into the human race and dwelt among us, born of a virgin, and He was in all of the fullness of God the Almighty) was called the deceiver, “that deceiver said.” The One who is the Truth Himself. The One who is the very personification and embodiment of the Word of God. The One who is Faithful and True. He is everything good, without any darkness and there is no lie in Him of any kind.
And how was He received by His people, by His nation, by those that had an outward relationship with God (they were the corporate body that represented the Kingdom of God upon earth)? How was Truth Himself received? He was called a deceiver, “that deceiver.”
It just speaks volumes about the ability of the corporate churches to misjudge, to call Light darkness, to call good evil, to call Christ (the Truth), a lie. It just tells us of the incredible blindness of Israel of old, but that blindness has not changed in the church of today. They are incredibly in darkness and cannot find the Door, who is Christ. They cannot find the Truth of the Word of God, if it were right in front of them. They turn from it. They turn aside and embrace their own doctrines and their own gospels. They think that they know better than God. They have the wisdom of the world and reject the wisdom and counsel of God and His Word. This is the nature of the unsaved that have an outward relationship with God only, whether physically through circumcision or through water baptism. They call themselves “Jews” or they call themselves “Christians,” but in reality, they are not the people of God or there is no way that they would call Christ a deceiver.
Someone may say, “The church today is not calling Christ a deceiver, that was the Jews.” Yes; but God uses the Jews to typify the church of our day. What the Jews said of the Person of Christ, the church says of the Word of Christ, the Bible. In other words, yes, Christ was in the flesh during the time of His ministry, but Christ is also so closely identified with His Word, that He is the Gospel Himself, and when we speak a true Gospel and when we declare right things after following the guideline of comparing spiritual with spiritual and making sure everything is in sync with all the Word of God—when we follow that, we are declaring the true Gospel, we are declaring Christ.
This is what the Bible says. This is why it says in Matthew 24:23-24:
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
The idea that someone could come along and say, “I am Christ,” and that this could any way, even get anywhere near deceiving one of God’s elect is ridiculous. No; the true believer would just be given a plain and simple insight into the Word of God that there will be no Christ walking upon the earth as Jesus did. It will just be His coming and then the end of the world.
So yes, we do find here or there, an individual who, with a mental disorder of some sort, thinks he is actually Christ, but that person could never deceive one of God’s elect. That is not what the verse is saying. It is speaking about those that come with gospels. They come with the Bible and they say, “This gospel that I have, this is truth.” And who is truth, but Christ? This gospel is the Word of God. And who is the Word, but Christ? And so, they arise false christs, when they are bringing false gospels.
Some of these false gospels are very close, and so, if it were possible (which it is not because God holds fast His people), they might deceive the elect, but God does not permit that. And so, these deceivers, who come looking like Christ and they come with a gospel that pretends to be Christ, that is, the truth of God’s Word, they are not able to ultimately harm one of the elect people of God.
So we see, that it does have application when Israel of old called Christ, who walked among them, “that deceiver.” So does the church today. They embrace false christs and when they see the actual Christ, or the actual truth of the Word of God, they reject it out of hand. They do not know who Christ is. They cannot recognize Him through the truth of the Word of God.
Let us look at another verse where God uses this same word “deceivers,” but in this case, He is speaking of believers. It says in 2 Corinthians 6:8:
By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;
In this context God is speaking of the true believers and all of the apparent contradictions. For instance, it says of true believers in 2 Corinthians 6:9-10:
As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich;…
So, on one hand, God is saying how we are perceived, or something that is going on with us spiritually, and yet there is a reality and we could be perceived as deceivers by those around us. The church can start that kind of thing rolling and the world could pick it up and the world may even take some of the language and say, “oh, they are false prophets. They said May 21, 2011 would be the end of the world or Judgment Day,” and so on.
And so, they could label God’s people as deceivers, and yet God says, “Alright, let them. So what? They called me a deceiver. They thought Christ Himself was a deceiver.” And so God says, in 2 Corinthians 6:8:
that is, you may be called that. You may be perceived that way. However, it goes on to say:
…and yet true;
That is, God’s people are true men, men without guile, men without deceit in their hearts at all. That desperately wicked, deceitful heart that is deceitful above all things, has been removed from the child of God and it has been transplanted and replaced with a new heart, a pure heart, a heart of truth. There is no sin, no darkness of any kind, in the new hearts that God has placed within His people.
And so, His people are not deceivers at all. As a matter of fact, of all of the people in the world, they are the last ones that are the deceivers. The first are those that are in the congregations, and then, following, are those in the world because of the nature of their own hearts. But God’s people have no deceitfulness any longer within their soul existence. It has been replaced.
Could they have been in error about something? Sure, they could have. They could have made a mistake, and we did make some mistakes. We had some wrong ideas. We thought that May 21, 2011 would be the rapture, and it was not, and we thought that October 21, 2011 would be the end of the world, and it was not. But, that does not make us deceivers. We were just teaching things we learned from the Bible and we made correction.
Thank God we do not have to continue in a deceitful doctrine or in a teaching that is erroneous at all. That is a good thing about a failed date, in the sense of the end of the world that did not happen. Judgment Day did occur and there was no failure in that matter, but it was not the end of the world as we thought. But, the good thing is that we can make correction.
This is not the case with those that hold onto erroneous doctrines and gospels. They are not advantaged to come to a day where it is clearly obvious to all that some aspect of their gospel is incorrect, so they maintain it and hold onto it. They can even level charges against the true believers, “Oh, you are the deceiver! Look, it did not happen as you said!” While all the while, they have their hands full of lies. They teach nothing but lies to their congregations. They are not our judges and they are not the ones we are concerned about, and what they think, in the least bit.
We are concerned with what God says, and God, when He is speaking of deceivers, is not speaking of His elect people at all. He is talking about those that bring other kinds of gospels, that add to His Word, that subtract from His Word, that would say that you can still receive revelation from Him, in a tongue or a dream, that would say that God can still move in His spirit to cause you to fall backwards or to heal. They bring gospels that are social gospels or political gospels. They have all kinds of gospels under the sun, but the true Gospel of the Bible. Yes; there are many deceivers that have entered into the world. This is an unfortunate fact and God recognizes this.
Let us go back to 2nd John and continue reading in our verse, in 2 John 1:7:
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
Notice that God is, in particular, drawing our attention to this statement, that the deceivers are they “who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” First of all, this is not pointing to those that deny the historical fact that Christ was born of the virgin Mary and did live in history. That is, there are some who deny that there was ever any man named Jesus. There are not too many of them, because there is so much support, of that fact that Christ did live. But there are some that would deny that there was ever such a man, that there was no one at all named Jesus, and that it was all just made up.
God is not really addressing them here, when He says, “who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh,” even though it would have application to them, in a much smaller way. In the first instance, God is referring to those that would deny the deity, the Godness, or the Person of God, that Christ is that Being, that He is the Almighty, the Everlasting God that the Bible speaks of, that He is the Eternal God of Scripture. That is the first thing, but there is much more to this statement concerning those who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, and that this is a deceiver and an antichrist.
We can know, right away, absolutely, that any gospel or any spin off Christian religion that denies that Jesus is God and that they say that He is the Son of God, and by that, they mean that He is somewhat less than God, or they say that He is some sort of chief angel, or He is this or He is that. Whatever they say, it does not matter, but if they say that Christ is less than the Almighty God, the Great I AM, JEHOVAH Himself in the flesh, they are a deceiver and an antichrist.
We can know, actually, as a couple of verses down, God says to pay them no heed. That is, if someone comes to your door and they have the kind of gospel where they think that Jesus is less than Eternal God, do not slam the door in their faces, but very quickly say, “No thank you. I have no interest in that kind of a gospel. The Bible tells me Christ is God. Goodbye.” And close the door and do not listen to another word because they are not confessing that Christ has come in the flesh, that Christ is the Almighty.
We will continue with this in our next study, but again, immediately if anyone, any gospel, any religion, any church, denies that Christ is God, we can know for certain, that they may profess some other things about Him, but since they are denying his deity, His God nature, they are not of God, in any way.