Continued from our previous post.
The Sage states: The eleventh chapter is complicated as it becomes a back and forth confrontation between the two countries now designated as king of the North or king of the South. The last King of the North, Antiochus the 4th, did “not stand, for schemes” were “devised against him—those who eat his choice food will destroy him” Dan 11:25, 26. Both Syria and Palestine declined in power and both were eventually made province of Rome in 64-63 B.C.E.
In Reply, “The history which is told in few words in Dan 8:9, 10 is related with greater detail in Chapter 11:5-19. In this detailed account, Egypt is spoken of as the King of the South; while the Grecians, and afterward the Romans, their successors in power, or the new horn out of Greece, are designated the King of the North. Woven between these, linked now with the one and again with the other, is the history of God’s people–Daniel’s people–in whose ultimate blessing, as promised by God, Daniel trusted. It is tedious and unnecessary to trace this history in its many details of conflicts between Alexander’s generals and their successors, until Verse 17, which refers to Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. And since all are agreed thus far, we need go no farther into the past.
At Verse 18 those who claim that Verse 31 applies to Antiochus Epiphanes continue to apply the prophecy to the little squabbles and battles between Seleucus, Philopater, Antiochus Epiphanes and Ptolemeus Philomater down to the end of the chapter–as the Jews were evidently accustomed to apply it. The Jews, continuing this interpretation into chapter twelve, would have strong grounds for expecting deliverance by Messiah speedily; and so we read that at the time of our Lord’s birth “all men were in expectation” of him, and through him, of their deliverance from the Roman yoke.
But (and this is the important thing) from Verse 18 onward, we who see the real “abomination,” part company from them, and understand the prophecy merely to touch prominent characters down to Papacy; and then, touching and identifying it, to pass on to the end of its power to persecute, and to mark that date by a detailed account of one of the most noted characters of history–Napoleon Bonaparte.
But it may be asked, why this change of the particular method of the preceding verses, to touch only prominent features of history? We answer, that this has been part of God’s method of sealing and closing the prophecy. “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end.” (Dan 12:4) Besides, everything in prophecy was so arranged as not to stumble Israel at the first advent. Had the minutiae and detail of twenty centuries been spread out as is that prophecy contained in Verses 3 to 17 of this chapter, it would have been long, tedious and beyond comprehension; and it would have given the Jews and the early Christian church an idea of the length of time before the Kingdom of God should come; and this was not God’s purpose.
Proceeding, then, we understand Verses 17-19 to apply to the times and incidents in which Mark Antony and Cleopatra figured, when Antony fell, and Egypt (the “King of the South”) was swallowed up (becoming a province of) the Roman Empire (this took place under the rulership of Augustus Caesar in B.C. 30).” C 27-29
As for your statement in regards to Dan 11:25 you should be a little more careful of how you state the facts my sister so as to avoid any confusion, you state,
The last King of the North, Antiochus the 4th, did “not stand, for schemes” which were “devised against him—those who eat his choice food will destroy him.”
Let us take another look at the quoted text,
“And he [Rome] will stir up his power and courage against the King of the South [Egypt], with a great army; and the King of the South shall be stirred up for the war with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand; for they will [treacherously] devise plans against him.”
From the foregoing it is obvious that it was NOT the King of the North but rather the King of the South who did “not stand, for the schemes (treacheries)” which were “devised against him”.
This king or ruler we understand was not Antiochus, but rather Queen Zenobia a descendant of Cleopatra. No hostilities had occurred between the two kingdoms until her reign in 269 A.D. Her reign was short; Aurelian, the Roman emperor at the time conquered her in A.D. 272. Aurelian then returned to Rome covered with honor and with great wealth as described in Verse 28. Although his army proved very successful in war nevertheless many were slain and in the end Aurelian himself was assassinated by his own generals, as foretold in the prophecy, “those who eat his choice food (eat at his table) will destroy him” Verse 26. C 33, 34
I believe the problem here my sister is that you are relying to heavily upon the record of history and of the interpretation of these events as recorded by those who like the misguided Jews were unable to see the true picture and so through their ignorance (i.e. a lack of understanding) they were caused to stumbled at our Lord’s First Advent (misunderstanding the prophecies concerning him) even so the same is true today and for the very same reason (a lack understanding).
Here at the end of the age during our Lord’s Second Advent (his parousia) the professing church, i.e. the nominal spiritual house stumbles over some of the very same things, specifically in regards to the time, purpose, and manner of his presence, but even so it is as the Lord said it would be. (Isa 8:14)
Before we precede any further we should like for the sake of those unfamiliar with this prophecy to fill in the blanks so to speak returning to the Scriptures we skipped in our last post Verses 20-24.
Verse 20 “There shall arise in his place one who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom; but within a few days he shall be destroyed, but not in anger or in battle.”
“This verse we apply to Augustus Caesar, who was noted for his systematic collection of large taxes from all tributary nations, and whose exactions of taxes, in Judea and throughout the then civilized world, are noted in Scripture in connection with the birth of our Lord. (Luke 2:1) The statement, “Caesar Augustus sent forth a decree that the entire world should be taxed,” corresponds faithfully to the description–“There shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom.” This latter part of the description also fits exactly; for the period of Augustus Caesar’s reign is noted in history as the most glorious epoch of the great Roman Empire, and is called “the golden age of Rome.”
Another translation of Verse 20 reads: “There will stand up in his place one who will cause the exactor of taxes to pass through the glorious land of the kingdom.” This would seem to apply specially to Palestine, and would make this fit exactly to the record in Luke. But both applications are correct: It was the glorious time of the Roman Empire, and tax collectors were caused to pass through the land of Palestine– the glorious land of the kingdom. Furthermore, be it noted that Augustus Caesar was the first ruler to introduce to the world a systematized taxation (which was accomplished by means of a census).
We read further of this prominent ruler–“Within few days he shall be broken, neither in anger nor in battle.” Of Augustus Caesar it is recorded that he died a quiet death, while his predecessor and his seven successors in imperial power died violent deaths. His death was within a few years after he had reached the zenith of his power and had caused “the exactor of taxes to pass through the glorious land of the kingdom.” (C 29)
Verse 21 “And in his place shall arise a vile person, whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue.”
This fitly describes Tiberius Caesar, the successor of Augustus: “There will stand up in his place a despicable person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom; but he shall come in peaceably and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.” Let us here note how the historic account of Tiberius agrees with the above by the prophet.
Says White: “Tiberius was fifty-six years old when he ascended the throne, professing great unwillingness to take upon him its important cares…All restraint being now removed; the tyrant gave loose reign to his cruel and sensual passions.”
Says Willard: “At first he dissembled and appeared to govern with moderation; but the mask soon dropped… The senate, to whom he transferred all the political rights of the people, had become degraded, and thus obsequiously sanctioned his acts and offered the incense of perpetual flattery to the man who filled their streets with blood. It was under the administration of this most debased of men, that our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified in Judea.”
These pictures fit exactly the prophet’s description, and are further confirmed by the next verse.” (C 29, 30)
Verse 22 “With the powers of an overflow [flood] will they [all opposers] be swept away before him, and be broken; yea, also the Prince of the Covenant.”
This last statement seems unmistakably to refer to our Lord Jesus, who, as above noted by the historian, was crucified under the administration of Tiberius by his representative, Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, and by Roman soldiers.” (C 30)
Verse 23 “And after the league made with him [the Senate recognizing him as emperor] he shall work deceitfully; for he will come up and become strong with a small number of people.”
“Tiberius organized the Praetorian Guard, at first of 10,000, afterward doubled. This small number of people, as the emperor’s bodyguard, was continually at Rome and under his control. By it he overawed the people and the senate, abolished popular elections, assemblies, etc.” (C 30)
Verse 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 father’s fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: and he shall think thoughts against the strongholds, even for a time.”
“It was the policy of both Augustus and his successors to preserve peacefully the control of the dominions previously gained, rather than to seek by conquest further additions; and, to secure this hold, it was their policy to divide the spoil by appointing local governors, with dignity and authority, whose tenure of office was made to depend upon the preservation of order in their provinces, their fealty to the Caesars and the prompt collection of taxes. They no longer, as at first, pursued the policy of sacking and plundering the world merely to carry the spoils as trophies to Rome. By this diplomatic policy, by thus “forecasting devices,” Rome now ruled the world more completely and with greater prestige than when her armies went hither and thither.” (C 30, 31)
“It should be recognized that while the prophecy has particularized, and in the cases of Augustus and Tiberius has almost individualized the account, yet this has been only a means to an end. The end to be accomplished is to mark the time of transfer of universal dominion, from Greece to Rome, from the four generals of Alexander the Great, representing four divisions of that empire (the “four horns” of the Grecian “goat” mentioned in Daniel 8:8), to the Roman Empire which was at that time and previously a part of Greece. These four generals who succeeded Alexander the Great are no less distinctly marked in history than in prophecy. (The division among these four is distinctly referred to in Dan 8:8 and 11:4, 5)
The historian says: “The [Grecian] empire was now divided into four parts, and one part assigned to each of the generals who formed the league. Ptolemy assumed the regal power in Egypt; Seleucus, in Syria and Upper Asia; Lysimachus, in Thrace and Asia Minor as far as Taurus; and Cassander took as his share Macedonia.”
In this division Italy belonged to Cassander’s department, which was the northern division, designated “King of the North,” while Egypt was the southern division, or “King of the South.” Gradually the Roman influence prevailed, and piece by piece the territory originally held by Seleucus, Lysimachus and Cassander was brought into subjection to Rome, which was part of the northern division, and left only Egypt, the southern division. This king of the south, Egypt, became subject to the power of the northern division, as above narrated, in the days of Cleopatra, Antony and Augustus Caesar, partly by the will of the father of Cleopatra, who dying while his children were young, left the kingdom under the protection of the Roman Senate, and partly by Mark Antony’s defeat. For a while, indeed, the “King of the South,” Egypt, was quite as powerful as the “King of the North,” Rome. Historians tell us that “it was the greatest mercantile nation then existing“; that it had “33,000 cities”; and that its annual revenue “amounted to 14,800 silver talents,” about $20,000,000.
Recognizing the sense and design of the prophecy, we should not expect detailed, personal accounts of the monarchs of these kingdoms, but by “King of the North” we should understand the Roman Empire’s representative, and by “King of the South” a representative of Egypt’s kingdom.” (C 31, 32)
We will continued with our next post.