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-J: Brief Note on Daniel 12, Summary, and Bibliography
In the next chapter 12, Gabriel brings his discourse to a conclusion. At long last, the words that Daniel so wanted to hear are spoken: “at that time your people shall be delivered.” But this deliverance comes only after “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.” (12:1)
Gabriel goes on to mention a peculiar feature of this future era: “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (12:4) Again, we have another signpost pointing towards the modern age. Travel (many running “to and fro”) and scientific “knowledge” have mushroomed in the past one or two centuries. When compared with the slow pace of travel and the rudimentary knowledge of yesteryear, man’s progress in these areas is a spectacular feature of the modern era, which differentiates if from the entire past history of mankind.
The passage goes on in some detail about the Resurrection and the timings of the end of the age. Those are interesting subjects, but for now, somewhat in the realm of speculation. For the time being, the interpretation of this portion of the prophetic message will be left until a later date and/or more information about it comes to light. And so we come to the end. . . except for the following summary.
Summary: Ancient Past of Near Future?
One of the main goals in this study on Daniel, chapter 11, has been to show that the angel who gave the message was speaking primarily about events to come in the near future – events which should not be relegated to the ancient past, as is promoted in many a commentary. Today, with the benefit of more hindsight than was available to scholars in the past, it is easier to pinpoint accurately the full meaning of Gabriel’s message. But because of the heavy weight of scholarly opinion from the past, the task of adjusting our understanding of this intriguing passage seems to have developed into a major overhaul.
So, as a final reminder and because of its prominence in this study and the need to supply an antidote or remedy against the well-meaning preconceptions of scholars from earlier times, following is a review (also found in the post “Part 3F: The Great Tribulation”) of the reasons why the primary fulfillment of Gabriel’s prophetic message (especially verses 11:21-35) should be understood as coming in the near future. . . that brief tumultuous era prior to Christ’s Return:
1) First of all, given the impressive introduction in chapter 10 – the appearance of Christ in His heavenly glory – it would seem quite a letdown and mismatch if the following revelation dealt mostly with the exploits of an obscure ancient king. Gabriel told Daniel, “I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.” (10:14) It would seem more consistent with that statement if Gabriel’s following message dealt with a “many days yet to come” scenario – the historical events just prior to Christ’s Second Coming in the “latter days”.
2) “Not give the honor of royalty” is a phrase that would seem to apply well to modern forms of non-monarchical, republican government.
3) The phrases “come in peaceably” (verse 21) and “enter peaceably” (verse 24) are more characteristic of modern means of gaining power – through voting or through financial and media manipulation – which do not require the use of military force.
4) The use of “flatteries” (meaning smooth, slippery persuasiveness) in verse 21 is another commonly used tactic of modern political leaders who, using the media, can fool the people with false promises just long enough to get themselves voted into power. (“Flatteries” is the preferred translation and is found in the KJV, ASV, RSV, TLB, ESV, NLT.)
5) The nominal sentence in verse 22 – “yea, [he is] also the prince of the covenant” – links us back to Daniel 9:27 about the same “prince” who “shall confirm a covenant” (which is easily understood as an event happening just prior to Christ’s Second Coming; see post on Daniel 9 for more information on that point.) Therefore, the “prince of the covenant” phrase here in chapter 11, verse 22, acts as a sort of signpost to direct us forward from the ancient time into the modern era of End Time events. This serves also to maintain the continuity between the two messages (in chapter 9 and chapter 11). And we would expect a certain amount of continuity since, judging by the introductions and context of them, both messages were delivered by the same angel Gabriel.
Incidentally, to avoid any confusion as to what kind of “covenant” this is, it should be noted that the Hebrew word for “covenant” was often used for agreements between groups of people, and not only for agreements between God and mankind; so there is no need to insist, as many scholars do, that it applies only to God’s covenant with the Jewish people of the Old Testament; it can easily refer to agreements between warring political factions. And it seems natural, in the context of the passage, that this should be an agreement between the “king of the north” and the “king of the south“.
6) The existence of the “holy covenant”: Back in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes’ reign, there was no record of a covenant made, much less one that dealt with religious, as well as political, issues. Nor was there any such covenant made in the years after Christ’s execution.
The passage in chapter 11 goes on to relate that the anti-Christ “king of the North” would “defile the sanctuary” when he allows an “abomination of desolation” to enter it. In a message 3 or 4 years earlier, Gabriel had told Daniel about a “covenant” which was to mark the last seven years of history. That “covenant” also had much to do with religious issues (“sacrifice and offering”) and desolating “abominations” that would lead to the break-up of the covenant.
Jesus later made mention of this “abomination. . . spoken of by Daniel the prophet” as an important sign that would come just before His Second Coming, that is, in modern times. And since the “abomination of desolation” was linked to the “covenant” (in both passages of Daniel 9 and 11), there should be little doubt that Gabriel is speaking of End Time events; therefore, not only the “abomnation of desolation” but also the “covenant” will be features of modern history (not ancient history).
7) The phrase “fathers… forefathers” in verse 24 does not appear in that part of the message that dealt with ancient history. It was a way of saying that the events being described after verse 21 would occur in a distant future age.
8) The use of special, complex, computerized “devices” in warfare (verses 24-25) is a feature peculiar to modern times.
9) The phrases “at the appointed time” and “time of the end” (verses 27, 29, 35, 40) are referring to that momentous event of Christ’s return. It is the fixed destination of human history, over which the other events taking place around that time in history are “appointed” and will have no power either to hasten or delay. These phrases should indicate clearly enough that the passages where they are found are not dealing with past events, but with events that are meant to happen just prior to Christ’s return.
10) The “ships of Cyprus” phrase applies nicely to the modern situation. Cyprus has by all appearances become a military stronghold for the powers of the West, mainly the U.S. and Britain, who will try to oppose the rise of the Antichrist. He and his forces will be confronted in war by these battleships (and “air ships” too most likely). In ancient times Antiochus Epiphanes was confronted by the Roman envoy, whose ships could have passed through Cyprus; however, it was only a personal confrontation, not a war engagement.
11) The “abomination that maketh desolate” does not refer to some ancient form of idol worship. A thorough study of this phrase will bring to light its hidden meaning as a cryptic reference, in the ancient language, to a modern vehicle of war that enters the “sanctuary”. (Refer to the posts for “Unraveling the Mystery of the Abomination” for more information.)
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