Recovering the classic, Protestant interpretation of Bible prophecy.

Chapter 4



        Daniel's tenth chapter describes a vision that came to him as a prelude to his final prophetic record in chapters 11 and 12.  The vision was given to enable Daniel to understand what would happen to his people "in the latter days," (10:14 ).  It is important to note that "latter days" in this prophecy is not equivalent to "time of the end" (11:40) which introduces the last conflict of the age.

      In his vision Daniel saw "... a man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with pure gold of Uphaz: his body also was like beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as flaming torches, and his arms and his feet like unto burnished brass, and the voice of his words like the noise of a multitude," (10:5, 6).  A comparison of this vision with the one described by John in Revelation 1:12-15 suggests that it was the Son of God Himself who spoke directly with Daniel, as He had done centuries before with Moses (Ex. 33:11) and later with John.  Note also that although the earlier prophecies of Daniel in chapters 2, 7 and 8, are veiled in symbolism, the final one, in chapters 11 and 12, is not symbolic but foretells in literal terms a series of future events.

      This vision came to Daniel "in the third year of Cyrus king of Persia," (10:1) which corresponds to 536 BC.  At that time Daniel was told that the fourth king after Cyrus would be wealthy and powerful and would "stir up all against the realm of Greece," (11:2).  This was fulfilled precisely by Xerxes whose attack on Greece in 480 B.C. resulted in the destruction of the Persian power at the decisive naval battle of Salamis.  The victorious Alexander the Great, "the mighty king... that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will," (11:3) led the Grecian armies to further triumphs but died after a reign of twelve years and eight months.  On his death his kingdom was divided into four as predicted (11:4) and given to four of his generals whose quarrels in the subsequent power struggle eventually reduced their number to two: Ptolemy, who became king of Egypt, and Seleucus I, who became king of Syria, identified in Daniel's prophecy as the King of the South and King of the North respectively.

      From 301 B.C., when one of Alexander's successors was killed at the battle of Ipsus in Asia Minor, until the battle of Pydna in 168 B.C., the kings of the North and of the South, known in history as the Seleucid and Ptolemaic dynasties, marched back and forth through Palestine, thereby involving the Jews (who had returned from exile in Babylon) in their wars.  This period ended with the savage persecution of the Jews by Antiochus Epiphanes (not to be confused with Antiochus the Great),  who is described in this prophecy as "a contemptible person, to whom they had not given the honour of the kingdom." (Dan. 11:21).  Beginning his reign in 176 B.C., Antiochus captured Jerusalem in 170 and two years later intended to subjugate Egypt but was dissuaded form his purpose by ambassadors from Rome whose conquest of Macedonia at the Battle of Pydna ended the power struggle between Alexander's successors.  His ambition thus frustrated, Antiochus renewed his persecution of the Jews, desecrating the temple by sacrificing a sow on the altar, an act that foreshadowed the destruction of Herod's temple by the Roman armies in A.D. 70 when the Jewish state was destroyed and more than a million Jews killed.

      This action by Antiochus met with courageous resistance from the Jews under Judas Maccabeus in the following year and ultimately to an autonomous Jewish state in 143-142 B.C.  Eighty years later, (63 B.C.) Rome became master of Palestine and subjected the Jewish nation to its dominion.  After the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Roman armies of Titus, the city was rebuilt, but the rebellion of Bar-Cochba, a false Messiah, resulted in the slaughter of more than half a million Jews in a war that lasted three and a half year, during which time Jerusalem was once again destroyed.  Hadrian, the Roman emperor, then had a temple to Jupiter erected on the ancient temple site, fulfilling for the third time Daniel's prediction of the "abomination of desolation," (11:31; cf. Matt. 24:15).

          The destruction of the Jewish state in A.D. 135 did not bring Judaism to an end.  Although dispersed throughout the pagan empire, Jews were given the same civil and religious liberties as people of other faiths, including the privilege of Roman citizenship.  It was only after the conversion of Constantine and the subsequent popular acceptance of a paganized form of Christianity that persecution of the Jews was resumed.

      From this brief historical sketch we turn again to the final prophecy of Daniel, which introduces us to "the time of the end."  This passage, from 11:40 to 12:3, brings us evidently to the end of this age, which will be by divine intervention, indicated here by the words, "at that time shall Michael stand...", (12:1).  This passage speaks of God's intervention for the deliverance of Israel as well as of the true Church.  We begin "at the time of the end" in Daniel 11:40 which introduces "the king of the south" and "the king of the north."

      In our consideration of Ezekiel, chapters 37 and 38, we have seen that the main aggressor against Israel at the end is "Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal" (Ezek. 38:2), and that he comes from the "uttermost parts of the North," (Ezek. 38:15).  We are compelled therefore to conclude that "the king of the north" here is the Russian leader.

      Who then is "the king of the south?"  Daniel 11:5-35 outlines the history of the wars between "the king of the south" and "the king of the north" between 323 and 168 B.C.  In that period these two were the kings of Egypt and Syria.  If there is in this scripture any recognition of proportion, surely the king of the south cannot be the present-day ruler of Egypt.  Who then would or could be a realistic opponent to Russia?  As of now it is suggested that the United States is almost the only candidate for this responsibility, but some unexpected development could change the picture.

      We will go on with a still more difficult question:  Who is the one with whom the king of the south contends?  My conviction is that the ruler who "shall do according to his will" in Daniel 11:36-39 is no less than the "little horn" of Daniel 7:8, 11, 21, 24 --  the papacy headed by the reigning pope at that particular time.  Compare these passages of Daniel.

      No doubt there will be keen young moderns who will deride the idea of the papacy taking part in a war in Palestine.  Why, they may ask, should the pope take part in a war? and why, of all places, in Palestine?  The reply is that the Roman Church has had, and still has, a large part in wars and that this entity is much more than a religious organization.  It is a state, indeed, a super-state.  Its head, the pope, claims to be a sovereign superior to all others.  This is not a mere emotional declaration evoked in public discussion, but is on permanent record in hundreds of volumes.  It is also true that written in history there are recorded many instances of wars instigated by the papacy and urged on by it.

      But what likelihood is there of Rome intervening in Palestine?  History shows that papal Rome has shown no less interest in Palestine than did the pagan Roman Empire.  It might well be argued that the papacy exceeded the pagan empire in this.  Certainly it has done so in length of time, for the Empire spent some 775 years thus, while the papacy has spent some 1,360 years.

      Anyone who doubts the interest of the Vatican in Israel's promised land needs only to read the historical record of the crusades.  Take for example the article on this subject in the Encyclopaedia Britannica:

"The primary force which thus transmitted an appeal for reinforcements into a holy war to be fought in Asia Minor and Syria with Jerusalem as its ultimate objective, was the Church... The Papacy desires a perfect and universal church, and a perfect and universal church must rule in the Holy Land."1

There were eight Crusades, the first beginning in 1096 and the last ending in 1291, a period of 195 years.  The Sixth Crusade was led by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire and while the Emperor was thus engaged, the Pope was involved in a crusade against the Emperor's domains.

      Turning now to the symbolic predictions of Daniel's prophecy, we have the vision of the fourth beast described in 7:7 and in 7:19-21.  There are shown to Daniel the dreadful activities of this beast, its ten horns and the "little horn" with its strange eyes, mouth, look, and its "war with the saints of the Most High."  In verse 24 we find some interpretation.  The ten horns are ten kings, and another shall arise after them which shall subdue three of the ten.  Verse 25 says that this little horn shall "speak great words against the Most High... wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws," and the saints shall be given into his hand for a mystically designated period.

      We go now from this Old Testament "unveiling" through Daniel the "greatly beloved" seer of Israel to that of the beloved apostle of the Church, John.  In Revelation there is a beast mentioned twelve times in chapters 13 and 14.  This beast is said to have a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies (13:5).  "He opened his mouth in blasphemy against God... it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them," (v. 7).  Compare this description with that of the "little horn" mentioned above.  Notice that Daniel 7:25 reveals that the "little horn" of the fourth beast shall (1) "speak great words against the Most High," (2) wear out the saints of the Most High," (3) "think to change times and laws," and (4) "they shall be given into his hand."  Of the beast of Revelation 13 it is said that (1) "there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies," (vs. 5 and 6), (2) "and it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations," (v. 7); (3) "and all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life," (v. 8).

      The vision and interpretation given to Daniel reveals the little horn of the beast doing the things described in 7:25 but the vision given to the Apostle John (Rev. 13:5-8) declares that the Beast does them.  It appears then that the little horn grows up to dominate the beast and even to become the beast.

      The argument, summed up, is this:  the king of Daniel 11:36-39 must be the little horn of Daniel 7:8, 11, 20, 21 and 25,-- the horn grown to be the beast of Revelation 13.  Further, verses 36 and 37 correspond with what we have seen concerning the little horn of Daniel 7 and the beast of Revelation 13.

      Let us project, as far as we can discern it from the present, the cast for the last act of this staggering drama.  WE have seen in our study of Ezekiel 38 and 39 the very plain aggression of Russia against Israel.  Will that be the first move?  It does not seem so in Daniel 11:40.  It appears rather that the Roman power moves first, that the king of the south (the U.S.A.?) moves next, and then Russia strikes.

      Such a conclusion is supported by the historicist interpretation of Revelation.  "Three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, for they are the spirits of devils (demons), working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty," (Rev. 16:13, 14 ).  The next verse (15) is an interjection, warning of the nearness of the return of Chris, and verse 16 resumes the subject of verse 13 and 14, "And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon." The following verse (17) announces the pouring out of the seventh vial, but the sequel to verse 16 is found in chapter 19, verse 19, "And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army," (that is the Lord Jesus and His people).

      It is beyond contradiction that Ezekiel's prophecy locates the centre of the final crisis of this age in the land of Israel.  This is supported by the preceding prophetic books of Jeremiah (ch. 30) and Isaiah (ch. 29) and the following books (in the order of our Bible) Joel (ch. 3), Micah (ch. 4) and Zechariah (ch. 14).  The Valley of Megiddo (or Armageddon) saw the victory of Deborah and Barak over their enemies.  It saw the wounding of the last faithful king of Judah, who was brought back to Jerusalem to die.  As we have seen in the Old Testament, Jerusalem will be surrounded at last by her enemies, but it would not be strange in this twentieth century, which has seen such an expansion of battlefields (e.g., the Battle of Britain, the Battle of the Atlantic and two world wars), if finally all of the Holy Land should be involved in the Battle of Israel.  This would include the battlefield of Armageddon and the area around Jerusalem.

      Here, I believe, we find what may be a clue to some things which seem to be indicated in the study of Gomer (the Cimmerians), mentioned in Ezekiel 38:6 and later in history called Gauls.  The leading nation of this race would be the French, who  were the main allies of the papacy for most of its history -- indeed the French king was called the Eldest Son of the Church.  In addition, this nation was the most enthusiastic for the Crusades.  Glancing back at Ezekiel 38, Gomer is not mentioned until verse 6, and Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are enumerated before her.  This suggestion is that probably France will invade Palestine in support of the papacy.


Tomorrow: What do the Prophets Say? Index 1 2 3 4 5 6 Biblio.

About Me

Historicism.com is owned and operated by me, Joe Haynes, of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. I serve as a pastor in a church plant in Victoria since 2013. My wife, Heather, and I have five kids. In 2011, I completed a Master of Arts in Christian Studies from Northwest Baptist Seminary at the Associated Canadian Theological Seminaries of Trinity Western University. Feel free to visit my blog at Keruxai.com.
If you would like to make a donation, for which we would be most grateful, please click here. We are unable to issue tax-receipts for funds received.

Join our FaceBook group!

You can buy great books like this one by clicking here and support our work at the same time: