34 The Book of Daniel, Chapter 11
Malachi is the final prophet and book of the Old Testament, which is fitting as most scholars believe he is the final prophet of this period of time, prophesying during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, the mid-fifth century. Then, there are over four centuries before the next prophet, John the Baptist, Christ’s herald. This period of time between Malachi and the Baptist has been called “the silent years,” when God gave no prophet to the Jews. However, God was not completely silent during this time.
The Jewish historian, Josephus, who wrote in the late first century AD, wrote of Alexander the Great’s coming to Jerusalem. He was besieging the island city of Tyre in Phoenicia, now Lebanon, circa 332 BC, fulfilling Ezekiel 26:4, 5, 12-14. He demanded the Jewish high priest in Jerusalem send him provisions. Jaddua, the high priest, replied that he had sworn allegiance to the Persian king, whose forces Alexander had twice defeated. Alexander sent Jaddua word that he would deal with him after Tyre.
In one of the greatest engineering feats of the ancient world, Alexander built a causeway out to the island of Tyre by taking the ruins of mainland Tyre, which Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed circa 572 BC and throwing them into the ocean per Ezekiel 26:12, building a causeway to get to the island. The city was captured and completely leveled as Ezekiel 26:14 had prophesied. Word of this came to Jaddua, and that nearer Gaza had also been destroyed, and Alexander was then on his way to Jerusalem.
The distraught Jaddua called the Jews to fasting and prayer for God’s protection. In a dream, God told Jaddua to open the gates of Jerusalem to Alexander. Jaddua ordered the priests to go out in white linen, and he went out in the blue and gold robes of the high priest with a miter on his head on which there was a gold plate with the name of God to meet Alexander.
Approaching this welcome alone, Alexander prostrated himself before the high priest, and his men thought he had gone mad. Asked by one later, why he had done so, he replied, “When I was in Dium in Macedonia, considering how I could become master of Asia, I saw this very person in my sleep, dressed as he is now. He urged me not to delay but to cross confidently and take dominion over the Persians.” Alexander went into Jerusalem and was read sections on Daniel, chapter 8, where the Greek one-horned goat, symbol of Alexander’s Macedonia, vanquished the Persian ram. God watched over His people in this episode, and later gave the world the Old Testament via the Septuagint Bible in Greek in 270 BC. Greek has been said to be the most precise language in the world, the first language of the New Testament.
God also knows the end from the beginning per Isaiah 46:10, and during “the silent years,” he gave an accurate account of the history of that time, finally jumping from the first abomination of desolation (putting up an idol for worship in the holy of holies, the holiest place in the Hebrew Temple) to the second abomination of desolation, soon to occur after the Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem, over two thousand years later.
Now, back to Daniel 11. In his 2015 book, Agents of Babylon, David Jeremiah writes that the prophecies of Daniel 11 revolve around 5 rulers whose name or titles begin with the letter A, as noted below:
Ahasuerus (Xerxes) 486- 465 BC Daniel 11:2
Alexander the Great 336- 323 BC Daniel 11:3-4
Antiochus III (the Great) 223- 187 BC Daniel 11:10- 20
Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) 175- 164 BC Daniel 11:25- 35
Anti-Christ Unknown Daniel 11:36- 45
1 “Also in the first year of Darius the Mede, I even I (the angel of God from Daniel 10) stood up to confirm and strengthen him.)
2 “And now, I will tell you the truth: Behold, 3 more kings will arise in Persia, and the 4th shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece. The 3 kings that followed Cyrus the Great who reigned at the time of Darius the Mede (Some think Cyrus was Darius the Mede; others that the latter was in charge of Babylon for Cyrus.) were Cambyses, his son, followed by Pseudo-Smerdis, and Darius the Great, followed by Ahasuerus (Xerxes) who was so rich that he gave a feast for his officials and servants that lasted 180 days per Esther 1:3. The Persian Empire came into conflict with the Greeks when they took the Greek city-states on the west coast of present-day Turkey, and mainland Greece supported these city-states when they rebelled against their Persian masters. Hence, Darius the Great decided to conquer Greece, but Persia was defeated in Greece on the plains of Marathon in 490 BC. Xerxes decided to avenge his father’s loss and to complete the Greek conquest, but was held up by the king of Sparta for a time at Thermopylae in 480 BC. Xerxes then burned Athens but was defeated at the naval battle of Salamis forcing him to retreat.
3 “Then a mighty king shall arise (Alexander the Great) who shall reign with great dominion, and do according to his will. He took over the great Persian Empire in three battles circa 333 -331 BC.
4 “And when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not among his posterity nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, even for others besides these. This division in four parts was also foretold in Daniel 7:6 & 8:5- 8. Alexander had a mentally deficient brother, an illegitimate son, and the unborn child of his pregnant wife. All were murdered months after his death. After much infighting among his generals, the kingdom was divided with Cassander getting Greece; Lysimachus, most of present-day Turkey; but the greatest two portions were given to Ptolemy- Egypt, and another general, who received Syria and the East including the fertile crescent and Persia. Ptolemy became king of the south and Seleucus eventually king of the north. They fought each other for about 150 years with Judah in between the two.
5 “Also the king of the south (Ptolemy I Soter) shall become strong, as well as one of his princes; and he shall gain power over him and have dominion. His dominion shall be a great dominion. Seleucus I Nicator was given Babylon to rule, but another general took Babylon, and Seleucus fled to Egypt where he became a prince under Ptolemy. When the general who took Babylon was defeated by Ptolemy at Gaza in 312 BC, Seleucus returned to Babylon and gained power and also took Media and Syria, so his power was greater than Ptolemy’s.
6 “And at the end of some years they shall join forces, for the daughter of the king of the south shall go to the king of the north to make an agreement; but she shall not retain the power of her authority, and neither he nor his authority shall stand; but she shall be given up, with those who brought her, and with him who begot her, and with him who strengthened her in those times. There was constant warfare between the Seleucid and Ptolemaic kingdoms, the kingdoms of the north and the south respectively. Ptolemy II Philadephius (285- 246 BC) paid for a 15-year translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, often noted by the Roman numerals LXX, from Hebrew into Greek. It was finished about 270 BC for his famous library in Alexandria. Circa 250 BC, he tried to make peace with Antiochus II Theos (261-246 BC) by sending his daughter Bernice to marry the king of the north. Antiochus II planned to divorce his wife Laodice and disinherit his sons, but Laodice had Antiochus II poisoned and Berenice killed. In that same year, Bernice’s father died in Egypt.
7 “But from a branch of her roots one shall arise in his place, who shall come with an army, enter the fortress of the king of the north, and deal with him and prevail.
8 “And he shall carry their gods captive to Egypt, with their princes and their precious articles of silver and gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north. Bernice’s brother, Ptolemy III Euergetes (246-221 BC), succeeded his father. He invaded the Seleucid kingdom and captured its capital, Antioch, going all the way to Babylon. He returned to Egypt with 2500 idols to include Egyptian ones that had been taken by the Persian Cambyses in 524 BC along with 4,000 talents of gold and 40,000 talents of silver. For this he was given the title Euergetes meaning Benefactor. He lived 5 years longer than the king of the north, Seleucus II Callinicus (246-226 BC).
9 “Also the king of the north shall come to the kingdom of the king of the south, but shall return to his own land. Apparently, Seleucus II beat a quick retreat with a small remnant of his army, after attacking Ptolemy’s realm.
10 “However his sons shall stir up strife, and assemble a multitude of great forces; and one shall certainly come and overwhelm and pass through; then he shall return to his fortress and stir up strife. Seleucus II Callinicus died in 226 BC. His sons, Seleucus III Cereaunus (226- 223 BC) and Antiochus III the Great (223- 187 BC) continued fighting the Ptolemies, but Seleucus III was murdered after a short reign and Antiochus III (the Great) reigned in his stead. He took a disorganized nation and made it strong. He got as far as Egypt’s fortress, Raphia, below Gaza.
11 “And the king of the south shall be moved with rage, and go out and fight with him, with the king of the north, who shall muster a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into the hand of his enemy. Ptolemy IV Philopater (221- 204 BC) administered a severe defeat on Antiochus III at Raphia in 219 BC.
12 “When he has taken away the multitude, his heart will be lifted up; and he will cast down tens of thousands, but he will not prevail. After Ptolemy IV’s victory at Raphia, the power of Egypt began to wane. Thereafter he went to Jerusalem and was kept from entering the holy of holies by paralysis. Ptolemy IV Philopater died in 204 BC, and Antiochus III used the instability around the 4-year-old king Ptolemy V Epiphanes (203-180 BC) to advantage. By 201 BC the fortress of Gaza had been recaptured.
13 “For the king of the north will return and muster a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come at the end of some years with a great army and much equipment. Antiochus III attacked Egypt again with a larger army 12 years after his defeat at Raphia.
14 “Now in those times many shall rise up against the king of the south. Also violent men of your people shall exalt themselves in fulfillment of the vision, but they shall fail. There was much instability at the beginning of the reign of Ptolemy V, including the Jews because of Egypt’s heavy taxation, but they were punished by the Egyptian General Scopas.
15 “So the king of the north shall come and build a siege mound, and take a fortified city; and the forces of the south shall not withstand him. Even his choice troops shall have no strength to resist.
General Scopas was defeated by Antiochus III at Panium, which the New Testament calls Caesarea Phillipi, in 198 BC. Scopas fled to Sidon where he was forced to surrender, giving Antiochus III control of Phoenicia and Palestine.
16 “But he who comes against him shall do according to his own will, and no one shall stand against him. He shall stand in the Glorious Land with destruction in his power. The Glorious Land is Israel.
17 “He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do. And he shall give him the daughter of women to destroy it; but she shall not stand with him, or be for him. After the defeat of General Scopas, Egypt was forced into an alliance with the Seleucid kingdom. Antiochus III gave his daughter Cleopatra (not the one associated with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony) to Philopater V as a wife (arranged in 197, consummated in 193 BC) hoping her offspring would rule over Egypt. They did, but his daughter supported her new husband instead of her father.
18 “After this he shall turn his face to the coastlands, and shall take many. But a ruler shall bring the reproach against them to an end; and with the reproach removed, he shall turn back on him. In 196 BC, he crossed the Hellespont to take part of Thrace. The Carthaginian General Hannibal had urged him to attack the Romans. In 191 BC, Antiochus was defeated by the Romans at Thermopylae.
19 “Then he shall turn his face toward the fortress of his own land; but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found. Antiochus III had success in Asia Minor and possibly Greece before he was defeated by Roman and Greek troops. After another defeat, Rome forced him in 188 BC to surrender territory and much of his army. 20 hostages were sent to Rome to include Antiochus IV Epiphanes (the model for the future anti-Christ), and he was forced to pay a huge tribute of fifteen thousand talents to Rome. He was killed by an angry mob while trying to rob a temple to Zeus in Elymais to pay the tribute.
20 There shall arise in his place one who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom; but within a few days he shall be destroyed, but not in anger or battle. Seleucus IV Philopater (187- 175 BC) sent a tax collector, Heliodorus, to collect taxes to pay the annual tribute to Rome of a thousand talents. Heliodorus intended to plunder the Jerusalem temple but was terrified by a dream. Later, he poisoned Seleucus IV in hope of gaining the kingdom.
21 “And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue. Antiochus IV Epiphanes reigned 175 to 164 BC. Demetrius I Soter was the rightful heir, but he was imprisoned in Rome. Antiochus IV paid off important people to obtain the kingdom.
22 “With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant. Ptolemy VI Philometer (181- 145 BC), his Egyptian nephew, came against Antiochus IV and was defeated and held as a hostage. The prince of the covenant likely refers to the murder of the high priest in Jerusalem in 171 BC.
23 “And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people. Ptolemy VI made a league with him to regain his throne which his brother Ptolemy VII had usurped while he was a captive in Syria. This worked, but later he broke the alliance, and with the aid of his brother forced Antiochus IV out of Pelusium, one of Egypt’s fortress cities.
24 “He shall enter peaceably even into the richest places of the province; and he shall do what his fathers have not done nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time. Antiochus IV plundered some of the richest parts of Egypt, and also Judea.
25 “He shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army. And the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand, for they shall devise plans against him.
26 “Yes, those who eat of the portion of his delicacies shall destroy him; his army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain.
27 “Both these kings’ hearts shall be bent on evil, and they shall speak lies at the same table; but it shall not prosper, for the end will still be at the appointed time. Verses 24-26 apparently go back a little. Ptolemy VI’s most trusted counselors urged him to attack Antiochus IV, and the ruler of Egypt was defeated and captured by his uncle. He then allied himself with Antiochus IV to take back Egypt when his brother Ptolemy VII seized power. Initially, things went well as they seized Memphis, but Ptolemy VII still held Alexandria. Then Ptolemy VI joined his brother Ptolemy VII to go against Antiochus IV, who looted part of Egypt and returned to his own land.
28 “While returning to his land with great riches, his heart shall be moved against the holy covenant; so he shall do damage and return to his own land. Circa 170 BC, Antiochus IV put down a Jewish insurrection and plundered their Temple.
29 “At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter.
30 “For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and in return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage. So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. Antiochus IV returned to loot Egypt again circa 167 BC, but this time a Roman emissary met him, telling him Egypt was now under the protection of Rome, and if he continued, it meant war with Rome. Antiochus IV asked for time to consider this, and in response, the Roman drew a circle around him in the sand, saying he must decide before leaving the circle. He was furious, but agreed to leave Egypt. He was then told Judea has rebelled, and the Jews became the object of his rage, though he showed regard for those Jews who wished to aid him. NOTE: The next 6 verses may well be double prophecies regarding the first and soon to be second abomination of desolation, after the Hebrew Temple is rebuilt.
31 “And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. An idol is an abomination, because it represents worship of something other than the one true God. However, an idol in the holy of holies, the most holy place in the world, is an abomination of desolation. The Greek Syrians under Antiochus IV stopped the regular burnt offering on the 15th day of Chislev in 167 BC. They offered a pig (an unclean animal to the Jews) on God’s altar, profaning it, and then profaned the Temple by spattering the pig’s blood throughout. On Antiochus IV’s birthday, 25 Chislev in 167 BC, they put up a statue of Zeus in the holy of holies. The statue had the face of Antiochus IV. They burned the Scriptures, and halted Jewish religious practices, such as circumcision, in favor of Greek ones, such as temple prostitutes. They slaughtered the Jews and sold many into slavery.
32 “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. Some of the Jews wished to be Hellenized, i.e., take up the customs of the reigning Greeks, but others wished to maintain their faith which lead to the Maccabean revolt. Three years to the day (by the Jewish calendar) after the statue of Zeus went up in the Temple on the 25th of Chislev, the Maccabees captured Jerusalem and removed it, leading to the annual Feast of Hanukkah, notable by Christ’s attendance per John 10:22.
33 “And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering.
34 “Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue.
35 “And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. These also refer to the Maccabean revolt previously noted.
36 “Then the king shall do according to his own will; he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. These verses refer to the anti-Christ, whom I believe will soon appear. However, It may be a double prophecy to include Antiochus Epiphanes on the basis that the statue of Zeus placed in the holy of holies, had the face of Antiochus IV, and it was placed there on his birthday.