By Arthur W. Pink
This article first published in Studies in the Scriptures- a monthly magazine edited by A. W. Pink. In 1923, a book appeared composed of various similar essays from the above mentioned magazine. This book was entitled, "The Antichrist" by Mr. Pink. The book is currently published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49501.
1. In Psalm 55 much is said of the Antichrist in his relation to Israel. Among other things we read there, "The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords" (v. 21). The occasion for this sad plaint is given in the previous verse- "He hath put forth his hands against such as be at peace with him: he hath broken his covenant". The reference is to Antichrist breaking his seven-year Covenant with the Jews (see Dan. 9:27; 11:21-24). Now if the entire Psalm be read through with these things in mind, it will be seen that it sets forth the sorrows of Israel and the sighings of the godly remnant during the End-time. But the remarkable thing is that when we come to vv. 11-14 we find that which has a double application and fufillment- "wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her street. For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company". These verses describe not only the base treachery of Judas toward Christ, but they also announce how he shall yet, when reincarnated in the Antichrist, betray and desert Israel. The relation of Antichrist to Israel will be precisely the same as that of Judas to Christ of old. He will pose as the friend of the Jews, but later he will come out in his true character. In the Tribulation period, the Nation of Israel shall taste the bitterness of betrayal and desertion by one who masqueraded as a 'familiar friend'. Hence, we have here the first hint that the Antichrist will be Judas reincarnated.
2. "And your covenant with Death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with Hell shall not stand; when the overflowring scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it" (Isa. 28:18) The "Covenant" referred to is that seven-year one which is mentioned in Dan. 9:27. But here the one with whom this Covenant is made is termed "Death" and "Hell!". This is a title of the Antichrist, as "the Resurrection and the Life" is of the true Christ. Nor is this verse in Isa. 28 the only one where the Son of Perdition is so denominated. In Rev. 6 a fourfold picture of him is given&emdash;the antithesis of the fourfold portrayal of the Lord Jesus in the Gospels. Here he is seen as the rider on differently colored horses, which bring before us four stages in his awful career, and when we come to the last of them the Holy Spirit exposes his true identity by telling us, "and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him" (Rev. 6:8). Now "Hell" or "hades" is the place which receives the souls of the dead, and the fact that this awful name is here applied to Antichrist intimates that he has come from there.
3. Above, we referred to Matt. 12:41-43 to prove that Antichrist will be a super-human being, a fallen and unclean "spirit ": we turn to it again in order to show that this coming Incarnation of Satan has previously been upon earth. The history of this 'Unclean Spirit" is divided into three stages. First, as having dwelt in "a man"; second, as having gone out of a man, and walking through dry places, seeking rest and finding none this has reference to his present condition during the interval between his two appearances on earth. Third, he says, "I will return to my house". This Unclean Spirit, then, who has already been here, who is now away in a place where rest is not to be found, is to come back again!
4. In John 17:12 we have a word which, more plainly still, shows that the Antichrist will be Judas reincarnated, for here he is termed by Christ "The Son of Perdition". But first let us consider the teaching of Scripture concerning Judas Iscariot. Who is he? He was a "man" (Matt. 26:24). But was he moree than a man? Let Scripture make answer. In John 6:70 we read, "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a Devil?" It is hardly necessary to say that in the Greek there are two different words for "Devil" and "demon". There are many demons, but only one Devil. Further, in no other passage is the word "devil" applied to any one but to Satan himself. Judas then was the Devil incarnate, just as the Lord Jesus was God incarnate. Christ Himself said so, and we dare not doubt His word.
As we have seen, in John 17:12 Christ termed Judas "the Son of Perdition", and 2 Thess. 2 :3 we find that the Antichrist is similarly designated- "That Man of Sin be revealed, the Son of Perdition". These are the only two places in all the Bible where his name occurs, and the fact that Judas was termed by Christ not a "son of perdition", but "the Son of Perdition", and the fact that the Man of Sin is so named prove that they are one and the same person. What other conclusion can a simple and unprejudiced reader of the Bible come to?
5. In Rev. 11:7 we have the first reference to "the Beast" in the Apocalypse: "The Beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit". Here the Antichrist is seen issuing forth from the Abyss. What is the Abyss? It is the abode of lost spirits, the place of their incarceration and torment&emdash; see Rev. 20:1-3, and Luke 8:31, "deep" is "abyss" and cf. Matt. 9:28. The question naturally arises, How did he get there? and when was he sent there? We answer. When Judas Iscariot died! The Antichrist will be Judas Iscariot reincarnated. In proof of this we appeal to Acts 1 :25 where we are told, "that he mav take part of this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place". Of no one else in all the Bible is it said that at death he went "to his own place". Put these two scriptures together: Judas went "to his own place", the Beast ascends out of the Abyss.
6. In Rev. 17:8 we read, "The Beast that thou sawest was, and is not: and shall ascend out of the Bottomless Pit, and go into perdition". This verse is generally understood to refer to the revived Roman Empire, and while allowing that such an application is warrantable, yet we are persuaded it is a mistake to limit it to this. In the Apocalypse, the Roman Empire and its final and satanic Head are very closely connected, so much so, that at times it is difficult to distinguish between them. But in Rev. 17 they are distinguishable. In v. 8 we are told that the Beast "shall ascend out of the Bottomless Pit, and that he shall go into perdition". In v. 11 we are told, "And the Beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seventh, and goeth into perdition". Now nearly all expositors are agreed that the Beast of v. 11- the "eighth" (head, and form of government of the Roman Empire- is the Antichrist himself; then why not admit the same of v. 8? In both, the designation is the same- "the Beast"; and in both, we are told he "goeth into perdition."
We take it, then, that what is predicated of "the Beast" in 17:8 is true of both the Roman Empire and its last head, the Antichrist: of the former, in the sense that it is infernal in its character. Viewing it now as a declaration of the Antichrist, what does it tell us about him? Four things. First, he "was". Second, he "is not". Third, he shall "ascend out of the Bottomless Pit". Fourth, he shall "go into perdition". The various time-marks here concern the Beast in his relation to the earth. First, he "was", i. e.. on the earth. Second, he "is not", i. e. now on the earth (cf. Gen. 5:24, "Enoch was not for God took him"; that is, "was not" any longer on the earth). Third, he shall "ascend out of the Bottomless Pit," where he now is, which agrees with 11:7. Fourth, he shall "go into perdition". We learn then from this scripture that at the time the Apocalypse was written the Beast "was not" then on the earth, but that he had been on it formerly. Further, we learn that in John's day the Beast was then in the Bottomless Pit but should yet ascend out of it. Here then is further evidence that the Antichrist who is vet to appear has been on earth before.
7. "And the Beast was taken, and with him the False Prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the Beast and them that worshipped his image. These both were east alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Rev. 19:20). This gives the last, word concerning the Antichrist. It makes known the terrible fate which awaits him. He, together with his ally, will be cast alive into the Lake of Fire. This is very striking, and confirms what has been said above, namely, that the Antichrist will be one who has already appeared on earth, and 12 as been in "the Abyss" during, the interval which precedes his return to the earth. And how remarkably Rev. 19:20 corroborates this. The Antichrist will not be cast, eventually into the Abyss, as Satan will be at the end of the Millennium (Rev 20 :1-3), but into the Lake of Fire which is the final abode of the damned. Why is it that he shall not be cast into the Abyss at the return of Christ? It must be because he has already been there. Hence, the judgment meted out to him is final and irrevocable, as will be that of the Devil a thousand years later, see Rev. 20:10.