A detailed portrait of Antichrist

Notes on the up close and personal portrait of Antichrist given to Daniel.

Scripture: Daniel 11:1-45

These notes cover three messages and you can listen to the audio of these Bible studies by clicking these links:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

The glorious man of Daniel 10:5-6 continues to speak. His purpose is outlined, Daniel 10:11-12, 21, Daniel 11:2. In this He is successful, 10:1. Cp Daniel 7:28, 8:27. The Saviour alone can instruct us in the truth of what is written! The material in Chap 11 & 12 is not entirely new but is rather a development/clarification of previous instruction that stretched back 20 years to Daniel 7:1. On several occasions Daniel has been drawn to inquire further into these matters and has received further instruction on the rise, activity and ultimate downfall of the little horn and yet it is only now that he comes to understand these things.

This chapter is therefore very closely linked with what goes before and especially with Chapter 8. They share a common starting point (Daniel 8:4-8, 21-22, Daniel 11:3-4) – the rise of Alexander and the four-fold division of the Grecian Empire. They share a common end point (Daniel 8:25, 11:45) – the destruction of the King symbolised by the little horn. Chapter 11 must be studied in the light of Chapter 8 as it covers exactly the same material given in 8:8-14, and adds to the explanations already given of that material in Daniel 8:15-27, Daniel 9:24-27.


At some point in Chap 11 the chronology ‘telescopes’ (as in Daniel 7:7-8, Daniel 8:8-9, Daniel 9:26-27) from what is now long past to what is yet future and pertinent to the end—Daniel 11:27, 35-36, 40, Daniel 12:1-2. [As Daniel wrote everything was future, v2.] The focus of the chapter is revealed Daniel 10:14—Israel, specifically in the last days. Not a long drawn out history but a specific time period in view immediately prior to the Saviour’s coming and Israel’s restoration (12:1) || the 70th week, Daniel 9:27.

1. The change from what is past to that which is still future occurs in v5. There are several possible points for this ‘telescope’ effect—Daniel 11:5, 20, 21, 33, 36. The following points indicate that it occurs at v5:

a) Daniel 11:21-45 record the career of a single man who is evidently still future. That one man is in view is seen v29 which attributes three invasions of Egypt to the single person identified, v21 as a vile person. Cp Daniel 11:25, 29, 42-43. That his career is still future to our day is evident:

i. His career climaxes in the end. Cp Daniel 11:40, 45-12:2, 7:11, 26, Daniel 8:25, Daniel 9:26-27.

ii. A key reference point is given, v31. Cp 8:31, 9:27. This incident is dated for us by the Saviour in Matt 24:15. Clearly Daniel is not speaking here of Antiochus Epiphanes! Nor is He speaking of any desecration of the Temple by the Romans in AD 70 as that was not the action of a Grecian/Syrian King. The time in view is indicated as that period immediately before the return of Christ that will also be marked by unprecedented tribulation, Matt 24:21, 29-30.

b) The ‘telescope’ effect occurs at the point of v5 in 8:8-9. The progress of the vision ‘zooms’ directly from the four-fold division to the rise of the little horn out of one of the four which occurs when the Roman Empire is resolved into its ten Kingdom stage, 8:23. Cp 7:7-8

2. The role of past events. There is no denying that many of the events spoken of here find varying degrees of correspondence in the early history of the successors of Alexander the Great. That however does not mean that these events have been finally or fully fulfilled. God fulfills His word to the letter. Cp I Tim 3:15. Very often the final fulfillment of a prophecy is foreshadowed by very similar events in history. Consider the following examples of this fact:

  • John the Baptist.

a) Is 40:3-8 & Matt 3:3—yet Is 40 is clearly set in the context of Christ’s return, v5, 9-10 (Rev 22:12);

b) Mal 4:5 & Matt 17:10-12;

c) Mal 3:1-2 & Matt 11:10.

  • The Saviour. Zech 9:9 & Matt 21:4-5—yet Zech 9:14-16 show this to relate to His second coming.
  • The Holy Spirit. Acts 2:16-21 & Joel 2:28-31—yet Joel 2:20-27 speak of the end and of events that were not witnessed at Pentecost.

The events of past history serve as an illustration of what God will do. Double-barrelled fulfillments only serve to emphasize the accuracy of God’s word and His power to fulfill it. The events of the end ought not to be a surprise to any Christian who will witness them. Not only has God given a detailed record in His word of what will happen but in very many instances He has also given a previous demonstration of these things. Cp I John 2:18—a study of the antichrist is excellent preparation for living in a day of apostacy! In the histories of Babel, the exodus, Goliath, Sennacherib and a host of other Scriptural examples there are foreshadowings of what God will do at the end. Secular history with its Antiochus, Nero, Napoleon, Hitler, etc shows something of the character of the man of sin who will fulfill minutely and precisely the words written here. All of this should drive us to a minute and careful analysis of what God’s word actually says.


1. He rises out of the Syrian division of the Grecian Empire. Cp 8:8-9, 22-23, 11:21. These four divisions were obviously incorporated into the Roman Empire and will again be seen as part of the ten kingdom stage of that fourth and final Empire (Chap 2, ten toes & ten horns of the 4th kingdom). He is a usurper who obtains power in the northern kingdom by flattery, not by right of succession, v21. || 7:8, 8:9—an additional horn. The details v5-20 will describe the circumstances which lead up to the appearance of the man of sin.

2. His rule is characterised by great wickedness. His character is summed up, v21 a vile person—even before his career develops! Vile > ‘to despise, trample underfoot.’ Cp 8:23.

a) Treachery and lies. Under the guise of peace he pursues war breaking a covenant with a prince who may be (just a suggestion) the legitimate heir. Apostacy never changes! Cp v21-22, 24, Ps 55:21, Ezek 13:10, 16, I John 2:18. His covenant with Israel seems to be in view, v23—his aim being to gain control of the strongholds of the land. Further treachery is seen v29 as he returns to Egypt in violation of the treaty of v27. Then, v30-32 he breaks his covenant with Israel in relation to the Temple. See 8:11-13, 9:27. Apostacy is the promotion of a lie! Cp II Thess 2:9-11. The Christian is to be a man of his word, Ps 15:4.

b) He acts in devilish wisdom and power. Cp v24-25, 8:24, Rev 13:2ff

c) He has an intense hatred of God’s truth. Cp v28. Returning to his land he passes through Israel and something unnamed stirs up his anger. A similar scenario develops later in v30 on his return from his second unsuccessful invasion of Egypt. On this occasion he has intelligence with those in apostacy against God and in open hostility to anything of God—however little the revived Temple/worship will have to do with God it will at least have a semblance of true worship. Corruption by flattery is employed, v32. This leads to the desecration of the Temple with the abomination of desolation.

d) His blasphemy reaches unprecedented heights. Cp v36-39, II Thess 2:9-10, 4, Rev 17:16. A secret idolater, v38-39

e) His cruel persecution of the saints, v32-35. Cp Rev 12:1-6. This is the final 3 1/2 year period that has been under review already. Clearly the focus of this persecution is Jerusalem and Israel. The saints of God go through the tribulation period! See Rev 20:4.

3. He enjoys success for a time (v24). Remarkable, unprecedented success accompanies his early activity. Cp Rev 13:3-4, 7. He liberally disburses the spoils of war and prosperity attends him. Even in his blasphemy he prospers, v36, 39; even as things are starting to fall apart for him there is a limited success, v41-43. One specific victory in the dying days of the age is recorded, Rev 11:7-8  The prosperity of his kingdom is amply evidenced in Rev 18:3, 7, 9, 11-13, 15-19. This prosperity will not be without reverses however—v30, Rev 8-9, 16:2, 10-11 describe some of the judgements of God poured out upon the earth during the final months of the age

4. His downfall, v40-45. There are two elements to his downfall described here.

a) Political and military opposition, v40. A legitimate King of the north is now in place who together with the King of the South they attack Antichrist. This stirs a furious response , v40b-43. With overwhelming power he acts and this of course brings him through Israel, v41. He progresses south toward Egypt—his route indicated by the countries spared, v41. Libya and Ethiopia support him in his plunder of Egypt. It seems he will weather the political/military storm and live to continue his evil tyranny as he had done before, Rev 13:3, 14.

b) His empire falls under the stroke of Divine wrath, v44-45. Cp Is 13:13-14 (Heb 12:26-27), 19-21, Jer 50-51, Rev 16:19, 18:2, 8-10, 20-21. The news of the fall of Babylon reaches him. The reference to the North may refer to the route taken by messengers from Babylon or it may even be a reference to the destruction of Tyre which will act as his sea port (Rev 18, Ezek 28:1-10).

c) He makes a final furious attack on Jerusalem, v44-45. In fury he determines to destroy Jerusalem showing his hatred of God as on former occasions. He musters his forces at Armageddon (Rev 16:16) from where he marches on Jerusalem to make a determined stand against God—n.b plant < to set upright, to fix, fasten, nail’. The city will fall—almost being brought to annihilation when the Saviour appears in power and glory to destroy him, Zech 14:1-4, 12-15, II Thess 2:8. This final battle is also referred to in Is 66:15-18, 24, Joel 3:9-16, Zech 12:3, 9, Rev 14:8-11, 19:11-21.

d) His doom is absolutely sure. Cp 7:17-18, 21-22, 26; 8:4, 25-26; 9:24, 27; 11:27, 35-36, 40, 45. A definite time and an appointed end are in view. Cp Is 14:24-27. The emphasis of this vision is upon the truth of this! Cp 8:26, 10:21, 11:2. The certainty of the doom of antichristianity is both a warning to every sinner and a comfort to every saint. Cp Rev 13:10, 14:9-12. As his end will be so will the end be of all who embrace apostacy.

These are the words of the man clothed with the glory of God! Words spoken by the triumphant Saviour Who is even now expecting that day when the earth shall become His footstool and His feet shall trample the vile person in wrath and judgement.

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