Evil men and women exist everywhere. Each of us has an image in our mind of an evil man. For some of us, an evil man or woman is someone who has deeply hurt us. For a few of us, the world seems full of only evil people. Some consider politicians and military personnel to be evil. Our view of evil is often distorted and wrong. Even Adolf Hilter thought he was doing good when he said, “Today, I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator; by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” What a distorted view of good! The problem was not with the Jews, but Hilter’s heart. Adlai Stevenson said it well with, “There is no evil in the atom – only in men’s souls.” Evil exists only in the heart and our last study demonstrated that repeatedly.
Our last study included numerous prophecies that spanned the reigns of the southern and northern kings of Ptolemy I and Seleucus I down to Ptolemy VII and Antiochus IV Epiphanes (316 – 168 B.C.). The southern kingdom was Egypt and the northern kingdom included the territories of modern day Syria and Iraq. We read prophecies about many evil people. Those prophecies about many Medo-Persian and Grecian rulers were fulfilled hundreds of years later. Kings murdered women and women murdered women and babies. Cleopatra turned against her father in favor of her husband. Kings fought for power. Some won and others lost.
Evil took many forms: lies, greed, divorce, revenge, anger, insults, pleasure, laziness, and war. There were evil people on both sides and everywhere. God had a reason for giving us this chapter. He wants us to know that He is speaking to us. God has given us this remarkable prophetic section to encourage us to believe the Bible.
Daniel 11:21 introduced us to a despicable person who is known in history as Antiochus Epiphanes. Here is the verse.
. . . a despicable person will arise, on whom the honor of kingship has not been conferred . . . (NASB) Dan. 11:21
Antiochus IV Epiphanes was a very evil person. He was more evil than all of the kings of the north who came before him. He was the Adolf Hilter of his time. He was a “horrible, evil, despicable man.” He was power hungry and he must have at least despised the Jews if he did not hate them. Ancient historians tell us that earlier in 174 B.C. Antiochus had already tried to radically influence the Israelites by encouraging them to accept Greek culture and to stop worshipping their God. He had changed their government from a God-centered government to a secular one. He had encouraged them to dress as Greeks, adopt Greek culture and exercise in the nude. This form of exercise was unique to the Greeks. Some of the young priests joined in this form of exercise. It made many of the Jews angry.
No other man or woman has been called despicable in the book of Daniel or on the pages of scripture. Antiochus was a picture of the coming antichrist. He became king by illegally seizing the throne of the northern Seleucid empire. This is an important point to remember later in our study.
Our last study ended in Daniel 11:31. Antiochus IV Epiphanes had just attempted to defeat Ptolemy VI Philometor and Ptolemy VII Eugeretes for making an alliance against him in 168 B.C. But a Roman emissary, Popilius Laenas, turned Antiochus away. How did this evil man react? He released his anger on the Jews – just like Adolf Hilter.
This study will start with Daniel 11:32.
And forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation. And by smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action. (NASB) Dan. 11:31-32
It is 168 B.C. and like an angry child, because of the Roman emissary’s demands, Antiochus releases his anger on the Jews. He sends General Apollonius along with 22,000 soldiers into Jerusalem on a “peace mission.” They arrive on a Sabbath day when the Jews are at rest. It is a surprise attack. The troops kill a great number of the Jews and take many as slaves. Antiochus orders a pig to be sacrificed on the temple altar as part of the Feast to Dionysus. The walls of the city are either destroyed or partially damaged. But Antiochus is not finished.
A man known as Menelaus was the high priest in Israel at that time as the result of a bribe. He had earlier bribed Antiochus in order to obtain the position. Consequently, Menelaus helped Antiochus with his plan. The Sabbath was the perfect day to attack. Antiochus ordered the scriptures to be burned, and he stopped the daily sacrifices. He set up an idol of the Roman god Zeus in the temple. Antiochus demanded that the Jews worship this idol. Some did, but others did not, choosing to remain faithful to their God (1 Maccabees 1:61-62). The prophecy predicted that “the people who know their God will display great strength and take action” and they did.
Cause To Pause
History records that the priest Matthias Maccabee and his five sons refused to offer sacrifice to the idol. When Matthias was ordered to worship the idol, he killed Antiochus’ representative and the Maccabean revolt followed (1 Maccabees 2:31-38; 2 Maccabees 2:42; 7:1-23).
And those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many; yet they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder, for many days. Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. And some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge, and make them pure, until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time. (NASB) Dan. 11:33-35
After Matthias Maccabee died, his son Judas Maccabee continued the guerilla warfare. Many Jews died. In 165 B.C. Antiochus retreated and allowed the Jews to start worshipping again as they desired. Peace had finally returned. Three years and about three months had passed or 1,150 days.
I wonder how many of the Jews willingly followed Antiochus’ new high priest Menelaus? How many Jews compromised? The passage says those who had “insight” suffered. Those who could sense that Menelaus was not real suffered. How many of the Jews reluctantly obeyed Antiochus? The passage says, ” . . . many will join with them in hypocrisy . . .” Many of the Jews pretended to be godly, but they were not really godly. Did any of them think, “Surely God will not care if we obey Antiochus! Our lives are more important. If we die, we will not be able to worship God or do anything for Him. Would you be willing to die for Jesus? What would you have done? God calls us to be faithful even unto death.
Another Jump In Time
The vast majority of biblical scholars and the critics all agree that the details of this chapter are accurate and true to history. However, the critics do not believe that Daniel 11:5-35 is fulfilled prophecy. They want us to believe that it is recorded history. But as we have already discovered, Daniel was written before these events occurred.
Everyone agrees that the events recorded in the rest of this chapter have not occurred yet. This is a wonderful fact. If the prophecies between verses 5 and 35 were accurate and fulfilled, then the prophecies described in the rest of the chapter will be fulfilled too! But how do we understand verses 36-45? The clue is contained in verse 35 after we are told that God’s children will continue to suffer ” . . . until the end time . . .” The words that follow that statement are, ” . . . because it is still to come at the appointed time.” This is a future event. As we saw earlier in Daniel 11, the prophecies have jumped hundreds of years between verses on occasions. A jump of 130 years occurred between the Medo-Persian King Xerxes and the time of Alexander the Great. God did not even talk about the other Medo-Persian kings. After Antiochus IV Epiphanes, God did not mention the remaining Egyptian or Seleucid kings. A jump occurred between Daniel 9:26 and Dan. 9:27. This is normal in scripture.
Antichrist – His Character
The next verses introduce us to the antichrist. Antiochus was a foretaste of the future antichrist. Daniel 11 jumps in time from verse 35 to verse 36, from Antiochus to the antichrist, because Antiochus IV Epiphanes is like antichrist. Here is verse 36.
Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done. (NASB) Dan. 11:36
The third word is another clue that we have jumped in time. Antiochus IV Epiphanes was not a “king.” Remember that he was not of royal blood and had no right to the throne. He stole it. Also, Daniel 11 did not ever call Antiochus a king.
Since ancient historians tell us that Antiochus believed in his gods, it is important to notice the antichrist will be godless – an atheist – because it says, ” . . . he will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods . . .” He will not respect any god. He has made himself a god.
And he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all. (NASB) Dan. 11:37
This man will have no respect for anyone superior to himself, including God. He will be arrogant and proud. Maybe the most surprising information in this verse is that the antichrist will not be interested in women. He may be a homosexual since it says that he does not have a desire for women. It is also possible that he is a single man without a sexual appetite.
Antichrist – His Love
The next two verses reveal that the antichrist does love something besides himself. He loves the things of this world.
But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones, and treasures. And he will take action against the strongest of fortresses with the help of a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge him, and he will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price. (NASB) Dan. 11:38-39
He will love military power, fortresses, and wealth. Does that sound like a ruler of any nation you know? This leader is very powerful. He has the power of a great nation under his control. His actions will be more powerful than anyone before his time, and he will have help from a foreign god – Satan. He will be someone to fear.
Antichrist – Last Battle
Revelation 13:4 introduces the antichrist, and 2 Thessalonians 2:9 reveals that Satan will support this world leader in a significant way during the last half of the Tribulation Period. At the end of the Tribulation, a group of Arab nations from the south (Egyptian, at least) and north (Syria, at least) will militarily move against the antichrist. Revelation 16:13-14 indicates that demons will deceive the kings of the world and consequently they will come down to the Middle East. It appears that the deception motivates them to militarily challenge the antichrist. Then after all the kings have come to the Middle East, they discover that the real war will be against God.
Daniel 11:40 describes the first set of nations to militarily challenge the antichrist. It is the Arab nations from the south (Egyptian, at least) and north (Syria, at least).
And at the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen, and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow them, and pass through. (NASB) Dan. 11:40
These nations will come after the antichrist in the city of Babylon which is in Iraq. Then verses 41-43 reveal that the antichrist will militarily defeat the kings of the North and the South.
He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many countries will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon. Then he will stretch out his hand against other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels. (NASB) Dan. 11:41-43
Apparently the antichrist will move down into Egypt in the process. However, the ancient lands of Edom, Moab, and Ammon will be spared. These ancient lands are now occupied by Jordan and Saudi Arabia,
Then the antichrist will hear that a very large army from the north and the east is coming after him. This may sound bad, but this is all part of the plan – the deception. The antichrist moves to the Valley of Jehosophat of the Plain of Meggido for the Battle of Armageddon.
But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many. And he will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him. (NASB) Dan. 11:44-45
Ezekiel 38:14-16 reveals that Gog will join the final battle of the world. These nations will be allies of Russia. Together they will come against the antichrist. The location of the antichrist’s military position is between two seas: the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. The mountain referred to in Daniel 11:45 is Mount Zion. Zechariah 14:4 indicates that the Messiah, Jesus Christ, initially descends on the Mount of Olives and then moves over to Mount Zion (Ezek. 43:3-5; Joel 3:16). This is the reverse of His departure from Jerusalem just before the Babylonians invaded the southern kingdom, Judah (Ezek. 11:23).
You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him! In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light. And in that day living waters will flow out of Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and the other half toward the western sea; it will be in summer as well as in winter. And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only bone, and His name the only one. Zech 14:5-9 (NAS95S)
According to the prophecy of Zechariah 14:1-8, nations will come against Jerusalem to make war; but God will arrive and defeat them. Notice that Daniel 11:45 ends with a strange statement, ” . . . he will come to his end.” The “he” refers to the antichrist. The passage does not say that the antichrist will be defeated by the armies of the nations because he will be defeated when Jesus Christ returns at Armageddon (Joel 3:2-12; Rev. 16:13-16; 19:11-21).
From what nation will the antichrist emerge? Scripture does not tell us, but it appears that he does come from a Middle Eastern nation.
God will rescue Israel when the invading Northern and Eastern nations have invaded half of the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem will be on the brink of destruction – from what appears to be certain elimination from the face of the earth. At that moment Zech. 14:3-4 reveals that God rescues Israel and the nations of the world fight against God. That appears to have been the goal of the deception.
God will be faithful to His chosen people. God promised King David that his kingdom would exist forever and it will.
Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever. 2 Sam 7:16 (NAS95S)
It is Jesus who will reign on David’s throne forever. In order for that to occur, Israel must exist as a nation; and God has promised – prophesied that Israel will be rescued in the end. Then Jesus will reign on the throne for eternity. Praise God.