"Knowing the Counterfeit and Knowing the Time"
1 John 2:18-29
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Anti-christ is coming, even now many anti-christs have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. [1 John 2:18]
This is the first time in Scripture that the actual word, “Anti-christ” is used. While there are several references to Anti-christ in Scripture, it is only actually spelled out in John’s letters [ref. 1 Jn 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 Jn 1:7]. Why would that be?
Perhaps it is because John’s letters are among the last, both in chronology and location in the New Testament and the Bible as a whole. The reason may be packed into the very meaning of the prefix, “Anti” and location of use in the canon of Scripture [i.e., “we know that it is the last hour”].
“Anti” not only means against, i.e., against Christ, but a counterfeit, i.e., one who looks like Christ. The Anti-christ will be the greatest con artist to ever live, and he will con even the elect. Referring to this “man of sin,” “the son of perdition” [2 Thes 2:3], and “lawless one” [2 Thes 2:9], Jesus warned that he will deceive even the elect [ref. Matt 24:24].
In the discipline of Bible interpretation, there is a principle called “The law of first mention.” This principle says that, to understand a particular word or doctrine, we must find the first place in Scripture that word or doctrine is revealed and study that passage. The reasoning is that the Bible’s first mention of a concept is the simplest and clearest presentation. Most of the time “first mentions” like “blood” [Gen 4:10] and “love” [Gen 22:2] appear in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. However, the term “Anti-christ,” is first mentioned way back here in 1 John 2:18.
But if we apply the law of first mention to “Anti-christ” in 1 John 2:18, we find that “it is the last hour.” You see, when “many anti-christs have come” [past tense] as opposed to “the Anti-christ is coming” [future tense] we can know that we are in the last hour. The fact of the matter is that we are sandwiched between these two today!
Church, are we ready? “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” [Luke 21:28]