I think you’ll agree that this is a fascinating account of how
God used Daniel the Prophet, Jeduah the High Priest, and
Alexander, King of Greece, to prepare the world to receive the
Gospel, beginning over 500 years before the fact.
Alexander The Great was born in 356 BC to Philip, King of
Macedonia, and Olympias, his wife. As a boy he saw how his
Macedonian countrymen, a loose knit group of autonomous tribes,
experienced impossible difficulties in uniting together into a
strong cohesive force. Because of this the Persians, rulers of
the known world, kept them under subjugation. Alexander was
particularly incensed when the Persians defeated and humiliated
his father, treating his people cruelly.
He determined that their problems were due primarily to an
inability to communicate clearly with one another due to the
many individual dialects they had developed. This caused
misunderstanding and distrust, which resulted in a reluctance to
fully commit to one another.
With the help of his father Phillip, Alexander crafted a new
language, later called common Greek or Koinonia, taught it to
the tribal chieftains, and convinced them to use it when
communicating with each other. Soon their disagreements were
resolved and their mutual trust restored. What had been a
rag-tag mob of self-interested tribal factions was on the road
to becoming a powerful army.
When Phillip was killed through the treachery of the Persians,
Alexander at age 20 became king of the now unified Greece, and vowed revenge. Bringing
his newly trained army onto the battlefield at
Issus, Alexander first defeated the Persians in 333
BC. Two years later he crushed the 100 thousand strong Persian
army with just 40 thousand of his own men, giving him access to
all of Asia Minor or what we would call the
Middle East. This fulfilled a prophecy in Daniel
Before his death, King Phillip had told his son that Macedonia was too small for him, and that he
should set his sights on
and then the entire world.
Having defeated the Persians, Alexander set about accomplishing
the rest of his goal. He quickly gobbled up
Damascus and Sidon
and found himself outside
Tyre, a formidable target that great
generals of the past had been unable to subdue. To fortify
itself this mainland Phoenician city had literally been
dismantled and rebuilt on a small island offshore. The
Phoenicians (modern Lebanese) were accomplished sailors and had
no trouble defending themselves from the weaker navies of their
would be attackers. Replenishing themselves by sea, they could
endure endless siege from land forces as well. The Assyrians had
spent 5 years in a failing effort to defeat them, and even the
Great Nebuchadnezzar gave up after a 13 year siege. (Ezek.
29:17-20 says that as a reward for his noble effort, the LORD gave
Nebuchadnezzar all of
So powerful and rich had the city of Tyre become that its King
presumed himself to be the personification of the Phoenician god
Melkarth, ruler of the seas. This so angered the LORD that He
declared destruction on Tyre (Ezek. 28:1-10)
and chose the Greeks as His instrument. Alexander scraped up the
remains of the dismantled mainland city and began building a
causeway out to the island. Within 7 months he had completed his
land bridge and defeated the island fortress in fulfillment of Zechariah
9. The Philistine coastal cities in the south fared no
Tyre has built herself a stronghold; she has heaped up
silver like dust, and gold like the dirt of the streets.
But the Lord will take away her possessions and destroy her
power on the sea, and she will be consumed by fire.
Ashkelon will see it and fear; Gaza will writhe in agony, and
Ekron too, for her hope will wither. Gaza
will lose her king and Ashkelon
will be deserted. A mongrel people will occupy Ashdod, and I will put an end to the pride of
the Philistines. (Zech. 9:3-6)
Now Alexander set his sights on Jerusalem. The High Priest Jeduah had refused
his earlier demand for provisions and men to help him conquer
claiming that a treaty with Persia
from helping the Greeks. Alexander was now intent upon showing
the Jews who they should have made treaties with.
According to Josephus, Jeduah and all of
sought the LORD in terror, with prayer and sacrifice. The Lord
told Jeduah not to worry, but for him and the priests to get
dressed in all their finery, open the gates and go out to greet
Alexander when he arrived.
They did just that. In all their white linen, purple robes and
golden headdresses the priests gathered behind Jeduah, threw
open the gates to the city, and went out to meet Alexander.
Stunned by this greeting, Alexander dismounted and bowed down
before Jeduah. The Jews couldn’t believe their eyes! When he was
asked about it, Alexander replied, “I didn’t pay homage to him
(Jeduah), but to the God Who made him His High Priest.”
Then he explained that one night several years previously when he
couldn’t sleep for thinking about how he might defeat the
Persians he had a vision in which he saw Jeduah and all his
priests dressed and gathered before him just as he had seen them
that day. In his vision Jeduah had told him that the LORD would
guide his armies and would lead him to victory against all his
enemies including the Persians. Jeduah had urged him not to
delay but to proceed immediately. A short time later
Alexander defeated the Persians and on that day outside
the vision became reality. Then he went up to the Temple and made sacrifice to the LORD, sparing
Afterward, Jeduah brought out the scroll of Daniel and pointed to
the portion we would call chapter 8 in which Daniel’s vision of
a one-horned goat defeating a ram represents a king from Greece defeating the Persians. (This
vision had come to Daniel over 200 years earlier in 551 BC, and
the angel Gabriel had personally interpreted it as such in
Daniel 8:20-21.) Alexander understood that he was the
king of whom Gabriel had spoken (Antiquities of the Jews, Book
XI, chapter VIII Part 5).
From that time forward Alexander gave the Jews great privilege in
his kingdom allowing them to keep to their own laws and
traditions, not only in
but in the rest of the kingdom as well. Other cities,
having heard what happened in
Jerusalem, flung open their gates just as
the LORD had commanded Jeduah, hoping for similar favor. And so
Alexander conquered many of them without a fight.
Remembering the success he had in unifying the Greek tribes with
a common language, Alexander enforced the use of his common
Greek wherever he went. It was his way of assuring peace in his
kingdom. Within a short span of time all of the known world
could read and speak Greek no matter what their native tongue.
It was the world’s official language even during Roman times
several hundred years later.
And so it was that when the Gospels were first written and
circulated, and when the Apostle Paul wrote and spoke to
audiences from northern Africa around the Eastern end of the
Mediterranean and all the way up into middle
Europe, the language in which the Good News was
shared and understood was Alexander’s common Greek.
The Prophet Daniel had foretold it, the Priest Jeduah had enacted
it, and the King Alexander had fulfilled it. But long before the
foundations of the world were laid, the One Who is all three,
Prophet, Priest, and King, had decreed it.