Archive for January, 2012

31
Jan
12

The Prophecies of Daniel, Part 16

I love prophecy in the Bible, because it is always fulfilled.  This alone should make people stop and think about the veracity of the Bible – for these things were clearly written well in advance of the actual fulfillment.  That fact seems to be beyond argument.  And what are the chances that these prophecies just happened to be “coincidentally” right?  No, it is safe to say that God’s prophecy is accurate, true…and amazing.  Here are some explanations of each of the prophecies found in the book of Daniel.

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The prophecy of Rome’s rise continues, with Julius Caesar gaining ground over the Grecian Empire.

Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back upon him.  After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more.  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.  He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty.  He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue.  Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed.  After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power.  When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers.  He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time.”   — Daniel 11:18-24

After conquering Egypt, it is true that Julius Caesar expanded his empire by defeating the people of Spain, North Africa and the Bosporus – these are the coastlands referred to above.  After these victories, he returned to Rome, where the offer of king was made to him, and which he accepted (recall, Rome was not a monarchy, but was a republic, and thus, had no king).  This offer was made twice before, which he refused both times, and these offers were associated with Brutus (of Roman lore).  It is likely Brutus who is being mentioned above as the “commander”.  So grievous was Caesar’s decision to accept the kingship that he was murdered by Brutus, Cassius and others, “to be seen no more”.  His successor was Augustus Caesar, who was in charge of tax collection during the time of Christ.  He died peacefully in his bed in 14 A.D. (thus, “not in anger or in battle”).

In his place, Tiberius Caesar was named ruler (see a bust of his image above), and he was supposedly a vile and wicked king, disliked by the people.  Finally, we see the prediction that a “prince of the covenant will be destroyed” at this time.  This must be a reference to Jesus Christ, who was indeed put to death during the reign of Tiberius Caesar in 31 A.D.

When I witness how true, known history was thus predicted, and to see the life of Jesus tied in with all of this, it makes the times all the more real to me.

30
Jan
12

The Prophecies of Daniel, Part 15

I love prophecy in the Bible, because it is always fulfilled.  This alone should make people stop and think about the veracity of the Bible – for these things were clearly written well in advance of the actual fulfillment.  That fact seems to be beyond argument.  And what are the chances that these prophecies just happened to be “coincidentally” right?  No, it is safe to say that God’s prophecy is accurate, true…and amazing.  Here are some explanations of each of the prophecies found in the book of Daniel.

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It is now Rome’s turn to make their stand in the prophecies of Daniel.  We have seen prior to this that Rome would rise one time against Greece – though unsuccessfully – but the predictions now point to Rome’s impending dominance.

The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it.  He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him.”   — Daniel 11:16-17

After Scopas’ failed attempt to survive the siege of Antiochus Magnus at Sidon, Rome comes under new leadership – that of Pompey.  The king of the north is now Antiochus Asiaticus, and in 69 B.C., he was to be challenged by Pompey (as we see predicted above).  At this time, two men were struggling for the leadership of Judea (the “Beautiful Land” mentioned in the above prophecy).  Aristobulus wanted to close the gates against the Romans, while Hyrcanus wanted to open them in welcome.  Hyrcanus won the argument, and the Romans made Jerusalem a province of Rome in 63 B.C.  Jerusalem, the Beautiful Land, was to see its independence gone for a long time as a result of these happenings.  And it is at this time that Rome supplants Antiochus as “king of the north” – though Rome is a republic, not a monarchy.

Julius Caesar is the leader of Rome at this time, and history records that he went against the south – co-ruled by Ptolemy the 12th and his sister, Cleopatra – in Egypt.  Ultimately, Caesar would be victorious, adding Egypt to the Roman empire as a province around 30 B.C.  Julius Caesar would marry Cleopatra at this time, and it is said that his passion for her was very great.  But Cleopatra would throw her support behind Mark Antony, the enemy of the Caesars (and they would eventually commit suicide together in their defeat by Caesar Augustus, also known as Octavian).

Once again, these are historical events with which we may be familiar.  But did you know that they were predicted in the Old Testament?

29
Jan
12

The Prophecies of Daniel, Part 14

I love prophecy in the Bible, because it is always fulfilled.  This alone should make people stop and think about the veracity of the Bible – for these things were clearly written well in advance of the actual fulfillment.  That fact seems to be beyond argument.  And what are the chances that these prophecies just happened to be “coincidentally” right?  No, it is safe to say that God’s prophecy is accurate, true…and amazing.  Here are some explanations of each of the prophecies found in the book of Daniel.

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The very detailed prophecies of nations around Palestine continues, with:

“For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped.   In those times many will rise against the king of the South. The violent men among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success.  Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand.   — Daniel 11:13-15

In the last post, we saw the clash of two kings – Antiochus Magnus (of the North) and Ptolemy Philopator (of the south, in Egypt).  After some back and forth war campaigns, they enjoyed a time of relative peace, until Ptolemy died, leaving his son, Ptolemy Epiphanes, in charge at the age of three or four (this happened in 204 B.C.).  Seeing this as an opportunity to finally overrun the South, Antiochus Magnus mustered an army and moved south to attack.

“The violent men” is an interesting reference to Rome in this passage.  For the first time in this vision, we see mention of the Romans, who would be the ones to ultimately bring a measure of destruction directly upon the Jews.  Indeed, in fulfillment of this prophecy, it was Scopas of Rome who rose up to support Epiphanes of the South, fighting against Antiochus Magnus.  He would have some temporary success in the campaign, but he would ultimately be defeated, exactly as the prophecy states.  Scopas would vacate Palestine and hole up in the heavily fortified city of Sidon.   But even with help from other kings, he could not withstand the siege laid on by Antiochus, and surrendered – with the terms of “life only”.  Antoiochus took back the city, stripped Scopas and his 10,000 men of their clothes and sent them out with nothing…except their lives.  Prophecy…fulfilled.

The Romans will now become more prominent in the story – this was only their initial appearance.

28
Jan
12

The Prophecies of Daniel, Part 13

I love prophecy in the Bible, because it is always fulfilled.  This alone should make people stop and think about the veracity of the Bible – for these things were clearly written well in advance of the actual fulfillment.  That fact seems to be beyond argument.  And what are the chances that these prophecies just happened to be “coincidentally” right?  No, it is safe to say that God’s prophecy is accurate, true…and amazing.  Here are some explanations of each of the prophecies found in the book of Daniel.

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The back and forth nature of the war between the Grecian kingdoms of north and south rages on.

“Then the king of the South will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North, who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated.  When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant.”   — Daniel 11:11-12

After Ptolemy Euergetes died in the south, he was succeeded by Ptolemy Philopator (shown above, although I think he had a nose).  Antiochus Magnus, the king of the north, had decided to move south, past the captured capital of Syria.  This angered Ptolemy, who marched out and engaged him in the battle of Raphia, near Gaza.  Both sides have large armies, but the army of Ptolemy Philopator is larger.  It is said that the casualties of the battle resulted in Antiochus Magnus losing 10,000 men, 3,000 horses, and another 4,000 men were taken captive.  Ptolemy lost far fewer – 1,400 men and 700 horses.

In an interesting twist, as he is marching back home, Ptolemy Philopator stops by the temple in Jerusalem to worship the God of Israel.  Before he can enter, he is struck by terror and confusion, and has to be carried away.  This caused him to have great hatred of the Jewish nation for many years, and in 213 B.C. he slaughtered as many as 40,000 Jews in Alexandria.

Isn’t it interesting how this “back and forth” battle was predicted hundreds of years previously?  This is no mere handwaving, or generalized prophecy which would have been easy to interpret as “fulfilled”.  It is detailed and specific.

27
Jan
12

The Prophecies of Daniel, Part 12

I love prophecy in the Bible, because it is always fulfilled.  This alone should make people stop and think about the veracity of the Bible – for these things were clearly written well in advance of the actual fulfillment.  That fact seems to be beyond argument.  And what are the chances that these prophecies just happened to be “coincidentally” right?  No, it is safe to say that God’s prophecy is accurate, true…and amazing.  Here are some explanations of each of the prophecies found in the book of Daniel.

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The story of war and politics in the Grecian Empire continues through the prophecy revealed to Daniel.

“One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious.  He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North alone.  Then the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country.  His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress.”   — Daniel 11:7-10

Recall that Selecus Callinicus is now king of the north – he is the daughter of Laodice.  The king of the south has now gone to another inheritor, named Ptolemy Euergetes.  He is the brother of Berenice (see the previous post for details on Berenice).  This fulfills the first sentence in the verses above.  Ptolemy Euergetes marched north to help his sister, Berenice, but was too late to save her from her death sentence.  Because of the people’s intense hatred for the king of the north, Ptolemy was able to move north with relative ease.  Ptolemy reached Seleucia, the capital of Syria, plundering along the way, before he had to return to Egypt to deal with local trouble, in the year 246 B.C.  After a few years, around 227 B.C., Seleucus Callinicus sent his two sons to the south to gain back the land that was lost.  The result was to be that they retook the capital of Syria (which was previously overrun by the king of the south).  The weaker of the two sons, Seleucus Ceraunus was poisoned, and the stronger son, Antiochus Magnus (pictured above), now ruled the north after his father’s death.  He had thoughts of invading Egypt, but didn’t do so at this time.

Once again, the detail with which this prophecy is given is striking, since it all came to pass exactly as predicted.

26
Jan
12

The Prophecies of Daniel, Part 11

I love prophecy in the Bible, because it is always fulfilled.  This alone should make people stop and think about the veracity of the Bible – for these things were clearly written well in advance of the actual fulfillment.  That fact seems to be beyond argument.  And what are the chances that these prophecies just happened to be “coincidentally” right?  No, it is safe to say that God’s prophecy is accurate, true…and amazing.  Here are some explanations of each of the prophecies found in the book of Daniel.

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More detail is revealed in Daniel regarding the political intrigue during the time of the Grecian Empire.  Remember, these words were given in advance of their occurrence by over 100 years.

“The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power.  After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be handed over, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her.”   — Daniel 11:5-6

The king of the south, whom we introduced earlier as Ptolemy in Egypt, is one of the four rulers who eventually ruled over Alexander the Great’s conquered empire.  There is a great deal of court intrigue around the latter part of this passage.  The history goes like this:

Ptolemy Philadelphus was the second king to reign in the south (he is different than the original Ptolemy mentioned above).  The east, west and north kingdoms ended up going to a single one of the three generals mentioned in our last post – that is, to Seleucus Nicator.  The third king to reign in the north (two after Seleucus) was Antiochus Theos (ruling from 261 to 246 B.C.).  Ptolemy Philadelphus and Antiochus Theos decided to ally themselves together through a marriage – Ptolemy sent his daughter Berenice to Antiochus to be wed.  Antiochus divorced his wife, Laodice, and took Berenice as his wife, with an eye toward using her as leverage to gain the whole kingdom.  But, things were not to go according to plan.  Berenice’s father died, leaving Antiochus with no direct claim to the throne.  He immediately divorced her and took back his original wife Laodice.  While he had some power at this time, it was not to last, for Laodice had him poisoned, and then appointed her son, Seleucus Callinicus as king.  She also had Berenice put to death at this time, along with her son conceived with Antiochus.  This left a clear path for Seleucus Callinicus to gain the throne.

Compare this history with the details in the verse above.  Remember, this is all real history, and is verifiable through sources other than the Bible prophecy.  But it was predicted, in great detail, by the Bible through divine prophecy long before it actually happened.

25
Jan
12

The Prophecies of Daniel, Part 10

I love prophecy in the Bible, because it is always fulfilled.  This alone should make people stop and think about the veracity of the Bible – for these things were clearly written well in advance of the actual fulfillment.  That fact seems to be beyond argument.  And what are the chances that these prophecies just happened to be “coincidentally” right?  No, it is safe to say that God’s prophecy is accurate, true…and amazing.  Here are some explanations of each of the prophecies found in the book of Daniel.

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After the Medo-Persian empire, the prophecy now says something specifically about who will conquer them and be the next to rule.

“Then a mighty king will appear, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. After he has appeared, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others.”   — Daniel 11:3-4

We have already seen in two previous visions how Greece will be next in line to exert dominion over the world – specifically led by Alexander the Great, who is the mighty king that is predicted.  However, we see more detail is added to the prophecy in this vision.  Specifically, the empire will be “parceled out toward the four winds of heaven“.  Let’s put this prophecy to the test.

Alexander was ultimately succeeded by four of his generals, who took over the lands that he had ruled by himself.  Specifically, Seleucus took Babylon, Mesopotamia and Persia; Ptolemy ruled Egypt; Lysimachus governed over Thrace and Asia Minor; and finally, Cassander ruled over Greece and Macedonia.  Now, if one centers oneself in Palestine (Daniel’s home and the center of the chosen people’s land), you will find on ancient maps that Mesopotamia and Persia lie to the east, Egypt lies to the south, Thrace and Asia Minor are to the north, and Greece is to the west.  Thus, the four winds of heaven!

Don’t just take my word for it.  Here is a very nice map of the parcels of land, as centered around the Holy Land.




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