Daniel 051 – Not My Will But HisDaniel 11:36-37a • Dr. Andy Woods • January 28, 2018 • Daniel
Not My Will But His Will
1-28-18 Daniel 11:36-37a Lesson 51
Let’s take our Bibles, if we could, and open them to the Book of Daniel, Daniel 11:36. The title of our message this morning is Not My Will But His will. And as you know we’ve been inching our way through the Book of Daniel. Daniel is having his final vision which is recorded in chapters 10-12. The year, as we have talked about, is about 536 B.C. The vision really begins in chapter 11, verse 2 and goes all the way to the end of chapter 12. This is his final and probably his greatest vision. So it’s interesting in Daniel’s life and in so many of our lives God saves the best for last.
Daniel is in his 80’s and he is about to receive, and is receiving and is recording for us his greatest and final vision or revelation. The vision started with information about Persia that Daniel saw, an empire that existed in his own lifetime, and we’ve talked about that. And then he had a lot of information about Greece under Alexander the Great, verses 3-4, and we’ve spoken about that.
And then he saw two of Alexander’s generals and their respective dynasties going to war with each other for about 150 years and that’s the content of verses 5-20. And we’ve traced all of that information and the Holy Spirit says watch one ruler in particular coming from the Seleucids, a man named Antiochus IV, Antiochus Epiphanes, and he becomes the big deal in verses 21-35 because he is used as a prefigurement of the coming antichrist.
And speaking of the coming antichrist, we’ve talked all about Antiochus, but speaking of the coming antichrist the coming antichrist now becomes the subject of Daniel’s prophecies in verses 36-45. So what is happening is Daniel, back in the 6th century is seeing a mountaintop in prophecy, information about the Greeks and Antiochus IV and from that position he leaps forward and he begins to see information about the distant future, still future from our time period, information about the coming antichrist.
Now you might be saying why can’t we have a normal pastor, I mean, why does it have to jump over 2000 years or more in between verse 35 and verse 36, because that’s what I think is happening here. I think we are living in between verses 35 and 36. And you might be saying that is a very odd or a strange way of interpreting the Bible. And let me give you at least seven reasons, I can do this I think fairly fast, of course when I say that I’m never able to deliver, at least on the fast part. But why would we, as Bible readers, skip 2,000 years between verse 35 and verse 36?
The first reason is when you get to verse 36 and following the information really does not fit the known facts of history. It talks, for example, about a man taking Egypt and that really doesn’t fit what Antiochus did late in his career. It talks about the place of the death of an individual and that really doesn’t fit the way Antiochus died or where he died. This section of Scripture also talks about this coming one being worshipped and demanding worship above everything that is called God. That really also does not fit Antiochus IV because Antiochus set up, as we have studied, a temple of Jupiter; some would say Zeus, in the temple of the Jews. And the antichrist will not do that; he will set up a statue of himself in the Jewish temple.
So Antiochus, for whatever reason, really didn’t demand worship above all that is called God. But the man that’s described in verse 36-45 is doing that.
[Daniel 11:36-45, “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.  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.  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.  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 will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price.  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.  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.  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.  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.”]
Many, many commentators have recognized that once you get beyond verse 35 into verse 36 to the end of the chapter it gets harder and harder and harder to anchor these details, and we know God is very detailed, to anchor these details in the past. And the murkier they get the more it adds to the idea of a future ruler that’s being described here.
A second reason that we would jump at least 2,000 years or more in between those verses is these verses begin to talk about a king that is at war with both the north and the south. In fact, if you look just for a minute at chapter 11 and verse 40, it says, “At the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him…” this man is at war with the north and the south. That really does not fit Antiochus IV who represented the north. He was always at war with the south, not the north and the south.
A third reason that we would make this leap into the distant future is because the prophecies, although they are not consistent with Antiochus IV they are very consistent with other passages that speak of a coming antichrist. For example, the prophecy that he will demand worship above all that is called God, as I’ll be showing you today, fits very nicely with 2 Thessalonians 2:4 about the coming antichrist. [2 Thessalonians 2:4, “who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”] It fits very nicely with Revelation 13. It fits very nicely with Revelation 17, etc.
A fourth reason we would make this leap is because Daniel, earlier in his prophecies, already told us of a coming antichrist. You might recall that was in Daniel 7. And I made a joke at the conference that I’ve been teaching Daniel’s seventy weeks longer than Daniel was in those seventy weeks. So you might not remember Daniel 7 but towards the end of Daniel 7 it talks about a little horn, an antichrist that’s coming from a ten king or ten nation confederacy. So we already have hints of a coming antichrist earlier and so we would expect, would we not, the antichrist to show up elsewhere in Daniel’s prophecies.
A fifth reason we would make this leap is prophetic gaps, and we have tried to explain this, are very common in Scripture. In fact we’ve already looked at, in our study in the Book of Daniel, several prophetic gaps. We believe that there is a prophetic gap in between Daniel 9:26 and verse 27. We believe that there is a prophetic gap in between Daniel 2:40 and verse 41. We believe that there is a prophetic gap right in the middle of Daniel 7:7. And you say well, this is a very strange way of interpreting the Bible but what I would like to expose you to is that these prophetic gaps are very common in the Bible. It’s a lot like somebody looking at two mountains in the distance; they see the second mountain raised a little bit above the first mountain and they can see those two mountains, one a near mountain, another a further mountain. And yet from the vantage point of the observer what can they not see? They can’t see the valley between the mountains.
This is very common amongst the prophets; they saw these two things, they saw something near and they saw something far and they never really saw the valley between those two mountains. Well guess who that valley is? That’s us! That’s the church, something that the prophets of the Old Testament did not see.
Let me give you just a few examples of this and in fact as we review some of these prophecies you’ll say of course, this is very common. But we all quote, do we not, Zechariah 9:9, particularly on Palm Sunday, written 500 years before Jesus was born, “Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a” what? “a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Most of us stop quoting there and we say that was fulfilled in the triumphal entry, Palm Sunday. And yet what about verse 10, what does verse 10 say, one verse later? “He will speak peace to the nations; and His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Now is that happening today? Obviously not, the nations are at war with each other. We do not see the kingdom of God present the way it’s spoken of here.
So you see what the prophet has done, the prophet Zechariah, he’s gravitated towards one point in history and without even telling you he skipped at least 2,000 years or more into the distant future and not revealing the expanse between those two mountains. You see how common this is?
Or how about this one; this is on all of our Christmas cards, isn’t it? We all love Isaiah 9:6, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us,” then the card stops quoting the passage. And we see that, of course, as a prophecy about the birth of Jesus Christ. But what does the rest of the verse say, “and the government will rest upon His shoulders.” I mean, I wish that was the case here in the United States that the government were on the shoulders of Christ. And then verse 7 goes on and it says, “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on forevermore.”
We look at a world today filled with injustice, not the justice that’s described here. So what has happened is we have one mountaintop, the first advent of Christ, and then Isaiah, right in the middle of the verse and in the subsequent verse skips, without even telling you he’s doing this, to the next mountain top about the second coming of Christ and he didn’t reveal the valley, did he, between the mountains? This is a very common method that the Holy Spirit has given to these Old Testament prophecies.
How about this one here, Isaiah 61:1-2, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners;  to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; and to comfort all who mourn.” It’s very interesting that Jesus Christ, very early in His ministry, went into a synagogue in Nazareth; he opened the scroll containing the words of Isaiah and you have to understand that this was in a day when we didn’t have chapter divisions and verse divisions. He knew Isaiah so well that He could go to the exact part of the scroll that pertained to His ministry then and there. And He opened it up and He started to read.
It says this in Luke 4:16-21, “And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.  And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,” He didn’t have Bible tabs, He didn’t have an index, He didn’t have chapter divisions, didn’t have verse divisions, He was so familiar with the Book of Isaiah that He could open the scroll, go to the exact part of it that was pertinent. ‘He opened the book and found the place where it was written,’ and He begins to quote what I just read from the prophet Isaiah.  “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,  TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”’ He stops quoting Isaiah, and then Luke tells us,  “And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. [21 ]And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”’
He says I read that part of Isaiah because it’s being fulfilled right now as I’m speaking. It was written 700 years ago and now it’s being fulfilled in me, the person of Christ, Jesus says. Now as we read that quote of Isaiah did you notice the part that Jesus did not read? He quotes verse 2, “to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD,” and the citation as I indicated before, stops right there. He does not quote this last clause, “and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all who mourn.” Why did He stop right in the middle? Because He understood the concept of the prophetic gap. He understood that Isaiah 61:1 related to Him and the first part of verse 2 related to Him but that last clause, “the day of vengeance of our God” speaking of God’s coming judgment upon the earth in the future was just that—yet future!
And He recognized what I am trying to communicate here that Isaiah conflates the two concepts in terms of these two mountain peaks but He does not reveal the expanse between the mountain peaks. Jesus recognized that there was a mountain peak and He recognized that there was a valley and He understood what part of the Bible related to the first mountain top and what part of the Bible related to the second part of the mountain top and He only quotes the part of it that relates to His First Coming, deliberately omitting the part of it that relates to His Second Coming. Isn’t this fascinating?
There is a giant gap, as we have studied, right there in Daniel’s prophecy of the giant statue, in between the ankles and the feet with ten toes. In between those ankles and those feet with ten toes exists well over 2,000 years; 2,600 years or even more, I mean, we’re still waiting for those ten toes to come into existence. There’s rumblings in the world today that maybe there are coming into existence, the Club of Rome, a one-world organization, and I should have brought the map in to show you, already has the world divided up into ten regions, not eleven regions, not nine regions, ten regions. I would say that the rumblings are in place for that ten toed, ten king, ten nation confederacy to come into existence yet it is yet future. It was future from Daniel’s time. And there’s a prophetic gap that exists between ancient Rome, the two legs of iron… remember that ancient Rome had a division between east and west. Two legs of iron and those feet with ten toes, the future kingdom of the antichrist that we’re going to begin studying here beginning in verse 36.
Put yourself in the position of the prophets receiving this information. Daniel himself was frustrated by his own prophecies. Did you know that? There are many times in the book where we’re going to see, two times here at the end of chapter 12, when we get to chapter 12, assuming we get there before the rapture, where he says I heard and I saw but I didn’t understand and there’s no one to explain it to me. The reason Daniel is frustrated and the reason Isaiah is frustrated and the reason Zechariah is frustrated is because they received one vision about a suffering Messiah. And then suddenly the Holy Spirit reveals a second vision about a Messiah that’s ruling and reigning.
So the prophet says to himself, Lord, which is it, is Messiah going to suffer or is the Messiah going to rule and reign. Now hindsight is 20/20, right? We can look back through the vantage point of history and say well, the Messiah’s suffering is the first coming of Christ; the Messiah ruling and reigning is the second coming of Christ, but the prophets had no such vantage point of history; they just had two mountain peaks without the Holy Spirit revealing the valley.
And consequently many, within Old Testament Judaism speculated there’s got to be two Messiahs, the first one they called Messiah Ben Joseph, and the second one they called Messiah Ben (which means son of), Ben David. The first one would be like Joseph who would suffer; the second one would be like David who would rule and reign. Now we can’t fault him for that too much, they’re functioning on limited information. They can’t look back the way we can and see how the first coming is the suffering Messiah and the second coming is the ruling and reigning Messiah. The Holy Spirit didn’t lay it out like that.
It just absolutely fascinates me that we, living in the year 2018, the twenty-first century, can look back and understand Isaiah’s prophecies better than Isaiah. Isn’t that amazing? We can look back and understand Zechariah’s prophecies better than Zechariah. We can look back and understand Daniel’s prophecies better than Daniel himself. In fact, if you were to lead a Bible study with the knowledge that you have about Isaiah and Daniel and Zechariah, if those three prophets were alive they would attend your Bible study and want to know what you were talking about. That’s how blessed we are today. That’s the vantage point that God has put us in.
I hope we understand our privileges in God; we have many privileges but we are privileged just because of the time period that we’re living in. And yet many of us are so busy with things we don’t investigate the Bible and we don’t understand our privileged position.
The apostle Peter describes the frustration of the Old Testament prophets. It says, [1 Peter 1:10-11] “As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you” watch this, “made careful searches and inquiries,” they didn’t know what was happening. They didn’t have a timeline, they couldn’t piece it together. They’re scratching their heads, what does all of this mean?  “seeking” they were seeking, they were confused, “seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.”] Lord, I just don’t understand, You told me two seconds ago the Messiah is going to suffer, now you just give me a vision that He’s going to rule and reign; which is it? So they began to speculate, there’s got to be two Messiah, Ben Joseph and Ben David.
So they were frustrated, and yet history leaves us in an un-frustrated state because we can look back and look forward and kind of “sort the mail.” They had no similar luxury. What is my point? My point is this prophetic gap that I’m trying to argue to argue here between verses 35 and verse 36 is not some odd strange interpretation. In fact if you’re sensitive to prophetic material you’ll see it all of the time.
A sixth reason why I think there is a prophetic gap here is if you believe there’s a prophetic gap here you’re in good company. A lot of heavy weights from the past, including people like Jerome, and even Martin Luther did not see verses 35 through the end of the chapter as relating to Antiochus IV; they saw it as relating to something yet future, a coming antichrist.
And then finally, my seventh reason why I believe there’s a prophetic gap here is there’s a lot of contextual indicators. For example, if you look at chapter 12 and verse 1, notice what it says: “Now at that time,” and then the chapter goes on and it describes end time events, a time of unparalleled distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world. Verse 2 describes the two resurrections, the resurrection unto life and the resurrection unto damnation. It goes on and it describes the establishment of the kingdom upon the earth, that we all agree those are yet future. And yet that chapter begins with “Now at that time.”
What time? The rest of the futuristic stuff, in verses 36-45 of the prior chapter. This really shouldn’t shock us too much because when Gabriel, the angel, gave this vision to Daniel he told him very clearly in chapter 10 and verse 14, “Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days,” you see that? “for the vision pertains to the days yet future.” Gabriel will explain to Daniel that a lot of this stuff is going to concern the end, the end end. And if you look, for example, and Daniel 11:40 what does it say there? It says, “At the time of the end,” or as the NASB puts it, “At the end time….” When you look back at chapter 11 and you look at verse 36, it talks about a period of indignation, “and he will prosper” verse 36 says toward the end of the verse, “until the indignation is finished.” [Daniel 11:36, “”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.”]
Do a study sometime on indignation; it typically refers to the future tribulation period of distress that the nation of Israel will enter into. Isaiah 26:20 says, “Come, my people, enter into your rooms and close your doors behind you; Hide for a little while Until indignation runs its course,” speaking of the protection of Israel during the time of tribulation. So if we just spend a little time to look at the context we would see that there are clues that the Spirit of God has given us that this is yet future.
So you put these seven things together, I believe you have a very strong case that verses 36-45 are yet to come. Having said that, I believe that verses 36-45 is an explanation of the coming career of the antichrist who had been prefigured by Antiochus IV. In other words, the coming antichrist will be similar to Antiochus IV but he will be of a different character and personage than Antiochus IV. In fact, he will live in a totally different time than Antiochus IV lived.
So how would we outline this material if it’s yet future. It’s got basically four parts to it revealing the coming antichrist. Number 1 is antichrist’s self magnification, verses 36-37. Number 2, his military power, verses 38-39. Number 3, his military successes, verses 40-43. And I like this last part here, his military defeat, verses 44-45, which provides a nice balance to all of this because when we study the progress of evil we can become very despondent. And yet the Bible is reminding us that yeah, evil gets its day in the sun but it’s on a leash by God; it’s only allowed to go so far. God has it under control and will bring it to an orchestrated conclusion.
Do you see your life in that light? Have you become so focused on your trials and your problems that you’ve lost sight of the big picture? Lost sight of the sovereignty of God? Lost sight of the providence of God? I tell you, I’ve fallen for that trap all of the time, I get so overwhelmed with something that all I can see is the waves and the wind. I lose sight very quickly of Jesus who beckons us to come walking out on the water because Jesus has the whole thing under control.
That’s what the study of prophecy does. It’s a reminder that God has not lost control of a world that seems out of control and yet if your mind is shut to prophetic things all you can really see is the progress of evil. And that’s really what caused that generation that came out of Egypt, the first generation out of Egypt, that’s what caused them to lose Canaan, which they could have had. The Bible is very clear, in the Book of Numbers, chapter 13, that they became like grasshoppers in their own eyes. [Numbers 13:33, “There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”] They stopped looking at challenges through a divine lens and started analyzing it through the weight and the magnitude of the problem.
Think about this, how easy it would it have been for them to enter Canaan and take Canaan? Hadn’t God just brought them out of the Egyptian bondage? Hadn’t He demonstrated who He was through the ten plagues? Hadn’t He closed the Red Sea on the Egyptian pursuers? Hadn’t He brought them with provision through manna for a two month period, all the way from the Red Sea to Mount Sinai? Hadn’t He given them a Law?
And you know what, it’s very interesting, you study the distance from Sinai into Canaan and you know how long of a distance that is? Eleven days! I just brought you out of 400 years of bondage, trust Me for eleven days and you’re in. You’ll find that eleven day figure in Deuteronomy 1:2; you’ll see it. [Deuteronomy 1:2, “It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea.”]
And they got to the border of Canaan and what did they see in the land? They saw giants in the land and they became like grasshoppers in their own eyes. [Numbers 13:33, “There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”] What does that mean? They took their eyes off God; they forgot what He did and was doing for them. What’s a few giants, they should have said. Joshua and Caleb said that, the rest of them went into unbelief and because of that sin of unbelief, and the greatest sin you can commit against God is unbelief. In fact, the only sin that will send a person into hell itself is dying never having trusted in Jesus Christ. People want to know what the unpardonable sin is; that’s the only unpardonable sin that I know of. Everything else is forgivable; that one isn’t forgivable.
And just because we’re saved, in the New Testament sense of the word, doesn’t mean that we don’t have the propensity to lapse into unbelief when the trial hits. These people were redeemed; these people were the ones that put the blood of the Passover lamb on the doorpost. They’re in the hall of faith, Hebrews 11, they’re all in heaven. But they’ve forfeited a golden opportunity which they could have possessed and relinquished and banished themselves to forty years (that’s a long time) of wilderness wanderings until God just let them walk around until they all dropped dead. He said I’ll work with your kids.
Now Joshua and Caleb, we’ll let you come too because you’re the only ones that believed Me, we’ll bring you as seasoned citizens, no longer in their forties but now in their eighties. Every one of you is just going to die out here. And people say well, they went to hell. They did NOT go to hell, I know that because Moses himself was in that crowd. You know, Moses saw Canaan from a distance, from Mount Nebo wasn’t it, and yet died not having entered Canaan. And yet Moses is there on the Mount of Transfiguration with Christ in the New Testament. Moses was saved. All these people were saved. What did they forfeit? A blessing. Why did they forfeit a blessing? Because they went into unbelief. Why did they go into unbelief? Because they got their eyes off God and onto their problems.
What is going to keep you in your life from getting your eyes off God unto your problems is the study of prophecy because the study of prophecy, the more you give your mind to it, the more you give your heart to it, the more you give your soul to it is a perpetual reminder that this life, although it can get rough, is under the control of God. There isn’t anything that’s happening to you right now in your life that has suddenly shaken God up. I mean, do you think God is up there in heaven with sweaty hands and palms and worried and saying man, I don’t know how I’m going to pull this one off? We think God is like that because that’s how we are. And we get like that very fast when we get away from the prophetic word and lose the reminder of the sovereignty of God.
And so the antichrist will meet his military defeat prophetically, just like he meets his military success early on. And that was my introduction.
So let’s begin here with verses 36 and 37, let’s look at the self-magnification of the antichrist. Notice verse 36, “Then the king will do as he pleases,” in fact, when you study verses 36 and 37 it says that about the antichrist probably close to 12 times, roughly. It says it over and over again, he will do what he wants to do. And that’s why I’ve entitled this message Not My Will But His Will.
What is Satan all about? Satan is all about his will; did you know that? In the Book of Isaiah, chapter 14:12-15 it describes Lucifer’s fall. Lucifer had a bad case of the “I’s” and the “my’s”. It says, “How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!  You said in your heart, ‘I will” there’s the problem, “ascend to the heavens; I will” problem 2, “raise my throne above the stars of God;” and here it comes again, “I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, in the recesses of the north.  I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”  Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.”
What is the antichrist, who is being influenced by Satan himself saying, at least twelve times here in these verses, roughly twelve times? He will, I will, the king will. You don’t see anything here about seeking God’s will. This reminds me of a lot of our lives; we have our goals, we have our plans, we have our day timers and our calendars and we’ve got it all plotted out. And what does James say? Your life is like mist, don’t you understand that you’re here today and gone tomorrow. [James 4:14, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”]
We camp so frequently on what we want to do; that’s called humanism; man is the center of all things. How many of us are on our knees daily, seeking the will of God, not just for life but for the next 24 hours, let’s make it the next 12 hours, let’s make it the next 5 minutes. You know, Jesus Christ, when you compare Jesus Christ and His life, what did He say in John 6:38? The exact opposite of what we’re reading about here. John 6:38, Jesus, God incarnate, said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will,” Wow! “but the will of Him who sent Me.” Which of these describes your life? Which one most characterizes us moment by moment? Is it us, is it our agenda, or is it the will of God. We fit into one of two patterns—the antichrist or Jesus Christ.
The King will come and will do as He pleases, initially there will be almost nothing that will stop Him; no hindrance at all. The restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit will be removed by this point in time, 2 Thessalonians 2:5-7 talks about the removal of the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit, the church will be gone because the Holy Spirit lives permanently where? In the child of God. [2 Thessalonians 2:5-7, “Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?  And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.”]
There isn’t anything that can stop him initially, to hinder him, so he brings forth a rule over the masses which knows no boundaries to the point where no one can buy or sell unless they worship at his feet and his alter.
We continue on here with verse 36 and it says, “The king will do as he pleases.” Look what it says, “He will exalt and magnify himself above” 90% of the gods, it doesn’t say that, does it? “He will exalt and magnify himself above every god,” that’s a tremendous description of the way the apostle Paul described the antichrist in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, “who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” This is why this doesn’t fit Antiochus IV, who had reverence at least for Jupiter or Zeus, setting up an image of those deities in the second Jewish temple. The antichrist, as I mentioned before, will set up an image of himself in that temple. You can read about that in Revelation 13:15. [Revelation 13:15, “And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.”]
This becomes a very important prophecy because what’s popular today in prophecy circles and conferences and books is the Islamic theory of the antichrist. Now that Islam appears to be gaining ascendency, suddenly all of the prophecies that people used to aim at the Roman Catholic Church or the Soviet Union are not people are arguing they’re being fulfilled or going to be fulfilled by Muslims, the Muslim theory of the antichrist. Big names believe this: Joel Rosenberg, Joel Richardson, Perry Stone, a number of people I can call your attention to are out there teaching that the antichrist is going to be Muslim.
You say well, Andy, you believe that, don’t you? I mean, you believe that Islam plays a role in the end times? Well, that part I do agree with, I even wrote a book called The Middle East Meltdown; The Coming Islamic Invasion of Israel. So obviously that subtitle communicates that I believe Islam has some kind of role to play in the end times. But I do not believe that the anti-Christ will be a Muslim, primarily because of this verse right here. “He will exalt himself above everything that is called God.” Can you imagine a fundamentalist or a consistent Muslim promoting himself over Allah? It just doesn’t make any sense. Islam will be there, Islam will be a player but you see, the tapestry of the one-world system and one-world religion that the antichrist is going to bring in, Islam is part of that equation but it’s not the only player. He is elevating “himself above everything that is called God.”
And as you continue on with verse 36 it starts to talk about his mouth again. We call him, other Bible teachers, have called him Mr. Big Mouth. Look at verse 36, “and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods,” it is so fascinating to me to study how frequently the Holy Spirit directs our attention to what the antichrist says. [Daniel 11:36, NASB, “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.” “
We’ve already seen that in the Book of Daniel, haven’t we. Daniel 7:8, “a mouth uttering great boasts.” [Daniel 7:8, “While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts.”]
Daniel 7:11, “…the sound of the boastful words which the little horn was speaking….” [Daniel 7:11, “Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire]
Daniel 7:25, “He,” little horn, antichrist, “’ will speak out against the Most High [and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.]”
Revelation 13:5-6, the beast, who is also a description of the antichrist, it says, “There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, [and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.”] Verse 6 says, “And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.” Why would he be maligning people in heaven? I think one possibility is he’s maligning people in heaven, i.e. the church, because the church has escaped his wrath via the rapture. So he’s maligning everything that’s good, maligning God, speaking horrific things.
And we start to understand this and we begin to understand why the Bible, to the New Testament church, places such an emphasis on what we say. Isn’t that interesting. Jesus, in Matthew 12:34 says, “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” As Adrian Rogers put it, what comes up in the bucket was down in the well. The mouth, what is it really? The tongue, in and of itself isn’t evil, it’s the heart. The mouth is just a window, if you will, to the heart.
Read the Book of James sometime, if you get brave read James 3. Oh my goodness, taming the tongue! What does James say about the tongue? So many things, but he analogizes it to water in a well and it’s sort of this idea that what comes up in the bucket was down in the well. Look at our speech, look at the things we say and you can use that as a barometer to the kind of things that are really happening in our heart. If sarcasm, bitterness, fear, anxiety, are these things constantly coming out of our mouths? Then that’s what’s happening in our hearts. Is praise, is optimism, is purity coming out of our mouth? That’s what’s in our heart.
That’s why the antichrist can’t do anything but speak evil because his heart is wicked to the core. The Book of Ephesians, chapter 4 and verse 29 says, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” The reality of the situation is life and death, the Book of Proverbs tells us, is in the tongue. [Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”]
You can annihilate, you can destroy so much with harsh or lack of care in terms of our vocabulary and isn’t it great to be around people, and I gravitate towards people like this, that know how to use the mouth or the tongue that God gave them to edify, to comfort, to build up. There’s people, and you have them in your life too, I just avoid them. Why is that? Because I know that what will come out of their mouth nine times out of ten will be some kind of derisive unedifying statement. And then there are others that I just gravitate to, I love being around them because their track record is in a speech that builds and edifies and comforts. And we ought to all be people who watch very carefully the things that people say because of the emphasis the Spirit of God is placing upon the mouth right down to identifying over and over again the things that are coming out of the antichrist’s mouth.
He’s going to speak monstrous things against the God of Gods. Now watch this, end of verse 36, “and he will prosper until,” look at that, “he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.” [Daniel 11:36] In other words, don’t sweat it too much, he’s going to get a measure of success; wickedness is going to have its day in the sun but under the decree of God it’s under control. Evil is finite.
You look at a man like Adolf Hitler and you think about the incredible evil that that man perpetrated upon the human race. And then you look at how his life ended, allegedly through a suicide and how the Third Reich that was supposed to last a thousand years didn’t get near that duration. And how the agenda of Hitler for the conquest of the world was cut short through the Allies in World War II and so forth. And I think when we look at the story of Hitler we should look at the whole story. Look at his ascent to power, but look at his demise. If I could ask him a question I would just say this: was it worth it? I think the answer is no because at the end of the day nobody is getting away with anything. God has everything under control! Evil is on a leash.
You know what’s normal in our world? Not our world, our world is not normal. Did you know that? You know what’s normal? Genesis 1 and 2 is normal, before sin entered the picture. You know what else is normal? Revelation 21 and 22 is normal, after evil leaves the picture. That’s what’s normal; everything else in between is just a bunch of dysfunctional abnormality. Amen!
And yet, because we’re not looking at Genesis 1 and 2 or Revelation 21 and 22, we’ve cut out the past and we’ve cut out the future because we’re not looking at the Bible, what are we stuck with? The nasty now and now. And what leaves the picture when you’re stuck only with the nasty now and now? Hope disappears. This is what the study of prophecy does, is it gives us hope in a hopeless age.
Take a look at verse 37, “He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers” now some of you might be reading from the King James Bible and the verse reads this way: “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers,” and many, many commentators, great names, Arno C. Gaebelein, others from the King James Version have speculated that the antichrist has to be Jewish. Why is that? Because the King James says “he will show no regard for the god” singular, “of his fathers,” God is a Jewish name, he is obviously Jewish, Judaism is monotheistic and because he rejects the God of his fathers, the God of His father’s being the Jews, and the Jews are his fathers he must be a Jew himself.
Other people have kind of built on that and they say well, if he’s called the antichrist, and he’s called that in 1 John 2:18, 1 John 2:22, 1 John 4:3, 2 John 7.
[1 John 2:18, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.” 1 John 2:22, “Who is the liar, except the one denying that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one denying the Father and the Son.” 1 John 4:3, “but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 2 John 7, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.”]
John uses this designation “antichrist,” that means he’s got to be posing as Christ and because he’s posing as Christ, Jesus was Jewish, the antichrist has to be Jewish as well. And part of the thinking of this belief is that only the Jews would ever accept a peace treaty from another Jew. The event which starts the seven year tribulation period is a peace treaty between the antichrist and Israel. The Jews would only trust a Jew with that peace treaty. So you kind of wind this together and there’s a long standing belief that the antichrist has to be Jewish.
But I want you to understand that the King James says what it says but the New American Standard Bible says something entirely different; it says, “He will show no regard for the gods,” not God, “gods of his fathers.” The Hebrew word that’s used here is plurality, Elohim. Now as you move to the next verses in Hebrew it’s singular again; it talks about God, God, God, God, God, God in different contexts, but there in verse 37 it’s very clear that it’s gods. So the King James Bible, I think, has it wrong and the New American Standard Bible, at least on this point, has it correct.
Let me quote somebody that’s far better suited to deal with these kinds of arguments than myself. Arnold Fruchtenbaum and let me just very fast quote what he says here about this verse. He says, “The whole context, Daniel 11:36-39, the term ‘God’ is used a total of eight times in the Hebrew texts; six of these times it is in the singular and twice it is in the plural, one of which is the phrase in verse 37” that we’re on right here. “The very fact that the plural form of the word God is used in a context where the singular is found in the majority of cases makes this a reference to heathen deities and not a reference to the God of Israel. When it says, “He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers it is not talking about his Jewish lineage, it is talking about the fact that the man is totally irreligious. Remember, He’s the one that’s going to be worshipped above all that is called God for a season. So that would include a rejection of the true God, it would include a rejection of the Israeli God, the biblical God, but any other god out there he elevates himself above them as well. And this phrase ‘antichrist’ is better understood “in the place of.” He doesn’t have to correspond with Jesus Christ on every point; this term anti doesn’t necessarily mean Jesus was Jewish so the antichrist must be Jewish. He is someone that replaces God, in the place of God eclipses God.
Notice this quote here from Westcott, Westcott of course being an excellent scholar. He says, “The word ‘anti’ means far more than simply an adversary of Christ. As far as the from is concerned it may describe one who takes the place of Christ or one who under the same character opposes Christ. People get carried away with the word anti, trying to make him parallel Jesus at every single point. There are some very interesting parallels but I think the word anti is pushed too far.”
And by the way, this idea that the Jews would only accept a covenant with another Jew overlooks a very simple and important point. The Jews, when they enter that covenant will be in unbelief. They’re not concerned about Torah and Law and all of the things God is concerned about. All they care about is their survival.
Paul Benware puts it this way: “Some have observed that Israel would not accept as a Messiah a figure anyone than he who is Jewish. But that is not necessarily the case. It must be remembered that when the nation of Israel enters into the seven year covenant relationship with the antichrist that she is in deep apostasy. Would she really care at that point? It would seem that unbelieving Israel’s only real concern is her safety in a hostile world and she will jump at the chance to have that safety guaranteed regardless of the racial identity of the one who they are entering into the agreement with. So the point that Israel would only accept a deliverer if He was Jewish may not be that strong an argument.
Beyond that we’re dealing with a time period which is the end of the times of the Gentiles. The times of the Gentiles, as we have studied, starts in 586 B.C. and stretches all the way through the tribulation period to the second advent of Christ. It’s a time period when Israel has no Davidic king reigning on David’s throne. She’s being trampled down by the various Gentile powers, whether it be Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, all Gentiles. So why wouldn’t we understand the conclusion of that time period also to be a Gentile ruler, just as Gentile as the Romans or the Greeks or the Persians or the Babylonians trampling down Israel.
Remember, the antichrist and his system is that ten toes, which is part of that statue. In fact, those ten toes seem to arise out of the cultural inheritance of ancient Rome. Daniel 7:19-20, it says, “Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet,  and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head and the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts and which was larger in appearance than its associates.”
The antichrist’s empire is connected to ancient Rome; it rises out of those two legs of iron. See that? Each leg has a foot, ten toes total, connected in Rome. Rome was as Gentile as it got. The antichrist’s empire of the future will be Gentile as well.
And something else, I’m probably a lot more interested in this than some of you, but Revelation 13:1 describes the antichrist or the beast as coming out of the sea. Revelation 13:1 says, “And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. [Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.”] Now the Book of Revelation tells you what the sea is. Revelation 17:15 says this: “And he said to me, ‘The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.’” The sea is not Israel; the sea is the mass of humanity. And the antichrist or the beast is portrayed as coming out of that great mass of humanity.
Now he’s going to have a sidekick, a henchman, named the false prophet. Revelation 13:11 tells us that the false prophet will come out of the land. [Revelation 13:11, “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon.”] The Greek word there translated land, sometimes translated earth, is used over and over again to describe the land of Israel. The same word is used in Matthew 2:6 to describe the land of Israel. [Matthew 2:6, “’AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.’”]
So if I were a betting man I would say this: the coming antichrist will be Gentile. The coming false prophet that will assist him will be Jewish. In fact, it might even be the false prophet that talks Israel into aligning themselves with the beast.
By the way, have we not seen several forerunners of the antichrist? Isn’t Antiochus a forerunner of the antichrist, that we talked about. Isn’t Titus of Rome, as we have talked about in Daniel 9, a forerunner of the antichrist? Well guess what? Antiochus and Titus were Gentiles so the prefigurement the Spirit of God has given us seem to indicate that the antichrist, like his fore-runners will be Gentile as well.
I’ll be happy to be wrong in all of this and I’ll have the best seat in the house to correct it, so I don’t know if I would go out and start a new church on this topic specifically but I think what the Scripture is revealing is the antichrist will be Gentile but I’m open to the possibility of the false prophet being Jewish. This is actually a big deal because anti-Semitism is alive and well, even within Christian circles. Anti-Semitism has been, and reigned, and continues to be alive and well in the last 2,000 years of church history and one of the arguments that anti-Smites give against the nation of Israel is the nation of Israel is filled with Christ killers. If you want to know who the Christ killers are look in the mirror. “For God so loved the world,” we’re all Christ killers, He died for all of us. And part of the impetus of antisemitism is this idea that the coming antichrist, we know he’s going to be Jewish also; that seals it.
So when you look at a few passages you can correct a bad attitude in is by showing us that may not be the case at all. We may have cherry-picked the Bible so fuel some sort of anti-Semitic motivation that’s simmering in our hearts. And at this time I praise the Lord we’re out of time because the next clause says, “nor will he have the desire of women,” oh my goodness. That’s going right from the frying pan into the fire, isn’t it? So we’re going to pick it up there at the end of verse 37.
Shall we pray. Father, we are grateful for today, grateful for Your prophetic Word, grateful for the perspective that it gives us. Help us to handle it accurately and correctly as we go through this very, very important material that hardly gets spoken of in most local churches. I do ask, Father, that if anybody is here or listening online and has never trusted in the provision of Your Son, I ask, Father, that as I speak the Holy Spirit would convict them, the Holy Spirit would do the job on people’s hearts that He has promised to convict the world of its sin, righteousness and judgment. I pray, Father, that they would come under that conviction and see their need to trust Christ for salvation. I do ask, Father, that if anybody is under that conviction that they would respond the best they know how, in the quietness of their own mind, in the quietness of their own heart to the gospel, understanding that the reception of the gospel is completely on the basis of faith alone, receiving a free gift, not based on what we do but what He has done in our place. Make that presentation, Father, of the gospel so real that somebody listening, either in this room or listening online or later on a recording or wherever would feel so strongly that tugging of the Spirit that they would respond to the offer of the gospel by faith alone, and might become, as a result a regenerated new person. Only You can do that work, Father, and we ask that You will do that as we speak. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said… Amen!