We begin to conclude our series on The Book of Daniel by wrapping up chapter eleven and exploring chapter twelve. Daniel carries many prophetic parallels to The Book of Revelation. In these last chapters, we examine what Daniel has to say about the character of the antichrist and what will happen to the antichrist when the cosmic story has played all the way through. This episode ends with a look at Daniel’s prophetic word concerning the nation of Israel.
The key thing the last time was that we are building up to this character who’s going to speak pompous words and do the abomination of desolation. That was kind of the key point in time.
And then some people in Israel would stand up against him, starts very small and then becomes a much more widespread rebellion, many people are secret followers. But there’s a deliverance, and this king dies without human hands. He meets his demise at the hands of God. That was Antiochus Epiphanes, Antiochus IV.
In this episode we jump ahead several thousand years to an event that’s yet in our future. We can look back on these Greeks and say, God predicted that with amazing precision. Clearly, if he predicted something like that that we can look at the rear view mirror and say that happened already, that should give us confidence that what he’s predicting now’s going to happen. It also should give us some humility about trying to tie down exactly what that’s going to look like. But we had one verse where the commentators say, “We’re not really sure what this is because nobody wrote down anything we can match it to.”
So we know that there’s going to be another abomination of desolations. Jesus spoke of that. And we know that this antichrist, this Antiochus Epiphanes look-alike is yet in our future. We’re going to look at that today.
11:36. Now I’m just going to read down through 12:3. Remember chapter breaks are just something people put it there for convenience; they’re not in the original.
“Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.
He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all.
But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things.
Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.
“At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.
He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon.
He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.
But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.
And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.
“At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Every one who is found written in the book.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever.
Michael shall stand up (the tribulation period)
You can see here, we are definitely talking about the end of the age. Exactly what all this is is conjecture in large part. But there are a few things I think we can tie down. Let’s start with at that time Michael shall stand up.
This certainly seems to tie directly with Revelation 12:7. So let’s go look at Revelation 12:7.
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
This is clearly in the context of what we saw in Revelation, a time where Satan is cast out of heaven. Remember from Job, he has access in and out of heaven. We tend to think of heaven as a place where only certain people can go. But that’s really not the case because apparently the demons and the angels have access there. It’s the new earth and the New Jerusalem that has limited access. That’s where anyone who’s despicable and deplorable can’t go in and out.
But there’s going to come a time where heaven has them all cast out. And that’s right at the end, and Satan comes down; and that appears to be the time when we thave that Great Tribulation, the last three and a half years of the 70th week of Daniel. That certainly seems to be this.
Now we know that in prophecy you can walk along and in the middle of a sentence, it’ll just skip forward several thousand years. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that, but it says at the time Michael shall stand up. In verse 40, it’s at the time of the end. So they seem to be connected.
The king shall do according to his own will (the antichrist)
This certainly seems to be the Tribulation period that we’re talking about. Verse 36, “Then the king shall do according to his own will.” You could debate whether this is the king that we’ve been talking about, like Antiochus Epiphanes, who was in the verses preceding, or whether this is antichrist.
The commentators tend to come down on the side that this is the antichrist, mainly, because they can’t match this to stuff that’s happened in history so much. And because we’re transitioning into the time of the end. Clearly when we get to verse 12, we’re at the time of the end. We’re going to cover it that way. It certainly seems to fit.
“the king shall do according to his own will.” In other words, this king is going to have the ability to do whatever he wants to do. He’s going to be an autocratic dictator that can say what’s going to happen, and it happens.
He shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.
Once again, what has been determined. All of this is scripted out. God has it all in control. And this is all in the context of a book, the Bible, that is exhorting us to make good choices.
Here’s this free will and sovereignty dilemma that’s a dilemma for us, but it’s not a dilemma to God. What God tells us to do is make good choices and don’t carry the burden of outcomes on our shoulders. Cast our cares on him for he cares for us. God’s in control of results. He’s going to hold us accountable for doing our job.
It shall be accomplished, which is great comfort for us.
He shall speak blasphemies
Now this “shall speak blasphemies,” it’s an interesting translation. This word is the same word as in Daniel 8:24. And this description of this guy is very much like Daniel 8:23. So let’s flip back to that. This is in the context of the ram and the goat explanation.
Let’s go back to 20. The ram which you saw, having the two horns—they are the kings of Media and Persia.
Remember this was one of the visions that Daniel saw. He’s getting an explanation of what that is. And the male goat—there was this goat that came across the ground. His feet didn’t even touch the ground, he was so fast. The large horn between his eyes is the first king, that’s Alexander the Great.
As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation—that’s the Seleucid kingdom of the north, Syria; the Ptolymaic kingdom of the south, Egypt. That’s mostly what we looked at last episode because those kingdoms vied for control of Israel. But you also have the Greek and the Macedonian kingdom that were much weaker.
But not with its power. Those four kingdoms didn’t have nearly the power that one united kingdom had.
“And in the latter time of their kingdom,
When the transgressors have reached their fullness,
A king shall arise,
Having fierce features,
Who understands sinister schemes.
His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power;
He shall destroy fearfully,
And shall prosper and thrive;
He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.
“Through his cunning
He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule;
And he shall exalt himself in his heart.
He shall destroy many in their prosperity.
He shall even rise against the Prince of princes;
But he shall be broken without human means.
“And the vision of the evenings and mornings
Which was told is true;
Therefore seal up the vision,
For it refers to many days in the future.”
This certainly seems to be the antichrist that’s described here. And this term that’s translated blasphemies is the same word that’s translated in verse 24 as fearfully. So the word fearfully in verse 24, “He shall destroy fearfully” or amazingly, incredibly. The amount of destruction will be awesome, awe inspiring, shock and awe.
The idea here is that what he speaks against God will be stunning. His defiance of God will be shocking, it’s so blatant.
What the antichrist will be like
And he shall prosper until his time is up. He’s going to be given a season to prosper and then he’s going to be dispatched with.
Now this fellow, verse 37, He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all.
Apparently this fellow is so enamored with power, his own abilities that appetites don’t interest him any. Not even the strongest of appetites because they’re all overshadowed by his appetite for power and him being enamored with himself.
It says he doesn’t regard the God of his fathers. We’ll talk about that in just a minute.
Verse 38. He’s going to honor a God of fortresses and with precious stones and so forth.
Verse 39. Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god—
What is this? Well this whole idea of who the antichrist is, the Bible doesn’t tell us a lot about. But we get one very interesting verse in the book of Micah. So let’s look at Micah 5:5. And this is a prediction. It’s a judgment on Israel’s enemies.
And this One shall be peace.
When the Assyrian comes into our land,
And when he treads in our palaces,
Then we will raise against him
Seven shepherds and eight princely men.
If you go look at that whole prophecy, it appears that that’s the time of the end and the antichrist which would mean, if that’s an accurate prediction, that would mean the antichrist would have some connection with Assyria.
The Assyrian people, today, are known as Armenians. If you go to Israel today, there are four quarters of Jerusalem. There’s a Jewish quarter, an Arab quarter, a Christian quarter, and an Armenian quarter. And the Armenians are descended from the Assyrians.
Some of the very earliest peoples to adopt Christianity, and that’s one of the reasons they keep getting killed all over the place. About two-thirds of them were wiped out in a genocide initiative by the Ottoman Turks during World War I. They just keep getting exterminated.
That could be the roots. And so this “doesn’t honor the God of their fathers” could be connected with this Assyria. And it could be someone from that area. It could be someone who has roots in that culture who comes from somewhere else. But it could be someone that is from Jerusalem that starts in the Armenian quarter.
Whatever it is, he leaves the God of his fathers and invents something new. This new thing is a god of fortresses, is a god of power. Which makes sense since this guy’s so enamored with power.
We also saw that this guy doesn’t have the power from himself; and as we saw in Revelation, his power comes directly from Satan. Satan is completely intertwined with this antichrist character.
This is going to be an Antiochus Epiphanes on steroids. That was a picture, but it was like a single A farm team, and this is the Yankees that’s going to come next. This is the description we seem to be getting here.
The king of the South and the king of the North
And then verse 40. We get into this thing at the time of the end. There’s a king of the South and a king of the North and all these things. And, frankly, no one’s sure what this is. You can read it as though this antichrist is getting attacked from the north and the south. You can read it in a way where the north is an ally or even is part of the kingdom of this antichrist. You really can’t tell.
There’s a big battle that happens in Ezekiel 37 and 38 where the king of the North and the king of the South come to the Holy Land and there’s this massive war. And at the end of the war, there’s so much wreckage that it takes seven years to clean it up.
And then there’s the battle of Armageddon where there’s so much blood that it runs up to the bridle of a horse for a really long way.
And some people think there’s three different battles. This one, Ezekiel and Armageddon. Some people think it’s all one. You know what that means? They don’t know.
God’s in control
Remember again, the point of last episode. If you’re listening to all that: He’s going to do this to her, and her roots are going to do this to them, how would you know?
But the key thing is there’s a plan. There’s a map. And there’s going to be geopolitics, and the geopolitics is going to happen. And when you see it happening, if you’re there, you’re going to be able to sort out what’s happening, and you know this is the end times.
The ticking clock
And of course, the key thing is when you see this abomination of desolation. That’s when the clock really starts ticking for sure.
The seven years starts with a treaty between the antichrist and Israel, but it may not be real clear what’s going on at that point in time.
Dictators start out being “for the people”
The angel of light, the antichrist, is going to come initially as a very attractive figure, as dictators always do. You know, they always pass themselves off as somebody that’s going to be for the people. You know, this is for you. I’m all about you. And then once they get power, they’re just about themselves. We’ve seen it time and time again, even in our generation.
Hugo Chavez was that way. He promised people liberty and freedom and care. And if they disagreed with him, he shot them.
I talked to a guy that was in the student protests, and he took his brother, and they were, rah rah! and then suddenly the guy next to him fell down dead, and he realized, I brought my brother out here to get killed. He came to America. It’s one of the reasons why fighting totalitarianism is such a big deal for us because where else is there to flee?
But that’s just the spirit of Satan. He’s a totalitarian at heart. He said I will ascend to the most high. I want to be God. Being second under God’s not good enough for me. I want to be God, and I’m going to control what God controls. That’s me. I want to control. And that’s all the spirit of tyranny is. I want to make choices for you. I don’t want to give you any choices.
So, we see this time of the end where there’s this geopolitical intrigue. Exactly what’s going on there, hard to say.
But what we can say is this antichrist is going to have the authority of Nebuchadnezzar. Remember Nebuchadnezzar, if he says live, you live. If he says die, you die. He’s going to have the audacity of Nebuchadnezzar, who was pretty full of himself until God gave him some hair like eagle’s claws and he lost his mind for a period of time, and he was humbled.
And of course, his grandson, Belteshazzar, who got to experience the handwriting on the wall. That audacity passed down, unfortunately. He didn’t learn the humility lesson.
He’s going to have the ambition of Alexander because he wants world domination, and he’s going to have his way, no matter what. He’s going to have a new religion similar to Alexander because Alexander spread Hellenism to the whole known world.
This is the antichrist. He’s going to have the elements of all four of the kingdoms coming before him, and he’s probably going to have a massive bureaucracy like Persia did. And we know he’s going to have the fierceness of Rome because we’ve seen the devastation he’s going to wreak on the earth when we went through Revelation.
So those are some thoughts about the antichrist and who the antichrist will be.
Verse 44. He shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.
That seems to be the common theme. There’s going to be massive wreckage that comes to the earth. And of course the antichrist doesn’t care because he only cares about himself. Other people dying is not a problem for him as long as he’s getting power. The spirit of a tyrant.
Verse 45. Yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.
Like Antiochus Epiphanes who died of a disease, the antichrist is going to die not at the hands of a man. And we know what that looks like too.
Let’s look at Revelation 19:19-20.
And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.
At this point, Jesus has come to earth, and he’s got his army behind him. I hope a bunch of us are on those horses behind him. I think that’s a very real possibility.
Verse 20. Then the beast was captured—that’s the antichrist—and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
The lake of fire
For them, they experience their first and second death at exactly the same time. They just go straight into the lake of fire. We have an idea what that looks like from Daniel 7. Daniel 7:9.
“I watched till thrones were put in place,
And the Ancient of Days was seated;
His garment was white as snow,
And the hair of His head was like pure wool.
His throne was a fiery flame,
Here we’ve got this throne that is on fire.
A fiery stream issued
And came forth from before Him.
There’s the fiery flame.
A thousand thousands ministered to Him;
Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
This is a particularly significant picture in light of the story about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that are in the fiery furnace; and they’re in there having tea with Jesus, so it’s a very comfortable place. Well, we can see why now.
Verse 11: “I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking—the horn there is the antichrist. I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame.
Here right in the presence of Jesus there is this burning flame that destroys the beast.
Now this is in the throne room, and the other picture we had was on earth, but whatever’s happening on earth is happening in the throne room and vice versa. I don’t think that’s a particularly difficult concept to embrace.
What’s going to happen to Israel?
So Daniel’s telling us about this end time, and then
“At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
Remember, this is all in the context of Daniel wanting to know what’s going to happen to our people because they’ve been exiled from their homeland. They’ve had their temple knocked down, their city destroyed. Are we going to be restored?
And we saw in Daniel 9, yes, absolutely, you will be restored! In fact, the temple will be rebuilt. The wall will be rebuilt. And then, it’s all going to be knocked down again. And then it’s going to be restored again! And in the process of all that restoration, sin’s going to be ended. The anointed one’s going to take the throne. Everlasting righteousness is going to come in.
The restoration is going to go all the way back to the Garden of Eden restoration. We’re going to have the tree of life that’s in the paradise-of-God restoration. Sin is going to be terminated. Death is going to be defeated. But what you’re specifically asking about, Daniel, that’s going to happen too. He just got a much bigger answer to his question.
This is kind of what we do as humans. We ask for far too little because we’re not capable of understanding what we could ask for, which thankfully is why the Holy Spirit prays on our behalf.
Unfortunately for us, when we get way more than we asked for, we often don’t realize it’s a blessing. We think of it as an additional burden. And Daniel, when he had these visions, he got sick because it was so astonishing to him. And he’s one of the great men of the Bible.
So when God gives us more than we can handle, it’s because he’s elevating us to a new level of service. So that’s one of the perspectives we can adopt.