Antichrists: A Warning
There are those who do not just love the world, but are opposed to God. John called them antichrists. (18) He said they had heard that antichrist (singular) is coming, and now many antichrists (plural) have come. The term “antichrist” is only used in 1 & 2 John.
John said it was the last hour. This is similar to the term “last days”. This last hour, or days, began with the resurrection of Jesus and continues until he returns. There are some passages that focus on the days immediately before the return of Christ.
So, John wrote that it was the last hour and the coming of many antichrists is the sign that it is. (18) John refers specifically to those who were previously joined to their fellowship, but left. (19) John says, though, that they were never really part of them even when they were with them. If they had been, they would have continued with them.
Every congregation has those who come in, but do not really believe and commit to Jesus. Jesus himself taught that in the parable of the wheat and tares (weeds). This parable, recorded in Matthew 13:24-30, shows a man sowing good seeds, but his enemy sneaking in and sowing weeds in the field. The weeds grew up in the field and grew among the stalks of wheat until the time of harvest, which represents the judgment.
In the case of the churches John wrote to, though, these antichrists, these weeds, left of their own accord. They did so that it might be revealed to the true church members that those others were not “of them”. They were not true members of the fellowship. The implication here is that God had them leave to reveal who they are.
In contrast, John refers to believers as those anointed by the Holy One. This likely refers to the Holy Spirit whom the Father sent to indwell each believer. In that sense we are anointed with the Spirit. The Spirit gives us knowledge of the truth and the ability to resist lies.
The big lie we resist is the denial that Jesus is the Christ. (22) The person who denies that Jesus is the Christ is the antichrist. This is relevant for us because there are many who believe in some sort of God, but deny that God revealed in the Bible. They also deny the Son. They may accept that a man named Jesus lived, taught, and was a good man. But they deny his divinity, thereby denying the Son.
John makes it clear that it does not work that way. No one who denies the Son has the Father. (23) Again, Jesus taught this very truth. He said “no one comes to the Father except through me”. (John 14:6) But if we confess the Son, agree that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, we have the Son and we have the Father also. (23)
John admonished them to abide in what they heard from the beginning. (24) The beginning is the time they heard the gospel and believed. They need to let the gospel message abide in them, so they can abide in the Father and in the Son. Jesus commanded us to abide in him. (John 15:4)
If we abandon the gospel we heard at first, and deny Christ as the Son of God, we will not be true members of the church. But, if we abide in the gospel and in Christ, we will have eternal life. (25) That is promised to us.
In verse 26, John tells us why he wrote them. It was so they would realize the error of those who were trying to deceive them. God has given us what we need to do this, as we have the anointing of the Spirit, who will never lie to us.
Whenever someone in the church begins to teach something that denies the gospel, or purports to have new and special knowledge that is not in the Bible, we are to resist that teaching because it is false.
That happens often today. One year you read a book by a guy who appears to be a real Christian. A few years later, he writes a book that denies truth that is in the Bible. Then, you realize who he is, and you resist that teaching, preserving in the true faith.