Little children, it is the last hour, and as you heard that an antichrist is coming, and even now many antichrists are here, because of this we know it is the last hour. 19 They went from us but were not from us; for if they were from us, they would have remained with us; but in order that they would be shown that all are not from us. 20 And you have an anointing from the Holy and you know all.
The last hour denotes the time after the death and resurrection of Christ (note the importance of “hour” in John), a time that includes the church age and ends with the second coming. The address of little children continues the differentiation between the level of authority of the author (John) and the reader.
Now this begins to paint a picture of who the antichrist is, and the antichrist is not a singular person, contra LeHaye and Jenkins. The fact that so many people oppose Christ make it clear that we are in the last hour as opposed to being after the judgment.
In context, John next talks of teachers who went out from John, claimed his authority, but taught things which John abhorred. John says that in leaving, in not remaining (another key term, think John 15), they proved that they were not from John in the first place.
Does this mean, then, that anyone who falls away from Jesus was never in Him to begin with?
Some may look at this text for salvation issues, but the bottom line is that this deals with teachers and false teachers, and John is warning that those who claim to be from him and teach his teachings are not telling the truth.
The proof of this comes immediately after: they know all simply because they are under God, who is the Holy.
What do we learn from this for today?
John goes out of his way to note that false teachers are out there and claim authority from God or from God’s people, but the bottom line is that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth, and the only truth that matters is Christ. So, do these teachings, do these people lead to Christ, or do these people and their teachings lead to something else?
All glory to God and His Son!