The next part in my series on 1 John.
“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. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” (1 John 2:18–27 ESV)
When people think of the antichrist, they have a very specific concept. The antichrist is some end-times leader, normally equated with the beast of Revelations. Whether or not the beast should be called antichrist, John has another idea of the antichrist. You can find my thoughts on this here.
In this passage, the antichrist is one that denies that Jesus is the Christ and denies the Father and the Son. No details are given about the nature of this denial. What we need to see is that theology and christology are very important. There are things that we can agree to disagree on but the nature of the Father and the nature of the Son are not on the table.
We do get a bit more information. The nature of the problem is not that of outsiders trying to corrupt Christians. Rather these are people within the church who have lost their way and who are trying to bring others with them. It is easy for us to point fingers at atheists and people of other religions but we really need to watch for the corruption that begins on the inside.
The hardest part of this passage is John’s statement that they do not need teaching. Does that mean that as Christians they have full understanding and there is no need for any instruction? The problem with this is that they are receiving teaching from John so all teaching cannot be bad.
The context is the entering into a relationship with God. The anointing that John speaks of is the Spirit that we receive at conversion. John is saying that we do not have to be taught that experience, it is something deeper. So when false teachers come and tell us that the God we have experienced is completely different, we do not have to listen to their false teaching. By abiding in God, we put ourselves in a place of protection against false teaching.