But I'm growing more and more skeptical it's appropriate to use that word of the coming future world leader.
I'm NOT denying there is a future world leader. I believe the two beasts of Revelation 13 are literal individuals. The Beast of the Sea is certainly more then an individual, it's his Kingdom, but the Eight King is also The Beast. It is two individual persons who are cast alive into the Lake of Fire. And I believe info about those individuals does exist elsewhere in Scripture like in II Thessalonians 2 and Daniel 7. And I believe that is yet future.
The word Antichrist is used 5 times in 4 verses. 1 John 2:18, 2:22, 4:3 and 2 John 1:7. It is well known that most of those are about there being many antichrists and the spirit of antichrist, and how any denial of Jesus divinity or Jesus as the Son of God come in the Flesh is the an antichrist heresy.
But the insistence exists that the first reference does allude to a future individual. Well here is what John said.
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.He said "ye have heard". Throughout The Gospels Jess contrasts "it is written" with "you have heard it said". "It is written" refers to what's Written in The Scriptures, while "heard it said" refereed to the oral traditions of the Pharisees that Jesus was rebukeing. By the time John wrote his Epistles, the Christina community was already developing their own oral traditions it seems.
It proves the belief in a coming Antichrist was there already, but John was repudiating that belief.
An individual is coming, but he is not equal in power and importance to Jesus or Jesus' Evil Counterpart, he's not the manifestation of all wickedness. He's just a sinful man who is going to become very powerful, who wants to believe he's that important, but he really is not. He's not really much different then any other tyrant who has persecuted God's People throughout history.
At the very least John is saying not to get so caught up in the future one that you forget to concern yourself with the contemporary adversaries of The Gospel. And I feel the obsession with connecting every contemporary evil to the future Beast is itself a distractionary counterproductive way to deal with those evils. Just oppose them on their own merits. Not to mention people doing this with things I don't agree are evil. I deal with those things mostly on the SolaScurpturaChristianLiberty blog.