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The abomination of desolation spoken of by Yeshua was referenced in a future context. Daniel 8:23 also refers to it as the latter. The early part of Daniel 11 refers to Antiochus during Maccabees (according to many commentaries) this chapter sort of flows continuous even past v20.

Yet, Daniel 12 also suggests it's yet to happen. Are there any scriptures that can help interpret this scripture of Daniel 11:20-12:13? to affirm it is past or future?

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  • if you like, I can give give you an historical outline of verses 20 ff.
    – oldhermit
    Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 17:29
  • The idea of the fulfillment of prophesy is that the prophesy has been fully filled. There are very few prophesies in the O.T. that have a dual fulfillment and every one of them are mentioned in the N.T and having been fulfilled by some action or event of that time.
    – oldhermit
    Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 21:05

5 Answers 5

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NIV Daniel 12:

1“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then.

Jesus affirmed this in Matthew 24:

21 For at that time there will be great tribulation, unmatched from the beginning of the world until now, and never to be seen again.

When Jesus spoke these words, Daniel 12:1 had not been fulfilled.

Daniel continued:

But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 2Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3Those who are wise a will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

Jesus affirmed this in John 6:

40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

This will happen on the last day in the future.

Has Daniel 11:20 onwards happened already or yet to happen?

Some events are yet to happen.

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  • Thanks Tony, Yip Im aware some events are future, but the continuation from the verses before Dan11:20 and even after, like Dan11:20-21 could very easily be related to the same past event relating to Antiochus's time. Trying to affirm at what point in Dan11 does it refer to a future context. and if there is any scriptural evidence to affirm this? Thanks Tony for your input : )
    – 0000
    Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 18:08
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The role of Seleucus IV BC 187-175, 20

“In his place (Antiochus III), one will arise (Seleucus IV) who will send out a tax collector for the glory of the kingdom; but within a few days he will be destroyed, though not in anger or in battle.”

Actually, he would be murdered by his own tax collector.

• Seleucus IV began his rule after his brother’s death, and like his brother, he imposed heavy taxes to regain some of the money lost to Rome. According to 2 Maccabees 7, the oppressor whom he sent to collect the money was Heliodorus.

• The death of Seleucus IV then made room for one of the most despicable persecutors of God's people of all times – Antiochus IV Epiphanes. He will be presented in the remaining verses.

The Rise of Antiochus Epiphanes, 11:21-12:1

“In his place (Seleucus IV) a despicable person will arise; ( Antiochus IV) royal honors will not be given to him, (The nation would not, by popular consent, confer the kingdom on him as was customary,) but he will come in a time of peace (At a time when Syria was not at war) and seize the kingdom by intrigue. (In other words, this despicable person would seize the kingdom though it did not rightly belong to him.) Then a flood of forces will be swept away before him and destroyed, along with a prince of the covenant. After an alliance is made with him, he will act deceitfully; for he will rise to power with only a few people.” (NAS)

A. Antiochus Epiphanes would indeed obtain the kingdom by intrigue in 175 BC, just as verse 21 says.

The right of succession actually belonged to Demetrius I, the son of Seleucus IV, and nephew of Antiochus. According to Hans Volkmann, Professor of Ancient History at the University of Cologne,

“After his Seleucus IV was defeated by the Romans in 190–189 BC, Antiochus IV served as a hostage for his father in Rome from 189 to 175 BC. While in Rome, Antiochus learned to admire Roman institutions and policies. Seleucus IV, was later able to exchanged Demetrius for Antiochus.”

Heliodorus, the man whom Seleucus had sent to collect taxes, murdered Seleucus and usurped the throne. Antiochus later overthrow him while Demetrius was still being held in Rome. Antiochus quickly made alliances with Eumenes, the king of Pergamus, as well as with Rome and others and secured their assistance in overthrowing Heliodorus. Thus, “he will come in a time of peace and seize the kingdom by intrigue.”

B. He would also destroy all who posed any threat to him seizing the throne. Benson

The “flood of forces is understood as the forces of Attalus and Eumenes, who favored Antiochus: with this much force behind him, his competitors for the crown, were all “swept away before him and destroyed.” (namely, Heliodorus, as well Ptolemy VI who had his own plans for Syria,)

C. He would also displace the rightful high priest.

“Along with a prince of the covenant. After an alliance is made with him, he will act deceitfully;” 23 (NAS)

As soon as Antiochus was seated on his throne, he removed Onias as the high priest, and gave Jason, Onias’ brother, the office of high priest. All of this was done solely for the…three hundred and sixty talents of silver ($7,095,330) Jason had offered for the office of high priest. Onias, (who by all accounts, was a good high priest), was not only displaced for a wicked usurper, he…was later murdered by the king’s deputy.

“After an alliance is made with him, he will act deceitfully.”

Jason was also later replaced for the same motives – money. Jason’s brother, Menelaus offered Antiochus three hundred talents more than he had received from Jason, (appx. $13,000,000) So, Antiochus sold the office of high priest to Menelaus.

D. Antiochus’ rise to power

  1. Verse 24 says,

“For he will rise to power with only a few people. In a time of tranquility, he will enter the richest parts of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors;”

From Barnes Notes

"The meaning of this seems to be, that at first his own forces would be small, and that he would go up in such a way as not to excite suspicion. He later increased his forces and united himself with his confederates and lured the people by the promise of rewards. By gradually taking one town after another and adding them to his dominions, he became strong. Thus, he “seized the kingdom by intrigue.”

  1. Verse 24 says,

“He shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time.”

From Benson

Antiochus was an artist at securing allegiance through the redistribution of wealth. In order to gain as much acceptance as possible among both the people and those of power and influence, Antiochus would lavish his plunder upon them. These displays of generosity were matters of public spectacle. It would seem that money and riches were important to Antiochus only as a means to an end. 1 Maccabees, 3:30 tells us that in his liberality and in the giving of gifts, he had surpassed all the kings who had preceded him. Polybius records that when Antiochus would meet accidentally with people whom he had never seen before, he would enrich them with unexpected presents; and sometimes, standing in the public streets, he would throw money, and cry aloud, “Let him take it to whom fortune shall give it.” (Benson)

  1. “And he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but only for a time.”

a. In other words, he would plot against Egypt and develop strategies for taking control of the southern kingdom.

b. “But only for a time” because, his plans for Egyptian conquest would be thwarted by Rome.

Antiochus’ Campaign Against Egypt in 25-28.

“And with a large army he will stir up his power and his courage against the king of the South, (Ptolemy VI) who will mobilize a very large and powerful army but will not withstand the plots devised against him. Those who eat from his provisions will seek to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall slain.”

“And the two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will speak lies at the same table, but to no avail, for still the end will come at the appointed time. (The time appointed by the Almighty.) The king of the North will return to his land with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant; so, he will do damage and return to his own land.”

“At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time will not be like the first. Ships of Kittim will come against him, and he will lose heart.”

A. Antiochus mobilizes against Egypt.

From Barnes Notes

What Antiochus accomplished that all of his predecessors had failed to accomplish was that he took complete control of Egypt. The wars of his predecessors with the Egyptians had been mostly waged in Coelo-Syria and Palestine, for the possession of those provinces. Antiochus, however, first took Pelusium, the key of Egypt, and then invaded Egypt itself, and seized upon its strongest places, and made the king a captive.

Part of the reason for this mobilization against Egypt was a dispute over Coelo-Syria. Benson tells us that Ptolemy demanded Antiochus surrender Coelo-Syria to him which he felt belonged to him by virtue of the marriage articles between Ptolemy V and Cleopatra I. But instead of complying with Ptolemy’s demand, Antiochus invaded Egypt with a vast force by both land and by sea.

In response, Ptolemy dispatched strong forces to stop Antiochus and the two armies first met in battle between Pelusium and mount Cassius. Although Antiochus defeated the armies of Egypt, he still did not yet gain possession of Pelusium.

In his next campaign, Antiochus would have greater success. He routed the Egyptians and took Pelusium, then ascended as far as Memphis, and made himself master of all Egypt. 1 Maccabees 1:17-19 says, “Wherefore, he entered Egypt with a great multitude, with chariots, and elephants, and horsemen, and a great navy.”

Volkmann, says that in 169 BC, Antiochus occupied Egypt with the exception of the capitol city of Alexandria.

B. Verse 26 says that Ptolemy's own people would also scheme against him.

“…those who eat of the portion of his delicacies shall destroy him; his army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain.”

Volkmann says that the misfortunes of Ptolemy were ascribed to the treachery and baseness of his own ministers and subjects. Ptolemy Macron, who was governor of Cyprus, also revolted against Ptolemy VI and delivered up Cyprus to Antiochus. Even the Alexandrians, seeing the weakness of Ptolemy VI renounced their allegiance to him and proclaimed his younger brother Physcon as king instead. (The word means “fatty.” He is otherwise called Ptolemy VIII).

C. The schemes of Antiochus against Ptolemy

Johann Jahn, in his History of the Hebrew Commonwealth, says that Ptolemy VI was actually Antiochus IV’s nephew by his sister, Cleopatra I, who had married Ptolemy V. Antiochus used the fact that he was the uncle of Ptolemy VI to try to justify his presence e in Egypt. He contented himself with ruling Egypt as Ptolemy’s “guardian,” giving Rome no excuse for intervention. The citizens of Alexandria, however, because of their lack of confidence in Ptolemy VI, appealed to his brother, Physcon, to form a rival government.

Still, Antiochus slowly took control of one town after another until he finally gained control of the Ptolemy VI himself and had him entirely in his power…. The pretended objective of Antiochus for this invasion in 168 BC was to support the claims of Ptolemy VI against his brother, but his real purpose was to subject the whole country to his own power.

Antiochus defeated the Alexandrians by sea near Pelusium, and then drew up his land forces before the city of Alexandria. Ptolemy VIII sent an embassy to Rome to solicit the protection of the Senate. At the same time, he entered into negotiations of peace with Antiochus. The proposals were rejected; but when Antiochus perceived that the conquest of Alexandria would be difficult, he retired to Memphis, and pretended to deliver the kingdom to Ptolemy VI, and having left a strong garrison at Pelusium, he returned to Antioch.

This entire drama between Antiochus and the Ptolemies was nothing more than one big family squabble over who would rule Egypt. Just so you will understand who all the players are in this incestuous melodrama, Physcon, and Ptolemy VI were brothers. Their father was a Ptolemy V and their mother was Cleopatra I, who was the sister of Antiochus IV; thus, Physcon, and Ptolemy VI were the nephews of Antiochus IV. The wives of Physcon (Ptolemy VIII) were his sister’s, Cleopatra II and Cleopatra III. His daughter by Cleopatra III was Cleopatra the IV.

As for Ptolemy VII, (the Younger), he died 144 BC. He was the younger son and co-ruler with Ptolemy VI whom he succeeded in 145 BC. Still a minor, he was the ward of his mother, Cleopatra II, who also served as his co-ruler. He was soon displaced by his uncle, Ptolemy VIII, who later executed him the following year. (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica)

D. Antiochus’ departure from Egypt

The Roman navy which Physcon had requested, arrived to stop the invasion by Antiochus’, and Jahn says that Gaius Laenas, presented Antiochus with the ultimatum that he evacuate Egypt and Cyprus immediately. This intervention by Rome reestablished the status quo between Syria and Egypt. By being allowed to retain southern Syria, to which Egypt had laid claim, Antiochus was able to preserve the territorial integrity of his realm.

\Added to the Roman intervention were the disturbances in Palestine which also forced Antiochus to return to Syria. Antiochus then returned home with much wealth from Egypt, but he safeguarded his access to Egypt by placing a strong garrison in Pelusium. Thus, as verse 28 says,

“The king of the North will return to his land with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant; so, he will do damage (to Egypt) and return to his own land.”

E. Verses 29-30 speak of Antiochus' last attempt to invade Egypt.

“And with a large army he will stir up his power and his courage against the king of the South…”

From Barnes Notes

In the course of his reign, Antiochus invaded Egypt four different times with varying degrees of success.

  1. In the first invasion, he took Pelusium, and having placed a garrison there, he retired to Tyre for the winter.

  2. In the second invasion, he took Memphis and laid siege to Alexandria.

  3. The third invasion is what is described in verses 25-28. (See Johann Jahn's History of the Hebrew Commonwealth). This campaign is also chronicled in 1 Maccabees 1:17-19.

“And the kingdom was established before Antiochus, and he had a mind to reign over the land of Egypt, that he might reign over two kingdoms. And he ¹ into Egypt with a great multitude, with chariots and elephants, and horsemen, and a great number of ships: And he made war against Ptolemy king of Egypt, but Ptolemy was afraid at his presence, and fled, and many were wounded unto death. And he took the strong cities in the land of Egypt: and he took the spoils of the land of Egypt.”

Verses 29-30 say that Antiochus’ fourth invasion would not end in his favor. The last invasion “shall not be like the former or the latter.” 29

What prompted this fourth invasion was the unification of his nephews, Ptolemy VI and Physcon (Ptolemy VIII). Both had come to suspect the plans of Antiochus and agreed to join their forces and rule Egypt jointly. This did not set well with Antiochus who wanted the country divided. When Antiochus learned of this, he prepared to invade Egypt again in 167 BC. He sent his fleet to Cyprus to secure possession of the island and led his army toward Egypt to subdue the two Ptolemies and annex the whole country to his dominion. (Barnes)

To prepare for an invasion by Antiochus, the two brothers hired mercenary troops from Greece and requested the support of the Roman navy. In response, the Ships of Kittim arrived from Phoenicia bringing the Roman ambassadors, and their companions to insure the peace. Antiochus had no desire to go to war against Rome so, he abandoned his efforts against Egypt and returned home in anger which he proceeded to measure out on the Jews as the following verses show.

From Barnes Notes

Antiochus was also greatly enraged by the effects that a report of his death had produced in Judea. It was said that all the Jews rejoiced at the report and rose up in rebellion. Antiochus resolved to inflict revenge on them for this rebellion so, he left Egypt, and went to Jerusalem, and subdued it by storm.

Verses 30-35 describe Antiochus’ Actions Against the Jews.

“So, he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. 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.”

A. He would gather to himself the unfaithful Jews. This is mentioned in I Maccabees 1:17 where it describes those Jews who practiced uncircumcision.

B. He would “defile the sanctuary” by offering all manner of unclean animals on the altar.

C. He deprived the Jews of their ritual sacrifices. “Then they shall take away the daily sacrifices.” Essentially, he stopped the practices of Hebrew worship. 1 Maccabees 1:21-29, 2 Maccabees 5:5-23. This was the beginning of the 2300 days of Daniel 8:13-14.

D. He would defile the Temple of God in 169 BC by placing his own gods in the temple thus setting up the “abomination of desolation” of verse 31; 1 Maccabees 1:46-62, 2 Maccabees 6:1-2.

E. He corrupted the priesthood. “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery;” 32,

The result of these oppressions would be the Maccabean revolt in 167 BC, vv 32-35. Verses 32-33 say “But the people who know their God will firmly resist him. Those with insight will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by sword or flame or be captured or plundered.” 1 Maccabees 1:63-4:34 give a good account of the history of the revolt.

F. The revolt was a costly victory for the Maccabeans

“Now when they fall, they will be granted a little help, but many will join them insincerely. Some of the wise will fall, so that they may be refined, purified, and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.” 34-35.

This is also described in 1 Maccabees 1:20-28

“And after Antiochus had ravaged Egypt in the hundred and forty-third year, he returned and went up against Israel. And he went up to Jerusalem with a great multitude. And he proudly entered into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof, and the table of proposition, and the pouring vessels, and the vials, and the little mortars of gold, and the veil, and the crowns, and the golden ornament that was before the temple: and he broke them all in pieces. And he took the silver and gold, and the precious vessels: and he took the hidden treasures which he found: and when he had taken all away, he departed into his own country. And he made a great slaughter of men and spoke very proudly. And there was great mourning in Israel, and in every place where they were.”

Summary of the Life of Antiochus IV, 36-44

“Then the king will do as he pleases and will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and he will speak monstrous things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been decreed must be accomplished. He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers, nor for the one desired by women, nor for any other god, because he will magnify himself above them all.”

“And in their place, he will honor a god of fortresses—a god his fathers did not know—with gold, silver, precious stones, and riches. He will attack the strongest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him, making them rulers over many and distributing the land for a price.”

A. His arrogance

  1. He exalted himself above every god including the true God, 36. The title “Epiphanes” means “god manifest.”

  2. He had no regard for the gods of his fathers, 37. In other words, he rejected the Syrian gods in favor of the gods of Rome. He honored the Roman “god of fortresses” – Jupiter

B. Verses 40-43 speak of his victories,

  1. Over Egypt (the King of the South)

“At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also, the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.”

  1. Over many countries, 41

“He will extend his power over many countries, and not even the land of Egypt will escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and over all the riches of Egypt, and the Libyans and Cushite will also submit to him.”

C. His atrocities against the Jews 45

“But news from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will go out with great fury to destroy many and devote them to destruction.”

D. His final end and defeat would come before the end of the 2300 days 45, and Dan. 8:25.

“And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.”

From the Pulpit Commentary

One-half of his army under Lysias had been defeated by Judas Maccabaeus; he himself had been repulsed in his attempt to replenish his coffers from the temple of Nanaia and dies of an illness at Tabae in 164 BC.

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  • 1
    Thank you Oldhermit, I appreciate your answer, very detailed : )
    – 0000
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 17:36
  • You are most welcome. I hope it helps.
    – oldhermit
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 18:27
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Has Daniel 11:20 onwards happened already or yet to happen?

Daniel 11:20 NET

20 There will arise after him[a] one[b] who will send out an exactor[c] of tribute to enhance the splendor of the kingdom, but after a few days he will be destroyed,[d] though not in anger or battle.

The exactor was :

The first Roman Emperor and ruler when Jesus Christ was born[Google search]

Caesar Augustus, the first emperor in the ancient Roman Empire, was ruling when Jesus Christ was born. He issued an order which he could not have known would fulfill a biblical prophecy, he issued a decree for all people in the Roman Empire to register. This decree resulted in Jesus being born in Bethlehem in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. (Da 11:20; Mic 5:2) Gaius Octavius Caesar Augustus, also known as Octavian, was the first Roman emperor, reigning from 27 BC until his death in AD,he died peacefully -not in anger or battle.

NASB Vs 21-22 And in his place, a despicable person will arise, on whom the majesty of kingship has not been conferred, but he will come in a time of tranquility and seize the kingdom by intrigue. 22 And the overflowing forces will be flooded away from him and smashed, and also the prince of the covenant.

"Smashed, and also the prince of the covenant- is broken in death.. [Genesis 26:2-4 , Galatians 3:16, 28, 29.] "The Prince of the covenant was Jesus, in 33 C.E. he stood before Pontius Pilate and was charged with treason against the emperor

Daniel continues with his prophecy- "He will go up and gain power with a small force of people." [Dan. 23b]

NASB 11: 23 After an alliance is made with him he will practice deception, and he will go up and gain power with a small force of people.

A small force of people was the Praetorian Guard, which was made up of about ten thousand guards. "In the year 27 BC, after Rome's transition from republic to empire, the first Emperor of Rome, Caesar Augustus, designated the Praetorians as his personal security escort.[Wikipaedia] " With the guards to support him and at the same time intimidate the senate,he remained strong in power.

Is there any scriptures that can help interpret this scripture of Dan11:20-Dan12:1-13? to affirm it is past or future

I do not know of any scriptures that will help you interpret Daniel's Prophecy, human history will help,get Oldhermit to give you a historical outline, Wikipaedia may also help. Most of the historical events mentioned in chapter 11 have occurred.

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The ‘key’ to understanding Biblical (Hebraic) prophecy is to first understand that biblical prophecy shows (a) pattern, it is not (as with ‘western’ prophecy) about a prediction of some (‘a’, or ‘one’) future event.

One of the ‘keys’ to understanding the (so called] end times is to observe the past.

ECCL 1:9 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.

So to answer your Q, yes, this has happened, twice, as already well outlined in the other answers. But yes, this is also yet to happen, just as it has in the past.

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  • Thank you Dave, this is what I suspected, a past event paralleling to a future event. But was hoping to find scripture to confirm this. even an example of where this has occurred before. I appreciate your answer
    – 0000
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 17:43
  • @0000 You won’t find ‘a’ verse to ‘say’ this BUT you will find literally 100s of examples where prophecy being ‘pattern’ is reflected. Just 1 example.. when Jesus said ‘as it was with Jonah 3 days in the belly’ - this also referring to His death, and Lazereth, and the two witnesses in Revelation… etc.
    – Dave
    Commented Sep 17, 2021 at 18:55
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The interpretation of Dan 11 is undisputed for the first 13 verses. It is the understanding of V14 where the trouble begins which affects the rest of one's understanding of the rest of the chapter. So, here goes -

Dan 9:14 - 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 fulfilment of the vision, but they shall fall.

Not only was Antiochus III against the Egyptian government of Ptolemy V, so were the Egyptian people. Further, Antiochus had formed an alliance with Philip of Macedon (a successor to Cassander) to help him fight Ptolemy. But there was also another much bigger threat – the developing superpower of Rome which would also be against Egypt.

Now, the Hebrew of the second sentence in the verse is capable of two equally grammatical constructions. The Hebrew is literally “...and sons of the breakers of your people shall lift up to establish the vision but they shall stumble.” The question here is, Do we understand this phrase to mean –

  • Is “your people” a subject of “lift up”, thus: “... the violent ones of your people shall rise up... “, suggesting a wild leader of the Jews would arise to attempt to liberate them (most subscribe to this theory including the books of Maccabees who make Judas Maccabaeus a kind of Messiah figure) or
  • Is “your people” an object of “breakers”, thus: “... the breakers of your people shall arise... “, suggesting the Roman Empire who sanctioned the execution of Jesus and later captured Jerusalem and effectively destroyed the Jewish nation as a political entity.

Since both are grammatically permissible we must decide on some other basis. We will do this by observing the following facts:

  • The other three parallel prophecies of Daniel 2, 7, 8 all have Rome following the four-fold breakup of the Greek Empire
  • In Dan 11:20, the person who was “broken neither in anger nor in battle” becomes either Seleucus IV Pilopater who was actually murdered (so this cannot be true), or, Tiberius Caesar for the second option
  • Dan 11:21 – 23 clearly (in my judgement) alludes to the crucifixion of Messiah. The only alternative is to make this refer to the three year experience of Jews during the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and Judas Maccabaeus with the prince of the covenant made an obscure priest Onias III.
  • In Matt 24:15, Jesus himself (possibly to help with the disciple’s misunderstandings) interpreted this passage to refer to Rome rather than squabbles with Seleucid kings.

Thus, I much prefer the second alternative that v14 refers to the start of the rise of Rome. It gives a better, broader, and Christ-centred understanding that is perfectly suited to the general message of Scripture

Dan 11:15 - 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.

The king of the North is Antiochus III was warned by Rome to stay out of Egypt because it was easy to defend. He ignored this warning and began planning the campaign against Egypt. He first defeated Egyptian general Scopas just north of the sea of Galilee. Scopas and his army escaped to Tyre so Antiochus besieged Tyre and defeated it. This gave him control over Judea as well.

V16. 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.

As pointed out above and with the great benefit of hindsight unavailable to the Maccabees (and their version of the Septuagint), this verse introduces something and someone much bigger than Antiochus IV Epiphanes, especially when we get to v31 – the superpower of Rome appears in the drama. Therefore, this verse introduces Pompey and Julius Caesar who comprehensively conquered the “Glorious Land” (Palestine) and almost nothing opposed them. Thus, Rome becomes, at this point in the prophecy, the new King of the North – the Seleucids had become irrelevant by being subject to Rome and later vanished.

V17. He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the south. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him.

Later, Julius Caesar also conquered Egypt which became of province of Rome. Caesar began his famous affair with the notoriously promiscuous Cleopatra. Cleopatra bore a son to Caesar but the son never became anything nor did Caesar’s alliance help him at all. While Egypt was notionally a province of Rome, it remained largely independent. However, Cleopatra was the last Pharaoh (she suicided in 50 BC) and never again did Egypt have a local king.

V18. Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back on him.

Julius had a few more victories but faced a senate revolt when he returned to Rome. He was an immensely talented man and gifted general but extremely pompous and insufferable. He had more than once lead and created (illegal) wars to increase his won fame such as the campaign against the Germans after which he boasted about how many he had killed using inflated figures.

V19. Then he shall turn his face toward the fortress of his own land; but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.

Julius Caesar was assassinated in the senate on the ides of March 44 BC by 60 Romans led by the “commander”, G. Cassius Longinus. Thus, Julius Caesar’s insolence and taste for gratuitous war and aggrandizement was stopped and a supremely egocentric ruler came to an ignominious end.

V20. “There shall arise in his place one who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom; but within a few days he shall be destroyed, but not in anger or in battle.

Julius Caesar was replaced by Caesar Augustus thus founding the Roman Empire and the position of Roman Emperor. He issued several decrees to enroll everyone in the Roman Empire in order to levy taxes. The most famous of these was in 8 BC and is recorded in Luke 2:1. The “Glorious Kingdom” is God’s chosen nation (at the time), Israel. Augustus died at the age of 75 in 14 AD of natural causes.

V21. And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honour of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue.

Tiberius succeeded Augustus but the succession was irregular and he was not of royal birth. Tiberius had been only lately adopted by Augustus. Tiberius played a very shrewd power game to attain the purple – the senate was divided. Even after achieving his goal, Tiberius was not much liked. His administration was quite patchy and in later years absented himself from Rome. When he died (in Misenum) the crowd rejoiced and cheered. There were even unconfirmed reports that he had been smothered to finish him off.

V22. Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and the prince of the covenant will be destroyed.

It is well known history that Jesus was crucified during the time of Tiberius in 31 AD. Luke 3:1. The phrase “Prince of the Covenant” is identical with that in Dan 9:25-27. Tiberius appears to have tired of the Emperorship and retired from politics in 22 AD and from Rome completely in 26 AD to the island of Capri. He relinquished control of most of the army to those in the bureaucracy around him. However, the army was quite successful in Germania and elsewhere despite internal leadership quarrels.


This is enough to serve the purpose of the general idea of Dan 11.

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