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Works of Arthur Pink: Pink, Arthur - The Antichrist: Chapter 03. Names And Titles Of The Antichrist.
TOPIC: Pink, Arthur - The Antichrist (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: Chapter 03. Names And Titles Of The Antichrist.
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THE NAME AND TITLES OF THE ANTICHRIST.
There is a distinct science of nomenclature, a system of names, in the Word of God. Probably every name in Scripture has either a historic, a symbolic, or a spiritual significance. The names are inseparably bound up with the narrative, and it frequently happens that the meaning of a proper noun is a key to an important passage. Names are not employed by the Holy Spirit in a loose and careless manner—of course not!—but with definite design. A variety of names for the same individual are not given in order to prevent monotonous repetition, but because the significance of each separate appellation is best fitted to express what is recorded in any given instance. "Devil" and "Satan" are not synonyms, nor are they used at haphazard, but with Divine discrimination. Upon the meaning of names found in Holy Writ rests a whole scheme of interpretation; even the order in which names occur is not fortuitous but designed, and constitutes a part of each lesson taught, or each truth presented.
There is here a wide field opened for study, a field which few have made serious effort to explore. It is strange that it has been so neglected, for again and again the Holy Spirit calls attention to the importance and meaning of names. In the first book of the Bible we find that children and places were given meaningful names, which called to remembrance incidents, experiences, characteristics of interest and importance. Examples are given where names changed to harmonize with a change in the person, place, experience, or situation where it occurred. Abram and Sarai will at once occur to mind. For a place, take Luz, which was changed to Bethel!—"House of God"—because by reason of a vision he received there it became that to Jacob. Jacob’s name is changed to Israel; and in the New Testament an example is furnished in Simeon being re-named Peter. In Heb_7:1-2 the Holy Spirit calls attention to the significance of the names Melchizedek and Salem (Jerusalem). These are sufficient to show the importance of this line of study.
Names are used in Scripture with marvelous discrimination, and it was this fact which first demonstrated to the writer, the verbal inspiration of Scripture. The precision with which names are used in the Bible is especially noticeable in connection with the Divine titles. The names Elohim and Jehovah are found on the pages of the Old Testament several thousand times, but they are never used loosely or interchangeably. Over three hundred names and titles are given to the Lord Jesus Christ, and each has its own distinctive significance and to substitute any other for the one used would destroy the beauty and perfections of every passage where they are found.
Names are employed to express character; titles are used to denote relationships. It is only as we make a careful study of the various and numerous names and titles of the Lord Jesus Christ, that we are in a position to appreciate His infinite excellencies and the manifold relationships which He sustains. From an opposite standpoint the same is equally true of the Antichrist. As we pay careful attention to the different names and titles which are given to him, we then discover what a marvelously complete delineation the Holy Spirit has furnished us with of the person, the character, and career of this monster of wickedness. It is unfortunate that the great variety of names bestowed upon him has led some brethren to the conclusion that they must belong to separate persons, and has caused them to apportion these out to different individuals; only confusion can result from this. There is almost as much ground to make the Devil and Satan different persons, as there is to regard (as some do) the Beast and the Antichrist as separate entities. That the Devil and Satan are names belonging to the same person, and that the Beast and the Antichrist is the selfsame individual, is proven by the fact that identically the same characteristics under each is found belonging to the one as to the other. Instead of apportioning these names to different persons, we must see that they denominate the same individual, only in different relationships, or as giving us various phases of his character.
An old writer has said the name Devil is most suggestive of his character. If "d" is taken away, evil is left. If "e" is taken away vile is left. If "v" is taken away ill is left. And if "i" is taken away and the next letter be aspirated, it tells of hell. It is equally true of the Antichrist: his names reveal his character, expose his vileness, and forecast his career and doom.
The names and titles given to the Antichrist are far more numerous than is commonly supposed. We propose to give as complete a list as possible, and offer a few comments on their significations. We shall not expatiate on them at equal length, for that is not necessary; instead, we shall say the most on those cognomens which are of the greater importance, or, which because of their ambiguity call for a more detailed elucidation.
I. The Antichrist
"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son" (1Jn_2:22). This name introduces to us one of the most solemn and foreboding subjects in the Word of God. It brings before us one of the persons in the Trinity of Evil. At every point he is the antithesis of Christ. The word "Antichrist" has a double significance. Its primary meaning is one who is opposed to Christ; but its secondary meaning is one who is instead of Christ. Let not this be thought strange, for it accords with the two stages in his career. At first he will pose as the true Christ, masquerading in the livery of religion. But, later, he will throw off his disguise, stand forth in his true character, and set himself up as one who is against God and His Christ.
Not only does and-christ denote the antagonist of Christ, but it tells of one who is instead of Christ. The word signifies another Christ, a pro-Christ, an alter christus, a pretender to the name of Christ. He will seem to be and will set himself up as the true Christ. He will be the Devil’s counterfeit. Just as the Devil is an Anti-theos—not only the adversary of God, but the usurper of the place and prerogatives of God, demanding worship; so the Son of Perdition will be anti-christ—not only the antagonist and opponent of Christ, but His rival: assuming the very position and prerogatives of Christ; passing himself off as the rightful claimant to all the rights and honors of the Son of God.
II. The Man of Sin, The Son of Perdition.
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that Man of Sin be revealed, the Son of Perdition" (2Th_2:3). This double appellation is probably the most awful, the most important, and the most revealing title given to the Antichrist in all the Bible. It diagnoses his personality and exposes his awful character. It tells us he will be possessed of a twofold nature: he will be a man, and yet more than a man. He will be Satan’s parody of the God-Man. He will be an incarnation of the Devil. The world today is talking of and looking for the Super-man. This is exactly what the Antichrist will be. He will be the Serpent’s masterpiece.
"That Man of Sin." What a frightful name! The sin of man will culminate in the Man of Sin. The Christ of God was sinless; the Christ of Satan will not only be sinful, but the Man of Sin. "Man of Sin" intimates that he will be the living and active embodiment of every form and character of evil. "Man of Sin" signifies that he will be sin itself personified. "Man of Sin" denotes there will be no lengths of wickedness to which he will not go, no forms of evil to which he will be a stranger, no depths of corruption that he will not bottom.
"The Son of Perdition." And again we are forced to exclaim, what a frightful name! Not only a human degenerate, but the offspring of the Dragon. Not only the worst of human kind, but the incarnation of the Devil. Not only the most depraved of all sinners, but an emanation from the Pit itself. "Son of Perdition" denotes that he will be the culmination and consummation of satanic craft and power. All the evil, malignity, cunning, and power of the Serpent will be embodied in this terrible monster.
III. The Lawless One.
"And then shall be revealed the Lawless One, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of His mouth, and bring to nought by the manifestation of His coming" (2Th_2:8 R. V.). This is another name of the Antichrist which makes manifest his awful character. Each of his names exhibits him as the antithesis of the true Christ. The Lord Jesus was the Righteous One; the Man of Sin will be the Lawless One. The Lord Jesus was "made under the law" (Gal_4:4); the Antichrist will oppose all law, being a law unto himself. When the Savior entered this world, He came saying, "Lo I come to do Thy will, O God" (Heb_10:9); but of the Antichrist it is written "And the king shall do according to his will" (Dan_11:36). The Antichrist will set himself up in direct opposition to all authority, both Divine and human.
IV. The Beast.
"And when they shall have finished their testimony the Beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them" (Rev_11:7). This is another name which reveals the terrible nature and character of the Antichrist and which places him in sharp antithesis from the true Christ. "The Beast" is the title by which he is most frequently designated in the Revelation: there are at least thirty references to him under this name in the last book of the Bible. The Greek word signifies a wild beast. This name "the Beast" contrasts the Antichrist from the true Christ as "the Lamb;" and it is a significant fact that by far the great majority of passages where the Lord Jesus is so designated are also found here in the Apocalypse. The "Lamb" is the Savior of sinners; the "Beast" is the persecutor and slayer of the saints. The "Lamb" calls attention to the gentleness of Christ; the "Beast" tells of the ferocity of the Antichrist. The "Lamb" reveals Christ as the "harmless" One (Heb_7:26); the "Beast" manifests the Antichrist as the cruel and heartless one. Under the Law lambs were ceremonially clean and used in sacrifice, but beasts were unclean and unfit for sacrifices.
It is a point of interest to note that there is one other very striking contrast between the persons in the Holy Trinity, and the persons in the trinity of evil. At our Lord’s baptism the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and the first mention of the Holy Spirit in Scripture represents Him as "brooding" like a dove over the waters which covered the pre-Adamic earth (Gen_1:2). How remarkable are those symbols—a "Lamb" and a "Dove"! A Dove, not a hawk or an eagle. The gentle, harmless, cooing "dove." Over against this the Devil is termed "the Dragon." What a contrast—the Dove and the Lamb, the Dragon and the Beast!
V. The Bloody and Deceitful Man.
"Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the Lord will abhor the Bloody and Deceitful Man" (Psa_5:6). The Psalm from which this verse is quoted contains a prayer of the godly Jewish remnant, offered during the Tribulation period. In proof of this assertion observe that in Rev_5:2 God is owned and addressed as "King." In Revelation 5:7 intimation is given that the Temple has been rebuild in Jerusalem, for turning away from it when it has been defiled by "the Abomination of Desolation," the remnant say, "But as for me I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy: and in Thy fear will I worship toward Thy Holy Temple." While in Rev_5:10 we find them praying for the destruction of their enemies, which is parallel with Rev_6:10. It is during that time the faithful remnant will exclaim, "Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the Lord will abhor the Bloody and Deceitful Man."
The Bloody and Deceitful Man views the Antichrist in relation to the Jews. In the earlier stages of his public career he poses as their friend and benefactor. He recognizes their rights as a separate State and appears anxious to protect their autonomy. He makes a formal covenant with them (Dan_9:27) and their peace and security seem assured. But a few years later he comes out in his true character. His fair speeches and professions of friendship are seen to be false. He breaks his covenant (Psa_55:20) and turns upon the Jews in fury. Their benefactor is now their worst enemy. The protector of their interests now aims to cut them off from being a nation in the earth (Psa_83:4). Thus is he rightfully denominated by them "the Bloody and Deceitful Man."
VI. The Wicked One.
"The Wicked (One) in his pride doth persecute the poor: the Wicked (One), through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God" (Psa_10:2, Psa_10:4). This entire Psalm is about the Wicked One. The opening verse gives the key to its dispensational scope. It contains the cry of the Jewish remnant during the Tribulation period, here denominated "Times of Trouble" (cf. Jer_30:7). So desperate is the situation of the true Israel, it seems as though Jehovah must have deserted them—"Why standeth Thou afar off, O Lord? Why hidest Thou Thyself in times of trouble? (Psa_10:1). Then follows a remarkably full description of their arch-enemy, the Wicked One. His pride (Psa_10:2), his depravity: "He abhorreth the Lord" (Psa_10:3 margin); his blasphemy: "All his thoughts are, There is no God" (Psa_10:4 margin); his grievous ways, (Psa_10:5); his consuming egotism, (Psa_10:6); his deceitfulness, (Psa_10:7); his treachery, (Psa_10:8); his cruelty, (Psa_10:9-10); his complacent pride, (Psa_10:11), is each described. Then the Remnant cry, "Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Thine hand: forget not the humble. Break Thou the arm of the Wicked and Evil One" (Psa_10:12 and Psa_10:15). The whole Psalm should be carefully studied.
VII. The Man of the Earth.
"To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the Man of the Earth may no more oppress" (Psa_10:18). The "Wicked One" describes his character; the "Man of the Earth" defines his position. The one speaks of his awful depths of depravity; the other of his vast dominions. The sphere of his operations will be no mere local one, He will become World-emperor. He will be a king of kings and lord of lords, (Rev_13:7). When the true Christ appeared on earth Satan offered Him "all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them" if He would fall down and worship him. When the false Christ appears, this offer will be repeated, the conditions will be met, and the tempting gift will be bestowed (Rev_13:2). In consequence of this he shall be "the Man of the Earth;" just as later, Christ shall be "King over all the earth" (Zec_14:7).
VIII. The Mighty Man.
"Why boasteth thou thyself in mischief, O Mighty Man" Psa_52:1). This is another Psalm which is devoted to a description of this fearful character. Here again we have mention of his boastfulness (Psa_52:1), his deceitfulness (Psa_52:2), his depravity (Psa_52:3), his egotism (Psa_52:4), his riches (Psa_52:7). His doom is also announced (Psa_52:5). This title, the Mighty Man, refers to his immense wealth and possessions, and the power which they confer upon their possessor. It also points a striking contrast: Christ was the Lowly Man, not having where to lay His head; the Antichrist will be the Mighty Man, of whom it is said, "Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his substance" (Isa_52:7).
IX. The Enemy.
"Because of the voice of the Enemy, because of the oppression of the Wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me" (Psa_55:3). This is another title used of the Antichrist in connection with Israel, a title which recurs several times both in the Psalms and the Prophets. It points a designed contrast from that Friend that "sticketh closer than a brother." This Enemy of Israel oppresses them sorely. His duplicity and treachery are here referred to. Concerning him Israel shall exclaim, "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). Let the student be on the lookout for passages in the Old Testament which make mention of the Enemy.
X. The Adversary.
"They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land. We see not our signs: there is no more any profit: neither is there any among us that knoweth how long. O God, how long shall the Adversary reproach? Shall the Enemy blaspheme Thy name forever?" (Psa_74:8-10). This title occurs in several important passages. In Isa_59:19 we read, "So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the Adversary shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him." Lam_4:11-12 is another scripture which obviously speaks of the End-time. "The Lord hath accomplished His fury; He hath poured out His fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof. The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the Adversary and the Enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem." In Amo_3:11 we read, "Therefore thus saith the Lord God; an Adversary there shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled." This is a title which intimates his satanic origin, for the Greek word for Devil means adversary.
XI. The Head Over Many Countries.
"He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the Head over many countries" (Psa_110:6). The context here shows that it must be the Antichrist which is in view. The Psalm opens by the Father inviting the Son to sit at His right hand until His enemies shall be made His footstool. Then follows the affirmation that Jehovah will display His strength out of Jerusalem, and make His people Israel willing in the day of His power. Then, following Jehovah’s oath that Christ is a Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (which contemplates the exercise of His millennial and royal priesthood), we read, "The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of His wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, He shall fill the places with the dead bodies; He shall wound the Head over many countries." Psa_110:5-6 The "Day of His wrath" is the closing portion of the Tribulation period, and in the Day of His wrath. He wounds this Head over many countries. The Head over many countries refers to the Man of Sin as the Caesar of the last world-empire, prior to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom.
XII. The Violent Man.
"Deliver me, O Lord, from the Evil Man: preserve me from the Violent Man" (Psa_140:1). This is another Psalm which expresses the plaintive supplications of the godly remnant in the "time of Jacob’s trouble." Three times over the Antichrist is denominated the Violent Man. In Psa_140:1 the remnant pray to be delivered from him. In Psa_140:4 the petition is repeated. In Psa_140:11 his doom is foretold. Cry is made for God to take vengeance upon this bloody persecutor: "Let the burning coals fall upon them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again. Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the Violent Man to overthrow him" (Psa_140:10-11). The Violent Man is a name which fully accords with his Beast-like character. It tells of his ferocity and rapacity.
XIII. The Assyrian.
"O Assyrian, the rod of Mine anger, and the staff in their hand in Mine indignation...Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed His whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the King of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks" (Isa_10:5, Isa_10:12). We cannot here attempt an exposition of the important passage in which these verses occur—that, in subsequent chapters, we shall treat in detail of the Antichrist in the Psalms, and the Antichrist in the Prophets—suffice it now to point out that it treats of the End-time (see Isa_10:12, Isa_10:20), and that the leading characteristics of the Man of Sin can be clearly discerned in what is here said of the Assyrian. Almost all pre-millennial students of prophecy are agreed that "the King of Isa_30:33 is the Antichrist, and yet in the two verses which precede, this "King" is identified with "the Assyrian."
XIV. The King of Babylon.
"Thou shalt take up this proverb against the King of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!" (Isa_14:4). We do not wish to anticipate what we shall discuss at length in our future studies, enough now to state it is our firm conviction that Scripture plainly teaches that there will be another Babylon which will eclipse the importance and glories of the one of the past, and that Babylon will be one of the headquarters of the Antichrist. He will have three: Jerusalem will be his religious headquarters, Rome his political, and Babylon his commercial. For those who desire to anticipate our future expositions, we recommend them to make a minute study of Isaiah 10, 11, 13, 14; Jeremiah 49:51; Zechariah 5, and Revelation 18.
XV. Son of the Morning.
"How art thou fallen from heaven O Lucifer, son of the Morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations" (Isa_14:12). "Lucifer is a Latin word which signifies the "morning star." "All the ancient versions and all the Rabbins make the word a noun denoting the bright one, or, more specifically, bright star, or according to the ancients more specifically still, the Morning Star or harbinger of daylight" (Dr. J. A. Alexander). This term "Lucifer" has been commonly regarded as one of the names of Satan, and what is here said of the Morning Star is viewed as describing his apostasy. Against this interpretation we have nothing to say, except to remark that we are satisfied it does not exhaust this remarkable scripture. A detailed exposition must be reserved for a later chapter. Sufficient now to point out that however Isaiah 14 may look back to the distant past when, through pride, Satan fell from his original estate, it most evidently looks forward to a coming day and gives another picture of the Antichrist. In this same passage "Lucifer" is termed "the Man that did make the earth to tremble" (Isa_14:16), and in his blasphemous boast "I will be like the Most High" (Isa_14:14), we have no difficulty in identifying him with the Man of Sin of 2Th_2:3-4. The force of this particular title "Morning Star" is seen by comparing it with Rev_22:16, where we learn that this is one of the titles of the God-man. The "Morning Star" speaks of Christ coming to usher in the great Day of rest for the earth. In blasphemous travesty of this Satan will send forth the mock messiah to usher in a false millennium.
XVI. The Spoiler.
"Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the Spoiler: for the Extortioner is at an end, the Spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. And in mercy shall the throne be established: and He shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness" (Isa_16:4-5). It will be observed that the verse in which the Antichrist is spoken of as the Spoiler comes immediately before the one where we read of the throne being established, a reference, of course, to the setting up of the Messianic Kingdom. These two things synchronize: the destruction of Antichrist, and the beginning of the real Messiah’s reign; hence we read here "the Spoiler ceaseth." A further reference to the Man of Sin under this title of the Spoiler is found in Jer_6:26: "O daughter of My people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mournings, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the Spoiler shall suddenly come upon thee." This is another title which views the Antichrist in connection with Israel. After the return of many of the Jews to Palestine, and after their rights have been owned by the Powers, and their security and success seem assured; their enemy, filled with satanic malice, will seek their extermination. "The Spoiler" contrasts him with the Lord Jesus who is the great Restorer (see Psa_69:4).
XVII. The Nail.
"In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall the Nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the Lord hath spoken it" (Isa_22:25). The last ten verses of this chapter should be read carefully. They furnish a striking foreshadowment of the End-time. Shebna was holding some office over (note "government" in Isa_22:21) Israel. Apparently he was a usurper. God announced that he should be set aside in shame, and the man of His choice—Eliakim—should take his place. These historical figures merge into prophetic characters. In Isa_22:22 we read that God says, "And the key of the house of David will lay upon His shoulder, so He shall open, and none shall shut; and He shall shut, and none shall open." As we know from Rev_3:7 this refers to none other than the Lord Jesus, and of Him it is here said, "And I will fasten Him as a Nail in a sure place; and He shall be for a glorious throne to His father’s house" (Isa_22:23). Then, in the closing verse of the chapter we read, "In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall the Nail that is fastened in a sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall." Just as Eliakim foreshadowed Christ, so Shebna pointed forward to the Antichrist; and just as in Isa_22:23 we have a prophecy announcing the establishment of Messiah’s Kingdom, so in Isa_22:25 we have foretold the overthrow of the false messiah’s kingdom.
XVIII. The Branch of the Terrible Ones.
"Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud; the Branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low" (Isa_25:5). The first five verses of this chapter contemplate the Enemy’s stronghold—Babylon—and the remainder of the chapter pictures the blessedness of the millennial era. In the fifth verse the Antichrist’s overthrow is announced: "The Branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low." With this should be compared Isa_14:19, where of Lucifer it is said, "Thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable Branch." This points another contrast. The "Branch" is one of the Messianic names: "Behold, I will bring forth My Servant, the Branch" (Zec_3:8); "Behold the man whose name is the Branch" (Zec_6:12). By placing together Isa_4:2 and Isa_14:19 the antithesis will be more evident. Of Christ it is said, "The Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious." Antichrist is called "an abominable Branch:" Christ is "the Branch of the Lord;" Antichrist is "the Branch of the terrible ones."
XIX. The Profane and Wicked Prince of Israel.
"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 come whose right it is; and I will give it Him" (Eze_21:25-27). The Profane and Wicked Prince of Israel here can be none other than the Antichrist, for we are expressly told that his day shall be when iniquity shall have an end." The reference is, of course, to Israel’s "iniquity," and their iniquity shall end at the appearing of the Messiah (see