We Live in the End of Gentile Times
Respected guests, friends, young people, and brothers and sisters.
This lecture will consider the fact that we now live in the end of the Gentile Age.
But before we get into this, we would like to remind everyone that the purpose of Bible prophesy is not to be able to predict the future, and the exact date when Christ will return. Life is so very fragile that any one of us could die tonight, and then for us, the return of Christ is in the morning at our awakening. So the purpose of Bible prophesy is not some magical formula we can use to wait for awhile, before we get serious about serving God.
No, the purpose of Bible prophesy is that we might see that the hand of God is active, still working in the earth, bringing about His ultimate purpose of the earth ruled in peace by His son, Jesus Christ. A time when the earth will reflect Isaiahís prophesy in that ninth chapter, so often repeated but so poorly understood:
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, [and that throne was in Israel] and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."
And in seeing the work performed by the zeal of the Lord of Hosts come to pass, in seeing the prophesies of the Bible clearly taking place before our very eyes, our faith will be strengthened to hold on to the Truth and remain obedient to the truth in these ages of Gentile darkness.
In the prophesies of the Bible that we shall look at this evening, we will see this. We will see that Godís hand is, and has been, at work over the ages, slowly and carefully realizing His plan. Yes, in every age, and especially in our age, there have been scoffers. Peter records their speech nearly 2000 years ago, we he wrote words of encouragement to the faithful. Peter wrote:
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
These men, these scoffers exist today in many forms. Some are not religious men at all, but simply mock the idea that God is still working. Some claim to be religious men, but claim that all Bible prophesy has already been fulfilled, and there is nothing yet to be accomplished. But both classes have the same things in common. They are, as Peter said, "willingly ignorant." They are willing to ignore the facts of the case, and chose instead to follow what the Scriptures calls "cunningly devised fables."
We will look very closely at Bible prophesy to see that the things prophesied by God have comes true, and are continuing to come true before our very eyes, that we should not be willingly ignorant, but rather, believe. We will look at the accuracy of the Bible to see the truth of the words of Daniel 2:
"Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him."
And we will see that the things prophesied by God are truly still unfolding right before our eyes, if we will only look. There are many things, many distraceions in the world around us that tend to blind us. But we can, if we will, look though those things, anointing our eyes with eye salve of the Scriptures, as it were, that we can clearly see the hand of God.
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Jesus, in his last week of life, three days before he was crucified, sitting on the Mount of Olives overlooking the city of Israel, spoke a prophesy about the Jews and Jerusalem, and it is often referred to as the Mount Olivet prophesy. The prophesy spoke of many things which would befall the Jews in 70 AD when Rome would destroy the Temple, murder thousands of Jews, and exile the rest out of the land. But of particular interest to us this evening about this prophesy is this last part of this prophesy. Jesus told them:
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, [which were of course the Roman armies] then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Note the way Jesus closed that prophesy. Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. Well, what have we seen over the past 2000 years? We saw Rome come exactly as Jesus prophesied. Luke records that as Jesus left the Temple this happened:
And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, "As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
This happened. All the stones of the Temple came down. All that is left now, is an outer wall that ringed the Temple, not part of the Temple, on the western side of the city. You know, the Roman General Titus, led the final destruction of Jerusalem. And Titus desired to save parts of the Temple from destruction, as a testimony to his own military skill in overseeing the destroying such a strong fortress. He commanded his soldiers not destroy the Towers, a specific command which they disobeyed. During the battle, and seeing that the Roman soldiers start to destroy potions of the Temple he wished to save, Titus sent Roman soldiers to kill Roman soldiers to stop the destruction. It all failed. The Temple was completely destroyed, exactly as Jesus had prophesied.
The Jews were deported, and driven all across the face of the earth. Certain emperors even made laws like the Roman leader Justinian, that Jews were prohibited from living in Israel. And yet, 2000 years later, what do we see? We see today, Israel, a nation, a powerful nation, standing in the exact area that so many nations, in the past, and even in the present, were determined that she should not stand.
Jesus said that Jerusalem would be trodden down of the Gentiles, but not for ever. Only till the end of Gentile times. It was the same theme that he had expressed to them before, as he surveyed the city of Jerusalem. Knowing what should occur, Jesus lamented in Luke 13:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Note that he doesn't say your house is left desolate forever, but for a time. A time we learn, that was to be called the times of the Gentiles. But at the end of the times of the Gentiles, they were to be regathered on the Mountains of Israel and then they were to stand up a mighty nation.
The prophets before Jesus had said these same things. Jeremiah had made this promise the first time the temple was destroyed under Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian, when Babylon had invaded Israel. From the earliest times Israel had this reassurance:
Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.
Israel was to be driven away because of their disobedience, and their disobedience had been great. When Jeremiah had warned them to cease from their idolatry and worship God, the Jews told Jeremiah:
But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?
That is how complete Israelís rebellion had been. And yet God promised Israel, that yes, they would be taken captive. Yes, they would be scattered across the face of the earth. Yes, they would be punished for their disobedience. But also, yes, though he might destroy all the nations Israel was scattered to, He would not destroy the Jews, but rather, He would correct them, and ultimately return them to Israel. They would be desolate, scattered, until the Times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled.
As preparation for our lecture tonight we read a few verses from Ezekiel 37, so we wonít read them again. They are in your notes for reference. In that section, we saw that Israel was seen as a nation that was hopeless. A valley of dried bones. But slowly, bone came to bone, then they were covered with sinew and flesh, and then ultimately, they stood up a mighty nation. Has this prophesy come true?
But lets look, briefly at the development of the nation of Israel, for the nation of Israel is the greatest witness in the world today, that God is still working out His plan in the earth, and the fact that we are living in the end of Gentile times.
As the 19th century drew to a close, Israel had no homeland. The first Zionist conference was held in 1898. The stated goal of the conference was to get a homeland for Israel. They didn't really seem to be too specific about where the homeland was to be. Different locations around the globe were suggested, including locations in south eastern Africa.
But this was not to be. But the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David was the land of Israel. And therefore the only place for Israel to be rebuilt was in Israel. But how was this to be done? One of the greatest empires of the World, the Turkish empire, with its Moslem people controlled Israel and had done so for over a thousand years.
(We see Turkey today, a weak insignificant nation. But only 80 years ago, she was one of the four great powers of the earth--a testimony to how quickly God changes the nations.)
But, following the Zionist congress, a major event in the history of the world, and Israel, was about to occur. We saw a few minutes ago, that Jeremiah had recorded just how thoroughly Israel had rejected God, how they preferred the "Queen of Heaven" to God. In the Mosaic law, that God had promised Israel that, if she was disobedient, she would be punished 7 times for her sins. God had told Israel:
And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
What is a time? We see this expression all through the Scriptures. We have been talking about it tonight--"till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Daniel said God changed times and seasons, indicating that a time is a year. And it was. A time was considered to be the full circle of the earth around the sun, which the Jews had divided into 12 months of 30 days, totaling 360 days. This is actually where the 360 degrees to a circle comes from, that we all learned in our math classes in school. So a time was a period of 360 days.
In the Mosaic law, as we have seen, God told Israel that they would be punished seven times for their sins. How long a period was that to be. Well, 7 times 360 is 2,520. Does that match any historic time? Well, the nation that Jeremiah prophesied that would conquer Jerusalem was Babylon, and Babylon, according to modern archeologists, conquered Babylon in the winter of 604 or 603 BC. If we were to read the Encyclopedia Britannica about this date, we would see they use the date BC 604. This date has been changed many times over the last 20 years, and it will soon be changed again to BC 603. Several Archeological magazines such as Archeology Today, and Biblical Archeology already use the BC 603 date.
If we add 2520 years to 603 BC what do we get? We get the winter of 1917, the time in world war one when Israel was removed from the Turkish power, and the power of hostile foreign interests for the first time in 2,520 years.
It was November on 1917, Britain under the leadership of Field Marshal Allenby defeated the Turks in Gaza, and on December 9,1917 Allenby marched into Jerusalem, freeing the city from the control of the Turks, exactly 2,520 years from the invasion of Babylon. The Encyclopedia Britannica records this of Allenby:
"Allenby's service in the Middle East proved more distinguished. In June 1917 he took command of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. The strength of his personality created a new spirit in his army, and after careful preparation and reorganization he won a decisive victory over the Turks at Gaza (November 1917), which led to the capture of Jerusalem (Dec. 9, 1917). Further advances were checked by calls from France for his troops, but after receiving reinforcements he won a decisive victory at Megiddo (Sept. 19, 1918), which, followed by his capture of Damascus and Aleppo, ended Ottoman power in Syria."
So, in 1917, the seven times had been completed on Israel, and for the first time in 2520 years, Israel was not longer controlled by a hostile northern power.
Then, also, at the same time, in World War I, a chemist name Chaim Weisman developed a formula for synthetic acetone, a necessary ingredient for certain war weapons. As a reward, the British government asked him what he wanted, and he declared, a home land for my people, the Jews. This request was granted in 1917 in the form of the Balfour declaration. Britain pledged support to the Zionist goal of a homeland for Israel. In 1922, the League of Nations (the forerunner of the United Nations) gave Britain the official mandate over Palestine, which of course eventually was renamed Israel.
Now, while all this was going on, there was very little immigration to Israel by the Jews. Immigration was open to all who wished to go, but none of the Jews wanted to go. For various reasons, political, religious, and economic reasons: the Jews did not readily leave the comforts of life in Europe and the US to go to Israel.
Then came the late 1930s and the growth of anti-Semitism in Europe. The outbreak of persecution increased the number of Jews immigrating to Israel, but this upset the Arabs who were already in Palestine, though living under the British mandate. Support of the Jews agtainst Nazi Germany was guaranteed. But to gain Arab support, Britain then limited immigration to 176,000 per year.
By the end of World War II, through the Nazi persecutions, the Jews had been forced to realize the importance of establishing the Jewish state. The United Nations, with the support of the United States and Russia issued its mandate in November 1947 declaring Israel a sovereign state. The British abandoned their mandate on May 13, 1948 and Israel declared itself a state on May 14, 1948.
Dry bone had joined to dry bone. At the time Israel declared her independence, there were only an estimated 650,000 Jews in Israel. She fought a war in 1948 against the Arabs, outnumbered over 100 to 1 and surrounded on three sides by enemies; yet in spite of overwhelming odds, she was victorious. In one day, she had stood up a mighty nation as the prophesy of Ezekiel had foretold.
Her continued existence has not been easy. In 1956, she again fought a war, this time against Egypt heavily backed by the former Soviet Union and was again victorious. After both the 1948 war and the 1956 war, Israel returned to her original boundaries as established by the United Nations. But after 1956, Israel entered into a period of unprecedented economic growth, and that spurred immigration taking the population numbers up to over 3 million people by the time the next war, the 6 day war of 1967 occurred.
Following the 1967 war, Israel refused to give up the territory she had won, until her Arab neighbors would agree to sign peace treaties. In 1973, during Yom Kippur or the Jewish New Year, the Jews were attacked again by the Arabs, but again had no trouble fending them off.
In 1980 Jerusalem was declared the capital city of Israel, to the chagrin of all the nations. (It had formerly been Tel Aviv.) This was thought to be a stumbling block to lasting peace, because Jerusalem had been a divided city by the United Nations mandate. The Jews had taken all of Jerusalem in 1967, and now were officially refusing to give it back. It is notable that the loudest voice in this country against establishing Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel came from the American Council of Churches. Christianity, not understanding the role of Israel in God's plan simply cannot see God's hand at work in bringing Israel back into existence, as prophesied in Eze. 37.
But, as we have seen, dry bone came together with dry bone. We can see that this is just how it happened. Events, seemly irrelevant, became the substance of international debate until Israel was again established as a nation. And when she stood up on that fateful day in May 1948, she stood up a nation mighty enough to take on 14 other nations who outnumbered her over over 100 to 1, and she defeated her enemy. Though she still did not know and still does not know that it was God who fought for her.
Now when, in the end of the Gentile Times, Israel was to stand up a mighty nation, the next chapter of Ezekiel describes a mighty power that would invade her, bringing the return of Christ. This power is said to be a Northen power in Eze 38:
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
And the other nations listed with the Northern King are:
Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.
EZE 38: 5-6
Europe, we are told by the ancient historian Herodutus, was settled by two families who spread out down the Danube river, the river that cuts east to west across Europe. The families of Magog settled north of the Danube, and became the German people, while Gomer, mentioned in verse 6 became the French peoples. The words translated "Chief Prince in verse 2 should have been left untranslated, and is the Hebrew word Rosh, the ancient name of Russia. Meschec is Muscovy. Tubal is Tubolski. These are the ancient names of the three principle regions of modern Russia, The Kiev, Beolerus, and Siberia.
Persia is the ancient name of modern Iran, and Togarmah is the ancient name of modern Turkey.
This is the confederation that comes up upon the mountains of Israel. Daniel tells us of this advance by this Northern Confederation:
And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.
So the trodding down of Israel is not yet over. Israel, through her unbelief will still suffer more for refusing to recognize her Messiah. Russia, this Northern King, shall overflow Israel with their US and British protectors of Israel like a whirl wind. So complete will be the destruction of Jerusalem at the hand of this northern invader that the prophet Zechariah wrote:
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
When that happens, the prophet tells us:
Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
And again writing of this great battle to prophet Joel writes:
Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.
It is Jesus Christ, fighting for the Great God Almighty who accomplishes the victory, and restores again the Kingdom unto Israel, to the confusion of the world.
It was concerning Israel that God said:
When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD'S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
Israel is the Apple of God's eye. His chosen people. Not, because of the wicked men who have brought God's punishments upon Israel, but because of the righteous men, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David to whom God made the promises. By watching the nation of Israel, we can see that God is now, and ever has been working out His plan for mankind.
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You know, a few years ago, it was pretty easy to imagine Russia, a great world power descending on Israel in a world wide battle for control of the worldís economic system. 15 years ago, Russia was a great impending power, anxious to bring every nation under Communist control, thereby destroying her great enemy, capitalism. Under then President Ronald Reagan, the United States engaged Russia in a spending frenzy that resulted in the collapse of Russia. Now, terribly disoriented and woefully in debt, we often hear derision from the Bibleís critics saying that Bible prophesy is wrong, and that Russia will never be able to rise again.
So we thought we might take a few minutes and look at another point in history, when another King of the North fought the king of the South for control of the Middle east. This was a period called the Classic Greek wars, and it started around 250 BC, after the death of Alexander the Great and before the rise of the Roman empire. The events are found in the 11th chapter of Daniel. The first part which concerns us this evening is:
"And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those."
This mighty king who stood up against the king of Persia was of course, Alexander the Great, who defeated Xerxes, king of Persia, and established the Greek empire. And when Alexander stood up or became the world emperor, he died in a drunken stupor in the city of Babylon. His kingdom then, the prophet says, was to go to the four winds of heaven. Well, what do historians say about the division of the empire after Alexanderís death. This is from Rollinís World History:
"The empire of Alexander was thus divided into four kingdoms. Ptolemy had Egypt, Lybia, Arabia, Coele-Syria, and Palestine: Cassander had Macedonian and Greece: Lysmachus, Thrace, Bithynia, and some other provinces beyond the Hellespont, and the Bosphorus, and Seleucus all the rest of Asia, to the other side of the Euphrates and as far as the river Indus."
These men had all been generalís under Alexander. They carved up the empire for themselves and ruled it. Then the fifth verse reads:
And the king of the south shall be strong, and one of his princes; and he shall be strong above him, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.
The southern king was the strongest king, one of Alexanderís princes or generals, and he would have a great dominion. Of Ptolemy, the southern king Rollin says:
"Towards the close of this year died Ptolemy Soter, king of Egypt, in the eighty- fourth year of his age, and two years after resignation of his empire to his son. He was the most able, and worthy man of all his race, and left behind him such examples of prudence, justice, and clemency, as very few of his successors were industrious to imitate. During the space of near forty years, in which he governed Egypt after the death of Alexander, he raised it to such a height of grandeur and power, as rendered it superior to the other kingdoms."
So the Southern King was the most powerful king, and had made himself superior to all the other kingdoms, just as Daniel said. And while the Southern king was growing stronger and stronger, the king of the North whose name was Antiochus Theos was so beaten down by internal problems that the northern king finally sought to end any hostility between himself and the Ptolemies by making an "agreement." Daniel says of this:
And in the end of years they (the king of the north and south) shall join themselves together; for the king's daughter of the south shall come to the king of the north to make an agreement:
Our historian Rollin records this:
"The troubles and revolts in the East made Antiochus at last desirous to disengage himself from the war with Ptolemy. A treaty of peace was accordingly concluded between them; and the conditions of it were, that Antiochus should divorce Laodice, and espouse Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy; that he should also disinherit his issue by the first marriage, and secure the crown to his children by the second."
This marriage between Berenice from the Southern kingdom and Antiochus Theos from the northern kingdom was supposed to be a peace treaty to end the struggles between north and south. The south was vastly superior. The north was weak and splintered. The north sued for peace, but peace didnít happen. The agreement would not last. Daniel concludes verse 6 this way:
: "but she shall not retain the power of the arm; neither shall he stand, nor his arm: but she shall be given up, and they that brought her, and he that begat her, and he that strengthened her in these times."
Well, what happened. We will let Rollin tell us:
"As soon as Antiochus Theos had received intelligence of the death of Ptolemy Philadelphus, his father-in-law, he divorced Berenice, and recalled Laodice and her children. Laodice, who knew the variable disposition and inconstancy of Antiochus, and was apprehensive that the same levity of mind would induce him to return to Berenice again, resolved to improve the present opportunity to secure the crown for her son...Laodice, therefore, caused Antiochus to be poisoned, and when she saw that he was dead, she placed in his bed a person named Aremon, who very much resembled him both in his features and in the tone of his voice, to act the part she had occasion for. ...In his name were issued orders, by which his eldest son Seleucus Callinicus was appointed his successor. His death was then declared, upon which Seleucus peaceably ascended the throne, and enjoyed it for the space of twenty years....
"Laodice, not believing herself safe as long as Berenice and her son lived, concerted measures with Seleucus to destroy them also: but Berenice being informed of their design, escaped with her son to Daphne, where she shut herself up in the asylum built by Seleucus Nicator. But being at last betrayed by the perfidy of those who besieged her there by the order of Laodice, first her son and then herself, with all the Egyptians who had accompanied her to that retreat, were murdered in the blackest and most inhuman manner."
So the peace agreement came to an end. Laodice poisoned her husband and set her son on the throne. Well, what did the Ptolemies then do? Daniel writes:
"But out of a branch of her roots shall one stand up in his estate, which shall come with an army, and shall enter into the fortress of the king of the north, and shall deal against them, and shall prevail: And shall also carry captives into Egypt their gods, with their princes, and with their precious vessels of silver and of gold; and he shall continue more years than the king of the north. So the king of the south shall come into his kingdom, and shall return into his own land."
A branch of Berniceís roots, her brother, Ptolemy Eueregetes, sweeps down upon the Northern King destroying him, his kingdom and taking much silver and gold with him. His victory over the northern king is swift and sure. Here is how our historian records it:
"Her [Berenice's] brother, Ptolemy Euergetes was also as expeditious as possible to advance thither with a formidable army; but the unhappy Berenice and her children were dead before any of these auxiliary troops could arrive. When they therefore saw that all their endeavours to save the queen and her chilren were rendered ineffectual, they immediately determined to revenge her death in a remarkable manner. The troops of Asia joined those of Egypt, and Ptolemy, who commanded them, was as successful as he could desire in the satisfaction of his just resentment. .."This prince carried off 40,000 talents of silver with a prodigious quantity of gold and silver vessels and 2,500 statues, part of which were those Egyptian idols that Cambyses, after his conquest of that kingdom, had sent into Persia."
The king of the South destroyed the weaker Northern King and plundered them. What does Daniel say happened next. It is another battle. The Northern Kingís sons again rises up, and the southern king again defeats him. Daniel records it this way:
But his sons shall be stirred up, and shall assemble a multitude of great forces: and one shall certainly come, and overflow, and pass through: then shall he return, and be stirred up, even to his fortress. And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand. And when he hath taken away the multitude, his heart shall be lifted up; and he shall cast down many ten thousands: but he shall not be strengthened by it."
Our histornian also records this:
"The campaign was again opened in spring (BC 217). Ptolemy caused 70,000 foot, 5000 horse, and 73 elephants, to advance towards Pelusium....That of Antiochus was something more numerous than the other. His forces consisted of 72,000 foot, 6000 horse, and 102 elephants."
"At last the two kings resolving to decide their quarrel, drew up their armies in battle-array...Finding it would now be impossible for him to maintain himself in that country against Ptolemy, he abandoned all his conquests, and retreated to Antioch with the remains of his army."
ĎA truce was therefore agreed upon for twelve months; and before the expiration of that time, a peace was concluded on these terms. Ptolemy, who might have taken advantage of the victory, and have conquered all Syria, was desirous of putting an end to the war, that he might have an opportunity of devoting himself entirely to his pleasures."
So here we have two battles, the king of the South, superior in every way was victorious in both. But war is expensive. Especially foreign war. It weakens a nations treasury. It weakens a nationís resolve. And wars fought on foreign soil can become unpopular so very quickly. And that is exactly what the Ptolemy family found.
For the next time Daniel sees the king of the North coming, the end result is completely different. Daniel prophesies:
"For the king of the north shall return, and shall set forth a multitude greater than the former, and shall certainly come after certain years with a great army and with much riches. And in those times there shall many stand up against the king of the south: also the robbers of thy people shall exalt themselves to establish the vision; but they shall fall. So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mount, and take the most fenced cities: and the arms of the south shall not withstand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to withstand. But he that cometh against him shall do according to his own will, and none shall stand before him: and he shall stand in the glorious land, which by his hand shall be consumed.
As it is sometimes said, the third time is the charm. In the comfort and wealth and splendor of itís power, the King of the South could not forsee the rise of a mighty general in the north, whom history has named Antiochus the Great. But he did rise up, as God prophesied that he would. Antiochus the great conquered all his former lands, and took the battle to Egypt, and would have conquered them, except that a new a burgeoning world power came on the scene to prevent them.
How silly must Danielís prophesy had seemed to the Ptolemies in Egypt. They were far richer than their northern enemy. They were far more powerful than their northern enemy. The rest of the then world loved the Ptolemies, and despised the Antiochuses. Their country was peaceful within, while the northern kings country was in revolt, and total chaos and turmoil. And Ptolemy had already twice decisively defeated and destroyed his northern counterpart. Surely nothing could happen to change that. Surely Danielís words were mere fairy tales. The Northern King overflowing Egypt? Why that could never happen.
But history records it did happen. And it happened precisely as Daniel said it would. Rollin tells us:
"Antiochus King of Syria, and Philip king of Macedonia, during the reign of Ptolemy Philopater (203 BC) had discovered the strongest zeal for the interest of that monarch, and were ready to assist him on all occasions. Yet, no sooner was he dead, leaving behind an infant, whom the law of humanity and justice enjoined them not to disturb in the possession of his fatherís kingdom, than they immediately join in a criminal alliance, and excite each other to take off the lawful heir, and divide his dominions between them. Philip was to have Caria, Lybia, Cyrenaica, and Egypt; and Antiochus all the rest. With this view, the latter entered Coele-syria and Palestine; and, in less than two campaigns, made an entire conquest of those two provinces, with all their cities and dependencies."
Rollin II: 134
Such was the beginning of the end of the glorious kingdom of the South. The king of the South did survive, but only because a third world power, the Roman empire began to intervene for the behalf of the southern King.
So when the world looks at Russia today, and says it can never rise again against the wealth and power of the US, she forgets the splendor of the Ptolemies in Egypt, and the sorry state of affairs that the Antiochus family in Egypt experienced before. They forget how the prophet Daniel foretold the destruction of the Ptolemies, when such looked to be a complete impossibility.
God changes the times and seasons and sets over them the basest of men. As we have seen, God has prophesied threw his prophets that Russia with Europe will descend upon Israel and conquer the land, and at that time Christ and the Saints will fight to reestablish the throne of David, which shall abide forever. This will happen as surely as Antioch eventually defeated Ptolemy.
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