Definition: Antichrist means against or instead of Christ. The term applies to all who deny what the Bible says about Jesus Christ, all who oppose his Kingdom, and all who mistreat his followers. It also includes individuals, organizations, and nations that falsely claim to represent Christ or that improperly ascribe to themselves the role of Messiah.
Does the Bible refer to only one antichrist?
1 John 2:18: “Young children, it is the last hour, and, just as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now there have come to be many antichrists; from which fact we gain the knowledge that it is the last hour.”
2 John 7: “Many deceivers have gone forth into the world, persons not confessing Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.” (Notice that the “many antichrists” of 1 John 2:18 are here referred to collectively as “the antichrist.”)
Is the coming of the antichrist reserved for some future time?
1 John 4:3: “Every inspired expression that does not confess Jesus does not originate with God. Furthermore, this is the antichrist’s inspired expression which you have heard was coming, and now it is already in the world.” (That was written near the end of the first century C.E.)
1 John 2:18: “Even now there have come to be many antichrists; from which fact we gain the knowledge that it is the last hour.” (By “last hour” John evidently meant the end of the apostolic period. The other apostles had died, and John himself was very old.)
Some of those identified as antichrist—
Persons who deny that Jesus is truly the Messiah
1 John 2:22: “Who is the liar if it is not the one that denies that Jesus is the Christ [or, Messiah, anointed one]? This is the antichrist.”
All who deny that Jesus is the unique Son of God
1 John 2:22: “This is the antichrist, the one that denies the Father and the Son.”
1 John 2:18, 19: “There have come to be many antichrists . . . They went out from us, but they were not of our sort.”
Those who oppose Christ’s true followers
John 15:20, 21: “If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also . . . But they will do all these things against you on account of my name.”
Individuals and nations that oppose Christ as King or that themselves falsely claim the Messianic role
Ps. 2:2: “The kings of earth take their stand and high officials themselves have massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one [Christ, or Messiah].”
Matt. 24:24: “False Christs and false prophets will arise and will give great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones.”