Read Daniel 11:1-4. What do we see here that reminds us of some of the previous prophecies we have seen in Daniel?
Gabriel tells Daniel that three kings will still rise from Persia. They will be followed by the fourth king, who will be the richest one of all and will provoke the Greeks. After Cyrus, three successive kings exert dominion over Persia: Cambyses (530-522 B.C.),
the False Smerdis (522 B.C.), and Darius I (522-486 B.C.). The fourth king is Xerxes, mentioned in the book of Esther as Ahasuerus. He is very wealthy (Esther 1:1-7) and marshals a vast army to invade Greece, as predicted in the prophecy. But, in spite of his power, he is repelled by a smaller force of valiant Greek soldiers.
It is not difficult to recognize Alexander the Great as the mighty king who arises in Daniel 11:3, and who becomes the absolute ruler of the ancient world. At the age of 32, he died without leaving an heir to rule the empire. So the kingdom was divided among his four generals: Seleucus over Syria and Mesopotamia, Ptolemy over Egypt, Lysimachus over Thrace and portions of Asia Minor, and Cassander over Macedonia and Greece.
Compare Daniel 11:2-4 with Daniel 8:3-8, Dan. 8:20-22. How do these texts together help identify Alexander as the power here?
What can we learn from this assortment of names, dates, places, and historical events? First, we learn that the prophecy is fulfilled as predicted by the divine messenger. God’s Word never fails. Second, God is the Lord of history. We may get the impression that the succession of political powers, leaders, and kingdoms is propelled by the ambition of emperors, dictators, and politicians of all stripes. However, the Bible reveals that God is in ultimate control and will move the wheel of history according to His divine purpose, which ultimately will lead to the eradication of evil and the establishment of God’s eternal kingdom.