Posted under The Rectory Bulletin
“Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.”
“I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” (1 John 2:18–27)
The word antichrist conjures up all sorts of images, and none of them good. The history of the church is liberally scattered with the charge that someone or other is the antichrist, an evil mastermind, a sinister figure.
Within the Bible the word is only written by John, either in his letters or the Book of Revelation, and when we read the description above it might come as a bit of a disappointment. We find that rather than one imposing figure, there are a number of antichrists and they are those who deny that Jesus is the Christ.
That might not sound to you like the epitome of evil, but these people were leading people away from Christ and therefore from God. The were placing themselves in the place of Christ, and claiming that they are the true teachers. If we define evil as opposition to God, then we can see why such people attract the name “antichrist” since “no-one who denies the Son has the Father”.
In the ancient world Christianity was notable for its use of books, and the importance it placed on the sacred writings which make up our Bible. They weren’t just interested in services and rituals, but wanted people to grow in their knowledge of the faith. Before you were baptised, you would have years of instruction. Why? Because they were all too well aware of the eternal danger of false teachers.
After all, if we are saved by faith then the content of that faith becomes the most important thing in the world. So ground yourself in the Bible - and beware antichrists.