Sin, Man of
Sin, Man Of (ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἁμαρτίας, 2Th 2:3). In the admirable essay on this subject appended to Eadie' Commentary on Thessalonians (Lond. 1877), the untenableness of the earlier interpretations is clearly shown, and even that the popular application of the phrase by Protestants to the Roman papacy is not conclusive. The only unsatisfactory part of the discussion is the summary dismissal of Elliott's argument for an impersonal antichrist by simply denying the meaning (successor) assigned to the participles ὁ κατέχων and τὸ κατέχον, "that withholdeth" or "letteth" (page 349). The proof that a person is meant does not depend upon that signification of these participles, but upon the fact that the personal masculine is thus exchanged for the impersonal neuter, and especially that the principal power is likewise designated by the abstract μυστήριον, "mystery" (verse 7). In like manner the Johannean term "the antichrist" (ὁ ἀντίχριστος, 1Jo 2:22) is not a proper name, nor even the designation of an individual, for it is used in the plural in the same connection (ἀντίχριστοι, verse 18; comp. 2Jo 1:7), and also as a neuter or abstract (τὸ τοῦ ἀντιχρίστου). To understand this impersonation of the evil principle (comp. ὁ διάβολος as an embodiment of Satanic influence), we must advert to the conventional use in the New-Test. figures, especially in eschatological passages, of the concrete terms ant names of the Old Test., such as especially appears in the adoption of "Gog and Magog" from the prophecies of Ezekiel (38), where they probably designate a particular people, hostile to Judaism,.to express a collective or abstract apower of persecution in the future of Christendom (Re 20:8). In like manner the "little horn" of Daniel, which invariably represents Antiochus Epiphanes, has been confounded with the persecuting beast of the Apocalypse. The names of the Old Test. have been typically transferred to the symblolology of the New Test., like Zion, Jerusalem, Babylon, etc., but have never lost their literal, local, and personal meaning. In fact, this very type of Antiochus was evidently in the apostle's mind while employing the masculine in the passage' under discussion, and the whole aspect of the persecuting power is evidently borrowed from the description of that blasphemer in the book of Daniel. This explains what has been a puzzle to commentators, the impious arrogance of the future antichrist (2Th 2:4), which is exactly parallel with the prophet's language (Da 7:8,20,25; Da 8:10-12; Da 11:36). We conclude, therefore, that in the eschatology of the Newest. writers these expressions are to be interpreted figuratively, and not literally, as in the Old Test.; and that they probably refer to some great onset of infidelity near the close of the present dispensation. SEE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY.