Daniel 11:21-35: History or Future?

Read the article as a color PDF here.

If one consults the overwhelming majority of conservative commentaries on Daniel 11, the chapter is most often interpreted according to the following chart:

Daniel 11 chart

For many years my position, along with the majority of conservative futurist commentators, has been in full agreement with this chart. But more recently, I have increasingly come to question this perspective. I used to understand Daniel 11:21-35 as being entirely fulfilled in the life of Antiochus Epiphanes. My perspective was that while some of the passage foreshadowed the future career of Antichrist, nothing in verses 21-35 should be understood as fully applying to the Antichrist. But I now lean toward the view that while verses 21-35 do find a partial historical fulfillment in Antiochus Epiphanes, their ultimate fulfillment should be understood as pertaining to the Antichrist. If true, the implications of this interpretation are absolutely stunning as it would give us an extremely detailed prophecy concerning the career of the Antichrist.

Now allow me to explain why I think this position is rather difficult to avoid.

First, a proper understanding of Daniel 11 must begin by acknowledging that chapters 10-12 are a single unit forming Daniel’s Final Vision. The modern chapter divisions of course, were introduced much later. But because of the chapter divisions, many miss the fact that chapter 12 is simply an angelic explanation of the things described in chapter 11. Let’s look at the text:

“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. (Daniel 12:1)

Notice that chapter 12 begins with the angel saying, “Now at that time.” At what time? The time just described in chapter 11, of course. Thus, what the angel then begins to explain relates to the same time as the events just described in Daniel 11. At this point, most conservative futurists will say that the application of the phrase “at that time” is limited only to vv. 11:36-40, which is speaking of the Antichrist. But as we consider the full context of what the angel actually said, this limitation becomes very difficult, if not impossible. First, we must acknowledge that this introductory comment by the angel actually paraphrases from a portion of the prophecy of Jeremiah:

‘Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s distress, but he will be saved from it. (Jeremiah 30:7)

Notice that both Daniel 12:1 and Jeremiah 30:7 have the three common features:

    (1) There is a time of unparalleled distress,
    (2) Which is specifically for the Jewish people,
    (3) But they will be rescued or saved out of it.

But as we will see, the angel was not merely harkening back to Jeremiah, he was also drawing from Isaiah 26. For in his description of what this deliverance or salvation would entail is the resurrection of the dead:

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:1-2)

Now we must acknowledge here that any Old Testament literate Jew, upon hearing the words of the angel here, would have immediately gone to Isaiah 26. This passage begins with Israel bemoaning the fact that despite their great suffering, which is likened to the pains of child birth, they had not brought about the redemption of the World:

We were pregnant, we writhed in labor, we gave birth, as it seems, only to wind. We could not accomplish deliverance for the earth, nor were inhabitants of the world born. (Isaiah 26:18)

But the Lord interrupted their complaint with the promise that the day will come when their sufferings / labor pains will in fact bring about the resurrection of the dead:

Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits. (Isaiah 26:19)

Notice again, that the angel quotes from Isaiah:

    “You who lie in the dust, awake” (Isaiah 26:6)
    “those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake” (Daniel 12:2)

Also notice that as in Jeremiah 30, so also in Isaiah 26, we have the three common features of:

    (1) A time of great suffering,
    (2) which is specifically for the Jewish people,
    (3) but they will be saved out of it (in this case, specifically through the resurrection of the dead).

So the angel’s words tie in the events of Daniel 11 to (1) the time of unparalleled distress (2) for the Jewish people (3) that will result in the resurrection of the dead (4) and the redemption of the whole World.

As a side note, for those who hold to the hopelessly confused Preterist interpretation of Daniel 11-12, make no mistake, the resurrection of the dead and the redemption of the whole earth did not happen in 70 A.D.! It is both amazing and deeply saddening that some Christians, eager for some reason to see 70 A.D. as the fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel, interpret one of the greatest catastrophes in Jewish history, with the death of 1.5 millions Jews, to be the fulfillment of a prophecy that pertains to the redemption of the earth.

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

Daniel is then told to seal up the words of the scroll. This is not only a literal sealing, but it is also a prophetic act, speaking to the fact that this vision would not be fully understood until “the end of time,” only after many have gone over and over this book seeking spiritual insight into its message.

Again, is there any reasonable basis to understand 70 A.D. as “the end of time?”

Now we come to the most critical aspect of chapter 12 as it pertains to the proper interpretation of chapter 11. It begins with two more angels conversing with the first:

Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river and the other on that bank of the river. And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?” I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed. (Dan 12:5-7)

There are a couple of key elements of this passage. The first is the question, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?” This question sets the context for the answer, which is actually two-fold. The end of these wonders (the events described in Daniel 11 as well as the time of unparalleled tribulation and the resurrection of the dead described in 12:1-2 will be “a time, times and half a time” or three and a half years. As we know from the Book of Revelation, this 3.5 year time period is just prior to the return of Jesus. Also, it will be accomplished, “as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people” (the Jewish people).

Daniel, for his part is greatly perplexed, and though he seeks to better understand the angel’s words, they essentially tell that it is not his to understand, Instead, the words would only be understood in the “end time”:

As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?” He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. (Dan 12:8-9)

But before completing the revelation, the angel give Daniel (and us) two more critical details concerning the timing. It is absolutely essential that we pay attention to this.

Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand. (Dan. 12:10)

Here, the angel is summarizing, even and quoting directly Daniel 11:33-35.

Those 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. Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. Some 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. (Dan. 11:33-35)

What is essential to take note of here is that the angel has taken a section of chapter 11 that most commentators place in history and has placed it in the end time, within the same timeframe as the resurrection of the dead. Whereas most commentators do not see a transition from Antiochus to the Antichrist until verse 36, the angel has now shown that it is speaking of the Antichrist at least back to verse 33.

But it is the angel’s next statement that is the most critical to take note of:

“From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. (Dan 12:11)

When the angel mentions the “ceasing of offerings” and the “abomination of desolation,” what is he referencing? Obviously, it is a reference to the abomination of desolation and the ceasing of offerings that were just described in the same prophecy, in Daniel 11:31! The angel is actually quoting from verse 31 verbatim. Daniel 11:31 is the only place in where these specific phrases “the ceasing of offerings” (Hebrew: taymid taymid cuwr) and “the abomination that causes desolation (Hebrew: shiqquwts shamen) are used:

“Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation. (Daniel 11:31)

Again, the problem, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article is that the overwhelming majority of conservative commentators interpret this verse as pertaining to Antiochus Epiphanes and not Antichrist. Again, most conservative commentators do not see Antichrist as being in view until verse 36. And this is how I always understood it. But according to the angel’s interpretation, the Antichrist is in view all the way back to 11:31. Yet the individual who is the subject of verse 31 is obviously the same person that was began being described all the way back in 21. This would mean that rather than seeing the Antichrist introduced in verse 36, “the king will do as he pleases,” we may find a detailed description of the Antichrist beginning from verse 21. Now for clarity, I do believe that Antiochus is very strongly prefigured in verses 21-35, but as we now see, the Antichrist is the ultimate subject of this section of Daniel. If the angelic exposition of those texts means anything to us, we really have no other choice but to see it as such.

Interestingly, the angel’s interpretation does much to shed light onto the Olivet Discourse. In Matthew 24:15, Jesus also references “the abomination that causes desolations as described by the prophet Daniel” and places it in the future. So Jesus also did not believe that that Daniel 11:31 was ultimately about Antiochus either. Ironically, many Christian commentators read Jesus’ words and attempt to apply them to Titus and the events of 70 A.D. But this is impossible! The angels made it abundantly clear that the abomination of desolations and the ceasing of offerings will take place in the context of the final 3.5 years, at the time when the Jewish people go through a time of unparalleled suffering, to be followed by the resurrection of the dead. It is also specifically referred to twice as “the end times.” Not surprisingly then, the remainder of Jesus’ discourse in Matthew 24 (and I would argue in Mark 13 and Luke 21) involves events that would take place at the end of time just before his return, and not in 70 A.D.

In conclusion, for anyone who simply takes Daniel 10-12 at face value, the obscuring fog of Preterism will be cleared away, and the future, end time context of the passage will become crystal clear.

Beyond this, when we recognize the fact that the three angels do not identify the individual who sets up the abomination of desolation described in 11:21-45 as Antiochus Epihanes, but as the last days Antichrist, then we also recognize that the career of the Antichrist is described in far greater detail in this portion of Daniel than most commentators have commonly assumed. As I said at the beginning of this article, the implications of this interpretation, if true, are absolutely stunning.

45 Comments
  • Jim
    Posted at 02:43h, 07 January

    Very literate article Joel. You are right on the money which of course means this is the time of the end! The seal is being lifted.

    The historic partial fulfillments of Daniel’s visions have their final and complete fulfillment in the pre-tribulation and tribulation period. The fact that previous interpretations of this book by commentators and by you and myself are not because we were blind. The prophecy was sealed. Now verses that we missed spring from the pages.

    We need to be about the Lord’s business. Time is short.

  • good4u
    Posted at 03:23h, 07 January

    Wow! The implications of what you just articulated in this article are dramatic. It means that when the time has arrived we will be able to follow the Book of Daniel in chapter 11:21-35 and see in REAL TIME the actions of what the Antichrist has done if we are that generation that lives to see his rise and confirm it is he. I believe there may still be more to come that will turn what was once classically understood to be taken even further to modern events that could rock the prophetic world of commentators and prophecy students.

    However, as we reach even closer to the close of the age, all of us may be doing re-calculations as we see more clearly and no longer through a dark glass.

    Blessings!

  • Jeanne
    Posted at 16:49h, 07 January

    To follow on with the first two excellent comments, I would only add that this is why it is critically important for Christians to study eschatology.

    Joel, do you have any ideas about what the “abomination of desolation” is?

  • Casey
    Posted at 21:24h, 07 January

    When pdf was downloaded memory indicated 666KB. Was this incidental Joel?

  • Perry Brown
    Posted at 23:22h, 07 January

    Joel,

    One aspect about Daniel 11:21-35 being fulfilled by the Antichrist, is the fact that there will be at least another agent/player at the event of the covenant confirmation and peace treaty made by the Antichrist with many for one week (7 years, Dan. 9:27). In verses Dan. 11:22-23, the Antichrist will brake (kill) the prince of the covenant, which would be only after he makes a league/alliance. It seems like there would be a prince (ruler/leader) very connected to the covenant that will come into a league or alliance with the Antichrist. After some time (maybe at the middle point of the tribulation, 3 ½ year mark), the Antichrist will destroy or kill this man together with the destruction of overwhelming forces.

    I think this to be very interesting. Do you have any thought on this?

    Blessings,

    Perry Brown

  • Joel
    Posted at 23:32h, 07 January

    Perry,

    I don’t. But I agree that the prospect is fascinating. My suspicion is that as the events of Daniel 2,7,8 and 11 are fulfilled, they will be extremely clear tools for the purpose of “apocalyptic evangelism”. But until then, it is simply a mystery.

  • David W. Lincoln
    Posted at 23:55h, 07 January

    Joel, man’s inhumanity to man is not the best example of originality. Start there, and it is easy to conclude that there will come a time when man’s inhumanity to man ceases.

  • Jeremy McGuire
    Posted at 02:09h, 08 January

    Great article Joel! I admire your commitment to the truth. My studies in the Scriptures have confirmed that there are many passages in the Old Testament that have an immediate fulfillment in historical events and a future fulfillment related to the end times; the historical fulfillment is an illustration and foreshadowing of the true. Just as Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego were persecuted by the Gentile king Nebuchadnezzar for refusing to participate in his idolatrous system, so will Jewish believers of the end times be likewise punished by the final Gentile ruler, the Beast of Revelation. I believe that the twofoldedness of prophecy fulfillment serves to not only vividly illustrate the truth, but also to comfort the believers of the end times. Under such harsh circumstances as those described time and again in prophecy, they will need the examples of the faithful believers who have gone before to help them endure the persecution, and to emulate the attitude of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who stated, “He (God) will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. BUT IF NOT, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

  • Joseph Paoo
    Posted at 03:28h, 08 January

    Hi Joel

    My name is Joseph Paoo i live in little Auckland New Zealand.

    I have been raised with the pre-rapture belief which is still currently being taught within our church. I have defended this stance for many year, well not that many as I am only 30years old and have been a Christian for 15years.

    I have listened to Walid Shoebat and yourself for the last year areading Gods War on Terror along the way and all i can say is my eyes have been opened.

    To be honest and truthful with you I have never fully understood the pretrib rapture and Roman Empire theory/EU theory. What i mean by this is i knew all the concepts and theories very well but when trying to align with scripture i had to force myself to believe it for example the “Last Trumph” is not actually the Trump if that makes sense.

    I started questioning this teaching about a couple months before i came into contact with vids on youtube of you and Walid. The more i thought and asked God to show me what this all means He lead me to yourself and Walid.

    I am very critcal when it comes to certain teachers and preachers and finishing off from a bible college course i had the tools to be a diligent student of Gods Word and really dig deep into the end time theories coming across the blood moon theories by Mark Blitz and Arnold Franktebaum etc.

    As a diligent student of Gods Word and at an age where i believe God is calling me to deeper understanding of the End Times i have been absolutely blessed by your teachings.

    The truth of the matter is I have a more clear and precise picture of the End Times then i ever did with the EU/Roman theory. Scripture really interprets scripture and there is no over thinking of passages, it really is that simple but the sad truth is not all are willing to accept this teaching as i have faced, no one is willing to believe that we will go through the Tribulation period.

    With that said Thank you so much for blessing me with your hard and diligent study of the scriptures.

    Just a question that i have been pondering on.

    Amos 9:12 says ..” and all the Gentiles who are called by My name”

    Is this talking about Christian Gentiles?

    What will be the role of Gentile believers in Jesus be during the time of the Kingdom?.

    If you are able to consolidate this that would be awesome as it has been bugging me lately.

    Hope to hear from you.
    Love in Christ
    Joe

  • Joseph Paoo
    Posted at 03:30h, 08 January

    Sorry that should say
    the “Last Trumph” is not actually the Last Trump

  • Alfred
    Posted at 16:39h, 08 January

    To Joe P
    It doesn’t matter which position you take on the rapture. It has no affect on the events of the last days. It only decides if the the Body of Christ/Church will be here the last 7 yrs to endure the Wrath of God our Father. Which I do not believe we will. I am already in Christ, seated in the heavenlies in the eyes of God. If you are a born-again believer you are too. Now, what else do I have to do, nothing, Jesus paid it all. IT IS FINISHED!SEE YOU IN GLORY!

  • Philip Brown
    Posted at 18:35h, 08 January

    Joel,

    I think that basically what you are saying is that since the phrases of Daniel 11 are very similar to the phrases of Daniel 12, they must be the exact same events. But I think it’s also valid to interpret the abomination of 168 BC as a type for the abomination of the coming Antichrist. The same thing will happen again. And the fact that the phrases are similar is just a reflection of this.

    Jesus said, “when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel…” Jesus is saying that what Daniel spoke of in Daniel 11, as having already occurred, will happen again (in Daniel 12). The disciples would have understood about the abomination because they were Jews and celebrated Hanukkah.

    Verse 35 says, “is still to come at the appointed time.” I consider this a transition between the two times.

    I also believe the time, times and half a time is talking about 3 1/2 millennia, not 3 1/2 years. So when the angel asks, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled”, the angel is asking the most compelling question; not how long it lasts. When will all this happen? What will be the signs of your coming? It’s the same question as the disciples asked. The same sign is given for the answer.

    This is the reason Jesus refers back to Daniel when answering the disciples. The answer to the question is given, but is not understood. The understanding is sealed to the time of the end. Only the wise will know the day and the hour of the time of the resurrection.

    When Jesus said, “Let the reader understand.” He was referring to reader of Daniel and the question that was asked and answered in Daniel. When we see the abomination, we will know the day of the resurrection (1290 days later.)

  • David W. Lincoln
    Posted at 19:02h, 08 January

    Joel, you encourage people, via your website, and books, to place things into context.

    The character of the Kingdom where Jesus reigns, and no one challenges him, is in harmony with who He is. He is Human, and He is also Divine.

    How about this, then :When the Second Coming takes place, all that happens is the final judgment, and the earth gets purged, like an old kettle is reshaped after it shows its age.

  • Joel
    Posted at 21:21h, 08 January

    Phillip,

    Of course the acts of Antiochus are a pattern, but we have to acknowledge that this is more than verses simply sounding similar. The multiple use of the definite article The Abomination of Tribulation and The ceasing of offerings etc. They are explaining the meaning of at least 11:31-35. The point is that when we view this as primarily about Antiochus but only partially fulfilled in the future Antichrist, and not as the angels interpreted it, we lose essential information. It also contextualizes Jesus’ exposition of these passages as referring to the Antichrist and not Titus, which the vast majority of commentators wrongly claim. So the angels expound on the writings of Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and then Jesus expounds on the words of the angels. We need to pay attention.

    Blessings!

  • Joel
    Posted at 21:22h, 08 January

    David,

    Submitting to the Word of God, I have to conclude that the final judgment occurs after the Millennium.

  • Jonathan Raspaud
    Posted at 23:06h, 08 January

    Joel,

    I agree with your view, Numbers 24:21-24 supports the same fact that ships from Kittim (Cyprus) will oppose the Assyrian (the Antichrist).

    Thanks.

    Jonathan.

  • Nick
    Posted at 04:35h, 09 January

    Joel and Philip Brown –

    Adding to the uniqueness of it all is that Paul in II Thessalonians 2 refers to THE apostasy. So, not merely the slow-motion apostasy we have seen in our generation, but some sort of definitive event likely involving the False Prophet’s “ministry.”

  • Simonline
    Posted at 17:00h, 09 January

    Joel, An excellent article that has encouraged me greatly. I have emailed it to my friends for their comments and I look forward to discussing it with them (some of whom are convictioned Preterists) in due course. For too long now the A and Post-Millennialists with their Preterist interpretations have held sway in far too many of our churches. At last the Historical Pre-Millennialists with their coherent Futurist interpretations (which invariably incorporate the Preterist position), of whom I am erstwhilely one by conviction, are coming to the fore.

    Keep up the good work.

    Every blessing in Messiah (Eph.1:3)

    Simonline.

  • Vernon
    Posted at 17:31h, 09 January

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/pope-francis-to-visit-israel-in-may/

    Joel, this article appeared on the Times of Israel. A leading end times website, the cuttingedge.org, hails this report as the prophetic fulfillment of Pope Francis as the false prophet. They believe that the Pope’s upcoming trip to Israel in May will be to call all religions to unite under his rule before forcing everyone to take the mark of the Beast. They firmly believe in St. Malachy’s prophecy. Can u give your thoughts on this?

  • David W. Lincoln
    Posted at 20:24h, 09 January

    Therefore, Joel, isn’t the millennium where Christ reigns, and no one lets the fallen nature usurp the throne?

    When we are obedient to the greatest news of all time, it can be said that Christ reigns. When we let the fallen nature get the upper hand, the Holy Trinity moves aside, and communicates, “Okay, that’s what you want. Be careful then of what you ask for, because you just might get it”, and we see the wrath of God follow when people incorrectly utilize free will.

  • Joel
    Posted at 21:39h, 09 January

    Vernon,

    Pope Francis will do no such thing. I’m willing to take bets if anyone is convinced he will. 🙂

    Blessings

  • Joel
    Posted at 22:01h, 09 January

    David,

    Ultimately, the Millennium is about the fulfillment of the promises that God made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David. Not everyone will necessarily fully submit to his rule during that time.

  • Vernon
    Posted at 23:08h, 09 January

    Thanks Joel.

    I think I will pass on that bet…

    🙂

  • David W. Lincoln
    Posted at 01:38h, 10 January

    Joel, you are making things more difficult. The period of time from the first coming of Christ, to his second coming sees Christians obeying how we were originally designed to live. This doesn’t take place all the time, thanks to how Christians, at times, engage in un-Christian behaviour.

    Since the time Stephen became the first martyr, to the latest one to be put to death for the sake of the Greatest News of all time; each person who walks with God (in fulfillment of Amos 3:3), what God has promised since Genesis 3:15 is available for those who are honest with him.

    This is more straight forward than what has been read into the scriptures which deal with the Kingship of the Second Person of the Trinity.

  • Joel
    Posted at 02:14h, 10 January

    David,

    Until the resurrection of the dead takes place, we are not fully living in the reality that Genesis 15 is concerned with. Romans 5 does much to discuss the time in which we now live.

    Blessings

  • David W. Lincoln
    Posted at 19:58h, 10 January

    Changing gears, this assessment by Michael Ledeen shows how much has been thrown away

    http://pjmedia.com/michaelledeen/2014/01/08/the-meaning-of-fallujah/?singlepage=true

  • The Abomination of Epiphanes | The 13th Enumeration
    Posted at 19:12h, 11 January

    […] Joel Richardson posted an interesting article entitled : Daniel 11:21-35: History or Future? In this article Joel explores the consensus opinion of scholars which claim that Daniel 11:21-35 […]

  • Mark Davidson
    Posted at 02:05h, 13 January

    Hi Joel,

    Just a note to let you know I got up to speed on your article here, thanks to one of our mutual readers alerting me to it. Its a very good argument.
    Also tempting though, taking your argument further in the light of the signposts, depending on how the prelude to the Second Signpost works out, the passage as early as Daniel 11:2-4 might even be fulfilled in the end-times, i.e. those three verses are talking about the second and third signposts.
    Personally, I doubt it though, but you never know. I think you are right though and that end-time fulfillement starts at 11:21.
    God seems to be bestowing His favor on His Church and allowing hidden things to finally be unsealed per Daniel 8:26 and 12:9, in these days.

    Blessings,
    Mark

  • Joel
    Posted at 12:05h, 13 January

    Mark,

    Well, what this shows is that at the very minimum, the eschatological aspect of Daniel 11 begins with verse 31, for the angelic exposition clearly places the end time section at least that far back. The logical argument from there however is that the individual in 31 begins being described in 21. So it is easy to see 21 forward as eschatological. The logical problem there however is that the individual of 21 forward is a successor to others before him, thus he is directly connected to those predecessors. The logical result being that we could go back quite easily to verse 5, which is where S.P. Tregelles and G.H. Lang (two of my favorite interpreters of Daniel) both begin the eschatological sections. This brings up all sorts of difficulties as there are various anachronisms such as political marriages and so forth. But if we were inclined, we could take it back even further. Its a bit of an admitted mystery to me and I think it requires caution and humility.

  • Jim
    Posted at 18:34h, 13 January

    Mark and Joel,

    Thank you both for even further clarifying this facinating revealing of truth. Here is my take on Verse 2 and how it could apply to current events.

    Daniel 11:2 “Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece.” may apply to the westward, northward and southward charge of the Ram (Iran) noted in Daniel 8. In the next several years we may have confirmation of whether this is a historic verse or prophetic.

    Iran has had 2 Supreme Leaders since the Revolution. Chapter 8 indicates that “another horn” of the Ram will assume power. Daniel 8:3-4 “I looked up, and there before me was a ram with two horns, standing beside the canal, and the horns were long. One of the horns was longer than the other but grew up later. I watched the ram as it charged toward the west and the north and the south.” This other horn could be a military leader or the President of Iran.

    Now Chapter 11 “seems” to consider this indicating there will be 3 Kings “and then another.” This phrasing could easily imply that the fourth leader has a different background that the first three AND it states he gains power thru his wealth. This again implies something other than a smooth transition of power.

    So we watch. If the current Supreme Leader of Iran is replaced by a third and then the “other horn” seizes power we have a match. Daniel 11:2 is prophetic and probably the rest of the chapter 11 with it. If it dosn’t happen this way, it is an historic verse. At least that’s my opinion.

  • Dave Calicchia
    Posted at 21:04h, 15 January

    Hi Joel, Did you read Jan 20, 2014 TIME magazine article on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Jihad’s “unholy ghost”? It’s in a piece entitled “A Nightmare Returns” about al-Qaeda’s resurgence in Syria and Iraq. He’s an enigmatic Sunni leader and veteran warrior with a Ph.D. in Islamic studies. Born in 1971 in Samarra, Iraq. Says he has a divine mandate to rule over a new Islamic emirate anchored in Syria and based on a literalist interpretation of Islamic law. His success has led him to publicize his broader ambitions. During Ramadan celebrations last August in Raqqa, Syria, his Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (known as ISIS, think about that!) displayed a map showing a borderless country stretching from the edge of Iran to the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula and across northern Africa….a near re-creation of the 8th century Abbasid Caliphate, the first Islamic empire! Baghdadi claims to trace his lineage all the way back to the prophet Muhammad. In 2011, the U.S. put a $10 million bounty on his head. He has 6,000 to 10,000 well equipped soldiers, heavy weaponry, and uses sophisticated attacks. He’s well-funded. He freed 500 prisoners from Iraq’s most heavily fortified prison, many of which were high-value al-Qaeda operatives, battlefield technicians, and bomb makers. They all joined ISIS. He controls more territory and people than any other al-Qaeda group. His enemies include Muslims he deems too moderate or less conservative. Even some Sunni tribes who share his faith would rather have the neglectful Shi’ite dominated government over the greater evil of Baghdadi. In fact, Hizballah, the Lebanese Shi’ite militia fighting for President Assad against ISIS call him the “Ghost”, since only a few people know his face. He disguises himself (covers his face) even among close associates. He can slip effortlessly into convincing regional accents from Lebanese to Syrian to Saudi Arabic. His international reputation is drawing recruits from the U.S. and Europe sparking fears that they may return home radicalized and well trained.

  • Joel
    Posted at 23:20h, 15 January

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the post. I have not read this, though I’ve hard of al-Baghdadi. Interesting for sure. The eschatological passions of many radicals is so inflamed right now, I think few are truly aware of how influential this is among the radicals.

    Blessings

  • Jim
    Posted at 03:09h, 16 January

    Joel, I re-read this post. It truly is a landmark analysis of Daniel 11. Ground breaking revelations here. Thank you Brother for lifting some of the seal.

    In terms of al-Baghdadi. I do not believe he is the Antichrist. However IMO the Antichrist will be just such an individual I believe. A relative unknown with a small force at first armed with charisma and eschatological rhetoric. Since he grows out from one of the four horns of the Shaggy Goat (Turkey)he will most likely align with the principal leader of Turkey at that time and eventually supersede him.

  • Peter
    Posted at 19:33h, 20 January

    Joel
    Can you recommend a fine book or two on Jewish history?
    Thanks

  • Joel
    Posted at 23:15h, 20 January

    A good book that addresses Jewish history and a host of other relevant info is Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History by Joseph Telushkin

  • Linda W
    Posted at 04:49h, 24 January

    Joel, A few months ago I started watching Rabbi Jonathan Bernis on the church channel. I was thrilled to be learning from a Jewish perspective and was fortune enough to catch you and Walid Shoebat on 2 different occasions. As time went by I wanted more information than I knew places to get it. I was not convinced that the Roman view was at all accurate. My husband and I have questioned the pretrib rapture for many years now and we have always known it is all about Israel, His children, the Jewish people especially concerning end-time events. About 2 months ago I told the Lord I needed to understand Revelation, to please, tell me who I can get accurate information from and learn what it all means. I told him I needed to stand on the shoulders of giants because the time is short and I need their expertise. He whispered in my ear and I sent for the Mid East Beast and then God’s War On Terror. He answered my prayer and my eyes, my mind and my heart are now open to God’s Word. Once I learned to decode the symbolism, thanks to you and Walid I can now read the Bible with confidence and understanding. I am in the process of studying both books lining up each scripture you put forth with the Word of God. I am amazed by the ease in which each puzzle piece seems to effortlessly slide into place. I am very grateful for you service and commitment to the Lord. I say all that, to ask this, have you given any consideration to producing Bible Study material? Our churches in America are badly in need of the truth as we are asleep at the wheel. I am now telling people what I am learning and a lady told me I should teach a Bible Study. But, like I said I am standing on your and Walid’s shoulders to gain the knowledge I now have. With copy-write laws I do not think it wise to make copies from your books to hold a class. Any plans regarding this issue? In His Love, Linda

  • Seth
    Posted at 06:57h, 28 January

    Joel. If Preterism teaches that everything was fulfilled in 70AD. Would the 4th empire being the revived ottoman empire ad not the Roman empire end all disputes on their case? Thanks

  • Will
    Posted at 19:26h, 07 April

    Joel,

    I was just re-reading some of your older postings and had a question about this topic. Granted it’s quite a bit of time after the original posting.

    You make a good point that Dan 11:21-40 refers to the Antichrist.
    And I am assuming that you make the transition at verse 21 because it talks about “in his estate shall stand up a vile person”

    Which indicates a transition in authority to a new leader.

    But my question is that both Dan 11:6 and Dan 12:9 mention an “end” (Strong’s H7093) (The end of years & time of the end)

    Is Daniel 11:6 also referring to the same “end Times” as in Dan 12:9?
    (do these phrases have the same meaning or do they have 2 different meanings)

    If they have the same meaning could the person being described in Dan 11:6-20 be an end time leader in power just prior to the antichrist?

    In other words could verses Dan 11:6 thru 40 all be discussing the end time leaders? (but 21-40 discuss only the antichrist)

    Dan 11:6

    “in the end H7093 of years H8141 ”

    Dan 12:9

    “sealed H2856 till the time H6256 of the end. H7093”

  • Joel
    Posted at 20:04h, 07 April

    Hi Will,

    Its entirely possible. In fact, S.P. Tregelles takes this view. It does open up a whole can of worms however.

  • Howard
    Posted at 13:23h, 28 September

    Hi Joel,

    We’ve been studying Daniel in our weekly Bible study, and have finally gotten to ch. 11 for tonight. (I haven’t gone back to read all of the comments, so sorry if I am going to repeat what might already have been said.)

    You can go back to ch 10 v 14, and see that the angel is telling Daniel that the vision he has seen is for the latter days. So it seems like all of the explanation finds its fulfillment leading up to the return of the Lord. Could all the battles taking place actually have their occurrence beginning during the final seven years?

  • Joel
    Posted at 14:12h, 28 September

    Hi Howard,

    It’s possible, though the beginning of chapter 11 seems to root the vision as beginning with the historical events of Medo-Persia and Greece/ Alexander. So the notion of it bleeding from history into eschatological is not out of the question and would not be problematic with the earlier references to it being eschatological. Tregelles and a maybe a couple others who I cannot recall off the top of my head wrestle with the idea that it is all eschatological. I am as yet open on this portion of the text. As for 21-35 I think it is ultimately fulfilled in Antichrist with clear historical foreshadowing in Antiochus. Then in 36-45 it is purely Antichristic. The earlier portions for now are a bit of a mystery to me. I have to dig in more thoroughly. Despite all the time I have put into this book, some aspects of Daniel remain to be a mystery to me.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Blessings my friend!
    Joel

  • Howard
    Posted at 20:16h, 28 September

    Very helpful, Joel. Thanks. Tonight at our study, I approached it along those same lines: that some of it has historical fulfillment, like 11:1, and we can see some fulfillment with Alexander and the division afterwards, and with Antiochus, but not every jot and tittle were fulfilled by them, and so the full-filling is still future.

    Peter’s use of the prophet Joel at Pentecost came to mind: some of what Joel wrote was fulfilled with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but most of the context of Joel, and of what Peter quoted, is still future.

    Blessings to you, and I very much appreciate your work and insights which the Lord is giving.

    BTW, I saw an article today by Anthony Buzzard, who seems to be a JW, writing about Dan 11. Back in 1996 he wrote that the antichrist would be ‘Assyrian’ and not Roman.

  • Joel
    Posted at 20:31h, 28 September

    Concerning Buzzard: Interesting. He’s actually an adherent to Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God.

    Yes, as Alec Mother says, “the Day of the Lord has many interim fulfillments.” Within Biblical thought, the “fulfillment” of a prophecy doesn’t actually demand its final and ultimate fulfillment.

  • layla
    Posted at 19:40h, 29 November

    Joel,
    would it be appropriate to say there is no such evidence of a 7 year tribulation? And scripture fully supports a great tribulation of 3 1/2 years? Also considering 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 and onward it is clear there is no such thing as a pre tribulation rapture.. That is not biblical but a stretch of the imagination and truly false hope doctrine…Just as once saved always saved belief system that sin is not going to take you from your salvation..Of course Jude 1 clarifies this as perverting the doctrine of our Lord God….Isn’t it safe to say the 7 year trib and the pre trib rapture are a perversion as well? considering no scripture supports either and 1 Corinthians shuts down any question of when the Resurrection, gathering occur…Thank you for your time and hopefully opinion to these questions .. God Bless you and wonderful article as I came across this after days of prayer and confusion after wondering into a religious institute that believed the anti christ was Rome and the Vatican and the mark controlling buying and selling was in your thoughts and hand actions …very disturbing but of course I would be a fool to believe I alone have fine interpretation of the scriptures and am always right on, so I listened and took there evidence for this belief to the Lord and then to study…You have unveiled exactly what the Lord had revealed to me in my understanding and have given me a blessing providing the reference scriptures to supporting your understanding… Thanking Jesus for His faithfulness to all who love Him…Thank you Joel

  • Joel
    Posted at 22:12h, 29 November

    There is indeed a final seven year period before the return of Jesus. Some call this the tribulation, but yes, it is more appropriate to say that the final 3.5 years are the Great Tribulation. Nevertheless, there is indeed a 7 year period as mentioned in Daniel 9:26-27 and inferred elsewhere by the fact that the 3.5 years is half of a larger period.

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