Daniel 10:1-11:35

Thursday Evening Bible Study

January 26, 2006

Daniel 10

:1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision.

This vision takes place a couple of years after the one in chapter 9.  It is 536 BC.

:2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks.

Something has bummed Daniel out.  One suggestion is that it might have something to do with the Jews who have begun to emigrate back to Jerusalem and the troubles they were having.

:3 I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.



Daniel is fasting.  Fasting doesn’t always mean to not eat at all.  Sometimes it just means to abstain from some things, like choosing to not eat “In-n-out” burgers for a week.  That is, if you like In-n-out burgers.

What’s the big deal with fasting?

Fasting is a way of learning to deny the flesh and its control over us.
It’s learning to die to our self that we may be more alive to Jesus.
It’s less of me, and more of Jesus.
It’s learning to sow to the Spirit, and not to the flesh. (Gal.6:7,8)
It is often connected with prayer.

Andrew Murray:

“Prayer is the one hand with which we grasp the invisible.  Fasting is the other hand, the one with which we let go of the visible.”
“Fasting helps to express, to deepen, and to confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain the Kingdom of God.”

Daniel has been fasting with this partial fast for three weeks, or, 21 days.

:4 Now on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, that is, the Tigris,

:5 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz!

:6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.

The description of this person sounds very similar to the description of Jesus given in Revelation 1, but it most likely is an angel.

:7 And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.

:8 Therefore I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength.

:9 Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.

It sounds like Daniel has fainted.

:10 Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands.

:11 And he said to me, "O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you." While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.

The angel helps Daniel to stand upright.

:12 Then he said to me, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.

It seems that Daniel has had some sort of vision that he wanted understanding about.  The actual answer to his prayers will be in chapters 11-12, but for now he gets to talk to the messenger who delivers the answer.

Note:  God hears your prayers the moment you pray.

We think of modern phone calls and email and wonder what the big deal is.  But think of Daniel’s day when letters were sent by messenger and it might be weeks or months before you get a reply from a distant place.

:13 "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.

Something delayed this messenger with God’s reply to Daniel’s prayer.

prince of Persia – this most likely is an angelic being, probably demonic, who is running things in Persia.

We saw in Ezekiel 28 how Satan was behind the king of Tyre.  Now this “prince of Persia” has been fighting this angel and keeping him from delivering the message to Daniel.

Michael – this is the angelic being we refer to as “Michael the Archangel”.  He is the chief angel and the one responsible for the protection of the nation of Israel.  There will be a day in the future when Michael and his angels will wage war against Satan and kick Satan out of heaven (Rev. 12).


Spiritual warfare and prayer

It seems that we are getting a look into the invisible world around us, a world that influences the physical world that we are familiar with.
(Eph 6:12 NKJV)  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Sometimes when God doesn’t answer our prayers right away, we wonder why?
Sometimes God is simply saying “no”. Sometimes God is saying, “wait”.
But I wonder if we’ve ever considered the possibility that there is some sort of spiritual warfare interfering with the answer to this prayer.
I wonder if Daniel’s prayers had any effect on the battle.

:14 "Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come." \

The things Daniel is going to hear about are for the future.  They will be things that will happen over the next couple of hundred years, but they will also be things that are still in our future.

:15 When he had spoken such words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless.

:16 And suddenly, one having the likeness of the sons of men touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke, saying to him who stood before me, "My lord, because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength.

:17 "For how can this servant of my lord talk with you, my lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me."

:18 Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me.

:19 And he said, "O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!" So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, "Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me."

:20 Then he said, "Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come.

In Daniel’s day, the Persians had recently conquered the Babylonians.  After a few centuries, Alexander the Great would conquer the Persians.

:21 "But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince.

This angel is talking about who will help him in protecting the Jews.


Keep praying

Daniel had been asking God for help for 21 days.  And he kept it up until he received an answer.
He didn’t know it at the time, but his answer was being held up because of spiritual warfare.
I wonder if sometimes we don’t quit a bit too soon in our prayers.  Jesus said,
(Luke 11:9-10 NKJV)  "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. {10} "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Daniel 11:1-35

:1-9  North vs. South

:1 "Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him.)

The angel that had been speaking to Daniel in chapter 10 continues.  He had been helping Darius.

The angel goes on to give Daniel one of the most fascinating looks into the future that have ever been recorded.

This chapter is so detailed and lays out so any future events, that it was one of the main reasons why the critics didn’t like the book of Daniel.  Many said that the book wasn’t written by Daniel but by some person living much later. They said that instead of being written in 536 BC, it wasn’t written until 165 BC, after all these events took place.

But time has been proving the critics wrong.  One by one, archaeology has shown that this book was indeed written at the time of Daniel, and these prophecies become even more amazing.

:2 "And now I will tell you the truth: Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece.

Three more kings: Cambyses: 529-522 BC, Pseudo-Smerdis: 522-521 BC, Darius I Hystaspes: 521-486 BC (Ezra 5,6)

The fourth king: 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.

:3 "Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.

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 "And when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not among his posterity nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others besides these.

Alexander’s empire was divided among his four top generals:

Cassander ruled Macedonia and Greece

Lysimacus ruled Thrace, Bithynia, and Asia Minor

Seleucus took Syria and lands east.  His descendants will be called the “Seleucids” and have names like “Seleucus” or “Antiochus”.  These are going to be the guys in the “north”.

Ptolemy ruled Egypt, Palestine, Arabia.  His descendants are going to be known as the Ptolemies and are often named “Ptolemy”.  These are going to be the guys in the “south”.

Daniel is speaking of these things 200 years before they happen.

:5 "Also the king of the South shall become strong, as well as one of his princes; and he shall gain power over him and have dominion. His dominion shall be a great dominion.

king of the South – here it is referring to Ptolemy I Soter (323-285 BC) who ruled Egypt.  When Alexander died, he was appointed as a "governor" or "satrap" of Egypt, but in 304 BC he declared himself to be a king.

one of his princes – one of Alexander’s generals, Seleucus, had been booted by a guy named Antigonus out of his position as satrap over Babylon.  With Ptolemy’s help (he was “one of his princes”), he retook Babylon and added territory that included Syria, becoming the largest division of Alexander’s former empire.  Seleucus proclaimed himself to be a “king” the same year as Ptoloemy, 304 BC.

:6 "And at the end of some years they shall join forces, for the daughter of the king of the South shall go to the king of the North to make an agreement;

:6 but she shall not retain the power of her authority, and neither he nor his authority shall stand; but she shall be given up, with those who brought her, and with him who begot her, and with him who strengthened her in those times.

The king of the South, Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BC) had a daughter named Bernice.  To make an alliance between Egypt and Syria, Bernice was to marry Antiochus II Theos (261-246 BC), but only after he divorced his other wife (Laodice).

Things didn't work out too well.  In a few years, papa Ptolemy died and Antiochus II took back his first wife, Laodice. Laodice wasn't too happy about what had happened so 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 BC)

:7 "But from a branch of her roots one shall arise in his place, who shall come with an army, enter the fortress of the king of the North, and deal with them and prevail.

A relative of Bernice, Ptolemy III, would take over Egypt, raise up an army, and march against the king of the north, Seleucus II.

:8 "And he shall also carry their gods captive to Egypt, with their princes and their precious articles of silver and gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the North.

Ptolemy III brought a lot of wealth back to Egypt because of this campaign and was nicknamed “Euergetes” (Benefactor).

:9 "Also the king of the North shall come to the kingdom of the king of the South, but shall return to his own land.

Several years later, Seleucus II 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 "However his sons shall stir up strife, and assemble a multitude of great forces; and one shall certainly come and overwhelm and pass through; then he shall return to his fortress and stir up strife.

Seleucus II wasn’t so successful, but his sons did better.

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

Antiochus III the Great (223-187) mounted several campaigns against Egypt and was able to restore to Syria land as far south as Gaza.

:11 "And the king of the South shall be moved with rage, and go out and fight with him, with the king of the North, who shall muster a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into the hand of his enemy.

The king of the South is now Ptolemy IV Philopator (221-204 BC).  He was outraged at how close the Syrian armies got to Egypt. He raised a huge army and they fought at the Palestinian border at Raphia in 217 BC.  Ptolemy's army had 70,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry, and 73 elephants. Antiochus had 62,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry, and 102 elephants.  But Antiochus would lose this battle, along with 10,000 infantry, 300 cavalry, 5 elephants, and 4,000 men taken prisoner.

:12 "When he has taken away the multitude, his heart will be lifted up; and he will cast down tens of thousands, but he will not prevail.

Ptolemy IV was pretty puffed up over his victory, but he didn’t capture Antiochus, so his victory wasn’t complete.

:13 "For the king of the North will return and muster a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come at the end of some years with a great army and much equipment.

As Antiochus escaped, he moved eastward and conquered as far as India.  In the process, he gained much wealth and built another huge army.  He got ready to attack Egypt again.

:14 "Now in those times many shall rise up against the king of the South. Also, violent men of your people shall exalt themselves in fulfillment of the vision, but they shall fall.

About this time, 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.

There were a group of Jews who allied themselves with Antiochus against Egypt, perhaps hoping to win independence, but their plans didn’t work.

:15 "So the king of the North shall come and build a siege mound, and take a fortified city; and the forces of the South shall not withstand him. Even his choice troops shall have no strength to resist.

At this time, Rome was beginning to conquer the world, and this spurred the Egyptians to take on 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).  Three Egyptian leaders, Eropas, Menacles, and Damoyenus tried to rescue Scopas at Sidon, but were unable to.

:16 "But he who comes against him shall do according to his own will, and no one shall stand against him. He shall stand in the Glorious Land with destruction in his power.

As Antiochus was defeating the Egyptians, he took control over that area of land that was between Syria and Egypt.  He took over the “Glorious Land”, Israel.  He brought much destruction in the process.

World powers were at war here, and little Israel was caught in the middle.


God cares

To the world, the little territory of “Palestine” was just some land caught in the middle.  But it was a nation that the Lord cared about.
You and I often feel like we’re small and insignificant.  We might feel lost in the huge world around us.  But God sees you and He cares about you.  In fact the whole point of this incredible prophecy is to show that God cares about His people.

:17 "He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do. And he shall give him the daughter of women to destroy it; but she shall not stand with him, or be for him.

Under pressure from Rome, Antiochus tried to make a diplomatic treaty with Egypt by giving his young daughter, Cleopatra (not the one in the movie), to the young seven year old king Ptolemy V Epiphanes for marriage in 192 BC.

Antiochus was hoping that his daughter would help him finally defeat the Egyptians, but the plan backfired because she continually sided with her husband.

:18 "After this he shall turn his face to the coastlands, and shall take many. But a ruler shall bring the reproach against them to an end; and with the reproach removed, he shall turn back on him.

After his battles with Egypt, Antiochus turns to conquer Asia Minor in 197 BC and Greece in 192 BC.  In the process Antiochus ended up offending the Romans, and they sent a general to take on Antiochus.  Antiochus was defeated at Thermopylae north of Athens in 191 BC and at Magnesia (a place famous for their milk J) on the Maeander River southeast of Ephesus in 189 BC by General Lucius Scipio Asiaticus (also known as Cornelius Scipio).

:19 "Then he shall turn his face toward the fortress of his own land; but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.

Antiochus left Greece to plunder closer to home.  He was killed while plundering a temple in Elam, in modern southern Iran.

:20-35 Antiochus Epiphanes

:20 "There shall arise in his place one who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom; but within a few days he shall be destroyed, but not in anger or in battle.

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.  To do this, he raised taxes in his kingdom.  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 IV was suddenly and mysteriously removed, possibly by poison from Heliodorus.

:21 "And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue.

When Seleucus IV died, the transition to the next king didn’t go so well.  Initially the infant son of Seleucus, named Antiochus, was named king.  Seleucus’ brother, Antiochus IV, came from Athens to supposedly act as guardian over the baby Antiochus.  Through a series of events, the baby ended up dead, and Antiochus ended up on the throne.

Antiochus IV gave himself a nickname, “Ephiphanes”, which means “glorious”.  But God called him “vile”, or “despicable”.

Historically, he was a rather small, insignificant Syrian ruler.  But he will play an important role in Scripture due to the way that he treated the Jews.  He will also become a rather compelling picture of another future ruler, the antichrist.

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.

:22 "With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant.

Antiochus mounted several military campaigns, at which he was successful.  In 172 BC, Antiochus ordered the murder of the high priest, Onias III (called the “prince of the covenant”), and set up a fellow named Menelaus as high priest.

flood – This concept of a flood is picked up somewhere else in Scripture.  When the nation of Israel will flee from the antichrist into the wilderness …

(Rev 12:15 NKJV)  So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood.

Perhaps this flood is also an army?

:23 "And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people.

About this time there was a power struggle over who would rule Egypt.  Remember that Antiochus Epiphanes’ father, Antiochus the Great, had sent his daughter Cleopatra to marry the king of Egypt (vs. 17)?  The struggle in Egypt is now between two of Cleopatra’s sons, who are also Antiochus Epiphanes’ nephews.  Antiochus Epiphanes sides with one of his nephews, Ptolemy Philometor, but then turns on the nephew and wars against him.

:24 "He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time.

Antiochus was able to accomplish what he did because he bribed people.  He didn’t keep his wealth to himself, instead he used it to influence people.

:25 "He shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the South with a great army. And the king of the South shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand, for they shall devise plans against him.

:26 "Yes, those who eat of the portion of his delicacies shall destroy him; his army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain.

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 "Both these kings' hearts shall be bent on evil, and they shall speak lies at the same table; but it shall not prosper, for the end will still be at the appointed time.

:28 "While returning to his land with great riches, his heart shall be moved against the holy covenant; so he shall do damage and return to his own land.

This next part sounds like a TV soap opera.  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.  Meanwhile, back in Egypt, the people of Alexandria made the 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.

against the holy covenant – the people of Israel.  Antiochus didn’t like the Jews.

:29 "At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter.

Even Antiochus Epiphanes, as godless as he was, had an “appointed time” set by God.

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.   The story was that 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 "For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage. So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant.

The Roman fleet of Laenas sailed to Egypt to help influence Antiochus. Antiochus was so mad that he had come all the way to Egypt for nothing, that he took out his anger on the Jews.  Tens of thousands of Jews were slaughtered.  In the process, Antiochus gets close to people who don’t like God (“who forsake the holy covenant”).

:31 "And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.

During this time, Antiochus defiles the Temple.  He forbids the regular sacrifices, sets up a statue of Zeus, and sacrifices a pig to Zeus.

This is the “abomination of desolation”.  This gives us a picture of what the antichrist will be doing.

Jesus said,

(Mat 24:15-16 NKJV)  "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), {16} "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
But 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 we mentioned last week in Dan. 9:27.

Paul described the same event:

(2 Th 2:4 NKJV)  who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

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

:32 "Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.

:33 "And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering.

There were Jews who refused to give in to Antiochus.  Mattathias Maccabeus, father of five sons, refused to do what Antiochus said and ended up killing Antiochus’ representative.  Then he and his sons fled into the mountains and began the famed Maccabean revolt.  Many of them died, but the revolt lasted some time.

The celebration of Hanukkah has to do with the eventual victory of the Jews, and the cleansing of the Temple.

:34 "Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue.

Some of the people who joined the Maccabeans weren’t sincere and betrayed them.

:35 "And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.


Purifying through difficult times

It is an historic truth that when people are persecuted, they become purified.  All the junk gets cleaned out.
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
(1 Pet 1:6-7 NKJV)  In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, {7} that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,


God knows

God declares about Himself:
(Isa 46:9-10 NKJV)  Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, {10} Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,'
God knows the future.  He lives there.
The fact that these prophecies are so specific and exact, doesn’t that say something about the nature of this book?  It was written by God.
And if what God has prophesied about the past has come true, what about the things still in our future? Jesus is coming back.