Daniel 11:36 - 12:13 - The King of the North
by Larry W. Wilson
Remember, I have divided the vision of Daniel 10:1-12:13 into two segments for clarity. Even though Daniel 10-12 is one vision, there is a natural divide at Daniel 11:35, because the vision makes a transition from the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 to the destruction of the world during the Great Tribulation. This transition parallels Daniel 8. You may recall how the ram and the goat were part of ancient history, but the horn power will appear during the time of the end. In the previous chapter, we saw how the first portion of this vision benefited early Christians. In this chapter, you should discover why the last segment of this vision will benefit Christians who live during the Great Tribulation.
Conflicts between the kings of the north and the south continued long after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70. In fact, as the Christian church increased in popularity, theological battles between the Church of Rome (on the north side of the Mediter-ranean) and the Church of Alexandria (on the south side of the Mediterranean) began to occur. The Church of Rome strongly opposed the doctrine, "Christ was created by the Father," which the Church of Alexandria supported. In this controversy, one could say "Rome, the religious king of the north" eventually uprooted "Arius, the religious king of the south." You may recall from Daniel 7 that three nations were plucked up by their roots by the little horn power (Roman Catholic Church). These tribal nations have been identified as the Ostrogoths, Heruli and Vandals.
In Daniel 11:36, Gabriel made a transition from ancient times to end times, but continues to use the same language throughout the vision, that is, the king of the north versus the king of the south. The chronological sequence also continues without interruption. Gabriel uses the same language so that the final generation can see parallels from centuries past and better understand the course of coming events.
This is a key point: The forthcoming actions of Lucifer, represented as the "king of the north" in the last segment of this vision, have no historical equal. The behavior of the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation will be off the scale of human expectations. This is why parallel language from the past is so helpful. If you have a basic understanding of Daniel 8 and Revelation 9, 13 and 17, this transition is not hard to follow or understand. Unfortunately, most people do not have this understanding, so Daniel 11:36 and onward is difficult for many people to decipher.
The king of the north mentioned in verses Daniel 11:36-45 is the same King from the North (also known as the stern-faced king or the horn power) that was introduced in Daniel 8. Notice how this point is demonstrated. Verse 35 points to the appointed time of the end, and verse 36 describes a king who will be successful until the time of wrath is completed. "Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place." (Daniel 11:35,36)
1. Who is the "king" in verse 36? Part of the answer is found in the timing of this verse. The king to whom this verse applies is the king who "is successful until the time of wrath is completed . . ." When does the time of wrath occur? We learned from Daniel 8 that the horn power from the north (the stern-faced king) will appear during the appointed time of the end, which is a time of wrath. "He [Gabriel] said: ĎI am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end.í " (Daniel 8:19, italics mine) Revelation indicates the Great Tribulation will be a time of wrath for everyone. People who obey Godís Word will suffer persecution from Babylon. (Revelation 13:5) People who obey Babylonís laws and the Antichrist will suffer Godís wrath. (Revelation 14:9,10) Therefore, the appointed time of the end is a time of wrath for everyone. The Great Tribulation consists of two segments of time. The seven trumpets will last 1,260 days. The seven-trumpet judgments of Revelation will be a time of invitation and mercy for those who have not heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. The seven bowls will follow the seven trumpets. They will last for seventy-five days and will contain no mercy. During the seven bowls, Godís wrath will be poured out upon all who receive the mark of the beast. When the seven last plagues are completed, Godís wrath will end. "I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues Ė last, because with them Godís wrath is completed." (Revelation 15:1) When these facts are aligned, we are left with one conclusion. The king mentioned in Daniel 11:36 must be the horn power of Daniel 8 (the Antichrist), because he will be successful until the time of wrath is completed. The time of wrath occurs during the appointed time of the end, which is also called the Great Tribulation. (Daniel 12:1)
2. The king of the north will be successful even though he demands
obedience to religious beliefs that are contrary to every religion on Earth!
Remember, God empowers the stern-faced king, allowing him to have a moment
of glorious deception. (Daniel 8:24; Revelation 13:14) Daniel 11:36 says,
"The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above
every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. . . ."
Compare Danielís words with those of the apostle Paul: "Donít let anyone
deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion
occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to
destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is
called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in Godís temple,
proclaiming himself to be God."
3. If there is any doubt remaining on the identity of this king, notice this verse: "At the time of the end the king of the south will engage him in battle, and the king of the north will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood." (Daniel 11:40, italics mine) The king of the north will gain control over all of his adversaries at the time of the end. We know the horn power in Daniel 8 will come from the north, will appear during the appointed time of the end, will destroy many people, will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and will blaspheme the God of Heaven. Only one being can meet these specifications. That being is Lucifer, the Antichrist.
A New Series of Wars
We know this vision covers a series of great wars. The last segment of this vision focuses on the wars that will occur during the time of wrath (the Great Tribulation). The Bible predicts the king of the north will wage war against the saints and will conquer them. (Revelation 13:7) The devil will be invincible for a period of time. He will destroy those who oppose him (the kingdom of the south). God grants this authority to Lucifer for two reasons. First, God raises up a destroyer to destroy those who pass the point of no return. Second, God empowers Lucifer for a season because He wants a watching universe to see what dominion under a sinful being like Lucifer would be like. God wants the universe to see how sin affects authority. Because Lucifer is the embodiment of sin, his actions will demonstrate what any sinner would do if given enough time and power. The contrast will be profound. If God were not a God of love, His reign over the universe would resemble Luciferís horrible reign on Earth. If we ponder this thought for just a moment, every Christian should rejoice to know that God is nothing like Lucifer. God is love! With these things said, my commentary begins with verse 36:
Daniel 11:36-39 (KJV) - Part I
"And the king [of the North] 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. 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. But in his estate shall he honour 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. 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." (Insertion mine)
Interlaced Commentary on Part I
"Gabriel said, ĎDaniel, I must tell you more about the stern-faced king from the north; the horn power you saw in the earlier vision of Daniel 8. When the devil physically appears on Earth personating Christ, he will claim to be God. Masquerading as God, he will receive honor from the religions of the world. They will believe that he is God. [Note: Lucifer is called the king of the north in this section of the vision for two reasons. First, as a point on the compass, north symbolizes Godís dwelling place Ė on the sides of the north.(Isaiah 14:13, KJV) North also represents the direction from which divine destruction comes. Like Nebuchadnezzar, the ancient king of Babylon, Lucifer, the modern king of Babylon, will inflict destruction on those people who have rejected Godís truth. Second, in the first portion of this prophecy, Israel was caught between two great rivals Ė the kings from the north and south. In the last days, Godís people will again be caught between two great rivals; the people who believe the devil is God (followers of the king of the north) and people who refuse to submit to the demands of Lucifer (followers of the king of the south).] The opposition of men will not slow Lucifer for long. The devil will do as he pleases, for no one can stop him. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god known to man and will say unheard-of things against the Most High God. He will succeed mightily until the seven bowls are completed, for what has been predetermined by the Most High God will occur.
Daniel, because of apostasy, Israel rebelled against the God of their forefathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Similarly, when Lucifer appears, the religious wicked will do the same thing. They will abandon the gods of their fathers and worship this new "living" god. The devil will have no regard for Christ, the Holy One of Israel, which every virgin in Israel hopes to bear. The devil will exalt himself above them all. Be warned. The king of the north will appear as a glorious god-man Ė subject to no law or authority created by man. He is called the man of lawlessness because he will not be subject to any law and will demand that people obey his commandments. Instead of respecting the gods of the religions that people know and trust, he will demand the establishment of a new, one-world religion. He will exalt himself as lord of lords and king of kings. He will use force when and where necessary to consolidate the world under his authority. He will demand that all people obey his laws or be killed. A one-world religion has not existed since Adam and Eve sinned, but it will come. Everyone who refuses to submit to the demands of the devil will be targets of persecution. Be prepared. At the appointed time (fifth trumpet), the devil will appear on Earth and consolidate the worldís seven religious systems into one colossal organization. He will exalt and honor himself by receiving gold and silver, precious stones, and costly gifts.
When Lucifer has gained a great following, he will fiercely attack the brave people who have remained faithful to the Most High. The 144,000 and their disciples will resist the devilís schemes. Great numbers of people will be deceived and join the devil in rebellion against the clearest evidence of Godís truth. The world has not seen anything like this since the time of Noahís flood. The devil will bestow great honor on the leaders of Earth who acknowledge him to be God. The devil and his angels will slaughter a third of mankind during the sixth trumpet war. When the devil dissolves the political and religious boundaries of the world, he will set up ten puppet kings over the people of Earth. Lucifer will honor people who participate in his evil ways by distributing the land to the highest bidder.í "
Daniel 11:40-43 (KJV) - Part II
"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. 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. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 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."
Interlaced Commentary on Part II
"Gabriel said, ĎWhen the sixth trumpet sounds (Revelation 9:13-21), the devil will attack his adversaries by land, air, and with a great fleet of ships. He will invade and destroy many countries, and his forces will sweep through the nations like an irresistible and devastating flood. Luciferís angels will kill one-third of mankind. The devil will invade the homeland of Israel and many countries around will fall, but throughout the world, a remnant of people will remain faithful. Remember how some of your people escaped Nebuchadnezzarís destruction by fleeing to the remote areas of Edom and Moab? God will sustain His people in the same way during the end time. Like the leaders of Ammon, who protected your people when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem (Jeremiah 40:11,12), God will deliver His people from the devilís hand. As the ruler of Earth, the devil will extend his power over many countries. Egypt, which represents Pharaohís opposition to God (the king of the south), will not escape Luciferís dominion. The devil will control all of the treasures of gold and silver. All of the riches of the world will be his. No person will be able to buy or sell unless he obeys the devilís laws and submits to his beastly government.í"
Daniel 11:44-12:1 (KJV) - Part III
"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. 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. 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."
Interlaced Commentary on Part III
"Gabriel said, ĎNear the end of the Great Tribulation, people throughout the Earth will hear peals of loudest thunder. At that time, Jesus will announce that the king of the north is to be destroyed. The devil will be alarmed when he hears this thunder because he will know that his rule has ended. In a rage, he will attempt to annihilate all of Godís people by setting up a universal death decree, but Godís people will be delivered.
The devil will establish a palace in Jerusalem. He will sit enthroned as though he were Almighty God. Jerusalem will serve as one of the palaces of Babylon, that great city that rules over the nations of Earth. The devil will consolidate the world into one empire and he will have undisputed rule over the world for a short time. Yet, the devil will come to his end and no human being will be able to prevent these things from happening. When the devil implements the mark of the beast (a tattoo showing allegiance to Lucifer), he will take his seat on his throne to rule over Earth. He will claim to be lord of lords and king of kings. At that very moment Michael/Jesus, the great Prince of Heaven who protects His people, will arise from His seat at the right hand of Godís throne. Jesus will bring His intercessory work on behalf of the human race to a close. At that time, Jesus will send the seven last plagues upon His enemies. The distress and suffering caused by the plagues will be terrible. Never, since the history of humankind, has such suffering covered the face of the Earth. But your people Ė everyone whose name is found written in the Book of Life Ė will be delivered from death and these plagues.í "
Daniel 12:2-4 (KJV) - Part IV
"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. 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. 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."
Interlaced Commentary on Part IV
"Gabriel said, ĎA few days before the Second Coming, Jesus will resurrect multitudes of martyrs who died during the fifth seal in a special resurrection. He will also resurrect those who crucified Jesus, so that they can see the Son of Man coming in clouds of glory. Their shame and contempt will remain on them until Jesus destroys them at the Second Coming. On that glorious day, the 144,000 will be declared victorious. They will shine with the brightness of Heaven because they led many people to righteousness, and the 144,000 will be the "movie stars" in the new Earth. But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of this vision. This information is reserved for the time of the end. Many generations will try to understand these prophecies; they will go here and there to increase knowledge, but the Most High God has sealed this book until the final generation arrives.í "
Daniel 12:5-9 (KJV) - Part V
"Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end."
Interlaced Commentary on Part V
"Then I, Daniel, looked up and saw two glorious angels. One angel stood on this side of the river and the other stood on the opposite bank. One of the angels said to Jesus, the Man who was clothed in linen and was standing above the waters of the Tigris, ĎHow long will it be before the astonishing events in these visions are fulfilled?í Jesus lifted His right and left hand toward Heaven, and I heard him swear by the Most High God who lives forever, saying, ĎThe gospel of salvation will be preached throughout the whole world during 1,260 days. When the power given to the 144,000 has come to an end, all these things will be completed.í I heard these words, but I did not understand their meaning. So I asked, ĎLord, what will be the outcome of all these events?í He replied, ĎDo not worry about this Daniel, because the words of this prophecy are closed up and sealed until the final generation arrives. The righteous who live during those days will understand this vision.í "
Daniel 12:10-13 (KJV) - Part VI
"Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days."
Interlaced Commentary on Part VI
"Gabriel said, ĎGodís people must be refined, purified, and made spotless. The wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand these things, but at the appointed time of the end, the people who are wise in spiritual matters, the ones who are listening for my voice through the Spirit, will understand the importance of these things. Daniel, write the following things down because Godís people will need to know them when the appointed time arrives. A time is coming when Jesus will end His intercession on behalf of the world. At that time, Jesus will cease from the daily work He has been doing on behalf of humanity ever since sin began. He will no longer stand between Godís wrath and a guilty world. When He steps aside, a great earthquake will shake the Earth. This event will mark the end of Christís corporate ministry in the Heavenly sanctuary. From the day that Christís daily intercession ceases until the devil establishes a universal death decree for Godís people, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed are the saints who patiently endure the Great Tribulation to reach the end of the 1,335 days.í "Then the King will say to those on his right, ĎCome, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." (Matthew 25:34) ĎAs for you Daniel, go on with your business until the end of your life. Then, you will rest with your fathers in sleep. At the end of Earthís days, you will be resurrected to receive your allotted inheritance. The Lord will surely reward you for your faithfulness.í "
Even though the information in Daniel is very important, the book of Daniel does not tell us everything we need to know about the end-time. This is why God gave John the vision recorded in Revelation. When the prophecies in the two books of Daniel and Revelation are properly related, the alignment of details and the harmony of facts are astounding! So, after my commentary on Revelation becomes available, please review this chapter.
The prophecy in Daniel 10-12 contains a warning message for those who will live during the Great Tribulation. Manís great adversary is coming and will crush every religion and government. He will destroy hundreds of millions of people and will establish himself as Almighty God on Earth. He will do everything in his power to destroy the people of God. The Great Tribulation will last a maximum of 1,335 days, and the final abomination that causes desolation (a universal death decree upon Godís people) will occur on the 1,290th day. For 1,335 days, Godís people will be caught in the middle of a series of wars. Many of Godís people will perish. Christians need to know these facts now. Christians need to understand Godís plans; otherwise, the horrors of tomorrow could overpower our faith in God. Most Christians have no idea about the events that are coming. They are like the Jews living inside ancient Jerusalem. Vespesianís departure did not mean an end to Romeís hostilities against Jerusalem, as the Jews mistakenly presumed. It was merely a signal of a reprieve Ė a window of opportunity to escape. Christian believers who understood Jesusí words knew what was coming next and fled the doomed city. In our day, people who understand Danielís words can know what is coming next and when the time becomes appropriate, they will flee from Babylon and separate themselves from this horrible system that will form. God wants His people to understand the big picture before it happens. He wants His people to know His plans so they will not be overwhelmed with loss, disappointment and depression. Therefore, God had the book of Daniel written for our generation so that coming events will confirm our faith instead of destroying our faith. What a thoughtful and caring God.
Gabriel told Daniel that his visions were sealed up until the time of the end. (Daniel 12:4,9) Has the time of the end arrived? Has the book of Daniel been unsealed with the discovery of the four rules that govern the interpretation of apocalyptic prophecy? Time will soon tell. Now that the four rules of Daniel are known, and the books of Daniel and Revelation interlock into one comprehensive harmonious story, we better understand the plans of God. We have carefully examined the contents of Daniel and we now know several things that previous generations could not have known.
1. We found in Daniel 2 that our current generation is living during the time period of the feet which are composed of iron and clay. When the Antichrist appears, he will gain control of the world and will appoint ten puppet kings to be responsible for administrative details. (Revelation 17:12) The toes of Danielís metal man represent these ten kings. (Daniel 2:42) During the days of these ten kings, Jesus will return to Earth and destroy all of the wicked. (Daniel 2:34,35) Daniel 2 indicates that the kingdom of God will not coexist with the kingdoms of sinful men.
2. We found in Daniel 7 that Heavenís court convened in 1798 and billions of angels were summoned to attend. Shortly after the court convened, Jesus began to review the books of record and decide the eternal fate of every person who has ever lived. We also found that the little horn power in Daniel 7 represents the Roman Catholic Church, and we know that the deadly wound inflicted on the church in 1798 will be healed on or about the time the Great Tribulation begins.
3. We found in Daniel 8 that Jesus began reviewing the books of record in 1844 Ė at the end of the 2,300 day/years mentioned in Daniel 8:14. We also found that the horn power coming from the north in Daniel 8 will be the Antichrist. He is the stern-faced king who will bring destruction upon the whole world. He will cause evil to prosper and will inflict astounding devastation on Earth. He will take away the daily from Jesus, manís intercessor. Many of Godís people will perish because of his actions. From a human perspective, he will be invincible. The devilís personation of Christ (a physical body) will be destroyed when Jesus arrives in clouds of glory. Lucifer is not annihilated until he is destroyed at the end of the 1,000 years.
4. We found in Daniel 9 that Jesus came to Earth and died on time Ė April 7, A.D. 30. Godís original plan ("Plan A") to establish His kingdom on Earth at the end of the seventy weeks was not fulfilled because Israel rejected the Messiah. Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in A.D. 70 as predicted.
5. We found in Daniel 10-12 that Israelís unbelief led to Jerusalemís destruction by the Romans. Through Daniel, God warned early Christians to escape this destruction. In a similar manner, people who live during the Great Tribulation will be caught in the middle of a great war. Christians will be on Earth during the worldís destruction and God has included clues in the final prophecy of Daniel describing the actions, identity and objectives of the Antichrist. This vision tells us that the Great Tribulation will last a maximum of 1,335 days, and the vision indicates there will be a universal death decree for the saints which occurs on the 1,290
6. We find in Daniel a prophetic architecture that conforms to four rules. This architecture is a framework that enables us to understand Godís plans in advance. God has hidden the knowledge of this framework for twenty-six centuries. Now that this architecture has been discovered, the book of Revelation becomes an extension of the book of Daniel. The two books combine to form one comprehensive story. The book of Daniel provides the final generation with advanced information about Godís plans for terminating the sin problem. This is not a casual matter. Given what is coming upon Earth, this knowledge is of greater value than anything the world can offer. The present Heaven and Earth will soon pass away, but Godís Word will never fail.
7. The book of Daniel declares that God rules and overrules. God is eternal and God is sovereign. He manages the nations of Earth and He knows the hairs on each of our heads. This scope of knowledge is hard to comprehend. God deals with macro issues (the rise and fall of empires) and yet, He deals with His children on the micro level. He treats each one of us with the tenderest care. The book of Daniel demonstrates these things. Whether God is destroying one empire or delivering one man from a lionís den, the message of Daniel is clear: God rules and overrules. The book of Daniel makes it clear that God overrules events on Earth from time to time so that He can produce the best possible outcome. He manages to do this even within the chaos and suffering that sin has caused without violating the will of men.
The book of Daniel has taught me a sublime lesson: If I surrender my will to God, to go, to be and to do according to all that He has commanded (go-be-do), I have a place within His plans. Whether His plans mandate life or death for me in a temporal sense does not matter, for with God, death is nothing. What really matters is that each of us finds our place within His plans. When Daniel went to the lionís den, he did not know ahead of time what the outcome would be. Yet, he willingly went to the lionís den because he knew he was within Godís plans. This is total trust in God. May God grant within each of us total trust and complete peace!
At the end of his last vision, Gabriel told Daniel that he was going to die and that at the end of Earthís history, he would live again. Daniel was told that he would "stand in his lot at the end of the days." This phrase means that Daniel will serve in his appointed place in Godís kingdom when Jesus resurrects the saints at the Second Coming. Think about it. What greater honor is there than to serve in an appointed position throughout eternity? This outcome is possible if we live a life of faith in God. Danielís visions and experiences are evidences of this truth: God rules. The good news is that God uses His incredible powers, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence, not to secure His position on the throne of the universe, but to insure that the law of love is eternally exalted throughout His universe. No wonder He is called the King of Love, whose dwelling is on the sides of the north, and He will forever rule over His children with love. They will have peace and joy and endless happiness because ". . . . The government will be on His shoulders." (Isaiah 9:6, insertion mine)
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