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Daniel Chapter 8: The "Little Horn"

Teddy

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Daniel Chapter 8: Clash of Worldviews

(-Part II-)

by

 

TLD

 

(2003)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profiling the End-time Little Horn



 

 

 

Introduction

This section focuses on the discussion of the Antichrist, a system/ person that the Bible predicts will precede the Second Coming of Christ. The section first develops a profile of the anti-Christ based on scattered references found about it/ him in the Bible.

 

Next, because the anti-Christ is end-of-ages phenomenon, the biblical references will be recast in terms (i.e., vocabulary) modern day politics. In order to assist this effort, two 20th century political systems (namely, Nazism and Communism) will be used to illustrate the point. These two systems are chosen because they carry strong resemblance with the profile of the system run by the anti-Christ. 

 

The section also presents a new perspective on the abomination of desolation, one of the hall marks  of the anti-Christ. The discussion provides new meaning to sanctuary and profanation which are associated with the abomination of desolation.    

 

Such a recasting of ancient biblical expressions in modern day political language, if done correctly, will help us to properly understand biblical end-time prophecy. That can prove a strong antidote to the deception the anti-Christ is predicted to unleash on the world.[1] 

 

 

 

 

In Search of The "Little Horn"

Much has been written on the identity - origin and career - of the endtime's anti-Christ, also known as the ‘little horn’. Throughout history, various individuals, institutions, and even nations have been identified with  the prophecy regarding the ‘little horn’ (antichrist). In this regard, some of the most cited candidates have been, the Roman Caesar Nero, the founder of Islam - Mohammed, the Roman Catholic Church and its popes, Adolf Hitler, Communism and its leaders, and much recently the New Age Movement and the Masonic Lodge. These names are in addition to all those false Messiahs who down the centuries have declared themselves to be the personifications of the Second Coming of Christ.[2] However, if we let Scripture speak for itself, this will be what will emerge as the profile of the end-times ‘little horn’ (Antichrist). 

 

-         It (He) will be a branch to arise from the victorious ‘Greek’ dynasty (Dan. 8: 8-9) [3].

 

-         Starting from a small or obscure beginning, it (he) will amass political power through intrigue and conspiracy. It (he) accomplishes this because it (he) is a master in the art of intrigue (Dan. 11: 21, 23).

 

-         Though it (he) has its roots in Christianity, it (he) will abandon the Faith. It (he) will break away from a long-standing tradition of faith of his forefathers and mothers. It (he) will deny God and Christ.

 

-         It (he) will be a master of deception, succeeding in misleading many people away from the faith. The Lie (i.e., religion/ teaching/ ideology) it (he) will promote will cause many to fall away from faith in God. It (He) will be extremely effective in persuasive speech and scheme of ideas (Dan. 8: 25; 2 Thess. 2:3, 9-12; 1 Jn. 2: 18-19; Matt. 24:24; Rev. 13:14).

 

-         After it (he) comes to political power, it will establish a policy of controlling and distributing wealth (Dan. 11: 24b, 43, 49; Zech. 11: 16).

 

-         Those who acknowledge the anti-Christ and owe him allegiance, they will receive privilege and influence. Merit will have little space in the empire the Antichrist (Dan. 11: 39).

 

-         Because of the mighty deeds it (he) can accomplish many will be duped about its supernatural strength (Dan. 8: 24; 2 Thess. 2:9-10).

 

-         It will be a power, which will be quite marked for its haughtiness and impiety. It will be a cruel dictatorship, which will inspire terror and sow much destruction (Dan. 7: 23-25, 8:23-24; Rev. 13: 1-10).

 

-         It will utter words of arrogance. It will lift IT-SELF up against God. It will attempt to play the role of God in the life of the people, promising redemption for humanity (Dan 11: 36; 2 Thess. 2:4). 

 

-         Its survival skill will convince the gullible in its invincibility (immortality) (Rev. 3-4). 

 

-         It will have utter disregard for traditions and customs of the people, including to the observance of religion (Dan 7:25, 11:37).

 

-         The ruler will shun the flirtation (desires) of women (Dan 11: 37).

 

-         It will be intensely hostile to religion to the point of desecrating God’s temple. God’s people will suffer unparalleled persecution at its hands.  It will carry out a horrifying act that will leave the sanctuary of God profaned and desolate (Dan.7:25, 8:9-13, 25, 11: 30-31; Rev. 13: 5-7).

 

-         It will be called the lawless one, as it will suspend normal rules of governance. Human life and property rights, etc., will be wantonly transgressed against extra-judicial measures will be common (Ps 10; 2 Thess. 2:3; Rev. 13: 10).

 

-         It will build up military power and will engage in territorial expansion. It will attempt at worldwide influence and dominance (Dan. 11:38–44).

 

-         God’s people are advised to be the first to recognize the intentions of the ‘little horn’ as it first emerges in power. When it maneuvers its army in position, it is time to leave town. They should flee its presence to safe zone in time (Matt. 24: 15-21; Lk. 21: 19-23). 

 

-         The nations that would come under its control will languish under its misrule (Dan. 7:23, 8:24, Zech. 11:15-17).

 

-         It will self-destruct as it retreats to its homeland. Its demise will be regarded as Divine judgment rather than man’s overcoming it (Dan. 8:25, 11: 18-19).

 

It is, hence, based on the foregoing profile that we can start the search for meaning and application of the anti-Christ system which the Bible says will arise in the end of the ages. As many Bible scholars agree the modern age has the hallmarks of the signs Jesus and the apostles spoke about the culture that will prevail just before the Second Coming. Therefore, in order to understand the anti-Christ system as described by the Bible in terms of our modern age, we have to look for secular ideologies and political systems which come closest to fulfilling the profile of the ‘little horn’.

 

Here I make the bold hypothesis, to be defended next, that none comes close to fit the listed characteristics of of the anti-Christ than atheistic Communism (Marxism-Leninism) and to a lesser extent Nazism.  The paper shows how this ideology, for its pronouncements and historical records, comes closest to represent (and even realize) the Scripture prophesied God-rejecting and church-persecuting last days' impiety.

 

In our previous discussion on the interpretation of the Daniel Chapter 8 we noted about the origin and meaning of the 'little horn' as that virulent offshoot of the Enlightenment Period inspired secularism and modernity. Among the off-shoots of the Enlightenment Period, none fits the descriptions of the 'little horn', in its vehemence in rejecting God and in raging against His people, than atheistic communism. It is this ideology and regime which best fits the picture we have drawn above as the profile of the ‘little horn’. 

 

For example, as history books testify, revolutionary Communist (Marxism-Leninism), whenever it succeeded to take power, it has always given rise to despotic totalitarian regimes. And as an economic system, it has abolished private property, putting all means of production under state control. In its social and cultural policies, in order to realize secularism and modernity, it has always violently suppressed or subtly undermined old customs. Because of its atheistic ideology, it has targeted religion-based customs and institutions for destruction or total control; showing itself openly and energetically anti-God and anti-religion. As the result, communism has been responsible for widespread persecution of the people of faith. Moreover, nations under communist rule have been noted for military buildup, attended by bellicose and expansionary stance towards other nations. Because of the emphasis on the military and security services, the economy in communist countries leave the general populace in lack of basic life necessities.     

 

Communism by abolishing religion, custom, private property, and individual freedom promises to build a perfect socialist world in which all will live happily, with no lack, no war, and no class difference. A worldwide socialist system will be realized through the ardent struggle of the laboring classes will usher in the golden age of humanity. Hence, communism says man, by his own efforts, can build the perfect world on earth. It does not need a heavily Messiah to save it.       

 

 

 

 

A Digression to the "other" little horn

 

As a digression from our discussion of communism, we must look at another 20th century anti-God ideology which has caused much destruction in the world. This ideology, like Communism, whose inspiration can be traced to off-shoots of the Enlightenment Period. This particular ideology has its roots in some dubious off-shoots of the Enlightenment Period. These are some philosophical and anthropological works of the 20th century, whose amoral and immoral pseudo-science, which the secularism and modernity of the Enlightenment Period has enabled.[4]

 

This second ideology, like Communism, was a secular messianic movement. As its goal it has the vision to set up of a secular utopia. But unlike communism, the vanguard to establish the secular utopia for the second ideology is not the working class, but a select race, which history is said has marked for greatness. The root of all evil and that which must be destroyed to establish the worldwide Utopia is not private property, but all inferior races. If communism first and foremost targeted the propertied class for destruction, this other ideology targeted the Jew as that race which it believes is at the root of all problems afflicting society. The second 20th ideology, godless and secular, and equally destructive like atheistic communism and a political system is Nazism. 

 

Nazism, like Communism, has caused massive destruction in the short time it lasted in power. Nazism (1933-45), like communism, also has a leader of fierce countenance, an evil genius at the helm. Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany, like Communist leaders, was able to make a lie to prosper in his hands. Hitler was a consummate demagogue and those under him perfected the work of propaganda. They deceived many among the faithful to make them complicit in their evil deeds. The Nazis made the Lie of racial superiority to prosper (succeed) in their hands, that many were misled and participated in their government's monstrous acts of war and genocide. Hitler showed itself a sworn enemy of God’s people, murdering some 6 million Jews in the most gruesome manner.[5] 

 

It is important to note here that even if Nazism can also fulfill the prophecy about the Antichrist, still it will be Communism that will remain the main focus of attention. Communism remains the better fit of the two anti-God ideologies to the prophecy about the end-time ‘little horn.’ 

 

 

 

Which Sanctuary of God?

Before we discuss the historical records of Nazism and Communism, we have first to digress by discussing  the nature of the sanctuary/ temple which the Bible says the Antichrist will profane.  It is only after such digression that we can establish the true meaning of the abomination of desolation, a term which the Bible uses to label the profanation of the temple of God. 

 

According to Daniel (8:10-13, 23-27), the ‘little horn’ will become progressively more arrogant and hostile to God. Eventually, it will unleash violent persecution against God’s people, and as the result, God’s sanctuary will experience a horrendous desecration and desolation. 

 

"And it (i.e. the little horn) grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the hos and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. 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. Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered. 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?" (Dan. 8: 10-13).

 

How should we take the idea of the sanctuary in order to make sense of it in terms of the end-times, meaning the modern age in its anti-God ideologies? Is the sanctuary which the anti-Christ is said to profane the Temple to be reconstructed in Jerusalem? Is it some church building somewhere in the world? Or, is it the body of believers, who collectively, and in a spiritual sense, make the dwelling place (temple) of God? Which of these senses make the true meaning about the sanctuary/ temple  that is profaned by the end-time anti-Christ system?

 

The widely accepted schools of interpretations of End-Time Bible prophecy associate the sanctuary  with the third Jewish Temple yet to be reconstructed in Jerusalem. But this interpretation is problematic for two reasons. First, it overlooks the church as the new manifestation of the dispensation of God. It overlooks how the New Testament defines the people of God and the temple of God. Secondly, it assumes a leader who is clearly anti-God to show interest in anything Jewish or religious. Despite popular fiction on end-times, the anti-Christ will least likely present himself in light of Biblical prophecy. His ideology will totally eschew anything related to God and religion.  

 

There is a fringe school which interprets the sanctuary/ temple in terms of the church (i.e., body of believers). However, this interpretation gives little room to an evil political power persecuting the church from outside. Instead, the sanctuary profanation is framed in terms of some heresy or a form of worldliness  that is said will sweep the church from within. Under this scheme of interpretation, hence, a heretical teaching, instead of an outside power, will cause the Lie and the Apostasy. But this interpretation is problematic for one main reason. We know that the 'little horn' will cause a massive destruction to the land and to the people, besides profaning the temple belonging to God. Hence, the threat facing the people of God must be something more than an internal squabble about dogma (cf. Dan. 8: 23-27).  Did not Jesus warn that God’s people should not waste time, but flee as they see the ‘abomination of desolation’, because unparalleled atrocities and sufferings would follow?  So we cannot deny the fact that the Antichrist would be a secular political power opposed to God’s people that would cause them physical harm and destruction.

 

At this point we have to ask the following two questions. The sanctuary/ temple, is it a physical structure or building? Or, is it the mystical/ figurative temple of God which the body of believers? 

 

For many students of the Word of God, the temple/ sanctuary of God is the physical place where God’s people gather for worship. They, hence, expect, the ant-Christ to show up at a physical place designated as a house of worship and declare himself as god.

 

In this paper, we will explain why understanding the sanctuary/ temple of God in the sense of the people of God instead of their houses of worship makes a better prophetic sense. First, we know in the true sense of the word, such places of worship  derive their sanctity only because the people of God meet there to worship God. Second, there is a good Scriptural reason to consider the people of God themselves as the ultimate and true sanctuaries of God. The New Testament shows us that it's with our bodies/ souls with which God has primary concern as His true temple. Therefore, it is God’s people, either in the collective or in the individual sense that should be considered as the ultimate sanctuary of God. Such an understanding of the believer(s) as the ultimate sanctuary of God, a place where He takes up His permanent residence and where His continual service and worship must take place. Such a conception is not only in the Old Testament implicitly but also in the New Testament openly.[6] 

 

"Thus says the LORD: "Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool; what is the house which you              would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all                      these things are mine, says the LORD. But this is the man to whom I will look, he that is humble and                      contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." (Is. 66:1-2 RSV).

 

"But it was Solomon who built a house for him. Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with                 hands; as the prophet says, 'Heaven is my throne, and earth my footstool. What house will you build for             me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?"  (Act. 7:47-50             RSV).

 

"Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's            temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are." (1 Cor. 3: 16-17, RSV).

 

"The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign have you to show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered them,                         ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It has taken forty-six years                 to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he spoke of the temple of his body. " (Jn.            2: 18-21 RSV)

 

 

Hence, when we talk about the temple/ sanctuary of God, hereafter, it will be primarily in the context of God’s people, and only remotely in terms of a physical place or structure. In this case, then the focus of the desecration and desolation of the sanctuary will be acts of cruelty (horror) committed against the people of God by the anti-God secular power.

 

"At the end of their rule, when the transgressions have reached their full measure, a king of bold                            countenance shall arise, skilled in intrigue.  He shall grow strong in power, shall cause fearful destruction,            and shall succeed in what he does. He shall destroy the powerful and the people of the holy ones. By his              cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall be great. Without                    warning he shall destroy many and shall even rise up against the Prince of princes. But he shall be                        broken, and not by human hands. The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true.            As for you, seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.” (Dan. 8: 23-26)

 

According to this word, in the last days would rise a cruel autocrat, a dictator, who would be a master of intrigue and conspiratorial work.  This man will amass much political power in his hands and subsequently unleash such violence that would astonish all because of its ferocity and its destructiveness unprecedented in scale.

 

He will also mislead many by his demagogy, making many to believe the Lie for the Truth. He will be able to accomplish many of his plans and programs, some of which amount to astounding feats of endeavor. Though, he will be pretentious in his claims and be impious in his behavior. He will grow arrogant and impious to the point where he will start persecuting and killing many who belong to God. His wrath will target those who show signs of faith and devotion to God. In that sense he will be Satan-inspired, most of his power to destroy and conquer coming from Satan.

 

In this context, the sanctuary of God that the 'little horn' will profane and undermine will be principally God’s people, and not as a physical place like the third Temple or a church.[7] The desecration of the ‘temple’ must, hence forward, be understood in context of the gross violation of their dignity that God’s people will suffer at the hands of the anti-Christ and his loyalists. Hence, the desolation is the destruction of their livelihood and even their life. The abomination which results in this desolation, therefore, is the ideology promoted by the anti-Christ system. In short, in modern parlance, the end-time Abomination of Desolation is description of the wanton and barbaric horror carried out against the true temple of God, which is His people.[8] 

 

 

 

The Rise of the Last days' ‘Little Horn’

As explained already, in its historic realization, the ‘little horn’ would most likely be a godless ruthless authoritarian system. Among many of its evil deeds, it will humiliate (i.e., bring low or abase) the temple of God (i.e., His people) in the most horrific manner. Before this could happen, however, first a spiritual vacuum would emerge to set the ground work for the rise of a godless and ruthless force (For example, see Luk. 17 and 1 Thess. 4). To illustrate this point, then let us ask if just before the rise of Nazism and Soviet communism, there was a spiritual lukewarm conditions characterized by rampant worldliness and godlessness, or not? What the historian Johnson describes the situation in Europe in the 1920s resembles the description of the moral condition the Bible says that will prevail before the rise of the anti-Christ.

 

      "The greatest event of recent times – that “God is dead”, that the belief in the Christian God is

      no longer tenable – is beginning to cast its first shadows over Europe.’ Among the advanced

      races, the decline and ultimately the collapse of the religious impulse would leave a huge

      vacuum. The history of modern times is in great part the history of how that vacuum had

      been filled. Nietzsche rightly perceived that the most likely candidate would be what he

      called the ‘Will to Power’, … In place of religious belief, there would be secular ideology.

      Those who had once filled the ranks of the totalitarian clergy would become totalitarian

      politicians. And, above all, the Will to Power would produce a new kind of messiah,

      uninhibited by any religious sanctions whatever, and with an unappeasable appetite for

      controlling mankind. The end of the old order, with an unguided world adrift in a relativistic

      universe, was a summons to such gangster-statesmen to emerge. They were not slow to

      make their appearance… [Europe] was in fact embarking on two decades of unprecedented

      ferocity and desolation – moral relativism in monstrous incarnation.”[9]

 

The spiritual apathy of the 1920s led to the rise of two modern day ruthless and godless ideologies, namely Nazism and Communism. First we will consider the Nazis with their unparalleled persecution and murder of the people of God – the Jews. Later, we will look at Communism, in its vicious anti-God career and in its promised pseudo-messiah utopia. [10]

 

Here we consider the plight of the Jews’ for a major prophetic-symbolic reason as well. What we find out about them - the Holocaust and how subsequently that led to the setting up of the state of Israel will have for us an immense symbolic relevance, which we will consider later.  [11]

 

 

 

The Nazis

In the political and economic uncertainties in post-WWI Germany, Hitler emerged from total political obscurity to set up his Nazi party. In the late 1920s, Hitler has "established himself as a brilliant and innovatory speaker, a hard-working party organizer and an authoritarian leader of terrifying will-power." Those who gathered around him also believed in the necessity of a strong leader, a totalitarian state, and racial purity and world leadership for the German people. To this end Hitler and his henchmen conspired and maneuvered themselves to power. Though they apparently came to power through constitutional means, once they got the power they clung to it in the most unconstitutional manner. The Nazis in power proved to be the lawless ones par excellence. They ruled by decrees rather than by constitutional laws. What the Fuehrer willed, it was the law of the moment. It was the devils that have assumed state power.

 

Through their skill in organizing and controlling social life, authoritarian rule, and Hitler’s irresistible demagogy, the Nazis were able to impose order, security and industrial efficiency in Germany unseen over the previous two or three decades. The rapid rearmament policy the Nazis followed accompanied by suppression of workers unions, allowed Germany to experience economic boom under the Nazis. This did not fail to make positive impression on many Germans. To many, therefore, Hitler appeared as a miracle worker, working order out of chaos, and bringing optimism out of the national malice. His popularity was not low by any means.[12] The Deception latter to come in the open, for the moment was taking root in the hearts of the German people - that Hitler had the Answer and provides the Solution. But soon the consequences of endorsing the Nazis were to be made apparent to all.

 

The Nazi party under Hitler was a highly disciplined, methodical, and ruthless organization. The Nazis set up a police state, and they ruled through fear and total allegiance to the State. Their main ideology was racial purity of the German race. They taught that a purified German race is historically destined to rule the whole world. To that end the German nation, had to be cleansed from what the Nazis considered ‘polluting’ racial elements and people of inferior quality. So the Nazis set the stage to make human sacrifices to the ideology they preached.  It happened that it was mainly the Jews and the Slavs who carried the brunt of Nazi hatred and became the major victims of Nazi extermination plans. The Jews were condemned to die, while the Slavs were mainly intended to become the slave-labor class for the Teutonic master race.[13]

 

True that Jews have known much hatred and persecution nearly in every nation they were dispersed since the Roman days. However, what they have experienced at the hands of the Nazis was unparalleled in its cruelty and magnitude. For Hitler to realize his millennial Third Reich dream, solving ‘the Jewish Problem’ was a centerpiece of his ideology. As it is said, "The ‘Jewish problem’ was central to his (Hitler’s) whole view of history, political philosophy and program of action." [14]


In the years they were in power, Hitler and his henchmen, murdered some six million of Jews in the most gruesome manner. Hitler’s race idea was clearly satanic and its implementation most horrific. “At Auschwitz, where 2 million were murdered, the process was run like a large scale industrial operation.”[15] Through the sweeping police actions of the ruthless secret service and the army, the Nazi regime herded Jews inside from Germany itself and from many other European lands and sent them to the concentration camps. In these camps, Jews were worked to death, were starved. 

 

"…There were no rest periods and anyone leaving his zone was shot, ‘attempting to escape.’ There were floggings every day and ‘several hangings a week.’ Potato-turnip soup was served at midday, a piece of bread in the evening.[16] Fritz Saukel, head of the slave-labour system, had laid down: ‘All the inmates must be fed, sheltered and treated in such a way as to exploit them to the fullest possible extent, at the lowest conceivable degree of expenditure.’" [17]

 

Many were sent to science and medical laboratories where they were experimented with as human guinea pigs. Millions of them were murdered in the Nazi gas chambers.

 

Then they would feel the gas and crowd together away from the menacing columns and finally stampeded towards the huge metal door with its little window. Where they piled in one blue clammy blood-spattered pyramid, clawing and mauling at each other even in death. Twenty-five minutes later the ‘exhauster’ electric pumps removed the gas-laden air, the great metal door slid open, and the men of the Jewish Sonderkommando entered, wearing gas-masks and gumboots and carrying hoses, for their first task was to remove the blood…before dragging the clawing dead apart with nooses and hooks, the prelude to the ghastly search for gold and the removal of the teeth and hair which were regarded by the Germans as strategic materials. Then the journey by lift or rail-waggon to the furnaces, the mill that ground the clinker to fine ash, and the lorry that scattered the ashes in the stream of the Sola.”[18]

 

Thus desecrated and destroyed became the sanctuary of God, God's own people – the Jew, at the hands of the Nazi Juggernaut. Hitler and his race ideology (i.e., Nazis) is the the biblical abomination of desolation. It is  Nazism which led to the the desecration of God’s temple, His covenant people, in the most horrifying manner. 

 

Fulfilling what is said of the "little horn", Hitler, in all his arrogance, opened his mouth and uttered obscenities against the Jews and their God. His hatred of Jewry and their religion knew any bounds. Hitler mobilized all his power and resources to the total annihilation of the ancient people of God.

 

"The ferocity and the scale with which the Nazi regime destroyed know little parallel in the history of man.

The Third Reich…lasted twelve years and four months, but in that flicker of time, as history goes, it caused an eruption on this earth more violent and shattering than any previously experienced, raising German people to heights of power they had not known in more than a millennium, making them at one time the masters of Europe from the Atlantic to the Volga, from the North Cape to the Mediterranean, the end of a world war which their nation had cold-bloodedly provoked and during which it instituted a reign of terror over the conquered peoples which, in its calculated butchery of human life and the human spirit, out-did all the savage oppressions of the previous ages."[19]

 

Only a few of the European Jews, those who were able to discern enough to discern Hitler in his intentions --  in his sinister plans for the Jews -- fled the looming menace in time. Many European Jews fled to safety to other countries quickly. That is what Jesus has advised those who live at the time of the Antichrist to do (cf. Matt. 24: 15- 20).

 

The founder and leader of the Nazi party and regime, Adolph Hitler, carried many of the hallmarks of the Antichrist as indicated above. Hitler was charismatic, but deceptive; he was intelligent, but an evil-genius. He possessed a callous heart. He had infinite capacity to hate and to destroy on a massive scale.

 

"The man who founded the Third Reich, who ruled it ruthlessly and often with uncommon shrewdness, who led it to such dizzy heights and to such a sorry end, was a person of undoubted, if evil, genius. It is true that he found in the German people, as a mysterious Providence and centuries of experience had molded them up to that time, a natural instrument which he was able to shape to his own sinister ends.  But without Adolph Hitler, who was possessed of a demonic personality, a granite will, uncanny instincts, a cold ruthlessness, a remarkable intellect, a soaring imagination and – until toward the end- an amazing capacity to size up people and situations, there almost certainly would never have been a Third Reich." [20]

 

There is one more thing which Hitler fulfills about the Antichrist (little horn) prophecy (Dan 11: 37). The prophecy indicates the low-key sexuality of the Antichrist which Hitler fulfills. For example, Klein notes:

 

"A man who from very humble beginnings had transformed himself into a demagogue, a man who, as several historians have noted, was much admired by women. Yet, although many theories have been put forward regarding Hitler’s sexual life, whether or not he was impotent for instance, or whether he suffered from syphilis, the truth is that very little is known other than that he had close relations with his niece… and later in life with a woman called Eva Braun." [21]

 

In Hitler, the world saw an abomination that made desolate on a vast scale. First, Hitler authored the transgression, namely the Nazi ideology. This ideology unleashed one of the awful horrors ever seen in human history. Nazism was evil incarnate for its ferocity and destructive power, and it singled out God's covenant people for utter destruction. Second, the little horn is inspired by Satan (See Dan. 8:24). As many would agree Nazism was a system which can be said was motivated and energized by Satan (Dan 8:25). Third, Hitler made the Lie of racial superiority to prosper in his hands. Hitler easily misled millions with his hell-inspired ideology, becoming Satan's agent of desolation.

 

Millions acknowledged Nazi ideology publicly; millions identified with Nazi's cause unashamedly. That is, in a way, carrying the mark of the beast on the forehead. Everyone could see where their allegiance lay looking at the uniform they wore; the party membership card they carried; and the vocal support and the adulation they expressed. In the second sense, many followers of Nazism, so to speak, carried the mark of the beast on their right hand as well. This refers to the aspect of service where millions willingly and whole heartily served or participated in the Nazi system. It is this large membership in the Party which contributed to Nazism's widespread destructive power.

 

It is worth noting that most of those who enlisted in the service of Nazism and others who gave it their tacit support were Christians. However, deceived by the propaganda of the Nazi party, mesmerized by the charisma of Hitler, and overly impressed by the military prowess of Germany, these (nominal) Christians abandoned the teachings of Christ to become complicit in the horrendous crimes of Hitler. Their abandonment of God's word to embrace Nazism, intrinsically an Evil system, amounts to the end-time apostasy the Bible speaks about. St. Paul warns about a widespread apostasy by believers who abandon God's Truth for the Antichrist's Lie (2 Thess. 2:3). 

 

 

 

 

Communism (Marxism-Leninism)

Next, we will consider atheistic Communism (Marxism-Leninism) as the other manifestation of the ‘little horn’ as the abomination of desolation. As we did with Nazism, here again we will draw a parallel between Communism and the little horn as presented in the Bible (and presented above).

 

 

(i). Communism has its origins in the Enlightenment

 

As acknowledged by its proponents, Marx’s communist ideology drew much inspiration from 18th and 19th C. British political economy, French and English Utopian socialist ideas, and the dialectical and evolutionary works of Frederick Hegel and Charles Darwin. Revolutionary Communism, more than any other offshoot of the secular-humanist camp, was the most radical and materialistic in its propositions. It openly and actively rejected traditional institutions and customary values, and called for the total and complete overthrow of the old order.[22]  Marxists worked for their political ideal - the establishment of a completely new social, political and economic order organized around an autocratic socialist party and state. Most often, their methods to achieve their goals were conspiratorial, violent and ruthless. 

 

For example, as Johnson observed about Stalin, the former ruler of the Soviet Union, Stalin was running a Cultural Revolution, an attempt to change the fundamental human attitudes over the whole range of knowledge by the use of naked police power.[23]

     

 

(ii). Communism (Marxism-Leninism) is atheistic 

 

Marxism-Leninism  in its conception of history and the origins of the universe is purely materialistic. It has no room for God in the origin of the universe, in history, and in the affairs of men. For example, the German 19th C. philosopher, Ludwig Feuerbach, who has such a strong influence on Karl Marx, was, “an early and prominent atheist, who denied all supernaturalism and attributed all talk about God to talk about nature. Man, he said, is not dependent on God but on nature.” [24] 

 

In Marxist-Leninist ideology, the origins of the idea of God and religion are explained away as vestiges of mankind's primitive cosmology. The discovery of science has now made the idea of God (which is the grand projection of the forebodings of man) superfluous. Marxists reject the idea of God and religion as a drag on human progress and scientific discoveries. Now that science has come, Man must liberate itself from the idea of the supernatural. Now Marxism-Leninism has come, man must strive on its own to build the perfect world. 

 

According to true Marxists, since all religions are pre-scientific and have been used as instruments of oppression and exploitation by the ruling classes, they must be abolished by law and revolutionary action. For example, Karl Marx wrote that religion is the opiate of the masses and a drag on progress. Similarly, Lenin expressed his hatred of the church in the most venomous terms. He considered priests as gendarmes in cassocks. Hence, one of the primary tasks of communists when they come to power would be to suppress institutions of religion. [25 a]

 

And as David Satter, notes, in short, "Although the Bolsheviks called for the abolition of private property, their real goal was spiritual: to translate Marxist-Leninist ideology into reality. For the first time, a state was created that was based explicitly on atheism and claimed infallibility. This was totally incompatible with Western civilization, which presumes the existence of a higher power over and above society and the state." [25 b]

 

Vladimir Lenin was the leader of the Russian Bolshevik party and founder of the Soviet Union, the first communist state in the world. Lenin put in place an anti-clerical system geared towards suppressing religion. His policy to eradicate religion was vehement and ideological. Writing about Lenin, the historian Johnson, notes: 

 

"Religion was important to him, in the sense that he hated it.  Unlike Marx who despised it and treated it as marginal, Lenin saw it as a powerful and ubiquitous enemy… he had an intense personal dislike for anything religious… From the start, the state he created set up and maintains to this day an enormous academic propaganda machine against religion. He was not just anticlerical like Stalin, who disliked priests because they were corrupt. On the contrary, Lenin had no real feelings about corrupt priests, because they were easily beaten. The men he really feared and hated, and later persecuted, were the saints." [26]     

 

Starting with the Soviet Union in 1917, subsequent communist regimes around the world manifested differing degrees of hostility towards God and religion.  Communists (movements and governments) opposition to religion has cost the church an enormous amount of suffering. Persecution at the hands of communists often came in the form of martyrdom, torture, imprisonment, exile, expropriation, and discrimination, etc.

 

 

 

(iii). Marxism-Leninism is Utopian in its vision

 

Communists’ general attempt to set up a secular utopia led them to engage on massive scale social engineering and brutal suppression of all whom they considered opponents. The church and the faithful of other religions fell victim to the grandiose Communist attempt to make the ‘New Man’, which will overcome all natural forces and usher the endless era of bliss.

 

The communist party is projected as the incarnation of the infallible word of Marxism-Leninism, which everyone has to follow without any deviation.  For example, in the words of V. Lenin, Marxism has a status like that of the Bible among the faithful.

 

"From the philosophy of Marxism … cast as one piece of steel, it impossible to expunge a single basic premise, a single essential part, without deviating from objective truth… [And] Orthodox Marxism requires no revision of any kind either in the field of philosophy, in its theory of political economy, or its theory of historical development."[27] 

 

The whole assertion of Marxist theoreticians has therefore been: If the teachings of Marxism-Leninism were strictly followed in statecraft, inevitably would follow the Perfect Society. It was claimed, unlike other social philosophies, that Marxism-Leninism was scientific, therefore, able to provide the Solution to the varied problems of humanity. One need only to follow it thoroughly and apply is wholeheartedly to see its good results.

 

 

 

(iv). Marxism-Leninism is a humanistic movement  

Marxists taught the inherent goodness and infinite capacity of mankind. They believed in the perfectibility of man. They placed much faith in the assertion of Darwinian evolutionary and Hegelian dialectical laws to believe that mankind was on a course of progress to achieve a higher order of existence. To achieve his Perfect State, man did not need the help of the supernatural.  As Schaeffer observed such view of mankind contradicted the fallen nature of man.

 

"The Perfectibility of Man was the basis of much of the Enlightenment and of the French Revolution. Theoretically it was a basis of the Marxist-Lenin revolution in Russia. [However] Each place this concept of the Perfectibility of Man has been acted on it has led to tragedy, to political chains, and to the loss of humanness." [28]

 

"Marxist taught that Communism could usher in a secular utopia, a classless, secure and prosperous society, which would know no end. This assertion placed a direct challenge to the Christian millennial worldview. Projecting their vision of a secular perfect world, the Communists confronted humanity with a stark choice. The choice had to be made between them, the secular messiahs, or the Christian Messiah, Jesus Christ. Marxism, which provides remarkable evidence of the power of dominant key ideas to inspire and direct man, is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges to traditional religious belief… the thinking of Marx had religious overtones, whether from his own Jewish background or from a Christian atmosphere…Marxism can be called a quasi-religion insofar as it calls from its followers a devotion and a commitment that is in their empirical character resemble commitment and devotion that characterize religious people...Furthermore, like a religion, it has provided themes of fulfillment and hope – a revolution interpreted as the initiation of a Communist world society that would be a final consummation. There are many logical similarities between the doctrine of the Marxist millennium and the Christian doctrine of Christ’s Second Coming." [29]

 

It should not come as surprise that many were deceived to by the words and deeds of the Communists to believe that the Communist system was the promised Kingdom of God come in a secular form. Therefore, as one Christian philosopher put it, Communism has been a Christian heresy.

 

The sad fact, however, is that under Communism, the heart of man created to worship only God and to be His sanctuary is now forced to enthrone Man as god and to accept the man-made Communist ideology, as savior. To achieve this goal, Communists by terror and persecution, by propaganda and economic blackmail, coerced people to reject God and to embrace dialectical materialism as the Truth. Thus God was exiled from the hearts of many. Millions of people worldwide were seduced and  even compelled to believe the Lie that man is his own god and can save himself.  The Lie uttered at the fall of man in the Garden of Eden – ‘You shall be like God’, came closest to its fulfillment through the ideology of Communism. It can be argued that because, Communism, more than any other ideology has had a very well-thought out atheistic philosophy and attempted for several decades to set up a worldwide Millennial–like Utopia on earth, it more than the Nazi ideology, comes closest to fulfill the prophecy about the Antichrist.

 

How could modern man, with his scientific advances and intellectual advances, could end up creating such ideologies and perpetrate wide scale atrocities and suppression of freedoms? After all, as Johnson intimated and the Bible foreshadows, it is the decline of Christianity (i.e., the worldliness or apostasy) which created the modern political zealot – and his crimes. It is the evaporation of religious faith among the educated which created the vacuum in the minds of Western intellectuals that was easily filled by secular superstition. As it is said about the intellectuals of the 1920s and 1930s, scientists accustomed to evaluating evidence, and writers, whose whole function is to study and criticize society, accepted the crudest Stalinist propaganda at its face value. They needed to believe; they wanted to be duped.[30]

 

If Nazism was a secular messianic aberration based on race theory; Marxism, on the other hand, was an ideology based on class warfare.  According to Communists, in order for the Perfect Society to emerge, first society has to be re-made through class warfare. Only after long out-drawn class warfare (which includes uprooting traditional custom and religion) there could be a New Man, a new society. The party guided by the ideology of scientific Marxism-Leninism can provide the blue print how to create the socialist new man and the socialist new world. To realize all these, first old social relations have to be smashed ruthlessly, the propitiated classes have be dispossessed mercilessly, and the toiling masses have to be empowered economically and politically with little delay. Only class-based revolutionary struggle led by the Communist party can start and then complete the liberation of the masses from oppressing natural and exploiting social forces.

 

 

 

(v). Communism is statist, totalitarian and committed to social engineering 

 

Based on the above theoretical framework, everywhere Communists assumed political power, beginning with the Russian Revolution in 1917, they forged forward to organize, direct and control every aspect of social life. They always suppressed individual rights in the name of the common good. Citizens have to render absolute allegiance to the Communist state. Acknowledging any other power, like Jesus Christ, for example, as source of truth and guidance in the life of the people, amounted to treason and anti-revolutionary activity.

 

Under Communism, the state was elevated to a god-like status. It was the most centralized State, overseeing every aspect of life in society. Its orders have to be obeyed at any cost and to the State every allegiance belonged. In such a state, Marxist ideology was defied as the objective and infallible truth. The Communist party leaders were seen as the owners of revealed truth, with power to lead the people to total redemption.

 

Consequently, any allegiance to God or any other customary authority was considered criminal offence in the Communist lands. This inevitably led to conflict between the true believers and the Communist rulers. To true Christians who could only acknowledge Jesus as Lord, the new communist Caesars could not be worshiped and obeyed as Lord without compromising ones faith. As Schaeffer observed in this regard:

 

"The humanist worldview eventually leads in the worship of the state, where the states substitutes God as the solution of every societal ill. This is because humanists, having no god, must put something at the center, and it is inevitably society, government, or the state."[31]

 

And,

 

"The early church carried out their civil disobedience in the only way available to them. They came to the clear issue of worshiping Caesar or not, and rebelled in refusing to do so, though they knew the cost. It seems to me that in most the Iron Curtain countries the Christians are in about the same position as the early church. They are not in a position to change the system because of their low numbers, because as Christians they are systematically shut out of places of influence, and because of the iron control. Thus they must resist, in the manner the early church did, when they were commanded to disobey God…if apprehended, paying the price [meant] being sent to the labor camps in Siberia, which at times still means certain death, and certainly great suffering. The labor camps take the place of the lions."[32 a]

 

Under Communism, as under Nazism, the leader or the party are rarely in error. If something which has been promised does not materialize, the ideology was never in error, but the people who have failed to measure up to expectations. They are who failed the ideology one way or another. The people must be "corrected"; and the correction often was destructive in its outcome.   

 

 

(vi). The communist leader has the hallmarks of the "little horn"

 

As we have learned from Daniel Chapters 8 and 11, the "little horn" ant-Christ is cunning/ intelligent, demagogue/ propagandist, ruthless/ dictatorial, intriguer/ conspiratorial, militaristic, and communist/ distributive. What the historian Stephen Kotkin writes about communist leaders is apt in this regard:  

 

"From Russia and China to Cambodia, North Korea and Cuba, communist dictators have shared key traits. All have conformed, more or less, to the Leninist type: a fusion of militant ideologue and unprincipled intriguer. And all have possessed an extreme willpower--the prerequisite for attaining what only unspeakable bloodshed could bring." [32 b]

 

 

 

(vii). Communism has proved destructive to human life on a massive scale 

 

In many parts of the world they came to power, communists, in order to realize their millennial vision, have carried out  massive violations of human rights. They have subjected their citizens to forceful evictions, re-location, dispossession. Thousands have languished in labor camps. Many have lost their lives through starvation and mass executions, etc. In many cases, the state becomes one big prison in which citizens have to live in fear and from which they could not escape. As Johnson writes:   

 

"In the name ideology and economic policy, millions of citizens were killed, interned in prisons, or exiled in Communist lands. As their records show, Communists have been heartless and barbaric to the extent of exterminating and persecuting the populace to fit their ideological ends.  For example, in the 1930s under Stalin’s campaign to collective Soviet agriculture, it is believed that some 10 million rural dwellers and others had perished."

 

"During these years something like 10 percent of Russia’s population passed through Stalin’s penitential machinery…Churches, hotels, even bathhouses and stables were turned into gaols; and dozens of new ones built. Within these establishments, torture was used on a scale, which even the Nazis were later to find difficult to match. Men and women were mutilated, eyes gouged out, eardrums perforated; they were encased in ‘nail boxes’ and other fiendish devices. Victims were often tortured in front of their families… In 1942-45, there were many more Soviet camps, most of them larger than the Nazi ones, and containing many more people… Most of the camps, however, served a definite economic purpose…Lenin and later Stalin built up the world’s second-largest gold industry and huge gold reserves, on the backs of men working a sixteen-hour day, with no rest days, wearing rags, sleeping often in torn tents, with temperature down to sixty degrees below zero, and pitifully with small quantities of food.[33] 

 

Another major country, which came under the influence of Communism next to Russia, was China. In China Communists took power in 1949. The Chinese Communist leader, Mao tse-Tung indulged in social engineering and politically motivate terror campaigns with consequences not less than that of Stalin in Soviet Russia. For example, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, his attempt to transform Chinese agriculture into a commune system, had a high human cost. It led to man-made famine, which killed some 40 million Chinese [34]. Mao’s rule was a ruthless and autocratic as much as Stalin’s was. Wholesale killings of political opponents, consigning intellectuals and dissidents to labor camps, persecuting and controlling the churches have been a common occurrence in Communist China [35].  Regarding the policy, which the Chinese Communist followed in relation to the churches, what Aikman notes here is quite revealing.

 

"On coming to power, therefore, what the [Chinese] Communists needed to accomplish in relation to China’s Christian population was twofold challenge.. First, they needed to intimidate into total compliance or cow into silence any prominent Catholic or Protestant Christians leaders who opposed the new regime. Any center of independent civic leadership, and hence potential political opposition, could not be permitted to survive beneath the new mandate. Second, to avoid totally alienating the entire mass of Christian believers in China while they were still consolidating their power, the Communists needed to co-opt a large portion of the clergy. These were not to be just passive supporters to the new regime, but active enthusiasts…the Communists had planned the infiltration and control of Protestant Christian churches carefully and thoroughly. . It was during this period of mass reeducation all over China that the terms ‘thought reform’ and ‘brainwashing’ first acquired wide currency. The large majority of Protestant clergy in China went with the process. The price for resistance ranged from public denunciation, arrest, imprisonment, and possibly execution." [36]

 

Aikman ably chronicles what Chinese church leaders had to pay for standing firm for Jesus Christ and rejecting Mao’s secular Utopia propaganda. Many Church leaders and priests were shot to death for so-called counter-revolutionary activity. Many others were sent to labor camps as long as 20 years where they labored under harsh conditions. Police torture and surveillance of churches is still a common occurrence in China today.

 

Believers faced similar persecution in countries where Communists took power. In former East European Communist block counties, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Cuba, Ethiopia, Christians churches were closed, and believers suffered martyred at the hands of Communists [37], [38]. What took place in Cambodia at the hands of Communist in the mid-1970s was horrifying.

 

"The Communist elites, which seized power by force all over Indo-China in April 1975 immediately, embarked on nationwide programs of social engineering, with grave consequences to the population. The models and inspirations were Stalin’s collectivization of the peasants and China’s Mao rural communes. But it was in Cambodia, where the worst atrocities against humanity took place. The most horrifying atrocities against the people were justified in the name of total social revolution, where everything from the past was anathema and had to be destroyed. At the hands of the ruling party, the Khmer Rouge, mass terror was the chosen weapon to hasten history, and realize the envisioned Communist Utopia without delay. Millions of members of so-called parasite classes, undesirable elements and counter-revolutionaries died under the social engineering policies of the Khmer Rouge. Most died while attempting to flee the Khmer devils, got executed by the Communist, or died under the harsh conditions of the rural villages to which they were forced to live after driven out of the cities and towns. About 100,00 Cambodians were executed, 20,000 died trying to flee, 400, 000 died in the forced exodus from the towns, a further 430, 000 died in the camps and ‘villages’ before 1975, and a 250,000 more in 1976.  Hence between April 1975 and the beginning of 1977, the Marxist-Leninist ideologues ended the lives of 1,200,000 people, a fifth of the population." [39]

 

The Khmer Communist leader, like their predecessors, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, were heartless ideologues. The human person was an expendable sacrifice on the altar of Ideology. They were prepared to commit mass scale atrocities in the name of ideology. 

 

"Like Lenin, they were pure intellectuals. They epitomized the great destructive force of the twentieth century: the religious fanatic reincarnated as professional politician. What they did illustrate the ultimate heartlessness of ideas." [40]

 

"Communists believe in strong military and police power to impose and control their autocratic rule. This has to be done to use their parlance to protect the dictatorship of the proletariat from internal and external counter-revolutionary forces. So everywhere, Marxist-Leninist parties, inevitably a large-sized ‘people’s army’ characterized each state. The first and leading Communist country, Soviet Russia for long time maintained one of the largest armies of the world and it became one the largest arms producer of the century. It was mainly Russian armament, which was exported to other communist nations to bolster their dictatorial grips on their own citizens. Most of the former and present day communist nations have had the highest per capita number of soldiers and defense expenditures." [41]                                                                                

 

"The virtual strength the Red Army demonstrated in WWII in defeating the Nazis was soon used to occupy many East European countries under the Soviet orbit as satellite communist nations.  Soviet Russia exercised influence in Communist China’s policy until the early 1960s, and was the undisputed controlling force in other Communist oriented countries of the region. Soviet expansionism in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa and to some extent Latin America was quite marked.[42] Among other factors, it was helped by the winds of change that were sweeping the developing world in the post-WW II years.  Soviet influence and expansionism was carried out in the guise of supporting national liberation struggles and in the name of assisting developing nations to pursue independent economic and political policies from their former colonial powers. In many developing countries the Soviets supported left wing movements and armed revolutionary insurgencies; engineered coups to bring Communists to power; propped up unpopular socialist governments with massive economic and military aid; and even at times launched direct military invasions in support of their client regimes, etc." [43 a] 

 

As Satter, summarizes, nearly 100 million people have perished as the result of communism since its start in 1917 in the Soviet Union. Satter notes the root cause is the communist's dogmatic conviction which:

 

"set the stage for decades of murder on an industrial scale. In total, no fewer than 20 million Soviet citizens were put to death by the regime or died as a direct result of its repressive policies. This does not include the millions who died in the wars, epidemics and famines that were predictable consequences of Bolshevik policies, if not directly caused by them. [...]  If we add to this list the deaths caused by communist regimes that the Soviet Union created and supported -- including those in Eastern Europe, China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia -- the total number of victims is closer to 100 million. That makes communism the greatest catastrophe in human history." [43 b]

 

 

 

(viii). Communism is doomed

 

Daniel Chapter 11 presents us with a panoramic picture of two powers struggling on the world stage. It is clear that they are rivals and want to dominate each other. The "King of the South" seems the milder of the two, while the "King of the North" is more aggressive. Based on our understanding of Daniel Chapter 8 (which Daniel Chapter 11 seems to be its extension), we can take the endless skirmish between the "king of the South" and the "King of the North" as an ideological struggle between two branches (horns) that have emanated from one "Greek horn" (i.e., the Enlightenment). Given our knowledge of world secular history and what we know of the content of the two systems, we can speculate the "King of the South" may represent western civilization based on capitalism and liberal democracy, while "King of the North" represents eastern civilization characterized by communism as a political and economic system.   

 

However, according to Daniel Chapter 11, the pretensions of the ‘little horn’ (i.e., in our case, the intentions of Soviet Russia's communism for expansion and world domination), would not go unchallenged. Daniel's prophecy predicts that another secular world power will challenge the maneuvers of  the "king of the North" (which in this case represents the forces of communism). In Daniel's vision it is pointed out how the charges the "king of the North" hurls and the challenges it mounts will be stopped. He will be forced to beat a retreat by the "King of the South."  The "King of the North"  will be forced to retreat to its own homeland and meet a sudden end (Dan. 11: 18-19). As winds of change sweep against it from various directions, it would try to save its empire, but that would be too late. Once retired and confined to its provinces, it would stumble (make false steps), and as the result meet its demise never to rise up again (Dan 11: 44-45). [44 a] How the "King of the North" meets its end resembles the way Communism came to its end in the 1980s.

 

Since the end of World War II, two civilizations were in rivalry on the world stage, where Western civilization locked horns with eastern communism. Even if they did not engage in direct war, there were series of proxy wars and plenty of arms racing between the two ideological camps. In the 1980s, the West mounted a serious challenges against Soviet communism. And when the Soviets turned inward and started to reform; they faltered badly and disintegrated. As Kotkin reminds us: "Communism's bloody century has come to an end, and we can only celebrate its passing. But troubling aspects of its legacy endure." [44 b]  

 

 

 

Concluding Remarks

 

(i). Given the scripture-based composite profile developed for the last days Antichrist, only two ideological movements, namely Nazism and Communism fit the billing. Moreover, because of some specific details, communism more than Nazism comes closer to fulfill the prophetic descriptions. The best way to understand the sanctuary to defiled by the actions of the Antichrist is none but God's people, where each the person (i.e., body)  is the true (mystical) sanctuary God dwells in by His Spirit. Primarily Jews in the case of the Nazis and Christians in the case of Communism make the respective of sanctuaries of God ravaged by the actions of this anti-God godless ideologies. The abomination of desolation that profanes the temple of God is understood as the godless ideologies of these systems, or the personal cults of the totalitarian leaders which every one is asked to worship. Refusal to give such acknowledgment on the part of God's people leads to a sacrilege, namely the destruction or abuse of their bodies in the form persecution that includes execution, torture, imprisonment, and starvation.    

 

(ii). There is no other better way to end the discussion on the desecration and desolation of the human person at the hands of 20th century godless ideologies than to look at the reflections of the present Pope, John Paul II. The Pope is one of the few persons of who has witnessed the emptiness and horrors of both Nazi and Communist ideologies. The Pope is also unique in the sense that he as a Christian scholar devoted himself to the metaphysical study of the plight of the PERSON. His deep reflection on the degradation and pulverization of man’s fundamental uniqueness at the hands of modern day godless ideologies is unprecedented.[45] What Naugel notes below about the Pope is quite noteworthy in light of what has been said in this article about the Antichrist and the abomination of desolation.

 

[The Pope] "witnessed first hand the devastating consequences of various humanistic ideologies which promised a utopian dream but delivered a cultural nightmare, stripping away the freedom and dignity of countless multitudes  (emphasis added – Ed.). In due course [he] became convinced at intuitive, experiential, and philosophical levels that the fundamental crisis in the West rested squarely upon false ideas about the nature of persons... [He] was not only concerned about the devastation of those who suffered under the icy grip of the Nazi and Communist regimes, but he also recognized the disfiguring consequences of upon those held in bondage to the excess of Western individualism and selfish capitalism. Regardless of location, for [him] various political and economic systems based upon secular and atheistic assumptions led to a profound betrayal of the true nature and nobility of persons." [46]

 

(iii). The Nazi atrocity against the Jew had at least one positive outcome - the setting up of the Jewish own homeland, the state of Israel in 1948. One of the mottoes of the founding fathers of the re-born state of Israel was: No more again. After 2000 years of exile, persecution at the hands of Christians and gentiles, and lastly victims of unprecedented Nazi atrocities, finally God allowed the Jews to set up their own kingdom (state). This God allowed coming to pass so that the Jew will no longer be trampled under the feet of the gentiles. There is a spiritual lesson from Israel’s story.  The restoration of Israel’s kingdom (state) was preceded by the rise of the godless Nazi regime and its evil deeds, and this carries a deep prophetic foreshadowing. The story of Israel is shadow (typology) of the story of the Church, which is the spiritual Kingdom of God. Similarly, the Church must first suffer intensely at the hands of another 20th c. ruthless godless power, before it enters into its kingdom power. The fall of this anti-God power would be a harbinger of the rise of the Kingdom of God in the earth.

 

Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it (he) is near--at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place (Matt. 24: 32-34 NKJV).

 

(iv) In the next and last section, we will examine one additional aspect of the abomination of desolation from the angle of the "sanctuary of the prince." This examination is important in light of understanding passages such as Daniel 9:24-27 and others in their end-time implications. 

 

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Foot Notes 

 

[1] The ‘little horn’ is also commonly known as the Antichrist (2 Thes. 2: 2-12; 2 Jn 1:7) and the (Red) Beast (Rev. 13).

[2] Some of the cult leaders who claimed the title of Messiah include such figures as the Americans Charles Mason, Rev. Jim Jones and David Koresh, the Korean Rev. Moon, and the Japanese Asahara Shokou.  For one aspect of a discussion on this subject, see David Gorenberg’s book, The End of Days .

 

[3] Hence, as we have seen earlier, it will be an offshoot of one of the major branches of the Enlightenment Movement. It means that it will be part of the secular-humanist movement, which would dominate the Western mindset beginning the 17th C.

[4] For the intellectual roots of Nazism, see William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Touchstone, 1990), pp. 97-113. Shirer traces the origins of German (Aryan) racial superiority and the theory of the Superman, which led to the megalomaniac deeds of the Nazis, to the works of the following major philosophers and writers: the Germans, Fichte, Hegel, Treitschke, Nietzsche, R. Wagner, as well as the lesser lights of the Frenchman, Gobineau and the Englishman, Chamberlain. 

 

[5]  Though Hitler did kill many Christians for their faith, those whom he killed for their religious identity by far a larger number were Jews.

[6] Stephen in his last sermon, which led to his martyrdom, brings out this idea most.  He argued with the Jewish religious leaders that God’s ultimate temple is the human body (the believer’s heart) and not the Jerusalem Temple (acts 7: 44-50).  To support his point he quoted 1 Kgs. 8:27 and Is. 66: 1-2. The apostle also quite underlies the fact the believers are collectively and individually constitute the ultimate temple of God (1 Cor. 3: 16-17, 6: 19-20; 2 Cor. 6: 16-18; Eph. 2: 21-22). Paul by quoting Lev. 26:12 to support his interpretation clearly indicated that its was Israel the nation which was collectively the true abode of God and not necessarily the tabernacle or the temple she had.  Jesus also referred to His body as the temple (cf. Jn. 2:19-21). Jesus words in Jn. 14: 23 give some indication on the ultimate meaning of the human body as the temple of God. 

[7] One can include all other classes of people who as well who refuse to submit to the dictates of the impious secular power, and hence suffer similar fate as does the people of God. Humanity, in the general sense, it can be argued that, is the bearer of the image of God and His potential temple. 

[8] The perpetrators of this indignity against the people of God are ‘despised powers’  - educated barbarians (‘Greeks’).  The designation, ‘little horn’ implies as much the inferior quality or the low estimation given to such intellectuals by God, as anything else (Dan 11:21). See also Ps. 119: 141 to see that the word ‘little’ implies contemptible, despised.  

[9] Paul Johnson, Modern Times, (New York: Perennial, 1991), p. 48, 261

[10] Israel and the Church are the two ecclesia of God. Both have been selected as the repository (abodes) of the oracles of God. Israel incarnates the OT, and the Church the NT. God, who is the WORD (Logos) resides and manifests Himself through a chosen people. See for example, Is. 49:3; Rom. 9: 4-5; 2 Cor. 3: 3.

[11] In a wider context, one can consider all human kind, irrespective of nationality, class or creed, as the ultimate and potential temple of God.  In this case, any power that attempts to take the place of God in the life (heart and mind) of mankind is the false Messiah (‘little horn’). Some of the anti-God forces more than others have been quite violent in their opposition and persecution of those who resist such a usurpation.

[12] According to Johnson (p. 295) “By the mid-1930s Hitler was running a brutal, secure, conscienceless, and successful and, for most Germans, popular regime. The German workers, on the whole, preferred secure jobs to civil rights which had meant little to them.” 

[13] Johnson, p. 381.

[14] Johnson, p. 413.

[15] Johnson, p. 415.

[16] It is said that the ‘little horn’ will suspend the morning and evening sacrifice for 2,300 days (Dan 8:13). That is for about for 6 years and 4 months. If in this case if one considers food as the required sacrifice for the upkeep of the human-body temple, then, the Nazis by starving the Jews for the duration of the Holocaust (1939-1945) fulfilled this part of Daniel’s prophesy. (NB. However, based on ones preferred calculation, if one doubles the 2300 days, one arrives at duration of about 12 years and 8 months.  This gives us roughly the period the Nazis lasted in power (1933 – 1945)).

[17] Johnson, p. 417.

[18] Gerlad Reitlinger, The Final Solution (London 1953) quoted in Johnson’s Modern Times, pp. 115-116. 

[19] William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Touchstone, 1990), p. 5.

[20]  Shirer,  pp. 5-6.

[21] Shelley Klein, The Most Evil Dictators of History (New York: Barnes & Noble, 2004), pp. 60-61. Eva Braun, was quite an abandoned, love-starved mistress of Hitler, driven to suicide attempts by her loneliness (Shirer, p. 1111). One can contrast this profile of Hitler’s with his contemporary, Mussolini.  Johnson (p.  96) notes that  Mussolini, “Was handsome, vigorous, well-launched in a sexual career that would bring him 169 mistresses.” If all these true then, the Jew has the last laugh regarding its mortal enemy, Hitler. The Jew could see even right into the bedroom of its archenemy to describe him to such private details  - 2500 years before his rise!!

[22] According to prophecy (Dan 11:36-39,) the Antichrist will be anti-traditionalist. The ‘little horn’ will have a clean break with the traditions and customs of the people. What it will bring into national life will be an imported god, a foreign idea, with little root in the customs and traditions of the people. The idea being foreign, then it has to be bolstered and secured with force of arms. The subject people have to pay a very stiff price to comply.  Only those who conform can make a living out of the system.

[23] Johnson, p. 453.

[24] J. McDowell and D. Stewart, Handbook of Today’s Religions, (San Bernardino: Campus Crusade, 1982) p. 421.

[25 a] McDowell and Stewart, p. 421.

[25 b] Satter, David.Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition; New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]07 Nov 2017: A.17.

[26]  Johnson, pp.50-51

[27] Johnson, p. 53.

[28] F. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, (Westchester: Crossway. 1982), p. 125.

[29] Encyclopedia Britannica III, Macropedia, “Philosophy of Religion,” Chicago, IL: William Benton, Publisher, 1978, vol. 15, p. 598 in J. McDowell and D. Stewart, pp. 435-436.   

[30] Johnson, p. 275.

[31] Schaeffer, p. 114.

[32 a] Schaeffer, pp. 122-123.

[32 b] Kotkin, Stephen.Wall Street Journal (Online); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]03 Nov 2017: n/a.

[33] Johnson, pp. 304-306.

[34] David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing (Lanham: Regenery, 2003), p. 214.

[35] Johnson, pp. 544-574.

[36] Johnson. pp. 52-54.

[37] Brother Andrew, God’s Smuggler (Grand Rapids: Chosen Books, 2001).

[38] Aikman.

[39] Johnson, p. 656.

[40] Johnson, p. 657.

[41]  This conforms Daniel’s words that the Antichrist will worship the god of strongholds (Dan. 11:38).  In modern parlance, that he puts much faith in military buildup and use of military power.

[42] According to prophecy (Dan 11:18) the ‘northern power’ (Antichrist) will succeed in his expansion campaigns until it is stopped by an opposing power.   In its Middle East and Africa adventures, many ME Arab countries will be spared its control; but north and northeast Africa would come under its influence (Dan. 11: 41-43).

[43 a] In this instance, the case of Hungry (1956), Czechoslovakia (1968) and that of Afghanistan (1980) can be considered as clear cut cases of direct Soviet military interventions.

[43 b] Satter, David.Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition; New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]07 Nov 2017: A.17.

[44 a] See Dan 11: 18-19, 44-45.

[44 b] Kotkin, Stephen.Wall Street Journal (Online); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]03 Nov 2017: n/a.

[45] David K. Naugel, Worldview: The History of A Concept (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), pp. 39-40.

[46] Naugel,  pp. 39-40.

 

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edited: May, 2019

 

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