Alexander and Daniel in History and Visions
My Purpose here is to present to you two similar accounts, one a factual historical record, the other a man’s account of a Vision he said he had. Weigh up the two accounts, compare them and ask yourself; were they talking about the same things? If so which was written first? First here is the Historical account of the events with the dates of the saga. Then I will relate the story written by the man who says he had a vision. So here they are and if they appear to be the same then you decide which was written first, the History or the Vision?
History of the Conquest of the Persians by Alexander the Great
The true hero of the story of Alexander is not so much Alexander as his father King Philip of Macedonia. The author of a piece does not shine in the limelight as the actor does, and it was Philip who planned much of the greatness that his son achieved, who laid the foundations and forged the tools, who had indeed already begun the Persian expedition at the time of his death. Philip, beyond doubt, was one of the greatest monarchs the world has ever seen; he was a man of the utmost intelligence and ability, and his range of ideas was vastly beyond the scope of his time. He made Aristotle his friend; he must have discussed with him those schemes for the organization of real knowledge which the philosopher was to realize later through Alexander’s endowments.
Philip made this little barbaric state into a great one; he created the most efficient military organization the world had so far seen, and he had brought most of Greece into one confederacy under his leadership at the time of his death. And his extraordinary quality, his power of thinking out beyond the current ideas of his time, is shown not so much in those matters as in the care with which he had his son trained to carry on the policy he had created. He is one of the few monarchs in history who cared for his successor. Alexander was, as few other monarchs have ever been, a king specially educated for empire. Aristotle was but one of the several able tutors his father chose for him. Philip confided his policy to him, and entrusted him with commands and authority by the time he was sixteen. He commanded the cavalry at Chaeronea under his father’s eye. He was nursed into power–generously and unsuspiciously.
To anyone who reads his life with care it is evident that Alexander started with an equipment of training and ideas of unprecedented value. As he got beyond the wisdom of his upbringing he began to blunder and misbehave, sometimes with a dreadful folly. The defects of his character had triumphed over his upbringing long before he died.
Here was this Philip who was a very great and noble man, and yet he was drunken, he could keep no order in his household.
Here was Alexander, in many ways gifted above any man of his time, and he was vain, suspicious, and passionate, with a mind set awry by his mother.
From the very beginning of his reign in 538 B.C. the deeds of Alexander showed how well he had assimilated his father’s plans, and how great were his own abilities. After receiving assurances from Greece that he was to be captain-general of the Grecian forces, he marched through Thrace to the Danube; Thebes–unsupported, of course, by Athens –was taken and looted; it was treated with extravagant violence; all its buildings, except the temple and the house of the poet Pindar, were razed, and thirty thousand people sold into slavery. Greece was stunned, and Alexander was free to go on with the Persian campaign. From there he marched through Asia minor to Persia.
King Darius the 3rd of Persia had a force of two hundred Chariots as well as his infantry. Darius began the battle by flinging them against Alexander’s cavalry and light infantry. Few reached their objective and those that did were readily disposed of. There was some maneuvering for position. The well-drilled Macedonians moved obliquely across the Persian front, keeping good order; the Persians, following this movement to the flank, opened gaps in their array. Then suddenly the disciplined Macedonian cavalry charged at one of these torn places and smote the center of the Persian host. The infantry followed close upon their charge. The center and left of the Persians crumpled up. For a while the light cavalry on the Persian right gained ground against Alexander’s left, only to be cut to pieces by the cavalry from Thessaly, which by this time had become almost as good as its Macedonian model. The Persian forces ceased to resemble an army. They dissolved into a vast multitude of fugitives streaming under great dust-clouds and without a single rally across the hot plain towards Arbela. Through the dust and the flying crowd rode the victors, slaying and slaying until darkness stayed the slaughter.
Darius led the retreat! Such was the battle of Arbela. It was fought on October the 1st, 331 B.C. We know its date so exactly because it is recorded that, eleven days before it began, the soothsayers on both sides had been greatly exercised by an eclipse of the moon. Darius fled to the north into the country of the Medes.
Alexander marched on to Babylon. The ancient city of Hammurabi (who had reigned seventeen hundred years before) and of Nebuchadnezzar the Great and of Nabonidus was still, unlike Nineveh, a prosperous and important center. Like the Egyptians, the Babylonians were not greatly concerned at a change of rule to Macedonian from Persian. The temple of Bel-Marduk was in ruins, a quarry for building material, but the tradition of the Chaldean priests still lingered, and Alexander promised to restore the building.
Thence he marched on to Susa, once the chief city of the vanished and forgotten Elamites, and now the Persian capital.
He went on to Persepolis, where, as the climax of a drunken carouse, he burnt down the great palace of the king of kings. This he afterwards declared was the revenge of Greece for the burning of Athens by Xerxes. Alexander had been in undisputed possession of the Persian Empire for six years. He was now thirty-one years of age.
This last story and many such stories may be lies or distortions or exaggerations. But they have a vein in common. After a bout of hard drinking in Babylon a sudden fever came upon Alexander (323 B.C.), and he sickened and died. He was still only thirty-three years of age. Forthwith the world empire he had snatched at and held in his hands, as a child might snatch at and hold a precious vase, fell to the ground and was shattered to pieces. His siblings and mother were all murdered, and he left no one to take his place.
From this welter of crime there presently emerged four leading figures. Much of the Old Persian Empire was held by one general Seleucus, who founded a dynasty, the Seleucid Dynasty; Ptolemy a Macedonian, secured Egypt. Lysimachus became the governor of Thrace, and Cassander, of Macedonia and Greece. This is the Historical and factual account of what happened as recorded by today’s historians.
Now here is a Story of a man who has a vision and recounts it.
Listen for the similarities and tell me when you think this story was written.
“In the vision, I saw myself in Susa, the capital city of the province Elam, standing at the Ulai Canal. Looking around, I was surprised to see a ram also standing at the gate. The ram had two huge horns, one bigger than the other, but the bigger horn was the last to appear. I watched as the ram charged: first west, then north, then south. No beast could stand up to him. He did just as he pleased, strutting as if he were king of the beasts. “While I was watching this, wondering what it all meant, I saw a Billy goat with an immense horn in the middle of its forehead come up out of the west and fly across the whole country, not once touching the ground. The Billy goat approached the double-horned ram that I had earlier seen standing at the gate and, enraged, charged it viciously.
I watched as, mad with rage, it charged the ram and hit it so hard that it broke off its two horns. The ram didn’t stand a chance against it. The Billy goat knocked the ram to the ground and stomped all over it. Nothing could have saved the ram from the goat.
“Then the Billy goat swelled to an enormous size. At the height of its power its immense horn broke off and four other big horns sprouted in its place, pointing to the four points of the compass.
“While I, ……, was trying to make sense of what I was seeing, suddenly there was a humanlike figure standing before me. “And then he said, ‘I want to tell you what is going to happen.
“‘The double-horned ram you saw stands for the two kings of the Medes and Persians. The Billy goat stands for the kingdom of the Greeks. The huge horn on its forehead is the first Greek king. The four horns that sprouted after it was broken off are the four kings that come after him, but without his power.
“‘But now let me tell you the truth of how things stand: Three more kings of Persia will show up, and then a fourth will become richer than all of them. When he senses that he is powerful enough as a result of his wealth, he will go to war against the entire kingdom of Greece.”
‘Then a powerful king will show up, and take over a huge territory and run things just as he pleases. But at the height of his power, with everything seemingly under control, his kingdom will split into four parts, like the four points of the compass. But his heirs won’t get in on it. There will be no continuity with his kingship.”
Others will tear it to pieces and grab whatever they can get for themselves.
That is the Vision recorded as a story.
Now the question; Is this a description of the events described in Historical records? While there is verbal imagery used in the vision account, the facts coincide in incredible detail with the previous historical account.
Was this Vision story then written after the event?
There are scholars who think so. Why because the human probability of such a vision being predicted before the event seems impossible to accept.
However the writer of the vision was a man, of whom King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon said, “The great God has let the king know what will happen in the years to come. This is an accurate telling of the dream, and the interpretation is also accurate”.
When Daniel finished, King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face in awe before Daniel. He ordered the offering of sacrifices and burning of incense in Daniel’s honor.
He said to Daniel, “Your God is beyond question the God of all gods, the Master of all kings. And he solves all mysteries, I know, because you’ve solved this mystery.”
Daniel came as a captive of Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon, and was there when BelShazzar succeeded Nebuchadnezzar 43 years later.
“In King Belshazzar’s third year as king, (of Babylon) another vision came to me, Daniel”.
When then did this Vision take place?
It took place in the 3rd year of the Babylonian King Belshazzar. 538 B.C. That same year Darius the 1st conquered Babylon and slew Belshazzar.
Alexander the Great only arrived and conquered Persia in 331 B.C.
So the vision was experienced and recorded 207 years before Alexander’s historical conquest.
Archeologists have found proof that this vision account is true.
Babylon’s capture by surprise during a festival was foretold in Jer_51:31; Jer_51:39, and that the capture should be by the Medes and Persians, 170 years earlier in Isa_21:1-9. Thus, Berosus’ account of the king not being slain, and Daniel’s account of his being slain, supposed once to be an insurmountable difficulty, is fully cleared up by the monuments.
Rawlinson found clay cylinders in Umqeer (Ur of the Chaldees), two of which mention Belshazzar as oldest son of Nabonahit. Berosus gives the Chaldaean account, which suppresses all about Belshazzar, as being to the national dishonor. Had the book of Daniel been the work of a late forger, he would have followed Berosus’ account which was the later one. If he gave a history different from that current in Babylonia, the Jews of that region would not have received it as true. Darius the Mede took the kingdom at the age of 62, upon Belshazzar’s death. Rawlinson thinks that he was set up by Cyrus, the captor of Babylon, as viceroy there, and that he is identical with the Median king Astyages, son of Ahasuerus (Cyaxares), whom Cyrus, the Persian king, deposed but treated kindly. The phrase (Dan_9:1), “Darius, son of Ahasuerus (Cyaxares), of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldaeans,” implies that Darius owed the kingdom to another, i.e. Cyrus.
This vision then can only be attributed to the Creator God who has all knowledge of the future, and who reveals secrets to his servants who listen to Him. God’s knowledge written before the event is termed prophecy.
The vision Daniel had, was simply God telling us that what He reveals in His book is 100% accurate. The Bible has many such incredible stories written before the fact! There are over 300 prophecies predicting the birth of Jesus. All were exactly fulfilled.
There are many more predicting His promised second return to earth. Many of these future prophecies mirror things we see as we watch today’s news.
You need to look into these things, and make sure your relationship with Jesus is such that He will say “I know you as one of my followers, welcome!”