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Daniel: Prophet of the Ages - Book 3

This is a commentary covering the last three of Daniel's visions in chapters 10-12.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 7

Vainglory and Truth

In Dan. 8:21 Gabriel told Daniel that the kingdom of Greece was to arise and conquer Persia in the centuries ahead. But it was left to Peniel in Dan. 10:20 to tell the prophet that there was a spiritual “prince of Greece” behind the nation’s rise to power.

Seeing that Michael was called to overcome the Red Dragon of Babylon and that Peniel was called to overcome the prince of Persia, the question arises as to the name of the prince of Greece and his angelic counterpart.

A “prince” is just a title, but what is the name of the prince of Greece? A name reveals nature, function, and calling. A prince is a ruler over territory or kingdoms. In the New Testament, the Greek term for such princes is arche, (“principalities”). This word is used in this way in Rom. 8:38 and Eph. 6:12 (KJV). The name of a prince reveals the nature of his rule and the overall character of that kingdom.

While we cannot do an in-depth study of the name and character of all these spiritual princes, the name of the prince of Greece is helpful in understanding the prophecies in Daniel 11 given to the prophet Daniel. His name is not given in the biblical record itself, but according to my own revelation the prince of Greece is named Vainglory. His angelic counterpart is Amet, or Emet, the Angel of Truth.

The actual Greek word for Vainglory is Kenodoxia, which Paul uses in Phil. 2:3 (KJV). The NASB renders it “empty conceit.” It means “groundless self-esteem, empty pride.”

3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit [kenodoxia], but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.

This is a compound word, where keno means “empty, vain, devoid of truth,” and doxa means “glory, God’s judgment, view, or opinion.” When the two parts of this word are put together, it refers to a person like Antiochus Epiphanes, who was inspired by groundless self-esteem, apart from truth (Amet), and contrary to the opinion of God, to give himself the title “God Manifest.”

Hence, the Greek name for the Prince of Greece is Kenodoxia. Paul wrote to the Philippian church in Greece that they were not to be inspired by Prince Kenodoxia, the spiritual ruler in high places. They were to be inspired by Amet, the Angel of Truth, who would give them “humility of mind.” Each believer was counseled to “regard one another as more important than himself.”

Truth is the divine counterpart to vainglory, which is based on a lie. It is striking, then, that Peniel should tell Daniel about truth in regard to the prince of Greece. Dan. 10:21 says, “I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth.” Then in Daniel 11:2, he says, “And now I will tell you the truth.”

It is a given that an angel of God would speak the truth, but only here does the angel expressly state the importance of truth. In fact, the only other time “truth” (amet) is mentioned in the book of Daniel is in Dan. 8:12, which speaks of the inferior horn arising out of the Grecian empire. We know this was a reference to Antiochus Epiphanes. The angel said that this inferior horn “will fling truth to the ground.”

Truth, then, is an important issue in regard to the Grecian empire, but until we understand the nature of the prince of Greece, we will not know the nature of the spiritual conflict between the Angel of Truth and the prince of Greece. These two princes are angelic counterparts and natural enemies during the time of conflict.

An Overview of the Grecian Empire

Daniel 11 speaks of many kings who arose from the Grecian empire. This revelation, however, focuses primarily upon two of the four “horns,” because these were most relevant to Judea itself. The horn to the north came to be known as Syria. The horn to the south was Egypt. Both kings were generals in Alexander’s army, and their successors fought for control of Judea.

Yet the most important of these kings was Antiochus Epiphanes, the “inferior horn” in Dan. 8:9, who was to “fling truth to the ground.” He called himself “Epiphanes,” which is the Greek word that means “God Manifest.” His eccentric and capricious behavior caused many to call him Epimanes, “The Mad One.” His self-styled title, Epiphanes, was inspired by the prince of Greece, Vainglory.

Between Antiochus’ self-glorifying title and his most well-known actions in setting up idolatrous worship in the temple in Jerusalem—which flung truth to the ground—the conflict between Amet and Vainglory can be seen quite clearly.

What is Truth?

Pontius Pilate asked this question at the trial of Jesus. He asked a philosophical question, but the Scriptures tell us that truth is a way of life, not a mere philosophy. That way of life is inspired by Amet, the Angel of Truth, along with the (Holy) Spirit of Truth which stands above the angel himself.

The Hebrew word for truth (amet) also includes the idea of faith or faithfulness. Faith believes the word, resulting in faithfulness in walking in that word of truth. The Greek word for truth is athaleia, which comes from the word alethes, “not hidden, unconcealed.” This brings in the idea of the revelation of truth, or the unveiling of truth in the course of Kingdom history.

Scripture portrays truth as the way of God in which we are to walk. That way is revealed by the word of God itself. Psalm 86:11 says, “Teach me Thy way, O Lord; I will walk in Thy truth.” Psalm 119:142 says, “Thy law is truth.” Psalm 119:160 broadens this to tell us, “The sum of Thy word is truth.”

In the New Testament, Paul instructs us in Eph. 6:14 to “stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth.” The loins are the pelvic area, which in this case determines the stability of one’s “walk” with God in truth.

When Scripture gives specific applications of walking in truth, it often links truth to the law of impartiality in justice. For example, after Jesus told a parable about the destruction of Jerusalem, we read in Matt. 22:15, 16,

15 Then the Pharisees went and counseled together how they might trap Him in what He said. 16 And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any.”

The Pharisees themselves were very partial in their view of non-Jews, but they recognized that Jesus did not share their sentiment. Yet these Pharisees understood that Jesus’ view of “the way of God in truth” included the law of impartiality, and that this was an important element of a faithful walk with God. So also the apostle Paul instructs Titus not to follow the example of those who refuse to follow the truth. Titus 1:13, 14 says,

13 … For this cause reprove them severely that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.

The “Jewish myths” are here equated to the “commandments of men.” The Jewish leaders had imposed a huge set of rules and regulations that went beyond the law of God and often contradicted the law, because they did not know the intent of the Author. Truth is not known by reading or memorizing the Bible, but by receiving the revelation of truth from its Author.

Lack of Truth Brings Vainglory

Philosophy is the love of wisdom. But the wisdom of men is not like the wisdom of God. Paul expresses this difference in 1 Cor. 1:18, contrasting “the word of the cross” with “the wisdom of men.” It is the word logos (“word”), because this Greek word is where we get the term logic. The word is more than just words. It includes the mind that gives logic to those spoken words.

There is spiritual logic, and there is earthly logic. Each believes the other to be foolishness, Paul says, and in verse 19 he quotes Isaiah 29:14 saying, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”

Greek philosophy was based upon human wisdom. Scripture was based upon divine wisdom that is rooted in faith. Amet means both truth and faith in the Hebrew language. Divine truth would be empty without faith. Faith is empty without truth.

When Moses was told to put the tree into the bitter water at Marah in Exodus 15:23-25, the word was logical to God but would have been foolish to a Greek philosopher. The logic of God in this case was based upon the truth of the cross—which the tree represented. The cross is the only thing that can turn the bitterness in our hearts sweet. Such is the logic of God, which the carnal mind cannot comprehend.

When truth is cast to the ground, men glorify themselves rather than God. This is seen clearly in the story of Antiochus Epiphanes, who claimed to be “God Manifest.” The true epiphany is the manifestation of Christ. Anything else is “antichrist.” So Psalm 115:1 says,

1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Thy name give glory because of Thy lovingkindness, because of Thy truth.

The psalmist goes on to condemn idolatry, where men give glory to gods who are merely the work of men’s hands. The true God in heaven is worthy of glory because of His lovingkindness (love and mercy) and because of His truth. Israel and Judah were called to walk in truth and to testify (say Amen to the truth) to the nations. Jeremiah recognized that when Israel does this, then the nations will turn to the true God. Jer. 4:1, 2 says,

1 “If you will return, O Israel,” declares the Lord, “Then you should return to Me. And if you will put away your detested things from My presence, and will not waver, 2 and you will swear, ‘As the Lord lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness; then the nations will bless themselves in Him, and in Him they will glory.”

In other words, Israel needs to be led by the Angel of Truth and, of course, by the Holy Spirit of Truth. When the nations see and hear that testimony, “in Him they will glory.” The fact that the world is yet the arena of violence and a den of thieves and liars is not merely the fault of the world or of false religions. It is the fault of Israel for not following the word of truth.

When we refuse the truth, we follow the prince of Greece and give glory to idols made by men. Jesus came to show us the way of truth. His disciples were empowered by the Spirit and sent out into the Greek world to confront and overthrow the Vainglory that men were giving to the wisdom of men, even as Jesus had confronted the religious leaders in Jerusalem for teaching the commandments of men. Whether in Greece or in Judea, the prince of Greece dominated religious thought.

The Twin Angels: Amet and Amen

Amet is truth. Amen (“verily,” or “of a truth”) testifies to the truth. Both are names of angels, and these are twins that work together. The Gospel of John uses “verily, verily” fifty times, or 100 times total. It is the equivalent of the Hebrew term “Amen, Amen” (Num. 5:22).

When the word became flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ, He was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Furthermore, “grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Many have focused upon His work of grace but have less appreciation for His truth. Many even tend to despise truth, identifying it with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Hence, the love of truth is to them the way of death. Truth is then made to be unspiritual.

I disagree, of course. How can we worship God if not in spirit and in truth? Faith and truth are from the same Hebrew word. There is no genuine faith apart from believing the truth. Jesus says in John 4:24,

24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

Jesus came to be the earthly witness of the Father in all that He did and said. Hence, Rev. 3:14 calls Him “The Amen, the faithful and true witness.” On a secondary level, John the Baptist also bore witness to Christ. Jesus said in John 5:33,

33 You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.

No one can be a true witness unless he has a revelation of truth. Without such a revelation, one can only bear witness to men and their philosophies.

Amet and Amen are both required to establish truth in the earth. Both are angels. I have had considerable interaction with Amen long before I encountered Amet. This encounter, while writing this book, was necessary in order to receive the revelation about the prince of Greece, so that we might all benefit from a greater understanding of the revelation given in Daniel 10 and 11.

Knowing this, our understanding is broadened in regard to the big picture and how the princes of the beast nations affect world conditions. We can catch glimpses of the spiritual conflict in the heavens and how our faithful walk with God here on earth helps to overcome the spiritual opposition from the forces of darkness. As we fully overcome the prince of Vainglory, we may bring truth to the earth by bearing witness to the sum of His word.