Daniel 11 Devotions
Pastor Mark Hudson
This very long chapter can be divided into the following sections: 2-4 Persia and Greece; 5-20 conflict between kings of the North and kings of the south; 21-35; he climatic king of the North; 36-45 the king who will do as he pleases.
The first section refers most probably to Cyrus, and it is difficult to determine the next four. Possible the next kings are Cambyses, Smerdis, Darius I Hystaspes, and Xerxes I who is called Ahasuerus in the book of Esther. The mighty king of v. 4 is almost certainly Alexander the Great. His sons were murdered so the kingdom was split between his 4 generals (or four winds of heaven v. 4).
In v. 6, the alliance is between Ptolemy II and Antiochus II Theos. The daughter who does not retain her strength is Berenice who was poisoned by Laodice, the first wife of Antiochus II. Berenice was the second wife.
Without going into great detail, the reign of Antiochus III goes until v. 19. He is rather important because in his reign Palestine shifts from Ptolemaic control (south – Egypt) to Seleucid control (north – Syria).
In section 21-35, we begin this section with the rising of “a contemptible person” who is none other than Antiochus IV Epiphanes (manifest God).. Some of his contemporaries called him Epimanes (The Mad One). At this point, I won’t go into all the wars and how terrible Antiochus was but he serves as a type of Antichrist. In v 31, this refers to his worship of Zeus, his preventing the Jews from daily sacrifices and his offering of swine on the altar.
In v. 33-35, we read of a falling away or stumbling of those who seem in to be in the faith. These tragic events reveal the true nature of concealed hearts. When the going gets tough, some no longer find comfort in the truth of God and His kingdom.
In verse 36-45, we find even more difficulties in understanding this passage. This section forces some scholars to conclude that this was not written in the sixth century but the second. So, many believe that instead of Daniel writing about the future he was actually writing history. There are many reasons for these conclusions and we ought to be careful toward those who are trying to make sense of the text. Others are less concerned with Biblical fidelity and just can’t fathom how an author in the sixth century can accurately speak of rulers, wives, wars, and events that are yet to come.
It is at this point that I want to bring up an issue that you may not consider very often. I can say that my professors at Trinity during my M. Div and D.min years were such godly, wonderful teachers and godly men as people. These men have a tremendous influence on pastors. I still read these authors and love them dearly for the dedication in the hard, hard work of writing, teaching, and preaching. While you may never meet them, you hear pastors and teachers quote them and seek their works when we can’t understand a passage.
Most of us go to seminary unsophisticated. I know I knew little theology. In fact, I was an Arminian. I did not believe in Reformed theology. If you want to see where the church will be in the next decades go to the seminaries. These scholars inform the pastors with their views and influence their teaching for decades to come. For me, seeing these men pray before class, open the Scripture with such respect, precision, and love for God and his church, made an incredible impact on me. Pray for these men and institutions because things can change quickly.
This last section, if it does not directly speak to the coming Antichrist, certainly points to the autonomy (v. 36), rejection of authority (37-38), idolatry (v 37-39), and giving gifts and honor to those who follow him (v. 39), “Yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him” (v 45).
This reminds us to be vigilant, wise, and watchful. I don’t think it is wise to attempt to identify the Antichrist but to know well the characteristics of that individual. We are to always be vigilant, discerning, and pursue righteousness. Those who go a different way or choose a different path, the godly person should be discerning enough to stay away. Pray for discernment and wisdom. We need discernment in every age.