Antichrist. [Gr. antichristos, from anti, "against," or "instead of," and Christos, Christ.] A term that may mean one who is opposed to Christ, or one who assumes the place of Christ, or one who combines both of these roles by assuming the prerogatives of Christ in such a way as actually to militate against the spirit, principles, and person of Christ. The term appears in the NT only in the writings of John (1 Jn 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 Jn 7). The apostle takes for granted that his readers have already been taught concerning antichrist, and that they believe that antichrist's full manifestation will be in connection with the last days. As a result, he does not specifically identify antichrist as a particular person or organisation. He speaks, in fact, of many antichrists and of their being active in his day (1 Jn 2:18). However, he does note that they are characterised by a denial that Jesus is the Christ and the Incarnate Son of God (1 Jn 2:22; 4:3; 2 Jn 7:).
Although John alone uses the term "antichrist," the doctrine of antichrist appears in other NT passages. In the Revelation the same author under the figure of a leopard beast depicts a great power that would oppose Christ and His people (ch 13:1-18). Particularly has the power described by Paul in 2 Th 2:2-12 been termed "antichrist." This passage predicts a developing apostasy in the church culminating in the revelation of the "man of sin" or "man of lawlessness" (RSV), who would sit in the temple of God and declare himself to be God. This revelation would be followed by the second coming of Christ, which would destroy the antichrist. This passage seems to have a dual application, describing first the developing apostasy in the Christian church, and second, the deceptive work of Satan, the antichrist par excellence.
Satan has opposed Christ through various human agencies. He has introduced various heresies through the centuries, all suited to deceive. In John's day, Docetism and later Gnosticism were recognised as anti-Christian. Through the centuries many have identified the Papacy as Antichrist. It appears that in the end Satan will play a more personal role in world affairs (2 Th 2:9), but his "coming" (Gr. parousia) in this special role will be followed quickly by his binding and eventually by his destruction -- Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary.