We begin this week by reading Daniel 11:1-4
This is probably one of the most difficult to understand chapters in the Bible. Many people read prophecy and try to make it fit to different times in history. It’s very tempting to go down this path but it can leave us guessing, frustrated and wanting to throw in the towel on prophecy because we don’t know if it is this leader or that one (some prophecies can be very obviously fitted into time – eg Yeshua and His birth etc). As we have gone through Daniel, we have seen that this book has been written in such a way as to prepare people/us for the last days.
Throughout this chapter Daniel uses the word ‘ketz’ which means ‘the end’. He also uses the term “the end of G-d’s wrath” which is also a last day’s phenomena. All these strong indicators, from the text itself, should lead us to the conclusion that this prophesy prepares us for understanding events in the last days.
In Matt 24 when Yeshua spoke to His disciples about the last days he taught them this: that there were going to be times of great INSTABILITY. What we see in this chapter is a great instability in the world because of wars and battles and conflicts. Yeshua told us that in the last days there would be many wars and rumors of war.
The world, at the end, is not going to be cookie cut neat where a ruler will rise up (the antichrist) and take over the world, carrying out his will until the very end. When we look at Scripture itself, we don’t see this neatness, cut and dried. We see something very different. There are going to be many battles and earthquakes, famines and pestilence, social instability, decline of the family, a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. There is going to be a lot going on. Great instability and great problems in the world.
In this chapter we are going to use the Bible to interpret the Bible, rather than going to history to make it fit into this Scripture.
v1 G-d’s hand has been upon Daniel. As a young boy Daniel saw the Babylonian empire assert itself and now, as an old man, he sees a transition to a new empire. (End time people will also experience a transition from one empire to another one) Daniel was a high-ranking leader in both these empires. We see Daniel as a faithful servant in this verse. Faithful first to G-d and then a faithful servant to his leaders (him = Darius). Daniel’s faith impacted Darius.
v2 ‘And now’: This is a message of urgency.
· We are told that what we are about to read is true, it is going to happen.
· We are also told that 3 kings will rise up (after Darius) in Persia and then we see a fourth one who will arise -he is set apart from these three. Ezra 4:5-7 reveals to us the identity of the first two kings – Xerxes (also called Ahasuerus – king in the time of Esther, Esther 1:1) and Artaxerxes. We can read about the 3rd and 4th kings in Daniel 8:20. The horns represent leaders (v21)
· The third and fourth kings of Persia are two final Persian (Iranian) leaders: 8v3-7 tells us that this ram has two horns – The first horn represents king #3 and a later, ‘higher’ horn represents king#4. Chapter 8 deals with the time of the end so these kings may not be clear to us now, but it is good for us to know about them and keep watching with open eyes (Luke 21v34-36)
· This verse also tells us that this last Persian king will be wealthy and strong and he will rise to a place where he is able to stir up nations against Greece (Europe) – as we learnt in chapter 8. [?when the fight takes place between the ram and the great horned goat (8:3-7, 19-21)] This war is going to come about (that is what ‘stir up’ means) and is going to affect the whole world, but the focus is going to be on Europe.
v3 ‘A mighty king’ – i.e. The horn of the goat (8:21) – we were told he rose to power supernaturally (demonically). In this verse we learn a little more about him. He does as he pleases/wants, He will have a great and powerful government.
v4 We can again refer to chapter 8:21-22
We saw that these four European(‘Greece’) empires/leaders arose by satanic power from the broken horn – the first leader. Broken does not necessarily mean destroyed, it can also mean a great transformation or change takes place. This division does not bring an end to this empire.
· These kingdoms have global influence. (four winds of heaven; north south east and west).
· Even for others besides these: This is a very unique term. This kingdom is going to be uprooted and given to others…the word in Hebrew speaks of the supernatural, something completely different. This leader is going to be different. He is going to have others empowering him. Daniel wants us to know that this empire is going to be different and unique. More supernatural in nature than natural.