A thorough study on the topic of the antichrist will leave you with just one kingdom. Every characteristic fits! To get the most out of this article, it is recommended that you first read two former articles about the antichrist and the sanctuary service part 1 and part 2.
Daniel’s prophecies in the light of the biblical sanctuary have foretold many details of what was to come. “Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary …” (Psalm 77:14). As you study the sanctuary, you will find that it is God’s GPS (God’s Gospel Plan of Salvation). In the sanctuary there were two main types of services (See Hebrews 9:6-7):
- The daily service – which has to do with the courtyard and the Holy Place.
- The annual service – which includes the Most Holy Place (the third apartment).
God Dwelt Among Us
Everything in the courtyard and in the Holy Place belongs to the daily service in the sanctuary, pointing to Jesus’ ministry. In John 1:14 we find a beautiful discovery: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us”.
The word dwell in Greek (schenos) means to camp, set up one’s tent. The word means “to dwell” in the sense that God dwelt among His people through the tabernacle / sanctuary. God tabernacled among us! (see Exodus 25:8). This was a major reason why God instructed His people to build a sanctuary.
During this time, if anyone wanted to join a caravan, they were encouraged to pitch their tent beside the group that made up the caravan, and share the journey with them. This is a beautiful picture of the incarnation – for in human flesh Jesus tabernacled with man.
- He bowed low and came down to us. He took upon Himself our human nature, and showed God’s glory to us.
- He traveled with us through the tough side of life and finally died for us on the cross, to save us from death.
- He walked with the people here on earth in the flesh, but now He sits on the throne of the universe.
Future Kingdoms Predicted!
In the book of Daniel, we see a repetition of prophecies – but an amplification of what has already been revealed. In Daniel chapter 2 and 7, future kingdoms are predicted, from ancient Babylon to present-day Europe. Daniel 7 gives more details and has a different focus than Daniel 2. The same goes for Daniel 8 and 11. Let’s look at the prophecy of Daniel 8.
Medo-Persia: 539-331 BC
“Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last.” (Daniel 8:3)
One horn was longer than the other. Although Persia was rebuilt later than Media, Persia became the dominant power when Cyrus defeated Astyages (Media) around 550 BC.
“I saw the ram pushing westward, northward, and southward, so that no animal could withstand him; nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to his will and became great.” (Daniel 8:4)
We don’t even have to guess which kingdom this is. Verse 20 gives us the answer: It is Medo-Persia.
- Pushing westward: Cyrus conquered Lydia in 547 BC and Babylon in 539 BC
- Pushing southward: Egypt and Nubia in 525 BC
- Pushing northward: Darius headed north – towards Scythia in 513 BC
The Medo-Persian Empire stretched all the way from India to Ethiopia – from east to west in the then known world.
Greece: 331-168 BC
“And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.“ (Daniel 8:5)
Daniel 8 uses a sanctuary language!
• The ram = Medo-Persia
• The goat = Greece
Both are sacrificial animals in the sanctuary – which is central in this chapter.
The male goat described here is very fast. If you are familiar with history, you know that the next great kingdom that came on the scene after Medo-Persia was Greece (again the Bible gives us the answer in verse 21). At the age of 33, Alexander had conquered the world. Everything went really fast!
Greece was located west of Persia, this is why it says that the goat was coming from the west. The horn here represents Alexander the Great (see verse 21). In Daniel 8:6-7 you can read about how Greece conquered Medo-Persia!
“Therefore 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.” (Daniel 8:8). The horn was broken and 4 new ones emerged. This represents the division of Alexander’s kingdom when he died. It was divided among the four generals, in a kingdom spread over the then known world. (v. 22)
The Roman Empire
“And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land.” (Daniel 8:9)
What kingdom was coming up next, that Daniel 7 also describes for us?
The Roman Empire gained power in the year 168 BC.
- “Toward the south” – Egypt
- “Toward the east” – Syria
- “Toward the Glorious Land” – Palestine became a province of Rome in 63 BC.
This is the Roman power – pagan Rome, which later became papal Rome. The “little horn” is clearly identified in Daniel 7, and has the same characteristics.
So the horn grew horizontally. But it was not done yet!
Truth Cast Down
“And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them.” (Daniel 8:10)
Now power grows vertically – up to heaven. Daniel 12:3 compares stars with those who lead many to righteousness. Daniel 8:24 reveals that this horn will “destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.” Both pagan Rome and papal Rome have persecuted God’s people. Historically, we see a transition here from imperial / pagan Rome to papal Rome. This will soon become even clearer.
“He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.” (Daniel 8:11)
Who is the Prince of Host? Verse 25 he is called “the Prince of princes”. This is Christ! (See also how Jesus is referred to in Isaiah 9:6).
The word “sacrifices” is added and is not found in the original text. “The daily” was taken away – from Christ.
The word “the daily” comes from Hebrew: tamiyd and means continually, continual or always, and is often used in connection with the service of the sanctuary.
Of the 103 places the original word is used, it has been translated “daily” only 6 times (5 of them in the book of Daniel)
How does the priest in the sanctuary serve daily?
- He helped with the sacrifices.
- He had to cleanse himself in the laver.
- He made sure that there was always bread on the table.
- He made sure that the candlestick was burning.
- He took care of the altar of incense.
Some examples where this word is used in connection with the sanctuary, as something that is going on continually:
- The “continual bread” – The showbread (Numbers 4:7)
- That the lamp was to burn “always”. (Exodus 27:20)
- The fire that was to burn “ever” on the altar (Leviticus 6:13)
- The incense to be offered morning and evening (Exodus 30:7,8)
The “daily” in this verse refers to Christ’s continual priesthood in the heavenly sanctuary, and the true worship of Him. When it says that the “daily” was removed, it means that the little horn (papal Rome) removed things that belong to the daily service in the sanctuary (with its symbols).
What has the little horn removed?
1. Christ as our mediator
The Catholic Church says:
“The pope takes the place of Jesus Christ on earth. … By divine right the pope has supreme and full power in faith, in morals over each and every pastor and his flock. He is the true vicar, the head of the entire church, the father and teacher of all Christians. He is the infallible ruler, the founder of dogmas, the author of and the judge of councils; the universal ruler of truth, the arbiter of the world, the supreme judge of heaven and earth, the judge of all, being judged by no one, God himself on earth” – The New York Catechism.
The Pope claims authority as the visible head of the Church – instead of Christ, the invisible head of the Church.
“Have no fear when people call me the “Vicar of Christ,” when they say to me “Holy Father,” or “Your Holiness,” or use titles similar to these, which seem even inimical[cause harm] to the Gospel”- Pope John Paul II (1995)
Cardinal Sarto, who became Pope Pius X, said this:
“The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ Himself hidden under the veil of the flesh. Does the Pope speak? It is Jesus Christ who speaks.”
The Bible says:
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2: 5)
Christ as our mediator has been cast down!
2. The Altar of Sacrifice (symbol of the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus)
Papal Rome began to teach that the sacrifice of Christ was not enough for the forgiveness of sins. To be forgiven, you had to confess your sins to the priest, pay indulgences, do certain acts, or attend special ceremonies. The priest will forgive you. But even if you are forgiven, you still have to be punished for your sins. You can escape the punishment by performing a certain actions. For example, if walking the Santiago pilgrim route, in Spain (approx. 800 km), you can avoid purgatory or large parts of it.
We do not need to atone for our sins if we have asked God for forgiveness! Praise God for Jesus, our Savior and High Priest.
The Bible says:
“Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?” (Mark 2:7)
The Catholic Church says:
“The priest has the power of the keys, or power of delivering sinners from hell, of making them worthy of paradise. And God himself is obliged to abide by the judgment of his priests.” Dignities and Duties of a Priest, by Liguori, p. 27
The Bible says:
“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Revelation 1:18)
“For the father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.” (John 5:22)
Regarding the communion bread, the Catholic Church has said:
“The power of the priest is the power of the divine person; for the transubstantiation of the bread requires as much power as the creation of the world; … thus the priest may be called the creator of the Creator” (The Dignity of the Priesthood, Liguori, p. 33).
The teaching of the purgatory also came to force people to pay for their loved ones that had died, to help them escape the torments of hell.
God’s character was mocked by this teaching. This is a system where one is saved by works, decided by the Church – instead of salvation through faith in Christ alone, who died for our sins.
The sacrifice of Christ has been cast down!
3. The Laver (Symbol of baptism)
Again, God’s character was trampled upon when this power said that if one does not baptize the children when they are young, God will destroy them in hell if they happen to die.
This baptism is not about true repentance. The priest sprinkle some water on them.
Instead, the antichrist power placed “holy water” on the inside of their churches, that is supposed to protect against evil, and be a sign of repentance.
In biblical times, people were baptized where there was much water (See John 3:23). The Bible teaches us that the baptism symbolizes:
- Christ’s death – We must die from sin.
- Christ’s burial – We must bury the old life.
- Christ’s Resurrection – We are resurrected to a new life in Jesus Christ.
(See Romans 6:4,6)
The true baptism was cast down!
4. The Table of Showbread (Symbol of the Word of God)
In 1229, the Bible was placed on Rome’s index of banned books by the Council of Toulouse / Toledo. This was confirmed in 1546 by the Council of Trent.
Anyone who dared to study Scripture on their own were punished. If you printed and sold Bibles, you were sentenced to hell. The people learned to trust the priest rather than the Bible. This led to a distancing of God, His character and His love. We can see this today as well. It is not uncommon to hear believers saying, “I trust my priest.”
God’s Word was cast down!
5. The Candlestick (Symbol of the Holy Spirit / Being a Witness)
Christ set His church in the world to be a light. But the Roman Catholic Church has persecuted in the name of God, killing many millions of people who would not bow to their authority. For a long time, Christians were persecuted by them.
Instead, this church replaced truth with lighting candles for the dead.
The light of the world was cast down!
6. The Altar of Incense (Symbol of prayer)
Through the teaching of confession to a priest as a mediator, the little horn power also cast down the altar of incense. It is because of Jesus that we can come to the Father.
When the people come for confession, they will often sit in a room with a veil / wall between themselves and the priest. This is similar to the sanctuary!
The Catholic Church says:
“The poor sinner kneels at his confessor’s feet. He knows he is not speaking to an ordinary man but to another christ. He hears the words, ‘I absolve thy sins’ and the hideous load of sins drops from his soul forever” (William Doyle, Shall I Be a Priest, pp. 14, 15).
The Bible says:
“…Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” (John 16:23)
God wanted the incense in the sanctuary to symbolize our prayers that go up to Him through our only Mediator, Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church has a priestly hierarchy instead of direct access to Christ for all believers. They even use physical incense in their churches
Man’s direct contact with heaven was cast down!
What else has been cast down?
“And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.” (Daniel 8:12)
Antichrist has been successful in several ways, not only through the Dark Ages, but there are many Christian churches that have accepted their teachings.
What is the truth according to the Bible?
The Bible tells us that the Word of God, Jesus, and His law are truth (See John 14:6, 17:17; Psalm 119:142).
Jesus, the Bible and the sanctuary (God’s GPS) have been cast down! (See also Revelation 13:6).
What about the law of God?
The Ten Commandments
We find the Ten Commandments in the Most Holy place, inside the ark of the covenant. In addition to what belonged to the daily service, God’s commandments have been cast down.
In Daniel 7:25 we read that the antichrist would “think to change times and laws”
- The second commandment is removed from the Catholic Catechism.
- The tenth commandment is divided so that they still have ten.
- The fourth commandment is changed from Sabbath to Sunday, and is shortened. The Catholic Catechism says: “Remember to keep holy the LORD’S Day”
The word for “times” in Dan 7:25, Zimnin (plural) refers to repetitive times (Compared to singular of the word, that refers to a particular time). The only commandment that refers to time is the fourth commandment.
The Catholic Church says:
“The pope has power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ” (Decretal, de Tranlatic Episcop).
“The Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by her founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith has no warrant for observing Sunday” (The Catholic Universe Bulletin, August 14, 1942, p. 4).
“We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.” (Peter Geiermann, The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (St. Louis, B. Herder Book Co., 1957 ed.), p. 50)
The Bible says:
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them…. ”(Exodus 20:4-5)
“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8)
“For the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:8)
The Truth Restored!
The truth was cast down. It could look like the power of darkness prevailed. But God did not give up on His people, despite the dark ages, he helped His people. God made a counterattack!
Let us look at some milestones how God helped His people and restored the truth.
1300s – John Wycliffe
John Wycliffe, an English theologian, translated the Bible into English in the year 1382. He became the founder of the Lollard movement, which laid the foundation for the Protestant Reformation.
When the Bible was given back to people, who could now read and understand it, the Word of God (symbolized in the showbread of the sanctuary) was restored.
This helped people discover the true God of the Bible, as opposed to the god of the little horn – the false picture that they had preached as the truth was cast down.
1400-1500’s – Martin Luther
Martin Luther, a Catholic priest and professor, made revolutionary discoveries in his study of God’s Word. He understood that the Catholic Church, where he was a member, had serious errors going against the Bible.
As he climbed the Scala Sancta stairs in Rome, on his knees, it is said that he exclaimed: “Who knows if that is so?” It is said that Martin Luther’s conversion began here, and that he then later understood the important doctrine that we are saved by faith. He taught that “The righteous shall live by faith.” (See Romans 1:17)
He went against the doctrine of indulgences, which was a way to buy oneself out of sin and punishment. According to the Catholic Church, to accept the sacrifice of Christ, was not enough to receive forgiveness for sin!
Luther believed that accepting Christ’s sacrifice was enough to be forgiven. In 1517 he nailed the 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.
The altar of sacrifice was restored!
16th Century – John Calvin
John Calvin, the leader of the Presbyterian churches had big focus on prayer and wrote a lot about it. He pointed out the fact that we have direct access to God, and that we don’t have to go through a priest. People had the opportunity to learn about who God He really was, through prayer.
The altar of incense was restored!
17th Century – John Smyth
Smyth was the leader of the Baptist movement, which focused on restoring the baptism through immersion, as the Bible teaches.
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38)
The laver was restored!
18th Century – John Wesley
The theologian John Wesley was the founder of the Methodist movement. His focus was to preach from place to place and spread the gospel.
It became brighter in the world again.
Wesley preached more than 40 000 sermons and won more than half a million souls for Christ.
The candlestick was restored!
“Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, ’How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?’ And he said to me, ’For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.’” (Daniel 8:13-14)
It would take 2300 years from the beginning of prophecy until we could expect God to restore the truths that the antichrist had cast down.
So far we have seen that everything in the courtyard and in the Holy Place of the Sanctuary has been restored.
19th Century – Seventh-day Adventist Church
In the 1830s, several teachers, students, doctors and pastors from different denominations, in different parts of the world, began to study Daniel 8:14. They concluded that the prophecy of Daniel 8 ended in 1844 (although they were mistaken at first about the event that was to happen). As a result of this great disappointment, a group came together and studied more, and found that there is a sanctuary in heaven!
They studied and understood that the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath commandment, had been cast down! This was the beginning of a movement that founded the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
God’s law and the Sabbath were restored!
Praise God for restoring all these truths that the antichrist cast down!
Thus says the Lord
In these times there are many so-called “truths”. All those that God used to restore the sanctuary, from the 1300s to the 1800s, were people who studied the Bible for themselves and searched for the truth. God led them step by step. They became unpopular in the eyes of the world, but God was with them!
Do you want to live by a “thus says the church”, or “thus says the pastor/priest”?
Or will you live by a “thus says the Lord”?
This will cost something.
It will cost complete surrender to God. And it cost the life of Jesus Christ.
Maybe you personally have cast down the truth when you heard it, or otherwise accepted something that you realize today was wrong?
Don’t wait to receive the Truth. For the Truth will set you free.
Written by Christian Hjortland