2:18 Children, it is the last hour, and just as you heard that the antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists 1 have appeared. We know from this that it is the last hour.
1 sn Antichrists are John’s description for the opponents and their false teaching, which is at variance with the apostolic eyewitness testimony about who Jesus is (cf. 1:1-4). The identity of these opponents has been variously debated by scholars, with some contending (1) that these false teachers originally belonged to the group of apostolic leaders, but departed from it (“went out from us,” v. 19). It is much more likely (2) that they arose from within the Christian communities to which John is writing, however, and with which he identifies himself. This identification can be seen in the interchange of the pronouns “we” and “you” between 1:10 and 2:1, for example, where “we” does not refer only to John and the other apostles, but is inclusive, referring to both himself and the Christians he is writing to (2:1, “you”).
2 tn Or “the Messiah”
3 tn The καί (kai) which begins 4:3 introduces the “negative side” of the test by which the spirits might be known in 4:2-3. Thus it is adversative in force: “every spirit that confesses Jesus as Christ who has come in the flesh is from God, but every Spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.”
4 tn Or “does not acknowledge.”
5 tc A number of variants are generated from the simple τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν (ton Ihsoun), some of which turn the expression into an explicit object-complement construction. ᾿Ιησοῦν κύριον (Ihsoun kurion, “Jesus as Lord”) is found in א, τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν Χριστόν (ton Ihsoun Criston, “Jesus as Christ”) is read by the Byzantine minuscules, τὸν Χριστόν (“the Christ”) is the reading of 1846, and ᾿Ιησοῦν without the article is found in 1881 2464. But τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν is well supported by A B Ψ 33 81 1739 al, and internally best explains the rise of the others. It is thus preferred on both external and internal grounds.
6 tn “Spirit” is not in the Greek text but is implied.