The Mighty Angels of Daniel 11: Prophecy of the Four Kings
By Nathan Jones
The Prophecy of the Four Kings
Nathan Jones: Daniel 11 picks up with the Medo-Persian Empire still ruling as the world power in Daniel’s time. Earlier, in Daniel 10:1, the prophet mentioned that this meeting with the angel occurred in the third year of Cyrus, which historians have calculated to be 536 BC. Cyrus died of a war wound, leaving Darius the Mede in charge. That’s why the messenger angel in Daniel 11:1 states, “In the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood up to confirm and strengthen him.” So, we have an actual time frame for when Daniel wrote this chapter.
Let’s start with a brief glimpse forward into what will happen to the Persian Empire once the Greek Empire conquers it. Daniel 11 centers on how, once firmly in power, the Greek Empire will break up into four regions, with two different regions warring back and forth, back and forth, like a ping-pong tournament, with Israel caught in the middle. This regional conflict is portrayed verse-by-verse throughout chapter 11. The prophecies predict the Kingdom of the North will engage in battle with the Kingdom of the South. As they are duking it out, Israel is trapped in the middle.
Vic Batista: The stunning specificness of these prophecies have caused some people to cast doubt on the book of Daniel as being prophetic, instead claiming the book must be historical, and so was written after the Greek Empire fell to the Romans. Their skepticism falls flat at Daniel 11:2, as the angel inserts that what he is about to proclaim is the truth. He says point blank, “And now I will tell you the truth.” It is almost like the the angel knew that one day in the future lairs would rise up and attempt to disprove the book of Daniel as prophetic. Some people find fulfilled prophecy so hard to believe. And so, the angel points out, “No, prophecy is fact.”
So, again, verse 2 begins, “And now I tell you the truth…” What he is about to utter is God’s truth here, not fantasy. And we are back to the time of the Medo-Persians and prophecies related thereof.
“Behold, three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece.” The angel tells Danie. how many Medo-Persian kings will be left before the empire’s demise. Four!
Up to this point, Cyrus and his Medo-Persian Empire had defeated Babylon in 539 BC. Cyrus particularly stands out amazingly as the fulfillment of an earlier prophecy. King Cyrus was prophesied in Isaiah 45 some 150 years before he came to power! He was the Persian king who would make a decree allowing the exiled Jews to return to Jerusalem. “To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—to subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings.” And, that is exactly what happened! Isaiah actually revealed by name that God’s servant Cyrus would rise to power by God’s strength. He acted on God’s will allowing the Jewish people to return from exile.
Cyrus penned an edict which allowed the Jewish people under Governor Zerubbabel to return to their native land. This story’s explained in detail in the Minor Prophet books of Haggai and Zechariah. These two prophets further rallied the Jews to return and start rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem.
Who are these four kings who would eventually rise in Persia to fulfill prophecy? The son of Cyrus was named Cambyses, and he ruled from 530 to 522 BC. After him, the second king was Gaumâta. This man was actually a look alike and a pretender king to Cambyses’ brother Smerdis. What an interesting story with Gaumâta, but I won’t get into it here. The third king was Darius Hystaspis who ruled from 522-486 BC.
The fourth king history revealed was the super-rich King Xerxes I. He ruled from 486-465 BC. Xerxes shines as a very important character in the Bible, because it was he who married Queen Esther from the book of Esther. Xerxes wanted to avenge his father’s death from a past war, so he invaded Greece. Xerxes captured Athens and burned the acropolis down. Doing so was like kicking a hornets nest, and he ticked off the Greeks so badly that it would haunt the Medo-Persian Empire for decades. When he returned to his country, he was actually killed by the captain of his palace guard, leaving Esther a widow.
Remember that the angel’s prophecy to Daniel stated who the next few Persian kings would be, with the fourth being particularly special. “And the fourth shall be far richer than them all; by his strength, through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece.” The angels description held true. Xerxes I became the greatest and richest of the Medo-Persian kings. He led his armies into Greece where he attacked their cities. He ticked off the Greeks so badly that they never would forgive the Persians for the invasion. And those events all lead up to the next prophecy in Daniel 11:3.
The Walls Rebuilt
Vic Batista: How does book of Nehemiah with the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem fit into Daniel 11:2’s time line?
Nathan Jones: Zerubbabel with his rebuilding of the Temple can be read about in detail in Ezra 2-5, dating around March 515 BC. Ezra later came down to Jerusalem. He served as priest and rebuilt the Temple further, finishing it up in 465 BC. Then Nehemiah, the king’s cup-bearer, traveled down and led the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls in 444 BC.
This era of rebuilding is when the four prophesied Persian king’s fall into place. Esther comes into the story around about 480 BC or so, during the reign of King Xerxes. The book of Esther falls into the Daniel 11 prophecy. Esther lived during the time period when the Jews were making aliyah back to Jerusalem in order to rebuild and settle it. Actually, the bulk of the Jews remained cozy back in Babylon. Very few made the trek back to Jerusalem; maybe only a scant 100,000. The rest continued to dwell in the Medo-Persian Empire where God saved the Jewish people through Esther and Mordecai from Haman’s wrath.
Vic Batista: Understanding history helps place these Old Testament books correctly into Daniel 11’s prophetic time line These historic kings fulfilling prophecy exactly as history describes should also help people realize the relevance of Bible prophecy. Therefore, we should take other events that are prophesied and applicable for today, which we are seeing being fulfilled right before our eyes, very seriously. We must wake up and realize that our time left before the Rapture is very short. The Lord could come for Christians at any moment.
Now is the time to trust in Christ! Today is the day to accept His salvation, because we don’t know how much time we have left.
The Heart Restored
Nathan Jones: The prophecy of the four kings found in Daniel 11:2 was proven 100% by history and by archaeology. Fulfilled Bible prophecy changes lives. Fulfilled prophecy proves the Bible is the real Word of God. People become transformed by the power of God’s Word. Therefore, we can trust what it teaches.
When the Bible says how we can be saved from our sins and just punishment in Hell, we can trust it as the truth. The Word of God teaches us how we can be forgiven of our sins so that one day we can go to Heaven and stand before our Heavenly Father.
We can trust when the Bible says, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, and that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” We can believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior of our souls.
To accept Jesus as your Savior, repent of your sins. Pray from your heart something like, “Dear, Jesus, please forgive me of my sins and be my Lord and Savior.” And Jesus promises to do just that. He will forgive you of your sins. He will cleanse you of your guilt. He will make you pure so that you can stand before our Heavenly Father one day in Heaven. Once saved, you inherit the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
In the forty-eighth segment of this series on the mighty angels of Daniel, we will be introduced to the richest of the Medo-Persian kings.