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Unfolding of His Plan

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God unfolds his plan for Israel from Persia to the Antichrist

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There Was A Hurricane!

One day a man from Long Island NY satisfied a life long dream of buying a high quality barometer…when he unpacked the instrument, he was dismayed to find that the needle appeared to be stuck, pointing to the section marked “hurricane”. After shaking the barometer vigorously, he wrote a scorching letter to the store where he had purchased it. On his way to the office the next morning he mailed the letter. That evening he returned to Long Island to not only find the barometer missing, but his house also…the barometer’s needle was right…there was a hurricane!
Truth is truth whether you want to believe it or not…with that in mind, please turn to .
Remember what we said last week about the last 3 chapters of Daniel… are all part of one vision.
Last week we examined as the preparation of Daniel to receive the vision…what we discovered was that God gave Gabriel the answer to Daniel’s prayer of wanting to know more…...
What we discovered was that God gave Gabriel the answer to Daniel’s prayer of wanting to know more…...
What Daniel saw that would help him understand what he would be told is that the present and coming Gentile nations and kings that would dominate Israel are going to be heavily influenced by heavenly beings as a result of the spiritual warfare being raged in the realm of the invisible world…
some of the kings would be favorable to God’s people, some were going to be cruel and evil because the last thing Satan wants to see is God’s people winning...

Unfolding of the Plan

What we have now in is long and complex…it is God unfolding his plan for Israel from Persia to the time of Antichrist.
The first thirty-five verses of were prophecy in Daniel’s time, but ancient history in ours.
There are a lot of forgotten historical characters with difficult names and complicated relationships filled with treachery and intrigue.
The remainder of the vision sweeps all the way from the history of spiritual conflict in Israel to the tribulation when Israel is delivered once and for all from all Gentile domination.
It takes us across the timeline from Daniel’s day to that of the Antichrist.
We said the outline for these last 3 chapters is
Preparation for the Vision —
Details of the Vision —
Final Instructions —
Today we want to break down chapter 11 even further..
Prophecies already fulfilled —
Prophecies yet to be fulfilled —

Both the near and distant future for Israel is going to be dark and hard and long, but stay faithful because God has a plan that is unfolding.

God is giving Daniel a greater understanding into His plans for Israel.
Today we want to add to that and refine it a little more...

Main Point: Stay Faithful As God Unfolds His Plan.

God Unfolds His Plan In Fulfilled Prophecy ()

In this section of Daniel, God unfolds detailed revelations of what would happen to the nation of Israel in the centuries to come…if you like to write notes in the margins of your Bible here is how the chapter breaks down...
— Prophetic history of Persia
— Prophetic history of Greece
— Prophecy regarding Antiochus Epiphanes
— Prophecy regarding the Antichrist
Truth is truth whether you want to believe it or not…this particular section of Daniel has created many problems for the liberal theologians…their contention is that nobody could write in advance with so many accurate details about so many people and events.
They believe that Daniel was written at the time the events were happening or even later…the reason being is that in the annals of ancient history there is no doubting what Daniel says here is true...
In their “scientific conclusion” Daniel is a fraud…written centuries after the events and really is not prophecy at all.
To that we say that fulfilled prophecy is one of the proofs of the inspiration of the Bible because it is the very Word of the Omniscient God…Only He can know future events accurately and direct His servants in writing them down…truth is truth whether you want to believe it or not.
Daniel 2:22 NASB95
“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.
Dan 2
Believing in a great God means that it is no problem for us to accept this as prophecy, as truth predicted…sometimes in prophecy there is both a near and far fulfillment of prophecy…for example in the prophecy concerning Jesus in we see that a child will be born and the government will rest on His shouldersnear fulfilment in Jesusfar fulfillment in the millennial kingdom.
2 Peter 1:19–21 NASB95
So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
2 Pet
I know some of you can get bored with history and think a study of this chapter as a waste of time with no relevance for today...but remember that this was given to Daniel around 536 BC and began in 530 BC when the first of “three more kings” arose in Persia… will be fulfilled in 150 BC…The end of and the beginning of won’t be fulfilled until some date in the future.
The prophecies in concern five rulers who were yet to come…four of them are now history…the fifth is yet to come…they all start with the letter A…by looking at the reign of these men we will uncover the essence of what is outlined for us here.
The prophecies in concern five rulers who were yet to come…four of them have already come…the fifth is yet to come…they all start with the letter A…by looking at the reign of these men we will uncover the essence of what is outlined for us here.

Ahasuerus —

The first part of the prophecy deals with Persia…it says three will arise and then a fourth...
(Cyrus’ son) Cambyses (529 - 522), Pseudo-Smerdis (522-521), Darius the Great (521 - 486), Xerxes — the Ahasuerus of Esther.
Esther tells us that Ahasuerus “reigned over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia.
The scope of his wealth was seen in his ability to hold a lavish 180 day feast for all his officials and servants ()… it is also said that he commanded one of the largest armies in ancient history…he set off to invade Greece with 2,641,000 men.

Alexander —

The description of a mighty king here fits Alexander the Great down to the smallest details…We saw him earlier in as the section of bronze, and we saw him again in as the great horn of the goat.
He was one of the great men in history…he did reign with great authority and did whatever he pleased…by the age 32 he had conquered the entire known world from Europe to India.
He was defeated and his kingdom divided — when he had reached the apex of his career, he died…he had no heirs who could legitimately assume the throne so his kingdom was divided among his four generals…history confirms what Daniel prophesied.

Divided Kingdom — North & South

He was defeated and his kingdom divided — when he had reached the apex of his career, he died…he had no heirs who could legitimately assume the throne so his kingdom was divided among his four generals…history confirms what Daniel prophesied.
After a chaotic power struggle that involved assassinations and a succession of wars as well as intrigue, two of the four divisions rose to dominance…Egypt and Syria.
These would be called the Kings of North and Kings of the South because of their location in relation to Israel…Egypt was South, Syria was North…the fighting between these two empires would impact Israel for years to come.
prophecies years of fighting between these to nations and it is remarkable how accurately these prophesies were fulfilled.
Read
History records that King Ptolemy II of Egypt gave his daughter Berenice to Antiochus II of Syria in order to seal an alliance between them…But in time, Antiochus’ first wife, the evil and power hungry Laodice, poisoned Antiochus, murdered Berenice and her son…all in fulfillment of .
Read
To avenge the murder of his sister Berenice, Egypt’s Ptolemy III attacked and defeated Syria, carried their gods and other valuables back to Egypt, and executed Laodice.

Antiochus The Great (Antiochus III) —

Our first introduction to this ruler tells us that his wars against Egypt were marked first by a series of defeats followed by a series of victories ().
Read
Many of you would know the story of CleopatraAntiochus III gave his own daughter, Cleopatra, believed to be around 11 years old, to Ptolemy V of Egypt, a boy of 12, in a marriage Antiochus hoped would help him gain victory over Egypt with her loyalty to him. However, she sided with her husband and defeated her father’s plans.
We also learn from history that Antiochus III tired to attack Egypt’s coastal cities but was rebuffed by the rising armies of Rome…in anger, Antiochus would return home and plunder his own land…He attacked the temple of Jupiter to steal its treasures and his people rose up and murdered him…his body was never found…Read
Seleucas IV, the son of Antiochus III inherited his father’s war debts, so he sent a tax collector to plunder the Temple in Jerusalem…Read history tells us that this tax collector, Heliodorous, poisoned Seleucas…perfectly fulfilling the prophecy that he would “be shattered, though not in anger nor in battle”.

Antiochus Epiphanes (Antiochus IV) —

covers a period of nearly 150 years and involves a long line of succession of rulers.
In this next section, the pace slows and we have record of one ruler from 175 to somewhere around 164 BC.
We met Antiochus Epiphanes earlier in Daniel and many biblical scholars consider him to be a foreshadow of the Antichrist to come in the Tribulation period.
He was one of the worst and most wicked men to ever live…He had no claim to the Syrian throne, but he deceived and corrupted many people to get to the throne by using a “distribute the wealth” policy…Read he would even corrupt some Jews to forsake God…Read (show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant)
Read he stirs up a battle against Egypt but he couldn’t win it on the battlefield and so the stalemate ended with an agreement to a peace treaty, which both kings quickly broke.
Read , …after yet another failure, and not wanting to go to war with Rome (ships of Kittim was a Roman fleet from Cyprus that sided with Egypt) Antiochus vents his frustration and anger on Israel…he invades Jerusalem, raping and murdering women and slaughtering children on sight…He erects an image of Zeus in the Jewish Temple and demands Jews worship it…He stops all Jewish sacrifices and then sacrifices a pig on the altar, flings its blood throughout the Temple and force-fed pork to the priests…this is the abomination that makes desolate…no Jew could go there because Antiochus Epiphanes had made it an abomination…Jesus would speak of this as only a for taste of what the Antichrist will do ().
Before we move on to the last ruler there is something significant in this text that we could miss if we didn’t observe the text carefullythis is a major implication of this text...

God Always Has A Faithful Remnant That Will Stand Against that which is Unholy.

Read the Jewish compromisers in stand with Antiochus in the persecution of fellow Jews…however there was a group of Jews, known as the Hasideans, led by Judas Maccabeus (“the Hammer”), who led a revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes…there is a collection of books known as the Apocrypha, that contains other writings that were not considered to be Scripture, that reveals details of this revolt that we do not have in our Bibles…those books are known as 1 & 2 Maccabees…those are historical accounts of this time period… sates “Many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die” Stephen R. Miller, Daniel, vol. 18, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), 302.
Stephen R. Miller, Daniel, vol. 18, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), 302.
We get a glimpse into this revolt in when Daniel asks how long will the temple lay desolate…the answer given to Daniel was 2,300 days…2,300 repetitions of the evening and morning sacrifices will be polluted by this madman.
We get a glimpse into this revolt in when Daniel asks how long will the temple lay desolate…the answer given to Daniel was 2,300 days…2,300 repetitions of the evening and morning sacrifices will be polluted by this madman.
The historical date for the restoration and cleansing of the Temple under Judas Maccabeus was December 14, 164 BC…we know this date on the calendar as Hanukkah…a word that means dedication
Associated with Hanukkah is the Menorah, the Temple candlestick…during the revolt, when the Maccabean warriors finally recaptured the Temple and cleansed it from the abomination of desolation, they wanted to light the Menorah but they could only find a small flask of oil required for use in the Temple…there was barely enough to keep it lit for one day…According to tradition, the oil miraculously lasted for eight days, which gave them enough time to obtain a new supply of the purified oil to keep the menorah burning.
To commemorate this deliverance and the Temple’s rededication, the Jews established the perpetual feast of Hanukkah…also known as the Feast of Dedication or the Festival of Lights…today they celebrate Hanukkah on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev (November/December on our calendar) by placing the menorah in a window or doorway where it’s visible from the outside…each day during the eight-day celebration, in late afternoon, one candle is lit until on the eighth day, all eight candles are burning.
I say all that to you to tell you this...

In the darkest of times, even in the face of severe persecution, God still has people who will stand up against that which is unholy and that stand will have an impact on the generations to come.

Will you be like the ones who “forsake the covenant” by turning your back on God or will you be counted among the faithful?
We are guilty of forsaking the covenant of God when we think and act in ways that are selfish and motivated by our own pride…we know the right things to do, we know the right ways to think, we know the right ways to speak, we know what God says about marriage, we know what God says about parenting, we know what God says about our responsibilities as members of the church, everything that we need to know about life and godliness has been revealed to us…
when we step aside from obedience to the Scripture, we are going the path of forsaking the covenant we made with God in salvation…when we get off the path, there must be repentance and change…this is known as progressive sanctification
the longer our time on earth this side of heaven, the more we have to progressively become like Christ, forsaking attitudes and deeds of the flesh and putting on attitudes and deeds of the righteousness of God in Christ…
Read those who have insight among the people will give understanding to the manythose who believe and know the truth will instruct others in the Scriptures…even while they are suffering continued persecution…every generation needs to listen to those who have gained insight from the Word of God…every generation that has gained insight from the Word of God needs to be teaching that truth now.

Until God is completely done with His program for Israel, and until God is completely done with His plan for the church, He will always be faithful to bring about His plan for His people, and there also will be people who are faithful to follow Him.

Is that you?

God Unfolds His Plan in “Yet to Be Fulfilled” Prophecy —

The “end time” and “appointed time” in are a reference to the end of Antiochus’ terrorism…
The “end time” and “appointed time” are two eschatological terms that point to a forward leap across thousands of years of history…to a time of similar trial of the “willful king”…this willful kings
So when you pick up the rest of the chapter we see a different person with different exploits…this is the fifth king we mentioned earlier, the Antichrist.

Antichrist —

As we said last week verse 1 fits better in the context of and the revelation of the spiritual warfare…here Gabriel says that in the first year of Darius he helped him.
The Persians were much more favorable to the Jews than the Babylonians…and Satan didn’t like that…it was because of the influence of Gabriel and Michael on the Persian kings that the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild…it was Cyrus who issued the edict for them to return…

The four kings that would rule in the future were Cambyses (529 - 522), Pseudo-Smerdis (522-521), Darius I Hystapes (521 - 486), Xerxes — the Ahasuerus of Esther.

The most important of the kings was the fourth king who will gain far more riches than all of them…this is the Ahasuerus of Esther (Xerxes)
He ruled an empire that reached from Ethiopia to India and had a great passion to conquer Greece…in 480 BC he tried to invade Greece and was defeated…all this occurred between the first two chapters of Esther…to ease his anger and bitterness he came home to find relief in his harem…enter Esther…He was assassinated in August 465.

Prophecies About Greece ()

The mighty king of is Alexander who was determined to punish the Persians for Xerxes’ invasion.
In 332, Alexander defeated the Persians and in 323 he died…Alexander was part of God’s sovereign plan…because of his military conquests, the spread of the Greek language and Greek culture assisted in the eventual spread of the gospel and the Greek New Testament.
His desire for a united empire made the Greek kingdom a “melting pot” for all peoples…that would prove beneficial in the spread of the gospel as well.
History also tells us that because he lacked heirs to his throne his kingdom was divided amongst his four generals…parceled out…though not to his descendants...but only two nations had a significant impact on Israel...

Prophecies About the Ptolemies and the Seleucids ()

The Kings of the North and the South ()

North = Syria = Seleucids
South = Egypt = Ptolomies
They are referred to as North and South because of their relation to Palestine…Israel… refer to conflicts these two family lines would have and how they impacted Israel.
Israel was a little nation caught between these two factions that were in constant conflict for power…now I am not going to bore you with all the historical data but it is really fascinating to see how accurately God predicted everything proving that God’s Word can be trusted...
Ptolemy line provided rulers in Egypt (South)…Seleucids provided rulers in the Syria (North)…if you are interested in knowing all the details of the conflicts between these nations you can do a little bit of an internet search and then compare those with Daniel and I think you will be amazed..
Ptolemy I and Seleucus I—
Ptolemy II and Antiochus II —
Ptolemy III and Seleucus II —
Ptolemy IV and Antiochus III — 9
Seleucus IV and Jewish Taxation —

Notes of Interest

— intermarriage between the two family lines was often used to try and bring about peace and unity…Ptolemy II pressured Antiochus II into divorcing his present wife Laodice and marrying his daughter, Berenice…it was a complete disaster…a few years after their marriage, Ptolemy II died and without the support of her father, Antiochus divorced her and remarried his first wife…notice the phrase “nor will he remain with his power”...his first wife Laodice poisoned him and had Berenice murdered (she will be given up)…and the implication is that everyone associated with Berenice died at that time.
— fast forward a few hundred years and we see Antiochus III (king of the North)who carried on many military campaigns became strong and many Jews joined him, but he is also one who will do as he pleases and even tries to exploit (with destruction in his hand) the Jews in the “Beautiful Land”… at the same time Rome began to intimidate him so he turns to Egypt for help (set his face to...)…his plan was to corrupt (ruin it) his Egyptian opposition by giving his daughter Cleopatra to Ptolemy V for a wife…the plan failed when Cleopatra stood repeatedly with her husband instead of her father.
— Seleucus IV took the throne after his father died in 187 BC…he paid tribute to Rome and in order to do so taxed the Jews heavily…the man who was in charge of collecting the taxes, Heliodorous, poisoned him… “shattered, though not in anger nor in battle

Prophecy Concerning Antiochus Epiphanes ()

One king of the Seleucid line was so vile he was given special attention…Antiochus Epiphanes or as they called him, Antiochus the Madman.
We’ve already met this wicked man in and he is often seen as a picture of the future Antichrist...
He gave himself the name Epiphanes which means glorious one…but he is introduced by Gabriel as a despicable person…...

He is a man of great power ()

He is the brother to Seleucus IV…and after his brother’s death, he deceived and flattered enough people to get the throne of Syria.
He was not entitled to the throne but he would seize it through intrigue…his nephew was too young to take the throne so he claimed to be his lawful protector and seized it.
He would engage in a number of battles…the most significant was a battle with Egypt in 170 BC…his armies overran the enemy like a flood () and the prince of the covenant who died as a result is believed to be the Jewish high priest Onias.
He was able to gain power through a small group of people perhaps because of the redistribution of the plunder…
He gathers his nation together and sets out against Egypt…even though Egypts army was larger, Antiochus defeated the king of Egypt and declared friendship with them….

He is a man of extreme wickedness ()

both kings would sit down at the table to formulate a treaty but both were being deceptive...
Not only was he deceptive but as he returns to his homeland to redistribute the wealth, by way of Israel, he begins to show his hatred for the Jews…holy covenant

He will attack the Jews because of opposition from Rome ().

He would continue to attack Egypt and in 168 his attack was halted in Alexandria, Egypt…he was rebuffed by those who had come to Egypt by a fleet of ships…the ships were Roman, which had sailed there after a victory in battle…Antiochus was ordered to stop by the Romans and told to return to Syria…if he did not, Rome would invade Syria…
Antiochus was humiliated and angry as he returned to Syria, by way of Israel and took out his frustration on the Jews…sadly there were some Jews who participated in his persecution of the Jews (forsook the holy covenant) with a promise by Antiochus for reward (regard those who forsake the holy covenant)

He will desecrate everything that is holy ()

He was abnormally cruel to the Jews...
He used his soldiers to stop the sacrifices...
He appointed corrupt priests to the Temple...
The abomination of desolation…he seized the Temple where Jehovah was worshipped and made it a Temple to Zeus and then he set up a statue of Zeus and then sacrificed a pig on the altar and splatter the blood all over the inside of the temple…Jesus would mention that this atrocity is only a foretaste of what would happen later under the final Antichrist…
Many of the already corrupted Jews would even be persuaded to forsake God and worship Zeus…
God’s People Unashamedly Take A Stand In Dark Times
is more about his career than his character…rather than exploring every verse let’s make a list of what we see (thankful for Dr. David Jeremiah for this list in Agents of Babylon, pg. 303-304).
He will do what he desires —
He will deify himself —
He will defy the true God —
He will disregard all religion —
He will devote himself to the military —
He will declare war against foreign powers —
He will defend himself against other nations —
He will defeat some early enemies —
He will develop great wealth —
He will be defeated, and no one will come to his aid —

Lesson for Life — Take God At His Word.

As I said earlier there are some who believe this book is a fraud…not just Daniel, but also the entirety of Scripture…yes you can choose whether to believe or disbelieve, but whatever your choice, it doesn’t change the reality…truth doesn’t change to our preferences!
Some of you here this morning are not taking God at His Word…you are just going through the motions by being here on Sunday Morning and when the last “amen” is said, there has been no change in your heart or direction of what you think, say and do…the only time you think and act like a believer is on Sunday AM…some of you are very good at playing the game…You need to hear what God says...
Galatians 6:7–9 NASB95
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
Gal 6:7
As Daniel prophesied, there were Jews who allowed themselves to be corrupted by Antiochus and they became loyal to him instead of God…God was not going to be mocked in that…whether it was in their life or death they experienced the judgment of God...
Galatians 6:9 NASB95
Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
God will not be mocked by our lack of efforts to walk in obedience to the truth in our attitudes and actions…you can’t plant corn in the field and expect to get beans…if you sow corn, you will reap corn…some of you are sowing corn and expecting beans…you expect God to bless your life (you want to reap blessings), but you are content to sow corruption...
If we are going to “shake our fist” at God through willful disobedience or sinful ignorance of the truth (sowing to our flesh) then we are going to reap corruption…if we sow righteousness, we will reap righteousness...

What more does God have to do to get your attention, for you to take Him at his Word and do what He wants you to do?

What does God want you to do in your marriage?
What does God want you to do in your parenting?
What does God want you to do in your service for Him?
What does God want you to do with your finances?
What does God want you to do with the truth of His Word?…teach it to others…make disciples.
Stop expecting beans when you are sowing corn!
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