“Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.”
it is the last hour;
The term “last hour” indicates a climatic period. There is no definite article in Greek, indicating that this is not the end of the church age when the Antichrist will come. Rather, the idea here describes the general character of the period and not the chronological period.
John uses the word “hour” for a time of doctrinal crisis during the church age.
and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming,
The “Antichrist” is someone who is against Christ. He also comes instead of Christ. John is the only New Testament author who uses this term (4:3; 2 Jn 7). This person is the coming world religious autocrat energized by the Devil himself who seeks to replace the Messiah (Da 8:9-11; 11:31-38; 12:11; Mt 24:15; 2 Th 2:1-12; Re 13:1-5; 19:20; 20:10).
The words “is coming” indicate logical progression. The words “is coming” in the Greek assume the future coming of the Antichrist is certain as the present reality. The Antichrist already disguises himself as Christ.
even now many antichrists have come,
At the time of writing 1 John, Christianity was not yet 60 years old, yet “many antichrists” had already come. There were already many false teachers spread throughout the Roman Empire, teaching things contrary to the Word.
Not only will a world religious autocrat arise in the end times, but he will have many emissaries [demonic false teachers] spread around the world as well. Down through church history, many antichrists have arisen.
The words “have come” indicate that antichrists exert their influence in the church of John’s day. They were vendors of the error of a certain kind of spirituality. John openly labels them as antichrists.
The “many antichrists” are a force with which we are to reckon because of the multitudinous array they assemble. They have many activities.
by which we know that it is the last hour
The “last hour” is a time of the church’s seduction into false teaching.
Satan, his Antichrist, and emissaries will attack our spirituality and maturity.
Christians constantly need warnings about the conflict between truth and error. It is not enough for the believer to walk in the light or walk in love; he must also walk in the truth. The issue is truth or consequences!
Some people say, “It makes no difference what you believe, just so long as you are sincere!” Is sincerity the magic ingredient that makes something true? If so, then you ought to be able to apply it to any area of life, and not only to Christianity.
In this case, a doctor in a hospital could sincerely give the wrong medicine to a patient, but the patient becomes violently ill and dies. The doctor was sincere, but the medicine was wrong.
It takes more than sincerity to make something true. Faith in a lie will always result in serious consequences. We must never misplace our faith in the truth. It does make a difference in what we believe! If a man wants to drive from New York to Toronto, no amount of sincerity will get him there if the highway is taking him to Florida. A genuine person builds his life the truth of the Word, not superstition or lies. It is impossible to live a genuine spiritual life by believing lies.
Can you recognize false teaching when you hear it? Can you distinguish between sincerity and truth? Wishing something true does not make it true. Faith in a lie causes serious consequences.
Christians now live in the last days of spiritual counterfeit.
1 Ti 4:1, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…”
2 Ti 3:1, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come…”
Christians of our day need to know how to contradict, nullify, and neutralize false teachers. The Christian church today is exceedingly vulnerable to false teaching because it knows so little of the Word of God.
1 Jn 4:1-3, 1 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”
2 Jn 7, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”