The final messages in the book of Daniel cover many centuries of time from Judah’s exile in the sixth century before Christ all the way to the glorious return of our Savior. Daniel 11 contains specific prophecies regarding several generations of Persian and Greek leaders. Daniel was particularly told about Alexander the Great, the Seleucid Empire to the north and east, and the Ptolemaic Empire to the south and west of the Promised Land. Military details that would be part of the distant future were spoken forth from God as facts that were well-known to the Almighty.
Humanity cannot fathom the God’s governance over the nations of the earth. People imagine a world in which their own choices prevail until personal tragedy makes it obvious that this absurd view is so contrary to reality. It is also common to speak of luck and chance, although in a random universe we could never explain how one Hebrew prophet could accurately communicate so many facts about days yet to come. Even a belief in some impersonal fate cannot be intellectually satisfying for those who take Daniel 11 seriously. Forces that lack true personality, like the supposed “mother nature,” cannot reveal the hidden secrets of the ages to anyone. Only the doctrine of a personal God who is fully in charge of all things can explain the amazing revelations contained in the pages of the Old and New Testaments.
One of the most striking facts about God’s final oracle in the book of Daniel is the description of the evil king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who reigned from 175-164 BC. This prototypical antichrist figure prepared us for later rulers who would share his vicious hatred for God’s covenant people. He would “seduce with flattery” those who should have remained faithful to the Lord. In his overreaching wickedness he would seek to “exalt himself and magnify himself above every god.” His outrageous and blasphemous disrespect of the great I-AM would be an “abomination that makes desolate.”
Despite the seemingly invincible power of tyrants like this ancient king, all such despots are only allowed to go so far. Each one “shall come to his end, with none to help him.” One day a final enemy will do his demonic best to seduce the Lord’s church. At that time the true King of the Jews will come in matchless glory. By God’s perfect providence, all of the proud enemies of Jehovah will be defeated by Jesus.
Until that great day appears, ministers who have been entrusted with the oracles of God should read and preach the Word. They should be faithful in their teaching and obedient with their lives. May the Lord’s servants continue to feed the faithful with truth of Christian hope until the Messiah comes again as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Sovereign God, You are the Lord of men and angels. You rule over our families and churches. You send us help from on high to confirm and strengthen us. You also correct us when we wander from Your way. Nations rise and fall according to Your plan, but Your church shall move forward in the strength of our Messiah King. You will have a great victory against all false gods and hypocrisy, bringing low the pride of men. You will use all of creation in order to accomplish Your purposes. No armies among men can stand against You. You have sent forth Your gospel to every land near and far, and Your Word is winning a great victory as Your Spirit works powerfully over the centuries. Throughout this age there is much suffering alongside the great victories of faith. Men make their plans for grandeur, but they shall not stand. Armies are swept away, and even the strongest men face the end of their days. For centuries men and nations have set themselves against Your covenant people. They would insult Your Name, and destroy Your people, but You give help to Your beloved children. Though we stumble, You have a plan for the coming age that will certainly be accomplished. You will magnify Your own Name, and You will easily defeat the proudest foes. No enemy that expects to destroy You, Your gospel, or Your people will be able to see the fullness of their evil desires accomplished. They shall all come to their end, and there will be none to help them. You are the everlasting God, and You will be praised forever and ever.