“ ‘O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you;be strong, yes, be strong!’ ” (Daniel 10:19, NKJV).
Daniel 10 introduces the concluding vision of Daniel, which continues in chapters 11 and 12. We are informed at the outset that this vision concerns a “great conflict” (Dan. 10:1, ESV). While daniel 11 fleshes out some details of this conflict, Daniel 10 shows itsspiritual dimensions and reveals that behind the scenes of earthly battle stages a spiritual conflict of cosmic proportions.
As we study this chapter,we shall see that when we pray, we engage in this cosmic conflict in away that has profound repercussions. But we are not alone in our struggles; Jesus engages the battle against Satan in our behalf. We shall learn that the ultimate fight we are engaged in is not against earthly humanpowers but the powers of darkness.
As the apostle Paul put it centuries after Daniel: “For we do notwrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hostsof wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12, NKJV). Ultimately,our success in the conflict rests on Jesus Christ, who alone defeated Satan at the cross.
Fasting and Prayer, Once Again
While reading Daniel 10:1–3. What do we again find Daniel doing?
Daniel does not spell out the reasons for his extended mourning period. But such a fervent intercession is most likely motivated by thesituation of the Jews, who have just returned from Babylon to Palestine.
While reading Ezra 4:1–5. What challenges are the Jews facing upon their return?
We know from Ezra 4:1–5 that at this time the Jews are facing strong opposition as they attempt to rebuild the temple. The Samaritans sendfalse reports to the Persian court, inciting the king to stop the reconstruction work. In the face of such crises, for three weeks Daniel pleads with God to influence Cyrus to allow the work to continue.
At this point, Daniel is probably close to 90 years of age. He does not think about himself but about his people and the challenges that they face. And he persists in prayer for three full weeks before receiving any answer from God. During this time, the prophet follows a very modern diet, abstaining from choice food and even ointment. He is totally unconcerned about his comfort and appearance, but he is deeply concerned about the welfare of his fellow Jews in Jerusalem a thousand miles away.
As we look into Daniel’s prayer life, we learn some valuable lessons. First, we should persist in prayer, even when our petitions arenot answered immediately. Second, we should devote time to pray forothers. There is something special about intercessory prayers.Remember that “the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for hisfriends” (Job 42:10, NKJV). Third, prayer prompts God to do something concrete and real. So, let us pray always, all kinds of prayers.
In the face of unbearable trials, big problems, and overwhelming challenges, let us take our burdens to God in prayer (Eph. 6:18).
While reading Daniel 10:12. What does this tell us about prayer as anobjective experience that moves God to do something, rather than it being just a subjective experience that makes us feel good about God?
A Vision of the Prince
While reading Daniel 10:4–9. What happens to Daniel here?
As Daniel describes his experience, we can hardly imagine the overwhelming splendor of what he sees. That human appearance (Dan.10:5, 6) harks back to the “Son of man” depicted in the vision of theheavenly judgment (Dan. 7:13). His linen clothing is reminiscent ofpriestly garments (Lev. 16:4), an aspect that likens this personage to the“Prince of the host” depicted in connection with the heavenly sanctuary(Daniel 8, NKJV). Gold also is associated with the priestly regalia as asign of royal dignity. Last, the likening of this figure to lightning, fire,bronze, and a powerful voice portrays Him as a supernatural being.
This is someone invested with priestly, royal, and military attributes.This figure also displays interesting similarities to the heavenly beingwho appears to Joshua shortly before the battle against Jericho (Josh.5:13, 14). In the vision, Joshua sees the “Commander of the army ofthe Lord” (NKJV). Interestingly, the Hebrew word translated as “commander” (Sar) here is the same word translated as “prince” in reference to Michael in Daniel 10:21.
According to Daniel, those who are with him are frightened off, and Daniel himself falls weak and frail to the ground. The manifestation of God’s presence simply overwhelms him. Yet, whatever his immediate fears, Daniel’s vision shows that God is in control of history. Indeed, as the vision unfolds, we will see that God provides Daniel with an outline of human history from the times of the prophet to the establishment of God’s kingdom (Daniel 11 and 12).
If, as we have seen again and again in Daniel, the Lord can keep human history under control, what can He do for our individual lives?
Touched by an Angel
While reading Daniel 10:10–19. What happens each time an angel touches Daniel?
Overwhelmed with the radiance of divine light, the prophet falls.Then an angel appears to touch him and comfort him. As we read the narrative, notice that the angel touches Daniel three times.
The first touch enables the prophet to stand and hear the words of comfort coming from heaven: “ ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the firstday that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself beforeyour God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words’ ” (Dan. 10:12, NKJV). Daniel’s prayer has moved the heavens.For us this comes as an assurance that God hears our prayers, which isa great comfort in times of trouble.
The second touch enables Daniel to speak. The prophet pours out his words before the Lord, expressing his feelings of fear and emotion:“ ‘My lord, because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me,and I have retained no strength. For how can this servant of my lordtalk with you, my lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, noris any breath left in me’ ” (Dan. 10:16, 17, NKJV). So, God does notonly speak to us; He wants us to open our mouths so that we can tellHim about our feelings, needs, and aspirations.
The third touch brings him strength. As Daniel recognizes hisinadequacy, the angel touches him and comforts him with God’speace: “ ‘O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; bestrong, yes, be strong!’ ” (Dan. 10:19, NKJV).
Remember that the angel has been sent to Daniel in response to his prayers, in orderto give him insight and understanding. In other words, the visionthat follows in chapter 11 will be one that is intended to encourage Daniel in response to his mourning and meditation over the present situation in Jerusalem. With God on our side, then, we can havepeace even as we face affliction. His loving touch enables us to lookinto the future with hope.
A Great Conflict
When reading Daniel 10:20, 21. What is revealed to Daniel here?
The heavenly messenger pulls the curtain aside and reveals to Danielthe cosmic war that transpires behind the scenes of human history. Assoon as Daniel begins to pray, a spiritual battle starts between heaven and earth. Heavenly beings began a struggle with the king of Persia tolet the Jews continue the reconstruction of the temple. We know fromthe opening of Daniel 10 that the king of Persia is Cyrus. However,a human king left by himself cannot offer significant opposition toa heavenly being. This indicates that behind the human king stands as piritual agent who moves Cyrus to stop the Jews from rebuilding the temple.
A similar situation occurs in Ezekiel 28, in which the king of Tyre represents Satan, the spiritual power behind the human king of that city.So, it should not be surprising that the kings of Persia against whom Michael comes to fight include Satan and his angels. This shows that the human opposition to the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem hasa counterpart in the spiritual realm.
Read Daniel 10:13. What kind of battle is described here?
“While Satan was striving to influence the highest powers in the kingdom of Medo-Persia to show disfavor to God’s people, angels worked in behalf of the exiles. The controversy was one in which all heaven was interested. Through the prophet Daniel, we are given a glimpse ofthis mighty struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil.For three weeks Gabriel wrestled with the powers of darkness, seeking to counteract the influences at work on the mind of Cyrus; and before the contest closed, Christ Himself came to Gabriel’s aid. ‘The prince of the kingdom of Persia with stood me one and twenty days,’ Gabriel declares; ‘but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.’ Daniel 10:13. All that heaven could do in behalf of the people of God was done. The victory was finally gained; the forces of the enemy were held in check all the days of Cyrus,and all the days of his son Cambyses, who reigned about seven and a half years.”
A Victorious Prince
The most prominent character in the book of Daniel is the figureinitially called “Son of Man” (Dan. 7:13, NKJV) or “Prince of thehost” (Dan. 8:11, NKJV). Eventually we learn that His name is Michael(Dan. 10:21), which means “Who is like God?” He comes to helpGabriel in the conflict with the king of Persia (Dan. 10:13). The angelrefers to this heavenly being as “Michael your prince” (Dan. 10:21),namely, the prince of God’s people. Michael appears later in the book of Daniel as the One who stands for God’s people (Dan. 12:1). From Jude9, we learn that Michael, also called an archangel, fights against Satan and resurrects Moses. Revelation 12:7 reveals that Michael stands as the leader of the heavenly army, which defeats Satan and his fallen angels.
When reading Colossians 2:15. How has Jesus accomplished victory in the cosmic conflict?
As we face the forces of evil, we can have faith in Jesus our champion. He defeats Satan in the beginning of His public ministry. During His earthly life, He defeats Satan in the desert when assaulted with temptations, He fights demonic hordes, and He sets people free fromthe power of darkness. Jesus defeats evil even when it is disguised behind Peter’s attempt to dissuade Him from moving toward Calvary. In His final words to the disciples, Jesus speaks of His impending death asa battle, which will culminate in a decisive victory over Satan: “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself ”(John 12:31, 32, NKJV).
Sometimes we look around, and things look really bad. Violence,immorality, corruption, and diseases crop up everywhere. An enemy,not made of flesh and blood, brutally attacks us from all sides. But nomatter how difficult the battles we have to fight, Jesus fights for us andstands as our Prince and High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary.
In reading Romans 8:37–39. How can we make the promise of being conquerors a real experience in our own Christian lives?
“For three weeks Gabriel wrestled with the powers of darkness, seeking to counteract the influences at work on the mind of Cyrus. . . All that heaven could do in behalf of the people of God was done.
“, against powers,against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts ofwickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12, NKJV). Although from ahuman perspective this battle can be an uneven conflict in which it appearsthat the odds are often against us, we have nothing to fear. Jesus fightsthis battle for us and alongside us and gives us the assurance of victory.
Let us take a more in-depth look at this lesson’s themes as outlined above:
1. An Invisible War
Daniel 10 introduces the final vision of the book, which comprises chapters 10–12. It is 536 b.c., the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia. About fifty thousand Jews have returned to their homeland (Ezra 2), and as they set out to rebuild the temple, insurmountable opposition arises. When the Samaritans are refused participation in the reconstruction project, they become bitter enemies of the Jews. They write letters portraying the Jews as a seditious people and so persuade the king to bring the construction work to a halt (Ezra 4:6–16, 23, 24). Informed of the situation of his fellows Jews, Daniel once again resorts to fasting and prayer. For 21 days, heprays and fasts on behalf of the returnees. God responds with the vision of a “great war” in which the curtain is lifted that veils the unseen realitiesfrom the seen. The prophet is allowed to catch a glimpse of the heavenlywar that goes on behind the earthly battles.
As the vision unfolds, Daniel soon learns that the opposition tothe reconstruction of the temple is not restricted to the idiosyncrasiesof human rulers. Indeed, the political events involving the Jews, the Samaritans, and the Persians reflected an invisible war between the angels of God and evil powers. This close relationship between what happens in heaven and on earth is one of the distinctive features ofapocalyptic prophecy. So, the angel discloses to Daniel that there has been a battle between Michael and the prince of Persia, a battle that will persist with Greece and, by implication, will continue amid the military conflicts between the kings of the north and the south (Daniel 11).As we proceed with this study, let us consider some of the elementsinvolved in this war. One of the heavenly beings, most likely Gabriel,tells the prophet Daniel that the prince of Persia resisted him for 21 days until Michael came to help him (Dan. 10:13).
Therefore, the “great war” here described is a war between Satan, theprince of darkness—who represents the interests of the earthly enemiesof God’s people—and Christ, the great prince who represents the peopleof God. This war lies at the heart of the great conflict between good andevil, which becomes visible in the political, social, and religious evilsthat befall the world. However, as the demonic forces increase their opposition to God’s angels and move earthly powers to attack God’s people, Michael, the “great prince,” steps in to protect and save God’s people (Dan. 12:1). To Him, we now turn.
2. A Victorious Prince
When Michael appears in the Bible, it is always in contexts of conflict. InDaniel 10, He is fighting against the malevolent prince of Persia; in Daniel 12, He stands up to deliver God’s people in the closing scenes of the great conflict; in Jude, He contends with the devil for the body of Moses; and in Revelation 12, Michael fights with the dragon. So, it seems clear that Michael is the heavenly warrior who represents the forces of good against the powers of evil.
Stay blessed always and connected to get more spiritual eye thanks.
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