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Book of Daniel Bible Studies Series – Part 8
“In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel.”
“I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen,
whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! 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.”
“And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary
fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifice, and place there the
abomination of desolation.”
“Therefore when you see the “abomination of desolation” spoken of by
Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him
understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
In our last study we noted that Daniel, inspired by what he saw in the pages of scripture, humbled himself and prayed for the deliverance of his people from exile. He identified himself fully with the sins of his people and in so doing was subsequently heard by the God of Israel and given a remarkable vision of the journey of Israel until the time of the end. Included in this amazing revelation was a precise prophecy concerning the arrival date of Messiah and His death for the sins of the world. This is really quite astonishing.
Chapter ten opens with another record of Daniel’s dedication to a rich devotional life, we should and must learn from this in that it teaches us that, God hears and acts on behalf of those who seek Him with all their hearts (Psalm 119:2). It’s as simple as that! Daniel therefore, almost at the end of his long career in government and, now serving the Persian King Cyrus, was so moved by the plight of his people and the promise of God in Jeremiah’s oracle, to return them to Zion, that he gave Himself to three weeks of fasting and prayer. No wonder God answered his prayers and compelled Cyrus to issue a decree that paved the way for Daniel’s people to return to the land of Israel (Isaiah 45:1-5). Again we note that God fulfills His word through the determined dedication of His servants! But we should further note:
Daniel’s unswerving commitment to God and His purposes in the earth resulted in God honoring him with a wonderful revelation of Jesus (Daniel 10:5-9). The description here in this passage of the Angel of the Lord is almost exactly like that given to John in the first chapter of the book of Revelation. The Angel of the Lord is always revealed in scripture as having divinity. That is, He is a theophany, God appearing in human form. Daniel is quite overcome by the magnificence of Christ and so should we be! His strength failed and he trembled and yet the pre-incarnate Christ strengthened him and told him that he was greatly beloved in heaven. This is the greatest compliment anyone could ever receive in life. The honor and esteem of men is nothing compared to this. May we strive, by our dedication to Jesus and His kingdom, for this status as well. What do you think that heaven says about you and me?
Daniel’s prayers ignited an immediate response from Heaven meaning that the Angel of the Lord was sent to pave the way for the Jewish people to return to the land of Israel. However, we are told that He was greatly resisted by strong demonic principalities that mirrored in the unseen world what was happening in the seen world. Subsequently, Michael, the Archangel of war, was sent to aid Him in this battle (Daniel 10:12-13). Herein lies great spiritual truth for us to understand:
1. What is seen in our physical world is a picture of a more real spiritual world, and most often demonic world, because scripture tells us that the whole world lies in the grip of the evil one (1 John 5:19). The Angel of the Lord and Michael are up against the demonic princes of Persia and Greece. These hold their place in the heavenlies in order to resist and frustrate the purpose and will of God on earth. In this case the liberation of the Jewish people from exile.
2. As we work with God in prayer, based squarely on God’s Word, we can change the destiny of nations, but we must employ the dedication and commitment that Daniel exemplifies. Believe me, strong principalities of evil have got a grip on our nations. Very often we are not prepared to pay the price for what we say we want in the will of God. We must learn to pray as the early church did. When they prayed heaven shook the building in which they were gathered (Acts 4:31).
3. The detail of the following chapters is the foundational teaching for Jesus’ Olivet Discourse and thus, prophetically speaking, these constitute one of the most important passages in the Bible. This is so because the events spoken of here in verses 20 to the very end of the book are a mirror of future events. We know this because in the immediate context they refer to Antiochus Epiphanies, who committed the Abomination of Desolation in BC 168. Jesus specifically applied these same verses to the events that took place in AD 70 and to the end of the age. He actually referred to these passages in particular when speaking of events related to His second coming ( Matthew 24: 15). We urgently need to take note of these things. Here both Daniel and Jesus are warning us of the soon coming Antichrist, as did Paul and John. How much does scripture have to say before we get the message?
4. After Alexander the Great died his empire was divided up and given to his four generals.The main body of chapter eleven is a long list of the intrigue and wars that erupted between the Grecian rulers of the region, that is, the Seleucids and the Ptolemy’s. It is there to remind us that spiritual victories are not easily won given the demonic resistance that opposes them. We have to persevere and not give up or fall prey to discouragement. Paul acknowledged this in his Ephesians letter when he stated that having done all to oppose wicked and evil principalities in heavenly places we must, having done all to stand, keep standing ( Ephesians 6:10-13).
5. The goal of these events is to bring Israel to physical and spiritual restoration. This is the part purpose of the Great Tribulation as it will also, purify the Church and judge the world. In the context of the passages of scripture before us then, the Great Tribulation will constitute an attempt by demonic powers, working with world leaders, to annihilate Israel, (Daniel 12:7). To stop this we are told in chapter twelve that Michael, the Archangel of war, will again stand up to defend Israel. He will overcome these vast devilish principalities and dislodge them once and for all. The book of Revelation records the same conflict stating that these evil powers are overcome because there is “war in heaven” ( Revelation 12:7-10) and prayer on earth. Here that same conflict brings about war on earth. Thus a conflict will erupt on earth that the nations have never seen before (Daniel 12:1-2) but it will lead to the spiritual recovery of Israel. Again, that which the Devil intends for the destruction of God’s purpose on the earth will in fact advance it. The same saga played itself out at the crucifixion of Jesus. The end time conflict will be a huge one that will surprise the world; so Jesus also quoted this passage from Daniel as a warning in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:21).
6. These end time events are now rapidly approaching us and Daniel is further told that these will begin to unfold when a time arrives upon the earth when knowledge will rapidly increase and people will travel “to and fro” across the globe as never before ( Daniel 12:4). That time is our time and we should, like Daniel, turn to “battle prayer” as never before. This is why Daniel is told that “the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits” (Daniel 11:32). Moreover, those who strengthen themselves in the Lord, and serve Him with all their hearts, have a glorious eternal future in that they will shine “like the brightness of the firmament” and like the “stars forever and ever” ( Daniel 12:3). Their great exploits had to do with the fact that they resisted the coming Beast and “turned many to righteousness”. Jesus, quoting this very passage, made the same promise to His followers (Matthew 13:43).
Daniel is finally told that all these things will be hard to understand until the end time arrives; then the Holy Spirit will shed light on them. He must go his way and rest until the day of resurrection. His work is done and he has faithfully completed the assignment that God gave him in life. He will now one day, at the coming of Messiah, arise from the dead to receive his reward ( Daniel 12:13). Paul testified to the same thing and we must press on as well to complete the call of Jesus over our lives (2 Timothy 3:6-8). David, though greatly flawed, also served the will of God for his generation (Acts 13:36). It is now our time to run! Blessed be Daniel who has left us such a wonderful legacy. Having facilitated the return of his people to Zion, Daniel, the greatly beloved of God, died in exile!