The Power Of The Antichrist - Rev. Herman Hoeksema
1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.
10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed by the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
I need not give a long introduction to show the connection between the present passage and the preceding text. Already we have studied three attempts of the devil to frustrate God's plan with a view to establishing His kingdom. First we saw how the devil attempted to oppose the plan of God with a view to the birth of Christ, and how he failed. Secondly, we noticed that contemporaneously with the first war on earth the devil also carried on a war with the angels in heaven for the possession of the saints of the old dispensation, and how he was defeated. Thirdly, we saw that the devil attempted to amalgamate the power of the church and the power of the world; and again he failed, at least in this respect, that the church as such is not destroyed by him. And finally, we just mentioned that the devil determined at least to make war with the rest of the seed of the woman, that is, of the church, - with the individual believers on earth. And we already mentioned the fact that in this thirteenth chapter we would be told in what manner the dragon makes this war with the saints, and principally with the God of heaven and earth and with His Anointed, Jesus Christ our Lord.
In short, it may be said that the devil in this last attempt to oppose God's plan simply realizes his own kingdom, or attempts to realize it, and boldly sets it up. The first attempts were rather negative in nature, always aiming at the destruction of God's kingdom first of all. But this last attempt really consists in this, that the devil now ignores all that has been done by God Almighty, ignores that Christ has come and is King, ignores that the church exists and that there is already a kingdom of Christ in principle established in the world, and simply proceeds to realize and establish his own kingdom before Christ has an opportunity (speaking from the devil's point of view, of course) to do so.
We have in this chapter a complete picture of the antichristian power and kingdom and its king. There is, as far as I know, no controversy about this truth. And therefore we proceed from the assumption that this may be regarded as an established fact. He gives us a picture of Antichrist. That it is deemed of greatest importance that we should understand the picture is clearly proved by the solemn conclusion of the text: "If any man have an ear, let him hear." If we have no ear, it-is, of course, quite a different question. But if by the grace of God our ear has been opened, and we may have a spiritual understanding of what God has revealed to us, let us hear, that we may be instructed from the Word of our God, and from it derive light and strength to stand in the evil day.
The Description Of The Beast Out Of The Sea
Let us then call your attention, in the first place, to the description of this beast as it is given in the text. John beholds how out of the sea rises a frightful monster. Very naturally it is described in the text, just as John must have beheld it in his vision. What he saw first he describes first. Naturally the horns appeared first of all; and John tells us that it was a beast with ten horns. Naturally also the heads followed; and John continues to inform us that the monster had seven heads. He further notices as details in the description that the ten horns had ten crowns, royal diadems, and that on the heads there were names of blasphemy written. And finally, he is able to give a general description of this dreadful monster; and he informs us that its general appearance was like that of a leopard, while its feet were like those of a bear, and its mouth a lion's mouth. And as a detail, which at first he probably did not notice, but which he observed upon closer examination, he remarks that one of the heads appeared to have been smitten in the past with a death-stroke, but that the stroke now was healed.
Let us investigate into the meaning of this highly symbolic picture. For that here again we have symbolism needs no further argument. The text itself indicates this more than plainly. The sea is the birthplace, the source, the origin, of this beast. In this case there is little doubt that it must be taken in the sense of peoples and nations and tongues as they live on earth under the power and principle of sin. We read of the sea in that sense more than once in Scripture. Isaiah says in Chapter 57, verse 20: "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." In Daniel 7:2, 3 we read: "Behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another." And the entire context shows very plainly that nothing else can be meant than the troubled sea of nations. Indeed, a very fit symbol it is, too. The peoples and nations of the earth as they are under the power and principle of sin and as they develop according to this principle are indeed like unto the troubled sea, war-swept, revolutionswept, plague- and famine-swept as they are. And that this same sea of nations and peoples is meant in the words of our text is clearly proved by Revelation 17:15, where the same beast, together with the harlot, is described once more, now with a view to its final destruction, and where the angel interprets: "The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." And therefore we arrive at this conclusion, that the beast finds its origin, its source, its birthplace, from among the peoples and nations and tongues of the earth as they develop under the principle and power of sin. The picture is that this sea of nations is swept and in uproar, rages and foams, till finally this beast comes up as a result.
In the second place, looking at the beast proper, let us notice, first of all, that it is a beast, and that too, a wild beast, a monster, just as the dragon was a monster. We may be more or less familiar with this figure; and in this case the Word of God gives us the unmistakable key to its interpretation. In Daniel we also read of beasts, especially of four. And in Daniel the interpretation is given by the guiding angel who directs the prophet. And this angel interprets the figure of the beast as referring both to kingdoms and kings. In Daniel 7:17 we read: "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth." And in verse 23 of the same chapter: "Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth." Evidently, therefore, the figure of the beast represents a great political world-power, together with its government as its head.
There has been a great controversy all through the ages of the new dispensation about the question whether this beast, or the Antichrist, is a person or a power or a system or a kingdom. But it seems to me that this controversy is not necessary. Daniel tells us that the beast is both, the kingdom and the king. Or to speak just a little more generally, it represents both the world-power and its government. And I would say that this beast neither represents merely a person, who in personal power and by personal strength without any aid conquers and subdues and controls the whole world and all that it contains; nor only a kingdom or dominion, without its head and government; but it represents both. And not only do we find it so in Daniel, but it stands to reason and lies in the very nature of the case. A king is powerless without his kingdom. And a kingdom without a king is inconceivable. The two are inseparable. And therefore, we come to the conclusion that this beast is the symbol of a political government as we know it, - I care not whether you are thinking now of a kingdom, or empire, or republic, or a worldly dominion, - as it naturally culminates and is represented by its head. Again, I care not whether you conceive of this head as a king, or emperor, or president, or even as a group or body of persons.
Let us call your attention, further, to the fact that this world-power as described in our passage is a consummation and culmination of all that has gone before and of all separate kingdoms which might possibly exist or have existed. It is well that we have our attention called to this feature.
For it is one of the main features of our text.
This power as it is here pictured does not merely consist of one nation and one people. But it combines within itself all the kingdoms and empires and republics of the world; and at the same time it constitutes a combination and accumulation of all the power of all the empires and kingdoms and republics of the past. This is plain, in the first place, from the various beasts that are represented in this one beast. First of all, we may notice that they are all wild beasts, and therefore destructive in their nature. In ordinary circumstances they would not form a unity, but rather exist to their mutual destruction. But, in the second place, it cannot escape our attention that in this wild beast we have a combination of the beasts pictured to us in Daniel 7. There also we read of the beast like a lion, and like a bear, and like a leopard, and of a fourth beast, not accurately described, but terrible. And there these beasts constitute four separate kingdoms, the fourth of which finally blends into the vision of the Antichrist in the little horn rising among the ten. Here, then, we have a combination of all these. The kingdoms of the world, ordinarily like wild animals, existing to their mutual destruction, have succeeded in forming a unity. And even as the spirit of the one beast is in all the beasts, - the lion and the bear and the leopard, - and, on the other hand, the spirits and powers of these various beasts have combined in the one, so the world-kingdom which is represented by this beast is one which combines in itself all the power and glory and ambitions and spirit of all the kingdoms which have aimed at world-power in the past and that do aim at it at the present time.
Secondly, this is also more or less symbolized in the ten horns and seven heads. Although we do not interpret these ten horns as representing ten different kingdoms or the seven heads as seven different kings, yet the general idea is expressed that this beast represents a combination of all the kingdoms of the world. Hence also the resemblance of this beast with the dragon. It is the incarnation of the dragon, who possesses all the kingdoms of the world. The dragon has ten horns and seven heads; so has this beast. And the idea is clearly that the devil, to whom the kingdoms of the world belong, who could say to the Christ, "Fall down and worship me, and I will give thee all the kingdoms of the world," now has succeeded in combining all his kingdoms under one head and inspiring them all with the same principle. The only difference is that he does not succeed in giving to his kingdom the complete and perfect aspect of the kingdom of God. Ten is the number of the world-kingdom. Seven is the number of the kingdom of God. For a long time the dragon wore his seven crowns on his seven heads. But now his authority and strength are both represented by the number ten. And though it is true that he still has seven heads, no one can mistake them for heads of the kingdom of Christ: for names of blasphemy are written upon them.
Finally, that this is a world-power including all the existing powers of the whole earth is also plain from the fact that the head of this power has authority over all peoples and nations and tribes and tongues, vs. 7. And therefore we come to this conclusion so far: the beast represents a consummation of all the world-powers that have been in the past. It combines within itself all the power of these dominions, all the glory of them, all the ambitions of them, all their aspirations and aims and accomplishments. And, in the second place, it is itself a combination, a confederation, of all nations and peoples and tongues and tribes which may exist at that time under one head and under one government.
If we understand this, we shall also be able to comprehend the significant detail of the scar which this beast has in one of its heads. We read: "And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed."
This does not refer to the fall of the Roman Empire, or to the fall of the Grecian Empire, or to the fall of the Babylonian or the Egyptian Empire, or, in fact, to the fall of any particular empire or to all of them combined. It is true that many attempts have been made to realize this great world-power in the past. Babylon made the attempt; Persia also made the attempt; Greece was filled with the same aspirations; and Rome advanced a good way to its establishment. It is also true that all failed, and that they were smitten unto death. But there are two things which lead us to the consideration that the fall of any or of all these empires together cannot be meant by this death-stroke. In the first place, the death-stroke here meant was healed; but the death-stroke of these empires was final. And, in the second place, these empires in the past consisted of the domination of one nation over all the rest of the world, and not of a combination of them all, as is indicated in this beast.
Hence, there is but one thing in past history which can be indicated by this scar on one of the heads of the beast. It is the attempt in the days of mighty Nimrod and the building of the tower of Babel to establish a universal world-power. Also then it was to be a combination, rather than the dominion of one individual or group. They planned to form a mighty federation, a mighty league, with a common center in the city and tower, with common aims and purposes. But then it received the death-stroke for a time. That death-stroke consisted in the confusion of tongues and the consequent separation into nations with their national differences and aspirations and the resulting wars and strifes. But that death-stroke is now healed. After many an individual power has made the attempt to gain the world-power and to obtain control of the whole earth, the nations have finally come to the conclusion that the way of combination is the only way. National differences have been overcome; national aspirations have now been combined into the aspiration of all. No more world wars, no more strife and competition, but a great world-wide empire, including all nations and comprehending them all under one head, has now been realized. The death-stroke has been healed, and what was prevented in the days of Nimrod now is accomplished.
The Power Of The First Beast
Let us now attend to the power of the beast.
Let me say, first of all, that the power of this beast originated in the dragon, the old serpent, the devil: "And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority." In regard to this, we may remark, in the first place, that the dragon's power and authority itself is limited. He bears the number ten, and his kingdom bears that same number. And that number refers to God's own sovereign decree. It is well that we bear this in mind, for it is to our comfort. It assures us from the outset that the power and authority of this kingdom of the beast, however great, is not unlimited, and that Christ, Who has all power, is mightier than the Antichrist.
But the fact remains that the dragon is permitted to give his power and authority and throne to the beast. He has now realized what he failed to establish when he tempted Christ. He also made the offer to Christ. You see, the devil is a spirit; and as such he cannot establish an earthly throne in person. He must have some human agent or agents who will take the position. He wants to establish a world-kingdom. But he cannot rule over that world in person. He must have human beings, or a human being, to be his vice-regent. That is why he offered the position to Christ. He thought Christ was powerful and able, capable of filling the place. But there was one condition to be fulfilled: this great vice-regent of the devil had to worship and fall down before him, otherwise the devil would lose the very dominion he sought. He himself must remain lord. And this condition Christ refused to fulfill, for the simple reason that He was the anointed Vice-regent, not of the devil, but of God. But now the devil has found someone. I think we must conceive of this in such a manner that in general the power of the devil is vested in the entire dominion that is pictured in the beast. For the authority and power is given to the beast as a whole. But, in the second place, we must also maintain that this power and authority will be concentrated in the governing head of this world-power. It makes no difference now whether this governing head is a person or a group of persons, a sort of central committee, which rules the whole world. At this stage of history this is difficult to say. But the fact is that in the future there will be the full realization of a great world-power, combining in itself all powers of the earth, with a government which has all the authority of the dragon, the old serpent, the devil. That world-power in general, and that governing head in particular, we may therefore fitly describe as the very incarnation of the devil.
In the second place, the text tells us that this Antichrist, this central government, in combination with its kingdom will do great things. Do not make a mistake here. You must not imagine that the whole world will groan under the yoke of Antichrist and long to be delivered from it. That is perhaps what the devil tries to tell us, in order that we should not recognize the power of Antichrist when it is established. It will be just the opposite. This Antichrist will be attractive and inspiring. The whole world will be fond of his regime. The whole world will live in the conviction that this is just the thing. There will be a splendid time for the world. It will be a time of peace, all nations having been combined into one great whole. There will be no more rising of nation against nation. It will be a time of wonderful accomplishments. This central person or government will have all things under its control. It will control the powers of nature. It will control science and philosophy. It will control religion and worship. It will control commerce and industry. It will control all that this world possesses in hidden talents and powers. And the promise given to man in the beginning, that he would have dominion over all things, will be realized.
I imagine that in that kingdom or world-power you will be able to scan the heavens: for the air shall have been conquered. Perhaps we shall even be able to visit other planets in the universe, as is already attempted in this present time. In that kingdom you will be able to fathom the depths of the sea. In that kingdom you will be able to speak with its remotest inhabitant. There shall be no poor, no miserable from a worldly point of view; but all the powers of creation, come to full development under the direction and under the control of the central head, shall be at our command. In a word, it will be a splendid kingdom, and the realization of all that the world desires will there be had. No, not a heavy yoke on groaning subjects is that of the Antichrist, but a most beautiful kingdom, with peace and splendor and riches and plenty and harmony and great developments. And the whole earth will wonder after the beast. All the inhabitants will admire that state of things, and they will say, "Who is like unto this great government, and who is able now to war with us?" And in pure gratitude they will worship him and worship the devil.
That this must be so follows from the fact that this kingdom is universal in its scope. In the first place it is universal because there shall be no nations that are outside and that therefore can make war: "And there was given him authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation." All nations freely and willingly obey the one government. That one government has its own laws, which hold for all the nations of the world. It has its own police force and its own representatives, who have authority in every clime and over every nation. And perhaps it will succeed even in establishing one language. At any rate, all the nations are now one nation. There is no more competition; there is no more difference and war. It is a peaceful kingdom.
In the second place, universal that kingdom is because all things will be under the control of its central government. If I may just run ahead for a moment, the rest of the chapter tells us that this central government has the power over buying and selling, so that you cannot buy the necessities of life and cannot do business and live along in society unless you are allowed to do so by the beast. It must be a government, therefore, which not only has complete control over all the inhabitants of the historic world, but also controls all things connected with their life and existence in this kingdom. Commerce and industry will be completely in the power of the central government. Natural resources and railroads and air roads and waterways and other roads, coal and iron and grain and vegetables, telegraph and telephone, radio and television, and all things will be in the power of this central government. Schools and universities and churches will be under its jurisdiction. It will tell you what to believe and how to worship, for it will want one science and one religion and one worship. It has power to command you to worship the beast and its image. And therefore, once more we come to the conclusion, based on the words of this passage and also on other parts of Scripture: the one final manifestation of Antichrist will be that of a great and universal world-power which will include all nations. That universal kingdom will have a central government which will have authority over all nations and over all things. That central government will control all things in the world, and will be admired and worshipped by all the inhabitants of the whole earth.
The Spiritual Character Of The First Beast
I say: by all. But that is not quite true. There is one class of people who will refuse to put their trust in this great power and to worship the beast. And that class of people is especially described as those whose names have been written in the book of life of the Lamb. In short, the people of God will still be on earth. There will be elect of the Most High, covenant people, on earth. And they will refuse to worship the beast.
And this brings us to our third question: what is the spiritual character of this great and splendid world-power?
The answer to this question is that it is anti-God and anti-Christ. It is anti-saints and anti- the kingdom of God. That this is so might be surmised from the fact that this world-power received its power from the dragon, the old serpent. He, as we have said before, has but one principle; and from that principle he lives. It is the principle of opposition against God. He has but one aim, and that is to thrust the Almighty from His throne, deprive Him of His sovereignty, and to be God instead of Him. And he, therefore, is the author and accomplisher of this power. And that he gives it his power and throne and authority would be sufficient to conclude that his kingdom and dominion is anti-God and anti-Christ in character.
But this is also plain from other portions of the text. In the first place, let me call your attention to the fact that this beast has names of blasphemy inscribed upon his seven heads, that he received a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and that he actually opens his mouth to blaspheme the name of God and of His tabernacle, namely, those that dwell in heaven. To blaspheme the name of God is to deny His name, His sovereignty, His power, and all His virtues. Nebuchadnezzar was blaspheming when he said in the pride of his heart that he himself was the author of mighty Babylon. And so this kingdom and its head will blaspheme the name of the Most High. It will deny that God and His Christ have anything to do with that world-kingdom, and it will maintain that all that is in the world is the result of the power of man and the manifestation of his glory. In a word, it will try to expel the very name and authority of the Almighty from His own works. And the same it will do with the saints who have already gone into glory. It will deny that there is such a thing as glory in the hereafter. It will refuse to speak of it, and it will not tolerate to have it mentioned. It will banish their very remembrance. All that is connected with God and His name and His worship it will not tolerate.
Secondly, I would call your attention to the fact that this power is its own god. They worship the beast: "And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him." That is, again, in general all the inhabitants of the earth shall at that time worship the existing state of things, and centrally also the government which is at the head. They will put all their trust in the antichristian beast. They will expect the very necessities of life from him. They will turn to him in trouble. They shall worship and admire him and give divine honor and praise to him in gratitude of heart. They shall worship the beast and its image, and through it all they shall worship the dragon.
Must I prove that this is the realization of all that has been pictured to us in the Scriptures concerning Antichrist? If so, let me first call your attention to still another feature. They shall make war with the saints. There are still saints on earth. And they shall be witnesses. They shall refuse to submit to the power of Antichrist. Not that they shall fight with the sword and rise in political rebellion. No, not that; but they shall refuse to worship the beast, and they shall uphold the sovereignty of the Almighty and of His Christ in those days. They shall refuse to change their religion and their worship and their testimony. And they shall maintain that not Antichrist, but Christ is King. And therefore they shall be hated. Then shall be fully realized what Christ said, "Ye shall be hated of all nations." Antichrist shall make war with them and overcome them. They shall be hard days, - days so hard that the elect would not hold out if the days were not shortened. Days of persecution they are. We shall learn more about them in future discussions. Let it now be sufficient to prove that this world-power is anti-God and anti-Christ and anti-kingdom and anti-saints.
Thus Antichrist in his final consummation is pictured to us everywhere in the Word of God. In Daniel 4:25 we read of him: "And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and law; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time." And in Daniel 8:23-25: "And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace he shall destroy many; he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand." Or, still stronger, in Daniel 11:36 we read: "And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done." Or, to quote no more, turn to the New Testament and read what Paul says in II Thessalonians 2:3-4: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." And again, in vs. 9 of the same chapter: "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish." Surely, there is no doubt about the fact that all these passages wonderfully harmonize with all that we learned about the beast that cometh up out of the sea, and that this beast is the antichristian power in its final and full consummation, and that it will consist of a wicked and universal world-power, with a central government, doing wonderful things, but rising against the Most High and against Christ and His people.
The Identity Of The Beast Out Of The Sea
Finally, we probably may ask for the historical realization of this passage.
Let me say, in the first place, that according to all Scripture that power as such is in the world already, and has been in the world all through this dispensation, as the power of Antichrist. The mystery of iniquity is already working, Paul warns. And John, writing to the Christians of his time, says: "Everyone that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now already is it in the world," (I John 4:3). And thus, as I have also explained before, I take the period indicated in the text. Time is given to the power represented in the beast of forty and two months. In this period of his making or continuing his power I include all that has gone before, all the attempts that have been made to establish this world-power in opposition to Christ and His kingdom in the entire period of the new dispensation. It may very well be this forty and two months, of which we read more than once, now in the form of twelve hundred sixty days, now in the form of three and a half years, or times, now in the form of forty and two months, will in the future also have another meaning which we cannot now determine. But certain it is that it first of all points to this entire dispensation. For in this entire dispensation the power of iniquity and the spirit of Antichrist is already in the world. In this entire period the two witnesses give their prophecy. In this entire period the church is in the wilderness of her separation. In this entire period the beast that rises up out of the abyss and that culminates in this beast that is pictured to us in the present chapter is present. And therefore, let no man beguile you also in this respect. He is in the world already. He works in the world. He has made many bold attempts already to reach his culmination. And his final manifestation will be but the consummation of a long process of development.
But on the other hand, let me also warn you not to make the mistake of fording him already in his full manifestation and power. Never yet has there been a power such as is pictured here. Never yet was there a universal world-power that had free sway over every nation and people and tribe and tongue. Never yet was there a nation whom all the peoples worshipped, never was there a kingdom or dominion that had power over all the forces and resources of creation, so that no one could even buy or sell in any part of the world except by the grace of this antichristian power. And this also applies to the present. Let no one beguile you. This antichristian power is not yet in its full reality. No single nation represents it. The world-power will not be realized by sword or cannon, so that there would be a tyrannical government lording it over a groaning lot of subjects. But it will be a kingdom or government established by common consent and agreement, in which all admire and worship the beast. And again, the war this government or dominion will wage is not against any world kingdom, but against the saints of the Most High who refuse to worship the beast. And such a power does not yet exist.
In the third place, let me also warn you that the time is at hand. We know not how soon, but soon it will be. All the signs of the times point to such a tremendous power, such a league of the nations that has control over all things, to such a unity of all religion, in which man is exalted and the Christ of the Scriptures is blasphemed and His blood trampled under foot. And therefore I would say: the time is at hand! Watch therefore! Let no one beguile you; but watch!
Finally, if you ask why this complete picture of the Antichrist is given us in Scripture, my answer is: in order that we might clearly recognize it when it is revealed. And what then must we do when we see it is come? Must we oppose it, must we fight it with the sword? That, of course, is completely impossible. It will come. It must come. And to oppose its coming is entirely vain. Its coming is irresistible. And the battle is not one of, the sword. But as the text has it, he that is for captivity, into captivity he goeth; and if any man shall kill with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. No, we cannot oppose the power of Antichrist by main force. When that world-power comes and reigns supreme, we shall be submissive to the last, as far as God and our conscience permit. But here is the patience and the faith of the saints, that in all these times they remain faithful, and refuse to deny the Christ. They wait for the day of His coming. May God give us grace to be found faithful at all times, and watching and praying, so that no one may take our crown.