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Works of Arthur Pink: Pink, Arthur - The Antichrist: Chapter 02. The Person Of The Antichrist
TOPIC: Pink, Arthur - The Antichrist (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: Chapter 02. The Person Of The Antichrist
Other Subjects in this Topic:
THE PERSON OF THE ANTICHRIST.
In our last chapter we pointed out how that the Antichrist is not a system of evil, nor an anti-Christian organization, but instead, a single individual being, a person yet to appear. In support of this we appealed to the declaration of our Lord recorded in Joh_5:43; "I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." Here the Savior both compares and contrasts the Man of Sin with Himself. The point of comparison is that, like the Savior, he shall offer himself to Israel; the contrast is, that unlike Christ who was rejected by the Jews, the false messiah shall be "received" by them. If, then, the Antichrist may be compared and contrasted with the Christ of God, he, too, must be a person, an individual being.
Again; we called attention to the expression used by the apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:—"That Man of Sin," "the Son of Perdition," he that opposeth and exalteth himself," "the Wicked One whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth," "he whose coming is after the working of Satan"—all these point as distinctly to a single individual as did the Messianic predictions of the Old Testament point to the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. Assured, then, that "the Antichrist" signifies a specific individual, our next concern is to turn to the Scriptures and learn what God has been pleased to reveal concerning this Personification of Evil.
I. The Antichrist Will Be A Jew.
The Antichrist will be a Jew, though his connections, his governmental position, his sphere of dominion, will by no means confine him to the Israelitish people. It should, however, be pointed out that there is no express declaration of Scripture which says in so many words that this daring Rebel will be "a Jew;" nevertheless, the hints given are so plain, the conclusions which must be drawn from certain statements of Holy Writ are so obvious, and the requirements of the case are so inevitable, that we are forced to believe he must be a Jew. To these ‘hints’, ‘conclusions’ and ‘requirements’ we now turn.
1. In Eze_21:25-27 we read: "and thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more until he comes whose right it is, and I will give it him." The dispensational place and scope of this passage, is not hard to determine. The time-mark is given in Ezekiel 5:25: it is "when iniquity shall have an end." It is the End-Time which is in view, then, the End of the Age, when "the transgressors are come to the full" (Dan_8:23 and cf. Dan_11:36—"Till the indignation be accomplished"). At that time Israel shall have a Prince, a Prince who is crowned (v. 26), and a Prince whose day is said to be come when iniquity shall have an end." Now, as to who this Prince is, there is surely no room for doubt. The only Prince whom Israel will have in that day, is the Son of Perdition, here termed their Prince because he will be masquerading as Messiah the Prince (see Dan_9:25)! Another unmistakable mark of identification is here given, in that he is expressly denominated "thou, profane wicked Prince"—assuredly, it is the Man of Sin who is here in view, that impious one who shall "oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God." But what should be noted particularly, is, that this profane and wicked character is here named "Prince of Israel." He must, therefore, be of the Abrahamic stock, a Jew!
2. In Eze_28:2-10 a remarkable description is given us of the Antichrist under the figure of "the Prince of Tyrus," just as in Eze_28:12-19 we have another most striking delineation of Satan under the figure of "the king of Tyrus." In a later chapter we hope to show that, beyond a doubt, it is the Antichrist who is in view in the first section of this chapter. There is only one thing that we would now point out from this passage: in v.10 Eze_28:10 it is said of him "Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised," which is a very strong hint that he ought not to die the deaths of the "uncircumcised" because he belonged to the Circumcision! Should it be said that this verse cannot apply to the Antichrist because he will be destroyed by Christ Himself at His coming, the objection is very easily disposed of by a reference to Rev_13:14, which tells of the Antichrist being wounded to death by a sword and rising from the dead—which is prior to his ultimate destruction at the hands of the Savior.
3. In Dan_11:36-37 we are told, "And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers." This passage, it is evident, refers to and describes none other than the coming Antichrist. But what we wish to call special attention to is the last sentence quoted—"The God of his fathers." What are we to understand by this expression? Why, surely, that he is a Jew, an Israelite, and that his fathers after the flesh were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—for such is the invariable meaning of "the fathers" throughout the Old Testament Scriptures.
4. In Mat_12:43-45 we have another remarkable scripture which will be considered briefly, in a later section of this chapter, when we shall endeavor to show that "The Unclean Spirit" here is none other than the Son of Perdition, and that the "house’ from which he goes out and into which he returns, is the Nation of Israel. If this can be established, then we have another proof that he will be a Jew, for this "house," which is Israel, is here termed by Antichrist "my house." Just as Solomon was of "the House of David," so Antichrist shall be of the House of Israel.
5. In Joh_5:43 we have a further word which helps us to fix the nationality of this coming One. In speaking of the false messiah, the Lord Jesus referred to him as follows, "Another shall come in his own name." In the Greek there are four different words all translated "Another" in our English versions. One of them is employed but once, and a second but five times, so these need not detain us now. The remaining two are used frequently, and with a clear distinction between them. The first "allos" signifies "another" of the same kind or genus—see Mat_10:23; Mat_13:24; Mat_26:71, etc. The second, "heteros," means "another" of a totally different kind,—see Mar_16:12; Luk_14:31; Act_7:18; Rom_7:23. Now the striking thing is that the word used by our Lord in Joh_5:43 is "allos," another of the same genus, not "heteros," another of a different order. Christ, the Son of Abraham, the Son of David, had presented Himself to Israel, and they rejected Him; but "another" of the same Abrahamic stock should come to them, and him they would "receive." If the coming Antichrist were to be a Gentile, the Lord would have employed the word "heteros;" the fact that He used "allos" shows that he will be a Jew.
6. The very name "Antichrist" argues strongly his Jewish nationality. This title "Antichrist" has a double significance. It means that he will be one who shall be "opposed" to Christ, one who will be His enemy. But it also purports that he will be a mock Christ, an imitation Christ, a pro-Christ, a pseudo Christ. It intimates that he will ape Christ. He will pose as the real Messiah of Israel. In such case he must be a Jew.
7. This mock Christ will be "received" by Israel. The Jews will be deceived by Him. They will believe that he is indeed their long-expected Messiah. They will accept him as such. Proofs of this will be furnished in a later chapter. But if this pseudo Christ succeeds in palming himself off on the Jews as their true Messiah he must be a Jew, for it is unthinkable that they would be deceived by any Gentile.
Ere passing to the next point, we may add, that it was the common belief among Christians during the first four centuries A.D., that the Antichrist would come from the tribe of Daniel Whether this will be the case or no, we do not know. Gen_49:17-18 may have ultimate reference to this Son of Perdition. Certainly Dan is the most mysterious of all the twelve tribes.
II. The Antichrist Will Be The Son Of Satan.
That Satan will have a son ought not to surprise us. The Devil is a consummate imitator and much of his success in deceiving men is due to his marvelous skill in counterfeiting the things of God. Below we give a list of some of his imitations: —
Do we read of Christ going forth to sow the "good seed" (Mat_13:24), then we also read of the enemy going forth to sow his "tares"—an imitation wheat (Mat_13:25). Do we read of "the children of God," then we also read of "the children of the wicked one" (Mat_13:38). Do we read of God working in His children "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Php_2:13), then we are also told that the Prince of the power of the air is "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Eph_2:2). Do we read of the Gospel of God, then we also read that Satan has a gospel—"Another gospel, which is not another" (Gal_1:6-7). Did Christ appoint "apostles," then Satan has his apostles too (2Co_11:13). Are we told that "the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1Co_2:10), then Satan also provides his "deep things" (see Greek of Rev_2:24). Are we told that God, by His angel, will "seal" His servants in their foreheads (Rev_8:3), so also we read that Satan, by his angels, will set a mark in the foreheads of his devotees (Rev_13:16). Does the Father seek "worshippers" (Joh_4:23), so also does Satan (Rev_13:4). Did Christ quote scripture, so also did Satan (Mat_4:6). Is Christ the Light of the world, then Satan also is transformed as an "angel of light" (2Co_11:14). Is Christ denominated "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Rev_5:5), then the Devil is also referred to as "a roaring lion" (1Pe_5:6). Do we read of Christ and "His angels" (Mat_24:31), then we also read of the Devil and "his angels" (Mat_25:41). Did Christ work miracles, so also will Satan (2Th_2:9). Is Christ seated upon a "Throne," so also will Satan be (Rev_2:13, Gk.). Has Christ a Church, then Satan has his "synagogue" (Rev. 2:9). Has Christ a "bride," then Satan has his "whore" (Rev_17:16). Has God His "Vine," so has Satan (Rev_14:19). Does God have a city, the new Jerusalem, then Satan has a city, Babylon (Rev_17:5; Rev_18:2). Is there a "mystery of godliness" (1Ti_3:16), so also there is a "mystery of iniquity" (2Th_2:7). Does God have an only-begotten Son, so we read of "the Son of Perdition" (2Th_2:3). Is Christ called "the Seed of the woman," then the Antichrist will be "the seed of the serpent" (Gen_3:15). Is the Son of God also the Son of Man, then the son of Satan will also be the "Man of Sin" (2Th_2:3).
Is there a Holy Trinity, then there is also an Evil Trinity (Rev_20:10). In this Trinity of Evil Satan himself is supreme, just as in the Blessed Trinity the Father is (governmentally) supreme: note that Satan is several times referred to as a father (John 8:44, etc.). Unto his son, the Antichrist, Satan gives his authority and power to represent and act for him (Rev. 13:4) just as God the Son received "all power in heaven and earth" from His Father, and uses it for His glory. The Dragon (Satan) and the Beast (Antichrist) are accompanied by a third, the False Prophet, and just as the third person in the Holy Trinity, the Spirit, bears witness to the person and work of Christ and glorifies Him, so shall the third person in the Evil Trinity bear witness to the person and work of the Antichrist and glorify him (see Rev_13:11-14).
Now the Antichrist will be a man, and yet more than man, just as Christ was Man and yet more than man. The Antichrist will be the ‘Superman’ of whom the world, even now, is talking, and for whom it is looking. The Wicked One who is to be revealed shortly, will be a supernatural character, he will be the Son of Satan. His twofold nature is plainly declared in 2Th_2:3—"That man of Sin, the Son of Perdition." In proof of these assertions we ask for a careful attention to what follows.
1. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy Seed and her Seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Gen_3:15). It is to be noted that there is here a double "enmity" spoken of: God says, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman," that is, between Satan and Israel, for Israel was the woman that bore Christ (Rev. 12); "And between thy seed and her seed." Observe particularly that two "seeds" are here spoken of; "Thy seed" (the antecedent is plainly the Serpent) and "her seed," the woman’s Seed. The woman’s Seed was Christ, the Serpent’s seed will be the Antichrist. The Antichrist then, will be more than a man, he will be the actual and literal Seed of that old Serpent, the Devil; as Christ was, according to the flesh, the actual and literal Seed of the woman. "Thy seed," Satan’s seed, refers to aspecific individual, just as "her seed" refers to a specific Individual.
2. "In that day the Lord with His sore and great and strong sword shall punish Leviathan the piercing Serpent, even Leviathan that crooked Serpent; and he shall slay the Dragon that is in the sea (Isa_27:1). To appreciate the force of this we need to attend to the context, which is unfortunately broken by the chapter division. In the closing verses of Isaiah 26 we hear God saying, "Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over past" (Isa_26:20). These words are addressed to the elect remnant of Israel. Their ultimate application will be to those on earth at the end of this Age, for it is the time of God’s "indignation" (cf. Dan_8:19 and Dan_11:36). It is the time when "the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth, for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain" (Isa_26:21)—notice "iniquity," singular number, not "iniquities." It is their worshipping of Satan’s Man which is specifically referred to. Then, immediately following we read, "In that day the Lord...shall punish Leviathan the piercing Serpent." The connection, then, makes it plain that it is just before the Millennium when God shall punish the Crooked Serpent, the Antichrist. Now the very fact that the Wicked One is here denominated "the piercing and crooked Serpent" hints strongly that he will be the son of "that old Serpent, the Devil."
3. In the first two sections of Ezekiel 28 two remarkable characters are brought before us. The second who is described in vv. Eze_28:12-19 has received considerable attention from Bible students of the last two generations, and since the late Mr. G. H. Pember pointed out that what is there said of "the king of Tyrus" could be true of no earthly king or mere human being, and must outline a character that none but Satan himself (before his fall) could fill this view has been adopted by most of the leading Bible teachers. But little attention has been paid to the character described in the first ten verses of this chapter.
Now just as what is said in Ezekiel 28 of "the king of Tyrus" can only apply fully to Satan himself, so, what is said of "the prince of Tyrus" manifestly has reference to the Antichrist. The parallelisms between what is said here and what we find in other scriptures which describe the Son of Perdition are so numerous and so evident, that we are obliged to conclude that it is the same person which is here contemplated. We cannot now attempt anything like a complete exposition of the whole passage (though we hope to give one later) but will just call attention to some of the outstanding marks of identification:
First, the Lord God says to this personage, "Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said I am a god, I sit in the seat of God"—cf. 2Th_2:4. Second, "Behold thou art wiser than Daniel"—cf. Dan_8:23, and Dan_7:8, "Behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of men, and a mouth speaking great things," which intimates that the Antichrist will be possessed of extraordinary intelligence. Third, it is said of this character, "With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures" Eze_28:4 cf. Psa_52:7; Dan_11:38).
Sufficient has been said, we trust, to show that under the figure of this "prince of Tyrus" we may discern clearly the unmistakable features of the coming Antichrist. But the particular point we would make here, is this, that as Satan is termed "the king of Tyre," in the second section of this chapter the Antichrist is referred to as "the prince of Tyre." Antichrist, then, is related to Satan as "prince" is to "king," that is, as son is to the father.
4. In Mat_12:43 the Antichrist is called "The Unclean Spirit," not merely an unclean spirit, but "the Unclean Spirit." We cannot now stop and submit the evidence that it is the Antichrist who is here in view, for this is another passage which we will consider carefully in a later chapter. But in the writer’s mind there is no doubt whatever that none other than the Beast is here in view. If this be the case, then we have further evidence that the coming One will be no mere man indwelt by Satan, but a fallen angel, an evil spirit, the incarnation of the Devil.
5. "Ye are of your father the Devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of this own; for he is a liar, and the father of it" (Joh_8:44). Here is still another proof that the Antichrist will be superhuman, the offspring of Satan. In the Greek there is the definite article before the word "lie"—the lie, "the Lie." There is another passage in the New Testament where "the Lie" is mentioned, namely in 2Th_2:11, where again the definite article is found in the Greek, and there the reference is unmistakable.
A threefold reason may be suggested as to why the Antichrist should be termed "the Lie." First, because his fraudulent claim to be the real Christ will be the greatest falsehood palmed off upon humanity. Second, because he is the direct antithesis of the real Christ, who is "the Truth" (Joh_14:6). Third, because he is the son of Satan who is the arch liar. But to return to Joh_8:44; "When he (the Devil) speaketh (concerning) the Lie, he speaketh of his own." His "own" what? His "own" son—the remainder of the verse makes this very plain—"for he (the Devil) is a liar and the father of it," i.e. of "the Lie." The Lie then, is Satan’s Son"!
6. "That day shall not come, except there come a falling away (the Apostasy) first, and that Man of Sin be revealed, the Son of Perdition" (2Th_2:3). Nothing could be plainer than this. Here the Antichrist is expressly declared to be superhuman—"the Son of Perdition." Just as the Christ if the Son of God, so Antichrist will be the son of Satan. Just as the Christ dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and just as Christ could say "He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father," so the Antichrist will be the full and final embodiment of the Devil. He will not only be the incarnation of the Devil, but the consummation of his wickedness and power.
7. In Rev_13:1 (R. V.) we read, "And he (the Dragon—see context) stood upon the sand of the sea"—symbolic of taking possession of the Nations: "And I saw a Beast coming up out of the sea, having ten diadems, and upon his heads names of blasphemy." It is deeply significant to mark how these things are here linked together as cause and effect. The coming forth of the Beast (the Antichrist) is immediately connected with the Dragon! But this is not all. Notice the description that is here given of him: he has ten horns (fullness of power) and seven heads (complete wisdom)" and this is exactly how Satan himself is described in Rev_12:3—"And behold, a great red Dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads names of blasphemy"! Does not a linking of these scriptures prove beyond all doubt that the Antichrist will be an exact replica of Satan himself! But one other thing, even more startling, remains to be considered, and that is,
III. The Antichrist Will Be Judas Reincarnated.
1. In Psalm 55 much is said of the Antichrist in his relation to Israel. Among other things we read there, "The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords" (Psa_55:21). The occasion for this sad plaint is given in the previous verse—"He had put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant." The reference is to Antichrist breaking his seven-year Covenant with the Jews (see Dan_9:27; Dan_11:21-24). Now if the entire Psalm be read through with these things in mind, it will be seen that it sets forth the sorrows of Israel and the sighings of the godly remnant during the End-Time. But the remarkable thing is that when we come to Psa_55:11-14 we find that which has a double application and fulfillment—"wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets. For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company." These verses describe not only the base treachery of Judas toward Christ, but they also announce how he shall yet, when reincarnated in the Antichrist, betray and desert Israel. The relation of Antichrist to Israel will be precisely the same as that of Judas to Christ of old. He will pose as the friend of the Jews, but later he will come out in his true character. In the Tribulation period, the Nation of Israel shall taste the bitterness of betrayal and desertion by one who masqueraded as a "familiar friend." Hence, we have here the first hint that the Antichrist will be Judas reincarnated.
2. "And your covenant with Death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with Hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it" (Isa_28:18). The "Covenant" referred to is that seven-year one which is mentioned in Dan_9:27. But here the one with whom this Covenant is made is termed "Death and Hell." This is a title of the Antichrist, as "the Resurrection and the Life" is of the true Christ. Nor is this verse in Isaiah 28 the only one where the Son of Perdition is so denominated. In Revelation 6 a four-fold picture of him is given—the antithesis of the four-fold portrayal of the Lord Jesus in the Gospels. Here he is seen as the rider on differently colored horses, which bring before us four stages in his awful career, and when we come to the last of them the Holy Spirit exposes his true identity by telling us, "and his name that sat on him was Death and Hell followed with him" (Rev_6:8). Now "Hell" or "Hades" is the place which receives the souls of the dead, and the fact that this awful name is here applied to Antichrist intimates that he has come from there.
3. Above, we referred to Mat_12:41-43 to prove that Antichrist will be a super-human being, a fallen and unclean spirit; we turn to it again in order to show that this coming incarnation of Satan has previously been upon earth. The history of this "Unclean Spirit" is divided into three stages. First, as having dwelt in "a man;" second, as having gone out of a man, and walking through dry places, seeking rest and finding none—this has reference to his present condition during the interval between his two appearances on earth. Third, he says, "I will return to my house." This Unclean Spirit, then, who has already been here, who is now away in a place where rest is not to be found, is to come back again!
4. In Joh_17:12 we have a word which, more plainly still, shows that the Antichrist will be Judas reincarnated, for here he is termed by Christ "The Son of Perdition." But first, let us consider the teaching of Scripture concerning Judas Iscariot. Who was he? He was a "man" (