1 John 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.
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1 John 2:19. They went out from us — Separated themselves from the communion of the true church of Christ. Hence it is one of the marks of antichrist, that he had been once in the Christian Church, and a teacher by profession, but had left it or apostatized; but they were not of us — When they went, their hearts were before departed from God; for if they had been of us — Had been inspired by the same spirit wherewith we are inspired; they would, no doubt, have continued with us — For upright men, of a pure intention, would never have seen any cause to leave us, and divine grace would have preserved such from being overcome by the temptations of these artful deceivers; but they went out — They were permitted to apostatize outwardly; that they might be made manifest — See 1 Corinthians 11:19. (This was made manifest by their going out;) that they were not all of us — Sound members of our body, really believing the same truths which we believe, and partaking of the same grace which we partake of.

2:18-23 Every man is an antichrist, who denies the Person, or any of the offices of Christ; and in denying the Son, he denies the Father also, and has no part in his favour while he rejects his great salvation. Let this prophecy that seducers would rise in the Christian world, keep us from being seduced. The church knows not well who are its true members, and who are not, but thus true Christians were proved, and rendered more watchful and humble. True Christians are anointed ones; their names expresses this: they are anointed with grace, with gifts and spiritual privileges, by the Holy Spirit of grace. The great and most hurtful lies that the father of lies spreads in the world, usually are falsehoods and errors relating to the person of Christ. The unction from the Holy One, alone can keep us from delusions. While we judge favourably of all who trust in Christ as the Divine Saviour, and obey his word, and seek to live in union with them, let us pity and pray for those who deny the Godhead of Christ, or his atonement, and the new-creating work of the Holy Ghost. Let us protest against such antichristian doctrine, and keep from them as much as we may.They went out from us - From the church. That is, they had once been professors of the religion of the Saviour, though their apostasy showed that they never had any true piety. John refers to the fact that they had once been in the church, perhaps to remind those to whom he wrote that they knew them well, and could readily appreciate their character. It was a humiliating statement that those who showed themselves to be so utterly opposed to religion had once been members of the Christian church; but this is a statement which we are often compelled to make.

But they were not of us - That is, they did not really belong to us, or were not true Christians. See the notes at Matthew 7:23. This passage proves that these persons, whatever their pretensions and professions may have been, were never sincere Christians. The same remark may be made of all who apostatize from the faith, and become teachers of error. They never were truly converted; never belonged really to the spiritual church of Christ.

For if they had been of us - If they had been sincere and true Christians.

They would no doubt have continued with us - The words "no doubt" are supplied by our translators, but the affirmation is equally strong without them: "they would have remained with us." This affirms, without any ambiguity or qualification, that if they had been true Christians they "would" have remained in the church; that is, they would not have apostatized. There could not be a more positive affirmation than that which is implied here, that those who are true Christians will continue to be such; or that the saints will not fall away from grace. John affirms it of these persons, that if they had been true Christians they would never have departed from the church. He makes the declaration so general that it may be regarded as a universal truth, that if "any" are truly "of us," that is, if they are true Christians, they will continue in the church, or will never fall away. The statement is so made also as to teach that if any "do" fall away from the church, the fact is full proof that they never had any religion, for if they had had they would have remained steadfast in the church.

But they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us - It was suffered or permitted in the providence of God that this should occur, "in order" that it might be seen and known that they were not true Christians, or in order that their real character might be developed. It was desirable that this should be done:

(a) in order that the church might be purified from their influence - compare the notes at John 15:2;

(b) in order that it might not be responsible for their conduct, or reproached on account of it;

(c) in order that their real character might be developed, and they might themselves see that they were not true Christians;

(d) in order that, being seen and known as apostates, their opinions and conduct might have less influence than if they were connected with the church;

(e) in order that they might themselves understand their own true character, and no longer live under the delusive opinion that they were Christians and were safe, but that, seeing themselves in their true light, they might be brought to repentance.

For there is only a most slender prospect that any who are deceived in the church will ever be brought to true repentance there; and slight as is the hope that one who apostatizes will be, such an event is much more probable than it would be if he remained in the church. People are more likely to be converted when their character is known and understood, than they are when playing a game of deception, or are themselves deceived. What is here affirmed of these persons often occurs now; and those who have no true religion are often suffered to apostatize from their profession for the same purposes. It is better that they should cease to have any connection with the church than that they should remain in it; and God often suffers them to fall away even from the profession of religion, in order that they may not do injury as professing Christians. This very important passage, then, teaches the following things:

(1) That when people apostatize from the profession of religion, and embrace fatal error, or live in sin, it proves that they never had any true piety.

(2) the fact that such persons fall away cannot be adduced to prove that Christians ever fall from grace, for it demonstrates nothing on that point, but proves only that these persons never had any real piety. They may have had much that seemed to be religion; they may have been zealous, and apparently devoted to God, and may even have had much comfort and peace in what they took to be piety; they may have been eminently "gifted" in prayer, or may have even been successful preachers of the gospel, but all this does not prove that they ever had any piety, nor does the fact that such persons apostatize from their profession throw any light on a question quite foreign to this - whether true Christians ever fall from grace. Compare Matthew 7:22-23.

(3) the passage before us proves that if any are true Christians they will remain in the church, or will certainly persevere and be saved. They may indeed backslide grievously; they may wander far away, and pain the hearts of their brethren, and give occasion to the enemies of religion to speak reproachfully; but the apostle says, "if they had been of us, they would have continued with us."


19. out from us—from our Christian communion. Not necessarily a formal secession or going out: thus Rome has spiritually gone out, though formally still of the Christian Church.

not of us—by spiritual fellowship (1Jo 1:3). "They are like bad humors in the body of Christ, the Church: when they are vomited out, then the body is relieved; the body of Christ is now still under treatment, and has not yet attained the perfect soundness which it shall have only at the resurrection" [Augustine, Ten Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Homily 3.4].

they would … have continued—implying the indefectibility of grace in the elect. "Where God's call is effectual, there will be sure perseverance" [Calvin]. Still, it is no fatal necessity, but a "voluntary necessity" [Didymus], which causes men to remain, or else go from the body of Christ. "We are either among the members, or else among the bad humors. It is of his own will that each is either an Antichrist, or in Christ" [Augustine]. Still God's actings in eternal election harmonize in a way inexplicable to us, with man's free agency and responsibility. It is men's own evil will that chooses the way to hell; it is God's free and sovereign grace that draws any to Himself and to heaven. To God the latter shall ascribe wholly their salvation from first to last: the former shall reproach themselves alone, and not God's decree, with their condemnation (1Jo 3:9; 5:18).

that they were not all of us—This translation would imply that some of the Antichrists are of us! Translate, therefore, "that all (who are for a time among us) are not of us." Compare 1Co 11:19, "There must be heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." For "were" some of the oldest manuscripts read "are." Such occasions test who are, and who are not, the Lord's people.

If they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: sincere and living Christians are so strongly held in with Christ, and the truly Christian community, by a union and bond of life, and by sense of pleasures which thereupon they find in that holy communion, with the expectation which their lively faith gives them of eternal life at last, that there is no doubt of their continuance.

But they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us: others, that are Christians upon external inducements, alter, as these do, and are permitted to do so, that the difference may appear between true and counterfeit ones, 1 Corinthians 11:19.

They went out from us,.... Which intends not the persons that went down from Judea to Antioch, Acts 15:1, who preached destructive doctrines to the Gentiles, which the apostles and the church of Judea disowned and censured; by which it appeared, that all the preachers of these doctrines were not of them, and of the same mind with them: for this sense makes these antichrists to be only preachers; whereas, though many of them might be such, yet not all; for whoever, in a private capacity denied the Father and the Son, or that Christ was come in the flesh, was antichrist; and to these private believers are opposed in 1 John 2:20; and it also makes the "us" to be the apostles, whereas they were all dead but John; and these antichrists were men that had risen up then in the last time, and therefore could not, with propriety, be said to go out from the apostles; besides, whenever the apostle uses this pronoun "us", he includes with himself all true believers, and may more especially here intend the churches of Asia; or rather the members of the church at Ephesus, where he was; nor is it likely he should have in view the church of Judea, and a case in which that was concerned near forty years ago: moreover, such a sense makes the going out to be merely local and corporeal, and which is in itself not criminal; the persons that went from Judea to Antioch were not blamable for going thither, nor for going out from the apostles thither, but for troubling the disciples with words, to the subverting of their souls; nor was a corporeal departure from the apostles any evidence of not being of the same mind with them; for they often departed one from other, yet continued of the same mind, and in the same faith: but the sense is, that there were some persons in the Apostle John's time, who had made a profession of religion, were members of the church, and some of them perhaps preachers, and yet they departed from the faith, and dropped their profession of it, and withdrew themselves from the church, or churches to which they belonged, and set up separate assemblies of their own:

but they were not of us: they were of the church, and of the same mind with it, at least in profession, antecedent to their going out; for had they not been in communion with the church, they could not be properly said to go out of it; and if they had not been of the same mind and faith in profession, they could not be said to depart from it; but they were not truly regenerated by the grace of God, and so apparently were not of the number, of God's elect: notwithstanding their profession and communion with the church, they were of the world, and not of God; they were not true believers; they had not that anointing which abides, and from which persons are truly denominated Christians, or anointed ones:

for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the fellowship of the church, as true believers do: if their hearts had been right with God, they would have remained steadfast to him, his Gospel, truths, and ordinances, and faithful with his saints; for such who are truly regenerate are born of an incorruptible seed, and those that have received the anointing which makes them truly Christians, that abides, as does every true grace, faith, hope, and love; and such who are truly God's elect cannot possibly fall into such errors and heresies as these did, and be finally deceived, as they were:

but they went out; "they went out from us", so the Syriac version reads;

that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us; the word "all" is left out in the Syriac version. The defection and apostasy of these persons were permitted by God, that it might appear they had never received the grace of God in truth; and their going out was in such a manner, that it was a certain argument that they were not of the elect; since they became antichrists, denied the deity or sonship of Christ, or that he was come in the flesh, or that he was the Christ, and therefore are said to be of the world, and not of God, 1Jo_2:22, so that this passage furnishes out no argument against the saints' perseverance, which is confirmed in 1 John 2:20.

{19} They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, {o} they would no doubt have continued with us: {20} but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

(19) A digression against certain offences and stumbling blocks at which that young age especially might stumble and be shaken, Therefore that they should not be terrified with the falling back of certain, first he makes plain to men that although those who fall from God and his religion had a place in the Church, yet they were never of the Church: because the Church is the company of the elect, who cannot perish, and therefore cannot fall from Christ.

(o) So then the elect can never fall from grace.

(20) Secondly, he shows that these things happen to the benefit of the Church, that hypocrites may be plainly known.

1 John 2:19. Relation of the ἀντίχριστοι to the Christian Church.

ἐξ ἡμῶν ἐξῆλθαν, ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἧσαν ἐξ ἡμῶν] On the form of the second aorist with α, see Winer, p. 68 (VII. p. 71).

By ἡμῶν we are not to understand the Jews (Grotius, Eichhorn, Rickli), nor the apostles (S. Schmid, Spener, Besser, and others), but Christians in general, as the Church of Christ.[162] ἘΞῆΛΘΑΝ is taken by several commentators = prodierunt (Vulgate, Baumgarten-Crusius, Erdmann, and others), finding the idea of origin expressed in it; this is incorrect; the following ΜΕΜΕΝΉΚΕΙΣΑΝ shows that it is rather to be taken in the sense of secessio (so Augustin, Bede, Erasmus; and among the moderns, Lücke, Düsterdieck, Ebrard, Braune, and others). By the emphatic position of ἘΞ ἩΜῶΝ it is brought out that the antichrists were previously ΜΕΘʼ ἩΜῶΝ, and belonged therefore to the Christian Church. How far this separation had been formally accomplished, John does not say; but it is contained in ἘΞῆΛΘΑΝ that they had taken up an antagonistic position, not merely to the apostolic doctrine (Beza: ad mutationem non loci sed doctrinae pertinet), but to those who by their faithful observance of the unadulterated gospel proved themselves to be the children of God (as also Braune).

ἈΛΛʼ ΟὐΚ ἮΣΑΝ ἘΞ ἩΜῶΝ] ἈΛΛʼ expresses the contrast to the preceding thought: although they went out from us (and therefore were connected with us), yet they were not of us. ΕἾΝΑΙ ἘΚ expresses connection in the most complete reality, thus: they were not of us, viz. in such a way that they would have really belonged to us, as common members of one body, in which one soul lives; in contrast to which the εἶναι μετά contained in the following ΜΕΜΕΝΉΚΕΙΣΑΝ ἊΝ ΜΕΘʼ ἩΜῶΝ expresses the outward fellowship as distinguished from the former idea. Even here ἐκ does not depart from its original meaning (see on 1 John 2:16), for he only truly belongs to the Church of the Lord who in regard to his inner life has proceeded from it, i.e. from the Spirit ruling in it.[163] The imperfect ἮΣΑΝ embraces the whole previous period during which the antichristians were connected with the believers, and does not merely refer to the time immediately preceding their separation (Episcopius, Socinus).

That they were not ἘΞ ἩΜῶΝ, John proves by the words: ΕἸ ΓᾺΡ ἮΣΑΝ ἘΞ ἩΜῶΝ, ΜΕΜΕΝΉΚΕΙΣΑΝ ἊΝ ΜΕΘʼ ἩΜῶΝ. The ἈΝΤΊΧΡΙΣΤΟΙ belonged therefore to the Christians for a while; they were ΜΕΤʼ ΑὐΤῶΝ, although not ἘΞ ΑὐΤῶΝ, for in this case they would also have remained ΜΕΤʼ ΑὐΤῶΝ. Here, too, John proceeds on the idea that the ΜΈΝΕΙΝ is the evidence of the ΕἾΝΑΙ. On the pluperfect without the augment, see Winer, p. 67 (VII. p. 70).

ἈΛΛʼ ἽΝΑ ΦΑΝΕΡΩΘῶΣΙΝ Κ.Τ.Λ.] ἈΛΛΆ refers back to ἘΞῆΛΘΑΝ, or to the thought: Οὐ ΜΕΜΕΝΉΚΑΣΙ ΜΕΘʼ ἩΜῶΝ: “but they have not remained with us.” Less simply Düsterdieck interprets: “they have not remained with us, but (ἀλλά) they have been separated from us, in order that.” Such a double supplement is not necessary, for ἈΛΛΆ is not necessarily the antithesis of a negation.

By ἽΝΑ Κ.Τ.Λ. it is not the result (Paulus), but the purpose that is stated,—the purpose, namely, of their separation or not remaining, which was willed by God; the purpose is that it might be manifest that they are not ἘΞ ἩΜῶΝ. The connection of ΦΑΝΕΡΩΘῶΣΙΝ with the following ὍΤΙ ΟὐΚ ΕἸΣῚ ΠΆΝΤΕς ἘΞ ἩΜῶΝ is not quite regular; Socinus construes Οὐ and ΠΆΝΤΕς together: non omnes = nulli i.e. nemo ex illis est ex nostro numero; this is incorrect, Οὐ ΠΆΝΤΕς is not = nulli, but = nonnulli; de Wette rightly supposes the conjunction of two thoughts, viz. (1) ἽΝΑ ΦΑΝΕΡΩΘῇ, ὍΤΙ ΟὐΚ ΕἸΣῚ ΠΆΝΤΕς ἘΞ ἩΜῶΝ; and (2) ἽΝΑ ΦΑΝΕΡΩΘῶΣΙΝ, ὍΤΙ ΟὐΚ ΕἸΣῚΝ ἘΞ ἩΜῶΝ, only de Wette should have put the second thought first, for John’s immediate intention was, as the plural ΦΑΝΕΡΩΘῶΣΙΝ shows, to speak only of the ἈΝΤΊΧΡΙΣΤΟΙ, but then he extends his idea so as to introduce the new subject ΠΆΝΤΕς; the sense is: it was to be made manifest in the ἈΝΤΊΧΡΙΣΤΟΙ that they were not—and therefore that all who were ΜΕΘʼ ἩΜῶΝ were not

ἘΞ ἩΜῶΝ (so also Braune[164]).

For the work of the Christian Church it is necessary that it shall be manifest who really belongs to it and who does not; this ΚΡΊΣΙς is the purpose for the sake of which God has so arranged it that those ἈΝΤΊΧΡΙΣΤΟΙ should go out; comp. with the idea in 1 Corinthians 11:19.

[162] Ebrard finds himself compelled by his interpretation of παιδία not to include in ἡμεῖς those addressed, but to say: “the apostle puts himself and the Church in contrast to the little ones whom he addresses.”

[163] Düsterdieck: “That those antichrists left the fellowship of the believers, follows from μεμενήκ. ἂν μεθʼ ἡμῶν; but the original, inner, ethical relationship of those men who went out from the bosom of Christian fellowship and fell away from it, is indicated by the different meaning in which the same phrase ἐξ ἡμῶν appears, on the one hand, with ἐξῆλθαν, with which μεμενήκ. κ.τ.λ. is to be combined; and, on the other hand, in the expressions οὐκ ἦσαν ἐξ ἡμῶν and εἰ γὰρ ἦσαν ἐξ ἡμ.”

[164] Myrberg interprets: sed (egressi sunt) ut manifesti redderentur; nam non omnes sunt de nobis; but incorrectly, for (1) φανερωθῶσιν requires a more particular definition; and (2) the idea: non omnes sunt de nobis, cannot serve to establish the idea φανερωθῶσιν. According to Hilgenfeld, πάντες is to be referred only to the antichrists: “that they all were not of us;” but this is refuted by the position of πάντες.


In the words: εἰ ἦσαν ἐξ ἠμῶν, μεμενήκεισαν ἂν μεθʼ ἡμῶν, this thought is contained: He who really belongs to the Church never leaves it; he who leaves it shows thereby that he did not really belong to it. This confidence of the apostle in the preserving love of the Lord, and in the faithfulness of those whom He has saved, seems to be opposed to the idea brought out in Hebrews 6:4 ff., that even those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, etc., may fall away. But, as constantly in his Epistle, so here also John speaks absolutely, without taking into view the state of gradual development, from which, however, it does not follow that he does not recognise it. The one circumstance that he exhorts believers as such to abide in Christ, shows that he would not deny the possibility of their falling away; only it is—justly—certain to him that he who does not abide had not yet with his whole heart entered into the fellowship of the Lord, but, even though touched by His love, and exhibiting the trace of love towards Him, had nevertheless not broken completely with the world. Ebrard thinks that the apostle means only, that temptation by this particular lie (namely, by Gnosticism) is only possible with those who in their inner being were previously strangers to Christianity; but even though John here speaks of particular Antichrists, yet the general thought is at the basis of the words εἰ ἦσαν uttered in reference to them; otherwise the apostle would have definitely pointed out the difference of these apostates from others to whom the word has no reference.

Augustin, Calvin, Beza, etc., find in the words a confirmation of their doctrine of predestination, but only by inserting in them ideas which are foreign to them, since the subject here is neither a donum perseverantiae nor a distinction of the vocati and electi.

1 John 2:19. Cf. Aug.: “Sic sunt in corpore Christi quomodo humores mali. Quando evomuntur, tunc relevatur corpus: sic et mali quando exeunt, tunc Ecclesia relevatur. Et dicit quando eos evomit atque projicit corpus: Ex me exierunt umores isti, sed non erant ex me. Quid est, non erant ex me? Non de carne mea præcisi sunt, sed pectus mihi premebant cum inessent”. ἵνα, sc. ἐξῆλθαν or γέγονε τοῦτο—a frequent Johannine ellipse: cf. John 1:8; John 9:3; John 13:18; John 15:25.

19. The relation of these antichristian teachers to the Church of Christ. They were formerly nominal members, but never real members of it. They are now not members in any sense. Note the repetition, so characteristic of S. John, of the key-word ‘us’, which means the Christian Church. It occurs 5 times in this one verse.

They went out from us] It was their own doing, a distinct secession from our communion: in the Greek, ‘from us’ comes first for emphasis. It is incredible that the words can mean ‘they proceeded from us Jews’. What point would there be in that? Moreover, S. John never writes as a Jew, but always as a Christian to Christians. ‘Us’ includes all true Christians, whether of Gentile or Jewish origin. Comp. S. Paul’s warning to the Ephesian presbyters; ‘From among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them’ (Acts 20:30); where the Greek is similar to what we have here: and ‘Certain men, the children of Belial’, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known’ (Deuteronomy 13:13); where the Greek of LXX. is still closer to this passage.

but they were not of us] They have a foreign origin. The single act of departure (aorist) is contrasted with the lasting condition of being ‘of us’ (imperfect). ‘Of us’ here is exactly analogous to ‘of the Father’ and ‘of the world’ in 1 John 2:16. It is difficult to bring out in English the full force of the antithesis which is so easily expressed in the Greek. ‘From out of us they went forth, but they were not from out of us’; where ‘from out of us’ (ἐξ ἡμῶν) is of course used in two different senses, ‘out from our midst’ and ‘originating with us.’

they would no doubt have continued with us] Better, they would have abided with us: there is nothing in the Greek to represent ‘no doubt,’ and the verb is S. John’s favourite word ‘abide’ (see on 1 John 2:24). Almost all the earlier English Versions go wrong as to ‘no doubt’. Tyndale and Cranmer have ‘no dout’, the Genevan has ‘douteles’, and the Rhemish ‘surely’. Probably these are attempts to translate the utique of the Vulgate, permansissent utique nobiscum: and the utique, which is as old as Tertullian (De Praescr, Haer. III.) is a mistaken endeavour to give a separate word to represent the Greek particle ἄν. Oddly enough, Wiclif, who worked from the Vulgate, has nothing to represent utique; ‘they hadden dwelte with us. Luther inserts ‘ja’; ‘so wären sie ja bei uns geblieben’; which looks as if he also were under the influence of the utique. There is a similar instance John 8:42, where Wiclif has ‘sothli ye schulden love Me’, Cranmer, ‘truly ye wolde love Me’, and the Rhemish, ‘verely ye would love Me’, because the Vulgate (not Tertullian) gives diligeretis utique Me for ἠγαπᾶτε ἂν ἐμέ. The meaning here is that secession proves a want of fundamental union from the first. As Tertullian says: Nemo Christianus, nisi qui ad finem persevcraverit. Note that S. John does not say ‘they would have abided among us (ἐν ἡμῖν),’ but ‘with us (μεθ' ἡμῶν)’. This brings out more clearly the idea of fellowship: ‘these antichrists had no real sympathy with us’.

but they went out that they might be made manifest] As the italics in A.V. shew, there is no Greek to represent ‘they went out’. ‘But that’ or ‘but in order that’ (α'λλ' ἵνα) is an elliptical expression very frequent in S. John’s Gospel (John 1:8, John 9:3, John 13:18, John 14:31, John 15:25). We may often fill up the ellipse in some such way as ‘but this took place’, or ‘this came to pass, in order that’. S. John’s favourite construction ‘in order that’ (see on 1 John 1:9) again points to the Divine government of events. It was in accordance with God’s will that these spurious members should be made known as such. The process which all through his Gospel the Apostle depicts as a necessary result of Christ’s coming, still continues after His departure; the separation of light from darkness, of the Church from the world, of real from unreal Christians (see introductory note to John v.). S. John assures his readers that the appearance of error and unbelief in the Church need not shake their faith in it: it is all in accordance with the Divine plan. Revelation of the truth necessarily causes a separation between those who accept and those who reject it, and is designed to do so. God does not will that any should reject the truth; but He wills that those who reject should be made manifest. S. Paul states this truth the other way; that the faithful need to be distinguished. ‘For there must be also heresies among you, that (ἵνα) they which are approved may be made manifest among you’ (1 Corinthians 11:19).

that they were not all of us] Or, that not all are of us, as in the margin of R.V. But this is doubtful; the Greek being οὐκ εἰσὶν πάντες, not οὐ πάντες εἰσιν. The Greek is somewhat ambiguous, but certainly we must have ‘are’ and not ‘were’. Two ideas seem to be in the Apostle’s mind, and his words may be the expression partly of the one, and partly of the other: 1. that these antichrists may be made manifest as not really of us; 2. that it may be made manifest that not all professing Christians are really of us.

In this verse S. John does not teach that the Christian cannot fall away; his exhortations to his readers not to love the world, but to abide in Christ, is proof of that. He is only putting in another form the declaration of Christ, ‘I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of My hand’ (John 10:28). Apostasy is possible, but only for those who have never really made Christ their own, never fully given themselves to Him.

1 John 2:19. Ἐξῆλθον, they went out) The antithesis is, they would have remained.—εἰ γὰρ, for if) One who is truly faithful does not easily fall away: ch. 1 John 3:9, 1 John 5:18.—ἀλλʼ ἵνα, but that) that is, but they went out, that, etc.

Verse 19. - They went out from us ἐξ ἡμῶν ἐξῆλθαν; just as the evil spirit went out of the demoniac (ἐξῆλθεν ἐξ αὐτοῦ, Mark 1:26). But they were not of us οὐκ η΅σαν ἐξ ἡμῶν; they had not their origin with us, just as the unbelieving Jews were "not of God" ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐκ ἐστὲ, but of the devil (John 8:23, 44, 47). The emphatic repetition of ἠμῶν, five times in one verse, is quite in St. John's style. The "no doubt" of the Authorized Version, rightly omitted in the Revised Version, probably represents the utique of the Vulgate, which is a mistaken attempt to give a separate word to translate ἄν (compare forsitan in John 4:10; John 5:46. For the elliptical ἀλλ ἵνα, comp. John 1:8). What follows is not clear, and is taken in three ways:

(1) "That all are not of us," which seems to imply that some of them are of us. This can hardly be right.

(2) "That all of them are not of us;" i.e., are aliens (verse 21; 1 John 3:15; Revelation 22:3; Matthew 24:22; Mark 13:20; Luke 1:37; Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 5:5). But in that case we should expect πάντες οὐκ εἰσίν, not οὐκ εἰσὶν πάντες.

(3) Two thoughts are mixed together:

(a) "That they may be made manifest that they are not of us;"

(b) "That it may be made manifest that not all who are with us μεθ are of us ἐξ ἡμῶν." This seems preferable. The renegade and apostate was all along only nominally a Christian. Of the true Christian the declaration remains true, "No one snatcheth them out of his hand." 1 John 2:19They went out from us (ἐξ ἡμῶν ἐξῆλθαν)

The phrase went out from, may mean either removal (Revelation 18:4; John 8:59) or origin (Revelation 9:3; Revelation 14:13, Revelation 14:15, Revelation 14:17; Revelation 19:5, Revelation 19:21). Here the latter, as appears from the following clause. Compare Acts 20:30.

Were not of

See on John 1:46.

No doubt

A needless addition of the A.V.

With us (μεθ' ἡμῶν)

Ἑν ἡμῖν, among us, would be more according to John's ordinary usage; but his thought rests here rather on fellowship than on the unity of believers as one body.

They might be made manifest (φανερωθῶσιν)

See on John 21:1.

They were not all (οὐκ εἰσὶν πάντες)

Rev., more correctly, they all are not.

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