What is the Antichrist?
1 John 2:18 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.
1 John 2:18 mentions that the “antichrist is coming” and that in the past, many other antichrists have already come before.
So what or who is the antichrist? How do we recognize the antichrist? Why have there been more than one antichrist?
In the Bible the word “Antichrist” is derived from the Greek word [antichristos] which means “against Christ” or “opposed to Christ”.
Antichrist refers to a person, a spirit or a culture and doctrine that actively denies, opposes or rebels against Jesus Christ and His teachings.
So in 1 John 2:22 antichrist is referred to be a person or various kinds of people in the world who have opposed and rejected Jesus Christ.
1 John 2:22 says: “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.”
In 1 John 4:1-3 speaks of the “spirit of the antichrist” which refers to a spirit or culture that infects and corrupts the world to deny and oppose Jesus Christ and His teachings.
Examples of cultures that invoke the spirit of antichrist range from false ideologies such as atheism, the LGBTQ ideology, New Age religion, satanic entertainment etc, to various false religious doctrines taught by cult leaders, false prophets and many religious charlatans.
Revelation 13:1-13 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 refers to the Antichrist as a specific, influential and powerful person who is yet to be physically known by the world. This Antichrist will be a false messiah in the end times, and he will oppose Jesus Christ and his teachings through deception and the promotion of ungodliness in the entire world. This Antichrist will also claim to be God or like God.
This Antichrist who is yet to come is also referred to by the Bible as “the man of lawlessness” because he will be the embodiment of evil and everything that opposes the word of God. It is also believed that this Antichrist will be possessed by the devil himself.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 says: Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
Revelation 13:1-18 provides a more detailed description of the Antichrist and the beast associated with him. It mentions the Antichrist’s rise to power, his ability to perform signs and wonders, and his demand for worship.
The Antichrist will possess great charisma and influence. He will be loved and even worshipped by the world. He will possess political, economic, social and spiritual power over the entire world.
The Rise of Antichrist movements
Therefore if anything is termed to be “antichrist”, it means that all things from cultures to doctrines to religions that deny or oppose Jesus Christ can be referred to as being antichrist.
We live in a world where false christs, cult leaders and false prophets are on the rise. These false teachers will deceive the world to obtain money, power and recognition. Their teachings will oppose the gospel of Jesus Christ and lead people away from Christ’s teachings.
2 John 7 says: For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.
In the Bible we are warned not to believe every spirit but instead we are to test the spirits.
1 John 4:1-3 reveals that there is a link between false prophets and the “spirit of the antichrist”.
1 John 4:1-3 reads: Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
In Matthew 24:3-28 Jesus speaks of the great tribulation and the end times. In that chapter, Christ also warns of the rise of false christs, false prophets, false miracles and all kinds of deceptions which are meant to lead people astray from God and the teachings of Christ.
In Matthew 24:21-25, Jesus says: For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
It is the duty of every Christian believer to uphold the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Believers should not stray from the teachings of Christ in word and action. Instead we must teach and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations. It is only through a genuine relationship with Christ that we can be saved from deception. It is through the gospel of Jesus Christ that we can recognize anything that is antichrist.