The etymology of the word anti-christ, is easily mistaken by English speaking persons to mean, that which is opposed to, or opposite. This is not the case with the Greek word used in the Bible. It does not convey the idea of an enemy,but rather, signifies one who is, in the stead of, or substitute, vice or vicar.
A close example would be our own word vice-president; the person who holds this office speaks and acts for the President when the President is unavailable or indisposed. An example of this is found in the Chronicles of Zechariah of Mytilene (6th century, Ch. 1, par. 1, Burry’s Byzantine Texts).
Therefore, anti-christ will be anyone who takes the place of Christ, who stands in His stead, or claims to speak for Him.
There are only four places in the Bible where the term antichrist appears. As you read them please note the following:
* There is no concept of a single man in the word “many”
* “is here”; and “have come” do not denote a distant future appearance
John writes that there are many antichrists and that they were already present in the first century.
The word antichrist is only used by the apostle John. See the following verses:
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. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth. 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. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he has promised us, eternal life. 1 John 2:18 – 27
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world, therefore what they say is of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 1John 4:1-6
2John 4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children following the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father. 5 And now I beg you, lady, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we follow his commandments; this is the commandment, as you have heard from the beginning, that you follow love. 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that you may not lose what you have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Any one who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son. 10 If any one comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into the house or give him any greeting; 11 for he who greets him shares his wicked work.
There is no need to go looking for a future political antichrist. That is just not what the word means. We are to be looking for a corrupted form of Christianity. They are spiritual leaders that claim to speak for God, that would be “ex cathedra” in Latin.
See Also: What Tribulation?
Daniel 9: Proof that Jesus/Yeshua is the Messiah not that an antichrist is coming.