Summary: Here is a great picture of what the Antichrist will be like. Antiochus Epiphanes came first and gave us a look, but now here is this guy himself, clearly revealed to us by our gracious God.
Passage: Daniel 11:21-35
Intro: In 1996, we had a presidential election in the U.S. President Bill Clinton vs. Sen. Bob Dole
1. President Clinton had survived impeachment proceedings over his affair with White House aide Monica Lewinsky, lying to cover it up.
2. vulnerable, yet Bob Dole said “We will not make character an issue.”
3. as we have studied the book of Daniel, we have discovered something.
4. we may not think character is an issue, but it is a huge issue for God.
5. and essentially the human race is divided between those who are experiencing the transformation of their character by God, or those who remain untouched by His grace.
Il) who can forget the remarkable story of Nebuchadnezzar, who God sent to live in the woods for 7 years to be transformed.
6. and now here, what has been hinted at will become in these last two chapters very apparent.
7. that is, that character is the most important thing about a person, and God reveals character so we can know who not to follow, who to resist, because they have set themselves against the living God.
8. in these verses, we will look at a man whose character is terribly unrighteous.
9. and this will set us up for the description of the final awful person who some will see in the last days.
I. Antiochus Epiphanes Was Despicable
1. last week we flew over 365 years of Middle Eastern history.
2. saw the remarkable accuracy of God’s prophecy.
3. same thing here in vv21-35, but dealing with one man.
4. the instructive thing about this passage is found in the “character” words.
5. Seleucus IV had younger brother named Antiochus IV. When Seleucus died, Antiochus took over, because the
legitimate heir to the throne was being held hostage in Rome. (v21)
6. so Anticochus came to throne illegitimately, but that was just the start.
7. “contemptible, PP DESPICABLE” This is a guy even the world is disgusted by.
8. he re-ignited war with Ptolemy, but through “intrigue”=”smoothness, flattery.”
8. Ptolemy VII invaded Palestine and Phonecia, but ultimate lost and became prisoner of Antiochus. V22
9. then Antiochus made agreement with new Ptolemy king, but it was all a lie. v23 PP) DECEITFUL
10. then he invades not with large army, but with bribery and political intrigue v24 PP) CORRUPT
11. Ptolemy tries to fight back, but his own administration has been bribed into treason v26
12. on and on it goes, the life of a man who even the world holds in contempt.
13. he was a man completely untouched, unchanged by the grace of God.
14. completely given over to the life of the flesh, completely selfish, who would do anything to achieve what he wanted.
15. but it gets worse, from God’s perspective
II. Antiochus Epiphanes Hated God’s People
1. v28 shows a shift in the his priorities 2. “heart set against it.” “takes action”
3. Antiochus got involved in tearing down and setting up the high priest, and hefty bribes were involved.
4. this corruption continued, and the Jewish people began to rebel and were put down mercilessly by Antiochus, vv 30-31
Il) acc. to Macabees, book of Jewish history, 80,000 men women and children killed
5. then 168 B.C., Antiochus suspended sacrifices and defiled the Temple, setting up a statue to either Zeus or Jupiter.
6. It is clear the Antiochus had a particular hatred for the Jews, and sought not to be in alliance with them, but to destroy their whole religious/spiritual culture.
7. in a polytheistic world, Jews are unique believers in “one God”
8. interesting that the other “one God” religion is Islam, and Allah is distinctly different than the God of the Bible….in his character!!!
9. Antiochus Epiphanes is a precursor to the final Antichrist, and as we will see they share this despicable character and this hatred for the people of God.
10. in Antiocus’ case, this started the “Maccabean War” in 168, which was a reformation to rescue Judaism from the Jews funded and supported by Antiochus. V33-35
11. ultimately, Judaism was restored over time and through great courage and loss of life.
12. and the character of Antiochus led to his death in 164 B.C.
13. now when it comes to character issues and the result of bad character, there is one very clear principle taught throughout the Bible.
III. Don’t Mess With God’s Children
1. everything was going pretty well for Antiochus until he focused negatively on the Jews.
2. it is a very interesting Biblical thread to see what happens to people of bad character who touch “the apple of God’s eye.”
3. all the way thru Revelation
4. when a person’s despicable character reveals itself thru persecution of God’s people, trouble will gather like storm clouds.