THE PROPHECIES OF DANIEL
All bible quotes are from the NKJV except shown otherwise
NOTE : The book shows how much Hellenized a form of (heretical?) Judaism had become, a sure indication of the very late writing.
As examples, the God of Daniel had become " the God of gods " (11:36) and one of these gods is described taking his own decisions:
NIV 10:20,11:1 " No one support me against them except Michael, your prince [even archangel Michael seems to act on his own!] . And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him"
The god also associates himself with important mortal and is not all powerful:
NIV 10:13: "But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me , because I was detained there with the king of Persia ."
He is described very physically:
10:5 "I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz!
10:6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in colour, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude."
10:10a "Suddenly, a hand [the one of the god] touched me,"
Later this "man" is seen levitating above the Tigris river (12:6-7), called " my lord " by Daniel (12:8). Also this god does not consider the Jews as his people (10:14 " ... your people ..." ) and not even God as his god, just Daniel’s god!
NIV 10:12 "Then he [the god] continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God , ...""
In the whole O.T., (angel) Gabriel and (archangel) Michael are named only in the book of Daniel. None of the other books gives a name to any "good" angel. Actually, Gabriel is not called an angel, but " one who looked like a man " (8:15) and then " the man " (9:21). This "man" is seen "in swift flight" (9:21), another O.T. first!
And God himself, with a huge court, has become physical and visible:
7:9-10 "I watched till thrones were put in place , And the Ancient of Days was seated ; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire; A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him ; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated , And the books were opened."
DANIEL: PART 1
1:1 to 6:28a ( "So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius" ).
1:21 (totally out of place and obviously written for dropping the name of Cyrus)
2:35b (unexplained imagery not related to the king’s dream and conflicting with the first part of the same verse: "...But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth." )
2:44 (see explanation later on).
Written 323-312 B.C.E . (Early Hellenistic era). The author (let’s call him Daniel-1) was not a temple (of Jerusalem) priest and is unaware of the circumstances of the fall of Babylon in 539 BCE Certainly Darius the Mede is not a historical ruler, and the true ruler at the time, Cyrus the Persian, is not mentioned.
The four kingdoms in Daniel Part 1:
The dream of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (605-562 B.C.E):
2:31 "You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendour was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome.
2:32 This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,
2:33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
2:34 You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.
2:35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found ..."
1. Neo-Babylonian empire of Nebuchadnezzar II.
2:37 "You [Nebuchadnezzar], O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory;
2:38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all; you are this head of gold ."
2. Lydian kingdom of Croesus.
2:39a "But after you [Nebuchadnezzar] shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours ;"
The Lydian kingdom rose to prominence after Nebuchadnezzar’s times, when the Neo-Babylonian kingdom was declining. His king, Croesus, had the reputation to be the richest man on earth! The wealth of the Lydian kingdom was mostly based on conquest & looting, gold and trade. However in area and population , the Lydian kingdom (occupying the western half of present day Asian Turkey) was inferior to the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar (controlling the whole Levant and Mesopotamia, today’s Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Irak and part of S.E. Turkey). Croesus launched an offensive against the Persians but a series of strategic mistakes made him lost his kingdom.
How can this second kingdom, inferior to the Neo-Babylonian empire, be interpreted as the Persian empire?
The Medo-Persian empire was three to four times bigger in size and population than the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar. Not only it included the conquered kingdom of Babylon, but also Lydia (western part of Turkey), Egypt, Afghanistan, a large part of central Asia and the Medo-Persian homeland (today’s Iran and eastern Turkey).
Also, the Persian empire (539-330 B.C.E) lasted longer than the Neo-Babylonian kingdom (626-539 B.C.E).
3. Persian empire.
2:39b "then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth ." (as known in these days, for a Jew)
4. Divided empire of Alexander the Great.
2:40 NIV "Finally there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron - for iron breaks and smashes everything - and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. [Greece, Thrace and Persia]
2:41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided [as it was under Perdiccas the regent, after Alexander’s death] ; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it , just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay.
2:42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom [ still in one piece at the time ! And no mention of the upcoming Hellenist kingdoms yet!] shall be partly strong and partly fragile.
2:43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another [the generals of Alexander were fighting each other for power. Perdiccas was finally murdered in 312 B.C.E.] , just as iron does not mix with clay."
Note: the author used a lot more wording on this fourth kingdom than on the other three put together, a sure indication on when this part was written!
2:44 "And in the days of these kings [which kings? there is only one kingdom (2:40,42) referred to as the last or fourth one. Verse 44 appears to be a latter addition (note the similarity in wording with 7:14b,18,22,27) because the main prophecy of the second part had to be mentioned in the first part! And what follows has no relation with the Nebuchadnezzar’s dream:] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people [only to the Jews] ; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms [again which kingdoms? Only one is referred to as the fourth and last kingdom, which already did "crush and break all the others" !] , and it shall stand forever. [how "Daniel" would "know" about it, before it is "revealed" to him in latter visions, some fifty years later (7:14,18,27,etc.)?] "
DANIEL: PART 2
6:28b ( "and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian." ) to 12:13; plus 1:21,2:35b,44 (as explained earlier); except latter additions 8:13-14, 8:26, 11:32b and 12:11-12.
Written in spring or summer of 167 B.C.E , months after the desecration of the temple. At that time, Antiochus IV and his army had left Jerusalem and went north. And up to that point, resistance had been bloodily repressed (Jewish historian Josephus’ Antiquities (published 93-94C.E.), Book XII, Chapter V, Section 4b & Chapter VI, Section 2). The author (let’s call him Daniel-2) was obviously a temple priest.
The four kings in Daniel Part 2:
17:17 " Those great beasts , which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth."
Note: later on, I’ll have a recapitulation showing clearly which one of the following four kings is mentioned (and where) in any of the vision/interpretation/explanation of Daniel Part 2.
1. Belshazzar (Neo Babylonian empire).
7:4 "The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it."
Note: allegedly, Daniel had the vision about the four beasts during Belshazzar’s reign:
Da7:1 "In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind...."
Belshazzar was the last Babylonian ruler; he was killed in 539 BCE
2. Cyrus the Great (Persian empire).
7:5 "And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs [Media, Lydia & Babylon] in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’"
8:20 "The ram which you saw, having the two horns ; they are the kings of Media and Persia ."
11:2 "And now I will tell you the truth: Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia, [Cambyses (530-522), Pseudo-Smerdis or Gaumata (522) & Darius I (522-486)] and the fourth shall be far richer than them all [Xerxes I (486-465)] ; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece ." (which he did!)
3. Alexander the Great (Greek/Macedonian empire).
7:6 "After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads [the Hellenist kingdoms to follow] , and dominion was given to it."
8:21 "And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece . The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king . [Alexander the Great, the king of Macedonia, not Greece (however, since the Macedonians were Hellenized and propagated Greek culture, it was a honest mistake. Furthermore Greece was already part of the new empire)]
8:22 As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation [the Hellenist kingdoms. See more information below] , but not with its power."
11:3 "Then a mighty king [Alexander the Great] shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion , and do according to his will.
11:4 And when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven , but not among his posterity [no descendant of Alexander ruled a kingdom] nor according to his dominion with which he ruled [the empire was split] ; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others besides these."
4. Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Seleucid kingdom).
7:7 "After this [see 7:6 quoted earlier] I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast , dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth ; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet . It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns [ten Seleucid kings preceding Antiochus IV, as will be explained later] .
7:8 I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one [as in 8:9, referring to Antiochus IV] , coming up among them , before whom three of the first horns [usurper or rightful pretenders to the Seleucid throne that Antiochus IV eventually occupied. Again, that will be shown later] were plucked out by the roots [before they had a chance to get settled] . And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words [as in 7:11,20,25, again referring to Antiochus IV] ."
And obviously about the same king/beast/horn:
7:19 "Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast , which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured , broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet ;
7:20 and the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, before which three fell , namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words , whose appearance was greater than his fellows."
7:21 "I was watching; and the same horn [as I’ll explain later on refer to the same and only Antiochus IV] was making war against the saints [the Jews] , and prevailing against them , [refer to the desecration of the temple in 168 B.C.E. and following massacres]
7:22 until the Ancient of Days [God] came, and a judgement was made in favour of the saints of the Most High [God], and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. [these "saints" (the Jews of Jerusalem in these days) seem to be alive when they come to possess the kingdom]
7:23 Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth [the Seleucid kingdom, one of the Hellenist kingdoms] , which shall be different from all other kingdoms, And shall devour the whole earth , trample it and break it in pieces ."
Note: the author depicted Antiochus IV a lot more powerful than he was and the Romans were understated and barely suggested in the book:
11:18 "... a commander [the Roman consul Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus who (with the help of thirty thousand soldiers, many of them Romans!) defeated Antiochus III the Great, the father of Antiochus IV, at the battles of Thermopylae and Magnesia in Asia Minor in 191 and 190B.C.E. The "a commander" is quite an understatement!] will put an end to his insolence ..." and 11:30.
However, they were already present in the eastern Mediterranean and had just defeated the last king of Macedonia. Even if Antiochus IV had been ordered out of Egypt by the Romans (11:30a "Ships of the western coastland will oppose him, and he will lose heart ... " ), the author still claimed that the Seleucid king could overcome the Ptolemies and their ally.
Antiochus’ kingdom, or rather empire, was huge and included the southern parts of today’s Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia and Persia/Media. The nearest Roman armies were one thousand miles away from Jerusalem. Here, in Judea, all eyes were on Antiochus, who was undefeated and had already overrun Egypt twice; the Romans were not in the picture yet, and our author probably deliberately belittled them in order to avoid a confusing new element into his scenario.
Note: in the book of Daniel, ‘Babylon’ appears 17 times, ‘Persia’ 6 times, ‘Egypt’ 4 times and ‘Greece’ 3 times. Rome and the Roman(s) are never named .
Certainly, Antiochus did not conquer "the whole earth"; but when Daniel Part 2 was written, Antiochus (still alive & well) looked unstoppable and with his future conquests (wrongly) predicted in verses 11:39-44. I’ll come to that later.
7:24 "The ten horns are ten kings
[1. Seleucus I Nicator (311-280)
2. Antiochus I Soter (280-261)
3. Antiochus II Theos (261-246)
4. Seleucus II Callinicus (246-226)
5. Seleucus III Ceraunus (226-223)
6. Antiochus III the Great (223-187)
7. Seleucus IV Philopator (187-175)
plus three rulers disposed of by Antiochus IV at the beginning of his reign (likely refer to Heliodorus, a young son of Seleucus IV and another son of Seleucus, the future Demetrius I, the rightful heir to the throne, left as a hostage in Rome).
Antiochus was known as an usurper]
Who shall arise from this kingdom [Seleucid] . And another shall rise after them; He [Antiochus IV] shall be different from the first ones, And shall subdue three kings [Antiochus subdued many kings, most notable is Ptolemy VI. But this most likely refers to Heliodorus and the two sons of Seleucus IV, previously mentioned. These three kings are also in 7:8 & 7:20].
7:25 He shall speak pompous words ["pompous words": as in 7:8,11,20] against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints [the Jews of Jerusalem and Judea] of the Most High [God], And shall intend to change times and law [impose full Hellenization and end to Jewish animal sacrifice. Josephus in Ant., XII, V, 4 "He [Antiochus IV] also compelled them [the Jews] to forsake the worship which they paid their own God , and to adore those whom he took to be gods ; and made them build temples, and raise idol altars , in every city and village, and offer swine upon them every day. He also commanded them not to circumcise their sons ." ] . Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time . [this undefined time period extends to the end of Antiochus IV (see next verse). Later changed by some copyists to three and a half years]
7:26 But the court shall be seated [as in 7:9-10 quoted earlier] , And they shall take away his dominion, To consume and destroy it forever . [reference to Antiochus’ end and the associated "end of time", happening together. This point is repeated again and again. Also referred in
7:10b-11 " The court was seated , And the books were opened . I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain , and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame ." ]
7:27 Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints [the righteous Jews] of the Most High [God]. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom , And all dominions shall serve and obey Him." . This is another sign that a new world order and an eternal kingdom of the "saints" were to follow immediately Antiochus’ end.
8:23 "And in the latter time of their kingdoms [Hellenist kingdoms. See previous verses 8:21-22 quoted earlier] When the transgressors have reached their fullness, A king shall arise [Antiochus IV] , having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes.
8:24 His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power [with the help of a foreign god (11:39)] ; He shall destroy fearfully, And shall prosper and thrive; He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. "
Many Jews were killed during Antiochus IV two forays in Jerusalem:
Josephus’ Ant., XII, V, 4: "... on which account they every day underwent great misery , and bitter torments ; for they were whipped with rods , and their bodies were torn to pieces , and were crucified while they were still alive and breathed: they also strangled those women and their sons whom they had circumcised, as the king had appointed, hanging their sons about their necks as they were upon the crosses. And if they were any sacred book of the law found, it was destroyed: and those with whom they were found, miserably perished also."
8:8 "Therefore the male goat grew very great [Alexander the Great. See 8:21-22 quoted earlier] ; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven . [refer to the Hellenist kingdoms resulting from the breaking up of Alexander empire. After the fighting between the Diadochi (former generals of Alexander’s army: Seleucus, Ptolemy, Antigonus, etc.), and for a time, four kingdoms stabilised under the Seleucid, Ptolemy, Antigonid and Attalid dynasties; these kingdoms were centred respectively on Syria/Mesopotamia, Egypt, Macedonia and Asia Minor]
8:9 And out of one [the Seleucid kingdom, one of the four Hellenist kingdoms mentioned in the previous verse] of them came a little horn [as in 7:8, Antiochus IV] which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land . [Judea]
8:10 And it grew up to the host of heaven [priests or righteous Jews] ; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them . [probably refer to some priests and prominent Jews]
8:11 He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host [God]; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary [the temple of Jerusalem] was cast down ." (as it happened at the end of 168 BCE)
Also related ("Daniel" gave again and again a gold mine of corroborated information about Antiochus IV, the last king described in the book. No wonder: this king was the despised and feared ruler when this part of the book was written ):
11:20 "There shall arise in his place [Seleucus IV] one who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom [refer to Heliodorus, Seleucus IV finance minister who killed his boss to become king, for a very short time] ; but within a few days he shall be destroyed , but not in anger or in battle.
11:21 And in his place shall arise a vile person [Antiochus IV, the usurper, in 175 BCE] , to whom they will not give the honour of royalty ; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue . ["the usurper": compare with 7:24 quoted earlier. At first, Antiochus assumed power as the "regent" of the youngest son of Seleucus IV. Then Antiochus made himself the anointed king (170 BCE) and the boy died later (168 BCE)]
11:22 With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant . [probably refer to the high priest Jason, the last one of the Zadok line that had ruled as high priest since the time of king David. Jason was removed from office in 172 BCE by Antiochus IV (2Macc.4:7,23-26)]
11:23 And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people. [Josephus’ Ant., XII, V, 4 "... he [Antiochus IV] took the city without any fighting , those of his own party opening the gates from him. And when he had possession of the Jerusalem, and slew many of the opposite party; and when he had plundered it of a great deal of money, he returned to Antioch ." ]
11:24 He shall enter peaceably , even into the richest places of the province [as for Jerusalem in 170 BCE] ; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder , spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, [compare with 11:38 quoted later] but only for a time .
11:25 He shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the South [Ptolemy VI of Egypt] with a great army. And the king of the South shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army [Ptolemy laid claims on Palestine early on] ; but he shall not stand, for they shall devise plans against him.
11:26 Yes, those who eat of the portion of his delicacies shall destroy him; his army shall be swept away [that’s Ptolemy’s army, in 170 BCE] , and many shall fall down slain.
11:27 Both these kings’ hearts [Antiochus IV and Ptolemy VI] shall be bent on evil, and they shall speak lies at the same table [Antiochus, as "the guardian", allowed Ptolemy VI to remain king] ; but it shall not prosper, for the end will still be at the appointed time . [ the end will happen during these kings’ times ]
11:28 While returning to his land with great riches [the loot from Egypt] , his heart shall be moved against the holy covenant ; [Antiochus plundered Jerusalem] so he shall do damage and return to his own land. [Antioch, Syria]
11:29 At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south [in 168 BCE] ; but it shall not be like the former or the latter.
11:30 NIV: Ships of the western coastlands [the Romans] NKJV: shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved [in Eleusis, a suburb of Alexandria, Gaius Popilius Laenas, the Roman ambassador asked Antiochus to leave Egypt and surrender Cyprus. When Antiochus asked for time to ponder the ultimatum, Popilius drew a circle in the sand around Antiochus and asked him to give his decision before he stepped out. Humiliated, and with the victorious Romans "at the back door" in Macedonia (they had just defeated its king, Perseus, in June 22, 168B.C.E.), Antiochus agreed] and return in rage against the holy covenant , and do damage [second sack of Jerusalem] . So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. [apostate Jews]
11:31 And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress [the temple] ; then they shall take away the daily [Jewish] sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation . [compare with 8:11 quoted earlier]
11:32a Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery [the Jews who lost their faith] .
11:33 And those of the people who understand [refer to Mattathias, a priest, and his five sons, who started the rebellion] shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame [Josephus’ Ant., XII, VI, 2: "They [Antiochus’ soldiers] fought against them [the rebel Jews] on the Sabbath-day, and they burnt them as they were in the caves, without resistance ..." ] , by captivity and plundering [as described in Josephus’ Ant., XII, V, 4, quoted later] .
11:34 Now when they fall [the Jews (in 167 B.C.E) who resisted did not want to fight during the Sabbath: as a result, they were massacred] , they shall be aided with a little help [after the massacres, many Jews joined Mattathias] ; but many shall join with them by intrigue. [the author did not give much of a chance to the resistance (even if he seems to know a lot about it), which, later on from 166 BCE was remarkably successful under Judas Maccabeus (one of the sons of Mattathias). Why? Because this part was written earlier (but after the massacres)]
11:35 And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white , until the time of the end ; because it is still for the appointed time . [these Jews who were killed by Antiochus’ soldiers were supposed to be among the ones to resurrect later (12:2-3)]
11:36 Then the king [NOT any antichrist but king Antiochus IV, victorious and totally in control] shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god , shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods [there are many mentions of the existence of other gods with God seemingly isolated from any mortals] , and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done . [again the time of the end (God’s wrath) is related with Antiochus’ times, not thousands of years later! ]
Note: The "end" of any destroyer of the temple of Jerusalem was "prophesied" (as a curse) in:
Ezra 6:12a "May God, ..., overthrow any king or people who lifts a hand to change this decree or to destroy this temple in Jerusalem ."
Daniel Part 2 "Seventy Sevens":
The following quote is from the NIV:
9:24 " Seventy ‘sevens’ [ ‘sevens’ is erroneously translated as ‘weeks’ in many bibles or interpreted as seven years . Also, in a few ancient manuscripts, "sevens" has been replaced by "weeks"] are decreed for your people [the Jews] and for your holy city [Jerusalem, at the time (539-538 BCE) still destroyed and inhabited!] , to finish the transgression, to put an end of sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy [ remain a Jew ].
9:25 Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem
[during Cyrus first year as king over Babylon (whose territories included Palestine):
Ezra 1:1-2: "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia , that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom , and also put it in writing , saying,
Thus says Cyrus king of Persia : All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah."
Ezra 5:13 "However, in the first year of Cyrus king of Babylon , King Cyrus issued a decree to rebuild this house of God ."
Isaiah 44:28 " [God] says of Cyrus , ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt," and of the temple, "Let its foundations be laid ."’
Note: the author seems to know that Jerusalem became inhabited again during Cyrus’ reign (as in Ezra 2:1) but that only the foundations of the temple were rebuilt then (as in Ezra 3:10).
Josephus’ Ant., XI, IV, 6 "Cyrus the king, in the first year of his reign, commanded that the temple be built in Jerusalem ..."
Josephus’ Ant., XI, I, 1-3
In the OT, among "decrees" enacted by Persian kings about the reconstruction of Jerusalem, Cyrus’ proclamation/decree is by far the most mentioned and "the One" in Josephus’ books. The other "decrees" are:
a) Artaxerxes (Ezra 4:4-24): This " letter " was about ordering all works in Jerusalem to stop:
"Now issue an order to these men to stop work , so that city will not be rebuilt ..."
Note: no Persian king called Atarxerxes is known to have ruled after Cyrus I and before Darius I.
b) Darius I (522-486) (Ezra 6:1-12): This decree is presented as being just a re-enactment of the (rediscovered) Cyrus’ decree .
c) Artaxerxes I (458 B.C.E.) (Ezra 7:11-28): This " letter " to Ezra does not decree any reconstruction, but gold and silver to be given for animal sacrifices and the temple treasury.
d) Artaxerxes I (445 BCE) (Nehemiah 2:1-8): Not a decree, but the granting of a few requests from a Jewish high ranking courtesan (Nehemiah). That allows Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem in order to patch up the city walls and gates. The only (material) contribution from the king is a supply of timber (through a royal " letter " issued to Nehemiah). And the king is never said to have enacted a decree/proclamation/order (or even letters) to help Nehemiah or protect him against the opposition (some coming from Persian officials!)
Jeremiah29:1-23 has been proposed by some scholars as being "the" decree. However:
a) Jeremiah, as a Jewish prophet who witnessed the last years of the Judean kingdom and the early part of the exile after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians (586 BCE), certainly was not in position to issue any decree.
b) The so-called "decree" in Jer29:1-23 is a " letter " sent by Jeremiah to the exiles in Mesopotamia. In it, the word "decree", "proclamation" or "order" never occurs.
c) The letter is about exhortations, curses and prophecies, none of them about any reconstruction of Jerusalem. In that direction, the closest we come is:
NIV Jer29:10-11 "This is what the LORD says: " When seventy years are completed for Babylon , I will come to you and fulfil my gracious promise to bring you back to this place [Jerusalem, then fully destroyed. Actually, the deportees did not have to wait so long because Cyrus I the Persian, after the conquest of Babylon (539 B.C.E), allowed these Jews to go back (Ezra1-2). See next note] For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.""
and NIV Jer29:14 ""I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.""
In Jer25:8-14, the "seventy years" starts when:
NIV Jer25:9b,11 "... completely destroy them ["completely" does include Jerusalem in 586 BCE] and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin ... This whole country [Judea and the rest of Palestine] will become a desolate wasteland , and these nations [Judea and surrounding other ones in Palestine] will serve the king of Babylon seventy years [wrong: only forty-seven years, 586 to 539 BCE] ."
NIV Jer25:12-14 ""... when the seventy years are fulfilled , I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians , for their guilt," declares the LORD, "and will make it desolate forever [that did not happen and Babylon was not destroyed but remained a thriving metropolis during the Persian regime] . I will bring upon that land all the things I have spoken against it, all that are written in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations. They themselves will be enslaved [again, that did not happen] by many nations and great kings [only one nation (Persia) and one king (Cyrus I) conquered the Babylonians] ; ...""
At least, that proves that the book of Jeremiah was written before the fall of Babylon! And now, we know about the problem of prophesying events before they happen!]
Now let’s go back to Daniel’s "seventy sevens"
9:25 Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the anointed One, the ruler [refer to king Antiochus IV (kings were anointed during inauguration). Note: for a Jew in 167 BCE, an "anointed one" was not God’s Messiah!], comes , there will be seven ‘sevens’ and sixty-two ‘sevens’ [total: sixty-nine ‘sevens’. The "seven" is being God’s number and the "sixty-two" was justified by 5:31 "Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two ." . The otherwise trivial and superfluous "at the age of sixty-two" was probably added by Daniel-2]. It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble [rebuilding of Jerusalem and its temple was slow, "cheap", in the mist of Gentiles hostility and under Persian rule. The temple reconstruction was allegedly completed in 516 BCE] .
9:26 And after the sixty-two ‘sevens’ [sixty-nine ‘sevens’ after the decree] , the anointed one [high priests were also anointed at inauguration. The aforementioned ex-high priest Jason could be that one. He is described as being Hellenized (2Macc.4:7-17), but also is our author Daniel-2 ( "God of gods" , the demigod, etc.). While Antiochus was in Egypt for the second time (168 BCE), Jason came back to Jerusalem and almost gained total control here (2Macc.5:5-7)] will be cut off and will have nothing. [Jason eventually lost his support because of his ruthlessness and fled (2Macc.5:6-10)] The people of the ruler [Antiochus IV’s army] will destroy the city and the sanctuary [the temple of Jerusalem and the Jewish altar. According to Josephus’ Ant., XII, V, 4: " He left the temple bare ... pillaged the whole city , some of the inhabitants he slew , and some he carried captive ... burnt the finest buildings ... had overthrown the city walls ..." ] . The end will come like a flood [as in 11:22] : War will continue until the end , and desolation’s have been decreed. [again, mention of end and desolation’s, as in 11:27 and 11:31, previously quoted. Why have these "end" (of Antiochus IV) and "desolation" (of the temple in 168 B.C.E) different than the ones already mentioned?]
9:27 He will confirm a covenant [a Greek god, Olympian Zeus (2Macc.6:2)] with many [ex-Jews and others] for one ‘seven’ [refer to the last ‘seven’ of the seventy ‘sevens’] . In the middle of the ‘seven’, he will put an end to sacrifice and offering . And on the wing of the temple [the wording cannot be more precise and undoubtedly refer to the event of 168 B.C.E] , he will set up [November/December of 168 BCE] an abomination that causes desolation [Greek altar and animal sacrifices. Josephus’ Ant., XII, V, 4: "And when the king had built an idol altar upon God’s altar, he slew swine upon it , and so offered a sacrifice neither according to the law,, nor the Jewish religious worship in that country." ], until the end that is decreed is poured out on him . [Antiochus’ end, again] ".
The author thought this "abomination that causes desolation" (the end of Jewish offering and Greek animal sacrifices in the temple) would last up to Antiochus’ end or death: he was wrong , re-consecration was one year before that, at the end of 165 BCE It was the result of the military success of the resistance leader Judas Maccabeus. Now, how can someone be so accurate in historical predictions up to 167 BCE and totally wrong after that?
Note: let’s compare the ending of the seventy ‘sevens’ passage:
9:26-27 NIV " The people of the ruler will destroy the city and the sanctuary ... In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation ..."
with the ending of the "historical section", referring to the events from the third year of Cyrus (10:1) to Antiochus IV’s last foray in Jerusalem (according to most scholars and the NIV Study bible):
11:31 NIV "His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice . Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation ."
Obviously, we are talking about the same events!
Now, since I claimed the seventy sevens were meant to point at 167 B.C.E (the year of the unsuccessful resistance following the desecration of the temple in November/December of 168 BCE), I have to demonstrate it, do I?
I never heard or read about the following numerical scheme. It’s hard to believe that it has not been discovered (or is there a cover up?).
No tricks, no iffy/fuzzy verbosity, no shortened or removed years and THE decree as the starting point . Just the facts (how different!).
Here it goes. Pay attention to the bold numbers:
Note: first Year of Cyrus as king over Babylon: October 539 - October 538 BCE
> Year BCE , Years from Cyrus’ decree , Number of occurrences of " 7 " in the preceding years >
> 539, 00, > 538, 01, > 537, 02, > 536, 03, > 535, 04, >
> 534, 05, > 533, 06, > 532, 0 7 , 01 > 531, 08, > 530, 09, >
> 529, 10, > 528, 11, > 527, 12, > 526, 13, > 525, 14, >
> 524, 15, > 523, 16, > 522, 1 7 , 02 > 521, 18, > 520, 19, >
> 519, 20, > 518, 21, > 517, 22, > 516, 23, > 515, 24, >
> 514, 25, > 513, 26, > 512, 2 7 , 03 > 511, 28, > 510, 29, >
> 509, 30, > 508, 31, > 507, 32, > 506, 33, > 505, 34, >
> 504, 35, > 503, 36, > 502, 3 7 , 04 > 501, 38, > 500, 39, >
> 499, 40, > 498, 41, > 497, 42, > 496, 43, > 495, 44, >
> 494, 45, > 493, 46, > 492, 4 7 , 05 > 491, 48, > 490, 49, >
> 489, 50, > 488, 51, > 487, 52, > 486, 53, > 485, 54, >
> 484, 55, > 483, 56, > 482, 5 7 , 06 > 481, 58, > 480, 59, >
> 479, 60, > 478, 61, > 477, 62, > 476, 63, > 475, 64, >
> 474, 65, > 473, 66, > 472, 6 7 , 07 > 471, 68, > 470, 69, >
> 469, 7 0, 08 > 468, 7 1, 09 > 467, 7 2, 10 > 466, 7 3, 11 > 465, 7 4, 12 >
> 464, 7 5, 13 > 463, 7 6, 14 > 462, 77 , 16 > 461, 7 8, 17 > 460, 7 9, 18 >
> 459, 80, > 458, 81, > 457, 82, > 456, 83, > 455, 84, >
> 454, 85, > 453, 86, > 452, 8 7 , 19 > 451, 88, > 450, 89, >
> 449, 90, > 448, 91, > 447, 92, > 446, 93, > 445, 94, >
> 444, 95, > 443, 96, > 442, 9 7 , 20 > 441, 98, > 440, 99, >
> 439, 100, > 438, 101, > 437, 102, > 436, 103, > 435, 104, >
> 434, 105, > 433, 106, > 432, 10 7 , 21 > 431, 108, > 430, 109, >
> 429, 110, > 428, 111, > 427, 112, > 426, 113, > 425, 114, >
> 424, 115, > 423, 116, > 422, 11 7 , 22 > 421, 118, > 420, 119, >
> 419, 120, > 418, 121, > 417, 122, > 416, 123, > 415, 124, >
> 414, 125, > 413, 126, > 412, 12 7 , 23 > 411, 128, > 410, 129, >
> 409, 130, > 408, 131, > 407, 132, > 406, 133, > 405, 134, >
> 404, 135, > 403, 136, > 402, 13 7 , 24 > 401, 138, > 400, 139, >
> 399, 140, > 398, 141, > 397, 142, > 396, 143, > 395, 144, >
> 394, 145, > 393, 146, > 392, 14 7 , 25 > 391, 148, > 390, 149, >
> 389, 150, > 388, 151, > 387, 152, > 386, 153, > 385, 154, >
> 384, 155, > 383, 156, > 382, 15 7 , 26 > 381, 158, > 380, 159, >
> 379, 160, > 378, 161, > 377, 162, > 376, 163, > 375, 164, >
> 374, 165, > 373, 166, > 372, 16 7 , 27 > 371, 168, > 370, 169, >
> 369, 1 7 0, 28 > 368, 1 7 1, 29 > 367, 1 7 2, 30 > 366, 1 7 3, 31 > 365, 1 7 4, 32 >
> 364, 1 7 5, 33 > 363, 1 7 6, 34 > 362, 1 77 , 36 > 361, 1 7 8, 37 > 360, 1 7 9, 38 >
> 359, 180, > 358, 181, > 357, 182, > 356, 183, > 355, 184, >
> 354, 185, > 353, 186, > 352, 18 7 , 39 > 351, 188, > 350, 189, >
> 349, 190, > 348, 191, > 347, 192, > 346, 193, > 345, 194, >
> 344, 195, > 343, 196, > 342, 19 7 , 40 > 341, 198, > 340, 199, >
> 339, 200, > 338, 201, > 337, 202, > 336, 203, > 335, 204, >
> 334, 205, > 333, 206, > 332, 20 7 , 41 > 331, 208, > 330, 209, >
> 329, 210, > 328, 211, > 327, 212, > 326, 213, > 325, 214, >
> 324, 215, > 323, 216, > 322, 21 7 , 42 > 321, 218, > 320, 219, >
> 319, 220, > 318, 221, > 317, 222, > 316, 223, > 315, 224, >
> 314, 225, > 313, 226, > 312, 22 7 , 43 > 311, 228, > 310, 229, >
> 309, 230, > 308, 231, > 307, 232, > 306, 233, > 305, 234, >
> 304, 235, > 303, 236, > 302, 23 7 , 44 > 301, 238, > 300, 239, >
> 299, 240, > 298, 241, > 297, 242, > 296, 243, > 295, 244, >
> 294, 245, > 293, 246, > 292, 24 7 , 45 > 291, 248, > 290, 249, >
> 289, 250, > 288, 251, > 287, 252, > 286, 253, > 285, 254, >
> 284, 255, > 283, 256, > 282, 25 7 , 46 > 281, 258, > 280, 259, >
> 279, 260, > 278, 261, > 277, 262, > 276, 263, > 275, 264, >
> 274, 265, > 273, 266, > 272, 26 7 , 47 > 271, 268, > 270, 269, >
> 269, 2 7 0, 48 > 268, 2 7 1, 49 > 267, 2 7 2, 50 > 266, 2 7 3, 51 > 265, 2 7 4, 52 >
> 264, 2 7 5, 53 > 263, 2 7 6, 54 > 262, 2 77 , 56 > 261, 2 7 8, 57 > 260, 2 7 9, 58 >
> 259, 280, > 258, 281, > 257, 282, > 256, 283, > 255, 284, >
> 254, 285, > 253, 286, > 252, 28 7 , 59 > 251, 288, > 250, 289, >
> 249, 290, > 248, 291, > 247, 292, > 246, 293, > 245, 294, >
> 244, 295, > 243, 296, > 242, 29 7 , 60 > 241, 298, > 240, 299, >
> 239, 300, > 238, 301, > 237, 302, > 236, 303, > 235, 304, >
> 234, 305, > 233, 306, > 232, 30 7 , 61 > 231, 308, > 230, 309, >
> 229, 310, > 228, 311, > 227, 312, > 226, 313, > 225, 314, >
> 224, 315, > 223, 316, > 222, 31 7 , 62 > 221, 318, > 220, 319, >
> 219, 320, > 218, 321, > 217, 322, > 216, 323, > 215, 324, >
> 214, 325, > 213, 326, > 212, 32 7 , 63 > 211, 328, > 210, 329, >
> 209, 330, > 208, 331, > 207, 332, > 206, 333, > 205, 334, >
> 204, 335, > 203, 336, > 202, 33 7 , 64 > 201, 338, > 200, 339, >
> 199, 340, > 198, 341, > 197, 342, > 196, 343, > 195, 344, >
> 194, 345, > 193, 346, > 192, 34 7 , 65 > 191, 348, > 190, 349, >
> 189, 350, > 188, 351, > 187, 352, > 186, 353, > 185, 354, >
> 184, 355, > 183, 356, > 182, 35 7 , 66 > 181, 358, > 180, 359, >
> 179, 360, > 178, 361, > 177, 362, > 176, 363, > 175, 364, >
> 174, 365, > 173, 366, > 172, 36 7 , 67 > 171, 368, > 170, 369, >
> 169, 3 7 0, 68 > 168, 3 7 1, 69 > 167, 3 7 2, 70 >
Here we are! The mystery is over.
The "Abomination & Desolation" of November/December 168B.C.E. would have occurred within the last " 7 " year of the 70 7 ‘s if Cyrus’ decree had been issued any time between October and December 539B.C.E. The last " 7 " year would end in 167B.C.E. (Oct.- Dec.), giving a few months for the remaining Jews (the "saints") to do as described in 9:24 ( and stay Jew ), in order to get the rewards as explained in 7:14b,18,22,27, 12:3.
A coincidence? I beg to differ . The author was very lucky to find a numerical scheme so the events of 168 BCE looked to be part of a God’s plan .
NOTE about the dating:
Sometimes, it is indicated that the "desolation" occurred in 167 BCE Let’s consider this date (and 168 BCE) according to the data available.
About the Seleucid years:
In Josephus’ Ant., XII, VII, 6:
"This desolation happened in the temple in the hundred forty and fifth year , ..."
Here, the reference year, as for the whole Seleucid era, is the start of the reign of Seleucus I. Unfortunately, there are two starts for the Seleucid calendar:
a) The Seleucid Macedonian Calendar (SMC) starts in October 7th, 312 BCE
b) The Seleucid Babylonian Calendar (SBC) starts in April 3rd, 311 BCE
It is widely acknowledged that Josephus drew many of his data from 1Maccabees, one of the OT Apocryphal books. Let’s examine the dating in it, which Josephus adopted.
a) 1Macc.1:10 "From them came forth a sinful root, Antiochus Epiphanes , son of Antiochus the king; he had been a hostage in Rome. He began to reign in the one hundred and thirty-seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks."
SMC: Oct. 7th, 176 to Oct. 6th, 175
SBC: April 3rd, 175 to April 2nd, 174
Antiochus IV Epiphanes took power in 175 B.C.E and this is well corroborated.
b) 1Macc.1:20 "After subduing Egypt, Antiochus returned in the one hundred and forty-third year . He went up against Israel and came to Jerusalem with a strong force."
SMC: Oct. 7th, 170 to Oct. 6th, 169
SBC: April 3rd, 169 to April 2nd, 168
Antiochus IV went to Jerusalem in 169 BCE (according to some) or 170 BCE (according to a majority). For the later date (170), the 1Maccabees’ author could not have followed the Seleucid Babylonian Calendar (SBC).
c) 1Macc.1:29 " Two years later the king sent to the cities of Judah a chief collector of tribute, and he came to Jerusalem with a large force ."
d) 1Macc.1:54 "Now on the fifteenth day of Chislev, in the one hundred and forty-fifth year , they erected a desolating sacrilege upon the altar of burnt offering."
1Macc.1:59 "And on the twenty-fifth day of the month they offered sacrifice on the altar which was upon the altar of burnt offering."
SMC: Oct. 7th, 168 to Oct. 6th, 167
SBC: April 3rd, 167 to April 2nd, 166
These two events happened (within 10 days) towards the end (November/December) of 168 BCE (according to some) or 167 BCE (according to others).
Note: According to Josephus’ Ant., XII, VII, 6, this event happened "on the hundred and fifty-third Olympiad"
The first recorded Olympiad was in 776 BCE and reoccurred since that time every four years in the summer (August 6th to September 19th). Consequently, the 153rd Olympiad was in the summer of:
776 - [(153 - 1) X 4] = 168 BCE
According to the first hypothesis (with the SMC years), the Olympiad did not occur during the same Seleucid year (Oct. 7th, 168 to Oct. 6th 167) as Antiochus’ second "visit" (end of 168), but in the same Jewish sacred year (from March to March). Josephus, an ex-priest, very likely was thinking "Jewish sacred years" when he wrote that Antiochus’ 2nd foray was on the same year than the 153rd Olympiad.
However, with the second hypothesis (with the SBC years), the Olympiad (in 168) did not occur either during the same Seleucid year (April 3rd, 167 to April 2nd, 166) or the same Jewish sacred year .
Moreover, because this Olympiad occurred in 168 BCE , a dating of 167 B.C.E for the "desecration" is very problematic.
e) 1Mac4:52-53 "Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month , which is the month of Chislev , in the one hundred and forty-eighth year , they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt offering which they had built."
SMC: Oct. 7th, 165 to Oct. 6th, 164
SBC: April 3rd, 164 to April 2nd, 163
This event happened towards the end (November/December) of 165 BCE (according to some) or 164 BCE (according to others).
a) "the ninth month" : the 1Maccabees author is following the Jewish sacred calendar, which starts in March.
b) According to Josephus’ Ant., XII, VII, 6, this event happened "on the hundred and fifty-fourth Olympiad" . Consequently, the 154th Olympiad was in the summer of:
776 - [(154 - 1) X 4] = 164 BCE
According to the first hypothesis (with the SMC years), the Olympiad did occur during the same Seleucid year (Oct. 7th, 165 to Oct. 6th 164) as the re-consecration (end of 165).
f) 1Mac6:16 "Thus Antiochus the king died there in the one hundred and forty-ninth year ."
SMC: Oct. 7th, 164 to Oct. 6th, 163
SBC: April 3rd, 163 to April 2nd, 162
This event happened in late 164 BCE (according to most historians, and the NIV Study Bible, and the Encyclopaedia Britannica) or 163 BCE (according to a very few others). Then with 164 BCE, the "one hundred and forty-fifth year" (the year of the desecration) would fall from Oct. 7th, 168 to Oct. 6th, 167 and therefore dating the "desolation" in (November/December) of 168 BCE
According to the available data, the dating of 170 BCE (Antiochus’ 1st visit), then "two years later" 168 BCE (desecration) and then after three years 165 B.C.E (re-consecration) is a lot more plausible than the sequence of 170 (or169), 167 & 164 BCE Furthermore these former dates (168 & 165) are corroborated by this historical study of the Book of Daniel with the decoding of the "seventy sevens".
Here is the distribution of the different parts of Daniel Part 2 for each of the four kings, as discussed before:
A) The dream (vision) of Daniel (7:1-14):
a) Belshazzar: 7:4
b) Cyrus: 7:5
c) Alexander: 7:6
d) Antiochus IV: 7:8,11-12 (7:7 is about Antiochus Seleucid predecessors)
B) The explanation of the dream (7:15-28)
- Antiochus IV: 7:21-22,24b-26 (7:19-20,23-24a is also about Antiochus Seleucid predecessors)
C) Daniel’s second vision (8:1-14):
a) Cyrus: 8:3-4
b) Alexander: 8:5-8
c) Antiochus IV: 8:9-12
D) The interpretation by Gabriel of the (second) vision (8:15-27):
a) Cyrus: 8:20
b) Alexander: 8:21 (8:22 is about the four Hellenist kingdoms)
c) Antiochus IV: 8:23-25
E) The Seventy "Sevens" (9:24-27):
- Antiochus IV: 9:25-27
F) The final explanation by the demigod (10:1-11:45):
11:2-20 is a very accurate and historically corroborated sequence of events from the third year (10:1) of the Persian era up to the predecessor of Antiochus IV (Hellenist era): some three hundred and sixty six years! Most of the details are about the conflicts between the kings of the South (the Ptolemies of Egypt) and the kings of the North (the Seleucids of Mesopotamia/Syria). Of course, Jerusalem was in between and changed hand (197 BCE, from Egypt to Syria). These alleged prophecies are unique in the OT relative to their accuracy and details!
a) Alexander: 11:3
b) Antiochus IV: 11:21-36
Daniel Part 2, the failed predictions:
Here starts the predictions on what Antiochus IV was going to do , after Daniel Part 2 had been written and read. I repeat the next verse (already quoted) for clarity:
11:36 "Then the king [NOT any Antichrist but king Antiochus IV, victorious and totally in control] shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god , shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods [there are many mentions of the existence of other gods with God seemingly isolated from any mortals] , and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done .
11:37 He shall regard neither the gods of his fathers nor the desire of women [Tammuz, another god (Eze 8:14)] , nor regard any god ; for he shall exalt himself above them all.
11:38 But in their place he shall honour a god of fortresses ; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honour with gold and silver [pillaged from the temple and its treasury:
Josephus’ Ant., XII, V, 4 "a great deal of gold ... and many ornaments ... golden candlesticks ... golden altar ... the veils, which were made of fine linen and scarlet." . The author probably suggested that the loot from the temple was used as offering to this "god of fortresses"]
, with precious stones and pleasant things."
11:39 " Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god [the same god as mentioned in the previous verse. This god is foreign because Antiochus IV fathers and forefathers did not know him. The god, "bribed" by the offerings from the treasures of the looted temple, would help Antiochus to take the fortresses in his future campaigns] , which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many , and divide the land for gain."
It is in this verse that Antiochus IV would fulfil (except for the South) the prophecies of 7:23 "And shall devour the whole earth , trample it and break it in pieces " . Since the whole earth, as a Jew of Jerusalem would know it in these days, did not go beyond the Black Sea, the desert of central Asia and the Indus river, Antiochus needed only to conquer little more than Macedonia & Greece from the Romans and western & northern today’s Turkey. And of course the Romans (and their homeland: "western coastlands" 11:30) hardly existed for Daniel-2.
Let’s also say that "the whole earth" in 2:39 means the largest extent of the Persian empire (the third kingdom), which, with the exceptions of Egypt, Asia Minor & Galatia/Cappadocia and the territories east in central Asia (Bactria), was not much bigger that the Seleucid kingdom of Antiochus IV. And in 1Macc.1:3, written later than Daniel, we are told that Alexander the Great "advanced to the ends of the earth" , even if he never set foot on any "western coastlands".
And for the South, I’ll come to that later.
The following events (Antiochus’ return to Egypt), as wrongly predicted in 11:40-45, were supposed to happen before Antiochus’ death. It was to be the signal for the arrival of the kingdom possessed by the saints (righteous Jews) (7:18) and brought about by Michael "the great prince":
11:40 The god is saying to Daniel: " At the time of the end the king of the South [The author was thinking that Egypt, a weak military power, would take advantage of Antiochus’ army departure. Ptolemy VI had been looking to reclaim Palestine] shall attack him; and the king of the North [Antiochus IV. Note: the expression "king of the South/North" is also used many times in the "historical" section 11:2-36 (immediately preceding this one), to mean king of Egypt/Syria: why would it mean anything different here? And for the Romans, they were considered to be from the west (11:30), not the north] shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, [and not tanks and fighter planes!] and with many ships [this time, Antiochus IV would be well prepared to fight off the nasty Romans, allies of Ptolemy VI! And the ships would be useless inland at Armageddon (Megiddo) but very useful at Alexandria!] ; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through [as he did before] .
11:41 He shall also enter the Glorious Land [Judea] , and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. [places of refuge (for the remaining faithful Jews) are indicated: Moab is conveniently located at less than a day’s walk from Jerusalem! Historically, this area, beyond the Jordan river and the Dead Sea, east of Jerusalem (today’s kingdom of Jordan), was spared from invasion: a safe bet. Staying Jew did not mean you had to be killed by Antiochus’ soldiers!]
11:42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape [that would have been the third invasion of Egypt by Antiochus: a routine operation!].
11:43 He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt [which Antiochus did already (except for Alexandria). And obviously, the Romans would play dead this time or be utterly defeated!] ; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. [Libya and Ethiopia were considered at the end of the world for the Jews in these days. Beyond (and west of) Libya lays (western) North Africa, (today’s Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco), at the time prosperous and civilised. No mention! Obviously, for our author, the world did not go very far westward]
11:44 But news from the east and the north shall trouble him [the Armenians were claiming independence and the Parthians encroached on Seleucid territory. On this matter, our author "guessed" right: "in the hundred and forty-seventh year, he [Antiochus IV with his army] passed over Euphrates, and went to the superior provinces." (Josephus’ Ant., XII, VII, 2b). There, he defeated the king of Armenia, Artaxias, and the Parthians] ; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many [that would complete the predicted conquest of the whole known world as postulated in 7:23].
11:45 And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain [most likely refer to Jerusalem. Intentionally, a very vague location: between the seas and Jerusalem could be almost anywhere!] ; yet he shall come to his end , and no one will help him. [Antiochus’ death is also mentioned in 8:25b "Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power" . Antiochus died at war, at Tabae in Persia, from illness or accident, in 164 BCE]
12:1 At that time [Antiochus’ death, as stated in previous verse] Michael shall stand up , The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people ; [note: "your people", this god does not consider the Jews as his. Michael now is protecting the Jews, since Antiochus is said to have turned back from his gods (11:37), including the one friendly to the Jews and Daniel. But where is the God of the Jews? Michael seems to be in charge! And it is Michael, and not a Messiah (or Jesus), bringing about deliverance and the "end of time", with the resurrections and the eternal kingdom] And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered , [the start of the "end of time"] . Every one who is found written in the book [as in 7:9-10 quoted earlier] .
12:2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake , Some to everlasting life , Some to shame and everlasting contempt. [contrary to what is claimed by some Christian scholars or preachers, resurrections and eternal life thereafter are not a Christian concept (on resurrections see also: Isa26:19, Eze37:1-10, Job19:25-26)]
12:3 Those who are wise [allusion to the ones who died earlier: 11:35 "And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end ; because it is still for the appointed time " ] shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever ."
Needless to say that the events of the last three verses did not happen, when they were supposed to, at the death of Antiochus IV.
Later updating in Daniel Part 2:
The following " updating " was meant to have the fictional prophet Daniel (or rather his friendly god!) predict any event affecting the temple as long as Antiochus IV was alive (and still able to fulfil the prophecies of 11:40-45). Antiochus’ death happened in 164 BCE, in the latter part. Since the desecration of the temple is described as an "abomination and desolation" of ultimate gigantic proportion, any re-consecration and further disturbance could not have gone "unpredicted" . And of course, this god had been so accurate in his prophecies from the third year of Cyrus all the way to 167 BCE that he could not have "missed" events beyond that!
DANIEL: PART 3
8:13-14,26. Written in very late 165 BCE or early 164 BCE (after the re-consecration of the sanctuary in the temple). The most likely author is Daniel-2 but could be another one: Daniel-3.
8:14 "And He [the god] said to me, "It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings [1150 days. Notice the great accuracy of this alleged prediction and the next ones] ; then the sanctuary will be re-consecrated."" (quote from the NIV).
Note: Josephus wrote that three Jewish years (1,080 days) went by between the desecration (start of pagan sacrifices) and re-consecration. Consequently, it seems that the ending of Jewish offering occurred seventy days prior to desecration. In Josephus’ Ant., XII, V, 4, the building of a citadel "with high walls and towers" in Jerusalem, next to the temple, took place between "he forbade them to offer those daily sacrifices which they used to offer to God, according to the law." and "when the king had built an idol altar upon God’s altar, he slew swine upon it" .
A significant time (between the ending of sacrifices and desecration) is confirmed by Josephus’ Wars, Preface, 7
"... Antiochus, who was named Epiphanes, took Jerusalem by force, and held it three years and three months [about 1170 days] , and was then ejected ..."
Note: according to Daniel Part2 9:27: "... In the middle of the ‘seven’, he will put an end to sacrifice and offering . And on the wing of the temple, he will set up [November/December of 168 BCE] an abomination that causes desolation [Greek altar and swine sacrifices], until the end that is decreed is poured out on him [Antiochus’ end] " , there is no mention of the re-consecration of the temple between "the abomination" and Antiochus’ death , a sure indication that Daniel Part 3 is an addition.
11:32b "but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits ."
Refer to the exploits of Judas Maccabeus from 166 BCE Here, the problem is that this short passage is out of sequence. Why? because it is followed by the one (11:33) describing the (unsuccessful) start of the rebellion causing the massacres of many Jews in 167 BCE, before the "exploits".
11:32a "Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery [the bad ones: the Jews who lost their faith] ."
[ 11:32b insertion here ]
11:33 "And those of the people who understand [the good ones: Mattathias, a priest, and his five sons] shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering ."
11:34 " Now when they fall ..."
It is rather obvious that 11:32b in a latter insertion which does not fit, chronologically and textually.
DANIEL: PART 4
12:11. Written in 164 BCE in early spring (after the Ex-Jews and the Syrian/Macedonian soldiers from the garrison in the citadel managed to restart the Greek animal sacrifices).
This kind of events are alluded to in Josephus’ Ant., XII, IX, 3a. "At that time [163 BCE] it was that the garrison in the citadel of Jerusalem, with the Jewish renegades, did a great deal of harm to the Jews: for the soldiers that were in that garrison rushed out upon the sudden, and destroyed such as were going to the temple in order to offer their sacrifices, for this citadel adjoined to and overlooked the temple. When these misfortunes had often happened to them, ..."
Same author as the one of Part 3.
12:11 "And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days."
According to the 1290 days indication, this event happened around April of 164 BCE, a very appropriate time in order to disturb the Passover Jewish sacrifices.
DANIEL: PART 5
12:12. Written later in the spring. The same ex-Jews and soldiers were chased back one and a half month later (likely in early June of 164 BCE). Same author as the one of Part 3.
12:12 "Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days."
The death of Antiochus IV occurred in 164 BCE The circumstance of his death were not as predicted in 7:11. However, centuries later, that did not prevent Josephus to declare "this king died on account of his sacrilegious plundering of the temple of Jerusalem." (Ant., XII, IX, 1).
In Ant., X, XI, 7, Josephus gave his own interpretation of Daniel’s visions:
"He said that the ram signified the kingdoms of the Medes and Persians , and the horns
[Da8:3b "... was a ram which had two horns , and the two horns were high; but one was higher [the one of the Persians: early on, the Medes were prominent] than the other, and the higher one came up last." ]
those kings that were to reign in them; and that the last horn signified the last king, and that he should exceed all the kings in riches and glory: that the he-goat signified that one should come and reign from the Greeks , who should twice fight with the Persian [Darius III] , and overcome him in battle , and should receive his entire dominion : that by the great horn which sprang out of the forehead of the he-goat was meant the first king [Alexander the Great] ; and that the springing up of four horns [the Hellenist kingdoms] upon its falling off, and the conversion of every one of them to the four quarters of the earth , signified the successors [the Hellenist kings] that should arise after the death of the first king [Alexander the Great] , and the partition of the kingdom among them, and that they should be neither his children, nor of his kindred, that should reign over the habitable earth for many years; and that from among them [the Hellenist kings] there should arise a certain king that should overcome our nation and their laws, and should take away their political government, and should spoil the temple , and forbid the sacrifices to be offered for three years’ time . And indeed it so came to pass, that our nation suffered these things under Antiochus [IV] Epiphanes "
Most likely (and according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica: "at the end of 164" ), Antiochus IV’s death happened in the fall, referring to the three years and a half (actually "a year, two years and a half year" ) "interpreted" "time, times and a half time" (7:25, 12:7) in some copies. The copyist(s) who did the change probably wanted to be more accurate (with hindsight!) about the time of death of Antiochus IV, especially when, as we saw, some times were given in days!
Because the prophecies of 11:40-45 & 12:1-13 remained unfulfilled, the book was probably retired for a while. Nevertheless, it could have accomplished its prime purpose: keep (Hellenized) Jews in the faith when everything seemed lost. From 70 CE, the Book of Daniel strongly resurfaced and was mentioned in order to suggest that:
a) The destruction’s of Jerusalem were prophesied and consequently were part of some God’s plan, even proving God’s existence. (Josephus’ Ant., X, XI, 7b)
b) The destruction of Jerusalem (in 70 CE) was the signal of the "end" to come three and a half years later. (Mark’s gospel (13:1-2,14-27,30),