'Clash of Two Worldviews: Re-interpretation of Daniel 8'
Teddy Lishan Desta
5. The Abomination of Desolation
One of the most cryptic signs of the last days is the abomination of desolation. This sign is first recorded in the visions of the prophet Daniel (chapters 8, 9, 11 and 12), and the Lord Jesus reiterated the sign in His Olivet discourse (Matt. 24:15, Mk. 13:14).
Part III of the article discusses the sign of the abomination of desolation under three main sections. The first section presents background information by first interpreting the original vision of Daniel (chapter 8) using a new approach. The second and third sections will discuss the Endtime fulfillment of the abomination of desolation. The meaning of the latter will be fixed using the understanding that emerges from the new interpretation method used.
Section 1: A Useful Digression
To understand the sign of the abomination of desolation in a new light, first we have to go to the original vision of Daniel in chapter eight and reinterpret it from a new perspective. Daniel’s vision in the eighth chapter opens as follows,
“… I saw in the vision that I was by the River Ulai. 3 Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. 4 I saw the ram pushing westward, northward, and southward, so that no animal could withstand him; nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to his will and became great. 5 And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. 6 Then he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power. 7 And I saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage against him, attacked the ram, and broke his two horns. There was no power in the ram to withstand him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled him; and there was no one that could deliver the ram from his hand.“ Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven. 9 And out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. 10 And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them.” Dan. 8: 2-10.
Daniel saw this vision around 538 BC. As the Book of the Maccabees and secular history attest, Daniel’s vision had come to pass by accurately predicting the events, which took place in the Middle East region during c. 300 – 100 BC period. However, it will be totally wrong to limit the understanding and application of this vision (and the other related visions of Daniel’s), only to the events that took place in that time frame and in that confined region.
We have a solid precedence in the New Testament usage of Old Testament history and prophesy to enable us to seek for wider and deeper meanings in Daniel’s vision. We also find enough exegesis precedence in Bible scholarship to take a vision like Daniel’s beyond its local and immediate context and apply it to far distant future events, including Endtime events. For that matter, the angel that was sent to Daniel to help him understand the vision had told Daniel that the vision has application to latter day events. If so, then Daniel’s vision should be interpreted in such a way that it becomes fully applicable in a meaningful way to make us understand better God’s workings in the last days. But the question will be - which of the available Scripture interpretation methods should we choose to attain our intent?
If Daniel’s vision is to apply to latter day events in its totality, there is a need for adopting a different interpretation method. One such technique is the figurative interpretation method. The figurative approach is chosen, because, Daniel’s vision is inherently typological, and hence such an interpretive approach will allow us to fully grasp the larger issues implied in the vision.
Once we adopt this interpretive method, the next step will be to single out the major protagonists and historical processes found in the vision for closer scrutiny, to evaluate them for their typological value. Later, we will map these protagonists and historical processes to their figurative counterparts of the last days. Only after such a course, then we will assign the abomination of desolation a new meaning based on what we have come to establish through the new approach. Hence, the logic we will apply to identify the abomination of desolation will be inductive rather than deductive.
5.1. The Broad-Strokes of His-story
Daniel’s vision can best be understood as a canvass of human history painted by God with broad strokes. But to fill the details and to know how to apply the vision to larger human issues, first we have to unshackle the vision from the tyranny of the local and the immediate context.
First level discernment of Daniel’s vision leads us to the following insight: some titanic forces shape history; and these forces will be in conflict for mastering the world. Such a conflict in its drive and intent can be understood as a clash of civilizations, a clash which will basically be cultural, political, and even economic in nature. The competition and conflict between the opposing ‘civilization’ forces will progressively accentuate and finally climax, in the latter part of human history, in the form of a horror unleashed by one of the rival forces. This horrifying assault will involve an unprecedented carnage carried out against the forces which side with God, and it will be accompanied by a sacrilege committed against the temple of God. It is such a horror and sacrilegious act that is called the abomination of desolation in the visions of Daniel. The instigator of the horror will be Satan, but those who implement it in history will be his human agents.
5.2. The Prophetic Drama: Decoding Types and Figures
In much abbreviated form, Daniel’s vision can be summarized as: First, the Persians will be dominant in the world stage. Later on, the Greeks will challenge and overthrow the Persian Empire to be the dominant world force. But soon, the Greek Empire will break up, and several dynasties will arise from it. Later on, one of the Greek dynasties will invade the land of Israel and desecrate the Temple.
But our interest goes beyond the immediate and literal sense. From names and symbols and from actions and reactions (alliances, battles, etc) of the major protagonists, we should be able to discern valid figurative and allegorical counterparts to be matched to latter day characters and events. To fully understand the latter day application of Daniel’s vision, first we have to unravel the allegorical and figurative codes of the vision. This we proceed to do now.
(i) The Persians
In Daniel’s vision, the Persian Empire is represented by a two-horned ram, and at the beginning of the prophetic drama, the ram stands as the world dominating power (Dan 8:20).
But beyond the literal and the shadow, what is the prophetic symbolism of the Persian (ram)? This is what we can learn about the Medes and Persians in the Bible: They are commissioned by God to destroy Babylon and to liberate the people of God, the Jews; they are used of God to restore the Second Temple; their first king, the one who overthrew Babylon, King Cyrus, is called the Anointed One of God, and hence made a type of Messiah (Is. 45: 1). Moreover, among all gentile empires, it is the Medes and Persians who get no word of judgment from the prophets of Israel. Hence, for these and other similar reasons, we can say that the Medes and Persians can be taken as symbols and shadows of godly people (forces). Therefore, in their latter-day manifestation, the ‘Persians’ will be all those groups of people who will openly acknowledge the power of God in the universe and in their lives. So the latter-day ‘Persian’ will be all those groups who practice and support religious faith and uphold traditional values.
(ii). The Greeks
On the other hand, the Greeks, who are represented by the he-goat in the vision, are the opposite of the Persians in their worldview and life style. It was ancient Greek philosophers and writers who laid down the first groundwork for modern philosophy, science and art. Hence, based on their legacy, the Greeks are taken as a metaphor for the secular and rational mind-set. Based on both Scriptural and secular usage, the ‘Greek’ is therefore a type and symbol of groups and nations whose main focus is the material than the spiritual, the empirical than the transcendental, reason than faith. Therefore, in the following interpretation of the vision of Daniel, the Greeks will symbolize those who are mainly after intellectual, rational or secular pursuit.
5.3. Spiritualizing the Prophetic Drama
Daniel’s vision opens by showing the meteoric rise of the Greek Empire and its quick triumph over the Persians. In order to apply our figurative interpretation to this part of Daniel’s vision, we have to look down the corridors of human history to find a historical event(s), which bears resemblance and parallel to such a power encounter and outcome as depicted between the literal Persians and the Greeks. The only time in history we see the clash of cultures as symbolized by the conflict between the ‘Persian’ and ‘Greek’ forces would be the Enlightenment Period of the 17th century. During that Period, particularly in Western Europe , there was a sudden burst of intellectual and artistic activity. A crop of rational and secularizing philosophies, groundbreaking scientific discoveries and theories, and creative works of art flourished. It was as if intellectual and artistic activity was suddenly released from its traditional and religious milieu. Attendant to such resurgence in rationalism in much of Europe, soon culture, economics and politics were enlivened with secularism and modernity.
However, as the new ‘Greeks’ increasingly asserted their influence in society, confrontation and clash with the forces of the status quo became inevitable. In those days, more than any section of society it was the church and the monarchy, which represented and upheld traditional values and institutions. Soon it was destined that the ‘Persians’ of those days – that alliance of the monarchy and the church, was to square off with the emergent ‘Greek’ – the intellectual and philosophers of the day.
During the Middle Ages, the church and the monarchy were the dominant force in all Europe. The hegemony of the two institutions was quite uncontested and unquestioned. Even when they were challenged now and then, they had always emerged victorious. However, as time passed, both church and monarchy lost their vigor and vitality, and could not march with the times. Inevitably, they were perceived as bastions of backwardness and oppression. By the 16th C., following the general revival in learning, vanguards of thought and reform began to question the long-held dogma and institutions of society. As the result, slowly the church and society began to lose legitimacy in the eyes of the public. To wit: The scholastic and rationalist ‘Greek’ ‘he-goat’ was moving in with rapid speed into the stage of human history. Its assaults were soon to take the unprepared church-monarchy - ‘Persian’ ‘ram’ - by surprise.
The ‘Greek’ animal, to its advantage, was armed with a single conspicuous horn between its eyes. The ‘Greek’ force became more ferocious by the day as its indignation built up against the ‘Persian’ status quo. But the ‘Persian’ ram was not in the best of shapes to take on the battle of ideas with the ‘Greeks’. At least one of its ‘horns’ was growing backward!! The church and monarchy were to engage in a conflict with the intellectuals, for which they were ill prepared.
Soon it became apparent that the church and the monarchy - the bulwarks of faith and tradition, were no match to the swift-footed philosophers and scientists of the day. As revolutionary ideas flourished and new scientific discoveries were made almost by the day, long-held views and institutions gave way to forces of secularism and modernity. The foundation of traditional society was undermined from the uninterrupted intellectual barrage of the ‘Greek’ mind. Consequently, the status quo was nudged out of position and influence, or was violently overthrown. In such a manner, over a few centuries, the ‘Greek’ mind achieved ascendancy. Culture and politics was ‘Hellenized’, first in Europe and later throughout the rest of the world.
5.4. The Fracture of the ‘Greek’ Power
As Daniel watched further in the vision, he saw the following taking place,
“Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven. 9 And out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. 10 And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them.” (Dan. 8: 8-10)
In its allegorical sense, this part of Daniel’s vision, predicts that the forces of secular modernization will not remain united for long, but break up into various camps and factions. As history shows us, in the midst of its power and ascendancy, the ‘Greek’ - intellectual force - unleashed by the Enlightenment Period, broke up into various factions.
To wit: the break-up in the ‘Greek’ camp, soon after the victory over the forces of tradition, would give rise to ‘four horns pointing to the four winds of heaven.’ This predicts that myriad of ideological and philosophical positions and factions will break out from the secular camp. Figuratively speaking, then every point on the ideological compass will now become possible - ‘East’, ‘West’, ‘North’ and ‘South’ will be just a few of the major positions to emerge. Soon after, the focus of the vision shifts and concentrates on one of the ‘four’ horns; and it is from this horn that, subsequently, will arise a sub-horn (little horn). For all its peculiarities, particularly its antipathy to religion and God, it is this ‘little horn’, which is singled out by God for special attention and recognition.
From its small beginnings in the camp of the ‘Greek’s’, the ‘little horn’ will grow in power to become an irresistible force later on. To all those who acknowledge God (i.e. ‘Jews’), it will be this branch of the secular forces, which will become their worst insidious enemy. As the result, religion and traditional institutions will come under its ideological siege. Persecuting religion will be just one of its modus operandi.
5. 5. Identifying the Latter day ‘little horn’
Then, of all the scions of the modern day ‘Greeks’, which one of them best fulfills the description of the ‘little horn’? As Daniel tells us, the identifying marker of the ‘little horn’ should be its ‘Greek’ heritage, and its virulent opposition to God.
As the history of the Enlightenment Period shows us, as that movement progressed, various branches in the secular movement surfaced. These various groups later morphed into their own species, later to coalesce into schools of thought, philosophies, ideologies, parties, or institutions, etc. Particularly, those secular groups with political orientation, they became mainly responsible for much of the social and political revolutions and reforms that took place in the ensuing post-Enlightenment centuries.
Regarding God and religion, secularists took up divergent positions. The major positions adopted were: Atheism, deism, and agnosticism. However, it has been those with a distinctly atheistic orientation, which became rabidly anti-God and anti-religion, by undermining the tenets of faith and persecuting the adherents of religion. With which of the branches of the latter day ‘Greeks’ should we then associate such kind of behavior towards God and religion?
As we have discussed earlier, the Endtime manifestation of the ‘little horn’ carries both secularist and atheistic characteristics. And according to Daniel’s visions, the ‘little horn’ unleashes a horrifying persecution against God’s people and desecrates the Temple. If we carefully survey the history of modern secular thought, no other school of thought than radical socialist and communist ideology best fits the figurative/ historical description and career of the anti-God and anti-religious ‘little horn.’
5.6. The Birth Marks of the Latter-day ‘little horn’
Much of the socialist/ communist ideology is the brainchild of 19th century political science philosophers, Karl Marx and Frederick Engles. These two men, more than anyone else, laid the foundation of atheistic socialist ideology (communism) among the working class of 19th C. Europe. Afterwards, communist ideology conquered the vast lands of Russia in 1917, and later after WWII it expanded into much of Eastern Europe, China and South East Asia. Particularly after WWII, socialist/ communist ideology became such a pervasive worldwide socio-economic and political movement that its influence controlled the politics and economics of many developing nations in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Many countries in these continents fell under the spell of radical socialism in one or another form. By the time of its near extinction in the 1990s, communism has succeeded to bring close to a third of mankind under its rule or influence.
Wherever communists were in power, traditional values and institutions in general and religious faith in particular was under continuous threat. They regarded religion as the relic of mankind’s primitive past; therefore, they labored hard to uproot it through ideological brainwashing or police torture. Adherents of religion suffered endless persecution at the hands of communists. Their punishment included death penalties, labor camps, exile, dispossession of wealth, job discrimination, etc. Particularly, Christians and Jews carried the brunt of such persecution.
(Part III of the article will be continued with Sections 2 and 3, which will discuss the modalities the abomination of desolation will take in the last days).
The Abomination of Desolation and the Endtime
One of the most cryptic signs of the last days is the abomination of desolation. This sign is first recorded in the visions of the prophet Daniel (chapters 8, 9, 11 and 12), and later it is reiterated by the Lord Jesus in His Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:15, Mk. 13:14). Though much has already been written on the meaning and fulfillment of this sign, this article tries to reexamine the sign from a new perspective.
The following discussion, therefore, opens a new vantage point on the identity and nature of the Antichrist and the abomination of desolation the Antichrist causes. The discussion is organized under two main parts. The first part gives a brief summary of the major interpretations that have been given on the subject. The viewpoint from the new perspective is presented in the second part.
6.1. Prevailing Views
The salient summary of most prevalent interpretations and views given on the antichrist and particularly the sign of the abomination of desolation is as follows. In its ancient historical sense, many students of the Bible partially associate the fulfillment of sign of the antichrist and the abomination of desolation with the awful sacrilege carried out against the Jewish Temple in the period, 171-163 BC by the Greco-Syrian King, Antiochus Epiphanies. But the mention of the abomination of desolation by the Lord Jesus as one of the signs of the Endtime and His Second Coming (Matt. 24, Mk.13), left the door open for another round of interpretation and expectation of the sign. Based on the Lord’s statement given on the sign, there have been some Bible scholars who believe Jesus’ prophecy on that sign of the abomination of desolation was fulfilled when Rome destroyed the Second Temple in 70 AD. However, many other students of prophecy expect the sign to be fulfilled in the last days, through the activities of the Anti-Christ, who will literally sit in the restored Temple, declaring himself to be god. On the other hand, there are also a smaller group of believers who expect the sign to be fulfilled not by a literal person known as the anti-Christ. They rather expect an insidious spirit of false doctrine, which they call the spirit of the antichrist to sweep through the churches and corrupt the faith of many in the last days.
It can be accepted that each of the above viewpoints has something important to say about the nature and fulfillment of the Biblical prophecy made on the antichrist (‘little horn’) and the abomination desolation. But it should not be considered superfluous to seek for further understanding into the true meaning of these two important elements of Endtime prophecies. The following re-interpretation of the two objects of much discussion and speculation is presented in an effort to enrich the discussion on them and to bring the reader, if possible, closer to the original meanings of the two terms as they were intended to apply to Endtime events. Such an additional effort to unravel the true nature of the two objects in no way contradicts the spirit of Daniel, who wrote - ‘Many shall search and knowledge will multiply.’
6.2. Profiling the Endtime Little Horn
In order to easily identify the nature of the Endtime ‘little horn’, first we have to draw its profile based on relevant Biblical passages, which are traditionally associated with it. At the same time also in order to understand the true meaning of the abomination of desolation, an alternative meaning to the term sanctuary/ temple will be developed. It is only after lying the groundwork with such important starting steps, that then the meaning and identity of the antichrist and the abomination of desolation fixed and associated with appropriate Endtime events.
(a). The Little Horn
Much has been written on the identity - origin and career of the Endtime ‘little horn’ or the Anti-Christ. Sundry individuals, institutions, and even nations have been suggested as fulfillment of the prophecy about 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 those false Messiahs who down the centuries declared themselves to be the Second Coming of Christ.
However, if we let Scripture speak for itself, this will be what will emerge as the profile of the Endtime ‘little horn’ (antichrist).
-It will be a branch to arise from the victorious ‘Greek’ dynasty (Dan. 8: 8-9) . -Starting from small beginnings, it will amass political power through intrigue and conspiracy. Literally, it will be a master of intrigue (Dan. 11: 21, 23). -Though it has its roots in Christianity, it will abandon the Faith. It will deny God and Christ. It will be a master of deception, succeeding in misleading many people. The Lie it promotes will cause many to fall away from faith in God (Dan. 8: 25; 2 Thes. 2:3, 9-12; 1 Jn. 2: 18-19; Matt. 24:24; Rev. 13: 14). -After it 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 him 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 is able to accomplish many will be duped about its supernatural strength (Dan. 8: 24; 2 Thes. 2:9-10). -It will be a power, which will be quite marked for its haughtiness and impiety. It will be a cruel dictator, 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 (Dan11: 36; 2 Thes. 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). -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 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 mismanagement (Dan. 7:23, 8:24, Zech. 11: 15-17). -Its final demise will come not through human force but by what can be regarded as Divine judgment (Dan. 8:25).
Based on the foregoing profile of the Endtime ‘little horn’ as well as the discussion carried in Section 1, if we canvass the landscape of secular ideologies and systems, none comes to meeting such descriptions than that of atheistic Communism (Marxism-Leninism). It is Communist ideology, more than any other political/ ideological offshoot of the Enlightenment period, which better fits the picture we have drawn above as the profile of the ‘little horn’. For example, as well recorded, the worldwide Communist movement (Marxism-Leninism) has been openly anti-God and anti-religion. It has proven itself as a very revolutionary movement geared towards overthrowing and abolishing the older order. In all the places it has gained absolute power, Communism has unfailingly has shown its antipathy to national tradition and custom. Moreover, it has been known well for its widespread persecution of the faithful, being responsible for the death and suffering of untold of millions. Communist totalitarian states have given rise to many brutal dictators, who have proved evil geniuses. Such leaders brought about much build up in the national military force, leading to bellicose and expansionary policies.
(ii) A digression: The antipodal little horn
However, there is also another kindred anti-God force of the last days, which we must consider here. This ‘secondary’ anti-God political system we have to consider here at least in passing we have to make mention of for deep spiritual and historical reasons. This second anti-God secular power, like Communism, drew its ideological inspiration from the intellectual works of some 19th philosophers and artists. It like its totalitarian counterpart was a political messianic movement whose goal was the setting up of a secular utopia for its own. It like Communism caused massive destruction to nations and untold persecution and suffering to the people of God. It like Communism was openly anti-God, it was led by a leader of fierce countenance, and evil genius, who a Lie to prosper in his hands. This second ideology and political system we discuss here is none other Nazism. Nazism under Hitler had shown itself a sworn enemy to God’s people, the Jews. It dedicated itself to their total extermination, murdering some 6 millions of them in the most gruesome manner.
Though we will discuss Nazism before Communism how both fulfilled the prophecy about the abomination of desolation, Communism will still remain the main focus, as it is the better fit of the two anti-God ideologies for the prophecy about the Endtime ‘little horn.’ But before, we discuss any of them in relation to the abomination of desolation; first we have to determine the true identity of the sanctuary/ temple, which Daniel wrote would be profaned by the anti-God forces. It is such desecration by an anti-God secular power that constitutes the abomination of desolation of the Endtime.
6.3. The Sanctuary Profaned
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 host 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 under foot?" (Dan. 8: 10-13).
But what is the nature and identity of the sanctuary of God that would be profaned in the last days? Is it the Temple in Jerusalem; or some church building; or as some say, the body of believers, which the Bible also considers as the temple of God? Which of these sanctuaries of God is the one to be profaned by the anti-Christ? Which of these possible meanings of sanctuary/ temple meant by God - in the ultimate sense - as the sanctuary of God?
It can be recalled that the commonly accepted schools of interpretations on Endtime Bible prophecy, nearly all associate the sanctuary to be desecrated with the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Only one fringe interpretation school considers the body of believers (churches) to be the sanctuary of Endtime prophecy. However, even this interpretation gives little room to consider an evil political power, which the Bible says, will arise in the last days to cause fearful destruction to the land and to the people belonging to God. Hence, this interpretation school clearly overlooks the warning given about the intense persecution the political ‘little horn’ will unleash against God’s people (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 anti-Christ would be a secular political power opposed to God’s people, to cause them physical harm and destruction.
At this point, it obliges us to establish whether it is a physical structure or building (temple/ church), which is referred to by Daniel as the ultimate sanctuary of God which will be profaned and left desolate by the anti-Christ, or else if it is the mystical/ figurative temple, that is the people of God themselves, who would suffer untold atrocities at the hands of their secular enemies. For many Endtime prophecy students, the temple/ sanctuary of God is the physical place where God’s people gather for worship, whether be it the Temple in Jerusalem, or the synagogues or the church buildings. But even in the true sense of the word even these structures derive their sanctity only because the people of God meet there to worship God. There is a good Scriptural reason to consider the people of God themselves as the ultimate and true sanctuaries of God, where God’s primary concern lies. 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 where God takes up His residence and His worship occurs continually. Such a conception is not only in the Old Testament implicitly but also in the New Testament openly.
“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 any one 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 sense of God’s people and 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 secularist 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 arise a cruel autocrat, a dictator, who would be a master of intrigue and conspiracy work. This secular power would amass much political power in its hands, and then unleash an act that would astonishing and unprecedented in its destructive scale.
The secular power, which would arise in the Endtime, would mislead many through its demagogy, making many to believe the Lie for the truth. It would be able to accomplish feats of endeavor. It would be pretentious in its claims and be impious in its behavior towards God. It would kill many of those who belong to God. God’s people would be openly marked for persecution and destruction.
As we consider the sanctuary of God that would be profaned by the ‘little horn’ principally as God’s people, and not as a physical place like the Temple, synagogue or church., then the desecration of the ‘temple’ would become the gross violation of human dignity that God’s people will suffer at the hands of the God-haters. Their desolation is then the destruction of their livelihood and even their life. Hence, the Endtime manifestation of Abomination of Desolation is mainly the wanton and barbaric act committed against the true temple of God, which are His people.
6.3 The ‘Little Horn’ in Action: The Destructive Lie
Next we will consider two historical instances of the latter day where an atheistic and authoritarian power humiliated and destroyed the temple of God in the most astounding manner. Here we will be first considering the unparalleled persecution and murder of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis. Next we would consider the career of Communism and its widespread persecution of the people of faith, particularly Christians. What we find out about the Jew’s persecution at hand of the Nazis and their subsequent history is intended to serve us as a type to what would happen in spiritual Israel, i.e., the church.
This how one writer described the rise of the Nazis and the Communists in the 1920s,
“At the very moment the American intelligentsia turned to totalitarian Europe for spiritual sustenance and guidance in orderly planning, [Europe] was in fact embarking on two decades of unprecedented ferocity and desolation – moral relativism in monstrous incarnation.”
“If the decline of Christianity created the modern political zealot – and his crimes – so the evaporation of religious faith among the educated left a vacuum in the minds of Western intellectuals easily filled by secular superstition. There is no other explanation for the credulity with which 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.”
(a). 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 ‘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’ actions, Germany was able to experience economic boom under the Nazis. This did not fail to make positive impressions on many Germany. Hitler appeared as a miracle worker among the German people, working order out of the chaos, and optimism out of the national malice. His popularity was not low by any means. The Deception was taking root in the hearts of the German people, that Hitler had the Answer and provides the Solution. The Nazi Lie was making impression; but soon the consequences of endorsing the Nazis were to be apparent to all.
There was a dark side to the Nazis. The Nazis under Hitler, they were highly disciplined, methodical, and ruthless to a point. They set up a police state, and they ruled through fear and total allegiance to the Nazi state. Their main ideology was racial purity of the German race, where they taught that a purified German race is historically destined to rule the world. To that end the German nation should be cleansed from polluting elements of inferior race mixtures and from the presence of biologically disabled persons. Therefore, the Nazis in the years they were in power, they engaged in mass extermination and marginalization of all whom they have considered of an inferior race or of lower physical condition. So they set the stage to make human sacrifices to the ideology they preached. It was mainly the Jews and the Slavs who carried the brunt of Nazi hatred and extermination plans. These were considered the polluting races and were condemned to die or become slave-labor for the Teutonic master-race.
True that, Jews have known much hatred and persecution nearly in every nation they were dispersed since the Roman days. However, what they experienced at the hands of the Nazis was unparalleled in its cruelty and magnitude. For Hitler to set up his Third Reich dream, which would last one thousand years, solving the Jewish Problem was a centerpiece to his ideology.
“The ‘Jewish problem’ was central to his (Hitler’s) whole view of history, political philosophy and program of action.”
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.” Hitler in all his arrogance opened his mouth and uttered obscenities against Jews and their God. His hatred of Jewry and their religion was impeccable, and he mobilized all his power and resources to the total annihilation of the ancient people of God, the Jews. Through the sweeping 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. 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.
“…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. 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.’”
“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 en 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.”
Thus was humiliated, desecrated and destroyed the sanctuary of God – the Jew. Hitler and his race ideology was that abomination which left God’s people desecrated in the most horrifying manner. Only those European Jewry who were wise enough to discern the devil in Hitler and in his henchmen were able to flee the looming menace in time to other countries for safety.
The ferocity and the scale with which the Nazi regime destroyed know little parallel in the history of war driven ideology.
“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.”
The founder and leader of the Nazi party and regime, Adolph Hitler, carried many of the hallmarks of the anti-Christ listed above. He was charismatic but deceptive, intelligent but an evil-genius. He was with a cruel heart with infinite capacity to hate and destroy on a mass 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 won 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.”
In Hitler the world saw an abomination that made desolate, he authored the Transgression, which unleashed an awful horror human history ever witnessed. Nazism was evil incarnate, its destructive power energized by the devil. Hitler made the Lie of racial superiority to prosper in his hands, ant many were deceived by the Lie and became his agents of desolation.
(b). Revolutionary Communism (Marxism-Leninism)
Next we will consider revolutionary Communism (Marxism-Leninism) how this philosophy and political fulfils Bible Endtime prophecy of the ‘little horn’ and the abomination of desolation. In the following paragraphs we will expound the features of Communism in order to see the close resemblance between it and the profile of the little horn given above.
(i). Communism: The Child of the Enlightenment
Communism has its origins in the rational and secular worldview set loose by 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 F. Hegel and C. Darwin. Revolutionary Communism, more than any other branch of the secular-humanist camp, was the most radical and materialistic in its propositions. It openly and actively rejected traditional institutions and customary values. It openly called for the total and complete overthrow of the old order. Instead it called for the establishment of a completely new social order organized around a socialist party and state. Its methods to achieve all these 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.
(ii). Communism: Anti-God and Anti-Religion
Marxism in its conception of history and the origins of the universe was purely materialistic, with no room for God in it. The German 19th C. philosopher, Ludwig Feuerbach who strongly influenced Marx with his atheism 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.” God was said to be the figment of the imagination of primitive man who was not able to fully comprehend the workings of nature. Hence, Marxists rejected the idea of God totally as relic of the lower stages of historical development of mankind. Therefore, the founders of revolutionary Communism assiduously wrote and agitated against the church and any form of religious belief. Karl Marx noted that religion is the opiate of the masses and a drag on progress. Therefore, the working class when it comes to power one of its prime tasks should be to destroy all religion . Similarly, Lenin expressed his hatred of the church in the most venomous terms. He considered priests as gendarmes in cassocks. According to Johnson, Lenin’s idea on religion was pure atheism,
“ 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.”
It was such hatred and rejection of the Divine once married to political power of the most totalitarian of its kind that proved to be highly inimical and destructive to the mission of the church and the life of the believer. The Communists attempt to wipe out the idea of God, cost the church and people of other faiths a great of sacrifice. Communists did have any qualm to kill and exile millions in their social engineering attempt to create what they called the New Man, whose reliance was in himself.
(iii). Communism: The Lie as the Redeeming Truth
The communist party was projected as the incarnation of the infallible word of Marxism-Leninism, which has to be followed without any deviations. 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.’”
The whole assertion of Marxist theoreticians has therefore been: If the teachings of Marxism-Leninism are strictly followed in statecraft, inevitably would follow the Perfect Society. It was claimed, unlike other social philosophies, Marxism-Leninism was scientific, therefore, able to provide the Solution to the varied problems of humanity.
Marxists believed in the inherent goodness and infinite capacity of mankind. They placed much faith in Darwinian evolutionary and Hegelian dialectical laws to believe that mankind can progressively achieve a higher order of existence. 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. 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.”
Under communist ideology - Man can save himself; and there is no need for a supernatural Savior. Communism can usher in a secular utopia, a classless, secure and prosperous society, which would know no end.
“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 many logical similarities between the doctrine of the Marxist millennium and the Christian doctrine of Christ’s Second Coming.”
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.
Hence, under Communism the heart of man that was intended at creation to worship only God and to be the sanctuary of the Eternal now has to enthrone the man-made Communist god. By terror and persecution, propaganda and economic blackmail, the Communists exiled God out of the hearts of many. Millions were seduced and 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. Because, Communism, more than anything else was a systematically well thought out plan and attempt to set up a Millennial–like Utopia on earth.
(iv). Communism: The Statism as the Red Beast
If Nazism was a political utopian ideology, a secular messianic aberration based on race theory, Marxism, on the other hand, was an ideology of the zealots based on class warfare. According to Communists, in order the Perfect Society to emerge, first society has to be broken and molded according the ideology of Marxism-Leninism. Old social relations have to be smashed, the propitiated classes should dispossessed, and the toiling masses empowered economically and politically. To achieve this, the masses have to rally behind the Communist party and its enlightened leadership. Class-based revolutionary struggle led by the Party would then complete the liberation of the masses from oppressing natural and exploiting social forces.
Everywhere Communists assumed political power, beginning with the Russian Revolution in 1917, the Communist party and state were given absolute power to organize, direct and control every aspect of social life. Individuals’ rights were suppressed in the name of the common good. The individual did not count under Communism, only the interest of the masses as defined by the Communist elite. Any disobedience and deviation from the Party dogma and rules, hence was suppressed with outmost severity. Society has to render absolute allegiance to the Communist state; another power acknowledge as source of truth and guidance in the life of the people amounted to treason and anti-revolutionary activity.
Communists set up the most centralized State, overseeing every aspect of life in society. The State was elevated to the level of a god. Its orders have to be obeyed at any cost and to it belonged every allegiance. Marxist ideology was defied as the objective and infallible truth, the Communist party leaders as those with the revealed truth (Gnostic) power to lead the people to total redemption. Hence, the new deity the Communists wanted the citizens has to obey absolutely and fear with utmost dread was the communist state. Consequently, in the heart of the people, the fear and obedience to God or any other customary authority was replaced by the fear of the state. This inevitably led to conflict in the heart of the true believers who did not want to compromise their faith. To true Christians who could only acknowledge Jesus as Lord, the new communist Caesars could not be worshipped and obeyed as Lord. As Schaeffer observed in this regard,
“ The humanist worldview with inventible certainty leads in the direction of statism. This is because humanists, having no god, must put something at the center, and it is inevitably society, government, or the state…”
“The early church carried out their civil disobedience in the only way available to them. They came to the clear issue of worshipping 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 of 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.”
And this was what happened with the atheistic systems of Nazism and Communisms – the people belonged to the state and not the other way round. Hence, the people can be dealt with in every manner in order to make the state ideology a success. In this light, what has been the legacy of Communism - this secular messiah, the pseudo-Christ - over the 70 or more years of its existence? Did it bring its subjects any closer to spiritual liberty and material bounty, as promised? Was peace, prosperity and bliss its legacy? Is that what its records show?
(v). Communism: Temple Defiled
In the name ideology and Communist economic policy millions of citizens were killed, interned in prisons, or exiled. The Communists were heartless and barbaric in exterminating and persecuting even the civilian population to fit their ideological ends. 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.”
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. 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. 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 impendent 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.”
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. , 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 programmes 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.”
The Khmer Communists 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 was the ultimate heartlessness of ideas.”
(vi). Communism: Militarism and Imperial Expansionism 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 ‘peoples 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 nation to bolster their dictatorial grips on their respective citizens. Most of the former and present day communist nations have had the highest per capita number of soldiers and defense expenditures.
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, Africa and to some extent Latin America was quite marked. Among other factors, it was helped by the winds of change that were sweeping the developing world in the post-WWWII 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. In many countries they supported left wing movements and armed such insurgencies; engineered coups to bring Communists to power; propped up unpopular socialist governments with massive economic and military aid, and even launched military invasions in support of their client regimes, etc.
The Soviet Russia expansion will not go unchallenged. Another secular world power will strongly challenge its pretensions. In the final stage of its history, it will encounter a stronger challenge, which will make it to be exposed for what it is. The charges it used to hurl on others would come on its head. It would be made to retreat back to its own homeland. As winds of change sweep in from various directions, it would try to save its empire, but it would be too late. Confined to its homeland, it would stumble, (make false steps), and collapse never to rise up again.
There is no other better way to end the discussion on the desecration and desolation of the human person at the hands of 20th C godless ideologies than to look at the reflections of the present Pope, John Paul II, on the same phenomenon. One of the few persons of who has witnessed the emptiness and horrors of both Nazi and Communist ideologies is the Polish-born Pope. Being a living witness to the horrors, the Pope has devoted himself to the metaphysical study of the plight of the PERSON - focusing on the degradation and pulverization of man’s fundamental uniqueness as a human person at the hands of modern day godless ideologies. In this light, Naugel notes the following about the Pope,
“He 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. 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 theistic assumptions led to a profound betrayal of the true nature and nobility of persons.”
Commonly Biblical Passages on the Anti-Christ
1. ‘And it (i.e. the little horn) grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host 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 under foot?" (Dan. 8: 10-13).
2. “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).
3. “In his place shall arise a contemptible person on whom royal majesty had not been conferred; he shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom through intrigue. Armies shall be utterly swept away and broken before him, and the prince of the covenant as well. And after an alliance is made with him, he shall act deceitfully and become strong with a small party. Without warning he shall come into the richest parts of the province and do what none of his predecessors had ever done, lavishing plunder, spoil, and wealth on them. He shall devise plans against strongholds, but only for a time. 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. 11: 21-24).
4. “The king shall act as he pleases. He shall exalt himself and consider himself greater than any god, and shall speak horrendous things against the God of gods. He shall prosper until the period of wrath is completed, for what is determined shall be done. He shall pay no respect to the gods of his ancestors, or to the one beloved by women; he shall pay no respect to any other god, for he shall consider himself greater than all. He shall honor the god of fortresses instead of these; a god whom his ancestors did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. He shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god. Those who acknowledge him he shall make more wealthy, and shall appoint them as rulers over many, and shall distribute the land for a price “ (Dan. 11: 36-39).
5. “At the time of the end the king of the south shall attack him. But the king of the north shall rush upon him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen, and with many ships. He shall advance against countries and pass through like a flood. He shall come into the beautiful land, and tens of thousands shall fall victim, but Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites shall escape from his power. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall become ruler of the treasures of gold and of silver, and all the riches of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians F62 shall follow in his train. But reports from the east and the north shall alarm him, and he shall go out with great fury to bring ruin and complete destruction to many. He shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he shall come to his end, with no one to help him” (Dan. 11: 40-45).
6. ‘Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbat’ (Matt. 24: 15-18).
And as the Lord Jesus has it, the moment the people of God notice that such an anti-God secular power, which is not worthy of the place, it stands in, ruling power, then it is time to flee without wasting a minute. Waiting too long will make the difference between survival and death. The people of God should pray that God will give them the right conditions to facilitate their migration to a safe place out of the reach of the Anti-Christ power.
7. “As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you? And you know what is now restraining him, so that he may be revealed when his time comes. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but only until the one who now restrains it is removed. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming” (2 Thess. 2: 1-8).
8. “And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads; and on its horns were ten diadems, and on its heads were blasphemous names. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And the dragon gave it his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have received a death-blow, but its mortal wound F42 had been healed. In amazement the whole earth followed the beast. They worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?" The beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. It was given authority over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all the inhabitants of the earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slaughtered. Let anyone who has an ear listen: If you are to be taken captive, into captivity you go; if you kill with the sword, with the sword you must be killed. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints” (Rev. 13: 1-10).
9. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error... Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist! Be on your guard, so that you do not lose what we have worked for, but may receive a full reward. Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching” (1 Jn. 4: 1-6, 2 Jn 1: 6-10).