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December 1, 2006 / Daniel

Daniel 11:40-45

By far, this is the most difficult text in the book of Daniel. Your interpretation of this text plays a big part of the determination of the date.

40 “At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. 41 He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. 42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission. 44 But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. 45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.”

Here are the three interpretations of the passage.

1. Antiochus IV Epiphanes view–The text envisions a battle between Antiochus (the king of the north) and Egypt (the king of the south). After a great victory over Egypt, Antiochus would be struck down by God in the Holy Land. The problem with this view is that it sees the text as a failed prophecy because it doesn’t correspond to history. In other words, what we have here is nothing but the hopes of the 2nd century writer.

2. The antichrist view–the passage leaps into the future to describe a battle facing the antichrist. The difficulty here is the jump. The rest of the chapter seems to describing battles and characters from the 2nd century. Why would the author suddenly jump thousands of years ahead?

3. The Roman view–I only ran across this view yesterday so I don’t know if it’s legitimate historically or exegetically. Robert Gurney argues the text refers the Romans’ campaign to overtake Syria and Egypt. Thus, there are 3 kingdoms in the text. The king of the South is still Egypt. “Him” refers to the king of Syria, Antiochus’ ancestor. And the king of the north refers to Rome. It’s an interesting proposal. What do you think? Is it legit?

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3 Comments

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  1. Matthew C / Dec 1 2006 5:07 pm

    This passage refers to the Antichrist, the second beast of Revelation 13. He will be the ruler of Israel at the time that God (the king of the North) and the king of the South (Put or Libya) invade in the last days.

  2. Matthew C / Dec 1 2006 5:14 pm

    The reason for the historic gap is that the parenthetical church age is not revealed in prophecy. The present age is an ethereal timeless gap in world history.

  3. fiester25 / Dec 1 2006 6:08 pm

    I read in one commentary about the image of a three-section teloscope. At first glance, unextended the scope looks like one section. Extended the scope looks like three sections.

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