1 John 2:18. New American Standard Bible 18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.
John again refers to his readers as children. John sees himself as a spiritual father giving important direction and teaching to his spiritual children so that they are not deceived in this last hour. When John speaks of the last hour it refers to the time between the first coming of Christ and the second coming of Christ. The church age encompasses all of the last days.
There will come a time when the bride shall be raptured from the earth. Jesus told the disciples during His earthly ministry that He was going to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house (John 14:2). Someday the Lord shall return to gather his bride at the last trumpet and take her to His Father’s house. Once the bride is removed from the earth it makes way for Satanic activity to move without restraint. The one known as the anti-Christ shall arise.
The same John who wrote this letter is the same John who wrote the book of Revelation. When he writes “you heard that antichrist is coming” he is referring to the individual who shall arise as a world leader who shall be influenced and empowered by Satan. Throughout history there have been many who have been influenced by Satan and empowered by him to rule the world and have dominion. It is important to understand that Satan doesn’t know what God is doing. He doesn’t have an understanding of the plans and purposes of God. He is simply driven to kill, steal, and destroy. His desire is to raise up a world leader to work through that individual to have dominion over the entire earth.
But the coming of the antichrist cannot take place until the purposes of God are accomplished in the church. When the church is rapture, the restrainer will be moved out of the way (2 Thess 2:7). When the church is removed and the purposes of God are fulfilled, the restraining work of the Holy Spirit through the church will no longer be present on the earth. It doesn’t mean the Spirit of God will disappear from the earth because even during the time of tribulation on the earth there will be those who come to faith in Jesus Christ (Rev 7:9-10).
The many antichrist that John speaks of are the false teachers of his time and refer also to false teachers throughout the church age. False teachers are emissaries of Satan. Their sole purpose is to work their way into the church and bring division and corruption through false teaching, lies, and deception. Paul speaks of them that even Satan himself comes as an angel of light to deceive (2 Cor 11:13-15). They are workers of darkness who are false apostles and deceitful workers. They use the name of Christ to bring honor to themselves, for the gain of profit, and ultimately are pawns of the enemy to deceive the children of God.
But the greatest way to guard against false teaching is to know the word of God. If we know the word of God, we will not be deceived. The only way to know a counterfeit is to understand what the real looks like. Jesus said we would also know true disciples by the fruit in their lives (Matt 7:15-20). Paul writes about the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit of the Spirit is the manifestation of the character and nature of Christ in a person. A true minister of the gospel will reflect Jesus in all that they do. Those who are simply messengers of Satan who have come to deceive and destroy, when their lives are examined will reflect the nature of the enemy.
We must remember that Satan is the father of lies. Every lie and deception begin with him. His greatest weapon is lie and deception. If as believers we are to be victorious in this age of great deception, we must know the word of God, hold fast to the word of God, and make it the number one priority of our lives. It is through His word that God has revealed Himself. To know the word of God, is to know the Living God personally and intimately.