Instability in the Middle East
Daniel Lesson #50
July 3, 2002
Last week I went through Psalm 130 which has something to do with the whole issue of hope and confidence in the midst of difficult, the midst of crisis. But I did that for a particular reason; that was that someone in the congregation had some family members visiting who were not believers and they called and said they were coming and wanted to know if I could give a good gospel presentation. And you should be aware of that and anyone in the congregation, if that's happening you need to let me know because I don't mind shifting gears a little bit whenever that opportunity presents itself because that's what we're all about is making sure people hear the gospel.
Galatians 4:4 tells us that it was in the fullness of time that God sent forth Jesus Christ, that Jesus Christ was born in approximately 4 or 5 BC and that was not by chance; that was not an accident. God was preparing things and Daniel 11 gives us an insight into how God was preparing things through human history even 400 or 500 years before the birth of our Lord. Open your Bible to Daniel 11 and we're going to start moving through this remarkably detailed prophecy that the preincarnate Lord Jesus Christ gave to Daniel in approximately 538 BC. This prophecy is remarkable because it is an outline in detail of events that will occur in the next 200 or 399 years in Israel's history. And it is primarily for the purpose of giving insight to the Jews who are in the land, that despite the fact that they are going to be right at the center point between battles and between empires, and that they will be overrun several times and many horrible things will take place, that God is still in control. So one principle we learn from this chapter is that even though there is chaos in history, even though there may be crises and there may be much personal calamity as a result of the time in which we live, when we look at that from man's perspective it looks like everything is out of control. And yet the Scripture says that God is still in control.
Now this is a remarkable thing because many people get wrapped around the axle on the whole issue of man's freedom versus divine sovereignty and one of the fantastic things that we need to understand is that God's sovereignty is so great that His plan includes flexibility for the free decisions of His creatures. Let me give you just a little illustration of that. When God created all of the animal kinds in Genesis 1 He included within their genetic structures the ability to handle the chaos that would come from sin so that He created certain animals that were gramnivorous, they were herbivores, they were grass eaters, lions, tigers, certain now carnivorous dinosaurs. And yet after sin these species, these kinds, became carnivorous. There were quite a few changes that happened to those kinds, those certain animal kinds as a result of the chaos of sin. And that is just one way to illustrate how God's sovereignty is great enough so that He can control history and yet not violate individual human freedom. So though things may seem chaotic from our perspective, God is still in control.
The second thing we learn in this chapter is that there is genuine predictive prophecy in the Scripture unlike any other claims to prophecy anywhere else in human history; you will not find anything comparable to this anywhere, not even in your astrological column or Nostradamus or any other claim to fortune telling. The purpose for this is to provide hope for the believer, to provide confidence for the believer because when we know and we're confident that God is in control it then gives us the ability to relax in His control in the midst of chaos, whether it's personal chaos, national chaos or international chaos.
Now we find ourselves in our study of Daniel in Daniel 11:2 and I just want to briefly pick up the context as we move through this history of the Middle East as it's written hundreds of years before it happens. "And now I" that is the interpreting angel, "I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia." And we have studied these, that they began the heir to Cyrus the Great and passed on down through; the second king was Pseudo Smerdis and the third king was Darius Hystaspes, and then the fourth king which is mentioned in this verse is Xerxes. Darius Hystaspes was the father of Xerxes; he is the third king in this line mentioned here. "Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all of them…."
The fourth is Xerxes. But before we go to Xerxes I want to hit a couple of things on Darius Hystaspes. He set the stage for what would happen in the reign of Xerxes when he decided to invade Greece in 492 BC. The Persian Empire was enormous at that time, spread from Egypt all the way to the Indus River, the only place they had for expansion was to the west, to Europe, and though you may not recognize this or realize the significance of all of this, what took place in his reign and in Xerxes reign as the Persian advance to the east was stopped, it changed history. This is one of the most significant eras in all of human history. I would classify it alongside the battle of Tours when Charles Martel defeated the Moslems as they were headed up north across the Pyrenees into France, and a number of other battles, when they were stopped at the gates of Vienna in the 1480s, this protected western Europe from being taken over by ethnic groups whose area was to be in the east and in the Middle East.
God has always had a purpose for Europe and that does not mean that they are specially chosen but God has specific purposes and plans for each region and every ethnic group. That doesn't mean that one is favored over another but that they have distinct roles and distinct plans in history and part of that has to do with how things are going to play out in the end times. There is a king of the west, the antichrist, who is a ruler of a Revived Roman Empire ten nation confederacy in Europe and so we know from prophecy that no matter how many times the Asian or Oriental hordes try to invade Europe they will always be stopped, and they were stopped in the ancient world by the Greeks, both during the time of Darius Hystaspes and his son Xerxes.
Under Darius Hystaspes they invaded Greece, they crossed the Hellespont and came south and outside of Athens they were stopped at a battle of Marathon, and that's where we get the idea for marathon runs. The Greeks had a very famous runner who, after the battle was over and the Persians were defeated, the Persians under Darius got on their ships to make an end run around the peninsula to hit Athens on the flank and so they sent this runner 26 miles to Athens in order to warn them of the coming Persians. And because he was able to warn them they were able to defeat the Persian navy when it came around and so Darius tucked his tail and went back home.
That didn't sit well with the Persians and when Xerxes assumed the throne in 486 BC he amassed an army to invade Greece. He had a cousin by the name of Mardonius who was also one of his generals and Mardonius was a tremendous agitator for invasion of Europe because it just didn't sit well with his patriotic pride that the Persians had been defeated by the Greeks. You see, the Greeks were not a respected people in the ancient world because they had a rather decadent civilization. They promoted all kinds of sexual perversion and homosexuality, in fact they promoted homosexuality in the military because they felt like if you were having a love affair in the fox hole with you then you would fight a little stronger and fight a little better. So they were a perverted culture and a perverted society and the Persians rejected all of that. So they wanted to take over and destroy the Greeks.
Furthermore, the Trojans, you remember the battle of Troy and the Trojan horse from studying Greek history, the Trojans had never forgotten their defeat by the Greeks and they wanted to ally themselves with the Persians to get back at the Greeks. So they had sent out their feelers and various diplomats to Mardonius and Mardonius was pushing Xerxes to invade, so he amassed an army of 180,000 and they invaded Greece in 480 BC with between 180,000 and 200,000 men and 700 warships. In contrast to that the Greeks only had 300 ships and about 10,000 men and they only had a possibility of raising another 50,000. So in order to stop the Persians as they were headed south down the Greek peninsula, they sent as sort of a holding force 300 Spartan warriors under King Leonidas of Sparta to stop the Greeks. And there was one place, sort of a funnel, as you came south down the Greek peninsula at a place called Thermopylae which means hot springs, and all the 200,000 Persian army had to be squeezed through this very narrow pass. So the 300 Spartans were defending that pass and the Persians could not get past them, they were just completely bottled up and they couldn't get anywhere and if it weren't for the fact that there was a Greek traitor who informed them of some secret passes so that they could get around the Spartans and attack them from the rear, the Persians would have been defeated there. And that battle, the battle of Thermopylae, is considered one of the ten most significant battles in all of history because once again it prevented the Oriental peoples from invading Europe.
But the Persians did defeat the Greeks at Thermopylae, but they were delayed long enough to give the rest of the Greeks time to amass a force, and for the people in Athens to flee. Athens was warned and so all the Athenians fled town and they went out to an island off the coast called Salamis and when the Persian navy tried to attack them there the Greek navy ambushed them and that again is one of the most significant naval battles in all of history so at this point Xerxes was defeated.
Now Xerxes is the king that is mentioned here in verse 2, "Then a fourth" king in Persia, that's Xerxes, "will gain far more riches than all of them," and he had an extremely wealthy nation. In fact, when he fielded this army of 200,000, and of course he had to pay for them and he had to outfit them, it didn't overtax their budget at all and it didn't overtax their treasury. See what happens most of the time when you get into warfare, especially if you are not the aggressor, it taxes you and most nations have to go into some form of deficit spending which is exactly what's happening in our nation now; if you notice all of a sudden the Democrats have started screaming about how the Republicans are spending so much money. The reason we are spending so much money is because for the last 8 years in the previous presidency no money was spent on beefing up our armed forces and beefing up our armor. One of the reasons things have slowed down now in Afghanistan is because we spent so much of our weaponry during the last 8 or 9 months that we're having to rebuild our arsenal.
Xerxes didn't have that problem; he had far more riches than any of the previous rulers of Persia and so he was able to completely outfit his army and he was extremely strong and he aroused the entire Empire against the realm of Greece. So he does that. Now the purpose of this vision is not to go through a complete detailed history of Persia, so it stops there. It just tells them what will take place under Xerxes, that there would be subsequent rulers and eventually there will be a shift. And this occurs in verse 3 when a new empire would come into place and that's the Greek Empire.
Daniel 11:3, "And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases." Now this great king that arises is Alexander the Great, Alexander the Great was not a Greek, he was a Macedonian, and when his father, Philip II of Macedon, died he assumed the throne and he immediately invaded Greece and united all of the Greek city states or the polis and then he began to head east and he conquered the area which we know as Turkey, which is Asia Minor in the ancient world. Then he swung down through Syria and on down into the area of Israel. And everywhere he went Alexander imposed Greek culture and Greek language, more importantly, on the people he conquered. And he didn't realize that he was basically performing God's will when he imposed a Greek language on everyone but as a result but as a result of what Alexander did, it both unified, when he unified all of the Greek armies and unified all the Greek city states, it forced them to develop a common language; take all of the various Greek dialects that they had been speaking up to that point, whether it was Attic Greek, whatever the dialect it was, Doric Greek, and they merged together into a new language that was called common Greek or Koine Greek.
Now Koine Greek still has elements in it and still has idioms in it that are holdovers from the older languages. But just because we have an idiom in our language that is a holdover from Elizabethan English doesn't mean we're speaking Elizabethan English. For example, if you make a serious mistake in something you're trying to do you might be told that you're hoisting yourself on your own petard. Some of you may not know where that comes from but it's a line that comes out of Hamlet and those terms were common back in Elizabethan English. A petard was a very early form of a hand grenade and you would have these combat engineers who would take this explosive charge and they would go up to the fortified walls around the city and they would then plant this charge under the wall and light the fuse and hopefully get away before the petard exploded. And if the petard exploded too soon then they would go up in the air with the charge and they would be hoist on their own petard. That's where that comes from. And I have heard that expression, I've had professors and other people use that phraseology. I used to have a philosophy professor, that was his favorite phrase for describing someone who had just committed some logical fallacy but just because he uses a phrase that has its source in Elizabethan English doesn't mean that he was speaking Elizabethan English.
So when you get into the Koine Greek of the New Testament you may find certain phrases, idioms and structure that have their source in Ionic Greek or Doric Greek or Attic Greek but it is not any of those, it is Koine Greek. There is as much of a time difference between Koine Greek which came into spoken use throughout the east and the Middle East by the 2nd century BC, there is about as much difference between it and these earlier dialects as there is between Elizabethan English and modern English, probably a greater difference.
So what Alexander was doing was actually laying the ground work for the spread of the gospel after the time of Christ because in all the lands that he conquered he forced the people to learn how to speak Greek, it became the lingua franca of those nations and everyone who was educated learned Greek. Even the people on the street, the language of commerce, was in Koine Greek. So by the time of the New Testament the New Testament could be written in Koine Greek and it could spread all throughout, not only the Roman Empire but also into areas of the Middle East and all the way over to India.
In Daniel 11:4 we're told, "But as soon as he has arisen," notice the detail here, "as soon as he has arisen." Alexander took five years to conquer the ancient world, he assumed the kingship of Macedon in 333 BC, he began his conquest about 328 BC, and he died in 323 BC; in five years he conquered the world. And "as soon as has arisen his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass," notice the details of the four divisions, "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."
Let's look at that first phrase, "as soon as he has arisen," this verse foretells something that no one would have believed in 323 BC, that a genius such as Alexander who had done so much in destroying the world would just basically kill himself through his drunkenness and debauchery and it was in a tremendous drunken party in Babylon in 323 BC that Alexander died. He died an alcoholic; he was basically discouraged because there was nothing else to conquer. And at that point the whole order of things, from the Adriatic Sea in the west to the mountains of central Asia, the dusty plains of the Punjab, everything changed. Everything up to that point had been under one ruler, under one fantastic genius, but when he died everything fell apart.
Now all of this reminds us that God is in control. Proverbs 21:21 tells us that "the kings heart is like channels of water in the hands of the LORD, and He turns it wherever He wishes." This is a reminder that God controls history; in fact, it's the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ who controls history and no matter what a king, a ruler, a terrorist or the head of some terrorist organization may seek to accomplish, God is still in control and God is the one who is going to use their decisions to accomplish His ultimate plans. God is the ultimate one in control of human history.
Now one of the things that we learn as we go through this passage and as we look back in Daniel 9 and Daniel's prayer is that no matter what happens and what the leaders of nations intend to do, what terrorist thugs intend to do, God has a special plan, He's given a special privilege to believers and that's prayer and that history has changed many times because of the prayers of believers. As we've seen in this passage, this is an opportunity for believers, today and what we're facing with this war on terrorism to have a tremendous impact on history because of their prayers and the way they pray. And so Daniel had a tremendous impact because of his intercessory prayer toward God.
Now in verse 4, this gives us a fantastic indication of God's plan for the future, that Alexander would not last, his kingdom would not last, but God would still have a plan for Israel. Now the Jews were very interested in Alexander because Alexander was very pro-Semitic. The Persians had been very pro-Semitic under Cyrus and under Darius and under Xerxes, they had policies that were very positive to the Jews and so for many years under those administrations the Jews had prospered. Now they lived at a time when things weren't a whole lot different than they are today. Remember, they were defeated and taken out of the land, not for 2000 years but for 70 years. And when Cyrus issued his decree for the Jews to return to the land, it wasn't much different from the return to the land for the Jews in 1948. There were people who had settled in the land, people who were making their homes in the land that been the Jews, and when the Jews returned they were jealous, they were envious and they didn't want the Jews to come back and so they were hostile. They did everything they could to sabotage the rebuilding in Jerusalem; they did everything they could to stop the building projects on the temple and when Nehemiah returned they did everything they could to keep Nehemiah from rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem. And what we see from this is the lesson that anti-Semitism is always ripe and anti-Semitism is always wrong. It is always ripe because Satan is always using anti-Semitism to try to destroy the Jews. He tried to destroy the Jews in the Old Testament in order to prevent the coming of the Messiah at the First Advent.
He's trying to destroy the Jews today because he's trying to prevent the coming of Messiah at the Second Advent which will announce his ultimate doom. So we have to be aware of what's going on in terms of anti-Semitism today and the increase of anti-Semitism, especially in Europe, is just phenomenal. There have been over 350 incidents of anti-Semitism in France in the last year and a half. The frequency of anti-Semitic riots in Russia is much more than it ever has been in the past and is continuing to increase. There have been anti-Semitism riots not only in Russia but also in the Ukraine. The chief rabbi of London has issued warnings to the Jews in England because of the rise of anti-Semitism in England. The chief rabbi in Brussels issued a report because he was personally attacked and was beaten up by a bunch of thugs in their anti-Semitism actions. So we are living in an age today when anti-Semitism is on the rise, when we have to be very careful of it because the guise that it is taking today is not the kind of racist ethnic anti-Semitism that you saw in Germany in the 30s and 40s, but is designed…it's cloaked in the idea well, you know the Palestinians are really getting a raw deal, so let's not really support the nation Israel and the anti-Semitism today is not cloaked in an anti state of Israel mentality but however it is disguised it is still wrong. That doesn't mean we have to agree with every decision the Israeli government makes but it does mean that overall we have to support them and continue to support them against the Palestinians.
It's very interesting that when Alexander was taking his army down the Mediterranean, down through Syria and Tyre and down into the area of Israel he came to an area near Gaza and while he was there some of his men suggested that he go to Jerusalem and accept a surrender of the Hebrew state. Now the Jews were willing to surrender to Alexander because of what was stated here in Daniel 11:2-3, they knew who Alexander was and they understood his role in history. And so Alexander took his entourage with him and they headed to Jerusalem in order to meet with the high priest of Jerusalem and to accept their surrender. Josephus records this for us and it's one of the most unusual events in human history It's not recorded in the Bible because it took place during the time between the Old Testament and New Testament but it does give us tremendous insight on how this was fulfilled.
Josephus writes: "For Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance in white garments while the priests are clothed with fine linen, and the high priest in purple and scarlet clothing, having the golden plate whereon the name of God was engraved, he approached by himself and adored the name and greeted the high priest first." Now that's very unusual; here was the conqueror of the world grating the high priest and not the other way around as protocol would dictates. This was an astounding thing and really impressed the Jews. "The Jews also, altogether with one voice," Josephus goes on to say, "then did greet Alexander and encompassed him about whereupon the kings of Syria and the rest were surprised at what Alexander had done and supposed him disordered in his mind. However, one of them alone went up to him and asked him how it came to pass that when all the other countries adored Alexander, he should reverse things and adore first the high priest of the Jews. Alexander replied, I did not adore him but that the God who had honored him with his high priesthood, for I saw this very priest in a dream and this very clothing when I was in Macedonia when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, this priest exhorted me to take no delay but boldly to pass over the sea 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 particular clothing 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, 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 priest 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. After Alexander's party went into the temple, and as they offered the sacrifice, then the priests came out and opened the scroll and turned to the book of Daniel. And when the book of Daniel was shown to Alexander, 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 begged them ask what favors they pleased of him, whereupon the high priest desired that they might enjoy the laws of the Jews and might pay no tribute on the seventh year."
In other words, they asked for a favor from Alexander to live under their own laws. So Alexander did that and a number of Jews entered into his service. They entered into his army and he also used many Jews as administrators throughout his empire. And so Jews always had a special status in Alexander's empire. Now when Alexander died, if we look at the verse, the next verse, apparently they didn't read the next verse to him, Daniel 11:4, "But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and divided toward the four winds," so we have the division of his kingdom into four. And this was divided among four of his generals.
Now before we get to that, one of the things that was caused to accomplish this was the intrigue among his heirs. Alexander had a beautiful young wife by the name of Roxana and at the time Alexander died she was pregnant. And she had a son whom she also named Alexander and he was the legitimate heir to Alexander's throne. But Alexander also had a brother and this brother was not very bright, and he had a very possessive mother. Remember it was his mother who had intrigued also to have his father killed. So his mother schemes and plots and hires a couple of hit men to take out Alexander's brother in order to secure the descendant to go to Alexander's heir. So when Philip, Alexander's brother was assassinated and was poisoned, then that secured the inheritance to Alexander's son. But Alexander's generals were also very crafty and probably… this almost reminds me of that scene at the end of Godfather, if you remember that, when everybody is getting murdered everywhere, that's what's happening here and so the generals get together and they conspire against Roxana and Olympia and they have them poisoned and killed as well as the baby. So now that all of the heirs are wiped out, only the generals can take over and so the Greek Empire that Alexander amassed is now divided into four sections.
One of his generals, Ptolemy, takes over Egypt and he initially has control over the area of Israel. The second general that takes control is Seleucus, and Seleucus has control over much of Turkey and Syria and the northern part of Palestine and what would be the main part of the old Babylonian Persian Empire. The third general is Cassander, Cassander gets control over Macedonia and Greece, and then Lysimachus gets the small section of Thrace and the western part of Asia Minor. Now if you're geographically challenged here's a map that will give you an idea of this. This is the area of Greece and Macedonia; this area went to Cassander. This area, Thrace is just across from the Hellespont. This little area right here, you have a small body of water here between the Dardanelles and the Hellespont, this is the land bridge that goes between Asia and Greece, and so it's right in this area. Thrace is the country just on the European side and Thrace and the western part of Turkey goes to Lysimachus. Then the main body goes to Seleucus, from the southern part of modern Turkey, Asia Minor, all the way down through what would be modern Syria, Iraq and Iran, that all went to Seleucus. And Ptolemy was down here in Egypt and also out on Cyprus. But during the early period he also controlled all the area that we would call modern Israel today.
What's going to come up in these next verses, from verse 5-16 is an outline of the history that will take place over the next couple hundred years and the descendants of Seleucus and Ptolemy vie for power and control in the Middle East. Some of this history may go right past you because you're not really interested in history, but the important thing you should notice is the detail of the prophecy. Remember most of the events that take place here do not take place for another 300 years. This prophecy is given in about 538 BC and most of these things aren't fulfilled until that period around 200 BC, plus or minus 50 years. So it is clear predictive prophecy.
In verse 5 we're told, "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 this introduces us to the first personage who is simply referred to in the text as the king of the south. There's going to be a king of the south in Daniel 11 and a king of the north. The king of the south is the Ptolemaic line; the king of the north is the Seleucid line, which is in Syria. Don't get that confused with, you may have heard that the king of the north is invading at the beginning of the Tribulation or sometime during the Tribulation, the king of the north, if we're going to stick with hermeneutics, the king of the north in Daniel 11 is Syria or that area.
This is one of the greatest interpretive challenges to understand Daniel 11 and I'm still trying to wade my way through some of the details and frankly it just isn't all that clear and I've checked with several people and they say well, I teach it this way or I teach it that way, then they'll say I'm the least dogmatic about this than I am anything else in Scripture, because when we get into the latter part of the chapter we're going to see some things that take place at the beginning, or perhaps in the middle or maybe at the end of the Tribulation and we'll have to look at how those events fit with the invasion of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal in Ezekiel 37 and 37 and that's where the difficulty lies, is understanding how these things connect together. So we'll put that off and just get into the easy part which is history. You can always see how prophecy was accurately fulfilled historically but it's not always clear how it's going to be fulfilled yet in the future. When the times comes and it's fulfilled we'll say boy, that was precise. We'll see exactly how it's fulfilled but sometimes ahead of time you're not always sure and you're not always as accurate as you think you are.
Daniel 11:5 introduces this king, he's Ptolemy I, and he is the one who assembles a tremendous power base in Egypt and along the Levant; that is the area that we call modern Israel today. And this Ptolemaic line and the Ptolemies are going to dominate the Middle East, including Israel, from 323 BC until 200 BC and that ascendancy is going to end in 200 BC with the battle of Panias between the Ptolemies in the south and the Seleucids in the north.
In Daniel 11:5 we read, "Then the king of the South will grow strong," this is the growth of Ptolemy I, "along with one of his princes who will ascendancy over him and obtain dominion; his domain will be a great dominion indeed." Now this is somewhat of a confusing translation. Actually, "the king of the South will grow strong, along with one of his princes," (comma) "along with one of his princes," that refers to Seleucus in the north, and "the one who will gain ascendancy over him" is the king of the south, so there should be a comma after "princes," "the king of the South will grow strong, and he will gain ascendancy over one of his princes and obtain dominion, and his domain will be a great dominion." This is exactly what happened historically. Seleucus I served under Ptolemy in Egypt; in fact, Seleucus I held a military post in the Ptolemaic administration and was an admiral in Ptolemy I's navy. Ultimately he left Ptolemy and went north as he began to consolidate his own kingdom in the north.
Then in verse 6 we read, "And after some year as they will form an alliance," and this was the typical procedure up until recent years, that if you were going to enter into a treaty agreement between two nations you didn't do it by sending all of your lawyers and diplomats, what you did was you made sure you had lots of daughters and you married your daughters off to these various kings and heads of state in other countries and that would secure the treaty. So this is exactly what happened in the way that the Ptolemies formed an alliance with the Seleucids is that Ptolemy II had a daughter by the name of Bernice and Bernice was sent north to marry Seleucus.
And this is the reference here, she is the daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus, who is Ptolemy II, and she marries Antiochus II in the north. Now both her father, Ptolemy Philadelphus, and her husband, Antiochus II die in the same year, 246 BC. And that's what's prophesied here. "…and the daughter of the king of the south will come to the king of the north to carry out a peaceful arrangement." She's going to seal the peace treaty. "But she will not retain her position of power," she's put in a place of power but she doesn't retain it because even though she comes to be the wife of Seleucus what happens is he already has a wife and her name is Laodice, and for obvious reasons she is very jealous of the young and beautiful Bernice, and also very vindictive so she is going to hatch a plot, this is one of the famous scandals in the ancient world, and she is going to manage to poison Antiochus II. She had already provided him with a son named Seleucus II whom she wanted to be the heir to the throne. So in order to secure that she also poisoned Bernice and a son that had borne for Antiochus II which left Seleucus II as the sole heir to the throne of the Seleucid line. When it says that she "did not retain her position of power" it's because she was killed.
"…nor will he remain with his power," that refers to her husband, Antiochus II, and he could "not remain with his power" because he died in that same year, 246 BC, "but she shall be given up, along with those who brought her in," the whole entourage is wiped out by this vindictive other wife, "and the ones who sired her," that is Ptolemy Philadelphus, "the one who sired her as well as he who supported her in those times," her father dies. Her father dies in Egypt, her husband dies in Syria; he's poisoned, she's poisoned, the child they had is poisoned, everybody is wiped out and there's a major turning point in the affairs of state between the Ptolemies and the Seleucids.
Then in Daniel 11:7 it states, "But one of the descendants of her line will arise in his place," now the descendant of her line is not an …[tape turns]…actually in verse 7 it more accurately reads, "But from a branch of her roots," think of a family tree, "a branch of her roots," her roots goes back to her ancestors and another branch is someone coming out of another line of the family, and that refers to her brother. Her brother was Ptolemy III who was called by history, Euergetes, which means the benefactor. And this is a reference to him. "One of the descendants of her line will arise in his place, and he will come against their army" that is the army of the Seleucids in the north, "and enter the fortress of the king of the North, and he will deal with them and display great strength." So he's going to head north and he's going to defeat the armies of the Seleucids. And as he does that he's going to conquer Babylon which is one of their major strongholds and when he does that, remember he's from Egypt; he's got an Egyptian army, they're going to come in and they're going to go into the temples in Babylon and they're going to discover all of these tremendous objects that had been stolen from them back when the Persians had invaded under Cambyses, invaded and conquered Egypt. So they go into the temple and they find all of these artifacts and all their idols and all the gold and silver and they're going to take that back to Egypt and for that reason he is called the great benefactor of the Egyptians.
We read in Daniel 11:8, "And also their gods," all of their golden idols and silver idols had been taken to Babylon, "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 after that there will be a period of peace or relative stability in the region. Then in verse 9 we read, "Then the latter will enter the realm of the king of the South," the "later" is the king of the north, another descendant of the Seleucids, and this is Seleucus III and his son, Antiochus III the Great. And in verse 9 they are going to return to Egypt and invade Egypt and it says, "the latter will enter the realm of the king of the South, but will return to his own land." Verse 10, "And his sons will mobilize and assemble a multitude of great forces; and one of them will keep on coming and overflow and pass through that he may again wage war up to his very fortress." Now this gets a little confusing because of all of the pronouns. The term "his sons" refers to the individual in verse 9 who chased after the king of the South. "The sons" in verse 10 are the sons of Seleucus II. He had two sons, Seleucus III and Antiochus III. Antiochus III called himself Antiochus the Great and he mobilizes his army against the king of the South. Seleucus III died in battle three years after he succeeded his father and he was in turn succeeded by his brother, Antiochus III. Now he is the one is the father of Antiochus IV, called Antiochus Epiphanes who we'll study next time.
But he heads down to attack the Ptolemies and is defeated just south of Gaza. So he has to go down and he goes through the land, notice it says he "will keep on coming and overflow," that is he overflows through the land of Israel, and he "passes through," so God is warning the Jews at that time that you are going to be overrun time and time again by these armies. You're going to be right in the middle of this battle between the king of the North and the king of the South, and this is going to be a tremendous time of calamity and instability for you.
Now here's the application. We live in a time when we have this war against terrorist. We don't know what's going to happen. We don't know if there's going to be another major terrorist attack on this country in the next couple of weeks or the next six months; we don't know if it's going to be just a few attacks here and there, suicide bombers or something of that nature or whether it's going to be another major event on the order of September 11. But whatever happens it could have devastating consequences for the economic life of this nation. There are some areas, some industries, some business that because of what happened on September 11 they haven't been able to recover. There are people, not only living in New York but in other parts of the country who basically lost their jobs and their careers, or their jobs or careers are in serious jeopardy as a result of the economic instability since September 11. Whenever you live in a nation during a time of war of whenever there is international or national instability, people who have nothing to do with those events are going to suffer tremendously. Some of you may remember World War II; even during World War II, times like that there were many people in this nation who suffered. Perhaps they were in a job where there was rationing and they just basically couldn't deal in their commodity during the war and they lost their career. They suffered not because they were in battle, not because they lost a loved one but simply because they could not exercise their career in a nation that was involved in a war like that at that time.
There's all kinds of collateral suffering that we're going to go through during this war of terrorism and in order to survive you have to have doctrine in your soul and you have to realize God is still in control even though you may go through a time of tremendous personal difficulty and suffering. And this is the underlying warning in this chapter to the Jews, is that there's going to be war, there's going to be suffering, you're going to be overrun, your cities, your towns, your villages, are going to be overrun. When these armies come through they're going to at times rape the women, they're going to kill people, they're going to persecute Jews and you have to be prepared to handle it and the only way that you'll be prepared is through doctrine. So that's one of the reasons this information is given.
This is a picture of the time during the later Maccabean kingdom but it gives us an idea of the geography of the area. If we look at this area, here's Gaza, this area along the Mediterranean is the present Gaza Strip and there's the town Raphia just south of Gaza. This was the site of the defeat of Antiochus III by Ptolemy IV.
In Daniel 11:11 we read, "And the king of the South will be enraged and go forth and fight with the king of the North." So the Ptolemies are going to head north and fight with the king of North, and "the latter," that is the Seleucid, and this would be Antiochus III, "will raise a great multitude, but that multitude will be given into the hand of the former." So this is referencing Antiochus III's defeat by the Ptolemies. Verse 12, "When the multitude is carried away, his heart will be lifted up, and he will cause tens of thousands to fall;" this is the pride of Antiochus III who then went back in defeat, and caused tremendous problems, he continued to try to fight the king of the South and hundreds lost their life, "yet he will not prevail.  For the king of the North will again raise a greater multitude than the former, and after an interval of some years he will press on with a great army and much equipment.  Now in those times many will rise up against the king of the South; the violent ones among your people" that is the Jews, "will also lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they will fall down." Notice the warning; don't get involved in the warfare between the king of the South and the king of the North. Those who do, those who align themselves with the king of the North are going to end up suffering and they will be defeated. So there's a warning there not to get involved in this warfare between the king of the north and the king of the south.
Daniel 11:15, "Then the king of the North will come, cast up a siege a mound, and capture a well fortified city; and the forces of the South will not stand their ground, not even their choicest troops, for there will be no strength to make a stand." This is talking about the capture of Sidon where the forces of the South have come up and captured Sidon and then the forces of the North attack them, and defeat them and they are driven back down into the south. Then we come to verse 16, "But he who comes against him will do as he pleases," this is a reference to Antiochus IV Epiphanes, that "he who comes against him," the second "him" there is the king of the South, "he will do as he pleases, and no one will be able to withstand him; he will also stay for a time in the Beautiful Land," that is Israel, "with destruction in his hand."
So this is a warning of coming destruction under Antiochus Epiphanes. Now these verses give us the background in terms of the prophecy of the setup for Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus Epiphanes is the one ruler in human history who is chosen by the Old Testament, by God, to be a representative, a type of the antichrist. So if we want to know what the antichrist is going to be like, we have a picture God provides for us in the person of Antiochus Epiphanes and in what happens during his reign as he is attacking Israel. We've studied some of this already but we're going to get into more detail in the next section, and from verse 17 down through verse 28, we're going to focus on Antiochus Epiphanes and that's going to be important to set the framework for understanding the function of the antichrist during the Tribulation.
In verse 29 there is a shift, and from that point on we're talking about the antichrist, not the historical figure of Antiochus Epiphanes. With our heads bowed…