This chapter gives detailed revelation about the period of history from 536 to 164 BC, including the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes who is a prototype of the end-time Antichrist. Daniel then describes the rise of the Antichrist, and the great end-time war.
This is the most detailed chapter of predictive prophecy in the Bible. Daniel used the whole of chapter 10 to introduce how he received it in the year 536 BC, and it is called a book of truth in 10:21.

Verses 1 to 35 prophesy events that were fulfilled historically between 536 BC and 164 BC, whereas verses 36 to 45 await future fulfilment in the end-times when the Antichrist is revealed.

When Daniel received this revelation, Cyrus the Great was king of Persia. Verse 2 says three more kings would arise and then a fourth who would be unusually rich. These kings were Cambyses (530 - 522 BC), Smerdis (522 BC), Darius I Hystaspes (522 - 486 BC), and Xerxes (486 - 465 BC - also called Ahasuerus). Xerxes was the most powerful and wealthy of the four, and is the king described in the Book of Esther. He also fought wars against Greece.

Verse 3 describes the rise of Alexander the Great (336 - 323 BC) as the first king of the Greek Empire, and the four subsequent kingdoms that emerged from his empire. After he died, his empire was divided between his four generals, Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Seleucus. Seleucus ruled over the largest part, which became known as the Seleucid Empire, and Ptolemy ruled over Egypt.
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Verses 5 to 20 prophesy detailed events that were fulfilled between 323 BC and 175 BC. The Seleucid and Ptolemaic kingdoms both became dynasties. Each successive Seleucid king is called the king of the north, and each successive Ptolemaic king is called the king of the south. The various campaigns that they fought against each other are described in such detail that liberal scholars invariably assume this chapter to have been written after the events took place. During this period, Israel was a vassal state of the Seleucid Empire but found itself caught in the middle of repeated wars between the Seleucids and Ptolemies.

Verses 21 to 35 describe the Seleucid king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175 to 164 BC), in more detail that any of the others. Daniel already described him in chapter 8, verses 9 and 23-25, where he is pictured as a small horn growing out of the goat which represents the Greek empire. Here in chapter 11, verse 21 calls him a despicable person. He was the brother of the previous king, Seleucus IV, whose son Demetrius was the rightful heir, but Antiochus seized the throne through deceit. In a time of prosperity, he gained strength and support by redistributing wealth to his followers (v24). He raised an army and fought two campaigns against the Ptolemaic king (v25-30). The first was partially successful, and he returned to his land with much booty (v28), but also frustrated that he had not been able to completely conquer Egypt. His capital city was Syrian Antioch, which is today located within the borders of Turkey and known as Antakya. So he passed through Israel on his way home. Verse 28 says he would set his mind against the holy covenant. He tried to hellenize Israel and opposed Jewish religious practices. During his second campaign against Egypt, the Romans sent ships from Kittim (Cyprus) to oppose him and he was forced to turn back disheartened (v30). Meanwhile, conservative Jews had staged a rebellion in Israel, and on his way home through Israel, he directed his indignation against the holy covenant (v30). His forces desecrated the Jewish temple and slaughtered 40,000 Jews. He put a stop to the daily sacrifice and in its place set up a statue of Zeus, which verse 31 calls the abomination that causes desolation. He commanded the Jews to sacrifice pigs to it. Verse 32 says he would use smooth words to defile the hellenised Jews who had rejected the covenant (of Moses), but those loyal to their God would act valiantly. This was fulfilled by the Maccabean Revolt, led by Judas Maccabee. After a period of about 3 years (1,150 days) the temple was cleansed and rededicated, and Israel became an independent theocratic state known as the Hasmonean kingdom of Judah from 164 to 37 BC.

Although the abomination that causes desolation, as prophesied in 11:31, was fulfilled in 168 BC by Antiochus Epiphanes, Jesus spoke of it as a future end-time event in Matthew 24:15. Daniel also prophesied about it in 9:27 and 12:11 in an end-time context. Antiochus Epiphanes is a historic prototype of the end-time Antichrist. The Antichrist is called Gog in Ezekiel 38, and is described as the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, which were in Turkey. In Isaiah and Micah, he is described as the Assyrian. Antiochus Epiphanes ruled over an empire that included eastern Turkey and the area of the previous Assyrian empire. We should expect the Antichrist to arise and rule over this same general area.

Chapter 11 is introduced in 10:1 as a revelation about a great war. This war is described in verses 36 to 45, and involves the Antichrist, who is introduced as 'the king' in verse 36. He will exalt and magnify himself over every deity and blaspheme God. He will succeed until the time of wrath is completed (v36). The time of wrath is likely the same as the Day of God's Vengeance (Isaiah 61:2). He will set up the abomination that causes desolation after his invasion of Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15 and Zechariah 14). Daniel 12:11 seems to indicate that the abomination will remain in place for 1,290 days, about three and a half years. It is possible that the time of wrath is only the end part of those 1,290 days, after Jesus appears in glory at the seventh and last trumpet (Revelation 11:15). Then seven bowl judgments will be poured out on the earth (Revelation 15-16), while Jesus fights and defeats his enemies, as described in many end-time passages. Verses 37 to 38 say the Antichrist will not respect the gods of his fathers, but will honour a god of fortresses. This needs to be interpreted from Daniel's perspective in the 6th century BC. Daniel is describing a foreign god that he does not recognise. If the Antichrist arises out of Turkey, it is most likely he will be a Muslim, and be descended from generations of Muslims. But from Daniel's perspective, his ancestors (fathers) would have worshipped gods of the Greek pantheon. In Quran 9:29, Allah makes an open declaration of war against non-Muslims, "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued". Consequently, it is reasonable to identify Allah as the Antichrist's god of fortresses, as prophesied by Daniel (v38). A god of fortresses is a god of war. Daniel says the Antichrist will attack mighty fortresses, aided by this foreign deity. Revelation 13:2 tells us that Satan will give great power to the Antichrist's empire. And 2 Thessalonians 2:9 says that Satan will empower him to perform all kinds of miracles and false wonders. So although Allah is a false god, if he is actually Satan in disguise it makes sense for Daniel to say that he helps the Antichrist attack mighty fortresses. The fact that he attacks mighty fortresses also tells us that Antichrist will have mighty enemies. He doesn't necessarily command the world's mightiest military power, as some people claim. Micah 5:5 tells us that when he invades Israel, God will raise up seven shepherds (rulers of nations) against him. Verse 39 says that the Antichrist will greatly honour those who recognise him, and will place them in authority over many people, parcelling out the land at a price.

Verse 40 says, "At the time of the end the king of the south will attack him (the Antichrist). Then the king of the north (the Antichrist) will storm against him (the king of the south) with chariots, horsemen, and a large armada of ships. He will invade lands, passing through them like an overflowing river". The king of the south probably refers to Egypt, as it did in verses 3 to 35 where it referred to the Ptolemies of Egypt. The first 'him' in this verse clearly refers to the Antichrist, who is the subject of verses 36 to 39. The 'king of the north' surely also refers to the Antichrist, just as it referred to his prototype, Antiochus Epiphanes, in verse 28. The second 'him' is somewhat ambiguous, but it makes best sense if it refers back to the king of the south. In other words, the king of the north (the Antichrist), counter attacks the king of the south (probably Egypt) with chariots, horsemen and a large armada of ships. Turkey has a large army and a sizeable navy. He will invade lands, passing through them like an overflowing river (v40). He will then enter the beautiful land, which is Israel (v41). This is the invasion that is also described in Ezekiel 38 and in Zechariah 14. He will conquer Egypt (v42a). The Lybians and Cushites (Sudan and northern Ethiopia) will submit to him (v42b). The word 'Islam' means submission, and this statement probably implies that Lybia and Sudan are his Islamic allies, who have given him their allegiance. Edom, Moab and Ammon (Jordan and Saudi Arabia) will escape (v41). Reports will trouble him from the east and the north (v44). Antichrist, as a ruler of Turkey (Ezekiel 38) is himself the 'king of the north' in that Turkey is to the north of Israel. To the north of Turkey is Russia. So verse 44 most likely points to a military response from Russia (the north) and China (the east) that troubles the Antichrist. By this point he will have already invaded Israel, and then continued to sweep through other nations like an overwhelming river (v41). Verse 45 seems to indicate that he returns to Israel to take his stand against the military responses of Russia and China.

Micah 5:5 tells us that when the Antichrist invades Israel, God will raise up seven shepherds against him. Shepherds represent rulers of nations, so this implies that Antichrist and his allies will be opposed by a seven-nation coalition. Verse 44 here in Daniel 11 suggests that Russia and China may be two of these seven nations. Another possibility is that the northern response could refer to a NATO response, although it seems more likely that a NATO response would be described as from the west.

If the Antichrist is the ruler of Turkey, as implied by Ezekiel 38, and the war starts with Egypt attacking him (v40), it will be interesting to see how NATO responds. Turkey is a NATO member, and according to Article 5, if a NATO ally is attacked, it is considered an attack on all NATO members. Will NATO rise to Antichrist's defence?

According to verse 45, the Antichrist will pitch his royal tents between the seas (Mediterranean and Dead Seas), towards the beautiful holy mountain (Zion). 2 Thessalonians 2:4 alludes to this and to verse 36, saying, "He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God". But he will come to his end, with no-one to help him (v45b). 2 Thessalonians 2:8 says that Jesus will destroy him by the breath of his mouth, and wipe him out by the manifestation of his arrival.

I have seen it argued that Umar, the second Caliph of Islam (634 to 644 AD) fulfilled verses 36 to 45 of Daniel 11. However, it is clear to me from Daniel 9 and Daniel 12 that verses 36 to 45 describe the end-time Antichrist who will be destroyed by Jesus at his second coming, and a preterist interpretation should be discounted.
Places: Israel, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lybia, Cush, Sudan, Turkey, Russia, China
Tags: Nations invaded by the Antichrist, Antichrist invades Egypt, Armageddon, Resistance to the Antichrist, Antiochus Epiphanes as a prototype of the Antichrist, Abomination that causes desolation, Antichrist claims to be God, Antichrist as a proud blasphemer
11 And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood to strengthen him and to provide protection for him.)
2 Now I will tell you the truth. “Three more kings will arise for Persia. Then a fourth king will be unusually rich, more so than all who preceded him. When he has amassed power through his riches, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece.

Greek Empire
Then a powerful king will arise, exercising great authority and doing as he pleases.
4 Shortly after his rise to power, his kingdom will be broken up and distributed toward the four winds of the sky – but not to his posterity or with the authority he exercised, for his kingdom will be uprooted and distributed to others besides these.
5 “Then the king of the south and one of his subordinates will grow strong. His subordinate will resist him and will rule a kingdom greater than his.
6 After some years have passed, they will form an alliance. Then the daughter of the king of the south will come to the king of the north to make an agreement, but she will not retain her power, nor will he continue in his strength. She, together with the one who brought her, her child, and her benefactor will all be delivered over at that time.
7 “There will arise in his place one from her family line who will come against their army and will enter the stronghold of the king of the north and will move against them successfully.
8 He will also take their gods into captivity to Egypt, along with their cast images and prized utensils of silver and gold. Then he will withdraw for some years from the king of the north.
9 Then the king of the north will advance against the empire of the king of the south, but will withdraw to his own land.
10 His sons will wage war, mustering a large army which will advance like an overflowing river and carrying the battle all the way to the enemy’s fortress.
11 “Then the king of the south will be enraged and will march out to fight against the king of the north, who will also muster a large army, but that army will be delivered into his hand.
12 When the army is taken away, the king of the south will become arrogant. He will be responsible for the death of thousands and thousands of people, but he will not continue to prevail.
13 For the king of the north will again muster an army, one larger than before. At the end of some years he will advance with a huge army and enormous supplies.
14 “In those times many will oppose the king of the south. Those who are violent among your own people will rise up in confirmation of the vision, but they will falter.
15 Then the king of the north will advance and will build siege mounds and capture a well-fortified city. The forces of the south will not prevail, not even his finest contingents. They will have no strength to prevail.
16 The one advancing against him will do as he pleases, and no one will be able to stand before him. He will prevail in the beautiful land, and its annihilation will be within his power.
17 His intention will be to come with the strength of his entire kingdom, and he will form alliances. He will give the king of the south a daughter in marriage in order to destroy the kingdom, but it will not turn out to his advantage.
18 Then he will turn his attention to the coastal regions and will capture many of them. But a commander will bring his shameful conduct to a halt; in addition, he will make him pay for his shameful conduct.
19 He will then turn his attention to the fortresses of his own land, but he will stumble and fall, not to be found again.
20 There will arise after him one who will send out an exactor of tribute to enhance the splendor of the kingdom, but after a few days he will be destroyed, though not in anger or battle.

Antiochus Epiphanes
“Then there will arise in his place a despicable person to whom the royal honor has not been rightfully conferred. He will come on the scene in a time of prosperity and will seize the kingdom through deceit.
22 Armies will be suddenly swept away in defeat before him; both they and a covenant leader will be destroyed.
23 After entering into an alliance with him, he will behave treacherously; he will ascend to power with only a small force.
24 In a time of prosperity for the most productive areas of the province he will come and accomplish what neither his fathers nor their fathers accomplished. He will distribute loot, spoils, and property to his followers, and he will devise plans against fortified cities, but not for long.
25 He will rouse his strength and enthusiasm against the king of the south with a large army. The king of the south will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to prevail because of the plans devised against him.
26 Those who share the king’s fine food will attempt to destroy him, and his army will be swept away; many will be killed in battle.
27 These two kings, their minds filled with evil intentions, will trade lies with one another at the same table. But it will not succeed, for there is still an end at the appointed time.
28 Then the king of the north will return to his own land with much property. His mind will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action, and then return to his own land.
29 At an appointed time he will again invade the south, but this latter visit will not turn out the way the former one did.
30 The ships of Kittim will come against him, leaving him disheartened. He will turn back and direct his indignation against the holy covenant. He will return and honor those who forsake the holy covenant.
31 His forces will rise up and profane the fortified sanctuary, stopping the daily sacrifice. In its place they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.
32 Then with smooth words he will defile those who have rejected the covenant. But the people who are loyal to their God will act valiantly.
33 These who are wise among the people will teach the masses. However, they will fall by the sword and by the flame, and they will be imprisoned and plundered for some time.
34 When they stumble, they will be granted some help. But many will unite with them deceitfully.
35 Even some of the wise will stumble, resulting in their refinement, purification, and cleansing until the time of the end, for it is still for the appointed time.

The Antichrist
“Then the king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every deity and he will utter presumptuous things against the God of gods. He will succeed until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been decreed must occur.
37 He will not respect the gods of his fathers – not even the god loved by women. He will not respect any god; he will elevate himself above them all.
38 What he will honor is a god of fortresses – a god his fathers did not acknowledge he will honor with gold, silver, valuable stones, and treasured commodities.
39 He will attack mighty fortresses, aided by a foreign deity. To those who recognize him he will grant considerable honor. He will place them in authority over many people, and he will parcel out land for a price.
40 “At the time of the end the king of the south will attack him. Then the king of the north will storm against him with chariots, horsemen, and a large armada of ships. He will invade lands, passing through them like an overflowing river.
41 Then he will enter the beautiful land. Many will fall, but these will escape: Edom, Moab, and the Ammonite leadership.
42 He will extend his power against other lands; the land of Egypt will not escape.
43 He will have control over the hidden stores of gold and silver, as well as all the treasures of Egypt. Libyans and Ethiopians will submit to him.
44 But reports will trouble him from the east and north, and he will set out in a tremendous rage to destroy and wipe out many.
45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas toward the beautiful holy mountain. But he will come to his end, with no one to help him.