The Prophecy of Daniel
Lesson Number 32
TRANSLATION LEGEND: ASV=American Standard Version (1901), BBE=Bible in Basic English (1949), DRA=Douay-Rheims (1899), ESV=English Stand
Version (2001), KJV=King James Version (1611), NKJV=New King James Version (1982), NAB=New American Bible, NASB=New American Standard
Bible (1977), NAU=New American Standard Bible (1995), NIB=New International Bible, NIV=New International Version (1984), NJB=New Jerusalem
Bible, NLT=New Living Translation, NRSV=New Revised Standard Version (1989), RSV=Revised Standard Version (1952), TNK=JPS Tanakj (1985),
YLT-Young’s Literal Translation (1862).
THE FUTURE IS UNFOLDED TO DANIEL, #1
“ 11:1 Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him. 2 And
now will I show thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth
shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the
realm of Grecia. 3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do
according to his will. 4 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. 5 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. 6 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.” KJV
he angel has told Daniel he is going to show him what is written in “the Book of Truth”
NIV – the tablets of heaven upon which the destiny of men and nations has been written.
These are Divine determinations, not what God saw would take place independently of
Him. The “Book of Truth,” or “Scripture of Truth,” does not suggest that God
determines everything that is done among men. Those who declare such things tend to relieve
men of responsibility for their own actions. However, this is never the approach of the Holy
Spirit. In fact, if every single facet and deed of life was predetermined by God, there
would be no purpose for the day of judgment.
THERE ARE DIVINE DETERMINATIONS
There are things, however, that God has determined – and they are written in “the
writing of truth,” NASB or “Scripture of truth.” NKJV These are determinations that flow out from
His “eternal purpose, which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord,” a “purpose” that was
formed “before the world began” (Eph 3:11; 2 Tim 1:9). None of these determinations have been
made independently of this purpose or the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a major
milestone in life when one becomes aware of this. Life does not revolve around individuals,
groups of individuals, nations, or objectives determined by men.
Already this very point has been emphasized in the book of Daniel. There is a sort of
blueprint that is driving history – a Divine blueprint. Ultimately, God has purposed that “in the
dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in
Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; in Him” (Eph 1:10). The word
“dispensation” means an administration, or economy. The emphasis of the word is
management or oversight. The angel is not revealing things to Daniel that are simply going
to happen. Rather, this is a revelation of God’s management of time, and the events
that occur in it. Prophecy does not flow from mere foresight, but from Divine purpose and
Sovereignty. This is critical to an understanding of Scripture. When speaking of God’s
foreknowledge we are told, “Known to God from eternity are all His works” NASB (Acts 15:18).
Of course, He does know all the works of men as well. However, they are not the subjects of
prophecy, which would make God more of a prognosticator than the One who “rules over the
nations” NKJB (Psa 22:28).
Four times Daniel was told of things that had been “determined.”
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the
transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to
bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the
most Holy.” (Dan 9:24)
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the
people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end
thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week
he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of
abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined
shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Dan 9:27)
“And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself
above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper
till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.” (Dan
There are other specific determinations revealed in Scripture.
God “determined” the destruction of king Amaziah (2 Chron 25:25-26).
Job confessed that man’s days are “determined,” and that bounds have been “appointed” to
him (Job 14:5).
God “determined” a destruction in Israel that would not be total, but would leave a remnant
(Isa 10:23; 28:22).
The Lord decreed that Judah would be a terror unto Egypt because of the counsel He had
“determined” against it (Isa 19:17).
The vicarious death of Christ was “determined” by God, not men (Lk 22:22; Acts 4:28).
God “determined” the times set for “every nation of men,” and “the exact places where they
should live” NIV (Acts 17:26).
The people of God must zealously seek to be freed from the notion that the world and its
nations are operating on their own. There is no such thing as a will – any will – that can
successfully function independently of God. A significant amount of fear, doubt, and
anxiety occur because men forget “The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world,
and they that dwell therein” (Psa 24:1). When “the kings of the earth” conspire against the
God of heaven, and think to free themselves from His restrains, He laughs at them (Psa 2:2-4).
These kings are no threat to God, but He is “terrible” to them(Psa 76:12). Now, in this day of
salvation, Jesus Christ is the “King of kings” (1 Tim 6:15). Before that, they were still under
heaven’s rule, whether they realized it or not, for “God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings”
(Dan 2:47). God raises up kings and removes them, and none can “stay His hand, or say unto
Him, ‘What doest Thou?’” (Dan 2:21; 4:35).
Thus, when we hear of the rise of despots, we are to understand they are under the strict
control of God. If they reek havoc like Nebuchadnezzar, they will go no further than God has
determined. If they seek to thwart His purpose like Pharaoh, Sennacherib, or Herod, they will
be thrown down. The saints of God must trust Him in the matter of the kings and governments
of this world. The “Scriptures of Truth” are the template for history, not the
ambitions of men.
THE CENTRALITY OF THE JEWS
The Jews are central in this whole prophecy. Daniel has fervently prayed the Lord forgive,
“for Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name” (9:19). Daniel had set himself to pray for
this people, even though they had sinned against God miserably, and were chastened for it. A
messenger has been sent from heaven to declare what will befall “thy people in the latter days”
Moses declared that when God separated “the sons of Adam,” dividing them into nations,
and placing them throughout the earth, He did so with Israel in mind. “When the Most High
divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds
of the people according to the number of the children of Israel” (Deut 32:8).
Because this is such a central matter in the Prophets, I want to share some of the promises
God has made to the Jewish people. These have not been made because of their exemplary
conduct or faithfulness to Him. Rather, they are “beloved for the father’s sakes,” Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob (Rom 11:28). These things are shared because “For the gifts and calling of God
are without repentance” (Rom 11:29).
“Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and
assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land
of Israel. And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things
thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. And I will give them one heart, and
I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will
give them an heart of flesh; that they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances,
and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” (Ezek 11:17-20)
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away
the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit
within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do
them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people,
and I will be your God.” (Ezek 36:26-28)
“If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall
cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be
measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the
seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.” (Jer 31:36-37)
“Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a
full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee,
but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.” (Jer 46:28)
“For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations
whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee
in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.” (Jer 30:11)
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise
in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the
Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of
Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto
them, when I shall take away their sins” (Rom 11:26-27).
THE KINGDOM TAKEN FROM THEM
On this point, there is a great deal of controversy within the church. It is frequently
taught that all of the promises made to Israel have been voided for them, and transferred to the
Gentiles. Some of this reasoning is based upon our Lord’s words concerning the kingdom being
taken from them. “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and
given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Matt 21:43).
This was, indeed, a declaration of the loss of Jewish prominence, when the highest place
would be taken from them and given to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus. It equates to
Jerusalem being “trodden under foot of the Gentiles” (Lk 21:24), and “some of the branches”
being “broken off” (Rom 11:17). Elsewhere it is referred to as Israel falling (Rom 11:11), being
“cast away”(Rom 11:15), God “sparing not the natural branches”(Rom 11:21), and being
Not A Permanent Condition
However, Jesus gave no indication that this was to be a permanent condition. It was a
most severe judgment, to be sure, but the door of hope was not closed, nor were His promises
to them voided. This is substantiated in several ways.
Jerusalem will be stomped under the feet of the Gentiles “UNTIL the times of the Gentiles
be fulfilled” (Matt 21:24).
Their house is left desolate “UNTIL the time come when [they] shall say, ‘Blessed is He that
cometh in the name of the Lord” (Lk 13:35).
Blindness has happened to them “IN PART” (Rom 11:25).
“SOME of the branches” were broken off, but the tree itself remains (Rom 11:17).
The glow of hope is found in the expression, “And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief,
shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again” (Rom 11:23).
It is more reasonable for them to be grafted into their own tree, than that the Gentiles were
grafted into it (Rom 11:24).
Partial blindness has happened to them “UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles be come in”
God’s covenant to them is to “take away their sins” (Rom 11:27).
Israel has not stumbled, “so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their
transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious” (Rom 11:11).
The purpose of Paul’s Apostleship to the Gentiles was actually to provoke the Jews to
jealousy, in fulfillment of Moses’ prophecy (Deut 32:21; Rom 10:19; 11:13-14).
I have taken the time to say these things because an understanding of them is critical to
our text. Daniel loved and prayed for Israel. God declared plans for Israel. Michael was assigned
as their prince. Holy angels, according to Divine mandate, worked in their behalf. They are
beloved for the father’s sakes. Now an angel comes to tell Daniel “what shall befall thy people
in the later days.”
THE FIRST YEAR OF DARIUS THE MEDE
“ 11:1 Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and
to strengthen him.”
This verse is a continuation of the eleventh chapter, The messenger from heaven is still
speaking with Daniel.
We will now be taken behind the scenes – given to behold heavenly activities that impacted
directly upon earthly events. The angel will do precisely what he said – make known to Daniel
what had been written in the book of Divine destiny, “the Scriptures of Truth.”
This has relevance to the Messiah, in whose hand this “book” now resides. In the vision
he received on Patmos, John saw this book – “the Scriptures of truth.” He first saw it as a book
with writing within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. A challenge rang throughout
heaven, asking if one could be found who was worthy to unseal the book and reveal its contents.
None could be found (Rev 5:1-3). It was at this point that a heavenly personality stepped forward
and announced that “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” had prevailed, and was thus able to “open
the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” (Rev 5:5).
There are some similarities in the experiences of Daniel and John. Both were especially
beloved, and were thus given insights into things to come. The insights given to them were
preceded by warfare involving someone from heaven. With Daniel, it was a holy angel engaged
in war with the “prince of Persia.” With John, the warfare was between the Lord’s Christ and
the hosts of darkness, whom He utterly defeated. In both cases, the book was the same, even
though the segments of it that were revealed differed.
From these things we learn something about the complexities involved in truth being
made known to the sons of men. There are forces that seek to thwart heavenly messages being
brought to men – and they are too strong for men. Being “taught by God” (John 6:45; 1 Thess
4:9), receiving “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Eph 1:17), and being given
“understanding” (1 John 5:20), are not to taken for granted. Neither, indeed, are they the result
of some automated process, or the fruit of mere human inquiry.
Whatever can be concluded or deciphered independently of Divine
involvement cannot be of significant consequence. Such knowledge brings no lasting
advantages to those who are identified with the God of heaven. In my judgment, it is exceedingly
difficult to justify the current religious emphasis upon the wisdom of men – the wisdom of this
world. The average American Christian is regularly exposed to a haberdashery of religious fare
that is too close to the world. It is like a garment spotted by the flesh. Many of the issues with
which pulpiteers and leaders deal are not Scriptural issues. They do not require expertise in the
Word of God, acquaintance with the Lord Himself, or strong faith and hope.
It will be apparent that none of these circumstances are found in our text. Daniel was
wholly reliant upon the God of heaven for an understanding of what would take place, and why
it would occur – even though heaven had already brought him considerable information about
it. No amount of Babylonian wisdom could assist him in grasping what the angel was bringing
THE FIRST YEAR
“Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede . . . ”
The “I” of this text is not Daniel, but the angel who is speaking with him.
The identity of this angel is not certain. Some believe it is Gabriel, who was introduced
in the eighth chapter (8:16). He later came to Daniel while he was praying (9:21). Others are
persuaded it is Michael, who was an angelic “prince” of Israel (10:21). Still others see this as a
unique angel whom Michael came to help in order that he might deliver this present revelation
(Dan 10:13). I am inclined to the latter view, although I do not see it as a critical matter.
Daniel has already recounted something that he experienced in “the first year of Darius
the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes.” It was at that time that Daniel “understood by
books the number of the years” of the Babylonian captivity, that they were about to be fulfilled.”
Those “books” were not secular history, or the record of human prognostications. They were the
prophecies of “Jeremiah the prophet,” who was inspired to write what the God of heaven was
to “accomplish” (Dan 9:1-2). It is then that Daniel set his “face unto the Lord God, to seek by
prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes” (Dan 9:3).
Now, we will find that simultaneous with Daniel engaging in protracted and
fervent prayer, an angel from heaven became active in the reign of Darius. This was
not coincidence. We have here a coordination of activities between a messenger from heaven and
a prophet upon earth. The prophet is praying while the angel is intervening in the affairs of men.
Here is an example of angelic interaction with the God of heaven working together with “the
prayers of the saints” (Rev 8:3-4). We are not able to know with certainty the fulness of the
association of the prayers of Daniel with the activities of this angel. However, I am persuaded
it is more profound than we are presently able to discern.
The primary thing to see here is that the angel is testifying to Daniel of his own activities
during the first year of Darius. It was at that time that a significant change took place in
Daniel’s perception and conduct. The angel is confirming to Daniel that the prophet was brought
into involvement with the working of God. His prayers were working hand-in-hand with the
powers of heaven.
TO CONFIRM AND TO STRENGTHEN
“ . . . even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.” Other versions read, “I arose to be
an encouragement and a protection for him,” NASB “I took my stand to support and protect him,”
NIV “I stood up to support and strengthen him,” NRSV “I was on his side to make his position safe
and make him strong.” BBE
The New Living Translation represents the angel as standing to help Michael the prince:
“I have been standing beside Michael as his support and defense since the first year of the reign
of Darius the Mede.” The commentator Benson also holds to this view, saying “from the time that
Daniel addressed those ardent prayers to God about the affairs of his people, mentioned in chap. 9., which was in the first year
of Darius, from that very time HE (namely, the angel Gabriel) had strenuously co-operated with Michael, in working the
deliverance of the Jewish nation.” While there may be an element of truth to Gabriel and Michael
working together, that it not the point of this text. This, to me, is a foolish absurdity, for this
very angel has declared that Michael helped him (Dan 10:13). To imagine that a subordinate
angel supports and defends an angelic prince, or principality, calls for our thoughts to stretch
beyond the line of spiritually sound thought.
The one advantaged by this angel was “Darius the Mede,” not Michael the prince. He is
the one the angel stood up, or exercised an initiative, to support and protect. All of this does
relate to the Jews, for they were the subject of Daniel’s prayers (9:19-20). They were also the
subject of angelic revelation (9:24; 10:14).
From these considerations, together with the opposition of “the prince of
Persia,” we conclude there was a Satanic initiative against the Jews. We do not know
the extent of the knowledge of the “powers of darkness,” but they had apparently become aware
of the imminent conclusion of the Babylonian captivity. That captivity ended in 536 B.C., twenty
years before the Temple rebuilding was completed (516 B.C.). In the years that followed the first
year of Darius, a number of initiatives against the Jews are recorded.
537 B.C. Daniel was thrown into lion’s den (Dan 6:1-28).
535 B.C. The Samaritans interfere with the rebuilding of the Temple (Ezra 4:1-5).
529 B.C. Letters of accusation against the Jews are sent to the Persian king Ahasuerus
(Cyrus’ son Cambyses) (Ezra 4:6-16).
529 B.C. The command is given to stop the temple building project (Ezra 4:17-22).
528-521 B.C. The Temple project is suspended for seven years (Ezra 4:23-24).
521 B.C. Heathen governors send letters questioning whether the rebuilding of the Temple
was really commanded by Cyrus (Ezra 5:5-17).
474 B.C. Haman initiates a plot to kill all the Jews in the realm (Esther 3:1-6).
474 B.C. Letters are sent throughout the realm “to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish,
all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day”(Esther 3:12-15).
444. B.C. Sanballot, Tobiah, and Geshem ridicule Nehemiah’s plans to rebuild Jerusalem’s
wall (Neh 2:19-20).
444 B.C. Sanballot becomes indignant at the building of the walls of the holy city, and spoke
to his brethren and the army of Samaria against the work (Neh 4:1-2).
444 B.C. Tobiah joins in the mockery, saying a fox would be able to break down their stone
wall (Neh 4:3).
444 B.C. A conspiracy is formed against the building of the wall, involving Sanballot, Tobiah,
the Arabians, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, to fight against the builders (Neh 4:7-9).
444 B.C. Sanballot, Tobiah, and Geshem seek to draw the builders away from the wall into
the plans of Ono (Neh 6:1-17).
These are only the recorded oppositions that followed “the first year of Darius.” They all
occurred even though this angel had stood up to encourage and strengthen Darius. This
indicates the vehemence of the opposition initiated by “the prince of Persia” against the Jews.
All of these efforts were a reflection upon earth of an initiative launched by “spiritual;
wickedness in high places,” and “the rulers of the darkness of this world” (Eph 6:12).
The Angel Stood
This angel engaged in an initiative to fortify the reign of Darius, particularly regarding
the Jews. The result of his action was extended favor toward the Jews, in order that they might
be sustained, and not wiped out by the influence of “the prince of Persia.”
The Angel and the Will of God
It must be remembered that angels are dispatched from the throne of God. They do not
operate on their own, but “do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word” (Psa
103:20). In the interest of His people, God had sent ab angel to fortify Darius in his favor toward
the Jews. That is why Daniel was elevated a place of political prominence (Dan 6:2). That is why
Darius published a world-wide proclamation to “all people, nations, and languages, that dwell
in the earth.” In this decree, Darius proclaimed “the God of Daniel,” saying “He is the living
God, and steadfast for ever, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and His
dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and He worketh signs and
wonders in heaven and in earth” (Dan 6:16-27).
Here is an excellent example of one of the ways God fulfills these marvelous promises –
Divine commitments to bless His people.
“The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry.” (Psa
“Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: He preserveth the souls of His saints; He delivereth them
out of the hand of the wicked.” (Psa 97:10)
“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.”
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are
the called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have:
for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The
Lord is my Helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” (Heb 13:6)
These texts, and more, show us the magnitude of what has been revealed in Christ Jesus:
“Are they [the holy angels] not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall
be heirs of salvation?” (Heb 1:14). The ministration of these obedient spirits is not always
directly to us. Sometimes, as in the text before us, they are sent to bolster those who are inclined
toward us. Other times they are sent forth to subdue our enemies, as shown in the overthrow
the hosts of Sennacherib (2 Kgs 19:35). Sometimes they lead us, as they did Israel through the
wilderness Ex 32:34). Whether we are aware of them or not, these angels are working for the
saints, ministering to the heirs of salvation.
If God moved among men in favor of the fleshly seed of Abraham, how much more will He
do so in regard for those who are in Christ Jesus, and are Jews inwardly, and whose circumcision
is of the heart, and not the flesh (Rom 2:29)? Now, Jesus is governing the world with a regard
to bring many sons to glory (Heb 2:10). He has been made the Head over all principality and
power “for the church” (Eph 1:22-23). He shall “put down all principality and power,” and bring
all of the children of God to glory, blameless and in joy (1 Cor 15:24; Jude 1:24-25).
I WILL SHOW THEE THE TRUTH
“ 2a And now will I show thee the truth.” Other versions read, “And now I will make
clear to you what is true,” BBE and “Now then, I will reveal the truth to you.” NLT
SHOWING THE TRUTH
The angel had said he had come to tell him what was written in “the Scriptures of
TRUTH,” and now he will do precisely that. He will not merely tell Daniel what is going to
happen, but what has been determined by God, for that alone is “the truth.” The “truth” of
which he speaks is the outward manifestation of the decrees of Almighty God. It is how Divine
purpose is played out, as it was, among the sons of men.
The reason for the disclosure of these events is to assure Daniel that the government
belongs to the Lord, and that He is at the helm of history, directing the affairs of men in the
strict interest of His people. That is why the angel told Daniel, “Now I am come to make thee
understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days” (10:14).
To “show” the truth is to make it apparent to Daniel’s understanding, or make it clear to
him. This is necessary because the things God has decreed are not apparent to the sons of men.
If He does not make them known, there is no possible way men can come to any
understanding of them.
Thus it is written, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man
which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1
Cor 2:11). While this text has particular reference to the things God has “prepared for them that
love Him” (2:9), the principle applies to anything God has determined. What God has purposed,
whether it immediately relates to the Jews, the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, or the
governments of this world, is secret until God makes it known. Even when His
determinations are wrought out among men, they are not able to confidently and
insightfully relate them to the God of heaven until He makes that association
through revelation. Until that time, His purposes are, as it was, sealed in the “Book of
Here we are dealing with a loftier form of thought than is normal among those professing
identity with God. There is an unfortunate tendency with the church to limit their thinking to
the realm of obligation: i.e., what is the will of God for my life? Let it be clear, it is imperative
that such things be known, and considerable has been revealed about what God expects of all
men in general, and His people in particular. However, there are higher domains of thought than
this – terrains that shed light on human duty, and enable us to fufill those duties with joy and
These loftier realms have to do with Divine determinations – what the Lord has purposed.
In summary, these things are God’s “eternal purpose,” particularly revealed in Jesus Christ.
Now, the angel is going to reveal some of the details of that purpose, particular as
they relate to the Jews. If this is considered to be irrelevant to salvation, let the words of our
blessed Lord be remembered: “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). The extent of this
statement is made known through Paul: “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption,
and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the
promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who
is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” (Rom 9:4-5).
If Jesus is, in fact, “the Truth” (John 14:6), and if He alone is able to unlock the mysteries
of Divine intent (Rev 5:2-9), then no truth has ever been stated that is independent of
Him. Every articulation of truth intersects with the Lamb of God and His great salvation.
Because of this, truth always relates to the saints, whether it is spoken to Abraham
in Ur of the Chaldees, on Mount Sinai, or by an angel to Daniel. Although the
relationship of truth to believers is not always clearly seen, yet the relationship does exist,
making “all Scripture” profitable to us (2 Tim 3:16-17).
For this reason, we must take great care not to limit our perspective of Scripture to
history, culture, customs, and the likes. Those will often be present in the Word of God,
but they are always on the periphery, and never at the center. We may observe the
outworking of Divine purpose in history, and do so with some profit. But ultimately our
thoughts must be brought back to the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. That is where we
obtain proper focus.
THREE KINGS, AND THE FOURTH
“ 2b Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall
be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up
all against the realm of Grecia.”
Once again, the significance of the kingdoms of Persia and Greece are being made known.
They were revealed in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the multi-metaled statue. Heaven
revealed to Daniel that they would be destroyed with all other kingdoms, by the Kingdom
of God (Dan 2:32-45).
Again, these same two kingdoms were included in Daniel’s vision of the four beasts that rose
out of the sea. In that instance, heaven made known to Daniel that each of them would be
supplanted by another government (7:3-17). The glorified Christ was introduced at this time,
together with the Divine determination to ultimately give the kingdom to the saints (7:9-10,
13-14, 18, 22, 25).
In an even more focused revelation, the same kingdoms were the subject of Daniel’s vision
of the ram and the he goat. In that vision, the ruthlessness with which Persian would be
overthrown was accented (8:3-27). In this revelation, Daniel was told of the impact of these
kingdoms upon the Jews (8:12-14,24). The Messiah Himself was also introduced (8:25).
The same kingdoms were then the subject of exposition by a holy angel who revealed that
a fierce battle in the high places accounted for the displacement of the Persian empire by
that of Greece (10:12-13, 20-21). Once again, the Jewish people come into the picture (10:14,
Now, a heavenly messenger puts a spiritual magnifying glass on the same two kingdoms,
showing in remarkable detail how Divine determinations will be worked out among the sons
of men. Once again, Israel is an integral part of the message. The “glorious land” is
mentioned (v 16, 41), together with the sanctuary and the daily sacrifice (v 31).
It should be apparent to us that the kingdoms of Persia and Greece played a
significant role in the coming of Christ into the world. That role was a preparatory one,
and not a central one. Yet, it was worthy of some elaboration, and thus the angel begins to open
up how God worked things together for the good of His people.
YET, THREE KINGS IN PERSIA
“Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia . . . ” Other versions read, “three
more kings will arise in Persia,” NKJV “three more kings are going to arise in Persia,” NASB and
“three more kings will appear in Persia.” NIV
The point of the prophecy is not a strict chronology of all of the kings of Persia. Rather,
the angel is accounting for the initiative of Greece against Persia, wherein that kingdom was
cast down. In the high places, the shift of power was the result of a conflict between holy angels
and the “prince of Persia” (10:20). Now the impact of that battle upon the earth will be opened
The time for which the angel is accounting begins with “the first year of Darius the Mede”
(11:1). From that time, three more kings would arise before anything significant would happen
within Divine purpose. That is, the kingdom of Persia would remain in power without any
significant opposition. The three kings that followed are:
Cyrus, who reigned alone after Darius the Mede. With Cyrus, special political favor was
shown to the Jews. He is the king God used to initiate the rebuilding of the Temple (2 Chron
Artaxasta, or Artaxerxes, who was called Cambyses by the Greeks. This king is mentioned
in Scripture by the name “Ahasuerus.” He is the one to whom accusations were written
against the Jews. Those accusations eventually led to an edict that stopped the rebuilding
of the Temple for seven years (Ezra 4:6-24). His significance is seen in his interface with the
Ahasuerus, whom married Esther, and was called “Darius Hystaspis,” or “Darius son of
Hystaspes.” He was also brought into Scriptural prominence because of the favor he showed
toward the Jews (Esther 2-3).
Historically, there was another Persian king names Smerdis. This king was a usurper, who
pretended to be the son of Cyrus the Great, who was murdered by his own brother, Cambyses.
Of this usurper history says, “Smerdis . . . was later successfully impersonated by Gaumata, a Magian, who was able
to seize the throne when Cambyses died in 522 BC. The usurper reigned for only eight months, however, before he was slain
by Darius and other Persian nobles suspicious of his origin.” BRITANNICA 2003 He is omitted from the listing because
of this circumstance.
Referring to their historical names, the three kings of reference are, therefore, Cyrus,
Cambyses, and Darius son of Hystaspes. In Scripture they are known as Cyrus, Ahasuerus I, and
Ahasuerus II. The success of their kingdoms is owing to angelic opposition to the “prince of
Peresia,” who was set against the Jews. His purposes, however, were thwarted, and the Jews
found favor during the reign of these three kings.
Some choose to reckon the time from the revelation itself, which took place in the “third
year of Cyrus king of Persia” (10:1). If this view is taken, the three kings would include the
usurper, and would thus be Cambyses, Smerdis, and Darius Hystaspis, also called Darius son
I do not consider this conflict to be significant, for the point is not the three kings, but the
fourth one. In either method of reckoning, the fourth king would be the same.
THE FOURTH KING
“ . . . and the fourth shall be far richer than they all . . . ” Other versions read, “a fourth
will gain far more riches than all of them,” NASB and “the fourth will have much greater wealth
than all of them.” BBE
It is generally understood that Xerxes is “the fourth king.” The decline of the Persian
empire began with this king, who was rash and filled with pride.
This fourth king – Xerxes – inherited the vast wealth of the Persian rulers before him.
Concerning Cyrus alone, the Lord said, “And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and
hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy
name, am the God of Israel” (Isa 45:3). Cyrus’ son, Cambyses, increased that wealth. Of him
“Universal History” records, “On his return from Thebes, in Egypt, he caused all the temples in that city to be pillaged
and burned to the ground. But he saved from the flames gold to the amount of three hundred talents, and silver to the amount
of two thousand and five hundred talents. He is also said to have carried away the famous circle of gold that encompassed the
tomb of king Ozymandias, being three hundred and sixty-five cubits in circumference, on which were represented all the motions
of the several constellations.” Universal History, iv. 140
Xerxes also inherited the vast wealth of his father Darius, who was renown for his
taxation. Herotus says of his, “The sum of tribute under Darius was fourteen thousand five hundred and sixty talents.
Besides this sum received from regular taxation, Herodotus enumerates a great amount of gold and silver, and other valuable
things, which Darius was accustomed to receive annually from the Ethiopians, from the people of Colchis, from the Arabians,
and from India.” BARNES
All this vast wealth was inherited by Xerxes, the son and successor of Darius, and the
“fourth king” to which our text refers.
There were more than four kings in Persia. The following is a listing from history.
Cyrus — 536
Cambyses — 529
Pseudo-Smerdis — 522
Darius Hystaspis — 521
Xerxes I. — 485
Artaxerxes I. (Longimanus) — 464
Xerxes II. — 425
Sogdianus — 425
Darius Nothus — 424
Artaxerxes II. (Mnemon) — 405
Artaxerxes III.. — 359
Darius Codomannus — 336
The third is omitted by the angel because he was an imposter. The others are of no
significance in the Divine economy, and thus are not mentioned. It is the manner of God’s Word
not to bother us with details relating to those who do not intersect with the purposes of God.
STIRRING UP ALL AGAINST GRECIA
“ . . . and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of
Grecia.” Other versions read, “as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse
the whole empire against the realm of Greece,” NASB and “When he has gained power by his
wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece.” NIV
This is something for which Xerxes was especially noted – stirring up the empire against
Greece. Remember, Daniel had been repeatedly told that the kingdom of Greece would replace
the kingdom of Persia – no less than five times. Two of them have been by inference,
declaring the sequence of kingdoms (2:39; 7:5-6). Three of them have specifically stated referred
to Persia and Greece (8:3-7, 20-21; 10:20). Now we are being provided with some of the details
related to that overthrow.
Britannica Encyclopedia says the following of this king. “born 519 BC, died 465, Persepolis. Old
Persian Khshayarsha, byname Xerxes The Great Persian king (486–465 BC), the son and successor of Darius I. He is best known
for his massive invasion of Greece from across the Hellespont (480 BC), a campaign marked by the battles of Thermopylae,
Salamis, and Plataea. His ultimate defeat spelled the beginning of the decline of the Achaemenid Empire.” BRITANNICA 2003
Of his attack of the Grecian empire, Britannica reads as follows. “There has been much later
speculation on the real causes for the expedition. They could not have been economic, because Greece was not important then.
Perhaps it was only the manifestation of a royal absolutism: Xerxes, whose character was later distorted in Greek legend, was
neither foolish nor overly optimistic; although sensible and intelligent, he was nevertheless, according to G. Glotz, ‘a sovereign
by divine right, to whom opposition was as annoying as sacrilege . . . nervous in temperament, fallen from youthful fire into
indolence, incited to make a war he didn't like. . . . ’ At the head of his armies, he left Sardis for the Hellespont and had two boat
bridges placed across the strait. A storm destroyed them, and Xerxes had the sea whipped as punishment. With the bridges
remade, for seven days he oversaw the crossing of the army—5,000,000 men according to Herodotus and 360,000 by modern
estimate, supported by 700 to 800 ships. Their passage was facilitated by a massive engineering works: a channel was dug
across the Isthmus of Actium so that the peaks of Mount Athos might be avoided. Nevertheless, the army's size was of no help,
partly because of misinformation about the enemy terrain and partly because of the appearance of a national feeling in Greece.
After a few successes (e.g., Thermopylae, mid-August 480 BC), Xerxes occupied Attica and pillaged Athens on September 21,
but on September 29, at Salamis, a naval battle that he had initiated turned into a defeat. Without a fleet to bring supplies to
the army, he had to retreat; he crossed over into Asia, leaving Mardonius in Thessaly. During an indecisive battle near Plataea,
on Aug. 27, 479, Mardonius was killed, and his death obliged the army of occupation to withdraw. Hostilities continued for 13
years, but thenceforth Xerxes involved himself only slightly.” BRITANNICA 2003
THE REAL CAUSE
That is the historical perspective. However, the sphere of causes is not found in
history, or in the machinations of gifted and powerful leaders! The real cause
originated with the Living God, and was recorded on the tables of Divine purpose hundreds of
hears before the events occurred. The overthrow of Persia did not originate upon earth, but was
only reflected upon earth. The angel has already explained that the overthrow would occur in
high places – the domain where spiritual powers struggle.
When the time appointed for the overthrow of Persia approached, Xerxes was stirred up
against the Grecian realm. He may have imagined that the idea originated with him, but it did
not. He was brought into the Divine agenda, all the while thinking the whole thing was a
product of his own thinking. And, indeed, he did make plans and instituted initiatives against
Greece. From the higher perspective, however, he fulfilled the inspired statement, “The lot is
cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD” (Prov 16:33). Other versions
read, “A thing may be put to the decision of chance, but it comes about through the Lord,” BBE
The rather vulgar NLT translation reads, “We may throw the dice, but the LORD determines
how they fall.”
Daniel is writing around the year 537 B.C. Xerxes moved against the Grecians around 480
B.C. BRITANNICA 2003 The Persian empire began to erode from that time, finally being overthrown
by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C., nearly one hundred ands fifty years after Xerxes set his eyes
upon Greece. Thus, Daniel is told of the coming of Xerxes and his ambitions against Greece at
least fifty-seven years before they took place.
All of this has an immediate bearing on this time. As I write this lesson (3/2003), a military
initiative is taking place in Iraq, which was a province in ancient Persia, becoming known as Iraq
in the seventh century. It is presently one of the world’s “leading oil producers.” BRITANNICA 2003
In the conflict that is shaping up, Israel also, plays a prominent part.
In my judgment, these events have been preceded by a great struggle in high places. A
shift of power is going to take place, much like that of in our text.
Without being drawn into premature conclusions, it is enough that the people of God be
bold, and not allow themselves to be pulled into the vortex of fear. The Lord is still the Governor
of the nations, and He is ruling to fulfill His purpose, and give the ultimate advantage to His
people. If appearances seem to contract these things, we simply have not seen things properly.
Instead of being caught up in politics, let us engage principalities and powers, the rulers
of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places. This is the conflict into
which we have been inducted by faith (Eph 6:12). Let us be diligent to so live as to obtain
spiritual power in this conflict.
A MIGHTY KING SHALL STAND UP
“ 3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and
do according to his will.”
Once again, the angel is covering the same material already revealed to Daniel – yet this
is not mere redundancy. The introduction of the coming Messiah into the world required this
explanation. The struggles put before us were not mere political activities. They were the efforts
of Satan’s powers to thwart the coming of the “Seed” Abraham. Since the devil is not
omniscient, and could not precisely trace the lineage of Jesus, he focused his attention upon the
people of Israel. From his perspective, the Babylonian captivity was an effort to obliterate a
nation. However, from heaven’s vantage point, it was the chastening of His people, designed to
awaken them from their spiritual slumber and commitment to idols.
Now, working through “the prince of Persia,” the adversary is again seeking to overthrow
the ancient people. And, indeed, from the standpoint of appearance, it may appear that things
are going his way. But they are not. Remember, what is being revealed relates to Daniel’s people.
An explanation is provided that will cause faith to flourish and confident hope to dominate.
A MIGHTY KING
“And a mighty king . . . ”
This is another reference to Alexander the Great, through whom the Persian empire was
brought to an end. Our text does not mean he would arise immediately after Xerxes. Rather,
what Xerxes did in coming against the Grecian Empire was requited or avenged by
Alexander. The conflict started by Xerxes introduced friction between these empires. When
Alexander arose, therefore, he was more prone to move against Persia.
Here, Alexander is called “a mighty king.” Earlier in Daniel he is referred to as a leopard
with wings on its back, that moved swiftly across the world (7:6). He was also depicted as the
notable horn between the eyes of a conquering he-goat (8:4-7). Now he is seen as “a mighty
SHALL STAND UP
“ . . . shall stand up . . . ” Other versions read, “shall arise,” NKJV “will appear,” NIV and
“come to power.” BBE
The idea here is that Alexander ultimately stood up against the kings of Persia.
Remember, in the high places, a holy angel was joined by Michael the prince to fight against “the
prince of Persia.” What we are here reading is the effect of that battle upon earth.
When the spiritual principality called “the prince of Grecia” came into power (10:20), he worked
through Alexander the Great to achieve the political overthrow of Persia, which had lost its
dominion because the “prince of Persia” had been cast down. While history calls attention to
Alexander himself, the angel has told Daniel of the spiritual power behind Alexander.
Alexander was “born in 356 BC at Pella in Macedonia, the son of Philip II and Olympias (daughter of King
Neoptolemus of Epirus). From age 13 to 16 he was taught by Aristotle, who inspired him with an interest in philosophy, medicine,
and scientific investigation; but he was later to advance beyond his teacher's narrow precept that non-Greeks should be treated
“Left in charge of Macedonia in 340 B.C. during Philip's attack on Byzantium, Alexander defeated the Maedi, a Thracian
people; two years later he commanded the left wing at the Battle of Chaeronea, in which Philip defeated the allied Greek states,
and displayed personal courage in breaking the Sacred Band of Thebes. A year later Philip divorced Olympias; and, after a quarrel
at a feast held to celebrate his father's new marriage, Alexander and his mother fled to Epirus, and Alexander later went to Illyria.
Shortly afterward, father and son were reconciled and Alexander returned; but his position as heir was jeopardized.
In 336, however, on Philip's assassination, Alexander, acclaimed by the army, succeeded without opposition. He at once
executed the princes of Lyncestis, alleged to be behind Philip's murder, along with all possible rivals and the whole of the faction
opposed to him. He then marched south, recovered a wavering Thessaly, and at an assembly of the Greek League at Corinth was
appointed generalissimo for the forthcoming invasion of Asia, already planned and initiated by Philip. Returning to Macedonia
by way of Delphi (where the Pythian priestess acclaimed him “invincible”), he advanced into Thrace in spring 335 and, after
forcing the Shipka Pass and crushing the Triballi, crossed the Danube to disperse the Getae; turning west, he then defeated and
shattered a coalition of Illyrians who had invaded Macedonia. Meanwhile, a rumor of his death had precipitated a revolt of
Theban democrats; other Greek states favored Thebes, and the Athenians, urged on by Demosthenes, voted help. In 14 days
Alexander marched 240 miles from Pelion (near modern Korçë, Albania) in Illyria to Thebes. When the Thebans refused to
surrender, he made an entry and razed their city to the ground, sparing only temples and Pindar's house; 6,000 were killed and
all survivors sold into slavery. The other Greek states were cowed by this severity, and Alexander could afford to treat Athens
leniently. Macedonian garrisons were left in Corinth, Chalcis, and the Cadmea (the citadel of Thebes).” BRITANNICA 2003
The angel of God, declaring in advance that whole series of events simply said,
“A mighty king shall stand up.” That is how heaven accounts for his sudden rise to
prominence. He was not a “mighty king” by name only, but by accomplishment. In turn, that
was true because the spiritual power behind Grecia came into prominence – and that was only
because the spiritual power behind Persia had been overcome by holy angels. Had these two
events not taken place – the casting down of the “prince of Persia,” and the coming into
prominence of “the prince of Grecia” – Alexander would never have been “great.”
“ . . . that shall rule with great dominion . . . ” Other versions read, “he will rule with great
authority,” NASB “he shall rule with great power,” DOUAY “and he shall be the lord of a great
empire,” Septuagint “and govern a vast empire,” NJB and “will rule a vast kingdom.” NLT
Prior to this, it was said of the Grecian kingdom, “and dominion was given to it” (7:6).
Again, it was said of Alexander that Grecia was like a one horned he-goat that “waxed very
great” (8:8). Of Alexander himself it is said, “And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the
great horn that is between his eyes is the first king” (Dan 8:21).
Of the expansion of his dominion history says, “In winter 334–333 Alexander conquered western Asia
Minor, subduing the hill tribes of Lycia and Pisidia; and in spring 333 he advanced along the coastal road to Perga, passing the
cliffs of Mt. Climax . . . From Gordium he pushed on to Ancyra (modern Ankara) and thence south through Cappadocia and the
Cilician Gates (modern Külek BoHazi); a fever held him up for a time in Cilicia . . . Darius was astride his line of communications
at Issus, north of Alexander's position (autumn 333). Turning, Alexander found Darius drawn up along the Pinarus River. In the
battle that followed, Alexander won a decisive victory . . . From Issus Alexander marched south into Syria and Phoenicia, his
object being to isolate the Persian fleet from its bases and so to destroy it as an effective fighting force . . . His conquest of
Egypt had completed his control of the whole eastern Mediterranean coast . . . Alexander now occupied Babylon, city and
province; Mazaeus, who surrendered it, was confirmed as satrap in conjunction with a Macedonian troop commander, and quite
exceptionally was granted the right to coin. As in Egypt, the local priesthood was encouraged. Susa, the capital, also
surrendered, releasing huge treasures amounting to 50,000 gold talents; here . . . In spring 330 Alexander marched north into
Media and occupied its capital Ecbatana . . . In Aria he reduced Satibarzanes, who had offered submission only to revolt, and
he founded Alexandria of the Arians (modern Her(t) . . . From Phrada, Alexander pressed on during the winter of 330–329 up
the valley of the Helmand River, through Arachosia, and over the mountains past the site of modern K(bul into the country of
the Paropamisadae, where he founded Alexandria by the Caucasus . . . Alexander, marching west to Bactra-Zariaspa (modern
Balkh [Wazirabad] in Afghanistan), appointed loyal satraps in Bactria and Aria. Crossing the Oxus, he sent his general Ptolemy
in pursuit of Bessus, who had meanwhile been overthrown by the Sogdian Spitamenes. . . From Maracanda (modern Samarkand)
Alexander advanced by way of Cyropolis to the Jaxartes (modern Syrdarya), the boundary of the Persian Empire. There he broke
the opposition of the Scythian nomads by his use of catapults and, after defeating them in a battle on the north bank of the river,
pursued them into the interior. On the site of modern Leninabad (Khojent) on the Jaxartes, he founded a city, Alexandria Eschate,
“the farthest.” . . . It took Alexander until the autumn of 328 to crush the most determined opponent he encountered in his . .
. In June Alexander fought his last great battle on the left bank of the Hydaspes. He founded two cities there, Alexandria Nicaea
(to celebrate his victory) and Bucephala (named after his horse Bucephalus, which died there); and Porus became his ally . . . In
the winter of 324 Alexander carried out a savage punitive expedition against the Cossaeans in the hills of Luristan.”
Of that impressive summation, the angelic messenger simply says, “a mighty
king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion.” That is certainly not how an
historian would say it. In fact, volumes have been written that simply state the exploits of
Alexander without many embellishing comments. But the Holy Spirit wraps up the entire period
of Alexander’s expanding kingdomwith six words: “and shall rule with great dominion.” It is
obvious, therefore, that Alexander’s rule was not the primary rule, and his kingdom was not the
DO ACCORDING TO HIS WILL
“ . . . and do according to his will.” Other versions read, “and do as he pleases,” NASB “and
take action as he pleases,” NRSV and “accomplish everything he sets out to do.” NLT
This kind of power is not said of many earthly potentates. It was said of Nebuchadnezzar:
“And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared
before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he
would he set up; and whom he would he put down” (Dan 5:19).
Once again, this was not owing to any power on Alexander’s part. Rather, he was released
to do his own will much like Satan was allowed to do his will in his assault against Job. He could
not go beyond the boundaries determined by God. When his purpose had been fulfilled, he was
HIS KINGDOM SHALL BE BROKEN AND DIVIDED
“ 4 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
The angel continues to speak of Alexander the Great and the Grecian kingdom. If one
wonders why there is such repetition, it must be remembered that for Daniel this was all in the
future. Further, he was living in the peak of Persian power. It no doubt was difficult to visualize
that great empire being overthrown with seeming ease. Of course, it would not be an easy
overthrow at all. Already an angel has flown to him from heaven, announcing that the battle to
overthrow Persia had begun in the high places. It would be nearly two hundred years before that
overthrow was accomplished. Only then could it be formalized upon the earth.
HIS KINGDOM SHALL BE BROKEN
“And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken . . . ” Other versions read, “as
soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up,” NASB “after he has appeared, his empire
will be broken up,” NIV “while still rising in power, his kingdom shall be broken,” NRSV and “and
when he shall come to his height, his kingdom shall be broken.” DOUAY
This same truth was stated in the vision of the ram and the he-goat. There it was said of
Alexander, “when he was strong, the great horn was broken” (8:8), and “And the rough goat
is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Now that
being broken” (8:22a).
The exercise of Divine Sovereignty or power is seen here. At the zenith of his power, when
all should have been going well for Alexander, he was brought down – “removed” by the God of
heaven (Dan 2:21).
Here is how history records the breaking of Alexander’s kingdom, or the breaking of the
“notable horn.” “Suddenly, in Babylon, while busy with plans to improve the irrigation of the Euphrates and to settle the
coast of the Persian Gulf, Alexander was taken ill after a prolonged banquet and drinking bout; 10 days later, on June 13, 323,
he died in his 33rd year; he had reigned for 12 years and eight months.” BRITANNICA 2003
But Alexander’s reign was not really cut short by a sudden illness. He was “broken off”
by the God of heaven, having served his purpose. While he reigned, he did what he willed. In
breaking him off, God did what He willed.
The Significance of His Reign
Alexander, the “notable horn” and “mighty king” helped to pave the way for the Gospel.
An unprecedented degree of interplay between the nations came into existence with him. There
was also the matter of commonality in language that he introduced. This allowed for the
spreading of the Gospel. This is highlighted by history’s record of him. “His career led to the moving of
the great centers of civilization eastward and initiated the new age of the Greek territorial monarchies; it spread Hellenism in
a vast colonizing wave throughout the Middle East and created, if not politically at least economically and culturally, a single
world stretching from Gibraltar to the Punjab, open to trade and social intercourse and with a considerable overlay of common
civilization and the Greek koinAas a lingua franca. It is not untrue to say that the Roman Empire, the spread of Christianity
as a world religion, and the long centuries of Byzantium were all in some degree the fruits of Alexander's
achievement.” BRITANNICA 2003 Of course, this was the Lord’s doing, not Alexander’s, and “it is
marvelous in our eyes” (Psa 118:23).
DIVIDED TO THE FOUR WINDS
“ . . . and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor
according to his dominion which he ruled . . . ”
Following Alexander’s death, his kingdom did not pass to any designated heir, for he had
no time to appoint anyone to take his place, as others rulers did. Therefore, the kingdom did not
pass “to his posterity,” as with other kings. Nor, indeed, was the kingdom governed as it was
during his solitary reign. It was not “according to his dominion which he ruled.” A different kind
of government followed his death.
The kingdom was divided into four sections, with a different ruler over each one. From
the earthly perspective, Seleucus took charge of Syria. Antigonus became the chief officer of
Asia Minor. Cassander took the kingdom of Macedon for himself. Ptolemy took possession of
Egypt. None of them ever attained to the political stature of Alexander – “nor according to the dominion
which he ruled.” The kingdom did not maintain the same level of power it had when Alexander ruled.
However, what really happened was that God “parceled out” NASB/NIV the kingdom to these
four men, dividing it to whoever He desired. Thus, as Daniel had been told before, the kingdom
was allowed to continue, but in a reduced state of power: i.e., “prolonged for a season and a time” (7:12).
This same division was seen in the depiction of Greece as a four-headed leopard (7:6).
Exactly the same point is made in the vision of the ram and the he-goat. Following the breaking
of the “notable horn,” it is written, “whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up
out of the nation, but not in his power.” (8:22).
PLUCKED UP FOR OTHERS
“ . . . for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.” The “those” of
this verse refers to supposed posterity of Alexander. His kingdom was not taken from him to be
kept in his family. Instead, God took it from him and gave it to four other men of his
own choosing, without any choice being made by Alexander. See the Lord ruling “in the
midst” of His enemies (Psa 110:2). The children of God have every reason to be confident and
filled with hope! Their earthly circumstances may be troubling, but their future is secure in
Christ, and the hand of the Lord is upon them.
Thus we again see the fulfillment of God’s Word: “the most High ruleth in the kingdom
of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men” (Dan
4:17). And again, “the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he
will” (Dan 4:25). And again, “the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to
whomsoever he will” (Dan 4:32). As the Psalmist well said, “For promotion cometh neither from
the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and
setteth up another” (Psa 75:6-7).
THE KING OF THE SOUTH
“ 5 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
Here the angel leaves an emphasis of the Grecian empire as a whole, focusing on two parts
of the Grecian empire – the kingdom of the South and the kingdom of the North. The directions
“South” and “North” are in relation to, as it is frequently called, “the land of Israel” (1 Sam
13:18; 2 Kgs 5:2; Ezek 7:2; Matt 2:20). The kingdom to the North is Syria, and the kingdom to
the South is Egypt. At the division of the kingdom, Seleucus ruled over of Syria, and Ptolemy
had charge of Egypt. It is evident that the events associated with these kingdoms will impact more
directly upon Israel, Daniel’s “people.”
I am going to take the liberty of providing the dynasties for these two kingdoms. You will see the
Spirit only comments on the relevant ones.
THE PTOLEMIES (Egypt)
323 Ptolemy Soter, son of Ptolemy Lagus, governor of Egypt.
306 Ptolemy takes the title of king of Egypt.
284 Ptolemy Philadelphus. (It was under him that the Septuagint Testament was made.)
246 Ptolemy Euergetes.
221 Ptolemy Philopator.
204 Ptolemy Epiphanes.
180 Ptolemy Philometor.
THE SELEUCIDAE (Syria)
323 Seleucus Nicator, governor of Babylon.
312 Seleucus recovers Babylon, and the era of the Seleucidae begins.
280 Antiochus Soter.
261 Antiochus Theus.
246 Seleucus Callinicus.
226 Seleucus Ceraunus.
225 Antiochus the Great.
187 Seleucus Philopator.
175 Antiochus Epiphanes.
164 Antiochus Eupator, of whom the Romans assume the guardianship.
These two nations frequently warred with each other, seeking for dominion over the holy
land, which was between them. Of them Matthew Henry writes, “Ptolemy, soon after he gained Egypt,
invaded Judea, and took Jerusalem on a Sabbath, pretending a friendly visit. Seleucus also gave disturbance to Judea.”
Although Alexander’s kingdom was divided into four kingdoms, the angel now
focuses on only two of them. They are singled out because “the glorious land” became a
point of contention between them. Remember, the angel is speaking with Daniel about “what
shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days” (Dan 10:14).
THE KING OF THE SOUTH
“ 5 And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes . . .” Other versions
read, “Also the king of the South shall become strong, as well as one of his princes,” NKJV and
“along with one of his princes.” NASB
The “king of the South” is Ptolemy, who ruled over Egypt Lybia, Cyrene, Ethiopia,
Arabia, Phoenicia, Coelesyria, Cyprus, and several isles in the Aegean sea, and many cities in
Greece. He was “strong” in that he expanded his kingdom.
The phrase “one of his princes” does not refer to one of Ptolemy’s princes, but one of the
princes that was under Alexander. This is Seleucus, who was “the king of the North,” who is the
subject of the next verse.
First, here were matters that would begin taking place at least 214 years after this
message is being delivered to Daniel. So far as Daniel’s personal life iks concerned, some might
surmise they had no relevance to him. However, the angel is not viewing Daniel in that manner.
Rather, Daniel is seen as a member of the offspring of Abraham, to whom the promises were
made. What is more, he has demonstrated a fervent interest in the people of God, praying for
them to be forgiven, and to again stand in the favor of God. This concern has brought him into
fellowship with God, who also regarded these people as “the apple of His eye” (Deut 32:10; Lam
2:18; Zech 2:8). Therefore, the Lord is sharing the future He has determined for this people.
Second, the Lord is selective about the people whose future he discloses. Even though
there were four Divinely imposed division of the Grecian empire, God now speaks of only two
of them. It is as though He is moving Greece under a magnifying glass, and showing Daniel
matters regarding only a segment of its domain, and two of its rulers.
Here again we see the matter of heavenly focus. If ever a person is going to learn
from God, a deliverance from the mundane and from generalities must be experienced. These
are sisters of distraction who lead many deluded souls into the realm of unprofitability and
vulnerability. The more a person deals with the mundane, everyday routines, of life,
the more spiritual power and insight is forfeited. The same ensues when one gets caught
up in endless generalities that never yield refreshing insights.
STRONG WITH A GREAT DOMINION
“ . . . and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great
dominion.” Other versions read, “and he shall gain power over him,” NKJV and “who gain
ascendency over him.” NASB
This is Seleucus, who ruled over Macedonia, Greece, Thrace, Asia, Syria, Babylonia,
Media, Susiana, Armenia, a part of Cappadocia, and Cilicia and all the eastern countries. These
extended as far as India, from Taurus to the river Indus, and from Taurus to the Aegean sea.
The remainder of this chapter will deal with these two kings and their successors.
It is my persuasion that the Lord is confirming to Daniel that He will remember His
people in the future, after Daniel has been gathered unto His people.
Over and over, God is affirming His rule over the affairs of men. He did it during the
reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and now Cyrus. It seems to me that this is a
truth that is most difficult to grasp. In fact, only faith can take hold of it. Circumstance seems
to contradict it. The kings of the earth are not afraid to lift themselves up against the people of
God, having no fear of God before their eyes. To the carnal mind, this appears to indicate Divine
abandonment, or a sign of a lack of God’s interest in the affairs of His people – particularly if
they have been less than true and faithful.
The prevalence of this kind of thinking is revealed in the level of despair that exists
among professed believers. Responses such as anger toward the Lord, doubt that He loves His
people, and fear about the future reveal the need for confirming the Lord does, in fact, “care”
for His people (1 Pet 5:7). Even when great atrocities break out against the people of God, those
atrocities have been greatly subdued.
Heaven never allows Satan to do all that he desires to do. Even as this passage will
confirm, the devices of the powers of darkness, particularly as reflected in political machinations,
are held in check by the Living God.
IN THE END OF YEARS
“ 6 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.”
This is one of the unique passages of Scripture that deals with very practical political
matters. They are so remarkably detailed, that some have been tempted to either discard them
as meaningless, or transfer to them mystical explanations that better suit their own personal
agendas. However, there is room for passages of this sort in our thinking.
Take, for example, the manner in which many approach the subjects of the end of the
world, the coming of Christ, and other eschatological events. The amount of preaching and
literature that majors on fearful governments and difficult times is remarkable. Multitudes of
people have been taught in such a way as to make them more fearful of receiving “the mark of
the beast” than of standing before the judgment seat of Christ. Others are more shaken by
thoughts of a great tribulation than they are of being cast into the lack of fire. Still others quake
at the idea of one world government, as though that is the ultimate curse.
This sort of thinking does not issue from faith, and ignores certain comforting
affirmations of Scripture.
“The heavens do rule” (Dan 4:26)
“For the kingdom is the LORD'S: and he is the governor among the nations.” (Psa 22:28)
“For God is the King of all the earth” (Psa 47:7)
“Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the
majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O
LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.” (1 Chr 29:11)
“Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, I am the
LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth
abroad the earth by myself; that frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners
mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish” (Isa 44:25)
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful,
who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation
also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor 10:13)
Daniel has already heard of the oppression of his people. He has lived through the
invasion of Nebuchadnezzar and the destruction of Jerusalem. He has witnessed his colleagues,
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, being thrown into a furnace of fire. He himself has been cast
into a den of lions. He has heard of a coming initiative against “the pleasant land” (8:9). He has
heard of some of the “host of heaven” being cast down (8:10). He has been told of the daily
sacrifice being taken away, the place of the sanctuary cast down, and truth being cast down to
the ground (8:11-12).
None of these things has caused Daniel to be dominated by fear, or to pray for escape from
what is coming. That simply is not how faith moves a person to respond to such revelations.
Rather than running to hide, he has knelt to pray. He has given himself to prayer, contrition of
heart, and fasting – asking the Lord to forgive His people and show them mercy.
God has not revealed these things to him to induce fear and trembling, or even to weight
his heart down with sorrow. Rather, he is assuring Daniel of the uninterrupted care He has for
His people. They may pass through fire and waster, but it will not mean their demise. As it is
written, “For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a
full end” (Jer 4:27). And again, “Nevertheless in those days, saith the LORD, I will not make a
full end with you” (Jer 5:18). And again, “For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee:
though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full
end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished”
What kind of reasoning has led professed believers to speak of coming
calamities in such a way as to provoke fear, rash speech, and foolish conclusions?
We do well to learn from this passage that such responses bring no glory to God, and they
certainly bring no advantages to His people.
THE END OF YEARS
“And in the end of years . . . ” Other versions read, “at the end of some years,” NKJV “after
some years,” NASB “after the course of years,” DARBY and “and after his years.” Septuagint
Note, the phrase does not say “in the end of THE years.” This is not referring to the end
of time itself, but to the period of time marking the close of the two kingdoms under
consideration – Syria and Egypt. This is referring to the kingdoms in general, and the final kings
of them. Daniel has already been told the Grecian Empire will be supplanted by a greater
kingdom. In Nebuchadnezzar’s vision, that overcoming kingdom was described as legs, and feet
and toes of iron mixed with iron and clay (2:33). In the vision of the four beasts, the Persian
dynasty would be replaced by a ruthless “fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong
exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the
residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had
ten horns” (7:7).
The words before us refer to the closing days of the Persian empire, with a focus on the
kingdoms of Egypt and Syria. Even in the closing days, they are under the strict
superintendence of the mighty God. Even though they engage in a hearty effort to be united,
they will not be able to lengthen their days.
JOINING THEMSELVES TOGETHER
“ . . . they shall join themselves together . . . ” Other versions read, “they shall join
forces,” NKJV “they will form an alliance,” NASB “they will become allies,” NIV “they shall join
affinity,” DARBY “they shall be in a league together,” DOUAY and “they shall conclude a treaty.” NJB
The two kings of reference are Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, and successor to
Ptolemy and Antiochus Theus, king of Syria and second successor of Seleucus . These two kings
engaged in an effort to unite their kingdoms. The means through which this was sought is now
a matter of historical record. The precision of the prophecy given to Daniel is so remarkably
detailed that it startles the flesh. Yet, faith leaps for joy when the hand of God is seen in such
THE KING’S DAUGHTER OF THE SOUTH
“ . . . for the king's daughter of the south . . . ” Other versions read, “the daughter of the
king of the South.” NKJV/NASB/NIV
The “daughter of the South” is the daughter of the king of Egypt, whom I have identified
as Ptolemy Philadelphus, successor to Ptolemy. The shrewdness of the attempt to unite the two
kingdoms will become very evident.
THE KING OF THE NORTH TO MAKE AN AGREEMENT
“shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement . . . ” Other versions read, “to
carry out a peaceful arrangement,” NASB “to make an alliance,” NIV and “to ratify the agreement.”
The meaning of the text is not that she went to negotiate peace, like an emissary or
envoy. History confirms that the king of Egypt gave his daughter to the king of Syria in an
attempt to solidify an alliance between the two kingdoms.
“Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy II Philadelphus and Arsinoe I of Egypt. She was married to the Seleucid ruler Antiochus
II Theos, supplanting his first wife, Laodice, whose children she persuaded him to bar from the succession to the throne in favor
of her own.” BRITANNICA 2003
The “alliance,” then was a matrimonial one, as was often practiced among ancient rulers.
The compact was, according to history, was that Antiochus Theos should divorce his wife and half-sister Laodice,
and disinherit her children, and bequeath the throne to any future child of Berenice, who would thus unite the empires of the
Ptolemies and the Seleucidae. THE EXPOSITOR’S BIBLE
Jerome said of this passage, “this was Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy Philadelphus king of Egypt, who carried
her to Pelusium, and from thence sailed with her to Seleucia in Syria; where he met with Antiochus king of Syria, to whom he
gave her in marriage, with a vast dowry of gold and silver; hence
she was called ]fernoforov; and the marriage was celebrated with great solemnity” Ibid p 196 & Jerome in loc.
I share these various quotations to confirm the unanimity among Bible students
concerning the meaning of this passage.
POWER NOT RETAINED, SHE SHALL BE GIVEN UP
The Power of the Arm
“ . . . but she shall not retain the power of the arm; Other versions read, “she shall not
retain the power of her authority,” NKJV “she will not retain the position of her power,” NASB and
“but she will, lose her influence over him.” NLT
That is, she was not able to unite th two kingdoms. She could not even keep her husband,
for history confirms that the plan fell to the ground. “Laodice, however, persuaded Antiochus to come to
Ephesus (in Asia Minor), where he died in 246, perhaps a victim of her intrigues. The former queen then ordered her partisans
to kill Berenice and her children, who had taken refuge at Daphne, near Antioch, in Syria. Aroused by the murder, Ptolemy III
Euergetes, Berenice's brother, launched a successful war (the Third Syrian War) against Laodice and her son, Seleucus II.”
“ . . . neither shall he stand, nor his arm, but she shall be given up . . .” The meaning
here is that the offspring of Berenice and Antiochus did not succeed in being in the royal line,
and his mother was slain as well. The whole plan failed miserably.
“ . . . and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in
Other versions read, “she will be given up, along with those who brought her in, and the
one who sired her, as well as he who supported her in those times,” NASB and “In those days she
will be handed over, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported
Here there was an utter overthrow of those who had no heart for the people of God. Their
alliance would bring no good to the Jews, to be sure, and thus it was thwarted – thoroughly and
decisively. Berenice herself was “uprooted, with those who were the cause of her coming, and
her son, and he who took her in those times.” BBE The entire faction perished, thus bringing an
end to the shrewd plan. The purposes of the wicked are ultimately thrown down.
The historical precision of this prophecy is most remarkable in its details. Remember, these
things actually took place in what is called the inter-testamental period – between Malachi and
Matthew. This was a period of approximately four hundred years in which there was no known
prophet, and no Scripture was written. Yet, even during that time of imposed Divine silence,
there were Satanic initiatives against the people of God. Great struggles would take place in high
places to eliminate the children of Abraham, but they would fail. God would still work in the
behalf of His people.
Those who lived during the period of reference would have the book of Daniel to interpret
what was taking place. This would fuel their faith, and enable them to anticipate the coming
Messiah with confident expectation.
Faith in God is always justified, and those who believe will not be ashamed, disappointed,
or confounded. When we behold disheartening things taking place, and the rise and fall of
nations, we have every reason to trust the Lord. He still cares for His own. Let none of us be
moved to fear because the things that may be coming upon the earth. God is “for” those who
believe, and if He is for us, “who can be against us?” No set-back we endure will be