Daniel 11:1-39 (Part 2 of Michael the Prince)
...continued from Part 1 (Daniel 10)
Dan 11:1 KJV: "Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him."
Gabriel here refers back to when he had helped Darius, just like he is now helping Cyrus. Angels work on behalf of humans to help us make right decisions. We cannot see what is happening behind the scenes, but there are forces at work against us and on our behalf.
Note: Darius the Mede refers to Cyaxares II, who was an uncle to Cyrus the Great and son of Astyages. Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 BC at which point Cyaxares II became its king. In about 537, Cyaxares II gave his daughter in marriage to Cyrus and the Median kingdom as her dowry, thus cementing the merged Median and Persian kingdoms. Cyaxares II, under the throne name of Darius, died about 537, and Cyrus then fully took the throne. The reference to Darius the Mede differentiates this Darius from Darius the Persian who ruled after Cyrus.
534 - 465 BC
Realm #2: Medo Persia (539 to 331 BC)
Daniel 11:2 KJV: And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.
Gabriel begins to explain what will happen in the latter days. The explanation is given in plain language, not symbols. It builds on the prophecy of Daniel 8. Just like in Daniel's vision in chapter 8, the realms of Medo-Persia and Greece are named, leaving no doubt as to the starting point of this vision. Note: Unlike the visions in Daniel 2 and 7, Babylon (the 1st realm) had already been replaced by Persia at the time of this vision, so no mention is made of it.
King Cyrus reigned when the vision was given. He was followed by:
1st King = Cambyses II (530-522 BC)
2nd King = Bardiya/Smerdis (522 BC) (Smerdis was an usurper)
3rd King = Darius I (521-485 BC) (522-486) (same as Darius Hystaspes, son of Hystaspes)
4th King = Xerxes I (486-465 BC) (the rich 4th King) (also called Ahasuerus)
Xerxes was the rich fourth king. He did "stir up all" as he stockpiled supplies for four years while assembling his army, which had contingents from 40 nations. They all marched together, against Greece. But were defeated. This was Xerxes, the same as Ahasuerus of Queen Esther (Esther 1:4-7). He ruled when the empire's territory was at its greatest extent.
Note: Some interpretations leave out Smerdis, who was an usurper, and identify Artaxerxes I (reigned 465-424 BC) as the rich 4th King. However, it was Xerxes I, not Artaxerxes I, who assembled a multi-national army ("he shall stir up all").
Note: Cambyses and Cyrus had coregency for one year in Babylon occurring in Cyrus' first year, from 538 to 537 B.C. Cyrus did not take up the title, "King of Babylon," until the end of that year of coregency.
465 - 336 BC
Xerxes was the last Persian king who invaded Greece. The defeat of Persia by Greece gives us a clue to look for Greece to arrive as next power. The prophecy now skips over the next 9 Persian rulers: Artaxerxes I (465-424), Xerxes II (424), Sogdianus (424-423), Darius II (424-404), Artaxerxes II (404-358), Artaxerxes III (358-338), Artaxerxes IV (338-336), Darius III (336-330) and Artaxerxes V (330-329).
336 - 323 BC
Realm #3: Greece (331 to 168 BC)
Daniel 11:3 KJV: And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.
The mighty king is Alexander the Great (336-323 BC) who united the Greeks and quickly conquered the Persians. This famous young leader began to rule when he was only 20 years old and by the time he was 25 he had conquered much of the Eastern world. His amazing feats are exemplified by the battle of Arbela (also called the Battle of Gaugamela) in 331 BC, when he conquered the Medes and Persians by defeating the much larger army of Darius III, with a force of less than 50,000 men.
Parallel Prophecies: "And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king [Alexander the Great]." (Dan. 8:21)
See map of Alexander the Great's realm
323 - 305
Daniel 11:4 KJV: And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.
NASB®: But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded, for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them.
When Alexander was in his prime, he suddenly died (reigned 336-323 BC). With his successors ("diadochi", the leaders, generals, families and friends in power at his death) unwilling to proceed with unity, 40 years of civil war followed until four separate stable powers emerged. His kingdom was not divided to his descendents to rule, but fought over and won by the strongest. The four political powers and their territories are:
- Greece (Macedonia) (Cassander, a nobleman and son of Alexander's General Antipater)
- Asia Minor (Thrace,Macedon) (Lysimachus, held a prominent position in Alexander's circle and was his immediate bodyguard)
- Syria (Persian Empire, part of Asia Minor, Northern Syria, Mesopotamia, the east) (Seleucus I, one of Alexander's Generals)
- Egypt (Palestine and parts of Syria) (Ptolemy I, one of Alexander's Generals)
Parallel Prophecies: The 4 heads on Leopard (Dan. 7:6) and 4 horns on goat (Dan. 8:8).
See map of the four divisions of Grecia
305 - 283
Daniel 11:5 KJV: And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.
Verse 5 begins an outline of the struggles between the kings of Ptolemaic Egypt (south) and Seleucid Syria (north). Daniel saw that Greece would replace Medo Persia in previous prophecies also (Daniel 8:20-21).
Seleucus I served as an admiral under Ptolemy I in 314 BC (he was "one of his princes"), fighting together against other Diadochi. Seleucus had great success and went on to gain territory. The four powers were allied together to defeat other threats and when they defeated Antigonus I in 301 BC at the Battle of Ipsus, Ptolemy I took control of the Coele-Syria region (southern Syria or Lebanon, Syria and Israel). However, the other alliance members assigned all of Syria to Seleucus. The question of ownership of the region resulted in an ongoing war between the Seleucid and Ptolemaic dynasties. However, Seleucus I, who had gained power through the help of Ptolemy I, did not take military action to reclaim the region. Once both were dead their successors began a long series of wars. Thus, Ptolemy was strong, but Seleucus became stronger and established the Seleucid Empire. Verse 5 begins the description of the intrigues between the King of the North (Seleucids - Syria) and the King of the South (Ptolemies - Egypt).
283 - 246
Daniel 11:6 KJV: And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.
Ptolemy II (283-246 BC) fought against Antiochus I (281-261 BC) in the first Syria war (274-271 BC) and was victorious. He then fought against Antiochus II (261-246 BC) in the second Syrian war (260-253 BC). Ptolemy II was losing and agreed to a peace agreement (253 BC) in which Antiochus II would marry his daughter Berenice (250 BC). In order to do this, Antiochus II divorced his wife Laodice I, and transferred the succession to Berenice's children. When Ptolemy II died in 246 BC, Antiochus II took back Laodice I, but he soon died. Berenice made claims to the throne for her infant son Antiochus, but both were killed by Laodice I, who's own son, Seleucus II, could then ascend to the throne.
246 - 225
Daniel 11:7-9 KJV: 7 But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail: 8 And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north. 9 So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.
NASB®: 9 Then the latter will enter the realm of the king of the South, but will return to his own land.
Berenice's brother ("branch of her roots"), Ptolemy III, succeeded Ptolemy II. Determined to avenge his sister's murder, he invaded Syria, fighting against the newly crowned Seleucus II (246-225 BC). Ptolemy III was very successful and gained new territories. Ptolemy took 40,000 talents worth of silver, 4000 talents of gold and 2500 idols from the Syrians back to Egypt.
After Ptolemy returned to Egypt, Seleucus II recovered Northern Syria and the nearer provinces of Iran.
225 - 217
Daniel 11:10 KJV: But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.
NASB®: His sons will mobilize and assemble a multitude of great forces; and one of them will keep on coming and overflow and pass through, that he may again wage war up to his very fortress.
Selecus II's son, Seleucus III (225-223 BC), succeeded him and launched a campaign against Attalus I of the Attalid dynasty to regain territory in Asia Minor. Seleucus III was assassinated, but the effort was carried on successfully by Achaeus who took control of the army and recovered the lost territories.Seleucus III's younger brother, Antiochus III ("Antiochus the Great," 222-187 BC) succeeded him. During the fourth Syrian war (219-217 BC), his armies regained territory and was positioned in Phoenecia to invade Egypt. He waited for over a year while consolidating his new territories and considering diplomatic proposals sent by the Ptolemies.
Daniel 11:11 KJV: And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.
Meanwhile, the Ptolemy's were recruiting and training an army. In 217 BC Ptolemy IV (221-205 BC) defeated Antiochus III at the Battle of Raphia, the largest battle since the Battle of Ipsus eighty years earlier. Antiochus III's loss nullified his previous gains. Ptolemy IV regained control over Coele-Syria.
Daniel 11:12 KJV: And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it.
NASB®: "When the multitude is carried away, his heart will be lifted up, and he will cause tens of thousands to fall; yet he will not prevail.
Ptolemy IV (reigned 221-204 BC), his heart being lifted up after his victory in Palestine, sought to enter the Jewish temple. The Jews resisted him and he had "tens of thousands" put to death.
Daniel 11:13 KJV: For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches.
NASB®: For the king of the North will again raise a greater multitude than the former, and after an interval of some years he will press on with a great army and much equipment.
Ptolemy IV's son, Ptolemy V (reigned 204-181 BC), succeeded to the throne as a child amidst a bloody conflict. Antiochus III set about to take advantage of the situation and successfully launched an invasion to take back Coele-Syria. This was the fifth Syrian War (202-195 BC). In 200 BC, the Seleucids and Ptolemaics met at the Battle of Panium. Antiochus III was victorious, largely due to the use of cataphracts, which was heavy armored equipment with complete scale armor for the horses. By 198 BC, Ptolemaic rule in Palestine was over.
Daniel 11:14 KJV: And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.
NASB®: "Now in those times many will rise up against the king of the South; the violent ones among your people will also lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they will fall down.
NLT: At that time there will be a general uprising against the king of the south. Violent men among your own people will join them in fulfillment of this vision, but they will not succeed.
The Ptolemies signed a treaty with Antiochus III in in 195 BC and the Ptolemies' reign was weakened. They suffered from the Egyptian Revolt, in which there were many rebellions by native Egyptians that took away over half the country over 20 years (206-185 BC). The word translated to "robbers" means son and denotes kinship, such as a family or nation. It is usually translated to "son" or "children". Notice that the NASB®
translates it to "violent ones among your people". The Jews would try to rise up to fulfill prophecy. The pro-Seleucid Jewish faction in Jerusalem joined a short-lived attempt to exploit the situation in Egypt in order to break out from under Ptolemaic rule of Palestine.
Daniel 11:15 KJV: So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.
NASB®: Then the king of the North will come, cast up a siege ramp and capture a well-fortified city; and the forces of the South will not stand their ground, not even their choicest troops, for there will be no strength to make a stand.
Ptolemy VI (reigned 180 to 145 BC) succeeded to the throne and Egypt declared war on the Seleucids, launching the sixth Syrian war (170-168 BC). But, Antiochus IV (175-164 BC) launched a preemptive attack and quickly gained control of all Egypt except Alexandria. He besieged Alexandria, but withdrew in 169 BC. However, he soon turned back towards Egypt again. The Ptolemies were to weak to withstand and sent a request to the Roman Senate for assistance.
Daniel 11:16 KJV: But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.
NASB®: But he who comes against him will do as he pleases, and no one will be able to withstand him; he will also stay for a time in the Beautiful Land, with destruction in his hand.
NLT: The king of the north will march onward unopposed; none will be able to stop him. He will pause in the glorious land of Israel,[d] intent on destroying it.
Antiochus seized Cyprus and Memphis, and was marching towards Alexandria when Popilius, a Roman representative, met him. Popilius delivered the ultimatum from the Senate that Antiochus must immediately evacuate Egypt and Cyprus. Antiochus IV wanted more time to consider, but Popilius drew a circle around Antiochus in the sand and told him to decide before he stepped outside it. Antiochus obeyed and withdrew. Rome had just defeated the Macedonians under Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus in the pivotal Battle of Pydna, and Rome had become too powerful to defy. Rome was doing "according to his own will".
Rome is described in this verse as the one coming against him and none shall stand before him. Paullus was military leader and consul in 168 BC, representing the Roman Senate. In other words: "But he [Paullus] that cometh against him [Antiochus IV] shall do according to his [Paullus'] will, and none shall stand before him [Paullus]: and he [Antiochus IV] shall stand in the glorious land [Judea], which by his [Antiochus IV's] hand shall be consumed."
After complying with the Roman Senate's orders, Antiochus IV (reigned 175-164 BC) returned north from Egypt. On the way he stopped at Jerusalem ("glorious land"), which had been under Seleucid rule since around 200 BC. He sided with the Hellenized Jewish faction, outlawed Jewish religious rites and ordered the worship of Zeus. The Jews refused and Antiochus killed many Jews and destroyed the city of Jerusalem ("consumed"). (Note: As an interesting side note, in 166 BCE, Judas Maccabee led an army of Jewish dissidents to victory over the Seleucid dynasty in guerrilla warfare, which at first was directed against Hellenizing Jews, of whom there were many. A large Seleucid army was sent to quash the revolt, but returned to Syria on the death of Antiochus IV, after which the power of the Selucids disintegrated. By 143 BC, the Jews in the form of the Maccabees had established their independence.)
The defeat of the Greeks by the Romans gives us the clue that the focus will now shift from Greece to Rome.
168 - 101
Realm #4: Rome (168 BC to Second Coming)
Daniel 11:17 KJV: He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.
NASB®: 17 "He will set his face to come with the power of his whole kingdom, bringing with him a proposal of peace which he will put into effect; he will also give him the daughter of women to ruin it. But she will not take a stand for him or be on his side.
NLT: He will make plans to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will form an alliance with the king of the south. He will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom from within, but his plan will fail.
Rome launched into major conquests. Paullus' son Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus Numantinus (lived 185 - 129 BC), who was with his father at the battle of Pydna in 168 BC, went on to win major wars by defeating the mighty Carthaginian Empire (149-146 BC) and Numantia (in Hispania) (143-133 BC). Scipio was consul twice and considered the greatest and most considerable man in Rome. Scipio married Sempronia Gracchae (lived 170 -101 BC), who was the daughter of Cornelia the Mother of the famous Gracchi, and her husband Tiberius Gracchus. Sempronia's brothers, politicians Tiberius Gracchus and Gaius Gracchus, were powerful policians, however, Scipio was decidedly opposed to the practices of the Gracchi. The couple had an unhappy marriage. When Scipio died in 129 BC, Sempronia and her mother, were suspected of causing his death.
Parallel Prophecies: This begins the period matching the description of the little horn in Daniel 8:9 where Rome waxes great toward the south (Carthage and Northern Africa in 146 BC) (Dan. 11:17), east (Greece and Syria in 65 BC) (Dan. 11:18-19) and pleasant land (Judea in Ps. 106:21-25, Jews lost independence and became a client kingdom of Rome in 63 BC when General Pompey captured Jerusalem) (Dan. 11:20).
Daniel 11:18-19 KJV: 18 After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him. 19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.
NASB®: 18 Then he will turn his face to the coastlands and capture many. But a commander will put a stop to his scorn against him; moreover, he will repay him for his scorn.
NLT: 19 He will take refuge in his own fortresses but will stumble and fall and be seen no more.
The greatest challenge to Roman supremacy from the end of the second to the middle of the first century BC was the long-lived Mithridates VI of Pontus (lived 135-63 BC) (reigned 120 - 63 BC). By 87 BC, Mithridates had taken over Roman lands and controlled almost all of Asia Minor, Greece, Thrace, part of Macedon, and dominated the Black Sea and Aegean, with the help of his general, Archelaus. The Mithridatic Wars (88-63 BC) were between Rome and the Kingdom of Pontus. At the center of these wars were the Islands of Greece in the Aegean Sea, the number of which range between 1,200 to 6,000. Control of the sea was key to victory. Because of the war, the large scale problem of piracy in the Mediterranean worsened. A large network of pirates had joined together and coordinated operations over wide areas with large fleets. The pirates dominated the whole Mediterranean. It was thought that Mithridates fostered piracy as a way to weaken the Romans. In 67 BC, Pompey (lived 106-48 BC) was voted to be given full power against the pirates, including dominion over the waters of the entire Mediterranean sea and fifty miles inland for three years. He was given a fleet, soldiers and money. He had great and quick success, bringing an end to piracy within three months. Based on his success, in 66 BC, Pompey was given supreme command in the war against Mithridates. He finally defeated Mithridates in Asia Minor in 66 BC. Then he went on to take control of Syria in 65-63 BC and captured Jerusalem in 63 BC.
In 60 BC, Julius Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey formed a political alliance (triumvirate) that dominated Roman politics for several years. But, when Pompey's wife died (54 BC), who was Caesar's daughter, and Crassus died in battle (53 BC), it broke the links between Pompey and Caesar. The triumvirate disintegrated into infighting. Subsequent events led Pompey to become scornful of Caesar's power. But, Julius came out victor in the Great Civil War (49-45 BC). Pompey fled to Egypt, hoping that his former client, King Ptolemy, would help him. But the Egyptian king didn't want to offend the victorious Caesar. When Pompey left his ship to come ashore at Pelusium, he was stabbed and killed by one of Ptolemy's officers in 48 BC. Pompey's supporters continued the war until 45 BC went Julius defeated them. In 44 BC, Julius was named "dictator in perpetuity," after which he was quickly assassinated.
See map of the Roman realm in 44 BC
See map of the Expansion of the Roman Republic
44 BC - 14 AD
Daniel 11:20 KJV: Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.
After Julius Caesar's death (100 - 44 BC), the second Triumvirate was officially formed in 43 BC, composed of Antony, Octavian, and Caesar's loyal cavalry commander Lepidus. Octavian (lived 63 BC - 14 AD) became the first Roman Emperor as Caesar Augustus (reigned 27BC - 14 AD). He was a "raiser of taxes." He was in power when Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem to be censored/taxed (Luke 2:1).He died in his sleep while sick in AD 14 ("neither in anger, nor in battle").
14 AD - 37 AD
Daniel 11:21 KJV: And in his estate 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.
NASB®: In his place a despicable person will arise, on whom the honor of kingship has not been conferred, but he will come in a time of tranquility and seize the kingdom by intrigue.
Tiberius became the next emperor (14 AD - 37 AD), not through popular demand and not through conquest, but through the influence of his mother and "flatteries". He was not given the "honour of the kingdom" because he refused to hold certain titles, including Imperator, August and Pater Patriae. He even declined the Civic Crown and laurels. Tiberius came to rule "peaceably," not through civil war or conquest. After a time in office, he increasingly engaged in cruel and licentious activities that made him despised ("a vile person") by the people and the senate. He eventually refused to participate in administrative and ruling activities and retired to live a gloomy and depressed life. He became a tyrannical recluse.
12 BC - 31 AD
Daniel 11:22 KJV: 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.
NASB®: The overflowing forces will be flooded away before him and shattered, and also the prince of the covenant.
A flood is used in the Bible to indicate an invading army. This one is broken or shattered.
Tiberius was one of Rome's greatest generals. From 12 to 6 BC, he successfully campaigned in Pannonia, Germania, Dalmatia and Raetia. In 6 AD, Tiberius and Quaestor Legatus Germanicus led a campaign against a major revolt in Illyricum, which lasted for nearly four years. During the campaign, in 9 AD, the Roman legions under Varus met a force of Germanic tribes at the Battle of the Teutoburg. Historians emphasize the profound consequences of this battle as changing the course of world history. At the time, Varus was named Legatus Augusti pro praetore and led three of the Roman legions in the southern part of Illyricum, and Arminius was a Roman military leader in command of Germanic auxiliary forces for Rome. As a boy, Arminius had been given as tribute by a Germanic tribal leader to Rome to be raised by the Romans. As he learned of abuses in Roman treatment of Germans and their plans to violate treaties and subjugate Germania, he began laying plans of betrayal. He secretly warned the tribal leaders and planned a brilliant and well-planned ambush. Arminius sent word to Varus of a revolt in the Rhine area. Varus went to help put down the revolt, but instead found himself and his armies in an indefensible position. The Romans were massacred and lost three full legions ("overflown from before him... and broken"). The Germans went on to clean out all Roman forts, garrisons and cities east of the Rhine. It stunned the Roman world. Germania, no longer a Roman province, remained free from then on. After Tiberius became emperor, he sent back his armies for revenge, in 14 AD, raiding, killing and devastating the land. They then withdrew back across the Rhine. Rome never again attempted to completely conquer the Germanic territories east of the Rhine river. Historians have labeled this battle as Rome's greatest defeat. (Note: In 117 AD, emperor Trajan gained a corner of Germania, which was later lost in the 270s under emperor Aurelius. After that, the Germanic tribes were increasingly integrated into the Roman world and eventually took outright control of the military and a divided realm.)
See map of the Roman Empire borders at the Rhine River
Learn more about the history of Germania
Jesus Christ (prince of the covenant) died on the cross ("broken") in 31 AD under the Romans during the reign of Tiberius (emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD) (Luke 3:1).
Note: The reference to the overflowing flood is similar to the wording in Daniel 9:26, which refers to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and links it to Jesus' death. This is reasonable and could be the case. But, based on the verse's order and wording, and since Tiberius was no longer alive in 70 AD, the arms of a flood seem more likely to be referring to the destruction of Tiberius' forces in 9 AD.
31 AD - 440 AD
The rest of the Roman rulers are now skipped over until the next phase of the Roman realm when it divided into decentralized kingdoms of mixed germanic-roman peoples (486 AD). The defeat of Rome by the Germanic tribes in verse 22 cued us to look for the next phase of the Roman realm when it would come under the command of the Germanic tribes. This was previously prophesied in Daniel 2 and 7, by the 10 toes and 10 horns, symbolizing that Rome would become a decentralized, or divided, realm.
As revealed in Daniel 7, a little horn would come up and take the place of 3 of the 10 horns. This symbolized the papacy that would rise up and cause 3 of the germanic tribes to be removed. This form of divided Rome would then continue until the second coming. This prophecy follows right along with Daniel's previous prophecies. We've seen an order established repeatedly of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, Divided Rome and then Papal-led Divided Rome. This prophecy is no different and verse 23 now transitions to describe the rise of Papal-led Divided Rome.
Establishment of Divided Rome & the Rise of the Papacy (Pope Leo I "The Great")
440 - 461 AD
Daniel 11:23-24 KJV; 23 And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. 24 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 fathers' 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 [et].
NASB®: 23 "After an alliance is made with him he will practice deception, and he will go up and gain power with a small force of people. 24 In a time of tranquility he will enter the richest parts of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but only for a time.
NLT: 23 With deceitful promises, he will make various alliances. He will become strong despite having only a handful of followers.
The word translated here to "deceitfully" is the same word used in Daniel 8:25 when describing the Papal power causing "craft" (deceit) to prosper. Daniel 8:25 revealed that the intelligence (policy) of the Papacy enabled it to successfully promote and engage in deceitfulness. It described how the Papacy would boast and lift up (magnify) itself in its own mind. It also revealed that "by peace he will destroy many", meaning that the Papacy would destroy others when they felt secure and at ease, when they didn't expect it. This idea of taking advantage of others when they feel secure is repeated here in Daniel 11:24 when he enters "peaceably".
Verse 23 is referring to the time when the Papacy would "come up" or develop and grow in power. It gained power with only a small number of people ("a small people"). The groundwork for this rise to power was laid when persecution of Christians was put to an end in 313 AD. Around that time, emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity and the church began to gain favor in the realm. It became the official religion of the empire in 380 AD, when the emperors' Edict of Thessalonica ordered all subjects to profess the faith of the bishops of Rome and of Alexandria, which made Nicene Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. After this, increasing Germanic invasions brought chaos to the Realm, and the church stepped in as a means of bringing stability to Rome. The first sack of Rome occurred in 390 AD by a Gallic tribe, the second in 410 AD by the Visigoths, and the third in 455 by the Vandals.
See a map of Germanic Invasions from 378-439 AD
Pope Leo (440 - 461) was the first pope to be called "the great". He was the pope in power when Attila the Hun came against Rome in 452 and the pope persuaded him not to attack. Then when the Vandals attacked Rome in 455, Leo persuaded their leader not to burn the city or murder the citizens. Gaiseric, the leader of the Vandals, kept his agreement with the Bishop of Rome ("after the league made with him"), and these negotiations gave the pope power and prestige to grow into a leadership role ("become strong with a small people"). The Vandals looted and plundered and left the city in a devastated and unstable state, after which the church then became the key to order and justice. The citizens of Rome, having little resources left, stripped stones and marble from monuments and buildings, and burned statues to make lime. An increasing number of new churches were built, most by using spoils from the city. An example of this is Saint Peter's Basilica, which was built from materials of the abandoned Circus of Nero. This use of the spoils of war became a common feature in Rome for hundreds of years ("scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches").
The pope thus rose as a man of peace ("he shall enter peaceably"), not through battles and conquests of armies, and gained access to the rich and fertile regions of the district ("even upon the fattest places of the province"). As a peacemaker or mediator, he would render judgments. The imperial court relied on him to settle disputes. Even before becoming pope, Leo was sent by emperor Valentinian III to settle a dispute between the chief military commander, Aetius, and the chief magistrate, Albinus.
He stepped in to fill the vacuum of political leadership as western Rome crumbled, addressing both the spiritual and temporal needs of the people. Pope Leo was the first Pope to be given the title of Pontifex Maximus, a title previously reserved for Roman Emperors.
Pope Leo was distinct in his assertions of the primacy of the Roman church over all others. He sought to settle disputes in the eastern churches and eliminate all heresies. He exerted influence over the western and eastern emperors, emphasizing unity in religion as a key to solving political problems. He appealed to emperor Valentian in a dispute with another bishop, and the emperor addressed a constitution supporting Leo and emphasized papal supremacy and the necessity of one supreme head for the spiritual kingdom.
The main obstacle to this was the Arian version of Christianity. The Vandals were the foremost Arian power against the empire at this time. It was seen that it had to be overcome by the nicene (Catholic) version. In Daniel 7:24, it is the little horn that "subdues three kings". The papacy would devise plans and through its influence bring about the demise of the three tribes ("forecast his devices against the strong holds"). This would take scheming. The three tribes that were to be uprooted were Arian tribes that dissented from the beliefs of the Papacy. The military might of state powers would eventually eliminate these Arian obstacles. Pope Leo was also known to be the first pope to order the death of his enemies.
Note: The word translated to "time" is not the same word used in Dan. 7:25 for "time, times and 1/2 time" (nor in Dan. 4:16-32). A specific time frame (day=year) doesn't necessarily apply here.
Vandal Wars (Ricimer vs. Gaiseric)
Daniel 11:25-26 KJV: 25 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. 26 Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.
The decline of the western Roman empire was characterized by an increasing number of puppet emperors. The emperors were dominated by Germanic military leaders. The most marked example of this was the general Ricimer, who virtually ruled the western empire from 456-472 AD. He would install emperors, depose and murder seemingly at will.
Emperor Majorian (reigned 457-461 AD) was one of the last emperors to make a concerted effort to restore the Western Roman Empire. He set in motion a plan to attack Africa by building an invasion force at Cartagena, Spain. However, the Vandal leader, Gaiseric (390-477), was one step ahead of Marjorian. Gaiseric bribed key Romans ("they that feed on the portion of his meat") in Cartagena to turn traitor ("shall destroy him"). This enabled Gaiseric to sail a Vandal fleet against Marjorian's fleet just before it was about to embark in 461. Gaiseric's forces virtually destroyed the entire Roman fleet ("army shall overflow").
461 - 468 AD
KJV: 27 And both these kings' 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. 28 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.
NASB®: 27 As for both kings, their hearts will be intent on evil, and they will speak lies to each other at the same table; but it will not succeed, for the end is still to come at the appointed time. 28 Then he will return to his land with much plunder; but his heart will be set against the holy covenant, and he will take action and then return to his own land.
During emperor Majorian's absence, Ricimer convinced the senate to turn against the emperor. When Majorian returned to Italy in 461, Ricimer arrested him, deposed him, had him tortured and finally beheaded. With Marjorian's death, the Western throne was vacant. The Vandals saw this as an opportunity to increase their influence in imperial politics. Gaiseric supported Olybrius' candidacy for appointment as emperor. Gaiseric had family ties with Olybrius. If Olybrius was on the throne, Geiseric would become the real power behind the throne in the West, replacing Ricimer. To put pressure on both the western and eastern (Emperor Leo I) rulers to appoint his desired candidate, the Vandals extended their attacks on Sicily and Italy to the territories of the Eastern Empire, sacking and enslaving people living in Illyricum, the Peloponnese and other parts of Greece.
Gaiseric maintained that the peace treaty he had signed with Majorian was no longer valid. There followed a number of attemps to come to an agreement, and as the NLT version of the Bible says "these kings will plot against each other at the conference table" ("speak lies at one table")
. Ricimer sent an embassy to Gaiseric asking him to respect the treaty. A second embassy was sent by Leo I asking for the end of the raids and the release of the wife and daughters of Valentinian. When Ricimer appointed Severus to the throne, the Vandals continued their raids. The raids deeply affected the economy of the Italian landowners, especially senators. Some representatives of the Italian aristocracy went to the Emperor to pledge for a reconciliation with Gaiseric. Severus chose the patrician Tatian and sent him to the King of the Vandals, but, Gaiseric again rejected the peace proposal. The Vandals took much wealth and riches in these raids ("return into his land with great riches").
468 - 481 AD
Daniel 11:29-30 KJV: 29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. 30 For the ships of Chittim 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.
NASB®: 29 At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before. 30 For ships of Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action; so he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant.
In 468 the Western (Anthemius, puppet of Ricimer) and Eastern (Leo) Roman emperors launched an enormous expedition against the Vandals ("he shall return, and come toward the south"). The expedition was composed of 50,000 soldiers and 1,100 ships. At the Battle of Cap Bon (468 AD), the Vandal's superior naval force ("ships of Chittim") met the invaders and captured the Western fleet and defeated the Eastern fleet through the use of fire ships.
This disastrous expedition against the Vandals bankrupted the Western and Eastern Empires and greatly reduced their military might. The northern armies returned home and were dejected and broken ("grieved"). Since the edict by Theodosius in 380, emperors had spent much resources and energy attempting to suppress all non-Nicene forms of Christianity, especially Arianism. The Vandals were the biggest obstacle to this goal and the Roman realm had just failed again. During next 70 years the effort would continue and would be successful. The annihilation of the three Arian tribes (3 horns uprooted in Dan. 7, Heruli 493, Ostrogoths 538 and Vandals 534) that dissented from the beliefs of the Papacy would be carried out. These horns were uprooted through the power of the state by the influence of the Papacy ("intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant").
See map of Roman realm in 476 AD
See map of the Vandal Kingdom in 526 AD
Uniting of Church and State (Clovis I, King of the Franks)
481 - 538 AD
Daniel 11:31-32 KJV: 31 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. 32 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.
NLT: 31 His army will take over the Temple fortress, pollute the sanctuary, put a stop to the daily sacrifices, and set up the sacrilegious object that causes desecration. 32 He will flatter and win over those who have violated the covenant. But the people who know their God will be strong and will resist him.
Clovis reigned as king of the Franks (a Germanic tribe) from 481 to 511 AD. He was instrumental in the transition from central Roman power to a divided realm (486 AD), and he and his descendents were also instrumental in the transition from 10 nations (horns) into 7. In 486, he conquered the last stand of the Roman military in the west in the Battle of Soissons. This effectively ended any chance of continuing central Roman authority. He continued to expand his territory, becoming the most powerful tribe in the realm.
Clovis was converted to Catholicism in 496 AD, the first "Barbarian" king to do so. His army converted also. He was officially recognized as the first Christian Catholic King in 508 AD by the Eastern Roman emperor. Clovis integrated church offices into the structure of his government. He flattered church leaders and appointed them to important positions of power. His armies "surrounded" the church, standing where it ought not, appearing as the abomination of desolation that Jesus identified as Roman armies (see Daniel 8 for details about the "abomination of desolation"). Because of the Franks' involvement in the church, it empowered the Roman church to rise to unprecedented power in the Realm. This was a church-state union that continued for the next 1290 years.
See map of the rise of the Frankish Empire
These verses, said in another way: The armies of Clovis ("And arms shall stand on his part") will contaminate ("and they shall pollute") God's heavenly sanctuary ("the sanctuary of strength"), which is His system of ministry for His church. They will interrupt Christ's continual ministry in His heavenly sanctuary ("and shall take away the daily sacrifice") by establishing an idolatrous system of state interference in the church ("and they shall place the abomination") that enables the papacy to usurp Christ's work by setting up a substitute mediation system that makes the heavenly sanctuary deserted of people seeking salvation ("that maketh desolate"). Those who act wrongly and do harm to God's everlasting covenant ("such as do wickedly against the covenant") will be willing to act dishonestly in return for praise that furthers their own interest ("shall he corrupt by flatteries"). But, those who know God ("but the people that do know their God") will resist this takeover and be strong ("shall be strong") and do bold and daring feats ("and do exploits").
Persecution of God's True Church (many brave souls)
Daniel 11:33-35 KJV: 33 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. 34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. 35 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.
As seen in other prophecies, God's people are given into the hand of persecuting Roman church-state powers for 1260 years (538 to 1798 AD). Many brave souls were killed with the sword and burned at stake ("by flame"), put in prison ("captivity"), and persecuted through bribery and convincing others to kill them in order to get their property ("spoil"). Despite intense persecution, God's people ("they that understand") still spread the gospel ("instruct many"), including the Waldenses, Albineses and Hussites. Many fell and there was no one to help them. When Protestantism and the reformation became more popular, some joined through false motives and didn't really help the cause, but perhaps gained advantages in areas where protestants ruled. God's people will endure this situation until the time of the end.
The "time of the end" begins when the scattering of God's people ends and the ecclesiastical supremacy of the papacy ends (1798 AD - see Daniel 12).
Papal Self-Exaltation (Pope Innocent III) (538 - 1798 AD)
1198 - 1216 AD
Daniel 11:36-37 KJV: 36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. 37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
A power is here brought to light that wants to take the place of God ("magnify himself above every god"). We know from multiple other prophecies that this describes the Roman church of the middle ages. The Papacy set itself up as if it was God on earth and was allowed to have ecclesiastical supremacy for 1260 years ("till the indignation be accomplished"). This prophecy characterizes these actions as blasphemous ("speak marvellous things against the God of gods"). As indicated in the verses, the papacy regarded a different God than that of the early Christians ("God of his fathers"). It also promoted celibacy ("desire of women"). It put its own decrees above all other churches and above the Bible itself ("magnify himself above all").
Pope Innocent III (reigned 1198 - 1216 AD), the most powerful pope in history, fits the description in these verses more than any other during the middle ages. It was during his reign that the title "Vicar of Christ" was claimed for the popes, after which it has consistently been used since. The Catholic version of Christianity had spread throughout the Roman realm by this time.
See map of the Religious Divisions of Europe in 1096 AD
Daniel 11:38 KJV: 38 But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.
NASB®: But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures.
The Papacy not only exalted itself in the religious sphere, but also in the political sphere. It convinced state powers to persecute its citizens and enforce religious laws for the 1260 years during its ecclesiastically dominant phase. But, it especially exalted itself in the political arena from 752 to 1299, during its politically dominant phase. The popes claimed authority over emperors and kings, claiming the right to determine who would be legitimate rulers. The perception was that if a king wanted to be the ruler of a Christian nation, then he would need the blessing of the recognized leader of Christianity. The papacy could achieve success through threat of excommunication and releasing subjects from their oaths of loyalty.
The papacy reached the apex of its power during the reign of Pope Innocent III. He exercised influence over Christian states and claimed supremacy over all of the realm's kings. He is known for increased involvement in imperial elections and for calling a council (the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 AD) to modify the law in furthering his power as the universal authority in the realm. Innocent issued the "Papal Decree on the choice of a German King, 1201," which he used to force the acceptance of his choice of the three men contesting to become emperor. In it he said "It is the business of the pope to look after the interests of the Roman empire, since the empire derives its origin and its final authority from the papacy; its origin, because it was originally transferred from Greece by and for the sake of the papacy...its final authority, because the emperor is raised to his position by the pope who blesses him, crowns him, and invests him with the empire" (Medieval Sourcebook: Innocent III (r.1198-1216): Letters on Papal Polices, Fordham.edu, http://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/innIII-policies.asp).
See a map of the Holy Roman Empire in 1200 AD
Map including country names
The papacy was weak on its own. It exerted power by convincing state powers to cooperate. It placed its hope in the support of the state ("god of fortresses"). This sort of approach was not done by the early Christians ("whom his fathers knew not") who placed their hope in Jesus Christ. Kings and popes would collect images and costly relics. Popes would find relics and send costly gifts to various rulers ("honour with gold, and silver..."). Indulgences were sold to build extravagant cathedrals. It was enabled to accomplish all these things (verses 36-39) via state political powers.
Daniel 11:39 KJV: Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.
NLT: Claiming this foreign god's help, he will attack the strongest fortresses. He will honor those who submit to him, appointing them to positions of authority and dividing the land among them as their reward.
During the middle ages, feudalism developed as the Franks expanded territory under the Carolingian dynasty. The relationship between lord and vassal evolved. This type of system forms a pyramid of power, where loyalty at each level ensures its strength. At the top of the pyramid would sit the ultimate ruler of all levels. This system was especially prevalent from the 9th to the 15th centuries. The church became integrated into this system as an organization and as individual clergymen. By 1200 AD, during Pope Innocent III's reign, the papacy had more vassals than the other temporal rulers. Papal fiefs included England, Poland, Sicily, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal and Aragon. Pope Innocent III was known to drive out existing feudal lords and threaten with excommunication anyone who refused to acknowledge his supremacy. Thus, the papacy controlled much land and would parcel out land for a price or distribute land as a reward ("shall divide the land for gain").
Feudalism gradually faded over the next several hundred years. France official abolished it during the French Revolution in 1789.
Daniel 10 (Part 1)
Daniel 11:40-45 (Part 3)
Daniel 12 (Part 4)
Michael the Prince
Continue to Daniel 11:40-45