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Not long after the New Testament Church began, false teachings crept into the early church and still impact many mainstream Christianity organizations to this very day.
In 1 John 2:18, John asserts that, “...many antichrists have [already] come…” In other words John is saying the intrusion of false teachers and the era of counterfeit Christianity was already well underway during his lifetime. Jesus had warned his disciples about this, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).
In 1 John 4:3, John again acknowledges that the Antichrist was coming and goes on to say that antichrist is “already in the world.” The prefix anti means “against” or “adversary of” or “in place of.” 1 John 2:22 tells us anyone who denies the central truth that Jesus was and is the Christ—the prophesied Messiah and Savior—is an antichrist, an enemy of both the Father and the Son. John’s main point is that “every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist…” (1 John 4:3).
Some accept Jesus was God in the flesh, but believe that, while human in appearance, He was omnipotent and omniscient In other words He was God hidden behind a veil of flesh, making it impossible for Him to even be capable of sin. This belief is a denial of Christ truly being made flesh, and is a form of gnosticism and the doctrine of antichrist. Jesus made it clear He had no supernatural power of Himself while a man (John 5:30). His ability to resist sin came from His constant closeness to the Father.
Note 2 John 1:6-7: “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”
We cannot walk with God with our own strength, but only through staying close to God and, as Paul elsewhere explains, having Jesus live in us through the Holy Spirit (Galatians 2:20). The power Jesus Christ received through staying close to the Father is the same power available to us—the Holy Spirit. God offers us this great gift when we repent and commit our lives to Him (Acts 2:38-39). By His Spirit, God gives us more spiritual understanding and insight (1 Corinthians 2:11-12), gives us peace and joy (Romans 15:13), and makes us into His very children, heirs of the Kingdom of God (Romans 8:14).
Revelation 12:17 describes God’s true followers as those who love and live the truth—“who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” The teaching of antichrist that we simply can’t obey God denies that we have help to overcome sin—as Jesus Himself had help from the Father.
UCGiA Bible Study Guide