Dan 11.1-45 tells us how the angel backs up what he promised to Daniel to show him what the heavenly strategies were concerning the various kingdoms on the earth, and how all this would effect Israel in the future. This angel confirmed Darius the Mede and then tells the number of Persian kings after him, describing the fourth one. He then predicts the rise of Greece with Alexander the Great, and what happens after his death when Alexander’s kingdom is divided into four parts. In particular, he will discuss Antiochus, who will come out of the Seleucid Empire in Syria. His character, his wars, and his persecution of the Jews. He will be an eschatological picture of the False Messiah and his rule during the birth-pains (tribulation).
v 1…”And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I (the angel) arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him (Darius was favorable to the Jews; what he had been doing in the previous monarchy he would continue to do in the Medo-Persian court).
v 2…And now I will tell you the truth (of what will come to pass). Behold (see), three more kings are going to arise in Persia (Cambyses, Smerdis, and Darius Hystapis). Then a fourth (Xerxes) will gain far more riches than all as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece (this is around 480 BC and he was engaged in the battle of Thermopylae for instance).
v 3…And a mighty king (Alexander the Great) will arise and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases (a widespread empire with no obstacles).
v 4…But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up (when Alexander dies) and will be parceled out (into four parts) toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants (his two sons were killed; it was divided out between four of his generals named Ptolemy, Seleucus, Antigonus, and Cassander), nor according to his authority which he wielded (their dominion was not as large or as powerful as Alexander’s was, being broken up). For his sovereignty (kingdom) will be uprooted (by his death) and given to others besides them (to whom it should be first divided into four).
v 5…Then the king of the south (Egypt and the Ptolemaic monarchy) will grow strong, along with one of the princes who will gain ascendancy over him and obtain dominion (Seleucus Nicator); his domain a great dominion (he was stronger than Ptolemy who obtained Egypt).
v 6…And after some years they will form an alliance (Antiochus II agreed to a peace treaty with Ptolemy II, who commissioned the Septuagint), and the daughter of the king of the south (Bernice, the daughter of Ptolemy II) will come to the king of the north (in Syria with Antiochus II) to carry out a peaceful arrangement (to marry Antiocus II). But she will not retain her position of power (unite the two kingdoms as planned. Antiochus II divorced her and took his former wife Laodice again, and they had two sons), nor will he remain with his power (in the alliance), but she will be given up (to death), along with those who brought her in (her wedding escorts to Syria), and the one whom she brought forth (her son was killed with her), and the one who sired her, as well as he who supported her in those times (could not help her; her father and political supporters and advisors; some believe this is also referencing her brother who could not help her because he was too late).
v 7…But one of the descendants of her line will arise in his place (Bernice’s brother Ptolemy III Euergetes succeeded her father), and he will come against their army and enter the fortress of the king of the north (he captured the main cities of the Seleucid Empire, Seleucia, and Antioch) and he will deal with them and display great strength (conquered much of the Seleucid empire).
v 8… And also their gods with their metal images and their precious vessels of silver and gold he will take into captivity to Egypt (a valuable booty after the expense of the war), and he on his part will refrain (stand secure) for years from the king of the north).
v 9…And he (the king of the north in Syria, Seleucus II) will enter the realm of the king of the south (to regain lost provinces from Egypt), but he will return to his own land (after a storm defeated his fleet that had his army, and was defeated by Ptolemy.
v 10…And his sons (of Seleucus II) will mobilize and assemble a multitude of great forces (Seleucus III and Antiochus III went to war with Egypt), and one of them will keep on coming (Antiochus III) and overflow and pass through that he may again wage war up to his fortress (Seleucus died, and Antiochus reigned alone. He came to Raphia, a fortress, to invade Egypt).
v 11…And the king of the south (Ptolemy IV succeeded Ptolemy III) will be enraged and go forth and fight the king of the north (Antiochus III). Then the latter (Antiochus) will raise a great multitude (as many as 70,000 men) but that multitude will be given into the hand of the former (Antiochus retreats to Antioch, leaving southern Syria to Ptolemy).
v 12…When the multitude is carried away (Ptolemy defeats Antiochus), his heart (Ptolemy) will be lifted up (with pride), and he will cause tens of thousands to fall (be slain); yet he will not prevail (though Ptolemy killed thousands and won the battle, Antiochus III escaped and will bother Egypt again).
v 13…For the king of the north (Antiochus III) will again raise a greater multitude than the former, and after an interval of some years (14 years) he will press on with a great army and much equipment (Ptolemy IV had died and he left his throne to his 5-year-old infant son Ptolemy V Epiphanes, s Antiochus III thought it was a great time for a new war against Egypt).
v 14…Now in those times many will rise up against the king of the south (that is against the king of Egypt. Antiochus joins forces with Philip V of Macedon around 200 BC to defeat young Ptolemy and divide Egypt); and the lawless ones (without Torah) among your people will also lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision (of Dan 9.24, but it will not have the result they intended because it was misinterpreted. Antiochus actually returned from Egypt and took Jerusalem), but they will fall down (fail).
v 15…Then the king of the north (Antiochus III, also called Antiochus the Great) will come, and cast up a siege mound, and captured a well-fortified city (Sidon), and the forces of the south will not stand, not even their choicest troops, for there will be no strength to make a stand (Ptolemy sent his best commanders to help, but they were unable to stop the siege of Antiochus III).
v 16…But he (Antiochus III) who comes against him (Ptolemy of Egypt) will do as he pleases, and no one will (be able) to withstand him; he will also stay (for a time) in the beautiful (glorious) land (Judea), with destruction in his hand (he had chosen to do so, but he wanted the land to be a part of his kingdom).
v 17…And he will set his face to come with the power of his whole kingdom (to overcome Egypt), bringing with him a proposal of peace which he will put into effect; he will also give him the daughter of women (his daughter Cleopatra in marriage) to ruin it (to ruin Egypt from within). But she will not take a stand for him (did not cooperate with this scheme) or be on his side (will not play the role her father Antiochus wanted her to play, she was loyal to Ptolemy V).
v 18…Then he (Antiochus) will turn his face to the coastland (of the Mediterranean under Roman protection. He entered an alliance with Hannibal of Carthage, and invaded Greece, giving Rome a meaningful threat) and capture many. But a commander will put a stop to his scorn against him (the Roman Consul Acilius Glabrio defeated Antiochus at Thermopylae and Livius Salinator got a victory over his fleet at Phocea, and Aemilius Regillus defeated other ships near Ephesus, and Lucius Scipio won at Siphylus. These defeats drove Antiochus out of these areas), moreover, he will repay him with scorn (Antiochus was humiliated by these defeats and reproach came upon his own head.
v 19…So he will turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land (in retreat), but he will stumble and fall and be found no more (to pay back war expenses, he tried to rob a temple of Bel in Elymaeus in Elam, but the people rose up and defeated and killed Antiochus).
v 20…Then in his place one will arise (Seleucus Philopater, the oldest son of Antiochus)) who will send an oppressor (a tax collector) through the jewel (glory) of his kingdom; yet within a few days (a short time) he will be shattered (Seleucus) was assassinated after 12 years by Heliodorus who sought the crown for himself), though neither in anger (over something he did) nor in battle.
Dan 11.21-35 now talks about Antiochus Epiphanes IV who will be an eschatological picture of the False Messiah during the birth-pains.
v 21…And in his place a despicable person will arise (Antiochus will reign from 175 BC to 163 BC), on whom the honor of kingship has not been conferred (they never thought to make Antiochus IV king; Seleucus died, and his young son Demetrius was a hostage in Rome, and a baby son named Antiochus. Their uncle was Antiochus IV and was not the legitimate heir to the throne; an important note to keep in mind about the False Messiah), but he will come in a time of tranquility (come in peaceably) and seize the kingdom by intrigue (flatteries and deceit because he was not the rightful heir and took control before anyone could stop him. The False Messiah will do the same thing-Rev 17.1-13).
v 22…And the overflowing forces (armies) will be flooded away (those on the side of Heliodorus were crushed, with the help of Eumenes and Attalus and their forces) before him and shattered, and also the prince of the covenant (Ptolemy IV Philometer, the son of Antiochus’ sister Cleopatra; he was bound by a peace agreement with him).
v 23…And after an alliance is made with him (to surrender Syria and Israel that had come to Egypt by treaty and dowry for Cleopatra) he will practice deception and he will go up and gain power with a small force of men (come upon Egypt with no intention of letting them keep those lands (pretending to come to Egypt to help settle the throne, he slowly obtained one place after another with a small force).
v 24…In a time of tranquility (a fake peace; he will enter the richest parts of the realm, and he will accomplish what his father never did, nor his ancestors (master Egypt; since Alexander, no one had penetrated the fortresses at the border of Egypt and seized control); he will distribute plunder, booty, and possessions among them (those cooperating with him), and he devise schemes against strongholds (of Egypt in his mind), but only for a time (a limited time).
v 25…And he will stir up his strength (Antiochus will gather a large army and go to fight Ptolemy VI Philometer in Egypt) and courage against the king of the south with a large army, so the king of the south will mobilize an extremely large army for war; but he will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him (by his nobles; they will use betrayal and treachery against him to aid Antiochus).
v 26…And those who eat his choice food will destroy him (Ptolemy’s ministers will betray him), and his army will overflow (like a flooding river the army of Antiochus IV will destroy the army of Ptolemy, covering the land), but many will fall down slain (of the army of Egypt-see 1 Maccabees 1).
v 27…As for both kings (Antiochus IV of Syria and Ptolemy VI Philometer of Egypt) their hearts will be intent on evil (Antiochus captured Ptolemy and acted like a protective uncle. Meanwhile, Alexandria crowned his brother Ptolemy VII, so Antiochus besieged the city. He said if they recognized Ptolemy VI he would lift the siege of the city), and they will speak lies to each other at the same table (all their actions of respect to one another were lies because they were playing politics), but will not succeed (neither one was able to carry out whatever schemes they had in mind. Antiochus may have been trying to provoke a civil war, but this did not succeed either because Ptolemy VII understood his deceptive measures); for the end is still to come at the appointed time (the end result will be according to Yehovah’s plans, not theirs. The oppression of these kings against the Jewish people will culminate with their overthrow and their persecution will terminate according to the preordained counsels of Yehovah because the domination of Greece was coming to an end, opening the way for the fourth kingdom, Rome).
v 28…Then he (Antiochus IV) will return to his land with much plunder (during the siege of Alexandria; he returned home for some unknown reason); but his heart will be against the holy covenant (the Torah and the Jewish people), and he will take action (Jerusalem was on the way back home so he plundered the Temple-2 Maccabees 5.21), and then return to his own land (Antioch the capital).
v 29…At the appointed time (determined by Yehovah) he will return and come into the south (he came back to Egypt because Antiochus heard that Ptolemy VI had betrayed him and joined with his brother Ptolemy VII, so he returned to conquer the land), but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before (he will not conquer Egypt).
v 30…For ships from Kittim will come against him (the Ptolemy brothers sent an envoy to Rome for help, and Rome sent Caius Hostilius, Caius Popilius Laenas, and Caius Decimus in ships to confront Antiochus as he was going to besiege Alexandria and tell him to leave Egypt and the Ptolemies alone); therefore he will be disheartened (grieved; Popilius Laenas drew a circle around Antiochus and told him not to leave the circle till he agreed to leave, thus angering Antiochus), and he will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action (against the Jewish people and the Torah, he vented his anger on the Jews and thousands were killed because he wanted not only the gold and silver of the Temple, but he wanted the people to turn from the Torah and accept the Greek gods), so he will come back and show regard (favor) for those who forsake the holy covenant (in the Torah).
v 31…And forces from him will arise and desecrate the sanctuary fortress (the Temple) and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation (“shikutz somem” meaning an idol that causes horror- he set up a statue of Zeus Kyrios with his face on it on the altar-1 Maccabees 1.54-59).
v 32…And by smooth words (flattery, etc) he will turn to godlessness (lawlessness; be against the Torah) those who act wickedly towards the covenant (apostate Jews), but the people who know their God will display strength and take action (faithful Jews under the Maccabees will stand against him).
v 33…And those who have insight (into the things of Yehovah) among the people will give understanding (“binah” or an understanding of the facts) to the many (multitudes); yet they will fall by the sword (of Antiochus) and by flame (fire-2 Maccabees 7.1-5), by captivity (1 Maccabees 1.32; 2 Maccabees 5.24) and by plunder (of the city and the Temple-1 Maccabees 1.20-24).
v 34…Now when they fall they will be granted a little help (their numbers will increase and be able to carry on the war), and many will join with them in hypocrisy (seeing the Maccabean warriors succeed, some apostates joined but weren’t sincere but they were after their own glory, not Yehovah’s).
v 35…But some of those who have insight will fall (because they adhered to the Torah), in order to refine, purge, and make them pure (to separate them from the hypocrites and purge the dross and imperfections from their lives because all good people have these), until the end time (of the Grecian monarchy, and then we will have the Roman domination, as hinted to in Dan 11.30), because it is still to come at the appointed time (in Yehovah’s hidden counsel, plans and decrees).
We believe that Dan 11.36-45 refers to the False Messiah, not Antiochus, but some believe this also in reference to Rome or the bishop of Rome
v 36…Then the king will do as he pleases (Antiochus could not do this because the Romans stopped him-Dan 11.30), and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god (Antiochus wanted to further the worship of the Greek gods, and Zeus in particular, everyplace he conquered and said men should not see themselves as a god-2 Maccabees 9.12; so in this context, this refers to the False Messiah), and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods (the true God), and he will prosper until the indignation is finished (the birth-pains-Isa 26.20-21; Hos 5.15-this would allude to the last 1260 days of the birth-pains), for that which is decreed (in the secret counsels of Yehovah) will be done (his plan will not deviate from its desired end).
v 37…And he (the False Messiah) will show no regard (give his attention to) the God of his fathers (the False Messiah may be Jewish), or for the desire of women (this is an idiom for “Israel”-Song 1.8, 5.9; Rev 12.1; Jer 3.19, and literally means “the most desirable of women” meaning the most desirable among the nations), nor will he show regard (give his attention to) to any god (he will have no religious restraints at all, he is “lawless” meaning against the Torah-2 Thes 2.3-8); for he will magnify himself above all (that is decent and the loyalty that binds good men).
v 38…But instead he will honor the god of fortresses (he has no regard for any god except war, which is the object of his deification, and he will apply force to gain world power), a god whom his fathers did not know (no other king made war his “religion” like he will); he will honor (show esteem) with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures (he will spare no expense, pay any price, offer it all up to gain what he wants).
v 39…And he will develop for the strongest of fortresses (proceed against the fortified cities) with a foreign god (war-v 38); he will give great honor to those who acknowledge (him and conduct themselves according to his will) and he will cause them to rule over the many (not uncommon with any conqueror), and he will parcel out land for a price (the reward for anyone who accepts him, also not uncommon; the British parceled out land to those who made significant contributions to fight against the American colonists in the Revolutionary War).
v 40…And at the end time (appointed by Yehovah) the king of the south (an African continent alliance) will collide with him, and the king of the north (this may allude to the Oriental alliance because “east” is called “north” when talking about Babylon in Jer 1.13 and Assyria in Joel 2.20; possibly the “kings of the east” in Rev 16.12-16) will storm against him with chariots (mobile firing platforms), with horsemen (symbols of power), and many ships (they will be aided by powerful forces); and he (king of the north) will enter countries, overflow and pass through (these are land forces).
v 41…He (the False Messiah) will also enter the beautiful land (Israel), and many will fall; but these shall be rescued out of his hand; Edom, Moab, and the foremost (those in the forward edges of its southern border) of the sons of Ammon (these areas are not in the line of attack by the False Messiah, and the Jewish people have fled to these areas on Nisan 10 in the fourth year of the birth-pains and will be protected by God for 1260 days-Rev 12.13-17).
v 42…Then he will stretch out his hand against (other) countries (Rev 12.17), and the land of Egypt will not escape (the chief power of the African alliance; this alludes to a complete overthrow).
v 43…But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will be at his heels (part of the African alliance will be subject to his command and taken captive).
v 44…But rumors (news) from the east and from the north (disturbances from these areas of the world) will disturb him (they are coming) and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many (he is provoked to respond).
v 45…And he will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion (his military headquarters and camps; he is losing the war) between the seas (the Mediterranean Sea in a poetic plurality of fullness) and the beautiful holy mountain (the Temple Mount); yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him (Yeshua returns on Tishri 10, a Yom Kippur, year 6008 from creation, exactly 1260 days from the midpoint of the birth-pains on Nisan 10, three and a half biblical years before-Num 24.24; Ezek 30.21; Zech 11.15-17; Matt 24.29-31; 2 Thes 2.8; Rev 17.8, 19.11-21).”