In this study we pay special attention to the three tribes of Edom,Ammon and Moab in Daniel 11
In Daniel 11:40-45 we have an apocalyptic view of what will happen in the time of the end with the King of the North and its final demise, as stated in 11:45. In detail we have dealt with this in another special study about this scripture passage. However questions have arrived by viewers of this website regarding 11:41 and the meaning of the three tribes, Edom, Moab and Ammon. These three tribes will escape the counterattack of the King of the North in the time of the end. We must admit that we failed to pay attention to this scripture passage and others have done likewise as we will show later in this essay. But because the question has been raised we will attempt to pay attention to it in this study.
First we like to give a summary or overview of what other commentators have done with this passage:
1. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary does not deal with it.
2. Dr.Mervyn Maxwell also does not discuss it.
3. Dr.Edwin Thiele also does not give any comment.
4. Dr.Bill Shea only mentions these three tribes in another translation, and I quote: “Many countries will fall but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand.” (Shea in DANIEL page 266) But Shea does not give any application for the time of the end.
5. We also did not find any comment by Dr.Pfandl.
6. Pastor Kenneth Cox applies these nations as representing the Muslim world of today (Cox p.139). Cox also states that the Muslim world escaped the hand of the papal power (Ibid.139). We like to object to this for the fact that the Muslim world also has full ambassadorial representation at the Holy See in the Vatican.
7.McCready Price gives more attention to this section of Daniel. He objects to a literal application because in the time of the end, that is after 1798 these tribes do not exist any more. Then Price writes and we quote:” To me it seems more reasonable to interpret these names symbolically, in harmony with the rest of the prophecy. Then these long extinct enemies of God’s people, ’Edom, Moab and Ammon’ would represent modern groups or organisations with characteristics similar to those displayed by the three named ancient tribes. The text would probably mean that some of these modern peoples will become truly converted or join God’s remnant people, thus being delivered from the bondage of error, so that they will not fall under the hand of the king of the north” (Price, page 315)
Price may have given us some clues to work on. At least he has taken courage to say something about it.
8. We also checked our Jewish Christian Daniel scholar Dr.Jacques Doukhan. He provides us with some translations as Dr.Shea has done, which we will quote later. Dr. Doukhan writes as follows:” Historically it means that the politico-religious power will triumph over the atheistic and political movements. During the heat of the action, attempts will be made against the people of God, yet, if we believe Daniel, the North’s victory is neither total nor definitive. In its symbolic language, the prophecy suggests a southern resistance pushing from Edom, Moab and Ammon. This means that various atheistic and humanistic movements will resist and for a moment prevail over religious forces”. (Doukhan page 176).
Doukhan’s translation is as follows:” Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand.”
This translation is similar to the one from Dr.Bill Shea. We will not comment on Doukhan’s view of this passage only to mention that the atheistic and humanistic forces have received a blow by way of the counter attack of the king of the north as mentioned in 11:40. Will there be a counter attack against the counter attack of the king of the north, from the south again? Is that what Doukhan has in mind?
We present here different translations:
KJV “These shall escape out of his hand”
NKJV “These shall escape from his hand”
NASB “These will be rescued out of his hand”
Moffatt :”These nations shall be saved from him”
Berkeley “Shall escape his power”
NIV “Will be delivered from his hand”
NEB “Will survive his attacks”
Dutch, French and German translations are similar as the English KJV.
The general thought is that for one reason or another these tribes will not suffer from the attack of the king of the north or when under attack will be delivered and saved. We do know from Revelation 13 that the sea beast (Daniel’s King of the North) will receive a deadly wound from which it will survive, the wound will heal. When the wound is healed the sea beast or apocalyptic papal Rome will get into action again and will aim at the people of God (Rev.12:17; 17:14), but the people of God will be victorious with the Lamb as their Leader in this battle.Rev.17:14.
As we have stated in another study the best way to deal with end time prophecies is to deal with it Christo-centric. As the Old Testament Israel church was in the centre of the salvation story so is the New Testament Israel Church since AD31 the focus of the salvation story. Before AD31 it was the Seed, Christ the Messiah coming, after AD31 it is those who are of Christ, who have accepted Christ who are the Seed of Abraham and heirs of the promises, (Gal.3:16,29).They are “the Israel of God”(Gal.6:16).
We will now look at the roots of the various peoples we are dealing with. Through Abraham, the father of Israel the roots go back to Ur in Chaldea from where Abraham was called to come out (Gen.11:31; 15:7; Neh.9:7; Acts 7:2-4). Abraham became so to speak the first ecclesia, the father of the called out Old Testament Israel Church. But Babylon of the Old Testament also has its base in the same place from where Abraham was called. The Babylonians were also called Chaldeans (Eze.1:3; 12:13). So we can establish a common source of origin for Abraham and the enemies of Israel, the Babylonians. We will come back to this later in our study.
Now let’s establish the relationship between the Old Testament Israel Church and Edom, Moab and Ammon. Edom is connected with Esau the brother of Jacob (Gen.25:30; 36:1, 8, and 9). Israel and Edom were twin nations but hostile to each other. Moab and Ammon are somewhat removed from Israel in family relationship but they are of one blood, so to speak. Lot was Abraham’s nephew. Lot settled in Sodom from where he was removed with his two daughters. The girls committed incest with their father and the result was the birth of Moab and Ammon (see story in Gen.19:30-38). So while these nations had blood connections with Abraham they did not live the life of faith in the God of Abraham as Abraham did. They fell into gross apostasy. Ezekiel carried strong messages from God against these three tribes, (Eze.25). Amos also issued divine messages against the same tribes, (Amos 1:11-15; 2:1-3). Divine judgment came upon them with the ultimate result that they became totally extinct. For that reason and others as mentioned before we cannot treat them literally in Daniel 11:41.
With this background information I think we are able to put a picture together regarding Daniel 11:41 and with the help of the end time information we have in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The King of the North of 11:40 or revived papal power will make a counter attack against the Egyptian, (king of south) force, to regain territory which was lost by the king of the north. The deadly wound of Rev.13:3 is in process of healing. This renewed power will eventually direct its power against
”…. the glorious land” (Dan.11:41 and 45). The glorious land being the New Testament Israel Church (Gal.3:16, 29; 6:16; Hebr.12:18-24). During that time a worldwide message is proclaimed announcing the fall of Babylon, (Rev.14:6; 18:1-4).Babylon to be understood as the combined Christian Church which has fallen into gross apostasy.
This Babylon calls itself the mother church which equals the same as written in Rev.17:1-6. As mentioned it will set itself up against the true church of God or the remnant of her Seed, as in Rev.12:17;17:14 being God’s last day end time church of the faithful. Both the remnant church of Rev.12:17 and Babylon the so-called mother church have the same origin in the church of the first century, the apostolic church
set up by Jesus Himself and founded upon the apostles and prophets (Eph.2:20).
Same as Abraham came from Mesopotamia, Ur of Chaldea, which also is the place of origin of ancient Neo-Babylonia, Israel’s enemy.
However as forewarned by the apostle Paul a falling away would take place (Acts 20::29, 30; 2 Thess.2:3, 4). This apostasy has taken place and developed itself in what we know today as apocalyptic Babylon. As these three tribes, Edom, Moab and Ammon, fell into apostasy and became enemies of true Israel, so the apostolic church fell into apostasy and became an enemy of the true church of God. Moreover in the apostate church there still is part of God’s people receiving the call to come out of her, be delivered or saved from her, using Daniel’s language of 11:41 They will be delivered and thus escape the doom of Babylon.
Repeating in simple language, the three tribes of Daniel 11:41 are Daniel’s language to describe end time apocalyptic Babylon in which God’s people are found receiving a message to come out. God’s true people will recognise the voice of the Shepherd and answer that voice, John 10:16 and thus be saved, delivered and escape, not receiving of the plagues fallen upon the apostate church, called Babylon (Rev.18:4).
Pastor Jan T,Knopper
Edited and revisited August 2013