1 John 2:22
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
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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.Who is a liar - That is, who is false; who maintains an erroneous doctrine; who is an impostor, if he is not? The object of the apostle is to specify one of the prevailing forms of error, and to show that, however plausible the arguments might be by which it was defended, it was impossible that it should be true. Their own knowledge of the nature of religion must convince them at once that this opinion was false.

That denieth that Jesus is the Christ - It would seem that the apostle referred to a class who admitted that Jesus lived, but who denied that he was the true Messiah. On what grounds they did this is unknown; but to maintain this was, of course, the same as to maintain that he was an impostor. The ground taken may have been that he had not the characteristics ascribed to the Messiah in the prophets; or that he did not furnish evidence that he was sent from God; or that he was an enthusiast. Or perhaps some special form of error may be referred to, like that which is said to have been held by Corinthus, who in his doctrine separated Jesus from Christ, maintaining them to be two distinct persons. - "Doddridge."

He is antichrist - (See the notes at 1 John 2:18). He has all the characteristics and attributes of antichrist; or, a doctrine which practically involves the denial of both the Father and the Son, must be that of antichrist.

That denieth the Father and the Son - That denies the special truths pertaining to God the Father, and to the Son of God. The charge here is not that they entertained incorrect views of God "as such" - as almighty, eternal, most wise, and good; but that they denied the doctrines which religion taught respecting God as Father and Son. Their opinions tended to a denial of what was revealed respecting God as a Father - not in the general sense of being the "Father" of the universe, but in the particular sense of his relation to the Son. It cannot be supposed that they denied the existence and perfections of God as such, nor that they denied that God is a "Father" in the relation which he sustains to the universe; but the meaning must be that what they held went to a practical denial of that which is special to the true God, considered as sustaining the relation of a Father to his Son Jesus Christ. Correct views of the Father could not be held without correct views of the Son; correct views of the Son could not be held without correct views of the Father. The doctrines respecting the Father and the Son were so connected that one could not be held without holding the other, and one could not be denied without denying the other. Compare the Matthew 11:27 note; John 5:23 note. No man can have just views of God the Father who has not right apprehensions of the Son. As a matter of fact in the world, people have right apprehensions of God only when they have correct views of the character of the Lord Jesus Christ.

22. a liar—Greek, "Who is the liar?" namely, guilty of the lie just mentioned (1Jo 2:21).

that Jesus is the Christ—the grand central truth.

He is Antichrist—Greek, "the Antichrist"; not however here personal, but in the abstract; the ideal of Antichrist is "he that denieth the Father and the Son." To deny the latter is virtually to deny the former. Again, the truth as to the Son must be held in its integrity; to deny that Jesus is the Christ, or that He is the Son of God, or that He came in the flesh, invalidates the whole (Mt 11:27).

Especially may the ill accord be discerned between Divine truth and a lie, when the lie is so directly levelled against the foundations upon which the whole fabric is built, as the denying Jesus to be the Christ strikes at all. And though he that doth so, seems not only an

antichrist as directing his opposition but against Christ, he really as much

denieth the Father, who testified of him.

Who is a liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?.... Or that very Christ, and true Messiah, who was spoken of by all the prophets, since the beginning of the world, and so much, and so long desired by the Old Testament saints: he that denies that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah of the prophets, is not indeed the only liar in the world, but he is the greatest of liars; this is a consummate lie, being opposed to a glaring truth, to a fact clear an indisputable; and which rests not merely on the testimony of Jesus, who is truth itself, and who, in express words, more than once, declared and asserted himself to be the Christ; but all the characters of the Messiah, everything that is said of him in the Prophets, meet in Jesus, and the miracles which were done by him are flagrant proofs and undeniable evidences of his being the Christ of God; and all the apostles believed, and were sure that he was Christ, the Son of the living God: to which may be added the testimony of John, who was sent, and came to bear witness of him, and did; and who was a prophet, and a man of great probity and integrity. But there was a greater witness than he; even God himself, by a voice from heaven, bore a testimony to him; and angels, at his incarnation, declared him to be the Saviour, which is Christ the Lord; yea, the devil himself, who is a liar, and the father of ties in other things, knew and owned Jesus to be the Christ; so that those that deny him are the worst of liars, even worse than the devil himself. This may have regard not only to the Jews, that deny Jesus to be the Messiah, but chiefly to such who went by the name of Christians; who denied either his proper deity, or real humanity, as Ebion and Cerinthus, which was denying him to be the God-man, the Mediator, and Messiah; and is true of all such that deny him in any of his offices, or in things relating to them, as his Gospel, and any of the peculiar doctrines of it, delivered by him, and so deny his prophetic office; or any of his ordinances, institutions, and appointments, as lawgiver in his house, and King of saints, and so deny him in his kingly office; or reject him as the alone Saviour, joining their own works with him, in the business of salvation, and oppose his sacrifice and satisfaction, and despise his imputed righteousness, and so deny him in his priestly office. Now these are some of the liars, and these some of the doctrinal lies, which are not of the truth, as in 1Jo_2:21.

He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son: that denies the Father of Christ to be the Creator of the world, but asserts that it was made by angels, as some ancient heretics did; or that the Father of Christ is not the God of the Old Testament, as Marcion; or that denies that God is the Father of Christ, and that Christ is the Son of God; who will not allow that there is any such relation in nature between them; who affirm that Christ is only the Son of God by adoption, or because of his love to him, or because of his incarnation and resurrection from the dead; or that he is not his true and proper Son, only in a figurative and metaphorical sense; that he is not the natural and eternally begotten Son of God, only by office, and as Mediator, and that God is only his Father, as having installed him into an office; or he that denies that these two are distinct from each other, but affirms that Father is the Son, and the Son is the Father, and so confounds them both, and, by confounding both, denies that there are either Father or Son; and all such persons are antichrists, or opposers of Christ.

{23} Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the {r} Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

(23) He shows now plainly the false doctrine of the antichrist's, that is, that either they fight against the person of Christ, or his office, or both together and at once. They who do so, boast and brag of God in vain, for in denying the Son, the Father also is denied.

(r) Is the true Messiah.

1 John 2:22-23. The existence of the antichrists and their relationship to the Christian Church having been previously stated, there follows now the more particular definition of the antichristian lie.

τίς ἐστιν ὁ ψεύστης;] The interrogative form, with which John addresses his readers who know the truth, is explained by the vividness of the feeling with which the apostle is writing; similarly in chap. 1 John 5:5. He passes from the abstract (πᾶν ψεῦδος) directly to the concrete (ψεύστης). The definite article: ὁ ψεύστης (Luther incorrectly: a liar), brings out the idea in clearer distinctness: the liar κατʼ ἐξοχήν, i.e. he in whom the lie appears in concrete personality (so also Braune), identical with ὁ ἀντίχριστος, which is denied by Jachmann through mistake of John’s idea. The thought is weakened by the supposition that the apostle is speaking here comparatively (Grotius: quis potest major esse impostor?). Nor is Bengel’s interpretation satisfactory: quis est illius mendacii imposturaeque reus? with which Düsterdieck agrees, when he paraphrases: “What sort of a lie I mean, ye know very well. Who are the liars? Are they not those who deny, etc.?” The apostle certainly has the particular lie of the antichrists of his time in view, but this he regards as the one chief and fundamental lie “in which all ψεῦδος is comprised” (Lücke). The explanation of Baumgarten-Crusius is plainly quite erroneous: “what else is a false doctrine than, etc.?” nor is that of Ebrard less so, as he finds in this catechetical (!) question intended for children this meaning: “on whose side is the lie?” with which he then supplies the corresponding question: “and on whose side is the truth?”

εἰ μὴ ὁ ἀρνούμενος] εἰ μή, often after a negation, may also stand after a question, as in this a negation is contained; comp. Luke 17:18; Romans 11:15; 1 Corinthians 2:11; 2 Corinthians 2:2; 1 John 5:5; it corresponds to the German: “als nur” (English: “but only,” “except”), and limits the general thought to a particular one; the sense accordingly is: No other is the liar but he who, etc. According to Ebrard, εἰ μή must here only have the meaning of “than,” because the question here is, which of the two dogmatical tendencies (!) belongs to the lie; that the apostle here has in view two parties, namely, the antichrists and the believing Christians, and asks which of them is in possession of the truth, is a pure fiction, for which there is not the slightest evidence in the text. ὅτι Ἰησοῦς οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ Χριστός] On the construction of the negative idea ἀρνεῖσθαι with the following οὐκ, by which the negation is more strongly emphasized, see Kühner, II. p. 410.

The lie of the Antichrist consists in the denial that Jesus is ὁ Χριστός, i.e. in the denial of the identity of Jesus and Christ, whereby is meant, according to 1 John 2:19 and chap. 1 John 4:3, not the Jewish unbelief, that Jesus is not the promised Messiah, but the Gnostic heresy of the distinction between Jesus and Christ, which forms the sharpest contradiction to the apostle’s doctrine that Jesus is the λόγος σὰρξ γενόμενος. It is erroneous to find here a reference to two different kinds of heresy; on the one hand the denial of the divine, on the other the denial of the human, nature of Jesus;[171] for John speaks only of one lie.

οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀντίχριστος] οὗτος refers back to ὁ ἀρνούμενος: the liar who denies the identity of Jesus and Christ, he is the Antichrist. It is natural to take ὁ ψεύστης and ὁ ἀντιχρ. here in general signification, and to find therein a justification for Bengel’s conception of John’s idea of Antichrist; but as the lie of the antichrists proceeds from the πνεῦμα τοῦ ἀντιχρίστου, it may be ascribed to the Antichrist himself; the individual antichrists are the mouth by which he speaks.

ὁ ἀρνούμενος τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὸν υἱόν] is not to be connected with οὗτος, so that the sense would be: this one, who denies the Father and the Son, is the Antichrist; but as a clause of more particular definition subordinate to ὁ ἀντίχριστος. “John hereby adds a new element which states the full unhappy consequence of that Antichristian lie” (Düsterdieck; similarly Braune). The apostle wants to bring out here that the denial that Jesus is ὁ Χριστός is in its very essence a denial of the Father and of the Son. He who denies the identity of Jesus and Christ, directly denies the Son, for the Son is no other than Ἰησοῦς ὁ Χριστός (neither an Aeon named Christ that did not become man, nor Jesus who is not Christ, or, according to John 1:14, the Logos);[172] but he who denies the Son denies also the Father, and not merely inasmuch as Son and Father are logically interchangeable ideas, but because the nature of the Father is only manifested in the Son, and all true knowledge of the Father is conditioned by the knowledge of the Son, so that the God of those who deny the Son is not the true God, but a false image of their own thoughts—an ΕἼΔΩΛΟΝ.[173]

[171] So Tertullian (de Praescript. c. 33): Joh. in ep. cos maxime antichristos vocat, qui Christum negarent in carne venisse et qui non putarent Jesum esse Filium Dei; illud Marcion, hoe Ebion vindicavit. Similarly Besser: “That Jesus was not the Christ, the Christ not Jesus. Either the Word that was from the beginning was separated from this Jesus, or the flesh was denied to the eternal Word.” Comp. Introd. sec. 3.

[172] Weiss correctly brings out the distinction between the ideas Χριστός and υἱός, when he observes that ὁ Χριστός is a historical conception to the apostle, and that it is enough for him that that proposition of the false teachers denies the Messiahship of Christ, from which all belief in Him must take its starting-point, in order to arrive at the recognition that Jesus is the Son of God, and thus in the Son to recognise the Father.

[173] That such commentators as proceed on rationalistic assumptions have not been able to interpret the thought of the apostle is quite natural. But even others have got a more or less indistinct view of it by putting, as Düsterdieck rightly says, “the ideas of John too directly into dogmatic forms (and, indeed, into those defined by the Church);” or by ignoring the realism of the apostle, and regarding what he considered in an objectively real way as a mere element of the subjective consideration; or, finally, by bringing out one-sided references instead of giving the ideas the due force of their entire comprehension.

1 John 2:22. ψεύστης, cf. n. on 1 John 1:6. The Cerinthian distinction between Jesus and the Christ was a denial of the possibility of the Incarnation, i.e., of the filial relation of man to God. οὐκ in dependent clause after ἀρνεῖσθαι is a common Gk. idiom, not unknown in English; cf. Shakespeare, Comedy of Errors, iv. ii. 7: “He denied you had in him no right”.

22. Who is a liar] More accurately, as R.V., Who is the liar: the A.V. here again follows the earlier English Versions. But we must beware of exaggerating the article in interpretation, although it is right to translate it. It merely marks the passage from the abstract to the concrete: ‘Every lie is absolutely alien from the truth. Who then is the one who speaks lies? There are no liars if he who denies that Jesus is the Christ is not one’. The exactly parallel construction in 1 John 5:4-5 shews that ‘the liar’ here does not mean ‘the greatest liar possible’. Moreover, this would not be true. Is denying that Jesus is the Christ a greater lie than denying the existence of the Son, or of God?

The abruptness of the question is startling. Throughout these verses (22–24) “clause stands by clause in stern solemnity without any connecting particles.”

but he that denieth] These Gnostic teachers, who profess to be in possession of the higher truth, are really possessed by one of the worst of lies.—For the way in which the Gnostics denied the fundamental Christian truth of the Incarnation see the Introduction, p. 19.

He is Antichrist] Better, as R.V., This is the antichrist, or The antichrist is this man: ‘this’, as in 1 John 2:25 and 1 John 1:5, may be the predicate. The article before ‘antichrist’, almost certainly spurious in 1 John 2:18, is certainly genuine here, 1 John 4:3, and 2 John 1:7. But ‘the antichrist’ here probably does not mean the great personal rival of Christ, but the antichristian teacher who is like him and in this matter acts as his mouth-piece.

that denieth the Father and the Son] This clause is substituted for ‘that denieth that Jesus is the Christ’. By this substitution, which is quite in S. John’s manner, he leads us on to see that to deny the one is to deny the other. Jesus is the Christ, and the Christ is the Son of God; therefore to deny that Jesus is the Christ is to deny the Son. And to deny the Son is to deny the Father; not merely because Son and Father are correlatives and mutually imply one another, but because the Son is the revelation of the Father, without whom the Father cannot be known. ‘Neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal Him’ (Matthew 11:27). ‘No one cometh unto the Father but by Me’ (John 14:6). Comp. John 5:23; John 15:23. Some would put a full stop at ‘antichrist,’ and connect what follows with 1 John 2:23, thus; This is the antichrist. He that denieth the Father (denieth) the Son also: every one that denieth the Son hath not the Father either.

1 John 2:22. Τίς; who?) Thus, who? ch. 1 John 5:5.—ὁ ψεύστης) has a force relative to the abstract, a lie, 1 John 2:21; that is, who is guilty of that lie and imposture?ὅτι, that) The chief truth is, that Jesus is the Christ: John 20:31. In the Acts, Paul continually demonstrated this main point; and in his Epistles he presupposed it. John often makes mention of this main point in his Gospel, and in this and the following Epistle. From which it may be inferred that these books were not written by him altogether at the close of his life.—ὁ ἀντίχριστος, antichrist) 1 John 2:18. The truth respecting Jesus, that He is the Christ, that He is the Son of God and is come in the flesh, must be held in its integrity. He who denies one part respecting Jesus, does not hold both Him, in His completeness, and the Father at the same time. The spirit of antichrist, and antichrist has done and does this.—τὸν Πατέρα καὶ τὸν Υἱὸν, the Father and the Son) that is, the Son, and therefore the Father.

Verse 22. - Who is the liar, but he that denieth, etc.? From the lie St. John passes on to the utterer of it. "Ye readily distinguish any lie from the truth. Who, then, is the liar?" "The liar" does not mean the liar κατ ἐξοχήν, as if this denial constituted the very acme of falsehood. To deny the very existence of God is surely a worse lie. Still less can we say that "the context leaves no doubt that 'the liar' is the same with 'the antichrist.'" The article ὁ ψεύστης refers to the preceding ψεῦδος, just as in 1 John 5:4, 5 ὁ νικῶν refers to the preceding νίκη. The very form of sentence is the same: τίς ἐστιν ὁ νικῶν... εἰ μὴ ὁ κ.τ.λ. and there ὁ νικῶν cannot mean the victor, κατ ἐξοχήν, who is Christ, and not the believer. So that the Authorized Version is not so very inaccurate in rendering ὁ ψεύστης "a liar." "Who tells lies, if not he who denies (and says) that Jesus is not the Christ?" This was the great Gnostic lie to which St. John's Gospel and Epistle give the answer. The antichrist is this, he who denieth the Father and the Son. "The antichrist" here is not the great adversary, but one having similar characteristics. He denies the Messiahship of Jesus, and thus virtually denies both the Father and Son (comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:4). This truth St. John proceeds to restate and develop. 1 John 2:22A liar (ὁ ψεύστης)

Rev., correctly, "the liar." For a similar interrogative phrase see 1 John 5:5. It marks the lively feeling with which the apostle writes. By the definite article, the liar, the lie is set forth in its concrete personality: the one who impersonates all that is false, as antichrist represents every form of hostility and opposition to Christ. The denial that Jesus is the Christ is the representative falsehood. He that denies is the representative liar.

He that denieth (ὁ ἀρνούμενος)

The article with the participle denotes the habitual denial. Lit., the one denying, the one who habitually represents this attitude towards Christ. The words are aimed at the heresy of Cerinthus, a man of Jewish decent and educated at Alexandria. He denied the miraculous conception of Jesus, and taught that, after His baptism, the Christ descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and that He then announced the unknown Father and wrought miracles; but that, towards the end of His ministry, the Christ departed again from Jesus, and Jesus suffered and rose from the dead, while the Christ remained impassible (incapable of suffering) as a spiritual being.

The Father

The title the Father occurs always in its simple form in the Epistle. Never his or our Father, or the Father in heaven.

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