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Relationship to Daniel. The relationship of Chapters 10-12 to Daniel as a whole, and in particular to the prophetic visions of the statue in chapter 2 and of beasts in Chapters 7-8, is discussed at Daniel. The historical setting of Chapters 10-12 is also discussed at Daniel.
Story. Chapters 10-12 tell the story of Daniel's vision of the warring north and south kingdoms. Chapters 10-12 have three principal parts.
- Verses 10:1-11:2: Daniel’s preparation and discussion with the angel.
- Verses 11:2-12:4: The vision.
- Verses 12:5-13: Epilogue: When will this be?
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 10-12 include:
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Daniel prepares himself with three weeks of mourning and self denial. But in the presence of an angel he still feels his “comeliness was turned ... into corruption,” twice loses his strength, and is dumb. He regains strength at the touch of a hand and regains speech when his lips are touched (10:8-10, 15-19, also 8:18). This is similar to Isaiah’s account of feeling unclean followed by the purging of his sins at the touch of a burning coal to his lips on the occasion of his prophetic calling (Isaiah 6:5-8).
The vision related in Daniel 11 is not well understood. Daniel himself records that the vision is sealed up until the end of time (12:4, 9-10). The Old Testament Institute Manual points out that no interpretation of this vision has been provided (309), and it then quotes Joseph Smith’s statement that we will not be responsible to understand the vision until the Lord does provide us with an interpretation (TPJS 291).
This vision relates “what shall befall thy people in the latter days” (10:14) and is received after #1 Babylon has already been conquered by #2 Persia (10:1). The following guideposts may be helpful:
- • #2 Persia (11:2)
- • #3 Alexander the Great (11:3-4)
- • #3-4 taking away daily sacrifice in 167 BC or perhaps 70 AD (11:31)
- • #4b the world at the end of time (11:40-45)
- • #5 Christ’s millennial kingdom (12:1-4)
Daniel’s other prophecies speak of supreme worldwide powers, but this one speaks instead of two competing great powers from the north and south, much like Isaiah’s use of Assyria and Egypt. Some see in 11:5-c.39 an account of the lengthy struggle during which the #3 Greek Ptolemies lost Judea to the Greek Seleucids. Others see in 11:22 a reference to Christ’s ministry at the center of a large chiasmus and in 11:37-38 a reference to #4 Rome’s adoption of Christianity. There are no authoritative answers.
Solomon’s Temple was completed in about 960 BC. It was destroyed by the #1 Babylonians four centuries later in 586 BC. Under the #2 Persians, Zerubbabel rebuilt the temple, which was dedicated in 515 BC. Persia was conquered by Alexander the Great of #3 Greece in 331 BC. Upon Alexander’s death two years later, his Greek empire was immediately divided among four of his generals. One established the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt, another the Seleucid dynasty in Antioch, Syria. The Ptolemies eventually lost control of Jerusalem to the Seleucids. The most notorious of the Seleucid emperors was Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who intentionally polluted the temple in 167 BC. The Maccabean revolt and Jewish independence immediately followed, and in 164 BC the temple was cleansed and rededicated. A century later Judea lost its independence to #4 Rome in 63 BC. Under Rome, Herod greatly enlarged the Temple of Zerubbabel so that it became known as the Temple of Herod. But in 70 AD, following yet another Jewish revolt, the temple was again destroyed, this time by Rome.
The references in this last vision to taking away the daily temple sacrifice and the abomination of desolation (11:31; 12:11) could refer to one or more of 167 BC, 70 AD or the Second Coming. Christ’s discussion in about 33 AD of the abomination of desolation refers both to 70 AD and to the last days (JS-M 1:12, 32 / Matthew 24 JST). The reference in chapter 9 refers only to 70 AD (9:26-27). The small horn in the vision of two beasts refers to Antiochus IV Epiphanes, including his taking away the daily sacrifice in 167 BC (8:9-12, 23-26). But in the vision of four beasts the small horn, although it again refers to the role of an anti-Christ, refers to a time in the last days after #4 Rome has been succeeded by ten other kingdoms (7:8, 20-22). So these symbols are at times dualistic, foretelling similar events in more than one time period.
In response to the question “How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” Daniel hears the answer “a time, times and half a time,” or 3½ times (12:6-7). And 1290 days is only 13 more than 3½ years (12:11). In the central chapter of John’s Revelation the woman is likewise hidden and nourished for 3½ times (Rev. 12:14). The devil prevails temporarily at 3½ times, the Lord prevails permanently at 7 times.
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- Dan 10:13, 21 - Rev 12:7
- Dan 11:31 - Matt 24:145; Mark 13:14
- Dan 11:36 - 2 Thes 2:4
- Dan 11:44 - Rev 11:18
- Dan 12:1 - Rev 12:7
- Dan 12:4 - Rev 10:5, 22:10
- Dan 12:7 - Rev 10:5, Rev 12:14
- Dan 12:9 - Rev 10:5
- Dan 12:11 - Matt 24:15; Mark 13:14
Points to ponder
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