IN the following pages we invite attention to a momentous and appalling subject, the manifestation of the personal Antichrist. Well-meaning writers have often deprived this impending event of its significance, and of a large portion of its terrors, by confusing some of the many antichrists with that mysterious being who, together with his prophet of lies, shall be cast into the burning lake a full age before all the persistently rebellious are consigned to a similar doom.* But now that we are nearing the day in which he must be revealed, it is high time for those who fear God to understand the secret contained in His Word, and to know that the Antichrist, when he shall appear, will tower far above all the sons of Belial, being nothing less than Satan’s counterfeit of the Christ Who is infinitely exalted above all believers.
* Compare Rev. 19: 20 with 20: 1-3, 7-10.
For the manifestation of the personal Christ has already taken place, and its records are in our hands. The Perfection of Righteousness, the Beauty of Divine Love, has been first presented to us; and, if we have given our hearts to Him, no harm can befall us from the frightful and culminating wickedness of which our earth will shortly be the scene.
It is well known that the Manicheans, who caused so much trouble in the past ages of Christianity, believed in the eternal and independent existence of spirit and matter, of a good and an evil deity - or, as we should say, of God and Satan - the former consisting of pure light and having no definite shape, the latter enclosed within a gross material body. By the grace and revelation of God we have been better taught, and understand that both Satan and matter are creatures, neither of which has existed from eternity.
Nevertheless, we are well aware that there are at present two great and utterly diverse powers engaged in ceaseless conflict upon our earth, and continually drawing men into contrary directions. And although it is certain that One of these [Page 5] antagonists might at any moment put forth sufficient strength to decide the battle, yet He has not hitherto chosen to do so. And, consequently, to every man two masters are still presented, so opposed to each other that he cannot serve them both, and must either hate the one and love the other, or else hold to the one and despise the other. Inclination to either must mean alienation from the other, and it was a fundamental principle which Paul expressed when he said to the Thessalonians, “Ye turned to God from idols.”*
* 1 Thess. 1: 9.
Now of each of these contending powers, there is a centre in the invisible world, and a visible manifestation upon earth. The Centre and Source of Light is God, the Father, Who is in the Heavens: the centre and strength of the Powers of Darkness is “the great Dragon,” “that old Serpent called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.” We may, therefore, term the latter the Antigod.
Again; the visible manifestation of God is the Lord Jesus Christ, the effulgence of His Father’s glory and the very image of His Substance Who, after having lived on our earth in obscurity for [Page 6] thirty years, openly manifested Himself to the world for three years and a half.
In Him perfect righteousness was unveiled in the sight of all men. No one could convince Him of sin: even the Prince of Darkness himself, spite of all his skill and cunning in temptation, was utterly baffled, and constrained to admit that he had nothing in the Christ. And yet the world rejected this Holy One, and desired neither His propitiation nor His teachings.
That such would be the result of His mission had from its beginning been known to Himself, and on one occasion, in an early stage of the conflict, when pained by the perversity of the Jewish leaders, He uttered the memorable words;- “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.”*
* John 5: 43.
Thus He intimated, that, since the world would have none of the Christ, the Powers of Darkness should be permitted to dispatch to it a rival plenipotentiary corresponding to Himself. The Antichrist should come, and, as we may infer from other Scriptures, should be the effulgence of the Antigod’s [Page 7] glory, and the very image of his substance. For such, probably, is the meaning, or a meaning, of the similarity in form of the Dragon and the Beast of the Apocalypse.*
* Compare Rev. 12: 3, and 13: 1.
Again; just as the Father had committed all power to the Son, and had bidden Him to sit upon His own Throne; so the Dragon should give his power to the Beast, and his throne, and great authority.*
* Rev. 13: 2.
In every particular the parallelism should be complete, even to the very period of manifestation. For as the Christ had borne testimony to the world, and patiently endured the contradiction of sinners, for three years and a half, until the end of which time no man could lay hands on Him, because His hour had not yet come; so the Antichrist should speak great words against the Most High, and should wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws, and they should be given into his hands, until a time and times and half a time.* And that we are correct in interpreting this expression to mean a year two years and half a year, or three [Page 8] years and a half, is certain: for we are elsewhere told that power shall be given unto the Beast to continue forty and two months.**
* Dan. 7: 25. ** Rev. 12: 5.
We might carry on this comparison to a great length, and shall have to notice other points in it by-and-by: for the present, however, we add but two instances, the first being one of awful solemnity.
The Christ describes Himself as the True Vine, and the branches that abide in Him live by Him, and by Him are enabled to bring forth much fruit. Hence we may regard Him as the Tree of Life. But, in the fourteenth chapter of the Apocalypse, the Antichrist is called the Vine of the Earth,* and is revealed as the Tree of Death: for all his clusters are to be gathered by the appointed angel, and cast into the wine-press of the wrath of God, to be trodden without the City,**
* Rev 14: 18-20. ** Rev. 14: 18.
He that is joined unto the Christ is one spirit,* and shares the life of the Christ. He also that is joined unto the Antichrist is one spirit with him, and must share his death. “If any man worship the Beast and his image, and receive his mark in his [Page 9] forehead or in his hand, he also” - that is, as well as the Antichrist - “shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.”**
* 1 Cor. 6: 17. ** Rev. 14: 9, 10.
But hints of this parallelism are not confined to the New Testament: they may be found also in the Old, as, for example, in the eleventh chapter of Zechariah. That passage contains a prediction of the Good Shepherd’s appearance upon earth, of His rejection, and of His betrayal for thirty pieces of silver. But what are the words that immediately follow? “And the Lord said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd: for, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces.”* Here, therefore, the idol shepherd,** who comes in his own name and interests, is sent in righteous judgment for the rejection of [Page 10] the Good Shepherd. And, probably, our Lord alluded to the words of Zechariah when He said;- “I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”***
* Zech. 11: 15, 16. ** Zech. 11: 17. *** John 5: 43.
There are, then, these and other general correspondences between the true and the false Christ; but how great the contrast in the details! For the Lord came down from heaven; whereas the Antichrist will be a lost spirit [i.e., a disembodied soul] brought up from the Abyss:* the Lord came in His Father’s Name, emptied Himself of His glory, and would not receive honour from men; but the Antichrist will come in his own name, with all the pride of Satan, opposing and exalting himself, not only against the true God, but against all that is called God, or that is worshipped.**
* Rev. 17: 8. ** 2 Thess. 2: 4.
Now since this parallel, with its significant contrasts, is warranted by our Lord Himself in the words which we just now quoted,* how conclusive is the proof which it affords, that the Antichrist will be a single individual being as surely as the [Page 11] Christ was; and that, in accord with the double meaning of his title in the Greek, he will be both a mock Christ, and a bitter opponent and blasphemer of the Father and the Son.
* John 5: 43.
His individual personality is made still more sure by the words of John; - “Little children, it is the last hour: and as ye heard that the Antichrist cometh, even now have there arisen many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last hour.”* Here the Antichrist is plainly distinguished from the many who will prepare his way. Moreover, the use of the verb “cometh” is remarkable: for the same word is used of the Christ in reference to His first and second advents. The Antichrist, therefore, is also “the coming one,” or, “he that cometh:” but he is only so to the world, which has long been expecting a mighty hero; not to the Church,* whose hope is fixed upon the return of the Christ from heaven.
* 1 John 2: 18.
[* Here there is confusion for those of us of ‘the Church,’ who believe in a first rapture of “accounted worthy” saints, to take place before the end time tribulation commences, (Luke 21: 34-36; Rev. 3: 10)! If this selective rapture is correct, and I believe it is, then the word ‘Church’ must be understood in a limited sense to mean only the “saints” of God “that are left” unto the end of that Great Tribulation! “The return of Christ from heaven,” will not occur before Antichrist’s persecutions commence; Christ will appear “from heaven” at the time of his persecution’s end, when the select resurrection “out of the dead” will arise from the underworld of Hades – the place of the dead, (1 Thess. 4: 17. cf. 2 Thess. 2: 3; Luke 20: 35; Phil. 3: 11; Acts 2: 34: Rev. 6: 9-11, etc,.)]
And, lastly, Paul’s expressions, “the Man of Sin,” “the Son of Perdition,” “he that opposeth himself,” “the Lawless One whom the Lord shall consume with the breath of His mouth,” “he whose [Page 12] coming is after the working of Satan”* - all these point to a single [resurrected] individual as distinctly as do the prophecies of our Lord’s advents.
* 2 Thess. 2: 3, 4, 8, 9.
Now, in accordance with these considerations, we find that all writers of the early Church regarded the Antichrist as a real person, who would appear upon earth in his due time.* And such continued to be the generally received doctrine, until, towards the close of the twelfth century, the Abbot Joachim, of Calabria, seems to have become the unwitting cause of a change.
* As a specimen of very early uninspired Christian writing on this point, we translate the following passage from “The Teaching of the Apostles,” which probably dates back as far as A.D. 80 or 90.
“For in the last days the false prophets and the destroyers shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate. For when lawlessness increases, they shall hate and persecute and deliver up one another; and then shall appear the World-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do lawless deeds such as have never yet been done since the beginning of the world. Then shall the race of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be offended and shall perish; but they who have endured in their faith shall be saved under the very curse itself.”
It is said that this celebrated expositor had, in his youth,
made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where he was so deeply affected by the sight of
the Holy City, still held by the successors of the Crusaders; but threatened on
every side by gathering hordes of Mussulmans, that
his thoughts were turned to the prophetic Scriptures, and he resolved to devote
his life to their study. The intense
earnestness with which he carried out this purpose won so much fame for his interpretations, that both Philip of France and Richard
of England sought interviews with him, at
* In another point also he was, at least, consistent. Believing that the Antichrist would be a false Pope, and being well aware that the first of the Apocalyptic Beasts represented a secular power, he naturally inferred that the second would be the greater enemy, and seems to have regarded the two as standing to each other in the relation of Emperor and Pope. This idea was probably suggested by the war of Ghibellines and Guelfs which was then raging; and Joachim may have supposed that a pretender to the Papal throne would either be put forward by the Emperor, or would offer terms to him.
From the historical facts mentioned in the text the reader will perceive that what is usually called “the Protestant interpretation” originated in the bosom of the Roman Church. From thence it issued, and, setting aside the Apostolic teaching which had hitherto been, in part at least, preserved, so blinded the eyes of the Reformers that the doctrine of the Lord’s return was almost unknown to the Protestant Churches, until the latter half of the present century. For regarding the Pope as Antichrist, they had good hope of destroying him by their own efforts, and did not see the necessity of Christ’s descent from heaven for that purpose.
Now we are well aware of the tendency of the human mind to
apply all prophecy to its own times; and we know how strong that tendency waxes
when the glassy surface of society has become a raging sea, and current events
are stirring men’s hearts to their very depths.
And so, as the twelfth century was dying, when Amalric of Bena, Professor of Logic and Theology at
First, there were very many honest Catholics, disgusted with
the immorality of the
Next to these we may place the Imperialists, or Ghibellines, irritated by their long struggle against the Papacy and the Guelfs.
Thirdly, there were the numerous heretical schismatics, and especially the Cathari, or good men, called Albigenses in Languedoc and Patarenes in Northern Italy, whose creed appears to have had much in common with Manicheism.
And, lastly, we may add the purer Waldenses, insisting upon the necessity of Scriptural study, whose case presents a very instructive fact. For in early times they regarded the Antichrist as an individual, and in one of their oldest books, “The Noble Lesson,” he is so represented. But afterwards, when worn out by persecution, they became willing to believe the worst of the Pope, and so began to swell the chorus of those who were assailing him as the Man of Sin. And in the fourteenth century they produced a treatise intended to prove that the system of Popery is Antichrist.
As might have been expected from their circumstances, Hussite, Wycliffite and Lollard eagerly caught up the idea, and so it was passed on to the leaders of the Reformation, and even in our days is not altogether destitute of supporters.
But there never was a stronger instance of the way in which men’s minds are moulded by the events and signs of their own lifetime, by the pressure of their own experience. For in order to adapt the prophecies of the Antichrist to the Papal system, or the line of the Popes, it was necessary to distort them until there was scarce anything left of their original meaning.
The coming Man of Sin had to be changed into a long succession of men, or a system.
The time of his continuance, which God had stated with precision and clearness as forty-two months,* or three years and a half, being far too short for the line of Popes, had to be lengthened by the ingenious, but most unwarrantable, process of first resolving it into days, and then turning those days into years.
* Rev. 13: 5.
The fact that, in the thirteenth chapter of the [Page 17] Apocalypse, the First Beast, or secular power, is supreme, while the Second, or ecclesiastical, is subordinate, had to be ignored; since such an arrangement is opposed to all the traditions of the Roman system.
Also the circumstance that the Second Beast is a prophet, and not a priest, had to be kept in the background; for the Roman Church exalts the priest, and has little care for the prophet.
Then, again, the awful words pronouncing sentence of eternal death upon every one who worships the Beast and his image, and receives his mark in his forehead or in his hand,* seemed - and no wonder - too terrible to be applied to every Roman Catholic, and, therefore, had to be explained away or suppressed.
* Rev. 14: 9-11.
Yet once more, the statement in the prophecy that men worshipped the Dragon - that is, Satan - because he gave authority to the Beast,* could find no adequate fulfilment in history if the latter were the line of Popes.
* Rev. 13: 4.
Nor, indeed, could the predictions of John, that the Antichrist should deny the Father and the [Page 18] Son,* and gainsay the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh.** For John does not speak of virtual, but of actual and formal denial; and the Popes have always professed to believe in both the Father and the Son, and have admitted the incarnation of our Lord as one of the articles of their faith.
* 1 John 2: 22. ** 1 John 4: 3; 2 John 7.
It is, however, useless to multiply proofs: enough, and more than enough, has been said to show the utter hopelessness of any attempt to reconcile the prophecies which concern the Antichrist with the circumstances of the Papacy.*
* We may, however, remark that more recent expositors of the School with which we have been dealing seem to exhibit the same distortion of Scripture. For instance, the two legs of the image which Nebuchadnezzar saw have been supposed to represent the Western and Eastern apostasies, Romanism and Mohammedanism. Now in this case - to pass by other difficulties - the length of the legs, from the thighs to the junction with the feet, must at least include the period from the fifth or sixth to the nineteenth century. Of the feet there is no interpretation; but the Ten Kings, represented by the toes, are said to be the Gothic dynasties of the fifth and sixth centuries. Hence the image, whose brightness was excellent and the form thereof terrible, is reduced to a footless statue with ten toes issuing from the thigh of one of the legs. Moreover, since the reign of Antichrist, if he be the line of the Popes, lasts during the whole period of the legs, and the Ten Kings are with him to the end; therefore, the toes must be equal in length to the leg from the upper part of which they most unnaturally spring!
It may be well to notice that our Authorised Version is wrong in assigning “the thighs” to the third, or brazen, world-power. The word so rendered is singular in the Chaldee, and signifies “the thigh region,” or lower part of the trunk to which the thighs are attached. The thighs themselves belong, of course, to the legs.
But if the dread foe has not yet appeared, why is his
manifestation so long delayed? The question
is answered in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, where we are told that
there is a Hindering Power which holds him back, so that he cannot be revealed
until his appointed time.*
fact it would appear that Satan is ever desiring his manifestation, in order
that, by means of him, he may reduce the whole world to submission; and that
the event would have been brought to pass long ago but for the restraining hand
of God. Hence when we consider the
history of such a, man as
* 2 Thess. 2: 6-8. ** See “The Great Prophecies,” Part I, Chap. 12.
We have, however, certain data by which we may determine, relatively at least, when the Hindering Power will be taken out of the way. For the revelation of the Antichrist is the last link in a chain of events of which there now remains but one other to be fulfilled, namely, the appearance of the Ten Kings who will at first support the Harlot Church.
Moreover, there are in Scripture predictions indicating what will be the condition of the world at that time, which we will briefly consider, in order that we may judge whether the present state of things points to the near approach of the crisis, or seems to relegate it into the distant future.
And, first, in regard to political matters. From the seventh chapter of Daniel and the seventeenth of the Apocalypse, we understand that the old Roman Empire, with a considerable increase of [Page 21] territory,* will then be divided among Ten Kings, all of whom will be dominated by Mystery Babylon, or the Harlot Church, which is now so ominously extending her power, and gradually subjugating even England, Germany, and America, to her sway.
* See “The Great Prophecies,” pp. 71 - 3.
Turning to the second chapter of Daniel, we find these same Ten Kings represented by the toes of the image, which are part of iron and part of miry clay that will not cohere. And from the very earliest days of the Church this clay has been interpreted of democracy, the metals indicating different forms of firm and stable, though often of oppressive, government. There is, however, in the feet and toes of the image, iron mingled with the clay; so that democratic monarchy would seem to be signified, and not pure democracy.
Now in all the kingdoms of the old Roman Empire - if we except
Out of the sea of anarchy the Empire of Rome will emerge, revived in the form of ten confederate kingdoms* - the projected shadow of which arrangement may be seen to-day in the occasional concerted action of Europe, and the congresses which are now held to settle disputes and difficulties.
* Rev. 13: 1, 17: 12-18, Rev. 17: 6.
Then, as we may probably infer from the seventeenth chapter of the Apocalypse, there will be an ineffectual attempt to restore order with the help of the Roman Church, which, still the same as she has ever been, will take advantage of her position to become drunken once more with the blood of the saints.* Her arrogance, her impotence for good, and the profligacy and cruelty of her rule, will exhaust the patience of the Ten Kings, and provoke them to destroy her? And so Satan’s King will be offered to Christendom, which will have become [Page 23] wearied of God, and he will be received with acclamations as the Saviour of the World.
* Rev. 17: 6.
Thus, so far as political matters are concerned, the world is in an advanced state of preparation for the Antichrist; and, considering how rapidly events now succeed each other, but little time would be required for that which remains to be fulfilled.
Now let us for a moment survey the religious conditions in which the Son of Perdition is to be revealed. On this point the two great passages to consult, though we might find many others also, are contained in the First Epistle to Timothy and the Second to the Thessalonians. From the former of these, we learn the nature of the final apostasy of Christendom* from the latter, the fact that out of that apostasy - there is an article in the original - the Antichrist will arise.**
* 1 Tim. 3: 16 - 4: 6. ** 2 Thess. 2: 3.
What, then, does apostasy mean? In Greek it is used for either political or religious defection: but we must notice that, in the passage from the Epistle to Timothy, Paul does not speak of defection from the visible Church, but from the faith. And from what faith? The last verse of the third chapter [Page 24] informs us. From faith in the great mystery of godliness, the facts connected with the incarnation of the Lord Jesus. That apostasy was to originate in the heed given by men to wandering spirits and teachings of demons. And besides its first and worst characteristic, an absence of faith in the Son of God, it was also to be distinguished by a prohibition of marriage and of meats, and by a cleaving to the form of godliness while its power should be utterly denied. How fitting a result of the teachings of those demons who, with seared consciences, speak lies in hypocrisy, pretending to be angels of light although they know that they are foul spirits of the outer darkness!
Thus the apostasy is not likely to diminish the visible Church: it will only change it - and alas! imperceptibly to the great multitude of its [regenerate] members - into a Laodicean community, sufficiently confident in itself, but rejected of the Lord, and given over to be a synagogue of Satan.
And is not this awful change taking place before our very eyes? Do we not see every form of error spreading like leaven through the various sects that are orthodox in their creed? Are not the [Page25] foundations of the faith being everywhere destroyed by an infinite diversity of agencies and means?
If we look at the Established Church of our own country, we
find her resuming the decorations of the Roman Harlot. The history of
But if members of the
Some time ago a distinguished Nonconformist Minister, who has received the highest honour that his sect can bestow, was preaching on the Burnt Offering. The great lesson he found in it was that God does not require very much from us - only an ox from the rich man, and a turtle dove, which [Page 27] may be caught with little trouble, from the poor! No word of reference to the great Antitype fell from his lips until the closing sentences of the sermon, and then this remark;- “There are some who would see Christ in the sacrifice; but they are a class of people who are accustomed to overdo the Bible.” In subsequent conversation, the mention of a well-known prophecy elicited from the same man the opinion – “No doubt Ezekiel was merely speaking of some event which happened in his own times.” And an allusion to the rapidly spreading idolatry in connection with the Lord’s human mother could provoke no stronger censure than - “After all there is something very beautiful in the idea.”
Turning to another important sect, we find that it has the reputation of including many virtual Unitarians among its teachers. And not very long ago one of its leading metropolitan ministers stated that in many of its chapels the chapel-deeds are now never produced, because they contain doctrines which the new ministers could not be induced to sign. Disbelief in the full and glorious truth of the propitiation of our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ [Page 28] is becoming an awfully prominent characteristic of Christendom. And what is this but the spirit of Antichrist which will wax and grow stronger, until at last it can openly deny the Father and the Son, and worship only Satan and Humanity, the Dragon and the Beast.
What warning could be more solemn than that which is given through the beloved Apostle when, after speaking of the many Antichrists who precede the great one, he says;- “They went out from among us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest how that they all are not of us.”*
*1 John 2: 19.
How fearful the thought that those who thus apostatize are Christians in name! Have we taken care to be assured that we ourselves are more? Do we know by the experience of sweet communion that we are joined to the Lord, and have become one spirit with Him? For there is no other way by which we can be kept “from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth!”*
* Rev. 3: 10.
Of the avowed teaching of demons, which is now so prevalent in our own country and the whole world, we have already written. It is only necessary to add that lecturers, mediums and other propagandists, aided by periodicals, tracts and volumes continually issuing from the press, are still diffusing sentiments which, though subversive of every truth of Christianity, are, nevertheless, interpenetrating our literature, and leavening public opinion with scepticism.
On the moral condition of the world in the times of the Antichrist there is no need to enlarge: it is determined by the religious state. For the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans teaches us into what an abyss of foul transgression those lapse who love not to keep God in their hearts, and refuse to glorify Him as God. And a glance at our newspapers, a little knowledge of what is going on in society behind the scenes, a mere surface acquaintance with the frauds of commerce, will convey a grave impression that, as regards morals, the world is fast ripening for judgment.
Such, then, being the predicted state of the world and its correspondence with present things, our next [Page 30] question is, What will be the circumstances of the Antichrist’s appearing? And on this point the first thing to be noticed is, that he will not be as other men: for, although he will be incarnate, his body will be tenanted by a spirit summoned of Satan for that purpose from the pit. The time of his ascending will be after the Lord Jesus has descended from the high heavens, and taken possession of the air. Then Satan, despairing of his aerial realms, will, after he is cast out of them, stand upon the sea shore,* and evoke the Antichrist from below, to dispute the sovereignty of earth with the Christ who has come down from above.
* It is almost unnecessary to remark that in Rev. 13: 1, the reading … “he stood,” is to be preferred.
In the seventeenth chapter of the Apocalypse, the Angel informs John that the Beast, considered as the Eighth King, “was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the Abyss, and go into Perdition”* - that is, into the Lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, from which there is no egress as there may be from the Abyss. This Eighth King will be one of the seven heads of the Beast revived. And since his [Page 31] first earth-life had ended before John saw the vision - for the angel says of him that at that time “he was, and is not” - it follows that he must be one of the five kings that had already fallen,** and, possibly, as the whole Church once believed, the first persecutor Nero.
* Rev. 17: 8, 11. ** Rev. 17: 10.
His entrance into the world is, perhaps, described in the ninth chapter of the Apocalypse, where Satan, the star that had fallen from heaven, receives the key of the Abyss, and immediately opens its shaft to let loose upon the miserable earth a stifling sulphurous smoke teeming with the infernal locusts under the direction of their king. Now that king’s name, the extreme importance of which appears in the fact that it is given both in Hebrew and in Greek, is Abaddon, or Apollyon, that is, the Destroyer - a well beseeming title for him who is to oppose the Lord Jesus, the Saviour.
If this interpretation be correct, chronological necessity will lead us to infer that the Antichrist will not be born as an ordinary man, but will enter at once into a full grown body. It may be that the king signified by the little horn will be a man [Page 32] of normal type, who will in some way or other meet with a violent death; and that the spirit [i.e., the disembodied soul] of the Antichrist, ascending from the Abyss, will be permitted to enter and resuscitate his body. Such, possibly, may be the mode in which evidence will be conveyed to mankind that the Eighth King is one raised from the dead - a fact upon which, as we are repeatedly told, his fame and his godhead will be based.* And so the monarch, who had previously exhibited but ordinary talent, would be suddenly changed into the king of fierce countenance and understanding dark sentences. This suggestion may seem strange to some of our readers; but those who are acquainted with Eastern lore, and Spiritualistic literature, will know that the idea is by no means new.
* Rev. 13: 3, 4, 12, 14; 17: 8.
Thus, then, the other will have come in his own name,* and in the power of resurrection** - a power to which the whole human race must be subject, the only doubtful question being whether they will [Page 33] bow to the Supernal or to the infernal. For all that are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life must of necessity worship the Beast.*** And so another awful parallel with the Christ will be developed. Of Himself He said;- “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”**** And at the crisis of which we are speaking the Antichrist, too, will have died, and have been raised from the dead ; and will, consequently, begin to bring forth much fruit unto eternal death.
* John 5: 43. ** Even Herod recognised such a power when he said;- “John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore do these powers work in him” (Mark 6: 14). *** Rev. 13: 8. **** John 12: 24.
As soon, then, as he treads the earth for the second time, he will proceed to bend all things to his will, either by persuasion or force. The fame of his ascent from the Abyss, his mighty and versatile intellect, his unlimited acquirements, his superhuman wisdom, his powerful administrative and executive ability, his absolutely unyielding will, his never varying success, and the irresistible fascination of his personal attractions, will gain him applause and enthusiastic supporters wherever he turns.
There will be some difficulty with three of the [Page 34] Ten Kings: they will be promptly assailed and destroyed;* but it appears that the Antichrist will set others on their thrones, for Ten Kings will remain with him to the end. The world will cry, Who is like unto the Beast, and who is able to make war with him?** Then will come the conviction that he alone is gifted with power to guide the human race, and bring it out of its perplexities. And so the desire to make him king of kings and emperor of the world will follow - a desire to which the Harlot Church, occupying almost every post of rule and influence by means of her ecclesiastics and partisans, will be the great barrier. But she will, probably, have disgusted men with the cruelty of her persecutions, and her utter failure to remedy the ills of the world. A cry will go up against her in every one of the Ten Kingdoms, from the court to the peasant’s cot. The streets of the cities and villages will be filled with excited mobs: her altars will be cast down: her images, crosses, and pictures, broken or torn in pieces: all her great temples pillaged and defiled: her priests, her monks, nuns, and devotees, slaughtered and burned alive with fire. Christendom [Page 35] will resound with the noise of havoc and death and the shrieks of terrified victims. For the Ten Kings “shall hate the Harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.”***
* Dan. 7: 8, 20. ** Rev. 13: 4. *** Rev. 17: 16.
Such, according to revelation, will be the atrocious coup d’etat that will place the Beast upon his throne, and be a fitting prologue to the tragedy that must follow. All power will then be delivered to him, and his recognition as a god will take place amid the rejoicings of the world.
In regard to the worship which will be offered to him, we need find little difficulty: the currents of human thought are steadily setting in that direction. And in proportion as men throw off their reverence for the Creator, they are becoming more and more disposed to fall down before those of their own race who are possessed of surpassing ability and inflexible determination of will - to whom, indeed, they already assign more honour than they do to anything else. Even now humanity has usurped the throne of Deity, and in all directions there are sounds in the air which warn us of what is coming. [Page 36] The Supreme God is beginning to be regarded as a Tyrant Who, with His infliction of ills in this life and eternal punishment in the next, must be deposed. The nations are raging, the peoples imagining a vain thing, and the cry is already ascending to heaven - “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us!”*
* Psa. 2: 3.
The ostensible reason of the clamour is, of course, the same
as that which Shelley urged against
the God of
* Mr. Mill’s declaration that the God of the Bible should at least never extort from him the homage of love, to whatever else He might compel him, is well known. But Mr. Morley seems disposed, if possible, to outstrip his leader, and in an essay entitled “Mr. Mill on Religion,” remarks that the writer “has rendered no greater service to morals than by his denunciation ... of the practice of offering homage and flattery to a person whom in the same liturgy we treat as having the most iniquitous of imaginable characters.” “It is conceivable,” he continues, “that the world may have been created by a Being who is not good, not pitiful, not benevolent, not just - a Being no more entitled to our homage or worship than Francesco Cenci was entitled to the filial piety of his unhappy children. Why not?”
Anything more blasphemous than this, more gratuitous and filthy than the insult which is conveyed by the illustration, we do not remember to have read. We can only hope that the condition of the writer’s mind may be such as to include him among those for whom the graciously pitying intercession ascends - “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” But if one esteemed by many of his fellows can use such language without losing their regard, it would seem that the forbearance of God must soon be exhausted, and the time come to fulfil the words;-
“Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath,
And trouble them in His sore displeasure.”
But while the worship of the Creator is set at naught, that of the creature has become the only religion of many. Saint-and-hero-worship abounds, and it is now customary to refer everything to the arbitration of human reason and experience. It is easy to see who will be the new god. “Those who [Page 38] can read the signs of the times,” said the late Professor Clifford, “read in them that the kingdom of man is at hand.”
And one who ranks among the greatest of
“Thou art smitten, 0 God, Thou art smitten; Thy curse is upon Thee, 0 Lord!
And the love song of earth as Thou diest, resounds through the wind of its wings,
Glory to man in the highest, for man is the master of things.”
Such sentiments, expressed by men who are honoured in their generation, will suffice to show that the world would find little difficulty in elevating an acknowledged leader and representative of the human race to the Throne of God.
But the fourth verse of the thirteenth chapter of the Apocalypse confronts us with a still more startling prediction. It declares that, in some way, Satan will be recognised by mankind as having raised up the Antichrist to be its saviour; and that, as a consequence, thanksgiving and worship will be offered to the fallen archangel, the Antigod himself.
Does this seem an impossibility? Scarcely forty years have passed since the cultus of demons and intercourse with them were almost
confined to the remote and barbarous regions of the earth. Now one may find devotees of this Paganism in
every town in
And so, just at present, the worship of Satan may be well nigh restricted to barbarous tribes: but it is likely to be disseminated with far more rapidity than Spiritualism when its apostles and missionaries fairly begin their work. For if men have become so enamoured with the subordinate demons, are they likely to be less so with the Prince of the demons?
It is well worthy of notice that some of the best known present devil-worshippers, the Yezidis - who adore their deity under the name of Sheitan, or Satan - regard him as the lord of the [Page 40] sun, and the giver of all earthly blessings.* These would be popular titles in the West; and it is certainly not without significance that the energy of Positivists, Humanitarians, and Socialists, is all concentrated in [Page 41] the clamour for reforms, good things and happiness in this present life, coupled with the bitterest contempt for Christianity which only promises them in the life to come.** May we not in such a fact trace [Page 42] the direct influence of the god of this age? “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find [Page 43] it,”*** is the teaching of the Christ. But the Antichrist will preach a doctrine directly opposed to this: and even now his spirit is abroad, and Bunyan’s parable of Passion is finding a large application in Christendom.
* Of this remarkable people, and their worship of Satan, Sir Henry Layard
gives some interesting particulars.
Speaking of their reverence for the object of their adoration, he says
that, among them, “the name of the Evil Spirit is
never mentioned; and any allusion to it by others so vexes and irritates them,
that it is said they have put to death persons who have wantonly outraged their
feelings by its use. So far is their dread of offending the Evil Principle
carried, that they carefully avoid every expression which may resemble in sound
the name of Satan, or the Arabic word for ‘accursed.’ Thus, in speaking
of a river, they will not say Shat, because
it is too nearly connected with the first syllable in Sheitan, the Devil; but substitute Nahr. Nor, for the same reason, will they utter
the word Keitan, thread or fringe.” – “
A curious incident related by Sir Henry is a good illustration of this feeling. On one occasion, while he was sitting in the company of Hussein Bey to witness the dances connected with a festival, he noticed that a number of boys had climbed among the boughs which overshadowed him, in order to get a better view of what was going on; and the position of one of the urchins somewhat alarmed him. “He had forced himself to the very end of a weak, bough, which was immediately above me, and threatened every moment to break under the weight. As I looked up I saw the impending danger, and made an effort by an appeal to the chief to avert it. ‘If that young Sheit’ - I exclaimed, about to use an epithet generally given in the East to such adventurous youths. I checked myself immediately; but it was already too late: half the dreaded word had escaped. The effect was instantaneous: a look of horror seized those who were near enough to overhear me: it was quickly communicated to those who were beyond. The pleasant smile, which usually played upon the features of the young Bey, gave place to a serious and angry expression. I lamented that I had thus unwittingly wounded the feelings of my hosts, and was at a loss to know how I could make atonement for my indiscretion - doubting whether an apology to the Evil Principle or to the chief was expected. I endeavoured, however, to make them understand, without venturing on any observations which might have brought me into greater difficulties, that I regretted what had passed; but it was some time ere the group resumed their composure, and indulged in their previous merriment.” - Ibid., vol. i., pp. 287-8.
The Yezidis connect Satan with the sun, apparently regarding him as the sun-god. Consequently, they are careful to look towards the East while performing their holy ceremonies, and are accustomed to turn the faces of their dead in the same direction. For a similar reason they venerate fire, “will never spit into it, but frequently pass their hands through the flame, kiss them, and rub them over their right eyebrow, or sometimes over the whole face.”- Ibid., vol. i., P. 301.
** As a specimen of their ideas we quote the following passage from a lecture delivered - in June, 1886 - in St. George’s Hall, by Mr. Gerald Massey, on the subject of the “Coming Religion.”
“We mean to do our own thinking, and to have absolute freedom of thought and expression. We mean to rescue our Sunday from the sacerdotal ring. But we do not mean that the day of rest and recreation shall fall into the hands of the capitalist. We mean to rescue this world from the clutches of those who profess to have the keys and the keeping of the other - those who hold up the other world in front of that beast of burden, the ‘producer,’ as a decoying lure, like the bunch of carrots before the donkey’s nose, in order that the suggestion of plenty in Paradise may induce him to forego his common right to grazing ground on earth. We mean to have the national property restored to the people, which the Churches and other bodies have filched from the people. We mean that the land, with its inalienable right of living, its mineral wealth below the soil, and its waters above, shall belong to all. We mean that woman shall have perfect equality with man, social, religious, and political, and her fair share in that equity which is of no sex. In short, we intend that the redress of wrongs, and the righting of inequalities which can only be rectified in this world, shall not be put off and postponed to any future stage of existence. The religion of the future must include the salvation of humanity for this present time. It has to be a sincerity of life, in place of pretended belief; a religion of science, in place of superstition; of joy instead of sorrow; of man’s ascent instead of his fall; a religion of fact in the present, and not of mere faith for the future; a religion of work rather than of worship; of reality instead of delusive idealisms; and in place of the deathly creeds, with all their hungry parasites of prey, a religion of life actual, life here, life now, and no longer the mere promise of life hereafter.”
*** Matt. 16: 25.
Already, however, the open worship of Satan is a thing no
longer unknown in
“Those who reject God and Christ, and even the Papal saints, have now manufactured a saint for themselves out of the Devil, and have proclaimed him their protector.”
Professor Nannarelli in his inaugural lecture delivered in the University of Rome, on the 5th of November (1884), said that the Devil having rebelled against God, and so ceasing to be a mere angel - as the Bible told us - had rendered himself sublime!
In the hymn to Satan by Carolucci, the Devil is made liberty, equality, and reason. In the Lucifer of Rapisardi, he ascends another step, and conquers God!
* * * * *
Thus a new worship is begun a new
This worship has not even anything new to recommend it: the deification of Satan is but the re-appearance of a monstrous Egyptian sect called [Page 45] Ophites; and Carolucci, Rapisardi, and the other priests of the worship of Satan, are only copying those who, more than fifteen hundred years ago, blasphemed God by declaring that the serpent which tempted Eve was the true friend of the human race. ‘For,’ said they, ‘Satan, by introducing into the world knowledge and rebellion against God, became the true benefactor of mankind.’ Our atheist poets and professors are, then, reviving the dark Egyptian sect of the Ophites.
But is mot this a sign of the times? Satan is throwing off the mask, and is now presuming openly to declare himself God. Nor does he fail to find even among men some who are willing to lend themselves to his design. The day must be very near when those men will be punished with everlasting destruction at the coming of the Lord. Let us “watch and pray.”
Thus the future worship of Satan is by no means so improbable as many would imagine: but, whether improbable or not, the Word of God declares that it will be the appalling consummation of wickedness, after which swift judgment must be revealed from heaven.
In the reception of the world-sovereignty by the Antichrist there will, of course, be another parallel with the history of the Christ. To the Lord Jesus also an offer was made of the kingdoms of this world and the glory of them; but He indignantly rejected both the gift and the conditions. The Antichrist, on the contrary, will accept them, and be invested by Satan himself. A somewhat obscure sentence of the prophecy in the ninth chapter of Daniel seems to hint that he will be conveyed through the air by demons - perhaps from the pediment of the Temple into the court - and so be hailed by the apostate Jews as the long expected sign from heaven.* In the Revised Version, a clause of the twenty-seventh verse is well rendered by the words;- “And upon the wing of abominations” - that is, of false gods or demons – “shall come one that maketh desolate.”
* See “The Great Prophecies,” p. 206.
Then the image of the Beast, the Abomination of Desolation,
will be set up in the
Thus the Antichrist will have become the Man of [Page 47] Destiny, the Deliverer of many names, whose avatar is awaited in all quarters of the globe: for Satan has been careful to sow some tradition and expectation of a coming one in every land inhabited by the sons of men.
The impious cry, “Who is like unto the Beast?” which is raised upon his recognition by the world,* is a travesty of a verse in the song of Moses - “Who is like unto Thee, 0 Lord, among the gods! Who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders!”**
* Rev. 13: 4. ** Dan. 8: 12.
And in the immediately following words, “Who is able to make war with Him?” there is, doubtless, allusion to the overthrow of the three kings; perhaps, also to the host which is to be given to the little horn “against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression,”* and which is, probably, the same as the demon-army released from the river Euphrates.** But the challenge is evidently aimed at the Lord of Hosts, the King of Glory; and its speedy acceptance will afford a notable illustration of the king of Israel’s words;- “Let [Page 48] not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.”
* Exod. 15: 11. ** Rev 9: 13-19.
Keeping still to the thirteenth chapter of the Apocalypse, we find in the fifth verse that the Beast is emboldened by his success, and unhesitatingly responds to the blasphemous flatteries of the world. A mouth is given unto him: he obtains that most dangerous and disastrous of all gifts an eloquent and persuasive, but at the same time lying and unscrupulous, tongue. He speaks great things, makes large promises, vaunts of what he is about to do. Nor does he stop at this: he soon displays his hatred of the Supreme Creator, exalts and magnifies himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, and speaks marvellous things against the God of gods. Yet, even while they are trembling at his words, the saints upon earth will know that the limit of his power is fixed, and that, at the close of forty and two months, his blasphemies will be for ever stifled in the flames of Tophet.
But he will not confine himself to assaults upon the name of God: his utterances will also be directed against “the Tabernacle of God, even them that are tabernacling in the heaven.”* Obviously the reference is to those who, at the unexpected moment, will have been caught up as a firstfruits of the harvest of earth. Having been mindful of the command to watch and pray, they are now standing in the court of the Son of Man,** in perfect safety during the hour of universal temptation.*** Yet they are only tabernacling, living, as it were, in tents in the Heavenly Places;**** for they await the arrival of brethren who are still left upon earth. Presently, the latter also shall be gathered in, and shortly afterwards the Lord Jesus will lead the whole body to their eternal habitation, the City which is the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife.
* Such is the correct reading. The copulative, which appears in the Authorised Version, should be omitted, and the expression, “those that are tabernacling,” be understood as an explanation of “the Tabernacle of God.”
** Luke 21: 36.
*** Rev. 3: 10.
**** … The singular of this noun is used in the New Testament for the first heaven, that is, the heaven of our earth, or the Heavenly Places.
The fact that they are sojourning in the air, in full possession of those realms from which the [Page 50] Dragon has just been, expelled after his vain attempt to hinder their ascent, is probably the reason why the Antichrist utters his rage against them: for in all things he will be in unity with the Antigod.
His curses, however, fall short of the mark: the glorified saints are far beyond his reach, though at present they are occupying regions but lately included within the Principality of Satan. Therefore, he turns with hellish malice against the saints that are upon the earth, and begins his mission of making war upon them, and wearing them out. The general and individual persecution does not, perhaps, immediately begin; but only violent hostilities against those nations which retain something of Christianity, and are desirous of protecting the Jews. Among these “strong ones and people of the saints,”* as Daniel calls them, it is possible that England may be conspicuous: but, whether this be the case or not, they must all be subdued; for power will be given to the Beast over every tribe, and people, and tongue, and nation.**
* Dan. 8: 24. ** Rev. 13: 7.
At this point, apparently, the remaining person of [Page 51] the infernal Trinity will enter upon the scene, the Second Beast, or False
Prophet, whom we may term the Antispirit.* By him the worship of the Antichrist will be organised, and the
statue set up for adoration: and then the terrible decree will go forth, that
all the inhabitants of earth must bow before the Beast and his image under pain
of death. Nor will there be any
possibility of escaping the ordeal: for every man will be commanded, in token
of his submission, to receive a mark upon his forehead or in his right hand,
without exhibiting which he will be permitted neither to buy nor sell. Thus the persecution will be carried on by a
cruel system of which the Loyalists in
* Rev. 13: 11-17.
On the unprecedented horrors of this time we cannot now dwell. Multitudes of faithful believers will be slaughtered, but will soon re-appear in glorious circumstances: for John saw “the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and such as worshipped not the Beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; [Page 52] and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”* The second class referred to in this verse, who, though faithful, are not actually put to death, are the many who will fly for their lives to remote and desert places; and in the seventh chapter of the Apocalypse there is a touching allusion to their sufferings. For of those who are to come out of the Great Tribulation it is said;- “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.”**
* Rev. 20: 4. ** Rev. 7: 16.
But passing by, in accordance with our proposed limits,
several predicted events - especially the episode of the Two Witnesses, other
incidents of the Wilful King’s connection with the Jews, and the particulars
contained in the eleventh chapter of Daniel - we must hasten to the end. The closing scenes of the Antichrist’s reign
will, probably, be terrible to himself, as well as to the world. As to the plagues of the locusts and the
demon-horsemen, they come from below, and are, apparently, under his own direction
and control.* But with their [Page 53] disappearance his resources are
exhausted, and then the fingers of Him, Who is the Last as well as the First,
begin to write the doom of the Beast and the False Prophet upon the sky. For the vials are filled with “the wrath of
the God Who liveth for ever and ever,” and their contents are poured down from heaven by His
agents issuing from the celestial
* In reference to his use of supernatural agencies, we translate a curious passage from the discourse, “Concerning the End of the World and the Antichrist, and on the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” attributed to Hippolytus of Portus, but probably written more than a century after his death.
“See the deceit of the enemy: know the devices of the beguiler, how he seeks to utterly darken the mind of men. For he will show forth his demons in the likeness of bright angels, and will bring in hosts of disembodied spirits without number. And, in the sight of all men, he exhibits himself in the act of being taken up to heaven, with the blast of trumpets, and with noises, and the mighty shouting of those who are praising him with indescribable hymns. And, inheritor of darkness as he is, he shines forth like the light, now soaring to heaven, now descending upon the earth with great glory, and now commanding the demons, as though they were angels, to do his behests with much fear and trembling. Then he will send forth the companies of demons among mountains and caves and holes of the earth, to search for those who have hidden themselves from his eyes, and to bring them up in order that they may worship him. And those who are obedient to him will he seal with his seal: but those who are not willing to submit to him, he will destroy with incomparable punishments, and most bitter tortures, and devices such as never have been, nor have come to the ear of man, nor have been gazed upon by the eye of mortals.”
** Rev. 16: 19. *** Rev. 17: 14; 19: 19.
But as soon as that conflict begins, it is ended. The saints upon earth have long and painful struggles with the Powers of Darkness, and often do they [Page 55] need to remember the prophet’s cry of faith;- “Rejoice not against me, 0 mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.”* Nay, even the angels have their one-and-twenty days of agonising with the fallen High Ones that are still on high.** But the instant that the glorious Lord appears, the foe will be paralysed, and all resistance cease.
* Micah 7: 8. ** Dan. 10: 13.
The last scene is sketched for us in the fourteenth chapter of
Zechariah and the nineteenth of the Apocalypse. The armies of Antichrist will
have marched from Armageddon, in the north of
There is, however, no interference: the foremost companies of the enemy are on the point of entering the streets: another moment, and the voice of prayer will be drowned by the outcries of terror and the shrieks of the wounded and the ravished. But, just at this awful crisis, the noon-day sun suddenly withdraws its light, and becomes black as sackcloth: the city is snatched from the view of those who are already sure of their prey: thick night enshrouds them: a horror of great darkness paralyses every eagerly advancing foot. An instant of silence, and then, swiftly as God’s arrows speed from East to West, the blackness of heaven is cloven asunder, and the dazed earth flooded with a light such as it has never beheld since the sin of Adam. In the midst of the refulgent splendour the hosts of heaven are revealed descending towards Jerusalem, and at their head, conspicuous far beyond all, glorious in His apparel, and moving in the greatness of His strength, tides the Christ, at last confronting the Antichrist.
Hitherto proud boastings have issued from the lips of Satan’s king: but now he falls helplessly to the ground, blasted by the red lightning which streams from the King of kings; and, together with the False Prophet, and in full sight of his countless armies, he is seized by the angels of the Lord, to be hurled alive into the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.*
* Rev. 19: 20.
The Christ alights upon the earth, and
His feet stand upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the East:
there is a mighty earthquake, and the mountain cleaves asunder, one half moving
towards the North and the other half towards the South, so that there is a
great valley between them.* Then the Jews,
guided by a Divine impulse or command, pour out of their city and run into the
newly formed valley, with such haste as they have never shown since they fled
from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah.** For it is the
place where the meek of [Page 58] the land are to be hidden:*** it is the
rock cleft and the chamber prepared for them.****
And as soon as they are safely enclosed within it, the Lord will destroy
His irrepentant foes throughout the whole length of Palestine,
from Armageddon to Bozrah; so that, when the children
of Abraham come forth from their covert, the multitudinous forces of the enemy,
which would have devoured them, will be ashes beneath the soles of their feet.+
The merciless countenance of the Antichrist, “that
opened not the house of his prisoners,”++ will have vanished for ever, and in his stead the Christ will be
standing before them, their Redeemer and Saviour, Who loved not His own life
that He might bring them peace. How fair
will He then appear to them: with what rapture will their hearts respond to the
invitation to lead Him into
* Zech. 14: 4. ** Zech. 14: 5. *** Zeph. 2: 3. **** Isa. 26: 20, 21.
+ Mal. 4: 2, 3. This passage is marred in the Authorised Version by the rendering “grow up” instead of “gambol,” or “skip.” The Jews issuing from the valley after the destruction are likened to calves leaving their gloomy stalls, at the close of winter, for the bright meadows of spring.
++ Isa. 14: 17.
And how glorious a procession will
that be which will move from the cloven Mount of Olives to the
* In Psalm 22 we have the stupendous culmination of the first advent in the death of the Lord. Psalm 23 is a pilgrim song, which we may well apply to the interval between the advents. And Psalm 24 reveals the triumph of the second coming.
Too often they will have heard the worshippers of the Antichrist denying, not merely the sovereignty, [Page 60] but even the very existence of the Father and the Son: they will be sufficiently acquainted with those evolutionary theories which have been already invented to demonstrate, on a basis of fiction, that the world was able to form itself, and had no need of a Creator. But after the wondrous things which their eyes have seen, with how full a heart will they sing;-
“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof;
The world, and they that dwell therein.
For He hath founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the floods.”
Then, as they begin to ascend the hill towards the citadel, they will bethink them -The Holy One of Israel is in our midst; what manner of men must we be who are henceforth to dwell in His presence for ever! And their jubilant voices will be lowered to a softer chant as they ask themselves:-
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in His holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart;
Who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity,
And hath not sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive a blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is the generation of them that seek after Him,
That seek Thy face, even Jacob.”
Their confession is made: they have acknowledged that they may
but hunger and thirst after righteousness, and can obtain it only as a gift
from the God of their salvation. And
already they are before the gates which that morning seemed so powerless to
resist the foe, but are now to admit a mighty Saviour, Who has stilled the
enemy and the avenger, Who has covered the length and
breadth of the land with the slain bodies of its adversaries, and brought peace
for ever to
“Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates;
And be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors:
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is the King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates;
Yea, lift them up, ye everlasting doors:
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of Hosts,
He is the King of glory.”
By the prophet Daniel the Jews are called “the people of
the Saints of the High Places,” and these Saints with whom they are so closely connected are
the glorified Church, whose members will both accompany their great Head when
He returns to
Have we accepted the gracious bidding? Have we been cleansed from all sin through faith in His most precious blood; so that we cannot now come into condemnation, but have everlasting life? Have we become united with Him by the likeness of His death, that we may also be by the likeness of His resurrection? Are we not merely believers in Him, but sufferers with Him - spending and being spent [Page 63] in His service, bearing reproaches for His sake, and patiently enduring the contradiction of sinners – that we may also reign with Him; that, when He Who is our life shall appear, we, too, may appear with Him in glory?