Middle East

The King of Fierce Countenance

A Military ‘Fuhrer’ To Come

The Book of Daniel tells us of a brutal dictator who will rise to power in the latter days, or in “the time of the end.” He will be a master of intrigue—brilliant in mind and strategy. He will most likely, in the beginning of his rise to power, dazzle much of the world with his charm, charisma and diplomacy. In a short period of time after his ascendancy, ten kings will give their power over to him, and he will gain control of a great military machine. Satan himself will give this man great power and success, both politically and on the field of battle. Daniel 8:23 describes him as the “King of Fierce Countenance.” At the very end he will actually attempt to fight against and destroy Jesus Christ at His return. This Fuhrer will be defeated by Christ and cast into the lake of fire, but not before he has done great harm to many people.

To understand more about the end-time “Fuhrer” to come, we need to look at a prophecy in the Book of Daniel that was sealed until the time of the end. Notice in Daniel 8:26, Daniel is commanded: “Seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future” — the end time. God tells us plainly that no one would be able to understand what Daniel saw in vision until the time of the end.

Daniel 8 is set during the third year of the reign of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, in approximately 550 B.C. In this book Daniel records a vision given by God of a mysterious “ram” (verses 2:4,6). In verse 20 of the chapter we are told that this ram, which Daniel saw, having two horns is the kings of Media and Persia. God gives us the interpretation of the vision. This ram symbolized the Medo-Persian Empire, which destroyed the empire of Babylon in the autumn of 539 B.C.

Another animal then appears in the vision in verses 5-8. A male goat is seen moving swiftly from the west, attacking and trampling the ram, and thus the Medo-Persian empire. This goat with the large horn between his eyes represents the Greco-Macedonian empire that came upon the world scene under Alexander the Great, who ruled that empire. Again, a horn represents a leader, and the horn in the goat’s forehead refers to Alexander. In Daniel’s vision Alexander defeated the Medes and Persians, and indeed it occurred just that way. After the conquest in 323 B.C., Alexander died suddenly of a fever at the young age of 33.

We now move in time sequence to verse 22 wherein we are told that Alexander’s Empire was to be divided into four kingdoms, but these kingdoms would not be as powerful as Alexander’s. Four generals divided up this Kingdom in 301 B.C.: Seleucus ruled Syria to the north and east, Ptolemy ruled Egypt, The northwest (Thrace) was ruled by Lysimachus, and Macedonia was ruled by Cassander.

What we have seen in verses 2-8 of Daniel 8 is the historical background of what was to come after the time when Daniel recorded these prophecies. In verses 9-17 we are clearly moved forward to an end-time setting. Notice verse 17: “Understand son of man, that the vision refers to the ‘time of the end’.

The “Little Horn” Of The End Time!

Verse 9 tells us that a little horn appears out of one of the divisions of Alexander’s empire. The vision of this little horn is for the “time of the end” (verses 17,19,23). We have already seen in the sections referring to the kings of Media & Persia and to Alexander, that a horn is representative of a leader. Here in verse 9 the little horn written of symbolizes a leader, ruler or king who will rise to power in the “latter time”. Notice, clearly this ruler comes to power at the end time (verse 23), and NOT immediately after the division of the ancient Alexandrian empire.

Antiochus Epiphanes

Many Bible commentaries say that Antiochus Epiphanes, a cruel king of the Seleucid kingdom, was the little horn of Daniel 8. Antiochus did in type fulfill many of the descriptions found in verses 9-16. In December of 167 B.C., he desecrated the temple at Jerusalem by defiling the altar with swine’s blood and setting up an idol. Jews were forbidden to keep the Sabbath and the biblical annual feast days. Additionally, they were ordered to offer unclean sacrifices and eat swine’s flesh or suffer death. The Jews were compelled to offer a pig on the 25th of each month to celebrate Antiochus Epiphanes’ birthday. Antiochus outlawed the practice of circumcising young males — the ancient sign of God’s covenant with the Jews. He ordered the burning of the scrolls of the Law, and replaced God’s law with pagan laws and pagan worship. So, yes, Antiochus was a forerunner, a historical type of what we will see at the end time. But he was not the final fulfillment of this prophecy. Antiochus was only a shadow of the ultimate end-time reality.

The final Satanic leader to appear on the world scene is seen symbolically in the little horn of Daniel 8. Antiochus Epiphanes was a prototype of the end-time “King of Fierce Countenance”. This vile dictator will be alive when Christ returns. Verse 25 tells us that he will rise up against the Prince of princes, Jesus Christ. He will not become visible on the world scene until the end time when human sin has reached its climax (verse 23).

We will recognize some of this future king’s actions. We find in verse 11 that the Jewish daily sacrifices of worship are to be taken away again and the sanctuary (altar or temple) is to be cast down. Antiochus did this in type, when he dedicated God’s temple to Jupiter Olympus, ending the daily sacrifices and spreading swine’s blood on the altar. But remember what Antiochus did was only a foreshadowing of what is to come at the end time. God often uses duality in prophecy, having previously set in motion an historical fulfillment of prophecy that will play out again in an end time setting.

The End-Time Fulfillment

Revelation 13 clearly states that at the time of the end, a superpower will arise that is called the Beast. Ten kings will give their power to a man who is symbolically also called the Beast in Revelation 17. In an article written by Herbert W. Armstrong, Mr. Armstrong described this ‘Beast’ as a man who would be a military dictator of an end-time resurrected Roman Empire:

“This European power, resurrecting for a VERY short while the Roman Empire, will take over the city of Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2). They will take the temple, and plant the palace of their headquarters there. With this coming military leader, pictured in Revelation 17 as the symbolic ‘ beast,’ will be a supreme religious leader called the ‘False prophet,’ [Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10] and the ‘ man of sin.’ The Plain Truth 1967 ‘ Jews take Jerusalem’

With the help of Satan the devil, this vain political leader, will find his way onto the world stage. He will exercise more power and cause more destruction than any man in history, even Adolph Hitler. Let’s take a look at some of the events that will occur during his reign of power:

Ten Kings will give the power of their armies, navies and air forces’ over to this military/political dictator (Revelation 17:12-13);

A false religious leader will work in tandem with this dictator. This religious ‘false prophet’ will perform stunning miracles that will awe the world (Revelation 13:13);

This political deceiver may at first appear peaceful and genuine. Antiochus Epiphanes foreshadows the work of this man. Antiochus seized power through subterfuge and deceit (Daniel 11:21). This man will also scheme and deceive, amassing great power (Daniel 8:25). Daniel 8:23 tells us that this man will, ‘understand sinister schemes’;

Satan will give this individual awesome demonic power (Daniel 8:24, Revelation 16:13);

His Satanic kingdom will enforce a mark on men. Those who refuse to receive this mark will be persecuted and those who refuse to worship the image of the beast will be put to death (Revelation 13:11-17);

The conglomeration of nations under the leadership of this man will wage war, destroying many peoples and nations (Revelation 13:4, Daniel 8:25);

He will ‘worship’ military might and power (Daniel 11:38)

Under his influence and that of the false religious system, led by the false religious leader, times and laws will be changed (Daniel 7:25). Sabbath and biblical Holy Day observance will be condemned;

The persecution of the ‘saints’ will take place under his reign of terror: many of God’s people will be martyred (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 6:11);

His arrogance will know no bounds. He will rally the nations of the earth to attack Jesus Christ when He returns to set up the Kingdom of God on earth (Revelation 16:13-14; Revelation 17:14).

Christ Destroys The Beast

This Satan-led leader is too powerful to fall at the hands of any human being. Jesus Christ will himself see to the destruction of this “King of Fierce Countenance” (Revelation 19:20). He and the false prophet will be cast alive into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10, Revelation 19:20).

But truly, before Christ returns, the suffering seen in the two Great World Wars will pale in comparison to the destruction Satan will unleash through the Beast and the False Prophet. However, it is important to remember there are reasons God reveals the future to us. Prophecy is not given to entertain us, like a scary movie. Nor is it given so that we can sit back in self-satisfaction and contemplate the fate of all the “sinners” around us, “knowing” that we will be spared. Prophecy is given to us to jolt us so we may understand the reality to come. Prophecy motivates us to repent and seek God. We should then be diligent in our lives, looking forward to these things, striving to be without spot and blameless, living our lives according to godly principles laid out for us in the Bible. II Peter 3:14 plainly tells us that a chief purpose of prophesy is to inspire us toward repentance and righteous behavior. We are also warned in I Corinthians 10:12 that “Him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” That is, don’t be so sure you know it all — turn to God’s word for instruction in righteousness!

As we see all these things coming to pass, we can take encouragement because we know that God has also prophesied of His coming kingdom. At the end of this disastrous reign of terror will come the peaceful “World Tomorrow” which is the Kingdom of God.

Great and terrible events will unfold in the years to come. Let us strive to draw close to God in prayer and lead lives that are without sin and rancor (Sin is defined as the breaking of God’s laws. Study His laws and conform your life to them). Christ will dethrone the vicious dictator, this “King of Fierce Countenance”. He will set up the Kingdom of God, and the world will learn the way of true peace at last.

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