Antichrist

  Writer: Kepenes D. Evangelos (04/17/2017)                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bible verses from: LXXE, AKJV, ESV2011 and others if they fit better with the Greek text

 


In the middle of the 1st century AD, the apostle John wrote:

 “[Little] children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time.

They went out from us [= apostasy/separation from the first church] but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were [Grk: εισίν = are] not all of us. But you have an unction [Grk: χρίσμα = anointment] from the Holy One, and you know all things." [I John 2:18-20]

 

 Here's a biblical flashback to comprehend what John wrote

      Simon told Mary about the 8-day-old Jesus: “And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again [Grk: ανάστασιν = resurrection] of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against  [Grk: sign antilegomenoG483]." [Luke 2:34]

       The narrative events by the New Testament writers fully verified Simon's words. The acceptance of Jesus, who is the truth, the life, and the path leading to the Father [John 14:6], was the cause of the resurrection of many in Israel [Those who were Spiritually  dead and through faith in Jesus Christ received eternal life] and the refusal - contradiction - opposition was the cause of the fall of many.

     This contradiction in Jesus' identity and teaching has its origin to the Jewish deniers and is continued to this day by the religions.

 «But when the Jews spoke against it, I was constrained to appeal to Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of." [Acts 28:19]

 

But to Israel he said, All day long I have stretched forth my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people [Grk: antilegonta]." [Rom. 10:21]

 

“Holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the disputers [Grk: antilegontas]." [Tit. 1:9]

 

 To whom Jesus was sent


      Responding to his Jewish disciples when they asked him to lay off the Canaanite woman, Lord Jesus Christ said: “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." [Mat. 15:24]


     In this way he revealed to them that he was the "good shepherd" who came to gather the scattered sheep of the house of Israel [John 10:11-17, 11:52, Ezek. 34:6,12, Is. 40:10-11].


      John attests: “He came to his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even [Grk: omits, even] to them that believe on his name, which were born, not of blood  [Abraham’s biological seed]  nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God [spiritual seed]." [John 1:11-13]

 

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and stays for ever." [I Peter to Hebrews 1:23]

 

Where Jesus acted 

     Jesus acted in Galilee, where the Israelites lived [in the past, some gentiles lived there, therefore the region was also called 'Galilee of the Gentiles'] and in Judea, parts of Palestine, which is known as the land of Israel and the Holy Land. He also visited Samaria. Until his resurrection, Jesus' teaching and preaching was addressed to the accountable Jews, who were the recipients and connoisseurs of the Old Testament.

 "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." [Mat. 5:17]

 “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the (Jewish) people." [Mat. 4:23]

       Besides, the command to the Jews when they received the Mosaic Law was not to proclaim it to the nations so that the gentiles to be circumcised [except for the ones bought with silver (Gen. 17:13)], to keep the Sabbath, not eat pigs and to live in Judaism, but to obey to the commandments of their God.

 “And all these blessings shall come on you, and overtake you, if you shall listen to the voice of the LORD your God." [Deut. 28:2]

 

“Turn you not to idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God." [Lev.. 19:4]

 

“And you shall be holy to me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that you should be mine." [Lev.. 20:26]

        However, Jesus found more faith in the nations than in Israel and healed the daughter of the Canaanite woman and the servant of the Roman centurion [Mat. 15:22, 8:10, compare to 13:58]. The same thing happened in the days of Elijah and Elisha [Luke 4:23-27].


 Who were responsible for the observance of the Mosaic Law

      The Jews were responsible for the observance of the Mosaic Law [Torah], the recipients of the law, the sheep of His pasture, and not the Gentiles, and that's why the wrath of God “Because the law works wrath [Rom. 4:14a]” was upon the disrespectful Jews, as the law commanded [Lev. 26] with the destruction of Jerusalem and the death of many of them by the Roman troops and the civil war they had [Rev.. 6:4] as Jesus foretold:

 

“But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land [of Israel] and wrath on this people [Jewish]. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations [The Jews during the war were captured in every nation they used to live, because of their Diaspora ] and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles  until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." [Luk. 21:23-24, 19:43-44, Dan. 2:44-45, Rev..11:15]

 

“ Therefore thus saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts, Woe to the mighty men of Israel; for my wrath shall not cease against mine adversaries, and I will execute judgment on mine enemies And I will bring my hand upon thee, and purge thee completely, and I will destroy the rebellious, and will take away from thee all transgressors." [Is. 1:24-25 LXXE, see also Jude 1:14-15 ]

 

“He has bent his bow like an enemy: he stood with his right hand as an adversary, and slew all that were pleasant to the eye in the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion: he poured out his fury like fire." [Lam. 2:4]

 

“And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given to him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer  (Jesus Christ)."  [Rev. 6:2]


 

Some Historical testimonies for the wrath of God on the disrespectful Jews

      Eusebius wrote the information given by Josephus about the disasters that struck the entire Jewish nation. He tells us that the 12th year of Nero's reign a war began where many prominent Jews in Jerusalem were crucified, under Commissioner Floros. The cities in the province were filled with unburied corpses by the Jewish strife, and they expected greater evil than what was already happening [Church history II 26:1-2].

 After the fall of Jerusalem, Vespasian ordered all descendants of the royal line of David to be hunted down [Church history III 12].

 Furthermore, he tells us that the longing of God waited for the Jews for forty years after the crucifixion of Jesus to repent and be saved, so that no harms would come to them [Church history III chap. 7: 8-9].

 Peter’s writings to Hebrews

       Peter the apostle of the circumcised as was James and John [Gal. 2:7-8] wrote about the longing of God to the Jews in his second letter to them.

 

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward [Grk: υμάς = to you  = the Jews)] not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." [II Peter to Hebrews 3:9] 

 

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." [II Peter to Hebrews 3:9 Esv2011]

 

 And Paul to Timothy “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." [II Tim. 2:25-26]


 The warnings of Jesus towards the first church

       What happened later to the generation of apostles was of immense importance to the Jewish people and their nationality, since their earthly life was determined by the Mosaic provisions and the operation of the Temple. It was therefore reasonable for the Lord Jesus to warn them of the imminent changes and for everything that would happen to them, to their land and to their nation [Luke 21:31-36]. In fact, he gave signs to his disciples, which would precede the last days of the end of the law, such as the abomination of desolation, the rise of pseudo-Christs and false prophets who would show lying wonders, the apostasy from the church  [Mat. 24:3, 9-13], the overthrow of the son of the lawlessness, the persecutions they would suffer, the internationalization of Christianity and the encirclement of Jerusalem and the trenches around it by the Roman troops. 


      What Jesus foretold about the great sorrow, his coming and the end of time [fulfillment of the Mosaic law], concerned the Jews of the era of Jesus, and everything would happen in their generation.


 “Truly I say to you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." [Mat. 24:34]

     The earthly hand-made temple of Israel would give its place to the heavenly temple of Jesus' body [John 2:21, Heb. 9:11, Rev. 21:22], the fleshly Israel would give its place to the spiritual Israel [Gal. 6:15-16, I Pet. 1:23], death would give its place to the resurrection from the dead [II Cor. 3:6-9, I Cor. Chap. 15], the carnal worship would give its place to the spiritual worship [Heb. 9:9-10, John 4:23-24] and the old kingdom of Israel would change and give its place to the new kingdom [Mat. 21:43].

    Jesus, therefore, was set for the fall and resurrection of many in Israel, and as a controversial point. The historical events of the apostolic generation were the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies with consequences depending on what position everyone took in front of the truth, the heavenly Jesus [I Cor.15:46].

 “Beware therefore, lest that come on you, which is spoken of in the prophets." [Acts 13:40]


 The first disciples were Jews

      Jesus of Nazareth as was supposed the son of Joseph [Luk. 3:23] lived in Judaism, was circumcised on the eighth day [Luk. 2:21], celebrated Easter [Luk. 2:41-43], used to go to the synagogue every Saturday and participated in the reading of the Hebrew scriptures [Luk. 4:16], he was accepted by the Jews as a rabbi [Mat. 8:19], he had the reputation as the Great Prophet [Luk. 7:16-17], he was in agreement with the doctrine of the Pharisees and the Scribes, but not with their works [Mat. 23:2] or oral traditions, he was constantly referred to what was written to the prophets, he ministered among the Jews in the land of Israel, he chose Jewish apostles and after he gave them authority, he sent them to the cities of Israel, saying:

 

“Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter you not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." [Mat. 10:5-7]

 

“And into whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you, and heal the sick that are therein, and say to them, The kingdom of God is come near to you. But into whatever city you enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say Even the very dust of your city, which sticks on us, we do wipe off against you notwithstanding be you sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come near to you." [Luke 10:8-11]

 So, the first disciples [the beginning] were Jews, and it is obvious that the original genuine Christianity emanates from the prophets of Israel and the law of Moses, not Hellenism or oral traditions.

 “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God, to our fathers: To which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews." [Acts 26:6-7]

 

And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening." [Acts 28:23]

     But from the first centuries AD, this genuine Christianity was adulterated by historical political conditions, complying it with the religious customs and the sun-worshipping pantheon of the Hellenized Eastern Roman Empire, transforming it into a religion of the Ecumenical Councils, which, coated with the incinerated Judaism [see destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD] and with the help of guns, metallic organs of torture, decapitations and forced Roman-imperial laws, compelled a false religion named orthodox Christianity”, bypassing the “If any man will come after me……..[Luke 9:23]” and made Christianity an instrument of authority and service of earthly interests, inducing spiritual obscurantism.


 Preaching to the nations

      When Jesus rose from the dead he commanded the Jewish apostles to preach to all nations not the Mosaic Law [Acts chap.15], but repentance and remission of sins through faith in his name.

 

“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whoever believes in him shall receive remission of sins [Jewish and Greek]." [Acts 10:43, Rom. 3:21]  

 

        It was Peter who first spoke to the nations [Acts 15:70]. Then, Paul, after the sons of the kingdom [the biological descendants of Abraham] had denied to accept the gift of salvation through faith, he turned and “denounced through Jesus the resurrection from the dead” to the nations as well [Mat. 8:11-12, Acts. 4:2, 28:23-28, Eph. 2:8].

      The fulfillment of preaching to all nations was performed in the generation of the apostles [Rom. 16:26, Col. 1:23]. This event internationalized pure Christianity and marked the fall of Jerusalem and the ending [fulfillment] of the Mosaic Law, which prescribed anger-wrath for the disobedient of the Law and participation of the nations in the eternal kingdom of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

 “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come." [Mat. 24:14, Acts 10:11-12]


“And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending on him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth Wherein were all manner of four footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat." [Acts 10:11-12]


And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground [Israel and the Nations participating in the new covenant]." [Hos. 2:18a, see also Eph. chap. 2]


 Jesus had to suffer and be fooled by that generation

 “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God comes not with observation: Neither shall they say, See here! or, see there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. And he said to the [Jewish] disciples, The days will come, when you shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation." [Luk. 17:20-25]

      In another conversation with the Jewish disciples, he reveals who will kill him saying:  “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day." [Luk. 9:22]

      At the same time, he warned them that they would also be persecuted by their co-nationals.

“Remember the word that I said to you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also." [John 15:20]

 

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the middle of wolves: be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will whip you in their synagogues." [Mat. 10:16-17]

 

“They shall put you out of the synagogues: yes, the time comes, that whoever kills you will think that he does God service." [John 16:2]

 

The Lord calls the rulers and the false prophets of Jerusalem wolves and lions that roar

“Her princes in the middle thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain." [Ez. 22-27]


"Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow." [Zeph. 3:3]


“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." [Mat. 7:15]

         These wolves would enter the church of God at a later time. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock." [Acts 20:29]

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privately shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction." [II Peter to Hebrews 2:2]

 

The way


“Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me [John 14:6]”. The way of Lord Jesus was a way full of sorrow  “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it [Mat. 7:14]”. But the reward was great “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." [Luke 12:32 Esv2011]


 “And made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." [Rev. 1:6]


 “And you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." [Rev. 5:10 Esv2011]


        The time that the small flock of the Lord would be persecuted by the Jewish rulers and the priesthood until his coming would not be long.


 “But when they persecute you in this city, flee you into another: for truly I say to you, You shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." [Mat. 10:23]

 

“Truly I say to you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." [Mat. 16:28]

 

Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!" [John 21:23]

 

The political and social environment of the era of Jesus and the apostles where the sayings of the prophets and Jesus were fulfilled


 The political environment

      At the beginning of the 1st century BC, Judea joined the Roman province of Syria. It was part of the reign of Herod, who was proclaimed the King of the Jews by the Senate (40 BC). The policy of the Herodians was highly Roman, serving Roman interests. When the war broke out in 66 AD, the king was Herod Agrippa II, hated by the Jews, took the side of the Romans, and besieged Gamalla, part of his territory, when its inhabitants took the side of the rebels [Jos. War of Jews: Book IV chapt. I]. Archaeologists discovered Roman emperors faces on Agrippa’s coins. The Romans had the supreme power in Judea and practiced it with the commissioners, the only ones who could command the death penalty. The Romans had granted many privileges to Theocratic Israel by treating it as a separate nation.

 The social environment

       The social classes of Judea in those times included the following groups:

 -The Congregation: It is considered a continuation of the councils of Moses' elders. There were the "provincial congregations" with 23 members and the "Grand Congregation" with 71 members. It consisted of chief priests, priests, scribes and presbyters. President was the "chief priest of the twelvemonth".  Sanhedrin had a Roman-controlled judicial, religious and administrative power. Its power ceased with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

  -The Sadducees: A class of wealthy, friends of the Romans of unconfirmed origin, they did not believe in resurrection or in angelic spirits or in oral traditions. They were familiar with the Greek language and philosophy and loved the Greek way of life like all the wealthy of the time. Hence, the interaction of the Jewish monotheism with the Greek philosophy was inevitable. They had close relations with the priesthood and the general of the sanctuary. They were in rivalry with the Pharisees, but they were forced to cooperate with them to get rid of Jesus.

 -The Pharisees: Fanatic nationalists and formalists. They mainly influenced the popular layers. Unlike the Sadducees they did not agree in Hellenization, they believed in resurrection and in spirits. Most of them were exploiters, unjust, and ambitious. “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments." [Mat. 23:5]

 They knew the scriptures but they were not executives. Jesus' woes did not concern all of them, many Pharisees obeyed to the faith, such as the apostle Paul, and others maintained a positive attitude to the issue of Jesus, such as Nicodemus and Gamaliel.

 -The Elders: Along with the Sadducees, they were the elite of the Judaic society, they participated in the great congregation defining the religious and political line of the nation. They worked closely with the chief priests and the scribes.

 -The Scribes: Lecturers, interpreters of the Mosaic Law and preservers of oral traditions. They were also called Lawyers, and they were Pharisees' associates and members of the congregation. They always defended the interests of the rich.

 -The Essenes: A special Jewish religious group living by its own rules, separated from the rest of the Jews. They were committed to the Mosaic Law and emphasized the purification baths. They kept a strict daily schedule with prayers, common meals and work to make ends meet. They had neither riches nor merchandise. They abstained from marriage, and those who were married adopted foreign infants, that's why they were small in number. Any effort to identify Essenes with Christians is unsuccessful.

 -The Zealots: Extreme nationalists, Pharisees, rebels. Judas Galileo is considered to be their organizer. Together with other Jewish nationalist factions, they did not tolerate the Roman occupation “Mortal Lords” and the attribution of taxes to Caesar, with money belonging to the Temple [Jos. War of Jews: Book 2 viii i]. They supported the armed liberation struggle and considered traitors those who did not agree with their perceptions. They were the proponents of the armed revolution that led to the war with the Romans and they were particularly hostile to the affluent Jews, because they were tolerant of the Roman occupation. During the war, the zealots ruled over Jerusalem and its temple and they killed plenty of wealthy Jews grabbing their property.

 “Your gold and silver is corroded; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for the last days." [Jam. 5:3]

 -The Scarians: [= stabbers] Outrageous Zealots, they murdered plenty of moderate Jews [those who did not want the war] during the revolt to thwart the Roman yoke.  

 -The Chief Priests: The succession of the chief priest in the Aaron class was interrupted. During that era, the chief priest was appointed by the Romans, served the Roman interests, and dealt mainly with politics. In the era of Christ, Caiaphas was the active chief priest, the bridegroom of Annas who was appointed chief priest by Kyrinios, the Roman legate of Syria, in 7 AD. Annas was removed from his position by the Roman commissioner Valerios Gratos in 15 AD. Annas had five sons who all served as chief priests since the lifetime of the vocation had been abolished. The fact that Jesus was first led to Annas instead of the active chief priest Caiaphas shows Anna's powerful influence in the political and religious life of the Jews. As administrators of the temple's revenue, the chief priests had accumulated wealth that did not match their vocation.

      Josephus mentions Jerusalem as a place worshipped by the whole world [Jos. War of Jews: Book iv, chap.4, 3  (262)]. The crowd that went to Jerusalem to worship had to convert its coins, buy animals for sacrifices, and offer gifts and oblations to the temple. Thus, the house of God was transformed into a "house of commerce [John 2:13-16]," hence the wealth of the chief priests.


Proselytes

   They were becoming proselytes from the polytheism or the henotheism of the gentiles to the Jewish monotheism either, voluntarily [Lev. 18:26 LXXE], or because of the fear of the Jews [Est. 8:17], or for political reasons, as did John Hyrcanos [134-104  BC] when he defeated the Edomites and imposed upon them the circumcision and the Jewish customs in order to remain in the area [Joseph. Jewish Antiq: Book 13, 9, 258], or for modernity, when many Greeks seeing the brilliance of the Jewish religious ceremonies, decided to copy them. [Joseph. Jewish War: Bk vii, iii, 3]

     Any effort of proselytism by the Jews was based on their own human traditions, which were incompatible with the written law [Torah], so Jesus said to them:

 “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." [Mat. 15:9]


 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." [Mat. 23:15]

     However, many proselytes obeyed to the gospel of life, such as Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, the Ethiopian eunuch, and others [Acts 6:5, 2:11, 8:27-38, 13:43].


The sequence of the persecutions of the body of christ by the Jews


The chief priests and the rulers deceitfully kill Jesus

      Jesus had to die because he was dangerous to the interests of the ruling class, namely the Herodians [These were Edomites in whom the Maccabian ruler, Hyrcanus A', had imposed circumcision], the Chief Priests, the Sadducees, the Elders, the Pharisees and Scribes. “If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation [John 11:48]”. “After two days was the feast of the Passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death." [Mark 14:1]

        The chief priests, the scribes and the people's presbytery lead Jesus to their Congregation, and then they extract the decision of the death penalty deceitfully from the fifth Roman commissioner of Judea Pontius Pilate, accusing Jesus of turning the Jewish people out of Rome and being an opponent to the Roman Empire.

 

“And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King." [Luke 23:2, 14]

 

“And from thereafter Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If you let this man go, you are not Caesar's friend: whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar." [John 19:12]

 

“But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him.  Pilate said to them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, we have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore to them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away." [John 19:15-16]

 

The chief priests and rulers prevent the propagation of the resurrection of Jesus by bribing the Roman soldiers

 “And when they were assembled [the chief priests] with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money to the soldiers, Saying, Say you, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day." [Mat. 28: 12-15]

 

The chief priests and rulers react violently to the action of the church after the Pentecost and think of killing the apostles

"And as they spoke to the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came on them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold to the next day: for it was now eventide." [Acts 4 :1-3]

 

“And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straightly command you that you should not teach in this name? And, behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood on us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you slew and hanged on a tree [Grk: wood], him has God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey him. When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them." [Acts 5:27-33]

 

Paul agrees with Stephen's stoning

     Stephen is led to the congregation and, after his apology to the chief priests, he is stoned with the consent of Paul the Pharisee who abuses the church, entering every house and dragging men and women, handing them over to the prison with the permission of the chief priests [Acts 6:12, 54-60, 8:1-3, 9:1-2]. This was done until his conversion to Christ.


The Jews’ plots

Antioch

“But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spoke against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming." [Acts 13:45]


“But the Jews stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts." [Acts 13:50]

Iconium

“But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brothers." [Acts 14:2]


Lystra

“And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead." [Acts 14:19]

 

Thessaloniki

“But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took to them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people." [Acts 17:5]

 

Veria

"But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people." [Acts 17:13]

 

Jerusalem

“And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him." [Acts 21:27]


“And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians [Grk: hellenists/hellenized Jews] but they went about to slay him." [Acts 9:29]

Damascus

“And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him." [Acts 9:23]


Justin's testimony about the Jews' plots

Justin, in a dialogue with Judah Tryphon 17-1 states that "The Jews not only did not repent, but they sent out elected [agents] to the whole earth in order to vilify and accuse Christians as heretics, illegal and atheists."

King Herod kills Jacob

"Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. Then were the days of unleavened bread." [Acts 12:1-3]

 

At the period of history we study the Romans did not persecute the Christians

   The primitive church, therefore, did not face any persecutions by the Romans for its faith in Jesus, but by the disobedient Jews, instigated by the ruling class, as Jesus had told them.  The Romans did not distinguish the difference between Christians and Jews, they thought that Christianity was a Jewish heresy and they had no reasons to chase the church, since Judaism had privileged relations with Rome. On the contrary, judgments against the Jews also affected Christians, as in the case of Aquila and Priscilla, when all the Jews were expelled from Rome because of the commotions about Jesus that took place between them in the synagogues [Acts 18:2]. Separation of the disciples from the synagogue was made by Paul in Ephesus [Acts 19:9].

 The historical events confirm the stance of Rome

 “And when Gallio [Roman] was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, Saying, This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O you Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look you to it; for I will be no judge of such matters. And he drove them from the judgment seat." [Acts 18:12-16]

     Similarly, Porcius Festus, the Roman Judge of Judea [59 AD], the replacement of Felix who was married to Judean Drusilla, the sister of Herod Agrippa II and Berenice, referring to King Agrippa II about Paul said:

 

“Against whom when the accusers [Jews] stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed: But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters, But when Paul had appealed to be reserved to the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar." [Acts 25:18-21]

 

“And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man does nothing worthy of death or of bonds. Then said Agrippa to Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed to Caesar." [Acts 26:30-32, see also 28:16-20]

       Also, some men from Caesar's home had believed in Jesus “All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household." [Philip. 4:22]

       Paul, in order to be saved from the wrath of the Jews, invoked the Roman Caesar because he knew that Christianity was not forbidden by Rome, which was more tolerant to all the "gods," and in its pantheon had included many of them. In fact, Eusebius wrote that Caesar Tiberius liked the Christian doctrine and suggested to the senate to include Jesus in the Roman pantheon; his suggestion was rejected but Tiberius threatened the Christian accusers with death [Church History: Book ii chap. 2].

 The fire in Rome in 64 AD

      Several historians, theologians and scholars, doubt whether the persecution of Nero, which was limited in Rome and of short duration, concerned the faith of Christians. The evidence indicates that Nero's purpose was to punish the guilty of the fire. As a malicious act and according to the Dodecadelto [state laws], the sentences for the arsonists were death by fire and being eaten alive by beasts. The first century Christians had no reason to burn Rome, they were accused of being responsible. The teaching of Jesus and the apostles prevented violent behavior. Historically, the Jews vilified the Christians. As the professor of the University of  Thessaloniki  Apostolos Glavinas mentions in his book "The persecution of the church in the pre-Constantine age", Tertios Publications, Katerini, pages 41-42 "The Jews found the opportunity to fuel the political power of Rome with flammable material against the Christians."

The same source, pages 49-50, states that "Christians were not outlaws, no law was enacted against them, and they were not considered as a prohibited religion or different than the Judaism."

 

False prophets   

    Religion always supported the ruling class [elite], which in turn used it as a tool for manipulating the lower social layers, for the benefit of the retention of power by the rich oligarchs [Jacob 2:6]. A powerful link in this interwoven co-operation between religion and power was the false prophets whose oracles guided the people and the "divine" decisions of the rulers.

The action of the false prophets against the truth of God

 “And the priests, and the false prophets, and all the people heard Jeremias speaking these words in the house of the Lord. And it came to pass, when Jeremias had ceased speaking all that the Lord had ordered him to speak to all the people, that the priests and the false prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die, because thou hast prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, This house shall be as Selo, and this city shall be made quite destitute of inhabitants. And all the people assembled against Jeremias in the house of the Lord [Jer. 26: 7-8 LXXE]”.

 

False prophets in every devised deity

    As in any "god" worship, so did the Jewish worshippers of Baal have their own false prophets. When Iehu became king in the ten-race kingdom of Israel, he said:

 “Now therefore call to me all the prophets of Baal, all his worshipers and all his priests. Let none be missing, for I have a great sacrifice to offer to Baal. Whoever is missing shall not live. But Jehu did it with cunning in order to destroy the worshipers of Baal." [II Kings 10:19 Esv2011]

  The action of the false prophets among the Jews was active in the times of the apostles; Lord Jesus had warned:

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." [Mat. 7:15]


“For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect." [Mark 13:6-7]


 And when they had gone through the isle to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith."  [Acts 13:6-8]

 

     And Josephus, a basic source of knowledge of the Judaic War [Book vi chap. 5, 3] states that during the war, frauds and false prophets deceived the Jews who did not believe in the true signs of God for the end of Jerusalem.


Pseudo-Christs         

       The term pseudo-Christ(s) was imported by Jesus Himself, and it means false Christ, false Messiah, not the real one.

And he said, Take heed that you be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draws near: go you not therefore after them." [Luke 21:8]

 

     We could say that Theudas and Judas had characteristics of a pseudo-messiah [Acts 5:36-37].  According to the Jewish perception of that time, the coming Messiah/Christ would save them - freed them from the Roman yoke and would restore the earthly kingdom to Israel according to the pattern of David. “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone." [John 6:15]

 This perception led to Jews being rebellious [Ezra 4:19, I Peter 2:17] and often provoking revolts in the region. Many Jewish disciples, seeing that Jesus was not the type of Messiah they wanted, abandoned him [John 6:66]. This misconception, the association of the heavenly kingdom of God with the national restoration of the fleshly Israel, is still prevalent today in many religious people, who pay attention to Jewish myths and commandments of people who reject the truth [Tit. 1:14].

 

The testimony of Jesus for his kingdom

 

“Jesus answered, my kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." [John 18:36, Dan. 2:44, 7:14]

 

And Paul teaches “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." [II Cor. 4:18]

 

“For here have we no continuing city [earthly], but we seek one to come [heavenly]." [Heb. 13:14, 11:16]

 

 Antichrist        

     The term antichrist = opposed to Christ, is first introduced by John, the apostle of the Jewish [Gal 2:9], to the founded church of Christ at that time, warning them that “it is the last time”. Therefore, the apostle John defines the first church as eschatological

 Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last timeThey went out from us  [apostasy – separation], but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But you have an unction [Grk: anointment] from the Holy One, and you know all things." [I John 2:18]


 Body of Christ and body of Antichrist

     All members of the original church were anointed [baptized with the Holy Spirit] and everyone knew. They had heard that before the coming of the Almighty Jesus [Rev. 1:8, Hebr 1:3, Zech. 8:18 Lxxe] and His wrath on the disrespectful Jews, the antichrist would come.

     The members of the church of Christ, the believers, were body of Christ, and members in particular  “For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." [I Cor. 12:12, 19-20, Rom.12:5, Eph. 1:22-23]

   The apostle John explains that already in his modern age many antichrists had come, and so his spiritual children knew that it was the last time. The Antichrist(s) was a collective body, a set of persons of a certain ideology and faith, who were against the truth the church of Jesus confessed. They were inside the church, they came out of it and was a premonition, sign, of the Second Coming and of the last days of the age of the law.

 “For there must be also heresies among you that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." [I Cor. 11-19]

 The fallacy of the antichrists

     There was a certain fallacy that identified someone as an antichrist, but this did not make him a successor to world hegemony, but it was a sign of loss as we will see later.

 

For many deceivers have gone out [from the first church] into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh [Grk: omits, the]. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist." [II John 1:7 Esv2011]

 

“Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also." [I John 2:22-23 Esv2011]

 

And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already." [I John 4:3]

 

       Many times Jesus had warned his disciples to be careful not to be deceived and so did John  “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you."[I John 2:7]

 

 The deceivers/antichrists came from inside the church

     The antichrists were contemporary of the apostles, they came from inside the primitive church, and they were the result of a long-standing, in-church, controversy over the identity and teaching of the Lord Jesus, mainly from Jerusalem-born Jews, faithful but also zealots of the law.

 “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses." [Acts 15:5]

 

“And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said to him, You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law." [Acts 21:20]

 

“And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him." [Acts 11:2]

 

“So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized [disputed] him ......" [Acts 11:2 Esv2011]

 

“But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: And that because of false brothers unawares brought in, who came in privately to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage  [in Hebrew customs]." [Gal. 2:1-4]

 

“Holding fast [the bishop] the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the disputers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision." [Tit. 1:9-10]

 

“O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge.” [I Tim. 6:20 Esv2011]

 

“I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them." [Rom. 16:17 Esv2011]


“Correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth." [II Tim. 2:25 Esv2011]

 

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privately shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord [Grk: Despot] that bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction." [II Peter 2:1, Jude 1:4]

 

“Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory [Grk: καυχώμενοι = boast] in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh." [Philip. 3:2]

     Similar controversies and objections from Jewish believers had been confronted by Jesus himself as John tells us in the eighth chapter.

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. They answered him: We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, You will become free? [31-33] ………… I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you  I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard (traditions) from your father. [37-38] ……… You are of your father the devil." [44]……

 

 The reading of the epistles in real time

     By examining the epistles in real time, we understand the struggle of the apostles and the brothers in Christ, and the polemic they attempted against them, specially they of the circumcision, who had penetrated between them, introducing heresies of perdition - false teachings and refusing the Despot who bought them, creating divisions and scandals. Under these circumstances, Paul struggled, wrote, urging the saints of his age.

 “And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For to you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake." [Philip. 1:28-29]

     After we perceive the prevailing situation in the church at that time, the struggle of the believers, their sufferings by the Jews, their sociopolitical environment and their expectation of the imminent coming  [parousiaG3952 /arrival] of the great God and savior Jesus Christ to punish Jerusalem’s wicked people, we can understand the scriptures more precisely.

 

The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians

“Now we beseech you, brothers, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together to him, [2] That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. [3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away [GRK: apostasy] first and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; [4] Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. [5] Remember you not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? [6] And now you know [what withholds] that he might be revealed in his time. [7] For the mystery of iniquity does already work: [only he who now lets will let, until he be taken out of the way]. [8] And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: [9] Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, [10] And with all delusion of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. [11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." [II Thes. 2:1-12]

 

Notes to comprehend this part of scripture

 

a)    AKJV verse 6: And now you know what withholds [Grk: το κατέχον] that he might be revealed in his time

 

Since apostle Paul does not explicitly mention the katechon's identity, the passage's interpretation has been subject to dialogue and debate amongst Christian scholars.

 

Paul uses the present participle form of the verb katecho first in the neuter [to katechon/το κατέχον] and then in the masculine [ho katechon/ο κατέχων].

 

The Grk verb katecho [κατέχω] is polysemy, has multiple meanings. When we use it  for circumstances - situations - conditions  means|| I possess the mind [Liddell -  Scott].

 

When we use it on rulers means: I possess ||have somebody or something under my authority||I have the control||the power [Liddell - Scott].

 

So this is what Paul wrote: “And now you know “το κατέχον the katechon/the possessing evil power/the evil spirit, that he might be revealed in his time” [It was acting secretly/invisible].

 

b)    AKJV verse 7: For the mystery of iniquity does already work: Only he who now lets will let, until he be taken out of the way.  

 

The last part of this verse, has been inserted by the translators, and has no basis in the original Greek text.


Grk txt: μόνον ο κατέχων άρτι έως εκ μέσου γένηται

 

o κατέχων = He who possesses||he who takes control over a person’s mind


 “The prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience." [Eph. 2:1-2]

 

άρτι = now                έως = until               εκ μέσου = out of the midst

 

γένηται (genetai):  it is a second aorist, middle, deponent, subjuctive, of the Grk verb γίνομαι or γίγνομαι (ginomai) = to come into existence||come in to being||to cause to be||to be created||to be born||or to be produced.

 

So [έως εκ μέσου γένηται] means: until he comes into being out of the midst or until he comes forth out of the midst.

 

Here is an example for better understanding: Water came forth from the hole in the wall.   

 

 

Let’s see now what Paul wrote:

For the mystery of iniquity does already work only until he who now is the possessor/the controller/the evil/ power/ho katexon, comes into being/comes forth out of the midst and then shall the lawless be revealed whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”

 

Paul describes the battle between the evil spirit and the Holy one. As God/the Spirit [John 4:24] is present in the midst of his faithful people, so, ho katexon/the evil spirit, was present in the midst of the sons of disobedience. And as God/the spirit was manifest in Christ Jesus, the Holy one, so this evil power was manifest in antichrist the lawless one.


 The apostles were told them these things many times and the Christians knew that every spirit that did not confess Jesus Christ was not from God, but it was the spirit of the antichrist which they knew that it would come soon and it was already in the world at their time and acted among the sons of disobedience and perdition (antichrists), possessing their mind.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." [Eph. 6:12]

“Why I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." [I Cor. 12:3]

 

“And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already." [I John 4:3 Esv2011]


"We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error." [I John 4:6 Esv2011]

 

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience." [Eph. 2:1-2]

 

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them." [II Cor. 4:3-4]

 

 What the believers of Thessaloniki understood when they received the second letter from the apostle Paul

    They understood that prior to the second presence [parousia] of Jesus for which they waited to take place in their generation and their assembly on him [I Thes. 4:13-18], the apostasy/separation from the church the body of Christ, would happen "first" and the man of lawlessness would be revealed, the antichrist, the man doomed to perdition, the one who would oppose and would exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, the one who would set himself up in God’s temple [the earthly temple of Jerusalem, which the Jews admired (Mat. 24:1)], proclaiming himself to be God.


 The identity of the son of perdition, the antichrist

 1)  He revealed himself, he was unveiled. The event denotes past secret action. The mystery of lawlessness was already acted and the lawless was revealed.

 2)  He was the man of lawlessness, a Jew who knew the law, but he was breaking it.

 3)   He was among those who left the primitive church, a renegade. The apostasy had to come for him to be revealed.

 4)   He was a false teacher, teaching heresies of perdition since he was the son of perdition.

 5)   He was a dissident, an antichrist, refusing the only Despot and Lord Jesus Christ.

 6) He was overpowered, he lifted himself above all deities or venerations. [the Roman emperors were also called "sebastoi = venerable ones," and the temples where the imperial cult was celebrated were called "sebasteia = venerable ones" --Ed.], therefore, he had no connection to them, as many claim that the antichrist could have been Nero or Titus or any other emperor, or the Pope of Rome in later assumptions).

 7)  He revealed himself to the generation of the apostles, sat in the temple of Jerusalem proving that he is a god before the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.

 8) He was a false prophet; his coming was after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in all perished Jews.

 9) He acted among the perished Jews who had heresies of perdition, they committed iniquity, they were against Jesus, they had not accepted the love of truth in order to be saved and they were possessed by the wicked spirit [the possessing and the possessor] that acted and had the power between the sons of disobedience. [Eph. 2:1-2, 1 John 4:3] 

  10) This action of fallacy, the antichrist, was sent by God to the disobedient Jews [the perished ones] in order to believe in falsehood, and those who did not believe in the truth, "the heavenly Jesus Christ", but were in favor of injustice, to be judged.                                                                                                                                                  

“I am come in my Father's name, and you receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive." [John 5:43]

     The first brothers in Christ, who possessed the truth, knew that the geographical area of action of the antichrist was the land of Israel, where the temple was built, and the time of his action was their generation. They also knew that the role of the antichrist was not to replace the Roman empire or any other future empire in order to become a world leader, but to act among the perished ones with signs and lying wonders in order to believe in the lie and be judged, unlike the signs and true wonders that were acted by God through the apostles "upon the people."

 “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders worked among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch." [Acts 5:12]


The beast that comes out of the sea and the beast that comes out of the earth


Daniel spoke and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove on the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.”(Dan. 7:2-3)

 

[As for] me Daniel, my spirit in my body trembled, and the visions of my head troubled me. And I drew near to one of them that stood by, and I sought to learn of him the truth of all these things: and he told me the truth, and made known to me the interpretation of the things. These four beasts are four kingdoms [that] shall rise up on the earth: which shall be taken away; and the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess it for ever and ever.” (Dan. 7:15-18 LXXE)

 

The book of Daniel interprets that the four great beasts that came out from the sea are kingdoms that raised up on the earth of Israel.

 

These four great kingdoms were Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman.


     The identification of the antichrist with the beast/kingdom that had 7 heads and 10 horns (Rev. 13:1) lacks any biblical basis. The things described in the book of revelation are about Rome [the beast from the sea] and Israel [the beast from the earth of Israel, which had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon] that were in a state of war. The two horns of the beast from the earth are the political and religious power of Israel accompanied by false prophets. At that time, every Jewish power was Roman-friendly [he spoke like a dragon] and acted for the interests of Rome, thus achieving the preservation of its privileges. The narrative events have nothing to do with the end of the world; they tell us what happened during the period of the Jewish war against the Romans which was the cause of the fall of Jerusalem. They have to do with events of that time, such as:

 1)  Forced worship of Rome and its emperors (Rev. 13:11-12) as proof of submission to the then master of the earth of Israel and the overthrow and punishment of the revolutionary Jews.The measure concerned only those who lived in the land of Israel to whom they had been given the right to worship their own God and it was legislated by the beast from the earth. The other provinces of the Roman Empire worshipped the goddess Roma as a protector and benefactor and each Caesar willingly, pursuing the title of the Sebastian Neocorus [Neocora = the privilege of building an imperial temple], on which their financial strength and their cultural and social perspective depended. [For more details about the worship of goddess Roma see the book of Mellor R. “The Goddess Roma in the Greek world (Hypomnemata) Gottingen 1975”].

 A similar measure was taken during the war in Antioch as Josephus writes: “When the war was announced, the Jews were hated by everyone. One of them named Antiochus, his father was the ruler of the Jews of Antioch, renounced both Judaism and his father, and accused some Jews publicly of conspiring to burn Antioch. The result was that the Antiochians burnt the accused Jews to save their city. Then, he forced the Jews to sacrifice in the Greek way in order to reveal the conspirators, some sacrificed while others were killed. So with the consent of the Roman general, Antiochus became governor of the Jews, forcing them to work on the Sabbath day. The abolition of this holiday was soon spread to other cities." (The Jewish War vii chapter 3, 4)

 2) Control of trade in the land of Israel "economic blockade - sanctions" where nobody could buy or sell if he did not have the necessary certification "mark" that he was a friend of Rome rather than a foe.

 3) The old-known and always up-to-date method of misinforming and deceiving by fake signs and miracles through the organs of the Roman-friendly Judaic power, the false prophets, aiming at the rescue of its privileges again.

     The historical circumstances of that time made the primitive church face up to its own confession that Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life [I John 5:20].

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast (Rome) and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name. Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” (Rev. 14:9-12)

     Many Jewish Christians and ethnic Christians that refused to sacrifice and worship in the national idolatrous way were killed, blessed by the Lord.

 And I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from now on: Yes, said the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them." [Rev.14:13]

    Also, the Judaists that refused to worship the image of the beast were similarly killed, thus remaining faithful to Judaism, which was to be abolished. [Heb. 8:13]

 The mark

      Some claim that the mark might have been a technical term of the imperial stamp or the emperor's own currency. However, we have a literal historical incident of mark during the reign of Ptolemy IV Philopator [222-204 BC], who forbade all Egyptian Jews to worship their God and enter into their synagogues. Instead, they had to be enrolled in the slaves' lists and be marked with burning iron, the sign of god Dionysus "ivy leaf" or be killed. Those who wanted to take part in the worship of the idols became equal citizens of Alexandria. Some succumbed, while others were killed or tried to avoid their registration on the slaves' lists with money [III Maccab. 2:25-33].

 Six hundred and sixty six       

      Thus the Roman Empire [the beast from the sea] is not identified as "Antichrist" with the information given by the apostles, because they did not expect it to come, it already existed before Christ, it was already worshipped as "the goddess Roma, the benefactor and protecting dominant power," it was neither a part or member of the church of Christ nor it came out - it defected, it was not a man, but the number of that name was the number of a man, and the number of him was six hundred and sixty-six, and not 666, that is a triad of the same numbers [Rev. 13:17, Ezra 2:13].

      To understand the difference between 666 and six hundred and sixty-six let's see a related article from the Christian magazine "Tyxikos, Sept.-Oct. 2002 Issue."  http://www.tyxikos.gr/02-9-28.html

 The number 666

 Regarding the secret number 666 that we find in the book of Revelation, many scholars get carried away with the similarity of the three digits of 6 that form the number as we understand it after the introduction of the so-called Arabic numbers - many centuries after the writing of the New Testament texts. However, when the Revelation was written, a combination of three similar mathematical digits had not passed through the writer's mind. In fact, in the critical editions of the text, the number is not even attributed to the letters of the Greek alphabet -  χξς - but the number is written in full, that is "six hundred and sixty-six." It is known that the people of that time if they wanted to express this number "numerically", they would not write "ςςς", but the Greeks would have to write ΧΞCΤ or χξς [as in the papyruses p18 and p47], and the Romans would have to write DCLXVI . They would never write 666.

 Although the Jews applied a similar system after the Babylonian captivity, they never used it in the Bible, where the numbers are always written with whole words. [In I Kings 10:14, 666 is written in full as "six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold"].

 According to the above, none of the first-century Christians ever thought that one day the arithmetic expression "six hundred and sixty-six" would be depicted with three identical digits, tricking those who try to rely on the similarity of the three sixes and identify the number 666 with the bar code system that contains a 6 at the beginning, a 6 in the middle and a 6 at the end of it.

If they want to insist on any "disguised" meaning of 6, then they must know that there are not 3 but 111 sixes in 666 [111 x 6 = 666].

From the above, it seems that the claims of those who think they will "solve" the problem based on the number 6 either as a symbolic number of a human being or as a symbol of imperfection and other similar forms (tricks) appear to be unsubstantiated.

  In closing, we would like to ask the brothers in Christ not to turn their attention to Hollywood's profitable film productions regarding antichrist, but to remember together the apostle Paul's statement.

 “And now, brothers, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified." [Acts 20:32]

 

 

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with our spirit, brothers. Amen.