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1 John 4:3

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Every spirit - Every teacher, that confesseth not Jesus, is not of God - has not been inspired by God. The words εν σαρκι εληλυθοτα, is come in the flesh, are wanting in AB, several others, both the Syriac, the Polyglot Arabic, Ethiopic, Coptic, Armenian, and Vulgate; in Origen, Cyril, Theodoret, Irenaeus, and others. Griesbach has left them out of the text.

Spirit of antichrist - All the opponents of Christ's incarnation, and consequently of his passion, death, and resurrection, and the benefits to be derived from them.

Ye have heard that it should come - See 2 Thessalonians 2:7.

Even now already is it in the world - Is working powerfully both among the Jews and Gentiles.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And every spirit that confesseth not … - That is, this doctrine is essential to the Christian system; and he who does not hold it cannot be regarded either as a Christian, or recognised as a Christian teacher. If he was not a man, then all that occurred in his life, in Gethsemane, and on the cross, was in “appearance” only, and was assumed only to delude the senses. There were no real sufferings; there was no shedding of blood; there was no death on the cross; and, of course, there was no atonement. A mere show, an appearance assumed, a vision, could not make atonement for sin; and a denial, therefore, of the doctrine that the Son of God had come in the flesh, was in fact a denial of the doctrine of expiation for sin. The Latin Vulgate here reads “qui solvit Jesum,” “who dissolves or divides Jesus;” and Socrates (H. E. vii. 32) says that in the old copies of the New Testament it is written ὅ λίει τὸν Ἱησοῦν ho liei ton Hiēsoun“who dissolves or divides Jesus;” that is, who “separates” his true nature or person, or who supposes that there were “two” Christs, one in appearance, and one in reality. This reading was early found in some manuscripts, and is referred to by many of the Fathers, (see Wetstein,) but it has no real authority, and was evidently introduced, perhaps at first from a marginal note, to oppose the prevailing errors of the times. The common reading, “who confesseth not,” is found in all the Greek manuscripts, in the Syriac versions, in the Arabic; and, as Lucke says, the other reading is manifestly of Latin origin. The common reading in the text is that which is sustained by authority, and is entirely in accordance with the manner of John.

And this is that spirit of antichrist - This is one of the things which characterize antichrist. John here refers not to an individual who should be known as antichrist, but to a class of persons. This does not, however, forbid the idea that there might be some one individual, or a succession of persons in the church, to whom the name might be applied by way of eminence. See the notes at 1 John 2:18. Compare the notes at 2 Thessalonians 2:3 ff.

Whereof ye have heard that it should come - See the notes at 1 John 2:18.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christians who are well acquainted with the Scriptures, may, in humble dependence on Divine teaching, discern those who set forth doctrines according to the apostles, and those who contradict them. The sum of revealed religion is in the doctrine concerning Christ, his person and office. The false teachers spake of the world according to its maxims and tastes, so as not to offend carnal men. The world approved them, they made rapid progress, and had many followers such as themselves; the world will love its own, and its own will love it. The true doctrine as to the Saviour's person, as leading men from the world to God, is a mark of the spirit of truth in opposition to the spirit of error. The more pure and holy any doctrine is, the more likely to be of God; nor can we by any other rules try the spirits whether they are of God or not. And what wonder is it, that people of a worldly spirit should cleave to those who are like themselves, and suit their schemes and discourses to their corrupt taste?
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 80

The days are fast approaching when there will be great perplexity and confusion. Satan, clothed in angel robes, will deceive, if possible, the very elect. There will be gods many and lords many. Every wind of doctrine will be blowing. Those who have rendered supreme homage to “science falsely so called” will not be the leaders then. Those who have trusted to intellect, genius, or talent will not then stand at the head of rank and file. They did not keep pace with the light. Those who have proved themselves unfaithful will not then be entrusted with the flock. In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. They are self-sufficient, independent of God, and He cannot use them. The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view. There are precious ones now hidden who have not bowed the knee to Baal. They have not had the light which has been shining in a concentrated blaze upon you. But it may be under a rough and uninviting exterior the pure brightness of a genuine Christian character will be revealed. In the day time we look toward heaven but do not see the stars. They are there, fixed in the firmament, but the eye cannot distinguish them. In the night we behold their genuine luster. 5T 80.1

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