Daniel Chapter 11
1 Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. [This verse must be read as immediately following the previous verses in chapter 10 where the angel Gabriel is talking with Daniel; he continues in verse 1 and 2 of chapter 11 with his instruction. Gabriel was involved in the job of converting Darius’s thinking toward the Jews and in assisting him to make the decision to let Jews return to their homeland—see Ezra 6:1-15.]
2 And now will I shew thee the truth [concerning the prophecy of the preceding chapters]. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia [Cambyses (aka Ahasuerus [also called Artaxerxes] of Ezra 4:6), son of Cyrus; followed by an impostor named Pseudo-Smerdis (see Ezra 4:18-22); who was overthrown and killed by Darius Hystaspes (aka Darius the Persian in Ezra 4:24)]; and the fourth [Xerxes; the Ahasuerus of the book of Esther] shall be far richer than they all [controlled all the territory from India to Ethiopia]: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia [Xerxes attempted to “stir up” all the territories he controlled against Greece, it being the only important area of the eastern Mediterranean not under Persian control. The Greek city-states had often warred among themselves, but had not been involved in international altercations until this time. They rallied together to save their freedom of independent city-states. Without a strong leader, they suffered some initial setbacks, losing Athens, which was partially burned by the Persians. A year later, the Persians were pushed back to the coast, and finally completely off Greek soil.].
3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will [This is Alexander the Great who reigned BC 336-323. His empire extended from Macedonia and Greece to the Caspian sea on the north, India on the east, and Egypt in the south. No conquering nation had ventured farther west than Greece by or before this time. Rome was still to come as an international political power, it being at the time of Alexander only a localized government ruled by an appointed Senate; which was the forerunner of the Roman republic. As Alexander was pushing southward, he came to Palestine. Before he reached Jerusalem, the high priest Juddas, had a dream in which God instructed him to go out and meet Alexander and his army. Juddas did this, taking with him some of the Temple officers. Alexander yielded to the power of the Holy Spirit and fell to his knees before Juddas. He then accompanied the high priest back to the Temple, where the sacrifices and offerings were explained to him, and the prophecies of Daniel were revealed to him. He had opportunity to repent and become a believer in the one true God of heaven and earth. He chose to move on the Egypt and the next conquering battle.].
4 And when he shall stand up [“Stand up” = in the fullness of his power; just as Alexander reached the pinnacle of his reign, he destroyed himself in an alcoholic binge. Eleven days later on June 13, 323, he was dead at the age of 33.], his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven [four quarters of the compass; Greece (west), Asia Minor (north), Syria (east), and Egypt (south); cf Daniel 8:8]; 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 [Alexander had only an infant son and a half-wit brother, neither of whom could take control after his death. After a 20 year squabble, Alexander’s four main generals divided the territory among themselves. Cassander took Greece; Lysimachus took hold of Asia Minor; Seleucus got Syria; and Ptolemy ended up with Egypt. Within a short time, Lysimachus conquered the weaker general Cassander and had control of both Greece and Asia Minor. Then in turn, Seleucus overpowered Lysimachus which gave him control of Greece, Asia Minor and Syria, the largest holding of the shattered Alexandrian empire.].
5 And the king of the south [The prophecy now focuses on the two surviving divisions of the Greek empire. Syria and all the territory to the north was dominated by the Seleucid kings, while Egypt remained in the hands of the Ptolemies. Palestine was caught in the middle. Since the prophecy centers on God’s people, these geographical locations are understood from the reference point of their physical relationship to Palestine—north and south. One of the best known Arabian inscriptions from this time refers to the war between Syria and Egypt and refers to them as the Lord of the North and the Lord of the South. At this time in the prophecy, the king of Egypt was Ptolemy I Soter (reigned BC 306-283), who established one the most enduring Hellenistic monarchies. “Soter” translates to mean “savior.”] shall be strong, and one of his princes [Seleucus I Nicator; who had been defeated on the eastern front of his territory at Babylon by Antigonus. Upon his defeat and for political security, he joined with Ptolemy and placed himself and his army under Ptolemy’s command. After this Seleucus was successful in regaining his possessions in the Mesopotamian regions (BC 312).]; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion [Seleucus continued to gain in strength, wealth, and territories, so that by the time of his death in BC 280, he controlled all the land from the Hellespont (strait in NW Turkey) to northern India.].
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: [This is the first time the phrase “king of the north” is used in this prophecy. In the present context, it refers to the Seleucids, who were north of Palestine. After a long and expensive war, peace was obtained between the Ptolemies and the Seleucids when the grandson of Seleucus I, Antiochus II Theos (“god;” BC 261-246) married Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy II Philadelphus. With this marriage, Antiochus deposed his former wife and sister, Laodice, from her position of priority and debarred her children from ascent to the throne.] but she shall not retain the power of the arm [After the marriage to Bernice, a reconciliation was obtained between Antiochus and Laodice, which weakened Bernice’s political hold over Antiochus.]; neither shall he stand [Antiochus died “suddenly,” probably poisoned by Laodice.], nor his arm [Hebrew word literally means “seed” which refers to Antiochus’s son by Bernice, who was also killed by Laodice. This action by Laodice left her son, Seleucus II Callinicus, the sole heir to the Seleucid throne.]: but she [Bernice] shall be given up [Laodice’s henchmen killed the second son and his mother Bernice], and they that brought her [the Egyptian ladies-in-waiting who came with Bernice to her Seleucid home were also murdered], and he that begat her [This is an “aside” comment, telling us that Bernice’s father had died in Egypt shortly before this, but his death had nothing to do with Laodice’s vengeance.], and he that strengthened her in these times [This refers again to Antiochus, who had given Bernice her “power” when he married her and made her queen of the entire empire from Egypt to Turkey. Now they were all dead, leaving only Laodice and her son.].
7 But out of a branch of her roots [“roots” refers to Bernice’s father; the “branch” is her brother Ptolemy III Euergetes] shall one stand up in his estate [Hebrew = “place”], 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 [Ptolemy III was victorious in his campaign against Seleucus II Callinicus. He pushed his conquests inland as far as Mesopotamia. Ptolemy III also established Egypt as a strong sea power on the Mediterranean.]:
8 And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods [This statement verifies that the king of the south is Egypt], with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold [Ptolemy brought back immense booty from his excursions into Seleucid territory; many captives were taken]; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north [after returning from this war, Ptolemy did not engage in any other significant warfare. He outlived his Seleucid rival by two years.].
9 So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land [redundant restatement of previous comment].
10 But his sons shall be stirred up [that is, the two sons of Seleucus II Callinicus—Seleucus III Ceraunus Soter, who was murdered after a very short reign (BC 226-223), and Antiochus III called “the Great” (BC 223-187)], and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one [Antiochus III] shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through [In BC 219, Antiochus III initiated his campaign to regain southern Syria and Palestine by taking the port of Antioch. After this, he set about with a systematic undertaking to conquer Palestine from his rival, Ptolemy IV Philopator (reigned BC 221-203)]: then shall he return, and be stirred up [Hebrew = garah = agitate, cause strife, meddle], even to his fortress.
11 And the king of the south [Ptolemy IV Philopator ] shall be moved with choler [Hebrew = marar = to be enraged], and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north [Antiochus III, reigned BC 223-187]: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand [In 217, Ptolemy IV met Antiochus III at Raphia on the Egyptian/Palestine border. The Battle of Raphia resulted in a terrible defeat for Antiochus III, who lost a significant number of his army.].
12 And when he [Ptolemy IV] hath taken away the multitude [in defeating Antiochus’s army], his heart shall be lifted up [Hebrew = rum = exalted, raised up high; see discussion on Daniel 8:11, where rum is translated “taken away;” rum is here translated true to its original Hebrew meaning]; and he shall cast down many ten thousands [historians of the day report that Antiochus lost more than 10,000 infantry, 300 calvary, and 4000 slaves who were fighting for him]: but he shall not be strengthened by it [The battle was fought out of anger and defense, and not from an attempt to gain territory, so Ptolemy returned home without pressing further north into Seleucid territory. He in essence “gained” nothing from this battle, except the mollification of his anger.].
13 For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former [Antiochus went home, licked his wounds and turned his energies to the east. During the years BC 212-204, he fought successfully all the way to India, regaining much of what had previously been lost.], and shall certainly come after certain years [from BC 217-201] with a great army and with much riches [With the accession of the child king, Ptolemy V, Antiochus III saw his opportunity to avenge his losses from the Egyptians. In BC 201, he invaded Palestine again.].
14 And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south [both the Seleucid king and the new power rising from the west came against the Egyptian monarchy—Rome]: also the robbers of thy people [literally: “those who act violently against thy people.” The prophecy is now concerning the Jews at Palestine—“thy people.” Under Antiochus IV (reigned 173-164), the Jews lost their autonomy and national independence. Antiochus nearly exterminated the Jewish culture and religion. He stripped the Temple of its treasures, plundered Jerusalem, killed thousands of Jews in Palestine and exiled many more as slaves.] shall exalt themselves to establish the vision [By royal edict from Antiochus, the Jews were forced to erect pagan altars in every Judean town, abandon all rites of their own religion, and were ordered to live as heathens. All copies of their Scriptures that could be found were burned. Antiochus himself slaughtered a pig on the Temple altar, thus committing the ultimate desecration of God’s sanctuary. This event was the catalyst that brought up the Maccabean revolt led by Judas Maccabaeus, son of the priest Mattathias who refused to obey Antiochus’s orders.]; but they shall fall [Fall through the Maccabean revolt which drove Antiochus IV from Judea in BC 165. It took three more years before the Maccabeans had completely regained Palestine and reconsecrated the Temple at Jerusalem. At the end of this battle, Judas Maccabaeus recognized the value in an alliance with the new power on the western horizon—Rome.].
15 So the king of the north [Antiochus IV Epiphanes; reigned BC 173-164] shall come, and cast up a mount [literally: “siegeworks” used in laying siege against cities], and take the most fenced cities [walled cities along the Mediterranean coast, possibly Gaza and Sidon]: and the arms [military power] of the south [Egypt] shall not withstand [Ptolemy V died in BC 181, leaving two sons, Philometor and Physcon by Cleopatra, sister of Antiochus III. Philometor succeeded his father and entered into a war against his cousin, Antiochus IV. He was no match for his more war-seasoned cousin, who defeated Philometor’s army and took him prisoner. At this turn of events, the other son, Physcon, took the crown at Alexandria calling himself Ptolemy Euergetes II. Antiochus had no love for Physcon and decided to take the cause of Philometor, establishing him as king at Memphis. Antiochus’s motive was to divide and weaken the Egyptian front. He worked out a compromise between the brothers and their sister (a different Cleopatra; they weren’t very creative in their naming), setting up a joint rule which he thought would be easier to manipulate and control by internal intrigue. The date for this is BC 169. Antiochus IV’s control only lasted about a year, and while Rome was engaged in a battle over Macedonia and therefore not readily available to assist the Ptolemies, he took opportunity to once again invade Egypt.], neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand [The three joint-heirs of the Egyptian throne, rapidly sought assistance from Rome, and in BC 168, Popilius Laenas was dispatched to Egypt with an army, and a message from the Roman Senate. Antiochus IV was ordered to cease his attacks against Egypt. Faced with the superior war machine of the Roman army, Antiochus capitulated. This placed Egypt under the protectorship of Rome, where it stayed for more than 100 years.].
16 But he that cometh against him [A corporate power—the rising Roman Empire, which constitutes both the civil government (the Senate) and the individual men who were contending for acquisition of political control. Here is intended the corporate union of pagan Rome as it struggled to gain political control over the Mediterranean world. Rome was the first true republic, and was governed by the people through an elected Senate. The story here outlines both sides of the struggle between the corporate body of the government and the individuals who were striving for total control as absolute dictators. Later the individuals will be seen in the “corporate” meaning when the male pronoun is used because they represent the nation of Rome as the head of state.]
Pompey (in power from about BC 88 until about 49 when he lost to Julius Cæsar), was one of the first generals to learn that he who commanded the army, ruled Rome. Pompey was the son a wealthy member of the Roman Consul and had started out as a general working under the orders of the Roman Senate, but his numerous successful conquests against the Seleucid empire, barbarians in Spain and other campaigns, gave him prestige in the eyes of his army. Soon he felt that so long as he had his army at his back, he could obtain whatever he wished, and so began to make demands against the Senate. The Senate was afraid of him because without an army at their command, they had no power of their own. This was the beginning of the Senate’s troubles. By BC 62, three rival and equally strong generals were pressing the Roman Senate for supreme control of the government. These three, Pompey, Crassus, and Julius Cæsar, formed a triumvirate of powers, each wary of the other’s military prowess, political connections, and finances.] shall do according to his own will [The Senate attempted to put the brakes on this threesome by passing some bills meant to contain the establishment of armies in times of relative peace, but Julius Cæsar, especially, ignored the new laws and did as he pleased.], and none shall stand before him [Eventually, Cæsar drove Pompey out of Italy, and Crassus went broke and could no longer support his army.]: and he [the corporate pagan Roman government] shall stand in the glorious land which by his hand shall be consumed [This describes the acquisition of Palestine by Pompey in BC 63, who intervened in a dispute between two Jewish brothers, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, as to who should be seated on the throne of Judea. As a result of this intervention, Judea came under Roman protection, though allowed to remain semi-independent for a time.
17 He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom [Julius Cæsar set his sights on the world, and began serious campaigns to conquer all the Mediterranean territories. The Roman method of government and warfare was different from any that had come on the political scene before.], and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women [This “daughter” is Cleopatra, the young daughter of Ptolemy XI Auletes. Ptolemy XI died in BC 51 leaving his throne to his 9 year old son, Ptolemy XII and Cleopatra as joint heirs.], corrupting her [She did not marry Julius Cæsar, but became his mistress and mother of his son; and she was instilled with political jealousies, and worked treachery to obtain her desires.]: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him [Cleopatra later joined with Mark Antony against Julius Cæsar].
18 After this shall he turn his face unto the isles [wars with the Gauls and his continuing quarrel with Pompey took Cæsar away from Egypt], and shall take many: but a prince [a military commander] 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 [Hebrew reads literally: “indeed he shall turn his insolence back upon himself” which then is understood as an allusion to the coming events described in the following verses.].
19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land [By BC 46, Julius Cæsar had set himself up as supreme dictator of all Rome and began to reinvent the government of Rome.]: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found [Julius Cæsar was assassinated on the floor of the Senate in March 15, 44 BC. After this, Cleopatra turned her affections to Mark Antony, the rival of Cæsar’s heir, Gaius Octavius (later called Augustus Cæsar).].
20 Then shall stand up in his [Julius Cæsar’s] estate [“place”] a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom [Cæsar Augustus (Octavius) was nephew to Julius Cæsar (son of Julius’s sister, Julia.). Before Julius’s death he had adopted Octavius, placing him in position to succeed his uncle to the throne as dictator of the Roman Empire. Octavius did not immediately ascend the throne, but cautiously entered Rome feeling his way and determining the sentiments of the body politic. He did, however, let it be known that he intended to carry out his “father’s” will. Mark Antony was working against Octavius, even for a time keeping him from getting possession of his uncle’s money, claiming that the money was public property. Antony and Octavius both knew he needed access to Julius’s fortune if he was going to finance his army; without an army he had little hopes of gaining the throne of Rome. Octavius did not secure undisputed right to the throne until BC 31, when he finally defeated Antony’s army. Octavius defeated the combined forces of Cleopatra and Antony at Actium in BC 31. A year later, Antony committed suicide, possibly engineered by Cleopatra’s wiles. Cleopatra then set her sights on Octavius, but he refused her advances. She then committed suicide, thus ending the Ptolemaic dynasty. From BC 30 onward, Egypt was a province of the Roman Empire.
Augustus is credited with establishing the Roman Empire and certainly during his reign Rome experienced its greatest “glory” in a period of peace, power, and prosperity with the territorial holdings extending from Gaul and Spain through Asia Minor to northern Africa. During his reign, he decreed a general taxation of all his subjects, something new to the idea of Rome’s government, setting in place a tax of one quarter of the annual income of all citizens and a capital levy of one eighth on all freedmen. See Luke 2:1 ]: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle [He reigned in peace for 40 years and died on August 19, 14 AD.].
21 And in his [Augustus] estate shall stand up a vile person [despised individual, not respected. The successor to the Roman throne was Tiberius, who was given to hypocrisy, tyranny, drunkenness, and general debauchery.], to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom [Many in the Senate made deliberate attempts to blacken the character of Tiberius, who was eccentric, misunderstood and disliked.]: but he shall come in peaceably [No one publically fought against his ascension to the throne.], and obtain the kingdom by flatteries [Tiberius was not originally in line for the throne. He won his position through the maneuverings of his crafty mother, Livia, who saw to it that her husband Augustus adopted Tiberius and appointed him heir to the throne before his death. In the declining years they reigned jointly from 12 AD until Augustus’s death in 14 AD. Tiberius was Cæsar at the time of Christ’s crucifixion in 31 AD.].
22 And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him [literally: “and the arms of the overthrower shall be overthrown from before him, and he shall be broken.” This indicates a violent death for a person who was known for his violence, and such was the death Tiberius received, being murdered on March 16, 37 AD by an accomplice of Caligula, who was gathering an army in preparation for taking the empire by force.], and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant [Gabriel here gives details to Daniel about what was to take place during the reign of Tiberius Cæsar—the Messiah, Prince of the Covenant, would be “cut off” as previously told to Daniel in his vision recorded in Daniel 9:24-27. This prophecy allows us to accurately pinpoint when Christ came into His ministry and when He was crucified. Luke informs us that in the 15th year of Tiberius Cæsar, John the Baptist began his ministry (Luke 3:1-3). The reign of Tiberius was reckoned from his elevation to the throne when he began to govern jointly with Augustus in August 12 AD. Therefore, his 15th regnal year would be from August 26 AD until August 27 AD. Christ was six months younger than John, and according to the law of the priesthood, would have entered upon His work when He was 30 years old. John began his ministry in the spring of 27 AD; Christ followed six months later in the autumn of 27 AD. This correlates precisely with the historical data for the starting date of Daniel’s prophecy concerning the Messiah in Daniel 9:24-27, which had its starting date in BC 457 (see Ezra chapter 7) and ended 483 years (the “69 weeks”) later at Christ’s baptism. Christ went forth proclaiming that the “time was fulfilled” (Mark 1:15), meaning the “time” spoken of by Daniel in the prophecy concerning the coming Messiah. At this time He was "cut off" and set aside for ministry. Sixty-nine weeks were fulfilled of the 70 week prophecy allotted to the Jewish nation. Three and one half years later, in the spring of 31 AD, type met Antitype when Christ died as the eternal sacrifice for all mankind in the “midst of the [seventieth] week.” At that time sacrifice and oblation ceased. The end of the 70th week coincides with the action of the Jewish leaders when they finally and completely rejected the Gospel message, and sealed their rejection by stoning Stephen in 34 AD, three and one half years after the crucifixion of Christ (see Acts7:54-60). Thus, the 70 week prophecy was fulfilled in every detail and right on time.].
23 And after the league [The prophecy backtracks here to when Rome entered into an agreement—or “league”—with the Jews in BC 161 which offered “assistance and friendship with the nation of the Jews.” The agreement forbad anyone from making war against the Jews, or to assist anyone who made war against them, stating that Rome would come to their aid under such circumstances.] made with him he [The “he” and “him” here mentioned must be the same corporate power that has been the focus of the prophecy since verse 16—the Roman Empire.] shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people [Rome started small, but through its craftiness, cunning, military skills, and merciless attitude toward its foes it did become “strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it” Daniel 7:7.].
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 [Throughout history, territories were conquered by means of war and oppression. Rome had its share of battles, but many times it “conquered” by means of treaties and other peaceful resolutions. This was a new way of subjugating its enemies.]; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches [Being a citizen of Rome had many advantages. Those who willingly joined in league with Rome reaped the benefits of Rome’s wealth and military power—roads, aqueducts, and other infrastructure developments; relative peace from other nations that might attempt war against the smaller nations on the fringe of the empire; the security of a civil government and court system for handling community disputes and controversies; and in general maintaining “law and order” through the presence of Rome’s leigons.]: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time [“time” = one prophetic year or 360 literal years; when does this time begin? The answer is found in the following verse.].
25 And he [This verse rehearses the history already covered in the prophecy by returning to the confrontation between Octavius and Mark Antony, both of whom were striving for the Roman throne after Julius’s murder. The first “he” is Octavius.] shall stir up his power [Octavius and his army] and his courage against the king of the south [Mark Antony had withdrawn from Rome, leaving his wife and family behind and taken up residence in Egypt after about BC 37. He assumed the pseudo-position of emperor of the east, doing as he pleased without counsel from the Roman Senate.] with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army [Using his own army and that of Cleopatra to maintain his position, he marched throughout the eastern regions of the Roman empire deposing local kings at his will, setting up the sons of Cleopatra in their places. After the fact, he desired confirmation of his actions from the Roman Senate, but the accounts of his maneuverings were so shocking to the pride of the Romans, who were convinced that Antony intended to transfer the seat of government from Rome to Alexandria, that they would hear none of his petitions for support. As a fugitive and a rebel he was without a shadow of a legal position before the Roman Senate.]; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him.
26 Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him [It is the Oriental custom that if you eat at a man’s table—receive “grace” from a person—you must remain loyal to him. All through the history of Rome, the Cæsars fell at the hand of one that they had befriended and provided for. Brutus betraying and murdering Julius Caesar is one prime example. By marrying Octavia, Octavius’s sister, Mark Antony ostensibly joined the family and swore to assist the avenging of Julius’s murder. But he soon rebelled against the family ties, taking up with Cleopatra and her interests in the south.], and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain [At the Battle Actium, September 2, 31 BC, Antony assembled an enormous fleet of 500 ships and an army of 125,000 foot soldiers. Octavius had only half as many ships and 80,000 soldiers, but his men were all well trained and seasoned warriors. Antony’s army was made up of any able bodied male he could find, pulling them from every class of citizen. Cleopatra even joined the fleet in her Nile barge with its adornment of purple sails, gold plating and royal musicians playing their flutes and trumpets. The battle took only one day. When Cleopatra saw the frightful display of real war, she turned tail and ran, taking her entire Egyptian squadron of 60 ships with her. When Antony witnessed this desertion, he precipitately followed in her path. Many were lost in this short but decisive battle. For the unfortunate Antony, it was all down hill from here. In a few short months, he had committed suicide; Cleopatra followed suit soon after. If we calculate the “time” mentioned in verse 24 by adding 360 years to BC 31, it brings us to 330 AD. It was at this time that Constantine moved the capital of Rome to Byzantium, marking the beginning of the end for the absolute rule of the cæsars over the Roman Empire.].
27 And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief [Octavius and Antony did indeed “do mischief” as the list of political schemes and deceitful counter alliances well indicates.], and they shall speak lies at one table [Antony and Octavius were formally under an alliance to avenge Julius’s murder, but under the garb of “friendship” both were aspiring for the same position of absolute dictator of Rome. Their protestations of friendship were mere utterances of hypocrisy and deceit.]; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.
28 Then shall he [Octavius] return into his land [Rome] with great riches [When Octavius returned from his Egyptian expedition against Antony and Cleopatra, he brought back with him such an enormous wealth of goods and gold, that the value of money fell by 50% and the market was bulging with vendible wares.]; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land [This “he” describes the actions of a later time against the Jews, and must be understood as taking place when Vespasian invaded Judea, taking the cities of Galilee, Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. The army destroyed the inhabitants and left nothing in their wake but ruin and desolation. Rome had long suffered the insolence of various uprisings against her rule, and Vespasian decided that enough was enough. He took actions to put to an end once and for all the rebellious nation of the Jews. In 70 AD, Titus besieged Jerusalem, digging trenches around it, just as Christ had predicted (Luke 21:20-22). The city inhabitants fell into appalling conditions, just as Moses had prophesied (Deuteronomy 28:49-57), and, to keep from starving, ended up eating their own children. Titus had commanded that the Temple was not to be destroyed, thinking to leave the magnificent structure as a monument to Caesar, but the Lord had said “there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” The enraged soldiers set the walls on fire, and soon the entire Temple structure was ablaze. Titus himself rushed into the building carrying out the golden candlestick, other men carried out the table of shewbread, and the volume of the law which was wrapped in a golden sheet. These articles were transported back to Rome as spoils of the war. The arch of triumph in Rome depicts Titus returning home carrying the candlestick. Jerusalem fell, the last stronghold of the Jewish nation. The remaining Jewish inhabitants of Palestine were transported to distant countries. The nation which once was called God’s chosen people was to be no more.].
29 At the time appointed he shall return [this “time” correlates to the “time” of verse 24], and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter [After Constantine moved the capital of Rome to Byzantium a new power in the “south” rose up to challenge Rome’s political authority which was greatly weakened when the military pulled out for Byzantium. This time the “south” was barbarian tribes from north Africa, principally from Carthage—the Vandals, who came against Rome. Setting the time frame as about 330 AD also puts this in context of the rise of the papacy in the western section of the Roman empire.].
30 For the ships of Chittim shall come against him [Chittim = bruisers; Adam Clarke defines the land of Chittim as “the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean; ‘for the Tyrians,’ says Jerome, ‘when they saw they had no other means of escaping, fled in their ships, and took refuge in Carthage and in the islands of the Ionian and Aegean sea.” The Encyclopedia of Biblical Literature gives the same locality to Chittim—the coasts and islands of the Mediterranean. This is not interpreted as being a single place, country or island. Perhaps the literal meaning of the word also helps us understand what the verse is telling us—that “bruisers” or people who “hurt” are coming against Rome.]: therefore he shall be grieved, and return [Efforts by the papal see to depose Genseric were met with utter failure and Rome was obliged to see its provinces ravaged by these barbarian tribes.], and have indignation against the holy covenant [God’s everlasting covenant has always been that “the just shall live by faith” in God’s promises to “save to the uttermost.” Papal Rome destroyed this idea, replacing it with a system of works and sacraments as the means of salvation. The “indignation” against God’s promise extended even to the removal of the Scriptures from the people, and replacing the Bible with the “more sure foundation of tradition.” The pope with his college of cardinals became the final arbiter of truth. Those who did not follow the laws of the Roman system were considered heretics. In 533 AD, Justinian declared the pope to be “the head of the church and the corrector of all heretics.”]: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence [“understanding”] with them that forsake the holy covenant [All who chose Rome’s way of religion as opposed to the plain truth of the Bible.].
31 And arms shall stand on his part [Papal Rome began to seek military support from the barbarian tribes to the north. The Franks were the largest and primary support of Rome, conquering other barbarian tribes in Europe who were resistant to papal Rome’s control.], and they shall pollute [“profane”] the sanctuary of strength [“place of protection”; “refuge”—literally, God’s holy word and righteous law. When we abide there we are hid from our enemies; when it is removed we are vulnerable to the wiles of the devil.], and shall take away [Hebrew = sur = “turn aside;” that which is “turned aside” still exists but not in its original setting or form] the daily [Hebrew = ha tamid = paganism. Paganism was eradicated from the empire by its absorption into the papal system of religion; open paganism disappeared, being replaced by Christianized paganism.], and they shall place [“give;” to set up or grant] the abomination [“detestable thing” or idol; that which takes God’s place in the hearts and minds of the people; removing the sign and seal that exists between God and His people—Exodus 31:12-17; Ezekiel 20:18-20] that maketh desolate [astonished, wondered, amazed, destroys; compare this verse with how Revelation 13:3 and 4; 15-17 describes this same power].
32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant [rejection of God’s promise; teaching men through the introduction of false worship practices to transgress against God] shall he corrupt by flatteries [the papacy used any means possible to attain its goal]: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits [“Exploits” is a translator supplied word in this verse; “do” literally means “keep” or “maintain.” All through history, no matter how strong paganism was in the world, God has had a remnant people who kept His holy word as the only truth by which to live. Compare this with Revelation 12:17 and John 14:15.].
33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many [The Waldenses, Albigenses and others were foremost in keeping the flame alive during the Dark Ages through their evangelism efforts and distribution of the Bible all across Europe.]: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days [Papal persecution of God’s people who refused to accept the new theology of the papal/Roman Catholic system is well documented throughout history. They were openly condemned, taken captive, were slain by the sword, and burned at the stake.].
34 Now when they [those protesting against the papacy] shall fall [The Office of the Inquisition was first set up by Pope Gregory IX in 1231 in a effort to contain the work of the Waldenses. In 1252 Innocent IV authorized the use of torture to extract confessions from the heretics. Pope Sixtus IV expanded the Inquisition in 1478 to include Jews because they refused to acknowledge the pope as religious leader and they refused the honour the papal sabbath.], they shall be holpen with a little help [compare to Revelation chapter 12]: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries [“flatteries” = slippery promises.” The Protestant Reformation, which got its real start under Martin Luther, offered “help” in restraining the power of the papacy. But when the Protestant cause became popular many joined and embraced the faith without true conversion from Catholicism; therefore polluting the truth with their heresies. This arrested the Protestant Reformation until such time as a revival would come to awaken the people from their stupor].
35 And some of them of understanding shall fall [Even during the Reformation, persecution and burnings at the stake continued, such as during the bloody reign of Queen Mary of England (1553-1558). It was continued persecution against the Protestants that drove some to cross the ocean to the New World seeking freedom to worship.], to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end [see on Daniel 8:17]: because it is yet for a time appointed.
36 And the king [Here a king is introduced who cannot be the same power discussed above and designated as the papacy. This king, as told in the next verse, does not “regard any god,” a thing which has never been true of the papacy. God and Christ, though placed in a wrong position, are professed by the papal system. There are three peculiar features which must appear in this power (1) it appears at the time of the end; (2) it must be a willful power; and (3) it must be atheistic—not “regarding any god;” and “magnifying himself above every god.”] 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 [Atheistic France during the French Revolution fulfills this prophecy. Voltaire said: “I am weary of hearing that twelve men established the Christian religion. I will prove that one man may suffice to overthrow it.”], and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women [literally = “wife.” The French Revolution destroyed the foundation of society by establishing divorce for any reason, including “incompatibility.” There was such a rush for divorces that within a year of the new law nearly 6000 divorces had been granted in Paris alone. Men married and divorced in rapid succession, often marrying sisters and mothers of former wives. Children were unwanted in such a free-for-all society and were cast off as foundlings. Within three years of this divorce decree, 44,000 children were without homes or parents to care for them.], nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all [All worship was prohibited, except that of liberty (“reason”) and country. The rampant insanity of the French Revolution is an evidence of what man will become when left to himself. It proves to what depths of depravity man will sink when the restraints of law and love of God are removed.].
38 But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces [Brute force was the prevailing authority in France during the years of the revolution.]: and a god [the newly created Goddess of Reason] whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.
39 Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god [The wild anarchy which swept through France frightened even rulers of the revolution. They determined that it was a political necessity to introduce some kind of worship to occupy the populace’s mind. The National Convention devised a god which they claimed had the attributes of “liberty, equality, virtue, and morality;” all the things that were missing from the French revolutionary society. The Goddess of Reason became the god of France. Notre Dame cathedral was transformed into the Temple of Reason. This became the national religion.], whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain [This last clause serves to clearly identify atheistic France as the power under discussion by the angel. Previous to the Revolution, most property belonged to the Catholic Church and a few wealthy landlords who owned immense estates. These estates were required by law to remain undivided, so that no heirs or creditors could subdivide them for financial gain. Under the anarchy that ruled France, titles of nobility were abolished, the holders of aristocratic positions were beheaded or jailed, their lands were confiscated, partitioned into small parcels, and sold at auction to fund the newly formed revolutionary government. Remember that the ideas hatched in revolutionary and atheistic France later emerged as communistic Russia.].
40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him [Islamic invasion under the Ottoman Empire and the Arabian Moors (see map) as they moved across northern Africa and into Spain, and pushed up into eastern Europe to the very gates of Germany. For centuries this new religion had been pushing in waves against Christianity and papalism moving forward, then receding back, but always a threat.]: and the king of the north [France as atheism] shall come against him [Islam] 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 [Under Napoleon in 1798, France went to war against the Ottoman empire, attacking Egypt first, then moving into Palestine and Syria.].
41 He shall enter also into the glorious land [Palestine; see above], 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 [This territory was “Arabia” and remained under strict Islamic rule. No one thought the vast desert regions of Arabia were worth the effort of conquering. Little did they know.].
42 He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries [Napoleon’s desire to be emperor of the world took France into war against most of the European nations and even into Russia.]: and the land of Egypt shall not escape [Napoleon did conquer Egypt and held it until the English government became allied with the Ottoman power in an effort to maintain open roads to India. Then in March 1801, a fleet and army were dispatched to Egypt to assist the Turks in their war against France. In October a peace treaty was signed in London which gave Egypt back into the hands of the Ottoman sultan who established a governor of Egypt. This man was Mehemet Ali, who set heavy taxation on the people of Egypt, confiscated many private landholdings, and denied the right of individuals to own property without permission of the government. Mehemet Ali became so strong in his dictatorship that in 1838, he threatened war against the sultan in Constantinople. To deal with this potentially dangerous hostility, the European powers interposed to settle the dispute. As a result, the Ottoman empire lost its autonomous power to rule August 11, 1840 when it surrendered under the protectorship of England, Austria, Russia, and Prussia. This fulfilled the prophecy in Revelation 9:14-21 concerning the sixth trumpet.].
NOTE: The following verses have moved into the realm of “modern times”—since the “time of the end” began in 1798. Therefore the interpretation of them is not as easy to pinpoint as the previous verses which have a definite fulfillment in history. So while we can find events which do seem to fit the meaning, there might yet be better understandings as we see Islam taking vengeance on Christianity, and attempting to convert the world to the worship of Alla. Currently, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.
From the beginning Mohammed had asked his followers to do three things: pray, fast, and give alms. He used one rule of action in spreading his new religion. He said “Confess there is only one God, and that Mohammed is His prophet, pay tribute or choose death.” He declared that the period of longsuffering and patience against the evil of the papacy was past. It was his mission and the commission of every Moslem male to propagate the dominion of Islam by the sword. The duty of all “Mussulmans” was to destroy the temples of the infidels (Roman Catholic Christians), to overthrow to the remotest quarters of the world, with the ultimate goal of converting the entire world to Islam. Mohammed’s successor, Abu-bekr, appealed to the followers of Mohammed by saying: “When you fight the battles of Allah, bear yourselves like men, and turn not your backs on the enemy. As you advance into the enemy’s country, you will find a sort of men who belong to the synagogue of Satan, and who have shaven crowns. Cleave their skulls. Give them no quarter till they embrace our faith or pay tribute.” This is the foundation of Islam; it is not a “peaceful” religion.
43 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt [This prophecy should be understood as not literally applying to “Egypt” as a country, but using “Egypt” as a metaphor for Islam, since the religion of Islam is predominate throughout the south eastern regions of the Mediterranean. They sit on the world’s largest reserves of “black gold”—that “precious” commodity so needed by the developed nations of the world]: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps [The Islamic alliance remains all throughout this part of the world. These three nations — Egypt, Lybia, and Ethiopia — were some of the first to be conquered by the Islamic thrusts under the first “woe” of Revelation 8:13].
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 [This prophecy is yet to be fulfilled; we are at the point of its fulfillment as “history” is unfolding before our eyes. It correlates to Revelation 11:14-19 and the third woe, which correlates to Islam which constituted the first two woes in Revelation 8 and 9.].
45 And he shall plant the tabernacles [“dwelling place”] of his palace between the seas [used variously to mean Mediterranean Sea, Dead Sea, Red Sea, etc.] in the glorious holy mountain [Jerusalem is the only place where God’s “glorious holy mountain” is said to be; see Isaiah 56:7; Ezekiel 20:40; Joel 3:17; etc. One of the largest Islamic mosques is built on the ancient mount where the Jewish Temple once stood.]; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
We’re living this part of the prophecy right now; there is no way we can understand it fully, except as it unfolds before us. Let us prayerfully watch as our Lord brings about His final moments of this earth’s history. Let us be ready to act as He gives us understanding.
E.S. Shuckburgh, A History of Rome (1894)
A.T. Jones, Two Republics (1891)
A.T. Jones, The Great Empires of Prophecy (1898)
William Smith, Bible Dictionary (1884)
S.N. Haskell, Daniel the Prophet (1901)
Frank B. Marsh, The Founding of the Roman Empire (1922)
Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation (1945)
John Peters, The Mystery of the Daily (1994)
Josephus Flavius, Antiquities of the Jews (translated reprint)
Israel Smith Clare, The Standard History of the World (nd)