The most central figure in end time prophecy is the Antichrist. Many Christians know very little about end time prophecy, but the one thing they know about is the Antichrist. Their understanding of him, however, is vague. Some believe he will be the head of something called the New World Order. Then there’s talk of him being a part of a secretive society that calls itself the Illuminati. Though the details are nebulous, the conspiracy theories for these organizations describe the emergence of a totalitarian world government ruled by one person—the Antichrist.
None of that is scriptural. At all!
Fortunately, we don’t have to guess as to who Antichrist is and what he will do. Daniel’s prophetic visions give us a very full picture of this future end time leader. And one thing is for sure, he absolutely does not rule the whole world. In Daniel’s vision of the ram and goat, we learn a great deal about the Antichrist—the man Daniel refers to as the little horn. If you want to know more, keep reading.
DANIEL’S VISION OF THE RAM AND GOAT
By Karen Thompson
Third in a Five-Part Series
So far in Daniel’s vision of the ram and goat, we have learned the general area of the world in which the kingdom of Antichrist will be located. He will come from an area that was once ruled by one of Alexander’s four generals. The kingdoms of all four generals were located in the Middle East. That informs us that the Antichrist kingdom will be located in the Middle East.
If you recall in the vision of the four beasts, we were told Antichrist would uproot three horns (kings). In the vision of the ram and goat, we learned that two of the horns that little horn will uproot will be located to the south of him and to the east of him. The greatest emphasis of the vision of the ram and horn was placed on the third horn that Antichrist will uproot, called the “pleasant land” which we learned is Israel. We were provided important details of Antichrist’s war on Israel, describing his violence toward the Jewish people as “casting down” and “stamping” on Israel’s army and citizens. In this post, we will more details about his violent attack against the Jewish people. Let’s begin.
Antichrist Magnifies Himself
Let’s look at verse 11: “Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down.” Antichrist will magnify himself to the prince of the host. The word magnify in this sentence is the Hebrew word gadal and it means “to grow, become great or important, promote, make powerful, praise, magnify, do great things.” When it says the little horn magnified himself to the prince of the host, it means he makes himself greater or more powerful than the leader of Israel’s army. The last part of verse 11 tells how he magnifies himself to the leader of Israel: “…and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down.” The phrase “by him the daily sacrifice was taken away” means that Antichrist will prevent sacrifices from taking place. And the phrase “and the place of the sanctuary was cast down” means he will destroy the temple. That is how Antichrist magnifies himself to the leader of Israel’s army, by making war on Israel resulting in stopping the daily sacrifice and destroying the temple.
Presently, there is no temple, or sanctuary, in Jerusalem. Skeptics point to prophecies like this to prove their assertion that all prophecies are farcical. However, eschatologists are not bothered by the fact that there is no temple in Jerusalem. After all, the Bible is full of prophetic words declaring that God would gather His people back to Israel in the last days, and for a couple of millennia, there was no nation of Israel to which they could be gathered! But in 1948, God brought back into existence the nation of Israel. And since that time, thousands of Jews from all over the world have been making aliyah to Israel. In the same way God brought the nation of Israel back into being, He will again bring about a temple sanctuary in Jerusalem.
In order for this prophetic word to come to pass, the temple and the daily sacrifices will have to be restored. Presently, Israel has everything necessary to begin sacrifices except the temple. Because of the prophetic words of the prophets, they know an opportunity will come for them to rebuild the temple. And when that time comes, they will be ready.
One thing should be noted about Antichrist stopping the sacrifices and casting down the sanctuary. He will do these two things, but he won’t do them at the same time. Antichrist will invade Jerusalem in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, and at that time, he will stop the sacrifices from taking place in the temple court. But he will be unable to enter the temple because of the two witnesses. For as long as they are alive, the two witnesses will prevent Antichrist from entering the temple. You can read about the ministry of the two witnesses in Revelation chapter 11. At the beginning of the chapter, an angel gives the apostle John a reed for measuring. He says, “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months” (vv. 1–2 NKJV). What these verses mean is that when Antichrist invades Jerusalem, he will have total access to the entire city as well as the temple court outside, but he will be unable to access the inside of the temple. What prevents him from having access to the temple will be the two witnesses.
The ministry of the two witnesses will begin when Antichrist invades Jerusalem. The reason they are able to prevent Antichrist from entering the temple is because they will have great powers. Their powers are described in verses 5–6 as “…if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. … These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.”
The length of their ministry will be the last half of Daniel’s 70th week. Revelation 11:3 tells us how long that will be: “…they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” That will be three and one-half years. During that time, Antichrist will not be able to enter the temple. At the end of three and one-half years, when the two witnesses have completed their ministry, Antichrist will then be able to kill them and that is when he will enter the temple (v. 7). Second Thessalonians 2:4 confirms that Antichrist will not only enter the temple but he will declare himself to be God: “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” And that is how the little horn will magnify himself even to the prince of the host.
Antichrist Is Successful in War
Now let’s look at Daniel 8:12: “And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.” This verse is a continuation of verse 11 telling us how Antichrist magnified himself to the prince of the host. Let’s look at how the Amplified Bible translates it: “And the host [the chosen people] was given [to the wicked horn] together with the continual burnt offering because of the transgression [of God’s people—their abounding irreverence, ungodliness, and lack of piety]. And righteousness and truth were cast down to the ground, and it [the wicked horn] accomplished this [by divine permission] and prospered.”
The phrase “an host was given him,” means the armies of Israel were given to “him” meaning to Antichrist. That simply means Antichrist will be able to win the battle against the army of Israel. The next phrase is a continuation of what will be given to Antichrist: “together with the continual burnt offering…” This refers again to Antichrist stopping the daily sacrifices from taking place in the temple court.
Then the next phrase tells us why God allows Antichrist to win against Israel: “by reason of transgression.” The Amplified Bible states it this way: “because of the transgression [of God’s people—their abounding irreverence, ungodliness, and lack of piety].” Together as a whole, the nation of Israel is in a place where it is not right with God. The whole of Israel not being right with God is summed up with a single word: transgression. Because the people are in a state of being in transgression against the Lord, He will not allow them to make sacrifices to Him. Number one, as already stated, the nation is in a place of sin. For them to make sacrifices to God would be hypocritical. Number two, Jesus’ sacrifice of His own body and blood makes animal sacrifice obsolete. His sacrifice didn’t merely cover their sins; it atoned for their sins. Jesus’ sacrifice was once and for all. Number three, for them to revive the practice of animal sacrifices would be another rejection of their Savior, Jesus Christ.
The last part of verse 12 says, Antichrist will “cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.” Antichrist will “cast down the truth” which means he will not embrace the truth, but he will reject it. He will destroy truth. In his quest to cast truth to the ground, he will not only accomplish the task but he will prosper in the quest, meaning he will succeed in casting truth to the ground.
There are people that have wrong, unscriptural notions about Israel. They have “religious” ideas that Israel will not be touched by the Antichrist kingdom. But this notion is not based on scripture; it’s a romanticized idea based on certain scriptures that are taken out of context. However, the book of Revelation confirms that Antichrist will make war against the saints and will be successful in it: “It was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” (Rev. 13:7). God will allow Antichrist to make war against the Jewish people and to make war with the nations.
Length of Time Until the Sanctuary Is Trampled
Dan. 8:13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? 14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
In verses 13 and 14, Daniel heard a conversation between two “holy ones” in his vision talking about how long the vision of the daily sacrifice, the transgression that makes desolate, and the sanctuary and host be trampled underfoot. The answer is for 2,300 days and then the sanctuary will be cleansed. There are 360 days in a lunar year (the Jewish people use a lunar year instead of the solar year of 365 days) so 2,300 divided by 360 equals 6.3 years.
There are some people that interpret this to mean evening and morning “sacrifices.” They interpret it as Antichrist will prevent both the 2,300 evening and morning sacrifices, so two sacrifices per day would configure into 1,150 days. But that is a wrong interpretation. It literally means 2,300 days, not sacrifices. Look how Young’s Literal Translation says it: “And he saith unto me, Till evening—morning two thousand and three hundred, then is the holy place declared right.” There is no mention of sacrifices in any translation.
The Young’s Literal Translation reflects the way the Jewish people view a complete day, with the new day beginning at sundown. They get this from the creation story in Genesis 1:5: “And the evening and the morning were the first day.” Young’s says, “and there is an evening, and there is a morning—day one.” When God created time, He created night and then the day. That’s why on the Jewish calendar, the day begins the night before. On the secular calendar, a new day begins in the middle of the night at midnight. You have to admit that it makes more sense to begin the new day when the old day ends, when the sun goes down.
From Revelation, we know that Jerusalem and the Jewish people will be trodden down by Antichrist for three and one-half years. (include Daniel four beasts says their time captive will be a time, times, and half a time.
So when Daniel hears it will be a period of 6.3 years as the length of time these things occur, it’s confusing. But when you take into consideration the end of verse 14, things become clear. At the end of these 6.3 years, “then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” At the end of this length of time, the sanctuary will be cleansed. It will take a lot of time to cleanse the sanctuary because at the end of the three and one-half year period, Jerusalem will have been destroyed both by fire and a colossal earthquake. Jerusalem will have experienced an earthquake so devastating that it will break the city into three parts (Rev. 16:18–19), and it will also have been burned down by Antichrist and his army right before the battle of Armageddon takes place (Rev. 18:18). When you take into consideration that it will take a good deal of time just to clean up and repair the city, 6.3 years makes sense.
In the next post, we’ll go over the portion of the vision where Daniel asked the angel for help interpreting the vision.
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