LESSON 12 *December 11 - 17
When Kings Go to War Lesson graphic

Read for This Week's Study:  Daniel 10 and 11.

Memory Text: 

       "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream" (Numbers 12:6, NKJV).

Daniel 10-12 forms a unit with three elements. The first part is chapter 10, the second part is the vision proper in 11:2-12:4, and the third (Dan. 12:5-13) concludes not only the chapter but the book of Daniel. The last vision given to Daniel occurred two years after the return of the Jews from Babylon. In this vision, God lifted the veil of history and showed Daniel some realities of the unseen world-the conflict between the forces of good and evil. Revelation 12:7-9 reveals a similar picture: Michael and His angels fighting the prince of evil and his angels. Yet, the outcome in both books is the same-Michael, the great Prince, overcomes Satan and delivers His people, those "found written in the book" (Dan. 12:1).

This, the last vision of Daniel, covers basically the same ground in history as chapters 2, 7, and 8, while giving us a glimpse of the great controversy being played out behind the scenes of human history.

The Week at a Glance:

  What happens to Daniel in the beginning of chapter 10? What does Daniel mean when he talks about "the latter days"? How is the great controversy revealed in these texts? How does Daniel 11 parallel Daniel 2, 7, and 8? What texts reveal the role of Rome as depicted in these chapters? What is the "abomination of desolation" referred to in the book of Daniel?  

*Study this week's lesson to prepare for Sabbath, December 18.

SUNDAY December 12

Daniel in Vision  (Dan. 10:1-9).

At the beginning of this chapter, Daniel has been mourning and fasting for three weeks (vss. 2, 3). Why?  

Though no apparent reason is given in the chapter itself, the historical circumstances in Palestine at the time may yield answers. The third year of Cyrus (535 B.C.) was most likely when opposition was incited by the Samaritans against the Jews, as recorded in Ezra 4:1-5. Daniel must have heard about the opposition of the Samaritans, and he fasted and prayed for his people in Palestine.

"I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen" (Dan. 10:5, NKJV). A day vision is here distinguished from a night vision or prophetic dream such as Daniel records in chapter 7.

What were the physical effects of the vision on Daniel and his companions? Dan. 10:8, 9, 17.  

The effect of the vision on Daniel's companions was the same as when Jesus appeared to Saul on the Damascus road (Acts 9:3-7). The physical effects on the prophet himself were similar to that of the apostle John (Rev. 1:17). He was in a trance, like Peter (Acts 10:9-11) and Paul (2 Cor. 12:1, 2), unconscious of his immediate surroundings for the duration of the vision. His attention was so fully absorbed in the things he was shown that he seemed to take part in them (Dan. 12:5-9).

Compare Daniel's experience with Ellen G. White's: "Sometimes while I was in vision, my friends would approach me, and exclaim, 'Why, she does not breathe!' Placing a mirror before my lips, they found that no moisture gathered on the glass. It was while there was no sign of any breathing that I kept talking of the things that were being presented before me. These messages were thus given to substantiate the faith of all, that in these last days we might have confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy."—Selected Messages, vol. 3, pp. 38, 39.

"The testimonies either bear the signet of God or that of Satan. A good tree cannot bring forth corrupt fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. By their fruit ye shall know them."—Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 98.

Suppose someone were to arise in our midst today, having visions and manifestations similar to what happened to Daniel, Ellen White, and other prophets. How should we approach this person and his or her claims?  

MONDAY December 13

The Latter Days  (Dan. 10:14).

" 'Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days' " (Dan. 10:14, NKJV). What were the "latter days" for Daniel?  

A study of the twelve Old Testament references to the latter days outside of the book of Daniel shows that the expression latter days can refer to various time periods in history. In Genesis 49:1, NRSV, where the phrase appears for the first time, Jacob says to his sons: " 'Gather around, that I may tell you what will happen to you in days to come.' "Here Jacob, at the end of his life, looks into the future, and under prophetic inspiration he predicts major developments in the history of his sons and their descendants. He sees them settled in Canaan, notes the two leading and prominent figures in their history—Judah on the one hand (vs. 8) and Joseph or Ephraim on the other (vs. 22) and predicts that the Messiah will come from the tribe of Judah (vs. 10). Because Jacob is primarily describing the future history of his descendants; that is, Israel, the latter days refer to the future that began with the conquest of Canaan and continued until the first advent of Christ.

In Deuteronomy 31:29, Moses predicts that after his death the children of Israel would become utterly corrupt and that evil would befall them in "'the latter days.' "This prophecy was fulfilled in the time of the judges (Judg. 2:11-16) and kings (Jer 7:28-34), when Israel repeatedly apostatized on a large scale. Hence, "the latter days" in this text were the times of the judges and kings. In Jeremiah 23:20 and 30:24 the phrase refers to the time of the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

In Jeremiah 48:47 and 49:39 the time of the Persian restoration is in view. In other texts—notably Isaiah 2:2, Micah 4:1, and Hosea 3:5—the time of the Messianic kingdom is referred to as "the latter days."

Thus, "the latter days" in the Old Testament outside the book of Daniel can refer to: (a) a specific future period in the history of Israel (Deut. 4:30, 31:29, Jer 23:20, 30:24, 48:47, 49:39); (b) the future history of Israel beginning with the conquest (Gen. 49:1) or the monarchy (Num. 24:14) and reaching down to the time of the Messiah; and (c) the Messianic age (Isa. 2:2, Hos. 3:5, Mic. 4:1) or the time immediately preceding it (Ezek 38:16).

In Daniel 10, "the latter days" refers to the future, which began at the time of Daniel and ends with the second advent of Christ. We know this, because many of the prophecies, such as Daniel 2 and 7, unambiguously extend to the end of this present world.

What does it mean to be living in the "latter days"? What danger is there of hearing that phrase so much that it loses any meaning for us?  

TUESDAY December 14

The Great Controversy  (Dan. 10:12, 13, 20, 21).

Read Daniel 10:13. What kind of battle is it describing? Where is this battle taking place? What forces are involved?  

"While Satan was striving to influence the highest powers in the kingdom of Medo-Persia to show disfavor to God's people, angels worked in behalf of the exiles. The controversy was one in which all heaven was interested. Through the prophet Daniel we are given a glimpse of this mighty struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. For three weeks Gabriel wrestled with the powers of darkness, seeking to counteract the influences at work on the mind of Cyrus; and before the contest closed, Christ Himself came to Gabriel's aid."—Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, pp. 571, 572.

Who is the "prince" of the kingdom of Persia (vs. 13)? See Ephesians 6:12 for some help. Contrast the prince of the kingdom of Persia with the Prince in Daniel 10:21. Who is the Prince depicted there?  

As we see here in Daniel 10, although Satan and Christ were moving upon the mind of the Persian king, neither could force him. Human free will—though one of the greatest gifts we have been given—has come with a terrible price: Jesus on the cross. If we didn't have free will, we couldn't have sinned, and if we didn't sin, there would have been no Cross, because there would have been no need for it. Thus, in many ways, the Cross is the greatest example not only of the reality of human free will but of the consequences of our abuse of that free will. How crucial, then, that we do everything in our power to keep our will on the side of Christ and His holy law.

The bottom line is that we are all, indeed, in the midst of the great controversy. Which side we wind up on, and which "prince" we ally ourselves with, is, in the end, our own choice and no one else's.

If the veil between the seen and the unseen were pulled aside, what do you think you would see going on around you? Imagine the battle for your soul that's going on right now. What can you do to help place yourself securely on the winning side?  

WEDNESDAY December 15

Kings From the North and the South  (Dan. 11:1-28).

The visions in Daniel 2, 7, and 8 mention a succession of kingdoms from the Babylonian kingdom to the kingdom of God at the end of time. We should expect, then, that the last vision in Daniel (11:1-12:4)—which also deals with a succession of political kingdoms—would cover approximately the same time span as the previous visions.

Which kingdoms are mentioned in Daniel 11:1-4? See also Dan. 8:2-22.  

Daniel 11 has brought out a variety of interpretations, even within our own church. Most modem interpreters see the wars between the successors of Alexander the Great in this chapter. Though there is certainly some of this fighting referred to in the verses immediately following Daniel 11:1-4, it cannot be (as we will discover) the subject of the whole chapter.

Verse 22 mentions a king who shall break the "prince of the covenant." Who is the "prince of the covenant" according to Scripture, and what is the meaning of His being broken? See Dan. 9:25-27.  

In Daniel 9:25-27 Messiah the Prince confirms the covenant, which God established with Israel on Mount Sinai. Isaiah calls the Messiah "Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6), and Daniel refers to Michael as "the great prince" (Dan. 12:1). "The prince of the covenant' then, is the Messiah, Jesus. What we have here, in verse 21, is a reference to Jesus' death at the cross, and this helps us follow the time line in Daniel 11 and 12.

The Messiah was broken when, under the Roman Emperor Tiberius (A.D. 14-37), He was nailed to the cross. The "vile person" in Daniel 11:21 is, most likely, Tiberius. This means that somewhere between verse 4 (which depicts the breakup of the Grecian Empire after the death of Alexander the Great) and verse 21 (the death of Jesus), pagan Rome enters the picture. Most Adventist interpreters see the change from the Grecian kingdoms to Rome in either verse 14 or verse 16.

No matter how difficult in places, Daniel 11 provides us with more evidence of Cod's ultimate control over human affairs. In what ways, when you look back on your own experience, have you seen such powerful evidence of God's leading, even though at the time things were happening you might have wondered where the Lord was? What lessons should you draw from those experiences that could help you with future trials?  

THURSDAY December 16

The Abomination of Desolation  (Dan. 11:31).

In our study of Daniel 7 and 8 we saw that the succession of worldly powers was in each case succeeded by "Christian" Rome. In yesterday's study we saw that political Rome was in power when the "prince of the covenant' Jesus Christ, was "broken." This depiction of the death of Jesus gave us a powerful historical marker to help us trace the flow of historical events in Daniel 11.

What indicators do we find in the second half of chapter 11 to show that "Christian" Rome follows the succession of the political powers also in this chapter? Dan. 11:31, 36.  

While the rapid change of events in this chapter may seem confusing, certain phrases in verses 31 and 36 provide a link to chapters 7 and 8, and these help us to identify the main power in view in the second half of this chapter. These phrases are:

1. "Forces shall be mustered by him [king of the north], and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress" (Dan. 11:31, NKJV). In Daniel 8:11 the little horn casts down (profanes) the place of God's sanctuary.

2. "They shall take away the daily sacrifices" (Dan. 11:31, NK.JV). In Daniel 8:11 the little horn takes away the daily sacrifices.

3. "He shall exalt and magnify himself above every god" (Dan. 11:36, NKJV). In Daniel 8:11 the little horn exalts himself as high as the "Prince of the host."

4. "He shall. . . speak blasphemies against the God of gods" (Dan. 11:36, NKJV). In Daniel 7:25 the little horn speaks pompous words against the Most High.

The textual evidence, then, indicates that the main power in the second half of chapter 11 is again the little horn. What is the significance of the "abomination of desolation," which the little horn puts in place of the "daily"? Dan. 11:31.  

Daniel 12:11 has another reference to the taking away of the "daily" and the setting up of the abomination of desolation. In Daniel 8 the taking away of the "daily" referred to the obscuring of Christ's high-priestly ministry in heaven through the work of usurpation by the little horn. In Daniel 11:31 and 12:11, the "daily;' Christ's ministry in heaven, is usurped by a false system of worship—"the abomination of desolation." 

FRIDAY December 17

Further Study:  

  Read Ellen G. White, "Daniel's Prayers," in The Sanctified Life, pp. 46-52.

"In the annals of human history the growth of nations, the rise and fall of empires, appear as dependent on the will and prowess of man. The shaping of events seems, to a great degree, to be determined by his power, ambition, or caprice. But in the word of God the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, behind, above, and through all the play and counterplay of human interests and power and passions, the agencies of the all-merciful One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will ."—Ellen G. White, Education, p. 173.

In Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14, Jesus refers to the "abomination of desolation" spoken by "Daniel the prophet." In both cases, Jesus places this "abomination of desolation" in a time future to Him. What this should tell us is that this "abomination of desolation" isn't some event prior to Jesus (such as during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes) but occurs later than even His time, a fact that helps us understand better what it is.  

Discussion Questions:

     Three times Daniel was told that he was greatly beloved in heaven (Dan. 9:23; 10:11, 19). Few of us ever have an angel tell us directly that we are greatly beloved in heaven. How can we know that we are? What are other ways that God lets us know that we are indeed loved?  

   Daniel 11 has been the subject of endless and wild speculation. From what we have studied so far, what parameters are found within the book of Daniel itself (such as in Daniel 2, 7, 8,) that can help us, in our study of Daniel 11 and 12, keep from stepping outside the correct bounds for understanding the chapters?  


  In Daniel 10 the prophet was given a glimpse of the spiritual battle between Christ and Satan. He was assured of God's love and esteem and was shown that heavenly forces are at work in the halls of earthly governments for the sake of God's people. In Daniel 11, detailed prophecies are given concerning the history of nations from the Persian Empire until the end of time. 

I N S I D E Story    
Touching Lives in Kosovo
Roy Richardson and Marija Trajkovska

In a refugee camp in Macedonia, excited Roma [Gypsy] children waited in the December cold for the ADRA van. The children had prepared a program of folk music and dances and had been promised a holiday gift, something new and nice. Most of the children had never owned something new.

When the van arrived, the older children hurried to help unload the gifts that ADRA-Germany had sent for the children in Macedonia, gifts that had been collected from churches and schools throughout Germany. While the older children arranged packages and refreshments on tables, the younger children talked excitedly about their dreams and wishes for Christmas and New Year.

Emran, 10, and his brother Redzep, 9, stared at their unopened packages. "To see a package so nicely wrapped is an exciting event for us," Emran said. "I have never had such a nice toy in all my life," said Redzep. Twelve-year-old Robert exclaimed over his new shoes. "I have never had new shoes in my life!" And 7-year-old Sarah sighed happily, "A minute ago I was drawing my dream. Now I am holding my dream," as she proudly held up her new cap, gloves, and shawl. A little girl held up her new doll and exclaimed through tears, "When I grow up, I will have a baby. It will be clean, nice, and healthy, just like this baby doll! It's so nice, I do not want to hold it with my dirty hands."

"At last some happiness has come to our camp," a grateful parent said as she looked at the happy faces of the children.

When Jesus walked on earth, He delivered people from trouble, sometimes with just a touch. This project has touched the lives of thousands of poor children and allowed ADRA to reach out to the needy. And the happy faces of children said Thank you better than any words ever could. "This is what God's love does for others," said Roy Richardson, ADRA Trans-Europe Regional Director.

Roy Richardson is executive director of ADRA Trans-Europe. Marija Trajkovska (bottom left, with children), is ADRA-Macedonia country director. Above right, Serdjana and her doll.
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