Friday, December 04, 2015

"Despicable!"

Daniel 11.21a, 29-30, 45c NASB 

“…a despicable person will arise.”

“At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before. For ships of Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened, and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action...”

“…he will come to his end, and no one will help him.”

In his counsel to Darius, King of Persia, the prophet Daniel warned of “a despicable person” who would arise “in a time of tranquility and seize the kingdom by intrigue”. This vile character will “practice deception” and set up the infamous “abomination of desolation” spoken of by Jesus Christ pointing to the horror of the end times and “a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.”[1]

When “the appointed time” occurs, according the book of Daniel, the “despicable” man will…

  • …return to southern Palestine but to his disappointment, his visit “will not turn out the way it did before”.
  • …become “disheartened” and “enraged” and “take [evil] action”.

Perhaps the villain of this text is one in the same with the “antichrist” of 1st and 2nd John.[2] Or, maybe he’s Wormwood the fallen star (Revelation 10-11), or the “beast” from the book of Revelation, or the “false prophet”, or the “devil” himself, all of whom will eventually be “thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone”.[3]

Perhaps those schooled in the finer points of Biblical eschatology could better reveal the identity of this man. In my study of the Bible, I am inclined toward the more enriching work of personal application. I can fall easily into a milder version of the very same pattern as the bad man in Daniel’s prophesy. When things don’t “turn out the way” I had hoped, I can easily become “disheartened” and ‘act out’. Nothing good came from this pattern of behavior for “the despicable person” or for me

“…he will come to his end, and no one will help him.”

When things do “not turn out the way” I hope and plan, it’s natural to become “disheartened” and “take [undesirable] action”. In the end, however, “no one will help” me except Jesus. His answer is generally more weighted on the side of repentance than on the side of excessive sympathy. Jesus is gracious and forgiving, but “Repent”[4] is probably His message and the best advice I give myself when I discover the “despicable person” within me.

___________________

[1] Matthew 24.15, 21 and parallel passage Mark 13.14, 18. This period of tribulation was predicted by Daniel 600 years before the ministry of Jesus: “And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred” (see also Daniel 12.1).

[2] 1st John 2.18, 22; 4.3; 2nd John 7.

[3] Revelation 20.10.

[4]“From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand’” (Matthew 4.17).

No comments: