Today’s passage: 1 John 2:18–23
Focus verse: As you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. (1 John 2:18)
After John tells us to not love the world, he warns us about antichrists too. Anti means against and Christ means Messiah.
Therefore, an antichrist is someone who is against the Messiah, that is, someone who opposes Jesus and his saving work. We can also think of the antichrist as someone who is antichristian or who opposes Jesus’s church.
John affirms that there is one antichrist who is coming, as in the antichrist. Yet many antichrists will precede him—both then and now.
They have not come from the world, from outside our community, to oppose us. Instead, they originate from within. They were once part of Jesus’s church but left, proving that they were never part of it to begin with.
Who are these antichrists? Anyone who denies that Jesus is our Messiah. And by denying him they also deny the Father who sent him.
The opposite of denying Jesus is to acknowledge him. In doing so we have the Father as well. Jesus’s church includes all who acknowledge him.
The word antichrist only shows up in four verses in the Bible, all of them written by John—two of which are in today’s passage. Since John also wrote the book of Revelation, you may assume he talks about the antichrist in his end-time depiction. He does not.
Though he may allude to the antichrist, John doesn’t mention him once by name in his epic prophecy about the last days. The beast in John’s vision may be the antichrist (Revelation 11:7), or he may be the dragon (Revelation 13:1). Which is it?
In parallel fashion, Paul talks about “the man of lawlessness,” one doomed for destruction (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4). Based on Paul’s description, this person sounds much like one who is against Jesus, as in the antichrist—or at least an antichrist.
Further, Daniel’s vision in the Old Testament describes a beast who will speak against the Lord and persecute his people (Daniel 7:23–25). Some Bible scholars view this as a prophecy about the antichrist.
Jesus, in his own end-time prophecy, warns his followers to make sure that no one deceives them by claiming to be him (Matthew 24:4–5, Mark 13:5–6, and Luke 21:8). Are these antichrists? Could one of them be the antichrist?
Any of these biblical passages could be what John alludes to when he says that we’ve already heard the antichrist is coming. Being warned, we must guard against being deceived by anyone who speaks against Jesus, whether an antichrist or the antichrist.
Sandwiched in the middle of John’s teaching about the antichrist is a comforting reminder that we have the anointing from the Holy One.
The opposite of this Holy Spirit truth is a lie. Anyone who denies that Jesus is our Messiah is a liar and an antichrist.
- How should we react to John’s teaching about these antichrists?
- How worried should we be about antichrists?
- What is a biblical response when we encounter an antichrist?
- How can we rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s truth to us?
- How can we depend more on the Holy Spirit and worry less about the antichrist?
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Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.