And in the latter time of their kingdom, When the transgressors have reached their fullness, A king shall arise, Having fierce features…. (Daniel 8:23)
There is coming a day—maybe soon—when Satan’s handpicked ruler will dominate the world. For seven years his reign of terror will extend, until the King of Glory—the Lord Jesus Christ—thunders from the skies with heaven’s armies, crushing His opposition, and establishing His kingdom on earth. The eighth chapter of Daniel .gives us a preview of the Antichrist in the person of a ruler in history known as Antiochus Epiphanes.
In the first eight verses Daniel takes his readers into the near future. Babylon would fall soon, following this vision. Cyrus would lead the Medo-Persians into world prominence. That kingdom is symbolized by the ram. Soon, another power would arise to challenge the Persian Empire—the Greeks under Alexander—typified by the he-goat. The Greeks would overthrow the Medo-Persians, but at the height of his power, Alexander the Great died as a young man. His kingdom was divided among four of his generals. One of those kingdoms is dealt with in detail here because of its location—including the Holy Land and Jerusalem—as well as its domination of the Holy People, the Jews.
The prominent figure of that Syrian kingdom—“the little horn” presented in verses nine through fourteen—is Antiochus Epiphanes. He was a bloodthirsty man who brutalized the Jews. Antiochus set himself up as a god—in fact the title “Epiphanes” that he took to himself, means God manifest! He desecrated the rebuilt sanctuary by sacrificing a pig there. As an enemy of truth, He destroyed the copies of Scripture he could find.
Clearly, he is a forerunner of the coming Antichrist. The final verses of this chapter feature another “little horn,” the Antichrist, which Antiochus foreshadowed. When the Antichrist comes on the world scene, he will possess the charisma of a John Kennedy, the oratory of a Winston Churchill, and the military skills of a George Patton. During a time of global crisis, he will arise—even as the world clamors for a savior. Since he is in league with Satan, supernatural power will belong to him. This will lead the world to bow to him.
Like Antiochus did, the Antichrist will profane the temple (rebuilt in the last days). This is at the midpoint of the tribulation and marks the beginning of a holocaust unleashed upon the Jews that will excel Hitler’s horrors. The Antichrist will set himself up as god, as did Antiochus before him (see 2 Thess.2 and Rev.13).
His dominance will quickly end. Jesus will return in power and glory. He is coming again, don’t you know? The Antichrist will be slain and cast into hell—along with all who follow him.
As a child of God, I am not watching for the Antichrist—I’m looking for Jesus! He could come at any time. Are you prepared to meet Him? My heart pounds, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”