“Now I will tell you the truth.” The truth proclaimed to Daniel represents one of the most detailed chapters of prophecy recorded in Scripture. Many of us reading chapter 11 aren’t aware of the numerous historical references that comprise about 200 years of history. The account is so accurate in it’s details that very few scholars debate who and what this passage is referencing, but they strongly contest when it was written.
There was an ancient scholar named Porphyry. writing in the 300’s AD that Daniel was a forgery. The prophecy in Daniel is so detailed that he concluded it had to be written around 200 BC, after the events took place. This thought is alive and well among many who reject the idea that there is a God who knows the future.
However, we know that God exists. And if God exists, He has the power to reveal world events hundreds of years before those events took place. That’s exactly what happened—God said it would happen and it happened.
Daniel 11:2 suggests that Persia will see “three more kings…then a fourth.” “It is a matter of historical record that the three kings who ruled between Cyrus and Xerxes I were Cambyses (530–522), Smerdis (pseudo-Smerdis or Gaumata; 522), and Darius I Hystaspes (522–486).” (Bible Knowledge Commentary).
The rise of Greece, and specifically, Alexander the Great, is prophesied several times in Daniel. Again, history tells us that after Alexander’s untimely death at the age of 32, his empire was divided up among four generals. These events eventually culminated in the actions of one man, the Seleucid ruler, Antiochus Epiphanes’ (When you read that name you should hear the Darth Vader theme song in your head—this man was evil). Daniel 11:21–35 tells of Antiochus calling him a “despicable” person (21).
It was Antiochus who set up the “abomination that causes desolation” (31). On December 16, 167 BC he erected an altar to Zeus on the altar of burnt offering outside the temple in Jerusalem, and had a pig offered on the altar. This desecration and the following actions of the wicked Antiochus led to a revolt among many of the Jewish people. Daniel recorded, “but the people who know their God will display strength and take action” (32). This guerilla war was led by a family for whom these events were named, the Maccabean Revolt. (If you’ve ever wondered who Hanukkah comes from, it’s is a celebration of God’s actions during this time.)
Here’s a simple thought for today—God knows the future. It was revealed, in part, to Daniel who recorded some of it, but God knows all of what will happen. Although we may not always know what’s around the corner, God does. Also, He’s made promises to us about the future, and since He knows, we can trust that it will happen—God says it will happen and it will happen.
In an effort to find something to help explain the historical nature of this chapter, I was looking for a video when I found this sermon—
A quick search of Daniel 11 explanations will turn up a bunch of whack-jobs, so I was surprised to find a message by my former professor, Mark Hitchcock. This is the guy with whom I studied the prophets in seminary and this hour-long message is worth your time if you have a chance to listen.
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate