Daniel Chapter 11: History from Daniel to Time of the End

Sep 2nd, 2009 | By | Category: Daniel, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Daniel Chapter 11: History from Daniel to Time of the End

Dan. 11:1 Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.

Chapter 11 consists of an amazing prophecy. Daniel 10:1 reads, “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, … and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long.” Then Daniel fasted for three full weeks, and Gabriel came and talked with Daniel. If we assume that Gabriel is still speaking in Chapter 11, he was backtracking in point of time because Cyrus the Persian followed Darius the Mede, who reigned only about two years.

It is interesting that Gabriel strengthened Darius the Mede, the king who committed Daniel to the lions’ den and then, being happy to release Daniel from the pit, greatly honored him. As for Cyrus, the Prophet Isaiah predicted 150 years in advance that a man named Cyrus would issue the decree for the Jews to return to their homeland to rebuild their Temple. Here in verse 1 Gabriel was speaking to Daniel in a mode of confidentiality, informing the prophet of both past and present continuing interest in his welfare and of activity on his behalf. Gabriel’s attentiveness suggests that he was Daniel’s special guardian angel.

Dan. 11:2 And now will I show thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.

Gabriel continues to speak, saying he will show Daniel the truth. The three kings are mentioned to lead up to the fourth Persian king, whose identity we know. Darius the Mede is not included in this count, and another king had a very short reign.

Order: Cyrus, Cambyses, Smerdis (a usurper), Darius Hystaspes, Xerxes. Xerxes was known in history for the immensity of his army (5 million men under arms), his wealth, and his ambition to crush Greece. He sunk boats to make a pontoon bridge to get to the mainland of Greece, where he tried to cut off the Grecian forces, but he was not successful. This defeat was the death knell of the Persian Empire, although the actual decline and the coming of the Greeks into supremacy took many years.

Dan. 11:3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.

The “mighty king” who stood up, ruled with a great dominion, and did according to his will was Alexander the Great. Others ruled before him, but it was he who established the world empire in nine years (or 13 depending on how the chronology is viewed). A brilliant man, he conquered the world before he died of a fever at a young age. Alexander overthrew Tyre the second time by scraping dirt into the bay to make a land bridge out to the island.

Following the defeat of Tyre, Alexander went to Jerusalem. History tells that Alexander had a dream in earlier years of the high priest, and now, years later, the high priest prayed and was told in a dream to open the city gates and strew the path with flowers. As a result, Alexander recognized the high priest, honored him, and did not destroy Jerusalem.

Dan. 11:4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.

“His kingdom shall … not [be] to his posterity, … for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.” When Alexander the Great died suddenly in the prime of his life, the Grecian Empire was not left to his progeny or children as in a normal hereditary line. Instead the empire was parceled out to four generals. It was parted or divided into the “four winds of heaven” (called “four wings” in Daniel 7:6).

“And when he shall stand up.” Alexander the Great stood up when he was in power in his prime, when he was actually ruling and conquering the world. Then suddenly he was removed from the scene. It is important to understand that the concept of “standing up” means the rule, the exercise of a prior right to reign, and such is the case in Daniel 12:1 when Michael “stands up.” (The term “stand up” is used frequently in Chapter 11, as we will see.) The four divisions of the Grecian Empire that were each given to a general following Alexander the Great’s death were Greece or Macedonia (Cassander), Asia Minor or Thrace (Lysimachus), Asia including Israel (Seleucus), and Egypt (Ptolemy). The four geographic divisions formed a half circle more or less.

Dan. 11:5 And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.

Dan. 11:6 And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king’s daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.

The terms “king of the south” and “king of the north,” which are used repeatedly, describe powers and not necessarily specific individuals. In just a few verses (up to verse 16), the terms furnish a generalization of certain events that have transpired in about three centuries of history. The “king of the south” always refers to Egypt, whereas the “king of the north” changes from Syria to Greece to Rome depending on which portion of history is being referred to. In other words, the other three generals and their divisions of the empire are called the “king of the north.” We will not wade through all of the details here, for they are not important. However, we should grasp the principles.

Historians cannot recite extemporaneously and pinpoint many events because of the terms that are used. For instance, we think of one beautiful Cleopatra with Mark Anthony, but actually there were seven Cleopatras, for that term is a title and not a personal name. And there were 14 individuals called Antiochus for the same reason. It is difficult to sort them out. Then, too, Caesar is Czar in Russian and Kaiser in German. Another title is Ptolemy, of whom there are about 19. And Herod was a title for several individuals: Herod Agrippa, Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, etc.

“In the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king’s daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement.” The king of the south, which was strong and had a great dominion, was at variance with the king of the north. These two powers joined together in a marriage alliance when the king of the south (Egypt) gave his daughter, Bernice, to the Seleucid king of the north. First, the Seleucid ruler put away his former wife to marry Bernice, and then later he put aside Bernice and brought back the former wife, who murdered Bernice and those associated with her. As a result, the king of the south was incensed and a family feud developed.

Dan. 11:7 But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail:

The “branch” was a brother of Bernice, the murdered queen. When he succeeded to the throne of Egypt, he wanted to avenge his sister’s murder. He entered “into the fortress of the king of the north” and prevailed.

Dan. 11:8 And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north.

The king of the south even went to India to bring back spoils.

Dan. 11:9 So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.

Dan. 11:10 But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.

Dan. 11:11 And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.

Dan. 11:12 And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it.

Egypt, the king of the south, prevailed for a while over the king of the north. Quite a slaughter was involved.

Dan. 11:13 For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches.

The Syrian power, the king of the north, now began to come back into the ascendancy. He returned with a larger army, determined to prevail this time.

Dan. 11:14 And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.

There was a lot of debate in the past as to who the “robbers of thy people” were. Israel, a buffer state between Syria and Egypt, revolted and switched allegiance from Egypt to Syria at this time. Hence some translators say the word “robbers” should be “revolters.” “But they shall fall” means that the event did not succeed lest it cause certain other events in history to be prematurely fulfilled, specifically the events of the 1799 date. In other words, God has used history as a giant chessboard, providentially retarding or speeding up certain events so that 1799, the Time of the End, would occur at the right time.

The key to this chapter is the identification of the abomination of desolation. Historians have tried to say it was fulfilled about 170 BC when Antiochus Epiphanes, an alien king, went into the Most Holy of the Temple. He stopped the sacrifices and put an idol in the Temple, thus desecrating it and standing in the holy place. But at his First Advent, Jesus put the abomination of desolation future from his day, so the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes cannot be the fulfillment (Matt. 24:15).

The abomination that made desolate was Papacy’s doctrine of the mass, which occurred in AD 539, a much later date. Hence when we get to verse 31, which discusses the abomination, we know that the balance of the chapter, plus some of the preceding verses, deal with the Gospel Age in detail—up to the Time of the End.

Dan. 11:15 So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.

Dan. 11:16 But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.

Dan. 11:17 He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.

The Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes gave his daughter, Cleopatra, to Ptolomy (the king of the south) to marry, thinking she would be a spy for him in the land of Egypt. However, “she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him”; that is, the plan boomeranged because she loved Ptolomy, her husband, more than her father.

Note: The terms “king of the north” and “king of the south” help us to realize how the power switched back and forth and caused hardship for God’s people.

Dan. 11:18 After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him.

“After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many.” In other directions Antiochus Epiphanes was successful for a while but not in Egypt.

Dan. 11:19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.

After going toward Rome, Antiochus Epiphanes returned to his homeland and his kingdom crumbled.

This brings us to the Julius Caesar who was involved with the last Cleopatra, and also Mark Antony, and this brings us to about 44BC (the dated when Julius was killed)

The Syrian line mixes with the Roman on more than one level and now we take the Roman line.

Dan. 11:20 Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.

Verse 20 speaks of Augustus Caesar: “Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.” Augustus Caesar, a “raiser of taxes,” decreed a tax at the time of Jesus’ birth. And verse 22 brings out a slightly later date in the same time period in regard to Tiberius Caesar by using the term “the prince of the covenant,” referring to Jesus. Hence verse 20 takes us into the AD era, for our Lord was born 1 1/4 or 2 BC. Therefore, we know that the verses prior to verse 20 were fulfilled in the BC era.

In review, the chapter started with the Media-Persia Empire in verse 2. Verse 3 prophesied of Alexander the Great and the Grecian Empire. The time frame of verse 20 is Augustus Caesar, who established the “Golden Age of Imperial Rome.” Pagan Rome was at its greatest glory and supremacy at that time. Augustus Caesar was “a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom”; that is, he levied a tax in Israel at the time of Jesus’ birth. Shortly thereafter he died peaceably. Tiberius Caesar was the emperor of Rome when John the Baptist was beheaded and Jesus was crucified.

The purpose of Chapter 11 is not to determine every word but to delineate what the abomination of desolation is and to pinpoint 1799 as the beginning of the Time of the End.

There is a relationship with the Book of Revelation.

The transfer of power from Greece to Rome was gradual. No strong personality emerged in the beginning such as Nebuchadnezzar with Babylon, Cyrus with Media Persia, and Alexander the Great with Greece.

Dan. 11:21 And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.

Dan. 11:22 And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.

“And in his estate [in the place or stead of Augustus Caesar] shall stand up a vile [contemptible] person,” that is, Tiberius Claudius Caesar. He came in peaceably, but events that transpired during his reign corrupted his character. He removed all of his enemies like a “flood.” In the beginning he had a very docile manner, and had no real interest in running the empire.

Sejanus  came in and took control of the government from Tiberius by consent. He used his powers to put out of the way those who opposed him or stood in his way. He poisoned Tiberius’ only son, and others of Tiberius’ family were marked for attack. Tiberius became suspicious of his actions and had him killed and then ruled very fiercely from then on till he died in AD37.

“Yea, also the prince of the covenant [Jesus]” shall be broken. This term will be important later on. Under the reign of Tiberius, Jesus was crucified

Dan. 11:23 And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.

The technique that Tiberius Caesar used is described: “after the league made with him [the senate recognized Tiberius as an emperor] he shall work deceitfully.” In other words, Tiberius used deceit to become emperor, but once he got into power he became “strong with a small [number of] people.” He was very shrewd in having the Praetorian Guard, an armed escort 10,000 strong (and afterward doubled to 20,000), at all times. With this small elite guard he frightened any would-be opponents and survived for quite a while, commanding respect. The History, says, “This small number of people, as the emperor’s bodyguard, was continually at Rome under his control. By it he overawed the people and the senate, abolished popular elections, assemblies, etc.”

Dan. 11:24 He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.

Many conquerors carried as many spoils back home as possible and burned the rest, but not Tiberius. He gave a large part of the booty to hand-picked individuals residing in those localities who then served as his lieutenants. His policy was to back up with power those who cooperated with and supported him, thereby establishing his power and authority in conquered lands. His hand-picked rulers were dictators who took advantage of the masses.

Being residents of their respective areas, they knew the language of the people they ruled and were thus the best possible spies, ruling like a Gestapo. Dividing the spoils is one thing, but under the policy of Tiberius, the common people did not benefit. He completely subjugated lands and then rewarded his henchmen.

Dan. 11:25 And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him.

Verse 25 pertains to Queen Zenobia, called “king of the south.” In the days of Aurelian, she rallied the powers that were opposed to Rome. When Aurelian was going to Egypt to fight, his contemporaries in the north disparaged her power as a woman. However, she was no ordinary woman but a strong and shrewd adversary. Aurelian was also strong, and he won great spoils and brought them back to Rome, marching her in humiliation in front of the procession as they went through the Hadrian (victory) Arch. Along with her jewels, a chain was around her neck. Of course Aurelian was given a hero’s welcome. (Incidentally, almost three centuries intervened between Cleopatra and Zenobia.)

“He [Rome] shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south [Egypt] with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle [for war] with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices [treacherously devise plans] against him.” “From the year BC 30, when Augustus Caesar made Egypt a Roman province, no hostilities occurred between the two countries until Queen Zenobia, a descendant of Cleopatra, about AD 269, claimed and exercised its control. Her reign was short; Aurelian, the Roman emperor, conquering her in AD 272. The historian says: “Syria, Egypt and Asia Minor acknowledged the sway of Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra. But she had to cope with the superior force of the empire and the military skill of the first captain of the age.” Yet Aurelian writes of her, “The Roman people speak in contempt of the war, which I am waging against a woman. They are ignorant both of the character and fame of Zenobia. It is impossible to describe her warlike preparations and her desperate courage.”’ Firmus, the ally of Zenobia in Egypt, was speedily vanquished and put to death, and Aurelian returned to Rome covered with honor and with great wealth as described in verse 28—‘Then will he return into his land with great riches, and his heart will be against the holy covenant, and he shall do [various] exploits, and return to his own land.’”

“He shall not stand” refers to the king of the south, Egypt. However, at this time Queen Zenobia was the ruler in Egypt, so the “he” actually refers to her. She was a beautiful woman. The gold chain she wore around her neck was so heavy that a servant had to assist lest she pass out. When Aurelian captured Zenobia in AD 272, he forced her to walk in humiliation in front of her chariot, one of the most beautiful chariots in existence at that time. Thus he exhibited her in Rome as the prize of war.

While Daniel 11 is tracing various personages down through history, parenthetical ad-lib comments are inserted into the narration. These comments are not sequential—they simply provide insight for a better understanding. For example, the a commentator treated verses 26 and 28 together, and left verse 27 as an ad-lib comment.

When Alexander the Great died, the Grecian Empire was distributed among his four generals. As time went on, and bit by bit, the four became two: the north and the south. The northern portion, Greece, the “king of the north,” became Rome, and the “king of the south” was Egypt. Therefore, as time went on, the pronoun “he” referred to either Rome or Egypt—and sometimes to an individual of a particular period of history when the exploits are described.

Dan. 11:26 Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.

Later Aurelian’s own generals killed him in 275 AD. “Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him.” Here is another example of the saying “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.”

This verse brings us to about AD 400, a century or so before the man of sin in 539 in Justinian’s day. In verse 27 the way was being prepared for the abomination of desolation as Imperial Rome and the clerical power pulled against each other for supremacy.

Before proceeding, we will review verses 20 and 21. First, in 45 verses Chapter 11 covers the course of 2,500 years of history. One purpose in studying this chapter is to ascertain or fix the time period of the 1,260 years, which began in 539 BC and ended in AD 1799. If 1799 is the end of the 1,260 years, then certainly 539 BC is the beginning of the time period leading to the Time of the End. Thus Daniel 11 is unusual in the sense that it traces, more or less, only outstanding events transpiring in history where we can identify individuals. We are led point by point, by the hand, down through history to find out that the Time of the End began in 1799. However, there is another end: the Harvest, the end of the age, which extends from 1874 to “X” date in the future. And then there is still another “end”—three in all: (1) the Time of the End, (2) the end of the age (or Harvest), and (3) the end of the end of the age.

Once again, verse 20 reads: “Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.”

This character was identified as Augustus Caesar. Although both his predecessors and several successors died a violent death, Augustus Caesar did not. Therefore, the words “he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle” are a fitting description of him. Verse 21 continues: “And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.” The succeeding emperor was Tiberius Claudius Caesar. This “vile person,” this devious and cruel emperor who came into power through “flatteries,” is the one identified with Jesus’ ministry (Luke 3:1), although that connection is not the purpose of the chapter. However, identifying this verse with Tiberius does indicate that subsequent verses lead us step by step down the Gospel Age. Jewish historians assert that all of Daniel 11 occurred prior to the AD era, and for this reason, thus, the Jews living at the time of the First Advent were in expectation of the Messiah. Their false concept of the fulfillment of Daniel 11 asserted that all of the events described took place prior to the First Advent. Today Evangelicals ascribe a large part of Daniel 11 as having occurred prior to Jesus’ First Advent. Believing that Antiochus Epiphanes was the particular king who defiled the Most Holy of the Temple, they ascribe the abomination of desolation to his actions rather than seeing the fulfillment regarding Papacy and the doctrine of Transubstantiation during the Gospel Age. From the BC dates as a supposed fulfillment, Evangelicals then use Daniel 8 and 9 to jump way down to our day, claiming that just after the rapture of the Church, a literal man of sin will sit in, and defile, a literal temple, which will be built in three days. Until more recent years even the foreword of the King James Bible clearly pointed out Papacy as the man of sin. In other words, back in 1611 it was recognized in Protestant circles that Papacy was the man of sin. All the Reformers believed and taught this fact. It is also a fact that the modern accepted view described above about the “literal Man of Sin,” is of Papal origin, devised to counter the Protestant teachings. Evangelicals give the 42 months and the 1,260 days a literal application of 3 1/2 years yet future.

Dan. 11:27 And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.

Dan. 11:28 Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.

Verses 26 and 28 should be read and considered together. In verse 28, “the holy covenant” stands out. “Then shall he [Aurelian] return into his land [Rome] with great riches [spoils from Egypt].” He hated nominal Christianity, and once he returned home a victor, he was determined to carry out his grudge. “His [Aurelian] heart shall be against the holy covenant [against Christianity].” Therefore, in his fifth year he instituted the harshest type of persecution imaginable against the professed Church. Had he lived any length of time, this would have been the worst persecution, but he died by the time the decrees went forth into the empire and amnesty followed. A very organized individual, Aurelian is called “the captain” by historians.

Aurelian united the empire by recapturing Egypt and taking Zenobia home to Rome. After he is killed He is succeeded by Diocletian. Under Diocletion’s rule there was 2 kings, he and is colleague.

“According to one estimate, a total of 3,000–3,500 Christians were killed in the persecution, while many others suffered torture or imprisonment. The persecution made such an impression on Christians that the Alexandrian church used the start of Diocletian’s reign (284) as the epoch for their Era of Martyrs

Dan. 11:29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.

Dan. 11:30 For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.

Verses 29 and 30 are a stone block that the Lord purposely inserted to make this chapter more difficult to understand. It should be remembered that, generally speaking, verses 25–28 refer to a previous Aurelian invasion of Egypt, whereas verses 29 and 30 intimate that the next great invasion of Egypt would be “at the time appointed,” that is, at the Time of the End. Thus the northern power became identified with the Time of the End. Verse 29 is saying that the 1,260 days did not begin around AD 270, in the era of Aurelian, because they would have ended prematurely instead of in 1799. Thus verses 29 and 30 identify Napoleon, who went down to Egypt and successfully and quickly subdued that power with a relatively small force in the War of the Pyramids. The power of the north, England, a portion of the Roman Empire, destroyed part of Napoleon’s fleet. (Tarshish of Ezekiel 38 is related to Chittim, that is, England.)

“He [Napoleon] shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.” His course upon his return is traced, starting with verse 36. The year 270 was too early for the “time appointed,” the Time of the End. The British navy destroyed Napoleon, the emperor of the northern power. England defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.

Properly understood, Chapter 11 shows that the defiling of the sanctuary occurred in the Gospel Age and not BC, which is the common view. Roman Catholic historians promote the BC interpretation, which absolves them.

Q: What does the clause “have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant” refer to?

A: Napoleon made a covenant with Christianity. First, he opposed Papacy and then he favored it. His general, Berthier, who went into Italy, put the beast to death. Subsequently Napoleon made a covenant that reestablished Papacy as an orthodox religion. Verse 30 is tied in with later verses. When we discuss those verses, we will treat verse 30 in more detail.

The Papacy

The Papacy

Dan. 11:31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

Some relate verse 31 to verse 27. Verse 27 reads, “And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the [Time of the] end shall be at the time appointed [and shall not occur prematurely].” The two “kings” were clerical power (Papacy) and civil power (Rome). While ostensibly agreeing, they each had ulterior motives and were each suspicious about the other. Each power had its own interests at heart. Of the two powers, Papacy particularly prospered. The Roman emperor Constantine, who had great power and authority, recognized that the Christian religion had many, many adherents, and the adherents had proved earlier, in the ten-year Diocletian persecution, that they did not fear death. Admiring the Christian dedication to suffer unto death, Constantine wanted to absorb this element into his empire and thus strengthen his civil power. However, being worldly, he could not distinguish between true Christians and nominal Christians. The name and the reputation of the martyrs extended to the nominal group, who did not merit or warrant them. Thus Constantine favored nominal Christianity, thinking it was the dedicated element. In Aurelian’s day, but more importantly and later in Constantine’s day, the two powers were sitting “at one table,” each thinking of absorbing the other. Nominal Christianity felt that when religion converted the world, the Kingdom of God would be established (but it was the false Kingdom). Thus they wanted to have civil as well as clerical power. Ostensibly, the two powers were having a friendly dialog, but in reality each power was trying to use the other. Of the two kings, Papacy won out in 539 when the Emperor Justinian ascended the throne and acknowledged the bishop of Rome as the head of the Church. Justinian’s motive was to unify the eastern and western portions of the Roman Empire, thereby strengthening his own power. He was the civil head of the empire, and the bishop of Rome was the ecclesiastical head. However, the unification actually sounded the death knell for the Imperial (Civil) or Pagan Roman Empire, for afterwards it became the Holy Roman Empire. From then on, the pope was present for the crowning of emperors. To ignore him would have brought excommunication, an awesome power.

The usual interpretation is that much of Chapter 11 was fulfilled prior to the Gospel Age. Our view differs from that of most Protestant scholars in that we said the chapter embraced both Old and New Testament times right down to relatively current history. If verse 31 is interpreted as occurring after verse 27, the chapter has a coherent flow. “And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed” (Dan. 11:27). The two “kings” are clerical and civil power, the religious and the secular power in the Roman Empire. Earlier the Roman Empire was basically secular with a pagan influence, hence Pagan Civil Rome. For instance, the Caesars were considered gods like the Pharaohs of Egypt.

In speaking “lies” to one another, the two kings were not revealing their true ulterior motives. Thus Civil Rome was planning to have the leading role by using the ecclesiastical representation for strength. At the same time, the ecclesiastical power was trying to subordinate civil power under their control. The dragon (Civil Rome) stood before the pregnant woman, waiting to devour the man-child when it came forth (Rev. 12:3,4).

However, the man-child grew up into manhood, and the two huge powers inveigled one another in a talking wrestling match, as it were. Papacy won the battle, for the religious power emerged superior to the civil power and assumed they were in God’s stead. Verse 27 suggests that in the days of Aurelian, the discussion began between the two powers. Civil power used strategy to absorb the religious power—the heart of Auralian was against the “holy covenant” (verse 28). However, verse 31 tells of the religious power, Papacy, doing exploits (“and arms shall stand on his part”). First, the dialogue favored the civil power, but as time went on, the clerical power grew more and more, and the man-child was caught up to heaven (Rev. 12:3–5,7,8). The civil power wanted to appropriate into their body system the religious power, but miraculously the babe was caught up, growing to manhood. Michael, meaning “who as God,” waged warfare with civil power and won.

“They shall pollute the sanctuary of strength [the true Church], and shall take away the daily sacrifice [the continual sacrifice].” The doctrine of the Mass or Transubstantiation nullifies Christ’s continual sacrifice. In the ceremony Christ dies every time the Mass is said. The bread is supposed to be his actual flesh and the wine his blood. There is said to be a fresh death with every Mass. Roman Catholicism teaches that Christ started the Christian Church, but through their priesthood the communicants’ condition has to be refreshed. They claim that all are sinners and thus all need absolution of sins committed daily. “They shall place the abomination that maketh desolate [the doctrine of the Mass or Transubstantiation].”

Matthew 24:15,16 proves that the “abomination that maketh desolate” still had not been fulfilled in Jesus’ day. Since Antiochus Epiphanes lived prior to Christ, he clearly cannot be the fulfillment. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.” Jesus was warning his followers to look into the future for the fulfillment.

Dan. 11:32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

In this verse, the “covenant” is the Christian covenant. Through or by Papacy many were “corrupt[ed] by flatteries” such as titles, honor, power, wealth, and simony (the selling of a spiritual office or domain). Compromise allowed the papal tentacles to reach down deeper and deeper into the lives of the people, so that in time they could not even get married, be baptized, have a burial, etc., without the priest.

The white horse (Ephesus) period of Revelation 6:1,2 shows the rider grasping for a crown. This desire of the clerical element to dominate civil power was an inherent flaw in Papacy from the start. Papacy wanted Kingdom rights and power before the due time. The same spirit exists today in the evangelical movement, which errs in thinking that the Christian has a moral right to vote and reform government. The religious element wants to get its people into positions of power so that they can control politics. Not only is friendship with the world enmity with God, but associating with the sons of Belial (worldly people) results in contamination (James 4:4).

“But the people that do know their God [the faithful or truly consecrated] shall be strong, and do exploits.” Revelation 2:13 speaks of them as “Antipas,” meaning “against the fathers.” “Thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth” (Rev. 2:13). The faithful minority who did “know their God” were “strong,” boldly risking their lives unto death. The Pergamos period extended from 313 to 1157. Daniel 11:27 said, “For yet the end shall be at the time appointed”; that is, the Time of the End could not occur until a set future time. God had predetermined not only that the date 1799 would mark the beginning of the Time of the End but that the date would be a demarcation both forward and backward from that year. In other words, the year 1800 marked the end of the papal millennium, which began in 800 under Charlemagne. First, the man of sin emerged under Justinian in 539, which was the beginning of the 1,260-year period. In going out of his way to recognize the bishop of Rome above the other bishops, Justinian opened the door for subsequent papal abuse and power. In 800 Charlemagne acceded that the Roman Catholic Church was superior to civil power. Of course the pope blessed Charlemagne and allowed him to rule because he knew his place. The false Church wanted the right man under its control, and papal dominion continued until the days of the French Revolution and Napoleon in 1799.

The NIV ends verse 32 with “but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.” That is the correct thought. The prefix “anti” can have two meanings: “anti” signifying “counterfeit” (professing to be for Christ) or “against.” In Revelation 2:13 the thought is “against” the fathers and applies to the stand faithful Christians took against the Papacy and its clergy. Papacy professes to be the true Church but is “anti” in two ways. It is both a counterfeit and an enemy of the true Church.

Dan. 11:33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.

“Numbers and power were in the hands of the forsakers of he covenant, who became joined to the empire; and the faithful few were persecuted— hunted, imprisoned, racked, tortured, and put to death in hundreds of revolting forms, as the pages of history plainly attest, and as here foretold by the prophet, who said, ‘Yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.”

“They that understand among the people shall instruct many.” The few who courageously opposed Papacy stood out so much like a sore thumb that their message was instructing the masses. However, the masses, the majority, ignored the instruction because of self-interest along many different lines. To take a stand would have cost a price that they did not want to pay. Despite their action (or lack of action), the people in the Kingdom will not be able to say, “We did not know.”

Dan. 11:34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.

“Now when they [the consecrated] shall fall [in persecution because of fidelity to God’s Word], they shall be helped with a little help [in the Protestant Reformation]: but [in time] many shall cleave to them with flatteries [corrupting them with titles, honors, etc.].” While the consecrated were not successful in stopping the infiltration into the Church, they were, nevertheless, given some relief or encouragement from the Protestant Reformation. Luther’s courage before the Diet of Worms gave them a breathing spell.

Dan. 11:35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.

“And some of them of understanding [leaders, reformers, and teachers, who had been able to instruct many concerning Papacy’s errors] shall fall, to try them [the faithful few], and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.” In other words, the real Reformation did not prosper until Napoleon broke the back of Papacy and Bible Societies flourished. Luther had the understanding; he had the Bible and knew the German, Hebrew, and Latin fluently, but he was just an individual.

Therefore, it took Napoleon, a godless man, to change the condition of God’s people for the better.

From the Protestant Reformation to the Time of the End was a trying time with many divisions and creeds. Today the Protestant movement has lost its protest. In its early days, it was meaningful, but it soon changed to a compromising movement of splintered groups that did not protest adamantly. Another time of testing was 1846 with the cleansing of the sanctuary and the Evangelical Alliance, which made a sharp demarcation. Those who agreed with the decision of the Evangelical Alliance were considered orthodox. As for those who refused to concur, in proportion as they resisted and disagreed, they were considered heretics.

The Book of Revelation supplies details about this time period. The sentiments of the faithful saints who suffered under papal persecution are expressed in Revelation 6:9,10. “When he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” They were told that they should rest for a “little season” (360 years), and a white robe would be held in reservation for them. “And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Rev. 6:11). The 360-year period extended from 1517 to 1878, when the sleeping saints were raised. The Book of Daniel is the Book of Revelation of the Old Testament.

Dan. 11:36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.

“The king [Napoleon] shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and … shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods [Papacy, the god of all gods, the chief of all false religions].” We are led by the hand in Scripture from the birth of the baby, the manchild, in AD 318. The baby grew up so that in 539 it was the man of sin. In 800 under Charlemagne, the man of sin (Papacy) had the supremacy over civil power. In 1517 the Protestant Reformation occurred in Germany. Meanwhile, the Reformation was taking place in England under Tyndale. Then the year 1799 marked the defeat of Papacy by Napoleon (temporal dominion was taken away) and the beginning of the Time of the End. Napoleon considered himself superior to all the gods, and particularly to Papacy. A few years later, however, Napoleon compromised. It is interesting that sometimes the strongest opponents end up compromising. Consider Mussolini, who was very opposed to Papacy, but he is the one who subsequently signed the Concordat of 1929, the Lateran Treaty, which restored temporal dominion to Papacy. Thus, in that year the beast came out of the bottomless pit (Rev. 17:8). Hitler admired and praised the organizational structure of the Papacy. In return, the pope fraternized with Hitler.

In describing Papacy, 2 Thessalonians 2:4 says, “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God [a god] sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God [a god].” This text helps to show that the term “God of gods” in Daniel 11:36 refers to Papacy.

Roman Catholics are very happy today with the explanation of Antiochus Epiphanes as the abomination of desolation in the BC era. On the other hand, Evangelicals look for a future literal man of sin. Thus neither group properly identifies the man of sin.

Dan. 11:37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.

A number of verses are devoted to both Napoleon and Aurelian in order to nail down a secure point on the pages of history. Here we continue with Napoleon. “Neither shall he [Napoleon] regard the God [Papacy] of his fathers [past emperors].” “Nor [did he] regard any god [except himself]: for he shall magnify himself above all.”

“Neither shall he regard … the desire of women.” Although Napoleon had a child, he was not influenced by that child. Spiritually speaking, the “women” would be Protestantism. Thus he had no regard for either Roman Catholicism (the mother) or Protestantism (the daughters).

Dan. 11:38 But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.

“But in his estate shall he honour the God of [military] forces.” The army, of which he was the intellectual leader, was his “god.” Napoleon was instrumental in both wounding and restoring Papacy. The wound was so deep that eventually, in 1870, Papacy lost all temporal power. In 1798 he struck a death blow against the pope, undercutting the authority and reverence for Papacy. On one occasion, instead of swearing by the God of heaven, by Papacy, or by France, he said, “I swear by myself.” Thus Napoleon recognized the god of forces, his army, under his control; that is, he recognized himself. Napoleon was a genius and a brilliant tactician—in fact, he was very learned on many, many subjects. Incidentally, Napoleon made the statement “An army travels on its stomach.”

“A god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.” Napoleon’s strategy was to reward his generals with benefices. (Similarly the pope used to give out domains as simony.) Napoleon set his generals over various provinces. In their positions of power, they absorbed or appropriated the revenues that were available under their charge or jurisdiction. The quantity of Napoleon’s own captured loot was tremendous. He distributed the provinces in lieu of a fixed salary. Thus did he “divide the land for gain” (verse 39).

Dan. 11:39 Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.

“Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god.” This alien god was the god of forces, Napoleon’s military might. “He shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.” He divided the spoils of war—the booty and the land—as a reward for loyal service.

Napoleon in Egypt

Napoleon in Egypt

Dan. 11:40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

The “king of the south” was Egypt. The “king of the north” can be interpreted two ways: as either England under Lord Nelson with his ships or as Napoleon himself, who also had many ships. In other words, when Napoleon went to Egypt, he took his army with him and that required a great armada. While he was busy fighting Egypt, his ships were in the harbor unprotected. Lord Nelson pursued Napoleon down to Egypt, entered the harbor, and sank all of his ships. As a result, Napoleon found himself and his troops landlocked and in a dilemma. After he won the Battle of the Pyramids and got booty, he left a capable general in charge and then proceeded along the coast, but inland a little, to Gaza and on up to Mount Tabor in northern Israel.

Some have connected verses 29 and 30 with the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt. “At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.” These two verses, referring to Napoleon in Egypt, were a roadblock to the understanding of Daniel 11. The ships of Chittim refer to Lord Nelson’s going down to Egypt with his armada and destroying all of Napoleon’s vessels. “Chittim” is England, which was part of the Roman Empire at that time.

The purpose of this whole chapter is to fix the point of the beginning of the time period known as the Time of the End. In Aurelian’s day, the Time of the End was aborted. Hence verses 29 and 30 were inserted as an afterthought, for Aurelian also went to Egypt and returned. The reason being that verses 29 and 30 were a parenthetical thought, like a side remark, that the king of the north (Napoleon) would be back again.

Dan. 11:41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.

“He shall enter also into the glorious land [Palestine], and many countries shall be overthrown.” Napoleon was successful wherever he went, until he got to Acre up near Mount Tabor. His next purpose would have been to conquer Ammon, Moab, and Edom, but trouble in France caused him to change his plans. Eventually he conducted a campaign to Russia, conquering all others as he went along. However, with the severity of the winter in Russia, he lost almost his entire army and barely escaped back to France with his life.

Dan. 11:42 He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.

In other words, in the land invasion Napoleon was entirely successful until the bad news about France reached him. At his subsequent battle at Acre, he could not defeat his enemies for the first time, probably because of a lack of concentration.

Napoleon Crowns Himself

Napoleon Crowns Himself

Dan. 11:43 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.

The account about Napoleon is not always sequential. It tells of various things he did and even repeats. Enough information is presented to pin down Napoleon as the character being described.

Dan. 11:44 But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.

“Tidings [or rumors] out of the east and out of the north [France] shall trouble him [Napoleon].” When an alliance conspired against Napoleon, he returned in haste to France. The account is like scrambled eggs—hard to pinpoint—and yet all the ingredients point to Napoleon. The verses were designed not to be understood until the present, after the “Time of the End” when the book will be “opened”. Gabriel was explaining to Daniel different events that would occur in history (Dan. 11:1,2). The scenario actually began in Chapter 9. Daniel was given a little information, then a little more and a little more, continuing through Chapter 12.

Dan. 11:45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

The “holy mountain” is Mount Tabor (the Mount of  Transfiguration) “between the [two] seas,” the Mediterranean and the Sea of Galilee. Mount Sinai is also a holy mountain between two seas, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Eilat, but the reference in verse 45 is to Mount Tabor because at that site Napoleon heard the news of trouble back in France, the homeland. With his power at the home base being threatened, he returned to France as fast as possible, leaving his army behind.

“Yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.” After losing the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon died in exile on an island in the South Atlantic. It is felt by some that he was poisoned.

Napoleon was set up in power as a result of the French Revolution. After a while, even the anarchists got sick of their actions. Leader after leader was being assassinated. Thus there came a time when the people saw that something had to occur to stop the confusion. Of the three leaders, the other two felt Napoleon was the only one who could halt the trouble and hence elected him as the president of France. But Napoleon was not satisfied to share his power with a committee. When he went to Egypt, the forces of the other two wanted to take his place.

What part of Daniel 11 specifically points to the date 1799? Verse 40 pinpoints Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt as marking the date 1799, the beginning of the Time of the End. “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him [Napoleon]: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind.”

Daniel 11 started with Alexander the Great as the head of the horn, or empire, that was broken and divided into four; that is, the empire had four divisions with a different general over each part. Then the account jumped down to Ptolomy and Cleopatra. Next the account pointed out Augustus Caesar, the raiser of international taxes to keep Rome on a stable basis. He died a natural death in contradistinction to those who both preceded and followed him, their deaths being caused by poison, slaying, or violence. Then the account skipped to Aurelian and Zenobia. Next two kings (civil and ecclesiastical Rome) were shown conniving at a table with ulterior motives. After that came Napoleon. By grasping the date 1799, we are helped in understanding the next chapter, Daniel 12, with its time periods. And we are aided in understanding God’s thinking and method. Just as with Chapter 11 one event did not immediately follow another, so Michael did not stand up immediately after the French Revolution.

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