Year 3 Day 44
Read - Daniel 11
Message - Scott Woodburn
Ever wonder if God knows what He is doing? The world seems so out of control that sometimes we sinfully scratch our heads and query if the Lord has lost sight of global affairs. Know what? He certainly hasn't lost sight of even the smallest detail.
In answer to his heartfelt prayer, Daniel had been visited by Christ Himself. The Lord was clear that He was involved in a constant spiritual battle but He was not ignorant of how things would play out. Here is Jesus our Warrior King. He gathers and defends His church and He knows how everything will end. How could we trust anyone else?
Jesus told Daniel that there would be more Persian kings and eventually one of them would attack the Greeks (v2). His name was Xerxes would did all that he could to bring the Greeks under Persian rule. Eventually the Greeks would find their own great warrior. His name was Alexander the Great and he would rise rapidly and conquer a great empire (v3). But Alexander died young and his kingdom was divided among his generals and not any of his own descendants (v4).
Alexander's generals were called Cassander, Ptolemy, Seleucus, and Antigones and in this chapter the Lord would speak primarily about Ptolemy and his descendents in Egypt and Selecus and his descendents in Persia. Jesus called the Ptolemies "the king of the south" (v5) and the Seleucids "the king of the north" (v6). These northern and southern kingdoms would be allies (v6) but mostly they would war against one another.
Christ would speak of the south carrying off precious items from the north (v7-8) quickly followed by the north bringing the war to the south (v9). The fighting would stretch through the generations of the Ptolemies and the Seleucids. Again and again multiudes would rise against one another, battles would be fought, won, lost and much blood would spill (v10-13).
But as nations rise and fall there is always someone bigger and stronger. Jesus told Daniel that as the Ptolemies and Seleucids fought, eventually another commander would take the stage (v18). This commander was Rome and the Romans soon stamped out the "insolence" of her enemies (v18). Eventually there would be another individual who would make an impression on history.
His name was Antiochus IV Ephipanes and Jesus tells his story from verse twenty to thirty-five. We've spoken before in these devotions about this man. He thought he was a god and he turned the Jerusalem temple into a centre of Zeus worship. Antiochus IV Ephipanes was an antichrist. He sought the place of Jesus and demanded worship for himself.
As the chapter comes to a close the scene shifts to the end of time when another antichrist will rise. The final antichrist will make Antiochus and others like him look tame. He will rise and seek to lead many astray and will be a fierce opponent of the church of Jesus Christ. Yet even thousands of years ago, Christ was able to say that the final antichrist would "come to his end, with none to help him" (v45).
Daniel 11 may seem like a dry chapter full of ancient history but it is much more than that. In it we hear directly from Christ who predicts accurately the path of human events. The dark clouds often hang heavy over the affairs of humanity but this chapter is an assurance that the Lord knows exactly the path ahead. Certainly the church will always know trouble in this world but we have been blessed with the Word of God which comforts us. The Word says that Christ is the One who opens the scroll of human history, He is in charge, He is the King and in the end He wins. Who is like the Lord our God? No one. Rest in His mighty hand today.
Q46 What is required in the first commandment? The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God, and to worship and glorify him accordingly.