Written in 536 BC, Daniel 11 is a play-by-play account that, for us, is part history and part future prophecy. For Daniel, it was all prophetic. This proves that the prophecies of the Bible are 1. accurate, and 2. can be believed. Another fact is that they revolve around Israel. Let’s dig in…
Daniel 11 – Kings of the South and North
Before I get into this, let me explain something. When these Old Testament books were written, there were no chapters and verses. They were added about 500 years ago to make it easier for teaching and finding passages. So the first verse of chapter 11 actually belongs to chapter 10. Thus, we begin with verse 2. Because of the length and depth of this chapter. I have to split it into 2 parts.
2 “Now then, I will reveal the truth to you. Three more Persian kings will reign, to be succeeded by a fourth, far richer than the others. He will use his wealth to stir up everyone to fight against the kingdom of Greece.
3 “Then a mighty king will rise to power who will rule with great authority and accomplish everything he sets out to do. 4 But at the height of his power, his kingdom will be broken apart and divided into four parts. It will not be ruled by the king’s descendants, nor will the kingdom hold the authority it once had. For his empire will be uprooted and given to others.
5 “The king of the south will increase in power, but one of his own officials will become more powerful than he and will rule his kingdom with great strength.
6 “Some years later an alliance will be formed between the king of the north and the king of the south. The daughter of the king of the south will be given in marriage to the king of the north to secure the alliance, but she will lose her influence over him, and so will her father. She will be abandoned along with her supporters. 7 But when one of her relatives becomes king of the south, he will raise an army and enter the fortress of the king of the north and defeat him. 8 When he returns to Egypt, he will carry back their idols with him, along with priceless articles of gold and silver. For some years afterward he will leave the king of the north alone.
9 “Later the king of the north will invade the realm of the king of the south but will soon return to his own land. 10 However, the sons of the king of the north will assemble a mighty army that will advance like a flood and carry the battle as far as the enemy’s fortress.
11 “Then, in a rage, the king of the south will rally against the vast forces assembled by the king of the north and will defeat them. 12 After the enemy army is swept away, the king of the south will be filled with pride and will execute many thousands of his enemies. But his success will be short lived.
13 “A few years later the king of the north will return with a fully equipped army far greater than before. 14 At that time there will be a general uprising against the king of the south. Violent men among your own people will join them in fulfillment of this vision, but they will not succeed. 15 Then the king of the north will come and lay siege to a fortified city and capture it. The best troops of the south will not be able to stand in the face of the onslaught.
16 “The king of the north will march onward unopposed; none will be able to stop him. He will pause in the glorious land of Israel, intent on destroying it. 17 He will make plans to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will form an alliance with the king of the south. He will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom from within, but his plan will fail.
18 “After this, he will turn his attention to the coastland and conquer many cities. But a commander from another land will put an end to his insolence and cause him to retreat in shame. 19 He will take refuge in his own fortresses but will stumble and fall and be seen no more.
20 “His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. But after a very brief reign, he will die, though not from anger or in battle.
21 “The next to come to power will be a despicable man who is not in line for royal succession. He will slip in when least expected and take over the kingdom by flattery and intrigue. 22 Before him great armies will be swept away, including a covenant prince. 23 With deceitful promises, he will make various alliances. He will become strong despite having only a handful of followers. 24 Without warning he will enter the richest areas of the land. Then he will distribute among his followers the plunder and wealth of the rich—something his predecessors had never done. He will plot the overthrow of strongholds, but this will last for only a short while.
25 “Then he will stir up his courage and raise a great army against the king of the south. The king of the south will go to battle with a mighty army, but to no avail, for there will be plots against him. 26 His own household will cause his downfall. His army will be swept away, and many will be killed. 27 Seeking nothing but each other’s harm, these kings will plot against each other at the conference table, attempting to deceive each other. But it will make no difference, for the end will come at the appointed time.
28 “The king of the north will then return home with great riches. On the way he will set himself against the people of the holy covenant, doing much damage before continuing his journey.
29 “Then at the appointed time he will once again invade the south, but this time the result will be different. 30 For warships from western coastlands will scare him off, and he will withdraw and return home. But he will vent his anger against the people of the holy covenant and reward those who forsake the covenant.
31 “His army will take over the Temple fortress, pollute the sanctuary, put a stop to the daily sacrifices, and set up the sacrilegious object that causes desecration (the abomination of desolation). 32 He will flatter and win over those who have violated the covenant. But the people who know their God will be strong and will resist him.
33 “Wise leaders will give instruction to many, but these teachers will die by fire and sword, or they will be jailed and robbed. 34 During these persecutions, little help will arrive, and many who join them will not be sincere. 35 And some of the wise will fall victim to persecution. In this way, they will be refined and cleansed and made pure until the time of the end, for the appointed time is still to come.Daniel 11:2-35 NLT
Prophetic Timeline – Fulfilled Events
From Cyrus to Alexander the Great
- Cyrus and his co-regent, Darius – 559-530 BC
- Cyrus’ son, Cambyses – 530-522 BC
- Pseudo-Smerdis, an imposter (hence his name) – 522 BC
- Darius Hystaspes – 521-486 BC
- Xerxes, whom we met in the Book of Esther – 485-465 BC. Xerxes invaded Greece and that was his downfall. As Pastor Sandy Adams explains, “Despite his formidable army He was crushed soundly by the Greeks and sent back to Persia limping. Xerxes went on to reign from 485-465 BC, and six other Persian kings followed. But Xerxes’ defeat marked the beginning of the end for the Persian empire.”
- In 337 BC, Alexander the Great became general of the Greek army at age 19. In 10 years, he’d conquered the known world. He died in 323 BC, and shortly thereafter his kingdom was divided among his 4 generals.
This covers verses 2-4. Two of the Greek generals and their successors are covered in verse 5-20. And right smack in the middle of the King of the North and the King of the South were the Jews in Israel.
Post Alexander the Great
(Quotes from Sandy Adams)
- The King of the South: “This was Ptolemy I, who reigned from 323-285 BC. His prince was a fellow general who originally fought by his side, Seleucus Nicator. But Seleucus who became his rival, stole the northern portion of Ptolemy’s kingdom and established his own throne. This betrayal was the root of the bitter rivalry between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies.”
- The King of the North: “The Seleucid dynasty (and its capitol of Antioch) became the largest of all four Greek empires. At one point, it had more territory than the other 3 combined.”
- “The son, Ptolemy II, feared his northern neighbor so he established a peace treaty. In ancient times and in oriental cultures the signing of a treaty was affected by the giving of a daughter in marriage. This made the two rival kings one family, and less likely to kill the other. Ptolemy II gave his daughter, Berenice, to Antiochus II, king of the north. But in order to take her to be his wife, Antiochus divorced his wife at the time, Laodice. Yet Antiochus didn’t like his Egyptian princess. And when her father, Ptolemy II, died, Antiochus annulled the marriage to Berenice, and took back Laodice…In retaliation for being dumped she poisoned both Antiochus and Berenice.”
- “Ptolemy III was Berenice’s Egyptian brother, and when he heard what happened to his sister, he invaded Syria seeking revenge. He executed Laodice, captured the capitol of Seleucia, and carried off tremendous treasure… including gold idols.”
- “After the invasion of Ptolemy III, peace lasted for ten years until Seleucus II tried to invade Egypt. The mission was flawed from the beginning. His army was slaughtered and his navy was lost at sea. He returned home thoroughly vanquished.”
- “The two sons of Seleucus II were Seleucus III and Antiochus III, or as he was called ‘Antiochus Magnus’ which means ‘Antiochus the Great’. Both sons were men of war. This Antiochus the Great, attacked the Roman garrison Ptolemy III had placed in control of the conquered capitol of Seleucia. Antiochus’ assault made Ptolemy IV, the new king in Egypt, extremely angry.”
- “Antiochus III mounted an army of 75,000 troops. Ptolemy countered with a formidable army of his own, 73,000 men, 5000 cavalry, and 73 elephants. The Battle of Raphia was the last major war to use elephants in combat… But in the end, in 217 BC, Syria fell to Egypt. This famous war, also known as the Battle of Gaza, was one of the largest battles of the ancient world.“
- “Antiochus the Great refused to give up. Fourteen years after the Battle of Raphia, he conquered most of Egypt. Ptolemy IV had died and his son, Ptolemy V, came to power when he was just four years-old. The confusing political situation and lack of leadership made victory easy for Antiochus.“
- “At the time, Egypt was courting an alliance with a rising power. Rome was fresh off a victory over Hannibal and Carthage (the Second Punic War). Egypt had gone to Rome for help against Syria. Antiochus III saw the growing ties between Egypt and Rome, so he decided to strike a peace with Egypt. He gave his daughter in marriage to Ptolemy hoping she would spy for him. A marriage was arranged between the 12 year-old Ptolemy and Antiochus the Great’s daughter, Cleopatra I.” (Not Mark Anthony’s Cleopatra — she was the VII). “Antiochus’ plan failed when Cleopatra fell in love with her Egyptian husband and defended Egypt, just as Daniel predicted!”
- “Antiochus the Great sought to expand his kingdom northward into Asia Minor. But in 190 BC, he was greeted by the Roman General Scipio and his 80,000-man army. At the Battle of Magnesia, Selucia suffered a crushing defeat. Antiochus’ youngest son was carried off to Rome to insure his father’s good behavior, and Antiochus the Great returned to Syria not so great. The Romans placed him under such heavy taxation. It forced him to spend the rest of his life robbing Temples and raising funds to pay off the Romans. This was the practice that eventually got him killed.”
- “Antiochus the Great’s son, Seleucus IV, succeeded his father, and he sent his [financial] chief, Heliodorus to Israel to squeeze taxes out of the Jews. Heliodorus ended up returning to Antioch and poisoning Seleucus. He took the throne for himself.”
- Now, Antiochus the Great’s son in Rome was named Antiochus IV. When he heard about his brother’s death and Heliodorus’ claim to the throne he hatched a plot. He was not the rightful heir to the throne. As Daniel says, he had ‘not been given the honor of royalty.’ The heir was the son of Seleucus IV, named Demetrius. But it was while Demetrius was away, that Antiochus IV had Heliodorus put to death, and he wooed the Syrians, and took the throne for himself. With his slick dealings and his lying tongue this Antiochus secured the help of influential friends in Rome and Pergamum. Literally, as Daniel had predicted he came to power peaceably – ‘by intrigue.‘”
Overlapping Events – Past and Future
Next we have Antiochus IV or Antiochus “Epiphanes,” which means “god manifest” (he gave himself that name). He’s an antisemitic leader — a type of Antichrist — certainly possessed with the spirit of the Antichrist. This is the story of Hanukkah, which I covered here.
Antiochus’ tyranny ended in 165 BC, but for most of Israel’s last 2000 years the Jews have felt the fires of persecution. Time and time again antisemitism has raised its ugly head. Orchestrated by Satan, his hatred for God’s people knows no boundaries or limits. Daniel tells us in verse 35 it will last “until the time of the end.”Sandy Adams
Between verses 35 and 36 we have a time gap of 2180 years. Verses 36-45 talk about the Last Days, which we will finish in our next post. Subscribe so you don’t miss out!
It’s pretty obvious, with all that is going on in the world today, that we are living in the end times. If you’re not already, now is the time to GET RIGHT WITH GOD!