Prophecy junkies love to speculate about the identity of the antichrist, but few people seem interested in exploring what this term actually means. The Greek word "antichristos" literally implies one who is opposed or adversarial to the Messiah. (The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible) Moreover, when we study the scriptures where this word is used, it quickly becomes evident that many people have exhibited this spirit. In other words, there are many antichrists extant in the world.
In his first epistle, John wrote: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust (desire) of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever. 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. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that aknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also." (I John 2:15-23)
Hence, according to John, an antichrist is a Christian who has abandoned their devotion to Christ and his teachings. Christians have been called out of the moral filth and behaviors of this world, but these individuals have been enticed back into their former lifestyles. In other words, they have rejected Christ and the things that he represents - his way of life. John also makes clear that there were many of these individuals around when he wrote his epistle.
Later, in this same epistle, John wrote: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." (I John 4:1-4)
So, if someone is teaching something (or behaving in a way) that is not consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ, that person is following a spirit of antichrist. A person who espouses hateful things and is judgmental of others is denying the very Messiah (Jesus Christ) to whom they claim to belong. Jesus Christ once said: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:21-23) In short, you can't be a Christian and behave like a person who disregards Christ's teachings.
In his second epistle, John wrote: "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." (II John 7-9) A "Christian" who is not following Christ's teachings is acting in the spirit of antichrist. Hence, people who hate, marginalize and condemn others are steeped in the spirit of antichrist. And, just as in the days of John, there are many of these kinds of folks extant in the world. If you're looking for the antichrist, just turn on your television set and watch the crowds shouting and spitting at bus loads of illegal immigrants or watch one of the clips of those Westboro Baptist Church protests at the funeral of one of our fallen soldiers.