Daily Office Reading – NT ( 1 John 2:18-29 )
When I was growing up, one of the things that seemed to be on everyone’s mind was this notion of the Antichrist, since, according to some big names, the rapture was supposed to happen sometime during the 80’s. People were looking for every sign to indicate that the Antichrist was coming and what particular events of the era were a direct indication that the End Times were upon us.
It was all very exhausting.
And, since none of these multi-million dollar selling books ever came to pass, it was all a bunch of meaningless hype after all.
As I got older, I discovered that the word Antichrist was never used in the book of Revelation, and that the very concept of the Antichrist was one that was generated through much interpretation of scripture, particularly by the Reformers, with the primary intention being to paint the Pope as the one opposed to Christ, rather than representing him.
But in truth, the only place where the word is mentioned is here in 1 John, and again in 2 John. And this passage is exceedingly clear who the Antichrist is.
Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the Antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.1 John 2:22
Basically, the Antichrist is anyone who doesn’t believe that Jesus is the Messiah.Or, rather, one who has heard that Jesus is the Messiah, but actively denies it. There’s a difference. One doesn’t understand, or hasn’t heard, while the latter has heard, but says that this statement is false.
Like many others before me, we eventually grew tired of this fear-based mania regarding the future, and focused instead on the words of Jesus: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36). By focusing on the fact that we cannot know anything, we focused instead on trying to live our lives according to his teachings.
And that’s what John is telling his fellow believers in this letter. Continue to believe what you already have; do not be discouraged by the naysayers; live according to God’s word, and you will never have anything to fear:
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming.1 John 1:28
I personally believe that if anything in our religion causes us to fear, then we most likely are engaging in a faulty interpretation. John, in chapter four states as much: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). The only time where we should maybe experience fear is if we are being willfully stubborn on a particular issue of sin, and the Holy Spirit convicts us of our own little version of antichrist: willfully denying that Jesus is the Lord of our life. But even then, we know that we are loved; if we terminate the behavior, then we know that we are forgiven.