The word, antichrist, is only used in the Bible in the epistles of John. John uses the word five times in four verses (1 John 2:18, 1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 1:7). These verses show that there is one who is the Antichrist (1 John 2:18), that there is a "spirit of antichrist" (1 John 4:3), and that there are numerous antichrists (1 John 2:18; 2 John 1:7). The word, antichrist, means "against Christ." However, the word is also used of one who is a false Christ. The three uses mentioned above need to be defined:
Antichrist. This use of the word refers to that particular one who will come during the time of tribulation, not only to oppose the true Christ, but to declare himself to be the Christ. In Daniel 9:26, he is "the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." In 2 Thessalonians, he is "that man of sin" and "the son of perdition" (2 Thessalonians 2:3), "the mystery of iniquity" (2 Thessalonians 2:7), and "that Wicked" (2 Thessalonians 2:8). In Revelation, he is the first beast (Revelation 13:1-8). The epistles of John do not in any way deny the coming of the one final Antichrist, but only looks to another application of the term.
Spirit of antichrist. 1 John 4:3 tells us that the false doctrine that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh is of the "spirit of antichrist." From this, we can conclude that any doctrine that denies that Jesus is fully God and fully man subtracts from who He is and is therefore against Christ. It is the spirit of antichrist.
Antichrists. 1 John 2:18 warns us that "even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time." From these scriptures, we can see two kinds of people who are antichrists. First, there are those who deny the fullness of Christ either in His humanity or in His deity. They are antichrists because they spread teaching that is against Christ. Second, there are those who falsely claim to be Christ. Jesus warned, "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:5). He also prophesied,"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matthew 24:24). As the day of the coming of the true Christ draws nigh, there will be more and more deceivers who either deny that Christ was all the Bible says He is or who will claim to be Christ themselves. These deceivers must be opposed.