This is the last hour.  John the apostle  has warned us   in his  first  letter (1 Jn 2:18)  that we are  indeed living in the last hour. We need to  often remind ourselves about this lest we will have to stand before  our  master unprepared. Whenever the thought that ‘my master is delayed in  coming’ (Lk 12:45) comes to our mind, it is time to read the Bible again. 

Well, what is the significance of this last hour? To start with, we must remember that the period after the ascension of  Jesus Christ is generally termed the last hour. Since then the Church has been in constant preparation for the return of the Lord (CCC 673,674, 675). In that sense we are living in the  last  minutes or even seconds!

No doubt, the prominent image associated with the last hour is that of the  antichrist. We have heard umpteen times about this character who  would deceive men and lead them to perdition. Is antichrist a person, or an institution, or a power center? Indications are that the antichrist is a person, the  human face of the devil.

John was aware that the  spirit of the antichrist was  active  even  in his days. He has seen many antichrists coming (1 Jn 2:18) implying that  this satanic spirit was  at play  much before the actual antichrist, the  embodiment of evil on earth, appears. John says that those earlier antichrists ‘went out from us and they did not belong to us’ (1 Jn 2:19). So the first test to distinguish the  spirit of  antichrist is  that  they were with us once, but left later. Have you seen  anyone like that?

Second test to identify the antichrist is that  he will lie about the true nature of Christ. He will deny that Jesus is Christ (1 Jn 2:22). Then John  concludes that  the one who denies the  Father and the Son is the antichrist (1 Jn 2:22).  

So it is getting clearer. But to those who are  slow to understand, John leaves some more clues. ‘Every spirit that does not confess Jesus, is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world’ (1 Jn 4:3). Denying the paramount truth that Jesus is  Christ is the work of  antichrist. This spirit has been active throughout  history. In other words, many antichrists have already come and gone, but the  final antichrist is  to come just before the  second coming of the Lord.

A quick recap of what John said about  the antichrist:

He  was  one among us, like Judas was  one among the twelve disciples. He goes out from us like Judas  went out after  receiving the bread. He will deny that Jesus is Christ, a teaching put forward by a religion  founded centuries later  to worship an Arab pagan god. They vehemently deny that  Jesus is  Christ. Those who say that Jesus is not Christ is a pure liar, says John and the spirit  leading them is the spirit of the antichrist.  

Joining the missing dots will give us a  fairly  clear image of the spirit of  the one who  would  challenge the believers in the last days. ‘Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the  deceiver and the antichrist (2 Jn. 7). Have you seen anyone like that?

It is unfortunate that  in spite of the Holy Bible leaving clear and unmistakable  hints as to the identity of the antichrist, many Chhristians are still in the dark about this vital aspect concerning their  spiritual  life and ultimately their eternal salvation. Do not be deceived by the  false propaganda that  those who worship a pagan god and those who worship the  true God are worshiping the same God. Do not be deceived by the  narratives of those who  deny the divinity of Jesus and his salvific sacrifice for the  whole mankind. Do not be  deceived by the fake claims  of a person  who appeared after a few centuries from Christ and  said that  he was the  real holy spirit that Jesus promised. What they are telling is simply different  shades of the same lie, that  Jesus is not Christ.

Dear brothers and sisters, stay away from any teaching that denies the divinity of Jesus  and his salvific act. The spirit of antichrist comes in  disguise, sometimes as a  false religion, sometimes as a new age movement and sometimes as a  philosophy  extolling  humanism. Those who inherit the  faith of Abraham through his son Issac, have only one God, the Almighty God who created the heavens  and earth   and who sent his only begotten son Jesus Chrsit to redeem us. Do not fall prey to the  false narrative  that  all religions originated from Abraham are one. Had it been so, they would have confessed Jesus as Christ their Savior and Lord. Indeed Abraham saw the days of Christ, says the Holy Bible. ‘Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad’ (Jn 8:56).True heirs to Abraham’s faith will confess Jesus as God whereas those who  went out from true  faith and were deceived  by the spirit of the antichrist  will  never confess that Jesus is Christ the incarnate Word.  

This is the last hour and so pray for the  wisdom to  discern the spirit of the antichrist that works overtime to  mislead even the elect.