1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of Daniel, The Kings Prior To the Little Horn, Daniel 11:2-20 - Lesson 41

 

Chapter 11 of the book of Daniel is one of those passages in the Bible where I believe we have to be content with receiving an understanding of the big picture of what God is doing through the ages.

We can surmise about the details of this prophesy and try to identify all the various trees of this Bible forest or we can simply be content with seeing the forest only.

Throughout the book of Daniel God has given us a view of the forest but has kept to himself many details of the trees of the forest.

As is so in many parts of the Bible, we do not have to understand all the particulars of chapter 11 for this prophecy to be profitable to us.

God was good to Daniel in his old age and provided him with knowledge of a long history of his people that would follow Danielís day.

But, even though Daniel had fervently and faithfully prayed for the coming of the kingdom of God it was communicated to him that it was not to come in his lifetime.

God had given him the vision of the glorified Christ and the words spoken to him by the angel in chapters 10-12.

These things were revealed to Daniel to encourage him as he faced death and to assure him that his hope, was a sure hope.

This assurance continues to us as we study the scriptures.

Chapter 11 is a unique prophetical chapter of the Bible.

It is the longest uninterrupted chapter of detailed prophesy in the Old Testament and contains much prophesy not before revealed.

Other prophetical chapters of Daniel are filled with symbolism of statues, winged-lions, rams, goats and horns but the prophecy of chapter 11 contains very straightforward literal references to kings and kingdoms.

The names of the kings are not given but some of the kingdoms are named but they are not pictured as animals or statues.

The last three chapters of the book of Daniel are to be taken as a unit.

Chapter 10 of this unit is the introduction, chapter 11 is concerned with the revelation of the times relative to the 69 weeks of years which concern the nation of Israel, and chapter 12 sums up and concludes the prophecy.

The theme of Chapter 10 is of the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God.

Chapter 11 focuses on the "kings of the North and the South", while chapter 12 concerns Daniel and all of the faithful of God who will die without receiving the promise.

But there is also given to these saints the assurance of seeing the kingdom after their resurrection.

We saw last week that chapter 10 focused on the spiritual warfare in heavenly places, but chapter 11 returns to the struggle occurring between men, namely the kings of the north and the kings of the south.

It tells us that there is struggle from the time of Daniel until the time when the Lord Jesus Christ ends all of the struggle between kings.

We have been privy to the struggle in the heavens between Godís angels and Satanís angels and somehow this struggle is mirrored in the events which take place on earth and are described beforehand in chapter 11.

We are given to see in this chapter the ugliness of earthly politics, marriages for political purposes, conference making promises and commitments, with those promises ultimately failing for they were built upon lies.

How modern is this especially when it comes to the middle east!

But the glorious fact we are to take from these chapters is that in spite of human motivation, human self-seeking and self aggrandizement, and rebellion against Godís will, in the end Godís will will be achieved, a will that has been determined before time began.

In this chapter, kings push against one another while seeking their own interests and in doing so oppose God and His people, but in the midst of it all they simply accomplish what God has purposed.

This picture of things is somewhat seen in our own homes where our children push against one another seeking their own interests but it is the duty of the Father that all ends up according to his will.

This does not always happen in our homes but it always happens in Godís home.

We also see again in this chapter that history is centered on a God called nation and a people.

It is a special nation and those things that go on in this chapter go on in relation to the nation of Israel.

There are two powers, the kings of the north and the kings of the south, who while pursuing their own sinful interests, continually have contact with the nation Israel.

The description of their activities describe a constant threat to this small area caught between these two powers.

When the "king of the North" battles with the "king of the South," he passes by Israel on his way there and back.

The same can be said for the "king of the South."

If the king is successful, he may try to gain more territory and control at Israelís expense.

If he is defeated, he may take out his wrath on Israel in retaliation for his defeat.

Israel finds herself caught in the middle of this struggle between the powers of the North and those of the South.

These events do not occur by mere chance for God is at the helm and this whole scene is carried out within the plan of God.

The battle is in the heavens but is reflected on the earth.

Israel is not only affected by the spiritual warfare in which angels are employed, she is also affected by the struggle of earthly kings, because God has purposely placed His people between these powers.

It certainly seems to be the case today where Israel continues to be the center of focus of the powers of the earth and many think that if Israel disappeared there would be peace on the earth.

As we study chapter 11 we will see that there is a clear connection between the evil king of verses 21-45 and the "little horn" of chapter 8.

Both chapters describe a king with the same characteristics.

Both start out as insignificant, both are wicked and evil, both are very powerful, proud men who glorify themselves.

Each king uses trickery and deception using peace to their advantage.

For a time both enjoy success while opposing God and His people.

Both threaten the pleasant and glorious land, while exalting and glorifying themselves.

They are both destroyers, both defile and bring on the abomination of desolation.

And both will be supernaturally defeated by the stone made without hands.

Of this we can be sure for God has so ordained it to be so.

Chapter 11 identifies a continuing struggle between kings of the north and kings of the south.

It is a struggle that continues from the death of Alexander the Great until the end of human government.

There is no information given as to the names of those kings but the emphasis is on a continuing struggle by forces with Israel as the centerpiece of those forces.

Letís read verses 2-4 of this chapter which are given to Daniel by an angel who was sent for this specific purpose.

Daniel 11:2-4,   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.  And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.  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.

The time of this revelation is in the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia.

The angel now informs Daniel that three more kings will arise in Persia, followed by a fourth.

It is by the actions of this fourth Persian king that Greece is stirred up.

The actions of this fourth Persian king are those which offended the Greeks and led ultimately to the overthrow of the Medo-Persian empire by Greece.

The angel speaks of a mighty king who arises and from history we know this to be Alexander the Great.

Great because he exercised great power but whose life was shortened and he, as all leaders eventually come to, was replaced by other men, in his case four others.

Daniel is told that these four men were not to be Alexanderís posterity, his own sons, nor would they exercise the authority which Alexander demonstrated.

We see in verse 4 Godís intervention in the course of history for his kingdom was broken and divided to others with limited power and dominion.

Satanís wish is for world domination by one of his own and he battles in high places in support of that desire, but God will not allow this to fully happen until His Son is on the throne.

Alexander had plans for world domination but Godís plans always prevail.

Daniel 11:5-20,  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.  And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the kingís 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.  But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail:  And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north.  So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land.  But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress.  And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.  And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it.  For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches.  And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall.  So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand.  But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.  He shall also set his face to enter with the strength of his whole kingdom, and upright ones with him; thus shall he do: and he shall give him the daughter of women, corrupting her: but she shall not stand on his side, neither be for him.  After this shall he turn his face unto the isles, and shall take many: but a prince for his own behalf shall cause the reproach offered by him to cease; without his own reproach he shall cause it to turn upon him.  Then he shall turn his face toward the fort of his own land: but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.  Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.

This is a place in scripture where we need a scorecard to tell the players.

Beginning with verse 5, the kings of the North and the South are introduced.

The time period is a long period and includes more kings than one king.

Kings are displaced by subsequent kings in both the north and the south.

So the struggle is long, continuing throughout the course of history, continuing until the day of Godís wrath.

The directions north and south are with reference to Israel.

The "kings of the North" are those kings who rule over the kingdom north of Israel, and the "kings of the South" are those kings who rule over the kingdom south of Israel.

Over time, the relationship between the kings of the North and the kings of the South changes.

Early on, the "king of the South" grows very powerful.

After some time, the king of the South attempts to form an alliance with the king of the North by giving him his daughter as a wife.

But this union does not bring the results he desires and eventually, these two powers end up at war.

According to verse 14 there is an uprising of many against the king of the South so the king of the North takes advantage of this and seeks to make political and military gains.

Even the best troops of the "king of the South" cannot stand up to him and are defeated.

This enables the northern king to occupy Israel, where he brings much destruction according to verse 16.

His intention is to muster all his forces and consolidate his gains.

He even has a peace proposal which he puts into effect with the aid of a woman, but this does not last.

He then turns his eye to the coastal regions, called the isles in the passage but he is turned back by an unnamed commander.

Afterwards, he stumbles and is removed.

Another takes his place and wages an attack on what is called the glory of his kingdom, perhaps Jerusalem, but he is shattered in some unexpected way (verse 20).

These "kings of the North and South" set the stage for the final sceneóthe emergence of the final "king of the North" óthe "little horn" of chapter 8.

Daniel 11:21-45,  And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.  And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.  And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people.  He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathersí fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.  And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him.  Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain.  And both these kingsí hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.  Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land.  At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.   For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.  And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.  And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. 33And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.  Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.  And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.  And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.  But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.  Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.  And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.  He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.  He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.  But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.  But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.