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The Elder, The Elect Lady, and the Truth (2 John 1-3)

The Elder, The Elect Lady, and the Truth (2 John 1-3)

2 John 1-3

The Elder

         2 Possibilities 1 of which is certain: Option one (the certainty) John writes as an Elder of the Church. Since this letter dates to the 80’s AD, John would have been an Elder of the Church in Ephesus. Given the definitive article, he most probably occupied a prominent position among the Elders. Following the custom laid out in the Old Testament, John would also have held an honored place in society.

2nd Option (possible but difficult to determine validity): In the Roman world, fathers and sons who shared the same first name were commonly referred to as the Elder and the Younger as in the case of the father and son philosophers Seneca the Elder and the Younger. It is a possibility that John had a son who was also named John making him John the Elder.

As Adam Clarke points out  “John the apostle, who was now a very old man, generally supposed to be about ninety, and therefore uses the term presbyter or elder, not as the name of an office, but as designating his advanced age. He is allowed to have been the oldest of all the apostles, and to have been the only one who died a natural death.”

The Elect Lady

         While the idea that this refers to a church is certainly plausible and valid there is nothing in the text to indicate that we are not dealing with an actual woman instead of simply a metaphor for the church. Likely, the Elect Lady was either a member of a very important family of the Church in Ephesus or perhaps even the woman in whose house the church gathered for worship.

John probably did not name himself, the elect lady or her children by name because this was written during a time of persecution, specifically the same persecution under Domitian that resulted in John’s exile to Patmos. It is extremely likely that John didn’t want to implicate anyone by name in a written letter since if the letter was intercepted and the authorities knew who it was written to by name, it might mean death for those persons.

Whom I love in the truth

John loving this lady in the truth brings us face to face with Pilate’s question (John 18:38). We will spend some time considering answers to that very question, what is truth?

Truth is an objective proposition that defines reality

Examples: The layer of Ozone in the sky is what causes it to be blue. Trees breath in carbon dioxide and breath out oxygen.  Objective propositions do not change based on whim, cultural values etc; they do not change at all.

God makes the ultimate objective proposition in Exodus 3:14 when He declares “I Am Who I Am.” The Godhead is the first objective reality in existence and, since all other reality stems from Him, He defines all other objective realities.

Since God is both a person and the source of all objective realities,  truth is, therefore, also a person.

John 14:6- Jesus declared Himself to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

What, then, is the truth about Jesus

The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost (Matthew 11:28). Who is lost? Everyone. “There is no one who does righteousness, not one
(Psalm 53:3, Romans 3:10-12)

All have sinned and all deserve death. (Romans 3:23 and 6:23).

All those believing will be saved. (John 3:16)

Not everyone will be saved. There is a condition; you must confess Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead for the forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:9-10)

But what about 2 Peter 3:9? It says the Lord is not willing that any should perish. True it does say that. There are a lot of theological fine points that we could get into here but for the sake of time, we will leave it at one…

Jesus does not take any delight in the death of the wicked. He must allow it to satisfy the Justice and Holiness within the Godhead but He does not enjoy it. By calling all to repent (Acts 17:30), Jesus opens the door of salvation and calls all to come in. Not everyone will come, though, and that is why there is a hell. Man, who will not yield to the Lordship of His Creator now, will spend eternity understanding why that was a colossal mistake. There is much more to say on election, the depravity of man, and salvation but that sermon is for another day.

Don’t all roads lead to God? Don’t all religions teach the same thing? Those questions drip with defiance. There are two ways and only two. One, the Narrow Way, leads to the Cross, to humble submission and to the Judgment seat of Christ and the Judgment of Rewards. The other, the Broad Way, is the path of all other religions and it leads to the Great White Throne Judgment, the final “Court of Appeal” so to speak but there is no hope for those who arrive there. So, yes, in a sense, all roads lead to God; the question is at which venue you will appear before Him and what the end result of that appearance will be.

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