“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know it. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”
~1 John 2:18-22 NASB
“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus, is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
~1 John 4:2-6 NASB
“And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and teaches and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.”
~2 John 1:6-11 NASB
John wrote these two letters nearly 2000 years ago. We can see from these verses that he was concerned that his readers were being deceived into believing a false teaching; a false teaching which said that Jesus did not come as a flesh and blood man from God. John speaks of people who were apparently members of the church, but began to teach falsely, and then they left the church.
John warns his readers to hold to his teaching and that if anyone came to teach anything different, they were to be ignored and not welcomed into the church. There were many false teachings going around at that time, and the apostles had to diligently fight against all these teachings. Some false teachers believed that Jesus could not be God, and a flesh and blood man at the same time, so they denied that Jesus was ever truly a man, but only had the appearance of a man. Christianity does not work if Jesus never came as a man (see Romans 5).
From these verses we can see that “antichrist” is called a spirit, which can be thought of as a system of thought influenced by demonic forces. Notice also from these verses that the term “antichrist” is not used to describe one particular individual, but rather, anyone “who denies that Jesus is the Christ”, “who denies the Father and the Son”, “who does not confess Jesus”, and “who does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh”.
These days the antichrist has become a Frankenstein of biblical verses who resembles the emperor in Star Wars more than any character found in the bible.
How does the term “antichrist” apply to us today? The same way it applied to John’s readers 2000 years ago.