have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many
antichrists.”—I John 2: 18.
JOHN, writing in the first century of the Christian Era, tells us that there were many antichrists in his day, but he would have us to know that “Antichrist” was yet to come. The fact that “many antichrists” had already come, but that “Antichrist” (in the singular) was due in the future, indicates that there would be a final Antichrist; and this, together with other Scriptures, teaches that all the antichrists of the ages would be summed up in the final Antichrist. As the coming of the final Antichrist was in the future at the time John wrote, so we believe that his coming is still a future event. As we proceed to the study of this subject, we shall find it convenient to consider it under the following heads:
1. His Origin.
2. Developments of His Kingdom.
3. His Kingdom now Developing.
4. His Seat.
5. His Mark.
6. His Identity.
7. His Doom.
us look to the Lord for inspiration in studying this important subject.
1. His Origin.
word “anti” means opposed to, or against.
The word “antichrist” literally means “opposed to, or set over
against Christ.” The original
spirit of Antichrist does not aim directly against the Godhead, but against
Christ, the second
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
in the Godhead. Of course, the
Three Persons are so united that whatever opposes One Person necessarily opposes
the Three; but the original purpose of this spirit was to oppose Christ alone.
Hence, the term “Antichrist.”
In order to get the very origin of the spirit of antichrist, we shall
have to look back ages before the creation of man.
From Col. 1: 16, we learn that Christ created all things in heaven,
whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers.
This will include all the angels, of whom he created an innumerable
multitude. (Psalm 68. 17; Heb.
12: 22.) The angels, however, are
not all of the same dignity and office. In
Rev. 8: 2, we read of seven angels who stand before God.
Jesus speaks of angels who “do always behold the face of the Father
in heaven.” (Matt. 18: 10.) The
sons of God in general come before Him only at appointed times.
(Job 1: 6.) Among the
angels there is a complete organism, in which each has his prescribed sphere,
in orders towering above orders, and princedoms over princedoms, in
arithmetical and geometrical accuracy, till we reach the highest order of
angels standing in the immediate presence of God.
What perfect order! No
discord here—everything runs in unity and harmony.
Yet, alas! there came a time when evil got in among these heavenly
orders, and infected many of the “sons of God.”
The Scriptures tell us just how this sorrowful disaster came about.
By a close study of the Word it will be seen that self‑exaltation
was the primary cause. There is a
passage which throws a great deal of light on this subject.
“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the
devils are subject unto us through thy name.
And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and
over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto
you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”—Luke
10: 17‑20. The
were rejoicing because of their visible success. Such rejoicing is in itself
immediately sounded a note of warning. He
says, rejoice not because of your visible success, but rejoice that your names
are written in heaven, stating that Satan fell from heaven as lightning, and
implying that self‑exaltation was the cause of his fall.
While one of the brightest of the “Heavenly Host,” Satan dared to
lift himself up, and instituted a revolt against his Maker.
The general idea is that this revolt was made against the Godhead, but
I do not so understand it. While,
of course, the Godhead was necessarily involved, yet I believe the revolt was
made directly against the second Person in the Godhead.
This revolt marks the origin of the spirit of antichrist.
found its starting point, let us trace the spirit of antichrist through the
ages up to the final Antichrist himself.
All specimens of the spirit of antichrist sprang from the devil.
We must not suppose, however, that every act of the devil is, strictly
speaking, from the spirit of antichrist.
In the spirit of antichrist we see only one special feature of the
devil’s work, and this feature of his work can be easily traced through the
ages of the world’s history.
As we pursue our course we shall see that this spirit manifests
itself chiefly along two lines viz., religious and political.
Religion and politics are two elements found in every government.
No government can exist without a religion.
More than that, the laws of any people are based upon the religious convictions
of that people. There is a
religion of the Lord Jesus Christ, and there is a religion of Antichrist.
The religion of Christ has always been in some way associated with
blood; the religion of Antichrist has always been without blood.
The covering of man’s nakedness through the shedding of blood (Gen.
3: 21) was the impartation of the religion of Christ; the covering of his
nakedness without the shedding of blood (Gen. 3: 7) was the religion of
Antichrist. Abel had a religion
which was connected with blood (Gen. 4: 4), and hence, the religion
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
Christ; Cain had a religion with which was associated no blood (Gen. 4: 3),
and hence, the religion of Antichrist. Noah’s
ark rose above the earth, and carried animals across the flood, that were
slain in sacrifice on the other side of the flood (Gen. 8: 20), and hence, it
set forth the religion of Christ; Nimrod’s tower rested on the earth (Gen.
11: 4), and had no blood in connection with it, and hence, it set forth the
religion of Antichrist. It is
in connection with Nimrod’s tower that we first notice the political element
coming in connection with the religious element of the spirit of Antichrist.
In fact, Nimrod was the first person who ever instituted a government
this side the flood. If there
were any governments before Nimrod’s day, they surely fell at the time of
the flood. From the time of
Nimrod on till we reach the final Antichrist we shall be able to trace both
the religious and the political elements of this spirit together.
Before leaving Nimrod’s tower, however, we shall jot down a few
points in connection with it, and these points we wish all of our readers to
bear in hind. It is clear that
Nimrod’s purpose in building this tower was: 1st, To counteract Noah’s
religion, and hence, the religion of Christ; 2nd, To exalt self above all
others; 3rd, To establish a government in connection with his religion; 4th,
That his religion and government should have one common center, and that
this center should be in the land of Shinar; 5th, That his subjects should put
their means and labor together into one place; 6th, That his authority should
be world‑wide; and 7th, That all his subjects should be united under a
certain sign, badge, or mark. That
Nimrod’s tower was intended to counteract Noah’s religion is
brought out by the fact that he purposed to build it so high that its top
might reach to heaven. Of course,
his idea was to build a tower so high that, should there come another flood,
he and his subjects could escape it by climbing to the top of the tower.
The whole thing was grounded on unbelief.
God had promised that there should not be another flood. (Gen.
21, 22; 9: 8‑17.) Nimrod
treated the promises of God as below his notice or respect.
As much as to say, “God had nothing to do with the flood; it was the
result of a natural cause; even if God spoke to Noah and promised not to send
another flood. He knows nothing
of which he speaks. I am a man of
sense; I shall provide a sure place of safety for me and my people.”
Nimrod’s plan of salvation was based on works without any blood.
That Nimrod desired to exalt himself above all others is made clear by
his self‑exalted terms in Gen. 11: 4: “Let us build us a
city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name,
lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”
“US” a city, and a tower rising above the city, and “US” a name
on top of the tower—here is “Self” going to seed.
That Nimrod intended to establish a government in connection with his
religion there can be no doubt: “The beginning of his kingdom was
Babel.”—Gen. 10: 10. That the
religious and governmental centre was to be in Shinar can not be denied:
“His kingdom was . . . . in the land of Shinar.”—Gen. 10: 10.
“They found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt
there.”—Gen. 11: 2. That his
subjects put their means and labor together into one place we see from the
fact that they all worked together in building a city and a tower.
That he intended to make his authority world‑wide is implied in
his very name, “Nimrod,” signifying “rebel, or a rebellious panther.”
“He begun to be a mighty one in the earth.
He was a mighty hunter (after men as well as beasts) before the Lord:
wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the
Lord.”—Gen. 10: 8, 9. He
began his kingdom at Babel, but he pushed it on through conquest to “Erech,
and Accad, is no telling how far he would have pushed his authority, had and
Calneh, in the land of Shinar. He
went out into Assyria, and builded Nineveh, and the streets of the city
Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great
city.”—Gen. 10: 10‑13. (Margin.)
SECOND COMING OF JESUS.
he not been hindered. That all his subjects were united under a certain sign, badge, or mark is clearly brought out. Hebrew scholars tell us that the word in Gen. 11: 4, translated “name” means token, sign, banner, ensign, or mark of confederation, fellowship, and organized unity. These seven points in connection with Nimrod’s tower are well established, and should be borne in mind by each reader of these pages.
If God had not hindered Nimrod, I believe that the kingdom of
Antichrist would have been fully established at that time.
Nimrod had certainly started a government like unto that one which the
Scriptures teach will be in the time of the final Antichrist.
God saw what would be the outcome, of course, and said, Now they have
begun, “nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to
do.”—Gen. 11: 6. This
certainly sounds like the beginning of the government of Antichrist, for it
is stated that when Antichrist does come he “shall do according to his own
will.”—Dan. 11: 16. Nimrod
had started out on this wise, but God, seeing what the outcome would be,
defeated him in his work. (Gen. 11: 8.)
The defeat of the kingdom of Babel, however, did not mean the final
overthrow of Antichrist government. Far
front it. The devil is very
persevering. After the dispersion
of the people from Babel, the devil began to work to bring about another
confederation, and to imbibe the spirit of antichrist into all the governments
of the world.
Thus we have found the starting point of the spirit of antichrist,
and have traced it until we find it taking hold, with a high hand, of the
governments of the world. What
further remains to be said of the developments of his kingdom, and other
points connected with the subject, we must leave for future chapters.