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THE ANTICHRIST IN THE PROPHETS.
The references to the Antichrist in the Prophets are numerous; nor is this to be wondered at. It is there, more than anywhere else in Scripture, that we learn of the future of both Israel and the Gentiles. It is there we have the fullest information concerning End-time conditions, and the completest description of the varied parts which the leading characters shall play in those days. It would carry us beyond the scope designed for these articles were to examine every passage in the Prophets which makes mention of the Man of Sin and the numerous roles he will fill. Yet we do not desire to pass by any of the more important allusions to him. We shall, therefore, make a selection, and yet such a selection that we trust a complete outline at least will be supplied. Certain scriptures, notably those which view the Antichrist in connection with Babylon, will be waived now, because they will receive separate consideration in a later chapter.
One other introductory remark needs to be made. We are conscious that this chapter will probably be somewhat unsatisfactory to a few of our readers, inasmuch as we shall be obliged to take a good deal for granted. It is manifest that we cannot here attempt to give a complete analysis of the passages where the different allusions to the Antichrist occur, nor should this be necessary. We are writing to Bible students, therefore we shall ask them to turn to the different places from which we quote and examine the contexts so as to satisfy themselves that they treat of End-time conditions.
While in most instances the context will show that we are not reading into the Scriptures what is not there, yet in a few cases they may fail us. This is sometimes true with passages which contain prophecies concerning Christ.
It is often the case in the prophets that the Holy Spirit is treating of something near at hand and then, without any warning, projects the view into the distant future. But just as the New Testament enables us to determine which Old Testament passages speak of Christ, so other scriptures help us to identify the person of the Antichrist in verses where there is but an indefinite and passing allusion to him.
I. ANTICHRIST IN ISAIAH.
A brief notice is taken of the Man of Sin in <231601> chapter 16. The opening verses make it clear that conditions in the Tribulation period are being described. They intimate how that the persecuted Jews flee to the land of Moab for refuge — “Hide the outcasts; betray not him that wandereth”, makes this clear. These outcasts are definitely identified in Isaiah 16:4, where Jehovah terms them “Mine outcasts”. The same verse goes on to tell why they were outcasts, outcasts from Palestine: “Let Mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the Spoiler: for the Extortioner is at an end, the Spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land”. Here the destruction of the Antichrist is noted.
A further proof that these verses describe what immediately precedes the Millennium is found in the next verse, which conducts us to the beginning of the Millennium itself: “And in mercy shall the throne be established: and He shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness”. Thus, in the light of other scriptures, there is little room for doubt that the Spoiler and the Extortioner refer to none other than the Son of Perdition.
For our comments on this verse we refer the reader to chapter 4, section 17. “In that day the Lord with His sore and great and strong sword shall punish, Leviathan the piercing Serpent, even Leviathan that crooked Serpent; and He shall slay the Dragon that is in the sea” ( Isaiah 27:1).
This chapter is by no means easy to analyze: its structure seems complex.
That its contents point to a yet future date is intimated by its opening words — compare other verses in Isaiah where “in that day” occur. As one reads the chapter through it will be found that there is a peculiar alternation between references to the Tribulation period and conditions in the Millennium. The closing verse clearly refers to the end of the Tribulation period. So, also, does the first verse with which we are now chiefly concerned.
Leviathan, the piercing Serpent, is, we believe, one of the names of the Antichrist, compare chapter 3, section II, 2. A comparison with a passage in Job confirms this conclusion. It is generally agreed that “leviathan” in Job 41 refers to the crocodile, yet the commentators do not appear to have seen in it anything more than a description of that creature. But surely a whole chapter of Scripture would scarcely be devoted to describing a reptile! Personally, we are satisfied that under the figure of that treacherous and cruel monster we have a remarkable silhouette of the Prince of darkness. Note the following striking points:
In verses 1 and 2 (of Job 41) the strength of Leviathan is referred to. In Job 41:3 the question is asked “will he speak soft words unto thee?”: this is meaningless if only a crocodile is in view; but it is very pertinent if we have here a symbolic description of Antichrist. In Job 41:4 the question is put, “Will he make a covenant with Thee?”: this, too, is pointless if nothing but a reptile is the subject of the passage; but if it looks to some Monster more dreadful, it serves to identify. “None is so fierce that dare stir him up” ( Job 41:10): how closely this corresponds with Revelation 13:4 — “Who is able to make war with the Beast?” “His teeth are terrible round about” ( Job 41:14): how aptly this pictures the fierceness and cruelty of the Antichrist! “His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone” (v. 24): how accurately this portrays the moral depravity of the Antichrist! “When he raiseth up himself the mighty are afraid...the arrow cannot make him flee” (vv.25, 26, 28): how these words suggest the invincibility of Antichrist so far as human power is concerned. “Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear. He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride” (vv.33, 34).
Surely these last verses remove all doubt as to who is really before us here!
In Isaiah 33 there is another reference to the Antichrist. This chapter, like so many in Isaiah, passes from a notice of Tribulation conditions to the Millennial state and back again. The opening verse reads, “Woe to thee that spoileth, and thou wast not spoiled; and dealest treacherously, and they dealt not treacherously with thee! When thou shalt cease to spoil, thou shalt be spoiled; and when thou shalt make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with thee”. This is evidently a judgment pronounced upon the head of the false messiah. Two things serve to identify him: he is the great Spoiler, and the one who shall deal treacherously with Israel. It is in view of the perfidy and rapacity of their Enemy that the godly remnant cry, “O Lord, be gracious unto us; we have waited for Thee: be Thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble” ( Isaiah 33:2).
The last three statements in this verse make it certain who is there in view.
A brief notice must be taken of Isaiah 57:9 ere we turn from Isaiah. In this chapter we find God arraigning Israel for their horrid idolatries and wickedness. The opening verse again makes it clear that it is the Tribulation period which is in view: “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart”, etc. Following this we have the various indictments which God makes against the unfaithful Jews — “But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore” ( Isaiah 57:3, etc.).
The remainder of the chapter continues in the same strain. Among the many charges which God brings against Israel is this: “And thou wentest to the King with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase thyself even unto hell” (v. 9).
It is evident that as this chapter is describing the sins of Israel committed in the End-time that “the King” here must be the false messiah. Incidentally this verse furnishes one of the many proofs that the Antichrist will be king over the Jews.
II. ANTICHRIST IN JEREMIAH.
In the 4th chapter of this prophet there is a vivid description of the fearful afflictions which shall come upon the inhabitants of Palestine. Doubtless, what is there said received a tragic fulfillment in the past. But like most, if not all prophecy, this one will receive a later and final accomplishment.
There are several statements found in it which indicate that it treats of the End-time. The plainest of these is found in the closing verse, where we read, “For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her which bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion”. It is the “birth-pangs” of Matthew 24:8 (see Greek) which is in view. The sore trials which Israel shall then undergo are tragically depicted: “Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities. Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction. The Lion is come up from his thicket, and the Destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant” (vv. 5-7).
The Destroyer of the Gentiles now turns to vent his fiendish malignity upon the holy land. Destruction is in his heart. Terrible shall be his onslaught: “Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled” (v. 13).
Fearful will be the devastations his fury shall accomplish: The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen: They shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein” (v. 29).
In Jeremiah 6,27 there is a remarkable statement made concerning the Antichrist: “O daughter of My people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the Spoiler (Destroyer, as in Jeremiah ) shall suddenly come upon us”.
This Spoiler is the Destroyer of the Gentiles. But it is what follows in the next verse which is so striking: “I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among My people, that thou mayest know and try their way”. Here we learn that, after all, the Antichrist is but a tool in the hands of Jehovah. It is He who sets him in the midst of Israel to “try” them. A parallel statement is found in Isaiah 10:5,6, where the Lord says of the Assyrian “I will send him against a hypocritical nation”. It reminds us very much of what we read concerning Pharaoh in Romans 9:17. He was “raised up” by God to accomplish His purpose. Even so shall it be with this one whom Pharaoh foreshadowed. He shall be an instrument in God’s hand to chastise recreant Israel.
Chap. 15 contains brief allusions to the Antichrist. In v.8 we have a statement similar to what was before us in the last passage. Speaking to Israel God says, “I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a Spoiler at noonday: I have caused him to fall upon it suddenly, and terrors upon the city”. It is the Lord, then, (behind Satan) who brings this Spoiler against them. After His purpose has been accomplished, after the Antichrist has done what (unknown to himself) God had appointed, we read how that the Lord assures His people, “I will deliver thee out of the hand of the Wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the Terrible” (v. 21).
Thus will God demonstrate His supremacy over the Son of Perdition. Jeremiah 25:38 takes us back a little and notices the awful desolation which the Antichrist brings upon the land of Israel: “He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the Oppressor, and because of his fierce anger”.
III. ANTICHRIST IN EZEKIEL.
We shall notice here but two passages in this prophet. First, in Ezekiel 21:25-27 — “and thou, profane wicked Prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord God; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more, until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him”.
So far as we are aware, all pre-millennial students regard this passage as a description of the Antichrist. It pictures him as Satan’s parody of the Son of Man seated upon “the throne of His glory”. It sets him forth as the priest-king. Just as in the Millennium the Lord Jesus will “be a Priest upon His throne” ( Zechariah 6:13), so will the Antichrist combine in his person the headships of both the civil and religious realms. He will be what the popes have long aspired to be — head of the World-State, and head of the World-Church. “And thou, O deadly wounded Wicked One, the Prince of Israel, whose day is come, in the time of the iniquity of the end; thus saith the Lord: remove the mitre, and take off the crown” (R. V.).
This is clearly Israel’s last king, ere the King of kings and Lord of lords returns to the earth. He is here termed “the Prince of Israel” as the true Christ is denominated “Messiah the Prince” in Daniel 9:25. The description “O deadly wounded Wicked One” looks forward to Revelation 13:12, where we read, “The first Beast whose deadly wound was healed”! “Remove the mitre and take off the crown” point to his assumption of both priestly and kingly honors. The Hebrews word for “mitre” here is in every other passage used of the head-dress of Israel’s high priest! Finally, the statement that his “day is come...in the time of iniquity of the end” establishes, beyond a doubt, the identity of this person.
In the opening verses of Ezekiel 28 we have a striking view of the Man of Sin under the title of “the Prince of Tyre”, just as what is said of “the King of Tyre” in the second half of the chapter is an esoteric allusion to Satan.
Third , it is here said of him, “Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee” ( Ezekiel 28:3), which intimates he will be endowed with superhuman wisdom by that one of whom this same chapter declares, “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom” ( Ezekiel 28:12).
Thus will he be able to dazzle the worshippers of Mammon by his Croseuslike wealth, and out-do Solomon in the glory of his kingdom. Finally, his death by the sword is here noted, see Ezekiel 28:7,8.
IV. ANTICHRIST IN DANIEL.
It is here that we find the fullest description of the Man of Sin. First, he is looked at under the figure of “the little horn”. As there has been some dispute whether this expression really applies to him, we propose to examine the more carefully what is here said of “the little horn”.
Personally, we have long been convinced that this expression refers to none other than the Antichrist. There are a number of plain marks which make it comparatively easy to recognize his person, whenever Scripture brings him before us. For example: his insolent and blasphemous pride; his exalting himself against and above God; his impious and cruel warfare against the people of God; his sudden, terrible, and supernatural end. Let us compare these features with what is said of “the little horn” in Daniel 7 and 8.
We turn first to Daniel 7. In vv.7 and 8 we read, “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts which were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things”.
This refers to the rise of “the little horn” within the bounds of the Roman Empire, for that is what is represented by the “fourth beast”. The first thing said of the little horn is that he has eyes like the eyes of man, which speak of intelligence, and a mouth speaking great things — the Hebrews word signifies “very great”, and the reference is, no doubt, to his lofty pretensions and his daring blasphemies.
In Daniel 7:21 it is further said of him that he “made war with the saints, and prevailed against them”. This contemplates his persecution of the godly Jews, and agrees perfectly with Revelation 13:7; “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them”.
In Daniel 7:25 we are told, “He shall speak great words against the Most High”. Surely this serves to identify this “little horn” as the first beast of Revelation 13: “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies” ( Revelation 13:5).
If further proof be needed, it is supplied by the remainder of verse 25: “And shall wear out the saints of the Most High...and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time”. A “time” equals a year (see Daniel 4:23 and Revelation 12:14, and cf. 12:6), so that a “time and times and the dividing of time” would be three and onehalf years during which the saints are given into his hand. This corresponds exactly with Revelation 13:5, where of the first Beast, the Antichrist, it is said, “And power was given unto him to continue forty and two months” — in a later chapter we shall give a number of proofs to show that the first Beast of Revelation 13 is the Antichrist.
In Daniel 8 the Little Horn is before us again, and that it is the same dread personage as in chapter 7 appears from what is predicted of him.
Second , it is said of him that he “waxed exceeding great (first) towards the south, and (second) towards the east, and (third) toward the pleasant land” ( Daniel 8:9), which agrees with “there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up” ( Daniel 7:8).
Third , it is said that he “shall destroy the mighty and the holy people” ( Daniel 8:24), which agrees with “and the same horn made war with the saints and prevailed against them” ( Daniel 7:21). There should, then, be no doubt whatever that the “little horn” of Daniel 7 and the “little horn” of Daniel 8 refer to one and the same person. Their moral features coincide: both, from an insignificant beginning, become great in the end: both persecute the people of God: both are stricken down by direct interposition of God. We may add that Messrs. B. W. Newton, James Inglis, G. H. Pember, Sir Robert Anderson, Drs. Tregilles, J. H. Brookes, Haldeman, and a host of other devout scholars and students, take the same view, namely, that the “little horn” of Daniel 7 and 8 and the Man of Sin is one and the same person.
Let us now consider briefly what is revealed concerning the Antichrist under this title of his, the “little horn”. We confine ourself to Daniel 8:23-25.
First , he is “a king of fierce countenance”. This we believe is a literal description of his facial expression, though we are satisfied that it also has a moral significance. In Deuteronomy 28:50 we read of “a nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old nor show favor to the young”. In the light of this scripture it seems clear that when the Antichrist is denominated the “King of fierce countenance” the reference is not only to his actual features, but that it also intimates he will be empowered to face the most perplexing and frightful dangers and the most appalling scenes of horror without flinching or blanching. It is significant that the reference in Deuteronomy 28:50 is to the Romans, while what is said of the Antichrist in Daniel 8:23 relates, specially, to his connections with Greece. The two dominant characteristics of these Powers will be combined in the Man of Sin. There will be concentrated in him the irresistible will of the Romans and the brilliant intellect of the Greeks.
Second , we are told that he shall be able to “understand dark sentences”.
The Hebrews noun for “dark sentences” is used of Samson’s riddle ( Judges 14:12, of the Queen of Sheba’s hard questions ( 1 Kings 10:1), and of the dark sayings of the wise ( Proverbs 1:6), which are too profound to be understood by the simple. This characteristic of the King of fierce countance, that he shall be able to “understand dark sentences”, suggests an attempted rivalry of Christ as the Revealer of secret things.
This is one of the fascinations by which the Antichrist will dazzle humanity.
He will present himself as one in whom are hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He will bewitch the world by his solutions of the enigmas of life, and most probably by his revelation of occult powers implanted in men hitherto unsuspected by most, and of forces and secrets of nature previously undiscovered.
This is explained in Revelation 13:2, where we are told, “And the Dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority”. Just as we read of the Lord Jesus, “The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works” ( John 14:10), so shall the Son of Perdition perform his prodigies by power from his father, the Devil. This is exactly what Thessalonians 2:9 declares, “Whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders”. Thus will men be deceived by the miracles he performs.
This has received enlargement in the previous chapter, where we have given several illustrations from the Psalms of the Antichrist persecuting Israel.
The Hebrews word for “policy” denotes wisdom and understanding. It was the word used by David to Solomon, when he said, “Only the Lord give thee wisdom” ( 1 Chronicles 22:12), as it is also employed by Huram when writing to Solomon: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence” ( 2 Chronicles 2:12).
The Hebrews word for “craft” — “He shall cause craft to prosper” — is the one employed by Isaac when speaking to Esau concerning Jacob: “Thy brother came with subtilty” ( Genesis 27:35). It has in view the chicanery and treacherous methods the Antichrist will employ. “By peace shall destroy many” (v. 25) refers to the fact that he will pose as the Prince of peace, and after gaining men’s confidence — particularly that of the Jews — will take advantage of this to spring his bloody schemes upon them.
Sixth , it is said “He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes” ( Daniel 8:25). This unmistakably identifies him with the Beast of Revelation 19:19, where we are told, “And I saw the Beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army”.
Seventh , “But he shall be broken without hand” ( Daniel 8:25). This expression means that he shall come to his doom without human intervention or instrumentality — see Daniel 2:45; 2 Corinthians 5:1, etc. That the King of fierce countenance shall be broken without hand refers to his destruction by the Lord Himself — “And He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the Wicked” ( Isaiah 11:4).
We turn now to Daniel 9:26,27. This forms a part of the celebrated prophecy of the seventy “weeks” or hebdomads. We cannot now attempt an exposition of the whole prophecy: sufficient to point out its principal divisions and examine that part of it which bears on our present theme.
The prophecy begins with Daniel 9:24 and concerns the seventy hebdomads, a word signifying “sevens”. Each “hebdomad” equals seven years, so that a period of 490 years in all is here comprehended. These seventy “sevens” are divided into three portions: First, seven “sevens” which concerned the re-building of Jerusalem, following the Babylonian captivity. Second, sixty-two “sevens” unto “Messiah the Prince”, that is, unto the time when He formally presented Himself to Israel as their King: this receiving its fulfillment in the so-called “Triumphal Entrance into Jerusalem”. Third, the last “seven” which is severed from the others. It should be carefully noted that we are expressly told that “after threescore and two weeks (which added to the preceding seven would make sixtynine in all up to this point) shall Messiah be cut off”. The reference is to the Cross when Christ was cut off from Israel and from the land of the living.
This occurred after the sixty-ninth week before the seventieth began.
The sixty-ninth terminated with the formal presentation of Christ to Israel as their “Prince”. This is described by Matthew (the distinctively Jewish Gospel) in chapter 21. The rejection of their Prince caused the break between Christ and Israel. It is very striking to note that (following the rejection) Matthew records three distinct proofs or evidences of this break.
The first is found in Matthew 21:19 in the cursing of the “fig tree”, which signified the rejection of the Nation. The second was His sorrowful announcement from the brow of Olivet that the time of Israel’s visitation was past and her overthrow now certain ( Matthew 23:37 and cf. Luke 19:41-44). This was the abandonment of the City. The third was His solemn pronouncement concerning the Temple: “Behold your House is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord” ( Matthew 23:38,39).
This was the giving up of the Sanctuary.
The entire Christian dispensation (which began with the crucifixion of Christ) is passed by unnoticed in this prophecy of the seventy weeks”. It comes in, parenthetically, between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth. What follows in Daniel 9:26,27 concerns what will happen after the Christian dispensation is ended when God again takes up Israel and accomplishes His purpose concerning them. This purpose will be accomplished by means of sore judgment which will be God’s answer to Israel’s rejection of His Son.
But let us examine more closely the form this judgment will take.
The judgment of God upon the people who were primarily responsible for the cutting off of their Messiah was to issue in the destruction of their city and sanctuary ( Daniel 9:26). This destruction was to be brought about by the people of a Prince who should subsequently appear, and be himself destroyed. The Prince here is the Antichrist, but the Antichrist connected with and at the head of the Roman Empire in its final form. Now we know that it in A. D. 70, but that “the Prince” here does not refer to the one who then headed the Roman armies is clear from the fact that Daniel 9:27 informs us this Prince is to play his part in the yet future seventieth week — further proof is furnished in that Daniel 9:26 carries us to the end (i.e. of Israel’s desolations) which is to be marked by a “flood”, and Isaiah 28:14,15 intimates that this is to be after Israel’s covenant with Antichrist: “Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which was in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with Death, and with Hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through it, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves”. To this God replies, “Your covenant with Death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with Hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it” (v. 18). The “overflowing scourge” is, literally, “the scourge coming in like a flood”.
A few words remain to be said on Daniel 9:27: “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate”. The subject of this verse is the Antichrist, “the Prince that shall come” of the previous verse.
By the time he appears on the scene large numbers of Jews will have been carried back to their land (cf. Isaiah 18). With them the Prince makes a covenant, as of old Jehovah made one with Abraham, and as Christ will yet do with Israel, see Jeremiah 31. This will be regarded by God with indignation, as a covenant with Death, and an agreement with Sheol. But while this covenant is accepted by the majority of the Jews, God will again reserve to Himself a remnant who will refuse to bow the knee to Baal: hence the qualification, “He shall confirm the covenant with many,” not all. “In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease”. The returned Jews will rebuild their temple and there offer sacrifices. But these, so far from being acceptable to God, will be an offense. There seems a clear reference to this in the opening verses of Isaiah 66, which describe conditions just before the Lord’s appearing (see Isaiah 66:15). And here the Lord says, “He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck”, etc. (v. 3). But three and a half years before the end, the Prince will issue a decree demanding that the sacrifices must cease, and the worship of Jehovah be transferred to himself, for it is at this point he shall “exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped” ( Thessalonians 2:4). The fact that we are here told that he causes the sacrifices and the oblation to cease, at once identifies this Prince of the Romans as the Antichrist — cf. 8:11. The remaining portion of Daniel 9:27 will be considered when we come to Matthew 24:15.
We turn now to Daniel 11, which is undoubtedly the most difficult chapter in the book. It contains a prophecy which is remarkable for its fullness of details. Much of it has already received a most striking fulfillment, but like other prophecies, we are fully satisfied that this one yet awaits its final accomplishment. That Daniel 11 treats of the Antichrist all pre-millennial students are agreed, but as to how much of it refers to him there is considerable difference of opinion. A small minority, from whom we must dissent, confine the first thirty-five verses to the past.
Others make the division in the middle of the chapter and regard all from Daniel 11:21 onwards as a description of the Man of Sin, and with them the writer is in hearty accord. A few consider the entire chapter, after Daniel 11:2, as containing a prediction of the Antichrist under the title of “The King of the North”, and while we are not prepared to unreservedly endorse this, yet it is fully allowed that there is not a little to be said in its favor.
We shall here confine ourself to the second half of Daniel 11. Our present limits of space, however, will permit of nothing more than brief notes upon it. Commencing at Daniel 11:31 we read, “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries”. The history of this “vile person” is here divided into three parts: first, the means by which he obtains the kingdom: Daniel 11:21,22; second, the interval which elapses between the time when he makes a covenant with Israel, the taking away of the daily sacrifice and the setting up of the abomination of desolation: Daniel 11:23-31; third, the brief season when he comes out in his true colors and enters upon his career of open defiance of God, reaching on to his destruction: Daniel 11:32-45.
Thus from Daniel 11:21 to the end of the chapter we have a continuous history of the Antichrist. “In his estate shall stand up a vile person...he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries”. This epithet “the vile person” is a manifest antitheses from “the Holy One of God”. This twenty-first verse takes notice of the Man of Sin posing as the Prince of peace. He shall achieve what his antitype, Absalom, tried but failed to do — “Obtain the kingdom by flatteries”. “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” ( Daniel 11:22).
This Vile Person is denominated “the Prince of the Covenant”, which, at once, identifies him with the Prince of 9:26, 27. Then we are told in Daniel 11:23 “And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people”.
This “league” or “covenant” is doubtless the seven-years-treaty confirmed with Israel, which is made at an early point in the Antichrist’s career, and which corresponds with the fact that at the first he appears as a “little horn”, the “small people” being the Syrians — cf. our remarks on Daniel 8:8,9 in chapter six. Daniel 11:25 and 26 describe his victory over the king of Egypt. Then, in Daniel 11:28 we read, “Then shall he return into his land with great riches”. His land is Assyria. The mention of great riches corresponds with what we are told of the Antichrist in Psalm 52:7; Ezekiel 28:4, etc. “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”. This is clear evidence that these verses are treating of that which takes place during the seventieth week. The mention of polluting the Sanctuary is an unmistakable reference to “the abomination of desolation”, i.e. the setting up of an idol to the Antichrist in the Temple. Note the repeated use of the plural pronoun in this verse; the “they” refer to the Antichrist and the False Prophet, cf. Revelation 13.
It is significant that in the next verse ( Daniel 11:32) there is an allusion made to the faithful remnant — “The people that do know their God.” “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done” ( Daniel 11:36).
That “the King” here is the “Vile Person” is not only indicated by the absence of any break in the prophecy, as also by the connecting “and” with which the verse opens, but is definitely established by the fact that in Daniel 11:27 (note context) the Vile Person is expressly termed a “king”! The contents of this thirty-sixth verse clearly connects “the king” with the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4, and also as definitely identifies him with the “little horn” — cf. Daniel 7:23 and 8:25. The remaining verses of Daniel 11 have been before us in previous chapters and need not detain us now.
V. ANTICHRIST IN THE MINOR PROPHETS.
Here a wide field of study is opened, but we must content ourself with but a few selections and brief comments on them. Hosea makes several references to the Man of Sin. In Hosea 8:10 he is termed “the King of princes’, as such he is Satan’s imitation of the King of kings. In Hosea 10:15 he is named “the King of Israel”, which shows his connection with the Jews. In Hosea 12:7 he is called a “Merchant” or Trafficker, and of him it is said, “The balances of deceit are in his hands: he loveth to oppress”, with this should be compared Revelation 6:5. These words denote his twofold character in connection with the Jews: first he makes them believe he is the true Christ; second, he ultimately stands forth as their great Enemy.
Joel alludes to him as the head of the “northern army”, i.e. the Assyrian.
And here God declares that He will “drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea; and his stink shall come up, and his ill savor shall come up, because he has magnified to do great things” ( Joel 2:20).
Micah terms him “the Assyrian”, and of him it is said, when he “shall come into our land, and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men...thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian” ( Micah 5:5,6).
Nahum has this to say of him: “There is one come out of thee, that imagineth evil against the Lord, a wicked counseller. Thus saith the Lord; Though they be quiet, and likewise many, yet thus shall they be cut down, when he shall pass through. Though I have afflicted thee, I will afflict thee no more...for the Wicked shall no more pass through thee” ( Nahum 1:11,12,15).
These verses contain another of the many antitheses between Christ and the Antichrist. The One is the Wonderful Counseller” ( Isaiah 9:6); the other, the “Wicked Counseller”.
Habakkuk describes him as one whose “soul is lifted up” and “is not upright in him”, and as one who “transgresseth by wine”, as “a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people” ( Habakkuk 2:4,5).
Zechariah denominates him “the Idol Shepherd that leaveth the flock”, and then pronounces judgment upon him — “The sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye” ( Zechariah 11:17).