Is This Interpretation Indeed Correct?

Brother Jeff,

I am just really struggling about Daniel 11:30–45 primarily. For the whole entire prophecy from the beginning of the chapter is very consistent with the fact that the king of the north is north of the “glorious land” (Israel) geographically, and the king of the south is south of the “glorious land” geographically.

The thing with France being the king of the south (Atheism) is ok for a spiritual implication I suppose, but France is not in the southern region and it just sort of pops in there out of nowhere within our interpretation and it seems as if we are just trying to squeeze in France in the prophecy to come to Napoleon, 1798, the deadly wound, etc.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. I can be very stubborn sometimes but I really desire for this prophecy to make sense. Why does Daniel use the terms king of the north and king of the south if the geographical orientations don’t mean anything?

In Daniel 2, 7, & 8 he didn’t refer to much geographical locations so it gives us freedom to not be confined to geography to identify kings or nations like Daniel 11. In Daniel 7 and 8 we rely primarily on the fact that Daniel is referring to nations that have an impact on literal Israel. When do we jump from “literal” to “spiritual”? That is what confuses me. It just seems sloppy to me right now.

I found this from Jeff Pippenger’s (an Adventist prophecy teacher) book entitled Time of the End and thought this might help out to some degree:

“One important point of this story is how the Scriptures identify the kings of the north and south. By comparing recorded history with the testimony of Daniel 11, historians and pioneers discovered that the king of the north was the kingdom which controlled the geographical area of Babylon. They discovered also that the king of the south was the kingdom which controlled the geographical area of Egypt. This principle in Daniel 11 brings together the testimony of Scripture with the record of history. This “geographical key” is the rule which we will apply to Daniel 11:40-45 as we begin to identify who are the kings of the north and south. This historical truth is, no doubt, one of the clues, which the Spirit of Prophecy intended to direct us to at the time when this prophecy was to come to its “complete fulfillment.””

So what am I missing? What “clue” is there in this “geographical key” if the king of the north and king of the south are literally in the North and the South? If this statement is true, then how can we apply France, USSR, United States, etc. to fit into verses 40–45 all of a sudden?

The heart of my question is “Can we be sure that this interpretation is indeed correct?” or “Are we just trying to make what we want the prophecy to mean?” Are there parallels in other prophecies that give us reason to take nations out of geographical context and apply them to prophecy? Yes, I suppose, because Revelation talks about Babylon (the great) Israel, Armageddon, Egypt and Sodom. I only ask myself these questions out of sincerity and not to finger point or criticize anybody for being a false prophet or teaching false teachings. The bottom line is “I just don’t get it” and I want to get it! I need someone to spell it out to me. For the last 4 months or so I have been desperately pleading to God for understanding. I want to be one of the wise to understand and not the wicked who will not understand (Daniel12:10).

Ellen White said, “Let all read and understand the prophecies of this book (concerning Daniel 11), for we are now entering upon the time of trouble spoken of: [Daniel 12:1-4 quoted.]” Manuscript Re- leases, volume 13, 394. Brother B.


Brother B,

The key to understand this truth is based upon our willingness to accept the rule that prophecy that is fulfilled after the cross is to be understood in a spiritual application. It is this rule that allowed “every” Protestant reformer used to identify the pope of Rome as the antichrist of Bible prophecy. This rule was so important to the reformers that the Catholic Church assigned the work of destroying this rule to two of its best theologians during the counter reformation. These two Catholics invented three false rules of prophecy in order to attack and destroy the rule that before the cross prophecy is understood in a literal fulfillment and after the cross it is in a spiritual fulfillment.

Protestants used to understand the importance of the rule and defend it against the three false Catholic rules, but they lost sight of it in the early part of the 20th century. Never-the-less the Millerites and Adventism understood and applied this rule. You will never find Ellen White selecting a passage from the Bible and applying it at the end of the world in a literal fashion—not once.

The fact that you are struggling with this rule is demonstrating that you are unfamiliar with correct application of prophecy. If you were understanding and applying the prophetic principle correctly, you might disagree about the king of the south being atheism and the king of the north being the papacy—but you would never seek to find a literal application to those two entities. To do so is to employ one of those three Catholic erroneous views of prophecy. That rule is commonly called futurism, and it seeks to place literal fulfillments on the prophecies of the end. Jeff.

Brother B Replies

Brother Jeff,

Ok. I’m with ya. And I am familiar with futurism and preterism and other catholic interpretations of prophecy, so I understand what you mean in regard to that. I definitely do not want to fall into any of those camps! Yikes!

So to clarify, basically you are saying that everything “after the cross” or others have told me “after the stoning of Steven and the 70 weeks were determined for the Jews” that prophetic passages moved into a “spiritual” light and not literal.

So in conclusion to this principle, we could say that Daniel 11:23–45 are entirely spiritual? Because verse 22 states that the prince of the covenant would be broken (Jesus dies on the cross) Am I right? Brother B.


Dear Brother B,

Except that you have an internal repeat and enlarge with verse 16 through 30. Verses 16 through 30 are dealing with pagan Rome. If you look at Uriah Smith in Daniel and the Revelation and Haskell’s Daniel the Prophet they point out that at verse 23, I believe, (the league of the Jews), that Daniel repeats the previous history of verses 16 and onward, and enlarges upon it. The rule is that after the cross, you seek a spiritual application to prophecy, but there were some prophecies that extended a little beyond the cross and had a literal fulfillment, such as the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. It is better to express the rule as after the “time-period of the cross”, we look for a spiritual application.

The internal rule in Daniel eleven that identifies the king of the north is that it is the power that controls Babylon. In that time period the historians would call that geographical area Syria, but in terms of Bible prophecy ancient Syria included Babylon. The internal rule in Daniel eleven as to who the king of the south is: It is the power that controls Egypt. Pagan Rome conquered Syria before the cross and became the literal king of the north, but later it also conquered Pergamos. Pergamos is where the Chaldean priests fled to after the fall of Babylon. Pergamos was the new center of spiritual Babylon after Belshazzar’s Babylon fell. That is why Revelation two says that Pergamos is where Satan’s seat is. When pagan Rome conquered Pergamos they gathered up the idols and relics of the Chaldean religion, including the Chaldean priests and took them back to the city of Rome and built a new worship center for the Chaldean priests and the new religion in the Pantheon Temple. It was this custom of pagan Rome that caused the historians to call pagan Rome, “pagan” Rome. Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece were all pagan, but it was Rome that lifted up and exalted paganism. They did so by incorporating all pagan religions that they conquered into their own worship.

In any case spiritual Babylon moved from Babylon, to Pergamos, then to the city of Rome. At that point pagan Rome was not only the literal prophetic king of the north, they also controlled spiritual Babylon, but in the year 330 pagan Rome moved out of the city of Rome and made Constantinople the new capitol of the Empire. In doing so they left the Chaldean religion under the control of the Roman church. Therefore in 330, the Roman church became the controlling power of spiritual Babylon and thus became the king of the north. The papacy is the earthly representative of Satan, and Satan determined to exalt his throne above God’s and also to set in the sides of the north. Satan’s desire is to take God’s throne, representing his civil authority and set upon the sides of the north, which represents God’s spiritual authority. Satan’s desire is to be the king of the north, and he attempts this by using his earthly representative, the papacy to accomplish this.

Verses 16 through 30 tell the history of pagan Rome, and in that history you find the change from literal to spiritual. Spiritual Egypt would also need to be identified, and in Revelation 11:8 it is clear that the atheism of France, during the French Revolution time period is symbolized as spiritual Egypt, the licentiousness of France during the time-period is symbolized by spiritual Sodom.

I am getting ready to leave for three weeks, so I don’t know how much more I can interact at this time. I trust the Lord will guide you into all truth. Jeff.

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