For more study see commentary on Daniel 11.
In Daniel 10, Daniel has two visions. The first is one that disturbs him greatly and causes him to go into fasting and mourning for three weeks. The second vision comes during the time of fasting and mourning. It is a vision of a man and the man is Jesus himself.
Jesus had appeared to Daniel to explain the meaning of the earlier vision that he had. And that’s pretty much what happened in Daniel 10. Unlike previous chapters, Daniel 10-12 are all one story. So the storyline continues in Daniel 11 with Jesus explaining the visions that Daniel had.
Daniel 11 can easily be broken down today into two parts, fulfilled prophecy and prophecy yet to be fulfilled. Of course all of the prophecy was still future to Daniel at the time of his writing but today we have the advantage of seeing many of these prophecies fulfilled.
Why does the Bible contain so many prophecies? One reason is to show that God controls history before it ever happens. Among many other reasons, prophecy (1) authenticates God’s Word as Truth; (2) demonstrates that Yahweh is the Most High God of heaven; (3) validates that the coming Messiah is Lord and God; and (4) strengthens God’s people for the future.
Fulfilled prophecy authenticates that God is God and that the Bible is His Word. I’ve recently encountered a person who claims to be Christian but does not accept the Bible as truth. She believes that it was written by man in order to keep people in line and that many religious writings were destroyed so that the church basically picked and chose what message they wanted.
Of course she also believes that we just need to love each other like Jesus did. But how do we know that Jesus did any of that if we can’t accept the Bible as truth? Maybe it’s just more stories written during a time when everybody was quarreling and the government needed an example of a peaceful man so they made up some stories and added some crazy miracles to make it sound religious.
Of course I believe is hogwash. I believe the Bible is inspired by God and the words that have survived have done so strictly by the hand of God. To believe in God but not to believe that He has the power to preserve His words is simply foolishness to me.
Prophecy is one of the ways that we authenticate that the Bible is true. And Daniel contains perhaps more fulfilled prophecy relating to the world than any other book. Even the most liberal theologians and scholars are pretty much in agreement on the interpretation of Daniel’s prophecies. They believe that he is describing four literal empires that we have seen in history. Liberal scholars who don’t believe in the power of God explain away the accuracy of Daniel’s prophecies the only way they know how. They believe that these prophecies were written after they had already occurred and it was pretended to have been written earlier. If you deny the power of God to reveal history in advance, this is the only thing you can do to explain away these passages.
In just the first 35 verses of Daniel 11, there are no less than 135 prophecies that have been literally fulfilled and history books outside of the Bible verify the accuracy of the depictions. We won’t look at these verses because I want to spend my time on the closing verses of Daniel 11. However, let me give you a couple of highlights.
There are numerous kings mentioned in Daniel 11. These men transition from the Medo-Persian empire to the Greek empire. We’ve seen other prophecies that predict the rise and fall of these empires, these verses just give some more detail on some of the individual men who will reign during this time.
Verse 17 is a reference to a very famous or infamous woman that you’re probably all familiar with her name. Daniel 11:17 is a reference to none other than Cleopatra, as is Antony and Cleopatra. Her father gave her away as a child of only ten to be married to a Roman in hopes of securing a lasting peace with Rome. (The marriage wasn’t actually consummated until 193 BC when she was 14.) However this plan backfired because she loved her husband more than her father. Like so many other verses, this is fulfilled prophecy
He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him.
Verses 21-35 also cover a person that we have already discussed the little horn of Daniel 8, that is Antiochus IV Epiphanes. As we mentioned before, this man is a foreshadowing of the antichrist and many of the things that he did will also be done and fulfilled by the antichrist.
This is a natural tie in to the coming willful king, found in the closing verses of Daniel 11. A number of liberal scholars have tried to make these verses fit Antiochus IV but not all of the details line up. This prophecy is still future.
Why are there big gaps in prophecy and one verse talk about one event and the next verse talk about another event hundreds of years later? Isn’t it confusing? The answer to the second part is a resounding yes! What we need to realize when studying prophecy is that we have a very limited scope and perspective. We can’t see the forest for all of the trees. People often get hung up on one verse and they don’t realize or acknowledge other verses.
There’s a group of supposed Christians who are proclaiming that Judgment Day is coming this week. May 21 is supposed to be the end of the world. I actually saw one of these proclamations on a billboard in Western Maryland the other week. And supposedly they read the prophecies and cracked the code. But of course the one crucial verse that they miss is the one where Jesus said that no one knows the day or hour of His return, not even He. So I have a huge problem with people claiming to know more than Jesus knows.
My point is, there are often gaps in time in prophecy. So many people expected Jesus to take over the throne of David in His first coming because they had read and understood the prophecies. But they didn’t understand the prophecies about His suffering first.
Jesus gave us a blueprint of sorts as proof that prophecy isn’t always fulfilled all at one time.
In Luke 4, Jesus is reading from Isaiah 61:1-2
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
This all sounds great. Except if you realize what Jesus is quoting. The entire passage from Isaiah 61 is “to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God…”
Jesus stopped in midsentence because the year of the Lord’s favor had come but the day of vengeance had not yet arrived. It will come one day but it is still future. So, this is why we can be talking about Antiochus IV one moment and the future antichrist the next.
Finally, on to Daniel. 11:36-39
36 “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. 37 He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. 38 Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39 He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.
This king is none other than the antichrist. He appears in scripture by many different names and descriptions.
The Serpent’s Seed of Genesis 3:15
The Wicked Man of Psalm 10
The Assyrian of Isaiah 10:5, 12
The King of Babylon of Isaiah 14:4-20
The Oppressor and the Aggressor of Isaiah 16:4
The Little Horn of Daniel 7:8
The Profane King of Daniel 7:25-27
The Stern-faced King of Daniel 8:23-25
The Coming Prince of Daniel 9:26-27
The Worthless Shepherd of Zechariah 11:11-16
The One who comes in His Own Name of John 5:43
The Man of Lawlessness of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 8
The Antichrist of 1 John 2:18
The Beast of Revelation 13:18; 17:12-17; 19:19-21
The antichrist will be a religion unto himself. Or, more likely, he will exalt Satan and promote worship of Satan. I can almost guarantee that this religion won’t be acknowledge as satanic but it will have all of the under trimmings of satanic activity that we see in the occult today. In many ways this religion won’t be anything new because so much of religion across the world is from satanic influence. Satan is the master deceiver and he has counterfeited Christianity in many forms across the world. This is why so many religions appear to be about love and acceptance but in reality it is about serving one’s self and not caring what other people do.
This religion will also be new however. It will take all of the ridiculous blasphemies that we have heard throughout history and push them to a new level. I don’t know how this will be done but it will be extraordinary. We have already denied that we are a creation of God by explaining our existence on a Big Bang and evolution. We have denied God’s existence. My guess is that Satan’s great lie will actually be a repeat of his original one that he told to Eve. We can become like God. And maybe he’ll offer some story of how he was able to become like God and will display demonic powers in an attempt to prove this.
In the end though, Satan doesn’t want a new religion. He’ll use this system to gain power but what he actually wants is for people to worship him directly. It is a strange paradox to use religion when you don’t actually want it. But the Jews will fall for the trap when he re-establishes their daily sacrifices.
The strangest thing about Judaism today – at least in my opinion – is that it is based on the Old Testament. And they follow the feasts and festivals of the Old Testament. But they have no temple for sacrifices which is the biggest part of their beliefs.
Halfway through the seven year covenant to allow the Jews to resume their sacrifices, the antichrist is going to halt them. And he will exalt himself in the temple where previously the Jews were worshipping God. This is the abomination that causes desolation mentioned in Daniel 9 which Jesus also references in Matthew 24.
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
This time is depicted at the end of Daniel 11.
40 “At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. 41 He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. 42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission. 44 But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. 45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.
In the middle of the tribulation, everything will change. The Jews will realize that they were duped. At this time their eyes will finally be opened and they will realize that they missed their Messiah. Others will be stirred up against the antichrist. They won’t recognize him for what he is but they will seek to go to war against him, probably in hopes of stopping him from invading them.
The Jews will flee Israel and head for safety in fulfillment of Matthew 24. The area they will head to is likely going to be Edom, Moab, and Ammon – the areas that will not fall to the antichrist.
The antichrist will set up his tents in the Holy Land and he will battle all who come and prepare for war, destroying all challengers. The army to the east is likely referenced in Revelation 9:13-16:
13 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. 14 It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.
An army of 200 million would be enough to get anyone’s attention, including the antichrist. They are marching to Israel where there will be one final battle, known best to us as the Battle of Armageddon.
Just like the end of the Babylonian empire, the antichrist’s downfall barely warrants a mention. Daniel records it as Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.
In the end, this is what we need to be concerned with. Prophecy can be fascinating but also very confusing. God gave it to us to authenticate His Word so that we would know that it is true. But in the end the most important thing to know is that God is in control. The schemes of Satan do not win. God does, end of story.