The Mighty Angels of Daniel 11: The Greeks Pay Up
By Nathan Jones
The Greeks Pay Up
Nathan Jones: Daniel 11:20 continues the story of what happened when Greece and Rome finally collided!
“There shall arise in his place one who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom; but within a few days he shall be destroyed, but not in anger or in battle.”
Rome had won the battle against Antiochus the Great’s aggressions and so as victors demanded war reparations. Rome insisted Syria pay them 100,000 talents of gold. What an incredible amount of money! Once payment was made, the Greek Empire could continue to exist at the leisure of the Romans, but the Syrians would have to pay Rome a ridiculous tribute. As a result, the taxes skyrocketed all across the Greek Empire in order to pay off the extortionist Romans.
Think of Rome’s bargain kind of like one the Italian Mafioso would make. Rome made an offer Greece just couldn’t refuse. This event may have even revealed the beginning of the Italian Mafia. Italy said, “We’ll let you exist, but you have to pay us dearly for it.” And that is exactly what Rome did. Rome forced the Greek Empire to pay them tribute in order to continue to exist. Of course, as history shows, Rome decades later returned to incorporate the Greek Empire into their own Roman Empire, but during this stage of the Interstamental time period, Rome still allowing Greece some wiggle room to still exist, as long as they paid up.
Vic Batista: Seems like the Mafia has been around forever, doesn’t it?
Nathan Jones: In truth, Rome’s exacting protection money. It’s a racket! The Romans were Mafiosos from the very start, it would seem. The modern-day equivalent would be like China conquering the U.S., but allowing us to live in our land and keep our county as long as we pay them “ransom” money, basically, protection money. Just like what happened to the Greeks.
Antiochus’ loss to the Romans marks the beginning of the fall of the Greek Empire. Sure, the empire was a mess due to internal divisions and infighting among its four regions. Those weaknesses would eventually weaken Greece so far that they could not withstand the growing might of the Roman Empire. As one empire fades in power and prestige, the next one grows and starts conquering all the former’s lands.
Vic Batista: The Greeks weren’t paying a fair share, were they?
Nathan Jones: Rome wasn’t demanding just regular taxes, rather, they were exacting protection money. For example, picture the Grecians earning like $10 a day, but Rome demands $8 of it. That massive burden became a major problem, and not just for the Greeks, but all the peoples Greece controlled, such as the Jews.
The massive tax the Romans doled out on Greece caused Antiochus to flee back to his homeland of Syria and plunder his own country to pay the bills. He knew he had to make payments to the Romans or they would return to destroy all of Greece. So, this defeated king plunders his own city’s temple. That would be like Congress paying off our debts to China by swiping all of our church tithing money out of the offering plates. Antiochus attempted to rob his own people’s religious institutions to pay off Rome, and the people just wouldn’t have it. And so, they ended up murdering their own king.
Vic Batista: The excitement continues in verse 21. Can we take a peek?
Nathan Jones: Daniel 11:21 starts up whole new reign in the saga. The chapter introduces a character so loathsome that even today the Jewish people talk about him — Antiochus Epiphanies IV — a per-cursor, or a type, of the Antichrist.
Saving a study of this villain for the next segment, let’s end this one by marveling how the prophecies given to Daniel were fulfilled in such detail hundreds of years after they were uttered by God’s mighty angel. Fulfilled prophecy stands strong as the ultimate proof that the Bible is indeed the very Word of God. Therefore, we can trust the Bible to tell us who God is and what His will is. We can then be assured that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, dying on the cross truly does save mankind from our sins. When we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior, asking in repentance for the forgiveness of our sins, Jesus will respond and save us.
If you do not know Jesus as your Savior, accept Him as the one and only Son of God. Pray from your heart something like, “Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Lord and Savior.” Jesus will then take the punishment for your sins upon Himself. You are forgiven and freed from your sin. You are free of God’s just punishment. You are free of the guilt. You are saved! And you can start a whole new life by walking in a loving relationship with your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In the fifty-sixth segment of this series on the mighty angels of Daniel, the drama continues to unfold!