Princes, Principalities, Prayer

Posted: March 16, 2017 in Daniel, Uncategorized

Daniel 10, “Princes, Principalities, Prayer”

Daniel 10 is really just the introduction to the prophecies given in Chapters 11-12, yet what takes place is so amazing that it deserves dedicated attention all to its own.  Chapter 10 records yet another angelic visitation to Daniel, who had already received several to this point.  This particular encounter not only lays the groundwork for the prophecies soon to follow, but also gives us some of the most specific insight into the angelic realm that is contained in all of the Bible.  We read of spiritual battle between angels and demons – we read about the power and effectiveness of prayer – and through it all, we read of the love, grace, and sovereignty of the Lord God.

What does happen in the spiritual realm as we pray?  That’s what we learn alongside Daniel, the beloved man of God.

Daniel 10

  • Angelic vision (1-9)

1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision.

  • If Chapter 10 is an introduction, then verse 1 is the introduction to the introduction.  Interestingly, it’s written in the 3rd person, whereas the remainder of the chapter will be written from Daniel’s own perspective in the 1st person.  Why things are different here is unknown.  Daniel wasn’t opposed to writing in the 3rd person (that’s how he wrote Chapters 1-6), but there’s no doubt there is a sudden, yet temporary, change in verse 1.  Unlike claims of the critics, however, there’s no reason to assume this was inserted by a later editor.  Verse 1 actually speaks of a self-contained event – something that is made all the more evident by the change in speaker to 3rd person.  Verse 1 speaks of a vision that was received; verses 2-3 speak of Daniel’s response to that vision.  In fact, the Hebrew text commonly printed today (the BHS, a version of the Masoretic Text) actually sets verse 1 apart from verses 2-3, emphasizing the break in the narrative.
    • The point?  Just because something is different in the text doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the text.  Reasons do not need to be invented to explain away the validity of the Scripture.  The Holy Spirit had His own reasons for inspiring the text the way He did.  Usually, those reasons are evident if we simply take the time to look at the context.  Even when they are not, we can (and should!) give the Bible the benefit of the doubt.  It has proven itself correct too many other times.
  • When had the message been given?  “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia.”  Undoubtedly this is a reference to the 3rd year after Cyrus expanded his kingdom over the kingdom of Babylon, as Cyrus had reigned over Persia several years prior to that point & Daniel would have written in terms of the kings of Babylon at that time.  Whether or not Darius was still the local king over Babylon at the time is unknown, but he was there by the appointment of Cyrus in any case.  In the 1st year of Cyrus, the Jews were allowed to leave Babylon – in the 2nd year of Cyrus, the foundation of the temple had been laid in Jerusalem, worship being restored.  By the 3rd year of Cyrus, the Jerusalem Jews had run into local political trouble – all recorded in the book of Ezra.  Why had Daniel not returned with them?  The Bible never says, though it was likely due to his age.  The year was 536/535BC, and Daniel was around 85 years old at the time.  Considering he had a friendship with Darius the Mede and a prominent position of influence, Daniel was able to do more good for his people inside the government where he was, than if he had tried to travel back to Jerusalem with the few who went.
  • What was the message about?  No specifics are given; only a few generalities.  The KJV/NKJV translate the Hebrew as “the message was true, but the appointed time was long,” but other English translations are a bit more accurate when they say, “the message was true, and one of a great conflict.” (NASB)  Literally the Hebrew speaks of a large war/army – most likely speaking of a battle or tribulation of some sort.  Whatever it was, it was true, and there were profoundly difficult times head for the Jews.  This much, Daniel “understood,” and it caused him to go to his knees in prayer.

2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. 3 I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

  • For “three full weeks” Daniel fasted, mourned, and prayed.  This wasn’t Daniel engaging in some ritual, or him giving up chocolate for the season of Lent; this was true, heartfelt fasting.  Daniel was troubled in his spirit, and the only way he could express it was through mournful fasting and prayer.  He didn’t give up all food & sustenance; just the “pleasant food” to which he had access.  He drank no wine, nor ate any meat for 21 days.  He didn’t even “anoint” himself – the ancient version of cooling oneself in the hot arid regions of the Middle East & the basic equivalent of personal deodorant.  The whole picture is that Daniel made himself as physically uncomfortable as he was emotionally troubled.  He was bothered on the inside and out.  Nothing specifically is said about prayer, but there’s no question that Daniel prayed fervently during this time.  From previous chapters, we know that Daniel had a habit of praying at least three times daily (6:10) – his fasting and mourning would have driven him to his knees even more.
  • This is what fasting is all about.  The practice tends to be seen through various lenses of the extreme.  On the one side, people make a big deal out of their fasting, holding it out for people to see that they are being devout in their religion or “super” spiritual, as they abstain from a midday meal or give up dessert for a month out of the year.  On the other, Christians don’t give fasting a second thought – they relegate it to something that “other” people do.  The Biblical balance is far different.  Fasting can be very good, as long as it is sincere.  Jesus never once in His ministry condemned fasting; He actually gave guidelines as to how it ought to be done.  Our fasting shouldn’t be public or for show; it should be sincere & done before God, that our “Father who sees in secret [would] reward us openly.” (Mt 6:18).  Sincere fasting is a good thing.  It is a practical, physical way to focus our attentions upon the Lord God.  When we deny our bodies, we are aware of our needs.  When we’re aware of our needs, we turn to our Provider: the Heavenly Father.  It’s not us trying to manipulate God, as if we’re a toddler holding our breath until we get our way.  It’s us turning to our Father, trusting Him to work His will in our lives.
  • That’s what Daniel was doing.  He understood the vision, but he didn’t understand why this was happening to his people.  Think of it: with many of the Jews back in Jerusalem and with the rebuilding of the temple underway, this ought to have been a season of rejoicing for Daniel.  This is the very thing for which his nation had waited for 70 years, and it was happening!  Yet the vision told Daniel that it wouldn’t last.  There were more times of trial ahead – there was a terrible future conflict & war approaching, a great tribulation that awaited his people.  He knew it was true, so it shook him to his core…thus he mourned, fasted, and prayed.  What he didn’t realize is that he would soon receive an answer.  Vs. 4…

4 Now on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, that is, the Tigris, 5 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! 6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.

  • The “first month” was perhaps the month of Nisan, if Daniel was using the Hebrew reckoning of the calendar.  If so, his fasting was culturally appropriate in addition to personally needed.  He would have fasted the seven days leading up to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but fasted an additional two weeks past.  As he remembered God’s deliverance of his people from Egyptian slavery, he thought and prayed ahead to the future deliverance from this future trial sure to be faced by the Jews.
  • Apparently Daniel was far from his home in Babylon when he completed his fast, as he was by the Tigris river.  Only three days had passed since he began eating again, and that’s when he saw an angel.  At least, we assume it was an angel, as all Daniel says about him was that it was “a certain man.”  Of course angels in the New Testament are often described as men in shining clothing, so this is no different here.  Who was this man?  That’s a subject of much debate.  Daniel’s description of him was detailed: he was dressed in the linen of a priest, had a belt of gold, his body was like that of the “beryl” gemstone (literally “tarshish,” as in the Spanish region – perhaps relating to the topaz-like stone that was imported from that region), his eyes were aflame, his skin was deeply tanned like bronze.  There is another Biblical description of a man which matches this almost identically: Revelation 1:13–15, "(13) and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. (14) His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; (15) His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;"  For John, there was no doubt that this man was Christ Jesus, who also had a two-edged sword come from His mouth, and identified Himself as the First & the Last, the Resurrected One.  The question is whether or not Daniel saw the same man.  Those who argue “yes” point to the consistent description of Jesus, recorded by John.  Those who argue “no” point to the rest of Daniel 10, which seems to describe someone less than fully omnipotent in his power.  Keep in mind that the Lord Jesus appeared in many different ways prior to His incarnation upon the earth – and even during that time, He looked different than John’s description of Him in Revelation 1.  If Jesus chose to appear to John in a way reminiscent of the angel seen by Daniel, Jesus certainly could have done so – and it would have emphasized the nature of the revelation Jesus was about to provide him.
  • Does it matter who Daniel saw?  Yes!  Not so much from the standpoint of the message given to Daniel, for that is the word of God whether delivered by the Son of God or an angelic messenger.  But it matters regarding the events this man endured leading up to this encounter with Daniel.  As will be seen in a moment, this man had been resisted by demonic powers, and was in need of help – perhaps even rescue.  That is not a description of the Lord Jesus.  The Lord Jesus is the 2nd Person of the Trinity, the all-powerful God the Son.  He is the Rescuer; He needs no rescue.  The Lord Jesus could cast the 5000-strong legion of demons out of the Gadarene demoniac – He will defeat Antichrist and all his armies at the battle of Armageddon simply by showing up.  No demonic power anywhere in the universe is a match for the infinitely powerful Son of God!
  • Who exactly was the angel?  He remains unnamed.  I personally strongly believe this was not Jesus, but it is difficult to say whether or not this was Gabriel, as many scholars theorize/assume.  Gabriel certainly was the angel who spoke to Daniel in earlier visions, yet Daniel doesn’t seem to recognize this being at all.  The man is described as if Daniel is seeing him for the first time, and doesn’t quite know what to think about this glorious angel.  Could it be Gabriel?  Certainly.  Was it?  We don’t know.  What we do know is that this angel was terrifying.  Vs. 7…

7 And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.

  • The scene is reminiscent of Saul’s (Paul’s) conversion, recounted in Acts 9:7, 22:9.  Likewise, the men with Saul saw a light, but couldn’t make out any specifics.  The men with Daniel obviously saw something, but they didn’t see the angel.  What they did see was enough to cause them to run for their lives.  Daniel remained, though he didn’t fare too much better in regards to his own fear.

8 Therefore I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength. 9 Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.

  • What translates as Daniel falling to sleep sure sounds more like Daniel fainting of fright.  All of Daniel’s strength left him, and he lost consciousness.  That’s when the angel reached out…
  • Angelic message (10-21)

10 Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. 11 And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.

  • This is grace!  Even if the angel wasn’t the Son of God, what he demonstrates is surely the grace of God.  Daniel was too weak to move, and had passed out on the floor.  This angel reached out to him in compassion, telling him the good news that God had for him.  This is always the way grace works!  There we are, dead in our sins & transgressions – weak from the weight of guilt – and that’s when Jesus reaches out to us in compassion with good news.  He tells us God knows us and loves us, the proof being Jesus’ own death on the cross & resurrection from the grave.  It’s enough to make us tremble…not with fear, but with joy!
  • Of course, Daniel was still afraid – again, something totally understandable.  After all, he’s having a physical encounter with a spiritual being.  That’s enough to make anyone’s insides a bit loose, and their knees tremble.  Yet this angel had good news for him.  God knew Daniel – God loved Daniel – and God had sent this angel specifically to Daniel.  The prophet was not forgotten by God during his three weeks of fasting, mourning, and prayer – God knew exactly who he was, and loved him for it. 
  • Literally, the term “greatly beloved” could be translated “treasure/precious treasure.”  That’s how God the Father saw Daniel: Daniel was a precious treasure in His sight.  So are you – so am I!  We are precious in the sight of our God!  How precious?  We’re valuable enough for the Father to send His only begotten Son on our behalf.  Our sin ought to have made us worthless, yet God could not have paid any greater price as a ransom for us.  We are truly “beloved” by God!
  • Regarding the message the angel had for him, Daniel needed to know that (1) God wanted him to understand it, and (2) that it had specifically come from God to Daniel.  This angel had been “sent” to him – another indication that this was not the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus could give His own message to Daniel straight from His own mouth; this angel in front of Daniel was a messenger.  There’s nothing wrong with a messenger, but a messenger has to be sent & empowered by someone else, far more indicative of an angel than Jesus.  But again, God wanted Daniel to have the right understanding of the message to come.  Earlier, Daniel had understanding about this terrible trial/war yet in the future for his people, but his understanding left him grieved.  It’s not that Daniel didn’t understand the truth, but perhaps he didn’t understand the full picture.  God sent this angel to provide the rest of the details.  (And Ch. 11-12 are very detailed!)
    • God wants us to understand His word!  Some people think that the Bible is completely mysterious & not meant to be understood.  In past history, the Catholic Church intentionally left the Bible translated only in Latin in order to restrict the message to only a certain educated few.  They believed that the common man or woman could never properly understand the Bible on their own, nor could many of the priests for that matter – so they ensured that the language was foreign to them.  It was when the Protestant Reformers came along that the Bible began to be translated for the common person in the common languages, and all of a sudden people realized that they could understand the Bible for themselves.  That’s the way God meant it to be all along.  He wants us to know Him in truth – He wants us to know His will…that’s the very reason He went through the process of having His word written down!  It’s meant to be read, which means it’s meant to be understood.
    • Does that mean we’ll always understand every single verse or every minute theological concept?  No.  Some things are more difficult to understand than others, and they take time, study, and perhaps some education to grasp.  But they can be grasped, by anyone willing to put in the work.  Answers aren’t always quick, but they are available.  A Christian filled with the Holy Spirit, diligently studying the Scripture and availing him/herself of the many gifted pastors/teachers given to the church has all the resources he/she needs for understanding.
  • Before the angel gets to the message, he gives a bit of background.  Vs. 12…

12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.

  • The first thing Daniel needed to understand is that his prayers had been heard by God.  Earlier in Ch. 10, nothing was specifically mentioned about Daniel’s prayer (just his fasting & mourning, 10:2), yet it’s obvious he prayed something because God heard his “words.”  The words of Daniel’s prayer were primary reason as to why the angel had been sent to him.  God knew Daniel’s emotional trial, and He sent a messenger to provide comfort and clarity.
    • Before we go any further, know this: God hears your prayers!  Some people wonder what the purpose of prayer is, as if all it consists of is one-sided conversation.  We speak words, and nothing happens.  Not so!  Not when prayer is done in sincerity and faith.  Born-again Christians who pray to God can know that our prayers are heard by God.  We can know that God the Holy Spirit Himself prays for us (Rom 8:26), just as we can know that God the Son constantly makes intercession for us (Heb 7:25).  But beyond that, we can know that God the Father hears our prayers.  God wants us to pray, even giving us instruction on how to do so through Jesus. (I.e. the Lord’s Prayer)  The Scripture abounds with examples of men and women who prayed and received answers from God.  God has not changed.  He still hears His people, and He still answers.  James 5:16, "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."  That’s a promise from the word of God.  God does use prayer – the question is: will we pray?
  • The angel had been sent by God, but hadn’t immediately arrived before Daniel.  Why?  He had been resisted by an enemy.  He said that “the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days.”  To what is he referring?  The word “prince” in this context refers to what some lexicons refer as a “patron angel,” with the understanding that demons are angels that are fallen from glory.  The same Hebrew word for prince is used here, in regards to the prince of the kingdom of Persia, as it is for Michael as “one of the chief princes,” as well as later in the chapter in reference to the “prince of Greece.”  These are not literal human rulers such as Cyrus and Alexander, but they are spiritual beings that have spiritual authority in certain regions/cultures.  We don’t understand much of it, but the fact that angelic/demonic beings have rank and influence is something that is affirmed in the New Testament as well.  Ephesians 6:12, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."  Paul seemed to run out of words to describe it, but there are spiritual armies (hosts) that exist in the spiritual realm which we cannot yet see.  These armies are ruled by various principalities & powers – or to use the term from Daniel 10, “princes.” 
  • In this particular context, the angel speaking with Daniel battled against an enemy prince, one that was assigned (most likely by the devil) to the kingdom of Persia, the current ruling empire in the ancient near east.  How long did the battle endure?  21 days, or the three full weeks of Daniel’s fast.  It would seem that the very moment Daniel began to seek the Lord in heartfelt prayer, this angel was dispatched to him.  Yet the angel encountered immediate resistance from the demonic enemy, and he was only freed from the fighting when the archangel Michael (a “chief prince”) came to his aid.  (Again, this is our primary indication that this angel could not be the Lord Jesus.  Jesus would have been the one to help Michael; not the other way around!)
    • What does this tell us for today?  It tells us there is a spiritual war in the heavenlies, which we cannot see.  There is a spiritual realm that is invisible to our physical eyes, yet is no less a part of reality than the ground upon which we stand.  This is what was evident in the event with Elisha and his servant as Elisha was well aware of an angelic army fighting on their behalf against the Syrian soldiers who had surrounded them. 2 Kings 6:16–17, "(16) So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (17) And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."  The angels had always been there; Elisha’s servant had merely been unaware of them, unable to see them.  Likewise, that spiritual realm still exists today, and battles take place there which are never seen by human eyes.
    • Does that mean that we take part in the battle by praying against certain demons or other principalities?  No.  We do take part in spiritual battle when we pray – there’s no question about that.  But never in the Bible are we called to pray to anyone except the Lord God.  We don’t have to try to “map” out areas of demonic influence – we don’t need to attempt to call out demonic powers by name.  That’s not our job, and there is no Scripturally-approved way of us knowing those things.  What we can do is pray to God & seek His face, just like Daniel did in his fast.  Daniel took part in the battle, even without him realizing it.  It’s no different with us. 

14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”

  • This was the message God had given the angel to pass along to Daniel.  It actually doesn’t get started until Chapter 11, but this much is said at the very start: it is for “the latter days.”  This was a prophecy concerning the future.
  • When we get to Chapter 11, we’ll find many (though not all) of the prophecies to be historically fulfilled.  Does that mean that the angel was wrong?  Not at all!  From Daniel’s perspective, all of the events in Ch 11-12 were future.  Daniel was living in the opening years of the Persian empire.  He would be long dead before the Greeks rose to power, much less in regards to the aftermath of the Greek & how that kingdom divided.  So what the angel told Daniel was 100% accurate.
  • That’s not to say that everything in the coming prophecies has already found historical fulfillment.  Some of what was spoken does indeed include what we would consider to be the “latter days.”  Some of it directly speaks of Antichrist, who will not be fully revealed until the Great Tribulation, an event still yet in the future.  Why is there such a time gap?  Because some of what takes place in Daniel’s immediate future (relatively speaking) directly mirrors what will yet take place in the days still future to us.  History will repeat itself in regards to the primary sign of Antichrist, and when it does, people will know that the return of Jesus is at hand.

15 When he had spoken such words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless. 16 And suddenly, one having the likeness of the sons of men touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke, saying to him who stood before me, “My lord, because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength. 17 For how can this servant of my lord talk with you, my lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me.”

  • At first glance, this seems to be such a strange reaction, considering that Daniel had already been strengthened and encouraged by the angel once before.  Yet if we think about it, it’s understandable.  Remember that Daniel was 85 years old at the time.  A little excitement would have gone a long way with him.  Especially when he heard first-hand testimony of spiritual warfare while looking at an angel of God.  If that sort of glorious being can encounter disabling demonic resistance, what sort of chance did Daniel have against the powers of Satan?  Surely that’d be enough to frighten anyone, even someone as mature in his faith as Daniel. 
  • Daniel was left “speechless” until the angel helped him speak, and even then his fear remained.  He had “no strength,” and was honest about his weakness.  He wasn’t running from the word of God, nor was he ungrateful for the appearance of the angel – he simply was not physically able to receive it.  He was completely overwhelmed.

18 Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. 19 And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”

  • Again we see the grace of God poured out from this angel of God!  Daniel had no strength, so what did the angel do?  Give him strength.  Whether or not this “one having the likeness of a man” (both here and in vs. 16) is the same being as the angel is unclear, though it seems likely that it was.  This being did not have to be God to be used as a vessel to transmit the grace and power of God.  And that is exactly what he did.  He affirmed again that Daniel was treasured by the Lord, and he encouraged Daniel in his strength.  Just by speaking a word to Daniel, Daniel received all the strength that he needed.
  • Is it really possible for an angel of God to strengthen a man?  Why not?  That’s little different from how it works with us.  As believers in Christ, we too are supposed to encourage and edify one another in the Church. (1 Ths 5:11)  As the proverbs say, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (Pro 25:11)  Every so often, we all need a word of encouragement.  A Scripture quoted at the right time by a brother or sister in Christ might be exactly what we need to be strengthened in the Lord.  Other times, it’s a prayer of encouragement – it may be a spiritual gift of a word of wisdom or word of knowledge.  However it comes, it is one individual in the body of Christ strengthening another individual.
    • How might God use you to strengthen someone else?  How would church gatherings be different if we prayed for these kinds of opportunities before arriving?  We can join with Isaiah in saying, “Here am I Lord, use me!”

20 Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come.

  • Why did the angel again ask the question?  After all, he had already explained why he had come in vss. 12-14.  Perhaps the angel realized Daniel’s confused state and wanted to ensure that the prophet was still tracking with him.  The angel had only a limited amount of time with Daniel, so he needed to know that Daniel understood him.
  • Why did the angel need to leave?  There was more battle to be done.  Michael had given him a temporary reprieve, but he needed to go back to the prince of Persia.  Even when that was done, the war wasn’t over – the prince of Greece was yet to follow.  This makes perfect sense, considering the succession in world empires.  Surely there had been an earlier demonic power over Babylon, which when it had fallen, the power of Persia rose.  The same thing would happen as Greece replaced Persia as the world superpower.  And behind the scenes, there was spiritual war.
    • Does that mean there is currently a prince of the United States?  Perhaps.  Whether that prince is angelic or demonic is impossible to say.  Without question, there is a spiritual battle taking place for the collective soul of our nation.  How best for Christians to fight?  Pray!  Pray for revival in the churches and in the streets of our nation.  Live!  Live as examples of born-again believers, demonstrating the love and compassion of Christ to our neighbors & even our enemies.  Witness!  Share the gospel of Christ with the lost, that they might be saved.  Put it all together, and what do we find?  The best way to fight the spiritual war is for us to be the Christians that we’re already supposed to be!  We don’t have to seek out spiritual warfare – it’s already here.  We just may or may not be engaged if we’re not active disciples of Jesus.

21 But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince.

  • Interestingly, the angel tells Daniel that he is only passing only to the prophet the things that were already written down.  Considering that Daniel hadn’t yet written this part of his book, where exactly was it written?  What was this “Scripture of Truth”?  Most likely this is a reference to the eternal plan of God, conceived from before the foundations of the world.  Whatever this book may be, what was already written there was about to be given to mankind, to be included in the Bible, which can also very accurately be called the Scripture of Truth. (Jn 17:17) 
    • God’s word is always true!  It is proven through the accuracy of fulfilled prophecy – experienced in the lives of Christians transformed by its gospel word – demonstrated in what it proclaims about the person of Jesus Christ.  It is the truth, and we can build our lives upon it.
  • Regarding the battle yet to be faced, this angel was mostly alone, with the exception of Michael, who stood with him.  Interestingly, Michael is called “your prince.”  Just like the kingdoms of Persia and Greece and spiritual princes, so did the nation of Israel.  Their prince was none other than the archangel Michael.  As a chief prince, he has the responsibility of watching over the Hebrew people.
    • Does that mean that Michael is really the Lord Jesus Christ, as claimed by the Jehovah Witnesses?  Absolutely not.  Jesus is specifically said to be better than the angels, being given a more excellent name than them (Heb 1:4).  Angels are created beings, whereas the Son is uncreated.  Angels are ministering spirits, whereas Jesus is the Lord God.  Certainly before the Son took on His incarnation, He sometimes appeared as the Angel of the Lord, but this is far different than Him being the angel Michael.  Michael is no doubt a powerful angel with a special responsibility, but at the end of the day, he’s just an angel; he’s not the Lord Jesus.

Conclusion:
It was an amazing encounter, and again, it’s only the introduction!  The meat of the message would be given to Daniel in the following chapters.  But what is seen here is wonderful in itself.  Daniel sought the Lord in heartfelt prayer, and his prayer was answered.  It was answered in ways he could not see until it was revealed to him, and what was revealed was a glimpse of the spiritual war taking place all around him.  Yet even that war, in which who knows how many thousands of demons opposed God, could not overthrow the will of God.  The empires of the world rose and fell exactly according to the will of God, and would continue to do so.

In the meantime, God wanted His people to know what was happening, so He sent this message to Daniel.  Daniel was beloved & precious in God’s sight, and God gave him the strength and grace needed for him to receive the truth.

Daniel isn’t the only one.  As born-again believers in Jesus Christ, we also are precious treasures in the sight of God!  He loves us, strengthens us, and desires for us to understand His word and will for our lives.  We just need to seek Him for it.  Will we face spiritual battles along the way?  Undoubtedly.  If you don’t, you might need to ask yourself why the devil doesn’t see you as a threat.  But God gives strength for the battle.  He gives grace for our times of need.  He equips us to fight the spiritual war through spiritual means.

So be strong in Jesus!  Be filled with the Spirit!  Seek God the Father in prayer, undeterred by the distractions of the enemy.  His grandest desire would be for you to get your eyes off the Lord & just settle into a cozy laziness, or even into the depths of slavish sin.  Don’t give him the pleasure.  Stay engaged!  Stay focused on Jesus!

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