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Mystery of Lawlessness – Part Nine

Mystery of Lawlessness – Part Nine

“what shall befall thy people in the latter days” – God reveals Israel’s future

In previous chapters, we have looked at the rise and fall of world empires and saw how the bible clearly revealed these events in great detail hundreds of years before they occurred.  According to Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, we now live in a period of time after the “legs of iron” representing the Old Roman Empire, and before the “feet of iron and clay” representing the coming one world empire.

During the course of this study, we have identified satan as the source and power behind the Mystery of Lawlessness which has plagued mankind down through the ages..  We have examined his strengths, his weaknesses, and his influence throughout human history.  We have determined his goal from the beginning has been to “be like God” and in the coming chapters, we will begin to see how he plans to achieve this goal by creating a one world religion and government that will give him god like control over all mankind.  As we will see later in this chapter, satan’s pride blinded him to what it TRULY means to “be like GOD”.  God is a GOD of LOVE and because HE LOVES US, HE gives us the freedom to love HIM, or reject HIM.   Satan’s pride has blinded him to GOD’s unconditional love and we shall see later how that blinding pride led to his ultimate AND FINAL defeat.  We will address this in more detail later in this chapter, but let’s first focus on some biblical insights into the origin and nature of the coming world ruler.

 

Daniel Chapter 10, verses 11-21

11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.

12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

Daniel had been fasting and praying for 21 days seeking what God’s plan was for his people and during that entire time, God’s messenger had been prevented from getting through to Daniel with God’s answer to his prayers.  We see in this verse, the source of that resistance was referred to as “the prince of the kingdom of Persia”.  Because satan is NOT omnipresent, like GOD, he has to rely upon a hierarchy of his minions (fallen angels) assigned to geographic locations around the world to represent his interests. In this case, satan’s appointee had succeeded in delaying God’s messenger for 21 days, until Michael one of the chief princes (archangels) came to help.  In these passages, we get a rare glimpse into the world of spiritual battles that go on around us every day, all day long.  In Ephesians Chapter 6, verse 12, we are told, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”.   These forces are represent the “Mystery of Lawlessness” against which we must contend daily until Jesus returns to set up HIS kingdom on earth.  Now, see what message was so important that satan felt it necessary to try and prevent it from getting to Daniel.

14 Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.

Again, we see this message is for Daniel’s people (the children of Israel) which will be fulfilled in the “latter days”. 

15 And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.

16 And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength.

17 For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.

18 Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,

19 And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.

20 Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.

This is a critical point of this entire study so please take a moment to reflect on this.  We see here that God’s messenger must continue the spiritual battle against the prince of Persia who is satan’s representative over the region of Persia.  Note that God’s messenger goes on to say that after the Persian empire, satan will appoint another prince to be in charge of the coming Greek empire.  Satan’s inability to be everywhere at once, makes it necessary for him to assign rulers of darkness to oversee key geographic regions of the world, specifically focusing on leaders of world empires.  This will be his game plan for the coming world empire and his appointee will be none other than the anti-christ whom satan will possess at the midpoint of the tribulation period. (more on that later).

21 But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.

 

Daniel 11

Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.

When the books of the bible were originally written, they were not broken down into chapters and verses.  These were added by biblical scholars later as an aid to studying the bible.  Although I believe these scholars, like the original authors, were inspired by the Holy Spirit in assigning the chapters and verse numbers, there are a few occasions when lesser learned students such as I, are confused by the breaks they established between chapters.  The break between Daniel Chapter 10 and Daniel Chapter 11 is one example.  If you look at the first verse in Chapter 11 below, it is confusing unless you ignore the chapter break and see it as a continuation from verse 21 in Chapter 10.  In that vein, it’s clear that God’s messenger is telling Daniel that he (the messenger) also advised Darius from the very first year of his reign over the Medio/Persian empire.  

Although we are often unaware of it, we as Christians are often at the center of spiritual battles that are going on all around us.  This is why it is vitally important that we maintain our spiritual strength through prayer, fellowship with other Christians and reading God’s word!  As you read the following verses, keep in mind that most of these prophetic events have already come to pass and secular history substantiates the accuracy of the vision God gave to Daniel.  Behind each of these worldly events, there were also substantial spiritual battles being fought between the forces of good and the forces of evil.  

And now will I shew thee the truth. 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.

This verse states there will be 4 more Persian rulers.  The last one will be greater than all the previous rulers and stir up his empire to attack Greece.

And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.

This mighty king is none other than Alexander the Great.

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.

This verse clearly prophesied that Alexander would die and pass on his kingdom to his four generals as stated in a previous chapter.  Note this prophesy makes it clear that the kingdom will NOT pass on to his heirs (not to his posterity) as was often the case with Dynastic rulers.  It also prophesies that the four rulers will not rule as one over one united empire, ( nor according to his dominion)

And the king of the south 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.

This verse refers to Ptolemy, one of Alexander’s generals who was given rule ruled over Egypt.  It also speaks of one of Ptolemy’s heirs who would be even greater than he was.  These passages mark the beginning of a series of wars between the Kings of the South (Ptolemaic) and the Kings of the North (Selucidic) who ruled over Syria.  Over the next 100 years, secular history records no less than 6 different wars between the descendants of Ptolemy and the descendants of Seleucid.  Although written at least 300 years before these battles were fought, Daniels vision found here in Chapter 11 is extremely detailed and accurate.  I have included some comments on the following verses that will help tie these verses in the 11th Chapter of Daniel to the secular historical records of these events found in Wiki-pedia.

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: 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.

See the excerpt below from Wiki-pedia which provides a secular confirmation of the events described in verse 6 above.

Second Syrian War (260253 BC)

The war was concluded around 253 BC with the marriage of Antiochus to Ptolemy’s daughter, Berenice Syra. Antiochus repudiated his previous wife, Laodice, and turned over substantial domain to her. He died in Ephesus in 246, poisoned by Laodice according to some sources.[citation needed] Ptolemy II died in the same year.

But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, 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:

See the excerpt below from Wiki-pedia which provides a secular confirmation of the events described in verse 7 above. 

Third Syrian War (246241 BC)

Also known as the Laodicean War, the Third Syrian War began with one of the many succession crises that plagued the Hellenistic states. Antiochus II left two ambitious mothers, his repudiated wife Laodice and Ptolemy II’s daughter Berenice Syra, in a competition to put their respective sons on the throne. Laodice claimed that Antiochus had named her son heir while on his deathbed, but Berenice argued that her newly born son was the legitimate heir. Berenice asked her brother Ptolemy III, the new Ptolemaic king, to come to Antioch and help place her son on the throne. When Ptolemy arrived, Berenice and her child had been assassinated.

Ptolemy declared war on Laodice’s newly crowned son, Seleucus II, in 246 BC, and campaigned with great success (his forces possibly being commanded by Xanthippus of Sparta, aka Xanthippus of Carthage, the mercenary general responsible for defeating a Roman army at Tunis/Bagrades in 255). He won major victories over Seleucus in Syria and Anatolia, briefly occupied Antioch and, as a recent cuneiform discovery[1] proves, even reached Babylon. These victories were marred by the loss of the Cyclades to Antigonus Gonatas in the Battle of Andros. Seleucus had his own difficulties. His domineering mother asked him to grant co-regency to his younger brother, Antiochus Hierax, as well as rule over Seleucid territories inAnatolia. Antiochus promptly declared independence, undermining Seleucus’ efforts to defend against Ptolemy.

In exchange for a peace in 241, Ptolemy was awarded new territories on the northern coast of Syria, including Seleucia Pieria, the port of Antioch. The Ptolemaic kingdom was at the height of its power.

The “branch of her roots” refers to Berenice’s brother Ptolemy III.  Ptolemy “entered into the fortress of the king of the north” by occupying Antioch.  He “shall prevail” indicated the Ptolemaic kingdom would reach its greatest height under Ptolemy III’s leadership.  Note Daniel uses the word “shall” when referring to all of these events, because to him, they are yet in the future.  The Wiki-pedia version of these events clearly reflect the accuracy of Daniel’s vision!

Verses 8 through 19 in Daniel Chapter 11 reflect the continuing wars between the Ptolemaic and Selucidic dynasties between 200BC and 165BC so we will skip over them and focus on verse 20.  Daniel’s prophecy has proven to be extremely accurate when compared to secular history records written after the events occurred.  Let us pick up at verse 20 and see more evidences of the accuracy of Daniel’s prophecy.

20 Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom:

This refers to Ptolemy IV.  See what Wiki-pedia has to say about his reign, and his death.

Excerpt from Wiki-pedia regarding Ptolemy IV raising taxes

Economic troubles led the Ptolemaic government to increase taxation, which in turn fed the nationalist fire. In order to focus on the home front, Ptolemy signed a conciliatory treaty with Antiochus in 195, leaving the Seleucid king in possession of Coele-Syria and agreeing to marry Antiochus’ daughter Cleopatra I.

20 Then shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom: but within few days he shall be destroyed, neither in anger, nor in battle.

This secular excerpt is from the book “Ptolemaic Dynasty” published by Tyndale House.

Ptolemy IV Philopator1 king of Egypt, son of Ptolemy III by Berenice II2, probably born c. May/June 2443, succeeded between 1 Thoth (Eg.) = 18 October and 15 Hathyr (Eg.) = 31 December 2224, incorporated in the dynastic cult with Arsinoe III in Year 7 (Mac.) = 216/5 as the Fatherloving Gods, Qeoi FilopatwreV5, associated Ptolemy V in the throne probably on 30 Mesore year 12 = 9 October 210 or 17 Phaophi year 13 = 30 November 2106, lost Upper Egypt to Horwennefer between 1 Thoth year 1/18 = 13 October and 29 Thoth year 1/18 = 10 November 2057, probably not attested as a victor at the Basileia in Lebadaeia7.1, reign ended after c. 23 Pachon year 18 = 2 July 204 and before c. 10 Epheiph = 18 August 2048, died of unknown causes, possibly from burns received in a palace fire9.

Once again, we see that the prophetic events written by Daniel almost 300 years earlier have been confirmed in great detail by secular hisotorical records.  It’s important for us to establish the accuracy and reliability of Daniel’s vision, because we will soon get into portions of this prophecy that have yet to unfold.  In next weeks lesson we will see what Daniel’s prophecy has to say about the man who was the pre-cursor to the future world ruler.  The man whom we have recognized will be the coming anti-christ.   

The actions of Antiochus Epiphanes IV, ruler of the Selucidic empire in 170BC gives us a preview of what the coming anti-christ will be like.  In next weeks lesson, we will see the similarities between the past actions of Antiochus Epiphanes and the future actions of the anti-christ.  In doing so, we will see that both men were/are under the same influence….that of the Mystery of Lawlessness….satan himself.


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