PARONOMASIA PART II
STILL another important instance of paronomasia is found in Daniel 11:38 in the expression "the god of fortresses" found in the sentence: "But in his place shall he honor the god of fortresses; and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones and pleasant things."
In order to understand this marvelous prediction concerning the willful king of the time of the end, it is necessary for one to see this specific prophecy in the light of the entire context. Daniel, chapters 10, 11, and 12, constitute one complete oracle. In Daniel 11:2-4 we have a rapid survey of the Medo-Persian Empire which was brought to an end by the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great. The collapse and division of Alexander's empire among his four generals is likewise foreshadowed in verse 4. In verses 5-19 is a very rapid survey of the conflict that raged between the Greco-Syrian Empire under the Seleucid kings and the Greco-Egyptian kings of the Ptolemaic line in Egypt. The former king is called "the king of the north," whereas the latter one is called "the king of the south." Thus in these verses appears a survey of the struggle between Egypt and Syria, down to the time of the father of Antiochus Epiphanes of the Greco-Syrian kingdom. In verse 21 we see Antiochus Epiphanes, the great persecutor of the Jews. A description of the war between Antiochus and the Maccabees is set forth in verses 21-35. But in verses 31-35 there begin to appear little glimpses of conditions that will exist in Israel in the end time. Thus in these last verses there is a blending of the immediate future with the far distant period of the end time. This is a very reasonable thing, because a situation similar to that of the Maccabean Period will exist in the end time.
But when we come to Daniel 11:36, we are in the midst of the Tribulation Period. The reason for my saying this is that the things which this willful king will do are described by John in Revelation, chapter 13, as occurring in the middle of the Tribulation.
BUT let us look at the immediate text: "36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods; and he shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished; for that which is determined shall be done. 37 Neither shall he regard the gods of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above all. 38 But in his place shall he honor the god of fortresses; and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones and pleasant things. 39 And he shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god: whosoever acknowledgeth him he will increase with glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for a price" (Dan. 11:36-39).
Here is a determined king who does according to his will. He exalts himself and magnifies himself above every god, he speaks horrible things against the God of gods, Jehovah, the true God, and prospers in his designs to the close of the period of indignation. This information we gather from verse 36. In the following verse Daniel gives us more explicit information. He disregards the gods of his fathers. This raises the question as to the nationality of this great king. From Daniel, chapter 7, we know that the prince who will rule the world empire of the end time is none other than a person of Roman extraction. This fact is reflected in the statement that the people of the coming prince shall, according to Daniel, destroy the city and the sanctuary. This is a prediction that was fulfilled by the Roman conquest and overthrow of the Jewish commonwealth in A.D. 70. The people who overthrew the Jewish nation were the Romans. Daniel tells us that these who overthrow the Jewish commonwealth are the people of this future coming prince. Since the Romans did that, we know that the future world ruler is to be of Roman extraction. Then the gods of his fathers are none other than the gods of the Romans. The next statement that is made is that he does not regard "the desire of women." For the moment let us pass by this expression to the next one: "neither does he regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above all"that is, above all gods. This passage presupposes the springing up of idolatry all over the world in the time of the Tribulation. Thus there will come back into existence the old Roman gods, the old Norse gods, the Teutonic gods, the gods of the Greeks; in fact, the world will be engulfed by idolatry, as we have already seen in other discussions appearing in this magazine. This condition will continue throughout the first half of the great Tribulation Period. But in the middle of the Tribulation, as we learn from Revelation, chapter 13, this world dictator will demand the worship of all people. He will oppose all idolatry and Christianity as it will be preached by the 144,000 Jewish evangelists during the first half of the Tribulation. He will have an image of himself set up in Jerusalem in the Jewish Temple. At the unveiling of that image, it will be given by Satan the power to speak and will perform miracles, even causing fire to descend out of heaven to earth in the sight of men. Doubtless the ceremonies in connection with the unveiling of this image will be sent by television and by radio to the entire world. In this manner the population of the world will probably witness the great demonstration of satanic power that will be enacted at that timeat the time that this willful king opposes the Roman gods and exalts himself above all gods.
BUT what is meant by the expression in Daniel 11:37, "the desire of women"? The verse is dealing with the gods that are worshiped in the Tribulation. The first phrase, as we have already seen, refers to the Roman gods. The last term signifies the gods of all other nations. But between these phrases is "the desire of women." Since it is thus sandwiched between these two expressions referring to the various gods of the nations, the implication is that it likewise refers to a god. What then does this expression, desire of women, mean in Jewish thought? We learn that it was the desire of the Jewish women to become the mother of the Messiah. Thus the Messiah, then, is probably "the desire of women," of the Jewish women. When we study messianic prophecy, we see that He is God in human form who enters the world by miraculous conception and virgin birth. He is truly a man and at the same time He is Godnot God and man (a monstrosity), but the God-man. See such passages as Isaiah 7:14, 9:6; John 1:1-18, Philippians 2:5-11, and Hebrews, chapters 1 and 2.
When we recognize that "the desire of women" refers to the divine-human Messiah, and when we see that this willful king is opposed to all gods and equally to this one, "desire of women," we see that he is likewise opposed to Christ. Thus this passage shows that though the church is removed from the earth before the Tribulation, Christ will be preached and Christianity will continue to exist during the Tribulation. As suggested above, the banner of Prince Immanuel that the ascending church drops as it wends its way to meet the Lord in the air is picked up by the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, who accept the message which we are now giving to Israel, who rush forth into the breach that has been left by the departing church and go forward into battle, pressing the claims of Jesus Christ upon the world. These evangelists bring about the world's greatest revival, in which multiplied millions and hundreds of millions of souls will accept Jesus Christ and wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Thus we see from this Old Testament prophecy how the willful king will make a determined stand against the true God, against the Lord Jesus Christ, and also against the idolatry which will at that time have swept over the world.
FURTHER information regarding his activity is given us in verse 38, which is as follows: "But in his place shall he honor the god of fortresses; and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones and pleasant things."
Although we have been told in verses 36 and 37 that this willful king, the world dictator, will magnify himself above every god and oppose every thought of a Divine Being, yet in verse 38 we are told that "in his place [mar. office] shall he honor the god of fortresses; and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold ..." Since he puts himself above every god, and since he opposes the very thought of the existence of any god, the expression the god of fortresses cannot refer to an idol or god. This fact shows that our term is not to be taken literally, but rather metaphorically. What figure is this? There is but one answerparonomasia. In other words, Daniel speaks of force, power, and military equipment to which this willful king gives all of his attention in terms of the topic of the conversation. Since he has been speaking of gods whom this dictator opposes, and since he uses the expression, "the god of fortresses," we know that this term simply speaks of the creation on the part of the world dictator of a great military force with which he intends to conquer the world and bring it under his power and control. Thus the great and unparalleled military force which he creates and marshals proves to be his godthe object of his devotion and the thing upon which he depends for the carrying out of his plans of world conquest and subjection. Hitler built up the greatest war machine that the world thus far has ever seen. He ground down the German people, taking their "gold, and silver, ... precious stones and pleasant things," and poured all of this into the creation of his godthe German armed forces. Just what Hitler did in this respect, the world dictator will do on a much larger scale.
From the following verse we see this willful king, the Anti-christ, as he launches his war of aggression against the ten dictators who are represented by the ten toes of the image vision of Daniel, chapter 2, and the ten horns of the fourth beast of Daniel, chapter 7. "And he shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god: whosoever acknowledgeth him he will increase with glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for a price" (11:39).
From Daniel, chapter 7, we see that the world will be headed up in the end of this age into a colossal political octopus, a world government (vs. 23). Then it will, as indicated by verse 24, fall to pieces, splitting into ten divisions. Over each of these sections will arise a dictator. Following their appearance, will come up the final dictator, or willful king, who will gradually ingratiate himself, by his flatteries, into the favor of these dictators. Thus he will cooperate with them and finally enter into a covenant with the Jews for a period of seven years. When this treaty is signed, the Tribulation begins. During the first half of the Tribulation, there does not appear to be any friction between these dictators and the willful king. He seems to work, however, in an underhanded way, manipulating the affairs of all, and causing great powers to gravitate into his own hands. Finally, when he will have created his "god of fortresses"his war machinehe launches his power against the strongest fortressesthose of the ten kings who have brought him to power. In other words, this is a clear prediction that this willful king will launch his war of aggression against the armed forces of his ten associates, over whom he will already have won by diplomacy the mastery to a certain extent. He does not launch this war simply in human strength, for we are told that he does it "by the help of a foreign god." Who is this foreign god? It cannot be any of the gods of the nations, when idolatry has a resurgence, a rising again into life, at this future time. This expression, "a foreign god," when read in the light of Revelation, chapter 13, which deals with the same situation as does Daniel, chapter 11, is seen to refer to none other than Satan himself, who turns over his throne and power to this world dictator. Thus Satan is a foreign god so far as the various gods that are made by men are concerned.
Whatever persons, at the time of the launching of this war of aggression, will acknowledge the willful king will be promoted to great honor and power. They will be given positions in the government to rule over many. At that time the Antichrist will "divide the land [Palestine] for a price."
When the Antichrist thus launches this war, he may start out with a war of nerves. In all probability he will do this. But there will be two of these dictators who will accept his challenge and rise up in armed might against him. The first is the king of the south; the second is the king of the north. The conflict will be indeed a blitz or possibly a "push button war." Palestine will figure very largely in this great conflict, for "he [the willful king, the Anti-christ] shall enter also into the glorious land [Palestine], and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon." Let us note that, at the time of the launching of this war, many countries will be overthrown. It will rapidly take on global proportions. But the conflict will not spread to Edom, Moab, and the children of Ammon. God will prevent its entering into that section of the world. Why? My suggestion is that the Jews who will be in Palestine in the Tribulation will flee into these countries where God will protect them.
A further description of the spread of this war is seen in 11:42, which reads: "He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries; and the land of Egypt shall not escape." The blanket statement is made that this willful king will stretch forth his hand upon "the countries." While this expression is not exactly definite, yet it is general and implies that this war will be waged against the countries of the world in general. The Egyptians, the Libyans, and the Ethiopians will fall under the sledge hammer blows of this mighty world dictator.
While the war is raging in the countries just mentioned, the report, as is seen in verse 44, will come that there are insurrections in the far east and in the distant north. Thus, according to this prediction, practically the whole world will be engulfed in a titanic struggle between the willful king on the one hand and the ten dictators with whom he will have been associated for the first half of the Tribulation on the other. According to verse 45 he will be brought to his end and none shall help him. His being brought to an end is what occurs at the end of the Tribulation.
Daniel was very much interested in the length of time from the willful king's opposing all gods, magnifying himself above the God of gods, and his launching this aggressive war against his associates in government, to the time that he is brought to an end. This question is answered in Daniel 12:6,7 which reads as follows: "And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river. How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? 7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces of power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished." How long shall these wonders take place? The answer is, "a time, times, and a half." Time, in the Book of Daniel and in Revelation, which quotes this phrase from Daniel, is a year. Times is in the dual number, two years, and a half a time is half a year. Thus the total of time, times, and half a time is three and one-half years. There will therefore be three and one-half years from the time of the willful king's attempt to abolish idolatry from the world and to require the worship of himself to the end of the Tribulation, when he is brought to his end. When this passage is laid down beside the Book of Revelation, it is quite evident that these three and one-half years of Daniel, chapters 11 and 12, are the latter half of the Tribulation Period.
Thus the recognition of the figure of paronomasia in Daniel 11:38 opens up the entire passage of Scripture for an intelligible exposition of the same. Only, therefore, when we recognize that the expression, the god of fortresses, is an instance of paronomasia and interpret it accordingly, can we see this "push button" war of aggression that will be launched in the middle of the Tribulation and that will be so very disastrous to the world. Thus the whole interpretation of this marvelous revelation is contingent upon our recognition of this figure of speech.
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