The angel begins detailing the events from Daniel’s time forward. He covers Darius the Mede through Ptolemy III Eurgetes (South) and Seleucus II Callinicus (North) About 536BC – 227BC. An exposition of Daniel 11:1-5. | Download Daniel Presentation PDF
So a few housekeeping things. We’re going to be looking at a bunch of kings. And when the Lord gave this vision to Daniel, this message to Daniel through the angel, He did not name all of the kings that lived and died from 539 BC through 165 BC, give or take. He named the ones that were important, or actually He made reference to the ones that are important. And it’s important to remember that, that what God puts in His Word is exactly what we need. If He filled the Bible—if God had seen fit to fill the Bible with every bit of information that we can glean from looking at the history, it would take longer to get through it than it does even here at Kootenai. But He has given us what we need. And so I’ve given you a handout to try and help organize in our minds the kings as we go through them in the first twenty-five to thirty-five verses of Daniel chapter 11.
So that’s the first bit of housekeeping. I’m also going to print out an end times handout, which gives the chronology of the world. And I have organized it, and I’m probably wrong, but you can just pretend I’m right. But at any rate, I’ll hand that out, and you can kind of use that to organize your thoughts as we look at the next section of Daniel chapter 11 on into Daniel chapter 12, because we will be talking about the end times as well as the times that occurred between 539 BC and 166 BC.
Online is the complete PowerPoint, which may or may not prove too useful, but there are some charts and slides that give context to what we’re saying that you can look back to. So, for example, this chart [brings up PowerPoint], this goes through the kings and the Ptolemies and the Seleucids and et cetera. At any rate, the full PowerPoint is online.
I will be going back and forth a little bit on the PowerPoint that we have today as we look at some of these kings, although this is going to be mostly introductory. It can be confusing. Just remember this: when God dictated this, when God gave this to Daniel, it was a prophecy of events that were going to occur over the next two or three hundred years to two or three millennia, depending on when the Lord Jesus Christ returns. And in order to organize that in our mind, it sometimes takes a little work. And so that is why the handout—and if you will look at this handout really quickly, just as we go down through Daniel chapter 11—if you look at this, I have tried to name the kings that it’s making reference to. I will also mention the kings that aren’t made reference to, to kind of fill out the history as we go. So you’ll have a picture of that, but we’re talking about several hundred years of time in which many, many kings lived and died and reigned. Some reigned a short time; some reigned a fairly long time. Just like when you study the kings in 1 and 2 Chronicles, 1 and 2 Kings, et cetera, the kings of Israel. And so that can be confusing. But I will try to bring it back to the ones that we are talking about as we go through Daniel chapter 11.
With that strange introduction, we’re going to read chapter 11 from the end of chapter 10, which is actually the beginning of this entire missive, which starts way back in chapter 10 through about verse 10 of chapter 11. So if you’ll turn with me to Daniel chapter 10, we’re going to start at 18, verse 18. And we’re going to read through verse 10 of chapter 11 because as I pointed out, either last week or—no, not last week, a week or two ago—that the end of chapter 10 is not actually the end of chapter 10. It should be a continuation. And we’ll see that as we read it this way. Verse 18:
18 Then this one with human appearance touched me again and strengthened me.
19 He said, “O man of high esteem, do not be afraid. Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!” Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, “May my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”
20 Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come.
21 However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.
11:1 In the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him.
2 And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all of them; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece.
3 And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases.
4 But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded, for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them.
5 Then the king of the South will grow strong, along with one of his princes who will gain ascendancy over him and obtain dominion; his domain will be a great dominion indeed.
6 After some years they will form an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the South will come to the king of the North to carry out a peaceful arrangement. But she will not retain her position of power, nor will he remain with his power, but she will be given up, along with those who brought her in and the one who sired her as well as he who supported her in those times.
7 But one of the descendants of her line will arise in his place, and he will come against their army and enter the fortress of the king of the North, and he will deal with them and display great strength.
8 Also their gods with their metal images and their precious vessels of silver and gold he will take into captivity to Egypt, and he on his part will refrain from attacking the king of the North for some years.
9 Then the latter will enter the realm of the king of the South, but will return to his own land. (Daniel 10:18–11:9 NASB)
So as we go through these end-time revelations in Daniel chapters 11 and 12, we’re going to be talking about things that the church has occupied herself with over the millennia, sometimes to great effect and sometimes to inactivity. If we look at prophecy and we see that in the end God wins, and it puts us to sleep and we sit and do nothing, we’ve missed the point of prophecy. All of scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction, so that we will be fully equipped to do the works of God. Prophecy is included.
And God doesn’t need our help to usher in the end times. Please don’t misunderstand that that’s what I’m saying. What I am saying is He said occupy till I come. And so as we study these things and find more and more comfort in them, in that God really does win in the end, we will take from that comfort the opportunity to spread that comfort in every way we have imaginably possible by our efforts, whether it’s in politics or protecting babies or whatever, however it manifests itself. But it should manifest itself first in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we’re not doing that, then hearts aren’t changed and real change does not occur. So we can be about the business of the way we do things in the church in some ways today and continue, but the gospel must be proclaimed. It must take first place, second place, third place, fourth place, and fifth place. It should occupy everything we think about and do. It is the reason, it is the picture, it is the story of the Lord Jesus Christ. And I don’t want to see a bunch of premillennialists sitting around thinking, “We win in the end; let’s suck our thumbs.” Unfortunately, sometimes that’s what seems to be perceived by the world, but not here. We’re going to look at the end times, we’re going to be comforted by them, we’re going to be excited about them, and we’re going to be reformed, corrected, instructed, and sent forth to proclaim the gospel.
OK, that’s my meddling for this morning. As we talked about the two weeks before we were here, God’s not going to give us every bit of historical detail that occurs between 539 BC and 167 BC. But He gives us exactly what we need. And so I kind of gave an analogy that if I was to mention some of the Founding Fathers, you wouldn’t recognize their names. You didn’t know they were Founding Fathers. They were behind the scenes. They were maybe not as important, or they were more important, but they just didn’t get the spotlight. The same thing happens throughout prophecy in the book of Daniel. God brings to our attention the ones that are necessary. And I’m probably going to hit on this a few times because one of the complaints that I’ve heard is that you need to know more. No, we need to know exactly what God gave us. This is enough. This is what we need.
The stress of this message—as we look at the first thirty-five verses of Daniel chapter 11, we’re going to be looking at ancient history. And then at verse 36, there’s an abrupt shift to the future, and we will see that as we study the text. But Liam Woods puts it this way, and I believe I read this last time:
The stress of the message is on Antiochus Epiphanes (verses 21–35) and the Antichrist (verses 36–45), the former, Antiochus Epiphanes, typifying the latter, the Antichrist. Again, an implied time gap exists between the two. Neither is identified by name, but only by description of character and actions, something found true also in the previous contexts considered. Before either is mentioned, however, the angel’s message tells of history preceding [the history preceding Antiochus]. First, early Persian rulers are set forth, and then Alexander the Great, who defeated Persia for Greece. After this comes a remarkably detailed presentation of successive kings who ruled two of the divisions of Alexander’s empire [just two of the four; those are the important ones for our purposes]: the Egyptian division, ruled by the Ptolemies, and the Syrian, ruled by the Seleucids [and we’ll point out, it wasn’t called Syria in 500 BC, but for our purposes of understanding, many modern writers use that term]. These two divisions call for this special consideration because the affairs of Palestine, lying between the two, were so often involved with their activities. The detail of this history, as presented, provides one of the most remarkable predictive portions of all Scripture.
And so with that, we’re going to start Daniel chapter 11. So verse 1 says—which is actually chapter 10, verse 22—“In the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him.” This is the angel talking. This would have been about 539 or 536 BC, depending on which chronology you look at. But right around that time.
Daniel chapter 6 details numerous attempts, which we now know to be engineered somewhat in the demonic realm, to turn Darius against the Jews. That’s what Daniel chapter 6 reveals to us. Daniel was accused of violating a Medo-Persian edict which was that when he prayed three times a day to someone other than the king, he was to be killed. For that, he was to be thrown in the lion’s den. Daniel’s miraculous delivery influenced Darius to change his stance to a favorable one toward Israel. This was a behind-the-scenes machination in the demonic-angelic realm. Did it need our help? You would be very correct to shake your head vigorously this way. Go ahead. It did not need our help. Yahweh engineered this.
The prophecy at the beginning deals with a period later than Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2 but parallel with the prophecy in chapter 8 of the ram and the male goat. The basic premise of chapter 8 will be fleshed out here in chapter 11 in detail. So if we look back at chapter 8—I was looking at that. I’m not going to go too far into it, but if you would like to for your own purposes kind of read 8 and 11 together, you get the outline and the details. The outline and the details. In my outline, it was page 152. So I’m going to go there real quick.
So just my introduction to chapter 8 goes this way. From here to the end of the book of Daniel, Daniel returns to the Hebrew language. Remember that? He was speaking in Aramaic because it was government business, which means you have to talk gibberish, otherwise the people might understand. No, I’m joking. From Daniel 2:4 to 7:28, the text is in Aramaic, the language of the political nation that Daniel served in ostensibly the second position behind Nabanitis. Belshazzar promised him this position in 5:16. The last five chapters of Daniel deal strictly with the nation of Israel and the upcoming events surrounding that nation. Thus it is appropriate the language changed to Hebrew. And then when we get to Daniel 9, we will see Israel’s history from Ezra and Nehemiah to the installation of the Messiah’s kingdom at Christ’s second coming. This will be preceded by the great trouble for Israel. Chapters 10 and 11, which we looked at back in chapter 8, deal with events surrounding the relationship of the Persian and Greek empires to Israel, the bouncing back and forth of all the wars that go on there. And the final portion of Daniel 11:36 through 12:13 deals with the revived Roman Empire and Israel’s deliverance and the end of the age. And so again, you can look at 8 and 11 as outline, details. It’s very helpful that way. So, any questions about the introduction or verse 1?
OK, so if you look at your list of kings, we’re going to be diving right in, in one more verse. Daniel 11:2: “And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all of them; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece.” So this verse begins a series of predictions of events that will occur three hundred–plus years later. This is remarkable. And this is one of the reasons why so many nonbelievers have had trouble with this section of the Bible. It can’t be Scripture. It has to be history. Well, it’s one of the two. It’s one of the two. You can’t have both. It does flesh out history, but it did it three hundred years before the events, and that is God in action.
“And now I will tell you the truth”—this would be the same as saying, “Daniel, now I will begin the message that you prayed about and waited for three weeks to hear. This is what I was sent to tell you.” Since Darius Cyrus was already ruling, it would seem that the angel was referring in this verse to the three kings that immediately followed Darius. This would be Cambyses, 529–522 BC; pseudo Smerdis, the false Smerdis, 521–521 BC; and Darius I Hystaspes (not “Hystapses” like I keep mispronouncing; it’s Hystaspes), 521–486 BC. These three kings were followed by a fourth, the verse says, Xerxes I, 486–465 BC. This would be the order that occurred with Xerxes I, who attacked Greece.
To place this in biblical history, Walvoord gives this context, this information:
Xerxes I used his great riches and a period of some four years to gather a great army amounting to hundreds of thousands, one of the largest armies in the ancient world. The expedition that he launched in 480 BC against Greece was disastrous, however, and Xerxes never recovered. The Ahasuerus of Esther 1 may be identified with Xerxes I, and the ill-fated expedition against the Greeks may have occurred between chapters 1 and 2 of Esther. Details on the Persian Empire are not given here because these are covered adequately in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, insofar as they are related to the people of Israel and the plan of God. And these records are supplemented by the prophetic books of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. [Did I mention that God gave us everything we needed? It just requires us to read it, to study it, and to pray for understanding.] Having mentioned Greece, Daniel’s revelation turned immediately to the details of this third empire not given elsewhere in the Word of God [so he jumps a bunch of history and begins to talk about this period of history]. The fourth king was most certainly Xerxes I, the Ahasuerus of the book of Esther. His attack on Greece left such a foul memory in the kingdom that many years later Alexander exacted revenge [would have been 150 years later or so, 160]. Xerxes’s predecessors had gathered a massive fortune that he added to with his conquest. He used these great riches to finance his attack against the kingdom of Greece. The opening chapter of the book of Esther details an immense celebration that gives a picture of some of the wealth Ahasuerus had.
How many of you know of anybody today who could afford a six-month party? I’m not related to any of those people, but I’ve read about them. This is one of those multibillionaires of the day.
Esther chapter 1, very instructive. So if you want to turn there. Esther 1:1–9:
1 Now it took place in the days of Ahasuerus, the Ahasuerus who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces,
2 in those days as King Ahasuerus sat on his royal throne which was at the citadel in Susa,
3 in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his princes and attendants, the army officers of Persia and Media, the nobles and the princes of his provinces being in his presence.
4 And he displayed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor of his great majesty for many days, 180 days.
5 When these days were completed, the king gave a banquet lasting seven days for all the people who were present at the citadel in Susa, from the greatest to the least, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace.
6 There were hangings of fine white and violet linen held by cords of fine purple linen on silver rings and marble columns, and couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and precious stones.
7 Drinks were served in golden vessels of various kinds, and the royal wine was plentiful according to the king’s bounty.
8 The drinking was done according to the law, there was no compulsion, for so the king had given orders to each official of his household that he should do according to the desires of each person.
9 Queen Vashti also gave a banquet for the women in the palace which belonged to King Ahasuerus.
This guy was rich, and some of his money he used for partying. But he was also saving up money for an expedition against Greece. He indeed aroused the empire that he presided over to attack Greece. And I’m going to give you some details from Encyclopedia Britannica on the history. I think it’s important for us to understand how accurately God predicted these things. And when we look at the history—and as an aside, we understand these things better than people just antecedent to Daniel would have understood them because we have the advantage of looking back at history and going, “That’s what He said would happen, wow, it’s so cool.” They didn’t have that advantage. So we do have that advantage. Keep that in mind.
With the tranquility of the empire reestablished [this is Britannica], Xerxes would willingly have devoted himself to peaceful activities. But many of those around him were pressing for the renewal of hostilities [everybody likes war, it seems like, if you’re in government]. His cousin and brother-in-law Mardonius, supported by a strong party of exiled Greeks, incited him to take revenge for the affront that Darius had suffered at the hands of the Greeks at Marathon (490 BCE). The impressionable Xerxes gave way to pressure from his entourage and threw himself into patient diplomatic and military preparations for war, which required three years to complete (484–481 BCE). Herodotus notes that never before had such an effort been undertaken. Troops were levied in all the satrapies [127 of them], and a navy, intended to be the army’s supply line, was gathered. The care lavished on this enterprise shows that the king did not regard it as a minor operation. There has been much later speculation on the real causes for the expedition. They could not have been economic, because Greece was not important then. Perhaps it was only the manifestation of a royal absolutism [I believe it was partially revenge, but at any rate]: Xerxes, whose character was later distorted in Greek legend, was neither foolish nor overly optimistic; although sensible and intelligent, he was nevertheless, according to [one historian] . . . At the head of his armies, he left Sardis for the Hellespont and had two boat bridges placed across the strait. A storm destroyed them, and Xerxes had the sea whipped as punishment [this is a man much taken with his own press releases]. With the bridges remade, for seven days he oversaw the crossing of the army [now here’s an exaggeration]—5,000,000 men according to Herodotus and 360,000 by modern estimate, supported by 700 to 800 ships [still a massive army]. Their passage was facilitated by a massive engineering works: a channel was dug across the Isthmus of Actium so that the peaks of Mount Athos might be avoided. Nevertheless, the army’s size was of no help, partly because of misinformation about the enemy terrain and partly because of the appearance of a national feeling in Greece. After a few successes (e.g., Thermopylae, mid-August 480 BCE), Xerxes occupied Attica and pillaged Athens on September 21, but on September 29, at Salamis, a naval battle that he had initiated turned into a defeat. Without a fleet to take supplies to the army, he had to retreat; he crossed over into Asia, leaving Mardonius in Thessaly. During an indecisive battle near Plataea on August 27, 479 BCE, Mardonius was killed, and his death obliged the army of occupation to withdraw. Hostilities continued for 13 years, but thenceforth Xerxes involved himself only slightly.
So this verse—“A fourth will gain far more riches” and “as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire” (v. 2)—he did arouse the whole empire exactly as prophesied, but it was a disaster for him.
For reference in prophecy, the angel only told Daniel about certain kings. It should be noted that several more kings ruled Persia. So Artaxerxes Longimanus (it was supposed that his right hand was longer than the other; that’s why he had that name); Xerxes II; Darius II Nothus; Artaxerxes II Mnemon, which means “remembering”; Artaxerxes III Ochus; Arses; and Darius III Codomannus from 336 to 331 BC, which just precedes Alexander. So these are some of the kings that come on down through history after Xerxes.
Verse 3: “And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases.” So now the angel has jumped from just after Daniel’s time, a hundred and something years after Daniel’s time, to several hundred years after Daniel’s time. This is most certainly Alexander the Great, who reigned from 336 to 323 BC. And he fought Persia and wrested the entire empire away from them, most likely spurred on by the memory of the stories told, surely, of the destruction that Xerxes had perpetrated on Greece those many years before. This description fits him perfectly. He was indeed a great ruler, and he did as he pleased throughout the entire empire.
When we last spoke of Alexander in July of last year, it was mentioned that he had conquered eleven thousand miles of territory from Greece and Egypt to India in eight years. He held his army together by the sheer strength of his own will. Alexander’s activities in Palestine were actually benign over Israel. He treated the Israelites well. Josephus records it thus:
Now Alexander, when he had taken Gaza, made haste to go up to Jerusalem; and Jaddua the high priest, when he heard that, was in an agony, and under terror, as not knowing how he should meet the Macedonians, since the king was displeased at his foregoing disobedience [he had, previous to that, disobeyed some of the edicts of the realm]. He therefore ordained that the people should make supplications, and should join with him in offering sacrifice to God, whom he besought to protect that nation, and to deliver them from the perils that were coming upon them; whereupon God warned him in a dream, which came upon him after he had offered sacrifice [this is Josephus, by the way; this is not Scripture], that he should take courage, and adorn the city, and open the gates; that the rest should appear in white garments, but that he and the priests should meet the king in the habits proper to their order, without the dread of any ill consequences, which the providence of God would prevent. Upon which, when he rose from his sleep, he greatly rejoiced, and declared to all the warning he had received from God. According to which dream he acted entirely, and so waited for the coming of the king [this would be Alexander].
And when he understood that he was not far from the city, he went out in procession, with the priests and the multitude of the citizens. The procession was venerable, and the manner of it different from that of other nations. It reached to a place called Sapha, which name, translated into Greek, signifies a prospect, for you have thence a prospect both of Jerusalem and of the temple. And when the Phoenicians and the Chaldeans that followed him thought they should have liberty to plunder the city, and torment the high priest to death, which the king’s displeasure fairly promised them, the very reverse of it happened; for Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments, while the priests stood clothed with fine linen, and the high priest in purple and scarlet clothing, with his mitre on his head, having the golden plate whereon the name of God was engraved, he approached by himself, and adored that name, and first saluted the high priest. The Jews also did all together, with one voice, salute Alexander, and encompass him about; whereupon the kings of Syria and the rest were surprised at what Alexander had done, and supposed him disordered in his mind [“You’re crazy. You’re treating the Jews well?”]. However, Parmenio alone went up to him, and asked him how it came to pass that, when all others adored him, he should adore the high priest of the Jews? To whom he replied, “I did not adore him, but that God who hath honored him with his high priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians; whence it is that, having seen no other in that habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision, and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army under the Divine conduct, and shall therewith conquer Darius, and destroy the power of the Persians [you see what the leaning is, is to destroy another army], and that all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind.” And when he had said this to Parmenio, and had given the high priest his right hand, the priests ran along by him, and he came into the city. And when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God, according to the high priest’s direction, and magnificently treated both the high priest and the priests. And when the Book of Daniel was showed him wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended. And as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present; but the next day he called them to him, and bid them ask what favors they pleased of him; whereupon the high priest desired that they might enjoy the laws of their forefathers, and might pay no tribute on the seventh year. He granted all they desired. And when they entreated him that he would permit the Jews in Babylon and Media to enjoy their own laws also, he willingly promised to do hereafter what they desired. And when he said to the multitude, that if any of them would enlist themselves in his army, on this condition, that they should continue under the laws of their forefathers, and live according to them, he was willing to take them with him, many were ready to accompany him in his wars.
So he was good to the Israelites. This was not a time of distress for Palestine. This was actually a period of peace, although many of the Israelites went to war with Alexander.
So again, we’re looking at some of the most remarkable predictive verses in Scripture. And it’s interesting to see when you read history how they were fulfilled so well. We know it would be so because it was Jehovah speaking. Verse 4: “But as soon as he has arisen [Alexander], his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded, for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them.” The Hebrew for the first phrase of this verse is translated “but as soon as he stood up.” But as soon as he has arisen, as soon as he stood up, indicating the short life and reign that he had. He had no sooner finished conquering all those thousands of miles that he died. He was either murdered or, as we explored last summer, he died possibly of an autoimmune disease. I’m not going to read through all of this, but if you remember, modern technology, medical technology, it talks about the fact that the historians recorded that he died, laid six days, and his body didn’t deteriorate. Well, it is surmised today—we don’t know for sure, but this is just an interesting supposition—that he had an autoimmune disease, Guillain-Barre syndrome, which caused him to go into a coma, which resulted in an extremely low respiratory rate, which in those days they couldn’t see. So they thought he was dead. What probably killed him was when they embalmed him. I understand that’s pretty difficult to endure, but I’m not interested in finding out. So that’s a modern explanation, and that just adds context and flavor to it. But the fact is, he ruled exactly as God said, a short time, and his kingdom was taken over by others.
We also explored the four kings that divided up his kingdom several years after his passing, as indicated by the phrase “parceled out toward the four points of the compass.” And as this verse points out, it did not go to his descendants. He had a half brother, Philip, who was apparently mentally incompetent. He had a son born to him after his death by his wife, Roxana. And he had an illegitimate son named Hercules, not the Hercules of Greek mythology. At first, the two sons ruled as co-regents, with others making their decisions. This didn’t last very long, and in 317 BC, the half brother, Philip, was murdered. The younger Alexander was murdered in 310. And in 309, the illegitimate son, Hercules, was murdered. So none of his descendants survived to receive the kingdom. And exactly as God predicted through Daniel, it was broken up by his four generals. As the verse indicates, none of them ruled with the kind of authority that was wielded by Alexander. There was bitter infighting between the four generals. There was finally a measure of stability, but none of them attained the firm authority that Alexander wielded. So the kingdom went to men who were not members of his family. And this is exactly how that history played out, predicted by Daniel in 539 BC. So we’re going to go back to the list of the kings as we start through this.
So verse 3 is Alexander the Great. Verse 5, which we will be looking at very soon here, if there are no questions about the first four verses . . . [Someone asks a question] Why didn’t they use their free will? That’s a loaded question [laughs]. Yeah, well, I guess my simple answer is—he asked if there’s historical evidence that they read through the book of Daniel. I believe Alexander did. I believe he was exposed to it by those priests when he approached Israel, Jerusalem. I don’t know that he read through it, but I believe that his advisors would have been smart and said, “We better look at this information. It looks like it’s talking about you, O mighty king.” They would have said that, and they would have bowed seven times. But I don’t know about the other kings. Very possibly, but as you well know, point to me one place in the history of Scripture where man’s free will overrode God’s sovereignty. Were you joking with that? I think? Yeah, OK. Thank you. [Jokingly] We don’t do church discipline very . . . [laughs] So throughout the years, it would have been smart. Now, this is my speculation, based on Kieran’s question, that many of those kings might have been reading some of the writings of the Israelites, and wisely so, and who knows how that affected history? Those are questions you can ask Yahweh when you get there, because I don’t have the answer to them.
Any other questions? [Someone asks a question] . . . established the language. That is interesting. Simon pointed out that he [Alexander] is the reason we read the Bible in Greek. Now, it’s a different Greek from Ionic or Attic, but it’s Greek, and very well pointed out. Thank you.
I saw another hand. Yes. [Someone asks a question] So what we have is the very Word of God Himself, and it’s all that we need. It’s fine to study history and to flesh it out and to give more illumination, if you will, but that illumination should spur us on to propagating the gospel because it’s what made all this possible. It’s what makes it possible that—it’s what points out and validates the fact that God’s sovereignty is never subject to man’s free will. Never ever.
[Someone asks a question] If their mind is—yeah. They have to be quickened, yes. They have to be illuminated or caused to hear, to believe. The Scripture is opaque to those who will not believe. Any other questions or comments?
Verse 5. Now, we’re going to be looking at Ptolemy I Soter, who lived from 323 to 285 BC. “Then the king of the South will grow strong, along with one of his princes who will gain ascendancy over him and obtain dominion; his domain will be a great dominion indeed.” So, the king of the South; what nation are we talking about? Starts with an e. Egypt, yeah. In some of these next verses, we begin to see the most remarkable predictive Scripture possibly in all of the Bible. I hesitate to say that. All of Scripture is God-breathed, and Revelation, Zechariah, Amos, Haggai—there’s predictive prophecy there, and it’s all marvelous, but whatever part we’re into, that’s the most marvelous part, OK, and we’re in Daniel.
In these verses especially—it is these verses that prompted the liberal theologians and the pagans to brand Daniel a history written in the second century BC. Because they were far too specific and too accurate to have possibly been written hundreds of years before they happened. This was their belief anyway, but this section is a remarkable demonstration of the sovereignty and omniscience of God, Jehovah God. From this point on in chapter 11, Daniel details the history of the various kings of the South (Egypt)—so when we use the word south, we’re talking about Egypt—and the North (Syria, for lack of a better geographic definition). This period covers about a hundred and fifty years. As mentioned before, the Scripture mentions those kings that are necessary for this narrative that the angel is giving Daniel, but it does not name every king during the period, and it does not need to. Of the four divisions that Alexander’s kingdom was split into, only the division in Egypt, ruled by the Seleucids, and the division in the North, today called Syria, were significant in history.
References to the North and the South will identify with various kings, as we will see in this verse, as verified in verse 8, which let’s look at. “Also their gods with their metal images and their precious vessels of silver and gold he will take into captivity to Egypt, and he on his part will refrain from attacking the king of the North for some years.” So this is verified in verse 8. We’re talking about Egypt. So the king of the South grew strong. This would have been Ptolemy I Soter. The prince that grew strong with him and eventually dethroned him was Seleucus I Nicator. This king was appointed a satrap—Seleucus—and served under Ptolemy I. I’m going to use the numbers because they took each other’s name. There’s Ptolemy I, Ptolemy II, Ptolemy III, Ptolemy IV, Ptolemy V. It’s intolerable. But I’ll try to use their Roman numerals to help identify them. So this king, this prince, served under Ptolemy I. He was appointed a satrap by Ptolemy, which is a governor. But Antigonus seized Babylonia, forcing Seleucus the king to flee. He went to Egypt and served under Ptolemy I. When Antigonus was defeated in 312 BC, Seleucus returned to the North and took control of Babylonia, Syria, and Media. His kingdom did indeed become larger, just as the Scripture indicated that it would be a great dominion.
And somehow I intended to get through verse 8 today. So exactly as God has predicted, we’re going to see things laid out in the Scriptures. We’re going to see them as we have the opportunity to look back in history from 539 BC through Antiochus Epiphanes in 175 BC, 166 BC. We’re going to see it laid out exactly and happen exactly as God predicted. And I’m going to use this word a hundred times as we study the book of Daniel if I use it five. Are you not comforted by that? When God says something is going to happen, guess what? It happens. So predictive Scripture, as taught in the New Testament, is, for one thing, it’s for our comfort. And we need to be comforted by these things. But that comfort should lead us to spread the gospel so that others can be comforted.