God’s people are sealed during the Time of the End.

SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE

THE FIFTH SEAL IS THE POINT IN TIME WHEN THE ANGEL BRINGS THE SEAL OF GOD OUT OF HEAVEN.

The first four seals (Rev 6:1-8) describe the timeless realities of the church age. But the fifth seal (Rev 6:9-11) seems to be a specific point in history when the souls under the altar receive white robes and are told to rest for a little while longer (Rev 6:9-11).

The article on the fifth seal considered this question and proposes that the fifth seal symbolizes a general principle, namely that the persecution of God’s people call out to God to set things right.

However, Revelation 7:1-4, where an angel brings the seal of the living God out of heaven and 144000 are sealed, is parallel to the fifth seal. For example, both: 

    • Refer to the past, present, and to future;
    • Involve a delay until God’s people are mature;
    • Give a token of salvation to God’s people; and
    • Are followed by massive destruction.

As discussed above, the seal of God is only available in the end-timeThis means that the angel brings the seal down from heaven at a specific point in time. Then the parallels between the sealing and the fifth seal imply that the fifth seal is more than a general principle and also a point in history; the same point in time when the angel brings the seal out of heaven (Rev 7:1-3).

THE SEAL OF GOD COMES FROM HEAVEN IN THE TIME OF THE END.

Time of the EndThen the question is, what is this point in time? Since the book of Daniel is the foundation on which Revelation rests, we should find this point in history in Daniel. Since, in the fifth seal, God’s people are killed both before and after this point in time, we need to find a similar point in time in Daniel. There is such a point in time in Daniel 12, namely “the time of the end” (Dan 12:4), when the prophecies of Daniel will be understood:

    • Before that time, God’s people will be persecuted for “a time, times, and half a time” and
    • During “the time of the end,” they will “finish shattering the power of the holy people” (Dan 12:7).

For these reasons, it is proposed that the point in history, when the souls under the altar are told to rest a little while longer, and when the angel brings the seal of God out of heaven, is the beginning of “the time of the end.”

THE LITTLE BOOK OF REVELATION 10 ALSO COMES FROM HEAVEN IN THE TIME OF THE END.

This conclusion finds support in Revelation 10. In that chapter, an angel brings something else out of heaven at a specific point in time, namely “a little book which was open” (Rev 10:1-2). He gives it to John to eat and tells John to “prophesy again” (Rev 10:9-11). In doing this, John symbolizes the church receiving a special message from heaven.

What makes the prophecy of Revelation 10 particularly relevant to the discussion above is that the little open book is understanding of the book of Daniel (see discussion below). This means that the little book comes down from heaven at the beginning of the time of the end (Dan 12:4). Therefore, both the seal of God and the little book come out of heaven in “the time of the end.

– END OF SUMMARY – 

IS THE FIFTH SEAL
A POINT IN TIME?

The first horseman (the first seal) has been interpreted as the gospel going out. This does not happen at one specific point in time; it happens throughout the church age. The same applies to the bloodshed, famine, and pestilence of the next three horsemen. The first four seals, therefore, describe timeless characteristics of the church age.

But the fifth seal (Rev 6:9-11) seems to be a specific point in history. It describes God’s slain souls underneath the altar crying out:

How long, O Lord, holy and true,
will You refrain from judging and avenging
our blood on those who dwell on the earth?

But they are told to wait. Each of them is given a white robe and they are told that to:

Rest for a little while longer,
until the number of their fellow servants …
who were to be killed …
would be completed also.

IT IS NOT A POINT IN TIME.

The article on the fifth seal considered this question and found indications that the fifth seal is not a specific point in history:

    • John sees the souls under the altar; symbolizing that God’s people are sacrificed on the altar for their witness. People have been dying for their witness ever since Abel.
    • They cry out for revenge; symbolizing God’s awareness of the injustice to His people and His desire to set things right. God has always been aware of this.
    • These “soulsreceive white robes; indicating acceptance into God’s kingdom. In Revelation, people keep and make their robes white while alive on earth (Rev 3:4-5, 18; 7:14; 19:7-8). They do not receive white robes at any specific point in history.
    • And they are told to waita little while longer.” In Revelation, time is always short (Rev 1:1, 3 and 12:12), so this does not prove that this is a specific event soon before the return of Christ.

IT IS A GENERAL PRINCIPLE.

The article on the fifth seal, therefore, proposes that the fifth seal is not a specific point in history but a general principle, namely that the main point of the seals is that the gospel will go out (first seal) but it will be rejected and God’s people will be persecuted. This is consistent with the conclusion that the sealed book is the book of life and that the purpose of breaking the seals is to refute Satan’s objections to the people whom God has chosen for eternal life. By breaking the seals, Christ directs events on earth to show that God’s decisions are perfect and that the people whom God has chosen for eternal life are worthy.  Similarly, Christ admonished the seven letters:

To him who overcomes,
I will grant to eat of the tree of life
which is in the Paradise of God
” (Rev 2:7).

Revelation knows nothing of the doctrine that is so prevalent in Protestantism, namely that God randomly chooses people, irrespective of how they live. For a discussion, see, Man is judged by his deeds; not justified by the works of the law.

THE SEALING IS PARALLEL TO THE FIFTH SEAL.

Revelation 7:1-4 describes the sealing of God’s people. While four angels hold back the four winds of the earth, another angel ascends from the east (the rising of the sun) with the seal of the living God and cry out to the four angels:

Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees
until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God
on their foreheads
” (Rev 7:3).

Then follows the sealing of the 144000 (Rev 7:4). For the following reasons, it is proposed that the sealing is parallel to the fifth seal:

1. Both precede the sixth seal.

The fifth seal precedes the sixth. The sealing also must precede the sixth seal because the sixth seal has the signs of Christ’s return while the sealing of God’s people must precede His return.

2. Both refer to the past, present, and to future.

FIFTH SEAL THE SEALING
PAST Some of God’s people have been martyred. Four angels have been restraining the winds
PRESENT White robes are given to the souls under the altar after. An angel brings the seal of God from the east.
FUTURE Their brethren must be completed. The angels will continue to restrain the winds until all of God’s servants are sealed.

3. Both involve a delay
until something happens to God’s people.

      • Fifth seal – The souls must “rest a little while longer” until their “fellow servants” have been completed.
      • Sealing – The release of the winds is delayed until the servants of God are sealed (Rev 7:1-3).

4. Both complete the saints qualitatively.

      • Fifth seal – The Greek text does not contain the word “number.” It contains the verb plêrôthôsin which means “filled, completed, made full.”  The NASB adds “the number” (Rev 6:11), but put it in italics. The article on the Fifth Seal explains this as qualitative completion.
      • Sealing – 144000 are sealed (Rev 7:4-8). The article on the 144000 explains that this number must be understood qualitatively; not quantitatively.

5. In both, a token of salvation is given to the saints.

      • Fifth seal – White robes (Rev 6:11)
      • Sealing – The seal of the living God (Rev 7:1-3)

6. Both are followed by massive destruction.

      • The fifth seal is followed by the 6th seal in which a great earthquake displaces all mountains and islands.
      • The sealing is followed by the winds that “harm” the earth and sea.

7. Both are followed by the plagues of Revelation 16.

      • Fifth seal: Still another article concluded that the Sixth Seal includes or follows after the seven last plagues. This means that the fifth seal is followed by the seven last plagues.
      • Sealing: A previous article concluded that the “winds” of Rev 7:1 are another symbol for the seven last plagues. Since the sealing precedes the release of the winds, the sealing precedes the seven last plague,

THE FIFTH SEAL BEGINS THE SEALING.

It was argued previously that the seal of God is only available in the end-time. That means that the angel brings the seal of God down from heaven at a specific point in time during the church age. The parallels between the sealing and the fifth seal steer us into the direction that the fifth seal is not merely a general principle but that it:

    • Also refers to a point in history and that it
    • Refers to the same point in history as in the sealing, namely when the angel brings the seal of the living God out of heaven (Rev 7:1-3).

These parallels also imply that:

    • The seal of God is related to the white robe of the fifth seal. However, it is not the same.  Both signify acceptance into God’s eternal kingdom.  But they are different because God’s resting (dead) saints (Rev 6:11; Dan 12:13) receive the white robe while the living saints receive the seal of God.
    • The ‘completion of their “fellow servants” in the fifth seal is the same as the sealing of “the bond-servants of our God” (Rev 7:3).

WHAT POINT IN TIME IS IN VIEW?

If we then conclude that the fifth seal also describes a specific point in history, namely when an angel brings the seal of God from heaven, then the question is, what is this point in time?

It must be much later than Christ’s ascension because there are four seals between Christ’s ascension and enthronement (as described in Revelation 5) and the fifth seal. But it is before the return of Christ, for the next (sixth) seal has the signs associated with the return of Christ (Rev 6:12-17; cf. Matt 24:29). The fifth seal, therefore, is a point in history close to the end of the church age. For it to be specifically identified like this, something specific and important happens at that point in time.

THE POINT IN TIME IN DANIEL

The book of Daniel is the foundation on which Revelation is built. (For a discussion of the links between Daniel and Revelation, see the Seventh Seal. E.g. Rev 10:6; 13:2) For that reason, and because the point in time in the fifth seal must be important, we should be able to find it mentioned by Daniel’s prophecies.

Since the theme of the fifth seal is the persecution of God’s people, with the killing of God’s people both before and after this point in time (Rev 6:9-11), we need to find a point in time in Daniel’s prophecies that also has the persecution of God’s people both before and after that point in time. There is such a point in time in Daniel 12:

TIME OF THE END
– A TIME PERIOD

Daniel 12:4 reads:

But as for you, Daniel,
conceal these words and seal up the book
until the end of time;
many will go back and forth,
and knowledge will increase
” (Dan 12:4).

The phrase “end of time” sounds like one specific day right at the end of history. But Young’s Literal Translation renders it as “the time of the end,” which may be understood as a time period. For the following reasons, that is perhaps a better translation:

    • Daniel uses a different phrase for the very end of time, namely “the end of the days” (Dan 12:13 YLT) or “the end of the age” (Dan 12:13 NASB). At “the end of the days,” Daniel himself will “rise again for your allotted portion” (Dan 12:13). This is when “your people … will be rescued” (Dan 12:1) and “many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake” (Dan 12:2).
    • Furthermore, verse 4 indicates that “the time of the end” is not a point in time but a period during which “knowledge will increase,” namely knowledge of Daniel’s prophecies. This means that “the time of the end,” is not a single moment but a time period.

TWO PERSECUTIONS

Then, in Daniel 12:5, an angel asks:

How long will it be until the end of these wonders?

These wonders” refer to the resurrection of the dead and the events preceding it, as mentioned in the first verses of Daniel 12. This question received a double answer:

    • It would be for a time, times, and half a time;
    • and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed” (Daniel 12:7).

The “time, times, and half a time” is first mentioned in Daniel 7:25, where it is the period during which the evil horn will persecute “the saints of the Highest One.” This evil horn grows out of the Roman Empire and has been identified as the Church of the Middle Ages. Consequently, the “time, times, and half a time” refer to the Middle Ages. Daniel 7:25 identifies it specifically as a period of persecution for God’s people.

While Daniel 7 and 8, where we find the “time, times, and half a time” for the first time, focus on history in general, the focus in Daniel 12 is on the end-time, as indicated by the references in the opening verses to the resurrection of the dead (Dan 12:2-3) and the promise in verse 4 that Daniel’s prophecies would be understood in “the time of the end” (Dan 12:4, 9). For this reason, it is proposed that the “finish shattering the power of the holy people” (Dan 12:7) is NOT part of the “time, times, and half a time” but a separate and later period of persecution DURING “the time of the end.

Given the context in Daniel 12, the “finish shattering the power of the holy people” is the final end-time persecution that will follow after Daniel’s prophecies have been understood and preached.

POINT IN TIME IN DANIEL 12

Daniel 12, therefore, also refers to a specific point in history with persecution on both sides of it. That point in time is the beginning of “the time of the end” when the prophecies of Daniel will be understood:

Before that point in time, God’s people were persecuted for “a time, times, and half a time.

After that point in time, during “the time of the end,” the prophecies of Daniel would be become understood and preached, followed by the “finish shattering the power of the holy people.

THE BEGINNING OF THE TIME OF THE END

Since both the fifth seal and Daniel 12 refer to a specific point in time in history, with persecution both before and after this point in time, and since Revelation is built on the foundation of Daniel’s prophecies, it is proposed that the point in history in the fifth seal, when the souls under the altar are told to rest a little while longer, and when the angel brings the seal of God out of heaven, is the beginning of “the time of the end.”

THE LITTLE BOOK OF REVELATION 10 ALSO COMES FROM HEAVEN IN THE TIME OF THE END.

We encounter another point in history in Revelation 10. An angel comes down from heaven. “He had in his hand a little book which was open” (Rev 10:1-2). He gives it to John to eat and tells John to “prophesy again concerning many peoples” (Rev 10:9-11). In this prophecy, John is not only an observer but symbolizes the church. It means that the church will receive a special message from heaven with instructions to “prophesy again,” which means that the church already prophesied before it received the new message from heaven. The new message coming down from heaven, therefore, is another point in history time, with prophesying both before and after this moment.

What makes the prophecy of Revelation 10 particularly relevant to the discussion above is that the little open book is understanding of the book of Daniel. This is made clear by the many parallels between Revelation 10 and Daniel 12. Compare, particularly, the oaths in Daniel 12:7 and Rev 10:5-7. This means that John’s eating of the little book symbolizes understanding of Daniel’s prophecies and the “prophesy again” is the preaching thereof. 

Since the little book from heaven is understanding of the book of Daniel, and since Daniel 12 promised that the book of Daniel will be understood in the time of the end, the little book comes down from heaven at the beginning of the time of the end.

In conclusion:

The ‘present time’ in both the seals and in the trumpets is the point in time in Daniel 12 when Daniel’s prophecies will be understood.

Both the seal of the living God and the little open book come down out of heaven at the beginning of “the time of the end.

There is another connection between the sealing (Rev 7:1-3) and the little open book (Rev 10:1-11); both are the first part of the interlude between the sixth and the seventh elements of their respective series. Both interludes, therefore, start at the beginning of the time of the end and describe events up to “the end of the age” (Dan 12:13; cf. Rev 8:1 and 11:15), with the seventh elements being “the end of the age” itself.

FINAL CONCLUSIONS

The fifth seal symbolizes a general principle, but also a point in history; the same point in time when the angel brings the seal out of heaven (Rev 7:1-3).

This is the beginning of “the time of the end.”

This is also when the “a little book which was open” (Rev 10:1-2) comes out of heaven.

ARTICLES ON THE SEVEN SEALS

OVERVIEW

REVELATION 4

REVELATION 5

REVELATION 6

    • Seal 1: The white horse is the gospel.
    • Seals 2 to 4: Bloodshed, famine and death
    • Seal 5: Who are the souls under the altar?
    • Seal 6 includes the plagues and concludes with Christ’s return.

REVELATION 7

REVELATION 8

For further reading on Revelation, I recommend Jon Paulien’s commentary. For general discussions of theology, I recommend Graham Maxwell, who you will find on the Pineknoll website.

The Vile Person of Daniel 11: Antiochus IV or an end-time Antichrist?

SUMMARY

INTRODUCTION

Daniel the prophet, according to the book of Daniel, lived in the sixth century B.C. That was before the kingdom of Greece became a ‘world’ power. But Daniel 8:20-21 and 11:2 mention Medo-Persia and Greece by name. Critical scholars do not accept that these accurate descriptions of historical events could have been written in the sixth century B.C., as the book itself claims. They, rather, propose that the book of Daniel was written by an unknown writer after these kingdoms had already come to power (Wikipedia). In this view, the prophecies of Daniel are history written in the form of prophecy.

The main character in Daniel 11 is described as a “vile person” (Dan 11:21 – KJV). Because of the general principle in Daniel that later prophecies elaborate on the earlier ones, and based on several similarities between the “vile person” and the evil horn-king of Daniel 7 and 8, interpreters generally agree that this “vile person” and the evil horn-king are one and the same.

Daniel 11Antiochus IV was a Greek king who reigned in the middle of the second century B.C. He fits the sequence of kings and the activities of the “vile person” of Daniel 11 fairly well. Critical scholars, therefore, propose that the book of Daniel was written during his reign and that Antiochus IV was the “vile person.” Critical scholars then also interpret the evil horn-king of Daniel 7 and 8 as Antiochus IV.

JESUS CHRIST IN DANIEL 11

Generally, interpreters agree on the interpretation of the first 13 verses of Daniel 11. These verses begin with a description of individual Persian kings and then moves to the Greek Empire. 

Interpreters also generally agree that verses 14 to 19 describe Antiochus III; one of the Greek kings and a predecessor of Antiochus IV.

Daniel 11:22 is a key verse.  It says that the Vile Person will:

(1) Flood away the “overflowing forces“ and
(2) Shatter the prince of the covenant.

There are strong word links between this verse and Daniel 9:24-27. Only in these two passages:

– Do we find the words “flood” and nagid (prince),
– Is “covenant” linked to a nagid-prince, and
– Is the nagid-prince cut off. 

These word links imply that these two passages describe the same event. And since the prince of the covenant in Daniel 9:24-27 has been identified as Jesus Christ (See, Who confirms what?), the Prince of the covenant in Daniel 11:22 is Jesus Christ and that he is shattered refers to His death on the Cross.

This interpretation implies that the flood is the Roman Empire.

Since the events in Daniel 11 are given in chronological sequence, and since the abomination (Dan 11:31) and the persecution of God’s people (Dan 11:32-34) are described after verse 22, these must then occur in time after Christ’s death. It follows that verse 22 does not describe Antiochus IV.

OBJECTIONS

EMPHASIS ON ANTIOCHUS III

One possible objection to this interpretation is that Daniel 11 provides much more detail about Antiochus III (Dan 11:15-19); the father and predecessor of Antiochus IV, than about any previous king. Critical scholars argue that Daniel 11 emphasizes Antiochus III to identify the next king (the vile person) as his son Antiochus IV. 

However, in Daniel 11, once the prophecy has reached a key turning in the history of an empire, the prophecy jumps over the remaining kings of that empire to the next empire. The wars of Antiochus III were a key turning point in the history of the Seleucid empire. At that point, the prophecy jumps over the remaining Greek kings to the next empire, namely the Roman Empire, represented by the symbol of the vile person. Therefore, Daniel 11 emphasizes Antiochus III because his reign was a turning point in history; not to identify the next king.

NO ROMAN EMPIRE

A second possible objection is that Daniel 11 does not mention the Roman Empire. Daniel 11 continues, without an intervening empire, from Antiochus III to the vile person.

However, the symbols of the vile person in Daniel 11 and the evil horn in Daniel 8 include both the Roman Empire and the anti-God power that arose from it.

ANTIOCHUS FITS THE SEQUENCE

A third possible objection is that Antiochus IV fits the sequence of kings in Daniel 11 as well as the actions of the “vile person.” This is true but the description of the “vile person” exceeds Antiochus IV. There is much in the prophecy that does not fit Antiochus IV. Antiochus IV is only a partial fulfillment of the anti-God successor. He is a type of the ultimate fulfillment of a much later and much larger worldwide Antichrist that will arise after the time of the Roman Empire.

– END OF SUMMARY – 

PURPOSE

Daniel 11 is one of the most difficult chapters in the Bible. The traditional interpretation of Daniel, as defended by this website, is not based on Daniel 11, but on the earlier and easier to understand prophecies. The current article explains Daniel 11 from this perspective.

INTRODUCTION

HISTORY WRITTEN AS PROPHECY

Daniel 8:20-21 mentions the kingdoms of Greece and Mede-Persia by name. The first verses of Daniel 11 also clearly describe these kingdoms. But critical scholars do not accept that these accurate descriptions of historical events could have been written in the sixth century B.C., as the book itself claims. They propose that Daniel was written after these kingdoms have already risen to power. In other words, in their view, the prophecies of Daniel are history written by an unknown writer in the form of prophecy.

THE VILE PERSON IS THE SMALL HORN OF DANIEL 8.

The KJV describes the main character in Daniel 11 as a “vile person” (Dan 11:21). For the followiong reasons, interpreters generally agree that this “vile person” is the same as the horn of Daniel 8 and Daniel 7:

(1) The later prophecies in Daniel elaborate on the earlier ones.  Based on this principle, chapter 11, although it does not have beasts and horns representing kingdoms, but rather a series of selected individual kings who ruled those kingdoms, still refers to the same kingdoms as in Daniel 7 and 8.

(2) Both the horn and the vile person:
– Persecute God’s people (Dan 7:25; 11:32-34);
– For a period of 3½ times (Dan 7:25; 12:7); (See note A)
– Profane the temple (Dan 11:31; 8:11); (See note B)
– Set up “the abomination” (Dan 11:31; 8:13); (See note C).
– Remove the continual sacrifice (the tamid) (Dan 8:11; 11:31);
– Use deceit (Dan 8:25; 11:21-24); and
– “Magnify himself” (Dan 8:11; 11:36-37).

NOTE A: PERSECUTION

Daniel 11:32-34 describes the persecution by the vile person but when Daniel asks in Daniel 12:6, “How long shall it be?”, the response came:

It would be for a time, two times, and half a time;
and that when the shattering of the power
of the holy people
comes to an end
all these things would be accomplished
” (Dan 12:7).

In other words, the holy people will be persecuted for the prophetic period of “a time, two times, and half a time;” equal to 3½ times. Since this question and answer come at the end of the prophecy in Daniel 11-12, it refers to the previously mentioned persecution, which is the persecution in Daniel 11:32-34.

Daniel 7:25 also mentions the “time, times, and half a time” as a period of persecution of the saints of the Most High by the little horn-king.

NOTE B: PROFANE THE TEMPLE

The vile person profanes the strong temple (Dan 11:31), which is equivalent to the casting down of the place of the temple by the horn in Daniel 8:11.

NOTE C: ABOMINATION

An abomination is a sin. In Deuteronomy 7:25, “graven images of their gods” are called “an abomination to the LORD your God.” Both Daniel 11:31 and 8:11-12 mention the “abomination” in connection with the “regular sacrifice” (the tamid). Daniel 11, therefore, covers the same ground as Daniel 8 but provides additional detail.

THE VILE PERSON IS ANTIOCHUS IV.

After Alexander the Great died, his Greek kingdom was divided into four empires. One of these was the Seleucids of the Middle East. Antiochus IV was one of the kings in that kingdom. He reigned in the middle of the second century BC. He fits the sequence of kings and the activities of the “vile person” of Daniel 11 fairly well. But the events described in the last part of Daniel 11 do not fit known history immediately after him. For these reasons, Critics propose that:

(1) The book of Daniel was written in the time of Antiochus IV and in response to the persecution of the Jews by Antiochus IV;
(2) The evil king in Daniel is Antiochus IV, and
(3) The events described later in Daniel 11, that do not fit the history immediately after Antiochus IV, are the guesswork of the uninspired writer of Daniel.

Critics transfer this interpretation to Daniel 7 and 8, and interpret the evil horn-king in these chapters also as Antiochus IV. This is called the Maccabean thesis. As one Critical scholar wrote:

Daniel was written during the period of the Maccabees, in the middle of the 2nd century B.C., or about 400 years after the events it describes. Its origin is betrayed in chapter 11 when Daniel supposedly prophesies about the future.

Conservatives, on the other hand, base their interpretation of Daniel mostly on Daniel 2, 7, and 8, but often find it difficult to explain Daniel 11.

PROPOSED INTERPRETATION

Critics do not accept that the future can be known. They believe that the evil king in Daniel 11 was the Greek king Antiochus IV. The current article defends the conservative interpretation of Daniel 11.There are no animals in Daniel 11. The prophecy names the Persian kingdom (Dan 11:2), but none of the later kingdoms or kings are named.  Instead, the titles “king of the south” and “king of the north” are used to describe entire kingdoms, each consisting of a series of kings. The reader of Daniel 11 has to identify the individual kings by comparing the events described in the prophecy with actual history.

Interpreters generally agree on the interpretation of Daniel 11:1-13:

PERSIAN KINGS

The chapter opens with a description of individual Persian kings, concluding with Xerxes, who attacked Greece (Dan 11:2). By virtue of his failed attack on the Greeks, he brought the Greek nation onto the ‘world’ scene.

GREEK KINGS

King of the NorthThe prophecy then jumps over the next 150 years of Persian rule to the first Greek king—the “mighty king” (Alexander the Great) (Dan 11:3). His kingdom was divided into four parts after his death (Dan 11:4). Verses 5 to 13 describe key events in the history of two of the four parts, namely those parts that were threats to Judea. To the north of Judea was the “king of the north;” the Seleucid kings of the Middle East. To the south was the “king of the south,” namely the Ptolemaic kings of Egypt.  The actions of the Ptolemies and Seleucids, as described in these verses, are fairly consistent with what we know today as their history.

ANTIOCHUS III

Verse 14 refers to the “breakers of your people.” Here interpretations start to diverge. But interpreters generally agree that verses 14 to 19 describe Antiochus III. To quote a critical scholar:

Daniel 11:2-20 is a very accurate & historically corroborated sequence of events from the third year (Dan 10:1) of the Persian era up to the predecessor of Antiochus IV: some 366 years! Only the names and dates are missing. Most of the details are about the conflicts between the kings of the South (the Ptolemies of Egypt) and the kings of the North (the Seleucids of Mesopotamia / Syria). The Seleucids are shown to become stronger and stronger (despite some setbacks) … Of course, Jerusalem was in the middle and changed hands (197, from Egypt to Syria).

PRINCE OF THE COVENANT

Verse 22 is a key verse. The following is a fairly literal translation:

The arms of the flood
are overflowed from before him,
and are broken;
and also the leader (nagid; prince – NASB)
of the covenant (YLT)

The text pictures forces (“the arms of the flood“) being defeated by the superior forces of the “vile person” (Dan 11:21). The lesser flood is flooded by an even greater flood of arms. The prince of the covenant is also broken. In other words, the vile person will:

(a) Flood away the “overflowing forces“ and
(b) Shatter the prince of the covenant.

The current article proposes that the prince of the covenant is Jesus Christ and that “broken” refers to His death on the Cross. This conclusion is based on the word links between Daniel 11:22 and the prophecy of Christ’s death in Daniel 9:24-27:

The word “flood,” as a noun, occurs only twice in Daniel—in 9:26 (“Its end shall come with the flood, and to the end there shall be war“) and in Daniel 11:22.

The word ‘sar’ (translated “prince“) occurs 11 times in Daniel (Dan 8:11, 25; 9:6, 8; 10:13, 20, 21; 11:5; 12:1). But the word ‘nagid’, which is also translated “prince,” occurs only in Daniel 11:22 and in Daniel 9:24-27, namely in “Messiah the Prince” (Dan 9:25) and in “the prince who is to come” (Dan 9:26).

In both Daniel 9:24-27 and Daniel 11:22, the nagid-prince will be killed. He is “cut off” and ”broken” (Dan 9:26; 11:22).

The word “covenant” is found in both passages. “Covenant” also occurs elsewhere in Daniel, but only in these two passages is a prince connected with the covenant. Consequently, only the nagid-prince is connected with the covenant. In Daniel 9:26-27 the nagid-prince makes strong the covenant for one week. (See Covenant in Daniel 9:27.) In Daniel 11:22, the nagid-prince of the covenant is broken. Elsewhere in Daniel, “covenant” always refers to the covenant between God and His people (Daniel 9:4; 11:28, 30, 32).  This implies that the covenant in Daniel 11:22 also refers to God’s covenant with Israel.

CONCLUSION

On the basis of these word links, this article concludes as follows:

1. The nagid-prince in the two passages refers to the same individual, namely that the Prince of the Covenant is Jesus Christ.
2. The shattering of the prince of the covenant in Daniel 11:22 refers to His death.
3. The flood that floods away the “overflowing forces“ in Daniel 11:22 is the same as the flood that destroys the city and the sanctuary in Daniel 9:26.  Both are the Roman Empire.

Since the events in Daniel 11 are given in chronological sequence, and since the abomination (Dan 11:31) and the persecution of God’s people (Dan 11:32-34) are described after verse 22, the abomination and persecution must occur after Christ’s death in the first century AD.  These events, therefore, occur during or after the end of the Roman Empire, and cannot refer to Antiochus IV.

Jesus confirmed this when He put the abomination in the future:

Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet (Daniel 11:31 and 12:11), standing in the holy place“ (Matt 24:15)

Jesus, therefore, also interpreted the “vile person” as an anti-God ruler that will arise after His time; not as the Greek king Antiochus IV who died about 200 years earlier.

PROPHECIES COMPARED

With this conclusion, and with the assistance of the previous articles in this series, we are now able to compare Daniel 11 with the earlier prophecies:

DANIEL 11 DANIEL 9 DANIEL 8 DANIEL 7
Persian kings (Dan 11:2) Persian decree (Dan 9:25) Ram (Dan 8:2-4) Bear (Dan 7:5)
Greek king (Dan 11:3) Goat (Dan 8:5-7) Leopard (Dan 7:6a)
Kings of North and South Goat’s four horns (Dan 8:8) Leopard’s four heads
Roman flood breaks Nagid of the covenant (Dan 11:22) Nagid cut off (Dan 9:25-27) Horizontal expansion (Dan 8:9) Fourth beast (Dan 7:8, 23)
Vile person: profanes temple, sets up abomination (Dan 11:31), persecutes for 3½ times (Dan 11:32-34; 12:7) Little horn: casts temple down, removes daily, transgression of desolation (Dan 8:8-13) Little horn: persecutes God’s people for 3½ limes; (Dan 7:25)

POSSIBLE OBJECTIONS

This section responds to possible objections to the interpretation proposed above.

EMPHASIS ON ANTIOCHUS III 

One possible objection against this interpretation is that Daniel 11 provides much more detail about Antiochus III (Dan 11:15-19); the father and predecessor of Antiochus IV, than about any previous king.  Critical scholars argue that this is to identify the next king (the vile person) as his son Antiochus IV.  

This article gives a different explanation as to why the prophecy emphasizes Antiochus III:

The reign of the fourth Persian king (Xerxes) was also emphasized earlier in verse 2 of Daniel 11, but not to identify the Persian king that would follow after him.  Daniel 11:2 emphasizes Xerxes because his unsuccessful wars against Greece were a key turning point in history that shifted the balance of power in the known world from Mede-Persia to Greece.  After Xerxes was mentioned in verse 2, the prophecy immediately jumps over the next 150 years during which seven Persian kings reigned (Artaxerxes I, Darius II, Xerxes II, Artaxerxes II, Artaxerxes Ill, Arses, and Darius III), to the first Greek emperor; Alexander the Great (Dan 11:3).

We then note that Antiochus III’s unsuccessful war against the Romans, as described in Daniel 11, was similarly a key turning point in history.  It shifted the balance of power from the Greek Empire to Rome.  As a result, Antiochus and his sons had to pay penalties to the Romans and their empire was left subject to the growing dominance of Rome.

KEY TURNING POINT

Both the reigns of Xerxes and Antiochus III were therefore key turning points in history that shifted the balance of power to the next empire.  Daniel 11 emphasizes Xerxes and Antiochus III for this reason; not to identify the kings that follow them.

JUMPS OVER THE NEXT KINGS

In the case of Xerxes, once the key turning point has been reached, the prophecy jumps over the next 150 years of Persian rule to the next empire.  This principle applies equally to the shift from the Greek to the Roman empires.  After Antiochus III’s unsuccessful war against Rome, the prophecy jumps over the next 170 years, during which several Greek kings reigned, to the next empire (Rome).  Read in this way, Daniel 11:19 is a description of the death of Antiochus III, while 11:22 describes the death of Christ 200 years later.

This principle is also noted when Daniel 7 and 8 are compared.  The vision in Daniel 7 mentions Babylon, but the vision in Daniel 8, which was received only two years later (compare Dan 7:1 and 8:1) does not.  The reason is that the key turning point, that shifted the balance of world power from Babylon to Mede-Persia, was reached between these two dates.  This was the war between the Medes and the Persians, which resulted in the prophesied Cyrus becoming supreme ruler of both the Medes and the Persians.  The prophecy, therefore, jumps over the remaining Babylonian kings.

CONCLUSION

The prophecy emphasizes Antiochus III because his reign was a turning point in history; not to identify the next king.

NO ROMAN EMPIRE

A second possible objection is that the Roman Empire is not mentioned in Daniel 11.  Daniel 11 continues, without an intervening empire, from Antiochus III to the vile person.

We respond to this objection in the same way as to the same question in Daniel 8, namely that the evil horn-king of Daniel 8 represents both the Roman Empire and the evil horn that arises from it.  The same principle applies to Daniel 11: The symbol of the “vile person” includes both the Roman Empire, symbolized by the flood (Dan 11:22), and anti-God power that arose from it.  To elaborate:

Daniel 7 describes a fourth empire, followed by a horn-king that seeks to exterminate God’s people and God’s message.  But, even in Daniel 7, the emphasis is on this anti-God ruler.  Daniel 7 describes the fourth empire in only two verses but allows 6 verses for the evil horn.

Daniel 8 does not mention the Roman Empire directly.  Political Rome is mentioned only indirectly in the initial horizontal expansion of the little horn (Dan 8:9).  The religious phase is represented by the subsequent vertical growth of the horn.  Daniel 8 uses the horn-king for both the Roman Empire and worldwide anti-God ruler.  Almost all the attention in Daniel 8 is on the religious phase.

Daniel 11 continues this pattern by representing both the Roman Empire and the anti-God ruler as a single symbol; the “despicable person” (NASB).  Political Rome is seen only as the flood that flows away both the “overflowing forces” and the “prince of the covenant” (Dan 11:22).  By far most of the descriptions in Daniel 11 are about the anti-God king that comes out of the Roman Empire.

As mentioned before, the sole purpose of these prophecies, including the descriptions of the first four kingdoms, is to identify the anti-God king that will come out of the Roman Empire.  Moving from Daniel 2 to 7 to 8 to 11, the emphasis on the political powers progressively reduces, while the emphasis on this anti-God power keeps increasing.

ANTIOCHUS IV FITS.

A third possible objection is that Antiochus IV fits the sequence of kings in Daniel 11.  Studies by the current author (comparing Daniel 11 to the history of the Seleucid kings as it is available on the internet) have confirmed the majority interpretation up to Daniel 11:19, where Antiochus III dies.  The description of the vile person starts in Daniel 11:21. Therefore, if Daniel 11:20 describes Seleucus IV (and not Heliodorus), then Antiochus IV fits the sequence of kings.

Critics also correctly argue that the description of the “vile person” in the verses after Daniel 11:21 fits the actions of Antiochus IV.  These include his double invasion of Egypt (compare Dan 11:25, 29), and the persecution of God’s people.

For Critics, these are conclusive evidence that the vile person is Antiochus IV, and not the Roman Empire or some later ruler.

It is true that Antiochus fits the description, but, on the other hand, the description of the “vile personexceeds Antiochus IV.  For instance, Antiochus never gained authority or ruled through deceit (Dan 11:21).  He did not distribute the plunder (Dan 11:24).  He did not magnify himself above every god or not had regard for the god of his fathers, nor for any god (Dan 11:36-37).  And, as all agree, the events of the “time of the end” (Dan 11:40-45) do not fit history at all.  As Desmond Ford noted:

Verses 21-35 fit his (Antiochus’s) time perfectly, but let it be noted that this interpretation by no means exhausts the passage (p 144; Daniel and the coming King).

For more detail, see Does Antiochus IV fit the profile?

ANTIOCHUS IV IS A TYPE.

Daniel 11 may, therefore, be understood as two stories intertwined:  The first story starts with Persia and continues until and including Antiochus IV.  But while discussing Antiochus IV it jumps to the second story, which is of a future and worldwide evil king.  This story continues until Michael stands up (Dan 12:1-3).

We see the same double meaning in Joel, where the prophet describes a local locust plague but unexpectedly jumps to the Day of the Lord.  Isaiah 14 similarly jumps from the king of Babylon to Lucifer, without interruption (Isa 14:4, 12), and Ezekiel 28 moves from the king of Tyre (Ezek 28:12) to an “anointed cherub who covers” (Ezek 28:14).  It is also similar to Matthew 24, where Jesus combined the description of the destruction of the temple in 70 AD and the end of the world into a single story.  As another example of this principle, John the Baptist was the first representation of Elijah to come.

We then conclude as follows:

The “vile person” is a symbol, and not a literal person, just like the little horn in Daniel 7 and 8 is not a literal horn.  The “vile person” symbolizes both the Roman Empire and its anti-God successor.

Antiochus IV is only a partial fulfillment of the anti-God successor.  He is a type of the ultimate fulfillment of the final and much larger worldwide anti-God ruler that will arise from the Roman Empire.

WHY INCLUDE ANTIOCHUS IV?

Why did God include the reign of Antiochus IV in Daniel 11?  It takes a long time for a prophecy to become accepted in a community.  Daniel was also not a prophet in the normal sense of the word, and he was told, “as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time” (Dan 12:4).  Perhaps God’s purpose, for including references to Antiochus IV, was that the Jews would see these events (partially) fulfilled in his reign so that they would accept the book of Daniel as inspired and expect the coming of the Messiah as predicted in Daniel 9.

For a more specific identification of the evil horn-king, please read the article on The Seven-Headed Beast in Revelation.

GOD IS IN CONTROL.

This article, therefore, supports the view that the book of Daniel was written before the time of Antiochus IV, and that the prophecies are real predictions of future events.  God is in control of history:

There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days” (Dan 2:28).

The Most High God is ruler over the realm of mankind and that He sets over it whomever He wishes” (Dan 5:21).

NEXT:  Antiochus Does Not Fit the Description: In support of the current article, this article shows that Antiochus IV does not fit the specific characteristics of Daniel’s evil king.  A summary of that article is also available.

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