Sunday, February 28, 2016

Nowhere to Go but Down

“Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. “He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all.”          Daniel 11:36-37  NKJV

Have you ever found yourself in the position of wanting to see someone embarrassed or humbled because of their arrogance and pride?  I think most of us would have to admit that, like or not, we all have been there.  There is just something about seeing people with that sort of attitude of superiority which makes us all hope for their fall, and suffer for their actions as they profess their own magnificence.  Fortunately as believers, we are promised that the proud will in fact get their just rewards so although we might not be witnesses to the fact; we are assured of their ultimate humility.  This conclusion is never more apparent than in the fall of the antichrist, and his eventual destiny.

The seeds of his fall, as we saw last week, come from the desire of Satan to magnify himself above God, and to be worshipped accordingly.  This passage from Daniel spells out in detail exactly how arrogant this attitude of the man of sin will be as he not only claims himself to be God, but totally reject the consideration of what has been revealed by God Himself, His Son Jesus Christ, or any other of the gods man has created throughout history.  Now hopefully you noticed I referred to Jesus and wonder where that might be found in the passage above.  

Although we do not have the time to examine in detail an exhaustive interpretation of these two verses I encourage you to do your own research.  The phrasethe desire of women” has unfortunately been incorrectly taught by many to suggest that the antichrist has no affection for women.  In truth, in the Old Testament times the phrase “desire of women” was commonly used to refer to the longing of devoted Jewish women to be the mother of the coming Messiah.  Daniel was well aware of this and if we too understand that, the passage examined within its context concerning worshipping gods makes much more sense when we see the man of sin believes he is greater than God, His Son, or any other god.

Unfortunately for him, although he might see himself that way and certainly desire for all the remaining people on the earth to as well, we will find that in reality a good portion of the population of the world will eventually reject him and his claims.  It is interesting to note that while earlier in Daniel we were told that he becomes the ruler of the world, and leader of the one world government, it is after the first half of the tribulation when he claims to be god that the rebellion of his rule begins.  Is it because of his desire to be worshipped as god?  Does the world think maybe he has lost his mind, or is delusional as he begins to persecute and kill any who reject his authority?  Whatever the reasons, we are told his absolute rule begins to crumble.

“At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. “He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. “He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. “He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. “But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. “And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.”                 Daniel 11:40-45  NKJV

Did you notice the very last words of this passage from Daniel?  “And no one will help him.”  When it is all said and done, the antichrist will find himself all alone with absolutely no one to help him, much less worship him as a god.  I think it is telling that the man, who came to power as a peacemaker, ends his career as a tyrant at war with the world.  Notice too how he chooses to react to “news from the east and the north”.  What does it say about a great “peacemaker” that he reacts with “great fury to destroy and annihilate many” on the basis of just troubling news rather than an outright attack?  As we saw last week we are told that if God did not put an end to the tribulation, eventually there would be no survivors at all on the earth, so the stage is set for the intervention of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

"Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war."   Revelation 19:11  NKJV

Have you ever wondered why Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey at His first coming but rides a horse at His second coming?  It wasn’t until recently that I became aware of the fact that in ancient times, during times of peace a king always rode a donkey but in times of war he always rode a horse.  Understanding that explains the fact that at His second coming Jesus is riding a horse, and that He is coming to make war.  God has seen enough, the time of Jacob’s trouble is about to be concluded, and Jesus Christ returns to put an end to all that the man of sin, Satan, and the false prophet have tried to accomplish in the last three and one half years.

“Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God “that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.”   Revelation 19:17-21  NKJV

I hope you noticed that in these verses it appears that there is someone missing?  Although Satan chooses to indwell the antichrist at the midpoint of the tribulation, it would appear that he is quick to leave when judgment arrives.  In the Greek, the word translated capture carries within it the idea of pursuit and apprehension.  Can you just see these two running for their lives believing that somehow they can escape, only to be caught?  I can also see Satan coming out of the man of sin at that point thinking he too can keep on running while leaving the other two behind?  Not to worry though because no one escapes the judgment of God.

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.”   Revelation 20:1-3  NKJV

Nowhere to go but down.  Have you ever experienced falling in such a way as to have the time to realize you have absolutely no control over your circumstance?  Unfortunately I have experienced this several times and I can assure you it is a terrifying experience.  Did you notice Satan is thrown into a “bottomless” pit?  Can you imagine falling for a thousand years having no control at all?  This is Satan’s reward for trying to rule the world, become like God, and persecute all who choose not to worship him.  

My intent over the past few weeks was simply to introduce you to this man, and the circumstances surrounding his rise to power and eventual end.  I would encourage you to find a good commentary on the books of Daniel and Revelation and discover for yourself in detail the events that many, myself included, believe are set to begin at any time.  If you have never taken the step of making a decision to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and allow His forgiveness and sacrifice to grant you eternal life in Heaven with Him and to deliver you from this time that is coming I encourage you to do it today.  All you need to do is ask Him for forgiveness, believe that His Son Jesus Christ died for your sins, and invite Him to come into your life and help you become the person He intended you to be.

Keep watching.