There are seven sets of passages noteworthy.
(I.) Christ's predictions of false Christs and false prophets (Matthew 21:3-31).
(II.) John's prophecy of "Antichrist" (this name occurs only with him) (1 John 2:18-23; 1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 1:5; 2 John 1:7).
(III.) Paul's "adversary" (Greek antikeimenos, in sound and sense answering to Antichrist) (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 2 Timothy 3:1-5), "in the last days, perilous times," characterized by heady high mindedness, with the form but without the power of godliness, the love of pleasure supplanting the love of God, contrasted with the earlier "latter times," marked by seducing spirits, doctrines of demons, celibacy, and abstinence from meats (1 Timothy 4:1-5).
(IV.) Daniel's "little horn" from among the ten horns of the fourth beast, or Roman empire (Daniel 7:7-27).
(V.) Daniel's "little horn" from one of the four notable horns of the third beast, or Graeco Macedonia divided into four at Alexander's death, the willful king (Daniel 8:8-25; Daniel 11:36-39).
(VI.) The beast from the sea (Revelation 13:1-8), ridden by the whore (Revelation 17:1-7).
(VII.) The beast from the earth and the bottomless pit, or the false prophet (Revelation 11:7; Revelation 13:11-18; Revelation 17:8-18; Revelation 19:11-21).
(I.) The false Christs and false prophets (Matthew 24) point to the pretenders to Messiahship before the fall of Jerusalem, the foreshadowing of the future impostors about to deceive all but; the elect. They are the spirits of demons which prepare the false prophet's way, but they are not the false prophet himself (Revelation 16:13-14).
(II.) John's Antichrist is stated to have been a subject of his oral teaching first (1 John 2:18; 1 John 4:3), so Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:5), and is therefore alluded to, not described. All who deny Jesus's Messiahship and Sonship (as Cerinthus and the Gnostics of John's days) forerun the Antichrist "to come" (the same Greek verb is used as of Christ's" coming".)
(III.) Paul's antikeimenos, "who opposeth all that is called God," is the "Antichrist" of John. He is not to come until "he who now letteth (hinders) and that which withholdeth" (hinders; the same Greek verb as before, only neuter instead of masculine) be taken out of the way; i.e., the curbing power of human law (neuter) and the curber (masculine), namely, the Roman emperor and whoever may be representative of the fourth world kingdom's power just before Antichrist. The unanimous consent of the early Christians that the Roman empire is "what withholdeth" was so unlikely to suggest itself to them, inasmuch as regarding it as idolatrous and often persecuting, that this explanation seems to have been preserved from Paul's oral teaching. Another less probable view is that the Holy Spirit is "He who now letteth," and the elect church the thing "that withholdeth," and that is to be taken out of the way on the eve of Antichrist's coming.
(IV.) Daniel's "little horn" (Daniel 7:7-27) of the fourth kingdom is the papacy as a temporal power, rising on the ruins of the Roman empire, and plucking up three of its ten horns.
(V.) Distinct from the" little horn" of Daniel 8, which is connected with the third, not the fourth, kingdom; ANTIOCHUS Epiphanes, of the Syrian fourth part of the divided Graeco-Macedonian or third kingdom, who persecuted the Jews, prohibited circumcision, and substituted the worship of Jupiter Olympius, with whom he identified himself as if God, instead of that of Jehovah, in the templeat Jerusalem. But this Old Testament Antichrist has a worse antitype in the New Testament, namely, the Antichrist of the last days. The language of Daniel 8:8-25 and Daniel 11:36-39, partially fulfilled by Antiochus, is exhaustively fulfilled only in the last Antichrist.
(VI.) As the beast from the sea has ten horns, comprising both E. and W., and power is given to it for forty-two months (Revelation 13:1; Revelation 13:5), so the little horn (Daniel 7:3; Daniel 7:7) absorbs the power of the ten-horned fourth beast out of the sea (the Roman empire) and wears out the saints for three and a half times (3 1/2 years, i.e. 42 months, or 1260 years, a year for a day). Both have "a mouth speaking great things" (Daniel 7:8; Daniel 7:11-20; Daniel 7:25); both blaspheme against the Most High (Revelation 13:6-7); both make war with the saints, and prevail; both persecute the saints (Revelation 13:7-10; Revelation 17:6), the beast being under the guidance of the harlot "drunken with their blood." The little horn of Daniel 7 therefore is the first beast of Revelation 13. Neither the little horn nor the first beast is Antichrist, who is an individual; it is a polity.
(VII.) The beast from the earth (Revelation 13:11), or as he soon reveals himself (Revelation 11:7; Revelation 17:8), from the bottomless pit, the false prophet (Revelation 16:13; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10), appears only when the harlot is unseated from the first beast. The harlot, the once pure woman (Revelation 12) corrupted, the apostate church, is distinct from the beast which it rides. The church, though corrupted, retains the human form, i.e. God's image, in which man was originally formed. The beast is the world estranged from God and under Satan, and so, however powerful, intellectual, and refined, essentially bestial. The faithful city (Isaiah 1:21) having become Babylon, the whore (Rome on the seven hills, Revelation 17:9) is punished in righteous retribution by that world upon which she rode, and for which she abandoned her faithful witness for God (Revelation 17).
Then after her judgment follows Antichrist's development. The "falling away" of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 answers to the first beast of Revelation 13, also to the departure from the faith, in enforced celibacy, asceticism, doctrines of demons, etc., of 1 Timothy 4:1-3. In the second Council of Nice, A.D. 787, image worship was sanctioned. In 754 the temporal power of the popes began by Pepin's grant to Pope Stephen III. of the three territories (answering to the three horns plucked up before the little horn, Daniel 7:8): Rome, the kingdom of the Lombards, and the exarchate of Ravenna; 1260 years from this date would end in 2014. Others date from A.D. 533, Justinian's edict acknowledging Pope John II: head of the church. The wounding to death and then the healing of the beast's deadly wound answers to the revival of idolatry and the setting up of a virtually pagan kingdom again at Rome in the eighth century (Revelation 13:3).
Again, in the case of the second beast or the false prophet, the wound given at the Reformation is healed, and he appears again as "the beast that was, and is not, yet is," a resurrection man, the embodiment of a resurrection empire, a mock Christ; as the true Christ saith, "I am He that liveth, and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore" (Revelation 1:18; Revelation 17:8). As Christ is the second Person in the Trinity, so Antichrist is the second in the anti-trinity, composed of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet (who bears witness to the first beast, as the Holy Spirit witnesseth of the Son).
Antichrist's characteristics (2 Thessalonians 2; 1 John 2:18-22; 1 John 4:3) shall be open opposition to God and religion, a claim to God's exclusive prerogatives, lawlessness, power of lying miracles and of beguiling souls under Satan's energizing, having a lamb's horns, i.e., outwardly resembling Christ or Messiah (Revelation 13:11); sitting in God's temple as God, apparently restored Israel's persecutor, whence the sacred Hebrew is the language of Daniel 8-12, wherein the little horn from the East is a leading subject, whereas the world's language, Chaldee, is that of Daniel 7 wherein the Romish little horn is described. At first hailed by Israel with hosannahs as her Messiah (John 5:43), and making a covenant with the Jews, then breaking it (Daniel 9; 11; 12; Zechariah 11; 12; 13; 14).
Antichrist, as the second beast or false prophet, will be personally an avowed atheist (1 John 2:22), yet represent himself as the decaying church's vindicator, compel men to reverence her, breathe new life into her by using the secular arm in her behalf (Revelation 13:12-17), concentrating in himself the infidel lawless spirit working in the world from Paul's days (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Heretofore infidelity and superstition have been on opposite sides, but when these shall combine against law, liberty, and Christianity, a period mercifully brief shall ensue, unparalleled in horrors by any that has gone before (Daniel 12:1-3). The two witnesses (Revelation 11) are variously explained as Moses and Elijah; Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the civil prince; the Word and the faithful church, to be slain or suppressed, perhaps about the same time that the harlot too is judged by the beast or Antichrist (Revelation 17; 18; 19.) The place of their temporary death is Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8), "where our Lord was crucified."
"The number of the beast" is 666, i.e. 6, the world's number, in units, tens, and hundreds. Six is next to the sacred seven, which it mimics but falls short of; it is the number of the world given over to judgment. There is a pause between the sixth and seventh seals, the sixth and seventh trumpets: for the judgments of the world are completed in six; at the seventh the world kingdoms become Christ's. As twelve is the number of the church, so six, its half, symbolizes the world kingdoms broken. The radicals in Christ are CH, R and ST (X P); Antichrist's monogram personates it, but falls short of it, Ch X St (X) (666). It is curious that the only unquestionable 666 (1 Kings 10:14; 2 Chronicles 9:13) in the Old Testament is the 666 talents of gold that came in yearly to Solomon, and were among the correcting influences that misled him.
Moreover, the only two Greek nouns in the New Testament, whose value numerically is exactly 666, are precisely the two expressing the grand corrupters of the church and sources of idolatry, "tradition" (paradosis), the corrupter of doctrine, "wealth" or the pursuit of it (euporia, only in Acts 19:25), the corrupter of practice (Colossians 3:5). The children of Adonikam are 666 in Ezra 2:13, but 667 in Nehemiah 7:18. Adonijah, bearing the name of the Lord Jehovah, rose up against the Lord's anointed, and so is a type of Antichrist.
The Hebrew letters of Balaam (type of the false prophet whose spiritual knowledge shall be perverted to Satanic ends; Revelation 2:14 favors this, also the fact that Antichrist mainly shall oppress Israel, Daniel 8; 9; 11; 12) amount to 666. The Greek letters of Lateinos (Irenaeus), Rome's language in all official acts, amount to 666. The forced unity marked by Rome's ritual being everywhere in Latin is the premature counterfeit of the true unity, only to be realized when Christ, God's true Vicar on earth, shall appear, and all the earth shall "in a pure language serve the Lord with one consent" (Zephaniah 3:9). The last Antichrist will be closely connected with his predecessor (as the second beast is with the first in Revelation 13), and will arrogate all Rome's claims besides those peculiar to himself.