The Latter Major Prophets – Daniel 11-12

And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.)
“Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. Then a mighty king will arise, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. After he has arisen, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others.
“The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power. After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be betrayed, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her.
“One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious. He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North alone. Then the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country. His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress.
“Then the king of the South will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North, who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated. When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant. For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped.
“In those times many will rise against the king of the South. Those who are violent among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success. Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand. The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it. 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. 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. After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more.
“His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. In a few years, however, he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle.
“He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time.
“With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. Those who eat from the king’s provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle. The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country.
“At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.
“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.
“Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble, 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.
“The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.
“At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission. But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

  • Daniel 11:1-45

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. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”
Then I, Daniel, looked, and there before me stood two others, one on this bank of the river and one on the opposite bank. One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”
The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”
I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?”
He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
“From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
“As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

  • Daniel 12:1-13

Noted Biblical Scholars, Teachers, and Preachers Comments

Daniel 11:1 ‘I, stood up to … strengthen him’: “The messenger of 10:10ff. continues to speak of assisting Michael (even as Michael had strengthened him in the battle with demons in 10:21), confirming Darius (cf. 5:31) in decreeing Israel’s return.
“Michael the Archangel: 1. Helping a lesser-ranked angel get through to answer Daniel’s prayer (Dan. 10:13, 21); 2. Standing up for Israel during the Tribulation (Dan. 12:1); 3. Disputing with Satan concerning the dead body of Moses (Jude 9); 4. Fighting against Satan in the heavenlies (Rev. 12:7).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Daniel 11:2-45 ‘Prophecies concerning the Nations’: “In Daniel 10, Daniel is introduced to the archangel Michael, who is involved in the spiritual struggle to carry out God’s program concerning the nations (10:13,20). The key to the vision Daniel will receive in this chapter is given in 10:14: ‘I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.’ From this we are reminded of what has been previously stated (cf. 8:19; 9:24; cf. 12:1): that the prophecies of chapters 7—12 are intended to focus on national Israel and God’s purpose for the nation during the times of the Gentiles and especially the end time and the conclusion of the seventieth week. In other words, the prophecies revealed in chapter 11 will deal with near-future events (those fulfilled historically)—the rise of the three kingdoms (verses 2-35)—and far-future events (those fulfilled eschatologically)—the rise of the little horn from the fourth kingdom, the Antichrist (verses 36-45).”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Daniel 11:17 ‘give … the daughter’: “Antiochus, feeling pressure from Rome (fourth empire, 2:40; 7:7) to make peace with Egypt, offered his daughter Cleopatra to marry Ptolemy V Epiphanes (c. 192 B.C.). The Syrian thus hoped his daughter would spy to help him to ‘destroy’ or weaken Egypt and bring it under his power. Cleopatra, instead of helping her father, favored her Egyptian mate.”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Daniel 11:32-33 ‘True believers have insight from God’: “Believers are constantly spoken of in the Scriptures as being enlightened and taught of the Lord. They are not kept in darkness that they may believe but put into the light of God that they may believe. Knowledge is to be the food oi faith. If knowledge under God the Holy Spirit is truly the food of faith, then, in order to be strong—since faith is the sinew of human strength—we must get much knowledge of the things of God. The people who know their God will be strong in faith and will do great exploits.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

Daniel 11:32-33 ‘The Grace of Knowledge’: “Think of the influence of faith on all the other graces of God. Love is the sweetest of all; but how can I love until knowledge gives me a view of Christ? Knowledge opens the door, and then, through that door, I see my Savior. I cannot love a Christ I do not know, at least, in some degree; and if I know nothing about the excellences of Christ—what he has done for me and what he is doing now—I cannot love him. In Christ’s case, to know is to love, and the more I know, the more I will love. And then there is hope. How can I hope for a thing if I do not know of its existence? Hope may be the telescope, but then, till I get knowledge, there is something in front of the glass; I can see nothing whatever. But knowledge takes away the impediment, and then, when I look through the optic glass, I can see the glory to be revealed. But I cannot hope for what I know nothing about. I must know there is a heaven, or I cannot hope for it.”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from a sermon illustration

Daniel 11:36-45 ‘The Prophecy of the Antichrist’: “Following the previously prophesied program for the nations, Gabriel in verse 36 moves from the third kingdom and a description of Antiochus IV Epiphanes to the final phase of the fourth kingdom and a description of the dominant figure that emerges from that kingdom, the Antichrist. While 11:36-45 seems to be a continuation of the earlier description of the historical king Antiochus, the shift to an eschatological king is not unwarranted.
“First, there is much in the description in verses 36-45 that does not correspond with what is known of Antiochus IV Epiphanes historically, so these verses are not a continuation of what was said about him earlier. In fact, in verse 36, the figure being described is called ‘the king’ (Hebrew, hamelek), whereas Antiochus IV Epiphanes is identified earlier with ‘the king of the North’ (verses 7,11,13,15). In this section, ‘the king of the North’ attacks the king being described (verse 40), so they cannot be the same individual. In terms of contrasts between Antiochus IV Epiphanes and this king, while Antiochus was ‘a despicable person’ (verse 21) and sent forces to ‘desecrate the sanctuary’ (verse 31), this king is a ‘monstrous’ person (verse 36) and will establish his palace at the place of the sanctuary (verse 45), personally seating himself there (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:4).
“Second, Antiochus worshipped Greek gods and imposed Grecian culture on the Jews because of his regard for the religion of his fathers. By contrast, this king will ‘show no regard for the gods of his fathers or … for any other god’ (verse 37). Antiochus IV Epiphanes deified himself (at least on his coins), but this king ‘will exalt and magnify himself above every god’ (verse 36). And while Antiochus IV Epiphanes accepted ‘the daughter of women’ (verse 17) in political marriages, this king ‘will show no regard … for the desire of women’ (verse 37). This does not necessarily mean that the Antichrist will be a homosexual. Rather, it dictates that his self-orientation and single-minded ambition have eclipsed any desire for normal human relationships. He will regard himself as above both gods and mortal men (verse 37), and give recognition only to those who acknowledge his superior might (verse 39).
“Third, the shift from Antiochus IV to another figure is indicated grammatically by the interruption in verse 35 that introduces an eschatological orientation to the ‘end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time.’ Verse 36 builds upon this by stating that this one will prosper ‘until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.’ As discussed in 8:19, this refers to the period of God’s judicial wrath against Israel for covenant violation (the height of which was the rejection of the Messiah). This period runs concurrent with the times of the Gentiles, for the nations’ domination of Israel is part of the covenantal curse. As in 9:27 (cf. 2:35,45; 7:11,26), the final judgment of this new figure has been decreed (verse 36). Only the figure of the Antichrist fits this eschatological timetable, for his decreed demise coincides with the end of the period of indignation (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9; Revelation 19:19-20).
“Fourth, even though verses 36-45 follow the description of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and bear resemblances to the former context, their language goes beyond what could be properly stated about the Seleucid king. Either the description has become hyperbolic, or we have here a greater future figure of evil that accords with the character and career of the Antichrist. Such movement in prophetic texts from historical to eschatological persons and events is common. Old Testament examples include the shifts in Isaiah 14 between the king of Babylon (verses 4-11,18-21) and Satan (verses 12-17) and in Ezekiel 27-28 from the King of Tyre (27:2~28:12) to Satan (28:13-19). A New Testament example is Jesus’ shift in Luke 21 between the time of the Tribulation (verses 8-19,25-28) and the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem (verses 20-24). In like manner, the shift in Daniel 11 moves from Antiochus IV Epiphanes (verses 21-3 5) to the Antichrist (verses 36-45). Similarly, shifts from a near (historical) fulfillment to a far (eschatological) fulfillment occur in ‘day of the Lord’ texts.”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Daniel 11 ‘summary’: “The detailed description of the interrelationship between the kings of the south and the kings of the north in Daniel 11 has long challenged biblical scholars. The angel reveals to Daniel that three more kings – Cambyses, Smerdis, and Darius Hystaspis—would rule over Persia. The fourth—Xerxes I—would try to incorporate Greece into the Persian Empire. Upon the death of Alexander the Great of Greece (‘a mighty king,’ v. 3), his kingdom was divided into four parts: Macedonia, Thrace, Syria (‘the king of the North’ or the Seleucids), and Egypt (‘the king of the South’ or the Ptolemies). Verses 5-20 relate the rivalry and wars between the Ptolemies and Seleucids until the appearance of Antiochus Epiphanes.
“The Seleucid Antiochus IV (nicknamed Epiphanes, or ‘madman’) is the ‘contemptible person’ of verse 21. In his attempt to gain absolute control over Egypt, he was ruthless in his campaigns and encouraged his troops to loot and plunder. His mission against the Ptolemies also failed.
“Finally, he aimed his anger at Jerusalem, the temple, and the Jewish people (vv. 30-35). He desecrated the altar in the temple, set up an image to Zeus (168 B.C.), and required the Jews to worship the gods of the Greeks. The Lord raised up ‘a little help’ (v. 34; Judas Maccabeus). The godly Mattathias led the Jews to resist the order to sacrifice to the gods. His son Judas Maccabeus led the insurrection and succeeded by the grace of God in cleansing the temple. The rededication of the altar took place in December 165. This event forms the background of the Hanukkah (‘dedication’) celebration.
“The power represented by Antiochus typifies the spirit of all kings who exalt themselves, doing whatever they please. The description of that king not only applies to Antiochus; it could also apply to the Antichrist, the Beast, or to the continuing opposition of evil. The difficulty lies in the nature of prophetic and apocalyptic language, which mixes historical details with a grand picture of opposition of the kingdoms of this world and the final, climactic victory of God’s kingdom. This problem (‘compenetration’) is not unique to Daniel, but characteristic of prophetic language as a whole. The apocalyptic features add to the complexity of interpretation. In spite of the disagreements in interpretation, the outcome is sure: ‘he will come to his end’ (v. 45). The conflicts between the kingdom of God and of this world will continue, but in the end the Lord will establish his glorious kingdom.”

  • Walter A. Elwell, editor, Baker Commentary on the Bible

Daniel 11 ‘summary’: “Chapter 11 is one of the most remarkable chapters in the Bible. It records a prophecy that, for the most part, has already been fulfilled in detail. It foretells the struggle between the king of Syria (‘the king of the North’) and the king of Egypt (‘the king of the South’) that took place after Daniel’s time. These historic events are described in great detail and cover two or three hundred years of history. A number of outstanding historical figures are predicted here, including Cleopatra, ‘the daughter of the king of the South’ (11:5).
“These two kingdoms, Egypt and Syria, fought back and forth over the course of about 130 years. Poor Israel was caught in the middle and became the battlefield of these armies. Jerusalem was captured and sacked by both sides from time to time throughout the conflict. To live in Jerusalem in those days was to be like wheat being ground up between two millstones.
“God gives us this account of these kingdoms because of Israel’s unwilling involvement. God is primarily concern about Israel, and for her sake He gives us this detailed prophecy which history has confirmed in every detail.
“We come to an interesting break in Daniel 11 where the angel says: ‘Some of the wise will stumble, 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. (11:35-36)
“Here we begin the discussion of the seventieth week of Daniel, the tribulation period that is yet to be fulfilled—the last days, the ultimate arrangement of Earth’s kingdoms just before the return of Jesus Christ. This passage predicts an invasion of Palestine and a counter-invasion from Egypt in the south, and then the meeting of two great armies in the land of Israel and the ultimate destruction of those armies among the mountains of Israel. This is the same event that is described in Ezekiel 38-39 and Joel 2.”

  • Ray C. Stedman, Adventuring through the Bible

Daniel 12 ‘Prophecies concerning Israel’: “Daniel’s amazing prophecies trace the rise and fall of multiple world empires, but in the end, the focus returns to where it all began—in the Middle East and the land of Israel. This region that saw the dawn of mankind will also witness its final judgment. The land of Israel saw the beginning of human redemption through the chosen people, and will once again be the site of salvation when ‘the day dawns and the morning star arises’ (2 Peter 1:19; cf. Isaiah 25:9). The main point of Daniel 12 is to assure Daniel that the terrible events revealed to him, including Israel’s suffering during the times of the Gentiles, will result in salvation. There will be a time of distress, but also a day of deliverance (verse 1). Verses 1-3 prophesy Israel’s deliverance both in this age (verse 1) and the age to come (verses 2-3), and the rest of the prophecy (verses 4-13) deals with Israel’s destiny being sealed up until the end time (verse 4.), the Tribulation period (verses 5-10), and the millennial kingdom (verses 11-13).
“Because Daniel I2 represents the conclusion of the revelation of the divine program for both Gentiles and Jews, it is appropriate that the chapter opens with an explanation about the point at which Gentile history and Jewish history, which have been progressing on parallel lines, converge (the time of the Tribulation). If Israel can be saved at this time, its salvation is truly assured (Romans 11:26), the prophecy can be sealed up until the end time (Daniel 12:4,9), and Daniel can go to his rest (verse 13) in the knowledge that the divine plan will be fulfilled as promised.”

  • Tim LaHaye and Ed Hindson, Exploring Bible Prophecy

Daniel 12:2 ‘If there is no hell…’: “Does hell serve a purpose? … Remove it from the Bible and, at the same time, remove any notion of a just God and a trustworthy Scripture …
If there is no hell, God is not just. If there is no punishment of sin, heaven is apathetic toward the rapists and pillagers and mass murderers of society. If there is no hell, God is blind toward the victims and has turned his back on those who pray for relief. If there is no wrath toward evil, then God is not love, for love hates that which is evil.
“To say there is no hell is also to say God is a liar and his Scripture untrue. The Bible repeatedly and stoutly affirms the dualistic outcome of history. Some will be saved. Some will be lost.”

  • Max Lucado, When Christ Comes

Daniel 12:3-4 ‘rapid growth in rapidity’: “Many Bible scholars understand this to be an indication that as we near the last days, as described in this passage, the means of transportation, information, and knowledge will rapidly increase. Clearly, in this age of jet travel, mass media, and the Internet, we see the fulfillment of this prophecy.”

  • Ray C. Stedman, Adventuring through the Bible

Daniel 12:7 ‘a time, times, and half a time’: “This answers the question of verse 6. By adding these together (one, two, and one—half), one comes to the final three and one-half years of Daniel’s seventieth week (9:27), the time of trouble when the ‘little horn,’ or willful king, persecutes the saints (7:25; cf. 11:36-39 and Rev. 12:14; the same span is described by other phrases in Rev. 11:2, 3; 13:5).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary (quoted Scripture without bold/italics)

Daniel 12:9 ‘Daniel’s end’: “Consider God’s last words to Daniel at the end of his prophetic record. By then, Daniel was old and weary, but all his life he had been God’s faithful servant. God said:
“’And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days’ (Daniel 12:9—13).
“As far as we know, Daniel died a natural death. But many of the prophets died violent deaths because of their faith. Consider, too, the Christian martyrs of the past centuries. You should be familiar with their lives, if you are not. Their testimonies will always stand. They forfeited physical life in the calm and joyful belief that God is faithful and that He will make all things right in the consummation that is yet ahead. They knew that sin and greed and hatred were in control for a time, but their destination was their Father’s house, and they knew that everything up there has always been all right!
“These martyrs were aware that God had called a ‘Time out!’ for His own good reasons. It was not that God had abandoned His plan, worked out from the foundation of the world. His plan is perfect—God’s nature assures us of that, even as we wait. This present delay is a time of mercy, a window of salvation.”

  • A. W. Tozer, Jesus is Victor!

Daniel 12:9-10 ‘The Clash of Good and Evil’: “In this final section, chapter 12, Daniel asks questions to the angel who has revealed these things to him. In return, he is allowed to understand that there are two great forces at work in the world: good and evil. You and I often hear people discussing current events, with newspaper commentators and others constantly pouring into our ears reports of terrible, frightening events. People often ask, ‘What is happening? What is going on in this world? Is the world situation getting progressively worse or progressively better?’
“Some people make the case that humankind is progressing, that education is advancing, and that technology is making life better and better. Others make an even more convincing case that advancing technology only gives us more advanced ways to kill ourselves, to take away our privacy and freedom, to complicate our lives and strip away our humanity.
“Yet the book of Daniel makes it clear that we will never understand God’s Word and work until we accept the reality of the contest between good and evil—and the fact that evil forces war against God behind the scenes of history. As the man in linen tells Daniel [in Daniel 12:9-10].
“Today evil is more widespread than it has ever been. Our current era, with two world wars during the past century, genocidal assaults on humanity, the spread of terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, is the most murderous, blood drenched era in human history. The evil of our age is widespread and Satan inspired.
“But against this dark backdrop, godliness and good stand out even more clearly. The righteousness of God, embodied in His people, lived out by their obedient witness contrasts sharply with the immorality and evil of this age.”

  • Ray C. Stedman, Adventuring through the Bible

Daniel 12:11-13 ‘The final battle of good versus evil’: “These two contrasting forces are at work in human society, and neither shall overpower the other until the end of the age. Both good and evil are headed for a final conflict. The Bible records in various passages that, at one precise moment in history, God will directly intervene in human affairs. There will be a final and decisive clash between these two contrasting principles, good versus evil. Of that conflict, the man in linen says:
“’From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
“’As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance’ (12:11-13).
“Ultimately, every nation and every individual serves God. Some serve Him willingly—and some unwittingly and unwillingly. Even if a king renounces God ten times over, our God is sovereign. His eternal plan cannot fail. He works all events, all human choices, all satanic chaos into His purposes. Nebuchadnezzar, Darius, Alexander, Cleopatra, Caesar, Herod, Caiaphas, Pontius Pilate, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Khruschev, Saddam—none of these leaders could resist the will of God nor interfere with His agenda. The purposes of God roll irresistibly through time and space, encompassing billions of lives, including yours and mine.
“The choice you and I must make is the choice between being willing tools in God’s hand—or unwilling. We choose whether to receive the blessings of obedience—or the judgment that comes from rebellion? The good news of Daniel is that God is alive and at work in the affairs of people and nations. We need not fear evil men or evil nations. The lions cannot consume us, the fiery furnace cannot scorch us, tyrants cannot separate us from the love of King Jesus.
“As we step into the last days that Daniel describes in this prophecy, may we step boldly and triumphantly in the strength of our God.”

  • Ray C. Stedman, Adventuring through the Bible

Daniel 12:13 ‘A Promise to Daniel and us’: “Because Daniel was a man greatly beloved, he had this promise with which to close his marvelous book. He does not understand all God has revealed. But he is to go his way and rest—satisfied that whether he understood it or not, it would work him no harm, for when the end came, he would have his place and his portion, and he would be with his Lord forever. The next time we get to studying some prophecy of Scripture we cannot make out, let us not be troubled, but let us hear the voice of God saying, ‘Go your way. Wait awhile. It will all be plain by and by. God is with you. There remains a rest for you, a crown that no head but yours can wear, a harp no fingers but yours can play, and you will stand in your lot at the end of the days.’”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, from sermon notes

My Thoughts

As for Daniel 11, the scholars did a great job of explaining those images, yet there is some controversy among them regarding the fourth king.  I think the fourth king is more eschatological than historical.  But Daniel is clear that there would be three more kings of Persia.  After that, the great leader, Alexander would conquer the region and when he dies the kingdom will be divided into four portions.  All this happened after Daniel wrote his book of prophecy and the facts of what Daniel prophesied is studied in our history books.  Even Cleopatra and her intrigue is recorded.

Yet, the final chapter, Daniel 12, is a strange chapter.  The archangel Michael makes an appearance.  Daniel is given a scroll that is rolled up and sealed, not to be opened until the end times.  It is hinted that the timing of those end times is on that sealed scroll.

Put yourself in that situation.  If the end of the world was about to happen, would you not want to open the scroll and see what might be necessary to avoid the end times?  Most people, especially power brokers, would do that.  Our worldwide issues, such as Climate Change, are in a similar state.  I have heard that leaders have said, “We have to do something.”  That means to me that they are going to do something, even if it makes matters worse.  And the bottom line is that if this is part of God’s judgment, whatever we do is probably only going to make matters worse.

Yet, Daniel is told that his job is completed.  His book is written.  The remainder of the prophecy is sealed.  And Daniel can now retire, assured that he will rise from the dead.

When I was forced into retirement by a massive company lay-off, I resisted.  But now that I am writing Bible studies and such, I long to hear God say that my job is complete.  God’s retirement plan is marvelous.  You get to sleep.  You get to be with Jesus.  And God has prepared a mansion for you.

Some Serendipitous Reflections

“1. From what you know of secular and religious history, what impresses you about someone’s sudden rise to power and equally precipitous fall (from grace)? How would Daniel write the epitaph of such superstars today?
“2.What is the place of political ambition for the Christian who wants to avoid the pitfalls described by Daniel?
“3. What are your feelings about ‘sons preparing for war’ (v.10)? What is your view on the call to Christians to defend, with force, certain human rights or freedoms?
“4. Are you potentially ‘violent’ (v.14)? What ‘vision’ determines your ‘success’ in channeling any violent tendencies in you, for good instead of evil?
“5. Daniel’s portrayal of what it’s like to be a ‘king’s kid’ is a bleak scene of betrayal and tragedy. By contrast, how do you see life as an heir to the victorious King?
“1. Prophets speak the Word of God in their forth-telling way as they hear it (as in Jer 13:12), while ‘apocalyptists’ write down in a book in a foretelling manner what they see (as here; see Rev.1:11). What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach to conveying truth?
“2. Do you expect to find your name ‘written in the Book’? On what page? Why? What else do you suppose is written next to your name?
“3. Judging from the oppressive conditions you see around you, for what groups of people would you especially recommend this book of Daniel? Why this book for them?
“4. Daniel was told to go on with life even if he didn’t understand. When have you had to cope with life and faith in the midst of perplexity?
“5. The bottom line for Daniel is that the royal power of the Most High God always triumphs over the kingdoms of men (7:11,26-27; 8:25; 9:27; 10:13; 11:45; 12:13). How is that evident for Daniel personally? For the kings and subjects he treats? For the readers he comforts? For you and your small group?”

  • Lyman Coleman, et al, The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups

There are one set of questions for each chapter.

In all the discussion on “kings” substitute whatever political leader you choose.

Substitute whatever group or you as an individual for any reference to a small group.

If you like these Thursday morning Bible studies, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Thursday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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