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truth apropos to the last generation to live on earth.
Welcome to EndTime Issues…
The antichrist comes to his end. Christ then stands up, preparing to begin divine wrath on a rebellious world! Daniel develops this framework for John’s Revelation.
The Final Battle between
Two Apostate Powers
(Daniel 11 and 12)
Part 3 of 3 (updated)
“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” (Daniel 11:44 – KJV).
“But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many” (Daniel 11:44 – NIV).
“But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him:” (vs 44 – KJV)
The word “tidings” (shema) is best interpreted as “reports” (NET, NIV). News has reached Rome that is troubling. In fact, this “trouble” (bahal) denotes that the “king of the north” is terrified.
This represents a dramatic turn in the narrative. The mighty king of the north – the papacy with its world support – has been previously described in powerful, conquering, and subduing terms. He has been in command. Undaunted by the “attacks” of the “south,” his counter-exploits have succeeded – until now!
Suddenly he is terrified. A greater foe is in evidence. He is threatened. The description of this “enemy” must be derived from things that have been said previously. The directional location of this news instructs.
- East is where the end-time “forces” of Christ come from (Daniel 8:4, 17, 19). The two horns of that ram (Christ) represent two groups of people who “know their God.” It comes from this direction, symbolizing deliverance!
- North is, again, intriguing. That is where this apostate king is from – “king of the north.” Then why would news from “home” terrify him? North is also the symbolic place where God dwells (Psalm 48:2). The final successful exploits of God’s people operate under His “northern” power. This king is threatened.
Earlier, an overview of this “vile person” or “man of sin” (Daniel 11:29-35) indicates that a distinct group of individuals made him most uncomfortable.
- “the people that do know their God shall be strong” (vs 32)
- They will “do exploits” (vs 32) – spreading the final gospel message to planet earth.
- “they that understand among the people shall instruct many” (vs 33)
- “some of them of understanding shall … [become] white” through purging “even to the time of the end” (vs 35) – their robes (Christ’s righteousness) reveal that they are pure, which trials helped to develop (cf. Revelation 7:14).
Now they threaten him so much he wants to attack and even eliminate them.
This represents a special group of people who “know their God.” This “king of the north” has previously harmed them! “Yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil many days” (vs 33). But something now changes. He is terrified by the news of their last-day success. He wants that stopped! This appears to be the final gospel cry planet earth will ever hear! Nothing will stop it (Revelation 11:5-6). Their mission will succeed (Revelation 11:7a)!
“therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away [annihilate] many” (vs 44)
This unquestionably belies a move or decree to kill God’s people. Harm against them is part of numerous end-time messages! Examples:
- “shatter the power of the holy people” (Daniel 12:7 – NAS)
- “it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them” (Daniel 8:10)
- “shall destroy the mighty and the holy people” (Daniel 8:24)
- “under the altar [were] the souls slain for the word of God” (Revelation 6:9)
- “shall overcome them, and kill them” (Revelation 11:7)
- “not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Revelation 13:15)
All these, along with Daniel 11:33, and here in 11:44, speak of events during the “appointed time” so frequently alluded to in Daniel and in Habakkuk. This is the tribulation or, as some call it, the “time of trouble.” Its end, during the “Loud Cry” of the fourth angel of Revelation 18:1-5 sounding throughout the world, brings hatred and opposition.
“The most bitter and cruel persecution always comes from those who have the form of religion without the spirit and power of godliness. There is nothing at which religious prejudice will hesitate.... Angels are watching the development of character, and are weighing moral worth. They are bidden to place a mark upon those who are loyal to God’s commandments; such will have special help from God to endure the test and proving of the time of trouble.” 
“The two armies will stand distinct and separate, and this distinction will be so marked that many who shall be convinced of truth will come on the side of God’s commandment-keeping people. When this grand work is to take place in the battle, prior to the last closing conflict, many will be imprisoned, many will flee for their lives from cities and towns, and many will be martyrs for Christ’s sake in standing in defense of the truth.”
Throughout the three and a half years, that “appointed time,” there will be persecution. But, as the end draws near, more pointed hatred will develop against those “from the east,” who identify with the divine power of the “north.” This will reach a point in which God’s people will be the target of destruction. A death decree is suggested.
“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” (Daniel 11:45).
“And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace” (vs 45)
“The planting of the tabernacles” is actually an expression: “he shall pitch or set up the tents” of his palace. There is disagreement as to the meaning of this apparent idiomatic expression. It has been recently suggested that this means only a temporary move (implied by the word “tents”). It appears, however, to be the final act of the antichrist. The setting up of the palatial “tents” suggests that a center of worship or leadership is being established. Literalism has enamored most scholars by this verse. The king of the north – the antichrist – has established a new residence or center of power. He is already functioning as a geopolitical king from Rome. Why this? Why now? The answer appears to be in the next phrase. There is a place where the antichrist or “man of sin” sets up his seat of power, noted by Paul: “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, showing himself that he is God” (II Thessalonians 2:4). This appears to represent words similar to those of Christ (Matthew 24:15), when the “abomination of desolation” spoken by Daniel the prophet will “stand in the holy place.” “Standing” or “sitting” means that he is functioning as ruler.
- Might this all imply that some religious “dominion” is being established?
- Prophecy is filled with the antichrist seeking total coercive control, even over Christianity.
“between the seas in the glorious holy mountain;” (vs 45)
The literal meaning of “between the seas” is understood by most scholars as between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. This is confirmed by the words “glorious holy mountain.” That refers to Mount Zion, the sacred temple mount. Anciently, that was Mount Moriah, where Abraham attempted to offer Isaac but was rescued by the stay of his hand, a heavenly voice, and “lifting up his eyes” (Genesis 22:13). Mt. Zion remains symbolic of where God and His people meet or reside (Revelation 14:1-5).
To the Jewish world, Islam, and Dispensational Christians, this “mount” is a holy mountain. It symbolizes the central place of worship, where God meets man. That, in turn, figuratively represents the “place” where the antichrist exerts his final leadership.
- “standing” – he has dominion over all places of worship (Matthew 24:15)
- “sitting” – judicial rule, no one is higher – he claims lordship over all; the antichrist acts as God (II Thessalonians 2:4)
- “glorious holy mountain” – the symbolic center of all worship (Daniel 11:45)
Though literal imagery is used, a metaphor representing God’s church comes into focus – albeit now in apostasy. Will this be physically on the Temple Mount? Unlikely. It represents “central control” of the world’s religious elements – at least over the literal and spiritual descendants of Abraham.
“And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven” (Revelation 13:6). Of him it is said, the world “wondered after the beast” (Revelation 13:3) and the world “worshipped the beast” (Revelation 13:4). The beast is the papal “empire” and its leader, depicted especially in Revelation 13 and 17 and, here, as the “king of the north.” Paul embellishes this apocalyptic imagery:
“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, showing himself that he is God” (II Thessalonians 2:3-4).
The world accepts this religious leadership, unaware that it is the antichrist. It is so enamored that it finally, in impudence, asks a rhetorical question: “Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war against him?” (Revelation 13:4). This infatuation will be so strong that anyone at variance with it, like God’s remnant, will be harmed. The antichrist has assumed the supreme head of “God’s church.” The world is charmed.
The sinister obeisance of the world is now further embellished by the persecution of those saints.
- “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints [the members of God’s true church], and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him” (Revelation 13:7-8a).
- But then, God has had enough!
“yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him” (vs 45)
This echoes “they shall take away his dominion” (Daniel 7:26) and “he shall be broken without hand” (Daniel 8:25). What brings him to his end? II Thessalonians 2:8 says the “brightness of his coming.”
From this verse (as well as Ezekiel 39:2-29; Joel 3:2-16; and Zechariah 12:2-9, 14:1-21) literalists claim that the final conflict or battle will be fought in Palestine. Since the papacy has much land in Palestine and has sought to mediate the terrible conflict there between Jews and Muslims, there may be events occurring there. The greater imagery, however, is spiritual.
“Israel,” at the end, refers to all of God’s people (Galatians 3:28-29).
The beautiful news comes in the next chapter (Daniel 12:1) – God’s people will be delivered. There – a great issue is clarified. “God’s people” includes all those who shall be found written in the Book (of Life) (Daniel 12:1).
This prophecy ends with 12:4 (an unfortunate chapter break is between 11:45 and 12:1). Daniel 12:1 begins: “Now at that time” – this ties earth’s final events with Daniel 11:29-45.
There is little doubt in the minds of any except a very few that the first portion of chapter 12 is prophecy concerning “last things” – in the theological nomenclature, “eschatology.” Events connected with the resurrection of the dead and final rewards and punishments can hardly be otherwise.
If there were a clean break in thought between chapters 11 and 12 it might be possible to say that all of the previous section of the prophecy relates to events of now past history. But such a break does not exist. Rather, a chronological connection is clearly provided between the last of chapter 11 and the first of chapter 12 by the opening words of chapter 12. Referring to the destruction of a certain king whose career is predicted in the last part of chapter 11, chapter 12 opens thus: “And at that time shall Michael stand up,” etc. Thus, a clear connection with the eschatological prediction of chapter 12 is established for the last portion, at least, of chapter 11.
The antichrist has come to his end!
God now steps into earth’s final history. The first four verses of Daniel 12 finish chapter 11’s story.
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1).
Let’s review some of the key words and phrases.
“At that time” initially echoes the previous verses and more specifically verse 40’s timing statement: “at the time of the end.” This refers to the time of the antichrist and, specifically, when he has become a world power (11:40-45; cf. 8:17, 19, regarding the timing of the little horn and then the “king of the north”). Sequentially, it follows the end of the antichrist in verse 45. Those who link Antiochus Epiphanes IV with this narrative demean the structure, sequence and timing of this prophecy and its rich flow of events (especially Revelation 15-16 and 18-22).
Michael “stands up.” Though not analyzed as part of this document, Michael is Jesus Christ, the Great Prince. The Hebrew is translated in many Bibles as “will arise” (NIV, LXE, NET, NAS). This represents a transition in Christ’s role. A heavenly task is completed. He now superintends over world events during the time of the great tribulation. An earlier transition is portrayed in Revelation 5 and 6, where He takes a seven-sealed scroll from God, seated on His throne, and breaks the first seal. That begins the “time of the end.” “Standing up” here means preparing for its final phase.
“When our High Priest has finished His work in the sanctuary, He will stand up, put on the garments of vengeance, and then the seven last plagues will be poured out.” This tribulation period is filled with a myriad of prophetic events.
An assurance message is given to God’s people: “Standeth for the children of thy people” means He is preparing to do a special work for the saints (He was seated on His throne – now is standing). Daniel 10:13 notes figuratively that Michael “stands over the sons of thy people.” There, it was to protect them. Here, it will be to deliver them!
“There shall be a time of trouble” when Christ changes His activity, at which time the world’s greatest tribulation or “time of trouble” begins (Matthew 24:21). This begins the time of the seven last plagues (Revelation 16). Our legal divine advocate (I John 2:1), our ‘great high priest’ interceding for us (Hebrews 4:14-16), ceases that advocacy role. When He stands up, trouble follows (cf. Jeremiah 30:7). This is what Christ portrays in Matthew 24:21. Man’s probation is over (Matthew 24:21). God’s people will be given a special rescue mission called “deliverance.” Heightened drama comes to the saints. Release – and a marriage with the everlasting covenant is presently anticipated.
“Deliverance” comes to all who are “found written in the book” (12:1). God’s people escape the outpouring of God’s wrath and man’s lethal designs during this time of Jacob’s Trouble. This references the Book of Life (Exodus 32:32, Isaiah 4:3, Psalm 69:29). Christ affirms this record of kingdom citizens (Luke 10:20). He notes that all those who are victorious (over sin) will be in that book (Revelation 3:5; cf. I Corinthians 15:57, I John 5:4). Those who are not will be destroyed by fire (Revelation 20:15).
The sequence of events that has emerged to this point:
Another concept that is introduced with Michael standing up reveals that it is when Christ’s victory over Satan is complete. This occurs when one of Satan’s chief loyalists – the antichrist King of the North – passes off the scene (Daniel 11:45).
This is the culmination of prophetic events covering an “appointed time” (Daniel 8:19, 11:35), which will shortly be shown to be “time, times, and an half” (Daniel 12:7). The restricting of Satan’s activities by Christ leads him to realize that his time (Revelation 12:12) is about up. There follows a three and a half times (Revelation 12:14) review of the persecution of the “woman”/church. All these verses share the exact same message.
The Final “Time of the End” Event
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,” (vs 2)
This is the only specific reference to a resurrection in the Hebrew Bible that affirms eternal life which follows the resurrection. BUT – it is, however, suggested elsewhere!
“Dust” is used in association with Sheol in Job 17:16 – or the grave.
- This echoes Isaiah 26:19: “The dwellers of the dust shall awake and shout for joy.”
- The language of sleeping and awakening (death and resurrection) is used in II Kings 4:31, 13:21; Jeremiah 51:39, 57; Job 14:12.
The Sadducees apparently minimized these verses as a strange mythological metaphor.
- Skeptic Goldingay, a contemporary scholar (2008), agrees, calling it a “flight of the imagination.”
- Yet Job passionately said: “And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:26).
- And David said: “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness” (Psalm 17:15; cf. Isaiah 26:19, Psalm 16:11).
“Sleep in the dust” suggests that these individuals have experienced the first death, had been buried and now arise – are resurrected.
“some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (vs 2)
The text suggests that it is not a universal resurrection. Many call this a “special resurrection.” John records that at the Second Coming “they also which pierced Him” will see Him come in the clouds (Revelation 1:7). That appears selective. Some of His persecutors will be resurrected to witness the Second Coming. The angel had said in 11:33 and 35 that of those who “understand,” many will be martyred. Here are now words of hope to the saints.
The “universal resurrection” is presented in messages such as Matthew 25:31-46, John 5:28-29, I Corinthians 15:52. There appears to be a select group raised at or immediately after the “deliverance” of God’s people to witness the anticipated Second Advent. An important sequence is to be honored.
For the righteous who are resurrected, it is to “everlasting life” (cf. Psalm 133:13); for the wicked, “everlasting contempt.” Since Satan and his minions are eventually destroyed by fire (Revelation 19:20, 20:10), this activity appears to be a “special” resurrection to witness the return of Christ in the clouds. “They will look on the one they have pierced” (John 19:37, quoting Zechariah 12:10; cf. Revelation 1:7). But their end will be eternal.
The next two verses (Daniel 12:3-4) draw to a close Daniel’s ha·hazown narrative that commenced with 8:1. The moral imperative to know prophecy will be addressed and the dictum that an understanding of this prophecy will not occur until the very end of time is presented – both crucial issues!
Hope through Knowing – Prophetic Orientation
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).
The word “wise” (maskilim) is translated in a variety of ways. Here, the implication is “the one who pays attention will have insight and influence.” In verse 10 they are noted to be purified and will understand this sealed prophecy. These expressions dealing with “wisdom” or the “wise” have eschatological significance (i.e., Revelation 13:18). It is an allusion to understanding “He that hath an ear, hear what the Spirit says,” noted in the seven churches narrative. These are insights that the saints will have.
A thorough analysis of the “maskilim” (H) is made by Hugo Leon in his provocative treatise.
The blessing that comes from understanding is the gift that they will “shine with brightness” as celestial objects. They will be witnesses to these truths that will draw the world’s attention. This is the prophecy that John ate (Revelation 10:10), when he was told to prophesy again (10:11). “John sees the little book unsealed. Then Daniel's prophecies have their proper place in the first, second, and third angels’ messages to be given to the world. The unsealing of the little book was the message in relation to time.”
This new verse elevates the theme of hope to a high plane. We’ve heard terrible stories of war, rebellion and persecution from the “vile person.” Daniel 11:30-45 saw the “king of the north” in conflict with God’s covenant and His people and in rebellion against the Sabbath. Near the end the amazing war between the king of the north and the king of the south occurred.
The witnessing message is noted in the final phrase of this prophecy. This was alluded to in the previous chapter – “who have insight will make many understand” (11:33); “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (12:3). These will be stars that shine forever. They have witnessed for Christ’s righteousness. In a later metaphor Jesus notes that “the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43).
The imagery of light finds many illustrations which tie to Daniel 12:3. Jesus declared: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Then this statement: “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). That responsibility is transferred to His followers: “Ye are the light of the world … let your light shine” (Matthew 5:14, 16).
Since Daniel 12’s verses 1 and 2 are uniquely joined and verses 2 and 3 are united by an “and,” all three link with the timing noted in verse 1 and 11:40.
Now comes the concluding thought and a request from Gabriel. All the imagery related to the hazown vision must be sealed from understanding until a point in time. Then begins the journey into the deeper issues of Daniel 12.
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4).
This is a heavenly imperative. The “scroll” or “book” is apparently completed. It is to be sealed until the “time of the end.” That implies it will be unsealed at that period! This is an amazing issue that many fail to comprehend. Until that point is reached, no scholarly work or expositor’s insight could break open the meaning of the hazown vision. That vision began in 8:1 and has been intermittently and sequentially described through to this verse.
“The words of the angel to Daniel relating to the last days were to be understood in the time of the end. At that time, ‘many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.’”
A sealed text was not to be tampered with or changed. Jeremiah 32:9-12 talks about sealing a deed for a piece of property that Jeremiah purchased. There, it was not to “hide” its contents but to preserve it. In this prophecy the meaning was to be “preserved” until the “time of the end.” It was done to protect the future understanding of God’s people when it would apply.
“shut up the words, and seal the book,” (vs 4)
It is intriguing that God did not seal the scroll – Daniel did by orders of Gabriel and, later, Christ. He wasn’t totally happy about that. By his doing this, the record remained unaltered until the seal would finally be broken. “Close up the words” means it can’t be understood. “Seal the scroll” means access to the prophet’s message was barred.
Daniel’s prophecy was for the distant future. John’s revelation discusses that future when it will be speedily fulfilled (Revelation 1:1, 3; 22:6).
Expositor E. G. White identified this “closure” also as a barrier to understanding: “The book that was sealed was not the book of Revelation, but that portion of the prophecy of Daniel which related to the last days. The Scripture says, ‘But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased’ (Dan. 12:4). When the book was opened, the proclamation was made, ‘Time shall be no longer [delayed].’ (See Revelation 10:6.) The book of Daniel is now unsealed, and the revelation made by Christ to John is to come to all the inhabitants of the earth. By the increase of knowledge a people is to be prepared to stand in the latter days.”
The final period of the “time of the end” concept was first introduced in 8:17, 19. It is when the eschatological antichrist will begin his deceptive spell on the earth.
Contemporary research strongly suggests that this end-time prophecy is now understood. Commensurate with that, for over three decades all over the world, individuals have been writing and teaching a deepening end-time application of Daniel 8–12. This insight is not just the focus from one geographic area or by any “special group” of individuals. Prophecy is being fulfilled. This growing understanding has been underway for nearly a “generation.” The last three and a half years, the appointed time, will bring history to an end.
“Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (vs 4b)
The rest of this verse is dynamic with incredible information. At “the time of the end” knowledge would be increased, and men would “run to and fro.” This is unrelated to the exponential increase in world technical information. It relates solely to the understanding of this prophecy! Men will go “back and forth” to investigate and gain knowledge about these ancient Danelic writings and share it globally (cf. Jeremiah 5:1, Zechariah 4:10, Job 1:7, 2:2; II Corinthians 16:9).
If uncommitted to end-time truth: “Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it” (Amos 8:12 – NIV).
The “running to and fro” suggests intensity and eagerness to know and share. The promise that knowledge will increase tells clearly that the search for truth will be successful and rewarded.
Franklin S. Fowler, Jr., M.D.
Prophecy Research Initiative – non-profit 501(c)3 © 2023
EndTime Issues…, Number 271, June 1, 2023
Click here to go to PRI’s website: endtimeissues.com
 Steinmann, Andrew E.; Daniel (Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis), p. 535.
 White, Ellen G.; Historical Sketches, p. 196 (emphasis added).
 White, Ellen, G.; Maranatha, 199 (emphasis added).
 Steinmann, op. cit., p. 535.
 Gane, Roy E.; Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, vol. 27, nos. 1 & 2 (2016), “Methodology for Interpretation of Daniel 11:2–12:3,” p. 294.
 Steinmann, op. cit., p. 559.
 White, Ellen G.; Maranatha, p. 258.
 Keil, C. F. and Delitzsch, F.; A Commentary on the Old Testament (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA; 1866–1991), vol. 9, p. 771.
 White, Ellen G.; The Great Controversy, p. 640; Luke 12:35-36.
 Fowler, Franklin S., Jr.; When “The” Church Rides the Beast.
 Whitcomb, John C.; Daniel, p. 161.
 Collins, John J.; Daniel (Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN – 1993), p. 392.
 Goldingay, John E.; Daniel – Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 30 (Word Books, Publisher – Dallas, TX), p. 306.
 Steinmann, op. cit., p. 561; Thayer on Sakal.
 Leon, Hugo; The Theme of the Maskilim and the Danielic Calls to Wisdom in the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation: Read, Understand, and Obey (personal communication).
 White, Ellen G.; Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, p. 320 (1906).
 Keil and Delitzsch, op. cit., p. 813.
 White, Ellen G.; The Desire of Ages, p. 234 (emphasis added).
 Miller, Stephen R.; The New American Commentary, vol. 18 (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), p. 320.
 Gaebelein, Frank E.; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI), 1984, p. 153.
 Jamison, Robert; Fausset, A. R.; and Brown, David; Jamison, Fausset, and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (12:4), 1871.
 White, Ellen G.; Selected Messages, bk 2, p. 105 (1896) (emphasis added).