1 John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by going out they made it plain that none of them belongs to us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and you know that no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.
I’m guessing that, like me, the word that sticks out for you in this passage is “antichrist”. The apostle John is the only writer in the bible who uses this term and scholars have debated ever since as to what exactly John means by “antichrist”.
The entertainments industry has grabbed onto the term to create movies about the antichrist, usually portrayed as an evil villain of the worst sort. Such portrayals suggest that the antichrist is a single person opposed to all things good and holy – the evil opposite of Jesus. However, our passage for today would seem to challenge this sort of characterization.
18 Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come.
And what constitutes an antichrist?
(v.22) This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.
Seems there were people who had been part of the Christian community who later left that community – denying Jesus as Son of God in the process. The enemies of the church would have grabbed onto this testimony with delight, using their words as a powerful means of being “antichrist” – anti (against) Christ.
I wonder if John would suggest there are antichrists in our day? If so, what would such persons look like? How would we know them?
Lord Jesus, there have always been people who oppose you and your message of salvation – even those who were once part of the church. Rather than condemn these people, whoever they may be, send your grace and mercy upon them so they might see the error of their ways and be restored to Christian community, and to you. We ask this in your holy name. Amen.