Many Antichrists

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
In the days of the Apostle John there were already many antichrists—not legalists or errorists only, but antagonists of Christ. For these Satan prepared the way by inciting good men to sanction evil things. The prevalence of "many antichrists" shows that His name was, even in apostolic times, made the cloak for thoughts and ways the most opposed to Himself. The devil sought to destroy Christianity by attaching the Lord's name to his evil plans.
How marked the change, even before the apostles disappeared! Worldliness and the world, under the name of the Lord Christ! This laxity became a great snare for both Christians and the world. Christian professors were already too easily beguiled to countenance plausible lies of the enemy, for deadly heterodoxy may outwardly sound very like blessed truth. Thus, sincere believers are often misled for a while, and those who have only a mental acquaintance with the truth are drawn away to take license from such sanction as theirs.
Therefore we particularly desire for ourselves to cherish the truth of God and His Word increasingly, and with earnest love and zeal warn and entreat the children of God to be upon their guard in the small things as well as the great, looking well to it that they be vigilant as to their children in what is fated to perish so awfully; or for the sake of worldly advantage not to be seeking for them what they know would be wrong for themselves.
The Lord grant that we may feel deeply what a solemn importance attaches to Christ and the truth! What will the world think of you who profess to know better? What pleasure can Christ find in you, if you relax your protest and grudge your separation to Himself? If you grow careless and begin to allow evil you once felt in this or that? May grace make us lowly, yet earnest, not in a spirit of bondage or of petty fault-finding with others, but in being true to the Lord Jesus who has been true to us. We are told in 1 John 2:1818Little 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. (1 John 2:18) that antichrist is coming, but at the same time "even now there have come many antichrists, whence we know that it is the last hour." J. N. D. Trans. We must beware therefore of evils on every side, and of evil particularly done under the name of Christ—that is antichrist. It may be utterly to destroy the Christ of God, but an antichrist can do nothing but oppose the name of Him.
Finally we are told in what consists the great evil of the latter days. It is in this: a denial of all revealed truth of Christ. "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?" But this is not the full character of antichrist. It was what the Old Testament prepared us for; it pointed to the promised One, Jesus, and showed that He was the true Messiah, the Anointed of God. But the New Testament shows that He was not only the Messiah, but the Son revealing the Father. That Jesus is the Christ, is the great answer to all Jewish expectations, such as the Old Testament would form. But that Jesus is not only the Christ, but the Son of the Father, is the grand truth of the N e w Testament. Whatever tends to supplant and overthrow the truth of the New Testament, will assuredly bring in antichrist. "He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son."
And this is what things are rapidly hastening to. It comes now to be a sanctioned thing that men may teach doctrine that undermines both Old and New Testaments. Even those who are in the highest position ecclesiastically, lay it down that there is nothing in such speculations contrary to sound doctrine! What then since this epistle was written can be more calculated to fill one with concern than that which is now avowed by those accredited as Christian men to speak with authority?
Truly do we need to be "kept by the power of God through faith." Let us own that these are solemn words to ourselves, for this extreme evil is a thing floating in the air. Doubt of God and confidence in man prevail. It is not confined to a few individuals here and there; "even now are there many antichrists." It is by their frequency that we know it is the "last hour," however long its continuance from the Apostle's day.
The Lord keep us, not so much occupied with the evil, but cleaving to the good in Himself, entering more and more into the truth that God has revealed in Him. This is the surest preservative where it is coupled with a good conscience and a devoted heart. "As for you let that which ye have heard from the beginning abide in you: if what ye have heard from the beginning abides in you, ye also shall abide in the Son and in the Father."