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Ancient Empires - Greece

Alexander the Great (a photograph of a statue of him is shown below) lived only about 33 years, from 356 to 323 B.C., but during that time he became one of the most successful military commanders in human history. Alexander's tactical genius, front-line bravery, and paradoxically, his often short-tempered recklessness (his troops had to rescue the young king a number of times after he had charged too far ahead of them in battle), enabled him to rapidly overrun a vast region that had been occupied by earlier empires - Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian (see Daniel's Statue).

Alexander the Great Alexander was the son of King Philip II of Macedon. In 336 B.C., at age 20, he assumed command of the Greek army. After putting down a rebellion in Greece, he began an eastward military campaign that quickly made him the ruler of the earth from Greece to India (see map below), where, according to some accounts, he sat down and wept because he had "run out of world to conquer." He died suddenly at age 33, from an unknown illness.

Israel (see Division Of The Land), including Jerusalem, was also within the territory taken by Alexander, but he did not fight the Israelites to get it. By Alexander's time, the Israelites had been long-ago conquered by the Assyrians and the Babylonians, and then the Persians who were defeated by Alexander's Greeks.

Alexander's influence had long-lasting effects. The Greek culture and language (see Between The Testaments) pervaded the region for centuries afterward. The New Testament was written in Greek.

The Greek Empire

After Alexander's death, his empire was taken over by four of his generals. Syria went to Seluecus and Egypt to Ptolomy (see The Ptolemies and The Seleucids). The land of Israel, situated between them, was first held by Syria, and then by Egypt from 301 B.C., and then back to Syria when Antiochus the Great took it in 198 B.C.

Amazingly, an account of Alexander's conquests, premature death, and succession by four of his generals was recorded in The Bible - over 2 centuries before they happened! The prophecy (see also our Prophecy section), written over 200 years before Alexander was even born, is found in all of Daniel chapter 8. An excerpt of Daniel's vision of "the ram and the goat":

"Then the he-goat magnified himself exceedingly; but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven." (Daniel 8:8 RSV)

"As for the ram which you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. And the he-goat is the king of Greece; and the great horn between his eyes is the first king. As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power." (Daniel 8:20-22 RSV)

Fact Finder: Does the book of Daniel plainly describe a future resurrection of the dead?
Daniel 12:2
See also The Last Day


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