Eschatology

The Antichrist: Are the Little Horn, Man of Sin, and the Beast the Same Person?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott
Part one of a three-part series from the book, 'The Church and the Last Things', by Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

From The Church and the Last Things by Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Part 1 of a series

Editor's note: We receive frequent inquiries about Biblical eschatology in general and the Antichrist in particular. To answer some of those questions, today we begin a three-part series drawing from chapter eleven of The Church and the Last Things by Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Crossway Books, 1998, pages 115-118).

This book contains transcriptions of lectures Dr. Lloyd-Jones delivered in the 1950s at the Bible institute of Westminster Chapel in London, the church he pastored for nearly thirty years. I especially appreciate the fact that his treatment of this subject focuses entirely on Scripture. Absent are the references to the latest world developments that so often overshadow objective exposition of Bible prophecy.

The three parts of this series will be: 1.) A brief survey of Bible prophecy concerning Antichrist; 2.) The circumstances of the revelation of Antichrist; and 3.) Major schools of thought on the identity of Antichrist. - Paul Elliott

 

A Survey of Bible Prophecy Concerning Antichrist

 

We are still considering the question of the time of our Lord's second coming. The Bible, as we have seen, teaches clearly that certain things will precede this and we have now arrived at the third of these. We've considered the fullness of the Gentiles and the meaning of Paul's phrase 'all Israel shall be saved' and we come now to another important sign - the Antichrist.

This, like the first two, is a vital and interesting matter and, again, one which is the subject of much disagreement. Let me underline once more the fact that we must approach it with humility, with caution and with reverence, knowing that when godly, saintly and able men have confessed a difficulty, it is not a subject upon which we can glibly pronounce a final judgment.

So as we come to consider the question of the Antichrist, let me begin by referring you to certain specific statements in Scripture. First, there is the passage in 1 John 2, especially verse 18: 'Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.' Indeed, 'the Antichrist' is a term which is used only by the apostle John. Then there is also the great passage in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, which, again, is clearly a description of the same person. Furthermore, it is also clear that in Daniel 7:8 and 7:15-28 and in the classic passage in Revelation 13:1-18 with its account of the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth, there are references to the same power. And finally, there are also incidental references in 1 Timothy 4 and in 2 Peter 2 and 3.

Now let me give you my proof that Daniel 7, 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 13 all refer to the Antichrist. First of all, in each passage the source, the origin, is the same. In Daniel 7:8, the little horn comes from the fourth beast; in Revelation the rule of the Antichrist is the last phase of the beast from the sea; while the man of sin from 2 Thessalonians is visible after the removal of the Roman Empire.

Second, the time of the origin is the same. The little horn is among the divided successors of the Roman Empire; the beast receives his power and his great authority from the dragon (who is Satan) marching through pagan Rome; and the man of sin is revealed after the restraining power has been removed.

Third, their end is the same. All three are destroyed at the second coming of Christ in final judgment.

Fourth, in each account, the figure exercises religio-political power. The little horn in Daniel 7 is similar to, yet 'diverse' from, the others in that it is a religious power, unlike the other 'kings' (Dan. 8:24). In Revelation 13 the beast wears a crown, yet demands and receives worship, and the 'man of sin' in Thessalonians shows both aspects.

Fifth, the figures in the three accounts show blasphemous presumption. The little horn has a 'mouth that spake very great things' (Dan. 8:20), and, 'He shall speak words against the Most High' (Dan. 8:25). We are told that the beast in Revelation has 'a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies' (Rev. 13:5), while the man of sin exalts himself against God (2 Thess. 2:4).

Sixth, in both Daniel and Revelation the time of their domination is the same: three and a half years. In Daniel it is described as 'until a time and times and the dividing of time' (Dan. 8:25), and as far as the beast in Revelation is concerned, 'Power was given unto him to continue forty and two months' (Rev. 13:5). But Paul in 2 Thessalonians gives no exact time.

Seventh, all three wage war against God's people.

Eighth, they have great power. Of the little horn in Daniel we are told, 'whose look was more stout than his fellows' (Dan. 7:20), while it is asked of the beast, 'Who is able to make war with him?' (Rev.13:4). And the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians works, we are told 'with all power and signs and lying wonders' (2 Thess. 2:9).

Finally, in each passage divine homage is demanded: the little horn sets himself over the saints and times and laws of the Most High (Dan. 7:21, 25); the beast causes multitudes to worship him (Rev. 13:12), and the man of sin sets himself up as God (2 Thess. 2:4).

Next: The Circumstances of the Revelation of Antichrist

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