The End Times - Part 2

Daniel - A Giant Amongst Giants  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Last week we started the tenth chapter of Daneil, we saw the beginning of the final vision recorded by Daniel.
And though it is called a vision of the end, we’ve decided from our plain reading of the text and from historical context that the end time to which they are referring, is the time of the end of the captivity, a time when Messiah was to arrive on the scene. We know this because of what happened immediately before the birth of Christ as well as the prophesy that was fulfilled by the life of Christ, and what happened immediately following His death. We see that Daniel’s visions had to do with that end time, and while it is possible that the prophecies could have dual fulfilment, we cannot make that assumption. The fulfilment is :
Daniel 10:14 Dan 10:14Describing what will occur "in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come" - Dan 10:14Its words were to be closed and sealed "till the time of the end" - Dan 12:9-- For such reasons this vision has been called "The Vision Of The Time Of The End"In the introductory remarks of the vision, we were given a glimpse of the spiritual warfare that was going on "behind the scenes"...
Daniel 10:14 NKJV
Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”
Daniel is describing what is in coming in the latter days, many days yet to come, but these words were not to be shared with the people of his time, they were to be sealed until the time of the end. And not understanding what that phrase means is what causes modern Christians to assume that Daniel is talking about the second coming of Christ when in reality this all has its fulfilment in the first coming.
Last week we also got a glimpse into what spiritual warfare looks like. We got the proverbial peek behind the curtain. We saw angelic forces fighting one another.
Daniel 10:13 NKJV
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.
Daniel 10:20 NKJV
Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come.
We also saw that the angelic beings join forces and help each other.
Daniel 10:13 NKJV
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.

The Vision

Beginning with Daniel 11 starting in verse two we begin tin see the vision in earnest.
Daniel 11:2 NKJV
And now I will tell you the truth: Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece.

The Conflict between Persia and Greece

Daniel’s vision of four kings rising up and the last being the richest and stirring up conflict with Greece is s confirmed by history, these kings who followed Cyrus were Cambyses, Smerdis, Darius Hystaspis and finally Xerxes from the book of Esther (also called Ahasuerus).
Esther 1:1 NKJV
Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus (this was the Ahasuerus who reigned over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia),
Next he foretells the events in Greece.
Daniel 11:3 NKJV
Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.
This was Alexander the Great, who’s kingdom was broken and divided into four pieces, just as Daniel foretold.
Daniel 11:4 NKJV
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.
If you recall this was also prophesied by Daniel as he interpreted the vision back in
Daniel 8:21–22 NKJV
And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king. As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.
He prophesied specifically that Alexander’s kingdom would not be given to his posterity, nor will the dominion be as great, and this was confirmed by history, Alexander's empire was eventually divided between his four generals after he died in 323 B.C.
At this point, the "glorious man” begins to describe an extended conflict between “the kings of the North" and "the kings of the South" which will have a big impact upon the people of Daniel (Israel). And so begins Daniel’s vision of...

The Conflict Between Egypt and Syria

The Beginning of the Conflict

Daniel 11:5 NKJV
“Also the king of the South 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.
So this king of the south who was to gain power is king Ptolemy I who ruled Egypt from 306-284 B.C. and the prince Daniel refers to, who will gain power over the other is probably referring to one of Alexander’s generals (princes) called Seleucus I, he ruled Syria from 312-280 BC)
And sure enough, there was a fantastic war between these two nations and these two kings. Caught in the middle of it all, left to bear the brunt of the war was, you guessed it...Israel. And then Daniel prophesies something curious.
Daniel 11:6 NKJV
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.
So history proves yet again, that the Word of God upon Daniel was exact and powerful, you see, during the reigns of Ptolemy Philadelphus and Antiochus Theus, Ptolemy’s daughter Bernice was given to Antiochus (with the condition that Antiochus divorce his wife, Laodice, as a peace offer between Egypt and Syria, but two years after the marriage, Bernice’s father died, and so Antiochus ditched her and got back with his Laodice. Turns out that was a bad move, because Laodice, having built up some resentment at having been replaced in the first place, decided she preferred the “‘till death do us part”part of the vows and killed her husband. Bernice said, “NOPE!” and got out of Dodge as fast as she could, but she wasn’t fast enough and Laodice had her killed as well.
As you can imagine this did not go over will with her family back home, and Daniel details this as well.

The South will rise again

Daniel 11:7–8 NKJV
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 them and prevail. And he shall also 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.
Berenice's brother, Ptolemy Euregetes (246-221 B.C.) had been trying to save his sister from the domestic mess happening in Syria. When he failed, he rose up to avenge her death and just as Daniel prophesied, Ptolemy Euregetes took their gods, princes, and precious articles to Egypt. Euregetes ruled longer than the next Seleucid king.
Saints, I know we’re talking a lot of apparently non-Bible history here, but let me just remind you that it really is Bible history from the standpoint that Daniel foretold it all. To quite exacting detail. Which goes to underscore that God’s word can absolutely be trusted.
So let’s get back to our soap opera here.

The Plot Thickens

Daniel 11:9–10 NKJV
“Also the king of the North shall come to the kingdom of the king of the South, but shall return to his own land. 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.
And sure enough, Seleucid Callinicus tired to invade the south, he does not succeed, though his sons (Seleucid Ceraunus and Antiochus the Great) did indeed stir up strife, One son in particular, Antiochus the Great (225-187 B.C.), does succeed in overwhelming Egypt and actually, regains some of the Syrian land taken by Egypt, but then...
Daniel 11:11–13 NKJV
“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. 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. 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.
There is a new king in Egypt by the name of Ptolemy Philopator, in a rage over the exploits of Antiochus the Great, he gathers a great army and defeats Antiochus at Raphia, but just as prophesied, his victory is short lived, because Antiochus returns with an even better-equipped army just one year later.
Crazy huh? The amount of detail that Daniel prophesies. Church, if nothing else this should build your faith and confidence in the certainty of the Word of God. There are many promises and prophesies about you and me in this book, and just as surely as this stuff from Daniel’s visions came to pass, the stuff that God Back to Daniel.
Daniel 11:14 NKJV
“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 fall.
Philip King of Macedon made an alliance with Antiochus and also waged war against Ptolemy, but guess who else? A bunch of Jews who, prompted by what they saw as the fulfilment of this prophetic vision of Daniel’s thought they’d get some quick glory also attacked Ptolemy. Apparently they didn’t read far enough, because just as Daniel foretold, they were defeated. Oops.
Daniel 11:15–19 NKJV
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. 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. “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 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. Then he shall turn his face toward the fortress of his own land; but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.
So when we left off, Antiochus the Great was waging war with the forces of the south, and he was kicking some major hiney, and at a certain point, guess where his troops ended up. If you guessed Israel, because you read that “he stood in the 'Glorious Land'”, then you guessed correctly, and again in one of those uncanny accurate prophetic predictions of what would happen, He tried to strengthen his kingdom by giving his daughter in marriage. And who was his daughter you might ask? Well, it was none other than Cleopatra herself, given to Ptolemy Epiphanes. But she came to favor the purposes of her husband rather than her father
Antiochus then turned his attention to the coastlands (Mediterranean), making war with the Romans, but was defeated by Scipio Asiaticus, a Roman military leader. Defeated by the Romans, Antiochus the Great returned home and died soon after.
Now, we shift our focus back to the Syrian empire and a leader who would have a big impact upon the Jews...

Antiochus Epiphanes

Daniel 11:20 NKJV
“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 in battle.
This kind of made me chuckle. Daniel is having these very detailed visions and he throws this in there for free. The guy who preceded Antiochus was a tax collector who imposed taxes on Israel, but has a very short reign, and the winner of this auspicious honor is Seleucus Philopator who was more interested in collecting taxes that waging war, but who was so despised he was poisoned.
What’s that saying about trading the devil you know for the devil you have yet to know? Well they should have been reading the prophesies because… well let’s you and I take a look.
Daniel 11:21–24 NKJV
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. With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant. 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. 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.
His official name was Antiochus "Epiphanes" (the Illustrious). His people refereed to him as Antiochus "Epimanes" (the Insane) And he did indeed take the kingdom peaceably, but with intrigue. Epiphanes dealt with the Egyptians and Israel deceitfully and as a result, and in fact, did become strong with a small number of people through peaceful means, but then he just as prophesied, he plundered the riches places of the province, and that provoked the "king of the South.
Daniel 11:25–28 NKJV
“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. 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. 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. 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.
Two times Antiochus invaded Egypt. The Egyptian king, Ptolemy Physcon, sought to oppose him, but was betrayed by his own people. You see, both kings were deceitful liars, but their plotting was subject to the times and manner appointed by God. On his return home, Antiochus passed through Israel, and was moved against the holy covenant (the institutions of the Law of Moses)
Daniel 11:29–30 NKJV
“At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter. For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage. “So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant.
And so Antiochus, almost as if he were reading the book of Daniel like a script decides to invade the south. This was his third invasion, but he was not as successful as before. This time, Roman ships from where else? Yup! Cyprus threatened reprisal Frustrated, he returned home, but on his way back he fulfilled more prophesy.
Daniel 11:30–32 NKJV
For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage. “So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. 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. 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.
Antiochus Epiphanes took the city of Jerusalem and plundered the temple, he then commanded the Jews to worship the Greek idol which he set up in the temple. He ordered the end to daily sacrifices and polluted the altar by offering swine flesh on it. He made it circumcision, the observance of the Sabbath, and possession of a copy of the law illegal.
Daniel 11:32–35 NKJV
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. 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. Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. 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.
This was fulfilled during the Maccabean period. In case you don’t know about the Maccabees, let me refresh your memory. The most famous story of the Maccabees goes like this:
One day, the henchmen of Antiochus arrived in the village of Modiin where Mattityahu, a respected and elderly priest, lived. The Syrian officer built an altar in the marketplace of the village and demanded that Mattityahu offer sacrifices to the Greek gods. Mattityahu replied, "I, my sons and my brothers are determined to remain loyal to the covenant that our G‑d made with our ancestors!"
Thereupon, a Hellenized Jew approached the altar to offer a sacrifice. Mattityahu grabbed his sword and killed him, and his sons and friends fell upon the Syrian officers and men. They killed many of them and chased the rest away. They then destroyed the altar.
Mattityahu knew that Antiochus would be enraged when he heard what had happened, and would certainly send troops to punish him and his followers. And so, Mattityahu and his sons and friends fled to the hills of Judea.
All loyal and courageous Jews joined them. They formed legions, and from time to time they left their hiding places to fall upon enemy detachments and outposts, and to destroy the pagan altars that were built by order of Antiochus.
Before his death, Mattityahu called his sons together and urged them to continue to fight in defense of G d’s Torah. He asked them to follow the counsel of their brother Shimon the Wise, and their leader in warfare was to be their brother Judah the Strong, or Judah the Maccabee.
The Maccabees won battle after battle, including one in which they fended off an army of more than 40,000 men.
Then the Maccabees returned to Jerusalem to liberate it. They entered the Temple and cleared it of the idols placed there by the Syrian vandals. Judah and his followers built a new altar, which he dedicated on the twenty-fifth of the month of Kislev, in the year 139 BCE (3622).
Since the golden Menorah had been stolen by the Syrians, the Maccabees now made one of cheaper metal. When they wanted to light it, they found only a small cruse of pure olive oil bearing the seal of the High Priest Yochanan. It was sufficient to create light for only one day by a miracle of G‑d, it continued to burn for eight days, until new oil was available. That miracle proved that G‑d had again taken His people under His protection.

Putting it All Together

Up to this point, there is little controversy over the content of the vision. It describes the conflict between the Persians and the Greeks, followed by the conflict between the Syrians and the Egyptians. The latter described in detail, because Israel was caught in the middle Israel in particular would suffer the blasphemies of one Syrian king, Antiochus Epiphanes. From Dan 11:36 on, there is quite a diversity of opinions...
Some believe Antiochus Epiphanes is still the subject Others suggest that a Roman emperor is being described Still others believe it refers to someone yet to come.
We shall examine the remaining portion of this chapter and the final chapter in our next study, perhaps maybe then we’ll get into some real end times material.
I want to end with this saints. I hope these lessons in Daniel are not discouraging you. I know that so many believe that these stories are all about the end times. So many teachers and preachers have tried to shove the book of Revelation into these visions and have made it so spooky and mysterious, but as we have seen, that’s not really the case at all has it? Here’s what I want us to take away from what we’ve been reading. If the Bible has been so completely accurate about all we have read in Daniel, then we can be sure that it is accurate about all it says about our future as well, and saints, that ought to ignite a deep excitement within you, because I gotta tell you, when I read how God so specifically spelled out all the events of Daniel’s future, I get excited about all the stuff He’s said about ours. How about you?
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