Men Rise and Fall

Daniel 11:29–45 (NKJV)

11:29 “At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter. 30 For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage.

“So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. 32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. 33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. 34 Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. 35 And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.

This passage continues the prophecy concerning the Syrian king (Antiochus) and the Egyptian kings (the Ptolemies).  In this case, Antiochus thought that Egypt was weakened, so he sought to attack them.  However, Egypt had allied with Rome, and ships came against Syria, and they were defeated.  Israel tried to overthrow the high priest Antiochus had appointed, and He attacked Jerusalem, halting their sacrifical system.  However, Israel was aided by God and did great things.  This all relates to situations current in the Middle East, but also to the last days.

36 “Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. 37 He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. 38 But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. 39 Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.

Antiochus will exert his will on some nations, exalting himself above even God, serving a god of fortresses, or a military god.  

40 “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. 41 He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. 44 But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. 45 And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.

Eventually, the Egyptian king will attack Antiochus, but this time Antiochus will prevail, overwhelming Egypt, while sparing his own allies.  He gets a disturbing message from the north and east, and goes to do battle there.  He will stretch out his kingdom from the Mediterranean Sea to Jerusalem, with tents all in between.  However, he will eventually be defeated and come to an end alone.  No matter what enemy comes against the people of God, eventually that ruler will be defeated.  Men rise and fall, but God eternally reigns!

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