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John the apostle in his first epistle wrote to his little children : "Little children, it is the last hour: and as ye heard that antichrist cometh, even now have there arisen many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last hour" (1 John 2.18). This hour has stretched out across the intervening space from his day to ours and will go on till that sinister figure shall arise to whom belongs the fearsome name of antichrist. Evidently many of his species had arisen even in John's time, men who through the vanity of empty pride sought a place amongst their fellows at the expense of being against Christ. It matters little what measure of fame or notoriety one may acquire through being against Christ, it is an ill-gotten and short-lived reward. The following verse (19) is somewhat alarming, because it reveals where this antichristian spirit had its start: "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 how that they all are not of us." It began in that very community of saints in which John moved and wrought, the foundational truth of which was, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. To attack the truth of the Divine and eternal Sonship of the Lord Jesus was an attack at the very heart of the Christian faith. If that goes very little else matters in the Scriptures. The kernal is gone and only the husk remains, and how many there are who feed on the husks! (Luke 15. 16).

John asks, "who is the liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, even he that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father" (1 John 2.22, 23). The names Father and Son are correlatives ; the one cannot exist without the other. If there is no eternal Son there cannot be an Eternal Father.

The antichrists of John's days denied the Father and the Son and in consequence they went forth from those who held dear the Lord's eternal Sonship. It was utterly impossible for those who were for and those who were against Christ to dwell together, and so the antichrists took their departure to spread their pernicious doctrine wherever they went. The history of the early centuries reveals a crop of these doctrines of perdition.

God has given to His saints a divine Anointing in the Person of the Holy Spirit, and if a child of God is subject to the Spirit's teaching, He will lead him into all the truth. He will in consequence escape the many snares that are being set for the feet of the ignorant and unwary. No one can fail to see the ever increasing sects of perdition at this present time which must be the last moments of the last hour. If John said that the appearance of many antichrists was a proof that it was the last hour, surely we can deduce the same argument from the reappearance of the spate of similar doctrines to those which foul the pages of the history of the early centuries. How needful in the face of present conditions, which are ever liable to invade the Fellowship, to remember John's words, "His Anointing teacheth you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, ye abide in Him" (1 John 2.27). The teaching of God's blessed Spirit is of the greatest importance to God's saints, as is also strict adherence to the inspired Scriptures. Any moving from the text of Scripture to the specious arguments of any must or should be viewed with grave concern and combated wherever it appears. But it may be that the time will come when the force of resistance will be so weak within, the faithful being so much in the minority and the aged, who have borne the heat of the fight for many days are no longer able to contend. What then?

If we follow the dates given in some Bibles as to when (approximately) the epistles were written, we gather that Paul had passed to his rest when John wrote his first epistle. The date of the writing of this epistle is given as A.D. 90; Paul's last epistle is dated as A.D. 66 (2 Timothy). In 2 Timothy we have on the one hand Paul's fervent appeal to Timothy to stir up the gift that was in him, to be strengthened in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and to preach the word, to be instant in season, out of season; and on the other we have a picture drawn by Paul of gathering gloom, and of serious departure from the faith. How serious was the trend of things as outlined by Paul; a trend in anything is something to pay particular attention to, and how difficult, if not impossible, to stop! Even if Timothy went on faithfully in his God-given ministry, reproving, rebuking, exhorting, with all longsuffering and teaching, the time would come when they would not endure the sound doctrine, but according to their own desires they would heap up teachers suited to their wishes who would turn away their ears from the truth. Even so eminent a spiritual teacher and guide as Timothy would be discarded. This course was not to be wondered at, for had not Paul said in chapter 1.15, " This thou knowest, that all that are in Asia turned away from me"? This was not simply from Paul as a man, but from the doctrine for which Paul stood. That Paul to whom the saints in Asia were indebted for so much, who had laboured and suffered, had taught them publicly and from house to house, was now no more the Paul he had been to them in the past. They were prepared to bite the hand that fed them, and break the heart of him who loved them.

Though Paul saw with seer's vision what was coming, he would have Timothy to seek to stem the tide, to be a good soldier of Christ Jesus. "Suffer hardship," he said, "as a good soldier of Christ Jesus," and then he draws those powerful comparisons-" No soldier on service entangleth himself in the affairs of this life; that he may please him who enrolled him as a soldier. And if also a man contend in the, games, he is not crowned, except he have contended lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be the first to partake of the fruits. Consider what I say; for the Lord will give thee understanding in all things. Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel: wherein I suffer hardship unto bonds, as a malefactor; but the word of God is not bound" (2 Timothy 2.8-9).

Can we not catch the fire in the eye of this old soldier of Christ Jesus, Paul the aged (Philemon - a very touching description of himself), as he exhorts the young soldier? Remember Jesus Christ, not one who is dead, but risen from the dead-alive and vitally interested in these two servants of His, around whom is being woven the inspired words of the Holy Spirit as they flow from the pen of the aged man. These words were to live, to wing their triumphant way to all lands, in the sovereign dealings of God with men, words to quicken men's flagging energies, to loosen their stiff joints, to make them rise and run on again, to ease their heartaches and heartbreaks in the knowledge that others trod the same path of faithfulness before them.


It knows no chains, no stocks, no bars, no gates or walls. It reaches where human foot has never trodden and where human eye can never penetrate. Deep in the secrets of the human heart it descends to speak, to discern and criticise (Hebrews 4.12, 18), to shew to men that they are naked before the eye of the Almighty, and also to point them the way that leads to life everlasting. Shall we not stand for it against antichristian teaching, as John did in his time (1 John 2.18-19), and fight the good and beautiful fight as a soldier of Christ right to the end? May it be so!