ANTICHRIST – WHO IS HE?
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For it they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. (1 John 2: 18-19)
Who is this antichrist of whom John writes? Is he a powerful political figure around whom the world unites? Is he a person who will arise in the last days at the end of history?
What does John mean by “the last hour”?
“Hour” is a Hebrew metaphor that means “time.” And the Messianic age is the last age before the end of time . . .
“John’s reference to antichrist in the singular in 2:18 makes us want to imagine a future bogeyman, but John says plainly that the antichrist “is in the world already” and “those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh … is the deceiver and the antichrist.” John’s concerns in this passage aren’t eschatological (concerned with end times) but pastoral. He’s worried that the church he is writing to may be convinced by the proto-Gnostics to deny that Jesus came in the flesh. And if Jesus wasn’t human, he didn’t die and wasn’t resurrected, and that destroys Christianity. It’s a false gospel that damns.
So what’s John’s real point?
“The false teachers had been part of the Christian community, but because of their heresy, they withdrew — further demonstrating their error and worldliness. They couldn’t remain where the true gospel is taught, and, therefore, shouldn’t be allowed any influence. (John will have more to say about them throughout the book).”
http://oneinjesus.info/2011/04/1-john-218-19-the-last-hour-the-anti-christ/ (retrieved November 2015)
The Apostle John is the only Biblical writer who used the term “antichrist”, and he used it to refer to a group of false teachers, arising from within the church, who denied the humanity of Jesus. “Antichrist” in the original Greek, was not preceded by the definite article, “the”. John was not writing about an individual who was still to come but a “spirit” or mindset of error and false doctrine which operated in the minds of some who were bent on perverting the truth and drawing believers away from Jesus.
This same “spirit” has been and is still active in the world today. People who claim to be followers of Jesus but believe and propagate anything that deviates from the truth of Scripture manifest the spirit of antichrist. There are many so-called “Christian” cults which fall into the category of “antichrist”.
Jehovah Witnesses deny that Jesus is God; Mormons claim that the authority of their Book of Mormon overrides the authority of Scripture and that, therefore, what their book says is the truth above the Word of God; Roman Catholicism denies that Jesus was true man – it claims that Mary was immaculately conceived and did not have the nature of the rest of humanity – therefore Jesus was not born in the likeness of Adam. If Jesus was not true man, He cannot be the Saviour of mankind – and so we can go on.
John’s point was that any person or group of people claiming to be Christian but believing and propagating anything that contradicts the revealed truth of Scripture about the deity or humanity of Jesus, and teaches their false doctrine as an authoritative substitute for the truth, is “antichrist”.
What is the proof of their falseness? They claim exclusivity and have no fellowship with true believers.
This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For it they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
The church has, in the main, been fooled by equally false teachers from within who believe that “the Antichrist” is some future powerful and evil figure who will arise from an anti-God nation to claim the right and power to rule the whole world. There is nothing in the Bible that authenticates this teaching. It is a subtle ploy of the devil to lull believers into complacency, and to keep us from being watchful of what we believe and who we follow.
Millions have been sucked into believing these false doctrines and following their proponents without doing what the Bereans did:
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)
There is no excuse for ignorance!
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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