Question: Who was the Prince of Persia and the Prince of Greece referred to in the Book of Daniel?
Answer: The question you ask is important but the answer is obscure until you know what you are looking at, then suddenly it all seems so simple. This is either something that occurred unintentionally because the answer was so clear to those who made the record or it is an intentional obscuring of the answer by the Spirit of God so that the answer is not readily found out until someone knows enough to ask the question. I think the latter is the answer.
To answer the question, let us first look at the Scripture where these individuals referred to appear in Daniel chapter 10:
1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a
thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshaz'zar; and
the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he
understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.
It is important to study the entire text to see what is going on here, but for the sake of time I have abbreviated my observations a great deal.
Daniel has an angelic visitor of such magnificence that some have equated it with visions of the glorified Lord Jesus Christ. Of course we know that this was not He, for that would be an impossibility because of the events that befall this angel and occasion the question about these powerful princes of two lands foreign to where Daniel resides. The message that this angelic messenger brings is almost eclipsed by his account of his coming and his going, which is what we are looking at here.
I am about to tell you that these are demonic beings and explain to you why they are so, and in doing this I want to build the case carefully without going overlong on the matter.
First of all, I want you to see why it would be that a demonic being called the Prince of Persia would be the one to resist and angelic messenger sent from God to Daniel. Notice that the date for the event given is the third year of the reign of Cyrus, king of Persia. This event takes place three years after the conquest of Babylon and Cyrus rise to power. Not only does this fix a specific time for the event but it also indicated why this particular demonic being would have an interest in what was going on in a land adjacent to the one he is the prince of, or in charge of. When the Medes and the Persians conquered Babylon the demonic prince of Mesopotamia became subject to the demonic being who was at the head of Persia. Therefore his rule and influence extended into the land that Daniel lived in.
Perhaps I have gotten ahead of myself again for I have not proven my assertion that this is a demonic being. The proof is in the text. An angelic being is the person being withstood by someone identified as a prince. He is not only withstood, but the Scripture indicates that the fight goes on for a total of twenty-one days in verse 13. What is being described is an impossible event for a mere mortal to accomplish. First to withstand an angel, and then to do so for twenty-one days, and then the angel needed reinforcements to continue. The ultimate conclusion is that we have to be talking about a demonic being of great power.
I still have not demonstrated that there are demonic beings responsible for certain areas of land and I must do so if I am to prove my case fully. To do this I will refer now to my favorite Scriptures teaching on this subject both, of which are to be found in the New Testament in a single book, Ephesians:
1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
In the above passage you have general categories of dominion given. There is a similarity between the way earthly powers order themselves and the way spiritual powers do displayed in the passage, particularly verses twenty and twenty-one.
From this point we go to a more specific reference to the demonic in Ephesians:
6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Here we can see it clearly displayed that these demonic powers do exist and have a hierarchal ranking in this world. From this point all else has the ability to become evident I think.
Next, I want to acquaint you with the word used for prince in the passages referring to the princes of Persia and Greece. It is a generic word used for referring to the head person of any rank or class. There are five words used in the Book of Daniel from which the word prince might be derived in the English language. The word used for the princes sar indicates that they are at the head of their ranking or classification, but still subordinate to another. The chief of the eunuchs was called a prince in Daniel 1:9 in exactly the same way. But then so was Michael whom we know in position as chief among angels.
A contrast could be drawn between the word used for prince, referring to these demonic beings, and with the reference to Prince of the Covenant that occurs in Daniel 11:22. There the word prince used means "occupying the front." This is also used in Daniel 9:25 in reference to Messiah the Prince. Without going further into the distinctions between words used, all translated as prince, I think I have made the point.
One final note is this. When the angel was talking to Daniel, the prince of Greece had not yet appeared on the scene. The one who appeared to David and strengthened him foretold that the prince of Greece would come when he returned to rejoin the battle with the prince of Persia. Please remember than in the timeline of man, Greece will eventually overcome Persia. From this passage we can see how the unseen forces are already at work to bring about this eventuality.
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