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Monday, January 15, 2024

The Antichrist and the Desire of Women

In these last days, it makes sense that many are trying to uncover the identity of the Antichrist. We know this figure will arise and will take his place in the events described in the Word of God. 

In my lifetime I have had numerous names tossed around as strong candidates. I am not opposed to careful speculation, but I refrain from settling on one person or another. With the passing of Henry Kissinger in 2023, one person who has been repeatedly named among the candidates has been eliminated (unless you hold to a resurrected Antichrist).

I believe speculation is a legitimate pursuit as the scripture clearly gives us descriptions of the coming Man of Sin about which we should be aware. But I caution again on being too specific in this current age. The Antichrist is tied to God's plans for the Earth and tied to his earthly people, Israel.

Daniel was sent to Israel to encourage the nation in captivity. God revealed, through his prophets, the great future that lies ahead for a believing and cleansed Israel, but in his wisdom he made the timing a matter of study and observation. The Lord gave Israel descriptions and actions, but neither a specific time or name. The events laid out in Daniel have not all come to pass. The world and the nations await its fulfillment. Part of that fulfillment will be the emergence of the Antichrist, the Man of Sin (2 Thess 2:3). 

The following verse, quoted most often from the King Kames Version (KJV) or derivatives of that translation, seems to suggest the future Antichrist either has no interest in women or that he will be a homosexual. Another possible understanding is that the Man of Sin will have no pity, not even for women and children,  But the context speaks of worship. Even in the KJV, the statement concerning women is sandwiched between descriptions concerning worship.

Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.

  -Dan 11:37 (KJV)


He is described as man who has no regard for any god, even the true God, for he exalts himself above all and seeks worship of himself. The characteristic of the Antichrist in regard to "the desire of women" has, thus, a religious application. Here are some thoughts from two commentaries.

Nor the desire of women This, as some think, means, nor the god that is loved and adored by women; and, taking the clause in connection with the context, this seems the most natural sense of it; for the whole verse speaks of the impiety, or irreligion, of Antiochus, that he had no regard to any god whatever. What god this was that was the desire of women, cannot be certainly said; it is probable it was the moon, (the queen of heaven, as they used to call her,) or some other of the heavenly luminaries; for the Syrian women are described in Scripture as particularly attached to these.
-Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments (1846)

the desire of women: the context shows that the phrase must refer to some deity, probably to the Phœnician god, Tammuz (pp. 631f. Ezekiel 8:14), whose worship was extremely popular in Syria...
-Peake's Commentary on the Bible (1919)

A better translation of this verse, in my opinion, can be found in the Christian Standard Bible, The Complete Jewish Bible, and The Revised Standard Version (among others).

He will not show regard for the gods of his ancestors, the god desired by women, or for any other god, because he will magnify himself above all. 
-Dan 11:37. (CSB)


He will show no respect for the gods his ancestors worshipped, or for the god women worship — he won’t show respect for any god, because he will consider himself greater than all of them.

-Dan 11:37 (CJB)

He shall give no heed to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women; he shall not give heed to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all.

-Dan 11:37 (RSV)

Benson notes "the queen of heaven." This title will be familiar to those of us raised in the Catholic Church. It is one of the titles of their Mary. Benson does not just rip this from the pages of history and wildly apply it or because of  some desire to cast aspersions on the Roman system of worship and their exaltation of Mary to "Co-Redemptress." It is a title Rome has taken from scripture. 

The title "queen of heaven" is found five times in the prophecy of Jeremiah (7:18; 44:17,18,19; 44:25). Worship of this false god consisted of vows and offerings (cakes, drink offerings, burning of incense). God tells the women who worship this false god to go ahead and complete their vows. But this is a judgment, not an approval (44:25).

This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: ‘As for you and your wives, you women have spoken with your mouths, and you men fulfilled it by your deeds, saying, “We will keep our vows that we have made to burn incense to the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings for her.” Go ahead, confirm your vows! Pay your vows!’

Benson notes for us that the queen of heaven is connected to moon worship. The Catholic Mary is often depicted as standing on or supported by the moon. We do not want to get too far into the doctrines and Catholic prayers. Suffice it for our purposes to note that prayers to Mary (consistent with CC teaching) are often connected to pleas for her saving powers.

"I place all my hope and all my salvation in you."

The appeal here (which is a blasphemy against Christ and his sacrificial perfection and sufficiency) is intoxicating. The Catholic Mary is often depicted with the Christ child, showing her as greater and suggests she is his master. I know I was taught that we should pray to Mary as she is more gracious than the Father and less prone to anger.

Now we turn, with these things still in view, to the reference to the god Tammuz noted by Peake in his commentary. Peake points us to Ezekiel 8:14.

Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord; and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.

Again, we see it is the women weeping for the Phoenician false god, Tammuz. But how is this connected to the queen of heaven or even to the Catholic Mary? Albert Barnes give us this direction in his commentary on the verse [clarified spellings added by me]:

Tammuz being identified with Duv-zi [Dumuzid], whose loss was lamented by the goddess Istar [or Ishtar], the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility, war, love, and sex.

We need to be careful here as all ancient gods went through different metamorphoses as they were adopted by different nations and as religions evolved among the pagans. Their attributes were often combined with native deities. With that said, very roughly, Tammuz was connected to fertility  and new life in Spring. He was killed by demons in the early Spring (March/April) in one account. (cf. Encyclopedia Britannica).

The constant changing and adjusting of the gods to local customs and beliefs only adds to the connections to the Catholic Mary. Paganism adopted into a more western, quasi-Christian system of Saint worship.

Another view states that Tammuz is the son of Ishtar and Baal and he was killed by a wild boar while hunting. Tammuz ascended, as Ishtar, to Baal. The period of mourning consisted of abstaining from eating meat for 40 days. (cf. East Bay Times). We see this practice in the evolved Catholic practice of Lent (which started with far more stringent food restrictions than the current manifestation). Sadly, different forms of Lent have been adopted by those who claim to trust in Christ alone. 

I want to be careful and not stray too far here. I am sure Catholics devoting themselves to "adoring" and praying to Mary have no idea of the connections or similarities to pagan worship practices. Their error and grave sin could actually be seen as worse and they pray things like "I place all my hope and all my salvation in you." The pagans did not have a completed Bible and the full witness and ministry of Christ before them as Catholics do.

We thus bring all these things back to the subject of Daniel's description of the coming Antichrist. Daniel, under inspiration, tells us that the Antichrist will regard no deities. This makes sense since he will exalt himself as the greatest of all deities. 

He will have no regard for the gods associated with his "fathers," he will have no regard for the deity worshipped by women in the land of Daniel's captivity (which had spread among the children of Israel), and he will have no regard for any deity that any people will present to him. The specific reference to "the God of his fathers" suggests he will be an Israelite or another child of Abraham. That is, he could be an Ishmaelite or and Edomite, Perezite, etc. But I refrain from being definitive on this point.

I think it is safe to conclude that the Antichrist will not necessarily be a homosexual or have no carnal interest in heterosexual sex at all. "Desire" as used in some translations (as with the KJV) does not have to be interpretative as carnal. The translation "the desire of women" is actually putting the focus on the women and not on the Antichrist. He will not share their desire.

We see this idea of "desire" in a number of places in scripture, but sticking with the KJV and using Haggai's prophecy of a future glory with his people that he brought out of the land of Egypt (Israel, Haggai 2:5). We have the same word Hebrew translated "desire" used in Daniel and Haggai (chemdâh).

For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. 
-Haggai 2:6-8

E.W. Bullinger notes in his commentary on Hag 2:7 (The Companion Bible)

for the object of desire, which cannot be "things", for hemdath is feminine, singular, and refers to Him Who alone can satisfy the desire of all nations. 

The Lord shall be the desire of all nations (or possibly "tribes"). This has a fully worshipful and adoring application to it and no sign of any required carnal drive.

The Antichrist will have no regard for any god, including the true God of Israel. When the Messiah returns to establish the throne of David in Israel, believing Israel and the nations blessed through Israel will rejoice. The "desires" in these passages are spiritual desires. The one who will exalt himself as god will have no regard for any competition.

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.

-2 Thessalonians 2:4 (NKJV)

I don't usually use paraphrased version of scripture. I suggest that people that use such Bibles view them as commentaries on the text and not translations. That being said, sometimes a paraphrase is able to capture an idea in English that is lost in a direct translation. With that in mind, I think the New Living Translation (NLT) captures the essence of the truth of this verse.

He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.

-2 Thessalonians 2:6 (NLT)

This will be a key characteristic of the Antichrist. At what point he reveals this part of his character and plan, the world will have to wait and see. But before I close, let us not lose sight of both the blasphemy of denying the true God as well as stealing glory from the true God. Both are evil and wicked and not to be compromised with. We note again the Catholic prayer to their "Queen of Heaven."

"I commit myself to serve you forever... I place all my hope and all my salvation in you."

These ideas are reflected in a number of Roman Catholic prayers to Mary. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. It is as shocking and it is disturbing and disappointing when Believers refuse to see Rome's doctrines (including the condemnation of non-Catholics) in some misguided (or worse, political) attempt to be inclusive. In a desire to be seen and non-judgmental and loving, believers deny Christ and call his sacrifice an unclean thing.

Evil comes in many forms. In comes in its own name and it comes in the name of the true God. Yet it is a Satanic deception. Satan would just as soon one worship "the desire of women" as he would have us worship no one. In many ways, the religiously deceived are harder to convince than the skeptic. The apostle Paul reminds of how Satan works:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

-2 Corinthians 11:13-15 

The Antichrist will appeal to both. He will appeal to both those who are unsatisfied with Christ's finished work on our bahlf and those who have no use for man's religions of unseen gods. He will be a tangible deity, offering miracle signs and wonders so great they could even deceive the elect of God.

For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

-Matthew 24:24

We close by reminding ourselves that the book of Daniel, the Revelation, the prophecies of Ezekiel, and the gospel of Matthew are for Israel. The time of Jacob's Trouble is soon to be upon the world. The message for today is not found in Israel (as it will be soon again), it is found in the gospel of the free grace of God and fully realized in the Dispensation of the Mystery revealed to the Apostle Paul, post Acts, in Ephesians and in his seven post Acts epistles.