Read Daniel 11-12 at Bible Gateway.
Previously: daniel 9, the abomination of desolation, part four
We find the next mention of the abomination of desolation by Daniel the prophet in Dan 11. This entire chapter is a vision, a prophecy, of what will transpire in the kingdoms of the world, the four kingdoms which Nebuchadnezzar saw when he had the dream of the statue with the head of gold (Dan 2); the same four kingdoms which Daniel saw when he saw the vision of the four beasts (Dan 7).
The dream of the statue with the head of gold, and the vision of the four beasts, are telling the same information in two different ways. There will be four kingdoms, which are kingdoms of man, kingdoms of this world. The first kingdom is Babylon. Babylon began at Babel (Gen 11:1-9), the first time a kingdom of man exalted itself in rebellion against the kingdom of God and against God’s commands. Babylon, we must remember, is the head of gold (Dan 2:37-38). Upon Babylon, the final plagues, the seven bowls of God’s wrath, are poured out, which destroys the head of gold and the kingdoms of this world (Rev 16-18), and ushers in the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, who shall reign for ever and ever (Rev 19-20)! Amen! Come, Adonai Messiah!
Nebuchadnezzar reigned as the head of gold (605-562 BC). Shortly after him, the second kingdom arose: Media- Persia, which became the sole kingdom of Persia. Persia overthrew Babylon. The detail in the prophecy of Dan 11 is so accurate, that most scoffers believe it was written down by the Jews after the events transpired. Of course, Daniel, the author, held positions of authority in the Babylonian and Media-Persian Empires from 604-538 BC, so the vision necessarily dates from that time. It is also true that the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, which includes Daniel in its entirety, was made between 283-246 BC, before the main events of this prophecy transpired on the stage of history; so the scoffing of the scoffers is easily refuted.
The third kingdom is Greece, and the fourth is Rome. Rome, in fact, still reigns, in our worldviews and institutions and ways of governing which all come from Rome.
Daniel is told in vs. 2 that the fourth king of Persia will be by far the richest, who will stir up the kingdom against Greece. Cyrus is the first king of Persia; Cambysus his son is the second; the third is the usurper; and the fourth is Darius the Great, not of Cyrus’ family, who overthrew the usurper and restored Persia to lawful rule. This is the Darius who instigated the war against the Greeks beginning in 492 BC.
After the fourth king, will rule a mighty one, whose kingdom will be broken up to the four winds (Dan 11:3-4). This mighty one is Alexander the Great, who overthrew Persia in 330 BC. Alexander’s kingdom broke up into four kingdoms, north, south, east, and west. These four were headed by four of Alexander’s generals, in regency for his infant son, but that didn’t last long. The infant son and his mother were soon killed, and before long the four generals and their descendants proclaimed themselves kings over their territories, and spent a great deal of time in warfare with each other. None of Alexander’s descendants or his family ever reigned in any of the four kingdoms.
The kingdom of the south was Egypt, ruled by the descendants of Alexander’s general Ptolemy. Egypt controlled Israel for a long time. The kingdom of the north was Asia Minor, ruled by descendants of Alexander’s general Seleucus, and this kingdom was constantly at war with Egypt in one way or another for a long time. Dan 11:5-28 provides many intricate details of this long war, all of which are historically accurate.
“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. Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” Dan 11:30b-31
Then in 198 BC, a descendant of Seleucus, Antiochus the Great, the king of the north, wrested Israel away from Ptolemy. In 168 BC, his son, Antiochus Epiphanes, arose to the throne. His title “Epiphanes,” in fact, means, “the manifest god,” i.e., god incarnate in flesh. He is a type of antichrist. In the course of his wars with the Ptolemies, he set up an abomination of desolation in the Temple: he had an altar built on top of the altar of the Lord, and sacrificed a pig on it to Zeus. He forbade the keeping of the Law: resting on the Sabbath, celebrating the feast days, offering the sacrifices, and circumcising the baby boys on the eighth day. He sought to establish Greek paganism throughout Israel.
The family of the Maccabees, of the line of Aaron the priest, revolted against this turn of events, and, with a small band of followers, fought a guerrilla war against the Greek king’s forces until they had retaken Jerusalem, purified the Temple (in 165 BC; this event is celebrated at Hanukkah every year), and freed Israel from Grecian rule. Thus the people who knew their God were strong, and carried out great exploits!
“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 any ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.” Dan 11:40-45
Now in 170 BC, the king of the south, the regents for Ptolemy VI who was still a minor at the time, demanded from Epiphanes a return of their Israelite province. Epiphanes responded by attacking Egypt with a great army, and overcame all; only allowing the Ptolemies to continue ruling as puppet kings through the intervention of Rome. Thus, even though he did not technically conquer Egypt, Epiphanes gained power over all Egypt’s treasures of gold and silver.
Then, being preoccupied with Egypt, and the revolt of the Jews in Israel, the Parthians, to the east, rebelled against Grecian rule (167 BC). Antiochus Epiphanes left the Judean war in the hands of a general, and went east himself to quell the rebellion, but succumbed on this campaign to a mysterious disease, and died, in 164 BC. Thus news from the east (and north) troubled him, yet he came to his end, and no one helped him.
To be continued in:
definition of abomination of desolation and
daniel 12, the abomination of desolation, part six