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First John: 1 John 2:18-The Appearance of Many Antichrists Characterizes the Last Hour Lesson # 76

First John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  55:56
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First John: 1 John 2:18-The Appearance of Many Antichrists Characterizes the Last Hour

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Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. (ESV)
Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom
www.wenstrom.org
Lesson # 76
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. (ESV)
Children, it is the last hour. To be specific, as each of you heard that Antichrist is certain to come, in fact, now, many antichrists are in existence. Each of us can confirm from this that it is the last hour. (My translation)
marks a transition from John’s apostolic teaching in regarding the believer’s proper relationship to the cosmic system of Satan to his teaching in regarding the false teachers who John describes as “antichrists.”
That the subject of are these false teachers is confirmed by which records John informing the recipients of this epistle that the purpose for writing was to protect them from those who were trying to lead them astray from his apostolic teaching.
It is also substantiated by which asserts that these false teachers went out from the recipients of this epistle.
Furthermore, asserts that these antichrists denied the Father and the Son.
Lastly, in , John warns the recipients of this epistle to continue to obey his apostolic teaching in order to prevent them from entering into apostasy.
also marks a transition to the fourth major section of the epistle.
The first major section of the epistle is , which serves as the prologue to the epistle.
The second major section is , which addresses the subject of making God out to be a liar by one’s conduct.
The third major section appears in , which speaks of the old or familiar commandment to love one another.
The fourth is which addresses the existence of many antichrists or false teachers when John wrote this epistle.
Even though marks a transition in the epistle, this does not mean it is not linked to .
It is connected specifically to which prohibits the recipients of this epistle from loving the cosmic system of Satan and the godless materialism idolatry it promotes because this evil system is passing from planet earth.
The Antichrist will oppose Jesus Christ and His people during the seventieth of Daniel.
The antichrists who were in existence in John’s day opposed Jesus Christ by rejecting John’s apostolic teaching concerning the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, verse 18 is linked to because like Satan’s cosmic system, the Antichrist of the future and the antichrists in John’s day opposed Jesus Christ.
parallels because of the chiastic structure of the epistle which is manifested by the fact that both sections speak of the existence of antichrists and false teachers.
Specifically, they both address the existence of those who oppose the gospel and thus oppose the Christian living according to the standard of God’s holiness which involves love for God and for one’s fellow human being.
addresses the subject of false teachers whose false doctrine threatens the Christian community’s fellowship with God.
provides information as to how the Christian community in the Roman province of Asia can identify these false teachers and their false doctrine.
emphasizes that “the anointing” which indwells the recipients of this epistle will protect them from the false doctrine taught by these antichrists who went out from their community.
It would also help them to identify their false teaching which communicates lies regarding the person of Jesus Christ.
It would also confirm that John’s apostolic teaching is the truth and not a lie.
This “anointing” is the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit (cf. ; ; ; ).
contains three assertions.
The second identifies specifically for the recipients of this epistle what is meant by the first.
The third instructs for the recipients of this epistle that the second enables them to verify or confirm the truth of the first.
Children” refers to the entire Christian community in the Roman province of Asia who had remained faithful to John’s apostolic teaching and had not been deceived by proto-Gnostic teachers.
He uses this term as a term of endearment for his spiritual children in this Christian community.
The first assertion states that it is the last hour, which refers to the period of history extending from the First to the Second Advents of Jesus Christ.
This period includes the church age which began on the day of Pentecost in June of 33 A.D. and will end with the rapture or resurrection of the church which is imminent.
By asserting it is “the last hour,” John means that the present period of history when he wrote this epistle is the last period of history immediately preceding the return of Jesus Christ at His Second Advent to destroy Satan’s kingdom on the earth and to establish God’s kingdom on the earth for a thousand years.
The “Antichrist” describes a Roman Gentile ruler of the final stage of the Roman Empire who will become a world ruler during the seventieth week of Daniel and will be used by Satan to deceive the entire world to oppose Jesus Christ and those who have faith in Him.
He is also described as the “little horn” in and 20, and “the beast” in .
Many antichrists” refers to certain unidentified persons who lived during the period of history in which John lived and describes them as opposing Jesus Christ.
They did so by rejecting John’s apostolic teaching concerning the person of Jesus Christ and fellowship with the Trinity and instead adhered to an incipient form of Gnosticism.
The second assertion states that each of the recipients of this epistle heard through John’s apostolic teaching that Antichrist is certain to come, in fact, now many antichrists were in existence when John wrote this epistle.
In this assertion, John is marking a comparison between the arrival of Anticrist on the pages of history during the seventieth week of Daniel and the existence of many antichrists during his day and age.
These antichrists adhered to an “incipient” form of Gnosticism since it was not a full blown threat to orthodox Christianity in the mid to late part of the first century as it did become in the middle of the second century.
Gnosticism is a system of false teachings that existed during the early centuries of Christianity.
Its name came from the Greek word for knowledge, gnosis.
The Gnostics believed that knowledge was the way to salvation.
For this reason, several writers of the New Testament condemned this incipient form of Gnosticism as false and heretical.
Gnosticism was the product of the combination of Greek philosophy and Christianity.
Its central teaching was that spirit is entirely good and matter is entirely evil.
From this unbiblical dualism emerged five important errors: (1) Man’s body, which is matter, is therefore evil. It is to be contrasted with God, who is spirit and therefore good. (2) Salvation is the escape from the body, achieved not by faith alone in Christ alone but by special knowledge (the Greek word gnosis, “knowledge,” hence Gnosticism). (3) Christ’s true humanity was denied in two ways: (a) Some taught that Christ only appeared to have a body, a view called Docetism, from the Greek dokeo, “to seem,” and (b) Others taught that the deity of Christ joined the man Jesus at His baptism and left Him before He died, a view called Cerinthianism, after its most prominent spokesman, Cerinthus. This view is the background of much of 1 John (see 1:1; 2:22; 4:2-3). (4) Since the body was considered evil, it was to be treated harshly. This ascetic form of Gnosticism is the background of part of the letter to the Colossians (2:21-23). (5) Paradoxically, this dualism also led to licentiousness. The reasoning was that, since matter-and not the breaking of God’s law ()-was considered evil, breaking this law is of no moral consequence.
The third and final assertion which John makes in states that each believer can at any time confirm that the present period of history is characterized as being the last period of history before Jesus Christ returns at His Second Advent to end the reign of Satan over the earth and to establish His reign.
This teaches that the recipients of this epistle could confirm it was the last hour of human history before Jesus Christ’s Second Advent by the existence of many antichrists.
John’s statement in echoes his assertions here in .
For you see, many deceivers have gone out into the world, those, who do not acknowledge Jesus as the Christ appearing in a human body. This does identify the deceiver as well as the antichrist. (Author’s translation)
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