We wrapped up Daniel tonight. While it is a little unclear to us what exactly is being prophesied in Daniel, we have a few guesses. That being said, even Daniel didn't fully understand what was being prophesied to him!
In an ancient history course I took in college, one of the reference books we were advised to read out of was...THE BIBLE!!! It would seem that this particular portion of reading would have been pertinent during that course.
Daniel 11 talks about the true meaning of his visions. As we mentioned yesterday, there was talk of four beasts (four kings); we find out here that these are three Persian kings and one Grecian (Greek) king who would rise up to greatness above the others and rule for a very long time and become so full of himself that he would not acknowledge ANY god, much less our God. This king would bring all the peoples of these lands together, but then divide and mix them all up. Remembering what little history I do (though Mike's a pretty good reference!), it would seem that this "fourth king" would be Alexander the Great...he pretty much did exactly what this reading describes.
Regardless of whether our guess is accurate, Daniel's vision depicts a time of war. And why is this all relevant? Because the Jews are innocently sitting in the middle of all of the warring empires. They are just getting taken along for the ride at this point and aren't particularly notable at this point of non-biblical history, yet they are still there and continue to be told that God will save them from it all. Daniel 12 talks about Michael (which we are assuming is the archangel) coming to rescue the Jews...but ends by saying that not even Daniel can know where, when why, how, and who.
Our brains are tired...more tomorrow...blurg.