Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Kings of North and South, Part 2

Introduction
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” (Psalm 146:3; Psalm 118:8).

Daniel 11:20-35

Context
-In different times in history, God’s people have suffered severe persecution from political overlords. Different militant regimes in history have attacked and attempted to destroy the church of Jesus Christ. However, as Christ Himself promised, the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18).
-In the Old Testament times, God’s people were often attacked. The nation of Israel became the target for numerous attacks, plots, and political machinations. Geographically, Israel was located between the African continent and the Middle East, which often caused the nation to be caught in the middle between warring factions. In the intertestamental period (prophesied in Daniel 11), the Greek Empire was split into four main factions after the death of Alexander the Great. The northern faction (the Seleucid dynasty) and the southern faction (the Ptolemaic dynasty) constantly sparred for control. Once Israel attached itself to the forces of the north, it became inevitably wrapped up in the political struggles of the Greek Empire—to Israel’s own great cost. For the reign and rule of the Greeks would soon prove to be disastrous and a strong force of persecution for God’s people.
-God’s people are ultimately hated because their God is hated. Faithful Christians in the Old and New Testaments faced the hatred and gall of their enemies because they believed in Yahweh as the one, true, and living God. In almost every case in Scripture (and in history), Christians don’t have any ability to change their political climate around them, because the forces of political opposition are too strong and fueled by the kingdom of darkness. Therefore, in these situations, how should Christians understand the nature of persecution? Such is answered in Daniel 11:20-35.

The Rise of Evil
(v. 20-28)

20“Then shall arise in his place one who shall send an exactor of tribute for the glory of the kingdom. But within a few days he shall be broken, neither in anger nor in battle. 21In his place shall arise a contemptible person to whom royal majesty has not been given. He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. 22Armies shall be utterly swept away before him and broken, even the prince of the covenant. 23And from the time that an alliance is made with him he shall act deceitfully, and he shall become strong with a small people. 24Without warning he shall come into the richest parts of the province, and he shall do what neither his fathers nor his fathers' fathers have done, scattering among them plunder, spoil, and goods. He shall devise plans against strongholds, but only for a time. 25And he shall stir up his power and his heart against the king of the south with a great army. And the king of the south shall wage war with an exceedingly great and mighty army, but he shall not stand, for plots shall be devised against him. 26Even those who eat his food shall break him. His army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain. 27And as for the two kings, their hearts shall be bent on doing evil. They shall speak lies at the same table, but to no avail, for the end is yet to be at the time appointed. 28And he shall return to his land with great wealth, but his heart shall be set against the holy covenant. And he shall work his will and return to his own land.

Verse 20

-In verse 19, Antiochus III (the king of the north) had attempted an unsuccessful campaign to counter the lands around the Mediterranean Sea. He had previously severely defeated the southern kingdom in Egypt, and hubris drove him to conquer more land than first anticipated. However, the Romans stopped him and drove him back to his kingdom. Facing severe financial burdens due to indemnity payments to Rome, he was killed during an unsuccessful raid on a temple of Zeus in his homeland.
-“Then shall arise in his place one who shall send an exactor of tribute for the glory of the kingdom.” (
וְעָמַד עַל־כַּנּוֹ מַעֲבִיר נוֹגֵשׂ הֶדֶר מַלְכוּת)
-Antiochus III’s son Seleucus IV reigned from 187-175 B.C. He sent a tax collector named Heliodorus throughout his kingdom in order to gather money to pay tribute to Rome. According to legend, he even attempted to plunder the Jerusalem temple for funds but was stopped by an army of angels.
-“But within a few days he shall be broken, neither in anger nor in battle.”
(
אֲחָדִים יִשָּׁבֵר וְלֹא בְאַפַּיִם וְלֹא בְמִלְחָמָה).
-Heliodorus, the “exactor of tribute” prophesied in this verse, had Seleucus IV assassinated. He was looking to take the throne for himself.
Verse 21
-However, Heliodorus did not take the throne as he intended. “In his place shall arise a contemptible person” (
וְעָמַד עַל־כַּנּוֹ נִבְזֶה). The KJV more strongly renders it “a vile person”—someone despicable.
-Antiochus III had been killed previously by an angry mob. His son Seleucus IV had been poisoned, as verse 20 prophesied. However, another one of Antiochus III’s sons rose to power after the heir was poisoned. Antiochus IV (already prophesied in Daniel 8:23-26) was indeed a vile man.
-The text says that “royal majesty has not been given” (
וְלֹא־נָתְנוּ עָלָיו הוֹד מַלְכוּת) to him. Demetrius I Soter, the son of Seleucus IV, was the rightful heir to the throne. However, he was held captive in Rome. Therefore, as his nephew was imprisoned, Antiochus IV seized the throne after his brother was poisoned.
-“He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom with flatteries”
(
וּבָא בְשַׁלְוָה וְהֶחֱזִיק מַלְכוּת בַּחֲלַקְלַקּוֹת).
-Daniel 8:25 also prophesies how Antiochus IV became great through political intrigue.
Verse 22
-The southern kingdom now attempted to regain the territories of Phoenicia and Israel that Antiochus III had conquered. However, Antiochus IV destroyed their attempts to do so. “Armies shall be utterly swept away before him and broken”
(
וּזְרֹעוֹת הַשֶּׁטֶף יִשָּׁטְפוּ מִלְּפָנָיו וְיִשָּׁבֵרוּ).
-“Even the prince of the covenant” (
וְגַם נְגִיד בְּרִית) would be broken and swept away along with his armies. This “prince” was Ptolemy VI (181-146 B.C.) who initially allied himself with Antiochus IV in order to take the southern throne away from his brother Ptolemy VII. Antiochus had indeed helped Ptolemy VI defeat his brother Ptolemy VII, but shortly after Ptolemy VI had taken the southern throne, he broke his covenant with Antiochus. Hence why Antiochus severely defeated him in battle.
Verse 23
-“And from the time that an alliance is made with him, he shall act deceitfully”
(
וּמִן־הִתְחַבְּרוּת אֵלָיו יַעֲשֶׂה מִרְמָה). Antiochus IV viewed allies purely as a means to an end: to overthrow those who were on friendly terms with him (Daniel 11:21; Daniel 8:25).
-“And he shall become strong with a small people” (
וְעָלָה וְעָצַם בִּמְעַט־גּוֹי).
Verse 24
-Antiochus IV had secretly planned to invade and conquer many territories, and now he turned his allies into his victims. “Without warning he shall come into the richest parts of the province” (
בְּשַׁלְוָה וּבְמִשְׁמַנֵּי מְדִינָה יָבוֹא). He planned to take Israel, Egypt, and other parts of Syria, desiring to conquer the southern kingdom.
-“He shall do what neither his fathers nor his fathers’ fathers have done, scattering among them plunder, spoil, and goods.”
(
וְעָשָׂה אֲשֶׁר לֹא־עָשׂוּ אֲבֹתָיו וַאֲבוֹת אֲבֹתָיו בִּזָּה וְשָׁלָל וּרְכוּשׁ לָהֶם יִבְזוֹר).
-Antiochus IV plundered the provinces he invaded and took their treasures and monies and divided it up among his people as spoils of war. This type of invasion and plunder was historically unprecedented.
-Successful in these invasions, Antiochus then turned his attention to the southern kingdom. “He shall devise plans against strongholds” (
וְעַל מִבְצָרִים יְחַשֵּׁב מַחְשְׁבֹתָיו).
-However, Antiochus could not conquer longer than the allotted time decreed by the sovereign God of Daniel 11, for his plans would be “only for a time” (
וְעַד־עֵת).
Verse 25
-Verse 25 now goes back a few years in time to 169 B.C. “And he shall stir up his heart against the king of the south with a great army.”
(
וְיָעֵר כֹּחוֹ וּלְבָבוֹ עַל־מֶלֶךְ הַנֶּגֶב בְּחַיִל גָּדוֹל). This is the same invasion prophesied in verse 22.
-“And the king of the south shall wage war with an exceedingly great and mighty army.”
(
וּמֶלֶךְ הַנֶּגֶב יִתְגָּרֶה לַמִּלְחָמָה בְּחַיִל־גָּדוֹל וְעָצוּם עַד־מְאֹד) Ptolemy VI had tried to raise a huge army when invading Palestine and Phoenicia, “but he shall not stand, for plots shall be devised against him.” (וְלֹא יַעֲמֹד כִּי־יַחְשְׁבוּ עָלָיו מַחֲשָׁבוֹת)
-These “plots” were not so much intentional plots against Ptolemy as they were poor counsel.
Verse 26
-“Even those who eat his food shall break him.” (
וְאֹכְלֵי פַת־בָּגוֹ יִשְׁבְּרוּהוּ וְחֵילוֹ) His counselors advised Ptolemy to take back Phoenicia and Palestine, which would break his terms with Antiochus. Ptolemy tried to do so, but “His army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain.” (וְחֵילוֹ יִשְׁטוֹף וְנָפְלוּ חֲלָלִים רַבִּים)
Verse 27
-“And as for the two kings, their hearts shall be bent on doing evil. They shall speak lies at the same table, but to no avail.”
(
וּשְׁנֵיהֶם הַמְּלָכִים לְבָבָם לְמֵרָע וְעַל־שֻׁלְחָן אֶחָד כָּזָב יְדַבֵּרוּ וְלֹא תִצְלָח)
-“While Ptolemy VI was a prisoner (cf. v. 22), Ptolemy VII Euergetes (Physcon) was made king. This development led Ptolemy VI and Antiochus (“the two kings”) to plan how they would regain the Egyptian throne. Both kings made promises that they had no intention of keeping. Of course, Antiochus was willing to support Ptolemy merely for personal gain, and in turn Ptolemy made insincere promises in order to receive aid from the powerful Syrians. “The figure of speaking lies at the same table is significant because, to the oriental, deception practiced at a table of hospitality was the very lowest in kind.” Nevertheless, the plan of Antiochus and Ptolemy to control all Egypt was “to no avail,” even though they did have some successes in Egypt, including the capture of the strategic center, Memphis. Ptolemy VI was installed as king there, but Ptolemy VII still ruled in Alexandria.70 Later Ptolemy VI established a joint rule with his brother, Ptolemy VII.[1]
-Neither Antiochus nor Ptolemy would ultimately succeed in their political conniving against each other, “for the end is yet to be at the time appointed.” (
כִּי־עוֹד קֵץ לַמּוֹעֵד)
-Neither king would fully overthrow the other, for God Himself had appointed a time to put both kings to an end. This chapter (and all of history) operates on God’s divine timetable.

Verse 28
-Now, the heavenly messenger relating this vision to Daniel reveals that verses 1-27 of this chapter serves as the backdrop to the portion of the prophecy that particularly involves the Jewish people.
-“And he shall return to his land with great wealth, but his heart shall be set against the holy covenant.” (
וְיָשֹׁב אַרְצוֹ בִּרְכוּשׁ גָּדוֹל וּלְבָבוֹ עַל־בְּרִית קֹדֶשׁ)
-Antiochus IV had finished plundering Egypt and was returning to his capital city by traveling through Israel. For many years, Israel had been under the control of the northern kingdom, but was not particularly relevant or important to the north. However, Antiochus IV found a rebellion stirring against his power.
-“After plundering Egypt, the king returned home by way of Palestine and found an insurrection in progress (cf. 1 Macc 1:16–28; 2 Macc 5:1–11). He put down the rebellion, massacring eighty thousand men, women, and children (2 Macc 5:12–14) and then looted the temple with the help of the evil high priest, Menelaus (cf. 2 Macc 5:15–21). The persecution of the Jews by this evil tyrant had now escalated to calamitous proportions.[2]
-“And he shall work his will and shall return to his own land.” (
וְעָשָׂה וְשָׁב לְאַרְצוֹ).
- 16 When Antiochus saw that his kingdom was established, he determined to become king of the land of Egypt, in order that he might reign over both kingdoms. 17 So he invaded Egypt with a strong force, with chariots and elephants and cavalry and with a large fleet. 18 He engaged King Ptolemy of Egypt in battle, and Ptolemy turned and fled before him, and many were wounded and fell. 19 They captured the fortified cities in the land of Egypt, and he plundered the land of Egypt. 20 After subduing Egypt, Antiochus returned in the one hundred forty-third year. He went up against Israel and came to Jerusalem with a strong force. 21 He arrogantly entered the sanctuary and took the golden altar, the lampstand for the light, and all its utensils. 22 He took also the table for the bread of the Presence, the cups for drink offerings, the bowls, the golden censers, the curtain, the crowns, and the gold decoration on the front of the temple; he stripped it all off. 23 He took the silver and the gold, and the costly vessels; he took also the hidden treasures that he found[3]
-
He commanded his soldiers to cut down relentlessly everyone they met and to kill those who went into their houses. 13 Then there was massacre of young and old, destruction of boys, women, and children, and slaughter of young girls and infants. 14 Within the total of three days eighty thousand were destroyed, forty thousand in hand-to-hand fighting, and as many were sold into slavery as were killed. [4]
-“Not content with this, Antiochus dared to enter the most holy temple in all the world, guided by Menelaus, who had become a traitor both to the laws and to his country. 16 He took the holy vessels with his polluted hands, and swept away with profane hands the votive offerings that other kings had made to enhance the glory and honor of the place. 17 Antiochus was elated in spirit, and did not perceive that the Lord was angered for a little while because of the sins of those who lived in the city, and that this was the reason he was disregarding the holy place. 18 But if it had not happened that they were involved in many sins, this man would have been flogged and turned back from his rash act as soon as he came forward, just as Heliodorus had been, whom King Seleucus sent to inspect the treasury. 19 But the Lord did not choose the nation for the sake of the holy place, but the place for the sake of the nation. 20 Therefore the place itself shared in the misfortunes that befell the nation and afterward participated in its benefits; and what was forsaken in the wrath of the Almighty was restored again in all its glory when the great Lord became reconciled.
21 So Antiochus carried off eighteen hundred talents from the temple, and hurried away to Antioch, thinking in his arrogance that he could sail on the land and walk on the sea, because his mind was elated. 22 He left governors to oppress the people: at Jerusalem, Philip, by birth a Phrygian and in character more barbarous than the man who appointed him; 23 and at Gerizim, Andronicus; and besides these Menelaus, who lorded it over his compatriots worse than the others did. In his malice toward the Jewish citizens, 24 Antiochus sent Apollonius, the captain of the Mysians, with an army of twenty-two thousand, and commanded him to kill all the grown men and to sell the women and boys as slaves. 25 When this man arrived in Jerusalem, he pretended to be peaceably disposed and waited until the holy sabbath day; then, finding the Jews not at work, he ordered his troops to parade under arms. 26 He put to the sword all those who came out to see them, then rushed into the city with his armed warriors and killed great numbers of people.
27 But Judas Maccabeus, with about nine others, got away to the wilderness, and kept himself and his companions alive in the mountains as wild animals do; they continued to live on what grew wild, so that they might not share in the defilement. [5]

The Reign of Evil

(v. 29-35)

29“At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but it shall not be this time as it was before. 30For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant. 31Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. 32He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. 33And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. 34When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, 35and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.

Verse 29

-Antiochus IV then attempted a second Egyptian campaign in 168 B.C “at the time appointed” 
(
לַמּוֹעֵד) by God.
-“He shall return and come into the south, but it shall not be this time as it was before.”
(
יָשׁוּב וּבָא בַנֶּגֶב וְלֹא־תִהְיֶה כָרִאשֹׁנָה וְכָאַחֲרֹנָה).
-What was different this time during Antiochus’ second campaign into Egypt and the southern kingdom was that the Ptolemaic dynasty had enlisted the help of the growing Roman military machine. The fourth empire (Rome) at this point in history was now growing more and more powerful.

Verse 30
-Antiochus’ invasion forces were defeated, “For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw.” (
וּבָאוּ בוֹ צִיִּים כִּתִּים וְנִכְאָה)
-The powerful Antiochus cowed in the face of the Roman fleet that came to the aid of the southern kingdom. “As the Syrians were moving to besiege Alexandria, the Roman commander Gaius Popilius Laenas met Antiochus four miles outside of the city and handed him a letter from the Roman Senate ordering him to leave Egypt or face war with Rome. Then the Roman commander drew a circle in the sand around Antiochus and told him that he must respond before stepping from the circle. Well aware of the might of Rome, having been a hostage there, and also remembering his father’s (Antiochus III) defeat by the Roman legions at the Battle of Magnesia, the Syrian king stood in humiliated silence for a brief interval and then acquiesced to the demand. Antiochus withdrew from Egypt to Antioch in utter humiliation.[6]
-Humiliated and enraged at his defeat, Antiochus then directed his full wrath against the nation of Israel on his retreat to his own kingdom. He “shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant.” (
וְשָׁב וְזָעַם עַל־בְּרִית־קוֹדֶשׁ וְעָשָׂה).
-“In 167 b.c., Antiochus turned his humiliation into anger against the Jewish people (“the holy covenant”) once more (cf. 1 Macc 1:29–40; 2 Macc 6:1–6). He sent Apollonius (2 Macc 5:23–26), the head of his mercenaries and the “chief collector of tribute” (1 Macc 1:29), to Jerusalem. Apollonius pretended to come in peace, but on the Sabbath Day he suddenly attacked, massacring many people and plundering the city (cf. 1 Macc 1:30–32; cf. 2 Macc 5:25–26)[7]
-“Two years later the king sent to the cities of Judah a chief collector of tribute, and he came to Jerusalem with a large force. 30 Deceitfully he spoke peaceable words to them, and they believed him; but he suddenly fell upon the city, dealt it a severe blow, and destroyed many people of Israel. 31 He plundered the city, burned it with fire, and tore down its houses and its surrounding walls. 32 They took captive the women and children, and seized the livestock. 33 Then they fortified the city of David with a great strong wall and strong towers, and it became their citadel. 34 They stationed there a sinful people, men who were renegades. These strengthened their position; 35 they stored up arms and food, and collecting the spoils of Jerusalem they stored them there, and became a great menace[8].”
-“Not long after this, the king sent an Athenian senator to compel the Jews to forsake the laws of their ancestors and no longer to live by the laws of God; also to pollute the temple in Jerusalem and to call it the temple of Olympian Zeus, and to call the one in Gerizim the temple of Zeus-the-Friend-of-Strangers, as did the people who lived in that place. Harsh and utterly grievous was the onslaught of evil. For the temple was filled with debauchery and reveling by the Gentiles, who dallied with prostitutes and had intercourse with women within the sacred precincts, and besides brought in things for sacrifice that were unfit. The altar was covered with abominable offerings that were forbidden by the laws. People could neither keep the sabbath, nor observe the festivals of their ancestors, nor so much as confess themselves to be Jews. On the monthly celebration of the king’s birthday, the Jews were taken, under bitter constraint, to partake of the sacrifices; and when a festival of Dionysus was celebrated, they were compelled to wear wreaths of ivy and to walk in the procession in honor of Dionysus. At the suggestion of the people of Ptolemais a decree was issued to the neighboring Greek cities that they should adopt the same policy toward the Jews and make them partake of the sacrifices, and should kill those who did not choose to change over to Greek customs. One could see, therefore, the misery that had come upon them. 10 For example, two women were brought in for having circumcised their children. They publicly paraded them around the city, with their babies hanging at their breasts, and then hurled them down headlong from the wall. 11 Others who had assembled in the caves nearby, in order to observe the seventh day secretly, were betrayed to Philip and were all burned together, because their piety kept them from defending themselves, in view of their regard for that most holy day. [9]
-However, “He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant.” (
וְשָׁב וְיָבֵן עַל־עֹזְבֵי בְּרִית קֹדֶשׁ) This refers to Antiochus handsomely rewarding those who abandoned the faith of the patriarchs and denied the God of Israel.
-Persecution and political oppression will very rapidly separate those who actually believe in the faith they profess (Matthew 24:9-10).

Verse 31
-Antiochus now set about to completely destroy the worship and acknowledgement of God in the land.  “Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress and take away the regular burnt offering.”
(
וּזְרֹעִים מִמֶּנּוּ יַעֲמֹדוּ וְחִלְּלוּ הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הַמָּעוֹז וְהֵסִירוּ הַתָּמִיד)
-In 167 B.C., the persecution became extremely severe for God’s people living in Palestine at that time. Sacrificing to the Lord, circumcising children, celebrating feast days, and even owning a copy of the Scriptures were all political crimes punishable by death. Antiochus’ word became the law of the land. To oppose Antiochus brought about swift execution. He even adopted the title “Epiphanes” and promoted cult worship of himself as a god.
-The darkest moment came when “they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate”
(
וְנָתְנוּ הַשִּׁקּוּץ מְשׁוֹמֵם).
-“Desecration of the Jewish religion reached its climax on 15 Chislev (December) 167 b.c. (1 Macc 1:54) when an altar or idol-statue devoted to Olympian Zeus (Jupiter) was erected in the temple (“the abomination that causes desolation”), and on 25 Chislev sacrifices, probably including swine (cf. 1 Macc 1:47; 2 Macc 6:4–5), were offered on the altar (cf. 1 Macc 1:54, 59). In this manner the temple was desecrated and rendered empty of Yahweh worshipers.[10]
Verse 32
-“He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant”
(
וּמַרְשִׁיעֵי בְרִית יַחֲנִיף בַּחֲלַקּוֹת). He promised wealth and promotions within his government to those who accepted his pagan policies.
-Even in the midst of this darkness, there is still light. God has always preserved His people as a remnant in a dark world. At one point in history, the number of believers in the Lord was only 7,000 (1 Kings 19:18). “But the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” (
וְעַם יֹדְעֵי אֱלֹהָיו יַחֲזִקוּ וְעָשׂוּ).
-Our calling and our focus must always be to be the people who know our God (2 Peter 3:18).
-If we know our God, we shall indeed stand firm (Galatians 5:1; Ephesians 6:14; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 1 Corinthians 16:13).
-Not only will we stand firm, we will take action in order to resist the powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12-13).
-Historically in fulfillment of this prophecy, a priest named Mattathias lived 17 miles northwest of Jerusalem. He had five sons who joined him in opposing Antiochus IV’s evil regime and desecration of the temple. Three of his sons (Judas, Jonathan, and Simon) became known to history as the “Maccabees”, meaning “Hammer”. They successfully waged guerilla warfare against Antiochus for two-three years. They in fact emerged victorious, and on 25 Chislev (December 14) of 164 B.C., they rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem to the worship of the Lord.
-The dedication of the temple, or “Hanukkah”, became a repeating festival for the Jewish people ever afterwards, and during the celebration the city of Jerusalem and the temple would be brightly lit with torches. It was during a Hanukkah celebration that Jesus cried out, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). The action of those who knew their God and stood firm ultimately resulted in the Savior of the world crying out on the streets of Jerusalem that He is the saving light in a lost and dark world, and that all who come to Him will walk in that light and not be lost eternally in darkness (John 12:46).
Verse 33
-During this time of God-ordained revolt against the evil regime of Antiochus, “the wise among the people shall make many understand” (
וּמַשְׂכִּילֵי עָם יָבִינוּ לָרַבִּים) the times.
-These were those who faithfully taught the Word of God to those severely persecuted in those days. No matter how dark the times, the preaching of the Word of God must go on (2 Timothy 4:1-2).
-The faithful teachers (and their hearers) did not escape persecution for being faithful; however, they encountered precisely because they were faithful: “for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder”
(
וְנִכְשְׁלוּ בְּחֶרֶב וּבְלֶהָבָה בִּשְׁבִי וּבְבִזָּה יָמִים).
-Many “stumbled” in that they were killed, not that they abandoned the faith. However, the faith never fell, even though some were slain, some were burned to death, some were imprisoned, and some lost everything they had. The author of Hebrews notes these people in Hebrews 11:34.
-However, the Word of God will not be stopped and the people of God will not be stamped out, because the God of the Word will not be overcome.
Verse 34
-“When they stumble, they shall receive a little help.”
(
וּבְהִכָּשְׁלָם יֵעָזְרוּ עֵזֶר מְעָט). This refers to the small number of fighters who attached themselves to the Maccabean cause.
-Interestingly, “Many shall join themselves to them with flattery”
(
וְנִלְווּ עֲלֵיהֶם רַבִּים בַּחֲלַקְלַקּוֹת).
-During any revolution, those neutral to either side eventually attach themselves to one side or another if their lives become threatened by the other side. The Maccabean forces began to execute those apostate Jews who allied themselves with the Seleucids. Rather than being identified as war criminals to be executed, the uncommitted Jews continuously allied themselves with the Maccabean revolt.
Verse 35
-“And some of the wise shall stumble” (
וּמִן־הַמַּשְׂכִּילִים יִכָּשְׁלוּ) once again refers to the martyrdom—not apostasy—of the faithful.
-What then was the foreordained purpose of this suffering and martyrdom? “So that they may be refined, purified, and made white” (
לִצְרוֹף בָּהֶם וּלְבָרֵר וְלַלְבֵּן).
-Scripture teaches that suffering comes to us in order to refine us (John 15:2; 1 Peter 1:7)
-Suffering will continue “until the time of the end, for it still awaits its appointed time”
(
עַד־עֵת קֵץ כִּי־עוֹד לַמּוֹעֵד).
-The suffering of the Jewish people continued not a moment longer after God decreed it would stop. The evil rise and reign of Antiochus ceased the moment God ordained it to cease. Throughout history, the people who know their God will suffer and die because they are taking action and standing firm. Yet the Word of God will not be stopped and God’s people will not be stamped out. Indeed, what happened to the Jews as prophesied in Daniel 11:35 is the pattern throughout history—but one day, the appointed time for suffering to end will come (Revelation 7:13-17).

Conclusion
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:13-14)

Handout
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzLnbvsX8ZvgMGZ3WkR2SUNteTQ/view?usp=sharing

Recording
Download the Study Here





[1] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, p. 300). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[2] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, p. 300). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[3] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Mac 1:16–23). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
[4] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (2 Mac 5:12–14). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
[5] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (2 Mac 5:15–27). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
[6] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, p. 301). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[7] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, p. 301). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[8] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Mac 1:29–35). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
[9] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (2 Mac 6:1–11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
[10] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, pp. 301–302). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Kings of North and South, Part 1

Introduction
The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.” (Psalm 33:10-11)

Daniel 11:1-19

Context
-Daniel 10-12 contains the final vision of Daniel’s life and ministry as the prophet of God in the city of Babylon. In chapter 10, Daniel encounters a heavenly messenger unlike any other messenger he has previously seen. In chapter 11, the heavenly messenger prophesies to Daniel the history that will unfold between the Old and New Testament eras. In fact, chapter 11 is so detailed in its prophecies and so startlingly accurate that many scholars simply refuse to believe it could have been written by Daniel long before these events occurred in history. However, the biblical worldview reminds us that Yahweh declares the end from the beginning before it happens (Isaiah 46:10). It also reminds us that all prophecies in Scripture came about by the Holy Spirit revealing it to God’s prophets for God’s people (2 Peter 1:20-21).
-Throughout history, civil divisions have in many cases led to outright wars between northern and southern factions. Between 1455-1487, the “War of the Roses” between two rival houses of the House of Plantagenet resulted in multiple changes of power and civil war in England. The House of York (symbolized by a rose) and the House of Lancaster (symbolized by a red rose) constantly fought for control of the English throne. Initially, the House of York gained power, but in the end the House of Lancaster triumphed when Henry Tudor became King Henry VII.
-In the history of the United States, the Civil War erupted April 12, 1861 and ended April 9, 1865. In a war over state’s rights, federal power, changing economic conditions, and slavery, the North eventually defeated the South and the Union was preserved from disintegration.
-In Daniel 11, another civil war erupts in history—long before the War of the Roses or the American Civil War. In fact, this civil war would change the course of history and also set the historical precedent for how the final days of human history will unfold in accordance with God’s prophetic plan.


A Powerful Rise
(v. 1-4)
1“And as for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen him. 2And now I will show you the truth. Behold, three more kings shall arise in Persia, and a fourth shall be far richer than all of them. And when he has become strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece. 3Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and do as he wills. 4And as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to the authority with which he ruled, for his kingdom shall be plucked up and go to others besides these.”
Verse 1
-Verse 1 continues the message of the heavenly messenger in Daniel 10:18-21. The heavenly messenger (the final messenger Daniel will see in his lifetime) will now reveal to Daniel the final vision Daniel will receive in his lifetime.
-The heavenly messenger says, “And as for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen him”
(
וַאֲנִי בִּשְׁנַת אַחַת לְדָרְיָוֶשׁ הַמָּדִי עָמְדִי לְמַחֲזִיק וּלְמָעוֹז לוֹ).
-In Daniel 10:13 and Daniel 10:20, the heavenly messenger declares to Daniel that spiritual warfare took place and will take place behind the kingdoms of men. Here, the messenger tells Daniel that he personally fought in this spiritual battle on behalf of Darius the Mede in 538 B.C.
-However, why would there be spiritual conflict two years prior to this vision?
Therefore an intense spiritual conflict took place during the first year of Darius the Mede. Since Michael (Israel’s prince) was involved, the battle must have concerned the Jewish people. The text does not name the occasion of this particular struggle, but it may have been the fall of Babylon (Young), the conveying of the “seventy sevens” prophecy in chap. 9 (cf. 9:1), or the decree of Cyrus allowing the Jews to return to Palestine (Archer, Wood). All of these events took place in the first year of Darius the Mede (Cyrus), but the latter suggestion seems to be most likely. If so, the conflict involved Cyrus’s decision to allow the Jews to return to their homeland. Archer remarks: “Knowing that such a development could lead to the ultimate appearance of the Son of God as the Messiah for God’s redeemed, Satan and all his hosts were determined to thwart the renewal of Israel and the deliverance of its people from destruction.”[1]
Verse 2
-Now for the third time in this vision (Daniel 10:1; Daniel 10:21) the messenger reminds Daniel of the accuracy and authenticity of this vision, for he says, “And now I will show you the truth” (
וְעַתָּה אֱמֶת אַגִּיד לָךְ).
-The course of history does not happen aimlessly or randomly. Yet we are not able to understand the purpose of history by our own study—it must be revealed to us by an external source. Indeed, it has. God has written the script of history such that Jesus Christ reigns victorious over men and nations for eternity when history has concluded (Revelation 11:15).
-The vision now begins.
Behold, three more kings shall arise in Persia
(
הִנֵּה־עוֹד שְׁלֹשָׁה מְלָכִים עֹמְדִים לְפָרַס).
-Verse 2 deals with the Medo-Persian kingdom, which replaced Babylon in God’s prophetic plan. At this moment, King Cyrus of Persia is reigning (Daniel 10:1). The three kings who followed King Cyrus were Cambyses (530-522 B.C.), Smerdis (522 B.C.), and Darius I Hystaspes (522-486 B.C.).
-“And a fourth shall be far richer than them all” (
וְהָרְבִיעִי יַעֲשִׁיר עֹשֶׁר־גָּדוֹל מִכֹּל). This king would be King Xerxes I (486-465 B.C.). This is the King Xerxes found in the book of Esther.
-King Xerxes I would wage war against the Greek Empire, which was a major threat to the Persian Empire. “And when he has become strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece” (
וּכְחֶזְקָתוֹ בְעָשְׁרוֹ יָעִיר הַכֹּל אֵת מַלְכוּת יָוָן).
Verse 3
-At the conclusion of verse 2 and the start of verse 3, the messenger skips over several decades of Medo-Persian history in order to focus on the rise of a mighty ruler from the Greek Empire. “Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and do as he wills” (
וְעָמַד מֶלֶךְ גִּבּוֹר וּמָשַׁל מִמְשָׁל רַב וְעָשָׂה כִּרְצוֹנוֹ). This king, already prophesied in the vision of the male goat with the conspicuous horn (Daniel 8:5) would be none other than Alexander the Great (336-323 B.C.). Alexander indeed ruled with “great dominion”, for his empire stretched from Greece to India. He did as he willed, for he overthrew the Persian Empire. He was an unstoppable military leader and led the greatest armies in the world at that time.
Verse 4
-However, Alexander’s reign would not be very long. “And as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven.”
(
וּכְעָמְדוֹ תִּשָּׁבֵר מַלְכוּתוֹ וְתֵחָץ לְאַרְבַּע רוּחוֹת הַשָּׁמָיִם). 
-Alexander the Great died in June 323 B.C. at approximately 33 years of age. His empire was divided into four sections after his death in accordance with the prophesy here and in Daniel 8:8. It was divided “toward the four winds of heaven”, or roughly north-south-east-west divisions.
-However, it would not go to Alexander’s two sons—“but not to his posterity”
(
וְלֹא לְאַחֲרִיתוֹ). His sons Alexander IV and Herakles were both murdered.
-Neither would it go to anyone Alexander designated, for he did not appoint successors other than his sons. “Nor according to the authority with which he ruled, for his kingdom shall be plucked up and go to others besides these.”
(
וְלֹא כְמָשְׁלוֹ אֲשֶׁר מָשָׁל כִּי תִנָּתֵשׁ מַלְכוּתוֹ וְלַאֲחֵרִים מִלְּבַד־אֵלֶּה)
-The “others” in this text would be Alexander’s four great military commanders: Lysimachus, Antigonus I Monophthalmus, Seleucus I Nicator, and Ptolemy I Soter.

A Southern Reign
(v. 5-13)
“Then the king of the south shall be strong, but one of his princes shall be stronger than he and shall rule, and his authority shall be a great authority. 6After some years they shall make an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement. But she shall not retain the strength of her arm, and he and his arm shall not endure, but she shall be given up, and her attendants, he who fathered her, and he who supported her in those times. “And from a branch from her roots one shall arise in his place. He shall come against the army and enter the fortress of the king of the north, and he shall deal with them and shall prevail. 8He shall also carry off to Egypt their gods with their metal images and their precious vessels of silver and gold, and for some years he shall refrain from attacking the king of the north. 9Then the latter shall come into the realm of the king of the south but shall return to his own land. 10“His sons shall wage war and assemble a multitude of great forces, which shall keep coming and overflow and pass through, and again shall carry the war as far as his fortress. 11Then the king of the south, moved with rage, shall come out and fight against the king of the north. And he shall raise a great multitude, but it shall be given into his hand. 12And when the multitude is taken away, his heart shall be exalted, and he shall cast down tens of thousands, but he shall not prevail. 13For the king of the north shall again raise a multitude, greater than the first. And after some years he shall come on with a great army and abundant supplies.
Verse 5
-Verses 5-20 are detailed prophesies about conflicts related between the Ptolemaic kingdom and the Seleucid kingdom. The Ptolemaic kingdom controlled Egypt, and the Seleucid kingdom controlled Syria.
-“Then the king of the south shall be strong” (
וְיֶחֱזַק מֶלֶךְ־הַנֶּגֶב). This is Ptolemy I Soter (323-285 B.C.) who ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great’s death.
-“But one of his princes shall be stronger than he” (
וּמִן־שָׂרָיו וְיֶחֱזַק עָלָיו). This prophesy describes the rise of Seleucus I Nicator (312-280 B.C.). He originally fled Babylon during civil uprising to be protected by Ptolemy I Soter, but over time Seleucus became the most powerful of the four generals.
-He “shall rule, and his authority shall be a great authority”
(
וּמָשָׁל מִמְשָׁל רַב מֶמְשַׁלְתּוֹ). Seleucus’ kingdom would span Babylon, Media, and Syria, thus becoming the largest and most powerful kingdom in the divided Greek Empire.
Verse 6
-“And after some years they shall make an alliance” (
וּלְקֵץ שָׁנִים יִתְחַבָּרוּ). Ptolemy and Seleucus both died, and as time passed, conflict arose between the Ptolemaic kingdom and the Seleucid kingdom. Eventually, Ptolemy II Philadelphus (the son of Ptolemy I) and Antiochus II Theos (the grandson of Seleucus) sought to bring about peace between the two Greek factions.
-As often has happened in history, a political alliance was to be formed through marriage. “And the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement.” (
וּבַת מֶלֶךְ־הַנֶּגֶב תָּבוֹא אֶל־מֶלֶךְ הַצָּפוֹן לַעֲשׂוֹת מֵישָׁרִים) Ptolemy II’s daughter Berenice (“the daughter of the king of the south”) was to be married to Antiochus (“the king of the north”) the grandson of Seleucus.
-“But she shall not retain the strength of her arm, and he  and his arm shall not endure, but she shall be given up, and her attendants, he who fathered her, and he who supported her in those times.”
-Antiochus II was already married to a power-hungry woman named Laodice. Laodice had Antiochus II, Berenice, and their son murdered. She then reigned as regent during her son’s rise to power as prophesied in verse 7.
Verse 7
-“And from a branch from her roots one shall rise in his place.”
(
וְעָמַד מִנֵּצֶר שָׁרָשֶׁיהָ כַּנּוֹ). The “her” refers to the murdered Berenice, and her “roots” refers to her immediate family. Her brother Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-221 B.C.) the son of Ptolemy II became king over the Ptolemaic kingdom.
-As can be well imaged, the murder of a royal daughter from the southern kingdom was not well-taken by that southern kingdom. In reality, the murder of Berenice started a long “civil war” between the northern and southern kingdoms in the Greek Empire. As vengeance for his sister’s murder, Ptolemy III waged war against the Seleucid kingdom in the north. “He shall come against the army and enter the fortress of the king of the north, and he shall deal with them and shall prevail.”
(
וְיָבֹא אֶל־הַחַיִל וְיָבֹא בְּמָעוֹז מֶלֶךְ הַצָּפוֹן וְעָשָׂה בָהֶם וְהֶחֱזִיק).
-“This war lasted from 246 to 241 b.c. during the course of which Ptolemy even captured and looted the Seleucid capital of Antioch. The Egyptian king soundly defeated the Syrian forces and evidently put the evil Laodice to death.[2]
Verse 8 -“He shall also carry off to Egypt their gods with their metal images and their precious vessels of silver and gold”
(
וְגַם אֱלֹהֵיהֶם עִם־נְסִכֵיהֶם עִם־כְּלֵי חֶמְדָּתָם כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב בַּשְּׁבִי יָבִא מִצְרָיִם).
-In war, the capture of idols signified victory over enemy gods. When the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant and put it in the Temple of Dagon, they thought they had effectively defeated Yahweh Himself because they had defeated His people in battle (1 Samuel 5:1-5).
-The capture of royal treasures would be spoils of war. This victory by Ptolemy III earned him the title “Euergetes”, meaning “Benefactor”.
-However, after he defeated the northern kingdom, Ptolemy III did not continue to wage war against them. “For some years he shall refrain from attacking the king of the north”
(
וְהוּא שָׁנִים יַעֲמֹד מִמֶּלֶךְ הַצָּפוֹן). In 240 B.C., he even made a peace treaty with Seleucus II of the northern kingdom.
Verse 9
-Seleucus II thought about invading the northern kingdom again, but decided against it. “Then the latter shall come into the realm of the king of the south but shall return to his own land.” (
וּבָא בְּמַלְכוּת מֶלֶךְ הַנֶּגֶב וְשָׁב אֶל־אַדְמָתוֹ). He never was able to invade Egypt itself but retreated back to Syria.
Verse 10
-However, the rebellion against the Ptolemaic kingdom would continue after Seleucus II’s death. “His sons shall wage war” (
וּבְנוֹ יִתְגָּרוּ)—his two sons being Seleucus III and Antiochus III.
-Together, the brothers will “assemble a multitude of great forces, which shall keep coming and overflow and pass through, and again shall carry the war as far as his fortress”
(
וְאָסְפוּ הֲמוֹן חֲיָלִים רַבִּים וּבָא בוֹא וְשָׁטַף וְעָבָר וְיָשֹׁב וְיִתְגָּרוּ עַד־מָעֻזֹּה)
-Seleucus III was assassinated, but Antiochus III carried on. He invaded Phoenicia and Palestine, thus posing a severe threat to southern power.
Verse 11
-The southern kingdom needed to respond quickly to the northern invasion. Ptolemy IV Philopater (221-203 B.C.) launched measures to defend his kingdom. “Then the king of the south, moved with rage, shall come out and fight against the king of the north.”
(
וְיִתְמַרְמַר מֶלֶךְ הַנֶּגֶב וְיָצָא וְנִלְחַם עִמּוֹ עִם־מֶלֶךְ הַצָּפוֹן)
-In accordance with biblical prophecy, “he shall raise a great multitude”
(
וְהֶעֱמִיד הָמוֹן רָב). “According to Polybius, Ptolemy’s forces consisted of 70,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry, and 73 elephants; whereas Antiochus’s army had 62,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry, and 102 elephants. When the battle ended [in 217 b.c.], Ptolemy had won a great victory over the Syrians at Raphia (located in Palestine).[3]
Verse 12
-“And when the multitude is taken away, his heart shall be exalted, and he shall cast down tens of thousands, but he shall not prevail.”
(
וְנִשָּׂא הֶהָמוֹן יָרוּם לְבָבוֹ וְהִפִּיל רִבֹּאוֹת וְלֹא יָעוֹז)
-The “multitude” that was taken away was the northern army. Ptolemy IV became exceedingly proud, and he slaughtered thousands of northern soldiers. Some estimate that his forces killed 17,000 infantry of the northern kingdom.
-However, southern supremacy would not continue, for the text says that Ptolemy IV “shall not prevail.”
Verse 13
-The seeds of northern rebellion had been planted. “For the king of the north shall again raise a multitude, greater than the first.”
(
וְשָׁב מֶלֶךְ הַצָּפוֹן וְהֶעֱמִיד הָמוֹן רַב מִן־הָרִאשׁוֹן) This occurred 15 years after verse 12: “And after some years he shall come on with a great army and abundant supplies.”
(
וּלְקֵץ הָעִתִּים שָׁנִים יָבוֹא בוֹא בְּחַיִל גָּדוֹל וּבִרְכוּשׁ רָב)
In 202 B.C., Antiochus III invaded the southern kingdom again with a massive army. Ptolemy IV had died and his five-year old son crowned as king. This posed a perfect opportunity for Antiochus III to overthrow the southern kingdom now that they had a five-year old king. A year later in 201 B.C., he had overthrown the fortress of Gaza.

A Northern Rebellion
(v. 14-19)
14“In those times many shall rise against the king of the south, and the violent among your own people shall lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they shall fail. 15Then the king of the north shall come and throw up siegeworks and take a well-fortified city. And the forces of the south shall not stand, or even his best troops, for there shall be no strength to stand. 16But he who comes against him shall do as he wills, and none shall stand before him. And he shall stand in the glorious land, with destruction in his hand. 17He shall set his face to come with the strength of his whole kingdom, and he shall bring terms of an agreement and perform them. He shall give him the daughter of women to destroy the kingdom, but it shall not stand or be to his advantage. 18Afterward he shall turn his face to the coastlands and shall capture many of them, but a commander shall put an end to his insolence. Indeed, he shall turn his insolence back upon him. 19Then he shall turn his face back toward the fortresses of his own land, but he shall stumble and fall, and shall not be found.

Verse 14

-The northern rebellion against southern ascendency now takes a violent turn. “In those days many shall rise against the king of the south” (
וּבָעִתִּים הָהֵם רַבִּים יַעַמְדוּ עַל־מֶלֶךְ הַנֶּגֶב)
-Northern resistance to southern power now comes even from the nation of Israel, which is now part of the northern Seleucid kingdom. “And the violent among your own people shall lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision” (
וּבְנֵי פָּרִיצֵי עַמְּךָ יִנַּשְּׂאוּ לְהַעֲמִיד חָזוֹן).
-“Since the time of Jerome these opposers of the king of Egypt have been understood to have been “Philip V of Macedon, ally of Antiochus, and native insurrections within Egypt.” “The violent men” is literally “the sons of the violent ones.” The word pārîṣ, “violent one,” is used in the Old Testament to speak of robbers and murderers. Here it is a label for those Jews who aided Antiochus.[4]
-However, the northern rebellion would not initially succeed. “But they shall fail”
(
וְנִכְשָׁלוּ).  General Scopas of the Ptolemaic kingdom would punish Israel and the Jewish leaders for participating in the acts of northern rebellion.   
Verse 15
-However, the initial setbacks to the northern forces would not permanently stop them.  “Then the king of the north shall come and throw up siegeworks and take a well-fortified city. And the forces of the south shall not stand, or even his best troops, for there shall be no strength to stand.”
-In 199 B.C., General Scopas of the southern army fought against the northern forces at the Battle of Panium. However, the northern forces severely defeated them, for they had “no strength to stand” in the battle. He then retreated to the city of Sidon in Phoenicia, but Antiochus besieged the city and defeated Scopas in 198 B.C in precise fulfillment of verse 15.
Verse 16
-“But he who comes against him shall do as he wills, and none shall stand before him.” 
(
וְיַעַשׂ הַבָּא אֵלָיו כִּרְצוֹנוֹ וְאֵין עוֹמֵד לְפָנָיו).
-When he defeated the southern forces at the siege of Sidon, Antiochus completely controlled the area of Phoenicia—and more importantly, he now controlled the land of Israel. “And he shall stand in the glorious land, with destruction in his hand”
(
וְיַעֲמֹד בְּאֶרֶץ־הַצְּבִי וְכָלָה בְיָדוֹ).
-The land of Palestine is here identified as the “glorious land” (
בְּאֶרֶץ־הַצְּבִי). And as happened before in the book of Daniel (Daniel 5:19; Daniel 8:4; Daniel 8:7-9), this Greek figure would not bode well for Israel—he holds destruction in his hand.
-“…when he entered Jerusalem in 198 b.c., he received a warm welcome, for most looked upon him “as a deliverer and benefactor.” Little did the Jews realize that within twenty-three years this change in government would lead to one of the most horrible periods in their history[5]
-This verse warns us that we as God’s people can never give our trust in God to human rulers (Psalm 20:7).
-Furthermore, we must be wise in discerning the political upheavals of our times (Matthew 10:16), for supporting those who promise to make our country great again may pose disastrous consequences for God’s people long-term.
Verse 17
-Bent on utterly defeating the southern kingdom, “He shall set his face to come with the strength of his whole kingdom, and he shall bring terms of an agreement and perform them.” (
וְיָשֵׂם פָּנָיו לָבוֹא בְּתֹקֶף כָּל־מַלְכוּתוֹ וִישָׁרִים עִמּוֹ וְעָשָׂה).
-Because Antiochus’ army was so powerful and he was so bent on bringing about surrender, he forced terms of “peace” upon the southern kingdom. As had already been tried earlier between the northern and southern factions, a marriage alliance was proposed in order to bring some measure of political stability. “He shall give him the daughter of women to destroy the kingdom” (
וּבַת הַנָּשִׁים יִתֶּן־לוֹ לְהַשְׁחִיתָהּ). This daughter would be none other than the famous Cleopatra.
-However, this alliance did not work in Antiochus’ favor, for his daughter Cleopatra was not interested in weakening the Ptolemaic dynasty but instead supported the southern kingdom: “But it shall not stand or be to his advantage” (
וְלֹא תַעֲמֹד וְלֹא־לוֹ תִהְיֶה).
Verse 18
-Having conquered Egypt, Antiochus then turned his attention to the coastlands: “Afterward he shall turn his face to the coastlands and capture many of them”
(
וְיָשֵׁב פָּנָיו לְאִיִּים וְלָכַד רַבִּים).
-However, the Greek Empire was continuing to weaken during this period, and the fourth kingdom (Rome) was becoming increasingly powerful. Rome, disapproving of Antiochus’ attempts to capture the lands around the Mediterranean Sea, sent Lucius Cornelius Scipio to stop Antiochus and his conquests: “But a commander shall put an end to his insolence. Indeed, he shall turn his insolence back upon him.”
(
וְהִשְׁבִּית קָצִין חֶרְפָּתוֹ לוֹ בִּלְתִּי חֶרְפָּתוֹ יָשִׁיב לוֹ).
-“In 191 b.c. the Romans, fighting with their Greek allies, routed the Syrians at Thermopylae and forced them to withdraw from Greece and flee to Asia Minor. Then thirty thousand Roman troops pursued Antiochus into Asia and defeated his much larger army of seventy thousand at the Battle of Magnesia near Smyrna (Turkey) in 190 b.c.
In 188 b.c. the Romans forced Antiochus to sign the Treaty of Apamea. Polybius reported that the Syrian king was ordered to surrender territory, much of his military force, twenty hostages (one of whom was Antiochus IV), and pay a heavy indemnity to Rome.[6]
Verse 19
-Defeated by the Romans, Antiochus retreated back to his homeland. “Then he shall turn his back toward the fortresses of his own land.” (
וְיָשֵׁב פָּנָיו לְמָעוּזֵּי אַרְצוֹ).
-However, the demise of Antiochus III was imminent. “But he shall stumble and fall, and shall not be found.” (
וְנִכְשַׁל וְנָפַל וְלֹא יִמָּצֵא).
-In 187 B.C., an angry mob assassinated Antiochus III when he returned to his kingdom after the defeat by the Romans. He faced exacting tribute charges to the Romans after his defeat, so he unsuccessfully raided the temple of Zeus in order to get money to pay them. However, his own citizens killed him in the unsuccessful raid.
-The opening 19 verses of Daniel 11 serve to show Israel that God is still in control over history even when history would not unfold in the way they had anticipated. It shows us that God is absolutely sovereign over men and nations even in our day. It also serves to remind us (as it did Israel) that they could not look to human governments or rulers to bring in the promised kingdom and redemption of God—only Jesus Christ can do that (Philippians 3:20-21).

Conclusion
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.
 Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.” (Isaiah 40:14-17)

Handout
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzLnbvsX8ZvgRDFHWTRTS0tZd00/view?usp=sharing

Recording
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[1] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, pp. 289–290). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[2] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, p. 294). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[3] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, p. 295). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[4] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, p. 295). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[5] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, p. 296). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
[6] Miller, S. R. (1994). Daniel (Vol. 18, pp. 296–297). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.