The Second Epistle of John begins (NIV empahsis mine):

To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth—because of the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever:

Wikipedia currently states: "who the elect lady is no one knows." I couldn't help but wonder whether that was really true. So I put it to you all: who is the "elect lady?" Is she even supposed to be an individual?

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According to the NET translators notes:

This phrase may refer to an individual or to a church (or the church at large). Some have suggested that the addressee is a Christian lady named “Electa,” but the same word in v. 13 is clearly an adjective, not a proper name. Others see the letter addressed to a Christian lady named “Kyria” (first proposed by Athanasius) or to an unnamed Christian lady. The internal evidence of 2 John clearly supports a collective reference, however. In v. 6 the addressee is mentioned using second person plural, and this is repeated in vv. 8, 10, and 12. Only in v. 13 does the singular reappear. The uses in vv. 1 and 13 are most likely collective. Some have seen a reference to the church at large, but v. 13, referring to “the children of your elect sister” is hard to understand if the universal church is in view. Thus the most probable explanation is that the “elect lady” is a particular local church at some distance from where the author is located.

A bible.org commentary further points out it is unlikely that the letter was written to an anonymous female recipient because St. John's third letter is made out to a specific recipient whose name is given (Gaius), so this would certainly not be a pattern for St. John.

Due to the fact that "elect/chosen lady" (ἐκλεκτῇ κυρίᾳ) is used with plural verbs in the majority of appearances (vv. 6, 8, 10, and 12) and the instances where it is not could still be understood as having a plural referent without a contradiction in meaning (vv. 1 and 13), it seems most likely that the "elect lady" is a collective reference, most likely to an unspecified church/group of believers.

According to the apparatus of The Orthodox New Testament Praxapostolos, Theophylact (11th c.; PG 126:435B) did not believe that the epistle was addressed to either some specific woman nor to a particular church, but rather "to the faithful in general."

Jerome also relates "the elect lady" to the Church as a whole:

As there is one Eve who is the mother of all living [Gen 3:20], so is there one church which is the parent of all Christians. And as the accursed Lamech made of the first Eve two separate wives [Gen 4:19], so also the heretics sever the second into several churches which, according to the apocalypse of John, ought rather to be called synagogues of the devil than congregations of Christ [Rev 2:9]. In the Book of Songs we read as follows:—there are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her [6:8-9]. It is to this choice one that the same John addresses an epistle in these words, the elder unto the elect lady and her children.

Letters, "To Ageruchia," CXXIII.12

Bede (7th c.), in his commentary on the Catholic Epistles, wrote:

In addressing the elect lady and her children whom he loves in truth, he is beginning to write against heretics who have fallen away from the truth. He properly recalls that there is but one love among the saints for all who have come to know the truth, so that by their unanimity together with the large number of catholics he may startle those who separated themselves from their company, since they are few. For in truth all catholics throughout the world follow one canon of truth, but not all heretics and unbelievers are in unanimous agreement about their error but they impugn each other no less than they do the very way of truth.

Commentary on 2 John

"2 John" is a Jewish text concerned with Jewish things and it is an important misstep to assume that he is writing to the Christian ("church age") assembly. We know this because like 1 John he is beholden to the man Jesus:

NIV 2 John 1:

9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.

What were the teachings of the earthly Christ? He taught the law of Moses:

NIV Matthew 5:

17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

This is because Jesus was sent only to the Jews because his mission was to be rejected by the Jewish leadership and so open up the way for the gentiles (Romans 9-11) and the end of the age had not yet occurred (it would occur a few years later, in 70 AD).

So 2 John is writing to a collective but it is the collective of the faithful Jews, not of the faithful Christians. These would not be a local assembly but rather the ingathering in Jerusalem and spreading further out. These are those who have believed that Jesus is their messiah and is returning imminently to rescue Israel from Rome, set up David's throne and establish the 1000 year reign of peace and prosperity for Israel (see Zechariah 14).

For the author of 2 John the elect lady is the messianic community. The same was true for Peter:

NIV 1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

NIV 1 Peter 1:10 Therefore, brothers,g be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

James likewise is writing to the messianic communities:

NIV James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.

And what is his concern? The necessity of works (faith without works is dead, pure religion is visitation and purity).

And so on.

So 2 John is written to the messianic community which is personified as a woman, which we see also in Revelation:

NIV Revelation 12:

1And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. 3And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. 4His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. 5She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rulea all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, 6and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.

But Paul was the architect of the new humanity because God committed to him the task of dispensing the mysteries of Christ. And he is not beholden to the earthly, Jewish messiah:

NIV 2 Corinthians 5:

16From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.b The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Many people do not recognize the prophesy of a female that will rise with the last generation. You can find evidence of her all throughout the Old Testament as well as the new. Some evidence may suggest this goes as far back as Genesis. While it is quite possible that this is speaking about the church, what do we see happening here in the near future that might suggest otherwise.

As an example: If you have a basic understanding of Asserian and Babylonian history you may notice that certain solar and liner events were considered bad omens. What people fail to recognise is some records of these events have become lost throughout our history. One particular historical record of an unusual event is found in the story of Jonah and mission to Ninevah (which was also a capital city of Babylon). Through modern archaeology and astronomy we know a solar eclipse appeared over Ninavah in June of 763BC. We also know that around this time, Ashurdan III was dealing with economic downfalls, plagues, and intense warfare. In fact he avoided going out to battle likely because of this sign. Jonah gave them 40 days to repent and they, including the king, repented.

Could it be coincidence that things we are seeing, about to see, today could have something to do with this "elect lady" when coupled with Matthew 12:38-45? We have a similar solar event happening on August21. 40 days later, is likely the Feast of Ingathering, Days before this Sept 23. Many people believe the Feast of Ingathering is the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths. This feast is 8 days long, not 7. However I would argue against this. The only time the Feast of Ingathering is mentioned is during the Feast of Weeks in Ex. 23:16 and 34:22. The Feast of First Fruits occurs during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is 7 days long. It is my belief that this Feast of Ingathering is the reason for the 8th day of the Feast of Booths.
Coincidentally, this year's Feast Days, mirror the feast days the year Christ was Crucified.
So is it quite possible the men of Ninivah, a gentile woman from the south and the 7 wicked spirits are here? Yes. It is quite possible when the signs we CAN and cannot see are taken into consideration. I guess we shall soon see.

  • You say, "Through modern archaeology and astronomy we know a solar eclipse appeared over Ninavah in June of 763BC", but the statement is unconvincing in the absence of supporting evidence. When you say, "Could it be ...?" and use the word "likely", you are not giving enough detail for the reader to make the same connections you are making in your head. Any, welcome to BH.SE! Please take the tour to get a feel for how the site functions. – enegue Jul 26 '17 at 5:46

protected by Community Sep 28 at 23:20

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