The Antichrist! In all the world of Christendom, he is the ultimate boogieman. He’s this scary figure who will unleash a hellacious time on the earth. He looms large in the minds of all eschatologists. In their study of end time prophecy, they wonder who will be the Antichrist. What nation will he come from? And will he rule the entire world? For centuries, Christians have sought the answers to these mysteries. But the Lord never meant them to be mysteries. In fact, the answers to these questions are all contained in the prophecies of Daniel. If you want to know the answers to these questions, keep reading.
IDENTIFYING THE NATION OF ANTICHRIST
Sixth in a Six-Part Series
by Karen Thompson
Most Christians, when studying end time prophecy, focus their attention on the book of Revelation. But that is a mistake. The book of Revelation cannot be understood without an understanding of the book of Daniel. Daniel’s visions lay the foundation to the end time events in Revelation. Daniel’s visions tells us who Antichrist is… where he comes from… and what he will do. No, we don’t know his name. But his name is not needed to identify him, because the book of Daniel has given us so much specific information about him that he will be easily identifiable when he comes on the scene.
Now that we have studied all of Daniel’s visions, it’s time to review all the clues we learned from them. When we put all the clues together, we’ll be able to identify the nation Antichrist will come from and what his military actions will be. Without a doubt, the Lord wants us to be able to identify this end time personage. He doesn’t want us to be in the dark. That’s why He gave His prophets visions and prophesies.
Clue One: End Time Kingdom of Iron and Clay
We learn the first clue about Antichrist’s kingdom in Daniel chapter two. This chapter tells us about a dream that the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar had of a fierce looking metal man made up of different metals. The dream of the metal man is a vision about a period of time known as “The Time of the Gentiles.” It’s a period of time when Israel would be ruled by Gentile powers. The Times of the Gentiles began when the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar invaded and conquered Israel.
In the dream of the metal man, Babylon, the first Gentile power to rule over Israel, is represented as the head of gold. Persia, the next to rule over Israel, is represented as the chest and arms of silver. Greece, the third Gentile power to rule over Israel, is represented as the belly and thighs of bronze. Rome, the fourth Gentile power to rule over Israel, is represented as the legs of iron. The last kingdom on the metal man is represented by the feet and toes made of iron and clay. This kingdom is not in existence yet. It is an end time kingdom: the last Gentile power to rule over Israel.
Daniel 2:44–45 tells us that in the days of this last end time Gentile kingdom, God will set up His kingdom. It will be the millennial kingdom of Jesus. At Jesus’ Second Coming, He will destroy this end time Gentile kingdom. The destruction of this last Gentile kingdom marks the end of the Times of the Gentiles. The end of the Times of the Gentiles means that Israel and the Jewish people will never be ruled by Gentile powers again!
Main Takeaway: This vision tells us there is one last Gentile kingdom that will rule over Israel. It is a future kingdom that does not yet exist. At this point in the book of Daniel, we don’t yet know that this is the kingdom of Antichrist. This vision simply tells us there will be an end time Gentile empire that will rule over Israel. And it will be the last kingdom to rule Israel, bringing the Times of the Gentiles to an end.
Clue Two: Ten Kings and the Little Horn
The next clue about this end time kingdom is found in Daniel chapter seven. In this chapter, Daniel tells us about his vision of the four great beasts that rose out of the sea: the lion with eagle’s wings, the bear with three ribs in its mouth, the leopard with four heads, and then the last beast—the end time beast with ten horns. The beasts represent Babylon, Persia, Greece, and the end time kingdom. Our clue about this end time kingdom is in the action of the ten horns in verse eight:
“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.”
The activity of the horns is interpreted in verse 24:
“And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.”
This tells us there will be ten kings that will arise during the end times, and they will be connected to the last Gentile kingdom. Another king will rise up after they have been established as kings. The king that rises up after the ten kings will subdue three of the ten kings/nations. This is our first introduction to the personage that Daniel called the “little horn.” In the New Testament, he is called Antichrist. In the book of Revelation, he is called the beast.
Main Takeaway: In the dream of the metal man, we learned there would be one last Gentile kingdom in the end times. And in the vision of the four beasts, we learned about the ruler of this end time kingdom. He is a king that will subdue three kings, meaning he will militarily conquer three nations. At this point, we don’t know who these three kings will be.
Clue Three: Little Horn’s Kingdom Is in the Middle East
Our next clue is in Daniel’s vision of the ram and goat in chapter eight. In this vision, Daniel tells us about a goat with a large horn charging a ram with two large horns, symbolism for Greece attacking Persia. The goat, which symbolizes Alexander the Great, defeated the ram, which symbolizes the Persian King, by breaking off its horns. After the goat won his battle, he became very great, meaning his kingdom became large. And then the goat’s great horn broke off, which symbolizes Alexander’s death. In place of the goat’s great horn, four notable horns grew in its place. The four notable horns symbolize four of Alexander’s generals. When Alexander died, they divided up Alexander’s kingdom among them. Then verse nine says about the four generals, “And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.”
An angel gave Daniel the interpretation of the four horns saying “four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up” (vv. 22–23). This vision tells us the little horn will come out of one of the kingdoms ruled by Alexander’s four generals. The period of time that Antichrist will arise will be in the “latter time of their kingdoms,” meaning in the end times.
Main Takeaway: In the vision of the ram and goat, we learned Antichrist will come from an area of the world that was once governed by one of Alexander’s four generals. At this point in the book of Daniel, we don’t yet know which one of these four kingdoms the little horn will come from. But what we do know is that it will be from an area that fell within the boundaries of Alexander’s empire. Alexander’s entire empire covered the Middle East. This tells us, without a doubt, the kingdom of Antichrist will be located in the Middle East.
Clue Four: Military Action
The fourth clue has to do with the military actions of Antichrist. In the vision of the four beasts (Daniel chapter 7), we learned the little horn would uproot three kings, which means Antichrist will militarily engage with three nations and be victorious. However, it doesn’t give us a clue as to the identity of the three nations.
But in the vision of the ram and goat (Daniel 8), we are told a detail that both helps to identify the three horns and the nation from which Antichrist comes. Verse nine tells us the little horn “…waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.” To “wax great” means the little horn will increase his kingdom; he will increase it to the south of him, to the east of him, and toward the pleasant land. The pleasant land is Israel. This verse tells us the location of two of the nations Antichrist will subdue: one will be south of the Antichrist nation and one will be east of the Antichrist nation. Israel, no doubt, is close by to these nations. This, yet again, confirms the kingdom of Antichrist and the nations he invades will be located in the Middle East.
Clue Five: An Ancient War That Continues into the Future
Our next clue has to do with the mysterious way in which Daniel chapter 11 is written. As you recall, chapter 11 is a detailed account of the back and forth wars between the Grecian kings of the north (Seleucid Empire) and the Grecian kings of the south (Ptolemaic Empire).
In verse 21, it begins to focus on the reign of a Seleucid king described as a “vile person.” This is Antiochus Epiphanes, the king that invaded Jerusalem and tried to force the Jews to adopt Greek culture and gods. Verses 21–32 describe the activities of Antiochus and his persecution of the Jewish people. Then verses 33–35 refer specifically to the Jewish people and how they endured this intense persecution. But then verse 36 begins with “And the king shall do according to his will…” It’s written in such a way that makes the reader think the chapter is still talking about the vile king, Antiochus Epiphanes. But it’s clear the last nine verses are not talking about Antiochus. The last nine verses are talking about the end time personage known as Antichrist, someone separated from Antiochus by well over a couple of millennia into the future.
The chapter is written in a way that makes the reader think these back and forth wars between the kings of the north and the kings of the south continue through to the end of the chapter. But the chapter fails to inform the reader that there is a tremendous gap of time between Antiochus Epiphanes and the end time Antichrist, yet it continues using the language of “the king of the north,” versus “the king of the south.” The chapter is written in a way to indicate a suspension of the events between the kings of the north and the kings of the south… a suspension of over two millennia. But then at the appointed time, the events between the kings of the north and the kings of the south pick up again right where they left off.
Main takeaway: This tells us the same kings of the north and the kings of the south involved in these back and forth wars are the same nations that will be at war with each other during the end times. Some eschatologists erroneously believe Antichrist will come from Europe, specifically the European Union. But Daniel’s prophecies clearly tell us he will come from the Middle East.
Clue Six: Antichrist Will Arise From Area Known as the Seleucid Empire.
Now, we’re going to identify the specific nation Antichrist will come from. In the vision of the ram and goat (Daniel chapter 8), we were told that Antichrist will come from one of the kingdoms of Alexander’s four generals. Daniel chapter 11 tells us from which of Alexander’s four generals the Antichrist will come. In this chapter, we read about the wars fought between Alexander’s four generals and how, in the end, only two generals were left standing: the king of the north of the Grecian Seleucid Empire and the king of the south of the Grecian Ptolemaic Empire.
Out of the north came Antiochus Epiphanes, who is a type and mirror image of the end time Antichrist. It’s for that reason the Grecian Seleucid Empire ruled by Antiochus Epiphanes is deliberately placed back to back with the future end time kingdom of Antichrist, thereby identifying Antichrist as a king of the north. From this, we know the future end time Antichrist will come from the area that was governed by General Seleucus of the Grecian Seleucid Empire.
At some point in its history of existence, the Grecian Seleucid Empire covered a large portion of the Middle East. The empire waxed and waned according to the success and failure of its battles. However, both ancient and modern historians, refer to the Seleucid Empire as Syria because Syria was the center, or the heart, of the empire. No matter whether the borders of the Seleucid Empire waxed or waned, Syria was always the center of the empire. So what does that tell us?
Antichrist will arise out of Syria.
Clue Seven: The Identities of the Three Horns Antichrist Uproots
Now that we have ascertained that Syria is the nation from which Antichrist comes, we can now identify the nations Antichrist will uproot: those three nations are “toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land” (Dan. 8:9). We already know the third horn referred to as the “pleasant land” is Israel. So let’s move on to ascertain the identity of the nation to the south of him. In the back and forth wars between the kings of the northern Seleucid Empire and the kings of the southern Ptolemaic Empire, it’s understood that the Ptolemaic Empire was basically Egypt. Therefore, we can conclude that Egypt is the nation toward the south. In fact, Daniel 11:42 confirms it by stating Egypt will not escape Antichrist. What is most interesting is that it says the king of the south, Egypt, will move against Antichrist. Not the other way around. Egypt will be the aggressor, but it is Antichrist that will prevail. This is another confirmation that Egypt is the nation to the south.
The only clue as to the identity of the third nation that Antichrist uproots is the phrase “toward the east.” The identity of the nation “toward the east” can be solved by simply looking at a map. What is directly east of Syria is Iraq. Other nations east of Syria are Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. But Iraq is the only nation that shares a border with Syria. And if it’s the goal of Antichrist to increase his empire, the most logical way to do it would be to take out the nations that surround him. Therefore, the best informed guess as to the identity of the nation toward the east is Iraq.
There we have it. The three nations Antichrist uproots are Egypt, most likely Iraq, and Israel. In addition, I think we can conclude that the sequence in which Antichrist uproots these nations is reflected in the sequence of how they are listed: “toward the south [Egypt], and toward the east [Iraq], and toward the pleasant land [Israel]” (Dan. 8:9).
Clue Eight: Intermarriages of Royal Offspring
There is one last clue that confirms, yet again, that the area of the world Antichrist comes from will be the Middle East. The last clue is in Daniel chapter two in the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, verse 43: “And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay” (Dan. 2:43).
Our clue is in the phrase “they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men.” This phrase is referring to the kings of these nations intermarrying their royal offspring. These marriages weren’t about love; rather, they were for the purpose of forming political alliances. But these marriages didn’t achieve their intended purpose. We see that in the phrase “they shall not cleave one to another.” The intermarrying of the royal offspring failed to create alliances. These nations remained in constant war with each other.
In Daniel chapter 11, we see two examples of the fulfillment of the phrase “they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men.” The first one is in Daniel 11:6 when it says, “for the king’s daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm.” This verse was fulfilled when Ptolemy II, king of the south, secured an end to the war by marrying his daughter, Berenice, to his foe, Antiochus II (261–246 BC), king of the north.
The second one is in Daniel 11:17 when it says, “He shall give him [his] daughter to corrupt and destroy it [his league with Egypt] and the kingdom, but it shall not succeed or be to his advantage” (Amp.). This verse was fulfilled when the king of the north, Antiochus the Great (father of Antiochus Epiphanes), gave his daughter, Cleopatra, to Ptolemy V, king of the south. The plan of Antiochus the Great was for his daughter, Cleopatra, to spy on her husband for him. The plot didn’t work because Cleopatra was loyal to her husband.
These are just two examples of these ancient Middle Eastern nations trying to form alliances with each other. There were many other arraigned marriages that didn’t get included in Daniel’s prophecy. Take for instance, Ptolemy I, king of the south; he too tried to form alliances through marriage. He gave his daughter Arsinoe II in marriage to Lysimachus of Thrace. He gave his stepdaughter Theoxena to Agathocles of Syracuse. He gave his daughter Ptolemais to Demetrius Poliorcetes. He gave another stepdaughter, Antigone, to Pyrrhus of Epirus. These are just a handful of examples. There were many others.
The kings of these nations tried to create alliances with each other through the marriage of their children, thus fulfilling the prophetic word, “they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men.” The marriages failed in their intended purpose of creating alliances as prophesied: “they shall not cleave one to another….” No matter how many of their children they married off to other royals, they remained at constant war with each other. Over two millennia later, the relationships of these Middle Eastern nations hasn’t changed. They are not in alliance with each other. The only thing they are in agreement with each other today is their shared hatred of Israel.
For centuries, Christians have been looking at all the wrong signs. They should have been looking at the Bible, at Daniel’s prophecies. Here are the events to watch for that will bring about the beginning of end time events.
A king will arise in Syria; he is the little horn, a.k.a. Antichrist. He will militarily conquer three nations. We aren’t told the reasons why, but Egypt will move against Syria. Egypt will lose to Syria. Then the Syrian king will engage in a successful military campaign against the nation to the east of him, most likely Iraq. Next, the Syrian king moves against Israel and succeeds. At this point, he has successfully uprooted three of the ten horns/kings.
It’s when the little horn invades Israel that he will enter into a seven-year “covenant with many.” When the little horn, the Syrian king, enters into this covenant, the clock starts ticking on Daniel’s 70th week of seven years.
And isn’t it interesting that right now at this very moment, the Syrian King Bashar Al-Assad is in the fight of his life trying to hold onto his kingdom. At the time of this writing, the citizens of Syria are in the midst of a civil war trying to unseat their king. It’s been going on since March 15, 2011, the day referred to as the Syrian Day of Rage.
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