‘The Latter Days’
In order to understand this story, we need to look at the events of history as they happened from Daniel’s day to now. It can be hard for us today to find a good history book that will tell us the true happenings as there have been many people busy changing the history books. Also History is no longer taught in school as much as it used to be.
How do we know this? Researchers have found out as they were using certain books and shortly went back to use them again and were told they were lost or destroyed and history and science books are being reprinted and when you compare the original with the reprint--a lot is changed and missing.
Back in Chapter 10 the first verse it says “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long:” This particular ‘Time Appointed’ in verse 1 in Daniel 10; it is the Hebrew word ‘Saba’. It gives the sense of an army or a warfare or service and some of the other translations in verse 1 put it ‘Even the great warfare was long’; RSV says ‘it was a great conflict’; Moffatt’s says ‘a true revelation of a great conflict’.
Daniel was shown a great conflict and Daniel 11:2 and onward is a history of the conflict between different powers struggling for control of the world. And this truth needs to be scrutinized very closely.
Let’s look at verse 1:
Gabriel in chapter 10 has already described a struggle that was going on with the king of Persia against the ‘prince of Persia’, which we know is Satan. There’s a warfare going on here that’s consistent with the story of Michael, emphasizing the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan. In verse 1, Gabriel tells Daniel that he was also supporting Darius the Mede. He confirmed and strengthened him in his first year.
"Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him." Daniel 11: 1.
Now history tells us that Cyrus is the one that came and conquered Babylon and evidently, Darius the Mede here, may have been a relative of Cyrus, or maybe one of his generals or some other relation to Cyrus; (some say he was his uncle) but evidently he was put in charge of Babylon after Cyrus conquered it, because Darius is the one that has Daniel thrown in the lion’s den. And it’s Darius the Mede. And I point this out that he must have been a ruler of Babylon, but under the authority of Cyrus, and in that context it would be OK for Daniel, still in Babylon to refer to him as the king, he was the king of Babylon, but he wasn’t the king evidently of the entire empire of the Medes and Persians— Cyrus was.
But as we look at these kings, we’re going to run into another Darius, and it’s a different Darius.
Now this is three kings following Cyrus, the king that conquered Babylon. We don’t want to loose track of the fact that Cyrus was specifically called by the Lord to accomplish bringing down Babylon, to begin the work of letting the Jews go back to Jerusalem. And we see this in these kings as they march through history, that the Lord was interacting with them in a very specific way.
Cyrus, had already been named in the Bible, long before he existed, this truth was part of what gave him the insight and understanding to work in favour of the Jews. But there was going to be three kings that stood up in Persia after him and then a forth that would be far richer. The son of Cyrus, Cambyses, is the first of these three kings and he started a campaign to conquer Egypt once he was king. He came to the throne by assassinating or murdering his brother so that there was no question about who was going to follow Cyrus.
He murdered his brother, became king, and made his attack on Egypt. He was successful, gathered some of the Egyptian idols and wealth and silver and gold and was coming back from Egypt and whether it was an accident or he committed suicide, he died on his way back from Egypt. He found that a man who was pretending to be his brother, the brother that he had murdered, had taken the throne. This man was called Smerdis which was his brother’s name, but in history he’s called false Smerdis. Because he knew he wasn’t Smerdis, but he took the throne.
On his way back from Egypt, Cambyses realized that this impostor had taken his throne and some historians say he committed suicide, some say that he died of an accident. This Smedis was a Mede and he wasn’t sympathetic to the work of the Jews. Seven or eight months later he was dead and a third king comes up, Darius, not Darius the Mede, but Darius the Persian and he, once again, is sympathetic to the needs of the Jews to return to Jerusalem.
He put forth the second of the three decrees that allow the 2300 day prophecy to begin. It allowed the Jews to have full autonomy in their country. After him it says there would be a fourth king that was far richer. This fourth king, Xerxes, was wealthy. He put together a great army to attack Greece but he failed in his plans.
The verse says he stirs up the realm of Greece and they begin preparation to come later and sweep away the kingdom of the Medes and Persians. There were 9 other
kings that followed in the history of the Medes and Persians but only these are mentioned in the verse because they’re the points of reference that the prophetic record wants to give us.
The Bible record shows every one of these kings, except for possibly Smerdis, had a direct connection with the work of bringing the Jews back to Israel. They were being
influenced by Gabriel, and other angels, no doubt, to accomplish this work.
One of the things that we need to understand at the end of the world, no matter what leader and what kingdom is involved, our Lord is fully in charge of the situation.
The time of trouble is just before us, the greatest time of trouble there ever will be, and we need to have the trust and confidence of Daniel. Daniel walked into the crisis situation with Belshazzar, when the handwriting was on the wall. Daniel knew that, if not then and there, in a very short period of time, Cyrus and the Medes and Persians were going to conquer Babylon.
He had the faith, the patience, the character to walk into that crisis situation and tell Belshazzar, ‘No, I don’t want your gift that you’re giving me but I’ll read this to you’, and he explained it to him. This is just what God’s people are going to have to do at the end of the world. In the crisis they are going to understand the truth about the powers that be and the struggles going on in the world. They will have the same confidence the same trust that Daniel had and give the faithful witness and true testimony at that time.
A great Bible truth that we see in verse 2 is that God is directly involved with the leaders of the world.
“And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.” Daniel 11:3.
This ‘mighty king’ is Alexander the Great and when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken. Alexander the Great conquered the world and then drank himself to death. His kingdom was broken up. The next verse talks about four winds, and the previous prophecies of Daniel say that his kingdom was divided into the four winds. But at first there were 36 generals fighting to take control of Alexander’s kingdom. Finally it got down to four. (Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus and Ptolemy.)
These four continued to struggle for the dominion of Alexander’s kingdom and it gets down to two kingdoms, Ptolemy, and he was in control of the southern area of Egypt. Ultimately he represents the kingdom in Daniel 11, that we know as the King of the South.
The other general that takes control of most of the area is Seleucus. His kingdom symbolizes the kingdom of the north controlling Syria but the heart of Syria, which was his capitol, was Babylon and this is where the rule is established in this history of the struggle between Alexander’s generals as they go throughout time, — the King of the North, is the power that controls Babylon and King of the South, the Power that controls Egypt.
“And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.” Daniel 11:4.
We see that his kingdom isn’t going to be left to Alexander the Great’s family, and sure enough, one of those generals had Alexander’s family executed; so they’re out of the story. And it’s simply a struggle between these different Generals. Ultimately it gets down to two of them and Verse 5 begins the story of the King of the North and the King of the South.
“And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.” Daniel 11:5.
The King of the South, Ptolemy, shall be strong and one of his princes, one of Alexander the Great’s princes, Seleucus, so it’s making a distinction here, the King of the South, Ptolemy, one of his (Alexander's) princes, Seleucus, and sure enough, his kingdom was larger and stronger, more powerful than Ptolemy’s and that’s where the story starts. The King of the North is the stronger, larger kingdom. But they’re struggling with one another and in Verse 6 it says;
“And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king’s daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.” Daniel 11:6.
“He that begat her” if you look in your margin, it would say “and whom she brought forth”. Where it says ‘he that begat her’, it is really saying her child.
What’s being described here is ‘at the end of years’, after a certain time period, Seleucus and Ptolemy struggling with one another, they decide, well, we’re going to form a treaty. So Ptolemy sends his daughter to the King of the North and says, “Marry her.”
In order for the King of the North to do this, he has to put away his wife. His wife’s name is Laodice and the daughter’s name that was sent from the King of the South is Bernice. This was their agreement of peace. But it says, ‘She shall not retain the power of his arm”. ‘She’ is the King of the South’s daughter, Bernice. She’s not going to retain the power with the King of the North, Seleucus, and in time in history, Seleucus decided that he wasn’t happy or satisfied with Bernice from the South, so he set her aside, and re-married his former wife, Laodice.
Laodice then decided that ’I can’t have confidence in what this guy is going to do next, so I’m going to kill him.’ So she had him killed, and she had Bernice and Bernice’s child killed, and turned the kingdom over to her son. That’s the story here in Verse 6, the daughter of the king of the South will not retain the power of arms, she’s going to be set aside, by the King of the North, as a wife. ‘Neither shall he stand’; the King of the North isn’t going to stand, because Laodice, his newly retrieved wife, is going to assassinate him, ‘and she shall be given up’—the daughter of the King of the South shall be given up; she’s going to be executed. ‘And those that brought her’; the attendants that came from Egypt with her, all the people that were brought to support her as the ‘Queen of the North’, they were all executed. And her son, that she had while she was there, he was executed. And ‘he that strengthened her in these times’, the King of the North. Everything about that relationship was assassinated by Laodice, and she placed her son of Seleucus in control.
But it says in verse 7:
“But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail:" Daniel 11:7.
A branch of ‘her roots’ meaning the King of the South, where she came from, shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail.
Sure enough, after the King of the North and ultimately, Laodice executed Bernice, went back on the agreement that they had made; Bernice’s brother, then King of the South, because his father had died, was enraged at the treachery of the King of the North, and he came out of the same roots as Bernice had come out of. They were brother and sister. So ‘out of a branch of her roots will one stand up in his estate, in the estate of the King of the South, shall come with an army and shall enter into the fortress of the King of the North. And History is very clear that this is exactly what took place.
“And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north.” Daniel 11:8.
If you go to this history, the Egyptians, after this King of the South had marched on the King of the North and went all the way to Babylon and entered his fortress, and conquered that area. And the booty that he was bringing back is the very booty that had been carried out of Egypt way back when Cambyses, the second king in verse 2, that was going to stand up after Cyrus, had conquered Egypt and brought back booty. It ended up there in the domain of the King of the North and this King of the South went and conquered Babylon and brought it back and he was made a hero because he was bringing back all these treasures that had been lost so many years before.
"So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land." Daniel 11:9.
Which he did.
"But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress." Daniel 11:10.
These sons that shall be stirred up in verse 10 are talking about the King of the North, his sons are going to be stirred up and they’re going to assemble a multitude of great forces. The sons of the king that was conquered and lost the booty that was carried back into Egypt, they’re stirred up to retaliate against Egypt, the King of the South. ‘Sons’ is in the plural, but by the end of the verse it is in the singular, ‘and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.’
Note The south,north,east west is with reference to Jerusalem which is central.
History says there were 2 sons of the King of the North at that time and the one was inept; and he was the one that began the preparation for war. His generals were so frustrated with his abilities that they poisoned him. And the second son takes up the task and he builds a might army and he comes to return back onto the King of the South in response to what they’ve done. And in verse 11 we see—
"And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand. 12 And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it." Daniel 11:11.
Now the King of the North brings a great multitude, the King of the South, angry about the situation in verse 11 should come and fight against him and he prevails against the King of the North. And even though the King of the North had a great army, it’s still given into the hand of the King of the South. He prevails, and the story of him casting down the ‘many ten-thousands’, is worth considering because it does impact our understanding of how God was still controlling and working with these kings.
This is from the historian Prudeau, the chapter is ‘Connections’ under the 217 time period. This King of the South, that had marched in verses 11,12, into the King of the North and retaliated— defeated their great multitude, and we’ll take up the historian’s information about him at this point.
It says; “Philopater, was a fellow of abandoned lust and dissipation. He was so elated by his victory over Antiochus that he held processions through the provinces.” The provinces he had recovered. He conquered a bunch of provinces and as he was coming back to Egypt, he is celebrating as he goes through each area. He came to Jerusalem and after a blasphemous act of offering sacrifices to God, he attempted to enter the Most Holy Place of the temple, in spite of the protest and entreaties of the Jews in charge.
This is what the historian says; “He was smitten from God with such a terror and confusion of mind that he was carried out of the place in a manner half dead. On this he departed from Jerusalem, filled with great wrath against the whole nation of the Jews for that which happened to him in that place and venting many threatenings against them for it.”
In verse 12, it talks about him casting down many ten-thousands and it’s describing his retaliation against the Jews for this incident.
“In vengeance for his disgrace at Jerusalem he returned to his country and endeavoured to force the many Jews in Egypt to sacrifice to Egypt’s heathen gods and renounce their worship of Jehovah. When 300 Jews adopted the heathen religion, they were excommunicated by the Jewish society. Regarding this as a further insult to himself, Philopater determined to destroy the Jews in his dominion and commanded that as many as could be rounded up, be brought in chains to Alexandria.
These were placed in a large arena, and it was proposed that on a certain day, a great public spectacle would be made, by turning wild and drunken elephants upon them. The devout Jews earnestly called upon God and when the appointed time came, the drunken and maddened beasts were let loose.
But they turned their rage upon all those who came to see the show and destroyed great numbers of them. Besides, several appearances were soon seen in the air, which much frightened the king and all the spectators. All which, manifesting the interposal of Divine power in the protection of those people. Philopater durst not any longer prosecute his rage against them, but ordered them to be all set free and fearing the Divine vengeance upon him in their behalf, he restored them to all their privileges, rescinding and revoking all his decrees, which he had published against them. Three years afterwards however, in 213 BC, Philopater, on another pretext slew 40,000 Jews. Thus he cast down ten-thousands.