Good morning everybody. Let’s take our Bibles if we could and open them to the Book of Daniel, chapter 11, verse 42 and as you’re turning there of course we want to say a word about the home going of Dr. Billy Graham. We very much appreciate his life and service and how the Lord has used him so strategically to spread the gospel around the world. And just to sort of emphasize, one of the things that came up in the announcements, I do strongly encourage you to attend March 11 when Shahram Hadian is going to be here for both Sunday School, we’re going to have a church wide Sunday School class and also the main service that follows. And he’s one of those voices, as a former Muslim, that can affectively shine the light on the theology and ideology of Islam and its beliefs, its agenda, how to evangelize a Muslim, these sorts of issues. So I would encourage you to take advantage of that during our regular Sunday schedule on March 11. This would be something you could bring your friends to if you have some friends that are particularly interested in this, and of course it’s all going to be livestreamed and archived.
The title of our message this morning is Spiritual Peace First. And we’ve been in the midst of our study in the Book of Daniel, chapters 10-12, the final vision of Daniel. Of course, as we have reiterated over and over again Daniel saw these things described in this final vision back in the sixth century. And it’s really an extended prophecy that begins in chapter 11 and goes through the end of chapter 12. Think about the things that he has revealed: information about Persia, Greece, the Ptolemies and the Seleucids, Antiochus IV. And we’re in that section where he leaps into the distant future and begins to describe things about the coming antichrist. Daniel has leapt in verse 35 from the past (Antiochus IV) to the yet future as he’s beginning to reveal information about the coming antichrist.
Here is sort of a four point outline that we’re looking at as we study the antichrist: his self-magnification, we saw that, did we not, in verses 36-37. Number two, his military power, we studied that in verses 38-39. And we’re in this section here revealing the military successes, at least early on, of the antichrist in verses 40-43. But notice, if you will, verse 40 and 41, verses that we have already covered last time. [40, “At the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow them and pass through.  He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many countries will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon.”]
We believe by and large that these sorts of warfare that are breaking out are really things that begin towards the beginning of the tribulation period, probably with the opening of the second seal judgment. And what is being described here is the king of the north, or Syria, and the king of the south, or Egypt, invade the nation of Israel. Why would they do that? The antichrist has come to power, he’s secured world peace, but as we’ll be seeing this peace that he brings in is very, very temporary and it’s not long until his coalition begins to fight amongst itself. And these two nations, king of the north, king of the south, invade the nation of Israel. Why would they do that? Well, largely the motivation is these are Islamic countries in the last days, they’re Islamic countries today, is that the nation of Israel is looked at as a usurper on Allah’s territory. Any time Islam rules over a territory, in their minds that land automatically belongs to Allah. And Israel, with its rebirth in 1948, would be viewed as a usurper. Her very existence is looked at as disrespect towards Allah himself.
And beyond that the antichrist at this time will have allowed the Jews to rebuild their temple and sacrifices will be offered up again in that tribulation temple (that would be Israel’s third temple, a temple yet to come). And that also is an insult to Islam because that is the basic area where it is believed that Mohammed ascended back to Allah, making Jerusalem, at least today, it hasn’t always been this way, but at least today in Islamic thinking Jerusalem is the third holiest site in Islam and what disrespect it would be to see the Jews offering their own sacrifices and their own religious system in Islam’s third holiest site.
Beyond that there’s an interesting prophecy in the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 38 and it’s around verse 12 and we’ll be making some references to Ezekiel 38 and 39 in just a little bit, in fact, you might want to have your finger there in Ezekiel 38 and 39. It’s interesting to me that Ezekiel and Daniel were contemporaries. In fact, Ezekiel in his book, chapter 14 and other places gives evidence that he knew Daniel. Did he know him in terms of a personal relationship? We’re not sure but he certainly knew of his reputation because the two of them were both taken into Babylon in the deportation. They are called the exilic prophets because they both received their prophecies from God during this deportation.
And so there’s an interesting overlap, if you will, between the things that Daniel was shown by the Holy Spirit and the things that Ezekiel was shown as well. And Ezekiel 38:12 says something very interesting concerning the invasion of the nation of Israel in the last days. He says they will do it, “to capture spoil and to seize plunder,” and it talks about they will view the Jews as those who have acquired cattle and goods. [Ezekiel 38:12, “to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.’”]
Apparently the nation of Israel is sitting on a lot of wealth; its estimated that mineral deposits, even in the Dead Sea, are very, very expensive. Israel did discover natural gas just off their border in the Mediterranean Sea. If you Google sometime “oil in Zion” you’ll learn about an oil company that claims it’s very close to discovering oil in that part of the world. And that also, I believe, furnishes part of the motivation of this attack. They come against the nation of Israel, Ezekiel 38:12, “to capture spoil.” Some people have said just remove the first two letters of spoil and you’ll see what these nations are interested in. That’s sort of a humorous way (if there is a humorous way) of looking at this.
But whatever the reason, whatever the motivation, you have Syria and Egypt fragmenting what the antichrist has set up, this delicate orbit of power and disrupting it. And they, consequently, invade. And one of the things to understand is at this time in history is an attack on Israel is an attack on the antichrist. It’s not that the antichrist is pro Israel, it’s just that he’s the one that’s guaranteed her peace, thereby giving her a false sense of security, thereby allowing her to rebuild her temple (that he himself will betray Israel midway through the tribulation period) and stop them from offering sacrifices in their temple. Daniel’s prophecies have been very clear on this. But at this stage the antichrist looks at an attack on Israel as an attack on him since he’s the one that has allowed them to, with the peace treaty, continue to exist. And I would guess most likely rebuild the temple.
And so what you have described in verses 40 and 41, we looked at those briefly last time, is the antichrist makes a strong move into Syria and into Egypt to regain control. And as he makes this move into those areas the text is clear and it says he goes into other nations as well, just to maintain the balance of power. More on those nations in just a little bit.
But it is interesting to note that at the end of verse 41 the Bible is very clear that three territories will not fall under the antichrist’s grip or jurisdiction. Those three nations are Moab, Ammon and Edam and we said last time that those nations exist in the nation that is adjacent to the land of Israel, to the east, an area called Jordan. And in Jordan there is a place called Petra and it’s generally believed by many Bible scholars that this is the area that the Jews will flee to once the temple is desecrated. It’s apparently a place of safety, security and provision. The antichrist controls everything but somehow these three nations escape his grip and it’s reasoned by many people that this is where the Jews will flee once the temple is desecrated.
You might recall last time we made reference to the fact that Jesus, in Matthew 24:15-20, told the Jews living in this future time period to flee into the wilderness when they see their temple desecrated. I think there is an allusion to this flight also in the Book of Revelation, chapter 12 and verse 6. [Matthew 24:15-20, “Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),  then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.  Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house.  Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak.  But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!  But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.” Revelation 12:6, “Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days”]
And because Petra in Jordan escapes the antichrist’s grip it’s largely believed that this is the area that the Jews will flee to, a place called Mount Seir. And when you go to the land of Israel you can often take an extension and see what that territory is like. It’s interesting how specific the Bible is with its plethora of predictions.
Now just to show you that I’m not making these things up let me quote someone much wiser than myself in these matters. Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, in his book, Footsteps of the Messiah, he says of the passage that we’re looking at here, ““The passage states that while the Antichrist will conquer the whole world, three nations will escape his domination: Edom, Moab, and Ammon. All three of these ancient nations currently comprise the single modern kingdom of Jordan. The city of Bozrah in Mount Seir is located in ancient Edom or southern Jordan. Since this area will escape the domination of the Antichrist, it is logical for the Jews to flee to this place. Thus, God will provide a city of refuge outside the Antichrist’s domain for the fleeing Remnant. It will be a very defensible city located in Mount Seir…Furthermore, as they flee and while they are living there, food and water will be miraculously provided.” [(2003). The Footsteps of the Messiah : a study of the sequence of prophetic events (Rev. ed., p. 297). Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries.]
I love this idea in the Scripture that no matter how severe a trial is God always provides for His people. Aren’t you glad about that, as you look at your own life and your own struggles and your own trials, your own perhaps shrinking budget, your own circumstances with layoffs and health scares and all of the things that we face in a fallen world. Isn’t it encouraging to know that God, by His very nature, is a provider for His people. And this is what He does in the midst of this difficult time in Israel’s history.
You see, this chapter, it’s tempting to read this and see everything there is to see about the antichrist and I think if we’re seeing the antichrist and only the antichrist here we’re missing the point because we’re also supposed to see Jesus Christ as that fourth man in the fire that we read about way back in Daniel 3, that shows up and ministers to His people in the most difficult and the most adverse of circumstances.
But we move on and we come to verse 42, notice what it says: “Then he” that’s the antichrist, “will stretch out his hand against other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape.” Here goes the antichrist trying to regain control of things. And so he invades the nations that invaded Israel, including Egypt which would be the king of the south, Egypt coming from (as we have studied) the Ptolemy dynasty down south. He subdues Egypt, he gets Egypt back under control and in the process, according to verse 42, apparently he’ll invade a host of other countries as well, that are mentioned by name a little bit later in the chapter.
Take a look, if you could, at verse 43, notice what it says, “But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things….” One of the things to understand about this man, the antichrist, is he’s a man of materialism. He’s very interested in money and material things. We saw a reference to that back in verse 38, didn’t we? It says of the antichrist, “… he will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures.” That is something that is normal to a human being who has rejected the true God. If you’ve rejected the true God and His revelation and His provision and His security, which He gives to every child of God, then you’re trying to get your bases covered through other means. You still have a need for meaning, you still have a need for security, and this is why those that reject God are so interested in finances and so interested in money. The problem with people is not that they have money, it’s that their money has them. It’s not that they own possessions, that’s not a sin, it’s that their possessions own them, where they look at things as their security blanket and their savior. And people have a tendency in our fallen world, having rejected God, to chase after these things.
And what a dangerous game that is. The Bible calls it the love of money. Paul spoke to this in 1 Timothy 6:9-10. He says, “But those who are rich… those who want to get rich, excuse me, the sin is not being rich, the sin is wanting it. “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money” not money but “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
I can’t think of a more accurate verse in God’s Word than that one I just read. Everything God says is accurate but that one certainly leaps out to me because it describes the wreckage that people make of their lives when they make money a god (god little g).
You know, you think of Judas, the disciple that betrayed Christ, and why did he sell out? It was money, and it was such an inconsequential sum of money that you sort of look at Judas’ decision as just foolishness, you’ve sold out the Son of God for thirty pieces of silver? That’s all it took? That was your price? And you see, this is what we are like when we don’t have Christ in our lives. There is no sense of security, there is no sense of shelter, there is no sense of day by day provision and so you know what, I’ve got to get my bases covered.
And it’s very common for the godless to pursue money and yet this is why these nations will invade Israel in the last days, it’s all about follow the money. The antichrist, as he reasserts to or attempts to regain control over his disintegrating empire, it’s very clear there in verse 43 that he’s invading these nations also because of their treasures, and gold, and also their silver. [Verse 43, “But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; “]
And as we continue on in verse 43 it gives the nations by name that he will continue to invade. It says, “of Egypt,” that would be the king of the south, “and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels.” So it’s interesting as you look at this map, he has already sort of taken care of Syria, but then he goes down into Libya and also Egypt and it’s interesting here, he goes into Ethiopia. Now Ethiopia, if you have the New American Standard Bible you’ll see how that word is translated “Ethiopia,” it’s interesting that when you study this in Hebrew, the actual language that was used, it’s not Ethiopia, that was provided by the English translators, the word actually is Cush.
Now Josephus, the great first century Jewish historian, has a book called Antiquities, where he traces where Noah’s various descendants settled. Josephus defines Cush as Ethiopia; for of the four sons of Ham, time has not at all hurt the name of Cush; for the Ethiopians over whom he reigned are even to this day, both by themselves and by all men in Asia called the Cushites,” that’s Josephus in his Antiquities 1.6.2. Josephus says Cush is actually Ethiopia.
The Ryrie Study Bible indicates that the ancient country of Ethiopia encompassed far more territory than the modern day country of Ethiopia since the ancient country of Ethiopia indeed included the northern Sudan. Interesting. The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia says this concerning Cush: “The designation ‘Ethiopia’ is misleading for it did not refer to the modern state of Ethiopia. Cush bordered Egypt on the south, or the modern day Sudan, thus Cush is most likely the modern day Sudan.”
So it’s interesting, the antichrist to get control of things not only goes into Syria and Egypt to regain control but he stretches his reach even further into Libya and I would say what we would call today modern day Cush, or the modern day Sudan. So he’s not been able to extend his reach to the east, Edom, Ammon and Moab, but he is able to extend his reach to the south, Egypt, Libya and Cush. Isn’t that interesting. Isn’t it interesting how specific the Bible is about these prophecies. Here’s three countries he won’t get control of, those would be the ones there in Jordan. Here’s three people groups that he will get control of, these are nations down south.
And you say well pastor, are you really expecting this to be fulfilled exactly like it’s written? I don’t even have to answer that question, do I, because we’ve gone through Daniel 11 in great detail, I’ve shown you over and over again how Daniel’s past prophecies were fulfilled with precision. I even mentioned a little bit earlier how Judas sold out for thirty pieces of silver. In fact, Zechariah predicted that exact amount in the betrayal of Christ. He didn’t say Judas is going to sell out for 28 pieces or 29 pieces or 31 pieces, exactly 30. And God, when He says something, moves heaven and earth to see that it reaches its realization or else God is a liar. Three countries escape in the east but three countries down south do not escape.
Now you look at these countries, you look at, for example, Egypt, Libya, and the Sudan; think of the havoc that these countries have caused, not the people mind you but the governments. Not only throughout human history but actually as I speak they continue to be troublemakers. Look at the problems Egypt has caused for the nation of Israel. I mean, after all, it was under Egypt and in the time of Moses that the nation was taken into Egyptian captivity for 400 years, which is an awful long time when you think about that. Think of, for example, Libya, think of a man who actually caused terrorism and killed some American servicemen back in the 80’s, a man named Muammar Gaddafi from Libya, ruled Libya with an iron grip for decades. Think of the attacking of our embassy in Benghazi, Libya. And I mentioned that Ethiopia here or Cush is probably the Sudan; that is one of the areas in the world where one of the greatest genocides is taking place as I speak.
It is interesting to me that God in His holiness does not let people off the hook because the antichrist coming forward is part of the judgment of God. You should not think of the antichrist as somebody that comes on the scene and God doesn’t know what’s going on. No, not at all! Revelation 6:1-2 predicts him coming on the scene as Jesus is in heaven, Revelation 5, opening the first seal of a seven seal scroll. [Revelation 6:1-2, “Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, ‘Come.’  I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”]
The judgment of God is manifested on the earth many different ways in the tribulation period but he is manifested primarily and principally (at least early on) through the antichrist. You don’t want me as your Savior, Jesus Christ says, fine, I’ll give you what you want; I’ll give you an antichrist. And one of the most frightening words or concepts I know of in the Bible is described there in Romans 1 where I believe it says about three times God gave them over. They had rejected a revelation of who He is through creation, they had suppressed it, they had come up with silly intellectual arguments to say God doesn’t exist.
And you reach a point in your degradation and your depravity where God just says do what you want. God won’t bother you anymore. And that is sort of how to look at the antichrist, this figure that the world has always wanted, having rejected Jesus and he in essence becomes a manifestation of the judgment of God, and he is used strategically by God here. Now the antichrist probably doesn’t know he’s working for God. He probably thinks he’s doing these things out of self will, as Daniel 11 keeps saying. But it’s really God using him, and he begins to attack the nations that have been such troublemakers, Egypt, Libya, and the Sudan.
One of the things to understand about God is He keeps a record of sins. Did you know that? Genesis 15:16, God says, “the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.” Romans 2:5 says this: “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you” and this is frightening language, “are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” All of these nations, all of these people that somehow think they’re getting away with something, the only thing that’s happening is the fullness of wickedness is being filled up and eventually it fills up to a point where nothing else can happen but the cup starts to run over and the judgment of God breaks loose on planet earth, and God is recompensing in judgment all those that committed such evil and atrocities.
And when I see this side of God I see the nature of God I’m so grateful today that I am clothed with the righteousness of God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, because the only thing that protects a person in this day of calamity and in this day of judgment is the fact that Jesus stepped into history and bore the wrath of a holy God in our place.
We continue on into verse 44 and verse 45 where we learn that eventually the antichrist, having some initial successes, comes to his end and we conclude this chapter with his military defeat, verses 44 and 45. Look what it says here: “But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him,” and what is happening here is the antichrist’s empire is disintegrating; the promise of worldwide peace and global peace, although attained temporarily, is short lived. And how different it is when Jesus Christ is going to rule and reign over this wicked world for a thousand years.
Isaiah 9:6-7 says, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.”
Why is it that the antichrist’s empire is so short lived but Jesus Christ’s empire, not only does it go through a thousand years it lasts throughout the ages. Have you ever asked yourself that? Why is the quest for peace in the world always short-lived? And here’s the answer that I think is true: Jesus deals with the root of the problem. That’s why I entitled this message Spiritual Peace First. It’s interesting to me that Jesus, when He came into this world, didn’t offer world peace; He said that was coming one day but He came into the world to deal with the root of the problem that serves as the impediment to world peace. And what is that? It’s the fact that we are born into this world with a nature that’s at war with God. That is the state of Adam’s descendants. And until that problem is corrected, it doesn’t matter how someone politically solves this problem or that problem all it is, is a temporary fix because it never deals with the root of the problem.
What does Jesus give us? Number 1, peace with God. Romans 5:1 [“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”] The enmity that we had with God, the war that you were in with God, it’s called off the moment you trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior.
And then Jesus takes it a step further and number 2, He gives us experiential peace. Positional peace, number 1; experiential peace, number 2. This is what Jesus is talking about when He says, “My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you.” [John 14:27]
Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” And isn’t it interesting how a Christian can walk through a horrific storm, literally or metaphorically, and there’s something inside that child of God that gives them a sense of tranquility when the world looks at that and scratches their head and saying you should have hit the panic button a long time ago. And yet you don’t. Why is that? Because there’s something inside of you, the Holy Spirit, Christ, Galatians 2:20, living inside of you that calms us in the midst of the storm. [Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” And why wouldn’t Jesus do that? Didn’t He Himself fall asleep in the middle of a storm, Matthew 8:23-25.
[Matthew 8:23-26, “When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him.  And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep.  And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!”  He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.”]
The disciples are saying Lord, don’t You care, “we are perishing!” And there He was sound asleep in the midst of a storm. And isn’t it interesting that the Bible teaches as clearly as it can teach, that Jesus is living inside of you if you’re a Christian. And you go through a storm and the One who was asleep in the midst of the storm is now internally calming you as you walk through your storm. This is the root of the problem that the antichrist can’t fix and until this problem is resolved the world will always be in a state of warfare and enmity, no matter how many glib politicians, world leaders, make.
And there are so many people that reject this provision; they like the idea of a world government, world peace, shootings in schools will be a thing of the past and they fall for that siren song not understanding that those things are the root of a much deeper problem that goes far beyond politics, and political solutions and talk shows and radio hosts; it goes into the human heart. That’s what Jesus came into the world to fix, the heart. As the prophet Jeremiah articulated, Jeremiah 17:9, the heart is sick, it’s deceitful, “Who can understand it?” [Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”]
As God looks at the hearts of people He sees a sickness in that heart and the sickness is so severe that when a person trusts Christ God doesn’t just slap a coat of fresh paint over a wicked heart and try to renovate a wicked heart. Do you know what God does? He gives you a new heart. And we have to learn to live according to the desires of the new nature and the new heart, something greater than ourselves has to come into us. And if you don’t have that then shootings and other things, war and all of these things continue on and on and on and on and on. And that’s why the antichrist’s empire is such a temporary fix.
We know from 2 Thessalonians 2:7 that the man of lawlessness is coming, verse 3. But verse 7 says “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” [2 Thessalonians 7:3, “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” 2 Thessalonians 2:7, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.”]
1 John 4:3 says the antichrist is coming but the spirit of the antichrist is even now in the world. [1 John 4:3, “and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”] What is the spirit of the antichrist? It’s dangling carrots in front of people through promises thinking that whatever promise somebody is making is going to fix things.
And yet all of these cures, these so-called cures, never last because they never really get to the heart of the problem. The heart of the problem is not what party controls the White House; the heart of the problem is a sickness in the human heart. The heart of the problem is from conception; we are born into a world with a nature at war with God. That is our natural state in the first Adam. And until there is some sort of revolution from within, an internal transformation, Jesus called it the new birth, being born from above, until that is fixed the problems of earth just continue on and on and on and on and you’re not going to have lasting political peace unless there’s spiritual peace first.
That’s why even the demonically and satanically energized antichrist, the height of satanic power, Satan’s masterpiece, as he comes on the scene with counterfeit signs and wonders, even he just brings in sort of a band aid, never fixes the cure. And I’m just wondering what promises you’re listening to today— by this show or this program or this regime and this will get solved in your life. Someone else comes along and say no, get on this program over here and this will get solved. And someone else says no, what you need to do is X, Y and Z and this will get fixed. And there’s always these carrots being dangled in front of us. And we go for the carrot, we try the route and it never seems to permanently fix the problem because the problem is bigger than the problem; the problem itself is not the problem. The problem itself is we are born into the world hating God and that has to be remedied through spiritual surgery and internal transformation.
But you’ll notice that the antichrist is disturbed by these rumors. It’s very clear there in verse 44, “But rumors from the east … will disturb him” you see that? [Daniel 11:44, “But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many.”] World peace has come, at least temporarily, but there’s an anxious longing of the soul because the ultimate problem that human beings have are not being fixed under the antichrist’s regime. And the spirit of the antichrist, what it’s all about is as long as your circumstances are favorable you can have peace. That’s what the world system screams at us over and over again, as long as you have health, as long as you have money, as long as you have success, as long as you have esteem, then you can be happy.
Ever done a word study on the word happy? Happy comes from the word happenstance, where we get the word circumstance, where we get the word luck, that’s happy. Happy is everything is okay, I can have an inner sense of wellbeing as long as my circumstances are favorable. And that will work for a while but you know as well as I do that your circumstances, they may be good today, they can change like that tomorrow. And then whatever happened to happiness? You see what you need is not happiness; what you need is joy, a completely different idea, where you have an inner sense of tranquility and all hell can be breaking lose in a person’s life. You can’t find that in a bottle, you can’t find that in drugs, you can’t find that in economic prosperity, you can’t find that in climbing the corporate ladder, you can’t find that in hedonism or materialism. It’s only available in one source; unless the Prince of Peace is reigning in a person’s heart the problem which we have can never be permanently fixed.
So the antichrist is disturbed. Why is he disturbed? Because the circumstances are unwinding, just like many people today are disturbed over this shooting or this dip in the stock market or inflation or the price of gold or whatever. There’s always something out there reminding us that whatever it is we were hoping in is very temporary, it’s disturbing us. And this is what the antichrist sees.
It says very clearly here that “rumors from the East will disturb him,” now when it talks about north, south and east what you have to understand in terms of Bible prophecy is it’s always relative to Israel, because Israel in the ordained plan of God is the center of the nations, Ezekiel 5:5. God looks at Israel as those who live at the center of the world, Ezekiel 38:12. [Ezekiel 5:5, “Thus says the Lord GOD, ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations, with lands around her.” Ezekiel 38:12, “to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.’”]
So north is north of Israel, east is east of Israel, south is south of Israel, and this is why rumors from the east start to bother him because there comes in the sequence of events a sixth trumpet, Revelation 9:13-16, and a sixth bowl, Revelation 6-12 where the Euphrates River itself is dried up to prepare the way for this massive army, the kings of the east, to come into the land of Israel for the final battle called Armageddon.
[Revelation 9:13-16, “Then the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God,  one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”  And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind.  The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.” Revelation 16:12, “The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.”]
And I think it’s likely that this is the thing from the east that is bothering the antichrist. This whole conglomeration is now formed against him. East in the Scripture typically refers to Babylon, so somewhere in that area, the Euphrates River is dried up, Revelation 9, Revelation 16, and here comes this giant army from the east.
Now you look at this very carefully it’s not just the east that bothers him, it says, “But rumors from the East and the North will disturb him,” [Daniel 11:44] as he watches this continual fragmentation of what he has brought into existence. Now one of the things I’ve tried to argue is that north and south in Daniel’s prophecies refer to the same north and south that we’ve been reading about all the way through Daniel 11. Renald Showers makes that point, so I think north continues to be Syria and south continues to be Egypt and the antichrist is the disturbed by what Syria is doing and continuing to be a troublemaker, a trouble spot for him. But, having said all that let me show you something very interesting in the Book of Ezekiel, if you still have your finger there, assuming all the blood has not drained from the finger.
Ezekiel 38:6 talks about an army coming from the remote parts of the north. [Ezekiel 38:6, “Gomer with all its troops; Beth-Togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops– many peoples with you.”] Ezekiel 38:15, “You will come from your place out of the remote parts of the north [you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great assembly and a mighty army].” Ezekiel 39:2, “…take you up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you against the mountains of Israel.”
Who are these nations to the north? I actually wrote a whole book on this called Middle East Meltdown where I tried very, very hard, as much as I knew how to document these nations. [The Middle East Meltdown: The Coming Islamic Invasion of Israel] You say I don’t have time to read a book, just tell me the bottom line. So here it is… ready? Those nations are, number 1, Persia or Iran. Number 2, Rosh or Russia. Number 3, Meshach, Tubal, Gomer and Torgarmah or Turkey, those are the big three. Russia, Iran, and Turkey, those are the nations that are coming from the north. Daniel, I’m not sure saw this, but certainly Daniel’s contemporary, Ezekiel saw this very thing taking place. And as you pick up the news today and read the news and watch the news what you’re going to see over and over again are those three players are mentioned over and over again in newscast after newscast.
One news clip says, “Russia-Iran-Turkey and their meeting is message to US.” And you’re saying are you kidding me? Did you know that prior to the takeover of Iran by the Ayatollah, 1979, Iran was an ally of Israel and an ally of the United States? Do you realize that? Do you realize that it was Iran that helped Israel out in the Six Day War? An ally! And yet what did Ezekiel predict? Iran turns against Israel in the last days. You see Turkey here, do you know that until recent times Jews in the land of Israel vacationed in Turkey? There was no problem with Turkey. And then all of a sudden Turkey starts to shift, exactly like Ezekiel’s prophecies predict. And now what you see is the three in our day in alignment with each other against the U.S. and against Israel.
And I’ll tell you something else that’s very, very interesting is those three nations, as I speak today, are in Syria, the king of the north that we have been studying here. Isn’t that interesting? Look at this headline here, Russia and Iran and Turkey agree to hold Syrian ‘congress’, it goes on and it says “Erdogan after a meeting on Syria” said this in Russia on Wednesday. You mean the three nations that Ezekiel predicts, that were never in alignment with each other are now in an alignment with each other? And are you telling me that these three nations are in Syria, which is on Israel’s northern border? And that’s exactly what I’m telling you.
Another headline says this: “Turkey, Iran, Russia” when you see those three names you ought to think Bible prophecy, “Turkey, Iran, Russia to hold Syrian talks in Tehran. It mentions Iran, it mentions Russia, it mentions Turkey, it mentions the three together again. And then it says officials will hold talks concerning war-torn Syria. This, to me is staggering because I remember the old days when we used to argue about Bible prophecy, who the king of the north is. One camp would say well, the king of the north is Syria. Another camp would say the king of the north is Russia, Iran and Turkey. So which is it? Is it Syria or is it Iran, Russia and Turkey. And you know what all along we’ve discovered the answer is yes. Both sides are right. One side looking at Ezekiel’s prophecy, one side looking at Daniel’s prophecy and the Lord has ordered the political orbit of the nations so that both prophecies could be fulfilled in the next second.
You say well, come on pastor, people have been predicting the end of the world for a long time. You’re not going down that road are you? I’m here to tell you just this, I don’t have some kind of inside pipeline to God where God has told me next Tuesday this is going to happen. You know, for all I know the coalition could disintegrate and things could cool down and come back to the way they are today ten years from now or a hundred years from now. I don’t know! I’m here to tell you this: NEVER in the history of Bible prophecy or mankind have we seen the orbit of nations coming into existence exactly like Daniel and Ezekiel said would happen. That’s all I’m saying.
And what I’m saying is this: we need to start living our lives as if prophecy is a reality. We need to quit playing games with God and get our spiritual house in order. We need to start living for things that matter instead of things that are going to pass and be burned as 2 Peter 3:10 says. [2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”]
I’m not a date setter, I don’t really consider myself a doomsayer, I’m just saying that I’ve been studying this for years and I’ve never, ever, ever seen it like it is right now. And I remember the old days and the old debates, people scratching their heads, pontificating how this is going to happen. We’re not in the head-scratching time any more. I mean, it’s obvious how it could happen in an instant, in a nanosecond.
Are you ready for the coming of the Lord? We believe in this church in the pretribulational rapture of the church. We believe that these are events of the tribulation. If God is setting the stage, like He is, for the tribulation period how far can the rapture be? And of course I could be completely wrong, maybe it’ll be the next hundred years, but I’ll say this much, I’m going to live today as if this is my last one. I’m going to live next week, assuming we make it through next week, as if this is the last week I’ve got. That’s what prophecy does. That’s why God gave it under the Holy Spirit to the church of Jesus Christ.
You’ll notice in verse 44, after these nations disturb him, it says, “he” that’s the antichrist, “will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate” mankind. I’ve got to keep this thing under control he says. I’ve got to bring these powers back under submission to my authority and that’s what people do; they become like that when they start losing control of things. It’s interesting how rash and how angry and how venomous people can get who aren’t relying on the internal work of the Holy Spirit but rather their happiness is based on their circumstances and they just start to lose their minds when things start to collapse. That’s, in essence, what the antichrist is doing, and in the process he’s destroying, it says. And he’s annihilating, which is a great description of the devil when you think about it. “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.” [John 10:10.] 1 Peter 5:8, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to” have a glass of ice tea with? “…seeking someone to devour.” Never forget it.
God has a wonderful plan for your life but there’s another side to this equation—Satan has a terrible plan for your life and he’s out to wreck it and if he can’t keep you away from Christ here’s what he’s doing, he’s going to keep you neutralized so that you have no effectiveness in a time period that God has put you in that really counts.
You see, you were born for the fourth quarter; we’re in the fourth quarter and how silly it is to waste that because our minds are not aware of the prophetic scripts coming to pass before our very eyes. God did not accidentally put you into this world at the time you’re in it. As the Book of Esther says, you were born, created for such a time as this. And the issue is are you seeking God, what do you want to do with my life? That’s what you ought to be doing; that’s what we ought to be doing. We ought to be on our faces before God saying Lord, we are living in some crisis times in history, what do You want to do with the waning moments I have left?
We continue on and we come to verse 45 and it says, “He will pitch the tents of His royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain.” The “tents of His royal pavilion” is a reference to his military command and it gives two geographical indicators telling us where this command center is going to be established, where he will meet his end; he says very clearly it’s between the seas, what seas would those be? Between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. And that’s a tremendous description of the city of Jerusalem which is a landlocked city.
Unger’s Bible Dictionary says: “Jerusalem is situated 14 miles west of the Dead Sea, 33 miles east of the Mediterranean, and 62 miles south of Galilee.” It’s between the seas. And it also says here that he will set up his headquarters at “the beautiful Holy mountain.” What mountain could that possibly be? It’s Mount Zion, located in Jerusalem, Isaiah 11:9 calls Zion… God says of Zion this is “My holy Mountain.” [Isaiah 11:9, “They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.”]
And isn’t it interesting that Jerusalem and Mount Zion is called “holy” when the people aren’t acting that way. I had a seminary professor say this once, he said don’t call that land over there holy land, there’s nothing holy about that land. I beg to differ, God says it’s holy; it’s not my opinion, it belongs to God. And He bequeathed it and gave it to the Jewish people, even the temple itself as it’s being trodden down by the Gentiles is still called a holy temple and a holy city, Revelation 11:2. [Revelation 11:2, “Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.”]
You say well Andy, we just think you’re plumb crazy. Well, if I had time I’d share this quote with you from Dr. Randall Price, who’s lectured at our church before, a first rate scholar, who says exactly what I’m saying, or better said, I’m saying what he’s saying, or better said we’re both saying what Daniel said. Or better said we’re all saying what the Holy Spirit revealed to Daniel. Arnold Fruchtenbaum is basically saying the exact same thing.
How does it end? I’m glad you asked. Verse 45, “Yet he will come to his end.” It’s just a terse short statement that God has it under control and the antichrist, who’s caused all of these problems, his days are numbered. [Daniel 11:45 “He will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.”]
As Daniel 9:27 says, the end will be “poured out on the one who makes desolate.” Jot down Daniel 7:11, you’ll see the same thing. 2 Thessalonians 2:8 you’ll see the same thing. Revelation 19:20 you’ll see the same thing.
[Daniel 9:27, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.’”
Daniel 7:11, “Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.”
2 Thessalonians 2:8, “Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;
Revelation 19:20 , “And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.”]
Isn’t it great that God has evil on a leash; we look at evil and we look at terror and we think there’s no limit to it, but when you view these things with the lens of God’s Word you see that God has everything under control and there is a better world coming. And so He will meet his end and the antichrist will die in Jerusalem.
It kind of reminds me of someone else who died in Jerusalem, doesn’t it? Didn’t we say last week that antichrist mimics Jesus Christ at every point. We gave 20 parallels, didn’t we? Here’s another parallel, both die in Jerusalem. But how different the deaths were. One dies in Jerusalem trying to maintain self-centered power; the other one dies in Jerusalem as a servant to the world. Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” And look at that last clause there in verse 45, He will come to His end and yet no one will help Him. That is the fate of people who reject God. You reject God and in your time of need there’s no one to help.
Isaiah 46:1, God says to the children of Israel, a fast paraphrase, aren’t you tired of carrying around these idols these giant pieces of metal that you worship, aren’t you tired of it, aren’t they burdensome to you? The things that you carry are burdensome, are a load for the weary, aren’t you exhausted carrying these things around. Well, you should be exhausted because God, through Isaiah says the time is going to come when you’re going to be so old and infirm that you’re going to need someone to carry you. Do you think those idols are going to help you in your time of need.
Isaiah 46:3 says, “You who have been born by Me from birth, and have been carried from the womb, even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you.” I have done it, I will carry you and I will carry and I will deliver you. I’ve been carrying you this whole time, I’ve been carrying you from your birth. And you are walking around with these idols, carrying them around? You’re carrying something that doesn’t care about you. And the day is going to come when you’re going to be so old, so infirmed, so weak, so sick, you’re not going to be able to carry anything. You think a piece of metal is going to come to your assistance in that time of need?
And that’s why I like how verse 45 ends the chapter; the antichrist just comes to his end, no one to help him. Why? Because this is a man that has spent his life rejecting, rejecting, rejecting, rejecting God. You reject God you’ve got no one to bank on but yourself. This is why the Book of Proverbs, chapter 24, verse 16 says, “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, but the wicked stumble in time of calamity.
May God help us to understand who our rescuer, who our Savior actually is in all this. And of course you can enter into that relationship with God as I’m speaking by trusting in the promise that He has made to solve our spiritual enmity with God. You can’t fix that on your own. You have to believe or rely upon or depend upon the man who entered history to fix it, and the only man that could fix it is Jesus Christ. And as a person comes under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and they trust in the revelation of God concerning their problem and the solution to the problem the problem is fixed. It’s just that simple. Why is it that simple? Because it’s already been fixed, it’s just a matter of you receiving what He’s done. See that?
We have made Christianity and the world of religion so complicated and yet the whole thing biblically is so easy; we do nothing, He does everything, we receive it as a gift by faith. Now I can’t think of a better deal, can you, and I hope as I’m speaking people listening that may not be saved, maybe they’re listening on computers or whatever, they’re not saved, live feeds, they’re not saved, recordings there not saved, our agenda here is God’s agenda which is to get folks saved, to trust in Christ. And so by God’s grace we made it through chapter 11 which means only one chapter left. You said well it took ten weeks for chapter 11, how long are you going to be in chapter 12? Well, be heartened, there’s 45 verses in chapter 11 and only 13 in chapter 12. So we’re closer to the finish line than you think.
Shall we pray. Father, we’re grateful for prophetic truth and we ask that it would not just be maps and information but it would revolutionize how we think, how we live, and thank You for what You’ve done for us and help us to walk this week under Your provision. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said… Amen.