The Mighty Angels of Daniel 11: The Overtaxed King
By Nathan Jones
The Overtaxed King
Nathan Jones: Daniel 11:18-19 prophesies the entrance of Rome into Israel’s history.
“After this he shall turn his face to the coastlands, and shall take many. But a ruler shall bring the reproach against them to an end; and with the reproach removed, he shall turn back on him. Then he shall turn his face toward the fortress of his own land; but he shall stumble and fall, and not be found.”
Remember how back in Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar was given a prophecy in a dream, and Daniel interpreted that dream? Nebuchadnezzar saw a giant statue that represented four successive empires. His kingdom, Babylon, stood out as the head of gold. The empire that would arise and take over Babylon would be the Medo-Persian Empire, which is the time that Daniel is living in by Daniel 11. The Medo-Persian Empire was represented by a chest of silver. Next, the thighs of bronze represented the Greek Empire, whose prophecies about it are contained in Daniel 11.
The legs of iron history reveals as the Roman Empire. And, here in Daniel 11:18-19, we finally have the introduction of the Roman Empire. To interpret, “After this he” is Antiochus the Great. This Seleucid King of the North turns his attention to the coastlands, and conquers many of them. But, then a commander will arrive and put an end to his insolence, and turns his insolence back on him. Antiochus turns back toward the fortresses of his own country. On this path he will stumble and fall, and be seen no more.
Daniel 11 reveals that Antiochus the Great was feeling pretty good about his landslide victory over the hated Ptolemies in Egypt, so he decided to turn westward and attempt to fight the fledgling power of Rome. At this time the Greek Empire stood strongest as the major empire in the region, but Rome was growing steadily by this time period. Antiochus thought he could take on Rome, because this was not the Rome that we today recognize became a mighty empire. In Antiochus’ time, Rome was but a growing, budding empire, and so Antiochus thought he can easily beat them.
But, no, Antiochus’ world shattered when he shockingly discovered Rome to be a difficult opponent. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t long before Antiochus’ region would became surrounded by the young Roman Empire. So Antiochus turned and ran his armies back home.
After Antiochus traveled back to Syria, and he behaved rather oddly. He actually plundered his own temple to Jupiter! The reason for this strange behavior is that this defeated king needed to pay a humongous tax retribution to Rome as compensation for being defeated. Antiochus’ life for money. And so, Antiochus traveled back home in order to steal the money out of his own country’s treasury.
Needless to say, Antiochus’ fellow Syrians didn’t like him very much for doing that. Whipped into an angry frenzy, the crowds killed their looting king on the spot for blasphemy. And so, in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy, Antiochus stumbled and fell and was seen no more. Antiochus III was killed for trying to take money out of Jupiter’s own temple in order to pay off the Romans, for a king does not stand higher than a god.
Vic Batista: Just imagine going back to your own people and trying to steal all their wealth to keep a foreign power at bay. That’s the beginning of the end for many kingdoms, and the slow transition to a new ruling kingdom. For Antiochus the Great, his hubris led to the Roman Empire becoming the dominant power in the Middle East, all the way into the time of Jesus and for centuries beyond.
The Battle for the Soul of Israel
Nathan Jones: The Roman Empire entered Israel’s history, for better or for worse, in Daniel 11:18-19. But, Rome’s might remained distant to Israel for many more years. Where we are at in the narrative, Israel still contends with Greece, stuck in the middle between two warring provinces — the Seleucids in Syria and the Ptolemies in Egypt.
Do you know who is really stuck in the middle of this conflict? It’s Israel’s soul. The soul of Israel. Will the people stand for God? Or, will the people turn pagan like their Greek neighbors who surround them? A constant battle for Israel’s soul has been waged throughout the history of the Jewish kingdoms. The Intertestamental time period appears no different.
And, no different either is the constant battle for Christians to survive in remaining pure in a pagan world. Do Christians become more paganized in order to be accepted? Do we, like the Jewish people under Greek rule, have to choose to become Hellenized, becoming more worldly? The Jewish people during the Greek era were constantly being coerced into Greek paganism. In the process of being torn apart by all these battles between the North and the South, the true battle fought over the souls of God’s people. That’s not really any different than today for God’s people.
Vic Batista: Way back when we started this study of the mighty angels of the book of Daniel, we learned in chapter one about the type of person that Daniel was. The pagan Babylonian culture he was thrust into attempted to influence Daniel to give up on God. But, at a young age, Daniel refused to give in, even when most of the other Jewish captives caved and allowed themselves to be corrupted by Babylonian society.
Nathan Jones: The temptation to give up on God and His moral law consistently remained a huge problem for Israel throughout their history. The Intertestamental time period was more of the same. But, God’s messenger angel soon will get to foretelling a point in Israel’s coming history when the Jewish people would rise up and take a stand for what’s right.
Nathan Jones: The vision of the statue that was given to Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2 places the Roman Empire as the legs of the statue, but these legs extend down to the feet. The feet actually change into a mixture of iron and clay. The ten toes, Daniel revealed, would be in truth ten kings. These kings fulfill an end time prophecy concerning the future Tribulation time period. And so, the Roman Empire never truly ended, just transitioned over the millennia into a weaker form, which we recognize today as the European Union.
In the future, then, it could be that either the EU or the entire planet will be divided into ten kingdoms. Prophecy also reveals these kings shall grant their power to one of their members, and this king will rise to become the prophesied one-world ruler know as the Antichrist. The dream statue proves a continuation of the Roman Empire right into the end times.
Europe and the Middle East may have broken up into different realms, but the Holy Roman Empire lead by the Pope continued the Roman Empire into the modern era, with the European Union acting as the strong yet brittle feet of the statue. The Roman Empire and its influence over the Middle East never has truly ended.
In the fifty-fifth segment of this series on the mighty angels of Daniel, Rome makes an offer the Greeks cannot refuse.