February 28, 2012

Apocalypse Prophecy XXVII: Evil In A Long Line Of Evil - Part II: Slaughterhouse One

**(WARNING)* This post is graphic and violent but is a retelling of the history of the Jews during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. If you have a weak stomach don't read it. Yes, the picture above is a distorted image of a slaughterhouse. I am trying to paint a horrific picture of persecution and mercilessness by a monster.

The reason for all of this prophecy from Gabriel and my ensuing historical data and descriptions in the last two posts is to show the context for the persecution of the Jewish people.

After Antiochus’s first campaign against Egypt in 169 B.C., the king returned home by way of Israel and found an insurrection in progress (1 Maccabees 1:16–28; 2  Maccabees 5:1–11). He mercilessly puts down the rebellion, massacring eighty thousand men, women, and children. He also loots the temple with the help of the evil high priest, Menelaus. The persecution of the Jews by Antiochus now crosses the line to genocide. Daniel 11:29-30 then speak of Antiochus’ second Egyptian Campaign.

Well aware of the might of Rome, having been a hostage there, and remembering his father’s defeat by the Romans, Antiochus withdrew from Egypt to Antioch in utter humiliation.

Intensified Persecutions of Jews (Daniel 11:30-35).

Antiochus’ humiliation reverts demonically into anger against the Jewish people. He sent Apollonius the head of his mercenaries and the chief collector of “tribute” to Jerusalem. Pretending to come in peace, on the Sabbath Day he suddenly attacks massacring many people and plundering the city. It is later in 167 B.C. the suppression of the Jewish religion and wholesale slaughter of the Jews began on a grand scale. All Jewish religious practices: circumcision, possessing Scriptures, sacrifices, and feast days were forbidden on penalty of death. An imperial cult is put in its place. Desecration of the Jewish religion reaches its zenith when an altar/idol devoted to Olympian Zeus (Jupiter) was erected in the temple. It is The Abomination that causes Desolation” and sacrifices including swine were offered on the altar.

In this way the temple was desecrated and rendered unusable by the Jews or caused desolation.

Antiochus made promises and flattered the people in order to cajole people to support his policies therefore he further corrupted the apostatizing Jews that did choose to follow him. There were still true believers who remained faithful to their God. It is in this faithful core that resisted we see the Maccabees. A priest named Mattathias refused to forsake his God. He had five sons, three of whom (Judas, Jonathan, and Simon) became known as the Maccabees. The term Maccabeus or “hammer” originally was given only then to Judas. The Maccabees and their revolt threw off the Syrian oppression through military victories. Maccabean victories were against Antiochus’s military including Apollonius, Seron, Gorgias, and Lysias between 166-164 B.C. approximately. As a result, to this day the rededicated of the Temple is still celebrated today. It is called: Hanukkah or “Festival of Lights”.

Because of their stand many of the Jewish faithful would be killed. Tens of thousands were slaughtered in these persecutions, and many others died during the fighting, including another son of Mattathias, Eleazar who was crushed by an elephant according to 1 Maccabees in 162 B.C., and Judas Maccabeus, who perished at the battle of Mount Azotus in 160 B.C. 15–18). Though intense, this persecution would last only for a short while.

During the duration of oppression those faithful to Yahweh “will receive a little help” (v.34). The rest of the verse apparently refers to the fact that as the strength of the Maccabean revolt grew, many uncommitted Jews sided with the rebels out of expediency, particularly when the Maccabean forces, now joined by the Hasidim, began to put to death those who had collaborated with the Seleucids. “Some of the wise will stumble” (v.35) basically tells us again that true believers will suffer persecution for their faith. This is always true for the faithful of God as we live in a fallen world system that incontrovertibly hates God. Period.

As we see in the entire scope of history in relation to God’s people whether they be the Jews or Christians. The ordeals they are forced to face are a refiners fire to burn off dross from the Church, to cleanse individuals of sinful practices and to strengthen their faith individually and corporately. Although, on the surface this seems counterintuitive to us as humans, that is exactly what we find in persecution. Persecution truly weeds out the faithful from the unfaithful. The unfaithful eventually crumble under the pressure and give in to the world while persecution and pressure from the world towards true believers only serves to strengthen their resolve to walk directly through the fire of affliction. This also makes us stand out and it is what singles us out. It is why we are hated. Anyone that has truly suffered persecution, mockery or ridicule for their faith…KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!!

Antiochus IV died in 163 B.C. during an expedition in Persia, bringing to a conclusion both his life and his wicked atrocities against God’s people. Hell had a nice warm corner for him as it does for all those that rail against the One True God and His people. History records that Antiochus suffered a horrifying death. According to ancient historians he died insane in a self-mutilating and dismembering frenzy (he hacked himself to death). Other sources say he died an equally nasty demise being afflicted by worms and ulcers. Regardless of the means of death, it was not pretty and he did not go peacefully. Don’t mess with God, He’ll mess you up.

Those who adhere to the Maccabean thesis maintain that Daniel 11:36–45 continues to speak of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. There are serious problems with this position, not the least of which is the fact that much of the historical data set forth in these verses is impossible to harmonize with Antiochus’s life. Therefore…it did happen or should I say…it hasn’t happened yet. Antiochus never exalted himself above every god nor did he reject “the gods of his fathers,” or worship “a god unknown to his fathers” He set up a statue of Zeus in the Temple…the god of his fathers. Daniel also predicted that this king “will come to his end” in Palestine, Antiochus died in Persia.

Whoever is in view here appears to live in the last days, immediately adjacent to the coming of the Lord.

But the clearest indication that this “king” lives in the last days is that the resurrection of the saints will take place immediately after God delivers his people from this evil individual’s power. This can’t possibly have happened before Jesus Christ’s Resurrection as He was the “first fruits” of the Resurrection. This resurrection of the saints has to be in The End or eschatological in nature.

The Antichrist (11:36–45) the most notorious tyrant who will ever live is introduced into the narrative. His character is related (11:36–39); then his wars are described (11:40–45). Gabriel now seems to depart from the topic of Antiochus and begins to describe someone or something he closely resembled: The ominous Antichrist. Based solely in the personal charisma, intelligence, evil character, and political power, Antichrist will arrogantly believe that he can function without God. I suspect he will think he is a god. Although he will be an adherent of no religion or religion-less he will none-the-less use religion as a tool to gain and maintain power and control. Because he things so highly of himself…there will be no room for God anyway. Not surprisingly, this will be his ultimate downfall. Those that try to run wide of God only end up running in a large circle right into judgment from Him anyway. Man cannot run from an omnipresent God.

Jeremiah 23:24 ~ Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?" declares the LORD. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the LORD.

He will speak “unheard-of things” or “astonishing, shocking, or unbelievable things” In arrogance he will spew out vile, shockingly blasphemous words against Christ (Daniel 7:8, 11, 20, 25; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:5–6). As mom use to say…he will have a mouth on him that will need to be washed out with soap. In his case, God will do it with fire for eternity.

The time of wrath shall come. God’s wrath will be poured out upon Antichrist and the whole sinful world in the last days during the tribulation period. Even though Antichrist will be judged, even he himself is part of God’s judgment upon the wicked in the world. The wicked will literally be used to punish the wicked. Call it poetic justice (or un-poetic because frankly, I am seeing nothing remotely close to poetry here).

An interesting side note is the phrase often mistranslated in verse 37, “the one desired by women” has been variously interpreted…usually very poorly. A literal translation of the phrase in Hebrew is “the desire of women” could also be understood as “that desired by women,” or even “the desire for women.” Many interpreters with poor linguistic skills (or no linguistic skills trying to read things into the text) often read this as the Antichrist will have no desire for women. Therefore he will be a homosexual. That is not what this says. In the context of the passage this interpretation makes even less sense.

People need to learn the idea of context and intent of language before speaking here. (John Hagee please take note) The Context: "He [Antichrist] will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired of women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all." ~Daniel 11:37.

In the context of talking about Antichrist not regarding any god it then goes on to reference someone else Antichrist will not regard in the context of talking about gods…"he will not regard the one desired of women”. In Hebrew it says  נָשִׁ֛ים / of women, not by women. "He will not regard the one desired of women". What does this mean...or should I ask, who is this? In all likelihood it is Jesus Christ since (1) He is God (think context) and (2) all Jewish women at the time that were waiting for Messiah...wanted to be the mother of the Messiah. We're taking about an honor bound Jewish society folks! This is why Elizabeth exclaims to Mary that, Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” Luke 1:42Blessed...honored by God. Jesus was the One desired of woman. Jesus, as He often is referred to in the Old Testament, is referred to here in veiled terms…just like the ‘son of man’. People that say Antichrist is a homosexual are in all probability totally misreading this passage and are forcefully removing it from its context to make this claim. Now we have a huge swath of Evangelicals looking for a megalomaniacal homosexual madman on the loose! Demerits to the evangelicals that have been doing this! You make the rest of Christianity look like malicious dopes! Knock it off! This passage appears to be saying the Antichrist is rejecting Jesus Christ (and also the false gods of his fathers/ancestors). Rejecting Christ is the worst thing anyone could do!

The Antichrist will therefore regard no god thereby rejecting them all since he will exalt himself above them all. Nut jobs like this usually demand worship too. Antichrist will not worship the gods (or “god”) of his ancestors; instead of worshipping the gods of his fathers he will honor 'a god of fortresses' ” This kook is going to rely solely on military power and might. He will be a god (godless) of war… or should I say his god will be war? He will use only force to gain world power. I don’t know about you but this sounds an awful lot like tyranny of fascism or a similar dictatorship by force. This dictator “will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god.”

Curious…for a man that believes in no god and exalts himself similar to one, he will certainly rely on and draw on the fear of “religion” or “religion-esque” behavior to gain blood-soaked ground. This is where I believe the true Christians will standout and become his bane. It is why Christians will be ruthlessly eradicated. True Christianity is not a “religion” or “ritual” per se it is a relationship. I believe true Christians will see right through this slug to the heart of his demonic deception and depravity. Christians will see that it is the power of military might that has caused this moron’s ascendancy. Therefore, Antichrist will destroy all of those who dare challenge him or catch wind of his true motive. His power will be so overwhelming people will ask things like:

“Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?” Revelation 13:4

He “distribute the land” to those that supported his rise to power and who are loyal to him. To keep these allotments unquestioned loyalty and devotion is the cost. I smell a rat here. I smell a payoff…literally. Bribes and political interests or as they say in the trade: Special interest groups...etc. People will be bought and sold in power plays.

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