Explaining the Prince of Daniel 11

shutterstock_672554In an effort to say the prince found in Daniel 9:26 is “the antichrist” rather than Jesus Christ, some prophecy teachers use the negative descriptions of the prince found in Daniel 11 as their “proof text.” These teachers lose their argument however when it is shown that the prophecies found in Daniel 11 have already been fulfilled in history. This conclusion thereby removes the theory that the prince of Daniel 11 is a supposed future coming “antichrist.”

The incredibly detailed historical accounts found in Daniel 11 are one of the main reasons why critics of the Bible have challenged the authenticity of the book of Daniel. They argue that since this chapter so accurately foretells what actually did come to pass in history, it must have been written after the fact and not before, which would makes its author someone other than the true Daniel of the Bible.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I am quoting the notes of John Wesley concerning the meaning of Daniel 11. His simple explanations show how each event mentioned in these passages was accurately fulfilled just like God told Daniel they would be. The following is Wesley’s explanations of Daniel 11:

XI A prediction of the setting up of the Grecian monarchy, ver. 1- 4. Of the affairs of Egypt and Syria, ver. 5-20. The rise and success of Antiochus Epiphanies, ver. 21-29. The mischief he would do to the Jews, ver. 30-43. His fall, ver. 44, 45.
2. He – Xerxes was more potent than all the other three, because his father Darius had gathered an incredible mass for him, which he himself increased for six years together, before he made his expedition against Greece. There were more kings of Persia besides those four, but they had no concern with the people of God.
3. A mighty king – Alexander the great.
4. When he shall stand up – When he is come to his highest point. Nor according to his dominion – They did not reign as kings at first, but only as captains; and as to the extent of their dominion, it was far less than Alexander’s, yea, all four fell short of his. Even for others – Some lesser commanders shared several parts of the empire.
5. The king of the south – This king was Ptolemy, the first king of Egypt after Alexander who is brought in, because he took Jerusalem by treachery; for the angel minds only those persons and things which related to the Jews. One of his princes – Seleucus Nicanor, who overcame Demetrius, and added Asia to his empire.
6. They – The successors of those first kings of Egypt and Syria. Make an agreement – Bernice shall come from Egypt and marry with Antiochus Theus, who was the son of Antiochus Soter, and nephew to Seleucus Nicanor; for her father brought her to Pelusium with an infinite sum of gold and silver for her dowry. She shall not retain – She continued not in favour and authority. Nor his arm – His power.
7. Shall one stand up – Of Bernice shall come Ptolemaeus Euergetes, who shall revenge the wrong done to his sister. Shall enter into the fortress – For he invaded Syria, and took many strong-holds.
8. He shall continue more years – He continued forty-six years.
9. Return – So he did with a booty of forty thousand talents of silver. 10. But his sons – He means the sons of the king of the north, shall be incensed with the deeds of Ptolemaeus Euergetes, and his son Ptolemaeus Philopator. One shall come – Antiochus the great, shall pass through Syria and recover what the king of Egypt took from his father. Even to his fortress – To Raphia, which was a strong fortress at the entrance of Egypt.
11. His hand – Into the hand of Ptolemy.
12. His heart shall be lifted up – He might have recovered all, but he grew proud of his victory, and returned again to his luxury.
16. But he – Antiochus, that comes against Ptolemy. The glorious land – Judea. Antiochus held all Judea, and with the provision and product of it, maintained his army.
17. He shall also set his face – He shall use all the force he can to master Egypt, and engross it to himself. Upright ones – Many of the religious Jews joined with him: the rest of his army was a profane rabble of rude Heathens. He shall give – Antiochus shall give Cleopatra his daughter to young Ptolemy, called the daughter of women, for her beauty. Corrupting her – Persuading her to betray her husband: but she stuck to her husband’s interest, and not her father’s.
18. The isles – The isles and sea-coasts of the Mediterranean and Aegean sea. But a prince – The Roman ambassador Scipio beat Antiochus at his own weapons of power and policy, and turned the reproach upon his own head.
19. Then – Then he turned his face home-ward, yet was he not in safety, but was quickly after killed.
20. A raiser of taxes – Seleucus Philopator, who peeled his subjects, and spared not to rob the temple. Within few days – For he lived not out the third part of his father’s reign. Not in battle – Not by open force, but by poison.
21. A vile person – Antiochus, called Epiphanes by his flatterers, but the people of God accounted him infamous, base, and treacherous. They – Neither peers nor people, nor was he the heir, but his nephew; but he crept in by flatteries.
22. Overflown – The Egyptian force near Pelusium, where they fell by the power of Antiochus, with a great slaughter, near the river Nile. The prince – The high-priest with his place and honour, for he put out Onias, and set up in his stead, Jason his brother.
23. After the league – For he made a league with Egypt, and came with a few, (but chosen men) and took the passes, and put all in subjection to him.
24. He shall enter peaceably – He shall come in upon the Egyptians under pretense of peace, in a plentiful and delicious country, and among a mass of treasures which the kings successively had heaped up; the greatest part of which Antiochus distributed among his confidants, whereby he obliged them the faster to him. He did herein what his fathers had not done; the kings of Syria before him, could never attain to this success over Egypt. Against the strong-holds – Having succeeded thus far, he shall proceed to the places of greatest strength in that kingdom. For a time – That is ’till God put a stop to his career, for the Egyptians found means to deliver themselves from his yoke.
25. But he shall not stand – He might have prospered, if he had not been betrayed by Eulaius, Benaeus, and the rest of his nobles, corrupted by Antiochus.
26. Yea – His most familiar friends and confidants; for he shall be overthrown with a great slaughter, as when the Nile overflows the country.
27. At one table – They shall meet under pretense of peace. But it shall not prosper – For neither shall Antiochus gain Egypt by all his artifice, nor Ptolemy, Syria. At the time appointed – By the Lord, whose purpose and counsel shall stand.
28. Then shall he return – Antiochus shall depart with his booty gotten in Egypt. Against the holy covenant – Against the law of God, with the people that worshipped God according to his will.
29. Toward the south – Egypt, to fight against Ptolemy. But – This shall not be so prosperous as the two former expeditions, but shall fail both of his victory and booty.
30. The ships of Chittim – The Roman out of Italy, and the Archipelago. This made his heart boil with rancor, which he spit out against the Jews; especially being solicited to it by Jason first, and Menelaus after, who were apostates, and betrayers of their brethren.
31. And arms – Not only of his own army, but many Jews. The sanctuary – Even the holy of holies. The abomination – The statue of Jupiter placed in the temple.
36. The king – Antiochus was an eminent type of antichrist; to whom many things that follow may be applied by way of accommodation: altho’ they principally refer to Antiochus, and had their primary accomplishment in him. For that that is determined – That which God hath decreed to be done by him shall be done; and that which God hath purposed to be done upon him.
38. But in his estate – In the room of his father’s God. The God of forces – This seems to be Jupiter Olympius, never introduced among the Syrians, ’till Antiochus did it.
39. With a strange God – Using all art and authority to propagate his worship.
41. The children of Ammon – He will not hurt them; because they helped him against the Jews.
43. At his steps – He had them at his foot, at his beck.
45. None shall help him – God shall cut him off in the midst of his days. And when he destroys, who can help?

Wesley is only one of the sources that lists credible fulfillments, which prove the detailed prophecies of Daniel 11 have already come to pass. These evidences mean that the prophecies of Daniel 11 can no longer be applied to a future time. This leaves Futurists who oppose this view with the task of explaining how these detailed prophecies somehow still fit into a modern day scenario. Remember, these passages are purposed to help identify the mentioned prince. To do this some of these verses describe kings of the North and of the South as well as an arranged marriage. If these verses truly refer to “the antichrist,” as futurists contend, and if he is alive and coming into power right now, again as they say, shouldn’t futurists have a better explanation of who these people are than what is already found in history? Sadly this is never the case, and those who attempt such a feat always do so by taking the verses found in Daniel 11 out of their context. Such a method of interpretation is never to be used if the goal is to correctly interpret a verse’s meaning.

To date, most Futurist’s predictions about a “coming antichrist” are derived from news accounts found in magazines and newspapers like Time Magazine and The New York Times. Such stories are treated like God-sent clues that help Dispensationalists divulge the meanings of the Bible’s prophetic passages. These teachers then turn this information into “interpretations” that best help to “prove” their “endtime” predictions. One such case of this happened when the 1993 peace treaty was signed between Yassar Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, and Bill Clinton. At least one Dispensational prophecy teacher I know of claimed that this meeting was the sign that a seven-year tribulation period leading to the endtime had begun. However, as the passing time proved his prophecy to be false, this same prophecy teacher just formulated new endtime theories and found new magazine articles and newspaper clippings to support them.

The only credible way to interpret what the Bible says is to read its passages within their given context. For Daniel 11 this will require men and women to stop confusing the prince found in its passages with the prince found in Daniel 9. These two chapters tell of two completely different happenings, which their descriptions and their context clearly show to be true. The power of the Fulfilled Eschatology position is that it can take biblical prophecies written hundreds or thousands of years before their fulfillment and show, through Scripture, how they were later fulfilled exactly as written. This thereby proves that these prophecies were written by the inspiration of the Almighty God rather than by man. As a result, this gives evidence of both the existence of God and of the validity of His word. Such evidence is much more impacting and life changing than any guess-prediction made by a futurist prophecy teacher. The accurate fulfillment of the prophecies found in Daniel 11 is one such area of Scripture that proves God does exist and that He clearly speaks to His people through His Word.


© 2002 TK Burk. All Rights Reserved.

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