It has been more or less implied in the foregoing remarks, that Antichrist is one man, an individual, not a power or a kingdom. Such surely is the impression left on the mind by the Scripture notices concerning him, after taking fully into account the figurative character of prophetical language. Consider these passages together, which describe him, and see whether we must not so conclude. First, the passage in St. Paul's Epistle: "That day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who is the adversary and rival of all that is called God or worshipped; so that he sitteth as God in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God … Then shall that Wicked One be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming ... whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders."

Next, in the prophet Daniel: "Another shall rise after them, and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times, and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end." Again: "And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished ... Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the Desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces, and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things." [Dan. vii; xi.] Let it be observed, that Daniel elsewhere describes other kings, and that the event has shown them certainly to be individuals,—for instance, Xerxes, Darius, and Alexander.

And in like manner St. John: "There was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His Name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them; and power was given him over all kindreds and tongues and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." [Rev. xiii.]

Further, that by Antichrist is meant some one person, is made probable by the anticipations which, as I have said, have already occurred in history, of the fulfilment of the prophecy. Individual men have arisen actually answering in a great measure to the above descriptions; and this circumstance creates a probability, that the absolute and entire fulfilment which is to come will be in an individual also. The most remarkable of these shadows of the destined scourge appeared before the time of the Apostles, between them and the age of Daniel, viz., the heathen king Antiochus, of whom we read in the books of Maccabees. This instance is the more to the purpose, because he is actually described, (as we suppose) by Daniel, in another part of his prophecy, in terms which seem also to belong to Antichrist, and, as belonging, imply that Antiochus actually was what he seems to be, a type of that more fearful future enemy of the Church. This Antiochus was the savage persecutor of the Jews, in their latter times, as Antichrist {54} will be of the Christians. A few passages from the Maccabees will show you what he was. St. Paul in the text speaks of an Apostasy, and then of Antichrist as following upon it; and thus is the future of the Christian Church typified in the past Jewish history. "In those days went there out of Israel wicked men, who persuaded many, saying, Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen that are round about us: for since we departed from them, we have had much sorrow. So this device pleased them well. Then certain of the people were so forward herein, that they went to the king, who gave them licence to do after the ordinances of the heathen; whereupon they built a place of exercise at Jerusalem, according to the custom of the heathen; and made themselves uncircumcised, and forsook the holy covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen, and were sold to do mischief." Here was the Falling away. After this introduction the Enemy of truth appears. "After that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again, … and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude, and entered proudly into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light and all the vessels thereof, and the table of the shew-bread, and the pouring vessels, and the vials, and the censers of gold, and the veil, and the crowns, and the golden ornaments that were before the temple; all which he pulled off. And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly." After this he set fire to Jerusalem, "and pulled down the houses and walls thereof on every side ... Then built they the city of David with a great and strong wall, ... and they put therein a sinful nation, wicked men, and fortified themselves therein." Next, "King Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people, and every one should leave his laws: so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king. Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the sabbath." After this he forced these impieties upon the chosen people. All were to be put to death who would not "profane the sabbath and festival days, and pollute the sanctuary and holy people, and set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine's flesh and unclean beasts," and "leave their children uncircumcised." At length he set up an idol, or, in the words of the history, "the Abomination of Desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side ... And when they had rent in pieces the books of the law which they found, they burnt them with fire." It is added, "Howbeit many in Israel were fully resolved and confirmed in themselves not to eat any unclean thing, wherefore they chose rather to die … and there was very great wrath upon Israel." [1 Mac. i.] Here we have presented to us some of the lineaments of Antichrist, who will be such, and worse than such, as Antiochus.

The history of the apostate emperor Julian, who lived between 300 and 400 years after Christ, furnishes us with another approximation to the predicted Antichrist, and an additional reason for thinking he will be one person, not a kingdom, power, or the like.

And so again does the false prophet Mahomet, who propagated his imposture about 600 years after Christ came.

Comment