1 John 2:18–27
18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
24 Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life. 26 These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. 27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
Deception invades our world like one drop of dye in crystal clear water…One drop changes the shade ever so slightly. We battle fake news and conspiracy theories abound. Who is to know the truth? Society’s answer to that is relativism. Each possesses the truth as they personally define it, despite the fact that it may go against facts. Have you ever been conned by a shell game, or that door to door salesman? I still have an encyclopedia set from 1996…In humility, the deception of knowledge and possession got me…
Let’s get some obvious things addressed first. John is addressing not just the toddlers of the church in reality or spiritually, but using this term of endearment to express the concern of addressing such a topic. All parents know this pleading love to listen, especially during the teenage years… Second, there was a teaching on “the Antichrist” that was in the early church. In short, the Antichrist is the final demon possessed world leader attacking the people of God seeking to wipe them out of existence, along with any and all worship of Jesus as the Messiah, or Annointed One. But what is the core of John’s concern in these few verses.
Verses 22-23 is our thesis statement of this short waning. It says, “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” John is writing here and throughout his letter against the heresies about Christ. It is possible that there were Jewish people in the churches seeking to tear down this “sect” of Judaism as initially considered during that time. How were they going to do it? Discount the founder, Jesus.
John warns of the end times of deception even as Christ did in Matthew 24 about false messiahs in the desert and that sort of thing. These deceptions point to the fact that Jesus’ coming is even nearer. On a personal note, John reminds them about the few that were in a church that left the church. Their departure was evidence of following error and not continuing with the true Christ. In fact, they were actually against Christ.
However, he reminds the people that they had the truth and to hold on to it. The truth they possessed was Jesus Christ and the truth about him as expressed by the Apostles. An additional perspective is that the anointing is the Holy Spirit. John addresses the Holy Spirit’s work of guiding into truth and testifying of Jesus Christ in his gospel. So it is likely he is consistent with this theme. Therefore the “you know all things” and later, “you do not need anyone teach you” is referring to this initial work of the Spirit testifying of who the Messiah is and the truth about him and his teachings. This is what the battle was, a different messiah, not divine, and liberty in sin. So John, just like in chapter one’s opening, is reminding them that they know the truth of who Jesus is, what he has done, and what he will do.
He continues saying because of this truth, resolve to hold it as unshakeable truth that lives within you. This truth of Jesus Christ as Savior brings a reciprocal abiding personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the Father. This truth of Jesus Christ as Savior brings a promise of eternal life. This is the foundation of the good news, the gospel, the reason for redemptive reconciliation. So to focus on it’s residing presence within our spirit brings resolve to life and death, but also hope of beyond.
We are not left alone to maintain this abiding presence to the truth of the gospel about Jesus. The anointing takes up residence with our spirit to confirm theses truths of the good news of Christ and the Father’s benevolence to his children. Some will say that this anointing is the gospel as well, but John’s structure of address shows a difference between abiding presence of truth maximized by the abiding of an anointing. The presentation anointing appears to be pitted against the divisive heretics who have left the local congregation of believers. Therefore it is highly likely that a special anointing or possession of knowledge was an argument to leave the church and continue with this divisive cult. This argument is still out there today we see that people are distracted from the simplicity of the gospel by faith to a gospel plus sacraments, works, circumcision which is antichrist in nature.
So John recalls to their memory the necessity of faith to hold fast to the first truths taught of Christ as Savior, and the good news he brought, but also encouraging them that the Holy Spirit was confirming these the truth of the gospel and the testimony of Christ. In his inspired gospel that he penned, we read,
John 14:25–26 (NKJV)
25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
John 15:26 (NKJV)
26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
John 14:16–17 (NKJV)
16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
Hopefully you can see why I deduce that the anointing is the residing presence of the Holy Spirit after rebirth through faith by grace.
I know this has been a longer dialogue so feel free to reread it. The few questions of reflection I have may spur you to greater depths of relationship with the One who has died for you. First, ask yourself, “Have I been following antichrists?” What I mean is have you been following things that really attack the doctrine of Christ, who he is, was, and will be? Also, do I really comprehend who Jesus is and what he has done? These are foundational to the good news of the salvation that he brought for all mankind. For example, if you believe that Jesus was just a man that God anointed to be the Messiah, you aren’t saved, because you can save your self since Jesus is no different from any person, and each can attain the same level of acceptance by God. There are many other “antichristical” (probably not a word) philosophies, thoughts, and beliefs that are actually in what is considered mainstream Christianity. Be careful and remember the simplicity of the truths that Jesus taught, the sacrifice that he gave, and believe in those things. The Holy Spirit confirms those things. He doesn’t lead you in things country to the simplicity of the good news of eternity. More than just a few thoughts…