Bible: What Does Daniel 11-12 Teach Us About Fulfillment of Prophecy and the Time of the End?
Cyrus the Great
Alexander the Great
Many Detailed Ancient Prophecies
Ancient history has witnessed the fulfillment of all of the remarkable prophecies contained in this chapter.
[Paul Lee Tan provides an excellent, though lengthy, commentary on the specifics in his book Interpretation of Prophecy].
The prophecies concern Persian kings, and wars between the king of the South (Egypt and other African countries) and the king of the North (Arabs, Syrians?).
These kings greatly influenced Israel.
Verse two relates the rising of four Persian kings, the last of which became the most noteworthy and most powerful.
[Cyrus is probably one of these kings].
Appearing next is an allusion to the Greek empire, starting with Alexander the Great as its ruler and later dividing into the four lesser-known generals who served under him (vv. 3-4; cf. 7:6).
The angel then begins a discourse about the wars between the north and the south.
The king of the South builds a mighty kingdom, as does one of his princes (v. 5).
Years pass and they join forces, because the southern princess loses her authority amid an agreement with the northern king; others are also "given up" (v. 6).
One of her sons avenges that loss and carries much plunder to Egypt where he outlasts the northern king (vv. 7-8).
In retaliation, the latter tries to invade the southern kingdom, but fails; one of his sons, however, succeeds in "stirring up strife" (vv. 9-10).
All-out war between the two kings results in a southern victory, but only temporarily, for the northern king assembles a great army and brings his siege against the south (vv. 11-15).
Certain "violent men" of Daniel's people boastfully try to fulfill the vision, but fall (in battle?) [v. 14].
The northern king's exploits are irresistible; even "upright ones" accompany him into the "Glorious Land (vv. 15-17)."
[The use of pronouns in this passage makes certain interpretations difficult].
A "daughter of women," apparently a gift from one king to another, turns her back on the northern king.
Nevertheless, he rampages through the coastlands, conquering many villages (vv. 17b-18a).
A ruler makes peace with him, but this act only facilitates the latter's conquest (v. 18b).
His victories, however, cease upon returning to secure his own land (v. 19).
The successor's administration is short-lived, but that does not preclude it from exacting taxes from its citizens (v. 20).
The Character of Epiphanes
Supplanting this ruler is probably the regime of Antiochus Epiphanes, for the angel describes its leader as a ''vile" person who ascends to power through intrigue (vv. 21-22).
He joins himself to a small, but powerful coterie, and deceitfully enriches the group through plunder (vv. 23-24).
The latter verse sounds as if Antiochus embezzled from the wealthy.
Hostilities resume between the king of the north and the king of the south.
Apparently, through machinations within his own household, the southern king suffers destruction and his army defeat (vv. 25-26).
Comment: Gabriel pictures a political summit of sorts where the government officials—here, these kings—sit at the same table and lie through their teeth to one another, each one aiming to destroy the other, yet to no end.
Despite carrying off much spoil from the battle, the northern king stops by Israel to punish the Jews, perhaps because they prevented his grander schemes from fully prospering (vv. 27-28).
In his reporting of events, the angel stresses "the appointed time," suggesting that God had planned for the northern king to experience setbacks (the Cypriot vessels, for example [vv. 29-30].
Consequently, he would turn against the Jews in wrath, ''do damage" to the sanctuary fortress, and substitute the "abomination of desolation" for their sacrifices (vv. 29-31).
At this time of trial for the Jewish nation, many do heroic deeds; sadly, however, Antiochus also massacres a great number of them.
As with all testings of loyalty to God, this example also accomplishes its purpose, namely, the sanctification of God’s elect.
Apparently, "those who understand'' (i.e., they understand the purposes of God in testing His people) help others stand firm under the pressure by courageously suffering martyrdom (vv. 32-35).
[Again, the messenger employs the phrases "the time of the end'' and "the appointed time."
Is there an eschatological intent here?]
The Latter-Day Persecutor of Israel
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The Roman Prince
Beginning with verse thirty-six, Gabriel describes the king's self-deification.
Self-willed to the highest degree, he denounces all allegiance to any god except himself (the pinnacle of humanism).
His schemes greatly prosper "till the wrath has been accomplished" (vv. 36-37).
Although he exalts himself above all gods, this man shall "honor a god of fortresses" and a ''foreign god" (vv. 38-39).
[Could these phrases refer to an idol of himself?
It appears clear that he favors a very strong military and defensive system].
The latter-day northern king overwhelms the countries of the attacking king of the South (v. 40).
Verses 41-43 list those he overthrows and those he spares; his own demise, however, is certain in the end.
While eastern and northern (forces) invade his territory "between the seas and the glorious holy mountain," he (the Roman prince) busies himself with massacres.
Yet he, too, falls without help from anyone (vv. 44-45).
Seal Up the Vision
The Time of Trouble
Michael the Archangel, the "great prince," plays a vital, yet unspecified role on Israel's behalf during the "time of trouble'' of those "latter days."
God delivers His elect through Michael's protection (v. 1).
Two separate physical resurrections transpire –the Hebrew support this interpretation—, and Yahweh metes out appropriate rewards/punishments (v. 2).
Those saints who help others turn to God's ways reflect the glory of the LORD (v. 3).
At this point, the angel issues instructions to Daniel regarding the "book": seal it until the end times when both a frenetic pace of life (many "running to and fro"; cf. Matt. 24:38) and an explosion of information persist (v. 4).
[He must be referring to the last revelation only (chapters 10-12:1-3), yet perhaps also the interpretations of the dreams (chapters 7-12)].
Post-Great Tribulation Period
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Daniel senses a change of focus, but he still stands by the Tigris (v. 5; cf. 10:4).
He listens to a conversation between two figures standing on opposite banks of the river.
One asks the "man clothed in linen" about the time of the fulfillment of the visions (v. 6; cf. 10:5).
This individual solemnly swears by the eternal God that "a time, times, and half a time" will elapse during which the enemy will shatter the "power of the holy people" (v. 7).
Comment: Three and one-half "times'' or years of the Great Tribulation bring the Jewish nation to their knees.
Predictably, Daniel is taken aback, not understanding the dialogue, and asks for clarification (v. 8).
His companion reiterates his initial instruction (cf. v. 4), but then offers some further light, mentioning the sanctification of many (v. 10) and the connection of "time, times, and half a time"—he calls the period 1,290 days—with the abomination of desolation (v. 11).
Forty-five days after that period, Messiah establishes His kingdom (v. 12).
Daniel's companion concludes the book, instructing the prophet to live out his remaining days with the knowledge that his vision will come to pass and that he will receive his inheritance at his resurrection (v. 13).
[Note: Jesus alludes to an "abomination of desolation" to come before He returns (see Matt. 24:15), so this prophecy will not see its fulfillment until that time.
Antiochus Epiphanes may have brought a swine into the temple, but that action was only a foreshadowing, a type, of what the Roman "beast" will do (see 2 Thess. 2: 1-12; Rev. 13:5-10, 15)].
SUMMARY QUESTIONS OF DANIEL
1. When did Nebuchadnezzar first begin to lay siege to Jerusalem?
2. Why did not the Hebrew youths desire the king's food?
3. What does the poetic section of 2:20-23 tell us about Daniel's God?
4. What does the fourth kingdom represent?
5. Why does Daniel employ so much repetition in chapter three?
6. What does the end of chapter four indicate about the spiritual status of Nebuchadnezzar?
7. What did Nebuchadnezzar understand as the feature that distinguished Daniel from the other wise men?
8. Why, according to Daniel, will Belshazzar not survive?
9. Do you think Darius' decree forcing worship of Yahweh was a good move for the triumph of the true faith? What other historical incident is parallel to this one?
10. Who is the Son of Man? Why do you think God wants Him called by this title?
11. Who is the boastful horn? What happens to him?
12. Who is the 'little horn' of chapter eight?
13. What was Daniel's reaction to seeing Gabriel? How did he respond after the vision was completed?
14. What does Daniel's prayer in chapter nine teach us?
15. Who is the 'prince who is to come'?
16. What does chapter ten tell us about the activity of angels?
17. Who is the king who deifies himself in chapter eleven?
18. What is the 'abomination of desolation'?
19. How long will the Jews' time of tribulation last?
20. Which angel will specifically protect Israel during this time?
21. According to chapter twelve, what are two characteristics of the “last days”?
22. Name the five empires discussed in chapter two.
23. What four earthly kings did Daniel serve?
24. How should we interpret the “seventy weeks” of Daniel?
25. According to Anderson, on what day did the “sixty-ninth week” end? What proof does he offer?
26. What happens during the parenthesis between Daniel 9:26 and 9:27?
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