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“The Antichrist” can be a divisive topic amongst Christians. Who is this mysterious man who will usher in the end?

The word “antichrist” only occurs four times in the whole New Testament (NT), in 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3 and 2 John 1:7. Though the word doesn’t occur anywhere else, many Christian associate “the Antichrist” with a person talked about in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 and with the “first beast” of Revelation 13.

1 John 2:18-19 Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come. These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.

[Related: Can We Predict the End of the World?]

Antichrists as a Group

1 John 2:18-19 talks about “Antichrist” (singular) and “antichrists” (plural). The word implies two things that go against Jesus Christ based on the Greek preposition “anti” (ἀντί). “Anti” most commonly means “for” or “against,” but can also mean “in place of.”  So “antichrists” are a class of people who either attempt to stand in Jesus’s place by claiming equal footing with him, or people who stand against Jesus and his church.

1 John 2:22 goes on to say that anyone who denies God the Father and Jesus the Son is “an antichrist.” 2 John 1:7 adds that “an antichrist” is a person who denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh.

[Related: What’s Going to Happen in the End Times?]

The Last Hour

Antichrist is associated with “the last hour,” and this phrase doesn’t just mean the end of the world or the second coming of Jesus. “Last hour” is often used in the NT to refer to the whole period of time between Jesus’s first and second comings.

The Antichrist

Despite a class of people called “antichrists,” John also talks about “the Antichrist,” but he does not say much about this individual. As D.A. Carson says in this topic’s English-language video, “The antichrists that function in our culture today point to an ultimate Antichrist who comes before the end.”

Written content for this topic by Daniel Martin.

Talk About It
  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. Do you spend a lot of time/energy studying or thinking about the end times? Why or why not?
  4. Read 1 John 2:22 and 2 John 1:17. What sort of people do these verses describe who are “antichrists?”
  5. How do you think certain people or institutions act as “antichrists” in our time?
  6. Do you think it is possible to determine who “the Antichrist” is? What evidence do you turn to in support of your view?
  7. How should Christians view the end times/the Antichrist?
  8. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.