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Sunday, November 6 2011

The Cleopatra Connection

After the The Division Of Israel in about 930 BC, the people of Israel consisted of two independent kingdoms - the The Northern Kingdom, known as "Israel," and The Southern Kingdom, known as "Judah." When "Israel" became corrupt before the LORD, He had them gradually taken away by the Assyrians (see Ancient Empires - Assyria), ending by about 721 BC; they never returned, but have thereafter been known as "the lost ten tribes of Israel" (see The Galilee Captivity; also No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?). "Judah" continued on for over a century before they too became corrupt - so the LORD had the Babylonians (see Ancient Empires - Babylon) take them away, in 586 BC, for a prophesied seventy-years exile (see Jeremiah's Field). When the Babylonian Empire fell to the Persia Empire (see Ancient Empires - Persia), the LORD had the Persians (Persia is known today as Iran) permit the nation of Judah to return to Jerusalem, in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (see Iran's Greatest Leader Was Pro-Zionist; also What Was Holy About Herod's Temple?). The historical record of the "Old Testament" ends with that return.

Cleopatra There is a gap of about four centuries between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. During that time, the Persian Empire was overcome by the Greek Empire (see Ancient Empires - Greece), under the rule and command of the warlord Alexander the Great. While the Old Testament ended before the rise of the Greek Empire, or even the birth of Alexander, Alexander and the Greek Empire were prophesied in the Old Testament - as was his early death, in 331 BC, and the division of the Greek Empire into four kingdoms.

"11:2 And now will I show thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia. 11:3 And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 11:4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those." (Daniel 11:2-4 KJV)

Two of those subsequent Greek-origin empires flanked the land of Israel - The Seleucids, to the east, from Syria, and The Ptolemies, from the west, in Egypt.

The Seleucids are named after Seleucus, the Greek/Macedonian general who, as one of the Diadochi, or Successors, of Alexander, acquired the vast eastern section of the empire. Among the successors of Seleucus was Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who committed the original "abomination of desolation" in Jerusalem - again, as prophesied by Daniel (see also Antiochus And The Maccabees and Christ's Hanukkah):

"11:31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. 11:32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits." (Daniel 11:31-32 KJV)

"Over all the precious things of Egypt"

The Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt was named after Ptolemy, the Greek/Macedonian general who, like Seleucus in the other direction, acquired a prophesied section of Alexander's empire. The Ptolemaic dynasty lasted for about three centuries, until the murder of Caesarion (Ptolemy XV), the 17 year old son of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, by order of Octavian in 30 BC. Therein is found the Cleopatra connection to Bible Prophecy.

Antony and Cleopatra Ptolemy moved the capital of Egypt from Memphis to Alexandria - the city founded by, and named after, Alexander the Great. From there, the Ptolemies ruled an empire that extended beyond Egypt to Israel (the Ptolemies and the Seleucids fought over the land of Israel, with each ruling it for some time), Cyrenaica, Cyprus and as far north as western Asia Minor (i.e. Turkey).

Although Ptolemy and his successors were and remained Greeks, they adopted many Egyptian customs, ruling in the tradition of the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. They also involved themselves in incestuous marriages in a like manner of the Pharaohs. The Ptolemaic kings, all fifteen of whom were named Ptolemy, often married their sisters, who were commonly named Cleopatra, from the Greek kleos patris meaning famous parents.

One Egyptian custom that they did not adopt however was the language - the Ptolemies were avid Greek speakers. They made Greek the official language of Egypt, and many cities were given Greek names. The name Egypt is itself derived from Greek.

Alexandria became one of the greatest ancient centers of knowledge and trade. A great library was founded there. Many Jews also lived in the city and adopted Greek ways and language. The Septuagint, the Old Testament translation into Greek, was made by Jewish scholars in Alexandria.

As inevitably happens to all empires, the Ptolemaic kingdom was weakened by both internal political gridlock and the growing power of some other nation - in their case, the Romans (see Ancient Empires - Rome). Cleopatra VII was the last and generally most well-known of the Ptolemaic rulers. Although there were numerous Cleopatras, she is the one that made the name famous.

Cleopatra reigned with the political support of the Roman leader Julius Caesar, with whom she had a son. After Julius Caesar was assassinated in Rome, Cleopatra became involved with the Roman general Marc Antony - a lust and power relationship that lasted for 10 years. It ended when the forces of Antony and Cleopatra were defeated by Octavian in the Battle of Actium. After Cleopatra, 39, and Antony, 53, both committed suicide (she by reportedly having a poisonous snake bite her), Egypt was absorbed by the Roman Empire that was being born from the Roman Republic (as has happened many times in history - a nation overthrows a monarchy, but eventually itself becomes an imperialistic empire just like, or even more brutal and arrogant, than the one that it supposedly revolted against; see also The Politics Of Rome).

Who was the military commander named Octavian that defeated Cleopatra and Marc Antony? When he later became emperor of Rome (see also Whatever Happened To Those Romans?), Octavian became known as Caesar Augustus - the Roman emperor who declared the famous census that caused the Messiah to fulfill the prophecy of being born in Jerusalem.

"2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:1-7 KJV)

Fact Finder: As recorded in secular history, as well as in Bible prophecy, the Greek and Roman Empires both fought against the people of "the King of the South." Who, where and why did it first happen, and when will it happen again?
See Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy


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This Day In History, November 6

1429: Henry VI was crowned king of England, 7 years after succeeding to the throne at age 8 months.

1572: A supernova (a newly-visible "star" caused by the explosion of an old star) was observed in the constellation Cassiopeia.

1813: Mexico was declared independent of Spain.

1867: The first Parliament of Canada opened.

1889: The Eiffel Tower opened in Paris.

1913: Mohandas Ghandi was arrested in South Africa for leading an Indian miners march.

1917: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), the 5-month third Battle of Ypres ended when Canadian and Australian troops took Passchendaele. The advance of 5 miles cost 240,000 men.

1917: The beginning of the "October Revolution" by the Bolsheviks (October 25 according to the then-used Russian calendar), led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky.

1918: The Republic of Poland was proclaimed.

1923: During the time of out of control inflation in Germany, a single loaf of bread sold for over 100 billion Marks. Much of the inflation was caused by the government printing vast amounts of (eventually worthless) paper money to pay its vast government debt in which it couldn't afford to even pay the interest any longer.

1932: In German elections, the Nazis lost 34 seats and 2,000,000 votes but still remained the largest party in the Reichstag with 196 seats. Adolf Hitler was eventually elected President of Germany (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1944: Walter Edward Guinness, first Lord Moyne, British Minister for Middle East Affairs, owner of the Guinness beverage company, was murdered by radical members of the Zionist "Stern Gang," named after its leader Avrahan Stern. With few exceptions, the Zionist community was horror-stricken by the assassination. The 2 youths who committed the crime were placed on trial in Cairo in January 1945, and swiftly found guilty and hanged (listen to our Sermon The Balfour Declaration).

1991: The last of the 751 oil-well fires that had been started by retreating Iraqi troops in Kuwait at the end of the Gulf War was extinguished.





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