1 John 2:18-23
Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists…
This word is absolutely peculiar to St. John. The general use of ἀντί (contra) and the meaning of the similarly formed word ἀντίθεος, lead to the conclusion that the term means "adversary of Messiah." The Jews derived their conception from Daniel 7:25; Daniel 8:25; Daniel 11:36; Ezekiel 38-39. The name was probably formed by St. John. It was believed by the Jews that Antichrist would appear immediately before the advent of Christ (cf. chap. 1 John 2:22; 4:3; 2 John 7). Our Lord mentioned "pseudo-Christs" as a sign (Matthew 24:24). St. Paul gave a solemn warning to the very Churches which St. John now specially addressed (Acts 20:29). St. John saw these principles and the men who embodied them in full action, and it was an indication for him of "the last period." So far Christians had only learnt in general to expect the personal appearance of one great enemy of Christ, the Antichrist. In his Epistle St. John gives solemn warning that those heretics who denied the God-Man were not merely precursors of Antichrist, but impersonations of the anti-Christian principle — each of them in a true sense an antichrist. The term is used by no other sacred writer, by St. John him self only five times (1 John 2:18, twice, 1 John 2:22; 4:3; 2 John 7), and that specifically to characterise heresy denying the incarnation, person, and dignity of Christ as God-Man. Antichrist is "the liar"; his spirit and teaching is a lie pure and simple. The one Antichrist, whose coming was stamped into the living tradition of the early Church, and of whom believers had necessarily "heard," is clearly distinguished from many who were already in existence, and were closely connected with him in spirit. Probably St. John expected the chief Antichrist, the "theological antagonist of Christ," before the Personal Advent. In 2 Thessalonians 2 we find the same idea of a singular individual of preeminent wickedness, while St. Paul does not call the "Man of Sin" Antichrist. In the Apocalypse (13-17) a delineation of an anti-Christian power; in St. Paul and in St. John's Epistles of the "eximious anti-Christian person.
(Bp. Wm. Alexander.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.