History Ends « – » Prophecy Begins
The great Reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) was so overwhelmed with the historical accuracy of Daniel’s prophecy in the first part of chapter eleven that he wrote forty pages of commentary describing in minute detail the future exploits of each world leader, the battles engaged, and the ensuing intrigue. In fact, the meticulous and historically accurate nature of these verses has persuaded many liberal ministers to believe that Daniel could not have written this book, suggesting that no one could have been privy to so many details of forthcoming events.
Therefore, they argue, the Book of Daniel must have been written much later. To that I would simply reply that since God is God, and since He knows all things, it really would not be difficult for the Almighty to fill Daniel with His Holy Spirit and through him make known the events in history yet to come (2 Peter 1:20-21).
Some readers may want me to spend as much time as John Calvin did in delineating past predictions that have already been fulfilled in the first part of chapter eleven, perhaps hoping that I would trace the accomplishments of every king, every skirmish, and every historical circumstance in this four hundred-year period to prove there are no errors in Daniel’s prophecy. However, for those who may not have as great a historical bent, this would be too much detail, since the first thirty-five verses of this chapter eleven include 135 prophecies-each completely fulfilled down to the smallest detail.
Undoubtedly, delving into each of the 135 predictions would become exceedingly laborious.
With those considerations in mind, I will simply sketch out a few of the completed historical events of this chapter and then spend most of the time exploring the confluence of the many events that suggest so strongly that we are now at the time of the end-a discussion which begins with verse 36.
1 Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. 2 And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. 3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.
Details that Confound the Skeptics
These first four verses trace the history of four Persian rulers and Alexander the Great of Greece-giving summary details of the Ptolemies of Egypt and the Seleucids of Syria, whom, as you will recall, represented the two major divisions of Alexander’s worldwide kingdom.
It is this kind of historical detail that confounds the skeptic who says, “How could any one-God included-have known with such accuracy the events, people, and interaction of nations four centuries before such events took place?” Here, however, we are not concerned with the critics’ skepticism, but rather rejoice in the knowledge that we have a God who knows the future, has ordained its activity, and is now allowing us to unseal mysteries so long hidden from view.
Daniel 11: 5-36
5 “The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power.2)The king of the south mentioned in Daniel 11:5 was probably Ptolemy I Soter [323-285 b.c.] who was associated with the famous Seleucus I Nicator [312-281 b.c.] who was king of Babylon. Their alliance succeeded in defeating Antigonus and Seleucus I Nicator became the ruler of the entire area from Asia Minor to India and hence was stronger than Ptolemy I Soter, his associate.
6 After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be betrayed, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her.3)The king of the south mentioned in Daniel 11:6 was probably Ptolemy II Philadelphus [283-246 bc] who gave his daughter Berenice to Antiochus II Theos [261-246 bc] who was the third in the line of Seleucid kings.
7 “One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious. 8 He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North alone. 9 Then the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country.4)Reference to another king of Egypt is found in verses 7 and 8. He was probably Ptolemy II Euergetes [246-222 b.c.] referred to as the king of the south in Daniel 11:9. 10 His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress.
11 And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.5)The king of the south of Daniel 11:11 was Ptolemy IV Philopator [222-203 b.c].
12 When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant. 13 For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped.
14 “In those times many will rise against the king of the South. Those who are violent among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success. 15 Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand.6)The king of the south mentioned in verse 14 and referred to under the term “the arms of the south” in verse 15 was Ptolemy V Epiphanes [204-181 b.c] who was an infant at the time of his accession. As Daniel 11:13-16 indicates, he was crushed by the great army of Antiochus III the celebrated ruler of Syria to the north in a battle at Paneiom in 198 b.c. The result was that Egypt lost its hold upon the Holy Land and it was transferred to the Seleucids. 16 The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it. 17 He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him. 18 Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back on him. 19 After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more.
20 “His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. In a few years, however, he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle.
21 “He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. 22 Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. 23 After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. 24 When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time.
25 “With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. 26 Those who eat from the king’s provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle. 27 The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. 28 The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country.
29 “At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. 30 Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.
31 “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. 32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.
33 “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. 34 When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. 35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.
The King Who Exalts Himself
36 “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.
The Wars between the South and the North
From verse 5 we begin to see a powerful struggle taking place between the kings of the South-Egypt-and the kings of the North-Assyria, today’s Syria. These nations were constantly at each other’s throats, alternating victories. It was a see-saw world of power-grabbing, palace intrigue, and battle fatigue for supreme command of the region. Finally, a scheme was devised to put an end to these constant wars that were taking such a great toll on the people and their respective governments.
This was the plan: Ptolemy II had a daughter Berenice, and it was decided that if she would marry Antiochus II of Syria a union designed to create a long and lasting peace in the area could be forged. However, even the best laid plans of kings and princesses often do not meet all expectations, and since it was a forced marriage, Antiochus II of Syria hated the arrangement. However, for political reasons, he chose to live with what he disliked. But when the king of Egypt, Ptolemy II, died, Antiochus realized he suddenly had a golden opportunity to get rid of his spouse-which he did. He divorced her and took back his original wife, Laodice.
The ancient soap opera continued to play out when Laodice, overcome with jealousy, had Berenice poisoned along with most of her family. In the end, the hoped-for peace between Egypt and Assyria did not hold. In fact, this was only the beginning of the shedding of blood between the powers of the north and south.
It is impossible to do justice to the history that takes place between verses 1 and 35 without writing a major compendium on the prophecies and their actual fulfillment. There are already many commentaries available that deal with such issues.
|⇓||For our purpose, however, the most important, underlying message of these first thirty-five verses is this:|
|»||They contain 135 Bible prophecies that have been 100 percent fulfilled.|
|»||There is no supportive evidence in history to contradict any of the 135 prophecies, i.e., everything prophesied has come true.|
|»||They provide a convincing introduction to end-time events-a period of time in world history that is rapidly approaching.|
|»||Prophecies still to come in this chapter can be expected to be fulfilled in the same manner as the 135 prophecies were in the first thirty-five verses of Daniel chapter eleven.|
With that brief background, we will now proceed to the futuristic nature of Daniel’s revelation which begins in verse 36 in next weeks study.
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid Empire, ruled Asia Minor, and began a series of campaigns that lasted ten years. Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He subsequently overthrew the Persian King Darius III and conquered the entirety of the First Persian Empire.i At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River. source|
|2.||↑||The king of the south mentioned in Daniel 11:5 was probably Ptolemy I Soter [323-285 b.c.] who was associated with the famous Seleucus I Nicator [312-281 b.c.] who was king of Babylon. Their alliance succeeded in defeating Antigonus and Seleucus I Nicator became the ruler of the entire area from Asia Minor to India and hence was stronger than Ptolemy I Soter, his associate.|
|3.||↑||The king of the south mentioned in Daniel 11:6 was probably Ptolemy II Philadelphus [283-246 bc] who gave his daughter Berenice to Antiochus II Theos [261-246 bc] who was the third in the line of Seleucid kings.|
|4.||↑||Reference to another king of Egypt is found in verses 7 and 8. He was probably Ptolemy II Euergetes [246-222 b.c.] referred to as the king of the south in Daniel 11:9.|
|5.||↑||The king of the south of Daniel 11:11 was Ptolemy IV Philopator [222-203 b.c].|
|6.||↑||The king of the south mentioned in verse 14 and referred to under the term “the arms of the south” in verse 15 was Ptolemy V Epiphanes [204-181 b.c] who was an infant at the time of his accession. As Daniel 11:13-16 indicates, he was crushed by the great army of Antiochus III the celebrated ruler of Syria to the north in a battle at Paneiom in 198 b.c. The result was that Egypt lost its hold upon the Holy Land and it was transferred to the Seleucids.|