08 Warnings against the Antichrist – 1 John 2:18-19
John is talking here about the last ‘hour’ in our world as we know it. History has always been ‘His Story’. Since the fall of Adam and Eve God has been using everything we call history to reveal Himself to His precious creation. Because He is Love even the work of the devil He has been using to show Himself as God to people all over the earth who want to know the Truth. This time that we are living in is no different. We can, however look at the verses we have read in our challenge questions and see the same problems today just as if we are reading a current newspaper.
We can have a real confidence and peace because of our Father who loves us and will protect us and keep us for the whole of eternity. This time is known as ‘the last days’, which is really the time between Jesus Christ’s first and second coming. Obviously Jesus’ second coming has not yet happened but as we look at the signs we can see that it is very imminent. It is also a period of waiting which we must put to good use as a time of preparation, for when Jesus does return we do not want to be filled with regret, Matthew 24:45-51.
Even Paul expected Jesus to come again in his lifetime as he teaches the Thessalonian Believers. He writes to them that the Antichrist cannot begin his satanically inspired activities until the Holy Spirit is taken from the earth, and the only way in which that can happen is if the Church is gathered to the Lord Jesus in Heaven first, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. This occurs at the time called the Rapture, ‘Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen’. Revelation 1:7. His plan is that He will return with those who have given their lives to Him. He is the rightful King of Kings and although Satan has attempted to usurp His authority in rebellion, trying to take God’s place, but he has failed. For all those who put their trust in Jesus, God is their King, and their rightful inheritance is the Kingdom of Heaven. The former leader of praise to God in Heaven, none other than Satan himself, together with those angels who chose to follow him (‘demons, wicked spirits’ as they are now called) have been judged and defeated by what happened at the Cross.
’When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the Cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross, Colossians 2:13-15.
Just as at a Jewish wedding, the bridegroom returns from preparing a home for his bride to marry her, so Jesus will return for His Bride, the Church (all those who have become Christians), and finally after the marriage feast, they will return to earth to rule and reign with Jesus for a thousand years. Literally, every eye, including those of Satan and his minions will see Him as He returns. They will see Him and recognise Him for Who He is – King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Thank God for what He has done for us and for the fact that we as Believers (Christians) shall see Him return – not in fear like those who refused His grace and goodness – but in excitement because the fulfilment of all that we have waited for has finally happened. He is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega, and He always will be our Lord and King! How glorious is our expectation!
Little antichrists and Big Antichrist
John is talking in these two verses about the ‘Little antichrist’ or people who have been in Churches and tried to look like born again believers. They have been there to deceive other true believers but when life has become tough or they have been shown a few home truths there is no sorrow or repentance and they walk out, this is the spirit of the antichrist. They deny Jesus as their Lord or even that He needs to be such. The challenge today to Truth and the questioning of what Truth really is, undermines the entire Gospel. It opens the door to compromised lifestyles and a watering-down of the Cross and all Jesus did about our sin. The Word is undermined or even not preached at all, but more easily digested messages are preached. ‘For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths’. 2 Timothy 4:3. As human beings we need spiritual truths and absolutes as the foundations to the Maker’s instructions for our satisfactory, victorious life and eternal future.
Imagine if I severed the cord on the electric lawn mower then decided to connect it into the electric plug with a long piece of wire, as I couldn’t be bothered to research the maker’s instructions. (“After all I did do a little bit with electrics when I was at school so I know enough to get by on!!) We all know this is foolishness; how much more so when we fool around with our eternal future. We are warned that these antichrists will come like wolves ‘Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.’ Matthew 7:14. These antichrists just soften up the world to receive the Antichrist when he reveals himself. Appearing as a saviour, he will promote good humanitarian values and engender the ‘feel good factor’. He will oppose God and attempt to obliterate our need to depend upon the One True Christ, Jesus.
The name and identity of the ‘Big Antichrist’ is not revealed but we do know that he gets his authority and power from Satan. Revelation teaches us about his plan, the final results of it and the way in which he will try to carry it out. Many people have over the years attempted to identify the antichrist (the Pope, Henry Kissinger, Tony Blair and many others have all been proposed candidates in their time!), but in reality, we don’t know, because the Bible does not give us any real hints. The rider of the white horse in Revelation 6:2 is the man who will be the Antichrist. During the first period of the Tribulation, he is not described as the Antichrist but as a great diplomat, however during the second period of the Tribulation, he is described as the Antichrist. How very sad that a man should allow himself to be controlled in such a way!
However, the Bible does describe the system that allows him to come to power and that sustains him. We should watch out for that! Read Revelation 13 and Revelation 17
The Antichrist will turn out not to be a man of peace and reconciliation, but one of war instead. He will attempt to subdue by force those nations that do not bow their knee to him. The Antichrist would really like his powerbase to extend to the entire earth, because he is in turn merely a pawn of Satan, but we should note that neither he nor his authority, Satan, ever have control over what they wish. God is always in control even during the difficult times of the Tribulation Period. At no time will Satan ever have control of more than a part of the earth.
Of course Satan is the father of lies. The Bible tells us that, so it is no great surprise to discover that he is acting true to form when he speaks to us. If Satan tells you that something is true, exactly the opposite is really the Truth. Speaking of Satan, Jesus states this:’He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false’. John 8:44 AMP
But not only has Jesus set you and me free from our sinful nature, releasing us from the prison of sin, He has bound us together and made us priests to serve God forever. Priests acted as the mediators between God and man, but that role was removed when Jesus died. Now we can approach God directly through Jesus: ‘Therefore since we have a great High Priest Who has ascended into the Heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we possess’. Hebrews 4:14.
We have no idea of times and dates, but we are expected to know the ‘seasons’. He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:7-8. We may not know precisely when the farmer will go into his field of barley to reap the crop, but we should know from its appearance and colour that the time is getting near until finally, the crop turns almost white, and within a couple of days, the harvester appears and the grain is gathered into the barns and the straw is discarded to be used for cattle bedding, or to be burned. Then He gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see the events taking place that I’ve described you can be just as sure that the Kingdom of God is near.” Luke 21:29-31
Are you ready?
‘First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ He promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:3-4
Don’t be cynical just because Jesus seems to be slow in His return. This is God’s mercy as He waits for our relatives, who we long to see saved before it is too late! If we are believers we must be SO grateful that Jesus didn’t return before we came to know Him. Think about this and renew your prayer effort for those you love; this is their last chance. Jesus does not want us to be ‘in the dark’. As we have seen, we are no longer slaves, we are free; we can walk in the Light of His Truth; He calls us friends, and Jeremiah has penned this encouragement to us from God. ‘Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognise, have knowledge of and understand)’. Jeremiah 33:3
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams, Acts 2:16-18: What an exciting time to be alive and help the Holy Spirit to prepare the Bride for the return of the Bridegroom! ‘But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days’. 2 Timothy 3:1-3. All the more reason to be walking in the Holy Spirit that we do not fulfill the lust of the flesh, Galatians 5:16. There has never been a more important time to live Godly lives then we can hear our Shepherd’s voice and He will protect us from any false shepherds and give us the wisdom we need to overcome any temptation to follow after men in the flesh.
Read your notes from Real Women 04 to remind yourself of the signs to be aware of in the warning of the wise and foolish virgins, Matthew 25:1-13. It also shows you we do have a choice at this time as to whether we stick close to God or allow our hearts to grow cold and we listen to the very strong delusions from the enemy which can look very attractive
“But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. So keep a sharp lookout, for you don’t know the timetable. It’s like a man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in charge, each assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to stand watch. So, stay at your post, watching. You have no idea when the homeowner is returning, whether evening, midnight, cockcrow, or morning. You don’t want him showing up unannounced, with you asleep on the job. I say it to you, and I’m saying it to all: Stay at your post. Keep watch.” Mark 13:32-35
We cannot emphasise enough the importance of being strong in the Lord, His Word and His Spirit at this time. The best way forward is to live a holy life, choosing to put God first in everything (Matthew 6:33; Matthew 22:37), recognising the signs as they happen and warning anyone who will listen of their imminent danger.
08 Warnings against the Antichrist – 1 John 2:18-19 Challenge Questions
Read the beginning of the notes on 1 John 2:18-19 – Warnings against the Antichrist.
1. Do you really believe we are living in the ‘last days’? Why?
2. How can you put this waiting time to good use?
Read the section headed ‘Little antichrist and Big Antichrist’
3. What challenges do you know to the Truth of the Word that is around today?
4. What points about the Antichrist can you list here from all your reading?
Read ‘Are you ready?’ in the notes.
5. What has really challenged you from this section? What do you need to do?
Read the verses 1 John 2:20-27
6. How does John quickly change the subject and what does he focus on?
7. What do you understand ‘the anointing from the Holy One’ means? What does this anointing enable you to walk in?
8. How does John describe a liar in this passage?
9. Do you see this as a good description for us as we look out for the Antichrist? Why?
10. What have you ‘heard from the beginning’? 1 John 2:24-25 Think about why you first believed in Jesus.
11. What Truth have you based your confidence on that you have received the promise of ‘eternal life’?
12. Why do you think John is reminding his readers of the foundations of their faith? 1 John 2:26-27.
13. Why do you think John is saying they do not need anyone to teach them?
14. Who is their teacher? Do you think we need a teacher?
15. What, according to these verses, is going to guarantee that we are not deceived?
16. Sum up in one short sentence something you have learned from this passage.
Memory verse: ‘But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth’. 1 John 2:20