Who is the person that invades all those countries in Dan 11:40-45? Is this event still in the future because the Angel says ‘and at that time’ and then talks about the waking of the dead to everlasting life or shame?


I answer this in my book "Daniel, Prophet to the Nations." You should get a copy at In short, the events in Daniel 11:40-45 happened at the time of the final destruction of the Greek dynasties which followed the career of Alexander the Great. When Marc Antony and Cleopatra were killed in the aftermath of the Battle of Actium in 33 BC, the final member of the Ptolemaic Dynasty was killed, bringing to a final fulfillment the prophecy of Daniel 11:35 of the time of the end. After Daniel 11:45, the vision of Daniel flashes forward to the end times, as mentioned in my book. Daniel 12 is a vision of the final resurrection at the end of time. I am including an excerpt from my book on Daniel below which explains the details of the prophecy in Daniel 11:36-45 and the interpretation of the vision in the history of the first century BC.

John Oakes

Unlike the first thirty-five verses of Daniel eleven11, which all the commentators agree refers to the conflict between the Ptolemy’s and the Seleucids, there is virtually no agreement among the scholars about the specific interpretation of Daniel 11:36-45. To the author, this is a very curious fact, as a fairly straightforward study of the history of the Near East provides an obvious interpretation. One author has claimed that “no commentator claims to find precise fulfillment in the remainder of this chapter.” The present author would be an exception to this statement. Let the readers decide for themselves.

In a change of temporal scene similar to that which happened between Daniel 11:2 and Daniel 11:3, the vision now takes a leap forward in time. The change is signaled by the statement in Daniel 11:35, where the angel tells Daniel that the righteous should be patient, “so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time”. The end of the Greek persecutors will come at the appointed time, but the faithful Jews must be patient, allowing themselves to be refined and purified by their persecutors. The “time of the end” finds its fulfillment in Daniel 11:36-45. Beginning in Daniel 11:36, the scene fast-forwards about one hundred years (from 164 BC to 31 BC). The king of the North is now Rome, while the king of the South is now the nearly extinct Ptolemaic Dynasty. This switch may seem somewhat hard to follow, but the description of the vision about to be given will prove the point.

In Daniel 11:36-39 one may reads that: "The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. 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."

The king in this passage is Rome! It is the legs of iron in Daniel chapter two and the indescribable beast of Daniel chapter seven. In other words, in this passage, the king of the North has become Rome. How can one be confident of this identification of the king of the North in Daniel 11:36-45? Three reasons for identifying the king of the North in this passage as Rome can be mentioned. First, God is revealing to Daniel (and to us) how the persecutor of his people will be avenged. Historically, the destroyer of Greek power was Rome. Second, the description given in the passage in question fits extremely well with what is commonly known about the history, the religion and the culture of the Roman Empire. Third, the details of the prophecy fit quite well the facts about the events in 31 B.C.. extremely well.

Unquestionably, Rome “did as he pleased” throughout the Mediterranean region for several centuries. The power of Rome “exalted and magnified itself above every god,” to say the least. In fact, although Rome began with a traditional belief in a number of gods, somewhat similar to the more- familiar Greek pantheon, eventually the chief “god” of Rome came to be became Rome itself. The Romans called this god “Roma.” The people throughout the far-flung Empire of Rome literally worshiped the Roman power. From the time of Augustus on, the Roman people began to worship the emperors themselves rather than the less well-defined Roman war-god. To a large extent the Roman people abandoned the traditional gods of the past. This fits exactly the description prediction that “he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers” (v. 37). The description, “he will honor a god of fortresses,” again, is an apt description of Rome’s worship of the national god of war. What about the phrase, “He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him” (v. 39)? Again, this part of the vision fits the Roman power with an uncanny accuracy. In achieving its unprecedented world domination, Rome pursued a policy of finding powerful local rulers to act as allies in defeating whatever state it was attempting to subdue. For example, when Rome, under Pompey, defeated the Parthian Empire, the local Hasmonean Dynasty (which is the dynasty that held power in Jerusalem) was recruited in the effort. At the end of the war, the Romans left an independent client king from the Hasmonean power in charge. Through the remainder of the first century B.C. and well into the first century A.D., Roman power was largely administered through the client-kings established as allies of Rome in this way. This is how the famous king Herod, the one who attempted to kill Jesus when he was a child, came to power. He was a client-king of the Romans. This well-known Roman policy matches in an uncanny way the description, “He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price” (v. 39).

The Roman policy of expansion also involved incorporating the unfamiliar foreign gods of the conquered or the soon-to-be-conquered nations into the Roman pantheon of gods. For example, many Romans followed the cult of the Egyptian god Isis even before that Egypt nation was subdued. This explains the phrase in the vision predicting that Rome would gain power “with the help of a foreign god” (v. 39). These policies of Rome are well known to historians, but one might ask how Daniel could have known about them in 536 B.C.?

The angel continues by relating specific information about the Roman power (the king of the North).  “At the time of the end, the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships” (Daniel 11:40). In this statement, Gabriel is describing to Daniel the final end of the Ptolemaic Dynasty (the king of the South). The battle being described by the angel is the famous battle of Actium. In this conflict, which took place in the year 31 B.C., Octavian, the adopted son of Julius Caesar, fought and defeated Marc Anthony and his ally Cleopatra. The battle was fought on land (“with chariots and cavalry”), but the decisive conflict was actually a huge naval battle (“and a great fleet of ships”). This was one of the greatest naval battles in history. In the battle of Actium, the Ptolemaic power was finally broken forever. Marc Anthony committed suicide after hearing a false rumor that his lover Cleopatra had been killed. Later, after attempting and failing to win the affections of Octavian, Cleopatra committed suicide as well by exposing herself to an asp. Notice that according to the vision, this battle will occur “At the time of the end.”(v. 40) .The prophecy is exactly correct. In 31 B.C., on God’s timetable, the Greek power, as prophesied in the book of Daniel, was finally brought to an ignominious end.

However, Gabriel is not done yet. He supplies even more information about the battle and about what the Roman victor will do to follow up his victory.  "He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission. But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain (Daniel 11:40b-45)."   This is exactly what happened to Octavian after the battle of Actium! Is the Bible believer surprised at this? After the battle of Actium, Marc Mark Anthony’s army soon dissipated. King Herod, who had been an ally of Anthony, decided to humble himself before Octavian, frankly pointing out that he had been a loyal servant of Anthony, and proposing that he would be an equally faithful servant of Octavian. With the help of Herod’s mainly Jewish army, Octavian consolidated his victory by taking most of the territory of the remnant Ptolemaic Dynasty, including the rest of Palestine (“the Beautiful Land”) and Egypt, as well as the upper reaches of the Nile (the Nubians) and the coast of Africa west of Egypt (the Libyans). Actually, Octavian (later the first emperor of Rome, known as Augustus) failed to take one significant part of the former Ptolemaic territory. He did attacked the Arab territories of Edom, Moab and the Ammonites, but was unable to bring them into submission. In fact, the Romans were unable to conquer the Arabs until the reign of Trajan, well over one hundred years later. How did Daniel know this detail back in 536 B.C.? A casual look at an historical map showing the territory controlled by Rome in the time of Augustus will show that there was a very noticeable tract of unconquered territory in the area just south and east of Palestine. This is the exact territory described by Daniel five hundred years before the event.

Octavian (Augustus) was unable to complete his victory over the Arabs at least in part because he was called away to defend the empire against a renewed Parthian threat. The Parthians were a reconstituted Persian power. This is the “report from the east” that Gabriel tells Daniel about. Historical records show that when Octavian heard about the threats from the Parthians, he dropped his campaign against the Arabs and immediately sent his armies to defend against attack from the east. On his way to fight the Parthians, Octavian passed through Palestine, pitching “his royal tents between the seas” (i.e., between the Mediterranean and the Dead Seas) in the Holy Land. The skeptics who want to avoid the very idea that Daniel was a miraculously inspired writer have come up with the spurious claim that the book was written in would claim that Daniel was written in about 160 B.C. They do so in an attempt to prove that an all-powerful God did not inspire the book. This explanation, although inconsistent with many facts about the book, would at least explain how Daniel 11:2-35 could have been written, because it describes events which occurred before 160 B.C. The argument completely falls apart, however, in light of Daniel 11:36-45. How could the supposed author in 160 B.C. have been able to produce detailed information about the battle of Actium and its aftermath? These events did not occur for another 130 years. How could the uninspired author have been privy to such detailed information about the end of the Greek persecuting power? The answer, of course, is that he could not have known about the battle unless, by inspiration, he had been given a vision from God: —the same God who chose to bring the kings of the South to judgment through the power of Rome.

The second half of Daniel 11:45 provides the perfect ending to the historical/prophetic part of this great vision. God tells his people concerning the Roman power which that brought into judgment the kings of the South, God declares, “Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.” God tells his people to bear in mind that the Roman power will be judged as well. There is an unmistakable parallel between Daniel 11:35, describing the fate of the Greek power, and Daniel 11:45, predicting the downfall of Rome. The great persecutor, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, went the same route as the Greek power which that he represented. God is telling his people that the great Roman persecutors,— Nero, Domitian, Diocletian, and all the other Roman princes— will go the same way as well. They and their ungodly power will come to an end, and no one (especially their almighty ‘god of war’) will be able to help them. Do not be afraid; remain righteous no matter what the circumstances, because God rules the nations!

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