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What's going on in 1 John?

Hello Unsealed Family!

I recently finished teaching through 1 John in a Bible study at my local church. I was prompted to begin this study back in August 2022, in large part, because of the influence of a former professor at Dallas Seminary. Somewhere back around the 2013-14 time frame, I took a course on 1 John from Dr. Charles Baylis (now with the Lord), and his teaching made a profound and lasting impact on the way that I continue to interpret and teach this God-breathed letter.

Also, based on my observations and hard-knock experiences in ministry, 1 John is one of the top 3, if not the #1, most misunderstood and mishandled books in all of the Bible. 

For example, picture this all-too-common scenario: You are sharing the gospel with someone, emphasizing the truth of Ephesians 2:8-9, and really driving home the point that God's salvation is truly by grace, undeserved and unearned. All of a sudden, as a (human) reward for your sincere effort to reach a lost soul with God's gift of grace, you get roundhouse kicked with 1 John 2:3-4 in reply:

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (KJV).

Ugh. *Face palm*

Now imagine that you are newly saved, fresh out of the waters of regeneration, and ready to tell everyone how amazing God's grace is...only to be met with a frustrating, nauseating, and faith-wrecking spirit of resistance that uses the Bible itself to counter the truth! What is going on!?!?

Ok. Don't be reactive. Don't take the bait. But take a deeeeeeeep breath. It helps to know that some people aren't going to get it. They're just not going to give in to grace. They're stuck in a legalistic trap, one that the Bible refers to specifically as "the Devil's trap" (2 Tim. 2:26). 

Even if we can't convince some to reexamine their faulty assumptions and stubborn traditions, we can at least fill our own cups to rejoice in God's grace all the more!

So then, for those who are humble, hungry, and ready to grow even more in the GRACE and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18), I am happy and blessed to present to you a 72-page, verse-by-verse study guide on 1 John that shines a light on one of the most difficult books of the Bible to interpret consistently. In line with the apostle's own purpose (1 Jn. 5:13), the aim of this study guide is to help the children of God know 100%, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are saved, and that 1 John teaches salvation by grace (even without mentioning the Greek word for grace!).

In this guide you will discover how each verse ties in with the author's overall purpose and intent. Feel free to be a Berean and check out the various links to the Strong's concordance to see for yourself "if these things are so" (Acts 17:11). After all, a chief goal of Bible study is to understand the author's intent, not isolating verses out of context but interpreting everything in the context of a single book and the Bible as a whole. This approach to the text is especially vital with a book like 1 John, which has been beaten, battered, and bruised from spiritual warfare over these centuries of the Church Age!

So, without any further commentary (there's already 72-pages worth, lol), I pray that this resource blesses and encourages you in the faith: the faith once-and-for-all handed down and entrusted to the saints (Jd. 1:3).

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  1. Jeff, I'm so excited about this! The Lord knew! His timing is perfect and thank you for being obedient to His voice.

  2. Interesting take on 1 Jn 2:27. At least it admits Heb 8:11/Jer 31:34 are offered now in the present.

    What it fails to adequately emphasize is the need for no teachers. The lesson states

    "anointed and authorized men (rabbis, priests, scribes, etc.)", which is false.

    The Levitical priesthood was anointed and authorized, not rabbis and scribes - or collective "scholars". Corrupt human nature created this special class of believer and Jesus Christ pointed out they were not to be honored by their claims, e.g.

    "And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.", Matt 23:10

    The same is true today, no where in scripture is there a special class of saint ordained or authorized to be a mediary to Christ - yet is it pervasive throughout organized Christianity. Saints spend their entire lives sitting in the pews/chairs listening to something Christ never sanctioned - clergy. ALL saints were to testify in an assembly, I Cor 14:26-38.

    Christ greets the teachers and clergy here => Joel 1. They prevented maturity in the body and violate The Word: Deut 4:2, 12:32, Prov 30:6. Joel 1:15 is the time setting, near the Day of the Lord, aka the future.

    Lastly, throughout scripture God bypasses 'the scholars'. The First Advent, He didn't go to them, He went around them. Scripture says He will do the same in the church age, e.g. 1 Cor 1:26-28.

    1 Jn 2:27 is denied in all of this: you have no need someone teach you. Rather than putting themselves out of business and renouncing the 100% man-made concoction of "ordination", "degrees", etc. they continue to practice as a special class of saint. While some teaching is helpful, its setting should be as given in 1 Cor 14, not the world's way.

    A decent start: Pagan Christianity by Viola & Barna.

    1. " He will do the same in the church age,", failed to mention Acts 4:13 and the fact Paul was called to vacate all his "credentials".

      No where in scripture are "scholars" anything more than a man-made obstacle to maturing the Body.

  3. Thank you! I recently began attending a church and then realized they teach salvation MUST be accompanied by works and that you can lose salvation, and I was very dismayed. But the verses mostly quoted to support this view come from John's three little books, and seeing how that view can be refuted from this text will be very useful. Thank you.

  4. Take a good look at the world today (or about any other time.) It’s lawlessness in the flesh. The idea that Messiah intended to raise up His body without instruction (the Word) is ludicrous. If the head is of one mind, and the body of another, the result is spasticity. If we have any hope of ‘ruling and reigning’ with Christ, we should absolutely know and honor HIS concept of rightness. If we think someone came along and effectively overrode the standards He set (by the Spirit, through the Father) we are sadly mistaken.

  5. "Let us never forget, however, that whenever we read an English translation, we are in fact recognizing, though indirectly, our dependence on scholarship. Someone had to learn the biblical languages and to make great efforts, over a long period of time, before English readers could make use of a translation they understand. Though the Scriptures affirm that we have direct access to God, they also make clear that God has given teachers to his church (e.g., Eph. 4:11). Surely, there would be no point in having teachers if Christians never need guidance and instruction in their understanding of God’s revelation. Scholars may not impose their views on the church, nor may they act as though they were the great depositories of truth, but the church must not forget how much it has benefited from their labors throughout the centuries."

    Moisรฉs Silva, “Let’s Be Logical: Using and Abusing Language,” in Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics: The Search for Meaning, ed. Walter C. Kaiser Jr. and Moisรฉs Silva (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007), 50–51.

    1. Jesus isn't against scholars and scholarship, but scholars are often against Him. Not just scholars though, but most people. In fact, everyone who doesn't believe in Him has set themselves against Him whether they know it or not.

      The Old Covenant scholars (Pharisees, scribes, teachers of the Law, et al.) that opposed Him got a much-needed scolding. Not because they were Pharisees and scribes, but because they didn't believe in Him. All their training was for nothing. Some Pharisees followed Him (e.g., Nicodemus). Some professional historians (e.g., Luke). Some teachers of the Law, too (e.g., Paul).

      God uses people from all walks of life, both rich and poor, Jew and Gentile. And while all believers are appointed royal priests and co-regents with Christ, there is still a God-appointed leadership in the Church (e.g., elders/overseers, deacons). While we don't NEED each other because we each have direct access to God through Christ, we are still CALLED to walk with each other as a unified body.


  6. Just commenting not pointing fingers.

    I will say, God hates Organized legalistic religion, so did Paul.

    Paul had to get in Peter's face in front of everyone, cause he was to be blamed. "why compel the gentiles to live live the Jews when the Jews don't live like the Jews. And even Barnabas was carried away with there dissimilation"

    Traditions dye hard, Its to bad that 1,2,3 John is full of it. But a lot of Churches love it. You can even find that sort of view in parts of the Gospel of John.
    A lot of scholarship regarding John's gospel and the letters attributed to him are rejected.
    Some people feel they need that sort of structured Christian religion.

    Except Christianity is not a religion, its a way of life.

    But then again, they can say the same thing about there structured religious life.

    For by Grace are you saved through faith.

    The Just shall live by faith.

  7. I accepted Christ officially in 1987, after spending a few years going for walks and wondering if I was really talking to God. I was raised in a godless, Jewish home, and at the time was a serious pothead and ate LSD like candy. I was searching big time but knew at that time it was all about love. On a dark and stormy October night, a security guard at the mall I worked at shared his faith with me. It was a real faith and all the lights came on for me . I knew this was the way and the truth. I bought a Bible that night and when I got home I had no idea where to start. I asked God and opened my Bible, turning to 1John. This hippie, who knew it was all about love, read how God was love and that we were children of God. It was the beginning of a great adventure. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

    1. That's awesome owlhead! Thank you for sharing your testimony. Some of the most impactful verses to me in the whole Bible are in 1 John.

  8. Rock Island Books just published another youtube video, which was very interesting titled "2023 END Times prophecy revealed". If you've seen his stuff before, the first half of the video is review, but the 2nd part is brand new and very interesting. I recommend it.

  9. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aw2p06bgyKg&t=227s

  10. The aforementioned video.

    1. Thank you for posting a link. Nutshell summary: The creator of the video does dives into letter by letter "hidden" meaning in Hebrew words. Starts by showing that "In the Beginning" Hebrew word has a general 6000 age if mankind, reflecting the work week (with the cross at 4000 years). Then does the same thing with a verse in Isaiah about "End". Then, in the 2nd half of video, shows how two different periods of of dispersion and punishment (as prophesied by Ezekiel's laying on his side for Israel and then Judah), when multiplied by 7 (for lack of repentance when the time frame was done) end up at the year 3030 for BOTH Israel and Judah. So he speculates that the year 2030 would be the year the united nation of Israel finally acknowledges their Messiah, Jesus (indicating it would be the year of the 2nd Coming).

      So, watch for yourself and see what you think of his research and reasoning.

  11. 'Now the end begins' at https://www.nowtheendbegins.com/russia-warns-germany-united-states-as-western-tanks-are-sent-to-ukraine/ "As Western Battle Tanks Are Being Sent To Ukraine, A Furious Russia Vows Germany And The West Will Pay A Huge Price For Waging Proxy War Against Them".

  12. Lots of people in the so called "Hebrew Roots Movement" read the New Testament this way and tend to alienate Paul's teachings. A going back to the original 10 Commandments and the Torah, forsaking the New Covenant set up by Christ and sealed with His blood. It's odd to me.

  13. Hey, FAMILY, a Spring 2023 Rapture is looking more and more promising!

    Around the time of the recent announcement of the cryptocurrency Project CEDAR several puzzle pieces came together for me. Below is the link to my latest article that asks (and answers) the question, "WHY did Biden call it Project CEDAR?" Also, "HOW does Project Cedar fit in with events leading to the Rapture?" and "WHEN will we most likely be going HOME?"


    1. CEDAR! My mom ‘s old cedar chest. Meant to protect the precious and keep out the bugs and vermin. What signaling! The project is meant to preserve the wealth of the elites and starve out the useless eaters.

    2. CY--I know, right?! There is even more significance to CEDAR which has me putting together even more info related to the start of the Tribulation and therefore our wonderful DEPARTURE!

  14. I find it odd that John's Gospel doesn't reference the Last supper elements as Matthew, Mark, and Luke do.

    Being such an important part of the story, you would think he would include that. Instead he just moves on to Supper being ended continuation of the story.

    Not being critical just a , "Hummm". Wonder why?

    1. A good question Gregg. Sounds like the basis of a personal study to me! What do we know so far? We know that what John recorded was recorded by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We know that all of Scripture is sufficient for the work of Salvation. We know John was a witness from beginning to end (all the way to the cross). Perhaps an audit of these things is in order? Surely this has been done before. I have not delved into this question personally but maybe it's something for you to?

      Happy hunting!

    2. Me either, it was just an observation.

  15. Hi Jeff

    John covered all the bases as “he is the propitiation for our sins”

    The question can also be asked, which “commandments” is John referring to?

    And really there is only two MARK 12:30-31 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
    And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

    I understand what can be interpreted as "Works" as the word "commandments" is used
    as in 1 John 2:3-5, but also the word "Word" is used also in the same context.

    Then again in 1 John 5:2-4 the same "commandments" wording is used.

    Paul runs into the same sort of 1 John 2:26, "them that seduce you." in the Colossians letter.

    Colossians 2:4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
    And in Colossians 2:18-23

    1 John 2:3-5, 1 John 2:26, 1 John 5:2-4

    2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
    2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
    2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
    2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

    2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

    5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
    5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
    5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

    The alter of burnt offering.

    At this alter, two kinds of sacrifices were offered: the sin, and the trespass.

    Trespass, is where man usually starts when he talks about sin. A Trespass, by definition, is a thing you know about. I robbed, I stole, I killed, or the more spiritual derivative of that, I hated, I desired what was not mine. Sins that the church has been hung up on for years were considered trespasses by God.

    Man has always started out on the periphery, but the closer you get to God, the more you are aware that you are not a sinner because you sin, but rather, you sin, because you are a sinner. There’s something wrong with you. You’re born out of fellowship with God, we inevitably find ourselves alienated and against God. A condition of separation from God.

    The sin offering was for that condition. The trespass offering was for the deed. And the sin offering even embraced the sin of ignorance. Even in the Old Testament, they had a sacrifice for the sins they didn’t know about. But, the message was the same in both cases.

    As God decreed a plan involving the laying on of hands, for Old Testament transactions, all you have to do, where ever you are, is believe that God laid on him the iniquity of us all, and you step out from underneath, and stand redeemed, by simply believing, and hanging the body in an act of using the tongue. With the heart, man believeth and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

  16. Scott Clarke has a new video out now, and he basically offers a side-by-side comparison of the Joseph and Jesus accounts, along with a picture of Jesus at the Second Coming.

    Joseph and Jesus each have outer garments dipped in blood. Both are sold into captivity for silver. So on and so forth. This much you've probably heard before. But he draws special attention to Jesus at the Last Supper, as He sopped His bread into wine . . . a parallel allusion to future prophecy? And if so, what is the prophetic insight? Answer . . . the two amounts of silver . . . 20 and 30 . . . 2030.

    Combined with Sherrill's link to CJ Lovik at Rock Island Books, that makes for 3 separate 2030 references that appear to be new and intriguing revelations this month.

    Love the symmetry of it all!



    In the previous topic we were discussing the possibility of a sixth seal Rapture. The language of (Revelation 6:12-17) is clearly the Day of the Lord language, but if to consider what we call the Rapture (harpazo) to happen after the first seal is broken on the scroll by Jesus we need to come to an understanding of who the 24 elders are.

    We (the Church) cannot be in two places at one time. We cannot be the elders present at the opening of the first seal and be taken in a sixth seal Rapture.

    I have long believed that the 24 elders were the church and by extension believed that they were the Raptured Church. (Nods to Stan at The11:11Sign) Specifically the second order of the resurrection of the righteous Saints. I will not go into the orders of the first resurrection here; you can find that at (1 Corinthians 15:20-26). Then came the question of where do we see the second order of the resurrection happening in the Revelation? The sixth seal is the candidate event. But if so then who are the 24 elders? How could the elders be the Church if they were there BEFORE the opening of the seals?

    This is where words started popping off the pages of my Bible!

    1. Jesus didn't open the first seal

    1 Now I watched when the Lamb
    opened *one* of the seven seals,
    and I heard one of the four living
    creatures say with a voice like
    thunder, "Come!" [emphasis mine]

    (Revelation 6:1 ESV)

    The Lamb (Jesus) opened ONE of the seals. The ESV as well as Greek clearly state that the Lamb opened ONE of the seals not the first (ordinal) seal.

    Whoever the 24 elders are they were witness to this event. They were already in heaven.

    2. The Christquake

    52 The tombs also were opened.
    And *many* *bodies* of the saints
    who had fallen asleep were *raised*
    [emphasis mine]

    (Matthew 27:52 ESV)

    A point of some discussion here at UNSEALED.ORG has been those who were raised at the Christquake. (Nods to Rick Larson!) Keywords from this important verse are "many", "bodies" and "raised" or "many bodily raised". If so then we have a powerful witness in the holy city to the reality of the resurrection! Not glorified and taken at an undocumented time into heaven in a secret ascension but bodily raised saints recently died (perhaps from the local area) in a manner consistent with the body of Scripture as already established in the gospels. The dead were raised and returned to their lives with Lazarus being the latest example.


      Why do I mention this? What does it have to do with the 24 elders?

      3. Where were the dead that were raised at the Christquake?

      The righteous dead were sleeping in Sheol (Hell) in a place called Abraham's Bossom (Paradise). You can learn more about this in (Luke 16:19-31). Abraham's Bossom (Paradise) was emptied by Jesus Himself and all those sleeping there were taken into heaven save those who were bodily raised as a witness in the holy city. No wonder so many were saved in the Upper Room on Pentecost!

      This brings me to the 24 elders...

      If the resurrection of the body of Christ occurs at the sixth seal (Day of the Lord) then there is no way that the 24 elders can be us, The body of Christ. It has to be someone else.

      The only remaining candidates for the elders are those chosen from the first order of the resurrection; the first fruits! The LORD Himself gives us POWERFUL testimony through the prophet Daniel,

      13 "But go your way till the end.
      And you shall rest and shall stand
      in your allotted place at the end of
      the days."

      (Daniel 12:13 ESV)

      Daniel rested in Abraham's Bossom until the Day of his release from Sheol and ascension into heaven. *IF* (Daniel 12:13) were testimony to Daniel as a future elder then it makes perfect sense that Daniel would be in place as one of the 24 elders who witnessed the opening of the scroll. BEFORE the opening of the sixth seal. Before the second order of the resurrection of the righteous, the Church.

      This is the tip of the iceberg but it would go a long way to explain who the 24 elders are. It also goes a long way to define our place in the heavenly realm. The bride of Christ not the elders AND the bride of Christ. (A topic for another time) It goes a long way to understand how the elders are present when the seals are opened *IF* the Day of the Lord appears in the sixth seal which we otherwise call the Rapture.

      I am continuing to unpack this and will post more as time allows. This is to (hopefully) include an expanded model that puts the Revelation into parallel timelines.

      I hope this is a blessing to you and yours!

      Keep the Faith,


    2. Thoughts...

      Why OT Saints? I use the term OT Saints, such as Daniel, as the initial building blocks of the 24 while in reality it could be any of the righteous faithful of the day. That may even include the likes of Stephen. (Conjecture) The point being is the time in which John saw these wonders in heaven. If John saw these wonders in the time in which he lived on Patmos then there is a limited pool of humans who would qualify for such a station (elder) in heaven. Has that number expanded over the years? Perhaps. The OT records 24 courses of priests serving in the temple of which Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, was a member of Abijah. In any case, they would easily be available to see the sixth seal opened by the Lamb.



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