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AM Bible Study Archives
"The Unseen War"
Daniel 10:1 - 11:1
Wednesday Evening Home Bible Study
March 14, 2007
Theme: Before revealing the last of the four visions of Daniel, God reveals the spiritual forces that wage war behind the scenes of earthly political events.
The last three chapters of Daniel contain the story of one, final vision--the last of the four that Daniel had received personally. It is the most detailed description of prophecy in all of the book. It is similar to portions of the Book of Revelation in that it provides encouragement to the suffering people of God concerning how the tough times ahead remain in God's hand. The difference between Revelation and Daniel is one of emphasis--Revelation being given to encourage the suffering believers during the church age, and Daniel being given to encourage the suffering Jewish people regarding the times of the seventy-weeks described in chapter 9.
This chapter reveals the fact that, behind the scenes of world events and political changes we behold on an earthly level, an unseen spiritual war of cosmic proportions is being waged. We can know nothing of this unseen war apart from what the Bible teaches us. But the Bible gives us several hints of the spiritual activities behind it in such passages as Job 1:6-12, 2:1-6; 2 Chronicals 18:18-22; Zechariah 3:1-2; Ephesians 6:10-20; and Revelation 12:7-12.
Before the details of the last great vision is given to Daniel, he is given a glimpse as it were of the conflict in the heavenlies--and of how this conflict relates to God's unfolding plan for His chosen people. This passage should be a reminder to us that "though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every though into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE VISION (10:1-4).
A. It was given in the third year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia (536 B.C.) Daniel himself would be about eighty-three to eighty-five years old. Daniel gives his Babylonian name for identity's sake, and perhaps to affirm his authority as a head of state. He affirms that the message was true. Some translations have it that "the appointed time was long"; others that the message was "one of great conflict". But Daniel says that he had understanding of it; and the story of how came to understand is about to be explained.
B. It came at a time after Daniel had been fasting for three weeks. It was during the month of Nisan; and this would place his fasting at the time of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12). But this was not the reason for his fast. His reason is given in verse 12-- that is, so that he might understand what had already been told him, and that he might be humbled before God.
C. He received this vision as he stood before the Tigris River. It came after the people of Israel had been released to return to their homeland; but apparently he chose to stay in the Median-Persian realm.
II. THE COMMUNICATOR OF THE VISION (10:5-6).
A. While at the river, he beheld a vision of a majestic being. The description is very similar to that which the apostle John received of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ in Revelation 1:12-16.
B. Daniel probably was not seeing a preincarnate vision of the Lord. This being was "sent" (v. 11), was able to be "withstood", and needed "help" (v. 13). It is most likely, then, an angelic being; such as Daniel met in chapter 9. This one, however, is not named.
III. THE RECIPIENT OF THE VISION (10:7-9).
A. Apparently, Daniel alone saw the vision. His men did not see it; but they clearly reacted to it in fear. Some have suggested that they were reacting to Daniel's expression in fear. This is similar to what happened to the men with Saul of Tarsus in Acts 9:7.
B. The result was that Daniel was left alone with this great being. He was completely undone by it. Yet, though he was physically weakened, and though he was apparently in a faint, he was able to hear what was said. As we will see, he required help before he could receive any more of the vision. Note, though, that twice in this chapter, he is told that he is greatly loved by God.
IV. THE CONFLICT BEHIND THE VISION (10:10-14).
A. A hand touched him and enabled him to rise to his hands and knees. Then it would seem that it was the angelic being who told him to stand in order to be spoken to. He had to be encouraged to not fear; no doubt because of the awesome presence of this angelic being.
B. The angelic being explained that he sought to came from the first day Daniel's words were heard (that is, three weeks prior); but that he had been opposed by "the prince of the kingdom of Persia" (apparently an angelic being who stood for Persia; and apparently against God's angels). Michael--the angel who stood over Israel--came to this angel's aid so that the message could be delivered.
C. So, during the whole time of Daniel's prayer, a conflict was going on that prevented his receiving the message earlier. But now, the angel had come to deliver the message and tell him about what would happen to Daniel's people in latter days.
V. THE STRENGTH NEEDED FOR THE VISION (10:15-19).
A. Daniel, at these words, turned his face to the ground. Apparently, his heart was humbled and felt that he could not hear more.
B. Again, at another touch, Daniel was encouraged that he was loved, and was given the strength not to be fearful and to hear.
VI. THE VALUE OF THE VISION (10:20-11:1).
A. The angelic being explained asked Daniel, "Do you know why I have come?" Apparently, it was becoming clear. It involved the things noted in the Scripture of Truth--things that Daniel had already been concentrating on in chapter 9.
B. The angel let Daniel know that his own time was short; because the battle was raging on and he had to return to it. The prince of Persia, with whom he had been battling, was waiting; and the prince of Greece was about to come (these being angelic beings over nations). He clarified that he had been doing battle alongside Michael. Clearly, this was an important message if combat action had to cease in order to bring it to Daniel.