The Antichrist has his seat in Jerusalem. The head of Gentile dominion in Rome. The two men are ministers of Satan, confederates in wickedness; the one a Jew, the other a Gentile. Both exist at the Coming of the Lord in judgment, and both are then consigned alive to the lake of fire — an eternal doom. The term Antichrist is used only by the writer of the Apocalypse, and by him four times 1 John ; 1 John ; 1 John ; 2 John , and once in the plural 1 John From these texts we gather several important points.
The rise of Antichrists is a definite mark of "the last time;" they are apostates. The Antichrist sets himself in direct opposition to what is vital in Christianity — the revelation of the Father and of the Son — and also to the distinguishing truth of Judaism — Jesus the Christ 1 John The holy Person of the Lord is also the object of satanic attack by Antichrists 2 John Evil of this character is found fully developed in the coming Antichrist, in whom every form of religious evil culminates.
Paul, in one of his earliest and briefest epistles 2 Thess. They are one and the same person, and on this, in all ages, there has been an almost complete concensus of opinion. It is evident that Paul had personally instructed the Thessalonian Christians on the solemn subjects of the coming apostasy or public abandonment of Christianity, and, consequent thereon, the revelation of the man of sin 2 Thessalonians He now adds to former verbal instruction.
There are three descriptive epithets here used of the Antichrist: "The lawless one" R. The second, that he is the living and active embodiment of every form and character of evil — sin personified. The third, that he is the full-blown development of the power of Satan, and as such perdition is his proper doom and portion. This frightful character usurps God's place on earth, and sits in the temple then set up in Jerusalem, claiming divine worship and honour v.
His religious influence, for he is not a political person of any account, dominates the mass of professing Christians and Jews. They are caught in Satan's snare. They had already given God up, had publicly renounced the Christian faith and the essential truth of Judaism, and now in retributive justice He gives them up to the awful delusion of receiving the man of sin whilst believing him to be the true messiah v. What a lie! The Antichrist received and believed on instead of the Christ of God!
If verse 9 is compared with Acts a remarkable correspondence is shown.
The very same terms are found in both texts, namely, power, signs, and wonders. By these God would accredit the mission and service of Jesus of Nazareth Acts , and by the same credentials Satan presents the Antichrist to an apostate world 2 Thessalonians In the latter case, however, lying and deceit significantly characterise the more than human signs of that day 2 Thessalonians The Lord Himself refers to the Antichrist and to his acceptance by the Jews as their messiah and prophet John In the book of Psalms he is prophetically written of in his character as "the man of the earth" Psalms , as also "the bloody and deceitful man" Psalms , whilst these descriptive epithets are in themselves characteristic of the wicked in general in the coming crisis, yet there is one person, and but one, to whom they can in the fullest sense refer.
It is the character of the Antichrist, and not his person, that is before us in these and other Psalms. Daniel in chapter 11 of his prophecy refers to three kings: The king of the north Syria ; the king of the south Egypt ; and the king in Palestine the Antichrist. The wars, family alliances, and intrigue so minutely detailed in the first thirty-five verses of this interesting chapter have had an exact historical fulfilment in the history of the Syrian and Egyptian kingdoms formed after the break up of the mighty Grecian empire.
It was this prophecy in its literal and detailed fulfilment which so roused the ire of that bitter pagan and opponent of divine truth, Porphyry, in the third century. His "Treatise against Christians" is the armoury which from the seventeenth century has supplied material for attacks upon Christianity. Think of Christian? In verse 36 "the king" is abruptly introduced into the history. This king is the Antichrist whose reign in Palestine precedes that of the true Messiah, even as King Saul preceded King David, the former pointing to the anti-Christian king, and the latter to Christ, the true King of Israel.
This portion of the chapter Daniel is yet future, carrying us on to the time of the end Daniel The king exalts himself, and magnifies himself above man and every god. The pride of the devil is embodied in this terrible Jewish character. God's place alone will satisfy his ambition. What a contrast to the true Messiah, to Jesus Who humbled Himself as none other ever did. He Who was God humbled Himself, even to the death of the cross Philippians That the Antichrist is of Jewish descent seems evident from Daniel , as also from the consideration that otherwise he could have no claim even with apostate Jews to the throne of Israel.
The king, or the Antichrist, is attacked from the north and south, his land, Palestine, lying between the two. He is unable, even with the help of his ally, the powerful chief of the west, to ward off the repeated attacks of his northern and southern enemies. The former is the more bitter and determined of the two.
Palestine is overrun by the conquering forces of the north; but its king, the Antichrist, escapes the vengeance of the great northern oppressor, of whom Antiochus Epiphanes of infamous memory is the prototype. In the Apocalypse, chapter 13, two Beasts are seen in vision. The first is the Roman power and its blasphemous head under the direct control of Satan Revelation The second Beast is the personal Antichrist Revelation The first is characterised by brute force. It is the political power of earth in those days, and the one to whom Satan "gave his power, and his throne, and great authority" Revelation The second Beast is clearly subordinate to the power of the first Revelation It is religious, not political, ends he has in view.
Religious pretension is supported by the might and strength of apostate Rome; thus the two Beasts act together under their great chief, Satan. The three are jointly worshipped. The second Beast, or Antichrist, is identical with "the false prophet," named three times Revelation ; Revelation ; Revelation The respective heads of the rebellion against Christ in His royal and prophetic rights are two men directly controlled and energised by Satan — a trinity of evil.
Finally, Zechariah refers to the Antichrist as the "idol shepherd," utterly regardless of the flock Israel over whom he assumes royal, priestly, and prophetic power. But his boasted authority his arm and vaunted intelligence his right eye by which his pretensions in the land are supported are utterly blasted, while personally he is cast alive into the eternal abode of misery, the lake of fire Zechariah ; Revelation In our judgment, therefore, the fallen star under the first Woe unmistakably designates the Antichrist. To whom other of the apocalyptic personages could the description apply?
The spiritual aims and religious pretensions of Satan are supported and enforced by the Antichrist, whilst his temporal sovereignty on earth is established in the kingdom and person of the Roman prince. But the coming prince will gladly receive both at the hands of Satan; the awful compact is ratified, the Beast worships the dragon, and Satan then endows his political minister with the world's sovereignty.
Commentaries for Revelation Chapter 9
Now the agony here depicted is that of soul and conscience; not bodily anguish. The Antichrist seems the devil's chosen instrument in the infliction of the former, whereas in the latter kind of torment the brute force of the Beast is let loose, indulging itself in scenes of cruelty and bloodshed, tormenting the bodies of men. The reference is not to the fall of Satan, as prophetically beheld and announced by the Lord to the Seventy Luke , but to the king of Babylon. How art thou cut down to the ground which didst weaken the nations!
The haughty, great, and proud king of Babylon is here alluded to in his awful fall from a height never before attained by any earthly potentate, down to the lowest depths of infamy. The former is doomed to everlasting desolation.
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It is a mistake to suppose that either Babylon as a city, or the ancient Chaldean empire will again flourish. The last holder of the imperial power on earth. The historical Nebuchadnezzar is a type of the great coming Gentile chief who will combine, with features peculiar to himself, the main characteristics of the three preceding empires. The king of Babylon Isaiah is a type of the king in the last days of Gentile supremacy prior to the Lord's Return. The context of both Scriptures confirms the prophetic application to the secular and religious chiefs of the last days — the Beast and the False Prophet.
This fallen dignitary has committed to him "the key of the pit of the abyss. The deep, or abyss, Luke seems the prison house of demons, in which Satan is to be confined for one thousand years Revelation — the duration of the kingdom reign. The lake of fire, not the abyss, is the eternal abode of the devil and of the lost. Says the Rev. Carpenter in his commentary on the Apocalypse: "The verse before us suggests the picture of a vast depth approached by a pit or shaft, whose top, or mouth, is covered.
Dante's Inferno, with its narrowing circles winding down to the central shaft, is somewhat similar. The abyss is the lowest spring of evil, whence the worst dangers arise" cp. Revelation ; Revelation ; Revelation Here, then, the abyss is regarded as locked up, but commission is given to unlock it. It has been contended that, as a result of this vast prison house being opened, swarms of evil spirits issue therefrom and overrun the earth. But smoke, not spirits, rose up out of the pit, and out of the smoke emerged a devastating swarm of symbolic locusts.
Probably the same delusion to which Christendom will be given over referred to by Paul 2 Thessalonians The effect of the smoke or darkening influence and power of Satan will be to blight the supreme government the sun , and darken and corrupt the whole social life and principles of men the air. The air denoting moral influence occurs twice in the Apocalypse, under the fifth Trumpet Revelation and in the pouring out of the seventh Vial Revelation The smoke gives birth to the locusts.
The intense anguish caused by these hordes of satanic instruments and agents is likened to the torment caused by the poisonous sting of the scorpion, a creature which shuns the light, and is justly dreaded by the native races of Africa and the various Arab tribes of Asia. It is not often that the sting proves fatal, but the suffering is dreadful. But these hellish instruments of vengeance let loose upon guilty Israel are powerless, save as authority is given them to act: "And power was given to them as the scorpions of the earth have power" v.
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That the locust army is a symbolical representation of judgment of a superhuman kind is evident from the whole description, as also from the prohibition to injure the grass and trees v. There is a further reason why the vegetable world was to be spared. A general condition of prosperity in the temporal circumstances and position of men is intimated by the grass, "any green thing," and trees.
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Now the locusts were commissioned to invade Palestine, the country above all others of grasses, and injure alone "the men who have not the seal of God on their foreheads" Revelation The Gentile multitude is not sealed; the , of Israel are Revelation Here, then, the unsealed part of the nation is given up to drink the cup of the Lord's vengeance, yea, to the dregs thereof.
Death would be a welcome release from the torment, the anguish of soul inflicted by these myrmidons of Satan, but that last refuge of despair is denied them, "death flees from them" Revelation The gnawing anguish and horrible torment of a guilty and sin-defiled conscience is beyond all telling; it can only be weighed and balanced by those enduring it. The duration of the satanic scourge is limited to five months Revelation , the time of natural locust life.
Next follows a detailed description of the locust army, each item in the delineation being significant and full of meaning. Hostile armies, especially cavalry, are in the Sacred Writings symbolised by locust invasion Joel ; Jeremiah For the desolation caused by a locust plague see Exodus The crown of gold adorns the head of the Son of Man Revelation , and also those of the triumphant elders or redeemed Revelation But these satanic invaders from the smoke of the pit are not really crowned, nor is real gold in question.
They lay claim to a dignity not divinely conferred. Neither force nor entreaty is of any avail in turning them from their purpose. Their hearts are hardened, their consciences steeled, "they had breastplates as breastplates of iron. Their approach is heralded thus: "The sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to war" Joel Surely this is intentional, and marks off the worst and most characteristic feature from what has preceded, "they have tails like scorpions, and stings;" again, "and their power was in their tails to hurt men five months," referring back to verses three and five.
These scorpion locusts overrun the once Holy Land, and prey upon the unsealed and ungodly part of Israel. The venom of falsehood, born in the pit — doctrines, teachings, and principles conceived in the abyss are received by the apostate part of the nation, and create in their souls and consciences intolerable anguish. Without God, yea, given up judicially by Him to receive Satan's lies and delusions, little wonder that they, his dupes and disciples, share, as far as men on earth can, the full tale of misery.
The scorpion-like tails of the locusts contain the moral poison which so awfully torments those who receive it. There lie the venomous stings, and there the power to torment Isaiah Both terms directly refer to Satan. Now the judgment we have been considering is a judgment executed on earth. It is not eternal judgment. The human leader in this awful woe is the fallen star, or the Antichrist, while the unseen chief of all is the devil himself.
But the Antichrist is the personification of Satan in malignant influence, representing him religiously amongst men, hence certain expressions are employed in this locust vision which seem to regard them as one. They are in a sense, for the devil gives his character to his human subordinate, but, on the other hand, they are distinct.
Satan is a spirit, and the leader of the hosts of evil; while the Antichrist is a man, an apostate Jew, and has as his sphere of operation corrupt and semi-infidel Judaism and apostate Christendom.