"What I am going to tell you is certain to happen. Four kings will
rule Persia, one after the other, but the fourth one will become much richer
than the others. In fact, his wealth will make him so powerful that he will
turn everyone against the kingdom of Greece."1
"There were four Persian kings after Cyrus: Cambyses, Pseudo-Smerdis,
Darius Hystapes, and Xerxes. King Xerxes, the fourth king, was very rich
and invaded Greece. His army was defeated just as the angel said it would
"Next, we'll read about Alexander the Great and the division of his empire. As I am sure you will remember, Alexander died young and his empire was divided between four of his generals. The angel spent most of his time describing the relationship between the northern kingdom that included Syria and the southern kingdom that included Egypt. The time span covered about 200 years."
"Did the northern and southern kingdoms get along with each other?" Jamie wanted to know.
"No, they battled constantly," Darryl replied.
"Israel is right in the middle of Egypt and Syria. Israel must have been overrun by them," Brian surmised.
"Yes, you're absolutely right. That is the very reason the angel was delivering such a detailed message. G-d wanted His people to know what was in store for them. Let's take a look at what the angel had to say."
"Then a mighty king will come to power and will be able to do whatever
he pleases. But suddenly his kingdom will be crushed and scattered to the
four corners of the earth, where four more kingdoms will rise. But these
won't be ruled by his descendants or be as powerful as his kingdom.
"The king of the south will grow powerful. Then one of his generals will rebel and take over most of the kingdom. Years later the southern kingdom and the northern kingdom will make a treaty, and the daughter of the king of the south will marry the king of the north. But she will lose her power. Then she, her husband, their child, and the servants who came with her will all be killed.
"After this, one of her relatives will become ruler of the southern kingdom. He will attack the army of the northern kingdom and capture its fortresses. Then he will carry their idols to Egypt, together with their precious treasures of silver and gold, but it will be a long time before he attacks the northern kingdom again. Some years later, the king of the north will invade the southern kingdom, but he will be forced back to his own country.
"The sons of the king of the north will gather a huge army that will sweep down like a roaring flood, reaching all the way to the fortresses of the southern kingdom. But this will make the king of the south angry, and he will defeat this large army from the north. The king of the south will feel proud because of the many thousands he has killed. But his victories won't last long, because the king of the north will gather a larger and more powerful army than ever before. Then in a few years, he will start invading other countries.
"At this time, many of your own people will try to make this vision come true by rebelling against the king of the south, but their rebellion will fail. Then the army from the north will surround and capture a fortress in the south, and not even the most experienced troops of the southern kingdom will be able to make them retreat. The king who invaded from the north will do as he pleases, and he will even capture and destroy the holy land. In fact, he will decide to invade the south with his entire army. Then he will attempt to make peace by giving the king of the south a bride from the northern kingdom, but this won't be successful.
"Afterwards, this proud king of the north will invade and conquer many of the nations along the coast, but a military leader will defeat him and make him lose his pride. He will retreat to fortresses in his own country, but on the way he will be defeated and never again be seen.
"The next king of the north will try to collect taxes for the glory of his kingdom. However, he will come to a sudden end in some mysterious way, instead of in battle or because of someone's anger."3