Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 11

Outline and Background - Daniel 11

Two Empires - Medo-Persia - Daniel 11:1-4

Two Empires - Egypt and Syria - Daniel 11:5-20

Two Princes - Antiochus IV Epiphanes - Daniel 11:21-35

Two Princes - The Willful King - Daniel 11:36-39

Two Events - Mid-Tribulation Crisis - Daniel 11:40-45

Two Events - Final Deliverance of Israel - Daniel 12:1-3

Application of Daniel 11

Two Princes - The Willful King - Daniel 11:36-39

The second prince of Daniel’s vision is the Wilful King (“the king will do as he pleases”). There will be no stopping the Wilful King once his rise to power begins. Much can be gleaned from the Scriptures concerning the Wilful King, who is popularly called the Antichrist.

The Wilful King

The Wilful King is none other than:

The Serpent’s Seed of Genesis 3:15

The Wicked Man of Psalm 10

The Assyrian of Isaiah 10:5, 12

The King of Babylon of Isaiah 14:4-20

The Oppressor and the Aggressor of Isaiah 16:4

The Little Horn of Daniel 7:8

The Profane King of Daniel 7:25-27

The Stern-faced King of Daniel 8:23-25

The Coming Prince of Daniel 9:26-27

The Worthless Shepherd of Zechariah 11:11-16

The One who comes in His Own Name of John 5:43

The Man of Lawlessness of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 8

The Antichrist of 1 John 2:18

The Beast of Revelation 13:18; 17:12-17; 19:19-21

First, as to the Wilful King’s personality and genius:

  • He is a great orator and demagogue, Daniel 7:8.
  • He is a speaker with regal authority, Revelation 13:2.
  • He is a philosopher of distinction, who traffics in deception, Daniel 8:23.
  • He is a clever and persistent politician, Daniel 8:25.
  • He is a deceiver who will use the false religious system to gain power, Revelation 13:1-18.
  • He is a military genius, Daniel 7:8, 24; Revelation 6:1-2.
  • He is a man different from other men, Daniel 7:7, 19, 23; Revelation 13:4.
  • He is a highly intelligent man, Daniel 7:8.
  • He is a perfection of unholiness (“666“), Revelation 13:18.
  • He is a man who will look more imposing than other rulers, Daniel 7:20; Revelation 13:3-4; 17:8.
  • He is a last wonder of the world, Revelation 13:3-4.

Second, as to the moral character of the Wilful King:

  • He is the personification of selfish ambition, Daniel 11:36-37.
  • He is an absolute dictator, Daniel 11:36.
  • He is a blasphemer extraordinaire, Daniel 11:36; Revelation 13:1, 5-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:4.
  • He is the greatest antinomian (rejecting moral law), Daniel 11:36; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8.
  • He is a rejecter of religion, Daniel 11:37.
  • He is an egotist, who exalts and magnifies himself above every god, Daniel 11:38.
  • He is a materialist, Daniel 11:38.
  • He is a worshiper and financier of military power, Daniel 11:38.
  • He is a rewarder of those who acknowledge him, Daniel 11:38.

Third, as to the origin of the Wilful King:

  • His economic origin is displayed in making prosperous the Revived Romans Empire, Revelation 17:1-5; 18:3.
  • His political origin is from the Revived Roman Empire, Daniel 2, 7-8.
  • His national origin is Roman, Daniel 9:26.
  • His racial origin is Jewish according to some, Daniel 11:37; John 5:43.
  • His spiritual origin is of Satan, Genesis 3:15; Revelation 13:2; 16:3.
  • His providential origin is of God, Daniel 8:2, 8; Revelation 6:1-8.

Fourth, as to the steps in the rise to power of the Wilful King:

  • He will be the product of iniquity, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 7-8.
  • He will have an inconspicuous beginning, Daniel 7:8; Revelation 6:1-2.
  • He will confirm a covenant with many, Daniel 9:27.
  • He will strengthen the Ten-Nation Confederacy, Revelation 7:8, 20, 24.
  • He will be the world power by the middle of the confirmed covenant, Revelation 17:12-13.
  • He will destroy the false religious system that helped him rise to power, Revelation 17:3, 16-17.
  • He will slay the Two Witnesses of God, Revelation 11:3-13.
  • He will persecute Israel and the Tribulation saints, Revelation 7:9, 14; 12:13-17.

Fifth, as to the Wilful King’s rise to power, he will be aided by:

  • Chaotic world conditions, “Beginning of Birth Pains,” Mark 13:5-13
  • False religion, Revelation 17:1-5
  • Satanic deception, 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10; Revelation 13:2
  • Divine permission and help, Psalm 75:6-7; Revelation 6:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 2:11
  • Economic and military sanctions, Revelation 13:15-17
  • Men who worship him and blaspheme God, Revelation 13:8; 16:10-11
  • Military might, Revelation 13:4

Sixth, as to the end of the Wilful King:

  • His campaign against the Lamb of God ends with the Battle of Armageddon, Revelation 16:12-16; 17:4; 19:17-19.
  • His capture takes place along with that of the False Prophet, Revelation 19:20.
  • His spirit is cast into the depths of Sheol and his body will have no grave, Isaiah 14:9-10.
  • His body is cast alive into the Lake of Fire, Revelation 19:20.
  • His continuous and conscious torment will go on forever, Revelation 20:10.

The major emphasis of the predictions concerning the Wilful King is on the religion of the end times. The book of Daniel is a polemic against the Babylonian mystery religion. After this prince gains power, he will turn against this mystery religion, which helped him rise to power, in accord with God’s sovereign plans and purposes.

The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God's words are fulfilled (Revelation 17:16-17).


At that time, the Wilful King’s prerogative, pride and profanity will be exposed. “He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of-things.”

Through the Wilful King, Satan will attempt to have the world worship him. It has been Satan’s goal from the beginning to exalt himself above God.

How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14).

He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. Instead of them, he will honor a god of
fortresses; a god unknown to his fathers he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price (Daniel 11:37-39).


“The gods of his fathers” is associated with the Babylonian mystery religion since it will be revived along with the Roman Empire (Revelation 17). In the ancient Greek and Roman religions, the chief deities of the pantheons were the god Jupiter, in Rome, and the god Zeus, in Greece. This chief god was regarded as the sender of thunder and lightning, rain and winds, and his traditional weapon was the thunderbolt. He was called the father (that is, the ruler and protector) of both gods and men.

Jupiter and Zeus were counterparts to Babylon’s Marduk. The Babylonian religion had merged into the successive empires of Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. Therefore, Christ is able to destroy and scatter all four to the wind at the time of His second advent (Daniel 2:34-35).

The absorption of religion from one empire to the next sheds light on the phrase “the one desired by women.” In the Ancient Near East, the one desired by women was known by the names of Tammuz, Bacchus, Horus, Osiris, Adonis, and Cupid. This god was the Lamented One, who supposedly had been slain by a boar and had risen from the dead after forty days of weeping and sorrow by women. Even the Israelite women desired Tammuz at the time of the Babylonian captivity.

Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz (Ezekiel 8:14).

The Wilful King’s god is not identified, but he attributes his success to him. We know from Scripture that Satan empowers the Antichrist. This unknown god will not be one out of the past. So will Satan be worshiped openly in the end times?

Note that the Wilful King cannot be Antiochus IV Epiphanes since his god was Zeus and he erected an image of Zeus on the altar at the Temple. Therefore, this entire section of the prophecy concerns the distant future.

“He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed” refers to the Tribulation Period. During the seventieth seven, the judgments accompanying the seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowls will bring woes upon humanity for their sins (Revelation 6-18). “Until the time of
wrath is completed” by implication refers to the end of Israel’s rejection of the Lamb of God. During His reign, Christ will rid the earth of all rebellion and sin (1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:9-10). “What has been determined must take place.”

Bible Studies by Bob Conway

Unsealing Revelation

Experiencing Exodus

Book of James

Life of Christ

The Holy Spirit

How to Study the Bible

Other studies at Spreading Light Bible Studies

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