CHAPTER NINE. THE ANTICHRIST IN THE PROPHETS.
The references to the Antichrist in the Prophets
are numerous; nor is this to be wondered at. It is there, more than anywhere
else in Scripture, that we learn of the future of both Israel and the Gentiles.
It is there we have the fullest information concerning End-time conditions, and
the completest description of the varied parts which the leading characters
shall play in those days. It would carry us beyond the scope designed for these
articles were to examine every passage in the Prophets which makes mention of
the Man of Sin and the numerous roles he will fill. Yet we do not desire to
pass by any of the more important allusions to him. We shall, therefore, make a
selection, and yet such a selection that we trust a complete outline at least
will be supplied. Certain scriptures, notably those which view the Antichrist
in connection with Babylon, will be waived now, because they will receive
separate consideration in a later chapter.
One other introductory remark needs to be made.
We are conscious that this chapter will probably be somewhat unsatisfactory to
a few of our readers, inasmuch as we shall be obliged to take a good deal for
granted. It is manifest that we cannot here attempt to give a complete analysis
of the passages where the different allusions to the Antichrist occur, nor
should this be necessary. We are writing to Bible students, therefore we shall
ask them to turn to the different places from which we quote and examine the
contexts so as to satisfy themselves that they treat of End-time conditions.
While in most instances the context will show that we are not reading into the
Scriptures what is not there, yet in a few cases they may fail us. This is
sometimes true with passages which contain prophecies concerning Christ. It is
often the case in the prophets that the Holy Spirit is treating of something
near at hand and then, without any warning, projects the view into the distant
future. But just as the New Testament enables us to determine which Old
Testament passages speak of Christ, so other scriptures help us to identify the
person of the Antichrist in verses where there is but an indefinite and passing
allusion to him.
1. ANTICHRIST IN ISAIAH.
A brief notice is taken of the Man of Sin in
chapter 16. The opening verses make it clear that conditions in the Tribulation
period are being described. They intimate how that the persecuted Jews flee to
the land of Moab for refuge - "Hide the outcasts; betray not him that
wandereth", makes this clear. These outcasts are definitely identified in v. 4,
where Jehovah terms them "Mine outcasts". The same verse goes on to tell why
they were outcasts, outcasts from Palestine: "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". Here the destruction of the Antichrist is noted. A further proof
that these verses describe what immediately precedes the Millennium is found in
the next verse, which conducts us to the beginning of the Millennium itself:
"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". Thus, in the light of other scriptures, there is little room
for doubt that the Spoiler and the Extortioner refer to none other than the Son
In 22:25 we have another incidental reference to
the Antichrist. For our comments on this verse we refer the reader to chapter
4, section 17.
"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).
This chapter is by no means easy to analyze: its structure seems complex. That
its contents point to a yet future date is intimated by its opening words -
compare other verses in Isaiah where "in that day" occur. As one reads the
chapter through it will be found that there is a peculiar alternation between
references to the Tribulation period and conditions in the Millennium. The
closing verse clearly refers to the end of the Tribulation period. So, also,
does the first verse with which we are now chiefly concerned.
Leviathan, the piercing Serpent, is, we believe,
one of the names of the Antichrist, compare chapter 3, section II, 2. A
comparison with a passage in Job confirms this conclusion. It is generally
agreed that "leviathan" in Job 41 refers to the crocodile, yet the commentators
do not appear to have seen in it anything more than a description of that
creature. But surely a whole chapter of Scripture would scarcely be devoted to
describing a reptile! Personally, we are satisfied that under the figure of
that treacherous and cruel monster we have a remarkable silhouette of the
Prince of darkness. Note the following striking points:
In verses 1 and 2 (of Job 41) the strength of
Leviathan is referred to. In v. 3 the question is asked "will he speak soft
words unto thee?": this is meaningless if only a crocodile is in view; but
it is very pertinent if we have here a symbolic description of Antichrist. In
v. 4 the question is put, "Will he make a covenant with Thee?": this,
too, is pointless if nothing but a reptile is the subject of the passage; but
if it looks to some Monster more dreadful, it serves to identify. "None is so
fierce that dare stir him up" (v. 10): how closely this corresponds with Rev.
13:4 - "Who is able to make war with the Beast?" "His teeth are terrible round
about" (v. 14): how aptly this pictures the fierceness and cruelty of the
Antichrist! "His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the
nether millstone" (v. 24): how accurately this portrays the moral depravity of
the Antichrist! "When he raiseth up himself the mighty are afraid...the arrow
cannot make him flee" (vv.25,26,28): how these words suggest the invincibility
of Antichrist so far as human power is concerned. "Upon earth there is not his
like, who is made without fear. He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over
all the children of pride" (vv.33,34). Surely these last verses remove all
doubt as to who is really before us here! The whole of Job 41 should be studied
carefully, for we are assured that it contains a remarkable but veiled
amplification of Isa. 27:1.
In Isa. 33 there is another reference to the
Antichrist. This chapter, like so many in Isaiah, passes from a notice of
Tribulation conditions to the Millennial state and back again. The opening
verse reads, "Woe to thee that spoileth, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest
treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! When thou shalt
cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal
treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee". This is evidently a
judgment pronounced upon the head of the false messiah. Two things serve to
identify him: he is the great Spoiler, and the one who shall deal treacherously
with Israel. It is in view of the perfidy and rapacity of their Enemy that the
godly remnant cry, "O Lord, be gracious unto us; we have waited for Thee: be
Thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble" (v.
2). A further word concerning the Antichrist is found in v. 8: "The highways
lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath
despised the cities, he regardeth no man". The last three statements in this
verse make it certain who is there in view. It is the Antichrist displayed in
his true colors; the one who breaks his covenant with Israel, sacks their
cities, and defies all human government to resist him.
A brief notice must be taken of 57:9 ere we turn
from Isaiah. In this chapter we find God arraigning Israel for their horrid
idolatries and wickedness. The opening verse again makes it clear that it is
the Tribulation period which is in view: "The righteous perisheth, and no man
layeth it to heart", etc. Following this we have the various indictments which
God makes against the unfaithful Jews - "But draw near hither, ye sons of the
sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore" (v. 3, etc.). The remainder
of the chapter continues in the same strain. Among the many charges which God
brings against Israel is this: "And thou wentest to the King with ointment, and
didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst
debase thyself even unto hell" (v. 9). It is evident that as this chapter is
describing the sins of Israel committed in the End-time that "the King" here
must be the false messiah. Incidentally this verse furnishes one of the many
proofs that the Antichrist will be king over the Jews.
2. ANTICHRIST IN JEREMIAH.
In the 4th chapter of this prophet there is a
vivid description of the fearful afflictions which shall come upon the
inhabitants of Palestine. Doubtless, what is there said received a tragic
fulfillment in the past. But like most, if not all prophecy, this one will
receive a later and final accomplishment. There are several statements found in
it which indicate that it treats of the End-time. The plainest of these is
found in the closing verse, where we read, "For I have heard a voice as of a
woman in travail, and the anguish as of her which bringeth forth her first
child, the voice of the daughter of Zion". It is the "birth-pangs" of Matt.
24:8 (see Greek) which is in view. The sore trials which Israel shall then
undergo are tragically depicted: "Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather
together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities.
Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from
the north, and a great destruction. The Lion is come up from his thicket, and
the Destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to
make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an
inhabitant" (vv. 5-7). The Destroyer of the Gentiles now turns to vent his
fiendish malignity upon the holy land. Destruction is in his heart. Terrible
shall be his onslaught: "Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots
shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for
we are spoiled" (v. 13). Fearful will be the devastations his fury shall
accomplish: The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen:
They shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be
forsaken, and not a man dwell therein" (v. 29).
In 6:26,27 there is a remarkable statement made
concerning the Antichrist: "O daughter of My people, gird thee with sackcloth,
and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most
bitter lamentation: for the Spoiler (Destroyer, as in 4:7) shall suddenly come
upon us". This Spoiler is the Destroyer of the Gentiles. But it is what follows
in the next verse which is so striking: "I have set thee for a tower and
a fortress among My people, that thou mayest know and try their way". Here we
learn that, after all, the Antichrist is but a tool in the hands of Jehovah. It
is He who sets him in the midst of Israel to "try" them. A parallel statement
is found in Isa. 10:5,6, where the Lord says of the Assyrian "I will send him
against a hypocritical nation". It reminds us very much of what we read
concerning Pharaoh in Rom. 9:17. He was "raised up" by God to accomplish His
purpose. Even so shall it be with this one whom Pharaoh foreshadowed. He shall
be an instrument in God's hand to chastise recreant Israel.
Chap. 15 contains brief allusions to the
Antichrist. In v.8 we have a statement similar to what was before us in the
last passage. Speaking to Israel God says, "I have brought upon them against
the mother of the young men a Spoiler at noonday: I have caused him to fall
upon it suddenly, and terrors upon the city". It is the Lord, then, (behind
Satan) who brings this Spoiler against them. After His purpose has been
accomplished, after the Antichrist has done what (unknown to himself) God had
appointed, we read how that the Lord assures His people, "I will deliver thee
out of the hand of the Wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the
Terrible" (v. 21). Thus will God demonstrate His supremacy over the Son of
25:38 takes us back a little and notices the
awful desolation which the Antichrist brings upon the land of Israel: "He hath
forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the
fierceness of the Oppressor, and because of his fierce anger".
3. ANTICHRIST IN EZEKIEL.
We shall notice here but two passages in this
prophet. First, in 21:25-27 - "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
So far as we are aware, all pre-millennial
students regard this passage as a description of the Antichrist. It pictures
him as Satan's parody of the Son of Man seated upon "the throne of His glory".
It sets him forth as the priest-king. Just as in the Millennium the Lord Jesus
will "be a Priest upon His throne" (Zech. 6:13), so will the Antichrist
combine in his person the headships of both the civil and religious realms. He
will be what the popes have long aspired to be - head of the World-State, and
head of the World-Church.
"And thou, O deadly wounded Wicked One, the
Prince of Israel, whose day is come, in the time of the iniquity of the end;
thus saith the Lord: remove the mitre, and take off the crown" (R. V.). This is
clearly Israel's last king, ere the King of kings and Lord of lords returns to
the earth. He is here termed "the Prince of Israel" as the true Christ is
denominated "Messiah the Prince" in Dan. 9:25. The description "O deadly
wounded Wicked One" looks forward to Rev. 13:12, where we read, "The first
Beast whose deadly wound was healed"! "Remove the mitre and take
off the crown" point to his assumption of both priestly and kingly
honors. The Heb. word for "mitre" here is in every other passage used of the
head-dress of Israel's high priest! Finally, the statement that his "day is
come...in the time of iniquity of the end" establishes, beyond a doubt, the
identity of this person.
In the opening verses of Ezek. 28 we have a
striking view of the Man of Sin under the title of "the Prince of Tyre", just
as what is said of "the King of Tyre" in the second half of the chapter is an
esoteric allusion to Satan. First, we are told his "heart is lifted up" (v. 2),
which is precisely what is said to his father, the Devil, in v. 17. Second, he
makes the boast "I am God" and "I sit in the seat of God" (v. 2), which is
parallel with 2 Thess. 2:4. Third, it is here said of him, "Behold, thou art
wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee" (v. 3),
which intimates he will be endowed with superhuman wisdom by that one of whom
this same chapter declares, "Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom" (v. 12).
Fourth, it is said of him, "By thy wisdom and by thine understanding thou hast
gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures" (v. 4).
Thus will he be able to dazzle the worshippers of Mammon by his Croseus-like
wealth, and out-do Solomon in the glory of his kingdom. Finally, his death by
the sword is here noted, see vv. 7,8.
4. ANTICHRIST IN DANIEL.
It is here that we find the fullest
description of the Man of Sin. First, he is looked at under the figure of "the
little horn". As there has been some dispute whether this expression really
applies to him, we propose to examine the more carefully what is here said of
"the little horn". Personally, we have long been convinced that this expression
refers to none other than the Antichrist. There are a number of plain marks
which make it comparatively easy to recognize his person, whenever Scripture
brings him before us. For example: his insolent and blasphemous pride; his
exalting himself against and above God; his impious and cruel warfare against
the people of God; his sudden, terrible, and supernatural end. Let us compare
these features with what is said of "the little horn" in Dan. 7 and 8.
We turn first to Dan. 7. In vv.7 and 8 we read,
"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and
terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and
brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was
diverse from all the beasts which were before it; and it had ten horns. I
considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little
horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots:
and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking
great things". This refers to the rise of "the little horn" within the bounds
of the Roman Empire, for that is what is represented by the "fourth beast". The
first thing said of the little horn is that he has eyes like the eyes of man,
which speak of intelligence, and a mouth speaking great things - the Heb. word
signifies "very great", and the reference is, no doubt, to his lofty
pretensions and his daring blasphemies.
In 7:21 it is further said of him that he "made
war with the saints, and prevailed against them". This contemplates his
persecution of the godly Jews, and agrees perfectly with Rev. 13:7; "And it was
given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them". In v. 25 we
are told, "He shall speak great words against the Most High". Surely this
serves to identify this "little horn" as the first beast of Rev. 13: "And there
was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies" (v. 5). If
further proof be needed, it is supplied by the remainder of verse 25: "And
shall wear out the saints of the Most High...and they shall be given into his
hand until a time and times and the dividing of time". A "time" equals a year
(see Dan. 4:23 and Rev. 12:14, and cf. 12:6), so that a "time and times and the
dividing of time" would be three and one-half years during which the saints are
given into his hand. This corresponds exactly with Rev. 13:5, where of the
first Beast, the Antichrist, it is said, "And power was given unto him to
continue forty and two months" - in a later chapter we shall give a number of
proofs to show that the first Beast of Rev. 13 is the Antichrist.
In Dan. 8 the Little Horn is before us again, and
that it is the same dread personage as in chapter 7 appears from what is
predicted of him. First, he is referred to as "a king of fierce countance"
(8:23), which agrees with "whose look was more stout than his fellows" (7:20).
Second, it is said of him that he "waxed exceeding great (first) towards the
south, and (second) towards the east, and (third) toward the pleasant land"
(8:9), which agrees with "there came up among them another little horn, before
whom there were three of the first horns plucked up" (7:8). Third, it is said
that he "shall destroy the mighty and the holy people" (8:24), which agrees
with "and the same horn made war with the saints and prevailed against them"
(7:21). There should, then, be no doubt whatever that the "little horn" of Dan.
7 and the "little horn" of Dan. 8 refer to one and the same person. Their moral
features coincide: both, from an insignificant beginning, become great in the
end: both persecute the people of God: both are stricken down by direct
interposition of God. We may add that Messrs. B. W. Newton, James Inglis, G. H.
Pember, Sir Robert Anderson, Drs. Tregilles, J. H. Brookes, Haldeman, and a
host of other devout scholars and students, take the same view, namely, that
the "little horn" of Dan. 7 and 8 and the Man of Sin is one and the same
Let us now consider briefly what is revealed
concerning the Antichrist under this title of his, the "little horn". We
confine ourself to Dan. 8:23-25.
First, he is "a king of fierce countenance". This
we believe is a literal description of his facial expression, though we are
satisfied that it also has a moral significance. In Deut. 28:50 we read of "a
nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old nor
show favor to the young". In the light of this scripture it seems clear that
when the Antichrist is denominated the "King of fierce countenance" the
reference is not only to his actual features, but that it also intimates he
will be empowered to face the most perplexing and frightful dangers and the
most appalling scenes of horror without flinching or blanching. It is
significant that the reference in Deut. 28:50 is to the Romans, while
what is said of the Antichrist in Dan. 8:23 relates, specially, to his
connections with Greece. The two dominant characteristics of these
Powers will be combined in the Man of Sin. There will be concentrated in him
the irresistible will of the Romans and the brilliant intellect of the
Second, we are told that he shall be able to
"understand dark sentences". The Heb. noun for "dark sentences" is used of
Samson's riddle (Judges 14:12, of the Queen of Sheba's hard questions (1 Kings
10:1), and of the dark sayings of the wise (Prov. 1:6), which are too
profound to be understood by the simple. This characteristic of the King of
fierce countance, that he shall be able to "understand dark sentences",
suggests an attempted rivalry of Christ as the Revealer of secret things. This
is one of the fascinations by which the Antichrist will dazzle humanity. He
will present himself as one in whom are hidden treasures of wisdom and
knowledge. He will bewitch the world by his solutions of the enigmas of life,
and most probably by his revelation of occult powers implanted in men hitherto
unsuspected by most, and of forces and secrets of nature previously
Third, it is said "And his power shall be mighty,
but not by his own power" (8:24). This is explained in Rev. 13:2, where we are
told, "And the Dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority".
Just as we read of the Lord Jesus, "The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth
the works" (John 14:10), so shall the Son of Perdition perform his prodigies by
power from his father, the Devil. This is exactly what 2 Thess. 2:9 declares,
"Whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying
wonders". Thus will men be deceived by the miracles he performs.
Fourth, he will "destroy wonderfully, and shall
prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people"
(8:24). This has received enlargement in the previous chapter, where we have
given several illustrations from the Psalms of the Antichrist persecuting
Fifth, "And through his policy also he shall
cause craft to prosper in his hand" (8:25). The Heb. word for "policy" denotes
wisdom and understanding. It was the word used by David to Solomon, when he
said, "Only the Lord give thee wisdom" (1 Chron. 22:12), as it is also employed
by Huram when writing to Solomon: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, that made
heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with
prudence" (2 Chron. 2:12). The Heb. word for "craft" - "He shall cause
craft to prosper" - is the one employed by Isaac when speaking to Esau
concerning Jacob: "Thy brother came with subtilty" (Gen. 27:35). It has
in view the chicanery and treacherous methods the Antichrist will employ. "By
peace shall destroy many" (v. 25) refers to the fact that he will pose as the
Prince of peace, and after gaining men's confidence - particularly that of the
Jews - will take advantage of this to spring his bloody schemes upon them.
Sixth, it is said "He shall also stand up against
the Prince of princes" (8:25). This unmistakably identifies him with the Beast
of Rev. 19:19, where we are told, "And I saw the Beast, and the kings of the
earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on
the horse, and against His army".
Seventh, "But he shall be broken without hand"
(8:25). This expression means that he shall come to his doom without human
intervention or instrumentality - see Dan. 2:45; 2 Cor. 5:1, etc. That the King
of fierce countenance shall be broken without hand refers to his destruction by
the Lord Himself - "And He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and
with the breath of His lips shall He slay the Wicked" (Is. 11:4).
We turn now to Dan. 9:26,27. This forms a part of
the celebrated prophecy of the seventy "weeks" or hebdomads. We cannot now
attempt an exposition of the whole prophecy: sufficient to point out its
principal divisions and examine that part of it which bears on our present
The prophecy begins with v. 24 and concerns the
seventy hebdomads, a word signifying "sevens". Each "hebdomad" equals seven
years, so that a period of 490 years in all is here comprehended. These seventy
"sevens" are divided into three portions: First, seven "sevens" which concerned
the re-building of Jerusalem, following the Babylonian captivity. Second,
sixty-two "sevens" unto "Messiah the Prince", that is, unto the time when He
formally presented Himself to Israel as their King: this receiving its
fulfillment in the so-called "Triumphal Entrance into Jerusalem". Third, the
last "seven" which is severed from the others. It should be carefully noted
that we are expressly told that "after threescore and two weeks (which added to
the preceding seven would make sixty-nine in all up to this point) shall
Messiah be cut off". The reference is to the Cross when Christ was cut off from
Israel and from the land of the living. This occurred after the sixty-ninth
week before the seventieth began.
The sixty-ninth terminated with the formal
presentation of Christ to Israel as their "Prince". This is described by
Matthew (the distinctively Jewish Gospel) in chapter 21. The rejection
of their Prince caused the break between Christ and Israel. It is very striking
to note that (following the rejection) Matthew records three distinct proofs or
evidences of this break. The first is found in Matt. 21:19 in the cursing of
the "fig tree", which signified the rejection of the Nation. The second was His
sorrowful announcement from the brow of Olivet that the time of Israel's
visitation was past and her overthrow now certain (Matt. 23:37 and cf. Luke
19:41-44). This was the abandonment of the City. The third was His solemn
pronouncement concerning the Temple: "Behold your House is left unto you
desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall
say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Matt. 23:38, 39). This
was the giving up of the Sanctuary.
The entire Christian dispensation (which began
with the crucifixion of Christ) is passed by unnoticed in this prophecy of the
seventy weeks". It comes in, parenthetically, between the sixty-ninth and the
seventieth. What follows in Dan. 9:26,27 concerns what will happen after the
Christian dispensation is ended when God again takes up Israel and accomplishes
His purpose concerning them. This purpose will be accomplished by means of sore
judgment which will be God's answer to Israel's rejection of His Son. But let
us examine more closely the form this judgment will take.
The judgment of God upon the people who were
primarily responsible for the cutting off of their Messiah was to issue in the
destruction of their city and sanctuary (9:26). This destruction was to be
brought about by the people of a Prince who should subsequently appear, and be
himself destroyed. The Prince here is the Antichrist, but the Antichrist
connected with and at the head of the Roman Empire in its final form. Now we know that it in A. D. 70, but that "the
Prince" here does not refer to the one who then headed the Roman armies is
clear from the fact that Dan. 9:27 informs us this Prince is to play his part
in the yet future seventieth week - further proof is furnished in that v. 26
carries us to the end (i.e. of Israel's desolations) which is to be marked by a
"flood", and Isa. 28:14,15 intimates that this is to be after Israel's covenant
with Antichrist: "Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that
rule this people which was in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a
covenant with Death, and with Hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing
scourge shall pass through it, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies
our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves". To this God replies,
"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" (v. 18). The "overflowing scourge" is, literally, "the
scourge coming in like a flood".
A few words remain to be said on 9:27: "And he
shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week
he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the
overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the
consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate". The
subject of this verse is the Antichrist, "the Prince that shall come" of the
previous verse. By the time he appears on the scene large numbers of Jews will
have been carried back to their land (cf. Isa. 18). With them the Prince makes
a covenant, as of old Jehovah made one with Abraham, and as Christ will yet do
with Israel, see Jer. 31. This will be regarded by God with indignation, as a
covenant with Death, and an agreement with Sheol. But while this covenant is
accepted by the majority of the Jews, God will again reserve to Himself a
remnant who will refuse to bow the knee to Baal: hence the qualification, "He
shall confirm the covenant with many," not all.
"In the midst of the week he shall cause the
sacrifice and the oblation to cease". The returned Jews will rebuild their
temple and there offer sacrifices. But these, so far from being acceptable to
God, will be an offense. There seems a clear reference to this in the opening
verses of Isa. 66, which describe conditions just before the Lord's appearing
(see v. 15). And here the Lord says, "He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a
man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck", etc. (v. 3).
But three and a half years before the end, the Prince will issue a decree
demanding that the sacrifices must cease, and the worship of Jehovah be
transferred to himself, for it is at this point he shall "exalt himself above
all that is called God, or that is worshipped" (2 Thess. 2:4). The fact that we
are here told that he causes the sacrifices and the oblation to cease, at once
identifies this Prince of the Romans as the Antichrist - cf. 8:11. The
remaining portion of 9:27 will be considered when we come to Matt. 24:15.
We turn now to Dan. 11, which is undoubtedly the
most difficult chapter in the book. It contains a prophecy which is remarkable
for its fulness of details. Much of it has already received a most striking
fulfillment, but like other prophecies, we are fully satisfied that this one
yet awaits its final accomplishment. That Dan. 11 treats of the Antichrist all
pre-millennial students are agreed, but as to how much of it refers to him
there is considerable difference of opinion. A small minority, from whom we
must dissent, confine the first thirty-five verses to the past. Others make the
division in the middle of the chapter and regard all from v. 21 onwards as a
description of the Man of Sin, and with them the writer is in hearty accord. A
few consider the entire chapter, after v. 2, as containing a prediction of the
Antichrist under the title of "The King of the North", and while we are not
prepared to unreservedly endorse this, yet it is fully allowed that there is
not a little to be said in its favor.
We shall here confine ourself to the second half
of Dan. 11. Our present limits of space, however, will permit of nothing more
than brief notes upon it. Commencing at v. 31 we read, "And in his estate shall
stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom:
but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries". The
history of this "vile person" is here divided into three parts: first, the
means by which he obtains the kingdom: vv. 21,22; second, the interval which
elapses between the time when he makes a covenant with Israel, the taking away
of the daily sacrifice and the setting up of the abomination of desolation: vv.
23-31; third, the brief season when he comes out in his true colors and enters
upon his career of open defiance of God, reaching on to his destruction: vv.
32-45. Thus from v. 21 to the end of the chapter we have a continuous history
of the Antichrist.
"In his estate shall stand up a vile person...he
shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries". This epithet
"the vile person" is a manifest antitheses from "the Holy One of God". This
twenty-first verse takes notice of the Man of Sin posing as the Prince of
peace. He shall achieve what his antitype, Absalom, tried but failed to do -
"Obtain the kingdom by flatteries".
"And with the arms of a flood shall they be
overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the Prince of the
Covenant" (v. 22). This Vile Person is denominated "the Prince of the
Covenant", which, at once, identifies him with the Prince of 9:26,27. Then we
are told in v.23 "And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully:
for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people". This
"league" or "covenant" is doubtless the seven-years-treaty confirmed with
Israel, which is made at an early point in the Antichrist's career, and which
corresponds with the fact that at the first he appears as a "little horn", the
"small people" being the Syrians - cf. our remarks on Dan. 8:8,9 in chapter
Vv. 25 and 26 describe his victory over the king
of Egypt. Then, in v. 28 we read, "Then shall he return into his land with
great riches". His land is Assyria. The mention of great riches corresponds
with what we are told of the Antichrist in Psa. 52:7; Ezek. 28:4, etc.
"And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall
pollute the sanctuary of strength and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and
they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate". This is clear evidence
that these verses are treating of that which takes place during the seventieth
week. The mention of polluting the Sanctuary is an unmistakable reference to
"the abomination of desolation", i.e. the setting up of an idol to the
Antichrist in the Temple. Note the repeated use of the plural pronoun in this
verse; the "they" refer to the Antichrist and the False Prophet, cf. Rev. 13.
It is significant that in the next verse (v. 32) there is an allusion made to
the faithful remnant - "The people that do know their God."
"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" (v.
36). That "the King" here is the "Vile Person" is not only indicated by the
absence of any break in the prophecy, as also by the connecting "and" with
which the verse opens, but is definitely established by the fact that in v. 27
(note context) the Vile Person is expressly termed a "king"! The contents of
this thirty-sixth verse clearly connects "the king" with the Man of Sin of 2
Thess. 2:3,4, and also as definitely identifies him with the "little horn" -
cf. 7:23 and 8: 25. The remaining verses of Dan. 11 have been before us in
previous chapters and need not detain us now.
5. ANTICHRIST IN THE MINOR PROPHETS.
Here a wide field of study is opened, but we
must content ourself with but a few selections and brief comments on them.
Hosea makes several references to the Man of Sin. In 8:10 he is termed "the
King of princes', as such he is Satan's imitation of the King of kings. In
10:15 he is named "the King of Israel", which shows his connection with the
Jews. In 12:7 he is called a "Merchant" or Trafficker, and of him it is said,
"The balances of deceit are in his hands: he loveth to oppress", with this
should be compared Rev. 6:5. These words denote his twofold character in
connection with the Jews: first he makes them believe he is the true Christ;
second, he ultimately stands forth as their great Enemy.
Joel alludes to him as the head of the "northern
army", i.e. the Assyrian. And here God declares that He will "drive him into a
land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea; and his stink
shall come up, and his ill savor shall come up, because he has magnified to do
great things" (2:20).
Amos speaks of him as "an Adversary" which shall
be "even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee,
and thy palaces shall be spoiled" (3:11). That this is referring to the
End-time is clear from the verses that follow, where we read, "That in the day
that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him", etc. (v. 14).
Micah terms him "the Assyrian", and of him it is
said, when he "shall come into our land, and when he shall tread in our
palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal
men...thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian" (5:5,6).
Nahum has this to say of him: "There is one come
out of thee, that imagineth evil against the Lord, a wicked counseller. Thus
saith the Lord; Though they be quiet, and likewise many, yet thus shall they be
cut down, when he shall pass through. Though I have afflicted thee, I will
afflict thee no more...for the Wicked shall no more pass through thee"
(1:11,12,15). These verses contain another of the many antitheses between
Christ and the Antichrist. The One is the Wonderful Counseller" (Isa. 9:6); the
other, the "Wicked Counseller".
Habakkuk describes him as one whose "soul is
lifted up" and "is not upright in him", and as one who "transgresseth by wine",
as "a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and
is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and
heapeth unto him all people" (2:4,5).
Zechariah denominates him "the Idol Shepherd that
leaveth the flock", and then pronounces judgment upon him - "The sword shall be
upon his arm, and upon his right eye" (11:17).
 It is the Man of Sin who is to be the last
great Caesar: this will be made clear in our study of the Antichrist in the