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The A-List of Warmongers from the Future
Can you guess which of the following are true and which are false?
1. When you sneeze, all bodily functions stop, even your heart. T or F?
2. Only seven percent of the population are lefties. T or F?
3. Forty people are sent to the hospital for dog bites every minute. T or F?
4. Babies are born without kneecaps–they don’t appear until they are 2- to 6-years-old. T or F?
5. The average person over fifty will have spent five years waiting in lines. T or F?
6. The average housefly lives for one month. T or F?
7. Forty thousand Americans are injured by toilets each year. T or F?
8. Your feet are bigger in the afternoon than any other time of day. T or F?
9. Most of us have eaten a spider in our sleep. T or F?
10. In most television commercials advertising milk, a mixture of white paint and a little thinner is used in place of the milk. T or F?
11. Humphrey Bogart was related to Princess Diana. They were seventh cousins. T or F?
12. If coloring weren’t added to Coca-Cola, it would be green. T or F?
Which of these are true and which of them are false? Answer–they are all true, which totally grosses me out since that means I have probably eaten a spider in my sleep. Incredibly crazy things, but all of them are true. Sadly most people are more prone to believe those facts than they are Biblical prophecy.
So the Spirit of God and an angel from God made it easier for us to believe what God is going to do in the future. How did He do that? Turn to Daniel 11 and take your outline. God made it easy for us to believe His future plan for Israel and us by making over a hundred detailed prophecies that all came true within 250 years of Daniel’s writing (the immediate future) so that we would not struggle with the rest of the chapter, which predicts a time that is even future to us (the eschatological future).
The second half of the entire book of Daniel is to assure Israel they have a future with God, but the book has also told us they would be chastised first. There are four visions in the second half of the book and each predicts the immediate future to prepare them for coming chastening. Then each vision makes a jump into a distant future, the eschatological future, to let Israel know what is going to happen to them prior to the second coming of Christ.
Chapters 10 to 12 make up the fourth and final vision of Daniel, and we are now looking at the second half of chapter 11, a prophetic section. There are different styles of Scripture. Some genres should be given in a word-for-word type exposition, like the New Testament epistles. But some, like poetry and prophecy, should be taught in larger segments in order to effectively teach the style and text itself. It is just as deep but covers more material. I am tackling Daniel 10 to 12 at the exact same pace my mentor did, and many other solid verse-by-verse preachers who unfold the text of the Bible.
We are expositing chapter 11 in two parts, because God divided chapter 11 into two major sections describing a detailed future of Israel who will be chastened by the Seleucid Empire in the north and the Ptolemy Empire in the south, warring back and forth prior to the first coming of Christ in verses 1 to 35. In those 35 verses Daniel describes over one hundred prophetic details that all come true in the two hundred years following the writing of the book of Daniel. Because those precise details have come true, which were future to Daniel but now past to us, that gives us confidence that the next verses in this chapter, 36 to 45, the eschatological section, will be just as precise and come to pass exactly as written.
So the first half of Daniel 11 describes Israel’s immediate future, and the second half of Daniel 11 describes the eschatological future. But when this final vision starts in chapter 10 Daniel has a troubled heart. Daniel is 85-plus-years-old, the seventy-year captivity is over so the hundreds of thousands of Israelites who were taken captive by Babylon are now free to return home. So what’s troubling Daniel? Only a fraction of the Israelites return home. Jerusalem remains in disrepair and the temple is in ruins.
So Daniel is discouraged for his people because God’s chastening of Israel is not finished–the nation is going to be purified by further persecution and war. Their lack of passion for the things of God, their unwillingness to return home, their indifference to their key city and allowing their temple, the only place of true worship to remain in ruins is evidence of a people whose heart is far from God.
Israel is God’s chosen nation, yet because of their defiant indifference God will spank them through warmongering described in chapter 11. God will allow coming nations to chasten Israel, verses 1 to 35. And God will allow a coming world ruler to chasten Israel, verses 36 to 45. Last week verses 1 to 35 described . . .
#1 Some ugly warmongers of the past
First A-hasuerus–the Medo-Persian Empire, verse 2
Second A-lexander–the Grecian Empire, verses 3 to 8
Third A-ntiochus the Great–the Seleucid Empire, verses 9 to 20
Fourth A-ntiochus Epiphanes–the Seleucid Empire, verses 21 to 35
And today the angel will explain to Daniel that the chastening of Israel will continue all the way up to the second coming of Christ, perpetrated by the final warmonger right before Christ sets up His Kingdom.
#2 The ugly warmonger of the future
Notice between verses 35 and 36 we leap across centuries of persecution to the final persecutor of Israel:
Fifth The A-ntichrist
He will be all the evil power of Ahasuerus, Alexander, Antiochus the Great and Antiochus Epiphanes combined into one person. He will be a counterfeit Christ who will make a treaty with Israel, but in the middle of the seven-year tribulation period he will break the treaty, desecrate the temple, forbid the practice of Judaism, blaspheme God and initiate the holocaust of Armageddon that will end with the return of Jesus Christ.
But how do we know these verses speak of the antichrist? There are some who think this later section describes Antiochus Epiphanes, but others like me believe it’s describing the antichrist. How do we know verses 36 to 45 are not just a continuation of the future history of verses 1 to 35, but are a leap into the eschatological future? Seven reasons:
1 In verse 35 and verse 40 the phrase “the time of the end” is an eschatological phrase used to point to the last days before the second coming.
2 The vision in 36 to 45 was intended to go beyond the Persian and Greek eras since the angel told Daniel in 10:14 at the beginning of the vision, “Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.” Latter days also refers to the eschatological future.
3 Historical confirmation–we can substantiate the historical accuracy of Daniel 11:1 to 35, but after that there is no historical harmony with the events recorded in verses 36 to 45 yet. But verses 36 to 45 have harmony with other prophetic passages describing the end times and amazing harmony with the descriptions of the antichrist elsewhere in the Bible.
4 The word indignation. At the end of verse 36, “and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.” When the word indignation is used in the Bible in prophetic contexts, it is used almost synonymously with the tribulation period–the final outpouring of God’s wrath in the last days.
5 Continuity with the other three visions. All three previous visions describe coming historical prophecy, then they all jump into the eschatological future of the end times. Because of that, it is reasonable to assume that this last vision will do the same. Plus all three previous visions speak of the antichrist–therefore it makes sense that the final prophecy of Daniel would follow the same pattern, that 36 to 45 is the antichrist.
6 The immediate context demands an eschatological future since chapter 12:1 says this coming warmonger “will arise, and there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, . . .” It will be worse than any other time in the history of mankind, and verse 2 of chapter 12 says it will be followed by the resurrection, which only occurs at the end of the last days.
7 The description can’t fit Antiochus Epiphanes. The description of this new warmonger in verse 36 is stated in such a way as if he’s being introduced for the first time. Plus in verse 35 the king of the north was Antiochus, but in verse 36 to 45 this new king is actually distinguished from the king of the north. Therefore the new warmonger king cannot be Antiochus Epiphanes.
All evidence points to 36 to 45 as describing the antichrist. So what is past is prologue (verses 1 to 35 is an introduction)—an intro to the final A-List warmonger who is the worst of them all. He is the one God will use as a the vehicle of His judgment–the one who will be so evil that Israel will finally turn to Christ. His name is antichrist.
This is the climax of the chapter. The suffering of the Jews under Antiochus Epiphanes was only a foreshadowing of their deeper afflictions to come under this sinister figure. All intervening history is passed over and there is a leap of centuries to the “time of the end,” and again there will be a renewed struggle between a different king of the north and a new king of the south.
The Scriptures make it clear that such an ominous figure will appear on the world scene. His character, career, and fate are clearly described to Daniel by the angel who makes several radical declarations concerning the antichrist.
First Watch for the character of the antichrist
The Bible calls the antichrist the willful king since he will operate according to his own will. He is described in the Bible as the little horn, the king of fierce countenance, the prince that shall come, the man of sin, the son of perdition (meaning the one doomed to hell) and a beast. But take a look at how the angel describes the antichrist to Daniel in verse 36. “Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.” What does this tell us about the antichrist? Notice first . . .
1 His power
Verse 36a says, “Then the king will do as he pleases.” The antichrist will make his decisions with self-exalting motives. Think about, “his will to do as he pleases” . . . what will that take? The Bible speaks of the antichrist being empowered by Satan with demonic cooperation–demons we’ve seen have influence over nations. The antichrist will have credibility because he’ll be able to do miraculous signs and wonders that deceive people.
Under his rule the western world will become the protector of Israel against those who desire to control it, like the Soviet Union, China, the Arab nations and many African nations. During the antichrist’s reign there are other rulers in the world, but he will be supreme over all. Revelation 17 and Daniel 7 mention ten other kings who will be puppet kings under the antichrist. Revelation 13 mentions the antichrist will be aided by a false prophet who will do his bidding.
The kings of the south, north and west will attempt to revolt against him once his sovereignty is established, but he will overshadow them. His power to make decisions will be absolute, and his influence in the world will be so complete that everyone alive will be forced to bear his mark to function in society. Verse 36, “He will do as he pleases.” Feel the weight of . . .
#2 His pride
Verse 36b says, “He will exalt and magnify himself above every god.”
The captain of the Titanic said, “God Himself could not sink this ship.”
Custer said, “I could whip the entire Sioux nation with the 7th Calvary.”
Mohammed Ali said, “I am the greatest!”
I don’t watch TV, but people who can’t sing continually try out on American Idol, thinking they sing great—pride. But those are nothing compared to the antichrist. He will say, “Whatever your religion is, worship me above your god.”
Antiochus Epiphanes was proud, but he never exalted himself above every god–in fact he tried to force the Jews to worship his gods, the Greek gods like Zeus, Poseidon, Hades and Ares. But the antichrist will be atheistic, setting himself above every god. Paul described the antichrist this way in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, “Who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”
There are more and more boastful people today and many egoists have existed through the ages. But there is only one who will set himself up as God in the temple in Jerusalem, and he will have the biggest ego ever. He will be the epitome of pride, and God hates pride. Pride is the ultimate attack against God’s glory. And my fellow brothers and sisters, we must learn to hate what God hates and to love what God loves. How much do you hate pride?
There are several verses in Proverbs, starting with 8:13, “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” Then go to 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Next see 16:5, “The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: they will not go unpunished.” And finally 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”
God is not out to hurt your pride, He is out to kill it. Are you cooperating? Are you living dependently, more aware of your sin than the sins of others, viewing your criticism, complaining and uncontrolled moods for what they are–expressions of pride? Thinking of you more than others? Satan is the master of pride, and the antichrist will be just like Satan. We must hate pride in our lives.
3 His blasphemy
Verse 36c tells us, “and will speak monstrous things” against the God of gods. Larry Flint said, “If Jesus Christ were alive today, He would read Hustler magazine.” That is blasphemy. But that is nothing compared to the antichrist–he will be a blasphemer without equal.
Revelation 13:5 and 6 expose the antichrist by saying, “And there was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies; and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.”
In Daniel 11:36 when it says monstrous things, that means unbelievable, beyond shocking–the intensity of the antichrist’s blasphemy will be unparalleled in human history. Now why would God allow this? God will tolerate the antichrist’s atrocities because they are a part of the process God is using to purify Israel and judge mankind.
The atrocities will be serious enough to have to be shortened in time, seven years total, but the second three-and-a-half years, called the great tribulation is all that is allowed for these evils to continue. And the atrocities will be intense enough to finally lead the nation of Israel to recognize Jesus Christ as their Messiah and turn to Him. Now try to understand . . .
4 His perversion
Verse 37a says, “And he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god.” Notice three descriptions of his perversion.
No family values–the antichrist will have no respect for the traditional religion of his forefathers or relatives. In 2 Timothy 3:3, Paul said in the last days people will be without natural affection–families will fall apart because people will no longer care for their children, spouses or relatives. People normally respect the beliefs of their ancestors, but the antichrist will not.
No desire of women–this is a difficult phrase in Hebrew. This could mean he is a homosexual or a celibate (like a priest) or a person who lacks the gentleness of a woman or one who is not gracious to women at all–even a mother or sister. Some say like every Jewish woman desired to birth the Messiah, this means that the antichrist will have no desire for the Messiah. I think the best interpretation is the antichrist will not have a normal affection for a wife, mother, sister or women in general.
Irreligious–verse 37 says he has no regard for any god. Most people believe in some kind of god or higher power, but the antichrist will be completely irreligious. For two thousand years up to less than thirty years ago, in order to be a world leader you would need to have a normal family, establishing normal family affection, and be free from any hint of perversion in any form. But today fewer and fewer people are bothered by lack of family, lack of normal affection for family, and less and less bothered by any type of perversion. In other words we are now ripe for the antichrist to come on the scene. And when he does those who are still here will recognize him by . . .
5 His passion
Verses 37b to 39 say, “for he will magnify himself above them all. 38 But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones, and treasures. 39 And he will take action against the strongest of fortresses with the help of a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge him, and he will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price.”
What do you love? I am not talking about God, spouse, kids, friends, the Word or church. But after all that, what do you love? Books, travel, cars, jewelry, shoes, golf clubs, boats—what do you love? The antichrist’s passion, his greatest love is military power. The word fortresses in verse 38 is used six other times in Daniel, and each time it means a strong place or fort, referring to military power.
Daniel 7:23 says in the final form of the Roman Empire under the antichrist “will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it.” He will have safe places to remain secure behind (forts), and he’ll have all the weapons of mass destruction he needs to intimidate anyone. He will place his confidence in military might. In a sense the antichrist will worship the god of war and will expend all his financial resources to support military armaments, goals and activities. He actually captures the world’s wealth in order to build his war machine. He will threaten war and make war, and as verse 39 says, reward those who supported him with allotments of land. This huge build up will result in the greatest war the world has ever seen–worse than WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam or the Gulf War.
Second Watch for the conflict of the antichrist
During the first three-and-a-half years of the tribulation, the antichrist will obtain world domination. The false church will co-exist with his atheistic government. Israel will have many freedoms because of the treaty of protection that the antichrist has put into place, but all that will change.
1 The cause—invasion
Read verse 40, “And at the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen, and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow them, and pass through.” A revolution against the antichrist will erupt like a volcano. Even with demonic help the antichrist can’t hold a global empire together. Most of the empire was won peacefully through politics in Europe and by the antichrist finally solving the Middle East problem.
So then what starts the wars? The King of the South, here referring to Egypt and an African coalition will push at Israel–the Hebrew word collide means to push like a goat, to gore, to thrust. An army out of Africa in the south will attempt to attack Israel. At the same time, in a coordinated attack using a pincher movement, Israel will be attacked from the north like a storm or whirlwind. And the Hebrew word for north is far north, northward, an area currently being occupied by what nation? Russia
Turn to Ezekiel 38, for this section of prophecy will give us details into Russia’s attack. These verses tell us Russia will invade Israel in the last days, called the latter days. Read verse 2, “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him.” Meshech and Tubal are the names of ancient peoples who lived in northern Mesopotamia and the Caucasus region of modern Russia.
Then in verse 5 we read, “Persia, Ethiopia, and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet”–Russia will be joined by Persia (Iran) and an African alliance. Then verse 8, “After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them.”
When Russia attacks, Israel will be re-gathered in the land, and verse 11, “and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls, and having no bars or gates.’” When Russia attacks Israel, she will be at peace, which is exactly the nature of the first three years of the tribulation. The antichrist will become the protector of Israel by making a pact with them for seven years. The resulting peace will cause Israel to lower its defenses in misplaced reliance on the power of the antichrist.
Verse 16 says, “And you will come up against My people Israel like a cloud to cover the land. It will come about in the last days that I shall bring you against My land, in order that the nations may know Me when I shall be sanctified through you before their eyes, O Gog.” This will be all in the last days, the eschatological expression talking about the seventh week of Daniel 9 or in the New Testament called the tribulation.
Back to Daniel 11–so it’s a two-fold coordinated attack using a pincher movement, challenging the protective treaty established by the antichrist. They come battling on two fronts, both north and south, Russia in the north, African Arab coalition in the south–what happens?
2 His conquest
Verse 40, “And at the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen, and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow them, and pass through.” The simultaneous invasion of the land of Israel will be “with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships.” Will the invading armies actually use horses in a day of jet aircraft and nuclear weaponry? Most believe the weapons listed are to be understood in terms of their modern counterparts. However it is possible that societal upheavals in that day will be such as to affect the military industry and force armies to revert to the use of simpler weapons and means of transport, such as no more available oil?
North and South will hit Israel with everything they’ve got yet God will give victory to the antichrist. According to Ezekiel 39, five-sixths of the Russian army will be destroyed by supernatural intervention. The antichrist wins because God brought it about, and only one-sixth live to return home. Now the antichrist makes his move in verse 41, “He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many countries will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon.”
The antichrist will enter Israel, the glorious land. By God’s grace eastern lands will be spared, like Edom, Moab and Ammon, because the antichrist will be busy with north/south problems and God keeps Edom, Moab and Ammon free so that the Jewish people can flee there and hide from what is about to happen. Verse 42 and 43 tell us the antichrist is basically master of the world. Even though it was God who gave the antichrist victory over Russia and the African coalition the antichrist will take the credit, and because the victory is so amazing, so supernatural, the world will say in Revelation13:4, “Who is able to wage war with him?”
It’s at this point that he glories in his power, destroys the false church, begins to persecute Israel, sets himself up as God, commits the abomination of desolation by calling the world to worship only him, while abolishing all other religions. Notice at the end of verse 43 when it says, “will follow at his heels”–that means the nations will follow him subserviently. But that doesn’t mean everything goes well for antichrist.
3 His crisis
The tribulation is really heating up at this point and moving fast. God pours out his wrath upon the earth. The two witnesses have been killed, the 144,000 Jewish witnesses are sharing the Gospel, the seals, trumpets and bowls are being poured out. People are shaking their fist at heaven because they know it’s God but they are fallen men set in their rebellion.
The antichrist is killing Jews on a massive scale and as he does he faces a renewed conflict in verse 44a, “But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him.” Reports will reach antichrist in Israel that the king of the north has regrouped for another attack and that massive armies from the East are marching toward Palestine. Many believe China will get into the fight in order to control the Middle East and remove the antichrist from power.
Described in detail in Revelation 9 and 16, Antichrist will react quickly, counterattacking with great force and fury. The result? Verse 44b, “and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many.” The antichrist wins again–which brings about . . .
4 His climax
Verse 45, “And he will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain.” This verse says the antichrist will establish headquarters in Jerusalem. Having won another remarkable victory, antichrist will make Jerusalem his capital, a base from which to continue his persecution of the Jews. When he first entered the land in verse 41, antichrist broke his covenant with the Jews. No longer their protector, he became their vicious persecutor.
Now he’ll attempt to complete the evil work of exterminating the Jews. The Bible tells us in Zechariah 13:8 that two-thirds of the people of Israel will be killed as a result of the antichrist’s persecution. But in order to preserve His people God has provided the eastern places for them to flee and hide, plus the antichrist will be hindered, attacked by an invasion of armies from the north, south and east. Jerusalem, antichrist’s capital, will be caught in the middle, which finally results in . . .
5 His condemnation
Look at the end of 45b, “Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.” Just as the antichrist seems invincible, he will be defeated. A startling thing will happen. The armies of the nations assembled to attack Israel will look up astonished to see Jesus Christ and His heavenly armies descending to earth in Zechariah 14. According to John’s vision of this great event, the armies of earth will turn from their conflict to attempt to prevent Christ’s return. The attempt will be futile as those armies will be destroyed by the word of His mouth and antichrist will be cast alive into the lake of fire.
Revelation 19:20 and 21, “And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.”
Just prior to Christ’s return, Israel will be at her lowest point in all of history, which is saying a lot. As the last three-and-a-half years of the tribulation gains momentum and the second coming of Christ gets closer, the people of Israel are going to turn to Christ as their Messiah. Like Zechariah 12:10 says, “So that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will be redeemed, transformed, born again.”
They will already have been evangelized by the 144,000 Jewish evangelists and those that are left will be saved by Christ, made right with their Creator through the only Savior, only Messiah and only King, Jesus Christ, the God/man. I hope you will as well. What is God telling us in this passage? God is in control–every detail of the historical figures of verses 1 to 35 was precisely fulfilled and every detail of the eschatological figure of verses 36 to 45 will be precisely fulfilled. Why? Because God is in control. History is His story–everything is in His hand so there is no need to worry about the future.
God is purging His people, and God continues to purge Israel until one final incredible prophetic week when her purging will be the most severe. But when those events begin to happen, Jesus promises in Luke 21:28, “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
God will triumph over evil–worldliness and secular thinking will die with the antichrist. Those of you who are weary of what is happening around us remember, the antichrist’s end will be the end of this world’s wickedness. For those who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, that day will inaugurate a blissful future that will last forever. I hope you know Christ personally.
God is the one who designed the end times–don’t mock. 2 Peter 3:3 and 4, “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’” Don’t say these things will never be, don’t say we just can’t know what to believe eschatologically—God is the one who has laid this plan out in the Scripture for us to look for and long for His soon return.
God expects us to live Godly because we know what will happen. Speaking of these future events, Peter reminds in 3:11, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.” If we don’t live like Christ now, we missed the point.
God also calls us to share the good news. Jesus wept over Jerusalem, Jesus calls us to search for those who are lost, like the lost sheep, coin and lost son. God expects us to go into all the world and make disciples, to be fishers of men. Are you? Firemen see it all as they are putting out the flames they often hear three responses–let it burn, it’s hopeless–why try, or how can we help?
It is the same with evangelism. Some through bad theology say, “Let ‘em burn, who cares?” Others through laziness and bad theology say, “It’s hopeless, why try?” Only a few will say rightly, “We want to do everything we can.” Which one are you?
God alone can save us from the wrath to come. First Thessalonians 1:10 says, “To wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.”