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Lowell Brueckner

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King of the North


The Book of the Prophet Daniel

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end.”
Daniel 12:4

Chapter 11:1-35                                       King of the North

1.  "And as for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen him. 
2.  "And now I will show you the truth. Behold, three more kings shall arise in Persia, and a fourth shall be far richer than all of them. And when he has become strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece. 
3.  Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion and do as he wills. 
4.  And as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to the authority with which he ruled, for his kingdom shall be plucked up and go to others besides these. 
5.  "Then the king of the south shall be strong, but one of his princes shall be stronger than he and shall rule, and his authority shall be a great authority. 
6.  After some years they shall make an alliance, and the daughter of the king of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement. But she shall not retain the strength of her arm, and he and his arm shall not endure, but she shall be given up, and her attendants, he who fathered her, and he who supported her in those times. 
7.  "And from a branch from her roots one shall arise in his place. He shall come against the army and enter the fortress of the king of the north, and he shall deal with them and shall prevail. 
8.  He shall also carry off to Egypt their gods with their metal images and their precious vessels of silver and gold, and for some years he shall refrain from attacking the king of the north. 
9.  Then the latter shall come into the realm of the king of the south but shall return to his own land. 
10.  "His sons shall wage war and assemble a multitude of great forces, which shall keep coming and overflow and pass through, and again shall carry the war as far as his fortress. 
11.  Then the king of the south, moved with rage, shall come out and fight against the king of the north. And he shall raise a great multitude, but it shall be given into his hand. 
12.  And when the multitude is taken away, his heart shall be exalted, and he shall cast down tens of thousands, but he shall not prevail. 
13.  For the king of the north shall again raise a multitude, greater than the first. And after some years he shall come on with a great army and abundant supplies. 
14.  "In those times many shall rise against the king of the south, and the violent among your own people shall lift themselves up in order to fulfill the vision, but they shall fail. 
15.  Then the king of the north shall come and throw up siegeworks and take a well-fortified city. And the forces of the south shall not stand, or even his best troops, for there shall be no strength to stand. 
16.  But he who comes against him shall do as he wills, and none shall stand before him. And he shall stand in the glorious land, with destruction in his hand. 
17.  He shall set his face to come with the strength of his whole kingdom, and he shall bring terms of an agreement and perform them. He shall give him the daughter of women to destroy the kingdom, but it shall not stand or be to his advantage. 
18.  Afterward he shall turn his face to the coastlands and shall capture many of them, but a commander shall put an end to his insolence. Indeed, he shall turn his insolence back upon him. 
19.  Then he shall turn his face back toward the fortresses of his own land, but he shall stumble and fall, and shall not be found. 
20.  "Then shall arise in his place one who shall send an exactor of tribute for the glory of the kingdom. But within a few days he shall be broken, neither in anger nor in battle. 

In the last chapter, we learned of the pre-incarnate Christ, revealing Himself to Daniel. Judging by Daniel’s life and love for God, it was certainly not his first encounter. The purpose of the prophet was to point his hearers and readers to the Messiah of Israel, the only hope for Israel and all of mankind. Therefore he wrote in Hebrew and Aramaic. In order that he might prophesy from the heart, he needed to know Christ firsthand and give testimony of His power, working in his own life.

Chapters two and seven are similar because they both tell of four world empires from Daniel’s day to the end of time. In both cases, the prophecies tell of the end of man’s rule, through the introduction of the Kingdom of God upon earth. We know, because of all the teaching of Scripture that, at the head of the Kingdom is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He comes personally to destroy the world’s kingdoms, which have challenged Him.

In chapter three, He appears as the fourth Man in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace. He is there with His faithful servants, who refuse to compromise or bow down to earth’s gods or conform to earth’s systems. He is the triumphant Son of Man, who cannot be defeated or destroyed. He refuses to burn, He walks on water, and breaks the seal of the Roman Empire, rising from the dead. In chapter four, Nebuchadnezzar experiences seven years of insanity, until he is able to see the everlasting, sovereign rule of heaven and its appointed King (Ps.2:6).

In chapter six, He delivers Daniel from the lions’ mouths and reveals to King Darius the kingdom that “shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end” (6:26). In chapter eight, the Prince of princes is named, whom Antiochus Epiphanes challenged and by whom he was destroyed (8:25). Then in chapter nine, He is the Anointed One, the Prince (9:25), the Messiah, whose life will be cut short in 33 A.D., but who will return to bring the desolator to his end. He will finish the transgression, put an end to sin, atone for iniquity, bring in everlasting righteousness, fulfill the vision and words of the prophets and anoint a most holy place (9:24). Daniel was a prophet of the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth.

We continue now from 10:21, where Gabriel speaks of his warfare, united with Michael, the angelic prince of Israel, against the prince of Persia. He prophesies of a coming battle with the prince of Greece. He continues, speaking of strengthening and establishing King Darius at the beginning of his reign. However, we are still studying Daniel’s vision in the third year of Cyrus. Chapter 10 was a prologue and now we have the content, which will tie us to the end times in the last part of the chapter and continue through chapter 12.

In verse 2, Gabriel is evidently speaking of what is inscribed in the book of truth (from 10:21). It is so dazzlingly accurate that those, who have no God-given faith to believe, try to displace Daniel from his spot in history, without any evidence to support their theory, to some place 400 years into the future. In so doing, they make Daniel a liar, which, if they were right, would disqualify him altogether from his prophetic office. By that time 400 years later, most of what is written in this chapter has become history. So the false critics deny the supernatural, discredit the word of God, insult the Author, and are unfit to handle His word, but are sons of eternal damnation.

He speaks of three more human kings over Persia before its downfall begins. The fourth is Esther’s illustrious king, Xerxes or Ahasuerus (486-465 B.C.). He was a famed and powerful monarch and the book of Esther informs, he reigned over 127 provinces, from Ethiopia to India (Est.1:1). Yet his campaign against Greece failed and that failure was the beginning of the end of the Persian Empire.

All of you, who (like me) have been academically lethargic and thought that in Christianity you would get relief from serious study, are in for a shock. God is the God of history and we are about to get an intense history lesson. Of course, for Daniel these things were future, therefore prophetic. Gabriel became Daniel’s professor, obtained his material from the book of heaven, and gave all the detail that we will study, to Daniel.

We will notice that some of the same history is covered here that we already learned in chapter eight. The mighty king of verse 3 and 4 is Alexander the Great, who successfully conquered the Persians and all their territory. He spread Greek culture over all this area, but as stated “as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken.” It was broken by his death in 323 B.C. and he had no offspring, so his four generals fought over the divisions of his conquests.

This prophecy concerns the north and south divisions, in relation to Israel – principally Syria and Egypt. These were called the Seleucids (of Syria) and the Ptolomies (of Egypt). The conflicts, related in verses 5-20, cover almost two centuries. Their armies had to pass through Israel to gain access to each other, which shows one of the reasons why Israel has been involved in so many wars. It is because of its strategic position between Africa and Asia. It is the only land connection between the two continents; it is also the gateway into Europe though Turkey.

Cleopatra I Syra
Very briefly, we will attempt to convey 200 years of history: For political advantage, the daughter of the king of the south married the king of the north, but she was murdered, along with her infant son and the king himself, by his ex-wife (v.6). The political treaty ended, the brother of the murdered Egyptian princess, Ptolomy III Euergetes, conquered Syria (v.7-8). A Syrian attempt against Egypt failed (v.9), but the Seleucid descendants continued the conflict over the decades (v.10). Between 222 and 203 B.C., the Egyptian army gained an advantage (v.11-12), but another conflict emerged, when a great army from Syria attacked Egypt (v.13). Even the Jews entered the war to gain freedom from Egypt (v.14), but failed, and Israel, “the glorious land” fell into the hands of the king of the north (v.15-16).

Here an ancestor of the famous Cleopatra, wife of Mark Anthony of Rome, enters the story. In 192 B.C., she, Cleopatra Syra, was given by her father, Antiochus III the Great, to marry the Ptolemy king, to be a spy against Egypt. However, she turned against her father (v.17) and, at this point, Rome began to become an important part of world history, as the fourth world empire. Antiochus III, in an attempt against Greece, is accosted by the Roman commander of verse 18, and returns defeated to his own land (v.19, 190 B.C.). The Romans demanded tribute from the next Syrian king and, trying to raise a tax among his own people to pay Rome, that king was poisoned (v.20).

21.  In his place shall arise a contemptible person to whom royal majesty has not been given. He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. 
22.  Armies shall be utterly swept away before him and broken, even the prince of the covenant. 
23.  And from the time that an alliance is made with him he shall act deceitfully, and he shall become strong with a small people. 
24.  Without warning he shall come into the richest parts of the province, and he shall do what neither his fathers nor his fathers' fathers have done, scattering among them plunder, spoil, and goods. He shall devise plans against strongholds, but only for a time. 
25.  And he shall stir up his power and his heart against the king of the south with a great army. And the king of the south shall wage war with an exceedingly great and mighty army, but he shall not stand, for plots shall be devised against him. 
26.  Even those who eat his food shall break him. His army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain. 
27.  And as for the two kings, their hearts shall be bent on doing evil. They shall speak lies at the same table, but to no avail, for the end is yet to be at the time appointed. 
28.  And he shall return to his land with great wealth, but his heart shall be set against the holy covenant. And he shall work his will and return to his own land. 
29.  "At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south, but it shall not be this time as it was before. 
30.  For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and pay attention to those who forsake the holy covenant. 
31.  Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the regular burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate. 
32.  He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. 
33.  And the wise among the people shall make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder. 
34.  When they stumble, they shall receive a little help. And many shall join themselves to them with flattery, 
35.  and some of the wise shall stumble, so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time. 

In the next verses, we again learn of Antiochus Epiphanes, a very important figure in world history and in the history of Israel, because he is a prototype of the end-time Antichrist, the final anti-Semite. In chapter 8:9-14, and 23-25, he was called the little horn and in this chapter, we will see more detail concerning his reign and his anti-Semitism. All the prototypes of the Antichrist and the Antichrist himself alike share this characteristic.

The secret behind anti-Semitism throughout history and up to the present time, is uncovered by Daniel, along with other prophets. I remember seeing a political cartoon many years ago, depicting voices coming from the United Nations building in New York. Various different issues were raised, but the unifying voice that was raised over all the others was “I propose that we condemn Israel”. Not too long ago, the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, addressed the body of the United Nations, vocalizing his wonder at the UN phenomenon of consistent opposition to Israel from its very inception. At one point, he paused, and for about 40 seconds, said nothing, but fixed his eyes on one representative after another, who sat before him.

Daniel showed us the spiritual forces behind the world empires, ambassadors of Satan to the nations, who demonstrate their hatred for the Creator by opposing His national people. Nothing has changed; we see it with our own eyes in the 21st Century. We can easily show that Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, had the common goal of oppressing Israel. Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich ideology followed the model of Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire, thereby demonstrating an attempt to revitalize the Roman Empire. Hitler’s ultimate solution, his attempt to wipe out the Jewish race by murdering six million Jews in concentration camps, makes him well-qualified to be considered a prototype of the Antichrist. Many criticize those in his day, who thought that he was the Antichrist, but they were not far from the truth. Certainly, they were closer to the truth than those who ridiculed them.

Antiochus Epiphanes
This is the reason that Antiochus IV Epiphanes plays such a significant role in the book of Daniel. He is the cruelest of the kings of the north, the “contemptible person to whom royal majesty has not been given”. He seized power, “by flatteries”, before the son of the former Seleucid king could take the throne. In his victory over the Egyptian armies, the same Hebrew word is used in verse 22 as in 9:26, “by a flood”. It refers to a powerful military onslaught (In 9:26, the prophecy concerns Jerusalem, which was inundated militarily in 70 A.D.), over the Ptolomies, and “the prince of the covenant”, the Jewish high priest, Onias, was killed in the war by his brother, who defected to Antiochus. Terminology concerning Israel and the Jews stands out in these prophecies... i.e. the prince of the covenant, the glorious land, an anointed one.

While many competed for power in Antiochus’ day, he seemed to side with minorities and deceitfully gained power in Syria and in Egypt, from Memphis to Alexandria. He negotiated in ‘peaceful’ ways, feigning friendship and giving gifts, and thereby he gained more territory than any of the other kings of the north had done. He defeated and made captive, the opposing king of the south, Philometer, betrayed by his own counselors, who fell in a mighty battle. Antiochus divided the Ptolomies’ power, but they eventually reunited.

With all the deception of Antiochus and all the manipulation in Egypt, nothing can upset the Lord’s timetable… “the end is yet to be at the time appointed”. God is sovereign Lord over all. As the Seleucid king returns with great spoil to Syria, he passes through Israel, and again, the terminology tells us that God’s people become involved… “his heart shall be set against the holy covenant”. At this point, the travesties studied in chapter eight take place in Jerusalem. He killed 80,000 Jews, took 40,000 prisoner, and sold 40,000 as slaves.

“At the time appointed”, he again marches into Egypt, but this time he is not successful. The ships of Kittim are Roman and they are allied with Egypt. Antiochus is afraid to confront Rome. He aims his hatred against Israel, joins with apostate Jews, who also hated the system and worship. His soldiers desecrated the temple, as we learned in chapter eight. They attacked Jerusalem on the Sabbath, slaughtering men, women and children. They stopped the sacrifices, banned circumcision, and sacrificed a pig on the altar. On December 15, 167 B.C., they placed a statue of the god Zeus in the temple. This was called “the abomination that makes desolate” by the Jews and yet, there is more to come.

Apostate Jews violated their covenant with God and made a covenant with deceitful Antiochus, but, as in Isaiah’s time, so at this time, there is a remnant among the Jews, who are faithful to God. The pattern will be the same in the end times. These are Jews, who “know their God” in personal relationship and they could not deny Him. They stood firm and were not afraid to preach truth against dangerous opposition. They bucked the trends of their day, reasoned with the hearts of the people and were wise enough to be able to turn many to truth and to the God of truth. Our mission is the same in this day of apostate mentality.

God may also call us to confront persecution, as it was in this inter-testament period before the first coming of Christ. There was sword, flame, captivity and plunder. Not all the wise were 100% faithful, and, I suppose, in these days we can expect the same. They stumbled, the word reveals, but they belonged to the Lord and He turned their failure into success. He worked sanctification into their lives, in spite of their imperfections, refining, purifying, and making them white!

Still there is an “appointed time” ahead. Daniel saw the events, of which he will now write, as end time events, and Jesus spoke of an “Abomination that Makes Desolate”, still future in His day. Paul, in 2 Thessalonians, chapter two, saw a great deceiver, who would arise in the end times. John wrote Revelation after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and therefore wrote of a tribulation still to come in the future. It is still future to us, as we live in this 21st Century.

However, at this point, we must end this article, because the history lesson has been lengthy. We will finish chapter 11 in the next article and proceed from Antiochus Epiphanes to the Antichrist.


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