- Lesson 13 in the BaptistWay Press Connect360 unit “Faith Under Fire” focuses on Daniel 11:1-45.
By comparison, no other prophetic material contained in the Old Testament is of the same nature as this highly detailed prediction about coming kings and clashing kingdoms. Most broadly, Daniel 11:1-35 covers the time period from the Persians to the terrifying reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Given the uncanny accuracy of the details of the events, many scholars refuse to receive Daniel 11 as prophetic. Put plainly, they believe no one living in the sixth century B.C. (Daniel’s day) could predict the particulars of events happening in the second century B.C. Such scholars point to a type of literature (genre) from the broader ancient Near East in which detailed prophesies actually were written after the fact, but read as if they were looking toward the future.
It seems quite questionable, however, to discount Daniel 11 simply because of its precision. Rather than holding Daniel 11 in suspicion because of its pinpoint accuracy, we could conclude that the God who gave the vision knows the future as fully as he knows the past.
The cosmic conflict described in verses 40-45 is nothing less than the time of the end (v. 40). The battle ultimately ends with the destruction of the Antichrist (v. 45) and the resurrection of the saints in 12:2. Earlier in this chapter, the king of the south represented the Egyptian leader and the king of the north the Syrian king. In the larger eschatological context, however, these kings symbolize nations and confederations that exist in the last days. The king of the north has become the ultimate Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Antichrist. He will enter Israel, “the Beautiful Land” (v. 41; cf. 8:9; 11:16). The countries that escape the conflict have, perhaps, already aligned themselves with the evil ruler or simply do not stand in his path (v. 41).
Ultimately, it seems impossible to try to pinpoint the exact nations involved in this climatic conflict. All such speculation most likely will prove to be wrong. We are wiser to focus on the larger aspects of the conflict and realize that, in the end, the ultimate evil one will find no help in the final battle (v. 45). We have already learned that “the little horn” will be judged when the Lord comes to set up his kingdom (7:11, 26-27), and Paul has said “this man of lawlessness will be destroyed by the splendor of the Christ’s coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8). At the end of this chapter, the trials purify the people of God. And, yet, God’s people will ultimately be delivered.
The pinpoint accuracy of the prophetic vision in Daniel 11 calls us to confess that God is never surprised. All events, including the movements of kings and kingdoms, have “played out” as he expected (maybe even directed). Ultimately, God’s people will be purified but protected, as the evil one (the Antichrist, personified in Antiochus IV Epiphanes) who stands against the Christ will “come to his end, and no one will help him” (v. 45). Just as the vision already has accurately captured centuries of conflict between kings and kingdoms (vs. 1-35), it will also be completely accurate about the ultimate end of the evil one, the one who opposes Christ. God’s purified people will be victorious.
Based on commentary written by Howard Batson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Amarillo, as condensed by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.
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