SDA has asked for interpretation of Daniel 11

27 And both of these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed. 28 Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.
29 At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.
30 For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.
31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.
32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
35 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.
42 He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.
44 But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.
45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. Daniel 11.

What is the Catholic interpretation of these verses.

What do these words refer to: and his heart shall be against the holy covenant;

Who is the King of the North?

Who is the King of the South?

What do these words refer to: And such as do wickedly against the covenant

What is the indignation referred to in these words: and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished:

What is the glorious land? He shall enter also into the glorious land,

Where is the glorious holy mountain? And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain;

Hi Joey,

Who is SDA and whom did they ask?


Seventh Day Adventists:

From the footnotes of the NAB:

3 [5-45] These verses describe the dynastic histories of the Ptolemies in Egypt (the king of the south) and the Seleucids in Syria (the king of the north), the two divisions of the Hellenistic empire that were of interest to the author (Daniel 11:6). In Daniel 11:10-20 is described the struggle between the two kingdoms for the control of Palestine, in which the Seleucids were eventually victorious. The reference in Daniel 11:20 is to Seleucus IV, who sent Heliodorus to plunder the temple treasure in Jerusalem (2 Macc 3). Finally, Daniel 11:21-45 describe the career of Antiochus IV and his persecution, in details that have been seen above.

I think that SDA use a futuristic approach to Daniel rather than historical.

SDA = Seventh Day Adventist, you know those that believe the RCC is the whore of Babylon.

They asked me.


Many years ago I was asked by an SDA to give my understanding of Daniel Ch. 7. Instead of simply giving him an entry point into his pre-planned polemics, I invited him and many other Protestants (of differing denominations) to a Bible study of the entire Book of Daniel. My brother and I were the only Catholics. I explained that it was best to study the book in its entirety in order to understand Dan. 7 in its proper context.

I then proceeded to presented my interpretation of Daniel, chapter by chapter, which just so happened to be in agreement with the predominant Protestant interpretation, as I showed by quoting from many Protestant Bible commentaries. The other Protestants didn’t always agree with my interpretation, but they understood that the view I took was sound, and supported by other leading Protestant scholars.

After going through each chapter in detail up to and including ch. 7, the SDA became very frustrated and quit. He didn’t like how the Bible study was going, as it seems his appearant intent was polemical, and nothing more. He wanted to tell me how the Catholic interpretation was false compared to the SDA interpretation. However, the other Protestants in the discussion were actually happy to have a polite, multi-denominational Bible study, and were surprised that I actually spoke intelligently about the various leading interpretations held by most Protestant scholars. Each learned that my Catholic view of Daniel was really very sound, and not at all different from the mainstream Protestant view.

The problem was, the SDA view was completely different from the mainstream Protestant interpretation, which became quite evident throughout our study. Eventually, the SDA member got very frustrated, and started into ant-Catholic remarks thereby ending the bible study.

If you venture into a discussion of Daniel with an SDA, I recommend using the same approach. Don’t let them dominate the discussion. Use a methodical approach which includes the entire book of Daniel, not just bits and pieces. Also, show how the Catholic interpretation is in substantial agreeement with the predominant Protestant interpretation, by quoting from Protestant sources. In the end, it will be the SDA interpretation against mainstream Protestantism.

In the final analsysis, you will diffuse their “evil papacy” conspiracy arguments because what you will provide will the predominant interpretation expounded by the majority of non-Catholic sources.


The following information may be helpful to you, from my Bible study notes…

Tim (SDA) asked me for my interpretation of certain chapters of the Book of Daniel. Everyone is welcome to join in and tell us your thoughts. I’ve participated in multi-denomination Bible studies in the past, and I find them enlightening.

Some introductory comments:

I believe Daniel to be apocalyptic liturature. This differs somewhat from prophetic liturature in that prophetic liturature is written during times of great sinfulness, aimed at convincing the people to repent of thier ways or God’s wrath will be unleashed. Apocalyptic liturature is written during times of persecution, and teaches the faithful to remain steadfast in their faith as God’s mercy is forthcoming.

In other words, prophetic messages are “repent of your ways or be damned,” and apocalyptic messages are “persevere in your faith and have hope, God will soon save us.”

If I had to sum up what Daniel is teaching us in just one sentence, it would be just as I stated above, “persevere in your faith and have hope, God will soon save us.” This is particularly hopeful to those who are now enduring some tribulation in their lives, which may cause them to have doubt in their faith.

Historical context:

The book of Daniel is written about a hero of Jewish faith, taken to Babylon (ca. 6th cent. BC) where Jews endured tests of faith. The writing itself was likely compiled, perhaps from oral and written traditon, from 200 BC to 100 BC, during a time of Greco-Syrian persecution by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (167-164).

When Alexander died in 323 BC, he left no heir, so his generals divided up the empire and fought among themselves for larger portions. Ptolemy controlled Egypt in the south and the Seleucids controlled Babylon and Syria to the north. In 198, the Seleucid king Antiochus III shattered the forces of Ptolemy V. However, Athiochus III had to contend with the Romans who were just beginning to assert themselves in Asia. Antiochus the IV was urgent to unify the former Greek territories against the Romans. For this reason, the affairs of the Jews didn’t go as smoothly under the Seleucids as they had under the Ptolemies. Some Jews were embracing Hellenization, while others were not. Antiochus IV sold the Jewish high priesthood to whomever offered the largest sum and promised full cooperation. A gymnasium of Greek sports was established in Jerusalem. Jews who joined found themselves shamed for their circumcision. Yahweh was becoming identified with Zeus. Some Jews resisted. In reaction, Antiochus forbade Jewish practices and imposed pagan ones. Jews were forced to eat foods forbidden by their Law and to sacrifice at pagan altars. Refusal was punishable by death. The Greeks descrated the Temple in 167 with the erection of the “abomination of desolation,” an altar and possibly an image of Zeus on the altar of the holocausts.

Apocalyptic literature is often characterized as “underground” literature, as the message is somewhat veiled for those not familiar with Jewish stories of oral and written tradition, but unveiled for those who are familiar with Jewish history and oral/written tradition, symbols, customs, etc. Why the secrecy? The author wants to send a message of hope to the people of his day while attempting to avoid increased persecution for it. The Greek persecutors of the 2nd cent. BC would understand the text to be about an old story of person in Babylon enduring perscution, while the Jews of the 2nd cent. BC would understand that the message is really about the Greek persecution and the hope of deliverance from it.

Daniel Ch. 1 teaches how faithful observance of the law is rewarded.

Daniel Ch. 2 Teaches the weakness of human wisdom compared to that given by God. Additionally, the message to the Jews persecuted by the Seleucids is: Israel’s God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries.

The vision of the four different metals represent the four pagan kingdoms that successively ruled the then known world, but would eventually be supplanted by the kingdom of God’s chosen people. The four kingdoms I believe were intended by the author are Babylonian, Median, Persian, and Greek.

The king worshipped Daniel and recognized his God. This anticipates the future triumph of the God of the Jews.

Bible study notes on Daniel continued…

** Protestant **Bible scholar Bruce Metzger states in his preface to the Book of Daniel:

  	 				 The six stories and four dream-visions of the book of Daniel make up the only apocalyptic book in Hebrew Scriptures....

The author was a pious Jew living under the persecution of the Antiochus Epiphanes, 167-164 BC. To encourage his suffering fellow-believers he tells six stories, set in earlier days in Babylon just before and just after the Persian conquest, which illustrate how faithful Jews, loyally practicing their religions, were enabled by divine aid to triumph over their enemies. (New Oxford Annotated Bible, 1126)

While there are differing views, the above seems the predominant scholarship of Protestantism, Orthodoxy, and Catholicism.

Thanks Dave.

Bible study notes on Daniel, continued…

It interesting that Jewish scholarship also agrees with Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic scholarship with regard to when Daniel was written…

   		** The Book of Daniel was written during the persecutions of Israel by the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes. **This assertion is supported by the following data: The kingdom which is symbolized by the he goat (viii. 5 et seq.) is expressly named as the "kingdom of Yawan"—that is, the Grecian kingdom (viii. 21) the great horn being its first king, Alexander the Great (definitely stated in Seder "Olam R. xxx.), and the little horn Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164). This kingdom was to persecute the host of the saints "unto two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings" (viii. 14, R. V.); that is, "half-days," or 1,150 days; and Epiphanes did, in fact, profane the sanctuary in Jerusalem for about that length of time, from Kislew 15, 168, to Kislew 25,165 (I Macc. i. 57, iv. 52). The little horn described in Dan. viii. 9-12, 23-25 has the same general characteristics as the little horn in vii. 8, 20; hence the same ruler is designated in both passages. The well-known passage ix. 23-27 also points to the same period. The first and imperative rule in interpreting it is to begin the period of the seventy times seven units (A. V. "seventy weeks") with the first period of seven (ix. 25), and to let the second period, the "sixty-two times seven units," follow this; forif this second period (the sixty-two weeks) be reckoned as beginning again from the very beginning, the third period, the "one week," must be carried back in the same way. The context demands, furthermore, that the origin of the prediction concerning the rebuilding of Jerusalem be sought in Jer. xxv. 11-13 and the parallel passage, ib. xxix. 10. The "anointed," the "prince," mentioned after the first seven times seven units, must be Cyrus, who is called the anointed of the Lord in Isa. xlv. 1 also. He concluded the first seven weeks of years by issuing the decree of liberation, and the time that elapsed between the Chaldean destruction of Jerusalem (586) and the year 538 was just about forty-nine years. The duration of the sixty-two times seven units (434 years) does not correspond with the time 538-171 (367 years); but the chronological knowledge of that age was not very exact. The Seder 'Olam Zuṭa (ed. Meyer, p. 104) computed the Persian rule to have lasted fifty-two years. This is all the more evident as the last period of seven units must include the seven years 171-165 (see "Rev. Et. Juives," xix. 202 et seq.). This week of years began with the murder of an anointed one (compare Lev. iv. 3 et seq. on the anointing of the priest)—namely, the legitimate high priest Onias III.—and it was in the second half of this week of years that the Temple of the Lord was desecrated by an abomination—the silver altar erected by Antiochus Epiphanes in place of the Lord's altar for burnt offering (see I Macc. i. 54). [*Jewish Encyclopedia*](",%20book") ]

The SDA wanted for me to go into more detail about how I identified the four kingdoms. Here’s some notes…

I find the arguments for Babylonian, Media, Persia, then Greek empires to be more convincing than the other views.

Here’s an article that does a great comparison of the two predominant views, written by Protestant author John Walton:

*** Four Kingdoms of Daniel*** by John Walton,* Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society*, 29.1 (1986): 25-36.

The two predominant date/authorship views seem to be:

  1. 6th century date/Daniel authorship
  2. 2nd century date/Palestian Jewish authorship unknown

The two predominant kingdom views are:

  1. Babylonian, Medo-Persia, Greek, Roman
  2. Babylonian, Median, Persian, Greek

Thanks Dave again!

I’ve posted everything given.

I’ll let them ponder the information over the weekend.

There was some objection to the late authorship of Daniel, saying that if Daniel was written in the 2nd cent. BC, then it would be a fallacy, and proof that Scripture is questionable.

My reply…

I do NOT contend the person who wrote Daniel made it all up after the fact. I contend Daniel is the inspired inerrant word of God. I believe that during the Greek persecution, the writing/redaction of prior oral and written tradition took place through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Adam and Eve didn’t write Genesis. It was passed on orally then written down by an author/redactor. I see no assault on the sacredness of Scripture in holding to this view.

I merely contend that a 2nd century author/redactor made real contribution, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote and redacted the oral tradition passed on to him during a time of Greek persecution. He did this to send the apocalyptic message to the people of God to persevere in the faith, to have hope, as God will soon save them from persecution.

I don’t agree that assigning the date of authorship in 2nd cent, detracts from the sovereignty of Sacred Scripture. Jewish, Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant scholars all agree with this date and have great respect for Sacred Scripture’s inspiration and inerrancy. I wouldn’t necessarily characterize these as “liberal” scholars for doing so.

It’s likely that some of the material of Daniel, in my opinion, was written much earlier than the rest. Some parts are written in Hebrew and much (ch. 2-7) are written in a late style of Aramaic. The 2nd century author is likely to be a redactor/author of prior written AND oral tradition, from my viewpoint. Much of scripture was written in this way, I think.

The evidence of 2nd cent. BC authorship is overwhelming. That is why modern bible scholars describes this as the predominant view.

The more debated view is the four kingdom theories, however, most of Christianity (Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox) now holds to what is called the Greek view and not he Roman view for the fourth kingdom. Historic Catholic view had been the Roman view up until modern times, however recent hermeneutics has changed Catholic opinion on this since the turn of the 20th century. Nonetheless, there’s nothing dogmatic about it, so a Catholic is free to differ.

My pleasure. I’ll keep posting excerpts from my notes here. As I said, I only made it to ch. 7 before the SDA went polemical on me and which effectively ended the discussion. However, perhaps we can finish the Bible study hear on this thread apart from the SDA polemics. :wink:

More notes on history, from a secular source…

701 – Assyrians attacked Judah, devasted the land and laid siege to Jerusalem; unlike Samaria, Jerusalem was not taken; threats from Egypt and revolts at home, they accepted capitulation and a large tribute from the Judaens and left them as an Assyrian puppet state

680-671 – Attacked Egypt, who had been for four centuries a minor power living on its past glories; Egypt fell and was occupied in 671; Assyria now reached the greatest extent of its territory and power

669-627 – Sennacherib, Assyria’s capital, was enlarged and became the largest city in the world at that time, including the largest library the world had ever seen until that time. Rebellions in Babylonia, Elam, and Egypt, although put down, began to exhaust Assyrian resources

612 – Nineveh fell to rebels

600 – Assyria thoroughly wiped out by Chaldeans who had allied with other tribesman

625-605 – Chaldeans dominated Babylonia for over two centuries but had lived in the shadow of Assyria. The Chaldean governor, Nabopolassar allied with various surrounding tribesmen, attacked and wiped out the Assyrians

605 – Nebuchadrezzar II (630-561), Nabopolassar’s son, became governor, and by 600, he ruled over much of the territory that Assyria had ruled over in 700

586 - Nebuchadrezzar, having to fight repeated rebellions in Judah, took Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple that Solomon had built

561 – Nebuchadrezzar II died and his successors were not capable of maintaining the empire (Media, not Persia, became the predominant empire after his death; see Dan 2:39)

Tribesman of what is now northern Iran, who made their appearance about the same time as the Chaldeans.

625-585 – Cyaxares reigned as king of the Medes. In alliance with the Chaldeans, they destroyed the Assyrians. His kingdom was much larger on the map than the Chaldean Empire, but was loosely organized and not very powerful militarily (inferior, Dan 2:39)

585-550 – Astyages, Cyaxares’ son reigns as king

Dominated by the Medes. Since their language and cultures were similar, they were often referred to together as “the Medes and the Persians.”

550 –Cyrus of Persia took Ecbatana, the Median capital, and became ruler of Media himself. The name “Median Empire” disappeared from the map, thereafter, and in its place, there appeared the “Persian Empire” or, sometimes to distinguish it from other Persian Empires later in history, the “Achaemenian Empire.” Nothing much, however, had changed except the name. The Medes continue to occupy their provinces and to live much as they had always lived. Indeed, the Greeks often referred to the inhabitants of the Persian Empire as “Medes.”

539 – Babylonia fell to Cyrus

529-522 Cambyses, Cyrus’ son reigned

522-486 Darius I “the Great” reign ed when the Persian Empire was at the peak of its power. It was by far the largest Empire that had been seen up to that time. Zoroastrianism flourished, and by 500, it was the predominant religion in th Persian Empire, replacing the older beliefs of Babylonia and Assyria.

(From Asimov’s Chronology of the World)


I if you have access to the Navarre comentary on Daniel you might check there also. I don’t have it with me or or I’d let you know what it says.

In Christ,

Thanks Mark.

More notes from a Catholic bible commentary. [Note: Fr. Raymond Brown, the primary editor of this Catholic commentary went to a Protestant Seminary, and is praised by many Protestants for his scholarship]:

“The inscriptions of the old Persian Empire speak of three successive empires: **the Assyrians, the Medes, and the Persians. **After the time of Alexander the Great the Gk historians added a fourth empire to this traditional series–the Greek Empire. The Jews of the Hellenistic age, taking all the Assyro-Babylonian dynasties as a single unit, substituted Babylonia (with which they were more familiar ) for Assyria in their reckoning of the four world empires. Besides, because Cyrus, the conqueror of Babylon, and his successors called themselves “the kings of the Medes and the Persians,” it was natural for the Jews to place the Medes chonologically between the Babylonians and the Persians.” (Harman, L. and Di Lella A., “Daniel”, New Jerome Biblical Commentary, 411; emphasis added)

More Bible study notes on Daniel…

Daniel Chapter 3…

King N. sets up his golden image and decrees that all worship it. Daniel’s companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to worship the statue and are thrust into a furnace.

According to the thousands of Christian manuscripts of Sacred Scripture if various ancient languages, the three pray and sing while walking about in the flames inside the furnace. The King’s men stoked the flames and added more fuel; the flames rose up and burned the Chaldeans nearby. The angel of the Lord went down into the furnace and drove the fiery flames out of the furnace. They continued to sing and praise God. The King, hearing them sing, was astonished at seeing them alive.

The King noted that there were now four of them alive in the furnace, the three plus one who looked like a son of God. King N. calls out the three, all were amazed. The King promoted them and declared no one shall blasphemy their God.

The Septuagintal ch.3 of Daniel includes The Prayer of Azarias and the Song of the Three Jews. It is included in Catholic and Orthodox Bible. It appears in Catholic Bibles as Dan 3:24-90. Protestants consider it apocryphal. It appears in an apocryphal appendix of the New Oxford Annotated Bible, which states that **all Greek manuscripts place the prayer of Azarias and the Song of the Three Jews in Dan. Ch. 3, as did the Old Latin, Coptic, and Arabic manuscripts.
For those interested, the passage can be read here:

New American Bible, Daniel ch. 3

After much debate about the four kingdoms, I stated…

Daniel tell us that Nebuchadnezzar was the head of Gold, not Belshazzar. After Nebuchadnezzar’s death (561), the Median empire was predominant. The Medes dominated the Persians until 550, when the Persian, Cyrus, became king. It wasnt’ until 539 when Babylonia fell to Cyrus.

The author of Daniel describes the succession of empires JUST as the Old Persian Empire itself describes it, that is, the Median Empire as coming before the Persian empire.

Belshazzar (Babylonian), Darius (Median), and Cyrus (Persian) is how the author himself describes the succession of empires, using the historical worldview of his day.

The Fourth empire is not like all the others according to Daniel. Greek (western) is not like the oriental empires of Babylonia, Media, or Persia. However, the Roman empire is very much like the Greek empire, so the Roman view, in my opinion, does not fit the Scriptural evidence.

I will supply you with a very Patristic reply from St. Jerome.


Verses 27----30. *“And the heart of the two kings shall be to do evil, and they speak falsehood at one table, and they shall not prosper, because as yet the end is unto another time. And he shall return into his land with much riches.” *There is no doubt but what Antiochus did conclude a peace with Ptolemy and ate at the same table with him and devised plots against him, and yet without attaining any success thereby, since he did not obtain his kingdom but was driven out by Ptolemy’s soldiers. But it cannot be proved from this set of facts that the statement of this Scripture was ever fulfilled by past history, namely that there were two kings whose hearts were deceitful and who inflicted evil upon each other. Actually, Ptolemy was a mere child of tender years and was taken in by Antiochus’ fraud; how then could he have plotted evil against him? And so our party insist that all these things (A) refer to the Antichrist and to the king of Egypt whom he has for the first time overcome.
*“And his heart shall be against the holy covenant, and he shall succeed and return into his own land. At the time appointed he shall return and shall come to the South; but the latter time shall not be like the former. And the galleys shall come upon him, and the Romans, and he shall be dealt a heavy blow.” *Or, as another has rendered it, “… and they shall threaten him with attack.” Both the Greek and the Roman historians relate that after Antiochus had (p. 568) been expelled from Egypt and had gone back once more, he came to Judaea, that is, against |133 the holy covenant, and that he despoiled the Temple and removed a huge amount of gold; and then, having stationed a garrison in the citadel, he returned to his own land. And then two years later he gathered an army against (715) Ptolemy and came to the South. And while he was besieging his two nephews, the brothers of Ptolemy and sons of Cleopatra, at Alexandria, some Roman envoys arrived on the scene, one of whom was Marcus (B) Popilius Laenas. And when he had found Antiochus standing on the shore and had conveyed the senatorial decree to him by which he was ordered to withdraw from those who were friends of the Roman people and to content himself with his own domain, then Antiochus delayed his reply in order to consult with his friends. But Laenas is said to have made a circle in the sand with the staff which he held in his hand, and to have drawn it around the king, saying, “The senate and people of Rome give order for you to make answer in this very spot as to what your decision is.” At these words Antiochus was greatly alarmed and said, “If this is the good pleasure of the senate and people of Rome, then I must withdraw.” And so he immediately set his army in motion. But he is said to have been dealt a heavy blow, not that he was killed but that he lost all of his proud prestige. As for the Antichrist, there is no question but what he is going to fight against the holy covenant, and that when he first makes war against the king of Egypt, he shall straightway be frightened off by the assistance © of the Romans. But these events were typically prefigured under Antiochus Epiphanes, so that this abominable king who persecuted God’s people foreshadows the Antichrist, who is to persecute the people of Christ. And so there are many (D) of our viewpoint who think that Domitius Nero [actually Domitius was the name of Nero’s father, Ahenobarbus] was the Antichrist because of his outstanding savagery and depravity.
*“And he shall return and shall be angry at the covenant of the sanctuary, and he shall succeed; and he shall return and take thought concerning *(Vulgate: against) *those who have abandoned the covenant of the sanctuary.” *We read of these matters at greater length in the exploits of the Maccabees (I Macc. 1), where we learn that after the Romans expelled him from Egypt, he came in anger against the covenant of the sanctuary and was welcomed by those who had forsaken the law of God and |134 taken part in the religious rites of the Gentiles. But this is to be more amply fulfilled under the Antichrist, for he shall become angered at the covenant of God and devise plans against those whom he wishes to forsake the law of God. And so Aquila has rendered in a more significant way: (716) “And he shall devise plans to have the compact of the sanctuary abandoned.”

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