Other Prophecies in the Old Testament

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Prophecies in the book of Daniel

King of Persia attacking Greece

(Dan 11:2 NIV)  “Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will appear in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece.

The four kings mentioned are Cambyses (529-522 B.C.), Psudo-Smerdis (522-521 B.C.), Darius I Hystaspes (521-486 B.C.) and Xerxes I (486-465 B.C.). The fourth king, Xerxes I was the ruler who attempted to conquer Greece at the time of the greatest power of the Persian empire. He gathered an army of several hundred thousand and began a war against Greece in 580 B.C.

Rise of Alexander the Great and division of his empire

(Dan 11:3-4 NIV)  Then a mighty king will appear, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. {4} After he has appeared, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others.

This prophesy anticipated the rise of Alexander the Great and his conquering the Persian empire. As history records, when Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C. his conquest was divided among his four generals.

Syria and Egypt became allies

(Dan 11:5-6 NIV)  “The king of the South will become strong, but one of his commanders will become even stronger than he and will rule his own kingdom with great power. {6} After some years, they will become allies. The daughter of the king of the South will go to the king of the North to make an alliance, but she will not retain her power, and he and his power will not last. In those days she will be handed over, together with her royal escort and her father and the one who supported her.

Ptolemy I Soter (323-285 B.C.) is the King of the South (Egypt). The one who is stronger than him is in reference to Seleucus I Nicator (312-281 B.C.), who has control in a military way the large area from Asia Minor to India. Seleucus became the king of the North (Syria) who is stronger than Pyolemy who is the king of the South (Egypt). After some time, they became allies. The daughter mentioned here was Berenice who was the daughter of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.) who was the king of Egypt. At that time the king of Syria was Antiochus II Theos (261-246 B.C.). However, the alliance did not last as a former wife of Antiochus by name of Laodice joined a conspiracy in which both Berenice and Antiochus were killed. Her father, who was Ptolemy, also died at that time.

Egypt attacks Syria

(Dan 11:7-9 NIV)  “One from her family line will arise to take her place. He will attack the forces of the king of the North and enter his fortress; he will fight against them and be victorious. {8} He will also seize their gods, their metal images and their valuable articles of silver and gold and carry them off to Egypt. For some years he will leave the king of the North alone. {9} Then the king of the North will invade the realm of the king of the South but will retreat to his own country.

The one from Berenice’s family line is the later king of Egypt, Ptolemy II Euergetes (246-222 B.C.). He was able to conquer the Northern Kingdom, seizing a great deal of the booty as described by Daniel. Ptolemy II Euergetes in commemorating his victory over the kingdom of the North erected a monument named Marmor Adulitanum in which he recorded his boast that he had conquered a large area, including Mesopotamia, Persia, Media, Susiana, and other countries. After this victory he ceased invading the North. The North counterattacked in 240 B.C., led by Seleucus II Callinicus, but was was defeated with the king retreating without conquering the land of Egypt.

Unsuccessful attacks by the king’s sons

(Dan 11:10-12 NIV)  His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army, which will sweep on like an irresistible flood and carry the battle as far as his fortress. {11} “Then the king of the South will march out in a rage and fight against the king of the North, who will raise a large army, but it will be defeated. {12} When the army is carried off, the king of the South will be filled with pride and will slaughter many thousands, yet he will not remain triumphant.

Seleucus’ older son was killed while on a military campaign in Asia Minor. Later the younger son, Antiochus III, in a battle dated 217 B.C., challenged the Egyptian army with about 70,000 soldiers on each side. The attack was not successful and the entire army of Antiochus was destroyed.

King of the North eventually successful in attacking Egypt

(Dan 11:13-16 NIV)  For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped. {14} “In those times many will rise against the king of the South. The violent men among your own people will rebel in fulfillment of the vision, but without success. {15} Then the king of the North will come and build up siege ramps and will capture a fortified city. The forces of the South will be powerless to resist; even their best troops will not have the strength to stand. {16} The invader will do as he pleases; no one will be able to stand against him. He will establish himself in the Beautiful Land and will have the power to destroy it.

 The conquering of the fortified city was fulfilled when the Egyptian armies were defeated at Paneas at the headwaters of the Jordan River with the result that Antiochus III was able to take Sidon which was captured in 199-198 B.C. The result was that Syria controlled all the Holy Land as far south as Gaza.

Further attempts by Syria to overthrow the entire Egyptian army failed

(Dan 11:17-19 NIV)  He will determine to come with the might of his entire kingdom and will make an alliance with the king of the South. And he will give him a daughter in marriage in order to overthrow the kingdom, but his plans will not succeed or help him. {18} Then he will turn his attention to the coastlands and will take many of them, but a commander will put an end to his insolence and will turn his insolence back upon him. {19} After this, he will turn back toward the fortresses of his own country but will stumble and fall, to be seen no more.

Antiochus tried to overthrow the entire Egyptian kingdom by pretending an alliance and giving his daughter, Cleopatra, to Ptolemy V Epiphanes. Having done that he tried to attack Greece but was defeated in 191 B.C. at Thermopylae and in 189 B.C. he as defeated again at Magesia southeast of Ephesus, this time by Roman soldiers. This fulfills the part of the prophesy about his attention to the coastlands and defeat by a commander. Antiochus’ failure to conquer Greece left him a broken man at the time of his death, which occurred when he attempted to plunder the temple in Elam. Like the prophecy said, he was not killed in anger or in battle.

Reign of successor Seleucus IV

(Dan 11:20 NIV)  “His successor will send out a tax collector to maintain the royal splendor. In a few years, however, he will be destroyed, yet not in anger or in battle.

The successor of Antiochus III was Seleucus IV Philopator (187-175 B.C.). The tax collector he appointed was Heliodorus. The necessity to collect tax was caused by a tribute he had to pay to Rome of 1,000 talents each year. Seleucus was killed by poison.

Succession of Antiochus IV

(Dan 11:21 NIV)  “He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue.

Seleucus was succeeded by Antiochus IV who was described by Daniel as a contemptible person. Antiochus IV is a famous persecutor of the Jews. He was also described as someone who had not been given the honor of royalty.

At the time of death of Seleucus, Antiochus IV was not the next in line. A son of Seleucus, Demetrius, was probably next in line but at that time he was in prison in Rome as a hostage. A younger son, also named Antiochus, was still a baby.

After the baby Antiochus was murdered, Antiochus IV took over the throne.

Military conflicts with Egypt

(Dan 11:22-30 NIV)  Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. {23} After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. {24} When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses–but only for a time. {25} “With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. {26} Those who eat from the king’s provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle. {27} The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. {28} The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country. {29} “At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. {30} Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.

Antiochus was attacked by a large army, probably from Egypt, but was able to defeat the Army as Daniel stated. Having consolidated his political power through victory by arms, he attempted to attack Egypt. This war occurred five years after he took the throne. A large Egyptian army met the forces of Antiochus at Pelusium near the Nile delta and was defeated by Antiochus.

After that, both kings attempted to establish a peace covenant with each other but peace was not achieved as both conspirators tried to get the best of each other.

At a later time, Antiochus made another attempt to attack Egypt but decided to turn back when he met with strong opposition. 

Persecution of the Jews

(Dan 11:30-32 NIV)  Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. {31} “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. {32} With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.

Antiochus was very much opposed to the Jewish religion and the “holy covenant”. He desecrated their temple, offering a pig on the altar and installing a statue of a Greek god. This precipitated the Maccabean revolt in which thousands of Jews were killed, including men, women, and children, some being hurled from tops of buildings to their deaths.

Why the book of Daniel is important?

Desolation of Tyre (modern day Sur in Southern Lebanon)

Ezekiel, writing around 592 – 580 B.C., made several predictions in Ezekiel 26 about Tyre. Some are fulfilled a few years later while some are fulfilled hundreds of years later and even today.

(Ezek 26:3-12 NIV)  therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the sea casting up its waves. {4} They will destroy the walls of Tyre and pull down her towers; I will scrape away her rubble and make her a bare rock. {5} Out in the sea she will become a place to spread fishnets, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD. She will become plunder for the nations, {6} and her settlements on the mainland will be ravaged by the sword. Then they will know that I am the LORD. {7} “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: From the north I am going to bring against Tyre Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, with horsemen and a great army. {8} He will ravage your settlements on the mainland with the sword; he will set up siege works against you, build a ramp up to your walls and raise his shields against you. {9} He will direct the blows of his battering rams against your walls and demolish your towers with his weapons. {10} His horses will be so many that they will cover you with dust. Your walls will tremble at the noise of the war horses, wagons and chariots when he enters your gates as men enter a city whose walls have been broken through. {11} The hoofs of his horses will trample all your streets; he will kill your people with the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground. {12} They will plunder your wealth and loot your merchandise; they will break down your walls and demolish your fine houses and throw your stones, timber and rubble into the sea.

Tyre was a great city when Ezekiel made that prediction. It was one of the largest and most modern cities of Phoenica, which is modern day Lebanon. A great wall protected the city from land attacks while their strong fleet protected them from sea attacks. In spite of that, Ezekiel predicted that this city will be destroyed.

Ezekiel predicted that Nebuchadnezzar will destroy the mainland city (v 8). Nebuchadnezzar did this in 573 B.C.  He started laying siege on the city in 585 B.C. and for thirteen years, he cut off the flow of supplies into the city. In 537 B.C. he finally succeeded in breaking the gates of the city down. But still the prophesy in Ezekiel 26:12 “they will… throw your stones, timber and rubble into the sea” remained unfulfilled.

History tells us that that was finally fulfilled two hundred years later.  Alexander the Great fulfilled this in 332 B.C., 200 years after the prophecy, when he used the ruins of the mainland to build a roadway to an island where the people of Tyre retreated because he had no other way to reach them.

Ezekiel further predicted that where the city once stood, fishermen will spread their nets but the city will not be rebuilt (v 5, 14). Modern Tyre is not built where the city stood. Even today, some 2,500 years after the prophecy, fishermen spread nets on that rocky shore. Historian Philip Myers said, “Alexander the Great reduced it (Tyre) to ruins. She recovered in a measure from this blow, but never regained the place she had previously held in the world. The larger part of the site…is now as bare as the top of a rock – a place where the fishermen that still frequent the spot spread their nets to dry” (General History for Colleges and High Schools, page 55).

Desolation of Edom

Edom, in Old Testament times, a country south of the Dead Sea, in present-day southern Israel and Jordan. (Source: Encarta Encyclopedia) Mount Seir is a mountain range, which runs the length of Edom.

The land of Edom was very rugged and its capital city, Petra, had a seemingly impregnable position in the rocks of the mountains. It was a great and rich city, being the final stop of one of the great trade routes of the East. Even today its ruined buildings and palaces, carved out of solid rock, spoke of its past magnificence. But in Ezekiel 35:3-9, Jeremiah 49:16-18 and other places, there were predictions of the ultimate overthrow of Edom.

(Ezekiel 35:3-15)  and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, Mount Seir, and I will stretch out my hand against you and make you a desolate waste. {4} I will turn your towns into ruins and you will be desolate. Then you will know that I am the LORD. {5} “‘Because you harbored an ancient hostility and delivered the Israelites over to the sword at the time of their calamity, the time their punishment reached its climax, {6} therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I will give you over to bloodshed and it will pursue you. Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you. {7} I will make Mount Seir a desolate waste and cut off from it all who come and go. {8} I will fill your mountains with the slain; those killed by the sword will fall on your hills and in your valleys and in all your ravines. {9} I will make you desolate forever; your towns will not be inhabited. Then you will know that I am the LORD…. {15} Because you rejoiced when the inheritance of the house of Israel became desolate, that is how I will treat you. You will be desolate, O Mount Seir, you and all of Edom. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’”

For many years this prophesy remain unfulfilled and Petra remained great and prosperous. But all these changed just as the Bible predicted it would. Now the whole land of Edom, as far as the city of Maan, is utterly desolate, with practically no inhabitants, and very little animal life. It is interesting to note that only Maan, a town on the east of Edom and with the name “Teman” in the Bible, has escaped the desolation. But this is precisely what was predicted in Ezekiel 25:13 “I will make it desolate from Teman.”

This is what the Encarta Encyclopedia had to say about Petra : Petra (Greek, “city of rock”), ancient city of Arabia, in what is now southwestern Jordan, immediately east of the village of Wadi Musa. The stronghold and treasure city of the Nabataeans, an Arab people, Petra is referred to as Sela in the Bible (see 2 Kings 14:7). It was situated in the land of Edom, between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqabah, near the points of intersection of great caravan routes from Gaza on the Mediterranean Sea, from Damascus, from Elath (now Al ‘Aqabah, Jordan) on the Red Sea, and from the Persian Gulf. From the 4th century BC until the 2nd century AD, Petra was the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom. The Romans conquered it in 106 AD and made it part of the Roman province of Arabia Petraea. The city continued to flourish in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, but later, when the rival city of Palmyra took away most of Petra’s trade, the importance of Petra declined. It was conquered by the Muslims in the 7th century and captured by the Crusaders in the 12th century; gradually it fell into ruins.

Destruction of Nineveh

The prophet Nahum, about 661 B.C., wrote about the destruction of Nineveh. His prophecies about this great city is stated in Nahum 2: 6, “Nineveh will be destroyed in an overwhelming flood.” We know from Babylonian records that rivers that fed a 150-foot wide ditch protecting the city overflowed and washed away some of the wall. After this had happened, the enemy could enter the city. The Bible also predicted that “Nineveh will be totally destroyed” (Nahum 3:15). In about 612 B.C. an enemy attacked the Assyrian army outside Nineveh. The city was so completely destroyed that its ruins were not even located until this last century.