The King of the North and the Time of the End
By Eric Betts
Daniel chapter 11 is a prophecy unlike the previous prophecies in the book of Daniel in that it is a literal prophecy in the same vein that the Saviour’s discourse on the mount of Olives is descriptive of a literal prophecy fulfilment.
In other words, the symbols that you find in the other prophecies don’t exist in Daniel 11. Daniel 11 is speaking in very plain language, just as Revelation 16 is speaking to us in very plain language. As a matter of fact, the Bible uses this terminology here in Daniel chapter 11.
Daniel 11:1 Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, [even] I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. 2 And now will I show thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than [they] all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia.
We find that Daniel says right here, in Daniel chapter 11, that what I am telling you is not symbolic. He is telling us right there. He says, I’m telling you the truth. The symbolic is figurative, but the truth is simply plain language of the interpretation of what has been said earlier. The question that we must ask ourselves is, who are the three kings in Persia that are referred to here in verse 2?
The next question we want to ask ourselves is, who is the fourth that was going to be far richer than they all, and who by his strength was going to stir up all against the realm of Grecia? In other words, he would be an enemy of Greece. The three kings that would stand up are Cambyces, Smerdis and Darius. Those are the three kings in Persia. The fourth that would be far richer than they all is Xerxes. He is Ahasuerus in the book of Esther.
Daniel 11:3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.
This mighty king that would stand up would be Greece. In Daniel 11, when it says that certain kings are standing up, this is referring to the fact that they are taking their position in the stage of history. They’re occupying that place in history, they’re occupying that place of prominence and prophecy is being fulfilled. This mighty king who stands up is Alexander the Great, and this is referring to the battle of Arbela, in 331 B.C., the battle between Greece and Persia. We know that according to history, Alexander the Great is the one who came out on top in the end.
Daniel 11:4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.
Alexander’s kingdom would be divided into four. This is what the Bible says. Prophecy says his kingdom would be driven to the four winds. It says that the kingdom would be broken and divided to the four winds; the kingdom would not go to his posterity, it would go to others, and that was fulfilled exactly as the Bible says it would. When Alexander the Great died, he had others sons, but his other sons died for various reasons. When the time came for his successor to rise out of his death, he didn’t have any sons remaining when he died that could occupy the throne. Therefore his kingdom was divided between four generals. As a matter of fact, Daniel 7 describes it as a four-headed leopard, which would be the third kingdom that would rule.
Those four generals are Seleucus, Cassander, Lisymachus and Ptolemy. These kings were divided between east, west, north and south. In the end, the north would absorb a certain portion of that fourfold kingdom, and then the southern kingdom would absorb a portion of that fourfold kingdom, and then there would ultimately only be two divisions of Alexander’s empire, and that would be the kings of the north, and the king of the south.
The kings of the south would occupy Egypt, the kings of the north would be those kings that would occupy Ancient Syria. Let us look a little further in Daniel chapter 11:
Daniel 11:5 And the king of the south shall be strong,
This is now talking about Ptolemy.
Daniel 11:5 … and [one] of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion [shall be] a great dominion. 6 And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king’s daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in [these] times.
There is a man who rose up in the northern part of the kingdom, his name was Antiochus, he had a wife whose name was Laodice. But in order to join the north with the south, he put away Laodice, his wife, and her sons, and married Bernice from the southern kingdom, and he paid a very rich dowry in order to obtain her that he might be able to retain power both in the north and in the south. You know what happened ultimately? Ultimately, he brought back his wife Laodice and her sons, do you know what she did?
She poisoned him, so that he would not repeat what he had done previously. As a result of this, she, Laodice, occupied her place in prophecy along with her sons.
These events are happening with accuracy, with great details, exactly as the Bible describes it. These prophecies have been given to us in a literal plain spoken language in these verses of Scripture. We don’t have to ask what is the symbolic meaning because it is given to us a plain meaning without symbols as in the previous prophecies.
Laodice poisoned her husband to avoid what had happened earlier, his betrayal, she couldn’t forgive him for what he had done earlier, and she secured the throne for her eldest son.
Daniel 11:7 But out of a branch of her roots shall [one] stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail:
This branch out of her roots is the brother of Laodice, and what did he do? It says he would stand in his estate, he would have a great army, and he would deal against the king of the north and he would prevail against the king of the north. Then it tells us what else he is going to do:
Daniel 11:8 And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, [and] with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue [more] years than the king of the north.
We see here that Egypt is the southern kingdom, Syria the northern kingdom. The king of the south goes into the northern kingdom and takes back what was stolen from them, those gods that they held captives, and brought those gods back into Egypt, exactly what Gabriel told Daniel many years prior to this event.
We understand that based on verse 7 to 9, Egypt, the region of the Nile, is the southern kingdom, As a matter of fact, Sheba was called the queen of the south by Jesus.
Daniel 11:10 But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and [one] shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, [even] to his fortress.
This is referring to the zeal of vindicating and avenging the cause of their father. Who was their father? Their father was Seleucus, and he was able to recover Syria after the previous siege by the king of the south into Syria, they brought gods back into Egypt. The sons of Seleucus went on a rampage of vindication and sought to secure the kingdom back for their father Seleucus, and it happened exactly as the Bible said it would.
It is true what Isaiah said,
Isaiah 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
Amos was right when he said:
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
It is true what the Bible says, that whatever God says, it will come to pass. Nobody can interfere; no power on earth can interfere with God’s prerogative when it comes to the fulfilment of prophecy.
Now, the king of the south is going to retaliate against the king of the north, and those sons that are trying to vindicate and avenge their father’s loss:
Daniel 11:11 And the king of the south shall be moved with choler (anger), and shall come forth and fight with him, [even] with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.
The south, the southern kingdom was threatened with invasion by the king of the north. The king of the north sets forth a great multitude, an army, to carry out its invasion. The Bible says that even though they would try to set forth this great and massive army, the king of the north would not prevail. As a matter of fact, this northern army of Antiochus was a sixty-two thousand men army. Not only that, but it was a six thousand horse army, and a hundred and two elephant army. But in spite of all of that the king of the north did not prevail against the king of the south, just as the Bible said.
It says, but the multitude shall be given into his hand, and four thousands of those troops that tried to invade Egypt were taken prisoners, while thousands of those animals that were assembled to try to overcome the king of the south, those many thousands of animals were slain. They should be given into his hand, the Bible says, many were taken as prisoners of war, and it happened exactly as the Scriptures said. There’s no other book in the world that can do what the Bible does, which is predict events hundreds of years in advance, and those events line up. The probability of anyone just guessing something down like this, it is impossible to have such accuracy and such detail fulfilled as the Bible gives.
We know the Bible is not just a good book, not just a book of poetry and good literature, it is a divine book; for it is God that is sitting back behind the curtains, who is directing the affairs and the actors in this great drama as it draws close to the end of this world’s history.
This is now talking about the kingdom of the south:
Daniel 11:12 [And] when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down [many] ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened [by it].
It reminds me of Lucifer. How art thou fallen, o Lucifer? You had everything, but because of your pride, because of your conceitedness, you end up falling into evil and becoming a dark angel, and in the end all are to be destroyed. The Bible says, pride goeth before the fall. The king of the south, even though he was able to achieve a great many victories, because he couldn’t check his own passions and vices, he ended up done, killing himself, in the end, because of his vile and wicked lifestyle.
Daniel 11:14 And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.
The robbers of thy people is none other than Rome. Rome now comes on the stage to victory. It started off with the kings of Persia, then we’ve come to Alexander the Great, the divided kingdom, and now we come to Rome. Rome was the most prominent power in the prophecies of the Scriptures. But the Bible says that they shall fall in the end.
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.
There was a man by the name of Scopas who was a general on behalf of Egypt. You know what happened as a result of that? He was able to reduce Judea and to bring it under subjection as an Egyptian province. Scopas was a mighty general, and he is well known in history.
Daniel 11:16 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.
This is referring to Pompey. In the year 65 B.C., Pompey was a Roman emperor and he went into Judea and destroyed Jerusalem. He went in there and he consumed it. He went in there and set it ablaze. This is under Pompey in 65 B.C. We are getting very close to the time period when our Saviour shall arise in history.
We see that verse 15 is talking about a chosen people who will not be able to withstand, and the king of the south would not be able to withstand the onslaught of the king of the north during this time, and neither of those powers would be able to withstand the onslaught of the Romans during this time period. It tells us here that the land of the chosen people is called the glorious land. Jerusalem is called this glorious land. The land that Pompey entered in 65 B.C. is that glorious land. Daniel 10,11 and 12 is Daniel’s last prophecy given to him by the angel Gabriel. When Gabriel shows up, Gabriel is showing up to give him, not symbols, but an explanation of what those events that he had seen were speaking about.
Daniel 11:17 He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him (the Jews); 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.
In the time of Rome there was a man by the name of Caesar, and Caesar also wanted to unite the kingdoms, the great powers of that day and time. What did he do? He decided to bring in Cleopatra to unite with her to strengthen his kingdom. Cleopatra was from the south. What happened there? Well you know the history. Notice what the Bible says: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him. That is Cleopatra.
She didn’t stand with Caesar even though she decided to marry with him. In the end she abandoned Caesar and she ended up uniting herself with Mark Antony and used her influence against Rome and against Caesar during this time period. The Bible says, she will not stand on his side, neither be for him.
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.
When it says that he would turn his face towards the isles, that means that he is seeking to expand his empire, his influence in the Bosphorus region. We know that according to history he ended up retreating in this time period and focusing on defending his own land. This is what it is referring to here in verse 19: Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land. Fortresses are defences. The Bible then says: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found. Julius Caesar, when he began to try to defend his own land, what happened? He was betrayed by his closest associates. Who were they? Number one was Brutus; and the others who were there in his court, what did they do? They assassinated him. We read about that in history. You study about that in your schoolroom. Julius Caesar was assassinated, and it is the story of one of the greatest betrayals in the history of the world. He stumbled and he fell during this time, exactly as the Bible said.
Daniel 11:20 Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes [in] the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.
That is Augustus Caesar. The Bible tells us, a raiser of taxes. We read of it in Luke 2:1, it speaks about the days of Augustus Caesar, and how all the world was going to be taxed over that time.
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.
There we find the story of Joseph and Mary who end up having to go back to Bethlehem. They were residents of Nazareth, and now they have to go back to Bethlehem because Caesar is telling everybody, go back to your homeland where you can be counted for the censors, so that the whole world can be taxed. Joseph and Mary went back to Bethlehem and thus, because she was with child, that holy thing that was in her, that virgin Mary, because she … (0:25:15), she travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and the Christ child was born in Bethlehem. Caesar said, go back to Bethlehem so that you can be taxed. He didn’t know that he was causing prophecy to be fulfilled. Why? Because God is main director in this drama, the great controversy between good and evil. He is driver of all events that are taking place. There is no king, no power that can stand before Him. His will will be fulfilled in the end. Though there are many antagonists against His word, against His gospel, it is God who ends up in the end controlling the affairs of nations for His own purpose, which is for the salvation of mankind.
Augustus was the raiser of taxes. He died neither in anger, nor in battle. Augustus Caesar died peacefully in his own home at the age of 76 years old.
Daniel 11:21 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.
This is referring to Tiberius Caesar. Augustus Caesar was not in power during Christ’s adult life. It was Tiberius Caesar. As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us in Luke 3 that Christ was baptized in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar. John the Baptist was preaching, when he saw Christ coming he said, Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. Tiberius Caesar obtained the kingdom by flatteries. His mother entreated Augustus Caesar to choose Tiberius as a successor and he refused. He chose others to be the successor, his direct blood sons to be his successor.
Tiberius was not a blood relative of Augustus, but Augustus was lured to the mother of Tiberius. She appealed and he said, your son is too vile to wear the purple of Rome. But when the successor to Augustus died, Augustus was appealed to by the mother of Tiberius and he relented, and Tiberius ascended the throne and became one of the most wicked and vilest of the Roman kings during this time, just as the Bible said would happen, that a very vile man would keep (0:28:38) the throne in the days of John the Baptist in the wilderness, preaching repentance, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, repent ye and believe the gospel. Jesus said in His word:
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:
John said, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, in the days of Tiberius Caesar. As a result of that … came forth (0:29:14) and they were baptized by John in the Jordan river. God is saying to us the same words that He said in the days of John the Baptist, He is telling the world today, Behold the Lamb. All the crime, all the violence, all the wickedness, all the abuse, all the tragedy, the message of the Bible to this generation is, Behold the Lamb of God which taketh the sin of the world. He wants to wash away your sins. He is the only answer to the limit (0:29:42) that man is facing in this world today. Take heed to His word. Prophecy shows us that His word is true, and that His word cannot be counteracted. What He says will come to pass. If all these events that he said have come to pass exactly as He said, what makes you think that the second coming is not as sure and certain as all these events that have happened exactly as He said.