MP3: The Mighty Angels of Daniel 11 Prophesies
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
Caught in the Crossfire
Vic Batista: I am excited to continue our study of the book of Daniel. We’ll pick it up in Daniel 11:12, marveling at the ongoing war between the Northern and Southern Greek kingdoms, a war prophesied centuries earlier by one of God’s mighty angels and given to the Prophet Daniel.
God’s messenger angel in the telling also revealed a little about the millennial-long war being waged in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6 tells us that there is indeed a battle being fought up in the heavens between God’s mighty angel and Satan’s demonic hordes. Daniel 11 describes kings and kingdoms at war, but behind these earthly wars, strings are attached to parallel heavenly battles.
So far in our incredible journey through the many detailed prophecies found in Daniel 11, we learned of the petty wars fought between Alexander the Great’s generals and their lineage. Lots of incredible, epic battles were prophesied to take place, and did so as history records. Israel ended up being caught in the middle between Egypt and Syria’s campaigns against each other. Let’s recap a bit starting from there.
Nathan Jones: God dispatched one of His mighty angel to Daniel to respond to the old prophet’s prayers for guidance about the future of the Jewish people. God’s angel became delayed because of some spiritual warfare that had swept him in, but the angel prevailed thanks to the Archangel Michael’s help, and so he finally showed up, though weeks late.
The angel wasted no time in giving Daniel the strength to stand before his brilliance in order to hear a stunning prophecy concerning events that would unfold over the next few hundred years after Daniel had passed from the scene. Daniel at that point in his life was now serving under Darius the Mede, so that places this chapter during the beginning of the Medo-Persia Empire, around 540 B.C.
The angel foretold that in the future an empire would replace the Medo-Persia Empire, which history revealed was the Greek Empire. Alexander the Great blitzkrieged through the Middle East around 330 B.C. and defeated every nation he encountered. The young warrior king ended up dying tragically at the young age of 32 on June 10 or 11, 323 B.C.
Alexander’s short-lived empire was divided up among four of his generals. The two that affected Israel the most were the Seleucids up in the north in Syria and the Ptolemies down south in Egypt. As we read through Daniel 11, God’s mighty angels provides the reader with a verse-by-verse play of some amazingly detailed prophecies concerning the warfare being waged between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies, with Israel being caught up in the middle of the fray.
Vic Batista: The power grabs attempted between the North and South produced battles that often had the side consequence of being waged against God’s people. Besides being past history, Daniel 11 also forms the future template for another series of intense prophetic battles sticking Israel yet again in the middle of modern-day Middle Eastern politics.
Nathan Jones: The prophetic information provided by the angel to Daniel covers the time period called the Intertestamental Period. This is the time period between the last book of the Old Testament — the book of Malachi — and the first book of the New Testament — Matthew. Another name for this given period is the 400 Years of Silence. During this long era God neither visited Israel nor sent any prophets or priests with new prophetic messages. The message Daniel was given in Daniel 11-12 actually became the only message God left for the Jewish people that had to last a whopping 400 years!
The Indecent Proposal
Vic Batista: Now that Daniel 11:12-13 has been recapped, we are going to move on to verse 14 in order to travel along this incredible prophetic and historical journey.
Nathan Jones: For those just entering this series, up to this point the Ptolemies in the south and the Seleucids in the north have been duking it out back and forth, back and forth, with Israel caught in the middle of this centuries long Greek civil war. So, don’t feel like you have been left behind, because basically we’ve been reading about ping-pong ball-like warfare. By this point in the narrative, the battles continue to be waged very much the same way they’ve been going on for decades, as Daniel 11 foretold. So, picking up in Daniel 11:14-16 —
“Now in those times many shall rise up against the king of the South. Also, violent men of your people shall exalt themselves in fulfillment of the vision, but they shall fall. So the king of the North shall come and build a siege mound, and take a fortified city; and the forces of the South shall not withstand him. Even his choice troops shall have no strength to resist. But he who comes against him shall do according to his own will, and no one shall stand against him. He shall stand in the Glorious Land with destruction in his power.”
By this point on the time chart, we’ve reached around 200 B.C. With the Jewish people caught in the middle of these feuding families, their loyalty wavered between the two. Do they pay loyalty to the Ptolemies in the south, or to the Seleucids in the north? What to do?
The historical fulfillment of Daniel 11:14 reveals that these violent men are the Jewish people who broke their covenant with the South in order to join the side of the North. Actually, they just wanted Israel freed from both, and so sided with the stronger in hopes of achieving that goal. And, freedom is exactly what is promised them should Israel join the North. Israel was promised to be free to self-rule. Of course, all the Middle East was all owned by the Greeks anyway, so there wasn’t really going to be any real freedom granted. At this time the power shifts between North and South and back again, but in the end, it is still the Greeks who stand to win.
At this stage in Intertestamental history, the North takes the win this time. The king the angel describes historically was fulfilled by a man named Antiochus the Great. He entered Israel as head of the Seleucid army and won the day.
Now Antiochus the Great, or Antiochus the III as he was also called, was actually welcomed by the Jews as a liberator. The Jewish people wanted to be free from Egypt’s Ptolemaic control, but that freedom came at a terrible price. Antiochus made an indecent proposal, demanding that the Jewish people adopt Hellenization, which means the pagan Greek lifestyle. In other words, the strings attached to the promise of freedom came at a high cost. The Jews could no longer practice Judaism anymore! Antiochus demanded the Jews no longer follow the Mosaic Law. The Jews weren’t to follow the Torah. He also demanded they don’t abstain from certain foods, becoming ceremonially impure, and to no longer act as representatives of Yahweh God. Basically, the Jews must transform into pagans like the Greeks in order to claim their liberation. What a price!
That transformative process at its core was Hellenization. The rich people, those nobility among the Jews at the time, gladly accepted the price of Hellenization. This marks the foundation of a group of people called the Sadducees, who Jesus frequently encountered in the New Testament Gospels.
Vic Batista: Kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall, but ideas often remain. The angel revealed a dilemma the Jews would have to contend with, one that will catapulted the Jews into long-lasting repercussions should they choose unwisely. The founding of the Sadducees proved that many of the Jewish hierarchy adopted Hellenization, thereby choosing unwisely.
Nathan Jones: Often when Daniel received an angel’s message from God, the knowledge he gained about future events was so intense that the information actually physically wiped him out. Think of what it would be like if an angel showed you the next 400 years of exactly what was going to happen to your country. You now know the future of your people, both the good and the bad. The scope of that knowledge would just blow your mind. Daniel’s mind is getting blown! So much insight into the future pours into Daniel’s limited human mind, like attempting to fill a gallon of water into a tiny thimble. The angel pours so much prophecy into Daniel that the knowing certainly must have overwhelmed him.
Vic Batista: I love Bible prophecy! So much drama. We read the stories about power-hungry individuals who are running their own political agendas during that Intertestamental time period. And, that’s not so different at all from today’s politics.
In the fifty-third segment of this series on the mighty angels of Daniel, Cleopatra betrays her father!