The Book of Daniel Chapter Eleven
by Cooper P Abrams III
The Intertestamental Perid Daniel's Third Vision
(Period between the Old and New Testament)
Daniel's Third Vision
This chapter of Daniel is the most important and this is emphasized in that the last three chapters of the book are devoted to it. As he has done throughout this book, Daniel gives us the time when this vision occurred. This vision came to him in the year that Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians under Darius. This prophecy covers the end of the Persian period when Cyrus, the Persian emperor. He allowed all the Jews in Babylon who wanted to, to return to Jerusalem into the first of the four hundred years between the Old and New Testaments called the Intertestamental Period. The Book of Malachi, the last Old Testament prophet, was written after the reconstruction of the second temple in 516 BC built by Zerubabbel. 1
The liberal Bible critics, who reject that God gave prophecy, recognizing the detail and accuracy of the vision deny that it could have been written by hundreds of years before the events. However, two important facts attest to authenticity of this being prophecy. First the details of the book that related to the Babylonian captivity is historically accurate. Second, and most important is that Jesus in Matthew 24:15 credits this prophecy to Daniel, which proves these are prophecies given under the inspiration of God.
Daniel 11:1 are spoken by the one who is bringing the message to Daniel. Some Bible commentators believe that it is the angel Gabriel that is speaking. Others believe it is Michael who comes and strengthens Daniel being the protector of Israel. However, your author believes that this is still the Lord Jesus Christ who is talking as identified in Daniel 10:5-6. Some conclude the one in Daniel 10:10 who touches Daniel is a different character from the one who first comes to him. But the passage does not identify anyone else. It seems logical that the one who comes to Daniel to bring him the knowledge he sought would not just introduce himself and then not bring him the message.
Prophecy Concerning Persia
Jesus reveals to Daniel there would arise three kings in Persia with the last one being more powerful and rich than those he follows. These kings seemingly are Cambyses (529 B.C.), Pseudo-Smerdis (522 B.C.), Darius I Hystaspis (521 B.C.) and Xerxes I who unsuccessfully invaded Greece in 480 B.C. 2 J. Vernon McGee believes the Xerxes I was Ahuasuerus of the Book of Esther. 3 Greece and Persia were longtime enemies and 150 years (334 B.C.) after Xerxes I, Alexander the Great attacked and conquered Persia and began his world conquest.
History shows that Alexander the Greek came to power in 335 B.C. and soon attacked the Persian Empire and continued until he dominated most of the known world. However, he was weak as an administrator and did not solidify his empire. After his untimely death at thirty-two years old, the kingdom was divided among Alexander's four generals instead of his sons.
The Greek Empire was divided among Alexander's generals as:
This section of the chapter deals with the various conflicts between the Ptolemies, who ruled Egypt in the south, and the Seleucides, who ruled Syria in the north. This period dates for being somewhere around 250 B.C.
Verse 6 reveals the sordid affair in which Ptolemy Philadelphus gave his daughter Berenice to Antiochus Theos the Seleucid king in the north. Antiochus' wife was Laodice, but Ptolemy forced him to divorce her and marry Berenice in this alliance for peace between the two countries. When Ptolemy, Berenice's father died, Antiochus poisoned Berenice and her son and remarried Laodice. However, she was a bitter woman and she poisoned Antiochus and had her son Seleucius Callinicus crowned king of Syria.
The brother of Berenice, Ptolemy Euergetes marched on Syria and conquered it to avenge his sister's murder. He took are great deal of treasure from Syria and remained the most powerful rule in the region for many years. Seleucius Callinicus tried unsuccessfully in 240 B.C. to conquer Egypt, but his army returned home in defeat. (Dan. 11:6-7)
The details of Daniel's prophesy are astounding. Verse 8-9, foretells of Ptolemy Euergetes' victory and the great spoils he took to Egypt. History records that he took 40,000 talents of silver and 2500 idols from Syria and returned home. In 217 B.C. Antiochus, who was ruling Syria amassed an army and began pushing toward the south and Egypt. Ptolemy IV Philopator, who was living in luxury, ignored these advances for a while. But in time he became angry and with an army of 70,000 infantry, 5000 cavalry and 73 elephants moved north and defeated the Syrians at Raphia, who had even great forces than the Egyptians. Although Egypt had won a great victory they did not press their advantage and take Syria. It was a foolish mistake and Egypt "was not strengthen by it" meaning this great victory. (Dan. 11:10-13)
Although defeated at Raphia, Antiochus returned home to Syria and began rebuilding their armies. For fourteen years Egypt was the dominate power. Israel found itself caught in the middle and was exploited by both nations although being an Egyptian vassal state. In an attempt to throw off Egyptian rule Israel sided with Syria which eventually placed it under Syrian control. (Dan. 11:14)
Ptolemy Philopator and his wife both died in 203 B.C. and their four year old son became king. The Syrians saw this as a great advantage. He joined with the Philip V of Macedonia, Egyptian rebels, and Jews who opposed Egyptian rule attacked Egypt with a great force. The Jews who joined with the Syrians thought their support would gain them favor with Syria. However Israel in placing themselves under Syrian rule opened the way for the infamous Antiochus Epiphanes to rule over them. Later Antiochus brought havoc and devastation to Israel. In 198 B.C. Antiochus the Great conquered the Egyptian General Scopas and Sidon. Egypt made three tries to rescue him, but failed and with their failure Egyptian rule ended in Israel. 4 (Dan. 11:15)
Syrians showed Israel some favor by not taxing them and sending money for the Temple, but this lasted only three years. The Romans were now expanding their empire eastward and Antiochus feared that continued war with Egypt would weaken his nation so he made a treaty with the weaken Egypt. Antiochus sealed the treaty by marrying his daughter Cleopatra, to the Egyptian King Ptolemy Epiphanes in 197 B.C. The plan was that she would as the queen of Egypt support her father in controlling the Egyptians. However, she sided with her husband against her father.
Syria without a threat from Egypt, began to expand and make conquests in several Aegean Sea Islands, portions of Asia Minor and pasts of Greece. These were areas that Rome wanted and Antiochus boasted of his victories that opposed Rome. Rome in retaliation send General Scipo Asiaticus and drove the Syrians out of Greece. In 181 B.C., at Magnesia, the Romans soundly defeated the Syrians and they lost control of all of Asia Minor. Now the Romans boasted of their advances. (Dan. 11:16-18)
Antiochus the Great retreated to Syria to defend his homeland. He made a raid into Elam in 187 B.C. to rob a temple to replenish his treasury and was killed. (Dan. 11:19) Seleucus IV Philopator his son became king. The Syrians were very weak and the Romans force them to pay a great sum of money to them each year. To raise the money Seleucus IV sent his prime minister Heliodrous to Jerusalem to rob the Temple. Soon after this Seleucus suddenly became ill and died in 176 B.C. It is suspected he was poisoned. (Dan. 11:20)
Daniel's prophecy perfectly describes the events of Antiochus Epiphanes coming to power and his exploits. History records that next the despot Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.) became king of Syria.
||He was a such vile and contemptible man that his nickname was "Epimanes" meaning "mad man" in a play of words of his title Epiphanes. He called himself "Theos Epiphanes" meaning "the God made Manifest." The throne should have gone to one of Seleucus' sons, but when Antiochus heard that Seleucus had died he hurried to Syria and took the throne by intrigue.|
This section of Daniel's prophecy is important because the coming Antichrist, of whom Antiochus is a type, will come to power in the same way and his infamous deeds and hatred of Israel will parallel those of Antiochus Epiphanies. Antiochus Epiphanies who came to power with flattering offers of peace. The word "flattery" means he came to power through treachery being smooth talker. (Dan. 11:21)
Antiochus had the high priest Onias III (the prince of the covenant) murdered and made Onias's brother corrupt Jason high priest. Onias had opposed Jason who wanted to bring Greek culture to Israel. (Dan. 11:22)
Syria, although weakened by the Romans, began to rise to power and made treaties with Egypt offering friendship. (Dan. 11:23) Antiochus offering peace, began to rob the riches of Syria. He took from the rich and in a Robin Hood fashion, gave money to the poor. This strategy gained him great favor with the people. (1 Macc. 3:28-30) 5 Although Antiochus boasted of his plans for future conquest, God put a limit to his exploits and time in power. (Dan. 11:24)
Antiochus and Egypt fought a series of battles during this time and defeated Ptolemy VI Philometor and took him captive. Antiochus cunningly appealed to Egyptians traitors who disapproved of their king and they aided him in gaining the victory over Ptolemy. Being the captive of Syria, Ptolemy VI Philometor was deposed as king and in his place his brother Ptolemy VII Euergetes was crowned king in Alexandria. Antiochus then plots to control Egypt and cleverly offers his prisoner Ptolemy IV Philometor friendship and help in regaining his lost throne. Ptolemy IV was no fool and he pretended to believe Antiochus hoping to use him as well. However, it was to no benefit to either king. Antiochus conquered Memphis on the Nile, but failed to take the key city of Alexandria and returned home to Syria. Ptolemy IV Philometor became king of Memphis and had to share the throne of Egypt with his brother. (Dan. 11:25-27)
Antiochus removed Jason as high priest in Israel and installed Menelaus who offered him large amounts of tribute money. Jason heard a rumor that Antiochus was dead and raised a small army and attacked Jerusalem and Menelaus to get back his office of high priest. His efforts failed. This uprising angered Antiochus who was returning from his battles in Egypt. He unleashed his hatred of the Jews in a fury killing many Jews, selling many them into slavery and plundering the treasures of the Temple. (1 Macc. 1:29,28, 2 Macc. 5:5-21)
The two Ptolemy brothers agreed to rule Egypt jointly which angered Antiochus and he once again moved south in 169 B.C. and attacked Egypt. Daniel 11:29 explains that this time his attack on Egypt would be different. While Antiochus was attacking Alexandria, the Romans (Chittium) send Polilius Laenas with a large force in ships to stop Antiochus. He was told by the Roman general to leave Egypt and in a humiliating gesture Laenas drew a circle around Antiochus and told his to decide whether he would leave Egypt or fight Rome before he left the circle. Antiochus wisely decided to leave Egypt. To vent his anger at being so soundly humiliated he once again began to persecute the Jews. He used Menelaus, who was forcing a false worship system on the Jews and making them accept the Hellenization of their nation. 6
Antiochus sent his general Apollonius to occupy Jerusalem and he continued to destroy any trace of Judaism. He forces the Jews to accept the Greek culture. They were forced to worship Greek idols and Syrian soldiers occupied the Temple area doing unspeakable acts of depravery with harlots. They sacrificed pigs on the Temple altar. The Jews were made to take part in drunken orgies in honor of the god of wine, Bacchus. They destroyed the Torah and dedicated the Temple to the idol Zeus. Jews were forbidden on penalty of death from practicing any form of Judaism including circumcision or observe the Sabbath. An aged scribe by the name of Eleazar was flogged to death because he refused to eat the flesh of a swine. In another incident, a mother and her seven young children were each butchered, in the presence of the Governor, for refusing to worship an idol. In yet another incident, two mothers, who had circumcised their newborn sons, were driven through the city and then thrown to their deaths from the top of a large building. These are the events Daniel 11:31 describes as the "abomination of desolation." (Dan. 11:30-31) Antiochus ordered the Jewish Scriptures to be destroyed, and he and his soldiers brought prostitutes into the Temple and there had sex with them in order to defile the Temple. The final outrage for the pious Jews of the land came when Antiochus sacked the Temple and erected an altar there to the pagan god Zeus. Then, on December 25, 168 BC, Antiochus offered a pig to Zeus on the altar of God. This was the last straw! The Jews had taken all they were going to take from these oppressors.
The apostate Jews listened to the flatteries of the Antiochus and left the worship of God. But God always has a remnant that remain faithful to Him despite persecution. The stage was set for a large-scale rebellion of the Jews against the Seleucids. This famous rebellion is known in history as the Maccabean Revolt. Mattathias Maccabeus, called the "hammer," and his five sons were such a people. We read from the Jewish Encyclopedia the following account which began the Maccebean revolt in 166 B.C. that threw off Syrian rule:
Mattathias was an old man and his health failed him and he died leaving the rebellion in the capable hands of his son Judas.
Daniel's vision stated ". . .But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits" (Dan. 11:32) which is a direct reference to the Maccabeans. These events took place in the period after the Old Testament was completed with the writing of the Book of Malachi. It was a hard time for the faithful Jews and a period of extreme persecution. It was a time of mixed loyalties among the Jews. Some believed God and were faithful even unto death. Others rejected God believing the lies of Antiochus.
Antiochus was determined to exterminate the Jewish people. He sent Lysias, the commander-in-chief of the Seleucid army, along with 60,000 infantrymen and 5000 cavalry, to utterly destroy the Jews. This vast army was additionally commanded by two generals serving under Lysias -- Nicanor and Gorgias. This powerful army finally encountered Judas, who had a force of only 3000 poorly equipped rebels, in the town of Emmaus, which was just over 7 miles from Jerusalem. Judas managed to gather together another 7000 rebels, but was still terribly outnumbered. He prayed to God for strength and deliverance (1 Maccabees 4:30-33), and God answered! They won a huge victory over the Seleucid army! Judas then determined to enter Jerusalem and liberate the city, and also to purify the Temple and rededicate it to God. When they entered the holy city, the extent of the destruction which they beheld caused them to be overwhelmed by grief (1 Maccabees 4:36-40). Their grief, however, soon turned to determination and action. They set about the task of driving the enemy out of the city, and also of cleaning up the Temple. On December 25, 165 BC (exactly three years after Antiochus had defiled the altar of God by offering a pig upon it), the Temple of God was rededicated to God with rejoicing and sacrifices. The celebration continued for eight days. This is the famous "Feast of Lights" (Hanukkah) which is still celebrated by the Jews to this day. Chanukah (Jewish spelling) falls on 25th of Kislev on the Jewish calendar; in either November or December on the western calendar .
The Jews who believed God had their faith tested to utmost degree and many of them died refusing to bow to idols and to abandon the Lord their God. Among those who refused to accept the pagan gods were men of a weak faith. These were purged and tested to strengthen their faith making them white. White is a symbol of purity. James 1:3 says, "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience." The word "patience" means to cheerfully endure, to have constancy and continuing endurance. 7 The verse also offers hope in that God says this persecution would only last for a time that He had determined.
It is generally agreed among Bible scholars that Daniel 11:21-35 deals with the fulfilled prophecies of the events of the rule of Antiochus Epiphanies (175 - 164 B.C.), and there is a great gap in time between verses 35 and 36. Most tribute the remaining verses 36-45, to describing the coming Antichrist who will be revealed in the coming Seventieth Week of Daniel (Dan. 9:27). He will be the ruler of the Revived Roman Empire prophesied in Daniel 2:40-42 and described as the feet and toes of iron and mixed with clay of Nebuchadnezzar's great image.
The events of Antiochus Epiphanies are recorded in extra-biblical materials and Daniel's prophecy accurately, with extraordinary detail, relates those events as they happened in history. It seems clear the exploits of Antiochus parallel those of the Antichrist, but to a lesser degree. The scope of the statements about the king of Daniel 11:36 are much greater than those of Antiochus and it is obvious this is another king who will come in the future.
History tells us that everything in this prophecy was not fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanies. Jesus specifically foretold of the coming a future "abomination of desolation"(Matthew 24:15) in the Tribulation. The Apostle Paul paraphrased Daniel 11:36 in reference to the coming Antichrist In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."
The reason the details of the deeds of Antiochus Epiphanies is important is because they are a preview of the Antichrist. He prefigures the supreme evil man, empowered by Satan, and his maniac like hatred and bent on destroying the Jews.
These verse list the exploits and character of the Antichrist:
1. He does according to his will. (v 36) Following his carnal nature the Antichrist rejects God and all truth. He refuses to obey any righteous principle of God and does as his depraved nature leads him.
2. He exalts and magnifies himself above every god. (v 36) In his depravity and pride he sees himself as above God. He becomes insane in the power he welds over the world.
3. He speak marvelous things against God. (v 36) He blasphemies God and proclaims his power, based on his victories is greater than Almighty God.
4. He shall prosper until "the indication be accomplished." (v 36) Throughout his reign he will prosper being empowered by Satan, until the Messiah returns and casts him alive into the Lake of Fire (Rev.19:20)
5. He shall not regard the God of his fathers. (V37) Some use this verse to teach the Antichrist will be an apostate Jew. However, it could just as easy refer to a Roman Catholic, a Protestant, or any religion.
6. He shall not regard the desire of women. (v37) Some believe this to means he will be a homosexual or not have normal sexual desires. Probably more accurately this refers to the Jewish women who desired to be the mother of the Messiah. The Antichrist will be aware of the prophecies concerning the return of the Lord Jesus the Messiah and his destruction. Yet, he will obviously not believe the word of God, and it will have no affect in deterring his evil exploitation of his power and persecution of the Jews.
7. He regards no god and exalts himself as god. (v37) The Antichrist will be an atheist rejecting Almighty God and all other religions of men and their rituals or worship. He sees himself as the supreme human, deifying himself the supreme man.
8. His goes to war and conquering other nations. (v38) Satan is the driving force that behind the Antichrist. Satan began his rebellion against God with war against God and the angels. He is the god of war and he uses murder and pillage to gain almost absolute power.
9. He will worship riches and luxury. (v38) Like all foolish and sinful men he will worship temporal riches and the material luxuries of earth. Pleasure then is his god and the his is driving by the unsatisfiable desire for greater and greater wealth.
10. His military will attack strong nations with a strange god. (v39) He sees himself as being invincible and boldly without fear attacks even the strongest of nations.
11. He will divide the conquered lands among those who honor him. (v 39) He like Antiochus who prefigured him will use his riches to buy loyalty and support. He grants choice parcels of land to those who support and aid him.
After three and a half years of increasing his power, the Antichrist controls most of the earth. But he has enemies. Daniel 9:27 states the Antichrist will make a treaty at the beginning of the 70th Week to protect Israel from her enemies at the beginning of the Tribulation or Seventieth Week. Both the kings of the south and north are said to attack the Antichrist. This attack will be upon Israel, the ally of the Antichrist and force him to come to her defense. These armies shall sweep down on Israel and overrun the country. The Antichrist and the armies of his European confederacy will enter the Middle East and counterattack these two armies. The king of the south in Daniel 11:2-35 was always Egypt and the king of the north was Syria and there is nothing in the passage to suggest it will be any other nations.
The Antichrist wins victories over the northern nations lead by Syria that attack Israel, but he does not defeat Edom, Moab and Ammon. These nations do not exist on earth today, but the use of their names identifies the areas they occupied during biblical times. The area is east and southeast of the Dead Sea and today is the land of the Arab countries of Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Some believe the Antichrist, after quailing most of the threat from the north, moves his armies south to engage Egypt and bypasses these nations. (Dan. 11:40-41)
The southern campaign of the Antichrist will net him Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia. His victories will bring him the great treasures of these nations. He now as effectively conquered the Middle East and northern Africa, while he is fighting in the south trouble is brewing in the north. (Dan. 11:42-43)
Word comes to the Antichrist there is a threat coming from the north and from the east and he hurriedly moves his forces north and furiously attacks the invading nations. Ezekiel 38-39 plainly identifies nations in the far north as attacking Israel. Ezekiel is told to turn his face towards (to prophesy) "Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him." Each of these names are associated with the people who lived north of Israel and in particular the Russian peoples. 8 Revelation 16:12 mentions the River Euphrates drying up to make way for the invading armies from the East. One can only take this prophecy in its literal sense that this great river will be dried up and in turn this will cause the way for the invasion of the Oriental nations to begin their march into Palestine for the battle of Armageddon. John in Revelation16:12, says "I saw." It is a clear statement that what John saw literally was happening. The Eastern kings, such as Iran, Japan, China and India have in recent history become powerful nations. It appears that in the Great Tribulation, they rise together and join forces to do battle take the Middle East.
It appears the armies of Russia and the eastern nations in a series of battles attack Israel which is defended by the Antichrist and his European confederacy. The place of these great battles will be the Plain of Jezreel at Megiddo and this great slaughter is called Armageddon. (Rev. 16:16, 19:17-21) Revelation 14:20 says the blood of those slain would come up the horses bridles. At the beginning of the battle the Antichrist's western armies will be fighting the northern army and will defeat it. The eastern nations then come through Iran and engage the Antichrist.
As the battles continue the sign of the coming of Jesus Christ will appear in the heavens (Matt. 24:30) and all these nations shall stop fighting each other and turn their weapons towards heaven against the Lord Jesus. He then simply speaks and these armies to a man are consumed in a great fire storm. On arriving in Israel the Antichrist will make his headquarters in Jerusalem between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean. He like Antiochus will defile the Temple that was built in these seven years and set his image in the Holy of Holies declaring himself god and demanding all worship him. But God has determined that his reign is limited and the Lord Jesus judges and destroys him casting him and the false prophet into the Lake of Fire. The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus is one of judgment and of purging the earth of sinners. John saw this when it was revealed to him in Revelation 19:11-21. "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh" (Revelation 19:11-21).
5 1 Maccabees is a book of the Apocrypha which is a non-canonical book (not Scripture and not inspired of God) written during the Intertestamental period. 1 and 2 Maccabees records the history of how the Jews persecution under Antiochus and how they over threw Syria rule. "He opened his treasure chests, gave his soldiers a year's pay, and commanded them to be prepared for anything. He then found that this exhausted the money in his treasury; moreover the income from the province was small, because of the dissension and distress he had brought upon the land by abolishing the laws which had been in effect from of old. He feared that, as had happened more than once, he would not have enough for his expenses and for the gifts that he had previously given with a more liberal hand than the preceding kings."