Daniel 11, The Persian king who aroused Greece
Aug 19, 2015
In our study of the book of Daniel, we left off in the early verses of chapter 11. Chapter 10 focuses upon the manner in which the angelic message came—the opposition from the Prince of Persia, the assistance of Michael, and the future rise of Greece. It appears that Chapter 10 was recorded mostly to give us understanding of spiritual warfare itself and how (evil) spiritual “princes” rule in the heavens over the nations that are not under God.
We also took note from my own revelation in past decades that the Prince of Persia is named Apollyon, or Abaddon, whose job was to destroy the House of Israel, lose the Israelites, and to set up a counterfeit version of the Holy Spirit. He is opposed by Peniel, the angel of Tabernacles, who has been sent to overcome Apollyon by bringing to earth the fullness of the Holy Spirit in the sons of God.
Michael is the prince that began to lead Israel after the golden calf incident (Exodus 32:34). He is the angel of death and resurrection. He led Israel over the Jordan River to picture this “baptism” as Israel went into the Promised Land. Many years later, Israel “died” as a nation when the Assyrians destroyed their nation and deported them to the area near the Caspian Sea. Michael’s job is to raise Israel from the dead in the end time.
False Glory vs. Truth in Greece
We noted also that the Prince of Greece is named False Glory. He is opposed by the angel of Truth. In the time that Antiochus Epiphanes ruled Judea, Truth was to be cast to the ground (Daniel 8:12), indicating the victory of False Glory over the angel of Truth for a season. Later, Peniel emphasized to Daniel that he would reveal “what is inscribed in the writing of truth” (Daniel 10:21). He confirmed this in Daniel 11:1, saying, “I will tell you the truth.”
Antiochus Epiphanes was the prime manifestation of the spirit of False Glory. He gave himself the title Epiphanes, “God Manifest,” by the inspiration of the Prince of Greece. In discussing this with Mark Eaton, he told me that the actual Greek word for False Glory is Kenodoxia, which is translated “Vainglory” in Philippians 2:3 (KJV). The NASB renders it “empty conceit.” It means “groundless self-esteem, empty pride.”
3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit [kenodoxia], but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.
This is a compound word, where keno means “empty, vain, devoid of truth,” and doxa means “glory, God’s judgment, view, or opinion.” When the two parts of this word are put together, it refers to a person like Antiochus Epiphanes, who was inspired by groundless self-esteem, apart from truth, and contrary to the opinion of God, to give himself the title “God Manifest.”
Hence, the Greek name for the Prince of Greece is Kenodoxia. Paul wrote to the Philippian church in Greece that they were to not to be inspired by Prince Kenodoxia, the spiritual ruler in high places. They were to be inspired by the Angel of Truth, which would give them “humility of mind.” They were to “regard one another as more important than himself.”
Four Kings of Persia
Daniel 11 gives us the actual message that the angelic messenger was to give him. We read in Daniel 11:2,
2 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 [uwr, “awaken, stir up, incite”] the whole empire against the realm of Greece.
This brief revelation about the future of Persia was meant to be an introduction to the story of Greece. It focuses on how the fourth Persian king was to arouse Greece, and from then we are given the consequences of this king’s actions toward Greece.
The “three more kings” obviously were to come after Cyrus, since this revelation came in the third year of Cyrus. The first was Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, who was first made co-regent in 529 B.C. when his father went to war with the Massagetae. Cyrus was killed in that war in 528, and then Cambyses became Persia’s sole ruler.
According to the Bible Research Handbook, Vol. 2, Serial 572.9353, the Massagetae were Israelites that had been taken captive by the Assyrians two centuries earlier. They had been deported to the territory east of the Caspian Sea, along with another group that came to be known by the Greek name Sacae. We read,
“It is now realized (as mentioned particularly by Tarn) that the term Massagetae means merely ‘the great Sak (or Sag) horde.’ For the purpose of this work, therefore, the Massagetai and the Sacae are accepted as being either identical or close kindred peoples.”
This source also explains that Sak is short for Isak (Isaac). The Israelites were first called Sagaz on the Amarna tablets and were identical with the Khabiru (“Hebrews”). These tablets were letters written by the Canaanite kings begging Egypt to defend them from the invading Israelites under Joshua. It appears from these letters that the Khabiru-Hebrews were remembered by the Canaanites as the children of Isaac (Sagaz).
Hence, it appears that King Cyrus lost his life on the battlefield fighting Israelites that had been deported by the Assyrians two centuries earlier.
So Cambyses, son of Cyrus, became the first of “three more kings” mentioned by the angel. He reigned from 530-522 B.C. The Britannica says of him,
In 538 he performed the ritual duties of a Babylonian king at the important New Year festival, and in 530, before Cyrus set out on his last campaign, he was appointed regent in Babylon.
After his father’s death, Cambyses set out to conquer Egypt with the intention of capturing Carthage as well. Before leaving, he reportedly killed his brother Smerdis. In 522 one of the Magi named Gaumata impersonated Smerdis and seized the throne. Cambyses heard of this revolt while he and his army were in Syria, but he died in the summer of 522 before he could retake his throne.
Smerdis only ruled eight months before he was killed by Darius I (“The Great”). Darius then ruled for 36 years. Coming to the throne in 522, his first year began the following Spring in the year 521. He died in 486 B.C. Darius was the second of the “three more kings” prophesied by the angel. Smerdis, the usurper, was not one of these kings.
The most important of the three was the last king, Xerxes, son of Darius, who ruled 21 years from 485-465 B.C. Xerxes actually had an older brother (by a different mother), whose name was Artobazan. Normally, the oldest son was crowned as the successor, but Xerxes’ mother was Atossa, the daughter of King Cyrus, the liberator of Persia. He was able to claim greater succession rights on account of his direct descent from Cyrus and was crowned late in the year 486 after his father died.
Xerxes first marched to Babylon and Egypt in order to crush revolts that had broken out the previous year.
“In 484 BC, he outraged the Babylonians by violently confiscating and melting down the golden statue of Bel (Marduk, Merodach), the hands of which the rightful king of Babylon had to clasp each New Year’s Day. This sacrilege led the Babylonians to rebel in 484 BC and 482 BC….”
In 480 B.C. Xerxes invaded Greece with an army estimated by Herodotus to be a million men, including 10,000 elite troops known as the Persian Immortals. (More recent estimates reduce this estimate to about 60,000.)
After the Battle of Thermopylae, the Persians took Athens. The city was burned, either by Xerxes or by the Athenians themselves who may have adopted a “scorched earth policy” while abandoning the city. The Greeks then won the Battle of Salamis in September of 480 BC. Being afraid that the Greeks would burn the Persian pontoon bridges over the Hellespont and trap the Persian army in Greece, Xerxes decided to retreat back to Asia.
Since there was still unrest in Babylon, Xerxes knew that if his army were trapped in Greece, the angry Babylonians would have revolted again. Xerxes left a small part of his army in Greece when he retreated, but these were defeated the following year, and that ended the Persian attempt to conquer Greece.
Xerxes’ wealth greatly exceeded that of his predecessors. Though he failed to conquer Greece, the invasion, along with the destruction of Athens (regardless of who was responsible), aroused an undying sentiment against Persia. Alexander the Great arose 150 years later and quickly conquered Persia.
Xerxes was the third great king of Persia who had aroused the Greeks, as the angel prophesied in Daniel 11:2. Although many more kings would arise in Persia during the next 150 years, none of them were important enough for the angel to speak of them. The angel passed over them and spoke immediately of Alexander and the rise of Greece.
This is part 60 of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Daniel." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones