The AntiChrist Part 5 – Charles Hodge’s View (Part 3)

666-number-of-the-beast

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See also:

The AntiChrist Part 3 : Charles Hodge’s View (Part 1)

The AntiChrist Part 4 : Charles Hodge’s View (Part 2)

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These words concerning the identity of the AntiChrist are again taken from Mr. Hodge’s Systematic Theology (volume 3):

The Antichrist of Daniel.

The reader of the prophecies of Daniel has, at least in many cases, the advantage of a divine interpretation of his predictions. The prophet himself did not understand the import of his visions, and begged to have them explained to him; and his request was, in a measure, granted. Thus in the seventh chapter we read: “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, . . . . four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion; . . . . a second like to a bear; another like a leopard; (and) a fourth beast dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly, . . . . and it had ten horns . . . . And behold there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.”

These beasts were, as the explanation states, the symbols of four kingdoms, the Babylonish, the Medo-Persian, the Greek, and the Roman. This last was to be divided into ten kingdoms. That kings in this prophecy mean kingdoms, not individuals, but an organized community under a king, is plain from the nature of the predictions and from the express declaration of the prophet; for he says, in verse 17, that the four beasts are four kings; and in verse 23, that the fourth beast is the fourth kingdom. King and kingdom, therefore, are interchanged as of the same iport, After, or in the midst of these ten kingdoms signified by the ten horns, there was to arise another kingdom or power symbolized by the little horn. Of this power it is said: (1.) That it was to be of a different kind from the others. Perhaps, as they were civil or worldly kingdoms, this was to be ecclesiastical. (2.) He was to gain the ascendancy over the other powers; at least three of them were to be plucked up by the roots. (3.) He was to speak great things, or be arrogant in his assumptions. (4.) He was to set himself against God; speaking “great words against the Most High.” (5.) He was to persecute the saints; prevail against them and wear them out; and they shall be given into his hands. (6.) This antichristian power was to continue until the judgment, i.e., “until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High.” (Dan. vii. 22.) In all these particulars the Antichrist of Daniel answers to the description given by St. Paul in 2 Thessalonians. In one point, however, they appear to differ. According to Daniel, the power of Antichrist was to last, or at least his persecution of the saints, only “a time and times and the dividing of a time;” that is, three years and a half. (Compare Rev. xiii. 5, and xi. 2, 3.) This is the interpretation generally adopted. Calvin adopts the principle that in the prophecies definite periods of time are used for periods of indefinite duration. In his Commentary on Daniel he makes the little horn spoken of in the seventh chapter to be Julius Cæsar, and says: “Qui annum putant hic notari per tempus, falluntur meo judicio . . . . Annus sumetur figurate pro tempore aliquo indeterminato.” He significantly says: “In numeris non sum Pythagoricus.

There are two answers to this difficulty. The word antichrist may be a generic term, as it seems to have been used by St. John, not referring exclusively to any one individual person, or to any one organization, but to any and every antichristian power, having certain characteristics. So that there may be, as the Apostle says, many Antichrists. Hence Daniel may describe one, and Paul another. Secondly, the same power, retaining all its essential characteristics, may change its form. If republican France, during the first revolution, was an antichristian nation, it did not necessarily change its character when it became an empire; and what was, or might have been, said of it in prophecy under the one form, might not have answered to what it was under the other form. During the Middle Ages, bishops were sometimes princes and warriors. A prophetic description of them, while giving their general characteristics suited to both their ecclesiastical and worldly functions, might say some things of them as warlike princes which did not belong to them as bishops. However, we do not pretend to be experts in matters of prophecy; our object is simply to state what Paul said of the Antichrist which he had in view, and what Daniel said of the Antichrist which he was inspired to describe.

In the eleventh chapter of Daniel, from the 36th verse to the end, there is a passage which is commonly understood of Antichrist, because what is there said is not true of Antiochus Epiphanes*, to whom the former part of the chapter is referred, and is true of Antichrist as described in other places in the Scriptures. It is not true of Antiochus Epiphanes that he abandoned the gods of his fathers. On the contrary, his purpose was to force all under his control, the Jews included, to worship those gods. What is said in verse 36 is in substance what Paul says, in 2 Thessalonians ii. 4, of the Man of Sin. Daniel says that “the king,” whom he describes, “shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.” This exalting himself “above all that is called god” is the prominent characteristic of Antichrist as he is elsewhere presented in Scripture.

* I do not believe that the last verses in Daniel chapter 11 have anything to do with the AntiChrist; I believe that only the little horn of Daniel chapter 7 has reference to the AntiChrist in the Book of Daniel; for more info on who I believe is intended by Daniel chapter 11, verse 36, check out Hanukkah, the Maccabees and the Book of Daniel and Antony and Cleopatra and the Book of Daniel

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TO BE CONTINUED

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See also:

The AntiChrist : Some Helpful Resources

The AntiChrist Part 2 : additional resources

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