The Last Days Calendar – Bible Prophecy & The Rapture

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The Last Days Calendar truly interprets end time Bible prophecy concerning the last days within the context of Jewish culture and the Hebrew calendar.

Studying Scripture in light of the historical setting and culture in which it was first proclaimed reveals fresh insight into events of the last days, the Book of Revelation, the timing of the Rapture, the identity of the Two Witnesses and the nature of the Millennium. Our web site provides detailed teachings concerning these topics.

Bible prophecies that concern the events of the last days, including the rapture, are foreshadowed in the Festivals of the LORD. The Festivals of the LORD are the ordained “Appointed Times” of God’s ceremonial calendar for Israel. These seasonal feasts are prophetic pictures of the Messiah.

The four spring Festivals of the LORD: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits and The Feast of Weeks all take place within the first three months of the Hebrew calendar. The spring cycle of biblical festivals was literally fulfilled by the First Advent: Redemption (the Passover), Sanctification (The Feast of Unleavened Bread), Resurrection (Firstfruits) and the birth of the Church (Pentecost).

The first of the fall cycle of the Festivals of the LORD is the Feast of Trumpets. Yom Teruah (the day of shofar blasts) foreshadows the Rapture when God’s elect will be translated in the blinking of an eye and gathered into His presence to be forever with the Lord. The most solemn and holy day for the Jewish people is the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), which is the day on the Hebrew calendar when Yeshua (Jesus) will return and rescue God’s chosen people. The final festival of the fall cycle of biblical festival and the final of the seven annual feasts is Sukkoth – The Feast of Tabernacles. This feast foreshadows the wedding supper of the Lamb and the Millennial reign of Christ.

To learn more about The Festivals of Yahweh (the LORD) check out the blogs in our “Feasts & Festivals” category.

A cult is a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader. Our “Cults and Religions” category (at the top of the page) includes:

  •        Christianity versus Cults and Counterfeits – Defining Cults   
  •        Church of the Latter-Day Saints, Joseph Smith & the Mormons  
  •        Is Catholicism True Orthodox Christianity or a Christian Cult?  
  •         Is this the Dawn of a New Age or just Old Fashioned Paganism?  
  •        Is Seventh-Day Adventism Christianity or is SDA Cultism?    
  •        ISLAM:  The Religion of “Peace” Bent on Conquest  
  •        The Claims of Freemasons vs. the Hidden Truth of Freemasonry  
  •        The Jehovah’s Witnesses: True Christianity or Christian Cult?  
  •        The True History and Practices of the Church of Scientology!  

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. Isaiah 46:9-10

Only the one true God and Creator is omniscient and knows the end from the beginning. Our expository teachings from the book of Genesis are not only historical accounts, but are often prophetic pictures of future events. Each month a new chapter from the book of Genesis will be posted until a verse-by-verse commentary on entire book of Genesis is completed.

Judges Chapter 3 – The Israelites Lived Among the Canaanites

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The Israelites lived among the Philistines, the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites to test whether or not they would obey the LORD’s commands.

These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses. Judges 3:1-4

The descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham, settled in the area that God later promised to give to the descendants of Shem. The Canaanites were Hamitic in origin, but they adopted a Semitic language and culture, as we know from both the Bible and archaeology.

Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father’s nakedness. Genesis 9:20-23

Nakedness in the Old Testament was from the beginning a thing of shame for fallen man. As a result of the Fall, the eyes of Adam and Eve were opened, and knowing they were naked, they covered themselves. To them as sinners the state of nakedness was undignified, shameful and vulnerable. The covering of nakedness was a sound instinct for it provided a boundary for fallen human relations. Nakedness thereafter represented the loss of human and social dignity. To be exposed meant to be unprotected; this can be seen by the fact that the horrors of the Judah’s exile to Babylon are couched in the image of shameful nakedness.

Nakedness is also a punishment to be meted out to the enemies of God:

You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one. You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness, you stripped him from head to foot. Habakkuk 3:13

Rejoice and be glad, O Daughter of Edom, you who live in the land of Uz. But to you also the cup will be passed; you will be drunk and stripped naked. Lamentations 4:21

To see someone uncovered was to bring dishonor and to gain advantage for potential exploitation.

When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.” Genesis 9:24-25

The curse of slavery was upon Canaan and his descendants. The curse would rest upon the Canaanites who dwelled in ancient Palestine, Phoenicia, and Carthage. The Canaanites detestable practices included idolatry, fornication with temple prostitutes, divination and child sacrifice. The prophecy was fulfilled when the Canaanites were enslaved because of their wickedness by the ancient Israelites – first by Joshua (Joshua 9:23) and later by Solomon (1 Kings 9:20-21).

But why was Noah’s grandson Canaan cursed because of the sin of his father Ham? I think that there are at least two reasons that the curse fell on Canaan. First of all, God foreknew Canaan’s wickedness and how Ham’s disrespectful and dishonoring attitude would wax even worse in Canaan. Secondly, children are to be a blessing and are to honor their parents. Just as Noah’s son Ham did not bring Noah honor but shame, so would Canaan bring dishonor to Ham and not blessing.

The Canaanites and the other nations were left in the Promised Land for a dual purpose. The first was to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience. The second purpose was to test the moral and spiritual discipline of the Israelites to see if they would observe God’s commandments.

The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods. Judges 3:5-6

The LORD God had forbidden the Israelites from intermarrying with the peoples of the surrounding nations. He told them of the consequences they would suffer if they disobeyed His command.

When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you—and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the LORD’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you.   Deuteronomy 7: 1-4

The Israelites failed to heed the LORD’s warning concerning intermarriage, and just as He had predicted, their children turned away from the LORD their God.

The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. The anger of the LORD burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. Judges 3:7-8

Baal, or “lord,” was the chief object of worship of the Canaanites. Asherah was known as the goddess of motherhood and fertility. She was called “Lady Asherah of the Sea.” Asherah or Ashtoreth was their supreme female divinity and Baal’s consort or wife. Some suppose Baal to correspond to the sun and Asherah to the moon; others that Baal was Jupiter and Ashtoreth Venus.

Each locality had its special Baal, and the various local Baals were summed up under the name of Baalim, or “lords.” The Canaanites believed that Baal was in absolute control over nature and over people. They believed that Baal was in charge of the rain and the weather, and man’s survival was dependent upon his provision.

Worship of Baal involved imitative magic, the performance of rituals, including sacred prostitution. Sexual acts by both male and female temple prostitutes were understood to arouse Baal who then brought rain to make Mother Earth fertile.

After the Israelites intermarried with the heathen people from the surrounding nations, they followed their pagan gods and committed natural and spiritual adultery. They were unfaithful to their own spouses as well as unfaithful to the LORD their God.

The name Cushan-Rishathaim is interpreted, as “man from Cush, he of the twofold crime.” Cush was the eldest son of Ham, and the father of Nimrod. The land of Cush probably derives its name from this son of Ham. The Cushites appear to have spread along extensive tracts, stretching from the Upper Nile to the Euphrates and Tigris.

Cushan-Rishathaim was a king of Mesopotamia who was chosen by God as his tool to chastise the Israelites for their idolatry.

But when they cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. The Spirit of the LORD came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The LORD gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died. Judges 3:9-11

Aram means high, or highlands. Aram is the name of an ancient country noted by its elevated region extending from the northeast of Israel to the Euphrates. It corresponded generally with Syria and Mesopotamia of the Greeks and Romans.

The Israelites were punished for turning from the LORD and worshipping the Baals and Asherahs by being subjugated by the king of Aram for eight years. When they finally cried out to the LORD in desperation, in His mercy, the LORD raised up and anointed Caleb’s younger brother as Israel’s first judge.

The Judges were both prophets and warriors who sought to bring God’s people to repentance and deliver them from the hands of their enemies. Their role was to turn the people back from idolatry to the worship of the LORD and the observance of the Torah. The judges were leaders or rulers who took charge of the affairs of several tribes in times of war and who also assumed leadership of their respective tribes in the subsequent times of peace.

Othniel in his role of warrior led Israel in battle and defeated the king of Aram and his army. He then served in his peacetime role of judge for the next forty years.

Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and because they did this evil the LORD gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel. Getting the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him, Eglon came and attacked Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms. The Israelites were subject to Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years. Judges 3:12-14

The Moabites lived just east of the Dead Sea. The Ammonites occupied the countryside north of Moab were both tribes related by blood to Abraham. They were descendants of his nephew Lot. The name Moab, the son of Lot from his older daughter, means “from the father.” The name Ben-ammi, his son by his younger daughter, means “son of my people.” These sons conceived through incest gave rise to the Moabites and the Ammonites.

Given the incestuous origins of Moab and Ammon, we are not surprised that contact with these peoples often brought much trouble for Abraham’s children as these peoples sinned like their parents. Moab led Israel into Baal worship on its way into Canaan (Numbers 25:1-3). Both the Ammonites and the Moabites hired Balaam to curse Israel as it journeyed toward the Promised Land and were thus forbidden to enter the Lord’s assembly for ten generations (Deuteronomy 23:3-4).

The Amalekites were descendants of Amalek, the son of Eliphaz and the grandson of Esau who had despised his birthright. They were related the Edomites. The Amalekites waylaid the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. They waited in ambush and attacked all who were lagging behind mostly women, children, the aged and the infirm.

The armies from these three nations attacked Israel and took possession of the City of Palms (Jericho). The LORD chastened the Israelites for their disobedience by handing them over to Eglon king of the Moabites who subjugated them for eighteen years.

Again the Israelites cried out to the LORD, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Judges 3:15

The Hebrew Bible mentions left-handed people on three occasions: the story of Ehud’s assassination of the Moabite king (Judges 3:12–30), the 700 Benjamites who could use the sling with deadly accuracy (Judges 20:16) and the two-dozen ambidextrous warriors who came to support David in Hebron (1 Chronicles 12:2). All of these accounts of left-handed people in the Bible appear in military contexts and all involve members of the tribe of Benjamin.

Benjamites may have been genetically disposed to left-handedness at birth, but the trait may also have been encouraged in soldiers to give them a strategic advantage in combat. Ironically, the name Benjamin means “son of (my) right hand.”

Ehud was selected by the LORD as the next judge or minister of Divine justice of Israel. He was chosen to deliver the Israelites from Eglon the king of the Moabites.

Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a cubit long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing. He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man. After Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on their way those who had carried it. Judges 3:16-18

Since the Israelites had been submissively paying large sums to Eglon for eighteen years, the king would not have been suspicious of meeting with Ehud who was bringing him tribute. Then, to avoid endangering his comrades, Ehud sent away his men who had carried the tribute to the king.

But on reaching the stone images near Gilgal he himself went back to Eglon and said, “Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you.”

The king said to his attendants, “Leave us!” And they all left. Judges 3:19

Ehud left Moab and traveled as far as Gilgal before returning alone to Eglon’s palace. The stone images may have been idols that the Moabites carved out of the 12 stones that were erected as a memorial when Joshua and the Israelites had crossed the Jordan River.

This allotted for enough time for the soldiers who guarded the king during the presentation of the tribute to leave. The king was intrigued by Ehud’s secret message and sent away his attendants.

Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his palace and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it. Then Ehud went out to the porch; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them. Judges 3:20-23

After dismissing his servants, the king left the public hall on the main floor and went to the upper room of his palace. The king was sitting in his cool roof-chamber when Ehud approached him and said, “I have a message from God for you.” The king rose from his seat and no suspicions were raised concerning Ehud, who was left-handed, as he drew his sword. Ehud then plunged the sword into the king’s belly and did not pull the sword out. He locked the doors of the upper room behind him and made his escape out the porch.

After he had gone, the servants came and found the doors of the upper room locked. They said, “He must be relieving himself in the inner room of the palace.” They waited to the point of embarrassment, but when he did not open the doors of the room, they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their lord fallen to the floor, dead. Judges 3:24-25

Finding the doors locked, the servants thought that the king was relieving himself. The irony of the situation is that – when Eglon had been killed the thrust of Ehud’s sword, the king’s bowels had discharged. When the servants finally unlocked the door, they discovered the dead body of their lord.

 While they waited, Ehud got away. He passed by the stone images and escaped to Seirah. When he arrived there, he blew a trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down with him from the hills, with him leading them. Judges 3:26-27

While the servants waited for the king to emerge from the upper room of his palace, Ehud had enough time to travel passed Gilgal. He escaped to Seirath which was “the forest” or “rough” which bordered on the cultivated plain near Gilgal, and extended into “the hill country of Ephraim.” He blew a trumpet which was a signal to gather the fighting men.

“Follow me,” he ordered, “for the LORD has given Moab, your enemy, into your hands.” So they followed him down and took possession of the fords of the Jordan that led to Moab; they allowed no one to cross over. At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all vigorous and strong; not one escaped. That day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for eighty years. Judges 3:28-30

Ehud went down from the mountain of Ephraim into the Jordan valley beneath it, straight to the Jordan fords. These were the places where the water was shallow enough to be crossed by wading. The purpose of possessing the fords of the Jordan was to keep the Moabites on the west side of the Jordan from joining their countrymen on the east side of the Jordan. Having struck down about ten thousand Moabites, Moab was made subject to Israel and the land had peace for eighty years.

After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel. Judges 3:31

The south-west area of the Promised Land was inhabited by the Philistines. The Philistines were a sea people that most probably came from the Aegean Sea. God raised up Shamgar to deliver Israel from these enemies. Since he had neither sword nor spear, he used an oxgoad as his weapon. An oxgoad is an instrument of wood about eight feet long, armed with an iron spike or point at one end, with which to spur the ox to plow. It also has an iron scraper at the other end with which to scrape off the earth from the plowshare when it became too clogged to make furrows. Shamgar used his oxgoad and struck down six hundred Philistines. This supernatural act was probably empowered by the Spirit of the LORD coming upon him.

From this verse and Judges 5:6 we may gather that Shamgar was contemporary with Jael, and that he only procured a temporary and partial deliverance for Israel by his

Judges 2 – The Israelites Disobeyed the Angel of the LORD!

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The angel of the Lord brought the Israelites up out of Egypt but the Israelites disobeyed him. They stopped serving the LORD after the death of Joshua.

The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? Judges 2:1-2

It was “Malak Yehovah,” the “Angel of the Lord” who had appeared to Joshua in Gilgal at the beginning of the campaign to occupy the land of Canaan and issued His orders as the “Captain of the LORD’s host.”

Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”Genesis 17:8

God promised Abraham that his descendents would be delivered out of the land of bondage and take possession of the land of Canaan. God not only confirmed his promise to Isaac and Jacob, but stated He would give their offspring the Promised Land as an everlasting possession.

Now the great Angel of the covenant, the Word, the Son of God, reappears and speaks with Divine authority and calls the Israelites to account for their disobedience.

“‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live.” Numbers 33:55

Before they entered into Canaan, the LORD had warned the Israelites several times about the importance of clearing out the Promised Land of the idolatrous Canaanite peoples but they failed to obey him.

And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.’”

When the angel of the Lord had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud, and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the Lord. Judges 2:3-5

Bokim is the Hebrew word for weepers. The people wept there, crying out against their own foolishness of disobedience and ingratitude to the LORD who had delivered them out of the bondage of Egypt. They sacrificed there to the LORD to atone for the sins they had committed. This was an indication that they were near Shiloh, where the tabernacle was located.

After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to their own inheritance. The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. Judges 2:6-7

The author of the book of Judges is recounting a history of the tribes of Israel, from the division of the land by Joshua to the time in which the angel of the LORD speaks. Joshua divided the land among them by casting lots in order to determine God’s will for the territory allotted to each tribe. Joshua urged the people to be obedient to the LORD and the Israelites solemnly promised to obey God’s commands. They continued to be faithful during Joshua’s lifetime and during the lives of his contemporaries who had survived him.

When all that generation who had seen the wondrous works of God in their behalf had died, the succeeding generation worshipped the Baals and Ashtaroth, the gods of the Canaanites. They provoked the LORD to anger and they were therefore delivered into the hands of their enemies.

Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. Judges 2:8-9

Joshua was called the servant of the LORD as was his mentor Moses.

And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. Deuteronomy 34:5

Only two other outstanding men were known as servants of Yehovah in the Bible.

For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

I love you, Lord, my strength. Psalm 18:1

Moses the deliverer, Joshua who led Israel into the Promised Land and David, Israel’s greatest king, were servants of the LORD and types of the Messiah.

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. Isaiah 42:1

See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Isaiah 52:13

After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. Judges 2:10-11

Ba’al was a title and honorific meaning “lord” or “master.” Baal, the sun-god, was the name of the supreme god worshiped in ancient Canaan and Phoenicia. Baal religion revolved around the cycles of nature necessary for survival and prosperity in the ancient world, primarily growing crops or raising livestock, as well as the growth of human populations.

Baal was also a fertility god who was believed to enable the earth to produce crops and people to produce children. Different regions worshiped Baal in different ways, and Baal proved to be a highly adaptable god. Various locales emphasized one or another of his attributes and developed special “denominations” of Baalism. The Israelites did evil by serving the Baals.

In the Baal religion, base sex worship was prevalent, and religious prostitution even commanded; human sacrifice was common; and it was a frequent practice–in an effort to placate their gods–to kill young children and bury them in the foundations of a house or public building at the time of construction.

The first Holy Roman Emperor Constantine rejected the seventh day Sabbath for the venerable day of the sun. The Roman calendar which names its days and many of its months after pagan gods is a solar calendar.

Mithra, the Light of the World, is an ancient sun god identified with Sol Invictus, who was born on December 25th. Mithraism was popular in the Roman Empire with many Emperors following, not just the populace. It had seven sacraments, the same as the Catholic Church, baptism, and communion with bread and water. The Eucharist hosts were signed with a cross, an ancient phallic symbol which originated in Egypt, and the Egyptian cross (the ankh which represents Tammuz), still shows the original form which included the female symbol. The Roman Catholic Church incorporated pagan traditions into their rituals in order to attract the masses and codify their power, wealth and influence as a Holy Roman Empire.

The Monstrance is used to display a round wafer of bread, called the host, which is used in what is called the Mass, Lord’s Supper, Communion or Eucharistic meal. The Catholic believes this wafer of bread turns into the actual body of Christ when consecrated during the Mass. During the baroque period, the Monstrance took on a rayed form of a sun-monstrance with a circular window surrounded by a silver or gold frame with rays. The priest sometimes holds up the sunburst monstrance with the host encased for the congregation to adore and venerate. Virtually any time the monstrance, a pagan sun symbol, is viewed by the congregation, they kneel in submission. The Catholic Church describes itself in its documents as engaged in the act of worshipping the Eucharist, which is also called adoration or veneration.

“This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits.” Revelation 17:9

The woman on the beast of Revelation chapter 17 is known as “Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots.” The topography or terrain that marks the geographical location of the center of the false religion is noted for its seven hills. The Whore of Babylon is a religious system that is characterized as prostituting itself. Spiritual fornication is idol worship. The Empire of the Caesars had its capital in Rome which was built on seven hills and was well-known for its many statues of its Roman gods and goddesses including the Caesars. Julius Caesar as Rome’s Pontifex Maximus held supreme religious authority in Rome. He was not only the ruler of the state but the high priest of the pagan Roman religion.

The term “Pontifex Maximus” is applied to the high priest of the Roman Catholic Church today. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition: ‘For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise.” Not only does the Pope continue under the titles of the Caesars of Rome but claims to be the Vicar of Christ on earth. The Pope claims to be authorized to act as the substitute or agent of Christ on earth. Jesus himself promised us that He would send the Holy Spirit to act on his behalf and not a fallible man. As Christ Jesus had been the Master, Counselor and Guide to believers, He promised to send the Holy Spirit as His substitute so that He might abide with them forever (John 14:16).

The Roman Catholic Church noted for its widespread display and veneration of the statues of saints is in direct opposition to the commandments of God stated in Exodus 20: 4-5a: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:

Although Romanists claim that they are not worshipping the statues of saints or Mary, the very fact that they bow down to them violates God’s commandment. The location and practices of the Roman Catholic Church seem to make it the ideal candidate as the Whore of Babylon.

They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. Judges 2:12-13

Asherah, or Ashtoreth, was the name of the chief female deity worshiped in ancient Syria, Phoenicia, and Canaan. She is presented as a consort of Baal, the sun-god and the two were worshiped with lewd rites.

So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:8-9

In their own strength and foolish stubbornness of heart, Nimrod’s followers were defying the LORD God by building a high waterproof tower. Instead of learning a lesson from the Flood by fearing the LORD and turning from evil, they trusted in the arm of flesh. The purpose of the tower was the worship of the heavenly hosts which is known as “The Babylonian Mystery Religion.”

When Nimrod died, the Babylonian mystery religion in which he figured prominently continued on. His wife Queen Semiramis saw to that. Once he was dead, she deified him as the Sun-god. Later, when this adulterous and idolatrous woman gave birth to an illegitimate son, she claimed that this son was Nimrod reborn. Semiramis named her son Damu (from the Sumerian “dam,” or blood), which in the later Babylonian language became Dammuzi and in Hebrew Tammuz.

As men were scattered over the face of the earth speaking different languages, they continued in their worship of the sun, moon and other heavenly bodies. Therefore, the same mythical gods and goddesses they worshipped were called by different names based upon the language that was spoken. In various cultures Nimrod later became known as Baal, the Great Life Giver, the god of fire, Bel, Molech, etc. Baal (sun worship) was the chief male deity of the Canaanites, Zeus the chief deity of the Greeks and Jupiter the chief deity of the Romans.

Semiramis became known as the “Queen of Heaven,” and was the prototype from which all other pagan goddesses came. Semiramis is the name of the moon goddess for the Assyrians. Ashtorah is a moon goddess for the Canaanites. Isis is the Egyptian name. Ishtar is the Babylonian name. Artemis was worshipped by the Greeks and known as Diana by the Romans.

Asherah was represented by a limbless tree trunk planted in the ground which was also known as an Ashera pole. The trunk was usually carved into a symbolic representation of the goddess. Because of the association with carved trees, the places of Asherah worship were commonly called “groves,” and the Hebrew word “asherah” (plural, “asherim”) could refer either to the goddess or to a grove of trees.

Asherah was also worshiped as the goddess of love and war and was sometimes linked with Anath, another Canaanite goddess. Worship of Asherah was noted for its sensuality and involved ritual prostitution. The priests and priestesses of Asherah also practiced divination and fortune-telling.

Mecca at the time Muhammed was born was inhabited by the tribe of Quraysh (Koreish) to which Muhammed’s clan of Hasim belonged. The city was a mercantile center with shrines to many gods, chief of whom was llah. The Ka’bah sanctuary in the city square supposedly guaranteed the safety of those who came to trade. The pre-Islamic deities of Arabia which were most venerated were astral deities, especially the triad of the moon god, the sun goddess, and the god associated with the planet Venus. The moon god was the chief and was protector of the cities. These deities were given various names however the moon god was evidently originally the Babylonian moon god Sin. To end division among his people in Mecca, Muhammad elevated the moon god A llah to the chief and only god.

In his anger against Israel the Lord gave them into the hands of raiders who plundered them. He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist. Whenever Israel went out to fight, the hand of the Lord was against them to defeat them, just as he had sworn to them. They were in great distress. Judges 2:14-15

The Israelites were not only engaged in physical prostitution with shrine priests and priestesses; they were also committing spiritual adultery be worshipping other gods. Israel was in covenant relationship with Yehovah who had delivered out of the bondage of Egypt. Therefore, He chastised the Israelites by allowing raiders to plunder them, their enemies to defeat them and the neighboring nations to rule over them.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Revelation 3:19

 Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted The Angel of the LORD themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s command. Judges 2:16-17

Following the conquest of Canaan by Joshua until the formation of the first Kingdom of Israel and Judah, the Israelite tribes formed a loose confederation. No central government existed in this confederation; in times of crisis, the people were led by ad hoc chieftains, known as judges.

Shoftim is the Hebrew word that is translated as judges. Many times the judges served in the role as an official with the authority to administer justice but not always. Most shoftim acted primarily as military leaders in times of war. The leaders were thought of as being sent by God to deliver the people from a threat. After the threat had passed, shoftim were generally expected to give up their position as military leaders. They were most likely tribal or local leaders, but their authority was recognized by local groups or tribes beyond their own. In accordance with the needs of the time, their functions were primarily military and judicial but they did not act like or have the authority of a king.

Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways. Judges 2:18-19

As a person or nation continues in cycles of sin, the individual or nation will develop a callused heart and a seared conscience.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 1Timothy 4:1-2

We can draw parallels between the ever increasing corruption and evil practices of the tribes of Israel during the time of the Israel’s judges and our own nation. The lies and deception propagated by those who promote political correctness have been affirmed by godless judges on the Supreme Court so that immorality and pagan practices have become the law of the land.

Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and said, “Because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their ancestors did.” The Lord had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua. Judges 2:20-23

Ultimately, since the people violated their Covenant with God, He did not drive out the remnant of the peoples who were left in Canaan at the time of Joshua’s death. God left them there as a test to winnow out those who were really committed to following Him

Is it possible that the LORD is also very angry with the United States of America for turning away from our Creator? Are we out of favor with God because of the continuing effort by those in power to ban the 10 Commandments, Christian prayer and the Bible from our public institutions, by engaging in gross sexual immorality, the destruction of millions of babies in the womb, for loving money and materialism, and waning in our support of Israel?

After Joshua Died, Israelites Fight the Remaining Canaanites

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After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Canaanites?”

The Lord answered, “Judah shall go up; I have given the land into their hands.” Judges 1:1-2

Reuben had forfeited the birthright as Jacob’s firstborn son due to gross sin. While Jacob was in mourning for his wife Rachel, who had died in childbirth, Reuben slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah who had been Rachel’s handmaiden.

Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi who were the second and third born sons of Jacob were indignant and very angry because Shechem had violated their sister Dinah. Because Shechem desperately wanted to marry Dinah, Simeon and Levi used the situation to deceive Shechem and the men of the city to enter into an agreement with them.

Because their sister Dinah had been defiled, Jacob’s sons replied deceitfully as they spoke to Shechem and his father Hamor. They said to them, “We can’t do such a thing; we can’t give our sister to a man who is not circumcised. That would be a disgrace to us. We will enter into an agreement with you on one condition only: that you become like us by circumcising all your males. Then we will give you our daughters and take your daughters for ourselves. We’ll settle among you and become one people with you. But if you will not agree to be circumcised, we’ll take our sister and go.” Genesis 34:13-17

Three days later, while all of them were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords and attacked the unsuspecting city, killing every male. They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword and took Dinah from Shechem’s house and left. Genesis 34:25-26

The consequence of their act of violence was twofold. First Simeon and Levi, who were next in line after Reuben, both forfeited the birthright. In addition their offspring, who would eventually enter into the Promised Land, would be dispersed in Israel. During the days of Joshua, the Levites did not receive an allotted territory but were scattered throughout Israel is designated cities. The Simeonites, on the other hand, received their inheritance within the territory of Judah.

Although Judah was the fourth born son of Jacob, because his three older brothers forfeited their rights, he took a prominent position in Israel. The tribe of Judah was the first tribe selected by the LORD to fight and defeat the Canaanites in order to acquire their allotted land.

King David, who descended from the tribe of Judah, would defeat and subjugate all the enemies of Israel. Messiah Jesus, the Son of David, would be born King of the Jews.

The men of Judah then said to the Simeonites their fellow Israelites, “Come up with us into the territory allotted to us, to fight against the Canaanites. We in turn will go with you into yours.” So the Simeonites went with them. Judges 1:3

Since Simeon’s allotment of land was within the territory of Judah, the Simeonites agreed that they would join with the Judeans to first fight the Canaanites to conquer the outer territory. Then the Judeans would join the Simeonites to fight against the Canaanites who resided within the territory of Judah.

When Judah attacked, the Lord gave the Canaanites and Perizzites into their hands, and they struck down ten thousand men at Bezek. It was there that they found Adoni-Bezek and fought against him, putting to rout the Canaanites and Perizzites. Adoni-Bezek fled, but they chased him and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes.

 Then Adoni-Bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off have picked up scraps under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them.” They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there. Judges 1:4-7

Bezek (lightning) was a Canaanite city which was taken captive by Judah. Adoni-Bezek means the Lord of Bezek. When they cut off the king’s thumbs and great toes, he confessed that this was righteous judgment upon him because he had done the same to seventy kings whom he made crawl under his table and eat scraps like dogs.

The cutting off of the thumbs makes waging war with the hands impossible. The cutting off of the big toes makes walking difficult and running away hopeless. This act was to totally humiliate one’s enemies and assure that they would be unable to retaliate or escape.

 The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem also and took it. They put the city to the sword and set it on fire.

After that, Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country, the Negev and the western foothills. They advanced against the Canaanites living in Hebron (formerly called Kiriath Arba) and defeated Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai. Judges 1:8-10

Joshua from the Tribe of Ephraim and Caleb from the Tribe of Judah were amongst the twelve spies sent to spy out the Land of Canaan after the Exodus. When the spies returned, the other ten spies spread a bad report among the Israelites.

They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. Numbers 13:27-28

That night the Israelites, gripped with fear, grumbled against Moses and Aaron. They accused the LORD of bringing them to the land only for them to die by the sword of the Canaanites.

Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they. Numbers 14:5-12

Moses interceded on behalf of the rebellious Israelites and the LORD forgave them, but none of that generation with the exception of Joshua and Caleb would live to enter into the Promised Land.

…not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it. Numbers 14:23-24

After Canaan had been conquered and Joshua was dividing the land west of the Jordan River, Caleb said the following:

I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’

“Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”

Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. Joshua 14:7-13

Talmai, Ahiman and Sheshai were Nephilim, three giant sons of Anak whom Caleb and the spies saw in Mount Hebron when they went in to explore the land. They were driven out and slain by Caleb.

From there they advanced against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher).

And Caleb said, “I will give my daughter Aksah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher.” Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Aksah to him in marriage. Judges 1:11-13

Debir means “the oracle.” Afterwards it became a town assigned to the Levites. Forty-two cities scattered throughout the portions of the other tribes were set aside as cities of Levites. In these cities, the Levites served as spiritual teachers to the people of Israel. In a sense the Levites were oracles who were the spokespersons of God.

Caleb’s younger brother Othniel was given his niece to be his wife for his victory in capturing Debir.

One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, “What can I do for you?”

She replied, “Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs. Judges 1:14-15

Behind every great man is a great woman. Aksah, Caleb’s daughter and Othniel’s wife, urged her husband to ask Caleb for a field. Caleb gave them a field in the northern Negev. Then she asked her father for the upper and lower springs which fed into the fertile land which lay at the foot of the mountain slope.

The descendants of Moses’ father-in-law, the Kenite, went up from the City of Palms with the people of Judah to live among the inhabitants of the Desert of Judah in the Negev near Arad. Judges 1:16

The Kenites were a nomadic clan. One of the most recognized Kenites is Moses’ father-in-law Jethro, a priest in the land of Midian.

Then the men of Judah went with the Simeonites their fellow Israelites and attacked the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they totally destroyed the city. Therefore it was called Hormah. Judges 1:17

Hormah is a noun meaning, “a place devoted by ban.” The verb form literally means “executed the ban upon it” or utterly destroyed it.

Judah also took Gaza, Ashkelon and Ekron—each city with its territory. Judges 1:18

These three cities were in the country of the Philistines, upon the sea-coast. Because the Israelites were content with taking these cities and making the people pay tribute instead of destroying them, the Israelites did not hold the cities long before the Philistines recovered them again.

The Lord was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had chariots fitted with iron. As Moses had promised, Hebron was given to Caleb, who drove from it the three sons of Anak. Judges 1:19-20

You will note that verses 19-20 of the first chapter of Judges are a summary statement concerning Caleb and the men of Judah. It is also important to note that the Judeans were unable to drive out the people from the plains.

The Benjamites, however, did not drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites. Judges 1:21

The land of Canaan was conquered around 1400 B.C. The Jebusites were not driven out until the time of King David around 1050 B.C. three hundred fifty years later!

Now the tribes of Joseph attacked Bethel, and the Lord was with them. When they sent men to spy out Bethel (formerly called Luz), the spies saw a man coming out of the city and they said to him, “Show us how to get into the city and we will see that you are treated well.” So he showed them, and they put the city to the sword but spared the man and his whole family. He then went to the land of the Hittites, where he built a city and called it Luz, which is its name to this day. Judges 1:22-26

Ephraim and Manasseh comprised the tribes of Joseph. Joseph’s father Jacob had been tricked into marrying Leah. Although Joseph was the eleventh son of Jacob, he was the firstborn son by Rachel. Both of Joseph’s sons were granted territory in the Promised Land. Therefore, Joseph received a double portion as if he was Jacob’s firstborn. Half of the tribe of Manasseh occupied territory on the east side of the Jordan River and the other half of the tribe occupied territory on the west side of the Jordan.

But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land. When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but never drove them out completely.

Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, but the Canaanites continued to live there among them. Judges 1:27-29

The Hebrews who themselves had been enslaved and pressed into force labor in Egypt did not drive out the Canaanites but pressed them into forced labor.

Neither did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron or Nahalol, so these Canaanites lived among them, but Zebulun did subject them to forced labor. Nor did Asher drive out those living in Akko or Sidon or Ahlab or Akzib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob. The Asherites lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land because they did not drive them out. Neither did Naphtali drive out those living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath; but the Naphtalites too lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, and those living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath became forced laborers for them. The Amorites confined the Danites to the hill country, not allowing them to come down into the plain. And the Amorites were determined also to hold out in Mount Heres, Aijalon and Shaalbim, but when the power of the tribes of Joseph increased, they too were pressed into forced labor. The boundary of the Amorites was from Scorpion Pass to Sela and beyond. Judges 1:30-36

Not one tribe of Israel succeeded in driving out the idolatrous Canaanites but they were content to live among them as slave masters.

Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the LORD your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 20:17-18

The failure of the tribes to obey God’s command to destroy the Canaanites would ultimately result in cycles of apostasy and divine discipline. After years of enemy oppression, the people cry out to God and pray for forgiveness and God sends a judge to lead them to freedom. There is a time of peace and obedience during the judge’s lifetime and then the people fall into sin again.

An Introduction to the Book of Judges when Israel had no King

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The Book of Judges records events that took place after the death of Joshua. The Book of Judges spans the course of 300 years when Israel had no king.

The book of Judges includes several interesting genres; Poetry, Riddles, and mainly Narrative History. Its author is anonymous but it is usually assumed that Samuel, the prophet wrote it.

The Book of Judges begins shortly after Joshua’s death and continues until Samuel’s birth. Judges spans the course of 300 years when Israel had no earthly king. The Israelites were in the land of promise and were taking possession of the inheritance allotted to each tribe.

Four times in the Book of Judges the phrase, “In those days, there was no king in Israel, everyone did what was right in his eyes,” characterized the decline of the spiritual condition of the twelve tribes (Judg. 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25).

The Israelites’ great tribulations at the time of the Judges were the result of both their failure heed God’s command to rid the land of the Canaanites and their backsliding into apostasy by disobeying the Torah. Their acts of rebellion resulted in their subjugation to the Canaanites and the neighboring peoples.

The Judges were both prophets and warriors who sought to bring God’s people to repentance and deliver them from the hands of their enemies. Their role was to turn the people back from idolatry and thus restore the authority of the Mosaic Law. The judges were leaders or rulers who took charge of the affairs of several tribes in times of war and who also assumed leadership of their respective tribes in the subsequent times of peace.

The chief characteristic of the time of the Judges is the recurring status from apostasy and punishment to repentance and deliverance which scholars refer to as the “cycles” of the Book of Judges.

Each cycle reflects the following pattern:

  • The Israelites sin.
  • God punishes them by sending an enemy to oppress them.
  • They serve the enemy for a number of years.
  • They cry out to God and pray for forgiveness.
  • God sends a deliverer (judge) to free them.
  • The judge leads the people in conquering the enemy.
  • There is a peaceful reign for some time before the cycle begins again

But with each cycle, the status of the Israelites deteriorates a little more and the moral lines are continually blurred by both the Israelites and the judges. By the time of Samson’s reign, the cycle is barely recognizable and Samson himself is hardly a role model for the Israelite moral ideal.

The Book of Judges is a testament to God’s faithfulness. Even “if we are faithless, He will remain faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). Though we may be unfaithful to Him, as the Israelites were, still He is faithful to save us and preserve us (1 Thessalonians 5:24) and to forgive us when we seek forgiveness (1 John 1:9). “He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful” (1 Corinthians 1:8-9).

Daniel 12–Michael Will Arise and There Will Be Great Distress

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 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Daniel 12:1

How does the end time action of the Archangel Michael, the guardian of Israel, result is an unparalleled time of great distress?

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Revelation 12:7-9

During the time of the Great Tribulation Satan and his demonic hoards no longer will travel in the heavenly realms but will be totally excluded from heaven and will be cast down to earth.

The Archangel Michael is the protector of the nation of Israel (Daniel’s people). Mid-tribulation, Satan is cast to earth and will vent his rage against the people of God. All hell will break loose. Those from the nation of Israel who are written in the Book of Life will be delivered through the time of great distress as through a refiner’s fire.

In the whole land,” declares the LORD, “two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people, and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.’” Zechariah 13:8-9

Two-thirds is a fraction which is equivalent to .666 when written in decimals. During the horror of the holocaust, six million Jews were tortured and put to death. The total population of Jews during World War Two was about eighteen million people. During WWII, about one-third of all Jews in the world were killed. The holocaust will pale in comparison to the time of Jacob’s trouble when two-thirds of Jews worldwide will perish.

There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then…

How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it. Jeremiah 30:7

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.  They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.
Revelation 12:10-12

 Having been finally and totally cast from heaven, Satan is filled with fury because he knows that his time is short.

“See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who created the destroyer to work havoc…” Isaiah 54:16

Do not forget that God is sovereign and in total control. Although in the natural there is great persecution of both Israel and the church, God is using the baptism of fire to purify his people. They (the saints) overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb (Christ’s atonement) and by the word of their testimony (they demonstrated their faith) by their willingness to suffer a martyr’s death. Jesus said, All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22). A pre-tribulation Rapture is a concept that serves to circumvent the purposes of God and denies God’s sovereignty. John baptized with water, but Jesus came to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11-12). Death is swallowed up in victory (1Corinthians 15:54). If indeed we are in Christ, we will stand firm to the end.

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2

And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. Revelation 20:4-6

The resurrection of the righteous takes place before the Millennium (the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth).

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”Genesis 2:15-17 KJV

Adam was warned by God that he would surely die for the sin of disobedience in the day that he would eat from the fruit of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.  Isaiah 59:1-2

Surely Adam did die spiritually in the very day that he disobeyed God. His iniquities separated him from the LORD and the man and the woman were cast out of paradise. Yet, Adam did not die a physical death until he lived 930 years, “and then he died” (Gen 5:5).

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 2Peter 3:8

The length of our days is seventy years- or eighty, if we have the strength. Psalm 90:10

Not only did Adam die spiritually in the very day he disobeyed God, but he also died physically within one lifetime (70 years) short of a thousand years (1,000 years – 70 years = 930 years).

 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. Matthew 19:27-29

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. Revelation 20:4

Jesus promised his disciples that at the renewal of all things, all those who have left family or possessions for His sake would receive a hundred-fold as much and inherit eternal life. The Garden of Eden was shut off to mankind and eventually destroyed in the worldwide flood of Noah’s day. Even the oldest person ever to live, Methuselah who lived for 969 years, died short of a thousand years. But when the Lord returns, He will set up His kingdom on earth and we, who are born-again from above, will reign with Him. At that time:

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. Isaiah11:6-7

During the Millennial Reign of Christ, the holy mountain of the LORD will be the location of the renewed Garden of Eden. For a thousand years, Nation will not take up sword against nation (Isaiah 2:4), because the Prince of Peace will rule with a rod of iron from Zion (Psalm 2:6, 9). For a thousand years, the sovereign LORD declares that Jerusalem, which has been the location of over fifty wars, will finally be a “city of peace.”

I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. Isaiah 65:19-21

For a thousand years, the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9b). For a thousand years, the elect will receive a hundred-fold blessing as we rule and reign with Christ.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15

Among the books that were opened (the words and deeds of each individual) as well as the Old and New Testament, was the Book of Life. There will be some at the White Throne judgment who will be spared from the Lake of Fire. The second resurrection, for the most part, will unite disembodied, spiritually dead souls with transformed immortal bodies. They will be ushered into the presence of God to be judged for degree of punishment. They have been resurrected to life (spiritually alive/no longer separated from God), only to be cast from his presence for eternity. They will suffer the second death as they are cast into the Lake of Fire. They will go from the glory of his presence to eternal separation and great torment.

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.” Daniel 12:3-4

During the time of the greatest spiritual darkness and the worst persecution of the saints in history, there will be those who are wise and will share the gospel and receive great eternal reward.

Daniel was commanded to roll up and seal the words of the scroll to the time of the end. So when did the last days begin and the scroll would be unsealed?

According to Acts 2:14-17, the last days began at Pentecost:

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.

The last days began after the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, when the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost. John, the last surviving original apostle, was commanded to write down the contents of the visions that he had witnessed while he was in the Spirit. The prophetic, symbolic visions that were sealed in Daniel’s day concerned the last days of this evil age which began at Pentecost and culminate with the Great Tribulation and the return of Christ to rule on earth.

Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Revelation 5:5

Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”

The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” Daniel 12:5-7

Both the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation speak of a period of three and a half years (time – one year, times – two years and half a time – ½ year: 1 + 2 + ½ = 3½ years) in which the Antichrist will successfully wage war against the saints. This is during the second half of the Great Tribulation.

I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?”

He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. Daniel 12:8-10

The fires of persecution will purify the bride of Christ and prepare the survivors of the twelve tribes of Israel to look to the One they have pierced as Savior and Lord.

The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts. Revelation 9:20-21

But the wicked will continue to be wicked.

“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days. Daniel 12:11-12

We have two significant time periods in Daniel 12:11–12, which extend past the time of the return of Christ to the earth. The first is 1,290 days, counted from the day daily sacrifice in the temple is abolished, that is, thirty days after the 1,260 days (three and one half years). This thirty-day month, added to the 1,260 days, brings us from Nisan 10 to the tenth day of the eighth month, Heshvan, which falls thirty days after the Day of Atonement.

So what might the thirty-day period between the 1,260th day and 1,290th day imply?

And when the whole community learned that Aaron had died, the entire house of Israel mourned for him for thirty days. Numbers 20:29

On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great, like the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. The land will mourn, each clan by itself, with their wives by themselves… Zechariah 12:11–12a

The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab for thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over. Deuteronomy 34:8

Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. Revelation 1:7

When Israel’s first high priest, Aaron, died, the entire nation mourned him for thirty days. When Moses the deliverer died, there was again great weeping and mourning for thirty days. On the day of the rapture, the Lord comes with the clouds (souls of those who died in Christ) and there is mourning, and Israel will grieve bitterly for their Messiah whom they have pierced.

Unlike the people of the gentile nations, who will not repent of their immorality (Revelation 9:21), Israel will come to mourn in such a way that, as individuals change their minds regarding Christ, salvation is ushered in (see Romans 11:25–26; 2 Corinthians 7:10). When the Lord returns to the earth to redeem Israel, the great weeping and mourning will be like the sorrow for righteous King Josiah after Pharaoh’s archers mortally wounded him in battle on the plain of Megiddo. (See 2 Chronicles 35:20–27; this is the place where Armageddon will be fought!) I believe the nation will grieve and mourn for Christ, the “One they have pierced,” for a thirty-day period, beginning 1,260 days after sacrifices and offerings are abolished by Antichrist.

And what of the remaining forty-five-day period? What is the 1,335th day? The Lord declared to King David that Messiah would issue from David’s line and that Messiah’s kingdom would be established eternally (2 Samuel 7:13–16). Before Jesus takes His rightful place on His throne in Jerusalem, His temple must be sanctified and rededicated to Him. I believe the temple cleansing will be completed as the 1,335 days of Daniel 12 are completed.

The Hebrew calendar consists of months that are thirty days in length. The 1,290 days would be completed three and one-half years plus one month after the midpoint of the seven year tribulation period. The 1,335 days are completed forty-five days after the 1,290 days end (1,335 days – 1,290 days = 45 days).

If the 1,290-day period ends on the seventh day of Heshvan, the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, Kislev, is the 1,335th day.

Any Israelite surviving the tribulation and after will be extremely blessed to reach the end of 1,335 days—the Feast of Dedication (Chanukah)! This commemoration is also known as the Festival of Lights (of God, the Light of the world) and is a time of cleansing for the temple in Jerusalem.

“As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.” Daniel 12:13

Daniel had been receiving insight into the future by the visions recorded in the previous chapters. He sought for clearer knowledge and was told that the scroll, which was a record of end time events, was sealed and closed. But during that long interval Daniel would “rest.” In the grave, his body would quietly and calmly “sleep in the dust of the earth.” He would not participate in the tribulation of the last days. Instead, he would participate in the resurrection of the righteous and was assured that he would receive his inheritance in the kingdom of God.

Daniel 11–The Kings of the North and South and the Antichrist

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And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.) Daniel 11:1

The first year of Darius the Mede was the year of the conquest of Babylon by the Medes and Persians.

These words must be closely connected with the last verse of Daniel 10:

So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth.(No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince. Daniel 10:20-21

The allusion is, most probably, to the fall of Babylon and the return from the Exile, at which time, as at the Exodus, the angel of the LORD went before His people. Here the angel of the LORD strengthened and encouraged Darius to let the people of Israel go free and give them full liberty to go into their own land, and rebuild their city and temple.

“Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. Daniel 11:2

The “fourth” king of Persia after Cyrus was Xerxes (Greek name for Ahasuerus) who was the husband of Queen Esther. He ruled at the height of Persian power and wealth. Xerxes raised a huge army with contingents from forty different nations and attacked Greece around 480 BC.

The Persian invasion was eventually repelled, but it roused a burning desire on the part of the independent city states of Greece to unite and average themselves on the Persians.

Then a mighty king will arise, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. After he has arisen, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others. Daniel 11:3-4

These two verses deal with Alexander the Great and his successors. So great was his dominion, that Alexander III, the King of Macedonia, ruled not only over Greece and the whole Persian Empire but added India to his conquests. His dominion stretched over three continents.

Alexander’s empire was broken up after his death because he left no legitimate heir to the throne. The Diadochi was name of the first generation of military and political leaders who would rule over his divided empire. In the end the four kingdoms arose upon its ruins.

Cassander the king of Macedonia ruled over Greece. Lysimachus was the ruler of Thrace which was located in southeastern Europe. Seleucus established the Seleucid dynasty and reigned the territories north of the land of the Jews. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, Persia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, and what is now Kuwait, Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan and Turkmenistan. Ptolemy I Soter ruled Egypt which comprised the territory to the south of the land of the Jews.

“The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power. After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be betrayed, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her.

“One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious. He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North alone. Daniel 11:5-8

These verses begin a remarkably detailed prophecy of the 150-year struggle between Ptolemy I Soter and his successors in Egypt (the kings of the South) and Seleucus I Nicator and his successors in Syria (the kings of the North).

Ptolemy I, the king of Egypt, became strong but one of Alexander’s generals, Seleucus I became even stronger and ruled over Syria with great power. Egypt controlled Palestine during the entire 3rd century B.C. The rivalry and power struggles between the rulers of Syria and Egypt would cause distress and threaten the security of the Holy Land that was situated in the territory between these two kingdoms.

Berenice, daughter of the king of the South married the king of the North. She was the daughter of Ptolemy II, and her marriage to Antiochus II marked a temporary cessation in the wars between the Egyptian monarchs and the Seleucids. On the death of Antiochus, however, Laodice I, the king’s divorced first wife, brought about the death of Berenice and her infant son before Berenice’s brother, Ptolemy III, could arrive.

Ptolemy III Euergetes was the third king of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt. He successfully waged war against Seleucus Callinicus II. Ptloemy III carried back to Egypt large quantities of spoil including gold and silver idols which he had taken from Syria.

Then the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country. His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress.

“Then the king of the South will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North, who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated.

When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant. Daniel 11:9-12

After two years Seleucus Callinicus II succeeded in re-establishing his power in Asia but proceeding to march against Ptolemy he was defeated, and obliged to retreat. Seleucus II was the father of Seleucus III Soter and Antiochus III Megas. Seleucus III succeeded his father as King. After a brief reign of three years, Seleucus III was assassinated in Anatolia by members of his army while on campaign against Attalus I of Pergamon. Antiochus III succeeded his brother Seleucus III as king. Antiochus, who then came to the throne, determined to resume the war with Egypt.

The Battle of Raphia, in 217 BC, was a part of the ongoing series of ‘Syrian Wars’ between the Ptolemies and the Seleucids. Antiochus III, the current Seleucid king, had been actively and aggressively reducing Ptolemaic holdings in Syria from 220 BC. Egypt was in crisis, the Ptolemy army was very weak, and Ptolemy IV had few troops. Sosibus, his talented minister saved Egypt by enrolling and training an army of natives. As Antiochus III advanced south with a large army consisting of 6,000 cavalry, 102 Indian elephants, and 62,000 infantry. Ptolemy IV was able to meet him with 5,000 cavalry, 73 African elephants, and 70,000 infantry at Raphia on the plains near Gaza.

As was prophesied, the king of the North had raised a large army but was defeated by Ptolemy IV, the king of the South.

When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant. Daniel 11:12

For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped. “In those times many will rise against the king of the South. Those who are violent among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success. Daniel 11:13-14

Twelve years later Antiochus III the Great joined with Philip of Macedon in an attack upon Ptolemy V, son of Ptolemy IV.

Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand. The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it. Daniel 11:15-16

The king of the North, Antiochus III shut up Ptolemy V in Sidon – the fortified city, where Ptolemy V surrendered in 198 B.C. Antiochus then overran “The Beautiful Land” which is Palestine and threatened Egypt.

He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him. Daniel 11:17

Antiochus III gave his daughter Cleopatra in marriage to Ptolemy V.

Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back on him. After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more. Daniel 11:18-19

The coastlands taken by Antiochus were isles located on the shores of the Aegean Sea. The Roman general Publius Scipio, who was noted for his victory over the Carthaginian leader Hannibal, feared that Antiochus III would invade Greece. He was the titular head of the Roman Senate and argued against a Roman evacuation of that country. After Antiochus had advanced into Greece and had been thrown out by a Roman army, Scipio’s brother Lucius was given the command against him, Publius serving as his legate and together the brothers crossed to Asia. But Publius was too ill to take a personal part in Lucius’ victory over Antiochus at Magnesia. Defeated, Antiochus III withdrew to Syria.

“His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. In a few years, however, he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle. Daniel 11:20

Seleucus Philopater, the son and successor of Antiochus, oppressed his people with very heavy taxes. He needed to pay the tribute of one thousand talents annually to the Romans, as well as support his own government in Syria. He did not die in battle but was poisoned by his own treasurer.

“He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time. Daniel 11:21-24

The contemptible person was Antiochus IV Epiphanes. His self-proclaimed title, Epiphanes which means “God manifest” demonstrated his egomania. Because of his cruelty and irrational behavior many people referred to him instead as Antiochus Epimames (“The Madman”).

He seized the Syrian throne illegally from the son of his murdered brother, his nephew Demetrius. Without a legitimate right to the throne, Antiochus used his considerable intelligence, personal magnetism, and generosity to advance his cause as well as had no compunction about silencing his opposition. He was a type of the Antichrist.

During the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, there was great persecution of the Jewish people and the temple in Jerusalem was defiled. The prince of the covenant who was prophesied to be destroyed was the high priest Onias III whom Antiochus had murdered.

“With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. Those who eat from the king’s provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle. The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country. Daniel 11:25-28

It is certain that Antiochus wanted to annex all of Egypt with the Seleucid Empire. This was partly due to his wanting to imitate Alexander, but a greater urgency loomed in that he couldn’t have Rome gain a major foothold on his southern flank. This left no course for Antiochus to follow but to plan the inevitable war with Egypt and possibly Rome.

The prominence and importance of Judea, to the Syrian kingdom, resided in the geographical fact that Judah lay as the last staging field and the site of demarcation for any invasion of Egypt. Judah’s preeminence was further amplified by Antiochus’ fear that the Ptolemies of Egypt were trying to establish an alliance with the Jews and against Syria.

Antiochus’ fears were confirmed and exacerbated by the fact that Judah’s powerful priesthood was led by a pious, highly respected, but decidedly pro-Egyptian high priest by the name of Onias III.

Ptolemy VI Philomet or ruler of Egypt demanded that Antiochus surrender Coelosyria to him (the area now forms part of the modern nations of Lebanon, Syria and Israel) as was his right according to the marriage articles between Ptolemy Epiphanes and Cleopatra. But Antiochus, instead of complying with his demand, invaded Egypt with a vast force both by sea and land. Antiochus was successful and before he returned to Syria with his plunder he devised the destruction of the Old Covenant, intending to replace it with pagan Hellenistic, hedonistic culture and religion.

Jason, whose Hebrew name was Joshua was the brother of the High Priest Onias. Jason, a confirmed Hellenist, was fully aware of Antiochus’ position and needs, so his offer was straight forward and to the point. What Jason purposed was that he would transfer, to Antiochus, a huge sum of funds to finance Antiochus’ campaigns against the Ptolemy’s of Egypt and Rome in exchange for Onias being deposed from the status of High Priest with that position then being transferred to Jason.

It didn’t take Antiochus long to accept Jason’s proposal and in 174 BC Jason became high priest and the head of the Jewish Sanhedrin. Jason without consulting Antiochus built a Greek gymnasium in Jerusalem, here he hosted the nude Greek athletic games, which were opened by Hellenistic ceremonies and included sacrifices to the heathen gods. Jason’s leadership also saw many Jews, who were convinced of the Hellenistic ideals, undergo a painful reverse circumcision.

Jason honored his contract and paid Antiochus what he had promised. Antiochus, now armed with the beginnings of a substantial war chest, continued with his preparations for an invasion of Egypt.

Meanwhile, Judah was in the initial throws of chaos. Normal Jewish religious life continued unabated but the Hellenistic and pagan ideals of Jason were having a telling effect. Many traditional Jews began to leave Jerusalem while a group lead by a greedy upstart named Menelaus, who had the backing of the extremely wealthy and powerful Jewish family of Tobiad, thought Jason’s efforts in Hellenizing the Jews weren’t radical enough.

These feelings caused Menelaus, in 172 BC, to seek an audience with King Antiochus, in which he laid out his plan for forcefully Hellenizing the Jewish people. Like Jason’s, Menelaus’ plan was extremely simple. Menelaus wanted to be High Priest and he was willing to pay Antiochus another huge sum from the Jewish treasury to make him high priest.

Once again, a pledge of gold was the only catalyst Antiochus needed to act, so he sent Menelaus back to Jerusalem with a garrison of soldiers who were to arrest Jason. However, Jason received word that his life and position were in danger, so by the time the Syrian troops arrived he had fled into what is now called the state of Jordon.

Jason’s departure left the position of high priest vacant and in 171 BC the vacancy was filled by Menelaus, with Antiochus’ blessing. This act sent the Jewish community into complete turmoil. For the first time since the second Temple had been built, with the blessing and protection of the Persian Empire, the title of High Priest was held by someone who was not of the tribe of Levi nor had he even been a priest. This constituted an act of the greatest heresy in the minds of many pious Jews.

“At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. Daniel 11:29-30

The city of Alexandria chose Ptolemy Euergetes to be their king. It wasn’t long before the two brothers (The Syrian puppet Ptolemy VI and the Alexandrian king Ptolemy Euergetes) decided it was in their best interest to rule all of Egypt jointly. This infuriated Antiochus so he invaded Egypt again, this time with the intent of conquering the city Alexandria while his fleet conquered Cyprus.

As Antiochus neared Alexandria he was met by a Roman envoy who ordered him to withdraw from Egypt and Cyprus immediately. Antiochus not liking the idea of being ordered to do anything replied that he would present the subject of withdrawal to his war council, whereupon the Roman envoy drew a circle around Antiochus. He then told Antiochus that if he were to step out of the circle before deciding to withdraw his troops from Egypt and Cyprus he would be at war with Rome.

Antiochus felt abased, degraded, demeaned, and rabid with anger but he knew he didn’t have the money to hire the troops needed for an extended war with Rome. This left Antiochus no choice but to agree to call off the siege of Alexandria and Cyprus and take his troops home.

As Antiochus retreated from Egypt to Judea he was in a rage, he had just been humiliated before the whole known world and in particular his enemies. He was, for all intents and purposes, financially broke, but most of all he was spiritually, mentally, and emotionally shattered. Antiochus’ dream of reuniting the Greek empire, as it had been under Alexander the Great, was in tatters.

While Antiochus was in Egypt the former high priest Jason had initiated a revolt against Menelaus with a majority of local support. Menelaus had Onias the high priest assassinated. Menelaus’ brother Lysimachus stole holy vessels from the Temple. The resulting riots by faithful Jews led to the death of Lysimachus. Menelaus was arrested for Onias’ murder, and was arraigned before Antiochus, but he bribed his way out of trouble. Jason became High Priest again.

This revolt against his appointed High Priest, Menelaus, was certainly viewed as a revolt against the Syrian Empire and the kingship of Antiochus.

The unrest in Judah was also proof that no longer could Antiochus count on his southern flank for protection from a southern invasion of the empire by either Rome or Egypt and this presented a huge security risk. Real or imagined, an invasion from the south had to have been on Antiochus’ mind.

“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. Daniel 11:31-35

The enraged Antiochus Epiphanes outlawed the Jewish religion and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. His soldiers descended upon Jerusalem, massacring thousands of people and desecrating the city’s holy Second Temple by erecting an altar to Zeus and sacrificing pigs within its sacred walls.

Mattathias the Hasmonean, sparked the revolt against the Seleucid Empire by refusing to worship the Greek gods. Mattathias killed a Hellenistic Jew who stepped forward to offer a sacrifice to an idol in Mattathias’ place. He and his five sons fled to the wilderness of Judah. After Mattathias’ death about one year later his son Judas Maccabee led an army of Jewish dissidents to victory over the Seleucid dynasty in guerrilla warfare, which at first was directed against Hellenizing Jews, of whom there were many. The Maccabees destroyed pagan altars in the villages and circumcised boys. The term Maccabees as used to describe the Jewish army is taken from the Hebrew word for “hammer.”

The revolt involved many battles, in which the Maccabean forces gained notoriety among the Seleucid army for their use of guerrilla tactics. After the victory, the Maccabees entered Jerusalem in triumph and ritually cleansed the Temple, reestablishing traditional Jewish worship there and installing Jonathan Maccabee as high priest. A large Seleucid army was sent to quash the revolt, but returned to Syria on the death of Antiochus IV. Its commander Lysias, preoccupied with internal Seleucid affairs, agreed to a political compromise that restored religious freedom.

The Jewish festival of Hanukkah celebrates the re-dedication of the Temple following Judah Maccabee’s victory over the Seleucids. According to Rabbinic tradition, the victorious Maccabees could only find a small jug of oil that had remained uncontaminated by virtue of a seal, and although it only contained enough oil to sustain the Menorah for one day, it miraculously lasted for eight days, by which time further oil could be procured

“The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. Daniel 11:36

The last ten verses of Daniel 11 describe events that have no parallel in world history. Therefore, this last portion of Daniel no longer applies to Antiochus IV but to the Antichrist.

He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 2 Thessalonians 2:4

I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues–last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. Revelation 15:1

He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price. Daniel 11:37-39

The Antichrist will exalt himself and demand that his image will be worshiped. This is the “abomination of desolation” that takes place at the mid-point of the Tribulation when he will stop the sacrifices in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem and he will proclaim himself to be God.

“At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission. But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. Daniel 11:40-44

These verses describe a series of military maneuvers that will take place at the time of the end, during the last few years of the Great Tribulation when the Antichrist will conquer many nations.

The “king of the South” refers to an end-time Egyptian ruler. The Muslim Brotherhood is a Sunni Islamic organization with a political approach to Islam. It was founded in Egypt in 1928 by cleric Hassan al-Banna after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. According to founder al-Banna, “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.”   Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood opposes secular tendencies of Islamic nations and wants a return to the precepts of the Qur’an. The Brotherhood firmly rejects all notions of Western influences. An important aspect of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology is the sanctioning of jihad. The Brotherhood is also viewed by many in the Middle East and the West as the root source for Islamic terrorism. Sunni Turkey is a supporter and protector of the Muslim Brotherhood. The most prominent spiritual leader for the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi declared in August of 2014 that Turkey is where the Caliphate will be established.

The “king of the North” refers to an end-time Syrian ruler. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has confounded many observers by holding on to power for more than five years in the face of a rebellion by a large part of the population. Assad is a Shiite and his principal backers are Iran and Russia.

Islam is divided with Sunnis against Shias and Salafis-jihadists are against everyone. The Islamic State is a Sunni-Salafi Islamist organization which declared itself the “caliphate” of Islam on June 29, 2014. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or if he were to be killed his successor is a prime candidate for the Antichrist.

As the Antichrist tries to consolidate his power, he will face serious opposition both from Sunni and Shia forces. In the process he invades and conquers Israel, the “Beautiful Land.”

Toward the end of the Tribulation, he will hear rumors from the east. Persia (modern-day Iran) is referred to as the nation “from the East” (Isaiah 41:2, 46:11) and from the north. While the king of the North refers to the Syrian ruler, Babylon (modern-day Iraq) is referred to as the land of the north (Jeremiah 46:10, 50:9).

He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him. Daniel 11:45

As the Antichrist prepares to go to war, he sets up his military headquarters near Jerusalem (the “beautiful holy mountain”) between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. The final battle will take place on the plains of Jezreel in central Israel near a crossroads called Megiddo. The Hebrew term for “Mountain of Megiddo” is Har Megiddo, which translates into English as Armageddon.

Daniel 10 – A Revelation Was Revealed to Daniel in a Vision

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In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. Daniel 10:1

This chapter relates the beginning of Daniel’s last vision, which is continued to the end of the book. This revelation took place in third year of Cyrus. Two years had passed since Gabriel revealed to Daniel the prophecy of the seventy weeks. The first group of exiles had returned to Jerusalem but Daniel and many others remained in Babylon. Seventy years later, Daniel is still remembered by the name Belteshazzar which was given to him by Nebuchadnezzar’s chief official. This chapter reveals the fact that, behind the scenes of world events and political changes we behold on an earthly level, an unseen spiritual war of cosmic proportions is being waged.

At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, Daniel 10:2-4

A good portion of the time of Daniel’s fast from meat and wine took place during the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Anointing with oil was a sign of rejoicing; therefore Daniel used no lotions for 21 days because he was in mourning.

Daniel was standing on the bank of the Tigris River which was located thirty-five miles from Babylon.

I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. Daniel 10:5-6

The description of this glorious man is in many ways resembles the description of the Lord found in Ezekiel 1:26-28 and in Revelation 1:12-16:

Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.

This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. Ezekiel 1:26-28

I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. Revelation 1:12-16

Even Daniel’s description of the thunderous voice of the man who spoke to him indicates that this man was no mere angel.

Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his? Job 40:9

…and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. Ezekiel 43:2

Both the physical appearance and the voice of Daniel’s visitor fit the description of a divine being.

 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. Daniel 10:7-9

Those who were with Daniel did not see the vision of the glorious man but neither did Paul’s companions who were traveling with him on the road to Damascus see the Lord who appeared to Paul.

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Acts 9:7

Paul’s companions neither saw the Lord nor could understand His voice.

Who are You, Lord?’ I asked. ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ He replied. My companions saw the light, but they could not understand the voice of the One speaking to me. Acts 22:9

This man who appeared to Daniel was no mere messenger but the Son of God. This supernatural revelation and glorious vision of the second person of the holy trinity sapped Daniel of his strength and Daniel fell into a deep sleep while he listened to Him.

The Son of God not only appeared to Daniel in the form of a glorious man but several times in the Old Testament the Messiah materialized as the angel of the LORD.

The pre-incarnate Christ came to Hagar after she has fled from the abusive Sarai (Genesis 16:7-14) to assure her that God has heard about her misery and that her descendants would be too numerous to count. Hagar names him “You are the God who sees me” (v. 13). The angel of the LORD pronounces a curse on the people of Meroz, because they refused to come to the help of the LORD (Judges 5:23).

The angel of the LORD executes judgment on behalf of the LORD. He puts to death 185, 000 Assyrian soldiers in their camp, thereby saving Jerusalem from decimation (2 Kings 19:35).

The angel of the LORD commissioned Moses to confront Pharaoh (Exodus 3:5). The angel of the LORD appears to Abraham. He stops Abraham from sacrificing Isaac and commends him because he has not withheld his only son from God (Genesis 22:11-18). Abraham identifies the angel as God, calling the place ‘The LORD Will Provide.”

Manoah meets the angel of the LORD, and declares that he has seen God. The angel accepts worship from Manoah and his wife as no mere angel, and refers to himself as “Wonderful” the same term applied to the coming deliverer in Isaiah 9:6 (Judges 13:9-22). The functions of the angel of the LORD in the Old Testament prefigure the reconciling ministry of Jesus. In the New Testament, there is no mention of the angel of the LORD. The Messiah himself is this person.

Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” He said, “No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?” The captain of the LORD’S host said to Joshua, “Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so… Joshua 5:13-15

The pre-incarnate Messiah Jesus appearing as the “Captain of the LORD’s hosts” commands Joshua to remove his sandals as He did to Moses at the burning bush. He appeared as the fourth person in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace and to Daniel after his three weeks of fasting.

A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. Daniel 10:10-11

Some have confused this glorious being with a mere angel because angels are messengers that are sent by the LORD. But there are several instances in the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments where the Son of God was sent by the Father.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, Isaiah 61:1

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17

Daniel trembled in the presence of this glorious Christophany. Righteous Daniel is one of very few biblical personalities who were highly esteemed by the LORD.

Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. Daniel 10:12

Daniel is a wonderful example of the power of the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man. He humbled himself before God. Daniel, who did not return to his homeland, was anxious to learn the fate of his fellow Jews. The Father heard his words since the first day of his fast and sent His Son in response to his supplications.

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24

God did not have to hear all of Daniel’s three weeks of prayer to respond.

But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Daniel 10:13

Daniel the prophet was praying about the future of his people who remained as exiles in Persia. The reason for the three week delay was due to an evil spiritual entity that wielded authority over the ancient kingdom of Persia. The prince of Persia is a fallen angel who in some sense had authority or influence over the physical kingdom of Persia.

How could an evil spiritual entity resist the all-powerful Son of God? God has allowed Satan to be the god of this world and the prince of the power of the air for thousands of years. The satanic authority over the kingdoms of sinful men does not compromise the omnipotence of God.

Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour–when darkness reigns.” Luke 22:53

God allows darkness to reign for periods of time to accomplish His sovereign divine purposes.

How could a mere mortal resist the omnipotent pre-incarnate Jesus?

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” Genesis 32:24-26

Wrestling is one of the most physically demanding activities that there is. Wrestling is personal, physically exhausting, and emotionally taxing. Although Jacob was 97 years old, he wrestled through the night. Even when he suffered excruciating pain from having his hip dislocated, he refused to let go of his opponent. With the coming of daylight, Jacob and this mysterious man might be seen by others. Since this significant encounter was to be highly personal, the man said that it was time for Jacob to let go.

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Genesis 32:27

Jacob understood that the man he wrestled with was no ordinary man. The hip is the body’s largest ball-and-socket joint. Surrounding the hip joint are many tough ligaments that prevent the dislocation of the joint. The strong muscles of the hip region also help to hold the hip joint together and prevent dislocation. This man just touched the socket of Jacob’s hip and it was wrenched out of place. This man was not only supernaturally powerful but Jacob understood that the man also had the spiritual authority to bless him.

The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” Genesis 32:27-28

If the angel of the LORD, the pre-incarnate son of God was resisted through the night by a mere man to accomplish His divine purposes, it is reasonable that the heavenly messenger that came to Daniel could have be resisted by a demonic entity to fulfill the sovereign plans of an omnipotent God.

Did the Son of God need the protector of Israel, the Archangel Michael’s help to accomplish His purposes?

After Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan, Matthew 4:11 declares, “Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” After Jesus prays to His Father on the Mount of Olives, “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him” (Luke 22:43)

Just as God does not need men to accomplish His purposes but chooses to do so, He also chooses to allow angels to participate in His divine plans.

Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.” Daniel 10:14

In the first verse of chapter 10 of Daniel we are told that the message he was to receive through his vision concerned a great war. Now, it is made clear that this future conflict will entail the Jews. The major events that will mark the entire future history of Israel culminating in the climax of the “Second Coming of Messiah” and the establishment of His earthly Kingdom will be the subject of the rest of the Book of Daniel.

While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I feel very weak. How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.” Daniel 10:15-17

The devastating effect of the Christophany upon the aged Daniel was similar to what the aged Apostle John would experience on the Isle of Patmos.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” Revelation 1:17

Daniel was overcome by both the glory of the pre-incarnate Messiah as well as having been grieved by his vision of the future calamities that his people would have to endure through.

Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”

When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.” Daniel 10:18-19

Daniel would not have addressed an angel as my Adonai (Lord). The touch of the Lord and His divine words restored Daniel to strength

So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth.(No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince. Daniel 10:20-21

Daniel is told that “the Book of Truth” contains the future events of the ages to come. Daniel needed to understand that the incredible predictions concerning Israel were ordained by sovereign decree and certain to be fulfilled.

Although the initial victory had been won over the demon Prince of Persia, the divine/demonic struggle would continue throughout the two hundred years of Medo-Persian rule to the time of Alexander the Great, when the demon prince of Greece would be confronted on behalf of Israel.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

Although there are wars fought on earth with natural weapons against human armies, the struggle is a spiritual one. For ungodly human rulers who direct military forces are under the demonic influence of the god of this world.

Daniel 9–The Desolation of Jerusalem Would Last Seventy Years

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In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom—in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. Daniel 9:1-2

In the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, Daniel understood from the prophecy of Jeremiah that the Babylonian captivity of the people of the Southern Kingdom would last 70 years.

This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.” Jeremiah 29:10

One of the main reasons that the city of Jerusalem was desolated and the nation of Judah taken into captivity by Babylon was the punishment meted out for disobedience of God’s chosen people to follow His decrees and therefore violate His covenant.

But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Leviticus 25:4

Not only were the people to have a seventh day Sabbath rest, but the land was to have a seventh year Sabbath when the land was to lie fallow and not be worked.

“If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over.”Leviticus 26:27-28

In an effort to bring His people to repentance, the LORD would punish them by causing their crops to fail, strike them with sickness and allow their enemies to defeat them in battle. But if they still did not turn from their wicked ways, He would punish them seven times over.

I myself will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled. I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it. Leviticus 26:32-35

For 490 years the people of God failed to observe the seventh year Sabbath of the land. A Sabbatical Year was to occur once every seven years. Two Sabbatical years were to be observed in 14 years; therefore, the land would experience seventy Sabbath rests after four hundred and ninety years. The land of the tribe of Judah and the city of Jerusalem were desolate for seventy years so that the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths they lived in it.

So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. Daniel 9:3

Daniel was made aware that the time of the captivity of his people was nearing completion. The Babylonians had been overthrown by the Medes and the Persians and the seventy years of Jerusalem’s desolation was coming to an end. It is 539 B.C. and the Jews have been in captivity for 66 years since 605 B.C. This would mean that four years were left before they could return to their homeland.

Therefore Daniel garbed in sackcloth and ashes, (a sign of mourning and humility), pleads before the LORD (Yehovah) his God.

I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed:

“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, Daniel 9:4

Daniel begins his prayer with adoration. He recognizes that the LORD is faithful to keep His covenant.

we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. Daniel 9:5-6

even if these three men—Noah, Daniel and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign LORD. Ezekiel 14:14

Although righteous Daniel had risked his life by refusing to defile himself by eating King Nebuchadnezzar’s food, and had been thrown into a lion’s den for worshipping the God of Israel, he confesses that “we” have been wicked and rebelled. In humility, Daniel identifies himself with his people and their sinful acts.

“Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.

“Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.

“Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. Daniel 9:7-15

Daniel not only confesses the sins of his people and of their leadership, but also acknowledges the righteousness of God in punishing them for their transgression of the Law of Moses.

Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.

“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” Daniel 9:16-19

After a time of expressing his humility, offering adoration and praise, confessing his sins and the sins of his people, Daniel petitions the LORD our God to act in mercy and turn away His anger for the sake of His city and His people that bear His name.

While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill—while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. Daniel 9:20-21

Daniel had an earlier vision of a ram with two horns and a goat with a prominent horn between its eyes which shattered the ram’s horns and trampled on it. The angel Gabriel had interpreted the vision explaining that the two-horned ram Daniel saw represented the kings of Media and Persia while the shaggy goat was the king of Greece.

He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision: Daniel 9:22-23

While Daniel was still praying, he received an immediate answer to his prayer.

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24

Righteous Daniel was esteemed for his integrity of character and his devotion to the LORD his God.

“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place. Daniel 9:24

Seventy “sevens,” also translated as seventy “weeks,” is understood to mean seventy times “seven years” or 490 years. The Jews were in captivity in Babylon for seventy years for failing to give the land rest. They did not observe the regulation concerning the sabbatical year to take place every seven years. The desolation of their land for seventy years gave the land seventy consecutive years of rest. Had they observed this regulation, it would have taken 490 years for the land to receive seventy sabbatical years of rest.

“Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. Daniel 9:25

The seventy sevens start with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. There would be seven “sevens” or forty-nine years until Jerusalem would be rebuilt with plazas and moat. There would be opposition to challenge the rebuilding. The second set of sevens is sixty-two, which totals to 434 years. This would make a total of 483 years until the Anointed One, the Messiah would come.

The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was granted by King Artaxerxes:

King Artaxerxes, in the seventh year of his reign (457 B.C.), authorized Ezra the priest and scribe, and all who wished to join him, to go to Jerusalem. It was Ezra’s desire to instruct the Jews in the laws of God. Artaxerxes granted him large amounts of silver and gold to furnish the temple, and gave instruction that his treasurers on that side of the river should provide whatever was needed to beautify the Lord’s house.

In the decree, Artaxerxes commanded Ezra to, “…appoint magistrates and judges to administer justice to all the people of Trans-Euphrates—all who know the laws of your God. And you are to teach any who do not know them. Whoever does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king must surely be punished by death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment.”       Ezra 7:25-26.

Ezra left Babylon on the first day of the first month of Artaxerxes’ seventh year, and arrived in Jerusalem exactly four months later on the first day of the fifth month (Ezra 7:7-9). Three days later the gifts brought from Babylon were registered in the temple treasury, and sacrifices were offered to God (Ezra 8:32-35). Either at that time or shortly thereafter, “They also delivered the king’s orders to the royal satraps and to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, who then gave assistance to the people and to the house of God” Ezra 8:36.

Sometime later, officials from the surrounding nations wrote a letter of skepticism to Artaxerxes, saying, “The king should know that the people who came up to us from you have gone to Jerusalem and are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are restoring the walls and repairing the foundations” (Ezra 4:12). They went on to say that if the king would check the history of Jerusalem, he would find that it was a rebellious city which would not submit to Babylonian rule, and that is why it was destroyed. If it were allowed to be rebuilt, the king would have the same problems again (Ezra 4:13-16).

Artaxerxes checked the records, and discovered that old Jerusalem had indeed made insurrection, rebellion and sedition against kings. So he issued a new command that the work of building should stop until he gave further word (Ezra 4:17-22).

Further word was given by Artaxerxes Longimanus when he issued a second decree on March 5, 444 B.C. (Nehemiah 2:1-8). On that occasion Artaxerxes granted the Jews specific authorization to rebuild Jerusalem’s city walls. This decree is the one referred to in Daniel 9:25.

Using the 444 B.C. date and a prophetic year of 360 days the following calculations can be made:

483 prophetic years is equal to 173,880 days (360 days X 483 years = 173,880 days). Going forward in time (the year 0 is skipped) from March 4, 444 B.C. (Nehemiah. 2:1-8) 483 prophetic years would bring you out around March 30, A.D.33 which could easily be the date of the Jesus Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem found in Matthew 21. This would then be followed by His crucifixion on April 3rd A.D. 33.

After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. Daniel 9:26

After the reconstruction of Jerusalem in the first seven “sevens” (forty-nine years), another “sixty-two sevens” (434 years) would pass. Then two momentous events would take place. First, the “Anointed One” would come then he would be “cut off.” Apparently his coming would be immediately at the end of the sixty-nine sevens.

“The Messiah will be cut off,” is an obvious a referral to the crucifixion of Christ. Thus, it means that Jesus’ death would have taken place in the last year of the 69th week.

In the year 66 AD the Jews of Judea rebelled against their Roman masters. In response, the Emperor Nero dispatched an army under the generalship of Vespasian to restore order. By the year 68, resistance in the northern part of the province had been eradicated and the Romans turned their full attention to the subjugation of Jerusalem. That same year, the Emperor Nero died by his own hand, creating a power vacuum in Rome. In the resultant chaos, Vespasian was declared Emperor and returned to the Imperial City. It fell to his son, Titus, to lead the remaining army in the assault on Jerusalem.

The Roman legions surrounded the city and began to slowly squeeze the life out of the Jewish stronghold. By the year 70, the attackers had breached Jerusalem’s outer walls and began a systematic ransacking of the city. The assault culminated in the burning and destruction of the Temple that served as the center of Judaism.

He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Daniel 9:27

There is a gap of time between the crucifixion and the fulfillment of the final seven years of the prophecy concerning the seventy sevens. Verse 27 of Daniel 9 says that he will confirm a covenant for one seven (seven years). Jesus instituted the New Covenant in His blood before His crucifixion. After the prophecy of the Anointed One being cut off (the death of the Messiah) and the destruction of Jerusalem, he that confirms a covenant with many is the Antichrist. The seven year period is the time of the Great Tribulation.

There are clear precedents for having a gap of time in the fulfillment of aspects of Bible prophecy; especially Messianic prophecies.

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”

But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.”

Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. Isaiah 7:10-16

This prophecy had an immediate fulfillment concerning King Ahaz but also had an ultimate fulfillment later concerning the miraculous sign of the virgin birth. There was a gap of over 700 years between the initial fulfillment and final fulfillment of this prophecy.

…and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. Luke 4:17-20

Again, a prophecy uttered by Isaiah will have a large gap of time between an initial and an ultimate fulfillment. Jesus, who is quoting from Isaiah 61:1-2, dramatically stops in the middle of verse 2.

..and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, Isaiah 61:2b

Jesus’ First Advent fulfills the first half of the verse as the suffering servant Messiah coming lowly on the colt of a donkey bringing salvation. But it will be 2,000 years later until the Second Coming when Jesus returns as the King Messiah riding on a white horse. Again there is a clear gap of time in the midst of a verse of prophecy.

’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Daniel 9:27b

This passage of Scripture parallels time periods prophesied in the book of Revelation. One seven is a period of seven years or week of years. In the middle of the seven or halfway through the seven year period is three and one half (3½) years.

The one who sets up an abomination (an idol or image of himself), that causes desolation (the chosen people who refuse to bow down to an idol then flee the temple and the city of Jerusalem), will establish a covenant (an accord or pact), with the Jewish people for a period of time (seven years). This charismatic leader (the Antichrist), violates the agreement halfway through (3½ years after the signing), and sets up his own image to be worshipped (Rev 13:15). The second half of Daniel’s 70th week (the 70th seven – the week of years or 7 year period at the end of the age), is a time of great persecution (Rev 12:17; 13:7), or distress for the Elect (the church, body of Christ, the set apart people of God).

I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed. Revelation 15:1

The end that is decreed upon the Antichrist and his followers is the outpouring of God’s wrath upon the earth at the 7th trumpet. At the sounding of the last trumpet the church will be raptured and taken up to heaven while the seven bowl judgments are poured out on those who have taken the mark of the beast.

Daniel 8 – Daniel Has a Vision of a Ram with Two Long Horns

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In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me. Daniel 8:1

The introduction to the book of Daniel (1:1 – 2:4) and the final chapters of the book beginning at this verse (8:1 – 12: 13) were written in Hebrew with the people of Palestine as the primary audience. Daniel chapters 2:4 – 7:28 were written in Aramaic, the common commercial language of the Fertile Crescent, to bear witness of the power and sovereignty of the God of Palestine to the Gentiles.

Daniel had a subsequent vision two years after he had the vision of the four beasts which was recorded in chapter seven.

The year is now 551 B.C. and the situation in the Neo-Babylonian Kingdom is ominous. King Nabonidus has departed for Arabia, leaving Babylon in the hands of an unworthy son, Belshazzar. Belshazzar was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar and served as co-regent with his father.

 In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susa in the province of Elam; in the vision I was beside the Ulai Canal. I looked up, and there before me was a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long. One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later. I watched the ram as it charged toward the west and the north and the south. No animal could stand against it, and none could rescue from its power. It did as it pleased and became great. Daniel 8:2-4

Daniel was fully awake and saw himself transported 350 miles east of Babylon to the fortress of Susa, the very birthplace of the Medo-Persian Empire, the headquarters of Cyrus.

The ram, which had two horns, was a symbol of the kingdom of the Medes and Persians. The length of the horns denoted the eventual great power, authority, wealth, and riches of the Medo-Persian Empire.

One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later… The empire, we know, was built up by two races. The Medes were the dominant people at first and the kings of the Medes ruled the dual monarchy. But under Cyrus and his successors, the seat of power eventually resided with the Persians.

This vision of Daniel provides powerful confirmation that the Medes and the Persians were symbolized by the two silver arms of the dazzling statue of Nebuchadnezzar dream and by the bear that was raised up on one side in Daniel’s dream.

As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between its eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. It came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at it in great rage. I saw it attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering its two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against it; the goat knocked it to the ground and trampled on it, and none could rescue the ram from its power. Daniel 8:5-7

From the previous dreams and visions, as well as from the historical record, we understand that the first two empires to arise and subjugate the Jewish people were Babylon and Medo-Persia. The next emperor to arise on the world scene, and represented in Daniel’s vision as swift and unstoppable goat, was Alexander the Great. The goat crossed the face of the earth without touching the ground. The goat seemed rather to fly in the air than to walk upon the earth. This language conveys the swiftness of the conquests of Alexander. In 11 years, from 335 B.C. to 324 B.C., Alexander and his army battled their way across 22,000 miles.

Alexander III King of Macedonia conquered most of the Greek City States, Turkey, Persia, what is now Pakistan, parts of India and Afghanistan as well as Egypt, Asia Minor and Syria from his ascent to the throne at age twenty to his death at age thirty three.

The goat became very great, but at the height of its power the large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven. Daniel 8:8

In Daniel chapter 7, Alexander is represented as a leopard with four wings and four heads. Just as the four heads of the leopard represented the four kings who succeeded Alexander, so do the four horns which grew up in four directions. The Diadochi (from the Greek word Diadokhoi, meaning “Successors”) were the rival generals, administrators, and friends of Alexander the Great who fought for control over his empire after his death in 323 BC.

Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the commander of the army of the Lord; it took away the daily sacrifice from the Lord, and his sanctuary was thrown down. Because of rebellion, the Lord’s people and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground. Daniel 8:9-12

I believe that this portion of Daniel’s prophetic vision concerning a small horn has had a partial fulfillment in history in the person and reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.). His reign serves as a microcosm and foreshadows the future worldwide reign of the Antichrist.

After Alexander the Great’s empire was divided among his generals (the four horns), Syria and Babylonia became the Seleucid Dynasty. Antiochus IV Epiphanes (the horn that was small but grew in power) was one of the Seleucid emperors and son of Antiochus III the Great.

While the Selucids reigned to the north of Palestine (Judea and Samaria), the Ptolemies reigned to the south of Palestine in Egypt.

Antiochus III was only 18 years old when he ascended the throne of the Seleucid Empire in 223 BC. Even though young, he was nevertheless experienced in government as he had served as Governor of the province of Babylonia under his brother Seleucus III. Antiochus the Great immediately began an effort to conquer the troublesome empire of the Ptolemies. Although he was unable to completely destroy them, yet at the Battle of Panion in the Jordan Valley (198 B.C.) he was able to gain complete control of Palestine.

The Jews were at first happy by this state of affairs. The constant warring between the two dynasties seemed finally to be at an end, and they welcomed Antiochus with open arms. Little did they realize, however, that the Seleucids would prove to be even harsher masters than the Ptolemies.

At about this same time Hannibal, who had been defeated by the Romans at Zama, fled to the court of Antiochus for protection. Still interested in stirring up trouble for Rome, however, Hannibal convinced Antiochus III to invade Greece, whereupon Rome promptly declared war on Antiochus. The Romans defeated Antiochus III in 190 BC, and made him pay dearly for his alliance with Hannibal. He was forced to pay enormous amounts of money, and to surrender his navy and his war elephants. To insure that Antiochus continued making his payments, the Romans took his youngest son to Rome where they kept him hostage for twelve years. This young boy was later to return to the Seleucid Empire and assume the throne under the name Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

Three years after his defeat by the Romans, Antiochus the Great died and was succeeded by Seleucus IV, who ruled for the next twelve years. His situation was a most precarious one — somehow he had to come up with fantastic amounts of money to send to the Romans. To raise this money he heavily taxed the people of the land, including the Jews of Palestine.

This created a moral dilemma for the Jews. Some felt it was morally allowable to give money to the government, whereas others felt it was sinful. Thus, two opposing factions formed among the Jews over this issue. The Oniads, under the leadership of the High Priest Onias, were opposed to helping the Seleucids in any way. The other group, led by a man named Jason, felt the opposite, and set about making many false, slanderous reports to the king concerning Onias, in the hopes of undermining him.

Jason, who was the brother of Onias, was only interested in one thing — becoming the High Priest in his brother’s place. He hoped to accomplish this by offering the Seleucids large amounts of money. King Seleucus IV ignored the Jewish squabble, for the most part, and refused to get that deeply involved.

In the year 175 BC, Antiochus IV, also known as Epiphanes, murdered Seleucus IV and took the throne. He immediately took advantage of Jason’s offer of money, and removed Onias from the office of High Priest, installing Jason in his place. Three years later, a man named Menelaus offered Antiochus even more money, so the king removed Jason and made Menelaus the High Priest.

Those Jews who were still trying to be faithful to their God were infuriated by this state of affairs, and their hearts were pained that the position of High Priest could be bought by the highest bidder. Those who were outspoken concerning these abuses were known as the Hasidim (“the pious ones”). It is from this group that the Hasidic Jews of today trace their roots. They renamed Epiphanes (“a manifestation of God”) – to “Epimanes” (“the madman”).

In the year 169 BC Antiochus invaded Egypt in an attempt to destroy once and for all the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Soon it was reported back in Palestine that the king had been killed in battle. When this news reached Jason, he returned from exile and threw Menelaus out of the city and once again assumed the office of High Priest. The news of Antiochus’ death was false, however, and when he returned to Jerusalem he utilized his army to forcibly remove Jason from office and reinstall Menelaus. At this time Antiochus also entered the Temple and stole a great deal of valuable treasure, an act which the pious Jews looked upon as an abomination before God.

The following year (168 BC) Antiochus renewed his campaign against the Egyptians, but he was stopped by the Roman representative Popilius Laenus, and was ordered to leave Egypt and never come back. This so infuriated Antiochus that he came back and took out his frustration on the city of Jerusalem. He tore down the city walls, slaughtered a great many of the Jews, ordered the Jewish Scriptures to be destroyed, and he and his soldiers brought prostitutes into the Temple and there had sex with them in order to defile the Temple. He also issued orders that everyone was to worship the Greek gods, and he established the death penalty for anyone who practiced circumcision, or who observed the Sabbath or any of the Jewish religious feasts and sacrifices.

The cruelty of Antiochus in enforcing these new laws against the Jews became legendary. An aged scribe by the name of Eleazar was flogged to death because he refused to eat the flesh of a swine. In another incident, a mother and her seven young children were each butchered, in the presence of the Governor, for refusing to worship an idol. In yet another incident, two mothers, who had circumcised their newborn sons, were driven through the city and then thrown to their deaths from the top of a large building.

The final outrage for the pious Jews of the land came when Antiochus sacked the Temple and erected an altar there to the pagan god Zeus and a statue of Antiochus as Zeus. Then, on December 25, 168 BC, Antiochus offered a pig to Zeus on the altar of God. This was the last straw! The Jews had taken all they were going to take from these oppressors. The stage was set for a large-scale rebellion of the Jews against the Seleucids. This famous rebellion is known in history as the Maccabean Revolt.

Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, the surrender of the sanctuary and the trampling underfoot of the Lord’s people?”

He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.” Daniel 8:13-14.

Antiochus’s men went from town to town and from village to village to force the inhabitants to worship pagan gods. Only one refuge area remained and that was the hills of Judea with their caves. But even there did the Syrians pursue the faithful Jews, and many a Jew died a martyr’s death.

One day the henchmen of Antiochus arrived in the village of Modin where Mattityahu, the old priest, lived. The Syrian officer built an altar in the marketplace of the village and demanded that Mattityahu offer sacrifices to the Greek gods. Mattityahu replied, “I, my sons and my brothers are determined to remain loyal to the covenant which our God made with our ancestors!”

Thereupon, a Hellenistic Jew approached the altar to offer a sacrifice. Mattityahu grabbed his sword and killed him, and his sons and friends fell upon the Syrian officers and men. They killed many of them and chased the rest away. They then destroyed the altar.

Mattityahu knew that Antiochus would be enraged when he heard what had happened. He would certainly send an expedition to punish him and his followers. Mattityahu, therefore, left the village of Modin and fled together with his sons and friends to the hills of Judea. All loyal and courageous Jews joined them. They formed legions and from time to time they left their hiding places to fall upon enemy detachments and outposts, and to destroy the pagan altars that were built by order of Antiochus.

Before his death, Mattityahu called his sons together and urged them to continue to fight in defense of God’s Torah. He asked them to follow the counsel of their brother Shimon the Wise. In waging warfare, he said, their leader should be Judah the Strong. Judah was called “Maccabee,” a word composed of the initial letters of the four Hebrew words Mi Kamocha Ba’eilim Hashem, “Who is like You, O God.”

Antiochus sent his General Apolonius to wipe out Yehuda and his followers, the Maccabees. Maccabee means “hammer,” which describes the guerrilla warfare he and the Jews waged on the Syrians. They came out of the Judean hills with quick and successful strikes against their enemy.

Though greater in number and equipment than their adversaries, the Syrians were defeated by the Maccabees. Antiochus sent out another expedition which also was defeated. He realized that only by sending a powerful army could he hope to defeat Judah and his brave fighting men.

An army consisting of more than 40,000 men swept the land under the leadership of two commanders, Nicanor and Gorgiash. When Judah and his brothers heard of that, they exclaimed: “Let us fight unto death in defense of our souls and our Temple!” The people assembled in Mitzpah, where Samuel, the prophet of old, had offered prayers to God. After a series of battles the war was won.

Now the Maccabees returned to Jerusalem to liberate it. They entered the Temple and cleared it of the idols placed there by the Syrian vandals. Judah and his followers built a new altar, which he dedicated on the twenty-fifth of the month of Kislev, in the year 3622.

Since the golden Menorah had been stolen by the Syrians, the Maccabees now made one of cheaper metal. When they wanted to light it, they found only a small cruse of pure olive oil bearing the seal of the High Priest Yochanan. It was sufficient to light only for one day. By a miracle of God, it continued to burn for eight days, till new oil was made available. That miracle proved that God had again taken His people under His protection. In memory of this, the Jewish sages appointed these eight days for annual thanksgiving and for lighting candles.

The 2,300 “evening-mornings” is interpreted to mean 2300 individual morning and evening sacrifices, or 1150 literal days, which was fulfilled during the reign of. Antiochus IV Epiphanes. After three years of guerrilla warfare led by the Maccabees, the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid monarchy was successful. Hanukkah celebrates the victory over the Syrian army and the rededication of the Temple.

While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man. And I heard a man’s voice from the Ulai calling, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision.”

As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate. “Son of man,” he said to me, “Understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.” Daniel 8:15-17

There are several references in scripture where a being described as looking like a man was actually an angel. For example, in Genesis 18, Abraham welcomed three guests who appeared at first to be nothing more than some travelers. In the following chapter, two of these guests went to Sodom where they were assumed to be simply a pair of human visitors but turned out to be angels. In this instance, the one who looked like a man was the angel Gabriel who was entrusted to deliver several important messages on God’s behalf. Gabriel means “Strength of God.”

Since the one who spoke to the angel Gabriel in a man’s voice had the authority to issue a command to God’s messenger, it can be deduced that the one speaking was the pre-incarnate Son of God. At the approach of this celestial being Daniel is terrified and falls on his face in awe or respect.

Since the vision concerns activities that will take place at “the time of the end,” it is an indication that besides the initial reference to the reign of Antiochus IV, that the reign of the Antichrist will be the final and ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy. The “time of the end” will be fulfilled during the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), the time of the Great Tribulation.

While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep, with my face to the ground. Then he touched me and raised me to my feet. Daniel 8:18

Daniel’s strength had been entirely taken away by the vision and his fearful encounter with God’s angel.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. Luke 22:42-43

Just as Jesus, who had been very stressed and troubled in the Garden of Gethsemane, was strengthened by an angel, so was Daniel strengthened by Gabriel’s touch and raised to his feet.

He said: “I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end. The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between its eyes is the first king. The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power. Daniel 8:19-22

The first king of Greece was Alexander III King of Macedonia. After Alexander’s death, in the prime of life and in the height of his conquests, his brother and two sons were all murdered; and the kingdom was divided among four of his generals. These were Seleucus, who had Syria and Babylon; Lysimachus, who had Asia Minor; Ptolemy, who had Egypt; and, Cassander, who had Greece.

“In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. Daniel 8:23-24

In the time of the end, Syria, Babylon (Iraq), Asia Minor (Turkey) and Egypt which are all Islamic, when rebels have become completely wicked (a description of the murderous jihadists) a fierce-looking king (the Antichrist) will arise. His intent is to eradicate the Jewish people. As of now, I am not sure how Greece will fit into this picture but we do know that Greece’s economy is in dire trouble and workers from all walks of life have united in massive protests around Greece.

He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power. Daniel 8:25

This prophecy is confirmed in the book of Revelation.

Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Revelation 19:19-20

The Antichrist will be destroyed, not by human power but by the King of kings and Lord of lords.

“The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.” Daniel 8:26

In the last days, the vision was unsealed.

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It is only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams. Acts 2:14-17

The last days began after the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, when the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost.

Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Revelation 5:5

 I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhausted for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding. Daniel 8:27