Let me apologize for the lack of posts, as I have been working on other things since delivering this bible study. Also, since getting some advice from a friend who used to moderate a blog site, I have been conscious of the length. Initially, I intended to post all of chapter 11, but if you were to print it out it would be twenty pages long. It took me three weeks to deliver. And, as you will see, it comes off as a rather intense history lesson. Consider the way God delivers information and how He speaks about the future. This is precisely why critics have found it easy to say, this was written after the fact. That is not the case and I attempted to make it clear, through timelines, explanation, and the interjection of historical aspects.
Daniel chapter 11 – The Kings of the South and the North
A history of the Middle East from Darius to the future Antichrist. Daniel 11:1-34
Calvary Chapel Pastor David Guzik tells us, “This chapter contains one of the most specifically fulfilled prophecies of the Bible, predicting history over some 375 years, and to the end of known time, with amazing accuracy.
Chuck Missler agrees with David Guzik when he says, “That the chapter is so specific, that many critics and scholars who deny supernatural revelation, have insisted that it is history, written after the fact, fraudulently claiming to be prophecy.”
I realize we are working on chapter 11, but for the sake of understanding, How did Daniel 10 begin?
Daniel 10:1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia (550 -530BC) a message was revealed to Daniel,
By comparison, how does Daniel 11 start out?
Daniel 11:1 And in the first year of Darius the Mede (522-486BC), I stood to strengthen him and to provide protection for him.)
in the first year of Darius the Mede (522-486BC),
This is a chronological gap of over 25 years.
While the statement, “in the first year of Darius the Mede,” might seem unimportant Daniel is giving us several clues. One clue speaks specifically to when this event happened.
Since Darius the Mede is the third aspect of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, then we know that a fourth empire is coming. However, that fourth empire, if we attempt a chronological accounting, is Grecian. And, even then, after Alexander’s death, there were four Grecian General’s that ruled in Alexander’s stead. God, it seems, is going to bypass the four and focus on the lineage of the one that has the greatest impact on Israel.
“I stood to strengthen him and to provide protection for him.”
An alternate translation says I stood to be “an encouragement …” This actually sounds like the character of Daniel.
“Him” is a reference to Darius.
Isn’t that odd? You would assume that God would be like us and only take care of His own. But, who is to say that Darius does not belong to God as well.
In Isaiah, it says that God sent Israel to Babylon.
Isaiah 43:14 NASB Thus says the LORD your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “For your sake I have sent to Babylon, And will bring them all down as fugitives, Even the Chaldeans, into the ships in which they rejoice.
In Jeremiah, Israel is told that they will be given into the hand of the king of Babylon.
Jeremiah 20:4 NASB “For thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, I am going to make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; and while your eyes look on, they will fall by the sword of their enemies. So I will give over all Judah to the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will carry them away as exiles to Babylon and will slay them with the sword.
Who arose or stood to strengthen him?
In chapter 10 verses 19,20 we established that Gabriel was speaking, and may well be the speaker here. However, if this is Daniel speaking, in what ways could Daniel have sought or provided protection for Darius? While we have certainly perceived Daniel to be a purveyor of wisdom, to several captor kings, being a protector has never been implied. One thing you need to keep in mind is that Daniel has, while in Babylon, been under subjection to a series of kings that were willing to end your life in a hurry, especially if you were a captive slave.
Four more kings over Persia before Alexander the Great.
Daniel 11:2 “And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all of them; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece.
“And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia.”
Daniel 2:31-45. Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold, Cyrus the Mede, the shoulders of silver, and Darius, the Persian, the chest of bronze.
Because the thighs and legs are made of Iron and come after the Persian empire, it seems this is another.
three kings. Note: These were, Cambyses, son of Cyrus; Smerdia the Magian impostor, and Darius Hystaspes. The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury
Matthew Henry’s commentary tells us:
He (Gabriel) foretells the reign of four Persian kings (Dan_11:2): Now I will tell thee the truth, that is, the true meaning of the visions of the great image, and of the four beasts, and expound in plain terms what was before represented by dark types. (1.) There shall stand up three kings in Persia, besides Darius, in whose reign this prophecy is dated, Dan_9:1. Mr. Broughton makes these three to be Cyrus, Artaxasta or Artaxerxes, called by the Greeks Cambyses, and Ahasuerus that married Esther called Darius son of Hystaspes. To these three the Persians gave these attributes – Cyrus was a father, Cambyses a master, and Darius a hoarder up. So Herodotus. (2.) There shall be a fourth, far richer than they all, that is, Xerxes, of whose wealth the Greek authors take notice. By his strength (his vast army, consisting of 800,000 men at least) and his riches, with which he maintained and paid that vast army, he stirred up all against the realm of Greece. Xerxes’s expedition against Greece is famous in history, and the shameful defeat that he met with. He who when he went out was the terror of Greece in his return was the scorn of Greece.
With the understanding that we are using Darius as the baseline, Gabriel’s comments logically pertain those who come after Darius. However, we have already seen that God works outside our time frame, and, He has little concern for chronology, and we will see that this also pertains to a distant future; that future is now.
There were several kings of Persia after Xerxes, such as Artaxerxes Longimanus, Darius Nothus, Artaxerxes Mnemon, Ochus, and Darius Codomanus, but these are not enumerated because the real ground of the invasion of Alexander, the thing which connected him with the affairs of Persia, did not occur in their reign, but it was the invasion of Greece by Xerxes. Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
Daniel 11:2 “… he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece.”
Xerxes did just that.
The LASB has a comment that is intriguing: “The fourth Persian king may have been Xerxes I (also called Ahasuerus, 486-465 B.C.), who launched an all-out effort against Greece in 480 BC.
This is the same king we see in the story of Esther.
Esther 1:1 – The following events happened in the days of Ahasuerus. (I am referring to that Ahasuerus who used to rule over a hundred and twenty-seven provinces extending all the way from India to Ethiopia. ) NET Bible
“A mighty King, Alexander the Great” Dan 8:21
Daniel 11:3 “And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases.
Mighty is the Hebrew word gibbôr which means powerful; by implication warrior, tyrant.
The disconcerting aspect of this word is that it was also used of the Nephaliim. This might imply that Alexander was also a giant.
Daniel 7:6 “After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.
The beast having four heads is another clue that takes us back to Alexander’s generals which take over after his death.
Focusing on the word dominion.
H7985 – soltan: An Aramaic masculine noun meaning dominion, sovereignty. Most frequently, this noun is used in conjunction with God, showing that He has dominion over everything that exists (Dan_4:3 [3:33]; Dan_4:34 ). His dominion is greater than that of a person’s many ways, one being that it is an everlasting dominion that can never be destroyed (Dan_7:14). This noun can also be used of kings (Dan_4:22 ). It was used in Daniel’s dream of the four beasts to describe the dominion they have (Dan_7:6, Dan_7:12, Dan_7:26). Much less frequently, this word can be used in the concrete sense of a physical kingdom (Dan_6:26 ).
Daniel 8:5-8 While I was observing, behold, a male goat was coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. 6) He came up to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing in front of the canal, and rushed at him in his mighty wrath. 7) I saw him come beside the ram, and he was enraged at him; and he struck the ram and shattered his two horns, and the ram had no strength to withstand him. So he hurled him to the ground and trampled on him, and there was none to rescue the ram from his power. 8) Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.
Note that none could rescue the ram from his power. The large horn represents Alexander’s reign. Broken, it was replaced by his four generals.
Daniel 8:20-21 “The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia. 21) “The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
I happen to believe the two horns represent the Seleucid and Ptolemaic empires; the last of the Alexandrian empire.
The Division of Alexander’s/Grecian empire into four kingdoms. Dan 8:22
Daniel 11:4 “But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, 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.
Alexander only ruled for 13 years (336-323BC.)
From Wikipedia: “According to a Babylonian astronomical diary, Alexander died between the evening of June 10 and the evening of June 11, 323 BC, at the age of thirty-two. This happened in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II in Babylon. Proposed causes of Alexander’s death included alcoholic liver disease, fever, and strychnine poisoning. According to the University of Maryland School of Medicine report of 1998, Alexander probably died of typhoid fever (which, along with malaria, was common in ancient Babylon). In the week before Alexander’s death, historical accounts mention chills, sweats, exhaustion and high fever, typical symptoms of infectious diseases, including typhoid fever. [”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Alexander_the_Great%5D
Alexander’s kingdom was parceled out to four generals, who were overtaken by Ptolemy to the south and Seleucus in the north.
“..though not to his own descendants.”
From the IVPPBC: “Alexander died in 323BC, at the age of 33; a twenty-year struggle for succession ensued that eventually led to a four-way division of the empire. Two of those divisions were in the Aegean region (Cassander had Greece and Macedonia; Lysimachus had Thrace), while the other two divided up the Near East (Ptolemy had Egypt and Palestine; Seleucus had Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia). The Ptolemaic line is going to be represented by “the king of the South,” while the Seleucid line will be represented by “the king of the North.”