Entering the Glorious Land by James Rafferty

Entering the Glorious Land

by James Rafferty  |  November 2, 2015

“He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown…”(Daniel 11:41).

James White believed this power, spoken of in the final verses of Daniel 11, to be the papacy supported by the United States. Prophetic and historic evidence, as well as current events, support his interpretation as never before.

The idea that Israel and the Middle East are central to the fulfillment of eschatological prophecy has most of the world looking in another direction, while the purposes of the papacy move steadily forward. The present focus on Islamic terrorism is perhaps one of the cleverest smoke screens ever concocted to divert our attention from the divinely inspired prophetic picture laid out in Daniel 11 and Revelation 13. The fear of terrorism has led to the theft of our civil liberties, a direct fulfillment of the transformation from “lamb-like” to “dragon-like” noted in Revelation 13:11.

Yet the greatest and most significant mistake being made by Christians at large, and U.S. foreign policy in particular, is our refusal to understand that the “glorious land,” designated by God as literal Palestine, has long since been transferred to the shores of America. This is the land designated in Bible prophecy as the “earth” that helps the “woman” (Revelation 12:14-16). America is the “place” designated by God for His New Testament church, the land that swallowed the flood of persecution during the latter part of the Dark Ages. And here, on this continent of America, God’s prophetic prediction in Revelation 13:11 has come to pass. Another “beast” (earthly power), was seen rising up out of the earth (American continent), having two horns like a lamb (Christ-like principles of civil and religious liberty) and speaking like a dragon (civil and religious restrictions/persecution).

This glorious land of America, blessed with economic prosperity and religious freedom, is now about to lose both according to Bible prophecy.

This glorious land of America, blessed with economic prosperity and religious freedom, is now about to lose both according to Bible prophecy. The fear of terrorism is the vehicle that is lifting these liberties. The lamb-like freedom we once enjoyed is now the most endangered species on Planet Earth.  The king of the north is entering this glorious land while most of the world is being led to believe that literal Israel is the key to end-time prophecy and Muslim extremists are our greatest threat.

Jesus Christ, in His personal discourse on end-time prophecy repeatedly warned us to look out for false religious teachings (Matthew 24:4, 5, 11, 24). He also specifically instructed believers not to be “terrified” by “wars” and “instability” (Luke 21:9). Terrorism and economic instability, the very things Jesus warned us not to fear, are the very means by which the prophetic scenario outlined in Daniel 11 and Revelation 13 are being fulfilled. The papacy is entering into the glorious land. The government of America is steadily transitioning from its “lamb-like” principles. We are on the verge of a stupendous crisis. Our only safety is to “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Revelation 14:4). Amen.

The Old Testament Glorious Land

Biblically the “glorious land” represents the place God designated for His church. In the Old Testament this place was Palestine, a land that offered His people religious liberty and economic prosperity. These are two identifying marks of the glorious land based on God’s promises to Israel:

  1. Religious Freedom to Worship—”And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day” (Deuteronomy 5:15, NKJV).
  2. Economic Blessings—”And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey…” (Exodus 3:8).

The Bible indicates that the “land flowing with milk and honey” is therefore the “glory of all lands” (Ezekiel 20:6, 15).

The glorious land was definitely Palestine for literal Israel. Yet is Palestine now a land flowing with milk and honey (economically blessed)? Is it a land of religious freedom (the Jews have no temple)? And how has the nation of Israel responded to the covenant promises fulfilled by Messiah? The answers to these questions are vital for a correct interpretation and understanding of Bible prophecy today.

The answers to these questions will either steer us in the right or wrong direction prophetically. If we follow evangelical thinking we will end up with a Middle East/literal Israel focus. If we follow the Bible and end-time prophecy, our direction will focus on the papacy and the U.S. (Revelation 13).

The New Testament Glorious Land

Throughout the New Testament (as well as in some prophecies of the Old Testament), the Bible makes a transition from literal Jews to spiritual Jews (Hosea 2:23, Romans 2:28, 29; Galatians 3:29; Romans 9-11). In Revelation 12 we find this transition from literal to spiritual Israel in the prophetic language of symbols. Chapter 12 opens with a vision of a “woman.” Both in the Old Testament (OT) and in the New Testament (NT) a woman is a symbol of God’s church (Jeremiah 6:2; 2 Corinthians 11:2).

In Revelation 12:2 the symbolic woman is pregnant. Her child is Jesus who was born a Jew to the Jewish nation/church. In verse 4 the dragon/devil seeks to destroy the child Jesus when He is born. This was fulfilled by Herod (Matthew 2:13-16). In verse 5 the child is caught up to God in heaven, representing the resurrection of Christ.

This part of the prophecy took place in Palestine (the glorious land of literal Israel) where the Jewish church gave birth to Jesus, the Messiah.

After the death of Christ, God’s church, the women, transitioned from literal Israel to spiritual Israel.

As the prophecy progresses in verse 6, the woman no longer represents literal Israel but has now transitioned to spiritual Israel fleeing from persecution during the 42 prophetic month period of the Dark Ages. In verse 7 we find a mini “repeat and enlarge” taking us back to the war in heaven and showing the impact of the cross on that war (verses 7-12). Then, in verse 13 the woman is again brought to view in her Dark Age’s saga, being persecuted by the dragon. In verse 14 she is given wings of an eagle so that she might fly into her “place.” Verses 6 and 14 present a major prophetic transition in God’s church. Both the woman and her place have changed from literal Israel and Palestine to spiritual Israel and the new “place” God has prepared for her. At this critical junction of the passage it is important to understand three points outlined in the prophecy and confirmed both in the New Testament and in the history of the church:

  1. After the death of Christ, God’s church, the women, transitioned from literal Israel to spiritual Israel.
  2. God’s church, the woman, moved from literal Palestine to her “place” given to her by God.
  3. This woman is the focal point of end-time prophecy.

Failing to make the transition from literal Israel to spiritual Israel, and from literal Palestine to the “place,” will leave us focused on the wrong people and in the wrong place.

The woman in the latter part of this prophecy represents spiritual Israel, all who are in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28; Romans 2:28, 29). It is primarily the Christian church.

The wilderness in Revelation 12 verse 6 represents her escape to refuge in various areas of Europe during the Dark Ages. The wilderness “place” of verse 14, later designated as the “earth,” represents the American continent, the territory where the “beast” with lamb-like horns eventually rises (Revelation 12:14-16; 13:11). It was the continent of America that gave the woman (spiritual Israel) a new “place” prepared by God, and swallowed up the waters of religious persecution in Europe.

America meets both of the previous identifying marks of the glorious land as it applied to literal Israel:

  1. Religious Freedom to Worship—America gave the women (spiritual Israel) freedom of worship.
  2. Economic Blessings—America is a land of economic blessings (flowing with milk and honey).

In fact, God used the same terminology to describe the NT church or spiritual Israel being taken to her “place” in America as He used to describe the OT church when He took her into the glorious land of Palestine:

“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent” (Revelation 12:14).

“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself” (Exodus 19:4).

In Revelation 12, God uses the same symbolism for the deliverance of spiritual Israel as He did for literal Israel, “eagles’ wings.” God’s people were taken both to the glorious land of Palestine and to the American continent (her “place”), with wings of an eagle. Prophecy is making a direct connection here between literal Israel and spiritual Israel so that we can see the transition from Palestine (OT glorious land) to the “place” (NT glorious land) for the woman and her remnant seed.


Revelation 12 presents us with a prophetic outline of God’s church in the symbolic form of a woman. In the first part of Revelation 12, the woman is the literal Jewish church located in Palestine, the glorious land flowing with milk and honey (economically blessed), a place where God’s people were to worship Him in freedom. The latter part of the same prophecy makes use of the same symbols that took literal Israel on their journey to Palestine to now describe the journey of the woman (spiritual Israel) in the NT context. The new “place” of religious freedom, the place she was taken to by God is the “earth” or America. Today Israel is spiritual and the “glorious land” is America, the “place” God gave for His NT church to experience economic and religious prosperity. Both have been realized over the last 200 years, but this is soon to end. This eschatological present day “glorious land” of America is going through a major transition predicted in Bible prophecy. Daniel 11:41 indicates that the “king of the north” will enter into this NT glorious land and many will fall. We stand on the very verge of this prophetic transition noted in the following prophetic verses:

Revelation 13

“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Revelation 13:11-15).

Here we find the second beast rising out of the earth, America, with lamb-like horns [religious/civil liberty] but then speaking like a dragon and making an image to the leopard-like beast [papacy]. The implication being that these two powers have joined together, that the influence of the papacy has now entered into the “place” or New Testament “glorious land” (America) that God gave to His people to enjoy religious liberty and economic blessing. America, once a haven of religious and civil liberty, will, through the influence of the papacy, compromise these liberties.

Daniel 11

“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” (Daniel 11:41).

The entering into the glorious land refers to the king of the north [papacy] entering into America through a unity with Protestantism. In the context of Daniel 11, this prophecy is in the process of fulfillment marked by striking historical events like: the official appointment  of a U.S. ambassador to the Vatican and opening of diplomatic relationships in 1984; holy alliance between the Vatican and U.S. to bring down communism in 1982-1989; Catholics and Protestants uniting on political and spiritual platforms in the 1990s to present day; six Catholic Supreme Court justices as of 2010, unprecedented in Supreme Court history; three American presidents attending the funeral of John Paul II, (2005); and, the pope’s recent visit to the U.S., during which he addressed the U.S. Congress and the United Nations (2015).

An additional note:

It may be suggested that Edom, Moab, and Ammon represent peoples of the Middle East, directing us back to a literal interpretation of the glorious land, but we should also consider the larger scope of these two prophetic predictions. They both focus on a world-wide enforcement of the mark in contrast to a world-wide enlightenment of the gospel. In this context, Isaiah 11 gives us much needed insight to the identity of these three tribes. It describes them as obeying the call of God in the context of end-time prophecy. It is not a coincidence that both of these eschatological prophecies (Isaiah 11 and Daniel 11) predict the escape of these same three tribes.

“And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them” (Isaiah 11:10-14).

Listen to the Sermon

James Rafferty Co-Director
Light Bearers
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  • jschwirzer

    James this is so helpful. We’re working on the sequel to The Lamb Wins and this helps so much. I truly considered the Islam interpretation of the king of the south, but you’ve given what might be a better explanation of its role here–to distract from the true fulfillments.

  • Ricky Kearns

    Thanks James.

  • Ricky Kearns

    Which version of Islam as the King of the South were you entertaining, Jennifer? James is spot on that the crisis is imminent, but not inconsistent, in this regard, with the more comprehensive presentations of a proponent of Islam being the antagonist–the king of the South. Things are surely coming together.

  • dbaudoin

    Great article.

  • jschwirzer

    I read Tim Roosenburg’s book. I’m not knowledgeable enough on prophecy to say much, but I didn’t end up totally convinced.

  • Bonnie Olson

    James, did you define king of the south, then?….I didn’t quite follow.

  • Bonnie Olson

    I don’t claim to be an intellectual here, so please bear with me….but aren’t there often parallels in fulfillment of prophecy….both happening in Israel and America

  • Tommy Lane

    Thanks, James. There are some whose eyes are focused on Israel that interpret the King of the North as Russia. Certainly, the Papacy makes much more sense. Great article and great reminder of where we should correctly focus our attention, prophetically.

  • Dave Beaudoin

    James can you clarify something for me. You stated “The wilderness “place” of verse 14, later designated as the “earth,” represents the American continent.” However, the place the women flies to in verse 14 also mentions the 1260 years (3 1/2). How could she be in the America place at this time if America did not rise until after the 1260 or 1798?

  • Bonnie Olson

    I would like to add to my previous comment. Could this prophesy have dual meanings…papacy to America AND King of north entering literal Israel?…an example from the Bible= The sanctuary has three applications= 1 literal sanctuary existed in Israel. 2 Literal sanctuary exists in heaven. 3. our body is a temple for the Holy Spirit to live in……

  • Bridget Arendt Casselman

    Profound insights James…exceptionally well-written. This is the second time we have heard these prophetic points presented. Fifteen years ago, our teenage son took us through a systematic study of the Bible, laying out this exact interpretation. You may remember Jonathan. When truth is spoken twice, you know it is the Spirit striving to be hear.

  • Bonnie Olson

    Why can’t God do both? It’s the way He works…in parallels….it would be a more amazing fulfillment of prophecy! The seven churches of Revelation. The feasts in the OT….more examples…..God makes His fulfillments of prophecy in amazing wonderful ways. I don’t see it as a diversion …but a more miraculous fulfillment.

  • Diane Richards

    In this chapter the dragon successively wears 3 hats. In the first few verses, the dragon wears the pagan Rome hat and persecutes the woman, Mary, who brings forth the man child, Christ. Verse 6 is referring to the historic 1260 years where the dragon wears the papal Rome hat, and the woman, the early Christian church, flees into the wilderness. Verse 14 is referring to a future literal 1260 days, where the dragon wears the apostate Protestant America hat and persecutes the woman, the remnant Seventh-day Adventist church.

  • Dave Beaudoin

    I’m not sure i understand the “future literal 1260 days”. What does that mean?

  • Dave Beaudoin

    Diane, is this something you have come up with on your own. I have never seen this in any of our commentaries. In fact, It reminds me of something I heard Charles Wheeling say 30 years .

  • Michael Younker

    Hello friends (and James),
    I see James didn’t even mention or interpret the king of the South here (atheism or what?). I think the point of Tim Roosenberg’s clarified interpretations (many have misunderstood what he’s saying) point to Daniel 11:40+ explaining that the Islam vs. Christianity conflict will be a global distraction. That’s the purpose of Dan 11–to predict this global distraction! With respect to Rafferty, he accidentally interpreted the message of Dan 11 correctly, then misinterpreted how Dan. 11 specifically ‘predicts’ the widespread distraction that Islam is the enemy of the Christianity (and the Papacy).

    Satan loves counterfeits, and Dan 11 predicts Satan’s global counterfeit of a “good guy vs. bad guy” movie style plot (Papal-led Christians vs. Muslims) to distract the world from Adventists.

    Hope this makes sense! Revelation 13 explains the end-times situation concerning America and the Papacy (where Adventism started), and now God is revealing through Dan 11 the global situation of the now-imminent end times. Dan 11 isn’t simply repeating Rev 13, it is a fully complementary prophecy explaining the global context, and how those 1.8+ billion Muslims fit into the picture. Papal-led Christianity will unite against radical Islam’s attacks (recent past and near future?), “defeat” it, and with the swell of “Christian unity” in the air, Adventists will be left alone as the only remaining obstacle to the Papacy’s global dominance. The “loud cry” will then reach full force, and the final sequence of events and time of trouble will play out.

    At least, that’s how I see it 🙂 Blessings!

  • Diane Richards

    I came up with this through an exegetical study of this passage, letting the Bible explain itself.

  • Diane Richards

    1260 could be understood as an icon that stands for the union of church and state that brings inevitable intolerance and persecution. When papal Rome united church and state, it brought 1260 years of persecution. When, in the future, the US unites church and state, it will also bring intolerance and persecution. It appears, from studying Revelation, that a 1260 number is also attached to the future union of church and state. It appears difficult to get around this idea when doing an exegetical study and when letting the Bible explain itself. Since there is no more day/year applications since 1844, it must be a literal 1260 days.

  • Dave Beaudoin

    Does that mean the church will be protected for a literal 1260 days sometime in the future? Is there some printed material that I could study this out more?

  • Diane Richards

    It would mean that there will be a union of church and state again in the future with inevitable intolerance and persecution, but this time it will be done by the image of Rome, the United States of America. Again, we could see 1260 as an icon for a union of church and state, as we could say that that is what it represented in the 1260 years of the Dark Ages.

  • Diane Richards

    If you give me your email address, I could send you some of my Accordance notes and a chart. I have it on my bucket list to write things out, but I haven’t finished it yet. I am also working on a book on the sanctuary.

  • Maryann Lee

    Thank you for this excellent article; perfect timing to share with a Messianic Jew.

  • James Rafferty

    Parallels between literal Israel and the fulfillment of the eschatological prophecies in Daniel and Revelation have been taught by various people over the years-I don’t find convincing evidence for this idea in the Bible.

  • James Rafferty

    America was a place of refuge for God’s people during the 1260 years before 1798. The pilgrims first landed on the American continent in 1620 during the 1260 time frame.

  • James Rafferty

    The literal application of the 1260 is definitely something we met some 30 years ago with Charles Wheeling and a few others since that time. It is not necessary for us to do with with the time prophecies and there is very little Biblical evidence for this. You may order the book “Time No Longer” from Light Bearers Ministry for a detailed study on the time periods.

  • James Rafferty

    Yes God can do whatever He wants when revealing historical events in Bible prophecy, but we cannot. Our understanding/interpretation of Bible prophecy must be established on principles of interpretation that are consistent and Biblical.

  • James Rafferty

    Your spirit and desire to save Tim’s views are honorable, yet one of the many problems with this interpretation is that it simple does not fit the past, present and probably future history of Islam and the West. It assumes too much and seems to ignore that fact that Islam has not been an enemy of the West in any of the wars in Kuwait, Iraq, or Afghanistan, Neither is Islam at war with the West right now. Rather the majority of Islam is allied with the West against Islamic terrorism.

  • James Rafferty

    Speaking strictly from a Biblical and prophetic sense the “king of the south” points to Egypt (Isaiah 30:1-6) an atheistic power that denied God (Exodus 5:2) designating “Egypt” as representing atheism in Bible prophecy (Revelation 11:7, 8; GC, p. 269). That an atheistic power rose up in the earth in the “time the end” (1798) and “pushed” or “warred against” the papacy is confirmed by historical records. That the papacy would later come against this power “like a whirlwind” and “enter into” the once atheistic “countries” and “overflow and pass over” is also confirmed by more recent history. This remarkable fulfillment of prophecy is just what James White believed but never lived to actually see (Word to the Little Flock, pp. 8, 9). We are privileged to be living in such a time as this-may we hold to the sure word of prophecy is my prayer.

  • jonhjorleifur

    Probably not a good idea to put any take on Dan 11 forth publicly as a settled truth. We have easier ways of pointing out our eschatology than Daniel 11.

  • Michael Younker

    Thanks James. I’m always of the spirit to say, “a difference that makes no difference is no difference,” concerning the end result. Though, as one living and working in the Middle East, I must differ with you on your views of the past, present, and probable future of Islam’s relationship to North/Western Christianity. Both religiously, and concerning the relationship of Islam to contemporary Middle Eastern cultures, and so-called radical Islam. A very famous ancient saying, incorporated into Arabic, translates–“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Muslims do fight each other, but this does not mean the West is not the adversary of every variant of “true” Islam. There is forthcoming scholarly support for the Islam view in Daniel 11 I’d invite you to consider when it is published.

    Interestingly, William Miller, James White, Uriah Smith, A.T. Jones, Josiah Litch, Joshua Himes, and later LeRoy Froom, all saw Islam in Scripture and/or prominently in Daniel 11. Not exactly as we do, but it was the dominant view of our pioneers to have a more global perspective.

  • James Rafferty

    Hi Michael,

    You may have a point here, but I’m not sure it negates the fact concerning the recent historical conflicts in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Syria. To use these conflicts to imagine a war that is in any major sense the West against Islam plays into the Islamic fundamentalist mindset and hope. The facts so far are that these conflicts have all involved the majority of Islam working with the West, not the West against Islam at Tim suggests.

    In response to the scholarly report forthcoming: Have you considered the already scholarly report done by the BRI on Tim’s view? Is the upcoming report you are referring to by Roy Gane?

    Two points on our pioneers and Froom. That they saw Islam in Scripture is true and I wholeheartedly agree with their position on Islam regarding Revelation 9. That they all saw Islam in Daniel 11 is not true (you were not clear about this so I am making it clear). James White was a strong opponent of Uriah Smith’s position on this point and history proved Elder White to be correct (in my opinion).

    That our pioneers saw Islam in Scripture “Not exactly as we do” is a vital point that we cannot overlook. Tim’s view contradicts EVERY pioneer position in Daniel 11. You must know this if you have done your research. So to suggest as you seem to, that Tim’s view has the support of our pioneers and Froom, could be misleading for some (but thank you for at least admitting “not exactly as we do”).

    Finally, a more global perspective is what is missing in Tim’s view, in my opinion. It, like may evangelicals prophetic pictures, places too much emphasis on the Middle East. This, to me, diminishes a more global perspective.

    Appreciate the dialogue Michael. Thank for exhibiting a scholarly spirit.

  • James Rafferty

    So true Jon. Daniel 11 is about the most difficult prophetic chapter that our scholars face. We may not know it fully until Michael stands up. Yet I see nothing wrong with assigning Biblically based applications that both make sense and clearly line up with other portions of prophecy (like Revelation 13) already understood and agreed upon by us all. Even if the details are fuzzy in Daniel 11, the events taking place with the Papal visit to the U.S. and their prophetic significance are clearly applicable.

  • jonhjorleifur

    History bears out that certainty of unfulfilled prophecy usually turns out to be bad guesses. And when the church doesn’t have a solid take on a prophecy, to put forth an interpretation as truth is often divisive. As to the biblicality of the interpretation in your article I would like just to ask one question: Can you defend the spiritualization of the last verses of Daniel 11 without jumping to Rev 13? If we only read Gabriel’s speech to Daniel, do we have any hint that north ceases to mean north or that Egypt ceases to mean Egypt? Is it normal in the middle of a short speech to switch the meaning of words without telling the person you are talking with that you are doing so? I think this kind of hermeneutics is not the plain reading of the text. As SDAs we simply have since Were the a priori understanding that these verses cannot be understood literally because that would not fit (it is presumed) with our theology. But surely that is a cheap way when dealing with the biblical text, to rule out the literal because it is inconvenient to our theological preferences.

  • Bridget Arendt Casselman

    This is wonderful clarification James… Truth and error often lie extremely close together…wisely, carefully separating the strands can make all the difference.

  • James Rafferty

    Dear J,
    I count 3 questions:

    1) In response to the first:
    Why would one attempt to interpret the latter half of Daniel 11 WITHOUT jumping to Revelation 13 when the latter clearly follows the prophetic outline of Daniel 2, 7, 8 and 11 by introducing us to the bear-like, leopard-like, lion-like, 10 horned beast receiving the seat of pagan Rome? Revelation 13 is in reality the Daniel 13 we need. (They are 12 clear prophetic parallels between these two chapters).

    2) If we only read Gabriel’s speech to Daniel we neglect some basic principles of prophetic interpretation like comparing Scripture with Scripture and repeat and enlarge. Daniel 11 was not given in a vacuum, but it is part of the larger prophetic picture that even Jesus encouraged us to “understand” (Matthew 24:15).

    3) Bible prophecy does not always follow the rules of normal conversation and often creates its own rules of interpretation based on Biblical insight. i.e. the “woman” in Revelation 12:5 is the Jewish church. In the very next verse the same women represents the Christian church. This represents a transition, in the space of one verse, from the literal Israel to spiritual Israel, repeated and confirmed in a number of NT prophetic verses like Luke 21:24 and Revelation 11:2. This same prophetic transition also takes place in Daniel 11 after the death of Christ in verse 22. Daniel 11:30-36 are clearly speaking of the Papacy and not a literal middle eastern power like Turkey or Islam. This is confirmed by the SOP.
    Louis Were was a hero of his time, taking a stand against what you have called the “cheap way of dealing with the text” because it did not fit with the theology of his day. Unfortunately “theologies” change with the times, but truth remains the same. If the literal approach to Daniel 11 is truth, it will stand the test of history. If not, it must give place to the the actual meaning of the text. Time, my friend, will tell. Thank you for sharing.

  • jonhjorleifur

    Hey Rafferty 🙂 You are right, my question (though I was in my mind reiterating one point) is actually three questions.

    It must be granted that even though as a church we don’t have an official position on Daniel 11, there is a general consensus on the spirituality of the last verses, and your article is within that consensus, though it also shows some fresh insights and new perspectives that I have not seen before.

    However, as a church we have been wrong about these verses before, and the new consensus might turn out to be just as wrong as well. That is why certainty about these verses is unsettling. It lacks the tentativeness that James White thought was becoming for expounding on the unfulfilled.

    Since internet-comment-dialogues tend to look like arguments, I think I will write my own article about this and share it with you (and the internet) for what it is worth.

  • Michael Younker

    Thanks James.
    Appreciate you letting me share here, I’ve no desire to “hijack” your article here–I appreciate your work and ministry. But to the topic of Dan. 11–There’s no doubt that Afghanistan and Syria are/were ‘also’ religious, whatever else they may be. The Taliban and ISIS are “religious,” or the word has no meaning.

    I speak for myself here (not Tim or anyone else). My views do not play into the Islamic fundamentalist mindset and hope, as my position does not support violence by the West against Islamic radicals. (And I don’t think Muslims are reading this; and even if they were, truth is truth; we have the same problem with Catholics; of course we must share hard truths carefully). The fact that I see Islam in prophecy (in Daniel 11) has nothing to do with determining my policy/political decisions “today.” This is a common mistake by those not wanting Islam in Scripture in today’s political world. I’m not Republican, I’m not Democrat. I’m not sharing anything concerning “what” the West should do at all, I’m suggesting what “will” happen. So my views do not “play” into anything. Unless you think Islamic radicals (I reject the notion that ISIS is not, unfortunately, a legitimate strain of Islamic religious expression, having read the Qu’ran myself) are just going to “disappear,” then eventually the West will have to engage them more forcibly, unfortunately, or remain prone to occasional terrorist acts (of varying severity) perpetually (which may be unavoidable), until a tipping point is reached by the public at large.

    I don’t care “what” the North(West) does, those are the only two viable futures–Military action by the North(West) or perpetual “Islamist” violence, as Islamic nations are proving incapable of dealing with ISIS-type radicals on their own (and its debatable whether some larger Islamic nations aren’t radical in their own, more sneakily patient way, like Iran). I’m a pacifist with no dog in this fight concerning “what” the North(West) should or will do.

    Concerning BRI’s report–while I have tremendous respect for Dr. Rodriguez and BRI, that was not his best work. Yes, I’m familiar with Dr. Gane’s views on this, which are mostly persuasive. He is not the only one working on this, though for the moment their work remains unavailable for the public because some of them work in sensitive environments and they are doing their due homework, as am I.

    Our pioneers were not united at all on Daniel 11, this much is true. Most did, however, see Islam in Daniel 11, and even verses 40+. They saw the prophecy as literal-geopolitical–the question is whether it was fulfilled already (Napoleon in Egypt??) or is currently being fulfilled. You overstate the clarity of James White’s views, and Ellen’s comments about them. In fact, Ellen’s own clearest comments about Daniel 11 were written well after James’ death and are clothed in language pointing toward global ‘actual’ physical warfare between all nations, exactly what the Islam vs. apostate Christianity view supports. Her comments would make no sense if all the world were Christian–so will Christianity war against itself, or is it China, or Russia, or Islam that will be its primary opponent? Only one of these three is growing, and that is Islam. Indeed, Russia is united with the North(West) against Islam, and China has its own internal radical Islamic groups it is fighting.

    Ellen White wrote: “The wars and rumors of wars, the destruction by fire and flood, say clearly that the time of trouble, which is to increase until the end, is very near at hand. We have no time to lose. The world is stirred with the spirit of war. The prophecies of the eleventh of Daniel have almost reached their final fulfilment.” {RH, November 24, 1904 par. 8} This is clearly literal warfare Ellen is talking about, not “ideological” warfare.

    She then adds: “In the issue of the conflict all ‘Christendom’ will be divided into two great classes, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark.” {9T 16.2} Ellen White is curiously silent about Islam, which is 25% of the world’s population. So although “The spirit of war is stirring the nations from one end of the earth to the other,” (ibid) not all the world is part of Christendom. What will best unite Christendom is an external ‘religious’ power, like Islam, that is not contained by borders. And then Christendom will divide itself over Sunday and Sabbath as it seeks to purify itself. That’s how I see it. It is no accident that the King of the South is a very “minor” player in Dan. 11 after vs. 22, as Islam is not that significant ‘except’ when it interferes with Catholicism’s plans. The people of God are primarily affected by the North’s actions, not the South’s.

  • Michael Younker

    Would enjoy your thoughts, Jon. Blessings!

  • James Rafferty

    Hi Michael,

    Not sure I understand your point in the first paragraph.

    2nd paragraph: Thanks for clarifying your position. Yet that does not change the facts. I was simply pointing out the facts and not meaning to suggest your interpretive motive or intentions.

    3rd paragraph: in my understanding of prophecy this is a non-issue. That was my point.

    4th paragraph: This is also a non-issue. I only brought up scholars in response to you. Either one of us can pick and choose what scholars we think did the better research but we are at best biased by our own views on the text.

    5th paragraph: We should clear this part up a little:

    James White believed that the KON in Daniel 11:30-45 was the papacy-the same power in Revelation 13 whose number is 666. James did not identify the KOS.

    Uriah Smith also believed this as did all our pioneers until the 1870’s. He then took up Turkey as the KON, which, as you say, most of our pioneers followed, except James White who warned that such a position would eventually bring us embarrassment if his interpretation of Daniel 11 failed (which it did).

    Today many are saying (and it appears you are too) that the KOS is Islam. My point it that NONE of our pioneers including JW or US taught or believed that.

    EGW’s clearest comment as you say was written after JW’s death. But what is even more significant is that it was written the very first year after Uriah Smith’s death. The reason why this is significant is not only the timing of the statement but the clear application EGW makes of verses 30-36 to the papacy, something that lent support to James White’s position while contradicting the interpretation of Uriah Smith.

    6th paragraph: Agree that EGW is talking about literal war. My point is that we have yet to see this war as the West against Islam. Islam has so far in every case been allied WITH the West in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Syria. That is my point. What we are doing with Daniel 11 when we make the KOS Islam does not even fit present and recent historical events.

    7th paragraph: The statement in 9T is very clear, the battle lines for EVERYONE will be drawn over Sunday/Sabbath issue not over Islam.

    Then you said:

    “Ellen White is curiously silent about Islam, which is 25% of the world’s population.”

    Please prayerfully consider the following Bible verse:

    “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).

    God’s end time prophet is silent on Islam because post 1844 Bible prophecy is silent on Islam.

    Are we ready to tread where God has not spoken? To place our ideas about what will unite Christians without a plain clear thus saith the Lord? I am not. That is why I believe we must hold a position on Daniel 11 that is in harmony with what we know to be truth in the rest of prophecy without isolating Daniel 11 from Revelation (which is a supplement of Daniel, explaining the difficult passages).

    Thanks for listening bro!

    His best,


  • Halldór Magnússon

    James, I understand feeling the need to interpret prophecies to make them fit the understanding we have of other prophecies and theologies but we need to go with Scripture first. When Scripture speaks of “the glorious land” it always means the land of Israel; to switch to some other country based on a criteria we make up based on whatever we can come up with is a mistake in my opinion. It’s also a mistake to apply New Testament theology that now things are spiritual and just push that into a chapter in the Old Testament which is not dream or vision but an direct explanation without imagery and symbols.
    The most direct way to understand Daniel 11 is that since for most of the chapter the king of the north is the kingdom north of Israel then that’s what it means a few lines later. No need to just start making up other identity based on just guesswork.
    What I cautiously think what the prophecy can mean is that the papacy will fight with the country’s north and south of Israel. The only way it can do that is with an army and from Rev 13 it’s America that gives the papacy it’s former might.
    Reading the prophecy straightforward like this doesn’t take away from how Adventists understand Daniel 7 and Rev 13; I think it adds to it and takes into account the part of the world which almost all of the prophecies in the Bible are centered on.

  • James Rafferty

    Hi Halldor,

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    There are a number of points you make that I would like to address.

    1st sentence: In my understanding “other prophecies” and “theologies” and “Scripture first” are not at odds with each other. Everything works together to form a united cohesive interpretation that is prophetic, theological and Scriptural.

    2nd sentence: Indeed it does in a very literal sense. Yet is the literal land of Israel the center of eschatological prophecy today? Many of our evangelical friends would say absolutely. But is that what the New Testament teaches? Christ Himself sent His church first to Jerusalem then to Judaea, then Samaria, and finally to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8) This transition of the church was later confirmed by the New Testament leaders (Acts 13:47). The history of God’s people (“woman” in Revelation 12) from literal Jews to spiritual Jews, from literal Jerusalem to spiritual Jerusalem, from the literal Israel to the “place” of refuge in the “wilderness” is not “a criteria we make up,” rather, it is clear Biblical truth (see Revelation 12; Romans 2:28, 29; Hebrews 12: 22-24). Of course you are free to interpret the glorious land in the literal sense as well as all the OT prophecies that speak to our day. On this point we simply disagree.

    3rd sentence: Agreed that Daniel 11 is an explanation of prophecy rather than a vision or dream. Yet we should remember that it is an explanation of previous visions and dreams, specifically of Daniel 2, 7, 8, and 9. Each of the previous visions repeats and enlarges with further explanation. Daniel 7 and 8 have large portions of the texts that have no focus on literal Israel. Daniel 9 explains that after Messiah fulfills the 70 week prophecy literal Israel, as a spiritual entity with a temple type for salvation, will be left desolate “until the consumption” (Daniel 9:27). Jesus confirms this prophecy in Matthew 23:38, 39). Daniel 11 has Messiah or the Prince of the Covenant being “broken” under the reign of Tiberius, the “vile person” who followed Augustus, the “raiser of taxes” (Daniel 11:20-22). These prophecies are confirmed in Luke 2 and 3.
    In addition we cannot help but notice that the language Daniel 11 is not entirely symbol free. Phrases like the “king of the north” and “king of the south” as well as the “daily” and “abomination of desolation” are, to some degree, symbolic imagery.

    4th paragraph: Leaving the interpretation of the latter half of Daniel 11 to geographical location north and south of literal Israel appears to leave us with more guesswork than allowing the book of Revelation to have a legitimate place in our interpretations. For example, the former has led us to assign the KON to Turkey, Russia and even China, all somewhat north of literal Israel. While the latter directs us to Revelation 13 which recounts the prophetic history of Daniel 2, 7, 8, and 11 and then points us to the wounding/captivity of Rome inflicted by Atheism (Revelation 11) and finally to the rise of the U.S.; control of the global economy and forced worship on a global level (Revelation 13). These same elements are touched on throughout the texts of Daniel 11:40-45.

    5th paragraph: One problem with interpreting the text in this way is that if the papacy and the U.S. are neither the KON or the KOS then were are left with absolutely nothing in the text that suggests that the Papacy and the U.S. will fight with the powers north and south of literal Israel. This idea appears to be speculation as far as the texts in Daniel 11 are concerned.

    6th paragraph: The idea that “almost all of the prophecies in the Bible are centered on” literal Israel is not clearly taught in the book of Daniel or in New Testament prophecies found in Matthew 24; Luke 21; Mark 13; 2 Thessalonians 2; 2 Peter 3; and Revelation. What these prophetic Scriptures show us is a transition from the geographical focus on literal Israel to the world-wide focus on spiritual Israel centering first in Europe (10 toes in Daniel 2; 10 horns in Daniel 7; little horn in Daniel 8; KON in Daniel 11:30-45); finally including America and the whole world (Millerite movement in Revelation 10; Woman in Revelation 12; saints in Revelation 13, 14; Kings of the earth in Revelation 16; 7 Kings/10 horns in Revelation 17; Entire earth in Revelation 18).
    From the earliest vision of Daniel 2 there is a clear prophetic transition out of Israel and the middle east to Europe (the 10 toes = ten tribes of Europe). And since we are in the toes now, historically speaking, it does not seem wise to look back to literal Israel and the geographical locations typified by the head of gold, arms of silver, or thighs of brass for the fulfillment of end time prophecy.

    Thank you for listening.

    God’s best,


  • jonhjorleifur

    “Uriah Smith also believed this as did all our pioneers until the 1870’s.” This statement is inadvertently false. I will inbox you my article on the history of the SDA interpretation of Daniel 11.

  • Halldór Magnússon

    Thanks James for taking the time, that clarified quite a bit. I hope this is a topic you enjoy so you won’t mind thinking about this a little more.

    1) There is nothing at odds by continue to take Gabriel’s explanation literally like we have done from verse 1 to 40.

    2) It’s not about where the focus is but what the prophecy says. It’s like we have prophecies about Tyre and Petra and Babylon and they were never the focus of God’s people or anything like that but if God says this will happen at this location we should go with that first before changing the location to another place. I don’t see the transition from literal people of God to a spiritual group of God’s people. Nothing in the text in Rev 12 indicates that. It’s just God’s people before the cross and then God’s people after the cross. Just like before the cross the nation of Israel had people who were not God’s people the same applies for the Christian church after the cross, some are truly God’s people and others are not.

    3) The phrases you mention are not symbolic, as far as I can see. The phrase King of the north is used many times in the chapter and everyone agrees it’s the kingdom north of Israel or the Seleucids. The question is should it change the last time it’s mentioned again and I say no. The daily and the abomination mean specific things, they are not symbols like a beast as a symbol for a kingdom.

    4) There is no need to change anything from how we Adventists understand Revelation by taking Daniel at this word in Daniel 11; rather it adds very interesting details to that same narrative.

    5) Look at how the chapter uses King of the North and South. It’s mentioned often from verses 6 to 15 but after that it disappears until verse 40. So in verse 40 when it says KON attacks him then this him is logically the power that all 25 verses before had been talking about, that is Rome and the papacy. Also notice that even at verse 40, KON is almost irrelevant, he is just mentioned in passing and then the narrative continues about the “him” which is of course the papacy. Since the KON is the kingdom north of Israel and it fights Rome in verse 16 it doesn’t make sense to think KON in verse 40 is suddenly Rome.
    Since verses 16 to 40 are all about Rome which later becomes the Papacy then verses 40 to 45 describe some of the things the papacy does just before the end time.

    6) This doesn’t work even based on your own logic because you say the focus is from Israel to Europe and then USA and then the whole world then why is the glorious land USA? Was the glorious land some other country in Europe during the middle ages? Also, since now of the 20 million Adventists in the world only one million is in the USA then this change from seems unwarranted.

    To sum up, if we just take what Daniel says literally; that the KON is the same kingdom throughout the chapter and the glorious land is Israel like it was just a few verses earlier what we have is this:

    In the last days the papacy with an army from USA will attack quite a few countries in the Middle East, the countries north and south of Israel along with the counties Daniel 11 mentions specifically. To mention those countries in the middle east along with USA being the glorious land doesn’t seem logical to me. After this the papacy will set up it’s tabernacle in Israel as a conqueror and at that time I am guessing the persecution, the plagues and mark of the beast will take place because of verse 1 in chapter 12.

    Thanks for listening, God bless


  • Glenda Carlson

    How does this latest election in the U.S. fit in the prophecy?

  • John W Sheffield

    Certainly not the scholarly type like you guys. Yes, not long ago I read that James White’s position was in opposition to Uriah Smith, before I ever read this! I grew up in a very conservative evangelical community in NW Iowa (Calvinistic), my own family being nominal Sunday keepers. Literal Israel was the sounding board for all of prophecy. My whole being was always confused about that, for it seemed limited and therefore I saw God as limited in my life….As I study these things I see them in the light of spiritual Israel, a global perspective. Thanks James, I need to look into these things more deeply. Perhaps you have something you have done that you can direct me to or someone else, blessings in Christ, John