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The Persian period of prosperity foretold

24 April 2013, 10:00

The year was 536 BC. Daniel had just been appointed as one of the 3 most important governors of Babylon by Darius the Mede. In the past three weeks he had been troubled much and decided to seek the Lord. After 21 days of fasting and prayer something tremendous happened. First he felt the awesome presence of the Lord.

And then there before him suddenly stood a man, out of which the glory of God flowed so much, till he passed out in his presence. What were also amazing are the things he had been told in that meeting. The whole political future of the world and his beloved Jewish people had been revealed from his time until the end times. And so the 10th 11th, and 12th chapter of Daniel was written, given to him by a Man from the presence of God. Let’s look at some of the things the Man said:

" DANIEL 11:2  And now will I shew thee the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia."

If history does not bear record of any prophecy, then that prophecy either was wrong or never yet came to pass. God interpret His own word, and the way He does it is when that which is said would happen, comes to pass exactly HISTORICALLY as prophesied.

The Persian empire was big, as Cyrus the Persian conquered 3 nations [Medes, Lydian’s, and Babylonians] and inherited the riches as well as the human resources of those kings he conquered. But if the fourth Persian was going to be the richest, then it means the empire was either going to increase in size adding more kingdoms to it, or that the existing kingdom’s resources would be managed better so to prosper more till the fourth. Daniel also heard the 4th Persian shall stir up all against the realm of Greece. Did that happen?

1st Persian after Cyrus

Remember when Daniel was told these thing Cyrus was already in power. He then heard 3 more kings would stand up for the Persian empire and by the fourth the empire would be at it’s height of prosperity.  After Cyrus, his son Cambyses II came to power. Britannica says:

" Cambyses II- Achaemenid king of Persia (reigned 529–522 BC), who conquered Egypt in 525;he was the eldest son of King Cyrus II the Great by Cassandane, daughter of a fellow Achaemenid.”

Further on it says: “After Cambyses had won the Battle of Pelusium (525) in the Nile Delta and had captured Heliopolis and Memphis, Egyptian resistance collapsed. While in Egypt, Cambyses planned expeditions against Ethiopia, the Oasis of Amon (modern Wa?at Siwah), and Carthage. He himself set out against Ethiopia, but, after annexing the northern part of the country, he ran short of supplies and had to return. A detachment sent out from Thebes captured al-Kharijah (Kharga) Oasis but perished in a sandstorm before reaching the Oasis of Amon. The attack on Carthage was never attempted." [From-Encyclopaedia Britannica]

So far so good. Cambyses added Egypt and northern Ethiopia, so indeed the kingdom became richer.

2nd Persian king after Cyrus.

"Bardiya  also called Smerdis (6th century BC), king of Persia in 522–521 BC.”

He only reigned 8 months, and there was some controversy whether he was indeed Smerdis, the son of Cyrus or not. But nevertheless, he reigned 8 months according to Britannica and other histories.  Although the chronology of some historians never include his reign, Daniel did. If the Book of Daniel was a fake, it would have missed Bardiya’s rule, like many other historians. Britannica says further of his controversial rule: 

" According to Herodotus, Darius, when a youth, was suspected by Cyrus II the Great (who ruled from 559 to 529 BC) of plotting against the throne. Later Darius was in Egypt with Cambyses II, the son of Cyrus and heir to his kingdom, as a member of the royal bodyguard. After the death of Cambyses in the summer of 522 BC, Darius hastened to Media, where, in September, with the help of six Persian nobles, he killed Bardiya (Smerdis), another son of Cyrus, who had usurped the throne the previous March. In the Bisitun inscription Darius defended this deed and his own assumption of kingship on the grounds that the usurper was actually Gaumata, a Magian, who had impersonated Bardiya after Bardiya had been murdered secretly by Cambyses. Darius therefore claimed that he was restoring the kingship to the rightful Achaemenid house. He himself, however, belonged to a collateral branch of the royal family, and, as his father and grandfather were alive at his accession, it is unlikely that he was next in line to the throne. Some modern scholars consider that he invented the story of Gaumata in order to justify his actions and that the murdered king was indeed the son of Cyrus." [From-Encyclopaedia Britannica ]

3rd Persian ruler: Darius I-[the Persian] ruled 521-485BC

Darius I, married the daughter of Cyrus namely Atossa, perhaps to lend credibility to his claim on the throne. He also increased the riches of the Persian empire by adding more land to the east. Britannica says:

"… Having restored internal order in the empire, Darius undertook a number of campaigns for the purpose of strengthening his frontiers and checking the incursions of nomadic tribes. In 519 BC he attacked the Scythians east of the Caspian Sea and a few years later conquered the Indus Valley. In 513, after subduing eastern Thrace and the Getae, he crossed the Danube River into European Scythia, but the Scythian nomads devastated the country as they retreated from him, and he was forced, for lack of supplies, to abandon the campaign. The satraps of Asia Minor completed the subjugation of Thrace, secured the submission of Macedonia, and captured the Aegean islands of Lemnos and Imbros.” [From-Encyclopedia Britannica ]

These other Persians from Cyrus actually set up the riches of the 4th. I quote Britannica on how Darius improved administration in terms of organizing the empire, improve tax collection and undertaking other ambitious projects to create more wealth:

" Darius as an administrator.Although Darius consolidated and added to the conquests of his predecessors, it was as an administrator that he made his greatest contribution to Persian history. He completed the organization of the empire into satrapies, initiated by Cyrus the Great, and fixed the annual tribute due from each province. During his reign, ambitious and far-sighted projects were undertaken to promote imperial trade and commerce. Coinage, weights, and measures were standardized and land and sea routes developed. An expedition led by Scylax of Caryanda sailed down the Indus River and explored the sea route from its mouth to Egypt, and a canal from the Nile River to the Red Sea, probably begun by the chief of the Egyptian delta lords, Necho I (7th century BC), was repaired and completed."

But as the reign of Darius I [the Persian] came near its end, we understand a usurper took Egypt under his control, and took away some of the wealth of the kingdom from Darius I.

4th Persian ruled 485-465 BC

Xerxes was the son of Darius I and Atossa, daughter of Cyrus; he was the first son born to Darius after his accession to the throne. Was he going to restore Egypt to the kingdom?  Was he going to be the richest Persian of them all?

One of his first concerns upon his accession was to pacify Egypt, where a usurper had been governing for two years. But he was forced to use much stronger methods than had Darius: in 484 BC he ravaged the Delta and chastised the Egyptians.” [Britannica]

There it is. What was taken from his father he restored. And with the excellent administration Darius left him, and the ambitious projects started by his father now paying dividends, he prospered. It is this Xerxes that we read about in another place in the Bible. Jews in the Book of Ester called him Ahasuerus. He was also the Persian king whom Esther married. And he truly had a great empire. Wikipedia says:

“ The empire expanded to eventually rule over significant portions of the ancient world which at around 500 BC stretched from the Indus Valley in the east, to Thrace and Macedon on the northeastern border of Greece, making it the biggest empire the world had yet seen.”  Further on it says:

At the height of its power after the conquest of Egypt, the empire encompassed approximately 8 million square kilometers spanning three continents: Asia, Africa and Europe. At its greatest extent, the empire included the modern territories of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, all significant population centers of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya, Turkey, Thrace and Macedonia, much of the Black sea coastal regions, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, much of Central Asia Afghanistan, northern Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and parts of Oman and the UAE.”  [Wikipedia]

Of the times of Xerxes Wikipedia says: “ In 480 BC, it is estimated that 50 million people lived in the Achaemenid Empire or about 44% of the world's population at the time, making it by population percentage the largest empire.”  

No wonder Xerxes could have a party for 180 days [6 months] as described in the Book of Esther. Could you imagine all those delegates coming together from 3 continents and then being introduced country by country, all bowing to the great king as they enter? No wonder the man was very upset when his wife failed to come before him.

Now we’ve seen the wealth, but did he also stir up trouble with the Greeks?

" DANIEL 11:2 … and the fourth shall be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he shall stir up all against the realm of Grecia."

Did he move his whole kingdom into trying to fight Greece?  

“ From 483 BC Xerxes prepared his expedition: A channel was dug through the Isthmus of the peninsula of Mount Athos, provisions were stored in the stations on the road through Thrace, two pontoon bridges later known as Xerxes Pontoon Bridges were built across the Hellespont.” [Wikipedia]

For three years he prepared for war against the Greeks. He drew men from every sector of his domain which included Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Phoenicians and even Jews.

Xerxes set out in the spring of 480 BC from Sardis with a fleet and army which Herodotus estimated was roughly one million strong along with 10,000 elite warriors named the Persian Immortals. More recent estimates place the Persian force at around 60,000 combatants, as no land at the time could have supported foraging of such an extravagant number of soldiers, especially in the rough and semi-desertic Persian territories of Syria, Iraq and Turkey where the army would have amassed.” [Wikipedia]   

Indeed he stirred all in his kingdom as the Bible said. But did he win this war? The Man Daniel spoke to did not tell that part. He simply said he would be rich and stir up trouble with the Greeks which came to pass as the Man said, shown in history as you’ve read. Further reading of history will tell you after initial victories against the Greeks and even sacking the city of Athens he actually went on to loose the war. His war against the Greeks and his sacking of their beloved city, later spurred on Alexander to bitter hatred. But did Bible prophecy came true? ABSOLUTELY.

Through this we see we can trust the Word of God, and put faith into this word. We know Jesus shall return! We know there will be a millennium wherein peace shall reign over all the earth. We know even if we die we shall live again. All those prophecies shall come true.

Now let us just ponder on prosperity for a while. This prosperity of the Persians came at the expense of other nations. And to this day this type of prosperity at the expense of other people still continues. Today we still have war upon war, economic exploitation, nation against nation trying subject one the other to their way of doing things. The Nazi’s wanted a Nazi world under their supreme leader. And then there was war. The communists wanted a communist world under their atheistic supreme leader. And then there was a cold war. The democrats want a democratic world under their greed based capitalist system, and so the wars will not stop. Some says wars like the Iraq war was started out of greed for oil, so some wars is about money. Even amongst religions and between churches, one tries to subject the other to his rule. It is a vicious cycle, all because of the condition of man’s heart.

This past Sunday I was so wonderfully blessed by listening to a recorded sermon from Rev. W. M. Branham which was called “ Victory day”   It spoke on war and also upon the origins of wars. I learned so much upon why we do things the way we do it. It also spoke on the one war worth fighting: The war between right and wrong going on inside the human heart. It spoke of that final “Victory day” when right shall triumph over wrong. This is the world Jesus want for everybody. A world wherein there is no death, no violence, no greed, no hunger, no sickness, no strive, just peace between all men because each and every person had his heart changed and all malice and evil had been removed. If you want to experience the same blessing I got from the sermon, you might want to visit the –www.branham.org -site where audio of the sermon is still freely available. You are not obliged to join, not obliged to pay anything, simply invited to feed your soul, and do so freely.

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