Summary: The antichrist has not come yet, but his spirit has been actively working in the world through false teachers.
The Enemy is Among Us
John I 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
John I 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
John I 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
John I 2:21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
John I 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
John I 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
There is much talk today about whether or not we are living in the end times. This speculation has been on the rise for the last fifty plus years. It seems to have been on the rise since 1948 when Israel became a nation once again and many began to teach that this was the sign that those who saw it, were the last generation.
Such end times speculation increased as the new millennium approached and the whole Y2K episode only added more fuel to an already raging fire. After the new millennium came and went, the speculation may have died down a bit only to be revived in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.
It would be very easy to answer this speculation if it weren’t for the fact that so many people who are asking questions about the end times don’t really know what they are asking. When people ask me if I think we are living in the end times, what they are really asking is if we are going to see Jesus come back in our lifetime. That is a question that no one can answer with certainty because Jesus told us that we could not know the day or the hour of his return. And, contrary to some speculation, we can’t know the year or the month or the week either.
The question about whether or not we are living in the end times is very easy to answer. The answer is yes. This is an absolute fact and there is no doubt about it. You see, the Bible teaches us that the end times began nearly two thousand years ago when Christ came to earth and that these end times will continue until he returns to earth again.
This is why John could say, almost two thousand years ago, that he and his readers were living in the last hour. Obviously, John wasn’t speaking of a literal sixty-minute hour. In the New Testament the “last times” or the “last days” or the “last hour” are all references to the last era of human history -- the Christian era. The Christian era is the end time because there is not going to be another era before Christ returns to establish his kingdom on the earth.
We are not waiting for another revelation from heaven. A third testament will never be written. We are not waiting for the coming of a great prophet to lead us into yet another dispensation of God’s grace. The Christian era is the last era and, therefore, it is the end times. This is the clear teaching of the New Testament in passages such as
Hebrews 1:1 which says, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these LAST DAYS he has spoken to us by his Son” and 1 Peter 1:20 which says, “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these LAST TIMES for your sake”.
The Bible also teaches us that one of the chief characteristics of the last days is the presence of false teachers. “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
Timothy I 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Timothy I 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
Because of the presence of these false teachers or antichrists we know that it is the end times (2:18).
The term ‘antichrist’ is unique to John’s epistles. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 the antichrist is called “the man of lawlessness” and in Revelation 13 he is identified as “the beast” he is also referred to in other books of the Bible as the son of perdition, the man of sin, the wicked one, but John uses this term antichrist.