Daniel 030: An Antichrist Prefigurement

Dr. Andy Woods | Jul 23, 2017 | Daniel 8:23-27 | Daniel

Andy Woods

An Antichrist Prefigurement

7-23-27      Daniel 8:23-27          Lesson 30

Good morning everyone.  Let’s take our Bibles if we could take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Daniel, Daniel chapter 8 and beginning at verse 23, today verses 23-27.  The title of our message An Antichrist Prefigurement.  Most people are aware of the fact that the Bible teaches something about this coming antichrist.  The Bible reveals a great deal of information about him and one of the things I really appreciate about the Bible, and we’re seeing this in our study in the Book of Daniel, is God has already given us eras of history where antichrists have arisen.  They become sort of a pattern, if you will, in miniature form, a dress rehearsal if you will, for the coming act that is yet to come.

And we see that very clearly as Daniel here in chapter 8 has given us, back in the 6th century many prophecies about Persia which overthrew Babylon, and then Persia was overthrown by Greece under Alexander the Great.  Alexander the Great passes off the scene, his empire is divided amongst his four generals and as we continue to move through these prophecies we see Daniel focusing like a laser beam on one man in particular, a man coming from the dynasty of the General Seleucus, one of Alexander’s generals that governed Syria and the land of Israel.  This man would come on the scene long after Daniel was dead, 400 years later, a man named Antiochus Epiphanes.  And Daniel, in his prophecies, gives us so many details about this man before he even came to power. Why?  Because his life served as a prototype of the coming antichrist.

Take a look, if you will, at verses 23-25.  We have the activities of Antiochus Epiphanes revealed foreshadowing something yet more serious in the future of the human race.  Notice, if you will, verse 23, “In the latter period of their rule, when the transgressors have run their course, a king will arise, insolent and skilled in intrigue.”  As we have carefully studied this man that is being revealed here by Daniel is not the antichrist, he is a antichrist.  But he becomes very pivotal because his life, his activities, his persecution of the Jewish people, from about 170 B.C. to around 165-164 B.C. roughly, furnishes history in advance, a type, a prefigurement, a dress rehearsal if you will, of what the coming antichrist will be like.

Notice, first of all verse 23, it says, this prophecy concerns “the latter period”.    A lot of people look at that word, “latter period” and they think well, that’s talking about the end and in context it’s not talking about the end, it’s talking about the end of Greece because in verses 20-21 we saw very clearly that these prophecies that Daniel is seeing concern the ram, which is Persia, and the goat which is Greece.  [Daniel 8:20-21, “The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia.  [21] “The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king.”]

The end here is not the end of everything, it’s the end of the reign of Greece.  When you go back to verse 17 it talks about “the time of the end,” at the end of verse 17.  [Verse 17, “So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end.”]  At the end of verse 19, “the time of the end.”  [Verse 19, “He said, ‘Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end.’”]

Not every “end” is the end of everything.  When we say the basketball game ended I wasn’t saying that the last basketball game that will ever be played in the history of the human race; just watch ESPN to prove that, right, one game after another.  This is the end specifically of a particular time period that is in Daniel’s purview in this chapter.

And he makes this statement here in verse 23 as the Holy Spirit is guiding, “When the transgressors have run their course,” you almost get the idea that it’s saying that when the Grecian empire runs out of options, when everything that they’ve tried has failed they will, in desperation, reach out to this prefigurement of the antichrist, this man, Antiochus Epiphanes.  And that is a wonderful description or a prefigurement of the coming antichrist.  Why would the world submit to his rule?  Why would the world submit to his authority?  Because they’ve tried everything else.  Everything else hasn’t worked, everything else has failed and consequently the world is set up to reach out to someone, anyone who could solve the problem of the world.

You know, Adolf Hitler didn’t just come on the scene to be immediately embraced by people; Germany, as you know from history, was set up in advance for that.  The runaway inflation, the humiliation that the German people had experienced in war and other things, and they were just so desperate to reach out for somebody, anyone, to solve their problems.  And that’s sort of the way    it’s going to work with this coming antichrist.  If Jesus is not in your heart and your hope is not in  the Prince of Peace and the King of Kings, anybody with the gift of gab, anybody with negotiating ability, anybody with talent, anybody who looks like they’re in control, you immediately, by human nature gravitate towards such a person when transgressions have run their course.

It says there in verse 23, “A king” singular, will arise,” there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the antichrist today.  A lot of people, and I’ve heard this from many, many people, trying to argue that the antichrist really is not an actual person, there’s just a spirit of the antichrist.  They like to quote    1 John 4:3, which speaks of the spirit of the antichrist is now in the world, and they say don’t look for an actual human being called the antichrist, there’s just a spirit of the antichrist.  [1 John 4:3, “and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”]

But you see, beloved, Antiochus was a real person; if you were alive during the reign of Antiochus you could have a conversation with him; he was a human being.  You could probably go up and shake his hand, touch his skin, touch his garments or his clothing.  The antichrist is a real person.  In fact, he is just as real as Jesus Christ Himself.  2 Thessalonians 2:3 calls the coming antichrist “the man,” anthrōpos  [ἄνθρωπος] in the Greek, “the man of lawlessness.”  [2 Thessalonians 2:3, “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction”].

Revelation 13:18 says, “Here is wisdom,” of this coming antichrist, “Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.”  What does the Bible reveal about this coming antichrist?  He’s an actual human being, an actual historical figure or personage, just as real as Antiochus, who will make his debut one day on the world scene offering humanity, Christ-less humanity a way out.  The problem is, unbeknownst to people the problems the antichrist will introduce will be far more severe than the problems the world thought they had before he arrived.  The problems that Adolf Hitler introduced into Germany were far worse, perhaps, than any problems that had preceded Hitler’s arrival.

But you’ll notice here he is called “A king.”  You’ll also notice in verse 23 he is called “insolent.”  The word “insolent” basically means boldly rude, disrespectful, insulting.  Everything that this book is about, everything that God is about, the antichrist will be the exact opposite of that.  That’s why he is given the designation “the antichrist.”  Some say that means the opposite of Christ; it’s probably better understood as in place of Christ. If a person will not respond to the offer of salvation, which is only available in Jesus Christ, their heart becomes open to a substitute.  That’s what the antichrist offers the world; a substitution and the world blindly follows, not understanding that what the antichrist introduces will be of such great severity.

You’ll also notice there in verse 23 he’s not only called “insolent” but he is called “skilled in intrigue.”  [23b, “A king will arise, insolent and skilled in intrigue.”]  What does that word “intrigue” mean?  It means to arouse curiosity, to arouse interest, to do something unusual.  He will be a person of such unusual caliber and will be so skilled (you’ll notice the word “skilled” there) in what he is able to do the world system will just gravitate towards this man, much as the world in that time in a limited sense gravitated towards Antiochus Epiphanes.

Notice, if you will, verse 24, Daniel goes on in his description, it says, “His power will be mighty, but not by his own power, and he will destroy to an extraordinary degree and prosper and perform his will; He will destroy mighty men and the holy people.”  He’s describing a man that comes on the scene, verse 24, who is of might and power.  This is why in Revelation 6:1-4, also a description of the coming antichrist people are saying who can wage war against this man; who can challenge this man?

[Revelation 6:1-4, “Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, ‘Come.’ [21] I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.  [3] When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, ‘Come.’  [4] And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him.”]

And how is it that a human being can come on the scene with such mighty power?  Well, the answer is right here in verse 24, it won’t be his own power, there will be a source of energy, a source of influence behind him.

It’s sort of like Peter.  I call Peter the apostle with the foot-shaped mouth, always putting his foot in his mouth and one day Peter made a statement, probably thinking that his statement came from his own mind, his own intellect, trying to… there in Matthew 16, talk Jesus out of dying on the cross.  And you recall the response of Christ, “Get behind me” what? “Satan!”  There was something energizing Peter’s comment unbeknownst to Peter.

This man, Antiochus launched this horrific wave of persecution against the Jews, yet Antiochus himself was nothing more than a pawn in the angelic conflict, the great agenda of Satan to stamp out, to eradicate the Jewish people. Antiochus himself was just a pawn in that great cosmic struggle.

That’s basically what the future antichrist will be like.  In fact, in Revelation 13:4 he is referred to as the beast, and this is what it says; “they” that’s the human race on the earth at the time, “worshiped the dragon” now who is the dragon?  The dragon is Satan, Revelation 12:9 you’ll see it, Revelation 20:2, you’ll see it, they “worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?’”   [Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”  Revelation 20:2, “And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;”]

Antiochus was satanically energized, as (I believe) Adolf Hitler was.  But those are just small comparisons to what is coming because the Scripture teachers that this man, the antichrist, yet future, will be energized by the devil himself.  In fact I’m of the persuasion that he, the antichrist, will actually be possessed by Satan.  You say well where are you getting this from?  I mean, Satan doesn’t enter people, does he?  John 13:27, of Judas, says this: “After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him,” Judas, “‘What you do, do quickly.’”

Yes, Judas, through his own volition rejected Jesus Christ but he got so far in his rebellion against Jesus that he actually became indwelt by the devil himself.  It is interesting to me that in the pages of the Word of God there are only two people that are given the title “son of perdition.”  One of them is Judah, John 17:12, Jesus called Judas “the son of perdition.”  [John 17:12, “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.”]

And the only other person in the whole Bible that is given the designation “son of perdition,” which means simply son of destruction, is who?  The antichrist.  2 Thessalonians 2:3 talks about this man of lawlessness coming who will be revealed, “the son of perdition,” the “son of destruction.”          [2 Thessalonians 2:3, NASB, “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,”  KJV, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”]

Why is it that only Judas and the antichrist are referred to in that designation?  My conjecture is I think they’re the only two men in the history of the world (that we know of) that are possessed, not just by a demon but by the devil himself.  You know, when Satan fell originally he deceived a third of the angels into falling with him. So he has a whole array to wage war against the child of God.  Even the great Apostle Paul said he suffered from a messenger from Satan, perhaps a demon of some sort.  But when it comes to the really big jobs the devil himself steps in, much as he did with Judas; much as he will do with this coming antichrist.

So Antiochus, prefiguring the antichrist, is powerful but not by his own power.  I hope one of the things you understand  is the power of Satan.  2 Thessalonians 2:9 says of the antichrist, “that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan,” watch this, “with all power and signs and false wonders.”  Many people today are looking for a signs and wonders movement on the horizon.  May I just say to you that if your mind is not saturated with biblical truth you fall into spiritual deception because the next signs and wonders movement (that I’m aware of in the Scripture) is the counterfeit signs and wonders movement, orchestrated by Satan himself, through this man the antichrist.

The lawless one will come with power, that’s the Greek word dunamis, where we get the word dynamite, signs, that’s the Greek word simeon, and wonders, that’s the Greek word téras.               [2 Thessalonians 2:9, “that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with   all power and signs and false wonders,”]  And it is very interesting to me that those are the same words that show up in the ministry of Jesus Christ.  Jesus, when He was on the earth, exercised powers, dynamis, Matthew 11:23.  He performed “signs,” simēon, John 20:30. [“Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;”  [Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which  are not written in this book;”]

He performed wonders, téras, Acts 2:22.  [Acts 2:22, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus  the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—“]  In other words, this man, the antichrist will be such an image (in a certain sense) of Jesus Christ that he performs the same miracles that Jesus performed.

Now you might be asking: Are you saying that Satan is as powerful as God?  I’m not saying that!  This is no context.  Satan is a created being, Ezekiel 28:13, 15 indicate that very clearly.  [Ezekiel 28: 13, “You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared.  [15] You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you.”]

Satan is no match for an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God but don’t mistake the notion that Satan has no power.  He has incredible power.  In fact, his powers are so profound that he is able to imitate to a certain extent the work of Jesus Christ, through this man, the antichrist.

Here’s a chart that we used in Sunday School today; this may be the most important chart you’ve ever looked at in terms of Christianity.  Why is that?  Because this chart deals, every time in the Bible where a miracle takes place that God has nothing to do with it.  [Exodus 7-8; Deuteronomy 13:1-3, Matthew 7:21-23; 24:24; Acts 8:9;  Acts 16:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:3, 13; 16:13-14]

Do you realize that in the Bible there are miracles that are documented that God is not the author of?  Do you remember Pharaoh’s magicians, Exodus 7 and 8, could duplicate many of the signs performed by Moses and Aaron.  Well, how could they do that if they don’t know God?  Well, there’s another source of power in the universe called Satan.  Deuteronomy 13:1-3 talks about a false prophet who will announce a sign or wonder that will come to pass.  [Deuteronomy 3:1-3, ““If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, [2] and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ [3] you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”]

In the last days, the final judgment, Matthew 7, many will stand before Jesus Christ and say well wait a minute, didn’t we perform signs and wonders in Your name. And Jesus will tell them plainly, depart from me, I never knew you. [Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ [23] “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’”]

Matthew 24:24, false prophets in the last days performing signs and wonders.  [Acts 24:24, “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”]

Acts 8:9, Simon the sorcerer, before he was a believer, was able to wow an entire city called Samaria with signs and wonders.  [Acts 8:9, “Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great;”]

The Philippian slave girl, Acts 16:16, able to predict the future through a spirit of divination inside of her.  [Acts 16:16, “It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling.”]

Galatians 1:6-9 Paul says careful about angelic appearances.  If an angel should appear to you yet contradict the Bible, contradict apostolic doctrine, that angel is to be placed under an anathema, which is an eternal condemnation to hell.  [Galatians 1:6-9, “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; [7] which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. [8] But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!  [9] As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”]

I’ve already showed you 2 Thessalonians 2:9 which uses the identical words of the miracles of Christ in the miracles of the coming antichrist.   [2 Thessalonians 2:9, “that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,”]

Did you know that according to Revelation 13:3 the antichrist will die and be brought back to life through Satanic power?  [Revelation 13:3, “I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;”]  This is what gets the attention of the world.  He will call down, Revelation 13:13 fire in the presence of all men, sort of like Elijah did in the Old Testament.  [Revelation 13:13, “He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.”  Revelation 16:13-14 talks about demons performing miracles. [Revelation 16:13-14, “And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; [14]for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.”]

Why is all of this important?  Because we’re living in a society that has become highly experiential where people think that an experience is real, it must be God.  I’m not against experiences per se, but I hope in your experiences, whatever they may be, you are testing the experience by the Word of God.  You say well, why should we do that?  Because it’s a biblical command, that’s why.

1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”  Many people want to talk about experience A or experience B; my question is are you testing the experience through the lens of Scripture because God can’t say something on Monday and contradict Himself on Tuesday.  It’s impossible!

And think if a young man named Joseph Smith, who received from an angel, Moroni, the doctrines that we today call Mormonism, think if that young man, Joseph Smith, had tested his experience which no doubt, I believe, was a real experience.  I believe Joseph Smith believed and probably saw what he thought was an angel, not understanding that it was an angel of light masquerading as something coming from God.  Think how different the world would be today if Joseph Smith had tested that experience.  Mormonism, as we know it today, wouldn’t exist.

Think about if a  young man named Mohammed, who allegedly received a set of visions from Gabriel, (I don’t think it was the Gabriel of the Bible either, I think it was a Gabriel, an angel of light,) what if Mohammed had tested his experience, which no doubt to him seemed very real, with what the Scripture said?  Islam would not exist today.

The antichrist comes on the scene and he gives people what they are looking for in terms of an experience, in terms of a sign or wonder, and beloved, the world today is set up for this perfectly because people in their epistemology, which means doctrine of knowledge, epistemology is the study of how we know what we know, believe that truth and experience are equal.  That is NOT the Christian worldview; that is NOT the Biblical worldview.  Throw out experience… I didn’t say that.  What I said is there’s a source of power in the universe, in the world, it’s very clear by looking at all of these verses, that can generate all sorts of experiences for people and yet they’re of satanic origin.  Is God in the miracle working business?  Of course He is!  Is the devil, to a lighter extent, not as powerful as God, in the miracle working business?  Of course he is!  That’s why you’re never told to accept truth based on experiences; you’re commanded by God to sift those experiences and test them.

And so Antiochus, prefiguring the antichrist comes through his power and we’re told very clearly here it is not by his own power, and in the process he will destroy… notice that word “destroy,” verse 24, to an extraordinary degree.  [Verse 24, ““His power will be mighty, but not by his own power, and he will destroy to an extraordinary degree and prosper and perform his will; He will destroy mighty men and the holy people.”]

You know, we use this expression quite a bit; God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!  Can I give you the opposite of that?  The devil hates you and has a terrible plan for your life!  Every thought of goodness that God has toward you I can guarantee you this much, in the darkness of the fallen angelic realm there are counterfeit ideas, counter schemes hatched by Satan himself to destroy, to wreck, whether it’s family, marriage, finances, relationships, anything that’s good in your life, anything that’s of value in your life.  There is a strategy, as I speak now, in the forces of the dark realm to destroy.  John 10:10, Jesus is very clear on this, “The thief” that would be Satan, “comes only to steal and kill and destroy….”  How would we summarize the plan of Satan for our lives?  It is to steal, kill and destroy.  But fortunately the verse goes on, “I came” (Jesus) “that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

How wise are you concerning the schemes of Satan?  You know, the Apostle Paul, over and over again said we are not naïve as to his schemes and yet the schemes of Satan are all revealed for us in the pages of God’s Word if we would simply take the time to look.

“He will be mighty, but not by his own power, and he will destroy to an extraordinary degree and”  he will,” watch this, “prosper….”  [Daniel 8:24] Well, I thought only God’s people prospered and those that are bad didn’t prosper.  Prosperity is never something that is guaranteed to the church age child of God.  If God prospers you, as we define prosperity, it’s out of His grace.  But beloved, let me tell you something; around the world today your brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, outside of our blessed shores here in prosperous free America are not prospering in the sense that we define prospering; the exact opposite is occurring.

So prosperity is sort of a tricky idea; prosperity, we think, is automatically the favor of God. Antiochus was a man of prosperity; the antichrist coming will be a man of prosperity.  Revelation 6:1-4, of the antichrist, says this: “Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, ‘Come.’ [2] I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”  That is not Jesus, that’s the antichrist.    [3] “When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, ‘Come.  [4] And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace from the earth….”

This man, the antichrist, is so prosperous that he actually brings world peace to planet earth.  Isn’t that what everybody is looking for.  Think if a man showed up and solved the Middle East conflict with one deal.  Think of the adoration and attention that would be directed towards such an individual.

It goes on and it says, verse 24, “…and he will prosper and perform his will.”   How different was Jesus Christ, who in John 6:38 says, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”  That’s how you know whether you’re walking in the Spirit of the antichrist or not.  Who’s calling the shots?  Who’s in charge?  Do you wake up every day of your life and say thank You, Lord, for giving me another day; today not my will be done but Thy will be done; I don’t know how it’s going to happen but I will submit under Your resources the control of my life to You.  That’s what Jesus wants to do through you and me; that’s what He’s all about.

But how different we are when we wake up in the morning and we don’t even give God a second thought; don’t consult His Word, don’t pray a prayer of dependency and we just live our life as if God didn’t exist.  That’s not the spirit of Christ at all; that’s the spirit of the antichrist!  The antichrist will be all about self-empowerment.

It’s amazing how, in our culture today self is so exalted.  The last time I checked there was even a magazine out there somewhere called Self.  It’s all about the holy trinity: me, myself and I!  Or the doctrine of humanism which basically says man is the center of all things and God, if He exists at all is irrelevant.  People walk by that system day after day after day after day not understanding who they are walking according to.  It’s not Christ but rather the spirit of the antichrist, the prince and the power of the air.  He will perform his own will, look at verse 24, the end of it, “…He will destroy mighty men and the holy people.”

It’s a perfect description 400 years in advance of what Antiochus did to God’s people in the intertestamental period for about five years.  Antiochus waged a war of persecution that was so severe that he even took over the Jewish temple offering Zeus, setting up Zeus’ statue in the temple, humiliating the Jewish people by slaying a pig in the temple, outlawing Jewish circumcision, outlawing use of their Scriptures.

And what did the Bible predict concerning the coming antichrist?  Daniel 7:21, which we’ve already studied, says, “I kept looking, and that horn” that would be the antichrist, “was waging war with the saints and overpowering them.”  And when we were in that passage I was very careful to note what the passage says and what the passage doesn’t say.  It doesn’t say I kept looking and the horn was waging war with the church.  Why is that?  Because the church won’t be here.  In fact, in any tribulation passage you will not find the word “church” or Paul’s description of the church which is the body of Christ.  What you will see is a war on the saints in context speaking of the people of Israel.

And you talk to Jewish people today and they don’t want to hear anything about this; in their mind never again, our holocaust has happened.  And if I’m understanding my Bible correctly Hitler killed a third of the Jewish people, the antichrist, Zechariah 13:8, will kill two-thirds.  [Zechariah 13:8, “‘It will come about in all the land,’ Declares the LORD, ‘That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it.”’]   The holocaust, as horrible as it was, is minor in comparison to what’s coming as prefigured in this man, Antiochus.

Notice, if you will, verse 25, “And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; and he will magnify himself in his heart, and he will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes, but he will be broken without human agency.”   Look at all that information there; notice there’s a reference to “his shrewdness.”  What does that mean?  Having sharp powers of judgment, astute.  That’s who Antiochus was; that’s who this coming antichrist will be.  He will be nobody’s fool.  He will exhibit, I believe, intelligence at a level that’s super human because it will be Satan inside of him producing these things.

Do you realize that according to Revelation 12 Satan still has access to heaven?  Ask Job about that sometime.  Job had all of these calamities because of a conversation between God and Satan that Job wasn’t privy too.  So Satan, even in his fallen state apparently has the ability to go into heaven, not to worship and serve as he once did as a high ranking angel but rather to communicate and accuse.  In fact, the Bible tells us he does this day and night.  But right there in Revelation 12, halfway through the tribulation period, when the antichrist desecrates the temple the privilege is gone.  Satan, therefore, plummets to the earth knowing he has but a short time.  It’s in that exchange, I believe he goes right into the beast, much as he went right into Judas.  And this is why this man, the antichrist, seems to have all of this miraculous miracle-working power.  This astuteness, the shrewdness that he has.

It says in verse 25, “… he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence;” deceit… think about that for a minute, deception, the capacity to fool, the capacity to trick.  I mean, does Satan have that kind of ability?  You bet your bottom dollar!  In fact, he’s so good at it Revelation 12:9 says Satan “deceives the whole world.”  [Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”]

Never under estimate the deceptive powers that Satan has on a mind.  After all, Satan deceived a third of the angels; think about this, angels that stand in the very presence of God, to rebel against God.  What kind of deceptive ability is that?  How do you rebel against God?  God, by definition, cannot be rebelled against, right.  And somehow these angels in their unfallen state, standing in the very presence of God, he deceived a third of them into falling with him.

And then you take Adam and Eve, now remember something about Adam and Eve, the deception happened before the fall when Adam and Eve used to stroll with God in the cool of the garden, Satan deceived them as unfallen beings into rebelling against God.  My goodness, if Satan can deceive the angels in their unfallen state and our forbearers as humans in their unfallen state what do you think he can do to you?  What can he do to me in my fallen state, where I sin by job description anyway?

John 8:44 calls Satan “the father of lies.”  [John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”]

Well Andy, we have the mind of Christ, we can’t be deceived.  Really?  Why does Paul, writing to Christians say, “Let no one in any way deceive you”.  [2 Thessalonians 2:3]  The command doesn’t make any sense unless we have the ability to be deceived by Satan himself.  That explains to us the armor of God.

Ephesians 6:14 says, “Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,” it goes on and talks about the helmet of salvation; the helmet protects the what?  The mind.  What is Satan after in your life?  What is he after in my life?  The mind!  The 9/11 hijackers did not have to take control of the whole airplane; they did not have to take control of every square inch of those planes that collided with our former twin towers.  All you have to do is control the cockpit, the center of influence in the plane and you control the plane.

You get Satan influence in your mind he has influence over you and if you won’t give him all of your mind he’ll take 10%, 15%, 20%, whatever it is  you’re willing to give over.  That’s why there’s so much in the Scripture, Romans 12:2 about renewing our minds.  [Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”]

Daniel 8:25, “And through his shrewdness He will cause deceit to succeed by his influence;” notice this, “And he will magnify” who? “himself” where? “in his heart.”   He is all about self, not submission.  And in fact, this is how Satan originally fell.

Isaiah 14:13 says, “But you said in your” what? “heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God,  I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.”  I, I, I, I, me, me, me, me; that’s the devil, that’s the antichrist.  And it’s interesting to me that the text is very clear, not only here in Isaiah 14:13 but also right here in verse 25 that Satan, or Antiochus or the coming antichrist “will magnify himself in his heart.”  I had a pastor that put it this way one time: Private thoughts eventually will turn into public actions.  Whatever is happening in the arena of the mind eventually is going to work its way out into daily life and practice.

This is why the Book of Proverbs, chapter 4 and verse 23, the way the King James Version translates it, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”  The “issues of life” are determined by what is happening and resonating and ruminating in the heart, in the mind.  I had another person put it this way: show me the books you’re reading today and I’ll show you the person you’re going to be ten years from now, twenty years from now.

The power of the mind and what we think about and how it dictates actions down the road is such a huge theme in the Bible.  In fact, Jesus, when He gave the Sermon on the Mount went right to the heart of the issue, He went to the mind of people; He went to the heart of people.  They were priding themselves on saying we’ve never murdered anybody.  Jesus says of course you have, you do it all the time in your heart.  I’ve never committed adultery… well of course you have, you do it all the time, you do it in your heart.

See, when you go out to dinner, I have a little bit of experience with this, there’s a reason they come around and they say would you like to order dessert?  No thank you!  Well, would  you like to at least look at the dessert tray?  Even though it’s made of plastic with little pieces of cake, it doesn’t look like plastic, I tried to reach out and lick some of it one time and they pulled it away from me, but they understand that what you think about you’ll end up doing.

Let me ask you a question: why does Madison Avenue spend millions and millions and millions of dollars on soundbites and commercials?  Why is it that they will pay a fortune to get a thirty second soundbite for a commercial on Super Bowl Sunday?  Why is that so coveted by marketers?  Because they understand that what you think about, what is allowed into the eye gate, what is allowed into the ear gate, eventually will shape purchasing and buying activity.

The antichrist starts off, as did Satan, with thoughts in his heart and that dictated his career and what he became.  So this man, the antichrist, as anticipated in Antiochus, “he will destroy”  look at this, “many while they are at ease.”  [Daniel 8:25]

1 Thessalonians 5:3 puts it this way: “While they are saying, Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.”  When are you most vulnerable to deception?  When everything is going well because when things are going well we have a tendency to maybe trust ourselves a little too much, maybe to exhibit a little less dependence upon God.  You know, there’s two great tests for the Christian; one is adversity, can you walk with God in adversity.  The other one is prosperity, can you walk with God in prosperity.  I think the latter test is much harder to pass.

You look, all the way through the Bible, when was Joseph tempted to become sexually immoral with Potiphar’s wife?  After he had been promoted over everything in Potiphar’s household.  When was David tempted to commit adultery with Bathsheba?  You read about it in 2 Samuel 11, towards the beginning, chapter 10, chapter 11, after a whole string of success, and it talks about when kings go out to battle… David stayed behind in the palace.  David should have been somewhere else but probably rested a little bit on his laurels, probably thought the Lord is sure lucky to have me on his side kind of attitude.  And that’s when the devil comes with his minions to destroy.  When does this destruction happen?  It’s pretty clear, when they’re saying “peace and safety.”  The destruction happens while they are living at ease.

And Antiochus, it says verse 25, “will oppose the prince of princes.”  In historical context I think it means Antiochus went to war with the leader of Israel, maybe it’s talking about the war he waged with Judas Maccabaeus.  And what a tremendous picture this is of the antichrist who will go to war with Jesus Christ Himself.  This is why he’s called the antichrist, the opposite of Christ or in the place of Christ.  And yet how does it all end?  It’s right there at the end of verse 25, “But he” Antiochus “will be broken without human agency.”  How does it always end for these people that live their lives in rebellion against God.  It ultimately comes to a screeching halt because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  [James 4:6]

We have studied Hanukkah and how that came about, the Feast of Lights, the Feast of Dedication, how there was a miracle whereby the Jews against all odds went to war against Antiochus and liberated the Temple Mount from Seleucid rule.  We’ve talked about how the Menorah miraculously burned eight days to rededicate the temple when there was only enough oil for one day; how the great feast day in Judaism begins, called The Feast of Lights or Dedication, or Hanukah.  There’s a miracle that happened that stopped Antiochus dead in his tracks and that’s how it’s going to be for the antichrist.  He prospers for a while but he doesn’t get far.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 says, “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming.   Daniel 9:27 says, “…one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”  Revelation 19:20 says, “And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two” antichrist and false prophet, “were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.”

This is why the Bible says don’t fret when the unrighteous seem to be prospering, seem to be getting ahead, seem to be succeeding.  [Psalm 37:7, “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way….” ]   God has this whole thing under control, does He not?

We come now to the time frame of the vision.  Notice, if you will Daniel 8:26, as Daniel is seeking an interpretation of these things.  It says, “The vision of the evenings and mornings which has been told is true; but keep the vision secret, for it pertains to many days in the future.”

What is this reference here to the “vision of the evenings and mornings,” it goes right back to chapter 8, verses 13-14 where one angel in the midst of Antiochus’ persecution of the Jewish people says how long is this going to last.  How long, O Lord?  The answer is 2,300 days, roughly six years.  [Daniel 8:13, “Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, ‘How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?’ [14] He said to me, ‘For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored.’”]

I’ve shown you how that fits exactly historically.  So the vision of the evenings and the mornings, notice what Daniel is told, “Which has been told is true,” [Daniel 8:26] these things will happen and as a Bible student I can tell you that these things happened just like God said.  And if these things happened what am I going to do with the other prophecies yet to come?  Those will happen too because God is outside of time; He sees the end from the beginning and cannot lie.  Jesus, in John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”  The politicians won’t always give you the truth… Amen!  The educational establishment won’t always give you the truth.  God forbid even the churches to some extent won’t always give you the truth.  Where are you going to get truth from?  It’s right here.  It’s invaluable, these are announcing things which cannot be broken.

He says there in verse 26 something that no doubt frustrated Daniel, “But keep the vision secret,” he probably wanted to shout it from the mountain tops, “Keep this vision secret” why is that? “for it pertains to many days in the future.”  Why was he told to seal it up?  Because when Daniel saw this it was 551 B.C. as Daniel 8:1 tells us.  [Daniel 8:1, “In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me.”]  These things wouldn’t happen, reach their fulfillment until 165 B.C.  There’s 386 years to go before these things happen Daniel.  They don’t concern you, they don’t concern  your generation.  In fact, this prophecy isn’t even for your generation.  You just write it down and guess what’s going to happen?  When these things happen long after you’re dead people are going to see what you’ve written and say WOW, God is truly the God of omniscience.

Daniel is not just told things to keep things secret here, at the end of the book, as we will study, it says in Daniel 12:4, “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the Book until the end; for many will go back and forth and knowledge will increase.”  “‘Go your way, Daniel, for these words are sealed dup until the time of the end.”’  [Daniel 12:9]  Now what does this mean, people going back and forth and knowledge increasing?  I’ll tell you how I used to interpret that; that’s the internet, that’s airline flights, those are boats, those are technological increases in the last days.  I think the Bible has a lot to say about technology which will exist in the last days but that’s not what this verse is talking about?  When you study “to and fro”  you have to cross reference it with Amos 8:12 which says, “People will stagger from sea to sea and from the north even to the east; they will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, But they will not find it.”

What is “going to and fro”?  It’s reading, it’s becoming interested through study what these prophecies say.  Why would people become interested in this?  Because as the prophecies get closer and closer and closer and closer to their allotted time frame when they will be fulfilled, then you sort of read this and say aha, that’s what this prophecy is about.  And as you start to live in the season when the prophecy will be fulfilled you start to make more sense of biblical prophecies.

You know, there’s a prophecy in the Book of Revelation, verse 8, it talks about two witnesses, it says they’re going to be killed in the city streets of Jerusalem, Revelation 11:9, they’re going to rise from the dead and the whole world is going to see it.  [Revelation 12:3, “And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”  Revelation 11:8, “And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.  [9] Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.”]

Have you ever gone back and tried to read commentators a hundred years ago trying to make sense of that prophecy?  Trying to rewrite the prophecy; it really doesn’t mean the whole world could see it and yet in our time period we don’t really wonder about that any more, do we?  Because the technology is in place, whether you want to call it live feed or whether you want to call it skype, whether you want to call it the internet, whether you want to call it television cameras, whether you want to call it CNN (assuming anybody watches CNN any more).  The whole technology is in place and you can see exactly how it’s going to be fulfilled.  In fact, I could take you to websites right now that will give you live feeds on what is happening in the city streets of Jerusalem, in the Temple Mount area as I speak.  Now a hundred  years how crazy it all looked and how people who took these things at face value were no doubt routinely laughed at.

But Daniel, you don’t understand it all, seal it up because the time will come… you did your job, you recorded it, the time will come when people will go to and fro, reading and knowledge of what? prophecy would increase because suddenly the scenario looks credible, doesn’t it?  We’re living, beloved, and I’m not a date-setter as you know; but I will say this, we’re living in a time period when history has caught up to what the Bible says about the last days.  Just like history caught up to what Daniel predicted concerning Antiochus Epiphanes.

Have  you ever asked yourself this question: why is Daniel told to seal it up, Revelation 22:10, to John on the island of Patmos after John received his vision says this, “And he said to me, ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.”  Daniel is told to seal it up; John is told to unseal it.  Why the difference?  To me the answer is very simple; Daniel lived in the 6th century, there were many centuries to do before these things could happen.  John, on the other hand, living in the first century is saying these things could happen at any moment.  So the difference in time period historically when these two lived explains why God said seal up to Daniel but to John He said unseal.

So we are living in a time period when God is telling the church to unseal the prophecy, to preach the prophecy.  By the way, Revelation 22 explains that these things are to be preached, not in the seminaries, verse 16 says these things are to be preached in the churches.  [Revelation 22:16, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”]  Pulpits are to be on fire and alive with these truths.  And I’m running into pastors that won’t touch this stuff because they’re afraid it’s going to offend somebody, they’re afraid it’s going to bring division, they’re afraid it’s going to bring controversy.  Let me tell you something; if you are afraid of controversy you’ve missed your calling.  Your job is controversy, not because  you’re obnoxious or rude but truth itself divides; that’s what it does.  You let truth out of its cage it will divide.  It will divide mother and father, husband and wife, children and parents.  Don’t let that disturb  you, don’t let that bother you, that’s the nature of truth.  This is what truth does.  But as for you, Daniel, seal these things.

Verse 27, look at the impact this had on Daniel, as you might expect.  “Then I, Daniel, was exhausted and sick for days. Then I got up again and carried on the king’s business; but I was astounded at the vision, and there was none to explain it.”  [Daniel 8:27]

Notice verse 27 says “Then I, Daniel,”  you know, this book keeps saying Daniel, Daniel, Daniel, Daniel, Daniel, Daniel.  Do you get the idea that Daniel wrote it; don’t you get that impression?  You don’t get the impression that somebody wrote this long after Daniel was dead, which is what the academics want you to believe.  They don’t think Daniel wrote this because how could Daniel have known these things?  Well, he knew these things because God, who sees the end from the beginning in omniscience revealed these things to Daniel.

He says there in verse 27, I “was exhausted and sick for days.”  Now why is that?  I don’t know why, I think it has something to do with the fact that he has sympathy for what he sees his own people, the Hebrew people, going through.  He knows it’s a time of suffering that doesn’t necessarily involve him but he has such solidarity with his own people that he is disturbed by what he sees.  This is what happened at the end of his vision in chapter 7; Daniel 7:28 says, “At this point the revelation ended. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”  You know, there’s a principle in the Bible that when someone else suffers we should suffer.

1 Corinthians 12:26 says, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” because we’re connected to one another as a body.  Daniel was not part of the body of Christ as we understand it today but he understood his solidarity with the Jewish people and even though this wouldn’t affect his immediate life, this whole thing that he sees, this prophecy of suffering even though it’s limited to 2300 days is something that disturbs him.

Does that describe you when you look at your brothers and sisters in Christ as they succeed, as they fail, as they’re being persecuted, does something in you rise up and say I’m disturbed by that?  Or I rejoice in that, even though it’s not your life directly.  That will sort of act as a barometer, if you will, to your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.  And I love the fact that for Daniel prophecy didn’t become such a “pie in the sky” thing that it lost its personal impact on Daniel.

I am afraid that sometimes with prophecy we get so involved with ideas and defending our view and drawing our charts, and those things have their place, that somehow it’s just a mental thing and it loses it’s practical import.

Verse 27, “Then I got up again and carried on the king’s business.”  “The king’s business,” isn’t it interesting how Daniel didn’t become so spiritual that he lost sight of his secular vocation.  You know, there are some people that will literally steal from their boss… I can’t work hard today, I’m here reading my Bible, I’m listening to worship music, don’t bother me with the day to day work.  I’m taking a long lunch break because we’re having a Bible study.  And people  use spirituality as some sort of excuse to get out of life’s daily activity.

May I tell you something; that is not God, that’s flesh!  When God gets hold of somebody and they begin to understand spiritual insight that makes them more effective on the job; that makes them a better worker, it makes them a better student, it makes them a better husband, it makes them a better wife, it makes them a better father or child, or mother.  The Bible is never given to people so that they can use spirituality as a way to exempt themselves from daily responsibility.

Daniel through all of this understands that it’s not his business, it’s the King’s business that he’s got to get back to.  Daniel never separated his spiritual life from his vocational life.  And that’s what the accusation against him in Daniel 6 was all about.  “The commissioners and the satraps began trying to find a ground to accuse Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption in as much as he was faithful and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him.” [Daniel 6:4]  Spirituality was never an excuse to get out of life’s responsibilities.

And the chapter ends, verse 27, when he says, “I was astounded… and there was none to explain it.”  [Daniel 8:27, “Then I, Daniel, was exhausted and sick for days. Then I got up again and carried on the king’s business; but I was astounded at the vision, and there was none to explain it.”]  Daniel wanted understanding; the understanding he wanted was denied to him because it didn’t concern him; it concerned generations yet future.  And isn’t it interesting that we are living in a time period where we can, little old me, in my office, studying the Bible, can understand Daniel’s prophecies better than Daniel himself understood it.  Isn’t that exciting?  Because I’m smarter than him?  No!  Because of the time period I’m living in.  This is just a terribly exciting time to be alive as a Christian, as you live your life through the lens of the prophetic Word of God.

Takeaways from chapter 8.  Number 1, a takeaway of comfort.  Evil, as bad as it is, is on a leash; it’s only going to last, in this prophecy 2,300 days and His people will be sustained through it.

Whatever is happening in your life, as severe as it looks, is on a leash and just as God got the Jewish people through the ordeal of Antiochus He’s going to get you through your ordeal as you walk with Him.

And the second takeaway is live for God.  You know, the Maccabean Revolt, they probably didn’t have the foggiest idea they could win and restore the temple and rededicate it.  They just lived for God, they just took a chance with no guarantee.  They stepped out in faith, probably looked crazy and yet God showed up.  And I would encourage you this week to not sit and try to figure out how I’m going to win and how this is going to get under control or how that’s going to get under control.  You  may not have the foggiest idea how it’s going to happen because God hasn’t shown you yet.  What God is saying is just live for me, step out, take a chance, take a risk.  Walk with God, put Him first.

Shall we pray?  Father, we’re grateful for Daniel chapter 8 and the truths that it speaks to us although this book was written long ago.  I ask, Father, that You would help us this week as we walk with You understanding the limits of evil and also understanding that  You’re with us just as You were with those who overcame against great odds in the Maccabean Revolt which was the subject of this prophecy.  We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory.  We lift these things in Jesus’ name.  And God’s people said… Amen.