Goldingay on Prophecy and Daniel 11

From Word Biblical Commentary on Daniel:

Dan 11:40–45 The “him” again presupposes that “the northern king” is the same person as that in vv 21–39. There is no hint of a transition to Antichrist or Antiochus V (Fischer, Seleukiden, 155) or Pompey and his associates (Gurney), while the phrase ―at the time of the end‖ (contrast v 35) seems to preclude our taking the verses as a résumé of Antiochus‘s career as a whole. Porphyry assumed that the quasi-predictive historical account of Antiochus‘s career continues in these verses. But vv 40–45 cannot be correlated with actual events as vv 21–39 can; further, in vv 40–45 the utilization of scriptural phraseology becomes more systematic than was the case earlier (see Form). These facts suggest that v 40 marks the transition from quasi-prediction based on historical facts to actual prediction based on Scripture and on the pattern of earlier events; this continues into 12:1–3. These predictions, then, are not to be read as if they were mere anticipatory announcements of fixed future events; like the promises and warnings of the prophets, they paint an imaginative scenario of the kind of issue that must come from present events. The fact that their portrayal does not correspond to actual events in the 160s B.C. compares with the fact that the Christ event does not correspond to other OT prophecies of future redemption (e.g., Isa 9:1–6 [2–7]). It is not the nature of biblical prophecy to give a literal account of events before they take place.

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