The prophecies of Daniel, in the literal sense, explain the successive political kingdoms that would come to power in the Middle East and rule over the kingdom of Judea. But in the spiritual sense, the prophecies of Daniel explain the successive states of the Christian church, even to the point of its final corruption. Thus many interpreters fail to interpret Daniel properly, and assume that there is some "gap" of time in these prophecies and apply everything to a forever future date. This is because interpreters are unable to see the falsehoods of their own religion: everyone assumes the religion they are born into is the absolute truth, and few question what they have been taught.
I covered the literal and spiritual meaning of the prophecy of Daniel 2 in the blog post The Spiritual Meaning of Daniel's Prophecy of the Statue of Nebuchadnezzar. Each successive dream vision of Daniel builds on each other. Babylon, which took Judea captive, is symbolic of how the Roman Catholic Church subverted Christianity and used it to obtain religious dominion. Although the political dominion of the Roman Catholic Church has collapsed, theologically they still distort Christianity by using it to place spiritual authority in their own priesthood, and this keeps the majority in blind obedience to the theology they invented (see Does Primary Spiritual Authority reside in the Roman Catholic Church? and Truth by Religious Tradition & Authority vs. Spiritual Truth).
OTHER LITERAL INTERPRETATIONS OF THE PROPHECY OF DANIEL 11-12
The prophecies of Daniel have both a literal and spiritual meaning, but most interpret Daniel only in its most external literal meaning. But even here there is a lot of erroneous interpretations. In the literal sense, most assume that Dan. 11:21-35 refer to the rise of Antiochus IV (Antiochus Epiphanes, 175-164 B.C.), a Seleucid king that persecuted the Jews and desecrated the Jewish temple. However when everyone reaches Dan. 11:36, all of a sudden it becomes future and is taken to mean that this will be fulfilled by a future Antichrist. But this is a sign that the most common literal interpretation itself is incorrect. At best, the events surrounding the Jewish temple during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes was only a partial fulfillment. In the spiritual sense the Jewish temple represents the Christian Church, and in the highest sense, the Divine Human of the Lord Himself (see also The Spiritual Meaning of the Abomination of Desolation).
The literal exposition of Daniel 11 is a bit more accurate among the Seventh Day Adventists, however their interpretations have other inaccuracies. They correctly see a transition to the Roman Empire in Dan. 11:16, which is followed by a transition to Papal Rome in Dan. 11:36. This is in line with the previous dream visions of Daniel, which foresaw a corrupted Christian Church under Papal Rome arising from the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century A.D.
The word "antichrist" can mean both "against Christ" as well as "substitute Christ." That a substitute version of Christianity has been put in place in most churches can be seen in the almost universal acceptance of the Nicene and Athanasian creeds, which falsely created three gods although most Christians orally confess "one God" (see Is the Nicene Creed Biblical? Does the Nicene Creed define True Christianity? and The Corrected New Athanasian Creed).
THE SPIRITUAL INTERPRETATION OF THE PROPHECY OF DANIEL 11-12
When one reads the literal interpretation of Daniel 11-12, most of it references obscure historical events between the Seleucid and Ptolemaic kingdoms which arose after the fall of Alexander the Great of Greece:
The Seleucid (yellow) and Ptolemaic (green) kingdoms
These two kingdoms are described as the "kingdom of the north" and the "kingdom of the south." However in the spiritual sense, Swedenborg confirms that this prophecy concerns the gradual corruption of the Christian church itself:
"That the "north" signifies the darkness of falsity, and the "south" the light of truth, is very evident in Daniel, where the ram and the he-goat are described, as also the king of the south and the king of the north. Concerning the ram and the he-goat it is said:The spiritual sense can be determined by each particular word, which is demonstrated in Heavenly Arcana by correlating the symbolism of each word with its usage throughout scripture. However when I first read this interpretation from Swedenborg I was admittedly surprised, and even somewhat doubtful. But the spiritual sense becomes clear, when one realizes that the capital of the Seleucid Empire was Antioch, and the capital of the Ptolemaic Empire was Alexandria. And lo and behold, the early Christian Church was at first divided between the patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria:
I saw the ram pushing with his horn westward, northward, and southward; so that no beast could stand before him. A he-goat came from the west over all the faces of the earth; and out of one of his horns there came forth a horn, which grew exceedingly toward the south and toward the east, and toward beauty (Dan. 8:4-5, 9). ... [also quotes Dan. 11] ...That the "king of the south" signifies those who are in the light of truth, and the "king of the north" those who are at first in shade, and afterwards are in the darkness of falsity, may be seen from all the particulars; and that thus it is a description of the state of the church, and of the way in which it is successively perverted. They are called "kings of the south and of the north," because by "kings," in the internal sense of the Word, are signified truths, and in the opposite sense falsities (n. 1672, 2015, 2069); and by "kingdoms," the things which are of truth, and in the opposite sense, those which are of falsity (n. 1672, 2547)" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 3708.23).
The "Pentarchy" of the Five Patriachates
The map shows five patriarchates, however in 325 A.D. there were only three: Antioch, Alexandria and Rome. Jerusalem only gained significance in the fifth century A.D., and Constantinople was only added in 451 A.D. In the early Christian Church, the primary theological disputes concerned the Divinity of the human of Jesus Christ, and the primary dispute was between the sees of Antioch and Alexandria.
And who won the theological dispute? Antioch, with the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D., which divided Jesus into two natures, which ironically was earlier declared as a heresy in 431 A.D. This theological dispute originated with the division of God into three persons in the Nicene Creed. A trinity of three persons is a falsehood, which replaced the central truth that there is one God in Jesus Christ, who has one Divine nature, the Divine Human (see The Lost Doctrine of the Temple of the Divine Human). The wars described in Daniel 11-12 in the highest spiritual sense are spiritual wars:
"This chapter [Daniel 11] treats of the war between the king of the north and the king of the south, and "the king of the north" means those within the church who are in the falsities of evil, and "the king of the south" those who are in the truths of good; collision and combat at the end of the church are described in the spiritual sense by their war; therefore "the army of the king of the north" means falsities of every kind, and "the army of the king of the south" truths of every kind." (Apocalypse Explained, n. 573.12)
A DETAILED INTERPRETATION OF THE PROPHECY OF DANIEL 11-12
I have given an introduction and broad overview above. Here is a detailed interpretation, covering both the literal and spiritual senses of the prophecy. In the literal sense, the prophecy is focused on the kingdom of Judea and the foreign political powers that overtook it. In the spiritual sense these historical events correspond to the spiritual degeneration and corruption of the Christian Church, and its eventual restoration.
This is a complicated prophecy, one may want to first go through the prophecy from a literal sense first (the second column), then start to look at it again from a higher spiritual sense (the third column).
At times even the spiritual sense is related to specific historical events within the Christian church. The spiritual sense cannot be disclosed except by knowledge of spiritual correspondences, so at times I will quote from relevant passages from Swedenborg.
|Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. (Dan. 10:5-6)
|This describes the angel that gives Daniel the vision of the future.
|Compare this description with that of Jesus Christ in the book of Revelation:
"And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters." (Rev. 1:13-15)
In the spiritual sense, the angel represents Jesus in His resurrected state. Before the incarnation angels would represent the Lord; when spiritual communication began to be cut off this was restored by the Lord making His human Divine; the Divine Human is symbolically represented here.
|Then he said, Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince. (Dan. 10:20-21)
|Spiritual warfare is described between heaven and hell for control of mankind on earth.
|In the spiritual sense, this represents the conflict between heaven and hell over mankind; before Jesus came the angels could no longer hold back the power of hell with its control over humanity. It then became necessary for the Lord Himself to become incarnate in human form and to make it Divine, this is represented by the angelic society of "Michael" which means "Who is like God" - see also note on the angel Michael below.
This prophecy was given during the reign of Darius the Mede, a co-ruler under Cyrus. Note that in the prophecy of Isaiah, Cyrus the first king of Persia is a type of the Messiah (see Isa. 44:28, 45:1)
|Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece. (Dan. 11:2)
|Kingdom of Medo-Persia. The three kings are Cambyses 530-522 BC, Smerdis 522 BC, Darius I 522-486 BC. Xerxes I 484-465 BC attacked Greece and was defeated at Salamis in 480 BC.
|Three kings signify truths from good, the fourth king is to be in good from truth (for the spiritual significance of numbers, see Heavenly Arcana). The union of faith and charity in the Christian Church at its beginning is signified, which is also represented by Persia in Daniel 8 (as indicated in multiple passages in Heavenly Arcana). This presents the early church which was rich in knowledges of the truth, expanding to the Gentiles: "The reason that the Revelation was made to John in Patmos was, that it was an island in Greece, not far from the land of Canaan, and between Asia and Europe; and by islands are signified nations more remote from the worship of God, but which still are to draw near to it, because they can be enlightened; and the same by Greece" (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 34)
|And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. (Dan. 11:3)
|Alexander the Great 330-323 BC. who established the Grecian Empire.
|Christianity moved into Greece and would become an integral part of the later Byzantine Empire.
|And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those. (Dan. 11:4)
|With Alexander's sudden death, the Grecian Empire was divided among his four generals: Cassander (Macedonia), Lysimachus (Thrace + Asia Minor), and Seleucus (Middle East + Persia) and Ptolemy (Egypt)
|The early Christian church developed into four main Patriarchates: Rome, Constantinople, Antioch and Alexandria. These closely correspond with the four divisions of the empire of Alexander the Great.
|And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion. (Dan. 11:5)
|The king of the south is the Ptolemaic kingdom, the king of the north is the Seleucid kingdom. The strong king is Ptolemy II Philadelphus 283-246 BC). The prince is Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-221) who was an even stronger ruler.
|The Patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria first arose as an early center of Christianity. Antioch was under the influence of the apostle Peter; Alexandria was founded by Mark. Alexandria is still the center for the Coptic Orthodox Church.
|And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times. (Dan. 11:6)
|Ptolemy II’s daughter, Berenice, married the north king Antiochus II Theos bringing a short lived alliance. Berenice’s children were to be the new heirs to the throne. But Antiochus left later returned to his first wife and Berenice and her children were all killed.
|The "daughter of the south" represents those in affection for love and charity based on truth, centered on the Divine Human of the Lord. This symbolically represents the rise of the Gnostic heresy, which denied that Jesus ever became incarnate in the flesh. One early heretic that arose to prominence in the north was Marcion, who rejected the Old Testament and used only the gospel of Luke and the letters of Paul.
|But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail (Dan. 11:7)
|Berenice’s brother Ptolemy III waged a war against the Seleucid kingdom, which was known as the 3rd Syrian War (245-241 BC), and won taking the capital at Antioch.
|Various Gnostic sects were successfully destroyed by the early Christian church, battling against them from truths of the Word.
|And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, [and] with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north. So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land. (Dan. 11:8-9)
|Ptolemy III carried back to Egypt immense booty and 2,500 molten images and idolatrous vessels with 40,000 talents of silver.
|""Their gods and their princes, and vessels of desire, and silver and gold, that shall be carried captive into Egypt," signify that the defending truth will take away all truths and goods of the church from those who are in falsities..." (Apocalypse Explained, n. 811.11)
|But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress. (Dan. 11:10)
|Seleucus II’s son, Antiochus III the Great, took his forces all the way to Ptolemais, retaking all the territories lost to Ptolemy III, who was now succeeded by Ptolemy IV Philopator.
|A second wave of Gnosticism began from Persia, Manichaeism (3rd century AD), which was more widespread than the other Gnostic movements.
|And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand. When he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened (Dan. 11:11-12)
|Ptolemy IV responded quickly the following year and defeated Antiochus III at Raphia (217 BC), one of the largest battles of ancient times. This was a temporary setback: Antiochus III waged a later war and won back the land taken by Egypt.
|This describes the spiritual combats of the early Church against other heresies, especially Gnosticism. Gnostic Manichaeism managed to survive the opposition of the early Christian church more than the other Gnostic sects.
|For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches. And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south. (Dan. 11:13-14)
|Antiochus III Magnus retook Palestine and attacked Ptolemy V Epiphanes in the 5th Syrian War (202-195 BC). Provinces within Egypt also arose in rebellion.
|Also the sons of the robbers of your people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall stumble. (Dan. 11:14)
|According to Josephus ("Ant." xii. 3, § 3), in 202 BC the Jews in Jerusalem aided Antiochus and even besieged the Egyptian garrison independently. The Jews would later come into conflict with Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
|In the spiritual sense, "robbers" are those who take away spiritual truths from others. This refers to the rise of Arianism, which followed the false doctrine of declaring that Jesus was a created angelic being. Compare this with Jesus' statement, that those who do not approach God through Him are thieves and robbers:
"He who entereth not by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber; but he who entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep; to him the porter openeth. . . . I am the door of the sheep; by Me if any one enter in, he shall be saved (x. 1-3, 7, 9). Here the door stands for truth and good, and thus for the Lord, Who is truth itself and good itself." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2356.2)
|So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand. (Dan. 11:15)
|The Egyptian general Scopas who tried to retake Palestine for Egypt, was defeated at the sources of the Jordan, his army being wholly destroyed at Sidon (Jerome on Dan. xi. 15).
|Arianism spread among the Goths in the western Roman Empire. "Wars" in scripture signify spiritual battles, and Arianism put the Christian church on the defense, but it did not have the proper truths to defend against it.
|But he that comes against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed (Dan. 11:16)
|This refers to the rise of Rome (see also v. 3). From this verse onwards the traditional literal interpretation is incorrect. In 200 BC, Roman emissaries told Antiochus III to refrain from invading Egypt, and he and his ally Philip of Macedon complied. In 168 BC Rome intervened to tell Antiochus IV to withdraw from invading Egypt. Under Pompey the Romans conquered Judea in 63 BC.
|For the Christian Church this refers to the rise of Constantine the Great in the fourth century AD, which legalized Christianity and ended Roman persecutions.
"the land of beauty stands for the church of the Lord, in which is Divine truth or the Word." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 9815.2)
|He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand, neither be for him. (Dan. 11:17)
|Before Ptolemy XI Auletes died in 51 BC, he asked Rome to become the guardian of his daughter Cleopatra and son Ptolemy XII until they could both rule jointly. Eventually Julius Caesar become involved in a political battle in Egypt, and Jews under Antipater came to his aid. Cleopatra had a child with Julius Caesar, but would later become involved with Mark Antony, and ultimately committed suicide by poisoning herself with a cobra.
|The "daughter of women" that gets corrupted is the Christian Church, which got corrupted with the Nicene Creed of 325 AD which divided God into three persons.
Note the correspondence with queen Cleopatra, who is involved with three men: first her own brother, then Julius Caesar, then Mark Antony. She poisons herself with a serpent, which signifies false reasoning.
|After this shall he turn his face unto the coastlands, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him. Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found. (Dan. 11:18-19)
|In 47 BC Julius Caesar left Egypt and defeated Pharnaces II of Pontus and the Bosporan Kingdom. Caesar then moved on and defeated Pompey's supporters in Africa and Spain. After being granted dictatorial powers, he was assassinated in 44 BC in Rome by conspirators of the Roman Senate
|The "coastlands" or "isles" represent those who are remote from the truth. An internal civil war represents the internal dispute of the Christian Church against the Arians, which caused it to stumble and fall with the invention of three persons who existed from eternity.
|Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within some days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle. (Dan. 11:20)
|After the end of the civil wars of the Roman republic, Caesar Augustus became the first emperor of the Roman Empire (27 BC - 14 AD). Luke 2:1 also mentions Caesar Augustus as a raiser of taxes.
|A "raiser of taxes" or "taskmasters" (Ex. 3:7) are those who oppress others through falsehoods. With the acceptance of the Nicene Creed, the Christian Church began to destroy itself from within. Anyone that does not accept this creed was declared to be a "heretic."
"And they set over them taskmasters. That this signifies falsities to compel them to serve, is evident from the signification of masters as primary truths (see n. 1482, 2089, 5044); here in the opposite sense primary falsities; and from the signification of tasks, to which they were driven by the masters set over them, as servitude (see n. 6394)." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6659)
|And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. (Dan. 11:21)
|Caesar Augustus was followed by Tiberius Caesar (14 - 37 AD). Tiberius was chosen as Princeps but refused the titles Pater Patriae, Imperator, and Augustus, and declined the most solid emblem of the Princeps, the Civic Crown and laurels.
|Falsehoods began to be accepted within the Christian church as truths, here indicated by "flatteries,"
|And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. (Dan. 11:22)
|The Romans invaded Judea in 70 AD and destroyed its temple, and put down the Bar Kokba rebellion in 135 AD (see also Dan. 9:26 which describes this invasion as a flood). The prince of the covenant is Jesus Christ (Dan. 9:25) who was crucified in 31 AD. See Mal. 3:1 which describes the Messiah as the "messenger of the covenant."
|In the spiritual sense the Jewish temple corresponds with the Divine Human of the Lord. This refers to early Christological disputes within the Christian Church which divided Jesus into two natures, falsely regarding the human form as not Divine.
|And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time. (Dan. 11:23-24)
|The league made with a small people refers to the gradual union between the bishops of Rome with the political forces of the Roman Empire. This also refers to the rise and expansion of the Roman Empire, which expanded by making alliances with the peoples it conquered. A "time" may refer to a period of 360 years (see Dan. 12:7) which would refer to the period from 136 - 496 AD.
|The false doctrines that invaded the Christian church caused it to withdraw from earlier monotheistic religions that had preceded it:
"By fathers are meant those who were of the Ancient Churches... Fathers have the like signification in Daniel (xi. 24, 37, 38). That they who were of the Ancient Churches are meant by fathers in these passages, is not apparent in the sense of the letter, but from the internal sense, in which the church is described and its goods and truths." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 6075.2)
|And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him. Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain. And both these kings' hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed. Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land. (Dan. 11:25-28)
|The "king of the south" here refers to the Jews of Judea, who rebelled when they discovered Emperor Hadrian planned on creating a temple dedicating to Jupiter on the site of the Temple Mount. This led to the Bar Kokhba rebellion in 132-135 AD. To be against the "holy covenant" also refers to Rome's persecutions of Christians at this time.
"Wars", in the spiritual sense, signify spiritual combat between truth and falsity.
For both sides to "speak lies at one table" indicates that both sides in internal theological disputes of the Christian Church were both wrong, as both sides mixed in falsehoods with the truth.
To be against the holy covenant is to follow a trinity of three persons instead of one God, one personal Divine Being.
|At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. (Dan. 11:29-30)
|The "ships of Chittim" refer to the Arian Goths, which began to overrun the western Roman Empire. In the 5th century A.D. the Arian Vandals established a formidable naval fleet and occupied north Africa. The Roman Empire sought help from the Christian Church at this time to combat Arianism. Those that "forsake the holy covenant" are those who subscribed to the doctrine of a trinity of three persons.
|Chittim stands for the external rituals of worship (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1156), and ships are corrupt knowledges of falsehood (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1368). This signifies the false knowledge of Arianism, which was adopted by the Goths who were in mere externals of worship. Arianism falsely regards Jesus as a created angel, a being different from God. "Chittim" spiritual signifies those who are in external worship only with no spirituality; ships signify their doctrines.
This may also refer to the creation of the Athanasian Creed, an anonymous creed that originated in southern France in the 5th century AD to combat Arianism. It also further the doctrine of three persons from eternity. Those that "forsake the holy covenant" are those that follow a trinity of three persons - the Athanasian Creed has been used to confirm the Nicene Creed.
|And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily [sacrifice], and they shall place the abomination that makes desolate. (Dan. 11:31)
|This refers to the corruption of the Christian Church, which began with the Nicene Creed of 325 AD which divided God into three persons. This was followed by the falsehood of dividing Jesus into two natures - the Divine and the human nature - as declared in the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD. This doctrine was created so that the Popes could declare themselves to be the "Vicar of Christ." This was soon followed by the sack of Rome by the Vandals in 455 AD, which stole the treasures of the temple of Jerusalem.
|The "abomination of desolation" is spoken of as a future event by Jesus Christ (Matt. 24:15, Mark 13:14). In the spiritual sense, the temple is the Divine Human, in which the Lord's human is acknowledge to be Divine, for it is the Lord's human which is the Son of God. This is destroyed by dividing God into three persons, and from thence dividing Jesus into two natures in the Council of Chalcedon of 451 AD. Thus in the theology of western churches, the Divinity of the human in the Lord is internally not acknowledged.
"That daily and this day signify what is perpetual is also evident from the sacrifice which was made every day. This on account of the signification of day, daily, and this day, was called the continual or perpetual sacrifice (Num. xxviii. 3, 23; [Dan]. viii. 13; xi. 31; xii. 11). This is still more plainly evident from the manna which rained from heaven, of which it is thus said in Moses: Behold, I will rain bread from heaven; and the people shall go out and gather a portion day by day . . . and let no man leave of it till the morning. What they left till the morning bred worms, and putrefied, except what was kept the day before the sabbath (Exod. xvi. 4, 19, 20, 23). This was because the manna signified the Lord's Divine Human (John vi. 31, 32, 49, 50, 58). And because it signified the Lord's Divine Human, it signified heavenly food, which is nothing else than love and charity with the goods and truths of faith." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2838.4)
"In it the worship of the Lord ceased, because they departed from Him to three Gods from eternity, and thus relapsed into mere falsities, so that not one spiritual truth remains. Therefore it is there called the bird of abominations, desolation, consummation, destruction, and devastation ([Dan. 9] verse 27); and by the Lord the abomination of desolation foretold by Daniel the prophet (Matt. 24:15)" (Scriptural Confirmations, n. 38)
|And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. (Dan. 11:32-35)
|From these false creeds Christianity was corrupted. The Byzantine Empire would eventually declare that the original Christians of the Middle East which rejected the Council of Chalcedon as heretics. Ironically, these Christians allied with the Muslims to rebel against the Byzantine Empire, but over time much of the Middle East would convert to Islam.
|Thence, the fall of the Christian Church, perverted by an internal falsehood concerning the nature of the one God, not recognizing that Jesus Christ is Jehovah in human form, and that making his human Divine was how humanity is saved. To "fall by sword" is for falsity to fight against truth, "flame" is the evil of self love, to be in "captivity" is to be held in bondage by falsehoods.
|And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. (Dan. 11:36-37)
|This refers to the rise of Papal Rome (see v. 3, 16). The Roman Catholic Church used Christianity as a means of obtaining religious dominion, by transferring power and authority into its own priesthood, above that of the Lord and His Word. They would not regard "the desire of women" - this refers to the rise of celibacy and monasteries.
The power of Papal Rome dates from the time of the baptism of Clovis in 496 AD, the first king of France, as Italy at this time was ruled by the Arian Ostrogoths. The alliance with Clovis meant Catholicism would eventually win over Arianism.
|The "king" that regards himself above every god is the falsehood of using religion to control others from the love of dominion. To disregard the "God of his fathers" is to depart from the truth of the original Christian church; to not regard "the desire of women" is to depart from the affection of love and charity.
|But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain. (Dan. 11:38-39)
|Rise of the Protestant Reformation, leading to the religious wars of Europe.
|This refers to those who began to separate faith from charity, a new doctrine that was not known before. To "divide the land for gain" signifies the eventual division of the church into different sects. The gold, silver and precious stones signify the knowledges of the Word which were used to support the false doctrine of salvation by faith alone.
""the king of the north" means those who are in knowledge from the Word, but not in life, thus who are in so-called faith alone, but yet not in charity, since they reject charity as not contributing to salvation. But "the king of the south" means those who are in intelligence from the Word, because they are in charity; such are "the king of the south," or pertain to "the king of the south," because "the south" means light, and "light" signifies intelligence, and those who are in charity, which is the life of faith, have the light of intelligence from the Word. But "the king of the north," or those who belong to "the king of the north" are such as are described above, because the "north" means night, and also a cold light, such as is the light of winter, from which, because there is no heat in it, there is no fructification; for spiritual heat is charity, and all germination is from heat through light. The war between these kings is described because the last time of the church is treated of when everything of salvation is placed in knowledge from the Word, and nothing in the life, and with the Jewish nation, in the traditions by which they falsified the Word; the truths of the Word become traditions when there is no life of charity, and the truths of the Word likewise become falsities when faith is separated from charity. From this it can be seen that "the king of the north" also means those who are in faith alone, that is, in faith without charity." (Apocalypse Explained 717.17)
|And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. (Dan. 11:40-41)
|The literal sense may be represented by conflicts between European powers and the Ottoman Empire, which collapsed in 1918. Palestine became a British protectorate at this time.
|This refers to the Protestant Reformation, those who held to the doctrine that one is saved by "faith alone" - that is, belief separate from works of charity. Historically the Protestant Reformation occurred among the northern nations that had formerly belonged to the Catholic Church. "Chariots" signify their doctrines, "horsemen" those who use false reasoning, and "ships" their false knowledges. The "glorious land" refers to the Christian church which has the Word.
"Edom, Moab and Ammon refer to those who are in simple good outside of religion, and who are thus not affected by false theological doctrines: "of what quality is the religion that is signified by Moab and the sons of Ammon, may be evident from their origin, as described; as also from many passages in the Word, both the historic and the prophetic, where they are named. They are in general those who are in external worship, which appears in a manner holy, but not in internal worship; and who seize upon the things which are of external worship as goods and truths, but reject and despise those of internal worship... The king of the south stands for those who are in goods and truths, the king of the north for those who are in evils and falsities; the king of the north with chariot, horsemen, and ships, coming upon the lands, overflowing, and passing through, signifies that the evils and falsities meant by chariots, horsemen, and ships, are to prevail; Edom, Moab, and the chief of the sons of Ammon who are to be rescued out of his hand, stand for those who are in such good not yet so defiled by falsities; on which account they are called the firstfruits of the sons of Ammon." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 2468.1, 3)
"Here the last state of the church is treated of; the king of the north stands for falsities, or what is the same, for those who are in falsities; Edom for those who are in simple good, which is such good as is with those who constitute the external church of the Lord; in like manner Moab and the sons of Ammon (n. 2468); and because both, namely, Edom and Moab, signify those who are in good, therefore in many passages both are named together; but the difference is, that Edom is the good of the natural to which are adjoined the doctrinals of truth, while Moab is natural good, such as is with those with whom they are not conjoined; the two appear alike in external form, but not in internal." (Heavenly Arcana, n. 3322.5)
|He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. (Dan. 11:42-43)
|The literal sense may be represented by control of the Middle East by western powers. Egypt became a British protectorate from 1883-1953.
|The Protestant Reformation had power due to their knowledge of the Word, which had been suppressed by the Catholic Church:
"Put and Cush here stand for internal knowledges from the Word; and Egypt for external knowledges" (Heavenly Arcana, n. 1164.6)
|But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. (Dan. 11:44)
|The literal sense may be represented by the threat of a future super power from the east beginning in China.
|The "east" or the sunrise signifies the coming of the Lord. This would signify the revelations of the New Church which is founded on One God and obedience to the 10 commandments, which is diametrically opposed to the theology of three persons and salvation by faith alone. This predicts significant opposition to the New Church by Protestant churches.
The "north" typically signifies falsehood or truth in obscurity, but as the direction is from the east it signifies the power of truth from celestial love, which can be seen from the commentary on Ps. 48:1-3:
""The sides of the north" signify truths from celestial good, because those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom dwell in the east in heaven; and those who are in truths from that good, towards the north there." (Apocalypse Explained, n. 405.27).
The other reason why the south is not referenced here is the "kingdom of the south" represents original Christianity which had become perverted by falsehoods. The "tidings our of the east and the north" thus represents the announcement of the New Church which will overtake the false theology of the older falsified churches.
|And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. (Dan. 11:45)
|The literal sense may be represented by the unconditional military support for the Jewish State of Israel by Britain and America, which historically have been primarily Protestant. If true, this would predict the eventual isolation of Israel and its destruction.
|The "seas" represent the false external knowledges upon which the false theology of faith separate from charity is based upon; the "tabernacle of the palace" is the false church. This will be opposed to the doctrine of love and repentance, a life according to the commandments, represented by the "glorious holy mountain," as mountains in scripture signify the good of love of the church.
|And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Dan. 12:1-3)
|This signifies a last judgment that took place in the spiritual world in 1757, in which captive souls caught in the spiritual world between heaven and hell were liberated and brought up to heaven; and evil spirits who appeared good in the externals were cast down. This is described by Swedenborg in his work The Final Judgment. A similar event took place at the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (see Heavenly Arcana, n. 8018.2-3). This same event is described in Rev. 12:7-9:
""And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels," signifies the falsities of the former church fighting against the truths of the new. "And prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven," signifies that they were convicted of being in falsities and evils, and still remained in them, and that on that account they were torn away from conjunction with heaven, and cast down. "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan," signifies that they were turned away from the Lord to themselves and from heaven to the world, and hence were in the evils of lusts and in falsities. "That seduceth the whole world," signifies that they pervert all things of the church. "He was cast out into the earth, and his angels with him," signifies that they were cast out into the world of spirits which is in the midst between heaven and hell, from which there is immediate conjunction with men on earth." (Apocalypse Revealed, n. 532)
Such a last judgment took place in the spiritual world, to remove the influence of the false religion on earth, and to begin the establishment of a New Church that will restore Christianity back to its original form. The angelic society of "Michael" (meaning, Who is like God?) are those that defend the Divinity of the Lord in His human against those who profess a trinity of three beings.
As with the book of Revelation, the book of Daniel prophetically describes the rise and fall of the Christian Church, and its eventual restoration. The prophecy of Daniel 11-12 presents the future state of the Christian Church by using historical events which would occur to the kingdom of Judea, for through the Old Testament the Jews are representative of the spiritual Christian Church. Even in the spiritual interpretation it presents a grand view of the entire history of Christianity.
The traditional Jewish commentary does not go beyond the desecration of the Jewish temple by Antiochus Epiphanes IV over 2000 years ago. Most Christian commentaries cannot see the true interpretation as they are unaware of the falsehoods of traditional modern Christian theology. For this see The Corrected New Athanasian Creed and Is the Nicene Creed Biblical? Does the Nicene Creed define True Christianity? A doctrine of a trinity of three persons, and dividing the nature of Jesus Christ, has subverted Christianity in the minds of many. In reality there is one Lord, one personal Divine Being, who has revealed Himself in human form. Also the other issue is many assume a literal resurrection will take place here on earth, but this describes events in the spiritual world. This is described further in Swedenborg's works Heaven and Hell and The Final Judgment.
Without an understanding of the spiritual world, and without knowing the spiritual sense of scripture, the books of Daniel and the book of Revelation are closed books. Thus Daniel was told this:
I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. (Dan. 12:8-10)However with the new revelations, these prophecies are no longer a closed book, but are now open to those who are willing to understand.