DANIEL 8:3A - RAM OR KINGS OF THE MEDES AND PERSIANS
Updated: Dec 12, 2022
CHAPTER 3 A
The Bible plainly tells us in Daniel 8:20 that the Ram is symbolic for the kings of Media and Persia. As pointed out in the Preface, according to what Scripture teaches us, we have liberty to look at this prophecy and any prophecy within the framework of at least three contexts: first, according to its literal fulfilment; secondly, as it points to Christ and His sufferings; and finally, according to close of time applications. In this chapter section, I would like to look at the symbolic Ram, first for its literal fulfillment and secondly as it relates to Christ and His sufferings. We can learn a lot from Scripture as we study the kings of the Medes and the Persians. I have reserved the later chapters of my book for study of close of time fulfilment within Daniel 8.
Daniel 8:3 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns:... https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Daniel-Chapter-8/
The Bible plainly tells us in Daniel 8:20 that the Ram is symbolic for the kings of Media and Persia.
Daniel 8:20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.
With this hint, comparing scripture with scripture, we can find out more about the Ram as it represents the Medo-Persian kings. We will find the kings of the Medes and Persians were called by God to the special purposes of re-establishing government to the Jews after the fall of Babylon, for giving the Jews their freedom to worship God and for giving the Jews the power and means to re-build a city and house for the worship of God.
The Biblical accounts of the Medo-Persian kings who God used to restore His people in Jerusalem were:
Darius the Mede
Cyrus the Persian
I have provided verses from Scripture which tell us about each king of the Medes and Persians that God used to accomplish His purposes concerning the Jews. Then I have provided a short summary of what I feel is important to our study. But as always, the reader should pray for the Holy Spirit to give you understanding. May God bless!
1. The first king we will look at is Darius the Mede in Daniel 5 and 6.
Daniel 5:31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
Daniel 6:1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;
2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Daniel-Chapter-6/
Daniel 6:12 ......The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.....
15 Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.
Daniel 6:25 Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and steadfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.
27 He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Daniel-Chapter-6/
Looking at the verses above regarding king Darius the Mede, we find he is setting up a government representative of his kingdom’s 120 provinces by appointing a prince from each. He is establishing a government ruled by three presidents among whom is Daniel. He has judicial, legislative and executive branches of government. Daniel, whose name means judge or judged, represents the judicial branch. The legislative branch of government is encompassed in his 120 princes who are writing up laws. And he has an executive branch of government in that "no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed" Daniel 6:12. In other words every decree must be executed as seen by the story in Daniel 6 where Daniel is thrown into the Lion's den for disobedience to the established law created by the princes and signed by the king.
2. The second king we will look at is Cyrus the Persian.
Daniel 6:28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Cyrus is an interesting guy because God prophesied about him by name 400 years before he lived. See below in Isaiah 44 & 45.
Isaiah 44: 28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
Isaiah 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
4 For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
Ezra 1:1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,
2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.
4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.
Ezra 6:3 In the first year of Cyrus the king the same Cyrus the king made a decree concerning the house of God at Jerusalem, Let the house be builded, the place where they offered sacrifices, and let the foundations thereof be strongly laid; the height thereof threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof threescore cubits;
4 With three rows of great stones, and a row of new timber: and let the expenses be given out of the king's house:
5 And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which is at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the temple which is at Jerusalem, every one to his place, and place them in the house of God.
Don't miss the fact that Cyrus is doing the work of God. God called Cyrus by name and gave him all the kingdoms of the earth and charged him to build the temple or house of the Lord at Jerusalem. It was during the reign of Cyrus that Babylon fell to the kings of the Medes and the Persians. God loosed the loins of king Belshazzar with the handwriting on the wall. The gates of the city were opened by the Medes and Persians because Cyrus was able to divert the river Euphrates and go into the city on the riverbed. Following the fall of Babylon, it was at the direction of king Cyrus the Jews were set free to return to Jerusalem with the means to rebuild their temple. At the direction of king Cyrus, the foundation of the house of God was strongly laid. What a celebration that was.
Ezra 3:8 Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD.
9 Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites.
10 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.
11 And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
12 But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:
3. Now we will look at king Artexerxes in Ezra 4:7-22. This king stops the work of the temple by force. Note that he was a king who usurped the throne was also called FALSE SMERDIS by historians. God had no special calling for him. But through the prophets Haggai and Zechariah the temple resumed building anyway.
4. Now we will look at king Darius I.
Ezra 6:1 Then Darius the king made a decree, and search was made in the house of the rolls, where the treasures were laid up in Babylon. ....
6 Now therefore, Tatnai, governor beyond the river, Shetharboznai, and your companions the Apharsachites, which are beyond the river, be ye far from thence:
7 Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place.
8 Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered.
9 And that which they have need of, both young bullocks, and rams, and lambs, for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the appointment of the priests which are at Jerusalem, let it be given them day by day without fail:
10 That they may offer sacrifices of sweet savours unto the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king, and of his sons.
After researching the history of the Medi Persian decrees regarding the Jews, Darius I resumes and continues the work on the house of God. And he gives what is needed for offerings, daily, without fail. Don't miss the fact that the offerings are symbolic of the Great offering for sin in Jesus Christ. And this is a free gift, and though offered once through Christ, it symbolizes the daily, continual and without fail remedy for sin.
5. Now we shall look at king Xerxes or Ahasuerus of Esther.
Esther 3:8 And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king's laws: therefore it is not for the king's profit to suffer them.
9 If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king's treasuries.
12 Then were the king's scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring.
13 And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.
3 And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews.
5 And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing seem right before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king's provinces:
7 Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews.
8 Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse.
9 Then were the king's scribes called at that time in the third month, that is, the month Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof; and it was written according to all that Mordecai commanded unto the Jews, and to the lieutenants, and the deputies and rulers of the provinces which are from India unto Ethiopia, an hundred twenty and seven provinces, unto every province according to the writing thereof, and unto every people after their language, and to the Jews according to their writing, and according to their language.
11 Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey,
15 And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple: and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad.
17 And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king's commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.
Though Xerxes did not directly decree anything regarding the rebuilding of Jerusalem, He did empower the Jews the civil freedom to defend themselves. He was the father, and his Jewish Queen, Esther, may have been the mother of the next king under consideration, Artexerxes I. At the very least, this relationship must have influenced Artexerxes I to be a friend to the Jews.
5. Finally, we shall look at king Artexerxes I.
Ezra 7: 11 Now this is the copy of the letter that the king Artaxerxes gave unto Ezra the priest, the scribe, even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the LORD, and of his statutes to Israel.
12 Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time.
13 I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee.
14 Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to enquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand;
15 And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem,
16 And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem:
17 That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat offerings and their drink offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem.
18 And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God.
19 The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem.
20 And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king's treasure house.
21 And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily,
22 Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much.
23 Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons?
24 Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.
25 And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not.
26 And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.
27 Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem: https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Ezra-Chapter-7/
King Artexerxes focused on beautifying the house of God. He provided that the Jewish ministers would not be taxed. By the king’s command, Ezra was to appoint magistrates and judges for the peoples beyond the river. By the king’s command, Ezra was to teach the people the laws of God. And by the king’s command Ezra was to execute the law of the king and the law of God. Again, we are seeing that this Persian king is doing the work of God in establishing on earth the government of God.
Yes, it took some time to look at all the kings of the Medes and Persians involved in restoring freedom to the Jews. But we learned the purpose of God for the true Medo-Persian kings was to establish a government under God after the fall of Babylon; to give the Jews their freedom to worship God; and to give the Jews the power and means to build a city and house for the worship of God.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MEDO-PERSIAN KINGS
AS CONCERNS CHRIST AND HIS SUFFERINGS
In the context of comparing the kings of the Medes and the Persians with the prophetic Ram or Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, we find that just as the kings of the Medes and Persians were the instruments by which God set His people free to worship and govern themselves under God; even so, by His death on the cross, Jesus sets us free from being captives of sin and free from the power of death and makes us free to worship God and be governed by God. See Romans 6.
In the comparing the mission of the kings of the Medes and the Persians to the mission regarding Christ and His sufferings, we also find that just as they used their power to enable the Jews to re-establish government under God, so Christ used His power to re-establish in heaven and on this earth government under the law or will of God.
19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
And finally, just as the Medo-Persian kings contributed their means and power to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple, so Christ through His sufferings, provided the means to re-build the spiritual temple of God. The literal temple in the prophecy of Daniel 8, is also representative of God’s spiritual house or temple. See 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. The foundation or Cornerstone of His spiritual temple is Jesus Christ. See 1 Corinthians 3:9-13. We are the living stones. See 1 Peter 2:5-6. Christ laid down His life as the foundation stone for the living temple of God to become our High Priest and minister to us and for us. He now consecrates us as a kingdom of priests, living stones, to minister in His living temple. 1 Peter 2:9
The singing of the Hebrews at the time the foundation was laid under King Cyrus in Ezra 3 can remind us of how the angels sang when the foundation of this earth was laid. But more importantly it can remind us of how all heaven triumphed and sang when Christ, the Chief Cornerstone, laid down His life as the Foundation of the spiritual house of God, re-establishing the foundation of the government of God and the house of God on earth. We also are living stones or living sacrifices in the temple of God, laid upon the Chief Cornerstone and Foundation, Jesus Christ.
Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
From our study we understand the purpose of the Ram as representing the Medo-Persian kings was to be used by God to re-establish a government under God for the Jews; to give the Jews freedom to worship God; and to give the Jews or people of God the power and means to build a city and house for the worship of God. And as we study the Ram in the context of Jesus Christ, Whom the Ram also represents, we find that Christ by means of the cross, frees us from sin, and by laying down His life for us, re-establishes government under God after the fall of Satan; and gives us freedom to worship God; and gives us the power and means to build a spiritual city and temple body for the worship of God.