Scripture reading – Daniel 11

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Fulfilled prophecy is one of the great proofs that the Scriptures are divinely inspired (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 3:19-21). Only an omniscient God can accurately foretell future events. Because of its exactness in every detail, some have scoffed at the thought the Book of Daniel was written in the sixth century BC. Nevertheless, the chronicles of secular history have only validated Daniel’s prophetic account.

Daniel 10 marked another leadership transition in Babylon with the reign of Cyrus, king of Persia (10:1), under whom Daniel served. Daniel’s prophetic visions continued in Daniel 10 as God sent an angel to interpret the things revealed to him in visions, including the spiritual warfare that goes unnoticed by human eyes (Daniel 10:13) and the fall of Persia to the “prince of Grecia” (10:20-21). 

Daniel 11

There is debate regarding the identity of the messenger who speaks in verse 1. Some suppose him to be Michael the Archangel. Others suggest he was the angel who came to Daniel in chapter 10. Still, some believe that Daniel was the messenger and that he stood before Darius, the king of Persia, and confirmed and strengthened him concerning things that were yet to be (i.e., the rise and fall of nations, Daniel 11:1).  

“Darius the Mede” is king and reigned over Babylon and the Persian Empire (reminder: several kings of Persia were named Darius, and some scholars suggest that was the title for Persian kings). Rather than add to the debate, I will accept simply that “Darius the Mede” was king and the LORD sent an angel “to confirm and to strengthen him” (Daniel 11:1).

The Fall of Persia Foretold (Daniel 11:2)

Four kings of Persia succeeded Cyrus. Three reigned from 530 to 486 BC. The fourth and greatest king was Xerxes I (known as Ahasuerus, in the Book of Esther, Daniel 11:2; Esther 1:1). Xerxes reigned from 485 BC to 465 BC, and under his rule, Persia reached its zenith. Persia warred with Greece; in 480 BC, Xerxes suffered a humiliating defeat. He was assassinated in August 465 BC.

The Fall of Persia Foretold

The Succession of Greece (Daniel 11:2-20)

Daniel’s vision revealed the rise of “a mighty king” of Greece, who we know from history as Alexander the Great (Daniel 11:3-4).  The breadth of Alexander’s empire included Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, and the Medo-Perisan Empire, reaching as far east as India. Alexander died at 32 years old in 323 BC. Fulfilling Daniel’s vision, Greece was divided into four principalities following his death and ruled by four generals who served Alexander (Daniel 11:4). A period of unrest followed as those generals strived for supremacy in the region (Daniel 11:5-20).

The Ascension and Fall of Antiochus IV Epiphanes

The Ascension and Fall of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Daniel 11:21-29)

The remainder of Daniel 11 is a panorama of prophetic scenes that are too numerous to study in this devotional commentary (Daniel 11:21-45). Antiochus IV was pictured as the “little horn” in Daniel 8:9-12, 23-25. He was a wicked, morally depraved king but a brilliant general (Daniel 11:21-23). In 170 BC, Antiochus IV moved against Israel, desecrated the Temple, set his heart “against the holy covenant,” and killed thousands of Jews (Daniel 11:28).

Antiochus IV invaded Egypt but was confronted by “the ships of Chittim” (i.e., Rome, Daniel 11:30). He retreated, passed through Israel, attacked Jerusalem, and for a second time desecrated the Temple (Daniel 11:30). Antiochus abolished daily sacrifices, erected an altar to Zeus and sacrificed swine on the Temple altar on December 16, 167 BC (Daniel 11:31). A great persecution of faithful Jews followed when they refused to bow to Antiochus’ demands (Daniel 11:33-35). In 166 BC, Judas Maccabeus, the son of a priest, led a revolt against Antiochus. In 164 BC, Judas Maccabeus purged the Temple, and worship was restored (Daniel 11:34).

Closing thoughts –

The persecution and suffering of the Jews tried, cleansed, and purified them as a people (Daniel 11:35). I believe that Daniel 11:36 marks the beginning of the prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled during the 70th week of Daniel, which is the time of the Tribulation (Daniel 11:36-45).

To be continued…

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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