(Love God Greatly: Come, Lord Jesus, Come – week 1, day 5)
Today’s Reading: 1 John 2:18-19 (SOAP: 18-19)
18 Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come. 19 These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us. 1 John 2:18-19 NLT
John warns against the Antichrist*
John defines an antichrist as “he who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22), does not confess Jesus (1 John 4:3), and does not confess Jesus as coming in the flesh (2 John 1:7). We find him here in verses 18-19 of 1 John 2 talking about how many have already appeared and that this indicates “the last hour has come”. In verse 19, John also gives us details of how we will know them. The details are both shocking and concerning. First, the shocking detail is we will know them because they were part of our churches. Which leads me to the concerning detail, they were a part of our churches. They were those thought to be brothers and sisters in Christ, most likely even leaders in the church. The encouraging news is that once they go out from us we will know them for what and who they are, antichrists, those who are against Christ and who deny the Father and the Son. Surely our concern should be for their souls. However, it seems the greater concern for the body is knowing that they may be among us. At the very least it is certainly a reminder and encouragement to know the Scriptures well and be alert to the teaching we receive and the conversations we have, so that we are not duped into believing or following false teachers, preachers, or – as John so aptly names them -antichrists. One other thought that strikes me as important is that because they dwell among us they know the things we teach and how we act and what is expected which means they may be difficult to distinguish.
*The term ‘antichrist’ here is not the same as the term “The Antichrist” found in the book of Revelation.
Response to the Word
Father, help us to stay alert, not only does our adversary, the devil, prowl around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, there may be antichrists among us. Perhaps it will be a teacher, a pastor, a friend, or a family member that we believe are true followers of Jesus Christ but who will sadly one day reveal themselves as being against Jesus and all that we believe. Oh give us eyes to see, minds that are alert, and hearts that are so filled with Your Word and awake to Your Spirit that we will not be deceived. Prod us to pray for these antichrists Father that their hearts will be changed while they dwell among us and they will turn to You and not against You. These things I pray in Jesus’ name and for Your glory!
Your Turn: Reflections
- Is everyone who goes to church also going to heaven?
- What does 1 John 2:18-19 say about this?