Bear with me as I try to lay a foundation that I trust will strengthen your faith in God and the Bible.
In Daniel 11:1 we see that Gabriel (Gabriel is not mentioned by name here but most scholars believe that this was Gabriel) had to come and support and protect Michael. Michael is an archangel and is uniquely associated with Israel. It seems that there was some battle going on behind the scenes in relation to Israel.
Our text does not specifically name what the occasion of this battle was, but it has been thought that it was one of three events: I, personally believe that the event was the Decree of Cyrus allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem.
It seems most likely that it was this option....because if the Jews went back to the promised land, this would pave the way for the Messiah, the Son of God, Jesus to eventually appear. No doubt Satan and all his hosts would be have been intensely against THAT!
So we see that behind the visible national scene was an unknown / angelic battle. Little did the Persian King understand that his decision to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem was influenced by this angelic battle.....
The angel (Prob. Gabriel) now begins to explain to Daniel a history of key events leading up to the end (the section we shall consider [vv. 1-20] covers a period of 300 years of history for us - But for Daniel it was prophecy) - One of my commentaries has the following comment:
The historical material in 11:2–20, however, is in reality an introduction to the exceptionally wicked persecutor of the Jews, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (vv. 21–35). Following Antiochus, Gabriel provides a description of the most villainous tyrant that Israel (and the world) will ever encounter, the eschatological Antichrist (vv. 36–45). The vision concludes with a characterization of Antichrist’s reign of terror as the worst period in human history and a promise of deliverance and blessing for the saints (12:1–3). Emphasis is therefore placed on the activities of two individuals, Antiochus and Antichrist.”
In Daniel 11:2, we see Prophecies concerning Persia.
In Daniel 11:3-4, we are given prophecies concerning Greece .
Then comes Daniel 11:5-20 - These were prophecies concerning Egypt and Syria. This is where it gets a little confusing unless you know history....
These verses describe to us the ongoing conflicts between two divisions of the Divided Greek empire:
• The Egyptian - Ptolemaic and
• The Syrian - Seleucid
These battles continue until the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes....A vile and wicked man that set up an image of Zeus in the holy place of the Jewish Temple and slew a pig on the altar and sprinkled its blood on the mercy seat....as an affront to the Jews and their God (He was also “The little horn” of chapter 8). Although I do not have time or space here, each of the persons named in these verses have been specifically identified in history.
In verses 11-20 we clearly see the continued battles between Egypt and Syria until the Egyptians are defeated at Sidon (198.B.C) and the Syrians gain complete control over Phoenicia and Palestine (The “glorious land”)
Now the stage is set for the brutal reign of Antiochus Epiphanes (vv. 21-35). Most Jews looked upon him as a benefactor and deliverer....Little did they realize that within a few years a most horrible time would come to them.
A few observations concerning these facts. We see the foreknowledge of God - Please read Acts 15:18
It was easy for the angel to communicate these matters to Daniel because,
in heaven, it is already known the what, the why, and the who from the
beginning to the end of human history.
God rules among the nations….This is awesome, but it is comforting to know that this same all powerful, all knowing God orders and arranges all things in the lives of His children for His ultimate purpose (Consider Matthew 10:29-30; Romans 8:28-3)
We see also the condition of mankind apart from Divine Grace - Read Galatians 5:19-21
and Romans 1:29–31.
You see the sad state of man in the day’s of Noah - Genesis 6, but he was rescued.
You see the sad state of man in the days of Lot! - Genesis 19, but he was rescued.
One day we too shall be rescued out of this mess that the world is in....our faithful God calling us out!
You see the sad state of man with Antiochus IV Epiphanes - He killed, in the space of three days, 40,000 Jews and 40,000 were sold into slavery - Why? Because he was refused entrance into the Holy of holies!
The world stood in great need of a savior in those days, and a savior came! Jesus was his name - He came for all of us. He saw humanity in the mess, the mire, and the muck of sin and came to where we were. We were the traveler beaten down and left for dead…and Jesus was the Samaritan who came to us in that place and rescued us! Do you know him?
One day He is coming again! Are you ready to meet Him?