Re: mark of the beast

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Hello once again to one and all.

A practical place to start studying the “Mark of the Beast” is what/who is the Antichrist? The identification of the Antichrist starts with analyzing the original Greek text.

Thoughts on the Biblical Term Antichrist

In I John 2:18, 2:22, 4:3, and II John 7 we find the term antichrist used, which has generally been understood to mean opposed to Christ, or against Christ, with the assumption that the Greek prefix anti means essentially what the English anti means. In English anti-war would rightfully be understood to mean against war, or opposed to war. However, the question must be asked, What is the primary meaning of the GREEK word anti, and how does this amplify our understanding of the biblical term antichrist?

Fortunately, there are numerous examples of the Greek term anti found in the Scripture, and an examination of them will prove helpful. There at least 16 occurences of the term anti found in the New Testament, with 15 of them being translated for in the King James Bible, while one time it is translated by the phrase in the room of. Let us look at the usage first of all, which is found in Matt.2:22.

“But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judea in the room ofhis father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into parts of Galilee”.

One of the many times anti is translated for is Matt.20:28, a passage which reads

“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Another is the familiar Luke 2:2:

“If a son shall ask bread of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he asks for a fish will he give him a serpent?”

One more example is Heb.12:16, speaking of Esau who traded his birthright:

“Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.”

It is clear from these usages of anti the primary meaning of the term is instead of, or in place of, consistent with the word for. If one attempts to read any of the foregoing text and in the place of for substitute against, or opposed,the logic is lost. The Son of man did give His life against many, but as a substitute for many, or in the place of many.

Without argument, many times one who takes the place of another does so as an antagonist, or in opposition to him, and so these words which employ the prefix anti which have the meaning of opponent as their primary meaning. An example of this would be the word antidikos[adversary] in texts such as I Peter 5:8:

“Be sober, vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”**

But, because the bare term anti clearly utilizes the concept of substitution, it would be a mistake to examine the word antichrist without this in mind. Taking this approach, the antichrist is first of all one who seeks to take the place of Christ, to exercise authority instead of Christ. This is a concept with which the rest of the New Testament is entirely familiar, demonstrated by texts such as II Thess. 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.”

The man of sin is described as usurping authority not rightfully belonging to him, attempting to masquerade as God, sitting in the seat of God. It is interesting to note that the word translated oppose in verse 4 is again a compound word, antikeima, meaning one who lies in the place of, or one who lies against. In Rev. 13, the beast power seeks to take the place of God by exhorting worship, something which rightfully belongs only to God, fulfilling the age-old designs of the arch-enemy, whose ambitious aspirations are recorded by the prophet Isaiah

“Thou {Lucifer) hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.”(Isaiah 14:13,14)

Since Seventh-day Adventists have generally found the fulfillment of these prophetic symbols in the historical papacy, it is interesting to see how this understanding impacts our interpretation. Without question, the papal power has attempted to take the place of Christ by title, by pronouncement, and by practice. The term vicar of Christ is instructive to compare the context. Vicar is of Latin origin, and meansone who takes the place of, or one who acts instead of. We use the adjective vicarious to describe Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice. Thus, when the pope identifies himself as the vicar of Christ, to operate in His stead, as His substitute, take note of this strange irony, then. Since both anti and vicar mean the same thing, namely substitute or one who takes the place of, the one from Greek and the other from the Latin, when the pope accepts the title vicar of Christ, he is thereby also accepting the title of anti Christ. Unfortunatly, since most assume that the anti of antichrist means only against, or in opposition to, they are looking for a fulfillment of this prophetic symbol outside the church, while the Bible clearly identifies this power as coming from within. He sits

“in the temple of God (II Thess.2:4).”

Paul warned the Ephesian elders

“of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them (Acts 20:30).”

John saw in vision Babylon typified as a woman (a church) which sat on a beast.

There is no question that the antichrist of the New Testament is an opponent of the true Christ, whose work is against that of Christ. But it would be a mistake of large proportions, when discussing the term antichrist to not include the concept of substitution, which the prefix anti clearly employs, which clarifies and amplifies the mission and identity of this important prophetic symbol.

*The other usages of anti in the New Testament are as follows:

Matt. 5:38 “an eye for an eye, and a tooth

for a tooth

Matt. 17:27 “take, and give unto them for me and thee

Mark 10:45 “and to give His life a ransom for many

John 1:16 “have all received, and grace for grace

Rom. 12:17 “recompense to man evil for evil

I Cor. 11:15 “for (her) hair is given her for a covering

I Thess. 5:15 “See that none render evil for evil

Heb. 12:2 “Who for the joy that was set before Him

James 4:15″ for that ye ought to say, If the Lord

I Peter 3:9 “Not rendering evil for evil

** Other compound words which employ anti as a prefix include [i]antilambano(see Luke 1:54 and Acts 20:35) translated helped and antilempsis in I Cor. 12:28 translatedhelpful deeds, and antileptor in Psalm 18:2 translated deliver. While there are other compound words using anti as a prefix in which the notion of against predominates, it is difficult to discern that flavor in the foregoing compound words.

Your brother in Christ,


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