After a great deal of consideration and thoughtful prayer, I have concluded that the final prophecy of Daniel, which I am about to start to try and explain (or at least simplify), is best dealt with from the perspective that the events which are described are still all in the future. Of course, we can squeeze past historical events into the prophecy and declare it fulfilled, but as we have already seen with the other prophecies, historical events can be squeezed into them even though they are just foreshadowing the things which are to come leading up to the return of the King, Yeshua.
It has occurred to me that the entire book of Daniel is much more than prophecy regarding the end times – there appears to be contained within a blueprint also. This blueprint teaches the church (and the Hebrews for that matter) how we, as followers of the One True God, ought to carry ourselves in times of great persecution. The events outlined in Daniel are coming our way, and sooner than any of us might believe. Before the end of this series, I will explain this matter fully. But for now, Here’s the start of a breakdown of Daniel chapters 10, 11, and 12. I won’t be able to get through it all in one sitting, so it will probably take two or three attempts. Please be patient.
In Part Four of this series I expressed my concern at what some translations of the Bible said in Daniel 10:1. Some appeared to find a way to use the phrase ‘great war‘ or ‘great tribulation‘, whilst others, in its place used the phrase ‘the appointed time was long‘. Having done some extensive research into this over the past few days I can now say that I believe ‘great war‘ or ‘great tribulation‘ to be the correct translation. I say this because the two words from which both translations are rendered are:
Tsaba (the T is silent) which every Hebrew dictionary lists as army, war, or warfare. It is listed as 6635 in Strong’s, so you can see for yourself, and it is used a total of 486 times in the Old Testament. Of those uses, on 35 occasions, it is to imply the word ‘war‘. On none of those 486 occasions does it get anywhere near to the idea of an ‘appointed time‘. I am not sure how anyone got to ‘appointed time‘ but they have and there must have been a reason for it. It is perhaps explained by the syntax of the first verse, which I will come onto shortly.
Gadol is the word from which some translations have rendered ‘long‘ and others ‘great‘. It is Strong’s 1419, which is an adjective used to describe the greatness of something. I can see how ‘long‘ may have been reached but, as its root word is ‘gadal‘ (1431) which means to ‘grow up‘ or ‘become great‘, may I suggest that ‘great‘ is correct. Or at least, more accurate.
Right, that’s a little bit of housekeeping out of the way.
Now, here’s the text.
You may well have noticed that the first verse of chapter ten is written in the third person. This may go some way to explaining why some translators have managed to get into the mess which they have. Daniel is an interesting book in terms of its composition. Much of it was written in Daniel’s native tongue of Hebrew, but there are some sections written in Aramaic, which was the language of the Chaldean people of Babylon. Aramaic was widely spoken by the Hebrew peoples after their return from exile in Babylon. That Daniel chose to write parts of the book in Aramaic possibly reflects that. What is clear, however, is that Daniel didn’t sit down and write it all in one go. It was recorded as events happened. It may have been that the final section was written just before his death. Remember, he was in captivity for over 70 years, which ages him at somewhere between 80-90 when Cyrus released the Hebrews. It is likely that Daniel, like many of his counterparts, decided that returning to a ruined Jerusalem at their age was not the most prudent thing to do, especially when so many of them had fully embraced the culture of Babylon. In fact, in the Jeremiah’s letter to them (found in Jeremiah 29), he actively encourages them to do so in verses 4-7.
With all of that in mind, it may have been that a third party did indeed write the opening verse of what we call chapter ten (Daniel didn’t write it in chapters – they were added in the Middle Ages), after Daniel had died, and as a way of explanation of its contents. If this is the case then whoever wrote it could have been saying that he had understanding of the vision because it is clear that Daniel didn’t at first. Of course, if the first verse was written as an epitaph, it could well have been saying that when Daniel died he had gained understanding of the vision.
When you read on, what becomes clear is that Daniel called upon his God, Yehovah, to bring him understanding of the vision. Why else would Daniel have been fasting and praying for three weeks? Many commentators have speculated that Daniel was actually mourning after receiving news about the state of Jerusalem. There is no evidence I can find to strengthen that view. It may well be true, but it remains speculation. Whatever the reason for Daniel’s three weeks of fasting and prayer, it is clear that the message Daniel received was in response to a question he had asked. I don’t believe that Daniel set out to fast for three weeks. The reading of it is that he determined that he would fast until he received an answer. We know from later on in the text (see Daniel 10:12) that from the moment that Daniel sought understanding, he was answered, but the answer was delayed for twenty-one days. There is a lesson for all of us here when seeking an answer for God – keep going until it arrives!
So, Daniel had been eating no meat or drinking no wine for a full three weeks when, one day, he was beside the River Tigris and saw a ‘certain man‘ when he looked up. This is a bit of a tough one because the description he gives is incredibly similar to the one of Yeshua given in the book of Revelation, but we know from this certain man’s own words that he had been detained by the Prince of Persia, which doesn’t sound like Yeshua – who after all could detain Him? Although, we have to remember that if it was Yeshua who was speaking to Daniel, it was in a pre-incarnate state and, therefore, before all power and authority had been given to Him. So, it is possible that the Prince of Persia (one of the beasts to whom a kingdom and power and authority had been given at that time) was able to detain Him. We will come back to that in a moment. First, let us deal with Daniel’s description of this certain man:
“I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in colour, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.” [Daniel 10:5-6 NKJV]
If this were merely an angel (and I say ‘merely’ not in any degrading way but in context), which we know Daniel had encountered before and whom he didn’t described like this, why then did he do so on this occasion? Now take a look at the description which John gives in the Revelation:
“…One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters.” [Revelation 1:13b-15]
Remarkably similar, aren’t they? It is also interesting that both Daniel and John had the same reaction at the sight of Him – they both fell to the floor as though dead. And what adds weight to this being Yeshua is the description which Daniel tells of the reaction of the men who were with him – they didn’t see the vision but a great terror fell upon them. We see something similar with Paul’s companions on the Damascus road in Acts chapter nine.
There is a lot to get through, so I am going to pick out the really important parts. We learn from the text that from the moment Daniel sought understanding of the things which he had seen in a dream or vision, that God sent him an answer. Let us assume, for the moment, that God chose to send Yeshua, Himself, to reassure Daniel. Let’s assume that it was Yeshua who was held up in delivering that message by the ‘prince of the kingdom of Persia‘. Now, the question is, how could this ‘prince‘ contain the Son of God, let alone withstand Him for 21 days? I suspect that we have already answered that question in an earlier part of this series. This is no ordinary prince. In this usage the title prince is given to a spiritual ruler, or principality. If we take that all of the visions and dream contained within Daniel are connected, then we can see that the ‘prince of the kingdom of Persia‘ is a reference to one of the beasts, or spiritual entities, which have been given earthly power and authority.
If we take a look at the level of authority given to Nebuchadnezzar:
“You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given to you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men swell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all…” [Daniel 2:37-38a]
If then, by the same rationale, the prince of the kingdom of Persia has been given a similar level of authority, then it is a little easier to understand why a pre-incarnate Yeshua was held up by him. Yeshua’s earthly authority wasn’t given until He walked the earth.
And staying with the idea of it being a spiritual entity which is actually given the power and authority, we must also apply this to Nebuchadnezzar. The power and authority which had been given to Nebuchadnezzar actually came from the prince of the kingdom of Babylon. We see this happening with Yeshua and His disciples – He gave to them the authority given to Him so that they could heal the sick and expel demons.
Back to the text. Yeshua explains to Daniel that He intends to make Daniel understand what must happen to his people in the latter days. It is clear from the Hebrew text that Yeshua is speaking of the final days. It is equally as clear that by ‘his people‘ Yeshua is speaking to Daniel of the Hebrews. It is worth mentioning also at this stage something that adds considerable gravity to it being Yeshua who is speaking at this stage. In the Revelation it is clearly Yeshua who speaks to John. He says to John this:
“Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” [Revelation 1:19]
After the initial messages for the seven churches of Asia Minor, Yeshua hands over to an angel. But, He states that what John is about to see concerns the things of the future first and then passes the responsibility of showing John what is clearly the very end of the earthly kingdoms and the establishment of the heavenly kingdom. My point is this – it appears that when it comes to the things of the last days, on occasions, Yeshua likes to be the messenger Himself, so that there can be no confusion about which He speaks.
Yeshua (back in Daniel 10) then asks Daniel if he knows why He has come to him. He doesn’t wait for an answer but says the following:
“And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Yavan will come. But I will tell you what is inscribed in the Scripture of Truth. Yet there is one who holds with these things and that is Michael, your prince.” [Daniel 10:20b-21]
Let’s translate what that actually says.
“After I give you this message I will return to fight with the prince of the kingdom of Persia (who was probably holding up the return of the Hebrews to Isra’el). When I have return to the Father, then the prince of the kingdom of Yavan (that is in modern day Turkey) will arise to fight with the prince of the kingdom of Persia. Before I go I will tell you what is recorded in the books of God’s truth. There is only one here with me who holds with these truths and he is Michael, the prince of the kingdom of Isra’el.”
Now comes 11:1, which many avoid trying to explain:
“Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood to be an encouragement to him and to strengthen him.” [Daniel 11:1]
Why did Yeshua say this?
Darius the Mede is only found, by this name, in the pages of Daniel. No historical account can be found of him. There were plenty of Medes called Darius but none which can be identified in this light. I have seen some research which suggests that Darius was an alternative name for Cyrus. Or it is possible that Darius was the Mede to whom Cyrus answered. Either way, we have Yeshua Himself reassuring Daniel that it was He who stood next to this Darius and encouraged him to set the Hebrews free.
Here follows the truth that Yeshua has said he would show Daniel from the time at the end. Please keep that in mind whilst we go through this. The events He speaks of all refer to the years leading up to the rise of the anti-Christ and the return of Yeshua, King of all kings.
“Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia, and then the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Yavan. Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and do according to his will.” [verses 2-3]
“From this time, there will be three more significant rulers of Persia, Then will come a fourth. Great wealth (probably from the control of Iranian oil) will bring him political strength, and he will stir up the people of the realm of Turkey (probably by invading their land). Then, in the land of Yavan (Turkey) a mighty ruler will arise (who is the large horn mentioned in Daniel 8). He will increase the size of his dominion and rule and do exactly as he pleases.”
“And when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not among his posterity (people) nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, and given to others.” [verse 4]
“This large horn, ruler of Turkey, shall attack the ruler of Iran but he will be cut down before he can achieve all he plans. His kingdom and sphere of influence will be divided between the nations he conquered, so that there will be a Kingdom of the North; a Kingdom of the South; a Kingdom of the East; and a Kingdom of the West. None of his own people will succeed him.”
“Also the king of the South shall become strong, and so will one of his princes, who will gain power of him and have dominion, which will be very great.” [verse 5]
“In the south (possibly Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Yemen) a ruler shall rise up from out of the large horn’s divided kingdom. To one of his spiritual princes who influences him shall be given even greater power.”
“And at the end of some years they shall join forces and the daughter of the king of the South shall go to the king of the North and make an agreement; but she shall not retain the power of her authority, and neither he nor his authority shall stand; but she shall be given up, with those who brought her, and with him who strengthened her in those times.” [verse 6]
Here’s where things start to get tricky to unravel and decipher. The verse basically says that after sometime (probably a set period of time), the king and the powerful prince of the South shall join forces. Whilst it says the ‘daughter‘ of the king of the South, it is unlikely to be a daughter as we know things. Often in prophetic Scripture the term daughter is used to describe both cities and a new and beloved generation. Throughout the book of Isaiah, Jerusalem is called ‘daughter‘. It requires some thinking outside the box. It may be that when the large horn falls and these four new kingdoms arise that they are not like anything we recognise today. It might well go back to ancient boundary and tribal lines of division. A new city or newly named region of the southern kingdom could easily be called a daughter.
If it was a city or a city-state that makes an agreement with the king of the North (which generally refers to Turkey or the region thereof), then because the verse describes the lack of power, it suggests that it could be a political move. It reads as if she (the daughter) will be betrayed and given over in some power tussle.
“But from a branch of her roots one shall arise in his place, who shall come with an army, enter the fortress of the king of the North, and deal with them and prevail. And he shall also carry their gods captive to Egypt, with their princes and their precious articles of silver and gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the North.” [verses 7-8]
One of the city or city-states people shall rise up in place of the fallen king or prince. He will be given an army that will conquer the fortress of the northern kingdom. The word ‘princes‘ is deceptive here. On this occasion a better translation would have been molten images. I think that the verse is saying that the one who rises up from the root of the city or city-state will completely sack the North and take as plunder the things that it holds dear; its treasures. That might be wealth. It is likely to be people. If by this time there is widespread Sharia law implemented in the Middle East, then a medieval approach to warfare is likely to be readopted, as we have seen already with the likes of ISIL.
This time Egypt is named, but as a place of captivity which strengthens the idea that it will be people who are taken from the North. This power struggle between the North and the South seems to continue, but the new king of the South shall outlive the king of the North. The divide between these two nations could even be between Sunni and Shia Muslims.
The reading of the verses contained in the last three chapters of the book of Daniel are complicated to say the least. It is unclear how much time is covered, or how long each king or kingdom survives. I am going to break each section down into more manageable pieces, so the next few verse will be in the next instalment. I really don’t want to speculate about what is written there. It is clear from 12:4 that the words and the vision of these prophecies will have been sealed until the end times. I think around 10-15 years ago the Holy Spirit began the process of revealing the truths of the prophecies. There is still much more that remains hidden, but I firmly believe that the people whom God has prompted to have an interest in such writings will, if they seek Him for wisdom and understanding, be granted just that.
Until next time, shalom.