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Wed, Jul 10, 2002

51 - The Seleucid Empire

Daniel 11:10-33 by Robert Dean
Series:Daniel (2001)
Duration:56 mins 32 secs

R/Dean Daniel Lesson 51

The Seleucid Empire – Daniel 11:10-33

 

We'll continue our study in Daniel 11 and I know that for some people this is one of those sections that is going to drive you up the roof because when we get into this kind of historical detail in the Old Testament some folks just don't have a tremendous appreciation for it and it's not often that you get into a text like this that, from our perspective is nothing more than history, but from the perspective of Daniel is it predictive prophecy.  Daniel writes about 537 BC and it's fulfilled and this fulfillment takes place between approximately 220 BC and 140 BC, so 220 from 530 is 310; he's telling this in detail so keep that in mind, don't lose the forest for the trees as we go through the detail here because we have to go back to understanding why Daniel was written. 

 

Daniel is part of wisdom literature; the Jews divided the Old Testament up into three sections.  There was the Torah which the first five books of Moses, the Pentateuch which was designed to give them the Las and specific mandates related to both salvation and the ceremonial law, the ritual of the Old Testament, the priesthood, as well as civil law.  Then you have the Prophets, the former prophets which would include Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 1 Kings and the latter prophets, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Twelve or what we call the Minor Prophets.  But Daniel wasn't listed with the prophets, Daniel was listed among what was called the Kethubim, the Writings and the primary thrust of the Writings was wisdom; it has to do with application. 

 

So when we get to a passage like this, which you ought to be thinking is not how boring this is to run through this regiment of the Seleucid and Ptolemaic dynasties and their respective kingdoms but the fact that God is giving this information to the Jews 300 years in advance in order to prepare them for how to handle the situation when a man, a ruler, is going to come on the scene that God sovereignly chooses to be the representative…of all rulers I want you to think about this, of all rulers in history from Adolph Hitler to the Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, Joseph Stalin, think about the heinous leader that you love to hate the most and God did not choose anyone like that to be the representative, the type of the antichrist.  God chose Antiochus Epiphanes and all this prophecy leads up to Antiochus Epiphanes who comes on the scene in about verse 36.  So God is preparing the Jews to recognize that there is going to be a tremendous amount of political chaos and instability.  There will be a tremendous amount of warfare going back and forth through the land and a tremendous amount of economic instability, all leading up to this one individual coming on the scene.

 

We could make application to that, we don't know how close we are to the Tribulation but it's very likely that since this is a type of the antichrist that it's very likely that in the years preceding the rapture, but definitely preceding the rise of the antichrist, it could be just that period between the rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation, there will be a time of tremendous instability and a time of tremendous fear.  I know a case can be made that it would just be the time between the rapture and the Tribulation because once all believers are removed from the earth in the exit resurrection of the rapture there's going to be a tremendous amount of chaos on the earth as a consequence of that.  But that chaos may precede the rapture to some decree, we just don't know, prophecy isn't that specific and so we have to be careful of those who try to make it that way. 

 

So the application from Daniel 11 is that God's still in control, no matter how unstable things may be, no matter how frightening things may appear, no matter how much suffering might come on the scene, both personally and nationally, God is still in control and God is working out His plans and purposes.

 

Last week I went home and I thought so much strange material, so much historical information that's foreign to everybody that I tried to think of some ways to pull it together and give a visual so that we could understand it a little better and so that you could sit there not so glassy-eyed perhaps and try to put things together a little more.  Let's go back to verse 9 just to pick up the context. 

 

Daniel 11:9, "The king of the north shall come to the kingdom of the king of the South, but shall return to his own land."  The king of the north here refers to the area of what we would call Syria; that was the Seleucid Empire.  After the death of Alexander the Great his great Greek Empire which you see on the map was divided up.  Actually the Greek Empire was divided among four generals, Cassander, Lysimachus, and they are never mentioned in Scripture because their empires don't touch on Biblical events and Biblical history.  Then there was Ptolemy who went to Egypt and took over that part of the empire and then Seleucus I who had control of what would appear to be the lion's share, at least territorially, the area from up all here down through the Zagros Mountains, all of this area, modern Iraq, Iran, Parthia moves into the area of modern Afghanistan, all the way down to the Indian border.  All of this was under the control of the Seleucids, beginning with Seleucus I and his great competitor was Ptolemy I down in Egypt.  At the beginning of this period the Ptolemies were clearly in ascendancy.  This whole area that would include modern Lebanon, Jordan and much of Syria and Palestine was all part of the Egyptian sector.  That was all part of Ptolemies empire to begin with and that was really the area that was fought over between these two empires. 

 

And verse 9 tells us the king of the north shall come down to the kingdom of the south and should then return to his own land.  However, his sons shall stir up strife.  Now the problem that you get into trying to read through the text is that there's a tremendous number of third person singular pronouns, he, he, his, his, and it's very difficult to keep track of who the reference is so I tried to put some things together.  Here's a picture of Ptolemy I bringing an offering to the gods. 

 

In Daniel 11:9-10 we have a reference to Antiochus III in the north, that's the "his," however, "his sons," the king of the north that comes south is Antiochus III, excuse me, this is Seleucus II and his sons, he had two sons Seleucus III and Antiochus III and this pretty much will characterize the next few years in their empire.  So Seleucus II wins control of Syria from Ptolemy III after an initial period that I went over last time where Ptolemy III was a tremendous conqueror, in fact, he defeated Seleucus to begin with and conquered almost all of his empire and sacked it all the way to India, but then he went home and several years later Seleucus returned and headed south and won some territory. 

 

In Daniel 11:10, "And his sons" that is Seleucus II, his sons, and he had two sons that will reign, Seleucus III and Antiochus III, "his sons will mobilize and assemble a multitude of great forces;" so 300 years ahead of time Daniel says there's going to be a ruler, two rulers and they are both going to mount major invasions down through Palestine to attack the king of the south.  And one of them, he says in the second part of the verse, "and one of them will keep on coming and overflow and pass through that he may again wage war up to his very fortress."  The "his" there at the end is the king of the South, that is Ptolemy III, and this describes the beginning of what's called the fourth Syrian war.  They had had three Syrian wars before the first Syrian war was involved, Ptolemy II against Antiochus I and Ptolemy II fought both of them in the first and second Syrian wars; the third Syrian war was between Ptolemy III and Antiochus II, so this is the fourth Syrian War.

 

Now here's a chart, the list on the left are the Seleucids, starting with Seleucus I Nicator, the victor who reigned from 321-281 BC, he was succeeded by his son Antiochus I Sotar meaning savior.  Notice the way they're adopting terms of divinity for their names.  Antiochus I Sotar reigns from 280-261 BC; he is succeeded by his son, Antiochus II called Theos or God from 261-246 BC; he's followed by Seleucus II called Callinicus, he reigns from 312-281 BC he's the one who finally wrests control of Syria after Ptolemy.  That's where we are in this passage.  So in verse 10 we're looking at Seleucus II and then he has two sons who are Seleucus III Sotar from 225-223, he only has three years in power before he's killed in battle.  And then Antiochus III who called himself The Great, he had pretensions to greatness, he was going to be the next Alexander and he was always involved in some kind of a military expansion program in order to increase their territory.  Antiochus III is the one who comes along to mobilize various forces and this is the one that's mentioned in Daniel 11:10, the one that will keep on coming, one of them, that's the second one, Antiochus III "will keep on coming and overcome and pass through, that he may again wage war up to the fortress." 

 

Now he's fighting Ptolemy IV, on the other side of the chart we have Ptolemy IV Philipator, and that means lover of his father, and he reigned from 221-203 BC.  And Ptolemy IV was the Hugh Hefner of the ancient world, every time I read something about him they used words like dilettante, playboy, womanizer, great debauchery, he would rather sit at home and chase all of his wives than do anything else.  And as Antiochus III was invading from the north to seize the area of Palestine he was finally forced to get out of his bed, I guess, and to gather an army together and go into battle.  So he did and he met Ptolemy IV at a place called Raphia, and Raphia.  Ptolemy was coming south with an army of 70,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry, and 73 elephants, that's your heavy cavalry.  Antiochus had 62,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry and 102 elephants so he has a great multitude. 

 

Daniel 11:13 says, "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."  So he's headed down with, Antiochus is headed down with this army of about 68,000 and 102 elephants and yet Antiochus is going to be defeated by Ptolemy IV at Raphia.  So he goes back home and he nurses his wounds and for the next 8 years he just kinds of rests as far as Ptolemy is concerned and in the meantime he's off conducting military campaigns into the Caspian Sea area and out along the Indus River.  But he never takes his dreams away from conquering Palestine.  And in 203 BC as you can see by this chart, Ptolemy IV is going to die and at that time Antiochus puts his army together and he's going to go down and go after Egypt again.  Here's a map, this is where Raphia is located, along the coast.  We're look at Israel from the east, looking west towards the Mediterranean; here's the Dead Sea, here's Jerusalem and here's Raphia, right along the coast, the scene of that famous battle where Ptolemy IV defeated Antiochus III.

But Antiochus is going to come back and this time he's going to align himself with Philip V of Macedon.  And in Daniel 11:14 we read, "Now in those times" that means at approximately the same time but now we know from history that it was about ten years later, "in those times many will rise up against the king of the South;" who is Ptolemy IV, and the "many" would include some Jews but it would also include the Greeks.  Antiochus has allied himself with Philip V of Macedon who seizes several of the Aegean islands, Cypress and Crete, and he's on his way to Egypt.  And then Daniel is warned that there will be "the violent ones among your people will also lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision," see, they're going to try to make prophecy happen. 

 

This is one of the dangerous things that you see sometimes with evangelicals even today.  We know prophecy, we know God has a plan for Israel and so there are evangelicals who are trying to manipulate things; there are evangelicals who have been involved in trying to raise the red heifer to get over to Israel, there was a Christian somewhere in the south, Alabama or Mississippi was very instrumental in that.  There have been many evangelicals who have given thousands if not millions of dollars to the temple mount faithful over in Israel to help them rebuild all of the furniture for the future temple that they want to build on the holy mount, and I think this is an example.  I think this is something that we need to be careful of, that this is an example of people who are trying to manipulate prophecy, thinking that somehow we can speed things up and hurry up the rapture if we get involved in these kinds of things, and there's a warning here in the ancient world to Daniel that there would be those among his people who would "lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision," they want to hurry things along, the know there is going to be this world ruler come along and they're going to try to hurry things along and get rid of the over- lordship of the Egyptians and help in the ascendancy of the Seleucids so they're going to try to force the issue, "but they will fall down," Daniel warns in verse 14.  They're going to fail because God is the one who controls history.

 

Now what happened is that in 203 when Ptolemy IV died, his son, Ptolemy V, also called Epiphanes, just like the famous Antiochus Epiphanes, it means the appearance of God, Ptolemy V Epiphanes comes to the throne at the tender age of 7.  So Antiochus III sees his opportunity and he invades south and captures Gaza.  So while he's headed south to capture Gaza the Jews align themselves with him and Egypt sent north their general Scopas, who was their best general and he is defeated in 198 at a place called Panias which is just north of Galilee.  He defeated at Panias and then in a funny turn, as history has a funny turn, after Antiochus of the north defeats Ptolemy he enters into an alliance with him because he sees a new power rising off in the west and that's Rome.  And so he marries his daughter, Antiochus III has a beautiful daughter by the name of Cleopatra.  This is not the Cleopatra that you know of, this is Cleopatra I, the one that you're familiar with who had a dalliance with Cesar and Mark Antony is Cleopatra VII, but apparently there were certain genetic trends to their sin nature because as you're going to see…what we're going to study in the history of the Ptolemies make The Young and the Restless and All My Children pale in comparison.  Modern Hollywood writers ought to pay attention to some of this stuff, it's absolutely bizarre.

 

So Antiochus III decides that he can marry off his daughter, see, back in those days you didn't have diplomats who would go sit down at a peace table and sign a peace treaty; it they had any kind of peace agreement they would seal it by arranging a marriage between their daughter and somebody in the royal house of the opposing side.  That's why they always wanted to have lots of daughters is so that they could use them as pawns in their schemes.  And he had another agenda and that was, well if I put my daughter down there as Ptolemy's wife then she's going to give me all kinds of secret information and she's going to be a pawn for me and I'm going to be able to use her but Cleopatra I was a loyal wife Ptolemy V and she turned on her father which is exactly what the Scriptures predict. 

 

Daniel 11:15, "Then the king of the North" Antiochus III, "will come, cast up a siege a mound," this is when he came down and fought at Penias, and then he went and set up a siege against Sidon, notice verse 15 specifically tells the details of what happened 300 years later, Antiochus III "will come, cast up a siege mound, and capture a well fortified city;" and that was Sidon, "and the forces of the South," that is Egypt under Scopas, "will not stand their ground, not even their choicest troops," the Egyptians sent three more of their top generals up to try to defeat Antiochus III and they all failed, "for there will be no strength to make a stand."  So Ptolemy V basically loses his control of Palestine at the battle of Panias. 

 

Daniel 11:16, "But he," Antiochus III, "who comes against him," that is Ptolemy V, Antiochus III is the aggressor, "he will do as he pleases," he's got control of Palestine, he's going to go back and forth and "do as he pleases, and no one will be able to withstand him; he will also stay for a time in the Beautiful Land, with destruction in his hand."  So there's a warning to Jews, he's going to come in with his army and he's just going to be marching back and forth and your homes are going to burn and your women are going to be in danger and your economy is going to collapse, you're going to plant crops in the ground and as soon as they're ready for harvest the Syrian troops are going to come in and confiscate it all so you need to be prepared.  But what's he really saying?  God's in control, God knows exactly what's going to happen, Jesus Christ controls history. 

 

Daniel 11:17, "And he," Antiochus III, "will set his face to come with the power of his whole kingdom," so he went home after this peace and he's going to come down with his whole kingdom again, "bringing with him a proposal of peace which he will put into effect," after the battle of Penias, after he's had his way with Palestine then he's going to put forth his peace proposal that I mentioned already, with Ptolemy V which is going to be sealed by his daughter.  The text says, "he will also give him the daughter of women," that is Cleopatra I, "to ruin it."  That is to ruin his situation.  His design is that his daughter will ruin Ptolemy but in contrast the last sentence states, "But she will not take a stand for him," that is for Antiochus III, or be on his side."  Now Antiochus III finally dies in 187 BC and he is going to be succeeded by his son.  Now he had a daughter, Cleopatra I…try to keep the scorecard here, he's got a daughter, Cleopatra I who's married to Ptolemy V.  He's got another son, the eldest son, Seleucus IV who is called Philipator.  And then he has another son who is going to be the infamous Antiochus IV Epiphanes.  So Cleopatra I is the sister of Antiochus Epiphanes. 

 

Now there are some other interesting things that are going on at this time, one of which is that Rome is rising in the west.  And in verse 18 we see that Antiochus, before he dies he has one last major military campaign.  Daniel 11:18, ""The he will turn his face toward the coastlands and capture many."  Now the Hebrew word for coastlands here is a word that usually refers to Greece, refers to the area around the Aegean Sea.  "He will turn his face toward the coastlands and he will capture many," he's going to have military success.  So Antiochus III is going to head west, he's going to capture Cyprus, Crete, the various islands in the Aegean and the Mediterranean, he's going to take control of the western part of what we call Turkey and then he's going to cross over to conquer Greece.  Remember he wants to be another Alexander the Great. 

 

Now at this point he's got control over Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, all the way down to the southeast to India.  He has conquered a tremendous amount of territory but once he crosses over the Bosporus in another invasion of the east into the west God's going to put a stop to it.  Remember God is going to keep the application of prophecy.  Japheth was given the inheritance in Western Europe, the descendants of Japheth who was one of Noah's sons, not the Hamitic or Shemitic people.  So God is always going to prevent any Asiatic invasion of Western Europe. 

 

So what happens here is he goes over to Greece and he sees Rome on the ascendancy and now pause a minute, we're going to see what else is going on in the world.  Rome has been fighting two wars with the Carthaginians down in North Africa, made famous because Hannibal was their famous general; Hannibal comes up through Spain, crosses the Alps on his elephants and invades the Italian peninsula from the north.  Well, in the Second Punic War the Romans realized that they had to go on the offense because you can't win a war by operating on the defense, so they mounted a campaign and their very famous commander, General Scipio called Africanus because of his victory over the Carthaginians, goes down to Carthage, defeats Hannibal and Hannibal escapes.  Now Hannibal is in exile. 

 

During this time it looked like Hannibal was going to defeat the Romans so Antiochus III, very foolish, had entered into an agreement or treaty with Hannibal, thinking that they're going to get Rome from the south and he would get Rome from the east and he not only would conquer Greece but he would take over the area which we call the Balkans in Italy and he would be greater than Alexander the Great.  But instead the Romans defeated Hannibal and he had entered into this agreement with Hannibal; Hannibal goes into exile, heads east and joins up with Antiochus III at a place already made famous by Xerxes called Thermopylae Pass, so they end up at Thermopylae and the Romans come after them with Scipio Africanus' younger brother, who becomes known as Scipio Asiaticus because he's going to give them the victory in the east in Asia, and Scipio is going to defeat Antiochus III's navy in the Aegean and then he's going to retreat and have his army destroyed at the battle of Magnesia in 190 BC.  And this is a very famous battle because the consequences of it were such that they were felt down through the next 50 or 60 years and it sets the stage for the rise of Antiochus Epiphanes, because the economic consequences of this battle are much like the end of World War I. 

 

Now I'm hoping some of you have a framework for history, this last week was July 4th and there were several people on news shows and talk shows who would go out onto the street in New York and Los Angeles and ask people questions like this is Independence Day, what are we celebrating our Independence from?  And nobody knew, it was just amazing the answers: well, wasn't there some war, oh yeah, it was World War I; somebody said well, was it Germany, or France, yeah, maybe it was France.  That scares me because one of these days as a pastor I'm not going to be able to teach like I teach now because these people who are the products of our wonderful public education system are going to be coming into the pews and they're not going to know anything.  We're going to have a basic class just to teach them the difference between B.C. and A.D.  And that may take several months to do that.

What happened at the end of World War I was the western allies imposed a harsh treaty, called the Treaty of Versailles on Germany and Germany had to pay these enormous reparations; they couldn't have an army, they couldn't have certain weapons and they had to pay tremendous amounts of money to the allies and it was impossible; you've got a defeated nation who's wiped out, who's got no resources, has to rebuild all their industry, rebuild everything and yet you're putting this tremendous burden on them to pay these war reparations.  The result was it set the stage for future wars.  Well, the same thing happened in the ancient world and it just shows that the diplomats at Versailles were ignorant of their ancient history. 

 

At the Peace of Apamea the Romans imposed a tremendous burden on the Seleucids and there were six provisions in the Peace of Apamea.  First of all, Antiochus III had to surrender all territories in Asia Minor west of the Taurus River, that's almost all of modern Turkey.  These were some of his wealthiest territories, they cut him off from seaports which means trade, cut him off from manpower which means labor; and cut him off from his wealthiest areas where he had his solid tax base so they're going to impose these huge financial reparations and then they're going to steal his tax base from him.  Second, he had to surrender all of his elephants which was the heavy cavalry of the ancient world.  Third, he had to surrender all the ships of his fleet so he has to give up his armored cav and he has to give up his navy and that cut out his communication, his supply lines and his maritime trade.  Fourth, he had to agree that he would recruit no troops from Asia Minor, from the Aegean or from Greece, and those were some of his best soldiers.  So he was going to be limited in terms of the kind of military he could put together.  Fifth, this was the thing that set the stage for the future problems with Antiochus Epiphanes, is that Antiochus III had to pay the Romans 15,000 talents every year.  That's the equivalent to about three to four billion dollars today.  That's an awesome amount of money and once he's lost his tax base Antiochus III had to get it somewhere else.  Sixth, in order to guarantee that he would make these reparations the Romans insisted that Antiochus III give a family member as a hostage.  So he sent his younger son, Antiochus IV as a hostage to Rome. 

 

That has interesting ramifications because he's going to pick up Roman culture and remember that in the future the antichrist comes out of Rome.  So Antiochus IV picks up Roman culture, Roman ideals, he always wanted to emulate the Romans, and he is going to initiate quite a bit of intrigue in order to finally gain the throne.  Now this is the period of history that covers what's going on in Palestine from about 200 BC down to the Maccabean wars and the freedom of the Jewish state.

 

Now we come to Daniel 11:19, "So he will turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land," this is still talking about Antiochus III, so from Daniel 11:10 where it talks about him as one of the sons, all the way down to verse 19 the subject is Antiochus III.  He's going to "turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land," he's going to have to look somewhere else to get this money and so he comes back into his own country and he starts robbing the temples.  In the ancient world the temples served as the banks; that's where people figured there was some safety because nobody would rob a temple because they would risk offending the gods so the temple served as the bank so what Antiochus III would do is he would go into a town and he would find a local temple and raid its treasury and that's how he was going to get his money to make the reparations.  Well, there are different stories as to how he died, one is that he just died and another is that he was assassinated by a priest at one of these temples.  Nevertheless, he died and he is succeeded by his younger son who is Seleucus IV. 

So Antiochus III the Great is succeeded by his son, Seleucus IV, called Philopator meaning lover of his father.  He's going to reign from 187 to 175 which isn't very long and rumor is that he was assassinated also because of the various intrigues initiated by his brother, Antiochus IV.  Now remember they have a sister, Cleopatra I who is married to Ptolemy V and they're going to have a daughter named Cleopatra II who is going to marry her brother, Ptolemy VI.  See it gets really interesting here; they're into all kinds of…  I mean this family, you know we always laugh about folks who live in a certain part of town or a certain state that's a little backwards and their family tree doesn't fork.  This family tree didn't fork.  The inbreeding is just phenomenal by our standards.  So Ptolemy V has a daughter, Cleopatra II who marries her brother, Ptolemy VI.  And then it's really going to get interesting because Ptolemy VI is pretty young when he takes the throne and he's going to be defeated in battle by Antiochus IV.  Well, while he's off in Israel, in Palestine, Ptolemy V is off in Palestine doing battle with Antiochus IV, the folks who live in Alexandria decide to have a revolt and they're going to put the younger brother, Ptolemy VIII, notice it skips from Ptolemy VI to Ptolemy VIII.  You say where's Ptolemy VII.  Well, VII is the son of VI, but he's a baby, so it goes from VI to VIII, now you're really confused.  But he's going to come in the picture in a minute. 

 

So VI comes to the throne and he is defeated by Antiochus IV, so the Alexandrianites revolt and put Ptolemy VIII, the VI's younger brother on the throne.  Well, Ptolemy VI comes back and he makes up with Ptolemy VIII and so Ptolemy VI, married to his sister, Cleopatra II, and his brother and their brother, younger brother Ptolemy VIII, all get together and they rule Egypt.  And they're in and out.  I mean when you look at the dates on Ptolemy VIII he's reigning for 20 years and then he's gone for a couple of years and then he's back for a couple of years and everything gets confused.  And finally about in 145 BC Ptolemy VI dies.  When Ptolemy VI dies Ptolemy VIII comes back, he's going to be the ruler so he's going to marry his brother's widow, who is also his sister, and so he's marries Cleopatra II, but he's not happy because Ptolemy VI and Cleo II had a gorgeous daughter and he lusts after the daughter, so while he's married to the mother, he marries the step-daughter.  Now these are just wonderful people….  But finally Cleopatra II said enough of all of this and she raises a little army so Ptolemy VIII had to go into exile into Cyprus.  Well, through his machinations, his people finally forced Cleopatra out and she had to go to the Seleucids for aid because remember, her uncle is Antiochus Epiphanes.  So finally Ptolemy VIII comes back on the throne but that gets out of the time frame we're looking at.  But that just gives you an idea of how much fun it was to live in the ancient world.  You thought things were fun now, see some rulers and Presidents just always have…well we won't go there.

 

Daniel 11:20, "Then in his place one will arise," this is Seleucus IV, "who will send an oppressor through the Jewel of his kingdom; yet within a few days he," that is Seleucus IV, "will be shattered," he doesn't last long on the throne, about nine years, and he dies, "though neither in anger nor in battle."  He is going to be succeeded by Antiochus IV Epiphanes. 

 

Daniel 11:22, "And the overflowing forces will be flooded away before him and shattered, and also the prince of the covenant."  Now this verse, the term "prince of the covenant" refers to what is going on in Israel.  The "overflowing forces" refers to the forces coming up from the south, they're "flooded away before him," that's Antiochus IV, they're "shattered, and also the prince of the covenant."  The "prince of the covenant" refers to Jason who was the high priest of Israel after the Seleucids took over in order to come up with the money to make the reparations for the peach of Apamea Antiochus had appointed Jason as the high priest.  He was not a descendant of Aaron but he's appointed as a high priest and in 171 Antiochus decided that Jason wasn't delivering enough cast to him and so to straighten things out he fires Jason and appoints Menelaus as the high priest.  That's in the year 171 and that's important because that begins the seven years of the abomination described back in Daniel 8:14 which we covered at that time.  And this gets us into the whole problem of Antiochus' interaction and intervention into the temple worship and the priesthood in Israel. 

 

In Daniel 11:23 we read, "And after an alliance is made with he," Antiochus IV, "will practice deception," so he's constantly maneuvering, manipulating, deceiving Ptolemy VI and he goes back and forth, he invades, he goes back to Syria, then he invades again, and he will go up and gain power with a small force of people.  So he's able to gain power, because there's such instability in Egypt he's able to gain power over the Ptolemies with a much smaller army.  Here is a picture of a coin from the ancient with the profile of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.  Now Antiochus, in his character and in his dealings he is a type of the future antichrist.  So I want you to notice some things that are said, notice how specific the Scriptures are. 

 

Look at Daniel 11:24, "In a time of tranquility he will enter the richest parts of the realm," so it's a time of peace, no war is going on, but he goes to "the richest parts of the realm," because he's trying to raise the money to pay off the Romans after the Peace of Apamea.  "He will accomplish what his fathers never did," he's going to raise the money, he's going to defeat Egypt, which his fathers never did, "not his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty and possessions among them."  Now who are the "them?"  The "them" are the people who live in Syria, the people who live in the Seleucid Empire; these are the peasants, these are the everyday citizenry in all of the towns.  What's he doing?  He's going to go to war and defeat Ptolemy VI in Egypt; he's then going to plunder him, he's going to take all this money from, take all this money from the Jews and what's he going to do?  Just like a good politician he's going to come back and redistribute the wealth.  And this is what makes him popular with people is because he's going to give them money.  You see, whenever the government is giving people money for free they are imitating the future antichrist.  This is one reason why Christians tend to be against socialism, against any kind of federal payments to people, federal welfare system because any kind of redistribution of wealth scheme is because of passages like this in the Old Testament that talk about that as the type of activity that will characterize the antichrist. 

 

See, Antiochus is not the kind of guy that you would go up to and think of as an evil person.  He was very charismatic; he had a lot of fun.  People tell stories about the fact that…at night after Antiochus would go into his…[tape turns] …he was a lot of fun, people loved him, he gave everybody money and he would win any popularity contest hands down.  And that's exactly what it's going to be like with the rise of the antichrist.  If you and I could see the antichrist today I would bet 90% of evangelical Christians in America would vote for him.  That's the kind of guy he's going to be and of course that's how stupid most evangelical Christians are.  But this guy is going to have that kind of personality, he's going to promise something to everybody and he's going to come through with some of it to some degree but he is going to win their loyalty by paying for it.  But eventually it comes back to haunt him.

 

Daniel 11:25, "And he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South," that is Ptolemy VI, "with a large army' so the king of the Sough will mobilize and extremely large and mighty army for war; but he will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him."  Ptolemy VI is going to not be successful because of the internal problems and the machinations going on between his brother Ptolemy VIII and other forces inside the empire.

 

Daniel 11:26, "And those who eat his choice food will destroy him," and of course "choice food" refers to that royal…it's the same term used back in Daniel 1 which spoke of that choice food that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego refused to eat.  It is the special food that has been prepared by the royal chefs.  So "those who eat his choice food will destroy him, and his army will overflow, but many will fall down slain."  In other words, those in his own household will destroy him, and that's exactly what happened and he was eventually killed.

 

Daniel 11:27, "As for both kings, their hearts will be intent on evil, and they will speak lies to each other at the same table; but it will not succeed, for the end is still to come at the appointed time."  See, God is in control of history, despite all the things that are going on, despite all the machinations of mankind and politicians, despite all of the conspiracies and conspiracy theorists, and all of the scare alarms that we might get we can't ever forget that Jesus Christ controls history.  And no matter how much it may look as though a terrorist attack could come and destroy this nation or wipe out Western Europe or wipe out Israel, we know that God is in control so that we can relax and God is going to work out His details and that which has been decreed from eternity past will transpire.  So "both kings, their hearts will be intent on evil, they will speak lies to each other at the same table; but it will not succeed," and this verse just describes Antiochus IV's dealings with Ptolemy.  It also foreshadows the deception that will be on the part of the antichrist during the Tribulation.

 

Daniel 11:28, "Then he will return to his land with much plunder; but his heart will be set against the holy covenant, and he will take action and then return to his own land."  Now one of the things that happens in between verse 27 and verse 28 is that Antiochus IV is going to invade Egypt one more time and when he does that the Romans are going to come in in order to protect Egypt.  So we get a summary at verse 28.  The summary at the end, "his heart will be set against the holy covenant," that's against the Jews, "and he will take action and then return to his own land," so you see the beginning of his anti-Semitism and this is just going to explode in the next few verses.

 

Daniel 11:29, "At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before."  Before he was victorious, now he will lose.  When he comes to Egypt what he faces are the ships of Kittim.  Verse 30, "For the ships of Kittim" and this is an idiom that describes ships from beyond Cyprus and Crete.  This would refer to the Romans.  The Roman navy comes in to back up Ptolemy VI and unfortunately for Antiochus IV right in the middle of his second campaign into Egypt the third Macedonian war ended between the Romans and the Macedonians and so the Romans send their navy down to help Egypt and to prevent losing Egypt to the control of the Seleucids and they sent their envoy, a man by the name of Laenas, in order to be the negotiator but the Romans had a sound way of negotiating policy, they didn't sit down and do give and take.  When Antiochus showed up, and incidentally he had known Lucius from childhood because remember Antiochus was a hostage in Rome when he was young, well, he goes way back with Lucius Laenas and they go back to their childhood, when they were friends, and so he thought he had…you know, we're going to work the good-old-boy system here, and we're going to be able to come out with a good deal.  But when Lucius came up and Antiochus offered his hand in friendship it was refused; Lucius looked at him, took this rolled up scroll from the Roman Senate out of his toga, put it in Antiochus' hand and as Antiochus unrolled the scroll it was a demand from the Romans to get out of Egypt immediately, it was not his land, it was their land, and he had to leave instantly.  Antiochus was just taken aback; he didn't know how to react so he thought well, give me a little time Lucius to think this over, maybe we can have dinner, go out, party a little bit, get some women, we'll bring my generals in, we'll talk about this.  And Lucius just reached down with his sword and he drew a circle around Antiochus and said you have to give me an answer before you get out of that circle.  So that's how you do diplomacy, you just tell people that this is the way it's going to be and sometimes I think that in response, we ought to just say the next terrorist attack there's going to be a nuclear tipped missile hit Mecca, end of story.  We have to learn to play hardball and protect American people and not just sit back and play games and compromise.

 

So Antiochus is depressed now because of his defeat so he heads back through Israel, through Palestine, and he's going to take it out on the Jews.  This is where his anti-Semitism just explodes and we read in Daniel 11:31, "And forces from will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice.  And they will set up the abomination of desolation."  Now remember this is written to Jews and so he is warning the Jews that when this happened you'd better be prepared because all hell is going to break loose in Palestine.  And this is exactly what Antiochus did.  First of all, he suspended all temple ritual, nobody could go into the temple; he called a halt to all sacrifices and remember if you're a Jew the only way to have forgiveness was to offer a sin offering, so no more sin offerings.  So what are you going to do? 

 

Secondly he tried to destroy every copy of the sacred Scriptures which he could find, so he was burning every Bible, much like Hitler did.  Third, anyone who was found reading the Scripture would be punished by death.  No special days were to be observed including the Sabbath.  Fourth, all strict Jewish food laws were to be abolished and no longer could they observe the Jewish food laws.  Fifth, any woman who was caught circumcising a son would be killed, the woman caught circumcising would be killed and if the son was found to have been killed he would be killed and so would the mother.  There would be no more circumcision of Jewish males.  And if all that wasn't enough to anger the Jewish population he went into the altar to desecrate it, sacrificed a pig to Zeus on the altar, which was an unclean animal, it was one of the worst things you could possibly do in violation of the Mosaic Law, and then he set up an idol to Zeus in the temple. 

 

After that time the Jews were to worship Baal [sounds like: She mi am] which means the lord of heaven but the Jews coined another word that sounded like that, a little pun called [sounds like: Sheik a sho mem] which Antiochus didn't catch on but what it meant was the abomination of desolation and that is what's referred to here and this is where the term comes from.  This is like what the antichrist is going to do halfway through the Tribulation.  As a result of this Antiochus, who called himself Epiphanes, the manifestation of God, the Jews had another little pun they used, they called him Antiochus Epimanes, and Epimanes means the idiot, the brain-damaged one.  So that's how the Jews got back at him. 

 

Daniel 11:32, "And by smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant," so he is going to use all of his arts and rhetoric, to turn people against God and to turn people against the Jews, "but the people who know their God will display strength and take action," and this is an indication of what will take place after Antiochus IV with the rise of the Maccabean Revolt.  We'll have to stop here and next time we'll look at the next 2 or 3 verses dealing with the Maccabean Revolt and the inter testamental period up to the time of the Gospels and then we will jump, as there is another gap between verse 36 and 36, as there have been several gaps that we studied earlier that covers the Church Age, and we'll jump to the antichrist and a study of the antichrist.  This is another one of those wonderful passages that tell us interesting details about the antichrist, such as that, verse 37, "He shall regard neither the god of his fathers, nor the desire of women," now some have said that obviously when some evangelical Christians thought that maybe Bill Clinton was the antichrist, they'd go to this verse and say well, you know, it couldn't have been Clinton because it says the antichrist won't have the desire of women.  And then somebody said well it wouldn't apply to Hillary either….

 

Anyway, we'll have to look at that next time to see if that's really what it means, to have the desire of women or if that means something else.  And now I've got everybody awake again…..