The Medo- Persian Empire
And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him. Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will appear in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece." Verses 1 & 2.
(Historical note: It appears that Darius the Mede only ruled Babylon while Cyrus was the King of all the Medes and the Persians. While Cyrus was fighting the nation’s battles, Darius was keeping things under control at Babylon.)
Historically we can see the fulfillment of this prophecy. As with most of Daniel, Daniel is given a prophetic outline of future events. We have a starting point, “the first year of Darius the Mede.” That would put this vision about 538 BC. The vision goes on to say that three more kings would appear and then a fourth who would be far wealthier.
"The Medes also subdued the Persians and other Iranians on the plateau, but the Median empire lasted only until 549, when the last Median king, Astyages (r. 584-549), was defeated by his Persian vassal CYRUS THE GREAT, who became the heir of the Median king and ruled an even greater empire from 549 to 530 BC. His son CAMBYSES II, who ruled from 530 to 522, invaded Egypt. Following an interregnum of a year, DARIUS I took power by killing the usurper Smerdis and established the Achaemenid empire on a firm basis. He consolidated and further extended Persian conquests (so that the empire stretched from Egypt and Thrace in the west to northwestern India in the east); established the system of satraps (local governors) under firm centralized control; encouraged the spread of ZOROASTRIANISM; and was a great patron of the arts. Darius's son XERXES I (r. 486-465), after his defeat by the Greeks in the PERSIAN WARS, retired from active government and set a precedent for future kings who were kept in power by the efficient bureaucracy organized by Darius." Grolier
"In 539 b.c. Cyrus occupied Babylonia; by the end of his reign, he had extended his conquests from the Mediterranean to the eastern fringes of the Iranian plateau, with his capital at Pasargadae in southwest Iran." Collier.
"Cyrus' son Cambyses, who had conquered and occupied Egypt, proclaiming himself pharoah, died in 522 b.c.--some say by his own hand--and the Persian throne was seized by a Median magician. But a revolt headed by Darius, prince of a younger branch of the Achaemenid line, deposed the usurper after a few months. Darius (r. 521-485 b.c.) was the greatest of the Persian rulers--a builder and administrator as well as a conqueror. He brought under Persian sway northwest India as far as the Indus River and Armenia as far as the Caucasus. He also campaigned in Thrace (modern European Turkey and Bulgaria) but was turned back from the Danube River by the Scythians." Collier
"Persian ruler of the Achaemenid empire from 486 to 465 BC, Xerxes was the son of DARIUS I and Atossa, daughter of Cyrus the Great." Grolier
"Although he was not Darius's eldest son, he was designated crown prince about 498. Xerxes, meaning ‘ruler over heroes,’ was his throne name. At the beginning of his reign he put down a revolt in Egypt and also in Babylon, where he razed the walls and plundered the city." Grolier
To sum up the above historical accounts, it goes like this. After Cyrus the Great, also known as Darius, three more kings would rule:
Camabyses II 530-522
Smerdis, an usurper killed by Darius I: 522-521
Darius I, known as Darius I the Hystaspes: 521-486:
Then we are told that a fourth king would rule who was "far richer than all the others." To get some idea of his wealth, read Esther 1:1-8. This king would "stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece."
"In 480 b.c. the Persians under King Xerxes again attacked Greece, this time by both land and sea. The Hellespont was bridged with boats and a canal was cut through the isthmus of Mount Athos, to avoid a repetition of the disaster of 492 b.c." Grolier
"His most important action, however, was the invasion of Greece that ended in defeat at the Battle of Salamis in 480 (see PERSIAN WARS)." Grolier
"The Greek historian Herodotus gives as the combined strength of Xerxes' land and naval forces the incredible total of 2,641,610 warriors.
"Xerxes is said to have crossed the Hellespont by a bridge of boats more than a kilometer in length and to have cut a canal through the isthmus of Mount Athos. During the spring of 480 b.c. he marched with his forces through Thrace, Thessaly, and Locris. At Thermopylae 300 Spartans, under their king, Leonidas I, made a courageous but futile stand, delaying the Persians for ten days. Xerxes then advanced into Attica and burned Athens, which had been abandoned by the Greeks. At the Battle of Salamis later in 480 b.c., however, his fleet was defeated by a much smaller contingent of Greek warships commanded by the Athenian Themistocles. Xerxes thereupon retired to Asia Minor, leaving his army in Greece under the command of his brother-in-law, Mardonius (fl. 500-479 bc ), who was slain at Plataea the following year. Xerxes was murdered at Persepolis by Artabanus (d. 464 bc ), captain of the palace guard; he was succeeded by his son Artaxerxes I (r. 465-425 bc )." Infopedia
We see here the fulfillment of the prophecy. Xerxes began to meddle in the affairs of Greece. Greece did not like that. He stirred up a hornets nest that Persia would come to regret. Verse 3 tells us that “a mighty king will appear, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases.”After Xerxes died, Alexander fulfilled the prophecy of verse 3.
The Greek Empire
"When Alexander burst into Asia, however, no opposition could stop him." Collier.
“In 331 b.c., refusing an offer from Darius to cede all lands west of the Euphrates, he crossed the Euphrates and Tigris from northern Syria. With an army reinforced to over 40,000 men, he met the full force of Darius’ empire in the plains at Gaugamela, sixty miles west of Arbela (modern Erbil), even though the name Arbela is sometimes given to the battle. Enormously outnumbered, but with consummate skill, he advanced obliquely towards Darius’ left wing, holding off outflanking cavalry attacks with flank guards of his Greek and Thracian troops, while Thracian javelin men in advance brought down the horses of a Persian scythed-chariot charge.
"A gap opened between the Persian center and left as the Persian formation tried to conform to his flankward movement, and into it Alexander charged with his 2,000 "companions" or horse guards, supported on their left by the main force of his infantry pikemen, the Macedonian phalanx. Darius' best infantry were cut to pieces in a short, fierce struggle, and he, as at Issus, fled. The date was probably October 7, not October 11 as has often been claimed." Collier
Verse 4 states that “his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others.”
How true that prophecy was. When Alexander died, “he had still made no arrangements for the government of the empire, even of Macedonia itself, in the event of his death or disablement (surely a heavy count against him); and fighting between his generals, in which the empire was dismembered and his posthumous son and only child perished along with Roxane, began within two years.” Collier
An Empire divided
"Upon the death of Alexander, his empire, the largest the world had known, was divided among his generals." Collier
1.)"Lysimachus, c.360-281 BC, a senior Macedonian officer under ALEXANDER THE GREAT, was assigned rule over Thrace after Alexander's death in 323." Grolier
2.)"Cassander, c.358-297 BC, king of Macedonia, was son of the regent ANTIPATER and one of the diadochi, or successors, of ALEXANDER THE GREAT." Grolier
3.) "SELEUCID DYNASTY, the Macedonian family that established itself in 312 b.c. as heir to a large part of the Asiatic empire of Alexander the Great. The Seleucid realm was centered on Syria but at times extended throughout much of the Near East, from Asia Minor to northern India. Under the Seleucids, Greek culture continued to be diffused throughout Asia. The dynasty's rulers were almost continuously at war with rebellious provincial rulers, the other Hellenistic states that followed in the wake of Alexander, invading Gauls, and, later, the Romans. Seleucid Syria was finally annexed as a Roman province in 65 b.c." Collier
"Seleucus I Nicator (r. 312-281 b.c.). The dynasty derives its name from its founder, Seleucus I, one of Alexander's generals. In 312 b.c. Seleucus took over Babylon during the civil wars after Alexander's death. Like the other successors of Alexander, Seleucus desired all of Alexander's empire." Collier
"Seleucus I Nicator ("the Conqueror"), b. c.358 BC, was the greatest of the Diadochi, or successors, of Alexander the Great. He fought under Alexander and after the king's death (323) received the province of Babylonia." Collier. " He took the royal title in 305." Grolier
4. PTOLEMAIC DYNASTY , the ruling family of Egypt from 323 b.c. to 30 b.c. The dynasty was founded by Ptolemy, son of Lagos, one of Alexander's generals. Ptolemy took possession of Egypt shortly after Alexander died and held the country against all his rivals. In 305 b.c., he assumed the title of king and reigned until his death in 285 b.c. Ptolemy and his descendants built up an empire which included Egypt, Cyprus, southern Syria, and Cyrene." Collier
"Ptolemy I, c.367-283 BC, created the political and military foundations of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt (323-30 BC). When Alexander the Great died in 323 BC, Ptolemy, one of Alexander's leading Macedonian generals, became satrap (governor) of Egypt. In 304 he declared himself king." Grolier
The North and the South Kingdoms
"A long series of wars between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies of Egypt began during his reign. This rivalry continued throughout the third century and into the second. The principal bone of contention was southern Syria." Collier
To recap the above history, we find that the empire which Alexander built was parceled out to his four generals: Lysimachus, Cassander, Seleucid and Ptolemy. It is at this point that we have the wars of the kings of the South (Ptolemy) against the kings of the North (Seleucid).
Verse 5 takes in Ptolemy I Suter of Egypt (king of the South) and Seleucid I Nicator (king of the North). Verse 6 happened in about 252 BC when Antiochus II married Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy.
"Antiochus II (Theos). Antiochus II, who reigned 261-247 b.c., continued the struggle with the Egyptians, but finally made peace by marrying Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus of Egypt." Collier
"Berenice. d. c.246 B.C. Daughter of Ptolemy II Philadelphus and his sister ArsinoeII; (Berenice married) (c.252) Antiochus II Theos and persuaded him to renounce (his) former wife Laodice and her children; after (the) death of Antiochus, (Berenice) was killed by supporters of Laodice, thus provoking her brother Ptolemy III Euergetes into (a) Third Syrian War against Laodice and Seleucus II." Infopedia
"PTOLEMY III (282?-221 bc ), called Ptolemy Euergetes ("benefactor"), king of Egypt (246-221 bc ), the son of Ptolemy II. He reunited Cyrenaica and Egypt, invaded the Seleucid Kingdom of Syria to avenge the murder of his sister and her infant son, the heir to the Seleucid throne, and established Egyptian naval predominance in the Aegean Sea. Ptolemy III was a liberal patron of the arts and added to the collection of the Alexandrian library. His rule marked the height of Egyptian power, prosperity, and wealth under the Ptolemies." Infopedia
Verse 9 tells us that the king of the North would not like Ptolemy III for ransacking his kingdom. Therefore Seleucus II turned on Egypt and invaded it. But he was not successful. Because of a revolt by his younger brother, Antiochus Hierax, he had to withdraw.
"Seleucus II Callius (r. 247-226 b.c.). With Antiochus II's son, Seleucus II, a new factor, dynastic strife, enters the history of the dynasty. When the king, at war with Egypt, appointed his younger brother, Antiochus Hierax (the Hawk), viceroy of all Asia Minor north and west of the Taurus Mountains, Antiochus revolted. With the Gauls as allies he inflicted a severe defeat on Seleucus at Ancyra (modern Ankara) in about 236 b.c. and forced him to cede the western half of his empire." Collier
In Verse 10 we are told that his sons "will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress." In history, we have the fulfillment of this prophecy.
"ANTIOCHUS III, called The Great (242-187 bc), king of Syria (223-187 bc ), the son of Seleucus II and brother of Seleucus III (r. 225-223 bc ), whom he succeeded. He was the most distinguished of the Seleucids. Having made vassal states out of Parthia and Bactria, he warred successfully against the Egyptian king Ptolemy V and in 198 bc obtained possession of all of Palestine and Lebanon." Infopedia
"Antiochus III, c.242-187 BC, succeeded to the throne of the SELEUCIDS in 223, when the kingdom was controlled by a powerful minister and rebellion was spreading in Iran. He defeated the rebels, rid himself of the minister, and conquered much of Phoenicia, Syria, and Palestine from the Ptolemies of Egypt." Grolier
But the king of the South, "Ptolemy IV won (a) decisive victory over Antiochus at Raphia (217);" Infopedia
War after war continued between the dynasties of the houses of the Ptolemies and the Seleucids. During this time, we take a little break from the wars that are going on between these two rivals, and see one going on that involves the Jews.
The Jews Rebel
Verse 14 says that "in those times many will rise against the king of the South. The violent men among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success." Did this happen. Did the Jews (your own people) rebel without success? Yes.
"The Maccabees led the Jewish people in their struggle for freedom from the kingdom of Syria. Their exploits and legends about them are recounted in the Old Testament books Maccabees (q.v., books). Prominent members of the family include the following.
"Mattathias. or Mattathiah (d. 166? bc ), priest of Modin, northwest of Jerusalem. In 168 bc the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes forbade the practice of Judaism and also decreed that altars to Greek gods be set up in the Temple at Jerusalem and in country towns. Mattathias, then an old man, refused to comply and killed a royal officer and a Jew who did comply. Subsequently (167 bc ), with his five sons and many faithful Jews, Mattathias fled to the mountains and began a revolt against Antiochus. He died soon after, leaving his son Judas in command of the rebellion.
"Judas. or Judah (d. 161 bc ), third son and successor of Mattathias. One of the great generals in Jewish history, Judas, with a few thousand followers, defeated several numerically superior Syrian armies in succession (166-165 bc ). In December 165 bc, he led his insurgent army into Jerusalem, purified the Temple, which had been used for Greek rites during the preceding three years, and restored the Jewish rites. This purification and restoration is commemorated by the Jewish festival Hanukkah (q.v.). Judas next began extensive military campaigns against the enemies of the Jews in and around Judea. As a result, Syria recognized the religious liberty of the Jews (163 bc).. Judas then began to work for political independence as well and to this end enlisted the aid of Rome. Dissentions among the Jews, however, weakened his position. Although Judas won a great victory over the Syrians at Bethhoron (just northwest of Jerusalem) in 161 bc, he was killed in a subsequent battle fought nearby at Elsa."
"Jonathan. (d. 142? bc ), brother and successor of Judas, youngest son of Mattathias. After the death of Judas, Jonathan continued for three years to lead a small band of insurgents. In 157 bc, the Syrians, engaged in an internal struggle for political power, made peace with him. Five years later, profiting from the internal conflict in Syria, Jonathan became high priest in Jerusalem and administrator of Judea. Thereafter, he alternately supported the Syrian kings and pretenders, using them against one another, while increasing Jewish territory and power. In 143 bc Tryphon (d. 138 bc ), pretender to the Syrian throne, decided to crush the power of the Jewish leader as a threat to his own influence. Jonathan was treacherously taken prisoner near Beth-shan (modern Beit Shean) by Tryphon, and he was ultimately killed.
"Simon. (d. 135 bc ), successor and brother of Jonathan, second son of Mattathias. In 142 bc he negotiated a treaty with Syria by which Judea was recognized as politically independent. All Syrians were expelled from the citadel at Jerusalem. In 141 bc a great congregation of the Jewish people and priests chose Simon to be high priest and civil governor, and the two offices were made hereditary in Simon's family. After six years of prosperous rule, Simon was assassinated by his son-in-law and chief rival for power." Infopedia
Back to the Future
The revolt did not succeed for long. Judea was soon to be ruled by the Romans. In Verse 15 we go back in time to verse 14 to see why the Jews revolted. "Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand."
"ANTIOCHUS IV, called Epiphanes ("the illustrious") (c. 215-164 bc), king of Syria (175-164 bc), son of Antiochus III. From 171 to 168 bc, he was involved in a war against Egypt, defeating two Egyptian kings, Ptolemy VI and Ptolemy VII. He captured Jerusalem, prohibited Judaism, and tried to establish the worship of Greek gods. Under the leadership of the Jewish priest Mattathias (died c. 166 bc) and his sons, the Maccabees, the Jews revolted (167-160 bc) and drove Antiochus from Jerusalem. Later he won victories over the Armenians and Persians." Infopedia
As you can see from the previous account, the fortified city to any Jew was Jerusalem. With the revolts of the Jews through the Maccabees, Jerusalem was captured for a while. But the revolt did not last. Even the Ptolemies who attempted to help the Jews were unable to do so.
Why is this chapter in the Bible? Because God is always concerned about His people. In order for the kings of the North (the Seleucids), and the kings of the South (the Ptolemies), to war against each other, they had to cross through the land of Judea. That involved the Jews. That is why God has it mentioned in Daniel. He wanted them to know what the future would hold and not to worry. All they had to do was just trust and obey Him. But instead, they took matters into their own hands, and lost. The lesson is for us today. Trust God and obey Him and everything will turn out great. Take matters into our own hands and things will be disastrous.
The Ptolemies became so weak, as the Bible said they would, that “to protect themselves against the Seleucids, they cultivated friendship with Rome. Thus Egypt was saved in 168 b.c., when Roman intervention forced Antiochus IV to withdraw from the Egyptian delta, but the final result was that Egypt tended to become more and more a Roman protectorate.” Collier
With the introduction of Roman power into the feud that was going on between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies, it was just a matter of time before it became the dominant factor in the area. Verse 16 tells us that the “invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy.”
There is a principle here I want you to understand. The Bible is using the terms “North” and “South” to describe two warring factions that involve the people of God. As these factions get taken over by other factions, the area of the world they involve grows and grows until by the end of Daniel 11 they encompass the whole earth. But the war is the same. The war entangles the people of God. Only the names change.
The Roman Invaders
"Politically, the Middle East was divided between two states ruled by dynasties established by two of Alexander's generals, the Ptolemies in Egypt and the SELEUCIDS in Syria and Mesopotamia. The constant strife between these two states and their internal weakness eventually led to the intervention of a rapidly rising power in the west, Rome. By 64 BC, Syria fell to the Romans, and, in 30 BC, Egypt was annexed, bringing to an end the Hellenistic kingdoms of the east. The Middle East, which had always been involved in the rivalries between two great powers, was now divided between the Roman Empire, which controlled its western portion around the Mediterranean, and the empire of the Parthians in Persia in the east". Grolier
When Jerusalem was conquered "by the Romans under the general and statesman Pompey the Great in 63 bc resulted in no serious material disaster to the city. Its greatest prosperity was attained under Herod the Great. Besides a complete reconstruction of the Temple on a scale that was truly magnificent, involving the expenditure of vast sums of money, he undertook the building of the Xystus, an open place surrounded by a gallery; his own great palace, on the western side of the city; and a hippodrome, theater, and large reservoir. In addition to these works, minor improvements were made, including the general strengthening of the fortifications." Infopedia
"The Romans set up a local dynasty, the house of Herod to rule most of Palestine; Herod the Great (r.40-4 BC) rebuilt much of Jerusalem, including the Temple. The Roman governors, however, retained ultimate control; one of them, Pontius Pilate, authorized the execution of Jesus Christ." Grolier
"The dynasty of Herod was a family of Idumaean Jews who ruled various regions in Palestine as client kings or governors under Rome from 37 BC to AD 70. Herod the Great and Herod Antipas figure prominently in the Bible. The former ordered the slaughter of the Holy Innocents at the time of Christ's birth, and the latter executed John the Baptist.
"Herod the Great's grandfather and father, both named Antipater, were governors of the province of Idumaea who rose to power during the waning days of the MACCABEES. Following the conquest (66-63 BC) of Syria-Palestine by the Romans, Herod's father, d. 43 BC, through skilled diplomacy, achieved Roman citizenship and appointment as procurator (principal administrative official) of Judea. Herod the Great, b. c.73 BC, was made king of Judea by the Romans and ruled from Jerusalem after 37 BC. An imperious king and capable general, Herod promoted Hellenization among the Jews. He founded the city of CAESAREA and rebuilt much of Jerusalem, including the Temple. He was notoriously cruel, however; he executed three of his sons and his second wife." Grolier
As you can see, Rome became the "super power" of the world, and of Israel. The house of Herod established himself in the "Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy." He did. He even used his power to destroy Jesus. But let’s go back to how all this took place.
Verse 17 says that the Roman Empire would make an alliance with the king of the South by marrying a daughter of the king of the South, but that the plans would not succeed. Did that happen? Of course. The Bible is always right.
"CLEOPATRA, more precisely, Cleopatra VII (c. 69-30 bc ), ill-fated queen of Egypt (51-30 bc ), celebrated for her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Cleopatra was the daughter of Ptolemy XI Auletes, king of Egypt (c. 112-51 bc ). On her father's death in 51 bc Cleopatra, then about 17 years old, and her brother, Ptolemy XII (63-47 bc ), a child of about 12 years, succeeded jointly to the throne of Egypt with the provision that they should marry. In the third year of their reign Ptolemy, encouraged by his advisers, assumed sole control of the government and drove Cleopatra into exile. She promptly gathered an army in Syria but was unable to assert her claim until the arrival at Alexandria of Julius Caesar, who became her lover and espoused her cause. He was for a time hard pressed by the Egyptians but ultimately triumphed, and in 47 bc Ptolemy XII was killed. Caesar proclaimed Cleopatra queen of Egypt.
"Cleopatra was then forced by custom to marry her younger brother, Ptolemy XIII (59-44 bc ), then about 11 years old. After settling their joint government on a secure basis, Cleopatra went to Rome, where she lived as Caesar's mistress. She gave birth to a son, Caesarion (47-30 bc ), later Ptolemy XIV; it is believed that Caesar was his father." Infopedia
Verse 18 says that he will also "turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them,…" "In August 49 a lightning campaign secured Spain, and Caesar then crossed to Greece." Grolier
"In 47 BC Caesar went to Anatolia, where he defeated Pompey's ally Pharnaces, king of Bosporus, at Zela; this victory occasioned Caesar's famous boast Veni, vidi, vici ('I came, I saw, I conquered'). He returned to Rome, but in December 47 he crossed to North Africa to meet a new threat from the Pompeian forces. After victory at Thapsus, he returned home to an unprecedented quadruple triumph in 46 BC. Pompey's sons, however, organized new resistance in Spain. Caesar's victory over them at Munda, on Mar. 17, 45, was the hardest of all." Grolier
"Under Caesar, Rome controlled all of Italy, Gaul, Spain, Numidia, Macedonia, Greece, Palestine, Egypt, and virtually all of the Mediterranean islands". Grolier
Then the verse goes on to say that "a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back upon him." This word insolence in the NIV is a word play, in Hebrew, on the word "dagger". Now you will understand the historical account better.
"In 44 BC, Caesar, likening himself to Alexander the Great, began to plan the conquest of Parthia. Fearing that he would become an absolute king, many whom he had earlier pardoned conspired to murder him. The conspirators, led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius CASSIUS LONGINUS, stabbed him (with a dagger) at a meeting of the Senate in Pompey's theater on Mar. 15 (the Ides of March), 44 BC. Falling at the foot of Pompey's statue, Caesar addressed Brutus in Greek: ‘Even you, lad?’" Grolier. Verse 19 tells of his stumble and his fall, "to be seen no more."
In Verse 20, we are told that his "successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor."
"Augustus, b. Sept. 23, 63 BC, d. Aug. 19, AD 14, was the first Roman emperor (27 BC-AD 14). Named Gaius Octavius, he was the son of Gaius Octavius, a Roman senator, and Atia, the niece of Julius CAESAR. Augustus was a title of honor conferred on him in 27 BC by the Senate. Octavius was only 18 years old when Caesar was assassinated (Mar. 15, 44 BC). In his will, Caesar adopted Octavius, whose official name then became Gaius Julius Caesar. This did not give Octavian (as modern historians call him) any special privileges, but he was able to use the magic of Caesar's name to win over Caesar's veterans." Grolier
"His official name became Imperator Caesar Augustus, and he was called Augustus (the Exalted). In 23 he received the tribunician power for life and assumed in this way the role of protector of the Roman people. He also received the right to intervene in those provinces administered by the Senate. In 12 BC he became high priest (pontifex maximus), the head of Roman state religion, and in 2 BC he received the title ‘Father of His Country.’" Grolier
"Luke 2:1 Luke is the only Gospel writer who relates his narrative to dates of world history. Caesar Augustus. The first and (according to many) greatest Roman emperor (31 B.C. - A.D. 14). Having replaced the republic with an imperial form of government, he expanded the empire to include the entire Mediterranean world, established the famed Pax Romana ("Roman Peace") and ushered in the golden age of Roman literature and architecture. Augustus (which means "exalted") was a title voted to him by the Roman senate in 27 B.C. census. Used for military service and taxation. Jews, however, were exempt from Roman military service. God used the decree of a pagan emperor to fulfill the prophecy of Micah 5:2". Compton’s NIV
As you can see, it was this Caesar Augustus who sent out the decree to take a census, that is recorded in Luke 2:1. See how accurate the Bible is. Also, note that in 27 BC he was given the title, "exalted". Jesus was anointed in 27 AD and had the title "Immanuel", "God with us". Satan knew Christ was coming and was trying to take the attention away from the true "Exalted One".
Then we are told in the same verse, that he would be "destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle." "Although he was never in good health, Augustus' will helped him to survive. After his death, on Aug. 19, AD 14, he was deified." Compton’s
Augustus died, as the Bible says, "not in anger or in battle" but quietly in sleep from an illness. Verse 21 tells us that he would "be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty." Did this happen? Yes, the next ruler was Tiberius who did not come from royal line. Augustus "was succeeded by his adopted son, Tiberius." Compton’s
"In 12 BC, Tiberius was forced to marry Augustus's daughter, Julia. In the event of Augustus's death he was to act as tutor of Augustus's grandsons by Julia's previous marriage. Tiberius resented his role, and from 6 BC to AD 2 he lived in retirement in Rhodes. After the premature deaths of the grandsons, Augustus adopted (AD 4) Tiberius and recognized him as his successor." Grolier
Not only was he adopted, but the Bible says that he would be "contemptible" as well. "Tiberius is remembered as a monster and tyrant. Historians describe him as a man who had practiced every imaginable vice and who tortured and killed with ferocity." Compton’s
"Old, ridden with disease, and physically repulsive, Tiberius became mean and cruel. He built for himself palaces with prisons, torture rooms, and places of execution. Eventually he had Sejanus murdered by Macro, the new head of the Praetorian Guard. The last years of the emperor's life reached a peak of cruelty." Compton’s
The section of verse 21 which states that "he will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue" could refer to the following.
"In ad 26 Tiberius left Rome and withdrew to Campania, and the following year went to the island of Capreae (modern Capri), leaving Rome under the power of Lucius Aelius Sejanus (d. ad 31), the prefect of the Praetorian Guard. Finally realizing that Sejanus was trying to seize the imperial power, Tiberius had him and his supporters put to death in ad 31." Infopedia
"A scheming and suspicious ruler, Tiberius instituted a reign of terror, especially after 23, when Sejanus, prefect of the Praetorian guard, became his chief advisor. Numerous senators, and also members of the family of his nephew GERMANICUS CAESAR, were accused of treason and executed; in 31 Sejanus met the same fate." Grolier
Verse 22 reads more accurately, "And the arms of the flood are overflowed from before him, and are broken; and also the leader of the covenant." Young’s Literal Translation
This is an interesting verse. You see, Tiberius is the leader of the government that put Jesus, the "leader of the covenant" to death. It was the Roman Empire, the government that ruled the world, that put Jesus, the ruler of the universe, on a cross. As it broke the body of Jesus, so it (he) too would be broken.
"Pontius Pilate, the fifth Roman procurator (governor) of Judea (AD 26-36), condemned Jesus Christ to death. Appointed under Emperor Tiberius, he also had jurisdiction over Samaria and part of Idumea." Grolier
"In March of AD 37 Tiberius became ill. When it appeared he would recover, Macro smothered him with a pile of blankets on March 16." Compton’s
With this verse, a change takes place, a change so profound that it is easy to miss. Let me give you a little history in order to help you understand what is happening.
God is only concerned with events that affect His children. He really doesn’t care to meddle in the affairs of the wicked, they can do what they want. But when the wicked start to meddle with His people, then His wrath is activated.
Before the flood, the world became so wicked that it was affecting His people. God told Noah He was going to wipe out the earth because of its wickedness. Therefore He had Noah build an Ark to escape. Next came Sodom that became so wicked it was affecting His people. Therefore He sent His angels to destroy it and bring out His children.
Next came Sodom became so wicked that it was affecting His people. Therefore He sent His angels to destroy it and bring out His children.
Egypt became so wicked that it was affecting His people. Therefore He sent His angel to destroy all the first born and to bring out His children.
The Canaanites became so wicked that they were affecting His children. Therefore He used His people, the Jewish nation, to destroy them.
When the Jewish nation became too wicked, God used the Babylonians to humble them. But the Babylonians became proud. Then God used the Medes and the Persians to humble them and set His people free. The Persians became proud and God sent the Greeks to humble them. They also became proud and began to mistreat the people of God. God sent the Romans to humble them.
When the Romans helped the Jews, God allowed the Roman Empire to expand as no other nation had. But when the Roman Empire, in partnership with the Jews, killed His Son, that was the death ring for the Roman Empire. It began to fall apart, and lasted only another three hundred years before being dismembered.
Today we can see the same happening not only in America but in the world. America was raised up to protect God’s Protestants. But now America is turning against God and His truth. It only took three hundred years after the death of Christ for the Romans to fall apart. America at the time of this writing is 239 years old. How soon before it too falls apart?
This verse, verse 22 is the dividing line between the Roman Empire and the next empire that would be used by the devil to do his bidding. The death of the "prince of the covenant" (NIV, vs 22) divides history. God is no longer concerned with the Romans or the Jewish nation. In His time, they have already been destroyed. Now He wants to let His people know what the next empire would do to His people, the Christians.
We must define "His people" so we know what we are looking for. His people have always been those who "obey what I command." His people are those who go out "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." John 14:15; Matthew 28:20. His people are not a "church" or any earthly organization.
From Adam to Noah, Noah to Abraham, Abraham to Moses, Moses to David, David to the prophets and the prophets to Jesus. From Jesus through His disciples to us. The gospel has always been the same. The teaching of righteousness has always been the same: Stop sinning, Be perfect and Keep the Ten Commandments to get (earn) eternal life. This includes the keeping of the 7th day Saturday Sabbath.
When the Jewish nation ceased to teach that message, and killed their God, it was taken from them and given to the men and women of the world of every nation who would accept it. That is why Paul says that the Gentiles (you and me) are to be "grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,…" Romans 11:17.
All Christians, if they are true Christians, are to become spiritual Jews, teaching the same righteousness that God gave the Jews to teach to the world. Hebrews tells us that "we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith (works)." Hebrews. 4:2.
The Rise of the Anti-Christ
But in Daniel 11, verse 23, we see another power coming up that would be the anti-Christ (in place of Christ) and would try to destroy the real Christian gospel by replacing it with one of its own.
In verse 23 we jump almost 300 years to about the year 325. As you will notice from the beginning of this chapter, God is only concerned with the major events. He did not provide a play by play account. He is only interested in those earth shaking events that would be recorded down through history for us to verify that He was correct and knows the future.
Rome was falling apart. It was no longer to be the power of concern. Another power was arising that would take the place of Rome. The only difference being, that in place of a localized, civil power, this was to be a worldwide civil and spiritual power.
This power was seen by Paul when he stated in his letter to the Thessalonians, "For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way." 2 Thess. 2:7. John saw it when he stated, “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” 1 John 2:18. One of those antichrist was his own student, Ignatius, who developed the church system as we have it today and substituted 7th day Sabbath with the pagan 1st Sunday. This will be discussed later.
Satan was working to build a parallel religion that would replace true Christianity. It would be so close to the real thing that if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived. This counterfeit was at work in Paul’s day. But who was holding him back?
The Romans were. So in verse 23 of Daniel 11, we see where this secret power of lawlessness was to make an agreement with the power that was holding it back. "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day (the coming of Christ) 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 God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God." 2 Thess. 2:3, 4.
John states in 1 John 4:3, "but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world."
Who is this power that "sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God?" Who is he who will "oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped?"
"First, however, Christianity had to settle its relation to the political order. As a Jewish sect, the primitive Christian church shared the status of Judaism in the Roman Empire, but before the death of Emperor Nero in 68 it had already been singled out as an enemy. The grounds for hostility to the Christians were not always the same, and often opposition and persecution were localized. The loyalty of Christians to ‘Jesus as Lord,’ however, was irreconcilable with the worship of the Roman emperor as ‘Lord,’ and those emperors, such as Trajan and Marcus Aurelius, who were the most deeply committed to unity and reform were also the ones who recognized the Christians as a threat to those goals and who therefore undertook to eliminate the threat." Infopedia
"The conversion of Constantine assured the church a privileged place in society, and it became easier to be a Christian than not to be one." Infopedia
"Following the example of his father and earlier 3d-century emperors, Constantine in his early life was a solar henotheist, believing that the Roman sun god, Sol, was the visible manifestation of an invisible ‘Highest God’ (summus deus), who was the principle behind the universe. This god was thought to be the companion of the Roman emperor. Constantine's adherence to this faith is evident from his claim of having had a vision of the sun god in 310 while in a grove of Apollo in Gaul. In 312, on the eve of a battle against Maxentius (c. 250-312), his rival in Italy, Constantine is reported to have dreamed that Christ appeared to him and told him to inscribe the first two letters of his name (XP in Greek) on the shields of his troops. The next day he is said to have seen a cross superimposed on the sun and the words ‘in this sign you will be the victor’ (usually given in Latin, in hoc signo vinces ). Constantine then defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, near Rome. The Senate hailed the victor as savior of the Roman people. Thus, Constantine, who had been a pagansolar worshiper, now looked upon the Christian deity as a bringer of victory.
Persecution of the Christians was ended, and Constantine's co-emperor, Licinius (270?-325), joined him in issuing the Edict of Milan (313), which mandated toleration of Christians in the Roman Empire. As guardian of Constantine's favored religion, the church was then given legal rights and large financial donations." Infopedia
"The pope at Rome had the additional claim to prestige of being the direct heir of St. Peter, who was considered the first bishop of Rome. It was due, initially, to a series of activist Roman popes that the papacy grew in influence, but even more important was the compromise, paralysis, and ultimate collapse of Roman government in the West. As political authority disintegrated, the bishops stood firm for what they saw as the truth and the ancient order, and the only representative of that order in Rome was no longer the emperor or the Senate but the pope, holder of the chair of St. Peter." Infopedia
It was the power of the pagan Roman Empire that kept the Roman Catholic Church from rising. But when an agreement was reached between the Roman Catholic Church and Constantine, the Papacy grew to great power. "He will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power." Daniel 11:23 How true that text is. History proves again the truth of God’s Word.
"The Holy Roman Empire was an attempt to revive the Western Roman Empire, whose legal and political structure deteriorated during the 5th and 6th centuries, to be replaced by independent kingdoms ruled by Germanic nobles. The Roman imperial office was vacant after the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476. During the turbulent early Middle Ages the traditional concept of a temporal realm co-extensive with the spiritual realm of the church had been kept alive by the popes in Rome." Infopedia
"On December 25, 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor. This act established both a precedent and a political structure that were destined to figure decisively in the affairs of central Europe. The precedent established the papal claim to the right to select, crown, and even depose emperors that was asserted, at least in theory, for nearly 700 years." Infopedia
The Roman Catholic Church claims that the pope is God on earth. They claim that he has the power to forgive sins. He literally sits in the place of God on earth. That is what the Greek work "anti" means. The pope is the "anti-Christ" since he has taken the place of God on earth.
Verse 24 continues with the rise of the Catholic Church. As true Christians began to feel secure, they let down their guard against the deceptions of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church invaded them with its pagan doctrines and philosophies. It literally achieved what none of the prophets or apostles had achieved before it, world wide domination and control of men’s souls.
As stated earlier, starting with verse 23 we have a shift in time and space. The Roman Empire is coming to a close. The Jewish nation is no longer the entity through which the Lord would use to teach His truths. Two new powers would arise on the scene.
These two new powers would be the Catholic Church "Christianized paganism", and the Muslim power, another form of paganism. These two powers would be used by the devil to destroy God’s people. The wars between these two powers are outlined in brief between verses 23 and 29. These wars are called the Crusades.
"CRUSADES, military expeditions undertaken by Western European Christians between 1095 and 1270, usually at the behest of the papacy, to recover Jerusalem and other Palestinian places of pilgrimage from Muslim control. The name crusade (from Lat., "cross," the emblem of the Crusaders) was also applied, especially in the 13th century, to wars against pagan peoples, Christian heretics, and political foes of the papacy.
"The origin of the Crusades is rooted in the political upheaval that resulted from the expansion of the Seljuk Turks in the Middle East in the mid-11th century. Western Christians viewed the conquest of Syria and Palestine by these aggressive Muslims with fright and alarm. Turkish invaders also penetrated deep into the Christian Byzantine Empire and subjected many Greek, Syrian, and Armenian Christians to their rule. The Crusades were in part a reaction to these events, as well as serving the ambitions of 11th-, 12th-, and 13th-century popes who sought to extend their political and religious power. Crusading armies were, in a sense, the military arm of papal policy." (Verse 24).
"They also offered an outlet for the ambitions of land-hungry knights and noblemen. At the same time, the expeditions offered rich commercial opportunities to the merchants of the growing cities of the West, particularly Genoa, Pisa, and Venice." (Verse 24 – "distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers.")
"Crusading thus had a broad appeal to numerous Europeans. Some went on Crusades out of greed, some out of religious fervor; almost all Crusaders sought adventure, and many of them believed that their participation would virtually guarantee personal salvation. Every Crusader probably had different reasons for participation."
" The Crusades began formally on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 1095, in a field just outside the walls of the French city of Clermont-Ferrand. On that day Pope Urban II preached a sermon to crowds of laypersons and clergy attending a church council at Clermont. In his sermon, the pope outlined a plan for a Crusade and called on his listeners to join its ranks. The response was positive and overwhelming. Pope Urban then commissioned the bishops at the council to return to their homes and to enlist others in the Crusade. He also outlined a basic strategy: Individual groups of Crusaders would begin the journey in August 1096. Each group would be self-financing and responsible to its own leader" (Verse 25).
"The groups would make their separate ways to the Byzantine capital, Constantinople, where they would rendezvous. From there, in concert with the Byzantine emperor and his army, they would launch a counterattack against the Seljuk conquerors of Anatolia. Once that region was under Christian control, the Crusaders would campaign against the Muslims in Syria and Palestine, with Jerusalem as their ultimate goal.
"In broad outline the First Crusade conformed to the scheme envisioned by the pope. Recruitment went forward vigorously during the remainder of 1095 and the early months of 1096. Five major armies of noblemen ultimately assembled in late summer, 1096, to set out on the Crusade. The majority were from France, but significant numbers also came from Lorraine, Burgundy, Flanders, and southern Italy.
"The pope had not foreseen the popular enthusiasm that his Crusade aroused among non noble townspeople and peasantry. Alongside the Crusade of the nobility a popular one materialized among the common people. The largest and most important group of popular Crusaders was recruited and led by a Picard preacher known as Peter the Hermit. Although the participants in the popular Crusade were numerous, only a tiny fraction of them ever succeeded in reaching the Middle East; even fewer survived to see the ultimate triumph of the Crusade at Jerusalem.
"Resting at Antioch for the remainder of the summer and early fall, the Crusaders set out on the final leg of their journey in late November 1098. Now they avoided attacks on cities and fortified positions in order to conserve their forces. In May 1099 the Crusaders reached the northern borders of Palestine; on the evening of June 7 they camped within sight of Jerusalem's walls.
"The city was at this point under Egyptian (king of the South) control;
its defenders were numerous and well prepared for a siege. The Crusaders
attacked briskly. With the aid of reinforcements from Genoa and newly constructed
siege machines, they took Jerusalem by storm on July 15; they then massacred
virtually every inhabitant. In the Crusaders' view, they purified the city
by washing it in the blood of the defeated infidels.
"A week later the army elected one of its leaders, Godfrey of Bouillon, duke of Lower Lorraine, to rule the newly won city. Under his leadership the army then fought its last campaign, defeating an Egyptian army at Ascalon (now Ashqelon, Israel) on August 12. Soon afterward the great majority of the Crusaders returned to Europe, leaving Godfrey and a small remnant of the original force to organize a government and to establish Latin (Western European) control over the conquered territories."
"The victories of the First Crusade were in large part due to the Crusaders' not confronting a united Muslim world but instead dealing with a number of isolated and relatively weak Muslim powers. The generation after the First Crusade, however, saw the beginning of Muslim reunification in the Middle East under the leadership of Imad ad-Din Zangi (1084-1146), ruler of Mosul and Aleppo. Under Zangi, the Muslim forces scored their first major victory against the Crusaders by taking the city of Edessa (present Urfa, Turkey) in 1144; they then systematically dismantled the Crusader state in that region." (Verse 25)
"The papacy's response to these events was to proclaim the Second Crusade late in 1145. The new expedition attracted numerous recruits, among them the king of France, Louis VII, and the Holy Roman emperor, Conrad III. Conrad's German army set out for Jerusalem from Nuremberg in May 1147; the French forces followed about a month later. In Anatolia the Germans fell into an ambush, from which only a few escaped. The French army was more fortunate, but they also suffered serious casualties during the journey, and only part of the original force reached Jerusalem in 1148. In consultation with King Baldwin III of Jerusalem and his nobles, the Crusaders decided to attack Damascus in July. The expedition failed to take the city, however, and shortly after the collapse of this attack the French king and the remains of his army returned home."
"The failure of the Second Crusade left the Muslim powers free to regroup. Zangi had died in 1146, but his successor, Nur ad-Din (1118-74), was able to expand his realm into a major power in the Middle East. In 1169 his forces, under the command of Saladin, took control of Egypt. When Nur ad-Din died five years later, Saladin succeeded him as ruler of a Muslim state that stretched from the Libyan Desert to the Tigris Valley and surrounded the remaining Crusader states on three fronts. After a series of crises during the 1180s, Saladin finally invaded the kingdom of Jerusalem in force in May 1187. On July 4 he decisively defeated the Latin army at Hattin (Hittin). In the after-math of this victory, Saladin swept through most of the Crusader strongholds in the kingdom of Jerusalem. Jerusalem itself surrendered to him on October 2. At this point the only major city still in Crusader hands was Tyre in Lebanon." (Verse 25 continued)
"On Oct. 29, 1187, Pope Gregory VIII (d. 1187) proclaimed the Third Crusade. Western enthusiasm for the plan was widespread, and three major European monarchs enlisted in its ranks: the Holy Roman emperor, Frederick I Barbarossa, the French king, Philip II Augustus, and the English king, Richard I Lion-Heart. The kings and their numerous followers constituted the largest Crusading force that had taken the field since 1095, but the outcome of all this effort was meager. Barbarossa died in Anatolia while on his way to the Holy Land, and most of his army returned to Germany immediately following his death. Although both Philip Augustus and Richard Lion-Heart reached Palestine with their armies intact, they were unable to recapture Jerusalem or much of the former territory of the Latin Kingdom. They did succeed, however, in wresting from Saladin control of a chain of cities along the Mediterranean coast. By October 1192, when Richard finally left Palestine, the Latin Kingdom had been reconstituted. Smaller than the original kingdom and considerably weaker militarily and economically, the second kingdom eked out a precarious existence for another century."
"No subsequent Crusade achieved anything like the military success of the Third Crusade. The fourth one (1202-04) was plagued by financial difficulties. In an effort to alleviate these, the leaders agreed to a plan to attack Constantinople in concert with the Venetians and a pretender to the Byzantine throne. The Crusaders succeeded in taking Constantinople, which they then plundered shamelessly. The Latin Empire of Constantinople, created by this Crusade, survived for less than 60 years and contributed nothing to the defense of the Holy Land."
"In 1208, Pope Innocent III proclaimed a Crusade against the Albigenses, a religious sect in southern France. The ensuing Crusade (1209-29) was the first to be fought in Western Europe."
"The Fifth Crusade (1217-21) had a promising beginning with the taking of the Egyptian seaport of Damietta in 1219. The strategy, sensible as far as it went, called for an attack on Egypt, the capture of Cairo, and then a campaign to secure control of the Sinai, seen as a link between Egypt and the Latin Kingdom that would cut off the remaining Muslim powers from the wealth and grain supplies of Egypt. Implementation of this strategy, however, fell short of the goal. The attack on Cairo was abortive, and promised reinforcements failed to materialize. In August 1221 the Crusaders were forced to surrender Damietta to the Egyptians, and the expedition broke up."
"The Crusade of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II differed in approach from all the others… Undaunted, Frederick embarked for the Holy Land in June 1228. There he conducted his unconventional Crusade almost entirely by diplomatic negotiations with the Egyptian sultan Al-Kamil (r. 1218-38). These negotiations produced a peace treaty by which the Egyptians restored Jerusalem to the Crusaders and guaranteed a 10-year respite from hostilities. (Verse 27) At the same time, the pope had proclaimed a Crusade against Frederick, raised an army, and proceeded to attack the emperor's Italian possessions. Frederick returned to the West to cope with this threat in May 1229." (Verse 30)
"Nearly 20 years elapsed between Frederick's Crusade and the next large expedition to the Middle East, which was organized and financed by King Louis IX of France after the Muslims recaptured Jerusalem in 1244. Louis spent four years making careful plans and preparations for his ambitious expedition. At the end of August 1248, Louis and his army sailed to Cyprus, where they spent the winter in further preparations. Following the same basic strategy as the Fifth Crusade, Louis and his followers landed in Egypt on June 5, 1249, and the following day captured Damietta. The next phase of their campaign, an attack on Cairo in the spring of 1250, proved to be a catastrophe. The Crusaders failed to guard their flanks, and as a result the Egyptians retained control of the water reservoirs along the Nile. By opening the sluice gates, they created floods that trapped the whole Crusading army, and Louis was forced to surrender in April 1250. After paying an enormous ransom and surrendering Damietta, Louis sailed to Palestine, where he spent four years building fortifications and strengthening the defenses of the Latin Kingdom. In the spring of 1254 he and his army returned to France."
"King Louis also organized the last major Crusade, in 1270. This time the response of the French nobility was unenthusiastic, and the expedition was directed against Tunis rather than Egypt. It ended abruptly when Louis died in Tunisia during the summer of 1270."
"The expulsion of the Latins from the Holy Land did not end Crusading efforts, but the response of European kings and nobles to repeated calls for further Crusades was feeble, and later expeditions accomplished little. Two centuries of Crusades left little mark on Syria and Palestine, save for the castles, churches, and fortifications that the Crusaders left behind. The principal effects of the Crusades were felt in Europe, not in the Middle East. The Crusades had bolstered the commerce of the Italian cities, had generated interest in exploration of the Orient, and had established trade markets of enduring importance. The experiments of the papacy and European monarchs in raising money to finance the Crusades led to the development of systems of direct general taxation that had long-term consequences for the fiscal structure of European governments. (Verse 28) Although the Latin states in the East were short-lived, the experience of the Crusaders established mechanisms that later generations of Europeans used and improved on when they colonized the territories discovered by the explorers of the 15th and 16th centuries." Infopedia
Starting in verse 30, we have another break in the old Crusade, and a beginning in a new Crusade. The Crusades were a bust and amounted to nothing more than wasted life. Except for the Catholic Church, most nations had been drained of their money fighting these wars. However, they were very profitable to the Catholic Church.
"Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart." Verse 30
We have the same analogy in Revelation 18:17-19. Sea captains and ships stand for the churches (ships) and their ministers (sea captains) who profited from the Catholic Church and her pagan doctrines. Since all churches will come under the power of the Catholic Church at the end of time, Revelation 18:17-19 makes perfect sense.
However, when the Crusades came to an end, all churches were under the control of the Catholic Church or her doctrines. What is happening here in verse 30 of Daniel 11 is a breaking away from the Catholic Church.
"REFORMATION, great 16th-century religious revolution in the Christian church, which ended the ecclesiastical supremacy of the pope in Western Christendom and resulted in the establishment of the Protestant churches. With the Renaissance that preceded and the French Revolution that followed, the Reformation completely altered the medieval way of life in Western Europe and initiated the era of modern history. Although the movement dates from the early 16th century, when Martin Luther first defied the authority of the church, the conditions that led to his revolutionary stand had existed for hundreds of years and had complex doctrinal, political, economic, and cultural elements." Infopedia
"In England the beginning of the movement toward ultimate independence from papal jurisdiction was the enactment of the statutes of Mortmain in 1279, Provisors in 1351, and Praemunire in 1393, which greatly reduced the power of the church to withdraw land from the control of the civil government, to make appointments to ecclesiastical offices, and to exercise judicial authority. " Infopedia
"The 14th-century English reformer John Wycliffe boldly attacked the papacy itself, striking at the sale of indulgences, pilgrimages, the excessive veneration of saints, and the moral and intellectual standards of ordained priests. To reach the common people, he translated the Bible into English and delivered sermons in English, rather than Latin. His teachings spread to Bohemia, where they found a powerful advocate in the religious reformer John Huss (Jan Hus). The execution of Huss as a heretic in 1415 led directly to the Hussite Wars, a violent expression of Bohemian nationalism, suppressed with difficulty by the combined forces of the Holy Roman emperor and the pope. The wars were a precursor of religious civil war in Germany in Luther's time. In France in 1516 a concordat between the king and the pope placed the French church substantially under royal authority. Earlier concordats with other national monarchies also prepared the way for the rise of autonomous national churches." Infopedia
"Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant." Verse 30
"The Protestant revolution was initiated in Germany by Luther in 1517, when he published his 95 theses challenging the theory and practice of indulgences. Papal authorities ordered Luther to retract and submit to church authority, but he became more intransigent, appealing for reform, attacking the sacramental system, and urging that religion rest on individual faith based on the guidance contained in the Bible." Infopedia
"In the Scandinavian countries the Reformation was accomplished peacefully as Lutheranism spread northward from Germany. The monarchical governments of Denmark and Sweden themselves sponsored the reform movement and broke completely with the papacy. In 1536 a national assembly held in Copenhagen abolished the authority of the Roman Catholic bishops throughout Denmark and the then subject lands of Norway and Iceland; and Christian III, king of Denmark and Norway, invited Luther's friend, the German religious reformer Johann Bugenhagen, to organize in Denmark a national Lutheran church on the basis of the Augsburg Confession." Infopedia
"The early reform movement in Switzerland, contemporaneous with the Reformation in Germany, was led by the Swiss pastor Huldreich Zwingli, who became known in 1518 through his vigorous denunciation of the sale of indulgences. Zwingli expressed his opposition to abuses of ecclesiastical authority by sermons, conversations in the marketplace, and public disputations before the town council. As did Luther and other reformers, he considered the Bible the sole source of moral authority and strove to eliminate everything in the Roman Catholic system not specifically enjoined in the Scriptures. In Zurich from 1523 to 1525, under Zwingli's leadership, religious relics were burned, ceremonial processions and the adoration of the saints were abolished, priests and monks were released from their vows of celibacy, and the Mass was replaced by a simpler communion service." Infopedia
"In 1559 delegates from 66 Protestant churches in France met at a national synod in Paris to draw up a confession of faith and rule of discipline based on those practiced at Geneva. In this way the first national Protestant church in France was organized; its members were known as Huguenots. Despite all efforts to suppress them, the Huguenots grew into a formidable body, and the division of France into Protestant and Roman Catholic factions led to a generation of civil wars (1652-98). One of the notorious incidents of this struggle was the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, in which a large number of Protestants perished." Infopedia
The Catholic Church, as you can see from the historical facts above, attempted to "vent his fury against the holy covenant." He did this by fighting against the Protestant movement that was bringing people back to the holy covenant, the Bible and the Bible only. The Ten Commandments instead of church doctrine.
Verses 31 on through 35 explain the terrible time of persecution that the Catholic Church gave to those who refused to bow down to its teachings. The Catholic Church believed, and still does, that the pope is the head of the church and is "god on earth". That is how it attempted to "abolish the daily sacrifice." Verse 31. If Jesus is no longer needed to forgive sins, since the Catholic Church claims to have that power, then it does away with the daily sacrifice that Jesus has provided. It will "set up the abomination that causes desolation." Verse 31.
The Catholic Church does this by setting up the church and its teachings in place of true Christianity and the teachings of Jesus. It does this by substituting the simple Lord’s supper with the pagan sacrament service.
"Less radical than the English church reformer John Wycliffe, Huss nonetheless agreed with him on many points. On a practical level, both men vigorously condemned church abuses and attempted, through preaching, to bring the church to the people. On the doctrinal level, both … regarded the Bible as the ultimate religious authority, and held that Christ, rather than any inevitably corrupt ecclesiastical official, is the true head of the church." Infopedia
Verses 6 through 39 show us a better picture of the papacy and its wickedness. “He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods.” In Revelation 17:5 the papacy is called “Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots . . .” In prefiguring this “Babylon”, Habakkuk 1:7 states that “their only laws and rules are the ones they make up”.
Verse 37 and 38 show that, unlike the apostles who lived humbly and without money, he would live in a palace and with lots of money. His god would not be the God of the fathers. You can go on-line and look at the wealth of the Catholic Church.
I believe Verse 40 has to do with Islam joining forces against the “West” in an all out war to defeat the “Christian” West. I believe that the “king of the North” will be the Western “Christian” powers under the spiritual control of the Catholic Church. That they will “invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood.” Many Muslims believe that we, the West, are already “sweeping through them like a flood”. That is one reason why so many terrorist attacks are pointed towards the West.
I believe that the Islamic nations will be defeated (vs. 42,43) and will accept the “god” of the “Christian” West as their god. That is when the Catholic Church will build a temple in Jerusalem on the “Temple Mount”. In verse 45 it says, “He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain.”
I believe the plans have already been drawn up by the Vatican to place a temple for the pope on the holy mount in Jerusalem. The nation of Israel, I believe, has invited the pope to set up residence there in order to keep the peace. I believe that even the Muslims have accepted this plan. Both Israel and the Palestinians believe that the Temple Mount should be placed under religious and international control and not political.
This report from U.S. News & World Report, May 11, 1998. "There is strong support among the prelates, for example, for strengthening the church’s efforts under John Paul II to reunite the Christian churches and to improve relations with other religions. ‘The world will never believe if we are divided’ says Cardinal Francis George of Chicago. Church leaders in the years ahead, he says, ‘will have to look at the divisions among Christ’s disciples’ and seek to resolve them. This suggests that the strongest papal candidate may be one with solid credentials in ecumenical affairs…".
And to whom are the priests, Cardinals and subjects of the Catholic Church bound to? Is it Christ? No! Listen to what the pope says. "With a trembling hand, Pope John Paul II leans forward and places a red silk biretta on the bowed head of the Chilean archbishop who kneels before him. The crimson color, the pope reminds the prelate, is a sign of ‘the dignity of the office of cardinal, signifying that you are ready to act with fortitude, even to the point of spilling your blood’ for the sake of the church." U.S. News & World Report, May 11, 1998.
And that is the problem with “church”. Our loyalties have been given to our churches and not to God. All churches today are “anti-Christ” or “stand in the place of Christ”. That is why the Bible tells us to get out of them.
And what about all those ceremonies? Why are they needed? Did God command us to have all those ceremonies that our churches are involved in? No! Listen to what Napoleon said: "Is it not a fact that the Catholic religion appeals more strongly to the imagination by the pomp of its ceremonies than by the sublimity of its doctrines? When you want to arouse enthusiasm in the masses you must appeal to their eyes." The Age of Napoleon: Durant
This is what Revelation 13 is all about, the church becoming more powerful than God in our lives. That is what happens when mankind gives its allegiance to the church instead of to God. We are to have no other gods before us. We are to make no allegiance to any other power in the universe. We are only to give our blood for Jesus, who gave His blood for us. “For My own sake—Yes, for My own sake!—I’m doing it; indeed, how can I be profaned? Furthermore, I won’t give My glory to another.” Isaiah 48:11.
It is the Catholic church and its prostitutes that will force the world to bow down at its feet and worship it. All who refuse will be persecuted, jailed, imprisoned, tortured and killed. That church, the Catholic Church, is in the process of uniting all Christian churches under its satanic power. That is why we are told throughout the Bible that we are to come out from all these institutions and churches. We are to serve God and God alone.
I would like to share with you what Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, who was elected the 265th pope in 2005, said as quoted from U.S. News & World Report - May 2, 2005 "He warned that the use of Scripture to evaluate church teaching ‘was one of the most dangerous currents to flow out of Vatican II.’"
Plainly stated he is saying that the church and tradition are to be our "God" and Scripture is of no value if it disagrees with church dogma. Your salvation lies in the church, not in the teachings of Jesus.
A final note. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the door of the Catholic Church, challenging it on doctrines of salvation. That one act separated the "Lutheran Church" from the Catholic Church. Many Lutherans gave their lives for the truth. On October 31, 1999, the Lutheran Church and the Catholic Church signed a statement agreeing on the doctrines of salvation. How sad. All churches are "coming home" to the Catholic Church, just as the Bible predicted. I even know of a major Sabbath keeping denominatin that has signed the same agreement.
Please, recheck your church's doctrine. Plainly ask your pastor. Write your General Conference President and other leading men of your denomination or church. Find out if they are still teaching and believing in the teachings of Jesus:
1. Stop Sinning
2. Be Perfect
3. Keep the Ten Commandments in order to "keep" your eternal life.
If they are no longer teaching these truths that Jesus taught, then you must come out of your church. It no longer is of God!
You may be intimidated to stay by peer pressure. But don’t give in. They may call you a "separatist". So what! Listen to the Bible.
"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." 2 Corinthians 6:17.
Folks, it is time to be known as "separates". It is time to stand up and be counted for. Walk out of any church that does not teach the teachings of Jesus with your head held high. Your eternal life depends on it.
After all, isn’t that what your church is asking members of other churches to do? To walk out of their church and join yours? To be "separates" from their church to join yours? Then why not walk out of your church and join the final movement of God by obeying the teachings of Jesus as He commanded us to: perfectly?