Studies on Daniel 11:36 and 12:1-2

Daniel 11:36; Daniel 12:1‑2  •  17 min. read  •  grade level: 9
CHAPTERS 11: 36; 12: 1, 2
We have already said something in general upon this king; we have spoken of him in connection with what went before; but independent of circumstances, as a personage, he is of importance sufficient that we should notice him more fully. It is generally admitted, that it is the same as is called Antichrist, the wicked one, but under a special character, as I mentioned towards the close of the last lecture (that is, in connection with the Jews, and in the land, which is an object of dispute between the king of the north, and the king of the south). And in fact, this wicked one will unite in his own person every feature of iniquity. He will be a blasphemer against the true God-a persecutor of the saints-the head of the apostasy; and he will encourage idolatry. In fine, it is " the king who shall do according to his will."
It is impossible to mistake the character of the person mentioned in 2 Thess. 2, " showing himself that he is God." And it would be well if we referred to a few passages, which mention the different characters attributed to him, beginning with this chapter of Daniel. The first trait is, that he is in Palestine, in the land of the heirs of the holy covenant, and exalts himself, and magnifies himself above every god, whether false or true. In spite of this he is to prosper " till the indignation be accomplished ": God permits it, because it is the time of His indignation against the Jews; chap. 8: 19. This indignation is the period spoken of in Isa. 10:5, 24, 255O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. (Isaiah 10:5)
24Therefore thus saith the Lord God of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt. 25For yet a very little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction. (Isaiah 10:24‑25)
: " For yet a very little while and the indignation shall cease." There is an indignation with a certain limit. It is not said that the time of this king is the period of the indignation, but it is a time during which God does not interfere to deliver Israel. He allows the trial to go on, and Israel to suffer the effects of it; and so Antichrist prospers until the indignation is accomplished. It is not said that when the indignation is over, Israel will be re-established in the enjoyment of their promises; but Christ can then act for Israel instead of leaving them under the indignation. He will yet have to subject the nations to the exercise of His royal power, in the midst of His earthly people.
Verse 37. " Neither shall he regard the god of his fathers... for he shall magnify himself above all." This is a strong feature of the pride of man; " he magnifies himself above all." He would efface every idea of the true God; he is indifferent whether about the real religion of the heart, or the religion of his fathers; he dislikes even the name of Christ (called here " the desire of women "); he is even against religious customs, and religious nationality; he has no respect for any god. But, arrived at this point, it is necessary to keep the people in restraint, and he needs instruments for this, as well as his gods, mahuzzim (fortresses)-some species of idolatry, which he introduces when he has denied every god. This idolatry will be connected with the interests of those who govern. He will cause them to rule over many (the many, the mass), viz., the people of Israel, and the country will be divided among his chiefs. So far the royal and Judaic history of this king.
We proceed with passages which represent him under other points of view. In chapter 7 he is seen as a little horn, not as king in Palestine, but as a particular horn of the fourth beast, and in the same chapter we also have the period determined for the end of the persecution of the saints, " until the Ancient of days came " (v. 22), as distinct from the time when He sat upon the throne (v. 9). Thus Christ comes, and " the judgment is given to the saints of the most high," or " of the high places," and " the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom." These passages determine the general end of the war which the little horn wages against the saints. In the last it is not said " the saints of the high places." In fact three things are marked: viz., the coming of the Ancient of days; the judgment given to the saints of the high places; and the time when the saints shall take the kingdom.
We turn now to certain portions in the New Testament, which speak of this period and of the little horn under still other aspects, just as we may behold Christ under different aspects. In the epistle to the Thessalonians he is described as a chief, the result of the apostasy which shall invade Christendom; " Now we beseech you, brethren, that ye be not soon shaken... except there come a falling away first," 2 Thess. 2:1-31Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (2 Thessalonians 2:1‑3).
The first thing is the apostasy, not of the Jews (this we have seen in Daniel), but of Christendom, and it will necessarily happen before the execution of the judgment-before the day of Christ; as must also the appearance of the " man of sin," who is clearly not the apostasy itself, but, I judge, follows and winds it up. The apostle marks the two events before the judgment: viz., the coming in of the apostasy, and the revelation of the man of sin-the son of perdition (an expression which signifies that he possesses this name, by his nature, his character, and his acts) " who opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God, or is worshipped." Read to verse to.
This is his character in connection with Christendom, and Christendom in connection with him. First of all, there was a mystery of iniquity, which was commencing in the time of the apostles, which was to continue for a certain time, afterward an apostasy would follow, and then the revelation of the wicked one. The Lord will destroy him " with the brightness of his coming " (the manifestation of His presence). But there is something else. The New Testament gives us the moral features of the appearance of this wicked one, viz., that it is according to the power of Satan; and what makes these verses remarkable is, that the same words which are used to describe the manifestations of this power of Satan are employed in speaking of the proof of the mission of Jesus Christ as Messiah; Acts 2:2222Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: (Acts 2:22).
There are two remarkable circumstances; viz., that the coming of Antichrist is spoken of just as the coming of Christ, one, a mystery of iniquity; the other, a mystery of godliness. As the Son of man is to come, so also will the Antichrist come; and his coming will be after the power of Satan; he will perform lying miracles. It will not be merely a set of principles at work; the effect will be mighty in seducing those who perish. A positive power of error comes in, because men " received not the love of the truth." " God shall send them strong delusion..." for they " had pleasure in unrighteousness." It is a judicial blinding.
It is said also in Isaiah, " Make the heart of this people fat." After a period of longsuffering on the part of God, blindness happened to the Jews, when they rejected the Messiah: and when patience has had its perfect work, they will yet be delivered over to a spirit of idolatry-that spirit which shall, meanwhile, have sought out seven spirits more wicked than himself, and the last state of that people shall be worse than the first. And so when those who call themselves Christians have obstinately refused to receive the truth, although it has been proposed to them, a positive and special blindness shall come upon them from God, " that they all might be damned who believed not the truth.".
We continue our history of this king from Rev. 12 There the dragon is seen (who is the devil or Satan, and seduces the whole world) cast out of heaven, v. 1o, 12. This malicious power no longer occupies the heavenly places, but when this occurs, it will be a time of fearful woe to the earth. It is the beginning of his " great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."
After this we have a vision of the woman, who " is nourished for a time, times, and half a time." In other words, as soon as Satan is cast out of heaven, a period of three and a half years will elapse before he is judged on earth. Accordingly, in chapter 13 we find that the dragon gives the beast his power, throne, and great authority-this beast, of whom we read in the same chapter that " power was given him to continue forty and two months." He is found with the same characteristics as those before mentioned, only under more detailed historical circumstances. " And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies," v. 5. " And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven." Satan could no longer himself meddle with heaven, and therefore he sets on the beast against those who dwell there. Also " it was given unto him to make war with the saints (on the earth), and to overcome them; and power was given him over all kindreds and tongues and nations " (v. 6, 7).
There is a fact here worth observing-it is a kind of imitation of the ways of God. As the Father has given all power to the risen Son, and the Holy Spirit exercises all the power of Christ before Him; so Satan imitates the same thing in evil. The dragon will give his throne to the beast; and remark what is said of the character under which he will be worshipped, " And I saw one of his heads, as it were, wounded to death, and his deadly wound was healed." It is when this wound is healed, when there shall be a kind of resurrection (not personal, but the power of the beast raised up again), that all the world will wonder after the beast, and the second beast will exercise all the power of the first beast before him.
Rev. 13:1111And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. (Revelation 13:11). " And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth "... which " causeth the earth and them which dwell therein, to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed." We have here a power which pretends to be that of Christ (I do not say the heavenly power), but which pretends to be like Christ on the earth; but, in fact, an ear which could hear would discover it to be that of the dragon himself. As Pharaoh said to Joseph, " Only in the throne will I be greater than thou," so this second beast will exercise all the power of the first beast before him-this second beast, which speaks like a dragon, whilst it has horns like a lamb. Verses 13, 14: " And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven... and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth." These verses speak of what is done before (in the presence of) and in sustaining this power of the first beast; the second beast causes him to be worshipped, and an image to be made to him, and he seduces them that dwell on the earth.
This second beast is again mentioned in Rev. 19, under the designation of the false prophet. Here again, as the Spirit of the Father, speaking in the disciples, acted for the glory of Christ; so this beast, here called " the false prophet," speaks the language of the dragon, and supports the glory of the last beast. It will be a spirit zealous for idolatry, and who will even execute judgment on the earth, as the prophets ere now have done.
In the Revelation we find the connection of the beast with Babylon, which is yet another thing. In chapter 17: 1, 3, it is said, " I will show thee the judgment of the great whore." " And I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast... having seven heads and ten horns." " The beast which thou sawest was, and is not... yet is " (v. 8). This is a kind of death and resurrection. When it appears for the last time, it has a devilish character, it comes out of the pit, and then is destroyed. " And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder... when they behold the beast that was and is not, and yet is " (or rather, " and shall be there "). It is a coming of this beast. When the world beholds this appearance of the beast, it is astonished. There is another circumstance, " And the beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth [king] and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast " (v. 11, 12). It is an event which has not yet occurred.
We perceive that these kings will exist at the same time with the beast. Three of them will fall (see Dan. 7), but the seven others will continue. The beast rules and unites in a single body the power of these kings, but the kings exist; it will be a kind of confederation, in which each horn acts royally in his own sphere, but gives his power to the beast, who blasphemes against God. " For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled," Rev. 17:1717For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. (Revelation 17:17).
Another feature in his character is, " that the ten horns... shall hate the whore " (v. 16), who for a long while ruled the beast. We remember in Dan. 7 that among the ten horns another arose, who got all the power of the beast, who in fact morally becomes the beast, and causes three of the horns to fall before him. This one in the eyes of Daniel, and in fact in his conduct, will be the beast. This horn will control and give its tone to everything. Having touched upon the passages which refer to this same personage, we must still remember that it is in Palestine, and viewed personally, that we have to do with him here.
But to continue with Daniel 11. " And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him... he shall enter also into the glorious land " (v. 40, 41). This is the moment when God begins to act. Both the kings of the north and south, in their same geographical position, are at war with this king. " And the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind." This king of the north seems to be a very prominent power, which possesses the territory of the ancient kings of Syria. My judgment is, that the rest of the chapter applies to him, although formerly I thought it applied to the king. Daniel now continues the thread of this history (which had been interrupted by the notices concerning the king); that is, he resumes that of the Jews in connection with the kings of the north and south. And there is a fact which confirms me in the opinion of this invasion (v. 41) being that of the king of the north; namely, " he shall enter into the glorious land." Now if it is a question of " the king," he is already there.
Verse 41. " And many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon." This is a circumstance not to be omitted, because it demonstrates the exactitude of the written word. For in Isa. 2:1414And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up, (Isaiah 2:14) you will find that these three powers which escape the king of the north, are in existence still later: " Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim, but they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines towards the west... they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab, and the children of Ammon shall obey them." Verse 42. " He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries; and the land of Egypt shall not escape "-an announcement that the king of the south loses his kingdom. See Isa. 11:1515And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. (Isaiah 11:15).
Verses 43, 44. " But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt.... But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him, therefore he shall go forth with great fury... yet he shall come to his end and none shall help him." This is the end of the king of the north.
I add a general idea of chapter 12 to show the connection. Verse I. " And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people." Here is special reference to the Jews, in whom Daniel was so much interested, and on whose account he had fasted and mourned for three full weeks. After having described the events pertaining to the kings of the north and south, the angel says, notwithstanding all these desolating scenes, Michael shall stand up for the children of thy people. Nevertheless, " there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation." This is exactly what is announced in Matt. 24 as to take place in Judea. " When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet " etc. (v. 15-21). It is clear that this cannot happen twice. It is the time of Israel's deliverance " and at that time, thy people shall be delivered ": only it is confined to " every one that is found written in the book."
One could not fail to remark, while reading the chapters of which I have given the abridgment in the two preceding lectures, the character of this terrible personage of the last days. The king of the north is fearful enough as a conqueror and pillaging invader; but this king is spoken of as making war against God. It is not merely a desire of conquest, but of open opposition to God and the Lamb. It is the effectual power of Satan and of a lie; it is blasphemy; it is persecution. One feels it to be everything the most terrible in human hatred, animated by the power of Satan fallen from heaven, and who establishes his throne upon earth against the God of heaven and the Lamb. The appearing of this wicked one is the most important point in these chapters, whether as the expression of the iniquity of the Jews and Christendom, or as that of the pride of man.