Lesson 11 w/AnswersDaniel 11:1-35
We continue our study of Daniel’s final prophecy by examining the first part of Daniel Chapter 11 and the prophecy concerning the Greek Empire and its breakup. In the next lesson, we will conclude our study of Daniel with a look at the final throes of the "time of the Gentiles", encompassing both the establishment, and then the collapse, of the reign of the Anti-Christ.
While this lesson only incorporates four study questions, it will provide a high-level view of the Greek Empire, first established by Alexander The Great. Alexander died at an early age and his kingdom was divided into four parts; two became stronger than the others, and the leaders of these two dominant kingdoms are referred to in our Biblical study text as the King of the North and the Kings of the South.
Read Daniel 11:1-35 and consider the following:
- Daniel 11:2 refers to four Persian rulers, the fourth of whom will be defeated by the Greeks, thus ushering in the beginning of the Greek Empire. The name of the final Persian king was Xerxes, also known as King Ahasuerus in Hebrew. He ruled from 485 BC to 465 BC. Do you recall how this final Persian king is related to the story of Esther? (See Esther 1:1)
- ANSWER: The story of Esther, and the events described in the book by the same name, all take place under the reign of the last Persian king, King Xerxes.
- Described in Daniel Chapter 11, beginning in verse 3, is the history of the Jews under the rule of the Greek Empire, ending with what history today refers to as the Maccabean Revolt. Review Daniel 11:3-35 and note that there are two regions that these Greek kings come from, the North and the South. In Daniel 11:3, Alexander the Great’s kingdom is cited. What happens after his death? (Daniel 11:3-4)
- ANSWER: The Greek Empire is divided into four pieces; two are more powerful than the other two.
- What happens among the two power players in the new divided Greek Empire? (Daniel 11:5-19)
- ANSWER: The two mightier of the four kings battle for control, one from the North the other from the South: the Northern King eventually succumbs to the King of the South.
- Following the death of the Northern King, two more successors take their place in history, the second one also tries to defeat the King of the South. What happens in that battle? (Daniel 11:20-32)
- ANSWER: The King of the North plunders the Southern Kingdom, but in a later battle, he meets with great resistance, causing him to lose heart. Unhappy with this turn of events, he will turn on Israel and order his forces to desecrate the Holy Temple, stop the daily sacrifices, and "set up the abomination that causes desolation". This will eventually lead to the Maccabean revolt, the Jews who were previously hiding in the hills will revolt and rid the city of Antiochus IV’s army. The day of victory is celebrated even today as the celebration of Hanukkah.
To help us better understand this extended history of conflict within the Greek Empire, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, have included in their book, Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament: An Exposition of the Scriptures, page 1367, a chart illustrating the Rulers of the North, or the Seleucids, and the rulers of the South, the Ptolemies, who ruled during that time. The highlights of that chart are listed below to assist in your understanding of this passage.
The authors point out as well that this prophecy was so literally fulfilled that "skeptics have denied that the book was written by Daniel in the sixth century B.C. They conclude that the book must have been written during the time of the Maccabees (168-134 BC) after the events took place."
The kings of the South and North in their chronological order, as listed in "The Bible Knowledge Commentary", were:
|Kings of the South||Kings of the North|
|Ptolemy I, Soter||Seleucus I, Nicator|
|Ptolemy II, Philadelphus||Antiochus I, Soter|
|Ptolemy III, Euergetes||Antiochus II, Theos|
|Ptolemy IV, Philopator||Seleucus II, Callinicus|
|Ptolemy V, Epiphanes||Seleucus III, Soter|
|Ptolemy VI, Philometer||Antiochus III, The Great|
|—||Seleucus IV, Philopator|
|—||Antiochus IV, Epiphanes|
Following this prophetic description of the Greek Empire as it ruled over Israel, the scriptural text beginning in Daniel 11:36 takes a remarkable chronological jump to the last empire. Some believe this to be the revived Roman Empire and the reign of the Anti-Christ. We will examine this great battle and the empire of the Anti-Christ in the next and final lesson.
Thanks for studying with us!
Yours in Christ,