A wicked champion
In a few short years, John would find himself on the Isle of Patmos. From that locale, he would be given vision upon vision which would become the book we know as Revelation. In that last hour will come an individual who will be the embodiment of the anti-Christian principles. The against-God principles will be so well represented that he will become known as the Antichrist.
Don’t be surprised when Jesus’ words come true
Look again at verse 18. Essentially John couples a reminder of the words of Jesus to what they can easily see in their community.
How can we avoid being surprised? Here is a threefold answer: Bible study, prayer, and participation. We must read our Bible to understand the words of God. Prayer helps to connect what we read to what we live. Participation in a church community adds another layer: insight, helps, others. Keep in mind that some will draw more from Bible study, others from prayer and still others from small group environments or mentors.
Bottom line: learn from God and expect the promises to bear out. Don’t be dull1.
The last hour
Hopefully, by this stage, you understand that John’s use of the antichrist was not about Satan’s man-of-the-end. That apocalyptic concept came later but ended up being more compelling to our minds. If we are not vigilant we will find that we take a similar approach to the second half of verse 18. There John says the presence of the false teachers, the antichrists, tell us that we are at the last hour. Look back to Matthew 24 which we referenced above, but this time read verse 36.
36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. (Matthew 24:36–ESV)
John’s words about the last hour also tie back to that pre-Passover moment on the Mount of Olives. This instructional moment of Jesus was a long answer to a question the disciples posed. Jesus had told them that Jerusalem would be destroyed. They had asked, “When?” The day and hour were not known to anyone, but the signs and teachings were there for the diligent to see and interpret. The Christian is to be on the lookout for these things and act accordingly. Learn, watch, live.