This booklet is condensed and revised from a book by one of the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers, Uriah Smith (1832-1903), from his much-used and fruitful book called “Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation” also called “Daniel and the Revelation” (Battle Creek, Michigan: Review and Herald Publishing Association 1882; a digital copy is available at California University Library archives at www.archive.org/details/thoughtscritical00smitrich). We now turn to study the eleventh chapter of Daniel.
1 Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. 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 angel, after stating that he stood, in the first year of Darius, to confirm and strengthen Daniel, turns his attention to the future. Three kings were to reign in Persia, as immediate successors of Cyrus. These were, (1) Cambyses, son of Cyrus; (2) Smerdis, an impostor; (3) Darius Hystaspes. The fourth king from Cyrus was Xerxes, more famous for his riches, and magnificent campaign against Grecia, and his utter failure in that enterprise.
3And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 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.
This points to Alexander, and the division of his empire. The prophecy passes over nine successors of Xerxes in the Persian empire, and next introduces Alexander the Great. His will led him, BC 323, into a drunken debauch, as the result he died as the fool.
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.
When Alexander’s empire was divided, the different portions lay toward the four winds of heaven, west, north, east, and south; these divisions of course to be reckoned from the standpoint of Palestine, the native land of the prophet. That division of the empire lying west of Palestine would thus constitute the kingdom of the west; that lying north, the kingdom of the north; that lying east, the kingdom of the east; and that lying south, the kingdom of the south. The divisions of Alexander’s kingdom with respect to Palestine were situated as follows: Cassander had Greece and the adjacent countries, which lay to the west; Lysimachus had Thrace, which then included Asia Minor, and the countries lying on the Hellespont and Bosporus, which lay to the north of Palestine; Seleucus had Syria and Babylon, which lay principally to the east; and Ptolemy had Egypt and the neighbouring countries, which lay to the south.
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.
There were frequent wars between the kings of Egypt and Syria. Especially was this the case with Ptolemy Philadelphus, the second king of Egypt, and Antiochus Theos, third king of Syria. They at length agreed to make peace upon condition that Antiochus Theos should put away his former wife, Laodice, and her two sons, and he should marry Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus. Ptolemy accordingly brought his daughter to Antiochus, bestowing with her an immense dowry.
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: 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. 9 So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.
This branch out of the same root with Berenice was her brother, Ptolemy Euergetes. He had no sooner succeeded his father, Ptolemy Philadelphus, in the kingdom of Egypt, than, burning to avenge the death of his sister, Berenice, he raised an immense army, and invaded the territory of the king of the north, that is, of Seleucus Callinicus, who, with his mother, Laodice, reigned in Syria. And he prevailed against them. But hearing that a sedition was raised in Egypt, requiring his return home, he plundered the kingdom of Seleucus, took forty thousand talents of silver and precious vessels, and two thousand five hundred images of the gods. Among these were the images which Cambyses had formerly taken from Egypt. The Egyptians, being wholly given to idolatry, bestowed upon Ptolemy the title of Euergetes, or the Benefactor, as a compliment for his having thus, after many years, restored their captive gods.
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.
The sons of Seleucus Callinicus were Seleucus Ceraunus and Antiochus Magnus. These both entered with zeal upon the work of vindicating and avenging the cause of their father and their country. The elder of these, Seleucus, first took the throne. He assembled a great multitude to recover his father’s dominions; but being a weak prince, he was poisoned by two of his generals after an inglorious reign of two years. His more capable brother, Antiochus Magnus, was thereupon proclaimed king, who, taking charge of the army, retook Seleucia and recovered Syria. A truce followed, yet both prepared for war; after, Antiochus returned and overcame in battle Nicholaus, the Egyptian general, and had thoughts of invading Egypt itself. Here is the “one” who should certainly overflow and pass through.
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.
Ptolemy Philopater succeeded his father, Euergetes, in Egypt, after Antiochus Magnus had succeeded his brother in Syria. He feared an invasion of Egypt by Antiochus. He went to war with a large army against the Syrian king. The king of the north, Antiochus, came up. Antiochus was defeated in battle, and his army, according to prophecy, was given into the hands of the king of the south.
12 And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall he lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it.
Ptolemy, content with making few menaces and few threats, did not become master of the whole kingdom of Antiochus, but made peace treaty that he might be able to give himself to indulgence. Having conquered his enemies, his heart was lifted up and he spent his time in feasting and lewdness. But this caused his own subjects to rebel against him. He went to Jerusalem, offered sacrifices, and was very desirous of entering into the most holy place of the temple, contrary to the law and religion of that place; as he was restrained from doing so, he left the place burning with anger against Jews, and immediately commenced against them a terrible persecution. In Alexandria, where Jews had resided since the days of Alexander, and enjoyed the privileges of the most favoured citizens, sixty thousand Jews were slain in this persecution. The rebellion of the Egyptians, and this massacre of the Jews, did not strengthen him.
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.
The events predicted in this verse were to occur “after certain years.” The peace concluded between Ptolemy IV Philopater and Antiochus, lasted fourteen years. Meanwhile Ptolemy died from intemperance and debauchery, and was succeeded by his son, Ptolemy V Epiphanes, a child then four or five years old. Antiochus, during the same time, having suppressed rebellion in his kingdom, and reduced and settled the eastern parts in their obedience, was at leisure for any enterprise, when young Epiphanes came to the throne of Egypt; and thinking this too good an opportunity for enlarging his dominion to be let slip, he raised an immense army “greater than the former” (for he had collected many forces and acquired great riches in his eastern expedition), and set out against Egypt, expecting to have an easy victory over the infant king. How he succeeded we shall presently see; for here new complications enter into the affairs of these kingdoms, and new actors are introduced upon the stage of history.
14 And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shalt exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.
Antiochus was not the only one who revolted against the infant Ptolemy. Alexandrians revolted. Philip, king of Macedon, entered a league with Antiochus to divide the dominions of Ptolemy, each taking the parts nearest and most convenient to him.
A new power is now introduced, — “the robbers of thy people.” Rome seized with invincible hand the helm of their affairs. Henceforth the name of Rome stands upon the historic page, destined for long ages to control the affairs of the world. Rome spoke; and Syria and Macedonia soon found a change coming over the aspect of their dream. The Romans interfered in behalf of the young king of Egypt, determined that he should be protected from the ruin devised by Antiochus and Philip. This was BC 200, and was one of the first important interferences of the Romans in the affairs of Syria and Egypt.
“To establish the vision.” The Romans being more prominently than any other people the subject of Daniel’s prophecy, their first interference in the affairs of these kingdoms is here referred to as being the establishment, or demonstration, of the truth of the vision which predicted the existence of such a power. “But they shall fall.” Those who stood up against Ptolemy king of the south, did speedily fall.
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.
Rome, protecting the young king of Egypt, took step to remove threat posed by Antiochus. To this Scopas, a famous general of AEtolia, then in the service of the Egyptians, was commissioned. With equipped army, he marched into Palestine and Coele-Syria (Antiochus being engaged in a war with Attalus in Lesser Asia), and reduced all Judea into subjection to the authority of Egypt. For Antiochus, desisting from his war with Attalus at the dictation of the Romans, took speedy steps for the recovery of Palestine and Coele-Syria from the hands of the Egyptians. Scopas was sent to oppose him. Near the sources of the Jordan, the two armies met. Scopas was defeated, pursued to Sidon, and there closely besieged. Three of the ablest generals of Egypt, with their best forces, were sent to raise the siege, but without success. Here was the failure of the arms of the south to withstand, and the failure also of the people which the king of the south had chosen, namely, Scopas and his AEtolian forces.
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.
Although Egypt could not stand before Antiochus, the king of the north, Antiochus could not stand before the Romans, who now came against him. Many years later, Syria was conquered, and added to the Roman empire, when Pompey, the great Roman general, in BC 65, deprived Antiochus Asiaticus of his possessions, and reduced Syria to a Roman province. Pompey went to Jerusalem, he demolished the walls of Jerusalem, transferred several cities from the jurisdiction of Judea to that of Syria, and imposed tribute on the Jews. Thus for the first time was Jerusalem placed by conquest in the hands of that power which was to hold the “glorious land” in its iron grasp till it had utterly consumed it.
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.
Egypt was now all that remained of the “whole kingdom” of Alexander, not brought into subjection to the Roman power, which power now set its face to enter by force into that country. By this time in the history, Ptolemy XII Auletes was king of Egypt, and Auletes died BC 51. He left the crown and kingdom of Egypt to his eldest son and daughter, Ptolemy XIII and Cleopatra. The Romans appointed Pompey as guardian of the young heirs of Egypt. A quarrel broke between Pompey and Caesar, Pompey, being defeated, fled into Egypt. Julius Caesar immediately followed him thither; but before his arrival, Pompey was basely murdered by Ptolemy XIII. Caesar then assumed guardian of Ptolemy and Cleopatra. But Julius Caesar seduced by the beauty of Cleopatra, by whom he had one son, favoured her, causing civil wars in Egypt. This kept him much longer in Egypt than his affairs required, he spending whole nights in feasting and carousing with the dissolute queen. “But,” said the prophet, “she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.” When Augustus Caesar succeeded Julius, Cleopatra joined herself to Mark Antony, who then had become enemy of Augustus Caesar, and exerted her whole power against Rome.
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.
War with Pharnaces II, king of the Cimmerian Bosporus, at length drew him away from Egypt. He gained absolute victory over them. We look for the fulfilment of latter part of this verse of the prediction between the victory over Pharnaces, and Caesar’s death at Rome, as brought to view in the next verse.
19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.
After this conquest, Caesar defeated the last remaining fragments of Pompey’s party, Cato and Scipio in Africa, and Labienus and Varus in Spain. Returning to Rome, the “fort of his own land,” he was made perpetual dictator; taking his seat in senate chamber, upon his throne of gold, to receive at the title of king, the dagger of treachery suddenly struck him to the heart. Cassius, Brutus, and other senate conspirators rushed upon him, and he fell, pierced with twenty-three wounds; Julius Caesar suddenly stumbled and fell, assassinated on 15 March BC 44.
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.
Augustus Caesar succeeded his uncle, Julius. Joined with Mark Antony and Lepidus to avenge the death of Caesar, the formed what is called the triumvirate form of government. Antony connived with Cleopatra in Egypt but were defeated. Luke 2:1 shows Augustus was “a raiser of taxes.” In less than 18 years after taxing brought to view, seeming “few days” to distant gaze of the prophet, Augustus got ill and on 19 August AD 14 died peacefully in his bed.
21And 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.
Tiberius Caesar next appeared after Augustus Caesar on the Roman throne. He was raised to the consulate in his 28th year. Before Augustus died, being ill, as he was about to nominate his successor, his wife, Livia, besought him to nominate Tiberius (her son by a former husband), the emperor said, ‘your son is too vile to wear the purple of Rome,’ and he nominated Agrippa, a very virtuous and much-respected Roman citizen. But the prophecy had foreseen that “a vile person” should succeed Augustus. Agrippa died; and Augustus was again under the necessity of choosing a successor. Livia renewed her intercessions for Tiberius; and Augustus, weakened by age and sickness, was easily flattered, and consented to nominate, as his successor, that “vile person” young man, Tiberius.
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.
To be overflown with arms of a flood denotes the violent death of Tiberius; sunk in lethargy at his villa, Tiberius appeared dead, but as he revived, he was suffocated with pillows and died in 28th year of his reign. “The prince of the covenant” unquestionably refers to Jesus Christ, “the Messiah the Prince,” who was to “confirm the covenant” one week with his people (Daniel 9:25-27). Christ was crucified in AD 31; Tiberius died 6 years later, on 16 March AD 37.
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.
Having taken us through the secular events of the empire, the prophet takes us back to the time when the Romans first became directly connected with the God’s people by the Roman-Jewish league in BC 161. The Jews, grievously oppressed by the Syrian kings, had solicited aid of the Romans. By that time the Romans were a small people and began to work deceitfully. From back then they rose by steady and rapid ascent to hights of power they later attained.
24 He shall enter peacefully 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 strongholds, even for a time.
Nations usually expanded by war and conquest. Rome sought to do what fathers or the fathers’ fathers had not done, expand through peaceful means. The custom, before unheard of, was now inaugurated, of kings’ leaving by legacy their kingdoms to the Romans. Rome expanded in this manner. “Even for a time;” doubtless a prophetic time, 360 years; dates from events of the next verse.
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.
Mark Antony, Augustus Caesar, and Lepidus constituted the Triumvirate which had sworn to avenge the death of Julius Caesar. To this Antony became the brother-in-law of Augustus by marrying his sister, Octavia. Antony was sent into Egypt on government business but fell a victim to the arts and charms of Cleopatra, Egypt’s dissolute queen. So strong was the passion he conceived for her, that he finally espoused the Egyptian interests. Augustus had to wage war against Egypt and Cleopatra and Antony. The battle was fought on 2 September BC 31. Antony yielded a victory to Caesar. This battle marks the commencement of the “time” mentioned in verse 24. And as during this “time” devices were to be forecast from stronghold, or Rome, at the end of that period a change took place in the empire that that city would no longer be considered the seat of government. From BC 31, a prophetic time, or 360 years, would bring us to AD 330. And the seat of empire was removed from Rome to Constantinople by emperor Constantine the Great in that very year.
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.
The cause of Mark Antony’s overthrow was the desertion of his allies and friends, those that fed of the portion of his meat. First, Cleopatra suddenly withdrew from the battle, taking sixty ships of the line with her. Secondly, the land army, disgusted with the infatuation of Antony, went over to Caesar, who received them with open arms. Thirdly, when Antony arrived at Libya, he found that the forces which he had there left under Scarpus to guard the frontier, had declared for Caesar. Fourthly, being followed by Caesar into Egypt, he was betrayed by Cleopatra, and his forces surrendered to Caesar. Hereupon, in rage and despair, Antony took his own life.
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.
Antony and Caesar were formerly in alliance. Yet under the garb of friendship, they were both aspiring and intriguing for universal dominion. Their protestations of deference to, and friendship for, each other, were the utterances of hypocrites. They spoke lies at one table. Octavia, the wife of Antony and sister of Caesar, declared to the people of Rome at the time Antony divorced her, that she had consented to marry him solely with the hope that it would prove a pledge of union between Caesar and Antony. But that counsel did not prosper. The rupture came; and in the conflict that ensued, Caesar came off entirely victorious.
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.
Two returnings from foreign conquest are brought to view; first, after the events narrated in verses 26 and 27; second, after this power had had indignation against the holy covenant, and had performed exploits. The first was fulfilled in the return of Caesar after his expedition against Egypt and Antony. He returned to Rome with abundant honours and riches. Caesar celebrated his victories in a three-days’ triumph, — a triumph Cleopatra would have graced, as one of the royal captives, had she not artfully caused herself to be bitten by the fatal asp. The next great enterprise of the Romans after the overthrow of Egypt, was the expedition against Judea, and the capture and destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
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.
The removal of seat of empire to Constantinople was the signal for the downfall of the Roman empire. Rome then lost its prestige. The western division was exposed to the incursions of foreign enemies. On the death of Constantine, the Roman empire was divided into three parts, between his three sons, Constantius, Constantine II, and Constans. Constantine II and Constans quarrelled, and Constans gained the supremacy of the whole West. He was soon slain by one of his commanders, who, in turn, was shortly after defeated by the surviving emperor, and in despair ended his own days, AD 353. The barbarians of the North now began their incursions, and extended their conquests till the imperial power of the West expired in AD 476.
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.
From Chittim, islands of Mediterranean, the barbarians, chief among whom was the Vandals, waged wars upon Rome under the fierce Genseric.
“He shall be grieved and return.” This phrase has reference to the desperate efforts which were made to dispossess Genseric of the sovereignty of the seas, the first by Majorian, the second by Leo, both of which proved to be utter failures; and Rome was obliged to submit to the humiliation of seeing its provinces ravaged, its city pillaged by the enemy.
“Indignation against the covenant;” that is, the Holy Scriptures, the book of the covenant. A revolution of this nature was accomplished in Rome. The Heruli, Goths, and Vandals, who conquered Rome, embraced the Arian faith, and became enemies of the Catholic Church. The Bible soon came to be regarded as a dangerous book that should not be read by the common people, but all questions in dispute were to be submitted to the pope. Thus, was indignity heaped upon God’s word. The emperors of Rome, eastern division of which continued, had intelligence, or connived with the Church of Rome, which had forsaken the covenant, and constituted great apostasy, for the purpose of ending “heresy.” The man of sin was raised to his presumptuous throne by defeat of the Arian Goths, who then held possession of Rome, in AD 538.
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.
In 533, Justinian (emperor of the Roman empire) entered upon his Vandal and Gothic wars. Wishing to secure the influence of the pope and the Catholic party, he issued that memorable decree which was to constitute the pope the head of all the churches, and from the carrying out of which, in 538, the point from which to date the predicted 1260 years of papal supremacy. In the wars, Catholics everywhere hailed as deliverers the army of Belisarius, the general of Justinian. But no decree of this nature could be carried into effect until Arian horns that stood in its way, were plucked. The Heruli had already fallen in 493. The Vandals fell in 534; and the Goths, retiring in 538, left the pope in undisputed hold of Rome.
32And 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.
Those that forsake the covenant, the holy Scriptures, and think more of the decrees of popes and the decisions of councils than they do of the word of God, — these shall he, the pope, corrupt by flatteries; that is, lead them on in their partisan zeal for himself by the bestowment of wealth, position, and honours. At the same time a people shall exist who know their God; and these shall be strong, and do exploits. These were those who kept pure religion alive in the earth during the dark ages of papal tyranny, and performed marvellous acts of self-sacrifice and religious heroism in behalf of their faith. Prominent among these stand the Waldenses.
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.
The long period of papal persecution against those who were struggling to maintain the truth and instruct their fellow men in ways of righteousness, is here brought to view. The number of the days during which they were thus to fall is given in Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 12:6, 14; 13:5. The period is called, “a time, times, and the dividing of time;” “a time, times, and a half;” “a thousand two hundred and threescore days;” and “forty and two months.” It is the 1260 years (AD 538-1798) of papal supremacy.
34 Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help, but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.
In Revelation 12, the earth helped the woman by opening her mouth, and swallowing up the flood which the dragon cast out after her. The great Reformation by Luther and his co-workers furnished the help here foretold. The German states espoused the Protestant cause, protected the reformers, and restrained the work of persecution so furiously carried on by the papal church. But when they should be helped, and the cause begin to become popular, many were to cleave unto them with flatteries, and friendly words for self-interest.
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.
Though restrained, the spirit of persecution was not destroyed. In England, the bloody Queen Mary was a mortal enemy to the Protestant cause, and multitudes fell victims to her relentless persecutions. And this condition of affairs was to last to the time of the end. The time of the end commenced in 1798; for there the pope was taken prisoner by Berthier, the French general, and the papal government was for a time abolished, in 1798. Stripped of his power, both civil and ecclesiastical, the captive pope, Pius VI, died in exile at Valence in France, 29 August 1799. That end of papal oppression is what is here referred to, is sure, for is one connected with a “time appointed” or period of 1260 years (AD 538-1798).
36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished; for that that is determined shall be done.
The king here introduced cannot denote the same power, which was last noticed, namely, the papal power; for the specifications will not hold good if applied to that power. Take a declaration in the next verse: “Nor regard any god.” This has never been true of the papacy. God and Christ, though often placed in a false position, have never been set aside, and rejected from that system of religion. It is France that stands apart in the world’s history as the single state which, by the decree of her legislative assembly, pronounced that there was no God.
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.
In France, marriage was reduced to state of a mere civil contract of a transitory character, which any two persons might engage in and cast loose at pleasure, when their taste was changed. In 1792, by the National Convention, France prohibited all religious worship, except that of liberty and the country. The gold and silver plate of the churches was seized upon and desecrated. The churches were closed. The bells were broken and cast into cannon. The Bible was publicly burned. The sacramental vessels were paraded through the streets on an ass, in token of contempt. A week of ten days, instead of seven, was established, and death was declared, in conspicuous letters posted over their burial places, to be an eternal sleep.
38 But in his estate shall he honor the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.
The attempt to make France a godless nation produced such anarchy that the rulers feared the power would pass entirely out of their hands, and therefore perceived that, as a political necessity, worship led by the nation’s forces was introduced. In 1794 the worship of the Goddess of Reason was introduced, to which a whole nation and the National Convention of France rendered public homage.
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.
The adherents of the Goddess of Reason occupied the strongholds of the nation until the appointment of Napoleon to provisional consulate of France in 1799. Until then land property of France was owned by a few landlords in immense estates. The government was in need of funds, and these large land estates were confiscated, and sold at auction in parcels to suit purchasers. They did “divide the land for gain,” ending Reign of Terror.
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.
Kings of south and north are the powers which shortly after the death of Alexander constituted the southern and northern divisions of his empire. The king of the south was at that time Egypt, and the king of the north was Syria, including Thrace and Asia Minor. Egypt is still the king of the south, while the territory which at first constituted the king of the north, was since 1453 included within the dominions of the sultan of Turkey. To Egypt and Turkey, then, we must look for a fulfilment of the verse before us.
At the end of the 1260 years (verse 35), began the time of the end, from 10th February 1798 when Rome fell into the hands of the French army. On 5th March 1798, Bonaparte received the decree of the Directory relative to the expedition against Egypt. By 24th July Bonaparte was at war with Egypt. Egypt pushed back, but with little success. The French fleet was destroyed by the English under Nelson at Aboukir; and on 2nd September 1798, the Sultan of Turkey, under feelings of jealousy against France, artfully fostered by the English ambassadors at Constantinople, and exasperated that Egypt, so long a semi-dependency of the Ottoman Empire, should be transformed into a French province, declared war against France. Thus the king of the north [Turkey] came against him [France] in the same year that the king of the south [Egypt] ‘pushed,’ and both ‘at the time of the end;’ all in 1798 which begins that period.
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.
In the war between the French and the Turks, the French having lost a third of troops to war and the plague, on 21 May 1799, retiring from Acre in Judea, after fatiguing march, re-entered Egypt, abandoned all conquest made in Judea; and the “glorious land,” with all its provinces, here called “countries,” fell back again under the oppressive rule of the Turks. Edom, Moab, and Ammon, lying outside the limits of Palestine, south and east of the Dead Sea and Jordan, were out of match of the Turks from Syria to Egypt, and so escaped the ravage of that campaign.
42 He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
With help of the English government, as the ally of the Turks, the French were forced out of Egypt, and on 2 September 1801 Egypt fell to the Turks. Thus, as the verse says, “Egypt shall not escape.”
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.
After the French were driven out of Egypt, the sultan asked Egyptians to pay annual tribute of gold and silver to the Turkish government. Unconquered Arabs, Libyans and Ethiopians, who had friendship of the Turks, also remained tributary to the Turks.
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.
We are here brought to Crimean war of 1853 to 1856. The Persians on the east and the Russians on the north, were the ones which instigated that conflict. Tidings from these powers troubled him [Turkey]. Their attitude and movements incited the Sultan of Turkey to anger and revenge. Russia being the more aggressive party was the object of attack. Turkey declared war on her powerful northern neighbour, Russia, in 1853. England and France soon came to the help of Turkey, but Turkey had gained victory after victory, before receiving assistance of these powers.
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.
Turkey [King of the North] will fulfil this by planting his capital in Jerusalem that sits on the holy mountain between the Mediterranean and Dead seas. Turkey had help in Crimean war in 1853-56 against Russia, but when Turkey plants his capital in Jerusalem, “He shall come to his end, and none shall help him.” “No man knows when Turkey will take its departure from Europe, but when that move is made, earth’s history will be short. … While the world watches Turkey, let the servant of God watch the movements of his great High Priest, whose ministry for sin is almost over” (The Story of Daniel the Prophet, 1901, p. 248.2).