The Mighty Angels of Daniel 11: Bad Debts
By Nathan Jones
Vic Batista: We are continuing our look at the prophesies given by God’s mighty angels to the prophet Daniel. Daniel 11 reveals the rise of future empires!
In our Bible studies we always attempt to look at prophecy from the good news perspective, and not a negative gloom and doom perspective. People need to understand that Bible prophecy is awesome, greatly benefiting those who discover what the Bible says about the future.
Nathan Jones: Exactly! It’s very important that we know what the Lord has in store for us. God actually wants us to know the future.
I’ve encountered quite a number of people who claim they just can’t understand Bible prophecy. They throw their arms up in defeat and exclaim, “I’m just going with that it that everything will all pan out in the end.” But why be defeated? The Lord has given us His Word, which He says is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. That includes the 31% of the Bible that contains prophecy.
Vic Batista: And that’s exactly why we have been going through this series teaching on the book of Daniel. We’re looking at God’s revelation to Daniel through His mighty angels. In doing so, we hope that believers in Christ will be equipped for life today by seeing what the Bible has to say concerning how in the past God foretold the future. Fulfilled prophecy grants us hope for the present. That’s why I am so excited to be taking this wonderful spiritual journey through the amazing book of Daniel.
We’ll jump back into Daniel 11 beginning with verse 21, but first recap a little bit to catch us up.
Nathan Jones: To me Daniel 11 is probably one of the most difficult chapters in all of Bible prophecy to understand. Daniel is given by an angel so many prophecies, prophecies that end up covering over a 300 plus years time span.
The events foretold to Daniel cover what was to him the coming Greek Empire. He even learned that the Greek Empire, upon Alexander the Great’s death, would be divided into four regions. One quarter would be controlled by the Seleucids, who are the descendants of General Seleucid. They ruled Syria and battled the descendent’s of General Ptolemy who ruled down in Egypt. The Seleucids became the Kings of the North and the Ptolemies the Kings of the South. For centuries each side duked it out back and forth with Israel stuck geographically and politically in the middle. These skirmishes contain the lion’s share of the prophecies given to Daniel in chapter 11.
The prophecies contained in Daniel 11 resulted in being fulfilled so accurately historically that many liberal theologians dismiss Daniel altogether, claiming the prophecies ended up being just too accurate to not have been recorded after the fact. Therefore, liberal theologians believe that the book of Daniel must have been written well after all these prophesied historical events took place.
But, they’re most certainly wrong! The book of Daniel has been well proven both archaeologically and through literary analysis to have been originally written during the exile of the Jews from 586-516 BC. So, all these prophecies given to Daniel do indeed foretell events future to the author, even so future that they extent well past the Greeks and skip way far out into our own near future.
Vic Batista: That’s why I can’t help but love the Bible, because it’s just so accurate, so much so that it leaves some people wondering if prophecy really could be true. If prophecies about the past came true, then what can we conclude about prophecies concerning our own future? For example, we see in our own day the regathering of the people of Israel back into a nation, a prophecy given to Ezekiel. Word for word our generation has seen the regathering of Israel come to pass, and that means many more end times prophecies are about to come to fruition.
Nathan Jones: True, the regathering the Jewish people a second time back into the land of Israel in unbelief is probably one of the most prolific of all Bible prophecies (Deut. 30:1-9; Ezek. 36:22-28). Go all the way back to Moses when he warned the Jewish people that if they didn’t follow the Lord He was going to exile them. And that is exactly what God did. Twice!
Then we read in Ezekiel 36-37 the prophecy concerning how the Lord would take the dead nation of Israel and bring it back to life again. True to form, that is exactly what we are witnessing first-hand today. Since May of 1948, Israel was reformed back into a nation, a nation that hasn’t existed for almost 1,900 years. Israel has become the center of world politics at the United Nations, and will continue to be the focus until Jesus Christ returns. Therefore, we truly live in excited times!
Nathan Jones: So far in Daniel 11’s narrative, we’ve learned about the Seleucids and the Ptolemies duking it out back and forth with Israel stuck in the middle. As we’ve gone down the royal lines of each warring house, beginning with Daniel 11:21 we finally end up with one of the most notorious villains in all of Jewish history — Antiochus IV Epiphanies.
In Daniel 11:20, we left off with his father, Antiochus the Great. He was fighting off the ever encroaching Roman Empire. The Roman Empire is on the rise and getting increasingly more involved in the politics of the Middle East. Antiochus the Great lost big time to Rome, and Rome characteristically came down hard on the losing side. Syria had to pay up!
Daniel 11:20 reveals, “His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. In a few years, however, he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle.” What Rome charged Syria for losing was a periodic payment each of a thousand talents. That was a massive amount of money at that time. The Syrian king had to pay a huge usury to Rome in order to maintain his position. Rome didn’t destroy the Syrian regime, but forced its king to pay a huge tax.
In response to this staggering bill, what Antiochus the Great did was when he returned home he plundered his own temple of Jupiter in order to collect the money necessary to pay the Romans off. His own people, furious beyond rational, killed him on the spot.
Vic Batista: Rome was practicing a bit of mafioso there.
Nathan Jones: Very much so. Rome engaged in the extortion racket. Rome told the defeated Syria, either be totally conquered and destroyed or pay us a “tax” and we’ll let you live.
This event is the beginning of the Greek Empire falling apart and the Roman Empire rising. The Romans now have obtained a huge foothold into the Middle East scene. Rome moving forward will now play a huge role in the lives of the Jewish people. Especially when this terrible villain of Daniel 11:21 makes the scene.
In the fifty-seventh segment of this series on the mighty angels of Daniel, the drama continues to unfold as we’re told the story of the great villain!