The Latter Days
Pagan Rome Starts its First Rise to Power
“For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches. 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.” Daniel 11:13, 14
After the King of the South retaliates on the King of the North, he makes his triumphant march back to Egypt, and tries to enter the Most Holy Place, but God prevents it. In time the King of the North returns, putting together a great army. That King of the South, later dies, leaving his son as heir of the throne, but his son is only five years old.
‘In those times’, when the King of the South is only five years old, he is very vulnerable, and the King of the North is ready to retaliate against the King of the South. ‘In those times, there shall many stand up against the King of the South’. The ‘many’ refers at this time to the Macedonian king, Philip of Macedonia. He makes an agreement with the King of the North, saying, ‘let’s go and take the King of the South, and, when we conquer him, I get the geographical area close to me, and you get the area closer to you. They form this alliance. At the same time, men in Egypt, also see the vulnerability of the King of the South, and plan to do away with him, and usurp the throne of the King of the South.
So ‘in those times, there shall many stand up against the king of the south.’ The people in Egypt stand up against the five year old child-King of the South; the King of the North stands up against him; Philip of Macedonia in confederacy with the King of the North stands up against him; also the ‘robbers of thy people’ shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.
We now look at this phrase; ‘they shall fall’. In the history of
Philip of Macedonia and his alliance with the King of the North to
attack the vulnerable five-year-old King of the South; they ultimately
fall. So this phrase could be applied to them. But the main application
of this ‘shall fall’ is that it is a characteristic of Rome. Rome is
here introduced for the first time into chapter 11 as the ‘robbers of
thy people’. A look at the history of Rome shows why the term ‘robbers’
fits so well.
The Italian peninsula at that time in history was known to be where a band of robbers and thieves hid out. They would strike out from their base in Italy, and not only steal gold and booty, but they were infamous for stealing wives and women. They were known throughout that area as thieves and robbers. They came mainly from Greek heritage; Italy was basically a place for them to hide out.
So when we see the term ‘robbers’ applied to them, it’s very fitting, ‘The robbers of thy people’. This is Rome coming into the prophecy. It says that Rome shall exult themselves. One of the characteristics of all these pagan powers in the book of Daniel, is that they exult themselves; but the main power that exults itself is Rome.
Here is a most important phrase about these people; ‘The robbers of Thy people shall exult themselves’, and they are the ones that ‘establish the vision’. This is the main focus in Daniel 11. This vision, whether it’s talking about Medes, Persians, Greeks, or whatever; the power that makes this vision stand is Rome. This is the point of reference.
This is the truth in verse 14, the focus of Daniel 10, 11 and 12, is about Rome, these other kingdoms are the history that leads to Rome, and from verse fifteen onward, Rome is going to become King of the North, and it will remain King of the North until it comes to its end, until it falls. That’s what verse 14 is saying, and from here onward, Rome is the focus of this prophecy.
There are three different Roman powers in verse 29. We now begin dealing with the history of how Papal Rome came to control the world. The history of Rome from verses 14-29 is the history of Pagan Rome. In verses 29-40 is the history of Papal Rome, the first time around. Then in verse 40 and onward, it shows the third history of Rome, modern Rome; modern Babylon, the Papacy of today.
There is a pattern used in all three of those scenarios. It first
describes how Rome comes to control the world, and then it drops back
into that same history to describe how Rome dealt with God’s people
during that time period.
Remember verse 13 says; “For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches.”
This describes the time when Egypt’s king had died and left the kingdom of Egypt to his five-year-old son and his daughter, Cleopatra. The next verses show Rome coming into the picture. Verse 14 says there would many stand up against the King of the South at this time. Not only did this happen immediately after the king died and left his kingdom to his children, but there was a struggle in Egypt itself, to try to take control. Also Phillip of Macedon and the Assyrian kingdom, the King of the North, decided they would join forces and go and take Egypt and divide up that kingdom among themselves.
Verse 14 follows saying at this time the ‘Robbers of thy people’ will stand up, and sure enough, in that situation, Rome began to make moves towards being a kingdom in the world. They had already fought some wars in northern Africa, and they accepted the responsibility of being the protectors of these children. They let it be known that if Syria, the King of the North and Macedonia were going to come after Egypt, they were going to have to deal with Rome as well.
“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.” Daniel 11:15
So the King of the North begins to make his march on the child king of Egypt, and the protectorate of Rome that was managing Egypt during that time. He hired an army, this is the ‘chosen people’ in verse 15. The protectorate of Egypt selected this army. The King of the North came against them and just wiped them out basically. There’s more details to the battle that went on there, but this hired army, ‘mercenaries’ we would call them today, those ‘chosen people’ couldn’t stand, they didn’t have strength to withstand. They came almost all the way into Egypt, but they don’t quite get there.
“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.” Daniel 11:16
This was Pompey. This verse here is saying that as the King of the North, Assyria decides to make its move on Egypt, even though the Romans had said, “leave Egypt alone”, Rome goes into battle against them and Pompey goes through Assyria and levels it.
We need to look closely at who the King of the North is, and who is the King of the South. Here in the first part of this verse, when Rome overcomes Assyria, Rome becomes the King of the North. The rule is the power that controls the geographical area of Egypt is the King of the South, and the power that controls the geographical area of Babylon is the King of the North.
Babylon was the center of the Assyrian kingdom. When Rome in verse 16 came in and the Assyrians could not stand against him, Rome took control of that area; by the rule established in Daniel 11, Rome became the King of the North. They swept through Assyria and they followed on and took the ‘Glorious Land’ of Israel as well. This is talking about the Roman army taking control of the country of Israel.
In ‘Daniel and Revelation’ pg. 247, Uriah Smith, speaks about
responding to a quarrel for power, going on among the Israelites
themselves. Pompey came back to Jerusalem to deal with these people that
were resisting his power.
“At the end of three months, the breach was made in the walls sufficient for an assault and the place was carried at to point of the sword. In the terrible slaughter that ensued twelve thousand persons were slain. It was an affecting sight, observes the historian, to see the priest engaged at the time in the Divine service with calm hand and steady purpose pursue their accustomed work apparently unconscious of the wild tumult until their own blood was mingled with that of the sacrifices they were offering.
“Having put an end to the war, Pompey demolished the walls of Jerusalem, transferred several cities from the jurisdiction of Judea to that of Syria and imposed tribute on the Jews. For the first time, Jerusalem was by conquest placed in the hands of Rome. That power which was to hold the Glorious Land in its iron grasp until it had utterly consumed it.”
The point that has a bearing on the final verses in this chapter, is when Rome conquered the ‘Glorious Land’ in verse 16, they weren’t overthrowing the religion of the Jews, or destroying the temple. They were taking control of the country of Israel, the Glorious Land. We have to remember this, if we’re going to correctly divide the Word of God when we get to the end verses.
“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. 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. Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.” Daniel 11:17-19
What is described here initially, is that Rome at this point determines that it’s going to use its strength to conquer the entire kingdom of Alexander the Great.
In other words Rome had already taken the kingdom of the North when Assyria fell, and then it’s taken the kingdom of the Glorious Land, and now it decides it’s going to take the King of the South and when it does that, it will have taken the whole kingdom of Alexander the Great.
3 Areas Conquered
In Daniel 8:9 it says, ‘And out of one of them came forth a little horn.’ And this ‘Little Horn’ has been correctly understood for years as Pagan Rome. ‘Which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.’ Rome had to overcome three geographical obstacles, to become the fourth kingdom of Bible prophecy. Daniel 11 is simply building upon that truth.
In verse 16, it takes Assyria, to the east of Rome; and then it takes
the Glorious Land, or Pleasant Land in chapter 8. Its next point of
attack is the King of the South, which in verse 17 describes when Julius
Caesar goes into Egypt.
Pompey had been placed in the protectorship of the children, Cleopatra and Ptolemy, and when Ptolemy had Pompey killed, then Julius Caesar continued his pursuit that he had began after Pompey, right into Egypt. He then takes the position that since Pompey is removed from the protectorate, he’s now the protectorate, and he tries to settle some of the dissent in Egypt about whether Ptolemy or Cleopatra is going to rule the kingdom. ‘And he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.’
This is referring to Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. Historians differ in this affair. Some say Cleopatra was Julius Caesar’s mistress; others that he married her. Some claim the royalty in Egypt was passed down through the female side of the family, so the reason that Julius Caesar, and later Mark Anthony married Cleopatra, was because it made them the King of Egypt and that’s what they wanted.
With this understanding, that the blood line passed down through the female side in Egypt, then this verse is clear in saying, ‘and he shall give him the daughter of women, (Cleopatra) corrupting her.’ It could have been Julius Caesar who was initiating this marriage to take control of Egypt, so then he would be the corruptor of her. Most commentators try to turn this around to where Cleopatra corrupted him, and later on corrupted Mark Anthony, but that isn’t what the verse says.
The most important theme through these verses is that Rome has come to control the world at this point. The Bible wants to be very clear about this sequence of leadership in Rome; Julius Caesar, then Caesar Augustus then Tiberius Caesar. This sequence of Caesars, so clearly identified in these verses, places Rome as the only possible entity that could fulfill this prophecy. Remember this vision is about Rome, so there’s some very clear history shown here.
We see Julius Caesar coming into Egypt, finding all kinds of problems that he has to resolve. After he fought some of the battles there, and seemed to have brought it under control, he turns to the islands in verse 18. That’s describing his march through the Mediterranean where he very quickly brought those islands and sea-coasts under the authority of Rome. By verse 19 he returns to Rome, the Hero. Then he is assassinated at the foot of the statue of Pompey.
“Then shall stand up in his estate (after Julius Caesar is assassinated) a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.” Daniel 11:20
Augustus Caesar is clearly this raiser of taxes. He called for the taxation that brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. This is one of the most easily recognizable events in the Bible. These verses here in Daniel 11 more than anything else are saying that this history can’t be mistaken, therefore the kingdom under discussion in these verses, is Rome. We need to see this to understand the Bible correctly. This is the Pagan Roman Empire.
After Augustus, the raiser of taxes dies in peace, then another arises.
“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. 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.” Daniel 11:21, 22
History says that Tiberius Caesar was the son of the wife of Augustus
Caesar, but not Augustus’ son. She had petitioned Augustus Caesar to
proclaim that he would be emperor when Augustus died. He refused, and
picked another, but that person died before Augustus. Tiberius’ mother
then pled with Augustus Caesar, and he, in his old age, agreed to let
him take control of the kingdom at his death. And this is how he took
the kingdom by flatteries.
But no one in Rome ever had any respect for him, and history clearly shows he definitely was a vile man. He finally died by suffocation with pillows, executed by some of his own men. Verse 22 indicates all his wickedness, using his ‘arms’, military power, to work his own will, until finally a revolt overthrows him.
Notice here it says; ‘Yea, also the Prince of the covenant’ would be broken during this period of Rome. Daniel 9:25-27, shows that the Prince of the covenant will be cut off in the midst of the week. The information in these verses clearly identifies this kingdom that will ‘establish the vision’; this kingdom that is called the ‘robbers of thy people’. The kingdom that will exult themselves and ultimately fall, is Rome.
Verse 23 drops back into the history of Rome, just covered in verses 13-22, to a time when Israel was under constant attack by Syria, and they entered into a league with Rome in order to get some protection. To understand these verses clearly, we need to take them in sections.
“And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.” Daniel 11:23, 24
These two verses give the starting place of the league with the Jews that Rome made in 161 BC. It places us back in the history of the previous verses, and it begins to describe the characteristics of Rome. We saw earlier in the book of Daniel, that this fourth kingdom was to be different.
One of the differences is that Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece conquered through their military might. Rome conquered through its military might as well, but also through ‘politics’. They formed ‘leagues’; and here in verse 23 it starts with the league they formed with the Jews.
They made agreements with countries to be their protector, like they did in Egypt earlier by protecting the young king. They formed a league with Greece to protect Greece from the Macedonians and the Assyrians. This was one of the ‘differences’ of this fourth kingdom, thus it became ‘strong with a small people’. They originated the concept of the ‘protection racket’.
They began as a small people, but if you’re going to conquer a country by signing a peace treaty with it, which ultimately brings that country under your control, you don’t need a large army, you just need a diplomatic core. This is one of the characteristics of the fourth kingdom that continues in its second phase.
Verse 24 it carries on this description, ‘he’ll enter peaceably upon the fattest places of the province’. For example, when it took control of Greece, it was through peaceable measures and ‘he’ll do what his fathers have not done or his father’s fathers’. This is saying, Alexander the Great, or the Medes and the Persians or Babylon, being the ‘fathers, the grandfathers and the great grandfathers’, never conquered this way through politics, they conquered through warfare.
‘He shall scatter among them the prey and the spoil and riches’. This was one of the characteristics of Rome; when they conquered a place, the booty was divided between the soldiers of the army, also some of the countries that agreed to form treaties with them, were also, at first given some of the riches. Later on, they came under the slavery-type dominance of Rome. Rome’s technique was to share the wealth as they took the wealth as they rose to conquer the world.
31 BC - 330 AD Rome rules from Rome
The last phrases of verse 23 say, Rome shall ‘forecast his devices against the stronghold’. This is better understood as Rome will forecast his devices ‘from’ his stronghold. This seems the clearest understanding of this verse. The stronghold, that Rome forecast his devices from, was the city of Rome, ‘even for a time’. It is saying that Rome would prosecute taking control of the world, from the city of Rome for 360 years.
From the starting point of 31 BC, we add a ‘time’ (360 years) and this time prophecy comes to a conclusion in 330 AD. Then, the capitol of the Roman Empire was moved from the city of Rome to the city of Constantinople. In the beginning of the Roman Empire, they were going to forecast their devices from the city of Rome for 360 years and when the 360 years was up, this stronghold of Rome was no longer going to be a stronghold.
“And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him.” Daniel 11:25
This describes the final conquest of Egypt, which includes the battle of Actium in 31 BC. The King of the South at this time, isn’t one of the line of Ptolemy, it’s Mark Anthony, who joined with Lepidus and Caesar to form a ‘triumvirate’, a three-party rule in Rome. One of their purposes was to avenge the assassination of Julius Caesar, and they all three began to go after things in their own ways.
Ultimately, Mark Anthony goes to Egypt and depending on which historical testimony you want to believe, he either falls in love with Cleopatra in such a way that he can’t control himself; or if you take the reasoning set forth by some, that the monarchy in Egypt was passed down through the female side; he may have realized, ‘Well, if I marry Cleopatra, then I become the king of Egypt.’ There’s a logic to that, which seems to make sense. At this point in verse 25, the King of the South that the king is going to come against is Mark Anthony, and verses 26-27 build upon this story.
“Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain. And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.” Daniel 11:26, 27
Here we see the Triumvirate, the 3 man rule in Rome, was set up after Julius Caesar. Lepidus, Augustus Caesar and Mark Anthony, had come together to accomplish their task of controlling the world, and working revenge against Julius Caesar’s enemies. They sat at the same table and talked about doing mischief together, but they were lying to one another, and their lies weren’t going to prosper.
Finally when Caesar comes into Egypt to deal with Mark Anthony, he is destroyed. When he is destroyed, he has his army in place to battle against another Roman army. Both are Roman armies, but he also has the Egyptian army of Cleopatra with him. As they see the folly of fighting with Mark Anthony, one by one the Egyptian army and his army switches over to the other Roman army. The Egyptian army fled and Mark Anthony is totally wiped out. This is what’s being described in verse 25; he’s not able to stand.
When Caesar came back to Rome with all the booty from Egypt and all the human trophies, he would have had Cleopatra, but she committed suicide and so she isn’t carried back into Rome.
Verse 26 says ‘they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him’. This is talking about how Mark Anthony’s army turned on him. The troops he was counting on to come to his aid, when they saw the position he was in, switched over to Rome. That’s what’s being discussed in these verses.
These verses are significant because this battle, where the King of the South, Mark Anthony, is finally dealt with, is the Battle of Actium 31 BC, the starting point of the ‘time’ of verse 24, (1 Prophetic year = 360 literal years) that Rome would rule the world from the city of Rome. Verse 27 is a concluding thought to this time prophecy; ‘yet the end shall be at the time appointed’.
So, what we see about Rome is; it’s going to be different from other world-powers; it’s going to use politics as well as military might; it’s going to rule the world for a ‘time’ from the stronghold of Rome. The starting point for this power ruling the world is the battle where Mark Anthony and his supporters are overthrown and the ‘end will be at the time appointed’.
“Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.” Daniel 11:28
Caesar returns to Rome after this battle of Actium. He has all the booty that he has taken from Egypt and he parades it through the streets of Rome. Historians testify this is just what he did.
There are two ‘returnings’ in this verse. The first ‘returning’, is when he returns from conquering the King of the South, and being established as the king of the earth, the fourth kingdom of Bible prophecy, in the year 31 BC.
Then it says, ‘his heart shall be against the holy covenant and he shall do exploits and return to his own land’. This ‘returning’ is from the next conquest, that military campaign of Rome going down to Judah, and ultimately destroying Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70. This is why his heart is against the holy covenant, in the sense that he’s going to destroy the temple, Jerusalem and the people that once had been God’s people.
“At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.” Daniel 11:29
Now the ‘time appointed’ jumps forward in history. Verse 27 says ‘the end shall be at the time appointed’, and that Rome would forecast its power from the stronghold of the city of Rome for 360 years. The next verses are describing the starting point, 31 BC. Verse 27 is letting us know that the end of this time period of verse 24, the 360 years, will be at the ‘time appointed’. Verse 29 carries this thought forward; ‘at the time appointed’, in the year 330 AD, ‘he shall return and come towards the south, but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.’
The ‘time appointed’, the end of the 360 years in 330 AD, when the capitol of the Roman empire was moved from the city of Rome to Constantinople by Constantine, was the end of the supremacy of Rome. The 360 years of prophetic time had come to its close, and from that point on the ability of Rome to control the world at will through its military might and its political prowess, ceased.
In 330 AD, when he moved the capitol, then all the problems begin for Rome. It was immediately divided into east and west and the western empire immediately comes under attack from barbarians out of the north.
The islands of the Mediterranean that Rome had formerly controlled, now become launching points for some of the powers designed by God to bring Rome down, and contribute to the environment needed for Rome to break up into the ten horns and the three horns to be removed as in Daniel 7.
Notice verse 29 says ‘At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.’ The ‘former or later’ means when Rome attempts to defend itself and maintain its authority from Constantinople, the new capitol of the kingdom, he won’t have the ability to be successful in his military campaigns from that point on. It won’t be as the former; like when he went into Egypt and dealt with Mark Anthony and had such great success, nor will it be as the latter; when he went into Judea and destroyed the temple in AD 70 and wiped out Israel. He had success then, but in 330 from this point on, his military success wasn’t going to be the same.
“For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.” Daniel 11:30
The First Sunday Laws
The ‘ships of Chittim’ of verse 30 are the Vandals. Their continued military success was weakening Rome, and as the emperor of Eastern Rome went out to do battle against them, he was defeated, or ‘grieved’.
In an attempt to oppose the so-called Arian beliefs of the three horns of the Heruli, Goths, and Vandals, Emperor Justinian appointed the bishop of Rome as the head of the Christian church and the corrector of heretics. By doing so he had ‘indignation against the holy covenant’, and had ‘intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant’ and the transition of Roman power from pagan to papal was under way.
Verse 29 described the closing scenes of pagan Rome’s authority, we see Constantine moving the capital away from Rome at the ‘time appointed’. In verse 30 we see his ‘indignation against the holy covenant’ as he introduces the first Sunday laws.
We are told that when the United States passes a national Sunday law, national apostasy will be followed by national ruin. The same principles apply throughout history. After Constantine issues his Sunday laws, the Roman Empire begins to crumble. In former years when Rome warred against their enemies they found victory, but no longer.