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Alexander the Great: A Type of the Antichrist

Carl is a biblical scholar, minister, husband, father and life coach. In his mid-twenties he had a powerful encounter with God and saw miraculous healings as a result. He passionately shares these stories and empowers others to fulfill their God-given potential.

Few men have achieved so much, in such a short span of time as Alexander the Great (c. 356 B.C.-323 B.C.). He is a monumental historical figure, largely because he conquered the known world at a young age, with colossal speed. He overthrew the Persian Empire, carried Macedonian arms to India, and laid the foundations for the Hellenistic world. Alexander became king at 20 years old but died at the tender age of 33 (as did Christ). Many Christians are somewhat ignorant of this compelling historical general because he lived within the inter-testament period (i.e., between the Old and New Testaments). Yet the Palestinian region was greatly influenced by Hellenistic (Greek) culture, by the time Christ walked its streets, largely due to Alexander’s conquests.

11 Common Questions about Alexander the Great

  1. Where was Alexander the Great born? Ancient Macedonia (now Greece).
  2. Who was his father? Phillip II, Macedonian King.
  3. Who taught Alexander the Great? Why none other than Aristotle. From the ages of 13-16, Alexander was personally tutored by him. His private education would lay the foundations for philosophical integration, within the nations he conquered.
  4. Was Alexander the Great gay? There is no indication from historical records that he was gay, in fact, quite the opposite.
  5. How tall was Alexander the Great? Historical accounts suggest he was of average height (5′ 9-5’10”).
  6. How old was Alexander the Great when he died? 33 years old.
  7. What made Alexander so ‘Great’? Alexander was a superior military tactician and as a general, perhaps the greatest the world has ever known. He conquered the known world within a decade. His cavalry would pursue enemies at great speed, with conquests from Gibraltar to the Punjab. Quite often due to the tremendous exploits of his cavalry, the infantry were often spared the fighting.
  8. When did Alexander the Great die? He died June 13th, 323 B.C. after being sick for two weeks.
  9. Where did Alexander the Great die? Ancient Babylon (now Iraq).
  10. How did Alexander the Great die? The cause of death ranges from venereal disease to suicide, malaria or typhoid. The precise cause remains unknown.
  11. Where was Alexander the Great buried? Alexandria, Egypt.

The swiftness of Alexander’s Conquests was Fulfillment of Bible Prophecy

There is much to share about Alexander’s life, which cannot be captured in this article, albeit we shall focus on his parallels to the coming Antichrist. As a child, Alexander was privy to tales of Persians, marauding his beloved Greece. Revenge was on the mind of his father (Philip) although he died too soon to inflict it. His son, however, would not only foist devastating reprisal upon the Persian kingdom, but he swept across the entire Middle East at a furious pace, routing through, Syria, Jerusalem, Egypt, Phoenicia, Babylon, Persia and as far as India in his campaign.

His sweeping conquests only took 10 years! There were early signs of Alexander’s courage when he broke a wild horse at the age of 13, naming him Bucephalus.  The horse, born a year after Alexander, was considered too wild to ride. King and horse battled Alexander’s enemies together from Alexander’s accession to the Macedonian throne in 336 B.C. until Bucephalus was killed at the Battle of the Hydaspes in what is now, Pakistan. By some accounts, Alexander’s steed was white, and for this reason, there are plausible parallels to the coming Antichrist who announces himself upon a white horse (Rev 6:2), conquering in like manner.

After, Alexander beat the Persian monarch Darius III, at the Battle of Gaugamela, he used Babylon as a base of operations for his conquests in Persia and India. It’s true that Alexander was motivated to avenge his father’s shame of defeat, but lesser known that God had placed a dream into his heart, that could only be fulfilled in Jerusalem (more on this later). Alexander was described as having both a savage and tender nature, but surprisingly showing favor toward the Jewish people, as we’ll soon find out.

Under Alexander, Greek culture expanded into new territories, and with it came the formation of many new cities (up to 70 by some estimates) with Alexandria, Egypt being the most prominent. Alexandria (named after him) was famed for its Pharos lighthouse, visible for miles, at a height of over 400 feet and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  

Computer generated 3D illustration of the Pharos lighthouse of Alexandria

This Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria, would later become a hotbed for the occult and once housed the greatest esoteric library of antiquity. At the time of his death, Alexander’s empire was split between his four generals, Seleucus, Ptolemy, Cassander and Lysimachus. In Daniel chapter 7, these world empires are described as various beasts, the third beast, having the body of a leopard, with four wings. Without doubt the description of Greece being a leopard was accurate, due to the velocity of Alexander’s campaign. The four wings proceeding from its back, represent the Grecian kingdom split into four parts, with each of Alexander’s generals as overseer. Interestingly, It was from the lineage of Ptolemy that Cleopatra would later reign in Alexandria, being a persistent thorn in the side of Rome.

What was the extent of Alexander the Great’s Empire?

The Grecian Empire flourished from 331-168 B.C., but it shone like a bright star under Alexander’s short reign. In Daniel Chapter 2, the infamous statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s’ dream, represented Gentile kingdoms which Daniel interpreted as, ‘Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, Rome’ and a final Kingdom, comprising all facets of the previous empires combined. This final empire, soon to be revealed on the world stage will eventually be destroyed by Christ. These kingdoms represent Gentile nations which were either hostile to Israel (for the most part) or had a significant influence on its destiny. The full extent of Alexander’s empire can be seen below:

The Greek Empire (Alexander and Post Alexander) – 331-168 B.C.

In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he saw a statue comprising of a man with various types of metal, representing prominent world empires to come. Greece was represented by ‘thighs of brass.’ In the Bible, brass is symbolic of strength, resistance and judgment. Brass is different from the other metals denoted in the king’s dream, in comparison to Gold, or Silver, because it’s an alloy of Copper and Zinc (or Tin). Greece was, indeed, different from the other kingdoms, because of the educational influence it espoused on its conquered people. It was determined to shape the legacy of the conquered nations with the construction of schools and libraries, which mainly taught philosophy.

Seven Historical Kings who embody the coming Antichrist

The antichrist will bear character traits of all seven of the most prominent Gentile leaders of antiquity. Midway through the tribulation, the devil will incarnate the antichrist and bear the full manifestation of evil, in bodily form. In Revelation 12:3 the devil is described as, “a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.” Seven crowns upon seven heads are a representation of the world leaders, who each had significant influence upon God’s chosen people, throughout history. The coming antichrist will indeed, share commonalities with these tyrants, who zealously persecuted God’s people:

  1. Nimrod, the King of Babel (worshiped himself)
  2. Pharaoh, the King of Egypt (worshiped Ra)
  3. Sennacherib, the King of Assyria (worshiped Ninus)
  4. Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon (worshiped Belus/Baal)
  5. Cyrus, the King of Persia (worshiped Mithra)
  6. Alexander the Great, the King of Greece (worshiped Zeus)
  7. Caesar, the King of Rome (worshiped Jupiter)

Alexander the Great in the Book of Daniel

Alexander the Great is a polarizing figure in many ways, because although he is an archetype of the antichrist (in the list above), he also shows kindness towards God’s people when he embarks for Jerusalem. There is an accurate description of Alexander the Great in Daniel chapter 8, verses 3-8. Let’s review it together:

3 “Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.”

This speaks of the two kings (two horns), Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian with Cyrus being the ‘higher horn.’ These kingdoms are akin to the silver breastplate of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue in Daniel chapter 2. The ram represents Persia

4 “I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.”

The ram (Persia) is pushing westward towards Babylon, northward toward Asia Minor and southward toward Egypt as part of their expansion. There is seemingly no-one to stop the Persian Empire, or is there?

5 “And 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.”

Alexander (the Goat) lunges toward the Persian Empire (Ram)

This ‘he goat’ (Alexander), came from the west (in relation to Babylon and Persia), ‘touched not the ground’ (a reference to the speed of his conquests), and a notable horn is reference to the fact Alexander was the first notable Grecian King. Alexander nicknamed himself, ‘the goat,’ after the capital of ancient Greece, Aegae, which means, “the goat city.”

6 “And 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.

Alexander conquered both Darius (the Mede) and Cyrus (the Persian), represented by the two horns of the ram. It was at the river ‘Granicus,’ that he won his first victory against Darius. The ‘fury of his power’ speaks, of the speed at which Alexander, not only assembled and diverted his forces but utilized his famous cavalry to run down opposing infantry.

7 “And 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.

Alexander regularly won battles against insurmountable odds. The Persian army was twice the size of Alexander’s army yet he still triumphed. Perhaps God was on his side?

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.”

Alexander ‘waxed very great,’ until his great horn was broken, due to his sudden and untimely death. These, four ‘notable ones’ refer to Alexander’s four generals who succeeded him. Cassander took Macedonia and Greece, Lysimachus took most of Asia Minor, Seleuces took Syria and eastward to India and finally Ptolemy took Egypt and Arabia.

Alexander’s Kingdom being split into four pieces is also a fulfillment of Daniel 11:3-4, “And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will. 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.” God’s word is precise and predicts the outcome of geo-political conflicts long before they come to pass.

God Speaks to Alexander in a dream

There is a remarkable account, given by Flavius Josephus (Jewish Historian), during the course of events, leading up to Alexander’s conquest of Jerusalem. The High Priest, at the time, Jaddua was fearful of the Greek expansion into Jerusalem and its impact on their culture. Alexander had a fierce reputation and dealt with his enemies swiftly. Whilst in prayer, God told Jaddua; “to decorate the city, open the gates, have all the people to dress in white, and that the priesthood should dress appropriately, according to their order, without the dread of any ill consequences.”

When Alexander finally drew close to the Jerusalem, Jaddua, the High Priest sent out a welcoming party. As Alexander settled on a hilltop, prior to entering Jerusalem, he was greeted by the entire population robed in white! The High Priest also took occasion to dress in priestly robes, with a golden miter, atop his head with ‘Jehovah’ embossed upon it. This made such a strong impression on Alexander, that he dismounted, walked alone toward the High Priest, bowed to the ground before him and extended his hand in friendship. The Jewish people saluted him, and the Priests gathered around him. Incredibly this display was fulfillment of a personal dream that Alexander had many months earlier in his homeland. God spared Jerusalem from conquest that day.

Jaddua the High Priest welcomes Alexander the Great into Jerusalem

Alexander fulfills Bible prophecy

Alexander’s second in command didn’t understand why such an esteemed general would bow before such a strange people, to which Alexander replied:

I did not adore the priest, but the God who has honored him with that high-priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios, in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he (God) would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians…and now seeing the person in it (the dream) and remembering that vision, and the exhortation in the dream, I believe I bring this army under the divine conduct (of God), and shall conquer Darius and the Persians.”

This incredible testimony from Alexander, confirms that God truly raises up and brings down kings for His good pleasure, fulfilling the plans and purposes, He has set forth in advance. Even more astounding; Josephus documents, that Alexander entered the Temple, with the High Priest, and offered a sacrifice to God. At such a time, the High Priest, brought out the scroll of Daniel and declared the precise prophecy, which foretold of Greece, conquering Persia! This declaration greatly inspired Alexander, who subsequently defeated the Persian Empire in the months following. In return, Alexander promised to allow the Jews to worship freely in Jerusalem and that all taxes would be deferred for seven years. Alexander also moved a colony of Jews, to Alexandria, Egypt, “whose virtue and good behavior he greatly approved of, deeming them worthy of special trust.”

The Antichrist will enter the Holy Temple in Jerusalem once again

Although this is a delightful account, we would be remiss to point out the coming antichrist, may appear benevolent on the surface, yet he will forcibly demand worship in the temple of God (Dan 9:27, Dan 7:24-26). Those who refuse will be beheaded. Once, the Jews were relocated to Alexandria, apostasy set in, to a large extent because they began to mingle philosophy with Holy Scripture (Philo-20 B.C.-50 A.D.). In this instance, Alexander entered the temple, but did not defile it. Later Antiochus Epiphanes IV, the 8th king of the Seleucid Dynasty (aka ‘the madman’), upon conquering Jerusalem on Dec 25th, 165 B.C., entered the temple and sacrificed a pig on the altar. This heinous and profane act will be repeated by none other than the Antichrist (Abomination of Desolation-Dan 9:27, Mat 24:15-16). More than 100,000 pious Jews were massacred in his conquest, having declared ‘Jupiter Olympus,’ as God. Antiochus died two years later.

Antiochus Epiphanes IV – A forerunner to the Antichrist (215 B.C.-164 B.C.) – aka ‘the madman.’

Alexander’s Discovery of an Ancient Tomb

One astounding account you won’t find in secular history books, is Alexander’s own testimony of the authenticity of the Book of Genesis. Here are Alexander’s own words:

When I came to such a place in India, the natives told me that they had with them the sepulcher of an ancient king that ruled over all the world, whose name was Cainan, the son of Enos, who foreseeing that God would bring a flood upon the earth, wrote his prophecy of it on tablets of stone and they are here; the writing is Hebrew writing.”

Evidently, some of the remnants of the lost tribes of Israel, found their way to India, including their writings. The tomb of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth was closely guarded in this region of India. Alexander personally witnessed Hebrew stone tablets, that prophesied of Noah’s flood. Cainan is included in Christ’s ancestry (Lk 3:37), living 910 years and was the fourth antediluvian patriarch. Five generations later, Noah would appear on the scene. Alexander’s account authenticates the Biblical Narrative and the preservation of ancient Hebrew writings in Eastern Asia.

How did Alexander the Great die?

Alexander’s, campaign ended in Babylon. It was there he bore a son through a Persian wife (Roxana), who named the child, Alexander Aegus, “the son of a goat.” Legend states that upon arriving in Babylon, he sat down and wept because he had no more worlds to conquer. This bears witness that true fulfillment can only be attained in relationship with God, not by achievement, riches or fame. The enormity of Alexander’s accomplishments led to a heightened sense of his own greatness. By 324 BC, he became convinced of his own divinity, not uncommon amidst the mythological mind-set of ancient Greece. If Alexander did indeed declare himself as ‘God,’ this he shares with the coming Antichrist (2 Thess 2:4).

Following a lengthy banquet and whilst planning his next crusade, Alexander fell gravely ill. On June 13th 323 B.C. after being sick for two weeks, he died in Babylon. The cause of death remains unknown, with possibilities ranging from venereal disease, to suicide, malaria and typhoid. His body was later buried in a gold coffin in Alexandria, Egypt. In the twelve short years of his reign, Alexander’s remarkable achievements, expanded Greek influence, over the Middle East and Asia, which would last for one thousand years. However, Alexander’s fate was most assuredly sealed when he sought to be worshiped as ‘a god.’

Alexander’s Babylonian Deathbed scene surrounded by his four Generals; Cassander, Lysimachus (Antigones), Ptolemy and Seleucus

Alexander the Great is a pivotal figure in history. When he came to power, he united the independent Greek city-states under the influence of Macedonia from 330 B.C. to 323 B.C. His army virtually annihilated the social structures and languages of the ancient societies he conquered. Following Alexander’s conquests, the Babylonians, Aramaeans, Persians, and Egyptians ceased to exist as distinct civilizations; only the Greek (Hellenistic) culture remained. Judaism was the only ancient religion and Hebrew the only ancient language, which survived this onslaught. God protected Jerusalem by giving Alexander a dream, prior to his embarkation to the Levant and meeting Jaddua, the High Priest, was fulfillment of that dream. The reason the New Testament was written in Greek is due largely to Alexander’s influence on prevailing culture, in the crucial decades, prior to Christ’s birth.

Alexander led a very unique life, and many of us couldn’t comprehend a single day in his shoes. Ironically, God can influence a heathen king, without him knowing and Alexander is testimony to this (Pr 21:1-9). Alexander was a tool in the hand of God, just like the other gentile leaders aforementioned but God also judged them for their transgressions, once His purposes were fulfilled. Even today, the nations of the world are still influenced by God’s invisible hand.

Author – Carl G.M. Joseph

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Bibliography:

The Two Babylon’s (Romanism and its Origins) – Alexander Hislop (General Press, Krishna House, New Delhi, 2020).

Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite (2008)

Antiquities of the Jews (Chapter XI, VIII, 4) – Flavius Josephus (The Works of Josephus: New Updated Edition: William Whiston – Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA-1987).

Arno Clemens Gaebelein, Fulfilled Prophecy: A Potent Argument for the Inspiration of the Bible (New York: “Our Hope” Publication Office, n.d.), 21–22

Lynn Jones, “Alexander the Great,” ed. Chad Brand et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 46.

Antiquities of the Jews (Chapter XI, VIII, 5) – Flavius Josephus (The Works of Josephus: New Updated Edition: William Whiston – Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA-1987).

Daniel Reveals the Bloodline of the Antichrist – J.R. Church (Prophecy Publications, Oklahoma City, OK, 2010).

Ruckman, Dr. Peter S. Daniel Commentary (The Bible Believer’s Commentary Series) (p. 153). BB Bookstore. Kindle Edition.

W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996).

A Dissertation Concerning the Antiquity of the Hebrew Language, Letters, Vowel Points and Accents (John Gill D.D., Chapter Two, Page 36 – London, England, 1767) – Extract from “Enoch: The First Book ever written” Commentary by J.R. Church (Prophecy Publications, Oklahoma City, OK 2015)

Logos Bible Software (Version 9)

Sharon Rusten with E. Michael, The Complete Book of When & Where in the Bible and throughout History (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2005), 56.

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