1 John 2.18-27 18
Children, it is the last hour, and just as you heard that the antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists
have appeared. We know from this that it is the last hour. 19
They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us, because if they had belonged to us, they would have remained
with us. But
they went out from us
that all of them do not belong to us. 20
Nevertheless you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21
I have not written to you that
you do not know the truth, but that
you do know it, and that
no lie is of the truth. 22
Who is the liar but the person who denies that Jesus is the Christ
? This one is the antichrist: the person who denies the Father and the Son. 23
Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father either. The person who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24
As for you, what you have heard from the beginning must remain
in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25
is the promise that he
himself made to
us: eternal life. 26
These things I have written to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27
Now as for you, the anointing
that you received from him
in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you. But as his
anointing teaches you about all things, it is true and is not a lie. Just as
has taught you, you reside
in him. Context (NET)
This is an interesting section for several reasons .....
For me, it is one of the passages that speak to me about the assurance that God's people have, and should have. As well as explaining the heartbreaking problem when someone, who to all intents and purposes appears to be a Christian, leaves the faith. John here states, that they were never really Christians to begin with.
In my personal reading, I have just read, in Matthew 13.1-23, Jesus' parable of the Sower. Here Jesus also speaks about seed that sprouted well, but for various reasons did not ever produce a crop. And I wonder if John was remembering Jesus' teaching.
John also brings up the topic of the "Antichrist". According to I.Howard-Marshall, in the New Testament, this term is only used in the Johannine letters. In verse 22, John explains what he means by this term ... those who oppose the true teaching about Christ. The word can also describe people who claim they stand in the place of Christ and/or are Christ, and in this John may be remembering Jesus' teaching on the Mount of Olives as recorded in Mark 13:22.
Taken with Jesus' own teaching it seems unlikely that John necessarily expects Jesus to return immediately (as John tried to make clear at the end of his gospel). I.Howard Marshall thinks that the reference in Revelation 13:19-20, points to a final, great arch-enemy of Christ (c/w Paul's "man of lawlessness" in 2 Thess.2:1-12).
What does this mean for us? .... just that there will be ongoing opposition to Christ and His church through all the time while we wait for His coming. So that we should not be surprised by the rise of world leaders and world powers opposed to Christianity. But we are to take care that we are not deceived by any of them.
How are we to do that? .... one way surely, is to make sure we know our Bibles well enough, and to know the orthodox teachings and doctrines of the Christian faith, well enough so that we know when what someone says is either not found in Scripture, or is a subtle twisting of what it says.
A reasonable grasp of Church History would also help, as I have noticed most of the heresies have appeared over and over again, often just slightly changed and using a different name.
And above all, we must make sure our relationship with God is alive and growing ever more intimate, and to do all in our power to make sure this is so. Because a close walk with God will make sure that we are listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit who indeed indwells all believers.