DANIEL 10-12: ANCIENT MIDEAST TURMOIL TELESCOPES INTO MODERN TIMES (3I)

(Part 1, Part 2)

Part 3 – Gabriel’s “Telescope” Zooms out into the Distant Future

3-A: “Vile Person” Arrives on the Scene (11:21-23)
3-B: Rise to Power of a Modern “King of the North” (11:24-25)
3-C: Who Are the Kings of the North and South?
3-D: Setback to America (11:26-27)
3-E: Setback to “King of the North” and Turning Point (11:28-30)
3-F: The Great Tribulation (11:31-35)
3-G: Nature of the anti-Christ “King of the North” (11:36-37)
3-H: The “God of Forces” (11:38-39)
3-I: Among the Nations, Earth’s Final War (11:40-45)
3-J: Brief Note on Daniel 12, Summary, and Bibliography

3-I: Among the Nations, Earth’s Final War (11:40-45)

11:40-43 “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. 
        “He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon.
        “He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
        “He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.”

“At the time of the end.” Again, we are reminded of the timing for these key events of future history. They will happen “at the time of the end”.

“The king of the South shall attack him.” It is hard to tell if the Antichrist has already desecrated the Jerusalem “holy place” with his “abomination of desolation”, or if that is yet to happen. The passage about the desolating abomination’s entrance into the temple appeared previously in verse 31, which would lead us to think that it has already happened. This then would certainly trigger the anger of the American superpower to come to the defense of Israel and would explain why we read here that “the king of the South shall attack him (the king of the north).” But then on the other hand, we learn that “he (king of the north) shall enter the Glorious Land (Israel)” at some point during the course of this new major war. So this would lead us to think that it is during the course of this war, and not any sooner, that the Jerusalem temple will be violated.

Right now it is difficult to pinpoint how exactly these events will play out, so it will have to remain somewhat vague for the time being. At any rate it should be safe to say that this new confrontation and the desecration of the “sanctuary” are closely connected events and happen very close together in time.

“Like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships.” Here is an interesting statement. Obviously, both land and sea forces are involved in this confrontation. Now in days of yesteryear, battles were fought either on land or on sea; usually, it was one or the other but not both. But nowadays, wars are different in this respect – due mainly to the long-range firepower of modern weapons. The majority of modern military assaults combine land and sea forces… and that includes air forces as well. The “many ships” phrase could probably be understood as including, not only ships that float on water (and underwater), but also, ships that float on air – the war planes and air force branch of the military that figure so prominently in modern warfare. Such a combined assault from land, sea, and air certainly would fit the description Gabriel gives: “like a whirlwind”. So, from this verse we can see once more what remarkable insight Gabriel had into the future; he really knew what he was talking about, even though none of it would happen until two-and-a-half thousand years or so later.

The word “chariots” here could stand for the many vehicles – tanks, trucks, jeeps, and so on – that are commonly used in modern warfare. “Chariots” may not seem like the right word, but it was the only word available in the ancient Hebrew vocabulary that could describe a moving vehicle, and one that was usually used in warfare. As for the word “horsemen”, these skilled drivers are needed, of course, for their “chariots”. The word can also include mounted horsemen, or knights, who, before the days of artillery, were considered the most skilled and effective soldiers in an army. In the context of modern times, there are many vehicles and complex weapons that need to be driven or operated. Perhaps for want of any more accurate word, the term “horsemen” was chosen as a way of getting across the idea that the soldiers in this future army would be comparable to the skilled horsemen of yesteryear; they would be well trained drivers and operators of their vehicles and weapons.

 In the New Testament we run across the saying, “He who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.” (Revelation 13:10, Matthew 26:52) The word “sword” has quite a bit of symbolic value. Applying this to our modern time, we would think of “sword” in terms of guns, rifles, and all kinds of weapons that did not exist in ancient times. We would not consider a person exempt from this Scripture’s warning, just because he made a practice of killing with a gun instead of with a sword. So here with this word “horsemen” in verse 40, we could probably understand it in a similar way – as a word with some degree of symbolic meaning.

“He shall enter the countries… many countries shall be overthrown.” Other than for Israel (“the Glorious Land”) and for Egypt, the text does not tell which countries the Antichrist forces shall “enter” and “overthrow”. But if we turn to Ezekiel 38, the companion chapter to this one about the invasion of the Mid East and Israel, we can at least learn which countries will not be invaded (in verses 5-6). These would be the allies of the northern leader, Gog, who will descend out of his northern land of Magog (Russia). His allies in the Mid East will be Persia (Iran) and Togarmah (Turkey and/or Armenia) and Libya and Ethiopia (the nation south of Egypt, northern Sudan); and we should include Syria (the ancient “king of the North”) which could, if present historical trends continue, wind up as the “spearhead” of attack and/or entry-point for the forces of Magog (Russia).

The names having white background are those nations which, from Ezekiel 38 and Daniel 11, we would guesstimate will be those who will invade Israel and other nations in the Middle East. “Gomer” (Ukraine? Some European nations?) is not included

This would leave the other Mid East nations (most of whom happen to be allied to the USA right now) as the ones likely to suffer invasion: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, and Israel. Quite a few – except for one country, Jordan. “Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon… shall escape from his hand.”  These ancient peoples of Edom, Moab, and Ammon all lived in the land that we now know as Jordan. Interestingly, the designation “prominent people of Ammon” sounds like a reference to the fact that Jordan’s capital city happens to be Amman, a name derived from the ancient “Ammon”.

And why should Jordan be the one to “escape from his hand”? One reason may be the simple fact that, of all the nations mentioned, Jordan is the only one that lacks a great deal of wealth in the way of oil resources. Even oil-starved Lebanon and Israel have discovered large oil deposits recently and are expected to become major oil producers in the future. Another reason too is that Jordan has long taken a fairly neutral stance in Mid East political rivalries, which has given it a good reputation for tolerance and peacemaking. In addition, Jordan has generously provided shelter for refugees and hospital care for the wounded from other nearby nations who are embroiled in conflict. It is a nation against whom no one holds any grudges or complaints. (See news article in Appendix.)

 

“And the land of Egypt shall not escape.” In the ancient time both Antiochus III the Great and Antiochus Epiphanes managed to partially conquer Egypt but were frustrated in their ambition to make a total conquest of the nation. That achievement was postponed many centuries until the modern day successor to the “king of the North”, the final Antichrist, will have made his debut. Then finally, the “king of the North” will finish what his ancestors were unable to achieve.

Why so much focus on Egypt? It sounds as if Egypt (as in ancient times when the Seleucid dynasty was struggling so hard to overthrow the Ptolemaic dynasty) will be viewed as the focus of opposition to the forces of the “king of the North”. Perhaps Egypt will harbor an American military presence? As did Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War (1990-1991), and Kuwait during the Iraq War (2003-2011).  At any rate for some reason, not too clear just yet, the passage takes special care to mention the defeat of Egypt: “the land of Egypt shall not escape.”

“The treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt.” What the passage is getting at here is not too clear. Certainly, there is plenty of wealth in Egypt, the Mid East nation with the largest population. Other nations, with their larger oil resources, are wealthier however, so maybe “treasures” refers to something like Egypt’s archeological treasures. Whatever the case may be, it is clear from this passage that, in addition to the arrogant desire for power, the desire for wealth will also play a major role in motivating these future wars of the anti-Christ “king of the North”.

“The Libyans and Ethiopians.” In Daniel’s day Ethiopia was located in the land south of Egypt, which is the modern nation of northern Sudan. In the present era both Libya and northern Sudan are Islamic countries and have strongly opposed Israel. Interestingly, these two countries are also mentioned in Ezekiel 38:5 as allies of Russia (“Magog”) and part of the invasion force that will overrun Israel. Whether “Ethiopia” symbolizes Sudan only, or other African states, is not clear at the moment. And Libya, in spite of the overthrow of its former leader Godhafi in 2011, looks as if it may be headed in the same direction as before: anti-Israel and anti-American.

Another interesting point: No mention is made of Libya and Ethiopia until the invasion of Egypt. This suggests that these two nations on the western and southern border play a specific role in the war by contributing towards the fall of Egypt. Why so much focus on Egypt? If Egypt actually does happen to become the headquarters of opposition forces, then to bring about her collapse will require some extra reinforcement from neighboring countries.

Comparison between Daniel 11 and Ezekiel 38-39

The two chapters in the Bible that describe in detail the invasion of Israel in the End Time are Ezekiel 38 and Daniel 11; they each view the situation from different points of view. In Daniel 11 the “king of the North” and his activities reflect more the local sphere of events from the point of view of the Mid East nations involved; the prophecy seems to point to Syria as the “king of the North” (especially true  if she remains allied to the Russian superpower). By contrast, in Ezekiel 38, “Gog”, the Russian “prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” and his activities reflect a more international point of view. For example, he differs from the “king of the North” figure in Daniel 11 in that he seems to have more allies –“many people with thee”. Well, this is not unexpected; Russia’s sphere of influence is a lot wider. 

As for the more local sphere of operations depicted in Daniel 11, verse 41 says about Jordan, “these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon.” From Russia’s point of view, what happens to Jordan would be of little consequence. But not to Daniel. Gabriel is speaking to Daniel who was eager to know about the future of his people. So the focus of Gabriel’s words here tends to dwell on what will happen to Israel, the “Glorious Land”, and her neighbors. It dwells more on the affairs of the local region.

Now, the chapters that dwell on Russia’s conquest of the Mid East (Ezekiel 38-39) have no mention at all of Egypt, nor of Jordan. And this could mean that Russia’s got her eyes on something else. And the only nation mentioned specifically as a target of conquest, besides Israel, is the land of Arabia – “Sheba, Dedan” – with its “great plunder” (of oil?). The international traders of the West (“merchants of Tarshish”) are introduced at this point also. Russia would probably be a lot more interested in the Arabian peninsula, and all its wealth, than in Egypt. So, the passage, explaining Russia’s point of view, takes care to mention this particular aspect of the invasion.

Comparing these two separate passages, Ezekiel 38 and Daniel 11, one interesting point comes to light: There exists some intertwining in the descriptions of “Gog” and the “king of the North”, this invasion team from the north. In verse 43 the intersection of the two passages is especially obvious. Both passages name the same two nations as allies in the war against Israel and Egypt, namely Libya and Ethiopia. (Ezekiel 38:5, Daniel 11:43) This common feature in the two passages is a helpful clue to show that both chapters are talking about the same invasion and that “Gog” (in Ezekiel 38-39) and the “king of the North” (in Daniel 11) represent the same person. Their activities are just viewed from different perspectives – the international and the regional.

11:44 “But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.”

The previous verses 40-43 described the second major confrontation between the forces of the kings of the north and south. After their first battle (mentioned in verse 25), before things spiraled too far out of control and perhaps out of fear of nuclear confrontation, the two sides tried quickly to patch things up in a peace conference. (11:27) But in this second confrontation, the “king of the North” pulls out all the stops; he emerges as the clear victor and conqueror of the entire Mid East, it would seem. But from the sounds of it, neither of the superpowers’ nuclear arsenals have been tapped into yet.

“News from the east and the north.” In the beginning of his dealings in the Middle East, the Antichrist’s moves were probably well calculated, even wise and fair (at least when compared to America’s clumsy and ineffective handling of Mid East affairs in recent times). Likely, this will be one of the factors that will gain him much popularity, catapulting him in the eyes of the world into someone who could replace the USA and its dominance in world affairs.

But now, after much success, “the king shall do according to his own will.” (11:36) Like Hitler and many other demagogues and tyrants before him, he will become too enamored with himself and too over-confident of his own strength. At this stage in the war, it will become obvious in many quarters that the “king of the North” has become a power-hungry tyrant eager to gobble up as much wealth and territory as he can lay his hands on. A similar pattern happened prior to World War II. It took awhile for nations to realize what they were dealing with – a liar who was not the least bit interested in peace, the Hitler warmonger, and his ruthless, no-holds-barred intentions of enslaving Europe. When that realization finally dawned on them, then Britain, the U.S.A., and other nations rose up in defiance, which brought on the conflagration of World War II.

So at this point in the conflict, there will arise some rumblings of discontent “from the east and the north”. For some unknown reason, there will be some dissatisfaction from “the north” in Europe or in Russia, the Antichrist’s home base. And “from the east” there is the powerful bloc of nations like India and China who may feel that they are losing out too much to the Europe-Russia bloc’s aggressive gobbling up of the Mid East. Nonetheless, the U.S.A. will carry on as the main focus of opposition to the Antichrist. She is still the main enemy to be subdued, and it is very likely that she will be allied to those forces “from the east and the north” that have begun to “trouble” the Antichrist.

There is an interesting example from World War II that is worth looking at. At the beginning of the war, Germany made an alliance with the Soviet Union. Later on, when Germany began to invade her, the Soviet Union switched sides and allied with the United States. So it is not unusual for nations to change sides in a war. And this could be the “news” that “shall trouble the king of the North”. Some nations (China and India perhaps?) may have started as allies of the Antichrist, but later, once they see how things are going against them, decide to switch sides.

So, although the “news” does not come from the U.S.A., chances are that the Antichrist’s reaction to that “news” will be directed against the U.S.A. And it sounds ominous. “He shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.” Could this be the dreaded nuclear war that the world has been trying to avoid for decades now? Possibly. The Scriptures in Revelation 17-18 describe a horrific war during the End Time, a war that destroys “with fire” and “in one hour” a nation or empire called the “great harlot”. It would require a great deal of explanation (beyond the scope of this study), but there is reason to believe that, not only is this the dreaded nuclear war that the world has been trying frantically to avoid, but also, this “great harlot” symbolizes the American empire. Having just lost out in the Middle East, America will find herself in a desperate, demoralized state. And the Antichrist’s occupation of Jerusalem could become the “last straw” that will push America’s leaders to start thinking about playing their trump card of nuclear weapons. So, rather than wait for America to lash out with her weapons of last resort, the “king of the North” may at this point decide to launch a pre-emptive strike.

In the next chapter we learn that “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time.” (12:1) With that kind of context it would not be hard to imagine that the Scriptures here are foretelling the onset of a horrific nuclear war.

(Now it is important to keep in mind that much of what has just been written lies in the realm of speculation and may need some adjustment in the future. These are important issues that require a solid foundation in understanding. As time progresses, the outline of future events will become clearer, and hopefully, a more extensive and accurate interpretation can be made in some future study.)

Verse 45 “And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him. “

“His palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain.” A better translation here would say in the glorious holy mountain” (as it is in the KJV and other translations), for that is closer to the original Hebrew wording. “The glorious holy mountain” is Jerusalem, which is situated on a high plateau “between the seas”, between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Establishing himself like this in Jerusalem will appear to be the ultimate triumph. Jerusalem, the earthly center of God’s people in the Old Testament, naturally carries a great deal of symbolic significance. The Antichrist, “as he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God”, will be the ultimate usurper, the last in a long line of emperors who, throughout history, have presumed to take on the role of God in the minds and hearts of their peoples.

“Yet he shall come to his end.” The Antichrist and False Prophet’s kingdom is a sham and counterfeit operation; its presence is an offence to the forces of Heaven, a cesspool in the beautiful environment of God’s creation,  and will not be tolerated for very long. Its downfall, and the Antichrist and False Prophet’s downfall, will come in a dramatic and supernatural way.

There is much in the Book of Revelation describing how this great future intervention into the affairs of mankind will be engineered by the forces of Heaven, especially in the Battle of Armageddon. However, right now, the angel gives Daniel just a small hint of this supernatural aspect to the Antichrist’s defeat: “no one will help him.” This is similar to other phrases in the Book of Daniel: “he shall be broken without human means” (8:25); “the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and… broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold.” (2:45)

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And that, finally, ends chapter 11 of the Book of Daniel – a long, incredibly detailed prediction of soon-to-come future events delivered to Daniel by none other than the archangel Gabriel. However, the prophecy is not yet finished but continues on into the next chapter 12 with some more details about the glorious finale and victory over the forces of evil – and, of course the deliverance of God’s people. That was Daniel’s great concern in those days when the Jewish people were captive in the land of Babylon. And that is a major focus of Gabriel’s words – the deliverance of God’s people, which Daniel by now must have begun to realize would have to be postponed for quite a long time into the future.

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Continue to Part 3J: Brief Note on Daniel 12, Summary, and Bibliography

Appendix: Jordan

Jordan proud to be ‘foster carer’ of the Middle East
Jim Carey, BBC - 30 June 2012

The defection of a Syrian air force pilot who flew his jet to Jordan and asked for sanctuary is causing a certain amount of awkwardness in Amman. In this volatile corner of the world, Jordan is a country which would rather be known for its hospitality, than for this kind of headline.
I could well imagine the first word uttered by a new baby in Jordan might not be the Arab name for mama or papa. It could be “halla”.

It is by far the most common word I hear.

I say “hello” they say “halla”. I say “goodbye” they say “halla”. When I say “thank you” they say “halla”. And when I say “no thank you” they say “halla”.
Halla is an Arabic word for welcome.

Currently pouring across Jordan’s northern border, tens of thousands of Syrians—many requiring urgent medical treatment—come in search of healing, housing and halla.

These latest refugees join the thousands of Libyans already receiving treatment here, and the near two million Palestinians who have already found sanctuary in the country.

But as I traverse this arid land a question demands an answer. How can a country which, unusually for this region has no oil and very little mineral resources, a land blistered by a hot sun and relentlessly thirsty—afford to be so nice to everybody?

Salla, a Bedouin musician from Wadi Rum in the south, offers one answer. “It’s always been the culture of this region to welcome strangers,” he says.
But with a precarious economy suffering in the face of the global financial crisis, Jordan’s halla is also its life support system.

The United Nations is just one of the organisations pouring money into the Jordanian economy to help the country cope with the latest influx of Syrian refugees. And the current Libyan government pays the medical bills of its citizens being healed in Jordan’s quality hospitals.

Palestinian refugees have brought their own money into the country—but they have attracted further UN and other aid packages.
“We are the foster carers of the Middle East,” observes Salomon, a hospital worker in the capital Amman.

Jordan treads a remarkable path in the region as a friend to many and an enemy to few.

A co-founder of the Arab League, Jordan is still one of the few countries around here to maintain diplomatic relations with Israel. It also maintains relationships with both the US and Iran.

Usually, in a world which pursues alliances and enemies, being a friend of one is to be the enemy of another. Somehow Jordan is doing it differently.
In Aqaba, Jordan’s only sea port, there are big government efforts to welcome international trade. When local restaurant owner Abu finds out I am from the UK his smile widens.

“Ah,” he says, “our king was educated in your country—for this you will not pay for your prawns.”

In the end it is all I can do to stop him giving me the whole main course for nothing. “Halla” he says.

The US and EU pour billions of dollars into Jordan to help it stay so friendly.

All over the hotels near the country’s biggest tourist attraction, the ancient city of Petra, I notice stickers. They say ‘USAID—A Gift From The American People’. It is a logo stuck on many things, from air conditioner to signposts.

Jordan uses this money from its strategic friendships to build up an industry based on halla—tourism.

Petra’s vast array of gargantuan temples and tombs are stunning but so are the hefty entrance fees. Jordan needs to cash in on its history.
You pay again to view the fetid green puddle at Bethany, the place where Jesus is thought to have been baptised.

The spot now lies within a militarised no-man’s land lining either side of the border with Israel and is the only part of the river Jordan which people are allowed to access—but under escort and for quite a price.

Both Israel and Jordan cash in on this unattractive biblical attraction.

And while two Israeli soldiers with machine guns watch people in white robes baptising each other on the Israeli side, on the other, a Jordanian soldier stares as members of our group take photographs.

The unsavoury situation is aptly and theatrically played out by a white dove, coaxed out of hiding by the guide with a handful of grain.

The dove has the mangy plumage of an inner city pigeon, and is vigorously trying to peck at an unreachable itch on its back. It runs away whenever anyone draws near with their camera. A paranoid, knackered, flea-bitten dove of peace.

And there is another problem. Tourism has been hit severely by the international perception that all of the Middle East is unstable and best avoided.

But if there are fewer tourists here to experience Jordan’s halla, the country can be sure there will be more refugees.

[RETURN]

Continue to Part 3J: Brief Note on Daniel 12, Summary, and Bibliography

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