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“good spirits,” are nothing more nor less than the “doctrines of demons,” referred to by the Holy Ghost, in the passage in Timothy previously quoted: for they not only unblushingly deny every precious truth contained in the Word of God-such as the real object and purpose of the coming of Christ in the flesh-His precious death, and burial, His resurrection and ascension, &c.-His substitution and atonement, for the sins of, and the imputation of His righteousness to, His people—their eternal election, and their justification through a living faith in Him—their regeneration and sanctification by the Holy Ghost—their resurrection in the body at His second coming, and their future glorification with, and in Him; and many such like precious truths: but they likewise deny any future judgment, or Divine infliction of punishment upon impenitent sinners; as well as strike at the very root of all Divine revelation, by not only denying the inspiration of the Word of God; but asserting that, through man's incrustations upon it, it has now become nothing better than a mass of error and deceit!
Moreover as these demons also profess to be “the ministers of the Most High," and to be sent by Him to bring in “a new” and more complete "revelation ;” and have, as such, issued this authoritative code of doctrines for the guidance of their deluded votaries—which are nothing less than “damnable heresies” and “hypocritical lies : "? taught by the Holy Ghost, we may now learn from this fulfilment of the passage before referred to, as well as others that might have been adduced, that the close of this dispensation is at hand.
For proof of the identity of many of these doctrines, with what is called “ modern thought; ” and that they both emanate from the same source, I must, however, refer my readers to the book itself: and as I shall have occasion to refer to the doings of the demons again a little farther on, with the object of bringing men ultimately to worship: Antichrist and his image, I shall waive all farther consideration of the subject until then.
THE CAREER OF ANTICHRIST.
What the Scriptures in general say about the Antichrist; more especially
the Old Testament Scriptures.
THE Pope of Rome, although thoroughly Antichristian, is not the Antichrist : for he by no means fulfils all the conditions necessary to constitute himself such ; as we shall see. St. John is the only writer in the New Testament, who speaks of Antichrist by this name. His words are:“Little children, it is the last time : and as ye have heard that the Antichrist,” ó avtíxPLOTOS, “shall come, even now are there many antichrists,” avriXpioToL; “whereby we know that it is the last time." “ This one,” oŮtos, “is the Antichrist," ó évtixPLOTOS, “ who denieth the Father and the Son.''? “Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of the Antichrist,” TOû àvtixplotov, “whereof ye have heard that it should come ; and even now already is it in the world ”3—a passage which exactly answers to 2 Thes. ii. 7: for John does not say that Antichrist had come, but only that the spirit that would animate him was then, as Paul says, “ already working." John of course refers to the Gnostics, who denied that Christ had come in the flesh: which he says, would especially distinguish Antichrist himself when he came ; and which certainly is not the distinguishing characteristic of the Popes of Rome. He repeats the statement in his second Epistle,4 where he again makes
11 John ii. 18.
:1 John ii. 22.
31 Jobn iv. 3.
42 John 7.
use of the definite article, to point out that this will be THE SPECIAL CHARACTERISTIC of Antichrist himself.
As there has been much controversy as to the meaning of the term Antichrist, a few words on this subject may not here be out of place.
The preposition avrà means primarily, over against, opposite to: thence, in opposition to, and finally, instead of. As examples of the use of avti in the sense of opposition, we have ivridikos, an adversary, spoken of the devil, αντινομια, lawlessness, αντιθέσις,3 oppositions, αντικειμενος, an opposing adversary. As examples of it in the sense of in the stead of, we have, avtißaoikeus, a vice king, dvoutatos, a pro-consul, called, in the New Testament, “deputy, 95 avrilutpov, a ransom for. And the question debated has been, in which of these two senses is the preposition àvti used, in the word Antichrist. It seems strange that such a controversy should ever have arisen, when the Holy Ghost has so clearly settled it for us in the Divine Word ; not only in the history of Antichrist himself, and in our Lord's applying another term, i.e., freudóXPLOTOS, false Christ, to those who claimed to be His substitutes; but also in the positive statements, both of St. John and St. Paul on this subject; in the statement of the latter of which in 2 Thes. ii. 4, we have the very words ó åvtikeljevos, “ the opposing adversary” specially applied to Antichrist himself; as if for the very purpose of pointing out to us the sense in which the Holy Ghost meant the word itself to be understood.
Now St. John tells us, in the passage before referred to, that the readers of his Epistle, “had heard that Antichrist should coME; and the Thessalonians had evidently also heard the same thing. From whence then had they heard it? Not only from the statements of the Apostles themselves, but also no doubt from the Old Testament
i Mat. v. 25.
31 Tim. vi, 20.
61 Tim. ii. 6.
Scriptures; which so frequently refer to this subject, but always in connexion with the time of the end : which occasioned the mistake in the minds of the Thessalonians, which the Apostle corrects in the passage before referred to, and which I shall have to notice again further on.
Passing by, then, for the present the predictions in the Prophet Daniel, as well as those in the Book of the Revelation relating to this subject; I would in this Section refer only to those other passages of Scripture in the Old Testament, where this fearful being is referred to, more or less distinctly; with a view of shewing from whence the belief of his coming, and actings at the end of this age, had been derived.
Over and over again in the Old Testament Scriptures, is reference made to a time of unexampled tribulation, at the close of this Dispensation; and always in connexion, not only with the land and people of Israel, but also with an adversary of superhuman power, who will “ tread them down like the mire in the streets.”l
In the Psalms, he is called the “enemy,” who “has destroyed cities”—for that this Psalm has its complete fulfilment only at this period, is shewn from the fact of the Lord's “throne” having then been “prepared for judgment,” and all such “ destructions” having "come to a perpetual end;"2 “the man of the earth,” who terrified “the righteous," and who will then be “judged," and " perish out of” God's “land," i.e., the land of Israel, as we shall see ; 3 “the enemy and avenger,” who “ broke” Israel in the place of dragons, and covered “them with the shadow of death,” “killing them all the day long": “the enemy who does wickedly in the sanctuary,”: i.e., by setting up his image therein to be worshipped, as we shall see further on; and “the boar out of the wood," and “the wild beast," who “devours" all before him..
There are also clusters of Psalms, if I might so say, which depict the whole period from the beginning to its
1 Isaiah x. 6. ? Psalm ix. 5-12. 3 Psalm x. 4, 6, 11, 13, 15-18. * Psalm xlv. 16, 19, 22.
Psalm lxxiv. 3. 6 Psalm lxxx. 5.
close; as for instance the 7 Psalms, in the Levitical book of Psalms, which relate to the “Sanctuary," commencing with Psalm lxxix., and ending with Psalm lxxxv. And as an illustration might perhaps place the matter in a clearer light, I will here give a brief exposition of portions of one of such Psalms, Psalm lxxiii. (especially of verses 19 and 20)—the Psalm which stands at the head of the Levitical Book of Psalms; and which really forms an epitome of, as well as an introduction to, that particular Book of Psalms itself.
This Psalm in its exhaustive fulfilment,' clearly relates to the latter period of Israel's history, when the Antichrist is in the plenitude of his power in Jerusalem ; and it is the heart cry of an Israelite, who is bowed down in spirit at the then existing state of things; while verses 19 and 20 are his prophetic utterances of the sudden and tremendous doom of the foul usurper and his hosts, after the tried one himself had been “in the Sanctuary,” and had “understood their end,” in the light of the Divine revelation which had then been vouchsafed to him.
From the 13th Chapter of the Revelation, we learn, that at this period the false prophet, who is associated with, and is the chief minister of, Antichrist, will “ deceive them that dwell on the earth, by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of” i.e., as the minister of "the beast,” or Antichrist; “saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 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. And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads : and 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." Now as the 2nd verse tells us that it was "the
1 See the “ Preface," as to this.
? Rev. xii. 14-17.