Publisher: Sabine Baring-gould
Publication Date: May 16, 2015
Binding: Kobo eBook
FROM the earliest ages of the Church, the advent of the Man of Sin has been looked forward to with terror, and the passages of Scripture relating to him have been studied with solemn awe, lest that day of wrath should come upon the Church unawares. As events in the world’s history took place which seemed to be indications of the approach of Antichrist, a great horror fell upon men’s minds, and their imaginations conjured up myths which flew from mouth to mouth, and which were implicitly believed.
Before speaking of these strange tales which produced such an effect on the minds of men in the middle ages, it will be well briefly to examine the opinions of divines of the early ages on the passages of Scripture connected with the coming of the last great persecutor of the Church. Antichrist was believed by most ancient writers to be destined to arise out of the tribe of Dan, a belief founded on the prediction of Jacob, “Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path” (conf. Jeremiah viii. 16), and on the exclamation of the dying patriarch, when looking on his son Dan, “I have waited for Thy Salvation, O Lord,” as though the long-suffering of God had borne long with that tribe, but in vain, and it was to be extinguished without hope. This, indeed, is implied in the sealing of the servants of God in their foreheads (Revelation vii.), when twelve thousand out of every tribe, except Dan, were seen by St. John to receive the seal of adoption, whilst of the tribe of Dan not one was sealed, as though it, to a man, had apostatized.