“Now then, I tell you the truth: Three more kings will arise in Persia, and then a fourth, who will be far richer than all the others. When he has gained power by his wealth, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. Daniel 11:2 (NIV).
The angel is prophesying about what will happen in Persia in the next few years. A concise site I found, (http://www.herealittletherealittle.net/index.cfm?page_name=Daniel11). explains this verse well. The prophecy was handed to Daniel during the reign of Cyrus the Great. After Cyrus, the next three Persian kings were Cambyses II, Gaumata the Magian, and Darius the Great (Darius II). Darius the Great had a son named Xerxes who, from childhood, was raised to punish the nascent empire of Greece. Have you ever seen “300”, the graphic novel movie that tells the story of the Battle of Thermopylae? The Xerxes of that movie is the Xerxes prophesied by the angel (though, in real life, he wasn’t a bald, half-naked giant).
Xerxes would rule the Median-Persian empire seventy years after Daniel received this prophecy. He ruled from 486-465 BC, while the prophecy was given at approximately 535 BC. This isn’t the first time that Daniel had been given foretelling of empires to rule the known world. He had previously passed along God’s divine visions to Nebuchadnezzar about the empires that would rule after his own. This same knowledge was passed to Belshazzar (specifically about his impending doom), and from Gabriel to Daniel several chapters ago.
The source I listed mentions how Daniel is one of the few books in the Bible that can be specifically dated to known events, namely how the times described in chapter 11 line up with historically verified events and people. Thus, this book is a crossover from the supernatural into the empirical. The veracity and historical reliability of what is described in this chapter lend believability to the entire Bible. What seems fantastic is, in reality, factual, verifiable.
And that’s part of the beauty of it. We exercise faith in the Bible by believing it, but then we find history usually backs it up. Not only, but the words Daniel records are those uttered by an angel (possibly the angel Gabriel, though this is disputable). That’s amazing. This isn’t the first time angels spoke to people; it happened with Lot in Sodom, and to Abraham, and to Elisha, Zechariah the father of John the Baptist, the virgin Mary, Jesus’ disciples, and more. Indeed, there are more instances recorded in the Bible of things angels told ordinary people than there are most words recorded from most of the ancient kings and emperors of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined.
For further reading: Daniel 11:3
Lord Jesus, thank You for recording Your angels’ words to men over the years. Thank You for the lessons You teach us through them, and for protecting us all throughout history.
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