|New International Version (©2011)|
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
New Living Translation (©2007)
Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come.
English Standard Version (©2001)
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
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.
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
Children, it is the last hour. And as you have heard, "Antichrist is coming," even now many antichrists have come. We know from this that it is the last hour.
International Standard Version (©2012)
Little children, it is the last hour. Just as you heard that an antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. This is how we know it is the last hour.
NET Bible (©2006)
Children, it is the last hour, and just as you heard that the antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. We know from this that it is the last hour.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
My children, it is an end time, and according to what you have heard that The False Messiah comes, already there have been many false messiahs, and by this we know that it is an end time.
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
Children, it's the end of time. You've heard that an antichrist is coming. Certainly, many antichrists are already here. That's how we know it's the end of time.
King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; by which we know that it is the last time.
American King James Version
Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
American Standard Version
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.
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that Antichrist cometh, even now there are become many Antichrists: whereby we know that it is the last hour.
Darby Bible Translation
Little children, it is the last hour, and, according as ye have heard that antichrist comes, even now there have come many antichrists, whence we know that it is the last hour.
English Revised Version
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.
Webster's Bible Translation
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist cometh, even now are there many antichrists; by which we know that it is the last time.
Weymouth New Testament
Dear children, the last hour has come; and as you once heard that there was to be an anti-Christ, so even now many anti-Christs have appeared. By this we may know that the last hour has come.
World English Bible
Little children, these are the end times, and as you heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen. By this we know that it is the final hour.
Young's Literal Translation
Little youths, it is the last hour; and even as ye heard that the antichrist doth come, even now antichrists have become many -- whence we know that it is the last hour;
|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:18-23 Every man is an antichrist, who denies the Person, or any of the offices of Christ; and in denying the Son, he denies the Father also, and has no part in his favour while he rejects his great salvation. Let this prophecy that seducers would rise in the Christian world, keep us from being seduced. The church knows not well who are its true members, and who are not, but thus true Christians were proved, and rendered more watchful and humble. True Christians are anointed ones; their names expresses this: they are anointed with grace, with gifts and spiritual privileges, by the Holy Spirit of grace. The great and most hurtful lies that the father of lies spreads in the world, usually are falsehoods and errors relating to the person of Christ. The unction from the Holy One, alone can keep us from delusions. While we judge favourably of all who trust in Christ as the Divine Saviour, and obey his word, and seek to live in union with them, let us pity and pray for those who deny the Godhead of Christ, or his atonement, and the new-creating work of the Holy Ghost. Let us protest against such antichristian doctrine, and keep from them as much as we may.
Verse 18. - Children παιδία here must apply to all those addressed in the Epistle; and this helps to fix the meaning in verse 13. It is the last hour. What does this mean? There is scarcely room for doubt. The perishableness of the world has suggested the thought of its end, and St. John goes on to warn his readers that this thought is full of meaning to them; for they may recognize the time in which they are living as the last hour by the many antichrists that have arisen. "The last hour" can only mean the last hour before the second coming of Christ. Nothing but the unwillingness of Christians to admit that an apostle, and especially the Apostle St. John, could seem to be much in error about the nearness of the day of judgment, could have raised a question about language so plain. All explanations about its signifying the Christian dispensation, or the nearness of St. John's death, or the nearness of the destruction of Jerusalem, must be firmly set aside. How could the rising of antichrists show that the Christian dispensation had begun? It was Christ, not antichrist, that showed that? What had antichrists to do with St. John's death? or with the fall of Jerusalem, which, moreover, had fallen many years before this Epistle was written? Just as the apostles, even after the Resurrection (Acts 1:6), remained grossly ignorant of the nature of Christ's kingdom on earth, so to the last they remained ignorant of its duration. The primitive Church had not yet found its true perspective, and, in common with all Christians of the first age, the apostles believed that Christ would return soon, possibly within the lifetime of some then living. "Yea, I come quickly" (Revelation 22:20) was by them understood in the most literal sense of ταχύ. But it will not surprise those who remember Christ's very strong declaration (Mark 13:32), to find even an apostle in ignorance as to the time of the second advent of Christ. But it may very reasonably and reverently be asked, What becomes of the inspiration of Scripture if an inspired writer tells the Church that the end of the world is near, when it is not near? The question of inspiration must follow that of interpretation, not lead it. Let us patiently examine the facts, and then try to frame a theory of inspiration that will cover them; not first frame our theory, and then force the facts to agree with it. But the question in its proper place requires an answer. The Old Testament prophets were often guided to utter language the Divine meaning of which they did not themselves understand. They uttered the words in one sense, and the words were true in a far higher sense, of which they scarcely dreamed. The same thing is true of the New Testament prophets, though in a less degree, because the gift of Pentecost had given them powers of insight which their predecessors had not possessed. The present text seems to be an illustration of this truth. We can hardly doubt that, in saying, "it is the last hour," St. John means to imply that within a few years, or possibly even less time, Christ will return to judgment. In this sense the statement is not true. But it may also mean that the last period in the world's history has begun; and in this sense we have good reason for believing that the statement is true. "That one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" is not rhetoric, but sober fact. By the Divine standard times are measured, not according to their duration, but their importance; it is their meaning, not their extent, which gives them value. What are all the measureless prehistoric aeons of the material universe compared with the time since the creation of rational life? What are the thousands of years covered by the Old Testament compared with the portion of a century covered by the New? The great crisis in the history of the world, constituted by the life and death of Christ, will never be equaled until he comes again. When he ascended to heaven the last hour sounded. There may follow a silence (as it seemed to St. John) about the space of half an hour, but (as human experience may prove) of half a thousand centuries. Yet the duration of the period, as measured by man, will not alter its essential characteristics; it was, is, and will still remain, "the last hour." Even as ye heard (when ye were instructed in the faith) that antichrist cometh (is destined to come). Antichrist in this also is assimilated to the Christ; he is ὁ ἐρχόμενος. This was the teaching of the gospel (Matthew 24:5, 11, 23-26; Mark 13:22, 23; comp. Acts 20:29; 2 Timothy 3:1; 2 Peter 2:1). What does St. John mean by ἀντίχριστος? The four passages (1 John 2:18, 22; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 1:7) in which he uses the term do not enable us to answer the question with certainty. The predominant idea is that of opposition to Christ, and rivalry of Christ, rather than merely of counterfeiting Christ. If ἀντίχριστος were formed on the analogy of ἀντιβασιλεύς and ἀνθύπατος, it would mean "vice-Christ, vicar of Christ." It is, however, analogous to ἀντίθεος ἀντιφιλόσοφος and the Greek for a counterfeit Christ is ψευδόχριστος (Matthew 24:24). But we are left in doubt whether this rival of Christ is a principle or a person. None of the four passages is decisive. Here we are not sure whether the arising of many antichrists proves that the spirit of antichrist is already in the world, or that by them the way is fully prepared for the one personal antichrist. Either the existence of the antichristian character, or the approach of the antichrist, is given as evidence that the day of the Lord is at hand. The latter is the more probable. A great personal opponent to the personal Christ seems to be indicated both by St. John and St. Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:1-8). The Jews expected a personal opponent of the Messiah to precede the Messiah - Armillus, Gog, Antiochus Epiphanes, and the like (Ezekiel 38:39; Daniel 7:25; Daniel 8:25; Daniel 11:36); and Christians from the earliest times have expected a similar prelude to the return of the Messiah. The term ἀντίχριστος is absolutely peculiar to St. John in the New Testament. By the ἀντίχριστοι πολλοί he probably means those early heretical teachers, who in various ways denied the Incarnation, and were thus forerunners of the antichrist - the Nicolaitanes, Simon Magus, Cerinthus, Diotrephes, Hymenaeus, and Philetus. Besides these there are practical antichrists. "Let us mark, not the tongue but the deeds. For if all be asked, all with one mouth confess that Jesus is the Christ. Let the tongue keep silent awhile: ask the life. If the Scripture itself shall tell us that denial is a thing done not only with the tongue, but also with deeds, then assuredly we find many antichrists if deeds are to be questioned, not only do we find many antichrists gone out, but many not yet manifest, who have not gone out at all" (St. Augustine).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Little children, it is the last time,.... Or hour; not of the Jewish civil and church state, for that had been at an end for some time; this epistle was written some years after the destruction of Jerusalem; nor the last hour of the Gospel dispensation, or world to come, for this was but the first age of that; and much less the last hour of time, or of the present world itself, for that has been many hundreds of years since; but the last hour of the apostolic age. All the apostles were now dead, John was the last of them; perilous times were now coming on, impostors and heretics were rising apace, against which the apostle cautions his little children; and so still he writes to them, agreeably to their age and character, who, being such, were most likely to be imposed upon by those who lie in wait to deceive.
And as ye have heard that antichrist shall come; or "is coming"; and begins to show himself in the false teachers and deceivers, who were his forerunners; and this they had heard and understood, either from the words of Christ in John 5:43; or from the account the Apostle Paul gave to the Thessalonians concerning him, 2 Thessalonians 2:3; or rather it may be from what, the apostle had said to the elders of the church at Ephesus, where the Apostle John now was, when he met them at Miletus, Acts 20:29,
even now there are many antichrists. The Syriac and Ethiopic versions read, "false Christs"; but such are not intended here, that set up for Messiahs, whom Christ foretold should arise before the destruction of Jerusalem, Matthew 24:24; for that was now over, and those false Christs had arisen and were gone: if this sense could be admitted, Bar Cocab, in Adrian's time, bids fair to be the false Christ, or Messiah, in the preceding clause, as the same versions there read; but such as were adversaries of Christ, as the Arabic version renders it, are meant, who set themselves against Christ, and were opposers of his person, incarnation, and office; who either denied that he was the Christ, or that he was come in the flesh, the truth of his incarnation, or his proper deity, or real humanity, such as Ebion, Cerinthus, and others. The apostle might well say there were many, since in his time were the followers of Simon Magus, the Menandrians, Saturnilians, Basilidians, Nicolaites, Gnostics, Carpocratians, Cerinthians, Ebionites, and Nazarenes, as reckoned up by Epiphanius. And hence we learn, that antichrist is not one single individual, but many; antichrist in the former clause is explained by antichrists in this; see 1 John 2:22; and though the popes of Rome are, by way of eminence, the antichrist that should come, and which those deceivers were the forerunners of, and paved the way for; yet they are not the only antichrists, there were others before them, and there are many now besides them.
Whereby we know that it is the last time; the pure apostolic age was now going off, with the doctrines, discipline, and worship of it, which was easy to be discerned by the multitude of antichrists which now appeared; and it may well be thought to be the last time, or near the end of things with us, since almost every heresy is revived among us.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. Little children—same Greek as 1Jo 2:13; children in age. After the fathers and young men were gone, "the last time" with its "many Antichrists" was about to come suddenly on the children. "In this last hour we all even still live" [Bengel]. Each successive age has had in it some of the signs of "the last time" which precedes Christ's coming, in order to keep the Church in continual waiting for the Lord. The connection with 1Jo 2:15-17 is: There are coming those seducers who are of the world (1Jo 4:5), and would tempt you to go out from us (1Jo 2:19) and deny Christ (1Jo 2:22).
as ye have heard—from the apostles, preachers of the Gospel (for example, 2Th 2:3-10; and in the region of Ephesus, Ac 20:29, 30).
shall come—Greek, "cometh," namely, out of his own place. Antichrist is interpreted in two ways: a false Christ (Mt 24:5, 24), literally, "instead of Christ"; or an adversary of Christ, literally, "against Christ." As John never uses pseudo-Christ, or "false Christ," for Antichrist, it is plain he means an adversary of Christ, claiming to himself what belongs to Christ, and wishing to substitute himself for Christ as the supreme object of worship. He denies the Son, not merely, like the pope, acts in the name of the Son, 2Th 2:4, "Who opposeth himself (Greek, " ANTI-keimenos") [to] all that is called God," decides this. For God's great truth, "God is man," he would substitute his own lie, "man is God" [Trench].
are there—Greek, "there have begun to be"; there have arisen. These "many Antichrists" answer to "the spirit of lawlessness (Greek) doth already work." The Antichristian principle appeared then, as now, in evil men and evil teachings and writings; but still "THE Antichrist" means a hostile person, even as "THE Christ" is a personal Saviour. As "cometh" is used of Christ, so here of Antichrist, the embodiment in his own person of all the Antichristian features and spirit of those "many Antichrists" which have been, and are, his forerunners. John uses the singular of him. No other New Testament writer uses the term. He probably answers to "the little horn having the eyes of a man, and speaking great things" (Da 7:8, 20); "the man of sin, son of perdition" (2Th 2:3); "the beast ascending out of the bottomless pit" (Re 11:7; 17:8), or rather, "the false prophet," the same as "the second beast coming up out of the earth" (Re 13:11-18; 16:13).
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