It is written:
“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. 37 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. 38 But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. 39 Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain. 40 “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. 41 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. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 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. 44 But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. 45 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 11:36-45)
What will this antichrist be like, that Daniel so vividly describes to us?
Several things about his character stand out and warrant further investigation.
First, Daniel highlights the extreme arrogance and pompous nature of this person. He “does according to his will, magnifies “himself above every god,” and “shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods” (Daniel 11:36). He shall “regard neither the God of his fathers,” “nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all” (Daniel 11:37).
These verses all speak to the power-hungry nature of this king. He will be a person who longs for the spotlight; he will not be satisfied unless he is at the center of anything and everything. As noted before, in many ways this antichrist figure is prefigured by the wicked ruler, Antiochus IV Epiphanies. While Antiochus worshiped the Greek pantheon, he also had a very exaggerated sense of his own importance.
“This king would destroy a lot of people “without warning,” and would even elevate himself against “the Prince of princes,” i.e. God (cf. Isa 14:13). “In his own mind he shall become great” (8:25), which is a very key phrase. Antiochus assumed the title Theou Epiphanes, meaning “God manifest” or “God revealed,” but his detractors amended it to Epimanes, meaning “madman.” Antiochus “threw truth to the ground” by ordering Torah scrolls to be burned (1 Macc 1:56–57). The first king mentioned in the book of Daniel, Jehoiakim, discovered that bad things happen to those who toss aside the truth of God’s Word (Jer 36:20–31); Antiochus would fare no better.” (Michael Whitworth, The Derision Of Heaven: A Guide To Daniel, 140 (Kindle Edition); Bowie, TX; Start2Finish Books)
Indeed, there are many similarities between Antiochus and antichrist (which will be noted more in-depth in a future study).
Second, the text of Daniel highlights that this wicked king would have a very strong interest in the city of Jerusalem. We are told that he would “enter the Glorious Land” (Daniel 11:41). The Hebrew phrase here translated as “Glorious Land” is the same phrase used to refer to Israel in the Book of Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 20:6-On that day I raised My hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ the glory of all lands.
Barnes tells us:
“Margin, “the land of ornament,” or, “goodly land.” The Hebrew word ybix] <h6643> means, properly, “splendor, beauty,” and was given to the holy land, or Palestine, on account of its beauty, as being a land of beauty or fertility. Compare <262006> Ezekiel 20:6,15; 26:12; <240319> Jeremiah 3:19, and <271145> Daniel 11:45.” (Albert Barnes, Barnes Notes On The Old Testament-Book Of Daniel, 16961 (Kindle Edition))
Again, we are told:
Daniel 11;45-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.
There are many similarities between this wicked king, and with Antiochus IV. In fact, Antiochus was specifically prophesied about earlier in Daniel. Within that passage, there are indicators that Antiochus may be used as a foreshadowing of this wicked king.
Daniel 8:9-17-And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. 10 And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. 11 He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. 12 Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered. 13 Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?” 14 And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.” 15 Then it happened, when I, Daniel, had seen the vision and was seeking the meaning, that suddenly there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. 16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” 17 So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.”
Here, Daniel sees a vision of a ram being overcome and conquered by a powerful male goat. The ram is a perfect symbol for the Medo-Persian Empire. In fact, many of their coins bear the image of a ram! The male goat is also specifically identified as Greece (Daniel 8:21). Speaking of the prophecies of this passage, Guzik writes:
“Across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground: The prophetic description of the male goat was proved to be accurate regarding the Greek Empire. • The Greek Empire rose from the west of previous empires. • The Greek Empire rose with great speed (suddenly . . . without touching the ground). • The Greek Empire had a notable ruler, Alexander the Great (a notable horn). • The Greek Empire had a famous war with the Medo-Persian Empire (I saw him confronting the ram). • The Greek Empire and the Medo-Persian Empire greatly hated each other (with furious power . . . moved with rage). Some of the greatest, fiercest battles of ancient history were fought between the Greeks and the Persians. • The Greek Empire conquered the Medo-Persian Empire (no one that could deliver the ram from his hand). • The reign of the notable leader of the Greek Empire was suddenly cut short (the large horn was broken). • After the end of Alexander the Great’s reign, the Greek Empire was divided among four rulers (in place of it four notable ones came up). • The four rulers of the Greek Empire after Alexander ruled their own dominions, not the entire empire together (came up toward the four winds of heaven). i. Alexander did not divide the empire among his four generals himself. His four leading generals divided it among themselves by force after his death. • Cassander, ruling over Greece and its region. • Lysimachus, ruling over Asia Minor. • Seleucus, ruling over Syria and Israel’s land. • Ptolemy, ruling over Egypt. c. The male goat grew very great: The greatness of Alexander’s Empire was not only in its vast dominion, but also in its cultural power. Alexander the Great was determined to spread Greek civilization, culture, and language across every land he conquered….• Antiochus Epiphanes exerted his dominion toward the south, toward the east, and toward the land of Israel…• Antiochus Epiphanes murdered other rulers and persecuted the people of Israel (cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them). • Antiochus Epiphanes blasphemed God and commanded idolatrous worship directed towards himself (exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host). • Antiochus Epiphanes put a stop to temple sacrifices in Jerusalem (by him the daily sacrifices were taken away). • Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the temple (the place of His sanctuary was cast down). • Antiochus Epiphanes opposed God and seemed to prosper (he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered). d. It cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground: These are symbols used in the Old Testament for angels, kings and leaders, or the people of God at large. Here it is fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphanes and his attacks against rulers and God’s people in general. i. The terms stars of heaven (Gen 12:3; Gen 15:5) and the hosts of the LORD (Exo 12:41) are used of God’s people in general. ii. “Undoubtedly it is the design here to describe the pride and ambition of [the “little horn”], and to show that he did not think anything too exalted for his aspiration.” (Barnes). e. And trampled them: Antiochus was an infamous persecutor of the Jewish people. He wanted them to submit to Greek culture and customs and was more than willing to use murder and violence to compel them. i. Antiochus’s suppression of the Jews came to a head in December of 168 B.C. when he returned in defeat from Alexandria. He ordered his generals to seize Jerusalem on a Sabbath. There he erected an idol of Zeus and desecrated the altar by an offering of swine and sprinkling the pig’s juices in the sanctuary. Sacrifice was ceased because the temple was desecrated. ii. 1Ma 1:29-32; 1Ma 1:52-61 describe how Antiochus persecuted the Jews. 1Ma 1:41-50 describes his blasphemies. By some estimates he is responsible for the murder of more than 100,000 Jews. f. Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices: This was fulfilled in the terrors of Antiochus Epiphanes. The Jews, especially their leaders invited God’s judgment upon them through Antiochus because of their sin.” (David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary, E-Sword Edition)
In commenting on some of the ways that Antiochus reign in Daniel 8 is a foreshadowing of antichrist, Guzik points out:
“The vision refers to the time of the end: Gabriel assures Daniel that this vision has to do with end times, with the latter time of the indignation. i. This is a problem for some, because we see that the prophecy of Dan 8:1-14 was fulfilled in the days of the Medo-Persian and Greek Empires, especially in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. The terms time of the end and latter time of the indignation commonly refer to what we think of as the end times, not events fulfilled more than a 100 years before the birth of Jesus. ii. The answer is that though this prophecy is fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphanes it also has a later fulfillment in the Antichrist, referring to the time of the end. Antiochus Epiphanes is sometimes called the “antichrist of the Old Testament.” He prefigures the Antichrist of the end times. iii. Just like Antiochus Epiphanes rose to power with force and intrigue, so will the Antichrist. As he persecuted the Jews, so will the Antichrist. As he stopped sacrifice and desecrated the temple, so will the Antichrist. As he seemed to be a complete success, so will the Antichrist. “From what Antiochus did to Jews in his day, therefore, one may know the general pattern of what the Antichrist will do to them in the future.” (Wood). iv. “Greece with all its refinement, culture and art, produced the Old Testament Anti-Christ while the so called Christian nations produce the New Testament Anti-Christ.” (Heslop). c. Some see this Antiochus and Antichrist connection, and some do not. Martin Luther wrote, “This chapter in Daniel refers both to Antiochus and Antichrist.” John Calvin wrote, “Hence Luther, indulging his thoughts too freely, refers this passage to the masks of Antichrist.” (David Guzik, Enduring Word Commentary, E-Sword Edition)
Daniel 11:36-12:13 shows that this antichrist figure will be extremely arrogant and hostile, especially to the Jewish people. At the same time, he will have a great interest in the land of Israel.