Old Testament Types of Antichrist

 

by A.W. Pink

(NOTE: This study is an edited version from A.W. Pink’s book “Antichrist”)

“In the volume of the book it is written of Me” (Heb. 10:7), said the Lord Jesus. Christ is the key to the Scriptures — “Search the Scriptures they are they which testify of Me,” are His words; and the Scriptures to which He had reference were not the four Gospels, for they were not then written, but the writings of Moses and the prophets. The Old Testament Scriptures, then, are something more than a compilation of historical narratives, something more than the record of a system of social and religious legislation, or a code of ethics.

The Old Testament Scriptures are, fundamentally, a stage on which we’re shown, in vivid symbolism, stupendous events of the future. The events recorded in the Old Testament were actual occurrences, yet were they also types. (A type is an example or illustration that points to a person or an event). Throughout the Old Testament dispensations God caused to be shadowed forth things which must yet come to pass.

This is in full accord with a basic law in the economy of God. Nothing is brought to maturity at once. As it is in the natural world, so it is in the spiritual: there is first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear. So there is first the shadow, and then the substance; the type, and then the antitype.

“Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning” (Rom. 15:4). Israel’s tabernacle was “a figure for the time then present” (Heb. 9:8, 9), as well as the example and “shadow of heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5).

Concerning the history of Abraham, his wives and his children, the apostle was inspired to write “which things are an allegory” (Gal. 4:24). These and other passages which might be quoted witness plainly to the typical meaning of portions of the Old Testament.

Many of God’s servants have written at length upon the Passover, the brazen serpent, the Tabernacle, etc., as well as upon the many ways in which such men as Abel, Noah, Isaac, Moses, David, etc. prefigured the Savior. But strange to say, very little seems to have been written upon those who prefigure the Antichrist.

So far as we are aware practically nothing has been given out concerning the many Bible characters of ill fame, who foreshadowed that coming one, that occupies such a prominent place in the prophetic scriptures. A wide field is here opened for study, and we take pleasure in now submitting to the careful perusal of the reader the results of our own imperfect researches, hoping that it may lead others to make a more complete examination of the subject for themselves.

Besides the plain and literal sense of Scripture, there is also a mystical sense, hidden beneath the surface and which can only be discovered as we, in dependence on the Holy Spirit, diligently compare scripture with scripture. In pursuing the latter we need not only to proceed with due caution, but in “fear and trembling,” lest we devise mysteries of our own imagination, and thus pervert to one use what belongs to another. The principle which will safeguard us is to thoroughly acquaint ourselves with the antitypes.

Let nothing be regarded as a type unless we are sure there is an exact correspondence with the antitype. This will preserve us from erroneously supposing that any person who is clearly a type of either Christ or the Antichrist is so in every detail of his life.

Thus Moses was plainly a type of Christ as our Mediator, and in many other respects too, but in his failures and in other details of his personal history he was not a type of Christ. So, too, with those who foreshadowed the Antichrist: not everything recorded of them prefigured the character or deeds of the Man of Sin.

We shall now look at six Bible characters, each of which strikingly typified the Antichrist.

CAIN…

It is indeed solemn to discover that the very first man born into this world prefigured the Man of Sin. He did so in a least seven respects.

- First, we may observe that in 1 John 3:12 we are told “Cain was of that Wicked One,” (the Devil). Of none other is this particular expression used. The Antichrist will also, in a special sense, be “of that Wicked one,” for the Devil is said to be his father (John 8:44).

- Second, Cain was a religious hypocrite. This is seen in the fact that at first he posed as a worshipper of God, but the emptiness of his pretensions were quickly evidenced; for, when the Lord refused his offering, Cain was “very wroth” (Gen. 4:5). As such he clearly prefigured that one who will first claim to be the Christ, only to stand forth later as His denier (1 John 2:22).

- Third, Cain occupied the position of ruler. Said the Lord to him, “Unto to thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him,” that is, over Abel (Gen. 4:7). Such, too, will be the position filled by the Antichrist — he shall be a Ruler over men (Rev 13:3).

- Fourth, in murdering his brother Abel, Cain foreshadowed the wicked martyrdom of the Tribulation saints by the Son of Perdition.

- Fifth, Cain was a liar. After the murder of Abel, when the Lord asked Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” he answered, “I know not” (Gen. 4:9). In like manner deceit and falsehood will characterize him who is appropriately named “the Lie” (2 Thess. 2:11).

- Sixth, God’s judgment descended upon Cain. So far as we know from the Scripture record, no human eye witnessed the dastardly murder of Abel, and doubtless Cain deemed himself secure from any penal consequences. But if so, he reckoned without God. The Lord announced to him, “Thy brother’s blood crieth unto Me from the ground,” and then He declared, “And now art thou cursed from the earth” (Gen. 4:10). So, too, in his reckless conceit, the Antichrist will imagine that he can defy God and slay His people. But his blasphemous delusions will be quickly dispelled.

- Seventh, Cain was made to exclaim, “My punishment is greater than I can bear” (Gen. 4:13). Such indeed will be the awful portion meted out to the Antichrist — he shall be “cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Rev. 19:20)

LAMECH…

“And Lamech said unto his wives: Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: For I have slain a man for wounding me, and a young man for bruising me. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, Truly Lamech seventy and seven fold” (Gen. 4:23, 24).

The record of this man’s life is exceedingly brief, but from the little that is recorded about him we may discover at least seven parallelisms between him and the Antichrist.

- First, the meaning of his name. Lamech signifies “powerful.” This was an appropriate name for one who foreshadowed the Man of Sin who, as the Head of the United States of the World, will be powerful governmentally. He will also be mighty in his person, for we are told that the Dragon shall give power unto him (Rev. 13:4).

- Second, in the fact that Lamech was a descendant of Cain (Gen. 4:17-19), not Seth, we see that he sprang from the evil line.

- Third, he was the seventh from fallen Adam, as though to intimate that the cycle of depravity was completed in him. So the Antichrist will be not only the culmination of satanic craft and power, but as well, the climax of human wickedness — the Man of Sin.

- Fourth, the first thing predicted of Lamech is his “lawlessness.” “Lamech took unto him two wives” (Gen. 4:19). As such he violated the marriage law and disobeyed the command of God (Gen. 2:24). Clearly, then, he foreshadowed the “Lawless One” (2 Thess. 2:8).

- Fifth, like Cain before him, Lamech was a murderer. His confession is, “I have slain a man for wounding me, and a young man for bruising me” (Gen. 4:23). In this, too, he foreshadowed the Man of blood and of violence.

- Sixth, he was filled with pride. This comes out in two details. First, he says to his wives, “Hear my voice; Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech” (Gen. 4:23). Second, in his arrogant self-importance — “If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly LAMECH seventy and seven fold” (Gen. 4:24). This appears to mean that Lamech had slain a man for wounding him, and mad with passion, he jeered ironically at God’s dealings with Cain.

- Seventh, in the fact that the very next thing recorded after the brief notice of Lamech is the birth of Seth (the one from whom, according to the flesh, Christ descended) who set aside the line of Cain — for on his birth Eve exclaimed, “God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel whom Cain slew” (Gen. 4:25) — thus we have a beautiful foreshadowing of the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus following the overthrow of the Antichrist.

NIMROD…

This personal type of the Antichrist is deeply interesting and remarkable full in its details. His exploits are recorded in Gen. 10 and 11, and it is most significant that his person and history are there introduced at the point immediately preceding God’s call of Abraham from among the Gentiles and His bringing him into the promised land. Thus history repeats itself. Just before God again gathers Abraham’s descendants from out of the lands of the Gentiles there will arise one who will fill out the picture here typically outlined by Nimrod. Let us examine the details of this type.

- First, the meaning of his name is most suggestive. Nimrod signifies “The Rebel.” A fit designation was this for a man that foreshadowed the Lawless One, who shall oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God (2 Thess. 2:4), and who shall “stand up against the Prince of princes” (Dan. 8:25).

- Second, we are told that he was a son of Cush — “And Cush begat Nimrod” (Gen. 10:8), and Cush was a son of Ham, who was cursed by Noah. Nimrod, then, was not a descendant of Shem, from whom Christ sprang, nor of Japheth; but he came from Ham. It is remarkable that these men who typified the Antichrist came from the evil line.

- Third, we are told that Nimrod “began to be a mighty one in the earth” (Gen. 10:8). Four times over is this term “mighty” connected with this one who prefigured him “whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thess. 2:9). But observe that it is first said, “He began to be mighty,” which seems to suggest the idea that he struggled for the pre-eminence and obtained it by mere force of will.

How this corresponds with the fact that the Man of Sin first appears as “the little horn” and by force of conquest attains to the position of King of kings needs only to be pointed out. It is also significant that the Hebrew word for “mighty” in Gen. 10:9 is “gibbor” which is translated several times “Chief” and “Chieftain.”

- Fourth, it is also added, “Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord” which means that he pushed his designs in brazen defiance of his Maker. The words “mighty hunter before the Lord” are found twice in Gen. 10:9. This repetition in so short a narrative is highly significant. If we compare the expression with a similar one in Gen. 6:11, — “The earth also (in the days of Noah) was corrupt before God” — the impression conveyed is that this “Rebel” pursued his impious designs in open defiance of the Almighty. The contents of Gen. 11 abundantly confirm this interpretation. In like manner, of the Antichrist it is written, “And the King shall do according to his will, and he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god (ruler), and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods” (Dan. 11:36).

- Fifth, Nimrod was a “Man of Blood.” In 1 Chron. 1:10 — “And Cush begat Nimrod; he began to be mighty upon the earth.” The Chaldea paraphrase of this verse says, “Cush begat Nimrod who began to prevail in wickedness for he slew innocent blood and rebelled against Jehovah.” This, coupled with the expression “a mighty Hunter before the Lord,” suggests that he relentlessly sought out and slew God’s people. As such, he accurately portrayed the bloody and deceitful Man (Psa. 5:6), the violent Man (Psa. 140:1).

- Sixth, Nimrod was a King — “the beginning of his kingdom was Babel” (Gen. 10:10. Thus he was King of Babylon, which is also one of the many titles of the Antichrist (Isa. 14:4). In the verses which follow in Gen. 10 we read, “He went out into Assyria and built Ninevah, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,” etc. (Gen. 10:11). From these statements it is evident that Nimrod’s ambition was to establish a world empire.

- Seventh, mark his inordinate desire for fame. His consuming desire was to make for himself a name. Here again the antitype marvelously corresponds with the type, for the Man of Sin is expressly denominated “King over all the children of pride” (Job 41:34).

What is recorded in Gen. 10 about Nimrod supplies the key to the first half of Gen. 11 which tells of the building of the Tower of Babel. Gen. 10:10 informs us that the beginning of Nimrod’s kingdom was Babel. In the language of that day Babel meant “the gate of God,” but afterwards, because of the judgment which the Lord there inflicted, it came to mean “Confusion.” That at the time Nimrod founded Babel this word signified “the gate (the figure of official position) of God,” intimates that he not only organized an imperial government over which he presided as king, but that he also instituted a new and idolatrous system of worship. If the type be perfect, and we are fully assured it is so, then, as the Lawless One will yet do, Nimrod demanded and received Divine honors. In all probability, it was at this point that idolatry was introduced.

Nimrod is not directly mentioned in Gen. 11, but from the statements made about him in chap. 10 there cannot be any doubt that he was the “Chief” and “King” who organized and headed the movement and rebellion there described: “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (11:4). Here we behold a most blatant defiance of God, a deliberate refusal to obey His commands given through Noah — “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (9:1).

But they said, “Let us make us a name lest we be scattered upon the face of the whole earth.” As we have seen, Nimrod’s ambition was to establish a world-empire. To accomplish this, at least two things were necessary: First, a center, a great headquarters; and second, a motive for the inspiration and encouragement of his followers. The former was furnished in the city of Babylon: the latter was to be supplied in the “let us make us a name.” It was inordinate desire for fame. The idea of the Tower (considered in the light of its setting) seems that of strength, a stronghold, rather than eminence.

To sum up, in Nimrod and his schemes we behold Satan’s initial attempt to raise up an universal ruler of men. In his inordinate desire for fame, in the mighty power that he wielded, in his ruthless and brutal methods, in his blatant defiance of the Creator, in his founding of the kingdom of Babel, in his assuming to himself Divine honors, in the fact that the Holy Spirit has placed the record of these things just before the inspired account of God’s bringing Abraham into Canaan — pointing forward to the re-gathering of Israel in Palestine, immediately after the overthrows of the Lawless One — and finally, in the Divine destruction of his kingdom — described in the words, “Let Us go down and there confound their language” (Gen. 11:7), which so marvelously pictures the descent of Christ from heaven to vanquish His impious rival — we cannot fail to see that we have a wonderfully complete typical picture of the person, the work, and the destruction of the Antichrist.

PHARAOH…

We have in mind the Pharaoh of the book of Exodus. His history and character are described at much greater length than the other personal types of the Antichrist which have been before us, and therefore more parallelisms are to be found here. We shall aim to be suggestive rather than exhaustive.

- First, Pharaoh was king of Egypt which, in Scripture, is the lasting symbol of the world. In like manner, the one whom he so strikingly prefigured will be Head of the world-kingdom.

- Second, the Pharaoh of Exodus came from Assyria (Isa. 52:4); so also will the Antichrist first rise in that land.

- Third, Ex. 1 presents him to our view as the merciless persecutor of the Hebrews, embittering their lives by hard bondage.

- Fourth, he is next seen as the one who sought to cut off Israel from being a nation, giving orders that all the male children should be slain in infancy.

- Fifth, he blatantly defied God. When Moses and Aaron appeared before him and said, “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness,” his arrogant reply was, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” (Ex. 5:1, 2).

- Sixth, God’s two witnesses performed miracles before Pharaoh (Ex. 7:10); so, too, will God’s two witnesses in the Tribulation period work miracles before the Beast (Rev. 11:6, 7).

- Seventh, Pharaoh had magical resources at his disposal (Ex. 7:11), as the Antichrist will have at his (2 Thess. 2:9).

- Eighth, Pharaoh made fair promises to the Hebrews, only to break them (Ex. 8:8, 15). In this, too, he foreshadowed the Antichrist in his perfidy and treachery toward Israel.

- Ninth, he met with a drastic end at the hands of God (Psa. 136:15).

- Tenth, he was overthrown at the time that Israel started out for the promised land: so Antichrist will be cast into the Lake of Fire just before Israel enters into everlasting possession of their promised inheritance.

In all of these ten respects (and in others which the student may search out for himself) Pharaoh was a striking and accurate type of the Antichrist.

GOLIATH…

- First, his name means “Soothsayer” which at once connects him with the powers of evil.

- Second, he was a giant, and thus, like Saul, prefigured the Super-man.

- Third, he was the enemy of Israel.

- Fourth, his consuming egotism was displayed in his blatant challenge, “I defy the armies of Israel” (1 Sam. 17:10).

- Fifth, the mysterious number 666 (the number of the Antichrist) is connected with Goliath. Note the three sixes. (a) He was six cubits high (1 Sam. 17:4). (b) Six pieces of armor are enumerated — helmet, coat of mail, greaves, target, staff, and shield (1 Sam. 17:5[ndash ]7). (c) His spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron (1 Sam. 17:7).

- Sixth, he was slain by the sword (see 1 Sam. 17:51).

- Seventh, he was slain by David — type of Christ. In each of these respects he foreshadowed the Antichrist.

ABSALOM…

- First, the meaning of his name is very significant. “Absalom” means “father of peace.” A careful reading of his history reveals the fact that, again and again, he posed as a man of peace, while war was in his heart. So the Antichrist will pose as the promised Prince of peace, and for a time it will appear that he has actually ushered in the Millennium. But ere long his violent and bloody character will be revealed.

- Second, Absalom was the son of David, and therefore a Jew. but Absalom was a son of David by Maacah, the daughter of the Gentile king of Jeshur (2 Sam. 3:3). So, too, will the Antichrist be a veritable king among men.

- Third, Absalom was a man of blood (2 Sam. 13, etc.).

- Fourth, Absalom sought to obtain the kingdom by flatteries (2 Sam. 15:2-6); cf Dan. 11:21, 23.

- Fifth, he cloaked his rebellion by a pretense of religion (read 2 Sam. 15:7, 8).

- Sixth, he was the immediate cause of the faithful followers of David being driven from Jerusalem into the wilderness (2 Sam. 15:14-16).

- Seventh, he reared up a pillar unto himself (2 Sam. 18:18), which clearly foreshadowed the image which the Antichrist will cause to be set up unto himself.

- Eighth, he met with a violent end (2 Sam. 18:14).

There are quite a number of others who foreshadowed the Antichrist in one or more of the outstanding features of his character and career. For instance, there is Balak who, accompanied by Baalam the prophet sought to curse and destroy Israel — a striking foreshadowing of the Beast with his ally the False Prophet. There is Adoni-zedek, mentioned in Joshua 10, and who headed a federation of ten kings; it is remarkable that his name signifies “lord of righteousness” which is what the Antichrist will claim to be as he comes forth on the white horse (Rev. 6).

Almost every prominent feature of the Antichrist’s person and career was foreshadowed by some Old Testament character. The subject is intensely interesting, and we trust that many of our readers will be encouraged to pursue it further for themselves.