1 John 2:18-19 John warns believers that the ‘last days’ are near. They have been told that many enemies of Christ will appear before the end of ‘the world as we know it’, and this is already happening. Some are even abandoning their faith in Jesus Christ.
The Last Days
John, in common with other early Christian writers, often refers to the ‘last days’ or ‘end times’, when the world in its present form (‘this world’) will come to an end (see Hebrews 1:2, 2 Timothy 3:1, James 5:3, 2 Peter 3:3 & 1 John 2:17-18).
Many Jews (and Jewish Christians) believed that, at the ‘end of time’, all the dead would rise from their graves (see Mark 12:23-25 & John 11:24) and God would come down to earth to ‘judge’ both the living and the dead (see Daniel 12:1-4, Luke 11:31-32 & Romans 14:10-12). Those who followed God’s ways during their lifetime would receive a new ‘resurrection’ body and enjoy a new earthly existence (‘eternal life’) in a world renewed by God. Those who rejected God’s ways, on the other hand, would be eternally punished for their wicked deeds (see Malachi 4:1-3, Romans 2:5-8 & 1 John 5:11-13).
John tells believers that "the end times" have already begun
John (a Jewish Christian) believed that the ‘end times’ were already near. In common with Paul and Peter, he believed that Jesus’s bodily resurrection from the dead had already initiated the ‘last days’, and the bodily resurrection of all the dead was imminent (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17& 1 Corinthians 15:20-25). As a Christian, he believed that when the trumpet sounded to announce the ‘Day of the Lord’, it would be the risen Lord Jesus – God’s Messiah or ‘Christ’ – who would open the parchment books or ‘scrolls’ recording people’s deeds. He would then judge both the living and those who had been ‘asleep’ in death (see Revelation 5:6-10, 11:15-18 & 20:11-15).
In this way, John tells us that God will come from the ‘heavenly’ realms at the ‘second coming’ of Jesus, to live for eternity with his ‘resurrected’ people on a renewed earth where everyone lives in harmony with God’s original plan for humanity. Instead of God living in the Temple in Jerusalem, John envisages a ‘New Jerusalem’ where there is no need for a temple, because God is living on earth among his people (see Revelation 21:1-4, Matthew 24:30-31 & Mark 8:38).