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2 John 1:7 (NIV)

I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.

Some commentaries I have read concerning this verse states that "coming" refers not only to his past but future presence, returning in the flesh.

Can this be clarified by someone who understands the original text? Does this imply that Jesus is returning in a flesh state?

How should this verse be understood regarding the past or future flesh state?

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The early Christian Church was very much divided between the branch that became the forerunner of the Catholic-Orthodox tradition and the Gnostic Christians. Many Gnostics believed that Jesus did not really come in the flesh, only appearing to do so, and it is this doctrine that 'the Presbyter' is concerned with.

The Presbyter was writing to an unspecified church that he affectionately calls the "chosen lady," to warn members of the church against those who say that Jesus had not come in the flesh, and tells the church not to receive any such deceivers or listen to them, but to send them away without courtesy. See Who Wrote the New Testament, page 217, by Burton L. Mack, and An Introduction to the New Testament, page 395, by Raymond E. Brown.

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The Greek reads Ὅτι πολλοὶ πλάνοι ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸν κόσμον, οἱ μὴ ὁμολογοῦντες Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἐρχόμενον ἐν σαρκί· οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ πλάνος καὶ ὁ ἀντίχριστος. Coming (ἐρχόμενον) is a present active participle. So this confession is in the present tense. In other places such as 1 John 4:2 John makes the more typical confessional statement using the perfect tense;

1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God [NKJV]

Here in 2 John though the writer is making a bigger statement then that. The present tense is being used to speak of the abiding reality of the incarnation, namely that Jesus didn't just come in the flesh and then put off the flesh, but that he remains in the flesh. It would seem that the writer had docetism in his sights (the forerunner of later Gnosticism). Docetism was influenced by neoplatonic dualism and taught that flesh is evil and spirit is good, therefore the 'Christ-Spirit' could only have taken on flesh for a short period of time (if at all), in using the present tense the writer contradicts that idea.

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  • Are you saying you take John to mean that Jesus is still in the flesh he was born with?
    – user10231
    Nov 16 '16 at 7:37
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Peace.

As we know, Jesus came in the flesh (became a partaker of flesh and blood) so that through death He might destroy (that is, render idle) him that has the power of death….that is, the devil .

Hebrews 2:14-15 KJV (14) Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (15) And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

He did this so that we might have life in this earth.

For God so loved the world…this world that we are living in now…that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believe in (into) Him should not perish (from this earth) but have everlasting life (in this earth). The life that Jesus is experiencing now in Heaven is everlasting for death has no more dominion over Him.

It is His eternal life that we are to experience in this earth as He gives His flesh now for the life of the world.

John 3:15-17 KJV (15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

It is through Him that the world might be saved.

(17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

That everlasting life is His that is to be made manifest in our outer mortal flesh giving us His eternal life in the here-and-now….in this world.

The life within us is Christ and that hidden life is to be made manifest outwardly in our mortal body if we always bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus as it says here in 2nd Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 4:10-11 KJV (10) Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

We keep this “daily” sacrifice of our Lord (ALWAYS bearing about the dying of our Lord Jesus) so that His life is made manifest in our mortal flesh.

(11) For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

Jesus came in the flesh and IS COMING in the flesh….our mortal flesh… if we keep His daily sacrifice always in our bodies.

This is not about “dying and going to Heaven” but instead about receiving and living His eternal life (the promise of eternal life) in this earth as He died for us already (so we don’t have to mortally die) and is alive now so that we might LIVE now.

But why don’t we see this manifestation of the life of Jesus now in this earth?

Because of the MANY false prophets (who falsely come to us and say “peace, peace” when there is none) who come in sheep’s clothing (posing as ministers of righteousness with their church handwritings of church dogmas for us to keep) and lead MANY away from the Way that leads to His life now and down the broad way to the destruction of our mortal bodies from this earth.

They are preventing the life of Jesus from being made manifest in the mortal flesh of anyone as they are being deceived by them and led astray from the Way that leads to His life.

They remove the keeping of His “daily” sacrifice out of the lives of many so that His life is never made manifest.

Matthew 7:12-15 KJV (12) Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (13) Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: (14) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (15) Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

As Jesus predicted ahead of time, MANY shall come in His name (supposedly in His authority) saying that “I am the Christ” and shall deceive MANY. Christ = anointed one. "Christ" is a title.

They are falsely saying that they are sent by the Lord in His authority and claiming that they are anointed (the Christ) with the Spirit of God to preach to us the Word of Truth.

But they are falsely sent and are deceivers as they are saying that they are anointed when they are not. They are not anointed with the Spirit to preach.

They are “antichrist”….the instead-of-Christ....the instead-of being anointed with the Spirit of God. They are not anointed with the Spirit to speak His words. They are not who they say they are and if we listen to them, they will led us astray so that the life of Jesus is never made manifest in our mortal flesh which would give us His everlasting life in the here-and-now.

Matthew 24:4-5 KJV (4) And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. (5) For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

We are living in this time where there are MANY “antichrists”…those who say they are anointed with the Spirit to preach His words…but they are not. We have a test to see if they are truly anointed with the Spirit to preach or not.

1 John 4:1-3 KJV (1) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Those who do preach (spirit = breath) in the Spirit of God confess in their continual preaching (continually acknowledging) that Jesus Christ IS COMING in the flesh….our mortal flesh.

They prove to us that they are truly anointed (Christ = anointed one) by preaching this fundamental teaching of the Christ: the life of Jesus is to be made manifest in our outer mortal flesh by the keeping of His “daily” sacrifice.

Jesus Christ IS COMING in the flesh...our mortal flesh. His life is to be made manifest outwardly in our mortal flesh for the world to see who will believe it when they see it and praise God.

(2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

Every breath (spirit) that does not confess (acknowledge in their preaching) that Jesus Christ IS COMING in the flesh (our outer mortal flesh) is not of God. This is the breath/spirit of “antichrist”…the instead-of-anointed. They are not the anointed with the Spirit to preach.

(3) And every spirit that confesseth not 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 deceivers (who are falsely saying that they are anointed with the Spirit to speak the words of the Lord in His authority) do not confess in their preaching that Jesus Christ IS COMING in the flesh….our mortal flesh where His life is set to appear outwardly.

2 John 1:6-11 KJV (6) And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. (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. (8) Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

Again, those who do not speak with the anointing of the Spirit of God do not teach this: that Jesus Christ is coming in our mortal flesh to give our mortal bodies His eternal life in this earth. They are not looking for Jesus to transform our humiliated-by-sin mortal bodies to be fashioned like His. They are instead preaching that we have to "die and go to Heaven' when Jesus died for us already in our place. They are preaching their covenant with death and their agreement with the grave when Jesus WAS dead and is alive now for evermore.

They preach everything but this very teaching of the Christ…of the Anointed. They prove to us by neglecting this Truth that they are not of God but are of the spirit/breath of the antichrist.

The deceivers will have none of this teaching and will react without brotherly love to those who are truly sent by Him to speak His words and teach this. They will transgress (speak evil against those who teach this) and not abide in the teaching of the truly anointed ( the teaching of THE anointed).

(9) Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Think about how many “antichrists” there are in the world today not teaching this doctrine (that Jesus Christ is coming in our mortal flesh as His life is to appear outwardly there)….and many do receive them.

(10) If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: (11) For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds

The scoffers will come forth when they hear the teaching of the truly anointed about receiving His eternal life in this mortal flesh (Jesus Christ IS COMING in our mortal flesh to give our earthly bodies His eternal life). They will scoff: well if this is true, then "where is the promise of His coming?"

2 Peter 3:3-4 KJV (3) Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, (4) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

But they forget that the wrath of God IS revealed from Heaven upon men who hold down the Truth in their unrighteousness. They themselves are perishing under His wrath as the Heavens and the earth which are now are stored with fire now for the destruction of ungodly men. But the Lord is patient with us not will that any should perish from off this earth but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9 KJV (9) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

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I have a question, not an answer. There is a group existing even today which claims that Jesus came in a flesh just like that of Adam's after the Fall. That is, Jesus had a sinful flesh just like you and me. To quote one of their prophet-leaders: "Jesus had exactly the same flesh as we have". He goes further to say "The mind of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not - indeed it cannot - submit to the law of God. Jesus put this enmity to death on the cross and by His flesh put away the law (Eph 2:14-18)". Is John saying that Jesus came in exactly our flesh? Is John saying that Jesus too found hostility/enmity towards God in His mind or being and had to put it to death? What does the word 'flesh' mean when it applied to Jesus? Was Jesus capable of the 'works of the flesh'? Was he tempted like we are to do the 'works of the flesh'? I would appreciate some solid answers in this connection, keeping the Greek in mind. I am aware that the one other person/group that believed that Jesus came in the flesh of Adam who had sinned was Edward Irving/Irvingites. This extant group I am referring to has the same core doctrine. If Jesus came in the flesh of Adam who sinned, He would have to redeem Himself first before redeeming others as the spotless Lamb of God? What category does this 'heresy' fall into? Historically, did the Church Fathers face this same argument/assumption? And was it refuted? If so, what was the refutation?

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In both Jewish and Platonic thinking the Almighty maintains complete separation from the physical universe by means of a demiurge (in Jewish thought, the Angel of the LORD) who acts as the embodiment of the Almighty such that the Almighty is never in direct contact with the physical universe, which is incompatible with God's terrible holiness:

https://thebibleproject.com/explore/holiness/

So when God is "seen" or interacts with flesh it is by necessity accomplished by his agent/demiurge/the Angel of the LORD. In order to support the idea of God literally being in flesh rather than by proxy/stand-in some posited that the incarnation of the son of God was actually just a vision or other non-flesh accomplishment.

However, it was necessary that the Messiah be made like his brothers in every respect in order to accomplish the ratification of the new covenant, which required a corpse to be introduced to seal the arrangement:

[Heb 9:15 YLT] (15) And because of this, of a new covenant he is mediator, that, death having come, for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those called may receive the promise of the age-during inheritance,

[Heb 2:17 NKJV] (17) Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

So John's defense of Jesus' true incarnation was connected to his efficacy as the covenant victim and thus to justification itself as well as his effectiveness as a sympathetic high priest, because his suffering was physical and real.

This is all stuff that could not have occurred if Jesus were not a demiurge and was in fact the Almighty. God cannot die. Jesus had to die. To do this he had to be the incarnation of God but by proxy:

[Jhn 14:6-12 NLT] (6) Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. (7) If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!" (8) Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." (9) Jesus replied, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don't know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? (10) Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. (11) Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. (12) "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.

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Hebrews 5:7 speaks of "the days of his flesh" as a past occurrence for Jesus.

Therefore coming (present participle) in the flesh at 2 John 1:7 is past time. 3 John 1:3 uses the same participle to refer to past time as well.

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The context of John's discussion on antichrists is what Gnostics were teaching about Christ's first coming--doctrinal test: "Has (past tense) Jesus Christ come in the flesh?" A gnostic will say no, denying Christ's incarnation.

But that does not negate that He will return in the same flesh of his resurrection body. He will return in the same way he ascended: from the sky in his resurrected flesh and bone body.

John was exposing a false teaching of Gnostic apostates denying the incarnation of Christ. The Gnostics believe that flesh and the material realm is evil, trapping the spark of enlightenment that prevents men from realizing their own divinity. Therefore, they taught Jesus was not flesh but a spirit only, nullifying what John taught about the incarnation and Jesus said about his own body, even after it was raised.

Keep in mind the doctrinal test John provided that identifies these antichrists was only meant to identify an apostate Christian Gnostic, not antichrists in general:

1 John 4:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

4 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

John 1:14 King James Version (KJV)

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Luke 24:39 King James Version (KJV)

39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

Acts 1:10-11 King James Version (KJV)

10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

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Jesus will always be (IN FLESH).

And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, (shall so come in like manner)(Flesh) as ye have seen him go into heaven. -Acts 1:10,11

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  • Welcome to the forum, and thank you for contributing.
    – Steve11235
    Apr 15 '20 at 18:27
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2 John 1:7 - Jesus Coming in the Flesh?

The answer is, Jesus ruled that out.

John warns, that the Antichrist does not acknowledge that Jesus came in the flesh, so this verse should be understood with regards to Jesus past flesh state.

1 John 4:2-3(NIV)

2 "This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world."

John in his second epistle again stresses this point again about the Antichrist.

2 John 1:7 (NIV)

"I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the Antichrist."

Jesus ruled out the idea that he will return again literally in the flesh, because He gave his perfect human body on behalf of mankind once and for all time, and will therefore not deprive mankind the benefits of his sacrifice.He said:

John 6:51 (NRSV)

51" I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

Paul confirms that the sanctification by the offering of the body of Christ , was once for all time,hence Jesus will never again take back his fleshy body.

Hebrews 10:10 (NRSV)

10 "And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

Inspired Paul wrote that God raised Him, destined no more to return to corruption. Human bodies are corruptible they undergo putrefication , so for this reason Paul could write that Jesus now a spirit being , would no more return to corruption- that is he will never again take a fleshy body which can suffer decay.

Acts 13:34 (NASB)

34 "As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David."

Acts 13:34 (AMPC)

34 And as to His having raised Him from among the dead, now no more to return to [undergo] putrefaction and dissolution [of the grave], He spoke in this way, I will fulfill and give to you the holy and sure mercy and blessings [that were promised and assured] to David.

John 14:19 (NRSV)

19 "In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live."

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