2 Yochanan, Jewish New Testament and comment David H. Stern
1. From: The Elder
To: The chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth — and not only I but also all who have come to know the truth —
The Elder writes in the same style as the writer of 1 Yochanan and the Gospel of Yochanan, so it is assumed that he is Yochanan.
The chosen lady. This seems to be a disguised way of referring to a local congregation, the object being to avoid the scrutiny of the Roman censor. Likewise "your chosen sister" (v. 13). Further evidence is v. 12, "I would rather not use paper and ink."
Truth. Yochanan uses this word five times in the first four verses; it seems to be a coded way of referring to the Gospel.
2. because of the Truth which remains united with us and will be with us forever:
3. Grace, mercy and shalom will be with us from God the Father and from Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
4. I was very happy when I found some of your children living in truth, just as the Father commanded us.
5. And now, dear lady, I am requesting that we love one another — not as if this were a new command I am writing you, for it is the one which we have had from the beginning.
Compare 1 Yn 2:3-1, Yn 13:34-35.
6. Moreover, love is this: that we should live according to his commands. This is the command, as you people have heard from the beginning; live by it!
Love toward God is this: that we should live according to his commands. Compare 1 Yn 5:3. This is the command — to love one another (v. 5); it includes all the commands (Ro 13:8-10&N, Ga 5:14&N).
7. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, people who do not acknowledge Yeshua the Messiah’s coming as a human being. Such a person is a deceiver and an anti-Messiah.
Many deceivers have gone out into the world, as prophesied by Yeshua (Mt 24:5, 11, 23-26; Mk 13:5-6, 21-22; Lk 21:8), by Sha'ul (1 Ti 4:1-3; 2 Ti 3:1-9, 4:3-4), by Kefa (2 Ke 2:1-25), and by Y'hudah (Yd 4-16).
They do not acknowledge Yeshua the Messiah's coming as a human being. In 1 Yochanan the writer refers to Yeshua's incarnation, to his having come in the past as a human being (I Yn 4:2&N, 5:6-8&NN). This verse could refer to the same thing, or to his being incarnated right now while in heaven at God's right hand, or to his future appearance in the flesh, or to all of the above. If Yochanan is speaking about the future, then he is insisting that the Messiah will return to earth bodily and denying the theology which says that Yeshua's coming is to be realized only spiritually in the spreading influence of the Gospel.
Anti-Messiah. See 1 Yn 2:18-19N.
8. Watch yourselves, so that you won’t lose what you have worked for, but will receive your full reward.
9. Everyone who goes ahead and does not remain true to what the Messiah has taught does not have God. Those who remain true to his teaching have both the Father and the Son.
Have God... have both the Father and the Son. The phrasing implies that God includes both the Father and the Son. Compare 1 Yn 2:22-23&N.
10. If someone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, don’t welcome him into your home. Don’t even say, “Shalom!” to him;
11. for the person who says, “Shalom!” to him shares in his evil deeds.
Don't even say "Shalom!" (on this word see Mt 10:12N) to him. This seems a rather extreme form of inhospitality, but v. 11 gives the reason for it. Yechiel Lichtenstein writes,
"Some say it refers to the deceivers of v. 7, who come as brothers but lead people astray with their false teachings. It is not said about any other kind of believer, for everyone is to be received courteously, even pagans." (Commentary to the New Testament.)
On the one hand, it is appropriate to engage in dialogue with persons who do not acknowledge Yeshua as the Messiah because of conflicting religious commitments, but who are open to the possibility of change. On the other hand, it is wrong to let oneself be strung along by those who claim to honor him but misuse Scripture in the service of "some other supposedly 'Good News,' which is not good news at all" (Ga 1:6-7). Even politeness toward such a self-appointed teacher, deceiver and anti-Messiah (v. 7) can be misinterpreted as support; this is why the person who says, "Shalom!" to him shares in his evil deeds.
12. Although I have much to write you people, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to come and see you and to talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
13. The children of your chosen sister send you their greetings.
- chapter 1