DANIEL CHAPTER 11
ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES AND ANTICHRIST
(The confirmation of the reliability of Prophecy)
Prophecy is history written in advance. The purpose of Daniel 11 is to prepare God’s people for two great crises to come. The first crisis was the persecution of God’s people by Antiochus Epiphanes in the year 170 B.C. The second great crisis will be the persecution of God’s people by the Antichrist.
Daniel’s continues with his final vision which unveils an amazingly accurate description of the Inter-testament Period and prophecies concerning the Gentile nations. This time is also known as the 400 silent years from Malachi to Matthew when there was no divine communication from God. Daniel lived and wrote from 620 B.C. - 530 BC. In 537 BC He miraculously described the events which would occur in the 3rd and 2nd century BC, as well as what will occur in the end times. Because they are so historically accurate, some scholars believe another person wrote these prophecies in 150 B.C.
“Daniel 11 describes God's chastening of His people Israel. Because of their sinfulness Israel was taken captive into Babylon for seventy years. God sent an angel to show Daniel that that chastening will continue through the reign of the Antichrist to the return of the Messiah. Daniel 11:1-35 details the oppression of the land and people of Israel during the Persian and Greek eras.” (John McArthur). Remember, chapters 10-12 from one continuous vision and the purpose of this vision is given in Daniel 10:14 “Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come." (Daniel’s 70th week and the Second Coming.)
THE 400 SILENT YEARS AND PROPHECIES CONCERNING THE NATIONS from 530 B.C. – 150 B.C.
DANIEL PROPHESIES ABOUT ISRAEL’S HISTORY UNDER THE PERSIAN EMPIRE – XERXES (or AHASUERUS)
1 And in the first year of Darius the Mede (Persia 534 BC), I (Who?) took my stand to support and protect him (An angel of the Lord will stand for you! He is fighting the spiritual battle for us, but we need to ask.). 2"Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will appear in Persia, (Cambyses 529-522, Pseudo-Smerdis 522-521, Darius I the Great 521-486) and then a fourth (Xerxes or Ahasuerus, who became the husband of Esther. He reigned from 486-465 BC), who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. (The book of Esther opens with Xerxes hosting a six-month fair to display his wealth and military power. See Esther 1:4. And he did launch a great campaign against Greece from 481-479, which he lost and that was the beginning of the end of the power of Persia.)
DANIEL PROPHESIES ABOUT GREECE – ALEXANDER THE GREAT
3Then a mighty king will appear (Alexander the Great conquered the Medo Persian empire in 335 BC), who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. (He conquered the then known world in three short years.) 4After he has appeared, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds (his kingdom was divided in four different directions among four generals) of heaven. It will not go to his descendants (Alexander had no heir that could succeed him.), nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others. (Alexander’s empire was divided among his 4 generals; Cassander of Greece or Macedonia, Lysimichus of Turkey or Asia Minor, Seleucid of Syria-Babylon and Ptolemy of Egypt. The details of this was prophesied by Daniel 8:5-8.)
THE KINGS OF THE SOUTH (PTOLEMY/EGYPT) & THE NORTH (SELEUCIDS/SYRIA)
We are now given remarkable details of the historical conflict between two of four of Alexander’s generals; the Seleucids who controlled Syria and the Ptolemies who controlled Egypt. What nation and land lies between these two kingdoms? The land of Israel. These two branches of the Greek empire concerned the holy land and the conflict that lasted for ~160 years. Verses 5-20 contain some of the most detailed prediction of an historical nature in all the Word of God. Since subsequent history turned out to fit the predictions exactly, it is no wonder that liberal expositors, who deny the supernatural in the Bible, uniformly insisted that it must have been written after the history had transpired. But those who believe that God is able to reveal the future before it happens have no trouble accepting it as prophetic, especially since the internal and external evidence points to the fact that Daniel indeed wrote the book long before the events occurred.
5"The king of the South (Immediately after Alexander’s death, Ptolemy I of Egypt, 323-285 B.C. proved himself to be quite shrewd.) will become strong, but one of his commanders (One of Ptolemy’s generals, Seleucus I Nicator, returned to Babylon to establish his own kingdom, which became the kingdom of the north - Syria, 312-281 B.C.) will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power. (The purpose of these verses is to give an overview of history in advance so the people of God would be prepared for the coming of the first major crisis – Antiochus Epiphanies.)
6After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South (Bernice of Ptolemy II) will go to the king of the North (the grandson of Seleuces was Antiochus II of the Seleucids of Syria 262-246 B.C.) to make an alliance (Ptolemy gave his daughter Bernice in marriage to Antiochus II), but she will not retain her power, and he (Ptolemy II 285-246 B.C.) and his power will not last. In those days she (Queen Bernice) will be handed over (her husband Antiochus II poisoned her and her infant son were murdered), together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her (Ptolemy II died soon after giving her to Antiochus II). 7"One from her family line will arise to take her place (Ptolemy III 246-221 B.C., Bernice’s brother). He will attack the forces of the king of the North (a bit ticked by the murder of his sister, he attacked the Seleucids 146-141 BC) and enter his fortress; he will fight against them (the Seleucid armies) and be victorious (this was at the height of the Ptolemic power).8He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North (Seleucus II Callinicus 246-227 B.C.) alone.
ANTIOCHUS the GREAT (III)
9Then the king of the North (Seleucus II of Syria) will invade the realm of the king of the South (the Egyptian kingdom) but will retreat to his own country. 10His sons (Seleucus II had two sons, the older Seleucus III who died in battle and Antiochus III the Great 223-187 B.C. They engineered their military campaigns around Syria, but interestingly, ruled from Babylon.) will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress (this occurred in 219/18 BC).
11"Then the king of the South (Ptolemy IV Philopater 221-204 B.C.) will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North (Antiochus III the Great 223-187 B.C.), who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated (217 BC). 12When the army is carried off, the king of the South (Ptolemy IV Philopater) will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant (the decline of the Ptolemaic dynasty begins here).13For the king of the North (Antiochus III the Great) will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped.
14"In those times many will rise against the king of the South (Ptolemy V Epiphanes). The violent men among your own people (Israel – there was a revolt by a faction of Jewish men who gave their support to Antiochus) will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success. 15Then the king of the North (still Antiochus III – the great) will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city (Panium, near the sea of Galilee). The forces of the South (Egypt) will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand. 16The invader (Antiochus III the Great) will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land (Israel, Palestine) and will have the power to destroy it (to go into Palestine). 17He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South (Ptolemy V Epiphanes 204-181 B.C.) And he (Antiochus III the Great) will give him (Ptolemy V) a daughter (Cleopatra) in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom (Egypt), but his plans will not succeed or help him (Antiochus never did attack Egypt). 18Then he (still Antiochus III the Great) will turn his attention to the coastlands (a word in scripture used to designate all the lands across the Mediterranean Sea to the west of Israel e.g. Asia Minor and Greece) and will take many of them, but a commander (The new future power Rome - he was defeated by the Romans at Magnesia, Greece in 190 BC) will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back upon him. 19After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country (He came back home to Syria-Babylon) but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more (he was killed raiding and robbing a temple near modern day Kuwait after 36 years of reign). 20"His successor will send out a tax collector (His son Seleucus IV 187-176 B.C. sent out a tax collector who heavily taxed the people) to maintain the royal splendor (of the Syro-Babylon kingdom). In a few years, however, he (Seleucus IV reigned 11 years) will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle (His chief minister killed him).
ANTIOCHUS IV EPIPHANES/ANTICHRIST
When we get to verse 21 we are introduced to "a contemptible person" who is generally understood to be Antiochus Epiphanes, the wicked king from Syria/Babylon who viciously persecuted the Jews during the Maccabean period about 175-165 B.C.. He is infamous for putting a statue of Zeus in the Temple of God, sacrificing a pig on the altar, and butchering a large number of Jews.
While many Bible teachers correctly say that verses 21-35 describe the career of Antiochus IV Epiphanes 175 –163 B.C. He is so clearly a type of the Antichrist that these verses may also be given to us to provide insight into the character of Antichrist and his rise to power. The “near” prophecies about Antiochus will also be fulfilled as “far” prophecies about Antichrist. If that is the case, then this section gives many details associated with the first half of Daniel’s 70th week. In other words, the events will be repeated, representing a parallel or DOUBLE FULFILLMENT of prophecy; the past foretells the future. Daniel 11:21-35 prophecy represents the anti-Christ's activities prior to the successful (and future) invasion of Jerusalem, so that we have no less than eleven verses describing events BEFORE the midway point of the final seven years!! Let’s look at these verses (21-31) as if the Lord shared them for the purpose of allowing His final Church generation time enough to prepare.
ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES RISE TO POWER & PERSECUTION FORESHADOWS THE ANTICHRIST’S RISE TO POWER & PERSECUTION OF GOD’S PEOPLE
‘Epiphanes’ means the illustrious, bright, shining one. The Jews nicknamed him ‘Epimanes’ meaning the mad man.
Daniel 11:21-30 "He (Seleucus IV from Syria-Babylon) will be succeeded by a contemptible person (“the despised one,” not some wonderful Messiah. This is a double reference to Antiochus IV Epiphanes 175-163 B.C., who is the prototype type of the Antichrist. Again, Daniel identifies him with Syria/Babylon as in Dan. 8.) who has not been given the honor of royalty (very early in his rise, he will become a leader of a Syro-Babylon country against the will of the people). He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure (in a time of tranquility – 7 yr covenant), and he will seize it (the kingdom will be conquered as he takes peace from the earth) through (political) intrigue. 22Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him (a sizeable army will be overthrown as he comes to power); both it (the army) and a prince of the covenant (a leader of the nation he overthrows) will be destroyed. 23After coming to an agreement with him (the overthrown leader will seek an agreement with the Antichrist), he will act deceitfully (practice deception), and with only a few people (3 nations?) he will rise to power (at this point he is only the little horn of Dan 7, 8. He starts small but works his way up and becomes extremely powerful.). 24When the richest provinces feel secure (in a time of tranquility – beginning of Daniel’s 70th week), he will invade them (beginning to establish his 10 nation empire) and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did (previous Russian or Eastern European leaders never controlled the Middle East). He will distribute plunder, loot (booty from war) and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses (strongholds, he will overthrow surrounding countries in the Middle East as he forms his 10 nation empire, Ez 38)--but only for a time (only until he gets to his 10 nation confederacy).
25"With a large army he (Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria 175-163 B.C. or the Antichrist) will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South (Ptolemy VI Philometer 181-145 B.C. or in the beginning of the week Antichrist will humble the King of the South, Egypt). The king of the South (Egypt) will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand (against the Antichrist as he invades Egypt) because of the plots devised against him (by the Antichrist). 26Those who eat from the (Egyptian) king's provisions will try to destroy him (a conspiracy of intrigue set in motion by Antichrist?); his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle (but not all). 27The two kings (Antichrist and Egypt), with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table (peace talks) and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. 28The king of the North (Antichrist/Antiochus IV ~171 BC) will return to his own country (from Egypt) with great wealth (spoils of war), but his heart will be set against the holy covenant (The covenant between God and Israel. God promised to give Israel the land and to be a blessing to all nations see Gen 12.). He will take action against it (against God’s covenant) and then return to his own country (Antichrist has not yet conquered Israel and made Jerusalem his headquarters).
29"At the appointed time he (Antichrist) will invade the South again (a second invasion into Egypt), but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. (Why? Because…) 30Ships of the western coastlands (Kittim, Italy, Rome intervened when Antiochus attacked a second time) will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back (come back to Israel again) and vent his fury (Antichrist is furious and becomes enraged) against the holy covenant (God’s promises to Israel). He will return (Antichrist will come back against Israel) and show favor (and offer rewards) to those who forsake the holy covenant (bribing soldiers to join him as he surrounds Jerusalem).
At this point, approaching midweek, full control over Israel is achieved and the beast armies will begin to surround and converge upon the city of Jerusalem. The Lord warned that when we saw this event, the desolation of the nation was near. Luke 21:20 "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. DANIEL 11:31-45 gives more fresh insight into the details of Antichrist’s mid-week activities in the Middle East. Again, this is a case of Double Fulfillment, what has happened in the past, is a picture of what will be reality in the future.
Daniel 11:31-45 "His (Antichrist’s) armed forces will rise up (the soldiers of the end-time Antichrist will enter into Jerusalem) to desecrate the temple fortress (Since the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D. Jews have had no place for their ceremonial worship. Yet, end-times prophecy tell us that the Jews will resume traditional animal sacrifices prior to, or during, the rise of the Antichrist. He will bring an end to these sacrifices at midpoint of the 70th week and the temple sanctuary will be desecrated when Antichrist sets up an image of himself) and will abolish the daily sacrifice (He will break the 7 year covenant with Israel). Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation (this is the key event of Daniel’s 70th week spoken of by Jesus in Mt 24:15 see also 2 Thess 2, Rev 13). 32With flattery (manipulate with words, talking us into something that we had no intention of going so far) he (Antichrist) will corrupt those (turn all those that follow him to godlessness. He wants to kill, steal and destroy us) who have violated (act wickedly toward) the covenant, but the people who know their God (In Antiochus time the Jewish Maccabaeans family resisted ~168. Why? They knew their God. Do you know your God. Not your spouse, teacher, friend, pastor, in the end times, the people who KNOW THEIR GOD…) will firmly resist him (true believers will not faint and display strength and take action, but they have to KNOW THEIR GOD!!!).
33"Those who are wise (those Christians who KNOW THEIR GOD who have insight and understand the end times and the prophetic Scriptures) will instruct many (provide understanding about the end times), though for a time they will fall (faint, stumble during persecution. God allows his people to experience hard things) by the sword (as they endure the Great Tribulation, Mt 10, martyrdom of the 5th seal) or be burned (fire can either destroy or purify see 1 Cor 3:13) or captured (prison) or plundered. (The Great Tribulation has begun. The purpose of the Great Tribulation is to test and purify believers. This is Antichrist’s wrath, which is empowered by Satan see Rev 12:7-17. These are the seal judgments, a time of trial and purification for His children. Read the 7 letters to the 7 churches in Rev 2,3. We are to be “overcomers” during this period of testing. Many in the church will be spiritually unprepared for the 70th week.)34When they fall, they will receive a little help (when the enemy can’t beat us, he joins us. He joins ministry to cause destruction from the inside), and many who are not sincere will join them (When the church finds itself in the midst of world war, natural disasters, famine and persecution under the Antichrist, there is the danger that many professing Christians will stumble. The false Christians will offer insincere help, questioning the Word of God, as they do not know the truth about the sequence of the end times events.). 35Some of the wise (those with understanding of the end times events) will stumble (some with insight will fall and die as they endure the perilous times of the Great Tribulation.), so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. (Persecution should purify, not harden the hearts of true believers.)
“We can substantiate the historical accuracy of the prophecy in Daniel 11 up to verse 35. After that we have no historical data to explain Daniel verses 36-45. Also, there is no indication that the events recorded in those verses were fulfilled during the life of Antiochus Epiphanes.” John McArthur.
THE ANTICHRIST – another individual we must firmly resist!
36 "The king (Antichrist) will do as he pleases (The Antichrist will be all the evil power of Ahasuerus, Alexander, Antiochus the Great, and Antiochus Epiphanes combined into one person.). He will exalt and magnify himself above every god (falsely declaring himself God) and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods (He will blaspheme Jesus, Rev 13). He will be successful (the final world ruler) until the time of wrath is completed (until the 70th week is complete, specifically the last 3 ½ years), for what has been determined must take place (the completion of the times of the Gentiles). 37He (Antichrist) will show no regard for the gods of his fathers (The false religious gods of Mystery Babylon passed down through history including the Gentile gods of Rome, Greece, Persia, Babylon, Assyria, Egypt, all the way back to ancient Babylon.) or for the one desired by women (the virgin born Messiah, the true God), nor will he regard any god (Antichrist will be an atheist), but will exalt himself above them all (no regard for any of them, but will proclaim himself God, his character is similar to Antiochus Epiphanes). 38Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses (a god of warfare and military force); a god unknown to his fathers (a foreign god, Satan? Powerful weapon? The occult?) he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god (Satan, or possibly Mystery Babylon, the false religious system that originated in Babylon see Rev 17, 18) and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price (the price of their souls).
THE ANTICHRIST’S KINGDOM IS UNSTABLE IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE WEEK
40"At the time of the end (we are still in the beginning of the week and Antichrist’s 10 nation kingdom is not yet stable… feet of iron and clay. see Daniel 2:43) the king of the South (Egypt) will engage him in battle, and the king of the North (Apparently, Antichrist is having some trouble with one of the nations in the North as well. Initially, his kingdom will come from the north of Israel, possible Russia or Eastern Europe and conquer three nations, Iran, Iraq, Syria – see Ezekiel 38) will storm out against him (Antichrist) with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships (an army with the sophisticated weaponry of the day). He (Antichrist, who has set up his base in the Palestinian area, goes on the attack and is beginning to surround Jerusalem.) will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. 41He (Antichrist) will also invade the Beautiful Land (Israel). Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon (all 3 are a part of modern day Jordan, just south and east of the Dead sea.) will be delivered from his hand. (They will escape the hand of Antichrist – it is this area the Jews may flee to upon the Abomination of Desolation.)42He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt (he will defeat Egypt), with the Libyans (he will defeat the Libyans) and Nubians (Ethiopians) in submission (an attack on Northern Africa and his 10 nation kingdom is coming together see Ezekiel 38). 44But reports from the east (Iraq?) and the north (Syria, Iran?) will alarm him (possibly another reference to instability among his 10 nations, another indication his kingdom is unstable in the beginning of the week as he tries to assimilate the nations of the world politically), and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many (He brings them into submission). 45He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain (On Mount Moriah, i.e. the temple mount in Jerusalem, he sets up his capital/palace between the Med. And Dead Sea). Yet he will come to his end (his death), and no one will help him (but, his end will not come until the end of the week at Armageddon).
All these events occur as we approach the middle of Daniel’s 70th week and the Antichrist is bringing his empire together.