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End Times Prophecy (Eschatology)
Several Possible Scenarios (Part 1)
Symbols: Several Possible Scenarios (Part 1)
Prophetic Symbols: Several Possible
Scenarios (Part 2)
Prophetic Symbols: Several Possible
Scenarios (Part 3)
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
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
Here then, is the relevant excerpt from Against Heresies
"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
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.
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