The Coming Man of Sin

By Sylvester Hassell

The Gospel Messenger–April 1897

Dear Bro. Hassell- With many others I have become more interested of late than ever before on the subject of prophecy, and I have read your article in the MESSENGER for November, 1895, on Eschatology; or, The Doctrine of Last Things, Cox’s Exposition of Revelations, Graves’ Seven Dispensations, and some other writings, and it seems that The Anti-Christ, or Man of Sin of the last days is to be a man, an individual human being. Milyneux, as quoted by Graves, seems to prove this. He says: “Taking the Bible as our guide, it really seems strange that an other idea should be entertained of him. All the passages referring to the Man of Sin, his character, his acting and his end, with one accord proclaim him to be an individual man. All the attributes, circumstances, as well as appellations of individual humanity, are addressed and ascribed to him. He is distinctly called and declared to he a man, ‘that Man of Sin’, {2Th 2:3} which of itself, and in the absence of any positive contradiction to it elsewhere in Scripture ought to he conclusive; or, if not, it is difficult to know on what principle we are to understand the Bible, and arrive at fixed conclusions at all about its meaning. “In Re 13:18, again he is called a man” Here is wisdom; let Him that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred three-score and six. Also he is called ‘the son of perdition,’; {2Th 2:3} and so was Judas, but Judas was a man, and the natural inference is, that such also will be his anti-type. John says, {1Jo 2:18} ‘Ye have heard that antichrist (or, as it ought to be rendered, the antichrist) shall come; even now there are many antichrists.’ But who were these many antichrists? Who, but men-Christ-denying, ungodly men-but men! And who then, or what would be The Antichrist et to come, but a man too? But, the fact that Antichrist would be an individual man was never questioned in the first and purer ages of the church; no other opinion then obtained or existed on the matter. The idea of a power or system, or even a series of individuals, being symbolized by ‘The Man of Sin’ was utterly unknown. This sprang up in after ages, not from clearer understanding or closer investigation of the prophetic word, but from straining circumstances of the times.”

“He” (says Graves) “is to be one man, and the imperial head of the ten kingdoms of Europe-able to amass immense armies, make and break compacts and covenants.”

“He is styled in prophecy, Gog, “chief of Rosh, Mesech and Tubal, and the King of the North,” which I (Graves) claim is some future autocrat of all the Russias, and his antagonist the Tarshish of the West, whose emblem is a lion-which clearly points to England,” etc.

England has been active in attempting to checkmate, and defend her interests against, this “wild beast” of insatiable appetite for territory. She has annexed all India to her empire, with an eye upon a “scientific frontier which means one offering the most material defenses against the increasingly threatening attitude of Russia. While Gog of the north quarter is thus strengthening himself on the east, he is by no means inactive on the west,” etc.

This was written eighteen or twenty years ago, I suppose, and does it not seem that subsequent and current events are in harmony, to some, if not a great extent, with the view expressed? Both Cox and Graves agree in the view that we are about now entering into the perilous times of the last days; and you, Bro. Hassell, expressed that belief (or fear) a few years ago. Will you give us the benefit of such light as you may now have on this important subject?



Reply to Elder J. C. Denton

All unfulfilled prophecy is intentionally obscure. It was a wise remark of Sir Isaac Newton, that the prophecies were not given us to make us prophets, but to prove, when they are fulfilled, that the Scriptures, which contain these prophecies, are the Word of God. The immediate object of prophecy is to comfort the tried and afflicted people of God with the assurance of their final, complete, Divine deliverance from all their enemies; and the literal and spiritual fulfillment of prophecy will glorify the infinite wisdom, power, truth, justice, and mercy of the High and Holy One that inhabiteth Eternity.

One leading purpose of God in all His dealings with the human race seems to be to prove to them that man, left to himself, even with the greatest natural advantages, is a wretched failure; and that God is all the Hope and Salvation of His creatures, and should he all their Desire.

In the beauties and delights of the Garden of Eden, man, though made in the sinless image of God, voluntarily yielded to the tempter, deliberately preferred the creature to the Creator, willfully disobeyed the wise and holy commandment of God, and justly involved not only himself, but all his unborn posterity in ruin. The ante-diluvians, though allowed to live nearly a thousand years, instead of growing better and better, grew worse and worse, and all of them, except one righteous family, had to be swept from the earth by a deluge of water. The Jews, the chosen people of God, after having been miraculously delivered from Egyptian bondage, and supported for forty years in the wilderness, were planted in Canaan, the goodliest land under the canopy of heaven, and were favored with priests and prophets, with special ministrations and revelations and mercies from God, and yet ungratefully and presumptuously renounced His authority, indulged in the idolatries and corruptions of their heathen neighbors, were chastened by seventy years exile in Babylon, and then restored to their own land, rebuilt the temple and revived the worship of God, were taught by additional prophets, studied the Old Testament Scriptures, looked for the Messiah whom they promised, but expected Hun to establish, not a spiritual but a splendid temporal kingdom, and make them the rulers of the world, and they degenerated into formalism and hypocrisy and skepticism and pride and covetousness, and, when the holy and loving and lowly Saviour came, they despised and persecuted and murdered Him, and, in righteous vengeance, they were visited with war, pestilence, and famine, their fair city and temple were destroyed, and they themselves were driven from their own land, and have now been scattered for nearly eighteen hundred years over the face of the globe, hated and oppressed by the Gentile nations. And the Gentiles, upon whom God’s special blessings have been showered for eighteen centuries, who have had both the Old and the New Testament Scriptures, and to whom the pure Gospel has been preached by ministers endowed with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, not only utterly fell away from the truth into the abominable Roman Catholic falsehoods, idolatries, superstitions, sensualities, and martyrdoms of the saints of Jesus in the Dark Ages, but have, Protestants as well as Catholics, in all the blaze of modern science and civilization, plunged into almost Open infidelity, and will wax worse and worse until the Man of Sin, Antichrist, shall be fully developed and manifested, when he will be destroyed by the brightness of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ-Gentile times ending, as Jewish times ended, with righteous and overwhelming judgment. And even when Satan has been bound a thousand years, and men have lived on earth all that the, untempted and undeceived by the Devil, they will again yield to Satan when loosed out of his prison, and organize the greatest rebellion against God ever known in human history, and be swept forever from the face of the earth by a final deluge of fire. To unregenerate men increasing light and privilege lead to increasing sin and disaster; and thus the children of God will learn that man is in himself, even at his best estate, an utter failure, and that God is all in all.

The period between the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, A. D. 70, to the Second Coming of Christ, which it is generally thought will be about A. D. 2000, but which date no one but God knows, {Mr 13:32} is called, in the Scriptures, _the times of the Gentiles ; {Lu 21:24} and near the close of this period the Man of Sin, the Antichrist, the Second Lamb-like Beast, the False Prophet, is to be fully revealed, and to be cast, not annihilated, but alive, with the First Beast, by the King of kings, at His Second Coming, into the lake of fire and brimstone, {Re 19:20} where also the Dragon, or Satan, after his final deception of mankind at the end of the Thousand Years, and his final defeat, is to be cast, and to be tormented day and night for ever and ever. {Re 20:10} The _times of the Gentiles, in which we live, are the times of special and abundant Gentile blessings and Gentile supremacy-the times when God visits the Gentiles, not to convert them all, but _to take out from them a people for His name , {Ac 15:14} to save His elect Gentile people from their sins, {Mt 1:21} to bring in His sheep, for whom Jesus laid down His life, from the other, that is, the Gentile fold (Joh 10:15-16). These times of the Gentiles are set forth in the description of _the Day of the Lord in Joe 2:28-32; 3; and in Zec 14, and in the striking of the Stone cut without hands upon the feet of the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Da 2:34-35, and in the actions of the fourth beast and the little horn and the Son of Man coming in judgment in Da 7:7-14,19-27; and in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares in Mt 13:24-43; and in the Parable of the Pounds in Lu 19:11-27; and in Paul’s prophecy of the coming and destruction of the Man of Sin in 2Th 2:1-12, and in his fearful characterization of the latter and last evil and perilous times in 1Ti 4:1-3, and 2Ti 3:1-9; 4:3-4, and in Re 13:18:The tares of false doctrine and practice were sown by Satan even in the Apostolic Age; even then the mystery of iniquity or lawlessness was working; and these evils will remain and be deepened and intensified, until they will be developed in the Man of Sin, who will be destroyed by the Lord from heaven. While, during this dispensation, all who were ordained to eternal life {Ac 13:48} truly and savingly believe the gospel, nominal Christianity conquered the Roman Empire and the Northern Barbarians and Europe and America, and is now attempting the conquest of Africa and Asia, but really hates God and His truth and His people, and, when not restrained by law-power, persecutes the saints. ”The present outward Christianity is to give place for a time to an almost universal apostasy under the Man of Sin, the last Antichrist. {Lu 18:8; 2Th 2} As the first, or Old Testament Antichrist, Antiochus Epipimanes, king of Syria B. C. 176-164, who did his utmost to exterminate the ancient Jews and their religion from the face of the earth, and whose career is circumstantially predicted by Daniel in the 8th, 11th, and 12th chapters of his prophecy, was the product of the highest ancient Greek civilization, so the last New Testament Antichrist is to be the product of the highest modern civilization, ignoring and despising God and vital religion, and Substituting therefore a false liberalism in faith and practice, a growing laxity of morals, and a worship of money and of human science and art and invention, degenerating into avowed atheism and an unholy alliance with the Pope of Rome for the extermination of the Church of Christ. The Second Apocalyptic Beast is the same as the False Prophet; {Re 13:11-18; 19:20; 20:10} and also seems, in most respects, identified with the great, richly dressed, blasphemous, murderous whore, Mystery Babylon, who rides upon the First Apocalyptic Beast of worldly power {Re 13:1-10; 17} and is drunken with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus; the same as ‘the little horn’ on the fourth beast in Dan. vii., and the ‘Man of Sin,’ or ‘Son of Perdition,’ pred heaven; it is a beast all the time, notwithstanding it has two horns like a lamb, mocking Christ, and appearing mild and innocent, yet really having the spirit of the dragon, and, out of the abundance of its heart, speaking and acting like the dragon. While the first beast was a political power, the second beast adds to the features of the first beast hypocrisy and deceivableness, and is a pseudo (false) spiritual power, prophesying and working deceptive miracles for the first beast, and making an image to the first beast and commanding all to worship the image, and killing those that refuse, and setting a mark in the right hands or foreheads of the idolatrous worshippers, and letting none buy or sell except such as have the mark or name of the beast, or the number of his name. The second beast (or false prophet), although assuming the garb of religion, {Mt 7:17} is more oppressive than the first. The dragon, beast, and false prophet, the mystery of iniquity, form a hellish anti-trinity, counterfeit of the mystery of godliness, God manifest in Christ, witnessed to by the Spirit. The dragon personates the Father, assigning his authority to his representative, the beast, as the Father assigns His to the Son; while the false prophet, like the Holy Ghost, speaks not of himself, but tells all men to worship the beast, and confirms his testimony by miracles, as the Holy Ghost attested Christ’ s divine mission.” Church History, pages 144, 251, and 255.

From a careful study of the exact language of the Scriptures and of church history, I believe that the Antichrist, the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, is not only a principle and system of enmity to God, but will be, like Antiochus Epiphanes, a human being fully inspired of Satan, {Re 17:8; 13:2} endowed by the Devil with superhuman power, malignity, craft, and pride, who will attempt self-deification as the vice-christ, the rival and adversary of the Son of God, far surpassing all other men “in intellectual brilliancy, military genius, executive capacity, towering ambition, colossal egotism, defiant self-assertion, and savage ferocity, the supreme head of the God-opposed world power in its final form,” who will “come, according to the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, bringing fire down from heaven, and deceiving all men except those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and who will be wondered at and worshipped by the world, and will attempt the extermination of the people of God, and will himself be destroyed by Christ at His second personal coming.

Materialism, agnosticism, skepticism, and socialism have already nearly engulfed the Protestant as well as the Catholic world. When Divine Providence removes the restraining barrier, {2Th 2:7-8} the flood of godlessness will sweep over the world; the man of sin, the world-deceiver, will be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the breath of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming. {2Th 2:8} And then will follow the resurrection of the dead and the eternal judgment. {1Th 4:14-18; Joh 5:28-29; Heb 6:2}

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