Daniel 053 – A Spiritual Counterfeit

Daniel 053 – A Spiritual Counterfeit
Daniel 11:38b-41 • Dr. Andy Woods • February 18, 2018 • Daniel


Andy Woods

A Spiritual Counterfeit

2-18-18      Daniel 11:38b-41         Lesson 53

Good morning everybody.  Let’s take our Bibles if we could and open them to the Book of Daniel, chapter 11 and verse 38.  The title of our message this morning is A Spiritual Counter­feit.  As you know we’re continuing to work our way through, and I appreciate everyone’s perseverance in hanging with me.  Probably one of the most difficult chapters in the whole Bible to interpret correctly is Daniel 11 which is part of his final vision that he received about 536 B.C. back in the sixth century.  He had some information given to him about Persia, the empire that existed when he was alive (Daniel).   And then after his death Greece and then some more information about the Ptolemies and the Seleucids; then some information about a man named Antiochus IV who was a prefigurement of the coming antichrist.  And right there in verse 36 we shifted into the distant future where Daniel begins to receive information about events that are yet future even from our time frame today in the 21st century, things that will happen in the final events prior to the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.

He begins to focus in a man named the antichrist from other verses of Scripture.  So the prophecy is moved from the Grecian era into the distant future.  Here’s sort of an outline that we can follow related to this man, the antichrist.  We have his self-magnification (verses 36-37), his military power (verses 38-39), his military successes (verses 40-43), and yet the Bible predicts that it will not end well for him, nor will it end well for anyone who opposes God.  Verses 44-45 reveal that he will come to an end and there will be no one to help him.

His self-magnification we’ve already talked about and we’re into that section revealing his love for, affinity for, military power and wealth.  And this is sort of the natural course of things, people that will not trust in Christ and His provision, people that don’t know God have to fill the God-shaped vacuum inside of themselves with something.  So power and wealth, power and pleasure really become the best two artificial substitutes.  That’s what you see in this man, the antichrist.

Notice, if you will, picking up in the middle of verse 38, it says, “he will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures.”  Verse 39, “He will take action against the strongest of fortresses” watch this, “with the help of a foreign god….”  It’s interesting to me that the antichrist has such great acumen and military genius but it’s very clear here that when you look at verse 39 he doesn’t have this power in and of himself; he has the assistance of somebody else, a spiritual force, a spiritual power.  And that is really what I mean by a spiritual counterfeit.  That’s why I’ve entitled this message A Spiritual Counterfeit.

There are those today that believe that all spirituality must be good; if it’s spiritual it must be good.  And we’re living in sort of a culture that is moving away from atheism back to a form of mysticism and consequently spirituality is sort of the talk of the town.  And people think if it’s spiritual it must be a good thing.  Well, here what we’re discovering is the antichrist has dialed into spiritual power and yet it is not the power of God.  Revelation 13:4, of this same antichrist, says, “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?’’  He bursts on the scene with tremendous power and acumen towards the beginning of the coming seven year tribulation period.

In fact, according to Revelation 6:2-4 he brings world peace to the earth.  Can you imagine that, how a politician would be worshipped today if they simply brought us peace.  This is what the antichrist does.  [Revelation 6:2-4, “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.”]

Revelation 6:2 says he, “had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”  And apparently he does a good job because by the time the second seal judgment is opened peace is taken from the earth.  You can’t take peace from the earth unless it’s established upon the earth.  And so that’s the imagery that we are to think of when we think of this man coming on a white horse with a bow and a crown, “conquering and to conquer.”  And yet the Bible is equally clear that He is not doing these things through his own abilities and his own power; he’s dialed into the help of a foreign god (and god there, little “g”).  And in fact, this is why the inhabitants of the earth worship Him, “who is able to make war with him” they say, and they actually worship the dragon because the dragon gave his authority to the beast.  Well if the beast is the antichrist who’s the dragon?  I think the dragon is the devil.  You say how do you know that?  Revelation 12:9 tells you that.  So does Revelation 20:2.   That’s how I know.

[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.”]

The symbols in the Book of Revelation, most of the time, are interpreted for us right there in the same book, usually in the very same context, spiritual power, the ability to do superhuman supernatural things.  And it is interesting to me to watch our culture opening up to this.  It’s interesting to me to watch television shows, crime investigation shows and how I’ve noticed it’s becoming more and more common for people to try to solve crimes by dialing into psychics.  We’re a nation today that is interested in psychics, the psychic hotlines, palm reading.  You go right on down the board here with different things, horoscopes.

What is all this?  It’s preparatory for what the Bible reveals about the end of the age because people in the last days will become very spiritual; it just won’t be the spirituality of God!  Because there is such a thing in the world today as a spiritual counterfeit; “all that glitters is not” necessarily “gold.”  The antichrist is going to mimic Jesus Christ in so many profound ways that when the antichrist finally shows up people by that time will be deceived into thinking this must be THE Christ, having rejected the true Christ that came 2,000 years ago.  What happens to a mind that rejects truth?  It becomes open to all sorts of insinuations and suggestions, open for a counterfeit, not the real thing.  That, in essence, is who the antichrist is, a man of spirituality.  We might say a man of religion.  It’s interesting to me how he begins to mimic Jesus Christ.

Look at the end of verse 39, “he will give great honor to those who acknowledge him” he “will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price.”  If you’re on his side he’s on  your side.  And don’t let people sell you on the idea that there’s no payday to serving the devil.  There is a payday; there is a certain amount of benefits that accrue into a person’s life in terms of power, prosperity, notoriety, if they will just open their heart to the dark side.

The devil will do whatever he has to do to keep a person’s eyes off Jesus Christ, including giving them a window into what they long for many times… success, power, notoriety, the ability to be famous, the ability to work through supernatural signs and wonders.  And people are deceived into thinking that because these are spiritual experiences they have to be from God.  Not so at all, necessarily.  There is a spiritual counterfeit, we’re reading about it right here, one of the greatest counterfeits (spiritually) yet to come on the scene is coming and the pages of your Bible warn about it as clearly as it can be warned.

I like this quote from John Whitcomb; he makes this statement: ““The Antichrist will lavish his vast resources upon military fortifications and programs and will encourage cooperation by distributing positions of authority and valuable property to” who? “to his followers.”  [Daniel, Page 155]  That’s John Whitcomb’s in His Daniel commentary comment on verse 39, the verse we’re looking at.

And it pays to serve the antichrist but here is what Satan and his cohorts will never tell you; the payment is very temporary.  The consequences that are incurred far outlive any short-lived payment.  In fact, if I’m understanding my Bible correctly that payment is going to last about (for these inhabitants of the earth at this time) about three and a half years, forty-two months, one thousand two hundred and sixty days.  You know most people would give their soul to have their deepest longings of their human heart, whether it be fame, success, prosperity, whatever it is, if they could just have what they’re craving for three and  half years they would give it all up in an instant.  And that’s what you’re getting here with the antichrist.

And how different it is with Jesus Christ who also offers a payment.  The payment is not necessarily instantaneous; the payment doesn’t necessarily have to happen at a specific moment in time but let me tell you something.  If  you are aligned with Christ by way of faith a payment is coming your direction that will far outlast a mere three and a half years or forty-two months given by a spiritual counterfeit.  The Bible in Revelation 22:5, of us, says, “They will reign forever and ever.  [Revelation 22:5, “And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.”]

Now I may not be a mathematical genius but I can see this much: “forever and ever” is a lot longer than three and a half years.  It’s a lot longer than forty-two months.  And you see, this is why the Bible tells us very clearly not to become envious of the prosperity of the wicked.  Have  you ever gotten like that in your life; I sure have.  You see people that hate God, reject the Bible, live life on their own terms, and  yet things always seem to be going their direction.  They are the ones that get the promotions.  They’re the ones that get the breaks.  They’re the ones that are financially prospering and we say to the Lord, Lord, what about me, I’m serving You, I’m walking with You, I have trusted in Your provision and I’m not getting anything but obstacles and trials.  And it’s so easy in the heart of the child of God to become envious of the prosperity off the wicked.

In fact, there’s a whole psalm in your Bible that deals with this subject.  Did you know that?  It’s Psalm 73.  If you find yourself in a mindset where you’re envious of the prosperity of the wicked read Psalm 73.  It’s one of the Psalms of Asaph.  Let me read you just a couple of verses from that Psalm.  [3] “For I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”  And he goes on, I would say about 15, 14, 13 verses just complaining, complaining about what it is I’m talking about here, that the wicked are getting ahead all the time.

[Psalm 73:4, “For there are no pains in their death, and their body is fat.  [5] They are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like mankind.  [6] Therefore pride is their necklace; the garment of violence covers them.  [7] Their eye bulges from fatness; the imaginations of their heart run riot.  [8] They mock and wickedly speak of oppression; they speak from on high.  [9] They have set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue parades through the earth.  [10] Therefore his people return to this place, and waters of abundance are drunk by them.   [11] They say, ‘How does God know?  And is there knowledge with the Most High?’  [12] Behold, these are the wicked; and always at ease, they have increased in wealth.  [13] Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence; [14] For I have been stricken all day long and chastened every morning.  [15] If I had said, ‘I will speak thus,’  Behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children.”]

In the tribulation period, as we have described, the antichrist followers are prospering, they’re getting ahead, they’re getting a parcel of the kingdom.  And it’s interesting how Asaph continues complaining “until.”  I love that word “until” in the Bible.  It’s such a hinge word.  He’s complaining “until,” verse 17, Psalm 73.  Well what changed?  His mindset.  He says in Psalm verses 16-17, “When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight, [17] Until…”  “Until I came into the sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their end.”

For whatever reason God gave Asaph a glimpse or a window into eternal things.  Asaph could not only see the prosperity of the wicked, he could see how short-lived it was in comparison to eternity.  And how things, when the day of the Lord comes and God sets all things right, how fast the prosperity of the wicked comes to a screeching halt.  Something that the wicked, the Godless in our age, I can almost guarantee you, unless the Holy Spirit is at work in their life, they are not seeing what’s coming.  Asaph in this psalm sees the judgment of God coming and he says I wasn’t envious of the arrogant any longer.

And I think a lot of times that’s what we need.  We are so focused on the transitory, we are so focused on the temporal, we are so focused on the here and now and our minds are off of eternal things and the only thing we are doing is reacting to what’s happening around us.  And it’s easy without the eternal point of view to become envious of the arrogant, of the wicked, and yet what you discover in the Bible is that these wicked people, they’re actually people to be pitied when you think about it, because judgment is coming.  Judgment is coming upon anyone that does not know Christ personally as Savior.  They’re blinded to this because of the prosperity that they’re now in, the seeming success that they think they have.  And that’s what prosperity, many times, does.  That’s why Jesus said on many occasions it’s difficult for the rich to enter.  I mean, the problem with being rich is you’re used to buying your way out of your problems.   So in a certain sense not being rich is advantageous because if I can’t buy my way out of my problems what do I have to trust in?  I’ve got to trust in God which is a good thing because “without faith it is” what, “impossible to please God.”

I could show you example after example after example in the Bible of prosperous people that could really care less about spiritual things.  I think that’s what’s going on in Luke 16 with the rich man; also Luke 12, the man who said what am I going to do with all this prosperity, I’ll have to tear down my barns and build bigger barns.  Have you read Christ’s response to that man?  “You fool,” you’re not even thinking about the afterlife, you’re not even thinking about eternity,  you’ve got your mind focused on three and a half years, you’re not thinking about forever and ever.  What a lack of foresight that man is condemned for.

You know, there are people that we have no respect for, they come right to the end of their working years and they don’t have a single nickel raised up for retirement.  And yet they’ve known all along that the days of their vitality were limited but they never gave it a thought until the body started to break down and there were no resources left for retirement.  And we look at people like that and we say what a lack of foresight.   What a lack of wisdom, what a lack of understanding and how life works.  And if we look at people like that as foolish how are we supposed to look at people that don’t even think about the next life.  I mean, forget the twenty, thirty years if you’re lucky, of retirement, what about the forever and ever and ever that happens after the grave?  What about that?

How foolish it is to go through a life like this focused on what the Book of James says is like mist that appears for a little while and then it’s gone.  [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.”] How foolish it is to just focus on that without seeing against the backdrop of eternity.  And yet these people got pulled into this blindness because they absorbed a spiritual counterfeit.  That is what Satan’s program is; it is a spiritual counterfeit.

2 Thessalonians 2:9, of the antichrist says this: “ that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders.”  The Amplified Version and the New Living Translation, it’s interesting that they chose to put the word “counterfeit” into the text to describe the reality of the antichrist’s miracles and programs.  They’re nothing more than an artificial substitute and yet if your mind has rejected the truth how real it all seems.  How attractive it all seems.

There’s a reason, folks, that the antichrist, 1 John 4:3, is called the antichrist.  1 John 4:3 says, “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.”]   John, in his writings, for whatever reason uses this expression “the antichrist” over and over again to describe this coming lawless one.  You can jot down 1 John 2:18, you’ll it, 1 John 2:22 you’ll see it, 2 John 7 you’ll see it, and of course here on the screen 1 John 4:3.

[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 but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”  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.” ]

Antichrist,  what does that mean?  Antitupon, anti-type, in the place of Christ, an artificial substitute.  Don’t ever fall for the lie that human beings aren’t religious, they’re all religious; we’re all religious.  Why are we religious?  Because God has designed us with a spiritual component.  We are designed to be in relationship with Him.  And if I will not fill that void with truth, I’ve got to fill it with something or else I’d be living outside of who I am by nature, how I’m designed by God.  And believe me folks, there are plenty of artificial substitutes on the landscape today eager and willing to fill a void inside of us that only a relationship with God can do.

So the antichrist, it’s interesting to me how close the antichrist’s program is to God’s program.  In fact, it looks so close that if my mind was not hemmed in to biblical truth I would think it was a spiritual reality.  It is a spiritual reality, it’s just not the best reality, it’s just not God.  You know, last night I started to think about this and I started to think about how Moses and Aaron, in the Book of Exodus, would perform various signs and wonders before unbelieving Pharaoh and Pharaoh would sort of get nervous until he could see his magicians doing the exact same thing.  You have the situation of a staff to a snake, Exodus 7:8-13, Pharaoh’s magicians did the exact same thing.

[Exodus 7:8-13, “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, [9] When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.”  [10]  So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. [11] Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: [12] Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. [13] Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.”]

They should have known better when the snake from Moses and Aaron’s staff ate up all their snakes.  You have the situation of the Nile to blood, Exodus 7:14-22.

[Exodus 7:14-22, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go.  [15] Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the river. Confront him on the bank of the Nile, and take in your hand the staff that was changed into a snake. [16] Then say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness. But until now you have not listened. [17] This is what the Lord says: By this you will know that I am the Lord: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. [18] The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.’  [19] The Lord said to Moses, Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs—and they will turn to blood.’ Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in vessels of wood and stone.”  [20] Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. [21] The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was every­where in Egypt.  [22] But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.”]

Think about that.  Think about turning the known water supply of your day into blood red, and here come Pharaoh’s magicians and did the exact same thing, and Pharaoh says I’m okay, this isn’t God, because my magicians are doing the same thing.  How about the multiplication of the frogs, Exodus 8:1-7.  Think of multiplying frogs all over Egypt and here comes Pharaoh’s magicians doing the same thing.

[Exodus 8:1-7, “1Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. [2] If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs on your whole country. [3] The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs.  [4] The frogs will come up on you and your people and all your officials.’  Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’ ”  [6] So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land.  [7] But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.”]

And this counterfeiting continues and continues for a while and then all of a sudden you have the multiplication of the flies and suddenly you reach a point where Pharaoh’s magicians could not repeat that and they say to Pharaoh, Exodus 8:19, this is the hand of God.  [Exodus 8:19, “the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the Lord had said.”]

I mean only God can be doing this because we, through whatever occult psychic hotline palm reading powers that we have can’t replicate this one.  And you see, this is what happens in the counterfeit program of Satan, it delivers to a degree, (do you see that) but it ends in a dead end because Satan being just a created being can’t do what the Creator Himself does and has done.  But how real the counterfeit seems.

Take a look at this chart. I stated writing down all of the similarities between Jesus and the anti­christ.  You say oh no, a chart of ten, how long is this going to take.  Well let me cheer you up, I’ve got another chart of ten right after this chart of ten;  that makes twenty, but I’ll do these fast.  The world was prepared in advance, that happened for Jesus, right?  Galatians 4:4.   [Galatians 4:4, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law.”]  2 Thessalonians 2:7 says that’s going to happen for the antichrist coming at the proper time.  [2 Thessalonians 2:7, “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.”]  Revealed at the proper time, Galatians 4:4, that’s going to happen with the antichrist, 2 Thessalonians 2:6.  [2 Thessalonians 2:6, “And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.”]

Claim of deity, a lot of people think Jesus never claimed to be God; I’m not sure what Bible they’re reading.  Jesus in John 14:9 said to Philip, have I been with you so long and you don’t understand that when you see me you see God?  [John 14:9, “Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father ‘?”]  I and the Father are one, and yet the antichrist, 2 Thessalonians 2:4, will set himself up in the rebuilt Jewish temple proclaiming himself to be God.  [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.”]

Did you know that Jesus was heralded by a forerunner?  Kind of the way Ed McMahon did for Johnny Carson.  Jesus was heralded by a man named John the Baptist, John 1:23.  [John 1:23,” He said, ‘I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”]  And yet the antichrist is going to be assisted by a forerunner, the false prophet.  Speaking of that forerunner did you know that Christ’s forerunner, John the Baptist, came in the Spirit and power of Elijah, Luke 1:17.  [Luke 1:17, “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”]   Isn’t it interesting that the false prophet, in the Book of Revelation, called down fire from heaven, in the full view of man.  It kind of sounds to me like he’s trying to imitate Elijah when he did that.

Jesus was empowered by a higher source, He was brought out of that grave by God the Father, God the Spirit and we’ve already studied earlier how the antichrist will be empowered by the dragon or the devil himself.  [1 Corinthians 6:4, “So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church?   [Revelation 13:14, “And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life.”]

Did you know that our Bible has a Trinity?  We worship one God who has expressed Himself in three personages, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.  That’s just textbook theology 101.  How interesting it is to go into the Book of Revelation and discover a Satanic trinity.  You’ll see all three characters mentioned there in Revelation 16:13, Revelation 20:10, the beast, the false prophet and the dragon, imitating how God has represented Himself in Trinitarian form.  [Revelation 16:13, “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;”  Revelation 20:10, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”]

It’s interesting that Jesus is the head of the church, Ephesians 5:23. [Ephesians 5:23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.”]  Do you know the devil has his own church, called the synagogue of Satan.  Synagogue is a religious term, Revelation 2:9.  [Revelation 2:9, “’I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”]  Did you know Jesus was a worker of miracles?  That’s how He was attested, through signs and wonders, 2 Thessalonians 2:9 says, the antichrist comes forward with counterfeit signs and wonders.  [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 Jesus was risen from the dead?  1 Corinthians 15:3-6.  [1 Corinthians 15:3-6, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, [4] and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, [5] and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. [6] After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;”]

Well, my goodness, you see what’s going on there in the Book of Revelation 13?  The beast who was slain by a fatal wound, a mortal wound and yet lived.  The satanic imitation of what God has done.  I think this much about Satan; I don’t think he has a lot of original thoughts but I think his expertise is in the counterfeit, the duplication.  In fact, he’s so good at it that when you compare the phony dollar bill to the real dollar bill, unless you’re really prayed up and studied up, it’s almost difficult to see any real difference.  Jesus is going to rule a political kingdom, it’s called the millennium, Isaiah 9:6-7. [Isaiah 9:6-7, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  [7] 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 to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.  The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”]

Satan is going to have his political kingdom, it’s going to last forty-two months, Revelation 13:5.  [Revelation 13:5, “There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.”]  Jesus is going to bring in world peace that’s going to last for a thousand  years.  The rider on the white horse, the antichrist, will bring I world peace temporarily.

You know, Jesus, when He ministered on this earth spent a lot of time in the Jewish temple.  In fact, according to Luke 2 He was brought to that temple at the age of 12 and he confounded the religious leaders in that temple with His wisdom.  And what do we see in the antichrist?  He goes into the Jewish rebuilt temple, temple three, yet to come, proclaiming himself to be God.  Jesus put an end to animal sacrifices, making them unneeded, Hebrews 9:26-29.  [Hebrews 9:26-29, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  [7] 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 to uphold it with justice and righteous­ness from then on and forevermore.  The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”]

Isn’t it interesting that that’s exactly what the antichrist is going to do halfway through the tribulation period.  Daniel 9:27, go into the rebuilt Jewish temple and put an end to the animal sacrifices the Jews are offering in that temple.  [Daniel 9:27, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.’”]

How long did Jesus minister for?  Most would say a little over three years.  How long is the antichrist kingdom going to last for?  A little over three years.  Do you know that Jesus sealed people, that when a person trusts in Christ as Savior they are immediately sealed, permanently and eternally.  And how the antichrist himself is in the sealing business with the mark of the beast.  Once you take it you can buy and sell but you have just damned your soul.

Jesus presented himself to the nation of Israel as their Messiah, John 1:11, “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.”  And isn’t it interesting that Jesus said  you reject Me, to the Jews, but the one who comes in his own name, him you’ll receive, John 5:43.  [John 5:43, “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him.”]

In Sunday School this morning we learned that God made a covenant with Israel, Genesis 15:18.  [Genesis 15:18, “On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, ‘To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:”’]  Isn’t that interesting, how the antichrist starts the tribulation period by entering into a covenant with the nation of Israel.  Jesus, one day, in the millennial kingdom, is going to be the focus of worldwide worship, Zechariah 14:16.  [Zechariah 14:16, “Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.”]  And isn’t it interesting how the antichrist, 2 Thessalonians 2:4 will go into the Jewish temple and deify himself above all that is called God.  [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.”]

Jerusalem will be the center of worldwide authority under Christ’s reign, Zechariah 14:17. And it’s interesting to me that the whole world will know who the identity of the antichrist is by looking at his activities in the rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem.  [Zechariah 14:17, “And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.”]

And you guys should be thanking the Lord in prayer that I fell asleep at this point in my study because I probably could have just gone on and on and on with these comparisons (and you can too), this is just a truncated abbreviated list.  But look at how the devil is working here; look at how real it looks and yet all that glitters is not necessarily gold.  Why does Satan do that?  I mean, why doesn’t he just come up with something really new, something completely innovative that no one has ever heard before.  Well, I think there is an answer to that.  For one thing we know that in Satan’s heart of hearts he’s always wanted to be God.  Isaiah 14:14 records the heart of Satan, where Satan says, ‘“I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’”  If there is a passion burning with enmity in the heart of the devil, a created being, it’s to replace God and be worshipped as God.  And yet that was his undoing as we know.

But what better way to get your day in the sun, even if it’s for forty-two months, but to make your program so similar to God’s program that it looks almost real.  Which raises a second reason why Satan does this.  If he can make his spirituality look like God’s spirituality your average person out there that’s not into the Word of God, studying these things, won’t see any real difference.

And folks, this is exactly where American society is with its movement back into mysticism, as people are becoming spiritual, not discerning a counterfeit spirituality.  So we can see how he comes to power so fast and exercises such military power and military authority, and that military power and military authority is followed by a list of his military successes, verses 40-43.

Notice if you will verses 40-43, 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 with chariots, with horsemen and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow them and pass through them.”  You see how fast it collapses; I mean, I thought he brought peace to the earth.  He did but it’s so different than the peace that Jesus brings, not just to us all but one day literally to planet earth; the peace that He provides is perpetual.  The peace that He provides is eternal.  The artificial substitute, the best it can give you is sort of that temporary temporal fix but nothing that really satisfies the deepest aches of the soul.  You come up empty with the satanic counterfeit.  And yet the people that are pulled into it don’t see the dead end coming because they’re in a state of deception.

You’ll notice it says there in verse 40, “At the time of the end,” now you might recall verse 35, we remember, it’s about what, ten years ago, it says, “until the time of the end,” I said that’s a que that we’re moving into the end times with these prophecies.  Chapter 12, verse 1, “At that time….” it describes an end time event.  So the context here is a repetition of the expression at the end, at the time of the end, it’s telling us as readers that this is the part of Daniel’s prophecies yet future.

And you read all this stuff, it says “the king of the north,” who is that; “the kind of the south,” who is that?  Then it’s mentions “he,” who is that?  Well, I think the “he” or the “him” is the same guy that we’ve been reading about in verses 36-39, the antichrist.  You say well who’s this “king of the north?”  Who’s this “king of the south?”  A lot of people in prophecy get really confused on this because they start to see in this the Soviet Union, they draw into this Ezekiel 38 and 39, a northern invasion, which is a very real invasion but I don’t think Daniel is seeing the same things Ezekiel is seeing.  I personally like the note of Renald Showers, he writes this.  He says, “In as much as Christ did not tell Daniel that the king of the south and the king of the north of verse 40 are different from those of verses 2-35 it would appear that Christ intended them to be understood as being the same.  This would mean that in verse 40 the king of the south is still Egypt and the king of the north is still Syria.”

Now hopefully this rings a little bit of a bell because when we were traveling ever so slowly through Daniel 11 we saw a lot of prophecy that had been fulfilled in the past from an entity called the king of the north which is Syria, and an entity called king of the south, the Ptolemy dynasty or Egypt.  Now I’m sort of the view that those same powers are in place when moved to the end time.  It’s still Syria in the north and it’s still Egypt down south.  In fact, as you travel through this passage you’ll see the name Egypt mentioned verbatim, verse 43 and other places.  So the king of the north is still Syria; the king of the south is still Egypt.  The he or the him is still the antichrist who apparently has come to power in the west through a Revived Roman Empire that catapulted into a worldwide empire.  We studied that in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7.

So what, then, is happening here in verse 45 as the empire of the antichrist starts to disintegrate.  It says,  [Daniel 11:40] “At 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” them.  What is happening here?  Egypt and Syria attack,  I would guess, Israel.  Why is that?  Because Israel is mentioned here, it’s called in verse 41 “the Beautiful Land.”  [Daniel 11:42, “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.”]  And an attack on Israel is an attack on the antichrist.  Why is that?  Because the antichrist entered into a treaty with Israel, Daniel 9:27, to start the seven year process.  [Daniel 9:27, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”] We’ve gone through that in depth.

And so if these powers are coming against Israel then they’re coming against the antichrist also who signed the false peace deal with the nation of Israel.  And these entities, Egypt and Syria, have never liked Israel. In fact, you can read the news today and you can see on the border of the nation of Israel, you go to the north, you go into Syria and who do  you see there?  Not just the regime of the Egyptian king, Bahsad I think his name is.  Who else is there?  Iran is there, oh my goodness.  Turkey is there, oh my goodness.  Rosh or Russia is there, right over the border.  And people say do you think we’re living in the end times?  Are you kidding me?  Those are the identical three powers, Turkey, Russia, Iran that are predicted, not in Daniel’s prophecy but predicted in Ezekiel’s prophecy to invade Israel in the last day and there they are perched on the northern border of Israel.

And people want me to say yeah, we’ve got a lot of time left.  No we don’t!  Folks, we’re living on borrowed time.   You have to understand that; you have to live your life as a Christian as if we’re living on borrowed time.  If I’m understanding this correctly and these are signs of the encroaching tribulation period and the rapture of the church precedes the tribulation period… you say well, I don’t believe that.  That’s okay, we’ll explain it to you on the way up.  In fact, so attacked is this doctrine of the pretribulational rapture of the church that Dr. Jim McGowan and myself just completed two Facebook live broadcasts on that which you can find at the SLBC website or my personal You Tube channel, all for free, f-r-e-e!

We went into detail explaining why the rapture of the church will precede the tribulation period.  Some people, I’m convinced, are so opposed to the doctrine of pretribulationalism that when the rapture happens they’re going to go up kicking and screaming.  And yet it’s a truth.  And yet if the events of the tribulation period are that close the rapture of the church can’t be far away.  Well Andy, what if you’re wrong?  Well, I’ve been wrong on a lot of things; I’ll live out the rest of my life span in productivity for Christ, thinking I’m living on borrowed time and look back on a life well spent.  That’s the worst that can happen to me.

But if you don’t take seriously these issues of the return of Christ, the rapture, the tribulation period, you don’t understand the season of time that we’re living in. And if you don’t understand the season of time we’re living in it’s wasted life, life that could have been spent for the things of God, squandered on counterfeit spirituality, the artificial prosperity, and things frankly that at the end are going to burn.  That’s what 2 Peter 3:10 says God is going to do to this whole earth; He’s going to blowtorch the whole earth.  [2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”]

And you say well do you believe in global warming?  I believe in 2 Peter 3:10, that this earth is going to be destroyed by fire.  That’s my global warming.  You say well do you believe in the big bang theory?  Yeah, I just think the big bang is at the end, not the beginning.  The evolutionist has got the whole thing backwards.

But you see these details prophetically are not there just to fill our heads with data; they’re there to motivate our lives, to get us to make safe investments. Everybody today wants safe investments.  Folks, there aren’t any safe investments except two.  The first safe investment you can make, and by investment I mean putting your effort into something is this book right here, because the grass withers and the flower fades, the word of our God abides forever.  [1 Peter 1:24, “For, ‘ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,  [25] BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.”’ And this is the word which was preached to you.”]

Jesus said “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Word will never pass away.” [Matthew 25:34]  You invest into this Book, trying to understand it, trying to teach it, trying to disciple people by it, trying to live your life upon it and you’ve just made an eternal investment.  And there’s only one other safe investment that I know of and that’s people, the Book of Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.”

And the fact of the matter is people, they don’t know this and we didn’t know it before we were saved, people will live forever.   They will live, as the Scripture said, and we read earlier, “Forever and ever,” that’s a long time.  And so since people live forever people matter to God.  People to us are a nuisance many times, amen.  Not to God!  They matter to God because God made them and the more you pour your life into another human being, whether it be raising your own children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, whether it be discipling your spouse, whether it be evangelizing the lost, that is an investment that  pays eternal dividends because they’re going to be alive somewhere.  A hundred years from now, a thousand years from now, a million years from now, a billion  years from now… this idea that people just get annihilated and they cease to exist, there’s not one shred of biblical evidence anywhere to support that.  The Word of God matters, people matter, that’s where you should spend your time.

You say well, I can’t do that, I’ve got to work at a job, I’ve got to make a living.  You know what you call that?  A mission field!  You’ve got a built in mission field because of where God has put you in your place of employment, because there’s people there that don’t know anything about Jesus and probably don’t care.  But you’re there because God knew they would be there at the same time you would be there so you could reach them for His glory.  It’s a different way of looking at life, isn’t it.  Prophecy, the encroaching tribulation period, is a perpetual reminder of this.

And so Egypt and Syria come against Israel, which is actually coming against the antichrist himself because these nations have never really liked Israel.  Why is that?  Because of something called Islam.  Islam teaches that once Islam has ruled over a territory it perpetually belongs to Allah and any nation that exists on that ground that was once ruled by Allah is automatically viewed as a usurper. So the nations are in place, the right motive for the attack is in place and I largely believe that Islam, which dominates the Middle East, is the very thing that God has allowed to come into existence to fulfill a script that God, through the prophet Daniel, predicted all the way back in the sixth century.  And we have looked at these prophecies, haven’t we, and seen how they have all came to pass in ancient history.  Why wouldn’t the ones  yet future come to pass.

And something else about the antichrist is he some way, somehow, I don’t know how he’s going to do it but I think this is what will catapult him into domination, is he’s going to allow the Jews to rebuild that third temple, which they want to do and they can’t do without starting World War III because if they don’t like the mere existence of Israel, what are they going to think, these Muslims, when Israel rebuilds its holiest artifact, either in place of the Dome of the Rock or next to the Dome of the Rock.  I don’t know how it’s all going to play out but somehow the antichrist comes along the scene and brings forth the art of the deal.  And people are amazed that he has solved this problem.

And you know what’s happening as this temple is functioning with animal sacrifices that the antichrist is going to put an end to?  Syria hates it and Egypt hates it and quite frankly the whole Middle East hates it because of the widespread ideology and theology of Islam.  And so they come into Israel to get rid of this nation once and for all and the antichrist, of all people, stands up for Israel because an attack against Israel is an attack against the antichrist because he is the one that’s made the covenant with Israel, Daniel 9:27.  [Daniel 9:27, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”]

And he repels this attack.  And not only does he repel this attack but he actually invades the nations who are the attackers.  And this is all commensurate with various seal judgments that are happening early on in the tribulation.  Jesus talked about this.  He said in Matthew 24:6, “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars.”  Aren’t we reading about those here.  Revelation 6:4 says, “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.”

[Daniel 11] Verse 41 gets very interesting, “He will also enter the Beautiful Land and many countries will fall,” this is talking about the antichrist’s successes and conquests during this early military infraction by Egypt and Syria.  He’s protecting Israel because Israel is his, at least temporarily because of the covenant he’s entered into with Israel and so he not only protects Israel but he goes after Egypt and Syria.  And it says here in verse 41, “many countries will fall.”  And then the most curious thing is mentioned there in lieu of verse 41, “but these will be rescued out of his hand,” in other words the antichrist has this universal, unilateral control over the earth but there are three countries that escape his grip, and they’re named right there in the Bible, “but these will be rescued out of his hand:” number one, “Edom,” number two, “Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon.”

You say well who are those names. Well, Edom came from Esau and Moab and Ammon came from Lot.  You know Lot was a believer?  I would never think the man was a believer if I didn’t have      2 Peter 2:7-8 in my Bible telling me he was a believer.  He sure wasn’t acting like it.  In fact, a good sermon title I have is Are you a Lot like Lot?  [2 Peter 2:7-8, “and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men [8] (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),”]

We need to be living according to our position.  And Lot is in a state of drunkenness in Genesis 19:30, 38, having incestuous relationships with his two daughters.  [Genesis 19:30, “Lot went up from Zoar, and stayed in the mountains, and his two daughters with him; for he was afraid to stay in Zoar; and he stayed in a cave, he and his two daughters.”  Genesis 19:38, “As for the younger, she also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the sons of Ammon to this day.”] And the nation that represents those people groups is the nation immediately to the west of the nation of Israel, a nation called Jordan.

Now let me connect the dots here a little bit more carefully if I can.  Jesus in Matthew 24:15-20 Jesus said this, “Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), [16] then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. [17] Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. [18] Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. [19] But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! [20] But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.”

When the temple is desecrated the Jews are told to flee into the wilderness.  Revelation 12:6, narrating the same event, says, “The woman” that’s Israel, “fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.”  Now here’s the thing I went to bed thinking about last night?  Where are they going to run to?  I mean, if the antichrist is controlling everything and Jesus told these Jews to flee into the wilderness after the temple is desecrated, where are they going to go?  Wallah, look at the answer here, it’s right here in the Bible, it’s been here the whole time.   “…these will be rescued out of his hand:” antichrist’s hand, “Edom, Moab, and foremost the sons of Ammon.”  [Daniel 11:41]  They are going to flee into Jordan and it’s believed by many people, on the basis of Scripture like this, that they’re going to flee to a place called Petra, a place that you can visit today in the land of Israel.

And you say well, you know Andy, I think you’re half-crazy with some of the stuff you come up with.  Frankly I am not going to argue with you, I am a little bit crazy but I want to show you that this view that I have, that they’re fleeing to Petra in Jordan for safety and security is not something that I just came up with.  It’s held by respected Bible teachers.

Arnold Fruchtenbaum writes this: “All of these three ancient nations,” the ones we just got finished with there in verse 41, “currently comprise the modern kingdom of Jordan, the city of Basra in Mt. Seir, is located in ancient Edom or southern Jordan.  Since this area will escape the domination of the antichrist it’s logical for the Jews to flee to this place.  Thus, God will provide a city of refuge outside the antichrist’s domain for the fleeing remnant.  It will be very defensible in a city located in Mount Seir.  Furthermore as they flee, while they are living there food and water will be miraculously provided.  God doesn’t provide food and water for fleeing Jews, does He?  Of course He does, that’s what the whole Book of Exodus is about.

You say well do you have some application for us today?  This is all Jews and the future.  What’s the Bible say?  The Lord is a strong what? Tower, those who run to Him for it are safe.  [Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower;  the righteous runs into it and is safe.”]  That’s where you want to be, where you want to be in  your life.   You want to be where the Lord wants  you.  If the Lord wants you at Sugar Land Bible Church I would suggest that’s where you be.  If the Lord doesn’t want you at Sugar Land Bible Church and wants you at the church down the street, we will pray for you of course, but that’s where you should be.  If the Lord wants you in this job and not that job, that’s where you should be.

You want to be exactly where God has for you in your life because when you’re there you’re right in the middle of His will.  And this is what God does; He provides places of refuge for us in the midst of storm with provision.  And you know where the safest place to be in this world that’s war infested is in Jesus Christ.  We’re all worried today, is someone going to come in here and shoot us all?  My goodness, we’re having Shahram Hadian come to this church, what is our pastor thinking, are we going to turn this into a war zone.  I mean, what’s going on, we’re all afraid, we’re all scared.

Here’s the reality of the situation.  The safest place you could be is in the will of God.  With all of the problem breaking out all over the world there is no great place of safety and security than being in Jesus Christ.  You say well what if they kill me?  Guess what?  They just did you a favor because “absent from the body” is what? “present with the Lord.  And that’s sort one of the fears that we have as leadership here, that people can come to a church like this, they can listen to the sermon, they can go through the religious motions and the rituals and yet they don’t really know Christ personally.  And that can be rectified through what we call the gospel.  The gospel is Jesus Christ entered into human history, he paid a penalty for the sins of the world that we could never pay.  He rose bodily from the dead to vindicate who He was.  His final words on the cross were “It is finished!”  It’s a translation of the Greek word tetelestai, which means  paid in full.  And what He says to us is I did it all for you.  I bridged the gap in your place.  You don’t have to do it.  What you need to do is you need to rest in what I’ve done and that’s what we call faith.  Faith is another way of saying trust.

And if  you’re here today or listening online, confused about your destination eternally, being sucked into all kinds of aberrant forms of spirituality, the reality of the situation is we’re here to offer you very good news.  It’s not our good news, it’s what Jesus did for us and commissioned the message to the church.  It’s trust in Him for your eternity; trust in Him for the safekeeping of your soul.  Trust in Him for your safety.  Trust in Him to move your soul from this world into the next.  That’s all He’s asking, trust in My ability to forgive you and do that  for you.  Can you trust Me?   You don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to join anything, you don’t have to give money to anything, you don’t have to raise a hand, you don’t have to walk an aisle, you just receive it as a gift, by faith.  And so if the Spirit of God is at work and convicting people of their need to do this our admonition is to flee to the Lord, that strong tower where they can find safety and security, which is just as real anything the nation of Israel is going to find in the tribulation period except this safety is even more profound because it’s eternal security.  If you need more thoughts or information on that I’m available after the service to talk.  Shall we pray.

Father, we’re grateful for these ancient passages and how they reveal to us things to come, speak truth in our lives. I pray You’ll continue to make us good stewards of these words as we complete this chapter, hopefully next week.  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.