Daniel-Wayne Barber/Part 27
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2006|
|Daniel had been fasting and praying and asking God to remove His wrath from His people, but Daniel had to understand that Israel had rejected many things of the Lord and particularly would reject the Messiah one day and there would be great, great conflict in their life until their self-will could be broken.|
A Vision of Conflict – Part 3a (Daniel 11:36-45)
Daniel 11, what a tremendous, tremendous chapter in our study of the book of Daniel. Our message is entitled “A Vision of Great Conflict, Part 3”. We’ve seen two parts of this vision that Daniel has had. Chapter 10, verse 1 says that he had a vision of great conflict. In other words, it was going to be very difficult for his people. Verse 14 of chapter 10 says it’s about his people. In the future there’s going to be great conflict for Israel. Daniel had been fasting and praying and asking God to remove His wrath from His people, but Daniel had to understand that Israel had rejected many things of the Lord and particularly would reject the Messiah one day and there would be great, great conflict in their life until their self-will could be broken.
And so God begins to reveal this to Daniel’s life. And we see part 1 of that great conflict in chapter 11. Chapters 11-12 is in detail the great conflict of the vision we’re told about in chapter 10. Part 1 of it begins in verse 2 as we see the fall of the Medo-Persian Empire. They’re going to be three more kings, he says, until a fourth one will come on the scene and he will attack Greece and all he will do basically is stir up the wrath of a man by the name of Alexander the Great; the great general of all of Greece. Verse 3 shows us that he rises up, he comes to power, and verse 4 immediately jumps to his death. When Alexander the Great died at an early age of 33 after a drunken orgy, they had to divide his kingdom among four of his generals. It took 24 years of fighting amongst themselves and finally they divided his kingdom among four generals.
Out of those four generals, only two of them are significant in the history of God’s people, Israel. Now remember, chapters 8-12 of Daniel have to do with Israel in the latter days; 1-7, the Gentile nations; 8-12 has to do with Israel. Two of those generals will fester kingdoms that will come about that have to do with Israel in the latter days. It will be the kings of the south, or the Ptolemy dynasty, which would be Egypt. And it will be the kings of the north, which will be the Seleucid dynasty of Syria. Over the years, and we see it verses 5-20, how they will fight back and forth, king of the north attacking the king of the south; or the king of the south attacking the king of the north. Where does Israel fit in all of this? Syria, Egypt and right in between is Israel, the whipping post, the whipping boy. And every time they would go to fight one another they would have to plow right through the land of Israel. Many times they would even take out on Israel the fact that they had been defeated in their campaign.
Well, that’s part 1 of the vision of great conflict. It’s going to be difficult and God’s telling Daniel, “Daniel, it’s not going to end just because your people have gone back to their homeland. It’s going to continue for God’s people. Look in chapter 12 verse 7. I want to make sure you understand that God is not a mean God, He doesn’t have a club in His hand, He’s not trying to beat down His people, but because of their transgression, because of Israel’s self-sufficiency, they have to be broken, and it’s going to take 490 years, chapter 9 tells us, before they can be broken.
Verse 7 of chapter 12, and we’ll discuss the context when we get there. “And I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time.” Daniel wanted to know how long? How long will this great, horrible conflict last and he refers to the latter days: three and a half years. But why would God allow it to happen? Watch this: “and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.” You see, Israel’s self-sufficiency, Israel’s own rejection of God, had to be broken. They’re going to have to be humiliated before God can woo and win them back to Himself.
Well, we see then part 1 of the conflict of the kings of the north and the kings of the south. Part 2, as we’ve already looked at, begins in verse 21 and carries through verse 35. There’s going to be a man to come on the scene that’s the worst of all in Israel’s history. He will be a man that will persecute and bring great terror and great horror to Israel. And he’s prophesied here in verses 21-35. As a matter of fact, verse 2 down through verse 35 is such literal history that the liberal scholars cannot handle it. They say God would never be that specific.
Well, my friend, this is prophetic history and God nails it down exactly the way it takes place. We’re going to find in verse 21, or we’ve already found, that he’s going to be a despicable person. He’s referring here to Antiochus Epiphanes; he’s the man who came on the scene out of the Seleucid dynasty of the kings to the north that was going to cause great, great tragedy to Israel. He’ll be a despicable person, he’ll be a defiant person in verse 22, he’ll be a deceptive person in verses 23-28, and he’ll be a very determined person in verses 29-35. He’s going to come in and be determined to destroy Egypt, but he’ll not be allowed to do that, the kings of the south. He’ll be determined to destroy and annihilate Israel but he’ll not be allowed to do it. He’s a very determined, despicable, defiant, and a deceptive person. He was prophesied to bring about great terror and you can write it down, history backs it up, he did exactly the way God said that he would do. What God’s Word says, friend, always holds true. When God says it, you can stand on it. It will always hold up.
Well, we begin to realize that Antiochus Epiphanes is only a preview of coming attractions. We’ve seen part 1 and part 2 of that vision of great conflict. But part 3 is more horrible than Daniel could hardly stand. This was a part of the vision that made his knees become weak. This was the part that made his mouth to become speechless. He even fainted at one time; he could not handle the great conflict that God was revealing to him that would have to take place to Israel. And it had to do with the latter days.
All Antiochus Epiphanes is, is a preview of one who will come in the latter days; mind you, the last seven years of this age. For three and one half years he will bring awful horror and tragedy to Israel. That man is the Antichrist. Verses 36-45 we have a gigantic leap. It’s like a slingshot and he takes you from Antiochus Epiphanes and shoots you right on into the latter days, right on into the time of the great tribulation, the days of Jacob’s distress that will come on this earth.
But before we get into that, let’s remember what we have seen in Daniel and Revelation about the Antichrist. Some of you may be visiting with us this morning and don’t realize that the Antichrist is prophesied in the book of Daniel. Turn back with me to chapter 7 of Daniel. Let’s look first of all at verse 8. And remember, he’s dealing with the fourth beast, and he’s dealing with Rome, not in ancient Rome but in latter day Rome. A time when there are going to be ten nations, ten kingdoms that will come together in latter days. We’ve never seen this happen before. We see some things similar to it with the European Common Market coming about in 1992. A United States of Europe if you please, but it’s talked about in Daniel.
In verse 8 it says, “While I was contemplating the horns,” ten of them obviously, that’s those ten nations, “behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth uttering great boasts.” Now jump over to verse 24. We’ve already studied this, but this is just to refresh your mind. Verse 24, “As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them,” and this is it, this is the Antichrist, “and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times, and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time [one year], times [two years], and half a time [half year];” in other words, for three and a half years.
And we also saw in Revelation 12 as we were studying chapter 7 that the Antichrist will be empowered by Satan himself. Satan will be finally cast out of heaven and it will be during the middle of that tribulation period of seven years. And for three and a half years he will incarnate this Antichrist. And he will, with all the evil that Satan can muster within a man, the body of a man, he will persecute the woman who is Israel. There will be ten nations as we saw in Revelation 17 that will be the power behind this man. He will be a tyrant like the world has never known and he will do severe damage to Israel during those days.
Daniel 9 tells us that he’s the prince who is to come, that he makes a covenant with Israel for one week, or seven years, the last seven years of this age, and in the middle of that seven year period of time he will break that covenant and he will then persecute Israel. Now God, in Daniel, is wanting Daniel to know something, not just for Daniel’s sake as we’ll see in chapter 12, but it’s for the people who will be during that day. As a matter of fact he tells Daniel after he finishes this vision, “Seal it up. Seal it up. There will be those who will come in future days that will need this revelation.” It was not just for Daniel, it will be for the people going through that horrible time, sometime on this earth. We have it in the Word of God.
So verses 36-45, it jumps to the latter days. It jumps from Antiochus Epiphanes, verses 21-35; it jumps now to the latter days and gives us a picture of the Antichrist. It’s in reverse of what we’ve already seen. In chapter 7 we see the Antichrist, in chapter 8 we see Antiochus Epiphanes. But in chapter 11 we see first of all Antiochus Epiphanes, then we see the picture of the Antichrist.
Now, let’s proceed very carefully. We’re in controversial waters. I do not profess to be a theologian by any stretch of imagination and not much of a scholar. We’re in controversial waters. When you get to verse 36 there are those who say there is no possible way there can be a gap between verse 35 and verse 36. How can you dogmatically say that there is a gap? Friend, I’m not dogmatically saying that there is. I’m just 99.9% sure that there is. I still see that there’s room for discussion on the matter. But there are two reasons that I believe that there is a gap. You’re going to have to think on your own two feet: you’re going to have to think for yourself. Remember this: I am not the authority. The Word of God is the authority. And Peter tells us in 2 Peter that the Word is of no private interpretation so I will never stand behind this pulpit and force my belief down your throat unless it concerns the virgin birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and the means by which we might be saved. When it gets to eschatology and it gets into areas like this, there is some room for some discussion. But like I said, I’m 99.9% sure that what I’m saying is right, so when you agree with me you’ll be alright. And I’m kidding! I’m kidding when I say that.
There is no record of any history of events of verses 36-45
But there are two reasons. First of all, historically I want you to see why I believe there’s a gap between verse 35 and verse 36. There is no record in any of history and there’s not one historian, not one commentator, that can say that the events of verses 36-45 have ever taken place. They cannot do it. They tried to force it into the life of Antiochus Epiphanes but it will not fit. In order to fit their liberal theology they’re trying to use it as some other king that has already come and already lived. But there is not one single documented evidence of history that verses 36-45 has ever taken place. It is yet to come. However, verses 2-35 is so specific that they even think that it was written after the fact. When you get to verse 36 however, you drop off the edge. There is no historian that would ever stand up and say absolutely, certainly that this has taken place.
As a matter of fact, one of the early church fathers, Jerome, wrote this. And this is back in the 300’s AD, he wrote this and I thought it was interesting in reference to Daniel 11:36. He said, “The Jews believe that this passage has reference to the Antichrist, alleging that after the small help of Julian, a king is going to rise up who shall do according to his own will and shall lift himself up against all that is called God and shall speak arrogant words against the God of the Gods. He shall sit in such a way as to sit in the temple of God and shall make himself out to be God and his will shall be prospered until the wrath of God is fulfilled.” Now watch this. “For in him the consummation will take place. We, too,” Jerome says, “understand that this refers to Antichrist.” That was written in the 300’s AD.
And so there’s no historical evidence to say that verse 36 through verse 45 is a continuation of the life of Antiochus Epiphanes. However, from verse 36 through verse 45 it just drops off the edge. It has to be history yet unfulfilled. It has to be latter day prophecy.
There is not textural evidence that verses 36-45 have occurred
Secondly, not only the historical evidence but the textural evidence itself. If you’ll just look at the text there are three clues there that really ring my bell. We have seen a pattern in our study of the book of Daniel that whenever you see these words, “the end time,” or the “end of time,” or the “appointed end,” any time they are mentioned they refer to the latter days. Even though however historically they may have an immediate end, they have within it a prophetical end which is in the latter day prophecy.
Look at verse 35; there seems to be a transition there that is so apparent. He says in verse 35, “And some of those,” and this is during the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, “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 he appears to look through the end of Antiochus Epiphanes’ reign all the way down to the latter days and the end of this age.
Secondly, in verse 40. Now remember this: Antiochus Epiphanes came out of the kings of the north, the Seleucid dynasty, so he was the king of the north at that time. Look at verse 40, “And at the end time,” notice the phrase now, “the king of the south will collide with him, and,” now watch this, “the king of the north will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen, and with many ships.” Now, if he is the king of the north, how can the king of the north come against him, you see? So it’s obviously referring to a different time, a time that is not yet taken place.
And then in 12:1-2, how could anybody not relegate this to the latter days, the latter days of this age? It says in verse 1 of chapter 12, “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise.” Boy, I tell you what, this gets my blood flowing. Michael, the prince over Israel, the angel assigned to Israel. Buddy, whenever Michael stands up you better believe it’s in defense of the people he’s been assigned to. He stands guard, “over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake,” look here, he’s talking about a resurrection of the dead, and he says, “these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”
How in the world could somebody take those two verses and force them into the life of Antiochus Epiphanes who doesn’t even come close to what he’s talking about in verses 36-45. So I have personally concluded in my own theology at this particular point in my walk—and I don’t write any books, remember that, I change my mind too many times—my conclusion is that he has made a jump. Like that slingshot I was telling you about. He takes his man, Antiochus Epiphanes, shoots you all the way to the last three and a half years of the tribulation period.
Now what do we see that is going on? This is part 3 of the vision of great conflict. What is it that God wants Daniel to see? God wants him to understand how hard-hearted Israel really is and what it’s going to take to humiliate and break them. But isn’t it wonderful that God is not through with Israel yet? When Jesus came He didn’t do away with Israel, Israel is still there. God had covenanted with Abraham; not only a seed, which is Christ, not only a land which is Palestine, but He also covenanted a nation which is Israel, and that’s an everlasting covenant and God’s not through with them yet.
Now there are two things that I want you to see this morning about the character of the Antichrist that God is revealing to Daniel here in 11:36-45 that will be coming about in the last days. I’m telling you, folks, you don’t have to buy this. My opinion and 65 cents usually will get you a cup of coffee at most restaurants. Jack and Kay Arthur just got back from Israel. Fifty four of them went along on a trip. While they were there they got to go into the place where they are making the vessels for the temple worship to be restored one day. They saw the golden pots, the golden plates; they saw the actual robes that are being made for the priests. They held them in their hands. The cornerstone is there. It weighs something like 40,000 tons, it’s there! It’s happening right now.
If all of this is going on around us, is somehow to do with latter day Rome and the United States of Europe, if the European Common Market truly is that prophecy of latter day Rome when it comes together in 1992, do you realize that the antichrist is alive today somewhere in this world? Do you understand that? It could very well be. Some skeptic could stand up and say, “Oh, Brother Wayne, what do you know?” I don’t know anything, but I know something about Daniel. It sure gives me a suspicion something is going on in our world. Why has the Communist wall come down? A man gave me this thought one day that just keeps rolling around in my mind, I wonder if now God has not brought down every wall that would hinder any of His people going back to their common land of Israel. You know, that’s the only reason history revolved around Israel, friend. But we’ve got to look at Europe first, and something is going on. He may be alive this morning. We may be keeping Daniel and then going to Revelation in the most appropriate time in all of history as we find a purifying hope knowing that Christ is coming again.
Character of the Antichrist will be of a lawless man
Well, there are two aspects of this man’s character that I want you to see, and he brings it out so clearly in verse 36 of chapter 11. Now get your fingers ready because we’re going to be doing a lot of turning here in a minute. It’ll be a good morning to learn the books of the Bible. Alright, first of all he will be a lawless man. In verse 36 now notice, “Then the king will do as he pleases.” Now somebody would say it has to be Antiochus Epiphanes. He was a lawless man, yes, he was; but nothing like this man. Nobody will stop this man. He will become law. You see, Antiochus Epiphanes was whipped by Egypt and then he was stopped by Rome. This man will be stopped by no one until God shuts him down. It will be different than Antiochus Epiphanes. This man is a totally lawless man and will do as he pleases.
Look in chapter 8, verse 25 again of Daniel, and let’s just see now what we’ve already read; make sure we put this together. “And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence. And he will magnify himself in his heart, and he will destroy many while they’re at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes, but he will be broken without human agency.” And so we see then that he’s going to be a destroyer, one that’s unbridled, one that can do as he pleases.
Verse 24 says that “And his power will be mighty, but not by his own power.” Not only will Satan incarnate him, God is going to permit him for an appointed time to do what he will do. Look in chapter 7, verse 25, “And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law.” In other words, he will change the law. You see, folks, he will be so lawless that he will become the law. That’s why 2 Thessalonians 2:3 calls him the “man of lawlessness.” Look in chapter 13:7 of Revelation. A man who will be a lawless man, verse 7, and it’s very clear about what God says about this man as the antichrist. “And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.” An extraordinary man with an extraordinary power is coming to the thrown in this age that we’re talking about. He’ll be the antichrist; he’ll be a lawless man; he will do as he pleases. Nobody can stop him.
Character of the Antichrist will be of a godless man
Secondly, not only will he be lawless, but he will be a godless man. Let’s look at that in chapter 11:36, “Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god.” Now hold your place there and go back to Revelation 13:15. Notice here that it’s talking about the false prophet at first. “And there was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” In other words, he’s going to demand to be worshipped and if a person will not worship him they will be put to death. He exalts and magnifies himself. Not only is he the law, but he proclaims himself to be God.
Look with me again in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and notice what he says, still speaking of a man of lawlessness, “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.” And that’s the sick character that we’re talking about that’s going to come on the scene. And let me just read one more verse for you here, Revelation 13:6 says, “And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.”
Now Daniel 11:36 says “he will speak monstrous things against the God of gods.” Monstrous things; that word has the idea in the Hebrew of the fact that he’s separate and apart from what he says. There have been many people on the face of this earth that have blasphemed God, but this man will be a blasphemer second to no one. Incarnated by Satan with the total evil in his presence, he will be the worst blasphemer that ever lived on the face of this earth. Only he will say such monstrous things against God. He’s empowered totally by Satan and he will prosper.
Look what it says, verse 36, “and he will prosper until the indignation is finished.” Now folks, what we need to see here is that he’s on a leash and he can only go as long as God says that he can go and then it’s over with and God moves in. Look at verse 37 to show you how godless he is. It says, “And he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers.” Now look out, we’re in controversial waters again. That term “god” there is Elohim, which is the plural name for God, but however is used in many secular writings to refer to pagan gods. It’s not just in reference to our God. It’s a plural god. It can be taken from that particular phrase that he’ll have no regard for the gods of his fathers; that he was of Jewish background. And there are many today who hold to that view. However, there was a phrase in all the Hebrew instances that when you wanted to refer to the God of Israel you would not say “Elohim of his fathers,” you would say the “Jehovah of his fathers,” which is used all through the Old Testament to make sure you identify that this is our God, the true God.
And so we have a problem. Is he of Jewish descent or is he a Gentile out of the Roman world coming out of those ten nations? That’s a difficult thing to answer. And I can’t answer it for you; you’ve got to make up your own mind. One thought to remember,r however, is that if he’s a Jew, then why does it say he comes out of the ten nations, the ten horns of Rome? There are a lot of questions back and forth and so you’re going to have to make up your mind: was he a Jew or is he a Roman or a Gentile.
Verse 37 goes on to show how godless he is by the fact that he says, “for the desire of women.” “He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women.” Now what does that mean? That’s another controversial area; you’re going to have to make up your own mind. I’m not going to force anything I’m thinking down your throat. Well, here’s a thought: some people think that he’s a homosexual; some people think he’s a eunuch of that day, whatever. But the problem is that there’s a phrase here, “a desire of women.” In other words, for a Hebrew, the desire of all women was to be the mother of the Messiah. And some people take that to be an indirect reference to the Messiah. Not only will he reject the pagan gods, not only reject the true God, but he’ll also reject the Messiah, the Christ, which makes him named by the New Testament alone, Antichrist. A godless, godless man; he’ll not only be the law but he’ll profess himself to be god.
I’m very grateful for the study of Daniel because I know that it’s only for a time. God has decreed how long this guy will be in his miserable ways toward Israel. God has appointed the time and when it’s over with, friend, it will be over with. God is in charge.
Now I know these messages sometimes, especially going through chapter 11, do not thrill our hearts, but I had somebody come to me and said, “Wayne, quit apologizing. Number 1, it can’t make me want to go to the mission field, I’m already going to the mission field. Number 2, it can’t make me want to sing in the choir, I’m already singing in the choir. What it does make me understand is that God is in control of my life.” Is that coming through to you real loud and clear? There’s an Antichrist coming. Why worry about it? God’s already set it up, God’s told you exactly what he’s going to do and it’s how long he’s going to do it. But remember, Michael, the archangel, is going to stand up and defend Israel. They will be nourished for that time. Remember, we learned that in Revelation. So why worry. God is in charge.
And I think that’s to me the application we’ve got to take home. God is in charge of our lives. I’m telling you folks, that’ll bless your life. John McArthur, when he was in our church told me that day, “The doctrine that ministers to me more than any doctrine in Scripture is the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. He is in control.”
I want to tell you something friend, wherever God guides, He provides. Daniel tells us He is in control. Everything is alright. God has always sovereignly met our needs. Now why am I saying all this? Because I just know people and I know how the mind works if it gets off the principle of the sovereignty of God. “Oh dear, how are we going to make it?” Two plus two equals four, oh no. A friend of mind shared a passage out of Zachariah and I thought, “Bless you.” It says, “Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord.” You know what the words might and power mean? It’ll bless your socks off.
The word “might” means the might that comes from wealth. It doesn’t matter how much we have in the budget, friend, that’s never going to do a thing. The word for “power” is the word for lizard. As a matter of fact, when I came up with it, and a friend of mine was sharing with me, I thought he’d had a stroke or something had happened to him and he messed up. Lizard, there was a lizard over in that land at that time that was such a self-determined creature, they made a word to describe self-determination and they referred it to that lizard. So what did God say? Not by how much money you have in your coffer, it’s not by your willingness to grit your teeth and see it happen regardless, it’s by My Spirit, says the Lord. And, folks, if God is sovereign, then we know that God, wherever He guides, will provide. Remember that. Don’t think humanistically. Think like God is saying.
The Christian life is not figuring out something and then seeing if you can twist God’s arm. The Christian life is saying, “God, what are You showing us and how can we cooperate with You. And when You provide all glory will go back to Yourself.” Daniel tells us God is in control, and remember when we honor His Word, He will honor us. For whatever reason I shared that it was on my heart so strong I felt like I needed to share it. I didn’t plan it; I thank the Lord for bringing it back to my mind at this time fitting in the context of Daniel.