There’s No Fool Like a Grace Fool – Galatians 3:1-5

Summary:

The law used to be God’s truth, but now it is grace, so to go back to the law as the Galatians had done is to disobey the truth (3:1). But grace is more than just a gospel to believe to be saved. It is an entire program that tells us how to live now that we’re saved, found in Paul’s epistles, that we’re to stand in (Rom.5:1,2). They had fallen for the law instead.

The law was the gospel the Jews had to believe to be saved, but it was also an entire program to tell them how to live once they were saved, one that said God would bless them with material blessings if they obeyed Him (Lev.26; Deut.28). That’s 180 degrees opposite of grace, that says God has al-ready blessed us with spiritual blessings in Christ (Eph.1:3) and then asks us to walk worthy of Him (Col.1:10). God is not blessing His people materially today, so falling for the law will make you think God doesn’t keep His promises.

The Galatians fell for the law because someone “bewitched” them (3:1). Simon bewitched people by giving out that he was some great one (Acts 8:9,11), and some allegedly great one had no doubt bewitched the Galatians the same way.

Paul was crucified with Christ (Gal.2:20) by being identified with Him in His death (Rom.6:3,4), and that’s how He’d been evidently set forth crucified among the Galatians too (3:1). But evidence is proof (cf.Jer.32:11), so where’s the proof that was “set forth” before the “eyes” of the Galatians that they’d been crucified with Christ? Well, Galatians 3:5 says God ministered the Spirit to them (cf.IThes.4:8) and worked miracles among them by the Spirit (cf.ICor.12:7-10). That’s what gave them visual evidence they’d been saved and crucified with Christ, just as it was “manifest” that the Corinthians had the Spirit (ICor.12:7-10).

Paul asked those Gentile Galatians if they received the Spirit after doing the works of the law awhile, or right away after they heard the gospel and put their faith in Christ (3:2), knowing they’d have to admit that they’d received the Spirit and His gifts right away, like the Gentiles in Acts 10:44.

Paul calls the law “the flesh” (3:3) because the law is heresy under grace, and heresy is a work of the flesh (Gal.5:19-21), our religious flesh. Going back to the law satisfies a believer’s religious flesh, but it’s a “voluntary humility” that God didn’t ask for (Col.2:18,20-23) and rejects.

The legalists told the Galatians the law would “perfect” their faith (3:3), but Paul says preaching Christ does (Col.1:27, 28). But not like the 12 preached him! They preached the law! Only preaching Christ according to the mystery perfects us (Rom.16:25); according to grace, not law (Rom.6:15)!

The Galatians immediately began to be persecuted when they started preaching grace (cf.Gal.5:11), and Paul reminds them if they go back to the law, they’ll have suffered that in vain (3:4)—“if it be yet in vain.” That is, if it wasn’t too late; and it wasn’t! If it were, he wouldn’t bother to write them.

The Corinthians prove men didn’t receive the Spirit and His gifts in those days by the law (Gal.3:5), for they were carnally living in sin, not living by the law, yet they came behind in no spiritual gift (ICor.1:7).

The other way Simon bewitched those people was by sorceries (Acts 8:9-11). Satan used sorceries to bewitch people back then because he always imitates what God does, and God was working miracles then. But today, God is teaching doctrines, so Satan has men teaching “doctrines of devils” (ITim.4:1)—like commanding to abstain from certain meats (v.3). That’s the law! Today, the law is a doctrine of devils. Just as God’s serpent (Num.21:6-8) became Satan’s serpent (II Kings 18:4) once God stopped using it to save people, so God’s law became Satan’s once God stopped using it to save people eternally. See how important rightly dividing is?

Justified and Go Seek – Galatians 2:17-21

Summary:

We are “now” justified (Rom.5:1,9). The word “seek” (Gal.2:17) sometimes means to look to something (Amos 5:5,6). All Jews knew where Gilgal was, but it was filled with idols. So God told the Jews not to look to Gilgal to save them from being taken captive by the Assyrians, for Gilgal herself would be taken captive. And Paul was telling Peter they both looked to Christ to be justified, not the law (2:16).

Paul says “God forbid” to the idea that looking to Christ for justification made Him a sinner. He rather says, “I make my-self a transgressor” when I sin (2:17)—specifically if he sinned the sin Peter sinned, rebuilding “the middle wall of partition” between Jews and Gentiles (Eph.2:11-14) that Peter re-built when he stopped eating with Gentiles. Paul’s ministry of grace destroyed the law, the Lord didn’t (Mt.5:17).

So why does Paul say the Lord did (Eph.2:13-15)? Well, that was how the wall was destroyed, not when. Christ’s work on the cross didn’t go into effect until Paul’s ministry, just as November elections don’t go into effect until January. Paul’s telling the Galatians about all this because they too had gone back to the law. They thought the law would make them more holy, but Paul says it makes a man a transgressor!

Romans 7:4 says we are “dead to the law,” and here we learn we are dead to the law “through the law.” Paul calls the law a “ministration of death” (IICor.3:7) because it says sinners must die because they can’t keep the law perfectly (James 2:10,11). But Paul says we died with Christ (Rom.6:3,4).

Of course, once a criminal is executed, the law that condemned him to death can’t condemn him any more. And the law of Moses can’t condemn us any more now that we died with Christ. So now we can “live unto God” (Gal.2:19). The Galatians thought the law would help them live to God, but God gave the law to make sin worse (Rom.7:13), to strengthen sin (ICor.15:56), so unsaved men would know they need a Savior. It wasn’t made for righteous believers (ITim.1:9).

So how are we supposed to “live unto God” (Gal.2:19)? The answer is: under grace, knowing that Christ died for us makes us want to stop living sinfully for ourselves and live unto Him (IICor.5:15). But the Galatians seemed to have forgotten that, so Paul reminds them in Galatians 2:20.

Of course, the only way a crucified man can say “I live” (2:20) is if he rises from the dead—and we were raised with Christ (Eph.2: 4,5). When Paul adds, “yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,” he’s not saying it’s no longer him living, he’s saying it’s both.

This is similar to what happens when a woman becomes “one flesh” with her husband (Gen.2:24). They become one life. In speaking of Adam and Eve, God called “their” name Adam (5:2) because she lost her identity in her husband. She still had her own identity, but now she also had Adam’s. And we still have our old life, but we also have Christ’s.

That’s why Paul says we are “dead to the law…that we should be married to…Him…that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom.7:4). We couldn’t bring God “fruit unto holiness” (6:22) when we were married to the law, but we can now!

But we need the Lord’s help. That’s why Paul says he lived his new life by the faith “of” Christ (Gal.2:20), i.e., His faith-fulness to intercede for us (Rom.8:33,34). Without that, the law could lay plenty of sins to our charge and condemn us!

Clamoring for the law like the Galatians did frustrated God’s grace (Gal.2:21). The word “frustrate” means to defeat (cf. Ezra 4:1,5). Grace can help you live unto God, but the law will defeat God’s grace in that endeavor, because no law can make men righteous (2:21cf.3:21).

Paul’s Conversation Peace – Galatians 1:13-16

 

Summary:

“The Jews’ religion” (v.13) was originally God’s religion. When He gave it to the people of Israel, it was pure and undefiled (James 1:27). But it got so defiled by their dis-obedience that Paul couldn’t bring himself to call it God’s religion. And before Paul got saved, he was part of that defilement, for he “persecuted the church” (v.13).

Many Bible teachers say there’s only one church in the Bible, “the church, which is His Body” (Eph.1:22,23). But the people of Israel were a church in the wilderness (Acts 7:37). Paul persecuted a church we call the kingdom church. We call it that because the Lord promised to give Peter the keys to it (Mt.16:18,19). The keys were keys of knowledge (cf. Lu.11: 52), i.e., a knowledge of the gospel. That’s what determines who gets into God’s church in any dispensation.

Paul “wasted” that church by killing its members (cf. Acts 22:4). And the reason he’s reminding the Galatians about it is to disprove the legalizers who were saying his gospel was “of men” (Gal.1:11,12). Paul’s message was all about Jesus Christ, and anyone who could have given him a message about Christ was afraid to go near him (cf. Acts 9:13). That proved his message wasn’t of men. The proof that his message was of God came when Paul started preaching his gospel, and had to go from being one of the persecutors to being one of the persecuted! Only God can talk a man into that!

We see more proof that Paul’s message was of God when we learn he was making money in the Jews’ religion (Gal.1:14). Only God can make an unsaved religious leader leave his cash flow to preach a message that left him usually broke.

Paul’s Religious Persuasion – Galatians 1:10-12

 

Summary:

Paul was in the business of persuading men to be Christians (cf. Acts 26:28), but the word “now” (v.10) implies he used to try to persuade God of something. Back when the Lord was trying to persuade him that He was setting aside the law that said certain meats were unclean, Paul probably did what Peter did and tried to persuade Him it wasn’t so (Acts10:14).

Once Paul was persuaded “we are not under the law” (Rom. 6:15), he taught that to the Galatians. But some troublemaking legalizers persuaded them they were under the law, prompting Paul to tell them: “this persuasion cometh not of Him that calleth you” (Gal.5:8). God had called them into grace, not law (1:6), so it must have been men who called them to the law—unsaved men—unsaved Jewish men. At the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, saved Jewish men recognized that Paul had been given a new message of grace for the Gentiles. But unsaved Jews refused to acknowledge that dispensational change.

So the Galatians now had a choice. They could either go back to pleasing God by accepting this dispensational change, or go on pleasing those unsaved legalizing men. And Paul could have chosen to please those men too. Going back to the law would have stopped the persecution he was getting from them. But he knew what verse 10 says, that if he yet pleased men he couldn’t be the servant of Christ.

That word “yet” means Paul used to please unsaved Jewish men. Before he got saved, he knew Jesus matched the prophets’ description of the Messiah, but he also knew if he acknowledged the Lord that he’d be put out of the synagogue by those unsaved Jewish men (Jo.9:22). So when his conscience pricked him about it, he kicked against those pricks (Acts 9:5) to please those unsaved men. But Paul knew you can’t be the servant of Christ unless you accept the dispensational change that God made from law to grace.

Men who object to grace tell us, “You’re just trying to please men by telling them they can eat bacon and don’t have to tithe like the law says.” Then they remind us that the law is Scriptural and start quoting it. When they do that to you, do what Paul did and remind them that he wrote new Scripture.

The word “certify” (Gal.1:11) means to put something in writing, i.e., a certificate. So with this epistle, Paul was giving the Galatians a certificate that said his new message of grace was not after man (v.11). He told them that in person when he was there with them in Galatia, but now he was putting it in writing—writing that became new Scripture after their prophets identified it as Scripture (cf. ICor.14:37).

Now when you try to help Christians who think they are under the law, be sure to call them “brethren” as Paul does eleven times in this epistle. He only called the Ephesians brethren twice, but he wanted to be sure the Galatians knew that he knew they were still saved, they’d just “fallen from grace” (Gal.5:4) instead of standing in grace (Rom.5:1,2). That is, instead of standing “in the liberty” wherewith grace has made us free from the yoke of the law (Gal.5:1).

Paul received his message “by revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal.1:12). “Revelation” is the noun form of the word reveal. The Lord revealed Himself to Paul in person over a period of decades (IICor.12:1) and gave him the grace message.

And Paul gave it to Timothy, who gave it to others, who gave it to us. May we adopt Paul’s attitude in I Thessalonians 2:4 and speak his gospel, “not as pleasing men, but God.”

Finally, Paul wasn’t contradicting himself when he claimed he wasn’t a men-pleaser and then said, “I please all men in all things” (ICor.10:33). In the context there, Paul didn’t change the truth of grace back to the law to please men. He let the truth of grace change him so as not to offend others with the truth of grace. May we adopt that attitude as well!

A Fool and God’s Grace Are Soon Parted – Galatians 1:6-9

Summary:

“Him that called” the Galatians (1:6) could have been Paul, for to be removed from the apostle of grace would mean being removed from grace (cf. II Tim. 1:15).  But it is always God who calls men to grace (Rom. 8:30; I Cor. 1:9; 7:15; I Thes. 2:12; II Tim. 1:9) with the gospel (II Thes. 2:14).  When men believe it, they become “the called” (Rom. 1:6).

Being called “into the grace of Christ” means being saved by grace (Eph. 2:8).  But God expects those who are saved by grace to “stand” in grace (Rom. 5:1, 2).  One of the opposite meanings of the word stand is to remove (1:6 cf. Isa. 46:7).

Once our study of Galatians reveals all that it means to stand in grace, you too will “marvel” that anyone would remove themselves from it “so soon” (1:6).  Now, Paul knew from his familiarity with the Old Testament that it is the natural tendency of man to depart from God’s truth in any dispensation.  He just thought it wouldn’t happen until “the latter times” (I Tim. 4:1).  So what did they leave grace for?

Well, notice Paul doesn’t say they left it for a false gospel.  They left it for “another” doctrine, and the only doctrines that aren’t false are Bible doctrines.  He meant the gospel of the kingdom the Lord preached (Mt. 4:23) and sent the 12 to preach (Lu. 9:1, 2), the one that included the law (Mt. 23:2, 3; 28:19, 20).  Paul preached grace, not law (Rom. 6:14, 15).

But if they left grace for the law, why would Paul say the other gospel they fell for was “not another” gospel (1:7)?  Well, gospel means “glad tidings” (Isa. 61:1 cf. Lu. 4:18), and while the law was good news for Jews who were under it, it was bad news for the Galatians who weren’t!  We know they fell for the law because Paul says “there be some that trouble you” (1:7).  That’s the word James used at the Jerusalem Council to describe those who put Gentiles under the law (Acts 15:19, 24).  Saved Jews left the council determined not to trouble Gentiles with the law, but unsaved Jews bound the Galatians with the law, thereby perverting the gospel (1:7).

Paul includes himself in warning of men who might teach the law (1:8), for he knew the persecution he was enduring might prompt him to quit preaching the grace that was causing the persecution (cf. I Cor. 10:12).  Plus, someone wrote the Thessalonians a letter to say the Tribulation was at hand and signed Paul’s name to it (II Thes. 2:2), and that could happen to the Galatians about the law as well.

Only a fallen “angel from heaven” would teach the law to Gentiles.  Fallen angels live in heaven, and will until Revelation 12:7-9.  We have no power to curse a fallen angel to hell, but he’s going to hell anyway, so Paul says to just “let him be” accursed (cf. I Cor. 14:38), or “removed” from God.

A saved man who teaches the law can’t be cursed to hell, but cursing is the opposite of blessing 30 times in the Bible (e.g., James 3:10).  “Any” who preach the law (Gal. 1:9) lose the “blessedness” of grace (Gal. 4:15).  The Galatians went from being willing to give others what they had (4:15) to envying what others had (5:26).  Sounds like a curse to me!

Of course, it was perfectly legit for James to continue to preach the law, for he taught it to “Jews” (Acts 21:12) just as he said he would (Gal. 2:9).  But he also quit teaching the law to Gentiles—also just as he said he would (Acts 15:19).

I entitled this message “A Fool and God’s Grace Are Soon Parted” because Paul called the Galatians “foolish” (3:1) to leave grace for law, blessedness for cursing.  When they were deciding whether to trade grace for law, the angels who Paul says are always watching us were probably crying, “Don’t trade!” as audience members cry on “Let’s Make a Deal.”  But they couldn’t hear those angels, and men still can’t hear them.  So when Christians are thinking of trading grace for law, it’s up to us to cry, “Don’t trade!”  Amen?

Paul’s Intro to Galatians – Galatians 1:1-5

 

Summary:

Paul doesn’t always introduce himself as “an apostle” (1:1), but he did to the Corinthians (I Cor. 1:1; II Cor. 1:1) because they were doubting his apostleship  I Cor. 9:1, 2). He wouldn’t have had to write things like that if they weren’t doubting his apostleship.  And the Galatians must also have been doubting it, or he wouldn’t have to say it wasn’t “of men, neither by man.”

“Of men” means that men weren’t the source of his apostle-ship, as it does when the Lord asked Israel’s leaders if John’s baptism was “from heaven, or of men?”  So Paul was saying men weren’t the source of his apostleship.  But “neither by man” is talking about instrumentality, not source.  That is, God didn’t use men to make him an apostle.  Later he answers that by saying he didn’t get it from the 12 (Gal. 1:17).

Now the Corinthians doubted Paul’s apostleship because he didn’t look or sound like they thought an apostle should look and sound (II Cor. 10:10).  But the Galatians doubted it because he had taught them what he taught the Romans, that we are saved by grace without the law (Rom. 3:21-28).  But after he preached that for a few years, the Jews were alarmed, and got together in what is called “The Jerusalem Council” to decide if Paul was a legitimate apostle sent by God, and if his new message of grace was also from God (Acts 15:1-6).

Saved Jews like James recognized Paul’s apostleship was le-git (Acts 15:19), as did the leaders of the 12 (Gal. 2:9), and ever after that they quit telling Gentiles they had to keep the law to be saved.  But unsaved Jews didn’t agree with the council, so they kept telling Gentiles that, including the Galatians.  Those legalizers were probably telling them Paul’s apostleship was of men—the men of the Jerusalem Council, who mistakenly made him an apostle.  But they didn’t make Paul an apostle, they just “saw” that he “was” one (Gal. 2:7).

They were probably also saying that God the Father would not have sent Paul to be an apostle to preach grace not law, for He’s the One who gave Moses the law.  And they were probably also saying Christ wouldn’t have made him an apostle to preach grace not law, for Christ sent His apostles out to preach law, not grace (Mt. 23:1-3; 28:20)!

They may also have pointed out that Paul wasn’t made an apostle until after Christ had died, prompting Paul to say he was made an apostle by Christ and “God the Father, who raised Him from the dead” (1:4).  He told the Romans that he received “grace and apostleship” from Christ after He rose from the dead (Rom. 1:3, 4), and sent him to preach grace to “all nations,” not law, like He sent the 12 to preach to “all nations” (Mt. 28:20).

Galatia was not a city, it was a “region” (Acts 16:6), and regions had many cities (cf. Deut. 3:4).  Galatia was kind of like it’s own “country” (Acts 18:22, 23), and so may have had many “churches” (Gal. 1:2).  If Paul was writing this letter of correction all of them, that shows how widespread the apostasy from grace was, even before Paul died.

But while Paul burned when people angered him like this (II Cor. 11:29), he offered the Galatians grace and peace (1:3), because that’s what God offers us when we anger Him.  Paul’s flesh wanted to judge them and declare war on them for this apostasy, but offered them the opposite of judgment and war instead.  This is similar to what we should do when men anger us, and to what God the Father did when He got good and mad at our sins.  He sent His Son to die for them.

Galatians 1:4 says the Lord “gave Himself” for our sins to deliver us “from this present evil world,” not just the future evil world of hell.  He did die to delivers us “from all iniquity” (Tit. 2:14), but also to “purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” now, in this present evil world.  Today it is God’s grace that teaches us how to deny ungodliness (Tit. 2:11, 12).

Michael Takes a Stand – Daniel 12:1-13

 

Summary:

In the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, Michael will take a “stand” (v. 1) by booting Satan out of heaven (Rev. 12:7-12), causing “great wrath” (v. 12) on earth. Verse 1 says it will be the worst time ever, the “great tribulation” (Mt. 24:21). But Jews will be “delivered” (v. 1) or “saved out of it” (Jer. 30:7) by the Lord’s victory at the battle of Armageddon (Zech. 9:14-16).

But only Jews “written in the book” (Dan. 12:1), i.e., the book of life (Rev. 20:15), saved Jews. Unsaved Jews will fight and die on the side of the beast at Armageddon. The kingdom will then begin with a resurrection (Dan. 12:2). The Lord quotes this verse to say that the unsaved will rise to “damnation,” but Daniel 12:2 says they’ll rise to the resurrection of shame and eternal contempt because in the kingdom the “pit” of hell (Isa. 14:13) in the heart of the earth will be an open pit, and believing Jews will abhor men in hell (Isa. 66:23, 24). These resurrections will be separated by a thousand years (Rev. 20:4, 5 cf. 7, 11-15).

The “wise” (12:3) are soul-winners (Pr. 11:30) who’ll shine “as the firmament” (v. 3 cf. Gen. 1:14-16; Mt. 13:43).

The best way to define what it means to “shut up the words and seal the book” (Dan. 12:4) is to notice the Lord told John not to do that (Rev. 22:10) because the time was “at hand” for the things in his book to come to pass. That means Daniel was being told to shut and seal the book because the things he prophesied were not about to come to pass. But when they do, many will run to and fro increasing the knowledge of God (Mt. 24:14).

Once Gabriel finishes talking, Daniel sees an “other” angel in verse 5, standing by the “river” he saw in Daniel 10:4. He asked the Lord (v. 6 cf. 10:4 cf. Rev. 1:13-15) a question, exemplifying I Peter 1:10-12.

The One who “lives for ever” (Dan. 12:7) is God the Father (Deut. 32:36-40). The Lord swears by Him because He wants to be believed, and He knows men confirm things with oaths (Heb. 6:13). Here He swears the great tribulation will last no longer than three and a half years. During that time, the antichrist will scatter the holy people of Israel by persecuting them. At that time, God will have had enough, and will bring an “end” (v. 7) to the beast at the Lord’s coming.

When Daniel asked about the details of the Tribulation, the Lord reminded him the book was shut and sealed, so he wouldn’t live to see them, so he didn’t have to understand the details.

The word “tried” (Dan. 12:10) refers to the “fiery trial” that Jews heading into the Tribulation were enduring before the mystery interrupted it (I Pet. 4:12). Notice verse 10 says Jews are “purified” by obeying God’s command to believe and be baptized (I Pet. 1:22), and then “tried” by the Tribulation. Only the nation gets purified by the trial of the Tribulation (Zech. 13:8, 9). Once individual Jews are purified by faith, they will do what God says and endure to the end of the Tribulation without taking the mark of the beast. But un-saved Jews will “do wickedly” (Dan. 10:10 cf. Rev. 16:8-11).

1290 days (Dan. 12:11) is a 30-day difference from the 1260 days of the last half of Daniel’s 70th week. Daniel 9:27 says Antichrist’s abominations happen “in the midst” of the week, but here they are said to happen 1290 days before the end of the Tribulation. So many things are said to happen in the “midst” of the 70th week they’ll take 30 days to transpire.

1335 days (Dan. 12:12) is 75 days different from the 1260 days, suggesting that that’s how long Revelation 19:17-21 will take before the kingdom can begin. Finally, Daniel is told he’ll “rest” (12:13) in death (cf. Rev. 14:13), but rise from the dead someday and “stand” in the “lot” of his tribe in the Promised Land.

The King of the Tribulation Jungle – Daniel 11:36-45

 

Summary:

Antichrist will do “according to his will” (v. 36),  but the Lord came to do His Father’s will (Jo. 6:38). He’ll exalt him-self over “every god,” including the ones Satan tempted Eve with (Gen. 3:5), the fallen angels.  She wanted to be like them because men are lower than angels (Ps. 8:4, 5) and she wasn’t satisfied with that.  Antichrist won’t be either (Ezek. 28:2), so he’ll exalt himself over the angels, just as Lucifer wanted to do (Isa. 14:13).  Those “stars” are angels (cf. Rev. 1:20).

“The God of gods” (v. 36) is the Father (Deut. 10:17).  We’re not told how Antichrist will “speak against” Him, but the only time we’re told anyone spoke against God and we’re told how, it was by saying He couldn’t protect His people (II Chron. 32:17).  That’s blasphemous (cf. Rev. 13:5)!

Antichrist will “prosper” (v. 36) or get rich (cf. Ps. 73:12) by controlling the world’s commerce with his mark (Rev. 13:16, 17).  God will be indignant about his words, and “accomplish” it when he finally puts an “end” to his blasphemy.

Since Antichrist will try to convince Jews he is their messiah, his “fathers” (Dan. 11:37) will be Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (cf. Acts 3:13).  He won’t regard their God, nor “the desire of women.”  That’s Christ!  After the Lord told Eve her seed would bruise Satan’s head (Gen. 3:15), she began to desire to bear that seed.  And after God told Abraham a Jewish woman’s seed would bear Him, every Jewish woman desired Him.  Antichrist won’t regard Him, he’ll “magnify himself above all” (v. 37) by saying he is God (II Thes. 2:3, 4).

The word “forces” is used of military forces (Jer. 18:21; 40:7, 13).  So “the God of forces” is the Father, the head of heaven’s “armies” (Rev. 19:14).  He’ll probably honor Him by saying he won his military victories (Rev. 6:2) because the God of forces helped him.  Of course, verse 36 said he won’t regard the Father (v. 36), but he’ll have to honor Him “in his estate,” i.e., in his estate as king of Israel (cf. Esther 1:19).   But he’ll also honor a god that “his fathers knew not,” Baal.  Israel’s kings were always worshipping God and Baal (cf. I Ki. 16:31, 32).

He’ll worship Baal with gold and silver, etc. (v. 38), just as Jews did in the past (Hosea 2:8), in the “strong holds” of the governments of the earth.  He will increase their “glory” (their riches, as in Isaiah 61:6), by cutting them in on the profits from the religious system he’ll establish in Babylon.  That system will traffic in riches “and the souls of men” (Rev. 18:2-13), just as Rome did for centuries.  They’ll also “rule over many” as Rome did.  Babylon will be a political power as well as a religious power, just as Rome was.

Antichrist will divide “the land” (v. 39) of Israel among his 10 kings.  They will be kings of kingdoms in the Mideast (Ps. 83:1-8) who have always coveted Israel’s land.  He’ll make all those angry Arabs happy by giving them each a slice.  It will be a reverse of what God did when He divided the nations to Israel (Deut. 32:8) to rule over in the kingdom.

But Egypt isn’t mentioned in Psalm 83, so they don’t get a slice of Israel, so Egypt attacks Antichrist (Dan. 11:40), causing him to counterattack (v. 41).  He attacks Egypt from Syria, where he moved after selling Israel to his 10 allies.  So why would he also invade the “glorious land” of Israel?  Why turn on his allies?  It is because they burn his Babylon (Rev. 17:1-17).  So 10 of those “many countries” Antichrist is said to overcome in verse 41 will be his former allies.

But he won’t be able to overcome Moab (v. 41) because they will hide Jews from him (Isa. 16:3, 4), and the indication is that Edom and Ammon will too.  So God will “bless” them that bless the Jews (Gen. 12:3) by sparing them from him.

Those “tidings out of the east” (v. 44) will be the reports he’ll hear about those ships from Chittim (Europe) we saw in verse 30.  The tidings out of the north will come from Russia.  Many commentaries say the king of the north is the king of Russia, but there’s nothing north of Russia that could trouble Antichrist if he were king of Russia!

The two “seas” (Dan. 11:45) are the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean.  Jerusalem lies between them, and that’s where the beast will plant his throne (Ezek. 28:2), and that’s where he’ll be when he meets his “end” from the Lord (Joel 2:20-22).

The Vilest of the Vile – Daniel 11:21-35

 

Summary:

The king of the north in Syria will die (v. 19 cf. Ps. 37:35, 36) and be replaced by a king who will raise taxes “in the glory of the kingdom,” i.e., the “glorious kingdom” of Israel (cf. 11:16).  When you conquer a people, you don’t tax your own people (cf. Mt. 17:25, 26)!  His mysterious death is probably caused by Antichrist, whom Gabriel mentions in the next verse (v. 21).  He won’t kill him to become Syria’s next king, but to rise to prominence so he can become king of Israel, the kingdom he’ll obtain “by flatteries,” not murder.  We know Psalm 55:21 speaks of him because of what it says in verse 20.  He may use the type of flattery that a type of Antichrist used in II Samuel 15:2-6, and say to Israel, “It’s not good or right that the people of God should be taxed by Syria.  If an Assyrian like me were made king of Israel, I’d put a stop to it!”  But in the middle of the Tribulation, this Assyrian will “flood” Israel with armies since they refused the “soft waters” of Christ (Isa. 8:6-8).  But since Bible prophecy always jumps around in the timeline of history, in verse 23 Gabriel says he will first work “deceitfully” before he floods Israel with armies.  He can’t deceive the very elect, but he’ll deceive enough people to raise a “small people” of followers (cf. 8:9).  When he “peaceably” (v. 24) makes that covenant guaranteeing Israel’s peace, Jews will be so grateful they’ll give him the “fattest” lands in Israel.  Obtaining the kingdom of Israel peaceably is something verse 24 says his fathers were never able to do.  They obtained it by war (11:16).  He’ll “scatter” the “spoil” of the riches he takes from Israel among his fathers in Syria, then begin to forecast some devices against the strongholds (v. 24).  The dictionary says that means he’ll start scheming up schemes against the strongholds in Egypt to the south (v. 25), who will somehow be vastly rich in that day.  With that much money, Egypt will raise “a very great and mighty army.”  So how come they lose the war to Syria, who only has a “great” army?  Because the specific device Antichrist will forecast against the king of Egypt will be to get his trusted friends to kill him (v. 26).  Once he’s dead, his armies will “overflow” into the streets in the chaos that often follows a king’s assassination and “many” will be the “slain” in Egypt.  But we know the king of Egypt will just be reaping what he sowed, for in verse 27 Gabriel jumps back into his past to show that he was as sneaky as Antichrist!  They’ll sit at a “table” to discuss how to bring peace to the world, but “mischief” will be in their hearts (cf. Ps. 28:3).  No plan for world peace will “prosper” until the “end” when the Prince of Peace establishes His kingdom.  Before Antichrist leaves Egypt, he connives her king out of some of his “riches” that he’ll “return” to Syria with, but he’ll be back for more.  But he gets enough to do exploits, which is defined as something that makes you famous—like turning on a nation you promised to protect!  We know that’s the exploit he’ll do because verse 28 also says he’s tiring of the covenant he made promising to protect Israel.  “At the time appointed” (v. 29) —midTrib—he’ll go back to Egypt, but not like the former time when he went with a great army, and not like the latter time when he went sneakily to connive the king out of some riches.  When it says he’ll go “toward the south” instead of “toward the king of the south,” we know he’ll attack Egypt this time by conquering Israel to the south on his way.  It will start when ships from “Chittim” come against him.  Chittim is named after Kittim in Europe, where Japheth settled (Gen. 10:1-4).  When Balaam predicted this attack, he said Egypt will also attack “Eber” or Israel (Num. 24:24).  Wanting to protect Syria more than Israel, he’ll join Egypt in that attack on Israel.  His “intelligence” agents will find Jews willing to forsake the covenant (v. 30), and the ten kings who’ll side with him will take up arms for him (v. 31).  With Europe, plus 10 kingdoms, plus traitors in Israel siding with him, Israel won’t stand a chance.  That vast host will be given to Antichrist to take away the daily sacrifice (v. 31 cf. 8:12).  Saved Jews will do “exploits” of their own (v. 32), like the ones the Lord sent the 12 to do before the mystery interrupted all this, i.e., casting out devils and healing, etc., exploits that will make them as famous as they made the Lord.  They’ll also “instruct” or teach people what the Lord sent the 12 to teach (Mt. 28:20).  As they begin to “fall” God will “holpen” or help them (v. 34) by causing the earth to swallow up that “flood” of armies (Rev. 12:15, 16).  That’s when Antichrist’s persecution will go underground as he causes spies to “cleave” to the Jews (v. 34 cf. Rev. 2:9).  Israel will need the purging of verse 35, for not all the Jews doing those exploits will be saved (Heb. 6:4-6).

You’re Not Gonna Believe Your Eyes – Daniel 11:1-21

 

Summary:

You’re Not Gonna Believe Your Eyes… when you read Gabriel “strengthened” an unsaved king.  But he did it (11:1) to help him conquer Babylon, because Babylon conquered Israel (Gen. 12:3 cf. Jer. 51:11).  We’re not told how he strengthened him, but it was probably the same way God “strengthened” Gideon (Judges 7:10), by assuring him the battle was as good as won.  God revealed to Gideon how scared the Midianites were of Israel, and he probably revealed to Darius how scared Belshazzar was of him after Daniel told him he’d die that night in Daniel 5.

But why is Gabriel telling Daniel he strengthened Darius?  Because Daniel needed strengthening (cf. 10:8, 16, 17), and Gabriel will end this discussion with Daniel by telling him Israel’s battle was good as won (12:7).  So after telling Daniel the truth about how he strengthened Darius, he told him, “And now will I shew thee the truth” (Dan. 11:2).

Daniel was seeing this vision of Gabriel “in the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia” (10:1), and here learns that Persia will have 3 more kings.  History says they were Ahasuerus, Artexerxes, and another Darius.  The “fourth” was Xerxes.  He did what verse 2 says and got the Persians stirred up against Greece.  So when they got a “mighty king” (v. 3) named Alexander, he conquered Persia, but was “broken” (v. 4) soon after he stood up, i.e., he died young

In Chapter 8, we saw that his 4 generals divided up his empire, as we see again here.  Normally, a dead king’s kingdom goes to his son, but Alexander’s kingdom didn’t go to “his posterity” because those four kings murdered his son.  And “his dominion” (his subjects) had no say in who took over either.  Those four generals just “plucked” it up.

Everything in Daniel 11:1-4 is past, and everything from verse 5 on is future.  That’s why some KJVs put a paragraph mark before v.5.  This prophecy was interrupted by the mystery.  The king of the south in Egypt in those days (Ptolemy) would have done the things in 11:5-45, but now another king will rise in Egypt to do them after the Rapture, just as John the Baptist would have been Elijah (Mal. 4:5, 6 cf. Mt. 17:10-13; Lu. 1:16, 17), but now another Elijah will have to come.

The details of Daniel 11:6 are inscrutable, but they’ll be clear when they happen (cf. Joel 2:28; Acts 2:4-17).  Saints then will be as filled with the Spirit as Peter was and will “know all things” (I Jo. 2:20, 27).  But we don’t have to understand this, for we’ll be raptured before it happens!

The daughter of the king of the south will raise up a son who will raise up an army to attack Syria to the north (Dan. 11:7). He’ll sack Syria and kill her king (v. 8, 9), angering his sons.  “One” of the sons will mass an army to counterattack Syria (v. 10), but Syria hears about it.  But her great multitude is given into the hands of the Egyptians (11).  This causes the king of Egypt to get cocky and conquer thousands more (v. 12), but we know he won’t be “strengthened” by his victory because Syria starts to threaten them again (v. 13), and the other nations of the Mideast join her (v. 14).  They’re called the robbers of Daniel’s people because they’ll sack Israel to finance their own war on Egypt.  They’ll be trying to “establish” the “vision” of Ezekiel 20:19 that predicts the fall of Egypt by Babylon, who will be in league with the Assyrian Antichrist (cf. Rev. 17, 18).  “Mounts” (Dan. 11:15) were dirt that was piled up outside city walls so armies could scale them (Isa. 29:3; Jer. 6:6).  That means either modern weapons will be gone by then (cf. Ezek. 39:9) or modern weapons will have ancient names, like Tomahawk missiles.  The king of Syria will conquer Egypt and stand in the “glorious land” of Israel (11:16), his real desire.  His “whole kingdom” (v. 17) will now include those other nations of the Mideast who won’t be able to “stand” against him, but his lust to conquer will cause him to look to the “isles” (v. 18).  With that kind of power, you’d think he’d be the Antichrist, but he comes along in Daniel 11:19-21.