1John 2: 18-19
“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. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”
This is the 13th lecture on 1 John.
In the last session I talked about the ‘last hour’.
In the last hour, there are disasters upon disasters, rampant lawlessness, and sin.
Also, today’s scripture 1 John 2:18 says, “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.”
It means the believers already heard that antichrist is coming.
Now, who is the antichrist-
The apostle John mentioned the antichrist several times in his letters.
First, 1 John 2:22 says, “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 4:3 says, “…and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”
2 John 1:7 say, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.”
The antichrist is a person who does not acknowledge Jesus Christ and is an antagonist who stands against Him.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Creator, and true God who is God in origin.
The Son of God was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Virgin Mary and came to this earth in human body.
He is true God while at the same time He became a true man.
Jesus, The Son of God, had a human body and received the sufferings of the cross and died to redeem the mankind from their sins.
But because He was sinless, He broke the authority of death and resurrected on the third day.
Those who believe in this fact and accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior can receive the forgiveness of sins and receive salvation.
But sometimes, there are people who speak as though they were Christians but they deny Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 2:1 says, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.”
Those who deny the Master who bought them, namely Jesus Christ, are the heretics and anti-Christs who stand against the Christ.
For example, some heretical theories say Jesus is just a man, and a man cannot be one with God, thus denying God the Trinity.
In fact, if we use our fleshly thoughts, we can never understand how He could be a man while at the same time be God, and how three people can be one.
So, they concocted some heretical theory using their own thoughts.
There are some heretical theories that say there are other ways of salvation than Jesus Christ.
They don’t acknowledge the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and they say Jesus failed to redeem mankind because He died on the cross.
In this way they believe that mankind is in need of another savior, and some people claim that they are he.
With such heresies they distort the interpretation of the Bible to support their claims.
They deny the fact that the Bible is the word of God and say the signs and wonders in the Bible are just symbolic.
They create new “scriptures” like Book of Mormon or “the Divine Principle” (Unification Church).
Acts 4:12 says, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
2 Corinthians 11:4 says, “For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.”
There is no other savior but Jesus Christ.
There is no other way for human salvation but through the redemption of the cross.
We must never accept any false gospel that stands against the Savior Jesus Christ.
I believe you have listened to and understood the messages on the way of salvation, including the Message of the Cross, so you won’t be swayed by such deceptions.
For example, when somebody is giving a sermon, you can discern whether that message is in accordance with the way of salvation or it is in fact directing the people away from salvation.
But you should not get involved in arguments with those who are caught up in heretical thought just because you know the truth well.
Titus 3:10 says, “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning.”
If they don’t listen to you after your admonition a couple of times, there is no point in arguing any more.
Also, if those who have weak faith debate heretical thinking, then they themselves can be deceived.
Brothers and sisters, it is very important to discern the heresies and be watchful of them.
But we must never judge those who are actually not heretics as heretics.
Today, in the Christian community, many times they judge each other as heretical just because of trivial differences in their doctrines.
They all accept Jesus Christ and have the same confession of creed, but they say others are heretical because of minor differences.
Many times the standard applied to judge others is not consistent with the Bible at all.
For example, because of slightly different wording in the Lord’s Prayer, or because of ordaining female pastors, they say others are heretical.
Some people even say others are heretical because they have other tongues and prophecies, or because they have divine healing and signs.
Some even say others are heretical just because they are clapping in praises or they dance on the stage as a special performance.
Of course, some of those churches that are judged have some wrong assertions.
For example, in a certain church, they say most of the problems are caused by demons.
Even though they get a cold or minor illness, they say it’s given by the demons and they drive away demons from each other.
But it doesn’t mean they are heretical; they just don’t have proper knowledge concerning demons.
They acknowledge God the Trinity and believe that Jesus who came in human body died on the cross and resurrected. And He ascended into heaven and became the Savior.
They also believe in the second coming of the Lord and the hope for heavenly kingdom.
Churches that acknowledge the core doctrines should not be recklessly judged as heretical.
Moreover, when there isn’t really anything contrary to the Bible, and if there are evidences of God being with them in that church, you must never judge them.
If you judge a church where God works, it is after all to stand against God.
When you discern between what is heresy and what is not, you must have proper standards to do it.
You have to see whether they are really standing against the Savior Jesus, and whether they are leading the people away from salvation by denying crucial doctrines.
Since the early church, many heresies came forth out of faulty arguments.
As I explained when I began the lecture on 1 John, the major heretical idea of the time of John was Gnosticism.
They denied God the Trinity as well as the fact that Jesus came in a human body.
They denied the fact that He died on the cross and resurrected.
They said spirit and body are separate, and your spirit could be saved even though your body committed sins.
If you listen to their claims, you can see that they lead people away from salvation, and thus we know they are heretical and they are anti-Christ.
But for your information, the antichrist that will be revealed during the 7-Year Tribulation is more of a specific being.
In the book of Revelation, we read about the power of darkness, being incited by evil spirits, and attaining the power over this earth.
Along with this, we find the expression ‘beast’ and the ‘false prophet’.
Here, the beast refers to the super computer that will have all the information on all individuals on this Earth and control them.
And it is the power of the antichrist, which is the united government that will control this beast.
That is why I sometimes said the beast is the united government or the head of the united government.
And false prophet is the head of the religion that will deceive the people by cooperating with the antichrist.
Of course, there were many false prophets that have deceived the people since the Old Testament times.
They pretended to be in communication with God when they were not, and they said they were delivering the will of God while actually they were not.
But the false prophet in the book of Revelation is not a false prophet in general meaning applied to those who have existed since Old Testament times.
It is the head of the religion that will unite with the Antichrist during the 7-Year Tribulation. They pretend to believe in God, but in fact, they deceive people into standing against God.
Conclusively speaking, the Antichrist during the 7-Year Tribulation is referring to a more specific person than the anti-Christ in the 1 John.
If you want to find out about the activities of the Antichrist during the 7-Year Tribulation, you can refer to the Revelation lectures.
The following verse 1 John 2:19 says, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”
We don’t use the word ‘heresy’ or ‘antichrist’ when referring to other religions like Buddhism or Islam.
They are just different religions.
Heresy seems to be similar to Christianity, but it is completely different in essence.
There are many who begin in Christianity but develop some faulty or mistaken doctrines and leave the church.
They also quote from the Bible when they argue their assertions.
Nicolaitans that held Gnostic doctrine also belonged to the church at first.
Nicolas at first led a godly Christian life, and he was elected as one of the seven deacons in the early church.
But in the end he had accepted all kinds of faulty ideas and his followers were ostracized by the church.
That is why the above passage says “they went out from us, but they were not really of us.”
They went out from us as well, but they separated themselves from the church and they didn’t have anything to do with us.
It also says, “for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”
Jesus said something similar, too.
Matthew 12:30 says, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”
John 3:20-21 also says, “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
Those who adhere to heresies do not agree with the doctrines of the orthodox churches. They separate themselves to persist in the arguments of their doctrines.
But it is not only the heresies that divide themselves from the church.
For example, when we preach in the church that they have to cast off sins and live a righteous life, how do the people react-
Those who want to meet and experience God, those who are poor in heart and those who have spiritual thirst will feel such messages are as sweet as honey.
On the other hand, what about those who love the world and who don’t want to cast away sins-
They will dislike the messages that point out their sins.
But because they still know that the message is right in saying that they have to cast away sins, they have great pangs of conscience.
As a result, they eventually leave the church.
But they feel that they still have to attend a church, so they go look for a church where their sins are not pointed out and where it is preached that you can just ‘take it easy’.
On the contrary, those who long for light will come into the light even more.
Those who have received the Holy Spirit and who love the Lord must not keep their sins in their hearts.
Just as light and darkness cannot coexist, the children of God who is the light have to escape from the darkness of sins.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In Acts 20:29-31, the apostle Paul, as he was leaving Ephesus, earnestly advised the believers in the church of Ephesus.
He said, “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”
What the apostle Paul taught was the redemption through the cross of Jesus Christ, and the gospel of salvation through faith.
Also, he taught that the believers had to depart from sins and dwell in the light.
He taught them with tears, day and night, that they had to live in the faith and according to the will of God.
Now, the apostle Paul had to leave them and finally become a martyr in the works of the Holy Spirit, and couldn’t be with the believers any more teaching them.
And he knew that after his departure, there would be people who were like savage wolves and who would deceive the believers with untruthful words.
Such a danger was always present at all times; at the time of Jesus, of the apostles, and today.
Because he knew this fact, he earnestly advised the believers to always remember what he had taught him, even after he departed from them.
But today, even in the church, there are some teachings that are different from teachings of Paul and they cause believers to stumble.
For example, they teach that those who have received the Holy Spirit and salvation once will not fall away from salvation at all.
They say because God predestined that they should be saved, they will finally receive salvation somehow.
Or, they teach that even though you commit sins again and again, God is love and He forgives you if you just repent of your sins.
Then, the believers think it is true, and they are not afraid even though they are no different from unbelievers.
They just follow their lust and live in dissipation, and they don’t even keep Sunday holy, and yet they mistakenly think they are saved.
When a blind man leads another blind man like this, what kind of rebuke will these people receive from God-
It is to be in contempt of the precious blood of the Lord.
It is something that will make Satan so happy.
Even though they say they are not heretical, the final outcome will be no different from the anti-Christ which John warned about.
They let the believers dwell in sins and finally lead them to the way of death.
Even though you say you believe in the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior and you believe in God the Trinity, we cannot say you can be saved just because of that belief.
You have to check whether or not you are actually casting away sins and evil through the power of the blood of the Lord, and whether you are dwelling in the light belonging to the Christ and not dwell in the darkness.
You have to follow the desire of the Holy Spirit, and not follow the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life.
I hope you will understand the truth clearly and always dwell in the light.
I pray in the name of the Lord that at this end time, you will be on the alert to adorn yourselves as brides of the Lord and lead numerous souls to the way of salvation.