I have heard several Bible teachers suggest that demonic forces were behind Alexander the Great’s fantastic military success.
Yet these teachers never cite a shred of evidence for this theory.
To this day, Alexander the Great is considered a logistical and tactical military genius. Before dying in his early 30s, Alexander had crushed the world’s reigning superpower, the Medo-Persian Empire. Upon his death, Alexander’s empire was divided among four of his generals– Lysimachus, Seleucus, Ptolemy, and Cassander. All of this has Biblical significance because it was all foretold in the Biblical book of Daniel, hundreds of years before any of it happened. This 100% prophetic accuracy is what sets the Bible apart from all other books in the world. And it is how we know that the God of Israel is the one true God. It is his seal of authentication.
I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done… ~ Isaiah 46:9-10
Let’s take a look at one of the prophetic passages about the Greek Empire, written 300 years before Alexander fulfilled it:
The ram which you saw, having the two horns — they are the kings of Media and Persia [Daniel wrote this prophecy during the Babylonian Empire, not the Medo-Persian Empire. In other words, Daniel was foretelling (with perfect accuracy) which empire would succeed the Babylonian Empire as the superpower of the known world. As if that’s not remarkable enough, he then goes on to tell that the Greek Empire would succeed the Medo-Persian Empire as the superpower of the known world. This is the God of Israel showing that he is God. The “holy” book of no other religion on earth even attempts prophecy like this, much less gets it 100% correct!] And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king [Alexander the Great]. As for the broken horn [Alexander’s death in his early 30s] and the four [Lysimachus, Seleucus, Ptolemy, Cassander] that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power. ~ Daniel 8:20-22
I had always interpreted this to mean that the four kingdoms that came from Alexander the Great’s Empire would not be as strong as Alexander’s Empire. In other words, I always understood the term “but not with its power” to mean quantity of power. However, I now believe the term to denote quality of power, not quantity. That is, I now believe (contrary to the teachings I’ve heard) that Alexander the Great did not have demonic wind in his sails. I now believe that it was God himself blowing the mighty wind that propelled Alexander the Great to fantastic military success. Upon what do I base this belief? I’m glad you asked.
A while back, a friend of mine gave me a book, “Josephus: The Complete Works.”
Josephus may just be the greatest historian of all time. He was a Jew, and was actually present at the 70 A.D. siege of Jerusalem. I have found gems of Biblical clarification in this masterpiece, about which I posted previously:
- Chariots of Fire
- The Antichrist and the Great Tribulation, a preview
- The true identity of the “people of the prince” in Daniel 9:26 (it’s not the Romans!)
One night recently, I was reading this book when I stumbled upon yet another gem of blinding brightness. This gem not only illuminated the detail behind Alexander the Great’s military success, it illuminated (yet again) that too much of the teaching from modern American Evangelical pulpits is merely one pastor repeating what another has said, without any scholarly investigation into whether what is said has any foundation in truth. This is exactly how colossal errors such as the pre-trib rapture and the revived Roman Empire are perpetuated. As I stated in the beginning of this post, I have heard several teachers suggest that Alexander the Great had demonic power behind him, but I have heard none of these teachers cite any sources. I now believe that this is because the demonic power theory was merely a rumor whispered down the Evangelical lane. Here is what a real historian has to say about the matter:
Josephus: The Complete Works
The Antiquities of the Jews, Chapter 8
CONCERNING SANBALLAT AND MANASSEH, AND THE TEMPLE WHICH THEY BUILT ON MOUNT GERIZZIM; AS ALSO HOW ALEXANDER MADE HIS ENTRY INTO THE CITY JERUSALEM; AND WHAT BENEFITS HE BESTOWED ON THE JEWS
1. About this time it was that Philip, king of Macedon, was treacherously assaulted and slain at Egae by Pausanias, the son of Cerastes, who was derived from the family of Oreste, and his son Alexander succeeded him in the kingdom; who, passing over the Hellespont, overcame the generals of Darius’s army in a battle fought at Granicum. So he marched over Lydia, and subdued Ionia, and overran Caria, and fell upon the places of Pamphylia, as has been related elsewhere.
2. But the elders of Jerusalem being very uneasy that the brother of Jaddua the high priest, though married to a foreigner, should be a partner with him in the high priesthood, quarreled with him; for they esteemed this man’s marriage a step to such as should be desirous of transgressing about the marriage of [strange] wives, and that this would be the beginning of a mutual society with foreigners, although the offense of some about marriages, and their having married wives that were not of their own country, had been an occasion of their former captivity, and of the miseries they then underwent; so they commanded Manasseh to divorce his wife, or not to approach the altar, the high priest himself joining with the people in their indignation against his brother, and driving him away from the altar. Whereupon Manasseh came to his father-in-law, Sanballat, and told him, that although he loved his daughter Nicaso, yet was he not willing to be deprived of his sacerdotal dignity on her account, which was the principal dignity in their nation, and always continued in the same family. And then Sanballat promised him not only to preserve to him the honor of his priesthood, but to procure for him the power and dignity of a high priest, and would make him governor of all the places he himself now ruled, if he would keep his daughter for his wife. He also told him further, that he would build him a temple like that at Jerusalem, upon Mount Gerizzini, which is the highest of all the mountains that are in Samaria; and he promised that he would do this with the approbation of Darius the king. Manasseh was elevated with these promises, and staid with Sanballat, upon a supposal that he should gain a high priesthood, as bestowed on him by Darius, for it happened that Sanballat was then in years. But there was now a great disturbance among the people of Jerusalem, because many of those priests and Levites were entangled in such matches; for they all revolted to Manasseh, and Sanballat afforded them money, and divided among them land for tillage, and habitations also, and all this in order every way to gratify his son-in-law.
3. About this time it was that Darius heard how Alexander had passed over the Hellespont, and had beaten his lieutenants in the battle at Granicum, and was proceeding further; whereupon he gathered together an army of horse and foot, and determined that he would meet the Macedonians before they should assault and conquer all Asia. So he passed over the river Euphrates, and came over Taurus, the Cilician mountain, and at Issus of Cilicia he waited for the enemy, as ready there to give him battle. Upon which Sanballat was glad that Darius was come down; and told Manasseh that he would suddenly perform his promises to him, and this as soon as ever Darius should come back, after he had beaten his enemies; for not he only, but all those that were in Asia also, were persuaded that the Macedonians would not so much as come to a battle with the Persians, on account of their multitude. But the event proved otherwise than they expected; for the king joined battle with the Macedonians, and was beaten, and lost a great part of his army. His mother also, and his wife and children, were taken captives, and he fled into Persia. So Alexander came into Syria, and took Damascus; and when he had obtained Sidon, he besieged Tyre, when he sent all epistle to the Jewish high priest, to send him some auxiliaries, and to supply his army with provisions; and that what presents he formerly sent to Darius, he would now send to him, and choose the friendship of the Macedonians, and that he should never repent of so doing. But the high priest answered the messengers, that he had given his oath to Darius not to bear arms against him; and he said that he would not transgress this while Darius was in the land of the living. Upon hearing this answer, Alexander was very angry; and though he determined not to leave Tyre, which was just ready to be taken, yet as soon as he had taken it, he threatened that he would make an expedition against the Jewish high priest, and through him teach all men to whom they must keep their oaths. So when he had, with a good deal of pains during the siege, taken Tyre, and had settled its affairs, he came to the city of Gaza, and besieged both the city and him that was governor of the garrison, whose name was Babemeses.
4. But Sanballat thought he had now gotten a proper opportunity to make his attempt, so he renounced Darius, and taking with him seven thousand of his own subjects, he came to Alexander; and finding him beginning the siege of Tyre, he said to him, that he delivered up to him these men, who came out of places under his dominion, and did gladly accept of him for his lord instead of Darius. So when Alexander had received him kindly, Sanballat thereupon took courage, and spake to him about his present affair. He told him that he had a son-in-law, Manasseh, who was brother to the high priest Jaddua; and that there were many others of his own nation, now with him, that were desirous to have a temple in the places subject to him; that it would be for the king’s advantage to have the strength of the Jews divided into two parts, lest when the nation is of one mind, and united, upon any attempt for innovation, it prove troublesome to kings, as it had formerly proved to the kings of Assyria. Whereupon Alexander gave Sanballat leave so to do, who used the utmost diligence, and built the temple, and made Manasseh the priest, and deemed it a great reward that his daughter’s children should have that dignity; but when the seven months of the siege of Tyre were over, and the two months of the siege of Gaza, Sanballat died. Now Alexander, when he had taken Gaza, made haste to go up to Jerusalem; and Jaddua the high priest, when he heard that, was in an agony, and under terror, as not knowing how he should meet the Macedonians, since the king was displeased at his foregoing disobedience. He therefore ordained that the people should make supplications, and should join with him in offering sacrifice to God, whom he besought to protect that nation, and to deliver them from the perils that were coming upon them; whereupon God warned him in a dream, which came upon him after he had offered sacrifice, that he should take courage, and adorn the city, and open the gates; that the rest should appear in white garments, but that he and the priests should meet the king in the habits proper to their order, without the dread of any ill consequences, which the providence of God would prevent. Upon which, when he rose from his sleep, he greatly rejoiced, and declared to all the warning he had received from God. According to which dream he acted entirely, and so waited for the coming of the king.
5. And when he understood that he was not far from the city, he went out in procession, with the priests and the multitude of the citizens. The procession was venerable, and the manner of it different from that of other nations. It reached to a place called Sapha, which name, translated into Greek, signifies a prospect, for you have thence a prospect both of Jerusalem and of the temple. And when the Phoenicians and the Chaldeans that followed him thought they should have liberty to plunder the city, and torment the high priest to death, which the king’s displeasure fairly promised them, the very reverse of it happened; for Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments, while the priests stood clothed with fine linen, and the high priest in purple and scarlet clothing, with his mitre on his head, having the golden plate whereon the name of God was engraved, he approached by himself, and adored that name, and first saluted the high priest. The Jews also did all together, with one voice, salute Alexander, and encompass him about; whereupon the kings of Syria and the rest were surprised at what Alexander had done, and supposed him disordered in his mind. However, Parmenio alone went up to him, and asked him how it came to pass that, when all others adored him, he should adore the high priest of the Jews? To whom he replied, “I did not adore him, but that God [the God of Israel] who hath honored him with his high priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he [the God of Israel] would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians; whence it is that, having seen no other in that habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision, and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army under the Divine conduct, and shall therewith conquer Darius, and destroy the power of the Persians, and that all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind.” And when he had said this to Parmenio, and had given the high priest his right hand, the priests ran along by him, and he came into the city. And when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God, according to the high priest’s direction, and magnificently treated both the high priest and the priests. And when the Book of Daniel was showed him wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended. And as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present; but the next day he called them to him, and bid them ask what favors they pleased of him; whereupon the high priest desired that they might enjoy the laws of their forefathers, and might pay no tribute on the seventh year. He granted all they desired. And when they entreated him that he would permit the Jews in Babylon and Media to enjoy their own laws also, he willingly promised to do hereafter what they desired. And when he said to the multitude, that if any of them would enlist themselves in his army, on this condition, that they should continue under the laws of their forefathers, and live according to them, he was willing to take them with him, many were ready to accompany him in his wars.
6. So when Alexander had thus settled matters at Jerusalem, he led his army into the neighboring cities; and when all the inhabitants to whom he came received him with great kindness, the Samaritans, who had then Shechem for their metropolis, [a city situate at Mount Gerizzim, and inhabited by apostates of the Jewish nation,] seeing that Alexander had so greatly honored the Jews, determined to profess themselves Jews; for such is the disposition of the Samaritans, as we have already elsewhere declared, that when the Jews are in adversity, they deny that they are of kin to them, and then they confess the truth; but when they perceive that some good fortune hath befallen them, they immediately pretend to have communion with them, saying that they belong to them, and derive their genealogy from the posterity of Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh. Accordingly, they made their address to the king with splendor, and showed great alacrity in meeting him at a little distance from Jerusalem. And when Alexander had commended them, the Shechemites approached to him, taking with them the troops that Sanballat had sent him, and they desired that he would come to their city, and do honor to their temple also; to whom he promised, that when he returned he would come to them. And when they petitioned that he would remit the tribute of the seventh year to them, because they did but sow thereon, he asked who they were that made such a petition; and when they said that they were Hebrews, but had the name of Sidonians, living at Shechem, he asked them again whether they were Jews; and when they said they were not Jews, “It was to the Jews,” said he, “that I granted that privilege; however, when I return, and am thoroughly informed by you of this matter, I will do what I shall think proper.” And in this manner he took leave of the Shechenlites; but ordered that the troops of Sanballat should follow him into Egypt, because there he designed to give them lands, which he did a little after in Thebais, when he ordered them to guard that country.
7. Now when Alexander was dead, the government was parted among his successors, but the temple upon Mount Gerizzim remained. And if any one were accused by those of Jerusalem of having eaten things common or of having broken the sabbath, or of any other crime of the like nature, he fled away to the Shechemites, and said that he was accused unjustly. About this time it was that Jaddua the high priest died, and Onias his son took the high priesthood. This was the state of the affairs of the people of Jerusalem at this time.
End passage from Josephus.
Wow, wow, and wow! It was not demonic power that propelled Alexander the Great along in his phenomenal success. It was Godly power! Considering that one of the four offshoots of Alexander’s Empire (the Seleucid offshoot) produced Antiochus IV Epiphanes (a prototype of the end-times Antichrist), we can safely say that the empires that sprouted from Alexander’s Empire indeed did not have the quality of power that propelled Alexander.
…four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation [that is, out of the Greek Empire], but not with its power [that is, not with the Godly power that propelled Alexander along, but with demonic power]. ~ Daniel 8:22
I will develop this further in a forthcoming post.
In closing, I want to point out an astounding fact hidden in plain sight in the verse subsequent to Daniel 8:22. A dear friend of mine, whom I have mentioned before, pointed this next verse out to me, as he has pointed out so many other gems in the Bible that are commonly glossed over in popular teaching.
“And in the latter time of their kingdom [This is the verse my friend pointed out to me. That is, “their kingdom” means the geographic footprint of Alexander’s Empire, and its four offshoot empires. These empires (kingdoms) occupied the Middle East, not the West. So, what will happen in this Middle Eastern geography? Let’s continue with the passage to find out.], When the transgressors have reached their fullness, A king shall arise [This “king” is the Antichrist. The Antichrist will arise from the Middle East, not from the West. This has been a central theme of alwaysproventrue.com, but my friend pointed out to me the profound evidentiary weight of these verses, which had escaped me previously!], Having fierce features, Who understands sinister schemes. His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power [Satanic possession]; He shall destroy fearfully, And shall prosper and thrive; He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people [the Jews and Christians].” ~ Daniel 8:23-24
These verses clearly instruct that the Antichrist will come from the four offshoots of Alexander’s Empire. Alexander’s Empire was an Eastern Empire, not a Western Empire. In fact, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (a prototype of the end-times Antichrist) of the Seleucid Empire was based in Syria, a Middle Eastern nation! This is in direct contradiction to the popular, but completely unbiblical, teaching in modern American Evangelical churches asserting that the European Union will produce, and be the empire of, the Antichrist. In fact, the book of Daniel intensely focuses our end-times attention on history’s Middle Eastern empires (Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek), not the Western Roman Empire!
The Antichrist and his empire will be from the Middle East, not the West. The Bible is always proven true.