End Times Study Part II
Daniel Chapters 2, 7-12
The city of Jerusalem had been conquered in 587 B.C. by Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar and
the majority of it's population had been deported to far-off Babylon as prisoners, a common
practice of the time. The purposes of such deportation served several ends, namely to depopulate
the conquered city as a punishment, hold it's citizens hostage to prevent future rebellion, bring
the skilled craftsmen of the city into the conquering country so they might enrich the conqueror's
culture, and to populate the royal court with conquered nobles as advisors and courtiers, both to
bring their wisdom to the royal court and to remind them that they were a subjugated people.
1 Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him.
2 Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.
3 And the king said to them, "I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream."
4 Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, "O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation."
5 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, "My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap.
6 However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation."
7 They answered again and said, "Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation."
8 The king answered and said, "I know for certain that you would gain time, because you see that my decision is firm:
9 if you do not make known the dream to me, there is only one decree for you! For you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the time has changed. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation."
10 The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, "There is not a man on earth who can tell the king's matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean.
11 It is a difficult thing that the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh."
12 For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
13 So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them.
Nebuchadnezzar was a cruel but shrewd ruler, as shown by this interesting dialogue with his soothsayers (diviners), sorcerers, and Chaldeans (astrologers).He puts them to the test with his dream puzzle thereby seeing if they are really servants of the gods that he worshiped, or mere deceivers playing and sponging off of his superstitions. He promises them great wealth and honor if they are able to answer his riddle, and immediate grisly death to them and permanent dishonor to their families if they fail.
Needless to say, that put the priests in a no-win situation to which Nebuchadnezzar responded
with a tyrant's rage. His solution? Destroy all of the wise men of Babylon, including those
imported from conquered nations.
14 Then with counsel and wisdom Daniel answered Arioch, the captain of the king's guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon;
15 he answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, "Why is the decree from the king so urgent?" Then Arioch made the decision known to Daniel.
16 So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the
The urgency of the king's command was apparently part of the Babylonian (Chaldean) culture and this was well-known by the nations that had dealings with them. As God Himself prophesied through Habakkuk:
For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, a bitter and hasty nation which marches through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs.
One has to really admire Daniel here for his courage. He has literally put his life on the line,
telling the king that he will be able to interpret the dream, making this statement on faith alone,
not knowing whether God will grant him the knowledge he needed.
17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:
18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
Note: Daniel, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abed-nego) prayed for
their own lives, not the lives of the other wise men. That was a common mentality of the time, as
the heathen sorcerers didn't serve God but served demons, a fact of which the three men were
19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
20 Daniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His.
21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.
22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.
23 "I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers;
You have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of You, for You have made known to us the king's demand."
24 Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: "Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; take me before the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation."
25 Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king, and said thus to him, "I have found a man of the captives of Judah, who will make known to the king the interpretation."
An insight into the nature of the king's captain of the guard is given here, for he brought Daniel before the king "in haste". Apparently he didn't like the decree set forth by his lord, but was bound by his oath of loyalty to the king to carry it out. I also suspect that he liked Daniel and his friends very much, and was loath to carry out the decree for that reason.
One can only imagine the tension in the court as Daniel stood before the king; Nebuchadnezzar
grimly staring into Daniel's eyes, skepticism of Daniel's ability to fulfill his promise plain on his
face; the court magicians, soothsayers and astrologers standing in the back of the throne room,
shaking and sweating with fear; Arioch watching nervously, fearing that Daniel may fail, forcing
him to carry out the king's edict and knowing the king's mercurial temper, perhaps forfeit his
own life as well.
26 The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, "Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?"
27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, "The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king.
28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these:
29 As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be.
30 But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than
anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that
you may know the thoughts of your heart.
Note that here Daniel gives a subtle rebuke to the king, by telling him that what he had requested
was not possible for any human agency to fulfill. But he also gives immediate credit to the One
who is able to fulfill the request. And Daniel is careful not to take any credit for himself, even
though he indeed could have, but gives God all of the glory and honor, to whom it truly belonged.
31 "You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome.
32 This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,
33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
34 You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.
35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
36 "This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king.
I would have given much to be able to see the look on Nebuchadnezzar's face when Daniel told
him this!!! There must have been a loud smack as the king's jaw hit the floor. Not only was
Daniel able to tell the king his dream, but had also told him what his thoughts were before he
went to sleep, which I am certain that Nebuchadnezzar did remember, even though he had
forgotten the dream that followed. I can also imagine Arioch seeing the expression on the king's
face, and stifling a delighted and relieved grin in his beard.
37 You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory;
38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all--you are this head of gold.
39 But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.
40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.
41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay.
42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.
43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.
44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
45 Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold--the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure."
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him.
47 The king answered Daniel, and said, "Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret."
48 Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler
over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of
This must have been quite a sight to see! The greatest king of the mightiest empire of his time,
falling on his face in worship before an imported slave from a conquered country! I can imagine
the court priests and astrologers collapsing in relief, Arioch openly grinning in delight, the
confusion of the queen at her husband's state, the court officials standing in open-mouthed awe.
Quite a picture!
Those familiar with the Bible will note an interesting parallel here between Daniel, and Joseph,
the son of Jacob who was sold as a slave into Egypt, and who rose to be second only to Pharaoh
in power in the kingdom, just as Daniel became second in power to Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon.
In both cases, it was the interpretation of a ruler's dream that catapulted the young men to power,
and that only by their absolute and unswerving faith in their God. Would our faith be that strong
in the same situations?
However, we must hold off on the meaning of the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream for a
bit, for it is reiterated in somewhat different form in Daniel chapter 7 below.
1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his
head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts.
The time frame here takes place some years later. King Nebuchadnezzar was dead, and his son
Nabonidus, while being king, didn't live in Babylon but chose to live in a distant Arabian oasis.
As such Nabonidus' son Belshazzar ruled Babylon in his place as the crown prince. Thus when
Daniel had interpreted the famous writing on the wall, (Daniel chapter 5) Belshazzar commanded
that Daniel be made the "third ruler of the kingdom." If Belshazzar had truly been king, he would
have made Daniel the second ruler of the kingdom as Nebuchadnezzar had done. But since
Nabonidus was the legal king, forcing Belshazzar to rule in his father's absence as regent, thus
Daniel became the third in line in the chain of command. Truly Scripture pays attention to detail!
And in this chapter we see a convergence of the dreams of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar. We will
now take a closer look at the identical meanings of both dreams, and several important differences.
2 Daniel spoke, saying, "I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven
were stirring up the Great Sea.
When bodies of water like the sea are mentioned in prophecy, it is usually speaking of multitudes
of people. In this case, Daniel is seeing the winds of conflicting political change causing tumult
among masses of people, very much like what is happening today.
3And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.
4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man's heart was given to it.
Here we see the first parallel between the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar's statue and Daniel's beasts. The lion and the head of gold are the same, representing Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom. As gold is a rich, royal metal, and the lion is a strong kingly beast, so is Nebuchadnezzar portrayed here. The wings are representative of the speed in which he conquered the known earth of his time, and the man's heart is representative of the fact that he, Nebuchadnezzar was the power behind this mighty kingdom. The plucked wings represented a time when the king would cease his conquests and settle down to rule his mighty kingdom.
Nebuchadnezzar had been a cruel, fearsome tyrant before this and had conquered much of the known world with incredible speed, represented by the wings. Thus Daniel saw the winged lion in it's strength, but it had a beast's heart. However, after God drove Nebuchadnezzar insane for seven years because of his vanity and pride (Daniel chapter 4), he then humbled himself before God, acknowledging Him as supreme and proclaiming before his people that his kingship came from God alone, not from his own works as he'd previously boasted. His cruel and bestial heart was changed afterward, as shown by the man's heart being given to him.
After the king's repentance God then added to his glory, and there is no further mention of
Nebuchadnezzar ever conquering any more territory. Thus the lion was lifted upright (glorified) a
man's heart was given to it (Nebuchadnezzar's repentance and change of heart), and the wings
plucked (no further conquering expeditions).
(It is interesting to note that excavations of Babylon have uncovered large statues of winged lions with a king's head (probably Nebuchadzezzar's) throughout the city.
5 "And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: 'Arise, devour much flesh!'
This equates to the chest and arms of silver that Nebuchadnezzar saw. This kingdom would
succeed his, and while glorious, would not attain to the splendor of Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon,
just as a bear, while powerful, is not as regal as a lion. And history shows that Babylon fell to a
coalition of Medes, Elamites and Persians (the three ribs) in 539 B.C., under the command of
Cyrus the Great.
Babylon had been considered impregnable, surrounded by massive walls, straddling the
Euphrates river, and it's rulers Nabonidus (son of Nebuchadnezzar) and Belshazzar (son of
Nabonidus) had become lax. The night that crown prince Belshazzar saw the writing on the wall
(Daniel chapter 5), in a remarkable feat of engineering the Persians diverted the Euphrates river
and came up under the walls of Babylon from the empty riverbed and captured the city from
The bear raising itself up on one side represents the fact that the Persians became stronger than
the Medes (and Elamites, although not specifically mentioned in Daniel), and conquered (or
absorbed) them, creating a unified empire (shown in chapter 8, which we'll discuss later).
6 "After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.
This parallels the stomach and thighs of bronze of Nebuchadnezzar's statue, but with an interesting twist that Nebuchadnezzar's statue didn't show. The Persian empire came to an end in 331 B.C., when Alexander the Great and the Greek army under his command defeated the last Persian king, Darius III, prophesied by an angel in Daniel 11:1-2 below
1 "Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him.
2 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.
With the defeat of the Persian empire, Alexander the Great became the first king of the coming
Greek empire. (He is also spoken of again in Daniel chapter 8, which will be dealt with shortly).
He is the leopard that Daniel saw in the vision, and again the wings represent the speed in which
Alexander and his four generals conquered his empire.
However, Alexander died of pneumonia in 323 B.C. at the age of 33. When asked who would
inherit the kingdom, to protect the lives of his wife and infant son he said, "let it be given to the
strongest", at which time his four generals each tore a piece of the kingdom for himself, and
causing wars between their descendants that would last for hundreds of years. Thus the four
heads of the leopard (Alexander's generals) that were shown to Daniel. (A more detailed vision
of this is given in chapter 8).
7 "After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible,
exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and
trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it,
and it had ten horns.
This fourth kingdom, represented by the legs and feet of iron in Nebuchadnezzar's dream and the
dreadful beast seen by Daniel, was the Roman Empire which conquered Greece in 146 B.C.. A
brutal, ruthless, seemingly unstoppable military machine, the Roman juggernaut crushed
everything in it's way to establish an empire that lasted from approximately 150 B.C. to 395
A.D., a span of over 500 years, much as iron crushes silver, gold and bronze. (Rome had been a
regional superpower after destroying its rival Carthage in 146 B.C. and invaded Greece that same
year. At that time it was still a Republic. It wasn't until 27 B.C. that it declared itself Imperial
Rome under Caesar Augustus)
All four empires ruled over the tiny nation of Israel (tiny by the standards of the empires that
ruled over it), yet it outlasted all of them. Granted, Israel was destroyed as a nation by the
Romans in 70 A.D., but Israel again exists today as a nation, whereas the old empires are nothing
but ruins and notes in history.
...and it had ten horns. Here we have a major change in the visions. While the 10 toes of iron
mixed with clay were mentioned on the statue of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, they were not
mentioned as a separate entity. Here Daniel sees ten horns which correspond the 10 toes of the statue.
There were 10 nations in the European sphere of influence that Rome controlled at the height of
its power. This future ten-nation confederacy will form the last world-dominating empire of the
Antichrist, and will be the empire that Jesus (the Rock which smashed the statue) will destroy
upon His return as we shall see in a bit.
8 I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among
them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this
horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.
Now the prophecy jumps to the far future, or in our case, the near future. In this part of the
vision, the toes of Nebuchadnezzar's statue and the horns of Daniel's beast come into play. In
each case, they are future (present-day to us) remnants of the previous empire (Rome) that had
ruled over Israel. Remember this beast incorporated and ruled over the territories of the previous
empires (Babylonian, Persian, Greek).
This also indicates that the 10 toes of the statue being comprised of iron and clay will be 7
toes of iron and 3 of clay. The 3 toes will be 3 nations that will be overthrown by the
Antichrist when he rises (the little horn) . The other 7 nations represented by the 7 toes of
iron will strongly support him.
The reason why I know that this is still a future event, is that the empires mentioned in Daniel
were only mentioned in Scripture for as long as they affected Israel as a nation (or Judah after
the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel). That is why nations like Germany and
England are not mentioned, for while the Nazis did indeed slaughter the Jews wholesale in the
Holocaust, and the British fought to keep the Jews out of Palestine during and after WW II, they
did not affect Israel as an established nation! Germany was defeated three years before Israel
established itself, and the British pulled out of Palestine right after Israel declared itself to be a
sovereign nation in 1948.
The ten horns and the ten toes in this vision correspond to nations in Europe that were under
Roman domination. Currently other nations are part of the European Union, but were not under
Roman domination. Scripture states that there will be ten nations which will fall under his
domination when the Antichrist takes power. And when three of the European nations resist his
control (see the study on WW III, End Times Part I), they will be taken by force, shown by the
three horns being plucked up by the roots, and the toes being partially of iron, and partially of
clay. Seven toes of iron, and three of clay. Seven strong rulers, three puppet rulers.
9 "I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire;
10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands
ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was
seated, and the books were opened.
The vision now turns to the Great Judgement of the non-believers that will occur at the end of Jesus' Earthly rule. God the Father (the Ancient of Days) has given authority to Jesus to be the Judge of mankind,
22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,
23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
so here it seems that the Father will be a silent witness as Jesus judges those before Him. The
'thousand thousands' are the redeemed believers, the "ten thousand times ten thousand" standing
before Him are those who died in their sins.
11 "I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame.
12 As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.
This refers to the destruction of the Antichrist (the little horn) and his kingdom. He will be thrown into the Lake of Fire while still alive, as we will see in the study of the End Times Part IV. Here at last is the explanation of the rock that Nebuchadnezzar saw, a rock which struck the toes of the statue, and crumbled it to dust. Jesus is the Rock that will put an end to the last empire, that of the Antichrist upon His return.
The nations that formed his kingdom will have their power taken away, but will be allowed to
continue to exist for a time afterward, under the control of Jesus and the resurrected saints (us).
"I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.
14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.
This shows Jesus receiving His kingdom from the hand of His Father after He destroys the
Antichrist and prepares to rule the Earth. When He returns He will rule over the Earth for 1,000
years, along with the resurrected believers.
6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death
has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a
15 "I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
16 I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things:
17 'Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth.
18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.'
Here Daniel is told the meaning of the beasts. But he is also quickly told that the saints (those
who will be resurrected when Jesus returns) will possess the kingdom forever.
19 "Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet;
20 and the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows.
21 "I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them,
22 until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.
THIS IS THE FIRST MENTION OF THE GREAT PERSECUTION THAT JESUS
WARNED US ABOUT IN;
21 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.
22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake
those days will be shortened.
Note also, this persecution and destruction will be allowed to continue until Jesus returns to put
an end to the reign of terror, and that only after the Ancient of Days (God the Father) takes His
seat and gives Jesus permission to destroy the Antichrist and rule His Earthly kingdom.This
means that Christians will go through the tribulation, and these events will occur before the
Rapture. Keep this in mind, we'll deal more with the rapture issue later in these studies.
(And before you who believe in the pre or mid-tribulation rapture get incensed at me, please go through the entire four-study series on the End Times first. I will be explaining the timing of the "rapture" throughout the series, and I think you might be surprised at what you find out).
The Antichrist will be allowed to destroy the Christians and Jews who do not bow to him, or receive his Mark.
16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,
17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.
Many believe that the "Mark" will be a microchip which will be placed under the skin, but if you
read carefully, Scripture says it will be a mark, his name, or the number of his name. It will
more than likely be a tattoo, something easily visible to law enforcement. (Remember, the Jews
of WWII were tattooed for identification. More on this issue in the study of the book of
Revelation - End Times Part IV)
23 "Thus he said: 'The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces.
24 The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; he shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings.
25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.
The brutal, ruthless Roman Empire finally empire fell in circa A.D. 395, and has not risen to
power again since that time. And the events described in verse 24 have yet to happen. Some have
tried to refer it to the Caesars, but there is no Caesar who overcame three other ruling Caesars
anywhere in history. So this refers to a future event.
And here also is the crux of the entire vision. The Antichrist will arise out of the remnants
of the old Roman empire, namely 10 nations joined together in a tight Federation. He will
overcome three of the nations by force, will rule the entire world and will wage war against
the Christians and Jews for three and a half years (time, times, and the dividing of time).
At the end of this period, Jesus will return to destroy the kingdom of the Antichrist, and
will set up his 1,000 year reign over the Earth.
26 'But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever.
27 Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole
heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an
everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.'
Again, the promise is given to Christians that the Antichrist and his Satanic kingdom will be
destroyed, and the saints of God will be given the kingdom. But ONLY when the Father sets the
time for Jesus to return. Like Jesus Himself said,
36 But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father
32 But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
1 In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me--to me, Daniel--after the one that appeared to me the first time.
2 I saw in the vision, and it so happened while I was looking, that I was in Shushan, the citadel, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in the vision that I was by the River Ulai.
3 Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last.
4 I saw the ram pushing westward, northward, and southward, so that no animal could
withstand him; nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to
his will and became great.
Belshazzar was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, ruling as king of Babylon. The ram refers here
to the Persian empire, consisting of the Medes and Persians, with the Medes rising first, but with
the Persians later becoming dominant over the Medes. (Remember Daniel's previous vision; the
bear rising up on one side with the three ribs in it's mouth - the ribs being a coalition of Persians,
Medes, and Elamites; and the chest and arms of silver in Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the statue.)
5 And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.
6 Then he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power.
7 And I saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage against him, attacked the
ram, and broke his two horns. There was no power in the ram to withstand him, but he
cast him down to the ground and trampled him; and there was no one that could deliver
the ram from his hand.
The Persian empire had become old, and decadent. They had been in power for over 200 years,
and had become lax, thinking that they had no enemies foolish enough to attack them. And
remember that an angel had prophesied that the last king of Persia would attack the Greeks.
Greek general Alexander the Great (the he-goat) fielded an army of forty thousand men, and
defeated a Persian force of over two million men which had been set against him, spelling the
end of the Persian empire. Note also that Daniel describes the goat as not touching the ground as
he traveled. This again indicates the speed in which Alexander conquered his enemies.
8 Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was
broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven.
Remember Daniel's vision of the leopard with the four heads and the four wings. Alexander was the great horn, showing himself to be the leader of what would become the mighty Greek Empire (the stomach and thighs of brass in Nebuchadnezzar's statue). And immediately after his death, four of his generals ripped the empire into four pieces, and each took a piece for themselves.
Two ruling dynasties came out of this split that would effect Judah for several hundred years, namely the Seleucids (descendants of Greek general Seleucus Nicator I, who grabbed Syria, Persia, Babylon and most of Palestine) and the Ptolemies (descendants of Greek general Ptolemy Soter, who grabbed Egypt).
Constant wars between these two antagonistic dynasties caused Judah to change hands between
them several times, and caused much suffering to the Jews and surrounding peoples.
9 And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land.
10 And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them.
11 He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.
12 Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered.
13 Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, "How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?"
14 And he said to me, "For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be
This 'little horn' is the despicable Seleucid conqueror Antiochus IV Ephiphanes, who conquered Judah in 167 B.C. He was extremely enamored with himself and believed himself to be a son of Zeus. He even went so far as to mint coins with a picture of his head on the front side, having goat horns sprouting from his head, signifying himself as the son of the Greek god. The coins were inscribed "Antiochou Theou Epiphanou", meaning roughly "Antiochus, God made manifest", hence the name "Epiphanes". His men however, labeled him "Epimanes" (madman) behind his back.
His casting down some of the stars to the ground means he would be backed by Satan, who in the book of Revelation is depicted as a dragon whose tail swept 1/3 of the stars to the ground, showing Satan having taken 1/3 of the angels of Heaven with him when he was thrown out of Heaven after his rebellion.
He tried to force Greek culture on the Jews, a process called "Hellenization". When many resisted, he became enraged and slaughtered thousands of them, captured the Temple and, dedicated it to Zeus, sacrificed swine to Zeus on the altar, (an abomination to God and the Jews), and set up an idol of Zeus on the altar, demanding that the Jews worship it. When they refused, he slaughtered them wholesale for approximately 6.3 years (2300 days).
However many Jews liked Greek customs and culture and joined Antiochus, fulfilling verse 12 above. Greek culture still existed in Jesus' day and generated the aristocratic sect of the Sadducees in the New Testament.
However, exiled Jewish priest Judas Maccabeus and his sons staged a revolt in the desert, and after a series of attacks drove Antiochus' armies from Palestine, around 161 B.C. The Temple was then cleansed and rededicated, giving us the yearly winter celebration of Chanukah (Hanukkah), the Feast Of Lights in December.
Channukah was also celebrated during Jesus' time nearly 200 years later;
22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.
23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon's porch.
24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, "How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly."
15 Then it happened, when I, Daniel, had seen the vision and was seeking the meaning, that suddenly there stood before me one having the appearance of a man.
16 And I heard a man's voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, "Gabriel, make this man understand the vision."
17 So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end."
18 Now, as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me, and stood me upright.
19 And he said, "Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation; for at the appointed time the end shall be.
20 The ram which you saw, having the two horns--they are the kings of Media and Persia.
21 And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king.
22 As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise
out of that nation, but not with its power.
The meaning of the verses above is self-explanatory. Note that even though Daniel sees the angel
Gabriel, there is no mention of wings on the angel. In fact Daniel states that he had the
appearance of a man. Angels do NOT have wings.
The next set of verses below become somewhat confusing, as they seemingly refer to both the
Antichrist and Antiochus IV Epiphanies, showing that Antiochus is a prototype of the Antichrist.;
23 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a
king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.
This refers to the rise of Antiochus Epiphanes. He would be powerful, and would understand dark intrigues. It is interesting to note that the word for "dark sentences" is the Greek word "hierosune", meaning "priestly office", or "priesthood". This may refer to his claiming to be Zeus' son and showing himself as a priest to Zeus by sacrificing swine on the altar of the Temple.
Some might equate the "king of fierce countenance" as referring to both Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and the Antichrist. Both will destroy greatly, will be empowered by Satan, will exalt themselves to be equal to the 'Prince of the Host' (Jesus), and both will be destroyed by non-human means. (Antiochus died of disease, the Antichrist will be destroyed by Jesus personally).
The 'Prince of the Host' mentioned in verse 11 above refers to Jesus, who, while made equal with the Father, has not yet been crowned as King, as shown in Daniel 7:9-14;
9 I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire;
10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.
11 "I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame.
12 As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.
13 "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.
14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.
A prince is the son of a king, and is usually in charge of the kingdom's armies. In the Old Testament Joshua encountered the pre-incarnate Jesus who called himself the Commander of the Army of the Lord.
13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, "Are You for us or for our adversaries?"
14 So He said, "No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, "What does my Lord say to His servant?"
15 Then the Commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, "Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so.
The fact that Joshua worshiped the being as God (angels are created beings, and are not to be worshiped) shows that the "Commander of the Lord's Army" is indeed Jesus, God's Son who, while being equal with God the Father is still under His Father's authority.)
24 His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; he shall destroy fearfully, and
shall prosper and thrive; he shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.
This states that Antiochus' power would not be his own but would be the power of Satan, (shown by his casting down of some of the host of Heaven) which would be given to him to perform his masters' desire, namely to destroy God's people, set up Satan's kingdom here on Earth and secure the worship of all of mankind.
25"Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human means.
Antiochus would exalt himself to be a son of Zeus, second only to the pagan god, just as Jesus is the Prince of Princes, the Son of the true God. (Remember, at this time Jesus had not yet been crowned King of Kings)
26 And the vision of the evenings and mornings which was told is true; therefore seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future."
27 And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward I arose and went about the
king's business. I was astonished by the vision, but no one understood it.
No reason is given for Daniel's illness. It could be that there was a toll taken on his physical body by being in the spirit for so long, especially seeing as how he fainted when the vision was finished.
The reason why he didn't understand the vision was because it was not meant for him or people of his time but was for the future. That is why the Angel in verse 26 told Daniel to "seal up the vision, for it refers to many days in the future".
Therefore Daniels's purpose was only to see and record, for the interpretation of the vision will be given to those for whom it was meant. As the angel told him in verse 26 the vision was for many days in the future..
The same with the visions that John saw in the book of Revelation. The visions seen by Daniel and John were shrouded in mystery until the generation came for whom they were meant. Both Daniel and Revelation are now becoming clear, as we are the generation for which they were meant. And we can see the truth of Daniel's visions in their fulfillment in history and can see that he was indeed a true prophet.
In this next chapter, Daniel recognizes the timetable set by Jeremiah the prophet for the 70 year
captivity of Israel in Babylon, and understands that the 70 years are at an end. He prays to God to
remember His promise to His people concerning this, and confesses the sins of his nation before
God. The text of this is not directly germane to this study, so the first 19 verses have been left
out. We start with verse 20.
DANIEL 9: 20-24
20 Now while I was speaking, praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God,
21 yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering.
22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, "O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you skill to understand.
23 At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision:
24 "Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the
transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in
everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
Whenever "weeks" are spoken of in prophecy, it is referring to periods of 7 years. Therefore "70
weeks" refers to a period of 490 years.
DANIEL 9: 25-26
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.
26 "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
This particular section of Scripture gets complicated, as these 70 weeks are divided into periods, one of 7 weeks followed by one of 62 weeks, which together comprise 483 years. As far as I know, there is no explanation given as to why the 7 and 62 weeks are split apart, as only the 69 "weeks" as a whole fits the timing historically as we'll see below.
Daniel was told by the angel Gabriel that 70 "weeks" (periods of seven years) were determined during which point the Messiah would come as promised. 70 "weeks" would equal 490 years. And from the time that the commandment came to rebuild Jerusalem until the death of the Messiah would be 483 years (69 "weeks"). Note that there is one "week" unaccounted for. The 70th week, meaning the last "week" would occur some time after the Messiah was 'cut off' (killed). Hold that thought.
Daniel is told that 483 years after the command to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, Messiah would
be "cut off, but not for Himself" (die for our sins).
Remember, the command to rebuild Jerusalem came from Artaxerxes I in 457 B.C.E. And "seven weeks and threescore and two weeks" (7+60+2 x 7 years) equals 483 years.
Therefore, 457 B.C.E. minus 483 years, equals 27 A.D. (remember, there is no "0" year).
And Jesus Christ, born in September of 7 B.C. was crucified (cut off) when He was 33 years old, on the eve of Passover in March of 27 A.D., exactly 483 years after Artaxerxes' decree to rebuild Jerusalem.
(According to Scripture, Judean king Herod the Great had all of the babies of two years and under killed when Jesus was born in his attempt to kill the King that the 'wise men' had come to worship.)
Herod the Great died in 4 B.C. which means that if Herod wanted the babies two years and under killed, Jesus was at least 2 years old when the 'wise men' arrived. This would also explain why He and His parents were living in a house when they arrived. So that gives us a birthdate of sometime in 6 B.C. or earlier.
The 'wise men' were actually astrologers, and their calculations determined that a great King would be born in Judea. And in both March and September of 7 B.C. there was a conjunction of Mars and Jupiter which would have definitely caught their attention. That was the 'star in the East' that they saw which triggered their journey to find Jesus.
John the Baptist, Jesus' Earthly cousin was born 6 months before He was. Therefore it appears that Jesus was born in September of 7 B.C., which fits the 70 'weeks' prophecy perfectly.
The 70th "week"? That will be fulfilled when the one known as the Antichrist, the one that
Yeshua called "the prince that shall come" makes a 7 year peace treaty with modern Israel,
an event yet to take place.
Remember, the 70 weeks of Daniel's prophecy had said;
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.
26 And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the eople of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
From the time that the Persian king Cyrus the Great gave the command to rebuild Jerusalem to the day when Jesus Christ made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem was exactly 69 "weeks" (483 years), to the day (69 x 7 years), fulfilling this prophecy.
It was also prophesied that after the 69th "week", the Messiah would be killed (cut off) for the sins of others (not for himself). And as prophesied, the legions of Roman general Titus destroyed the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
DANIEL 9: 27
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week
he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of
abominations he shall make desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined
shall be poured upon the desolate.
Some relate this to the fact that Seleucid Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria captured the Temple, dedicated it to Zeus and sacrificed pigs on the altar which is indeed an abomination to the Jews, and before God. However several things differ here. First of all, Antiochus did not make any kind of covenant with the Jews. Secondly, Jesus was born 160 years later, and yet referred to the " abomination of desolation" spoken of by Daniel as a future event.
Vespasian and Titus never made any such covenant with the Jews either, so this 70th week event still has yet to be fulfilled.
In fact, according to Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, Titus was an honorable man who didn't want the Temple to be destroyed, and even begged the Jewish Zealots who had barricaded themselves within the Temple to come out so he wouldn't have to attack it. They refused, and Titus was forced to assault the Temple. Titus ordered that the Temple be spared, but a furious Roman soldier threw a torch into the sanctuary. The wood and furnishings were 586 years old and caught fire immediately, resulting in the destruction of the Temple.
And the fact that three and a half years are given for the Antichrist to destroy the Jews and
Christians points to the fact that this "prince who is to come" will make a seven-year covenant of
peace, and three and a half years later will break it, and will begin the great persecution
prophesied by Daniel, Jesus, and the apostle John.
15 "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand),
16 "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
John in turn said;
5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.
6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.
7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
So in this case, the Antichrist will make a seven year covenant with the Jews (one week
prophetic time - the 70th "week" of Daniel), and three and a half years later will break it,
and set up the abomination of desolation, which will be covered in the Revelation study
(End Times Part IV).
It is interesting to note also that the 69 weeks are distinctly separate from the 70th week (see
Daniel 9: 25 above). Why? Because the prophetic clock stopped at Jesus' death, at the end the 69
week period. And as history shows, the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70, putting an
end to the Jewish nation for 1,878 years.
And as it was the Roman army that destroyed the city, again, the identity of the last empire is
confirmed, namely the resurrected Roman empire, now known as the European Union. (The ten
toes of the statue and the ten horns of the fourth beast.) There are more than 10 nations in the
European Union right now, but Europe is presently in upheaval because of Muslim immigration,
and it might be the trigger that causes it to shrink down to ten.
1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision.
2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks.
3 I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.
4 Now on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, that is, the Tigris,
5 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz.
6 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.
7 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.
8 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.
9 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.
10 Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands.
11 And he said to me, "O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you." While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.
12 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.
13 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.
This mighty angel had been sent immediately in answer to Daniel, but one of Satan's demon princes ruling the Persian empire had stopped him for three full weeks.
Note that in verse 13 the angel makes a difference between the prince of Persia and the kings of Persia. In this verse the kings are the physical kings of Persia, whereas the prince of Persia is referring to the demon ruler over that part of the Earth. They will always be referred to as princes, as Satan will allow no other kings besides himself in his kingdom.
The fact that Satan has demon princes over nations, empires and kingdoms was well known to the apostle Paul, for he wrote;
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the
And it wasn't until Michael, one of the chief princes of the angelic host came to help, that the angelic messenger was freed to come to Daniel. This points to the fact that there is much spiritual warfare in global matters that we do not see with human eyes.
And apparently this demon prince was powerful enough that it took an angelic prince to take the messenger's place. And considering the awesome description of the angel that Daniel saw, it gives an idea of the power of the demonic forces we face. Remember, respect their power, but do not fear them.
As the apostle John reminded us;
I John 4:4
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
14 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."
This was spoken to tell Daniel that the vision would be for the future (the latter days), and would
cover a long period of history, (the vision is for many days to come).
15 When he had spoken such words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless.
16 And suddenly, one having the likeness of the sons of men touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke, saying to him who stood before me, "My lord, because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength.
17 For how can this servant of my lord talk with you, my lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me."
18 Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me.
19 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."
20 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.
21 But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against
these, except Michael your prince).
Satan seldom sits still. The angel spoke to Daniel that as soon as the demon prince of Persia was defeated, Satan would immediately move in with another demon prince, this one backing Alexander the Great who would destroy the Persian army in 330 B.C. Satan doesn't care a whit about human empires, or who is in power. He wants to rule everything, and men are merely expendable pawns to be used for that purpose.
And note once again, none of the angels that Daniel saw had wings.
In his arrogance during his temptation of Jesus, Satan showed Him all of the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. In fact, the book of Luke records;
5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6 And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours."
Note that Jesus never disputed Satan's claim to own these kingdoms. Jesus knew it was true,
for stewardship of the Earth and everything in it had been given to Satan by Adam in the
Garden of Eden. (See the study on the fall of Man for more information.)
1 "Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him.)
2 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.
Here the angel who appeared to Daniel (chapter 10) tells him that he (the angel) had strengthened Darius, one of the earlier rulers of Persia, and warns Daniel that the Persian empire will soon end. He then reiterates that the Persian empire will be followed by the Greek empire as prophesied earlier in Daniel's ministry.
Four more kings would rule Persia before the Greeks would conquer them. There is much variation among sources when listing dates and names of Persian rulers, so I will list just the last one, Xerxes, who was defeated by Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. at the battle of Issus.
3 Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.
4 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.
Even on his deathbed, Alexander the Great was shrewd. He knew that when he died, civil war would erupt among his generals and that they would seek to slaughter his family and seize the Empire for themselves . So to protect his wife and unborn son, when asked who would inherit the Empire, he said, "let it be given to the strongest."
Alexander died in 323 B.C. in the palace of Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar and with that, four
of his generals immediately ripped a piece of the empire for himself, starting dynasties that
would last for hundreds of years. Ptolemy I Soter took Egypt and Judah, Seleucus I Nicator took
Babylon, Persia and Syria, Cassander took Macedonia, and Lysimachus took the Hellespont
region. But the Seleucids and the Ptolemies would be the ones that Judah would have to deal
with over the next several hundred years.
5 "Also the king of the South shall become strong, as well as one of his princes; and he shall gain power over him and have dominion. His dominion shall be a great dominion.
This verse documents the rise of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt, started by Ptolemy Soter (Ptolemy I), one of Alexander's generals. He took Egypt, Judah, Phoenicia, and carried many Jews into Egypt. He also swept northward all the way into present-day Turkey.
His son, Ptolemy II (Ptolemy Philadelphus) formally conquered Judah by entering Jerusalem on
the Sabbath day, when the Jews refused to fight him because of their observation of the Sabbath.
6 And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the
south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the
power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they
that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.
In order to try to cement the two dynasties togeher (Seleucid and Ptolemaic) and stop the wars, Ptolemy II Philadelphus (king of the South) in 249 B.C. sent his daughter Berenice Syra to Antiochus II Theos (king of the North) for purposes of marriage.
Antiochus II Theos of Syria was already married but he divorced his wife Laodice in order to
marry Berenice, thus ending the war and sparking hope that Ptolemy II would relinquish captured
Syrian territory . However when Ptolemy II died in 246 B.C., Antiochus II took back Laodice.
Wanting revenge, Laodice poisoned her husband Antiochus, his now ex-wife Berenice and the
child he'd had by Berenice. So as the prophecy stated, Berenice, Antiochus, Ptolemy II, and
Berenice' son were all lost.
7 But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail:
8 And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north.
9 Also the king of the North shall come to the kingdom of the king of the South, but shall return to his own land.
Ptolemy III Eurgetes declared war against Syria after the murder of his sister Berenice and her
son by Antiochus II and invaded Syria. He plundered the northern kingdom and took back the
Egyptian gods that had been captured in an earlier war, and swept northward up to and possibly
including Babylon. He then killed Laodice, avenging his sister's death. The Egyptian Ptolmaic
kingdom had reached the height of its power.
Ptolemy III was also able to recover gold and silver idols captured 300 years before by Persian ruler Cambyses, and received a large tribute of silver annually from the Seleucid empire. Seleucus II died by falling off a horse in about 226 B.C. and Ptolemy III died about 5 years later, in fulfillment of the prophecy.
In 240 B.C. Antiochus II tried invading Egypt to avenge his humiliation at the hands of Ptolemy III. However his warships were lost in a storm and he was forced to retreat.
10 But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.
Angered by the Egyptian invasion, Seleucus III of Syria, son of Antiochus II Theos set out to conquer Egyptian territories in Asia Minor, but was unsuccessful and was assassinated by his own troops. Seleucus' brother Antiochus III ascended the throne after the death of his brother and conquered Judah, nearly reaching the Egyptian border (passing through)
11 "And the king of the South shall be moved with rage, and go out and fight with him, with the king of the North, who shall muster a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into the hand of his enemy.
Enraged, Egyptian forces under Ptolemy IV met Antichus III in battle and Antiochus was defeated and forced to return in humiliation to Lebanon.
12 When he has taken away the multitude, his heart will be lifted up; and he will cast down tens of thousands, but he will not prevail.
Ptolemy then re-conquered Judah and returned to Egypt, after leaving a garrison in Jerusalem. But Egyptian troops trained in Greek warfare tactics began guerilla warfare against him in southern Egypt and in a few years had attained independence from northern Egypt, splitting Egypt in two.
13 For the king of the North will return and muster a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come at the end of some years with a great army and much equipment.
After Ptolemy IV died in 204 B.C. Antiochus III attacked Egypt. But first he swept into Judah, and as winter was setting in, withdrew back into Syria for the winter. Taking advantage of this, an Egyptian general re-conquered southern Judah and left a garrison in Jerusalem.
14 "Now in those times many shall rise up against the king of the South. Also, violent men of your people shall exalt themselves in fulfillment of the vision, but they shall fall.
Antiochus III made a deal with Philip V of Macedonia to split Egypt's Asia Minor territories between them, further weakening the Ptolmaic empire. Antiochus III swept into Judah, where the Jews decided to side with Antiochus and provided him with provisions and helped him destroy Egypt's forces including the garrison stationed there.
15 So the king of the North shall come and build a siege mound, and take a fortified city; and the forces of the South shall not withstand him. Even his choice troops shall have no strength to resist.
Antiochus III attacked the Egyptian-controlled city of Sidon in Lebanon because the Egyptian general who had conquered Jerusalem had fled there. Antiochus besieged Sidon and when the city surrendered, he allowed the general and his men to leave and go back to Egypt naked and unarmed.
16 But he who comes against him shall do according to his own will, and no one shall stand against him. He shall stand in the Glorious Land with destruction in his power.
Antiochus III (now called 'The Great') mopped up the Egyptians in Lebanon and took full control of Judah from Egypt for good and stood unopposed in the Middle East.
He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do. And he shall give him the daughter of women to destroy it; but she shall not stand with him, or be for him.
Ptolemy V declared war against Antiochus III and his coalition of foreign troops including the Jews (upright ones) , but was soundly defeated. To stop the ruinous wars, Antiochus III offered his daughter Cleopatra I in marriage to Ptolemy V in order to cement relations and have a spy in the Egyptian court. However she had no interest in her fathers' mission but instead fell in love with Ptolemy V and refused to spy for her father.
18 After this he shall turn his face to the coastlands, and shall take many. But a ruler shall bring the reproach against them to an end; and with the reproach removed, he shall turn back on him.
19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fortress of his own land; but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.
Antiochus III then turned his attention northward and invaded Greece. While doing so, he asked the rising Roman empire for a friendship treaty, but was told that if he stayed out of Europe and Asia Minor, they would befriend him.
Antiochus III refused and invaded Asia Minor with 10,000 men and captured some Greek fortresses, angering his former friend and ally, Philip V of Macedon. Rome responded and soundly defeated Antiochus III, forced him to reduce his navy to 12 ships, make payment to Rome for war costs and send 20 hostages to Rome, including his own son, Antiochus IV.
With Antiochus III defeated, some of the outlying provinces revolted and became independent. With his territories greatly reduced, he was desperate to raise cash to pay Rome. In 187 B.C. when plundering a pagan temple in Babylon, he was murdered.
20 Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.
Antiochus III's son Seleucus IV took the throne after his father's death and began a heavy taxation program on all of his provinces to pay Rome for the cost of his father's war. He even sent a tax collector to the Temple in Jerusalem and plundered the Treasury.
Rome, after Antiochus III's death ordered his son Seleucus IV to send his own son Demetrius to Rome as a hostage, and released Antiochus IV, Seleucus' younger brother, who fled to Athens, Greece.
Shortly afterward, Seleucus IV was poisoned by one of his courtiers, and as Demetrius, the heir to the throne was a hostage in Rome and Antiochus IV was in Greece, the next one in line, Antiochus V, aged 5, took the throne.
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 peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue.
Antiochus IV, in Athens, upon hearing of his brother Seleucid IV's death swiftly sailed for Pergamum in present-day Turkey and by flattering king Eumenes II there gained his support in order to 'safeguard' the young Antiochus V..
Shortly afterward, the young Antiochus V was murdered when Antiochus IV was conveniently elsewhere, and it is suspected that Antiochus IV was behind the murder of the child. The fact that Antiochus IV is described as 'vile' points to him as the murderer of the child so he could take the throne.
22 With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant.
23 And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people.
Antiochus IV soon began calling himself 'Epiphanes' (God made manifest) and believed himself to be a son of Zeus. However his men called him 'Epimanes' (madman) behind his back. Apparently he was able to eliminate any threats to his throne, and took advantage of infighting between Jewish priests to place the highest bidder as High Priest. This started a ongoing trend of offering the High Priesthood to the highest bidder which finally ended when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D.
24 He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time.
Antiochus IV was a clever ruler in that he spent his spoils of war on the populace, buying their loyalty. At the same time he had his eyes set on the riches of Egypt, and visited his mother Cleopatra I and his nephew Ptolemy VI, while spying out the land.
25 "He shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the South with a great army. And the king of the South shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand, for they shall devise plans against him.
26 Yes, those who eat of the portion of his delicacies shall destroy him; his army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain.
Antiochus IV attacked the Egyptians, but the Egyptians weren't strong enough to stop him. This was mainly because Antiochus IV had corrupted the chief Egyptian officials who knew Ptolemy VI's weaknesses and State secrets and they passed this information on to Antiochus IV.
27 Both these kings' hearts shall be bent on evil, and they shall speak lies at the same table; but it shall not prosper, for the end will still be at the appointed time.
Antiochus IV and Ptolemy VI spoke frequently during the war. After conquering the Egyptian fortresses at Memphis and Pelusium, Antiochus IV set his sights on the major city of Alexandria. The Alexandrites, due to Antiochus IV machinations, ditched Ptolemy VI and put Ptolemy's younger brother Ptolemy VII on the throne.
This suited Antiochus IV who wanted to set the brothers againt each other. Ptolemy VI knew very well what Antiochus IV planned but expressed his gratitude to his uncle for "safeguarding" him, and blaming the war on one of his ministers. In reality Ptolemy VI was trying to join forces with his brother Ptolemy VII against Antiochus.
28 While returning to his land with great riches, his heart shall be moved against the holy covenant; so he shall do damage and return to his own land.
While campaigning in Egypt, rumors reached Jerusalem that Antiochus IV had been killed. Jason, a former High Priest who had been outbid for the office, gathered men and drove the Antiochus IV-installed High Priest into the fortress in Jerusalem.
Antiochus IV heard of the infighting and believed that all of Judah was in revolt against him. He left Egypt and marched on Jerusalem, ordering his troops to mercilessly kill everyone in sight. It is estimated that 40,000 Jews were killed and another 40,000 were sold into slavery within 3 days.
He then plundered the Temple, stripping all the gold and silver from its facades, removing all of the holy artifacts and the altar. He set up a new altar, dedicated it to Zeus, sacrificed swine on the altar (an abomination to both God and the Jews) and putting an idol of Zeus on the altar (the abomination of desolation) ordered the Jews to worship it. Afterward he returned to Syria.
29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.
30 For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.
The Ptolemy brothers had meanwhile reconciled, causing Antiochus IV to lose Egypt. Knowing that they couldn't defeat Antiochus IV, the Ptolemy brothers appealed to Rome for help. Rome, worried about Greek expansion agreed and sent three Senators to confront Antiochus IV.
The Senators told Antiochus IV to withdraw from Egypt or face war with Rome. Antiochus IV stalled for time, saying he needed to consult with his generals. The senior Senator drew a circle in the sand around Antiochus and calmly said, "I will have your answer before you cross that line." Antiochus agreed to pull back, and left. The reference to ships from Chittim (Cyprus) refers to the origin of the ships that brought the Romans.
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.
Antiochus IV returned to Judah in a rage and then plundered the Temple, stripping all the gold and silver from its facades, plundered the Temple treasury, removing all of the holy artifacts and the altar. He set up a new altar, dedicated it to Zeus, sacrificed swine on the altar (an abomination to both God and the Jews) and putting an image of Zeus on the altar (the abomination of desolation) ordered the Jews to worship it. Afterward he returned to Syria.
He then decreed that all peoples in his lands become united as one, and worship his gods. Many Jews admired Greek customs and became "Hellenized" (Greek citizens). They adopted Greek customs and Antiochus IV had forbidden circumcision. Holy feasts were forbidden, and the Jews were forbidden to practice the Law on pain of death. Inspectors were sent into all of the cities as watchers and cities were ordered to perform pagan sacrifices.
32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
Many Jews abandoned Judaism, some willingly some unwillingly out of fear. A Jewish priest named Matthias fled to the town of Modin when Antiochus IV's army under general Appolonius took Jerusalem. At Modin Matthias killed a Jew who was sacrificing to Zeus and the Seleucid officer overseeing him, starting a rebellion against Antiochus IV
33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the
sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.
When found, copies of the Torah were torn up and burned, and anyone caught with one was immediately executed. Women who had their children circumcised were executed along with their families.
34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall cleave to
them with flatteries.
As small victories turned into greater ones, Matthias' armies grew, but not all joined out of faith or dedication. Some joined for plunder and other nefarious reasons.
35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
Some Jews refused to follow Antiochus' blasphemous policies and were put to death, preferring to
die in faith to their God rather than submit to Antiochus IV.
Here is the true reason why God will allow many of His servants to be killed. It will be a final test of their faith, and will prove before God, Satan, angels and mankind that they were faithful to their Lord even to the end. Satan petitioned to test these faithful Jews to death, and his petition was granted. This may seem cruel of God, but each person who chose death showed that they would rather be with God, than deny their faith, condemning themselves and shaming Him. And each one preferring death was a slap in Satan's face before God's throne and glorified God. Their rewards will be great when they stand before Him at their Judgement, and having been faithful to the end, will have earned eternal life in Heaven.
There were no strong threats to Judah after Antiochus IV, although several Seleucid rulers followed him. From 165 B.C. until about 40 B.C. Judah was ruled by the priestly Hasmoneans, descendants of Matthias' son Judas Maccabeus (Judas 'the Hammer') who finally drove Antiochus IV's forces out of Judah) until the powerful Parthians (north-eastern Iran) overran Judah in 40 B.C. And without warning the prophecy changes from the Ptolermies and Seleucids to focus on Judean kings.
By this time, Rome's influence was being extended across the Middle East, with Roman general Pompey subduing Jerusalem and entering the Temple in 62 B.C. To stop the infighting between rival High Priests he then made Judah (called Judea by the Romans) a Roman province. The intrigues surrounding Julius Caesar, his nephew Octavian (later to be called Augustus) and Mark Antony was about to erupt. By 45 B.C. Julius Caesar was dead and the Roman civil war between Octavian and Mark Antony had begun.
As the time approaches the end of the 69 'weeks' prophecy and the coming of the promised Messiah, the focus abruptly switches from the Seleucids and Ptolemies to a single individual, Herod the Great (Herod I) because he would be the ruling king of Judea when Jesus would be born in 7 B.C.
In the mean time, a Hasmonean ruler named Antipater II was made procurator (Governor) of Judah (Judea). Antipater then made his second son Herod the governor of Galilee. Herod ingratiated himself to Rome and paid a large bribe to Mark Antony to become tetratrch (ruler over a quarter) of Judea in 41 B.C.
In 40 B.C. the Parthians (from present-day Iran, fierce enemies of Rome) conquered Judea and the Parthians made another Hasmonean, named Antigonus, king over all of Judea. Herod fled to Rome where he begged, bribed and flattered Octavian (Augustus) and Mark Antony to restore him and was appointed client king of Judea, subject to Rome. He was granted an army and in 37 B.C. drove the Parthians out. He immediately overthrew King Antigonus and had him murdered by Antony so Antigonus wouldn't contest the throne.
Herod proved himself to be a paranoid, suspicious, merciless ruler, executing his wife on trumped
up adultery charges, murdering three of his sons whom he thought were plotting to take his
throne, as well as most of his family line. His murderous bent and suspicious paranoia was so
great that Caesar Augustus commented that it was safer to be Herod's pig, than his son.
Remember that Herod ordered all the babies of Bethlehem murdered who were two years old and
under when Jesus was born, in an attempt to remove this threat to his throne.
36 And the king 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 indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any
god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
Herod was nothing if not egotistic. He built lavish cities and palaces, naming many of them after himself and his Roman benefactors, and spent 40 years rebuilding and expanding the Temple. He was a tyrannical ruler, and many of his enemies real and imagined were executed or murdered. He was an Idumean (Edomites, descendants of Jacob's brother Esau) and while technically Jews, the Edomites had been hostile to the Jews since the Jews became slaves in Egypt. The kings were supposed to come through the line of Judah and God had told the Jews that no foreigner was to sit on the throne:
14 "When you come to the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, 'I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,'
15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.
While Herod technically was a Jew, he was not a direct descendant of Jacob or of Judah whom God prophesied would produce the line of the kings, neither was he selected by God through a prophet as were Saul (who was actually a Benjamite) , David, and Solomon. Therefore Herod was a foreigner and not qualified to occupy the throne.
The last true king of Judah was Zedekiah who was hauled off to Babylon in 587 B.C., and there was to be no king afterward until Jesus the Messiah, the eternal King chosen by God, descended from king David as prophesied, arrives to take His throne.
Now, back to Herod.
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.
This verse isn't surprising, actually. The Idumeans (Edomites) were descendants of Jacob's brother Esau, so while ethnically they were Jews, they were bitter enemies of Judah and fought many battles with their brethren. While they were Jews, God was not worshiped in Edom, and while little is known about their worship practices, their culture was heavily influenced by Egypt and Arabia. Inscriptions have been found beseeching blessings from somene named 'Kos', and artifacts showing Egyptian gods have been found.
And with Herod's narcissism, the only thing he respected was power greater than his own, and those who wielded it. He also spent lavishly on building projects to increase his image and sent expensive gifts to Roman rulers to elevate himself in their eyes. He rebuilt the Great Temple in Jerusalem, not out of respect to God, but to mollify his subjects, and be a monument to his own glory in an attempt to build a city commensurate to his self-perceived glory and grandeur.
While there doesn't seem to be any records of Herod blaspheming other gods and exalting himself above other gods, I believe in the accuracy of Scripture. And noting Herod's narcissism it could be easily assumed that he did. And as for the desire of women, power is a major emotional drug right up there with greed, where the sole driving force in a person's life is the acquisition of more money and power. He probably figured any woman who might have desired him was after his throne anyway. Besides, Herod suffered from a progressive painful disease (some scholars think it was syphilus) and Jewish historian Josephus said just before he died, his stomach was swollen, his breath stank, his entire skin itched, he had tumors on his feet, his intestines hurt constantly, he had asthma, uncontrollable limb convulsions, and even more telling had gangrene in his private parts. It was so bad that he once tried to commit suicide with scissors, but was prevented by one of his nephews.
This is in agreement with exalting himself above any god, as the true God was showing him to be just a man like anyone else.
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.
There is no mention of Herod worshiping a specific god, but it is known that he built elaborate temples to foreign (mostly Roman) gods. He built Caesarea in honor of Caesar Augustus and built a massive temple in the city to 'divine Augustus' within the city; built temples to Augustus in Sebaste (Samaria) and Panias (a city formerly dedicated to the pagan deity Pan), helped restore the temple of Apollo on the island of Rhodes, helped build a temple to Ba'al Shamim at Si's (location unknown) and temples in Tyre and Sidon. Did he worship the gods of these temples? Probably not. He built or contributed to these for political advantage and favors, showing callous disregard for the deities for whom the temples were built.
The god of 'fortresses' (some versions say 'forces') although nameless, may refer to Herod's virtual worship of Caesar Augustus, who greatly extended the territory of the Roman Empire by brute force. The fact that Herod built numerous cities, temples and fortresses and named them after Augustus and sent many expensive gifts to the Emperor shows a dedication bordering on worship.
Herod also gave land to supporters for political advantage and support, as indicated in verse 39, and was always scheming for ways to gain more glory and political power.
40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him 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.
The focus now changes from Herod back to Syria and Egypt.
Mark Antony (king of the South) had a falling out with Roman leader Octavian (later known as Caesar Augustus, king of the North) in 36 B.C. and war was inevitable. By then, Antony had fallen for Queen Cleopatra, and had divorced his wife, Octavian's sister, and had given Cleopatra numerous Roman holdings in the East which irritated Octavian and the Roman Senate greatly, and in 31 B.C. the Senate declared war against Antony and Cleopatra.
In an odd twist, the 'king of the South' who was prophesied to attack Herod was not Mark Antony. Herod supported Antony and wanted to join him against Octavian, but Antony sent him to fight king Malichus I of the Nabateans, who ruled southern Judea and parts of western Arabia and the Gaza peninsula. They are mostly known for carving the beautiful buildings of Petra. Antony didn't want the Nabateans to join Octavian against him.
Antony's generals advised him to fight using his superiority in infantry, but he acceded to Cleopatra's insistence on a naval battle. The battle involved approximately 630 ships and Octavian won the sea battle at Actium, Greece. Antony's infantry deserted and the chariots and infantry Octavian brought never saw battle.
Boot-licking Herod, seeing which way the wind was blowing, switched sides and helped the Roman governor of Syria prevent a contingent of Antony's gladiators from coming to Antony's aid in Egypt. He then sailed to Rhodes in Greece where he groveled before Octavian, promising his loyalty as fully as he had promised to support Antony. Octavian accepted his promise, and allowed him to retain his kingship of Judea.
41 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.
42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
43 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.
Octavian pursued Antony and Cleopara southward, passing through Syria and Judea on his way to Egypt, bypassing the lands of Edom, Moab and the ancient Ammonites in his haste. Antony, believing a rumor that Cleopatra had killed herself and not wanting to be humiliated and possibly executed by Octavian, committed suicide by falling on his own sword. The wily Cleopatra tried to negotiate with Octavian who would have none of it. She in turn committed suicide by allowing an asp to bite her.
Octavian captured the incredible riches of Egypt, accumulated for hundreds of years by the Ptolymies, and returned to Rome in 29 B.C. The plunder of Egypt was so great that interest rates actually dropped throughout the Roman empire, and the victory catapulted Octavian to the office of Augustus, or Emperor.
With threats to Judea finished, the prophecy returns to Herod.
44 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 make away many.
45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy
mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
The news from the East and North refer to the arrival of the 'wise men' from the East who proclaimed the birth of the "King of the Jews";
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
And the fact that one of Herod's sons in Rome, Antigonus, had reported to his father that his other two sons whom he had groomed to succeed him had slandered Herod to Caesar (tidings from the North). Enraged, Herod had them both executed.
Some of the outlying provinces, knowing that Herod was near death because of disease began to revolt. Herod, furious that someone would dare defy him, prepared to forcibly bring them back under control, but worsening health required him to try to recuperate in his winter place in Jericho. And in 4 B.C. he died, and with the appearance of Jesus the Messiah, the 69 'weeks' of Daniel were completed.
1 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.
Now we go to the final 'week' of Daniel's prophecy a time period distinctly separated from the 69 'weeks' before it. This will speak of the last seven years of human history, during which Satan will be thrown down to Earth to make his final stand, the Antichrist will rise to conquer the Earth and everything in the book of Revelation will be fulfilled. Daniel saw Revelation through a telescope, the apostle John saw it through a microscope.
During the last seven years of human history Michael the angelic prince will stand in defense for the Jewish nation and the Christians, and war will break out in Heaven as Satan and his demons try to overthrow God. Satan will be thrown out of Heaven and will make his final stand on Earth. He will possess the Antichrist and the Great Persecution spoken of by Jesus will begin.
The persecution will be so intense, that Jesus said,
19 For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.
20 And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.
The word for "flesh" in verse 20 is the Greek word "sarx" meaning literal flesh. In other
words, Jesus said that unless He had cut short Satan's reign of destruction here on earth, He
would return to a dead planet. Mankind would have become extinct. But for the sake of the
Christians and Jews, He has determined to cut the days short by returning before Satan can
accomplish his goal.
2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life,
and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
This refers to the coming two resurrections, the first resurrection of the righteous at Jesus' return, and the second resurrection of the damned at the great White Throne Judgement 1,000 years later. We'll see more of this issue in Part III and Part IV of the End Times study.
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.
4 "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."
An interesting turn of phraseology is used in verse 4 that can be construed several ways. Knowledge indeed HAS increased in these last days. Just take a look at the strides technology has taken during this century alone! But knowledge of the End Times prophecies has increased also.
Many of God's prophecies are timed so that the generation for whom they were meant would gain understanding of what they have to say. Daniel is told that the meaning of his prophecies concerning the future are "sealed", (shrouded, their meaning hidden) until the time of the end.
And those for whom the prophecies are meant will understand them as God pulls the veils away, just as we are seeing now.
5 Then I, Daniel, looked; and there stood two others, one on this riverbank and the other on that riverbank.
6 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?"
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.
"Time, times and a half?" Sound familiar? Three and a half years! Three and a half years are given for the Antichrist to perform his reign of destruction against the Jews and Christians. And just when it seems that there is no hope left, Jesus will return.
44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
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.
I really have to feel sorry for Daniel. I know how frustrated I have been over the years seeking
understanding of these prophecies, and the Lord in His mercy and grace has revealed much to me.
But there is still much that he has not chosen to show me for reasons known only to Him. Daniel
was told that he was merely to record all of this, but it was not for him to know the meaning of the
prophecies. If it had been me, I would have been frustrated no end, jumping up and down, yelling
Note also verse 10. Daniel is told that none of the wicked would understand but the wise WOULD understand. I am not proclaiming myself to be wise, for all I have come to understand of these prophecies has been given to me by God, and is none of my own doing. Therefore I will not claim any credit for any of this, but will give all of the credit and honor to God alone who has granted such knowledge to me.
But those who are wise will see the truth in the Scriptures, and will understand the times
that we live in. They will also be able to discern that the time is getting short, and prepare
And for those of you believing in a pre-tribulation rapture, if we aren't going to be here why are we being given all of these warnings of persecution to come? Are we greater than Jesus, that we should escape persecution? Did He tell us that we would NOT go through the tribulation? Are we any better than the early Christians who were put to death by the Roman Empire, or the 400 years of the Roman Catholic Inquisition?
NOWHERE have I found in Scripture that these warnings are for "those who are left
behind". Keep this in mind. We'll see more of this in Part III Part IV of the End Times
studies. And the clincher for the timing of the rapture will be found in the study of
Revelation ( End Times Part IV ). Please bear with me until we reach the end of these
11 "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.
It doesn't say what will happen after this time, but it equates to 3 ½ years. From the time that the Antichrist sets up an image of himself in the rebuilt Temple and forbids daily sacrifices, (remember Antiochus Epiphanes?) will be 3 ½ years, and I suspect at that time war will be declared against the Antichrist as God gathers the armies of Earth to Armageddon.
12 Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.
Again, nothing is given for the extra 45 days after the original 1,290 days.
I suspect it will take this long for Armageddon to get into full swing, at which time Jesus will return to destroy the Armageddon armies.
13 "But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days."
This is pretty much self-explanatory.
In summary, we have seen Daniel's telescopic look at history, ranging from the empire of Babylon through to the return of Jesus in our near future. Time is becoming extremely short, and many Christians are woefully without understanding of just what is ahead of us, and as such are not prepared.
Remember Jesus' words!
28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
29 Then He spoke to them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.
30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near.
31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.
33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.
35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these
things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.
34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.
35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming--in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning--
36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.
37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!"
When we are given knowledge by God, we are responsible before Him for that knowledge and what we do with it! During the time of the prophet Jeremiah, the Jews were warned for 40 years through Jeremiah that king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon would destroy the city because of its wickedness if they didn't repent.
They didn't listen and 40 years later Nebuchadnezzar besieged and destroyed Jerusalem as God had promised. Thousands perished of famine and disease during the siege, and many thousands more were killed when the Babylonians broke into the city. In the end the survivors were deported to Babylon for 70 years in chains as promised by God.
The prophet Exekiel also warned of the Babylonian assault, and God told him;
1 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
2 "Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: 'When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman,
3 when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people,
4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head.
5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life.
6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand.'
We have an obligation to tell others God's words and pass on any warnings He gives us. What you do with the information in these End Times studies is now your responsibility. What will you do with it?
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