“And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases.” (Daniel 11:3)
All Bible students, including critics, agree that this is a description of Alexander the Great. History here is masterfully sketched in Daniel 11 and history attests that every item in this chapter has found its exact fulfillment.
One commentator said, “He (Alexander) lifted the civilized world out of its rut … and started a new epoch.” The world into which Christ was born was essentially Greek, though Roman banners waved over its cities. The Greek language of the New Testament was born as a result of Alexander’s breaking down the local barriers and a common language existed to help spread the gospel message.
Alexander was the son of Philip, who was assassinated in 336 BC, and was but 20 years old when he ascended the Grecian throne. He immediately laid plans to invade Persia to get revenge of Xerxes’ invasion of Greece. With 40,000 men and 7,000 horses, Alexander entered into the fray against the Persians and defeated Darius and his 600,000 soldiers near a place called Issis — God knew about the future, as with such overwhelming odds Alexander should have been soundly defeated! Alexander then conquered Egypt and established the city of Alexandria. He moved east to capture Babylon, Susa and Persepolis, and then invaded India.
“But as soon as he has come to his height, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded; for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them.” (Daniel 11:4)
Alexander reached the height of his career at the age of 33 in 323 BC. He died in a drunken stupor in Babylon.
The prophecy specified that his kingdom would not go to his posterity. Within 15 years, all his family was killed. Alexander’s leading generals were all ambitious to succeed him and the struggle for supremacy lasted 22 years when the kingdom was broken into four which followed the battle of Ipsus in 301 BC.
Seleucus, Ptomoly, Lysimachus and Cassander defeated Antigonus and divided the world into the four winds of heaven. These divisions were reckoned from the viewpoint of Palestine, the homeland of Daniel.
“Then the king of the South will grow strong, along with one of his princes who will gain ascendancy over him and obtain dominion; his domain will be a great dominion indeed.” (Daniel 11:5)
These four generals divided Alexander’s empire but it was not long before two took over the entire region, Seleucus in the north and Ptomoly in the south.
The king of the south was Ptomoly Lagus, who had the control of Egypt and Libya. He marched into Judea, besieged Jerusalem and took 100,000 Jews as captives to Egypt. During the 40 years he ruled, he raised the kingdom to such heights that it was greatly superior to all other kingdoms.
Seleucus Nicator ruled Syria, Babylon, Media, Macedon and Thrace, three parts of the four parts of Alexander’s empire. That is why he spoken of as being strong above Ptomoly.
Ian Cotton is the retired pastor of the Creston Seventh-day Adventist Church.