Twice it has been our privilege to call attention to the meaning of the concept “last hour” in Scripture in general, both the Old and. the New Testaments, and might come to some rather definite conclusions. 

We need not repeat these conclusions here at great length. It is sufficient to our purpose to remind the reader of the following salient points. 

1. That the term “latter” times in the Old Testament Scriptures refers to the future time when God will fulfill His promise(s) to Israel in the sending of His only begotten Son. 

2. That these times are “latter” and “last” time(s) because of the prophetic perspective of the Old Testament Seer, through whom God spoke His word. Such we noticed in the case of Jacob blessing his sons (Gen. 49:1-8) and in the blessing of Balaam upon Israel (Num. 24:14) as well as of Isaiah in his prophecy concerning the future of the heavenly Jerusalem (Is. 2:2) and of Moses when he proclaims the unchangeable mercies of Jehovah upon his people notwithstanding the carrying away of them, into Babylon (Deut. 4:30). 

3. This is emphatically corroborated by what we read in the Gospel of John concerning the “hour” of Christ. This is the God-appointed time, the appropriate time, the only possible “hour” in which God is revealed in the flesh, Christ is glorified, the church saved, and presently all things made new. This was indicated and, clearly taught in such passages as John 2:4John 4:21, 23;John 7:30 and John 8:20. A very clear indication of the meaning of the hour we noticed in the sacerdotal prayer of Christ in John 17.

Such we noticed in the past two essays on I John 2:18-21

We now stand before the question as to why the coming of the Antichrist and antichrists is an infallible earmark of the “last hour.” 

The first question before which we are placed is: Who is the Antichrist, and who are the antichrists in I John 2:18-21

The name “antichrist” (anti-christos in Greek) appears in this form only four times in the Bible. And, it is noteworthy, that this name only appears in the epistles of John, to wit, in I John 2:18I John 2:22I John 4:3 and II John 7. This does not mean that the Scriptures do not indicate, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament the coming of the Man of Sin, Antichrist. See Daniel 9:27and also Matt. 24:15

We shall see more of this presently concerning the general teaching of Scripture concerning the “antichrist.” 

There is some difference of opinion amongst interpreters of Scripture concerning the force of the preposition anti—in the composite antichrist. The preposition can express either hostility or substitution. If it expresses hostility it means that this Antichrist and these antichrists in the text are against Christ. They are his enemies; they deny his very existence. If it expresses substitution then they appear as the false christs, such as we read of in Matt. 24:5, 11, 24. Thus in Matt. 24:4, 5 we read: “And Jesus said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you, For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray.” In this passage the term is not really antichrists, but false Christs. Now this need not detain us long. For these false christs are not “for” but they are “against.” For he that is not for Christ is against him, and he that does not gather scattereth, Matt. 12:30: Even though therefore the hostile opposition to Christ is here emphasized, the intent of replacement is not absent.

It is quite evident from the text that the Antichrist and the antichrists here are persons. They are men, and also women. The point is that they are not evil angels or the devil himself, nor must we think of this simply as antichristian teaching. As was said, they are men, persons. That such is the case is very evident from the text and context. We call attention to the following: 

1. This is indicated by the-plural antichrists, as well as from what is said of them, “They went out from, us” and “if they had been of us they would have remained with us.” Now this clearly indicates that these are persons in flesh and blood, people who once were living with the believers in Christ. 

2. That the Antichrist is a human person, a certain man, appears from the fact that of him it is said that he “is coming.” He will be more than a manifestation of evil in the abstract. He will be a man in flesh and blood. Was not the Christ such a rear man too while upon earth? 

3. Besides, if the antichrists are men, .then surely the text teaches that Antichrist is a man to come, and not simply a power, influence, teaching. Is it not abundantly clear also from I John 2:22-27 that the deceivers, who are liars, are men and women, with whom the church must rub shoulders in this world? And are they not men and women in flesh and blood; whom we may not receive into our house, neither bid them godspeed in II John 4-11? These are the “many deceivers” who have gone out into the world. They were once in the church, but they have gone forth from the church “into the world” and now they do nothing but deceive! They deny that Jesus is the Christ. 

To see the great implication of denying that Jesus is the Christ is to see the meaning of anti-Christ. The term Christ means: anointed one of God, the Messiah,John 1:41. And according to the second Psalm this anointing can only come upon the Son. Thus it is in the decree of God. Wherefore tie read: “I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.” Psalm 2:7. And again, we read in Acts 2:36: “Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye have crucified.” We see here that only the Son of God can be Lord and Christ according to the Scriptures. 

We therefore repeat: that the greatness of the sin of anti-Christ can only be seen when we note that in the Gospel of John as well as in the letters the terms “Christ” and “Son of God” are synonymous. Christ is God. This is a thesis worth proving. Unless this is seen we, will not understand the strong language of John when he says: “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the evil one. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life? All religion which does not hold to this truth, to the Head, the Son of God, is idolatry. Wherefore John says: “Little children, keep (guard) yourselves from idols,” I John 5:18-21

To prove this thesis we will call attention to the following passages from the Gospel of John. Peter says to Jesus in John 6:69: “And we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And this is basically what Peter confesses in the regions of Caesarea Philippi as recorded in Matt. 16:17: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And this was “revealed” to him by the heavenly Father. Martha confesses in connection with her hope and faith in the blessed resurrection: “I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” John 11:27. And Thomas says when he sees the print of the nails in Jesus’ hands: “My Lord and my God.” And the keynote of this all we have in the so-called “Prologue” of John’s Gospel: “and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth!” John 1:14. And not to forget what . . . we read in John 1:18: “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son of God, who is ever in the bosom of the Father, he bath declared him unto us.”

And this truth John would underscore also here in the letters to the churches. Thus in I John 2:22 it is stated that the “antichrist” is he who “denies that Jesus is the Christ.” Now it might be objected that the humanJesus’ the man Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ; he has an anointing, a calling and office in life. But that does not prove that he is God in the flesh. However, be not deceived. For John continues in this verse and says that such a one does not have the Father or the Son. He does not have either one. He does not know Him. For the Son reveals the Father, to whomsoever He wills. For he that confesses the Son, as Son in the flesh, he has the Father. And therefore he that denies the Son is antichrist. He is antichrist in that he does not desire, but opposes both the Father and the Son. That is the deep root. He hates God. He hates God in the flesh, Immanuel, God-with-us. He does not want the Lord of glory. And therefore he denies the person of the Christ, the Son of God. 

For notice that, according to I John 4:2, the one who is not antichrist is born put of God. He speaks through the Holy Spirit. He says Jesus Christ is come into the flesh. Now this is not said of any child of Adam, of mere man born from a woman by the will of man, John 1:13. He is simply born. We do not come into this world. We are a, part of this world, of this creaturehood. We did not preexist. We were made in the beginning. But Christ was the eternal Word, and He did not becomein the beginning, He was in the beginning, and He was God. And He came into this world! He assumed our flesh and blood. And therefore to deny “that He came into the flesh” is to deny the Deity of the Son, His eternal pre-existence and transcendency. And he that denies this has the spirit of antichrist. Antichrist is against the Son of God in the flesh. For this fact, this reality of his being very God, true God, is the cornerstone of the church’s salvation. That is the glory of the nations: And therefore it must not be denied that “Jesus is come in the flesh.” Mere man is born. Mere man does not come in the flesh. And this greatness of the Incarnation must be denied by antichrist. However, we maintain: 

1. Christ is God. 

2. Christ is God in the flesh, the eternal Son. 

3. He that denies that this eternal Son came in the flesh is antichrist

Before we close this essay and write the final period, we would point out that it should be quite evident that there are many antichrists in the world today and that they have been in the world, having gone forth from the church, fomenting their lies against the Lord and against His anointed. 

Not all deniers of the Son of God do this outright and consistently. However, all Unitarians fall in this class. Modernism today who will speak of the man Jesus, the Master, the Teacher of Galilee. They are antichrists. Think of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, those messengers of darkness, who come to your door as angels of light. I remember distinctly that a woman, some sixty-odd years old, came to our door at Loveland, Colorado. She desired to sell the Watchtower. She was fromKingdom Hall. I interrupted her memorized story with “Is Christ God?” She answered with an emphatic “no.” I told her to leave my door and not to return. As she stumbled down the steps she said over her shoulder: “But the Bible says too that He is the Son of God.” I repeated: “Does that mean that He is then also ‘Son of God, very God?'” She answered “no.” She left and never returned. And I had not received her into my house, nor bidden her godspeed, and had no fellowship in her evil. 

That is the crucial question. 

Well, may we in these days in which we remember the birth of our Savior underscore this truth of the eternal Son of God in the flesh, lest with all the “holiday spirit” we forget or deny the Christ of God, and beantichristian! 

There is no “Christmas” without Christ, and there is no Christ except it be God come into our flesh, Immanuel (Im-with—anu-us—el-God). God-with-us! 

For in Bethlehem’s manger lay the Lord of Glory!