Contending For The Faith

February 19, 2009

Daniel 11: The Reign of Rebellion

Filed under: Bible Study,Daniel,John MacArthur — Lynda O @ 12:13 pm
Tags: , ,

Part 1
For study of Daniel 11, I’m looking at John MacArthur’s sermons “The Reign of Rebellion” (parts 1 and part 2).

This chapter gives a detailed prophecy about events that took place a few hundred years after Daniel, followed by events yet to occur at the end. The overall theme continues, that the chastening of Israel is going to continue until the time of the restoration, until the time when Messiah comes in His kingdom, and this (Daniel’s time) was only the beginning.

The details of the prophecy, especially verses 2 through 35, are amazingly accurate, and historically verifiable, such that its contents are the cause of all the criticisms of the book of Daniel. Lost man recognizes the accuracy of the prophecy, but cannot allow for God or miracles, and thus must conclude that Daniel wasn’t really a prophet but lived hundreds of years later, that the words must have been written after the events occurred. As MacArthur notes, they have two problems: a god who doesn’t know the future, and a man like Daniel, of impeccable character and highly esteemed as one of the most honorable men that ever lived, made into a first-rate liar.

One common “hook” running through the passage, a way to remember it all, is that all the kings’ names begin with the letter “A”: Ahasuerus (also called Xerxes) of Persia , Alexander the Great, Antiochus the Great, Antiochus Epiphanes, and antichrist.

Regarding the first king, there were actually more than four kings in Persia, but the angel picks out the key right here: there were three who ruled just before a fourth, and that fourth one was the one that led a major attack on Greece. The first three kings were Cambyses (son of Cyrus, king in Daniel’s time), a man named pseudo-Smerdis (an impostor who had great physical resemblance to Cambyses), and Darius Hystaspes. The fourth king, Xerxes or Ahasuerus, was the truly great king, the one mentioned in book of Esther, who had great wealth and commanded the largest army of ancient times.

About 150 years after Xerxes’ great battle against Greece, the Greeks finally got their act together, and Alexander came forth, as noted in Daniel 11:3. After Alexander died, his kingdom was parceled out to four rulers, two of whom had significance for Israel: the Ptolemaic line in Egypt (the kings of the south), and the Seleucid dynasty of Syria (the kings of the north), with Israel the pawn in the power struggles that continued for centuries.

Verse 10 introduces the third king, Antiochus the Great. The next several verses describe with astonishing accuracy the events of the king of the south (Ptolemies) and the king of the north (Seleucid). The fourth king, Antiochus Epiphanes, is introduced in verse 20, and again Daniel describes to the specific details the events of his reign, in the verses up until verse 35. Starting in verse 35, Daniel describes future events which do not fit with known history. Yet since we have the record of history for the previous verses, we can trust God that the future verses will also take place, as precisely as the previous events did.

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