Saturday, December 3, 2011

December 3- Prewritten History

December 3, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Daniel 11:2-35; 1 John 3:7-24;
Psalm 122:1-9; Proverbs 29:1

Anybody can make history; only a great man can write it.  ~Oscar Wilde

Daniel 11:2-35

What if I was able to tell you who the next president of the United States would be? Better yet, what if I could give you details about our future allies and the wars that we would fight as a nation?  It would be amazing, right?  Today Daniel is given such detailed information on the history of the Gentile empires that will rule the world directly after his death that some people have decided that the book of Daniel was written at a later time by someone else.  These prophecies are detailed and read like a history book.  Legend has it that Alexander the Great had this portion of the book of Daniel read to him during his conquests and he recognized himself in the words. The book of Daniel confirms the idea that the Word of God, which was written by God's chosen people the Jews, reveals the Creator of the Universe and the history of mankind which He controls.

Here is what Christ tells Daniel about the future. The prophecies in chapters 10-12 of Daniel fill in some of the details of how the metallic image of chapter 2 of Daniel and the beasts seen in chapter 7 of Daniel affect human history. This also helps establish what goes on during the Seventy Sevens or Seventy Weeks that Daniel was told about. Because this information is so vital to mankind and for the nation of Israel, in particular, it is no wonder that Satan tried to block this information from getting to Daniel by angelic warfare.  Daniel is about to get further understanding of the Persian and Greek empires. He will also get information about what will happen to the Jews during the time between the Old and New Testaments.  This is a time of great travail for the Jewish people. Both Syria and Egypt make this a very bad situation for the Israelites. It is at this time that Antiochus Epiphanes, who is a foreshadowing of the end times Antichrist, rises up and persecutes the Jews beyond anything that anyone else on earth has done, including Hitler.  Okay.  Are you ready to dig deeply into details?  Here we go!

Daniel 11:1-4

Daniel is given information and prophecy about four Persian kings who will rule the Persian empire, and a  mighty king who will rise up and accomplish all that he sets out to accomplish. This king's power is broken and divided up into four parts. The empire is not ruled by the mighty king's descendants. This is prewritten history, folks!  Here is the corresponding actual history that occurred:  The four Persian kings were 1) Cambyses, 529 B.C. 2) Pseudo-Smerdis, 522 B.C. 3) Darius Hystaspis, 521 B.C and 4) Xerxes, who invaded Greece in 480 B.C. Xerxes was defeated and this ended the Media-Persian Empire. This Xerxes is probably the King Ahasueras in the book of Esther.  The mighty king that rises up after this is none other than Alexander the Great, who came to power in 335 B.C. and headed up the Graeco-Macedonian Empire. He was probably the greatest military strategist to ever live and he was a world ruler. His inglorius end came when he drank himself to death at the age of 32. After that, his kingdom was divided by four generals. Cassander took Macedonia; Lysimachus took Asia Minor; Seleucus Nicator took Syria and the rest of the Middle East; and Ptolemy took Egypt to the South.  These families all ended up warring against each other.  This is what the next section of prophecy explains.

Daniel 11:5-20

In this section of Scripture, the king from the south is from the family of the Ptolemies. The kings of the north would be from the Seleucidae. We are in approximately 250 B.C.  Ptolemy of Philadelphus of Egypt gives his daughter, Berenice, in marriage to Antiochus Theos of Syria. Antiochus was already married to Laodice, but he divorces her.  Ptolemy of Philadelphus dies after two years, so Antiochus puts away Berenice and brings back his first wife, Laodice. This woman poisons Antiochus and orders the death of Berenice and her son.  Laodice then puts her own son, Seleucus Callinicus, on the throne.

In verse 7, one of Laodice's relatives becomes a king in the south who raises an army, defeats a king in the north, and brings back booty of gold and silver to Egypt. This is fulfilled in Ptolemy Euergetes,  who was Berenice's brother.  He captured Syria and seized a fort.  It is recorded that he returned to Egypt with four thousand talents of gold, forty thousand talents of silver, and twenty-five hundred idols. Scripture was literally fulfilled.

There is continual warfare between Egypt and Syria at this time. Israel is caught in the middle and is taken captive by one side or the other continually.  Many Israelites die and experience untold suffering at the hands of both the north and the south.

Verses 15-16 speak of a king from the north who comes and takes a stand in the glorious land.  This "glorious land" is Israel. History records that Antiochus the Great defeated Egypt in a decisive victory and caused much suffering for Israel. Over 125 years of history are fulfilled and mentioned in Daniel's prophecies.  For further study of this the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia is a good reference.

Antiochus the Great makes a treaty with Egypt and gives his daughter, Cleopatra, to Ptolemy Epiphanes in marriage. Antiochus the Great then turns his face to the Greek Isles and begins to come against not only the Ptolemies, but also Lysimachus in the west. At this time, Rome begins to rise.  This would be the "the commander from another land," who puts an end to Antiochus the Great's insolence.  The successor who sends a tax collector is Rome.  The Romans were known for being the best tax collectors in the ancient world and perhaps the best in history with the exception of the modern American tax system.

Daniel 11:21-33

Now we come to a description of Antiochus Epiphanes who was seen as the "little horn" in chapter 8.  He is one of the kings in the line of the Seleucidae. He came to the throne in 175 B.C. He was a man who gained his power through flatteries and a program of peace.  His rise will mirror what the rise of the "Man of Sin's" rise will look like in the future. Although he was quick to flatter, Antiochus Epiphanes was also quick to deceive. A high priest named Onias III was deposed and killed by the devices of Antiochus. Antiochus had a successful campaign against the king of Egypt, which made him very wealthy.  His second campaign into Egypt was not successful because the Roman navy stopped him. 

Antiochus came against Jerusalem in 170 B.C., where over one hundred thousand Jews were slain. This is when he took away the practice of the daily sacrifices at the Temple and set up an image of Jupiter to be worshipped.  He offered the blood of pigs on the altar, which was an abomination to the Jews.  This is a foreshadowing of what the Antichrist will do during the Great Tribulation.  He will set up an image of himself to be worshipped in the Temple.

Verses 33-35 deal with treachery in Israel, faithful teachers who are persecuted, and the fact that God is using this period in history to refine, purify, and cleanse his people until the time of the end.

Are you surprised that Daniel was given prewritten history?  Does this blow your mind? How does that change your perspective on the Bible and on God?

1 John 3:7-24

John argues that behavior matters and how a person behaves is an indicator of whether they belong to God's family or to Satan's family.  Loving other Christians is one of the major keys to determining to which family one belongs.

Cain is given as an example of a person who did not belong to God's family, but was jealous of his brother who was doing what was right.  Having no love in your heart is a sign of spiritual death.  This love is to go even so far as to giving up your life for other Christian brothers and sisters. 

If you have enough money to live well and then do not share your excess wealth with others who are in need, do you really have love?  Our actions must back up our beliefs and our words.

Confess if you have a problem with this, and after confession, come boldly to God with your requests. The Holy Spirit is our guarantee that God lives in us.

This are convicting passages from the Apostle John.  Do you love others deeply?

Psalm 122:1-9

This psalm reflects love for the people of God.

Proverbs 29:1

This proverb reminds us to accept criticism if we do not want to be broken.

What are you seeing?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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