Since the early church people have been confused about who is Jesus Christ and why does that matter? Christians need to be careful of antichrists who lead people astray and teach false doctrines, and these antichrists are within churches, fellowships, denominations. In 1 John 2:18-24 there were relevant dangers that threatened the early church and those same things threaten Christian churches today.
Johannine Literature, known as the writings of the apostle John centered on the person and the gospel of Jesus Christ. John emphasized the truth so that anyone could know Jesus Christ personally (Jews and Gentiles), and have eternal life by believing in His name (John 20:30-31; 1 John 1:1-3; 2:1-2, 12-14, 21, 26; 5:13, 20-21). During Jesus’ ministry He warned the disciples of false prophets and false Christ’s (Matthew 7:15-23; 24:4-5, 24) that would mislead people, both then and in the future. The disciples warned Christians to be on guard against those who are false teachers (Acts 20:28-31; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 2:18, 22-23; Jude 1:3-4, 17-19), and for them to examine and test all things according to what Jesus and the Scriptures taught (Acts 17:10-11; Colossians 2:6-8; 2 Timothy 2:14-18; 2 Peter 3:14-18; 2 John 1:7-10). John wrote that grace and truth were realized in Jesus Christ, that He revealed the heart of the Father to mankind, and that this love was available to the world (John 1:17-18; 3:16; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).
The date of the Epistle of 1 John was written approximately A. D. 90 to 95. There is strong evidence that indicates that the apostle John is the author from what the Scriptures state (1 John 1:1-4), and there is external evidence from what the early church fathers wrote (Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, and Dionysius). There is also convincing internal evidence of 1 John that coincides with the Gospel of John: “The thought, vocabulary (“abide,” “light,” “new,” “commandment,” “word,” etc.) and expressions (“eternal life,” “lay down one’s life,” “pass from death into life,” “Savior of the world,” “take away sins,” “works of the devil,” and others), coincide with the Fourth Gospel and the two other Epistles by John.” The apostle John was a first hand eyewitness of Jesus’ life, teachings, miracles, crucifixion, death and His resurrection. John, being a disciple of Jesus Christ learned the grace and truth of Jesus Christ in His ministry representing God the Father (John 1:17-18). Therefore it is vitally important to heed (follow; listen to; adhere to) what John and the apostles wrote concerning Jesus being the Christ, the Son of God, and to know the truth.
JESUS IS THE CHRIST
The New Testament is founded upon Jesus being the Christ, the Son of God, who came to reveal the Father to mankind (Jews and Gentiles), who died upon the cross to make atonement for sin, and was resurrected from the dead. Jesus Christ in the Greek is “Iēsoús Christós,”which means “Saviour” and “Anointed One.” Shortly after Jesus was resurrected from the dead He appeared and showed Himself to the disciples: “44 These are My words which I spoke to while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem. 48 “You are witnesses of these things.” All the Gospel writers wrote and taught that Jesus is the Christ (Matthew 16:13-17; Mark 1:1-3; Luke 24:44-48; John 1:41; 20:31), which was a divine proclamation of the Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled (1 Peter 1:6-12; 2 Peter 1:16-21).
The foundation of Christianity is that Jesus is the Christ (Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42-46; Acts 4:8-12; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6), and this was proven through His death and resurrection according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The Old Testament prophesied the coming Christ (Messiah; Anointed One; Deliverer) stating that He would give His life as an atoning sacrifice (Genesis 3:15; Psalm 22; Daniel 9:24-27; Zechariah 12:10). Isaiah 53 prophesied of a suffering Servant, and this specifically points to Jesus being the “Christós.” Isaiah 53 is one of the most important Messianic prophecies in the Scriptures on who the Messiah is, what He would do, and how He would be made known.
Bible scholar H. A. Ironside states that Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is a Messianic prophecy which: “presents Christ as the sinless substitute for sinful men – the One to whom our sins were imputed so that divine righteous might be imputed to us who believe in Him.” There is strong extra-biblical evidence from Jewish resources that support the suffering Servant being the Messiah, the Christ, and that He would give His life as a sacrifice for the sins of the people. Dr. David Stern, a Messianic follower of Jesus Christ, also affirms Isaiah 53 with Jesus being the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world: “The figure of the lamb connects Yeshua with the passage identifying the Messiah as the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 (Ac 8:32); and his sacrificial death by execution on a stake is compared with “that of a lamb without a defect or a spot: (1 Ke 1:19), as required by the Torah (e.g., Exodus 12:5, 29:1; Leviticus 1:3, 10; 9:3; 23:12).”
The Doctrine of Jesus Christ Vs. Doctrine of AntiChrists
As stated before, it is vitally important to know the truth that Jesus is the Christ, and that this is message of 1 John 2:18-24. John states in 1 John 2:18 it is the last hour and that the antichrist is coming, and that there were many antichrists during that time. The words “last hour” comes from the Greek word “ἔschatos,” and this is where the word Eschatology comes from, the study of end times. Greek scholar Dr. Spiros Zodhiates states that the “last hour”in this verse does not necessary mean the very end of all things, but to a duration of time from Jesus’ first coming to when He comes again. Therefore from the time of the early church to modern day, we are living in the last hour or the end times.
There were many antichrists during the early church among Christians, and they were not of Christ. The Greek word for antichrist is “antichristos,”which means against Christ, instead of Christ, denoting substitution, taking the place of, in opposition to what Jesus taught, which is only found in the Epistles of 1 John and 2 John. There is a time in the future (during the Great Tribulation) that “the antichrist” will deceive the world, of which many people will be under his deception (Daniel 7:25, 8:25, 9:27; Matthew 24:24-31; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; Revelation 13:5). In 1 John 2:19 we see that those who claim to be of the faith, but depart and reject Jesus Christ were never born of God (John 1:12-13; 10:14, 27-29; 2 Timothy 2:19; 1 John 2:22-23). Those who teach that Jesus is not the Christ, that He is not the Son of God, are not lead by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), but are deceivers being lead astray by the devil (John 8:44).
John wrote these things not because they did not know the truth, but because they did know the truth. John wanted to protect them from the false teachers spreading lies and deceptions, who were against Jesus Christ and the good news of eternal life (1 John 2:20). Those who are in Jesus Christ have the anointing of God (1 John 2:21, 27), which is the Holy Spirit of truth, whom guides all believers in the faith (John 14:16-17, 26; 16:13). The Holy Spirit will never guide anyone contrary to the truth, never contradict the Scriptures, and He will never teach anything contrary to who God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are (John 16:14-15).
Throughout John’s writings he continually focused on the truth of Jesus being the Son of God, the Christ, and all those who denied this was of the spirit of the antichrist. This is why he was so firm and clear in 1 John 2:22-23 on truth vs. deception, Christ vs. antichrists, confession vs. rejection (Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 10:9-13; 1 John 5:10-12), and this was his message from the beginning to the end (1 John 1:1-3; 5:13, 20-21). John wrote to abide in Him (1 John 2:24), which is what Jesus taught (John 15:1-6). To abide (menó)in Jesusmeans to stand firm, to be steadfast, to remain, to endure in Him. Paul and Peter also taught Christians to press on in the faith, to remain steadfast (Philippians 3:12-14; Colossians 2:6-8; 2 Peter 1:2-12; 3:14-18), and to be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Why This Matters Today
John wrote proclaiming that Jesus was the One to come, the Messiah, the Christ, the Eternal One, God, Creator, the Son of God, distinct from God the Father and the Holy Spirit, and all (Jews and Gentiles) those who put their trust in Him and believe in His name will have eternal life (John 1:1-3,14-18, 3:16-21; 5:18-23; 16:7-15; 20:30-31; 1 John 1:1-3; 5:13). The Epistle of 1 John is a letter of love and compassion for his children in the faith (1 John 2:1, 12, 28), encouraging them to walk in Jesus Christ (1 John 1:5-10), and to be on guard against those who are antichrists teaching in opposition to the truth (1 John 2:21; 5:21). These same truths apply today, on who Jesus Christ is, the true gospel message, and how to receive eternal life (Hebrews 13:8). Therefore, may we heed the Scriptures, and be living testimonies of Jesus Christ to a world full of lies and empty deceptions that desperately needs to know Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8; Colossians 4:5-6; 1 Peter 3:15).
Rachmiel Frydland, The Rabbis’ Dilemma: A Look at Isaiah 53, jewsforjesus.org, Issues 02:05 The Rabbi’s Dilemma, https://jewsforjesus.org/issues-v02-n05/the-rabbis-dilemma-a-look-at-isaiah-53(accessed October 18, 2018)
Bible Commentary Series from Kelly Powers, Berean Perspective Apologetics
1 John 2:18-24
October 25, 2018