What Has Been Will Be Again
12-31-17 Daniel 11:21-24 Lesson 47
Good morning everybody. Happy almost New Year; I guess when the service is over I can say see you next year. If we could take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Daniel, chapter 11 and verse 21. The title of our message this morning is What Has Been Will Be Again. You say where are you getting that title from? You’ll find it in the Book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 1 and verse 9 where Solomon says something very similar there, what has been will be again. [Ecclesiastes 1:9, “That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.”]
That’s the book where Solomon says “there is nothing new under the” what? “the sun.” And the reason I have chosen that as a title is because we’re entering a section of Scripture that the Holy Spirit has specifically given us to show us that in God history is cyclical; history recycles. And we’re about to read about a man, one of the great villains of the nation of Israel, who did some terrible things to Israel during a time period that we call the intertestamental time period between the two testaments. And yet the way the Holy Spirit has unfolded this individual he is used as a type if you will, a prefigurement if you will, for the coming antichrist. Everything that the coming antichrist will do, in fact, already has been done in miniature form through the man we’re going to begin reading about this morning in verses 21-35.
And the reason I think this is so instructive to us is it shows us that God has history under control. If God can set up a type or a prefigurement in the form of a dress rehearsal and then say get ready for the final act later, obviously we worship a God and serve a God that has not lost control of this universe at all. In fact, everything is moving, even man in his rebellion and Satan in his rebellion and the fallen angelic kingdom in their rebellion, everything is moving according to preordained determined plan. And so it is always to me a staggering thing to look at the rebellion of God’s creatures and see how God is actually using that rebellion to orchestrate His final end of things historically.
This is important because it’s easy to think, when you go through some difficulties and trials and tribulations as a Christian that somehow things have gotten outside of God’s purview; God no longer has control over things. And many, many people today are filled with a state of anxiety as they look at the next year, 2018. The great question is what does the future hold? Is it going to be peace and prosperity, as many, many people say, or is recession, depression, are war clouds looming on the horizon as other people say? And the reality of the situation is you may not know what tomorrow holds but you know as a Christian who holds tomorrow. God knows exactly what’s going to happen; He’s knows exactly what’s going to happen this coming year. And to kind of build our confidence in it He’s given us a prefigurement; what has been will be again.
So we are in that section of the Book of Daniel that we call the final vision, chapters 10-12. We saw the setting which is 536 B.C. And once again I said you ought to remember that date and memorize it, and that holds true even more as we’re going to look at a series of prophecies beginning this morning of things that happened about 400 years after Daniel received this information. Daniel is receiving this information in 536 B.C. These prophecies that we’re looking at start to unfold about 175-164 B.C. That’s roughly 400 years in advance. God is revealing history 400 years before it happens; 400 years is a long time, as I like to say, America has only been in existence for just a little over 200 years. Think of a two times the United States of America in terms of longevity and that’s what Daniel is receiving here from the Lord.
A heavenly messenger, as we have studied, chapter 10, is dispatched from heaven to give Daniel this very important information. The angel himself has to explain why he came and what was the reason for his twenty-one day, or three week delay. And then finally you move to chapter 11, verse 2 through the end of the book and you have the final vision itself.
The vision begins, as we have talked about, with information concerning Persia, which was the kingdom which was in existence when Daniel was on the earth. And we saw in verse 2 some very interesting information about Persia. And then we moved, in verses 3-4, through the kingdom of Greece, and probably the key thing to understand here is Daniel, in advance, sees the rise of Alexander the Great, the soon death (at a very young age) of Alexander the Great, and the division of Alexander the Great’s kingdom into four parts.
That’s what it looks like on a map and of course the two most important generals where this partitioning happened are the Seleucid dynasty in Syria up north, and the Ptolemy dynasty in Egypt down south. Now up to this point in time I’ve been pronouncing Ptolemy as Pit-ol-omy and my wife the other day says you know that the “P” is silent there and so I said well you tell me this now after I’ve been mispronouncing it for a month. But I think it’s pronounced Tol-omy.
So Seleucid, or the Seleucid dynasty is up north in Syria; the Ptolemy dynasty is down south in Egypt. And so they become the two most important players in Daniel’s subsequent prophecies. And so what we have emerged from, verses 5-20, is a couple of sermons on the warfare that took place between those two dynasties from about 323-175 B.C. So these two dynasties, basically, go to war with each other for a period of, I don’t know, 150 or so years. And in the midst of their warfare they traipse back and forth over the land of Israel over and over again.
And what that section of Scripture has been driving us towards is 198 BC; 198 BC is when the northern kingdom got the upper hand and actually around that time took jurisdiction over the land of Israel. And there is a list of the various kings that we’ve talked about there in verses 5-20. There are in this section of the Bible, if you start in Daniel 11:2 and go all the way to verse 35 what you’re going to discover is there is about 125 prophecies there and we’ve only covered 3 of them… I’m just kidding. But there’s a lot of prophetic information here. What we have been trying to prove, and I think what has been proved is that all 125 of these prophecies have been fulfilled very literally.
And if that’s true, then the prophecies yet future, which we haven’t gotten to, beginning in chapter 11, verse 36, unless the Holy Spirit changes horses in mid-stream, which I don’t think He will do, consistency dictates that everything yet to come will be literally construed as well. So the focus beginning around 198 B.C. becomes the Seleucid dynasty in Syria as they took jurisdiction over the land of Israel. And what begins to be traced are these various Seleucid rulers, ultimately coming from Seleucus, the general that started that particular dynasty.
And so you see a long list of kings; you see a long list of rulers and the text has been driving us to the very bottom of the screen, a man named Antiochus IV (Epiphanes).
[Seleucus I (Nicator) 312-281. Antiochus I (Soter) 281-261). Antiochus Theos, 261-246. Seleucus Callinicus, 246-226. Seleucus III, 226-223. Antiochus III (Great) 223-187. Seleucus IV (Philopater) 186-175. Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) 175-164.]
Once we get his lineage and his name and his kingdom and his rulership the Holy Spirit focuses in on this man like a laser beam and he gets extended treatment. The reason he gets extended treatment is because he, probably more than anybody else I can think of in the entire Bible, is a prefigurement of the coming antichrist.
And there are a lot of people today that are talking about an antichrist; the subject is sort of a hot topic and what I’ve discovered is a lot of people assemble their doctrine of the antichrist without fully understanding the types that the Holy Spirit has given us of the coming antichrist. If you want to understand who the coming antichrist is, how he will operate, what his motives are, what his agenda will be you cannot skip this man, Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) because he is the one that the Holy Spirit draws our attention to concerning the antichrist of the future. He is a prefigurement of the coming antichrist.
The only other person I can think of in the entire Bible that personifies the antichrist in this way is Nimrod. Nimrod, of course, you’ll see his name in Genesis 10:8-10. [Genesis 10:8-10, “Now Cush became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth.  He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.’  The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.”]
He was the architect of the tower of Babel, as you know, which was man’s first attempt at one-world government, that God disrupted. Other than Nimrod himself the first prefigurement of the antichrist, perhaps in the whole Bible, Antiochus IV Epiphanes reveals more information about the coming antichrist than any other single figure I can think of in the entire Scripture.
And so by the time we move out of verses 5-20 and the perpetual warfare between the Ptolemies and the Seleucids, verses 5-20, now the focus is on this man, Antiochus IV and he is the topic in verses 21-35. Obviously we can’t cover everything about him today but that’s the direction that we’re moving in over the course of the next several Sundays.
Let me give you a little bit of an overview on this section of Scripture and this man, Antiochus IV, if I could. Antiochus IV at this point in Daniel’s prophecy moves into center stage. Antiochus IV is going to reign for about a decade over the Syrian dynasty and over the land of Israel and he will be in power from about 175-164 B.C. Now remember the date when Daniel saw these things? 536 B.C. So Daniel is seeing something that would happen long after Daniel left the scene. So Daniel saw these things in 536 B.C. and you say well this guy, Antiochus, haven’t we studied him already? And the answer is yes, he was the subject of some of Daniels prophecies in Daniel 8.
In Daniel 8:9-14 and Daniel 8:23-25 the great vision of the ram and the goat, the Persian and the Grecian kingdom, Antiochus IV was very prominent in those prophecies as well. And so what I want you to see is there are two chapters in the Book of Daniel where the Holy Spirit is saying pay attention to this. I mean, if God say something once that should be enough. Amen! But what you’re discovering in Daniel is the Holy Spirit has surfaced this whole issue twice. So this might be a kind of sermon that you’re not interested in; this might be a kind of sermon that you’re bored with. This might be a kind of sermon where you think it’s not optimistic enough because there’s too much doom and gloom in here.
Well, the Holy Spirit, I think, would disagree with you. The Holy Spirit two times in Daniel’s prophecies, in Daniel’s book, calls our attention to this man, Antiochus IV. And in the process I don’t think the Holy Spirit just wants us to pay attention to Antiochus IV; what is going to be achieved here is a great victory done under God. The antichrist himself has to be studied in light of who? Jesus Christ. So sometimes in prophecy we can get so myopic and focused on what’s wrong or what’s evil and really what the Holy Spirit wants us to recognize is the evil is not the issue. The evil can be very, very bad; the issue is God’s victory over the evil. And yet we can’t appreciate the victory of God over evil unless we understand the depravity and the depths of it of evil itself. So don’t lose God, don’t lose Jesus, don’t lose the sovereignty of God as we start working our way through these prophecies this morning.
The goal of Antiochus IV was something called Hellenization. It’s something that he picked up from Alexander the Great. He wanted to bring in a monolithic Greek culture. He wanted to build what I would call a new world order. He wanted everybody to think the same way, to be inculcated into the same paganism that dominated the Greek Empire. And what was standing in his way was the tiny nation of Israel. Israel had its own language; Israel had its own culture. Israel had its own religious system and so they were looked at as being the obstacles of the progress of the new world order called Hellenization or Hellenism, which Antiochus IV was seeking to bring in. And as Solomon says, there’s nothing new under the what? Under the sun. [Ecclesiastes 1:9, “That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.”]
That’s exactly what’s happening today. Today the forces of darkness, I’m convinced, are trying to bring in a one world government, a new world order. They don’t want dissenters, they don’t want people that think independently, they don’t want people to think outside the box. And consequently Christianity is purged from the public schools; Christianity is purged from the market place of ideas because the architects of new world order look at this Book, the Bible that you’re holding, as an obstacle.
And you have to understand this as you go about your life as a Christian. You, in Satan’s kingdom, are viewed as a hindrance; you’re viewed as an obstacle. And praise the Lord for that because what are we to be in Satan’s world? Salt and light. And so Israel, in the days of Antiochus, Israel today, evangelical Bible based Christianity today is looked at as a hindrance towards this coming new world order, this coming monolithic culture. And this is what Antiochus IV was trying to bring in. this is why he hated the nation of Israel. That’s why people that think the way he thinks, Antiochus, always hate the Jews because the Jews have their own way of doing things under God. So what Antiochus is going to do, and you’re going to reach the climax when we get to verse 31, which we won’t be getting to today, but he is going to go into the Jewish temple and do something horrific in the temple called the desecration of the temple. And we’ll be talking about that in depth, and that that means.
And we have, that comes to our historical assistance, two books; they’re not found in the Protestant Bible, they’re called First Maccabees and Second Maccabees. They’re what’s called the Apocrypha. And the reason we don’t have them in our Bible is because we, as Protestants… now Roman Catholics think very differently about this, but we as Protestants don’t accept those books as inspired by God. Why is that? Because they teaching things like salvation by works, which the Bible blatantly contradicts. They teach things like praying for the dead, which the Bible blatantly contradicts, the Bible says it’s appointed unto a man to die once and then to face the judgment. [Hebrews 9:27, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,”] Praying for the deceased is of no value once a person crosses the eternal realm.
And you say well, pastor, if these books teach such false doctrines then why are we bringing them up here? Because we accept them as recording valid history; they are valid historical sources, just like Herodotus is a valid historical source even though Herodotus is not an inspired writer of the Bible. Just like Josephus, the great first century Jewish historian is a valid historical source although we don’t accept Josephus as an inspired writer. And that’s what the Books of I and II Maccabees provide for us. They are not inspired by God but we recognize them as accurate history in many ways, showing us how literally and how accurately Daniel’s prophecy, given 400 years in advance, were fulfilled. And as you’re thinking about this man Antiochus IV, as I mentioned before, he is a prefigurement, he is a type of the coming antichrist. The Holy Spirit deliberately uses him as a type of things to come. And so what has been will be again.
So as we look at this man, Antiochus Epiphanes IV, say that five times fast, we have an extended amount of information concerning him, verse 21-35, and how would we break down this mass volume of material. Here’s a five point outline that I’m going to be using.
Number 1, we have his rise to power, how he came to power over Syria is specifically prophesied by Daniel, verse 21. [Daniel 11:21, “In his place a despicable person will arise, on whom the honor of kingship has not been conferred, but he will come in a time of tranquility and seize the kingdom by intrigue.”]
Number 2, we have his general military successes. The Holy Spirit doesn’t give us too many specifics here but He speaks in general terms over the military successes this man, Antiochus IV had when he first launched his authority and his reign. That’s in verse 22-24. [Daniel 11:22-24, “The overflowing forces will be flooded away before him and shattered, and also the prince of the covenant.  After an alliance is made with him he will practice deception, and he will go up and gain power with a small force of people.  In a time of tranquility he will enter the richest parts of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but only for a time.”]
And then going down to verses 25-28 you start getting more specifics; you get Antiochus’ IV’s first military activities concerning first of all the Ptolemies in Egypt and secondly, Israel. And it is interesting that Daniel predicts that Antiochus IV is going to be largely successful in these initial military activities. [Daniel 11:25-28, “He will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South with a large army; so the king of the South will mobilize an extremely large and mighty army for war; but he will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him.  Those who eat his choice food will destroy him, and his army will overflow, but many will fall down slain.  As for both kings, their hearts will be intent on evil, and they will speak lies to each other at the same table; but it will not succeed, for the end is still to come at the appointed time.  Then he will return to his land with much plunder; but his heart will be set against the holy covenant, and he will take action and then return to his own land.”
But then everything begins to change in verses 29-31, where he is going to go into the Jewish temple and desecrate that temple. And he and his activities in the Jewish temple, as I’ve mentioned before, is a prefigurement of what the coming antichrist will do. [29 “At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before.  For ships of Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action; so he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant.  Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.”]
But there’s a happy ending to the whole thing. The happy ending to the whole thing is found in verse 32 which Ed Jones read just a little earlier. Did you notice what verse 32 said? “but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.” And what starts to get recorded in Daniel’s prophecies, verses 32-35 is the reaction of the faithful within Israel to what Antiochus was doing. They resisted his desecration of the temple; they resisted the process of Hellenization and in the wake of it they won a victory that they shouldn’t have won. They defeated Antiochus against all odds, liberated the temple from Seleucid rule and rededicated the temple to God’s service. [Verses 32-35, “By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.  Those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many; yet they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder for many days.  Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time.”]
And this shows us that what is necessary for victory and what is necessary for success is having God on your side, or better said, you being on God’s side. See, all of us are faced in life with circumstances that are beyond our ability to cope with… amen! And God, I believe intentionally places us into those circumstances so he can show great strength on our behalf. I mean, how would we ever learn about the greatness of God and the faithfulness of God and the power of God and the might of God unless you were in some kind of circumstance, relationally, physically, financially, emotionally, whatever it is you’re going through, unless you were in a circumstance beyond yourself, beyond your human abilities where the only person, the only being you could trust in is God.
And I believe God Himself will put us into those circumstances. Why is that? Because God wants to reveal His attributes to use beyond a book knowledge understanding. A lot of us are very orthodox in the way we think about God. If were to give a test, is God all powerful, does God know everything, is God present everywhere at once, and I were to give sort of a true and false test I think everybody in this room, in this church, would pass the test with flying colors. And that’s good, that’s a first step.
But now God says I’ll tell you what, I’m going to take that book knowledge that you have of Me and I’m going to flush it out in daily life. So in 2018 you have a financial downturn or you have a mortgage payment that you can’t make, or the doctor says there’s something on your report that I want to talk to you about. And then the Holy Spirit says to us, do you still believe I’m omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent. I mean, you have it good at the Sunday School level but let’s see if your beliefs work their way out in daily life.
And you see, unless the Lord had put the tiny nation of Israel against this bully, Antiochus IV, unless God had put Israel into a place where she had no one to trust in but God Himself we would have and they would have no record in daily life of how God rescued Israel. And this is the pattern of God and this is what God is doing with Israel in intertestamental times. It’s what God is doing, I believe, with Israel today. And I believe if you’re honest with yourself it’s the exact pattern of God in your life and it’s the exact pattern of God in my life as well.
And so I think God wants to get us to a point where we come into a crisis and we just instinctively turn it over to the Lord and we say to the Lord, You’ve come through so many times in my past, I’m just sort of eager on how You’re going to pull this off this time Lord, because what I’ve discovered in my own life, when God rescues me, He never uses the same strategy twice. He’ll use one tactic one way, a different tactic a different way. And you see, God’s hands are not bound the way man’s hands are bound. We think God has to work the exact same way every single time but that’s not how God functions.
And so He puts us into these circumstances where He just wants us to trust Him and we say to the Lord, Lord, I don’t know how You’re going to pull this off but I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen. He doesn’t want us to move into fear; He doesn’t want us to move into anxiety the moment a problem hits. And he is in this process preparing us for a walk of faith that He has for us. And that’s what God is doing here with Israel. And so what you have there in Roman numeral V is the reaction of Israel to the temple desecration. They wouldn’t compromise and God showed up in a big way and Daniel gives us all of this history in advance. So let’s see how far we can get this morning in this outline; that was just my introduction.
We have, number 1, the rise to power of Antiochus IV. Notice, if you will, verse 21, how did this man, Antiochus IV, actually gain ascendency over the northern kingdom. It says in verse 21, “In His place a despicable person will arise on whom the honor of the kingship has not been conferred, but he will come in a time of tranquility and seize the kingdom by intrigue.” [Daniel 11:21] Now for each of these verses I have the historical points regarding how Daniel’s prophecy was fulfilled.
So Seleucus IV, in the northern kingdom, has phased off the scene and in his place comes this man, Antiochus IV Epiphanes who, as I said before, is going to rule for about 10-11 years. So you have the death of Seleucus IV, his predecessor, and here’s the thing that’s very interesting to keep in mind here. The heir apparent to the northern kingdom was not Antiochus IV; the heir apparent was supposed to go to a man named Demetrius. And essentially what happened is Antiochus IV seized the throne through a series of events by which he seized the throne illegitimately. The heir apparent was sent to Rome and while he was away in Rome, Antiochus IV saw it as an opportunity to gain ascendency over the northern kingdom.
That’s what is meant here in verse 21 by the fact that he is “a despicable person,” he “will arise,” verse 21, and it specifically says “on whom the honor of kingship has not been conferred.” In other words, he seizes power illegitimately. Now I want you to compare that to Jesus Christ. There’s a reason the antichrist is called the antichrist; may people believe that means the in place of Christ, perhaps the opposite of Christ. When Christ showed up on planet earth and presented His legal and Messianic credentials to the nation of Israel He was a completely legitimate heir to the throne of David. That is the significance, if you will, of the genealogies, such as in Luke 3 and Matthew 1. The writers of the Gospels, the Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of Luke, carefully document, carefully credential exactly who Jesus was. He was exactly who He claimed to be. He had every right (had the nation received Him) to take His seat on David’s throne and begin reigning.
Not so this man Antiochus IV, who begins to seize power illegitimately. He was not the heir apparent; the heir apparent was instead an individual named Demetrius and that’s why in verse 21 he is called “a despicable person.” In fact, the name Antiochus IV Epiphanes means God manifest. What kind of name is that? That’s a person that’s trying to call attention to themselves. That’s a person that is essentially holding themselves out to the human race as some sort of godlike creature. And how different the man, Jesus Christ, is. Jesus Himself, did He not say over and over again, the Son of Man has not come in the world to be served but rather to what? To serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. [Matthew 20:28, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”]
So He was not a God-like creature, this man, Antiochus IV, even though he promoted himself that way. Verse 21 is very clear that he is what we would call “a despicable person.” And he seizes the throne through intrigue and he also seizes the throne without honor. Why is that? Because he was an illegitimate heir who took the throne secretly and outside of the legal procedure and outside of the legal process. This is who this Antiochus IV is.
You’ll notice also the word “tranquility,” he came in a time of tranquility. What does that mean? He came at a time when everybody thought everything is working out fine. He didn’t come, necessarily at a time of warfare. He didn’t come at a time of crisis. He came at a time of tranquility; some of the things that He was doing sort of slipped under the radar screen and he got control of things while most people were probably asleep at the switch (asleep spiritually).
And as we move down to verses 22-24 we start to get a window, if you will, an insight into his general military successes early on. Notice, if you will, verse 22, it says, “The overflowing forces will be flooded away before him and shattered, and also the prince of the covenant.” So he is someone that comes in during a time of tranquility and yet his power is so great that it’s described here in verse 22 as “overflowing forces.” He is a person of such charisma and such capability that he just seems to do away with his enemies; he seems to come in very rapidly and begin to solve problems.
But it’s interesting, as you go towards the end of verse 22 it says he is going to shatter “the prince of the covenant.” Now who is “the prince of the covenant”? I believe that “the prince of the covenant” is an individual named Onanias III. He was the reigning high priest over the nation of Israel and Onanias III, who is given this designation, “prince of the covenant,” he is sort of the de facto head, if you will, of the Israeli theocracy at this time. This man, Onanias III was hated intensely by Antiochus IV. Now why is that? Well because he didn’t do what Antiochus IV wanted; he was a man that took a political position, not with the Seleucids and the Syrians but with the Ptolemies. Onanias III wanted to preserve the Jewish heritage and the Jewish culture and so he would not cooperate with Antiochus IV who wanted to bring in Hellenization.
And another problem with Onanias III, at least as far as Antiochus IV is concerned is he didn’t give enough tax money. So I’m not getting enough tax money from this guy, he doesn’t support my policies of Hellenization, and he, by the way, is not siding with my kingdom in the north, he’s not siding with the Ptolemies, I don’t like this guy. So what happened is Antiochus IV applied pressure over the land of Israel; remember the Syrian kingdom was ruling over the land of Israel at this time, and had this man, Onanias III, deposed and replaced with another man, interestingly, is Onanias’ brother, Jason. So let’s get rid of Onanias III as the high priest of the nation of Israel and let’s put into place a puppet. And I think that’s what’s being described here in verse 22, towards the end of the verse when it makes a prophecy concerning Antiochus IV that he will actually shatter the prince of the holy covenant.
So with a little bit of political pressure now Antiochus IV had exactly what he wanted in place, a puppet high priest. And I don’t mean to go off too far on this but I can’t tell you how many churches out there are really not interested in a shepherd as a leader; they’re really interested in a puppet. They’re interested in someone that will sort of keep the Lawrence Welk music playing, will kind of keep juggling and keep the balls in the air but the moment that individual begins to guide a church (which is what a shepherd is supposed to do) is the moment the hierarchy of that church starts to push back against the shepherd. We didn’t hire you to change things; what we hired you to do is to be what Jesus called a hireling. That’s who Jason was; he was, in essence, a hireling.
And one of the things that appreciate about my time here at Sugar Land Bible Church is the leadership here has not looked at me as a hireling; they have actually looked to me as a shepherd. I don’t control completely the direction of this church because we have elders consisting of the number seven, but I am a voting member on the elder board and the things that I say, the other elders, my fellow elders look at with something to pray about, something that they have respect for because this church, the moment they hired me just wasn’t interested in a hireling; they were interested in a shepherd.
A shepherd is not somebody who takes orders from the sheep. The shepherd is somebody who guides the sheep; that’s the function of a shepherd. And I can’t tell you how many churches I’m aware of where they really don’t have a shepherd; they have a hireling, someone like Jason, someone who’s sort of like a puppet, someone who keeps the balls juggling in the air, someone who keeps the Lawrence Welk music playing just to keep everybody happy, and let’s see if I can hold on long enough until I retire. That’s what you call a hireling. And that’s not the kind of church you want to go to. You want to go to a church where there’s an actual shepherd there that God has called to be a shepherd and that the leadership of the church recognizes as this is our shepherd. This is the God ordained model of church leadership. Onanias III was more of a shepherd than a hireling and so he was quickly replaced by Jason, who was more of a hireling than a shepherd.
And as we move into verse 23 it says this: “After an alliance is made with him he will practice deception, and he will go up and gain power with a small force of people.” So you’ll notice this expression here, verse 23, “After an alliance is made with him,” what alliance is he talking about? The alliance that Antiochus IV just posed. How did he pose this alliance? He got rid of the high priest that he didn’t like and replaced him with more of a puppet, named Jason, and consequently Daniel, 400 years in advance predicts this alliance coming together with Antiochus IV, the king of the north, and the nation of Israel.
You continue on into verse 23 and you get more information about this man, Antiochus IV. Notice what it says, “he” Antiochus IV, “will practice deception.” Now notice that it doesn’t just say he is a deceiving person, he deceives people, but his modus operandi is deception. Some commentators refer to Antiochus IV as almost like a serpentine preacher. I was reading one commentator and he said he is not the kind of person that you want to live next door to. And we would expect such a man to be that way because that’s the nature of Satan, isn’t it? What did Jesus say about Satan in John 8:44, He says, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
How do you know that Satan is lying? It’s very simple—his lips are moving. Every time his lips are moving some kind of lie is coming out of his mouth. And many times the lies of Satan are sort of synthesized with the truth. I mean, if Satan comes out and gives us a complete lie we would recognize it as such. So his habit, the devil, is to sort of mix truth and error. He is a practitioner, if you will, of deception. This is what Daniel predicts about this man, Antiochus IV.
And I think we have completely underestimated the power of the devil to deceive. Did you know that according to Revelation 12:9 that Satan is a deceiver of the whole world. [Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”] That’s quite an accomplishment, isn’t it? I mean, think of “the whole world” under a state of deception and that’s what the Bible, your Bible, reveals about Satan and those that he energizes.
Think about this for a minute; if Satan can deceive Adam and Eve before sin entered the world, when they were standing I the presence of God in a perfect relationship with God, if Satan can deceive our forbearers in that state, what do you think he could do to you? I mean, you are a sinner by nature already; you are born, we are all born into the world separated from God. If Satan can deceive our forbearers who didn’t have those disabilities, didn’t have those inadequacies originally, didn’t have those weaknesses, what do you think he can do in your mind? What do you think he can do in your life?
And this is why the armor of God, Ephesians 6, putting on, for example, “the belt of truth, the helmet of salvation, etc. is so critical to the life of the child of God. [Ephesians 6:17, “And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”] And yet if Satan can sort of convince us that maybe he’s not as deceptive as we think, he’s already won the battle. He can put lie after lie after lie into your mind, making you think that it’s your thoughts or God’s thoughts instead of the devil’s thoughts… the capacity for deception. Revelation 12:9, “deceives the whole world.” [Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”] So this is something that’s very, very interesting about Satan.
Think about this for a minute; Satan deceived a third of the angels into falling with him. You’ll find that figure in Revelation 12:3-4 and 7-8. [Revelation 12:3-4, “Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.  And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. Revelation 12:7-8, “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war,  and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.”]
That’s how we know a third of the angels originally fell. Think of the angels who stand in the very presence of God to say over and over again, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.” [Revelation 4:8, “And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, ‘HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.” ]
Satan was so good in his original deception that he even deceived a third of the angels in that state into rebelling with him against God. He deceived our forbearers in Eden before the limitations of sin even entered the picture. I mean, if the devil can deceive the angels, if the devil can deceive Adam and Even in Eden, what more could he do in my life? And I think we’ve under estimated his deceptive capabilities. We really haven’t given mind to the Scripture that he deceived the whole world. We’re told over and over and over again to guard the mind, to renew the mind, to protect the mind.
It’s interesting to me that Satan doesn’t have to take control of every area of your being; all he has to do is to plant a few lies into your mind and he can basically through that dictate the course of your life even as a child of God. The 9/11 hijackers, think about this for a minute, they didn’t have to take over the whole airplane; all they had to take over was the cockpit or where the pilot sits and directs the plane. If you control that you control the airplane. And this is what the Bible tells us over and over again, that Satan has targeted the mind of the Christian. That’s why there is so much information, if you will, on the mind and protecting our minds, and to putting on the belt of truth, and to putting on the helmet of salvation, and to screening everything we hear and see through the lens of God’s Word.
This is why the Book of Philippians, for example, chapter 4 and verse 8 places such a high premium, if you will, on the mind of the Christian. Paul says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,” notice this, “dwell” that’s mental, isn’t it, “dwell on these things.”
As one person said, you can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, we all have bad thoughts don’t we? But you sure can stop them from building a nest in your hair. I mean, our minds are always under assault by the devil, over and over and over again and that’s never going to change. The thoughts are going to come. What I can do though is push those thoughts out of my mind under the authority of God’s Word and I can choose what I want to dwell on. “Dwell” is sort of a lifelong habit. What should I dwell on? It’s got to meet a test: number 1, it’s got to be true. Number 2, it’s got to be honorable. Number 3, it’s got to be right. Number 4, it’s got to be pure. Number 5, it’s got to be lovely. Number 6 it’s got to be of good repute. Number 7, it’s got to be excellent. And number 8, it’s got to be worthy of praise. [Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”]
That’s a pretty high list, isn’t it. And yet if we, as Christians, are not screening our thought life regularly we become victims, if you will, for the deceptive capacities and the deceptive abilities of Satan, which we grossly underestimate since Satan himself deceives the whole world. So Daniel here is predicting that this man, Antiochus, who prefigured the antichrist, is going to be a practitioner of deception.
Now notice this also, it’s very interesting, at the end of verse 23, “and he will go up and gain power with a small force of people.” What does it really take to topple a country? What does it take to topple a civilization? You don’t have to get the majority of the people on your side. What you have to do is you have to influence the influences; you have to influence the decision makers, you have to influence the people with influence and the people that can influence others. When you study, for example, communist doctrine, Marxist doctrine, the writings of Karl Marx, Saul Alinski, and others, they say this over and over again—don’t waste your time with the rank and file. What you need to do is you need to infiltrate the centers of power, whether it be politics, media, education, business, you get a handful of people on your side, in fact there’s a name for this, it’s called an oligarchy, a rule through a small amount of people, and once you influence the influencers you can take a civilization and you can take a culture.
This is exactly what Antiochus did. He came to power, he didn’t necessarily slay the masses but he came to power, the prophecies of Daniel are very specific, he gained power with a small force of people. I mean, that’s right out of the Marxist playbook: influence the influencers and you can topple a civilization, you can control the direction that that civilization headed.
Moving into verse 24 of Daniel 11, notice what it says: “In a time of tranquility he will enter the richest parts of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but only for a time.” Now this is the second reference that we’ve been given here that Antiochus did these things during a time of tranquility. We saw that referenced back in verse 21, he comes during a time of tranquility or peace. You see that also right at the beginning of Daniel 11 and verse 24. He comes during a time of tranquility.
That’s exactly what the antichrist is going to do. In fact, you might recall in our studies of Daniel 9:27 what inaugurates the seven year tribulation period will not be a war but it will be a peace treaty or a peace deal between the antichrist and unsuspecting, unbelieving Israel. [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 the moment that peace treaty is entered into, the prophet Isaiah, chapter 28, tells the Israelis of that time period that they’ve just entered into a treaty with Sheol. Sheol is death or hell. You’ve just entered into a treaty with death itself. And yet it doesn’t masquerade itself as death. Satan comes as an angel of light; it appears so attractive and so they reach out for this treaty, not recognizing that they’ve just gotten in bed with the devil.
[Isaiah 28:15, “Because you have said, ‘We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, For we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception.” Isaiah 28:28, “Your covenant with death will be canceled, And your pact with Sheol will not stand; When the overwhelming scourge passes through, Then you become its trampling place.”]
In fact, in the Book of Revelation, chapter 6, verses 1-2, it describes this man, the antichrist, as he comes on the scene, which is prefigured by Antiochus. Revelation 6:1-2 says, “Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, ‘Come.’  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.”
The next seal judgment talks about how once that first seal is opened peace will be taken from the earth. So the antichrist shows up like a rider on a white horse; that kind of sounds like who? Jesus, doesn’t it? Revelation 19, who’s coming back on a horse. Yet this man here in Revelation 6 is not Jesus Christ; Jesus is in heaven opening this seven sealed scroll. And in fact, when Jesus comes back and establishes His peace on the earth it will be permanent; this is, Revelation 6:1-2, a pseudo peace or a false peace. And yet the whole thing looks so attractive, it looks so appealing. And this is what Antiochus did, he came during a time of tranquility; he looked almost like a god even though the Bible says he was not a God. His name referred to himself as God but he is actually, as we saw earlier, a despicable person.
1 Thessalonians 5:3 says this: “While they are saying” what? “‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.” Interesting the things we can learn about the coming antichrist simply by studying this man, Antiochus IV.
But notice what he does. Did you catch the part of the prophecy that I read a little earlier? “… he will enter the richest parts of the realm,” what’s he doing here? He’s declaring war on the rich, “and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will” what? “distribute plunder, booty and possessions among them,” doesn’t that sound like redistributing the wealth a little bit to you, that’s the way it reads to me. He’s invading the rich and distributing the work of the rich to others, “he will distribute plunder, booty and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but only for a time.” [Daniel 11:24]
See, this is why I’ve entitled this sermon What Has Been Will Be Again. The strategy of targeting the rich, the strategy of demonizing the rich is as old as Antiochus IV, and basically the way it works is you come into a culture and you place the achievers in that culture as villains. And you try to get the masses to believe that the reason the rich are the rich is they stole it from you. Then they come in and they might even rewrite your own history books and say you know, your own country is stolen from you. And you get one group of people angry at another group of people, this is Karl Marx, class warfare, Saul Alinski, and what you do is you take the bounty of the rich and you redistribute it to the underclasses who think that that wealth has been stolen from them to begin with. After all, the rich never got that money through ingenuity, hard work, industry, creativity, those are foreign concepts. You make people believe that they got that wealth by stealing it. You take what the rich have produced, in other words, you kill the goose that lays the golden egg, in a sense, you target people that provide products and services and jobs and a tax base and you take what they have produced and you redistribute it to people that never earned it at all. And the people that never earned it at all think they’re entitled to it because after all, the money was stolen from us to begin with.
And by doing this strategy you can buy off an entire segment of society. And you can do it under the name of compassion. That’s exactly what Antiochus IV did here. I want you to understand something, I’m completely in favor of helping the poor any way possible. But the reality of the situation is people who use the word compassion and wanting to help the poor, oftentimes helping the poor are the furthest things from their minds. What they’re trying to do is to buy off a segment of society.
John 12:3-6, of Judas Iscariot, says this: “Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.  But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said,  ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?”’ I mean, Judas made that statement, it probably looked very altruistic, it looked like he was really concerned about the poor, but it goes on in verse 6, “Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.”
See, he used compassion for the poor as an excuse but the reality of the situation is he hated worship and adoration in such an expensive way going to Jesus Christ. And beyond that he was in charge of the money box or the money bag and the more money that was in the money bag is the more money he could pilfer and he could steal. But you see, his whole agenda, his whole motivation was masquerading as some sort of compassion for the poor. That’s what you have in Marxist doctrine. The poor… the Marxist could care less about the poor; what they’re concerned about is power. What they’re concerned about is giving things to people, whether it be food stamps, health care, welfare payments, whatever benefit or goodie it is, you give enough things to people and you know what those people will do? They will vote over and over again for the candidate who promises to give them more in the next election cycle. And what you have done is you have bought off an entire class of people; redistribution of the wealth.
And that, basically, is what Antiochus did, he went to war against the rich, he demonized the rich, he took the things from the rich and in sort of a Robin Hood fashion gave it to people that never earned those things. And consequently Antiochus bought off an entire segment of society; he bought off an entire section of society under the guise of wanting to help the poor when his mindset was never to help the poor to begin with; it was power!
Is that not a perfect description of the coming antichrist? I mean, this is exactly what the coming antichrist is going to do. Revelation 13:16-18 of the antichrist says, “And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,  and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.”
What is the end game here? It is the enslavement of the world’s population under government. Once a person goes under the subsidies that government provides is the moment they become a slave to their benefactor. They will give obeisance and worship and support to whoever comes along with the gift of gab that promises to give them more… redistribution of the wealth, buying off an entire class of people under the guise of compassion. And that’s what the antichrist will do and I think that is what is pictured here in verse 24, through this man Antiochus, who will demonize the producers, demonize the wealthy, and in the process use what they have produced to help other people.
There’s a solution to poverty biblically; the solution is this: if a man will not work, 2 Thessalonians 3:10, neither shall he eat. [2 Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” KJV] The solution to poverty is not to give a man a fish, but to what? Teach a man to fish. You give a man a fish you can feed him for 24 hours; you teach a man to fish you can feed him for his entire lifetime. And yet the name of the game for the architects of new world order is not independence, it’s not self-sufficiency, it is dependency and it is slavery and it outside the plan and the providence of God’s dealings and yet this is the end game. This is the type of world that will exist before Jesus Christ comes back. I believe that it’s personified here in Daniel 11:24.
And let me conclude with the end of verse 24, and don’t worry, I recognize that it’s 11:30, some of you are saying oh my gosh, Andy started at 10:30, he thinks he can go till 12:30 [laughter] because those of you that walked in late we started our service a little early so don’t panic, I’m aware of the time, I know I’ve been talking for over an hour. But I want to finish with verse 24. Look at the very end of the verse, I love what it says here. “…but only for a time.” One of the things I love about the Bible is I love the fact that it tells us very clearly of the rise of evil. That’s what we’re seeing here in these verses.
But it also tells us that while evil will rise and evil will have its heyday, evil will have its pinnacle, evil will have its zenith just for a season. We look at the direction of our world and we can get very troubled by it, but the reality of the situation is when you analyze world events from the perspective of the Word of God what you discover is evil gets its day in the sun but it’s quite limited. It’s only for a time.
The antichrist’s kingdom, if I’m understanding my Bible correctly, is only going to last 43 months; Revelation 13:5; it’s only going to last for 1,260 days, Revelation 12:6 and Daniel, earlier in his prophecies has told us that it will last for a time, Daniel 7:25, Revelation 12:14, a time, times and a half a time, which adds up to three and a half years.
God has evil on a leash. It’s sort of like what Satan said to God. Do you recall that? God said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant, Job,” and Satan says skin for skin.” The reason he worships You, the reason Job serves You is because You blessed his life; he’s got a hedge of protection around his life, but lower that hedge of protection and let me get at him for a while and he will curse you to your face. And God says go for it, BUT… remember what God said? You can’t kill him. In other words, I am unleashing the leash, I’m letting out the leash, I’m letting evil have a certain perceived victory in Job’s life but it’s limited. And the beginning of the Book of Job is tragic; the end of the Book of Job is phenomenal when God not only pulled that leash in but He restored everything Job had lost. You know the story, Job 42, several times over.
That’s the right perspective on evil as we look at Antiochus and this doctrine of the antichrist. We need to understand that the Bible is telling us, through this prefigurement, that evil is going to have its day in the sun. We need to be realistic about that but at the same time we need to understand that evil in God is always finite, it’s always bound and it’s always limited. And so we’ll be picking up the story here of Antiochus next week, beginning in verse 25 as we’ll look at his military activities concerning Egypt and Israel.
Shall we pray. Father, we’re grateful for today, we’re grateful for a new year, we are grateful for ancient prophecies that give us a clear portrait or picture of things that are coming. What has been will again be, but at the same time Father we’re grateful for the end of verse 24 which says but only for a time. And while we can leave here today realistic about the direction of our world we can leave as flaming optimists knowing that You have evil under your sovereign control. It’s possible, Lord, someone could be here today and they don’t know You personally. Coming to church may be because of a New Year’s resolution but You require, for a relationship with Yourself, more than simple church attendance. You require faith in Your provision and You’ve given us provision through the death of Jesus Christ. He did everything that could be done to bridge the gap between fallen humanity and a holy God. And You’ve asked us to do a very simple thing, is to not save ourselves, to not try harder through good works, for that is the wrong path; that is the path of religion. You’ve called us to the path of grace, unmerited favor, where we trust exclusively in what You have done for us 2,000 years ago on the cross, and we trust in that transaction and that provision for the safekeeping or our souls.
And if anybody is here today, Father, that has never done that, I just ask now, even in the privacy of their own mind and heart, with our eyes closed, that You would work in such a way in that person’s heart, even as I’m talking, where You through conviction would make Yourself so real to that person, even people listening online, I just pray right now as I’m talking that Your Spirit would make Yourself so real and they would enter 2018 no longer trusting in themselves or their good works or their religiosity or their denomination, no longer looking to themselves as their own savior but looking to You by way of faith. I ask that You’ll do that work now as I’m talking and that there be many, many responses.
I also ask that people that have responded to the light of Your gospel during this brief moment of silence, would let others aware of the decision that they have made, whether it’s people in this building, I pray that they would come and either talk to myself or church leadership after the service or people listening online, I just pray that they would e-mail us or message us and let us know that they have made a decision to trust in Christ. And so we can really celebrate with them as they enter 2018 as newly born children of God. We ask that You’ll do this work. 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.