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The phrase "anti-christ" is specific to the works of the apostle John in 1John 2:18, 1John 2:22; 1John 4:3 and 2John 1:7.

These are the only places where the compound word and understanding of anti-Christ /ἀντίχριστ- are found in Scripture.

Rather than answering this question from a 'what is anti-Christ?'eisegetical approach, I would love to see some understanding of what John meant from a purely exegetical approach being applied to the text which contain the very word(s) ἀντίχριστ- to show the conveyed meaning John wrote to his readers?

In order to define terms and words of course the 'old testament' and 'Gospels' should be references as John would have had access to them and spoke from that context, yet primarily work out of the writings John writes from to convey this thought.

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    It should be remembered that the Greek prefix αντι- does not bear the same meaning as the English 'anti-' prefix. Thayer says it conveys 'over against' or 'exchange'. The concept is best expressed, in my view, by prosecution and defence in a court of law. There is a correspondence - a sort of 'mirror image' which is an inversion of the un-prefixed item. – Nigel J Jun 7 '19 at 12:24
  • What bearing on the question does this have in your opinion? – Lowther Jun 7 '19 at 12:44
  • I changed the title, perhaps that will help keep the answers going in the correct direction. Regardless of the 'mirror image' you are speaking of, the context of John shows a particular ideology / theology that is labeled ἀντίχριστ , I'd like to see what can be mined from the text to show what that is from others who care. – Lowther Jun 7 '19 at 12:53
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    In my own opinion @Lowther it would mean that the idea is not of an aggressive adversary of the true Christ (as 'anti-' would imply in English) but is the concept of an 'alternative Christ'. Which agrees with Paul's expression of an 'alternative gospel' in Galatians 1:6. The whole concept is more subtle, more serpentine, more confusing - as we see expressed in the Apocalypse. – Nigel J Jun 7 '19 at 14:02
  • @Lowther You say that understanding of anti-Christ is only in 1 and 2 John. But 2 Thess 2v3,8, "the man of lawlessness". Is he not the final anti-Christ who, will be the great pseudo and anti-Christ in one? see Trench "Synonyms" – C. Stroud Jun 10 '19 at 11:01
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Peace.

The antichrist is about “another Jesus” being preached by the “deceivers” (the false prophets/false apostles). They preach another “Jesus” and not Jesus the Christ who commanded us to have love for one another.

Their “Jesus” that they are preaching is Jesus the Instead-of-Christ ( “antichrist” = instead of Christ) and not Jesus the Christ. “Another spirit” = the spirit of the antichrist instead of the unction of the Holy One that we have received. We have the anointing of “THE” Jesus….the real Jesus…. and not their false “Jesus” whom the deceivers are trying to convince many to receive.

2 Corinthians 11:3-5 KJV (3) But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (4) For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (5) For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.

Who is the liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ as they try to persuade us to receive their “Jesus” the Instead –of-Christ. Their “Jesus” that they preach is the “son of the father”….their “father” (the devil)… and not the Son of the heavenly Father.

1 John 2:22-26 KJV (22) Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. (23) Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

We are to have love for one another as commanded by the Jesus…the real Jesus. We are to keep the “daily” sacrifice of the Lamb and die to sin always as we show love towards one another…and even to those who hate us. We shall then continue in the real Son and the real Father by doing so.

Our Jesus is the Lamb who is slain while their “Jesus” is a wild animal whose deadly wound is healed who doesn’t want us to die to sin but to make war with others instead of keeping the “daily” sacrifice of the slain Lamb in our lives. The false prophets seek to remove this keeping of His daily sacrifice out of our lives so that His eternal life never appears in this earth.

(24) Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.

Those who seduce us are not preaching that the eternal life of Jesus is set to appear in our outer mortal flesh in this earth. They are not preaching the doctrine of the Christ but another gospel that we have to “die and go to heaven” when the real Jesus already died for us so that we might have His life now. As He lives, we live in this earth.

(25) And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. (26) These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.

We are to keep the daily sacrifice….always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus….so that the eternal life of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal bodies in this earth in the here-and-now.

2 Corinthians 4:10-11 KJV (10) Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

Again, we which live are always delivered unto “death” through Jesus’s sake (participating in His death by dying to sin) so that the life (the eternal life) of THE Jesus (the real Jesus) might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

(11) For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

But this gospel (good news) is not being preached by those who are preaching “another Jesus”. They are not preaching the doctrine of the Christ….of the genuine Jesus the Christ.

1 John 4:1-3 KJV (1) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

They do not “confess”…that is, acknowledge in their preaching…that Jesus Christ is coming (now) in our mortal flesh which gives us His eternal, heavenly life in this earth.

This preaching of the good news of the Christ is nowhere to be found in their preaching of another good news. Their “breath”…their “spirit” of their Jesus the antichrist…does not speak the good news that the real Jesus the Christ is coming presently in our mortal flesh to give us His eternal life in the here and now.

(2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: (3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

Many deceivers (false prophets) that have entered into the world are not preaching that Jesus the Christ is coming in our mortal flesh where His eternal life is set to appear. The “deceiver” is the false prophet who is preaching another Jesus….Jesus the “antichrist”… Jesus the Instead-of-Christ. The deceiver = the false prophet preaching another "Jesus" the antichrist...the "son" of their father.

2 John 1:7-11 KJV (7) For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. (8) Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. (9) Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

They do not bring this teaching of the Christ to our ears and we are not to receive them into our house neither bid him to rejoice.

(10) If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: (11) For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

The false prophets…the false apostles…glory as though they are the true apostles (sent) of the true Christ but are not. They want to convince us that they are genuine but are instead falsely sent.

1 John 2:19 KJV (19) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

The false apostles (falsely sent) transform themselves into the sent of Christ…the apostles of Christ…but are really among us in accordance to the working of Satan. their "job" is to deceive those who do not receive the love of the Truth so that they might be saved. Loving the Truth is doing it.

2 Corinthians 11:12-15 KJV (12) But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. (13) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. (14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Their end is destruction as they perish from off this earth without the life of the real Jesus being made manifest in their mortal flesh and of those that they are deceiving and leading astray from the Way of righteousness that leads to His eternal life being made manifest in this earth.

(15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

There are 2 Jesus’s presented in the gospels: Jesus “Barabbas” (meaning “son of the father”) and Jesus who is called Christ.

Matthew 27:16-17 KJV (16) And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. (17) Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?

There are still 2 Jesus’s today being preached and the false prophets want us to choose their “Jesus” the “son” of their “father” and deny the Jesus who is the Christ who is the true Son of the heavenly Father.

The life of the true Son of the Father (the true Jesus) is then never made manifest in our mortal flesh by choosing their “son”…another “Jesus”. When we choose their “Jesus”, then the life of the real Jesus is destroyed out of our own lives as His eternal life never appears in our mortal flesh and we perish from off this earth.

Matthew 27:20-23 KJV (20) But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

We have a choice so-to-speak. Receive the true Jesus who is called the Christ and His doctrine or the preaching of “another Jesus”…the Jesus who is the “instead of” the true Christ.

(21) The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. (22) Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. (23) And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

The spirit of the antichrist denies the Holy One and the Just One and desires “another Jesus” to be granted unto them.

Acts 3:14-17 KJV (14) But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;

The “Prince of life” whom God has ALREADY raised from the dead is then killed out of our own lives when we choose the “Jesus” that the false prophets are preaching instead of listening to the true witnesses of Christ.

(15) And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. (16) And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. (17) And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.

Their “Jesus” is a wild animal just as Jesus Barabbas was insurrectionist, robber and murderer. "He" is not the Lamb slain but a predator.

Their Jesus wants us to judge others (being judge, jury and executioner) using the doctrines and commandments of men as a basis for doing so. Their “Jesus” that they preach removes the keeping of the daily sacrifice out of our lives so that the eternal life of Jesus who is called the Christ never appears in our mortal flesh as the Prince of Life is killed off. His eternal life goes away and never appears. The “person” that they are preaching has a name of blasphemy as they are calling him “Jesus”…but is a counterfeit.

Our Jesus…the real Jesus who is called Christ…is the Lamb slain as we are to keep His daily sacrifice so that His eternal life is made manifest in our outer mortal flesh in this earth.

Their "Jesus" the "antichrist" (instead of the true Christ) is coming...some day in the future. We have all heard it: Jesus is coming (sometime in the future)...but that is the teaching of the spirit of the antichrist when the real Jesus is coming now in our mortal flesh as we keep His daily sacrifice. It is a present reality.

We have heard (heard from the false prophets/deceivers preaching their "Jesus") that the antichrist shall come (some day in the future). It has been 2000 years and their "Jesus" has not arrived yet for he is still yet to come some day in the future. Yet, there are many antichrists today (many preaching of another Jesus) a "Jesus" who never arrives but is coming some day in the future.

1 John 2:18 KJV (18) Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

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Explicit "Antichrist"

  • 1 John 2:18 - "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." Note here that John distinguishes between "the antichrist" and "many antichrists", the existence of the latter confirms that he was living at the last hour.
  • 1 John 2:22 – "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." Thus John defines the antichrist as someone who lies about Jesus being the Messiah and thus denies the "Father and the Son". The Pulpit commentary observes:

Who, then, is the liar?" "The liar" does not mean the liar κατ ἐξοχήν, as if this denial constituted the very acme of falsehood. To deny the very existence of God is surely a worse lie. Still less can we say that "the context leaves no doubt that 'the liar' is the same with 'the antichrist.'" The article ὁ ψεύστης refers to the preceding ψεῦδος, just as in 1 John 5:4, 5 ὁ νικῶν refers to the preceding νίκη. The very form of sentence is the same: τίς ἐστιν ὁ νικῶν... εἰ μὴ ὁ κ.τ.λ. and there ὁ νικῶν cannot mean the victor, κατ ἐξοχήν, who is Christ, and not the believer. So that the Authorized Version is not so very inaccurate in rendering ὁ ψεύστης "a liar." "Who tells lies, if not he who denies (and says) that Jesus is not the Christ?" This was the great Gnostic lie to which St. John's Gospel and Epistle give the answer. The antichrist is this, he who denieth the Father and the Son. "The antichrist" here is not the great adversary, but one having similar characteristics. He denies the Messiahship of Jesus, and thus virtually denies both the Father and Son (comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

  • 1 John 4:3 - "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." Here, John adds further colour and extends the definition of not only antichrist but the spirit of antichrist (possessed by those who adhere to the teachings of the antichrist), that is, anyone who denies the divine origin of Jesus the Messiah.
  • 2 John 7 - "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." Thus John completes his three-fold definition of the antichrist as anyone who denies the humanity of Jesus. This is a theological barb aimed squarely at the gnostic teachers of the day and many more since.

Thus, John suggests that the antichrist is a power or person(s) who (a) denies the divinity of Jesus, (b) denies the humanity of Jesus, (c) denies the messiahship of Jesus. Lastly, John also suggests that the existence of antichrists is confirmation that he was living in the last hour.

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  • Mac's Musings I can certainly see your points, however you answer is not a purely exegetical approach being applied to the text of 1&2 John. – Lowther Jun 8 '19 at 1:25
  • Your answer cites the texts, but eisegetically interprets from our side sources to arrive at a conclusion. To exegete from the text is to draw from what John offers you in the text of focus. In applying an exegetical hermeneutic to a text is to: – Lowther Jun 8 '19 at 11:23
  • 1. Read it in the context given to the reader (what points are being made, are there any statements prior in the text which help offer the context the author is writing in.), 2. A look at the source language, if the manuscript is translated (like the New Testament is originally in Greek) to consider language connections that are unseen in the translation, 3.) Definitions with in a greater context (bible) with clear lines of that the author would have had knowledge of prior to his writing that the audience would have been able to understand the writing from in a common reading. – Lowther Jun 8 '19 at 11:26
  • For instance, introducing Paul, Peter, James, Hebrews or Jude into the subject matter can compare 2 understanding on 1 issue, but it cannot truly define the context being spoken of. Later writings or those contemporary showing a parallel context will support a possible interpretation and help better in understanding the author, but the force of evidence to the best understanding should be derived from context within the writing itself, that context being derived from a common source of understanding available to both the author and reader. In short, the same way you read a letter from mom. – Lowther Jun 8 '19 at 11:27
  • We will see :-) – Lowther Jun 8 '19 at 12:25
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ANTICHRIST

What is an exegetical understanding of ἀντίχριστ- / anti-chist?

The phrase "anti-christ" is specific to the works of the apostle John in 1 John 2:18, 1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:3 and 2 John 1:7.

ἀντίχριστ- / anti-? Appears in the two epistles of John a total of five times,it is important to note that the phrase is used in singular and plural thus showing that there are many Antichrists.

John wrote his epistles towards the end of the first century, and from his writings we discern that the topic was not new to Christians, John (2:18,19) states:

1 John 2:18-19,22 (NRSV)

Warning against Antichrists

18 "Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by going out they made it plain that none of them belongs to us."

John writes; "so now many antichrists have come, " many antichrists , not just one, the term may also be used collectively,for individuals or organizations as well as nations that are opposed to the teachings of Christ.

In verse 19 above , John says "they went out from us" referring to those that abandoned the Christian congregation "the apostates" as being "anti-christs", that is Christians who claim to be the followers of Christ or his representatives , but have deviated form the teachings of the scriptures. John said, " Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son." 1 John2:22 NASB

The Rise of False Prophets

Many years earlier, but not expressly using the same words Jesus advised his followers to be aware of the false prophets, or antichrists.

Matthew 7:15 (NASB)

15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

The Man of Lawlessness

About 40 years prior to John , Paul in his epistle 2 Thessalonians 2:3-5 also mentioned the the apostates , or antichrists and referred to the them as "the man of lawlessness". So the "Antichrists" includes "the man of lawlessness ", and "false teachers" (2 Peter 2:1) ,Peter denounces them for introducing destructive heresies and denying the Master who bought them.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-5 (NASB)

3 "Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? "

Likewise the apostle Peter, also warned Christians of the rise of the false prophets.

2 Peter 2:1 (NASB)

2 "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves."

Nations against the Lord and His Anointed.

Psalm 2:1-2 (NASB)

1 "Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying."

Revelation17: 12-14 tell us that the enemies of God , the kings of the earth will do war with the Lamb,

"14 These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful."

Babylon the great, mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.

Babylon the great described in the book of Revelation as a "harlot" symbolizes religious organizations, that have commited adultery with the kings of the earth. Revelation 17:1-6 (NASB) The Harlot is said to be sitting on many waters,this means nations , people, and multitutes. (Revelation 17:15) To her political associates ,God will put it, in their hearts to figuratively devour her and burn her up with fire , (Revelation 17:16-17) for she has pursecuted the brothers of Christ (saints)( Matthew 25:40) and his followers , the other sheep. (John 10:16)

The Doom of Babylon.

Revelation 17:1-6 NASB

17:1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.” 3 And he carried me away [a]in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.

4 "The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, 5 and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” 6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly."

The Antichrists -Tickles Ears.

The antichrists have watered down Bible moral standards, and have encouraged their followers to accept popular morality, Paul warned true Christians to be aware of them:

2 Timothy 4:3 (NASB)

3 " For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires."

Conclusion.

Identity of the Antichrist:

From the teachings of Christ, ( John 8:42,48-49, 9:22) and from the writings of John,( 1 John 2:22; 4:2-3) Paul and Peter, the term "Antichrists" is a broad term and includes all those that deny that Jesus is the Son of God,that he came in the flesh, (John 1:14) deny the teachings of Christ, his origin, and are opposed to his followers. This may include not only individuals or groups of people but also, Nations, Organizations, religious or otherwise, as symbolized in the book of Revelation 17:8-15 and Psalms.

It is obvious then ,that millions of people to this day, are kept in spiritual darkness and only by studying God's word, a person may be free from the deceptions and lies of the antichrist.

In view of the above, Christians should not take their religious beliefs for granded,(1 John 4:1) they should not trust every spirit, but test the spirits if they are from God, like the Beroeans. (Acts 17:10-11)

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  • Nicolas The start of this answers is exegetical in regards to the questions demands. However, after "The Rise of False Prophets Many years earlier, but not expressly using the same words Jesus advised his followers to be aware of the false prophets, or antichrists." You fail to supply a link between 1 & 2 John's anti-Christ and that spoken of as false prophets by a contextual assessment available in the written text. Rather, you have used an unsupported implication that Jesus Christ's warning is an equivalent to 1&2 John's context. Provide a proof text to make the link – Lowther Jun 14 '19 at 1:22
  • @ Lowther: What is the link between thief , burglar, and robber, aren't they are all thieves. Like wise false prophets, man of lawlessness and antichrist, similarly they all spread lies and deception about God and Christ , for example many say Jesus was a god-man, the Bible says that "the Word became flesh", (John 1:14) others say that dead people go to heaven, Jesus said; " No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: ." (John3:13). John was with Jesus when they were told about the prophesy " the end of this age."(Mat.24:3) and the rise of the false prophets. – Ozzie Ozzie Jun 15 '19 at 7:38
  • Nicolas this is not a question concerning synonyms, it's an exegetical exercise I am asked to be preformed on the source text for the word ἀντίχριστ. – Lowther Jun 16 '19 at 3:04
  • Nicolas point and case "John was with Jesus when they were told about the prophesy " the end of this age."(Mat.24:3) and the rise of the false prophets" This is eisegetical speculation being imported into the text with out evidence being offered for it's validity. – Lowther Jun 16 '19 at 3:08
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The anti-christ
Antichrist is ἀντίχριστος which is a compound word from ἀντί and Χριστός: ἀντίΧριστός, or better written as anti-christ. "Anti" (ἀντί) is the word which is primarily responsible for focusing the meaning:

even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for (ἀντὶ) many.” (Matthew 20:28) [ESV, except as noted]

Jesus came to give His live as a ransom anti many; that is in the place of many. Thus the anti-christ is the one who wants to take the place of Jesus as The Christ (e.g. Matthew 24-23-24). Logically, there are different components to the anti-christ trying to take the place of the Christ:

  • Deny Jesus is The Christ (or the concept of Christ)
  • Make a claim to be, or state another is The Christ

Exegesis
The first mention draws out the two main aspects of anti-christ:

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)

  • There is a single anti-christ who is coming.
  • There are many anti-christs who have come. That is, many who deny Jesus is The Christ.

Those who claim Jesus is not The Christ may not be denying the concept or need of The Christ. There is the continued expectation of coming of the The Christ, as during the time of John the Baptist. However, the one who comes is actually the anti-christ. In addition to those who deny Jesus Christ on the basis of atheism or those who believe in God yet deny the concept of The Christ, this includes any who deny Jesus is The Christ and await the "true" Christ.

In the next use John describes certain characteristics to those who deny Jesus is the Christ:

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)

This would apply both to those (plural) who were denying Jesus is The Christ and the one (singular) who will make the claim that he/she is the true Christ. However, the singular anti-christ also denies the Father and the Son. This suggests the "true" anti-christ is a spiritual entity who knows the heavenly reality and chooses to deny the truth when they make their claim to be The Christ. This could be alluding to the war in heaven:

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)

If one of those who were cast from heaven made the claim to be The Christ when they arrived on the earth, they would be the (singular) anti-christ who denies the Father and the Son. Likewise those who supported this claim, would be no different from the anti-christs (plural) who are already in the world denying Jesus is the Christ: all are liars. The stronger language would be appropriate, since those who were cast down, also know the heavenly reality and are denying both the Father and the Son.

This spiritual aspect of the anti-christ seemingly is affirmed and drawn out in the next mention:

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 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 4:2-3)

It is the spirit (singular) of the anti-christ (singular) which is already (and continuously) at work in those who do not confess Jesus. The proper confession, that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, is one which acknowledges both Jesus as The Christ (hence, "Jesus Christ") and that He has (already) come in the flesh. That is to say, Jesus was The Christ who came in the flesh, not Jesus came in the flesh in order to become The Christ. Here John seems to be adding detail to the proper confession of faith:

Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32 NKJV)

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9-10)

John makes explicit what is implied: the confession of Jesus before men and as Lord is a confession Jesus is The Christ who has come in the flesh.

The final mention is in the letter to the elect lady and her children:

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. (2 John 1:7)

The significant addition to First John, is the confession (same action as 1 John 4:2-3) of the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Here John is saying those who deny Jesus Christ is returning are no different than those who deny Jesus as The Christ: they too are anti-christs.

Summary
There is a singular anti-christ, not to be confused with the many who will make a claim to be Christ (see Matthew 24-23-24); likely this will be a physical manifestation of a spiritual entity as a false theophany. This entity will claim to be the true Christ.

In preparation for this event, the spirit of the the anti-christ is already in the world at work in those who deny Jesus is The Christ who came in the flesh and/or Jesus Christ is returning in the flesh. The coming of the anti-christ will likely be accompanied by others who support the claim of the anti-christ and so join those who deny Jesus Christ.

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