John labels false teachers in the church as “antichrists,” and their deceptive teachings confirm that the “last days” have commenced.

The term “antichrist” occurs only in the second and third letters of John, and he applies the plural noun to deceivers that are causing dissension in his congregations. Their very presence constitutes irrefutable evidence that the “last days” have commenced. These troublemakers are “antichrists” and forerunners of the “Antichrist” who is to come.

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Even now, the mystery of lawlessness is preparing the way for the appearance of the lawless one who will cause many Christians to apostatize.

According to the Apostle Paul, the “mystery of lawlessness” is working diligently in the world to prepare hearts and minds for the “arrival” of the “lawless one.” And it will continue to do so until the appointed time when this final deceiver will “come out of the midst” and appear in the “sanctuary of God.” Thereafter, he will employ “lying signs and wonders” to cause many saints to depart from the faith.

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To identify the Antichrist, we must depend on what the relevant scriptures say about him, his methods, and his agendas.

The subject of the “Antichrist” raises understandable questions. Who is he? When will he appear? How will we recognize him? What is his “mark” or “number”? In popular preaching, he is a global political leader who uses military might to coerce other nations. But if Satan is truly clever and cunning, why would he do the very things that so many of us expect?

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SYNOPSIS – John labeled false teachers within the church “antichrists” whose activities demonstrated that the “last days” had begun (1 John 2:18).

In the New Testament, the term “antichrist” occurs only in the second and third letters of John. Whether John envisioned a coming global political leader, he applied the plural noun to deceivers who had emerged within his congregations. These individuals had caused dissension in John’s churches. He labeled them “deceivers” and “antichrists,” and their presence constituted evidence that the “last days” were underway:

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The Antichrist is a deceiver intent on destroying the church through deception, apostasy, and if necessary, persecution.

In many interpretations, the Antichrist is a global political leader bent on world domination. In the end, that may be the case. However, Jesus and the Apostles expressed far more concern about the many deceivers that would practice their trade within the church. For that matter, in passages about the Antichrist, the concern is about his deceptions that target believers.

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