It is vital to understand Docetic teaching if we want to understand the letters of 1 and 2 John.
Docetism is a corollary doctrine to Gnostic teaching. Because, in their thinking, matter was inferior to spirit, Jesus only appeared to have a body. He was too spiritual to have a body. The term comes from the Greek dokein, “seem.” Had you followed Jesus around you would have found that he was a phantom figure who left no footprints!
1 and 2 John the apostle insists that Jesus came in a tangible and visible body (1 John 1:1, 4:2, 5:6). It was the deceivers who claimed that Jesus did not come in the flesh (2 John 7).
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