Introduction: Let’s review. Three weeks ago we found Daniel praying
and fasting for understanding of the appalling vision he recorded in
Daniel 8. (See Daniel 8:27.) Gabriel came to Daniel in our study two
weeks ago (Daniel 9) to explain the vision. Last week, in Daniel 10,
Daniel receives a revelation about a “great war.” Once again, he is
praying for an understanding. Gabriel again comes to explain. This
week and the next, we study this great war. Let’s dive into our study
and learn more!

  1. Gabriel’s Explanation

    1. Read Daniel 11:1. Who is speaking? (Read Daniel 10:20-21.
      Gabriel continues what he is saying to Daniel in chapter
      10 about the supernatural fight over the leaders of Persia
      and Greece.)

      1. What point in time is this? (The first year of the
        Medo-Persian empire.)

    2. Read Daniel 11:2. Daniel has had several dreams about
      Medo-Persia and Greece. Is this more detail about those
      same revelations? (Since Gabriel is speaking just before
      Cyrus becomes king of the Medo-Persian empire, we must be
      looking at the three kings who followed Cyrus of Persia.
      Commentators identify this fourth king as Xerxes, who,
      according to Herodotus, took four years to prepare an
      expedition against Greece.)

    3. Read Daniel 11:3-4. Did Persia defeat Greece? If not, who
      is this “mighty king?” (Persia did not defeat Greece. In
      fact, Greece, under the leadership of Alexander the Great,
      later invaded Persia and defeated it. Alexander the Great
      died at a very early age. As a result, his empire was
      divided among his four main generals.)

    4. Read Daniel 11:5-8. We read about the “King of the North”
      and the “King of the South,” and find an extraordinary
      amount of detail about an alliance, a betrayal, and even
      about a woman who is involved in the power struggle. Who
      is this “King of the South?” (There is much agreement
      among commentators about this history. But, we have direct
      evidence from the Bible. Daniel 11:7-8 specifically
      mentions goods from the “fortress” of the “King of the
      North” being carried “off to Egypt.” This tells us that
      the King of the South rules Egypt. This fits history.
      Seluceucus, one of the Greek generals, controlled Syria
      (to the north) and another general, Ptolemy, controlled
      Egypt. They had many wars between them.)

      1. When we talk about north and south, what is the point
        of reference? (Jerusalem. This is what concerns
        Daniel the most.)

    5. We are going to skip Daniel 11:9-15 because they merely
      explain more details of the battles between the King of
      the North and the King of the South. Read Daniel 11:16.
      What do you think is “the Beautiful Land?” (Read Ezekiel
      20:15. This is Israel. We now see the reason for all of
      this detail. Gabriel tells Daniel that Israel will be
      invaded again.)

    6. Read Daniel 11:19. What does this tell us about the King
      of the North? (His power ends. He is “seen no more.”)

    7. Read Daniel 11:20-21 and Daniel 8:23. Notice that both
      refer to a man taking power through intrigue. Who do you
      think this represents? (Have you noticed that Daniel 11
      parallels Daniel 8 in many ways? Although many
      commentators think this refers to Antiochus Epiphanes,
      when we studied Daniel 8 we saw that the better fit is
      Papal Rome. That means that we have a transition here,
      perhaps starting at Daniel 11:16, to pagan and Papal Rome.
      Thus, this continues the parallel with the prior visions.)

    8. Read Daniel 11:22. Who is the prince of the covenant? (I
      believe that it is Jesus. That makes sense if pagan Rome
      is the power referred to here. The problem is that Daniel
      11:21-22 cannot refer to Papal Rome and Daniel 11:22 refer
      to Jesus. The solution to this is to identify the person
      of intrigue as Tiberius, a vile Roman emperor who reigned
      when Jesus was crucified.)

  2. Transition to the Future – Two Theories

    1. Read Daniel 11:27-28 and Daniel 11:40. Wait a minute! We
      previously read that the King of the North was “seen no
      more” ( Daniel 11:19). How can we be seeing him again here?

      1. Notice that Daniel 11:40 refers to the “time of the
        end.” Those two kings (North and South) existed long
        ago. How can we read they are doing something at the
        “time of the end?” (Read Daniel 12:2. This indicates
        that the time of the end reaches to the time of the
        end of the world. If you understand that the kings of
        the North and South are rival powers that arose after
        the death of Alexander the Great, then this timing
        makes absolutely no sense when applied to them.)

        1. Do you have some way to make sense of this?
          (Let’s skip ahead to Daniel 11:40 and see if we
          can make sense of this.)

    2. Read Daniel 11:40-41. If these are not the same powers as
      those arising from the time of Alexander the Great, why
      call them the King of the North and King of the South?
      (The point of reference, Israel, has not changed. Thus,
      this refers to powers that are geographically on both
      sides of Israel.)

      1. What does this tell us about the importance of Israel
        to prophecy? (It suggests that God never turns His
        focus away from His people or His city.)

    3. When you have been studying Daniel 11, has any of it so
      far described “spiritual” events? (There are many who
      spiritualize these future kings. However, nothing in
      Daniel 11 spiritualizes these historical events. Indeed,
      that is one of the distinct characteristics of Daniel 11,
      it is a very precise statement of future historic events.
      People who know a lot more about this than I do, such as
      William H. Shea, argue that these verses about the future
      should be spiritualized. For that reason, I’m going to set
      out the spiritual theory first, and then the “actual
      events” theory second.)

    4. First Theory: Re-read Daniel 11:22. Which power killed
      Jesus? (Rome. We see in Daniel 11 a parallel to Daniel 2
      and 8. If that is the case, then Rome (pagan and Papal)
      would succeed Greece to be the King of the North. This
      also works geographically.)

      1. Does Rome still exist? (It exists in both a physical
        and spiritual form.)

      2. Read Daniel 11:40-42. What about the King of the
        South? What spiritual aspect of Egypt exists today?
        (Egypt was “anti-God,” meaning against the true God
        of the Bible.)

        1. Is there an “anti-God” movement today?
          (Absolutely! Europe is mostly secular. There
          is a rapidly growing atheism movement in the
          United States. China attacks Christians. The
          old Soviet Union opposed Christianity.)

        2. These verses tell us that the King of the North
          invades all of these countries, including the
          “Beautiful Land.” Would it be reasonable to
          expect that Catholicism invades Israel? What
          about Christianity in general?

      3. Read Daniel 11:43-45. Do you think this predicts the
        future for Catholicism? What about Christianity? (One
        of the problems with broadening Catholicism to
        include all of Christianity, is that throughout the
        Old Testament, the “North” represented the enemies of
        God’s people. Thus, the only kind of Christianity
        that would fit the definition here, as a historical
        matter, is some sort of false Christianity.)

    5. Second Theory: Re-read Daniel 11:40-42. What country to
      the North of Israel fits this description in terms of
      literal events? (The United States has invaded the Middle
      East with “chariots” (tanks) “cavalry” (planes) and “a
      great fleet of ships.”)

      1. Are there some nations in the Middle East that the
        United States has not subdued?

      2. Would it be fair to say that the United States has
        “invaded the Beautiful Land?” (As a practical matter,
        Israel is dependent on the United States. If Israel’s
        enemies were not afraid of the U.S., I imagine they
        would more aggressively attack Israel.)

      3. Daniel 11:40 says that King of the South will engage
        the King of the North in battle? Has anyone engaged –
        taken the first step in battle – against the United
        States? (If the King of the South refers to Islam and
        the nations supporting it, then the answer is “yes.”
        The United States was attacked by Islam on September
        11, 2001.)

      4. Read Daniel 11:43-45. Can you see this as a
        possibility for the United States in the future?

    6. Friend, no one should be dogmatic about how to understand
      the future application of Daniel 11. God’s people badly
      misunderstood the way that Jesus would come and minister
      the first time. I think a great deal of humility in
      predicting the events surrounding the second coming is
      warranted for us today. At the same time, I encourage you
      to be alert to see how God moves in the future!

  3. Next week: From Dust to Stars.