Who is the Antichrist?Who is the Antichrist?

Who is the Antichrist?

The letters of John hold the answer

The word “antichrist” evokes fear for many of us. Doomsday images of a quasi-human-spiritual power or world leader who hunts and kills Christians fill our minds. And many of us worry about what might happen to our faith should such a figure arise in our lifetime. Some wonder if they should scan the horizon for someone like the “lawless one” who the apostle Paul describes in 2 Thessalonians, or the one the prophet Daniel calls “the abomination causing desolation.” But the Bible doesn’t call any of these characters “antichrists.” So with this in mind: Who is the antichrist?

There’s More than One Antichrist

John’s letters are the only books in the Bible to mention a figure called the antichrist, and John never says that there is just one. John says there are many antichrists in the world (1 John 2:18, 4:1). But even more surprisingly, John says antichrists are not preoccupied with world domination, but with teaching inside churches. You shouldn’t be looking for antichrists in the news, but in pulpits. And John says all antichrists share two things in common.

Two Criteria for Antichrists

First, an antichrist is someone who denies that Jesus is the “Christ,” a word that means “Anointed One” (1 John 2:22). To be anointed means that God has filled someone with his Spirit in order to save his people. So antichrists simply don’t believe Jesus’s death and resurrection is how God has saved his people (1 John 4:2-3). Antichrists are not end-times superhuman dictators, but church teachers who deny that Jesus is the one God has chosen to save us. An antichrist is less likely to be seen on a TV screen and more likely to be heard in a pulpit. 

Second, John says that antichrists don’t only deny that Jesus is the Christ, but teach others their beliefs. Antichrists preach and teach new and different conceptions of Jesus and his commands. And often antichrists will leverage their leadership and influence to put pressure on those who disagree with them. 

How Do We Respond to Antichrists?

Be filled with the Spirit. False teachers might spread lies or try to mislead and harm Christians, but they do not ultimately endanger those who belong to Jesus. God’s Spirit has filled them with the truth so they don’t have to fear the lies that God’s enemies throw around (John 14:16; 1 John 2:21). Antichrists live in the world, but God’s true Christ lives in us (1 John 2:27a). And Christ in us is more powerful than the antichrists in the world (1 John 4:4). 

Don’t be afraid. We don’t need to fear philosophies and arguments that are anti-Jesus, even if they are heard from a pulpit. We have a better teacher, Jesus’ own Spirit, living in us to remind us of what’s true (1 John 2:27b). Jesus told his disciples that his Spirit would fill them and always teach them the truth (John 14:26-27). Because Jesus lives inside Christians, that means there is no antichrist and no false teaching that’s ultimately threatening to us, our children, or our world. He who is in us is greater than any teaching, person, or agenda in the world (1 John 4:4).

If you are looking for more information on 1 John, antichrists, and false teachers you should check out our other free resources here.

Free videos sent straight to your inbox.