“Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that Antichrist is coming, so now many Antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” (I John 2:18)
As a newly converted Christian in 1974, I became aware of something I never knew existed: Christian books and publishers. Soon after my conversion, I began reading at a voracious level all manner of books about the Christian life.
One of the most popular subjects at that time, and which remains so today, was/is the person of Antichrist. Who is this individual and what does he intend to do? Is he living on earth today and if so, who might he be?
The Antichrist is known in the Scriptures by several different names. He is called the prince who is to come (Daniel 9:24-27), the man of sin (2 Thessalonians 2:1-13), and the beast (Revelation 13:1-10). However, only the Apostle John refers to this individual as the Antichrist ((I John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7) and only in his epistles.
The title “Antichrist” is a compound noun. The noun “Christ” means “anointed one.” The prefix “anti” means to be against or in opposition. Therefore, we can conclude that the Antichrist is a singular individual who is against the person and work of Jesus Christ.
John begins today’s text by informing the believers to whom he is writing that it is the last hour. What does John mean by the phrase “the last hour?” The phrase refers to the period of time between the first coming of Jesus Christ to earth and His second coming. It is also known by the title “the latter days” (Acts 2:16-17; I Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1; Hebrews 1:1-2; 9:26; I Peter 1:20). The church of Jesus Christ has always existed in this period of time immediately prior to the second coming of Christ.
John continues by saying that these believers have heard that Antichrist is coming. Notice that the noun Antichrist is singular and masculine. The apostle signifies that this singular and male opponent to Jesus Christ is coming. His appearing is going to happen.
However, John also says that presently many Antichrists have come. In contrast to the one Antichrist individual who is yet future, there are many Antichrists who presently exist and who are opposing the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is because of this that John informs his audience that it is the time just prior to the return of Christ.
What do the Antichrist(s) specifically oppose about the person and work of Jesus Christ? Take note of the following biblical truths concerning the identity and work of the sinless, Son of God.
- Jesus Christ is the Sinless, Eternal Son of God – John 1:1-2; Colossians 1:15-18.
- Jesus Christ became man – John 1:14; Romans 1:1-3; Galatians 4:1-4; I John 4:1-2.
- Jesus Christ was born of a virgin – Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38.
- Jesus Christ lived a sinless, righteous life for sinners – I John 1:5; I Timothy 6:13-16; James 1:17; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15.
- Jesus Christ died a substitutionary death on the cross for sinners – Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Romans 5:1-10; Galatians 3:1-14; Philippians 2:5-11.
- Jesus Christ resurrected bodily from the dead – Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-11; I Corinthians 15:1-4; John 2:13-22; 11:25-26; Acts 2:22-36.
- Salvation is solely on the basis of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, given by God the Father, through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. Romans 3:21-26; 5:1-10; Ephesians 2:1-10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Zechariah 3:1-5.
- Jesus Christ ascended to God the Father, Acts 1:1-11, and will return in power and glory, Matthew 24:29-31; Revelation 19-22.
Take particular and careful attention to those who set themselves as teachers of the Scriptures and what they say regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ. If the deviate from any, or even one, of the previous points they are one of many Antichrists.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!