Prophecies of Daniel 11, Part 1
While we’re continuing with the Revival series, I wanted to begin another series, this one on Daniel chapter eleven. Of course, the entire book of Daniel is a fascinating read and study, not only of the things that were happening in Daniel’s life, but also of those things that would come after Daniel’s life and even reach into the very end times of this particular age, just prior to the return of Jesus.
However, Daniel 11 is fascinating not only for these things, but also for the extreme intricacy and accuracy of the contents of that chapter. In fact, even most liberal, so-called “higher critics” of the Bible, acknowledge the facts and historical accuracy of Daniel 11. However, they do so by stating that it was another “Daniel” who came after the recorded events of that chapter. That imitation Daniel simply looked back in time (from his perspective) and wrote about events that had already occurred. That’s the way they generally explain away Daniel 11 because far be it for them to actually acknowledge that God is God and controls many of the events that occur in history or, at the very least, knows about them hundreds of years before they ever occur.
This first article will serve merely as an introduction to the entire chapter of Daniel 11. The chapter itself divides nicely into two sections:
- The near future 11:2-35
- The distant future 11:36—12:4
You’ll likely note that I did not include verse 1 of chapter eleven. This is due to the fact that most conservative scholars place verse 1 with the previous chapter, Daniel 10. Rather than introducing a new thought or situation, it actually concludes the thought at the end of chapter ten. Of course, it’s wise to remember that when the books of the Bible were originally written, no chapter or verse indications were necessarily included.
By the way, the entirety of chapter ten of Daniel is Daniel’s preparation for receiving the vision that comes to him in what we refer to as Daniel 11. He took time to personally prepare, then receives information from angelic messengers, then reacts to what he sees in a very weakened condition, then he is strengthened. We then read about the explanation that is provided to Daniel from the angel.
All of this revealed imagery and truth is very interesting. One interesting point to consider is found in Daniel 10:21. Here, we read the following:
“However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.”
Notice that the angel says he is going to tell Daniel what is “inscribed in the writing of truth.” Some take this to mean “Scripture” itself, but it may well be pointing to all truth from God, much of which we do not even know yet and will not know in this life. Dr. Thomas Constable notes the following on this verse.
“The ‘writing of truth’ seems to refer to all that God has recorded as truth. This includes Scripture, but it also includes all that is true that God has not revealed. The angel would make part of what God had established as ‘truth’ known to Daniel.”
Certainly, one might argue that the angel was revealing to Daniel what ultimately became Scripture that we read today and this is true. However, we cannot believe that all of what is truth and even what we might eventually learn about truth (in the next life) has all been stored in the Bible. There are not enough books in the universe to contain all that is truth. That said, it is also important for us to realize that what God wants us to know for this life is contained in what we call the Bible.
As noted above, the eleventh chapter of Daniel breaks neatly into two sections (not counting verse 1, which is really part of the preceding chapter). The angel is about to reveal to Daniel what was going to occur in the near future, the things that Daniel might live to see and certainly, the nation of Israel and that area of the world would experience and endure.
From this point, I’d like to take this verse by verse wherever possible. Some verses are connected to the next and in that case, we will take these small sections, but I think it’s best to break things down into small bites because as the reader will see, it doesn’t take long before things become very complex, historically, yet for numerous events, the Bible simply gives us one verse or two. It’s important to go slowly enough to see all that is happening in those verses. If we don’t do that, we will certainly miss things.
THE NEAR FUTURE
We will end this particular article with commentary on Daniel 11:2, which says, “And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all of them; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece.”
By the way, when the angel says “And now I will tell you the truth…” he is not saying that to imply that he could lie. He is again referring back to Daniel 10:21 where we learn about the “writing of truth.” He is getting ready to reveal things from the writing of truth that were heretofore not known.
The angel tells us that three more kings will arise in Persia. In essence then, three more Persian kings will rise to the throne following Darius. After these coming three, there will be a fourth king, also Persian, who will stand out from among the first three. He will more powerful in part due to the riches he will amass for himself. We know how that works. People in every generation have sold themselves to a person or a corporation for the sake of ill-gotten gain. There are many who will do whatever is asked of them if it means becoming rich in the process. They don’t care because they have no scruples.
This fourth Persian king will use his tremendous wealth to gain “friends” and allies. He will ultimately arrive to the point of attacking Greece. Briefly, let’s talk about these kings as they appeared in history. By the way, Constable points out that we have this historical information thanks to the following historians:
- Daniel himself
- second-century B.C. Greek historian Polybius
- the apocryphal books of 1 and 2 Maccabees
- the first-century B.C. writer Diodorus Siculus
- the Roman historian Livy (ca. 59 B.C.-A.D. 17)
- the second-century A.D. writer Appian
- and the historian Porphyry, whom Jerome quoted
It is because of the time and efforts of the above listed people that we have access to this historical information. We have a good handle on who these kings were. Constable also notes that the four Persian kings were:
- Pseudo-Smerdis (also known as Gaumata and Bardiya)
- Darius I
- Xerxes I (Ahasuerus)
We know from history that Xerxes I did attack Greece in 480 BC, and this may well have been what brought Alexander to power and took vengeance on Greece by attacking and conquering the Persian Empire. Prior to this, Xerxes I had conquered nearly all of Greece, but was unexpectedly routed by the Grecian navy in the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC. Xerxes I fled, leaving roughly 100,000 troops behind. These were overcome within one year at the Battle of Plataea. Xerxes I never did regain the strength and prominence he once had.
We see that the Bible has set the stage for us to see the rise of Alexander the Great, who came to power not long after the fourth Persian king (Xerxes I) ruled and expanded his empire. Ultimately, just as the Bible says in Daniel 11:2, Xerxes I was defeated and lost power. The Bible tells us things before they happen. This should be tremendous encouragement to us today because we often see things happen in the political realms between nations and we wonder why God does not seem to hear our prayers.
The reality is that God allows things to occur for His purposes. He is the One who brings glory to Himself. Humans can plan and we can even pray. But God is the One who acts, to ensure that His plans come to fruition.
We’ll be back next time, picking it up from Daniel 11:3.