John's letters ... we have to remember these were literal LETTERS (like Paul's letters to the scattered churches) ... we have to remember WHY letters were sent out in the first place (it was their only form of communication other than face-to-face) ... and/so if we read these letters in that context, and think about WHO they were intended for ... WHAT the intention was ... WHY ... WHERE ... WHEN ... HOW ... yada yada yada ... a lot of it makes more sense.
At least to me it does ... unless I'm just way off in left field.
But it seems to me John is just warning fellow distant churches to be on the look-out for major opposition (cause IT was everywhere!)
You also got to keep in mind that the "church" was still real young then, and heavily persecuted ... Constantine had not yet embraced "Christianity" as we "know" it today.
Dang. I'm on a dadgum roll. I gotta go to bed ... but you have me studying up a storm.