We know this verse describes the last three and a half years of Antichrist’s career because during the first half of Dan-iel’s 70th week he will not exalt himself above all that is called God, he will be a good Jew who will honor all that is called God. That’s why he’ll be honored by Israel. Midway through the 70th week he will exalt himself. During the first half of the 70th week he will be exalted by Israel and the world as a peacemaker (Dan.11:21,24) who brought peace to the Mideast. But after he dies and rises (Rev.13:1,2) he will exalt himself as God (IITh.2:4 cf. Is.14:13,14).
Daniel tells us he will exalt himself against “the prince of the host,” Christ (cf. Josh.5:14), by claiming that he is Israel’s Christ. He adds that the Beast will “exalt himself above every god” (Dan.11:36), similar to how Paul says he’ll exalt himself “above all that is called God.” So what kind of things are called God in the Bible? Several!
The nations called their idols gods (Ps. 96:5), and idolatry will be big in the Tribulation. The spiritual “fornication” the nations will engage in with the “whore” of Babylon (Rev.17:1-5) is the same kind of whoring that Israel did with idols (Deut.31:16). This makes people think the church of Antichrist will be Rome, but long before Rome messed with idols there was a pseudo-Judaism that worshipped God and idols (Judges 17:3). After God put Israel aside, Satan focused on infiltrating Christianity with idolatry, but when God returns His attention to Israel after the Rapture, Satan will infect Judaism with idols again. The whore of Babylon will be Jewish, not Catholic. Revelation 17:1-3 says that the whore will sit on the antichrist to symbolize how Antichrist will honor all that is involved with Judaism during the early part of his career. This is why he is called “the idol shepherd” (Zech.11:7).
However, Zechariah 11:7 goes on to describe his deadly wound that is healed (Rev.13:1,2) after he rises from the dead after his assassination. He will then exalt himself above the idols that are called gods by “showing himself that he is God” (IITh.2:4).
But how will he sit in the temple, as Paul says, when the temple had no chair? Since the people kept sinning, the priest had to keep sacrificing and so there was never time for him to sit, unlike Christ, who offered one sacrifice for sins for ever (Heb.10:11). Oh, there is one chair, but it is occupied. The mercy seat above the ark was a chair, it was the throne of God (Num.7:89). Antichrist “as God” will sit on that seat “shewing himself that he is God” (IITh.2:4).
Of course, the problem with sitting in God’s seat is that once a year a priest will sprinkle blood in your lap—unless you abolish animal sacrifices, as Antichrist will do (Dan.8: 11) claiming that he is the once-for-all offering for their sins.
The Jews themselves were said to be gods (Ps.82:6; John 10:34,35) since God’s Word came to the world through them (Rom.3:1,2), just as Moses was a god to Pharaoh for giving him God’s word (Ex.7:1) and just as the Jews will be gods to the Gentiles in the kingdom for giving them God’s word (Micah 4:1-5). Antichrist will exalt himself above the gods of the Jews by claiming to be the Jew that the Jews have been waiting for for thousands of years, the Messiah.
There are also gods “in heaven” (ICor.8:4,5) against whom Antichrist will exalt himself, the same “gods” that Eve envied (Gen.3:5), the fallen angels. Antichrist will “blaspheme…them that dwell in heaven” (Rev.13:6). He will call some of them down and stomp on them (Dan.8:9,10). You can’t destroy an angel, but you can rough one up! He will do this, and these gods will go along with this, to convince the world he is Christ! If you can call down the gods of heaven and stomp on them, that makes a compelling argument!
Lastly, Antichrist will exalt himself above the gods of the stars (Deut.17:2,3). All the seal judgments are from Anti-christ (Rev.6:1-11) including the removal of the stars of the second heaven (v.12). When he turns out the lights of the universe, many will believe he is Jehovah God, above all gods (Ps.135:5). But when he claims to be God, he will be brought down to the pit of hell (Ezekiel 28:2-10).