Daniel - Lesson 10

Chapters 10:1-21; 11:1-20

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  • The final three chapters of Daniel are a single encounter, the final episode of Daniel’s prophetic life

    • We will study them in two parts

      • The first part takes us through Chapter 10, which sets up the scene

      • In addition to Daniel, the chapter introduces three characters

      • These three characters will continue through the three chapters

      • And in this chapter, Daniel is given vision of both near and distant events concerning Israel and the Age of the Gentiles

      • Part 1 will continue into Chapter 11, where Daniel will receive an explanation of the near-term prophecy

    • Then at a point in Chapter 11, Daniel’s vision shifts to an explanation of the far-term prophecy

      • That prophecy deals with events of the very end days

      • It looks ahead to the end of the fourth kingdom and to the tumultuous events that conclude the age

      • Part 2 continues to the end of Chapter 12

      • And at the end, it reveals a fascinating connection to the Book of Revelation

      • We’ll cover part 2 next week

  • For now, let’s start with Chapter 10 and Daniel’s encounter with the first of these three mysterious figures

Dan. 10:1  In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar; and the message was true and one of great conflict, but he understood the message and had an understanding of the vision.
Dan. 10:2  In those days, I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks.
Dan. 10:3  I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed.
Dan. 10:4  On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris,
Dan. 10:5  I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz.
Dan. 10:6  His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.
  • As he typically does, Daniel dates his vision to the reign of a king

    • This vision came in the third year of Cyrus’ reign

      • Cyrus was the Persian king who released Israel to rebuild its temple in Judah

      • Chapter 9 was set in the first year of this same ruler

      • So Chapter 10 follows two years later

    • This is the last vision Daniel received, as recorded in his book

      • Daniel is probably approaching 90 years old

      • We know he doesn’t return to Jerusalem with the exiles 

      • So he likely passes away soon after this vision, his work as a prophet having been completed

    • Daniel says he received a message of great conflict

      • The Hebrew word for “message” is literally the word for “speech”

      • So Daniel received a speech, a spoken message 

      • Chapters 10-12 are his description of what he received and how it came to him

      • It’s a message of conflict, because it describes war between Gentiles and Jews, and between God and Satan

  • Daniel opens by telling us he had been mourning for three weeks prior to this moment

    • His period of mourning was similar to fasting, though technically, not a full fast

      • He avoids any food or drink that represents joy

      • He avoided tasty food, which sounds like he ate airline food exclusively

      • But the Hebrew word for “tasty” means “desirable”, “treasured” or “valuable”

      • So he ate nothing that he liked or desired, like meat or wine

      • Instead, he ate only plain, simple things to sustain himself

    • Daniel’s practice was intended to mirror the feeling of his soul in the disposition of his flesh 

      • Daniel’s soul was anguished, he felt loss and suffering

      • So Daniel sought to bring his soul and body into agreement

      • Daniel felt loss and suffering for Israel

  • Then Daniel gives a reason for his mourning, though the reason might be hard to see for a Gentile

    • Daniel says his three-week fast ended on the twenty-fourth day of the first month on the Jewish calendar

      • This date is significant for the Jewish people

      • On the Jewish calendar, the feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread take place from the 14th to the 21st of the first month

    • Daniels seems to have mourned for about 10 days prior to Passover and he continued until three days after the feast period ended

      • Since Daniel gives us such a precise date for his mourning period, it suggests it was connected to this feast period

      • The Passover remembers Israel’s freedom from slavery in Israel

      • And the Feast of Unleavened Bread remembers the exodus out of the land

    • For Israel, this holiday served as an Independence Day celebration

      • For Israel, it represented victory over oppressors

      • It stood for freedom

      • Most of all, it remembered Israel’s God defeating the so-called gods of Egypt and the world

  • So we might imagine that as that feast approached, Daniel entered a period of mourning because he knew Israel had many generations of oppression still to come

    • He knew Israel’s final exodus victory was a long way off

      • In the meantime, the nation would endure thousands of years of Gentile oppression

      • Daniel is mourning the weight of God’s judgment against His own people

      • And perhaps he was hoping that his mourning might move God to alter the plan

    • Instead, the Lord takes favor upon Daniel by visiting him in an unique way

      • And what follows in this scene are both things that connect back to previous chapters of Daniel

      • And things that look forward to the final book of the Bible, Revelation

  • Beginning in v.5, with the introduction of a new character

    • Daniel is standing by the bank of the Tigris river, which ran through Babylon

      • And he looks up to see a figure, which Daniel calls “a certain man”

      • Daniel’s description of this man reminds us of the one Daniel saw briefly in Chapter 8, suspended over a river

Dan. 8:15  When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it; and behold, standing before me was one who looked like a man.
Dan. 8:16  And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, “Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.”
  • In that earlier moment, the “Man” between the banks called to the angel Gabriel to give Daniel an explanation of his visions

    • As we’ll learn in Chapter 12, this Man is also suspended above the river Tigris

    • Which naturally leads us to conclude that this Man must be the same Man as the One Daniel saw in Chapter 8

  • This time, Daniel provides a description of the Man, and by Daniel’s description, the Man seems to be glowing almost white hot

    • First, His clothing is white linen, like the robe worn by a priest

      • White implies purity and the outfit of a priest implies an intercessor with God

      • His belt was pure gold, which signifies great importance and majesty and would reflect light, like a mirror

      • Daniel knew the gold’s origin, a place called Uphaz (which is an unknown place)

    • Furthermore, His body is like beryl, which is a transparent, yellow stone that glows when light catches it

      • Then, His face is an intense white light, like lightening

      • And His eyes look like flaming torches

      • While the rest of His body is like polished bronze, which also reflects light brilliantly

      • Finally, His voice sounded like a tumult, which means many different sounds combining together at once

    • The overall effect is that of intense light and glowing reflections from every place, combined with an intense powerful sound

      • There is another place in the Bible where such a Person is described in a similar fashion

Rev. 1:10  I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,
Rev. 1:11  saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”
Rev. 1:12  Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands;
Rev. 1:13  and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash.
Rev. 1:14  His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.
Rev. 1:15  His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.
  • This is the Apostle John’s description of Christ’s appearance on the island of Patmos

    • Immediately we see the similarity

      • In fact, John’s description of Jesus varies from Daniel’s only in terms of the comparisons made

      • For example, John says “robe”, while Daniel says “linen”

      • John says a “sash of gold”, while Daniel says “belt of gold”

      • John says “white like wool”, while Daniel says “like lightening”

      • John says a “voice of many waters”, while Daniel called it a “tumult”

    • Apart from these trivial differences, the two prophets are describing the same Person, appearing in the same way

      • This Man is specifically named to be Christ in Revelation 

      • So based on that description, we must conclude Daniel saw the pre-incarnate Christ in Chapter 10

      • This is not unprecedented in Daniel, since the Angel of the Lord (Christ) appeared to Daniel’s friends in the furnace 

    • Here, we have the first of several important connections between the books of Daniel and Revelation

      • Daniel’s book has been called the Revelation of the Old Testament for good reason

      • The two books are connected in several important ways, and not simply because they address similar end times events

      • The books are linked in one especially surprising way, which we come to see in these three chapters

      • Beginning with this common appearance of Jesus

  • And like John, Daniel is terrified by the appearance of Jesus appearing before Him

Dan. 10:7  Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves.
Dan. 10:8  So I was left alone and saw this great vision; yet no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength.
Dan. 10:9  But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.
Dan. 10:10  Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.
Dan. 10:11  He said to me, “O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling.
  • Daniel was apparently accompanied by others in this moment, though they did not see what Daniel saw

    • Daniel’s experience reminds us of Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus

      • Paul saw and heard Jesus, though his companions did not

      • In both cases, the companions were terrified by something and were removed from the situation

    • For Daniel, the effect of this vision was dread and incapacitation

      • He physically became like a dead man

      • This is the uniform experience of sinful human beings when brought into the presence of God’s holiness

      • It’s more than a mental response...it’s a physical response

      • Literally, our flesh reacts instinctively to the presence of God

    • This is what happened to Adam and Woman in the Garden following their sin

      • They instinctively reacted to God’s arrival in the Garden by hiding themselves from His presence

      • The reason humanity responds this way to God is our sin, which places us in mortal jeopardy before a holy and just God

      • Even a man as good as Daniel experiences dread, because he was still sinful

  • At this point, Daniel goes face-down to the ground in a coma-like state

    • Nevertheless, Daniel needs to be revived to receive the revelation of the Lord

      • So the Lord sends an angel to revive Daniel and continue to conversation

      • In v.10, a hand touches Daniel and brought Daniel onto his hands and knees

      • He’s still trembling in fear, and who could blame him?

      • But he’s no longer incapacitated

    • Here we see the essential difference between angelic beings and the Lord, and with it, we see the purpose for God creating angels

      • Angels are God’s servants, created to bridge this gap between fallen men and God

      • As Hebrew explains

Heb. 1:13  But to which of the angels has He ever said, 
           “Sit at My right hand, 
Until I make Your enemies 
           A footstool for Your feet”?
Heb. 1:14  Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?
  • Angels are ministering spirits who provide service to God on our behalf

  • They are the messengers sent by God to minister to the saints

  • They can interact with men in ways that God can’t, because of our fallen nature

    • Angels will still illicit strong responses in men, principally, fear

    • Fear is the natural response to something supernatural, much like we are scared by loud noises or large animals

    • But since angels are not our judge, we do not experience a feeling of dread or jeopardy

    • Men can work with angels without falling down or entering a coma, which is why they are God’s messengers

  • So the Lord hands off the conversation to His angel, probably Gabriel, again

    • How do we know that an angel has joined the scene in v.10?

      • First, this pattern matches exactly the last time Daniel encountered the Man over the water in Chapter 8

Dan. 8:16  And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, “Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.”
Dan. 8:17  So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end.”
Dan. 8:18  Now while he was talking with me, I sank into a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me and made me stand upright.
  • The “Man” Jesus sent Gabriel to bring Daniel the interpretation

  • And he approaches Daniel in the same way, touching Daniel to cause him to revive from a deep sleep and to stand upright

  • Secondly, if we fast-forward to Chapter 12, we read this:

Dan. 12:5  Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river and the other on that bank of the river.
Dan. 12:6  And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?”
  • Chapter 12 is still set in the same moment as Chapters 10 & 11

  • And in that chapter, Daniel reveals that there is a total of three characters in this moment

  • In addition to Jesus in linen over the water, there are two other men, one on each bank of the river

    • That means one of these men is standing on the same bank as Daniel

    • Once again, we can assume these men are angels in the appearance of men, as we saw in Chapter 8

  • Thirdly, looking ahead to the next section of Chapter 10, notice that in
    v.16, Daniel describes the one speaking to him

    • Now Daniel says he is one resembling a human being

    • This must be a different person than Christ, since the description of Christ is nothing like a human being

    • This indicates a second character entered the scene at v.10

  • Furthermore, we can also determine the identity of these two characters by looking at Chapters 10 and 12 again

    • In Chapter 10:13, the one speaking to Daniel mentions an angel, Michael, who assisted him in a battle against an adversary

    • Then later, in Chapter 12:1, this same character speaks of Michael again, in the third person

    • So it would appear the angel speaking to Daniel is Gabriel, the same angel that spoke to Daniel in Chapter 9

    • And the other character on the far side of the bank is Michael, who apparently isn’t much for speaking

  • So continuing ahead with that conclusion, Gabriel has touched Daniel and Daniel is now on his hands and knees

    • From this point in v.11, Gabriel tells Daniel that he is a man of high esteem, as Gabriel said in Chapter 9

      • Daniel is esteemed in the sense that He has received a great measure of God’s grace

      • And then, by his faithfulness and devotion to obeying God, Daniel has commended himself

    • With that, the angel directs Daniel to stand upright so he can receive a revelation of God by way of this messenger

      • And so, Daniel moved to his feet and is now standing

      • Though he’s still trembling

      • Which, of course, prompts the customary angelic greeting

Dan. 10:12  Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.
Dan. 10:13  “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.
  • Gabriel tells Daniel he need not fear Gabriel, because Gabriel is an answer to his prayer

    • The angel came in response to Daniel’s words

      • That prayer was probably one Daniel prayed at the start of his 21-day fast

      • This is the second time Gabriel has been dispatched in response to Daniel’s prayer

      • That’s a pretty powerful testimony to Daniel’s prayer life

    • But in this case, Daniel continued fasting for three weeks because Gabriel was occupied for that time in withstanding an enemy

      • Based on what Gabriel tells Daniel, we can surmise Daniel was praying for understanding concerning his troubling visions

      • In earlier chapters, Daniel had received terrifying visions about Israel’s future

      • They were a burden for Daniel, and so he sought divine intervention 

      • So he entered a period of mourning and fasting, waiting for an answer

    • It seems he would have had it earlier, but the angelic realm was a little busy

      • Gabriel’s words confirm that angels are bound by space and time, as is every created thing

      • A day for an angel is the same as a day for us

      • And they must travel to and fro...they can’t be in all places at the same time 

      • Secondly, the power of the angelic realm operates within boundaries set by the Lord

      • In this case, the Lord didn’t permit Gabriel to prevail, nor did he permit Michael to relieve Gabriel until the time was right

    • So it appears the Lord wanted this delay for Daniel

      • That’s an encouragement for all us to remember that the Lord may cause us to wait for a time

      • God answers our prayers on His timetable and according to His plan so He may accomplish greater good

  • So why was Gabriel busy for those three weeks?

    • Gabriel says that the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding Gabriel

      • A prince is the Bible’s term for a spiritual actor, usually an angelic being

      • We see in that same verse that Michael is called one of the chief princes, meaning one of the archangels

      • We know Gabriel is another archangel, so he too would be a chief prince

      • In Chapter 9, the antichrist was called a “prince” because he will be indwelled by Satan, who is a fallen angelic being

    • So then, who is the prince of the kingdom of Persia?

      • Well, he is an angelic being

      • And he opposes Gabriel, so he must be an adversary of God’s heavenly host, which means he is a demon

      • And he has a special responsibility for Persia

  • This statement suggests that demons may have responsibilities assigned by Satan for working in various kingdoms or regions on earth

    • In this case, perhaps the prince of Persia is no less than Satan himself 

      • Persia includes the region of Babylon, which has been Satan’s backyard, since Eden

      • But that seems unlikely because of something we read in Jude

Jude 9  But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
  • In Jude, we learn that Satan sought Moses’ body, probably to resurrect it by indwelling it, so He could deceive Israel

  • The archangel Michael intervened to stop Satan, but because Satan is a superior angelic being, Michael didn’t dare rebuke Satan

  • Instead, Michael asked the Lord to rebuke Satan

  • Yet in Daniel 10, we read that Gabriel held off this prince of Persia for 21 days (3 X 7)

    • It seems unlikely that the angel Gabriel could withstand Satan for 3 weeks if Michael couldn’t even rebuke Satan

    • The more likely conclusion is that this prince of Persia is a powerful demon, perhaps Satan’s righthand agent

    • Satan assigned this demon to Persia, since this is Satan’s most precious territory on earth

    • And Gabriel and Michael battled this demon to stop him in his evil plans for the region

  • This would also explain why the Middle East and the Arab nations of the world have historically been such dangerous places for Jews and Christians

    • Many missionaries can testify to the special spiritual darkness and persecution they experience when working in these lands

      • The demonic control of this region is far more pronounced and pernicious than in other places

      • And not coincidentally, this region is the source of Islam, one of the most destructive religious systems in the world

    • Yet Satan’s power is never equal to God’s, and so we see the Lord moving today in powerful ways to bring light into this darkness

      • Which means that when angels “battle” Satan or his agents, these battles are according to God’s purposes

      • He allows the battles, as they serve some greater purpose

    • Think of the evil work of Satan’s forces like water rushing downhill

      • Both have great destructive power

      • But if that power is channeled and directed, it can be put to work

      • God uses His angels to channel and direct Satan’s evil desires to produce good outcomes for God’s people

  • Finally, what was the nature of the conflict between Gabriel, Michael and the demon of Persia?

    • Based on a clue inside the text, plus a little history, we can guess at the answer 

      • At the end of v.13, Gabriel says he had been left with the kings of Persia

      • “Kings” refers to human rulers over the region of Persia

    • These men seem to be the focus of the angelic conflict

      • The demon seemed intent on using these men to further some evil purpose

      • While Gabriel and Michael were intent on resisting the demon to prevent his success

    • And we know this is happening shortly after the exiles have returned to the land to rebuild the temple

      • And in Ezra, we read of how the powerful rulers of surrounding nations were opposing Israel’s work in the land

Ezra 4:4  Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah, and frightened them from building,
Ezra 4:5  and hired counselors against them to frustrate their counsel all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
  • Notice, the people of the land were resisting Israel’s rebuilding

  • Perhaps these were the ones under the influence of the demon

  • Or perhaps this battle was over something that we never experienced on earth, because Gabriel and Michael prevented it

    • The enemy is often seeking to do evil that never materializes on earth and the angelic realm battles to keep us out of harm

    • If you’ve ever wondered why Satan doesn’t wreack even more havoc on earth, it seems we have the angelic realm to thank

    • As Paul says

Eph. 6:12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
  • Then the angel gets down to business

Dan. 10:14  “Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.”
Dan. 10:15  When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless.
Dan. 10:16  And behold, one who resembled a human being was touching my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke and said to him who was standing before me, “O my lord, as a result of the vision anguish has come upon me, and I have retained no strength.
Dan. 10:17  “For how can such a servant of my lord talk with such as my lord? As for me, there remains just now no strength in me, nor has any breath been left in me.”
Dan. 10:18  Then this one with human appearance touched me again and strengthened me.
Dan. 10:19  He said, “O man of high esteem, do not be afraid. Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!” Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, “May my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”
  • In answer to Daniel’s prayer, Gabriel is prepared to give Daniel the answer to his questions concerning the visions he has seen

    • The mention of these visions sucks the life out of Daniel again

      • Once again, Daniel heads to the ground

      • He becomes speechless

    • Remember, these visions are things the Lord has imprinted on Daniel’s mind

      • They are like coming attractions of events that will transpire on earth

      • They are things of the Age of the Gentiles, of times when Israel will be oppressed by Gentiles

      • They are truly horrible things that God will permit because of the weight of Israel’s offenses under the Old Covenant

    • And it’s a sign to us of how terrible these things will be, that even a vision of them is enough to cause Daniel to faint and not even have strength enough to speak

      • Notice, he is literally speechless

      • He can’t talk, so the angel touches his lips in v.16 to strengthen Daniel’s mouth to speak again

      • And with that renewed strength, Daniel then starts talking again

    • Daniel then asks the angel how could he talk with my “lord”

      • First, the term “lord” is simply a generic title of respect

      • It’s what someone says to a superior

    • Secondly, Daniel is asking how he could be expected to continue in this conversation, since the visions have robbed him of his stamina

      • Notice, he adds that there is no strength in him and he can’t even catch his breath

      • Daniel is literally exhausted, just from the memory of these visions

    • Later, we learn that Daniel is having visions of various calamities, including events in Tribulation

      • If just a vision of Tribulation brings a man to his knees, what will the real thing be like?

      • And what must Hell itself be like?

  • In response to Daniel’s question, Gabriel touched Daniel again to give him greater strength

    • This is another typical function of angels

      • Angels bring strength to men in the midst of a difficult spiritual battle

      • We see the same thing happening to Elijah in 1 Kings 19

      • And even Jesus received this ministry from angels when He fasted for 40 days in the desert

    • Gabriel tells Daniel to be strong and courageous because there is prophetic work to do

      • Having been supernaturally revived, Daniel says “let’s go”

      • Tell me what I need to hear

  • Before beginning the revelation, the angel asks Daniel if he understands why Gabriel has come to him now?

Dan. 10:20  Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come.
Dan. 10:21  “However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.
  • Earlier, Gabriel said he was fighting a demon of Persia for three weeks

    • Now, Gabriel has broken away for Daniel’s sake

    • But he can only afford to be here a short time because he says he has to return to the battle

    • And I don’t have a large army...I only have Michael standing with me

    • And we already saw that it takes both of us to withstand this demon

    • Furthermore, a new demon is about to arise to further the purposes of the next Gentile kingdom within the Age of the Gentiles

  • So his question to Daniel is, really, do you see how important this revelation is?

    • It’s so important that it necessitated an archangel leaving an important post, at great risk, to explain it personally

    • It comes at a crucial time and there are important things about to happen you need to record

  • So he says in v.21, I’m here to tell you what you must inscribe in Scripture

    • And what Gabriel gives Daniel forms Chapters 11-12

    • It’s an explanation of things Daniel has seen in visions

  • Everything in Daniel’s visions takes place long after Daniel has passed

    • But some details are fulfilled within a few hundred years of Daniel’s life

    • While other events have yet to be fulfilled

    • They fall into a near-term, far-term grouping

  • So Gabriel’s speech begins in Chapter 11

Dan. 11:1  “In the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him.
Dan. 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.
Dan. 11:3  “And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases.
Dan. 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.
  • The chapter opens with a verse that is actually the final verse of Chapter 10

    • Daniel typically started new sections with the reign of a king 

      • So the men who constructed our canon placed this verse at the start of Chapter 11, in keeping with that pattern

      • But it’s misleading, because we read v.1 in Gabriel’s voice, not Daniel’s voice

    • So the angel is telling Daniel that he has been working with the first king of Persia from the start of his reign to support the people of Israel

      • As a result of his work, the king of Persia had issued the decree to release Israel

      • And now, two years later, he’s still at work for the needs of Israel

      • But that work has a timeline and many things must come to pass before the timeline is complete 

  • Gabriel’s explanation includes near-term and far-term events

    • Both events take place in the Age of the Gentiles and are related to Christ

      • The near-term events are related to Christ’s First Coming

      • While the far-term events will be related to Christ’s Second Coming

      • In that sense, the two sets of events are themselves related

      • The earlier events serve as a picture of the later ones

    • Then, Gabriel moves to the first part of his explanation

      • First, he tells Daniel that there will be four more kings over Persia

      • History confirms this prophecy

      • The four kings were Cambyses, Pseudo-Smerdis, Darius I (a different Darius), and Xerxes I 

    • Gabriel says the fourth king will have the greatest wealth and power, and again, history agrees

      • Xerxes became so powerful that he decided he could conquer a growing adversary in the West, Greece

      • According to the Greek historian, Herodotus, Xerxes assembled an army of a million men to attack Greece

      • They conquered virtually all Greece, including burning Athens to the ground

      • But, Xerxes was defeated in a famous naval battle and was forced to retreat

  • But, his incursion laid the groundwork for the rise of Alexander the Great

    • In v.3, Gabriel moves to the third kingdom of Greece, speaking of Alexander the Great as a mighty king who does as he pleases

      • But as soon as he has ascended, his kingdom is broken into pieces

      • Again, this is an undeniable reference to Alexander the Great’s premature death and the division of his kingdom into 4 parts

      • He had no descendants, so his kingdom is given to others

    • This part of the prophecy just gives us context, as does the next

Dan. 11:5  “Then the king of the South will grow strong, along with one of his princes who will gain ascendancy over him and obtain dominion; his domain will be a great dominion indeed.
Dan. 11:6  “After some years they will form an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the South will come to the king of the North to carry out a peaceful arrangement. But she will not retain her position of power, nor will he remain with his power, but she will be given up, along with those who brought her in and the one who sired her as well as he who supported her in those times.
Dan. 11:7  “But one of the descendants of her line will arise in his place, and he will come against their army and enter the fortress of the king of the North, and he will deal with them and display great strength.
Dan. 11:8  “Also their gods with their metal images and their precious vessels of silver and gold he will take into captivity to Egypt, and he on his part will refrain from attacking the king of the North for some years.
Dan. 11:9  “Then the latter will enter the realm of the king of the South, but will return to his own land.
  • The next section of the chapter runs until v.20, and it details the conflict that will take place between two of the four pieces of Alexander’s kingdom

    • Specifically, Gabriel explains how the Ptolemy and Seleucid kingdoms battle each other

      • The Ptolemaic kingdom occupied Egypt and extended up into southern Judea

      • The Seleucid Empire occupied present-day Syria into northern Judea and extended east, as far as India

      • Which meant that the border separating these two power empires ran right through the middle of Israel

    • So naturally, as these two empires fought back and forth for control, the front line was Israel

      • Daniel calls the Ptolemaic kingdom the king of the South

      • And he calls the Seleucid kingdom the king of the North

      • They are north and south, relative to an observer standing in Jerusalem 

      • This is a clear fulfillment of Jesus’ words that the Age of the Gentiles would be a time of trampling of Jerusalem by Gentiles

  • What follows is a history of these two powers, which we can address in summary, since it’s merely backdrop for more important matters

    • First, in v.5, Ptolemy I Soter, the king of the south, who was a general under Alexander, decided to make himself king or pharaoh over Egypt

      • He had been assigned the territory as a governor

      • But now, he decided he didn’t need to answer to anyone

      • He called himself pharaoh to gain acceptance from the Egyptian population

    • Meanwhile, another ex-Alexandrian general, Seleucus I Nicator, the king of the north, rose to power over Babylon

      • Seleucus I Nicator was forced to defend Babylon against a third of Alexander’s generals, the appropriately-named Antigonus 

      • With Antigonus threatening to take over Babylon, Seleucus I Nicator sought assistance from Ptolemy I Soter

      • Because he asked Ptolemy I Soter for help, Seleucus I Nicator became his “prince”, as Gabriel says in v.5

      • So effectively, Ptolemy I Soter now had power over Babylon as well

  • Then, as Gabriel mentions, some years pass and then new events take place

    • Eventually, these two men die and their thrones are inherited by their sons and then later by their grandsons

      • Eventually, we have Ptolemy II ruling in the south and Antiochus II ruling in the north

      • These two were bitter enemies, but in 250 BC, they decided to bury the hatchet through marriage

      • Ptolemy II’s daughter would marry Antiochus II, who had divorced his wife, Laodicea, in order to take Ptolemy’s daughter

    • When Ptolemy II died, Antiochus decided to take back his first wife

      • Once Laodicea was back in favor, she had the new wife, Berenice, killed, along with her infant son

      • And just for good measure, she poisoned her husband and tried to rule in his place (Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned)

      • Eventually, her son, Seleucus II, succeeded his father in the North

      • These are the events described in v.6

  • Later Berenice’s brother, Ptolemy III, came to power in the south and determined to avenge her death in the north

    • He launched an attack against Seleucus II

      • The battle took place in Syria at Antioch

      • He succeeded in killing Laodicea

      • And he gained control of much of the northern kingdom’s territory and held it until his death

      • These are the events of v.7

    • After his conquest of the north, Ptolemy III returned to Egypt, bringing spoil from the way

      • Among the things he brought were religious artifacts from Syria

      • These are the things mentioned in v.8

    • Apparently, Seleucus II later counter-attacked by trying to invade Egypt, but the attack was unsuccessful

      • This campaign is not recorded in history, apart from the Bible

      • We know of it only from v.9

  • Continuing forward

Dan. 11:10  “His sons will mobilize and assemble a multitude of great forces; and one of them will keep on coming and overflow and pass through, that he may again wage war up to his very fortress.
Dan. 11:11  “The king of the South will be enraged and go forth and fight with the king of the North. Then the latter will raise a great multitude, but that multitude will be given into the hand of the former.
Dan. 11:12  “When the multitude is carried away, his heart will be lifted up, and he will cause tens of thousands to fall; yet he will not prevail.
Dan. 11:13  “For the king of the North will again raise a greater multitude than the former, and after an interval of some years he will press on with a great army and much equipment.
Dan. 11:14  “Now in those times many will rise up against the king of the South; the violent ones among your people will also lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they will fall down.
  • Eventually, Seleucus II dies and he is succeeded by his son, Seleucus III, who dies quickly, and is succeeded by his brother, Antiochus III the Great 

    • These sons of Seleucus II sought to restore the glory of Syria lost to the Ptolemaic kings

      • So each attacked Egypt during his reign

      • Eventually, the Seleucids succeeded in driving the Ptolemaic Egyptians back into the Sinai

      • These battles are described in vs.10

    • As a result, Ptolemy IV Philopator attacks Antiochus III at the new border in Southern Israel

      • His attack was devastating, and he destroyed Antiochus III’s army

      • But, Antiochus regrouped and stopped the advance

      • In the end, Ptolemy IV Philopator recaptured just Palestine

      • This campaign is described in vs.11-12

    • Antiochus will direct his military efforts in other directions for a while, rebuilding his forces against lesser adversaries

      • But eventually, he returns to battle the Ptolemaic kingdom

      • He succeeds in retaking Palestine in 203 BC

      • This attack is described in v.13

  • To this point, you should have noticed that the back and forth battle has centered on Israel

    • The Jewish people have been tossed to and fro with each new campaign

      • In this case, as Antiochus III entered the land again, the people of Israel sided with him

      • They opposed the Egyptians of the Ptolemaic kingdom and helped Antiochus repel them

      • This uprising of the “many” of Israel against the king of the South is recorded in v.14

  • And so the campaigns continue

Dan. 11:15  “Then the king of the North will come, cast up a siege ramp and capture a well-fortified city; and the forces of the South will not stand their ground, not even their choicest troops, for there will be no strength to make a stand.
Dan. 11:16  “But he who comes against him will do as he pleases, and no one will be able to withstand him; he will also stay for a time in the Beautiful Land, with destruction in his hand.
Dan. 11:17  “He will set his face to come with the power of his whole kingdom, bringing with him a proposal of peace which he will put into effect; he will also give him the daughter of women to ruin it. But she will not take a stand for him or be on his side.
Dan. 11:18  “Then he will turn his face to the coastlands and capture many. But a commander will put a stop to his scorn against him; moreover, he will repay him for his scorn.
Dan. 11:19  “So he will turn his face toward the fortresses of his own land, but he will stumble and fall and be found no more.
Dan. 11:20  “Then in his place one will arise who will send an oppressor through the Jewel of his kingdom; yet within a few days he will be shattered, though not in anger nor in battle.
  • In this battle, Antiochus III besieged the coastal city of Sidon in northern Palestine

    • When he defeated that city, he captured a key general, General Scopas, and his elite troops

      • This event is recorded in v.15

      • This was the final stronghold of the Egyptians in Palestine, so as it fell, it meant that the Seleucids had regained complete control over Palestine

      • Antiochus III now had the Beautiful Land of Israel to himself

      • These are the events of v.16

    • But meanwhile, a threat from a new enemy was rising in the west

      • Rome was gaining power and threatening to take over the world

      • So, Antiochus III initiated peace with Egypt

      • He offered his daughter, Cleopatra I Syra, as a wife to Ptolemy V 

    • He hoped his daughter would secretly remain loyal to the Seleucid Empire in the north

      • Instead, she became loyal to hew new Egyptian husband

      • These events are recorded in v.17

    • Meanwhile, Antiochus III struck Rome in Asia Minor, hoping to forestall their advance

      • A roman commander succeeded in defending the coast from Antiochus III

      • That commander is the one mentioned in v.18

      • Antiochus III returns to his home and dies soon thereafter, having foreseen the rise of Rome and the eventual loss of his kingdom

      • These events are given in v.19

  • Antiochus’ Son, Seleucus IV, succeeds his father and has to submit to Roman authority

    • Rome requires taxes from the Northern Kingdom, so Seleucus IV taxes his people, including the Jews, greatly

      • He assigns a Jewish man named Heliodorus to collect tax in Judea

      • Heliodorus goes throughout the land, commanding taxes be paid, and obviously, he makes no friends 

      • Eventually, Heliodorus decides he must act against the king or else be killed by his own people

    • During a return visit to Syria, Heliodorus poisons Seleucus IV and kills him

      • His situation is addressed in v.20

    • This murder of the king by a Jew sets the stage for intense Jewish persecution

      • And that persecution leads us into the next part of this chapter, which is the main thrust of the near-term prophecy

      • In fact, all the history we’ve covered to his point was provided as background to what comes next

    • From vs.21-35, a particularly despicable man takes center stage

      • His exploits against Israel become legendary

      • And he himself becomes a picture of another infamous historical figure

      • We will cover this figure and the one he pictures next week, as we conclude this chapter

      • And we will also cover Chapter 12