Friday, June 5, 2015

Daniel 11:36-45 is about Octavian Caesar Augustus

I'm a Futurist on Bible Prophecy because there is no ambiguity to me what so ever that Matthew 24, I Thessalonians 4, II Thessalonians 2, and Revelation 6-22:5 are still yet future.  And others I think are too, but those are what define one's views on Eschatology.  Anything that indisputably depicts the Second Coming is in the future.

But too many Futurists are determined to not let any Prophecies besides the first Advent and a few other obvious ones be already fulfilled.  And I feel this is a mistake.  We should rejoice in showing the World those Bible prophecies that have been fulfilled to prove the reliability of God's Word and demonstrate that they should take seriously what remains to be fulfilled.

Now the part of Daniel I'm going to discus today, I had in the past assumed like most futurists to be about The Antichrist, in many posts on this blog, plenty of which are archived on the Revived Roman Empire page.  What I'm going to express here however only further backs up that Rome is indeed the Fourth Beast.

I even cited Hippolytus of Rome as ancient precedent for viewing this as still yet future.  But on my other Blog I've explored a lot recently how even the pre-Constantine Church Fathers were already having doctrinal problems and becoming proto-Catholics.  Hippolytus's "On Christ and Antichrist" I think lies at the root of what I feel has gone wrong with the Antichrist Doctrine in it's very title.  Some Christians want to see the Antichrist in Scripture almost as much as Jesus.  I've come to grow concerned that that is a dangerous unhealthy attitude, but one I've also been a victim of in the past.

Chris White shares a healthy skepticism of some passages assumed to be Antichrist or End Times relevant that maybe aren't.  But on this passage he has to some extent come to see it rather then anything in the New Testament as the defining Antichrist passage.  To him no Antichrist suspect should be taken seriously till they fight wars that match Daniel 11:40.  I think that is a horrible misdirection.

Now I still don't consider it impossible that via double fulfillment and typology that the Antichrist will manage to match this passage also.  In fact if he is indeed creating a revived Roman Empire then Augustus is someone he's going to want to emulate.  But the core of the Antichrist doctrine needs to be based on what Jesus, John and Paul told us about the End Times, and everything else supplemental.  Especially since I suspect there will likely be a decoy Antichrist before the Abomination of Desolation, maybe more then one.

II Thessalonians 2 is the only Antichrist prophecy that will be indisputably obvious when it happens.  I'm sure White would not deny it when it does if the person that does it never did anything like Daniel 11:40 first.  But what he may be is completely unprepared for it, or suspecting the wrong person if someone else does fight wars with Egypt and Syria.

I'm aware that others have argued for Augustus fulfilling this prophecy before. They are usually Preterists in their general view of Prophecy however, my approach will be different.  And honestly the idea did enter my head before I looked and saw others had drawn the same conclusion.

Now to begin.

When I argued against those who say Rome isn't the Forth Kingdom of Daniel 2 and 7.  I mentioned how Daniel 11:4 hints at the Hellenistic Kingdoms falling to another Empire.  Since the rest of the Chapter is an elaboration on the last part of Daniel 11:4.  I have come to feel how that happens should be part of the Prophecy.  I had also mentioned other hints of Rome's rise.  And I see 11:33 as foretelling both the Maccabees revolt and the Hasmonean kingdom latter falling to Rome under Pompey in 63 BC (same year Augustus was born).  Rome further finished the Hasmoneans off in 37 BC when Antigonus Mattathias was defeated by Anthony and beheaded.

I will cover 40-45 first because that's the specific events, and get into how the primarily spiritual details of 36-39 apply later.

First I want to say terms like "Time of the end" also occur earlier during what few deny was fulfilled in the Hellenistic age.  So selectively using that as proof we're in the full End Times here is rather shady.  What is notable is that Augustus lifetime overlaps into the New Testament era.  In fact he was younger then the Prophetess Anna.

Daniel 11:40
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.
The Naval aspect of this battle is usually not emphasized when trying to interpret it in a modern context.  Since Naval warfare hasn't really been as important as it used to be since WWII.  These ships could still be aircraft carriers, but those are just glorified launching pads.

Chris White's argument for the "he" here being separate from the King of The North is very good in his commentary on this.  People generally do not note that the King of The South has the leadership role here.  Even how this is tied into the Mahdi theory with Sufyani needs to consider the North more important.

You can probably guess where I'm going here is that this is Actium, and that the two "kings" of north and south are Anthony and Cleopatra.  You may be thinking "but wouldn't it be the Queen of the South then?"  The Prophetic sense simply means the King as synonymous with Nation more or less in these kinds of verses.  But I could also point out that Antony and Cleopatra were more or less officially ruling in the names of Cleopatra's children.

The main one was Ptolemy Caesarion who she had by Julius Caesar, who was Pharaoh of Egypt.  Then there was her and Anthony's youngest son Ptolemy Philadelhus who at the Donations of Alexandria was proclaimed King of Syria and other core Seleucid lands.  Alexander Helios was mostly given Kingdoms they didn't actually control yet, Parthia, Media and Armenia.  And Cleopatra Selene was given the usual Ptolemaic lands peeled off for younger brothers and bastard sons to rule.  I personally speculate that Cleopatra was planning to marry Selene to Caesarion once she was old enough, the question is how okay Anthony would have been with that.

Now the movies about Anthony and Cleopatra and Octavian usually skip right from Actium to the fall of Alexandria.  But in fact plenty happened in-between,  You could learn about it by reading ancient historians like Josephus, or you could just read Daniel 11:41.
He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
Yes Augustus did enter the Biblical Promised Land during this time. Herod switched sides over to him and he confirmed Herod's kingship increasing his power.  A number of local governments were overthrown at this time.  However Biblical Edom, Moab and most of Ammon were part of the Nabatean Kingdom that Rome never conquered till the reign of Trajan.  What little of Ammon wasn't part of Nabatea was part of the Decapolis, independent city states.  The Nabatean kingdom was a thorn in Rome's side all through the Julio-Claudian period.

Then in Daniel 11:42-43 is the fall of Alexandria.
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.
This is when the Fourth Beast fully replaced the Third. I talked in another post of mine about his visit to Alexander's Tomb.

Augustus gave Egypt a special status among Roman Provinces.  It was treated as his personal possession.  Which is why it's Governors were appointed by him rather then the Senate even though it wasn't a military province.  Egypt became his gold mine basically.

Libya (Phut in the Hebrew) in the Bible doesn't really correlate well to modern Libya or what would become the Roman province of Libya, it's more like the rest of North Africa west of Libya and Cyrene. What Rome controlled of the rest of North Africa was only ever the very northern Mediterranean coast-lands.  And even then right after Egypt fell Mauritania remained a client kingdom.

Also there were wars fought between Rome and Nubia during Augustus reign, but Rome never conquered them.  It annoys me that people want to make Cleopatra black when there was a black African Queen contemporary with her who unlike her could keep her nation independent from Rome.  But Hollywood doesn't make movies about that Queen.

Daniel 11:44
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.
The east here no doubt means east of the Euphrates, Parthia and it's client Kingdoms.  The north here must be further north then the Seleucid lands already conquered, probably other nations that were proxies between Rome and Parthia like Armenia.  Alluding to the sort of cold war between Rome and Parthia.  But it could also have in mind Rome's ongoing wars with the northern Celts and Germans.

The earlier parts of Daniel 11 sometimes moves to a successors without it being obvious it was doing so.  So it could be carrying over into Tiberius here, or even later Julio-Claudians.  But both this and the next verse I feel can remain in the time of Augustus.

Daniel 11:45
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.
I've talked about this verse elsewhere.  The word for "tabernacles" here means tents. Preterists who want to make everything about 70 AD say this refers to the tents Roman soldiers camped in in Jerusalem then.  Similar Roman encampments could have happened earlier during any time Roman soldiers had to take Jerusalem from rebels.  Including the rebellions that broke out after Herod died, or when Arhcleaus was removed in 6 AD.

The word translated "palace" was not even a Hebrew word but a Persian one.  So it's not an allusion to The Temple or anyone deifying themselves in The Temple.  It's probably the Antonia Fortress finished by Herod in 19 BC which was where the Dome of The Rock is now.

Augustus died in 14 AD, many scholars now are skeptical of the rumor that Livia poisoned him.  Either way it fits the end of Daniel 11:45 fine in my opinion.  And so would any other Judeo-Claudian Emperor.

Herod had a Kingdom that was pretty sizable, all of modern Israel and chunks of Jordan and Syria.  After he died Augustus divided it into four Teterarchies.  Archelaus got Judea, Idumea and Samaria, and Antipas got Galilee and Perea.  Philip got Batanea, Trachonitis, Aurantis, Gaulantis and Ceasarea Philippi.  And Herod's sister got the Gaza strip.   So that is probably what "shall divide the land for gain" in verse 39 means.

Now to get into the spiritual aspects of 36-39.

Augustus did not deify himself in the obvious insane way later Emperors like Caligula would.  But it was considered perfectly acceptable in Rome for him to be worshiped as a god by the conquered peoples.  He didn't force it on the Jews, but the other people around Israel worshiped him as a god, in Egypt he basically took over the traditional Pharonic worship.

In Rome, he was not openly worshiped as a god while he lived, but there was a lot of quasi deification going on.  The name Augustus effectively meant divine, and he was given that name the same year his adopted father Julius Caesar was officially deified, so he officially became the son of a god.  More of his deification of himself will become relevant later.

I still interpret what "the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women" means the same as I have before.  But I believe Rome had an Edomite heritage, including it's spiritual heritage.  So he did descend from the Patriarchs of Genesis.

Now "the God of forces" sounds like a war god.  Rome identified their local deities with Greek ones, but Ares was never a favored deity among the Greeks.  To Rome however Mars was their Patron, the father of Romulus and Remus.  They defined themselves by their military nature, this is part of what America has inherited from Rome, and Christians sadly take part in it.

The word for "Strange" mean foreign.  Apollo was the only Olympian the Romans didn't have their own deity to identify with, so even in Latin he is just worshiped as Apollo.  But Apollo was not a very poplar deity in Rome before Augustus.  In fact Apollo was almost unheard of to Romans before Augustus. A number of articles have been written on how greatly Augustus popularized Apollo.

A rumor circulated that Augustus was actually fathered by Apollo.  Augustus's birthday (September 23rd) became Apollo's national holiday.  Virgil's fourth Ecolouge contained a pseudo Prophecy from the Cumea Sybil of Augustus as an incarnation of Apollo.

The fascination that the renaissance, enlightenment and modern world has with Apollo mainly goes back to Augustus' promotion of him.  Especially since it all tends to be filtered through Virgil.  So the fact that the ships that took us to the moon were all called Apollo you can thank Augustus for.

It may be that the extent to which this is typological of The Antichrist is more about 36-39, his deification, then 40-45.  Just as we see The Antichrist in the first part of Ezekiel 28 because that Nagyim of Tyre sees himself as a god, but no one thinks The Antichrist will be a ruler of Lebanon specifically.

Due to the DSS manuscripts of Daniel skeptics are limited in how late they can get away with late dating Daniel.  Generally they can't allow it past the death of Epiphanes.  The fact that it describes Augustus as accurately as it did Epiphanes is a major problem for them.

You may think "there were no chapter divisions originally, Daniel 12 says "at that time" referring to what just happened", 10-12 is all one revelation.  I think Daniel 12 has a definite second application to Revelation 12 and the eschatological 70th Week.  But I have also argued that the 70th Week can be seen as fulfilled already.  Because I definitely see a double fulfillment there.

Could Michael standing up apply to the first Advent of Jesus?  Maybe, what is Michael standing up linked to?  The word for "delivered" means saved, it could be simply referring to the Age of Grace.

12:2 says "many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake", in the past I've argued the Resurrection that is part of the Rapture is meant here.  And that I still think is it's second fulfillment.  But there is only one other Bible verse on the subject of Resurrection that says "many" were raised as opposed to all.  Matthew 27:52-53
The graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
Some see the reference to Michael in Jude as being linked to when Moses was Resurrected at this time.

Matthew only seems to refer to saved people being risen though, but the Rapture is the same way, the general resurrection of the unsaved isn't till after the Millennium.

Scholars complain about the accounts of Judas death allegedly contradicting each other, but I notice that neither actually refers to him as dead.  Acts 1 describes something he couldn't possibly have survived however.  Maybe he was resurrected for the second resurrection early and then "taken to his own place" the Abyss.  And maybe it's the same with whoever of the first five kings turns out to be the Eight King.  And now they're sealed away till Revelation 9.

As far as the knowledge increasing statement goes, I know it's popular to see modern technological development in that.  But as Chuck Missler has said knowledge of God's Word increasing is the real intent of the passage.  It could be referring to Jesus and the New Testament increasing our knowledge.  I've already argued that Daniel's book being unsealed refers to the publication of Revelation.

Hebrew Daniel's applications to the End Times are mostly typological.  But Daniel 7 definitely had the End Times in view.  The Little Horn is the Eight King.

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