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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.
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.
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.
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.”