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Daniel 7-12

GOD IS RULER OF THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES

by LARRY CORY

 

A SUMMARY OF THE MESSAGE OF
DANIEL

God's people in the hands of the Gentiles (How to not conform to the world) (1)

The Gentiles in the Hands of God (The Times of the Gentiles symbolized by a metal statue) (2)

God's people in the hands of the Gentiles (God will preserve His people through even the worst persecution - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace) (3)

The Gentiles in the hands of God (The humbling fall of Nebuchadnezzar the great king) (4)

The Gentiles in the hands of God (The humbling fall of Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom) (5)

God's people in the hands of the Gentiles (God rewards the faithful in times of persecution—Daniel in the Lion's den) (6)

The Gentiles in the hands of God (The Gentile beasts are no match for God!) (7)

The Gentiles in the hands of God (More about the beasts and "The Beast") (8)

God's people in the hands of the Gentiles (God's judgment of Israel) (9)

God's people in the hands of the Gentiles (The final vision) (10-12)

 

INTRODUCTORY INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOOK OF DANIEL

1. The time of Daniel:  Israel was warned by God that if they failed to obey His commandments, they would experience a period of severe punishment.  See Deuteronomy 28:15-68  Except for brief periods of revival, Israel chose to ignore God and his prophets.  The prophet Jeremiah, in particular, predicted that because Israel had continually rebelled against God, they would be conquered by the Babylonians and be in exile for seventy years.  See Jeremiah 25:1-11  As Jeremiah had predicted, Israel was conquered by the Babylonians in 586 BC

"Eleven years before (597), however, a prior taking into captivity had occurred when Jehoiachin ruled, and some 10,000 leading people were carried to Babylon (II Kings 24:11-16).  Eight years before this still, Daniel, his three friends, and other young Judeans had been forced to go (605)."  "Taken from A Commentary on Daniel by Leon Wood.  Copyright 1973 by Zondervan Publishing House."

The book of Daniel takes place during the time period that began with Daniel's personal exile to Babylon (19 years before Israel's exile to Babylon) and continues throughout his lifetime, while he and Israel were under the rule of the Babylonians and later the Medo-Persians.

2. The man Daniel:  Daniel was an Israelite man of royal descent (Daniel 1:3).  We know nothing of Daniel's parents, except that they were very successful in teaching their son to be devoted to God.  We learn in 1:4 that he was one of those chosen by the Babylonians who were "young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand and qualified to serve in the king's palace."  The book of Daniel describes much about his life from the time he was taken into exile until he was an old man.  Daniel is mentioned five times in the Bible outside of the book of Daniel:  Ezekiel 14:14,20 28;3; Matthew 24:15; and Mark 13:14.

3. The book of Daniel:  Josh McDowell has written a book defending the book of Daniel subtitled Daniel in the Critics' Den.  The book of Daniel is filled with prophesies of the future.  Some of the prophecies are predictions of events that are to take place in our future, but many of Daniel's predictions have already been fulfilled.  For example, he predicted the overthrow of the Babylonian empire by the Medo-Persians and the overthrow of the Medo-Persians by the Greeks.  Because the liberal critics do not believe in the supernatural and cannot accept that these prophecies could have been given to Daniel by God, they have concluded that the book of Daniel must have been written by someone who lived after the events predicted in the book of Daniel.  Therefore, their conclusion is that the book of Daniel was not written within Daniel's lifetime; rather, they contend that it was written after the Greeks had already conquered the Medo-Persians.  To them, the book of Daniel is merely a book of history (flawed history at that) written long after the time of Daniel.  And though it portrays itself as making prophecies that since have been fulfilled, in their version of the book of Daniel, it contains no supernatural predictions that have come true.

There is evidence, however, that supports the belief that the book of Daniel was written in Daniel's lifetime and by Daniel.  Ezekiel another prophet refers to Daniel as a man in his past.  See Ezekiel 14:12-14,20, 28:3  And Jesus Christ refers to Daniel as a person of history.  See Matthew 24;15  Furthermore, as Josh McDowell documents in his book, Prophecy Fact or Fiction Daniel in the Critics' Den, each of the critics' attacks on this book of Daniel have been answered by the spade of the Archaeologist and by the writings of the ancients.  According to work of conservative scholars as documented by Josh McDowell and others, the book of Daniel has met the challenge of the critics.  It is a record of history and it is also a book filled with prophecies of the future.

 

THE MESSAGE OF DANIEL

When we reflect on the interplay of events in our stormy world, both what is taking place right now and what has occurred throughout the history of the world, it may appear to us that there is no plan and that God is not in control.  Instead, it often appears to us that there is more chaos than order, and more aimlessness than direction.  According to the book of Daniel, though, God has always been in control, and is in control even during this period that we are now living in which the Bible calls the "times of the Gentiles." (the time period when God's people the Jews are not in charge, but the nations or Gentiles rule the world).  Jesus said that "Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled."  (Luke 21:24)  (The Jews have their own nation of Israel today, but because the Islamic mosque in Jerusalem is still located where the temple used to be found, the hateful attacks of the suicide bombers, and for many other reasons, Israel is still being trampled on by the Gentiles.)

What is described in the book of Daniel takes place during the beginning of these "times of the Gentiles."  What is found in Daniel occurs immediately after Israel has been defeated by the Babylonians and immediately after Israel has ceased to be a world power.  During this commencement of the "Times of the Gentiles," Daniel was exiled in Babylon where he lived his entire life under the rule of first the Babylonians and then the Medo-Persians.  The book of Daniel contains predictions about this whole period of Gentile rule, up to and beyond our own time; and up to the time when Jesus will return and conquer the final Gentile ruler, the Antichrist.  Because God predicts what will occur during this Gentile period in which we now live, we can see that God is in charge of what is happening in our world and is using everything that occurs for His ultimate purposes.  We will see in the book of Daniel that God has been ruling the world throughout the time of the Gentiles; we will see that He is the Ruler of the world right now!

INTRODUCTION TO DANIEL 7-12:  The chapters in Daniel that we now come to, chapters 7 through twelve, are rich with God's predictions of the future.  Along with the book of Revelation and Jesus' prophetic words to the disciples in Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13, it is one of the most important sections of prophecy in the Bible.  Enjoy your "Digging for Gold" in this gold mine of God's predictions of future events, many of which are future even to us.

 

THE GENTILES IN THE HANDS OF GOD (THE GENTILE BEASTS ARE NO MATCH  FOR GOD!) (7)

1. Daniel's dream (7:1-14)
Notice that this dream takes place "In the first year of Belshazzar's reign."  So, we are no longer moving through Daniel's life chronologically from his early years through to his later life.  But, starting in this chapter, we move backwards in time to when Belshazzar of chapter five was reigning.  Chapter seven begins the portion of the book of Daniel that is primarily predictive of the future.  The first six chapters were primarily historical with some predictions of the future; the last six chapters are primarily predictive with some historical accounts.  We have seen in the first six chapters that God was in control of the first years of the times of the Gentiles.  Now, in these last six chapters, we will see that God will be in control throughout the times of the Gentiles.

a. The four beasts of Daniel's dream (7:1-7)
Notice that Daniel seven starts a completely different section in the book of Daniel.  Up to this point the book of Daniel has been describing events that occurred chronologically (in the order in which they happened).  But in chapter seven, the book of Daniel moves back in time and describes visions which Daniel received in a dream during the first year of Belshazzar.  It takes place, then, at a time before Daniel was thrown in the lion's den and before the Persians conquered Babylon.

(1) Four beasts come up out of a wind-churned sea. (7:1-3)
"In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed.  He wrote down the substance of his dream.  Daniel said:  'In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea.  Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea."

Thought Question:  Why do you believe these four kingdoms are figuratively represented as beasts?  Also, why do you believe these beasts are described as coming out of a churning sea?

 

 

A likely interpretation of these verses is that the four beasts are four kingdoms (see 7:17); the sea represents the people of the world (the "sea of humanity"), the wind is the strife and storms in the world (the stormy "sea of humanity").  Hence four great kingdoms will rise up out of the storms in the world!

Why are man's kingdoms represented as beasts?  It most certainly is because man without God is like a...beast....  Before we knew Jesus Christ, our flesh and our pride ruled.  The farther men move away from God the more bestial they become.  See Romans 1:18-32  When man rules, it is like a beast ruling on this earth.  When a man or men are in charge of a kingdom, a beast is control of that kingdom.

(2) The first beast—a lion with the wings of an eagle (7:4) (whose wings were torn off and who becomes like a man)
"The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle.  I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it." 

Thought Question:  What do you believe is meant by the lion standing on "two feet like a man, and the heart of a man given to it"?

 

 

The lion with the wings of an eagle pictures both the lion which is the king of the beasts and the eagle which is the king of the birds.

Walvoord, in his commentary on Daniel, states that "Winged lions guarded the gates of the royal places of the Babylonians."  "Taken from Daniel the Key to Prophetic Revelation by John F. Walvoord.  Copyright 1971 by Moody Press."

The common interpretation of this winged lion that loses his wings is that it represents Nebuchadnezzar's rule over the Babylonian empire.  The losing of the wings and it standing on two feet like a man and "the heart of a man" being given to it are thought to represent when Nebuchadnezzar went insane and later humbled himself before God. See Daniel 4:28-3  At that time, Nebuchadnezzar, the bestial ruler of Babylon was humbled and came to fear God.  So, the Babylonian empire came to be ruled not by a beast, but by a God-fearing man.

Ray Stedman, in a sermon from Peninsula Bible church in Palo Alto, California, believed that because Daniel's vision was of the future, the winged lion might represent the British Empire.  He also believed, though, that these four beasts would be kingdoms in the very last days, and that in those in the last days, Christians who are alive then will be able to interpret the meaning of the four beasts of this chapter.  Although, his best interpretation in 1969 was that this first beast was the British Empire, he might come to another conclusion if he were alive today.  It is interesting that modern-day Babylon is the nation of Iraq.

(3) The second beast—a bear lying on its side with three ribs in its mouth (7:5)
"And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear.  It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth.  It was told, 'Get up and eat your fill of flesh!'"

The common interpretation of this bear is that it represents the Medo-Persian Empire that conquered the Babylonian empire.  The three ribs are thought to represent the Babylonians and other countries that the Medo-Persians conquered.  It may be lying on its side to represent that the Persian portion of the kingdom was superior in power to the Median portion of the kingdom.  "It was told, 'Get up and eat your fill of flesh.' "  These words appear to describe Medo-Persia continuing to conquer after they conquered the Babylonian empire.  The Medo-Persian Empire extended beyond the Babylonian empire.

The two-horned ram in Daniel eight represents the Medo-Persian empire.  The ram has two horns.  One horn grows up later and is larger – this larger horn symbolizes the Persian part of the empire. See Daniel 8:1-4 for the symbolism, and 8:15-20 gives the interpretation of the symbolism.  The bear rising up on his side could be another way of symbolizing the Persians being the larger and stronger part of the Medo-Persian Empire.

Ray Stedman thought the bear might represent the Soviet Union which had as its symbol the bear.  He was unable, though, to come up with an explanation for the three ribs.  The Soviet Union, of course, no longer exists.  He questioned the bear representing the Medo-Persian Empire because in chapter eight, another animal, the ram, is used to symbolize the Medo-Persian empire.

(4) The third beast—a leopard with four wings and four heads (7:6)
"After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard.  And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird.  This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule."

The common interpretation of the leopard is that it represents the Greek empire of Alexander the Great.  The swiftness of the leopard and the four wings are thought to symbolize the swiftness of Alexander the Great's conquests. See Habakkuk 1:8  He conquered new lands with amazing swiftness. There will be more information about Alexander the Great in the comments on Daniel 8 and 11.  The four heads are believed to represent the four-fold division of the Greek kingdom after Alexander's death.  After Alexander's death, Greece was divided among four of his generals: Ptolemy over Egypt, Seleucus over Syria and Babylonia, Casander over Greece and Macedonia, and Lysmachus over Thrace and Bythinia.

Ray Stedman questioned that this third beast was Greece because Greece is symbolized by a goat in chapter eight.  He believes the leopard could represent Israel because of the swiftness of its attacks.

(5) The fourth beast - unlike any other beast (7:7)
"After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast---terrifying and frightening and very powerful.  It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left.  It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns."

Thought Question:  What do you think makes the fourth beast more terrible than the other beasts?

 

 

This beast had iron teeth, ten horns, and was greater in power and ferocity than the other beasts.  It "crushed," "devoured," and "trampled underfoot whatever was left."  This beast is different from the other beasts, for it is like no beast that is now living on this earth.  Because this beast is much greater in ferocity than the other beasts and much greater in ferocity than any living beast, Daniel does not use a living animal to symbolize it.  The rest of the chapter focuses on this fourth beast.  It conquers what is left of the other kingdoms.  Its iron teeth remind us of the legs of iron in Nebuchadnezzar's statue in 2:33, referring to the Roman Empire.  We are told in 7:24 that the ten horns are ten kings.

The other three kingdoms were conquered by the kingdom that followed them.  For example, the Greek Empire conquered the Medo-Persian Empire.  But, the Roman Empire was never conquered by another empire.  Instead, it slowly changed form into the nations that exist today.  We still await this final form of this final kingdom. It will not be upon us until the final ten kings begin to rule.

b. The little horn (7:8) (the Anti-Christ)
"While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it.  This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully."

Daniel sees a little horn that uproots three of the ten full-grown horns or kings.  "The word for 'uprooted' ... connotes a gradual process where new growth pushes out old.  The new king will not take control of all three areas at once, then, but over a period of time."  "Taken from A Commentary on Daniel by Leon Wood.  Copyright 1973 by Zondervan Publishing House."

"This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully."  The eyes at the very least symbolize that this little horn symbolizes a man.  We will see in chapter eight that a small horn there will also symbolize a man. See 8:9-12, 23-25  In chapter eight we have a parallel to what is described here.  In chapter eight a goat (Alexander the Great's Greek Empire) has one horn (Alexander).  This horn is broken and replaced by four horns (the four divisions of Alexander's empire after his death).  Then, we come to the parallel in 8:9:  "Out of one of them came another horn which started small but grew in power to the south and the east and toward the Beautiful Land.  It grew until it reached the host of the heavens.." The four kings that took over Alexander's Greek Empire ruled simultaneously with each other.  As we will learn later, the little horn will come out of one of these four divisions of what was once Alexander's kingdom.

Using a symbolism that is explained in chapter eight, we can get insight on how to interpret the ten kings and the one little king that grows large in chapter seven.  It would appear that the ten kings will come from the Roman Empire and that they will rule simultaneously.  The little king will arise out of these ten divisions of the Roman Empire and will eventually conquer three of the kingdoms.  And because he will have "a mouth that" speaks "boastfully," he will be a man who exalts himself over God.  See also Revelation 13:5,6

c. The bigger picture (7:9-14)
"'As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat.  His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool.  His throne was flaming with fire and its wheels were all ablaze.  A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him.  Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.  The court was seated, and the books were opened.  Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking.  I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire.  (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)  In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.  He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.'"

Thought Question #1:  List the ways that these verses encourage you in your Christian life?

 

 

Thought Question #2:  What is meant by "The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time."?

 

 

(1) The picture widens from earth to God (7:9-10)
Then, Daniel, in his dream, sees the real throne: God's holy, pure, and white throne ablaze with God's judgment!  He sees that thousands and thousands are subject to Him who is on the throne.  Notice the contrast between men's impure and bestial rule and God's pure and holy rule.  The throne burning with fire, the flaming wheels, and the river of fire all picture that God is ready for a blazing judgment on the wickedness of the beasts that are ruling the earth; and in particular He will judge Satan's Beast that will rule the earth in the last times.

Whiteness and fire were present in many of the visions of God that are described in the Bible.  See Exodus 3:2, 19:18; Psalm 18:7,8; Hebrews 12:29; Revelation 1:12-15, 4:4,5, 19:11-21  The "Ancient of Days" is God the Father, and "the son of man" of 7:13 is Jesus Christ.   Jesus referred to Himself many times as the "son of Man."  According to the ZONDERVAN PICTORIAL BIBLE ENCYCLOPEDIA Jesus is referred to as the Son of Man 94 times in the New Testament. For example, see Matthew 8:20, 12:8, 16:13; Mark 2:10, 8:31; Acts 7:56 and Revelation 1:13  The NIV STUDY BIBLE note on Mark 8:20 says that Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man 81 times.This is the only place in the Bible that speaks of the "Ancient of Days."  A child may ask, "Who made God?"  The answer, of course, is that He who is the Ancient of Days has always existed.  And in these verses we have, in human terms, a description of His infinite glory.  Notice also the similarities between Daniel's and Ezekiel's vision of the glory of God in Ezekiel 1 and 10.  For example, both speak of seeing "wheels."

"The court was seated and the books were opened."  In Revelation 20:12 we read these words:  "And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne and books were opened.  Another book was opened, which is the book of life.  The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books."  In the times of the Bible they kept records in scrolls and books.  Today, we keep our records primarily in computers.  What are the books that were opened?  A possible explanation is that they are the records from God's computer of all that has taken place in this world.  He is keeping a careful and accurate record of all that takes place on this earth.

(2) Daniel watches as the Beast continues to make his boasts, oblivious to the fact that he is in the presence of God's holy throneThe Beast boasts until God kills the Beast in the fires of judgment. (7:11-12)
In Revelation 19:20 we find these words:  "But the beast was captured and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf.  With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.  The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur."

For a time the Beast totally defies God!  But, he does it only for a time.  In the end he will face God and His judgment.  We need to recognize that those who defy God today are also shaking their fist in the presence of God's fiery judgment seat!  There are those who joyously support such things as abortion, infanticide, pornography, fornication, homosexuality, and other atrocities.  While they do all of this, they are completely fearless before God.  But, one day they will be accountable before God's judgment seat for everything they have ever done, said, or even thought.

Verse twelve is a difficult verse to explain.  For it teaches that the first three beasts will be "stripped of their authority," but they are allowed to continue for a "period of time."  Was not each kingdom defeated by the kingdom that followed it?  For example, did not the Medo-Persian kingdom defeat the Babylonian kingdom?  And yet it says in verse twelve that they are still present at the end of time.  A possible explanation is that the other empires were not totally destroyed, but continued in some form in the empires that succeeded them.

For example, the Greek culture and Greek language that was spread by Alexander the Great continued to have a world-wide influence even during the time of the Roman Empire.  The influence of the Greek culture continues even in our own day.  Plato and Aristotle are still taught in our universities.

Notice that the beast described in Revelation 13:1-2 is a dragon - the fourth empire, resembles a leopard—the third empire, has feet like a bear—the second empire, and a mouth like a lion—the first empire.  "And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea.  And I saw a beast coming out of the sea.  He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns oh his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.  The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion."  (Revelation 13:1-2)  The final empire is influenced and is characterized by all of the beasts.

(3) A "Son of Man" approached God's throne and is given an eternal kingdom! (7:13-14)
Jesus often referred to Himself as the "son of man" See Matthew 8:20, 9:6, 10:23, 11:19, 12:8, 16:27-28, 19:28, 24:30, 25:31, 26:64....  When Jesus Christ in His glorified form appears to John the apostle on the island of Patmos, he says he was "like a son of man."  The Son of Man is "coming with the clouds of heaven."  Jesus Christ Himself says the following about Himself at the mockery of His trial:  "But I say to all of you:  In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."  See Matthew 26:64 and also 24:30  Here we have a "Son of Man" who "comes with the clouds of heaven."  He has both an earthly and a heavenly origin.
Whenever God and Heaven made an appearance into our world He and it were often accompanied by clouds.  See Exodus 13:21-22, 19:9,16; I Kings 8:10-11...

The rule over man that has proceeded from Adam has been a bestial rule ending in the rule of the Beast!  But, a "Son of Man" (someone born on this earth) who also originated from heaven will replace the bestial rule of man.  He appears here before the Ancient of Days and He (the Son of Man) is given authority over "all peoples, nations and men of power."

And so the reign of earthly man is replaced by the reign of the heavenly Son of Man.  The rule of fallen man is replaced by the reign of the new Sovereign over man: Jesus Christ - the Son of Man and the Son of God!  Unlike the rule of the beasts, His kingdom will never end.  Nebuchadnezzar demanded that men worship him (see Daniel 2), but he was totally undeserving of such worship.  The Son of Man will be worthy of worship and He will be worshiped by "all peoples, nations, and men of every language."

Man's destiny is to go from the times of the Gentiles (man's bestial rule) to the rule of Jesus Christ.  All men will either come before His fiery judgment or will be joyous participants in his eternal reign.  See 7:17,18

2. The interpretation (7:15-28)

a. The troubled Daniel asks for the meaning of the dream. (7:15-16)
"I Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me.  I approached one of those standing there and asked him the true meaning of all this.  'So he told me and gave the interpretation of these things."

Thought Question:  Why do you think Daniel was troubled rather than encouraged by this vision?

 

 

Daniel had quite a night.  He was troubled by all that he had seen.   He was probably thinking that the Gentile rule over Israel was just about over and that the reign of sin was just about over.  He learns in this vision that it would not get easier for his people, but it would get much worse.  Sin is a greater problem than he or we realize.  We can go to the doctor thinking that we have a minor problem, only to be shocked when the doctor tells us we have a more serious problem which will require a much more severe cure than a few aspirins and some rest.  Daniel learned about God's final cure for sin, and he was troubled.

Daniel becomes a participant in his dream, and asks for the meaning of his vision from one of those who was in his vision.  He approaches an angel, who was in the presence of the Ancient of Days, to learn what is meant by all this about the beasts and the Son of Man.

b. The four beasts are four kingdoms, yet God will turn over the kingdom to his saints. (7:17-18)
"The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth.  But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever."

Unbelieving man will have his day as the beasts rule the earth, but believing man will have his day also.  We who are believers, .."the saints".., will have our day forever!  "But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever--yes, for ever and ever."  We can also be troubled as Daniel was when he saw these horrible beasts come out of the sea.  There are beasts that appear in our world all of the time.  Heartless tyrants rise up and take over countries.  These countries are then at the mercy of this beast.  Some of us have seen a nature film where a lion, leopard, or a cheetah has overtaken a gazelle, zebra or other animal and mercilessly killed it.  That is what it was and will be like to be at the mercy of these beasts that Daniel saw in his vision.  These beasts will be in charge for a while.  For a period of time the saints will be horribly persecuted by the fourth beast.  But in the end, the meek will inherit the earth; and the kingdom that we will enjoy will never end!

c. Daniel asks about the fourth kingdom. (7:19-22)
"Then I wanted to know the true meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left.  I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully.  As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom."

Thought Question:  What can you learn about the future Antichrist from these verses?

 

 

Daniel was still concerned about this terrible fourth kingdom "with its iron teeth and bronze claws--the beast that devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left."  He wanted to know about the ten horns and the one horn that came from them.  We all appreciate Daniel asking these questions, for we also have the very same questions.  In his questions, he also tells us some more about the horn that stood out from the others.

(1) It "looked more imposing than the others."
Wood gives the following meaning of the Hebrew words used in this phrase:  "The phrase for 'sturdier than' ["more imposing"] is the adjective 'great' (rab) followed by the preposition min to express the comparative degree.  The meaning is that the 'other' or 'little' horn looked greater or sturdier than the earlier horns.  Though this horn appeared later and was smaller at first, it does not remain inferior in size, but became even more imposing than the other horns.  The last king of the restored Roman empire, the Antichrist, will become the leading king of that time, having displaced three kings and gaining leadership thereby over the rest."  Taken from A Commentary on Daniel by Leon Woods.  Copyright 1973 by Zondervan Publishing House."

(2) It "had eyes and a mouth."
As was mentioned in the comments on 7:8, this description tells us at the very least that this horn represents a man.  It may also symbolize that he will have unusual eyes or a mouth.  For example, he may have powerful and imposing eyes or he may have a charismatic and eloquent tongue.

(3) It "spoke boastfully."
In Revelation 13:5-6, John describes the Antichrist in the following way:  "The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.  He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven."

(4) It "was waging war against the saints and defeating them."
And again, in Revelation 13:7, "He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them."  But, as we see in 7:22, he conquered the saints only "until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor the saints of the Most High."  Many thought Adolph Hitler was the Antichrist, because he was very imposing and a very powerful speaker.  He also was able to conquer and kill God's people the Jews, as well as murder Christians.  But, ultimately, he was conquered.  The Antichrist be powerful and imposing even beyond Adolph Hitler.  And he will conquer God's people beyond what Adolph Hitler was able to accomplish.  But he, like Adolph Hitler, will also be conquered.  All the powers of Hell will not be able to prevent the final Beast from being conquered, for his end has already been predicted by God.  No one can change what God has foreordained!

d. The fourth beast is a kingdom that is different than the others and will devour the whole earth, and the little horn is a king who will openly be defiant toward God and His people. (7:23-25)
"He gave me this explanation:  'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth.  It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it.  The ten horns are ten kings who come from this kingdom.  After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings.  He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws.  The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time."

Thought Question:  Make a list of everything you see in these verses that reveals what will occur in the very last days before Jesus returns.

 

 

This fourth kingdom will be different than the first three kingdoms in that it "will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it."  Adolph Hitler had the goal of conquering the whole earth.  He was not able to reach his goal.  In fact, no ruler has ever been the ruler of the "whole earth."  We read in Revelation 13:14-15 that "the inhabitants of the earth" will be forced to worship the image of the beast.  The rule of the fourth beast will, in the last days, expand beyond the rule of the area ruled by the Roman Empire and will include the entire earth.

It may be that the ten horns represent not just nations within Europe or the Middle East, but the ten horns could represent a division of the entire world into ten kingdoms.  It is interesting that there are growing unions in the major regions of the world.  For example, there is now NAFTA in North America, a united Europe, and a movement toward a united Africa.  Could these coming together of nations be heading toward a final alignment of nations?

Then, Daniel is told of another king who will "subdue" three of the kings.  This king will be totally defiant of God:  "He will speak against the Most High."  Today, we see an attempt to replace the Ten Commandments with men's rights.  There is open mockery of Christians on television and in movies.  The spirit of the Antichrist is already with us.  When the Antichrist is revealed we will see in a person the one—Satan—who has been behind the movement against God and His ways.

He will take the anti-God movement to its very worst level "and oppress his saints."  "The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time."  "Time, times and half a time" = the 3 1/2 years (which is one half of the 7 years of Daniel 9:27; the 42 months of Revelation 13:5; and the 1260 days of Revelation 12:6)  So, for 3 1/2 years, the antichrist will be allowed to oppress and persecute the saints.  He will do everything that he can do to terrorize his very worst enemies (we who are followers of the One that he is warring against, are his very worst enemies).  Today, we are fearful of losing our jobs and having to go through a financially tight time if we take a stand for Jesus Christ.  But, in Satan's day every type of inhumanity will certainly happen to believers in God.  It will be similar to what happened to the Jews during Hitler's reign, only worse.  The Holocaust will take place again.  The Bible predicts that it will take place.

"and try to change the set times."  In I Kings 12:25-33, we learn that at the time when the nation of Israel was divided into southern and northern kingdoms, the leader of the northern kingdom replaced the religious system of God with his own system.  He commanded that they would worship at Dan and Bethel rather than Jerusalem; he appointed his own priests who were not of the family of Levi; and he set up different months and days for festivals.  He knew that if he did not make these changes that the people of the northern kingdom would continue to worship in Jerusalem in the southern kingdom.  Woods quotes Leupold who recalls that there was an attempt after the French Revolution to institute a ten day week.  The Antichrist will hate everything that has been established by God.  God established a seven day week, the Antichrist will change the week to a different number of days.  He will turn the world into his own world; he will finally do everything "his way" rather than God's way!

e. But God will turn the kingdom over to his saints. (7:26-28)
"'But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.  Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High.  His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.'  This the end of the matter.  I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself."

Thought Question:  What is there in these verses that are an encouragement to you?

 

 

Satan's day will come to an end, and God's day will begin.  God's day will never end!  "Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints."    Satan will have his day with God's people, but in the end God's people will be rulers in God's kingdom forever.  Revelation 12:9-17 describes Satan's heartless and intense persecution of the saints during the great tribulation—a 3 1/2 years period.  As Paul says in Romans 8:17, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."  We can see in 7:28 that all that was revealed to Daniel was more than he could handle: "I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself."

THE GENTILES IN THE HANDS OF GOD (MORE ABOUT THE BEASTS AND "THE BEAST") (8)

1. Daniel's vision (8:1-14)
Notice that in Daniel 7 it was a dream, and in Daniel 8 it is a vision.  Notice also that the dream in chapter 7 takes place in the first year of King Belshazzar and the vision in this chapter takes place in the third year of Belshazzar.  Finally, chapter seven completes the Aramaic section of Daniel; and in chapter eight the original words were once again written in the Hebrew language.  (Daniel 1:1-2:3 was written in Hebrew; Daniel 2:4-7:28 was written in Aramaic the commonly spoken language in the Babylonian Empire; and Daniel 8:1-12:13 was written in Hebrew.  The Aramaic section was of importance to all the nations; the Hebrew section focuses primarily on the nation of Israel.)

a. A ram with unusual horns (8:1-4)

(1) In the vision, Daniel is at Susa. (8:1-2)
"In the third year of King Belshazzar's reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me.  In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Sus in the province of Elam; in the vision I was beside the Ulai Canal."

Susa "was a city about 230 miles east of Babylon and 120 miles north of the Persian gulf".....It was in this city that the famous code of Hammurabi was found."  "Taken from A Commentary on Daniel by Leon Wood.  Copyright 1973 by Zondervan Publishing house."

In Nehemiah 1:1 we find that Nehemiah "was in the citadel of Susa" when he first began to consider returning to the land of Israel.  Also, we learn from Esther 1:1 that it was at Susa where Xerxes and Esther reigned as king and queen.  But, when Daniel had this vision, Susa was still an unimportant city.  It would later become the capital city of the Persian Empire.  "In a word, Daniel finds himself projected in vision to a town little known at that time and unsuspected for future grandeur, but yet destined to be the important capital of Persia, the home of Esther, and the city from which Nehemiah came to Jerusalem."  "Taken from Daniel the Key to Prophetic Revelation by John F. Walvoord.  Copyright 1971 by Moody Press."

(2) Daniel saw a ram who charged and trampled over everyone to the west, north, and south. (8:3-4)
"I looked up, and there before me was a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long.  One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later.  I watched the ram as he charged toward the west and the north and the south.  No animal could stand against him, and none could rescue from his power.  He did as he pleased and became great."

In his vision, Daniel is in Susa (the future Persian capital city).  He looks up and there is a ram that was already present with him in the vision.  The ram had two horns, but one of the horns grows longer than the other horn.  Daniel will later learn (see 8:20) that the ram with two horns "represents the kings of Media and Persia."  Daniel sees a prediction that the kings of Media and Persia would soon conquer the nations to its west, north and south; and rule over the world of that day.  Persia, the larger horn, would become more powerful than Media, the smaller horn.  The conquests of the Medo-Persian empire "were mainly to the west (Babylonia, Syria, Asia Minor)...with later expansion northward (Armenia and the Caspian Sea region) and southward (Egypt and Ethiopia)."  "Taken from A Commentary on Daniel by Leon Wood.  Copyright 1973 by Zondervan Publishers."

b. A goat with one horn, oops! four horns (8:5-8)
"As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground.  He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage.  I saw him attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns.  The ram was powerless to stand against him; the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him, and none could rescue the ram from his power.  The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven."

Thought Question:  It is believed that the ram and the goat symbolize the same two kingdoms as the bear and the leopard in Daniel 7 (Persia and Greece).  Why do you believe that there is this change in symbolism?

 

 

(1) A goat with one prominent horn appeared from the west; and it crossed the world without touching the ground. (8:5)
The goat and the one horn symbolizes the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great (see 8:21) and the speed of his conquests is symbolized by the goat not touching the ground.  Alexander came from Greece and Macedonia to the west of Persia and quickly began to conquer the world of that time.  The "prominent horn" appears to picture the king of Greece becoming a prominent person.  Certainly, there have been very few more prominent people in all of history than Alexander the Great.

(2) In great rage, the goat conquers the ram. (8:6-7)
This picture of the goat in great fury trampling over the ram, describes the whole campaign of Alexander the Great and his conquest over the Persian Empire.  Philip II, the ruler of Macedonia to the north of Greece and the father of Alexander conquered the Greek states.  Alexander, at 20 years of age, inherited rule over Greece after his father was murdered.  The Greeks who had been ruled by Persia for about 200 years, hated the Persians.  Alexander, with inferior forces, was able to marshal the hatred of the Greeks toward the Persians and conquer their empire and replace it with his own Greek Empire.  History records for us that the goat of the Greeks trampled on the ram of the Persians.  Daniel predicted Alexander the Great and his conquests about 200 years before Alexander was born (the third year of Belshazzar was about 551 BC and Alexander was born about 356 BC).

(3) The single horn is broken off and replaced by four horns. (8:8)
Like the four heads of the leopard in Daniel 7, the four horns represent the four-fold division of the Greek kingdom, after Alexander's early death at 32 years of age (He died weakened by drunkenness and fever).  Alexander died when the Greek Empire "had become very great."  Four of his generals fought for and won for themselves a slice of Alexander's vast empire: Cassander gained the region which included Greece and Macedonia; Lysimachus gained Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) and Thrace (the area east of Macedonia and north of Asia Minor); Seleucus gained Syria and the regions to east (Babylonia and more); and Ptlolemy gained Egypt, Palestine, and Arabia.

The symbolism of Daniel seven that represents Medo-Persia as a bear and Greece as a leopard may have been changed to a ram and a goat because a ram and a goat have horns.  In chapter eight there is rich symbolic meaning in the horns of the ram and the goat.

c. And, then, another horn (8:9-12)
"Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land.  It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them.  It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low.  Because of the rebellion, the host [of the saints] and the daily sacrifice were given over to it.  It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground."

Thought Question:  These verses describe the reign of terror of Antiochus Epiphanes, a real person in history who lived over 300 years after Daniel died.  In what ways is his life like the life of the Antichrist?   (You can find descriptions of the Antichrist in Daniel 7:7-8, 11, 19-26, 9:27, 11:36-45; Matthew 24:15-21; II Thessalonians 2:3-12; Revelation 13)

 

 

The horn described in these verses that "started small but grew in power to the south and the east and toward the beautiful Land" was a man by the name of Antiochus Epiphanes who eventually became ruler of the Syrian portion of the Greek Empire.  He spent fourteen years as a hostage in Rome before becoming king, so he did start small.  But through intrigue he was able to become king; though the rightful reign should have gone to the son of his murdered brother.  As Daniel describes in verse nine, Antiochus was successful in conquering the land to the south and the east of Syria, and he also completely subjugated the Beautiful Land (Israel).  His father Antiochus III had already conquered Palestine, but it was Antiochus Epiphanes who brought Israel totally under his authority.

Antiochus Epiphanes was also successful in conquering all of Egypt, but he was later humiliated and forced out of Egypt by the Romans.  A Roman leader drew a circle around him in the sand and demanded that he choose to evacuate Egypt before he left that circle.  He took out his humiliation on Israel and Jerusalem.  When he returned to Palestine from Egypt, he attacked Jerusalem on the Sabbath.  It is this bloody battle and Antiochus Epiphanes' actions to remove the Jewish religion from Israel and replace it with the Greek religion and culture that is a picture for us of what it will be like when the Antichrist's fury is unleashed on believers in the last days.

"One of Israel's darkest periods began.  A systematic attempt was made to Hellenize the country by force.  An edict demanded the fusion of all the nationalities of the Seleucid empire into one people.  Greek deities were to be worshipped by all.  An elderly Athenian philosopher was sent to Jerusalem to supervise the enforcement of the order.  He identified the God of Israel with Jupiter, and ordered a bearded image of the pagan deity, perhaps in the likeness of Antiochus, set up upon the temple altar.  The Jews popularly spoke of this as the 'Abomination of Desolation.'  Greek soldiers and their paramours performed licentious heathen rites in the very temple courts.  Swine were sacrificed on the altar.  The drunken orgy associated with the worship of Bacchus was made compulsory.  Conversely, Jews were forbidden, under penalty of death, to practice circumcision, Sabbath observance, or the observance of the feasts of the Jewish year.  Copies of the Hebrew Scriptures were ordered destroyed.  These laws promulgating Hellenism and proscribing Judaism were enforced with utmost cruelty.  An aged Scribe, Eleazar, was flogged to death because he refused to eat swine's flesh.  A mother and her seven children were successively butchered, in the presence of the governor, for refusing to pay homage to an image.  Two mothers who had circumcised their new-born sons were driven through the city and cast headlong from the wall."  "Taken from Between the Testaments by Charles F. Pfeiffer.  Copyright 1959 by Baker Book House."

Antiochus Epiphanes and the atrocities that took place under his rule are an Old Testament picture of what will take place under the rule of the Antichrist.  He "threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them"—he slaughtered God's people the Jews; he set himself "to be as great as the Prince of the host"—he made himself to be God; he "took away the daily sacrifice from him and the place of his sanctuary was brought low"—he sought to bring an end to the Jewish system of sacrifices and worship at the temple; and he "prospered in everything" he "did, and truth was thrown to the ground"—he successfully attacked God's revelation of the truth for a period of time.  ("the starry host" appears to refer to God's people the Jews.  See Genesis 15:5, 22:17, Deuteronomy 1:10; Daniel 12:3)

d. How long will this all take? (8:13-14)
"Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, 'How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled---the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?'"

Daniel hears one angel ask how long will what is described in 8:9-12 will take.  The other angel answers that it will take 2300 days.  The fulfillment of this prophecy appears to be the 2300 days that began in 171 B.C. when "Onias III, the legitimate high priest, was murdered and a pseudo line of priests assumed power.  This would give adequate fulfillment in time for the twenty-three hundred days to elapse at the time of the death of Antiochus" in 164 B.C.  "Taken from Daniel the Key to Prophetic Revelation by John F. Walvoord.  Copyright 1971 by Moody Press." (The Seventh Day Adventist used the number 2,300 to represent the number of years until the Lord would return; from their calculations, they concluded that He would return in 1884)

2. The interpretation (8:15-27)

a. A special appearance by Gabriel (8:15-18)
"While I, Daniel, was watching the vision and trying to understand it, there before me stood one who looked like a man.  And I heard a man's voice from the Ulai calling, 'Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision.'  As he came near the place where I was standing, I was terrified and fell prostrate.  'Son of man,' he said to me, 'understand that the vision concerns the time of the end.'  While he was speaking to me, I was in a deep sleep, with my face to the ground.  Then he touched me and raised me to my feet."

Thought Question #1:  Some television preachers and others speak of God, Jesus, and angels regularly talking to them.  What do we find in these verses about what it will be like when someone in heaven suddenly speaks to someone on earth?

 

 

Thought Question #2:  According to these verses, what does the prediction about Antiochus Epiphanes tell us about the future?

 

 

In these verses we have the very first time in the Bible that an angel is named. See also Daniel 9:21; Luke 1:19,26  Daniel is approached by the angel Gabriel.  We can tell that Daniel did not have this type of vision every day, for when Gabriel approached him, Daniel fainted dead away and had to be revived!  Gabriel told Daniel that the vision concerned "the time of the end."  We can conclude that though this chapter is about events in our past, the purpose of the chapter is to predict for us what it will be like in our future.  Antiochus Epiphanes' "abomination of desolation" is a prediction of the future "abomination of desolation" by the Antichrist.

b. The ram and the goat are........(8:19-22)
"He said:  'I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end.  The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia.  The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king.  The four horns that replaced the one that was broken off represent four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation but will not have the same power."

The ram is the Medo-Persian empire and the goat is the Greek empire.  The large horn of the goat is the first king (Alexander the Great) and the four horns are the four kingdoms that will come from his kingdom.

c. The other horn is.........(8:23-25)
"In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise.  He will become very strong, but not by his own power.  He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in what ever he does.  He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people.  He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior.  When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes.  Yet, he will be destroyed, but not by human power."

Thought Question:  Are these verses a prediction of Antiochus Epiphanes or the Antichrist?  Explain your answer.

 

 

(1) When sin is at its worst, the worst sinner will appear. (8:23)
"in the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a stern faced king, a master of intrigue, will arise."  It would appear that Gabriel is telling Daniel not just about Antiochus Epiphanes, but, as he says in 8:19, he is telling him "what will happen later in the time of wrath"  at the "time of the end."  He was telling Daniel about the Antichrist and the time of wrath that is still in our future.  In Revelation 14:15-20, we are told that in the last days sin and wickedness will ripen until it is time for God's judgment.  When man has reached his worst and sin has become its most bestial, then the man of sin will appear.  He will be fierce and intimidating, a master of trickery and deception. See Genesis 15:16 for God's pattern of not judging a people until their sin has reached "its full measure."

(2) He will be evil in its most powerful form. (8:24)
"He will become very strong, but not by his own power.  He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does.  He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people."  In Revelation 13:2 we read these words:  "The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion.  The dragon gave the beast his power and throne and great authority."  Antiochus Epiphanes was and the Antichrist will be empowered by Satan.  Throughout the history of the world, there have been evil tyrants that did horrible atrocities empowered by the Devil: Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein, and others.

The final ruler will do all that he does in the power of Satan.  His ferocity will result in amazing destruction.  We are told in I and II Maccabees (a description of this period of time written from a Jewish perspective) that Antiochus Epiphanes directed his violent anger toward the worship of God and against God's people the Jews.  His goal was to replace the worship of God with the worship of himself as the "glorious manifestation" of Zeus.  This is the meaning of "Epiphanes"—the glorious one or the illustrious one.  The Jews changed his name to Antiochus Epimanes or the "madman."  He placed a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies of the temple in Jerusalem and required that it be worshiped with sacrificial offerings of pigs' flesh, a meat that was unclean to the Jews.  This blasphemous act was called the "Abomination of Desolation" by the Jews.   (See Leviticus 11:7-8; See also II Thessalonians 2:4 And Revelation 13:5-8)

(3) He will cause darkness and deception to prosper and will magnify himself above God. (8:25)
"He will cause deceit to prosper and he will consider himself superior.  When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of Princes.  Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power."  Antiochus Epiphanes was a master of deceit, and to even a greater degree will the Antichrist be a master of deceit.  Communists have been masters of deceit in our times.  "If you tell a lie long enough people will believe it."  In China they slaughter people and then deny over and over again that anyone was killed.  This is the type of deceit that will reach its very worst degree of skillfulness in the hands of the Antichrist.  At a time in the future when God's people are feeling secure he will viciously attack and conquer God's people.  See Ezekiel 38:10-14  Yet, he will be destroyed not by men.  Antiochus Epiphanes did not die in war.  It is reported that he died of insanity in Babylon after thoroughly being defeated in that land.  The Antichrist will be defeated by God in a very decisive way.  According to Revelation 19:19-20 he will be conquered by the armies of Jesus Christ and "thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur." See also 2:34-35,44,45, 7:9-14,25-27; II Thessalonians 2:8

d. Seal up (preserve) the vision for the future. (8:26)
"The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future."
Daniel is told that the vision was not for his own day, but for the "distant future."  Daniel did not understand the vision, for it was for a time that would be much different than his time.  We know about Alexander the Great and Antiochus Epiphanes.  Daniel did not know anything about them.  The prophecies make sense to us more than they made sense to Daniel.  The prophecies in the Old Testament about Jesus Christ, of course, make much more sense to us than they did to the people of the Old Testament times.  So, the prophecies of the Antichrist will make much more sense to those who live in his time than they do to us!  And so Daniel's vision has been preserved for us down to our time, and it will be preserved right up to the time of the very end.

e. The vision left Daniel exhausted and ill for several days. (8:27)
"I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days.  Then I got up and went about the king's business.  I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding."

Thought Question:  What do you think that it was like for Daniel to receive this vision?  (Why was he exhausted, ill, appalled?)  (See also 8:17-18)

 

 

Daniel's encounter with the angel and these horrible prophecies of the future were more than he was able to handle emotionally and physically.  He "was exhausted and lay ill for several days."  He "was appalled by the vision, it was beyond understanding"!  Today, we have some who claim to have encounters with angels and with God.  Here, we have at least one test that can be applied to examine whether their stories or true or not.  Were they, like Daniel, overwhelmed physically and emotionally by their claimed encounter with the angelic world?

GOD'S PEOPLE IN THE HANDS OF THE GENTILES (GOD'S JUDGMENT ON ISRAEL) (9)

1. Inside Daniel's prayer closet (9:1-19)

a. His time in the word (9:1-2)
"In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom---in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years."

Daniel did not have the complete Old Testament as we have today (and, of course, he did not have the New Testament).  He only had some of the books.  Here, he was reading from the book of Jeremiah that the "desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years."  If you read Jeremiah 25:11-12 and 29:10-14, you will read for yourself in Jeremiah's own words, his prophecies that God's judgment on Israel would last seventy years.  From Leviticus 26:33-35 and II Chronicles 36:21, we learn that Israel had ignored God's command for Israel to have a year of Sabbath rest each seven years.  Because they had disobeyed God, He had them exiled for seventy years so that the land of Israel would rest for the seventy Sabbath years that they had not allowed it to rest.

So, Israel was taken out of the land and forced to allow God's land to have its Sabbath years of rest.  "The time of the vision recorded in Daniel 9 was 538 BC, about 67 years after Jerusalem had first been captured and Daniel carried off to Babylon (605 BC)."  "Taken From Daniel the Key to Prophetic Revelation by John F. Walvoord.  Copyright 1971 by Moody Press."

After reading in Jeremiah, Daniel realized that the reason that Israel had been conquered by the Babylonians was because it was God's judgment on them.  And he also realized that the seventy years of judgment were nearly completed, and that it would not be long before the people of Israel could return to their land.

Not too many years ago, our country longed for the end of communism and the end of the wall between West Berlin and East Berlin.  Daniel also longed for the end of the captivity of his people!  We will learn in the next verses that Daniel did not merely wait for the seventy years to be completed, but he turned to God and pleaded with Him to forgive and restore Israel.  As we approach an even greater time in history; we also read prophecies, but prophecies about the end of Satan's captivity of earth.  Should we not also cry out to God for forgiveness and mercy toward our nation and toward our world?

Notice that it says in 9:1 that Darius son of Xerxes "was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom."  Cyrus was king of Medo-Persia at that time, so it is likely that it was Cyrus who made Darius king over Babylon.  Darius was the son of Xerxes, but he was not the same Xerxes who took Esther as his wife, for "that person is best identified with Xerxes (485-465 BC) who began to rule more than a half century after the time of this chapter."  "Taken from A Commentary on Daniel by Leon Wood.  Copyright 1973 by Zondervan Publishing House."

b. His time in prayer (9:3-19)
Daniel pleads with God about Israel's need for mercy.

(1) Daniel's earnestness (9:3)
"So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting and in sackcloth and ashes."

Thought Question:  What can we learn about prayer from Daniel in verses one through three?

 

 

We can see the earnestness in Daniel's heart by what he does outwardly:  1) He puts Israel's return to God over his own physical need for food—he fasted from eating so he could fully devote himself to praying for Israel.  2) He mourns over Israel like those who mourn at a funeral; he prays in sackcloth and ashes!

Why did he pray "in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes"?  Why did he not just pray?  Most of us know by experience that our prayers differ in intensity and earnestness.  Regrettably, our prayers can be quite mechanical, but there are also times when our prayers are quite intense and earnest.  Often, though, our prayers are most intense and earnest during a time of calamity or need in our own personal lives.  Here, Daniel is most intense and earnest when the needs are not his own, but he is intensely concerned about God's concerns and the needs of his own people.  We have those in our churches that we call prayer warriors.  Most often, they are those who are concerned about God's concerns and for the needs of others.  Daniel was this type of prayer warrior.

Why did he fast when he prayed?  Listen to the words of David Jeremiah:  "We don't talk much about fasting today, but when we read the Bible there's something that really catches our attention.  Jesus fasted.  The Apostle Paul fasted.  In the Old Testament, Isaiah, Daniel, Esther, David, Hannah, Elijah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah, and others fasted.  In church history we read that Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, John and Charles Wesley, George Mueller, and many more fasted.  We are not commanded to fast and we are not to do it as an outward expression of our piety, but there's no denying that sometimes fasting promotes fervency in our praying.  It's a time in our lives when we say no to our physical wants and desires and prioritize the spiritual realm."  "Taken from The Handwriting on the Wall by David Jeremiah.  Copyright 1992 by Word Publishing."

What we do wholeheartedly shows on the outside of our hearts.  Daniel was earnest in his prayer and it took first place in his life; it even had priority over his physical needs.  He is an example for us of the type of prayer life that will always be characteristic of those who are totally consumed with God's concerns for their world.

(2) Daniel's God (9:4)
"I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:  'O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey His commands."

Thought Question:  In what ways would the manner in which Daniel started his prayer, also help us in our prayers?

 

 

He focuses on God's greatness (His awesomeness!); and on God's faithfulness (who though He is so much beyond us, draws near to all who love Him and obey Him with a covenant of love).  Our God is infinitely great and far beyond us, but He is also faithful and the One who draws near to us.  It is both because of God's greatness and because He faithfully keeps His covenants with us that we can go to God in prayer.  Because of His greatness, He is able to respond to our requests; and because of His faithfulness, He is willing to respond to our requests.

As a child, many of us were taught the difference between "Can you help me?" and "will you help me?"  God both can (is able to) help us and is willing to help us (He wants to help us).  Here, Daniel is acknowledging that God's judgment on Israel did not occur because God had failed, for He always keeps His covenant with those who love and obey Him.  Israel was cursed because they failed to love and obey Him.  Now, that Israel has failed to obey God's commands, Daniel can only go to God and ask for mercy and grace.

(3) Daniel's confession (9:5-14)
". . . we have sinned and done wrong.  We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your command and laws.  We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.  'Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame---the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you.  O lord, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you.  The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.  All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you.  'Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.  You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster.  Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem.  Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.  The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him."

Thought Question:  How is this prayer of Daniel's like the sinner's prayer that we all make when we become a Christian?  (You may also wish to compare this prayer to Psalm 51.)

 

 

(a) Our sin is great. (9:5-6)
Notice that Daniel includes himself in Israel's sin.  Daniel is one of the few people in the Bible for whom we have no record of any sin.  Remember these words in Chapter six:  "Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.  At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so.  They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.  Finally these men said, 'We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.' "

So, wouldn't Daniel have been justified to confess their sins?  And yet he says "we have sinned and done wrong.  We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.  We have not listened to your servants the prophets."

Israel had sinned by rebelling and rejecting God's authority, God's laws, and God's spokesmen.  They had all sinned; their kings, princes, fathers and all the people had not listened to God and obeyed His commands.  All Israel was justly guilty before God.  And Daniel included himself in Israel's sin.  Although the Bible does not record any of Daniel's sins, Daniel knew that he also was included among the sinners in Israel who had disobeyed God's commands.  He knew that he also was in desperate need of God's grace.  The more one seeks to draw near to God, the more one realizes his or her sinfulness.  We can safely assume that Daniel did not find it difficult to include himself among those who had sinned against God.  (Ezra is another man of God who included himself among the sinners in Israel.  See his prayer of confession in Ezra 9:5-15.)

(b) Our shame covers us all. (9:7-8)
All God's people, the southern and northern kingdom no matter where they were scattered in Daniel's time and no matter who they were, kings or commoners, were all covered with the shame of Israel's guilt!  The northern kingdom had been conquered by the Assyrians in 721 BC and the Southern Kingdom was conquered by the Babylonians in 586 BC.  They had been scattered throughout the world by their conquerors.  Part of their shame was that they were enslaved by foreign peoples in a strange land.  Daniel acknowledges that God is righteous.  His people, though, had not been righteous and had been scattered in other lands because of their unfaithfulness to God.

Here, we have the pattern for confession of sin.  "Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame . . . . because of our unfaithfulness to you."  A painful but necessary part of coming back to God is admitting that it was all our fault and we deserve the shame and the consequences that have come from disobeying God.

(c) Our punishment is just! (9:9-14)
Why was their punishment just?  They broke their covenant with God!  Listen to God's covenant with them from Deuteronomy 28:1,2,15,16:  "If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord God will set you high above all the nations on earth.  All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.....However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you...."  The blessings that would have come to them if they had obeyed God are listed in Deuteronomy 28:2-14, and the curses are listed in Deuteronomy 28:16-68.

In Deuteronomy 28:49-52, which was written many years before Israel was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon, is a prediction that Babylon would conquer Israel!  Daniel realized that exactly what God had predicted would happen to Israel if they disobeyed Him, had occurred; and so Israel was without excuse.

King Josiah and Hilkiah the priest, many years earlier than Daniel, found the Book of the Law and God's covenant with Israel.  King Josiah immediately realized that Israel had broken their covenant with God and that they were going to be judged by God according to what He had promised—which included that they would be conquered by a fierce nation.  See II Chronicles 34:14-28

(4) Daniel's motive (9:15-19)
"Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong.  O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill.  Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.  Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant.  For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.  Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name.  We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.  O Lord, listen!  O Lord, forgive!  O Lord, hear and act!  For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name."

Thought Question:  What do you believe is Daniel's greatest concern in this prayer?  How does this compare to our greatest concerns in our prayers?

 

 

Rescue us for your sake.  These verses record the actual request or supplication of Daniel's prayer.  Up to this point he has acknowledged God's blamelessness, greatness, and mercy; and he has confessed Israel's sin.  But, he does not get to what he desires of God until verse fifteen.  Notice all the "yours" in Daniel's request.  Daniel's greatest concern is for God and His purposes, His reputation, His righteousness and holiness and His people!  Daniel appeals to God, who had brought Israel out of Egypt and had made a name for Himself, to restore His city Jerusalem, which had been desolated because of Israel's sins.

In these verses is the heart rending appeal of a sinful man who had the godly desire that Israel who bears the name of God would be forgiven and restored as God's people.  Israel should have been a light to show God's glory to the whole world, and they should have led the peoples of the world to God; but because of their disobedience to God, they had brought scorn on the name of God.  Daniel prays that God will quickly restore Israel so that He might receive glory from His expression of mercy to them; and so that they might become a people who would bring glory to Him.

Daniel teaches us what praying according to God's will is like!  This is the type of prayer that accomplishes much!!  Daniel asks for mercy, not what they deserved.  He asks God to "turn away your wrath and anger from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill.  Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us."   We deserve to be scorned, but we are your people, so be merciful to us for Your sake.

He pleads with God to "look with favor on your desolate sanctuary."   Then, his final appeal in verse 19:  "O Lord, hear and act!  For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your name."  This is not a self-centered prayer, but a God-centered prayer.  Daniel was at the very end of his life.  He was too old to be able to return to Jerusalem.  But, he was concerned that Israel had failed God and brought dishonor to His name.  He yearned that the people of the world, who had mocked God because of His judgment on Israel, would see His mercy and power as the worship of God was restored to Jerusalem.

Because he knew that the seventy years was just about up, he pleaded that God would not delay in restoring the worship of God in Jerusalem.  His concern was not for himself, but for God's name and he prayed according to what was also God's will.  Because shortly after this (as we read in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah) Israel began to return to Jerusalem, Daniel's prayer was answered!

Cyrus' decree to restore the temple in Jerusalem may have taken place the very same year that Daniel prayed this prayer.  If Cyrus put Darius in charge of the newly defeated Babylon, in the same year in which he conquered Babylon, then, the first year of Cyrus and the first year of Darius were the very same year. See Daniel 5:30-31, 9:1; Ezra 1:1-3  And so Cyrus' decree to restore Israel took place in the same year as Daniel's prayer. There is, though, in our future a more far-reaching answer to Daniel's prayer, as we will see in the final verses of Daniel nine.

2. God answers Daniel's prayer. (9:20-27)

a. Why God answered Daniel's prayer (9:20-23)
"While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill—while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.  He instructed me and said to me, 'Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.  As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.  Therefore, consider the message and understand the vision . . ."

Thought Question:  Why do you think God answered Daniel's prayer?  What does this tell us about the type of prayer that God answers?

 

 

While Daniel is still in prayer, the angel Gabriel appears to him.  He tells Daniel that he is "highly esteemed" by God.  So, we can see very clearly, here, what God esteems.  He esteems those who humble themselves before Him about their sin and the sins of their country, and he esteems those who seek His purposes above all else!  These qualities were characteristic of Daniel throughout his life.  That is why God answered Daniel's prayer.  The way that Gabriel answered Daniel's prayer was to give him "insight and understanding."

We are told that Gabriel came to Daniel in "swift flight."  This reveals to us that angels are not omnipresent; they are not present everywhere at the same time.  Gabriel needed to go from where he had been to where Daniel was located at the time.  But, he was able to move swiftly.

b. How God answered Daniel's prayer (9:24-27)

(1) It would take not just the seventy years of Israel's exile to deal with their sin, but seventy 7s of years! (9:24)
"Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy."

Thought Question #1:  What do you think is meant by each of the following terms:  "finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy?"

 

 

Thought Question #2:  Why do you think God chooses seventy 7s of years to accomplish all of which was described in the last question?

 

 

Gabriel does not say that the end of the seventy years of exile that Daniel was praying about would soon come to an end.  Instead, Daniel learned that seventy 7s were still needed to pay for Israel's sin, and seventy 7s were still needed to totally restore Israel.

Israel thought in terms of 7 days (our week) and 7 years (like our sabbatical year - For example, we say someone is taking a sabbatical or a year off).  Here, the prophecy is talking about seventy 7-year periods or 490 years.

The following are some of the reasons that Bible-believing scholars believe that the 7s are years rather than days: (1) A strong support for the belief that the 7s are years rather than days is that Israel was judged by God and sent into exile for seventy years.  So, it is consistent that it would take seventy 7-year periods (rather than seventy 7-day periods) before Israel's sin could be fully dealt with and for Israel to be fully restored.  Also, seventy more days would not have been a significant extension of God's judgment on Israel. (2) Also, as we will see in other places in Daniel and in the book of Revelation, one half of the final "7" equals 3 1/2 years (referred to as "a time, times and a half a time" in Daniel 7:25, 12:7, and Revelation 12:14; as 42 months in Revelation 11:2 and 13:5; and as 1260 days in Revelation 11:3 and 12:6.  It needs to be added that the Jewish months were 30 days and the Jewish years were 12 times 30, equaling 360 days.  Three and one half times 360 days, therefore, equals 1260 days.

(a) To bring sin and the consequences of sin to an end:
"To finish transgression, put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness"  It would take 490 years to completely deal with Israel's sin—to bring Israel's sinning to a complete end and complete the payment for their sinning and their sins!

"Finish transgression"  "The most obvious meaning is that Israel's course of apostasy and sin and wandering over the face of the earth will be brought to completion within the seventy sevens."  "Taken from Daniel the Key to Prophetic Revelation by John F. Walvoord.  Copyright 1971 by Moody Press."

"Put an end to sin"  "Put an end to" is a translation of the same word that is translated "seal" in "seal up vision" (fifth in this list, found in verse 24).  "Keil translates this aspect, 'to seal up sin,' and states, 'The figure of the sealing stands here in connection with the shutting up in prison... ch. 6:18, the king for greater security sealed up the den into which Daniel was cast.' "  "Taken from Daniel the Key to Prophetic Revelation by John F. Walvoord.  Copyright 1971 by Moody Press."  Its meaning could be that it will take seventy      7-year periods to seal up and bring an end to era of sin ruling in our world.

"To atone for wickedness"  This statement clearly predicts Jesus Christ dying to pay the penalty for man's and Israel's sins.

It would take more than the seventy years of captivity to solve Israel's sin problem.  Instead, it would take seventy 7s to finally and fully deal with their sin and the punishment for their sin.

(b) To begin the reign of righteousness:
"To bring in everlasting righteousness, seal up vision and prophecy, and anoint the most holy"
After sin is fully dealt with, it then can be replaced with the rule of righteousness; then prophecy can be completed and can be sealed up; and the Holy of Holies can be anointed.  All of this is possibly referring to a time when man can walk before the Lord and genuinely enter His presence in holiness!

"To bring in everlasting righteousness"—The Bible predicts that at Jesus Christ's second coming He will begin a just and righteous rule over the earth.  See Jeremiah 23:5,6, 33:15,16 and Isaiah 9:6,7, 11:2-5  It will be "everlasting."  No longer will Israel turn away again from God and His ways.

"To seal up vision and prophecy"—Now that sin has been fully dealt with, all prophecies and visions about God's plan for dealing with sin will be completed, Jesus Christ will return,  and the reign of God will begin.

"To anoint the most holy" - It is not clear to scholars what this anointing of the most holy refers to.  It could be the anointing of a future temple.  For example, "the most holy" could be referring to a future rebuilt temple (the millennial temple described in Ezekiel 40-48) which will be the temple that will exist in the thousand year reign of Christ described in Revelation 20:1-6.  It could also be the anointing of Jesus Christ.  The Messiah or Christ means "The Anointed One."  Whatever or Whoever is "the most holy" that is being referred to here, this anointing will mark the beginning of God's holy rule on earth from a holy temple and led by the Holy One.

(2) How the seventy 7s will be divided (9:25-27)
"'Know and understand this:  From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens" and sixty-two 'sevens.'  It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.  After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.  The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.  The end will come like a flood:  War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed."

Thought Question:  What do you believe was to take place in the first 69 weeks of years?

 

 

(a) The first 69 weeks of years (9:25)
"From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem":  445 BC -  See Nehemiah 2:1-8  According to Nehemiah 2:1 this decree was given in the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes.  Since historians have determined that Artaxerxes began to reign in 465 BC, the 20th year of his reign would be 445 BC

"until the Anointed One, the ruler comes":  A.D. 32 - Sir Robert Anderson of Scotland Yard calculated that between March 14, 445 BC and April 6, A.D. 32 (his calculated dates for Artaxerxes' decree and the "triumphal entry" of Jesus), there are exactly 173,880 days of 483 x 360 day years.  We can see from Revelation 11:2-3, 12:6, and 13:5 that the prophetic months contain exactly 30 days.  And so, if Sir Robert Anderson's dates and calculations are right, the coming of "Anointed One, the ruler" or the first coming of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem as Israel's Messiah was predicted to the day!  ("Messiah" and "Christ" are Hebrew and Greek words that mean the "Anointed one.")

Jesus said, speaking to the nation of Israel on the day of His triumphal entry, "you do not recognize the time of God's coming to you." (Luke 19:44) The "Anointed One" came to Jerusalem on the appointed day, but Israel was not counting the days and did not know that this prophecy in Daniel was being fulfilled!

There are two other decrees made to restore Jerusalem that could be the starting date:  (1) The first decree is the decree of Cyrus in Ezra 1:1-4, 6:3-5, and II Chronicles 36:22-23.  This decree allowed for Isarel to rebuild the temple in approximately 538 B.C. (this decree was repeated by Artaxerxes, see Ezra 6:6-12).  (2) The second decree is the decree of Artaxerxes in Ezra 7:11-26.  This decree allowed worship at the temple in about 458 B.C.

A reading of Nehemiah 2:1-8, however, will reveal that Jerusalem still needed to be restored after these decrees were made.  The 445 BC decree, then, is the decree that is referred to in 9:25, for it is the only decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.  The first 49 years or seven 7s could be the time it took to rebuild Jerusalem.  For example it took 12 years alone to rebuild the walls (compare Nehemiah 1:1 with Nehemiah 13:1,6-7).

We also learn from the opposition to the building of the walls recorded in the book of Nehemiah that the rebuilding of Jerusalem was done during "times of trouble."  See, for example, Nehemiah 4  The totality of 483 years comes from adding the 7 7s or 49 years with the sixty-two 7s or 434 years (49+434=483 years).

(b) BETWEEN THE 69TH AND 70TH WEEKS OF YEARS (9:26)
"After the sixty-two 'sevens' the Anointed One will be cut off and have nothing":  This phrase appears to be describing the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  The word for "cut off," "is used sometimes to express the execution of a person deserving the death penalty."  "Taken from A Commentary on Daniel by Leon Wood.  Copyright 1973 by Zondervan Publishing House."  He came to rule, but the people He came to rule cut Him off, so there was nothing for Him!  As John Walvoord observed, it looked as if evil were the victor.

"The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary":  The ruler who will come undoubtedly is the Antichrist.  He is not the ruler who is cut off, but a ruler that will come at a later time—the Satan-empowered ruler of the end-times.  "The people of the ruler who will come" would appear to be the "people" of the fourth beast or the people of the Roman Empire.  It was the Romans who destroyed the temple and the city (Jerusalem) in 70 AD  As the Messiah was cut off after the sixty-nine sevens or 483 years, so Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed shortly after the 483 years were completed  This occurred in 70 AD, when the Romans under Titus Vespasian put down a riot in Jerusalem by totally destroying Israel's temple and conquering Jerusalem.

"The end will come like a flood":  Jerusalem's destruction was as complete as if it had been totally flooded.  Titus' four legions flooded into Jerusalem and totally destroyed the city and the temple.  See Daniel 11:10,22,26,40 for other uses of the figure of speech "flood" to describe armies totally defeating an enemy.

"War will continue until the end and desolations have been decreed":  Since Jerusalem was conquered in AD 70, Israel has suffered from wars and desolations such as "the Holocaust" and they will continue to suffer until the end times are completed.  At the time that I am writing these words, Israel is at war with the Palestinians and the entire Arab world, as terrorists bomb them mercilessly.

(c) THE SEVENTIETH WEEK (the seventieth 7 year period) (9:27)
"He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.'  In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.  And on the wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on  him.'"

Thought Question:  What do you believe will take place in the seventieth week?

 

 

"He will confirm a covenant with many for one "seven":  Who is the "He"?  Is he the Christ or the Antichrist?  The Antichrist is the last person mentioned, and being a false Christ it would be characteristic of him to break a covenant.  Who are the "many"?  The whole chapter is about Israel, so a likely identity for the "many" is Israel.  But it may be that it will not be obvious until the last days who the "many" are that are being talked about here.  What is the "covenant"?  The "covenant" appears to be a 7-year peace treaty that the Antichrist will both make and break, which will at least include or affect Israel.  The Antichrist will break this treaty after 3 1/2 years.

"In the middle of the "seven" he will put an end to sacrifice and offering"  What is the "seven" and the "middle of the seven"
(1) Some would say that this last seven already has taken place in Antiochus Epiphanes' time (liberal scholars).

(2) Others believe that it was fulfilled in 70 AD when Rome destroyed Jerusalem (Jewish scholars).

(3) Still others believe that the seventieth week is an indefinite time that extends from the time of Christ until the end (those who believe that there will be no millennium where the rule of Israel will be reestablished—the Amillennialists).

Other Amillennialists believe that the last seven years was fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus Christ.  They believe He "put an end to sacrifice and offering" by offering Himself a sacrifice once for all.  The last 3 1/2 years, then, would be 3 1/2 years after His death.  Since, there is nothing of significance that occurred 3 1/2 years after His death and the "abomination of desolation" has still not occurred, their interpretation of this last 7 year period does not make any sense.  Also, it would mean that Jesus Himself would need to be the "he" that set up the "abomination that causes desolation" described in this verse.  Notice that it is the same "he" that ends sacrifice that also sets up the abomination of desolation.  Also, Jesus' death did not cause sacrifices to cease in Jerusalem, but the destruction of the temple in 70 AD by the Romans is what caused sacrifices to cease at the temple.

(4) Still other Bible scholars believe that these seven years are yet to be completed and that they will be the last seven years before the Lord returns.  Therefore, this view teaches that there is a long time gap between the first 69 weeks of years and the last week of years.  According to this viewpoint, we are presently in the time gap between the first 69 weeks of years and the final week of years.

The fact that Jesus talked about the "abomination of desolation," that Daniel talks about here in this verse, as being still in His future, it shows that He saw the last 3 1/2 year as still unfulfilled in His time.  See Matthew 24:15-22

This last viewpoint, that the final seven years are to be fulfilled at some time in the future, is held by those who are called Premillennialists.  They believe that this seven-year period will precede the second coming of Jesus Christ and His 1000 year reign in Jerusalem.  The 1000 year or millennial reign is called the Millennium. "Pre" "millennium" describes the belief that Jesus Christ returns before (pre) the thousand-year reign of Christ.

It is this view that appears to be the literal and most natural interpretation of this 27th verse of Daniel 9.  In the middle of the 7 years, as was mentioned above, the Antichrist will break a peace treaty he has made with "the many," probably Israel or including Israel.

How will "he put an end to sacrifice and offering"?  In the middle of the 7, the Antichrist will do what Antiochus Epiphanes did, he will ravage Israel.  He will ravage them for 3 1/2 years (the last 3 1/2 years of the 7 year period).  His evil rule will begin when he puts an end to the Jews' sacrifices and offerings at a still future temple in Jerusalem.

Since there is not a temple in Jerusalem at the time of the writing of this work, it is necessary for the temple to be rebuilt and sacrifices to begin again in Israel before Jesus returns.  Israel, in the peace brought by the peace treaty with the Antichrist, will sacrifice at their newly rebuilt temple.  But, 3 1/2 years into the treaty, the Antichrist will break the treaty, stop all offerings of sacrifices, and institute the worship of himself in the temple.

And on a wing of the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured on him."  What is the "wing of the temple"?  Scholars do not have a clear explanation for what the "wing of the temple" is.  Some believe that it might be the "pinnacle" of the temple. Others suggest that it may symbolize the temple as a whole.

What is the "abomination that causes desolation"?  The "abomination" is something that is totally and morally sickening.  It will be like what Antiochus Epiphanes did when he set up a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies and required that the Jewish people worship it with sacrifices of pigs' flesh.  We can see from Revelation fourteen that the Antichrist will set up the worship of himself in the temple.  In Matthew 24:15 Jesus says, "So when you see standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation spoken of through the prophet Daniel. . ."  So, the abomination of desolation will stand in the holy place!  It will be either the Antichrist himself or an image of the Antichrist as described in Revelation 14:11-16 that will be worshiped in the holy place in the temple at Jerusalem.

What is the "end that is decreed" that will be "poured out on him"?  Another translation that is offered in the NIV is as follows:  "until the end that is decreed is poured out on the desolate."  In the first case, it is saying that the Antichrist will continue to do his evil worst until the judgment that God has decreed is poured out on him.  In the second case, the Antichrist will do his evil worst, desolating Jerusalem and Israel, until the desolation that has been decreed by God is completed.  Whichever is the proper translation, the Antichrist will do his evil worst to God's people until God brings it to an end.

The seventieth week that Gabriel predicted to Daniel is still in our future.  Just as the prophecies about the first coming of Jesus Christ were fulfilled, so the prophecies about the seventieth week of Daniel will also be fulfilled.  Coming in the future there will be a temple in Jerusalem; there will be sacrifices offered at that temple; there will be an Antichrist; there will be a peace treaty; the peace treaty will be broken after 3 1/2 years; the sacrifices will cease; there will be an abomination of desolation; and the nation of Israel and God's people will be horribly persecuted similar to the way Antiochus Epiphanes persecuted the Jews, only much worse.  Then, Jesus will return in mighty power to conquer the Antichrist and his armies of evil.  And God has revealed this climactic end to human history to us who believe!

GOD'S PEOPLE IN THE HANDS OF THE GENTILES (THE FINAL VISION)
(10-12)

1. The introduction to the vision (10:1-11:1)
Chapter 10 is the introduction to the final vision.  Then, in chapters 11 and 12, are found the most detailed prediction of the future given in the Bible.  In 11:2-35, Daniel is given a prediction of what would take place in the future.  These predictions are descriptions of events that would occur after Daniel's time, but they are predictions of events that took place long before our time.  It is these predictions in particular, that sound more like a historian recording what has happened in the past that have caused liberal Bible scholars who do not believe in the supernatural to conclude that these verses could not have been written before they happened (and be supernatural predictions of the future).  They conclude, instead, that they must have been written after they occurred, and by someone who lived hundreds of years after the life of Daniel.  In ll:36-12:4, we have a prediction of what will occur some time in our future.  And then in 12:5-13 are the final revelations given to Daniel.

a. The time of the final vision (10:1)
((Because we will be comparing three different sections of the Bible in the following discussion, you may get lost in this explanation, but hold on until the end, and it should clear up for you.))
"In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar).  Its message was true and it concerned a great war.  The understanding of the message came to him in a vision."

A comparison of Daniel 10:1 and Ezra 1:1-3:  These verses tell us that Daniel was still alive when Cyrus made his decree in Ezra 1:1-3.  In this verse in Daniel it says:  "In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel. . ."  In Ezra 1:1-3 we find these words:  "In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia....the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm...This is what the king of Persia says:  'The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple at Jerusalem in Judah....'" See also II Chronicles 36:22,23  Daniel was present in Persia up to at least the third year of Cyrus, so he was present when Cyrus made his decree in his first year.  His presence in Persia may explain in part why Cyrus was so favorable toward Israel.

A comparison of Daniel 9:1 and Ezra 1:1-3:  Also, note that it was in the very same year as Daniel's prayer in Daniel 9 that Israel began to return to Judah. (The first year of Darius' rule who ruled under Cyrus would have been the first year of Cyrus.)  It was in the first year of Darius' reign that Daniel prayed that Israel would be restored (Daniel 9:1).  And it was in the first year of the reign of Cyrus and Darius that Cyrus gave his decree and Israel began to return to Judah to restore the temple.

This may have gotten a little bit complicated, so let us review what has been said:  Daniel prayed in the first year of the reign of both Cyrus and Darius that Israel would be restored (Daniel 9:1).  Cyrus decreed in the very same year that Israel would be restored and a number of Israelites began to return to Judah to restore the temple (Ezra 1:1-3).  Two years later, as we are told in Daniel 10:1, Daniel receives a vision.  Daniel was present in Persia and was praying when Cyrus made his decree to restore the temple in Jerusalem.  Daniel is still present in Persia two years later and receives this vision recorded here in Daniel 10.

It is interesting that Daniel's first visitations from God were in the first and third year of the reign of Belshazzar - see Daniel 7:1 and 8:1; and his last two revelations from God came in the first and third years of the Persian reigns of Cyrus and Darius.

b. The three weeks of prayer that brought Heaven down to earth (10:2-3)
"At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks.  I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over."

Thought Question:  Have you ever had a time when you were so concerned about some set of circumstances in the life of your family, church, or country that you chose not to eat and focused completely on going to the Lord with your prayer concerns?  Is there anything in your family life, church life, or country where it would be appropriate right now or in the near future for you to pray in the way that Daniel prayed as he did here?

 

 

Gabriel's words in 9:20-27 left Daniel burdened with many concerns and questions!  See 10:12  And so, with a head and heart full of many questions about Israel's future, Daniel mourned and fasted before the Lord for three weeks.  He "ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over."  Daniel, as we saw in the first chapter of this book, put his relationship with God and his concern for God's purposes over his desire for choice food and delicacies.

Daniel's time of mourning, fasting, and prayer, as recorded here in chapter 10, took place during the Passover season.  See 10:4  (The Passover takes place about the same time as our Easter season.)  The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread took place during the 14th through the 21st days of Israel's first month; and his three weeks of prayer concluded on the 24th day of the first month, shortly after these festival days.  So, his praying continued on throughout this festival time.

Part of Daniel's concern for Israel may have come from news that he could have received, that his countrymen who had returned to Israel two years before were facing great opposition from enemies in their homeland.  See Ezra 4:1-5,24  Each of us who seeks after God's purposes in our lives knows of the concern that Daniel was experiencing as he prayed during those three weeks.  For, we also have had times when we were troubled and confused.  We also have gone through times when all that was left for us to do was to pray until God somehow revealed to us that He was still working and fulfilling His purposes; even in these darkest moments in our lives.

c. A heavenly visitor (10:4-6)
"On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris.  I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist.  His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude."  

Thought Question:  What can we learn about the heavenly realm from Daniel's visitor?

 

 

Who was this visitor?  This description in Daniel is almost identical to the description of the glorified Jesus Christ in Revelation 1:12-16.  Yet, it seems unlikely that Jesus Christ would need help from the Archangel Michael against the demonic prince of Persia.  See 10:13  Nor does it seem likely that the prince of Persia could have prevented Jesus Christ from coming to Daniel.  See 10:12-13  It would, therefore, appear that Daniel's visitor was an angel.

The description of the angel is given in terms that we are familiar with except that we are told that "his body was like chrysolite."  His body was like a jewel that is transparent and gold in color.  See also 1:16, 10:9  As Daniel suddenly was encountered by this glorious appearance, everywhere he looked there was overwhelming glory: gleaming white purity, the most precious gold, a gemlike body, lightning, flaming torches, polished bronze, and a voice that sounded like thousands of people talking to him at the same time.  Whatever he focused on, it would have been startling and dazzling beyond what he could bear.  It must have been somewhat like someone trying to focus on the sun on a bright day.  How would you handle it if you suddenly had a visitor like Daniel had while he was standing next to the Tigris River?  We will find out how he responded to his unexpected heavenly visitor in the following verses.

d. An earthly swoon (10:7-11)
"I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves.  So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless.  Then I heard him speaking, and I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.  A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.  He said, 'Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.'  And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling."

Thought Question #1:  What can we learn about the heavenly realm from Daniel's heavenly visitor and Daniel's response to him?

 

 

Thought Question #2:  How does Daniel being highly esteemed compare to our modern emphasis on self-esteem?

 

 

The vision reduced Daniel to an undignified state of helplessness!  "I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless.  Then, I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground."  Daniel was not alone when he received the vision.  The men, though, who were with him did not see what Daniel saw; they were terrified and ran and "hid themselves."  The men traveling with Paul on the road to Damascus had a similar experience.  See Acts 9:7, 22:9

Apart from his visitor awakening him and encouraging him, Daniel would never have heard what the angel had to say to him.  But, the angel encouraged him by telling him that he was "highly esteemed."  He was trembling, undignified, and feeling helpless, yet God esteemed him.  Why?  In our world we hear very much about "self-esteem."  But, here we have the only type of esteem that is of any real value: "God-esteem."  What value is there in esteeming ourselves compared to being esteemed by God?  Daniel learned that day next to the Tigris River that he was esteemed by God (see also 9:23).  And he "stood up trembling."

Who is it that God esteems?  Certainly, the Bible has the answer to this question?  You can do your own search for the answer to this question.  Here are some verses that give at least a partial answer.  In Hebrews 11:6 we are told "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."  Daniel believed that God would reward him, as he earnestly sought God.  In James 4:6, James quotes from Proverbs 3:34 that God is opposed to the proud, "but gives grace to the humble."

God esteems the humble.  Throughout the Bible, we see God esteeming those like the humble tax-collector who cries out, "God be merciful to me the sinner."  And listen to the words of Isaiah 66:2:  "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word."  Daniel acknowledged himself as a sinner who was among those in Israel who had sinned and failed to obey God; and He trembled when he discovered the judgments on Israel that were predicted in God's Word.  See 9:4-6  He was humbled and weak in the presence of this mighty angel from God.  God esteems the poor in spirit, those who mourn, and the meek. See Matthew 5:3-5  Each of us can find more verses and more qualities that are given in the Bible that describe what God esteems.  Daniel was one who had those qualities and who was esteemed by God.  Of course, we like Daniel have the choice also to seek after those qualities that God esteems.  If we spend a lifetime seeking after those qualities that God esteems; we, like Daniel, will also be esteemed by God.  What happened, then, after Daniel "stood up trembling"?

e. A heavenly battle (10:12-14)
"Then he continued, 'Do not be afraid, Daniel.  Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.  But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days.  Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.  Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come."

Thought Question:  These verses give us a look behind the scenes---they give us a look at what goes on in the invisible heavenly realm.  What can we learn from these verses about what is going on right now in the invisible, heavenly realm?

 

 

In these few verses we get a look behind the scenes, like few places in the Bible.  An example of this type of look behind the scenes is found in the book of Job.  At the beginning of this book, we are told why Job went through the horrible trials that he went through.  We learn as we read the beginning chapters of Job that the Devil made the charge before God that Job only trusted Him because everything was going well for him.  God then allowed Satan to put his hand on Job to test the genuineness of Job's love for Him.  Though it was very hard for him, Job continued to trust God even though he had no understanding about why his life had taken such a horrible change of direction.  Job also continued to trust God in spite of his wife and friends abandoning him and blaming all his troubles on him.  In these verses we also get this type of look behind the scenes.  From the earthly side, Daniel had been praying and fasting for three weeks.  What was happening on the heavenly side?  These verses answer that question:

First of all, the angel encourages Daniel to not be afraid.  For he had been heard from the first day that he set his "mind to gain understanding" and to humble himself before God.  He was heard by God, and the angel was dispatched in response to his prayers.  What happens on the heavenly side when we pray?  In the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 we have a picture of the father celebrating when the son humbled himself and returned to him.  It is a picture of how God responds when we humble ourselves and return to God.  On our side, all we know is that we feel rotten and undeserving, but on the invisible, heavenly side God is rejoicing and pleased with us (though we may still feel that He is displeased with us!).

On Daniel's side, he was afraid for Israel and God's judgment on them.  On God's side he was heard, and action was being taken in response to his prayers.  On Daniel's side, though, Daniel did not know that there was any response to his prayers.  On our side, we may be praying for a loved one, praying for those who do not know God, praying that evil will not win in our country, and many other prayers for God's concerns in our world.  But, we may not see anything that would give us any encouragement that God has heard our prayers and is responding to them.  These verses can be an encouragement to us that God is hearing our prayers; and if we are praying with a heart like Daniel's, God is taking action on our prayers.

Secondly, we learn that behind the earthly struggles we see all around us, there are spiritual wars taking place.  The angel did not respond immediately to Daniel when he began to pray, because "the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted. . . for twenty-one days."  He was only able to come when he did because Michael the archangel came to help him (he is called the archangel in Jude 9).

What do these facts about what goes on in the heavenly world tell us?  At the time Daniel received his vision, the Persians were in control of the world of their time.  In the heavenly realm there was a demonic prince over Persia.  But, there were also God's angels who were battling with this demonic prince.  The demonic prince was able to prevent this angel from coming to Daniel.  But, he was unable to continue to prevent the angel from coming to Daniel when Michael assisted the angel.

How does this information about the other side, help us to understand what is happening on the heavenly side in our world?  It appears, from what is presented to us in the Bible about the role of Cyrus and Persia in God's plans, that the angels were battling over whether God's plans for Cyrus and Persia would be carried out.  God's angels won, and Cyrus and other kings of Persia became favorable toward Israel.  Even though there was much opposition to the Jews returning to Israel, these kings issued decrees for the people of Israel to be restored to their homeland.

It is very interesting that God predicted through Isaiah the prophet that Cyrus would be used by God to accomplish His purposes.  See Isaiah 44:28-45:13  Yet, there was a very real battle that needed to be won in the heavenlies so that Cyrus would not be a tool of Satan as most pagan kings were; but, instead he would be a tool of God to fulfill His purposes.  And Daniel's prayers appear to have had an important role in this battle in the invisible realm!  Who was behind the opposition to Cyrus fulfilling God's purposes for him?  Satan and his prince!  Who was behind the Persian kings allowing the Jewish people to return to the Promised Land?  God and his angelic princes!

Now, let us look at our world today.  We see efforts all around us to eliminate God's ways from our society.  We see wicked men slaughtering hundreds and even thousands.  We see men leading movements whose goals are to remove all barriers to immorality and godlessness.  On the invisible side, what is behind these earthly evil efforts and atrocities?  Satan and his dark princes!  "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against authorities, against the powers of this dark world and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12)  But, we also see victories of truth over lies, we see good winning over evil, and we see lives transformed by belief in the truth.  Who is behind these victories of good, right, and truth?  God and His angels!  "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."  (II Corinthians 10:4)

Satan is not omnipresent (present everywhere), but his demonic princes and those they rule over are present everywhere.  From these verses we can tell that God's angels are in a continual war with these princes of darkness.  On the other side, the invisible side, there is a war going on for our families, our churches, our communities, our country, and our world.  And we are a very important part of that struggle.  God's Word instructs us on how we are to fight in this spiritual battle.  Daniel provides us with an example of how we are to be successful in warring against the forces of evil.  He "set" his mind to "gain understanding and to humble" himself before God.  When we set our minds on humbly seeking God's will, we will also be used by God to further His purposes in our world as Daniel was used by God in his time. 

There is solid evidence in the Bible that there are angels that oversee regions of the world:  See Isaiah 24:21  Also, we can conclude that the gods and idols of the heathen nations were actually demonic princes over those nations.  See Jeremiah 46:25 where Amon god of Thebes appears to be a real individual (a demonic ruler over Thebes).  We learn in I Corinthians 10:20 that sacrifices that are made to false gods and idols are sacrifices made to demons.

f. Another earthly swoon (10:15-19)
Again Daniel needs to be revived by his heavenly visitor.  "While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless.  Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and I began to speak.  I said to the one standing before me, I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord and I am helpless.  How can I, your servant talk with you, my lord?  My strength is gone and I can hardly breath."

Thought Question:  How could Daniel be weak and helpless and at the same time be highly esteemed by God?  Are there times when we feel weak and inadequate and yet are also highly esteemed by God?  Can you think of other men of God in the Bible who were weak, but who were highly esteemed by God?

 

 

While the angel was talking to him, Daniel interrupted him by beginning to faint away.  After the angel touched his lips so that he had the strength to speak, he told the angel that he was too weak to be able to participate in this vision.  He not only struggled to be able to talk, he could hardly breathe!  We can see from this chapter that the glory of heaven is too much for us to bear.  See also Isaiah 6:1-7; Acts 9:3-9; and Revelation 1:12-18

"Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength.  Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed, he said.  Peace!  Be strong now; be strong."  There are times when we are weakened by fear.  We also need what the angel offered to Daniel.  We need God's strength to replace our weakness; we need peace to replace our fear.  Have you had times when you were weak with fear and a word from God has done what the angel did for Daniel.  He was strengthened!

"When he spoke to me I was strengthened and said, 'Speak my lord, since you have given me strength.'"  Here, Daniel a man like we are felt weak and totally inadequate before a holy angelic visitor.  Yet God loved, honored, and strengthened him!  Jesus was also strengthened by an angel when He was in the garden of Gethsemane.  See Luke 22:39-44

g. A heavenly mission (10:20-11:1)
"So he said, 'Do you know why I have come to you?  Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth.  (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.  And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.)"

Thought Question:  In these verses we are given yet one more look behind the scenes in the heavenly realm.  What do we learn about the invisible heavenly realm from these verses?

 

 

We have in these few verses still one more look behind the scenes.  The angel tells Daniel about his heavenly mission for the near future.  What was the task before this angel in the invisible realm?  What he had to do gives us insights into what angels are busy with in our day.  The angel was busy; for as soon as he left Daniel he would need to continue to battle the demonic prince of Persia.  Satan's forces are relentless.  The prince of Persia had been defeated once, but he would battle again and again to regain influence in Persia.  How do these angels battle in the invisible heavenly realm?  Daniel and we are not told anything about how they fight.  Undoubtedly, we would not be able to comprehend, anyway, what takes place in this dimension.  It is likely that he told Daniel as much as Daniel could understand.

After the prince of Persia, the prince of Greece would come.  The Greek Empire of Alexander the Great would be the next empire after Persia.  There would also be a Satanic prince of Greece who would try to influence Greece to go in Satan's direction.  Again, the angel that appeared to Daniel would be busy fighting with this angel so that God's purposes would be fulfilled through the Greek Empire.

And so we have seen the forces behind the scenes that shape and form history.  We have seen the forces behind the Persian and the Greek Empires.  And we have seen that there are forces behind the scenes that are shaping our communities, country, and our world.  But, we as Christians with our prayers and our Christian service are part of this war.  For our "struggle is not against flesh and blood!"  Are there not demonic princes also behind the national struggles that are taking place right now in our country, and cannot our prayers also have a significant influence on them, as Daniel's prayers did?

In verse 10:21 and 11:1, we find these words:  "But first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth.  (No one supports me against them except Michael your prince.  And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.)"

Michael's main task was to watch over God's people, the Jewish nation.  But, because Israel was under the power and authority of first the Persian Empire and then the Greek Empire, their national interests were intertwined with the interests of these Empires.  It appears that it was for this reason that God's angel over the Persian Empire and later the Greek Empire could call on Michael for help.

But, Michael had also received this angel's help in the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede.  They helped each other when the need for help arose.  In Daniel 6:22, which was during the reign of Darius the Mede, Daniel said these words after he was rescued from the lions' den:  "My God sent his angel and he shut the mouths of the lions."  Could it have been this angel who is now speaking to Daniel whom God sent to close the lions' mouths and could this have been the time when he helped Michael with the Jewish people?  We cannot be sure, but it is at least possible that this is the occasion that the angel was referring to in 11:1.  It was after Daniel was rescued from the lions' den that Darius turned on Daniel's enemies and gave the God of Israel an exalted position in his part of the Persian Empire!  See 6:24-27

2. His vision (the near future) (11:2-35)
What follows is a very detailed description of the future immediately after Daniel's time.  It culminates in a detailed description of Antiochus Epiphanes.  Then, in the last section of verses in this chapter we will zoom up in time to a prediction of the very last days of the world as we know it.

Thought Question:  In 10:21 we are told that the angel told Daniel the following: "first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth."  Then, as we will see, that angel gives Daniel a very detailed description of what was going to happen in the future, regarding the kings of the north and the kings of the south.  What is this "Book of Truth" and what do these verses that predict exactly what would happen in Daniel's future tell us about man's decisions, God's sovereignty over what happens in the world, and God's ability to predict the future?  Also, what does God know about what is going to happen in our lives in our futures?

 

 

It is most significant that the angel told Daniel in 10:21 that this description of what would occur after Daniel's time came from what is "written in the Book of Truth."  What is this Book of truth?  It can only be God's book of what will happen in the future.  Though people make real decisions that produce what happens in our world; nevertheless God knows before we make our decisions what will happen in the future.  God knew in Daniel's time everything that was going to occur on the world scene when Daniel was no longer alive.  All the intrigues and power struggles that were going to occur in the world's great empires were in God's mind even before they happened.  Is God in charge during the times of the Gentiles?

a. The Persian kings (11:2)
"Now then, I tell you the truth:  Three more kings will appear in Persia, then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others.  When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece."  There would be four more Persian kings after Cyrus and the fourth would be the most powerful; his name was Xerxes.  Xerxes sought to attack and defeat Greece.  "The four kings would be...Cambyses (529-522 BC), ...Pseudo-Smerdis (522-521 BC), Darius I Hystaspes (521-486 BC, Ezra 5,6), and Xerxes I (486-465 BC, Ezra 4:6)"  "Taken from Daniel the Key to Prophetic Revelation by John F. Walvoord.  Copyright 1971 by Moody Press."

The Xerxes of Esther would be this fourth emperor of Persia.  We see a description of the great wealth that had been accumulated in Persia by the time of this fourth emperor of Persia, in Esther 1:1-12:  "For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty." (Esther 1:4)  This Xerxes gathered a great army of hundreds of thousands to fight Greece.  Though he had one of the largest armies ever gathered on earth, he would be conquered by Alexander the Great.

b. Alexander the Great and his successors (11:3-4)
"Then a mighty king will appear, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases.  After he has appeared, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven.  It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others."  Alexander the Great was able to successfully lead the Greeks against the Persians because Xerxes had stirred up a great and explosive amount of anger among the Greeks against the Persians.  Alexander proved to be a "mighty king" and conquered the Persian Empire, and even more territory, in a relatively short time.  By the time he was 32 years old he had conquered a large part of the world at that time.  He conquered the world from Greece to India.  But, he also died at the age of 32.

His kingdom did not go to his descendants (his half brother, legitimate son, and illegitimate son were all murdered).  Instead, as the angel predicted, his kingdom was divided into four parts: Macedonia, Asia Minor, Egypt, and Syria.  Using Israel as a point of reference (as the angel does in the following verses), Egypt was king of the South and Syria was the king of the North.  As we will see in verses five through thirty-five, Israel was continually caught in the middle of the struggles between these two kingdoms.

c. The wars between the southern kings (the Egyptian Ptolemies) and the northern kings (the Syrian Seleucids) (11:5-20)
The angel describes the intrigues and wars that were to take place between the kingdoms to the south and north of Israel.  The angel does not give the actual names of the kings and others that were involved in the intrigues.  The names of the people that actually fulfilled the angels' predictions will be given in the explanation of these verses.  These names will sound strange to you and will tend to overwhelm you.  You will hear names like Ptolemy, Seleucus, and Antiochus.  But, names like William, Margaret, and Shirley would sound strange to someone in another country who had never heard them before.  These names of the past are just names; strange foreign sounding names, but they are just names.  The names are given to show that the angel's predictions were fulfilled with real people, people like ourselves who had names just like we have.

(1) The formation of the northern and southern kingdoms (11:5-10)
"The king of the south will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power." (11:5)

The king of the South was Ptolemy Soter, a general who was given authority by Alexander to rule over Egypt.  After the death of Alexander he proclaimed himself king of Egypt.  One of his commanders, Seleucus Nicator, was a general under Alexander and had been given authority over Babylonia, but he was chased out of Babylon by another general.  He then went to Egypt and served under Ptolemy Soter.  When the general who had chased him out was defeated, he returned to Babylon to rule once again.  He eventually came to rule over a larger kingdom than Ptolemy Soter (he ruled over Babylon, Syria, and Media).

"After some years, they will become allies.  The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last.  In those days she will be handed over, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her." (11:6)

"After some years" there was an alliance between the southern and northern kingdoms.  This alliance took place after the first kings of the South and North had died.  The two kings at this time were Ptolemy II Philadelphus in Egypt (the new king of the South) and Antiochus II Theos in Syria (the new king of the North).  They were bitter enemies at first, but an alliance was achieved when the king of the South gave his daughter Berenice in marriage to the king of the North.  But, to marry Berenice, Antiochus had to divorce his former wife Laodice.

As the angel predicted "she will not retain her power."  Berenice was murdered by his jealous former wife Laodice.  Also, as the angel predicted, "his power will not last."  Laodice also murdered Antiochus.  Not only was Berenice killed, but also her attendants or her royal escort were killed.  "Her father" can also be translated as "child."  See NIV note.  Her child by Antiochus was also killed.  "The one who supported her" could be her husband who, as was already mentioned, was also killed.

"One from her family line will arise to take her place.  He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious.  He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt.  For some years he will leave the king of the North alone." (11:7-8)

A new ruler in the South (in Berenice's Egyptian family line; actually her brother) known as Ptolemy III Euergetes attacked the king of the North (who was Laodice's son) and defeated him.  Also, he had Laodice, who had killed his sister, put to death.  Although he conquered the king of the North decisively, taking his valuables as plunder back to Egypt with him, "for some years" he left the king of the North alone.  (Another possible translation of this last phrase is that the King of the North was able to continue his place of prominence over the king of the South for some time.)

"Then the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country.  His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress." (11:9-10)

Laodice's son (Seleucus II Callinicus) attempted to attack Ptloemy III Euergetes the king of the South, but he had to return home unsuccessful.  His two sons, though, were able to assemble a great army that overwhelmed the forces of the Southern king.  The older son died and left Antiochus III or Antiochus the Great as the lone ruler.  He was successful in reconquering the land all the way back to Ptolemy's fortress at Raphia in southern Palestine.

Notice that Israel was the battleground between the kings of the South and the North.  Here, Antiochus the Great was able to win back the land of Israel and bring it under Syrian control.  This prepares Israel for the persecutions by Antiochus Epiphanes that we will read about in 11:20-35.

(2) The reign of Antiochus the Great who conquered Israel (11:11-19)
"Then the king of the South will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North, who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated.  When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant.  For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped." (11:11-13)

This is a new king of the South, Ptolemy IV Philopater (221-204 BC), Ptolemy Euergetes' son.  He was greatly angered that Antiochus the Great had conquered so much of what had been his land, so he gathered a great army to fight Antiochus the Great at Raphia.  Ptolemy conquered Antiochus' army, though it was also a great army.  Ptolemy was an arrogant man already, and this defeat of Antiochus only made him even prouder.  Like a football coach who pours on the points on a weaker team, Ptolemy annihilated Antiochus' army killing thousands.  But, Ptolemy returned to Egypt to a life of luxury and ease, while Antiochus the Great gathered an even stronger army.

It was not long before Antiochus the Great was on the attack again.  But, now Ptolemy Philopater and his wife had died, and the new ruler of the South was their 4 year old son.  It was a prime time for Antiochus the Great to attack the South.

"In those times many will rise against the king of the South.  The violent men among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success." (11:14)

About fourteen years after Antiochus the Great was defeated at Raphia, he returned with a greater army.  He attacked the king of the South with the help of Philip V of Macedonia.  Also, there was a rebellion led by a man named Agathocles from within the king of the South's own country.  There also were Jews who supported Antiochus in the overthrow of the king of the South.  Remember, Israel had been under the rule of the kings of the South since the division of Alexander's empire, except for the brief time that Antiochus had conquered Israel 14 years before and then lost it again.

"Josephus wrote of Jews receiving Antiochus into Jerusalem at this time and giving him provisions for both army and elephants."  "Taken from A Commentary on Daniel by Leon Wood.  Copyright 1973 by Zondervan Publishing House."  History tells us that there were a group of Jewish rebels that fought with Antiochus against the forces of the Southern king in Jerusalem.

Scholars are not in agreement over what is meant by these Jewish rebels rebelling in "fulfillment of the vision, but without success."  It could mean that their rebellion was a fulfillment of this vision given to Daniel, but their rebellion was not a success.  We are left with no sure interpretation of this phrase.

"Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city.  The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand.  The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him.  He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it." (11:15-16)

Which city is the "fortified city" that the king of the North conquers?  The history of this time tells us that it was the city of Sidon which is located today in modern Lebanon.  A significant victory over the forces of the South under general Scopas took place when Antiochus the Great's forces, by using siege works, conquered Sidon.  The king of the South sent his best generals and their troops to try to prevent the fall of Sidon, but as predicted, his "best troops" were not strong enough to resist Antiochus.  Antiochus conquered Israel, the "Beautiful Land" and had total domination over it.

"He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South.  And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him." (11:17)

The King of the North or Antiochus the Great had an even more famous daughter.  He gave her to the king of the South to help him overthrow the king of the South.  Who was the famous daughter of Antiochus the Great who became a queen in Egypt?.......Her name was Cleopatra the Queen of the Nile.  Antiochus gave his daughter to the Egyptian king as a strategy to gain control over the South and Egypt.  However, as predicted, his plans were not successful for Cleopatra became an Egyptian and supported her husband.  In fact, in the struggles between Antiochus and the Romans, Egypt ended up supporting the Romans rather than Antiochus.

"Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back on him.  After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more." (11:18-19)

After Antiochus' treaty with the king of the South through the marriage of Cleopatra, he turned his conquering efforts towards what today is Greece and Turkey (the "coastlands").  He was successful in conquering much of this area of the world.  Antiochus at that time joined forces with Hannibal.  But, a "commander" (the Roman commander Scipio Asiaticus) brought a stop to his conquests by conquering him and pushing him backwards.  Instead of Antiochus insolently conquering Greece, he was humiliated and sent back to his own country with his tail between his legs.  He died but one year later and was "seen no more."

(3) The short reign of Antiochus the Great's son (11:20)
"His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor.  In a few years, however, he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle." (11:20)

The successor to Antiochus the Great was Seleucus IV Philopator, Antiochus' son.  The power of Rome had grown to the point where he was forced to pay taxes to them.  So, to maintain the splendor of his empire he needed to tax his own people to pay the Roman tax.

One tax collector is singled out here.  That individual appears to be Seleucus' prime minister Heliodorus.  He was sent to Jerusalem to plunder the riches of the temple.  II Maccabees 3 tells us that Heliodorus' attempt to take the riches from the temple was prevented by the appearance of heavenly beings.  It was Seleucus who was destroyed "in a few years."  Seleucus died mysteriously after reigning only 11 years.  (II Maccabees is a Jewish account of this period of time.  It is part of the Apocrypha which is included, for example, in the Roman Catholic Bible)

d. Antiochus Epiphanes (11:21-35)
His life is predictive of the life and activities of the future Antichrist!  (He is the little horn of Daniel 8:9-14, 23-35.)

Thought Question:  As you read through these verses and my notes describing Antiochus Epiphanes—a man who is a foreshadowing of the future Antichrist, jot down anything about Antiochus Epiphanes that tells you what the Antichrist will be like.

 

 

(1) His deceptive rise to power and his reign (11:21-24)
"He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty.  He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue." (11:21)  Seleucus' son, Demetrius Soter, should have become the next king.  But, now appears on the scene someone that the angel refers to as a "contemptible person."  (He is the first person the angel refers to as a contemptible person.)

His name was Antiochus Ephiphanes.  Epiphanes was a name he gave to himself, "the illustrious one."  The Jews, however, called him "Epimanes," the "madman."  He won the throne through opportunism, deceit, and conspiracy.  Shortly after his brother's murder and while his brother's son (Demetrius Soter) was in captivity in Rome, Antiochus Epiphanes moved in to take over the throne by winning support from those in power in Syria through flattery and making promises to them.  He was not in the line of royalty, but he was able to worm himself into the throne room at a time when the peoples of Syria were secure and unthreatened.

"Then an overwhelming army will be swept before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed.  After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power." (11:22-23)  

These two verses appear to summarize Antiochus' victories.  He was able to conquer the large armies of those who turned on him (the forces of Prime Minister Heliodorus, who also aspired to take the throne, and the forces of the Egyptian king of the South; as we will see in 11:25).  It is not totally clear who the "prince of the covenant" was that he destroyed.  It is most likely that the "prince of the covenant" was the high priest of Israel at that time, Onias III, who was murdered during Antiochus Epiphanes' reign.  Onias was the prince of the covenant in that he was responsible for overseeing Israel with regard to God's covenant with them.  In ll:28 and 11:32 the term "covenant" is used and in these two verses it clearly refers to God's covenant with Israel.

The other possibility is that the "prince of the covenant" referred to the king of the South at the time whom Antiochus did defeat as we will see in 11:25.  He could be the prince of the covenant because he, Ptolemy Philometor, is the successor to his father, Ptolemy Epiphanes, who had made the covenant with Antiochus the Great through Cleopatra.

Antiochus Epiphanes continued his pattern of gaining power and territory through intrigue.  He gave the king of the South the appearance that he was at peace with him, while he was at the same time conspiring to conquer him.  And in the coming verses we will see that though he started with a few men, he eventually widened his borders by successfully attacking the king of the South.

"When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did,  He will distribute plunder, loot, and wealth among his followers.  He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time." (11:24)

This verse summarizes Antiochus' methods.  Like a wolf waiting until the shepherd thinks his sheep are safe, so Antiochus waited until the peoples under his rule thought they were safe from being attacked by him, and then he invaded them.  He gained support from his followers by sharing the plunder of his conquests with them.  He may have stolen from the rich to give to the poor, to gain support from the populace.  As Hitler gained support from the masses, so Antiochus gained support from the masses.  Within his kingdom he sought to conquer every stronghold, leaving him the uncontested ruler within his realm.  His strategy was successful, but as the angel says here it only worked for a period of time; for actually he ruled only from 175 to 164 BC.

(2) His battles with the king of the South (11:25-30a)
Antiochus used internal strife in the southern kingdom to his advantage to defeat the more powerful southern king.  "With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South.  The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him." (11:25)

The king of the South was, as mentioned before, Ptolemy Philometor.  What is interesting is that Ptolemy Philometor was the son of Cleopatra, Antiochus Epiphanes' sister.  So, Ptolemy Philometor was Antiochus' own nephew!  Yet, Antiochus marched to just east of the Nile delta to attack his nephew's forces.  Though Ptolemy sent a superior force against Antiochus, Antiochus was able to come out victorious.

"Those who eat from the king's provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle.  The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time." (11:26-27)

The reason that Antiochus was able to defeat his nephew, the king of the South was because he was able to take advantage of some internal strife that was taking place within the Southern kingdom.  There was a struggle for the throne between two sons of Cleopatra.  Antiochus used this struggle to help him defeat the king of the South.  As the angel predicted, Antiochus and the king of the South did sit at the table with each other.  Each lied to the other, each thinking that he was outmaneuvering the other.  But, as the angel says, it was not the Gentiles and these types of schemes that were in charge, but God was in control; and their "end will still come at the appointed time."  

Wood describes a time when Antiochus sat at the same table with the king of the South.  Antiochus had actually defeated him and taken him captive.  "After capturing his nephew Ptolemy, Antiochus professed friendship for him, apparently making much of their blood-tie relationship.  He had a reason.  At the time of this Egyptian defeat at Pelusium, the people of Alexandria put the brother of Ptolemy Philometor on the throne as Ptolemy VII Euergetes....and Antiochus pretended friendship for his nephew to gain his assistance against the new ruler.  He treated the young man royally, as though he were an equal, while actually holding him captive...There is indication that the two planned together how the nephew might take back his entire rule, Antiochus making promises he had no intention of keeping and the nephew pretending to accept them while always distrusting his unscrupulous uncle."  "Taken from A Commentary on Daniel by Leon Wood.  Copyright 1973 by Zondervan Publishing House."

"The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant.  He will take action against it and then return to his own country." (11:28)

When Antiochus returned from Egypt with great wealth from his conquests in Egypt (though he did not conquer Egypt), he turned against "the holy covenant."  The "holy covenant" was God's instructions to Israel about how they were to worship Him and be related to Him.  In I Maccabees we learn that Antiochus desired to Hellenize Israel.  To accomplish his goal he intended to eradicate the whole Jewish system and replace it with the Greek system.  Two High Priests, Jason and Menelaus, who were in agreement with Antiochus about Hellenizing Israel, were appointed by Antiochus Epiphanes as High Priests after Onias was murdered.  At this time Menelaus was the high Priest.  The people of Israel were revolting against his leadership.  According to I Maccabees 1:20-24, when Antiochus returned from Egypt and was passing through Israel, he plundered the temple and took the holy articles such as the lampstand and the altar and cold-heartedly murdered Jewish worshipers.

"At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before.  Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart."     (11:29-30a)

Antiochus makes one more attempt to conquer the king of the South, but this time upon entering Egypt he is totally humiliated by a Roman emissary—the "Ships of the western coastland."  History tells us that outside the city of Alexandria a Roman emissary demanded that he leave Egypt.  Antiochus said he would think about it.  The Roman drew a circle in the sand around him and demanded that he must choose to turn back from attacking Egypt before he left that circle.  Antiochus was familiar with the Romans, for he had been taken captive by them when his father Antiochus the Great was conquered by them in Greece.  Antiochus had spent 12 years as a captive to the Romans and had gained respect for their power.  He had no choice but to leave Egypt.  Antiochus, in deep bitterness and humiliation, turned back toward Israel.

The "western coastland" was a way that Israel described the islands and coasts to the west of Israel.  The Hebrew word meant "Cyprians," the people of an island to the west of Israel.  But, it was also a way of referring to people with coastlines to the west of Israel. In other words, it was a way of describing the Romans.

(3) His blasphemies toward God and His people (11:30b-35)
"Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant.  He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant." (11:30b)

Antiochus in bitterness and humiliation comes back to Israel.  He had his army with him that had traveled all the way to Egypt, but had been unable to attack Egypt.  So here we have Antiochus Epiphanes returning from Egypt, full of humiliation and anger, with his army that had not been allowed to fight, and they were passing through the Israel who had continually defied him and who had refused to become Hellenized.  What do you think happened next?  Antiochus Epiphanes directed all of his built up anger and desire to conquer toward stubborn Israel.

Antiochus looked for those who had forsaken the "holy covenant."  This reminds us of the Antichrist seeking out those who will take the number of the beast.  The following verses describe what Antiochus did when he vented his fury and anger on Israel.

"His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice.  Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation." (11:31)

Charles Pfeiffer, describes what took place:  "A systematic attempt was made to Hellenize the country by force.  An edict demanded the fusion of all the nationalities of the Seleucid empire in one people.  Greek deities were to be worshipped by all.  An elderly Athenian philosopher was sent to Jerusalem to supervise the enforcement of the order.  He identified the God of Israel with Jupiter, and ordered a bearded image of the pagan deity, perhaps in the likeness of Antiochus, set up on the temple altar.  The Jews popularly spoke of this as the 'Abomination of Desolation.'  Greek soldiers and their paramours performed licentious heathen rites in the very temple courts.  Swine were sacrificed on the altar.  The drunken orgy associated with the worship of Bacchus was made compulsory.  Conversely, Jews were forbidden, under penalty of death to practice circumcision, Sabbath observance, or the observance of the feasts of the Jewish year.  Copies of the Hebrew Scriptures were ordered destroyed."  "Taken from Between the Testaments by Charles F. Pfieffer.  Copyright 1959 by Baker Book House."

"With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.  Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered." (ll:32-33)

On the other hand, Antiochus courted those Jews who were willing to forsake the God of their fathers.  And, so, he corrupted them with his Greek ways.  They were given preferential treatment by the king.

We are again reminded of what it will be like in the time of the Antichrist where believers in Jesus Christ will be horribly butchered, but those who forsake Jesus Christ and take the number of the beast will be able to buy and sell.

But, as we are told in the first chapter of I Maccabees, many in Israel did as Daniel had done; they refused to eat anything that was unclean and they refused to be corrupted by these foreign ways!  Tens of thousands were killed in the fury of Antiochus' wrath!  During this time there were Jewish leaders who kept the Jewish ways alive among the Jewish people.  These, who are now famous to the Orthodox Jewish people, undoubtedly were the "wise" that the angel predicted.  The two key people were Mattathias Maccabeus and his son Judas.  Mattathias refused to offer a Greek form of sacrifice when the king's representative came to his village.  Instead, he killed the kings' representative.  And thus was started the Maccabean revolt.  His son, Judas Maccabeus took up the revolt after him.  They fought valiantly against overwhelming forces.  We can read about what took place at this time in I and II Maccabees.

"When they fall, they will receive little help, and many who are not sincere will join them.  Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time." (11:34-35)

The persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes was a purifying process in Israel.  Here in these two verses we find a division of the Jews of that time who did not go along with Antiochus, and how they were affected by Antiochus' persecution:  There were, first of all, those who led the rebellion against Antiochus Epiphanes.  Then, there were a few who joined with them in their revolt against the King's edict.  Finally, there were still others who joined them, but for insincere reasons. (They saw some personal benefit in siding with them, though they did not believe in their cause.)  The "wise," all those who sincerely joined in this revolt, were purified by their suffering!  The Maccabean revolt was a time of purifying in Israel.

In communist Russia the little churches that met secretly were known to be very alive in their faith and walk with God.  Why were they so alive?  A natural purification had taken place in these churches. Those who were lukewarm in their faith did not join these churches where they could be persecuted for their belief in the God of the Bible.

This section ends with "until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time."  So, we move past the time of Antiochus Epiphanes.  We move even past our own time.  We move up to the very end of time!  The final verses of chapter 11 are about the Antichrist who will be like Antiochus Epiphanes; but he will live at some time in our future!

3. His vision (the far future: a final king who will do as he pleases
(11:36-45)
Daniel's visitor moves ahead in time to the end times. (He shifts from Antiochus Epiphanes to the Antichrist!)

a. He will put himself above every false god and even above God Himself. (11:36-37)
The king will do as he pleases.  He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place." (ll:36)

Thought Question:  In what ways will the Antichrist be unique and different from any ruler over men before him?

 

 

Liberal scholars, who do not believe that there are supernatural predictions by God recorded for us in God's book, believe that these verses refer to Antiochus Epiphanes.  But, Bible scholars who believe that these prophecies in Daniel were supernatural predictions of the future believe that these verses are predictions of the still future Antichrist.

We see here that he will be an absolute ruler.  He "will do as he pleases."  See Revelation 13:7, 17:13  Nebuchadnezzar had this type of absolute power.  He could take the life of anyone without fearing that there would be anyone who would hold him accountable for his deed.  The future Antichrist will also have this type of absolute power to "do as he pleases."

He will not only be an absolute political ruler, but he will also demand to be worshiped as the highest god in the religious world.  "He will exalt and magnify himself above every god."  See Daniel 7:25; II Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:11-15

And he will brazenly blaspheme the God of the Bible.  He "will say unheard of things against the God of gods." See Revelation 13:6  He will be allowed to rally the whole world against God for a season—until the time of wrath is concluded.  He will act as if he, the last Gentile ruler, is the absolute the ruler of all.  But he will not be in charge, for God has always been in charge during this time of the Gentiles, and He will be in charge right up until the very last days of the Antichrist.

"He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all." (11:37)

Thought Question:  There are a number of descriptions of the Antichrist given in this verse which are mysterious to us; make your best attempt to explain the following:

"He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers"

 

 

"or the one desire by women"

 

 

"nor will he regard any god"

 

 

The Antichrist will be unlike what is usually true of men in three ways: (1) "He will show no regard for the god of his fathers."  Most men respect the religion and the God or gods of their fathers.  This man will show no respect for the gods of his fathers.  There is uncertainty among Bible scholars about how to translate "gods."  For the Hebrew term "Elohim" can also be translated "God," for it is often used to refer to the God of the Bible.  Some believe that because of this one phrase, that he will be a Jew who has no regard for the God of his fathers.

"God of his fathers" is a term that is used in the Bible to describe the God of Israel.  Walvoord gives a number of examples where "God of his fathers" is used, such as Exodus 3:15-16; Deuteronomy 1:11; Joshua 18:3; I Chronicles 29:20; and Ezra 7:27.  In each of these cases, though, it is the "Jehovah" of your fathers, whereas in this verse in Daniel the Hebrew word "Elohim" is used.  But, there is one example in Daniel where "Elohim" is the Hebrew word used in "God of their fathers" (Daniel 2:23).  But, because the singular "eloah" for "god" is used in the context in chapter eleven when he says "nor will he regard any god" and "he will honor a god of fortresses," the evidence appears to support the view that the angel was speaking of a plural "gods of his fathers."  He switches from talking about plural gods, "Elohim," "the gods of his fathers," and he gives two singular uses of "Eloah" (god) ("nor will he regard any god" and "a god of fortresses.") in chapter ll:37-38.

Therefore, we can conclude that the Antichrist will be an individual within the ten nation confederacy who will reject belief in the gods of his fathers.  We cannot be certain which gods he will be rejecting.  It may mean, if he is a Roman, that he will reject the Roman gods and the God of the Roman Catholic church.  We can be certain that it means that, whatever country he comes from, he will not go along with the worship of his country's gods. (There are still places in the world that believe in multiple gods.  India is one example.)

(2) He will show no regard "for the one desired by women."  This phrase can be translated in a number of different ways:  One possibility is that he will show no desire for women (in other words, he will be a homosexual).  The second possibility is that he will not have the desire that women have (in other words, he will not have the desires that are more characteristic of women than man, such as the desire to be kind and compassionate).  And finally, as it is translated in the NIV Bible quoted here, he will not be concerned about the "one desired by women."  Because this phrase is found in the very middle of a description of the Antichrist's rejection of gods and God, it would seem most plausible that this phrase refers also to a rejection of the worship of gods or God.  Therefore, the last possibility that is given which is also the translation found in the NIV Bible is the most plausible translation: He will show no regard "for the one desired by women."

The One "desired by women" was the Messiah or Jesus Christ.  Jewish women's greatest desire was to be the mother of the Messiah.  The Antichrist will show no regard for Jesus Christ.  (The angel gave the name for the Messiah that was familiar to the Jews of that time; "the one desired by women.")  By the time of the Antichrist, Christianity will have spread throughout the world.  Though much of the world will be favorable toward Christianity, the Antichrist will reject all belief in Jesus Christ.

3) "nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all."  He will be an atheist who will set himself up to be god.  The Roman Caesars required that they (the Caesars) be worshipped as one of the gods.  The Antichrist will not desire to be worshiped as one of the gods, but he will require men to worship him as the one and only god!

b. His only god will be the god of fortresses (the god of war). (11:38-39)
"Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his fathers he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. (11:38)

Thought Question:  We find further mysterious descriptions of the Antichrist in these verses.  What do you believe is meant by the following: "he will honor a god of fortresses, a god unknown to his fathers he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts."

 

 

The Antichrist's only god will be his own desire to conquer and take over fortresses.  His only trust will be in his ability to conquer and defeat through war.  War and military conquests will be his only god.  The riches that he gains from his conquests will go back into the god he worships.  He will turn his riches into money to buy weapons of war so that he can conquer still more fortresses.  The Anti-Christ will be different than those who came before him in that he will have no beliefs in a god of any kind; instead, he will be a materialist who only believes in the power of his own armies and his own might.

He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him.  He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price." (11:39)      

Thought Question:  Another mysterious description of the Antichrist is found in this verse.  Attempt to explain what is meant by, "He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god."

 

 

We get the impression from this verse that he will be a conqueror like Alexander the Great and other conquerors.  He will conquer large territories and then apportion the land out to those who are willing to obey him.  (Like Antiochus Epiphanes, he will also make it worthwhile for those who side with him.  See 11:24).  Those who side with him will become rulers over the territories under him.

The "foreign god" may be the "god of fortresses" that was mentioned in 11:38.  The other possibility is that it could be referring to the Antichrist' temporary union with the false religion, Mystery Babylon described in Revelation 17.  See in particular Revelation 17:2-6,15-17  See also Jeremiah 44:16-19

c. He will conquer the kingdom of the North and the South. (11:40-43)
"At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood.  He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand.  He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape.  He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission.  But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many.  He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him."   (11:40-45)

Thought Question:  These verses are a description of wars which will take place in the end times.  Try to figure out from reading these verses, as much as you can about the wars that will take place in these end times.

 

 

"At the time of the end the king of the South with engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships.  He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood." (ll:40)

Thought Question:  Who do you believe will be the king of the North and the king of the South in the end times?

 

 

We see here that in the end times there will be at least these three powers; a king of the North, a king of the South, and the Antichrist.  We wonder who the Antichrist will be, but here we have two other kings we can also wonder about.

Who will be the king of the North?  In the time between the Old and New Testaments, the kings of the North (11:5-35) were one-man rulers over a large region to the north of Israel.  In the inter-testament time, he was the king of the land immediately to the north of Israel—particularly, he was the king of Syria.  From the alignment of nations today, can we make any speculations about who this final king of the North will be?  The nations of Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey are to the north of Israel.  Russia is to the north of them (Moscow is almost exactly due north of Israel).  The "Gog" of Ezekiel 38-39 may be this final king of the North.  As the times near the end it will become more clear who this king of the North is.

Next, who is the king of the South?  In the inter-testament times, he was the king of the land to the south of Israel; particularly he was king of Egypt.  Can we come to any conclusions about who the king of the South in the end times will be?  It would seem logical that he will also be a ruler to the south of Israel and it is likely that he will also rule in Egypt.  But, he may be the strongest king in the Islamic and Arabic nations that are so opposed to Israel today.

At the time described here, it appears that the time of peace symbolized by the white horse in Revelation 6:1-2 is being replaced by the red horse of war in Revelation 6:3-4.  The Antichrist first conquers through peace treaties (see Daniel 9:27), but later he conquers through war.  As we can see here, he is successful in conquering many countries.  He is so successful in his war efforts that he sweeps through them like a flood.  He is unstoppable!

It is possible that the Northern king who will storm out against the Antichrist is described in Ezekiel 38-39.  Notice that this battle will take place when Israel is at peace.  See Ezekiel 38:11  The "Gog" that attacks Israel is to the north.  See Ezekiel 38:6,15, 39:2  This king of the north is allied with Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya, who may be some of the nations who are ruled by the king of the South.  (The "Persia, Cush and Put" of Ezekiel 38:5)  Also, the fact that the king of the North is described as having "chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships," and because there is nothing said about the forces of the king of the South, it indicates that the king of the North will be stronger than the king of the South.  (This could explain why Ezekiel 38-39 primarily describes the northern king and his forces.)

Another possibility, though, is that the "Gog" of Ezekiel 38-39 is the Antichrist as some believe.  And Magog, Meshech, and Tubal are the three horns or nations that Gog or the Antichrist will subdue.  See Daniel 7:8,20,24

"He will also invade the Beautiful Land.  Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand." (11:41)

Though the king of the North has a mighty army and navy, the Antichrist is able (as was said in verse 40) to invade many countries like a flood.  Here, we learn that he not only invades them, but many countries fall before him.

God does not allow the Antichrist to conquer Edom, Moab, and Ammon.  The angel does not explain why these people are spared.  The people of Edom are descendants of Esau, Jacob's brother.  See Genesis 25:19-34   The people of Ammon and Moab are descendants of Lot's grandsons.  See Genesis 19:30-38  In today's world, they would be the people to the southeast of Israel.  The Edom, Moab, and Ammon of Daniel's time is our modern-day nation of Jordan.

These three countries may be the safe haven for God's people described in Revelation 12 and Zechariah 14.  It is possible that these lands will be protected by God, so that when the Antichrist begins his annihilation of the Jews in Israel immediately after he commits his "abomination of desolation," it will be to these lands that the Jewish people will be able to flee to for safety:  "The woman (Israel) fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1260 days....When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth (Israel) to the male child.  The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she might be taken care of for a time, times, and a half a time out of the serpent's reach."  (Revelation 12:6,13-14)

The naturally fortified former city of Petra in Edom is a possible place where the Jewish people of the great tribulation will run to for safety.  (See also Zechariah 14:5:  "You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel"  "Azel" may refer to the wilderness haven in Edom, Moab, and Ammon.)

Then, we are told that he will invade the "Beautiful Land" which is Israel.  See Daniel 11:16, 8:9  Since, according to Daniel 9:27, there is a covenant between him and Israel for the first 3 1/2 years of the final seven years, a likely time for these battles to take place is at a time just before the Antichrist puts an end to sacrifices in Israel (and also just before the abomination of desolations that will end the first 3 1/2 years, and begin the final 3 1/2 years.) This final 3 1/2 years is called the great tribulation or "great distress" in Matthew 24:21.

"He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape.  He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission." (11:42-43)

Though he will not conquer the lands formerly occupied by the Moabites, the Edomites, and the Ammonites (the countries to the southeast of Israel); he will conquer and occupy Egypt.  He will, then, move his forces toward the countries to the southwest of Israel.  Just as Antiochus Epiphanes conquered and plundered Egypt, so the Antichrist will conquer and plunder Egypt.  He will also conquer the Lybians and Nubians (Ethiopians), and they will follow behind him and obey him.

In Ezekiel 38:5 we see that these two countries will also be aligned with "Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal" when he leads his hordes against Israel in the last days.   In Ezekiel 38:5, "Cush" is Ethiopia and "Put" is Libya.  Some believe that the Gog of Ezekiel 38 and 39 is the Antichrist and that Ezekiel is talking about the same battles that are described here in Daniel 11.

d. He will conquer Jerusalem and Israel and rule there until the end. (11:44-45)
"But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many." (11:44)

What will be the reports from the east and the north?  The reports from the north could be about the attack of the forces of Russia described in Ezekiel 38-39.  The reports from the east could be about the kings of the East described in Revelation 9:13-19 and 16:12-14.  But, it could be that because Israel is to the north and east of Egypt (where the Antichrist is located when he hears the reports), that the Antichrist hears a bad report from Israel to his north and east while he is in Egypt.  This last interpretation sounds most plausible for it parallels what Antiochus Epiphanes did when he returned from Egypt and annihilated the Jews and set up the abomination of desolation.  Also, it seems unlikely that the Antichrist would be able to be successful against the army from the east that is described in Revelation 9:16 which is described as numbering 200 million soldiers.

"He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain.  Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him." (11:45)

  Listen to what Wood has to say about this verse.  "Ancient conquerors took tents with them for their official dwelling places, when on campaign.  At the center of the encampment a large main tent was pitched and around it small ones for personal attendants.  The thought here is that the Antichrist would be able to place his official tent where he wanted in Palestine, indicating complete subjection of the land."  "Taken from A Commentary on Daniel by Leon Wood.  Copyright 1973 by Zondervan Publishing House.  Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House."  The Antichrist will pitch his tents between the seas (between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea) and at the "beautiful holy mountain" (Mount Zion or Jerusalem).  In other words, the Antichrist will rule and have residence in Jerusalem!

But, at the zenith of his power, ruling in God's country and in God's holy city, "he will come to his end, and no one will help him."  His end is described in Revelation 19:11-21.  In a battle to end all battles, often called the battle of Armageddon, he will meet the God that he has been defying, and he will be completely and devastatingly defeated!

4. But God's people will be delivered. (12:1-4)

a. After a time of terrible suffering, God will rescue His chosen people. (12:1)
"At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people will arise.  There will be a time of great distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then." (12:1a)

Thought Question #1:  What is meant by Michael arising?  Why does the time of distress come right after Michael arising?

 

 

Thought Question #2:  From other parts of the Bible, what will happen during this time of great distress?  (If you would like to do some research, the following parts of the Bible will be helpful to you: Zechariah 12-14; Matthew 24:15-31; II Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 13; Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 7:21,25, 8:23-25, 9:27)

 

 

What is meant by Michael "will arise"?  Immediately after his arising, as we will see in the rest of the verse, Israel will experience a time of distress beyond anything they have experienced (including the Holocaust).  Does Michael arise to help them?  It would appear that when he arises, things become the very worst for Israel rather than better for Israel.  There is another possibility.  The Hebrew word for "arise" can also be translated "stand still."  In Joshua 10:13 it is translated "stand still."  "So the sun stood still."  In II Thessalonians 2:7-8 we read:  "For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.  And then the lawless one will be revealed..."  A possible interpretation of this verse is that Michael, Israel's protecting angel, will stand still for a while as the protector of Israel.  In other words, he will be taken away for this period of time.  Then, with Michael no longer restraining Satan's forces, Israel's great time of distress begins.

Another possibility is that Michael does arise to do battle with Satan in heaven and hurls him down to the earth.  And then there is great distress on earth.  See Revelation 12:7-13:1  The final possibility is that Michael will stand up or arise to protect Israel during this time of great distress.

One thing is very clear.  In the future there will be "a time of distress such as had not happened from the beginning of nations until then."  This time of trouble is named in a number of ways in the Bible:  (1) It is called "Jacob's trouble" (Jeremiah 30:7).  (2) It is called a "day of gloom" (Joel 2:2).  (3) It is called a time of "great distress" (Matthew 24:21).  It is the time when Jesus Christ made the following warning: "Let those in Judea flee to the mountains." (Matthew 24:16)  The Antichrist will seek to abolish the worship of God.  "He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God." (II Thessalonians 2:4)  As Antiochus Epiphanes did in the past, so the Antichrist will do in the future; but he will do it in a much greater way.  He will butcher anyone who is in opposition to his evil goals.  Zechariah 12-14 describes some more of what will take place while the Antichrist is seeking to take over Israel.  In Zechariah 12 we learn that all of the nations of the world will surround Israel.

Yet, just as the Maccabeans resisted Antiochus Epiphanes, so there will be Jews in the last days who will fight with God's power to resist the Antichrist.  See Zechariah 12:1-9  In Zechariah 13 we learn that 2/3 of Israel will be murdered.  But, the 1/3 that is left will become God's people.  See Zechariah 13:8-9  See also Zechariah 12:10-14  In Zechariah 14 we learn that the nations will conquer Jerusalem and half of the city will go into exile.  See Zechariah 14:1-2

"But at that time your people---everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered." (12:1b)

Thought Question:  Who are the people who will be delivered during the time of distress?  When will they be delivered and how will they be delivered?

 

 

When he says "your people," is he talking only about the Jews?  Because the angel does not say Israel, but "everyone whose name is written in the book," It would appear that he is talking about both Jews and Gentiles whose names are written in God's book.

Not every Christian scholar is in agreement about when this rescue will take place.  The angel could be talking about this deliverance taking place at the end of the Great Tribulation period, when Jesus Christ returns to conquer the Antichrist and his forces and to rescue His people.  But, he also could be talking about a rescue of God's people during the Great Tribulation  For in Zechariah 14:3-5, we learn that Jesus Christ will rescue His people during the Great Tribulation:  "Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day battle.  On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.  You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.  Then the Lord will come, and all the holy ones with him."  Then in Revelation 12:13-17 we read these words:  "When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.  The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach."  These verses talk about God's people in Israel being taken care of and protected during this time of great distress.  See also Zechariah 14:4-21 and Jeremiah 30:7,11

b. God's chosen people who die will be resurrected and rewarded (12:2-3)
"Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt." (12:2)

Thought Question:  When will the two resurrections which are described in verse two, take place?

 

 

Here we find one of the references to resurrection from the dead in the Old Testament.  See also Genesis 22:5 and Hebrew 11:19; Job 14:10-14, 19:25-27; Psalm 16:10, 49:15; Isaiah 25:8, 26:19; Hosea 13:14  Wood observed that this verse is the first time that the term "everlasting life" is used in the Bible.

These two verses sound very similar, therefore, to I Thessalonians 4:16-17:  "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever."  The words "caught up" is popularly referred to as "the Rapture," from the Latin word rapere for "caught up."

The term "tribulation" has become the popular word that is now used to describe the seventieth week of 7 years that was referred to in Daniel 9:27.  It is interesting, though, that nowhere in the Bible is the seventieth week of Daniel 9:27 called "the Tribulation."  Rather, the last 3 1/2 years of the seventieth week is called a time of "great distress" or "great tribulation."  See Matthew 24:21
But, the word "tribulation" has become a helpful term to describe end time events.  In the last days this seventieth week of Daniel 9:27 will begin.  When it begins the predictions about this seventieth week will also begin.

Pretribulationists are those who believe that the rapture will take place before this 7-year tribulation period.  Pre (before) – tribulation.  Therefore, according to this view the last 7-years of Daniel 9:27 will start as soon as the church is raptured.

The question, then, that needs to be asked is, when in regard to the "tribulation" (this 7-year period) does the resurrection to "everlasting life" and the resurrection to "everlasting contempt" described in Daniel 12:2 take place?   Is the resurrection to "everlasting life" the very same resurrection described in I Thessalonians 4:16-17, or is it a second resurrection that takes place after the rapture of the church as some believe?   In other words, are the dead in Christ and the dead Old Testament believers resurrected at different times or at the same time?  If the second of these two possibilities is true, there would be two resurrections of believers.  One resurrection at the beginning of the seventieth week of Daniel 9:24-27 and one at the end of the seventieth week.

Pretribulationists believe that New Testament Christians who have died, will be raised just before the tribulation begins (Pre), and at the very same time as Christians who are raptured or taken up to be with Jesus Christ.  Then, according to this view, the Old Testament believers and those martyred in the tribulation period will be resurrected after the seventieth week or tribulation period (See Revelation 20:4-6).  They use this verse (Daniel 12:2) to support their belief that the Old Testament saints are resurrected after the tribulation period.

The other possibility is that the resurrection of those who believe (both Old Testament and New Testament saints) will occur when Jesus comes to deliver His people from the Antichrist in the middle of the tribulation period or at the end of the tribulation period.  That would mean that this verse is describing the same resurrection that is described in I Thessalonians 4:16-17.

One thing is clear from Daniel 12:1-2, the resurrection of the Old Testament saints will occur after the "time of distress" has begun.  So, it is certain that the resurrection of Old Testament believers will not take place at the beginning of the Tribulation period.

Isaiah 26:19-21 also talks about the Lord coming to resurrect believers after or during the time of distress or "wrath" ("indignation" in NASV and KJV):  "But your dead will live; their bodies will rise.  You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy.  Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.  Go, my people, enter your rooms until his wrath has passed by.  See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins."  Joel 2:30-32 may describe the time of the resurrection:  "I will show wonders in the heavens and the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.  The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.  And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance."

The view of the rapture that I have come to believe in is that the church will be raptured, the Christians who have died, and the Old Testament saints who have died will be taken up to be with Jesus just prior to the wrath of God described. See Revelation 6:12-17; Matthew 24:29-31  The view is called the Prewrath view.  The most popular view in the church today of when the Rapture will occur, however, is the Pretribulation view that was described earlier.

The second part of the verse talks about some being resurrected or awaken not to everlasting life, but to "shame and everlasting contempt."  In Revelation 20:4,5, we learn that those who are beheaded during the reign of the Antichrist come to life and reign for 1000 years.  The 1000 years is the millennium when Jesus will rule on the earth from Jerusalem that premillenialists believe will begin immediately after the seven year tribulation period. See my explanation of the "millennium" and "premillennial" in my notes on Daniel 9:27  In Revelation 20:5 are found these words:  "The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended."  Then, in Revelation 20:12-14 is found the great white throne judgment of those who will experience "shame and eternal contempt."  The resurrection of the dead to eternal judgment or Hell, then, will take place 1000 years after the resurrection of the dead to eternal life that is described in the first part of Daniel 12:2.  See also John 5:28,9  

"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever."  (12:3)

Thought Question:  Who are the wise that will shine during this time of distress?  See 11:33-35 and my notes on these verses.

 

 

Who are the "wise" the angel talks about here?  The answer is found in verses 33 through 35 of this chapter.  There we are told that during the wrath of Antiochus Epiphanes on the Jews there were those who are called "the wise" who stood up against Antiochus.  They were Jews who were part of the Maccabean revolt.

So, the "wise" of this verse are those who are like the Maccabeans of Antiochus' time; but they are the wise who will live during the time of the Antichrist.  There will be Jews and non-Jews who will refuse to take the number of the beast as described in Revelation 13:16-18.  They are wise in that they will see through the lies of the Antichrist and they will, instead, choose to do what is right and good.  They will be those who are not only wise themselves, but they will also lead others to become like them (they will be evangelistic).  When Jesus Christ returns and delivers the wise who will live through the great tribulation from the forces of the Antichrist, they will be greatly honored in God's kingdom!  The wise who die during the great tribulation will be raised to life.  They also will be greatly honored in God's kingdom!  In fact, these who are wise at this time will be greatly honored for all eternity!

They "will shine like the brightness of the heaven" and they will be "like the stars for ever and ever."  Instead of those who will experience "everlasting contempt," they will be exalted forever.  They will stand out like stars in the heaven because of their courage during this time, a time when it will be the most difficult time of all to be a bold and faithful follower of God.  And they will retain this place of great honor for ever and ever!

c. Preserve this vision for the end times (12:4) (For during the end times, God's people will be more eager to understand it.)
"But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end.  Many will go here and there to increase in knowledge." (12:4)

Thought Question:  What is meant by the phrase:  "Many will go here and there to increase in knowledge?

 

 

So, Daniel is told to seal up this vision that he has just received from the angel (or possibly the whole book of Daniel).  It was not meant for Daniel, but for those who will be alive in the end times.  Will the book of Daniel be a hot item in the last days?  We get excited about prophecy today.  What will it be like when everything is happening exactly like what is written in this book?  Certainly, "the wise" will be those who can explain the book of Daniel to people as it is all happening!

"Many will go here and there to increase in knowledge."  In Amos 8:12 we find similar words:  "Many will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it."  Mankind has gone everywhere searching for knowledge.  But, what the angel has revealed to Daniel throughout this book is God's plan for the ages.

The Old Testament scholar E. J. Young interprets this phrase as follows:  "The verb appears to describe a vain traveling about in order to discover knowledge."  "Taken from Daniel the Key to Prophetic Revelation by John F. Walvoord.  Copyright 1971 by Moody Press."  Knowledge has increased and has been increasing at an incredible pace.  We can only be amazed at the advancement of computers in our lifetime.  And in our future, knowledge will continue to increase undoubtedly at an even more alarming rate.  But, our generation can only find the truth about where all of life is heading in the Bible, and in particular in the prophetic books like the book of Daniel.

5. How long will this persecution last? (12:5-12)

a. Two angels ask this question. (12:5-7)
"Then I, Daniel looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank.  One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, 'How long will it be before those astonishing things are fulfilled?'  The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, 'It will be for a time, times and a half a time.  When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.'" (12:5-7)

Thought Question:  Why, do you believe, the angel says, "When the power of the holy people has been broken, all these things will be completed."?

 

 

In I Peter 1:12, Peter reveals to us that there are things that "even angels long to look into"; things that angels do not understand, but would like to understand.  In these verses two additional angels besides the angel that was talking to Daniel appear on the scene, one on each side of the very wide Tigris river (Daniel was at the Tigris River when the angel appeared to him.  See Daniel 10:4) (The angel that had been speaking to Daniel is the "one clothed in linen." See Daniel 10:5).  Now, the angel that had been talking to Daniel is above the river suspended in the air (this angel had been next to Daniel, for he had touched Daniel's lips, see Daniel 10:16,18).

One of the angels (probably the angel on the bank next to Daniel) asked how long it would take for all that the angel had been talking about to take place.  "How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?"  The "astonishing things" described in these verses appear to be those things in the last days that are out of the ordinary.  Life right now is pretty routine.  Each day is not that much different than another day.  But, in the last days there will be "astonishing things" that will happen.  That is why there is such a fascination with prophecy.  It will be a very out of the ordinary time when the Antichrist appears on the scene, and, of course, an infinitely even more out of the ordinary time when Jesus Christ appears on the scene.

Then, the angel who is over the waters lifts up both hands and swears by the only One "who lives forever."  The angel makes it clear that it is not he who is revealing this to them, but God is using him to reveal it to them.  In Daniel 2, Daniel also made it clear that he was not the one who had the wisdom to figure out Nebuchadnezzar's dream, but God the revealer of mysteries had revealed it to him. See Daniel 2:27-30   Then, the angel above the waters tells Daniel and the two angels that it will take 3 1/2 years until "the power of the holy people has been finally broken."  ("time" = one unit or year, "times" = 2 years, and "half a time" = 1/2 year)

See Genesis 14:22 and Deuteronomy 32:40 for other examples of lifting hands to God.  In Revelation 10 an angel also swears "by him who lives for ever and ever."  See 10:6

A most interesting part of what the angel says is that it will take 3 1/2 years to break the Jews.  One purpose of this horrible 3 1/2 years is to break Israel, so that all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:25-27).  God uses hard times to break people from their hardness and self-sufficiency.  This final time of great distress is designed by God to break Israel.  We come to God when we are poor in spirit.  It will take the great tribulation to bring the nation of Israel to a place where they are poor in spirit.  "They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a first-born child."  (Zechariah 12:10)  At the end of the 3 1/2 years there will be national revival in Israel.

b. Daniel asks for additional understanding. (12:8-10)
"I heard, but I did not understand.  So I asked, 'My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?'  He replied, 'Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.'" (12:8-9)

Thought Question:  Why wasn't the angel able to answer Daniel's questions about the last days?  How are these words of the angel "closed up and sealed until the time of the end."?

 

 

All of Daniel's questions were not answered, and so he asks the angel to explain more about what was going to happen and why it was going to happen.  Daniel is not alone in wanting to know more about what is going to happen in the end times.  We do know more now than Daniel knew, for we have the words of Jesus in Matthew 24, the teachings of I and II Thessalonians, and the book of Revelation.  And we, like Daniel, still want to know more.  But, the angel tells Daniel (and us) to be satisfied for now with what God has revealed to us, for it is those in the very last days who will need to know more and understand more, not us.

Daniel received a part of the mystery; those in the time of Jesus and the Apostles received more of the mystery; we understand still more of the mystery (we know that at least 1900 years will go by until the Lord returns); and those in the very last days will know much more!

"Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked.  None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand." (12:10)

Thought Question:  What do you believe is the difference between the wise and the wicked who are described in these verses?

 

 

Why has God waited these 2000 years for Jesus to return?  First of all, he has waited for you and me to be born.  But, we are also told here that He has waited this period of time, so that the Jews who are wise will be refined and purified.  But, for the wicked the effect of this time will be quite the opposite, for the wicked will remain wicked.  We see here two effects of the last 3 1/2 years of distress on each of these two groups of people.  The wise will grow in understanding of God's ways; the trials at the time of the great persecution will purify and refine them.  The wicked, however, will not understand God's ways and they will stay in their wickedness.

The angel makes a number of references to the wise.  The book of Proverbs describes in detail the difference between the wise and the foolish.  The foolish are those who do not believe they have any need for what God or anyone else has to tell them about how they should live their lives.  They are already wise in their own eyes.  See Proverbs 12:15, 18:2  It is interesting that in the book of Proverbs there is also a contrast between the wicked and the righteous.  See Proverbs 11:5, 13:5  The angel divides the world into two groups: the wise and the wicked.  In II Corinthians 2:14-16, Paul tells us that we who are Christians are an aroma of life to some (the wise) and an aroma of death to others (the wicked).  In ll:35 we find these words:  "Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end."

As many Jews were purified in the time of the Antiochus Epiphanes, so will many will be purified in the time of the Antichrist.  In Zechariah 13:9 we read these words:  "two thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it.  This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.  They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people,' and they will say, 'The Lord is our God.'"  And, so, the angel reveals once more that this last 3 1/2 years of the seventieth week's purpose is to break God's people, refine and purify them, and bring them to Himself.

c. The angel reveals that there will be additional days beyond the1260 days (1290 days and 1335 days). (12:11-12)
"From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1290 days.  Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1335 days."

Thought Question:  The time of great distress is to last 3 ½ years, or exactly 1260 days.  But, the angel talks here about 1290 and 1335 days.  What will happen in the additional 30 days and 75 days?

 

 

The last 3 1/2 years are described in at least three ways: 1260 days (Revelation 12:6), 42 months (Revelation 11:2) (42 months of 30 days = 1260 days), and "time, times and half a time" (Daniel 7:25 and 12:7) ( a time = 1 year, "times" = 2 years, and "half a time" = ½ year; therefore, 3 ½ years; 3 1/2 X 360 days in a year = 1260 days).  But, here we have 1290 and 1335 days.  What happens in the 1290 days (1260 + 30 days = 1290 days) and the 1335 days (1260 + 75 days = 1335)?

First of all, according to Daniel, the beginning point is clearly "the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished."  Then, there is a question as to when "the abomination that causes desolation" being "set up" occurs? The angel could have been saying that the time the sacrifice is abolished and the time that the abomination of desolation set up, fall on the same day and both together are the beginning point of the 1290 days.  The other possibility is that the abomination of desolation describes the whole period of the 1290 days.  For example, the abomination of desolation would not then be completely set up until the end of the 1290 days, after which it is ended.  So, in short, the abomination of desolation is either a one-day event that begins the 3 1/2 years or it is an on-going event that continues throughout the 3 1/2 years and another 30 days besides.

It appears that the later alternative is the best choice.  For, if the abomination is only a one-day event, there would be no ending point given.  The 1290 days would then begin when the sacrifices are abolished and the abomination occurs, but there would be nothing about what will occur at the end of those days.  Therefore, what the angel is describing is like what happened when the American Embassy in Iran was taken over for many days.  So, if this alternative is what is being described by the angel, the Antichrist will take over Jerusalem for 1290 days.  The full abomination against God will not be fully expressed and ended until the 1290 days have been completed.

In short, the abomination of desolation (when according to II Thessalonians 2:4, the Antichrist "will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God) will begin at the same time the sacrifice is abolished.  But, the Antichrist will continue to be worshiped as God in God's temple in Jerusalem for 1290 days.  The Antichrist and men will defy God right up to the end of the 1290 days!

What, then, occurs during this 30 days beyond the 1260 days?  One possibility is that the 1260 days end with the seventh trumpet, and the seven bowls of wrath and the battle of Armageddon will occur in the 30 days additional days.

In Revelation 11:3 we are told that two witnesses are given power for 1260 days.  Then in 11:7-12 we are told that the beast (Antichrist) kills them and they lay in the streets for 3 1/2 days.  At this point they are resurrected and they are lifted into heaven.  This dramatic event is immediately followed by an earthquake (11:13).  So, their ministry lasts 1260 days, then they die for 3 1/2 days.  These 3 1/2 days are after the 1260 days!  They lie in the streets up to the 1263 1/2 day and then they are resurrected and lifted up to God.

Then, the seventh trumpet sounds, which is followed by the seven bowls of wrath and the battle of Armageddon.  All of this (the bowls of wrath) takes place in the 30 days after the 1260 days.  The abomination of desolation would be set up and continue for 1290 days.  Satan's total defiance of God through the Antichrist will come to a sudden and total end with the appearance of Jesus Christ and His holy army.

Next, what about the 1335 days?  It means we need to be able to explain 45 more days (1290 days + 45 days = 1335 days).  We have a clue in verse twelve: "Blessed is one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1335 days."  The next 45 days go beyond the end of the Antichrist.  For God's people who have endured the great tribulation period, it will be worth waiting for.  This period, then, will be the number of days required to set up the millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ.  It will be the transition period in between the great war and the setting up of the new kingdom of Jesus Christ.  What could occur may be very much like what happens when an army conquers another land.  There is a period of time when the aftermath of the war is cleaned up and the new government of the conquering army is set up.  What may occur during these 45 days is as follows: the judgment of the sheep and goats when Jesus determines who will and who will not go into the millennial kingdom (see Matthew 25:31-46), the setting up of Israel's national borders (see Genesis 15:18), the building of the temple on Mount Zion (building the temple would go much faster with the whole world working on it and Jesus Christ supervising its building), and the restoration of the world after the Antichrist's rule and the wrath of God.

We can see that whatever will happen during these extra 30 days and 45 days, we can be certain that they will be the busiest and most eventful days that have ever occurred on this planet!

6. Daniel will be there at the end time. (12:13)
"As for you, go your way till the end.  You will rest, and then at the end of the days, you will rise to receive you allotted inheritance." (12:13)

Thought Question #1:  This verse describes for us the type of attitude we should have toward prophecy.  What should our attitude toward prophecy be?

 

 

Thought Question #2:  According to this verse, what role will Daniel play in the last days?

 

 

Once more, as in 12:9, the angel tells Daniel to "go your way."  Daniel should not stop here and spend the rest of his life trying to figure out what God had given him for the distant future.  He needed to go on with his life.  There are those today who become so preoccupied with prophecy that they do not go on with what God would have them to do in their lives.  It has been about 2500 years since the angel gave this revelation to Daniel.  Obviously, it would not have been appropriate for Daniel to stop everything and wait for what was predicted to occur.  Nor is it appropriate for us to stop our lives and wait for these predictions to occur.  We also must go on with our lives.

Then the angel tells Daniel that he would rest (die) and at the "end of the days," he would rise to receive his "allotted inheritance."  In Revelation 20:4-6, we are told that there will be those who are resurrected and will be "priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years."  When the seventy times 7 years which are needed "to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy" are completed, Daniel will be there.  It appears that he will be one of those who will rule at the time when God's plans for Israel will be fully realized!

Daniel desired an end to the seventy year captivity of Israel to Babylon, but angelic visitors told him that it would take seventy 7s of years to fully restore Israel.  Here he learns that he will die before this restoration will occur, but he will be resurrected and be there to receive the inheritance that God has for him in this future kingdom.  See 9:24  (Some believe that this verse predicts that Daniel will be one of the two witnesses described in Revelation 11).

The book of Daniel has been titled "GOD IS RULER OF THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES."  It was God who was in charge when Nebuchadnezzar conquered Israel.  God was in charge when Daniel and his friends ate vegetables for 10 days and were not turned into Babylonians as the mighty Nebuchadnezzar had ordered.  God was in charge when he gave Nebuchadnezzar a dream predicting the fall of the reign of man in God's own time and His own way.  God was in charge when Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar, and in the end it was Nebuchadnezzar who worshiped God.  God was in charge when Nebuchadnezzar's pride before God was replaced by humility before God, after he ate grass like an animal for 7 years.  God was in charge when a hand writing on a wall frightened and humbled a banquet room full of nobility who had gathered to blaspheme God.  God was in charge when those who hated God were killed in a lions' den rather than Daniel.  And God shows us that He is in charge as He predicts what will occur right up to the end of the times of Gentiles.
God is in charge of our lives right now as well!  Some day in the future we will see that God is in charge.  For, we will be there.  Some of us will actually be on the earth at the time of the end and will see Jesus Christ return to gather us up to be with Him forever.  Others of us will be resurrected from the dead like Daniel to be with Him when He reigns over a transformed earth.  Still others who read these pages have the possibility of facing Jesus' judgment when He returns to take over as the final and total Ruler of this world and this universe.   There is still time, however, for you to receive the gift of forgiveness that He made available to you through His death on the cross so many years ago.  You can turn to Him now as your Savior and your Lord and then you will be there with Daniel to receive your allotted inheritance!

 

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. ®   NIV ®   Copyright ©  1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission.  All Rights reserved.

Studies in Daniel