1 Jn.2:18 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.
As we consider the above statement made by the apostle John, I would encourage the reader to read verses 19-29 as well. From verse 18, I will provide to two-part article, the first part being, “The Last Hour” and the second being “Many Antichrists.”
“The Last Hour”
The phrase “the last hour” has reference to the fact that we are in the last phase of God’s redemptive agenda on earth. In a very wise and patient manner, God has incrementally unfolded provisions for the redemption of the human race and planet earth. After the life, death, resurrection, ascension of Christ and the impartation of the Holy Spirit, we have come to a point in time when all of the provisions have been made to produce the blessing that God intends to produce. For the sake of clarification, notice that I did not say that the blessing has not yet been produced but all of the provisions have been made to produce the blessing that God intends to produce. We live in an age with more benefit in this regard than any other age. This is why the writer of Hebrews can say, “…how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (He.2:3). Also, allow me to caution against the assumption that this means that God is no longer active in this phase of history. Though all of the provisions of His redemptive agenda have been made, God is still operative in many ways to encourage His people to produce fruit as a result of making use of such provisions. In reference to the last hour, consider the following statements:
Is.2:2 “Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.”
The vision communicated in this verse is of a period of time known as the “last days” during which God’s kingdom (the mountain of the house of the Lord) is to prevail over all other kingdoms (the hills) and the nations will be blessed as they embrace the principles of His kingdom. This is the central agenda of this final phase of history and the ultimate task of the church. Sadly, many of our “church growth” strategies along with the structures and activities of our churches, have little or nothing to do with this goal.
Acts 2:17 “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”
An indicator and benefit of “the last days” is the outpouring and intensified ministry of the Holy Spirit. In the same way that Jesus, the Son of God, entered into a unique ministry role during the incarnation, this phase of history experiences the unique ministry role of the Holy Spirit as He witnesses to the genuineness of our conversion (Ro.8:16; Ga.4:6), provides believers with power to minister (Act 1:8), encourages believers to produce good fruit (Ga.5:22-23), provides believers with gifts to edified the body for the accomplishment of its work (1 Co.12:7) and leads us into truth and a solid understanding of the things of Christ (Jn.14:26; 15:26; 16:13).
He.1:2 “…in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.”
This reference connects “the last days” with the redemptive work God has accomplished and revelation He has given through Jesus. Though this article is not intended to probe the significance and centrality of Jesus, we should take note that it was through Him that the world was made and He is “heir of all things.” We are fellow heirs if we are “in Christ.”
Mt.24:14 “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
Preaching the gospel of the kingdom relates to proclaiming the good news of the blessing that flows from the reign of God on earth as human beings and nations willfully and intelligently submit to His design and principles for proper, healthy living and relating on every level and in every sphere of individual and corporate life.
The church has a lot of work to do and a lot of things to undo before we get back on track.
Jer.1:10 “See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
Jer.4:3 “For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns.’”