Some years ago I was asked to teach the book of Revelation to a group of students involved in a Bible Club at a public school. They asked me to speak during lunch on two different days. At first I could not imagine teaching the book of Revelation in only two one half-hour sessions, but I agreed. I decided to give an overview of Revelation and emphasize Jesus Christ. After I finished teaching the last session, a woman approached me and told me that Satan had sent her to tell me that he wanted me to stop teaching. I was surprised at first, but finally told her to inform Satan that I had finished the last session. I was done for now. Then I asked her if I could talk to her. She agreed and over several months she described her involvement in the occult and the powers which she had. One day I stopped to talk with the school dean about her and before I did, I looked up and down the long hall to see if anyone was near. There was no one. So I turned and asked my question. Immediately, he asked if I was talking about the woman standing behind me. I turned and there she was. Later I asked him where she had came from. He did not know. She had just appeared – the power of the occult.
The occult pulses with power like an electric power line. It is not friendly like Casper the friendly ghost. The occult is about invisible, powerful aliens whom we call ghosts and demons. They are opposed to God, His holy angels and to Christians. In this study, we will discover an important spiritual truth that is not illustrated anywhere else in scripture – only here.
In our last study, we found that during the first year of King Darius (also the first year of Cyrus) the prophet Daniel had been reading in the scrolls of Jeremiah and discovered that Israel’s 70 years of captivity would soon end. As a result, he confessed the sins of his fellow captives and asked God to return them to the land of Palestine.
God answered Daniel’s prayer with a “yes.” Sometimes He answers with a “no” but not this time. The book of Ezra records the decree given by King Cyrus allowing some Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1:1-4). When we arrive at Daniel 10, two years have slipped by and it is now the third year of Cyrus’ reign.
It is now 536 B.C. and the prophet Daniel has received another vision. Three years have gone by in the white space between chapters nine and ten. The vision will start in chapter eleven and end in the last chapter of Daniel.
In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar; and the message was true and one of great conflict, but he understood the message and had an understanding of the vision. In those days I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks. I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all, until the entire three weeks were completed. And on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris . . . NASB) Dan. 10:1-4
Notice Daniel’s continuing attention to detail and specific dates. He is not symbolic or vague.
Daniel had fasted for three weeks and stopped on Nisan 24. This means that he had fasted through the Passover which had occurred on Nisan 14. Daniel was very serious about something. What we will discover is that he wanted to have more information about the vision in Daniel 8 (see Dan. 8:27 and Dan. 10:12, 14) and the 70th week of Daniel 9:27. How did God respond to this precious saint?
I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult. (NASB) Dan. 10:5-6
This divine being looks like the description of Jesus given in the book of Revelation.
. . . in the middle of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breast with a golden girdle. And His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire; and His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been caused to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. (NASB) Rev. 1:13-15
How did God respond? He sent Jesus. This is an Old Testament appearance of Christ. He came to give Daniel another vision with new information. Just as with the apostle Paul’s fellow travelers (Acts 9:1-9), Daniel’s vision was not seen by those with him.
Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves. So I was left alone and saw this great vision; yet no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength. But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground. (NASB) Dan. 10:7-9
Did these men feel excluded and left out? It is a reminder that while God loves all of us, He responds differently especially to those who seriously long for Him. Daniel has been pursuing God all of his life. When was the last time you read the book of Jeremiah?
The new vision that Daniel has just received has new information which must now be explained. The one who will provide the explanation now arrives. We will see these individuals together again in Daniel 12. Here is the new arrival.
Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. And he said to me, “O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.” (NASB) Dan. 10:10-12
The angel is kind to this precious man. He seeks to comfort Daniel and then explains to Daniel why he has come.
Then the angel explains that it has taken him three weeks to reach Daniel.
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. (NASB) Dan. 10:13
Have you ever asked God to meet a special need in your life and then wondered why He took so long to answer? A person once asked me why God did not answer her prayers. I explained that God always answers. Sometimes He answers with a “No” and sometimes with a “Yes.” Sometimes when God answers with “Yes,” He makes us wait. When He answers with “No” or if He makes us wait, He does what is best for our relationship with Him. Maybe God needs to make us wait until we have learned an important lesson.
This holy angel was not able to reach Daniel for three weeks because an evil angel, the prince of Persia, had stopped him. He needed help from a more powerful, holy angel who is named Michael. Michael is an archangel (Jude 9) and a protector of Israel (Dan. 12:1). The magnifying glass of scripture has given us a peek into the invisible world of angels.
This invisible world is at war. It is a war between holy and evil beings. The evil beings are usually called evil angels, demons or ghosts.
Daniel’s request has been delayed by a demon. What a lesson for us! Have you ever been upset with God for not answering a prayer request, only to discover the answer came later? Is it possible that the answer was on its way even while you were complaining?
The prince of Persia is a demon who has submitted himself to Satan. It appears that he has great responsibility and authority over the kingdom of Persia. But his purpose is to accomplish the evil wishes of Satan. We do not know how much authority or power God has given to Satan, but we do know that Satan is at war with Christians and God’s holy angels. God’s holy angels are organized and so are Satan and his demons. The war is on! It has been for a long time.
Purpose of The Visit
The messenger now explains that he has come. He has come to tell Daniel what will happen in the last days of the world. Daniel responds with emotion.
Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.” And when he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless. And behold, one who resembled a human being was touching my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke, and said to him who was standing before me, “O my lord, as a result of the vision anguish has come upon me, and I have retained no strength. For how can such a servant of my lord talk with such as my lord? As for me, there remains just now no strength in me, nor has any breath been left in me.” Then this one with human appearance touched me again and strengthened me. And he said, “O man of high esteem, do not be afraid. Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!” Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, “May my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” (NASB) Dan. 10:14-19
The messenger comforts and strengthens Daniel. Did you know that God’s holy angels minister to Christians? What an encouragement!
More To Come
The messenger is about ready to return and fight again. This time the fight will include four angels: the prince of Persia, the prince of Greece, the archangel Michael and himself.
Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.” (NASB) Dan. 10:20-21
This reveals another startling piece of information. Angels cannot instantly move from one place to another, nor are they all powerful. They have limits in their power and speed. But God is all powerful and He can be everywhere instantly. Satan would like Christians to be fearful of him. However, we do not need to be afraid of him, but neither should we have an arrogant attitude (Jude 9).
Nature of Angels
The New Testament reveals some wonderful facts about angels. They can appear like us. Otherwise, why does God encourage us to show hospitality in the book of Hebrews?
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. (NASB) Heb. 13:2
You may have entertained an angel.
Angels are around us every day. Why? Because God has asked His angels to minister to Christians. I am convinced that God has ministered to my family and myself on several occasions through an angel. In fact, His angels have been told to minister to every Christian.
See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you, that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father who is in heaven. (NASB) Matt. 18:10
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? (NASB) Heb. 1:14
An angel has been assigned to each Christian. Have you ever sinned and thought no one was around?
Since angels are not all powerful and cannot move from one place to another instantly, we should ask “Do they know everything?” The answer is . . .
As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things into which angels long to look. (NASB) 1 Pet. 1:10-12
Only God is all powerful, all knowing, and instantly everywhere at the same time. It does not matter how powerful Satan and the evil angels are. God is more powerful! It does not matter what your needs are, God knows. God does not need to take an airplane to visit you in the middle of a night in a crisis. It does not matter if you are in a cave, under the sea, or lost in a huge forest. God can help anyone and everyone at the same time, no matter where you are. If God can create such wonderful, powerful, invisible beings, just think about how wonderful the Creator must be!
Simonides, a poet, was asked by Heiro, the king of Syracuse, “What is God?” The poet asked for a day to think before answering. At the end of the day, the poet asked for another day. Every day he asked for more time until the king finally asked why all of the delays. Simonides replied, “The more I think of God, he is still the more unknown to me.”
I am looking forward to heaven and my Creator!