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Daniel Chapters Ten – Twelve

Events in the last three chapters of Daniel are of one vision.  They are the most detailed of all the chapters in his book as they foretell the future.  Most of this prophecy has been fulfilled but it was prophetic at the time when it was written.  It begins in Daniel’s day, and culminates by ushering in the Millennium Kingdom of the last days.  It is important to realize that Daniel’s people and God’s people are in view during some of the most difficult days of their persecution – after they have returned to Jerusalem and fall under the reign of the Greeks.

Daniel Chapter Ten

Angels of the Nations

Two years have pasted since Cyrus gave permission for a small group of Jews to return to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel.  Daniel was given a vision, which he understood.  But Daniel was troubled by it.  He apparently had retired from government service and was standing by the Tigris River.  Daniel was so troubled that he had gone into a fast and deep mourning for three weeks.  During this time no meat or wine went into his mouth.

After three weeks, a heavenly being came and stood before Daniel.  “I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz.  His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.  Therefore I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength.  Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground” (Daniel 10:5-9).

There are various interpretations for this Heavenly Messenger.  Some believe that he is seeing the transfiguration of Christ.  There is a very close resemblance to the vision of Christ in Revelation chapter one.  Others believe that He is probably an angel.  Notice that Daniel fell on the ground and that Daniel is unconscious.

As Daniel lay on the ground an angel touched him and told him to get up and to standup.  Some bible scholars believe that the angel is the same heavenly beings that he saw in the above verses. ” Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia”  (Daniel 10:12-13). 

These verses give us insight into the spiritual war that is going on in the unseen world about us.  The prince of the kingdom of Persia is a warrior in Satan’s army.   He seems to be in charge of the nation of Persia and had more power than the angel sent by God to Daniel.  The Archangel, Michael, who had more authority, came to open up the way for the angel to get to Daniel.  Adam has given the kingdoms of the earth to Satan and apparently Satan has placed fallen beings over the control of these nations.  We don’t realize how serious this spiritual warfare is.

These verses also shed light on how serious the message is.  Satan has gone to battle to keep Daniel from receiving the message from God.  No wonder so many have tried to assign the writings of Daniel to a later writer.  Yet, Jesus affirms the authorship of the book in Matthew chapter 24. 

Now the angel tells Daniel why he has come.  “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” (Daniel 10:14).  In chapter eleven we will see that the message has application in the short term (next 300 years) and the long term (over 2000 years).  After this Daniel became very weak and a Heavenly Messenger touched him to strengthen him.

“And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.  Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come.  But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince” (Daniel 10:19-21).

We now see that Satan also has lieutenants over each of the nations, as the heavenly messenger must now fight against the “prince of Greece”.

 

Daniel Chapter Eleven

Kings of the North and Kings of the South

The prophecies of Daniel are progressive in their explanations of detail.  We find in this chapter very detail descriptions of the warfare between two warring groups of the Greek Empire.  Palestine will become the battleground as these two kings battle over the control of the territory and the Jews are caught in the middle.

We will now look at what the messenger told Daniel.  “And now I will 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. 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 among his posterity nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others besides these” (Daniel 11:2-4).

We again see the prophecy stating that the Greeks under Alexander the Great would overthrow the Medo-Persians.  After the death of Alexander the kingdom was divided into four territories under Alexander’s four generals.  Ptolemy (king of the south) was given Egypt and Seleucus (king of the north) was given Syria.  Verses 4 through 20 describe the war over a period of 140 years.  Verse 21 introduces us to the tyrant, Antiochus Epiphanes, a king of the north, who came to power in 175 BC.

“And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue” (Daniel 11:21).  Antiochus Epiphanes was a type of the Antichrist and he persecuted the Jews in Jerusalem more than anyone had ever persecuted them before and maybe since – only the suffering under the Antichrist will be greater.  He came into Jerusalem and desecrated the Jewish temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar.

“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.  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.  And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering.  Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue.  And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.”  (Daniel 11:31-35).

The “Abomination of Desolation” refers to the desecration of the temple.  There are many parallels between Antiochus Epiphanes and what is told us about the Antichrist. 

Between verse 35 and 36 there is an interval of many centuries.  Now the Antichrist is to be introduced.

“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. 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.  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.  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”  (Daniel 11:36-39).

We have more details of the Antichrist in these verses in chapter eleven than we have anywhere else in the Old Testament.   Only Revelations gives us more detail.

“At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through.  He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon.  He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape.  He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.  But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.  And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him”  (Daniel 11:40-45).

These verses detail the last days of the reign of the Antichrist as the war of Armageddon begins.  The references to “Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon” are the Arab nations.  The king of the north is now Russia and the king of the south is the nations of Africa.

 

Daniel Chapter Twelve

The End of Time

This chapter continues with the vision in chapter eleven.  When the book was written there probably was not a chapter break.  This chapter closes out events of the last days.

This chapter continues with a picture of the great tribulation. “”At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of 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, Every one who is found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1).

We see the Archangel Michael has come to assist the Jews who are living at this time.  With all the persecution of the past it is difficult to understand how the Jews can suffer more during the great tribulation.  Jeremiah refers to the time as “Jacob’s trouble”.  “Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, But he shall be saved out of it. ‘For it shall come to pass in that day,’ Says the LORD of hosts, ‘That I will break his yoke from your neck, And will burst your bonds; Foreigners shall no more enslave them” (Jer 30:7-8).

Both Daniel and Jeremiah see the Jews being delivered out of this terrible persecution.  Jesus is coming back to fight their battle. In Matthew chapter 24, Jesus speaks of the same persecution. “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matt 24:21-22).  This helps us understand that the elect are the Jews and not the church.  The church will be raptured before this time.

 It is interesting that the next verses speak of the resurrection of the dead.  It reads as if both the body and the soul sleep but the new testaments makes it clear that the soul does not sleep.

“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.  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 12:2-3).

This resurrection is in two parts although it is not made clear in these verses.  The resurrection of Old Testament saints bodies will occur immediately after the Great Tribulation but the unsaved will not be raised until the Great White Throne Judgement which will occur after the 1000 year reign of Christ.  The church is not in this resurrection for they will be raptured before the tribulation.

The remaining verses are instructions to Daniel. “”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”  (Daniel 12:4).  Daniel is told to seal the book as much more must take place and be revealed before these words can be understood.  Jesus shed much light on these words but later He instructed the Apostle John to complete the details in the book of Revelation.

Now the time is given.  “And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?  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.  Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, “My lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.  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. And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days” (Daniel 12:6-11)

Again we see the time “a time, times, and half a time” given – a period of three and one half years – the second half of the last seven years.  Again Daniel is told to seal up the book.

“But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days” (Daniel 12:13).

Daniel is going to die and never fully understand all the he has seen but he is promised an inheritance when his body is resurrected.