Scripture reading – Daniel 10; Daniel 11

While today’s Scripture reading is two chapters, Daniel 10 and 11, the focus of our devotional will be Daniel 10.

The Book of Daniel has captivated the imagination of the saints of God for more than two millennia. Daniel, who was a captive of Babylon following the first siege of Jerusalem in 605 BC, spent his life as counselor to the kings of Babylon, and the Medes and Persians. A mere teen when he first arrived in Babylon, he was probably in his late 80’s when we read, “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar” (10:1).

We have considered three prophetic visions in our study of the Book of Daniel. Daniel 7 gave us a vision of four beasts, representing four kingdoms (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome). In Daniel 8, there was the vision of a Ram that represented Persia, and a “He Goat” that was a symbol of Greece. The vision of 70 prophetic weeks was recorded in Daniel 9, bringing us to the fourth and final vision recorded in Daniel 10-12.

Introduction to the Final Revelation (10:1-4)

A transition in leadership is noted in Daniel 10, as “Cyrus king of Persia” (10:1) succeeded Darius, as king of the Medo-Persian\Chaldean Empire. The “thing” that was “revealed unto Daniel” served as an introduction to Daniel’s fourth and final vision (10:1). Though the setting was during the reign of Cyrus, the vision itself was set far into the future, for “the time appointed was long” (10:1b). Notable is the effect the vision had on Daniel, for he mourned saying, “three full weeks…[I] ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint [bathe or anoint] myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled” (10:3).

The cause of Daniel’s sorrow is not revealed, but I suspect it was that so few of the Jews elected to return to Jerusalem when Cyrus gave his decree to set the children of Israel at liberty to return home and rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1:1-4). The defeat of the Chaldeans, followed by Cyrus’ decree, provided the children of Israel the long-foretold opportunity to return to Israel. Tragically, after 70 years in Babylon, the majority of the Jews were Babylonian by nature and birth. Daniel fasted and prayed for three weeks, with no word from God in response to his prayers. On the 24th day of the first month (“Nisan,” April 24), as he was standing by the Tigris River (“Hiddekel,” 1:4), the LORD gave the prophet a heavenly vision of things yet to be (10:5-21).

A Heavenly Vision (10:5-9)

I believe the central figure of the vision was Jesus Christ; a theophany, or pre-incarnate appearance of Christ in His heavenly glory (10:5-6). Daniel did not see a beast, nor an image of a man, he looked up and saw “a certain man clothed in linen” (10:5). [For further study, you are invited to compare the apostle John’s vision of Christ in Revelation 1:12-16.]

The Effect of the Vision (10:7-9)

We learn that Daniel was not alone, for there were other men with him at the time of the vision, yet, they did not see the man (10:1-6). A sudden earthquake caused those men to flee and “hide themselves” (10:7). Thus, Daniel was alone and as he gazed upon his heavenly visitor, and writes, “there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength” (10:8). In his solitude, Daniel heard the voice of the man, and fell into “a deep sleep” (10:9).

Heavenly Visitors (10:10-12, 14-20a, 21)

In his vision, Daniel was awakened, when a hand touched him (10:10). Standing to his feet, though trembling with fear (10:11), Daniel was addressed by an angel as  “a man greatly beloved” (10:11), and was told how God had dispatched him to Daniel on the first day he prayed (10:12). His prayers had been heard, but not immediately answered, because a spiritual battle had been waged between God’s angel and a demon, a servant of Satan (10:13).

What an amazing story! Daniel had fasted and prayed 21 days, and waited for God to answer his prayers. Yet, though the LORD responded to his prophet’s prayers, the angelic messenger was delayed by a great conflict that was waged between the heavenly angels and the fallen angels (10:13)

An Angelic Message: The Purpose of the Vision (10:14-19)

God sent His angel to give Daniel understanding of “what shall befall thy people [children of Israel] in the latter days [the end of days]: for yet the vision is for many days” (10:14). The vision left Daniel fainthearted and speechless (10:15), and so the angel touched and revived him a second time (10:16a). The prophet was physicallyexhausted and emotionally shaken by the sight of Israel’s sufferings and sorrows that were yet to be (10:16b). Weakened from his struggle to converse with one much greater than himself (10:17), Daniel writes he was strengthened a third time, and said to the angel, “Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me” (10:18-19).

The Battle with Hellish Foes (10:13, 20-21)

The angel was delayed in his mission to answer Daniel’s prayer, having battled with a foe identified as the “prince of the kingdom of Persia” (10:13a). Persia was the name of ancient Iran (today, Iranians refer to themselves as Persian), and was the world empire of its day. Understanding no human prince could contend with an angel, we conclude this prince was a demon responsible for Satan’s interests in Persia (as God’s angels are organized into a heavenly host, it seems Satan has his demons ordered by rank and assignment, 10:13). The demon was powerful and withstood the angel, requiring Michael the Archangel to be dispatched (10:13), and help the angel go on his way and complete his mission to Daniel (10:14).

Closing thoughts (10:20-21) – Several questions come to mind, with the obvious being the one proposed by the angel: “Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee?” (10:20) Why did God send His angel to Daniel? Why did the demon obstruct the angel’s mission?

Rather than answer the question, the angel departed, and announced he must return to wage battle against the “prince [demon] of Persia,” and the “prince [demon] of Grecia” (10:20). Two demons so powerful they required not only the opposition of a heavenly angel, but the intervention of the Archangel described to Daniel as, “Michael your prince” (10:21).

Spiritual Truth – Though unseen by human eyes, there is a perpetual war that is waged in the spirit world between God’s holy angels and the fallen angels [demons].

Ephesians 6:1212For 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.

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

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