“Little 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” (I John 2:18).
In the late years of the apostolic period, Christians were already concerned about the coming of Antichrist, the great “man of sin” whom Paul wrote about (II Thessalonians 2:3). John warned, however, that they should be more concerned with the many antichrists who had already come. The original language in John’s comment actually says that “we know there is ‘a last hour,’” rather than “the last time.” Whenever a church or a Christian ministry allows antichrists to compromise its ministry, it signals a last hour for that ministry.
An antichrist is not a “false Christ,” though these also are enemies, but rather one who denies, or dilutes, the union of true humanity and full deity in Jesus Christ. “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son” (I John 2:22). Thus one mark of an antichrist is questioning the deity of Christ.
There is also another type of antichrist: “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (II John 7). These are those who teach that “the Christ” was some cosmic spirit who came upon Jesus for awhile. They reject the unique humanity of Christ, just as the liberals reject the unique deity of Jesus.
Both groups of antichrists also reject His bodily resurrection, and will eventually destroy any Christian ministry that allows them to teach their views.
All churches and Christian ministries need continually to guard carefully against those enemies of true Christian doctrine, whether external or internal, who would influence them to dilute or divert the Christ-centered, Scripture-governed testimony to which they were called. HMM