Study Guide

Johannine Epsitles (1-3 John) Allusions

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Literary and Philosophical References

Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
Doctor Faustus reads aloud from his Bible, which quotes 1 John 1:8: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there is not truth in us." He conveniently forgets to read the next part about forgiveness of sins. That'll come in handy for him later.

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Once Dr. Felix Hoenikker challenged his secretary to tell him anything that was objectively true. The secretary responded with "God is love." Dr. Hoenikker was not impressed.

The League of Extraordinary Gentleman Volume III: Century 2009 by Alan Moore
In this comic, the League battles the antichrist…who turns out to look and act sort of like Harry Potter. What? No worries—in the end, Mary Poppins takes him out and all is well. Whew.

The Left Behind Series by Time LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
The antichrist here is portrayed by Nicolae Carpathia. He's president of Romania, Secretary General of the U.N., and definitely in league with the devil.

The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
This book is all about Christian love, and naturally, quotes the elder's famous words "God is love" (1 John 4:8).

The Mirror of Simple Souls by Marguerite Porete
This book, written by a 13th-century French mystic, uses language from 1 John. The author writes, "I am God, says Love, for Love is God and God is Love, and this Soul is God by the condition of Love." The author was then burned at the stake for her troubles. Seriously. (Source)

On the Trinity by Jonathan Swift
This sermon by the author of Gulliver's Travels opens with a quote from 1 John 5:7: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." Oddly enough, not all Bibles contain this passage. But the King James Version does, and that was good enough for Mr. Swift.

Pop Culture References

The Colbert Report
Stephen Colbert expressed his love for syllogisms and gave a shout out to 1 John 4:18 all at the same time: "I live by syllogisms: God is love. Love is blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God. I don't know what I'd believe in if it wasn't for that." (Source)

Antichrist Superstar by Marilyn Manson
This whole album plays with religious imagery of evil, but the title song calls out the elder's antichrist by name. "Our antichrist is almost here…" It's pretty freaky. (Source)

American Dad!
In the episode Rapture's Delight, the antichrist is portrayed as a guy who's the opposite of Jesus in every way. For example, since Jesus was a carpenter, the antichrist declares, "I'm not handy at all!"

The Prophecy
In this 1995 movie, Lucifer, played by Viggo Mortensen, corrects someone who thinks he might be God with the words from 1 John 4:18. "God? God is love. I don't love you." See? Even the devil can quote scripture.

Anarchy in the U.K. by the Sex Pistols
Johnny Rotten screams to the world, "I am an antichrist!" in this 1977 punk song.

The Corpus Clock
This creepy clock at Cambridge University has a Latin inscription from 1 John 2:17: Mundus transit et concupiscentia eius. In case your ancient language skills are rusty, let us help: "And the world and its desire are passing away." It's a pretty weird clock, so that must explain it. (Source)

The Gospel of Prosperity
When he was 29, evangelist Oral Roberts opened his Bible to 3 John 1:2: "Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul." He took this as a sign that God was cool with rich people. He then spent the rest of his life preaching on radio and TV and amassing a huge fortune. Praise the Lord and pass the cash! (Source)

The Order of the Eastern Star
The symbol of this freemason group is a five-pointed star. Each point corresponds to a different biblical heroine. One is for the "elect lady" from 2 John, who the group calls Electa. Pretty catchy name.

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