As a prophecy teacher, I have received questions about the ongoing war in Israel. Some of the more common questions are: is this the Psalm 83 war? Will this lead to Gog and Magog? Is what is happening in Israel setting the stage for the revealing of the Antichrist? In reality, not many people understand who Hamas is or why they so viciously attacked Israel on October 7th. Let me give a little background to Hamas.
What is the History of Hamas
Hamas is an acronym for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya or “Islamic Resistance Movement.” It was founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a Palestinian cleric who became an activist in a local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In December 1987, Yassin established Hamas as the Brotherhood’s political arm in Gaza. In 1988, Hamas published its charter, which called for the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic society in Palestine. Their charter corresponded to the First Intifada, which started in December of 1987 and lasted six years, ending in September 1993 with the signing of the Oslo Accords.
Hamas rejected the Oslo Accords and began a series of suicide attacks against Israeli targets. These attacks led to the Second Intifada in 2000, which was much more violent than the first. In response to a suicide bombing in March of 2002, the Israeli army launched Operation Defensive Shield, and in June of that same year, Israel began building a separation barrier in the West Bank.
In June of 2022, Reuters reported that Hamas had restored its ten-year fractured relationship with Syria. The Hamas-Syria connection is where we turn to the biblical book of Daniel for some history — a history that seems to be repeating. Hamas is not an ancient nation; however, their violent activities against Israel, their desire to destroy Israel, and their brutal attack on the people of Israel are something Scripture has revealed before. Also, their current connection with Syria is something worth noting.
In Daniel 8:9, the prophet had a vision. In this vision, he saw a little horn, identified as Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the King of Syria who ruled from 175 to 164 B.C. Epiphanes means “God manifest,” and he proudly claimed to be a deity. He was known as “the Madman,” and he lived up to that reputation as he gruesomely attacked Egypt and then Jerusalem, persecuting Jews in Judah and Samaria. Because of these brutal attacks, the Jews revolted against him. Daniel 8:9 is fulfilled in the historical document of 1 Maccabees 1:20.
Daniel 8:11-12 prophetically describes a specific action of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. This action is the foreshadowing of the Abomination of Desolation. Where Antiochus would desecrate the Jewish Temple in his day, the Antichrist would do the same in the final days.
- He emptied the Temple of its furnishings and commanded the Jewish people to violate the Law of Moses by profaning the Sabbath and festivals and by setting up altars to pagan gods.
- He built idol altars throughout Judah and burned incense in the streets.
- He polluted the Temple in Jerusalem, called it the Temple of Zeus, and filled it with debauchery.
- He built a statue of Zeus and commanded the Jews to sacrifice and worship this pagan god.
- In 167 B.C., he offered a pig to the pagan god Zeus on the altar and desecrated the Holy Temple.
Daniel 8:13-14 and the Two Angels
In Daniel 8:13, two angels appear — one asks a question and one provides an answer. In verse 13, the question is asked, “How long would what Daniel saw in his vision last?” How long would the little horn — Antiochus — be allowed to stop true worship? The angel mentioned “the transgression that makes desolate,” which is the abdominal image of Zeus.
The angel also mentions “the sanctuary and the host,” which is saying the abomination would take place in the Holy Temple and the “host” — the Jewish people — would be persecuted. The question is, how long will this persecution last? The Abomination of Desolation, which was the statue of Zeus in the Holy Temple and which also had Antiochus’ face imprinted on it, happened on the 25th of Kislev in 168 B.C. (November/December).
Daniel 8:14 Reveals the Answer
The second angel revealed the persecution against Israel would last 2,300 evenings.
- The persecution of the Jews in the Holy Land began in 175 B.C. when the High Priest Onias III was replaced.
- Antiochus replaced him with his evil brother, Jason.
- Jason was replaced by an even more evil brother Menelaus, who bribed Antiochus for the position of high priest.
- Then Menelaus assassinated his brother Onias.
- Onias was the only legitimate high priest, and after his removal, there were only illegitimate priests until 164 B.C. when Antiochus died.
The Temple was Cleansed in 165 B.C. by the Priest Mattathias
To enforce his laws and to ensure the Jewish people engaged in idol worship, Antiochus sent his soldiers to villages throughout Judah. When they reached the small village of Mod’in, 12 miles northwest of Jerusalem, the soldier demanded the local leader, a priest named Mattathias, be an example and sacrifice a pig on a pagan altar. Mattathias refused to disobey God and killed any Jew who attempted to do so. Then, he killed the king’s representatives and tore down the pagan altar.
Antiochus responded by attacking the innocent Jewish people of that village, killing men, women, children, and animals. The historical document of 1 Maccabees 2:38 recorded that 1,000 people died that day. Innocent women and children are being slaughtered for no just cause. Does this sound familiar? With their Syrian roots, this is how history repeated itself as the world watched in horror as Hamas attacked Israel on September 6th.
Antiochus’ violent actions triggered the major Jewish revolt of 167 B.C., Mattathias and his five sons were joined by a group of fellow Jews to liberate their country. This is parallel to the war we see happening in Gaza today. The Jewish people were viciously attacked and Israel as a nation responded with force.
The priests’ family, corporately known as the Maccabees, kept fighting. It took three years, but they were victorious. The Maccabees:
- Cleansed the Temple in Jerusalem.
- They demolished the pagan altar.
- They built a new altar and made new Holy vessels for use in the newly cleansed Temple, which included a lampstand, an altar of incense, a table of showbread, and curtains.
- Then, they rededicated the Temple, which today is celebrated by the modern-day Jewish holiday of Chanukah.
When King Solomon dedicated the First Temple, he decided they should follow Sukkot — the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-36, Numbers 29:35, 2 Chronicles 7:8-10). The dedication of the First Temple was observed with eight days of lighting of the lampstands. The Maccabees followed Solomon’s example, and this is why Chanukah is celebrated for eight days. The proof of the fulfillment of Daniel 8:14 is recorded in three historical books: 1 Maccabees 4:36-59, 2 Maccabees 10:1-9 and by Josephus in his Jewish Antiquities.
Daniel 8:15-26 – The Interpretation
Daniel had a deep desire to understand the meaning of this vision. In verses 15-18, the angel Gabriel appears as one with the appearance or likeness of a male. This language reveals this was not a human but an angel (Genesis 6:2; 18:2). Gabriel scared Daniel to the point that he fell to the ground (Joshua 5:14; Ezekiel 1:28). The angel informed Daniel that the vision he saw belonged to “the time of the end.” That interpretation refers to the days well beyond the first century B.C. It takes us to the time of the Antichrist, meaning Daniel’s vision extended far beyond the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. It goes to the end times!
Gabriel specifically stated the later time of the indignation, referring to a very particular period of wrath, meaning the Tribulation and the final king of the times of the Gentiles, which will be the Antichrist. What Antiochus did in history, the Antichrist will do in the future. Likewise, what Hamas is doing today, the Antichrist will do in the future.
Daniel 8:26 – Gabriel Concludes His Interpretation
The angel Gabriel instructed Daniel on what to do with the vision. He, the prophet, is to “seal it up.” Then he explained the reason for sealing up the vision, ” for it belongs to the days to come” (Ezekiel 12:27), meaning the day of the coming Tribulation and the rise of the Antichrist. The vision of Daniel 8 was partially fulfilled but will not be fully fulfilled until the end of days — the Tribulation. Whether or not Hamas is repeating history, we know how the story will end.
Maranatha, Lord Jesus!