1 John 2:18-19 – The Coming of the Antichrist

John declares it is the “last hour” and the antichrist is coming (2:18). What does he mean by last hour? Most pop-evangelicals have a sense of antichrist from the Left Behind books and there are plenty of conspiracy theories out there proving your most hated political leader is The Antichrist. But every generation has had a group convinced they were living in the end times and every generation has named more than one enemy the antichrist.

Hillary Clinton AntichristAlthough this exact phrase doesn’t appear elsewhere in the New Testament, the idea of the last days is common. One characteristic of the last days is that false teachers will come (2 Tim 3:1; 2 Pet 3:3; Jude 18). Jesus taught many false christs (pseudochrist) would appear in the last days (Matt 24:24; Mark 13:22). There are other warnings against false messiahs in Jewish literature (see this post for examples).

Here John uses the title antichrist an expected way. Most think of antichrist as the leader of the rebellion against God in the future, but that is not how the word is used in the New Testament. The word does not appear in Daniel or Revelation to describe any leader coming in the future, and Paul calls the leader of the end times rebellion the “man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2, see this post). This alone ought to caution us against throwing around the term antichrist to condemn political enemies. That is NOT how the term was used in the Bible. In fact, the use here in 1 John is theological, a teacher who denies certain things about Jesus is an antichrist.

In 1 and 2 John, there are already many antichrists in the world. He is referring to those opponents who have left his congregation and are deny that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ. According to John, they “went out” from his church, but they were never part of that church because they did not remain (2:19). Since they deny Jesus is the Christ, they are the antichrist, the false prophets and teachers Jesus warned his disciples were coming into the world.

John says the presence of many antichrists is proof this is the last hour. There is a fair amount of application to be drawn from this passage. Certainly we live in a time when there are any number of people who have bad ideas and theology concerning who Jesus is. Although there are no more heretics today than in any other time in church history, the heretics have more access to public media than any other time in history. Just as Paul would say in the last days scoffers will come scoffing, John is saying that in these last days people who oppose Jesus as the Messiah and the son of God are common and they are extremely dangerous.

For John, any teaching that does not understand Jesus correctly is dangerous. If one does not understand who Jesus was and what Jesus did on the cross correctly, then they are in danger of misunderstanding salvation and not having eternal life. If one were to ask John “how do I define Jesus correctly?” he probably would responds, “read my book, the Gospel of John.” Obviously John did not have copies of his book on sale in the lobby, but 1 John assumes the theology of the Gospel of John, which was written to explain that Jesus is the Christ and that by believing one can have life in his name (John 20:30-31).

3 thoughts on “1 John 2:18-19 – The Coming of the Antichrist

  1. Go to JW.ORG for the Truth.
    Jehovah is God Almighty.
    The people that these articles condemn are not these people who are so far from knowing their bible. They are the exact people that they themselves condemn.
    The Bible does not teach a trinity at all.
    A name that has been written in the Bible over 7000 times they take out and substitute the the title LORD. These people are the false Christs.
    Go to JW.Org for the truth about THE FATHER of Jesus CHristo Jehovah. Jesus said No one knows the day or the Hour–only the Father. If Jesus was God wouldn’t he know? Jesus is who he said he was the son of God not The Father. They will cam that this trinity is a mystery. The mystery is how all these false apostles wolves in sheep’s clothing have distorted and perverted the truth of God Jehovah and his word the Bible. (John 17:17)Please go to JW.Org for the truth. And the next time those people who come to your door —Jehovah Witnesses listen to them because they can prove everything from God’s Holy Word. From any bible any bible.e

  2. The term antichrist that John uses in 1 John 2 doesn’t seem to depict the antichrist that sensationalist Christian media and leaders try to sell. Instead I think that John is using the term antichrist to refer to those who are opposed to Christ and his Gospel. This could be those who perhaps teach heresy or those who are antagonistic towards the gospel. I would say this is the case simply because the use of the term in 1 John 2. First, it doesn’t refer to a specific individual, but rather a collective. And second, because John is referring to a specific group that left his church community.

  3. Few points on this blog had me thinking such as the misuse word of “antichrist,” that many have used against or towards political enemies, which is true because when there is a huge crisis going on in the world whether online, or social media channel, it is easily to point fingers to those who disagree with their agendas. Another point which I think is important to pounder on with heavy consideration thinking, is the “teaching that does not understand Jesus correctly is dangerous,” this definitely hit the nail. The term antichrist is defined as the “man of lawlessness,” anyone who has the ability to persuade believers to defy against God and leave the body of Christ, could be determined of this title. I believe we are in the times of desperate needs of correction and to watchfully discern the teachings of Yeshoshua Messiah.

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