Daniel’s Prophecies of the Last Days written by Alan Huffcutt of Peoria, Illinois. I honor him for his diligent study of the scriptures and for sharing what he has learned. Thank you, my good friend, Alan!
“And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and destroy the mighty and holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many; he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.” [8:23-25]
Beginning on a historical note, Daniel and his three companions were taken captive around 606 BC, which was in the 3rd year of the reign of king Jehoiakim and roughly 20 years before the complete destruction of the great city of Jerusalem. While their parentage is unknown, it is evident from verse 3 of the first chapter that they were carried away as children and that they appear to have been of royal lineage. [see Bible Dictionary, p. 639]
One of the things that makes Daniel so confusing is the extensive focus on the four ancient kingdoms of Babylon, Media / Persia, Greece, and Rome. Reference to these kingdoms starts in Chapter 2 (verses 32-33) with King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the “great image” with a head of gold (Babylon), breast and arms of silver (Media / Persia), belly and thighs of brass (Greece), and legs of iron (Rome). This imagery is continued in Chapter 7 with reference to a “lion” (Babylon), a “bear” (Persia), a “leopard” (Greece), and “diverse” (Rome), and again in Chapter 8 with mention of a “ram with two horns” (Media and Persia) and a “he goat” (Greece). While these four kingdoms are now ancient history to us, verse 28 of Chapter 2 makes it clear that they still relate somehow to events of the last days. There it reads “But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.”
Here is the key to interpreting Daniel. Rome was the last major world empire, and the geographical and political fall-outs (i.e., countries, boundaries) from the collapse of the Roman empire are still basically in place (albeit some shifting around). This is what could be meant by the part in verse 7 of Chapter 7 where it says about the Roman empire: “…it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it;” Although “stamped” has several meanings, here it could imply “set in place.” Several world figures such as Napoleon and Hitler have attempted to create a new world empire since the fall of Rome, but in the end were unsuccessful.
Based on Daniel’s prophecies, it would appear that another great world empire is going to emerge in the last days out of the remnants of the old Roman Empire, which includes present-day Europe, North Africa, Mediterranean / Slovic countries, and the some of the middle East. Continuing with verse 7 in Chapter 7 we read: “… and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.” Skipping ahead to verse 24 of the same chapter, the 10 horns are explained. There it says: “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise:”
Then it would appear that a fierce and mighty king shall arise and unite these 10 kingdoms, subduing three of them along the way. Restating and completing verse 24 of the Chapter 7: “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise; and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.” In verse 8 of Chapter 7 it reads: “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots;”
What is this great king going to be like? In verse 20 of Chapter 7 he is described as someone “…whose look was more stout than his fellows.” In verse 8 of the same chapter it says “…and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” In verse 25 of the same chapter it says: “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws;”
Perhaps the best summary of this king is in the two verses cited at the beginning. As stated in verses 23-24 of Chapter 8: “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and destroy the mighty and holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many; he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”
Several important things emerge from these two verses. One is that this king’s true source of power will be from Lucifer himself. To use a more common saying, he will be in league with the devil. Another is that he will bring economic prosperity, something which in part helps to explain why he will be so successful. In our world there are many who would overlook certain abuses and undesirable practices if the tradeoff is financial gain.
Although less clear, the phrase “by peace shall destroy many” could also be important. In the early stages of his power, this king could, under the guise of creating and maintaining peace, lay the seeds and begin the process of world domination. Peacekeeping occupations certainly have a precedent. However, at some point the situation will deteriorate to all-out world war, the worst war ever seen on the face of the earth. In verse 1 of Chapter 12 we read: “….and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time:”
What is particularly relevant to us is the implication that this king will persecute those who believe in a power greater than him, namely the Christians and Jews. In verse 21 of Chapter 7 it says: “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.” Joseph Fielding Smith [cited in Ludlow, p. 355] notes that “saints” here does indeed include the Latter Day Saints. And, as already read in verse 24 of Chapter 8, he shall destroy the “holy people.”
Interjecting the Doctrine and Covenants, it would appear that the persecution will reach the point where Christians and Jews will flee before him. In Section 133, verses 12-13, it reads: “Let them, therefore, who are among the Gentiles flee unto Zion. And let them who be of Judah flee unto Jerusalem, unto the mountains of the Lord’s house.” The “Lord’s house” here most likely refers to a Temple, and in relation to Jerusalem, the rebuilt temple of Solomon. Joseph Smith prophesied that the Jerusalem temple would be rebuilt and functioning before the Second Coming [Teachings, p. 286].
Where will this great king come from? While the 10 nations come out of the remnants of the Roman empire, this king will emerge from the remnants of Greece. When Alexander the Great was killed his kingdom was not continued with his seed, but rather was divided among four of his generals. This division is noted in verse 8 of Chapter 8 where it says: “Therefore the he goat [Greece] waxed very great; and when he was strong, the great horn [Alexander the Great] was broken; and for it came up four notable ones…” Continuing on to verse 9, we read “And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding[ly] great,” The same theme is noted in verses 22 and 23: “Now that [Alexander the Great] being broken, where as four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.”
While the goal of this king will probably be nothing short of world domination, it appears that he will not attempt to conquer Israel until later on in his reign, probably because of Israel’s extensive military might and armament. Once his focus is on Israel, he will gather the multitudes of his armies together and march on Israel, leading to the infamous battle of Armageddon. As noted in Daniel 12:11, it would appear that the siege and partial occupation will last roughly 3 ½ years. There it says: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”
There is even the suggestion that at some point this king may desecrate the rebuilt Temple of Jerusalem and from there challenge even the Savior Himself. In verses 10 and 12 of Chapter 8 we read: “And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host [Christ], and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.”
How long will this king prevail against the world and the saints? His success will continue until Adam returns and calls his children together one more time at the Great Council at Adam-ondi-Ahman. Adding verse 22 to verse 21 of Chapter 7, we get the following: “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High;”
Just like Michael led the charge in the Great War in Heaven where 1/3 of the hosts were cast out, there is a suggestion that he will lead the charge this time in the final, great, and terrible battle. This battle will be the most extensive and devastating one ever seen on the face of the earth. In verse 1 of Chapter 12 we read: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standest for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time:”
In summary, the main contribution of Daniel to our understanding of the great events of the last days is his description of the emergence of the 10-nation alliance and the fierce king who will unite them, and the general local where each will come from. This is one piece of the larger puzzle, albeit one very important piece. There are much better sources for the actual battle of Armageddon, for example, including Chapter 38 and 39 of Ezekiel and Parley P. Pratt’s A Voice of Warning, and of the plagues and calamities that will occur in the last days, including the Book of Revelation. Nonetheless, Daniel provides key information that is difficult to find in other sources.
One final note. The infamous “stone cut out without hands” that is described in Chapter 2 was not addressed in this paper. Obviously the stone is the restored gospel and in the end the nations of the earth, including the 10-nation alliance which emerges from the remnants of the Roman Empire will be subsumed under the new political government established by the Savior during the Millennium. This is more of the outcome, while the contents of this paper are focused more on the process.
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