4. The Rising of Rome to the Birth of Christ

Daniel 11


By John Thiel, Daniel 11 Series, Study 4, mp3

Let us take a glance back at some scriptures that have pointed us into the understanding of Daniel 11. The things that God has inspired to be written were for a particular purpose.

Isaiah 45:17 [But] Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.

This is God’s purpose. He has a purpose in orchestrating the events of the world – the political and spiritual events – and it is to come to the conclusion of a world without end.

Isaiah 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I [am] the LORD; and [there is] none else.

This planet is destroying itself. But God says that He has a purpose in orchestrating the political events that are heading towards the destruction of empires, so that ultimately His people will not be ashamed nor confounded.

But all this has taken years, millennia. Daniel 11 commences with the Babylonian Empire, and then the Persian Empire, and continues through the years until the very end – it is a timeframe spanning millennia. Why?

2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

What is a thousand years, a millennium, to the Lord? It is just as one day. As we go through these studies of Daniel 11 we see that it covers millennia. Why is it so slow? Because God does not want anyone to perish. He is permitting the human responses to take their course. To achieve His purposes He interacts very slowly with the wills of the beings with whom He works. If they are contrary to what He wants them to do, He uses no force. He interacts with humans, and by providences He causes the people to draw their own conclusions and make their own judgements.

In our last study I referred to a historic statement from Rollin’s Ancient History in reference to the rising of the Roman Empire. We identified that Rome became involved in the conflicts between the kings of the north and of the south. Speaking about the time when the little boy king was being challenged by the king of the north, the historian says;

“One would be tempted … at seeing the most sacred laws of society so openly violated, to accuse Providence of being indifferent and insensible to the most horrid crimes;” {Charles Rollin, Ancient History, Book 18, chap. 50}

These two kings (Antiochus and Philip) were coming down to attack the boy king. This is terrible, why isn’t Providence interfering?

“…but [Providence] fully justified its conduct by punishing those two kings according to their deserts; and made such an example of them as ought, in all succeeding ages, to deter others from following their example. For, while they were meditating to dispossess a weak and helpless infant of his kingdom by piecemeal, Providence raised up the Romans against them, who entirely subverted the kingdoms of Philip and Antiochus, and reduced their successors to almost as great calamities as those with which they intended to crush the infant king.” {Ibid.}

The historian actually appreciated the fact that Providence had something to do with this. And indeed he was right. We observe from all our studies of the book of Daniel that God is interacting with the wills and corruptions of these kings just as He was interacting with King Ahab (See 2 Chronicles 18:18-22). God counselled with the hosts of heaven, and one with a lying spirit came and said that he would deceive Ahab’s prophets, and he caused Ahab, through his idolatrous prophets, to go and be killed in the battle. All that transpires in the lives of the nations has been worked out prior to their existence.

How God Orchestrates

Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me,

That is what we are doing here; we are remembering the former things of old, and He says, I am God, there is none like Me.

Isaiah 45:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

In the prophetic line-up God actually identifies that that which is yet to come in the future He has already predestined, by speaking about it before it happens. The prophecies are simply God saying beforehand the things that people are going to do. He says these things before they even live, as was the case with Cyrus. Cyrus was already named before he was born. This is what God said before Cyrus was ever born:

Isaiah 44:24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I [am] the LORD that maketh all [things]; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; 25 That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise [men] backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; 26 That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: … 28 That saith of Cyrus, [He is] my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.

Cyrus wasn’t even alive when this statement was made, but God named him.

Isaiah 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

Here is God foretelling how Cyrus would come into Babylon by drying up the river that ran through Babylon, and taking his army down the riverbed. The gates that were supposed to be closed where the river ran were open, because Belshazzar, in his drunken partying, called his army to have feasting, and they didn’t watch the gates. That was God’s coordination, and He said it long before it happened.

Isaiah 45:2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: 3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call [thee] by thy name, [am] the God of Israel. 4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. 5 I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

Very powerful concepts are expressed here. God, in His foreknowledge, identifies people before they are even born. Cyrus was just such a person. God had predestined Cyrus as He also predestined the entire world history. Daniel 11 is just that. God gives man the choice, and whatever man chooses, God orchestrates events to either harden or soften these people. We saw in our first studies how the kings were all interacting according to their choices but God was orchestrating them. As we now continue through these remaining studies, we have an understanding that choices are before us, upon which our destiny depends. We can read how Pharaoh was destined but by his own choice:

Romans 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

The apostle explains that God is the potter and that He uses the vessel to His ends. This is God’s way of being able to foretell the future. He uses the people, knowing what they will do; He hardens them according to their choices, and he softens others according to their choices.

Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

He has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. This is exactly what we are studying.

Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being;

In this description we see that God has determined everything before its time because in Him we live, and move, and have our being. As we seek in His word the prophetic descriptions we will be able to make choices that pertain to what God has written a foretime.

The King of the North and the King of the South

The king of the north and the king of the south were predestined to do the things that were happening at the rise and fall of the Grecian Empire. They were predestined in the same way that the choices we make in life predestine us too. This is why this study is so important.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?

Those who were against God, God predestined to fulfil His plan. Those who are submissive to God’s call He predestined to fulfil His plan as well. We see this further enlarged in Ephesians, as we make our own choices to respond to God instead of carrying out our own wilful ways as did the kings of the north and of the south. Our story is foretold and He predestines us to have eternity with Him:

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

That is what He has chosen us for, us who respond by choice. He has chosen us before we even came into existence, before the foundation of the world.

Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. … 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

How vividly this is displayed in the study of Daniel 11. Everyone is placed into their prospective positions before they were even born. And God could then display His great foreknowledge of predestining people and circumstances to fulfil His pleasure. Therefore all who choose God, He already knows beforehand; and all who do not choose Him, He already knows beforehand as well, so that He can then orchestrate them according to their choices and decisions.

Isaiah 43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called [thee] by thy name; thou [art] mine.

He called Cyrus by his name before he was even born. He says to the children of God, “O Jacob, I have called thee by thy name; thou are Mine.”

Isaiah 43:2 When thou passest through the waters, I [will be] with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

The same language that He spoke to Cyrus He speaks to His children. “I know you beforehand.” Just as He said to Cyrus, You are going to have the gates opened before you, He says to us, If you go through the fire you will not be burned. This is the revelation of the day star in these prophecies.

The Drama of the Ages

Let us continue to observe the drama of the ages that we may be led to the day that has been predestined for us in Daniel 12:1, which is the end of the Daniel 11 prophecy. Here is what is predestined for the people who make their choices for God versus the people who make their choices to do what they want to do:

Daniel 12:1 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.

Here is the predestination – the people who have been written in the book. At the time of the conclusion of the Daniel 11 vision Michael stands up and there is a terrible time of trouble amid the nations, but God’s people shall be delivered. This is a very precious predestination.

The Rise of Rome

As we now focus our attention on the remaining texts of this segment, we are looking at the continuation of what we finished off in the previous study, which was Daniel 11:15-16. We see there the rising of Rome and we continue through this study to the very birth of Jesus Christ. Follow very carefully how these scriptures give the detail in a predestined exercise.

Daniel 11:15 So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither [shall there be any] strength to withstand. 16 But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.

The king of the north, Antiochus, was working his way down, conquering cities, with the aim of finally conquering the king of the south, who was a little boy king. As he was coming down to do this, together with Philip of Macedon, Providence had to step in and do something. And this is precisely what is written would happen. As the king of the north, together with Philip of Macedon, comes down, it says;

Daniel 11:15 …the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither [shall there be any] strength to withstand.

This little boy king was being taken under the wings of the Roman Senate. They could see what Antiochus and Philip of Macedon were going to do, and they came down and were tutoring the little child king to try and help him. As they were doing this, they were working to strengthen Egypt against the king of the north, Antiochus. They brought a general, Scopas, to protect him. It says here that while the king of the north comes down, the arms of the south shall not withstand. Scopas came with an army to withstand the king of the north, further up in the Middle East, but the chosen people [the Aetolian forces] that were helping the king of the south were not able to withstand, neither shall there be any strength to withstand. That’s exactly what happened. While the Roman assistance was there, they were still conquered by the king of the north, and he was coming down towards Egypt.

Daniel 11:16 But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him:

Because Antiochus continued to withstand Rome, finally, in 65 B.C, Pompey, one of the Roman generals, eventually conquered Syria and deposed Antiochus Asiaticus. In 63 B.C. Judea was also taken.

Julius Caesar

Daniel 11:17 He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand [on his side], neither be for him.

Who is this Bible text talking about? It is none other but Julius Caesar. “He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him.” The upright ones is a reference to the fact that even the Jews, with their armies, would unite with him against the king of the south [Antipater the Idumean assisted Caesar in Egypt with 3,000 Jews]. There is a particular event that took place here. He sets his face to enter by force the whole kingdom. The Grecian Empire was now coming to its full end. Julius Caesar was coming down with the whole armies of Rome to conquer this remnant of the Grecian Empire. [Rome had previously conquered Macedon and Thrace; and Egypt was now all that remained of the “whole kingdom” of Alexander, not brought into subjection to the Roman power]. What happened was that Pompey had been sent down to Egypt, because Ptolemy Auletes, the king of the south, had died, and his son [Ptolemy Dionysius] and daughter had now become the joint rulers over the kingdom of Egypt. Guess who Ptolemy’s daughter was? Cleopatra.


As Julius Caesar was involved in a dispute with Pompey, there was a conflict between the both [namely at the battle of Pharsalus, 48 B.C.]. Finally Pompey fled, and as he fled from the approaches of Caesar, Pompey entered right into the very throne area of Egypt, and Ptolemy had him murdered, but not Cleopatra. Then there was a conflict between Ptolemy and Cleopatra; and here Julius Caesar came in to try and arbitrate between the two.

Daniel 11:17 …thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her:

What did Julius Caesar do? He had a son to Cleopatra. He corrupted her. But as he got Ptolemy out of the way and fraternised with Cleopatra, what does the scripture say?

Daniel 11:17 …but she shall not stand [on his side], neither be for him.

As Julius Caesar came down to take control of the area of the king of the north he now came down to deal with the last remnant of the Grecian Empire, which was Egypt. There he fraternised with Cleopatra, but eventually, after his death, Cleopatra did not side with him, even though she had a son to him. She sided with Anthony. Those who know the story of Cleopatra, Caesar and Anthony, understand what this is talking about. Here in the Bible is the story of Cleopatra, Caesar and Anthony. After Caesar died she joined up with Anthony, and turned against Rome. Finally the conflict between Caesar and Ptolemy developed as Caesar sook all reinforcements he could get from Asia and came down crushing the kingdom. There comes the final decisive Battle of the Nile [47 B.C.], and Caesar finally conquers Ptolemy, and all those that opposed him. He finally comes to subdue the entire kingdom of Alexander, which had been deteriorating over the years through all its wars and intrigues. So Julius Caesar had achieved the conquest.

Daniel 11:18 After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause [it] to turn upon him. 19 Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.

This is speaking of Julius Caesar. After he had this conflict with Ptolemy XIII, Cleopatra’s brother, he then turned his attention to take the isles, in his war with Pharnaces, the king of the Bosphorus [namely at the battle of Zela]. Finally, not content with the title of perpetual dictator, Caesar was making plans to be proclaimed king of Rome. But since this was regarded as a disgrace to the republic of Rome, a prince for his own behalf, Brutus, together with other conspirators, took steps to make this reproach offered by Caesar to cease.

Then he shall turn his face toward the fort – He has achieved his conquest, and he now turns his face back to the fort of his own land – he returns to Rome, but as he comes back to Rome, he shall stumble and fall, and not be found. What happened?

After he had gone from Egypt and mopped up the islands of the Bosphorus, he returns to Rome and Cassius and Brutus do what? These two conspirators, with many others, finally stabbed him with twenty-three wounds, and he died. This is the conclusion of Julius Caesar and his bringing the Grecian Empire into the Roman Empire by his armies.

Augustus Caesar

Julius Caesar had now died, and this was his successor:

Daniel 11:20 Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes [in] the glory of the kingdom:

Augustus Caesar was the one who raised the Roman Empire into the pinnacle of glory. This was called the Augustan Age, the golden age of the Roman Empire. “Peace was promoted, justice maintained, luxury curbed, discipline established, and learning encouraged.” These are the words that an historian expressed. All the world under that Roman Empire was at peace during the Augustan period.

Daniel 11:20 …but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle. 21 And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. 22 And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.

Who is the prince of the covenant? Michael your Prince. Here is this scene under Augustus Caesar – the period of the golden age would be the time when Jesus would be born. For was it not by the raising of the taxes that Augustus Caesar was identified in Luke 2:1-7?

Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed [margin: enrolled].

It was prophesied in Daniel 11, and we see its fulfilment here:

Luke 2:2 ([And] this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

As Augustus Caesar was calling for a census, all the people had to go to their own cities.

Luke 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

This is one of the most exciting fulfilments of Daniel 11. In the Augustan Age, when the Roman Empire was at its most peaceable and safe period, Michael, who had been working together with Gabriel to bring about those circumstances, could now come to the earth as a little baby. Remember what the angel Gabriel had said:

Daniel 10:21 But I will show thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and [there is] none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.

Michael your prince – The Prince of the covenant. Michael would be born right here, at that crucial time. Who was behind the scenes orchestrating all these things? It was Gabriel and Michael. And now, at the right time, Michael comes down and becomes a human being to continue to orchestrate the events of the world. This is very fascinating. Here we see again the day star shining clear through this prophecy. All had been predestined – the unrolling of the scroll of time and the birth of the One who would be an orchestrator of the history to follow. Jesus Christ was born on this planet, and it was from the time of His birth that time was to be counted thereafter to the very end.

We will see in our next study how this unfolding continues in Daniel 11 after the birth of Christ. We will see very vividly that from the time of the birth of Christ through to the time that Michael shall stand up, the history of the world continues to fulfill His plans for God’s people to finally come to the position where He can come a second time and take them home. The fulfilment of political events according to prophecy is just as distinct after Christ as it was before the coming of Christ.

May God bless our understanding on this.


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Posted on 04/07/2010, in Daniel 11 (Series) and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. In Daniel 11:15 I see that you mean that the King of the North is Antiochus.

    In 11:16 It would seem to me at first that “But he that cometh against him…” refers still to the King of the North coming against the King of the South… however, it seems that you are saying it really refers to the third party, the Romans, coming against the King of the North. Is that correct? (I am studying these verses tied with history for the first time).

  2. I think I caught a typo that may confuse a reader: The word “North” should be changed to “South” in the following paragraph, between the asterisks as I have changed it:

    The little boy king was taken under the wings of the Roman Senate. They could see what Antiochus and Philip of Macedon were going to do and they came down and were tutoring the little child king to try and help him. They were working to strengthen Egypt against the King of the North. As they were doing this they brought a general Scopas to protect him. While the King of the North came down the arms of the south shall not withstand. Scopas came with an army to withstand the King of the North but the chosen people who came to help the King of the *South* were not able to withstand. That’s exactly what happened. While the Roman assistance was there, they were still conquered by the King of the North.

    • Scopas and his chosen people came against the King of the North and could not withstand the King of the North but they were the King of the South.

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