History Pre-Written in Daniel 11

Article by J.L. Haynes


"Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future." Dan. 10:14.

Recently, while discussing the prophecy of Daniel chapter 11 with someone on a news group, I was told, with an air of authority, that the events of verses 14 and on were yet to be fulfilled. While that view probably isn't shared by most Bible scholars, it is to be expected that most people would find it difficult to interpret without assigning most, if not all, of the events in chapter 11 to yet future days. That is true, of course, of most prophecy related to the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The challenge that faces our generation of Historicists is one of educating a church of historically uneducated Christians. It is a fact. Young people today, and this has been true for quite some time, do not receive in school, or in the home, a knowledge of history that is required to understand the context of Biblical history or prophecy.

How is it that in this age of the Internet the Church still lives in the dark-ages? Most of our brothers and sisters are no closer to understanding the warnings and promises of John's prophecy than those who lived in the great dark age of the "Holy Roman Empire." Everywhere we look there is another theory regarding the identity of the Antichrist. The debate about the place of the rapture before, or after the tribulation, is a divisive debate. The problem is that it divides Christians, one from another! The popular way to avoid that controversy is to declare one's self "pan-trib:" It will all pan out in the End. This is the politically correct view. What better way to maintain unity among ourselves than to have no position at all? Yet this solution is not Biblical: "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near." Rev. 1:3

So, with a desire to shed a little bit of light on one of the most important of all subjects, let me share with any of you who read this what I wish I could have shared with my neighbour from the news group.

Daniel 11 begins with a Man, the Angel of the Lord, revealing to Daniel certain things that would befall his people in days to come. (Dan. 10:14) There were to be three more kings in Persia after Darius, and then a fourth would rouse his empire against Greece. This was Xerxes who was defeated by Alexander the Great. Alexander only lived a short time after conquering Persia before his empire was divided up among his four generals: after many years of struggle, two families, descendants of two of Alexander's generals, emerged as world-powers: the Seleucids in Asia Minor, Syria and Mesopotamia; and the Ptolemies in Egypt. Verses 3 to 13 cover the rise and struggles between these dynasties from Persia's defeat in 333 BC until the conquest of Palestine by Antiochus the Great around 200 BC.

Antiochus III was helped in seizing Palestine from the Ptolemies by a Jewish rebellion. (v. 14) He gave his daughter in marriage to Ptolemy V, conquered much of Asia Minor, and was defeated and humiliated by the Romans in 190 BC. He died soon after. (vv. 15-19) Verses 21 through 31 describe the career of Antiochus Epiphanes. History regards him as a villain. He foreshadowed future "abominations of desolations" by sacrificing a sow on the Temple altar and then setting up a statue to Zeus in the Holy of Holies. In verse 32 we see the Maccabean revolt. This was followed by a short-lived independence during the Hasmonean era, ending in about 63 BC. Again Palestine was conquered, this time by the Romans, ushering in the climate and culture into which Jesus was born.

Following Jesus's ascension, the Church exploded, bringing "understanding to the many" (v.33) The terrific growth of the Church was perceived as a threat by the Roman establishment, and brought about an era of awful persecution. The adoption of Christianity as the official religion by Constantine brought some relief, and "many joined with them in hypocrisy." (v.34) The Church struggled more perhaps in a climate of officialdom than in persecution. She became filled with clergy who were Christian in name only. This was the falling away, or "apostasy" spoken of by Paul in 2 Thess. 2:3, out of which grew the Man of Lawlessness declared Supreme Pontiff of all Christian churches by Phocas in AD 607. What followed has been more that 1260 years of anti-Christian activity by the line of Popes. Verses 35-39 describe this Antichrist.

"At the end time the king of the South will collide with him..."(v. 40) My grandfather believed that this depicts a confrontation involving the Papacy and perhaps the United States (since being the major world-power, they could inherit the designation of the King of the South). He thought that the passage in verse 40 might describe three parties: the Papacy as the previously mentioned "he", the King of the South, and the King of the North. The King of the North is likely the same Gog mentioned in Ezekiel 38. I'm not sure about that, but it gives us something to watch for, and be alert.

It is better to have an idea of where we are in the scope of prophecy and history, and know what we are to watch for, than to have no explanation for the many prophecies in Scripture, and like some, expect them to somehow be fulfilled in a yet future seven-year period.

Historicism is the belief that we can look back in history and see that fulfillment of much of Revelation and other Old Testament prophecies, thereby recognizing our position in the course of events. Because we know our time is short, and that we live in the very end of the age, we should be spurred into action, encouraged in the telling of the Good News of our Lord Jesus, and inspired to live holy lives as we wait for His appearing.

"Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word." 2 Thes. 2:16-17.

by J.L. Haynes