We learned from the first 35 verses of this chapter, and several other places in Daniel, that God is the sovereign of history. He decrees it, he controls it and he is going to bring it to a glorious consummation and conclusion in his Son, Christ Jesus. Within that plan, and indeed as an intricate part of it, God has also decreed that Satan and his man, Antichrist, may have their day. And, as history continues to hurtle toward Satan and Antichrist's day, the Bible warns that things are going to get darker and darker. As you have it in I Timothy 4:1-3,
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.
And, again in II Timothy 3:1-5,
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God― having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
So, since God has decreed that Satan may have his day ... as it gets closer and closer, things are going to get worse and worse on the earth. Then, the day will come when Satan will choose his man and pour all of his resources into him. The Bible calls him Antichrist (I John 2:22). Here, in Daniel, we have been accumulating a good deal of information about him. Let's review what we have learned so far.
First, we have learned that he will be a blasphemer. Antichrist will have a mouth.
As we just read, in verse 36, he will speak monstrous things against the God of gods. Satan's man will be a blasphemer of the first order. Two other Scriptures we have read in Daniel, spoke of this as well. As you have it back in 7:11 and 25,
Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking.
He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws....
Like Adolph Hitler, Antichrist will be a great orator. He will mesmerize his audiences with his knowledge and eloquence and use his speaking ability to blaspheme God and to sway the masses of humanity against God.
Second, we have learned that he will be a charmer.
We see the charm of the coming Antichrist in our passage here, where it says ... he will give great honor to those who acknowledge him. We also saw this back in 8:25,
And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many...
Antichrist will have great intellect and will be a sly, crafty devil ... who destroys many with his deceitful tongue and offers of peace.
Third, we have learned that Antichrist will be a warrior.
In verses 37 and 38 we read,
Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his estate shall he honor the God of forces and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. (KJV)
Many believers have puzzled over this passage and sought to interpret it ... thinking that Antichrist would turn away from Christianity. If Antichrist were to be a Moslem, however, this phrase the God of his fathers (from whom he will turn away) would be referring to Allah, and the God of forces (to whom he will turn) would refer to Satan. According to the Bible, Antichrist's change of allegiance will occur at the time when he seizes the Jew's temple at Jerusalem, midway through the Tribulation. After that, he will declare himself to be God and demand to be worshipped by all (Daniel 11:36; Matthew. 24:15; II Thessalonians 2:3-4).
On September 24, 2007, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the then current President of Iran (speaking in Arabic at Columbia University), began his remarks with this prayer:
In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful … Oh, God, hasten the arrival of Imam al-Mahdi and grant him good health and victory and make us his followers and those to attest to his rightfulness.
This prayer was a call for the Shia Islamic Messiah, Imam al-Mahdi, (the Twelfth Imam) to appear and conquer the world (victory) … and for Ahmadinejad's audience at Columbia (those) to one day bow their knees (attest to his rightfulness) to this long anticipated, Islamic world dictator. Allah, the god of the Muslims, is a warrior god who, in their Koran, commands his followers to convert the heathen by the sword. The Islamic religion has been militantly following that directive for centuries. Disturbingly, Amadinejad has said that he would like to hasten the Twelfth Imam's appearing by personally starting the last great World War that Shia Moslems believe will usher in their Islamic Messiah. Moslems of Ahmadinejad’s sect, believe they can hasten the coming of the Twelfth Imam by starting a war of genocide to defeat the Little Satan (Israel) and its ally, The Great Satan (U.S.A.). As recent as March of 2011, Ahmadinejad’s regime published a video for distribution to the Islamic world called The Coming Is Near. In it, the case is made that all the unrest in the Middle East is a sign of their Mahdi’s soon coming. Meanwhile, across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, ISIS and other fanatic Islamic Holy Warriors continue to carry out their centuries old agenda of converting infidels with the sword as they await their Imam Al-Mahdi to come and fulfill their dream of their religion being the only religion on planet Earth. Over the centuries, thousands upon thousands of people have lost their lives to these fanatics. Their single purpose and unchanging ultimatum is that every infidel (non-Moslem) must convert to Islam or be exterminated. It is simple as that. I believe, then, that there is a strong case to support the possibility that Antichrist begin his rise to power as a Muslim.
Back in 8:24 we read,
He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people.
Antichrist will be so skilled in battle, that Revelation 13:4, says the inhabitants of the entire earth will say of him, Who is able to make war with him?! In Daniel 8:25 we read,
...he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes.
The quip, No Fear, will take on new meaning when Satan's man arrives on the scene. He will not fear to take on anyone ... even the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Now, have you ever wondered why God is going to allow Satan and Antichrist to have their day? Well, let's see if we can discover some answers to that. At least three come to my mind.
First, is in order to give them enough rope to hang themselves. It says here that Satan's man will exalt and magnify himself above every god. This is a boast that Satan has been trumpeting about himself from the beginning and which caused his downfall in the first place. As you have it in Isaiah 14:12-14,
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (KJV)
So, in allowing Satan and his Antichrist to have their day ... in effect, God has replied to Satan's boast and his Antichrist's aspirations by simply telling them, Go for it! Thereby, giving Satan and his man plenty of rope to hang themselves.
Second, God is going to allow Satan and Antichrist to have their day in order to purify his chosen people, the Jews. That is referred to back in verse 35. There, concerning the Jewish people, the angel said that these dark days would come in order to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end. This aspect cannot be over emphasized. Jeremiah 30:7, says,
Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.
Zechariah 13:9 says,
And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
Satan and Antichrist's day will serve as a vehicle to refine and restore God's ancient chosen people, the Jews, to himself. In Revelation 7, for example, we find 144,000 of them ... absolutely committed to Christ ... and ready to fan out over the earth to serve him during the dark days of the Great Tribulation (the last 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation). Later, in Revelation 14, we find them all in Heaven ... praising their Lord and following the Lamb (Jesus) around like a bunch of puppy dogs! If you would like to read a bit more about this, please go to: http://biblebookofrevelation.com/ch5.htm.
The third reason God is going to allow Satan and his Antichrist to have their day, is to complete his great program of calling out a people for his name's sake from every tribe and nation and tongue on Earth. Satan and his Antichrist's day will bring about the greatest revival and influx of souls into the Kingdom of God that the world has ever seen. How so? Well, just let me say that there's nothing like trouble to get people's attention. Also, it will be a time when man's thinking and wisdom will be directly confronted by God and his Christ. At that time, our God is really going to level the playing field. Today, pseudo-science and pseudo-scientists, political correctness and peer pressure reign supreme. But, at that time, the sophisticated and the unsophisticated, scientists and garbage collectors, PhDs and high school drop outs, religionists and atheists ... will find themselves all in the same boat ... being confronted on every side by the supernatural. Check out the Sixth Seal Judgment that the Bible says will come in that day, for example (Rev. 6:12-17). The harvest of souls, that will result, can be seen in Revelation 7:9-10 and 13-15,
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.
Glory to God. Long after the Church has been removed from the earth, our great God will still be calling out a people for his name's sake ... scraping out of Satan and Antichrist's kingdom of darkness ... every last soul who will respond in faith to his Son, Jesus Christ.
For at least these 3 reasons then, God, in his infinite wisdom, has decreed that Satan and his Antichrist will have their day ... strut their stuff ... and take their best shot. However, it will all be for naught ... for the true and living God will simply be using them to accomplish his own purposes and to bring all things into subjection to his Son.
At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission. But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.
Fascinating. What we have here is a description of Antichrist's invasion and great southward campaign that will take place at the middle of the Tribulation period. The king of the south is probably a king who will be over all of Africa at that time. I see this as a description of the uprooting of the three horns (kings) which were predicted to be overthrown by Antichrist back in 7:8a,
While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it.
The greatest significance of this prophecy, however, is the fact that it predicts that Antichrist will invade Israel ... He will also invade the Beautiful Land ... and that he will set up his camp on the Temple Mount itself, at Jerusalem ... He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. The wording used here ... that he will put his camp between the seas ... refers to the fact that the Temple Mount at Jerusalem is situated between the Sea of Galilee in the north and the Dead Sea in the south, and also the Dead Sea on the east and the Mediterranean Sea on the west. When this invasion actually occurs, it will be the most significant military campaign in all of human history. This will be so for several very important reasons...
First, because it is this invasion that will break Antichrist's treaty with Israel. This treaty, and its subsequent nullification by force, was prophesied back in 9:27, which said,
He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven' (years). In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.
Second, because it is this invasion that will culminate in Antichrist's declaration that he is God and that all people are to worship him (II Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:4,15). This is inferred here by the prediction that he will set up camp of the Temple Mount itself at Jerusalem. Believe me, that holy ground is not for camping!
Third, because it is this invasion that signals the beginning of the Great Tribulation (the last 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation period). As Jesus put in Matthew 24:15-16,21,
So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel―let the reader understand― then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. For then there will be great distress (the King James more correctly translates this, great tribulation), unequaled from the beginning of the world until now―and never to be equaled again.
There is another fascinating bit of information given to us here. Did you notice that it said that, when Antichrist invades Palestine, Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand? This is significant because, in relation to Jerusalem, those territories are east of the Jordan river, out there in the wilderness, where God is going to prepare a place of refuge for his people during the Great Tribulation. And, just as he set a flaming sword and stationed a cherubim to block the way to the Garden of Eden after the Fall, so this territory will be placed off limits to Antichrist. It will be a supernatural place of protection for all the godly Jews who obey Jesus' command in Matthew 24:15-16, to flee to the mountains (also, see Rev.12:14).
The prophecy concludes here, saying Antichrist, will come to his end, and no one will help him. You can find the detailed description of his demise in Revelation 19. There, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords summarily disposes of him by simply dropping him into the Lake of Fire, as easily as a big cat dispatches a mouse. You can read about that in greater detail in my commentary on Revelation at: http://biblebookofrevelation.com/ch15.htm. Just scroll down the page there, to verses 17 through 21.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.