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Apostasy—this defection—this usurpation by the man of Sin, who placed himself in the Temple of God for " forty and two months” (i. e. 1260 years) Rev, xi. 2.
It is deserving of particular notice, that there is not a known manuscript in which the Article is omitted before “ son of perdition," before “ man of sin,” or before“ Apostasy."
" The “ Article is here emphatical,” says Macnight,
denoting both that this was to be a great apos
tasy, the apostasy, by way of eminence; and " that the Thessalonians had already been ap
prised of its coming see ver. 5." True, but notwithstanding the particulars detailed in the book of Daniel respecting the wicked one who was to evalt himself above every god (or ruling power), nothing was known respecting the real nature of the Apostasy which was to furnish the basis for this usurpation,-or concerning the true origin of “The man of sin, the son of perdition,"— or of “The mystery of iniquity” v. 7,—"THE " wicked one,” or rather, as in the Greek, “ THE “ lawless one” v. 8, until the Lamb openedthe book of Daniel, which book, as will be shown in its proper place, (see § 14 of this Dissertation) was the one closed with seven seals. I mean not to say that the predicted events to which the Apostle alludes are not recorded in Daniel; but I am warranted in asserting that, though record
ed, by him, it is impossible that the interpretation could have been derived from that prophet. The vision is detailed in the 11th and 12th chapters of Daniel, and the prophet himself expressly states that the words were CLOSED Up and SEALED till the time of the end (xii. 9). Now if Paul, in this chapter, is giving an explanation of Daniel's prophecy, he could derive his knowlege only from the Apocalypse,--and this for the plainest reason :- before the Apocalypse was written “no one in heaven or on the " earth, nor under the earth, was able to open that "book,” none but the LION OF THE TRIBE OF
JUDAH (Rev. v). John wept much because none 1. was found worthy to open the book ; but for this he
could have had no reason, had Paul already obtained this power, and explained these mysteries, in his Epistles to the Thessalonians, and to other churches ;-and not only in his Epistles, but by his personal ministry (ver. 5). That, from the time when the Revelation was given, not only he, but all the Apostles, gave lessons from it to their converts, may be easily conceived; but that Paul, or any of the Apostles, could explain the sealed parts of the Prophet Daniel, before the Revelation was given, must be rejected by all who credit the declaration in Rev. v. 2-4. Indeed the allusions, in Paul's first Epistle to the Thessalonians, to “ the day of
wrath,” to “the word of the Lord,”-to the Angel with a trumpet,—to the coming of THE LORD as a thief in the night, furnish sufficient evidence whence he derived the topics on which he dwells so much in his second epistle.
From the foregoing remarks it becomes quite obvious why the Article is employed, in the manner we have seen, in these allusions of the Apostle. These epithets had become familiar to the Churches, from what they had before them in the Revelation, and from the comments of their teachers; particularly of the Apostles, on the contents of that book, and of the previous prophecy of Daniel of which the Revelation was an exposition.
In 2 Thess. iii. 5. the Apostle prays thus :“The Lord direct your heart into the love of God, “ and into την υπομονήν του Χριστού THE PATIENCE “OF CHRIST”—(wrongly rendered, in the common version, “ the patient waiting for Christ”). Have we not here a direct allusion to the útojovon Ingoû XpictoŨ, “ patience of Jesus Christ,” in which John says (Rev. i. 9) all believers are copartners? This is an expression, I admit, which, from its nature, may be conceived as of ready occurrence to any writer engaged on such topics as here occupy the mind of Paul; and which therefore might be disregarded, for the object for which I have adduced it, were not other refer
ences to the Apocalypse to be distinctly seen in this Epistle : but other references being evident, as has been shown, it is but reasonable to ascribe this expression to the same source as the others. The expression seems to have become common to all the Churches from their having the Apocalypse in their hands,
$ 12. Of Evidence furnished by the Epistles of John
as to the priority of the Apocalypse.
John in his first and second Epistle employs the term Antichrist. He is allowed to have written his Epistle a considerable time after the other Apostles wrote theirs, and from his employing the Article—“THE Antichrist”—it is plain that this term had now become familiar among believers. Indeed he tells them that they had heard that “The Antichrist cometh” (1 John ii. 18); and as he also mentions that already there were many Antichrists, it is plain that the former word, employed in the singular, had relation to the grand Apostasy, foretold somewhere or other, but which had not yet manifested itself, though, even at the time of his writing, there were many teachers who were actuated by the same spirit. Now the question is, Where or how did John obtain his knowlege of that Apostasy, which
was yet to appear, and which he designates by the term, “the Antichrist ?"
The term means, one who puts himself in the place of Christ—one opposed to Christ.–That a ruling power, opposed to the Kingdom of the Messiah, would arise, was foretold plainly enough by Daniel ; but his origin was not so plainly intimated, by that prophet, as to be intelligible to the Church, without a farther revelation; for the words of Daniel were “ sealed." In short, till the Apocalypse was given to the churches, it was not known that this enemy was to arise or spring from the church itself; nor could this fact possibly be known, till the seals were removed from the book of Daniel : but we see that John was acquainted with this fact when he wrote his first epistle :-he knew that the great enemy of Christ would spring from the church itself; for, speaking of his precursors, be gives this as the proof that they were truly Antichrists :
They went away from us, but they were not (truly] of us ; for if they had been of us they would have “ continued with us :' and therefore it is plain, that he must have written his epistles subsequently to the Apocalypse ; for in this prophecy, and in this alone, were the origin and true character of the apostate, the son of Perdition, who was to set himself in the temple of God, the Antichrist,--the lawless one, developed to the church.