The introduction to the prophecy of Daniel eleven is very important to the understanding of the prophecies concerning the end of the age because it reveals some of the interactions among spirit-beings themselves and between spirit-beings and the physical world. Therefore, before proceeding with this study, it is advisable to read the first eleven verses of Daniel chapter ten.
Daniel 10:12-14, 21 Paraphrased
"Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that you did set your heart to understand, and to chasten [fast] yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I am come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia held me back twenty one days: but, Michael, who is one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make you understand what shall befall your people in the latter days: for this vision is for far in the future" (vs.12-14).
This messenger from God was prevented from going to Daniel by another spirit-being who was the ruler of the kingdom of Persia. This means that, at that time in history, there was an evil spirit in control of the kingdom of Persia, and this spirit was at least as powerful as the messenger sent to Daniel. Notice also that the messenger was only able to continue his journey to see Daniel after Michael (a high ranking angel), came to intervene.
We are not told the details of what the messenger from God first reveals to Daniel. However, by Daniel's reaction to the things he heard and what he saw happening to the house of Judah (the Jews) in the end of the age, we can assume that it must have been extremely horrifying and depressing (see vs.14-15). Although what Daniel saw will happen to the Jews, by extension, the House of Israel will be affected because they have a major role in the things that happen to the Jews in the end of the age.
After giving Daniel this message, the angel returns to fight with the spirit-being in charge of Persia. In the following verses we see that both evil and good spirit-beings can exert control and/or influence over the physical rulers and nations in order to further God's plan for humanity:
"And he said, Do you know why I have come to you? And now I will return to fight with the ruler of Persia: and when I have gone, then the ruler of Greece shall come. But I will tell you what is written in the Scriptures of Truth: and no one makes himself strong with me in these things except Michael your ruler. And I in the first year of Darius the Mede, I was his supporter and a fortress for him" (vs.20-21, 11:1).
Here, we see that there seems to be an ongoing battle between evil and righteous spirit-beings as the righteous ones carry out God's instructions. Notice that this messenger from God was the spirit-power behind Darius and his kingdom, and that Michael was the angel who was responsible to God for the House of Judah.
This messenger from God tells Daniel what is written in the Scriptures of Truth. Because of the details of what this messenger reveals about these scriptures, it is likely that the Scriptures of Truth are written in a book in heaven which details God's plan for humanity.
It is important to understand that, although some of what the angel reveals to Daniel does seem to have already been fulfilled, the whole Book of Daniel is written from the perspective of revealing people, places, and events that surround the last few years before Christ's return to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.
Daniel 11:2-43 Paraphrased
"And now will I show you the truth [what is written]. Behold there will stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth will be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he will stir up all against the realm of Greece" (v2).
At the time Daniel received this message, the Babylonian empire (the head of gold) was gone, and Persia was in power. The angelic messenger shows Daniel that there will be three more kings to come from the Persian Empire, and then there will arise a fourth Persian king who will be conquered by a mighty king from Greece (Alexander the Great). But the kingdom of Greece would be divided into four sections.
"And a mighty king will stand up, that shall rule with great authority, and do according to his will. And when he will stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided to the four winds of the heavens; and not to his posterity, nor according to his authority with which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be pulled up, and given to others beside these" (vs.3-4).
From verses 5 to 35, the prophetic account seems to relate to the historical activities between two ancient empires: the Seleucid empire, with its headquarters usually in northern Syria, and the Ptolemaic empire located in Egypt. However, these two empires are clearly symbolic of nations that will exist in the end of the age as noted by the first few words in verse 6: "And in the end of years".
If in fact, the Seleucid Empire and Ptolemaic Empire are symbolic of modern day nations located to the north and south of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel. What we see explained in verses 6 through 26 of Daniel eleven must pertain to the political situation within and around the nations that surround the Jewish nation of Israel.
In verses 27 through 31, the messenger begins to reveal the political deception and intrigue that will transpire between two prominent leaders of alliances of nations to the north and south of Israel just before the last three and a half years before Christ's return.
What is clear from these scriptures is that, long before the final invasion and destruction of the Jewish nation of Israel which will occur approximately three and a half years before Christ's return, two prominent world leaders will conceive a plot to destroy Israel. However, they will be prevented from carrying out their plans, because God will not allow the destruction of Israel until other prophetic events transpire:
"And both these kings in their hearts shall seek to do evil, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for the end comes at the appointed time. Then shall he return to his land with great wealth; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall act, and he will return to his own land. At the appointed time 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: And he shall be grieved, and turn back, and be furious against the holy covenant: And he shall act, and will return, and will heed those forsaking the holy covenant" (vs.27-30).
Notice that one of these national leaders has an intense hatred for the holy covenant. Understanding what this covenant is will make it easier to understand the prophetic events that surround the destruction of the Jewish nation of Israel. The English word holy in these verses is translated from the Hebrew word qadash, which connotes things that are sacred to God, and it can mean being set apart, holiness, and sacredness.
The things that cause the destruction of Israel and the captivity of the Jews before Christ's return are directly tied to the proclaiming of the gospel by God's people, the sacrificial system in Jerusalem, and the two witnesses. Therefore, the holy covenant that is hated can only refer to the Mount Sinai Covenant that God made with national Israel and the institution of the sacrificial system of worship that will be taking place at a new temple in Jerusalem. The worship of the true God through the sacrificial system in Jerusalem will be a major source of irritation to all nations, especially to the nations that surround Israel.
Notice also that, after a conflict involving the nations to the south of Israel that does not turn out well for the king of the north (the leader of the Beast alliance of nations), he finally takes the advice he has been given to eliminate Israel as a problem to other nations. Clearly, the people noted in verse 30 who forsake the holy covenant can only be Jews (the covenant people) who have been advising this national leader to either control or eliminate the Jewish nation of Israel and their worship system.
Two major things to watch for just before the destruction of the Jewish nation of Israel are the establishment of the sacrificial system in Jerusalem, officiated over by the Levitical priesthood, and much military activity and political instability in the Middle East caused by the events surrounding the Jew's practice of the religion of their ancestors.
The Temple Desecrated
"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 makes desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries. . ." (vs.31-32).
Although Antiochus Epiphanes did desecrate the temple in Jerusalem by offering swine's blood on the holy altar, he in no way fulfilled the prophecy concerning the man of sin and son of perdition spoken of by Paul and Jesus (2.Thes.2:3-4; Rev.13:3-4). The son of perdition is to be the Antichrist/Beast. Antiochus cannot be this man, because he did not claim to be above all gods, nor was his fatal wound healed: he died in 168 B.C.. Moreover, no king to this day has desecrated a temple in Jerusalem and exalted himself above every god and prospered greatly; therefore, this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.
The People of God
"But the people that know their God shall be strong, and will work. And those who understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall cleave to them through hypocrisy" (vs.32-34).
Just before Christ's return, the elect of God who truly know God and have spiritual gifts will perform great wonders and miracles, and the truth of God will again be taught by those gifted with understanding. Some of these people who proclaim the Father's good news message will be murdered because of their zeal for him and his truth.
Notice also that many people will attach themselves to the elect by pretending that they want to follow the truth of God or some other flattering reasons. This shows that within the body of the elect, there will be people who are neither called nor converted, but attach themselves to the elect for reasons other than to obey God's truth. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, some of these people will be doing Satan's bidding (Satan's fifth column within the church 2.Pet.2:1-22: Jude 1:1-13). The parable of the wheat and the tares (Matt.13:24-30, 36-43) clearly shows that there are those who are plants of Satan. They cling to the elect with flatteries trying to divide and conquer. God encourages the elect not to be overly concerned about these tares, because he will deal with them at the time of Christ's return. The elect are to be totally focused upon their calling and doing their job.
"And some of them of understanding shall stumble, to refine and purge them, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for an appointed time" (v35).
The end of the age will be an extraordinarily difficult time in which to live. In the course of these events, some who truly understand the truth will make fatal or near fatal mistakes concerning their salvation. Some will fall prey to their own vanity, temptations of the flesh, and other things that will cause them to either forsake or compromise their calling. The failure of these who are gifted with understanding will not only bring major trials upon themselves but also in many cases, will bring a trial for those who know them. Although no trial is pleasant, if one has the right attitude and overcomes the trial, spiritual growth and eternal salvation will be the reward.
"And the king [Antichrist/Beast] shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the fury [the wrath of God] is accomplished: for that which is decreed shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, or the desire of women, nor love any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his place he shall honor the god of forces [Satan]: and a god whom his fathers did not know with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and desirable things. And he shall act in the strong holds of the fortresses with a foreign god [Satan], he shall increase in glory: and he shall cause them [evil spirits] to rule over many, and shall divide the land for a price" (vs.36-39).
These are clear references to the individual who will be the Antichrist/Beast and is the leader of the alliance of nations known as the Beast. This individual has no regard for the true God or any other god, because he is more powerful than most of the false gods that humanity has worshiped throughout the centuries; however, he does pay homage to the god of this world—Satan the Devil—who is more powerful than he. See Rev.13:3-4.
"And at the time of the end, the king of the south [south of Israel] shall push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him [king of the south] 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. He shall enter also into the glorious land [the holy land/Israel], 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 stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 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" (vs.40-43).
In verses 40 through 43 above, the king of the north is not speaking of the leader of the nations just north of Israel, but of the Antichrist/Beast who is of the leader of the Beast alliance of nations.
In the end of the age, a political agreement will likely exist between Israel and her neighboring nations to the north and south. In this same time frame, the Jews will build the temple. This agreement will also guarantee access to Jerusalem by the surrounding nations. The Beast's ten-nation alliance is the guarantor of peace between these nations and Israel. Keeping the peace will be his excuse for intervening in the affairs of these nations; however, his true reasons are far more sinister.
"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 take away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas [Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, and the Mediterranean] in the glorious holy mountain [Zion]; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him" (vs.44-45).
The Antichrist/Beast uses the political turmoil in the Middle East as an excuse to invade and conquer Israel. The Jews and others who heed the warning that is going to be preached to them have a chance to escape when they see armies surrounding Jerusalem and the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place. Those who do not heed this warning will suffer horribly until Christ's return (Matt.24:14-16).
"And there shall be a time of distress, such as has not been from the existence of a nation until that time. . ." (Dan.12:1 Para.).
These will be the most frightening and horrifying times that will ever come upon humanity. Even though Daniel was given these prophecies, he did not understand them, because they were meant for another people and another time, and that time seems to be now.
By B. L. Cocherell and Charles E. Barrett b2w14e