Although most of God’s Church today knows the truth of what John is saying, many who read this post do not. It is, therefore, necessary to explain some things about this subject as it has much to do with identifying those who are in true fellowship with God and those who are not.
When John spoke of antichrist it is important to understand that he was not speaking of a single individual: “Little children (John’s way of referencing those ‘in’ the Church), it is the last time, and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 Jn. 2:18). In this verse, John clearly states that at the current time of his writing this there were “many antichrists.”
John had already been preaching about antichrist before this, as he also stated that they had already heard (been told) “that antichrist shall come.” The Church that was being led by John believed that they were living in the last times (as stated twice in this verse). They longed for Christ’s coming, and as far as God’s 6,000-year plan was concerned, they were indeed living in the last times. They were actually living in the final third (the beginning of the final 2,000 years) at the end of an age that would lead up to Christ’s return; however, they did not know there was that much time remaining before he would come as the Messiah. God allowed them to believe as they did – that Christ’s coming was soon.
John is actually referring to what Paul had taught. God revealed to Paul that before Christ would return, a man of sin, a son of perdition, would arise within the Church. They were looking for the manifestation of a man who would betray Christ – who would turn against him and be revealed as this antichrist. They were looking for this to happen as a kind of sign that Christ was coming, and they knew that it would be at a time of a great falling away from the truth – an Apostasy within the Church. They looked for this to occur just as the Church did in a similar manner during the time of Philadelphia and Laodicea, knowing there would be a time when God’s two witnesses would appear on the scene and this would serve as a kind of sign that indeed Christ was very soon to return.
So when God made it clear to John that many antichrists were already on the scene, he warned them about their true relationship (fellowship) with God because he saw this accumulation of those who had become antichrist as a precursor of the Apostasy and the emergence of a single more powerful antichrist who would fulfill what Paul taught in 2 Thessalonians 2. It is also important to note that this lack of understanding on John’s part, due to God not fully revealing the understanding, did not diminish from John’s responsibilities and work as an apostle or prophet.
It bears repeating that John is writing to the Church as he made that clear in earlier verses: “My little children (the Church under his care), these things I write unto you, that you do not sin. And if anyone sin, we have an advocate (same word as ‘comforter’ in Jn. 14:16, which is the word for ‘intercessor’) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 Jn. 2:1). John is addressing sin and how we are to have it removed from our life, which is through our intercessor Jesus Christ by his role as our Passover.
By going back a few more verses, the context of what John is writing about concerning the emergence of antichrists becomes even clearer.
“This then is the message which we have heard of (from) him (Jesus Christ), and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is not darkness at all” (1 Jn. 1:5). He is stating that there is NO darkness in God. God does not dwell (live) with (nor in) any darkness. John is emphasizing that God does not dwell (live) with (in) sin.
“If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we are lying, and not doing (not practicing, not living in) the truth” (1 Jn. 1:6). John is getting ready to explain that sin must be repented of and forgiven, for if it is not repented of, then one is walking in darkness (living and dwelling in darkness) and not in God. Refusal to repent (usually through some form of justification) is actually a refusal to accept Christ as one’s Passover because a person is not applying (doing, living by) those things necessary to be cleansed of sin – the acceptance and partaking of Christ as our Passover. Such a person is not in true fellowship with God and He will disfellowship them for rejecting His Son in their life. God will not dwell “in” (nor with) sin, darkness, a lie (liar) – in someone who refuses to repent (of disobedience, of sin against His truth) and accept Christ as their Passover. This means that such a person has chosen to dwell in sin and not “in” God.
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another (true fellowship with God, Christ, and the Church), and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son (as our Passover) is cleansing us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7). A person who is actively repenting of sin (doing, practicing, living repentance) is able to continue walking in the light because they are looking to Christ (accepting him) as their Passover and they understand that they have sin of which they must be continually repenting.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn. 1:8). However, “If we confess our sin (acknowledge and repent), He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9). The whole context that leads up to John having to address the matter of antichrists is in regards to whether one is living in the truth concerning our Passover. It is about whether one is being cleansed of sin in order to walk in the light, which is to live in, abide in, continue in, God, in Christ, and in the truth.
Purpose of Passover
The very reason Jesus Christ suffered, spilled his blood upon the earth, and then died, is to make repentance and forgiveness of sins possible. However, many have failed to go beyond this basic understanding to the overall greater purpose for why God has given us the ability to be forgiven of sin through our Passover – the greater purpose of why Christ gave his life as he did. It is for the purpose of God and Christ to be able to “dwell in” us on a continuing basis once we have been impregnated with a spirit begotten from God. From that moment forward, that newly begotten life must have a continual indwelling and flow of God’s spirit into it. It is much like the need of an umbilical cord that supplies a continuing flow of life’s blood into a fetus. If the flow of that blood ceases, a fetus will die.
A spiritual begettal is similar in that a continual flow of God’s spirit is necessary for spiritual nourishment, growth, and an ongoing relationship with God (true fellowship). Without this, one is incapable of “remaining in” the truth. The ability to grow and continue in the truth is accomplished only by God and Christ “dwelling in” a person, but that indwelling ceases when unrepentant sin exists in a person. God will not dwell in (with) darkness – in (with) sin. That is why sin must be repented of quickly.
It is because of this exact subject matter that Christ addressed the very purpose of himself fulfilling the Passover on the very night of Passover, on the exact day he would die as our Passover. He revealed that the purpose for his death was so that he and his Father could “dwell in” (the same Gk. word is also correctly translated into English to mean “abide in, continue in, and remain in”) those who are called and begotten.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine and you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without (Gk. – ‘separately from,’ which in this context is to be severed from Christ – to be disfellowshipped from) Me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:4-5).
Earlier, it was stated in this series, “The only reason anyone becomes disfellowshipped from God, His presence, and His Family is because of unrepentant sin where someone has ‘lifted up’ their own ideas and ways about what God has revealed as His one and only true way (truth) to live life.” A person who will not repent has made a conscious choice not to dwell in some truth or truths that God has given His Church (as in the 57 Truths). That choice to reject some truth is a choice to dwell in sin, and since God does not dwell in sin, they are separated from Him.
Working Against Christ
Christ spilled his blood upon the earth and died so that people could be forgiven of sin upon genuine repentance. This in itself was for a greater purpose, which was for God and Jesus Christ to be able to “dwell in” those who are the begotten children of God. This would not be possible if sin remained in a person – if they were not cleansed of it. Therefore, a person who chooses not to obey God’s truth and His commandments that He has revealed to His Church, is in sin and will “remain in” sin (darkness) if they do not repent. This action of continuing disobedience (if one will not come to repentance) works against the very purpose Christ died as our Passover, which is so He and His Father can “dwell in” us in order to transform us and have fellowship with us. Those who remain in sin (continue in, abide in sin) are therefore removed from the Body of Christ and become disfellowshipped. Rather than their life reflecting that Christ and God dwell in them, they reflect that they are actually working against Christ (His purpose as our Passover). Therefore, they become antichrist.
“And he who keeps His (God’s) commandments dwells in Him, and He in him. Hereby we know that He abides in us, by the spirit which He has given us” (1 Jn. 3:24). Those who “dwell in” God believe and obey His ways and their lives reflect that they are repenting of sin and being changed – transformed as a result of Christ and God dwelling in them, as they are in unity and speak and live the same with the Church.
John revealed what should be exceedingly sobering to any who are called and begotten of God who begin to “work against” Christ’s purpose for being our Passover. Those who work against Christ no longer yield to Christ “coming into” (abiding in and dwelling in) their life as John went on to magnify in the Book of Second John.
“For many deceivers have entered into the world, who do not confess (reveal or reflect) that Jesus Christ is coming (the Greek for this is similar to present progressive in English which shows Christ is currently or presently ‘coming into’ and ‘continues to come in’ – ongoing or progressing forward – in one’s life) in the flesh (not that Christ came to man in human flesh, but meaning that Christ, through the holy spirit, is coming into one’s life – abiding in their fleshly existence). This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 Jn. 7).
This is not speaking about people in the world, but about people in the Church who had God and Christ “dwelling in” and continually “coming into” them (in their fleshly bodies). However, in time, some cease to repent of sin and the process of Christ “continually coming into them” also ceases. When this begins to occur, such a person begins living a lie as they continue on and act as though they are “in” agreement with God and His Church – that they are of the same mind. Instead, they begin living as a deceiver.
John stated that such a person who becomes a deceiver is one who does not confess that Jesus Christ “is coming” into their life. This is not a good translation into English. It simply means that their life ceases to truly reflect (reveal) that Christ is dwelling in them, because their life ceases to reflect that the truth dwells in them.
This word translated from Greek into English as “confess” is very revealing in Greek. It is a compound word. The first word means “with” and is translated into English in scripture as “together,” but should be better translated as “together with.” The second part of this compound word is the Greek word “logos.” John was literally saying that many deceivers have left because they have entered back into the world since they are no longer “together with the logos (the word)” of Christ coming into their life. They are no longer in agreement with the word of Christ that should otherwise be dwelling in them. They have become antichrist. Their choices and actions “deny” Christ to dwell in them.
It is important for newer readers of this post, especially those who are of the scattering that occurred after the Apostasy, to know that only someone who has been part of the fellowship of the Church can become antichrist. This term that was used by John is emphatically not about anyone in the world. John describes these people as “many deceivers (who) have entered into the world.” God had called them “out of the world” and into His Church. Instead of remaining faithful to the truth delivered to them from the beginning, they chose another way that was contrary and opposed to (against) the truth and Christ. They chose to “leave” the truth and “in spirit” they went away from it to embrace other ideas and beliefs. At this point, it would be good to repeat a scripture that was previously covered and add more context that is contained in the following verse:
“Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out (away) from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued (same Greek word that is used as abide, dwell, remain) with us (they would have continued in true fellowship, unity, and agreement of the truth). But they went out that they might be made manifest (revealed, made known) that they were not all of us” (1 Jn. 2:18-19).
It is also important to look at the compound word for antichrist, where “anti” means “against” or an “opponent” in the Greek, but it is also used to convey even more in the context of how it is being used together as a compound word with the word “Christ.” The word “anti” in Greek conveys more than simply being an “opponent” or “being opposite,” but is often used to show the contrast of what is actually occurring in order to produce such opposition. This is often used to show requital or substitution, which in this case is to “make up something different” or “in place of” Christ.
To become antichrist does not mean the person “believes” they are actually against Christ. On the contrary, they believe they are still following Christ, although from “their own thinking” (own ideas, personal beliefs, or “accepted” beliefs of others). They have made up something different (or accepted something different) and have substituted that as being what they have come to believe rather than the truth God had given them through Jesus Christ to the Church. They begin to believe an anti-truth – a “different (substituted) truth,” which is not true at all and in reality is actually against what is true.
(This series has grown as God is revealing more that is to be given to the Church. There will be at least two more parts to follow in this series.)