Title & Purpose

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.


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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

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This article was originally posted on 3rd June 2010. It bears repeating in the light of the present media focus on Greece and the Euro.

The debt problems that Greece and other Europeans nations are facing have sparked off considerable discussion about whether the Euro will survive or not. Part of this is due to the scepticism of Germany towards bailing out lesser performing European countries. Their hard won economic strength is at stake because of the failings of these other countries. To the extent that it is being reported that secretly Germany has begun to re-print the Deutsche Mark.

Greece is of interest to Bible believers and readers of the prophetic Scriptures.

As I have listened to various news reports over these past weeks about the problems facing the Euro currency I have been made to think about some things that the book of Daniel has to say about the state of south-eastern European nations immediately prior to the coming of the Lord Jesus.
Daniel ch 8 emphasises the importance of keeping our eye upon the countries of south-eastern Europe and particularly Greece.
Daniel ch 8 is dealing with the time immediately prior to the return of the Saviour. The same period of time is in view in both chapter 7 and 8, cf. v17 … Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision; v19 Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be; v23 And in the latter time of their kingdom.

This chapter cannot be dealing with Antiochus Epiphanes as some claim. He may fulfill some points but he certainly does not fit into the timeframe outlined in these verses. It is clearly yet future.

The '
little horn' is mentioned in both ch 7 & 8. Dan 7:8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them anotherlittle horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things;
Dan ch 8:9: And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land
.
Daniel ch 7 outlines the activity that this 'little horn' engages in:
[1] He subdues three of the ten horns,
v20;
[2] He will speak against the most high,
v25;
[3] He will persecute (wear out) the saints,
v25;
[4] He will seek to change times and laws,
v25;
[5] He will continue to do for 3 1/2 years,
v25;
[6] Upon his destruction God gives the kingdom to His people,
v26.

This description '
little horn' is a title for Antichrist. Additional activity is also attributed to him in ch 8. In this chapter Daniel teaches us that Antichrist's destruction will not be by human means, cf. ch 8:25 but he shall be broken without hand. The Lord will personally destroy him at His coming.

The interesting point to observe is where he originates from. We know from
ch 7:8 that he will arise from among the ten horns. In ch 8 it is even more specific. He will arise out of one of the four divisions of the old Grecian Empire.

The ‘
he goat’ represents Greece, cf. ch 8:8,21,22. The Grecian kingdom was divided into four after Alexander’s death. History records this. The four divisions generally speaking were:
[1] Egypt;
[2] Syria;
[3] Thrace (Southeastern Bulgaria, northeastern Greece and the northwestern part of Turkey);
[4] Greece.


Daniel is also here teaching that these four divisions of the Grecian empire will in the future comprise four of the ten divisions present when Antichrist comes to the fore.
Daniel ch 7 & 8 fit together perfectly. Out of one of these divisions the ‘little horn’ arises, v8,9. The Bible is therefore very specific as to where Antichrist is going to arise from.

It specifically narrows the area down to south-eastern Europe. Daniel enlarges upon the persecuting zeal of this '
little horn', ch 8:9. He will wax great towards certain regions:
[1] The south, the king of the south = Egypt in
Dan 11;
[2] The east = Syria/Babylon;
[3] The pleasant land = Israel, cf.
Dan 11:16,41,45.

Now where on the earth, within these four divisions of the old Grecian empire, would you have to be standing for these directions to be accurate? You would have to be in south-eastern Europe. In modern day Greece or old Thrace.

There are some grounds for believing it to be Greece itself, 
When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man, Zech 9:13. The fulfillment of these words are yet future. It is the sons of Greece that are viewed as being opposed to the sons of Zion.

It is not without significance that the collective noun for Gentiles in the Bible is ‘
Greeks’, cf. Acts 19:10,17; 1 Cor 1:24. Antichrist will be the last great expression of Gentile power in the earth. In Revelation ‘the beast’ another title for the Antichrist is likened to a leopard, the symbol of the old Grecian empire, Rev 13:2. There will certainly be an extremely strong connection between Greece and the Antichrist.

A ‘
little’ horn. This description 'little' suggests that at the first this 'horn' is not a great and significant power. He rises in obscurity. He is not much to be reckoned with in the scheme of other political powers then existing. Is this not how the countries of south-eastern Europe are presently being described? They are dismissed as 'basket economies'. From within this despised region Antichrist will rise. Beware of the little horn! The insignificance of the individual who will arise out of this region will only aid his rise.

The little horn soon becomes very powerful. He will wax great by the pride of his heart,
ch 8:25 …and he shall magnify himself in his heart…. This was the chief sin of Satan who will energise him. He will be an amazing political figure:
[1] He will be a super intelligent person. The little horn has ‘eyes’
Dan 7:8 and understanding of dark sentences, ch 8:23;
[2] Energised by another power,
ch 8:24;
[3] Subtle and crafty,
ch 8:25;
[4] Ferocious in persecution, 
ch 8:23, fierce countenance, ch 8:25 destroy many;
[5] He will defy the Prince of princes, 
ch 8:25.
He will be destroyed, 
ch 8:25. Praise the Lord! 


Is the pope the final Antichrist? The teaching of Daniel in these chapters is one of the reasons why I cannot see the pope as the final Antichrist. The pope is most certainly an antichrist. He is the antichrist in the church [Westminster Confession of Faith ch 25 section 6].

The Grecian Empire never had any connection with Rome or Italy. Alexander nor his successors ever extended their kingdom westward to any degree. Daniel here teaches that the Antichrist comes out of the old Grecian empire. The pope is associated with Italy and Rome. Whatever other characteristics the pope displays similar to the final Antichrist, he fails on this point of having arisen out of the south-eastern countries of Europe which were within the old Grecian Empire.





Part of a sermon preached at the midweek prayer meeting in Newtownabbey FPC 
Wednesday 2nd June 2010.

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