We have seen the emergence of the Antichrist; we have seen the abomination of desolation. Now we will see what comes after that.
Last week we ended with verse 35, which tells us that those who know their God will be strong and take action, and will suffer great persecution, even being martyred for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is for the purpose of completing the redemptive purpose of the 70 Weeks prophecy, to make ready the holy people and holy place of God. We are being conformed to the image of the Son of God. God may not rescue us from the suffering, but He is enabling us to be overcomers by our faith in the face of suffering and betrayal, as was Yeshua/Jesus. (Mk 10:27-31)
v 36-37 This King of the North – the vile person, the little horn, the Antichrist (v 21) – will do as he wants, which is to get the unfaithful Jews to join with him against those faithful to YHVH and to His holy covenant. (v 30-34) And what he really wants by now is to exalt and magnify himself above every god; Satan has entered him and lives through him. He will speak great boasts against the God of gods, i.e., YHVH, the Most High God, and the God of Israel. He shall succeed until the wrath is accomplished, for it has been determined. He shall not regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor any god; for he exalts himself above all. He is full of himself. (Dan 7:25; 8:25; 9:27; 2Thes 2:3-12; Rev 17:13-14)
The Apostle Paul quotes from these verses in his second letter to the believers in Thessaloniki about the revelation of the Antichrist. This is that time! The devil incarnate declares himself to be God. He is not declaring himself to be YHVH, whom he does not honor. He is rising up against Him and taking His place, replacing Him – as if he could. The devil knows that he cannot, but has lied and deceived this vile person — who has given himself over to this — into thinking that it is possible. Since there is no true God but YEHOVAH, and the Antichrist effectively denies the Father and Yeshua the Son, he puts himself forward to be worshiped, since people do need something, or someone, to worship. This need is from God, but Satan wants to rob YHVH – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – of the glory that belongs to Him alone! This is the very lie of the serpent back in the beginning, when he effectively told Eve that if you do not really believe that YHVH God has told you the truth, you can disobey Him and become like God: you can do what you want. The Antichrist fulfills this in himself, and, of course, while claiming to be God, he is not at all like YHVH — who is love — but completely the satanic opposite.
Jews and Muslims and Christians confess to worship a God outside of themselves. They will even say that they worship the Creator. Even Ishmael and Esau knew who the true God is. But the Antichrist will do what his fathers have not done: demand that he, a man, is to be worshiped as God, to the exclusion of any other. Even Jesus, who is God in the flesh, did not do this while He was on the Earth during His first advent. He directed all worship to the Father, in His name. Even after the resurrection, He never demanded to be worshipped. God wants people to want to worship Him. This is similar to what the servants of King Darius, who were envious of Daniel, wanted him to do in order to trap Daniel and have him thrown to the lions. (6:1-9) But Daniel knew His God, and did exploits! Darius was being used by evil men; the vile Antichrist will accept Satan’s offer of the whole world, if he will only worship him. (Mt 4:8-10)
The abomination of desolation half-way through the final 7 years (the 70th week of the prophecy) is one of the three specific signs which Yeshua gave to His apostles and disciples to watch for in answer to their question regarding the end of the age and of His coming again. (Dan 9:27; Mt 24:15-25; Mk 13:14-23; Lk 21:20-24) The first specific sign is the fig tree blossoming, a time-marker of the last generation, which is the nation-state of Israel today. The generation that sees this will see the end, will see the fulfillment of all these things, will see the return of the Lord. (Mt 24:32-51; Mk 13:28-37; Lk 21:29-36) The second specific sign is the abomination of desolation in the holy place. The third is the sign of the Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven. (Mt 24:29-31; Mk 13:24-27; Lk 21:25-28) The Apostle Paul also tells the Thessalonian believers that the rapture (the taking up of those believers who are alive in Messiah/Christ at His coming, and which is connected with the resurrection of the righteous dead) can not happen until sometime after the revelation of the Antichrist, which occurs when he commits the abomination that brings desolation at the appointed time. (2Thes 2:1-6; Rev 13)
v 38 This king honors a god of fortresses – a god of power and might and control. “Might makes right!”; “The survival of the fittest!” But what does YHVH of Armies say?: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit.” (Zech 4:6); “The meek shall inherit the Earth/Land”. (Ps 37:7-15; Mt 5:5)
His confidence is in his wealth, his military, his abilities – and he uses these to bring submission by fear and intimidation; he does not fear YHVH, or accept His sovereign authority, whether as Judge or Law-maker or as King. Nor does he think that he needs to be saved from any sins and their consequences. He is, as the Scripture says, a vile, willful person. Evil men have been with us from early on in history, presuming for themselves at others’ expense. (Gen 4:3-9, 19-24)
v 39 The Antichrist makes war in the land of Israel, and many of the Jews do not accept him. He assigns rulers over parts of the land, and divides the land for a price to those unfaithful to the holy covenant. (Rev 12:13-17)
v 40 The King of the South (probably Egyptian) one final time tries to defeat the King of the North (Middle Eastern; the Assyrian; Gog). When? At the time of the end. (This whole explanation to Daniel in this chapter of the word that was revealed to him looks to the end-times.) The King of the North decisively defeats him finally, and also other nations, employing both an army and a navy.
v 41 He comes into the Beautiful/Glorious Land (Israel), and many will fall. The Antichrist demands worship of him, or else be killed. Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon escape the beast’s destruction. (These groups all make up what is modern Jordan, and perhaps some of Saudi Arabia.)
It is not clear to me why these groups escape, but we do know from other passages in the Bible that these nations have been historically hostile to Israel. Moab and Ammon were the sons born to Lot and his daughters (!) after the destruction of Sodom. It could also be it is because God has prepared this area as a refuge for the Israeli people to flee to from the Dragon after the abomination of desolation. (Rev 12:6; Is 16:1-5; Ps 83)
v 42-43 He will defeat Egypt and take control of her wealth and assets. The Libyans and Sudanese (and/or Ethiopians) will be subject to the King of the North, whether as captives, or as allies, is not certain. But, either way, we see that Libya and Sudan/Ethiopia are part of the invading army of Gog (from the North) against the Land of Israel in the last days. (Ezek 38:1-9)
v 44 Rumors from the north and from the east trouble the Antichrist. He goes out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. Could the rumor from the east have to do with the 200,000,000-man army coming from that way? (Rev 9:12-21)
v 45 He will pitch his luxurious tent between the seas and the glorious holy mountain – probably meaning between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. And he will come to his end, and no one will help him.
The end of this most evil man and ruler will not come from human hands, nor from sickness, nor in peace, but by the mere breath of the true Messiah and righteous King, Yeshua/Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Lamb of God, at His glorious coming! (2Thes 2:8) Even so, come, Lord!
God has a plan of redemption: there is a beginning, and end, and appointed times. He is letting us know what it is. Jesus calls us friends, and the Holy Spirit is leading us into all truth to set us free and to sanctify us. We see the victory of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of those who believe in Him until the end. The Apostle Paul tells us that the present suffering does not compare with the glory to come. The gates of hell can not prevail against us. If God is for us, who can overcome us?! Of course many can oppose us, persecute us, kill us. But we have the blessed hope of the resurrection in Messiah, who has overcome the world!