Chapter 1

We Are in ‘the Last Hour’

From the book The Last Hour
By Gerald Flurry

On May 5, 2001, God signaled the beginning of a new phase in this rapidly fading age of man. This new phase is described in vivid detail by the Apostle John in his epistles. You need to understand this deeply to know how imminent Jesus Christ’s return truly is!

John was the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (see John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7, 20). He was somehow more compatible in certain ways with Christ, and Christ could talk about the truth to John in a more profound way than He could with the other disciples. John was closer to Christ in understanding, it appears, because of this special relationship and his living so much longer than the other apostles. He received an abundance of truth and information from Christ that the other disciples did not—as is evidenced in his writings, his unique terms and phrases. Imagine the conversations between Jesus and John. What did Christ tell him?

1 John 2:18 in the Revised Standard Version reads, “Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour.” Last hour is the correct translation of the Greek in that verse, rather than last time, as it reads in the King James Version.

God began to reveal this truth about the last hour to the Philadelphia Church of God (pcg) on May 5, 2001. Approximately four months later came the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. I believe God allowed us to receive this physical sign that we had entered the last hour. The worst terrorist attack ever on American soil powerfully reinforced our new revelation about the last hour.

In the last hour, antichrists appear on the scene—people who knew God the Father, then turned away and are now fighting Christ! The problem began with that antichrist—singular. But then there were “many antichrists”—numerous dissenting groups from our mother Church.

I believe John wrote these epistles about a.d. 85–90.

John was trying to wake people up and alert them to the war raging inside the Church. That is where the problems were. That is where Satan always attacks first. John sincerely believed he was in the last hour, and Christ let him think that for a short while. When the Church ought to have been really serving God and getting the message out, many of them were turning away and becoming, of all things, antichrist!

That is exactly the situation God’s Church faces today. We live in easy, prosperous times. We don’t receive much persecution from the world; the world simply isn’t concerned with God’s Church—yet. But look what has happened to God’s people. We are being attacked by self-righteous antichrists, spiritual barbarians, from among God’s own people! We may be witnessing the worst hour ever in God’s Work.

These are unique times. The last hour isn’t mentioned anywhere else in the Bible. There is only one last hour—this little sliver of time Christ has given us to finish His warning to the world. What an honor to fight for Christ and to conquer the devil at this time!

1 John 2:18 puts time up on stage as the star. We are running out of time! Don’t be misled by the fact that this Church is building today. Our building program will only speed the process to get this work done! Things will never return to the way they were. From now on, we are in the last hour—a time like no other! We will experience the worst turmoil and violence ever on Earth!

How do you manage your time? How urgent are you in organizing your time? We all need to get motivated to do more. We have less than an hour left!

We now live in a dramatically new and far more dangerous time. It will be the worst hour ever in human history. Thankfully, it will conclude with the greatest event ever to occur in the universe—Christ’s return to this Earth! After the epistle of Jude, I believe John’s is the most urgent message in the Bible. The danger will acutely intensify until this hour expires. Thankfully, it will only last a brief time before Christ returns.

We Know It Is the Last Hour

John was an elderly man when he wrote the three epistles canonized in the New Testament. He was the only original apostle left alive. Many biblical scholars think John was writing these epistles from the isle of Patmos, where he was a prisoner. A violent persecution had been raging against God’s Church from without. Shortly after that, it appears that the worst persecution came from within, when John was writing these epistles. False leaders were getting control of some of God’s own churches. Diotrephes rebelled and took over at least one church area from John. He was the primary rebel and may have led most of God’s people astray.

The Apostle John saw these problems coming and gave God’s people the most profound and magnificent truth to combat this heresy. But most of them didn’t get it.

The phrase “last hour” (Greek: eschatos hora) is used only in John’s epistles. Christ likely talked about this at length with John. However, He didn’t want John to know the time frame until a few years later, when the book of Revelation was revealed. But Christ did reveal what it would be like in this last hour. He wanted to proclaim a message that is critical to us as we prepare for His Second Coming.

Once the last hour strikes, we can be assured that it will be concluded by Christ’s return to Earth! That is how imminent this greatest of all events is. In God’s perspective, we are now less than one hour away from the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

The antichrist subject also is discussed only in the epistles of John. It is discussed nowhere else in the Bible.

Only John wrote about the last hour and antichrists. Please notice as you read that there are several words and phrases unique to John’s epistles.

John no doubt heard about these subjects personally from Christ, when He walked this Earth. Perhaps only John had them revealed to him, since he is the only person to write about these subjects in the Bible.

John is telling us how to know it is the last hour. We know the last hour is here when we see “many antichrists.” Most of God’s own people, at least in spirit, are fighting against Christ. Don’t overlook this extremely critical point.

He continued, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us …” (1 John 2:19; rsv). The antichrists went out “from us,” he said. If they were of us, they would have continued—they would have gone right on doing the Work of God. Have we witnessed anything like this in these end times? Absolutely! (For more information on the split within God’s end-time Church, request our book Malachi’s Message. All our literature is free.)

This is a shocking revelation. The spirit of antichrist is rampant in this world. For years, we thought this was the essential understanding about antichrists. But now God has revealed, through John’s epistles, that the primary warning about antichrists is within God’s own Church! “They went out from us”—this is prophecy for the last hour.

This has been the most traumatic experience for God’s own people in this end time—so far. This is understanding that even God’s own Church did not have until now!

The verse concludes, “… but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us” (rsv) God wants to educate us about something. He wants to make it plain.

Is it plain? The Worldwide Church of God (wcg), after Herbert W. Armstrong’s death, rejected his teachings and discontinued printing his writings, which were revealed by Jesus Christ. But they went far beyond just rebelling against God or becoming Laodicean. As a result, I believe God has given us a clear guideline on how to separate the antichrists from the lukewarm Laodiceans.

God will take His very elect to a place of safety and leave the rest of His people behind to face the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21-22, 41).

There are two categories of those who enter the Tribulation. Matthew continues Christ’s prophecy: “[T]hey all slumbered and slept” (Matthew 25:1-5). Still, five of these 10 virgins were wise. The other five were foolish. That means that 50 percent of God’s people will repent in the Tribulation and 50 percent will lose their eternal lives (verses 6-12).

The Apostle John shows us why the 50 percent lose their salvation in this end time: They became antichrists. There is “that antichrist” and there are “antichrists” who follow this evil man (see also 2 Thessalonians 2).

Anybody who fights against Christ’s very elect and tries to destroy their work of proclaiming the truth is an antichrist. The wcg fought in court to destroy Mr. Armstrong’s books and booklets—revelation from God! Its leaders wanted to totally blot out God’s truth so nobody could read and study it. They became vile antichrists by actively supporting Satan the devil—the ultimate sin!

None of those Laodicean members who left the wcg rallied to our support in that court case. Generally, in their actions, they remained neutral.

We had already entered the last hour when, in 2003, we received the victory in our legal battle to print Mr. Armstrong’s writings. This was a watershed event.

I believe God used the copyright victory to show clearly who the very elect are and who the many antichrists are. That victory also manifested who were the Laodiceans—those members of God’s Church who didn’t come to help us in our court battle. The Laodiceans aren’t antichrist, but they are not fighting for Christ. They didn’t even want the revelation God gave to Mr. Armstrong. They went out from us—the court case revealed that tragic result as no other event ever has!

God is judging His people now (1 Peter 4:17). Christ used the court battle to judge all His people. No single event in this Laodicean era has been so revealing! God manifested who were the very elect and who were the antichrists and Laodiceans—in the last hour!

Where are the defenders of the faith? God and all of His people will see who is who. “[B]y their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).

We didn’t come out of them. They came out of us. Even though our members had to leave the wcg, it was that Church that left God’s truth! We couldn’t get most of the judges who heard our case to see this, and God is having a hard time teaching this truth to His people! They forsook God and His truth. We fought in court to guard and keep God’s revealed word—in the form of books, booklets and a Bible correspondence course.

Is there a more urgent expression in the Bible than the last hour? And is there a more condemning word in the Bible than antichrists from within God’s own Church? We need to study deeply into John’s epistles and meditate as never before. I believe John is the most profound writer in the Bible. Christ revealed so much to him.

Antichrists Fight Christ

Consider how urgent John is about this. Having antichrists come right out of God’s own Church isn’t something we should take casually. John is discussing the most serious matter in the midst of the gravest of times ever to that point. John thought it would all be fulfilled in his time. But it was only a type of what is being fulfilled in our time now! We are about to see the worst time of suffering ever to come upon mankind! What John is warning about here has happened or absolutely will happen. We cannot treat this warning lightly. It didn’t come from John’s mind—it came from Christ’s mind!

Have we seen people fighting Christ in this end time? We have never thought, before now, that the worst antichrist problem would come from within God’s Church!

This is new revelation from God!

The pcg fought a terrible court battle over the right to print God’s truth. It was a life-and-death struggle. We have struggled mightily to continue with the Work that God gave Mr. Armstrong to do.

Before the court case, we printed many of his books and booklets and began giving them away free of charge. And although the wcg clearly had no interest in that material other than to suppress it, they sued us over the rights to it!

The wcg succeeded in stopping our presses for a short time. In other words, all that wonderful revelation from Jesus Christ was being suppressed by the very Church He raised up to proclaim and disseminate it! That is fighting Christ. They are antichrists! All this has been made abundantly plain by their actions.

Christ has commanded all of God’s people to proclaim His revealed truth.

Two Dramatic Signs of the Last Hour

After six years, we won the 19 works in that court battle. God, through us, conquered the antichrists. Again, we won that battle only a short time after God revealed this new truth from the epistles of John. So this revelation is for the last hour. Now we can prophesy again to this world with a message it can understand.

This spiritual struggle, according to John, is the primary battle in the last hour!

I believe the 9/11 terrorist attack dramatically signaled the collapse of America, Britain and the Middle East Jewsas we began the last hour.

I also believe our copyright victory was a sign of Gods Work rising fast on the world scenein the last hour.

As the biblical nations of Israel fall (namely America, Britain and the Jewish nation in the Middle East), spiritual Israel, or the Church, is rising in power. We must deliver a soul-scorching warning to the nations of Israel as they stumble and collapse. God is cursing them.

God has always sent a messenger to warn Israel before its imminent collapse—always! Its people must repent to be saved. “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12). Satan knows that his time is short, so he fiercely attacks his number one enemy—God’s Church. That is always his first target. “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child” (verse 13).

Before this event, Satan went to battle against God in heaven one last time (verses 7-8). He was cast down (verse 9). Then he attacked God’s Church and caused the Laodicean, or lukewarm, era to begin (verse 13). Over 95 percent of the true Church surrendered to the devil and rebelled against God.

The Laodicean era rebels are losing all their battles. But God’s very elect members are winning their battles. The copyright victory illustrates the direction that all of God’s churches are going!

God used the court case to leave all of God’s Laodicean people without excuse—to give them an opportunity to understand and repent. The court battle is a strong witness against them.

Only God’s very elect have the power to conquer Satan. And the very elect will use that power to win the war.

God’s very elect will be fighting Satan as he fights against Christ and His revelation. The court case gave a vivid illustration of the spirit of antichrist. It was a watershed event that condemned them as antichrists. We are fighting FOR Christ! The wcg is fighting AGAINST Christ! They are instruments in the hands of the devil. Those fighting for Christ have a real battle on their hands.

These antichrists, after the copyright victory, are a sign for God’s people that it is THE last hour!

Antichrist is one of the most terrifying words in the Bible! These antichrists were once a part of Christ’s Body. They knew Christ, then left Him and started fighting against Him.

Remember what Mr. Armstrong said about Mystery of the Ages: “Since last December I have been working diligently on the largest and most important book of my life. In real fact, I feel I myself did not write it. Rather I believe God used me in writing it. I candidly feel it may be the most important book since the Bible” (co-worker letter, Sept. 12, 1985). Christ was directly authoring Mystery of the Ages.

Now contrast that with what Joseph Tkach Jr. wrote: “We feel it is our Christian duty to keep this book [Mystery of the Ages] out of print … because we believe Mr. Armstrong’s doctrinal errors are better left out of circulation.” That is exactly the way Satan thinks: He wants Christ’s book destroyed forever! That is the antichrist message!

We must clearly see this war raging between those fighting for Christ and those fighting against Him. And we must deeply know who represents Christ!

We are fighting the same war that Daniel fought in Daniel 10. The archangels Michael and Gabriel helped Daniel fight against Satan. The devil was trying to destroy the revelation God gave to Daniel. God gives us support from the highest level. God’s angels are led by the most exalted archangels. Satan is leading his demons. It is a war for the minds of God’s people. We must use God’s power or lose that war!

2 Thessalonians 2 describes a great falling away as being a sign of the end time (verse 3). Zechariah 3 shows that Joshua and his fellows are a sign that we are astonishingly close to the end (verse 8—“men wondered at” should be translated “men of sign”).

“Little children, it is the last [hour]: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come …” (1 John 2:18). This prophecy begins with one antichrist. The Anchor Bible says of that first antichrist (emphasis mine throughout), “[O]thers are right in arguing for capitalization, for the author is thinking of a specific expectation”—one man who would fulfill that role—the Antichrist. This is the same man 2 Thessalonians 2:3 calls “the son of perdition,” or destruction! He is destroying God’s truth!

The Anchor Bible says, “It is not impossible that 1 John’s use of the ‘last hour’ is to be considered a specification of [Gospel] John’s ‘last day,’ as if this were the last hour in the last day.” Even the commentaries can recognize the uniqueness and urgency of the expression. They can see that this is referring to the last hour of man’s rule on this Earth. God help us if we cannot. The signs are all around!

‘They Were Not of Us’

1 John 2:19 says the antichrists didn’t continue with us. Continue, according to Thayer’s Lexicon, means not to depart, to continue to be present, to maintain unbroken fellowship with one, to help one of the Holy Spirit. It speaks of one who cleaves, holds fast to a thing; it means not to perish, to last, to endure, to survive. Strong’s Concordance defines it, to stay in a given state or relation, to abide, endure, remain.

God’s Philadelphians have done all those things! We stayed right where we were. The antichrists did not. They went out from us. At that point, there was an inner court and an outer court (Revelation 11:1-2). And they didn’t just go find another church. They began working their agenda—fighting Christ and trying to destroy the truth of God. When God calls them antichrist, that is just what He means! We must call them what they are. The term antichrist is the language of war.

This is a towering crisis in God’s Church! It is soul scorching! There is a real spiritual war going on among God’s people!

If there is an antichrist, someone must be fighting for Christ and doing His Work. So this war clearly shows that there is a “very elect” fighting for Christ and His revealed truth. The enemy is antichrist because it consists of men who fight against the very elect, in whom Christ lives.

These antichrists not only “cast down the truth to the ground,” they fight against the very elect—the only defenders of God’s truth! Antichrists indeed!

God is using the very elect to preserve His truth and way of life. At this time, the Philadelphia Church of God is the only church preventing God’s revealed truth from being completely destroyed!

Events are moving at lightning speed. Christ is giving a time countdown in these latter days.

This battle truly reveals who is who. Nothing could be more plain.

During World War ii, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave a speech to stir Britain to fight against the Nazi tyranny. We need to remember these words during this last hour: “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”

The end time, or latter days, started when Herbert W. Armstrong came on the scene. When he died, we entered into the Matthew 24 end (Matthew 24:14). Then new leaders took over God’s Church and cast His truth to the ground (Daniel 8:11-12). Shortly afterward God used the Philadelphia Church of God to resurrect the truth. That period was described as the “last end” (verse 19). Now we have entered into the last hour.

We are still in the “latter days,” the Matthew 24 “end” and the “last end.” But now we are specifically in the last hour of the last end of the Matthew 24 end of the latter days!

God is calculating time as never before. He is breaking time into specific increments, just before His Son returns. Now the last hour is ticking away!

It’s all about the worst hour in human history! Was there ever a more urgent work than this? Are you reflecting Christ’s urgency in this last hour?

May God help us to make this last hour our finest hour!

Continue Reading: Chapter 2: Christ Is Coming in the Flesh