1 John 2:18—Who Is the Antichrist?

By Wayne Jackson

Dispensationalism, which is currently the most popular form of premillennialism, has much to say about “the Antichrist.” According to these theologians, the Antichrist is a man, now living, who will soon rise to the position of a world-wide dictator.

In his book, The Late Great Planet Earth, Hal Lindsey asserts that the Antichrist will come to power just prior to the return of Christ (1970, 140), which, he asserts, will occur during this generation (133).

This view finds absolutely no support in the Bible. The term antikristos is found five times in four New Testament passages—all in John’s epistles (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7). It is quite significant that Lindsey, though devoting a whole chapter to the Antichrist, never once alludes to these verses (87-102). The reason is obvious; the biblical information on this topic is not in harmony with his fanciful theory.

Consider the following factors:

First, there is no one specific person denominated “the antichrist” in the New Testament. Rather, John declares that “many antichrists” have arisen (1 John 2:18; 2 John 7).

Second, the Bible does not suggest that a mysterious antichrist is some sinister personage who is to appear in the late twentieth century. There were many antichrists in the first century. “[E]ven now,” affirms the apostle, “have there arisen many antichrists” (1 John 2:18; 4:3).

A careful analysis of John’s references to “antichrist” reveals that the term is a general designation employed to suggest a spirit of unbelief that can be manifested in a variety of ways, both in the past and present.

Thus, in 1 John 2:18, underline the term “antichrist,” and in your margin note: See v. 22; 4:3; 2 John 7. A general disposition of unbelief; not a specific person.

Sources/Footnotes
  • Lindsey, Hal. 1970. The Late Great Planet Earth. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.