Most commentators believe that chapter (11) is past history. This takes place at the Mede prophecy, about Grecia and Alexander the Great. Chapter 8, ( vs. 20) shows 4 divisions of Alexander's kingdom. (Dan. 8:22) Anti-Christ comes from one of these kingdoms (8:8-12). Anti-Christ (8:8 & 11:4 match).
There is so much to understand within this chapter. I have now read it 3 times and have decided my brain went to overload. Sometimes I believe Satan tries to confuse me through the Scriptures. God never intended to make His Holy Word difficult, He made it easy for all to understand and learn from.
After reading over chapter 11 one more time (now my 4th), God lead me to discovery! I found a commentary on Daniel 11 by Ron Beckham. This much wiser person broke the chapter down by verse by verse. God showed me the best way to tackle this was to just allow you to see what Ron Beckham wrote. It was so helpful and he relates so much more into the history and culture during Daniel's life. Here is he link to Ron Beckham's study. It is long but the knowledge and insight is so profound. Please set time for yourself and read Beckham's message.
Key verses that I found amazing through Beckham's study of Daniel were, beginning with verse 1. "And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him,"
Beckham speaks of angelic encouragement...he makes this statement, "When you feel better than you did a little while ago, it may be more than simply a beautiful sunset or some lovely music or that "Tums for your tummy" – it actually may have been literally the touch of angel’s wings, sent by God, because He loves you."
There are times I know God is sending me out to be His encourager. To speak life into someone who needs to hear God's voice. If you truly believe we are the "Body of Christ" doesn't it make sense that if the tummy is hungry for food that the message is sent to the brain to provide the nourishment? God uses each one of us to play a role in His Kingdom. It could be He sends one to serve in a community far away, or He sends one to serve the neighbor right next door. He uses the Body to complete His purpose.
Verses 2-5 give some history to the vision Daniel was given. Beckham speaks about Alexander the Great and his reign through history. He speaks of those who come after the fall of this ruler and how many plotted to gain their power.
I believe God gives us stories like this through His Holy Word to show us how much like our lives today are just like those in the Bible. Really we are no different today...sin is still alive and well. The very uprising in Egypt today...is our example of a man taking on his idols and using a people, their resources, for his own pleasure. God does not allow this to happen forever. When evil enters, it is simply us saying we don't love God or the things God loves. We are rejecting the very One who gave us our lives, our breath! I agreed with Beckham that our lives seem to play out like a soap opera just thinking about it!
Verse 9 "Then the latter will enter the realm of the king of the South, but will return to his own land."
Actually verses 9-11 speak on Invasion of territory...these verses spoke to me this week. How someone can invade our space...not really meaning harm...but find themselves changing who we are on any given day.
I witnessed 3 high school students this week crossing the major highway I drive down everyday do something very stupid. Our high school sits at a tremendously busy cross road...Hwy 79 and FM 685. I watched these 3 students trying to cross the roadway to get to the north side but not crossing at the actual light. Well they started out at the corner...giving them some credit. Then they decided that they would not wait on the signal to give them permission to walk...they started walking between the cars that were waiting for their GREEN LIGHT. After walking through several...they were standing in front of an 18 wheeler...and it was a gravel truck. They decided to go under the vehicle instead of walking in front of it or going behind it. As I watched the kids...I could see it happening. The light changed to green, the driver had no idea they went under his truck and he put the vehicle in gear to move...just as the last girl crawled out from under his vehicle. Now they were lucky on this day! They made it out safely...but it could have been a different story. I could have been a witness to a much more tragic event. Bottom line, we invade each others spaces. Sometimes the result is positive. We learn never to do that again. But then sometimes we get away with it and think, that worked for me...I will continue to move in the same direction. It can be all gone in a moments time. Our backpack can get caught on something...and we find ourselves either standing before God now, or wishing we had made a better choice.
Verse 13. "For the king of the North will again raise a greater multitude than the former, and after an interval of some years he will press on with a great army and much equipment."
This talks about a time of peace...Beckham tells us that it is about 13 years that "there were no open hostilities of any significance,". When actually it was a staging time to, "an amazing 130 years of open war."
Beckham reminds us about past hurts. His example is one of a marriage that experiences a past hurt. Even though it took place so long ago...it still seems to find it's way into the present day. When we experience those deep hurts and can't seem to find resolution in God. They resurface to be something that can destroy a relationship. Only to find out that it could have been given to God...and peace and forgiveness could have won the battle!
Proverbs 14:30 says, "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." Who wants rotting bones?
Verse 19 "So he will turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land, but he will stumble and fall and be found no more."
Beckham reminds us that we need to have "loftier goals in life." When we put our trust in things...money, cars, material things...all this can just disappear. Our very economy today speaks of the tragedy of power. Very rich powerful people have found their way to this power dishonestly. The "ponzi scheme" of investor Madoff...perfect example. Now he sits in prison...with nothing! I believe many of these high profile investors that have been caught embezzling millions if not billions...are responsible for the fall of our economy. How can it not affect our market today, if you are talking about billions of dollars? I agree that putting your trust in Christ is the true way to happiness!
1 Timothy 3:14 "Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus."
Verse 24. "In a time of tranquillity he will enter the richest parts of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty, and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but only for a time."
Beckham reminds us of this, "You’ve heard the phrase "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts" which actually refers to the siege of Troy...The same will be the case with the "antichrist" who is to come. He will seem to be generous and wise for a time, but his purpose will be to make himself master over the people of the earth.
We have to find discernment...for such "discernment" only comes from God."
Remember the insight we have for real discernment comes from a relationship we have with God. If we are unsure of something we should be seeking His will through prayer. Believe me when I say, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33
Verse 34-35. " Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. And some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge, and make them pure, until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time."
I appreciate how Beckham reminds us that even the ungodly have their purpose "in outcomes of God's." How many people were taken from complacency to faith? I have learned that "Antiochus became like a parable, a historical "picture" of the "man of sin" who is to come at the time of the end."
"Antiochus magnified himself and so will the antichrist. What a contrast between them and our Lord, who said "I can of My own Self do nothing; as I hear I judge; and My judgment is just, because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which sent Me" (John 5:30). J. Vernon McGee expressed the antichrist as the "final and logical extension of humanism" – that which exalts itself. I have kept wondering, through the years, how could God allow such men to exist? Part of the answer is that He only allows them for a set time (that which is "decreed"). The troubles (and troublesome people) in your life have set limits, and your problems, whatever they are, have a purpose. God is good; God loves you; and His ultimate aim is to bring a good, satisfying FAITH, into your life." (Ron Beckham)
Verse 45. "And he will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him."
Beckham closes with this...
The sad ending for these men (and others like them), is that they will be like the one(s) described in this verse – alone. They will go to the "hell" they previously did not believe in, sent by the God they rejected. Hell will not be a place where we find "all of my friends", as some say. Actually, just the opposite. By choosing the opposite of love (selfishness), viewing others only as objects to be manipulated, men like Antiochus and the antichrist will become utterly alone, out of the company of others – this is the place "where the worm does not die and their fire is not quenched." The only company of those in hell will be the demons that torment them.
On the other hand, to receive Christ is to be satisfied – forever. Jesus is the "Bread of life" (John 6:48), Who will fill you, and the "living water" (John 4:10) Who will satisfy your soul. That ache you feel, deep inside, the emptiness you keep trying to fill but cannot, can only find healing and satisfaction – in Him.