A study on the book of Daniel.
We will divide the study into two major parts: Part I: A History of the Times…And the Setup for Coming Attractions: | Part II: Events Prophesied…Prophecies Fulfilled.
… These two parts will be broken down and delved into in detail.
The Alexander Complex
vs. 22 Again the Bible is completely accurate as it predicts the events of Alexander’s demise, describing in detail the “four horns” that replaced the single broken horn between the goat’s eyes. These four horns represent the four generals who would later divide the sum of Alexander’s great conquests among themselves: Ptolemy became master of Egypt, Cyrene, Cyprus, and Palestine; Seleucus grabbed Syria, Babylonia, and the southern area of Asia Minor; Cassander took possession of Macedonia and Greece; while Lysimachus became the uncontested ruler of Thrace and western Asia Minor.
As I ponder Alexander the Great‘s abbreviated life, I recall the story of a newspaper reporter who went to a nursing home to interview one of the senior patients. The reporter was surprised to see that the gentleman looked so young.
He asked the standard question:
“To what do you attribute your long life?” The man looked the reporter in the eye and said, “Son, I drink a lot of whiskey, and I live a very promiscuous life. I smoke a box of cigars every other day, and do just about anything I want-everything the world calls wrong.”
The reporter, taking notes furiously, asked, “Well, sir, you’ve got to tell me:
how old are you?” The man replied, “Thirty-two.”
This man, like Alexander the Great, figured he had the world on a string, but when the string suddenly broke sin found him out, and sin won. Alexander the Great had conquered the outside world but had failed to deal with the demons within.
Enter the Madmen
Now the plot thickens, providing us with a prophecy that should make anyone who doubts the veracity of the Book of Daniel a believer. As Daniel watched the vision unfold before his eyes, there came out yet another horn-a fifth horn. It started small, but quickly grew to great influence and power toward the south, the east, and the “Beautiful Land.”
Remember, Daniel’s vision was describing events that would not take place for another two centuries, yet the prediction is accurate down to the very person described, Antiochus IV, also known as Epiphanes, the eighth ruler of the Seleucid division of the expanded Greek empire. Since he did not possess a legitimate right to the throne, Antiochus stooped to bribery and chicanery to become king, and what a cruel monarch he was.
He was a madman-one of the two we’ll speak of in this chapter.
His anti-Semitism ran high. He hated God’s chosen people as no ruler had ever hated them.
Why did this tyrant take center stage in Daniel’s vision?
For two reasons:
1.0 First, to remind us that almighty God knows-in minute detail-what will happen in history. Antiochus really did appear on the scene, he really did hate the Jews, and he really was the cruelest, most diabolical king anyone could imagine.
2.0 But there is a second reason why Antiochus is mentioned here: Antiochus Epiphanes is a symbol of the Antichrist and how he will act during the time of the Tribulation.
Remember, the little horn of chapter seven is the actual Antichrist; the little horn in chapter eight is the Jew hater Antiochus Epiphanes, a photocopy of the Antichrist of the Tribulation. That’s why we can use the texts in chapter eight to document the desecration the Antichrist will bring upon the house of Israel during the time of the end.
The Great Masquerade
Let’s look further at the arrogance of this man-symbol of the Antichrist-who magnifies himself as the prince of the host, that is, prince of the Jewish people.
He would glorify himself as their prince-just as Jesus Christ will one day reign as their King-again, an end-time hint that the Antichrist will also do his best to “appear as Christ” in what will be one of the greatest masquerade attempts of all time. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 says that the Antichrist “opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” This comparison is an absolute match between Antiochus Epiphanes and the Antichrist.
While some Jews would go along with Antiochus’ treachery-feeling they might con their way to independence by toadying up to the tyrant-they would soon discover they had backed the wrong candidate, their hypocrisy soon coming back to bite them. Even as these Jewish “turncoats” were hoping for the best deal they could strike with their foreign intruder, Antiochus began his slaughter of more than one hundred thousand Jews, demanding that the temporary survivors of his holocaust substitute heathen idols for the one, true God.
He (Antiochus) tore up their law, defiled their women, desecrated their Sabbath, had circumcised babies hanged, and forced Jews to sacrifice a sow on the holy altar of the temple. He removed the candlestick of light, the censers of gold, the veil, and the crowns and golden ornaments that adorned the temple. He scaled off mountains of gold for his own amusement and stripped the temple of everything that held significance for the Jews.
He laughed in the face of the God of the Hebrews as he commanded that coins be stamped with the inscription: Epiphanes-God! Such blasphemy then-or now-does not go unpunished.
The Signs of Things to Come
Having accomplished his filthy deeds, Antiochus Epiphanes continued to supervise one of the greatest massacres of all time, boasting of his actions at every possible moment. If you would like to know more of this man’s reign of terror, read the Book of 1 Maccabees 1:29-64. This madman’s behavior is but a mild warning of the activities of the Antichrist yet to appear-who will arrive on the world scene sooner than most imagine.
Amazingly, Antiochus Epiphanes actually enjoyed a degree of acceptance in the early days of his reign, as we’ve noted, by those hypocrites willing to go along with him for their own gain-even as the Antichrist will dupe millions of our world’s people with his charisma and international leadership skills. In the time of the end, this “beast” will make a peace contract with Israel, but in the middle of the peace process, he will break his word and rescind the treaty. Daniel 9:27 says,
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.“
Antichrist-Temporarily in Control
This breaking of the peace is a significant time in history, for now those with eyes to see will observe that the Antichrist has, in fact, become the devil incarnate.
Just as Jesus was God in human form, this Antichrist, during the second three and one-half years of the Tribulation, will have Satan living in him. That’s when he will say, “I am God,” just as a haughty, maniacal Antiochus stamped coins with his own image in an attempt to promote his own deity.
Remember, this is what Satan has always wanted to do-to be like the most high God (Isaiah 14:12-14).
That’s why he was ousted out of the third heaven and why Jesus said, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10:18).
We must remember that the evil one has never been successful. Not that he hasn’t tried.
You’ll recall how one day, deep in the wilderness, Satan promised Jesus the world and everything in it if He’d simply bow in allegiance to him (Matthew 4). Jesus didn’t take the bait. However, when we come to the time of the end, the Antichrist-the embodiment of Satan-will finally pull off his coup and become what he’s always wanted to be, magnifying himself above every god, with the assistance of an international religious public relations machine that persuades most of the world that he is the man of the hour.
In spite of the evil he will do, in all probability he will still become Time magazine’s “Man of the Year.”
This is the one who one day will sit on the throne in the temple in Jerusalem, look into his mirror, admire himself for his accomplishments, smile, and tell himself, “I am God, and there is none other like me.”
My friend, beware of New Agers who tell you that you can become God or like a god.
To be seduced by this sweet-sounding rhetoric is the sort of banal thinking-or lack of thinking-that helps to set the stage for what will happen with the advent of the Antichrist. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. The day of the arrival of the Antichrist is rapidly approaching.
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE