Daniel 11:1-20; Israel in the Midst of Nations ~ 20221106 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
11/06_Daniel 11:1-20; Israel in the Midst of Nations; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20221106_dan11_1-20.mp3
Turn with me to Daniel 11. Daniel 10, 11 and 12 are Daniel’s record of the introduction, contents, and conclusion of his final vision. Daniel 10 gives us a glimpse into the unseen realm of angel forces battling behind the scenes of earthly conflict. The heavenly messenger tells Daniel that he was sent at the beginning of the time Daniel set his face to understand and humble himself before his God, but he was opposed for 21 days by the prince of Persia. This messenger received help from the archangel Michael, the prince of the people of Israel. He was sent to ‘make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days’ (10:14). After his delivery of the revelation, this messenger will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and then the prince of Greece will come.
Chapter 11 verse 1 continues the thought of the end of chapter 10; ‘as for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen him’. This revelation, according to 10:1 is taking place in the third year of Cyrus the Persian (another name for Darius the Mede). The messenger looks back to the first year of Darius, when he stood up to confirm and strengthen him.
Chapter 5 tells of the wicked Belshazzar’s feast on the night Babylon fell. That night, after the Medo-Persian army re-routed the flow of the Euphrates river, they marched in through the riverbed under the walls to take the city without a fight.
In his first year, Cyrus issued the monumental decree allowing the Jews to return to their land and rebuild their temple, ending their Babylonian captivity of 70 years and reversing the captivity effected by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
But more was going on than anyone realized, even more than the handwriting on the wall. The heavenly warrior with golden belt and eyes of fire came to the aid of Michael as he battled in the unseen realm. There will be more conflict with the prince of Persia, then the prince of Greece will come. This thread is picked up in chapter 12, when, at that time, Michael your prince shall arise.
Four Coming Kings of Persia
Daniel 11:2 “And now I will show you the truth. Behold, three more kings shall arise in Persia, and a fourth shall be far richer than all of them. And when he has become strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece.
Daniel was receiving this revelation in the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, around 536 BC. Three more Persian kings will arise; Cambyses 530-522 BC; Pseudo-Smerdis, a usurper who reigned only a short time; and Darius I (Hystaspes) 522-486 BC. And a strong and wealthy fourth king will come, Xerxes I (486-465 BC), who we know from the Biblical record by the name of Ahasuerus, who married Esther. Xerxes or Ahasuerus led a major expedition (probably between Esther chapters 1 and 2) against Greece in 480 BC.
Alexander the Great [336-323 BC]
Althought the invasion was not successful, it stirred up the rage of Greece, and the prophecy skips forward over 130 years and 8 remaining Persian kings, down to a Greek leader who took revenge on the Persians.
Daniel 11:3 Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and do as he wills. 4 And as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to the authority with which he ruled, for his kingdom shall be plucked up and go to others besides these.
This was the leopard with four wings and four heads from chapter 7, the male goat from chapter 8 who struck the ram with powerful wrath and trampled him. This is Alexander the Great, who swept down from Macedon and conquered the known world, including the Persian empire, with lightning speed. But he died at age 33 in Babylon, and his newly conquered empire was divided up over the coming years primarily between four of his generals, because his half brother and both of his sons were assasinated.
The focus of Daniel 11 is on only two of these, those to the north and the south of Israel, because the message of Daniel 11 is about ‘what is to happen to your people in the latter days’ (10:14). Many other battles and events took place, but these were highlighted because they revolved around God’s people.
Kings of the South and the North; Ptolemy and Seleucus
Ptolemy was given Egypt in the south, and Seleucus became satrap of Babylonia in 321 BC. Antigonus ruled much of Turkey and Syria; he expanded into Asia and attacked Babylonia in 316; Seleucus fled to Egypt and became one of Ptolemy’s generals. Ptolemy and Seleucus together defeated Antigonus at Gaza in 312, and Seleucus regained control of Babylon and gradually won control of all of Antigonus’ territory.
Daniel 11:5 “Then the king of the south shall be strong, but one of his princes shall be stronger than he and shall rule, and his authority shall be a great authority.
The south is specified in verse 8 as Egypt, which lay south of Israel, and the king of the South in this passage would be the current king of the Ptolemaic dynasty. The king of the North would be the king north of Israel, the Seleucid dynasty and whoever was currently ruling in Syria.
Ptolemy II, Antiochus II, Laodice and Bernice [250-246]
Tensions grew between the Ptolemy and Seleucus, as Seleucus’ empire quickly outgrew Ptolemy’s. Ptolemy was succeeded by Ptolemy II Philadelphus, and Seleucus by Antiochus I and then Antiochus II Theos. Around 250 BC, Ptolemy II attempted to unite their kingdoms through a marriage alliance, sending his daughter Bernice to marry Antiochus II. Antiochus divorced his current wife Laodice and disinherited his two sons Seleucus and Antiochus. About 2 years later, Bernice’s father Ptolemy II died, and Antiochus went back to Laodice, who then had him and the rival wife and her son killed, establishing her own son Seleucus II as king.
Daniel 11:6 After some years they shall make an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement. But she shall not retain the strength of her arm, and he and his arm shall not endure, but she shall be given up, and her attendants, he who fathered her, and he who supported her in those times.
Ptolemy III and Seleucus II [246-241]
Bernice’s brother Ptolemy III Euergetes ruled in place of his father in Egypt. In response to the murder of his sister and nephew, he invaded the Seleucid empire, gained control of much of Syria, and had Laodice killed. He returned to Egypt to deal with an uprising, but carried off much plunder, gold, silver, and images of the gods of the land, and left Seleucus II to rule in Syria.
Daniel 11:7 “And from a branch from her roots one shall arise in his place. He shall come against the army and enter the fortress of the king of the north, and he shall deal with them and shall prevail. 8 He shall also carry off to Egypt their gods with their metal images and their precious vessels of silver and gold, and for some years he shall refrain from attacking the king of the north.
In 242 BC, Seleucus II attempted to retaliate by mounting an attack on Egypt, but was forced to retreat in defeat.
Daniel 11:9 Then the latter shall come into the realm of the king of the south but shall return to his own land.
Seleucus III, Antiochus III and Ptolemy IV [226-203]
Seleucus II was succeeded by Seleucus III, who was killed during miltary operations in Turkey. His brother Antiochus III Magnus regained Seleucia, and took much of the holy land in 219 BC.
Daniel 11:10 “His sons shall wage war and assemble a multitude of great forces, which shall keep coming and overflow and pass through, and again shall carry the war as far as his fortress.
Two years later, Ptolemy IV Philopater sent a large army, defeated Antiochus in the battle of Raphia and reclaimed Israel. Antiochus lost over 14,000 men in that conflict. But rather than press his advantage, Ptolemy returned to Egypt, content with his victory, which turned many of his own people against him.
Daniel 11:11 Then the king of the south, moved with rage, shall come out and fight against the king of the north. And he shall raise a great multitude, but it shall be given into his hand. 12 And when the multitude is taken away, his heart shall be exalted, and he shall cast down tens of thousands, but he shall not prevail.
Antiochus III and Ptoelmy V [202-195]
Antiochus III Magnus pushed to regain much of the old Seleucid empire; he raised an even larger army, made an alliance with Philip V of Macedon, and invaded Egypt.
Daniel 11:13 For the king of the north shall again raise a multitude, greater than the first. And after some years he shall come on with a great army and abundant supplies.
Even within the Jewish community, some sought to advance what they believed was God’s agenda through political maneuvering and military might.
Daniel 11:14 “In those times many shall rise against the king of the south, and the violent among your own people shall lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they shall fail.
In 199 Antiochus defeated Egyptian general Scopus at Paneas (Caesarea Philippi) pursued him to Sidon, laid siege and forced him to surrender.
Daniel 11:15 Then the king of the north shall come and throw up siegeworks and take a well-fortified city. And the forces of the south shall not stand, or even his best troops, for there shall be no strength to stand.
Israel and much of the Mediterranean coast even into Asia Minor were now firmly under control of Antiochus and the Seleucid dynasty. But he feared Roman intervention in a direct attack on Egypt, so he pursued a more subtle avenue of control; he made an alliance with Egypt in 197, giving his daughter Cleopatra in marriage to the young Ptolemy V. He hoped she would be a tool he could use against them, but Cleopatra’s allegiance was to her husband, not to her father, and she encouraged an Egyptian alliance with Rome that frustrated the plans of Antiochus.
Daniel 11:16 But he who comes against him shall do as he wills, and none shall stand before him. And he shall stand in the glorious land, with destruction in his hand. 17 He shall set his face to come with the strength of his whole kingdom, and he shall bring terms of an agreement and perform them. He shall give him the daughter of women to destroy the kingdom, but it shall not stand or be to his advantage.
Antiochus III and Lucius Cornelius Scipio [196-187]
Antiochus instead turned his attention to the coastlands of Asia Minor, invading Macedon, Thrace and Greece. But he was defeated by the Romans at Thermopylae and again near Smyrna. His son Mithridates (known as Antiochus IV, who is the main character of verses 21-35) was taken to Rome as hostage. Antiochus III retured to Syria, force to pay tribute to Rome, and was assasinated in 187 BC.
Daniel 11:18 Afterward he shall turn his face to the coastlands and shall capture many of them, but a commander shall put an end to his insolence. Indeed, he shall turn his insolence back upon him. 19 Then he shall turn his face back toward the fortresses of his own land, but he shall stumble and fall, and shall not be found.
Seleucus IV [187-175] and Rome
Seleucus IV Philopator inherited from his father the unwelcome task of paying tribute to Rome, and he had to send his young son Demetrius, heir to his throne, as hostage to Rome in place of his brother Antiochus. Seleucus sent his minister Heliodorus to plunder the temple in Jerusalem to gather funds to pay Rome, but according to 2 Maccabees 3 Heliodorus saw a vision that barred him from entering the temple.
Seleucus was assasinated in a plot by his treasurer Heliodorus in 176 BC.
Daniel 11:20 “Then shall arise in his place one who shall send an exactor of tribute for the glory of the kingdom. But within a few days he shall be broken, neither in anger nor in battle.
God Tells the Future Before it Happens
We are only halfway thru this prophecy, but the precision of its details is so accurate that modern day Sadducees who deny the supernatural, deny the miraculous, disbelieve the possibility of God revealing the future before it happens, assume that this must have been written after the events it describes. They assume it must be prophecy written after the fact, written somewhere between 168 and 164 BC, looking back on events and written under a false name to gain credibility,
The problem with dating Daniel to the middle of the second century, aside from the ethical problem of someone lying about what they wrote (which is a huge problem for something to be considered Scritpture), is that the Dead Sea Scrolls contain no less than eight scrolls representing Daniel, which were recognized as Scripture by that community and quoted as Scripture.
Of those scrolls, one dates to around AD 60, one to 60 BC, one to the late 2nd century BC. If Daniel was written in the middle of the second century, that would leave only about 50 years between its writing, and its distribution and recognition as authoritative Scripture by people who likely would have known where it really came from and who really wrote it. This theory of Daniel being written after the fact as if it were prophecy has been decisively overturned by the evidence.
It is easier to believe in a God who knows the future, a God who can tell the future before it happens; a God who says:
Isaiah 46:8 “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, 9 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 not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
John 13:19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.
Jesus himself referred to these chapters of Daniel and said it was ‘spoken of by the prophet Daniel’ (Mt.24:15).
2022.11.06 Sermon Notes
Daniel 11:1-20; Israel in the Midst of Nations
Context of spiritual warfare behind the scenes
Daniel 10:5-11:1; 12:1, 5-13
Kings of Persia
Cyrus [Darius the Mede] 560-530
Darius I (Hystaspes) 522-486
Xerxes I (Ahasuerus) 486-465
King of Greece; Alexander the Great [336-323]
Daniel 7:6; 8:5-8, 21-22; 10:2
Divisions of Greek empire centered on Jerusalem
Ptolemys and Seleucids
11:5 Ptolemy I and Seleucus I [312-280]
11:6 Ptolemy II and Antiochus II; Bernice and Laodice [250-246]
11:7-9 Ptolemy III and Seleucus II [246-241]
11:10-12 Ptolemy IV and Seleucus III, Antiochus III [226-203]
11:13-17 Ptolemy V and Antiochus III; Cleopatra [202-195]
11:18-19 Antiochus III and Rome [196-187]
11:20 Seleucus IV and Rome [187-175]
Declaring the end from the beginning
Isaiah 46:18-10; John 13:19; Matthew 24:15
Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org