Daniel 11:2-45 – Man’s History: You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up! (Why We Must Trust in God and Not Man)

Posted: June 28, 2016 in Book of Daniel

Daniel 11:2-45

Kings of the South and North

Wow! After reading this chapter, you realize that the immediate future of southeastern Europe, Palestine, what is now Iraq, Iran, and the Arabian Peninsula, and northern Africa is going to be a bloody mess of wars and intrigue. Here’s a little bit about what the chapter is describing.

 

Daniel 11:2 – the fourth Persian king that is referenced here may have been Xerxes I who ruled over the Persian Empire from 485-465 BC. He launched all out war against Greece in 480 BC (remember the movie, The 300? It fits in this time frame).

 

Daniel 11:3 – the mighty king referred to here is Alexander the Great who conquered the Persian Empire and was such a skilled military tactician that he pretty much conquered all the areas mentioned in my opening paragraph in just 4 years.

 

Daniel 11:4-5 – At Alexander’s sudden death at age 31, just as the beginning of the zenith of his power, he had left no succession plan within his family so his kingdom was divided up by his four leading generals in his army. It was divided under the rule of these four generals who set up their own little Alexandrian kingdoms in Egypt, Babylonia/Syria, Asia Minor, and Macedonia/Greece. The king of the south noted here is most like the general who claimed Egypt as his kingdom, Ptolemy I and Ptolemic dynasty.

 

Daniel 11:6-7 – These prophecies seemed to have been fulfilled in the wars between Ptolemy II of Egypt (the south) and the kingdom of Babylonia/Syria under the successor of the Alexandran general Seleucid under Antiochus II. To finalize a peace treaty between the two kingdoms, Ptolemy II gave his daughter in marriage to Antiochus. However, one of Antiochus’ wives, Laodice, assassinates Ptolemy II’s daughter before the marriage can take place. Ptolemy II’s son, Ptolemy III ascends to his father’s throne and vows vengeance for his sister and launches against the Seleucid kingdom.

 

Daniel 11:9-11 – The king of Syria (the north) was now Seleucus II and the king of Egypt now is Ptolemy IV.

 

Daniel 11:13-16 – the king of the north may have been Antiochus III. He defeated many Egyptian cities and established himself in Israel (the glorious land). He is later defeated by the Romans at Magnesia (see Daniel 11:18). Antiochus III tried to bring peace between the Alexandran kingdoms of Egypt and Babylon/Syria by having his daughter marry Ptolemy IV of Egypt, but as before in this tale of intrigue and wars, the plan failed.

 

Daniel 11:20 – The successor to Antiochus III was Seleucus IV. He sent Hellodorus to pillage the Temple treasury in Jerusalem.

 

Daniel 11:21 –  Seleucus IV was succeeded by his brother Antiochus IV who found favor with the Romans.

 

Daniel 11:22 – The great armies refer to the way all opposition against Antiochus IV will be broken. The covenant prince may bet the Jewish high priest, Onias III, who was assassinated in 170 BC.

 

Daniel 11:27 – these two treacherous kings were most likely Antiochus IV of Syria and Ptolemy VI of Egypt.

 

Daniel 11:29-31 – Antiochus IV again invaded the south, but enemy ships caused him to retreat. On his way back home, he took out his frustrations on Jerusalem and plundered the city, desecrated the Temple with pagan gods, and stopped the Jewish sacrifices. The Temple was desecrated when he sacrificed a pig to the god Zeus on an altar within the Temple that he had erected. To the Jews this was the ultimate insult because (1) pigs were considered unclean and were not to be eaten or even used as sacrifices and (2) it was sacrificed within the Temple to a false, pagan god. This insult led to the Maccabean revolt in Jerusalem (and from that revolt comes the Jewish tradition of Hannukah that lives on today).

 

Daniel 11:32 – This reference is probably to Menelaus, the high priest who aligned himself with Antiochus and conspired with the him to root out Jews who were not loyal to Antiochus. Those who were loyal to God were probably referencing the Macabees and their supporters who eventually revolted against Antiochus. It may also include though a future times prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled.

 

Daniel 11:36-39 – These verses could refer to Antiochus IV, Titus the Roman General who authored the final destruction of the biblical era Jewish state in AD 70, or it could be the Antichrist of the end times prophecies. Some of these events have been fulfilled in the past but some have yet to be fulfilled.

 

Daniel 11:37 – may refer to the god of fertility in the pantheon of Babylonian gods. The person referred to here will not recognize any gods, any religion, or the one true God. He will proclaim himself to be divine and the ultimate power.

 

Daniel 11:38 – This king will make war against all sacred things. More than any of his predecessors, he will wage war and glorify its horrors. Is this maybe Atilla the Hun that brought down much for the western Roman empire or is this Antichrist?

 

Daniel 11:40 – the Antichrist of the last days becomes the center of attention for the remainder of the book of Daniel.

 

With this background now let’s read Daniel 11:2-45:

 

2 “Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. 3 Then a mighty king will arise, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. 4 After he has arisen, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others.

 

5 “The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power. 6 After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power[a] will not last. In those days she will be betrayed, together with her royal escort and her father[b] and the one who supported her.

 

7 “One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious. 8 He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North alone. 9 Then the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country. 10 His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress.

 

11 “Then the king of the South will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North, who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated. 12 When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant. 13 For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped.

 

14 “In those times many will rise against the king of the South. Those who are violent among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success. 15 Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand. 16 The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it. 17 He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans[c] will not succeed or help him. 18 Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back on him. 19 After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more.

 

20 “His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. In a few years, however, he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle.

 

21 “He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. 22 Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. 23 After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. 24 When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time.

 

25 “With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. 26 Those who eat from the king’s provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle. 27 The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. 28 The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country.

 

29 “At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. 30 Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.

 

31 “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. 32 With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.

 

33 “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. 34 When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. 35 Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.

The King Who Exalts Himself

 

36 “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. 37 He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. 38 Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39 He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.[d]

 

40 “At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. 41 He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. 42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites[e] in submission. 44 But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. 45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at[f] the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

 

 

All you can say is wow! This prophecy written in the 550’s BC nails it head on specifically about the events of the future during the time period between 550 and time period just before the Roman Empire becomes the dominant world power. And, when you read the history books of the time period between Alexanders death and Rome’s appearance as the dominant world power, all you can say is that it was crazy, bloody mess of intrigue, in-fighting, wars, rumors of wars, and destruction. Daniel must have been sickened by all of this when he was told the future. He, I am sure, was hoping for rest for his native land. However, even after the Jews were allowed to return to their homeland under Cyrus, they were not restored to their former glory under David and Solomon.

Israel was a pawn in the chess match between world powers over the next 600 years before Titus destroyed what was left of the biblical era Jewish nation in AD 70. The footsteps of the armies of world powers are all over Palestine. Israel was a puppet and someone else was always pulling the strings. The future of Israel has been revealed to Daniel and it’s just not pretty when you compare it to the glory days under David and Solomon for which all Jews longed to re-establish.

 

This reminds us that God is our only hope. If we place our trust in man, we will be disappointed. Time and again, we see these power plays of kingdoms throughout the history of man. Kingdoms rise. Kingdoms fall. Once what was considered invincible decays and is swallowed up by the next seemingly invincible power. Today and in the future it will be no different. One day the kingdom of the United States will no longer be a world power – guaranteed! The Romans were shocked when their everlasting kingdom, or so they thought, was picked apart piece by piece by its enemies when it became weak and self-absorbed. It happens to every kingdom. It will happen to ours.

 

The only thing that we can trust in is the Almighty God who created all things. He is our fortress. He is our strength. Nothing man-made can last. Only the eternal God of heaven! Let us remember that man will screw everything up he can. To man, its always and always will be about pride and arrogance and power. That will continue to make this world a mess until Christ returns. Let us put faith in the things that are eternal not the things of man. It all decays and gets devoured by the next great thing. Only God lasts. Only God is eternal. Let’s put our faith in that and ride that through the craziness that is man’s history until our Savior returns to end all this crazy messed up mess!

 

Amen and Amen.

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