We left off last time looking at some of the characteristics of the Antichrist, who is emerging from the kings of the North, and is a vile, wicked, deceitful man. He is described in both the Old and the New Testaments. He doesn’t just show up from nowhere; He is the one of whom the LORD has spoken through His prophets from long ago. Our God knows the end from the beginning, and has given us His Word and Spirit that we might know His thoughts and intentions – looking back from the end to the beginning — and choose to decisively align with Him.
The King of the North – the vile person – speaks peace but means war. He makes an agreement with the King of the South, but then prepares to break it. This reminds me of the Camp David Summit in 2001, when U.S. President Clinton, Israeli PM Barak, and PLO Chairman Arafat met to try to make a peace deal. No agreement was reached, and shortly afterward the Second Intifada by the Palestinians broke out. No peace was intended, and the promised land of the holy covenant was – and remains – the object of dispute.
v 25-26 The King of the North rises up with a large army against the King of the South, who has an even larger army. The King of the South does not succeed, and is betrayed from within his own leadership.
In the word that Daniel received he saw a “large army”, and this is what we see throughout this chapter.
v 27-28 Both of these kings are bent on doing evil, and speak lies to each other at the same table. Their plans will not succeed, because there is an appointed time at the end. The Antichrist, on his way back to his own land, sets his heart against the holy covenant – the covenant of God that promises the Land of Canaan/Israel to the Jewish people – the Chosen People — and the worship of YHVH in Jerusalem at the holy place that He chose.
The King of the North and the King of the South both hate the holy covenant and the Jewish people’s right to the promised land and to their sacrificial worship on the holy mount. They are both Islamic, and, even if opposed to each other — vying for the kingship of the Islamic Caliphate/Kingdom — they both can agree to hate Israel, the chosen people of God.
YHVH sets times to accomplish His plan. No matter what these kings agreed to, or lied about to each other, their plans do not succeed, because it is not yet the time. Remember that opponents of Yeshua/Jesus tried a few times to capture Him, or to kill Him, during His 3 ½ years of public ministry. But they did not succeed, because it was not yet the time. When that set hour came, He allowed them. (Jn 2:1-4; 7:2-8, 28-31; 8:20; Mt 26:44-54; Mk 14:41-50; Lk 22:45-53) The LORD is sovereign in all His doings! Praise His Name!!
v 29-30 At the appointed time, the King of the North again goes south, but not like the two times before. This time the navy of Cyprus (Kittim) in the Mediterranean Sea comes against him, and hinders his battle plans. He retreats, and returns with rage against the holy covenant. He joins up with those among the Israeli Jews who have forsaken the holy covenant. (This is what Antiochus Epiphanes did with the Hellenists among the Jews.) This is a reproach to the name of YHVH, that some of His own chosen people do not honor Him or His plans for them. (Num 14:20-24; Heb 3:7-19; 4:1-13; Mal 3:13-15; Rev 13:8; Dan 8:23; 2Thes 2:3-4; Mt 24:9-25)
The whole conflict within Abraham’s family, and within the whole human family, is that the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth has chosen, elected, certain individuals, and a particular family line, and a particular land and city, as holy – specially set apart unto Him, like He did with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and their descendants; with the Tribe of Levi in Israel for the priesthood, and of Aaron’s family; and with the Tribe of Judah for the kingship, and David’s lineage. (Num 18:19-24; 16:1-11; Jude 11; Ezek 35) For those not chosen, this is often deemed unacceptable, and a bitter root can grow up into an everlasting hatred and resentment. This evil spirit is bent on murder and destruction, and has an attitude of, “if I/we can’t have it, neither will you!” Their hatred is actually against the Most High God, who is the God of Daniel, the God of Israel. We see here, though, that this hatred towards God is also among some of those within the chosen people and land. Sin and rebellion are exceedingly powerful and deceitful, and it began with Lucifer in the heavens before the Garden of Eden fall of Adam and Eve.
v 31 This climactic verse details that the armed forces of the Antichrist will profane the holy place, and will remove the daily sacrifices – the evening and morning that was mentioned in Ch 8. This tells us that there will be some form of temple and sacrificial service taking place in the 70th week (the last 7 years; at least during the first half of those years) of the 70 Weeks prophecy to bring an end to transgression and to anoint the Most Holy. And in place of the daily sacrifice, the Antichrist and his army will set up the abomination of desolation.
There is some sort of a temple/holy place (it may not be a major structure: it could just be a tent, or an altar, or a particular location that is referred to), where the Jewish people are again offering animal sacrifices. We know that there are those in Israel now preparing for just such a time as this. The religious Jews know that blood sacrifices are needed for cleansing them of their sins, and they do not believe in or accept the sacrifice of the Messiah, Yeshua/Jesus, the Son of God. Some of these Jews will be sincere, God-fearing seekers of forgiveness. But the spirit behind these sacrifices is rejection of God’s provision of the sacrifice of His Son for the forgiveness of His people — and for all other people. Christians/Messianic Jews should have nothing to do with this [still future] holy place and sacrifices other than preaching the gospel to these Jewish people, and to be spiritually aware that the time is very short till the appointed end. If any Christian offers a sacrifice at that “Temple”, he/she has forsaken the Lord and trampled upon His blood. (Heb 6:4-6; 10:26-29)
Jesus tells us that when we see this abomination happen, to flee from there and do not take time to get your things together from your homes. (This is like telling Lot and his family to flee Sodom, and do not look back!) This event marks the beginning of Jacob’s Trouble/Great Tribulation, the worst since the beginning of the world, and nothing worse will ever be after. This is Satan’s wrath, not God’s! God’s wrath is against HIS enemies, and the enemies of His people; Satan’s wrath is especially directed against God’s covenant-related people — the Jewish people, and believers in Jesus. It is paramount to understand this distinction. (Rev 12:10-17)
This vile King of the North will exploit the falling away from the truth and from the faith by those in Israel and in the Church to make his move, and ,with this abomination that brings desolation, the Antichrist is revealed. Until then, it may still not be certain which man it is. The salt and the light of the Body of Christ-at-large will be weak and dim till then. The Apostle Paul lets us know that the rapture (which is part of the first resurrection) can not take place anytime before this event, which begins the final 42 months, 3 ½ years, of the final beast and his kingdom, and of the kingdoms of this world opposed to the Kingdom of God. Praise God! (Dan 12:7; 8:9-14, 23-25; 9:27; Mt 24:15-25; 2Thes 2:1-6; Rev 13:1-10)
v 32 The Antichrist will corrupt by flatteries those who violate the [holy] covenant, but those who know their God will be strong and take action. This is what Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were, and did; this is what David was and did against Goliath; what Mordecai and Queen Esther were and did; what the Apostle Paul was and did. (Acts 21:8-14) This is what God wants us — you and me — to be, and to do: to know our God and to act in accordance.
This is why we are studying the Book of Daniel: we want, with God’s help, to be among those with intelligent understanding (and love), who can (and will) help others at such a time of trouble that is coming. We are not studying for knowledge itself, but, in the fear of the LORD, we want to gain understanding and acquire wisdom – and courage of heart. (Esth 4:13-15; Phlp 1:27-30; 1Pt 4:12-19)
v 34 Those who stumble will be helped a little, but others will insincerely join them. (Mt 24:9-14)
This will be a betrayal on the part of those who feign friendship and support. It will be a very difficult time.
v 35 From those with intelligent understanding who will stumble, it is that they be refined, purified, made white, until the time of the end, for it is still for an appointed time. (Dan 12:10; Rev 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 14:1-7; Eph 5:25-27; Rev 21:9-13, 27)
Yeshua has set a time limit of 3 1/2 years to this great distress. If it were any longer, He has said that no one would be left alive. (Mt 24:21-22)
There is a redemptive purpose in this suffering, as for the entire plan of the 70 Weeks Prophecy. We are participating in the sufferings of Yeshua/Jesus, so that we may know the power of His resurrection, and be prepared to rule and reign with Him. 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 in the face of suffering and betrayal, and even through being martyred for Yeshua’s sake. If they have hated Him, they will hate us, too. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and by our testimony of faith in Jesus, not loving our own lives, even unto death. Help us, Lord! (Rev 20:4-6)
These are hard things to hear. It was hard for Daniel. But God wants us to hear them, and to be strengthened in our faith in Him. We need to examine ourselves whether we are in the faith. Do we really love Jesus more than any other thing, more than anyone else, even more than ourselves?
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, October 16, 2020, and reposted with permission.