Daniel 11 is an overview of the nations controlling Israel from the time of Cyrus to the reign of Herod the Great – a marker point in the 70 week prophecy. It provides such an explicit history of events that critics say it must have been written after they occurred. Those who believe in the creator of the universe know that God not only revealed the future to Daniel, but has revealed it to us too. Fragments of the Book of Daniel found among the Dead Sea scrolls also demonstrate it was written well ahead of the specific events it detailed
Chapter 12 of Daniel seems to take a leap in time to the last days and the time of the resurrection. It is an overview only – a sealed chapter. Revelation 6 begins where the detailed prophecy of Daniel 11 ends – The sealed scroll of Daniel 12 is open and first century history continuing from Herod the Great is revealed.
This gives us the time and place of the events. Four horsemen go out from ‘God’s throne room in heaven’ which is in the land of Israel during the first century.
(For the explanation of the first 34 verses of Daniel 11 See ‘Daniel 11 Explained’)
Let’s pick up the prophecy from Daniel 11:35 and merge it with Revelation 6.
Daniel 11:35 And some of those who are wise shall fall, to refine and to cleanse them and to make them white, until the time of the end, for it is yet for the time appointed. The ‘time of the end’ refers to the 70 weeks Prophecy (Dan 9:24-7), which led to the appearance of the Messiah at the end of the 62 ‘7’s – an ‘appointed time’. Jesus began His ministry by saying ‘The time is fulfulled’ (Mark 1:15) also referring to this time.
Daniel 11:36 Then the king shall do according to his will; he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is determined shall be done.
The prophecy tells us about The King at the time of the end according to the next stage of the Daniel 9 prophecy.
The king in verse 36 is talking of Herod the Great. He is not called the King of the North (who at this time was Octavius) or the king of the South (Antony & Cleopatra), but simply ‘The King’. Herod was king of Judea which is ground zero for Bible prophecy. The first thing said of The King in v 36 is that he would “do according to his own will.” Herod’s god was himself.
Daniel 11:37 He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all.
Even though Herod was an Idumean (a descendant of Esau), his family had converted to Judaism in the 2nd century BCE, therefore, Herod was generally regarded as a Jew. He promoted Greek and Roman gods for his own political ends. He built the port city of Caesarea (named after the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus). Herod showed no regard for Jesus – the one desired of women – he saw Him as a threat to His throne and had the babies of Bethlehem murdered in the hope of killing Jesus.
Daniel 11:38 He shall honor the god of fortresses instead of these; a god whom his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts.
The Roman emperors proclaimed themselves to be ‘gods’, and it was by their military ‘forces’ or ‘fortresses’ that they enlarged and sustained their power. Herod honoured the warring Roman rulers with tribute and building projects. He rebuilt many fortresses and temples including three dedicated to Caesar Augustus. He rebuilt the ancient Phoenician coastal fort called Strato’s Tower and renamed it Caesarea in honor of Caesar Augustus; he rebuilt Samaria, and renamed it Sebaste (sebastos was the Greek word for ‘reverend,’ equivalent to the Latin augustus). He built many other fortified cities and named them in honor of Caesar. Herod also introduced Greek-style games in honor of Caesar. He often sent delegations to Rome to deliver valuable gifts and money to show his respect to Caesar.
Daniel 11:39 He shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god; those who acknowledge him he shall magnify with honor. He shall make them rulers over many and shall divide the land for a price.
Between 39-38 BCE Herod captured Samaria, Jericho and finally Jerusalem itself with the backing of Rome’s forces provided by Mark Antony. Herod gave land and authority to those who supported him in order to secure their allegiance.
Daniel 11:40-42 He (Herod) shall mix horns (See Greek συγκερατισθήσεται combine forces- mix with) with the King of the South. And the King of the North shall rush upon him (the King of the South) like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen, and with many ships (Battle of Actium); and he shall come into countries and shall overflow and pass through. 41 He (King of the North – Octavian) shall come into the glorious land. And tens of thousands shall fall, but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
This passage describes the conflict between Antony/Cleopatra and Octavius. Herod was caught in the middle- initially giving military aid to Antony/Cleopatra – the ‘King of the South’ then changing allegiance and siding with Octavius when he saw that Antony was losing the battle.
The course Octavius took after his victory over Antony and Cleopatra at the battle of Actium accurately follows the prophecy. He passed through Syria, Judea (the ‘glorious land’), and went to Egypt to finish off Antony and Cleopatra. The lands of Edom, Moab, and Ammon were not invaded during this excursion.
Daniel 11:43 He (Octavius the King of the North) shall become ruler of the treasures of gold and of silver, and all the precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall follow in his train.
Octavius captured the riches of Egypt with his victory over Antony and Cleopatra. He celebrated his triumph in Rome in 29 BCE. His general, Cornelius Balbus, later took Libya and Ethiopia for Rome.
Daniel 11:40-42 Tidings from the east and the north shall alarm him, and he shall go forth with great fury to exterminate and utterly destroy many.
Having updated the story flow in verses 40-43 to show the Roman involvement, the prophecy reverts to its earlier subject, Herod The King, at ground zero – Israel. The ‘tidings from the East’ which troubled Herod was the news of the birth of the ‘King of the Jews’ via the Magi. Matt. 2:3 “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him”. In fury Herod murdered many – Matt. 2:16. Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under.”
The ‘tidings from the North’ came from Rome where his oldest son Antipater sent letters claiming that two of his other sons, were plotting against him. Herod had the two sons killed. A little later Herod executed Antipater as well and 300 of his supporters.
Daniel 11:45 And he shall pitch his tabernacles like palaces between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; but he shall come to his portion, and there is none to deliver him
Herod built a many fortresses between the seas (Dead Sea and Mediterranean) in the Holy Mountain. His fortresses included Alexandruim, Masada, Hyrcania, Herodium and Cypros. It seems he was entombed at Herodium after dying at his Jericho fortress (according to Josephus).
The end of Herod’s life was documented by Josephus. After years of suffering from a painful disease (probably syphilis), Herod finally attempted to take his own life. He was stopped by his cousin Achiab and died painfully.
Daniel 11 concludes in Roman times with Herod’s death, bringing us to the time of Christ – the ‘end time’ of the 62 ‘7’s of Daniel’s prophecy. Some confuse this ‘end time’ with the end of the world in the future and equate the King of the North with Ezekiel 38. This is clearly a different time period.
. In Daniel 11 the King of the North captures Egypt and Cush- they are against the King of the North. In Ezekiel 38 the Southern hordes are aligned with the northern hordes – they are on the same side. Compare Daniel and Ezekiel “He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission.” Dan. 11:43
Notice the Cushites are in submission in Ezekiel 38:5 – “All of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them“ – a completely different event and time.
Revelation 6 – Filling in THE GAPS
We find the expanded and continuing prophecy of Daniel 12 in Revelation.
Daniel 12:1 tells us that a great time of trouble arises for Israel
“At that time (the final time of the Daniel 9 prophecy) Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. (Daniel 12:1)
This time of trouble is specifically mentioned as being for Israel. Their greatest time of trouble began when they rejected God’s Son, the Messiah. The Gospel was entrusted to the Gentiles, they were, cut off. Their trouble spans their entire time of persecution in all the countries they have been scattered.
In Revelation six we are told of the events once the seals are opened – spreading out from Israel – the gospel going to the Gentiles and the persecution of the Jews. We are also told of the Jews inflicting their own persecution on Christians.
4 seals release 4 horsemen. They go out from the throne of God – Israel: ground zero
The time of events continues from Herod: the 1st Century.
The first 4 seals cover –
White Horse – Jesus on a white horse with a new covenant (bow) to the Gentiles. The white horse links Jesus to the white horse he rides in chapter 19 when He returns.
Fiery Red Horse – Persecution of Christians –The colour – fiery red – links it to Herod himself the fiery red dragon of chapter 12 who morphs into those who follow in his steps and persecute Christians. (See notes on Chapter 12)
Black Horse – Jews weighed in scales – curse of Lev. 26 on Jews in their own cities, especially Jerusalem AD 70. They are the epitome of the sun turning black – no longer the light of the world –
Green Horse – Translators often call this a ‘Pale’ horse – but the word means green in other passages – green trees, grass.
God’s judgement of 4 plagues on the Jews – scattered to all nations. The Bar Kochba rebellion 132-135 CE, the 3rd and final Jewish/Roman war was the defining one for the dispersion of the Jews from their land (until 1948). The green horse was the full force of the Leviticus 26 judgment on the Jews. Their vigor was dryed up – I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. “ ‘I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it.’ ” Ezek. 17:24
Four living creatures summon four horsemen-
I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. Rev 6:1-2
|BOW – a bow of covenant – taken from Israel and given to Christians
“I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel. In that day I will break Israel’s bow in the Valley of Jezreel.” Hos 1:5
Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Matt 21:43
Jesus is described as the rider on white horse in Rev 19:11 –12
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a WHITE horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns… The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Rev 19:11
Revelation 6 is talking of Jesus first coming with the ‘bow’ of the New Covenant. Chapter 19 is talking of His second coming with all the saints in white also on white horses.
|FIERY RED HORSE
I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” Then another horse came out, a fiery RED one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword.
|Same context as The Fiery Red Dragon of Rev. 12 which morphs from Herod to Judaisers (See chapter 12 commentary)
Satan from the beginning – in this context talking of Herod and Jews killing babies, killing Jesus, killing John the Baptist, persecuting Jewish Christians.
The dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus. Rev. 12:17
Acts 12:2 King Herod (Antipas) arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword
I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a BLACK horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
|The quote for the Black Horse is taken from Lev. 26 – A time of Judgement for Jews while still in their cities 70-135 CE
I will bring the sword on you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands. When I cut off your supply of bread, ten women will be able to bake your bread in one oven, and they will dole out the bread by weight. You will eat, but you will not be satisfied. Lev 26:25-6
They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you. Luke 19:44
The Jews didn’t recognize the coming of Jesus of which Daniel & others prophesied. They lost their place in heaven ‘the sun became BLACK’ – they were not the light to the world – they are the 2 witnesses wearing sackcloth which is also black in v 12.
There before me was a GREEN horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a 1/4 of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth (God’s 4 judgments)
|DEATH – 4 Judgements against Jerusalem/Jews – Lev 26 & Ezek 14
Continuing the theme of measuring bread by weight (Lev 26:26) punishment spirals to 7 fold as God rejects Jews. They are destroyed in their cities and dispersed from their land by the Romans.
Lev 26:25 And I will bring the sword on you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands (beasts). When I cut off your supply of bread, ten women will be able to bake your bread in one oven, and they will dole out the bread by weight. … I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. …I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols…I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you.
Ezek. 14:21 How much worse will it be when I send against Jerusalem my four dreadful judgments—sword and famine and wild beasts and plague—to kill its men and their animals!
1/4 of the earth – Herod the fiery red dragon (See comments chapter 12) had 7 crowns (ruled Israel- The ‘land built on 7 nations’) -when he died it was divided into 4. Herods sons had 3/4 of the old kingdom -the Romans governed the Judean 1/4 – By 135 CE they had destroyed the temple, expelled the Jews and renamed Judea ‘Syria Palaestina’. Some Jews were taken to Rome others fled to Galilee and throughout the world.
The 5th and 6th seal show the passing of time until the Day of Judgement
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.
|A scene from the ‘Throne Room in Heaven’. The martyred saints ask how much longer until the earth is judged and their blood avenged – the spirit of justice which cries out to God. In a similar way the blood of Abel cried out to God –
“The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”
The souls under the altar are given white robes and told to wait.
I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?
Huge political upheaval at the end time – the final days of judgement – the great day of their wrath has come
As is the pattern of Revelation, each judgement is an overview of a particular aspect of mankind which brings us to the ‘Day of Wrath’ or The Kingdom.
Extract from ‘Revelation – The Time is at Hand’