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Mystery of Lawlessnes – Part Ten

Mystery of Lawlessness – Part Ten

“And the king…..shall magnify himself above every god” – Satan’s goal fulfilled?

We have seen in previous chapters how God sometimes addressed satan in the person of regional world rulers that were under satanic influence.  This was the case in Ezekial 28:12 where God addresses satan by speaking to the “King of Tyre”.  It’s clear by God’s unique description of the King of Tyre that satan (Lucifer) was the subject of God’s message.  In like manner, God reveals to Daniel how a future ruler referred to as “The King of the North would persecute the Jewish people.  In the following verses, we will see that this “King of the North” refers not only to Antiochus Epiphanes IV who ruled around 160BC but also refers to the coming anti-christ who has yet to appear on the world stage.  In both cases, we see world rulers who are driven by “The Mystery of Lawlessness” (satan) to persecute Daniel’s people (the Jews).  When we compare the past actions of Antiochus Epiphanes IV, and prophecy regarding the future actions of the anti-christ, it will become clear they are both controlled by the same evil force that lied to Eve in the garden of Eden. 

For a little more background on this historical figure who is the prototype of the future anti-christ, lets go back into the 8th Chapter ofDaniel again and focus on the verses pertaining to the “King of the North”Antiochus Epiphanes.  As we discovered in one of our previous lessons (Part 7), the first 8 verses ofDaniel Chapter 8 reflect the conquest of the Persian empire by Alexander the Great and the subsequent division of the Greek empire among Alexander’s four generals.  Starting at verse 9, we see what is commonly referred to as “the little horn of the book of Daniel” which refers to Atiochus Epiphanes.

Daniel 8

And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.

10 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.

Although this verse refers to Antiochus Epiphanes who ruled the Seleucid empire around 164BC, we see that the real power behind him was none other than satan himself.  This is evident based upon the fact that satan, (Lucifer) led a third of the angelic “host” of heaven in rebellion against God prior to Genesis 1:2 and they were “cast down”.   If this is the meaning of this verse, then to “stamp upon them” means to subjugate and rule ruthlessly over those whom he (satan) has deceived into following him.

11 Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down.

He, (meaning satan) magnified himself even to the “prince of the host”.  The Prince of the heavenly host is Jesus Christ, the Creator of the universe and we know from the book of Isaiah that lucifer (satan) proclaimed he wanted to be God, equal to his creator.  The “daily sacrifice was taken away” in 167BC when Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Jewish temple by slaughtering a pig upon the altar and erecting a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies (the holiest place within the Jewish temple which was to be inhabited only by GOD HIMSELF).  This act is referred to as the “abomination of desolation” which rendered the Jewish temple ceremonially unclean and unfit for use for a period of 2,300 days.  This abomination of desolation will occur again in the future when the new Jewish temple is constructed.  The antichrist will cause a statue of himself to be erected in the Holy of Holies, and will proclaim himself to be god.  This event will be the culmination of 6,000 years of effort on satan’s part to “be like god”.  For a brief period (and we will get into this more later), satan will exercise godlike control over all mankind on the earth.  As we discussed in earlier lessons, satan’s idea of “being like god” is to have absolute and complete control.  His achievement will be short lived, and he will soon face the consequences of his actions.

12 And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.

13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?

14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

Again, secular historical records confirm the accuracy of Daniel’s vision.  The Jewish nation regained independence from Seleucidic control in 160BC as a result of the Maccabean revolt.  2,300 days (six and half years) after the desecration of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes, the Jewish temple was cleansed and daily temple sacrifices resumed.  In verses 15 through 22, the angel Gabriel describes the rise and fall of the Persian and Greek empires.

15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.

16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.

17 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.

18 Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright.

19 And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.

20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.

21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.

Starting in verse 23, Daniels vision fast forwards to “the latter time” when “the transgressors are come to the full”.  This verse refers to the coming anti-christ which has yet to appear on the world stage and an age when transgression against God will reach its climax.  Verses 23 and 24 give us some valuable insight into the nature of this coming anti-christ.

23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.

“a king of fierce countenance” means his appearance will strike fear and awe in the hearts of all mankind.  The term “understanding dark sentences” refers to the fact that he will have supernatural knowledge derived from his master who is satan himself.  He “shall stand up” meaning in the latter times, will achieve a position of world power.

24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.

Verse 24 states he “shall be mighty, but not by his own power”.  Once again we see a reference to the empowering force (satan) who is behind this coming world ruler.  “He shall destroy wonderfully” appears to be a contradiction in terms as we seldom think of destruction as wonderful.  However, in this application it would make sense to assume this means that he destroys (overcomes) his adversaries by some other means than brute force.  Verse 25 below gives us some more insight into this concept.

25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.

“he shall cause craft to prosper” means that he will be a master deceiver and manipulator.  Remember in earlier lessons how Jesus advised his disciples not to be deceived in the end times?  In the 24th Chapter of Matthew, Jesus repeatedly warns against being deceived in the last days, because looking forward into the future, HE knew the deceiver, the father of all lies, the devil would be the force behind the last world ruler that would seek to deceive the whole world into following him.  “by peace shall destroy many” indicates that as a result of his deception, the anti-christ will use “peace” as his pretext for overcoming all who stand in his way.  Verse 25 goes on to say that “he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand” The seed of the serpent (antichrist) will oppose the seed of Eve (Jesus) and will be destroyed (his head crushed). 

26 And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days.

27 And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.

Starting in lesson 11, we will begin focusing on current events (over the last 60 years) and how they are leading us into the “latter days” as prophesied inDaniel, Isaiah, Ezekial and Revelation.  Before we jump to the present, let’s take one more look into the nature of Antiochus Epiphanes, the coming antichrist and the driving force behind both who is satan.

Starting with verse 21 in DanielChapter 11, we see a very clear and accurate depiction of Antiochus Epiphanes and his exploits in the 2nd century BC.

Daniel 11

21 And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.

The “vile person” reflects the evil nature of Antiochus Epiphanes and the fact that “he shall come in peaceably and obtain the kingdom by flatteries” indicates that he will use peace, deceit and supernatural diplomacy to obtain his position.

22 And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.

Here Daniel is told that his people (the Jews) will be overcome by this ruler and jumping ahead in time about 160 years, Daniel is told that the “prince of the covenant” who is Jesus will be killed. 

23 And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.

Secular history records the fact that Antiochus Epiphanes appeared at first to be an ally of the Jews and they were willing to go in “league” with him.  However, his deceit and treachery soon surfaced and he became their worst nightmare.  This scene will be repeated in the future again as the antichrist will appear to be a friend of the Jews and will enter into a 7 year peace agreement with the nation of Israel.  As we will see in future lessons, like Antiochus, the anti-christ will break this agreement and begin a period of intense persecution of the Israel.

24 He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.

25 And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him.

26 Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.

27 And both of these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.

28 Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.

29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.

Verses 24 through 29 speak of the general conflicts between the Ptolemaic and Seleucidic empires around 170BC but look at the incredibly detailed and specific events revealed in verses 30 to 33.  In order to fully appreciate the accuracy of this prophetic vision, allow me to provide some background leading up to these events.  Antiochus Epiphanes was once again threatening to overpower the “King of the South” which was the Ptolemaic empire of Egypt.  At this time in history, Egypt provided the Roman empire with much of its wheat and grain and Antiochus’ impending attack upon Egypt was a matter of grave concern to the Romans.

30 For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.

I have attached an excerpt from a secular historical source which confirms the events in verse 30 and explains what nation is represented by “the ships of Chittim”. 

Wiki-pedia

In 168 BC Antiochus led a second attack on Egyptand also sent a fleet to capture Cyprus. Before reaching Alexandria, his path was blocked by a single, old Roman ambassador named Gaius Popillius Laenas, who delivered a message from the Roman Senate directing Antiochus to withdraw his armies from Egypt and Cyprus, or consider themselves in a state of war with the Roman Republic. Antiochus said he would discuss it with his council, whereupon the Roman envoy drew a line in the sand around him and said, “Before you cross this circle I want you to give me a reply for the Roman Senate” – implying that Rome would declare war if the King stepped out of the circle without committing to leave Egypt immediately. Weighing his options, Antiochus decided to withdraw. Only then did Popillius agree to shake hands with him.[5]  On the King’s return from Egypt in 167 BC enraged by his defeat, he attacked Jerusalem and restored Menelaus, then executed many Jews.[6]

Here is an excerpt from the book of Maccabees which revels the severity ofAntiochus’ attack upon the Jewish people.

2 Maccabees 5:11–14

When these happenings were reported to the king, he thought thatJudeawas in revolt. Raging like a wild animal, he set out fromEgyptand tookJerusalemby storm. He ordered his soldiers to cut down without mercy those whom they met and to slay those who took refuge in their houses. There was a massacre of young and old, a killing of women and children, a slaughter of virgins and infants. In the space of three days, eighty thousand were lost, forty thousand meeting a violent death, and the same number being sold into slavery.

31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

As previously discussed, this “abomination of desolation” will be repeated by the antichrist, when he enters into the new (yet to be rebuilt) Jewish temple, proclaims himself to be god and erects a statue of himself in the Holy of Holies.  Its important to note that in verse 30 above, Daniel is told about Antiochus association with them that “forsake the holy covenant”.  This refers to those Hellenized Jews who forsook their Jewish heritage in favor of the Greek culture.

“and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.”

This event will also be repeated in the future when the deceived people of Israel will look to the antichrist as their messiah and enter into a 7 year peace agreement with him.  They will trust in the ruler “of this world” instead of trusting in their true Messiah Jesus and will suffer the consequences.  The last half of the 7 year tribulation period, known as the “time of Jacob’s trouble” will be an unprecedented period of persecution and hardship for the nation of Israel and all who refuse to accept the mark of the beast (antichrist).

32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.

Verses 32 and 33 speak of the period during the Macabbean revolt (167BC to 160BC) during which the nation of Israel, led by the Macabbees finally defeated Antiochus’ army.

34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.

35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.

36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.

Starting in verse 36 we see not only fulfilled prophecy regarding Antiochus Epiphanes, but we also see future prophecy regarding actions of the coming antichrist.  Antiochus and the antichrist are both empowered by satan.  Consequently, they seek to magnify, glorify themselves and blaspheme the one TRUE GOD.  As with Antiochus, and as with the future antichrist, those who follow after these representatives of satan will suffer the consequences of their rebellion.  God’s judgment upon mankind will fall when he (man) has reached the depths of his base nature “indignation shall be accomplished”

37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.

Here we are given more insight into the character of the coming antichrist.  Antiochus worshipped Zeus.  His descendant, the coming antichrist will not worship any of the previously known gods.  We are told that not only will he have no regard for the “god of his fathers”, he will also have regard for “the desire of women”.  I have my thoughts regarding what this means, but prefer that you draw your own conclusions as to the meaning of this statement.  “he shall magnify himself above all”  clearly indicates that the antichrist empowered by satan himself seeks to “be like god” and recognize no other authority, dominion or power above his own.

38 But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.

I believe this is another confirmation that the antichrist will be empowered by “god of forces” who is satan.

39 Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.

“strange gods”…..I have often wondered about the amount of attention that has been given to “aliens”, and extra-terrestrials since Israel became a nation in 1948.  My generation has been thoroughly indoctrinated with the concept of “other life forms”.  If we buy into the lie of Evolution, then we must also believe that life has evolved elsewhere in our universe.  What a convenient explanation that would be to explain what we can only describe today as “supernatural” phenomena.   Satan is not ignorant of scripture and knows that he has to come up with an explanation for the rapture when it occurs.  He knows that the sudden, simultaneous disappearance of millions of Christians around the world will not go un-noticed and he must have an explanation that doesn’t expose him for the fraud that he is.  Therefore, I wonder if in the coming days, if we will begin to see more and more “evidence” of life beyond our solar system.  I wonder if the “strange gods” reflected in Daniel’s vision may be a harbinger of the future appearance of demonic forces disguised as alien life forms.  Proclaiming these beings to be higher evolved forms of life who have been watching over mankind evolution on earth, could provide a non-biblical explanation for the supernatural events that will unfold.  If time allows, we will get more into this subject in future lessons, but for now, just file this idea away and see what message God puts upon your heart.

Eve was told in the garden of Eden that she “would become like God” if she would believe satan’s lie.  Thousands of years later, the trail of blood, sweat, tears, hunger, sorrow, pain and death which started in the garden of eden will end with satan’s defeat at the hands of Jesus, his creator.  Although satan, will never “be like God” he WILL deceive many in the end times into following him.  Because of their rejection of Jesus love, they will suffer the same fate of satan and his puppet the anti-christ.  Satan will use whatever means possible to deceive, distract, destroy, discourage and deter people from coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

If you have yet to decide what to do with JESUS, I hope and pray that you will answer that gentle knock upon the door of your heart and invite HIM in.  Unlike all the other religions of the world that tell you, “you can become like God”, only Jesus says, that HE is the way, the truth and the light and that no man comes unto the FATHER (God) except through HIM.  As created beings, we can never become equal to our creator.  However, because of our Creators love for us, HE has made it possible for us to enjoy a peace that passes all understanding, hope that never fails, joy that never fades, and love that lasts for eternity.  All of this has been made possible by the incredible courage and strength of our Creator (JESUS CHRIST) who gave his sinless life upon the cross as payment for our sins if we will but accept HIS pardon.   If you have never accepted JESUS as your Lord and Savior, listen to that small, still voice in your heart.  That is the voice of your loving Father calling you to lay your burdens at the foot of the cross and become ALL that you were created to be……a child of the Living God.


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