This post is a follow-on to one dated April 14, entitled, Daniel’s Prophecies. I recommend reading that one first, in order to get a better foundation for Daniel’s last prophecy.
I’ve used a separate post just for this chapter because it is the longest of all the prophecies in the book of Daniel. Complex and detailed, chapter 11 requires special care. Remember that we noticed that each succeeding prophecy built on to the previous one, repeating and expanding the picture. The Holy Spirit wanted to make sure we would understand.
I must admit, I am neither a theologian nor a historian. Daniel’s last vision, chapter 11, covers a long period of time, from the Medo-Persian kings all the way down to the 2nd coming of Christ, over 2,500 years. I can’t even say I understand every point of the vision as they relate to historical events; enough information, however, is given to see the big picture and to define who is the evil character God meant it to expose. The Bible is written for the layman. Anyone who desires a right standing and acceptance with God, and leads others to the same, will understand the mysteries of the Bible; and those who rely only upon their genius will be left in constant confusion with the scriptures, especially Bible prophecies. “None of the wicked shall understand; but” “they that turn many to righteousness,” “shall understand.” Dan. 12:10,3,10.
At commencement of the vision, the angel, Gabriel gives Daniel easily verifiable events. The kings of Persia listed in verse 2 are: Cambysses, False Smerdis (Ahasuerus, [Ezra 4:6]), Darius the Great, and Xerxes. Then the mighty king of Greece is obviously Alexander the Great. Alexander’s power being broken due to his premature death, his 4 generals assumed control of the empire: Cassander ruled the lavish home base, from Macedonia to modern day Greece; Seleucus ruled the large area from the Middle East to India; Lysimachus reined from Bulgaria to Turkey; and Ptolemy governed Egypt. From this point onward in the prophecy, there arises a king of the south, a Ptolemaic king of the Egyptian quarter of the empire, and a king of the north, the Cassandrid king of the Macedonian part of the realm. The military play and counter play between the kings of the north and south continues even into the Roman Empire, which conquered the Cassandrid, Ptolemaic, and Seleucid parts of the Greek empire. Thus the Roman Caesars become the king of the north, while Egyptian Ptolemys continue as the king of the south. Romans as the king of the north, becomes apparent in verse 20, when it says, “Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom; but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.” This speaks of Caesar Augustus, the son of founding general, Julius Caesar, and his successor to the throne in Rome. Luke corroborates this in a little detail of his gospel account, “And it came to pass in those days [of Christ’
s birth], that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” Lk. 2:1. See how beautifully the Bible aids the student in understanding its meaning!
So, although we might have difficulty following all the specific kings of the north and the south, a third of the way through the prophecy, we can nail down where Gabriel was pointing in history.
The next verse says something very significant. “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the Prince of the covenant. And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.” Dan.11:21-23. This sounds familiar to a previous vision of Daniel. If we lay this over chapter 7 and 8 we can begin to see the meaning. “Out of one of them [the 4 horns of the Greek empire] came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great.” “He shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many.” “I considered the horns, and behold there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots.” Dan. 8:9,25; Dan. 7:8. Initially, this little king of the north kind of sounds like an unimportant, self-inflated peek squeak. But when we realize it is the same power that greatly disturbed Daniel in his two previous visions, we must take this little power very seriously. It is described as small, not because it is insignificant, but because it is insidious, even pretended humble. Although it has great potential for evil, it doesn’t arrive as such at first. In order for this king of the north to take over, it must be enabled to sneak in, at first seemingly friendly and unnoticed, flattering its way in. Then, once in control, it dictates its will. But who can this odd king of Rome
Moving ahead quickly to verse 31 and 32 helps nail down another part of the vision. “And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong.” Again, this sounds like chapter 8 language. “He magnified himself even to the Prince of the host and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.” Dan. 8:11. So we see corroboration again, but still not quite the interpretation.
So, we drop down to verses 36 and 37, “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 shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. 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.” Now
we can interpret the vision. Paul quotes from these verses in his letter to the Thessalonian Christians, “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day [of Christ’s return] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” 2Thess. 2:3, 4.
Paul thrilled to see the gospel being preached to the whole world, hearts being reconciled to God, lives being turned away from idolatry and promiscuity. But he mourned that the amazing revival he had been a part of would die out shortly after his death and after the death of Christ’s other apostles. He wrote, “The mystery of iniquity doth already work.” 2Thess. 2:7. Paul made his appeal before Caesar, and was subsequently tried and beheaded for treason against paganism, the official state religion of Rome
. But before that occurred, on his last trip to his hearing in Rome, he gave a farewell address to the Ephesian believers, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” Acts 20:28-31.
Very early in the history of Christianity, just after the apostles passed away, a great apostasy took hold of the church, and slowly, almost imperceptibly, moved it away from the path of purity and truth. John, the last of the apostles, observed it’s approach and wrote about a conflict within the early church. “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” 1Jn.2:18,19. In the Revelation, John also recorded Christ saying to the churches of Ephesus and Smyrna, “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not and hast found them liars....I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” Rev. 2:2,9,3. Paul also passed on to his successor, Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” And, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” 2Tim.4:3,4; 1Tim. 4:1,2.
That small beginning of the apostasy grew until it involved the whole Christian church. With exception of a very small minority who protested but remained as private as possible, the wonderful revival from heaven died and the church became dominated by apostate leadership. The pope and the Church of Rome answers to that king of the north who desecrated God’s sanctuary, by subverting the original church whom Christ commissioned to make disciples of all nations, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Matt. 28:19. The Church of Rome, as soon as it felt safe to do so, dared to “change times and laws,” (Dan. 7:25) by redesigning every truth handed to us from God in order to inculcate all the ancient pagan falsehoods and customs (Dan. 8:12), corrupting the work of Christ, our only Father and Priest in His heavenly sanctuary (Heb. 8:1,2), and changing of the day of His worship to the day for worshiping the Sun (Ex. 20:8-10). Even the Holy Spirit, the true Vicar of Christ (Jn.14:26), was supplanted by a corruptible man, and the knowledge of God’s great benevolence and His kindness toward us, disappeared from Christianity.
As the prophecy said, “When the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand: and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes.” Dan. 8:23-25.
(To be continued.)