115-112 Daniel Chapter 11
Now the angel speaks more of the truth of the things that are to come. They are the words of truth because they are the Words of God who is ever present and knowing of all that is to happen according to His plan and purposes.
The four kings which would come from Persia were Cambyses, Smerdis, Darius Hystapsis and Xerxes. The forth king, Xerxes, would be the richest of the four. Xerxes will also be the most powerful and would stand up against the opposition of Persia. This verse shows that the Persian Empire will grow to its maximum power and causing the invasion of Greece. That invasion was a measure that would enhance the Greek Empire. This is not only a lesson in Persian history or a foretelling of future events but a fulfilment of the purposes of God. This is a depiction of the steps that must come in order to bring about the fourth empire.
Xerxes had to be the forth king as he was the only one strong enough to invade Greece. There were Persian kings that followed Xerxes but they were not irrelevant to the purpose of God.
In 480 BC. Xerxes invaded Greece with a very large army. He was unsuccessful and never recovered from this invasion. His land forces subdued Greece to the Isthmus of Corinth and laid the city of Athens to waste. Xerxes’ navy was defeated by the Greek navy at the Battle of Salamis. Xerxes retreated leaving a general behind to see to the withdrawal. The following year the General, Mardonius was defeated by the Greeks and there combined forces at the battle of Plataea. All following attempts to defeat the Greeks was ineffective and Persian was unable to promote future attacks.
The vacancy of power was filled by Greece. A mightier king arose who was known as Alexander the Great. Alexander was given great and wide powers and authority and was able to exercise his will as he pleased.
Alexander conquered most of the know Ancient Word rapidly. He overran the Persian Empire and move even further east that their borders. But Alexander died at a young age while in Babylon in 323 BC. He had two sons named Hercules and Alexander who were murdered while they were at a young age as well. This led to the kingdom being divided up between his generals, Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy who reigned over Palestine and Egypt.
With Alexander dead and his sons murdered the four generals divided his kingdom up. They formed a united world power but it was unsustainable. The two generals who would concern the Israelite nation were Ptolemies who would be the king of the south. The king of the north would be Seleucus. Both of these kings had their hearts set on Palestine.
The king of the south, Ptolemy, was one of Alexander’s most powerful generals. He declared himself King of Egypt in 304 BC. He was very ambitious and grew his kingdom into Cyprus, Asia Minor, and Greece. His dynasty ruled from Egypt until 30 BC.
Seleucus, another powerful general of Alexander, was given authority over Babylon in 321 BC. But he was betrayed by another general named Antigonus and had to flee and sought help from Ptolemy in the south. With the help of Ptolemy Seleucus was able to regain control of Babylon. In this sense he was the prince of Ptolemy. From that time Seleucus’ kingdom grew much larger than Ptolemy’s to include all of Babylonia, Media and Syria. His rule began in 321 BC. His dynasty lasted until 64 BC.
Ptolemy died in 285 BC. His son took the throne. His minister of finance in Egypt owned much land in Palestine and land east of the Jordan River. These lands were considered land belonging to the crown and would have passed to the king of the north. Seleucus was assassinated in 281 BC. And his son Antiochus took the throne. In 262 BC. He died and his son took the throne and held power.
Ptolemy II of Egypt and Antiochus II of Syria were bitter enemies. They formed an alliance through the marriage of Ptolemy’s II daughter to Antiochus II. When Ptolemy II died in 246 BC. And Antiochus II divorced his daughter and took back his first wife Laodice. This allowed him to marry his second wife’s daughter Berenice. Laodice then punished him by poisoning him and taking the throne for herself making alliances with her supporters. Laodice also had Berenice and her infant son murdered along with those in her court who came from Egypt with her. Therefore Laodice could fear no repercussions. Then the son of Laodice Seleucus II gained the throne and began his rule in 246 BC.
All of this treachery did not set well with Berenice’s brother Ptolemy III who marched from the south to go against the army of Seleucus II. He seized their fortress and placed them under his control.
The measure of his victory was that he took their gods and their temple furniture. The people of Egypt were jubilant at this victory. After a period of years left Seleucus II to stand alone and made a treaty with him.
Seleucus II broke the treaty and went to the kingdom of the south and attacked around 240 BC. He was unsuccessful and retreated back to the north.
Seleucus II had a son and named him Seleucus III who took the throne at his father’s death in 227 BC. Not many years later he died in 223 BC. His brother Antiochus III took the throne and these were the kings of the north. Both Seleucus III and Antiochus III desired to restore the Syrian Empire and Seleucus III attacked Asia Minor. Later Antiochus III attacked Egypt at their fortress which was probably Gaza which gave him control of Palestine. Antiochus III did not attack Egypt itself just their outer control. But he did drive the Egyptians back to their border with Israel.
This military action placed Israel under the control of Syria which was crucial according to the prophecy of Daniel.
Ptolemy IV angry at what had happened to his northern border came out with a large army to recapture his lost lands. He came out with infantry, cavalry and elephants and attacked Antiochus III at the southern borders of Israel. He was victorious at the battle of Raphia in 217 BC.
Ptolemy IV was successful but he was not aggressive enough to take advantage of his victories. But the land of Palestine was under his control.
Having been driven back out of Palestine Antiochus III raised another large army. Hungry for victories he sought to conquer in different directions. He moved to the east and the north and found success. As a result his army became all the more powerful with much weaponry. He formed an alliance with Philipp of Macedon. He then returned his attention to the lands of Palestine.
Antiochus III was now a big league player on the world stage. He probably had intelligence from the dissidents of Egypt along with mercenaries. With this resource he had gained a powerful force. When Antiochus III went in to Jerusalem he was welcomed by the people and allowed them to renew their old rights.
Ptolemy V succeeded his father Ptolemy IV and sent one of his best generals to oppose Antiochus III of the north but was defeated at the headwaters of the Jordan in the land of Dan and finally surrendered at Sidon. Even as Ptolemy IV had sent his best to fight they were not able to withstand the onslaught.
This battle between the northern and the southern kings was devastating to the Israelite people. But as Antiochus III secured his victory over the southern forces then showed favor towards the Israelite people. In this verse the “land of desire” was Israel.
Antiochus III offered his daughter to Ptolemy IV with the attempt that she would corrupt him. His daughter Cleopatra saw it to her advantage that Egypt would be her home and therefore aligned herself with her new husband Ptolemy IV and remained faithful.
Antiochus III then marched to the coastlands of Asia Minor and attracted the attention of Rome. Although he did not enter into the territory of Greece Lucius Scipio Asiaticus of Rome drove him back into Asia Minor and defeated him at Magnesia in 190 BC. He sued for peace and the terms were humiliating. He had to yield all the lands of Asia Minor except Cilicia and surrender his war elephants and navy. He also had to return the important refugees and send hostages to Rome, one of which was his son Epiphanes. He also had to pay a large tribute and for this was killed by angry citizens while robbing the temple of Elymais in 187 BC.
Prior to his death and because of his weakness in battle he had to deal with descent back in his own homeland. He had to recapture fortresses in his own lands and regain control of his own kingdom.
The elder son of Antiochus III Seleucus IV took the throne at his father’s death. Faced with the heavy tribute to Rome he taxed the people of Israel and his people so heavily that his prime minister had him poisoned. Seleucus IV did not die from angry mobs of protestors, as his father, nor did he die in battle, rather he was poisoned.
At the death of Seleucus IV the throne would have rightfully gone to one of his sons. One son Demetrius was sent to Rome as a hostage for the release of his other son Antiochus. Antiochus was a master of deceit and who had control of the forces of the king of Pergamum saw the opportunity to threaten these forces against the leaders of Syria. By this action he secured the throne with the approval of the Syrians.
All opposition to Antiochus IV was swept away as he marched with an overpowering army. The Israelite High Priest opposed him and is referenced as the “priest of the covenant.” The High Priest Onias II was in Antioch on affairs of the state when Seleucus was assassinated. Antiochus IV disposed of Onias II by selling is position to his brother but was out bided by Menelaus. Onias II was thrust aside but was still recognized by the faithful in Israel.
This was not the end of Antiochus IV treachery against Israel. He had a general of his slaughter many of the Israelites on the Sabbath after professing to have come in peace. Antiochus IV was always ready to win a friendship and then follow it with betrayal when it was beneficial to him.
Syria at this time was a small country but Antiochus IV was still able to expand his power base. The “small people” in this verse may mean the Hellenisers who were not large in numbers but this allowed him to be accepted there.
The fathers of Antiochus IV won their victories on the battlefield. But this was not his way. He would enter into the wealthiest and greatest parts of the land and distribute bribes and gifts to win favor of those who held the strongholds. Deceitfulness was the art of Antiochus IV and once a party was wooed he would extract his desires from them.
The compliancy of peaceful people was also another opportunity for Antiochus IV. When the people thought the least of a present danger it was the most dangerous time to have Antiochus IV around.
When Antiochus IV felt that he had all the winning cards he again marched a large army to the south to attack Egypt. He was able to fight all the way to the Nile Delta before the Egyptians new of his advance. Antiochus IV had already from deceptive means had bribed many in Egypt that they did not oppose him. Thus he was able to advance far into their land before the Egyptians took notice of his presence. By these treacherous tactics Antiochus IV was able to defeat Ptolemy VI large army. In fact he was routed. Though Antiochus IV had the smaller army because of his deceitful ways he was able to gain the victory. There is a great correspondence to the tactics of our adversary, Satan, and what the world will see in the end times.
The defeat of the Egyptians caused them to dispose their king Ptolemy VI and place his brother Ptolemy VII on the throne. This lack of loyalty to the crowned king caused a civil war in Egypt.
Antiochus IV and Ptolemy VII met to offer each assistance and Antiochus IV offered help against Ptolemy VII rival. Even though the rival was Antiochus IV himself. They both met to offer help to each other although the intention of each was just the opposite. They were both dishonest and there was no truth between them. Whatever their plans were together they would fail as the time of Antiochus IV end was already appointed by God.
Antiochus IV venture into Egypt was mostly successful and he returned home with much plunder. News had reached Israel that Antiochus IV had been killed and Jason entered into the city and killed many of the Jews. However, the reaction in Jerusalem caused him to have to flee into exile.
Antiochus IV heard of these events and decided to teach Israel a lesson for their disobedience. Antiochus IV attacked Jerusalem and killed many of the people. Then with the help of Menelaus he went into the temple and looted it. Now he was a man marked by God.
Now we see the beginning of the end for Antiochus IV. He thought again to attack Egypt and moved as far as the city of Alexandria in 168 BC. From there he met the power of the forth empire which had destroyed his father, the Romans.
The “ships of Kittim” are from Cyprus in which the Roman fleet would have sailed from. The Romans would have been led by Gaeus Popilius Linus who had sailed to Egypt to prevent the activities of Antiochus IV. Egypt had possibly made a treaty with Rome and therefore they had come to their aid. When the Romans met Antiochus IV they demanded that he withdraw and with no other option he did.
Egypt had clearly made some kind of treaty with Rome. He met with Antiochus IV and demanded that he should withdraw and did so in a humiliating way. He had no doubts that Antiochus IV would do so. Antiochus IV returned home and vented his anger on the Israelite people.
Now Antiochus IV threatened by Rome and Egypt who at times looked towards their northern border he determined to unify his empire. He proposed to adopt the Hellenistic culture, including the worship of the Greek gods. He declared himself to be the manifestation of Zeus, he sought every means to build up his treasury, and plundering the temple as a means of accomplishment.
Dissention from the Jews, mostly about the Hellenistic culture and who should be the High Priest looked to Antiochus IV to answer these questions. Antiochus IV had appointed Menelaus as the High Priest who had promised to ensure that culture would change to Hellenistic. In Jerusalem a gymnasium was built for the purpose of Greek religion and many Israelites had participated in this activity. This shows that between the Israelites there was a divided loyalty, those who favored the Hellenistic culture and those who abided in the Mosaic Law.
The Hellenistic culture at first seemed to take hold but then faded. Antiochus IV then saw the people as obstinate troublemakers. Thus he determined to force his will upon the people and increase their tax as well.
Antiochus IV sent a general to Jerusalem who approached in a friendly manner and then took advantage of them on the Sabbath. He looted and burned the city and killed many Israelites. He did this in the name of supporting the Hellenistic culture. He built a fortress in Jerusalem to contain the stolen treasure from the Israelites. He enforced the king’s rule that the Judaic religion was now forbidden to be practiced. Copies of the Scriptures were burned and outlawed the practice of circumcision and no longer could they observe the Sabbath. Plus they were to offer sacrifices to the god Zeus.
The General of Antiochus IV set guards at the Temple and built an altar unto Zeus. It was then that they sacrificed a pig at the altar which was the abomination of desolation. This was a horror to the Israelite people. Thus, this was the end of the regular Temple worship to the Lord. There were no more Sabbaths, the celebration of the feasts, and the morning and evening sacrifices. This all was now forbidden and anything that might be connected with it. Jesus used the same picture when He was describing the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14)
Jerusalem at this time was divided between the faithful and the unfaithful. Those who were not strong in their faith with the Lord God were shaken and fell away. They were tempted by the means of bribery and promise of political advancement. Those who remained faithful were destroyed by force.
The persecution of the Jewish people spread throughout the whole of the land. If they practiced the covenant law of circumcision it was punished by death. Their Scriptures were burnt and they were forced to make sacrifices to Zeus. It was a time that the Hebrew people had never before seen.
But the faithful went into hiding so that they would not have to give way to the evil that was now present in their land. Those who had been complacent in the past now realized the effect of this evil presence and now resisted also. They repented from the wicked way and their faith grew stronger in God. Where they had not resisted before they now thought only to resist.
They went out amongst the people and encouraged them to resist also. They taught from the Scriptures that they would be reminded of God’s Word. Many found renewal in their old beliefs and their faith was strengthened towards the Lord. The old Israel was being revived as not before. But there was a price to pay for their new found faith. Throughout the land there were daily executions of the faithful. Many were buried alive, some were thrown into prison and others were placed into slavery. Those who would be caught teaching the people would be put to death.
Many will die in this time of severe persecution for their faith in God. It will be a time when a little help will come from God but not like the help that He had given to Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Many will come to them and try to turn them away from their faith and some will abandon God. But most will remain strong in their faith by the testing of the persecution that has been brought upon them. As a result they will be purified and made white. (Righteous) The faithful will endure as they have placed their hope in the Lord.
It will be that the king of this time will be unrestrained to do as he pleases. He will magnify himself above all the gods of the earth. Till now we have been referencing Antiochus who was a bogus king during the time of the time of the end of the indignation against Israel. Now the Scripture speaks of a true and great king that will rule during the end of the indignation against the people of God at the end of time. The great kings of the north and the south had been humbled and now there was a new great king to be humbled.
The king of the past had exalted himself above the false gods of this world. This new king goes further and exalts himself above the God of all gods. This king is challenging the authority of God the Most High. He is a god “Who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:4)
The indignation of Israel was removed from the remnant by the purification of the persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes. At the end of day the indignation of God will be removed through the persecution of His people. As the Israelite people faced their persecution in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes the Church of Jesus Christ will face persecution before the rapture and the seven year tribulation. We see this happening even now in this day.
This king of the end time will have no regard for any god or respect for any cult. He will magnify himself above all and the world shall worship him. He is the great Anti-God that we see in Revelation 17:11,13,17 and Revelation 19:19.
He will form his kingdom and rule with might and power. All men must look to him and they must offer unto him the most precious of things. He is a man of great greed and will amass great wealth for his own glory. He will be as a god that no man had known before as there has been none like him before him. Those who honor him will be given the reward of status. They will have positions of authority and lands of their own.
These verses may signify the violence and warfare of the forth empire, the apocalyptic empire. It is the empire that is under the influence of Satan himself. Everything and every person is under his control with the exception of God’s people.
All the countries of the Near East will be subject to him. This may be seen as the three horns that were rooted out by the little horn, Egypt, the Libyans and the Ethiopians will be under his steps.
The nations that mass together to destroy Israel that we see in the prophecy of Ezekiel show that Jordan and Arabia are not participants in that conflict. Here in the book of Daniel we see that is also true. But the remainder of the Near East, including Egypt and Libya do participate. In the book of Ezekiel the nations that come against the people of God come from the remote lands of the world. Neither is God’s people living in walled cities or cities with great defenses. Their protection comes from God and therefore they are untouchable. This is a picture of a world under the control of Satan whose primary enemy is the people of God who he cannot attack and destroy. (Revelation 20:7-9)
The god of this king is fortresses and he will war until the end. Satan’s kingdom is also divided and there are wars within his own lands as well with the people of God. He is able to hold to what is his but in the end he is not able to avoid his conflict with the people of God. He positions himself between the sea and the holy mountain of God.
This is the site where the last great event of the earth shall take place. (Joel 3:2, 12; Isaiah 2:3; Zechariah 14:2) This is the site where Satan will be in his final defeat. (Revelation 19:11-21)