There is evidence for the notion of the Antichrist found in the Hebrew Scriptures. Isaiah 11 is one example.
While the term "Antichrist" is exclusive to the Christian New Testament, it corresponds to one of the Dual Messiahs anticipated in the Hebrew Old Testament.
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY MESSIAHS
Is the following verse referring to one or two messiahs*?
"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots" (Isaiah 11:1).
This verse appears to predict a Davidic messiah who in turn would be succeeded by another messiah. The latter messiah appears to stem from the former, suggesting the latter is a disciple of the former. In the literature of the first century of the common era, the second messiah would have been given the proper appellation "anti-":
The name ho antichristos, the Antichrist, is thus described by the learned Elliott ["Horae"]: 'A name very notable. For it was not a pseudo-Christ, as of those self-styled Christs (in professed exclusion and denial of Jesus Christ that the Lord declared would appear in Judaea before the destruction of Jerusalem, and who did, in fact, appear there and then; but was a name of new formation, expressly compounded, it might seem, by the Divine Spirit for the occasion, and as if to express some idea, through its etymological force, which no older word could so well express, Antichrist; even as if he would appear some way as a Vice-Christ, in the mystic Temple or professing Church; and in that character act the usurper and adversary against Christ's true Church and Christ Himself. Nor did it fail to strengthen this anticipation that the Gnostic heresiarchs, and others did in a subordinate sense act that very part already; by setting Christ practically aside, while in mouth confessing Him, and professing themselves in His place the power, wisdom and salvation of God.'
Elliott thus explains the Greek word Antichristos: 'When anti is compounded with a noun signifying an agent of any kind, or functionary, the compound word either signifies a vice-functionary, or a functionary of the same kind opposing, or sometimes both.
'In the New Testament the only compounds of the kind are used in the sense of the first class of words; as anthupatos – Pro-consul – Acts xiii. 7, 8, 12; xix. 38; and both on that account, and yet more because the old word, pseudo-Christ, would almost have expressed the idea of a counter-Christ, I conclude that this must be St. John's intended sense of Antichrist.' 'I must particularly beg the reader to bear in mind that the word cannot with etymological propriety mean simply a person opposed to Christ; but either a vice-Christ, or counter-Christ, or both.'
'The name – the then new and very singular name that John gave it, under divine inspiration, of Antichrist, while admitting the secondary senses of an adversary of Christ, did yet primarily, indeed necessarily, indicate (according to the etymological formation of the word) that he would be so through his being in some manner a Vice-Christ, or one professedly assuming the character, occupying the place, and fulfilling the functions, of Christ. An excellent comment on its force and significance is furnished by the Romanists' appellative of Anti-Pope (Greek, antipapa), an appellation given in the sense not simply of an enemy to the Pope, but of a hostile self-substituted, usurping Pope, one occupying the proper Pope's place, receiving his honours and exercising his functions.'
Such was the view generally adopted by the Fathers; whether in reference to the prophecies of Daniel, St. Paul, or St. John, they speak of the grand enemy, therein alike prefigured, not as an Atheist so much, but rather as a usurper of Christ's place before the world. So the Greek Fathers generally, e.g., Irenaeus, v. 25 Hippolytus, Cyril, Chrysostom, Theodoret. The Latin Father did not enter into the proper force of the Greek compound, and thus expounded it as 'an adversary of the Lord,' so Cyprian; or 'opposed to Christ,' so Augustine. Justin Martyr and Chrysostom use antitheos, not as a professed rebel against God, but a usurper of His place, by blasphemously proclaiming himself equal to God.'
The learned Rev. M.W. Foye [Romish Rites] says: 'Most English scholars are liable much to mistake the etymological and true meaning of the word Antichrist. After a due examination of the Greek prefix, anti, when compounded with a noun personal, I feel assured that the following may be laid down as a safe general – I would say, all but universal – rule, viz., the Greek anti prefixed to a personal noun; (1) signifying a public ministerial functionary; or (2) a ministerial official agent of any sort, public or private, signifies Pro, in the stead of, substitute, vice, vicar; (3) prefixed to other personal nouns it signifies emulation, rivalry, hostility.'
These three lists contain all the personal nouns that are found with anti prefixed to the except Christos. The following brief passage from Dion Cassius ["Lib. LIII"] will put the rule beyond question, so, at least, as regards its first and second braches. 'He retained in Italy the names both of imperator and of consul, but as to those rulers who, out of Italy, were governors in the stead of them (anti ekeinon), all these he entitled antistrategous and anthupatous.'
The learned Dr. Wordsworth ["Is the Papacy predicted by St. Paul?"] says: 'The person in whom this system is embodied is describes as antikeimenos (2 Thess. ii. 4), i.e., literally, one setting himself in opposition, and particularly as a rival foundation, in the place of or against another foundation. Now, be it remembered . . . 'Other foundation can no one lay than that which already lieth (keitoi, remark the word), which is Jesus Christ' (I Cor. iii. II). May not he who calls himself the Rock of the Church be rightly called ho antikeimenos?'
. . . .
The learned Dr. Wylie ["The Papacy"] says: '. . . When we are able to put aside some of the false Antichrists, we come more within sight of the true one. . . .'
The 'Chronicles of Zachariah of Mytilene' (6th century) Ch. I., par. I (Burry's Byzantine Texts), says: 'King Justin made his sister's son, who was General, Anti-Caesar, and Justinian became Anti-Caesar on the 5th day of the week in the last week of the fast.'
Hales' Chronology, Vol. II, Part I., p. 550, says: 'The Vice-gerent of Jesus Christ, which, by a singular concurrence, meant the same as the obnoxious Antichristus – Antichrist – originally signifying a pro-Christ or deputy-Christ, or a false Christ who assumed his authority and acted in his stead.'**
It s clear from these scholarly considerations that Jesus Christ and the Antichrist are complementary to each other. I am convinced from evidence in the prophecies of Daniel that Jesus Christ is the first of the two biblical messiahs.
Many have mistaken the true meaning of "Antichrist", confusing "opposite of" and "opposed to". They portray the Antichrist as the enemy of Jesus Christ.
They mistake the positive nature of the Antichrist by attributing the wrong meaning to the prefix "anti-".
In modern thinking, "anti-" usually means "against". However, as used in relation to the title "Antichrist", the prefix "anti-" means "placement opposite to or in contrast with another".
The relationship of Jesus the Christ and the Antichrist is similar. The messiahs are not "opposed" to each other. They stand "opposite" one another in function and time. While Jesus Christ is the messiah of the world, the Antichrist is dispatched primarily on behalf of the Jews to fulfill specific covenant promises to them.
ROD AND BRANCH
In Isaiah 11 the Dual Messiahs are the Rod and Branch of David.
The Branch [netser] messiah leads Israel into its restoration. This is clear from Isaiah 60:21, in which Israel is depicted as the branch [netser] of God's planting:
Thy people also [shall be] all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.
The Branch messiah is the Antichrist. Bear in mind that both "Christ" and "Antichrist" are titles, not names. The names of neither messiah are stated in Isaiah 11. However, their empowerment is discussed at length.
What are the functions of the messiahs?
The Hebrew for "branch" [transliterated, netser] means "a sprout, a shoot", so called from being verdant. Ironically, while refers to green with vegetation, it also implies someone inexperienced or unsophisticated. Like Jesus Christ before him, the Branch messiah is endowed withe the Spirit of the Lord, which is manifest thusly:
And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins (Isaiah 11:2-5).
The endowment of the Antichrist is a stark contrast from his unremarkable beginnings, yet his success is certain.
God has a plan for His people Israel. This plan was foretold. God chose two complementary messiahs to reconcile Jews and Gentiles to Himself.
A primary function of a messiah is religious and ceremonial. The messiah offer himself vicariously as an atonement to bring into one humankind and God.
* Dual Messiahs. "Messiah" is the Hebrew term for the ultimate national savior. It means "anointed" because God endows a human being with the Holy Spirit and thus the supernatural powers to accomplish his mission.
"Christ" is the Greek equivalent of "messiah". When Christianity spread to non-Jews, the significance of the messiah became less national and more universal.
"Dual" means two.
Jesus Christ is the first of the Dual Messiahs. That Jesus Christ was the first messiah to appear is confirmed by the 70 Weeks Prophecy found in Daniel 9:24-27.
The 70 Weeks Prophecy validates Jesus Christ; the timing of His appearance, covenant ministry, and sacrificial death. According to standard principles of interpretation, the 70 weeks correspond to 70 times 7 (weeks) of years for a total of 490 prophetic years.
The beginning point for this 490-year period is identified in verse 25 as the year of the decree to restore Jerusalem. This decree was issued by Persia following the defeat of Babylon.
Likewise, the timing of the second of the Dual Messiahs yet to appear is confirmed by the 2300 Days Prophecy found in Daniel 8:14.
In Hebrew literature the titles of the respective messiahs are Moshiach ben David and Moshiach ben Joseph.
** Porcelli, Baron. "The Antichrist" (1927).