29 - The Flying Leopard - Greece
R. Dean Daniel Lesson 29
The Flying Leopard: Greece – Daniel 7:5-6
We continue our study of Daniel in Daniel 7; we have been looking at the four beasts that rise up out of the sea in this fantastic vision that Daniel has. Daniel 7 and the vision here in Daniel 7 is one of the most important and crucial prophecies for unlocking later prophecies, understanding Zechariah, understanding the Revelation that Jesus Christ gives to John, from Revelation 4 through the end of Revelation, all builds on symbols and events that are revealed first in Daniel 7. We read in Daniel 7:1, "In the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it.  Daniel said, I was looking my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea." And we looked at those two symbols, the four winds of heaven and the great sea, and we saw that the great sea represents the mass of fallen humanity. It is shapeless, it is easily shaped by external forces and it is unstable and it is upon fallen humanity that Satan works his will trying to bring about his plan for mankind and the four winds of heaven, "winds" are a picture of angelic forces on human history. And these are predominately demonic forces moving human history in the direction of the establishment of the kingdom of man and it is during the kingdom of man that Satan will function, ultimately, through his man, the antichrist. We get quite an introduction to the antichrist before we finish Daniel 7.
Daniel 7:3, "And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another." And these four beasts are just another representation of the kingdoms that we saw in Daniel 2. Verse 4, "The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle." That represents the kingdom of Babylon. "I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it." We saw that that was a picture of the kingdom of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar, that when the wings were plucked, that's when Nebuchadnezzar lost his sanity, spent seven years like an animal, eating the grass, living outdoors and then his sanity was restored to him and he trusted the Lord as his Savior and it's at that point that he becomes transformed from a beast, and a beast is a picture of what happens to people when they operate on the sin nature. And it is only when he is regenerate, when he puts his faith alone in Christ alone that he is able to become truly what man as man, what man as mankind was intended to be. He has true humanity and only after regeneration. The principle there is that it is only when we're regenerate that we are as God intended us to be, when God created Adam in the Garden Adam was created trichotomous, body, soul and spirit. But because of spiritual death, because of the fall, we are all born spiritually dead, just body and soul. It is only when we recover a human spirit at salvation that we can be truly human. Other than that we operate on the sin nature and the picture of the human being operating on the sin nature is that he is bestial.
Daniel 7:5, "And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, 'Arise, devour much meat!'" There we saw that the bear is also a carnivore, the bear is not as speedy, not as fast and not as strong as the lion but a bear is agile and strong, and this is a picture of the kingdom of Medo-Persia. Verse 6, "After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it."
Now the first kingdom, the beast coming up from the sea is explained in 7:17 as four kingdoms. The first kingdom is Babylon and that's comparable to the head of gold. Here is a map of the Babylonian Empire as it existed; they had extended their coverage into Egypt, as far west as Egypt and they didn't quite conquer all of Turkey but the Medes and the Persians did because this eastern half of Turkey here was the kingdom of Lydia and the Medes and the Persians under Cyrus will conquer the Lydians. So this gives you an idea of the size. This is the Mediterranean, it's this area along the coast that represents Israel; here is Babylon and modern Baghdad is just north up in this area. So this area is modern Iraq and this is modern Iran, so this gives you an idea of the extent of the Babylonian, Neo-Babylonian or Chaldean Empire. That was the head of gold represented by Nebuchadnezzar.
Then the next kingdom is represented by the bear, raised up on one side, it's a lopsided bear and the lopsided bear represents one side being stronger than the other and that's the strength of the Persians and the Medes were less strong. The three ribs we saw represented three different conquests; the Medes, the kingdom of Lydia and the Chaldeans. And you can relate that with Daniel 8:3-4 and we'll go through a chart that's going to correlate all of these things eventually, where we read, [8:20] "the ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia," liberals want to make this just Media and that way they get away from all of the implications of predictive prophecy. But the text itself identifies who these kingdoms are.
Then verse 5 represents the bear. Now here is where we stopped last time, looking at the development of the history of Persia and then the next kingdom, which will be the kingdom of Greece. Now unfortunately some of you have never really developed a tremendous appreciation for history and this is a bad night for you. Hopefully for you in your development of your Christian life you will develop an appreciation for history because history is the outworking of God's plan and there are some fantastic lessons to learn. As far as the kings of Persia are concerned this is the Achaemenid dynasty, that was the family name, just like Windsor if the family name for the royal family in England right now, the Achaemenid dynasty. And the first major ruler was Cyrus I and he was followed by his son, Cambyses I who married Mandane, the daughter of Astyages of Media and their son was Cyrus II who became known as Cyrus the Great. He was the king of Anshan which is an even more ancient name of Persia. His son is Cambyses II who conquered Egypt, but Cambyses was also a vindictive man and he was afraid that his brother was fomenting a conspiracy against him so he killed his brother. His brother's name was Smerdis, and while Cambyses was off conquering Egypt, after he conquered Egypt he was assassinated and there was a man that took over the kingdom and he claimed to be Smerdis, the brother that had been killed, but he's called by historians Pseudo-Smerdis, his name was Guamata and he was a usurper from 522-521.
He's followed by Darius I who is also known in history as Darius Hystaspes or Darius the Great. He is a descendant of the younger brother of Cyrus I. So Cyrus I was his great-great uncle. Now he is one of the greatest and probably the Persian Empire revolves around the strength of the leadership of Cyrus II and Darius I. This is not the Darius that is in Daniel. He is followed by Xerxes I, who is also known as Ahasuerus, that's the Ahasuerus in the book of Esther. Esther is the story of Jews in captivity during this time under those that did not return to the land just yet and he eventually marries Esther and takes her as one of his wives. He is also operative during the time of the prophets Zechariah, Haggai, and Malachi. He is followed by Artaxerxes II who is also known in history as Artaxerxes Longimanus and he is mentioned in Ezra 7:1-8 and this is the Artaxerxes mentioned in Nehemiah 2:1, the Artaxerxes who grants the decree for the Jews to go back, for Nehemiah to go back and rebuild the fortifications around Jerusalem. Now that's important; this is the Artaxerxes and that's the decree that kicks off the beginning point of Daniel's seventy weeks. The prophecy in Daniel 9 is that the Jews will go back into the land and from the time they go back into the land to rebuild Jerusalem, plaza and moat, plaza relates to the place of commercial activity, the moat is the place of defensive works and from the issue of that decree which was given in 444 BC until the cutting off of Messiah would be sixty-nine weeks o 483 years, or 173,880 days, and that works out from the first of Nisan 444 BC, when the decree was given, up to Jesus Christ, the day He entered into Jerusalem on what is known as Palm Sunday, was exactly 173,880 days. We've covered that in the past, but that is that Artaxerxes.
He's followed by Xerxes II, Darius II and Artaxerxes III… excuse me, that's a typo, Artaxerxes Longimanus should be Artaxerxes I. This is Artaxerxes II in 404-359 BC and then Artaxerxes III from 359-338, followed by Arses, 338-335, Darius III, 335-331 and he is the last king. Now we'll talk about him because he has a problem with Alexander.
Now this gives you the framework of the key leaders and the history of the Medo-Persian Empire or just the Persian Empire. And in order to understand the fall and the collapse of the bear, the lopsided bear, we have to understand something that's going on in Greece at the time because they will be defeated by the Greeks. We have to remember that in America we have short memories but with most countries in history they have long memories and if they are defeated in battle by somebody in one century then those people execute revenge maybe 150 or 200 years later. And this is a principle that is still valid, especially in the Arab world and apparently the Arabs are still angry at the west, and of course America wasn't even in existence during the Crusades but whoever said that vengeance was logical. And they want to blame the U.S. for the Crusades.
At some point you're going to get involved in a conversation with somebody and they're going to say religion just starts all the horrible wars; I had that conversation this past week. So we can't blame the Moslems because they are doing this, look at what we did in the Crusades. And the point that you have to make in that discussion is at that time in history Christianity had become illegitimately politicized; it was not a Biblical expression of Christianity, number one, and the Crusades were an unholy application of the Scripture. They were a wrong application, a misapplication of the Scripture and it produced something unholy. It was not right and not Biblical. But what the Arabs are doing today is directly according to the Koran; it is according to their Scriptures. Their jihad is exactly what they're told to do, whereas the Crusades were wrong, they violated Christianity. And that's an important point to make to people because so often they've been brought up in a humanistic society that wants to blame Christianity for the Crusades and Christianity, true Biblical Christian had nothing to do with the Crusades.
The problems between Persia and Greece started back with Darius I, Darius Hystaspes between 521 and 486 BC. This is roughly 20 to 40 years after the death of Daniel. And what happened during that time is Darius Hystaspes had invaded across Turkey. The kingdom of Lydia had been defeated by Cyrus I, so that all of this area we now know as Turkey or Asia Minor was under the domination of the Persian Empire. The Greeks had come across the Aegean and they had colonies all along the coast of Asia Minor. And they began to revolt against the Persian overlords and Darius didn't care for that a whole lot, so he got made at them and he discovered that most of these colonists had come across from Athens, which is located down here. So he decided they needed to teach the Athenians a lesson, so he developed a large army and a tremendous fleet and he sent his navy across the Aegean in order to attack Athens. And he landed his army at a place called Marathon, and he was going to use them to draw out the Athenian army so that the navy could go in and hit Athens from the rear. So he knew he didn't have much of a chance of taking Athens by siege so he decided to use this draw play. The trouble was that the Greeks pulled off a pretty good running campaign and they had a messenger that ran from Athens to Marathon in order to warn the army there so after they defeated the army they pulled out and did a forced march back to Athens and when the navy hit they were already back in Athens and defeated the Persian navy. So Darius was forced to pull back and his successor was Xerxes.
Xerxes I a man who was primarily interested in architecture, he's well-known because he built the famous city in the ancient world called Persepolis, but unfortunately he was goaded into by the hawks of his administration to try to conquer the Greeks again. So he organized an army of 180,000 and he took them across the Hellespont into…see it's at this point that you move from Asia into Europe, when you cross the Hellespont, and they came into this area, this is Thrace, this area is Macedon, and they started moving across into Greece and then down the peninsula of Greece to destroy the armies of Athens and then the armies of Sparta. They had an army of 180,000 that were headed that way. When he got down here the Greek army decided that they needed to hold him off for a while, and there was a tight pass in the mountains that they had to come to at a place where they had some famous hot springs called Thermopylae, and that's one of the most famous battles in the ancient world.
So they sent a small contingent of Spartans, some 300 Spartans, and the Spartans were sort of the special ops teams of the Greek world, and they held off this army of 180,000. The problem was they had this tight gorge they had to go through and so they could only put a few men at a time up in the front and they had to go through this contingent of Spartans who held them off until a traitor, a Greek traitor told Xerxes of a way around the pass. So he sent a flanking movement around the pass and hit the Spartans from the rear and wiped them out. That's one of the most famous battles in history and it's often compared to the battle of the Alamo because it did do the necessary job and that was to buy time for the Greek army that was down in the south, and it also cost Xerxes many more lives than he wanted to lose. He got down to Athens and then he sent his navy around this peninsula here, up into this area just south of Athens to Salamis.
The Athenians were evacuating their city and trying to leave by sea and the Persian navy was about to close them off and Xerxes sent 200 ships southward in order to cut off the only means of escape for the Greeks and kept his main force of 600 ships in the north area, up in this bay over here. But at that point he could have won, he had complete control of the Greek peninsula, he was in control of the situation, and as the text says, he's the bear that's devouring much flesh. But at this point Xerxes begins to demonstrate the weakness that eventually comes out in every commander in the kingdom of man, there's always a rise and a fall and these great commanders fall apart when they start operating on their mental attitude sin. So the Greeks were, at this point, at the mercy of Xerxes but Xerxes became impatient, and even though he had the opportunity at this point to destroy Greece, he began to demonstrate this arrogance and rather than waiting for the Greek fleet and the Athenians to be just starved out by having them holed up in Athens, he sent his Greek navy around for a flanking movement and they got ambushed at Salamis and 200 Persian ships were sunk, one of the great navy battles of all time.
He still could have won but in arrogance he blamed all of his naval commanders and like every good arrogant dictator he just brought them all out and had them shot. So that shows you that when arrogance takes over and emotion takes over and you quit thinking you start making bad decisions and this is really the beginning of the end for Persia because they have invaded Greece and now they've got all the Greeks mad at them, and it's going to take 150 years before Alexander comes back but Alexander is going to come back 150 years later in order to reek vengeance upon the Persians. So that gives the background for how the Persians begin to fall and the beginnings of the wars between the Greeks and the Persians.
Daniel 7:6, "After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird," now this is an odd looking creature, a flying leopard, "the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it." Now the picture of the leopard, the reason the leopard is chosen is because of its speed. It took eleven years for Alexander the Great to conquer the known world, from the time he came out of Macedon and started conquering in the Greek city states until he was on the banks of the Indus River in what is really now Pakistan but up until just after World War II when they split it off from India because the Pakistanis were Muslim, the Indians were Hindu, and they never could get along, they finally split it off and set Pakistan apart as a separate country. But that's really as far as Alexander got, just to the Indus River which is approximately the border between Pakistan and India. And he did that in eleven years.
So he's moving fast, like a leopard, and then he has on his back four wings, and those four wings are going to represent the four major battles that Alexander fights to conquer Asia. And the four heads are going to represent the four kings that come out of that Empire because Alexander is going to die prematurely at the age of 33 as a drunk; he never could handle life, he was a great military commander and he had a certain amount of battle courage but he didn't have the kind of moral courage to really face the issues of life and so he began to drink more and more as the years went by until it destroyed his health and at 33 he got some kind of infection, some kind of bacterial virus and because of his weakened physical condition from the alcohol he died. And the kingdom was given, he willed it to the strongest of his generals and it ended up going to four generals and those represent the four heads.
So we're going to see this winged leopard, four wings and four heads on this leopard, and the leopard in the Bible represents swiftness. Habakkuk 1:8, "Their horses are swifter than leopards, and keener than wolves in the evening, their horsemen come galloping, their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle swooping down to devour." There we see that leopards are known for their swiftness. So the lion is known for his strength and his speed, the bear for his strength and agility, and the leopard, not so much for his strength but for his speed. So this represents something about the speed with which this empire is going to grow.
In Daniel 8:5 we are going to learn something new about this third empire, Daniel says, "While I was observing, behold, a male goat was coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground," he's flying over the surface, he's moving so fast in his conquest, "; and the goad had a conspicuous horn between his eyes," and we'll discuss that when we get to chapter 8. Daniel 8:21, "And the shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece," so we have to look at the history of Greece in order to understand what is going on here and this is all background to Daniel 7 and 8. In Daniel 8:22 we're gold that "the four horns" that replaced the one that was broken off represent the four kingdoms that will emerge from his nation, but they won't have the same power. Do you have one nation, that's Alexander and then it's divided into four and it is what happens in that empire that's crucial because those four kings establish what becomes known as the Hellenistic Empire. The Greeks govern not only Greece but Asia Minor, the whole Syria/Palestinian area, and the Syrian Empire goes all the way into modern Iraq and Iran, and then the Ptolemies are down in Egypt and they run the Egyptian Empire.
So the whole known world on what's called the Levant or the eastern end of the Mediterranean is dominated by Greeks, and that sets up a universal culture that will provide the perfect situation for the coming of Jesus Christ. Now they're going to bring together the language known as Koine Greek, which is the common Greek language, plus an infrastructure that makes it possible later, under the Roman Empire, for the gospel to be spread. But the Roman Empire just moved in… once they conquered Greece they gained control of all of the eastern half of the empire. But the foundation for it, I mean the infrastructure is really laid by these four generals who take over Alexander's empire. That's why this is so important.
So this gives us kind of an overview, and this is a map of Alexander's conquests. We'll run through a brief overview of the history of the Greek Empire. In the middle fourth century the King of Macedon, Macedonia is located here in the hill and mountainous country to the north of Greece. There as a prince by the name of Philip, Philip of Macedon, he becomes the king of Macedonia, and he has been taken captive by the Thebans down in the Greek peninsula. And at this time Athens has been defeated, Thebes and Sparta are fighting it out for domination of Greece. The Spartans were the greatest soldiers and in Thebes there arose a man by the name of Epaminondes who emphasized in his teaching patriotism, freedom and responsibility. And he was a strong leader and at that time Thebes was run by an oligarchy but the people rejected the oligarchy and Epaminondes became the leader of Thebes.
He understood military tactics and he developed a tactic called the oblique order of battle where he would send a phalanx into the opposing force and then they would do an oblique left and hit them from the flank. And at the Battle of Leuctra they first executed that maneuver and one of their prisoners that was standing up on a hillside watching the battle was Philip of Macedon, and he got this great idea, and he went home with this idea of developing a phalanx where all of the soldiers had 30 foot pikes, and you have everyone with a 30 foot pike sticking out in front of them and it's almost like a rolling human tank coming at you and as they would pierce one opposing force then they would do a left oblique or a right oblique and then hit from the side, those pikes would just drive right into the side of the opposing army and then they would wipe them out. Unfortunately Philip died at a young age, he was thought to have been assassinated by Olympias who was the mother of Alexander, because he divorced her for a younger woman, set her aside. See, it's an old story and so there's often the suspicion that she had him poisoned. And at the age of 20, his son, Alexander, became the king of Macedon, and he had this great army and he decided to unite the Greeks, which he did, and in the process of raising this army he needed money and he went to the Caledonian Peninsula, which is located in this area where they discovered a tremendous amount of gold, and they used that to finance their maneuvers.
So first he united the Greeks, then he crossed over the Hellespont into Asia Minor and they fought their first major battle with Darius III at Granicus, and at that point Darius III becomes overwhelmed with mental attitude sins of fear, and he begins to realize how dangerous Alexander could be. He only had, at that particular battle Alexander had 30,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry, he had a ballista which like a catapult that could throw a 200 pound rock 300 yards, with deadly accuracy. We still don't know how they did that with the kind of technology they had at that time in history. Now we could do it today with modern elastics and rubber and different things like that but we don't know how they did it with the tools that they had. And he just had, as I said, less than 40,000 men and he was opposed by 100,000 Persians and he decisively defeated them. At one point in the battle the Persians had outflanked him so Alexander took his cavalry and personally led the charge against the Persians and when the battle was over he had only 150 dead and 300 wounded.
Alexander was a genius, he was interested in all kinds of things, he had been trained and tutored by Aristotle when he was a young man, and he was interested in medicine. He was interested in the treatment of wounds and he went around and personally prescribed for every one of the wounded exactly what their treatment was to be. So he was a fascinating individual and that introduces a key principle in leadership, is that a good leader takes care of his people. He takes care of their needs and watches out for them and that has great application to husbands, it's your responsibility as the leader in the home to take care of the needs of wives and children. That's the first wing of the four wings on the beast, the Battle of Granicus.
The second wing is the battle of Issus and that takes place at the juncture, at the northeast corner of the Mediterranean, and there he met Darius III again, this time he faces a larger army, a larger Persian army of 800,000 and Alexander has about 40,000 men with him and he just drives his phalanxes right into the middle of the army and then he does a left and a right oblique and hits them from both sides, splits them apart, and that was the second major defeat of the Persians and by this time Darius is almost insane with fear because he doesn't know how to stop Alexander.
Alexander then moved south to Tyre and there's a fascinating prophecy given by Ezekiel about how Tyre is going to be destroyed and what happened in order to avoid Alexander…there was an island, a lot like Galveston is to Houston, and they moved out on the island to avoid the siege or to survive the siege from Alexander. Well, Alexander just leveled the city and used all of the rubble from their buildings and everything, pushed it all out in the water, and used that to build a causeway. Well, Ezekiel's prophecy was that the land would be scraped clean and nothing would be left of Tyre, it would be completely destroyed with no remains and that's exactly what happened. So God used Alexander to fulfill that prophecy in destroying the town of Tyre.
He headed south and he conquered through Israel and the high priest brought him copies of Daniel's prophecies, here in Daniel 7 and in Daniel 8 showing that Alexander had been prophesied by God and so Alexander, he never became a believer but he did honor the high priest and the God who the high priest served in Jerusalem. He went down and conquered Egypt and then he headed back towards Persian and at the battle of Arbella, north of Babylon, he finally and decisively defeated the Persians. That is the third wing; it is at the battle of Arbella where he defeats an army of over a million Persians, the largest army they ever assembled, and at that point Darius became a fugitive until his followers finally assassinated him. And that was the end of the Achaemenid dynasty.
Then the fourth wing is his defeat and his conquest of India in the west, he headed north into Sogdiana where he married a Sogdianan princess and Bactria, which is all up in the Hindu Kush and northeast frontier of Afghanistan, which we've seen pictures of recently so we know how rugged that is, and notice, follow the line here, he heads up from the south across the Hindu Kush, goes up into the area that we also call the Himalayas, and he goes up into Sogdiana and he comes back with this major army and crosses the Hindu Kush again. Nobody else has ever done that once in history and he did it twice. Then he headed down to the Indus River, headed south and then when they hit the Indian Ocean they decided to build a navy, so they took out a couple of months and built a navy, and part of his army headed back along the coast, the other part came along the coast on the waters mapping all of the ports and all of the coves and inlets and that information was sent back to Aristotle and unfortunately most of that information has been lost in history.
The problem was Alexander went back to Babylon where he became entranced with the oriental culture of the Persians and so he began this great idea that he was going to merge east and western cultures; he was multicultural. And God stopped it. You see, what had happened back earlier with Xerxes invading the west, God halted the invasion of the east into the west, He stopped that, as He did later on in the 1400s with the invasion of the Moslems when they invaded and laid siege to Vienna. God has always protected Western Europe and I think He always will because there has to be a Western European culture that is distinct from the Arabic culture and that goes back to the prophecy of Noah, the prophecy regarding his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. The Europeans are the Japhethites and the Arabs are either Shemites and of course the Egyptians are Hamites, but there is going to be this distinction. We have to understand all of these people today in terms of their Biblical roots and the prophecies of Noah and other earlier prophecies. So God has always protected Western Europe from the invasion of the east.
Well, the west invaded the east with Alexander but after he got there he decided he wanted to merge the two and his generals and those under him were extremely dissatisfied, they didn't like the fact that he dressed like an Oriental potentate, they didn't like the fact that he had taken a Sogdianan princess for a wife, they didn't like the fact that he was taking over all of the practices of the Orientals and that he wanted to be worshiped as a god and become deified. So he had an internal revolt on his hands and as he was pushing to merge eastern and western culture, God stepped in, the sovereignty of God, and took his life when he was 33 years of age, and that caused a breakup of the kingdom.
Here's a map showing the breakup of the kingdom into the four heads. Over here is Macedonia and Greece, here is Thrace, here is Asia Minor and the two major kingdoms of Phrygia and Cappadocia, and then here is the Persian Empire going across Iraq, Iran and modern Afghanistan. Down here is the Arabian Peninsula and over here is Egypt. What happens is they're divided up so that one of his generals, Seleucus takes the eastern part of the empire. Another general, Antigonus tried to take over Asia Minor, Syria, Mesopotamia, but he is eventually defeated by Seleucus. Ptolemy was the smartest of the bunch and he headed south and isolated Egypt. And the last of the Ptolemies, remember Ptolemy was a Greek, and the last of the Ptolemies was his great-great-great granddaughter who was named Cleopatra. Cleopatra was not an Egyptian, she was a Greek and the last of the Ptolemies.
The civil wars and the struggle for power continued and it was not until about 280 BC that things finally leveled out and one of the generals, Cassander took over control of Macedonia and Greece, Lysimachus took control of Thrace and the western part of Asia Minor, but the central part and southern part of Asia Minor was all part of Syria and Syria extended from there over into what had been the Persian area, which is modern Iran and Iraq. That eventually broke up, they revolted against the Seleucid dynasty, and established the Parthian Empire out here to the east, and then Ptolemy maintained the greatest control and the greatest kingdom for the longest period of time as he controlled Egypt, and yet what lies right between Syria and Ptolemy, between Seleucus and Ptolemy there lies Jerusalem and Israel and that was always a battlefield. Keep this in mind because it is going to be one of the Seleucids, Antiochus Epiphanes who becomes a type of the antichrist and he's going to go into the Holy of Holies and slaughter a pig on the altar in the Holy of Holies, and that becomes a picture of what the antichrist is going to do in the Holy of Holies halfway through the Tribulation as the abomination of desolation.
So you see, without an understanding of this historical background, without an understanding of this ebb and flow through the Persian period and the Greek period it's going to be difficult to understand what happens in chapters 8, 9, and 10-12 in Daniel. But we'll repeat this many times so that you'll get a good foundation in ancient history. This is a tremendous illustration of how Jesus Christ controls history. And though kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall, God is still in control and He is continuously moving things in the direction He wants them to go to bring about His plan and purposes for mankind, and that's the ultimate point in Daniel related to all of these kingdoms, is that God is in control and when we look around in history today and we see the chaos that's going on in Israel with all the battles, we see the problems with the terrorists, and the battles that are going on in Afghanistan, there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Yet as Christians we can relax because we know God's in control and He is going to bring about His plan and purposes for mankind and so we can just relax and trust him and go get on an airplane and enjoy ourselves while everybody else is scared to death, because we have the promises of God. So if by change a terrorist attacks that airplane or tries to use it, then we'll just be face to face with the Lord so it just goes from good to better; we can relax.
Next week we'll come back and look at the fourth beast, which is the rise of Rome and then we're going to start getting into some tremendous Christology as we understand the picture in the middle of the chapter of the future kingdom of God. So it gets really good after this.