There is a distinct science of nomenclature, a system of names, in the Word of God. Probably every name in Scripture has either a historic, a symbolic, or a spiritual significance. The names are inseparably bound up with the narrative, and it frequently happens that the meaning of a proper noun is a key to an important passage. Names are not employed by the Holy Spirit in a loose and careless manner -- of course not! -- but with definite design. A variety of names for the same individual are not given in order to prevent monotonous repetition, but because the significance of each separate appellation is best fitted to express what is recorded in any given instance. |Devil| and |Satan| are not synonyms, nor are they used at haphazard, but with Divine discrimination. Upon the meaning of names found in Holy Writ rests a whole scheme of interpretation; even the order in which names occur is not fortuitous but designed, and constitutes a part of each lesson taught, or each truth presented.
There is here a wide field opened for study, a field which few have made serious effort to explore. It is strange that it has been so neglected, for again and again the Holy Spirit calls attention to the importane and meaning of names. In the first book of the Bible we find that children and places were given meaningful names, which called to remembrance incidents, experiences, characteristics of interest and importance. Examples are given where names changed to harmonize with a change in the person, place, experience, or situation where it occurred. Abram and Sarai will at once occur to mind. For a place, take Luz, which was changed to Bethel! -- |House of God| -- because by reason of a vision he received there it became that to Jacob. Jacob's name is changed to Israel; and in the New Testament an example is furnished in Simeon being re-named Peter. In Heb.7:1, 2 the Holy Spirit calls attention to the significance of the names Melchizedik and Salem (Jerusalem). These are sufficient to show the importance of this line of study.
Names are used in Scripture with marvelous discrimination, and it was this fact which first demonstrated to the writer, the verbal inspiration of Scripture. The precision with which names are used in the Bible is especially noticeable in connection with the Divine titles. The names Elohim and Jehovah are found on the pages of the Old Testament several thousand times, but they are never used loosely or interchangeably. Over three hundred names and titles are given to the Lord Jesus Christ, and each has its own distinctive significance and to substitute any other for the one used would destroy the beauty and perfections of every passage where they are found.
Names are employed to express character; titles are used to denote relationships. It is only as we make a careful study of the various and numerous names and titles of the Lord Jesus Christ, that we are in a position to appreciate His infinite excellencies and the manifold relationships which He sustains. From an opposite standpoint the same is equally true of the Antichrist. As we pay careful attention to the different names and titles which are given to him, we then discover what a marvelously complete delineation the Holy Spirit has furnished us with of the person, the character, and career of this monster of wickedness. It is unfortunate that the great variety of names bestowed upon him has led some brethren to the conclusion that they must belong to separate persons, and has caused them to apportion these out to different individuals; only confusion can result from this. There is almost as much ground to make the Devil and Satan different persons, as there is to regard (as some do) the Beast and the Antichrist as separate entities. That the Devil and Satan are names belonging to the same person, and that the Beast and the Antichrist is the selfsame individual, is proven by the fact that identically the same characteristics under each is found belonging to the one as to the other. Instead of apportioning these names to different persons, we must see that they denominate the same individual, only in different relationships, or as giving us various phases of his character.
An old writer has said the name Devil is most suggestive of his character. If |d| is taken away, evil is left. If |e| is taken away vile is left. If |v| is taken away ill is left. And if |i| is taken away and the next letter be aspirated, it tells of hell. It is equally true of the Antichrist: his names reveal his character, expose his vileness, and forecast his career and doom.
The names and titles given to the Antichrist are far more numerous than is commonly supposed. We propose to give as complete a list as possible, and offer a few comments on their significations. We shall not expatiate on them at equal length, for that is not necessary; instead, we shall say the most on those cognomens which are of the greater importance, or, which because of their ambiguity call for a more detailed elucidation.