Who is Antichrist?
Likely written around 62 AD to an unnamed church in Asia Minor, John’s audience has suffered division and abandonment. As he counsels, notice John’s references to antichrist; this is a present reality his readers are experiencing, just as we’ve seen in our previous examples.
18 “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. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” (1 John 2:18-19; remember the false Christs and false prophets of Matthew 24:23-25.)
From verse 19, it seems members of this congregation abandoned the faith, deserting the Church and drawing others after them. In verse 22, John zeroes in on exactly what he means when he says “antichrist” (antichristos, Strong’s 500):
“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.” (1 John 2:22)
John writes these things concerning those “who seduce you” (1 John 1:26). He is confronting an active threat by those who would undermine this body of believers. Now John defines the difference between true believers and false:
1 “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.” (1 John 4:1-3)
Here we not only see a definition of what it means to be anti-Christ, but we also catch a glimpse of what it means to be in Christ. In his second letter to this church, John doubles down on his definition of antichrist:
“For many deceivers have entered into the world, those who do not confess Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7)
Throughout John’s three epistles, the author drives home several key themes including admonition to reject false teachings, how to identify true believers, and encouragement to stand firm in the faith.
Top Antichrist Theories
Next, let’s briefly discuss the top theories surrounding the identity of John’s antichrists… [See complete transcript at ProphecyCourse.org…]