“And some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.“Daniel 11:35
I left off my last post in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, as the King of the North — aka the Antichrist — retreats from Egypt only to invade Jerusalem and sets up the abomination that causes desolation. This demonic act of defiance in the holy Temple will be the primary sign of the end of the age, triggering the final 3.5 years of the great tribulation.
The remaining portion of Daniel 11 & 12 is the foundational Old Testament description of the career of the Antichrist during the great tribulation. As “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time” [Daniel 12:1].
I will continue on a verse by verse exposition of Daniel 11:32-39.
“He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.”Daniel 11:32
The Antichrist — emulating his father the devil — will be a master of the arts of seduction and deception. Once he shows his true colors and profanes the Temple in Jerusalem, he will quickly convince many surrounding nations to join him in his elimination of God’s people. All the initial players in this “covenant” will align themselves with the Beast against Israel, which is why Jesus makes it imperative that His people flee the city at that time.
“But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, 16and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 17And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 18Pray that it may not happen in winter. 19For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.“Mark 13:14-19
In contrast to those who are seduced by the Antichrist to attack Israel, the remnant of believers on the earth “who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” This is why repeatedly in the book of Revelation Jesus gives a call for the endurance of the saints. Anyone who desires to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted by the Antichrist and his forces.
“And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder.34When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, 35and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.”Daniel 11:33-35
The great tribulation will serve many purposes in God’s ultimate plan of redemption — not the least of which will be to refine, purify, and identify the true remnant of God’s people. It will be through the fires of persecution and tribulation that God’s people will be given the privilege to suffer with Christ, testify of Christ, depend upon Christ, and be made pure for the glory of Christ.
We have seen that the Antichrist will be given authority to conquer the saints for 3.5 years and will wear out God’s people in relentless persecution [see Daniel 7:21-25, Revelation 13:1-8]. In these last days, our primary ministry will be to evangelize the lost and make many understand how God’s prophetic word is unfolding before our very eyes. By resisting the Beast and his satanic system, the saints will be declared public enemy #1. This is precisely why the spirit of antichrist always manifests in hatred and hostility toward Jews and Christians.
If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.Revelation 13:9-10
Daniel reminds us that God always has and always will preserve a faithful remnant of martyrs until the appointed time of the end. During the Great Tribulation, we will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, and our robes will be made white in the blood of the Lamb.
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.Revelation 7:13-14
The Proud Act of Self-Exaltation
“And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done. 37He shall pay no attention to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women. He shall not pay attention to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all.”Daniel 11:36-37
These two verses provide the clearest Biblical description of the literal act of abomination that causes desolation. The very moment that the King of the North [Beast] enters the holy place in Jerusalem and exalts himself and magnifies himself above every god — especially the God of gods — he will unabashedly be spitting in the face of the Almighty. Daniel emphasizes this brash act of blasphemy as the sign of the end of the age.
He shall magnify himself above all in self-exaltation. He will rage against the LORD and His Anointed — Jesus Christ — only to be destroyed in the end.
“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
The God of Fortresses
“He shall honor the god of fortresses instead of these. A god whom his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. He shall deal with the strongest fortresses with the help of a foreign god.”Daniel 11:38-39a
The Antichrist on one hand will magnify himself above the One True God and claim supremacy over all other “so-called” gods, but on the other hand he will pay tribute and honor the “god of fortresses” and receive help from a “foreign” god. This seems contradictory on the surface, which has given interpreters some challenges in understanding the theology of the Antichrist.
This apparent contradiction goes away, however, once we understand and apply the Islamic context to the profile of the Antichrist. The foundational teaching of Islam is that there is no other god but Allah and that Mohammed is his prophet. Any recognition of any other God or gods is utter blasphemy in Islam and the highest offense to Muslims.
Of course, at the time Daniel wrote this prophecy, the creation of Islam was still over 1,000 years removed in the future. So to Daniel’s original audience, the god of fortresses would be a “foreign” god who the fathers did not know. Allah was unknown in Daniel’s day and therefore foreign.
But as the Islamic Caliphate emerged and spread like a ruthless beast across the Middle East in the 7th Century A.D., Islam established itself using terror and total subjugation. In other words, I believe the Muslim god Allah provides the best explanation for the “god of fortresses,” which only reinforces the certainty that the Antichrist will come from a Muslim context.
So while the Antichrist will exalt himself above Yahweh and the Lord Jesus and all other pagan gods, he will at the same time honor the foreign god Allah — the god of fortresses.
Divide the Land for a Price
“Those who acknowledge him he shall load with honor. He shall make them rulers over many and shall divide the land for a price.”Daniel 11:39b
One of the recurring descriptions of the end-times Antichrist is that he will divide the land of Israel for financial gain. Satan’s motivation is not primarily monetary, however, but spiritual. As God has laid claim to the Promised Land as His eternal dwelling place and given it to His people as an inheritance, the Evil One is motivated to steal the land and parcel it out to the enemies of Israel. This is one way the Antichrist will attempt to defy God because he knows how significant the land of Israel is in God’s ultimate plan of redemption.
As the Antichrist takes Jews and Christians into captivity and plunders the land, he will distribute the land among the hostile Muslim nations. The Scriptures echo this travesty in several places.
O God, do not keep silence;
do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
2For behold, your enemies make an uproar;
those who hate you have raised their heads.
3They lay crafty plans against your people;
they consult together against your treasured ones.
4They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
let the name of Israel be remembered no more!”
5For they conspire with one accord;
against you they make a covenant—
6the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
Moab and the Hagrites,
7Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8Asshur also has joined them;
they are the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah
Who said, “Let us take possession for ourselvesPsalm 83:1-8, 12
of the pastures of God.”
This is what the Lord GOD says: On that day, thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will devise an evil plan. 11You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will come against a tranquil people who dwell securely, all of them living without walls or bars or gates— 12in order to seize the spoil and carry off the plunder, to turn a hand against the desolate places now inhabited and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and possessions and who live at the center of the land.’Ezekiel 38:10-12
“For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land.”Joel 3:1-2
In my next post, I will finish the 11th chapter of Daniel.