Into the questions which relate to the genuineness and authenticity of this epistle it does not devolve upon us to enter. We have to consider it only in relation to the Parousia. Internal evidence shows that it belongs to ‘the last days.’ The faith and love of the early church had declined, and error, division, and corruption had come in like a flood, so that it became necessary for the apostle to exhort the brethren ‘earnestly to contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.’
As in (2 Pet. 2)., so we have in this brief epistle a photograph of the heresiarchs denominated by St. John ‘the antichrist’ and by St. Paul ‘the apostasy.’ The resemblance cannot be mistaken.
Ungodliness, Sensuality, Denial of God and of Christ, Animalism, Lawlessness and Insubordination, Hypocrisy, Murmuring, Boasting, Scoffing, Schismatical separation, Destitution of the Holy Spirit.
It is quite evident that this description, which tallies so closely with that of (2 Pet. 2). must have been derived from the same common source. But the mournful fact stands forth plain and palpable, that a fearful degeneracy and corruption of morals had infected the social life of ‘the last days.’ It is most suggestive to compare the moral state of the chosen people in this closing period of their national history with that described in the words of the last of the Old Testament prophets. The nation was now in that very condition which is there declared to be ripe for judgment. The second Elijah had failed to turn the people to righteousness, and now the Lord, the Messenger of the covenant, was about to come suddenly to His temple; the great and dreadful day of the Lord was at hand; and God was about to smite the land with the curse. (Mal. 4:5, 6)