Dan. 11:1 Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.
The messenger goes on to tell Daniel that he fought on behalf of Darius the Mede to encourage him and strengthen him. Darius had a specific purpose in advancing God’s plan for Israel and Jerusalem.
The following verses are very specific regarding certain historical events—so specific that skeptics of God’s word have tried to discredit the writings of Daniel by saying he could only be writing from a historical perspective and not from prophetic revelation from God. I used a lot of reference sources in trying to understand this chapter.
Dan. 11:2 And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.
The first phrase of this verse seems to be referencing the written record referenced in the last verses of chapter ten. The messenger declares that these are events certain to take place.
From Daniel’s perspective, there are yet to be three kings in Persia—the current king, Cyrus (cf 10:1), plus three more; research indicates that these three kings were Cambyses (the oldest son of Cyrus), Darius (the cousin of Cyrus), and Xerxes (the son of Darius, and traditionally identified as Ahasuerus, Esther’s king), the one who ordered the invasion of Greece. The “fourth” was supposed to be the richest, and I believe references Artaxerxes I. He in accordance with the actions implemented by his father furthered the attacks on Greece in an effort to expand the empire. It was Artaxerxes whom Nehemiah served as cupbearer and who permitted the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city (see Nehemiah 2).
Historical notes of interest:
Dan. 11:3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.
Dan. 11:4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.
History shows that Persia was not successful, and a mighty king of Greece emerges. This king is the same as the notable horn on the he goat in Daniel 8, the first king of Greece, Alexander the Great. He is an amazing leader who establishes a world empire in a relatively short time.
History reveals that Alexander died in Babylon within a few years of his great conquests. Guzik provides some additional insight: “After Alexander's death, none of his descendants succeeded him. It wasn't for lack of trying. Alexander did leave three possible heirs: a half brother named Philip, who was mentally deficient; a son who was born after Alexander died; and an illegitimate son named Hercules. The half-brother and the posthumous son were first designated co-monarchs, each with a regent. But fighting amongst the regents eventually resulted in the murder of all possible heirs.”
The kingdom of Greece was then divided among four of his generals—“not to his posterity” (cf 8:22):
Š Seleucus = Syria, Israel, Babylonia, and Media
Š Cassander = Macedonia and Greece
Š Ptolemy = Egypt, Cyprus, and parts of Asia Minor
Š Lysimachus = Thrace, Lydia, Cappadocia, and the northern parts of Asia Minor
Dan. 11:5 And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.
“the king of the south” = Ptolemy (Egypt)
“king of the north” = Seleucus (Syria)
Evidently, Seleucus was once in a position inferior to Ptolemy, but in the division of the kingdom, he became more powerful than Ptolemy.
Historical note: From 285-270 BE Ptolemy II commissioned the Septuagint translation of the scriptures. This is just another affirmation of the authenticity of Daniel (a part of the Septuagint) since it was completed before most of the following recorded events.
Dan. 11:6 And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king’s daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.
At a determined point in time, an alliance was established through the marriage of Ptolemy II’s daughter, Berenice, to Antiochus II (successor of Seleucus). Antiochus had to divorce his wife, Laodice (who was powerful in her own right), in the process. The marriage did not result in peace between the two kingdoms.
“she shall be given up” - After Ptolemy died, Antiochus went back to Laodice, who had Berenice and her son killed. She also poisoned her husband, Antiochus. The son of Laodice, Seleucus II, became the next “king of the north.”
Dan. 11:7 But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail:
“a branch of her roots” – Berenice’s brother, Ptolemy III
Berenice’s brother, Ptolemy III, and his armies attacked the king of the north in revenge of her death and were victorious. He killed Laodice.
Dan. 11:8 And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north.
Dan. 11:9 So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.
Ptolemy III returned home the victor, bring much spoils with him to share with his people—prisoners and riches that included 4000 talents of gold, 40,000 talent of silver, and 2500 idols according to the historical record.
Ptolemy lived to remain in power four years longer than Seleucus II.
Dan. 11:10 But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.
Dan. 11:11 And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.
The word “his” is not in the Hebrew and is confusing. The content of the two verses (10&11) shows that it is the king of the south being attacked. Seleucus II had two sons who wanted their own revenge on the king of the south. They assembled a great army, but one of the brothers died when he fell off a horse.
“one shall certainly come” – The surviving brother was Antiochus III, also known as Antiochus the Great. He was successful in regaining part of the territory that his father had lost; this territory included the Holy Land.
“king of the south” = Ptolemy IV
Ptolemy IV gets furious at his losses to Antiochus and moves out with his armies to do battle. Although Antiochus had a “great multitude” of forces, Ptolemy was victorious. Note from Joe Focht: Ptolemy’s forces included 73,000 men, 5000 cavalry and 7 elephants.
Dan. 11:12 And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it.
This was the opportune time for Ptolemy to seize more power, but he chose to make peace with Antiochus instead. In other words, the kingdom of the south did not become any stronger through its victory.
Note from Focht: Ptolemy celebrated his victory by going into the Holy of Holies in the temple—even after being warned not to by the high priest. He was struck with paralysis and had to be carried back to Egypt.
Dan. 11:13 For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches.
“after certain years” – 13 years later
Ptolemy IV died leaving his four-year old son, Ptolemy V, as his successor. Antiochus chose this time to move against Egypt with an even greater army and more riches than he had the time before.
Dan. 11:14 And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.
The king of the south was faced with many enemies. These enemies included “the robbers of thy people.” The messenger is talking to Daniel and is making a reference to certain Jews who wanted to revolt against the king of the south and against their own religious system. All of these things are happening in fulfillment of the vision, the fulfillment of the “scripture of truth.” (cf 10:21)
Dan. 11:15 So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.
Eventually, Antiochus will come down and capture the fenced cities by building ramps/mounds. His power will be too great for the armies of the king of the south.
Dan. 11:16 But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.
Antiochus III, the king of the north, will “do according to his own will.” He evidently assumes the power of a dictator. His victory (at the Battle of Panias in 197 BC) places “the glorious land,” Israel, in his control. He was even welcomed as a deliverer when he came to the city of Jerusalem.
Dan. 11:17 He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.
Antiochus decides to conquer the whole of Egypt and is supported by many Jews. “The upright ones” was a recognized Jewish reference to their own nation. Antiochus determines to make an alliance with Egypt by marrying his own daughter, Cleopatra, to Ptolemy V, the young king of the south, thinking to gain control through his influence as the grandfather of the future king. This time the ploy fails because she ends up aligning herself with her husband and his people, and turning against her father.
Jack Kelley at www.gracethrufaith.com notes: “Don’t confuse this Cleopatra with the later one, Cleopatra II, consort to both Julius Caesar and Marc Antony.”
Dan. 11:18 After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him.
Antiochus turns his attention to the islands of the Mediterranean and is able to make conquests with Hannibal, the great general from Carthage. A Roman commander, Lucius Scipio, defeats Antiochus at Magnesia on behalf of the Rome. Antiochus and his armies were defeated by a much smaller contingent led by Lucius. Antiochus’ son, Antiochus IV, was taken captive to Rome.
Dan. 11:19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.
Antiochus is forced to head home. He was required to pay a tremendous yearly tribute/tax to Rome. On his way home he attempted to loot the temple of Bel/Jupiter at Elymais, but the people of the town rose up in defense of their temple and killed Antiochus in the process.
Dan. 11:20 Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.
“raiser of taxes = Seleucus IV
Antiochus oldest son, Seleucus IV, succeeded his father as king. He appointed a man named Heliodorus as his fund-raiser to get money for the taxes required by Rome. According to the book of 2Maccabees, a traitorous Jew named Simon, who was angry with the high priest, sent word to the king that there was plenty of wealth in the temple at Jerusalem to meet his needs. Heliodorus was deterred from his mission to loot the temple by a vision of being attacked and beaten by a group of mighty angels.
“he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle” - Heliodorus ended up poisoning Seleucus in an attempt to gain the throne since Demetrius, Seleucus’ son, the rightful heir to the throne, was captive in Rome. One commentary states that he had been sent as a replacement hostage for Antiochus IV. (Even in comparing commentaries, I’m not sure I’m keeping everything straight. I just know that the main facts presented in the commentaries are historically accepted since they have caused such question as to the authenticity of Daniel as a prophet. Again, when we are finally able to look back through God’s perspective, it will be crystal clear.)
Dan. 11:21 And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.
Heliodorus did not succeed in gaining the throne. Antiochus IV (who became known as Antiochus Epiphanes; the Jews called him “Epimanes,” mad man), the brother of Seleucus, Demetrius’ uncle, assumed the throne. He was a vile, contemptible person. He was not accorded any of the honor usually given to royalty. He attained his position through flattery of those in power; the king of Pergamos was one of his main stepping-stones to power.
Dan. 11:22 And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.
Dan. 11:23 And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.
Dan. 11:24 He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.
Many times, I find that the supplied pronouns or modifiers of the KJV translators throw me off; they (v22) is one of those pronouns. The commentators differ, but I tend to think Matthew Henry makes more sense in this section. This is referencing a covenant made with his nephew to maintain the kingdom for him until he is able to assume his throne. Instead he begins a campaign of deceit and flattery. Starting with a small group of followers, his following grows as he acts as a “Robin Hood” figure by sharing the spoils of battle and his wealth with the common people. Once he was in a position of power, he began to show his true colors. Henry puts it this way, “He that comes in like a fox reigns like a lion.”
Dan. 11:25 And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him.
Dan. 11:26 Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.
Evidently, Antiochus IV is able to repel the attack of Ptolemy VII from the south and take Ptolemy prisoner in the process. How? Partly through plotting against Ptolemy by some of his own people. Many Egyptians are killed in the battle.
Dan. 11:27 And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.
The people of Egypt made Ptolemy’s brother, Physcon, the king. The crafty Antiochus decides this is his opportunity to gain influence over Egypt. He makes an alliance with his prisoner and proceeds to help him regain his throne. Neither of the rulers are men of honor; neither can be trusted. Even as they covenant with one another, they are planning their deceit against one another. All of their planning is for nought since God’s plan overrides the plans of men.
Dan. 11:28 Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.
Antiochus returns home with great riches. On his way home to Syria he decides to wreak havoc “against the holy covenant.” This seems to be a reference to Jerusalem and the temple. The commentaries all differ as to the specifics.
Dan. 11:29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.
Dan. 11:30 For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.
Eventually, Ptolemy and his brother made peace with each other and joined forces to free Egypt from Antiochus’ influence. Antiochus heard of their plans and set off to put an end to their uprising. The Ptolemies sent for help from Rome, and the Roman fleet was sent to help them. When he came face to face with the Roman commander and was given an ultimatum, he backed off. He was very familiar with the power of Rome. His father had experienced defeat at the hands of Rome and he had been held captive there for a time.
Note: The ultimatum—Leave Egypt alone or face Rome. The Roman commander drew a circle in the sand around Antioichus and told him he had to decide before stepping out of the circle.
Angry at his defeat, he decided to take it out on Israel. Evidently, he was even aided by some inside Israel. There was a power struggle going on over the position of high priest according to the books of Maccabees.
Dan. 11:31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.
Supported by his armies and the apostate Jews, Antiochus eliminated the daily sacrifice and polluted the temple by placing an image of Zeus there and later sacrificing a pig to Zeus on the altar.
Antiochus Epiphanes is the type of the coming Antichrist. At this point in the narrative, it would seem that the vision jumps to the time of the end and the coming Antichrist—or maybe not until verse 36. Sometimes there seems to be a partial fulfillment of prophecy and then a complete fulfillment at another point in time, or maybe it’s better to say a foreshadowing of fulfillment.
These are some other actions taken by Antiochus:
Just as surely as God is in control and knows all in the past as recorded here, the same is true now. Nothing happens that surprises God or happens outside of His direct or permissive will.
Dan. 11:32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
I really liked Matthew Henry’s comments on this verse:
"Such as do wickedly against the covenant, such as throw up their religion, and comply with the heathen, he shall corrupt with flatteries, to harden them in their apostasy, and to make use of them as decoys to draw in others…." Note, It is not strange if those who do not live up to their religion, but in their conversations do wickedly against the covenant, are easily corrupted by flatteries to quit their religion. Those that make shipwreck of a good conscience will soon make shipwreck of the faith.”
“Though there are many who forsake the covenant and do wickedly against it, yet there is a people who do know their God and retain the knowledge of him, and they shall be strong and do exploits. When others yield to the tyrant's demands, and surrender their consciences to his impositions, they bravely keep their ground, resist the temptation, and make the tyrant himself ashamed of his attempt upon them. Good old Eleazar, one of the principal scribes, when he had swine's flesh thrust into his mouth, did bravely spit it out again, though he knew he must be tormented to death for so doing, and was so, 2 Mac. vi. 19. The mother and her seven sons were put to death for adhering to their religion, 2 Mac. vii. ….Or it may refer to the military courage and achievements of Judas Maccabĺus and others in opposition to Antiochus. Note, The right knowledge of God is, and will be, the strength of the soul, and, in the strength of that, gracious souls do exploits. Those that know his name will put their trust in him, and by that trust will do great things.”
Dan. 11:33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.
“they that understand” = those that possess the wisdom of God and discernment of good and evil according to God’s word.
God always has a remnant, yet many of the people of God suffer death for holding to their faith. This was true in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, has been true throughout history, and will be true in the coming time of tribulation—the 70th week of Daniel.
David Guzik notes that Antiochus is said to have killed 80,000 Jews, taken 40,000 as prisoners, sold 40,000 as slaves, and robbed the temple of approximately $1 billion.
Dan. 11:34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.
This could be a reference to the Maccabees and those who chose to follow them in defense of their country and their faith in God, but in the end they too were defeated. This is also descriptive of the tribulation period when many will choose to stand firm in their faith and defy the Antichrist, but they too will be defeated physically.
Revelation 13:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
Many will choose to follow Antiochus/Antichrist (and other “false christs” throughout history) because of their flatteries. The last phrase could be saying that those who appear to be supporting “they that understand” will deceive them.
Dan. 11:35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
I think the messenger is telling Daniel that even those that fall and suffer will do so in accordance with God’s purposes for them.
My first thought was an emphasis on clean and pure, but this would seem to add the idea of strong and firm. Also, I think of the fact that bricks are made with fire, which is another emphasis on refining.
We’ve already made note of the fact that God chastens those He loves and that we are created for His pleasure. Isaiah adds the thought that we who are called by His name, people of faith, are created for His glory.
Isaiah 43:7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
When we choose to continue to follow Him in faith, even when the times are tough and we can’t understand His purpose, we can rest in the truth of His love and His character. Paul emphasizes this truth in Romans.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
This verse ends with great encouragement—this time of suffering has an end. God’s plan and timetable are set.
Dan. 11:36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
“the king” - At this point I believe we definitely jump to the time of The Antichrist, the little horn of Daniel 7:8, and the time of the 70th week.
It is not unusual for a particular prophecy to make reference to great spans of time in its declaration. Jesus pointed this out in His reading of Isaiah 61 as He declared His fulfillment of the first part of that prophecy at that time. The last part of that prophecy is yet to come.
Isaiah 61:1-7 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.
(That in bold is yet to come.)
“magnify himself above every god” – This is the same description that Paul gives of the coming Antichrist.
2Thessalonians 2:3-4 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
“shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods” – This affirms the words of the apostle John in the book of Revelation in reference to the Antichrist.
Revelation 13:5-6 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
“shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished” – Again, this is referenced in the last half of verse 5 in Revelation 13. The time is predetermined according to God’s plan; Antichrist will only have complete control for 42 months, 3.5 years.
“that that is determined shall be done” – God’s purpose will be accomplished.
Isaiah 14:24 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:
Isaiah 46:9-11 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.
Dan. 11:37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
“God” – The article “the” is not in the Hebrew. The Hebrew word means “gods.” If used with the article, it is often a reference to the Supreme God.
I have heard this taught as indicating that the Antichrist will be a Jew. Zola Levitt gives a good argument against this in the Levitt Letter, Vol. 21, 1999.
“Israel undertakes a formal covenant with the Antichrist. If he were one of their own, they probably would not have to actually sign a document. The policies of Prime Ministers Rabin, Peres, and Netanyahu were accepted by their fellow Jews without the necessity of signing formal documents. But dealings with Gentile powers like the U.S., the Arabs, or the Oslo peace accords themselves were contractual matters more like the Antichrist’s upcoming covenant.”
It would seem that he won’t be able to be influenced or charmed or deceived by women, as were Adam and Samson. His whole focus appears to be on himself. He will not acknowledge any authority as valid over him. He will be full of pride and consider himself as “God.”
Jack Kelley at www.gracethrufaith.com made the following observation:
“It was the dream of every Jewish woman to be the mother of the Messiah, so the phrase ‘the desire of women’ refers to Jesus.”
As I read through this section again, it made sense that this truth is being referenced here. “Neither shall he regard God…or Jesus…or any god.”
“nor regard any god” – This is a phrase that eliminates Antiochus as the one being referenced here, since he sacrificed a pig to Bel/Zeus at the temple in Jerusalem.
Dan. 11:38 But in his estate shall he honour the god of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.
The Antichrist will consider his position a result of his force/strength. I personally believe that Antichrist chooses to submit to Satan as his “god.” In Revelation, John tells us that the dragon (Satan) gives the beast (Antichrist) his power, seat and authority. “And they worshipped the dragon” (Rev 13:4) means he is acknowledging Satan as his power source, his “god.”
Revelation 13:2&4 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority….And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
I think the reason that this idea of his acknowledging Satan does not contradict with his not regarding any god, is because he chooses to be indwelt by Satan to have the power to put himself in position as “God.” He literally sells his soul to the devil.
“the god of forces” – a reference to military might
“honor with gold, silver, and precious stones” – will use his wealth to invest in military might
Dan. 11:39 Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.
This verse goes on to affirm the fact that Antichrist will acknowledge a “strange god.” This affirms that he will cause this “god” to be honored, “increase with glory.” I think the following verses identify this “strange god.”
Revelation 13:4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
“Strongholds” is a reference to fortified cities, places of strength. It would seem to be saying that those who choose to follow him will be rewarded by being given additional land over which to exercise their authority. This would seem to be a reference to the ten kings/kingdoms represented by the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image (ch 2) and the ten horns of the 4th beast in Daniel’s vision (ch 7).
“shall divide the land for gain” – Remembering that the focus of Daniel’s vision is regarding the Jews and Jerusalem, this could be a reference to the dividing of the land of Israel “for gain,” to accomplish his purposes. There is a reference in Joel that shows God’s displeasure at trying to divide the land of Israel.
Joel 3:2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
Note from MacArthur: The literal translation of the last part of verse 39 = “Those who recognize him, he will highly honor and cause them to rule over many, allotting land as reward.”
Dan. 11:40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
Although Antichrist will basically control most of the world through economic and military power, there will still be those that resist yielding to him. This would seem to be supported by the fact that the spirits of devils will have to be sent to work miracles and convince the kings of the whole world to join Antichrist in battle against God Almighty.
Rev. 16:13-14 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Evidently, the king of the south (Egypt?) will try to break free from his hold at some point, but will not be successful.
Dan. 11:41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
The “glorious land” is a reference to Israel, so Israel will be one of the countries conquered by the Antichrist. The land of Edom, Moab and most of Ammon will not fall victim to Antichrist at this time; this would equate to the current day land of Jordan. God may be supernaturally protecting Jordan, if, as many believe, Petra is the place of safety in the wilderness that He provides for His people during the last 3.5 years of the 70th week.
Dan. 11:42 He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
Antichrist will make many conquests in this campaign, and Egypt, the land of the king of the south, will be one of them.
Dan. 11:43 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.
In conquering Egypt the Antichrist will acquire great wealth, including gold, silver and all its other desirable goods.
“at his steps” – The commentators are mixed as to whose side the Libyans and Ethiopians are on. I think we can infer that this references northern Africa southward to a point. The word “his” is not in the Hebrew, and the word “steps” indicates “companionship.” Only the future will tell.
Dan. 11:44 But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
In the midst of this campaign the Antichrist will get news from the east and north that will trouble him. Maybe this is a reference to the kings of the East referenced in Revelation.
Revelation 16:12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
This will cause the Antichrist to respond in great fury as he sets out to destroy these invading armies.
I think it is significant to note that the “west” does not even merit mention. I tend to think they will be hand in glove with the Antichrist and obviously do not pose a threat to his authority.
Dan. 11:45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
At this time the Antichrist will make his headquarters between the Mediterranean and Dead Seas on the holy mountain of Zion in Jerusalem. Although it may look like he is invincible, Antichrist will “come to his end.” When Jesus returns as King of kings to planet earth, he will be cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 19:19-20 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.