The prophet Daniel, who wrote his book from 605 to 530 B.C., predicted Alexander would head a world power around 200 years before it happened (see Daniel 2, 7, 8 and 11). In Daniel 2 his empire is described as a belly and thighs of bronze (brass) in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel 2:31 - 32, 39). In Daniel 7, it is described as looking like a Beast (Leopard) with four heads.
In Daniel 8, Alexander's Greek empire is symbolized by a male (he) goat with a large horn growing between his eyes.
Then the he-goat became very great. And when he was strong, the great horn was broken. And in its place there came up the appearance of four horns toward the four winds of the heavens . . . and the shaggy goat is the KING OF GREECE (Daniel 8:8, 21, see also verses 1 to 7).
In 323 B.C., at the height of his power, Alexander controlled 2.01 million square miles (about 5.2 million square kilometers) of territory (3.49% of the world's land area)!
Did he know?
Was Alexander, during his illustrious military career, aware he was fulfilling Biblical prophecy through his conquests? The short answer to this fascinating question is YES! The Jewish historian Josephus reveals that he became aware of his prophetic role when he visited Jerusalem after conquering both Tyre and Gaza in 332 B.C.
"And when he (Alexander) had given (Jerusalem's) high priest his right hand, the priests ran along by him, and he came into the city. And when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God . . .
"And when the Book of Daniel was showed him wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended. And as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present . . ." (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 11, Chapter 8).
Alexander, when he read the prophecies of Daniel 8:3 - 8, believed (correctly) that it applied to him. He understood he was the "he-goat from the west" (Daniel 8:5) who, with lightning fast fury (verse 6), would destroy the power of the ram (the Medo-Persian Empire, verse 7). He accomplished this momentous task one year later when, in 331, he achieved a decisive victory over Persia's King Darius in the battle of Gaugamela (Arbela)!
Splitting into pieces
The Bible also predicted what would happen to Alexander's vast empire upon his death.
And when he shall stand up (be at the height of his power), his kingdom shall be broken and shall be divided toward the four winds of the heavens. But it shall not be given to his descendants, nor according to his dominion with which he ruled . . . (Daniel 11:4, see also 8:22).
As was prophecied, Alexander's kingdom was not inherited by any of his sons when he died in 323 B.C. Instead, it was divided up between his four chief generals (the "four winds of the heavens").
Alexander the Great's four generals were Ptolemy, Antipater, Seleucus and Antigonus. Egypt was taken by Ptolemy I who declared himself Pharaoh. Macedonia (Greece) was dominated by Antipater starting in 319. The control of Babylon, Persia and several other nearby areas such as Mesopotamia was seized by Seleucus. Antigonus, the last of the generals, declared himself king of Asia Minor in 306 B.C.