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there may be many isolated and individual Antichrists, what the Apostle emphatically denominates the Antichrist, is a person or a community which must be known by the distinguishing badge of a denial of the Father and the Son.
2nd Mark. The Antichrist must professedly deny the Incarnation.
After the mystery of the Holy Trinity, that of the Divine Word made flesh is the most essential to Christianity, and most necessary to salvation. “ This is eternal life," says Jesus in the Gospel of St. John, “that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.'i And again :
« The Father hath sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world; whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God.”? It is the incarnate Word of God, the Word made flesh, that gives men
power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in His name, who are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” 3 Now this great mystery, the greatest and sweetest comfort for
man, must be utterly rejected by the Antichrist ; for he must deny that Jesus is the great Messias, the Son of the living God in human flesh, the Holy One of God made man. We have also for this the infallible authority of the Holy Ghost. “Every spirit,” says St. John, “ that dissolveth Jesus, is not of God; and this is the Antichrist.” 4 And again :" Many seducers are gone out in the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the John, xvii. 3.
1 John, iv. 14, 15. 3 John, i. 12, 13.
1 John, iv. 3.
flesh; this is a seducer and an Antichrist."1 Here the Apostle marks out the Antichrist as one who professedly " dissolves Christ;" as a seducer, who i denies that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” Now, what is it to dissolve Christ, but to deny the union of the divine and human nature in the only person of the Divine Word, by which the one and same Christ is at once truly God, and truly man? What does it mean to deny that Christ is come in the flesh, but to deny that Jesus Christ is the incarnate Son of the living God, or, in other words, to deny the incarnation ?
And it was quite natural that Antichrist, the great opponent of Christ, on his wicked principles, should deny the incarnation as well as the blessed Trinity. For as these two mysteries are the basis upon which the whole scheme of human redemption and salvation rests, it was to be expected that the fiercest enemy of Christ and of his Church should oppose them with all his might.
3rd Mark.—The Antichrist must exalt himself above Christ.
The Lord Jesus having laid down His life in obedience to His Father's will, in redemption for our sins, “God raised Him up from the dead and set Him on His right hand, in the heavenly places, above all principality, and power, and virtue, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but in that which is to come, and He has subjected all things under His feet, and hath made Him head over all the Church.”! “Christ," writes the Apostle St. Paul," being in the form 1 2 John, 7.
Eph. i. 20, 21, 22.
of God, thought it not a robbery to be equal with God; but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. For which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above all names. That in the name of Jesus
knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.” 1 The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power and divinity, and wisdom and strength, and honour and glory, and benediction for ever and ever. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, must bow down in humble adoration and say:
" To Him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, benediction and honour, and power,
for ever and ever." But although Christ be the Lord of infinite majesty, and the King of immortal glory; although He be exalted above the angels, the archangels, even to the throne of God Himself; although He has a thousand claims to the profound adoration of every creature; yet the Antichrist will not submit to Him, nay, he will exalt himself against Him, and usurp for himself the honour which is due to Him. Lucifer, in an evil hour, said in his heart, “ I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.". The Antichrist will be animated by a similar spirit, for he will magnify himself against Christ, the Son of the living God, and will prefer himself before Him. Philip. ii. 6.
2 Is. xiv. 14.
He will rise against Christ with his neck raised
ир, and will strive to rob Him of His glory. This is expressly predicted by the holy prophets of God. The Apostle St. Paul says of him, that“ he opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped ; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God.” The prophet Daniel predicts much the
“His heart,” says he, "shall be puffed up ... and he shall rise up against the Prince of princes.”2 And again : “He shall magnify himself against every god, and he shall speak great things against the God of gods."3 From these passages it is evident that Antichrist shall exalt himself, not only above magistrates and kings, who are sometimes called gods in Holy Writ, but also above, Christ, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, who is God blessed for ever. “The Antichrist," writes St. Jerome, who was well acquainted with the tradition of the early Fathers, “shall sit in the temple of God . . . showing himself that he is Christ;" namely, usurping for himself the honour which is due to Christ.
4th Mark.—The Antichrist must be a Man of Sin in life and
doctrine. Christ is called in Holy Scripture the Just, the Righteous, by excellence, the Holy One of God; “innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." He is called, as He really is, the Son of the Living God—the Way, the Truth, and the Life. But the Anti1 2 Thess. ii. 4.
2 Dan. viii. 25. 3 Dan, xi. 35.
4 Heb. vii. 26.
christ, the great opponent of Christ, will be distinguished by an entirely contrary mark. He will be a pre-eminent sinner; he will be guilty of consummate wickedness. This is manifest from the words of St. Paul, who calls him the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, the Wicked One, whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the “spirit of His mouth.” What stronger language could the Apostle use to signify Antichrist's extreme wickedness ? The prophet Daniel speaks of him in the same style ; for he calls him a king of a shameless face; a lustful man, who shall follow the lust of women.
Antichrist's wickedness was not to be restricted to his life only, but was to be extended to his doctrine also; he must be a Man of Sin in life and doctrine. For the Apostle St. Paul assures us that he must consummate the mystery of iniquity ; he must be guilty of all seduction of iniquity to them that perish;i and Daniel says, that he shall speak words against the High One; and that he shall speak great things against the God of gods. St. John also says, in the Apocalypse, that the beast which was shown to him coming up out of the sea, a figure of the Antichrist, had “a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; ... and he opened his mouth unto blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven." 2
1 2 Thess. ii. 7, 10.
Apoc. xiii. 5, 6.