Prophecies of Daniel 11, Part 3

July 30, 2015 at 1:47 PM 1 comment

Bust of Ptolemy I Soter (323-285 B.C.)

Bust of Ptolemy I Soter (323-285 B.C.)

In our last article – the second part of this series – we managed to get through Daniel 11:5. It’s that verse that tells us about the “king of the south” and from this and historical information, we know that Ptolemy I Soter was that very king. We also pointed out that when the Bible speaks of kings who are in the north or south, it is using Israel/Jerusalem as the central point from which everything else is noted. In other words, because God considers Israel/Jerusalem to be the center of this world (cf. Ezekiel 5:5), the king of the south would be nearly due south from Israel/Jerusalem just as the king of the north would essentially be due north of Israel/Jerusalem. This would make the king of the north connected to the Syrian dynasty. We’ll get to him shortly.

As also noted in our last article, Ptolemy I Soter is important not only because he was one of Alexander the Great’s most powerful generals, but also because Antiochus Epiphanes IV is connected with this grouping of four generals who took over portions of the Grecian Empire upon Alexander’s untimely death. Antiochus is seen by Scripture as a type of Antichrist because of what he did in 168 BC with reference to the Jewish Temple and the Jews themselves. Antiochus’ actions directly caused the Maccabean Revolt as recorded in the apocryphal books I and II Maccabees. We’ll get to that eventually in this study as well.

The apostle Paul points out that the ultimate “man of sin” (the Antichrist referenced in 2 Thessalonians 2), will essentially repeat what was done by Antiochus during the middle portion of the coming Tribulation. Sections of Daniel also compare Antiochus Epiphanes IV with the coming Antichrist and we’ll include some of that in this set of articles too. But for now, let’s pick it up again at Daniel 11:5 and move on from there.

“5 Then the king of the South will grow strong, along with one of his princes who will gain ascendancy over him and obtain dominion; his domain will be a great dominion indeed.”

Please note the Bible predicted (long before it occurred), that Ptolemy I Soter would “grow strong” and he did just that. It’s also important to note that one of his princes would also grow strong and “gain ascendancy over him and obtain dominion.” The “over him” is referring back to the first antecedent, Ptolemy I Soter. In other words, this prince would become greater than Ptolemy I if we measure sizes of empires.

Historians tell us that this particular prince was another of Alexander’s generals, Seleucus I Nicator (312-281 B.C.). He ruled Babylon in 321 BC, but by 316 BC, he came under attack from Antigonus, who was yet another one of Alexander’s generals. Because of this attack, Seleucus submitted himself to Ptolemy I for support. Ptolemy responded with military force against Antigonus. This allowed Seleucus to become the ruler over – according to Constable – “all of Babylonia, Media, and Syria, a territory much larger than Ptolemy’s. He assumed the title ‘king’ in 305 B.C., and was ‘the king of the North’ referred to in this verse. His dynasty lasted until 64 B.C.

KingsofNorthSouthI hope you’re following me. I love history but I realize that many do not. I’ve included a chart from Dr. Thomas Constable’s “Notes on Daniel” to help you, which will hopefully make it easier to appreciate all that has transpired so far. Even then, it can be a bit complex. So once Alexander the Great died, his top generals divided up the empire. However, that didn’t stop other generals and wannabes from trying to ascend their own throne by attempting to conquer the generals who already controlled parts of the Grecian Empire.

This is the way life was in those days and in fact, not a great deal has changed. There will always be people who see themselves as great political leaders (or dictators) who want to control masses of people and gain what other leaders have for themselves. Today, a good deal of it is done in the political realm, but wars, conflicts, and rumors of wars are also used as a means to overthrow someone and change “thrones.” We’ve seen this with the ouster of Egypt’s Mubarak, Libya’s Qaddafi, and many others. It would seem to be a constantly changing horizon in the Middle East and within the areas known as “the south” or “the north” of Israel. It will be that way until the end of this age.

But let’s move on with Daniel 11:6.

“After some years they will form an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the South will come to the king of the North to carry out a peaceful arrangement. But she will not retain her position of power, nor will he remain with his power, but 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.”

This may not seem it at first glance, but it is very detailed. Let’s break it down according to information provided by historians. Things were not well in the south or north of Israel. As noted from the chart above, Ptolemy I died in 285 BC and his son Ptolemy II Philadelphus reigned from 285-246 BC. As an interesting aside, Constable tells us that “Philadelphus was friendly toward the Jews and sponsored the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek.” I find it fascinating how God brings His purposes to fruition even in the midst of the many problems that these rulers faced either because they themselves were evil or due to evil forces which sought to overthrow them. God gets things done!

The king of the North, Seleucus I, was assassinated in 281 BC. This placed his son, Antiochus I Soter (281-262 B.C.), on the throne. He died in 262 B.C. and left his son, Antiochus II, in power. So now we have Ptolemy II in the south and Antiochus II in the north. These two individuals couldn’t stand one another. In spite of this and with all the political intrigue of “Game of Thrones,” these two bitter enemies buried the hatchet (so it would seem) and found a way to create an alliance (cf. start of verse 6). They sealed this alliance with the marriage of Ptolemy II’s daughter, Berenice (remember, he’s the king of the south), to Antiochus II.

However, in order for Antiochus II to marry Berenice, he had to divorce his first wife, Laodice. As you can imagine, she was not at all happy with that particular turn of events. This is what the first part of verse six tells us. Berenice was given to Antiochus II by Ptolemy II in order to create an alliance. But notice the second sentence in verse six tells us that “she” (Berenice) will not retain her position of power. The messenger speaking to Daniel at this point says “will not” because remember, none of this had happened yet. It was still future from Daniel’s perspective.

Verse six goes onto tell us that “he” will not keep “his” power either. Who is the “he” mentioned here? You’ve heard the phrase “a woman scorned”? In this case, here is what happened. No sooner had Ptolemy II died, then Antiochus remarried his first wife, Laodice. Unfortunately, this did not settle the “debt” as far as Laodice was concerned. She had Berenice and her infant son both murdered and then poisoned her husband, Antiochus. History also tells us that Laodice ruled in Antiochus’ stead for a short while. A woman scorned…

By the way, Constable throws in a couple of side notes for us. “Laodice is the woman for whom the town of Laodicea in Asia Minor was named (Rev. 3:14; et al.). Similarly, the towns of Antioch, in Syria and in Asia Minor, received their names from this Antiochus. Antioch of Syria was the capital of Syria during the Seleucid dynasty.” I find this fascinating if for no other reason than I enjoy learning about origins.

What we need to remember is that since God is omniscient, He sees everything at once. In other words, everything for God is in His eternal present. We do not see things that way. We remember things from our past, try to live in the moment – whoops, it’s gone! – and think about the future. God sees my life, from beginning to end, as though it was all happening at the same time.

Is it any wonder God can see how everything turns out before it happens (on our timeline), then ensure that His will and purposes come to fruition? While we can’t appreciate that, we can and should marvel at it.

All of this could easily make one huge soap opera, couldn’t it? But we’re not even halfway done with the eleventh chapter of Daniel either. Stay tuned as there is plenty more to come!

Entry filed under: eternity, israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology.

Prophecies of Daniel 11, Part 2 Prophecies of Daniel 11, Part 4

1 Comment

  • 1. Prophecies of Daniel 11, Part 4 | Study - Grow - Know  |  July 31, 2015 at 11:53 AM

    […] We are moving along now in Daniel 11 and we’ve made some progress. If you just happened to come across this post and have not read the first three, I would recommend doing that before you read this one. You can find them here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. […]


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