Summary: A sermon looking at the prophecies of Daniel 11 for the non-technical crowd.
Let’s Get Specific
©Copyright August 5, 2012 by Rev. Bruce Goettsche SERIES: Daniel
This morning we turn to the most difficult chapter in the entire book of Daniel. It is difficult because it is filled with such great detail. Most of what is predicted here can be verified by the facts of history. I believe some of the predictions are still to be fulfilled in the future.
These prophecies are so specific that we again see the skeptics saying these words had to be written after the fact. Since these skeptics reject the supernatural, they have to find some way to explain all this away. We have already shown (in chapter 1) through archaeology that the skeptics are wrong, because we have copies of Daniel dating from before the skeptics say Daniel was even written!
This morning we will only look at a few of the details (I encourage you to examine the passage in depth) because we don’t want to miss the “big picture”. It is important to remember that this vision is given to Daniel about what was going to happen to “his people” (the Jews) in the future. Keep that fact in mind! The focus of the vision is what was going to happen to the Jews. Daniel is not given the history of the whole world . . . it is the history that will relate to the Jews.
The chapter has three “acts” or “scenes” The first tells about the Persian and Greek Empires and how they will relate to Israel. In acts 2 and 3 the focus shifts (I believe) to two individuals: the Greek leader Antiochus IV Epiphanes and then the last act talks about the Antichrist.
Details about the Persian and Greek Empires
First, the angel gave Daniel details about the Persian Kingdom
“Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will appear 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. (11:2)
The fourth king that was to come was King Xerxes. He was rich and powerful. Because of his power he made a brutal attack against Greece that was never forgotten. There were kings after Xerxes but his attack on Greece was the fuel that motivated the “mighty king” mentioned in verse 3: Alexander the Great.
3 Then a mighty king will appear, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. 4 After he has appeared, 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. (Daniel 11:3-4)
We have already noted the speed at which Alexander conquered the known world. When Alexander died his family did not keep the throne. All his descendents including his wives, children and even distant relatives, were murdered. His kingdom was divided into four parts which were ruled by four different generals.
The vision spotlights two of those divisions and their leaders. Only these two are spotlighted because they involved Israel. The area north of Israel (Syria) was ruled by a family that came to be known as the Seleucids (after the original general named Seleucus). The southern region (Egypt) was ruled by the Ptolemies (named after the General named Ptolemy). Verses 5-20 describe the conflict that continued between the Seleucids (North) and the Ptolemies (south). Israel was caught in a tug of war.
What is amazing about the account is the intricate details. For example we read in verse 6,
After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be handed over, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her.
We know from history that Bernice, Ptolemy’s daughter, was given to the King of the North to seal an alliance. The problem was that the King of the North was already married to a woman named Laodice. The King divorced Laodice to marry Bernice. She had a son who was supposed to take over the Kingdom after his dad which would seal the alliance because he would be related to both kings. However, the King of the north reconciled with his wife Laodice, who then poisoned the King, Bernice, and their child. Note that verse 6 tells us all of this ahead of time!
The war continued and in verse 17 we are given another tidbit,
He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him.