1 John 4:7-21 - To love or not to love; that is the question

Updated: Apr 11

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Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.


By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.


God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, "I love God," and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.


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This is the Epistle reading selection for the fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. This will be preceded by a mandatory reading from the Acts of the Apostles (chapter 8), which says, “Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus.” That is followed by a reading from Psalm 22, which sings, “My soul shall live for him; my descendants shall serve him; they shall be known as the Lord's for ever.” This reading will then come before the Gospel choice from John, where Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”


This reading taken from John’s first letter becomes the definition of New Testament “love.” It presents the word “love” in such a way that the truth of its meaning comes flowing out; but in that truth comes a danger warning. That warning says: Those who misuse the word “love” will find John’s words becoming a noose around their necks, no different that that believed to have hung Judas Iscariot to death.

Please, do not become a lost sheep meandering down a road that leads to some misunderstanding of "love," and see it like the Beatles saw it, in between their divorces, rejections of Christianity and drug addictions.


In this NRSV translation, the word “love” is found appearing seventeen times directly, with variants of the word “love” totaling twenty-nine times. In all Scripture, repetition is a signal of importance, where that which is being repeated is telling the reader to take time to fully understand that which is repeated.


This specific words including some form of “love” in them, as written in the Greek text, are: “agapōmen” – “we should love” [three times]; “agapōn” – “loving” [four times]; “ēgapēkamen” [once] and “ēgapēsen” [three times] – “loved;” “agapan” – “to love” [twice]; “agapa” – “should love;” and, one capitalized “Agapō” – “I love.” That totals fifteen uses of words that include “love,” in some manner other than directly stating “love.” The words that directly states “love” are “agapē” and “agapen.” They are found written another twelve times [11 + 1]. That raises the number of times “love” appears written here to twenty-seven, but then one can add in the two capitalized appearances of “Agapētoi” (“Beloved”), for a grand total of twenty-nine references to “love” that are present. All of that is found in fifteen verses, with none of them appearing in verses 13-15.


Because fifteen verses of any Epistle [Peter, James, John, or Paul] demands so many words of explanation, following the rules of syntax that allows one to read divine text divinely, there is too much chopped off to do that depth of analysis here and now. Because too few people are interested in reading so much explanation [a statement confirming the gross lack of faith the world is in now], I will forgo attempting to confuse novices with graduate level discourse about Scripture.


By that – "graduate level" – I mean a graduate of the Yahweh school of divine meaning, which is not taught by any human professors. There are no school courses that teach what I have been shown by God. I have faith that I am led to expose the truth of Scripture, regardless of how many pious toes get stepped on in that endeavor. I, being human, run people off by attempting to do what I am led to do, when I get deep in interpreting more than five to eight verses. So, I will veer from this approach for this reading in First John. Instead, I will focus on the point I made about John explaining how misunderstanding “love” will condemn one’s soul to eternal death.


In John’s final chapter of his Gospel (21), he wrote what I call a series of dreams. I call his twenty-first chapter a dream chapter because there never was any reality to the disciples going fishing on the Sea of Galilee, after Jesus appeared to his family, followers and disciples on Easter Sunday [in Jerusalem]. In that sequence of dreams, John saw himself coming up to Jesus, who had been talking to Peter [a conversation John somehow was privy to]. The NRSV translation of that chapter places a heading that says, “Jesus and Peter.” The New International Version (NIV) calls this “Jesus Reinstates Peter.” I presume that title is given because Peter was not mentioned as one standing out when Jesus appeared to his disciples on Easter Sunday evening. That conversation reinstating Peter states why the reading from 1 John 4 is vital to understand properly; so, I will explain that now.


In John 21:15-17, Jesus asked Simon-Peter if he loved him three times. One can assume that the question was repeated because Peter denied Jesus three times. I presume that is the reason the NIV puts a heading that says Peter was reinstated. While they make that presumption, why would it not be just as easy for Christians today to deny Jesus, in the same way as did Simon-Peter, all the while thinking, “I believe Jesus is so loving he will forgive me, no matter how many times I deny that love”? That is not the point made by John writing of this questioning by Jesus.


In the Greek text of John 21:15-17, specifically relative to the parts referencing "love" [not including the parts about feeding and tending sheep], is this:


21:15

Simōn Iōannou , agapas me pleon toutōn ?” - That translates as Jesus asking,

“Simon [son] of Jonah , you love me more than these ?

Nai , Kyrie , sy odias philō se .” - That translates as Peter responding to Jesus,

saying, “Yes , Lord , you know that I love you .


21:16

Simōn Iōannou , agapas me ?” - That is the second time Jesus asked the same

question, without adding “more than these.”

Nai , Kyrie , sy odias philō se .” - That is Peter responding a second time with the

exact same answer.


21:17

Simōn Iōannou , phileis me ?” - Here, it must be noticed that Jesus has changed

the way he stated “love,” so it matched the “love” answer given to him twice by

Peter.

Kyrie , panta sy odias ; sy ginōskeis hoti philō se .” - This translates as Peter

responding, “grieved” that Jesus would ask him a third time to confess his “love”

for him, saying, “Lord , all things you know ; you know that I love you .


In the first two questions asked by Jesus, he used the word “agapas,” which is the root word used twenty-nine times by John [the same author] in his Epistle. The root Greek word “agapaó” is defined as, “to love,” with its usage expanding to mean “I love, wish well to, take pleasure in, long for; denotes the love of reason, esteem.” (Strong’s) HELPS Word-studies says the of the word “agapáō: properly [means], to prefer, to love.” The Greek word “agapē,” which John wrote eleven or twelve times directly, is defined as “love, goodwill,” used as “love, benevolence, good will, esteem.” (Strong’s) Both of these definitions are the roots for all twenty-nine uses of “love” in his epistle.


All three answers by Peter were “philō,” which is not the same thing. The root word “phileó” is defined as “to love,” with the usage stated to be “I love (of friendship), regard with affection, cherish; I kiss.” (Strong’s) HELPS-Word-studies says it is “(from phílos, “affectionate friendship”) – properly, to show warm affection in intimate friendship, characterized by tender, heartfelt consideration and kinship.”


This is a significantly different statement about “love,” and the noose one ties around one’s proverbial neck is related to one responding to Jesus asking you, personally [all readers], “Do you agapas me?” and you continue to say, “You that are external to me I will always love you like a brother, which you can tell whenever I kiss your cheek [a Judas characteristic] and say, “I love my Jeesie-pooh.”


Here is where it is vital for one to grasp how Jesus asked Simon son of John, according to the Greek text repeated about the third question by Jesus, after he told how "Grieved" [a capitalized "Elypēthē"] Peter was to be asked, "Phileis me?" While the lower-case spelling was what Simon son of John heard, the actual question posed by Jesus [which brought about great "Pain, Sorrow, Vexation"] raised the meaning of "Love" to a divine state of meaning, based on the root word "phílos." That was Jesus asking Simon bar Jonah, "All you give me is Brotherly Love?"


This needs to be seen as John, spiritually raised to a prophetic dream state, so Simon and Jesus were future future essences from what they both had been in physical life, such that Jesus represented the religion called Christianity and Simon Peter represented the institution he was named the patron Saint for. This capitalization is most telling, as John pointed it out in the repetition of Christ' third question, meaning Saint Peter did not hear the divinity being asked; so, he never adjusted his answer to suit the needs of Jesus. Instead, he became emotionally upset.


By seeing this chapter of John as a dream, rather than a real event, Peter [the name given to Simon bar Jonah by Jesus] is spared this test of “love.” Jesus three times named the figure in this dream as “Simon son of John,” although John identified him as “Simon Peter” and then "Peter." The human birth name then becomes metaphor for all who will claim to believe in Jesus, maintaining a physical lineage more than a spiritual relationship with Yahweh. Every time Jesus spoke in the Gospels, it was Yahweh speaking through His Son, so the question posed to “Simon son of John” is the same question Yahweh poses to all who call themselves “Christians,” because of the stories told of Jesus. This dream becomes God asking believers, “Do you love Yahweh will all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul.” To not be married to Yahweh brings out a truthful answer that cannot help but tell the truth, saying “I love the idea of You, but I love the physical reality of myself more. So, let's just be brothers, rather than married to Yahweh, in the submission required of love ["agapē"].”


When one stays awake long enough to reach verse 20, which says, “Those who say, "I love God," and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars” [NRSV], that needs to be seen as a statement written by a prophet [John]. That says, “Saying “love” and being “love” are two different things,” just as are “agape” and “phileó.” To understand precisely what Yahweh said through the pen of John, here is what is written, in the Greek of 1 John 4:20:


Ean tis eipē hoti , Agapō ton Theon , kai ton adelphon autou misē , pseustēs estin .


That translates literally to state, “If anyone should answer that , kai who brother of him should hate [or despise, detest, be indifferent to, love less, or esteem less] , a liar [or falsifier, deceiver, one who misleads or distorts] exists .


Here, the capitalized “Ean” projects a question of divine essence, where the “If” situation brought forth says the truth of “love” is conditional. The capitalization means one’s lowly human body, animated as alive by a lost soul, gets to make the determination as to whether or not one will marry Yahweh and become His wife [an act demanding “love”]. A true Christian is married to Yahweh and completely under His "love" ["agapē"]. A non-Christian [regardless of what calls oneself] is free and single to mingle, so only sees Yahweh as 'a bud' ["phílos"].


Next, realize that the word “eipē” is translated as “should answer,” where the “If” is relative to the proposal of marriage, presented by Yahweh to a lost soul. This must be understood in the same way Jesus kept proposing to Simon son of John, expecting him to give the right answer. The difference there was Yahweh proposing to Simon bar Jonah, by saying, “I am here because I see you winking at me and blowing kisses at me [“phílos”]. So, what about it … want to get married from true love [“agapē”]?” The response must be seen as an “answer” to a question that is conditional … yes or no.


Then, notice how the word “Agapō” is capitalized, so this is not in any way associating “love” with the human nervous system and physical symptoms that are emotionally related. The capitalization raises this to a state of “Love,” where the first person [an implied “Egó”] becomes a statement that one’s whole being is “Love.” To then connect that to a total commitment of “Love” [all one’s heart, all one’s mind, and all one’s soul] to “that” [from “ton”] emanating from “God,” that says one’s soul confesses to marriage to Yahweh, taking on His name [“Theon”] in that marriage. One is united with Yahweh and Yahweh is united with one. That is the definition of "Love" ["Agapō"].


The comma mark completes that statement, which should be the truth, based on the conditional “If.” What is not written is the mathematical symbol that is the left right arrow [⇔] and the statement of truth that should follow “I love God.” The following statement of truth would be, “I love my brother,” such that “I love God” means all brothers are also loved. Because the contrary is written, as the falsifier of the statement “I love God,” to feel anything less than complete love for a brother makes one a liar.


A "brother" ["adelphon"] means all who are reborn as the "Son" [Jesus], regardless of human gender. Because one can only be a "Son" through a soul's marriage to Yahweh, all "brothers" are equally of Yahweh and all Jesus, born of "love" ["agapē"]. To not love a brother as Yahweh and as Jesus is to not be a true Christian, therefore a liar misusing that title.


I know from personal experience that anyone, such as myself, who says something that has not been approved by some preacher, some best-selling author on Christianity, or by some dogmatic leaders of a church, even though he, she, or it claims to be a Christian [read that as a “brother,” regardless of human gender], those calling themselves ‘Christians” will do the same to that person [like myself] as the Jewish leaders did to Jesus. They will speak out of one side of their mouths, saying, “I love God, and Jesus, and love of all kinds.” Then, they will spit out of the other side of the same mouth, saying, “I hate you for saying Nostradamus was not some evil charlatan and Satan lover!!!”


I just happened to find out Nostradamus was a true saint by listening to God and my sharing that with “Christians” had them try to stone me to death [figuratively]. That is the lie of saying "I love God," and then turning on those who love God.


There is a group on Facebook called “Episcopalians on Facebook,” which is supposedly a “public group,” but one that requires approval to join. I am a registered Episcopalian, as was my wife [an Episcopal priest, deceased]. She invited me to join the group; but no one has ever approved me to post anything. When I read what is posted in that group, it is impossible to not see how there is a political faction that is all about forcing homosexuality upon Episcopalians, controlling it. Those Episcopalians who do not agree that is “the way God made people,” and promoting sinners as a misguided way of rewriting the Holy Bible, are outwardly hated. Because there are so clearly those who oppose a church embracing political-social agendas, rather than being a place for true Christians to enjoy the company of other true Christians, those whose agenda is to make the Episcopal Church Satan’s den of iniquity will lash out publicly, spewing hatred [certainly indifference] upon all who would dare to question their opinions that Jesus would love homosexuals – putting “love” ["phílos"] in his mouth for him.


This is why it is so important to grasp what John is writing in this selection. He is defining “love,” line by line, where every crutch these false “Christians” lean upon is knocked over, one by one. It gets down to John saying, “If you think love means what You think love means, rather than actually being one with “Love” [as Yahweh’s wife], then no matter what you say, you are a falsifier."


John would continue by adding, "You would not know the truth if Jesus [looking like someone other than his pictures show him as] walked up to you and said, “What did you think Jesus would say?”


As a reading selection on the fifth Sunday of Easter, which is a season for practicing being Jesus, the lesson here is find the truth about “love.” There is no question that Peter was married to Yahweh and had become the resurrection of Jesus, as the Son reborn. A faker could not have healed a man born lame. Peter was “the Rock of Jesus,” with all the disciples risen by “Love” to also be Apostles. The dream of John then needs to be seen as Simon being the human that would become the patron saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Jesus was asking the Church that bore his name if they loved him.


An institution cannot marry Yahweh, any more than the Temple of Jerusalem could contain Him in a building, when He always demanded freedom to go where He wanted. Thus, a Church cannot know any way to answer Jesus’ question, other than admitting it represents something external, which will always be a friendly place for those who do “Love God” to gather, but nothing more.


So many these days “love” a Church, to the point that they will hate anything external to that Church. This makes it a good practice to see one’s soul as all that matters, because there is no Church that a human soul can marry, nor any Church that can marry a human soul to Yahweh. One must practice being one with Yahweh, so one practices being His Son, no matter how hard the world fights against that. The time to get used to rejection is now, before a ministry officially begins.


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Optional reading: John defining "love."


7

Love is from God, so love means knowing God – marriage to Yahweh.

8

Not knowing God, so God is not married to one, means one cannot know God's love.

9

Love exists in the world as His Son, so all who know God’s love are His Son in the

world.

10

The Son did not come because one loved God, but because God loved His wife He

sent His Son to be reborn in one He loved.

11

God loves one and one loves God; so, all God loves will love one another.

12

God cannot be seen; so, we love one another because God is unseen within us, which

is how we are made perfect and capable of love.

13

Our ability to love is proof that God lives within us, through the presence of His Holy

Spirit.

14

By knowing the love of God personally, one can then testify to that presence as the

truth.

15

All who have God abiding within them have become Jesus (as Anointed ones), as Sons

of God, because God only abides in His Son.

16

We have come to know God, which becomes solid faith that God is one with each of us

and God is the love we know, so we live in love as God lives in us.

17

The love of God has cleansed us of sins so that perfection allows us to know our

judgment will be eternal life .

18

There is no fear in love and God’s love within us eliminates all fears in us, as only those

who do not know God’s love will fear.

19

We love because God loved us first and offered us His love.

20

Anyone who says “I love God” and then hates a brother in God’s love is a liar. Not

loving one who knows God means one does not know God and therefore cannot know

love.

21

God’s love commands all His Sons to love one another as those who know God’s love.