2 John – Counsel and Warnings & The Seven Jewish Festivals

This is the only chapter in this book so tomorrow we will go to…

2 John
Counsel and Warnings

1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

“Elder” – in his later years, John functioned as an elder, perhaps of the Ephesian church.  The apostle Peter held a similar position.

“Elect lady” – either an unknown Christian woman in the province of Asia or a figurative designation of a local church there.

The Christian church began in Acts chapter 2, c. 31 A.D. (various dates have been proposed with 30 or 31 A.D. being the most likely) in Jerusalem.
While they live, each of the original apostles traveled and lived in various areas.

The apostles normally held leadership positions were they lived (e.g. Gal 2:9; 1 Cor 12:28).

Apparently, the last of the original apostles to die was John. In his final years, he normally lived and led the churches from Ephesus (in Asia Minor, now part of Turkey), which is the church at Ephesus.

2 For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever.

3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

7-11 – this section deals with the basic Gnostic heresy attacked in 1 John, namely, that the Son of God did not become flesh (Jn 1:14), but that He temporarily came upon the man Jesus between his baptism and crucifixion.

8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

“Have wrought…full reward” – work faithfully accomplished on earth brings future reward.

9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

“Transgresseth” – in the sense of going too far.  This is a reference to the Gnostics, who believed that they had advanced beyond the teaching of the apostles.

10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

“Receive him not into your house” – John was warning against providing food and shelter to this type of person since this would be an investment in the “evil deeds” of false teachers and would give public approval.

It is the same today.  If people around you know that you stand up for Jesus Christ and they are non-believers or are interested, they put you under a microscope and watch every action that you perform.

For example, the picture to the lower left are my license plates so I “always” have to be a courteous driver.  Let us say there comes a day where I’m tired or I’m in a hurry and I hit all the red lights or there’s a moron driving recklessly near me or whatever, I still have to maintain my courtesy for Jesus. 

I can’t jump out of my car and start screaming like a raving maniac, even though I might feel better if I do.

11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

“Paper and ink” – paper was made from papyrus reeds, which were readily available and cheap. The ink (the Greek for this word comes from a word that means “black”) was made by mixing carbon, water and gum or oil.

13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

“Elect sister” – may be taken literally to designate another Christian woman or figuratively to refer to another local church.

The Seven Jewish Festivals

Here is a YouTube video that explains it, but remember that these feasts were performed prior to the birth of Jesus and during His life.
They all reflect on Him, but now that He gave His life for us they are not needed.

The seven feasts of Israel were prophetic pictures of God’s plan for mankind. Most of them can be proven to be fulfilled, but there are still some to be fulfilled.

The wonder of God’s amazing revelation in Scripture is that not only has He spoken directly of His plan for mankind, but that He has also given us some beautiful historical pictures of His plan of redemption embedded within the precepts of the Mosaic Law.

The ceremonies, rituals, and prescribed festivals each have priceless insights into the life, work, death and resurrection of the coming Messiah- Jesus Christ.

Understanding these prophetic pictures should not just amaze us, they should inform and reassure us that God’s plan of redemption through Jesus Christ has unfolded perfectly and will continue to do so.

The Redemption Nature of the Sabbath.

The Sabbath was a weekly celebration of God’s work in creation. God created in six “days” and rested on the seventh. He then commanded that every seventh day people cease from all normal activity and rest.

The above drawing is how I see it, but some don’t, especially not the Jews and Muslims.

The two sentences directly above can be contradictory, but not necessarily; this is another mystery of God we don’t know.

Everything that exists was created by God, but the above sentence about His creation relates only to things that pertain to us.  The question is, “Did God create it all in six days?”

“…be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet 3:8).

“For a thousand years in thy sight are but a yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night” (Ps 90:4).

There is no times-table with God.  He doesn’t live day-by-day because He has no days or nights, He is life eternal and is everywhere at all times. 

Therefore, we actually don’t know how long it took Him to create it all.  He could have done it in a twinkle of an eye, or He may have piddled, but that does not matter. 

When or why God does something is not important, what’s important is that He did it for us.

The Sabbath was created for us, and as Jesus said:

“…The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mk 2:27).

It was a gift from God and we should honor and enjoy it.  Enjoy it with Him. 

When someone you love needs help, in most cases, you’ll drop whatever you are doing when they ask for help.  Even if it might upset others.  You do it because your love for that person is more important.

God gave us the Sabbath, not to be lazy or for an excuse to get away doing things you shouldn’t do.  The Sabbath is everyone’s invitation to His weekly pool party. 

Modern attempts to revive the sacrifice lamb.
In 2007, a group of rabbis led by Adin Steinsalz and supported by the Temple Mount Faithful and the New Sanhedrin Council identified a Kohen who was a butcher, made plans for conducting a Passover sacrifice on the Temple Mount, and petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice for permission.

The Court sided with the government and rejected the request, holding that such an event would inflame religious tensions and would threaten security.

The incident was a successor to a series of earlier attempts by various groups to perform such a sacrifice, either openly or by subterfuge.

In 2008 animal rights group Tnoo Lachayot Lichyot (“Let the Animals Live”) sued the Temple Institute, claiming its conduct of a practice Passover sacrifice demonstration would constitute animal cruelty.

An Israeli court rejected the claim.

Jesus was the Passover, there is nothing left to do – but what can you expect from Jews?

God doesn’t demand that you show up, but if you can’t make time for Him then you don’t have the right to expect Him to make time for you.

In this respect, the Sabbath was a memorial of what had happened. But it was also a “shadow” of what was to come: the rest that would one day come from the work of the Messiah.

Jesus Christ has now done all of the work necessary for our salvation. Our salvation is not only based entirely upon God’s grace:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9)

It is also based upon the finished work of Christ. The work of salvation is now done, we therefore rest in Christ.

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28).

Passover

The Passover was instigated as a ceremony before it was even first celebrated. It is perhaps the clearest picture of God’s salvation in the Old Testament.

The very object of Egyptian scorn toward the sheep-loving nation of Hebrews, a lamb, was the central emblem of this festival.

The night of the tenth plague (Ex 11), when the angel of death passed over Egypt and killed all the firstborn of Egypt who weren’t dwelling under blood-stained lintels and doorposts, was the night when God delivered the Hebrews from Egypt.

The symbolism in the Passover is plain. The lamb represents Christ. It had to be pure and without blemish. It had to be totally consumed either by eating or by burning its remains.

All of this wonderfully paints a prophetic picture of Christ – a young man, who was sinless and gave His all for mankind. This prophetic picture was fulfilled by Christ on the Cross.

Passover speaks of Christ shedding His blood to redeem His people.

Feast of Unleavened Bread

From Passover, Israel was required to keep the “Feast” of Unleavened Bread for one week. During this time they were forbidden from eating leavened bread and were required to eat “bitter” herbs with this bread.

This is associated with grieving. The time between Christ’s death and resurrection was a time of grief for the first disciples. The time between recognizing that Christ has died for us and forsaking sin is an unpleasant time of grief and repentance. A bitter time.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread speaks of time Christ was dead between the Cross and His resurrection.

Leavened in the Bible, represents sin.  Therefore, the Hebrews, to honor and celebrate God releasing them from Egyptian bondage were to eat Unleavened bread.

Feast of Firstfruits

The Feast of Firstfruits marked the beginning of the harvest season. The first sheaves of the harvest were to be brought to the priests as an offering to acknowledge that it was God who had blessed them with a harvest.

The Firstfruits of God’s Kingdom, of His Harvest was Christ. When He rose from the dead He became the Firstfruits of the Harvest of the Resurrection, of the redeemed lives that God would have.

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept” (1Cor 15:20).

The Feast of Firstfruits speaks of the Resurrection of Christ.

The Feast of Pentecost

A Western depiction of the Pentecost, painted by Jean II Restout, 1732.
Pentecost (Ancient Greek: Pentēkostē, “the fiftieth [day]”) is the Greek name for the Feast of Weeks, a prominent feast in the calendar of ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai.

This feast is still celebrated in Judaism as Shavuot.

Later, in the Christian liturgical year, it became a feast commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ, (120 in all) as described in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1–31.

For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described by some Christians today as the “Birthday of the Church.”

In the Eastern church, Pentecost can also refer to the whole fifty days between Easter and Pentecost, hence the book containing the liturgical texts for Paschaltide is called the Pentecostarion.

The feast is also called White Sunday, or Whitsun, especially in England, where the following Monday was traditionally a public holiday.

Pentecost is celebrated seven weeks (50 days) after Easter Sunday, hence its name.

Pentecost falls on the tenth day after Ascension Thursday.

The Feast of Pentecost (or the Feast of “Weeks”) marked 50 days from the Feast of Firstfruits. It marked the time when the fruit of, and the products resulting from, the Harvest were celebrated.

It was this Feast that required leavened bread to be used. In this sense, leavened bread speaks of celebration rather than the way unleavened bread speaks of deprivation in the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Leaven also refers to gentiles, corruption, or sin. The priest was required to take two loaves of leavened bread and wave them together so that they appeared to become one loaf.

Pentecost found its prophetic fulfilment on the day Christ poured out His Spirit and birthed the Church. On that day, both Jew and Gentile became one in Christ by His Spirit.

Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.

Now all of us, both Jews and Gentiles, may come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).

“And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph 2:16-19).

Pentecost was the next day after seven Sabbaths from the Feast of Firstfruits. This means that it fell on a Sunday (the same day as the day of Christ’s Resurrection).

Hence, the Church was birthed on a Sunday and has been honoring that day ever since as the “Lord’s Day.”  Therefore, the Sabbath would be Saturday.

The Feast of Pentecost therefore speaks of Christ pouring His Spirit out into the hearts of the redeemed to make one new people.

Feast of Trumpets

The Feast of Trumpets was the day trumpets were to be blasted throughout the land to proclaim a special time of rest in which no work was to be done.

This speaks of Gospel proclamation where the Church announces to the world that now is the day of salvation where everyone is called to come to Christ to find rest for their souls.

In the immediate sense, the prophetic fulfilment of this Feast finds its fulfilment in the period from Pentecost to the Close of the Old Covenant with the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D.

Ancient Horn Rhyton
Barakat Gallery, an antiquities dealer, identifies this as a Persian Horn Rhyton.

Origin: Central Asia; Circa: 500 BC to 400 BC, 5.25″ (13.3cm) high x 7.50″ (19.1cm) wide; Style: Achaemenid; Medium: Horn.

If they are accurate, this is a most amazing piece, as horn does not survive more than a few hundred years, and then only in exceptional circumstances such as buried in a peat bog.

For this to survive two millenia in such pristine condition is quite amazing.

We are living in the prophetic implications of the Feast of Trumpets where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is now being proclaimed.

Day of Atonement

The Day of Atonement involved two goats being presented to the High Priest in the tabernacle where he could cast lots between them to determine which one should be sacrificed and which one should be freed.

This is a picture of God’s Judgment. When God judges, only those who are in Christ can be freed.

In its immediate prophetic sense it speaks of Christ being judged as the Messiah of Israel and bearing the penalty for their sin.

When God came and brought the Old Covenant to an end in 70A.D. with the destruction of the Temple, the abolition of the Levitical Priesthood and sacrificial system, the Day of Atonement was fulfilled.

Ultimately it will find its fulfilment on the Day of Judgment (referred to as the “Last Day” in Scripture).

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (Jn 12:48).

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Jews all over the world will observe Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
It is the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the practicing Jew, revered with contrition, confession and repentance.

But what does this Jewish observance have to do with Christianity? Every year, Yom Kippur pictures man’s need for redemption through a substitutionary sacrifice that would one day be ultimately fulfilled in the once for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

That is total disrespect to God.

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Naked and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matt 25:31-46).

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev 20:11-15).

The Feast of Tabernacles

For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel “speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘the fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord.” (Ex 40:38; Lev 23:34; Zech 14:16).

The Feast of Tabernacles (or “Booths”) was a time of celebrating the transition of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land when Israel had yet built houses but dwelt in tents instead.

The Feast of Tabernacles speaks of our time of transition between this life where we dwell in bodies that are subject to the law of decay, and the time when we will be resurrected to possess our new immortal bodies.

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor 5:1).

The Feast of Tabernacles speaks of the Resurrection Day which will conclude time as we now know it. Since the first five feasts have been fulfilled so accurately, we can be assured that the remaining two, with their prophetic implications, will similarly be fulfilled.

The next great event on God’s prophetic time-table is the fulfilment of what the Day of Atonement foreshadowed: the Day of Judgment which will coincide with the final feast’s prophetic fulfilment: the Feast of Tabernacles.

“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev 21:3).

If we are going to live as disciples of Jesus, we have to remember that all noble things are difficult.
The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome.

Do we so appreciate the marvelous salvation of Jesus Christ that we are our utmost for His highest?

God saves men by His sovereign grace through the Atonement of Jesus; He works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure; but we have to work out that salvation in practical living. If once we start on the basis of His Redemption to do what He commands, we find that we can do it.

If we fail, it is because we have not practiced.

The crisis will reveal whether we have been practicing or not.

If we obey the Spirit of God and practice in our physical life what God has put in us by His Spirit, then when the crisis comes, we shall find that our own nature as well as the grace of God will stand by us.

Don’t get all caught up with these feasts like the Jews do.  Jesus is against tradition (Matt 15) and He’s against religion (Matt 23).

The Jews celebrate these feasts just like they did in ancient time because they do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, let alone God Himself.

The birth of Jesus removed the need of sacrifices because He was the sacrifice needed to save our souls and therefore, the need of the feasts no longer exist.

Yet, as far as I understand God, there are three days where we can honor Jesus, but remember, they are needed to be saved and celebrating them will not save you.  Like being baptized does not save you, it just shows others that you love Jesus.

1. The Sabbath – Go to God’s pool party and enjoy His presence.  I have noticed there are more and more vacant seats.  Honoring the Sabbath will not guarantee you salvation and not honoring the Sabbath will not take away your salvation. 

So why honor it?  Why not?  Aside from that, the more time you spend with God the stronger your faith will become and in turn the safer you will be:

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet 5:8).

Besides that it’s kind of hard to get to know someone if you don’t spend time with them.  Let’s say you meet someone online, but you never met them.  You’ve been communicating with them for years but only through email or Facebook.

One day you get an anonymous letter that informs you that your friend passed away.  In this letter you find out that your friend had been a billionaire and has given you their entire estate and all you have to do to collect it is go to their home.

You don’t know where they lived; you don’t even know their name, just their online name.

You know Jesus Christ and you know where He lives, but do you know how to get there?  Everybody in the world knows who Jesus is, but they don’t actually “know” Him. 

And there are many that know quite a bit about Him, but they don’t know how to get to His house and there is only one way. 

Jesus is the friend that passed away and has left His estate to you, are you going to be able to collect?

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Jesus continually reinforced his accusations against their unwillingness to maintain a consistency between their tradition and the written law:
“They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch” (Matt 15:14).
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in” (Matt 23:13).

The Pharisees would not live up to what they taught.

They were so overly concerned with the externals that they neglected the “weightier matters of the law” and the simple truths about man and God.

When their own Messiah had appeared in Israel they were so blinded by their observances and the minute details that they completely missed Him.

It is amazing that Jesus used the exact words of Isaiah, their great prophet, to describe their hypocrisy.

Notice the quote from Is

“He answered and said to them, Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mk 7:5-7).

The Pharisees were intent upon cleansing the outside of the cup and dish whereas the inside remained dirty:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also”(Matt 23:25-26).

He even accused them of being whitewashed tombs, disguising their inner corruption.

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt 7:13-14).

2. Passover – The Jews celebrate this day because it was the day that God saved the Hebrews from their Egyptian bondage.  But it was also the day that Jesus was crucified and His crucifixion saved our souls from hell.

According to the Bible He was crucified the day before the Sabbath and many today say that the day of crucifixion was on a Saturday, but I say it was Friday because the Sabbath is Saturday because according to our calendar the first day of the week is Sunday.

But the day doesn’t really matter, somewhere somehow Passover has been replaced with Easter and Easter is a pagan holiday, they worship the “Queen of Heaven,” the Mother of life, the Goddess Ishtar, the Goddess of fertility.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating Easter, but make that day a day of Jesus, not the pagan way.

NOTE: if you celebrate Easter the pagan way then there is no need for you to attend God’s Pool Party because:

“Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of the table of devils” (1 Cor 10:21).

3. Christmas – When you celebrate Christmas remember who’s birthday it is and give the gifts accordingly.  Since we are unable to give them directly to Jesus, do what He would do if He was here. 

Give to or help the needy, that is what He did when He was here.

…the Book of 3 John.