Prophecies of Daniel 11, Part 9
As we continue through the eleventh chapter of Daniel, we find that we are on our way to discovering more about a very detestable person. As noted in our previous installment – Part 8 of this series – this man turns out to be Antiochus Epiphanes IV. There is a great deal to this man who wound up sending shock waves throughout the Jewish community in Jerusalem and bringing about the Maccabean Revolt. He was evil enough that the angelic messenger speaking to Daniel referred to this future person as “despicable.”
In Part 8, we covered Daniel 11:21-23, so we’ll pick it up from that point with Daniel 11:24.
“In a time of tranquility he will enter the richest parts of the realm, and he will accomplish what his fathers never did, nor his ancestors; he will distribute plunder, booty and possessions among them, and he will devise his schemes against strongholds, but only for a time.”
This verse is a continuation of the narrative established by the angelic messenger to Daniel. The “he” used here is referring directly back to what came before it. In this case, the text has most recently been referring to a “detestable” (v. 21) person known in history as Antiochus Epiphanes IV. He was considered despicable due to the way he ultimately treated the Jewish people and for what he did to the Jewish temple itself, which we will get to later.
For the above verse, we can refer to 1 Macc. 3:30, which shows us the type of man Antiochus was in his heart. Though he pillaged the treasures throughout the realm over which he controlled, he did not necessarily add those treasures to his collection solely to enrich himself. He took those treasures because he wanted to use them as bribes or “gifts” to others in high and powerful positions.
“He feared that he might not have such funds as he had before for his expenses and for the gifts which he used to give more lavishly than preceding kings,” (1 Macc. 3:30).
Most people today who chase after wealth do so because they simply want to be rich. They also understand that having wealth usually means having power, depending upon how much wealth one can acquire. Not so with Antiochus. Though he certainly appreciated the fact that wealth gives one power and influence, he understood that it is in the using of that wealth to “buy” favors from others that real power comes into play. Wealth to Antiochus was merely a tool that he tried to use to gain more power and influence.
Notice Daniel 11:24 tells us point-blank how Antiochus would use his plunder and wealth. Again, be reminded that the angelic messenger is telling Daniel what would occur in Daniel’s future so none of this had yet taken place, though it would come to that. When Antiochus Epiphanes IV came onto the scene, this is exactly what he did as verified in writings like 1 Macc. 3:30 and elsewhere. Antiochus was extremely crafty and likely so because he was so self-centered and intelligent, Satan was able to use him in such a way as to unintentionally show us how he would use the coming Antichrist, the final man of sin. Note also verse 24 establishes a determined length of time for Antiochus Epiphanes IV. The text says “but only for a time.” God has final approval for all the schemes of men and demons. While Antiochus was allowed a certain measure of free rein, it came to an end in God’s time.
“He will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South with a large army; so the king of the South will mobilize an extremely large and mighty army for war; but he will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him,” (Daniel 11:25)
Here, we read about the king of the South again. The use of the pronoun “he” is again referring to same man as was mentioned starting in Daniel 11:20 – Antiochus Epiphanes IV. Because of his political assets accrued through buying of favors from others in powerful positions, Antiochus felt strong enough to attack Ptolemy VI, the individual who was now the king of the South.
Antiochus’ attack against Ptolemy VI occurred in 170 BC, according to historical records. He managed to get as close to Egypt as the Nile Delta before the Egyptians realized Antiochus was coming for a fight. Notice the text states, “but he will not stand.” The “he” here is referencing the king of the South (Ptolemy VI), which is the first antecedent. Once Ptolemy realized what was happening, he “mobilize[d] an extremely large and mighty army for war,” but in the end he would be defeated. How? The last part of v. 25 tells us. It says, “schemes will be devised against him.”
Again, we are reminded of just how deceitful Antiochus Epiphanes IV was in life. He used people to his advantage. He was kind to them or warmhearted only when he felt they could be useful to him and his pretense that portrayed him as friendly and sincere simply covered the fact that his mission was to deceive completely. This should remind us of Satan himself, of whom, Paul states, “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light,” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
People who live to deceive are merely imitating Satan’s character whether they know it or not. Most of us at one time have been the “beneficiaries” of such deceptive practices and it never feels good, does it? It’s what the best con men are made of, with their ability to have absolutely no concern for others to the point that they will deceive them out of house or home and then move onto the next victim.
In this way, while Antiochus Epiphanes IV was very good at deceiving, the Antichrist will be extremely good at it as we learn from Daniel 9:27 where it tells us that he will broker a covenant with “the many” (Israel’s leaders) for one “week” (seven years), but will break the covenant in the middle of that same “week.” This is referencing the final seven years of human history prior to the return of Jesus as Judge and King to this earth. Never before in all the world will one individual have such an ability to deceive, but we see that to some extent in Antiochus Epiphanes IV.
To finish up this section (before we get into verse 28 showing how Antiochus became know for his “abomination that desolates”), let’s conclude this installment with verses 26 – 27 of Daniel 11.
“Those who eat his choice food will destroy him, and his army will overflow, but many will fall down slain. 27 As for both kings, their hearts will be intent on evil, and they will speak lies to each other at the same table; but it will not succeed, for the end is still to come at the appointed time.”
The first use of “him” is referring to Ptolemy as continued from verse 25. The verse is telling us that those who actually sat down with Ptolemy and ate the great food he set before his guests will be the ones who plotted to overthrow him. Can you imagine having a feast at your own home with invited guests and you place your best food before them to enjoy? What would you think if it turned out that those guests whom you treated very well turned out to be plotting behind your back to destroy you? This is what happened here to Ptolemy and eventually, his army was destroyed.
It is likely this occurred because Antiochus Epiphanes IV purchased “favors” or simply bought people outright (cf. Daniel 11:25). Has much changed in the thousands of years that have passed since the angelic messenger first shared this knowledge with Daniel? Not really. This is the way many people still do things.
Notice in verse 27 above, it tells us that both of the kings – the king of the South and the king of the North – were “intent on evil, and they speak lies to each other at the same table…” That must have been some conversation! You’ve got two kings lying to each other because it seems apparent that neither trusted the other. What Ptolemy possibly had not realized is that many others who sat with him at his own table had been turned against him.
I am absolutely enthralled with the very last phrase of verse 27, which states, “but it will not succeed, for the end is still to come at the appointed time”! These two kings had their own plans and each king wanted and expected his plans to come to fruition. Ultimately though, it was God who determined how things would work out. The verse says “the end [will] come at the appointed time.” Who appointed it? God.
God is sovereign. He rules. Man rules only by God’s choosing, but in allowing man to rule, God never abdicates His ultimate rule. We’ll pick up starting with verse 28 in our next installment.
Entry filed under: israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology. Tags: antiochus epiphanes iv, king of the north, king of the south, ptolemy VI.