Daniel 11:31-35

The Antichrist – the Ruler who will come

I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me…” John 14:30

Jesus spoke these words in reference to the Ruler prophesied by Daniel, who would put and end to sin and offering by His crucifixion. The ruler that Jesus and Daniel referred to was Satan, the Antichrist.

We can read about the activities of the Antichrist, through the Romans, in Daniel 8:11-14, 9:26-27 and Revelation 12.

The King of the North
vs. 1-3 The Persian Kings
vs. 4 to 30 The Seleucid Kings
vs. 31 to 35 The Antichrist 
vs. 36 to 39 The Beast
vs. 40 to 45 Gog, of the land of Magog

Jerome told us: the Jews of his day, in the 4th Century, ascribed verses 31-35 to the Romans; which is still the opinion of the Jews today, including those Jews who ascribe verses 21 – 30 to Antiochus Epiphanes, beginning with Malbim (1809-1875), as he writes in Yafeh La-Ketz.  

Jerome said the Christians in the 4th Century believed verses 31-35 spoke of the Antichrist. So effectively, the Jews and the Christians believed the same thing: since the Antichrist was “the Ruler of the People to come,” described in Daniel 9:26; the true Ruler of Rome. However, by the 4th Century, the mainstream Church could no longer see the relationship between Rome and Satan, portrayed in Revelation 12.

Jerome further explained, that Porphyry, an atheist, believed verses 31 – 35 applied to Antiochus Epiphanes. Porphyry wrote a book called “Against the Christians,” where he tried to destroy Christianity, by proving these verses were fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes. This would destroy the prophetic basis of Christianity, and make Christ a liar, because Jesus said Daniel 11 spoke of the coming destruction of Jerusalem.

But, Daniel 11:3 “and shall stand up a mighty King,” bring us to Daniel 11:31, “Arms from him shall stand.” In verse 3, Daniel showed the response of the Alexander the Great, to the Persians (who were stirred up by the wealth of Xerses 1); and in verse 31, he showed us the response of Rome (the Antichrist, the Ruler of the People to come, who was stirred up by Antiochus’ wickedness against the Holy Covenant). As Isaac Newton noted, the Greek Empire, the third Beast, came to an end in 168 BC, when Antiochus made his second attack on Egypt, while the Romans conquered Greece, and divided it into four Romans states. Then they came against Antiochus; this was signified by “ships from Kittam shall come against him,” in Daniel 11:30.

Isaac Newton did not believe Porphyry’s message. He thought the destruction of the Sanctuary and City, in Daniel 11:31, was the same destruction of the City and Sanctuary by the “Ruler of the People to come,” described in Daniel 9:26; which Christ explained in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Isaac emphasized that Daniel 11:33 was quoted by Jesus in Luke 21:24, describing the destruction of Jerusalem to come. So clearly, Daniel 11:31-35 could have nothing to do with Antiochus Epiphanes.

But Isaac Newton did not know that the destruction of Jerusalem, that Christ explained in Luke 21, was the destruction of the spiritual Jerusalem, the New Jerusalem. And this was the origin of the belief held by the Christians in Jerome’s Day. Daniel 11:31-35 is all about the work of the Antichrist, to destroy the Church.

In fact, the sudden switch from the “physical world” to the “spiritual world” in verse 31, is no different than the sudden shift from the “physical world” to the spiritual that occurred in Daniel 8:9, describing the Antichrist, who was the true king of the Fourth Beast; and has now once again appeared in the line of Kings.

Dan 11:31
this verse is difficult to understand from the NKJV, because the translators believed this whole prophecy referred to Antiochus Epiphanes, and have added some phrases, not in the original text. Therefore we have presented the Hebrew text with its explanation and links provided by biblehub.com

Translit Hebrew English
ū-zə-rō-‘îm וּזְרֹעִ֖ים and arms
mim-men-nū מִמֶּ֣נּוּ on his part
ya-‘ă-mō-ḏū; יַעֲמֹ֑דוּ shall stand
wə-ḥil-lə-lū וְחִלְּל֞וּ and they shall pollute
ham-miq-dāš הַמִּקְדָּ֤שׁ the sanctuary
ham-mā-‘ō-wz הַמָּעוֹז֙ of strength
wə-hê-sî-rū וְהֵסִ֣ירוּ and shall take away
hat-tā-mîḏ, הַתָּמִ֔יד the daily
wə-nā-ṯə-nū וְנָתְנ֖וּ [sacrifice] and they shall place
haš-šiq-qūṣ הַשִּׁקּ֥וּץ the abomination
mə-šō-w-mêm. מְשׁוֹמֵֽם׃ of desolation

Arms will come from him –  the armies of angels given over to him (Daniel 8:10-12; Revelation 12:4).

and shall pollute the sanctuary of strength – he defiles or pollutes the place of Holy Strength. From the expression “pollute the sanctuary of strength,” wə·ḥil·lê·lū ham·miq·dāš ham·mā·‘ō·wz, we know that there is no double meaning here. This does not describe the “destruction” of the Jerusalem temple, but the “pollution” of the truth, as we shall see in verse 32. The corruption of the truth came by the spirit of the antichrist in the Montanists and Tertullian, after 180 AD; these evil spirits were the army of Satan that was cast down to earth and corrupted the truth.

The word for sanctuary, ham·miq·dāš, describes a holy place. The word ham·mā·‘ō·wz, or maoz, is “strength,” “stronghold” or “fortress” and is always, and only, used to describe God Himself, eg 2 Samuel 22:33, “God is my strong fortress;” Nehemiah 8:10, “the Lord is your strength;” Psalms 27:1, “the Lord is the defense of my life,” etc, etc, etc. The expression maoz never describes the Temple at Jerusalem.

The meaning of “sanctuary of strength” can only refer to the dwelling place of God Himself in the believers, “the Church of God,” “a Holy Temple in the Lord…a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph 2:21-22).

and they shall take away the daily sacrifices – more literally “they shall take away the continual offering,” hat·tā·mîḏ, as we discussed in Daniel 8:11, this refers to the efficacy of baptism to remit sins, after the Spirit of truth was taken from the Church.

and they shall put the abomination of desolation –  the holy place of God was made desolate when the Spirit of truth was taken away.

Dan 11:32
he shall corrupt with flattery – more literally, he shall “pollute” ya·ḥă·nîp̄, with flattery.” This is the pollution of the Church described in verse 31, “he shall pollute the sanctuary of strength.”

the people who know their God shall be strong – those who retain the teachings of the Apostles

Dan 11:33
for many days – days in Daniel are always years, and the implication here is “many years.” The corruption of the Church by Satan would continue for many years. (This puts Antiochus Epiphanes completely out of the scope of this prophecy, as he attacked Jerusalem only 3 years before he died).

they shall fall by the sword – Satan, through the Red Dragon, the military power of Rome, persecuted the saints, (Rev 12:13-15)

and flame –  the many who were burned at the stake for centuries

Dan 11:34
but many shall join them with intrigue – or hypocrisy (NASB).  In other words, there will be many false sheep (Matt 10:16; Acts 20:29).

Dan 11:35
some of the wise will stumble – human wisdom is not sufficient for advancement in the kingdom of heaven.

purify them and make them white – through the process of salvation, see also Dan 12:10, which repeats this phrase