These chapters give secular and liberal theological scholars more problems than any others in Scripture. This is because they so accurately reflect history in even the smallest detail that such academics go to great lengths to try and prove that Daniel “must have” been written long after these things occurred and not documented in advance. So the next best thing they do is to re-cast history, spinning it differently from its true biblical roots. We have grown up with books and movies about Alexander the Great, Xerxes and his empire, Cleopatra’s intrigues, etc. – all of whom were mentioned in Scripture. The world does this in order to hide the truth that God is the God of history and to fool Christians into thinking that the secular historical record has more weight than the authority of Scripture. Christians need to take back possession of these chapters because, in truth, they have only been fulfilled to a point. These passages which so accurately portray what HAS happened still have a lot to say about what WILL happen. And if God paid such attention to fulfilling everything so accurately to date, how much more the things to come!
One of the reasons the book of Daniel is organized the way it is has to do with the Holy Spirit focusing us on what is important. In Daniel 2 we were presented with an overview of the six great empires: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, the last earthly kingdom to come, and the kingdom of God. In Daniel 7 the earthly kingdoms were represented by beasts to teach something about each one’s character and nature. In Daniel 8 the focus is narrowed down to just two of these empires: Medo-Persia and Greece. In Daniel 11 the focus is narrowed further to just Greece, first emphasizing the four basic kingdoms created from the break-up of Alexander’s empire, then on two of those kingdoms in particular, Egypt and Syria. This is because caught in the middle is Israel who is an object of repeated conquest between them. And finally, it is shown how these things foreshadow the final earthly kingdom to come and Christ’s ultimate triumph. The Holy Spirit is teaching us something about how the whole of history is destined to be fulfilled according to God’s Word and will.