*** I, DANIEL ***
Robert F. Riggs
December 28, 1997
The opinions and interpretations expressed in this book are
strictly those of the author, and do not represent official
opinions or interpretations of any agency of the Baha'i
As far as the author is concerned, the reader is permitted to
make duplicate copies of this work and to distribute them,
provided (1) that he/she makes no attempt to obtain a copyright,
and (2) that he/she does not realize a monetary profit, and (3)
that the ENTIRE work, including the DISCLAIMER and this FOREWORD,
is reproduced and distributed, and (4) that no alterations and/or
additions to the text are to be made without the author's
approval. Sections of the text of this work up to 1,000 words in
length may be quoted and/or reprinted for the purposes of
criticism or commentary without the express permission of the
author, provided the source(s) of the quote(s) is/are given.
In BAHA'I NEWS, No. 77, September 1933, Shoghi Effendi tells us
that only the words of 'Abdu'l-Baha [regarding biblical exegesis]
are truly authoritative, but that if his statements cannot be
discovered, we are free to tentatively accept the opinions of
Table of Contents
The "Prophet's-Eye" View
A Guide for the Perplexed"
Chronology of Events in Daniel
1. The Four Eras of Babylon . . . . 2:32-35
2. The Seven Times . . . . . . . 4:15-34
3. The Four Beasts . . . . . . . 7:2-24
4. A Little Horn . . . . . . . . 8:3-25, 9:25
5. Gabriel's Calendar . . . . . . (9:2) 9:22-27
6. The Twenty-one Days . . . . . . 10:5-14
7. From Cyrus to Philopater . . . . 10:21, 11:1-20
8. Antiochus IV Epiphanes, "The God
Manifest" . . . . . . . . 11:21-33
9. Napoleon, "The Sultan Kabir" . . . 11:35-45
10. Israel Delivered . . . . . . . 12:1-13
Appendix: Changes to The Apocalypse Unsealed
'Abdu'l-Baha's Explanation of
the 1335 Days
The Two Lambs of the Baha'i
The Beast That Was, Is Not, Yet Is
The Four Decrees to Rebuild the
This essay does not begin to exhaust the wealth of meaning in the
Book of Daniel. For one thing, it does not address the spiritual
teachings in the Book, even though they are as pertinent today as
when written. Nor does it review the history or Teachings of the
Baha'i Faith, which we believers accept as the working out of the
Divine Will at the "time of the end."
We will not dwell on such mystical esoterica as number symbolism,
gematria, astrological symbolism, and the like, except where
minimally necessary. These subjects have already been addressed
in a companion work, The Apocalypse Unsealed, to which the
interested reader is referred. This is not meant to imply that
there is nothing to gain by applying these tools to Daniel. To
the contrary, this writer is convinced that there is a vast
amount of mystical esoterica contained in Daniel awaiting some
During the research for I, Daniel, certain facts and Tablets
were discovered that have caused this writer to reconsider his
interpretations of a few passages in the Apocalypse. These are
addressed in an Appendix to the present book.
Certain general observations might be made here. Daniel and
Revelation are the two great apocalyptic works in Judeo-Christian
literature. The Book of Daniel is directed primarily to the
Jewish believer, whereas the Book of Revelation is directed
primarily to the Christian believer. Both Books are profound,
both Books are glorious; both Books are Divine Works; both Books
confirm Baha'u'llah as the Latter Day Redeemer of the entire
R. F. R.
Flatlander is a creature who must exist and act on a plane
instead of in a volume. He has a map with the usual east-west,
north-south axes, but he is not aware of an up-down axis. He has
freedom of will, whatever that may be, and is conscious of the
point "here-now." He has a mind and can form concepts of space
and time, but he is severely limited by the fact that he cannot
get a view from above his flat plane of movement and vision.
Consequently, he has serious doubts that anyone can predict the
future course of events beyond what can be inferred from
observing what is in one's immediate environment.
We humans, being in a superior world of four dimensions [three
spatial dimensions plus time], can observe Flatlander from above
as he makes choices and moves from place to place in Flatland.
But, like Flatlander, we four-dimensional humans are addicted to
making concepts and theories about ourselves and the universe,
and it occurs to one of us to make a sketch of Flatlander's
The location of Flatlander in his world is plotted horizontally,
as it should be. But how do we show Flatlander's movements in
our sketch? The most elegant solution is to show time as a third
dimension projecting vertically out of the page. Flatlander's
movements in space-time then trace out a three-dimensional curve
called a "world line," an example being shown in the figure. In
our model of Flatlander's movements, as he moves horizontally
north, south, east or west, he moves "vertically" in time.
Now, in our mental experiment, let us suppose that somehow we
observers living in our four-dimensional world have the ability
to observe Flatlander's world line extending into his future as
well as into his past. We get a "snap shot," so to speak, of
every movement that Flatlander has made or will make, even
though, as we have said, Flatlander has been gifted with freedom
of will. We might also observe how his world line interacts in
time and space with those other citizens of Flatland, observe
important epochs, catastrophes, repeating patterns of events, and
This "prophet's-eye" view may give us some imperfect notion of
how a true prophet, having access to a divine world of many
higher dimensions unknown to us, might be able to observe the
future course of human events, even though each one of us in our
own contingent world of only four dimensions seems to have, to
some extent, freedom of will.
^ / north Flatlander dies
| / .
| / . future
| / . time
- - - - > east . ^
_ _ _ _ _._ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ | _ /
/ HERE-NOW | / /
/_ _ _ _ _._ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _:_/ north
east --> . |
. past time
The method this investigator has used in interpreting Daniel may
be described as "pragmatic intuition": try out various plausible
ideas until you find the one that works. Since many worthier
scholars have failed to unseal the secrets of Daniel, one may
conclude that routine scholarship probably cannot unseal
prophetic writings. Recourse might be made to the method of
intuitive discovery that is familiar to creative scientists and
artists; through it we might leap beyond what can be reached
through routine scholarship.
If this essay succeeds, it is not because the author has any
special abilities at prophecy-reading, nor does it suggest that
he has had any extraordinary divine assistance. Instead, it
means that the writer may have stumbled upon some truth, and
anyone with adequate patience and with a penchant for historical
research can achieve, and probably improve on, the result.
A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED
It will be necessary to define certain terms that will be used in
the following pages. Most of them have been developed and used
by other biblical commentators and scholars with various degrees
First, we must understand what is meant by the "archetype of a
number." In the language of ancient number symbolism, any number
will have an archetype between "one" and "nine." It is found by
continuously adding the digits in a number until one digit
remains. For example, the number 1269 has an archetype of
"nine"; since 1 + 2 + 6 + 9 = 18, and (continuing the process) 1
+ 8 = nine. Another example: the archetype of 258 is "six";
since 2 + 5 + 8 = 15, and (continuing) 1 + 5 = six. The simplest
cases are "decadal successors" like 7, 70 , 700, 7000, etc., all
of which have an archetype of seven. Similarly, 3, 30, 300,
3000, etc. all have an archetype of three. These last two
examples will be used in the explanation of Daniel 9.
Next, we have to know the meanings of certain temporal terms:
A "prophetic day" usually means a calendar year. Most
biblical scholars justify this definition by quoting
Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6, in which it is said that a
day of the Lord is equal to a year. But, by recognizing
that a number-archetype may be involved, "One prophetic
day" may equal 1 year, or 1 decade, or 1 century, and so
on. It behooves us to consider whether some decadal
successor of "one" might be meant in its particular
An "evening and a morning" is taken as an exact
"prophetic day." The justification for this definition
is that it works well in the one place it is encountered:
A "prophetic week" usually means seven calendar years.
But, again, if "seven prophetic days" are intended, it
might mean 7 years, or 7 decades, or even 7 centuries.
In the text of Daniel chapter 9, it will be convenient to
emphasize this fact by retaining the correct translation
of the Hebrew word "shabua" as "seven."
A "sabbatic year" is a special term and is equal to
7 decades (i.e., 70 years). This definition is arbitrary
and is equal to the span of time of the Jewish exile in
A "prophetic year" is 360 calendar days. Again, this
definition is arbitrary but sometimes useful. It is
based on the 360-day calendar of ancient Mesopotamia and
Egypt. The use of the 360-day calendar in biblical
allegory can be inferred by correlating the dates in
Genesis 7:11,24 and 8:4.
A "time" is taken as 360 lunar years. The justification
for this definition is (1) the use of a lunar calendar in
the ancient Near East, and (2) allowing a year for each
day of the 360-day "prophetic year."
A lunar year is the time required for twelve lunations.
It is equal to 354.367 days.
A solar year is the time between equinoxes or solstices.
It is equal to 365.242 days.
The word "times" is taken as 2-"times," that is 720 lunar
years. The justification for this definition is the dual
form of the Hebrew word in Daniel 12:7 in which "times"
is clearly 2-"times."
A "season" is taken as 90 prophetic days, one-fourth of a
Anyone who has compared different translations of biblical texts
for the first time will receive a rude awakening. Translations
are generally inconsistent and often disagree on important
particulars. The special case of Daniel is even worse than most,
since much of the Hebrew is obscure and may have suffered some
distortions along the way.
The method that this writer has used to minimize this problem was
to compare several translations, word by word. When serious
disagreements occurred, the writer chose the translation that
seemed to be the most consistent with the rest of the Book and
with the historical scenario implied by the prophecy. On rare
occasions, it was found necessary to "clean up" the result by
rewording sections to make them more readable, hopefully without
straying from the meaning of the original translations. The
translations most used were The New English Bible, (1970), The
Revised English Bible, (1989), The New International Version,
(1983), The Revised Standard Version, (1951), and the King
James Version, (1611).
For whatever it is worth, this writer usually, but not always,
found the New English Bible to be the easiest to correlate with
historical events. It is noteworthy that both English Bibles
were translated by scholars drawn from various British
universities without denominational considerations. Also, in the
words of Daniel Ebor, Chairman of the (multi-denominational)
Joint Committee in charge of the translation of the New English
... There is probably no member of the panel who has not
found himself obliged to give up, perhaps with lingering
regret, a cherished view about the meaning of this or
that difficult passage, but in the end the panel accepted
corporate responsibility for the interpretation set forth
in the translation adopted.
CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS IN DANIEL
The following Table should be referenced frequently during the
reading of the text.
EVENT CHRISTIAN MUSLIM EPOCH IN
SOLAR LUNAR DANIEL
BCE: BH: [BH in the Islamic
[pre- [pre- calendar denotes "Before
Christian] Islamic] the Hegira--the exodus
------------------- from Mecca to Medina.]
Nebuchadnezzar 605-562 "Golden" Era (2:3)
reigns in Chaldea
Nebuchadnezzar 602 1261 Begin 2520 years (4:23)
Cyrus conquers 550 Longer Horn (8:20)
Cyrus conquers 537 Begin "Silver" Era
Artaxerxes' Decree 457 Begin 49 years (9:25)
Begin 2300 years (8:13)
Jerusalem rebuilt 408 End 49 years (9:25)
Begin 434 years (9:25)
Alexander conquers 331 Great Horn (8:5)
Persia Begin "Bronze" era
Begin Time of Troubles
House of Ptolemy 323 (11:5)
Ptolemy Soter 318
House of Seleucus 301 (11:5)
Beginning of 220
Antiochus Epiphanes 175 First Little Horn (8:9)
Antiochus sacks 168 (11:28)
Begin Maccabean 167 (11:38)
Antiochus massacres 164 First Abomination
Jews, desecrates the of Desolation (11:31)
Temple for a second
time, replaces Jehovah
Antiochus 'broken' 164 (8:25)
End of Maccabean 142 End of Wrath (8:19)
driven out of Judea
Probable Birth of c. 6-4
Traditional Birth of 1
Ministry of Jesus 27-34 End 434 years (9:25)
The Crucifixion 34 End 490 years (9:24)
Begin 35 years. (9:26)
Sacrileges in the 40-70
69 Middle of Seven.
End 35 years. (9:27)
Jerusalem falls to 70 (9:27)
Titus. Daily Sacrifice
Christianity firmly 70-104 Strong Covenant (9:27)
Bar Cochba's revolt 132-5 Author of Desolation
Hadrian replaces c. 136 Second Abomination
Jehovah of Desolation (9:27)
Muhammad's first 613 11-12 Begin 1290 years (12:11)
AH: [AH in the Islamic
[Islamic] calendar denotes "After
--------- the Hegira--the exodus
from Mecca to Medina.]
The Hegira 622 1 Begin the 1260 years
Islam firmly 622-8 Begin 1335 years (12:12)
Babylon falls to 635 Begin "Iron" era (2:40)
Jerusalem falls to 637 Islam becomes new South
House of Umayyah usurps 661 First ten-horned Beast
House of Abbas usurps 750 Second 10-horned Beast
As-Saffa rules Islam 750-4 Second Little Horn (7:8)
Fall of House of Abbas 861
The First Crusade 1095 Christendom becomes new
Islam takes Akka, 1291
Napoleon invades 1798 Begin Time of the End
Latter Day King of the
Napoleon defeated at 1799 (11:45)
Napoleon exiled to 1815
Birth of Baha'u'llah 1817 Appearance of Michael
Birth of the Bab 1819
Napoleon dies 1821 (11:45)
Edict of Toleration 1844 1260 End of the Jewish exile
End of the 1260 years
End of the 2520 years
End of the 2300 years
Declaration of the Bab 1844 End of the Abomination
of Desolation (7:12)
Begin 450 years (?)
The Bab imprisoned in 1847 Begin 21-years (10:13)
Martyrdom of the Bab 1850
First public 1863 1279 End of the 1290 years
Declaration of (12:11)
Baha'u'llah exiled 1863 (12:5)
The Lawh-i-Sultan 1868 Michael aids the Bab
of Baha'u'llah End of the 21 years.
imprisoned at Akka
Ascension of 1892
Caliphate abolished 1924 End of the "Iron" era
The Nazi holocaust 1935-45 Time of Distress (12:11)
The founding of modern 1948 Israel delivered (12:1)
Baha'i Faith firmly 1957-1963 End of the 1335 years
THE FOUR ERAS OF BABYLON
In Chapter 2 of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar II, the king of Chaldea
(neo-Babylonia), has a dream and challenges his 'wise men:
magicians, exorcists, sorcerers, and Chaldeans' both to describe
and interpret his dream or to suffer death. None of the wise men
summoned before the king were able to meet the challenge, and
Nebuchadnezzar, in a fit of rage, ordered the execution of all
the wise men of Babylon. Daniel, being a 'wise man,' was among
those threatened with execution. But with the help of God,
Daniel was able to reveal the king's dream, was thereby to save
the lives of his colleagues and to win other favors.
Nebuchadnezzar's dream was of an image, 'huge and dazzling, . . .
fearful to behold':
32 The head of the image was of fine gold, its
breasts and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of
33 Its legs of iron, its feet part iron and part
34 While (Nebuchadnezzar) looked, a stone was hewn
from a mountain, not by human hands; it struck the
image on its feet of part iron and part clay and
35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver,
and the gold, were all shattered into fragments and
were swept away like chaff before the wind from a
threshing floor in summer, until no trace of them
remained. But the stone which struck the image grew
into a great mountain filling the whole earth.
In verse 28, Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that the dream reveals
what is to be at the 'end of the age.' In later verses, Daniel
interprets the dream as four 'kingdoms,' the kingdom of gold
referring to that of Nebuchadnezzar himself; the silver kingdom
would replace Nebuchadnezzar's but would be inferior to his; the
third or bronze kingdom would have sovereignty 'over the whole
Still later, the fourth kingdom would be as 'strong as iron,'
breaking and shattering the whole earth. But the kingdom of
'iron mixed with clay' would be a divided kingdom, partly strong
and partly brittle. The 'stone hewn from a mountain, not by
human hands' refers to a final kingdom to be established by God
that would shatter all the other kingdoms, while it shall itself,
It is interesting that Nebuchadnezzar's dream was delivered in
the metaphor of the traditional four "eras" of man: gold,
silver, bronze, and iron, a canon held by various philosophers
and theologians of antiquity. In Hebrew mystical terminology, a
"day of creation," a "Lord's Day," "era," or a "world" referred
to phases of progressive revelation. <1> The succession of Days
or eras represents different cultures with different customs and
religions, what today's historians would call civilizations.
There is also an astrological connotation of an "age," related to
the gradual shifting of the stellar constellations of the zodiac
throughout the course of millennia, called the precession of the
equinoxes by astronomers. Daniel lived at a time when the sun was
entering the constellation PISCES at the SPRING equinox, and the
constellation Virgo at the Fall equinox; that is, they were
entering the astrological age of PISCES-Virgo. Today, we are
entering the succeeding astrological age of AQUARIUS-Leo. Thus,
in astrological terms, our own time is the "end of the age."
This sometimes bewildering subject is discussed at length by de
Santillana in Hamlet's Mill. <2>
The metals have qualities descriptive of the eras or
civilizations: Gold is the most precious metal, brilliant and
desirable for its symbolic or "spiritual" attributes. Silver is
also precious but less so, and less desired for its spiritual
attributes. Bronze is a strong, blended metal, less desired than
either silver or gold, but an important metal of war and
commerce. Finally, iron is the strongest of metals, the metal of
the sword, least desired of the four for its symbolic or
We can, indeed, identify four eras or civilizations in Chaldea,
beginning with Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom, sixth century BCE.
Chaldea was the heir and participant in the civilization of
Mesopotamia, the primal region of Chaldea. To Chaldea, Sumer,
Assyria, and old Babylonia we owe the invention of the first
practical system of writing that eventually led to our modern
alphabet, the wheel, origins of scientific mathematics and
astronomy (via the pseudoscience of astrology), the idea of a
social system based upon a written code of law, and an elected
bicameral legislative system of government.
The religion of Chaldea had its beginnings in remote antiquity,
perhaps more than five thousand years ago. It involved a rich
complex of ritual and myth that has profoundly affected the
religions of the West -- especially Judaism and Christianity.
The Book of Genesis has many parallels in Chaldean literature --
the Creation story, Paradise, the Flood, the Cain-Abel rivalry,
the Babel of Tongues. So, too, does the concept of a personal
God, the concept that man was created primarily to serve God, and
the concept that God's creative power is in His Word. From the
Babylonian Captivity, the Jews acquired chants, such as the Kol
Nidre, that are still used today. The Christians acquired, among
other things, the rite of Baptism. <3>
Nebuchadnezzar's capital, Babylon, was the greatest and most
impressive city on earth, with massive walls, imposing temples,
and soaring towers. Some historians believe one of these soaring
towers, completed by Nebuchadnezzar, the three-hundred-foot-high
ziggurat of Etemananki, to be the fabulous "Tower of Babel" that
has inspired poets, artists, and mystics for millennia. Another
architectural triumph of Nebuchadnezzar was the "hanging
gardens," considered to be one of the seven wonders of the
ancient world. Babylon was visited by the Greek historian
Herodotus in the fifth century BCE, who described it as a city
"with such magnificence that none other can approach it." The
defensive towers that punctuated the walls of Babylon were so
broad across the top that there was "room for a four-horse
chariot to turn."
The golden era of Chaldea was short lived. The rulers of
Chaldea who followed Nebuchadnezzar were weak and vacillating.
The last king, Nabonidus, engrossed in antiquarian researches,
incurred the wrath of many of his compatriots by tampering with
established religious beliefs and customs. His weakened kingdom
was easily conquered by the brilliant warrior-statesman Cyrus the
Great of Media-Persia in 539 BCE, who had a well-deserved
reputation for respecting the traditions of those he conquered.
We identify the Medeo-Persian period of Chaldea as its silver
era. The religion of Cyrus was Zoroastrianism, and while Cyrus
was scrupulous in preserving the religious traditions of
Chaldea, it was inevitable that Zoroastrianism would make
inroads into the region. It has been claimed by many scholars
that some of the beliefs of Zoroastrianism have also made their
way into Judaism and Christianity.
While much of its capital Babylon was destroyed by Cyrus, it
retained its identity as a great city as confirmed by Herodotus
and others of the time. Nevertheless, Chaldean culture was on
the decline. An insurrection by Babylon in 521 BCE led to the
destruction of the walls of Babylon by Darius, and, by the
fourth century BCE, the cultural identity of Chaldea was altered
The Medeo-Persian period of Chaldea was disrupted by the
conquests of Alexander the Great in 331 BCE, the Macedonian-Greek
conqueror of the known world whom we will meet again in another
chapter. By Alexander's time, Babylon had become the winter
capital of the Medeo-Persian kings, less opulent than the
ceremonial capital of Persepolis and largely in ruins. In fact,
Alexander had intended to rebuild the great ziggurat of
Babylon [/Etemananki] as a symbol of his conquest, but the task
proved to be too difficult and the project was abandoned.
Chaldea under Alexander and his Seleucid successors continued
The Seleucids, too, soon went into decline. They withdrew from
much of Chaldea and were, in turn, conquered by Rome. Chaldea
then became a region of contention between the Roman Empire and a
revived Persian empire under the Parthians and the Sassanians.
Chaldea was eventually recovered by Persia but continued its
cultural decline. Throughout this chaotic period, Chaldea
retained a large population, canals and dikes were kept in
repair, and commerce and architecture flourished. But in spite
of the tenacious economic vitality of the region, the reins of
government were held by the "vilest tyranny of sots, drunkards,
tyrants, lunatics, savages, and abandoned women. . ." <2>
The Hellenistic period of Chaldea, initiated by Alexander, was
continued by his Seleucid heirs and, intermittently, by Rome. We
identify the Hellenistic (Graeco-Roman) period as the bronze era
of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, roughly a millennium.
The culture and belief system of Hellenism had its impact on the
entire region conquered by Alexander and his Hellenistic
successors. The pagan religion of the Hellenistic civilization
persisted for many centuries, even after Christianity had become
the official religion of the Roman empire in the fourth century
CE. And while it can be argued that Roman Christianity made some
inroads into parts of Chaldea, the long-term effects were
The iron era of Chaldea was ushered in by the Islamic conquests
of the seventh century CE. The invincible Arabian warriors swept
over the known world like a "plague of locusts." Most of
Chaldea was in the hands of the Muslim caliphate by 633.
Jerusalem fell in 637, and by 644 most of Persia and its great
horde of treasures had been taken.
But the caliphate (successorship) of Muhammad contained a fatal
flaw: there was no written document defining the Islamic
successorsip, only a deathbed statement by Muhammad declaring
the young and inexperienced 'Ali to be his Caliph. The result
was a permanent and bitter split between the two major factions
of Islam -- the Sunni and the Shi'ih -- that has persisted to
this day. The Sunni faction has promoted a caliphate based on
apparent capability and experience; the Shi'ih faction has
promoted a caliphate based on 'Ali's descendants -- the Imamate.
Thus the Muslim empire proved to be 'brittle," like 'iron mixed
with clay.' By the end of Caliph Harun ar-Rashid's reign in 809
CE, the Muslim empire had passed its zenith and had broken into
Under early Islam, the region of old Chaldea had a resurgence of
prosperity reminiscent of the era of Alexander's empire. The
city of Babylon continued to decay and became a ruin, but the
capital of the Muslim empire was placed in the region of
Chaldea, briefly at Damascus and finally at Baghdad -- not far
from the ruins of Babylon.
During the reign of the 'fourth kingdom' and as the iron era
draws to a close in Daniel's interpretation, the final 'kingdom'
of divine origin is represented by a 'stone hewn from a
mountain.' A mountain has often represented a religion in sacred
literature, while a stone may represent Truth. In ancient times,
and even in some areas of today's world, "stones from heaven"
(meteorites) have become objects of reverence. The Ka'bih at
Mecca still contains such a stone that was revered even before
The symbol is appropriate and describes the Baha'i Revelation
(stone) that was hewn from the Faith (mountain) of the Bab. The
stone struck the weakest foot of the Muslim world -- the iron
mixed with clay -- that symbolizes the Shi'ih tradition centered
in modern Iran. Daniel goes on to prophesy that this stone will,
itself, become a great mountain that will shatter all the other
'kingdoms' and will endure 'forever.' The meaning is clear: the
Baha'i Faith will inevitably become a great religion that will
transcend all others, both in spiritual power and in duration.
Notes for Chapter One
1. Ref 10
2. Ref 14
3. Ref 15
4. Ref 2, p. 639
THE SEVEN TIMES
Chapter 4 of Daniel purports to be a letter from king
Nebuchadnezzar 'to all peoples and nations of every language
living in the whole world,' exalting and glorifying the Most High
God, the Everlasting One, the King of heaven. The background for
this outpouring of praise begins with another dream of
Nebuchadnezzar that only Daniel can interpret for him.
Nebuchadnezzar first dreams of a tree of great height at the
center of the earth, visible to earth's farthest bounds, yielding
food for all, and shelter for beasts and birds. This is followed
by another vision in which a Watcher, a Holy One, comes down from
heaven and commands that the tree be hewn down, its branches and
foliage stripped, but commands that the stump and roots be left
in the ground.
15 ... So, tethered with an iron ring, let him eat
his fill of the lush grass; let him be drenched with
the dew of heaven and share the lot of the beasts in
their pasture; let his mind cease to be a man's
mind, and let him be given the mind of a beast.
16 Let seven times pass over him. The issue has
been determined by the Watchers and the sentence
pronounced by the Holy Ones.
17 Thereby the living will know that the Most High
is sovereign in the kingdom of men; he gives the
kingdom to whom he will and he may set over it the
humblest of mankind. [New English Bible]
Daniel's interpretation of the dream is that the tree represents
Nebuchadnezzar. The power is to be taken from Nebuchadnezzar, he
will be banished from society, will live with the wild beasts,
feed on grass, and be rained on until seven times pass over
25 ... Seven times will pass over you until you
have learnt that the Most High is sovereign over the
kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.
26 The command was given to leave the stump of the
tree with its roots. By this you may know that from the
time you acknowledge the sovereignty of heaven your rule
The term 'seven times' is repeated thrice in this chapter before
the events indicated by the dream happened to Nebuchadnezzar.
The trigger that caused his downfall was a later boast: of the
great city of Babylon that he had built and of his own mighty
power and majesty. A voice from heaven immediately warns him
that he will be banished, etc., and that seven times will pass
over him until he has learnt that the Most High is the true
Sovereign of all mankind.
The events prophesied by Daniel then occurred; Nebuchadnezzar
was banished, ate grass like oxen, etc.. At the end of the
34 At the end of the appointed time, I,
Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes to heaven and
returned to my right mind.
after which Nebuchadnezzar gives praise and glory to the Most
High for the restoration of his sanity and his kingdom.
Nebuchadnezzar's spell of insanity is interesting in its own
right because it warns us of the folly of arrogance before the
Lord of the Universe. But the emphasis on the 'seven times'
seems to indicate that the revelation has a hidden meaning that
should be investigated.
As usual, Daniel gives us everything we need to date the
beginning of the seven times. Daniel 2:1 gives the second year
of Nebuchadnezzar's reign as the date when Nebuchadnezzar began
to have troubling dreams. This would be the year 603 BCE. The
date for the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar's madness is given in
4:29 as "after twelve months." There is no other date given
between verses 2:1 and 4:29. Thus the beginning of the count of
the seven times is 602 BCE.
As explained in the Introduction, a "time" is 360 lunar years.
Seven times is therefore equal to 2520 lunar years or 2445 solar
years. This is the span of time between 602 BCE and the Edict of
Toleration in 1844 CE. The Edict of Toleration permitted the
Jewish people to resettle the holy land after almost eighteen
centuries of exile, and was the prerequisite necessary for the
re-establishment of Israel as a modern nation. More will be said
about this Edict in later chapters.
Another curious thing about 'seven times' is that it is twice the
'time, times and half a time' (3 1/2 times) that will be found
elsewhere in Daniel and Revelation. This is 1260 lunar years.
The year 1260 AH in the Muslim calendar corresponds to 1844 CE in
the Christian calendar. In other words, the Muslim calendar
starts half way between Nebuchadnezzar's spell of insanity
and the Edict of Toleration.
The Watchers and Holy Ones are also interesting. In certain
ancient mystical writings, the Watchers and Holy Ones, (the
"Household of the Upper World") are listed as Uriel, Raphael,
Michael, Zerachiel, Gabriel, and Remiel. Four of these Angels
are represented as 'Faces on the four sides of the Deity':
Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Uriel. <2> Only two of these are
named in Daniel: Michael and Gabriel. In later chapters of this
book, the case will be made that Michael and Gabriel correspond
to Baha'u'llah and the Bab at the time of the end. <3>
Notes for Chapter Two
1. The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia.
2. Ref. 10, p. 52
3. According to Judeo-Christian mysticism, Gabriel is the
Archangel of Yesod (Foundation). Historically, the appearance
of Gabriel has often accompanied an important announcement of a
new 'foundation'; that is, the beginning of a new era of human
events. For example, Gabriel was the one who delivered the
Revelation to Muhammad on Mount Hira that He was to be the
Messenger to mankind. In Luke 1, it is Gabriel who delivers the
message to Zechariah that he will be the father of John the
Baptist, and to Mary that she will be the mother of Jesus.
Michael is the Archangel of Hod (Glory), and is associated in
sacred literature with victory. For example, Michael is the
Victor over the forces of the dragon in Revelation 12.
A modern Jungian psychologist would call Gabriel and Michael
'archetypes of the collective unconscious.' We will have to
await our own encounters with the invisible realm to find out if
Michael and Gabriel exist literally, or figuratively, or both.
Ancient mystical esoterica is a vast study unto itself. We
prefer to leave the exploration of that maze to experts. But the
"four sides of the Deity" suggests an astrological connotation:
the four sides of the Deity may correspond to the four corners of
the "square earth," that is, the four principal directions of the
cosmos. If so, Michael and Gabriel may stand watch over the
equinoxes, while Raphael and Uriel may stand watch over the
solstices. The equinoxes of the new astrological age we are now
entering are in the signs Leo and Aquarius. In reference 1, we
find that these two signs probably correspond to Baha'u'llah and
the Bab. Raphael and Uriel would then stand watch over Taurus
and Flying Eagle (Scorpio), the signs of 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi
THE FOUR BEASTS
These visions appeared to Daniel in the first year of Belshazzar,
the (caretaker?) king of Babylon, as Daniel lay in his bed:
2 ... I, Daniel ... saw a great sea churned up by
the four winds of heaven,
3 And the four huge beasts coming out of the sea,
each one different from the others.
4 The first was like a lion but had eagle's wings.
I watched while its wings were plucked off and it
was lifted from the ground and made to stand on two
feet like a man.
Daniel's vision begins with the sea of humanity, 'churned up' by
the forces of heaven. Great movements and nations are to result
from this churning, each symbolized by a 'beast' with different
The lion with eagle's wings was a symbol used by the Assyrian
kings. But Assyria was conquered by an alliance of the
Chaldeans and the Medes near the end of the seventh century BCE,
thereby initiating the Chaldean (neo-Babylonian) empire. The
lion became a symbol prominent in Chaldean art, now without
wings. The two "feet" of the "plucked lion" were Chaldea and
5 Then I saw another, a second beast, like a bear.
It was half crouching and had three ribs in its
mouth, between its teeth. the command was given:
'Up, gorge yourself with flesh.'
The bear is an inhabitant of primitive wilderness areas, is
slow-moving but powerful. Its attributes describe Media-Persia
before she undertook the conquest of the Near East. Situated in
a rugged and undeveloped region, Media (soon to be called
Media-Persia) was considered a poor empire without real wealth.
The bear is half crouching in Daniel's vision because, although
considered dangerous, Media-Persia did not appear desirous of
attacking Chaldea or any other power in the Near east. The
dangerous aspect of Media-Persia is apparent from a look at a
political map of the time that shows Chaldea and Lydia, the
other great powers of the region, beneath the "jaws"
of the bear. It was only after an unwarranted and ill-advised
attack upon Media-Persia by King Croesus of Lydia in 546 BCE that
the slow-moving bear became a determined aggressor. <1> Seven
years after its annexation of Lydia, Media-Persia conquered
Chaldea; after another fourteen years, she conquered Egypt. The
three ribs in the bear's jaws represent the three great kingdoms
conquered by Media-Persia: Lydia, Chaldea, and Egypt.
Following the death of Darius the Mede, who had suffered a
humiliating defeat by the Greeks in 490 BCE, Xerxes, the son of
Darius, kept a slave by his side at the dinner table whose job it
was to whisper, "Master, remember the Athenians." In 480 BCE,
Xerxes undertook a punitive invasion of Greece to avenge his
father's defeat. Thus the command to "gorge yourself with flesh"
was given by Xerxes to his vast army. Nevertheless, the invasion
of Greece ended in a second disastrous failure.
6 After this as I gazed I saw another, a beast like
a leopard with four wings on its back; this creature
had four heads, and it was invested with sovereign
The leopard is descriptive of the empire of Alexander the Great:
poised, ready to leap, swift-moving, and highly successful in
capturing its prey.
Alexander, in his "lair" of Macedonia, was poised, ready to leap
onto Asia in 335 BCE. Behind him he had four great victories
("wings") in Europe -- Thessaly, Thrace, Illyria and Thebes.
These four victories, achieved in only one year, had set the
stage for four more incredible victories in Asia, achieved in
only three years -- Granicus, Issus, Tyre and Gaugamela. These
four victories, corresponding to the four wings of victory of the
leopard in Daniel 7:6, achieved the capture of the entire Persian
A "head" is that upon which a crown is placed -- that is, a
dominion. The four heads of the leopard correspond to the four
dominions that were established upon the death of Alexander:
those of Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy.
7 Next in my visions of the night I saw a fourth
beast, dreadful and grisly, exceedingly strong, with
great iron teeth and bronze claws. It crunched and
devoured, and trampled underfoot all that was left. It
differed from all the beasts which preceded it in
having ten horns.
8 While I was considering the horns I saw another
horn, a little one, springing up among them, and
three of the first horns were uprooted to make room
for it. And in that horn were eyes like the eyes of
a man, and a mouth that spoke proud words.
In later verses, Daniel receives further information regarding
the beast with ten horns that improves Daniel's understanding,
23 ... The fourth beast signifies a fourth kingdom
which shall appear upon the earth. It shall differ
from the other kingdoms and shall devour the whole
earth, tread it down and crush it.
24 As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten
kings shall arise, and another shall arise after
them; he shall be different from the former ones and
shall put down three kings. . .
The fourth beast is the Muslim empire, while the ten horns refer
to its rulers. The Muslim empire will combine the attributes of
military power (iron teeth) and economic greed (bronze claws).
A 'horn' is a "handle"; that is, a name. The ten horns represent
names of the leaders of the Usurpers of the caliphate
(Successorship) to Muhammad.
The first of these Usurpers was the House of Umayyah.
Abu-Sufyan, an idolater from Mecca, was the shrewd and infamous
leader of the Umayyad clan, and was the driving force behind the
usurpation of the Islamic caliphate from 'Ali, the rightful heir,
in 661 CE.
There were fifteen leaders of the Umayyah, beginning with
Abu-Sufyan. But there were only ten names among these leaders,
since several of these were repeated. The unrepeated names were:
Abu-Sufyan, Mu'awiya, Yazid, Marwan, 'Abdu'l-Malik, al-Walid,
Sulayman, Umar, Hisham, and Ibraham.
Mu'awiya, the son of Abu-Sufyan, was the Caliph who introduced
the insidious practice of fabricating traditions ascribed to
Muhammad, maligning and denigrating 'Ali. Through his direction,
several minions were bribed into corrupting and distorting Muslim
doctrine, text, belief and practice. <2>
Following their fall from power in 750 CE, one Umayyad, 'Abd
al-Rahman, escaped to Andalusia (Spain) where he set up another
Umayyad dynasty in 756 CE, usually called the "Cordoban
caliphate." The pattern of ten horns followed the House of
Umayyah to Spain. There were eighteen neo-Umayyad Caliphs of the
Cordoban caliphate, but, again, with only ten unrepeated names:
'Abd al-Rahman, Hisham, Hakam, Muhammad, Munzir, Abdullah, Hijab,
al-Mansur, 'Abdu'l Malik, al-Mahdi, and Sulayman. The Cordoban
caliphate came to its end in 1031 CE.
The beast with ten horns is a subject of Revelation 12, in which
it is revealed that the beast also has seven heads. The seven
heads are the seven dominions that were ruled by the Umayyah:
Syria, Persia, Egypt, Africa, Arabia, Andalusia, and Transoxania.
The fall of the House of Umayyah came at the hand of another
tyrant: the House of 'Abbas. Oddly enough, the House of 'Abbas
also had ten 'horns,' from their usurpation of power in 750 CE
until their loss of sovereignty to the Turks in 861 CE:
As-Saffa, al-Mansur, al-Mahdi, al-Hadi, ar-Rashid, al-Amin,
al-Ma'mun, al-Mu'tasim, al-Wathiq, and al-Mutawakkil. <3> While
the Umayyad dynasty was founded in Arabia, the Abbasid dynasty
was founded in Persia; and while the capital of the Umayyah was
in Damascus, the capital of the Abbasids was in Baghdad.
The rise to power of the House of 'Abbas had a history too
complex to trace here, but of particular interest is that, like
the House of Umayyah, the Abbasids used trickery and deceit in
their rise to power. Those who had, in the past, heroically
resisted the "accursed Umayyah," were expecting to see a member
of the House of 'Ali assume the caliphate. Instead, it was the
nefarious leader of the House of 'Abbas who came out of hiding
and seized the reigns of power. His name was Abu'l-'Abbas
'Abdu'llah, very soon to become known as As-Saffa, the 'Shedder
of Blood.' As-Saffa was the 'little horn' in Daniel's vision.
During the rebellion, three Umayyad commanders were defeated.
These three had the names Yazid, Abdu'l-Malik and Marwan. <4> It
will be seen that their names are included in the ten horns of
the House of Umayyah, thereby confirming the prophecy of Daniel
At the mosque of 'Ali in Kufah, a city that had been a center of
the heroic rebellion, As-Saffa ascended the pulpit and announced
a reign of justice, equity, and righteousness. The new caliphate
was to be a sacred trust that would be handed over to Jesus, the
Son of Mary, on His Second Coming.
Contrary to promises, the blasphemous and perfidious House of
'Abbas ruled with teeth of iron and claws of bronze. In
Revelation 13 the 'Abbasid dynasty is characterized as the
'second beast' and the 'image of the first beast.' Indeed, a
reader of Islamic history finds little to recommend the 'Abbasids
over the Umayyah. It is noteworthy that Muhammad had prophesied
82 We will bring forth to them a beast from the
earth. It will speak to them, for mankind would not
be convinced of our signs.
After the reign of the fourth beast, God the Father, the Ancient
of Days is introduced, with 'robe as white as snow and with the
hair of His head like the cleanest wool.' His white robe and
hair signify His spotless spiritual attributes and great wisdom.
God is shown sitting on a throne of great power, with 'wheels of
blazing fire,' the same throne spoken of in Ezekiel 1 and in
Revelation 4. The wheels of fire are an astrological symbol,
describing the mechanism that ancient astronomers believed was
used to move the firmament. A 'flowing river of fire' streams
out from the throne, a river that destroys all who are judged and
condemned for their wrongdoing. 'The court sat and the books
were opened.' (Daniel 7:10)
God is then approached by 'one like a man coming with the clouds
of heaven.' This Figure is that of Baha'u'llah, the King of
Glory, Who is given everlasting sovereignty by God. <5> In later
verses (Daniel 7:26-27), it is explained that kingly power and
everlasting sovereignty will be given to the 'saints of the Most
high,' a reference to the righteous who follow in the footsteps
of the Lord of Hosts.
The Ancient of Days is one title of Baha'u'llah. <6> After His
reception of everlasting sovereignty, Baha'u'llah will sit on the
throne beside the Father and govern in the Name of God. <7>
There are two dates in Daniel 7 that require closer reading. In
verse 25, Daniel is informed that the saints shall be delivered
into the power of the fourth beast 'for a time, times and half a
time.' The three-and-one-half times are 1260 lunar years and
define the date in the Muslim lunar calendar (1260 AH / 1844 AD)
that terminated the spiritual sovereignty of the beast. This date
has a double significance. Not only does it mark the Edict of
Toleration; it also marks the Declaration of the Bab, which ended
the Dispensation of Muhammad and terminated the spiritual
sovereignty of the Muslim empire.
A less apparent date is given in verse 12:
12 The rest of the beasts, though deprived of their
sovereignty, were allowed to remain alive for a time and
A season could be one fourth of a time or ninety years, making
the time and a season equal to 450 years. If lunar years are
intended, and if the 'other beasts' were also deprived of their
spiritual sovereignty in 1844, then we might expect an end to the
other beasts around the year 437 of the Baha'i era.
Alas, it is far easier to explore the past than to augur the
future! At the rate events are moving, the date 437 BE is not an
unreasonable estimate for dating the end of the nations and the
beginning of the Most Great Peace. But this fool prefers to
leave such speculations to other fools.
Notes for Chapter Three
1. There is a famous anecdote, related by Herodotus, connected
with Croesus' decision to invade Media-Persia. Croesus enquired
of the two famous Oracles at Delphi and Pytho as to whether he
should undertake the invasion. The replies of both Oracles
agreed: if he invaded Media-Persia, he would destroy a great
empire. Croesus mistakenly assumed that the great empire to be
destroyed would be Media-Persia.
2. Ref 9, p. 192
3. The first Turkish dynasty, the Seljuks, may have had ten horns
also, but the last years of their caliphate were rather chaotic.
The ten horns of the Seljuks were (possibly) Malik, Toghrul, Alp,
Barkiyaroq, Mahommed, Sinjar, Mahmud, Masud, Sulayman, and
4. Ref 9, p. 217
5. 'Man' and 'Son of Man' were ancient titles for the Savior.
The Savior always 'comes on the clouds of heaven,' not literally
but figuratively. See References 1, 10, & 16.
6. It is also a fact that Baha'u'llah's hair was literally snow
white, although He followed local custom and had it dyed black.
7. See Revelation 3:21.
A LITTLE HORN
This vision, similar to that of the previous chapter, appeared to
Daniel in the third year of King Belshazzar's reign. He finds
himself transported to the banks of the Ulai canal at Susa, an
ancient citadel of Persia. The locale is appropriate to some of
the events that are soon to be revealed to Daniel. He sees:
3 . . . a ram with two horns standing between me
and the stream. The two horns were long, the one
longer than the other, growing up behind.
4 I watched the ram butting west and north and
south. No beasts could stand before it; no one
could rescue from its power. It did what it liked,
making a display of its strength.
5 While I pondered this, suddenly a he-goat came
from the west skimming over the whole earth without
touching the ground: it had a prominent horn between
6 It approached the two-horned ram which I had seen
standing between me and the stream and rushed at it
with impetuous force.
7 I saw it advance on the ram, working itself into
a fury against it, then strike the ram and break its
two horns; the ram had no strength to resist. The
he-goat flung it to the ground and trampled on it,
and there was no one to save the ram.
8 Then the he-goat made a great display of its
strength. Powerful as it was, its great horn
snapped and in its place there sprang out towards
the four quarters of heaven four prominent horns.
In later verses (Daniel 8:19-22), Daniel learns that the ram with
two horns signifies Media-Persia. The he-goat signifies Greece,
the prominent horn symbolizing its first great king. The four
prominent horns that 'sprang out towards the four quarters of
heaven' represent four kingdoms that will rise from the first.
The "dangerous Medes" were closely related to the Persians
(the longer horn) to their east. For many years there were
struggles between the Medes and the Persians that ultimately
resulted in the accession of Cyrus "the Persian" to the Median
throne in 550 BCE.
But instead of reducing the Medes to a position of humiliation,
Cyrus treated the defeated Medes as equals. Thereafter, the
empire had two names, Media and Persia. In later centuries, the
two-named empire became known simply as Persia. Today, the
remnant of the Medeo-Persian empire is known as Iran.
The prominent horn of the he-goat, of course, represents
Alexander the Great. Upon his death, the empire was divided into
four parts: north, south, east and west. These are discussed at
more length in another chapter.
9 Out of one of them issued one little horn,
10 Which made a prodigious show of strength south
and east and toward the fairest of all lands.
11 It aspired to be as great as the Prince of the
host, suppressed his regular offering and even threw
down his sanctuary.
12 The heavenly hosts were delivered up, and it
raised itself impiously against the regular offering
and threw true religion to the ground; in all that
it did, it succeeded.
Again, in a later verse (Daniel 8:23) Daniel learns more about
the little horn: it refers to a king, 'harsh and grim, a master
of stratagem', who will appear in the last days of the four
kingdoms, 'at the end of wrath,' for there is an 'end to the
appointed time.' (Daniel 8:19)
24 His power shall be great, he shall work havoc
untold; he shall succeed in whatever he does. He
shall work havoc among great nations and upon a holy
25 His mind shall be ever active, and he shall
succeed in his crafty designs; he shall conjure up
great plans, and, when they least expect it, work
havoc on many. He shall challenge even the Prince
of princes and be broken, but not by human hands."
These verses summarize quite accurately the character and actions
of the infamous Antiochus IV Epiphanes, "the God Manifest," who
will be discussed more fully in another chapter. The 'end to the
appointed time' is stressed by this writer, because the same
phrase is used at critical junctures in the text of Daniel to
indicate a break in the historical narrative.
In verse 25 we learn that Antiochus is to be 'broken, but not by
human hands.' Indeed, Antiochus was broken, and not by human
hands. While involved in another one of his nefarious schemes at
the Persian city of Tabae in 164 BCE, he went insane and died.
13 I heard a holy one speaking and another holy one
answering him, whoever he was. The one said, 'For
how long will the period of this vision last? How
long will the regular offering be suppressed, how
long will impiety cause desolation, and both the
Holy Place and the fairest of all lands be given to
be trodden down?'
14 The answer came, 'For two thousand three hundred
evenings and mornings; then the Holy Place will
Daniel learns more in following verses:
15 . . . I saw standing before me one with the
semblance of a man;
16 At the same time, I heard a human voice calling
to him across the bend of the Ulai, 'Gabriel,
explain the vision to this man.'
17 He came up to where I was standing; . . . (and)
said to me, 'Understand, O man: the vision points
to the time of the end.'
Who are these two angels? Daniel admits that he does not know
who one of them is, while the other is called by the name
Gabriel. The fact that they speak of the time of the end
suggests that they come from the future. We can safely assume
that they represent entities or personalities that are important
to the future of Israel, and that they will be somehow associated
with Persia, the locale where Daniel is standing. Also, the
Figure from across the bend of the Ulai commands Gabriel to
explain the vision to Daniel; it seems unlikely that an angel of
a lesser rank than Gabriel could give such a command.
We conclude that the other Figure is probably Michael, the
Archangel of Glory, who will be introduced by name in later
chapters. Michael is the archetype of the Victor, while Gabriel
is the archetype of the Announcer. <1> There are two Figures
from Persia and the time of the end Who will have these
attributes; Michael must represent Baha'u'llah, the King of
Glory, while Gabriel must represent the Bab, the Forerunner.
This revelation concerning the 'time of the end' is too much for
Daniel. He goes into a trance and is revived by Gabriel, who now
tells him of another epoch, 'the end of wrath.' The end of wrath
refers to the destruction of Seleucid power in Palestine by the
Maccabean revolt, when Antiochus will be 'broken but not by human
hands.' We have already visited these verses, Daniel 8:23-26.
The 2300 evenings and mornings are 2300 exactly-completed years
and refer to the time of the end. The end of what? It is to be
the end of the spiritual desolation of the Holy Land, and the end
of the time that the Holy Land will 'be given to be trodden
down.' In these verses, Daniel is being told of another epoch
and another time, far distant in the future -- in fact, of an
epoch exactly 2300 years away. But where is the point at which
to begin the counting of years?
There is only one point in time to start the counting of years
that generates a meaningful result: it is the same point in time
that Gabriel gives to Daniel in his vision during the first year
of the reign of Darius (Daniel 9):
25 . . . Know and understand from the time that the
word went forth that Jerusalem should be restored and
rebuilt . . .
It will be shown in that chapter [chapter 5] that the
starting date is the first day of the Jewish month of Nisan, 457
BCE. This gives the end of the 'desolation' at exactly
2300 Years (8:13)
- 457 BCE, the first of Nisan
+ 1 a calendar correction <2>
= 1844 CE, the first of Nisan
This is the exact date of the Edict of Toleration that permitted
the Jewish people to resettle the Holy Land.
Notes for Chapter Four
1. See note 2 of Chapter 2.
2. When computing the time span between a date BCE and a date CE,
it must be remembered that there is one year missing in the
calendar. There is no year numbered zero in either the Christian
or Muslim [or Baha'i] calendars.
Gabriel's revelation to Daniel occurs in the first year of Darius
the Mede, which would be about 521 BCE. The chapter begins with
Daniel lamenting his sins and those of the people of Israel.
Following a devout prayer for forgiveness, Gabriel appears to
Daniel and announces:
22 '... O Daniel, I have come out to give you
wisdom and understanding.
23 At the beginning of your supplications a word
went forth, and I have come to tell it to you, for
you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the word
and understand the vision.'
What follows is a terse and profound prophecy that has bewildered
readers for 25 centuries:
24 'Seventy Sevens are decreed concerning your people
and your holy city, to finish the transgression. to put
an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in
everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and
prophet, and to anoint the most holy.
25 'Know therefore and understand that from the
going forth of the word to restore and build
Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a
prince, there shall be seven Sevens.
'Then for sixty-two Sevens it shall be built
again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.
And after the sixty-two Sevens, an anointed one
will be cut off, and shall have nothing;
26 'And the people of the prince who is to come
shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end
will come with a flood, and to the end there shall
be war; desolations are decreed.
27 'And he shall make a strong covenant with many
for one Seven; and in the middle of the Seven,
he shall cause sacrifice and offering to cease;
'And in the train of abominations shall come an
author of desolation; then in the end, what has been
decreed concerning the desolation will be poured
The word "one" ahead of the Seven in verse 27 is important and
is found in all the translations listed in the introduction to
this book. But the interested reader would do well to visit all
translations to compare the nuances of different translators.
As in the New International Version of the Bible, the original
Hebrew word "shabua" has been translated as "Seven" for reasons
that will become apparent. While most translations of Daniel
substitute "a week of years" for the Hebrew "shabua," the literal
translation is "seven." <1> But in ancient number mysticism,
seven decades, or seven centuries -- indeed, any decadal
successor of Seven has an archetype of Seven. <2> The sliding
time scale of the Seven is evident in various biblical texts:
Jacob spent 7 years in servitude for Leah and 7 years more for
Rachel <3>; the Ark of the Covenant was in the land of the
Philistines for 7 months <4>, and Jeremiah prophesied that the
Israelites would be in bondage for 7 decades. <5> Based upon II
Chronicles 36:21, 7 decades is sometimes called a "sabbatic
Jeremiah's prophecy of the 7 decades is most interesting because
it is associated with the destruction of Jerusalem by
Nebuchadnezzar. We note, also, Daniel's reference to Jeremiah's
prophecy earlier in the same chapter that seems to give us a
clue to the fundamental meter of cadence in these prophecies:
2 ... I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number
of years which, according to the word of Jeremiah
the prophet, must pass before the end of the
desolations of Jerusalem, namely seventy years.
If we take the Seven as 7 years in verse 24, then the total time
span of Gabriel's prophecy is 7 sabbatic years (490 calendar
years). But in verse 25, Gabriel's convoluted prose seems to
indicate that 7 sabbatic years is also equal to 7 times
'62-and-7' or 483 calendar years, an obvious fallacy. The
correct reading is to recognize that there is a Seven of years
after the 69 Sevens of years that has already been decreed by the
seventy Sevens of verse 24. It is during the implied last Seven
of years, after the other 69, that the coming of an 'anointed
one' and His 'cutting off' are to occur.
The 24th verse seems to have an apparent meaning: seven sabbatic
years (490 calendar years) are allotted to the Jewish people to
finish the transgression, to put an end to their sin, to atone
for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to produce
prophets and sealed prophecies, and to anoint their Messiah.
The years are to be counted from 'the going forth of the word to
restore and rebuild Jerusalem.'
There were four 'words going forth' to restore and rebuild the
Temple and/or Jerusalem. A 'word going forth' was a signed
Proclamation, that is, a Decree (see Dan 6:8). These four
1. The Decree to rebuild the Temple, given by Cyrus, King
of Persia, in 534 BCE. Recorded in the first Chapter of Ezra,
this Decree was partially fulfilled.
2. The Decree to rebuild the Temple, given by Darius,
King of Persia, in 519 BCE. Recorded in the sixth chapter of
Ezra, this Decree was essentially fulfilled.
3. The Decree to finish and beautify the Temple, given in
the seventh year of his reign in 457 BCE by Artaxerxes, King of
Persia. Recorded in the seventh chapter of Ezra, this Decree was
fulfilled and later addended by the fourth Decree.
4. The Decree to rebuild the gates of Jerusalem and of
the Temple, given by the same Artaxerxes in 444 BCE. Recorded in
the second chapter of Nehemiah, this Decree was also fulfilled.
We shall soon see that using 457 BCE as the starting point in
Gabriel's calendar produces results that are in close agreement
with history. Admittedly, the precise dates of many ancient
events have been debated by various authorities, but a variance
of a year or two will not affect significantly the outcome of our
As to the words of Gabriel in verse 9:25, the 'going forth of the
word,' the exact date of this event is given in Ezra:
9 ... for on the first day of the first month he
(Ezra) began to go up from Babylonia ...
This would be the first day of Nisan, 457 BCE.
Another matter to be addressed is the length of the year in
verses 24-26. There seem to be only three plausible choices:
(1) A solar year of 365.242 days, as measured by the time
(2) A lunar year of 354.367 days, as measured by 12
(3) A 'prophetic year' of 360 days, based upon a
correlation of the dates given in Genesis 7:11,24 & 8:3.
It so happens that the use of solar years produces a good result,
since it places the Crucifixion of the Messiah at about the right
70 Sevens of years = 490 solar years
Date of Artaxerxes' first Decree = 457 BCE
Difference = 33 CE
But there is one year missing in the Christian solar calendar
since Jesus was said to have been born at One instead of at Zero.
(The concepts of zero and negative numbers are relatively modern
and were unknown to the ancient world.) Adjusting for the
missing year produces the date 34 CE for the Crucifixion.
Whether or not 34 CE is the correct date for the Crucifixion
cannot be ascertained by historians at this time. Suffice it to
say that it is well within the range of dates that have been
proposed by various scholars. It will also be shown that this
method of dating Gabriel's calendar generates reasonable numbers
when other dates given in Daniel are introduced into the
Returning to the last Seven of years in Daniel 9:25, this
would then correspond to the period 27 CE to 34 CE. This would
surely include the period of Jesus' ministry and the events
surrounding it. For instance, in Luke 3:1-3 we find that 'the
word of God came to John' the Baptist in the fifteenth year of
the reign of Tiberius Caesar. This would be the year 29 CE.
Luke 3:23 also tells us that Jesus was about 30 years old when He
began His ministry.
Most authorities accept the account of Matthew 2 for setting the
date of the Birth of Jesus which places it about 4 to 6
BCE. If we choose the probable date to be about 5 BCE, then we
can estimate that He began His ministry about 26 or 27 CE.
Indeed, 27 CE has been taken by some excellent biblical scholars
<6> to be a good estimate.
Another difficulty comes in the decision as to the length of
Jesus' ministry. The synoptic Gospels seem to indicate that it
was only about a year long, while John indicates that it was
about three years long. Since we are again forced to admit that
the historical date of the Crucifixion remains uncertain, the
date 34 CE remains as good as any. If so, the entire ministry of
Jesus would have been about seven years long, even though His
fame may not have spread throughout Palestine until the latter
part of it. He would have been 'not yet forty' when He died on
the cross in 34 CE.
Now as to the meaning of the words of Gabriel:
25 '... there shall be seven Sevens. Then for
sixty-two Sevens it shall be built again with
squares and moat, but in a troubled time ...'
The seven Sevens of years are the time required to finish
the rebuilding of Jerusalem, while the other sixty-two Sevens
of years tell us how long the city will lie finished before the
appearance of the Messiah.
The 'troubled time' followed a period of relative peace and
security. Alexander's conquest of Persia in 334 BCE and his
untimely death eleven years later produced several centuries of
troubles for Judea and, indeed, for the whole Near East. The
struggle between 'north and south,' that is the subject of Daniel
11, includes the troubled time and will be discussed in another
We are now in a position to fill in the details of this portion
of Gabriel's highly abbreviated schedule of events:
GABRIEL'S CALENDAR FOR THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH
EVENT SEVENS OF YEARS CHRISTIAN
Artaxerxes' Decree 0 457 BCE
Finishing of Jerusalem 0 thru 6 457 BCE thru 409 BCE
Jerusalem completed 7 408 BCE
Jerusalem lies completed 8 thru 68 407 BCE thru 26 CE
Messiah's ministry 69 to 70 27 CE to 34 CE
Messiah's Crucifixion 70 34 CE
Now reconsider the following verses:
26 '... and the people of the prince who is to come
shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end
will come with a flood, and to the end there shall
be war; desolations are decreed.
27 'And he shall make a strong covenant with many
for one Seven; and in the middle of the Seven,
he shall cause sacrifice and offering to cease; ...'
The temptation is to place the Seven of verse 27 after the 69
Sevens of verse 25 to round out the 70 Sevens of verse
24. However, there is no reason for doing so, since we have
demonstrated that the 70th Seven has already been implied by
the Decree in verse 24. The Seven of the strong covenant
should not be confused with the 70 Sevens decreed for the
Jews to 'finish the transgression,' etc., since the strong
covenant concerns a period of time after the Messiah has been
'cut off' and left with nothing.
That the 'strong covenant with many for one Seven' is made by
the Messiah can be deduced through an unprejudiced reading of the
New Testament. For example, in John we find Jesus in the Temple
speaking to the Jews who ask Him for a sign. Jesus replies with
a cryptic promise:
19 '... Destroy this temple and in three days I
will raise it up.'
The author of John goes on to say that later believers in the
physical resurrection took the 'temple' to mean the 'temple' of
Jesus' body. Be that as it may, those present at the scene took
it to mean the great Temple of Jerusalem where Jesus was
speaking. In fact, there are other instances <7> where Jesus is
quoted as saying that He was able to destroy the Temple of God
and to rebuild it in three days. In yet other places, we find
Jesus prophesying the literal destruction of the city and the
Temple. <8> And even after the death of Jesus, Stephen is
accused at the Temple before the council of elders:
13 "... This man never ceases to speak words
against this holy place and the law:
14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of
Nazareth will destroy this place, and will change
the customs which Moses delivered to us."
1 And the high priest said, "Is this so?"
In the beautiful and well reported speech that he offers in his
defense, Stephen denounces the priesthood but does not deny the
48 "... the Most High does not dwell in houses made
with hands; ..."
Stephen is subsequently executed by stoning.
Jesus often said that He had come to fulfill the prophets, and in
this instance He must have been referring to the prophecy of
Gabriel's calendar. The "middle of the Seven" brings us to
the middle of the fourth 'day,' and on this day the city, the
sanctuary, the offering and the sacrifice are to be eliminated.
But Jesus promises further that during the remaining 'three days'
of the Seven, He will rebuild the Temple.
But how is Jesus the Messiah to accomplish the destruction of
such a solid structure as the great Temple of Jerusalem? He
gives us a clue:
43 "For the days shall come upon you, when your
enemies will cast a bank about you and surround you,
and hem you in on every side,
44 And dash you to the ground ..."
It will be through the instruments of war that He will bring down
the walls of Jerusalem and the Temple also. And what is to be
the nature of the Temple that Jesus is to build? Jesus gives his
Apostles a most succinct answer:
18 "And I tell you, you are Peter (Petros), and on
this rock I will build my church, and the powers of
earth shall not prevail against it."
The "Temple" is to be none other than His Church. And the "rock"
upon which He will build His Church will not be the sacred Rock
Moriah on Mount Zion. ("... believe me, the hour is coming when
neither on this mountain or in Jerusalem will you worship the
Father." <9>) Rather, it is to be upon the "rock" of His Apostle
Peter, and by implication, upon the rest of His trusted Apostles
that He will build His Church. Nor will it be built of stones
and cedar, but of a matrix of loving, faithful followers and a
new Law. Since He will destroy their beloved Temple, they will
be cut off from the grain offering and the shewbread. Jesus
gives them a substitute:
26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took the
(Passover) bread, and blessed, and broke it, and
gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this
is my body."
The body of Jesus' teachings and divine perfections is to be
given to them as their heavenly Manna, and His followers can
symbolize their assimilation of the offering by the simple act of
breaking bread. But the Holy of Holies and its sacred blood
sacrifice are also to be lost forever, the sacrifice that
reconfirmed the Covenant and washed away their sins. Therefore,
Jesus gives them a substitute for this:
27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks
he gave it to them, saying, "Drink ye all of it, all
28 For this is my blood of the covenant, which is
poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
Indeed, their beloved Ark of the Covenant had already ceased to
exist as a material artifact. Now, even their beloved Temple
would soon be destroyed along with its Torah, the Holy of
Holies, the offering, and the blood sacrifice. But the love of
Jesus for his disciples, indeed for all humanity, compelled Him
to offer his own life as the ultimate Sacrifice that could be
re-enacted by the suppliant with nothing more than bread and
Returning to Gabriel's prophecy, since we have assumed that a
"Seven" means a span of time with an archetype of seven. The one
Seven in 9:27 could be 7 decades (i.e., a "sabbatic year").
Indeed, we shall soon see that interpreting the one Seven here as
7 decades produces the only plausible result.
We have already seen that by letting a Seven equal 7 years,
the seventy Sevens of verse 24 places the Crucifixion of Jesus at
around 34 CE. Now, if the one Seven in verse 27 is taken
as 7 decades, then 'one Seven half spent' is 35 years. The
prophecy of verse 27 then says that after 35 years, He shall
cause sacrifice and offering to cease. 35 years after the
Crucifixion was 69 CE, and the following year was 70 CE.
This, then, is the 'strong covenant with many for one Seven'
spoken of by the angel Gabriel in 9:27: Jesus promises to destroy
and rebuild the Temple in "seven days" following His Crucifixion.
In the interim, His followers are given handy substitutes for the
sacred ceremonies that are to be destroyed after the "third day."
At this juncture, it is well to recall the ominous words of Jesus
concerning some events to come:
15 'So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken
of by the prophet Daniel standing in the holy place
(let the reader understand),
16 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the
17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to
take what is in his house;
18 And let him who is in the field not turn back to
take his mantle.'
There were several sacrileges standing in the holy place before a
tragic uprising of the Jews. This was not the first time that a
sacrilege would stand in the holy place. The reader is to
understand that the desolating sacrilege prophesied by Jesus
will have signs that parallel those that had already occurred
about 200 years before under the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes.
In fact, a "graven image" -- the conquering eagle of Rome --
would stand over the principal gate of the Temple <10>; the "mad
emperor" Caligula would order that a statue be built of his
"Divine self" and worshipped inside the Temple sanctuary (an
order that, fortunately, was rescinded) <11>; Herod, while
sitting upon his throne, would make an impious assertion of his
own divinity <12>; Roman soldiers would make obscene gestures
near the Temple during the Passover festival <13>; Zealots would
murder the High Priest Jonathan within the hallowed precincts of
the Temple. <14>
But there was one particular sacrilege that precipitated the
desolation of Judea. Shortly after the completion of the Temple
in 66 CE, a sacrilege occurred that would soon plunge Judea into
a blood bath -- the Roman procurator, Gessius Florus, looted the
sacred treasury of the Temple of the very considerable sum of
seventeen talents. Since the treasury deposited in the Temple
was always considered inviolate to the secular administration,
the act infuriated the people of Judea and was the primary cause
of a riot in Jerusalem and the entire region. It was the
beginning of a holocaust that even caused the Roman historian
Tacitus to bear witness to the omens that had forewarned of it:
the famine, the earthquake, the prodigies, and the awful signs in
the heavens that heralded the Fall of Jerusalem.
Eusebius tells us that the early Christians residing in and
around Jerusalem did, indeed, 'fly to the mountains,' not at the
sight of these sacrileges, but at a later sight. In April, 70
CE, Titus, who was later to become emperor of Rome, marched his
four legions ('the people of the prince to come') to the walls of
Jerusalem. [Daniel 9:26] It was at this more tangible sign that
the local Christians fled to the Gentile town of Pella east of
the Jordan River, where some say that they survived until the
fifth century. The Ebionites, the early Christian sect brought
into Christianity directly by Jesus and the Apostles, were among
those emigrants. <15>
When Titus arrived, a civil war had been going on in Jerusalem
for some time, even within the sacred precincts of the Temple.
The original belligerents were two factions of Zealots led by
Simon ben Gioras and John of Giscala. <16> By 70 CE, the civil
dissensions in Jerusalem had gone from bad to worse with three
factions of Zealots now fighting for supremacy.
Titus erected a wall of circumvallation around Jerusalem and
established a strict blockade. Towers and siege engines were
brought to bear against Jerusalem, thus fulfilling the prophecy
43 'For the days shall come upon you (Jerusalem),
when your enemies will cast a bank about you and
surround you, and hem you in on every side...'
It is difficult to believe that the sacred sacrifice and offering
could properly exist under such circumstances. However, the
sacrifice and offering were not technically ended until the 17th
of Tammuz (midsummer), 70 CE. By that time, the streets were
running with blood, and the sufferings of the masses of people
within the city have been rarely if ever matched in the annals of
history. The crazed Zealots murdered men, women, and children
for morsels of food, even those who were in the very act of
swallowing. The wretched inhabitants, creeping out of the city
by night to search for food for their wives and children, were
usually caught and crucified by Titus' soldiers or were robbed by
the zealot sentinels on their return to the gates.
In spite of temporary coalitions of the fragmented Zealot parties
against the Roman legions, it took only a few months for the
well-disciplined forces of Titus to take the city. The end came
'with a flood' of armed soldiers. On the ninth of Ab, indeed
on the VERY ANNIVERSARY of the burning of the first Temple by
Nebuchadnezzar, the apartment next to the sanctuary was set afire
by the Roman soldiers. The Jews, thinking that God had, indeed,
abandoned His sanctuary, rushed with frantic cries to the spot
and threw themselves into the flames in an attempt to save the
Holy of Holies. Even Titus himself rushed to the scene with his
personal staff of officers and men in a futile attempt to rescue
a part of the holy precinct. But with the sudden and unexpected
turn of events in their favor, the Roman soldiers behaved like
savages. Josephus <17>, an eyewitness, describes what followed:
One would have thought that the hill on which the
Temple stood was seething hot, full of fire in every
part, that the blood was greater in quantity than
the fire, and that those who were slain were more
numerous than those who slew them. The ground was
nowhere visible because of the dead bodies that lay upon
it, and the soldiers were forced to go over heaps of
bodies as they ran after those who fled before them.
With the final collapse, the Romans rushed throughout the Temple
and the city, butchering young and old alike. At last, becoming
satiated with blood, the Roman soldiers attempted to plunder the
homes of the citizens of Jerusalem, but the putrefying corpses
were so sickening that they were forced to abandon the project.
Those few Jews who escaped immediate death were captured to spend
their lives as slaves in the mines or as gladiators in Roman
Thus was fulfilled the remainder of the prophecy of Jesus:
44 '... and dash you to the ground, you and your
children within you, and they will not leave one
stone upon another in you; because you did not know
the time of your visitation.'
After the ninth of Ab, 70 CE, the city of Jerusalem was no longer
the center of Jewish life. Deprived of their beloved Temple and
the City, the Jews were forced to give up the offering, the daily
sacrifice, and even pilgrimages to the Temple. Through a program
fashioned by the great rabbi Johannan ben Zakkai, the Jews in
exile learned to substitute prayer, works of piety, and study of
the Holy Scripture. Thus the awesome spiritual forces unleased
by Jesus the Messiah produced the result that the Jewish priests
would not willingly accept at their 'time of visitation': the
house of the Lord ceased to be a den of thieves.
The ninth of Ab became, and remains, a day of fasting. To this
day, the Jewish wedding ceremony commemorates the destruction of
the Temple each time the groom crushes the nuptial cup.
And what of the "Temple" that Jesus had promised to build? We
recall that with the Crucifixion, the Messiah was cut off and
left with nothing. Jesus was indeed left with nothing, without a
Church, without even a Book. In the "three days" (3 decades)
following the collapse of Jerusalem, Jesus built His "Temple."
By about 90 CE, after two days, the Gospels and numerous other
Christian works had been written, and the Christians were thereby
given a "foundation." By about 100 CE, three days after the Fall
of Jerusalem, the primitive Church had become solidly
"constructed" in numerous cities throughout the eastern
Mediterranean. Jesus then "dedicated" His Church by delivering a
prophetic Book to John, His favorite disciple. That Book, the
Apocalypse [aka Revelation], is the only one that purports to be
a direct revelation from Jesus Christ. To the best of our
knowledge, the Apocalypse was "delivered" to John about 104 CE,
the three-and-a-half-day point after the elimination of the daily
sacrifice. <18> Thereby, Jesus the Messiah fulfilled His 'strong
covenant with many for one Seven.' Recall
19 "... Destroy this temple and in three days I
will raise it up.'
The delivery of the Apocalypse to John, after so many years had
passed and after almost everyone had died who had seen Jesus at
first hand, explains the enigmatic remark of Jesus near the end
of the fourth Gospel:
21 When Peter turned and saw (the young disciple
John following them), he said to Jesus, "Lord, what
about this man?"
22 Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he
remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow
Even after the Fall of Jerusalem, there were more horrors to
follow. In 118, only fourteen years after the completion of
Messiah's Temple, another insurrection arose against Rome by the
Jews in exile. It reached Judea in 132, where it was led by the
false Messiah Simon bar Cocheba, commanding an army of four
hundred thousand men. Bar Cocheba was able to destroy two armies
dispatched by Rome before the emperor Hadrian sent a third army
under his ablest general Julius Severus to quell the rebellion.
Severus ultimately defeated bar Cocheba at Bethar in 135, killing
a half million Jews in the process. Thousands of women and
children were again carted off into slavery, and, for two hundred
years, no Jew was allowed in Judea.
Simon bar Cocheba thereby became the 'author of desolation' in
the last sentence of Gabriel's calendar:
27 '... And in the train of abominations shall come
an author of desolation; then in the end, what has
been decreed concerning the desolation will be
After this last disaster, Jerusalem lay a desolate ruin. It was
given a Latin name, a new temple was erected to Jupiter, and a
statue of Hadrian -- a final abomination, was set up over the
So bitter was the victory over the Jews that Hadrian did not
pronounce the customary congratulatory phrase before the Roman
Senate. A toast became common at Roman feasts: "Hierosolyma Est
Perdida!" ("Jerusalem is destroyed!"), immediately answered by
the guests shouting "Hurrah!" The initial letters of the toast
(H.E.P.) soon replaced the phrase, and has come down to us as the
traditional cheer "Hep! Hep! Hurrah!"
There were many more abominations and sacrileges following the
Fall of Jerusalem that are almost too disgusting to relate. The
persecutions over the next 500 years committed by the Gentiles
against Christians and Jews are well known. But also, there were
wars, abominations and sacrileges committed against one another
in the name of God by both Jew and Christian alike. Churches and
synagogues were burned and desecrated, people were tortured and
murdered. Sometimes the swing of destiny seemed to favor the
Jews, sometimes the Christians.
Even after the conversion of the Emperor Constantine to
Christianity, the struggle was not over. The later accession of
Julian the Apostate to the throne of Rome resulted in the
abolition of Christianity as the official faith of the realm, and
the Jews were invited to rebuild their Temple. The Jews,
believing that the restoration of Israel was at hand, donated
money and labor from all over the empire. But, whether due to
human or divine agencies, no sooner had the work begun when fires
and terrifying explosions rocked the site of the restoration on
the Temple Mount. Christians and other enemies of the Jews took
these events as proof of divine displeasure, and the
circumstances were repeated with exaggerated details and
Ironically, the strife between Christians and Jews in the Holy
Land mostly came to an end when Umar I, the renowned second and
"rightly guided" Caliph of Islam, took Jerusalem in 637. Umar
brought order to the area and treated both Christians and Jews
with respect in accordance with the command of Muhammad that 'the
people of the book' should not be harmed. Nevertheless, there
were several curious events surrounding the takeover of Jerusalem
that have had long-enduring effects.
In the first place, Sophronius, the Christian patriarch of
Jerusalem at the time, invited Umar to take over the city without
bloodshed. But Sophronius stipulated a proviso that Umar must
strictly prohibit the Jews from dwelling in Jerusalem. Umar
apparently accepted this condition. <19> Although some Jews
(about seventy families) were allowed to live there under
succeeding Caliphs, the city ceased to be either a Jewish or a
Christian city (except for a brief time during the Crusades) for
the next twelve centuries. In fact, the repeal of the contract
between Umar and Sophronius did not officially occur until the
first of Nisan, 1844. On that date, the Ottomans signed the
Edict of Toleration that lifted the ban on Jewish immigration to
the area, which inadvertently laid the groundwork for the
creation of the modern state of Israel. The first of Nisan,
1844, as has been said elsewhere, was exactly 2300 years after
the day that Ezra left Babylonia to rebuild the Temple in
compliance with the first Decree of Artaxerxes. The Edict of
Toleration marks the end of the 'transgression that makes
Soon after Umar's takeover of Jerusalem, Umar began a search for
the site of the sacred sanctuary of the ancient Temple site.
This, of course, was the Rock Moriah, the altar location where
Abraham had attempted unsuccessfully to sacrifice his son.
Arabs being descendants of Abraham, the site played an important
part in Muslim tradition just as it did for the Jews. It was at
this site that Muhammad was reputed to have taken His mystical
night journey to the seventh heaven and to have sat at the right
hand of God. Umar found the site, by then desecrated beyond
recognition by centuries of abuse by Christians. In fact, the
Christians had covered the Rock with dung and other refuse. <41>
The Orthodox Church had not built a church over the site because
of the prophecy of Jesus:
35 'Behold, your house shall be left unto you
Umar cleaned and purified the site, and built a temporary wooden
shrine over it. Under a later Caliph, the shrine was rebuilt
into a permanent and magnificent mosque that ultimately became
known as the 'Dome of the Rock.'
The golden Dome is the most conspicuous landmark in Jerusalem.
To the Muslims, the Dome of the Rock has symbolized their
political and spiritual authority over both the Jews and the
Christians. It stands over the Holy Place and represents the
ultimate insult to the Jewish people. It has served for over
thirteen centuries as a tangible barrier between them and their
Holy of Holies. Whether the Dome will ever be taken down and the
Jewish Temple rebuilt may be an irrelevant question. The human
psyche seems to have evolved forever beyond the idea of a living
animal sacrifice being offered to a benevolent God within a foul,
bloody, flyblown "holy" chamber.
We are now in a position to fill in the remainder of Gabriel's
EVENT SABBATIC YEARS CHRISTIAN
ARTAXERXES' DECREE (CE)
Messiah's Crucifixion 7 34
Offering and blood 7 1/2 69-70
Messiah's "Temple" 8 104
Author of desolation 132
The Author of Desolation appeared 84 Sevens of years after
The illegitimate caliphate came to power 666 years after the
probable date of the Birth of Jesus. (666 is the "number of
blasphemy" in Revelation 13.) It was abolished thirty-four
sabbatic years after Artaxerxe's Decree and twenty-seven sabbatic
years after the Crucifixion.
Notes for Chapter Five
1. Ref 3, p. 18
2. Ref 1, p. 12
3. Genesis 29
4. I Samuel 6:1
5. Jeremiah 25:11, 29:10
6. E.g., Ref 7, p. 82
7. Matthew 26:61, 27:40
8. E.g., Matthew 24:2; Mark 13:2; Luke 19:43-44, 21:8-36
9. John 4:21
10. Ref 6, p. 150
11. Ref 4, p. 166
12. Acts 12:21-23
13. Ref 4, p. 168
14. Ref 4, p. 170
15. Ref 12, p. 25n; Ref 13, p. 415
16. Ref 4, p. 100ff
17. Josephus vi., v., 1
18. The first chapter of Revelation that describes future events
for Christendom is Chapter 8. It explains that there will be
about "half-an-hour of silence" before the start of the Great
Persecutions of the Christians that will begin about 110 CE,
shortly after the delivery of the Apocalypse to John. Thus the
Apocalypse (Revelation) dovetails with and expatiates on many of
the prophecies that are given by Daniel.
19. Ref 6, p. 228
THE TWENTY-ONE DAYS
In this vision, Daniel finds himself on the bank of the Tigris,
thereby connecting the locale to some future events to be
witnessed in Daniel 12. He sees
5 ... a man clothed in linen with a belt of gold
from Ophir around his waist,
6 His body gleamed like topaz, his face like
lightning, his eyes flamed like torches, his arms
and feet sparkled like a disc of bronze; and when
he spoke his voice sounded like the voice of a
The Figure is seen as a Manifestation of God. His glory is
invisible to those who are blinded by the contingent world, but
is apparent to those with spiritual eyes. His belt of finest
gold (a "golden girdle") symbolizes a Faith; He speaks as a
nation since He is their Leader and Savior.
That the Figure is the Bab becomes apparent in the following
12 'Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the very
first day your applied you mind to understand and to
mortify yourself before your God, your prayers have
been heard, and I have come in answer to them.
13 'But the angel prince of the kingdom of Persia
resisted me for twenty-one days, and then, seeing
that I had held out there, Michael, one of the chief
princes, came to help me against the prince of the
kingdom of Persia.
14 'And I have come to explain to you what will
happen to your people in days to come; for this too
is a vision for those days.'
The 'prince of the kingdom of Persia' is described as an 'angel,
not because the prince is righteous, but because he exists in a
future time and has not yet materialized in the physical realm.
Michael is described as 'one of the chief princes,' presumably of
Persia, and refers to the status of Baha'u'llah as a high-ranking
member of the ruling class of Persia in the days of the events
the Bab is revealing.
The 'twenty-one days' of Daniel's vision is interesting. We
recall that a day of prophecy equals a year of the calendar. The
twenty-one years is the span of time between some very important
parallel events in the history of the Babi and Baha'i Faiths:
In April of 1847, the Bab received a letter from Muhammad Shah of
Persia that ordered Him into captivity at the remote mountain
fortress of Mah-ku. He arrived there and was incarcerated around
August of 1847. He was to remain a prisoner for the rest of His
life. Twenty-one years later, in July of 1868, Baha'u'llah was
ordered into captivity at the desolate prison-fortress of Akka.
He arrived at Akka and was incarcerated in August of 1868.
Officially, He, too, was to remain a prisoner for the rest of His
We must remember that the power of the Manifestation is in His
Word, not in His sword. While a prisoner, the Bab revealed many
Tablets asserting the end of the Muslim Dispensation and the
independence of His own Revelation. He penned a stern Tablet
called the Khuthiy-i-Qahriyyih (Sermon of Wrath), addressed to
the evil Grand Vizier, Haji Mirza Aqasi, unsparing in its
condemnation of the Shah's regime and those who had persecuted
the Babis. The Shah died about a year later, <1> while the Grand
Vizier soon fell from power, was deprived of his riches, acquired
a disease, and died in poverty and disgrace. <2>
While Baha'u'llah was still at Adrianople and shortly before His
imprisonment at Akka, He penned His own unsparing attack on the
Shah called the Lawh-i-Sultan (Tablet to Nasiri'd-Din Shah). The
Tablet, among other things, condemned those who persecuted the
Babis, and pronounced the independence of His own Revelation. At
another time, Baha'u'llah denounced Nasiri'd-Din Shah as the
'Prince of the Oppressors.' <3> His attacks on the Shah lasted
for many years. Ultimately, the Shah was dramatically
assassinated on the eve of his jubilee. Shortly thereafter, his
dynasty, the Qajar, was removed from power.
In later verses (10:15-21), the gleaming Figure of the Bab is
transformed into 'one like a man' in order to belay the fear of
Daniel of the vision of the Bab in His true magnificence. In
this less frightening guise, the Bab goes on to tell Daniel that
He must return to the future to continue his struggle with the
prince of Persia, and that He has no one at His side except
'Michael your prince' (Baha'u'llah). The Bab also warns Daniel
that as soon as He leaves to return to the future, the 'prince of
Greece' (Alexander) will appear.
Notes for Chapter Six
1. Ref 18, p. 147
2. Ref 17, p. 82
3. Ref 17, p. 197
FROM CYRUS TO PHILOPATER
Daniel 11 describes the time of troubles that will beset
Palestine as a consequence of the invasion of Persia by
Alexander. The struggles between the North and South are
included in this chapter. Most of the details can be found in
references 5 and 8.
The Bab continues:
21 "I have no ally on my side to help and support me
except Michael your prince. However I will tell you
what is written in the Book of Truth. Here and now
I will tell you what is true:
2 Three more kings will appear in Persia, and the
fourth will far surpass all the others in wealth;
and when he has extended his power through his
wealth, he will rouse the whole world against the
kingdom of Greece.
3 Then there will appear a warrior king. He will
rule a vast kingdom and will do what he chooses.
4 But as soon as he is established, his kingdom will
be shattered and split up north, south, east, and
west. It will not pass to his descendants, nor will
any of his successors have an empire like his; his
kingdom will be torn up by the roots and given to
other as well as to them."
The speaker is still 'Ali Muhammad, the Bab, while 'Michael your
prince' refers to Husayn 'Ali, Baha'u'llah. As the King of
Glory, the Lord of Hosts, the Speaker on Sinai, and the Voice
from the Burning Bush, Baha'u'llah is also the latter-day "Prince
(Messiah) of the Jewish nation."
We recall that the first verse of Daniel 10 places the date of
the prophecy in the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia (not in
the first year of Darius the Mede as implied by some, probably
spurious, versions of Daniel 11). The four Medeo-Persian kings
that followed Cyrus were Cambyses (530-522 BCE), Gaumata (522
BCE), Darius I Hystaspes (521-486 BCE), and Xerxes (486-465 BCE).
Xerxes was the extremely rich and most powerful monarch of Persia
who 'raised the whole world against Greece.' He invaded Greece
from 481 to 479 BCE with a vast army gathered from all over his
known-world empire that included Medes, Persians, Assyrians,
Moschians, Ethiopians, Indians, Scythians, and Thracians.
Xerxes' army, numbered in the hundreds of thousands, was attended
by an equally impressive navy of hundreds of ships.
Xerxes, no doubt, wished to avenge the humiliation of his father,
who was defeated by the Greeks at Marathon about a decade
earlier. And although Xerxes was much more successful than
Darius, his army eventually suffered a disastrous defeat at the
hands of the heroic Greeks at Plataea (479 BCE) while his navy
suffered the same fate at Salamis. The stories of these amazing
victories against overwhelming odds were chronicled by the Greek
historian Herodotus and have inspired Graecophiles for many
centuries. Indeed, the modern 'Marathon races' commemorate the
anonymous Greek warrior who ran the 22 miles from Marathon to
Athens, gasped out the news of the victory over Darius, and then
Following the defeat and withdrawal of the Persians from Greece,
and after periods of peace and internecine war in Greece, the
control of Greece fell to Philip of Macedonia. The young son of
Philip, the "warrior king" Alexander the Great, assumed power
over Greece upon his father's death and undertook the conquest of
the Persian empire in 334 BCE. Without doubt, Alexander was one
of the great hero-warriors of history -- strong, intelligent,
dashing, courageous, loyal, generous, ... . His inspired
leadership led the magnificent Greek army to victory over the
Persians in about three years, but Alexander died of fever at
Babylon in 323 BCE while still a young man of only 33.
Although Alexander had left a legitimate heir, the infant son
Alexander IV by the Persian princess Roxanna, the child was
placed in the custody of Cassander, one of Alexander's generals.
The infant Alexander was murdered in 311 BCE. Another son,
Hercules, was murdered also, and so was a weak-minded
half-brother Aridaeus. The empire became divided among the
Diodochi (Successors), commanders under the deceased Alexander,
who managed to engineer the partition of the empire.
One of the successors was Cassander, who gained control of
Macedonia and Greece ('west'); Lysimachus gained control of
Thrace and parts of Asia Minor ('north'); Ptolemy gained control
of Egypt and Libya ('south'); Seleucus gained control of northern
Syria and Mesopotamia ('east').
5 Then the King of the South will become strong; but
another of the captains will surpass him in strength
and win a greater kingdom.
The King of the South, Ptolemy I, who became known as Soter ("the
Preserver"), ruled c. 323-285 BCE. Given control of Egypt and
Libya on the death of Alexander, he quickly gained control of
"Hollow Syria" (Palestine), southern Phoenicia, Cyprus, and
Cyrene. The southern empire under Ptolemy Soter became the
leading and most powerful of the four states after the breakup of
Following the period of conflict between the remaining rivals for
Alexander's empire, the eastern portion fell under Seleucus, who,
with the second partition of Alexander's empire, also obtained
Babylonia. Later, he conquered Susiana and Media, and extended
his power to the Oxus and Indus rivers. In 301 BCE, Seleucus
joined a successful confederacy against Antigonus I, the newest
King of Macedonia, and as a reward, Seleucus was granted a large
part of Asia Minor and the whole of Syria. Toward the close of
his reign, he conquered the rest of Asia Minor and proclaimed
himself King of Macedonia. With the eclipse of Macedonia,
Seleucus became the undisputed "King of the North," Seleucus I
Nicator (ruled 312-281 BCE). His empire was much vaster in
extent than that of Ptolemy I Soter, the undisputed "King of the
The award to Seleucus preempted Ptolemy's claim to Palestine and
resulted in a series of wars that lasted for over a century to
determine the future of Palestine. During the course of these
wars, Palestine was crossed and recrossed from north and south
several times by would-be conquerors.
For Egypt to achieve strength and prosperity, she had to obtain
timber from Lebanon for her ships. Furthermore, the line of
commercial traffic that went along the Nile to and from
Alexandria, had a rival in the line of trade that went from the
Persian Gulf across Arabia to Gaza, and it was to the advantage
of the King of the South to control both. In the first war of
the series described in Daniel 11, Ptolemy Soter took Palestine
in 320-318 BCE.
6 In due course the two will enter into a friendly
alliance; to redress the balance, the daughter of
the King of the South will be given in marriage to
the King of the North, but she will not maintain her
influence and their line will not last. She and her
escort, her child, and also her lord and master,
will be the victims of foul play.
This concerns an arrangement made between Ptolemy II Philadelphus
("the Brotherly," reigned 285-246 BCE) the King of the South, and
Antiochus II Theos ("God," reigned 262-246 BCE), the King of the
North. Laodice, the former wife of Antiochus, was to be left in
a secondary position in Asia Minor, while Berenice, Ptolemy's
daughter, was to reign at Antioch and bear children for the
Seleucid inheritance. But both Laodice and Berenice were
Macedonian princesses true to type. Laodice induced Antiochus to
come back to her at Ephesus. Antiochus subsequently died under
mysterious circumstances, with some suspicion falling on Laodice.
Laodice then sent assassins to Antioch to murder Berenice and her
infant son. The ploy was successful, and Laodice's son Seleucus
II Callinicus (reigned c. 246-226 BCE) became the new King of the
7 Then another shoot from the same stock as hers
will appear in his father's place, will penetrate
the defenses of the King of the North and enter his
fortress, and will win a decisive victory over his
8 He will take back as booty to Egypt even the
images of their gods cast in metal and their
precious vessels of silver and gold...
Ptolemy III Euergetes ("the Benefactor," reigned c. 246-221 BCE),
the son of Ptolemy II, took over from his father and was
determined to avenge the death of his half-sister Berenice. The
invasion of Syria by Ptolemy III Euergetes was called the
"Laodicean War," that is, the "war against the murderess
Laodice." Ptolemy was successful, and, according to Saint
Jerome, "he plundered the kingdom of Seleucus and carried away
40,000 talents of silver, and 2500 precious cups and images of
the gods, among which were those also which Cambyses, when he
took Egypt, had brought to the country of the Persians. Finally,
the Egyptian race, being given to idolatry, because he had
brought back their gods after many years, called him Euergetes --
8 ... Then for some years he will refrain from
attacking the King of the North.
9 After that, the King of the North will come into
the realm of the southern kingdom but will retreat
to his own land.
After Ptolemy returned to Egypt, the war went on. Seleucus
recovered most of northern Syria. In 242-241 BCE, Seleucus was
able to deliver Damascus and Orthosia on the Phoenician coast,
that were being besieged by the Egyptians. But an attempt of
Seleucus to penetrate farther south into Palestine led to a
disastrous defeat. Soon after this, c. 240 BCE, the two powers
signed a peace treaty.
10 His sons will press on to assemble a great horde.
One of them will sweep on and on like an irresistible
flood. And after that he will press on as far as
his enemy's stronghold.
11 The King of the South, his anger aroused, will
march out to do battle with the king of the North
who, in turn, will raise a great horde, but it will
be delivered into the hands of his enemy.
12 And when this horde has been captured, the victor
will be elated and will slaughter tens of thousands,
yet he will not maintain his advantage.
Ptolemy III Euergetes was succeeded by his young son, the
corrupt and dissolute Ptolemy IV Philopater ("Lover of his
Fatherland," reigned c. 221-204 BCE). The throne of the Kingdom
of the North had recently fallen to the highly competent
Antiochus III ("the Great," reigned c. 223-187 BCE), the brother
of Seleucus II. Within a few years, Antiochus turned to a
systematic conquest of Palestine. His chief seaport, Seleucia,
now in the hands of Egypt, was regained, and he turned south.
Following various fortunes, a wearisome negotiation was entered
into by the two kings. The successes of the King of the North in
Palestine overcame the notorious inertia of the King of the
South. A lull in the warfare gave the King of the South time to
build up his forces. At Alexandria, the season was one of
intense secret preparations. Experienced Greek officers drilled
fresh mercenaries from overseas, while war mat‚riel was being
manufactured and prepared. Even the native fellahin peasants,
Libyans and natives of Cyrene were enrolled, trained and armed
The peace negotiation, as orchestrated by Egypt, failed in its
purpose and gave way to further warfare. In 217 BCE came the
decisive battle of Raphia, a little south of Gaza. Ptolemy
achieved a great victory, and Antiochus again withdrew to Syria.
In later years, Antiochus renewed the conquest of Palestine and
was ultimately successful. The story of his successful campaign
is told in verses 11:13-19.
13 Then the King of the North will once again raise
a horde even greater than the last and, when the
years come around, will advance with a great army
and a large baggage train.
14 During these times many will resist the King of
the South, but some hotheads among your own people
will rashly attempt to give substance to a vision
and will come to disaster.
Shortly after the death of Ptolemy IV Philopater, Antiochus
renewed his conquest in earnest and started taking Egyptian
possessions in Asia Minor and Palestine. As his successes
mounted, many Jews hailed Antiochus as a liberator. Antiochus
treated the Jews kindly, and he appeared to be most scrupulous in
his observance of the Jewish law. Also, there was an
inflammatory but questionable story that had circulated after the
battle of Raphia: it was said that Ptolemy had attempted to push
his way into the Holy of Holies, but was stricken by an
unaccountable terror and was carried out in an almost lifeless
condition. Even if true, history was to demonstrate that the
party of Jews favoring the King of the North was misled, and the
tolerant policy of Antiochus the Great was soon to be superseded
by a harsh policy of Hellenization and suppression of Jewish
15 Then the King of the North will come and throw up
siege ramps and capture a fortified town, and the
forces of the south will not be able to hold their
16 And so his adversary will do as he pleases and
meet no opposition. He will establish himself in
the fairest of all lands and it will come wholly
into his power.
Scopas, Ptolemy's general in Egypt, managed to recapture a number
of places in Palestine, including Jerusalem. Scopas stationed
garrisons there and elsewhere. Nevertheless, Antiochus was again
able to take Palestine. This time, Antiochus achieved a decisive
victory at Panium (198 BCE) near the headwaters of the Jordan,
later to be the site of Caesarea Philippi. Scopas subsequently
was besieged at Sidon but was allowed to retreat into Egypt.
Gaza, found naturally on the opposite side of Jerusalem, held out
to the last for Ptolemy, but eventually fell. Palestine passed
into the hands of the King of the North.
17 He will resolve to subjugate all the dominions of
the King of the South and he will come to fair terms
with him. He will give him a young woman in
marriage, for the destruction of the kingdom; but
she will not persist nor serve his purpose.
Probably as a part of the peace treaty between Syria and Egypt,
Antiochus gave his daughter Cleopatra I (not the famous Cleopatra
VI of later imperial Roman history) in marriage to the young
Ptolemy V Epiphanes ("the Illustrious," reigned c. 204-181 BCE),
who had succeeded his father after the Battle of Raphia. The
betrothal of his young daughter to the King of the South was a
part of a long-range strategy of Antiochus to dominate Egypt.
Nevertheless, Cleopatra consistently dedicated her loyalty to
Egypt and her young husband Ptolemy rather than to her father
Antiochus. Cleopatra became a loyal and competent regent of
Egypt following her husband's early death.
18 Then he will turn to the coasts and take many
prisoners, but a foreign commander will put an end
to his challenge and will throw back his challenge
on to him.
19 He will fall back upon his own strongholds; there
he will come to disaster and be seen no more.
While Antiochus III was becoming "great," a new power to the
west, Rome, was becoming strong. Antiochus invaded Greece in the
spring of 191 BCE, but was driven out by the Romans a year later.
A decisive battle was won by Scipio, the general from Rome, over
Antiochus at Magnesia (190 BCE). Thereby Rome became a power in
the eastern Mediterranean. The Romans took the Seleucid
territories north of the Taurus and gave them to their friend,
the king of Pergamon. Also, as another part of the treaty,
twenty prominent hostages were to be sent to Rome, among them
Antiochus, a younger son of the King who was destined one day to
become the infamous Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
Antiochus the Great, hurled back from Asia Minor, turned his
thoughts once more to the field of old glories, the East. As
soon as peace had been made with Rome, Antiochus left his second
son Seleucus in Syria as joint-king and plunged eastward. The
tidings eventually came back to the capital at Antioch that he
had adventured himself with a body of troops into the Elymaean
hills in quest of spoils and had been overwhelmed by fierce
20 He will be succeeded by one who will send out an
officer with a royal escort to extort tribute;
after a short time this king too will meet his end,
yet neither openly nor in battle.
Seleucus IV Philopater ("Lover of his Father," ruled c. 187-176
BCE) became the King of the North after his father disappeared in
the East. A retiring man who was not prone to battle, Seleucus
was nonetheless a great extractor of taxes from his subjects and
managed to replenish the royal treasury after the disaster at
Magnesia. The 'officer with royal escort' was his chief minister
Heliodorus, who was given the job and was accompanied on money
gathering missions by royal bodyguards.
The power granted Heliodorus tempted him to aspire higher.
Heliodorus formed a conspiracy against the King, and in a time of
peace, Seleucus Philopater was suddenly murdered.
ANTIOCHUS IV EPIPHANES, "THE GOD MANIFEST"
21 A contemptible creature will succeed but will not
be given recognition as king; yet he will seize the
kingdom by dissimulation and intrigue in time of
After his murder of Seleucus Philopater, Heliodorus proclaimed
the infant son of Seleucus to be the new King. This was an
obvious ruse to control the royal power himself. The rightful
heir to the throne was Demetrius, the elder son of Seleucus
Philopater. Unfortunately, Demetrius had been sent to Rome as a
replacement hostage for his father's younger brother, Antiochus.
Antiochus had become enamored of Greek culture and was in Athens
at the time of the machinations of Heliodorus. Antiochus,
seizing the opportunity, rushed to Antioch with an armed force.
Heliodorus fled and disappeared from history while the new
imposter ascended the throne as Antiochus IV Epiphanes (ruled
To consolidate his position, Antiochus resorted to mixed
stratagems of calculated mildness and bloodshed. Prominent
competitors for power were induced to "disappear" or to commit
suicide. The infant son of Seleucus was murdered by Andronicus,
an agent of Antiochus. Following the assassination, Antiochus
disowned his own agent and, in turn had him put to death.
The character of Antiochus IV was notorious. While being an
astute politician and clever trickster, he was a "playboy
emperor" devoted to practical jokes and theatrical absurdities.
While professing a love for Hellenism, he lacked the depth of
understanding to appreciate its true cultural values. He was
probably the most despised of the Seleucid regents. Some
nameless wit in his court parodied his title Epiphanes ("the
Illustrious") into the more appropriate Epimanes ("the Madman").
22 He will sweep away all forces of opposition as he
advances, and even the Prince of the Covenant will
23 He will enter into fraudulent alliances and,
although the people behind him are few,
24 He will rise to power and establish himself in
time of peace. He will overrun the richest
districts of the province and succeed in doing what his
fathers and forefathers failed to do, distributing
spoil, booty, and property to his followers. He will lay
plans against fortresses, but only for a time.
Whereas his predecessor Seleucus IV had been an avid collector
of taxes, Antiochus IV was an avid spender of assets. He
lavished the riches of Syria and political privileges upon his
Hellenist friends. He bestowed magnificent presents upon the old
seats of Hellenism in Asia Minor and Greece, and threw open to
their craftsmen and artists lucrative employment in Syria. His
chief counsellors were two youths, brothers, Heraclides and
Timarchus of Miletus, who had obtained the favor of Antiochus
through the vilest of ways. One was made minister of finance;
the other was made governor of the eastern provinces. The
principal cities of Cilicia, Tarsus, and Mallus were given to his
Antiochus, in spite of his admiration of Hellenism, was no true
friend of Rome. An anti-Roman movement was centered around
Perseus of Macedonia, and Antiochus was a party to the movement.
He carried on a clandestine correspondence with Perseus, and
proceeded to rebuild his navy and other forces in violation of
the treaty following Magnesia. Even so, his thoughts soon turned
away from Rome and south to Egypt.
The "Prince of the Covenant" is Jehovah. How Antiochus replaced
Jehovah in the Great Temple at Jerusalem will be told in later
25 He will rouse himself in all his strength and
lead a great army against the King of the South, but
the King of the South will press the campaign
against him with a very great and numerous army; yet
the King of the South will not persist, for traitors
will lay their plots.
26 Those who eat at his board will be his undoing;
his army will be swept away, and many will fall in
the field of battle.
27 The two kings will be bent on mischief and,
sitting at the same table, they will lie to each
other with advantage to neither. Yet there will be
and end to the appointed time.
When his sister Cleopatra I of Egypt died c. 172 BCE, Antiochus
heard that Egypt might be on the verge of invading Syria.
Antiochus advanced promptly with a force as far as Joppa to
repel a possible invasion. After satisfying himself that things
were safe for the moment, he returned north. Nevertheless, old
quarrels concerning the ownership of Palestine were still
unresolved, and Antiochus was sure that it would be only a matter
of time before Egypt would again try to recover it.
Indeed, in 170 BCE, Egypt went on the offensive to recover
Palestine. The army was under the command of two joint regents,
Eulaeus and Lenaeus, who had seized control of Egypt following
the unexpected death of the young Cleopatra. The legal heir to
the southern kingdom, Ptolemy, son of Cleopatra and Ptolemy
Epiphanes, was only fifteen years old at the time of his mother's
Eulaeus and Lenaeus were unlikely creatures of the palace. Both
had been slaves. Eulaeus was a eunuch and possibly a native of
Khuzistan; Lenaeus was a Syrian. Before their invasion of Syria,
they had made boastful speeches to the populace, and had
attempted to justify several wagon loads of bullion, gold and
silver plate, jewels, rich feminine attire, and even furniture
from the palace, that would accompany them on the invasion.
Antiochus met the invaders before they had crossed the desert and
won an enormous victory. Then, by some ruse, probably through
treachery, Antiochus seized Pelusiaum. The young King Ptolemy
was given bad advice, probably again by traitors, and was packed
aboard a ship to escape from Egypt. The ship was intercepted by
the Syrian fleet, and Ptolemy Philomater became the prisoner of
Following the defection and capture of their young King, the
citizens of Alexandria revolted against their incompetent regents
Eulaeus and Lenaeus, brought the younger brother of Philomater to
the throne, and gave him the auspicious title of Ptolemy
Euergetes II, in imitation of his successful great grandfather.
Antiochus continued his invasion of Egypt and moved up the Nile
to Memphis. Lower Egypt, except for Alexandria, was soon
entirely in the hands of Antiochus. For the first time since
Alexander the Great, Egypt had been successfully invaded from
After his nearly total takeover of Egypt, Antiochus installed his
young prisoner Ptolemy Philomater ("lover of his Mother") as a
rival King at Memphis.
28 Then he will return home with a long baggage
train, and with anger in his heart against the Holy
Covenant; he will work his will and return to his
Having created havoc on the Egyptian political scene, Antiochus
retired from Egypt laden with spoils.
While Antiochus was making war in Egypt, a false report was
spread in Palestine that Antiochus had been killed. Jason, a
former High Priest of the Temple in Jerusalem, who had been
outbid for the position by his brother Menelaus, seized the
occasion by raising a small army and inflicted severe
chastisement upon the partisans of Menelaus. Antiochus, on
hearing of the rejoicings which had been manifested on the
occasion of his supposed death, hastened to Jerusalem and gave up
the city to be sacked and pillaged by his soldiers for three
consecutive days. About 40,000 citizens of Jerusalem were
massacred and about 40,000 more were sold into slavery. The
traitor Menelaus aided and abetted Antiochus in his outrages,
assisted in the desecration of the Temple and the robbery of its
treasury. Jason himself fled at the approach of Antiochus and
died miserably in exile. <1>
29 At the appointed time he will once more overrun
the south, but he will not succeed as he did before.
30 Ships from Kittim will sail against him, and he
will receive a rebuff.
After a lengthy negotiation between Alexandria and Memphis, it
was agreed that Ptolemy Philomater and Ptolemy Euergetes II would
rule as joint kings in Egypt. This embarrassing setback for the
plans of Antiochus precipitated a second successful invasion of
Egypt from the north in 168 BCE. This time, however, Rome
(identified by Bevan as "Kittim" <2>) was now free to exercise
her authority over the Near East, having just recently conquered
Macedonia at the battle of Pydna (June, 168 BCE).
Immediately, Rome sent from Delos her ambassador Popillius, who
met Antiochus somewhere in the desert east of Alexandria.
Antiochus had known Popillius in Rome and extended his hand in a
friendly greeting. Much to the chagrin of Antiochus, his warm
greeting was met with a cold rebuff. Antiochus was ordered to
leave Egypt completely. Antiochus answered with one of those
diplomatic phrases that came so easily to him, but the Roman was
determined that he should not wriggle free. To everyone's
amazement, with his cane, Popillius drew a circle in the sand
around Antiochus and demanded a Yes or No answer before he
stepped outside it. Antiochus collapsed. When he regained his
voice, he agreed to everything. The next moment found the Romans
shaking his hand and enquiring about how he had been.
30 ... He will turn and vent his fury against the
31 On his way back he will desecrate the Sanctuary
and the Citadel and do away with the regular
offering. And there he will set up "the abominable
thing that causes desolation."
After his rebuff from the Roman ambassadors, Antiochus withdrew
completely from Egypt, "groaning and in bitterness of heart."
Now, since he could no longer protect Palestine by holding any
Egyptian territory, it was imperative that he consolidate
Palestine. The weak spot was Jerusalem, which had resisted all
efforts to amalgamate into the general Hellenistic system that he
had envisioned for Syria. He was determined to abolish the
religion of Jehovah, even if it required the extermination of
recalcitrant Jewish residents and their replacement by Greek
Appolonius, the commander of the Mysian mercenaries, was sent to
occupy Jerusalem with a strong military force. A fresh massacre
occurred, probably led by the traitorous High Priest Menelaus,
and cleared Jerusalem of the obnoxious element. A new fortress
was built on the Temple Mount, and a body of royal troops,
"Macedonians," was established in it to dominate the city.
Following the military occupation, a Greek altar to Zeus was
erected upon the Rock Moriah, and swine sacrificed upon it. To
partake of the "broth of abominable things" became a test of
allegiance to the King, and Menelaus was one of the participants
of the new sacrificial feast. The Temple sanctuary was smeared
with blood, and in the ensuing riot, soldiers committed the
grossest indecencies in the revered courts.
Antiochus had already declared himself to be the manifestation of
Zeus on earth, and the day of the King's birth became a holy day
to be celebrated every month. A Dionysian festival was
introduced in which the citizens of Jerusalem, crowned with ivy,
were coerced to participate in the procession. The triumph of
Antiochus over the "Prince of the Covenant" seemed complete.
This was not to be the last time that sacrileges and an
"abominable thing" would stand in the holy place. We recall once
again the warning of Jesus in Matthew 24:15: 'So when you see
the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel standing
in the holy place (let the reader understand), ....'
32 He will win over by plausible promises those who
are ready to condemn the covenant, but the people
who are faithful to their God will hold firm and
33 Wise leaders will give guidance to the common
people; yet for a while they will fall victims to
fire and sword, to captivity and pillage.
34 But these victims will not want for help, though
small, even if many who join are insincere.
35 Some of these elders will themselves fall
victims for a time so that they may be tested,
refined and made shining white.
The acts of Antiochus were to precipitate the Maccabean Revolt
(c. 164-142 BCE), recorded in the Books of the Maccabees. It
not be our objective to discuss this very complex period of
Jewish history. We shall content ourselves with recalling that
the Jews eventually succeeded in winning national independence
after a bitter but heroic struggle that lasted over two decades.
The success of the Maccabean Revolt is commemorated by the Jewish
Feast of Lights (Hanukkah). One of the most popular heroes to
emerge from the conflict was Judas, son of Mattathiah.
Notes for Chapter Eight
1. Ref 4, p. 141ff
2. Ref 8, p. 145
NAPOLEON, "THE SULTAN KABIR"
At this point in Daniel's eleventh chapter, the Bab introduces a
new element: <1>
35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may
be refined, purified and made spotless until the
time of the end, for it will still come at the
indicating that the verses to follow apply to a different
time -- the 'time of the end,' just as similar expressions do at
other places in Daniel. Also, a careful reading of the verses
following 11:35 will show that the King of the North referred to
in verse 11:36 is none other than the same King referred to in
verse 11:40. That same King of the North will do battle with the
King of the South at the 'time of the end' (11:40).
It will become obvious in following verses that the latter-day
King of the North is that great villain of history, Napoleon
But how can we say that Napoleon was the King of the North after
so many centuries had elapsed and after the Seleucid Empire no
longer existed? The answer is quite simply that the "northern
kingdom" is always one that invades Palestine from the north,
while the "southern kingdom" is always one that invades Palestine
from the south.
By the time of Napoleon, much had happened to alter the political
groupings. The Seleucids had been replaced by Rome as the
masters of Palestine, in turn to be replaced by Islam in the
Seventh Century. But the Muslim invasions came from the south
by way of the peninsula of Arabia. Thus, Islam became the
southern kingdom, with the reigning Caliph or Sultan becoming the
King of the South.
Then, during the Crusades, Palestine had another temporary
master -- Christendom (i.e., the "Frankish kingdoms"). This
group invaded Palestine from the north by way of Constantinople,
an invasion that resulted in another massacre of Jews, this time
by Christians. Thus Christendom became the northern kingdom,
and, as far as Palestine was concerned, so it remained until the
time of Napoleon. Indeed, a look at a world map will show that
Christendom is essentially a northern "kingdom," while Islam is
essentially a southern "kingdom."
The Kings of the North and South had complex histories following
Antiochus Epiphanes and Ptolemy Euergetes II that are too lengthy
to be discussed here. But of some interest to our essay is an
event surrounding the crowning of Charlemagne by Pope Leo III in
800 CE. Many historians believe that Charlemagne had intended to
seize the crown from Leo III and to crown himself emperor.
However, Charlemagne was foiled in his attempt, and the Empire of
the West was thereby officially initiated under the aegis of the
Roman Catholic Church as the "Holy Roman Empire."
After the fall of Constantinople and Eastern Christendom to Islam
in 1453 CE, there was no longer a serious rival for the
political leadership of Christendom outside of Western Europe.
It is also a fact that, after 1453, the political role of the
Pope became less and less important. The King of the North
became, simply, the political ruler that happened to be dominant
in the Christian lands.
A similar evolution of power occurred in the Muslim countries.
By the time of Napoleon, the caliphate had lost its political
power, and the King of the South had become the ruling Ottoman
Sultan, Salim III.
36 The king [of the north] will do what he chooses.
He will exalt and magnify himself above every god
and against the God of gods he will utter monstrous
blasphemies. All will go well for him until the
time of wrath comes, for what is determined must be
37 He will ignore the God of his fathers, and the
one beloved by women; to no god will he play heed
but will exalt himself above them all.
38 Instead, he will honor the god of forces, a god
unknown to his ancestors, with gold and silver, gems
and costly gifts.
39 He will garrison his strongest forces with
aliens, the people of a foreign god. Those whom he
favors he will load with honor, putting them in
office over the common people and distributing land
at a price.
Napoleon Bonaparte, the "Corsican Adventurer," was the supreme
example of egotism, ambition, hypocrisy, and arrogance. Even at
the youthful age of nineteen, while he still had literary
ambitions, he indicated his cynical attitude toward religious
belief by writing a short story called 'The Masked Prophet.' In
the story, based upon the life of an eighth-century sincere but
misdirected Mahdi (Savior) named Hakim, Napoleon ascribes Hakim's
fanatic attempts to overcome the Caliph as "an incredible example
of the extremes to which the mania for fame can push a man."
Later, as a member of the radical Jacobin party, he cynically
denounced religion as a means for keeping the people quiet
(harbinging the later dictum of the Bolsheviks that "religion is
the opiate of the masses"). The Jacobins, we should remember,
were the instigators of the Reign of Terror that was so
disastrous to the Church and other established institutions of
While Napoleon Bonaparte may be rightly called the
"arch-hypocrite," he also had a profound sense of destiny and
of his part to be played in history. He, as have many
conquerors, claimed to be fulfilling the dictates of prophecy.
Well versed in the Qur'an and familiar with Muslim traditions, in
order to carry out his designs during his command of the invasion
of Egypt, Napoleon pretended to be a Muslim and participated in
local customs and holy days. Following his victory over the
Sultan's forces at Abukir, he informed the disappointed sheiks
<2) that he was a "true Muslim," that he hated the Christians
whose altars and crosses he had overthrown, and that he had
abjured his former faith. Furthermore, he ascribed his military
successes to being the chosen instrument of Allah, the Creator of
Witness this proclamation by Napoleon after the quelling of an
insurrection at Cairo:
Sherifs, ulamas, preachers in the mosques, be sure to
tell the people that those who, with a light heart,
take sides against us shall find no refuge in either
this world or the next. Is there a man so blind as
not to see that destiny itself guides all my
operations? . . .
Let the people know that, from the creation of the
world, it is written that after destroying the
enemies of Islam and beating down the cross, I was
to come from the confines of the Occident to
accomplish my appointed task. Show the people that
in more than twenty passages of the holy Qur'an,
what has happened has been foretold, and what shall
happen has been explained. If I chose, I could call each
of you to account for the most hidden feelings of his
heart, for I know everything, even what you have told to
no one. But the day will come when all men shall see
beyond all doubt that I am guided by orders from above
and that all human efforts avail nought against me.
Blessed are they who, in good faith, are the first to
choose my side.
In Egypt, Jews and Christian Copts were retained as security
guards and tax gatherers, while Napoleon garrisoned his Citadel
and strongest fortresses with Janissary companies composed
predominantly of alien Christian Greeks, a source of aggravation
to the native Egyptians and Arabs. Especially annoying to the
Egyptians was Barthelmy and his band of ruffians. Barthelmy, the
Lieutenant of Police for Cairo, was an alien Greek of herculean
stature and spine-chilling appearance. Besides various weapons,
he wore a colorful but bizarre combination of local and Greek
costume when he and his goon squad sallied forth to find heads to
lop off. Often, his Amazon-statured wife would ride at his side.
Napoleon, on his return to France, created a "Mamluk Corps"
composed of Mamluks, Copts, and Syrians who had joined his train.
(As we shall see, the Mamluks, although Muslim by faith, were
actually aliens in Egypt.) Also, back in Europe, Napoleon made
his brothers, sisters, and in-laws the rulers of entire nations.
And like all of his gifts to his self-seeking favorites, the
price to be paid for his awards was unquestioned loyalty to the
promotion of his ambitions.
Later, as the head of the French government, Napoleon reinstated
the Catholic Church in France but not for altruistic purposes.
He worked out a conciliation with the Roman Church, but Rome was
to support him in return for this Corcordat. Napoleon had in
mind the restoration of a monarchy with himself as the Supreme
Monarch. In his own words: <3>
How can you have order in a state without religion?
Society cannot exist without inequality of fortunes,
which cannot endure apart from religion. When one
man is dying of hunger near another who is ill of
surfeit, he cannot resign himself to this
difference, unless there is an authority which
declares, "God wills it thus: there must be poor
and rich in the world: but hereafter and during all
eternity, the division of things will take place
Also, Napoleon wished to re-establish missionaries, but not for
the spread of the Gospel: <4>
It is my wish to re-establish the institution of
foreign missions; for the religious missionaries may
be useful to me in Asia, Africa and America, as I
shall make them reconnoitre all the lands they
visit. The sanctity of their dress will not only
protect them, but serve to conceal their political
and commercial investigations. The head of the
missionary establishment will reside no longer in
Rome but in Paris.
Jesus of Nazareth may be rightly called "the One beloved by
women," since He re-established the sanctity of marriage and
forbade the degradation of women. But as for Bonaparte of
I do not think that we need trouble ourselves with
any plan for instruction of young females; they
cannot be better brought up than by their mothers.
Public education is not suitable for them, because
they are never called upon to act in public.
Under the Code of Napoleon, a system of laws largely due to
his efforts that still lingers in several regions of the
world, women lost control over their property and were
relegated to the status of inferior beings.
To what 'forces,' if any, did Napoleon feel beholden? In
his own words <6>, Napoleon informed the "Council of
Ancients" at the Chateau Saint-Cloud following his return
from the Egyptian campaign, that "the god of war and the god
of luck are marching alongside me!" Renaming the Louvre after
himself, he stocked it with the riches he had stolen from
other lands and peoples in the name of "war and luck."
40 At the time of the end, he and the king of the
south will make feints at one another. The king of
the north will come storming against the king of the
south with chariots, cavalry and many ships. The
king of the north will overrun land after land,
sweeping over them like a flood,
41 Amongst them the fairest of all lands, and tens
of thousands will fall victims. Yet all these lands
(including Edom and Moab and the remnant of the
Ammonites) will survive the attack.
42 The king of the north will reach out to land after
land, and Egypt will not escape.
43 He will gain control of her hidden stores of
gold, silver and all of her treasures; Libyans and
Cushites will follow in his train.
44 Then rumors from east and north will alarm him,
and he will depart in a rage to destroy and to
45 He will pitch his royal pavilion between the sea
and the holy hill, the fairest of all hills, and he
will meet his end with no one to help him.
After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, there were several
thrusts and counter-thrusts between Christendom and Islam. The
Moors were driven out of Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella in the
late fifteenth century. In the sixteenth century, Sulayman the
Magnificent besieged Rhodes and Sulayman II attacked Malta. In
the seventeenth century, Italy invaded Greece, then a part of the
Ottoman empire, but was driven out again about half a century
By the late Eighteenth Century, the Ottoman Empire, the "Sick Man
of the East," was perceived to be in a decrepit condition by the
European powers. In particular, Egypt seemed to be a plum ripe
for the picking. In 1798, the Directory of the newly-formed
French Republic decided to send General Bonaparte, the hero of
the Italian campaign, with an army into Egypt to pick the plum.
There were several overt arguments proffered for the enterprise,
among them being the grand strategy of using Egypt as a base for
the invasion of India and thereby striking at the heart of the
British Empire. At the very least, the control of Egypt, and
hopefully Syria as well, would seriously hamper the flow of trade
and communications between India and England. But the covert
argument was based on simple greed and the thirst for power.
Egypt, although in a backward economic condition in 1798, had the
potential of becoming a fertile breadbasket for the French
Empire, just as it had been for the Roman Empire and other
invaders of the past.
In May of 1798, a spectacular convoy sailed from Toulon bound for
Malta. The convoy would soon swell to almost 400 sailing ships
and would carry 55,000 citizens of France, among them an army of
25,000 men, cavalry, transport vehicles, artillery, and the full
accouterments of war. The plan was first to take Malta from the
obsolete and quixotic Knights Hospitalier of Saint John of
Jerusalem that had held the island since the Crusades, and then
to use Malta as a base for the invasion of Egypt. There ensued
a ludicrous game of blind-man's bluff following Napoleon's
departure from Toulon in which Napoleon's convoy, under the
command of Vice-admiral Brueys, was chased by the British battle
fleet, under the command of Admiral Horatio Nelson, all over the
eastern Mediterranean. Had Nelson been able to intercept Brueys,
the whole course of modern history might have taken a drastic
turn. As it was, Napoleon was able to take Malta and sail on to
The siege of Alexandria and other minor engagements led to the
celebrated Battle of the Pyramids near Cairo. It was there that
Napoleon achieved a spectacular victory over the Mamluks under
the command of Murad Bey. The desert regions of Egypt were under
the control of the Bedouin sheiks, but the Mamluks were the de
facto rulers of the populated parts of Egypt. While the Mamluks
were theoretically subjects of Sultan Selim III, owing to the
sorry condition of the Ottoman realm, they were actually a
semi-autonomous warrior class that had managed to bully the
powerless and impoverished fellahin peasants of Egypt for five
and a half centuries.
The Mamluks were an historical anomaly. The word 'Mamluk' means
a 'bought man' in Arabic. But the Mamluks were not slaves in the
usual sense of the word. They had their origins in the
mid-thirteenth century when the Ayyubite Sultan brought about
12,000 youths from the Caucasus mountains to Egypt to form the
elite corps of his army. The Mamluks, mostly of Circassian and
Georgian stock, soon took over the land, killed Sultan Ashraf
Moussa in 1252, and formed their own dynasty. Even after the
Turkish conquest of Egypt in 1517, the Mamluks retained the
essential control of populated Egypt, their only real
subservience to the Sultan being in the act of collecting and
delivering taxes from the fellahin. Even though the Mamluks
filled their harems with Egyptian, Abyssinian, and Nubian women,
they renewed their numbers with fresh imports of young
fair-skinned boys from the Caucasus whom they bought and trained
Shortly after Napoleon's victory over the Mamluks at the
pyramids, a naval battle occurred that changed the character of
the war: Admiral Nelson finally caught up with the French fleet
at Abukir about ten miles east of Alexandria. The bloody "Battle
of the Nile" that ensued resulted in the destruction of the
French fleet and the death of Admiral Brueys. Thereafter,
isolated and ignored by the Directory of the Republic, Napoleon
and the 'Army of the Orient" were left to fend for themselves in
a strange and exotic land.
In 1798, Egypt was still a land of mystery that had been visited
by relatively few Europeans. Since colonization was the covert
reason for the invasion of Egypt in the first place, Napoleon had
brought along a remarkable group of civilian savants in his
train, who will be recognized by modern savants in each of their
fields: the chemist Berthollet, the geometrist Monge, the
orientalist Jean-Michel de Venture, the artists Denon and
Duterte, the architect Balzac, the mathematician Fourier, the
zoologist Saint-Hilaire, the inventor Conte, the adventurist-
minerologist Gratet de Dolomieu, and the physicist Malus, among
others. Together, these distinguished scientists and humanists
initiated the science of Egyptology and disclosed the wonders of
ancient Egypt to modern eyes. This 'Scientific and Artistic
Commission of Egypt' was responsible for the discovery of the
Rosetta Stone (sculpted in honor of Ptolemy V Epiphanes in 195
BCE) that made it possible to decipher the written languages of
Soon after the destruction of the French fleet by Admiral Nelson,
Napoleon sent the dashing and heroic General Desaix with an army
of about 3,000 men in pursuit of the clever and equally heroic
Murad Bay and his Mamluks. For many months, there were thrusts
and counter-thrusts between the forces of Desaix and Murad Bey
all the way from Cairo to the cataracts of the Nile and back
again, a distance of about 3,000 miles. Along the way, the
artist Denon was able to record many of the famous sights as the
pursuit passed through such spectacular ruins as Karnak and
Finally, some semblance of victory was achieved by Desaix, and
Egypt became a temporary colony of the French Empire. Cairo even
acquired some of the gaieties and amenities of Paris. Since the
Army of the Orient was isolated and abandoned by the French
government, it was necessary to pay, clothe, and feed the Army
with local confiscations and oppressive taxation policies.
Besides the collections of gold and silver, Napoleon's army and
the savants collected an astonishing booty of ancient
treasures, much of which had been stolen from the tombs of
pharaohs by grave robbers, and much of which, as was said before,
now rests in the Louvre.
While Desaix was engaged in the chase, Napoleon set off on
another adventure, probably the one closest to his heart but one
that was doomed to failure. Napoleon had often confided to
friends that he admired Alexander the Great, and evidence
suggests that he actually tried to emulate that ancient Greek
conqueror. Napoleon had visions of becoming a spreader of French
culture throughout the Orient and of, once again, unifying
the Occident and the Orient. In imitation of Alexander, he took
on many of the trappings of the East and chose the title of
Sultan Kebir, the "Great Sultan." Indeed, Bedouin tribes
believed Napoleon to be Alexander reincarnated. They would have
been more correct if they had likened him to Antiochus
In the light of his dreams and convictions, we should not be too
surprised to find Napoleon undertaking the invasion of Syria at a
time when the situation of Egypt was, at best, precarious and
the hopes of receiving substantial assistance from France to be
virtually nil. But more than that, he had ambitions for Europe
as well as for the Orient. The 'news from the north and from the
east' that put 'rage' into his heart was delivered by Hamelin, a
French merchant who had just arrived from Trieste <7> a few days
before his departure from Cairo for Syria. The news was the
renewal of the war in Italy, the Russo-Turkish blockade of Corfu,
and the declaration of war by Turkey against France. It seemed
certain to Napoleon that a resumption of general hostilities
involving most of the European powers was imminent. Egypt and
Asia offered no more opportunities to Napoleon, and Europe
beckoned him to even greater glory. Syria had to be invaded and
conquered quickly if he was to seize the steed of fortune.
Napoleon had, for some time, realized that the success of the
Army of the Orient depended upon getting new recruits from the
native population. To that end, he had purchased blacks from
Abyssinia (ancient Cush), and had acquired Bedouin forces from
Tur. <8> When Napoleon invaded Syria, he had about 13,000 men
and some women in his train, including among them, Arab and
Egyptian personnel attached to his army -- servants, camel
drivers, interpreters, laborers, etc.. A vast amount of baggage
was carried, including beds, mattresses, carpets, and tents.
Apparently, Napoleon intended to leave a permanent garrison in
Syria. In addition to his standard retinue of cavalry,
artillery, and infantry, Napoleon's army contained a newly-formed
Dromedary troop modeled after the Bedouin forces of the Lybian
Napoleon pitched 'his royal pavilion between the holy hill
(Carmel) and the sea' before the fortress of Akka, the ancient
Crusaders' citadel of Saint Jean de Acre. Opposed to Napoleon
and fortified behind the walls of Akka were the combined forces
of Ahmad Pasha Djezzar of Akka, Commodore Sidney Smith of
England, and the expatriate Colonel Phelipeaux of France.
Napoleon failed in his siege of the fortress-city after much
blood had been shed on both sides. Although there were a number
of other bloody engagements in the Holy Land (notably the Battles
of Mount Tabor and Jaffa), Palestine -- the 'fairest of all
lands'-- survived the attack. So did the ancient lands of Moab,
Edom, and the Ammonites, although the ancient territories of Moab
and the Ammonites (modern Jordan) were temporarily invaded by
some of Napoleon's forces dispatched under General Murat. Edom,
the Mount Seir region between modern south Palestine and the Gulf
of Aqaba, also escaped Napoleon's wrath.
The disaster at Akka was a humiliating disappointment for
Napoleon. Shortly after his retreat to Egypt, Napoleon received
further news of the developments in the north and the east. He
immediately abandoned his grandiose plans to repeat Alexander's
triumphs and deserted Egypt. He left command of the Army of the
Orient to the aging but competent General Klebar, who held out in
Egypt until 1801. Returning to France, Napoleon was able to gain
control of the French Directory by subterfuge and deceit. He
went on to many victories in Europe, 'overrunning land after
land.' In 1804, he called Pope Pius VII to Paris to have himself
crowned Emperor of Western Christendom. Surmounting the failed
attempt of Charlemagne a thousand years earlier, the Corsican
Adventurer seized the crown, waved the Pope aside, and crowned
himself. Thereby, Western Christendom became simply the secular
Empire of France. The Holy Roman Empire was officially
terminated as an entity about a year later.
Ultimately, Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo, exiled to the tiny
island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, and met a lonely
and bitter end "with no one to help him."
Notes for Chapter Nine
1. One possible cause of exegetic confusion is that the
description of the villainous character of the King of the North
in verses 11:36 through 11:39 could apply quite well to Antiochus
Epiphanes. The fact is, however, that another villain of history
had a character with the same description, namely Napoleon
Bonaparte. It is simply a matter of recognizing that many
persons may manifest the same attributes of character and
personality, whether good or bad, and at different times and
2. Ref 11, p. 321
3. Ref 2, p. 1048
4. Ref 2, p. 1049
5. Ref 2, p. 1049
6. Ref 11, p. 312
7. Ref 11, p. 221
Napoleon was exiled to Saint Helena in 1815 and died there six
years later in 1821. It was during that period that Baha'u'llah
was born (1817). <1> The Bab accurately specifies the birth date
1 At that moment Michael will appear, Michael the
great captain, who stands guard over your fellow
But the Bab also portends great troubles to follow for the Jewish
And there will be a time of distress such as has
never been since they became a nation till that
The 'time of distress' clearly refers to the "holocaust" under
Nazi Germany during which some six million Jews perished. The
Bab goes on to say that deliverance will follow shortly:
But at that moment your people will be
delivered, every one who is written in the book:
2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the
earth will wake, some to everlasting life and
some to the reproach of eternal abhorrence.
3 The wise leaders shall shine like the bright
vault of heaven, and those who have guided the
people in the true path shall be like the stars
for ever and ever.
Here we have not only the resurrection of the worthy, but also
those who will be reproached throughout eternity. But, of
course, the 'resurrection' is to be a spiritual one, not
physical, as explained by Jesus in Matthew 23:31-32. The wise
leaders of Judaism, like Daniel, Ezekiel, and rabbi Johannan ben
Zakkai, are to be the stars of the new Jewish firmament. And we
are watching with our own eyes their deliverance with the
restoration of Israel as a nation following nineteen centuries of
exile and suffering.
In verse 3, Daniel sees a new and final vision, two other holy
figures standing on opposite banks of the Tigris River (10:4).
They remind us of the two holy trees on opposite banks of the
'river of the water of life' in Revelation 22. These two figures
represent the Twin Holy Trees, the Bab and Baha'u'llah. That
they stand on opposite banks of the Tigris reminds us that the
Bab's community of exiled believers was on the eastern bank of
the Tigris at Baghdad, and that Baha'u'llah was exiled to the
opposite bank of the Tigris by decree of the Sultan. <2>
It is to the Figure 'clothed in linen' on the opposite bank -- to
Baha'u'llah -- that Daniel addresses his question (12:6): 'How
long will it be before these portents cease?' Baha'u'llah
replies with the cryptic answer
7 "It shall be for a time, times, and a half. When
the power of the holy people ceases to be dispersed,
all these things shall come to an end."
The period of three-and-a-half 'times' is 1260 years, and, as
explained elsewhere, represents the date in the Muslim lunar
calendar of the Edict of Toleration. But Daniel is not satisfied
by this perplexing answer and asks again. Baha'u'llah answers a
second time with an equally cryptic answer
9 "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are kept
secret and sealed till the time of the end. ...
11 From the time when the regular offering is
abolished and 'the abomination of desolation' is set
up, there shall be an interval of one thousand two
hundred and ninety days.
12 Happy the man who waits and lives to see the
completion of the one thousand three hundred and
The meanings of the dates are not to become evident until the end
of the Age of Prophecy. It is 'Abdu'l-Baha who explains these
dates to us: The 1290 'days' is the span of time from the First
Public Declaration of Muhammad in 613 [CE] until the First Public
Declaration of Baha'u'llah in 1863, a period of 1290 lunar years.
The 1335 'days' is the span of time from the Firm Founding of
the Muslim Faith until the Firm Founding of the Baha'i Faith.
These explanations deserve closer reading. In verse 11 we read
of the "time when the regular offering is abolished and 'the
abomination of desolation' is set up...." We know from history
that the regular offering at the Great Temple of Jerusalem was
abolished in 70 CE. This was followed by about 600 years of
abominations between Jews and Christians, as decreed in Daniel
9:26, 27. The abominations left the Temple and the Holy Land
both physically and spiritually desolate. Muhammad, The
Comforter, decreed an end to these abominations. Thus, the time
(Era) of these events ended with Muhammad's Declaration, marking
the beginning of a new Era and a meaningful reference point for
the counting of years.
It was one of the great tragedies of history that 'Ali was not
permitted to assume the caliphate. In less than thirty years,
the caliphate had been usurped by the enemies of Muhammad, and
the true meaning of Islam was beclouded forever. As one
consequence of these actions, the Holy Land remained spiritually
desolate. The 'abomination of desolation' did not come to its
end until the Declaration of the Bab on May 23rd, 1844, about two
months after the Edict of Toleration.
The 1335 'days' is the number of solar years that must elapse
between the Firm Founding of the Muslim Faith and the Firm
Founding of the Baha'i Faith. This period terminated some time
between 1957 and 1963, and is discussed in more detail in the
In the last verse, Baha'u'llah exhorts Daniel:
13 ... But go your way to the end and rest, and you
shall arise to your destiny at the end of the age.
Notes for Chapter Ten
1. Indeed, the Bab was born during that same period (1819).
2. Ref 17, p. 149
'ABDU'L-BAHA's EXPLANATION OF THE 1335 DAYS
>From reference 20, p. 51ff:
'Abdu'l-Baha explains that the 1335 years are counted in solar
rather than lunar years, because a century must elapse between
the Proclamation of Baha'u'llah and the firm establishment of
"the teachings of God . . . upon the earth." Apparently,
'Abdu'l-Baha was referring to some prophecy in sacred writings.
Also, Shoghi Effendi explains that the 1335 years end at the year
1963 CE, the date of the Foundation of the Universal House of
Unfortunately, neither 'Abdu'l-Baha nor Shoghi Effendi
shed enough light in their brief explanations for this writer to
determine the exact method of computation. In The Apocalypse
Unsealed, Appendix B, it was suggested that the beginning point
for the 1335 years could be the Truce of al-Hudaybiyyah in 628
CE. This would result in the year 1963 CE as the end date of the
1335 solar years. After further research I have decided that
there are actually two dates that are important in the Firm
Founding of Islam: 622 which marked the end of Muhammad's
ministry in Mecca (the Hegira), and the Truce of al-Hudaybiyyah
in 628. The Firm Founding of Islam was a six-year process lasting
from 622 to 628. Adding 1335 to the first date produces 1957, the
end date of the Baha'i ministry and the Ascension of Shoghi
Effendi. Adding 1335 to the second date produces 1963, the date
of the Foundation of the Universal House of Justice. Like the
Firm Founding of Islam, the Firm Founding of the Baha'i Faith was
also a six-year process lasting from 1957 to 1963.
It is interesting that the Ascension of Shoghi Effendi in 1957
may be one specific meaning of Dan 12:12. The version of the New
English Bible reads: "Happy the man who waits and lives to see
the completion of the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five
Actually, different interpretations and methods of reckoning have
little effect on the result. Regardless of what assumptions are
made, it is certainly true that the man would be happy who waited
and lived to see the completion of one thousand three hundred and
It is also worth noting that even Jesus Christ did not claim to
know the date of the foundation of the Kingdom of God:
"Yet about that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in
heaven, not even the Son; no one but the Father alone. ...." -
Matthew 24.36 (Revised English Bible)
THE TWO LAMBS OF THE BAHA'I DISPENSATION
In The Apocalypse Unsealed, (ref. 1) chapter 5, this writer
named the two Lambs of the Baha'i Dispensation as the Bab and
'Abdu'l-Baha. At that time, Volume Three of Adib Taherzadeh's
magnificent work, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, was not
available. It is now clear that Baha'u'llah considered Mirza
Mihdi, The Purest Branch, to be a Lamb of the Baha'i
Dispensation. This can be inferred by referring to Taherzadeh's
book (ref. 19), Chapter 10, in which we read that the "death of
the Purest Branch must be viewed as Baha'u'llah's own sacrifice,
a sacrifice on the same level as the crucifixion of Christ and
the martyrdom of the Bab."
Since Baha'u'llah's Dispensation has two Lambs instead of the
usual one, this writer has now concluded that the two Lambs are
probably Mirza Mihdi and 'Abdu'l-Baha. The Bab would then be the
Lamb of His own Dispensation.
THE BEAST THAT WAS, IS NOT, YET IS
In chapter 17 of the Apocalypse, there is a riddle concerning a
"beast that was, is not, yet is." In The Apocalypse Unsealed,
this writer gave the answer to the riddle as the empire of
Alexander, since it seemed to come into existence a second time
under the Umayyad dynasty.
In researching for I, Daniel, this writer studied some of the
work of great historian Arnold J. Toynbee. Professor Toynbee
points out that the empire of Alexander did not produce a
permanent change in the civilization introduced to the region
under the Persian empire. When Islam reconquered the region, the
civilization introduced under Islam more closely resembled the
former Persian civilization rather than the more recent
That being so, the answer to the riddle is probably as follows:
The beast that was: the Medeo-Persian empire;
is not: the empire of Alexander;
yet is: the Umayyad dynasty.
THE FOUR DECREES TO REBUILD THE TEMPLE
The extent to which the various Edicts were fulfilled can be
inferred from a careful reading of Chapters 1, 6, and 7 of Ezra.
The assessments of their fulfillment given in Appendix B of
Apocalypse Unsealed book are less explicit.
Some have suggested that the use of the word "rebuild" in
Nehemiah 2:5 justifies 444 BCE as the date of the Edict.
However, a "word going forth" was an Edict, a Proclamation signed
by the king. Daniel was kind enough to remind us of this fact in
verse 6:8. Nehemiah received a private verbal grant to assist in
the "rebuilding" of Jerusalem. The only signed document Nehemiah
received was for the acquisition of timber for the gates of the
citadel, the city wall, and for the "temple which is the object
of my journey" (Nehemiah 2:8, The Revised English Bible)
The Great Temple was, in fact, the main purpose for the city's
existence. To build the Temple, to house and supply the
thousands of workers and pilgrims, and to maintain the Temple
priesthood, implied that a sizeable infrastructure also had to be
built. That infrastructure was the de facto city of Jerusalem.
1. R. F. Riggs, The Apocalypse Unsealed, New York:
Philosophical Library, 1981. (The book is out of print. An
updated and simplified version is The Apocalypse, An Exegesis.
This version can be downloaded from the Internet at
2. H. G. Wells, An Outline of History (in four volumes), New
York, P. F. Collier & Son, 1922.
3. Dr. Alva J. McClain, Daniel's Prophecy of the 70 Weeks,
Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1980.
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Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: Pott, Young
& Co., 1883.
5. Edwyn R. Bevan, A History of Egypt under the Ptolemaic
Dynasty, London: Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1927.
6. Rufus Learsi, Israel: A History of the Jewish People,
Cleveland and New York: The World Publishing Company, Inc.,
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Stockholm, O., Sweden: Brahegatan 29, 1958.
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Arnold, Publisher in the India Office, 1902.
9. H. M. Balyuzi, Muhammad and the Course of Islam, Oxford:
George Ronald, 1976.
10. Ernst Muller, History of Jewish Mysticism, Oxford, 1946.
11. J. Christopher Herold, Bonaparte in Egypt, New York,
Boston, London: Harper and Row, 1962.
12. Jack McLean, "The Deification of Jesus," World Order,
Volume 14 (Summer, 1980), 415 Linden Ave., Wilmette, IL, 60091.
13. Britannica Macropaedia, Volume 22.
14. Georgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, Hamlet's
Mill, Boston: Gambit, 1969; Boston; Godine, 1977.
15. William Foxwell Albright, From the Stone Age in
Christianity, Doubleday Anchor Books, 1957.
16. Roland H. Bainton, Christendom, Vol 1, New York: Harper
and Rowe, 1966.
17. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, Wilmette, IL: Baha'i
Publishing Trust, 1970.
18. H. M. Balyuzi, The Bab, Oxford: Greorge Ronald, 1973.
19. Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah, Vol 3,
Oxford: George Ronald, 1984.
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Christianity and Islam, Oxford: George Ronald, 1986.