Last week we started our study of chapter 10 which includes the final vision of Daniel as recorded in the Bible. That vision comes after Daniel has been praying for more than three weeks during the time of the Passover Festival in the third year of the reign of king Cyrus. He was mourning because things were not going well with the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple. In that vision we learned that his prayer was heard when he first uttered it but the angel or messenger (Gabriel) we assume was held up because he had to deal with the Prince of Persia, not a man but a spiritual being. When he finally reached Daniel he gave him an understanding of what was in store for his people, the Jews and later on what would happen at the end of time.
Daniel 10:15-11:1 NLT While he was speaking to me, I looked down at the ground, unable to say a word. Then the one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing in front of me, “I am filled with anguish because of the vision I have seen, my Lord, and I am very weak. How can someone like me, your servant, talk to you, my Lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.” Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning. “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my Lord, for you have strengthened me.” He replied, “Do you know why I have come? Soon I must return to fight against the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia, and after that the spirit prince of the kingdom of Greece will come. Meanwhile, I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one helps me against these spirit princes except Michael, your spirit prince. I have been standing beside Michael to support and strengthen him since the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede.)
Daniel was still very afraid. He also felt very humble and he could not speak. Then either Jesus or an angel touched his mouth. So he was able to speak. He told the man in front of him that he was weak. He thought that he was not very important. So he was scared to speak to the man.
The man touched him again. Then Daniel felt stronger. The man said things to make Daniel feel better. He told Daniel again that God loved him very much. Then he promised to explain the things that Daniel had seen. He said that he had to go back to fight against the prince of Persia again. He would defeat the prince of Persia. But then another of the devil’s servants, the prince of Greece, would come.
We know from our study of this book that the kingdom of Greece followed the kingdom of Persia.
For review let’s go back to Nebchudzzar’s dream:
Daniel 2:31-33 NLT “In your vision, Your Majesty, you saw standing before you a huge, shining statue of a man. It was a frightening sight. The head of the statue was made of fine gold (Babaloyn) . Its chest and arms were silver (Mido-Pershia), its belly and thighs were bronze (Greece), its legs were iron, and its feet were a combination of iron and baked clay (Rome).
Then Daniel’s first vision
Daniel 7:4-6 NLT The first beast was like a lion with eagles’ wings (Babaloyn). As I watched, its wings were pulled off, and it was left standing with its two hind feet on the ground, like a human being. And it was given a human mind. Then I saw a second beast, and it looked like a bear (Medo-Pershia). It was rearing up on one side, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And I heard a voice saying to it, “Get up! Devour the flesh of many people!” Then the third of these strange beasts appeared, and it looked like a leopard (Greece). It had four bird’s wings on its back, and it had four heads. Great authority was given to this beast.
Then Daniel’s second vision
Daniel 8:3-7 NLT As I looked up, I saw a ram with two long horns standing beside the river (Medo-Pershia) . One of the horns was longer than the other, even though it had grown later than the other one. The ram butted everything out of his way to the west, to the north, and to the south, and no one could stand against him or help his victims. He did as he pleased and became very great. While I was watching, suddenly a male goat appeared from the west, crossing the land so swiftly that he didn’t even touch the ground. This goat, which had one very large horn between its eyes, headed toward the two-horned ram that I had seen standing beside the river, rushing at him in a rage. The goat charged furiously at the ram and struck him, breaking off both his horns. Now the ram was helpless, and the goat knocked him down and trampled him. No one could rescue the ram from the goat’s power (Greece) .
He told Daniel that Michael would support him in the fight against the spirit princes of Persia and Greece. We find out later that Michael is the angel who is the protector of the Jewish nation.
Daniel 12:1 NLT “At that time Michael, the archangel who stands guard over your nation, will arise. Then there will be a time of anguish greater than any since nations first came into existence. But at that time every one of your people whose name is written in the book will be rescued.
Revelation 12:7-9 NLT Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.
Daniel 10:18-19 NLT Then the one who looked like a man touched me again, and I felt my strength returning. “Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” As he spoke these words to me, I suddenly felt stronger and said to him, “Please speak to me, my Lord, for you have strengthened me.”
After the man calmed Daniel down he was able to understand the explanation given by the man and was able to write it down.
What details were given concerning Israel’s history under Persia? (11:2)
The three kings in Persia appear to have been: first, Cambyses, Cyrus' son (accession 529 b.c.); second, Pseudo-Smerdis, who reigned briefly in 522 b.c.); and third, Darius I, or Hystaspes, also called, the Great, (522-486 b.c.); a truly great monarch.
We talked briefly about Darius last week because it was under him that the rebuilding of the Temple started up again after being stopped during the reign of Cyrus.
Ezra 4:4-5 (NKJV)4 Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building,5 and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Remember it was in Darius’ first year that Daniel prayed that God do what He said he would do in Jeremaih’s prophecy.
Daniel 9:1-3 NLT It was the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, the son of Ahasuerus, who became king of the Babylonians. During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the Lord , as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes.
The fourth, far greater than they all was, then, Xerxes, known in Esther as Ahasuerus (486-464 b.c.).
Esther 1:1-2 NLT These events happened in the days of King Xerxes, who reigned over 127 provinces stretching from India to Ethiopia. At that time Xerxes ruled his empire from his royal throne at the fortress of Susa.
The wars of Darius and of Xerxes, by which the Persians infuriated all of Greece, are well known to students of classical antiquity and standard ancient history.
Daniel 11:3-4 NLT “Then a mighty king will rise to power who will rule with great authority and accomplish everything he sets out to do. But at the height of his power, his kingdom will be broken apart and divided into four parts. It will not be ruled by the king’s descendants, nor will the kingdom hold the authority it once had. For his empire will be uprooted and given to others.
The mighty king is Alexander the Great or the goat in chapter;
Daniel 8:5 NLT While I was watching, suddenly a male goat appeared from the west, crossing the land so swiftly that he didn’t even touch the ground. This goat, which had one very large horn between its eyes,
Daniel 8:8 NLTThe goat became very powerful. But at the height of his power, his large horn was broken off. In the large horn’s place grew four prominent horns pointing in the four directions of the earth.
He defeats the Medo-Persian empire and crushes it, then he dies and his empire is broken up into four parts.
One of those kingdoms will persecute the Daniel’s people, eventually desecrating the temple and stopping the sacrifices.
Daniel 8:9-12 NLT Then from one of the prominent horns came a small horn whose power grew very great. It extended toward the south and the east and toward the glorious land of Israel. Its power reached to the heavens, where it attacked the heavenly army, throwing some of the heavenly beings and some of the stars to the ground and trampling them. It even challenged the Commander of heaven’s army by canceling the daily sacrifices offered to him and by destroying his Temple. The army of heaven was restrained from responding to this rebellion. So the daily sacrifice was halted, and truth was overthrown. The horn succeeded in everything it did.
We talked about that when we studied chapter 8. Most believe that this small horn was a king by the name of Antiochus IV, reigned from 175 to 164 BC he was called Epiphanes.
While Antiochus was busy in Egypt, a rumor spread that he had been killed. The deposed High Priest Jason gathered a force of 1,000 soldiers and made a surprise attack on the city of Jerusalem. The High Priest, Menelaus, who had been appointed by Antiochus, was forced to flee Jerusalem during a riot. On the King's return from Egypt in 167 BC, enraged by his defeat, he attacked Jerusalem and restored Menelaus, then executed many Jews.
To consolidate his empire and strengthen his hold over the region, Antiochus decided to side with the Hellenized Jews. Hellenized Jews were people who combined Jeweish religious tradition with Greek culture. Antiochus outlawed the Jewish religious rites and traditions, and he ordered the worship of Zeus as the supreme god.
But the angel talking to Daniel is going to provide greater detail of those events leading up to this and also give us a glimpse into the distant future.
Remember the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great was
split into four kingdoms, which would retain their sovereignty in order from least to longest: the Seleucids in Asia Minor and the Middle East, the Antigonids in Macedon (an area partly encompassing Greece), the Attalids in Pergamum (Asia Minor) and the Ptolemies in Egypt.
Daniel 11:5-8 NLT “The king of the south will increase in power, but one of his own officials will become more powerful than he and will rule his kingdom with great strength. “Some years later an alliance will be formed between the king of the north and the king of the south. The daughter of the king of the south will be given in marriage to the king of the north to secure the alliance, but she will lose her influence over him, and so will her father. She will be abandoned along with her supporters. But when one of her relatives becomes king of the south, he will raise an army and enter the fortress of the king of the north and defeat him. When he returns to Egypt, he will carry back their idols with him, along with priceless articles of gold and silver. For some years afterward he will leave the king of the north alone.
The king of the south is the Ptolemies kingdom of Egypt. The king of the north is the Syrian Seleucid kingdom, the one that produces Antiochus Epiphanes.
This is the prophecy of Syria and Egypt in Conflict with One Another and with the Jews. The prophecy does not give a continuous view. There are gaps in it. We may not, therefore, expect the predictions to be as precise in regard to sequence, chronology, etc., as our curiosity desires. Which is what gets people in trouble when they try to match world events to prophecy. Because biblical prophecy does have gaps it is very hard to nail down every detail but the major events of the prophecy can be identified.
Egypt is mentioned by name in verse 8 in such a manner as to identify it as the "king of the south". but Syria which is much larger than the country today is not named. This may be because Egypt had long been known as a kingdom in Daniel's time, but the kingdom of the Seleucids (Syria) was not yet in existence.
The next verses down to 20 describe the battles and wars between the two kingdoms. Secular history gives a picture of the struggles.
Daniel 11:5-6 NLT “The king of the south will increase in power, but one of his own officials will become more powerful than he and will rule his kingdom with great strength. “Some years later an alliance will be formed between the king of the north and the king of the south. The daughter of the king of the south will be given in marriage to the king of the north to secure the alliance, but she will lose her influence over him, and so will her father. She will be abandoned along with her supporters.
Then the man told Daniel about the wars between these kingdoms. The kings of Egypt used the name Ptolemy. Some of the kings of Syria used the name Seleucus. Some used the name Antiochus, because Antioch was their capital city.
The man told Daniel about the kings of two of the kingdoms. The king in the south was the king of Egypt. His name was Ptolemy and he was powerful.
Another army officer became the king in the north. He was the king of Syria and his name was Seleucus. He was even more powerful.
Antiochus II Theos, the king of Syria, divorced his wife Laodicea. Then he married Bernice who was the daughter of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the king of Egypt. But somebody murdered them. It may have been Antiochus’s previous wife or her son.
Daniel 11:7-12 NLT But when one of her relatives becomes king of the south, he will raise an army and enter the fortress of the king of the north and defeat him. When he returns to Egypt, he will carry back their idols with him, along with priceless articles of gold and silver. For some years afterward he will leave the king of the north alone. “Later the king of the north will invade the realm of the king of the south but will soon return to his own land. However, the sons of the king of the north will assemble a mighty army that will advance like a flood and carry the battle as far as the enemy’s fortress. “Then, in a rage, the king of the south will rally against the vast forces assembled by the king of the north and will defeat them. After the enemy army is swept away, the king of the south will be filled with pride and will execute many thousands of his enemies. But his success will be short lived.
A brother of Bernice became king of Egypt. He was called Ptolemy III Euergetes. He defeated the king of Syria, Seleucus II Callinicus, in a war. Then there were no wars for a time.
Later, Seleucus III Soter, the king of Syria, attacked Ptolemy IV Philopator the king of Egypt. And then he returned home. Then the sons of the king of Syria gathered a large army. One of them died, but the other one led the army to attack Egypt. He was called Antiochus III. The Great.Ptolemy, the king of Egypt, was very angry. His army won the battle although it was not as strong. This made the king of Egypt very proud. He was successful in battle, but only for a certain time.
Daniel 11:13-17 NLT “A few years later the king of the north will return with a fully equipped army far greater than before. At that time there will be a general uprising against the king of the south. Violent men among your own people will join them in fulfillment of this vision, but they will not succeed. Then the king of the north will come and lay siege to a fortified city and capture it. The best troops of the south will not be able to stand in the face of the onslaught. “The king of the north will march onward unopposed; none will be able to stop him. He will pause in the glorious land of Israel, intent on destroying it. He will make plans to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will form an alliance with the king of the south. He will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom from within, but his plan will fail.
A few years passed. Then Antiochus III The Great attacked Ptolemy IV Philopator, the king of Egypt. Antiochus had a large army that had plenty of equipment. Many people, even some Jews, helped Antiochus to attack Egypt. Antiochus defeated Ptolemy the king of Egypt and Antiochus became very powerful. He did what he wanted, even in the Israel (Palestine)
The king of Syria, Antiochus III The Great, tried to defeat Egypt completely. He had a new plan. He gave his daughter, Cleopatra, to marry Ptolemy V Epiphanes, the new king of Egypt. But his plan failed. Cleopatra was more loyal to her husband than she was to her father.
Daniel 11:18-20 NLT “After this, he will turn his attention to the coastland and conquer many cities. But a commander from another land will put an end to his insolence and cause him to retreat in shame. He will take refuge in his own fortresses but will stumble and fall and be seen no more. “His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. But after a very brief reign, he will die, though not from anger or in battle.
Then Antiochus III The Great decided to attack Greece. General Scipio led an army from Rome and defeated him. Antiochus returned to his own country. His power had gone.
Seleucus IV Philopator became the next king of Syria. He had large debts that he could not pay. He did not rule for very long. His officials killed him.
Daniel 11:21-24 NLT “The next to come to power will be a despicable man who is not in line for royal succession. He will slip in when least expected and take over the kingdom by flattery and intrigue. Before him great armies will be swept away, including a covenant prince. With deceitful promises, he will make various alliances. He will become strong despite having only a handful of followers. Without warning he will enter the richest areas of the land. Then he will distribute among his followers the plunder and wealth of the rich—something his predecessors had never done. He will plot the overthrow of strongholds, but this will last for only a short while.
This is Antiochus Epiphanes (175-163 b.c.) is introduced as a vile person. His wicked persecution of the Jews and desecration of the Temple are described by a contemporary witness in 1 Maccabees, which ought to be read by every student of Daniel.
His action is predicted also at
Daniel 8:13 (HCSB)13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the speaker, “How long will ⌊the events of⌋ this vision last—the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and of the host to be trampled?”
We studied this in some detail when we were in chapter 8. His deeds furnish a kind of pattern for those of the wicked "prince that shall come".
We talked about that last week.
Daniel 9:26-27 (HCSB)26 After those 62 weeks the Messiah will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the coming prince will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come with a flood, and until the end there will be war; desolations are decreed.27 He will make a firm covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering. And the abomination of desolation will be on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.”
Here is more background on Antiochus Epiphanes revealed by the angel to Daniel from “The Men who were Loyal to God, An EasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on the Book of Daniel by Robert Bryce
He was called Antiochus IV Epiphanes. His name meant a god who had become a man. Some of his people called him Antiochus Empimanes. That means mad man. We know about the other kings from history. The things that the man told Daniel did happen. But the man told Daniel some things about Antiochus that we do not know from history. He became king because he cheated. And he told lies. Then he defeated other nations for the same reasons. He was a very powerful king who did evil things. He did worse things than the kings before him did. But God only allowed him to do this for a certain time.
Daniel 11:25-28 NLT “Then he will stir up his courage and raise a great army against the king of the south. The king of the south will go to battle with a mighty army, but to no avail, for there will be plots against him. His own household will cause his downfall. His army will be swept away, and many will be killed. Seeking nothing but each other’s harm, these kings will plot against each other at the conference table, attempting to deceive each other. But it will make no difference, for the end will come at the appointed time. “The king of the north will then return home with great riches. On the way he will set himself against the people of the holy covenant, doing much damage before continuing his journey.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes had a large army and he wanted to defeat Egypt. Ptolemy V Epiphanes, the king of Egypt, also had a large army, but some of his people were not loyal. So Antiochus defeated him. The two kings met, but they told lies to each other. God’s plans were greater than their plans.
On his way home, Antiochus had to pass through the country that God gave to the Jews. He hated the real God. He also hated those who gave honour to the real God.
The man seemed to go on telling Daniel about the same king.
But then he talked about things that Antiochus Epiphanes did not do.
It seems that he was telling Daniel about another person.
Let’s talk about that person next week.