The book of Daniel has been alternately placed within the Hebrew books of history as well as among the prophets. The truth is that this book is both historic as well as prophetic.


There were three separate deportations of Judah to Babylon. The book of Daniel begins with the first of these deportations.

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the vessels of the house of God; and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and he brought the vessels into the treasury of his god. (Daniel 1:1-2).

Nebuchadnezzar met and defeated the forces of Egypt at Carchemish in northern Syria in 606 B.C. It was an epic battle and changed the balance of world power for the next fifty years.

Moving southward, Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem and took it after a short siege. It was during this time that Nebuchadnezzar received word from Babylon that his father had died. It was necessary for him to return home immediately lest some contender for the throne rise up in his absence. To make sure that the Jews would not revolt against him, he gave orders that hostages be taken from among the nobility of Judah. The criteria and purpose of these hostages is given in verses 3-4.

Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, 4 youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding, and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king's court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. (Daniel 1:3-4).

Nebuchadnezzar's plan for these hostages went far beyond mere intimidation. His plan was nothing less than the indoctrination of these young noblemen so that they would become good Babylonian citizens, faithful to his empire. Among these hostages was a young man named Daniel.

The book of Daniel goes on to deal with events taking place in Mesopotamia during the Babylonian Captivity. As such, it fills in the gap between the end of Kings and Chronicles and the beginning of Ezra.



1. Partially Written in Aramaic.

The first chapter of Daniel is written in Hebrew. When we come to Daniel 2:4 there is a change: Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic...

From this point until the end of chapter 7, the book is written in Aramaic. Then from chapter 8 to the end of the book is written in Hebrew.

Aramaic was the lingua franca -- the common language of that day. It is similar to Hebrew. Indeed, our Hebrew Bible generally uses the Aramaic alphabet. As we look at this section, we find that it is primarily concerned with narratives and prophecies that relate to GENTILES.

Because of this language division, we can suggest an outline of the book of Daniel.



Written in the Third Person

Written in the First Person

Seven Historical Narratives

Four Prophetic Visions



Written in Aramaic

Written in Hebrew


Prophetic History relating to the Gentiles

Prophetic History relating primarily to the Jews

2. Emphasis on the Kingdom.

The word "kingdom" is found 55 times within the book of Daniel. This is a book about the kingdoms of this world in contrast with the Kingdom that God promises to establish. This concept is set forth in Daniel 2:44.

And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. (Daniel 2:44).

What is this kingdom of which Daniel spoke? It is God's kingdom. It is the CHURCH.

3. Emphasis on Prayer.

Throughout the book we see Daniel and his companions involved in a life of prayer. Daniel is seen both with regular prayer times as well as praying in times of crisis.

4. The Spiritual Battle.

In the book of Daniel, we are given insights into the spiritual battle that surrounds us. We learn that there are events that occur which only mask the real conflicts taking place in the heavenlies.





A priest who spoke of matters of spirit

A statesman who spoke of matters of state

Emphasizes times of Israel's glory

Emphasizes times of Gentile's glory

Residence as a prisoner

Residence in a palace

Focus on Israel and the Jews

Focus on Gentiles and the world



Daniel 2:4 says, "Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic." From this point on to the end of chapter seven is written in Aramaic.

Dream of the image of the four kingdoms (2)

Rescue of Daniel's friends from the fiery furnace (3)

Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the tree
Daniel's interpretation
Nebuchadnezzar's humiliation (4)

Belshazzar's feast and handwriting on wall

Daniel's interpretation
Belshazzar's death (5)

Rescue of Daniel from the lion's den (6)

Night vision of four beasts (7)

This section of Daniel begins and ends with visions and dreams that set forth a scheme of prophetic history.

Chapters 3 and 6 each give an account in which the reigning king mandated a form of worship that was unacceptable to the Jews.

Chapters 4-5 also give parallel accounts.



The city of Babylon now became the center of the ancient world. Not only was it the center of government, but it was the center of trade and culture as well.

1. Physical Description of the City.

Herodotus, writing 150 years after Nebuchadnezzar, tells us that the city of Babylon was a vast square in design, each side having a length of 14 miles and making a complete circuit of 56 miles. He adds that the walls of the city were 300 feet high and were so wide that three chariots could race along the top side by side.

The Euphrates River ran straight through the center of the city. The banks of the river were lined with brick and large gates crossed the river where it entered and exited from the city.

A large part of the city was given over to farmland. With both a food and water supply, Babylon could withstand a siege indefinitely.

2. The Defenses of the City.

Herodotus states that the outer wall of the city was 300 feet high and 80 feet thick. Surrounding this outer wall was a huge moat which was fed through canals from both the Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers.

Around the center of the city was a second double-wall. If an invader managed to pass the outer wall and then also passed through the inner wall, he would find himself within a narrow space between the first and second inner wall which could be flooded in times of emergency.

  1. The Hanging Gardens.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were considered by the Greeks to be one of the seven wonders of the world. They were 400 feet square and were raised on terraces one above the other to the height of the city wall. Viewed from a distance, they had the appearance of a forest-covered mountain, standing in marked contrast to the level plains of the Mesopotamian Valley.

It is said that Nebuchadnezzar built the Gardens for his wife, Amyhia, the daughter of Cyaxeres, the king of the Medes. The Gardens were to relieve her homesickness for the mountains of her native Media.

In order to maintain the exotic plants of the Gardens under the blazing sun of the Babylonian plains, a powerful pump was built inside the terraced wall which kept a steady flow of water, insuring that the soil was always moist.

4. Temples.

Under Nebuchadnezzar, every temple in Babylon was rebuilt. He lists eight which were built within the city itself.

The greatest of all was the Temple of Bal-Merodach. It stood in a square enclosure with each side measuring 1200 feet and entered by 12 gates. In the middle rose a tower of solid brick, like a pyramid. The sanctuary on the top rose in eight stories and was 300 feet high.



Daniel 5 tells the story of Belshazzar, the last king of Babylon. The problem is that historical records tells us that Nabonidus was the last king of Babylon and that he was allowed to live on a pension following the Persian conquest of Babylon.

In 1854 Sir Henry Rawlinson found an inscription of Nabonidus in which his eldest son was mentioned, but no name was given. Records indicated that Nabonidus had given this son the power of regency while he traveled south to excavate in the ruins around Ur. More recent inscriptions have shown this son to be Belshazzar.

Babylonian records tell us that the city of Babylon fell to the Persians without a fight. Writing 150 years after the event, the Spartan General Xenophon tells a story of how the Persians dammed up and diverted the waters of the Euphrates River and then moved a small force up the exposed riverbed into the city to open the gates to the invaders.



Chapters 2 and 7 give a series of corresponding visions.

As the vision of chapter 7 opens, Daniel sees the four winds of heaven that are driving the sea. Remember that the word for "wind" and the word for "spirit" are the same. Daniel would be reminded of a time when the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters (Genesis 1:2). Now God is again moving the waters.

Vision of Daniel 2


Vision of Daniel 7

Vision of a Great Statue

Kings and their Kingdoms

Vision of Beasts coming out of the Sea

Head of fine Gold


Lion with 2 wings of an Eagle

Breast and Arms of Silver


Bear with three ribs in its teeth

Belly and Thighs of Bronze


Leopard with 4 wings of a bird and 4 heads

Legs of Iron and Clay and 10 toes



Beast with iron teeth and 10 horns

All destroyed by Stone cut without hands

Coming of the Lord and His Kingdom

Ancient of Days takes His seat and passes judgment

A kingdom which will never be destroyed (2:44)

His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom (7:27)

The four in the series is characterized by the number 10. There are ten toes in the image and there are 10 horns on the fourth beast. The number 10 goes back to the 10 commandments. It carried the idea of a number of completeness.

We have a tendency to read this and think of these kingdoms as being "on the earth" instead of "in the land."

Antiochus best fits this prophecy if we do not identify the fourth beast as Rome. This will especially be seen to be true when we compare chapter 7 with chapter 8. On the other hand, while we can see Antiochus as a pre-figure, it is in the days of Rome that Christ came to establish His kingdom.

There are several lessons that can be drawn from this chapter.

Jesus quoted from Daniel 7:13 at His trial before Caiaphas.

Caiaphas asked Jesus: Are you the son of God? (Matthew 26:63)

Jesus answered Caiaphas: You shall see the Son of Man (Matthew 26:64).

At that point Jesus had not yet been given all authority. But He has today. That is what He told His disciples in Matthew 28:18. Today He has been given all authority. And one of these days, Caiaphas will see Him returning on the clouds of the sky with great glory.



Daniel 8 starts a new section of the book, yet there are interesting parallels to be seen between this chapter and the previous chapter.

Daniel 7

Daniel 8

Dream comes in the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon

Vision given in the third year of the reign of Belshazzar the king

Successive beasts rise up out of the ocean

    • Babylon
    • Medea-Persia
    • Greece
    • Other Kingdom

A ram is standing by the canal; a goat comes from the west

? Medea-Persia

? Greece

Terrible beast has ten horns

Large horn broken gives way to 4 smaller horns

Out comes a small horn...

  • Three previous horns pulled up
  • Eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts
  • Intends to make alterations in times and in law
  • Wages war against the saints and overpowers them
  • Saints are given into this hand for a time, times and half a time
  • Then sovereignty, dominion, and greatness are given to the people of the saints of the Highest One

Out comes a small horn that...

  • Grows exceedingly
  • Magnifies itself against the hosts of heaven
  • Removes the regular sacrifice and throws down the sanctuary
  • Flings truth to the ground and performs his will
  • Endures for 2300 mornings and evenings
  • Then the holy place will be properly restored

There seems to be considerable overlap within these two visions, yet there are also some considerable differences.

The vision of chapter 7 contains the description of animals that would have been unclean by Jewish standards. By contrast, the animals of chapter 8 are clean by the cultic standards of Jewish religion. These were the animals used in the rituals of Yom Kippur.

In order to further see the fulfillment, we need to know something of Jewish history as it took place between the Old and New Testament.



When Alexander the Great lay on his deathbed, his general gathered around and asked, "To whom do you bequeath your kingdom?" He replied, "To the strongest." With those words, he plunged his empire into civil war as each of his generals attempted to carve up a piece of the kingdom. After a hundred years of fighting, two main powers emerged from this.

In 190 B.C. the Seleucid king Antiochus III lost the Battle of Magnesia to the Romans. His son, Antiochus IV, was sent as a hostage to Rome where he spent 12 years. Antiochus IV was treated well in Rome and sent to Latin schools where he roomed with a young Roman named Popilius. While he was here, he learned to respect the power and the endurance of the Romans.

Antiochus IV eventually escaped from Rome and returned to Syria so that, at the death of his father and his brother, he was able to take the throne for himself. He fancied himself as another Alexander and he set out on a mission of conquest.

He had heard that Egypt was making offers to Judah to turn against him, so he decided to make sure that his hold there remained undisturbed. In order to stabilize his position in Judah, he appointed men whom he could trust to positions of responsibility. One of these positions was that of high priest.

In doing this, he touched the Jews at their most sensitive spot � their religion. He created the very explosive situation that he had sought to avoid. Judah became a powder keg, waiting for a spark to set it off.

1. First Invasion of Egypt (170 B.C.).

Antiochus invaded Egypt in 170 B. C. Although he failed to capture the capital city of Alexandria, he succeeded in gaining possession of almost all of Upper Egypt. He even marched south to Memphis where he had himself crowned as Pharaoh.

2. First Revolt in Judah.

While Antiochus was in Egypt, a rumor reached Jerusalem to the effect that he had been killed. To celebrate the news, the Jews took all of the Seleucid officials and threw them off the walls of the city.

Antiochus, still very much alive, heard the news of the rebellion while he was still back in Egypt. He promptly left Egypt and marched into the city of Jerusalem. In three days he killed 80,000 people and led an equal number away as slaves. He also entered the Holy of Holies in the Temple and set up pagan idols there and sacrificed pigs upon the altar.

Before returning to Syria, Antiochus established the following laws in Jerusalem.

These laws were designed to extinguish the religious faith of the Jews. The penalty for breaking any of these laws was DEATH.

3. Second Invasion of Egypt (168 B.C.).

The Seleucid control over Egypt did not last long once Antiochus left. He returned to Egypt in 168 B.C. to complete the job. Once again, he was victorious. Only the capital city of Alexandria stood against him.

As Antiochus marched on Alexandria, who should come out of the city to meet him but his old friend Popilius at the head of a small embassy.

On their first approach he [Antiochus] saluted them and held out his right hand to Popilius; but Popilius put into his hand a written tablet containing the decree of the Senate and desired him first to read that. (Livy).

The Senate's message was a crisp order to Antiochus to put an end to his Egyptian campaign and retreat. Antiochus replied that he would call his advisors together and consult them on what was to be done. Popilius responded by taking a swagger stick that he had been carrying and using it to draw a circle around Antiochus on the sand. He told Antiochus not to step out of the circle until he had given his decision concerning the contents of the letter. Antiochus hesitated for a few moments, astonished at the authoritative attitude of Popilius. Then he agreed to leave.

4. Second Revolt in Judah.

As Antiochus left Egypt, he received news that the Jews had rebelled again. He was furious. Antiochus now began an intense persecution of the Jews. He set up a statue of Zeus in the Temple and forced the Jews to worship it. The statue had an uncanny resemblance to Anitiochus.

The spark had been set to the powder keg. It was only a matter of time before the explosion was set off.

5. The Maccabean Revolt.

The Maccahean Revolt started in 166 B.C. in the small, village of Modi'in, 17 miles to the northwest of Jerusalem. A Seleucid officer arrived in the village early one morning with a few soldiers. They proceeded to erect an altar in the middle of the town square.

Assembling the villagers, the Seleucid official ordered that Mattathias, a Jewish priest, slaughter a pig upon the altar and offer it to Zeus. The villagers would then eat of the pig's flesh, signifying their acceptance of the Greek religion. When Mattathias did not respond, the old man was offered wealth and honor if he would obey. Mattathias refused.

Suddenly one of the villagers stepped out of the crowd and walked up to the altar, announcing that he was willing to make the sacrifice. Mattathias was enraged. Grabbing the sacrificial knife from the villager, he slit the villager's throat and then turn and killed the Seleucid official. Before the astonished soldiers could take in what was happening, the five sons of Mattathias attacked them and slaughtered them.

The villagers banded together under the leadership of Mattathias and his five sons, stripping the soldiers of their weapons and uniforms and hiding the bodies. The handful of rebels moved out into the hills. The revolt had begun.

In the following years, the sons of Mattathias and specifically his son Judas organized the resistance movement. Judas was given the nickname of Maccabee, meaning "Hammer" because of his hammer strikes against the Seleucids.

After three and a half years of fighting, the Jews liberated the Temple Mount and were able to purify the Temple and restore the sacrifices. To this day, the Jews celebrate this time in the Feast of Chanukah.

The parallels between the prophecies of Daniel 8 with the career of Antiochus Epiphanes are striking.

I have to conclude that Antiochus did indeed fulfill these prophecies. On the other hand, Jesus indicated that there would come "an abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet" that would come in the future who would again stand in the holy place (Matthew 24:15). The implications of this are obvious. Jesus said that it would happen again.

It did. Within 40 years from the time that Jesus spoke these words, the Romans landed three legions in Palestine while a fourth marched up from Egypt. They converged upon Jerusalem and the city fell in August of A.D. 70. The Roman General Titus entered the Temple and burned it to the ground. It has never been rebuilt and to this day there remains upon the site an abomination that renders it desolate to Jewish worshipers.

Will there be a third fulfillment of this prophecy in the future? I don't believe that the Scriptures mandate such a fulfillment, but I would not presume to tell God what He can and cannot do. What we CAN do is to point out the fulfillments that have already taken place.



Daniel's prophecy of 70 weeks is made in the context of Daniel's prayer. Daniel was in captivity along with the rest of the Hebrew people. He had been pondering over the writings of the prophet Jeremiah and the promises of a 70 year captivity.

In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans-- 2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. Daniel 9:1-2).

Daniel is careful to tell us when this prophecy took place. It was at the beginning of the Persian rule. The 70 years of captivity as promised by Jeremiah had come and gone.

You would think that Daniel would be rejoicing that the captivity was almost over. But instead, he goes to the Lord is fasting and in sackcloth and ashes. Instead of rejoicing, he presents a picture of mourning.

Why? Because he realizes that there is a missing element. The people of Israel have not repented and turned to the Lord.

As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come on us; yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our iniquity and giving attention to Thy truth. (Daniel 9:13).

Daniel understands the promise of the Old Covenant that restoration would take place only when the people repented. There was never a restoration promised apart from repentance. Instead there remains only a promise of further judgment.

If also after these things, you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins (Leviticus 26:18).

As a result, the angel Gabriel comes to tell Daniel that there will be a lengthening of the time of judgment. Instead of being only 70 years in duration, it will now be over a period of seventy sevens.



"Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place." (Daniel 9:24).

The prophecy has to do with the restoration of the city of Jerusalem. It is a prophecy of the holy city and the most holy place. But that is not all. The scope of this prophecy transcends the mere rebuilding of Jerusalem when it speaks of:

From our perspective, we can see that each of these aspects were ultimately fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. By His death upon the cross, He finished transgression and made an end of sin and made atonement for iniquity. It is through that atonement that he brought in everlasting righteousness. As a result of this completed redemptive work, there is no further need for vision or for further prophecy as we have the completed Scriptures today.

All of these things are to take place within the scope of "seventy weeks" - literally, "seventy sevens." Just as Daniel had been reading of 70 years of captivity, so now he is told that 70 weeks remain.

This reckoning of time seems very foreign to us since we count time by tens, adding up either decades or centuries. The Jews, on the other hand, were Sabbath oriented. It is for this reason that they counted time by parts of seven. Every seven years they had a year-long holiday. Every 49th year all of their debts were forgiven.

Such groups of sevens is not unusual in the Scriptures. A similar wording is used in Leviticus 25:6 where seven weeks of years is said to refer to the 49 years between Jubilees. In Numbers 14:34, the Israelites were told that the 40 years they would spend in the Wilderness would correspond to the 40 days that the spies spent in the land of Canaan. Ezekiel was instructed to lie on his left side for 390 days and on his right side for 40 days. This was to be understood as a day for each year (Ezekiel 4:6).

I want to suggest that these 70 weeks are to be understood by each day of these "weeks" representing a single year. This means that we are dealing with a period of 70 weeks of year - a total of 490 years.

7 Weeks

62 Weeks

+ 1 Week

70 Weeks


49 Years

434 Years

+ 7 Years

490 Years

"So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem... (Daniel 9:25).

This period begins with a very specific event. The event is the issuing of a decree to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem. The Hebrew word translated "decree" is simply dabar, the normal Hebrew word for "saying" or "word." The problem that we have is that the Bible records several different decrees concerning rebuilding within Jerusalem.




Specifics of the Decree


Ezra 1:1-4

539 B.C.

Permitted Jews to return to the land and rebuild their Temple. This work was discontinued because of false accusations (Ezra 4:6-13).


Ezra 6:8-12

520 B.C.

Permitted Jews to complete the rebuilding of the Temple


Ezra 7:11-28

457 B.C.

Allowed Ezra authority to lead the nation in the Laws of God


Nehemiah 1

445 B.C.

Nehemiah given permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem

One interpretation of this decree views the seven weeks and the subsequent mention of the 62 weeks as not necessarily taking place concurrently. This would allow for Cyrus to be understood to be the one who gives the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and for the High Priest to be the "anointed one" whose untimely death would signal the soon desecration of the Temple.

While this view does fit within the historical framework, I believe it is at best a type of the complete fulfillment that was to follow.

Sir Robert Anderson taught that this prophecy was to be reckoned in "prophetic years" of only 360 days, measured by twelve months of thirty days each. He used this complicated formula to add up an exact number of days from the final decree of Artaxerxes to the Triumphal Entry of Jesus in A.D. 33.

This is the view that has been traditionally adopted by Dispensationalists. It postulates a giant parenthesis between the 69th and 70th weeks into which the age of the church is to take place.

It seems evident that the theory is contrived, having been born out of a supposed necessity. There is no hint that we are to expect there to be a great gap or an intervening age between the 69th and 70th week. The Jews knew exactly how many days ought to be in a year and even added an "intercalary month" upon occasion to correct their calendar. Furthermore, it seems that Daniel himself understood the years of Jeremiah in the usual sense.

A third option best fits the facts of history as well as the demands of the prophecy. It is to see the decree as one given to Ezra in the 7th year of Artaxerxes. That Persian king began his reign in 464 B.C. This would place his decree to Ezra around 457 B.C. Later, in Ezra's priestly prayer, he alludes to possibly having been given permission, not only to build up the Temple, but also to build the walls of Judah and Jerusalem.

For we are slaves; yet in our bondage our God has not forsaken us, but has extended lovingkindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us reviving to raise up the house of our God, to restore its ruins and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem. (Ezra 9:9).

Nehemiah comes along twenty years later and goes into mourning when he hears that the walls still have not been repaired. But I would suggest that the decree which had been given earlier was the one described in Daniel's prophecy.

"So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks... (Daniel 9:25).

The culmination of the first 69 weeks is the advent of "Messiah the Prince." It is universally agreed among Christians that this Anointed Prince is a reference to Jesus. In hindsight, it is a simple matter for us to trace back to the four decrees to see which one of them aligned with the coming of Jesus.

Date for the giving of the Decree

Plus 483 Years


Ezra 1:1-4

539 B.C.

56 B.C.


Ezra 6:8-12

520 B.C.

37 B.C.

7th Year of Artaxerxes

Ezra 7:11-28

457 B.C.

27 A.D.

20th Year of Artaxerxes

Nehemiah 1

445 B.C.

39 A.D.

It is evident from this chart that the first decree of Artaxerxes given to Ezra in 457 B.C. is the one that matches the prophecy of Daniel. The date of 27 A.D. is within the realm of the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. This view is presented in the following chart:

This view does not mandate any particular action that had to take place at the end of the 70th week. It DOES say that after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing (Daniel 9:26). This was fulfilled in Jesus going to the cross.

In verse 26 there is a second person introduced. He is described as "the prince who is to come." He stands in contrast to Messiah the Prince.

"...the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined.(Daniel 9:26).

Notice the actions of this one who is "the prince who is to come." It is he who will destroy the city and the sanctuary. It must be remembered that, at the time Daniel received this prophecy, there was no city or sanctuary. It had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. But Daniel says that it is going to happen again.

This was dramatically fulfilled in A.D. 70 when the Roman General Titus marched against Jerusalem and took the city after a siege of eight months. Since that time, the site of the Temple has been the site of desolation and a complete destruction. Today archaeologists even debate as to exactly where the original Temple was located.

"And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate." (Daniel 9:27).

At first glance, verse 27 seems to be speaking of the same "prince who is to come" that was introduced in verse 26. Or is it? One is hard-pressed to find such a "firm covenant" that Titus made for a particular period, though it is noteworthy that the Jewish War lasted a total of seven years before all resistance was overcome. On the other hand, we can certainly say that Christ's death on the cross "made a firm covenant with the many" and that the rejection of His kingship is seen in the Scriptures as resulting in the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.



Throughout Daniel 11 we are given an extensive prophecy that outlines the history of the kings of the north and the south and their interaction with Judah. This section spells out the history of the Ptolemies and the Seleucids who ruled from the death of Alexander the Great to the coming of Rome.

  1. The Persian Invasion of Greece.
  2. And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in 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. (Daniel 11:2).

    It was the Persian king whom we know as Xerxes who invaded Europe with a huge host, burning the city of Athens and ultimately being defeated in a sea battle at Salamis.

  3. The Rise and Fall of Alexander.
  4. And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases. 4 But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded; for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them. (Daniel 11:3-4).

    A hundred and fifty years after Xerxes, Alexander the Great came on the scene. Within the space of 10 short years, he had conquered everything from Greece to the borders of India and wept because there were no more worlds left to conquer.

    Alexander died in 323 B.C. His infant son was soon set aside as his kingdom was quickly parceled out among his generals.

  5. The Rise of Ptolemy and Seleucus.
  6. Then the king of the South will grow strong, along with one of his princes who will gain ascendancy over him and obtain dominion; his domain will be a great dominion indeed. (Daniel 11:5).

    The immediate prize went to Ptolemy who managed to grab and hold onto Egypt. Ptolemy had a sub-general by the name of Seleucus who was sent to Mesopotamia to try to capture even more territories. He was successful, but instead of handing these over to Ptolemy, he established his own dynasty.

  7. A Temporary Alliance.
  8. And after some years they will form an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the South will come to the king of the North to carry out a peaceful arrangement. But she will not retain her position of power, nor will he remain with his power, but she will be given up, along with those who brought her in, and the one who sired her, as well as he who supported her in those times. (Daniel 11:6).

    The Ptolemies and the Seleucids formed an alliance in 285 B.C. and sealed it with the marriage of Antiochus II (the grandson of Seleucus) to Bernice, the daughter of Ptolemy II Philadelphus.

    The problem was that Antiochus II already had a wife (her name was Laodice) and she did not take kindly to being banished. She used her influence to have her competition murdered and eventually even went on to poison her former husband. The longer-range ramifications of this is that the peace treaty went by the wayside.

  9. The Ptolemy-Seleucid Wars.
  10. The next few verses outline the series of wars that took palce over the next hundred years. First one side and then the other would gain the upper hand. Each major turnabout is given in this prophecy.

  11. Antiochus III is also known as Antiochus the Great. Although suffering some initial setbacks, he eventually wrested the lands of Palestine and Syria from the Ptolemies.
  12. Then he will turn his face to the coastlands and capture many. But a commander will put a stop to his scorn against him; moreover, he will repay him for his scorn. 19 So he will turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land, but he will stumble and fall and be found no more. (Daniel 11:18-19).

    The downfall of Antiochus III would be when he went up against the might of Rome. He was defeated and had to give up his son as a hostage.

  13. The Short Reign of Seleucus
  14. Then in his place one will arise who will send an oppressor through the Jewel of his kingdom; yet within a few days he will be shattered, though neither in anger nor in battle. (Daniel 11:20).

    Following the death of Antiochus III, his son Seleucus IV came to the throne. He is described here as an oppressor because he attempted to have one of his officials plunder the temple in Jerusalem after hearing a rumor that it contained fabulous wealth. The attempt was disuaded and Seleucus IV was eventually poisoned.

  15. Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

We have already described the career of Antiochus IV who eventually entered the Temple and erected a statue of himself for worship. Daniel describes him as the despicable king and traces his career from verse 21 to the end of the chapter.

What are we to make of the fact that Jesus described the abomination of desolation as spoken of by Daniel the prophet as an event that was still in the future? Matthew 24:15 could not be more clear -- it is going to happen again.

It did.

In A.D. 70 the Roman general Titus broke through the defenses of the city of Jerusalem and eventually broke through to the temple. It was desecrated and destroyed. To this day, there remains an abomination that effectively renders it desolate -- an abomination known as the Dome of the Rock.



Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.

2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:1-2).

With these words, Daniel seems to take us on a trip to the future as he pictures the final resurrection and judgment. This is introduced with the rise of a new prince. He is described as Michael, the great prince.

Some have suggested that Michael is another name for Jesus, the Son of God.

There are several problems with this identification:



"But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase." (Daniel 12:4).

This stands in contrast to the instructions that would be given to the Apostle John at the close of the book of Revelation. John is told, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near" (Revelation 22:10). In Daniel's case, the fulfillment of the prophecy was a long way off. In the case of the book of Revelation, much of John's prophecy was at their very doorstep.

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