The Coming of the Antichrist

Three portraits of Antichrist are to be found in the Bible.

The first is the “little horn that grows” in Daniel VII:“ After this I beheld in the vision of the night, and lo, a fourth beast, terrible and wonderful and exceeding strong. It had great iron teeth eating and breaking in pieces, . . . it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold another little horn sprung out of the midst of them; and three of the first horns were plucked up at the presence thereof: and behold eyes like the eyes of a man were in this horn, and a mouth speaking great things . . . My spirit trembled, I, Daniel, was affrighted at these things, and the visions of my head troubled me.

I went near to one of them that stood by, and asked the truth of him concerning all these things . . . and after this I would diligently learn concerning . . . the ten horns that he had on his head; and concerning the other that came up before which three horns fell: and of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth speaking great things, and was greater than the rest. I beheld, and lo, that horn made war against the saints, and prevailed over them . . . And thus he said . . . the ten horns of the same kingdom shall be ten kings: and another shall rise up after them, and he shall be mightier than the former, and he shall bring down three kings. And he shall speak words against the High One, and shall crush the saints of the Most High: and he shall think himself able to change times and laws, and they shall be delivered into his hand until a time and times, and half a time. And judgment shall sit, that his power may be taken away, and be broken in pieces, and perish even to the end.” (Daniel, VII, 7, 8, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26).

“In this little horn that grows, the Fathers, notably Saint Irenæus, Theodoret, Lactantius, St. Jerome, the modern Commentators, Maldonatus, Cornelius à Lapide, Calmet, etc., and many contemporary exegetes, have rightly seen a figure of Antichrist. The horn is the symbol of strength and power. It is the great offensive and defensive arm of certain animals. Before the Assyrian discoveries it was rather difficult to explain why Daniel had chosen this symbol to represent Antichrist. To-day it seems quite natural. In Chaldæa where the prophet was then living, the statues of the Babylonian gods and kings had horns on their tiaras.”[11]

The second portrait is that of the Beast in the Apocalypse. “And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads names of blasphemy. And the beast, which I saw, was like a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his own strength, and great power . . . And all the earth was in admiration after the beast. And they adored the dragon, which gave power to the beast: and they adored the beast, saying: Who is like to the beast? and who shall be able to fight with him? And there was given to him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies: and power was given to him to do two and forty months.

And he opened his mouth unto blasphemies against God, and to blaspheme His name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. And power was given him over every tribe, and people, and tongue, and nation. And all that dwell upon the earth adored him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb, which was slain from the beginning of the world.”[12]

“That the Beast is the figure of Antichrist has been the common opinion of Catholic commentators from ancient times to the present day. The use of the expression, ‘the Beast,’ shows that in the being in question, the bestial character will dominate instead of human feelings and sentiments. The coat of a leopard, the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion indicate also that he will combine cunning, ferocity and strength.”

The third portrait of Antichrist is that of the man of sin in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians. ‘Unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the on of perdition, Who opposeth, and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God . . . And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, him, whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, signs, and lying wonders, and in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: that they all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.”[14]

“There is no doubt,” writes St. Augustine, “that the Apostle is here speaking of Antichrist.”

“From these three portraits,” continues Father Lémann, “it is possible to deduce a number of conclusions with regard to the person, the reign, the persecution and the end of Antichrist. These conclusions can be classified under four headings as follows:

AThings that are certain.
BThings that are probable.
CThings that are undecided.
DThings that have not a solid foundation.”


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