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Alexander The Great

Prophetic History from Daniel 11: Alexander the Great

Prophetic History from Daniel 11: Alexander the Great
By Dr. David Bowen

We will be taking a deep dive into Daniel 11. The opening verse 1 connects this chapter with Daniel 10:21. Daniel 11 reflects the angel’s words, not Daniel’s.

The angel explains that he has fought with the princes of Persia and Greece since 539 B.C., which was the first year of Darius. He is indicating that Darius’ success in defeating Babylon came through angelic assistance. On a side note, the conflict between Michael and the prince of Persia climaxes 55 years later, which paved the way for Queen Esther to help prevent the genocide of the Jews.

The prophecies in Daniel 11:2 provide great details. Three more kings will appear in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. Then, a mighty king will appear, ruling with great power and as he pleases. After he has appeared, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. Meaning his kingdom will not go to his descendants.

Three Kings will be Cyrus’ Successors

Cyrus reigned for nine years, 539-530 B.C. He was succeeded by Cambyses 530-522 B.C., who ruled for eight years. He is called Ahasuerus in Ezra 4:6. In 522 B.C. Pseudo-Smerdis reigned. He is called Artaxerxes in Ezra 4:7. Then Darius I Hystaspes ruled for thirty-six years, from 522-486 B.C. He is mentioned in Ezra 4:24.

The 4th king was Xerxes I, who reigned from 486 to 465 B.C. for twenty-one years. He is called Ahasuerus in the book of Esther. The empire reached its most significant height during his reign. He amassed great wealth through conquest and a strong taxation program. In Esther 1:1-12, he held a feast that lasted 180 days at great cost. Xerxes spent four years gathering a great army (120,000 to 300,000 men). The Greeks anticipated his attack and also formed an army of 7,000 men.

The Second Persian Invasion of Greece

The Battle at Thermopylae occurred in late August/early September of 480 BC. In the heat of this battle, the Greeks held off the Persians for seven days; three of those days were in direct combat. The invasion of Greece by Xerxes took place between the book of Esther, chapters 1 and 2. Xerxes was able to conquer large portions of Greece but was unable to hold the territory and was eventually assassinated.

Alexander the Great

Daniel 11:3 introduces Alexander the Great, the Son of King Philip II of Macedonia, and Queen Olympia, the daughter of King Neoptolemus. Alexander was born in 356 BC. Aristotle taught him, exposing him to political, cultural, and philosophical ideas that stayed with him for his entire life. In 336 B.C., his father was murdered, and Alexander took over the throne at age nineteen. Alexander’s first military conquest was against the Persian empire (334 B.C.). He conquered Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, and Babylon within ten years. And Persia.

Alexandria, Egypt, famous for its great library, became a great center of culture and learning because of Alexander’s influence. This was where the Septuagint was translated. Alexander the Great left a strong footprint in Egypt. He died in Babylon in 323 at the age of thirty-two. The prophecy of verse 3 said three things:

– He would stand up (or appear) — meaning he would have military success.
– Stand-up is a military term (8:25, 11:14).
– He would rule with great dominion — his empire extended as far west as Egypt and as far East as India.
– He would do according to his will — which described his personality and influence.

God protected Jerusalem from the conquest of Alexander the Great. While in Macedonia, Alexander said God had given him a dream. At the same time, God also gave a Jerusalem priest a dream. The dream came to pass when the two men met. As Alexander the Great approached Jerusalem, the priest, directed by his dream, went out with a welcoming group and met the young conqueror. When Alexander saw the priest, he recognized the face from the dream. In response to God’s leading, Alexander favored Jerusalem, allowing them to enjoy their forefathers’ laws and pay no tribute (tax) in the 7th year.

Verse 4 prophesized that Alexander’s kingdom would be divided into four parts. None of it is going to an heir. He had one son, Alexander IV, born just after his father’s death. But his kingdom was divided up by his four generals: Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy. These four generals agreed to run the empire until the son was old enough to take it over. The four generals did not agree on which of the four should decide on the boy’s behalf until he came of age. This conflict led to a civil war. At the age of fourteen, Alexander’s son was assassinated by one of the generals (Cassander).

Alexander may have had an illegitimate son named Heracles, whose mother was Barsine. She was taken captive when Alexander conquered Asia (334 B.C.). Both the boy and his mother were killed in 309 B.C. by Polyperchon.

In the second segment of this deep dive into the prophetic history from Daniel 11, we will marvel at the prophecies that were fulfilled by the ongoing wars between the Ptolemies and the Seleucids.

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