- IntroductionIn our message last week we took a look at Antiochus Epiphanes.We noted God used Daniel to write this prophetic book.Using history, God teaches people about what is to come so that we will know the signs as they occur and be ready to resist.A bit of a play on words “Epiphany” refers to the coming of God in Jesus.One of the things the antichrist will do is “pretend” to be Jesus.Just as Antiochus wanted to be called “Epiphanes,” or “the manifest god,” the Antichrist will want people to “think” he is god.TRANS - Lets dive into this interesting study.Antichrist Epiphany CrisisWe looked at the first crisis of the people of God when the temple was desecrated and many turned from God.Those who knew God were able to resist.In the next crisis, people will face the Antichrist.Again we see something about the people who know God:Those who have insight will shine like the bright expanse of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.BackgroundBAK - 1) Between vv.35-36 there is a gap of more than 2000 years.2) Instead of fighting one another, the kings of the north and south are fighting someone else.There is someone else and it is not the king of the north or the south.3) This ruler comes to power at the time of the resurrection, the Second Coming of Jesus.How will this appear?:At that time Michael, the great prince who stands watch over your people, will rise up. There will be a time of distress such as never has occurred since nations came into being until that time. But at that time all your people who are found written in the book will escape. Many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to eternal life, and some to disgrace and eternal contempt.Note Michael is the “archangel” we read about in other passages:Yet when Michael the archangel was disputing with the devil in an argument about Moses’s body, he did not dare utter a slanderous condemnation against him but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”and:For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.Antiochus and the AntichristAnother thing to note is the connection between Antiochus and the Antichrist.Daniel clearly wants us to see Antiochus is sample of what the Antichrist will bring.TRANS - So there is crisis once again for the people of God.It will occur at the time of the Antichrist.How will we know the Antichrist?Let’s take a look at that.Character of the AntichristWe note the similarity of character between Antiochus and the Antichrist:“Then the king will do whatever he wants. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and he will say outrageous things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, because what has been decreed will be accomplished.Listen to what Paul says about this king, the Antichrist:Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God’s temple, proclaiming that he himself is God.Sounds much like Antiochus?According to Daniel, the Antichrist will be successful for a time until his wrath is completed.When will that be? Paul answers that for us:and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of his mouth and will bring him to nothing at the appearance of his coming.Just in case some mistake this as more about Antiochus, our next verse shows us that is not possible:He will not show regard for the gods of his ancestors, the god desired by women, or for any other god, because he will magnify himself above all.This can’t be Antiochus because he did regard the gods of his fathers. He even built temples for those gods.The Antichrist, however, shows no regard for gods or the god desired by women.BTW - “desired by women” we haven’t a clue as to what that means. We will have to wait for this prophecy to unfold before we do.Similarly, we don’t know what the next verse means yet either:Instead, he will honor a god of fortresses—a god his ancestors did not know—with gold, silver, precious stones, and riches. He will deal with the strongest fortresses with the help of a foreign god. He will greatly honor those who acknowledge him, making them rulers over many and distributing land as a reward.Prophecies like these we must not forget, because when the Antichrist comes, these will be our clues to let us know he is here.He will not tell us he is the Antichrist, he will deceive and flatter just like Antiochus.People that read our passage from last week, those living then, before it happened didn’t know what Daniel was discussing.Yet, when prophecy was fulfilled, people who were wise did know.He will claim to be Christ, and will be very convincing.Christians that don’t know this stuff will be deceived for a while, but eventually restored just like in the days of Antiochus.Paul puts it like this:The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with every kind of miracle, both signs and wonders serving the lie, and with every wicked deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe the lie, so that all will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but delighted in unrighteousness.TRANS - Next we visit his career.Career of the AntichristLets read the rest of our text beginning in verse 40:“At the time of the end, the king of the South will engage him in battle, but the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, horsemen, and many ships. He will invade countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the beautiful land, and many will fall. But these will escape from his power: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of the Ammonites. He will extend his power against the countries, and not even the land of Egypt will escape. He will get control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the riches of Egypt. The Libyans and Cushites will also be in submission. But reports from the east and the north will terrify him, and he will go out with great fury to annihilate and completely destroy many. He will pitch his royal tents between the sea and the beautiful holy mountain, but he will meet his end with no one to help him. At that time Michael, the great prince who stands watch over your people, will rise up. There will be a time of distress such as never has occurred since nations came into being until that time. But at that time all your people who are found written in the book will escape. Many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to eternal life, and some to disgrace and eternal contempt. Those who have insight will shine like the bright expanse of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. “But you, Daniel, keep these words secret and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will roam about, and knowledge will increase.”His career begins by extending his power (v.42).Believers can then say, “I told you so” when reports alarm this man and he sets out in rage to annihilate people.He will set up camp between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean Sea.Be on the lookout for the day when a world leader sets up in the place called the Valley of Megiddo.BTW - in Hebrew that’s harmagido, or we might pronounce Armageddon.That will be your cue to look up; read 12:3 again:Those who have insight will shine like the bright expanse of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.This will be the crisis of the last days that can happen in our lifetime.Think about out.Isreal is back in the Promised Land and the world is pretty much at peace.We have ecological disasters in view and all this was prophesied.The best thing you and I can do is let our light shine.As the world gets darker, our light appears brighter.In those days people will want to increase knowledge:“But you, Daniel, keep these words secret and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will roam about, and knowledge will increase.”Think about the ability for people all about the world to use the internet to learn. Never a time like this!There will be distress, but Michael will protect God’s people:At that time Michael, the great prince who stands watch over your people, will rise up. There will be a time of distress such as never has occurred since nations came into being until that time. But at that time all your people who are found written in the book will escape.It will be difficult. Recall Jesus, in Mt. 24, says it will be a time of distress and tribulation unlike any other.So bad that Jesus says if not cut off, nobody will survive.Unlike some who think the church is not here at that time, Jesus tells us that during the Tribulation the time is shorted for their sake.The church will be around during the tribulation.Thereafter, Jesus says, the sun will be darkened, the moon give no light, stars will fall, and He will appear in the sky.Out text says, “at that time all your people who are found written in the book will escape.”12:3 tells us lots of people will come to be saved during the Tribulation.It’s gonna be the best time for the church.There will be growth unlike any other time in church history.Even Jews will flock to Jesus:I don’t want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you will not be conceited: A partial hardening has come upon Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.This is why our text will lead many to righteousness, like stars.Recall that the person “who wins souls is wise?”Be wise and know that the purpose of God for all Christians is knowing that as we approach the last days we should be leading people to Jesus.That is Daniel’s point.ConclusionDaniel and Revelation tell us much about the Second Coming of Jesus.Know how to interpret these books by going back to Daniel 11:2-35 and read the history that was already fulfilled.The people then experienced prophecy being fulfilled in their lifetimes because they knew what they were talking about.The same is true for the Second Coming of Jesus.Some try to guess who the seven kings Revelation talks about.Yet, that is impossible just like it was in for people living in Daniel’s day to predict Antiochus Epiphanies.Nobody could. But:People who studied the prophecies knew what was happening as events unfolded.Like the faithful Jews, we should watch and know events as history unfolds.These are people like Simeon:There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation, and the Holy Spirit was on him.and Joseph of Arimathea:Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin who was himself looking forward to the kingdom of God, came and boldly went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’s body.Know the prophecies, read them, study them, and be ready for the last days.
Shortly after a recent seminary graduate had assumed his first pastorate, he and his wife went to visit his family one Saturday. His mother sensed that her daughter-in-law was unhappy, but—not wishing to be meddlesome—pretended not to notice. As they departed, she heard her daughter-in-law say, “All right, we can go by the church and you can practice baptizing me just one more time. But remember this—when you have your first funeral, you are not going to practice burying me.”The Bible says the Word is good for “teaching, rebuking, correction, and training in righteousness.” Be equipped for every good work.Jesus said, “See, I have told you ahead of time.”It must be important.(end)
1 Thessalonians 4:16CSB
2 Thessalonians 2:3–4CSB
2 Thessalonians 2:8CSB
2 Thessalonians 2:9–12CSB
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