Alexander the Great

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 11
This conqueror is not mentioned by name in scripture, but his kingdom is certainly referred to in prophecy, principally in Daniel, some 200 years before he was born. It is first spoken of as a part of the great image seen in a dream by Nebuchadnezzar; it is foreshadowed by the belly and thighs, which are of brass, a depreciation in the character of the kingdom in comparison with the empires of Babylon and of the Medes and Persians, though it was larger in extent: it “shall bear rule over all the earth” (Dan. 2:32,3932This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, (Daniel 2:32)
39And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. (Daniel 2:39)
). It is also compared to a leopard which had four heads and four wings of a fowl. The leopard is distinguished for its blood-thirstiness and tearing its prey: this indeed magnifies the contrast in the millennium when it will lie down with the kid (Isa. 11:66The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)). Also remarkable for its swiftness of action: “their horses also are swifter than the leopards” (Hab. 1:88Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. (Habakkuk 1:8)). These characteristics exactly agree with the character and actions of Alexander. The four heads and four wings refer to the extension of the kingdom to the four winds of heaven, as it was divided among four of his generals after his death (Dan. 7:66After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. (Daniel 7:6)). Again in Daniel 8, where the kingdom of Media and Persia is compared to a ram, Greece is compared to a he goat, with a great horn, which is its first king, Alexander (Dan. 8:2121And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. (Daniel 8:21)). Here again we get his character, described: so swift that “he touched not the ground,” he rushed against the ram with “choler,” cast him to the ground and stamped upon him (Dan. 8:5-85And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. 6And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. 7And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. 8Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. (Daniel 8:5‑8)). In Zechariah 6:2-32In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; 3And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses. (Zechariah 6:2‑3) the four great monarchies are alluded to, and the third, the kingdom of Greece, is compared to a chariot with white horses.
Alexander the Great, son of Philip II and Olympias, was born at Pella, B.C. 356; became king of Macedon on the assassination of his father in 336; subdued the Greeks in 335; defeated the Persians, 334; took Tyre; conquered Syria and Egypt, and founded Alexandria, 332; defeated Darius in 331; conquered Parthia, Media, Bactria, and invaded India, 330-324, sought fresh conquests, but died at Babylon in 323. These dates show the rapidity of his conquests, agreeing with the above scriptures. As to his cruelty let one instance suffice: at the capture of Tyre, which then belonged to Persia, provoked by the long resistance and valiant defense, 8,000 of the inhabitants were massacred, 2,000 being crucified: of the rest, except those who escaped by sea, 30,000 were sold into slavery, the king and the chief magistrates were spared, doubtless as trophies. This was the work of the “leopard” of scripture. While besieging Tyre Alexander sent to demand the submission of the Jews; but was told they were faithful vassals of Darius. After the conquest of Gaza, the conqueror marched to Jerusalem. The high priest Jaddua, being warned of God in a vision, hung the city with garlands and went forth in his robes with the other priests and the people in white to meet the king. On seeing these Alexander was arrested, fell to the ground and then embraced the high priest. In reply to an astonished courtier, Alexander said he did not worship the priest, but the name on his frontlet, and explained that he had seen in a vision a figure resembling this very priest, who told him to conquer Persia. He granted the Jews in Palestine, Media and Babylonia the free enjoyment of their laws and exemption from tribute during the Sabbatical year. Such is a rapid sketch of how prophecy and history agree. The empire of Greece had thus to do with God’s ancient people the Jews, and formed a link in the chain of kingdoms until the Messiah Himself appeared and laid the foundation for His kingdom that shall endure forever.