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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Daniel 11

Preacher's Complete Homiletical CommentaryPreacher's Homiletical



IN relation to the prediction in Daniel 7:11, regarding the destruction by fire of the body of the Beast or fourth universal empire, that immediately preceding the kingdom of the Son of Man, and of the saints—his body being “given to the burning flame”—science has recently indicated another way in which this judgment might be inflicted on apostate Christendom and the Antichristian kingdoms. The following extract from the Spectator, in relation to a recent conclusion of astronomy, only met the writer’s eye while the preceding work was in the press:—“We sometimes doubt whether the world’s belief in science is quite as genuine as it seems. Here is Mr. Proctor, whose astronomical authority and ability nobody doubts, has told the world for some time back, we believe, that there is really a very considerable chance of a catastrophe only fifteen years hence, which may put an end to us and our earthly hopes and fears altogether; and, so far as we can see, the world has blandly treated Mr. Proctor’s warning as it would have treated an interesting speculation on the future of electricity—that is, has regarded it with a certain mild, literary satisfaction, but has not made any change in its arrangements in consequence.… Yet, supposing Mr. Proctor’s facts to be correctly stated—on which we should like to have the judgment of other astronomers—there does seem a remarkably good chance that in 1897 the sun will suddenly break out into the same kind of intensity of heat and light which caused the conflagration in the star of the Northern Crown in 1866, when for a day or two the heat and light emitted by it became suddenly many hundreds of times greater than they were before, after which the star relapsed into its former relative insignificance. Those few days of violence, however, must have been enough to destroy completely all vegetable and animal life in the planets circulating round that sun, if such planets were in existence; and Mr. Proctor shows no little reason to believe that the same catastrophe may very probably happen to us, doubtless from a precisely similar cause, if the astronomers who believe that the comet of 1880 was identical with the comet of 1843 and the comet of 1668 should be right,—which would imply that the same comet, with a rapidly diminishing period, is likely to return and fall into the sun, with all its meteoric appendages, in or about the year 1897. Mr. Proctor tells us that Professor Winnecke believes that the identity of the comets of 1843 and 1880 hardly admits of a doubt; while Mr. Marth thinks that both may be identical with the comet of 1668, its velocity having been reduced by its passing through the corona of the sun; so that on its next return, in a considerably reduced time, it may be altogether unable to pass out of the sphere of the sun’s influence, and may precipitate itself, with all its meteoric train, into the mass of the sun. If this event occurs—as at some return or other Mr. Proctor believes to be nearly certain—(the next but one, we suppose, if not the next), there will certainly be an abrupt arrest of an enormous momentum as the long train of meteors enters the sun, which arrest would show itself in the shape of enormously increased heat,—the probable result whereof would be the burning up of all vegetable and animal life existing on the planets of the solar system. It is true that Mr. Proctor is not quite sure how the absorption of this comet and its train into the sun would really affect us. He is by no means certain that our sun would burst into flame, as the star in the Northern Crown did in 1866, but he evidently thinks it much more likely than not. And he does not seriously doubt that in the behaviour of the star in the Northern Crown, which so suddenly broke into flame in 1866, we have the example of a real sidereal catastrophe which from time to time either actually destroys, or would destroy, if they existed, such worlds as ours, if they happen to be the planets of a sun thus suddenly fed with a great accession of cosmic heat.”

In connection with the same subject the writer has recently met with the following passage in Mr. Garrat’s “Midnight Cry,” written about twenty years ago:—“The fiery flood. So it is described in Peter’s second epistle. The destruction of the ungodly will be by fire; and out of that fire will issue the new heavens and the new earth. The question is often asked, whether that event will happen at the commencement or the close of the millennium. Perhaps, in different degrees, at both. Isaiah says, speaking of a period prior to the thousand years, ‘By fire and by sword will the Lord plead with all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many.’ And he seems also to place the creation of new heavens and a new earth at the same period; while it is after the millennium, John says in Revelation, ‘I saw a new heaven and a new earth.’ This and many other apparent difficulties of the same nature are easily explained. ‘One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.’ The whole millennium is, in God’s eye, but a day—the great day of the Lord God Almighty. It is the ‘regeneration,’—the period of earth’s new birth; and the events at its commencement and its close are sometimes looked upon as one. God will destroy His enemies with fire at the beginning of these thousand years. The conflagration at their close will be still more terrible. Both are looked upon as one event. And it is to both, regarded as one, that the words of Peter apply: ‘The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.’ It will come as a thief in the night on the world. They will be alone, because the Church will have been translated. With what bitter remorse will men look on the fiery deluge as it comes sweeping along! They might have escaped, and they would not; and now escape is impossible.”

Verses 1-20



We come to the things which the angel was commissioned to communicate to the prophet, and through him to the Church. They are spoken of as the things which should befall his people “in the latter days,” [301] being the things noted in “the scripture of truth.” The chapter is a continuation of the angel’s discourse, the first verse being more properly connected with the preceding chapter, as the communication only commences with the second. The prophecy is the most extensive and minute one which the prophet had hitherto received, including a period stretching from Daniel’s own time to the resurrection of the dead. [302] It contains a further filling up of the outline of the four great empires already given in the visions of the Great Image and the Four Beasts (chap. 2 and 7), as well as that of the Third Monarchy and the Little Horn in the vision of the Ram and the He-goat (chap, 8.) The prediction “was given,” says Auberlen, “to be a light to the people of Israel in one of the darkest periods of their chequered history, and, indeed, in the darkest centuries of their abandonment by God—centuries that have not yet run their course.” The angelic communication commences with a glance at the kings of Persia, who were yet to arise, and at the founder of the Third or Grecian Empire who was to succeed them. The angel then passes to the contendings that took place between the kings of two of the divisions of Alexander’s partitioned empire, Syria and Egypt, in order to introduce the power who had already formed a sadly conspicuous object in the visions of Daniel, as the great antagonist and persecutor of the Jews and of the religion of Jehovah, Antiochus Epiphanes, one of the kings of Syria. These Syrian kings are spoken of in the vision as the kings of the North, as distinguished from the kings of Egypt or of the South, to whom, after Alexander’s death, the Jews were subject. From Antiochus the vision appeals to pass to others of whom he appears as the type.

[301] “In the latter days” (chap. Daniel 10:14). Dr. Cox remarks that, by this expression in the preceding chapter, “our views are naturally conducted through the perspective of revolving ages; all the events of which, till the great consummation, must be contemplated with reference to the Jewish nation or Daniel’s people, whose affairs form the centre of the chief transactions of this lower world.”

[302] “Of all the predictions contained in the holy Scriptures,” observes Auberlen, “this is doubtless the most special and minute.… Its special minuteness, however, is by no means of such a kind as to lift the veil which, in the wise counsels of the Almighty, has been drawn across the future, nor of such a kind as to unfold the future to the gaze of a profane curiosity.” Mr. Birks gives the following summary of it:—“This enlarged prophecy of the ‘Scripture of Truth’ resumes the message of the earlier visions, and unfolds more clearly the idol-worship set up by the Little Horn or Wilful King, in the ‘three times and a half, of his permitted power, with the warfare of the Saracens and Turks, and their dominion in the East. A further extension of the predicted times is at length revealed. In this latest portion of the prophetic calendar, the Wilful King enters on the last form of his apostate power; and assuming to himself the features of personal malignity and an open rejection of Christ, which belong to Antiochus, his type and predecessor, and the king of the North, his temporary rival, gathers at length under his banner all the apostate nations; and in the height of his power and pride is broken and overthrown by the hand of God in the mountains of Israel.” Keil observes: “It is true that the Church interpretation, given by Jerome, is so far valid, in that it interprets the prophecy partially considered under the point of view of the very special predictions of historical persons and events, and from this view concludes that Daniel 11:21-35 treat of Antiochus Epiphanes, and Daniel 11:36-45 of Antichrist; according to which there would be in Daniel 11:36 an immediate passing from Antiochus to the Antichrist, or, in chap. Daniel 12:1, a sudden transition from the death of Antiochus to the time of the end and the resurrection of the dead. But the prophecy does not at all correspond to this representation. The angel of the Lord will reveal to Daniel, not what shall happen from the third year of Cyrus to the time of Antiochus, and further to the resurrection of the dead; but, according to the express declaration of chap. Daniel 10:14, what shall happen to his people, בְּאַֽהֲרִית הַיָּמִים (beakharith haiyamim), “in the end of the days,” i.e., in the Messianic future, because the prophecy relates to His time. In the אַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים (akharith haiyamim), the latter days or end of the days, there takes place the destruction of the world-powers, and the setting up of the Messianic kingdom at the end of the present world æon. All that the angel says respecting the Persian and the Javanic (or Grecian) world-kingdoms, and the wars of the kings of the North and the South, has its aim to the end-time, and serves only briefly to indicate the chief elements of the development of the world-kingdoms, till the time that brings on the end shall burst forth; and to show how, after the overthrow of the Javanic world-kingdom, neither the kings of the North nor those of the South shall gain the possession of the dominion of the world. Neither by the violence of war, nor by the covenants which they will ratify by political marriages, shall they succeed in establishing a lasting power. They shall not prosper, because (chap. Daniel 11:27) the end goes yet “to the time appointed” by God. A new attempt of the king of the North to subjugate the kingdom of the South will be defeated by the intervention of the “ships of Chittim;” and the anger awakened in him by this frustration of his plans shall break forth against the holy covenant, only for the purifying of the people of God for the time of the end, because the end goes yet to the appointed time (Daniel 11:35). At the time of the end, his power will greatly increase, because that which was determined by God shall prosper till the end of the indignation (Daniel 11:36); but in the time of the end he shall suddenly fall from the summit of his power, and come to his end (Daniel 11:45); but the people of God shall be saved, and the wise shall shine in heavenly glory (chap Daniel 12:1-3).”

I. The Persians and Alexander the Great (Daniel 11:2-4). Cyrus, the founder of the Second or Persian Empire, was now, as is stated in the previous chapter (chap. Daniel 10:1), in the third year of his reign, after succeeding his uncle, Darius the Mede, otherwise called Cyaxares II., who on the fall of Babylon had “taken” or received the kingdom, which he ruled for two years. To this second empire the Jews were in subjection, as they had been to the first or Babylonian, Judea being still only a tributary province. It was through the favour of its monarchs that the Jews were for two centuries to enjoy peace and prosperity in their own land and elsewhere. At the head of this empire there were yet to be three kings, who should be followed by a fourth, far richer than any of his predecessors (Daniel 11:2). These three kings are known in history as Cambyses, a son of Cyrus; Smerdis, who pretended to be another son; and Darius Hystaspis. The fourth is the well-known Xerxes, [303] thought to be the same with Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther, whose riches were proverbial, and in whose reign the empire reached its highest magnificence. “By his strength, through his riches,” he was to “stir up all against the realm of Grecia.” He is known as the king who, in his war with Greece, covered the shores of the Hellespont with his immense host. The disasters that attended his expedition, and the entire overthrow of the empire under one of his successors, Darius Codomannus, are well known in history.

[303] “The fourth.” The Xerxes of the Book of Esther, according to Keil, Hävernick, Ebrard, Delitzsch, Auberlen, and Kliefoth. On the contrary, Hitzig and some others would make the fourth king to be the third, to justify their interpretation of the four wings and four heads of the leopard (chap. Daniel 7:6) of the first four kings of the Persian monarchy.

After mentioning Xerxes, the angel passes to the power by which the Persian empire was to be overthrown: “A mighty king shall stand up, which shall rule with great dominion, and shall do according to his will” (Daniel 11:3). Alexander the Great, thus referred to, with his rapid and extensive conquests, has been already before us in former visions as the founder of the Third or Grecian Empire. When in the height of his prosperity, however, he was to be cut off and his kingdom to be “broken, and divided toward the four winds of heaven,” his successors being none of his own posterity (Daniel 11:4). This also we have seen fulfilled in the untimely and unexpected death of Alexander, and in the division of his empire, not between his two sons, Alexander and Hercules, who were both murdered soon after their father’s death, but among his four generals, Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Seleucus. See further under chap. Daniel 7:6, and Daniel 8:5-8; Daniel 8:21-22. Although the condition of the Jews was considerably affected by Alexander, it is more as a link in the historical chain that he is here introduced.

II. The kings of Syria and Egypt, or of the North and South (Daniel 11:5-20). These, the most powerful of Alexander’s successors, are made, with their mutual contendings, to occupy a considerable part of the prophecy, from the circumstance that Judea lay between them, and was often the bone of contention to the rival parties. “The Jews,” says Luther, “placed thus between the door and the hinges, were sorely tormented on both sides. Now they fell a prey to Egypt, and anon to Syria, as the one kingdom or the other got the better; and they had to pay dearly for their neighbourhood, as is wont to be in time of war.”

The prophecy regarding these kings commences with the statement that the king of the South or of Egypt should “be strong, and one of his princes,” that is, of the princes of Alexander, namely, the king of Syria, who should “be strong above him, and have dominion,” which should be “a great dominion” (Daniel 11:5). [304] This we find verified in the kings of Egypt and Syria, or, as they are sometimes called, the Lagidæ and the Seleucidæ, from the names of their respective founders, Ptolemy Lagus, and Seleucus; the latter becoming the sovereign of not less than three fourths of all the Asiatic dominions conquered by Alexander the Great. It was under Ptolemy Philadelphus, the second of the kings of Egypt, that, in consequence of the number of Jews residing in that country [305] and speaking Greek, the Greek or Septuagint version of the Old Testament was made, about the year 273 B.C. Of these kings, the angel says, “in the end of years,” or after several years, “they shall join themselves together,” in friendly alliance; “for the king’s daughter of the South shall come to the king of the North to make an agreement;” an alliance, however, which was to effect nothing; the angel adding, “but she shall not retain the power of the arm,” or be able to render any permanent help to her father in relation to Syria. “Neither shall he stand, nor his arm; but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her (marg., ‘he whom she brought forth’), and he (or they) that strengthened her in these times” (Daniel 11:6). Jerome, from various ancient authors, gives the following account in verification of the prophecy:—After many years, Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, wishing to bring this troublesome contention to an end, gave his daughter Berenice in marriage to Antiochus, king of Syria (surnamed Theos or the god); Antiochus having two sons, Callinicus and Antiochus, by Laodicea, his first wife, who was still living. Philadelphus himself took his daughter to Pelusium, carrying with him as her dowry many thousands of gold and silver, whence he obtained the name of the Dowry-bearer. But Antiochus, though at first professing to take Berenice for his consort in the kingdom, and to retain Laodicea as his concubine, after a length of time was overcome by the love of his first wife, and took Laodicea and her children back to the palace. Landicea, fearing that Berenice would win back the heart of her fickle husband, employed her servants to take away his life by poison, and then delivered up Berenice and the child she had borne to Antiochus to two princes of Antioch to be murdered, while she made Callinicus, her eldest son, king in the room of his father. The angel foretells the sequel of this tragedy. “But out of a branch of her roots,” sprung from the same parents, “shall one stand up in his estate (or stead), which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress (or strong city) of the king of the North, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail: and shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the North. So the king of the South shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land” (Daniel 11:7-9). Jerome relates: After the murder of Berenice and the death of her father Ptolemy Phila-delphus, her own brother, Ptolemy Euergetes, came with a great army and entered into the provinces of Callinicus, then reigning in Syria with his mother Laodicea; and after revenging himself upon them, took possession of Syria, Cilicia, the parts beyond the Euphrates, and almost all Asia. Afterwards, on receiving intelligence from Egypt that a sedition had arisen, he seized on the kingdom of Callinicus, took forty thousand talents of silver, precious vessels, and images of gods to the number of two thousand and five hundred, including those which Cambyses had carried out of Egypt into Persia. In reference to the clause, “he shall continue more years than the king of the North,” it has been remarked that the average length of a reign in Egypt was about twenty-seven years and four months, while that in Syria was just one-half; and that “the atrocious cruelty of the Syrians, and especially their oppression of the Jews, is enough to account for the shortness of their lives, to any one who takes into consideration the retributive providence of God, who scourges unjust kings by their discontented subjects.”

[304] “Shall be strong, and one of his princes” (Daniel 11:5). C. B. Michaelis, Rosenmüller, and others understand his princes as those of the “mighty king” (Daniel 11:3), or Alexander; while Keil refers the pronoun to the king of the South, the prince being the king of the North. Bishop Newton, who observes that the Hebrew text appears here a little confused, and perhaps defective, thinks that possibly the words מֶלֶךְ הַצָּפוֹן (melech hattsaphon), “king of the North,” may have fallen out. The rendering of the Septuagint is clearer: “And one of these princes shall be stronger than he.” It is here where Mr. Bosanquet thinks the marginal comment began, which ultimately became incorporated with the text. He thinks the prophet gives no particulars concerning the four successors of Alexander, but proceeds at once to the object of the vision, the king of the latter days, according to chap. Daniel 10:14, after amplifying in Daniel 11:2-4 what is said in chap. Daniel 8:20-22 concerning the kingdoms of Persia and Greece, and thus leading back the mind of the reader to the words of chap. Daniel 7:17, “at the time of the end shall be the vision,” i.e., the vision of the king of fierce countenance (Daniel 8:23), who shall appear at “the last end of the indignation “(Daniel 8:19), and who “shall stand up in the latter time of those kingdoms” which were to be formed on the platform of Alexander’s empire in the East, that is, in “the latter days.” He thinks the interpreter, passing over Ptolemy Soter, Lysimachus, Cassander, and Seleucus Nicator, selects, out of more than twenty, ten kings, beginning with Ptolemy Philadelphus, and ending with Antiochus Epiphanes and Philometor, who all lived nearly in his own days, being the ten kings or horns for whose succession the kingdom of Alexander was to be “plucked up,” according to Daniel 11:4. In this supposition Mr. B. appears to stand alone.

[305] “Robbers of thy people “(Daniel 11:14). פָּרִיצֵי עַמְּךָ (varitse ’ammecha), according to Dr. Rule, are the separatists who left Judea for Egypt, and there attached themselves to Onias, who built a temple at Heliopolis like that at Jerusalem, and established a kind of rival worship. Sir Isaac Newton considers them to be the Samaritans and such like. The Septuagint has “pestilent ones;” the Vulgate, “prevaricators.” Bishop Newton renders the term “revolters,” the factious and refractory ones, the majority of the Jews at that time being for breaking away from allegiance to Ptolemy, king of Egypt. Keil understands those violent men who break through the barriers of the divine law (Ezekiel 18:10).

The angel proceeds. “But his sons (those of the king of Syria) 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. And the king of the South shall be moved to 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. And when he shall take 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. For the king of the North shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after many years with a great army and with much riches” (Daniel 11:10-13). The following are the facts of history that verify this part of the prophecy:—The two sons of Callinicus, namely, Seleucus Ceraunus and Antiochus, surnamed the Great, stirred themselves up to recover their father’s dominions. The former, though surnamed the Thunderer, was equally weak in body and mind, and after a reign of three years was poisoned by his generals, having done little more than assemble a large force, which, for want of money, he was unable to keep together. After his death, his brother Antiochus came with a great army, retook Seleucia, his fortress, and recovered Syria; and after a time he returned, overcame the Egyptian general, and had thoughts of invading Egypt itself. Ptolemy Philopator, having succeeded his father Euergetes, whom he had murdered, enraged at his losses, roused himself from his sensual indulgences, and marched with a numerous army us far us Raphia, between Rinocolura and Gaza, where he met Antiochus with a still more powerful host. The latter was defeated, and his numerous armament given into Ptolemy’s hand, ten thousand of his troops having been slain, and four thousand made prisoners. The weak heart of Ptolemy was lifted up by his success, and on making a visit to Jerusalem, among other cities which sent their ambassadors to do him homage, he demanded to be allowed to enter the interior of the temple. When Simon the high priest remonstrated, alleging that not even ordinary priests were admitted into the inner sanctuary, the king haughtily answered that although they were forbidden, he ought not to be so, and then pressed forward. The Jewish historian relates that in passing through the inner court for that purpose, he was seized with a panic and fell speechless to the ground. He was carried out half dead; and soon after his recovery he departed, full of anger against the Jewish people. The result was that on returning to Alexandria, he commenced a bitter persecution of the numerous Jews residing there, so that “many ten thousands were cast down” by it; only three hundred retaining their civil rights at the expense of their religion, while, according to Eusebius, forty thousand, or, according to Jerome, half as many more, preferred death rather than obey the royal decree that commanded them to worship idols. Ptolemy, giving himself up to his pleasures instead of pursuing his victory over Antiochus, was “not strengthened by it.” He died about a dozen years after, and Antiochus, raising an incredibly large army among the upper provinces of Babylonia and Media, came down upon his son, Ptolemy Epiphanes, an infant four years old.

The prophecy continues: “And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the South: also the robbers of thy people, [306] or “breakers,” that is, of the divine law, shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall. 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. 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” (Daniel 11:14-16.) [307] History relates that Philip of Macedon entered into a league with Antiochus to divide Ptolemy’s dominions between them, each taking the part that lay nearest to him; in consequence of which, as Judea lay nearest to Antiochus, that country was seized by him and the generals of Ptolemy by turns. The Jews themselves were divided into factions, part favouring the cause of Ptolemy, to whom they were already under allegiance, while others gave their aid to Antiochus, by which they only prepared the way for the fulfilment of the prophecy regarding the sufferings which the Jews were to endure under one of his successors. The help, however, which was rendered to Antiochus by the Syrian faction at Jerusalem, was of little avail. Scopas, the Egyptian general, recovered Phenicia and Cœle-Syria; and after subduing the Jews, placed a garrison in Jerusalem. This, however, only continued for a time. Antiochus, coming to Judea, encountered Scopas at the sources of the Jordan, destroyed a great part of his army, and pursued him to Sidon, where he shut him up, with ten thousand of his men, till famine obliged him to surrender. Antiochus soon retook Phenicia, Cœle-Syria, and Palestine, nothing being able to withstand his victorious arms. He stood “in the glorious land.” The party that revolted from Ptolemy cordially received him into Jerusalem, and even assisted him in besieging the garrison which Scopas had left in the citadel, so that his power was established in Judea. The land, however, was wasted by his troops, as well as in other ways.

[306] “Robbers of thy people “(Daniel 11:14). פָּרִיצֵי עַמְּךָ (varitse ’ammecha), according to Dr. Rule, are the separatists who left Judea for Egypt, and there attached themselves to Onias, who built a temple at Heliopolis like that at Jerusalem, and established a kind of rival worship. Sir Isaac Newton considers them to be the Samaritans and such like. The Septuagint has “pestilent ones;” the Vulgate, “prevaricators.” Bishop Newton renders the term “revolters,” the factious and refractory ones, the majority of the Jews at that time being for breaking away from allegiance to Ptolemy, king of Egypt. Keil understands those violent men who break through the barriers of the divine law (Ezekiel 18:10).

[307] “Shall be consumed” (Daniel 11:16). כָּלָה (calah) may also denote, “shall be perfected,” prosper, and flourish. The Septuagint has “shall be finished.” Bishop Newton remarks that Antiochus, in order to reward and encourage the Jews in their fidelity and obedience to him, gave orders that their city should be repaired, and the temple should be finished and adorned. Keil regards the word not as a verb but a substantive, and reads (as an explanatory clause), “and destruction is in his hand;” the destruction referring to the Holy Land, in which violent (or rapacious) people (Daniel 11:14) make common cause with the heathen king, and so put arms into his hands to destroy the land. Hävernick and others, also regarding כָּלָה (calah) as a noun, render the clause, “and it (the land) is wholly given into his hand.”

The angel proceeds: “He shall also set his face to enter with (or against) the strength of his whole kingdom (or, ‘to enter by force into the whole kingdom,’ i.e., of Egypt), and upright ones (or, according to the margin, ‘equal conditions,’—an agreement by a marriage alliance) 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. And 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. Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble, and fall, and not be found” (Daniel 11:17-19). History gives the fulfilment. Antiochus, having been so far successful against Egypt, formed schemes to seize upon the whole kingdom. His aim was to accomplish this by means of a marriage alliance, giving Ptolemy his beautiful daughter Cleopatra in marriage, thinking, through her affection for himself, to obtain the kingdom of her husband. In this, however, he was disappointed. The marriage took place, but Cleopatra was too true a wife for his ambitious schemes, and sided with her husband against her father. Antiochus then, collecting a large fleet, turned his face “to the isles” of the Mediterranean, including the Greek cities of the coast, many of which he took. As these, however, were in alliance with the Romans, the latter, under the consul Acilius, uniting with their allies, after gaining repeated victories over Antiochus, compelled him to return with his army into Asia. After his defeat at Magnesia, he fled to Sardis, and the next day reached Antioch, “the fort of his own land.” Two years after he was slain by the Persians while plundering the temple of Jupiter Belus at Elymais, or, according to another account, by his companions while carousing at a banquet.

The prophecy regarding the kings of the North and the South, introductory to the main one relating to Antiochus Epiphanes, closes with the brief notice of Seleucus Philopator. “There shall stand up in his estate (or stead) a raiser of taxes (Marg., ‘one that causeth an exactor to pass over’), [308] in the glory of the kingdom; but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle” (Daniel 11:20). This “raiser of taxes” was Seleucus Philopator, who succeeded his father Antiochus the Great, and did nothing memorable in his twelve years’ reign. Of a sluggish disposition, he was intent on nothing but raising money to pay the tax levied upon him by the Romans. He was murdered by his treasurer or chief collector, Heliodorus, whom he had sent to plunder the Temple at Jerusalem.

[308] “A raiser of taxes “(Daniel 11:20). נוֹגֵשׂ (noghes), according to most, a collector of tribute, as in 2 Kings 23:35; the person understood being Heliodorus, whom Seleucus Philopator sent to Jerusalem to seize the temple treasure. Keil prefers “taskmaster;” and understands the oppressions not only of the Holy Land, but of his kingdom in general. He observes here that, from a comparison of the prophecy with the history, this much follows, that the prophecy does net furnish a prediction of the historical wars of the Seleucidæ and the Ptolemies, but an ideal description of the war of the kings of the North and the South in its general outlines; whereby, it is true, divers special elements of the prophetical announcement have been historically fulfilled, but the historical reality does not correspond with the contents of the prophecy in anything like an exhaustive manner.

From this part of the prophecy we may note—

1. The foreknowledge and providence of God. The Apostle only declared what reason itself may teach us, when he said, “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.” The architect knows beforehand what he will do in the erection of the building when he prepares the plan. The weaver knows beforehand what he will do with his web when he has fixed upon the pattern. God’s works embrace those of providence as well as of creation. “My Father worketh hitherto,” said Jesus, “and I work.” His almighty power and boundless wisdom are continually occupied in relation to all that His creating hand has produced, upholding and governing all His creatures and all their actions, so that without Him not even a sparrow falls to the ground. “In Him we live and move,” as well as “have our being.” The details predicted in this section, now matters of history, were all included within the divine foreknowledge and Providence, like every other event that takes place. Being foreknown by God, it was easy to communicate the knowledge of them beforehand, as far as divine wisdom saw meet. It is our comfort to know that “the Lord reigneth;” and that not only matters connected with rulers and empires, but all events, whether great or small, are not only known by God beforehand, but are ordered and controlled in His all-wise providence, so that the ends He designs shall be accomplished; making even the wrath of man to praise Him, while the remainder of that wrath He restrains; and causing all things to “work together for good to them that love God, and who are called according to His purpose” (Psalms 76:10; Romans 8:28). This gracious purpose continually kept in view in all His doings. The thing that is determined shall be done (Daniel 11:36).

2. The character and condition of human nature apart from divine grace. The section valuable as confirming the view given of the kingdoms of the world in Daniel’s vision of the Four Beasts, of which the third is here partially exhibited. It affords an epitome of secular history extending over three centuries, and a specimen of that history in all ages of the world. It is especially valuable inasmuch as the period brought before us in the section is that in which Greek culture had reached its highest perfection. It exhibits sin and misery as the characteristics of fallen humanity with all the advantages that worldly art and science could afford it. It shows the works of the flesh, or of man’s fallen nature unrenewed by divine grace, to be what the Bible represents them,—“enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions; unrighteousness, covetousness, envy, murder, deceit, malignity (Galatians 4:20; Romans 1:29). Fifty thousand unoffending Jews cruelly massacred by a Ptolemy in and around his own metropolis, because he was refused a profane entrance into the Holy of Holies at Jerusalem! God’s long-suffering patience and fatherly pity exercised on such a world. The world was shown to need a Saviour, and a Saviour was provided. Into such a world Christ came. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him might not perish but have everlasting life.” The view here given of the kingdoms of the world, such as to awaken the longing for the setting up and universal extension of the promised kingdom, which is “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

Verses 21-35



The next part of the prophecy is occupied with a person who has been already the subject of divine revelation as the Little Horn of the Third or Grecian Empire (chap. Daniel 8:9-12; Daniel 8:23-25). This is Antiochus, surnamed Epiphanes, or the Illustrious. The present prediction concerning him is a considerable enlargement of the former one. The prominence given to this Syrian king arises in the first instance from his being the great enemy and persecutor of the Jewish people; and secondly, from his being made the type of another persecuting power to arise under the New Testament dispensation, and to continue in one form or other to the time of the end. [309] The prophecy regarding him would seem to make way for and to melt into predictions concerning that other power or powers of which he was to be the forerunner and type. We have—

[309] Jerome says, at Daniel 11:19 : “Thus far the order of history is followed, and between Porphyry and our interpreters there is no dispute. The rest that follows, to the end of the book, he (Porphyry) interprets of Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes.… And while much that we shall afterwards read and expound agrees with the person of Antiochus, they (the Christian interpreters) will have him to be the type of Antichrist; and the things which had their first fulfilment in him, they will have to be accomplished in Antichrist.… Our people interpret it all of Antichrist who is to arise in the last time.” Chrysostom, however, as Dr. Rule observes, writing a book against the Jews about the same time, in which he gives a brief account of this latter part of Daniel’s prophecies, applies the whole exclusively to Antiochus.

I. His rise. “And in his estate (or stead, viz., that of Seleucus Philopator, the ‘raiser of taxes,’ Daniel 11:20) shall stand up a vile person, [310] to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries” (Daniel 11:21). The vileness of this Antiochus the Illustrious appears, from what profane historians relate of him, as conducting himself much below his dignity, consorting and drinking with people of the lowest rank, frequenting public brothels and places of revelry and dissipation, jesting and dancing with low and frivolous persons, and such like. His vileness such that his reckless conduct earned for him the title of Epimanes the Madman, rather than Epiphanes the Illustrious, even buffoons in the theatre being ashamed of him. The rightful heir to the throne was not Antiochus, but his nephew Demetrius, the son of the late king, Philopator, who at the death of his father was on his way to Rome as a hostage. The right to the Syrian throne, which had immediately been seized by Heliodorus, the murderer of Philopator, was also disputed by Ptolemy Philometor, king of Egypt, who claimed it as the son of Cleopatra, sister of the late king and daughter of Antiochus the Great. Antiochus did not thus receive the honour of the kingdom as the rightful heir, but coining in “peaceably,” softly, and by stealth, or unexpectedly, [311] obtained the kingdom “by flatteries;” first flattering Eumenes, king of Pergamus, and his brother Attalus, to gain their assistance; then the Syrians themselves, by a promise of clemency and less taxation; and, finally, the Romans, to whom he sent ambassadors to court their favour with a rich present and the payment of the arrears of tribute, desiring them to make the same alliance with him which they had made with his father, Antiochus the Great, and promising constant submission to whatever the senate should require.

[310] “A vile person” (Daniel 11:21). נִבְזֶה (nibhzeh), “one despised;” that is, says Keil, such a one as by reason of birth has no just claim to the throne, and therefore appears as an intruder; also one who finds no recognition: not bad or unworthy, but supposing unworthiness. The honour of the kingdom, or that which men give to the king, was denied to the despised one on account of his character.

[311] “Peaceably” (Daniel 11:21). בְּשַׁלְוָה (beshalvah), “in quietness” or security, i.e., says Keil, unexpectedly. “When they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh.”

II. His success. “And with the arms of a flood shall they (his opposers) be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant (the Jewish high priest). And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for (rather ‘and’) he shall come up, and shall become strong, with a small people. He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places (or, shall enter the quiet and plentiful cities) 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; and he shall forecast his devices against the strongholds, even for a time. And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the South with a great army; and the king of the South shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand, for they shall forecast devices against him. Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow, and many shall fall down slain. 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” (Daniel 11:22-45). The following is the historical verification:—The armies of the opposers of Antiochus were vanquished by the king of Pergamus, while his own presence disconcerted all their measures. Onias III., the Jewish high priest, he removed from his office, and appointed his brother Jason in his stead, in return for a large sum of money which he offered him. This league with Jason, “the prince of the covenant,” [312] he broke, and deposed him in favour of Menelaus, who offered a larger price for the priesthood. [313] Having come from Rome, where he had been kept as a hostage, with only a few attendants, he soon received a great increase of followers, and entered the quiet and plentiful cities of Judea, now a province of Syria, as it had previously been of Persia, and then of Egypt. His lavish bestowment of gifts from the spoils he took is referred to in the first book of the Maccabees, where he fears he should no longer have such gifts to bestow as he had done before, “for he had abounded above the kings that were before him” (1Ma. 3:30). His object in this liberality was to secure the possession of the provinces of Judea, Phenicia, and Cœle-Syria, which were claimed by the king of Egypt. For the same object he put Joppa and the frontier towns in a state of defence, “forecasting devices against (or concerning) the strongholds” (or, as the Septuagiut reads it, against Egypt). A few years after he marched against Egypt with a large army; and although Ptolemy’s generale made great preparations to resist him, they were unable to defeat his “fraudulent counsels.” The author of the second book of Maccabees says, “When the kingdom was established before Antiochus, he thought to reign over Egypt, that he might have dominion over two realms. Wherefore he entered into Egypt with a great multitude, with chariots, and elephants, and horsemen, and a great army; and made war against Ptolemy, king of Egypt; but Ptolemy was afraid of him and fled; and many were wounded to death. Thus they got the strong cities in the land of Egypt; and he took the spoils thereof.” Porphyry, an apostate Jew, who, after he became a heathen, wrote a book on Daniel in the latter part of the third century, says that the battle was fought between Pelusium and Mount Casius. Some of Ptolemy’s servants at the same time proved unfaithful to him, while the Alexandrians revolted and made his brother Euergetes, or Physcon, king in his stead. Partly, it is thought, by his humanity after the victory, he gained not only Pelusium but all Egypt; after which he entered into an outward friendship with the young king, Philometor, and took upon him to order the affairs of the kingdom; Antiochus pretending, as Jerome says, “to consult for his nephew’s interest and to recover him the crown, although only plotting his ruin; while Ptolemy on his part was resolving to take the first opportunity of breaking the league and seeking a reconciliation with his brother. Bishop Newton thinks the mischief they plotted was against the Jews; but which did not take effect, as the time appointed by God was not yet.”

[312] “The prince of the covenant” (Daniel 11:22). נְגִיד בְּרִית (neghidh berith) Keil considers analogous to בַּעֲלֵי בְּרִית (ba’ale berith), “persons in covenant” with another, and, from the absence of the article, to be taken in a general sense, as, according to Kranichfeld, “covenant princes” in general. Calvin understands Ptolemy Philopator, who took the part of his young relative Ptolemy Philometor against Antiochus. According to others, the king of Egypt himself is meant by “the prince of the covenant.”

[313] “The holy covenant” (Daniel 11:28). This Dr. Rule understands of the Jewish religion, the term “covenant” being often used in Scripture to denote both the religion of the Israelites and that of the Christians, the former depending on the covenant made with Abraham, the latter on that made with Christ; Christian faith consisting of trust in Him who fulfilled the conditions of the covenant by dying for our sins. Keil understands the expression, not of the holy people in covenant with God, but the divine institution of the old covenant, the Jewish theocracy, of which the Jews were only members; and approves of Calvin’s view that Antiochus carried on war against God, his undertaking being an outrage against the kingdom of God which was established in Israel.

III. His persecutions. “Then shall he return into his own land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; [314] and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land. At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the South; but it shall not be as the former nor as the latter (or, ‘as the former so the latter,’—the latter shall not be as the former). For the ships of Chittim [315] shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant. And arms [316] 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. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall be corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits. 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” (Daniel 11:28-33). History relates that after his success in Egypt, Antiochus returned to Syria; but in doing so, as he had heard while in Egypt that the Jews, from a false report of his death, had revolted, he resolved in his indignation to go up to Jerusalem and chastise his fickle subjects there. He there spoiled the temple of its treasures to the value of eighteen hundred talents, and massacred forty thousand of the people, while be sold as many for slaves. “After that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again, … and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude; and entered proudly into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, &c. And when he had taken all away, he went unto his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly. Therefore there was great mourning in Israel, in every place where they were” (1Ma. 1:20, &c.) The second book relates: “Now when this that was done came to the king’s ear, he thought that Judea had revolted: whereupon removing out of Egypt with a furious mind, he took the city by force of arms, and commanded his men of war not to spare such as they met, and to slay such as went up upon the houses. Then there was killing of young and old, making away of men, women, and children, slaying of virgins and infants. And there were destroyed within the space of three whole days, fourscore thousand, whereof forty thousand were slain in the conflict, and no fewer sold than slain. Yet was he not content with this, but presumed to go into the most holy temple of all the world” (2Ma. 5:11-21). Two years after this, having heard that the two brothers, Philometor and Euergetes, or Physcon, had become reconciled and come to an amicable arrangement about the kingdom, Antiochus returned to Egypt, marching through Cæle-Syria, while he despatched a fleet to Cyprus. He had, however, only got within four miles of Alexandria when he was met by Roman legates, headed by Popilius, who showed him their written tablets, and demanded that he should immediately quit Egypt. He was thus very reluctantly obliged at once to return to Syria. His hatred against the Jews and their religion now broke forth afresh with greater violence. “After two years had fully expired, the king sent his chief collector of tribute into the cities of Judea, who came into Jerusalem with a great multitude.… Then builded they the city of David with a great and strong wall and with mighty towers, and made it a stronghold for them; and they put therein a sinful nation, wicked men, and fortified themselves therein. Thus they shed innocent blood on every side of the sanctuary, and defiled it.… Moreover, King Antiuchus wrote to the whole kingdom that all should be one people, and every one should have his laws. So all the heathen agreed, according to the commandment of the king. Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the Sabbath. For the king had sent letters by messengers unto Jerusalem and the cities of Judea, that they should follow the strange laws of the land, and forbid burnt-offerings, and sacrifices, and drink-offerings in the temple; and that they should profane the Sabhaths and festival days, and pollute the sanctuary and holy people; set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols; and sacrifice swines’ flesh and unclean beasts; that they should also leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and abomination; to the end they might forget the law and change all the ordinances. And whoever would not do according to the commandment of the king, he said, he should die. In the selfsame manner wrote he to his whole kingdom, and appointed overseers over all the people, commanding the cities of Judea to sacrifice, city by city. Then many of the people were gathered unto them, to wit, every one that forsook the law; and so they committed evil in the land.… They set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol-altars throughout the cities of Judea on every side.… And when they had rent in pieces the books of the law which they found, they burned them with fire. And wheresoever any was found with the book of the Testament, or if any consented to the law, the king’s commandment was that they should put him to death. Thus did they, by their authority, unto the Israelites every month, to as many as were found in the cities. Now the five and twentieth day of the month they did sacrifice upon the idol-altar which was upon the altar of God” (1Ma. 1:29-59). There were those however who “knew their God,” and, strengthened by His grace, “did exploits.” Through faith, they “out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (Hebrews 11:34). “Howbeit,” says the historian, “many in Israel were fully resolved and confirmed in themselves not to eat any unclean thing. Wherefore they chose rather to die, that they might not be defiled with meats, and that they might not profane the holy covenant.” Such was the aged scribe Eleazar, and the mother with her seven sons, who, after refusing to eat swine’s flesh, were first “tormented with scourges and whips,” and then cruelly put to death. “It is good,” said the fourth of the seven sons, when mangled and ready to die, “being put to death by men, to look for hope from God to be raised up again by Him.” Such also were the noble Mattathias and his five sons, the Maccabees, and those who followed him to the mountains. “Whosoever is zealous of the law,” said he, “and maintaineth the covenaut, let him follow me. So he and his sons fled into the mountains, and left whatever they had in the city. Then many that sought after justice and judgment, went down into the wilderness to dwell there, both they, and their children, and their wives, and their cattle; because affliction increased sore upon them” (1Ma. 1:27-38). There they “lay hid in the caves and secret places of the wilderness;” a thousand of them being on one occasion discovered and put to death. The second book of Maccabees relates that Nicanor, one of the great officers of Antiochus, “undertook to make so much more money by the captive Jews as should defray the tribute of two thousand talents which the king was to pay to the Romans. Wherefore immediately he sent to the cities upon the sea-coast, proclaiming a sale of the captive Jews, and promising that they should have fourscore and ten bodies for one talent” (2MMalachi 3:10-11).

[314] “The holy covenant” (Daniel 11:28). This Dr. Rule understands of the Jewish religion, the term “covenant” being often used in Scripture to denote both the religion of the Israelites and that of the Christians, the former depending on the covenant made with Abraham, the latter on that made with Christ; Christian faith consisting of trust in Him who fulfilled the conditions of the covenant by dying for our sins. Keil understands the expression, not of the holy people in covenant with God, but the divine institution of the old covenant, the Jewish theocracy, of which the Jews were only members; and approves of Calvin’s view that Antiochus carried on war against God, his undertaking being an outrage against the kingdom of God which was established in Israel.

[315] “Ships of Chittim” (Daniel 11:30). צִיִּים כִּתִּים (tsiyim Chittim), literally “ships, the Chittim.” The Septuagint has “the Chittim (or Kitians) going forth.” The expression derived from Numbers 24:24. Chittim is Cyprus, with its chief city Chittion, now Chieti or Chitti (Genesis 10:4). Ships coming from Cyprus, observes Keil, are ships coming from the west, from the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean.

[316] “Arms shall stand” (Daniel 11:31). זְרֹעִים (zero’im), arms (of the body), a figurative term for exertion, or the means of making it. It is disputed, says Keil, whether these “arms” denote military forces, troops of the hostile king, according to Hävernick, or his accomplices of the apostate party of the Jews, like those in Daniel 11:30, as Calvin, Hengstenberg, and others think. Keil himself understands the word to mean “help,” warlike forces, as in Daniel 11:15; Daniel 11:22. Dr. Cox thinks the term may be rendered mighty forces or powers, “standing up” being the phrase already employed to denote the rise of the Macedonian and other empires or potentates. He accordingly believes that there appears here a sudden transition to another power, and to other scenes than those which have been previously introduced; these “arms” or powers referring to the military dominion which spread on the side of Greece, when Paulus Æmilius subdued Macedon, and the remaining states came under the power of Rome; the angel now informing Daniel of what should befall the Jews on the dissolution of their state by the Romans.

The angel adds: “Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help; [317] but many shall cleave to them with flatteries: and some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: [318] because it is yet for a time appointed” (Daniel 11:34-35). In the persecutions of Antiochus, the faithful Jews were “holpen with a little help” by the noble efforts made by Mattathias and his five sons. On their side, however, were found those who only clave to them while fortune seemed to smile upon their cause, and who only weakened their ranks. The result however was, like all the troubles of the faithful, their own purification; and it had its appointed end. After a continuance of somewhere about three years and six months, their sufferings terminated with the decisive victories which God gave to their arms, and soon after with the death of their great persecutor, Antiochus himself. His end is not here predicted unless it should be in the last verse of the chapter, where it is said, “He shall come to his end and none shall help’ him;” which, as it seems to be spoken in relation to another hostile power of which Antiochus was the type and forerunner, may be intended to predict at the same time the destruction of all the world-powers that have set themselves in opposition to God’s covenant people, whether in Old or New Testament times. According to chap. Daniel 8:25, Antiochus was to be “broken without hand;” and the commentary on the passage shows how remarkably this was fulfilled.

[317] “Holpen with a little help” (Daniel 11:34). The “little help” naturally understood of the victories gained by the Jews under Mattathias and his sons over the armies of Antiochus. This “little help,” says Keil, consists in this, that by the rising up and the wars of those that had understanding among the people the theocracy was preserved, the destruction of the service of Jehovah and of the Church of God, which was aimed at by the hostile king, was prevented, and the purifying of the people of God, the design intended, is brought about; the attaining of this end being only a “little help” in comparison with the complete victory over the arch enemy in the time of the end.

[318] “The time of the end” (Daniel 11:35). Keil understands by the “time of the end,” which in chap. Daniel 12:4 is the time of the resurrection of the dead, the end of the present course of the world, with which all the opposition against the people of God ceases, and which comes out “at the appointed time,” viz., that which God has determined for the purifying of His people.

The section suggestive of the following reflections:—

1. The prophecy regarding Antiochus, together with its exact fulfilment, may serve as a confirmation of our faith in God’s constant superintendence of the world, and His watchful care over the interests of His Church and people. Everything pertaining to this furious adversary of His people and cause, all the steps that conducted to his elevation, as well as his bitter hostility and cruel proceedings after he reached it, were foreseen and foretold centuries before his appearance. Like Pharaoh, he was raised up for an important purpose in the all-wise providence of God; and that purpose being served, he is brought to his predicted end.

2. God’s Church and people never long without suffering. Afflictions, in one shape or other, their appointed lot in this world. “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” “Through much tribulation we must enter the kingdom.” So long as the world lies in wickedness (or “in the wicked one”), so long they are in an enemy’s country, where hostility seldom sleeps, and where they must either conform and sin, or say No and suffer. It was against the holy covenant that Antiochus was filled with such enmity; and that covenant still exists wherever God has His people, to whom it is all their salvation and all their desire, while it must still provoke the enmity of the world who are without God. Besides, so long as God’s people are in the world, so long they will require chastening, and all the more likely after seasons of quiet and prosperity.

3. Grace is able to sustain the people of God under the severest trial and hottest persecution. The furnace may be heated seven times more than usual, but One is with them who has all power in heaven and in earth, and who is able to make His grace sufficient for them, so that they shall even glory in tribulation and be made more than conquerors in all their persecutions. The lamp which God has kindled is constantly guarded and fed, so that no wind of persecution can extinguish it. Many professors may fall in times of trial, but true grace is fast colours. Believers are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.”

4. The godly ultimately delivered out of trouble. The persecution may be hot and the sufferings severe, but they have their appointed end. The trouble is weighed and measured. The Refiner sits over the gold in the fire. The ten days’ or ten years’ tribulation comes to an end. The storm may rage and the boat appear in danger of sinking; but in the fourth watch of the night the Master will appear and say, “Peace, be still;” and there shall be a great calm. Patience is first to have her perfect work; and in due time “He that shall come, will come and will not tarry.” Weeping may endure for a night during the Bridegroom’s absence; joy cometh in the morning, when all tears shall be wiped away.

SECT. XL.—THE ROMANS. (Chap. Daniel 11:31-35.)

In these verses, it is believed by many, a transition is made by the angel from Antiochus to that power which was to succeed the Grecian as the fourth great empire of the world, and which we know is brought upon the stage in Daniel 11:30, as “the ships of Chittim.” Daniel 11:31 may be the place referred to by the Saviour in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, which would be decisive as to the application of the passage. But it might also be chap. Daniel 9:27, as read in the Greek version. The section before us may indeed still have its primary reference to Antiochus, while it may also point to a second enemy of God and His truth of whom Antiochus was a type. The Old Testament “little horn” of the Third Empire might be, and possibly was intended to be, a type of the New Testament “little horn” of the Fourth or Roman Empire, now again to be introduced to the prophet’s view as the Wilful King. It is certain that much that took place under the persecution of Antiochus, as detailed in these verses, had its counterpart in the calamities afterwards suffered under the Romans; while much that is predicted of Antiochus was verified in that mysterious power into whose hands the saints of the New Testament were for a lengthened period to be delivered. “All that has passed,” says Calvin, “is in some sense typical of all that is to come.” “The saints of the Most High,” says his translator, “are always the special objects of Jehovah’s regard: they ever meet with an oppressor as fierce as Antiochus and as hateful as the ‘Man of Sin;’ but still, whatever their sufferings under a Guise or an Alva, they shall ultimately ‘take the kingdom,’ and possess it for ever. Strongholds of Mahuzzim there always will be, under either the successors of the Medici or the descendants of Mahomet.… It may be safely asserted that every social and political change from the time of Nebuchadnezzar to those of Constantine have had their historic parallel from the days of Charlemagne to those of Napoleon. Hence predictions which originally related to the empires of the East might be naturally transferred to the transactions of Western Christendom.” In this section we shall trace the passage before us in its application to the Fourth Empire, or to the Romans who succeeded the Greeks as rulers of the world.

I. The proceedings of this power against religion. “And arms shall stand on his part,” [319]—“some will help by their exertions,”—“and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength,”—the temple which had been held inviolable as a place of refuge, and was strongly fortified,—“shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate” (Daniel 11:31). We have seen how, in accordance with this part of the prophecy, Antiochus was aided by apostate Jews as well as by his own military forces in the mischief he did at Jerusalem, placing an idol altar on the altar of Jehovah, changing the very name of the temple to that of Jupiter Olympius, and filling it with the riot and revelry of the Gentiles. Sir Isaac Newton, in applying the passage to the Romans, observes: “By various ways the Roman arms ‘stood up’ over the Greeks; and after ninety-five years more, by making war upon the Jews, they ‘polluted the sanctuary of strength,’ ” &c. He remarks that the “abomination that maketh desolate” was placed there after the days of the Saviour, according to Matthew 24:15; adding that in the year of the emperor Adrian, A.D. 132, the Romans “placed” this abomination by building a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus where the temple of God in Jerusalem had stood, and that from the end of the war which ensued upon this in A.D. 137, the land thenceforward “remained desolate of its inhabitants.” [320] Bishop Newton agrees with his illustrious namesake, thinking no interpretation so rational and convincing as that which he proposes. Mr. Birks observes that the first pollution of the “sanctuary of strength” by the Romans took place on the siege and capture of Jerusalem by Pompey the Great, when, according to Josephus, “no small enormities were committed about the temple itself, which in former ages had been inaccessible and seen by none; for Pompey went into it, and not a few of them that were with him, and saw all that was unlawful for any to see but the high priest.” The next signal act of Roman profanation, he observes, was under Crassus; and the third on the accession of Herod, B.C. 38, when Sosius took the city by storm. The cessation of the daily sacrifice during the siege of Jerusalem by Titus is thus referred to by Josephus: “On that very day, the seventeenth of Panemus, the sacrifice, called the daily sacrifice, had failed, and had not been offered to God for want of men to offer it.” It had thus ceased even before the destruction of the temple, which, of course, would of itself have terminated it. [321]

[319] “Arms shall stand” (Daniel 11:31). In Keil’s opinion, the reference is here to what Antiochus accomplished by the help of apostate Jews. Mr. Birks, who views this and the following verses as referring primarily to Antiochus, and typically to the Romans, says: “These words serve to describe very accurately the character and course of the Romans, from the days of Antiochus to the conquest of Judea. ‘Arms’ (brachia) are used throughout these prophecies to denote military forces or power. They are said to ‘stand up’ when they manifest themselves in vigorous action. After the defeat of Antiochus the Great by the Romans, and the repulse of Epiphanes himself by their ambassadors in the ships from Chittim, which have been already announced, it is natural that their formidable power should be next predicted. The word rendered ‘on his part’ may, as in Daniel 11:23, denote simply a succession in time. And even if it be thought to require a still closer connection between Antiochus and the arms here mentioned, this existed in the case of the Romans no less really than in that of Apollonius and his forces who ravaged Jerusalem. The Romans not only received tribute from Antiochus, but were virtually his successors in the kingdom.”

[320] “The abomination that maketh desolate” (Daniel 11:31). It is to this place, in the view of many, that the words of the Saviour in Matthew 24:15 refer, which must therefore have its fulfilment in the times of Vespasian and the Romans. According to others, the reference is to the words in chap. Daniel 9:27. Mr. Birks inclines to the former view, and thinks that the phrase in Matthew 24:0 occurs only in this place in Daniel. But see under chap. Daniel 9:27. The prophecy received its fulfilment, Mr. Birksremarks, first when the Roman forces under Cestius assailed the temple; secondly, when Titus pitched his camp on the Mount of Olives, and when, after the temple was set on fire, the Romans, as Josephus relates, brought ensigns into the temple and placed them over against the eastern gate, and there offered sacrifice to them; and finally when, in the time of Adrian, a temple was built and consecrated to Jupiter Capitolinus, on the very site of the sanctuary of God. Hengstenberg, who refers the present passage to the time of Antiochus rather than to that of the Romans, translates the words, “and shall give the abomination as one that lays waste;” observing that by the “abomination” is designated idolatry in its whole compass and extent, and that thus the passage entirely coincides with that in chap. Daniel 9:27, both making the abomination one that draws after it the train of devastation, as sin draws after it punishment; the abominations being considered as “the antecedent sin, which by means of the supervening destroyer is avenged by the righteous judgment of God.”

[321] “Shall take away the daily sacrifice” (Daniel 11:31). Hengstenberg translates the words, “they shall take away that which is constant;” and observes that most interpreters erroneously refer this exclusively to the daily sacrifices; the word תָּמִיד (tamidh), as it stands here, never occurring of one particular object, but with the adjuncts, not only of the daily sacrifice, but also of the fire of the altar, of the sacrificial lamps, of the shewbread, &c. Keil regards the words as denoting the removal of the stated worship of Jehovah.

II. Their effects. “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. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, and by captivity, and by spoil, many days” (Daniel 11:32-33). Bishop Newton thinks the former of these verses might be applied to the times of Antiochus, but not so properly the latter; as it does not appear that the Maccabees instructed the people, though they led them to battle and to victory. Neither could it so well be said that the sufferings of the Jews under Antiochus were for “many days,” or years, according to the prophetic import of the expression; that persecution having lasted only a few years. “All these things,” he says, “are much more truly applicable to the Christian Jews; for now the daily sacrifice was taken away, the temple was given to desolation, and the Christian Church had succeeded to the place of the Jewish, and the New Covenant in the room of the Old.” In reference to the clause, “such as do wickedly he shall corrupt by flatteries,” he observes: “The Roman magistrates and officers, it is well known made use of the most alluring promises, as well as the most terrible threatenings, to prevail upon the primitive Christians to renounce their religion, and offer incense to the statues of the emperors and images of the gods.” He quotes an old commentator, who says: “There are some who think that the prophet here had respect to the Christians whom the wicked idolaters endeavoured, from the beginning of the rising Church, to seduce by flatteries; but the persecution of tyrants raged chiefly against the apostles and holy teachers.” Times of persecution will doubtless have much in common; and Christians, suffering as they did, and so long and often so severely under the Roman emperors and magistrates, would naturally find much in the description of the times of Antiochus applicable to their own. The word of prophecy was intended to be a “light shining in a dark place,” in the New as it had been in the Old Testament dispensation. “These things happened unto them (the Old Testament Church) for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). The bishop adds: “It may, too, with the strictest truth and propriety be said of the primitive Christians that, being dispersed everywhere, and preaching the Gospel in all the parts of the Roman empire, they ‘instructed many,’ and gained a great number of proselytes to their religion: yet they fell by the sword, &c., ‘many days;’ for they were exposed to the malice and fury of ten general persecutions, and suffered all manner of injuries, afflictions, and tortures, with little intermission, for the space of three hundred years.”

III. The relief. “Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall; to try them, and to purge, and to make them white; even to the time of the end; because it is yet for a time appointed” (Daniel 11:34-35). According to Sir Isaac Newton, the “little help” was that afforded to the Christians in the time of Constantine the Great; the result of which was that many of the heathen, on account of the favour shown them by the emperor, and especially when Christianity was made the religion of the empire, as is well known, joined the Church without any real change of heart or faith in Jesus as a Saviour. While the edict of Diocletian, as Dr. Cox observes, was nearly fatal to the Christian cause, the elevation of Constantine to the imperial throne in the year 306 produced a period of external prosperity and peace to the Church. Bishop Newton remarks: “Here Porphyry hath many followers besides Grotius, supposing that by the ‘little help’ was meant Mattathias of Modin, who with his five sons rebelled against the generals of Antiochus, and endeavoured to preserve the worship of the true God. But Mattathias died of old age; and his son Judas Maccabæus several times vanquished the generals of Antiochus, and after recovering the holy city, cleansing the sanctuary and restoring the worship of God, survived Antiochus some years; while the united dignity of the high priesthood and the sovereignty descended to his brother Simon’s son, and continued in the family for many generations: which was much more than being ‘holpen with a little help;’ while the Jews were so far from falling again by persecution, that their religion and government were established upon a firmer basis than before.” He quotes Jerome, who says that some of the Jewish doctors understood these things of the Roman emperors Severus and Antoninus, who greatly loved the Jews; and others, of the Emperor Julian, who pretended to love them, and promised to sacrifice in their temple. The bishop, however, thinks the most natural way of interpretation is to follow the course and series of events; and thus to understand the “little help” of the entire suppression of the protracted persecutions of the Church by Constantine, when instead of being persecuted it was protected and favoured by the civil power; called, however, only a “little help,” first, because while it added much to the temporal prosperity of the Church, it contributed little to its spiritual welfare, proving, on the contrary, the means of corrupting its doctrine and relaxing its discipline, while it caused many to “cleave to them by flatteries,” simply because Christianity was made the religion of the empire; and, further, because this help lasted but a little while, the spirit of persecution soon after reviving, especially under the Arians. “And such,” he adds, “more or less has been the face and condition of the Church ever since.” Calvin remarks on the latter part of the verse, that “in these days (the latter part of the sixteenth century) the very counterpart of this prophecy is exhibited before our eyes. The whole Papacy is called the Church of God, and we the Protestants are but few in number; and yet what a mixture exists even among us! How many in these days profess attachment to the Gospel, in whom there is nothing either solid or sincere.” Mr. Birks, on the passage before us, remarks: “The afflictions of the Maccabees were indeed a brief rehearsal of a longer series of changes, which serve, in the prophecy, to conduct us into a fresh dispensation, and down to the rise of a more dangerous and powerful persecutor than Antiochus, to prevail afterwards in the latter days.” And again, in regard to the words of the prophecy, he observes: “They answer exactly to the troubles of the Jews under Antiochus; but they correspond also with no less accuracy, on a wider scale, to the whole course of Providence towards the Jews and the Christian Church, from the time of the Maccabees far into the present dispensation.” He thinks that the very place which these verses occupy may prove of itself that they form a transition from Antiochus to the time of the end; and that the leading events of that interval, here portrayed in their natural order, are “the gradual encroachment of the Romans in Judea, till at length they destroyed the city and temple, and brought on the desolation which has now for ages brooded over Jerusalem; the preaching of the apostles; the spread of the Gospel through the Roman empire; the pagan persecutions; the triumph of the faith when the whole empire nominally received it; the corruption of the visible Church; renewed troubles and persecutions; and the growth of an apostate tyranny without example in the history of the world. Some of the followers of Jesus, like these men of understanding in the days of Antiochus, were to “fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white.” After the elevation of Christianity as the religion of the empire, “Christians themselves,” says Dr. Cox, “became miserably disunited, and the character of the Church of Christ awfully corrupted. An unholy hierarchy gradually rose to distinction and dominion; and ‘men of understanding,’ or those who obeyed the dictates of conscience, combining with sober inquiry unto the truth,—in fact, multitudes of the faithful followers of the Saviour, became the victims of papal intolerance—a trying indeed, but still a whitening or purifying process.” This was to be “to the time of the end,”—the time when the purposes of God regarding the “scattering” of Israel on account of their sin should be accomplished, and the promised period for their restoration, and the visible and universal establishment of the kingdom of God under the Messiah, should arrive. “Because it is yet for an appointed time.” The time for the fulfilment of the prophecy was fixed in the purpose of God. “The vision is yet for an appointed time; but in the end it shall speak, and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Habakkuk 2:3).

It is our comfort to know that the promises of God, the troubles of His people, and the triumphs of His enemies, have all their appointed time. “It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you that are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8). In the meantime it is comforting to know that these troubles and persecutions have for believers a gracious mission and a blessed result. Their object on the part of Him who permits them, is to prove and to purify them. The will of God is the sanctification of His people; and afflictions and persecutions are but the fire which He employs for their purification. “This is all the fruit, to take away their sin.”

Verses 36-39


SECT. XLI.—THE WILFUL KING. (Chap. Daniel 11:36-39.)

The present part of the prophecy regards a king, power, or sovereignty, emphatically spoken of as “the king.” Some will have Antiochus Epiphanes still intended by this king. The great majority of evangelical interpreters, however, believe that the angel has already passed from that monarch and the empire which he represented, to that which was to succeed it, namely, that of the Romans, who are certainly introduced in a preceding verse as the “ships of Chittim,” and who seem to be the subject of that part of the prophecy immediately preceding the present. [322] The question is whether the Fourth or Roman Empire in general is here described; or, as in the vision of the Four Beasts we saw that empire represented by, concentrated in, and identified with, a little horn or special power springing out of it,—whether we are not also here to consider the same concentration and representative of that empire, or indeed the same little horn which is described in chap. 7. The similarity of the description in both places would seem to leave little room to doubt that the latter is the more correct view; and that in this Wilful King before us we see that power which, springing out of the decayed and dismembered ancient Roman empire, represented it for many centuries, having, like that empire, Rome as its metropolis and seat of government, its head being at the same time a spiritual ruler, the sovereign pontiff,—in other words, the papacy. Bishop Newton, after showing that the prophecy could not with truth be applied to Antiochus Epiphanes, remarks that the prophet now proceeds to describe the principal author of the persecutions that should still follow the Church. The term “king” or kingdom, he observes, signifies any government, state, or potentate; and the meaning of Daniel 11:36 he conceives to be, that, after the empire was become Christian, there should spring up in the Church an Antichristian power that should act in the most absolute and arbitrary manner, exalt itself above all laws, divine and human, dispense with the most solemn and sacred obligations, and in many respects enjoin what God had forbidden, and forbid what God had commanded. The power, he further remarks, began in the Roman emperors, who summoned councils, and directed and influenced their determinations almost as they pleased. After the division of the empire, this power still increased, and was exerted principally by the Greek emperors in the East, and by the bishops of Rome in the West. He observes also that this power was to continue till “the end of the indignation,” or till God should have “accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people;” and that it was an ancient tradition among the Jewish doctors that the destruction of Rome and the restoration of the Jews would fall out about the same period. Mr. Birks observes that some have referred the whole passage (Daniel 11:36-39) to Antiochus, others to an infidel king yet to arise, others to democratic infidelity in the Roman empire, and others to the popedom or the Christian Greek emperors; and that most divines, whether Fathers, Protestants, or Roman Catholics, believe that the same power or person is designed as in the Little Horn and the Man of Sin. Mr. Birks himself, like Mede and Bishop Newton, applies the prophecy to “the idolatrous apostasy of the Church in the latter days,” the Wilful King being identical with the Little Horn of chap. 7. We notice—

[322] “The king” (Daniel 11:36). Dr. Pusey observes that the characteristics of this infidel king are self-exaltation above every god; contempt for all religion; blasphemy against the true God; apostasy from the God of his fathers; disregard of the desire of women; honouring a god whom his fathers knew not; adding, that of all these only one in the least agrees with Antiochus, while the prophecy unmistakably corresponds with that which in the Revelation is still future (Revelation 13:11-12). But many believe that it also at least as unmistakably corresponds with the papacy, which is also foretold in the Revelation. “By the name ‘king,’ ” says Dr. Cox, “Mede, and others after him, understand the Roman state of power, under whatever kind or government; but it is more especially referred to Rome-papal, of which power the description is deemed peculiarly graphic. His despotism, blasphemy, and self-exaltation are clearly marked: and he was to prosper till the indignation be accomplished, or the ‘time, times,’ &c., the 1260 years, when the ‘wonders,’ as afterwards named, shall have an end.” Mr. Birks argues against the idea of Antiochus, or a single infidel and blasphemous king yet to arise, being meant by this king, on the ground that the marks of time in the prophecy fix the close of the vision far beyond the days of Antiochus, and the promised period of the Jewish restoration; that there is no proof that the Wilful King denotes one individual person; that since the fall of Jerusalem the Jews have been exiles from Palestine, and the West, even more than the East, has been the scene of their sufferings; that the Wilful King is not an open atheist and rejector of all religion; that his place in the prophetic history is between the return of Antiochus from Egypt, b.c. 167, and the events predicted in chap. Daniel 12:1-3, an interval of two thousand years, while the application of the preceding verses to the Romans as far as Constantine the Great would bring the prophecy to the time of the Vandal persecutions in Africa; and finally that the Wilful King is to prosper until the anger of God against Israel is accomplished. Calvin, who acknowledges the passage to be very obscure, applies it entirely to the Roman empire, not, however, considering it to be begun in the reign of the Cæsars; believing that the angel passed from Antiochus to the Romans, as God wished to support the godly under the troubles that awaited them till the time of the Romans, from whom, beginning with Pompey and Crassus, they continued to be harassed by many and continual wars. Mede, who with Calovius, Geier, and others, applies the prophecy to Antichrist, connects Daniel 11:36 with the preceding—“to the time appointed, the king shall do his will,” &c. Dr. Clarke things the prophecy may apply to Antiochus; but observes that it is well known that an Antichristian power did spring up in the Christian Church, showing itself in the Greek emperors in the East, and in the bishops of Rome in the West. Roman Catholic interpreters, as De Lyra, Hugo, and others, after Jerome and the fathers, understand by “the king” the Antichrist who is to appear at the end of the world, and to reign three years and a half. Œcolampadius and Melanchthon regarded him as both the pope and the Turk. Others of the Reformers, as Osiander and Pfaff, understand the pope to be meant from here to the end of the prophecy. Willet thinks all was historically fulfilled in Antiochus, to whom the prophecy specially pointed, though it has a typical application to the Papal Antichrist. Brightman, like Calvin, applies the prophecy to the Romans, and especially to the Roman emperors, the object of the prophecy being to show what would be the state of the Jews to all ages, till gathered into one fold with the Gentiles. Keil observes, that after the example of Porphyry, Ephrem Syrus, and Grotius, almost all modern interpreters, that is, in Germany, find here only a description of the conduct of Antiochus Epiphanes up to the time of his destruction; while of believing interpreters, some, as C. B. Michaelis, Hävernick, and others, regard the whole as having a typical reference to Antichrist; while others, as Jerome, Theodoret, Luther, Œcolampadius, Osiander, Calovius, Geier, and at length Kliefoth, interpret the section as a direct prophecy of Antichrist, the “king” being the little horn growing up among the ten kingdoms of the Fourth Empire, and described in chap. Daniel 9:26 as “the prince that shall come,” and introduced here as a new subject He remarks that the Rabbinical interpreters have also adopted the idea of a change of subject in Daniel 11:36; while his own opinion is that the reference of the section to Antiochus is essentially correct, and that the supposition of a change of subject is not established. He admits, however, that what is said regarding “the king” in Daniel 11:36-39, goes far beyond what Antiochus did, does not harmonise with what is known of Antiochus, and is expressly referred in the New Testament to Antichrist; but thinks that these circumstances rather show that “in the prophetic contemplation there is comprehended in the image of one king what has been historically fulfilled in its beginning by Antiochus Epiphanes, but shall only meet its complete fulfilment by the Antichrist in the time of the end.” By “the king,” Mr. Bosanquet also understands the king of fierce countenance mentioned in chap. Daniel 8:23, to which the prophecy goes back, after coming to Alexander’s kingdom in Daniel 11:4, in order to relate what shall be in the latter days, the great object of the vision; this king being, in his view, the personification of Mohammedanism, who literally destroyed the mighty and the holy people, putting an end to the Jewish kingdom of the Homerites in Arabia Felix, b.c. 627, after it had existed for some seven hundred years, the last remnant of the Jews as a nation.

I. The power itself. “The king” (Daniel 11:36). The term might either indicate a single individual ruler, as in the case of Alexander (Daniel 11:3), or a series of rulers—as in the expression “four kings which shall arise” (chap. Daniel 7:17). From the lengthened period of his predicted continuance, the term would seem here to have the latter meaning, and, like the Little Horn in chap. 7, to indicate an arrogant and blasphemous power that should rise in or out of the Roman empire. This, with most expositors of prophecy, we can only regard as, in the first instance at least, the papacy. The expression “the king” seems emphatic; and it is scarcely likely that it should be used to designate Antiochus whom the angel had introduced as a “vile person” to whom they should “not give the honour of the kingdom” (Daniel 11:21). The emphatic term might naturally be chosen to indicate a new power that should occupy a conspicuous place in the future history of God’s people. The type, which doubtless Antiochus was, appears now, as Archdeacon Harrison observes, to be lost sight of in the prophecy, and the antitype to be almost exclusively in view. According to the view of Christian antiquity, the prophecy is now occupied for some time at least with the description of that tyrannical and persecuting power already indicated in the Little Horn of the Fourth Beast, the description of which so closely corresponds with that of this Wilful King. The papacy or popedom may well be spoken of as “the king,” inasmuch as the popes not only claimed to be sovereigns, but sovereigns above all others however exalted, combining with a temporal sovereignty a spiritual jurisdiction which embraced all Christendom. It is justly viewed as the power to which the Apostle referred in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, as that which should arise in the Church as the result of an apostasy, or mystery of iniquity, which had even in his time begun to work, and which was only then withheld from fully developing itself by an existing hindrance which he does not name, and which, on the removal of that hindrance, would reveal itself, and continue until destroyed by the Lord’s second appearing.

II. Its character. “The king shall do according to his will” (Daniel 11:36). The leading characteristic of this power was to be absolute and arbitrary conduct. Of all absolute and arbitrary rulers he should be the chief. Antiochus acted as a type and shadow of this “king “when he commanded all the peoples under his sway to receive his laws and follow his religion. It is well known that the popes claimed, and for a time obtained, an absolute sway over the greatest earthly rulers in virtue of their assuming the place and authority of the Vicar of Christ, with power over both worlds, and possessing both the spiritual and the temporal sword, with a judgment that was infallible, and an authority that could set aside oaths and the most sacred obligations. The language of the Decretals and Bulls of the popes, to which the nations of Europe submitted for centuries, is, as Mr. Birks observes, that emperors ought to obey and not to rule over the pontiffs; that they owe an oath of fealty and subjection to the pope as their superior and head; that what the bishops of Rome decree ought to be observed by all; that it is permitted neither to speak nor to think differently from the pope; that he imparts authority to laws, but is not bound by them; and that he is made the head of the whole world. One example may suffice. Hume relates of Pope Paul IV., to whom Ferdinand, the brother of Charles V., applied for his coronation, that “he thundered always in the ears of all ambassadors, that he stood in no need of the assistance of any prince; that he was above all the potentates of the earth; that he would not accustom monarchs to pretend to a familiarity or equality with him; that it belonged to him to alter and regulate kingdoms; that he was successor of those who had deposed kings and emperors; and that rather than submit to anything below his dignity, he would set fire to the four corners of the world. He went so far as, at table, in the presence of many persons, and even openly, in a public consistory, to say that he would not admit any kings for his companions; they were all his subjects, and he would hold them under his feet; so saying, he stamped on the ground with his old and infirm limbs: for he was now past fourscore years of age.” Such was “the king,” the king with emphasis; the king that by his absolute will and arbitrary power was to rule and afflict the Church and the world for many centuries.

III. Its doings. Described in various particulars in Daniel 11:36-39.

1. “He shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god” (Daniel 11:36). Here we have especially that which connects this prophecy with 2 Thessalonians 2:0, and identifies this “king” with the man of sin there predicted. [323] For “every god” the Apostle has all that is called god; the expression, doubtless, referring to civil rulers, who are frequently so called in Scripture, and who are known frequently to have claimed divine honours. How far the Roman pontiffs have claimed this superiority is obvious from what has been already said. The popes have declared that their princedom is far more excellent than any human princedom; that the sacred power and authority of the pontiffs govern the rulers of this world; and that Christian emperors are bound to submit their mandates to theirs.

[323] “Magnify himself above every god” (Daniel 11:36). The allusion here, observes Mr. Birks, to 2 Thessalonians 2:0., is so plain that it has been recognised by every class of interpreters, from Theodoret down to our own day. Polybius, quoted by Bishop Newton, says that Antiochus in his public sacrifices and worship of the gods was more sumptuous and magnificent than all who reigned before him, and that in his solemn shows and processions he had the images of all who were called or reputed gods, demons, or heroes carried before him. On the other hand, Calvin observes that the Romans in their pride and lawlessness surpassed other profane nations, and did not even preserve a superstitious fear of God, making a laughingstock of all divinities, and ridiculing the very name and appearance of piety, which they only used for the purpose of retaining their subjects in obedience.

2. “He shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods” (Daniel 11:36). History relates that Antiochus commanded his statue to be erected in the temple at Jerusalem, and that be spoke very proudly; but it records nothing of his speaking “marvellous things against the God of gods.” The Roman pontiffs may be said to have done this when they claimed in their Decretals an equality with God, asserting that the pontiff cannot be bound or judged by the secular power, “because it is manifest that God cannot be judged by man.” They claim also in the mass the power of creating God out of a wafer, according to the well-known saying, Whom they create they adore. The blasphemous title is also known, and never repudiated, “Our Lord God the Pope.” Of the Man of Sin, the Apostle says, “As God he sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” While enthroned on the high altar in St. Peter’s at Rome on the day of his consecration, he has the words of the ninety-fifth psalm blasphemously applied to him, Venite adoremus, “O come, let us worship.” [324]

[324] “Shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods “(Daniel 11:36). In reference to the blasphemous claims put forth in the bulls and decretals of the popes, as well as the conversion of the consecrated wafer into the divine being, Mr. Birks asks, “If these are not marvellous speeches against the God of gods, how can our imagination invent others which may deserve the name?”

3. “He shall not regard the God of his fathers” (Daniel 11:37). Antiochus, on the contrary, commanded all his subjects to adopt the religion of the Greeks, and the worship of his own gods, and was liberal and ostentatious in his religious rites. On the other hand, the ground on which so many seceded from the Church of Rome before the Reformation was, that the popes had changed the nature of Christianity, and that the pope himself was Antichrist. The Man of Sin was to be the outcome of a deep apostasy or falling away from the Christian faith; many departing from the faith and giving heed to seducing spirits (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1). It is well known that, in the papacy, the appeal in regard to religious truth is not to the Word of God in the Scriptures, but to tradition and the Church; that much of the worship and religion enjoined by the popes is an importation from and imitation of paganism, of which the primitive Church knew nothing, of which the very first act on entering a popish place of worship, the use of holy water, is an example; and of which the pope’s own title, the Pontiff or Pontifex, the title of the high priest of ancient Roman idolatry, is itself an obvious instance; [325] and, finally, that the image of the Virgin Mary is a most prominent object in almost all papal churches, and that she is constantly addressed in hymns and prayers—things entirely unknown in the Scriptures and among the early Christians.

[325] Pontifex Maximus was the title of the high priest of the pagan idolatry of ancient Rome. It was borne by the emperors till Gratian, being a Christian, declined the honour, when it was given to and adopted by the Bishop of Rome. For further Pagan importations, see Hyslop’s “Two Babylons.”

4. “Nor shall he regard the desire of women” (Daniel 11:37). [326] The clause is acknowledged to be obscure, and the meaning doubtful. Nothing is known of Antiochus to justify its application to that person. One mark of the apostasy, however, which was to develop the “Man of Sin,” was “forbidding to marry” (1 Timothy 4:3); while one of the articles of the creed of Pope Pius V. is, “It is unlawful for ministers to marry.” The honour also that is given in the papal system to so-called vows of chastity, or vows of perpetual celibacy and virginity, is well known. Eusebius, quoted by Bishop Newton, says of Constantine, that he held in the highest veneration those men who devoted themselves to the monastic life, and almost adored the company of perpetual virgins. His example was followed by his successors; and in the fourth century clerical celibacy, like a torrent, overran the Eastern Church, and soon after the Western too. A writer in the “Quarterly Review,” quoted by Mr. Birks, says: “Hildebrand (Pope Gregory VII.), a wise man in his generation, knew that the power of the pope through the clergy and over the clergy depended on their celibacy. We speak of the system, and we appeal to history. Perhaps the monkish institutes may have the excuse or palliation that they were composed in hard times and for hard men. But what sentences of unfeeling, unmitigated, remorseless cruelty do they contain! What delight do they seem to have in torturing the most sensitive fibres of the heart, in searing the most blameless emotions of human nature!”

[326] “The desire of women” (vet. 37). Keil observes that the old interpreters understood these words of conjugal love; the moderns in Germany, on the contrary, after the example of D. Michaelis and Gesenius, understand them of the goddess Anaitis or Mylitta, the Assyrian Venus, and refer them especially to the spoiling of the temple of this goddess in Elymais by Antiochus; while Ewald thinks of the Syrian deity Tammuz or Adonis. Keil’s own opinion is that the love of women is an example selected from the sphere of human love and attachment, for which even the most selfish and most savage of men feel some sensibility. Calvin thinks it refers to the duties of charity; Calovius and Geier, to conjugal love and honest matrimony; the former remarking that נשים (nasim) properly denotes not harlots but wives. Grotius, applying the words to Antiochus, thinks they mean that he will be touched with no pity for the sex. So Maldonatus. Polanus understands the clause to mean that he will not be moved from his purpose of disturbing religion by the prayers of his wives; and Piscator, that he will not suffer his wives to worship any god but Jupiter Olympius. Brightman understands it of natural affection, the thing most desired by women being to have their children in most honourable positions, while the Roman emperors cared nothing about having children to succeed them. Willet, applying the passage to Antiochus, understands it to mean that he will contemn matrimony; which he thinks may also be applied typically to the pope. Bullinger and Osiander apply it to the pope historically. Some understand the expression of Messiah, whom it was the desire of the women in Israel to bring forth. Dr. Pusey remarks: “Since it was suggested that the ‘desire of women’ might be their Syrian goddess Mylitta, the Germans have commonly adopted the explanation. Yet there is nothing in the revolting and also unnatural worship of Mylitta which should entitle that degrading worship to be called the desire of women. Nor can I bring myself to think that Daniel, in a picture of the sin of Antiochus, would mention the abstinence from such worship as a portion of that sin.”

5. “Nor (will he regard) any god: for he shall magnify himself above all” (Daniel 11:37). This could perhaps hardly be said of one who set up the statue of Jupiter in the temple, commanded all his subjects to acknowledge the gods of the Greeks, and was himself prodigal and magnificent in his worship of them. Calvin, applying the prophecy to the Romans, says they manifested a great contempt for God, while they maintained the appearance of piety. If the term “god” is here also to be regarded as denoting civil rulers, which is probable, we have already seen how strictly applicable the description is to the papacy. If the term is to be viewed in a religious sense, the prophecy may still be regarded as having its fulfilment in a system which sets aside the written word of God for human tradition, and which has had the obvious effect of preparing the way for infidelity in the countries where, as in France and Italy, it has ruled with greatest power and appeared in its greatest glory. The worldliness and ambition of the Roman pontiffs, it is well known, has been too generally such as to indicate a secret infidelity under all the outward profession of piety, openly expressed by Leo X., who is reported to have spoken of the Gospel as a profitable fable. [327]

[327] “Nor regard any God.” Keil and Kliefoth understand the clause to mean that he set himself free from all piety or reverence toward God, or toward that which is divine. Calvin, applying it to the Romans, says, they treated the worship of their deities simply as matters of business, being destitute of any perception of true divinity, and only pretenders to religion, while they manifested a gross contempt of God under the appearance of piety, and thought themselves superior to their gods. Grotius understands it to mean that he (Antiochus) will not regard the god of any nation, but will rob all he can; Piscator, that he will despise all religion. Brightman understands the term “god,” as in the preceding verse, as magistrates, but here, of domestic ones, though anciently established. A. Clarke says, “The mandates and decrees of the papal Church have been often in defiance of God and His Word, the Papacy magnifying itself above all power and authority in heaven and earth.” Boothroyd understands any superior, either magistrates or kings, who are called gods (Psalms 86:6), the papal power arrogating to itself the right of raising or abasing, crowning or deposing, kings at its pleasure.

6. “But in his estate he shall honour the god of forces (Marg., “Mauzzim,” or “gods-protectors”); [328] and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. 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” (Daniel 11:38-39). The only god whom the Wilful King was really and practically to acknowledge and honour is one here called “the god of forces,” or, as in the Hebrew and the Margin, “the god Mauzzim,” or “the gods-protectors;” apparently the same as the god whom his fathers knew not, a strange god. It is well known that one of the most prominent characteristics of the papacy is the place which it gives to the adoration and invocation of the Virgin Mary and the saints of the calendar, as well as the honour given to and the trust reposed in the relics of the martyrs, as so many strongholds and protectors,—things entirely unknown in the earliest ages of the Church. History informs us that in the fourth and fifth centuries it became common both in the East and West to regard not only angels and departed saints, but the relics of martyrs, as the defences and protection of the church that contained them. Basil speaks of a church being “fortified by the great towers of the martyrs,” and of the martyrs fortifying our country “like some thick towers against the incursions of enemies.” Chrysostom says of the body of Paul, “This corpse surrounds the city (Rome) as with a wall, which is safer than every tower and thousands of ramparts.” Hilary, in the West, speaks of the munitions of angels; while both East and West invoke the Virgin Mary as “the impregnable wall” and the “fortress of salvation.” One of the articles in the creed of Pope Pius V. is, that “the saints reigning together with Christ are to be invoked.” The Litany of Our Lady of Loretto begins with, “We fly to your patronage, O holy Mother of God.” She is addressed as the Refuge of sinners and the Help of Christians. Not only, however, was such worship, invocation, and trust unknown among the early Christians, the professed fathers of the Roman pontiffs, but the Church was expressly guarded by the Apostle against will-worship and the worshipping of angels; while among the signs of the apostasy of the last days are mentioned the giving heed to seducing spirits and to doctrines of devils or demons, a term not unfrequently employed to designate departed spirits. That the shrines of tutelary saints, as well as the images of the Virgin, are honoured and adorned with the most costly offerings is known to all who have visited Roman Catholic churches on the Continent. The ministers of the papacy have naturally been increased with glory, the pope imparting to them the power which he professes himself to possess, of creating the God whom the people are to worship, as well as of receiving their confessions and forgiving their sins; one of the articles of the creed of Pius V. being that sin is to be confessed to a priest at least once a year under pain of damnation. The choicest lands, too, as Bishop Newton observes, have been appropriated for the property of the Church and the use of those who minister at the altars of these gods-protectors.

[328] “The god of forces.” אֱלוֹהַּ מָעֻזִּים (Eloah Ma’uzzim), “god of fortresses.” Sir Isaac Newton understands the term to mean “strong guardians,” and applies the term to the souls of the dead, saints and angels, and especially the Virgin Mary; all being invoked and adored both in the Greek and Latin Churches as patrons, intercessors, and guardians of mankind, their shrines and images being adorned with the most costly offerings. Mede seems to have been the first to apply the term to the papacy, as denoting demons or god-protectors, which the Romans worship with Christ, namely, saints and angels; remarking that Basil, Gregory, Chrysostom, and others call the relics of martyrs towers and bulwarks, while Gregory of Nyssa, Theodoret, and others call martyrs patrons and protectors. He remarks: “It is a thing not to be passed by without admiration that the Fathers and others, even at the beginning of saint-worship, by I know not what fatal instinct, used to call saints and their relics walls, bulwarks, and fortresses, i.e., Mahuzzim, in the primary and original signification.” Keil renders the expression, “the god of fortresses,” and observes that, as is now generally acknowledged, מָעֻזִּים (ma’uzzim) is not, with Theodotion, the Vulgate, Luther, and others to be regarded as the proper name of a god. He applies the prophecy to the future Antichrist, who, he thinks, is here said to regard no other god—but only war; the taking of fortresses he will make his god, and he will worship this god above all, as the means of his gaining the universal power he aims at. Professor Lee translates the phrase the “god of forces,” and supposes it to apply to the Roman emperors, Nero being the first of the series. C. B. Michaelis, Gesenius, and others, applying the prophecy to Antiochus, suppose Mars, the god of war, to be intended; while Hävernick, Ewald, and others, after Grotius, think of Jupiter Olympius; which, however, as Keil observes, were not gods unknown to his fathers. Calvin translates the word “strengths, or fortitudes,” observing that the god which the Romans are said to worship, namely, the Roman Jupiter, the prophet calls a “god of bulwarks” or of power; meaning that they claimed a divine power as their own, and acknowledged no deity but themselves. Geier and Vatablus read, “god of fortifications or strengths,” like Asina or Mars, a Syrian deity to whom this king would ascribe all his dignity and power. Mr. Birks thinks that the general feature of the expression is that of one chief and many subordinate objects of worship; the god, along with whom the Mauzzim are worshipped, being the Son of God, or the true God, but made the object of a heathenish worship, with many subordinate idols, degraded into an Eloah or chief patron-divinity, who shares his worship with many Mauzzim; and that the “most strong holds” here mentioned are buildings dedicated to these Mauzzim or tutelary deities. The Wilful King, he thinks, will pay honour to a multitude of guardian powers, and cause them to receive homage and costly worship from his people.

IV. Its continuance. “He shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished; for that that is determined shall be done” (Daniel 11:36). The indignation is that of God against His people for their unfaithfulness to, and abuse of, the privileges bestowed upon them, and, in the case of Israel more especially, their rejection and crucifixion of their King and Saviour; the consummation determined (chap. Daniel 9:27); the wrath that was to come upon them to the uttermost (1 Thessalonians 2:16); an indignation that is still experienced in the “great captivity” which the Jews have been suffering for eighteen centuries, with which the indignation in the time of Antiochus was not to be compared. It is spoken of in chap. Daniel 12:7 as the “scattering of the power of the holy people,” which was to be accomplished, or completed and finished, at the time of the end. This indignation or righteous judgment was to be accomplished through human instrumentality; and that instrumentality was mainly to be this very power or “king,” who was therefore, like Pharaoh, to be upheld and suffered, or rather made to prosper, till that object should be accomplished. [329] That period is spoken of as “a time, times, and half a time;” the same period during which the Gentile Church was also to suffer at the hands of the same tyrannical and persecuting power (chap. Daniel 12:7, Daniel 7:25). The purposes of God must be accomplished—“that that is determined must be done;” and the time for their accomplishment is fixed. Till then the instruments for that accomplishment will be provided, preserved, and strengthened, without any consciousness on their part of being so used, while simply acting out the inclinations of their own depraved wills, and seeking the furtherance of their own selfish ends, for which, when the divine purposes shall have been accomplished, they will be called to account. To every persecuting power the voice of Omnipotence is, “Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.”

[329] How the Jews have suffered at the hands of the papacy is well known. Gibbon, quoted by Mr. Birks, writes in reference to Spain: “The intolerant spirit, since it would find neither idolatry nor heresies, was reduced to the persecution of the Jews.” And in regard to the Italians: “They respected the armed heresy of the Goths; but their rage was safely pointed against the rich and defenceless Jews.” “Of these (the first Crusaders) and of other bands of enthusiasts, the first and most easy warfare was against the Jews, the murderers of the Son of God; nor had they felt a more bloody stroke since the persecution of Hadrian.”

The Wilful King was not only to continue but to “prosper “during his appointed period. This purpose of God has been the secret of the mysterious continuance and more mysterious prosperity of the papacy during the past twelve centuries. “Four times,” says Macaulay (Essay on Ranke’s History of the Popes), “since the authority of the Church of Rome was established in Western Christendom, has the human intellect risen up against her yoke. Twice that Church remained completely victorious. Twice she came forth from the conflict, bearing the marks of cruel wounds, but with the principle of life strong within her. When we reflect on the tremendous assaults which she has survived, we find it difficult to conceive in what way she is to perish.” It was thus that while the mighty work of reformation was proceeding in the north of Europe, and in all the countries on this side of the Alps and the Pyrenees it seemed on the point of triumphing, a counter-reformation took place, carried on with equal energy and success. Hence the mysterious rise and progress of the Order of Jesus, a concentration of the spirit of the papacy, the main instrument in the great papal reaction. Till the appointed time of his decay and overthrow should come, the Wilful King was to be invincible. That time, however, was to come. In May 1514, the orator of the Lateran Council proclaimed that there was an end of resistance to papal rule, and that the whole body of Christendom was now subjected to its head, Pope Leo X. In October 1517, exactly three years and a half after, Luther fixed up his famous Theses at the door of the University of Wittemberg, which were to shake the papacy to its foundations. Three centuries and a half longer were to transpire before “the king,” divested of all his territory, was to cease to be a temporal ruler. But the time came. That that was determined was done. But the end is not yet.
We may pause to reflect—

1. How unsearchable are God’s judgments, and His ways past finding out! How mysterious that such a power should be permitted to arise in the Church, and to continue and prosper for so long a period!

2. No evil or calamity but is under God’s control. Evils in Church and state can only exist and continue by His permission and appointment, and will be overruled for His own glory.

3. Solemn responsibility connected with the possession of the Gospel. The misuse or non-acceptance of that Gospel, proceeding from want of love to the truth, the sin that gave rise to this fearful judgment upon the Church of the New Testament, as a similar sin had done with that of the Old (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

4. The power and malignity of Satan in contriving, preparing, and employing agencies for evil where they might be least expected. It is our comfort, however, to know that this power is counteracted by the still greater power of God, in controlling these agencies and overruling them for His own glory and the good of His people.

5. The extent to which human depravity may, under Satan’s influence, be carried, even in connection with the highest profession of religion and piety. Hence the constant need of the Psalmist’s prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Verses 40-45


SECT. XLII.—SARACENS AND TURKS. (Chap. Daniel 11:40-45.)

Considerable obscurity connected with the present section. According to some, it is a continuation of the prophecy regarding the vile person or Antiochus Epiphanes, here still styled the King of the North. Thus viewed, the prophecy points to a last expedition against Egypt made after those previously mentioned; an expedition, however, of which history gives no intimation, but the reverse. [330] In the opinion of many evangelical expositors, the passage foretells the rise and doings of another power, of which, however, Antiochus was also a type. That power was the Mohammedan, first under the Saracens and subsequently the Turks; a power already noticed as an antitype of Antiochus, predicted as the little horn in the vision of the Ram and He-goat, chap. 8. Historically, it was that power that in the eastern portion of the empire succeeded the Roman, and became a scourge both to the Jews and to the Christian Church. In the prophecy also the section appears to connect itself with the prediction regarding the Roman empire and its representative, the Papacy. Thus viewing it, we notice—

[330] Brightman observes that this part of the prophecy cannot apply to Antiochus, as he can find no mention in any author of a third expedition by him into Egypt. He thinks that neither the authors of the books of the Maccabees nor Josephus would have been likely to omit to mention it, had there been any such; the latter, indeed, stating that nothing at all was attempted by Antiochus against that country after his expulsion by the Romans till his death in Persia. Justin relates that after the check he received from the Roman consul Popilius, he died as soon as he returned to his own kingdom. Sending Lysias, his general, into Syria, he himself went into Persia, where he died. Keil also, with V. Lengerke, Maurer, and Hitzig, considers the idea of a last expedition of Antiochus against Egypt in this passage, not only unsupported by history, but in irreconcilable contradiction to the historical facts regarding his last undertakings.

I. The time referred to. That the prophecy points to a time far beyond that of Antiochus would seem to be intimated in the words with which the section commences: “In the time of the end.” This probably the “end” already referred to as the time when the “indignation” against Israel is to be accomplished (Daniel 11:35), the latter period of the fourth and last empire, the “time, times, and half a time” of the Little Horn. It is according to the Book of Revelation the time of the three last of the seven “trumpets,” called the three woes; this power being the fifth and sixth, the former under the Saracens, and the latter the Turks, followed by the seventh, which announces the end or finishing of the mystery of God, when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of the Lord and of His Christ, and when He takes to Himself His great power and reigns (Revelation 9:1-21; Revelation 10:7; Revelation 11:15-18). This time of the end might, as it has done, extend over centuries, being the duration of the last period of Israel’s chastisement, and at the same time the chastisement of the Christian Churches. [331]

[331] “The time of the end.” Bright-man thinks that, as the Romans did nothing in particular against the Jews after Adrian, the prophecy passes on to the time of the weakened and decayed empire, when the Saracens, under Mahomet, encountered them, as the king of the South, a.d. 630, when they took from the Romans, in about thirty years, Jerusalem, all Syria, Africa, and Asia; the king of the North being the Turks, whose tyranny especially lay against the Romans from the year a.d. 1300. So Joseph Mede, who is followed by most modern evangelical expositors, considers the “time of the end “to be the last times of the Romans, and the king of the South the Saracens under Mahomet; while the king of the North is the Turks from Scythia in the far north, another Antichristian power who should attack and overcome the Saracens.

II. The parties predicted. These are twofold, designated according to the phraseology already employed in the former part of the prophecy in relation to two other powers, namely, the kings of the North and of the South. Formerly these terms were applied to the kings of Syria and of Egypt, the most prominent parties in that part of the vision, and so called from their situation in relation to Judea. Now, in the latter part of the prophecy, in the time of the end, they appear to mark the Saracens and the Turks, the latter rising in Scythia, to the north, and the former in Arabia, to the south of Palestine, and hence with equal truth designated the kings of the North and of the South. [332] These powers appear to be represented as acting against that previously predicted, namely, the Roman empire and its representative, the Papacy or Little Horn. They are apparently introduced as the power that was to check and weaken the Wilful King. The Turkish armies, which chiefly consisted of cavalry, appear to be pointed out in the prophecy, which represents the king of the North as coming “like a great whirlwind, with chariots and with horsemen.” They are said also to have many ships, without which, as Bishop Newton remarks, they could not have vanquished Venice, or taken Constantinople, Rhodes, Cyprus, or Crete. The description corresponds with that of the Euphratean horsemen, generally understood to represent the Turkish power. “The number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred thousand thousand” (Revelation 9:14-16). This Euphratean power appearing under the sixth trumpet, or in the time of the end, is also represented as having their appointed period of rise and duration, being “prepared for (or, as in the margin, at) an hour and a day, and a month and a year (R.V., for the hour and day and month and year), to slay the third part of men.” The application of the king of the North to the Turkish power confirms that of the king of the South to the Saracens, their predecessors; that power being, according to general opinion, predicted in the locust army or first woe, which after “five months,” or a century and a half, of mischief, was to be succeeded by the second, or horsemen from the Euphrates (Revelation 9:3-10).

[332] Bishop Newton, agreeing with Mede, observes that the terms North and South are to be taken and explained according to the times of which the prophet is speaking. Dr. Cox observes: “The sovereignties of Egypt and Syria, before called the king of the South and the king of the North, disappeared when they were absorbed in the Roman empire; and the new powers, or the Saracen and Turkish empires that succeeded, are now brought into view. But let it be observed that the Saracens became masters of Egypt, the original territory of the king of the South, and the Turks possessed Syria, or the kingdom of the North, and still retain it.” Calvin, who considers the power previously introduced, viz., the Romans, to be still described, thinks that the king of the South or Egypt, assisted by the king of the North or Syria, was to carry on war with the Romans, who are here compared to a deluge which should come and overflow, burying all the forces both of Egypt and Syria, and should also invade Judea. Junius and Willet think that the king of the North is still Antiochus, who should come up against the king of the South or Egypt, viz., Philometor, in order to aid his brother Physcon. Bullinger, like Mede and Brightman, understands by the kings of the North and South the Turks. and Saracens. Pfaff and Osiander thought the king of the North to be Antichrist, and the king of the South to be Christ Himself. Roman Catholic writers after Jerome, as well the Futurists, refer the passage to an infidel Antichrist who is yet to arise, and to the last conflicts in the land of Judea, Antichrist being here the king of the North. Kliefoth thinks that the prophecy relates to Antichrist, whom he distinguishes from the kings of the North and South, both of whom will in the time of the end attack him. Keil considers the first “him” to refer to the hostile king, the chief subject of the prophecy, but the second “him,” against whom the king of the North comes, to be the king of the South named immediately before; the king of the North, however, being the hostile king himself, thought of as the ruler of the distant North, reaching far beyond Syria, from which in his fury he comes against the king of the South.

III. The doings of the parties. Those of the Turkish power or king of the North mainly described.

1. “The king of the South shall push at him” (Daniel 11:40). Mr. Birks remarks: “The Saracens, however wide their other conquests, did really push, with furious vehemence, against the papal dominions, whether we interpret them in a narrower sense of St. Peter’s patrimony, or more widely of the nations in communion with the See of Rome. How violent their inroads on the Western nations at large, till their defeat by Charles Martel, is known to the most cursory reader of history or romance.” He quotes Gibbon, who says: “A fleet of Saracens from the African coast presumed to enter the mouth of the Tiber, and to approach a city which even yet, in her fallen state, was revered as the metropolis of the Christian world.” The “African coast” marks the invaders as a power from the South.

2. “The king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind with chariots,” &c. History decides what the construction seems to leave uncertain, whether the attack of the king of the North was to be directed against the same power pushed at by the king of the South, or against the king of the South himself. We read of the attacks made by hordes of Turkish cavalry, first on the provinces of the Eastern empire, and then on the papal kingdoms of the West, as if following in the steps of the Saracens. Gibbon, speaking of the conquests of Togrul and Alp Arslan, says: “The Asiatic provinces of Rome were irretrievably sacrificed.” After overthrowing the Greek empire, by means of their horsemen and their ships, they directed their attack on the West, more particularly predicted in the words, “He shall enter into the countries, and overflow, and pass over.” Mr. Birks remarks: “These words aptly describe the first passage of the Turks into Europe. They had already entered into the countries of Asia Minor, and established themselves there as kings of the North. But they were not restrained within these narrow bounds.… The results of this first overflow of the Turks into Europe are too well known, and too legible on the map of Europe for centuries, to require further details.” He observes that Sismondi describes Italy and the pope as the true objects, at that time, of the Turkish aggression; and quotes Gibbon, who says: “The grief and terror of the Latins revived, or seemed to revive, the old enthusiasm of the crusades.… The devastation advanced towards the West, and every year saw a new kingdom fall.” These attacks of the king of the North, like those of his predecessor, were the divinely appointed chastisement of the idolatry which had already found so large a place in the Christian churches. The words of the Sultan Mahomet II., read in connection with Revelation 9:20, at once show this to have been the case, and to confirm the view of this power being identical with the second woe and the king of the North: “I will not turn my face from the west to the east, till I overthrow and tread under the feet of my horses the gods of the nations; these gods of wood, of brass, of silver, and of gold, or of painting, which the disciples of Christ have made with their hands,”—as if he had read the passage above referred to,—“and the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues, yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils (demons, or departed spirits), and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood.”

3. He (the king of the North) shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape out of his hand, Edom, Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon” (Daniel 11:41). No question as to what is meant by “the glorious land” here and in Daniel 11:16. Palestine or Syria, the tract lying between the Mediterranean and the Euphrates, “has been more favoured by nature, and is more richly stored with the various delights of climate, of soil, and of scenery, than any other space of equal extent on the surface of the globe. Were one asked to point to that region of the earth which is the happiest in respect of natural conditions, it is to this tract that he would turn.” The glory and beauty, however, were more especially in the manifested presence and gracious goings of Him who deigned to call it peculiarly His own land. Into that land the victorious Turks entered in 1517, and left, as the trace of their presence and conquest, the present grey walls that surround Jerusalem, erected by the Sultan Suliman in 1542, the land continuing in the possession of the Turks to this day. [333] Those here said to escape out of his hand are Bedouin tribes of Arabia, who, as sons of Ishmael, still make good the prediction of Genesis 16:12; whom the Turks have never been able entirely to subdue; and to whom, ever since the time when the Sultan Selim conquered the adjoining countries, they have paid an annual pension for the safe passage of the pilgrims to Mecca. It might seem strange, as Calvin remarks, and not a little trying to the covenant people, to learn that while they and their country, which God had given to Abraham and his seed, and which He had promised to watch over, should be invaded by this hostile power, those other countries, inhabited by their hereditary enemies, should be permitted to escape, and to remain in peace and safety. But they might remember the words of the prophet, “You only have I known of all the nations of the earth, therefore I will punish you for your iniquities.” Egypt, however, was not to escape (Daniel 11:42-43). Selim, among his other conquests, put an end to the government of the Mamelukes, and established in its stead that of the Turks, who continue to this day, as Bishop Newton remarks, to drain immense treasures out of that rich and fertile but oppressed and wretched country. That it is held now by a Khedive or viceroy, only another evidence that the reign of the Turk is drawing to its close. With Egypt, the chief power in the south, should also fall the other nations of Africa,—the Libyans and the Ethiopians or Cushites, still farther to the south, who should become the obsequious followers of his march (Judges 4:10), but who also now give evidence to the drying up of “the great river Euphrates” (Revelation 16:12).

[333] Brightman observes that the Sultan Selim, about the year 1514, on his way to Egypt, took his journey by Judea, and carried Jerusalem by assault. Edom, or in general, Arabia, the Turks did not attack, being content to open themselves a way to Egypt through Syria and Palestine, which in the following year they brought under their subjection.

4. “Tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many; and he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain” (Daniel 11:44-45). The tidings out of the east and the north which shall disturb this victorious power in the midst of his conquests in the Holy Land and the adjacent countries, are such, doubtless, as would inform him of risings among the subdued nations, or invasions from other quarters, which should endanger his acquisitions, or perhaps his own dominions. [334] These tidings should arouse his indignation and draw him from Africa, where he appears then to be, again to Palestine, where he would seem to encamp at Jerusalem, the metropolis of the country, pitching his tent on the “glorious holy mountain, between the seas,” the Mediterranean on the one side and the Dead Sea on the other, [335] his purpose being, like that of his Syrian type, to wreak his vengeance on the people by their utter destruction. [336] How the Turks took and retained possession of Jerusalem we have already seen. It is scarcely likely that the doings of Sultan Selim in reference to that city are here referred to; history only relating concerning him that, having been greatly annoyed by the arrows of the wild Arabs from the hills in the south, he advanced towards Gaza, and thence to Rama, where he revenged himself on the habitations, wives, and children of the Arabs, and soon after turned aside with his cavalry to visit Jerusalem. It is more than probable that, as it is there that this hostile power is to come to his end, the prophecy has not yet received its fulfilment. Probably another power is first to come upon the stage. [337]

[334] “Tidings from the east and from the north.” Bishop Newton thinks that Persia in the east, and Russia in the north, of the Ottoman empire, may be the quarters from which the tidings referred to may come, and that these nations may hereafter be made the instruments of divine Providence in the restoration of the Jews; quoting a current tradition among the common people in Turkey, that their empire shall at some period be destroyed by the Russians. Pfaff and Osiander, understanding the passage of the Roman Antichrist, regarded the tidings as those of the breaking out of the Reformation, and the preaching of the Gospel in Germany. Melanchthon understood it of the Turks, whose rage the Lord should stay from heaven when no human force could resist them. Bright-man, writing in the seventeenth century, observes that the things hitherto predicted are already past; those which follow, to the end of the chapter, are still to come. No tidings from the east troubled Antiochus, nor the Romans after the battle of Cannæ: nor did the Romans plant their tabernacles in Judea. He thinks the tidings out of the east and north that shall trouble the Turk, is the conversion of the Jews according to Revelation 16:12, which brings him in great fury to the Holy Land, where he is to perish.

[335] “He shall plant the tabernacles Of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain.” Mr. Birks inclines to think, with Melanchthon, that in so far as the Turkish power is viewed as the subject of the present prophecy, Constantinople is the place referred to as the “glorious holy mountain,” or, as he says the words might be rendered, a “mountain of holy delight;” the occupying of that place as the seat of empire being the main event of the history between the time of the conquest of Egypt by the Turks and their final overthrow. Regarding the king of the North, however, as the Antichrist yet to arise, he thinks Palestine and Jerusalem the places intended, whither he will lead the confederate nations of Europe, the power of Russia, and the districts held long before by the king of the North. Dr. Cox thinks the passage intimates that the Turk will plant his tabernacles, or fix his encampment, in the Holy Land at Jerusalem, between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean; and that there, having enjoyed a termporary triumph, he will experience a signal and fatal overthrow. He adds, “Whether the Russian and Persian powers are destined to inflict the providential visitation, as many have supposed, must be left to the disclosures of futurity.” Keil thinks that the expression נָטַע (nata’), “plant,” probably alludes to the great palace-like tent of the Oriental ruler, whose poles must be struck very deep into the earth; these tents being surrounded by a multitude of smaller ones for the guards and servants, which accounts for the use of the plural, “tabernacles” or “tents.” He renders the words הַר צְבִי־קֹדֶשׁ (har tsebhi-qodhesh), “the holy hill of the delight,” i.e., of Palestine; and considers it to be the hill on which the Temple stood. He disagrees with Kliefoth and others, who think that the “seas” are the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea; and regards the word “seas” as only the poetic plural of fulness for the great Mediterranean. The term אֲפַדְנוֹ (aphadhno), “his palace,” as our own and Luther’s version render it, has been variously understood. Theodotion and the Vulgate leave it untranslated, while the Septuagint omits it altogether. Porphyry understood it to be the name of a place, and Junius regards it as that of the country of Mesopotamia or Syria, the “seas” being its fens or marshes. Jerome renders it “his stable,” as referring to cavalry. Calvin has “his palace,” as indicating a permanent abode fixed by the Romans in those countries. The word is used by the Rabbins in the sense of a palace. Dr. Pusey remarks that this is one of the four Syrian words which have been singled out by the opponents of Daniel, as making against his Hebrew, but as agreeing with the situation of a Jewish writer in the time of the Maccabees. The word, he says, survived in heathen and Christian Syriac as well as in the translation of the Scriptures, and was also, in a slightly varied form, probably introduced into Arabia from the Syriac, and had certainly been known in Mesopotamia, since it became the name of a place, Apadnas, near Amida on the Tigris; but was wholly lost in Chaldea, being unintelligible to all the Greek translators, and rendered in the Syriac version, not according to the meaning of the actual Syriac word, but according to the common meaning of padan, which forms part of the name Padan-aram.

[336] “To destroy and utterly make away many.” לְהַשְׁמִיד וּלְהַחֲרִים (lehashmidh ulehakharim), to smite and to ban, or uproot, implying utter destruction. So Antiocbus in his wrath resolved to make Jerusalem a grave for the whole of the Jews.

[337] Mr. Birks, who interprets these last verses of the Saracen and Turkish powers, is inclined to extend their bearing to a power that should combine in himself all the forms of Antichristian hostility that had preceded, and believes there is a further accomplishment in events which will complete and close the Gentile dispensation. Keil also views the latter part of this chapter as pointing to a power, whom he designates Antichrist, the antitype of Antiochus Epiphanes, and remarks: “The placing of the overthrow of this enemy with his host near the Temple-mountain agrees with other prophecies of the Old Testament, which place the decisive destruction of the hostile world-power by the appearance of the Lord for the consummation of His kingdom upon the mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 39:4), or in the valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2, &c.), in or at Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2); and confirms the result of our exposition that the hostile king, the last enemy or world-power, is the Antichrist.

IV. The end of the hostile power. “He shall come to his end, and none shall help him” (Daniel 11:45). This being the first time we read of the end of the power whose doings are described in the preceding verses, since the introduction of the vile person in Daniel 11:21, some have been led to think that the same power is spoken of throughout. It is probable, however, that the end here foretold is that of the hostile power under its last form, which is at the same time the termination and destruction of all the world-powers that have set themselves in opposition to God’s people whether in Old or New Testament times, and which, of course, is still future. The blending, in the prophecy, of one Antichristian power, or of one form of Antichrist, into another has its parallel in the prophecy of the Saviour Himself, in which the prediction regarding Jerusalem’s destruction blends into that of His second appearing, when He shall take “vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of His Son,” and when the “Man of Sin “shall be destroyed “with the brightness of His coming.” It seems certain, from chap. Daniel 12:1, that the end of the hostile power here predicted is connected with the great tribulation, and the resurrection from the dead which is probably soon to follow it. The angel then adds: “And at that time”—the time referred to in the end of the preceding chapter—“shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.” This time of trouble, again, is connected with the resurrection from the dead, which appears to follow it chap. Daniel 12:2), and which we know to be the result of the Lord’s second appearing (1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). The manner in which the end of this and, at the same time, of every hostile power is described, corresponds with this view of the time and circumstances in which it shall happen. It is simply said, “He shall come to his end, and none shall help him.” As if a breath from the Lord’s mouth, or a glance from His eye, brought him and all his chivalry in a moment to destruction. No word is spoken as to the means by which, or the manner in which, the end should be brought about. The scene closes in sublime and mysterious silence. For a fuller description of the solemn event we must, doubtless, look to the prophecy of Zechariah, Zechariah 14:3-4, and especially to the awful and magnificent picture of the battle of the great day of God Almighty presented in Revelation 19:11-21. May both reader and writer be prepared for the terrors and solemnities of that infinitely momentous and rapidly approaching day!



“He shall come to his end, and none shall help him.” It has been remarked that in this last prophecy of Daniel one predicted hostile power appears to merge into and blend with another that succeeds it. This prophetic blending sometimes takes place almost insensibly; so that the same power would almost seem still to continue to be spoken of. Of these various successive powers Antiochus Epiphanes, who is introduced in Daniel 11:21, seems to be regarded as a kind of general type. The powers themselves may be regarded as so many Antichrists,—for, according to the Apostle, “there are many Antichrists,”—or Antichrist under so many different forms. The destruction of all these Antichristian powers would seem to take place together, and to be that “end” predicted in the closing verse of the chapter, of which the sudden and signal end of Antiochus was a type. As the papal Antichrist seemed to blend into the Mahometan in Daniel 11:40, so the Mahometan would appear to blend into the infidel and final one in the last verse of the chapter. From what is said to take place when the power thus predicted comes to his end, viz., the time of great tribulation, the deliverance of the Jewish remnant, and the resurrection from the dead, there can be little doubt that this power is the last enemy that shall appear against the people of God, till the end of the thousand years’ reign of righteousness and peace (Revelation 20:7-9). That last enemy is apparently still the Little Horn of Daniel’s Fourth Beast, and Paul’s Man of Sin; but, as may be gathered from the book of Revelation, under an openly infidel form, as the scarlet-coloured beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit and goeth into perdition, “full of names of blasphemy,” having seven heads and ten horns, who with the false prophet gathers together the kings of the earth and their armies, to make war against Christ in the “battle of the great day of God Almighty,” and who with the same false prophet shall then be taken and “cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 17:3; Revelation 16:14; Revelation 19:20).

Following Mr. Frere in his “Combined View of the Prophecies,” Mr. Irving observes that in the book of Daniel we have four main streams of prophecy, all commencing from the period at which the prophet lived, and running down to the time of the end. The fourth stream is contained in this eleventh chapter, which connects itself with the time of Daniel by the mention of certain “kings” immediately succeeding it, and then makes large leaps to reach the description of a third blasphemous and ungodly power, which was to arise in the form, not of an institution, but of an individual, close to the time of the end; these three powers being the Papal, Mahometan, and the Infidel; all to arise within the bounds of the four great monarchies, which may be called the prophetic earth. The prophet, he remarks, gives a most particular account of one king who should, at the time of the end, exalt himself against God, and prosper in war, till he should “come to his end, and none should help him.” This end of the infidel king, for whose manifestation the whole history was given, shall also be the end or accomplishment of God’s purposes in dispersing the Jews; which, he observes, was most important for Daniel, and is still most important both to the dispersed Jews and the Church of the Gentiles, whose fulness comes not in till the dispersed are gathered again; inasmuch as the prophecy makes this ingathering contemporaneous with the downfall of the great infidel king. Much to the same effect, Mr. Faber, in his “View of the Prophecies regarding Israel,” observes that nearly every prophecy that treats of the restoration of the Jews treats likewise of the contemporary overthrow of some great and impious combination of God’s enemies; a confederacy of which an infidel power, which should appear at the time of the end, should be so powerful as to take the lead, and which should include the ten-horned beast or Roman empire under its last head, the ecclesiastical power represented by Daniel’s little horn, and certain kings of the earth, apparently in a state of vassalage to that sovereign power. All these are said to come to their end, and to be destroyed by some divine interposition after the expiration of a certain period (a “time, times, and half a time”); and that in Palestine, a region between the seas, in the neighbourhood of the glorious holy mountain, or Mount Zion, and in the more immediate vicinity of the town of Megiddo. At the close of the same period, he observes, the prophet teaches (chap. Daniel 12:1) that the restoration of the Jews, the goal to which the angelic communication pointed, should take place. The restoration, contemporaneous with the overthrow of the infidel power, Mr. Faber regarded as prepared for by the fall of the Ottoman empire, or the drying up of the river Euphrates (Revelation 16:12), which takes place previous to the gathering together of the great confederacy. A writer on prophecy already quoted remarks that the manifestation of the last Antichristian apostasy or infidelity consists, like that of the former two, the Papal and the Mahometan, of two parts; the latter and the chief part being the account of the infidel person, his acts, and his destruction; the other part being the historical chain which connects the account with the time of the giving of the vision,—a chain of persons, remarkable kings, who were to intervene. This chain, Mr. Irving observes, brings us to a new dynasty (Daniel 11:18), when the Roman arms under Scipio took the sovereignty of the parts that had constituted the Grecian monarchy; and then the prophecy at one stride brings us down to the immediate predecessor of the infidel king, who is said to be in his estate a “raiser of taxes” (Daniel 11:20). The chain, he thinks, thus brings us to the first manifestation of the infidel power in the “vile person” (Daniel 11:21), whose acts the prophet describes through the remaining part of the chapter. The countries he enters into (Daniel 11:40) he considers to be already prepared, by the dissemination of his infidel sentiments, to give him a welcome; when he will “overflow” and level, like a terrible inundation, ancient thrones and establishments before him. This first manifestation of the infidel power he, with many others, believed to have its realisation in the first Napoleon, to be succeeded by a second like to him. He thinks that the prophet then immediately carries the infidel prince over to another scene of action, quite out of the bounds of the ten-horned papal empire, to the Holy Land (Daniel 11:41), and gives a narrative of his conquests there, carried on probably from a motive of mad ambition: Perhaps, having subdued the western Roman empire, he is to be God’s instrument to bring the Turk to his end, and may thus pass over to the Asiatic and African states, to possess himself of Egypt and the neighbouring kingdoms, to rally the nations of the ancient empire under his banner, the time of the destruction of the fourth beast being nigh at hand. The tidings out of the east, he, with Brightman, thinks refer to the event predicted in Revelation 16:12, regarding the kings of the East, while those from the north refer to Russia. Thus troubled and “moved by what natural impulse we know not, but overruled by all those prophecies that have doomed him and all his chivalry to fall upon the mountains of Israel, in the valley of Jehoshaphat, by the rock of Zion, he plants in Jerusalem the ‘tabernacles of his palace,’ the insignia of his royal state, upon the ‘glorious holy mountain between the seas,’ and there he comes to his end by a mighty overthrow, in a great battle of God Almighty, to which the nations have been gathered together.” He characterises the infidelity or infidel apostasy, contemplated here in the light not of an institution but of a person, as that which has grown like a disease out of the body of the papacy, and been nourished by the very grossness of that superstition, and gathering every evil and corrupt humour out of the wicked mass, till we see it, as it now is, all over its kingdom, ready to burst out and destroy the very organisation of the body. This impersonation of infidelity, or infidel chief, he considers, is to conduct and guide that infidelity to its sure purpose of dissolving that constitution of evil which has so long sat as an incubus upon the spirit of the Church. This infidel Antichrist, having obtained the victory over the papal constitution in order to destroy every vestige of lingering life within it, and being then led onwards to the East where he shall find the Mahometan superstition in its last throes; and thus coming in time to take up the abandoned sceptre of the Eastern empire, and having under him that power of nations and of kingdoms, which both the apostasies of the East and West once possessed,—“he hath accomplished his end, and his time is come.” With his destruction, which is accomplished at Armageddon, the three apostasies are all finished, and Satan’s last desperate throw is ended, and “the kingdom of Christ in good earnest spreads with all the prosperity of the divine blessing over all the earth.”

In Mr. Faber’s view, which is similar, the person who forms the subject of the closing verses of the chapter is the infidel king, the leader of the great Antichristian confederacy of the last days, who will, at the time of the end, or the close of the time, times, and half a time, be opposed by a king of the North and a king of the South; yet, in spite of this opposition, will succeed in overflowing many countries, and in conquering Palestine, Egypt, Libya, and the land of Cush or Ethiopia. In the unidst of these victories, he, being in Egypt, will be disturbed by some untoward tidings out of the North and out of the East, probably of the arrival in Palestine of the navy of the great maritime power with the converted of Judah. Enraged at such ungrateful news, he will hasten to Jerusalem, which he will succeed in taking. This, however, will be his last victory. Advancing to Megiddo, a town near the shores of the Mediterranean, in the great plain of Esdraelon, where, according to St. John, the conflict is to be decided, he will come unexpectedly to his end. The triumphant “Word of God” shall break his confederacy, and super-naturally overthrow him with a sudden destruction. The king of the North Mr. Faber thinks to be Russia; some terrible invasion from that quarter, symbolised by the great hailstorm of the Apocalypse, being made upon the papal Roman empire during the time that the infidel king is prosecuting his conquests in Palestine and Egypt.
Keil also views the latter verses of the chapter as all pointing to such an infidel power, whom he designates the Antichrist, the antitype of Antiochus Epiphanes. He says: “The undertaking of this king (Antiochus) to root out the worship of the living God, and destroy the Jewish religion, shows in type the great war which the world-power shall undertake against the kingdom of God, by exalting itself above every god, to hasten on its own destruction and the consummation of the kingdom of God. The description of this war, as to its origin, character, and issue, forms the principal subject of this prophecy.… From the typical relation in which Antiochus, the Old Testament enemy of God, stands to Antichrist, the New Testament enemy, is explained the connection of the end, the final salvation of the people of God, and the resurrection from the dead, with the description of this enemy, without any express mention being made of the fourth world-kingdom [the Roman empire], and of the last enemy [the little horn] arising out of it—already revealed to Daniel in chap. 7.… In chapter 8, the violent enemy of the people of Israel, who would arise from the Diadoch-kingdoms of the Javanic world-monarchy [the four divisions of the Grecian empire after Alexander’s death], was already designated as the type of the last enemy who would arise out of the ten kingdoms of the fourth world- [or universal] monarchy. After these preceding revelations, the announcement of the great tribulation, that would come upon the people of God from these two enemies, could be presented in one comprehensive painting, wherein the assaults made by the prefigurative enemy against the covenant people should form the foreground of the picture, for a representation of the daring of the antitypical enemy, proceeding even to the extent of abolishing all divine and human ordinances, which shall bring the last and severest tribulation on the Church of God at the end of the days, for its purification and preparation for eternity.”

We conclude our remarks on the infidel Antichrist, and on the whole of this deeply interesting though somewhat obscure chapter, with the words of Auberlen: “It cannot be proved with absolute certainty that a personal Antichrist will stand at the head of the Antichristian kingdom; for it is possible that the eighth, like the preceding heads (of the beast in Revelation 7:0), designates a kingdom, a power, and not a person; and the same may be said concerning the Antichristian horn described by Daniel, when compared with the ten horns. But the type of Antiochus Epiphanes is of decisive importance; for this personal enemy of God’s kingdom is described in the eighth chapter of Daniel, as a little, gradually increasing horn, just as Antichrist is spoken of in the seventh. And this is corroborated by the Apostle Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:0), who describes Antichrist (Daniel 11:4) with colours evidently furnished by Daniel’s sketch of Antiochus, and who calls him, moreover, the “Man of Sin,” the Son of perdition, which, if explained naturally, must refer to an individual (Compare John 17:12, where the same expression is used of Judas). In favour of the same view may be adduced, likewise, analogies in the history of the world; the previous world-kingdoms (or universal empires) had extraordinary persons as their heads, as Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander the Great. The spiritual and universal character does not exclude individual, personal representations. Every spiritual tendency has its distinguished representatives, and when it has reached its perfection, provides its representative κατʼ ἐξοχήν (par excellence). Hence Antichristian tendencies produce different Antichrists; and it is a sober historical view when Christianity maintains that these separate Antichrists shall, some future day, find their consummation in an individual far excelling them in the intensity of his evil character (Lange). In conclusion, we must not omit to mention that Paul and John agree in speaking emphatically of the destruction of Antichrist.… His triumph is but of short duration; judgment speedily overtakes him. The man of sin is of necessity a child of death, the son of perdition.… The return of the “beast” (Revelation 17:11) is represented, or at least prepared, in that principle which, since 1789, has manifested itself in beast-like outbreaks, and has since then been developed both extensively and intensively. This principle has appeared in various forms, in the Revolution, in Napoleon, [338] despotism sanctioning revolution; proving, at the same time, that the beast, even in this shape, can carry the “harlot” in Socialism and Communism. But we may yet expect other manifestations. [339] At present, it is the endeavour of churches and governments to keep down this monster; but it has shown its teeth more than once, and given unmistakable signs that it is regaining life and strength. How long its development shall last,—whether it is to grow up rapidly,—through what different phases it has yet to pass,—at what period the seventh kingdom shall pass over into the eighth (Revelation 17:0), is not known to man: God alone knows it. It is not for us to know the times or the seasons (Acts 1:7); but it is for us to take to heart the word of our Lord, “Can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matthew 16:3).

[338] Mr. Irving and others find a remarkable correspondence between the prophecy concerning the “vile person” and the first Napoleon. The “raiser of taxes,” who preceded him, is identified with Louis XVI., whose death was brought about “neither in anger nor in battle,” but in cold blood, by the sentence of that very power to which his raising of taxes had given birth. The rise of Napoleon is considered to be described in Daniel 11:21, “with a general comprehensiveness as wonderful as in the former verse was the Bourbon’s fate.” Daniel 11:22, Mr. Irving thinks, describes the first act of Napoleon’s career in Italy almost in his own words which be addressed to his troops: “You have precipitated yourselves like a torrent from the summit of the Apennines.” The “prince of the covenant” he views as the pope, who declared his submission in a league which terminated the campaign. In correspondence with Daniel 11:23, he remarks, that Napoleon, after the league just mentioned so wrought with men of science and letters as well as with the common people, to induce them to regard him as the harbinger of light, reason, and liberty, that he was able, with a small force, so to increase his power as to enter the richest provinces of Italy, and levy upon them exactions of every kind, which he scattered among his soldiers; at the same time plundering churches and repositories of art of their treasures which no conqueror had hitherto done. Daniel 11:25-27 were fulfilled in the surprising victories gained over the emperor of Austria, the king of the South, through secret intelligence had with one high in the Austrian counsels; the emperor concerting the campaign with the pope or prince of the covenant, plotting mischief together, viz., the continuance of the mystery of iniquity,—but in vain, as its end was determined; the result being that Rome became a republic, the priests were banished, and the pope died in exile. Daniel 11:28 is viewed as giving the key to his future wars and animosities, viz., his “indignation against the holy covenant,” or that people who continued to maintain the cause of religion and righteousness against his usurpation and the confederacy to perpetuate the mischiefs of the papacy, viz., the British nation.

[339] Faber, Frere, Gauntlett, and others, expressed their conviction, previous to 1820, that a second French emperor, exactly like the first, would arise nearer to the end, and would constitute the last great Antichrist. More than twenty other writers, according to Mr. Baxter, up to 1861, considered the late emperor, Napoleon III., to be the eighth head of the apocalyptic beast or future personal Antichrist. Points of resemblance between him and the first Napoleon were not wanting; enough to show that the idea of a repetition might easily be verified, and to strike the attention of those who, according to the Lord’s direction, seek to discern the signs of the times. That two potentates, so closely related to each other, should arise and, after a brief interval, succeed each other, both so unlikely in themselves, and with such humble beginnings, and bearing so strong a resemblance both to each other and to the prophecy, was certainly remarkable, and fitted at least to keep men on the watch. But the end was not yet. “Deus habet sus horas et moras.” Notwithstanding the expressed presentiment of the first Napoleon that his nephew should be the ultimate representative of the Napoleonic dynasty, and the profound conviction of that nephew, even from early life, that he had a great mission and destiny to fulfil in relation to France; notwithstanding that, singularly, after becoming president of the French Republic in 1851, he became emperor of France in 1852, being crowned on the anniversary of the battle of Austerlitz and the coronation of Napoleon L, thus restoring the Napoleonic dynasty, when the French people inscribed on an arch erected in his honour the remarkable words, “The uncle that was, the nephew that is,” as if in literal fulfilment of Revelation 17:8; Revelation 17:11; notwithstanding that from 1849 to 1870 he maintained military occupation of Rome, and declared that the temporal power of the pope was incompatible with the advance of civilisation and must be put down, being termed the “modern Augustus, nephew and heir of Cæsar;” and finally, notwithstanding that he succeeded in acquiring an almost paramount influence over Spain and Italy, while he extended his power in Algeria and the northern coast of Africa, and appeared determined to possess himself of Palestine, and that, as in the case of the first Napoleon, Great Britain appeared to be the only impediment to his attainment of uncontrolled dominion over the Roman world; yet he passed away, broken apparently in the zenith of his prosperity and power, and left the prophecy still unfulfilled.

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Daniel 11". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/phc/daniel-11.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.
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