1 October 331 B.C. Alexander the Great’s Battle of Gaugemala Defeats Persians in Northern Iraq. Oh no! God’s sovereignty? Omniscience? Oh no, we need a little and nice God, not a sovereign One. We need a god we can control!
In 539 B.C., Cyrus II, a Medo-Persian, conquered Babylon. God called him His anointed. Isaiah 45.1-6 prophesied the moment (with infinite ease, given God’s attributes). We get a prospective prophecy from Isaiah, centuries before its fulfillment:
1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
(Introductory notes: 45 1 The deliverance of the people by Cyrus. 9 God is just in all his works. 20 The calling of the Gentiles.)
1 Thus saith the Lord unto [a]Cyrus his [b]anointed, whose right hand I have holden to [c]subdue nations before him: therefore will I weaken the loins of kings, and open the doors before him, and the gates shall not be shut.
2 I will go before thee, and make the [d]crooked straight: I will break the brazen doors, and burst the iron bars.
3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and the things hid in secret places, that thou mayest [e]know that I am the Lord which call thee by thy name, even the God of Israel.
4 For Jacob my servant’s [f]sake, and Israel mine elect, I will even call thee by thy name, and name thee, though thou hast not known me.
5 I am the Lord, and there is none other; there is no God besides me: I [g]girded thee, though thou hast not known me.
6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the West, that there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is none other.
a. Isaiah 45:1 To assure the Jews of their deliverance against the great tentations that they should abide, he nameth the person and the means.
b. Isaiah 45:1 Because Cyrus should execute the office of a deliverer, God called him his anointed for a time, but after another sort than he called David.
c. Isaiah 45:1 To guide him in the deliverance of my people.
d. Isaiah 45:2 I will take away all impediments and lets.
e. Isaiah 45:3 Not that Cyrus did know God to worship him aright, but he had a certain particular knowledge as profane men may have of his power, and so was compelled to deliver God’s people.
f. Isaiah 45:4 Not for any thing that is in thee, or for thy worthiness.
g. Isaiah 45:5 I have given thee strength, power and authority.
This is exactly what happened. Cyrus II’s ascendency led to a rebellion against the Median overlord. The Median army defected to Cyrus II. Hence, since then, it has been referred to as the “Medo-Persia Empire” ever since. Over the next 2 centuries, the Medo-Persians dominated as a world power.
The 4 beasts are describe in Daniel 7. The three ribs in the mouth of one beast may refer to 3 battles of Medo-Persian conquest: (1) victory of Lydia (546 B.C.), (2) victory over Babylon (539 B.C.) and (3) victory of Egypt (525 B.C.). We read the account here:
1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
(Introductory notes: 7 3 A vision of four beasts is showed unto Daniel. 8 The ten horns of the fourth beast. 27 Of the everlasting kingdom of Christ.)
1 In the first year of Belshazzar King of Babel, Daniel saw a dream, and there were visions in his head, upon his bed: [a]then he wrote the dream, and declared the sum of the matter.
2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon [b]the great sea:
3 And four great beasts came up from the sea one divers from another.
4 The first was as a [c]lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the earth, and set upon his feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given him.
5 And behold, another beast which was the second, was like a [d]bear, and stood upon the [e]one side: and he had three ribs in his [f]mouth between his teeth, [g]and they said thus unto him, Arise, and devour much flesh.
6 After this, I beheld, and lo, there was another like a [h]leopard, which had upon his back [i]four wings of a fowl: the beast had also four heads, and [j]dominion was given him.
7 After this, I saw in the visions by night, and behold, the [k]fourth beast was fearful and terrible and very strong. It had great [l]iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped [m]the residue under his feet: and it was unlike to the beasts that were before it: for it had [n]ten horns.
8 As I considered the horns, behold, there came up among them another little [o]horn, before whom there were [p]three of the first horns plucked away: and behold, in this horn were [q]eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking presumptuous things.
9 I beheld till the [r]thrones were set up, and the [s]Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels, as burning fire.
10 A fiery stream issued, and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand [t]thousands stood before him: the judgment was set, and the [u]books opened.
11 Then I beheld, [v]because of the voice of the presumptuous words which the horn spake: I beheld, even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning fire.
12 As [w]concerning the other beasts, they had taken away their dominion: yet their lives were prolonged for a certain time and season.
13 ¶ As I beheld in visions by night, behold, [x]one like the son of man came in the clouds of heaven, and [y]approached unto the Ancient of days, and they brought him before him.
14 And he gave him [z]dominion, and honor, and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall never be taken away: and his dominion shall never be destroyed.
15 ¶ I Daniel was [aa]troubled in my spirit, in the midst of my body, and the visions of mine head made me afraid.
16 Therefore I came unto [ab]one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this: so he told me, and showed me the interpretation of these things.
17 These great beasts which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth,
18 And they shall take the [ac]kingdom of the Saints of the [ad]most High, and shall possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.
19 ¶ After this, I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was [ae]so unlike to all the others, very fearful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass: which devoured brake in pieces, and stamped the [af]residue under his feet.
20 Also to know of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the others which came up, before whom three fell, and of the horn that had eyes, and of the mouth that spake presumptuous things, whose [ag]look was more stout than his fellows.
21 I beheld, and the same [ah]horn made battle against the Saints, yea, and prevailed against them,
22 Until [ai]the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the Saints of the most High: and the time approached, that the Saints possessed the kingdom.
23 Then he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom in the earth, which shall be unlike to all the kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down and break it in pieces.
24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten Kings that shall rise: and another shall rise after them, and he shall be unlike to the first, and he shall subdue [aj]three Kings,
25 And shall speak words against [ak]the most High, and shall consume the Saints of the most High, and think that he may [al]change times and laws, and they shall be given into his hand until a [am]time, and times, and the dividing of time.
26 But the [an]judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion to consume and destroy it unto the end.
27 And the [ao]kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the holy people of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all [ap]powers shall serve and obey him.
28 Even this is the end of the matter, I Daniel had many [aq]cogitations which troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in mine heart.
a. Daniel 7:1 Whereas the people of Israel looked for a continual quietness, after their seventy years, as Jeremiah had declared, he showeth that this rest shall not be a deliverance from all troubles, but a beginning, and therefore encourageth them to look for a continual affliction, till the Messiah be uttered and revealed, by whom they should have a spiritual deliverance, and all the promises be fulfilled: whereof they should have a certain token in the destruction of the Babylonian kingdom.
b. Daniel 7:2 Which signified that there should be horrible troubles and afflictions in the world in all corners of the world, and at sundry times.
c. Daniel 7:4 Meaning, the Assyrian and Chaldean empire, which was most strong and fierce in power, and most soon come to their authority, as though they had wings to fly: yet their wings were pulled by the Persians, and they went on their feet, and were made like other men, which is here meant by man’s heart.
d. Daniel 7:5 Meaning, the Persians which were barbarous and cruel.
e. Daniel 7:5 They were small in the beginning and were shut up in the mountains and had no bruit.
f. Daniel 7:5 That is, destroyed many kingdoms, and was insatiable.
g. Daniel 7:5 To wit, the Angels by God’s commandment, who by this means punished the ingratitude of the world.
h. Daniel 7:6 Meaning, Alexander the king of Macedonia.
i. Daniel 7:6 That is, his four chief captains, which had the empire among them after his death. Seleucus had Asia the great, Antigonus the less, Cassander and after him Antipater was king of Macedonia, and Ptolemy had Egypt.
j. Daniel 7:6 It was not of himself nor of his own power that he got all these countries: for his army contained but thirty thousand men, and he overcame in one battle Darius, which had ten hundred thousand, when he was so heavy with sleep, that his eyes were scarce open, as the stories report: therefore this power was given him of God.
k. Daniel 7:7 That is, the Roman Empire which was a monster, and could not be compared to any beasts, because the nature of none was able to express it.
l. Daniel 7:7 Signifying, the tyranny and greediness of the Romans.
m. Daniel 7:7 That which the Romans could not quietly enjoy in other countries, they would give it to other Kings and rulers, that at all times when they would, they might take it again: which liberality is here called the stamping of the rest under the feet.
n. Daniel 7:7 That is, sundry and divers provinces which were governed by the deputies and proconsuls, whereof everyone might be compared to a King.
o. Daniel 7:8 Which is meant of Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, etc., who were as kings in effect, but because they could not rule, but by the consent of the Senate, their power is compared to a little horn. For Muhammad came not of the Roman Empire, and the Pope hath no vocation of government: therefore this cannot be applied unto them, and also in this prophecy the Prophet’s purpose is chiefly to comfort the Jews unto the revelation of Christ. Some take it for the whole body of Antichrist.
p. Daniel 7:8 Meaning, a certain portion of the ten horns: that is, a part from the whole estate was taken away. For Augustus took from the Senate the liberty of choosing the deputies to send into the provinces, and took the government of certain countries to himself.
q. Daniel 7:8 These Roman Emperors at the first used a certain humanity and gentleness, and were content that others, as the Consuls, and Senate, should bear the names of dignity, so that they might have the profit, and therefore in election and counsels would behave themselves according as did other Senators: yet against their enemies and those that would resist them, they were fierce and cruel, which is here meant by the proud mouth.
r. Daniel 7:9 Meaning, the places where God and his Angels should come to judge these Monarchies, which judgment should begin at the first coming of Christ.
s. Daniel 7:9 That is, God which was before all times, and is here described as man’s nature is able to comprehend some portion of his glory.
t. Daniel 7:10 That is, an infinite number of Angels, which were ready to execute his commandment.
u. Daniel 7:10 This is meant of the first coming of Christ, when as the will of God was plainly revealed by his Gospel.
v. Daniel 7:11 Meaning, that he was astonied when he saw these Emperors in such dignity and pride, and so suddenly destroyed at the coming of Christ, when this fourth Monarchy was subject to men of other nations.
w. Daniel 7:12 As the three former Monarchies had an end at the time that God appointed, although they flourished for a time, so shall this fourth have, and they that patiently abide God’s appointment, shall enjoy the promises.
x. Daniel 7:13 Which is meant of Christ, who had not yet taken upon him man’s nature, neither was the son of David according to the flesh, as he was afterward: but appeared then in a figure, and that in the clouds: that is, being separate from the common sort of men by manifest signs of his divinity.
y. Daniel 7:13 To wit, when he ascend into the heavens, and his divine majesty appeared, and all power was given unto him, in respect of that that he was our Mediator.
z. Daniel 7:14 This is meant of the beginning of Christ’s kingdom, when God the Father gave unto him all dominion, as to the Mediator, to the intent that he should govern here his Church in earth continually, till the time that he brought them to eternal life.
aa. Daniel 7:15 Through the strangeness of the vision.
cc. Daniel 7:18 Because Abraham was appointed heir of all the world, Rom. 4:13, and in him all the faithful, therefore the kingdom thereof is theirs by right, which these four beasts or tyrants should invade, and usurp until the world were restored by Christ: and this was to confirm them that were in troubles, that their afflictions should have an end at length.
dd. Daniel 7:18 That is, of the most high things, because God hath chosen them out of this world, that they should look up to the heavens, whereon all their hope dependeth.
ee. Daniel 7:19 For the other three Monarchies were governed by a King, and the Roman Empire by Consuls: the Romans changed their governors yearly, and the other Monarchies retained them for term of life: also the Romans were the strongest of all the others, and were never quiet among themselves.
gg. Daniel 7:20 This is meant of the fourth beast, which was more terrible than the others.
hh. Daniel 7:21 Meaning the Roman Emperors, who were most cruel against the Church of God both of the Jews and of the Gentiles.
ii. Daniel 7:22 Till God showed his power in the person of Christ, and by the preaching of the Gospel gave unto his some rest, and so obtained a famous Name in the world, and were called the Church of God, or the kingdom of God.
kk. Daniel 7:25 That is, shall make wicked decrees and proclamations against God’s word, and send throughout all their dominion, to destroy all that did profess it.
ll. Daniel 7:25 These Emperors shall not consider that they have their power of God, but think it is in their own power to change God’s laws and man’s, and as it were the order of nature, as appeareth by Octavius, Tiberius, Caligula, Nero, Domitian, etc.
mm. Daniel 7:25 God shall suffer them thus to rage against his Saints for a long time, which is meant by the time and times, but at length he will assuage these troubles, and shorten the time for his elect’s sake, Matt. 24:22, which is here meant by the dividing of time.
nn. Daniel 7:26 God by his power shall restore things that were out of order, and so destroy this little horn, that it shall never rise up again.
oo. Daniel 7:27 He showeth wherefore the beast should be destroyed, to wit, that his Church might have rest and quietness, which though they do not fully enjoy here, yet they have it in hope, and by the preaching of the Gospel enjoy the beginning thereof, which is meant by these words: Under the heaven: and therefore he here speaketh of the beginning of Christ’s kingdom in this world, which kingdom the faithful have by the participation that they have with Christ their head.
pp. Daniel 7:27 That is, some of every sort that bear rule.
qq. Daniel 7:28 Though he had many motions in his heart which moved him to and fro to seek out this matter curiously, yet he was content with that which God revealed, and kept it in memory, and wrote it for the use of the Church.
The end of the Medo-Persian Empire was prophesied in Daniel 8, to wit, a ram with two horns. Alexander the Great became the King of Greece, or, the head of a confederation of Greek states, by the age of 20. He led his first battle against the Medo-Persians at Issus in Turkey. At that battle, Alexander defeated Darius III. Alexander proceeded to Egypt. Alexander progressed through Palestine and Jerusalem. The High Priest allegedly showed Alexander the Danielic prophecy and, reportedly, Alexander was favorable to the Jews thereafter.
On 1 October 331 B.C., the battle at Issus was decisively in Alexander’s favor. He was 25. The ram was helpless against the rampaging and furious goat of the West. The goat knocked the ram out.
Daniel 8 covers the story.
1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
(Introductory notes: 8 A vision of a battle between a ram and a goat: 20 The understanding of the vision.)
1 In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar, a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, [a]after that which appeared unto me at the first.
2 And I saw in a vision, and when I saw it, I was in the palace of Shushan, which is in the province [b]of Elam, and in a vision me thought I was by the river of Ulai.
3 Then I looked up and saw, and behold, there stood before the river a [c]ram which had two horns, and these two horns were high: but one was [d]higher than another, and the highest came up last.
4 I saw the ram pushing against the West, and against the North, and against the South: so that no [e]beasts might stand before him, nor could deliver out of his hand, but he did what he listed, and became great.
5 And as I considered, behold, [f]a goat came from the West over the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and this goat had an [g]horn that appeared between his eyes.
6 And he came unto the ram that had the two horns, whom I had seen standing by the river, and ran unto him in his fierce rage.
7 And I saw him come unto the ram, and being moved against him, he [h]smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand against him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him, and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his power.
8 Therefore the goat waxed exceeding great, and when he was at the strongest, his great [i]horn was broken: and for it came up four that [j]appeared toward the four winds of the heaven.
9 And out of one of them came forth a [k]little horn, which waxed very great toward the [l]South, and toward the [m]East, and toward the [n]pleasant land.
10 Yea, it grew up unto the [o]host of heaven, and it cast down some of the host, and of the stars to the ground, and trode upon them,
11 And extolled himself against the [p]prince of the host, from whom the [q]daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his Sanctuary was cast down.
12 And [r]a time shall be given him over the daily sacrifice for the iniquity: and it shall [s]cast down the truth to the ground, and thus shall it do, and prosper.
13 Then I heard one of the [t]Saints speaking, and one of the Saints spake unto a certain one, saying, How long shall endure the vision of the daily sacrifice, and the iniquity of the [u]desolation to tread both the Sanctuary and the [v]army underfoot?
14 And [w]he answered me, Unto the [x]evening and the morning, two thousand and three hundred: then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed.
15 ¶ Now when I Daniel had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, behold, there stood before me [y]like the similitude of a man.
16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, [z]make this man to understand the vision.
17 So he came where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for [aa]in the last time shall be the vision.
18 Now as he was speaking unto me, I being asleep fell on my face to the ground: but he touched me, and set me up in my place.
19 And he said, Behold, I will show thee what shall be in the last [ab]wrath: for in the end of the time appointed it shall come.
20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns, are the Kings of the Medes and Persians.
21 And the goat is the King of Greece, and the great horn that is between his eyes, is the first king.
22 And that that is broken, and four stood up for it, are four kingdoms, which shall stand up [ac]of that nation, but not [ad]in his strength.
23 And in the end of their kingdom, when the rebellious shall be consumed, a King of [ae]fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.
24 And his power shall be mighty, but not [af]in his strength: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the [ag]mighty, and the holy people.
25 And through his [ah]policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand, and he shall extol himself in his heart, and by [ai]peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the [aj]prince of princes, but he shall be broken down [ak]without hand.
26 And the vision of the [al]evening and the morning, which is declared, is true: therefore seal thou up the vision, for it shall be after many days.
27 And I Daniel was stricken and sick [am]certain days: but when I rose up, I did the king’s business, and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.
a. Daniel 8:1 After the general vision, he cometh to certain particular visions as touching the destruction of the Monarchy of the Persians, and Macedonians: for the ruin of the Babylonians was at hand, and also he had sufficiently spoken thereof.
b. Daniel 8:2 That is, of Persia.
c. Daniel 8:3 Which represented the kingdom of the Persians and Medes, which were joined together.
d. Daniel 8:3 Meaning, Cyrus, which after grew greater in power than Darius his uncle and father-in-law.
e. Daniel 8:4 That is, no kings or nations.
f. Daniel 8:5 Meaning, Alexander that came from Greece with great speed and expedition.
g. Daniel 8:5 Though he came in the name of all Greece, yet he bore the title and dignity of the general captain, so that the strength was attributed to him, which is meant by this horn.
h. Daniel 8:7 Alexander overcame Darius in two sundry battles, and so had the two kingdoms of the Medes and Persians.
i. Daniel 8:8 Alexander’s great power was broken: for when he had overcome all the East, he thought to return toward Greece to subdue them that had rebelled, and so died by the way.
j. Daniel 8:8 That is, which were famous: for almost in the space of fifteen years there were fifteen divers successors before this monarchy was divided to these four, whereof Cassander had Macedonia, Seleucus Syria, Antigonus Asia the less, and Ptolemy Egypt.
k. Daniel 8:9 Which was Antiochus Epiphanes, who was of a servile and flattering nature, and also there were others between him and the kingdom, and therefore is here called the little horn, because neither princely conditions, nor any other thing was in him, why he should obtain this kingdom.
l. Daniel 8:9 That is, toward Egypt.
m. Daniel 8:9 Whereby he meaneth Ptolemeus.
n. Daniel 8:9 That is, Judea.
o. Daniel 8:10 Antiochus raged against the elect of God, and trode his precious stars under feet, which are so called, because they are separated from the world.
p. Daniel 8:11 That is, God, who governeth and maintaineth his Church.
q. Daniel 8:11 He labored to abolish all religion, and therefore cast God’s service out of his Temple, which God had chosen as a little corner from all the rest of the world to have his Name there truly called upon.
r. Daniel 8:12 He showeth that their sins are the cause of these horrible afflictions: and yet comforteth them, in that he appointeth this tyrant a time, whom he would not suffer utterly to abolish his religion.
s. Daniel 8:12 This horn shall abolish for a time the true doctrine, and so corrupt God’s service.
t. Daniel 8:13 Meaning, that he heard one of the Angels asking this question of Christ, whom he called a certain one, or a secret one, or a marvelous one.
u. Daniel 8:13 That is, the Jews’ sins, which were cause of his destruction.
v. Daniel 8:13 That is, which suppresseth God’s religion, and his people.
w. Daniel 8:14 Christ answered me for the comfort of the Church.
x. Daniel 8:14 That is, until so many natural days be past, which make 6 years, 3 months and an half: for so long under Antiochus was the Temple profaned.
y. Daniel 8:15 Which was Christ who in this manner declared himself to the old fathers, how he would be God manifest in flesh.
z. Daniel 8:16 This power to command the Angel, declared that he was God.
aa. Daniel 8:17 The effect of this vision shall not yet appear, but a long time after.
bb. Daniel 8:19 Meaning, that great rage which Antiochus should show against the Church.
cc. Daniel 8:22 That is, out of Greece.
dd. Daniel 8:22 They shall not have like power as had Alexander.
ee. Daniel 8:23 Noting that this Antiochus was impudent and cruel, and also crafty that he could not be deceived.
ff. Daniel 8:24 That is, not like Alexander’s strength.
gg. Daniel 8:24 Both the Gentiles that dwelt about him, and also the Jews.
hh. Daniel 8:25 Whatsoever he goeth about by his craft, he shall bring it to pass.
ii. Daniel 8:25 That is, under pretence of peace, or as it were in sport.
jj. Daniel 8:25 Meaning, against God.
kk. Daniel 8:25 For God would destroy him with a notable plague, and so comfort his Church.
mm. Daniel 8:27 For fear and astonishment.