“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.”
Having warned his readers – and us – about falling prey to the ways of the world in quite a general sense (2.15-17), here in v.18 things get a little more specific.
There is a warning against one who will embody and represent the characteristics of 2.15-17: the antichrist. He is talked about a lot in the book of Daniel, specifically the latter chapters.
Before this end-times (last hour) want-to-be world leader comes on the scene, John writes that now many antichrists have appeared. This is another way of saying that the spirit present in this end times figure – one of outright rejection of God and of the person and work of Jesus – is now present in many antichrists. Simply, as time has moved on since the victory of the cross and empty tomb, many people have appeared who are living altogether ungodly lives, living lives focused on self, seeking to remove any traces of God from society, and who are teaching many falsehoods about Jesus. Very simply, since the cross many people have an antichrist spirit.
From one perspective, this is rather negative, isn’t it? Living in a world and at a time where there are many with an antichrist spirit is not the progressive Christianisation of the world that some theologians claim is happening.
From another perspective, living in the last hour can actually be viewed as a positive thing. We are now closer than ever to the time when Jesus returns for His church. We are now closer than ever to His physical and bodily return to earth. We are now closer than ever to seeing the seventieth week of Daniel 9 and the events of the book of Revelation.
For you, this means that there is no time like the present to make sure that your life is one of obedience and love (1.5-2.1), of genuine fellowship with God and others (2.9-11), and one that seeks to obey both old and new commandment (2.7-8).