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 Satan, the Ruler prophesied by Daniel, who would put and end to sin and offering by His crucifixion. This was described  in Daniel 8:11-14, 9:26-27. Here again, we find another prophecy of the destruction of the spiritual Jerusalem, and the setting up the Abomination of desolation, that would come by the Latin power.

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

The history of the interpretation of this prophecy is interesting.

In the 4th Century, Jerome told us that

  • the Jews of his day, ascribed verses 31-35 to the Romans (This 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.) 
  • Porphyry, an atheist, believed that verses 24 – 35 spoke of Antiochus Epiphanes. Porphyry wrote a book called “Against the Christians,” in which he tried to destroy Christianity, by proving these verses were fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes, and had nothing to do with Christ, or the Antichrist. His goal was to destroy the prophetic basis of Christianity, and to make Christ a liar, because Jesus said that Daniel 11 spoke of the coming destruction of Jerusalem.
  • the Christians believed verses 31 to 35 spoke of the Antichrist.

In the Reformation, Isaac Newton embraced the opinion  held by the Jews.  As Isaac Newton noted, the rise of the Romans was signified in the Daniel 11:30, “ships from Kittam shall come against him.” 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 the Romans ships were sent from Cypress to stop Antiochus in Egypt, and they completely ended the Greek power.

Isaac Newton said that Daniel 11:33 was quoted by Jesus in Luke 21:24, to describe the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, that was still to come. But he did not understand that Jesus was  prophesying the destruction of the spiritual Jerusalem. And he did not understand that the “Ruler to come,” in Daniel 9:26 was Satan, the Antichrist, who was now the real “the King of the North.”

The sudden shift to the “spiritual world” that occurs in Daniel 11:31, is no different than the sudden shift to the “spiritual world” in Daniel 8:9, describing the Fourth King of the North, who was Antichrist.

Dan 11:31
The New King James Version is almost always the most accurate translation of the Old Testament. 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.