Sunday Evening Bible Study

September 17, 1995

Daniel 11:1-35

Introduction

Last week we read of an incredible visit that Daniel had by an angelic visitor.

Daniel had been on a partial fast, when an awesome being appeared.

Though he looked like Jesus in Revelation, we felt that he was probably just a heavy-duty, three-star-general class of angel.

He talked to Daniel about how he had been sent in response to Daniel's prayers, but had been hindered by an angel known as "the prince of Persia".

We will now continue on with the message that the angel is going to give to Daniel, concerning "his people", the Jews.

The angel ended chapter ten with saying,

Daniel 10:21-AV But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and [there is] none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.

:1-4

:1 Also I ...

Keep in mind, it is the angel who is still speaking with Daniel.

:1 in the first year of Darius the Mede

Darius is a person we've already seen in the book of Daniel.

He is the one who took over ruling the city of Babylon after the Medes conquered it.

:1 I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him

This is the whole episode of Daniel being thrown into the lion's den.

It started with:

Daniel 5:30-6:3 AV In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. 31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, [being] about threescore and two years old. 1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; 2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel [was] first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. 3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit [was] in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

We didn't even think twice about this when we first read of it, thinking that Daniel was just simply such a great guy that Darius had to advance at the court.

But what was going on behind the scenes, was that an angel was moving to influence things, and to strengthen Darius.

I imagine that Daniel might be wondering about now, "If this guy was around with Darius, how come I ended up in the lions' den?"

On the other hand, Daniel did admit:

Daniel 6:22-AV My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

Lesson:

When you're walking with God, you're safer than you think.

Now, don't get cocky on me, and go play basketball on the freeway to see if this is true.

But when you're doing the things that God wants you to do, and you're in the places God wants you to be in, there is no safer place in the world.

If God needs to, He'll just send a big old angel to keep the lions' mouths shut.

Illustration:

In one of the German art galleries a painting called "Cloud Lane" hangs at the end of a long dark hall. At first glance it appears to be a huge, ugly mass of confused color that is unattractive and foreboding. But when you look closer, you see portrayed on the canvas an innumerable company of angels.

How tempted we are to run in despair when clouds of trials and temptations come our way. If we would look closely at our situation through the eyes of faith, we would also see God's angels of mercy coming to our aid.

:2 now I will shew thee the truth

Keep in mind, Daniel has received this revelation in the third year of Cyrus the Persian (10:1), which is 536 b.c.

Daniel is in his late eighties.

The minute detail with which Daniel presents us with, though in actuality testifying to the accuracy and reliability of the Bible, have also brought great criticism, causing some "scholars" to even claim that the book wasn't written until 165 BC.

Porphyry (third century AD), after studying vs.1-35 with history, came to the conclusion that no one could possibly have made a prophecy this detailed. He decided it must have been written in 165 BC. Jerome, the church scholar then wrote a commentary on Daniel, defending it as legitimate prophecy.

Either this is a dishonest attempt at portraying history, or this is indeed the most incredibly detailed prophecy ever given.

:2 yet three kings in Persia

These are kings after Darius (550-530 BC):

Cambyses - 529-522 BC

Pseudo-Smerdis - 522-521 BC

Darius I Hystaspes - 521-486 BC (Ezra 5,6)

:2 the fourth shall be far richer ... against ... Grecia

Xerxes I - 486-465 BC (Ezra 4:6)

Xerxes used his great riches and gathered an army of hundreds of thousands.

In 480 BC, he attacked Greece and had a tremendous loss.

Xerxes could be the Ahasuerus of the book of Esther. The disaster in Greece would have taken place between chapter one, when the king got mad at his rebellious wife Vashti, and chapter 2, when he began to look for a replacement.

:3 a mighty king shall stand up

This is Alexander the Great.

In conquering the world, he also conquered Persia.

Historians tell us that he did it to repay Xerxes for attacking Greece.

Alexander died at the age of 32 in 323 BC.

His two sons, Hercules and Young Alexander, were both murdered, leaving the empire to be divided among his four generals.

:4 divided toward the four winds of heaven

Cassander ruled Macedonia and Greece

Lysimacus ruled Thrace, Bithynia, and Asia Minor

Seleucus took Syria and lands east

Ptolemy ruled Egypt, Palestine, Arabia

Keep in mind, this is being prophesied two hundred years before it happens!

:5-35

:5-9 Ptolemies and Seleucids

Warning: It can get kind of confusing in here.

There are lots of similar names, ie Antiochus, Antiochus II, Ptolemy, Ptolemy II, etc.

:5 the king of the South shall be strong

Here, the South is Egypt, the North is Syria.

Also, the "king of the South" or "North" will not stay consistent, in that this prophecy will cover from here to vs.35 about 150 years, with several generations of kings on both sides.

Here, the king of the South is Ptolemy I Soter (323-285 BC) who ruled Egypt.

When Alexander died, he was appointed as a "governor" or "satrap" of Egypt.

In 304 BC he made himself king.

:5 princes; and he shall be strong above him

In 321 BC, a lesser general named Seleucus Nicator (312-281 BC) was appointed satrap over Babylonia.

He was then overthrown by another general, Antigonus, and he fled to Ptolemy in Egypt, under whom he served (one of his princes).

Together, they defeated Antigonus at Gaza in 312 BC and Seleucus took over Babylonia again.

He grew in power, adding Media and Syria, becoming the largest division of Alexander's empire. He proclaimed himself king the same year as Ptolemy, 304 BC.

:6 join themselves together ...

The king of the South, Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BC) had a daughter Bernice.

For the sake of alliance, Bernice was to wed Antiochus II Theos (261-246 BC), but only after he divorced his other wife (Laodiceia).

:6 she shall not retain the power

Things didn't work out too well. In a few years, papa Ptolemy died and Antiochus II took back his first wife, Laodice.

:6 neither shall he stand ... she shall be given up

Laodice wasn't too happy about what had happened.

She had Bernice killed, as well as her children.

Then she turned around and poisoned her husband, Antiochus II, and had her son (Seleucus II Callinicus) made king (246-227 b.c.)

:6 he that begat her

Ptolemy II - who died

:6 he that strengthened her

He who supported her - Antiochus II

:7-8 out of the branch of her roots ...

The "her" is Bernice.

signifies the same lineage as Bernice.

This is Ptolemy III Euergetes who succeeded in prevailing militarily against the king of the North, Seleucus Callinicus (247-226 BC)

Jerome:

He came up with a great army and advanced into the province of the king of the North, that is Seleucus Callinicus, who together with his mother Laodice was ruling in Syria, and abused them, and not only did he seize Syria, but also took Cilicia and the remoter regions beyond the Euphrates and nearly all of Asia as well. And them, when he heard that a rebellion was afoot in Egypt, he ravaged the kingdom of Seleucus and carried off as booty forty thousand talents of silver, and also precious vessels and images of the gods to the amount of two and a half thousand. Among them were the same images which Cambyses had brought to Persia at the time when he conquered Egypt. The Egyptian people were indeed devoted to idolatry, for when he had brought back their gods to them after so many years, they called him Euergetes (Benefactor). And he himself retained possession of Syria, but he handed over Cilicia to his friend, Antiochus, that he might govern it, and the provinces beyond the Euphrates he handed over to Xanthippus, another general.

:9 So the king of the south ...

Better translated: "Then he (the king of the north) will come into the kingdom of the king of the south ..."

Several years later, Seleucus Callinicus mounted a return attack on Egypt in 240 BC, but was defeated and forced to return to his own land.

:10-19 Antiochus III the Great

:10 his sons shall be stirred up

Seleucus Callinicus was unsuccessful, but his sons weren't.

Seleucus III (226-223 BC) died early in a battle in Asia Minor.

Antiochus III the Great (223-187) did much (vs.10 - "one of them")

:10 one shall certainly come

Antiochus III the Great (223-187 BC)

He mounted several campaigns against Egypt and was able to restore to Syria land as far south as Gaza.

:11 the king of the south shall be moved with choler

NASB: the king of the South will become enraged

This is Ptolemy IV Philopator (221-204 b.c.)

The northern, Syrian armies got so close that the Egyptian ruler Ptolemy Philopater (221-203) became mad.

:11 he shall set forth a great multitude

He raised a huge army and they fought at the Palestinian border at Raphia in 217 BC. The army was led by Ptolemy and his sister-wife Arsinoe.

Ptolemy's army had 70,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry, and 73 elephants.

Antiochus had 62,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry, and 102 elephants.

:11 the multitude shall be given into his hand

The Syrians lost nearly their entire army and Antiochus was almost captured as he fled into the desert.

Antiochus lost 10,000 infantry, 300 cavalry, 5 elephants, and had 4,000 taken prisoner.

:12 he shall cast down many ten thousands ... not be strengthened

Though the Egyptians won a great victory, Antiochus did escape, and the Egyptians were too lazy to pursue the Syrians, so they didn't completely win and a peace had to be arranged.

:13 king of the north ... a multitude greater

Meanwhile, Antiochus turns to conquering the east, and being successful, he gathers wealth and power. From 212 to 204, he advances as far east as India, as north as the Caspian Sea.

In 201 BC, Antiochus had raised another huge army, and begins to attack Egypt again, as detailed in vs.13-16.

:14 many stand up against the king of the south

Philip V of Macedonia made a compact with Antiochus to divide Egyptian possessions overseas. Philip seized several Aegean islands and places in Caria and Thrace.

In Egypt, Agathocles tried to start a rebellion against Ptolemy.

:14 the robbers (or, the violent ones) of thy people

Who is "thy people" for Daniel? It's the Jews.

There were Jews who formed an alliance with Antiochus III against Egypt.

:14 to establish the vision; but they shall fall

Perhaps they hoped to gain independance from both the Egyptians and the Syrians by joining in the battle.

It didn't work.

:15 cast up a mount

NASB: siege mound

Rome's power was on the rise, and encouraged by this, Egypt fought back against Syria.

But the Egyptian armies, led by Scopas, were defeated at Paneas (near the headwaters of the Jordan) and then forced to surrender at Sidon (199-198 BC), the well-fortified city.

:15 south shall not withstand

Three Egyptian leaders, Eropas, Menacles, and Damoyenus tried to rescue Scopas at Sidon, but were unable to.

:16 he that cometh against

Namely, Antiochus III against Egypt.

:16 stand in the glorious land

Antiochus would establish his control over Palestine.

Antiochus was able to occupy much of Palestine.

:16 which by his hand shall be consumed

He would bring much destruction in Israel.

:17 he shall give him the daughter of women

Under pressure from Rome, Antiochus tried to make a diplomatic treaty with Egypt by giving his young daughter to the young seven year old king Ptolemy V Epiphanes for marriage in 192 BC.

:17 corrupting her ... she shall not stand

To corrupt Egypt (the her).

His plan was to have his daughter side with him against Ptolemy, yet it backfired because she constantly sided with her husband.

Who was this gal?

Cleopatra.

But apparently this isn't the same one in the movie.

:18 turn his face unto the isles

Or, coastlands.

He then turns to face Asia Minor in 197 b.c., and Greece itself in 192 b.c.

:18 a prince for his own ...

At a meeting with the Roman ambassador named Scipio in Lysimachia, Antiochus spoke bad of him, saying that he did not have to listen to anything they had to say.

When attempting to conquer Greece, he failed miserably.

A Roman general was dispatched, since he was now coming against the Roman empire.

Antiochus was defeated at Thermoplylae north of Athens in 191 BC and at Magnesia on the Maeander River southeast of Ephesus in 189 BC by General Lucius Scipio Asiaticus (also known as Cornelius Scipio).

:19 toward the fort of his own land

He left Greece to go back and do more plundering around home.

:19 stumble and fall ...

He died while trying to plunder a temple in Elam.

:20 a raiser of taxes ... shall be destroyed

Antiochus III had a son, named Seleucus IV Philopater (187-175 BC) .

He was forced to pay tribute to the Romans of 100,000 talents annually.

In order to raise this money, he heavily taxed the people.

He sent a man named Heliodorus to collect from the Jews.

Heliodorus plundered the temple, and soon after he was sent to do so, Seleucus Philopator was suddenly and mysteriously removed, possibly by poison from Heliodorus.

Q. Come to think of it...why has God given this revelation to Daniel?

When these two kingdoms fight, where are all their battles?

They always seem to end up doing most of their fighting in Israel, caught in the middle.

"North" and "South" are relative to Israel.

Lesson:

You are in the middle of God's plans

This may look like nothing but a history lesson tonight.

But it's eventually going to get very intimate and personal with God's people.

God is showing them that He is in control, and that He knows what's going on.

It's all going to eventually wind up with Jesus coming back, and the establishment of His kingdom.

God has purposes to His plans

You may not see what's happening yet, but hang on, wait until the end of the story.

Illustration:

Joseph was in jail - but the story wasn't over.

My computers keep breaking down - but the story isn't over.

:21-35 Antiochus IV Epiphanes

:21 a vile person

NASB: a despicable person

This is Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

He was, historically, a rather insignificant Syrian ruler.

But he prophetically plays an important role in Scripture due to his treatment of God's chosen people, the Jews.

He will also become a rather compelling picture of another future ruler, the antichrist.

They have more than a few similarities.

It's even possible that some of these verses may contain a double-prophecy, one in which there is a partial fulfillment with Antiochus Epiphanes, and another fulfillment with the antichrist.

When Seleucus IV died, there were several possible candidates for the throne:

Demetrius, the eldest son of Seleucus, was being held prisoner in Rome.

Antiochus, an infant son of Seleucus, was in Syria.

Antiochus IV, a brother to Seleucus, was in Athens.

When Antiochus IV heard of his brother's death, he posed as the guardian of young Antiochus and through various intrigues, secured the throne.

Meanwhile, young Antiochus was murdered by Andronicus, who was then put to death by Antiochus IV, who probably hatched the whole plot.

Hence, he was not rightfully the king.

Antiochus called himself "Epiphanes", which means "glorious", while God calls him "despicable".

:22 the arms of a flood

NASB: "the overflowing forces"

[email protected]` - arm, forearm, shoulder, strength; forces (political and military)

sheteph - flood, downpour

Antiochus mounted several military campaigns, at which he was successful.

Note:

This concept of a flood is picked up somewhere else in Scripture:

Revelation 12:15-AV And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

This is when the devil is cast down to the earth, and is trying to destroy the nation of Israel, which has fled to the wilderness for protection.

Perhaps this flood is also an army?

:22 the prince of the covenant

Refers to the high priest, who at that time was the head of the Jews at that time.

In 172 BC, Antiochus ordered the murder of the high priest Onias III, and put his brother Menelaus there instead.

:23 league ... deceitfully ... become strong with a small people

One of Antiochus' main traits was deception.

There was a struggle for power in Egypt at this time between two of Antiochus' nephews (Cleopatra's sons), Ptolemy Philometor and Ptolemy Euergetes.

Antiochus sided with Ptolemy Philometor, but for his own gain.

He ended up warring against him.

:24 scatter among them the prey (spoil)

He used his money to buy people off rather than horde it for himself.

:25-26 against the king of the South

In 170 BC Antiochus came against Egypt to exert authority over his nephew.

He brought a great army, and was met with a great army.

At Pelusium, just north of the Nile delta, Ptolemy finally stopped Antiochus, but at the same time was defeated.

:27-28 evil...lies...at the same table

When Ptolemy Philometor lost to Antiochus, he was taken captive by his uncle.

The foes sat down at a table to discuss peace, but were lying to each other through their teeth.

The people of Alexandria made his brother Ptolemy VII Euergetes, king.

Antiochus began treating his captive nephew nice and made plans to capture Egypt with his help.

When Antiochus came back again, he captured Memphis and set up Ptolemy Philometor as king there, but was never able to capture Alexandria.

Meanwhile, Philometor and his brother started making plans together.

:28 his heart shall be against the holy covenant

Against the people of Israel.

He won't like them very much.

:29 at the time appointed

Such a godless man, yet God had a timetable for even him.

In 168 BC he invaded Egypt again but was met by the Roman consul, Gaius Popillius Laenas.

Gaius demanded that he leave or be attacked by Rome.

Supposedly Gaius drew a circle around Antiochus and told him he had to decide what to do before stepping out of the circle.

Antiochus left.

:30 the ships of Chittim

Literally, the ships of Cyprus. Cyprus is west of Syria, and is symbolic of Rome.

The Roman fleet of Laenas sailed to Egypt.

:30 indignation against the holy covenant

Antiochus was extremely mad that he had marched all the way to Egypt and left with nothing, so he took it out on the Jews.

In his atrocities, Antiochus killed tens of thousands of Jews.

Torture.

:30 have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant

NASB: "show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant"

He gets in tight with people who don't like God.

:31 arms shall stand on his part

His armies shall get to action.

:31 pollute the sanctuary of strength ... abomination that maketh desolate

Antiochus offered a sow upon the altar in the temple and forbade the continuance of the daily sacrifices.

He also gave orders to stop worshipping God and set up an idol, probably Zeus, in the temple.

This gives us a picture of what the antichrist will be doing when he commits his own desolation.

Jesus said:

Matthew 24:15-16 AV When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Keep in mind, Jesus wasn't talking about Antiochus, because Antiochus Epiphanes already had done his thing 165 years earlier.

Jesus was looking forward to yet another desolation. It will be similar to that of Antiochus.

Jesus was referring to the abomination of:

Daniel 9:27-AV And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Paul writes:

2Thessalonians 2:3-4 AV Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Antiochus for us is a picture of what the antichrist will be like.

:32-33 the people that do know their God ...

There were Jews who refused to give in to Antiochus' atrocities.

Among them, Mattathias Maccabeus, father of five sons, refused to offer sacrifice in the Grecian way; but instead he slew the king's representative, who would have compelled him.

Then he and his sons, with others who chose to join them, fled to the mountains and began the famed Maccabean revolt.

Many of them died, but the revolt lasted some time.

:34 holpen ... cleave to them with flatteries ...

Daniel 11:34-NAS "Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy.

Even with the Maccabean rebellion, there were people in the group of rebels that weren't there for the right reasons.

:35 shall fall, to try them ...

It a historic truth that when people are persecuted, they become purified. All the junk gets cleaned out.

Illustration

There's a story of the church meeting underground in Russia, during the communist days. A group of soldiers burst in the door, waving their weapons.

They commanded all those who didn't believe to get out, and the rest would be killed.

Some left, but some stayed.

After those that were leaving were gone, the soldiers let down their weapons and said, "Praise the Lord brothers!" "We too are Christians." "It is dangerous for soldiers to be Christians, and we had to be sure that when we fellowshipped, we were with true believers!"

The guns came out - the junky Christians left.

The early church in Acts

The early church under Roman persecution

The church in communist countries

Lesson:

Tough Times purify us.

It's hard not to get discouraged, but going through the fire makes us purer people.

1Peter 1:6-7 AV Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: