Antichrist. According to 1 John, anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ, that he is the unique Son of God, or that he has come in the flesh. The biblical term, however, principally refers to a particular person in whom that denial reaches its consummate expression and who will play a key role in the final stage of history.

Antichrist in Scripture. The word “antichrist” occurs only four times, all in John’s epistles (1 Jn 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 Jn 7). First John 2:18 refers also to “many antichrists.” John assumed that his Christian readers knew about the antichrist and had been taught to expect his coming (1 Jn 2:18–27).
Farrell, H. K., & Lake, D. M. (1988). Antichrist. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 118). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Identification. Early Christians looked for Antichrist as a person and not a polity or system. The general opinion of those who closely followed the Scriptures was that he would be a man in whom Satan would dwell utterly and bodily, and who would be armed with satanic and demonic powers. In the OT he is prefigured under the “king of Babylon” (Isa. 14:4); the little “horn” (Dan. 7:8; 8:9); the king “insolent and skilled in intrigue” (8:23); “the prince who is to come” (9:26); the willful king (11:36). In the NT he is called “the man of lawlessness,” “the son of destruction” (2 Thess. 2:3–8); “antichrist” (1 John 2:18); and “the beast” (Rev. 13:1–10). This sinister, demon-inspired leader will rise to dominate the world in the end-time, persecute the saints, seek to destroy the Jew and banish the name of God and His Christ from the earth, and thus take over

Unger, M. F., Harrison, R. K., Vos, H. F., Barber, C. J., & Unger, M. F. (1988). In The new Unger’s Bible dictionary (Rev. and updated ed.). Chicago: Moody Press.

« Back to Glossary Index