The nations that will come against Israel in the last days. The final wars unfold.
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Daniel 11 (See verses and MacArthur Study Bible notes).
11:1 first year. Ca. 539 B.C. (cf. 6:1 ff.; 9:1). I, stood up to… strengthen him. The messenger of 10:10ff. continues to speak of assisting Michael (even as Michael had strengthened him in the battle with demons in 10:21), confirming Darius in his purpose of kindness to Israel in decreeing their return.
11:2–45 As in 8:3–26, this prophecy sweeps all the way from the history of spiritual conflict in Israel (11:2–35) to the tribulation (vv. 36–42) when Michael aids in fully delivering Israel (12:1). The detail of this history is so minute and accurate, so confirmed by history, that unbelieving critics have, without evidence, insisted that it was actually written 400 years later than Daniel, after it had happened which would make the prophet a deceiver. The prophecy actually looks ahead from Daniel to the final Antichrist
11:2–35 This section unfolds the near fulfillment of the Persian kingdom and the reign of Greece through Antiochus Epiphanes.
11:2 three more kings…and the fourth. The 3 in the Persian sphere, after Cyrus (10:1), were Cambyses (ca. 530–522 B.C.), Psuedo-Smerdis (ca. 522 B.C.), and Darius I Hystaspes (ca. 522–486 B.C.). The fourth is Xerxes I, called Ahasuerus in Esther (486–465 B.C.). Kings after Xerxes are not included, probably because Xerxes’ failed military campaign against the Greeks (481–479 B.C.) sounded the beginning of the end for Persia, which finally fell ca. 331 B.C. to Alexander the Great.
11:3 a mighty king. Alexander the Great (cf.8.5)
11:4 After Alexander’s death (ca. 323 B.C.), 4 who were not of his posterity took sectors of his wide empire (see notes on 7:6;8:3–9). The king of the South (Egypt) and king of the North (Syria), receive emphasis in v. 5 and after. As time moved on, other leaders ruled, crossing and recrossing Palestine.
11:21 a vile person. In vv. 21–35, the most cruel king of the North was Seleucid, the Syrian persecutor of Israel named Antiochus IV Epiphanes (cf. 8:9–14, 23–25). He came to the throne when his brother Seleucus was murdered and a son of the dead king who might succeed him, Demetrius I Soter, was held hostage in Rome. In the vacuum, Antiochus seized power in Syria.
11:35 to refine them. Faced by persecution, some who remained true to God’s “understanding” (any true believers, 12:3) were to fall as martyrs. The gracious design of such suffering was to sanctify them. The persecution pattern continues until the final “end” that God appointed, at Christ’s second coming. Reference to this “end” prepares for a transition in v. 36 to final tribulation times when the Antichrist, whom Antiochus prefigures, will be in power. time of the end…appointed time. These two eschatological terms point to a forward leap across thousands of years of history from Antiochus to a future similar trial when the willful king (vv. 36–45) rules. The willful king is the “little horn,” the Antichrist (7:7, 8, 20, 21, 24–26), the persecutor of 9:27 (see note there).
11:36–45 This section is the far fulfillment of God’s prophetic plan. It summarizes details of Daniel’s 70th week which are found nowhere else in Scripture. Antiochus Epiphanes, a type of Antichrist, is the perfect transition point to the actual Antichrist.
11:36 Then. This word points to the future “time of the end” mentioned in v. 35. Verses 36–45 discuss the career of the final Antichrist in the last 7 years before Christ’s millennial kingdom. This willful king is the final Antichrist (see notes on 7:8, 11, 12,25; 9:27; cf. Rev. 13:4–7).
11:37 God of his fathers. The word for “God” is “Elohim,” a word that is plural, thus in this context probably refers to “gods.” Pagan Gentiles have had traditional gods passed down from their fathers, but this king has no regard for any of them. His only god is power (v. 38, “god of fortresses”). desire of women. This could mean that Antichrist will be a homosexual; but it surely means he has no normal desire for or, interest in, women, e.g., as one who is celibate.
11:38 god of fortresses. The term for fortress is used 5 other times in this chapter (vv. 7, 10, 19, 31, 39) and each time means “a strong place.” Power is to be his god, and he spends all his treasures to become powerful and to finance wars. With this power, he will attack every stronghold (v. 39).
11:40 king of…South…North. Here is the final N/S conflict. The S was Egypt in the earlier context. Here is the last great battle with the final army from the N retaliating against the attack of the final southern African power. Antichrist will not allow this without striking back and winning, defeating both as recorded in v. 41 ff. The willful king, Antichrist, withstands onslaughts from both, and prevails, entering Israel (“the Glorious Land”) and, perhaps, committing at that time the abomination of desolation (9:23; Matt. 24:15). With this victory, he will be established in power for a time.
11:44 news from…east and…north. Military bulletins alert the willful king, in his victories, of other sectors of the world deploying troops to the Palestinian theater (cf. Rev. 9:16; 16:12).
11:45 his end. To face the latest threats, the willful king sets up his command post between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea (and/or Sea of Galilee) and the holy mountain of Jerusalem, his troops filling the land (cf. Zech. 12:2, 3; 14:2, 3; Rev. 19:17–21). No one is able to help him against God, who, by the return of Christ, brings him to his end (cf. Rev. 19:20).
Daniel 12 (See verses and MacArthur Study Bible notes)
The Time Of The End
12:1 that time. This points back to 11:36–45, the time of the ascendancy of Antichrist during the final tribulation period. During that period, Michael the archangel (cf. Jude 9) of 10:13, 21 ministers with special attention to protecting Israel during that Gentile time (cf. Is. 26:20, 21; Jer. 30:7; Matt. 24:21). “Your people” means Daniel’s Israelite people, who can have hope, even in the distress of an unprecedented kind set for the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21; cf. Rev. 12:12–17; 13:7). The book is the book of the saved (Mal. 3:16—4:3; Luke 10:20; Rev. 13:8; 17:8;20:12, 15; 21:27).
12:2 many…Some…Some. Two groups will arise from death constituting the “many” meaning all, as in John 5:29. Those of faith will rise to eternal life, the rest of the unsaved to eternal torment. The souls of OT saints are already with the Lord; at that time, they will receive glorified bodies (cf. Rev. 20:4–6).
12:3 wise. Those having true knowledge, by faith in God’s Word, not only leaders (as 11:33), but others (11:35; 12:10). To shine in glory is a privilege of all the saved (cf. the principle in 1 Thes. 2:12; 1 Pet. 5:10). Any who influence others for righteousness shine like stars in varying capacities of light as their reward (as in 1 Cor. 3:8). The faithfulness of the believer’s witness will determine one’s eternal capacity to reflect God’s glory.
12:4 the time of the end. Refers to the 70th week of tribulation (cf. 11:35, 40). run to and fro. This Heb. verb form always refers to the movement of a person searching for something. In the tribulation, people will search for answers to the devastation and discover increased knowledge through Daniel’s preserved book.
12:5 two others. Two angels.
12:7 a time, times, and half a time. This answers the question of v. 6. Adding these (one, two, and one-half) come to the final 3½ years of Daniel’s 70th week (9:27), the time of trouble when the “little horn,” or willful king, persecutes the saints (7:25; cf.11:36–39 and Rev. 12:14; the same span is described by other phrases in Rev. 11:2, 3; 13:5).
12:10 Many…purified. Salvation will come to many Jews during the Great Tribulation (cf. Zech. 13:8, 9, where the prophet speaks of one-third; Rom. 11:26; Rev. 11:13).The truly saved develop in godliness through trials. The unsaved pursue false values.
12:11 the daily sacrifice. This reference is to the end of daily temple sacrifice, previously allowed under a covenant which the Antichrist formed with Israel, which he later causes to cease in the middle of the final 7 years (9:27). Then, favorable relations give way to persecution. Even his abomination that desecrates the temple (as 9:27; Matt. 24:1; Mark. 13:14; 2 Thes 2:3, 4) is accompanied with persecution. one thousand two hundred and ninety days. From the intrusion of the abomination, there follow 1,290 days, including 1,260 which make up the last 3½ years of the final 7 years (see note on v. 7), then 30 days more, possibly to allow for the judgment of the living subsequent to Christ’s return (cf. Matt. 24:29–31; 25:31–46), before millennial kingdom blessings begin.
12:12 Blessed. This is in the kingdom (2:35, 45; 7:13, 14, 27) that gives blessedness after the subjugation to Gentile empires in chaps. 2, 7, 8. one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. Forty-five more days, even beyond the 1,290 days, allows for transition between Israel’s time of being shattered (v. 7) and God’s setting up of His kingdom (cf. 7:13, 14, 27)
12:13 go. Daniel’s own career would soon involve death. will arise. In resurrection (cf. 12:2; John 5:28, 29). at the end of the days. The kingdom will ensue after the prophesied days of 9:24–27; 12:11, 12.
A more detailed explanation of “the end” will be provided in the study of the book of Revelation.
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