UPDATE 08 March 2015: Additional research brings me back once again to this topic. In a closer reading of the details recounted of Daniel's vision (Daniel 8:8-9 NKJV), I believe these two verses lead to a specifying on the national origin of this man of sin, which is contrary to many earlier exegetical works. For example, the exegesis of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, or of Chuck Smith, correctly interprets verse 8 to have been Alexander the Great and the break-up of his massive Macedonian-Greek empire into the four successor empires.
Sidebar: These four successor Macedonian Greek empires were ruled by dynastic families which descended from Alexander's most senior military commanders, ALL of whom and of which were Macedonian-Greeks from their founding circa 305 BC to their very last day which was marked either by direct annexation and/or a military conquest by the Roman Republic or Roman Empire. In sequence they were: Antigonus in 168 BC at the Battle of Pydna in Greece (see map above); Lysimachus (Pergamum) which was ceded to Rome by its last king Attalus III in 133 BC; Seleucus (Seleucid Empire) when its last king was deposed by the Roman General and Consul Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) in 64 BC, and finally, the Macedonian-Greek Ptolemaic Empire of Egypt whose last ruler was the Macedonian-Greek Queen Cleopatra VII Philopator (yes, that Cleopatra!) in 30 BC.
However, at verse 9 they only assign an interpretation to the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a long acknowledged fore-runner of the antichrist. Where I am now differing is an interpretation that verse 9 is two-fold in that it also points directly to the future antichrist as well.
Let's read Daniel 8:8-9 ...
" 8Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven. 9And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land."
Notice in which directions the "little horn" grows exceedingly great: to the south, to the east and toward Israel itself. Antiochus IV Epiphanes' Seleucid Empire was an eastern empire carved out of Alexander's Empire from the get-go of verse 8. So he did not move militarily to the east as he spent the vast majority of his military efforts going to the west, and to the south (Ptolemaic Egypt) and against Israel caught in-between.
The coming Antichrist military exploits will be towards the south (Libya, Egypt) and the east (kings of the East) and Israel, as seen in Daniel 11:40-44. How do we know this? By reading the beginning of verse 9 to know that he comes "out of one of them" and noting in which directions of the compass his military power is projected, and which, again are to the south, the north and the east. So from which of the four Alexandrian Empires does he come from? From the westernmost and the first of them to have fallen to Roman conquest, that of Antigonus which is modern day Greece in Europe!
15 February 2015: A quick look at the comments section of this post in December will illustrate that the even before the election of Alexios Tsipras to become the current PM of Greece the politics of that nation were being monitored by Eschatology Today for the interpretive reasons made clear at the end of this blog post. My comment on 26 January noted the likely outcome of a vote of confidence against the former Greek PM and the ascendance of Alexios Tsipras to that position of power.
This is now a hot topic on many Christian prophecy websites with many speculating on whether or not this man is the awaited Antichrist. That's a determination that will have to wait until some point in the future to know for certain. However, for the moment, I am intently watching all developments with respect to this man. My most recent observations I shared with Terry James of Rapture Ready this morning; it seems only fair that I share them with you all as well.
To begin with, Alexios Tsipras is a native born Athenian Greek; the son of a Greek father from Epirus (Ionia) and a Greek mother born in Eleftheroupoli. Mr. Tsipras refused to be sworn in the his post as Greek PM by Greek Orthodox Archbishop Ieronymos, and also decreed that neither would his entire cabinet be sworn in by the the Archbishop; that the Archbishop need not even attend the entirely political ceremony. This is highly unusual in Greece where political oaths of office have virtually always been religious in nature, but perhaps not so much in the case with Alexios Tsipras being a self-professed atheist.
However, that being said, there is very good reason to watch what happens in the moths ahead. Straight up, I find this Greek's appearance on the world stage just prior to Israel's 70th year as a reborn nation extraordinary as a matter of timing. In 2014 as a candidate of the EU Commission Presidency he made a declaration that he could lead the economically broken EU back to economic prosperity in less than 10 years.
Most importantly I think is the fact that he took the office of Greek Prime Minister with these words: "I declare in my name, honor and conscience to uphold the Constitution and its laws." John 5:43 records what Jesus said to the Jews about the future Antichrist: "I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive."
Without question the Greek Prime Minister is now the most prominent atheist on the Earth. Alexios Tsipras plus everything he does in his own name will be watched closely in the coming months.
3 December 2014: It had been suggested to me by some very astute fellow eschatologists that within the text of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 discussed below...
"When looking at the Greek which follows 'Let no man deceive you by any means' the next words in the sentence are...... I've taken and applied the wrong meaning for the Greek word apostasia (apostasy). They are saying the meaning is not the literal, plain text apostasy, but an alternative meaning of departure. As Dr. Thomas Ice and others will explain the meaning, "Thus, this passage would be saying that the Day of the Lord will not come until the rapture comes before it." Well, yes, of course that's what Paul is saying in the context of the entire chapter of 2 Thessalonians 2. But I am not dissuaded from believing that the meaning of the word apostasia is literal and it really means apostasy.
"ὅτι ἐὰν μή ἔρχομαι ἀποστασία πρῶτον καί ἄνθρωπος ἁμαρτία ἀποκαλύπτω υἱός ἀπώλεια"
"because unless to come apostasy first and a human being sinful revealed, the son (of) destruction.""
This is where I make a distinction on the meaning of this word. The apostasy is not from the faith of salvation in Christ Jesus that a believing Christian holds, but the kind of apostasy in which a grand departure from God is the point that Paul had made in this prophetic text.
This meaning is obvious to all who survey the world and see that an apostasy, a departure, from the one true God to a false god such as the al-Lah has been occurring globally and in real-time. But this literal meaning of apostasia is even more egregious in a nation such as ours where the claim can be truthfully made that it was founded upon Christian principles. Not only is this country departing from its Christian roots, it is departing from God the Father.
The other day I learned of a very young girl who was a participant in a Disney theme park production where she had to express her feeling about those things most important to her in her young life. Several times Disney rejected her heart-felt offering and through several edits of the text with her mother they simply could net get her offering of what was important in her own life accepted by the corporate entertainment and mass media giant that is The Walt Disney Company.
The reason for the continued rejections, as the mother and daughter finally discovered, was the fact that this young lady had centered her piece on a belief in God as being the singular reason why everything there is exists, in her life and the world and universe at-large. Without God, nothing else would be as it is in other words. Disney was literally rejecting this young girl's work simply because the word God appeared in the text. The Walt Disney Company rejects God. Not the small-g god, but the real big-G God. This is apostasy, literal and in our face, if we choose to see it. Period.
Of course most of us know this is nothing new, Disney has been rejecting God for a long time now and a previous campaign among Christians in highlighting this fact has over time fallen by the wayside, so much so that this little girl and her mother were unaware of it as millions of other Christians are likely unaware of it today.
So, I'm saying that a very real apostasy from God, as Paul was explaining to the Thessalonians as being a sign pointing towards the occurrence of the Harpazo exists and it is here today. Now that leaves just one other revealing thing for us to consider doesn't it. Indeed it does in my humble opinion.
Now before there's an uproar, I have heard hear all of you in advance because I have posed the obvious objections and debate talking points to myself first and also to other eschatologists. So I am sure at this point some are saying that recognizing Antichrist would tantamount to a sign that the Harpazo was imminent and the Harpazo is a signless event more correctly tied to an unknowable number of "the fullness of gentiles has come in" according to Paul in Romans 11:25.
However, is the Harpazo truly a signless event? In Paul's second letter to the Bride of Christ in Thessalonica (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12) he explains to them that they should not be fearing that they have been 'left behind' because they are suffering such great persecution as has been prophetically taught to them. Paul instructs them that "the great and awesome day of the Lord" will not come to pass unless to things happen first: a great apostasy and the revealing of the Antichrist. These are definitively a pair of signs in the 'last days' that must occur prior to the Harpazo which itself is prior to the start of the 70th Week.
Let's go straight to the text of 2 Thessalonians 2:3. When looking at the Greek which follows 'Let no man deceive you by any means' the next words in the sentence are...
"ὅτι ἐὰν μή ἔρχομαι ἀποστασία πρῶτον καί ἄνθρωπος ἁμαρτία ἀποκαλύπτω υἱός ἀπώλεια"
"because unless to come apostasy first and a human being sinful revealed, the son (of) destruction."
The text then goes on to specifics about the Antichrist which were first revealed in great detail in the angel Gabriel's narrative to Daniel (Dan. 11:36-39) on this subject.
The key point I'm at here is that the phrase "the day" or "that day" is implied in most translations of this specific sentence. Those two words are literally not there. The focus is the context of what Paul is responding to the Thessalonian church about is the fear they have been left behind from the Harpazo.
Based upon the literal plain text I interpret Paul to be saying that it is not possible for anyone to have missed the Harpazo unless apostasy and the antichrist revealed come first.
This is not unlike the covenant/treaty between the EU/E3+3 (P5+1) and Iran begin negotiated at the present time.
This specific kind of negotiation between a Westerner of the attributes we know in detail that the 'son of destruction' will possess would absolutely reveal him to the Bride of Christ in this 'last days' season. This time frame would be smack dab on the dispensational transition from the Church age to 70th Week, but the actual revealing of Antichrist to the Bride of Christ would occur prior to the 70th Week. And the Bride of Christ would likely be all but climbing out of our skin in effervescent anticipation in witness thereof.
"And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay."
"And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon." (Revelation 9:11 NKJV)
"The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is."
09 July 2008: The Beast. The anti or in-lieu-of false messianic man of ancient Bible prophecy is the long-anticipated 'end times' character in both Old Testament and New Testament texts. He has always been an enigma, a man of mystery, prophesied to be of fierce countenance, a master of deceit and deception, of such unearthly evil power and charisma that by his mere presence all of mankind will be subdued and submit to his will.
When the transgressors have reached their fullness,
A king shall arise,
Having fierce features,
Who understands sinister schemes.
He shall destroy fearfully,
And shall prosper and thrive;
He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.
25 “ Through his cunning
He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule;
And he shall exalt himself in his heart.
He shall destroy many in their prosperity.
He shall even rise against the Prince of princes;
But he shall be broken without human means.
26 “ And the vision of the evenings and mornings
Which was told is true;
Therefore seal up the vision,
For it refers to many days in the future.”