Appendix 3: The Antichrist Principle
We are familiar with
the personification of sin as a man called 'Satan', the enemy. This symbolic
man is in fact the antithesis of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we follow this
theme through Scripture, it becomes apparent that we are just at the tip
of an iceberg. This symbolic man has a kingdom and almost every
attribute of the Lord Jesus and His Divine Kingdom of righteousness.
Consider the similarities:
Satan has a Kingdom (Lk.
The power and glory of which
have been delivered to him by God, and which he can give to
whomsoever he will (Lk. 4:6)
Angels (Mt. 25:41; 2 Cor. 12:7
The power of death (Heb.
2:14 cp. Hos. 13:14; Rev. 1:18;
Power to condemn men (1 Tim.
A judgment seat and system
of rewards based on that of Christ (Mt. 6:1 cp. 2,16)
Condemned sinners are invited
to the 'feast' of God's judgments and given suitable wedding clothes (Zeph.
1:7,8) in parody of the Kingdom (Mt. 22:2,3)
Is a father (Jn. 8:44)
Has children (Acts 13:10;
1 Jn. 3:10 cp. Heb. 2:13)
And a wisdom that is
opposed to God's wisdom (James 3:15-17)
Armour (Lk. 11:22)
Power (Acts 26:18)
Spiritual " depths"
(Rev. 2:24, s.w. Rom.
11:33; 1 Cor. 2:10; Eph. 3:18)
Seed which he sows (Mt.
A throne (Rev. 2:13; 2 Thess.
A mystery (2 Thess. 2:7; Rev.
" Power...signs and...wonders"
(2 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 13:13)
Stands at the right hand of
men (Ps. 109:6 cp. 109:31; 16:8; 110:1)
Is likened to lightening
(Lk. 10:18 cp. 17:24)
Puts things in men's'
hearts (Jn. 13:2 cp. 2 Cor. 8:16)
He is a son who will
be " revealed" (2 Thess. 2:4), as Christ will be (Lk. 17:30,
He is " he that
cometh" (2 Cor. 11:4), a phrase so often used about the Lord Jesus
(Lk. 7:19,20; Jn. 7:27,31)
He will be " revealed
in his time" (2 Thess. 2:6), as Christ will be (Lk. 17:24)
" The god of this world"
who emits a bright light into the hearts of men (2 Cor. 4:4 cp. 6)
Enthroned in God's temple (2
He has " works" (1
Figuratively comes down from
heaven to earth in the last days (Rev. 12:12)
Has bread and wine of
wickedness (Prov. 4:17)
His followers " hold"
Christ, as the true disciples do (same words in Col. 2:9; Mt. 28:19 cp.
Will be 'apocalypsed' as Christ
will be (2 Thess. 2:8)
The logic of devotion
Every one of these attributes
is seen in the Lord Jesus Christ and the things of his Kingdom. And this
list is by no means complete. But the point is clear enough: the well-versed
Bible reader will observe that there are two systems, two Kingdoms, revealed
in the word: the kingdom of Satan, and the kingdom
of God. So strong is this theme that it is quite possible
that sometimes the things of Satan are purposefully described in language
which is reminiscent of the Kingdom of God; e.g. Paul describing his affliction
as an Angel of Satan (2 Cor. 12:7). God's Kingdom and Satan's are in absolute
opposition to each other; there is no overlap, no common ground. The people
of God, those who truly accept His Kingship, are therefore fundamentally
separated from Satan's Kingdom. In practice, of course, we are tempted
to think that there can be some overlap in our lives; that we can enjoy
the ways of the world and the blessings mediated on account
of being in God's Kingdom; that we can be part of apostate and
true religion; that we can have a little of both. But if we properly understand
the idea that Satan's Kingdom and God's Kingdom don't overlap, it will
become evident that ultimately, it's all or nothing.
When the Lord spoke of
the impossibility of serving two masters, he had this in mind. He personified
the one as " Mammon" , the antithesis of God. He goes on to
define what he meant: " Therefore...take no thought for your
life...which of you by taking thought....why take ye thought
for raiment...therefore take no thought saying, What shall we eat?....seek
ye first the Kingdom of God....take therefore no thought for the
morrow" (Mt. 6:24,25,27,28,31,33,34). Clearly the Lord saw "
Mammon" , this personified anti-God, as an attitude of mind.
He had the same view of 'Satan' as we do: a personification of sin in
the human mind. He also saw seeking " the Kingdom
of God" as somehow parallel with serving God
rather than mammon. We would wish there were some third category, God,
mammon and something in between; as we may idly speculate that it would
suit us if there were three categories at judgement day, accepted, rejected,
and something else. But both then and now, this very minute, this isn't
the case. A deep down recognition of this will have its effect practically.
If we are serving God, let's not give anything to mammon, let's not play
games, juggling and using brinkmanship.
Satan's Kingdom has members,
those he is king over. His Kingdom is the people of this world, those
dominated by the fleshly mind. When the Kingdoms of this world become
those of God at the second coming (Rev. 11:15), this is more than a physical
handover of political authority. " The earth is the Lord's, and the
fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Ps. 24:1).
The political power in the world is ultimately God's even now (Rom.
13:1-4). The idea of a handover of the Kingdoms of this world to God must
therefore refer to the end of Satan's power; no longer will the world
be structured around the desires of the flesh, but around the principles
Satan's Kingdom is not
a political Kingdom, but an influence, a way of thinking, life lived according
to certain principles, permeating every part of a man's thinking and behaviour.
The Kingdom of God is the antithesis of Satan's Kingdom.
The fact Satan's Kingdom exists now and is the antithesis of the true
Kingdom is proof enough that in some sense the Kingdom of God exists in
some non-political sense now, although of course this will be politically
manifested at the Lord's return. God's Kingdom exists in the same sense
as Satan's; as an influence, a way of thinking, life lived according to
certain principles, permeating every part of a man's thinking and behaviour.
This is why the Lord's parables describing the Kingdom of God refer not
to the political Kingdom, but to His ways and principles as they should
operate in our lives today. The Kingdom of God in this non-political sense
was taken from the Jews and given to us, so that we might bring forth
the fruits of the Kingdom (Mt. 21:43). The political Kingdom had already
been taken from Israel (Ez. 21:27).
The logic of separation
Appreciating all this means
that there absolutely must be a separation between us and the world. We
are God's Kingdom, surrounded by Satan's Kingdom. It's quite right, therefore,
that we make every effort we can to keep the ways of Satan's Kingdom out
of the ecclesia, God's Kingdom. This is why (e.g.) the use of the
cross should be outlawed amongst us, the influence of television minimised.
not just because these things don't suite us, but because we are God's
Kingdom, not Satan's. False doctrine about Christ is part of the antiChrist
system (1 Jn. 4:3); yet it seems tempting for some to reason that those
who believe (e.g.) the trinity are basically pleasing to God, although
they don't understand things as we do. Yet this is the teaching of antiChrist,
the Spirit says.
The Devil is a deceiver,
he has a fake Kingdom of God; the antiChrist appears
as a false Christ. If we think that the antiChrist is the real Christ,
that those who teach false doctrine about Christ are part of the body
of Christ, then we have been deceived; we have been taken in by the appearance
of righteousness. Sometimes, Satan or the Devil is used as a personification
of the world, or a human political system, e.g. the Roman empire in the
book of Revelation. This is because the world or human empires are structured
around the thinking of the flesh, the real Satan. Thus overcoming the
world is parallel to overcoming the devil (1 Jn. 5:4 cp. 2:13,14); "
the whole world is under the control of the evil one" , the Devil
(1 Jn. 5:19 NIV). The lust of the flesh and eyes (the Biblical devil)
are " all that is in the world" (1 Jn. 2:16). Thus our own private
Satan, the lusts of our dark side, are somehow in league with the world
around us. The world has been set in our heart (Ecc. 3:11).
This explains why the
various world empires mentioned in the Bible are described in the language
of the Kingdom of God; they are anti-Kingdoms of God.
Kingdom of God
hammer (Jer. 50:23)
word is described in the same way in the same prophecy (Jer. 23:29)
proselytes and prophets (Jer. 50:36,37)
for the Kingdom
mountain (Jer. 51:25)
The golden city" (Is. 14:4) with a thick, embellished wall
(Jer. 51:58); springs and rivers within her (Jer. 51:36)
description of the new Jerusalem in Rev. 21,22 and it's wall,
foundations etc. seems an allusion to the city of Babylon;
as if to shew that Babylon was a fake city of God.
He that ruled the nations" with an iron rod " ...that
did shake kingdoms" (Is. 14:6,16)
King Jesus (Ps. 110:2; Rev. 19:15)
morning star (Is. 14:12)
to be exalted above the Angels in Heaven (Is. 14:13)
Christ was (Heb. 1, 2)
O virgin daughter" (Is. 47:1)
The king of Babylon, my
servant" (Jer. 25:9)
like Persia, had a king
with seven senior counsellors before his throne (Ezra 7:14)
Christ and the seven spirits before the throne, Rev. 1:4; 4:5
Whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom
he would he set up; and whom he would he put down" (Dan.
is all alluding to Yahweh as the God who is and will be as He
wishes; and cp. Dt. 32:39; 1 Sam. 2:6-8; Ps. 113:7,8; Lk. 1:52
Kingdom of Babylon was a sight gazed at by
all the earth (Dan. 4:11)
the cross of Christ
laws of the kings of Babylon, Media and Persia
altered not (Heb. passed not, were eternal), Dan. 6:8.
It is emphasized that
Nebuchadnezzar “set up” an image, symbolic of himself and his
Kingdom (Dan. 3:1,2,3,5,712,14,18).
mimicry of God's unchanging word: Is. 34:16;
45:23 (passages which in their immediate context were God's comment
on the Assyrian / Babylonian claims that the words of their kings
were never changed).
Intended as a
replica of the image of Daniel 2-implying Babylon’s
Kingdom was the eternal Kingdom of God.
4:17; 5:21 had used the same words to describe how God
sets up Kingdoms and their Kings. Babylon
and the other Kingdoms were set up [s.w.] by God, not man (Dan.
a King they named 'Zedekiah'. 'Yahweh our righteousness'- a false
Christ, who is Israel's
true " Yahweh our righteousness" (Jer. 23:6)
the real Christ
was " raised up" by God (Hab. 1:5,6)
very passage is quoted by Paul as proof that God would raise up
Christ (Acts 13:41)- he saw Babylon
as such a clear anti-Christ!
in fine linen (Rev. 18:16)
the bride of Christ
Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, grouped together the temple implements
according to the different metals from which they were made, old,
silver and brass, and then broke them in pieces (2 Kings 25:13-16)
few years after this, Daniel 2 indicated that the true Messiah
would break Babylon's
future Kingdom, comprised as it would be of gold, silver and brass.
King of the North, based on Babylon as his
prototype, comes against Israel
with a whirlwind (Dan. 11:40)
as God is said to do; whirlwind is the language of God
manifestation (Ez. 1:4)
nations with her in the last days will be " of one mind"
those believers confederate with Christ
Thou...that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside
me" (Is. 47:8)
Hammurabi, early King of Babylon,
set himself up as a pseudo-Messiah, speaking of himself in language which
God appropriates to Himself. The well versed reader will discern the many
connections between Hammurabi's words and the Biblical descriptions of
the Father and His Son: " The great gods have called me and
I am indeed a shepherd who brings peace, whose sceptre
is justice; my pleasant shade is spread over my city,
in my bosom I have carried the people...that the strong may
not oppress the weak, and so to give justice to the orphan and
the widow, I have inscribed my precious words on my monment"
(1). And even worse: " I Hammurabi the shepherd...established
an everlasting Kingdom that shall not be left to others" ,
and having said this, he proceeds to give a list of blessings for obedience
and curses for disobedience to him, reminiscent of Dt. 28 (2).
Again, we are on the tip of an iceberg; so much Old Testament language
is an allusion to the beliefs and claims of surrounding religions, which
were effectively setting themselves up as fake Kingdoms of Yahweh (3).
And all we have said
about Babylon are just a few examples of this kind
of thing. This same sort of language is also used about Israel's
other Arab enemies. Thus Sodom, persecutor of God's faithful remnant (Lot)
and epitome of the evil world of the last days, appeared as the garden
of Eden with all its innocent beauty (Gen. 13:10). Adonizedek King of
Jerusalem (Josh. 10:1) was the counterpart of Melchizedek. Joel
2:20,21 describe both God and Israel’s latter day invader as doing “great
things”- as if the King of the “northern army” is some kind of fake God,
and the final conflict between Christ and anti-Christ is the ultimate
showdown of “great things”.
The beasts of Revelation seem
to be described in terms of the Kingdom of God, and the descriptions link
within Revelation to the descriptions of God's Kingdom. The point is being
made that these beasts, both over time and in the last days, are fake
Kingdoms of God.
Kingdom Of God
dragon has Angels (Rev. 12:9)
figuratively comes from heaven to earth (12:10)
of us day and night before God's throne (12:10)
a name in his forehead (13:2)
power, throne and authority (13:13)
great miracles and signs (13:13)
followers have mark in their hands and foreheads (13:17;
20:4) and are " sealed" (13:16)
9:4; Rev. 7:3
the world worships the beast (13:12)
the world will worship God (15:4)
as numerous as sand on the sea shore (20:8)
the seed of Abraham
followers have one mind (17:3), and are world-wide
it should be amongst us
woman clothed with a blood red robe and a cup (17:4)
the sacrificial office of Christ
beast is, was and will be (17:8-11); an allusion to the Yahweh
is, will and will be (16:5)
The beast systems, as
Babylon and Assyria before them, were false Kingdoms
of God. The beast has the power to give pneuma to the image / body
of the first beast (Rev. 13:15)- an evident mimicry of God’s creation
of Adam. They appear to offer, here and now, the things of the Kingdom,
and the fleshly-minded are persuaded by them. This is all playing out
the drama of Eden again; the serpent offered equality with God, the wisdom
of God, when it was actually the wisdom of the serpent. Adam and Eve grasped
for what was offered, unlike the Lord Jesus, who refused to grasp at equality
with God (Phil. 2 is full of allusion to the events of Gen. 3). What happened
in Eden is in essence the epitome, the prototype of all temptation and
sin (1 Jn. 2:16 = Gen. 3:6). Every one of our temptations
has an element of this; we are tempted to grasp for what looks like
the Kingdom here and now. Pentecostals are an evident example of this;
they think they can obtain the full healing and physical ecstasy of the
future Kingdom here and now. And on a more common level, there are many
of us who reach out for the supposed fulfilment of hobbies, the supposed
peace and 'security' of a nice home and bank balance, when these things
are actually a false fulfilment, peace and security, the peace and security
of Satan's Kingdom which is a counterfeit of the spiritual fulfilment,
peace and security of Christ's Kingdom. A very evident example of this
is found in Rabshakeh's offer to the inhabitants of Jerusalem: 'If you
reject Yahweh as your God, the King of Assyria will give you a Kingdom
where you will " eat every one of his vine, and every one of his
fig tree" ' (Is. 36:16); in saying this, Rabshakeh was quoting the
very words of Mic. 4:4 concerning the Kingdom of God. The Jews were faced
with the choice of God's Kingdom, or Satan's Kingdom, couched as it was
in terms of God's Kingdom. Likewise, the world around us isn't passive.
It is actively seeking to deceive. There is a tension between us and this
world, including the apostate 'Christian' world, which is vital to recognize
if we are to share the salvation of God's Kingdom and avoid the condemnation
of Satan's Kingdom. There can be no half way position.
Joel describes Israelís
invaders as a false Israel and
a pseudo-cherubim. They have a fire going “before them” (Joel 2:3) just
as Israel did in the wilderness,
“a great people and a strong”, Yahweh’s war-horses (Joel 2:4 RVmg.) just
as Israel were to have been (Zech.
10:3); and the whole of Joel 2:5-9 describes the mightiness of the invaders
in the very language appropriated to Israel
Following these themes through
helps explain at least four noticeable Biblical themes:
- Many Bible bad men are described
in the language of the Lord Jesus; Saul is an example of this. Cyrus is
another one. It doesn't mean that they were therefore righteous. This
is to be expected once the Antichrist principle is perceived. It seems
that often the things of Satan's Kingdom are consciously spoken of in
the language of God's Kingdom; thus Satan is called " the God of
this world" (2 Cor. 4:4), and spoken of as having Angels as God does
(Mt. 25:41; Rev. 12:9). The size of this theme of Antichrist has to be
realized to appreciate why the Bible should use this device so extensively.
- It seems the rejected
saints will share the judgements of Satan, the beast, the antiChrist.
Thus Babylon has a millstone tied round her neck and
she is thrown into the sea (Rev. 18:21), just as the judgement of the
rejected saints is described (Mt. 18:6). They will be ground to powder
by the stone of Christ (Mt. 21:44), just as he will fall on the nations
of the Babylon confederacy and grind them to powder (Dan. 2:34). The Lord
will appoint his unwatchful servant a place of condemnation " with
the unbelievers" (Lk. 12:46). This is understandable once we appreciate
the idea that there are only two Kingdoms, God's and Satan's. The unworthy
were effectively in Satan's Kingdom, therefore they will suffer the judgement
that is prepared for it. Therefore we must separate from Babylon,
Satan's Kingdom, or else we will receive her judgements (Rev. 18:4). Likewise
the condemnation of the apostate in Israel
is very often described in the language of the judgements on the surrounding
kingdoms (e.g. Joel 1:5,10-12 = Is. 16:10; Ez. 16:37-39 = Rev. 17:16;
Jer. 16:9 = Rev. 18:23; Jer. 49:4 = Jer. 31:22; Jer. 51:27 = Joel 1:4;
2:1; Jer. 50:13 = 19:8) (4). The cup of judgement that
Israel will drink will be given
to the Arab nations who have afflicted her (Is. 51:23). This is all the
principle of Rev. 18:6; as the latter day Babylon does to natural and
spiritual Israel, so it will
be done to her. Apostate Israel
are often described as if they are Arabs- they share the same judgements,
because they have effectively sold their birthright. Israel
" sat...as the Arabian in the wilderness" (Jer. 3:2). Judah
would be punished along with Egypt,
Moab and Ammon, the circumcised
with the uncircumcised (Jer. 9:25,26). Thus Rom. 9:8 describes faithless
Israel as " the children
of the flesh" , with allusion to Arab Ishmael; and Gal. 4:23
likewise. The early chapters of Romans reason that both Jew and Gentile
receive the same judgment, because both have sinned.
- The judgements on the
nations are all described in similar language, whatever time or place
they were in (5). Thus Babylon's judgement
in Rev. 18 is based on the judgement of Egypt as recorded in Ez. 32:4-10,
and Egypt's judgement of Ez. 29:4 is that of Gog in Ez. 38:4. The whole
description of Egypt's
judgments in Ez. 29 is also full of links with those in store for Israel.
They will cry unto Yahweh in their affliction (Is. 19:20), just
as Israel did when Egypt
persecuted them (Ex. 2:23; 14:10). There are so many examples of this.
Surely the point is that fundamentally, all the nations of the world,
in whatever time and place, are all fundamentally the same Kingdom of
Satan, and will suffer the same destruction by the Kingdom of God.
Likewise the Kingdom of God to which we belong is
not limited by time or geography.
- The non-political
aspect of the Kingdom of God comes up time and again in the New
Testament. We are helped in our understanding of this by realizing
that this is the antithesis of the Kingdom of Satan, which is also
more abstract than political. The beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ
and his Kingdom can be plumbed the more fully by realizing how he
is the antithesis to the antiChrist, Satan.
theme of there being a true Christ and a fake Christ is reflected
in gematria [whereby each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a numeric
value]. The numeric value of mashiah [Messiah] is 358, as
is yavo shiloh [‘Shilo will come’]. But the value
of nahash [snake] is also 358.
A Moslem / Arab AntiChrist?
The Genesis record
seems to frame the confederations of Arab tribes contemporary with
the 12 tribes of Israel as being a kind of pseudo-Israel- for they
too are described as being 12 tribe confederacies. There were 12
Aramaean tribes who came from the 12 sons born to Nahor, Abraham's
brother (Gen. 22:20-24); 12 tribes from Ishmael (Gen. 25:13-16);
and the five tribes from the sons of Esau (Gen. 36:9-14) joined
with the seven Horite tribes in Seir (Gen. 36:20-28). Joel 2:20 speaks of the latter day invasion of Israel by "the northern army", which will then be consumed by the Lord's return. The Hebrew word for 'north' meaning 'hidden / concealed'- the 'north' is seen in Hebrew as the hidden / concealed place- the Jewish Encyclopedia interprets "the northern army" as "the concealed one". This may connect with 2 Thess. 2:4 speaking of the "man of sin" as a "Wicked one" who is revealed for who he is and then consumed by the Lord's second coming. This would associate the man of sin with the latter day invaders of Israel, which the Old Testament appears to define as the Arab neighbours of Israel. The Jewish Encyclopedia [article on "Ahriman"] mentions "a Judæo-Mohammedan tradition identifying the "Northern One" with the Mohammedan Antichrist, Al-Dajjal—the Liar".
There is a New
Testament theme that in the last days, the ecclesia will be infiltrated
by a " man of sin" who appears to be an apostle, and who
in league with the Arab beast, the power dominating the world, corrupts
the ecclesia. He is an anti-Christ, a false God (6).
His sitting in the temple of the ecclesia is matched by Tobiah the
Arab having rooms in the temple- rooms which should have been symbolic
of the dwelling place of God's people with Him (Neh. 7:13 cp. Jn.
14:1-3). He will get this place, as Tobiah got his place, because
the ecclesia has failed to grasp the rigid line of demarcation between
the things of God's Kingdom and those of Satan's. They will have
been deceived by the apparent similarity between the two Kingdoms.
The presence of antiChrist within the ecclesia will be the sign
" whereby ye know that it is the last time" (1 Jn. 2:18);
and 2 Thess. 2:3 and Mk. 13:5,14 say the same thing. The recognition
of the presence of such false teaching within the ecclesia will
be what tells the faithful remnant that the Lord's return really
is imminent. If the " man of sin" is to be connected somehow
with the Arab beast as we have suggested in Chapter 23, it may be
that the vague, outline similarities between Islam and the One Faith
are what are capitalized upon in order to make the differences seem
minimal. Thus Moslems tenaciously believe in one God and a restored
paradise on earth, and Shi'ite Moslems (comprising 99% Iranians
and 60% Iraqis) look for the return of the 12th Imam (who they believe
has ascended to Heaven) to rule the world. Moslem mosques are fake
temples of God, designed as they are around an outer court and two
sanctuaries. As Adam desired equality with God (see the allusions
to his fall in Phil. 2) and was punished with an inability to hide,
shame and nakedness as a result, so Edom will be punished in precisely
the same way (Jer. 49:10)- because they too desire equality with
God, as Babylon did in Is. 14:13, and as the man of sin will attempt
(2 Thess. 2: 4). The connection between Babylon, Edom
and the man of sin's blasphemy suggests that he is connected with
Arab / Islamic religious blasphemy.
It is also apparent that
for each aspect of true spirituality, there is a fake counterpart; an
appearance of peace when a man has no peace with God; a semblance of prayer
and Bible study when actually these are performed as exercises devoid
of meaning. The pseudo-believer takes “ease” (Lk. 12:19)
in his materialism; and yet this is the same word used about the true
“rest” which the Lord gives in His ecclesia (Mt. 11:28).
Many other examples of this are given in ‘Devotion: A Caveat’, in Beyond
Bible Basics. If we allow ourselves to be caught up in this, then
we are effectively having our part in the spirit of antiChrist. There
will not only be a fake Jesus, but there is already within our natures
a shadow spirituality, which apes the real thing, and thereby seeks to
persuade us that we can take the crown without the cross. In this lies
the colossal practical relevance of this theme to the serious believer.
(1) Rosamond Mack, The
Code Of Hammurabi (Baghdad: Iraq Min. of Culture, 1979).
(2) Quoted from G.R. Driver
and J.C. Miles, The Babylonian Laws Vol. 9 pp. 7-107 (Oxford: O.U.P.,
1955). This whole section makes most fascinating reading for anyone familiar
with the Old Testament scriptures.
(3) Many cases of this are
discussed in Demons: A Biblical Discussion (London: Pioneer, 1994).
(4) I have given many
examples of this in In Search Of Satan pp. 107-109.
(5) Examples of this will be
found in Chapter 9.
(6) See Chapters 11 and 23.