The seat of Antichrist
"Hail Mary, full of grace. Our Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."
Published April 1, 2018
The same inspired word, which has revealed to the Church an Antichrist to come, has also specified the seat of his power, that seat is the city of Rome.
In Daniel’s vision of the four beasts, is the following language — “I considered the horns, and there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and behold in this horn were eyes, like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” Daniel 7:8.
The beast upon whose head Daniel saw the ten horns, is generally supposed by commentators to symbolize the Roman government; the ten horns, the ten kingdoms by which that government was succeeded; and the little horn, the Papacy. The reasons, upon which this interpretation is founded, are the following:
The scope of the vision requires it. This vision was given to Daniel, to portray before his mind, those great empires, or governments, which were to precede the everlasting kingdom of the Messiah. These governments were four. The first, under the symbol of a lion, was the Assyrian. The second, under the symbol of a bear, was the Persian. The third, under the symbol of a leopard, was the Macedonian or Grecian. The fourth, which was represented by “a beast dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly” must, of course, be the Roman.
To apply this last symbol as some have done, to the kingdom of the Seleucidae, is to commit two fatal errors. That kingdom is represented in tile vision, by one of the heads of the third beast, the symbol of the Grecian empire; for it is expressly said, “the beast had four heads.” These four heads were, the Egyptian, Syrian, Thracian, and Macedonian divisions of the great Alexandrian empire. If, then, the kingdom of the Seleucidae, or Syria, were included under the third symbol, it certainly would not be also exhibited by the fourth.
The other fatal mistake is, that this hypothesis makes Syria a greater and more notable kingdom, not only than the Assyrian, the Persian, and the Grecian; but than even the Roman empire itself! It is expressly said, by the angelic interpreter of the vision, that this fourth beast “shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.” This was never true of Syria, nor has it been of any other kingdom since, but that established by Romulus.
The ultimate dismemberment of the Roman empire, and the formation from its fragments, of ten separate states, also agree with this interpretation. “The ten horns out of this kingdom,” says the angel, “are ten kings (i.e. kingdoms) that shall arise.” Now it is a notorious fact, that when the Roman empire was overrun and subverted by the northern nations of Europe, ten kingdoms arose out of its fragments. The following are the names of those kingdoms, as given by Machiavel, himself a Roman Catholic. “The Ostrogoths in Moesia; the Visigoths in Pannonia; the Sueves and Alans in Gaseoigne and Spain; the Vandals in Africa; the Franks in France; the Burgundians in Burgundy; the Heruli and Turingi in Italy; the Saxons and Angles in Britain; the Huns in Hungary; the Lombards, at first upon the Danube, but afterwards in Italy.”
This interpretation is also supported by the very extraordinary agreement between “the little horn” and the Papacy. This little horn “came up among” the other horns; “it was diverse from the rest;” “it plucked up three of them by the roots;” “its look was more stout than its fellows;” “it had eyes like the eyes of man;” it had also “a mouth that spake very great things;” it made war with the saints, and prevailed against them, till the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints.” The length of time, too, during which this “little horn” should oppress the saints, is expressly stated to be, “a time, times, and the dividing of time;” that is, twelve hundred and sixty years.
All these marks indicate the Papacy so strongly, that it is difficult to conceive how they could ever have had a different application. The Papacy arose among the ten Gothic kingdoms of Europe: it was, however, diverse from all those kingdoms, being an ecclesiastical sovereignty; in its rise, it subverted three of those kingdoms, those of the Heruli, Ostrogoths, and Lombards; its “look” too, has always been more “stout,” than that of any other European kingdom; it is distinguished for craft and cunning; it is more ambitious and boastful than its neighbors, pretending to exercise absolute sovereignty over them; it has ever been a persecuting power; and it is long-lived; having not even yet exhausted the twelve hundred and sixty years of its predicted existence. What a remarkable agreement between prophecies and facts! What a perfect symbol is the “little horn,” of the Papal power! Probably, no one Messianic type in the Old Testament scriptures, is more perfectly fulfilled in Jesus, than is this little horn in the Papacy.
The little horn
Bible admits that “the little horn” is a symbol of Antichrist. “This,” says he, “is commonly understood of Antichrist. It may also be applied to that great persecutor Antiochus Epiphanes, as a figure of Antichrist.” But who is Antichrist? According to Romanists, some great enemy of Christianity, who is to arise at some future period, who will dreadfully oppress the Church, and whose duration will be very brief. Upon the expression in this vision, “a time, times, and half a time,” the same commentator says, “this means three years and a half, which is supposed to be the length of the duration of the persecution of Antichrist.”
That this papal interpretation of the symbol is incorrect, is evident. The fourth beast is admitted, even by this same authority, to be the “empire.” The ten horns are also said to represent “ten kingdoms, among which the empire of the fourth beast shall be parodied.” Now, the Roman empire has ceased to exist for many centuries past. If, then, it ever could be divided into ten kingdoms, such division must already have taken place. The “little horn,” then, or Antichrist, must, of course, have been in existence long since; for it was to “spring out of the midst” of the other horns, or kingdoms. And, here, I cannot but remark upon the unfairness of this papistical commentary. The beast, it states, represents the Roman empire; the ten horns, the ten kingdoms, into which that empire was divided. And yet, the “little horn,” which is admitted to be a symbol of Antichrist, and which was to exist among the ten horns, or kingdoms, is said to be a figure of some malignant power not yet in existence!
We have not, however, located Antichrist at Rome. Daniel places him among the ten horns; that is, among the nations of Southern Europe. He does not, however, inform us of his precise locality. This is done by the Apostle John. “And I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls; having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations, and filthiness of her fornication. And upon her forehead was a name written — ‘Mystery, Babylon the great the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth.” And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” In explaining these remarkable symbols, the angel said to John, “The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth.” And, as if this were not sufficiently distinct, he adds: “The woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” Revelation 17.
This passage may be considered both as a commentary upon, and an enlargement of, the vision of Daniel. Here, as there, is “a beast having ten horns.” The beast, in the vision of John, as in that of Daniel, symbolizes Rome; the ten horns, the ten kingdoms which succeeded the Roman empire. Revelation 17:12. While, however, Daniel’s beast is represented as “dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly” John’s is said to be “scarlet-colored and full of names of blasphemy.” The reason for this is, that Daniel referred principally to Rome Republican and Imperial, while John, as we shall see hereafter, describes chiefly Rome Papal. In Daniel’s vision there is no mention made of “the seven heads” of the beast. This figure is employed in the latter vision to identify the beast. “The seven heads” says the angel, “are seven mountains.” This refers to the seven hills on which Rome is built. The grand distinction, however, between the two visions is, that while Daniel speaks of “a little horn” rising up among the ten horns, John omits this figure, but introduces another of a different kind. He sees “a woman arrayed in purple and scarlet-color, and decked with gold and precious stones,” sitting upon the beast. The reason for this difference is, that Daniel represents Antichrist as a political, while John exhibits him as an ecclesiastical power.
Nor will it appear upon examination, that “the little horn” is a more significant type of the Papal state, than the “woman arrayed in purple and scarlet” is of the Papal church. This woman was seen “sitting upon the scarlet-colored beast.” This denotes that union of church and state, which has so long existed between the Papacy and the Civil governments of Europe. It also indicates the authority which the Roman church has so absolutely wielded over these governments. The woman was also “arrayed in purple and scarlet-color” The Pope of Rome has for ages pretended to be emperor of the whole world. As such, he not only dresses himself in purple and scarlet, but adorns with the same costly materials all around him — “Even the mules and horses,” says Bishop Newton, “which carry the popes and cardinals, are covered with scarlet cloth; so that they may be said, literally, to ride upon a scarlet-colored beast.” This woman was also “decked with gold and precious stones, and pearls.” This indicates the very great wealth and splendor of papal establishments. The following is an extract from a letter written by a traveler in Mexico: “In the cathedral of Puebla hangs a chandelier of massive gold and silver, of whole tons in weight. On the right of the altar stands a carved figure of the Virgin, dressed in beautiful embossed satin, executed by the nuns of the place. Around her neck is suspended a row of pearls of precious value; a coronet of pure gold encircles her brow; and her waist is bound with a zone of pure diamonds and enormous brilliants. The candelabras in the cathedral are of silver and gold, too massive to be raised by even the strongest hand, and the Host is one mass of splendid jewels of the richest kind. In the cathedral at Mexico, there is a railing of exquisite workmanship, five feet in height, and two hundred feet in length, of gold and silver; on which stands a figure of the Virgin, with three petticoats — one of pearls, one of emeralds, and one of diamonds; the figure alone is valued at three millions of dollars.” If such be papal worship in Mexico, what is it among the splendid capitals of Europe? What must it be at Rome?
This woman is also represented as a harlot; yea, as the greatest of harlots. This refers to the idolatries of papal Rome. That the fornication here alluded to is spiritual, that is, idolatry, is admitted by even Romanists themselves. “By Babylon,” says the commentator on the Doway Bible, “is meant either the city of the devil in general, or pagan Rome, which was the principal seat of empire and idolatry.” Here, however, a great mistake is committed, in supposing, that the prophecy alludes to pagan Rome. This harlot, or adulterous woman, is evidently the type of a false church. But when was any church whatever in alliance with pagan Rome? In the days of pagan Rome, the church, so far from riding on the beast, was trampled under foot, and almost destroyed by him. Evidently the reference is to papal Rome. And are there no such idolatries practiced in this apostate church, as correspond with the figure so graphically drawn by the Apostle? Is not the Pope himself worshipped? Is not the Virgin worshipped? Do not churches and altars, relics and crucifixes, pictures and statues, saints and angels, all receive divine honors? Never did pagan Rome excel professedly Christian Rome in these particulars. The papacy is the fountainhead, the source of these abominations, which from the Roman metropolis, extend almost to the whole world.
This woman was also “drunk with the blood of saints and of the martyrs of Jesus.” It is said of the “little horn,” in Daniel’s vision, that “he made war upon the saints and prevailed against them.” We have already mentioned, that this “little horn” was a type of the papal state, while this woman is a type of the papal church. In popery, however, both church and state are employed, in the work of persecution. The spiritual court first tries and condemns the criminal; he is then delivered over to the civil authority to be executed, the venerable council first determines upon a crusade; the next step is, the enlistment in the enterprise, of the kings and potentates of the earth. In this way has the papal church been “drunken with the blood of saints.” And has not this prediction been fulfilled, to the very letter fulfilled? “Not to mention,” says Bishop Newton, “other outrageous slaughters and barbarities, the crusades against the Waldenses and Albigenses, the murders committed by the duke of Alva in the Netherlands, the massacres in France and Ireland, will probably amount to ten times the number of all the Christians slain, in all the ten persecutions of the Roman emperors put together.” The same sentiment is expressed by Gibbon as we shall see hereafter in his history of the Roman empire. Such are the correspondences between “the woman arrayed in purple and scarlet,” and the papal church. Evidently then, the one is the type of the other. But if so, the city of Rome itself was to be the spot where that antichristian power was to be enthroned upon the nations of Europe. That Rome is the head of the papal world, and that a great autocrat has been presiding there for many centuries past, are facts of general notoriety; indeed it is fundamental in the whole papal scheme, that the seven-hilled city should be the metropolis of this strange and wonderful empire. Should Rome be displaced, the whole fabric would fall. Hence the seventy years, during which, through the influence of the French kings, the popes were made to reside at Avignon, are considered by all good Catholics, as a Babylonish captivity.