The annals of history are filled with men who were full-blown despots, men who craved power and did whatever it took to get it. All these men were megalomaniacal, entertaining delusions of grandeur. They all believed they were destined to rule the whole world. The longer they were in power, the worse their case of megalomania became. Every one of them started to believe they were less man and more god. They started pushing forward the idea they were god-like with supernatural abilities. When their megalomania fully blossomed, they forced people to worship them as God. Who are we talking about? Men like Germany’s Hitler…. China’s Mao Zedong… Russia’s Joseph Stalin… and Cuba’s Fidel Castro… to name just a few. While they were alive, they caused immeasurable destruction and ruin for millions of lives. These monsters had many things in common. One of those things in common was their mortality. After leaving a wake of destruction, they all died like the mere mortals they were. Want to know who the very last megalomaniacal despot will be? Antichrist. Keep reading to learn more.
End Times Antichrist
Third in a Five-Part Series
By Karen Thompson
In this post, we’re going to study the verses in Daniel chapter 11 that prophesy what kind of man the Antichrist figure will be. Verses 36–39 tell us he will be a full-blown despot, overflowing with ambition and a hunger for power. His grandiose pride and megalomania will be the driving force behind his military quests. And like all the despots before him, he will go forth to conquer the world. And he’ll do it with what the Bible calls the “god of forces.”
Verse 36: Antichrist Exalts Himself to God Status
Dan. 11:36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
Let’s start with verse 36 which says the end times Antichrist “shall do according to his own will,” which means he will “run the show” so to speak and will answer to no one. It goes on to say he will exalt himself, magnify himself above every god, and will speak marvelous things against the God of gods. When it says he will exalt himself above every god, it’s saying he will place himself on the status of God, that he is god.
This prophetic word is reflected in Daniel’s other visions. In the vision of the four beasts in Daniel chapter seven, Antichrist is symbolized as the little horn that had a mouth that spoke great things, meaning he will be arrogant and full of pride (v. 8), and the little horn will “speak great words against the most High” (v. 25). Antichrist will think of himself as God, and he will present himself publically as God. And what is more, he will demand that others think of him as God as well. He will magnify himself as even greater than God in heaven. No doubt, he will make all kinds of crazy statements to the Jewish people that he is greater than their God. In fact, I think we can expect some crazy behavior from him. He will actually try to force people to worship him.
In fact, that is exactly what the book of Revelation chapter 13 tells us about Antichrist. Antichrist and his associate referred to as the “false prophet” will initiate worship of Antichrist (v.12). They will create some sort of image of Antichrist and force everyone to worship the image, and those that do not worship the image will be killed (v. 15). In this way, Antichrist will exalt himself and magnify himself above every God. When Antichrist starts making declarations that he is god, that’s when all will know he has become a full-blown despot.
The last part of verse 36 says he will “prosper till the indignation is accomplished,” meaning he will succeed in his mission as Antichrist until the end of Daniel’s 70th week is completed.
Verse 37: Antichrist Doesn’t Worship Any Specific God
Dan. 11:37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
This verse is a continuation of the previous verse, addressing his “god complex.” It starts out saying, “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers….” When it says he will not regard the gods of his fathers, it means he will not worship the gods of his ancestors.
The next phrase is interesting: “nor the desire of women.” This phrase has been misinterpreted by some to mean he will be homosexual. When you come to an obscure phrase such as this, you must apply the rules of Bible interpretation. In this case, the rule of Bible interpretation one must apply is the “rule of context.” In order to find the correct interpretation, you must take into consideration what is stated before and what is stated after this phrase in order to read the phrase “in context.” And everything before and after this phrase talks about Antichrist’s non-worship of gods and his god complex; therefore, the logical conclusion is that this phrase is also addressing the same topic. Several Bible translations interpret this phrase similar to the New International Version: “He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the one desired by women….”
During Daniel’s time, there were certain gods that were popular among women and not men. In fact, the book of Ezekiel gives us an example of women worshiping a particular god. In Ezekiel chapter eight, the prophet Ezekiel is taken on what could be called a “tour of abominations.” In a vision, an angel took the prophet Ezekiel to the temple in Jerusalem to show him all the various groups of Jews worshiping various false gods. On one of the stops on the tour of abominations, Ezekiel said, “Then he [the angel] brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord’s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz” (Eze. 8:14). Only women were worshiping this god called Tammuz. Tammuz was a fertility god which explains why only women would worship it. This confirms that there were gods that women preferred. Consequently, the phrase “nor the desire of women” means Antichrist will not worship the god that women worshiped. This is the only interpretation that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is to think that a phrase indicating his sexual preference would be plopped right in the middle of a discussion about his religious affiliations or lack thereof.
Now we come to the last portion of this verse: “nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.” The phrase “nor regard any god” means he will not be a follower of any god, meaning he’s not going to be a “religious” man affiliating himself with any particular god. The reason he will not have regard for any god is because “he shall magnify himself above all.” Antichrist magnifying himself is a repeated theme. He will lift himself to god status. Men who proclaim they are god do not submit to or serve a god. They want others to submit to and serve them.
Verses 38–39: Antichrist Promotes the “God of Forces”
Dan. 11:38–39 But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. 39 Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.
Verse 37 told us Antichrist will not “regard the God of his fathers,” which means he will not worship the god his ancestors worshiped. Then verse 38 expounds on this thought saying, “But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces….” This means instead of worshiping the gods that his ancestors worshiped, Antichrist will honor the “god of forces.” Verse 38 goes on to describe this god of forces as “a god whom his fathers knew not…” meaning his ancestors will not have worshiped this “god of forces.” What this all boils down to is this: Antichrist will not worship the gods his ancestors worshiped, and his ancestors did not worship the “god of forces” that Antichrist will honor.
The rest of verse 38 goes on to say, “…shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.” In this portion, we are told just how Antichrist will “honor” this god of forces. To “honor” doesn’t mean he will be a worshiper of this god of forces. Verse 37 just told us he will not “regard any God.” When it says he will honor this “god of forces” with gold and silver, it’s saying he’s going to give this god (or religion) lots of money. Antichrist will financially support the “god of forces.”
I like the Amplified Bible translation of verse 39: “And he shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god. Those who acknowledge him he shall magnify with glory and honor, and he shall cause them to rule over many and shall divide the land for a price.” Antichrist will deal with the “strongest fortresses” by the help of a foreign god. This means Antichrist will come against strongholds, or nations, in the name of this “god of forces.” So that’s why Antichrist will support this “god of forces” with riches, because he’s using this religion to come against strongholds, which is to say other nations or other armies. He does not worship this “god of forces,” but he is in collaboration with it to fight his battles.
The phrase “those who acknowledge him he shall magnify with glory and honor,” means those people that support him and embrace his exaltation, he will lift up and promote. In other words, he’ll be generous to his allies, those who are in league with him. The phrase “increase with glory” is explained in the last part of verse 39: “he shall cause them to rule over many and shall divide the land for a price.” Those that acknowledge and support Antichrist, he will go so far as to bequeath land for them to rule. Notice it says “for a price.” Antichrist will expect something in return for making his allies rulers “over many.”
Identity of the God of Forces
I think we have enough information on this “god of forces” so that we can now identify what religion the “god of forces” represents. Without a doubt, all the clues point to only one religion. Islam!
Let’s go through all the clues.
First, It Will Be a God His Ancestors Did Not Worship
The phrase “a god whom his fathers knew not” is an important clue that helps us identify what god Antichrist will honor and promote. The word “father” is the Hebrew word ba, and it can also mean “ancestor.” And since it’s referring to plural fathers, it’s obviously a reference to ancestors.
Verse 39 in the King James translation says it will be a “strange” god that Antichrist’s ancestors did not know. Other Bible translations interpret the word strange as “foreign.” But it is more accurate to translate this word as strange rather than the word foreign. In fact, the word translated as strange is the Hebrew word “nekar.” It is translated in other places in the Bible as “strange, stranger, and alien,” but it is never translated as foreign. The word strange means “not previously known, seen, or experienced before.”
This god of forces will be strange to Antichrist’s ancestors because they were unfamiliar with it. It’s not simply a matter of this god being a foreign god worshiped by some other group of people; it will be a god which they simply never heard about.
Islam fits the description of being a strange god that his ancestors did not know. As far as religions go, Islam is fairly new having been started by a man named Muhammad in the year 610 AD.
Second, It Will Be a Middle Eastern Religion
We learned from Daniel’s previous visions that Antichrist will come from the Middle East. So we can assume it will be a religion revered by Middle Eastern people. What are the dominant religions in the Middle East? Currently, Islam is the only religion that has dominance in the Middle East. In fact, it is so dominant that many Middle Eastern nations are governed by the laws of Islam, called sharia. There are other religions in the Middle East, but they are practiced by a very small percentage of the populace. In fact, those who do not practice Islam are considered to be second-class citizens, and in many cases, they do not have the same rights as Muslims (adherents of Islam). In most of these nations, it’s illegal for Muslims to convert to another religion. They do so under the threat of death. In conclusion, while there are many religions practiced in the Middle East, Islam is the only one that is dominant.
Third, It Will Be Warlike
The god of forces will be a religion whose nature will reflect the name “god of forces,” meaning it will be warlike in nature. Antichrist will support this religion with wealth and will go forth and conquer “strong fortresses” in its name. Islam fits the description of “god of forces” because of its emphasis on holy jihad, which means “holy war.” In fact, Islam’s emphasis on holy jihad is indicative of its primary goal, which is to rule the world.
But Islam didn’t start out that way. When Mohammad first began to preach his new religion, he presented it as a religion of love, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence with his neighbors. But when he failed to win converts, he changed his strategy; and as a result, Islam would be spread “by the sword.” Two hundred years after its inception, Islam covered a very large geographical portion of the world through holy jihad, forcing infidels to convert or die.
Fourth, It Will Force People to Convert Under the Threat of Death
In fact, forced conversions made under the threat of death is our last clue. Revelation 13:15 says the false prophet will “cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” Those who refuse to worship Antichrist will be put to death. And Revelation chapter 20 tells us what primary method Antichrist will use to put to death those who refuse to worship him as god: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands…” (Rev. 20:4).
Antichrist will murder those who refuse to give up their God and worship him by cutting off their heads! Most everyone has heard stories reported by various media of radical Islamists forcing “infidels” to convert or be killed by beheading. This barbaric practice is justified and promoted in Quranic scripture. Sura chapter 47 says, “When you encounter the unbelievers on the battlefield, strike off their heads until you have crushed them completely…” Sura 8:12 says, “I will cast dread into the hearts of the unbelievers. Strike off their heads…”
Beheadings have been a part of Islam from the beginning. Mohammad himself started the practice of beheading when he ordered the beheading of 700 Jewish men for plotting against him. Down through the centuries, there have been many other beheadings committed by followers of Islam. Admittedly, the act of beheading one’s enemies has been practiced by many people groups, but Islam is the only major religion where beheading is legitimized. For Islamists, beheading is much more than an effective tool of terrorism; they believe that God, through the Quran, has directed them to kill their enemies, nonbelievers, in this fashion.
The book of Revelation tells us Antichrist will murder his victims by beheading them; the fact that radical Islamists behead their enemies is like a flashing neon sign pointing at and identifying the religion Antichrist will promote—Islam!
In conclusion, I have no doubt that Islam will be the religion Antichrist supports with “gold and silver.” There simply is no other religion that fits the description in these verses. Antichrist himself won’t be a follower of Islam, but he will use it. Make no mistake about it, Antichrist will go forth and conquer in the name of Islam.
In the next post, we’ll look at the last verses of Daniel chapter 11, verses 40–45. These are the most important verses in all of chapter 11. They prophesy Antichrist’s military path, the nations he will invade, and the nations that will escape.
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