Strategy of the Antichrist
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease – Daniel 9:27
When Jesus first walked this earth He was not recognized as the Messiah by the religious leadership of His day, because through their traditions they had accepted a preconceived portrait of who the Messiah would be. Jesus did not match this description and He was rejected.
Today many traditions exist surrounding the interpretation of the prophetic book of Revelation. Because of these widely accepted interpretations, many can overlook what some of the prophecies concerning the end times are actually teaching. For example, it is commonly taught that because the prophet Daniel was told by an angel the things that would happen to his people in the latter days, (Daniel 10:14) that this statement refers to only the Jews. This has been interpreted to mean that the final conflict between the antichrist is focused upon his activities in Jerusalem and his eventual persecution of the Jews. Therefore, to fulfill this passage in Daniel 9:27, it is assumed that the temple must be rebuilt possibly with the initial blessing of the antichrist, who will be viewed at the time by the Jews as the Messiah. The animal sacrifices will have been re-established following the Old Testament pattern. Then – “In the midst of the week” the animal sacrifices and the oblation to God will be forbidden and the antichrist will proclaim himself as God (II Thessalonians 2:4). Then the Jews will realize that the ant-Christ is not the Messiah and they have been duped.
It is also commonly assumed that before all this the Christian church will have been safely raptured out of harm’s way, and Daniel’s people will then be the targets of the antichrist’s wrath.
This doctrine has become a sacred cow to many Christians, pampered and showcased in its revered theological stall. I am willing to concede that all of it may well be an accurate interpretation, but it is not the only explanation. And those who are dogmatically guarding their pet cow are in danger of being deceived by the antichrist’s actual strategy.
There are clues contained within the word of God that have been placed within its pages to help us understand the mystery it contains. Many times these clues can be overlooked or deliberately ignored and when this happens certain misinterpretations can arise. We are going to examine some of these clues, to see why it changes how the scriptures on this subject have been interpreted.
“Confirms the covenant”
In our key verse, Daniel 9:27, we are told that the antichrist “confirms the covenant with many for one week” and in the midst of the week the sacrifices are stopped. Let’s think about this for a moment – the antichrist is confirming, (strengthening as the original Greek implies), or agreeing with the covenant for the entire week, or the entire term of his reign. He is not against the covenant. He just eventually stops the animal sacrifices that are being offered to God.
In the Old Testament the sacrifices were the means through which sins were forgiven. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.– Leviticus 17:11. This is the Old covenant. In the New Covenant Jesus’ blood is the only atoning factor that God will accept, fulfilling the Old Testament foreshadows and prophecies concerning the purpose of the coming Messiah. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5. We are justified by the blood of the Lord Jesus (Romans 5:9).
Now we have to ask this question, which covenant is the antichrist confirming, the Old or the New? We can assume the Old, if he is relating just to the Jews; yet God’s word teaches us that, the Old has been done away, or is no longer necessary because of its fulfillment in Jesus (Hebrews 8:13, 10:9). Right now plans are being made to rebuild the temple and re-instigate a system that God has ended.
Jesus accurately prophesied that Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed because the Jews did not know the time of their visitation, (Luke 19:44) - the arrival of the Messiah Jesus. Jesus’ words were accurately fulfilled when the temple was destroyed in 70 AD. God physically put an end to animal sacrifice for atonement for sins, and ceased a ritual that was stubbornly being continued by a religious leadership that refused to acknowledge that Jesus is the Messiah.
Therefore, it is not the will of God for the temple and the system He has abolished to be re-established. It is actually an act of rebellion against what God has ordained for the redemption of the human soul. While the antichrist could be in favor of re-establishing something God has ended, when he stops the sacrifice of animals for atonement, he is actually doing something that God would want, and indeed the Lord often has used the enemies of His purposes to accomplish His will.
“Jews and the anti –Christ”
Now we have to recognize because of our current crop of interpretations we are continually being focused on the Jews and the antichrist. Does this make sense? The Jews and the antichrist – the anti- Christ, or anti- Messiah is opposed to the true Messiah. He is anti-new covenant. The antichrist’s purpose is to destroy Christianity by removing the blood atonement of the Messiah Jesus. Without the blood atonement for the removal of sins true Christianity no longer exists and we are as the apostle Paul says, “Preaching another Jesus,” (II Corinthians 11:4) – a Jesus that has no ability to make us acceptable to God when we die. This is the antichrist’s strategy.
Revelation 13:11 tells us that when the antichrist emerges he will appear as a lamb, but speak as a dragon. In other words, he is a demon disguised as a believer. Sheep are always used in the scripture to symbolize Christians; so the antichrist initially appears as a Christian and is confirming the covenant, or affirming that he is a Christian for the entire week of his reign – yet in the midst of the week, he removes or discredits belief in the atonement and he has achieved his purpose. “He destroys many with peace” (Daniel 8:25) and helps to create a universal acceptance of a religion without the true atoning Christ as the center. The progression to a self-focused deification of man as God will naturally follow. When the need for an atoning savior is removed, man is as God because he needs no redeemer. Thus in principle man is proclaiming within the church that he is “god,” needing no redemption from a higher power than himself, (II Thessalonians 2:4).
“The people of the one who is to come”
In the prophecy concerning the destruction of the second temple in the book of Daniel we are told it was to be done by the people of the one who is to come,” (Daniel 9:26). This is another valuable clue. The “people” were the Romans. They accepted all religions, yet at one point they instigated a mandatory worship of deceased emperors who were deified as gods. These were the beliefs of the people of the “one” who is to come. He accepts all religions as valid, even though he is a professing Christian, eliminating the unique atonement of Christ and His declaration of being the only way to God, (John 14:6). The atonement, the sacrifice, the oblation to the one true God is eliminated and the antichrist, along with all those who follow along with this belief will naturally accept the deification of man, a concept that is already very prevalent in New Age religion. This concept is gradually slithering its way into many mainline evangelical and charismatic churches. As the scriptures warn – the spirit of the antichrist is already at work, long before the spirit’s physical embodiment emerges on the world stage, (I John 2:18).
“Daniel’s people in the last days”
All those things that are prophesied in the last days are to come upon Daniel’s people. Who then are Daniel's people in the last days? This is another clue that can’t be ignored. Are Daniel’s people in the last days just Jews?
Paul tells us that the gentiles have been grafted in to the holy root and are now one with the Jews and are made true Jews through faith in the Messiah Jesus, (Romans 11:17), -
For you are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus – Galatians 4:26. For He is our peace, who has made both one…Ephesians 3:14 – For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God – Ephesians 3:18,19. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. GET THIS – And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise – Galatians 3:26,28,29. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham – Galatians 3:7. Daniel’s people (Daniel 10:14). Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations) – Romans 4:16,17.
God "put no difference" between the Jew and Gentile because all are purified by faith - Acts 15:9.
For those who are united in Christ there is no longer any distinction between Jew and Gentile both are made one through the atonement. Therefore Daniel’s people in the last days would be Jew and Gentile through faith in the Messiah who has gathered the two and made both one. This is one of the purposes of the prophesied Messiah, that He would gather the Gentiles to Himself, (Isaiah 11:10, Isaiah 42:1, John 10:16). Therefore Daniel’s people in the latter days are true Christians, Jews and Gentiles, and these ones who know their God, (“My sheep hear My voice I know them and they follow Me” -John 10:27), these followers of the Messiah Jesus are doing exploits in the kingdom of the beast (Daniel 11:32) until they are eventually overcome, (Revelation 13:7). Remember, Jesus does not return until the antichrist has been fully revealed, (II Thessalonians 2:3), and it is at Jesus’ second coming that the first resurrection occurs and those believers that are alive at that time are gathered – (I Thessalonians 4:15-17). These believers are spared from experiencing a time of ultimate wrath upon those who have embraced the beast’s kingdom, (Daniel 12:1,2).
In conclusion, we can see from the clues presented that the strategy of the antichrist is to eliminate the “sacrifice” the atonement of Jesus, thus relegating Christianity to the status of just another religion in his realm. Any true Christian that refuses to capitulate to the antichrist’s apostate version of Christianity will be severely persecuted, as prophesied in Daniel (Daniel 11:33) as indeed the true church is currently being persecuted by this spirit all over the world.
God’s word instructs His people to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, (Matthew 10:16). In other words, children, be wise as to the strategy of the enemy of your souls, and continue to affirm the truth in love, without compromise.
We can continue to pet the calf of accepted end time theology that is to supposedly occur in a distant future according to some, but at the same time we can’t afford to allow ourselves to be deceived by the antichrist’s true strategy operating in the world and the church at this present moment in Biblical prophecy, when the future could very well be now.
copyright 2011 by H.D. Shively