In our studies on Wednesday evening we have been discovering great truth in the writings of the prophet, Daniel. He writes in chapter eight about a real threat to the Jewish people who would come in the period between the Old and New Testament to afflict the people of God. You cannot help but to see this man, Antiochus Epiphanes, as a prefigure of the great enemy of Israel, the Antichrist, who is yet to come. Daniel reveals in the text the three-fold attack of Antichrist on the person and people of God.
The Bible says, It waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down to the truth to the ground: and it practiced, and prospered.
Notice, first of all that he attacked the SAINTS (10)
Everywhere Antiochus Epiphanes went he tried to lay the impress of his Grecian gods. Most of his pagan subjects had no problem worshipping Zeus, but it was not so among the Jews. They had exited Babylon as the most zealous of mono-theistic peoples. He, therefore, sought to afflict them mercilessly to break their religious resistance.
This same persecution will occur in the reign of Antichrist. When he in Revelation 13 begins to wax great and stamp his impress around the entire world, he shall desire all to worship him and forsake the God of their fathers. Persecution will come.
We would be ignorant to ignore the persecution that exists today. I read a story this morning (http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Special/2011/01/05/US-concerned-by-attacks-on-Christians/UPI-70841294244735/) that discussed this very thing: persecution is taking place. Although we as Americans still enjoy great freedom of religion in our shores, many people around the world do not enjoy the same privilege.
Second, he attacked the SANCTUARY (11)
Daniel 11:31, 36-27, II Thessalonians 2:4, Revelation 13:14-15, Matthew 24:15
He again afflicts the people of God by attacking the Prince of the host. Prophetically, we see what is going on here. Antiochus, like the Antichrist, stood in the Jewish temple and offered an abominable sacrifice. This offering of swine incensed the Jewish people, at least those who had yet to succumb to his treachery.
Paul said in II Thessalonians chapter two, He sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. There is coming a day when the Antichrist will set himself up in the newly built Jewish Temple and proclaim himself to be God.
Has there not been in these last days an all-out assault on the sanctuary in our time? Worship has been redefined in many places. Does this movement not owe its allegiance to the spirit of Antichrist at work in this world?
Third, he attacked the SCRIPTURES (12)
The Jews treasured their Scriptures. As a matter of fact, we have the Scriptures today thanks to the Jews. They preserved them, copied them, expounded them, and wrote commentaries on them. He immediately recognized that one of the main sources of their strength and joy were the holy scriptures.
We have seen in the past 150 years the spirit of Antichrist do the same- attack the Word of God. If history ends like it began, it will end by the Serpent once again saying as he did in Genesis chapter three, Yea, hath God said?
We see in our time the flower of Antichrist about to bloom; we are under attack, but do not be defeated. Christ is in us; the battle is the LORD’s; we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. Let us be glad today that we are on the Lord’s side, fighting in His army, armed with His strength and power.