1 Jn 2:18-29 is about antichrists and how to identify them and how to protect against them. There is not just one antichrist. There are many antichrists, v.18. Jesus said there would be, Matt 24:24. John wrote, “It is the last time”, which includes Tribulation saints. And he said that antichrists would be hard to detect, as in Matt 7:21-23. This passage in John’s epistle is going to be very important now, 2 Tim 3:1, and in the Tribulation.
How to identify antichrists
They went (go) out, v.19. Judas Iscariot, went out from us, but he was not of us, Jn 6:64, 70-71. Paul warned the elders of Ephesus about these guys that go out in Acts 20:30. If they were not antichrist, they would continue with us. The antichrist in the Tribulation will, evidently, go out from the saints, 2 Thes 2:9.
They lie, v.21. No lie is of the truth. In Jn 8:44 the devil is a liar. In 2 Thes 2:9 his wonders are lying wonders. The people in trouble with him are the ones who receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved, 2 Thes 2:10. God sends them strong delusion that they should believe a lie, 2 Thes 2:11. It appears that we are seeing a good deal of this delusion right now.
They deny that Jesus is the Christ, v.22-23. They deny the Father and the Son. This is one key to identifying antichrists. They may use the name of Jesus and they may even say that he is the Savior. But they deny that he is the Son, v.23, God manifest in the flesh. Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims. Even in the Roman Catholic Church, though Jesus is acknowledged as the Son of the Father, the worship of Mary and the deification of the Eucharist are antichrist.
They seduce you, v.26. A person in Christ who wants you to believe in Jesus for eternal life doesn’t seduce you. He preaches the truth so that you can believe and trust Jesus Christ. Yet in 1 Tim 4:1-2 in the latter times… depart from the faith… seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies. 2 Tim 3:13, in the context of the last days, v.1, “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived”.
How to protect against antichrists
By the words of Christ abiding in you, v.24-25. Let that therefore abide in you which ye have heard from the beginning. These are the words recorded in the gospels, principally in John’s gospel. When these words remain in you, you continue in the Son, and in the Father. See Jn 14:23; Jn 15:7, 10; 17:8. Jesus promised us eternal life, Jn 17:2-3, in his words.
By the Holy Spirit abiding in you, v.27. See Jn 14:17. The Holy Spirit teaches you all things, Jn 14:26; Jn 16:12-14. He is the Spirit of truth, Jn 15:26. He is no lie. Because we have the unction from the Holy One, v.20, “ye need not that any man teach you”. This is to keep them from being deceived by a slick talking devil who could “deceive the very elect”, Matt 24:24. The truth and the Spirit of truth are sufficient to identify antichrists, though God still uses teachers, Eph 4:11-2.
By abiding in Jesus, v.28. Picked up from the last part of v.27. This comes directly from passages like Jn 15:1-7. In the time of the gospel of John, it was, and in the Tribulation, it is possible to no longer abide in him. The reason is that they aren’t baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. The body of Christ, from Acts 2 to the Rapture, is gone by the Tribulation.
“When he shall appear,” is a reference to Christ’s Second Coming. “We may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming,”. Those abiding in him will have confidence, like Matt 24:44-47; those not abiding in him will be ashamed, like Matt 24:48-51.
By doing righteousness, v.29. We know that Christ is righteous. Therefore, “ye know that everyone that doeth righteousness is born of him”. You may be able to do good and not be born of him, but you can’t do righteousness without being born of him.
And doing righteousness is essential to salvation in the Tribulation, Rev 14:12; Jas 1:22; Jas 2:21-24.
To study the previous lesson, see A New Commandment.