THE MIDDLE EAST is seething with crisis after crisis. Few people realize the true significance of this turmoil. They seem to have no conception of the danger it threatenseventual danger to the whole world.
It’s time we woke up to the facts! It’s time we knew what prophecy reveals. It’s time we knew the backgroundthe vital factors that have led up to this world dangerthe significance of this series of crises!
There is only one way to know the answer. The God who made the worldwho makes and unmakes nationshe reveals the future before it happens so we can know and take warning!
The time has now come to reveal a most amazing prophecy!
Unveiling the Future!
What is the real significance of this seething unrest? To understand it, we must study a marvelous prophecy, never before understooda prophecy that has been closed and sealed until nowa prophecy that foretold, 2,500 years ago, this very series of crises and the war that shall finally draw in all the nations of the world!
It is one of the most amazing prophecies in the Bible. It is most specific, describing historical events, up to the present, in more detail than any other prophecy. It is the longest prophecy in the Bible. It is found in Daniel, chapter 11. It describes the impending war!
The prelude is found in the 10th chapter of the book of Daniel. The prophecy came to Daniel in the third year of the reign of Cyrus, king of the Persian Empire (Dan. 10:1). A “man,” apparently the archangel Gabriel (Dan. 9:21), appears before Daniel, to make him understand what shall befall God’s people in these present “latter days” (10:14).
The “King of the North” and the “King of the South”
The first verse of the 11th chapter is a continuation from the last verse of the 10th chapter. The angel says to Daniel, “Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will” (Dan. 11:2-3).
Actually there were 12 more kings in the Persian Empire, but only the first four following Cyrus were of importance for the purpose of this prophecy. They were Cambyses, pseudo-Smerdis, Darius and Xerxes. It was the last, or Xerxes, who was the richest of all and stirred up war with Greece.
Then King Philip of Macedonia planned a great war to conquer the Persian Empire, with an army made up mostly of Grecians. He died before the plans were completed. But his son, Alexander the Great, took over his plans, and invaded Persia. He met the Persian army at the Battle of Issus, 333 B.C. (Dan. 8:2, 5-6). Then he swept down into Egypt, and then to a final crushing defeat of the Persian Empire at the Battle of Arbella, 331 B.C., after which Alexander marched on a conquest clear to India, sweeping all before him.
Notice now verse 4 of the prophecy: “And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.”
How marvelouslyhow accuratelythat came to pass. We quote from one of the authoritative English-language histories published in the last century, A Manual of Ancient History (Student Series) by Rawlinson: “Cut off unexpectedly in the vigor of early manhood [the 33rd year of his age, June, 323 B.C.], he [Alexander] left no inheritor, either of his power or of his projects” (p. 237). The Empire was left leaderless and in confusion, but out of this emerged, by the year 301 B.C., four divisions, just as prophesied, as a result of a division of the Empire into four divisions by Alexander’s generals. They were:
1. Ptolemy (Soter), ruling Egypt, part of Syria and Judea.
2. Seleucus (Nicator), ruling Syria, Babylonia and territory east to India.
3. Lysimachus, ruling Asia Minor.
4. Cassander, ruling Greece and Macedonia.
Thus was the prophecy of verse 4 fulfilled to the letter.
Now notice what follows. From here the prophecy foretells the activities only of two of these four divisions: Egypt, called “king of the south,” because it is south of Jerusalem; and the Syrian kingdom, the king of the north, just north of Judea. It is because the Holy Land passed back and forth between those two divisions, and because their different wars were principally over possession of Judea, that the prophecy is concerned with them. Here is verse 5:
“And the king of the south [Egypt] shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.” In history, we learn that the original Ptolemy I, called Soter, became strong and powerful, developing Egypt beyond the greatest dreams of Alexander. One of his princes, or generals, Seleucus Nicator, also became strong and powerful. And, in 312 B.C., taking advantage of Ptolemy’s being tied up in a war, he established himself in Syria, and assumed the diadem as king.
Verse 6 says, “And in the end of years they shall join themselves together; for the king’s daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement [margin, “rights” or “equitable conditions,” or “marriage union”]: but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times.”
Fulfilled to the Letter!
At the end of 50 years, this occurred exactly as described!
Syria’s ruler, the king of the north, at this time was Antiochus II, called Theos. His wife was named Laodice. And, says Rawlinson’s Ancient History, page 251, “Her influence . . . engaged him in a war with Ptolemy Philadelphus [king of the south], B.C. 260, which is terminated, B.C. 252, by a marriage between Antiochus and Bernice, Ptolemy’s daughter.”
The prophecy says “he that begat her” shall be given up. Also that she shall not retain the power of the arm, neither shall the king of the north, whom she married, stand. All three are to come to their end. Notice how accurately this came to pass.
Says Rawlinson’s History, pages 251 and 252: “On the death of Philadelphus [he that begat her], B.C. 247, Antiochus repudiated Bernice, and took back his former wife, Laodice, who, however, doubtful of his constancy, murdered him to secure the throne for her son Seleucus (II) B.C. 246 . . . Bernice . . . had been put to death by Laodice.”
Nowhere in all the Bible is there so literal a prophecy, giving so many details of future history. And to read an ancient history of these kingdoms is simply to see unfolded before your eyes, step by step, verse by verse, this marvelous prophecy. There can be no doubt of its right application!
The Holy Land Changes Hands
Next let us notice verse 7: “But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate [margin, “in his office”], which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail.”
“Out of a branch,” or “shoot,” of her roots. Her parents were her roots. Hence, this must be her brother, who next should occupy the throne of king of the south and fulfill this prophecy. Now listen to this accurate fulfillment, quoted word for word from the same page of Rawlinson’s work (p. 252):
“Ptolemy Euergetes [the III, eldest son of Philadelphus (p. 272) and therefore Bernice’s brother, a branch of her roots] invaded Syria, B.C. 245, to avenge the murder of his sister, Bernice. . . . In the war which followed, he carried everything before him.”
The eighth verse of Daniel 11 says this king of the south would carry captives and vessels of silver and gold into Egypt, and continue to reign more years than the king of the north, who at that time was Seleucus II, and verse 9 says he shall return into Egypt. As verse 7 said he should “enter into the fortress of the king of the north,” Ptolemy III did seize the fortress of Syria, Seleucia, the port of Antioch, capital of the kingdom! Then he carried back to Egypt immense booty and 2,500 molten images and idolatrous vessels which, in 526 B.C. Cambyses had carried away from Egypt. He continued to rule until 222 B.C., while the king of the north, Seleucus II, died in 226 B.C.
When he died, his two sons took over the kingdom of the north; first Seleucus III, 226-223 B.C., who ruled only three years, and then his brother Antiochus III, called “the Great,” 223-187 B.C. Both of these two sons of Seleucus II assembled immense forces to war against Egypt, avenge their father, and recover their port and fortress, Seleucia.
And this was accurately prophesied in verse 10: “But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return and be stirred up [margin, “be stirred up again”], even to his fortress.”
“And,” continues verse 11, “the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand.”
In fulfillment of the latter part of verse 10, Antiochus the Great, after 27 years, recovered his fortress, Seleucia, and he also conquered the territory of Syria, as far as Gaza, including Judea. But the young Egyptian king, now Ptolemy IV (Philopater), was roused, and with an army of 20,000 inflicted severe defeat on Antiochus the Great; and fulfilling verse 12, he killed tens of thousands and again annexed Judea to Egypt. But he was not strengthened, for he made a rash and speedy peace with Antiochus, and returned to dissipation, throwing away the fruits of victory. Says verse 12, “And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it.”
“For,” as verse 13 continues, “the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches.” It was “after certain years,” or 12 years later, 205 B.C., that Ptolemy Philopator died, leaving his throne to an infant son, Ptolemy Epiphanes. Then Antiochus assembled a greater army, and won great victories.
He then made a treaty allying Philip of Macedonia with him, and others, against Egypt, and they wrested Phoenicia and southern Syria from the king of the south. In this they were assisted by some of the Jews. Josephus’ Jewish history says many Jews helped Antiochus. But notice how accurately Almighty God had foretold this, hundreds of years before it happened!
“And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall” (v. 14).
Read It in Your Own Bible!
To save space, the reader is asked from this point to read each verse of the prophecy from his own Bible, thus saving us reprinting the prophecy in full here. We give here only the facts in history.
Verses 15-16“the glorious land,” of course, refers to Judea, the Holy Land. Antiochus the Great besieged and took Sidon from Egypt, ruined the interests of Egypt in Judea at the Battle of Mount Panium, 198 B.C., and then Antiochus took possession of Judea.
Verse 17“upright ones” (see margin) in Hebrew means “equal conditions, or marriage,” but the one he marries will not stand on his side. In 198 B.C., Antiochus arranged a marriage between his daughter, Cleopatra (not the Cleopatra of 31 B.C. in Egypt) and young Ptolemy Epiphanes, king of the south, by which he hoped subtly to gain complete possession of Egypt; but the plan failed.
Says Rawlinson, page 254, “Coele-Syria and Palestine promised as a dowry, but not delivered.” Cleopatra did not truly stand on the side of Antiochus, for it was only a trick to gain possession of Egypt.
Verse 18and so Antiochus turned his attention in another direction and tried to conquer, 197 to 196 B.C., the islands and coasts of Asia Minor. But the Roman general, Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus, utterly defeated him at the Battle of Magnesia, 190 B.C.
Verse 19Antiochus next turned his attention to the fortresses of his own land, in the east and west. But, attempting to recruit his dissipated wealth by the plunder of the Oriental Temple of Belus, in Elymais, he was killed, 187 B.C.
Verse 20Seleucus IV Philopator (187-176), his son, in an effort to raise money, sent a tax collector, Heliodorus, through Judea. But he reigned only 11 years, when Heliodorus poisoned him.
Verse 21he left no heir. But his brother, a younger son of Antiochus the Great, named Epiphanes (Antiochus IV), a contemptible reprobate, came by surprise and through flattery took the kingdom. To his aid came his assistant, Eumenes. Rawlinson says, page 255, “Antiochus [Epiphanes], assisted by Eumenes, drives out Heliodorus, and obtains the throne, B.C. 176. He astonishes his subjects by an affectation of Roman manners” and “good-natured profuseness [flattery].”
Verse 22“the prince of the covenant” does not refer to Christ. This was the attempt of Antiochus to replace the Jewish high priest by another who would be subservient to him.
Verses 23-24although only a few were with him at first, yet by this “Roman manner,” by deceit and flattery, he crept into power and prospered. He also invaded Galilee and Lower Egypt. His fathers, the former kings of Syria, had favored the Jews, but says Rawlinson, page 255, they “were driven to desperation by the mad project of this self-willed monarch.”
Verse 25Rawlinson, pages 255-256, says, “Threatened with war by the ministers of Ptolemy Philometor [now king of the south], who claim Coele-Syria and Palestine as the dowry of Cleopatra, the late queen-mother, Antiochus marches against Egypt . . . B.C. 171” (pp. 277-278). But he was met by his nephew, Ptolemy Philometor, king of the south, with another immense army. But the Egyptian king was defeated through the treachery of his own officers and was outwitted by Antiochus.
Verses 26-27continuing in Rawlinson, page 278: “After his victory at Pelusium, Antiochus advanced to Memphis, and having obtained possession of the young king’s person [Ptolemy Philometor, king of the south], endeavored to use him as a tool for effecting the entire reduction of the country.” In 174 B.C., the uncle of the king of the south sat at a banquet. Antiochus pretended to ally himself with the young Ptolemy, against his brother, Euergetes II, but each was trying to deceive the other.