Daniel
Introduction 1-2 From Cyrus till Xerxes I 3 Alexander the Great 4 The Greek Empire Divided into Four Parts 5 Two Kings 6 An Agreement 7-14 The King of the South 15-20 The King of the North 21-31 Antiochus IV Epiphanes 32-35 Those Who Have Insight 36-39 The Antichrist and His Religion 40-45 The Future King of the North
Introduction

Before I start with the explanation of this chapter, I would like to share something with the reader. I have always been told, and I say this myself, that the explanation of a part is given by the Scriptures themselves. In order to grasp a portion of God’s Word, I depend on the Holy Spirit and must also have the right mind. I also need the help of other teachers. This is how the Lord Jesus meant it, and He gave His gifts for it (Eph 4:1111And He gave some [as] apostles, and some [as] prophets, and some [as] evangelists, and some [as] pastors and teachers,; cf. Acts 8:30-3130Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”31And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.).

Is it not a form of pride, and perhaps even a contempt for the Lord’s gifts, if we think we can understand the truth of a portion of it exclusively by ourselves? However, we will have to think for ourselves about what others tell us, and then come to the acceptance of an explanation before God (Acts 17:1111Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily [to see] whether these things were so.). Thus, the meaning of a truth of Scripture becomes our own spiritual property and not the plagiarism of anyone else.

In the portion we have before us now, however, I seem to be unable to find the explanation within Scripture, but only outside of it. The first part of this chapter deals with events that were then still future for Daniel, but that have already been fulfilled for us. However, I cannot find that fulfilment in the Scriptures. However, in all the statements I have at my disposal and would like to consult, reference is made to how this first part was fulfilled in the course of history. It means that I still need to know something about the history that is described outside of the Bible. I once presented this problem to the aforementioned Bible teacher and historian Gerard Kramer. He wrote me the following in response:

In any case, the unspoken history can never be in conflict with the prophecy. And why should it not even be helpful in explaining prophecy that has already been fulfilled and has thus become history? With Daniel 11, the prophecy even turns out to be so correct in details and to correspond with the non-biblical sources, that unbelieving scientists say that Daniel 11 is historiography after the event shrouded in the literary genre of prophecy. The latter, of course, will never be said by trustworthy biblical interpreters. Daniel 11 is now fulfilled up to verse 3434Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. and so is history. I have no problem wandering through the non-biblical history if I cannot fully understand or fill in the detail in Daniel 11:1-34. It becomes interesting from verse 3636“Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done., because some of the things mentioned there, according to historical sources, can certainly be attributed to Antiochus IV Epiphanes, but this section clearly has an end-time perspective, through which it also speaks of the future Antioch, or the king of the North, and – curiously enough – also of the antichrist. [End of  quotation]

This answer encouraged me to call upon the Bible historian Roger Liebi from Switzerland, who I consider trustworthy and competent, to explain this chapter. In his book Weltgeschichte im Visier des Propheten Daniël (World history from the point of view of the prophet Daniel), he gives a clear and compact explanation of Daniel 11:2-35. My statement of these verses will therefore mainly consist of a translation of his explanation. Some interpreters may give different explanations for some verses. That I will not go into that, does not mean that I claim that the statement of my preference is the only correct one. For me it is the most likely, but it is up to the reader to do further research into this.

After studying this section on the basis of the book I mentioned, I have become even more impressed by the truth of God’s Word. It is amazing how every detail mentioned in these verses has been fulfilled. That applies at least to the details that have become clear to me, because there are still aspects that I am not sure about.

I would like to point out once again that for Daniel the events he saw in the vision were all still future events. The exact fulfilment of what is communicated to us in verses 2-352And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all [of them]; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole [empire] against the realm of Greece.3And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases.4But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his [own] descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded, for his sovereignty will be uprooted and [given] to others besides them.5“Then the king of the South will grow strong, along with [one] of his princes who will gain ascendancy over him and obtain dominion; his domain [will be] a great dominion [indeed].6After some years they will form an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the South will come to the king of the North to carry out a peaceful arrangement. But she will not retain her position of power, nor will he remain with his power, but she will be given up, along with those who brought her in and the one who sired her as well as he who supported her in [those] times.7But one of the descendants of her line will arise in his place, and he will come against [their] army and enter the fortress of the king of the North, and he will deal with them and display [great] strength.8Also their gods with their metal images [and] their precious vessels of silver and gold he will take into captivity to Egypt, and he on his part will refrain from [attacking] the king of the North for [some] years.9Then the latter will enter the realm of the king of the South, but will return to his [own] land.10“His sons will mobilize and assemble a multitude of great forces; and one of them will keep on coming and overflow and pass through, that he may again wage war up to his [very] fortress.11The king of the South will be enraged and go forth and fight with the king of the North. Then the latter will raise a great multitude, but [that] multitude will be given into the hand of the [former].12When the multitude is carried away, his heart will be lifted up, and he will cause tens of thousands to fall; yet he will not prevail.13For the king of the North will again raise a greater multitude than the former, and after an interval of some years he will press on with a great army and much equipment.14“Now in those times many will rise up against the king of the South; the violent ones among your people will also lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they will fall down.15Then the king of the North will come, cast up a siege ramp and capture a well-fortified city; and the forces of the South will not stand [their ground], not even their choicest troops, for there will be no strength to make a stand.16But he who comes against him will do as he pleases, and no one will [be able to] withstand him; he will also stay [for a time] in the Beautiful Land, with destruction in his hand.17He will set his face to come with the power of his whole kingdom, bringing with him a proposal of peace which he will put into effect; he will also give him the daughter of women to ruin it. But she will not take a stand [for him] or be on his side.18Then he will turn his face to the coastlands and capture many. But a commander will put a stop to his scorn against him; moreover, he will repay him for his scorn.19So he will turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land, but he will stumble and fall and be found no more.20“Then in his place one will arise who will send an oppressor through the Jewel of [his] kingdom; yet within a few days he will be shattered, though not in anger nor in battle.21In his place a despicable person will arise, on whom the honor of kingship has not been conferred, but he will come in a time of tranquility and seize the kingdom by intrigue.22The overflowing forces will be flooded away before him and shattered, and also the prince of the covenant.23After an alliance is made with him he will practice deception, and he will go up and gain power with a small [force of] people.24In a time of tranquility he will enter the richest [parts] of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but [only] for a time.25He will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South with a large army; so the king of the South will mobilize an extremely large and mighty army for war; but he will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him.26Those who eat his choice food will destroy him, and his army will overflow, but many will fall down slain.27As for both kings, their hearts will be [intent] on evil, and they will speak lies [to each other] at the same table; but it will not succeed, for the end is still [to come] at the appointed time.28Then he will return to his land with much plunder; but his heart will be [set] against the holy covenant, and he will take action and [then] return to his [own] land.29“At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before.30For ships of Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action; so he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant.31Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.32By smooth [words] he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.33Those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many; yet they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder for [many] days.34Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy.35Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because [it is] still [to come] at the appointed time., which we know from historical facts, is yet another guarantee that everything that is yet to become history will be fulfilled. God’s Word is absolutely trustworthy in all its parts!


From Cyrus till Xerxes I

1“In the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him. 2And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all [of them]; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole [empire] against the realm of Greece.

Verse 11“In the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him. of this chapter still belongs to Daniel 10 and is actually the last verse of that chapter. After the angel has said that Michael has stood with him, he says that he himself “arose to be an encouragement and a protection” for Michael. He also mentions when that was. It was at that time that the Medo-Persian empire conquered the Babylonian empire and thus gained control over the Jews. This seems to indicate that the spiritual war was waged with a view to the departure of a remnant to the promised land. Satan will have mobilized his demons to stop that.

Satan knows that in Israel the promised Seed, the Messiah, the Son of God, will be born from the people of the Jews, to the blessing of God’s people. He will want to prevent this at all costs. To prevent that birth, he has always wanted the destruction of God’s people. He does not know all the plans of God, but he does know that the Messiah will bring the promised blessing and that with it his own reign is over and his destiny is sealed.

In verse 22And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all [of them]; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole [empire] against the realm of Greece. the angel tells Daniel that he will tell him the truth about future events. It is the truth, for what the angel reveals comes from the “writing of truth” (Dan 10:2121However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these [forces] except Michael your prince.) written by God. As said, God writes history and therefore it’s going to be like this.

The angel tells Daniel that there will be four more kings in power in Persia. Three are mentioned without further indication. The fourth is said to be rich and to fight against Greece. As we read in Daniel 10, in the third year of Cyrus, Daniel receives the message revealed containing the future events described here (Dan 10:11In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar; and the message was true and [one of] great conflict, but he understood the message and had an understanding of the vision.). That means that the four kings who will still come to power after Cyrus are the next ones:

1. Cambyses (530-522 BC)
2. Gaumata (Pseudo-Smerdis) (522 BC)
3. Darius I Hystaspis (522-486 BC)
4. Xerxes I (486-465 BC)

Xerxes I is known to have acquired fabulous wealth. Through him, the realm of the Persians reaches the peak of its power. Xerxes would also like to conquer Greece and bring it under his authority. To realize this, he mobilized almost the entire Asia of the time. In the famous naval battle of Salamis (480 BC), however, he suffered an insulting and deeply humiliating defeat. This war brings him enormous losses, both of human lives and of treasures.

[NB On the Internet, interested readers can find out more about the four kings mentioned above and also about the following rulers.]


Alexander the Great

3And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases.

The “mighty king” referred to here is Alexander the Great. In history we make a jump of about one hundred and thirty years. That is the time between Xerxes I and Alexander the Great. The Greeks may have caused the Persians a resounding defeat, but the hatred against the Persians is deep with the Greeks. Alexander avenged the Greek hatred on the Persians and ruled with great dominion. He has not taken any notice of God or the commandment, and has acted as he pleases. That he by breaking the power of Persia has participated in God’s plan, is therefore exclusively a matter of God’s sovereignty. God knows how to fit man’s arrogant actions into his plans.


The Greek Empire Divided into Four Parts

4But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his [own] descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded, for his sovereignty will be uprooted and [given] to others besides them.

Alexander the Great’s heyday lasted only a little over ten years. In the year 323 BC he is believed to have died of malaria. When he dies, he leaves behind a son named Hercules. A second son is born shortly after his death. They are both murdered. His four generals and their successors, after a hard battle, divide his great inheritance among themselves (cf. Dan 8:8,228Then the male goat magnified [himself] exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous [horns] toward the four winds of heaven.22The broken [horn] and the four [horns that] arose in its place [represent] four kingdoms [which] will arise from [his] nation, although not with his power.
). The division is as follows:

1. Seleucus gets Syria in the east,
2. Lysimachus gets Asia Minor in the north,
3. Ptolemy gets Egypt in the south and
4. Cassander gets Macedonia in the west.

Thus the Greek empire is “parceled out toward the four points of the compass”, where the four points of the compass are seen from the position of the Persian empire.


Two Kings

5“Then the king of the South will grow strong, along with [one] of his princes who will gain ascendancy over him and obtain dominion; his domain [will be] a great dominion [indeed].

From this verse onwards Daniel’s prophecy is only concerned with the king of the South and the king of the North. They are the kings who rule over Egypt in the south and Syria in the north. It is because these two countries have an important place in the history of Israel that these countries are the only ones mentioned. The ‘south’ and ‘north’ must be seen from the position of Israel. From this perspective, the king of the South means the Greek general ruling Egypt, Ptolemy, and the king of the North means Seleucus, the ruler of Syria.

One of Alexander’s former generals, Seleucus, makes himself independent from him and gains control of Syria. His empire will be the largest of the four empires that were created after Alexander the Great’s death. Thus Seleucus becomes the king of the North.


An Agreement

6After some years they will form an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the South will come to the king of the North to carry out a peaceful arrangement. But she will not retain her position of power, nor will he remain with his power, but she will be given up, along with those who brought her in and the one who sired her as well as he who supported her in [those] times.

In verse 66After some years they will form an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the South will come to the king of the North to carry out a peaceful arrangement. But she will not retain her position of power, nor will he remain with his power, but she will be given up, along with those who brought her in and the one who sired her as well as he who supported her in [those] times. it is no longer about the kings, Ptolemy and Seleucus, mentioned in the previous verse, but about their descendants: Ptolemy II and Antiochus II. This transition is noted in the first words of this verse “after some years”. To put an end to the bloody war conflicts between Egypt and Syria, an attempt is made to have the two royal families enter into “an alliance” with each other. That agreement consists of a marriage. Around 252 BC Antiochus II expels his wife Laodice and marries Bernice, the daughter of the Egyptian king Ptolemy II.

However, this attempt to achieve peace is a catastrophe. Out of revenge Laodice has her former husband Antiochus II poisoned a few years after his marriage to Bernice. She does the same with the little son from that marriage. Afterwards Bernice flees with a few faithful to a city near Antioch. Seleucus II, the son of Laodice, follows her there, takes her into the city and kills Bernice and her entourage. During this time also Ptolemy II, the father of Bernice, dies.

Now that we know the history, we can fill in the following names in verse 6b6After some years they will form an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the South will come to the king of the North to carry out a peaceful arrangement. But she will not retain her position of power, nor will he remain with his power, but she will be given up, along with those who brought her in and the one who sired her as well as he who supported her in [those] times.:

“But she” – Bernice – “will not retain her position of power,” (that is, she has to flee) “nor will he” – Antiochus II – “remain with his power, but she” – Bernice – “will be given up, along with those who brought her in,” (the faithful who followed her) “and the one who sired her” – Ptolemy – “as well as he who supported her in [those] times” – Antiochus II.


The King of the South

7But one of the descendants of her line will arise in his place, and he will come against [their] army and enter the fortress of the king of the North, and he will deal with them and display [great] strength. 8Also their gods with their metal images [and] their precious vessels of silver and gold he will take into captivity to Egypt, and he on his part will refrain from [attacking] the king of the North for [some] years. 9Then the latter will enter the realm of the king of the South, but will return to his [own] land. 10“His sons will mobilize and assemble a multitude of great forces; and one of them will keep on coming and overflow and pass through, that he may again wage war up to his [very] fortress. 11The king of the South will be enraged and go forth and fight with the king of the North. Then the latter will raise a great multitude, but [that] multitude will be given into the hand of the [former]. 12When the multitude is carried away, his heart will be lifted up, and he will cause tens of thousands to fall; yet he will not prevail. 13For the king of the North will again raise a greater multitude than the former, and after an interval of some years he will press on with a great army and much equipment. 14“Now in those times many will rise up against the king of the South; the violent ones among your people will also lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they will fall down.

(Verse 77But one of the descendants of her line will arise in his place, and he will come against [their] army and enter the fortress of the king of the North, and he will deal with them and display [great] strength.) Ptolemy III Euergetes takes over the reign of his father Ptolemy II. As Bernice’s brother – he is “one of the descendants of her line”, that is, from the same family – he wants to avenge her. He mobilizes a powerful army and defeats the king of the North Seleucus II in a series of battles. Ptolemy III also conquered the Syrian fortress Seleukeia.

(Verses 8-98Also their gods with their metal images [and] their precious vessels of silver and gold he will take into captivity to Egypt, and he on his part will refrain from [attacking] the king of the North for [some] years.9Then the latter will enter the realm of the king of the South, but will return to his [own] land.) When Ptolemy III returns to Egypt, he takes a huge booty with him. This booty consists of immeasurable treasures, countless sanctuaries and idols. He is also transporting a large number of prisoners from Syria, who have taken a prominent place there. After that, there are a few years of rest without a struggle between Syria and Egypt.

(Verse 1010“His sons will mobilize and assemble a multitude of great forces; and one of them will keep on coming and overflow and pass through, that he may again wage war up to his [very] fortress.) The two sons of the king of Syria, Seleucus II, Seleucus III and his brother Antiochus III, want to continue the war against Egypt. They recruit masses of mercenaries to mobilize a huge and war-qualified army.

In the second part of the verse it suddenly concerns only one of the sons. This is because Seleucus III is killed by poisoning around 223 BC. Therefore, what follows further in the description refers only to Antiochus III. Around the years 221, 219 and 218 BC he attacks Egypt three times and crosses the border.

(Verses 11-1311The king of the South will be enraged and go forth and fight with the king of the North. Then the latter will raise a great multitude, but [that] multitude will be given into the hand of the [former].12When the multitude is carried away, his heart will be lifted up, and he will cause tens of thousands to fall; yet he will not prevail.13For the king of the North will again raise a greater multitude than the former, and after an interval of some years he will press on with a great army and much equipment.) During the third offensive of Antiochus III, in which he also conquered part of the land of Israel, a special outburst of wrath of Egypt occurs. Ptolemy IV strikes back and defeats Antiochus III about 217 BC in the decisive battle of Raffia near Gaza. This gives him a great multitude of the enemy in his hands.

This great victory makes him proud. However, he does not know how to exploit the “fall” of “tens of thousands” to strengthen his power. He simply lets Antiochus III move away with what is left of his army. Antiochus III can therefore recover from his defeat with Raffia. Thus, “after an interval of some years” i.e. sixteen years later (verse 1313For the king of the North will again raise a greater multitude than the former, and after an interval of some years he will press on with a great army and much equipment.), he can start a new attack on Egypt. The army which he then has is larger than the previous one. Also materially he is very well equipped.

(Verse 1414“Now in those times many will rise up against the king of the South; the violent ones among your people will also lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they will fall down.) The time Antiochus III choses to start a new offensive against Egypt is well chosen. The king of the South has to deal with revolt in his country. Egypt is weakened by internal unrest and the struggle for the throne.

Then all of a sudden there is the question of “the violent ones among your people”. “Your people” is the people of Daniel, Israel. Here we hear for the first time in this chapter about God’s people. In Israel, which falls under the authority of Egypt, some of the Jews enter into an alliance with Syria against Ptolemy V, the son and successor of Ptolemy IV. These are “the violent ones” from Israel.

They will revolt against the king of the South, but will stumble, that is, they will not succeed and die. Their uprising contributes to the confirmation of the vision. Here again we have to deal with what man does in his responsibility on the one hand and that God uses this to fulfill His plans on the other hand, while not reducing man’s responsibility to the slightest extent.

We must understand that Israel, which lies between the two warring parties, is always involved in this war. Israel is the area where many a war between the two countries was fought. They are alternately dominated by Syria and Egypt, depending on who emerged as the winner. The suffering that all this has brought for Israel has been great.


The King of the North

15Then the king of the North will come, cast up a siege ramp and capture a well-fortified city; and the forces of the South will not stand [their ground], not even their choicest troops, for there will be no strength to make a stand. 16But he who comes against him will do as he pleases, and no one will [be able to] withstand him; he will also stay [for a time] in the Beautiful Land, with destruction in his hand. 17He will set his face to come with the power of his whole kingdom, bringing with him a proposal of peace which he will put into effect; he will also give him the daughter of women to ruin it. But she will not take a stand [for him] or be on his side. 18Then he will turn his face to the coastlands and capture many. But a commander will put a stop to his scorn against him; moreover, he will repay him for his scorn. 19So he will turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land, but he will stumble and fall and be found no more. 20“Then in his place one will arise who will send an oppressor through the Jewel of [his] kingdom; yet within a few days he will be shattered, though not in anger nor in battle.

(Verse 1515Then the king of the North will come, cast up a siege ramp and capture a well-fortified city; and the forces of the South will not stand [their ground], not even their choicest troops, for there will be no strength to make a stand.) The king of the North, Antiochus III, wins a great victory over Egypt around 198 BC. The commander of the Egyptian army, who had repelled an attack by Antiochus III years earlier, flees to Sidon. Antiochus III chases him and takes over the city after a siege. Antiochus III drives back to their country the special forces of the king of the South who came up to break through the siege. They have no strength to hold out.

(Verse 1616But he who comes against him will do as he pleases, and no one will [be able to] withstand him; he will also stay [for a time] in the Beautiful Land, with destruction in his hand.) Antiochus III is supreme. He can do whatever he wants. No one is able to stop him. At that time he subdues all Israel, “the Beautiful Land ” (cf. Dan 8:99Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful [Land].), to himself. From that moment on, Israel is under Syrian rule for a long time, a rule that weighs more heavily on them than the rule of Egypt. They are under a ruler who has the power to destroy what he wants.

(Verse 1717He will set his face to come with the power of his whole kingdom, bringing with him a proposal of peace which he will put into effect; he will also give him the daughter of women to ruin it. But she will not take a stand [for him] or be on his side.) Around 194 BC Antiochus III tries to gain Syrian influence in Egypt by means of a marriage. He gives Ptolemy V his daughter Cleopatra to be his wife. Antiochus III promises to give her a few countries as a gift, including Israel. The further course of history makes the plans to increase his power fail, among other things, because Cleopatra immediately after her marriage takes side for her husband.

(Verse 1818Then he will turn his face to the coastlands and capture many. But a commander will put a stop to his scorn against him; moreover, he will repay him for his scorn.) An area to which Antiochus III then sets his mind is “the coastlands”, of which he “capture many”. This relates to the conquest of a large part of the Greek islands. However, Antiochus’ desire to conquer to the west has led him to incur the wrath of the Romans. “A commander” of the emerging Roman empire stops this king of the North. In 190 BC Antiochus III is completely defeated by the Roman commander Lucius Scipio in the decisive battle of Magnesia in Asia Minor. He must withdraw from Greece.

He is forced to give up all the elephants, pay a high war compensation and also give twenty hostages. Among these hostages is also his younger son, who later becomes significant and known by the name Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The Romans also impose a very high annual tax on him.

With a remnant of his defeated army Antiochus III then returns to his country. All his pride, fame and ambition have been swept through the mud. He must allow himself to be defamed, without any possibility of retaliation for what has been done to him.

(Verse 1919So he will turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land, but he will stumble and fall and be found no more.) In order to pay for the high taxes imposed on him, Antiochus III robs the fortresses and temples of his own country. When he wants to plunder the temple in Elymaic in 187 BC, the population revolted against him. Enraged the crowds come to defend their sanctuary and kill their king.

(Verse 2020“Then in his place one will arise who will send an oppressor through the Jewel of [his] kingdom; yet within a few days he will be shattered, though not in anger nor in battle.) After the death of Antiochus III his son Seleucus IV takes possession of the Syrian throne. Through his tax collector Heliodorus he demands high taxes in order to pay the imposed taxes to the Romans. For this he also sends him to Jerusalem to take the temple treasures.

“Within a few days”, i.e. twelve years, of rule (while his father has ruled for thirty-five years), Seleucus IV is killed. This does not happen through the wrath of an angry mob or through war, but through poisoning by his own tax collector Heliodorus. The latter hopes to gain power himself through this.


Antiochus IV Epiphanes

21In his place a despicable person will arise, on whom the honor of kingship has not been conferred, but he will come in a time of tranquility and seize the kingdom by intrigue. 22The overflowing forces will be flooded away before him and shattered, and also the prince of the covenant. 23After an alliance is made with him he will practice deception, and he will go up and gain power with a small [force of] people. 24In a time of tranquility he will enter the richest [parts] of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but [only] for a time. 25He will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South with a large army; so the king of the South will mobilize an extremely large and mighty army for war; but he will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him. 26Those who eat his choice food will destroy him, and his army will overflow, but many will fall down slain. 27As for both kings, their hearts will be [intent] on evil, and they will speak lies [to each other] at the same table; but it will not succeed, for the end is still [to come] at the appointed time. 28Then he will return to his land with much plunder; but his heart will be [set] against the holy covenant, and he will take action and [then] return to his [own] land. 29“At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before. 30For ships of Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action; so he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. 31Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.

(Verse 2121In his place a despicable person will arise, on whom the honor of kingship has not been conferred, but he will come in a time of tranquility and seize the kingdom by intrigue.) However, after the death of Seleucus IV power does not come into the hands of Heliodorus, but into the hands of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. This man is one of the greatest enemies of God’s people and is referred to in the Old Testament. He is released by the Romans and returned to his country. The kingship is not something that awaits him. The sons of his brother Seleucus IV, Demetrius and Antiochus, are the first beneficiaries of the throne. Yet Antiochus IV knows to seize the kingdom by flattering and played friendliness. Heliodorus also has to give way to him.

(Verse 2222The overflowing forces will be flooded away before him and shattered, and also the prince of the covenant.) Everything that stands in the way of this conqueror Antiochus IV Epiphanes, any opposition, is removed by him. Nothing can hinder him in his progress. The “prince of the covenant” is the high priest Onias III who was deposed by Antiochus IV in 175 BC and sent away into exile (“flooded away”). In 171 BC Onias III is murdered (“shattered”).

(Verse 2323After an alliance is made with him he will practice deception, and he will go up and gain power with a small [force of] people.) In Jerusalem is an orthodox party who has apostate from Judaism and which is Hellenistic minded. This party is led by Jason, the brother of Onias III. The party’s influence in Israel is strong. This is how they manage to make an alliance with Antiochus IV Epiphanes. They want to introduce pagan lifestyles in Israel and hope that this will make their communal life with other nations more peaceful and pleasant. But the exact opposite happens! The initial kindness of the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes is nothing but lies and deceit.

After completing his first campaign against Egypt, Antiochus Epiphanes travels home through Israel on his way back. There he goes to Jerusalem to establish his power in that city. Because when he is in Egypt, there is great military unrest in this city. The Jews have to pay for that! Although he is with only few people, he takes the city without difficulty. The Hellenistic minded party of the Jews open the doors for him. Once in the city Antiochus plunders the temple and causes a horrible massacre.

(Verse 2424In a time of tranquility he will enter the richest [parts] of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but [only] for a time.) Antiochus IV Epiphanes plunders Israel more than his ancestors have done. The members of the Hellenistic party of the Jews supporting him are rewarded by him with gifts and the allocation of jobs. Greek officers and civil servants also benefit from his booty. The fortified city of Jerusalem has suffered indescribably from his atrocities. But to their consolation it is added that this suffering will not always continue. We know that God has determined its time.

(Verses 25-2625He will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South with a large army; so the king of the South will mobilize an extremely large and mighty army for war; but he will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him.26Those who eat his choice food will destroy him, and his army will overflow, but many will fall down slain.) The events described in verses 25-2725He will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South with a large army; so the king of the South will mobilize an extremely large and mighty army for war; but he will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him.26Those who eat his choice food will destroy him, and his army will overflow, but many will fall down slain.27As for both kings, their hearts will be [intent] on evil, and they will speak lies [to each other] at the same table; but it will not succeed, for the end is still [to come] at the appointed time. are before the events described in verses 23b-2423After an alliance is made with him he will practice deception, and he will go up and gain power with a small [force of] people.24In a time of tranquility he will enter the richest [parts] of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but [only] for a time.. The events of verses 23b-2423After an alliance is made with him he will practice deception, and he will go up and gain power with a small [force of] people.24In a time of tranquility he will enter the richest [parts] of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but [only] for a time. take place in the time from 175 BC. In verse 2525He will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South with a large army; so the king of the South will mobilize an extremely large and mighty army for war; but he will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him. we are back in the year 170 BC. In his thirst for expansion of his empire Antiochus Epiphanes starts in that year with a large army the so-called ‘Sixth Syrian War’ against “the king of the South”, that is Egypt. At that moment his still underage nephew Ptolemy VI is sitting on the throne of Egypt. That seems to Antiochus Epiphanes a favorable opportunity to expand his empire.

Ptolemy tries to stop the aggressor with an extremely large and mighty army, but loses the battle. He tries to flee, but fails to escape from his uncle. The city of Alexandria, which in contrast to a great part of Egypt cannot be conquered by Antiochus Epiphanes, surprisingly proclaims the younger brother of Ptolemy VI as king. These are the plans that are devised against Ptolemy by those “who eat his choice food”. They will “destroy him”. This internal betrayal is the cause of his defeat.

(Verse 2727As for both kings, their hearts will be [intent] on evil, and they will speak lies [to each other] at the same table; but it will not succeed, for the end is still [to come] at the appointed time.) When the two kings, Antiochus Epiphanes and Ptolemy, sit together at the table after the war won by Antiochus, it is as if they deal with each other in peace. Ptolemy VI negotiate a treaty with Antiochus Epiphanes, with the intention that he subjects himself, but does not abide by it. Antiochus, in turn, is out to submit to himself the whole of Egypt and therefore pretends he wants to help Ptolemy against his brother who has been proclaimed king in Alexandria. Both kings act according to their own false nature.

However, the agreements between Egypt and Syria are not achieving their goal. The reason given is that “the end is still [to come] at the appointed time”. That is to say, developments must continue because the end that God has in mind cannot yet come. It means that the time of the end of the oppression of Israel has not yet come.

(Verse 2828Then he will return to his land with much plunder; but his heart will be [set] against the holy covenant, and he will take action and [then] return to his [own] land.) Antiochus Epiphanes leaves Egypt with an unprecedented plunder of war. He would have liked to have taken Alexandria as well, but reports of riots in Syria force him to withdraw from the war scene. His hatred of faith in the God of the Bible is enormous. When he passes Jerusalem on his return trip, he commits the greatest atrocities there and brags out with the most shameless language. The objects of his hatred are those who live according to the “holy covenant” and remain faithful to God in secret. After giving free rein to his hatred of God and what is His, he returns to his country.

(Verses 29-3029“At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before.30For ships of Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action; so he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant.) In 168 BC Antiochus Epiphanes started a new war against Egypt. One of the reasons for this is the news of the reconciliation of his two cousins. But this attack, in contrast to the other times, is only half successful. There are “ships of Kittim” coming against him. “Ships of Kittim” seems to refer to Cyprus, but can also be understood in a broader way and then includes the countries of the Mediterranean Sea that are under the rule of the Romans. The arrival of the Romans causes the king of the North to go back. For that to occur he must go through Palestine. On the way he cools his anger at the remnant. At the same time he connects himself with those who forsake the holy covenant, these are the unfaithful, apostate Jews.

In history we see that when Antiochus Epiphanes and his army advance to Alexandria, he meets a Roman envoy, led by the consul Gajus Popilius Laenas. The latter hands him an ultimatum with the instruction to leave Egypt within a certain time. When the Syrian king, full of tricks and schemes, asks for time to reflect, the consul draws a circle around him in the sand with a stick and says: ‘Decide here.’ Gnashing teeth and filled with powerless anger, Antiochus Epiphanes is forced to submit to the iron and rigid will of the Roman power.

Deeply humiliated Antiochus Epiphanes returns home. On that return road he again comes through Israel. There he shows his anger and pours it out on the God-fearing Jews. The apostate party of the Jews, who are described as “those who forsake the holy covenant”, is again of great use to him.

(Verse 3131Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.) Around 167 BC Antiochus Epiphanes sent his tax collector Apollonius to Jerusalem with a powerful army. This robs Jerusalem from an ambush, he plunders the city, ignites fires, kills countless Jews, has women and children – if they have not been able to flee – taken away, pulls down the city walls and exercises a reign of terror in Jerusalem. He turns the city of David into a fortified town and places an occupation force there.

Then the worship in the temple is abolished. This happened in December 168 BC. On pain of death, the keeping of the commandments of the Old Testament is forbidden. The burnt offering altar is renamed and called Zeus altar. In doing so, an idol of Zeus, who has facial traits of Antiochus Epiphanes, is set up.


Those Who Have Insight

32By smooth [words] he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action. 33Those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many; yet they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder for [many] days. 34Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. 35Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because [it is] still [to come] at the appointed time.

(Verse 3232By smooth [words] he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.) Antiochus Epiphanes tries not only through violence, but also through flattery to bring the Jews to apostate from the God of the Bible. With those who have already shown no decisiveness about divine revelation before it has happened, he will succeed in so doing. He not only abolishes the religion of the true God, but also involves the apostate Jews.

However, there are a large number of Jews in Israel who want to remain faithful to their fathers’ God even in the greatest need. Here we meet the Maccabees. They oppose the horrific practices introduced by Antiochus Epiphanes and fight for the restoration of the temple service. The priest Mattathias, together with his five sons, resist the apostasy.

With his sons and all those who join him, he goes into the wilderness and from there fights a guerrilla war against the Syrian occupation forces and also against the apostate Jews. They also destroy, as far as possible, the idolatrous idol altars. After the death of the priest Mattathias, his sons Simon and Judas decidedly continue the struggle.

The uprising of the Maccabees has a phenomenal result. The law-abiding Jews beat the Syrian armies so far back in many battles that they regain control over Jerusalem. On December 4, 164 BC, the temple is also rededicated. Its commemoration is mentioned in the New Testament (Jn 10:2222At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem;).

(Verse 3333Those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many; yet they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder for [many] days.) The law-abiding Jews, “those who have insight”, are keen to call upon the masses of the Jewish people to be faithful to the living God and His Word. In these confused times, however, very many have to pay with death for their devotion to God. The cruelest and most diverse torments are dealt to them. “Sword” and “flame” and “captivity” and “plunder” make their lives unbearable. This situation is referred to by the author of the letter to the Hebrews in the chapter of the heroes of faith, which includes these “who have insight” (Heb 11:35b35Women received [back] their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection;).

These “who have insight” are the Maccabees and those who help them. Much has been accomplished by them with regard to the service in the temple. They have been strengthened by God. The Hebrew word for those who have insight, maskilim, means ‘those who have got insight through education’. They have been in the school of God and are formed in wisdom and understanding. It is experience gained in practice. Wisdom is knowing by experience, knowing how to behave, especially in the end time.

Those who have insight and act are formed in secret. You don’t have to be old to have insight. Daniel is already as a young man someone with insight or understanding (Dan 1:3-6,19-203Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles,4youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every [branch of] wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court; and [he ordered him] to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.5The king appointed for them a daily ration from the king’s choice food and from the wine which he drank, and [appointed] that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king’s personal service.6Now among them from the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.19The king talked with them, and out of them all not one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s personal service.20As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians [and] conjurers who [were] in all his realm.). God begins in the end time His work of restoration among His people through those with understanding. They teach in righteousness. Those who understand are a remnant. In the great tribulation they are of great significance (Hos 14:99Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
[Whoever] is discerning, let him know them.
For the ways of the LORD are right,
And the righteous will walk in them,
But transgressors will stumble in them.
; Psa 107:4343Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things,
And consider the lovingkindnesses of the LORD.
; Jam 3:13-1813Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.14But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and [so] lie against the truth.15This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.16For where jealousy and elfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.18And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.).

(Verse 3434Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy.) The faithful Jews have, as we have seen, gained enormous military successes, although many of them in that time had to suffer and die as martyrs. “A little help” refers to these successes and also to Mattathias’ uprising. The ‘great help’ will only come when the Messiah intervenes in world affairs and establishes a worldwide rule of peace.

It is clear that the resounding victories of the Maccabees led many unfaithful Jews to join them. This happens with disingenuous motives and without their hearts having become warm for the truth of the living God. These opportunists only join, because this seems the most favorable choice for them.

(Verse 3535Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because [it is] still [to come] at the appointed time.) The wise also have to be refined and purged and made pure themselves. Refining is what happens with a view to their understanding and purification has to do with their behavior, their appearance (cf. Pro 25:44Take away the dross from the silver,
And there comes out a vessel for the smith;
; Mal 3:3a3He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.). The result is pure whiteness, both of the mind and of the behavior. The persecutions of that time do not in any way achieve the purpose of the Syrian power. The faithfulness of those who have to endure martyrdom leads much more, in many cases, to a reconsideration and an even more decisive attitude towards the revealed will of God in Holy Scripture. It makes their faith even purer. Throughout the centuries and to this day, the faithfulness of the Jews in this period has become an incentive for many believers to persist in persecution and difficulties!

The second part of the verse makes it clear that the persecutions in the time of the Maccabees did not yet usher in “the end time”. The similarities with the end time are great, but after the persecutions the worldwide rule of the Lord Jesus has not yet come. Time still have to pass until the promises of the LORD in connection with the end time are fulfilled.


The Antichrist and His Religion

36“Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done. 37He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any [other] god; for he will magnify himself above [them] all. 38But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor [him] with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures. 39He will take action against the strongest of fortresses with [the help] of a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge [him] and will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price.

(Verse 3636“Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.) In this verse a leap is made to the end time, that is to say that the events described from this verse will have their full and real fulfilment in the end time. The expression “that king” appears here for the first time in this chapter. Earlier there is always talk about the king of the South or of the North. “That king” is still Antiochus Epiphanes. However, the term “that king” is used here because from this verse on he is clearly a type of the antichrist. What is said here about Antiochus Epiphanes, in reality applies in the full sense to the antichrist.

If we look at what is said in this verse and we know somewhat the character of the antichrist, we see how these things apply fully to him. To some extent what is said here is also true of Antiochus Epiphanes, but we have seen that he was forced by the Romans to retreat. We don’t see anything like that with the antichrist. The antichrist acts at his own discretion. This means that he acts completely independently and of self will. God is not mentioned at all. He is ignored.

The second characteristic of the antichrist is that he elevates himself and exalts himself above every god. He does not tolerate anyone else being given honor other than himself. After ignoring God, he puts God aside and makes himself god instead of God. The third is that he puts up a great mouth against the supreme, and only, true God. Here he defies God. What Paul writes about the antichrist to the Thessalonians corresponds to what we read here in Daniel about “that king” (2Thes 2:3-43Let no one in any way deceive you, for [it will not come] unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,4who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.; Rev 13:11-1811Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon.12He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.13He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.14And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life.15And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.16And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,17and [he provides] that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, [either] the name of the beast or the number of his name.18Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.).

It seems that no one can stop him in his wickedness and silence him. It seems that he can go on doing his business undisturbed. But God’s judgment on him will come at the time appointed by God. The antichrist will be able to go his own way until what God has decided about his people is fulfilled. The wrath mentioned here is the wrath of God over His people because of their idolatry and the rejection of His Son. The antichrist is just like Antiochus Epiphanes a rod of discipline in the hand of God which he uses in his wrath (cf. Isa 10:55Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger
And the staff in whose hands is My indignation,
).

(Verse 3737He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any [other] god; for he will magnify himself above [them] all.) This verse is also about Antiochus Epiphanes, but above that it is about the antichrist. The antichrist is a Jew, but he does not heed the God of his fathers. By “the desire of women” is meant the Messiah, of Whom every Jewish woman wished to become the mother. So he also ignores God’s Messiah, because he will present himself as such. It is only about him. He claims all honor for Himself. Once again it is emphasized that he sees himself as a god. He demands the upper place and tolerates no one beside him, let alone above him.

(Verse 3838But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor [him] with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures.) While on the one hand he tolerates no one above or beside him and wants to be the only object of worship himself, he himself also has an object of worship. His homage goes out to “a god of fortresses”. This refers to his military power. This god his fathers did not know, for they relied on God and not on their military strength.

The antichrist worships his military power as a god. That is his strength. He relies on that. This makes him the master of the surrounding hostile countries. In order to provide this god with the necessary supplies, he invests in it with all valuable materials. He has the technological knowledge and buys what is necessary to equip himself with the most advanced weapons.

(Verse 3939He will take action against the strongest of fortresses with [the help] of a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge [him] and will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price.) Besides his own military apparatus, the antichrist also receives support from the autocrat of the restored Western Roman empire, the united Europe, with whom he will forge an alliance. As we have already seen, this will prove to be a covenant with death (Dan 9:2727And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations [will come] one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”; Isa 28:15a15Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
And with Sheol we have made a pact.
The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by,
For we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception.”
). He will reward all those who defend his politics. They will be given a considerable position in which they can exercise power over others.

His faithful followers he “will parcel out land”, which is Israel, as a reward for their complicity. Only those who openly engage in idolatry and acknowledge the antichrist can buy and sell (Rev 13:16-1716And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead,17and [he provides] that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, [either] the name of the beast or the number of his name.). The most loyal servants receive great rewards. As far as the application of the end time is concerned, we now find ourselves in the second half of the last year-week.


The Future King of the North

40“At the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow [them] and pass through. 41He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many [countries] will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon. 42Then he will stretch out his hand against [other] countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. 43But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians [will follow] at his heels. 44But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many. 45He will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

(Verse 4040“At the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow [them] and pass through.) History continues here. The king of the South will collide with “him”, that is the king of the previous verses. When we think of “him”, we first think of Antiochus Epiphanes as the king of the North. But even more clearly than can be seen in the previous verses, we see here that it is about the end time, because in this verse we read that it is about an event “at the end time”.

In verses 36-3936“Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done.37He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any [other] god; for he will magnify himself above [them] all.38But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor [him] with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures.39He will take action against the strongest of fortresses with [the help] of a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge [him] and will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price., the characteristics mentioned there, we see the clear parallel between Antiochus Epiphanes and the antichrist. It is worth recalling that verse 3636“Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done. refers to “the king” and that up to and including verse 3939He will take action against the strongest of fortresses with [the help] of a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge [him] and will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price. it is always about “the king”, without the addition “of the North” which is always used in the verses before. The thought of “the king of the North” has therefore faded and disappeared into the background, leaving room to think of the antichrist.

As a type of the antichrist Antiochus Epiphanes has made the religion of the Jews a religion of apostasy of God. With this he has brought the apostate masses to a worship of the dictator of the restored Western Roman empire for whom he has erected an idolatrous image in the temple. The antichrist is the enemy inside of the people of God.

From verse 4040“At the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow [them] and pass through. onwards, however, there is again talk of “the king of the North”, but now explicitly linked to the end time. This means that we should no longer think here of the historic Antiochus Epiphanes, but of someone who in the end time will behave like the enemy from outside of the Jewish people. Here Antiochus Epiphanes is seen from a different angle. He is not only the religious enemy of the Jews, he is also their political enemy. As the king of the North, he is out to wipe Israel from the face of the earth’.

That is what we have for us in verses 40-4540“At the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow [them] and pass through.41He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many [countries] will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon.42Then he will stretch out his hand against [other] countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape.43But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians [will follow] at his heels.44But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many.45He will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.. In it we no longer see the historical Antiochus Epiphanes, but the future king of the North. This person will, as we have seen in the antichrist, perform entirely in the spirit of the historic Antiochus Epiphanes.

The reason for the revelation of his enmity against the Jewish people is an attack by the king of the South on “him”, the king of the North. It may also be that “him” means the antichrist. In any case, the initiative for this confrontation between the two kings in the end time comes from the king of the South. Any movement of the king of the South in the direction of the king of the North will be seen by the king of the North as a call to war.

The king of the North will mobilize his armies and also deploy his fleet and with a great display of power attack Egypt. He will also visit other countries and tie them to his triumph chariot. He will “overflow” these countries like an overwhelming flood (cf. Isa 8:7-87“Now therefore, behold, the Lord is about to bring on them the strong and abundant waters of the Euphrates,
[Even] the king of Assyria and all his glory;
And it will rise up over all its channels and go over all its banks.
8“Then it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass through,
It will reach even to the neck;
And the spread of its wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.
; 10:2222For though your people, O Israel, may be like the sand of the sea,
[Only] a remnant within them will return;
A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness.
; 28:1717“I will make justice the measuring line
And righteousness the level;
Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies
And the waters will overflow the secret place.
; Dan 9:2727And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations [will come] one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”).

(Verses 41-4341He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many [countries] will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon.42Then he will stretch out his hand against [other] countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape.43But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians [will follow] at his heels.) In his bellicose actions in reaction to the attack of Egypt Syria will, besides many countries, also enter the land of Israel, which here is called “the Beautiful Land” (cf. Dan 8:99Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful [Land].; 11:1616But he who comes against him will do as he pleases, and no one will [be able to] withstand him; he will also stay [for a time] in the Beautiful Land, with destruction in his hand.; Eze 20:66on that day I swore to them, to bring them out from the land of Egypt into a land that I had selected for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands.). Three countries, however, will escape the king of the North’s desire to conquer: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon. These countries are located in the area of present-day Jordan.

One reason these countries do not come under the power of the king of the North may be that God will judge these old enemies Himself. He will then do so by the God-fearing who are in the land (Isa 11:13-1413Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart,
And those who harass Judah will be cut off;
Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah,
And Judah will not harass Ephraim.
14They will swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west;
Together they will plunder the sons of the east;
They will possess Edom and Moab,
And the sons of Ammon will be subject to them.
). In this way God ensures that the former enemies of Israel receive their rightful retribution from the hands of the people they have tried to resist and disadvantage.

The king of the North then moves further south to attack Egypt. Unlike the three countries just mentioned, Egypt will not escape the grip of the king of the North. Egypt has great material wealth because of the country’s natural resources and also because this country has become the major center of western and eastern trade in that part of the world. Of all this wealth, the king of the North takes hold. Libya and Cush (or Ethiopia), Egypt’s southern allies, will share in the fate of Egypt and will be subjected to its power by the king of the North.

(Verses 44-4544But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many.45He will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.) While the king of the North is waging war, he hears rumors from the East and from the North. What these rumors are is not entirely clear. However, there are some indications as to what these rumors might be. We read elsewhere about “the kings from the east” (Rev 16:1212The sixth [angel] poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.). There is also something to be said for the suggestion that the rumors from the east are caused by the return of the fled remnant into the land driving back the occupying forces (Zec 12:4-64In that day,” declares the LORD, “I will strike every horse with bewilderment and his rider with madness. But I will watch over the house of Judah, while I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness.5Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘A strong support for us are the inhabitants of Jerusalem through the LORD of hosts, their God.’6“In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples, while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sites in Jerusalem.; Joel 3:1111Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations,
And gather yourselves there.
Bring down, O LORD, Your mighty ones.
; Mic 5:4-84And He will arise and shepherd [His flock]
In the strength of the LORD,
In the majesty of the name of the LORD His God.
And they will remain,
Because at that time He will be great
To the ends of the earth.
5This One will be [our] peace.
When the Assyrian invades our land,
When he tramples on our citadels,
Then we will raise against him
Seven shepherds and eight leaders of men.
6They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword,
The land of Nimrod at its entrances;
And He will deliver [us] from the Assyrian
When he attacks our land
And when he tramples our territory.
7Then the remnant of Jacob
Will be among many peoples
Like dew from the LORD,
Like showers on vegetation
Which do not wait for man
Or delay for the sons of men.
8The remnant of Jacob
Will be among the nations,
Among many peoples
Like a lion among the beasts of the forest,
Like a young lion among flocks of sheep,
Which, if he passes through,
Tramples down and tears,
And there is none to rescue.
; Zec 10:3,5-6a3“My anger is kindled against the shepherds,
And I will punish the male goats;
For the LORD of hosts has visited His flock, the house of Judah,
And will make them like His majestic horse in battle.
5“They will be as mighty men,
Treading down [the enemy] in the mire of the streets in battle;
And they will fight, for the LORD [will be] with them;
And the riders on horses will be put to shame.
6“I will strengthen the house of Judah,
And I will save the house of Joseph,
And I will bring them back,
Because I have had compassion on them;
And they will be as though I had not rejected them,
For I am the LORD their God and I will answer them.
).

The rumors from the North can be attributed to the arrival of allies, who are rushing to Israel’s aid. We can think of the armies of the restored Western Roman empire, that is, the united Europe, which will come to the aid of their ally Israel and enter the land from the north. The armies of the united Europe will advance to Har-Magedon (Rev 16:1616And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.).

They believe they are going in their own power, but it is the mysterious power of God that leads them there to judge them there. Har-Magedon is a plain in the north of Israel, a plain that is very suitable for a great battle. What will be presented by the news media as a relief operation for the threatened Israel, is in reality an advance to wage war against the Lamb (Rev 19:1919And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.).

Because of these rumors, the king of the North will interrupt his triumphal march in the south. Seething with anger, he will return to Israel to beat down the uprising that is going on there. He will spare nothing and no one. He intends to destroy many and neutralize them.

Then we read that he “will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion”, which is his headquarters, “between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain”. The king of the North will establish his headquarters “between the seas” – meaning the Mediterranean Sea, which in the Hebrew is called “seas” as a designation for “the great sea” – and the Holy Mountain”” - that is the temple mountain in Jerusalem.

When he sieges Jerusalem for the second time in this way, the need of the faithful remnant will come to a climax. They suffer enormous losses from the antichrist in the land and they are now also threatened by the king of the North. They share this last threat, the threat from outside, and the resulting battle with the godless mass. The faithful remnant has a double enmity to endure: one inside, the antichrist, and one outside, the king of the North.

But if the need is greatest, for the remnant the salvation and for the godless mass the final judgment is near. Salvation comes from the air, for this is the moment when the Lord Jesus comes to earth and puts His feet on the Mount of Olives (Zec 14:3-4a3Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle.4In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.). Then He kills the king of the North. It is not said in so many words here. It says simply and therefore penetratingly: “Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.” He who has been so boasting on his strength and has thought he could do anything he wants, is killed without anyone standing up from him. No one is able to avert his judgment.

The fact that the future king of the North is killed near Jerusalem is further proof that it cannot be the historical Antiochus Epiphanes. According to non-biblical history, this historical figure was not killed in Jerusalem, but died of a disease in Persia.


Read more