Here the heavenly messenger starts to reveal to Daniel future events that are to affect the Jews, Daniel’s physical brethren and nation, and eventually Christians, Daniel’s spiritual brethren.
Before we go further, it is good to note that this passage was relayed to Daniel and written down by him many years before the events detailed in the first 20 verses came to pass. These verses have been fulfilled in detail. What that does is give us a strong reason to believe the rest of the chapter that has yet to be fulfilled.
Although we haven’t done this yet in this book, in this chapter from verse 2 on we will make note in this commentary which verse or passage is being referred to.
Verses 2–4: The angel reveals to Daniel how the fourth king of the Persian Empire, richer than those who went before, would attack Greece with all the might of his realm. This was fulfilled when Xerxes marched on Greece in 480 BC. His engineers built two pontoon bridges across the strait now known as the Dardanelles, and marched his armies across.
His father Darius had done the same, but his invasion had foundered at the crucial Battle of Marathon 10 years earlier. Xerxes would fare little better. After the stubborn Spartan resistance at Thermopylae was finally overcome, Xerxes sacked the ancient city of Athens. But his navy was defeated soon after by the Greeks at Salamis. That compromised his communications and supply lines, forcing him to retreat back to his homeland. Even though a large Persian army wintered in Greece, it was thoroughly defeated the following year by an alliance of Greek city-states at the Battle of Plataea.
The Persian invasions gave rise to calls for revenge in the Greek city-states, calls that were answered 150 years later when the Macedonians, under Alexander, launched their invasion and conquest of Persia. The primary excuse given for Alexander’s aggression was that it was to avenge the past violation of the Greek homeland.
As we know, Alexander died young, and his kingdom was divided toward the four winds rather than passed on to his posterity or family, and the kingdoms into which it fragmented were never to achieve the same breadth of dominion his had. And as the prophecy stated and we saw in the last chapter, parts of the empire only remained under the control of the Diadochi for a few years.
After the dust settled, four major kingdoms emerged from the carcass of Alexander’s empire. But before long they began fighting amongst themselves once more. Of the four, the two prominent kingdoms to emerge were the Ptolemaic realm that comprised mostly Egypt and later some areas of the Aegean and Asia Minor, and the kingdom of Seleucus. Seleucus ruled a huge area comprising the eastern half of modern-day Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and even parts of India. And these two kingdoms continually disputed over the areas comprising modern-day Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.
Verse 5: We now enter into the very byzantine affairs of these two kingdoms and the dynasties that ruled them. The two personalities in the first half of this passage, the King of the South and the King of the North, are not just two individuals, but they refer to the successive kings of these two realms. The king(s) of the south are the Ptolemies and the king(s) of the north are the Seleucids.
The first two kings had been allies in their wars, so although relations between them could not be described as warm, at least they didn’t fight each other. Ptolemy I, the King of the South, had occupied the lands that were in those days called Coele-Syria, meaning “hollow Syria.” Strictly speaking, it is the valley of Lebanon, but it is often used to cover the entire area south of the An Nahr al Kabir River, including modern Israel, the southern part of which was then known as Judea. According to the various negotiated divisions of Alexander’s empire, these lands should have been Seleucus’s. However, Seleucus, the “one of Alexander’s princes who had also become strong,” had been much too involved in expanding his realm at the expense of many of the lesser Diadochi to go to war with his ally. This entente was not to last with their successors.
Verse 6: We now skip to the reigns of two latter kings, Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Antiochus II Theos.
Ptolemy, in order to bring the war he had been fighting for Coele-Syria with both Antiochus I Soter and Antiochus II to an end, gave his daughter Berenice in marriage to Antiochus II, as part of establishing a permanent peace and alliance between the two kingdoms. A condition of this alliance was that Antiochus should divorce his wife Laodice, and that the children of that former wife should be excluded from the succession to the throne. Ptolemy hoped that the Seleucid lands would thus, under the next king — his grandson — fall under the sway of Egypt. Ptolemy, however, died two years after this marriage and Antiochus, who had declared himself divine and thus earned the nickname “Theos,” meaning god, restored his former wife Laodice, and put away Berenice. Laodice then killed her fickle husband, and she and others planned the death of Berenice and her infant son. Berenice fled to Daphne, where she was captured, and she and her son were killed.
- Kings of the North
- SELEUCUS I NICATOR Ruler and later king October 312–September 292 bc; co-ruler 292–September 280 bc—assassinated
- ANTIOCHUS I SOTER co-ruler 292–280 bc; sole ruler September 280–261 bc—assassinated
- ANTIOCHUS II THEOS 261–246 bc
- SELEUCUS II CALLINICUS 246–225 bc
- SELEUCUS III CERANUS or SOTER 225–223 bc—assassinated
- ANTIOCHUS III (“The Great”) 223–187 bc
- SELEUCUS IV PHILOPATOR 187–175 bc—assassinated
- ANTIOCHUS IV EPIPHANES 175–163 bc
- Kings of the South
- PTOLEMY I SOTER 305–282 bc
- PTOLEMY II PHILADELPHUS 284–246 bc
- PTOLEMY III EUERGETES I 246–221 bc
- PTOLEMY IV PHILOPATOR 222–205 bc
- PTOLEMY V EPIPHANES 205–180 bc
- PTOLEMY VI PHILOMETOR 180–145 bc
Verses 7–8: When Ptolemy III Euergetes, Berenice’s brother, the “branch of her roots,” received news of her flight, he gathered an army and headed to Daphne — initially to rescue her, and then, when news of her death reached him, to avenge her. After receiving reinforcements, he made himself master of not just the western Seleucid lands, but crossed the Euphrates and subjugated the land as far as the Tigris.
Historical writings state that Ptolemy took back with him to Egypt 40,000 talents of silver, a vast number of precious vessels of gold, and 2,400 idols. Among those were many idols of the Egyptian gods, which Cambyses II, when he had conquered Egypt, had carried off to Persia. Ptolemy restored these to the temples to which they belonged and earned the sobriquet “Euergetes,” that is, the “Benefactor.”
Verses 9–10. Seleucus II Callinicus was proclaimed king of what was left of the Seleucid realm by his mother, Laodice, but had little success as king dealing with rebellions by his brother and other vassals. But on his death his sons, Seleucus Ceraunus and Antiochus the Great, renewed the struggle with Egypt. Ceraunus was assassinated after only two years as king, and his brother, Antiochus III, became king at the age of 18. His campaigns of 219–218 BC carried the Seleucid arms into Coele-Syria.
Verse 11–12: In 217 BC, Ptolemy IV Philopator met Antiochus in battle at Raphia in southern Palestine. Ptolemy had an army of 70,000 infantry, including a newly levied and trained Egyptian phalanx, 5,000 horse, and 73 elephants. He was met by Antiochus with an army of 62,000 infantry, 6,000 horse, 102 elephants. In a great battle, Antiochus was defeated, and retreated to Antioch. Ten thousand from the army of Antiochus were slain and 4,000 were taken prisoner.
Verses 13–14: Philopator was a dissolute libertine who was under the thumb of his favorites and ministers. Aside from the victory at Raphia, he didn’t accomplish much in the kingdom. Before that battle, the native Egyptians had mostly been kept in servitude on the land. But in order to strengthen his army, which had consisted entirely of mercenaries, mostly Macedonians, he had armed and trained native Egyptians to form the Egyptian phalanx. That expedient was to cause much trouble later on, as they left the army on their return to Egypt, weapons in hand.
Jewish mercenaries had been fighting in Egypt in the service of the Egyptians, Persians, and the Ptolemies since at least 664 BC, when their presence was recorded as garrisoning the island of Elephantine on the Nile in southern Egypt. It is reasonable to assume, therefore, that Jewish mercenaries fought in Ptolemy’s army. Perhaps the “violent men of your own people” refer to them.
Meanwhile, Antiochus concentrated on restoring his possessions in the north and east. It would take some time, but by 200 BC, his army had grown and was battle hardened, and he was ready to renew his claim to Coele-Syria.
By 199 BC, he had possession of it, but then the Ptolemaic general, Scopas, recovered it for Ptolemy V, who had succeeded to the throne. But in 198 BC, Antiochus defeated Scopas at the Battle of Panium, near the headwaters of the Jordan, a battle which marks the end of Ptolemaic rule in Judea.
Verse 15: Scopas retreated to Sidon with the remains of his army. There Antiochus besieged him. Relief armies sent by Ptolemy under the leadership of his best generals were also beaten, and Scopas surrendered. He and the remainder of his army quit Coele-Syria and Judea. Never again would the Ptolemies exercise dominion over that area.
Verse 16: So Antiochus III stood as king and conqueror in the Glorious Land. Although he had been received favorably by the Jews and he treated them favorably in return, still the land had borne the destructive brunt of invasion and war.
Verse 17: Antiochus concluded a treaty favorable to his interests with Ptolemy, and as part of the agreement gave Ptolemy his daughter, Cleopatra, in marriage. (This is not the same as the later — and better-known — Cleopatra VII, queen of Egypt, and wife of Julius Caesar and later of Mark Antony.) A weakened Egypt was for all intents and purposes a Seleucid protectorate. In time, though, Cleopatra was to side with her husband against her father.
Verses 18–19: Antiochus next turned his attention to the Ptolemaic possessions along the coastlands of Asia Minor, and by 195 BC they were his. He then crossed over into Thrace, the land north of Greece. He expected with this action to have all the Greek city states side with him against the Romans, who had been relentlessly extending their influence eastward. But only the Greeks in southern Greece did, and the rest sided with the Romans. The Romans demanded that he free all the lands he had conquered in Asia Minor, which he refused to do. After being beaten in Battle at Thermopylae, he fled with the remnants of his army back to what is modern-day Turkey.
To his surprise, the Romans followed him. It was the first time they had crossed over into Asia. At Magnesia a decisive battle was fought. Hannibal, the famed Carthaginian general, was Antiochus’s advisor, but even with an army twice the size of Rome’s, Antiochus’s army was annihilated. Antiochus fled, and by the Treaty of Apamea he renounced all his possessions west of the Taurus Mountains in central Turkey. He also had to pay an indemnity of 15,000 talents spread over 12 years, surrender his fleet, hamstring his war elephants, and send hostages to Rome, including his son Antiochus Epiphanes.
And so he retreated to his own land, where he was reportedly killed by an enraged mob while leading a group of soldiers in a raid on the treasury of a pagan temple.
Verse 20: Seleucus IV Philopator inherited the kingdom and spent most of his reign raising tribute in order to pay the indemnity to the Romans. Although his father had favored the Jews, Philopator, in his quest for money, even raided the temple at Jerusalem. Before he was assassinated, he secured the release of his brother from being a hostage in Rome in exchange for his own son, Demetrius.
Verse 21: The next inheritor of the Seleucid throne was Antiochus Epiphanes. He was on his way home from Rome when he heard the news of his brother’s murder and that a usurper had taken the reins of power. However, with the help of others Antiochus overthrew the usurper, but instead of proclaiming his nephew king, which would have been the rightful succession, he left him to languish in Rome and eventually ascended the throne instead.
Much of what follows in this chapter can be made to fit the character and actions of Antiochus Epiphanes, or “Epimanes” (the Madman), as his critics called him. He was certainly a vile person as far as the Jews were concerned. He sacked Jerusalem twice, killed tens of thousands of Jews, banned the worship of Jehovah, was said to have slain a pig in the Holy of Holies, thus defiling the temple, and erected an altar to Zeus Olympios in the temple environs. His cruel and tyrannical rule provoked the Jewish Maccabee rebellion, which eventually led to the independence of Judea for a time.
He also prosecuted the war against Egypt, capturing several key cities and the king, Ptolemy VI. In fact, the only significant part of Egypt not to fall into his hands was the capital, Alexandria. He made a great show of being the Egyptian king’s protector and benefactor, all the while looting whatever he could. He invaded several times and was finally forced to withdraw for good at the threat of Roman intervention.
However, although much in the verses from 21 onwards can be applied to Antiochus Epiphanes, some things definitely cannot. Antiochus didn’t come in peaceably and seize the kingdom; instead he killed the usurper, and first acted as regent for another of his nephews, whom he killed a few years later in order to assume the throne himself. And he didn’t disperse the loot and plunder of his campaigns to anyone but himself. He also was master of Cyprus after his fleet captured it, so it seems no ships of Cyprus came against him. The Holy Covenant itself remains to a large extent a mystery up to this time, and if there was a prince of that covenant during his reign, the identification of that person remains a mystery also.
And the final blow to Epiphanes being this man was delivered by Jesus in His sermon on the signs of the times in which He clearly states, “When you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (Matthew 24:15), as a future event, not a past one as would be necessary if Epiphanes had fulfilled it. So although he was a type of the “King of the North” described, we need to look for another.
What does the rest of this chapter tell us about this king?
He is vile, he uses peace and intrigue to obtain the “throne,” he also fights at least five wars, he is deceitful, he rises to power with a small number of people, he disperses the plunder to his followers, he works against the Holy Covenant, he defiles the Jewish temple (sanctuary), stops Jewish religious rituals (daily sacrifices), and places the “abomination of desolation.”
He corrupts people, he attacks those who believe in God, he claims to be greater than God and blasphemes Him. He worships a strange god of fortresses, and doesn’t care about women.
He enters the Glorious Land (Israel), plants the “tents of his palace” between the seas and Mount Moriah, and then he comes to his end.
Where have we heard some of these things before? In chapters 7, 8, and 9! And as we know from those chapters, the person they were talking about doing such things was the Antichrist.
From chapter 7 we read that he speaks against God, he persecutes the saints, and he subdues kings.
In chapter 8 we are told that he enters the Glorious Land, he attacks God’s people, he exalts himself as God, he stops the daily sacrifices, he is fierce, and he uses cunning, deceit, and sinister schemes.
And in chapter 9 we find out that he confirms a covenant, breaks it, stops the daily sacrifice, and then makes things desolate by means of an enigmatic abomination right to the end.
Even though we get more information in this chapter, there are enough charac-teristics, actions, and demeanor of this King of the North that line up with what we are told of the Antichrist in previous chapters that make it safe to say that the King of the North from verse 21 on is the coming Antichrist.
We cannot, from this point on, show from history what this vile King of the North who doesn’t have the honor of royalty has done, because all of this is in the future (for now), but we can get a general idea what he does.
Verses 21–22: One prominent thing is that he is engaged in a lot of wars. First, however, he comes in at least giving the impression he is predisposed to peace before he seizes the kingdom in what could be a coup, either political or military, or he takes advantage of some crisis, possibly an economic one, to gain control. Then those who oppose him are swept aside, perhaps in a war, including, it seems, the “prince of the covenant.”
There is a school of thought that perhaps verse 22 intended to say that “and he also is the prince of the covenant.” In chapter 9 of Daniel it says of the Antichrist that “he shall make a covenant.” So if it is the Antichrist’s covenant, then it would seem he is the prince (or principal guarantor) of that covenant. When the covenant is made and then broken, we will know the answer to this.
Verse 23: In chapter 9, we read that the Antichrist confirms the seven-year covenant and halfway through he breaks it, and in this verse we read that after he makes a league, most likely referring to the same treaty or covenant, he works deceitfully. He could already at this point be working to undermine the covenant or in some way be deceitful about his true intentions. And, it seems, he does all this with either with a “small number of people” or “a small people,” as the Hebrew B=m^ufÁ (transliterated as me` at) is translated in the King James Version. This could mean that the Antichrist rises to power through his popularity with the “small” or poor people of the world, the masses, due to his political and economic policies, or that he does it with the help of a “small” elite group of insiders.
Verse 24: This sounds like an unopposed invasion of some place where he disperses the spoil among his supporters — something his predecessors had never done — and for a while ponders attacking some strongholds.
Verses 25–27: Then a latter-day King of the South musters his army to fight him. Who this King of the South would be is unknown for now. But we can conjecture. The King of the South has a very great and mighty army. Obviously he is very powerful. Although it would seem he would be located geographically south of the King of the North, perhaps that is only indicative of where his armies are and not necessarily where his homeland is. In the days of the Cold War, many supposed that the conflict described in this verse was between the forces of the USSR and the USA. They were the two superpowers, and both had political and strategic designs on the Middle East — not to mention that they both wanted to control the region’s oil production.
At this time (2009) we have only one superpower, the USA. The USA is totally committed to Israel—encompassing the region over which the classical kings of the north and south warred and generally speaking the focus of biblical prophecies. If Israel was ever seriously threatened, the USA has unambiguously stated that it would immediately go to war on its behalf. But if the USA, and more specifically its president, is the King of the South, then what region does the King of the North, the Antichrist, rule over initially? Could it still be Russia, as once looked so certain?
We know that the little horn in Daniel 8 came out of one of the four Diadochi kingdoms. The Seleucids were the old kings of the north, and in fact, their realm and sphere of influence went as far north as the Caucasus Mountains. Until recently the countries in that region were part of the Russian Empire and its successor, the USSR. Today they are the modern countries of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, as well as parts of southern Russia.
In Ezekiel 38 we are told that a leader called “Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” (Ezekiel 38:2), “will come from your place out of the far north” (Ezekiel 38:15), with many allies “in the latter years [and] come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel” (Ezekiel 38:8).
John used the name Gog in the book of Revelation as a name for Satan, so it could also be applied to the Antichrist, who is the Devil incarnate. And the “latter years” or “latter days” is often used in the Bible to identify events surrounding Jesus’ second return.
“Rosh” is rendered “Ros” in some Bible versions, and Ros is the name given to the Scandinavians who settled in the Volga River Valley in the ninth century AD , who gave their name to the land we now know as Russia. Although Moscow wasn’t to be founded till many centuries later, it sounds similar to Meshech, and Tubal sounds somewhat like Tobolsk, the historic capital of Siberia.
Perhaps this similarity in names can be dismissed as coincidental, but when all of these things are pieced together, it does build a case for the Antichrist to arise from Russia. However, it doesn’t totally preclude the other three areas that were the old kingdoms of Alexander’s successors, namely Greece, Turkey, and Egypt. Egypt has been alluded to by some modern-day prophets and prophecies as having some strong connection to the Antichrist. When these events unfold we will know.
For all the troubles Russia has experienced over the last 20 years or so since the collapse of the USSR, it is still the second-ranking military power in the world. Its nuclear weapons may be rusty, but they can still make a mighty big bang. Its army may seem to be only a shadow of its former self, but even that shadow is still a formidable force. And while in the 1990s Russia’s economy was in shambles and the country was largely dismissed as irrelevant, its economy is now growing strongly, and with a strongman at the helm it is asserting itself considerably in both the European and international political theatres.
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the USA has been considered the world’s only superpower. But with military setbacks and failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, a disastrous foreign policy that has alienated much of the rest of the world, and an economy built on government and consumer debt which is now in recession, the U.S. is looking less “super” by the day. And with the rise of China, India, the European Union, and a resurgent Russia, the world is now much more multipolar than it was 10 or 15 years ago when the USA’s position at the top looked unassailable.
The King of the South loses to the King of the North because some of those closest to him “destroy” him, and his army takes a thorough beating. At peace negotiations both these kings’ hearts are bent on evil, and they lie in whatever agreements they negotiate.
Verse 28: As the Antichrist and his army return to his home, inflicting damage on the land through which they pass, he decides that he has had enough of the “holy covenant.” It doesn’t seem that he breaks it yet, as that comes later in verse 31, but its days are numbered as far as he is concerned.
Verses 29–30: He is on the move south again in what sounds like another invasion. But this time the opposition is stronger. Ships from Cyprus, or more likely from the direction of Cyprus, come against him. The U.S. Navy is perhaps the most formidable wing of its armed services, able to project American power into the far corners of the world. So if this is a war, it seems the Antichrist is thwarted for the moment, and he retreats. He is now very angry with the covenant, and he is in collusion with others who are ready to scrap it.
Verse 31: At this point, with an armed force he enters the “sanctuary fortress.” In fact, they defile it, which by inference means it is a holy place. In chapter 9 Daniel also referred to the sanctuary, which is another name for the temple, which will eventually be destroyed by the Antichrist, but that must come a little later because he has plans for its use. The Muslims call this spot Al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), and the Jews call it the Temple Mount, and it is on top of Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. Here he breaks the covenant and places the Abomination of Desolation in the environs of the rebuilt Jewish temple. This is the beginning of the Great Tribulation and the last half of the Antichrist’s seven-year reign. From this point on, unholy war is waged against the believers in God. (For more details on the Abomination of Desolation read the chapter by that name in The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist.)
Verses 32–35: He corrupts those who do wickedly against the covenant, the rejecters of its provisions, and most specifically those provisions which have to do with religious freedom and tolerance. Just as in chapters 7 and 8, these verses state that he is fighting the believers in God, the holy people.
Yet for all the opposition, those who know God are going to be strong and do exploits. Those who have studied God’s Word and are spiritually prepared will understand the whys and wherefores of what is happening, and therefore they will instruct those who don’t understand what’s going on.
But some will be killed by sword and fire (possibly alluding to explosions, such as from bombs, or even gunfire), and some will be captured and their goods plundered. But even this “fall” has benefits, because it will refine and purify those who know and love God. And they will find help among those who may not share the same beliefs but who do recognize the Antichrist and his world government as evil. However, as in countries today that are under totalitarian rule, some who pretend to be their friends and offer them help will in fact be government informers.
Verse 36: So the Antichrist King of the North glories in his splendor, magnifying himself above all gods, speaking blasphemy against the real God. Paul writes in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, that this “man of sin ... the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, ... sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4).
In Revelation we find out why his megalomania has intensified to this degree. There, this King of the North is depicted as the seventh head on an indescribably brutal and despicable beast. But this head “had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast” (Revelation 13:3). This head was dead, killed, but somehow in some marvelous “miracle” of science, or perhaps just through some infernal demonic intervention, it has come back to life. If we thought that the King of the North was bad enough before, he is now infinitely worse. He is not just a wicked man in league with the Devil, he is now the Devil incarnate.
Revelation 13 goes on to say, “So they worshiped the dragon [Satan] who gave authority to the Beast; and they worshiped the Beast, saying, ‘Who is like the Beast? Who is able to make war with him?’’ And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for 42 months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation” (Revelation 13:4–7).
He is given authority over all the nations of the world and can make war on the godly, but just because he is granted this authority does not mean he will be that successful at it. There will be many nations fighting him right through to his bitter end.
Verse 37: He doesn’t honor the God of his fathers. It is obvious from this that the Antichrist descends from those of a religious heritage. Some speculate that this verse could indicate that the Antichrist comes from a Jewish heritage because of the term used for God in the original. It is the Hebrew word ‘elohiym, which is often specifically used to mean the supreme God and is distinct from ‘elowahh, used in the rest of this passage to denote a deity. The Bible translators make this distinction by capitalizing God in “God of his fathers.” And as is corroborated in 2 Thessalonians and Revelation, this monster man exalts himself above all gods.
And he either doesn’t like women, is not attracted to them, has no inclination to listen to what they want him to do, or he is a homosexual. We won’t know till he arises how this fits, but when he does, it will be apparent.
Verses 38–39: But he is really into honoring “a god of fortresses.” The King James Bible renders this as “god of forces.” Either way, it sounds like a warlike deity, and as we have already noted, he thinks that he is greater than any god, as well as God Himself. Could this god be referring to himself, with him being worshiped in the form of the Abomination of Desolation which he has had placed in the temple fortress? Revelation 13 tells us that the false prophet of the Beast — his number two man — “causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first Beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the Beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the Beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the Image of the Beast, that the Image of the Beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the Image of the Beast to be killed” (Revelation 13:12–15).
Is this image the god of fortresses? Is it also the Abomination of Desolation? Is this the foreign god which he shall acknowledge and advance the glory of, by investing it with gold, silver, precious stones, and pleasant things? It certainly sounds likely.
Verses 40–43: And at the time of the end, right towards the end of the Antichrist’s wicked rule, the King of the South comes again to attack him. And then the King of the North comes against him with everything he has. Compare this to Ezekiel 38–39 and the invasion of Gog, which we covered earlier. He passes all the way down to Egypt, apparently skirting the lands of Edom, Moab, and Ammon (modern-day Jordan), and the prominent people of that area are spared. And somehow Ethiopians and Libyans are involved in his invasion forces. Ezekiel 38 also names the Ethiopians and Libyans being involved with the armies of Magog, as well as Persians and the people from the tribes of Gomer and Torgamah, whom we cannot precisely identify.
Verse 44–45: From the previous verses it seems that he has led his forces into Egypt, but now news from the east and the north troubles him. If you look north and east from Egypt, you head straight to Israel. In great fury he heads out to destroy and annihilate. He places his headquarters in the region between the seas, in the area of Mount Zion, Jerusalem, which he had already conquered and where he had established the Abomination of Desolation we read about earlier.
There are three seas in that area — the Mediterranean, of course, and also the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. And it is in that region of modern-day Israel that the Antichrist finally meets his end in a terrific battle, which we learn more about by turning to the book of Revelation.
In Revelation 16 we also read of war coming from the east. In the middle of the horrific plagues of the wrath of God that are inflicted upon the Antichrist and his followers we are told: “Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. ... And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon” (Revelation 16:12–14,16).
Har Megiddo, rendered in English Bibles as “Armageddon,” is a hill situated over the ruins of the ancient city of Megiddo in the Valley of Jezreel in northern Israel. It is about 25 kilometers east of the Israeli port city of Haifa. It is geographically between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee, and is about 100 kilometers north of Jerusalem. Revelation states that it is the gathering place of armies for the battle of the great day of God Almighty, which we commonly call the Battle of Armageddon. However, this battle is not confined to Armageddon, but also rages around Jerusalem. It is a battle of monstrous proportions that is fought initially between the Antichrist’s forces and his earthly opponents. But at some point in this battle the Lord descends from Heaven with His supernatural armies to wipe out the Antichrist and his bestial forces and deliver those he has been fighting against. (For a thorough treatment of this event, read “Armageddon,” chapter 11 in The Rise and Fall of the Antichrist.)
And so we come to this chapter’s end, but the heavenly messenger is not yet finished. There is more to come in chapter 12.