This final message of Daniel, consisting of chapters 11 and 12 actually begins in chapter 10. In the beginning of the chapter Daniel explains to us about a vision that he received. He claims to have had full and clear understanding of the message. The message causes him great inner conflict. The sequence of this vision is important to note. Verse one is given after he received the vision. In verse two he describes the events that led up to the vision, and finally in verse 14 the Angel begins to give him the message. Understanding the sequence is important. As Daniel was spending many days in fasting and prayer, he was visited by a special Angel. We will not go into detail on this because we already have in our previous study, but to bring us up to date in what is happening. The vision was not one that brought Daniel great joy. As we view this prophecy further we will discover why. In chapter 10 verse 14 the Angel begins the message by stating” now I have come to give you understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future”. Again we wish to emphasize that this is not a lesson in history but a lesson in prophecy. This has an important bearing on the way we interpret the rest of the passages. As a further note everything from chapter 10 verse 14 is spoken by the Angel and not Daniel.
There are two parts of this prophecy mentioned in this chapter. The first 20 versus deal with prophecies close at hand (but they are still future from Daniel’s perspective.). In verses 21 through versus 45 we find this prophecy emerging from two kingdoms at war with each other to one predominant person described throughout the rest of the chapter. There is nothing in verse 21 to show us this transition taking place, however as we continue our study focusing on this final king, we come to recognize who he really is and who he prefigures. We might explain it this way; he is an illustration from historical past of a future king who will arise at a later time. This scene from history will take place once again as a biblical prophecy fulfilled
. In these first four versus of this chapter we discover where everything began. Remember it is the Angel who is now describing the events that Daniel previously described concerning his vision. The Angel begins by prophesying of three Kings after Cyrus, who will come. Focus is then placed upon the fourth of these three Kings who becomes mighty and powerful and victorious in his battles. This King oversteps his boundaries and is defeated by a greater king. Historically we find the prophecy being fulfilled in Xerxses, King of Persia who sought to defeat Greece but was defeated by Alexander the great. These were previously mentioned in Daniel chapter 8 by reference to the ram and the goat (the Kings of Persia and Greece respectively.)
We are also told in verse four that his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out to the four winds of heaven, meaning to his four generals, again explained in Daniel chapter 8. Now beginning in verse five through verse 20 we see the conflict developing between the two kingdoms it is interesting in all of this that God never mentions particular names of individuals associated with these prophecies. I think Daniel 11 will help us to understand more clearly, why.
Here is a reason why we should not interpret prophecy historically. If we were to view these kingdoms that followed Alexander’s death we would find about 12 or 13 Kings that reign during this period of time. It is interesting, whether significant or not, that this section of Daniel only mentions ten,(count them and see). Out of the 10 Kings emerges an 11th King known to us historically as Antiochus Epiphanies IV. We may interpret this King that we are focusing on as Antiochus Epiphanies, however as much as he resembles the mannerisms and the methods of anti Christ, he is merely a foreshadow of the more cruel leader that shall appear. As mentioned previously, this historical person will have his final fulfillment in the one referred to as “the little horn” (or Antichrist.) We have in Antiochus a picture of the cruelty that the man of sin will inflict on the people, but this prophecy does not end with Antiochus Epiphanies as some may think.
Jesus, in Matthew 24, called the Olivet Discourse, tells his followers to recall the abomination of desolation described in the book of Daniel. His purpose of warning is to let us know we have a historical backdrop to remind us of what is yet future. That analogy is, that we have an illustration of the yet future event 10 Kings and from them merging one little horn. Antiochus and these 10 Kings perhaps are used merely as an illustration of a reality that will eventually take place. This prophetical event has a historical picture that we must learn from.
As we continue, here are some of the things we must look for as this time emerges.
First think of the turmoil in society that calls for the need of such a ruler as Antichrist.
Second think of the methods that he employs to get power and the promises he fails to keep.
Third, consider also his mustering of great armies, his defiance of God, and his determination to win this final battle. None but Antichrist fulfills the picture that this prophecy presents.