Journey with Daniel
“Daniel 11”Categories: Journey with Daniel
Most of Daniel chapters 10 through 12 contain a long vision which Daniel received. The reading for today, Daniel 11, contains the bulk of this vision. In many ways, this vision describes the same thing we saw in the visions of chapter 8. We see kings rising and falling. We see a large kingdom split into four dominions. We see kings continuing to grapple for power among the kingdoms of men. In fact, most of Daniel 11 is spent describing the back-and-forth power struggle between “the king of the north” and “the king of the south.” And what a struggle it is!
At first, we see them attempt an alliance, but it quickly becomes ineffective (v.5-6). The king of the south invades the king of the north and plunders the kingdom. As the king of the north becomes more powerful and conquers territory, the king of the south will again attack, but will fail against the king of the north this time. We continue to see the back and forth as the two nations attack one another and attempt to take advantage of one another’s vulnerabilities. There is another attempt at some sort of treaty, but it fails. There is deceit and intrigue. New kings rise and some are quickly cut down.
In verse 21, we are introduced to an intriguing new king of the north who is “contemptible.” He musters an incredible army to advance on the king of the south. The king of the south fights back, but to no avail as he is betrayed by those of his own country. Again, the north will attack, only this time, they are driven back. It is at this point, that the king of the north turns his attention and anger towards “the holy covenant” – that is, God’s people. The king’s armies desolate the temple and the people of God begin to stumble, led away by the flattery of the king of the north. This king will continue to exalt himself, seizing more power and as much honor as he can – even proclaiming himself above any god!
The final five verses of chapter 11 depict the overwhelming power of this northern king as he crushes the king of the south and many other nations. But after all of this conquering, and just as it appears that the king of the north cannot be stopped, the narrative ends, being summed up in just a few words: “Yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him” (11:45).
All that struggle; all that lust for power; all that conquering; and it ends with a simple, undramatic, and helpless death. There are many possible ways to view this vision. But on a big-picture level, this chapter is similar to chapter 8. It reminds us of the simple fact that the wars and conflicts of human nations are nothing when compared to the victory God possesses. The nations of earth will fall. God will never be overcome. And – thankfully for us – the hope of God’s people transcends the kingdoms and empires of men.