14 August 2013

Antiochus, Precursor of the Antichrist

A few passages from the Maccabees will show you what he was. 

St. Paul in the text speaks of an apostasy, and of Antichrist as following upon it; thus is the future typified in the Jewish history. "In those days went there out of Israel wicked men, who persuaded many, saying, Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen that are round about us: for since we departed from them, we have had much sorrow. So this device pleased them well. 

Then certain of the people were so forward herein, that they went to the king, who gave them licence to do after the ordinances of the heathen; whereupon they built a place of exercise at Jerusalem according to the custom of the heathen; and made themselves uncircumcised, and forsook the holy covenant, and joined themselves to the heathen, and were sold to do mischief." 

After this introduction the Enemy of truth appears. "After that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again, . . . and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude, and entered proudly into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light and all the vessels thereof, and the table of the shewbread, and the pouring vessels, and the vials, and the censers of gold, and the veil, and the crowns, and the golden ornaments that were before the temple, all which he pulled off. 

And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly." After this, he set fire to Jerusalem, "and pulled down the houses and walls thereof on every side. . . . Then built they the city of David with a great and strong wall, . . . and they put therein a sinful nation, wicked men, and fortified themselves therein." Next, "King Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people, and every one should leave his laws: so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king. Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the sabbath." 

After this he forced these impieties upon the Israelites. All were to be put to death who would not "profane the sabbath and festival days, and pollute the sanctuary and holy people: and set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine's flesh and unclean beasts," and "leave their children uncircumcised." At length he set up an idol, or in the words of the history, "the Abomination of Desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side. . . . And when they had rent in pieces the books of the law which they found, they burnt them with fire."

It is added, "Howbeit many in Israel were fully resolved and confirmed in themselves not to eat any unclean thing, wherefore they chose rather to die . . . and there was very great wrath upon Israel." Here we have presented to us some of the lineaments of  Antichrist, who will be such, and worse than such, as Antiochus.


What I have said upon this subject may be summed up as follows:-that the coming of Christ will be immediately preceded by a very awful and unparalleled outbreak of evil, called in the text an apostasy, a falling away, in the midst of which a certain terrible man of sin and child of perdition, the special and singular enemy of Christ, or Antichrist, will appear; that this will be when revolutions prevail, and the present framework of Society breaks to pieces; that at present the Spirit which he will embody and represent, is kept under by "the powers that be," but that on their dissolution, he will rise out of the bosom of them, and knit them together again in his own evil way, under his own rule, to the exclusion of the Church.  

It would be out of place to say more than this at present. 

--Blessed John Henry Newman, First Sermon on Antichrist


Anonymous said...

He has a nice crease in his pants. (David Brooks)

thetimman said...

4 shadowing. Get it?