29 “At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what was before. 30 Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. 32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.” (Daniel 11:29-32)
At the appointed time he will…at Gods set time he will make his move. The “he” is the last king who comes out of the north which we will get into later. (North would be north of Israel—that would be Syria, Turkey, perhaps Russia, or maybe even stretching it to Iraq or Iran). But keep in mind this is the last leader in the prophecy, and he comes out of the north, and it’s his army that desecrates the temple mount and sets up this abomination of desolation.
The prophecy begins in chapter 10 where Daniel is in serious prayer and fasting, making intersession for his people, the Jewish nation. The previous chapter also opens with intense intersession, “Cause your face to shine on your sanctuary which is desolate…open your eyes and see our desolations…O Lord hear! O Lord forgive! O Lord listen and act! Do not delay for your sake, my God, for your city and your people are called by your name” (9:18-19). Jerusalem lies in desolation and its people are strangers in a strange land, captives in Babylon. But the word from the prophet Jeremiah was that after 70 years those of the captivity would be visited by God. (Jer. 29:10-14, 2 Chronicles 36:20-23) It has now been 70 years and Daniel’s prayer is for an end to the desolations; and his expectation and hope is for an answer soon and now—but what was God’s reply? 70 sevens of years would be determined on the people and the holy city. The Messiah would first have to come and be cut off. And only after the last 7 year period …until the consummation which is determined (the ultimate goal and end) is poured out on the desolate or poured out on the desolator would desolations cease, and everlasting deliverance come on the people and the holy city. (read Daniel chapter 9)
Fast forward now, it’s been three years since Cyrus the king’s decree allowing the Jews to return to their homeland. But opposition has risen up and the project to rebuild the temple is being hindered. In chapter 10 Daniel is once again interceding, praying desperately for his people, but God’s answer is once again the same: Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come. (10:14)
The prophecy doesn’t focus on the present but the distant future, the latter days. Actually, the last part of the vision goes all the way to the resurrection of the dead, which happens at Jesus Christ’s Second Advent. Of course in Jesus’ prophecy that would be the gathering together of the elect at the appearing of the Son of Man.
1 At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over your people; and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contemp. 3 Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. Daniel 12:1-3
Note: chapters 10-12 are all the same vision. It is only separated in the English Bible for convenience. But in the original Hebrew there is no chapter breaks.
Here is the conclusion to Daniel’s supplications. In chapters 9 and 10 Daniel wants an end to the desolations and is wondering when deliverance will come—so what is God’s answer? The answer is spiritual, and the final solution is heavenly glory. It is at the second coming, when the Son of Man appears in the clouds; only then does everlasting deliverance come to God’s people and the desolations cease. In the world we will have tribulations. It’s only when the Son of man comes to gather the elect, when those who are in the graves are raised up…the wise who shine like the firmament and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever…this is where the revelation Daniel has been given leads, and this is the God given answer to his prayers for deliverance and a end to the tribulations!
Notice the similarities of both Jesus and Daniels prophecies: both mention this time of unparalleled trouble followed by deliverance. In Daniels vision after the great tribulation it is the saving of everyone how is found written in the book. The exact same events happen in both prophecies just some phrasing is different. The book would be ‘the book of life’ or ‘the book of life of the lamb’ and those written in it would truly be elected or chosen. (Philippians 4:3, Revelation 20:12-15, 21:27)
In chapter 11, where the revelation begins, we are taken through an amazing visionary journey of events yet to come, some far into the future; the rising up of the Grecian Empire well over one hundred years before Alexander the Great; all the way to the last king. So extraordinary is the vision that critiques say it must be a forgery. That the prophecy is a fake. That it must have been written at a later date in the 2nd Century BC by an unknown author. But Jesus felt it was authentic, quoting from it. And the skeptics, who can’t see the handwriting of God, are blinded to its purpose. Daniel was told to seal up the prophecy until the time of the end:
But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase. 12:4
And again in 12:9
Go your way Daniel for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
The prophecy was sealed up until the time of the end, of course, because it is for the time of the end. Because God wants his people to understand the last days; and because again, this is when it is all consummated.
The vision begins in chapter 11 verse 2, And now I tell you the truth: behold three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece—After Cyrus when the revelation came to Daniel four more kings would rise up from the Persian Empire—Cambyses, Gaumata, Darius I Hystaspes and Ahassuerus or Xerxes who launched a campaign against Greece but was unsuccessful.
Verses 3-4—Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he has arisen his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others besides these—the mighty king was from Greece, Alexander the Great. Who conquered the known world in his day in just 10 years. They say he never lost a battle. But his rule was short lived dying suddenly in Babylon. And the Grecian Kingdom was divided up by his generals, none were of Alexander’s descendents, but not to his posterity, all his blood line that could have succeeded him were killed or assassinated.
Verses 5-21—From the northern sector of the now partitioned Kingdom of Greece the Seleucid Dynasty would arise; with the power of the Ptolemy Dynasty rising up out of the partitioned south. The prophecy now turns its focus on the conflicts between these two powers; their schemings, wars, and alliances; with the Jewish nation in the middle of it all. And then we come to verse 21 where we are introduced to the vile person. Who seizes the kingdom through cunning and talking peace.
Verse 21—And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceable, and seize the kingdom by intrigue.
Bible commentators will tell us that this vile person is Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the last great leader of the Syrian Seleucid Dynasty. And yes, if you research the history of the Seleucid Dynasty Epiphanes does fit the vision. How he came to power, his warring and campaigns against Egypt, his persecution of the Jews and defilement of the temple; but we have a problem…this vile person is none other then the last king from the north of whom we were introduced to when we first came to Daniel; of who’s army desecrates the sanctuary grounds setting up the abomination of desolation in the holy place—of which Jesus told his followers in 30AD to keep an eye out for! The dilemma of course is…Antiochus Epiphanes died in 163BC and Jesus is talking about a future event and fulfillment in 30AD! Therefore, how can the last king from the north, this vile one be Antiochus Epiphanes? And how can his army be the ones placing the abominable thing in the temple if Jesus was saying the prophecy was yet in the future?
Many commentators therefore will also admit that Antiochus Epiphanes is merely a type, a foreshadowing of an even more vile leader to come. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says of Daniel 11:31-45—the remainder of this prophecy is very difficult, and commentators differ much respecting it. From Antiochus the account seems to pass to the antichrist.
David was sometimes pictured as a type of Christ, the coming Messiah (Ezekiel 34:23-24, 37:24, Hosea 3:5). Antiochus Epiphanes is a type of antichrist. It is said he massacred 80,000 men, women, and children of the Jewish race. Storming Jerusalem he desecrated the sanctuary sacrificing swine on the altar and erecting a statue of the Olympian god Zeus. He issued decrees forbidding circumcision and the celebration of Sabbath. Copies of the Law were desecrated and burned. If anyone was found in possession of a copy of the Torah they were put to death.
The vision in Daniel starting in the latter part of chapter 11 passes from the ancient of times to the end times—and when it does the vile person, the last leader in the prophecy no longer conforms to the antichrist Epiphanes but a even more sinister end time antichrist foretold in the pages of the Bible.
Also, for those who say Jesus in the Olivet Discourse was prophesying about the first Roman-Jewish war. Culminating in 70AD with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. And that it has nothing to do with the end times: as this parallel passage in Daniel adds the color and details to what Jesus said things become clearer. We see the time period is not 70AD. Also the army that defiles the sanctuary and sets up the abominable thing of which Jesus referred to are not Roman. And the leader is not Titus. Actually, the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome in the 1st century is nowhere to be seen in the vision!
Again 11:31 opens with the armies of the vile person from the north desecrating the sanctuary grounds, stopping the daily sacrifice and setting up some kind of abomination in the holy place. In the proceeding verses the persecutions begin:
31 And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. 32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. 33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. 34 Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. 35 And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.
A dark order will rise up in the last days. Jesus just says that there will be a time of great tribulation on the earth such as never was. Daniel adds a person to the picture, the vile one. But it goes deeper—the dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. (Revelation 13:2) The power behind the vile one—in Revelation 13 he’s called the beast—will be the dragon, the devil. Read chapters 12 & 13 of the book of Revelation. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil is come down to you having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time. (Revelation 12:12) Just before Christ’s return, in the devils rage, one final war of wrath will be mounted. The dragon will desire the destruction of everything; all that is of God, and those that are His. The church age will close just like it was opened: with great revival and a pouring out of God’s spirit along with great persecution. All the apostles were martyred except John. The first Christian believers suffered indescribable tortures, imprisonments, and death for their faith under Roman rule. Through ten general persecutions. The last said to be the worst, as Diocletian was incited to wipe the Christian church off the face of the earth. Martyrdom: by the cross, by fire, scourgings; they were beheaded, stoned, devoured by hungry lions, thrust though by the gladiator’s sword. They endured the torments of Nero’s madness. Thousands withstood cruelties that made the onlookers shudder: crushed in presses, stretched on the racks, broiled on the gridiron. Remember Jesus said in his prophecy the time would come when those who bear his name will be hated by all the nations, and because lawlessness will abound the love of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:9-12)
5 Then I, Daniel looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the other opposite bank. 6 One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” 7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished. Daniel 12:5-7
It’s going to look like the dragon and the beast win. The holy people, the believers will have been defeated and overcome; their power completely shattered; seemingly forgotten and forsaken. But the darkest hour is just before the dawn. Why does the Son of Man return? Remember? For the elects sake the days are cut short! Jesus returns for the elect, to gather them from one end of heaven to the other! Everyone who is found written in the book is raised up from the graves! They were not forgotten at all! They’re names were all personally known by the Lamb! Written in his Book of Life!
Time (one year), times (two years), and half a time (half a year)—the duration of the astonishing things will be 3 ½ years! Time, times, and half a time is the coded form of 3 ½ years. It’s easily decoded. In Revelation chapter 12 we see the woman fleeing from the dragon to a place prepared by God where she is nourished: verse 6 says for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, verse 14 says for a time, times and half a time—both equal 3 ½ years. This 3 ½ years time period comes up seven specific times in the apocalyptic books of Daniel and Revelation? In the book of Revelation it says the beast was given authority to continue for forty-two months. (Revelation 13:5) In chapter 11 of the book of Revelation the holy city will be trampled down by the gentiles, again for forty-two months. (11:2) Also in chapter 11, just before the 7th and last trumpet sounds, the two witnesses are killed by the beast after prophesying for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. (11:3-15) And in the vision in Daniel 7 we see the saints again being persecuted by the end time leader. They are given into his hands for a time, times, and half a time. (in Daniel 7 the end time leader is called the little horn or the beast)
The 3 ½ years are perfect and precise. Framed in amazing prophetic detail. For it is a God-the-Father-given time period; with an appointed ending—it ends when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered; and it has its appointed beginning—3 ½ years before—when the abomination of desolation is set up; when the beast is given authority and power to continue for 42 months; as he persecutes the saints; who are given into his hands for a time, times and half a time!
But even Daniel didn’t understand it
8 Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, “My lord, what shall be the end of these things?” 9 And he said, “Go your way Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.”
As the world draws near the end the prophecy opens. We will come back to the 3 ½ years, but let’s continue to look at the rest of Daniel 11 which focuses on the last leader, the vile one and his dealings and character.
36 Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. 37 He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. 38 But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. 39 Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.
Here again, there is no reference to an invasion of Jerusalem by Rome, but verses 36 & 37 are classic antichrist—doing as he pleases, exalting and magnifying himself, “I am god”, while openly cursing the true God. He shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished for what has been determined shall be done. Seemingly invincible, unstoppable, prospering in all he sets his hands to. The wrath here is not God’s wrath. It’s the wrath and rage of the dragon and the beast against God and His own. God’s wrath comes after the tribulation, after the elect are taken out, after the persecutions are stopped, at the 7th and last trumpet. (2 Thessalonians 1:4-10, Revelation 11:15-18)
Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him? (Revelation 13:4) It says he will have no interest in the religion or god of his people for he exalts himself. Then it turns around to say he does have one god—the god of fortresses. (in the King James it says the god of forces) What kind of god is this? It is clear the antichrist will be a man of war. Will this be his god? Will he worship power? Paying homage and bowing down to the god of forces?
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 the Nubians in submission. 44 But reports from the east and north will alarm him, and he will set out in 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.
At the time of the end the king of the south will engage him in battle—here we see another time reference to the prophecy. Also, back in verse 35 where it says those of understanding will fall to refine them, purify them, and make them white until the time of the end; because it is for a time appointed.
Here we see the nations falling under the boot of the vile one as he consolidates his power, as he sweeps through the nations like a flood. We see his dynamo spirit, as he storms out against the king of the south, and sets out in great rage to destroy and annihilate many. The magnitude of this animal…remember Jesus said if the end was not cut short no flesh would be saved. He will go out and subdue the earth with his god of forces, which would include nuclear warfare.
On that fateful day in 1945 in the desert of New Mexico; as the ground trembled, and the mushroom cloud from the first successful detonation of an atomic bomb ascended into the heavens; Robert Oppenheimer said a verse from the Bhagavad-Gita, the Hindu Scriptures came to his mind. Vishnu in an effort to impress the prince to do his bidding takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds’. The nuclear weapons we feared would get into the hands of a madman will indeed come into the possession of the worst of all crazed animals; the demon possessed, war insane leader of the last days. Who will be unhesitant to put to death by any means all who will not bow down and worship him!
Five times in Revelation 13 worship is mentioned—but not of God, but rather to the dragon and the beast! The end-time regime will be the ultimate in-your-face rebellion and contempt against Almighty God, Lord and Creator. Satan and friends pinnacle of pride and insubordination. The beast will demand to be worshiped as god. An image will be made to him that will come to life and speak (no doubt computerized) and the masses will bow down, and be branded, and enslaved into his 666 dark order. (read Revelation 13) Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him. Possible the vilest of all who will ever terrorize the face of the earth, yet he has his end. And to, those who worship this beastly one and his image; the multitudes, as they are consigned to be one of his own, marked and branded; as they are bowing down in unisons; what will they do when they see the clouds parting? They boast, “what do we have to do with this Son of Man, this King of Kings?” “Let us break His bands in pieces and cast away His cords from us.” Where will be the parades, where are the welcoming parties at His return? But it will be the-end-of-time at Jesus Christ’s second coming: for the saints, for the beast, for those taken out and for those left behind. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Matthew 24:37-41
The ancient world knew God’s wrath. The ark was a sign of the times, a witness to the people that the end was near. Yet they continued to eat, drink, and be merry, and would not turn from their wickedness.
The ark was the way of salvation. God in his mercy provides an Ark. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) The Father in his love sent the Son to bring back fallen man unto himself. Come…the door is open. Immediately after the great tribulation the Ark is shut. No more can enter in, and those in will be taken out, and those left behind will have to face the indignation and wrath of God. (for further study on this transition period, and the demise of the dragon and the beast; the transition of the kingdoms of this world to the kingdom of the Son and the Saint please read Revelation 15:15-18, 19:11-21, Psalm 2)