God is the perfect historian. His is the only completely unbiased record of world events. Everyone has their prejudices and therefore their records are biased.
History books are often written by the pen of sceptics, but they vindicate the integrity of Bible prophecy.
In Daniel 11, we have the prophecy of people fighting each other and then turning against God. History confirms the written prophecies.
Daniel 10:19-11:4 says, “ ‘O man of high esteem, do not be afraid. Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!’ Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, ‘May my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.’ Then he said, ‘Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. 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.’
“And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him. ‘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. And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases. But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded; for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them.’ ”
Every item in this chapter has found its exact fulfillment as history attests.
Daniel had found it difficult to understand previous visions. In this last interview with the heavenly visitor, symbols are laid aside and history is predicted in plain language. There are no beasts or horns or multi-element images.
This prophecy often refers to individuals. For example, “And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him.”
The angel Gabriel assisted Darius in his administration in Babylon. Too often today, we do not recognize the hand of God working to strengthen those who are friends of God’s people. In His work, He uses the ministry of angels far more than we are aware.
In the first two verses of Chapter 11, the prophecy outlines the history of the second kingdom, Medo-Persia. Verses 3-13 record the history of the third kingdom, Greece.
After the death of Cyrus, who was reigning at the time of the vision, the next three kings of Persia were Cambyus (530-522 BC); a usurper, False Smerdis or Bardiia (522 BC), and Darius I (522-486 BC) Cyrus and Darius I both issued decrees to rebuild the temple. The fourth king, Xerexes (486-465 BC), is known in the Bible as Ahasuerus, the husband of Queen Esther.
We will continue in my next column.
Ian Cotton is the retired pastor of the Creston Seventh-day Adventist Church.