DANIEL’S GREAT VISION PROPHECY
By: Nelson Walters
Author: Are We Ready for Jesus? How to Prepare for His Return (May 2015)
Daniel 11 contains some of the Bible’s most specific prophecies. Theologians have attempted for centuries to determine which segments of this prophecy are strictly historic and what prophecies in Daniel 11 are yet to be fulfilled.
If you haven’t read them yet, the first two segments of this 5 part post are listed below:
What Are the Latter Days?
Now I have come to help you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to future days. (Dan. 10: 14 NET, emphasis mine)
This passage is found in Daniel 10 and is spoken by the messenger angel to Daniel. The angel tells Daniel the prophecy refers to the latter days. What does this mean? if we could be sure this meant the “time of the end” as is referenced in Daniel 8, we’d immediately know the entire chapter 11 was yet future. but Daniel doesn’t use the same terms he used in Chapter 8, and the term he does use, latter days, doesn’t convey this same finality.
This exact phrase “latter days” is found in Daniel 2, however, when Daniel is providing God’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the metal statue.
There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. (Dan. 2: 28 NASB, emphasis mine)
This vision of the metal statue in Daniel 2 stretches from Babylon(gold) to Persia (silver) to Greece (bronze) to Islam (iron) to the ten toes (iron and clay mixed) to the Millennial Kingdom of Christ (stone). Obviously all of these kingdoms were included in the phrase “latter days.” By extending this same logic about “latter days” to the vision in Daniel 11, it is entirely possible for some of the vision to apply to ancient times and other portions to apply to the “time of the end” right before Christ returns.
From this discussion we can now deduce a working definition of two key phrases in the Book of Daniel:
latter days = from this day forward to the Millennial Kingdom
time of the end = the time right before the return of Christ
Using these working definitions, we can now examine the three main views of what prophecies are ancient and which are yet to be fulfilled:
1. The Historic View of Daniel 11
Most commentators have stated that Daniel 11: 1- 35 is prophecy only related to the past and was fulfilled historically by Persian and then the Greek kings. It was fulfilled. We have shown that clearly in the post PRECISE HISTORICAL FULFILLMENT OF DANIEL 11. These commentators state that Daniel 11: 36 and following are prophecies related to the coming Antichrist.
This view is consistent with the definitions of latter days and time of the end that we have seen above. Unfortunately it is not entirely consistent with close examination of the passage itself as we will soon see.
2. The Conservative Futurist View
All three views of Daniel 11’s fulfillment believe that Daniel 11:36-45 (and all of Chapter 12 as well) apply to the Antichrist. The Conservative Futurist view also holds that Daniel 11: 21-35 will have a dual fulfillment with Antiochus Epiphanes and the Antichrist. As we will see, this view is entirely supported by scripture.
In order to understand this scriptural support, we must view the scroll of Daniel the way the ancients viewed it: as a single scroll without chapter divisions and without verse divisions. As we have seen Chapters 10-12 represent one vision and we must not separate them into 3 chapters. Chapter 10 is the introduction to the vision that we discussed in depth in DID SATAN FEAR THIS PROPHECY AND TRY TO KEEP IT SECRET? The prophetic vision itself then occurs in Dan. 11:1 – Dan. 12:4 (notice the vision is continuous until verse 4.) At that point (verse 5 and following), the angel explains the vision to Daniel. This is consistent with all of Daniel’s other visions. The angel gives a brief explanation after each one after delivering the visions.
In this explanation in Chapter 12, the angel gives Daniel some details about the timing of the events in the proceeding prophecy and quotes from the prophetic vision to show us where on the time line those events fall. This is incredibly important information that is ignored by those commentators looking at only a historic fulfillment.
First, let’s look at the timeline the angel gives Daniel:
And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?” I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river,]as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time. (Dan. 12: 6-7 NASB)
This angelic conversation says the end of these wonders (the events in chapter 11 and the beginning of chapter 12) will be for a “time, times and half a time.” This is one of the most famous phrases in prophecy and is universally understood to mean the three and a half year period of the Great Tribulation. So the angel is saying that the wonders of this vision will cumulate in a three and a half year Great Tribulation and finally, the resurrection.
The angel then immediately quotes from his own prophetic vision (chapter 11) so that we can time-date the point at which the Great Tribulation starts in the vision! This is incredibly important, but often neglected interpretation. The first of these quotes is:
As soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed. As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?” He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand. (Dan. 12: 7-10 NASB)
Those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many; yet they will fall by sword and by flame, by captivity and by plunder for many days. Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time. (Dan. 11: 33-35 NASB)
From this direct quote we can see that we can apply the prophecy to the antichrist as far back as verse 33. But can we go back further? The next verse in Daniel 12 (and it’s parallel verse in chapter 11) gives us the answer.
From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. (Dan. 12:11 NASB)
Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation. (Dan. 11: 31 NASB)
From this we can clearly see that Chapter 11 refers to the Antichrist as far back as verse 31. Jesus confirms this by referring to this same event (the abomination of desolation) in Matthew 24:15. Jesus was speaking 150 years after Antiochus set up the original abomination of desolation yet Jesus was referring to a future event. Obviously this could only be referring to the Antichrist.
Now that we know that Daniel 11:31-35 refers to both Antiochus and the Antichrist we have tremendous insight. In verse 31 we learn that “forces from him will arise.” The him in this verse we now know refers to the Antichrist. This means that all previous references to him (this character) in chapter 11 refer to the Antichrist!!! Since this character (the vile person) enters the story in verse 21, we can safely say (under the laws of solid Biblical interpretation) that Daniel 11:21-35 all refer to the Antichrist.
This is stunning and in the next post we will examine the implications of this new found knowledge.
3. The Radical Futurist View of Daniel 11
If Daniel 11:21-35 has a dual fulfillment, might all of Daniel 11 also have a dual fulfillment? Those holding this radical futurist view believe that all of the prophecies fulfilled in Dan. 11: 1-35 will be fulfilled yet again in the future.
Because none of these prophecies have been fulfilled in modern times, it is impossible to determine if this view has validity at this time. I have a “test” to determine if this view might be true. This “test’ is whether verse 2 is fulfilled. The verse states:
Behold, three more kings are going to arise [n Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all of them; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece. (Dan. 11: 2 NASB)
The word translated “Greece” in this verse is actually Yavan, which is the modern country of Turkey NOT Greece as our English translation gives us. For a detailed explanation of the analysis of the Yavan people see ARE WE ABOUT TO SEE IRAN FULFILL DANIEL 8?
Many hold that the time of the end referenced in Daniel 8:17 refers to the time after Israel became a nation in 1948. It is possible that the second fulfillment of a dual fulfillment of this prophecy in Daniel 11: 2-35 will occur during this period. Since Israel became a nation in 1948, there have been 3 “kings” in Persia (Iran):
If a fourth leader arises, becomes “rich,” and begins to stir up aggression against Turkey, this verse may be considered fulfilled in modern times. It is then that I would begin to consider this viewpoint as possible. If this fourth leader invades the Middle East and acquires the oil fields of Iraq and Saudi Arabia as we have seen in ARE WE ABOUT TO SEE IRAN FULFILL DANIEL 8? he very well might fulfill this prophecy. In a future post, I will list the implications of this radical futurist position.