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Daniel 11.4-The Prophecy of the Four-Fold Division of the Kingdom of Alexander the Great

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Daniel: Daniel 11:4-The Prophecy of the Four-Fold Division of the Kingdom of Alexander the Great-Lesson # 321

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Wenstrom Bible Ministries

Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom

Wednesday April 2, 2014

www.wenstrom.org

Daniel: Daniel 11:4-The Prophecy of the Four-Fold Division of the Kingdom of Alexander the Great

Lesson # 321

Please turn in your Bibles to Daniel 11:2.

Daniel 11:2 “Now, at this present time, I must reveal to you the truth. Behold, three future kings will ascend to power for Persia. Then, the fourth will cause greater riches to make him wealthier than each and every one of these in comparison. However, when he amasses power through his wealth, the entire nation will stir up the Greek kingdom. 3 Next, a powerful king will ascend to power so that he will rule with great authority with the result that he will do according to his desire.” (My translation)

Daniel 11:4 “But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded, for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them.” (NASB95)

“But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up” stands in direct contrast to the angel’s previous statement in verse 3 indicating a contrast between this king ruling with great power and not ruling at all.

“And parceled out toward the four points of the compass” refers to the kingdom of this powerful king being divided, distributed or parceled out to the four points of the compass.

“Though not to his own descendants” stands in contrast with the previous statement that the kingdom of the powerful king will be divided towards the heaven’s four winds.

Therefore, the contrast is between what one would expect in the ancient world namely that the descendants of this powerful king will succeed him after his death and this not taking place.

“Nor according to his authority which he wielded” is indicating that the four-fold division of this powerful king’s empire will “not” be according to his sovereign will or decision.

“For his sovereignty will be uprooted” presents the reason why this powerful king’s empire will be divided into four parts but not for the benefit of his posterity and not according to his sovereign authority.

It is used as an agricultural metaphor here for the bringing to an end the government of Alexander as it was constituted while he was alive.

“And given to others besides them” explains specifically who will receive this powerful king’s empire after he dies.

The plural form of the adjective ʾǎ·ḥēr (akh-air´), means “others” referring to those men who will divide this powerful king’s empire up between themselves after his death without the approval of this king.

This adjective is the object of the preposition lĕ which means “for the benefit of” since it is functioning as a marker of advantage indicating that the uprooting of this powerful king’s empire will be “for the benefit of” others.

The noun bǎḏ appears over a hundred times in the Old Testament and usually in the compound lĕbad, which is the case here in Daniel 11:4.

This prepositional compound means “to the exclusion of.”

This compound is the object of the preposition min and is a marker of separation indicating men will divide up the kingdom of this powerful king to the exclusion and separation of those who are his offspring.

The demonstrative pronoun ʾēl∙lě(h) means “these” referring specifically to the posterity of this powerful king.

Therefore, this prepositional phrase indicates that the kingdom of this powerful king will be uprooted for the benefit of others “to the exclusion and separation of those who are his posterity.”

Daniel 11:4 “However, after he ascends to power, his kingdom will be broken up. Then, it will be divided towards the heaven’s four winds but not for the benefit of his posterity and in addition, not according to his sovereign will which he sovereignly exercised. For his kingdom will be uprooted specifically, for the benefit of others, to the separation and exclusion of these.” (My translation)

As we noted in verse 3, the angel informs Daniel that sometime after the reign of the four Persian kings has ended and specifically after the fourth king amasses power through his wealth, his kingdom will stir up hostilities with the kingdom of Greece, a powerful king will ascend to power.

As a result of his power, this king will rule with great authority so that he will do as he pleases.

History records that this mighty king was none other than Alexander the Great who reigned from 336-323 B.C. before dying unexpectedly at the age of 32 from complications of malaria and alcoholism.

He conquered Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt and the Medo-Persian Empire.

Now, here in verse 4, the angel continues to discuss Alexander the Great.

He tells Daniel that sometime after this powerful king ascends to power, his kingdom will be broken up.

He informs Daniel that the kingdom of this powerful king will be divided to the four points of the compass.

However, this would not be for the benefit of this king’s posterity.

Furthermore, this four-fold division of his empire will not be according to his sovereign will.

The angel then gives the reason why this will be the case.

His kingdom will be uprooted specifically for the benefit of others, to the separation and exclusion of his posterity.

Therefore, since history reveals that this powerful king was Alexander the Great, the four-fold division of this powerful king’s empire refers to the four-fold division of Alexander’s empire after his death.

The four heads of the leopard in Daniel 7:6 as well as the four horns of the shaggy goat in Daniel 8:5-8 also depict this four-fold division of Alexander’s empire.

History records that Alexander’s four generals divided his empire after he died.

To Ptolemy was given Egypt and parts of Asia Minor while Casander was given the territory of Macedonia and Greece.

Lysimachus was given Thrace and parts of Asia Minor (western Bithynia, Phrygia, Mycia and Lydia).

Seleucus was given the remainder of Alexander’s empire which included Syria, Israel and Mesopotamia.

The angelic prophecy that this powerful king’s empire will not be for the benefit of his offspring or posterity was fulfilled in history.

Alexander’s son, Alexander Jr. who was born to Roxana after his death did not succeed his father after his death.

Herakles or Hercules who was an illegitimate son by Barsina and his half-brother Philip were also possibilities to succeed Alexander but none of them inherited the throne nor did any of his descendants.

Walvoord writes “The angel predicts to Daniel that his kingdom shall be broken and divided to the four winds of heaven. This was fulfilled literally in that his kingdom was shattered after his death and not only divided to the four winds, but divided among his four generals. Alexander’s empire was not given to his posterity. Hercules, the son of Alexander at the time of his death, whose mother was Barsina, was murdered by Polysperchon. Young Alexander, born posthumously of Roxana, was murdered in 310 b.c. The empire of Alexander the Great, after it fell into the hands of his four generals, did not preserve the glory and power it had in Alexander’s day. The strong central rule which had characterized it passed with the death of Alexander. This event, recorded in Daniel’s prophecy written about 539 B.C., was fulfilled when Alexander died in 323 B.C.”

Therefore, the prophecies here in Daniel 11:4 have all been fulfilled in history.

The division of Alexander’s empire after his death was fulfilled by his four generals who divided up his empire between themselves to the separation and exclusion of his posterity.

The fulfillment of these prophecies teach us a principle that appears in the book of Jeremiah, namely, God is watching over His Word to execute it (Jeremiah 1:12).

The fact that God can bring to pass that which He has predicted would happen with regards to the four-fold division of the empire of Alexander the Great after his death by four of his generals reveals that He is omnipotent and sovereign and omniscient (Isaiah 14:24).

Everything the unidentified angel told Daniel in Daniel 11:4 came to pass exactly as he said it would.

Daniel 11:4 teaches us that God’s Word is omnipotent in the sense that He can bring to pass whatever He says, which should encourage us and compel us to exercise faith in God’s Word and obey His Word in order to solve our problems in life and deal with our adversities.

It teaches us that God controls history and circumstances since He is responsible for nations rising and falling and since this is the case, we should be content with our circumstances since God put us in our circumstances in order to glorify Him and fulfill His purpose.

It also instructs us with regards to another very important eternal spiritual principle, namely that nothing that happens in history or what happens today or will happen in the future is an accident but has been ordained by God from eternity past.

Life is not a haphazard set of circumstances governed by fate as the heathen believe, but life is totally controlled by God to eventually bring glory to Him and blessing to His people.

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