Summary: Remain in Christ, there are many antichrists about, they want to take you from the truth to some sort of half truth that suits their thinking. A half truth is a vapour, a lie, that will never led to life.
What a way to start an address to a congregation. Or even better a great way to tuck the kids in at night. Imagine this, as a wee tacker, just wrapped up tight and this is the bed time story! “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” What a way to start an address to a congregation. Or even better a great way to tuck the kids in at night.
“Now there, there it’s going to be alright sleep well, I’m turning the light off now.”
Mmm I’m sure that would lead to a pleasant night’s sleep as blokes that looked like this wandered through their dreams. [pp Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Wrath SG Atlantis etc]
But the truth is that these antichrists that the Apostle John was talking about were not the atypical nasties of the screen, or even our dreams. These antichrists were average, some times better than average looking bods and boddeses. Paul in one of his letters tells us “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)
The truth is that this passage of scripture has to be placed in context, it has just come after teaching about Jesus being the light, about walking in that light, about rejecting worldly lusts, cravings and boasting. Then doing the will of God.
1) The thing is that some teaching was knocking around about Jesus that was not true. The truth is that John knew that his teaching was false as he had travelled closely with Jesus, Jesus had been his rabbi, Jesus had taught John, they had spent time together, he had shared meals with, seen Jesus heal, walk on water, breath his last breath, resurrected from the dead and ascend into heaven. John knew that Jesus was the Christ. Now that warrants repeating, John knew Jesus was the Christ.!
So about these antichrists, there’s an interesting thing about life and that’s to have an anti-something you need to have something in the first place. You can’t have antibiotics unless you have nasty bacteria / biotics in the first place and you can’t have antigravity unless you are hit on the head by the odd apple, unless you have gravity. Antidisestablishmentarianism which is the longest word I know how to pronounce came about in 19th-century Britain in opposition to proposals for the disestablishment of the Church of England. that is, to remove the Anglican Church’s status as the state church. I’m talking about these anti things just so that we realise that to have an antichrist you have to have Christ in the first place.
At the time of John writing this, there were these antichrists or gnostic and a few other types who had turned their backs on what the Apostles were teaching. They were teaching and had come out with what appears to be what they saw as possible. The sort of stuff that says, all this stuff about Jesus just isn’t humanly possible, it doesn’t fit with our thinking, so let’s rationalise it and make it fit into a box of our own making. In doing so these roosters by fitting Jesus into their box of thinking; with the mind of man, made him either one thing or the other, either…
• They emphasized the divinity of Jesus at the expense of his humanity, or
• They emphasized the humanity of Jesus to the point that they failed to see that, as the Christ, he is God
We see this sort of thing today in the teachings of some liberal theologians, and in quasi church faith belief systems and cults. Some may say that that’s okay and that people are free to believe what they want and they are.
But in doing so they have wandered from the truth of Christ, from the reality of Jesus into a land of deception where the small antichrists have actually laid people bare with their false teaching; bare to be claimed by ‘the antichrist’. There is no true Christian living in this place, either for the lead or the leader, “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness we lie and do not live by the truth.” (1 John 1:6)
2) Another thing to note here is that these antichrists obviously had their start in the early church and wandered off. John says it this way, “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us they would have remained with us: but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” (vs. 19). This must have been heart breaking for John and it’s an interesting thing how early in the life of the church this happened. It appears that there have always been people who know better, better than the one who created them. Better than Jesus who made it clear to John and the other apostles his Divinity and humanity.