Home Church Community

Statement of Beliefs

Contact Us

Search Our Site

Bible Study Resource

Printer Friendly Version

Particulars of Christianity:
314 End Times Prophecy (Eschatology)

Prophetic Symbols:
Several Possible Scenarios (Part 1)

Prophetic Symbols: Several Possible Scenarios (Part 1)
Prophetic Symbols: Several Possible Scenarios (Part 2)
Prophetic Symbols: Several Possible Scenarios (Part 3)

Articles 7-12
Articles 13-18
Articles 19-25
Articles 26-29

Before we begin, we want to stress regarding those concepts in this section, which may or may not be regarded as somewhat novel, that these concepts have NOT been developed in light of recent geopolitical trends including the tragic events of September 11, 2001. As those who have read the previous version of our articles on end time symbolism will probably notice as they read this revision, the basic concepts of those previous articles have not been changed but instead have simply been expounded upon in greater detail with greater Biblical support. And as we noted at the beginning of that previous version of this study, those concepts were developed prior to the events of September 11, 2001. And, once again, this is an important fact to stress because we want to clearly state that interpretations of end times prophecy and symbols should NOT be driven by current events and the desire to adapt our interpretations to those events. In keeping with that principle, the main premises asserted in both this revision and our original series of articles were developed prior to and apart from recent geopolitical developments since September 11, 2001.

With that said, we will now move on to discuss the topic for this section of our study.

In his famous book Against Heresies, Irenaeus, the disciple of Polycarp (himself a disciple of the apostle John) wrote extensively about the antichrist. In chapter 30 of Book 5, Irenaeus addresses the issue of speculation concerning the name of the antichrist. And, it is Irenaeus' approach to this topic that we wish to take as our model for this section regarding the end time symbols we have examined from Daniel and Revelation.

Here then, is the relevant excerpt from Against Heresies by Irenaeus.

"It is therefore more certain, and less hazardous, to await the fulfilment of the prophecy, than to be making surmises, and casting about for any names that may present themselves, inasmuch as many names can be found possessing the number mentioned; and the same question will, after all, remain unsolved. For if there are many names found possessing this number, it will be asked which among them shall the coming man bear. It is not through a want of names containing the number of that name that I say this, but on account of the fear of God, and zeal for the truth: for the name Evanthas contains the required number, but I make no allegation regarding it. Then also Lateinos has the number six hundred and sixty-six; and it is a very probable [solution], this being the name of the last kingdom [of the four seen by Daniel]. For the Latins are they who at present bear rule:(5) I will not, however, make any boast over this [coincidence]. Teitan too, (TEITAN, the first syllable being written with the two Greek vowels), among all the names which are found among us, is rather worthy of credit. For it has in itself the predicted number, and is composed of six letters, each syllable containing three letters; and [the word itself] is ancient, and removed from ordinary use; for among our kings we find none bearing this name Titan, nor have any of the idols which are worshipped in public among the Greeks and barbarians this appellation. Among many persons, too, this name is accounted divine, so that even the sun is termed "Titan" by those who do now possess [the rule]. This word, too, contains a certain outward appearance of vengeance, and of one inflicting merited punishment because he (Antichrist) pretends that he vindicates the oppressed.(6) And besides this, it is an ancient name, one worthy of credit, of royal dignity, and still further, a name belonging to a tyrant. Inasmuch, then, as this name "Titan" has so much to recommend it, there is a strong degree of probability, that from among the many [names suggested], we infer, that perchance he who is to come shall be called "Titan." We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen no very long time 560 since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian's reign."

There are several key points that need to be highlighted from Irenaeus' approach to speculation over the name of the antichrist. First, Irenaeus clearly states that it is better "to await the fulfilment of the prophecy, than to be making surmises." Or, in other words, because it is impossible to identify the particulars with certainty before the prophesied events begin to happen, we should not assert a particular guess with certainty, but should instead withhold making absolute proclamations until the prophesied events actually unfold.

This then, will be the foundation of our model for speculation as well. Like Irenaeus, we will resist the temptation to make proclamations with certainty until the events actually come to pass, because like Irenaeus, we recognize that certainty is impossible in practical terms until that point in time. And so, to speak with certainty about speculation is, as Irenaeus put it, "hazardous."

Irenaeus repeats this very sentiment against pronouncing with certainty when he states, "We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist." However, Irenaeus makes this statement after he has offered 3 possible names as speculation himself. Irenaeus has offered the names Evanthas, Lateinos, and Teitan as possible contenders. What this tells us is that while Irenaeus wisely understood that Christians should not assert certainty with regard to such speculations, they should be aware of some of the possible scenarios, which is why Irenaeus provides a few possible scenarios himself in this passage.

Also, we should note that Irenaeus wisely provides more than one scenario. If he had simply suggested one name, instead of three, people may have quickly interpreted his words as a proclamation that this one name would be the name of the antichrist. Instead, by providing three names, Irenaeus makes it impossible for others to accuse him of predicting the name with certainty.

And notice also that even though Irenaeus provides three speculations regarding the name, he provides more evidence for one than for the others. With regard to the first guess, Evanthas, Irenaeus states only that it "contains the required number." With regard to the second guess, Lateinos, Irenaeus says only slightly more, providing one additional factor besides the number itself, which he believes make it a "probable" solution. He writes that Lateinos is "very probable" because it is "the name of the last kingdom [of the four seen by Daniel]" since "the Latins are they who at present bear rule." But with regard to Teitan, the last of the three speculations, Irenaeus goes into great detail compared to the other two, providing no less than seven reasons to support the likelihood of this name being the correct name.

So, we see that not only is Irenaeus making suggestions, but he is also providing reasons to support the probability of those speculative guesses. And not only that, but Irenaeus is also indicating the varying degrees of probability for each guess, describing some as more probable than others. For with the name Evanthas, he makes no statement regarding the likelihood or probability but with Lateinos, he states that it is "very probable" and with Teitan, he states that "among all the names which are found among us, is rather worthy of credit" and has a "strong degree of probability."

Therefore, it is our intention to follow the very same pattern as established here by Irenaeus as we provide speculation regarding some of the prophetic symbols that we just examined in great detail from Daniel and Revelation.

We intend to follow Irenaeus' example using these guidelines:

1) Refrain from pronouncing any speculation with certainty because to do so is "hazardous" since no one can know the particulars for sure before the actual events unfold.

2) Provide multiple possibilities so that no one can misinterpret our words or accuse us of making a prediction with certainty with regard to one scenario or another.

3) Provide greater supportive reasons for some possibilities than others depending in part on the amount of available information there is elsewhere with regard to some scenarios. (For example, there is a great deal of information regarding such scenarios where the European Union or the Pope have been suggested, so we will not provide a great deal of information on these views. But, where there are views that have not received a great deal of attention elsewhere, we will attempt to bring more information into the public forum.)

4) Assert, as Irenaeus did, the varying degrees of probability that may be applied to these various scenarios.

5) Refrain from actually "pronouncing positively" any of these scenarios until those events begin to come to pass.

Now that we have learned from Irenaeus what limitations and protocols we should use when we engage in speculation, we will move on to cover some of the possible scenarios that have been suggested with regard to three main topics. The three main topics of speculation that we will cover are: 1) Which city is Mystery Babylon? 2) Who is the False Prophet/What is the False Prophet's empire? And 3) Who are the 10 kings and where does the antichrist come from?

And, just as Irenaeus listed the possible names Evanthas, Lateinos, and Teitan, the reason we are listing some possible scenarios for these prophesied figures and events is in the interest of being responsible, keeping watchful and vigilant, and helping to keep ourselves and other Christians aware of the more prominent possibilities IF these prophesied were to occur in our lifetimes.

Related Images

Historic Map Series
(Maps 1-12)

Relevant Maps

Lexicon Excerpts

Comparison Chart

7 Heads of the
Beast Chart

Illustrations of
Symbols Series
(Illustrations 1-7)

Correspondence of
Visions Diagram