THE APPEARANCE OF THE ANTICHRIST
By J. E. DAVIDSON, M.A.*
[* First published in Dawn Magazine, April, 1947.]
The crisis for Christendom will reach its climax when the Man of Sin, the son of perdition, will make his appearance. He will challenge Christendom to transfer its religious worship (2 Thess. 2: 3-10). His appearance will be the performance and great success of Satan. He will be an outstanding personality, and be in a position to command obedience. His power will not be acquired, but it will be delegated to him (Dan. 8: 24). The dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority (Rev. 13: 2). He will not be limited to any one country, but be a world personality.
The World seems ready for such a personality to appear. A world government is being shaped and formed.
First individual countries demand that life in all its forms and details should
be subject to the State. The States then
are beginning in turn subject to a
His first act will be the demand to be worshipped, and in this demand he will be successful. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13: 8). He will have convincing credentials by which he will establish his claims. He doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men (Rev. 13: 13). An imitation of the miraculous work of Elijah (1 Kings 18: 36-38). He will have power to give life to inanimate metal. He will order that an image be made, that is a statue, saying to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast ... and he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed (Rev. 13: 14-15).
This will be a crisis hitherto un-experienced by Christendom. In the face of such practical demonstrations and powerful signs who will be able to withstand? Certainly not men and women who are indifferent and barely call themselves Christians, but have never had their names registered in the Lambs Book of Life. But amid great and deep darkness there will be some light, for even in this period there will be those of whom it is said These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 8: 14). This will be the time for innumerable individuals but not for mass Christendom. To give ones life for a cause voluntarily there must be powerful conviction of its value: mass Christendom is not convinced of its Christian profession.
At all times and in all places God has His people who are ready to give their lives for the faith and the truth. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have given up their lives for the faith in the anti-God movement, during the Russian revolution and since, but not the millions who nevertheless were once bedecked with ikons. Thousands went to German concentration camps and prisons, who refused to worship the beast, but not the millions. Masses always succumb to the popular movements of the day.
The challenge to Christendom, by the man of sin, will be all the more impressive, because he will have the world government at his disposal. It is easily seen how this is being prepared. In democracy, the individual mattered much and private enterprise was encouraged. To-day the way is being prepared for a terrible autocracy, and the little man is being crushed out of existence in favour of large combines, and these in turn to be controlled by the state, and the states by the world government, and the world government by the man of sin. With industry, capital and labour, at his disposal on a world-wide scale, he will be able to enforce his will very effectively. Already every aspect of life is under strict control, it is impossible to buy or sell without a permit, licence or coupons. No one can go to a shop without a ration book, no one can move about without a passport, identity card, or to distances without a permit. All this and more, is preparatory and working towards the great climax, and the great crisis. Presently the world ruler will make his appearance, and this need not be interpreted as idle speculation, for the world secretary is already in existence; when he took office he took the oath, not to any country but to the world, the Secretary of the United Nations Organisation. When the world ruler will appear, this will be the way in which he will enforce his will upon the world and he causeth all, both small and great ... to receive a mark ... that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name ... and his number is 666 (Rev. 13: 16-18). In the past many people enjoyed fanciful speculation on the subject of this number, but came short of the solid solution of the problem. But when it will come to pass it will be clear to all, yea, painfully clear. Already to-day, there is no need for wishful thinking or speculations, but calm observation of the trend of events and clear prayerful thinking, and it will be seen that that which has been promised in the Word of God thousands of years ago, is being brought to pass before our eyes. Rapidly the world is being prepared for the great and terrible event, the government of the man of sin. Events and impressions succeed so rapidly that the individual fails to note and register them.
Limitations of freedom commenced with the commencement of the tribulation in 1914, and ever since then, liberty has been lost to the world, and this limitation continues to narrow down, till life is becoming the experience of the Grand universal prison cell. Gently but surely, even the very figure spoken of is beginning to make its appearance. Some months ago we received two documents from a foreign government source, then resident in this country, and with no little surprise we noticed on the top of the sheet, in the left hand corner, the number 666. We were impressed and left it. The other day, a friend bought some articles of clothing and the trade mark bore the number 666 printed on the goods and written on the little card that was appended. Some might say it is a mere coincidence. Be that as it may, but are we not gently being introduced to the number, so that when it comes to be printed on all our documents, legal and civil, that it will almost be printed on all human life, that it may not come with a shock, but be accepted as a normal fact. Therefore, what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch (Mark.13: 37).
- Immanuels Witness.