“Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.” Daniel 11:1-4 (KJV)
The first verse is clearly the angel, whom we believe to be Gabriel, still speaking to Daniel to give Him understanding of all the things he has seen.
Explanations do us good in most things in life. Daniel was God’s man, God’s prophet for that period of time, and he had received one of the most profound prophetic visions of all the history of mankind. He was given wisdom and grace by God to reveal to Nebuchadnezzar what he had dreamed, and to give him its interpretation. Daniel also received the vision of the same prophecy as seen from God’s eyes.
Daniel was a student of Scripture. We are told that he read the prophet Jeremiah concerning the 70 weeks. That is where Daniel Got his faith, and grew to the man that he was. He was a student of God’s Word.
What does the angel explain to Daniel?
THE ANGEL SPEAKS CONCERNING PERSIA AND HER KINGS (vv. 1-2). I have already explained that the first verse is a carry over from the tenth chapter. This angel had stood with Darius/Cyrus as a protecting angel as he was carrying forth the edict of God in making a decree for Hebrews to return to their land. This shows the promise God made to Abraham – “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you”. It is best to stand with the people of God who are the Hebrews as a nation.
For Daniel these were future. King Cambyses (529-522 B.C.). Pseudo Smerdis (522-521 B.C.). Darius I Hystapes (521-486 B.C.). Xerxes or Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther (496-465 B.C.).
These are now history past. We are assured by their fulfillment that God’s Word is true. If these were fulfilled then the yet future prophecies will be fulfilled also.
Remember Daniel has already seen the line-up according to Nebuchacnezzar’s dream. The head of gold was Babylon (Chap. 2; the lion of chap. 7). The arms and chest of silver represent the Medo-Persian empire (Chap. 2; the bear of chap. 7). The belly and thighs of bronze are Greece (Chap. 2; the goat of chap. 8). The legs of iron, feet of iron mixed with clay is Rome (Chap. 2; terrible beast in chap. 7).
CONCERNING GREECE (vv. 3-4). This picture of course refers to Alexander the Great. He is only called “Great” because of the swiftness with which he conquered the then known world. The belly and thighs of bronze [brass]. The speed of a leopard with wings.
When he died his kingdom was divided between four of his generals. The four kingdoms were; Macedonia; Asia Minor; Egypt – referred to in this chapter as the “king of the South”; and Syria – referred to in this chapter as “king of the North”.
This, too, was fulfilled just as the book of Daniel says.
This book was not written after the fact; as many unbelieving professors say; but years before the events took place. The unbelievers do not believe that God has the knowledge/foreknowledge to know what will happen in the future. They really give no allowance for God at all, but that does not matter, they will still see Him one day, whether they believe in Him or not.
CONCERNING EGYPT AND SYRIA (vv. 5-20). Ptolemy I Soter and Seleucus I Nicator (v. 5). Seleucus is the stronger. His alliance allowed him to seize the throne of Syria.
Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Antiochus II Theos (v. 6). Marriage was a political matter for peace and unity between nations. Ptolemy demanded Antiochus divorce his wife Laodice in order to marry Ptolemy’s daughter Berenice. After Ptolemy died, 2 years later, Antiochus took back Laodice and she murdered Antiochus and Berenice. O the pit of politics.
Ptolemy III Euregetes and Seleucus II Callinicus (vv. 7-9). Brother of Bernice – defending his sisters honor and avenging her death; attacked the Northern kingdom and won.
Ptolemy IV Philopater and Antiochus III the Great (vv. 10-19). Antiochus gave his daughter Cleopatra I in marriage to Ptolemy V (7 years of age), hoping to use her to underrmine the Egyptian government. Cleopatra was loyal to her husband.
God is still the God of history, because it is His-story.
CONCERNING ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES AND SYRIA (vv. 21-35; also see 8:9-14). This man is the picture of the future antichrist – he is in fact an antichrist for his time.
This man obtained his throne by guile.
He was successful in his military endeavors.
In 170 B.C. he turned his attention toward Israel. He plundered and defiled the temple. He abolished daily sacrifices. He killed many of the Jewish people. He left soldiers behind in Jerusalem to maintain control. He invaded Egypt again only to be confronted by Romans (v. 30; “ships of Chittim”.
In 168 B.C. he desecrated the temple. He erected an altar to Zeus, and offered a pig as sacrifice in the Hebrew temple. NOTE: In the future the Antichrist will put his own image in the temple of God when he breaks the covenant with the Hebrews in the middle of the “Seventieth week of Daniel” – the seven year tribulation period.
There was a small group of faithful Jews who opposed this godless leader (vv. 33-35). A Jewish priest named Mattathias and his five sons. His son Judah (Maccabeus meaning, “The hammerer”) was one of the heroes of this revolt. These laid down their lives and finally won. On December 14, 165 B.C., the temple was purified and the altar dedicated. The Jews celebrate this annually as the Feast of Lights (Hanukkah). This is also mentioned back in chapter eight.
CONCERNING THE TRIBULATION AND THE ANTICHRIST (vv. 36- 12:1). The time of the Great Tribulation, also known as the “Time of Jacobs trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). Just as the above historical things were foretold and came to pass; so too will the things that have yet to happen. They do not have to be spiritualized for fulfillment; they will be literally fulfilled.
This man will appear as a man of peace; a master politician; a man of no specific religious faith. The Tribulation will begin in peace for the Jewish people, but will become war against them in the last three and one half years. God, however, will preserve His people (Matthew 24:22). There will be military invasion (Daniel 11:40-43); a battle will take place at the valley called Armageddon (vv. 44-45); then, Jesus Christ will appear in all His glory, splendor and wrath ridding the world of all evil.
This is not a period of time that Christians look forward to. We are waiting and longing for the appearance of Jesus in the clouds; calling our names; and COME UP HITHER with the sound of the trumpet, and we will go to be with Him for all eternity. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
The Promises and the whole Word of God has been fulfilled, is being fulfilled, or will be fulfilled. If you are not ready for the return of Jesus Christ; call on His name and He will hear you and save you.