The Book of Daniel, The Kings Prior to the Little Horn (Continued), Daniel 11:21-45 - Lesson 42
We are given in the eleventh chapter of Daniel a chronology of events concerning the back and forth flow of power between two forces in relation to the people and the nation of Israel.
These forces are not led by single kings but it is apparent that there are many kings in the mix over a lengthy period of time.
But in spite of many kings there is an overall theme of opposition of the kings of the north to the kings of the south and vice versa with Israel in the middle of these forces.
The chronology is not complete for we know from history that there are vast time periods that are not included here.
The last king, a king in the pattern of the little horn of chapter eight, Antiochus Epiphanies who was called a vile person, we believe to be a king yet future to our time.
Now the prominent directions of north and south that are given in chapter 11 are directions that are with reference to Israel.
The "kings of the North" are those kings who rule over the kingdom north of Israel, and the "kings of the South" are those kings who rule over the kingdom south of Israel.
Over time, the relationship between the kings of the North and the kings of the South changes.
Early on, the "king of the South" grows very powerful.
After some time, the king of the South attempts to form an alliance with the king of the North by giving him his daughter as a wife.
But this union does not bring the results he desires and eventually, these two powers end up at war.
According to verse 14 there is an uprising of many against the king of the South so the king of the North takes advantage of this and seeks to make political and military gains.
Even the best troops of the "king of the South" cannot stand up to him and are defeated.
This enables the northern king to occupy Israel, where he brings much destruction according to verse 16.
His intention is to gather all his forces and consolidate his gains.
He even has a peace proposal which he puts into effect with the aid of a woman, but this does not last.
He then turns his eye to the coastal regions, called the isles in the passage but he is turned back by an unnamed commander.
Afterwards, he stumbles and is removed.
Another king takes his place and wages an attack on what is called the glory of his kingdom, perhaps Jerusalem, but he is destroyed in some unexpected way according to verse 20.
These "kings of the North and South" set the stage for the entrance of the vile "king of the North" óthe "little horn" of chapter 8 and then following this, the final little horn, the king of the last days.
The gist of this instruction is that this final king comes from the people of this continuing struggle against the people of God.
It is a picture of that age old struggle between the son of promise Isaac, and the son of the bond woman, Ishmael.
In our day this battle is prominent, as we see the emergence of Islam and surrounding Islamic countries who wish the extermination of Israel but in reality they are simply the agents of Satan and are used for Satanís purposes.
In Daniel 11:21-45, we learn more about these characters.
As I said there is no firm understanding of the complete chronology of the kings described in chapter 11.
We simply know that it describes the times of the 70 weeks of years that was given to Daniel as the history of Israel that remained from Danielís day.
So we do not know exactly at what verse the last king, the last little horn, the one we know as the Anti-Christ, arises.
We have studied the little horn of chapter eight where we were introduced to Antichous Epiphanies as the one who appears to be a type of the Anti-Christ of the last days.
Beginning in Daniel 11:21, it seems scripture again describes this same king however it is thought by some Bible commentators that verse 21 and following begin a description of the Anti-Christ.
As I have said before from Godís perspective Satan is Satan and when he incarnates himself he is still Satan and God sees him as Satan whether he inhabits Antichous Epiphanies or the Anti-Christ of the last days.
So there seems to be a blending of information about these two evil men with similar information given to describe them.
Before we get into verses 11:21-45 I want to read a short synopsis of the history of Antichous Epiphanies from Oliver Greeneís Commentary on Daniel.
Daniel 11:21-45, And in his estate (the estate of the king of the north) shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
When the "king of the North" falls, he is replaced by another.
The replacement "king of the North" has no legal claim to the throne.
He is not placed in power but "seizes the kingdom," but not by force for he has little military might or political support according to verse 23.
He is one who forms leagues with other nations, but he uses deceit in order to increase his power.
He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathersí fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.
This evil king rises to power by means of his political skill and his devious schemes.
The reach of his cunning and conniving is evident in that he far surpasses any of his predecessors in his accomplishments.
He achieves this in a "time of peace" and seemingly without the use of great military force himself as verse 24 describes.
Entering the fattest places which means the most prosperous places he redistributes wealth in order to consolidate his power.
He scatters among the people the spoils of his conquests.
There is nothing new under the sun!
And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him. Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.
His confidence will be enhanced by his accomplishments.
For this new "king of the North" decides to take on the mighty "king of the South."
By this time, the "king of the North" has formed a large armed force.
The "king of the South" also has a very sizeable force but is defeated, not by military might but by schemes which appear to be the handiwork of the "king of the North" (verses 25 and 26).
The king of the north is able to corrupt even those who feed at the table of the king of the south.
Those who worked closely with the king of the south, those who ate at his table were turned against him by the northern kingís crafty devices.
And both these kingsí hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.
Both kings apparently agree to sit down at the conference table to negotiate peace terms.
Both kings give the appearance of good will and sincerity, but both lie to each other so that the peace effort is unsuccessful.
The reason, we are told, is because this must all end in Godís way and in His time (verse 27). for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.
Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.
The "king of the North" returns to his country, greatly enriched by his venture.
His heart is also set against Israel and especially against the "holy covenant." (the Law of God as given to the Jews)
His heart and mind are bent on using his might to destroy and defile the people and the place of God (verse 28).
At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.
In Godís appointed time, the "king of the North" turns southward once again, but things will not go so well this time as they had before (verse 29).
For the ships of Chittim (Cypress) shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.
Ships from Chittim will oppose and resist him, so that he will return to his land, not in the pride of victory, but in the shame of defeat.
On his way, he will pass Israel, determining to take his vengeance on this place, which he already hates in his heart (verse 30).
This king returns to the land of Israel and shows favor to the Jews who forsake the covenant, unfaithful compromising Jews.
With his forces, he will desecrate the sanctuary fortress, doing away with the regular sacrifice, and bringing about the previously prophesied "abomination of desolation" (Daniel 9:27; cf. also 8:11; 12:11).
And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
This king will employ his power of deception and persuasion on the people of Israel.
Many will fall for his line.
These will be the godless, who want to hear what he has to say, and whose senses are deadened toward the truth.
The righteous will not be taken in, however.
They will recognize him for what he is, and they will "take action" (verse 32).
And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.
This "action" will not be military resistance, but rather the faithful practice and proclamation of the truth.
The righteous will "give understanding to many."
The faithfulness of the godly will have its price, for many will be put to death.
This will occur for a number of days (verse 33).
Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
They will receive a token gesture of help, and they will also have followers who join them hypocritically by flatteries.
Even "some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge, and make them pure, until the end time Ö " (verse 35).
While this time of adversity will bring about the death of some of Godís people, it is a part of the plan and purpose of God for purging and purifying His people in preparation for the coming of His kingdom (verse 35).