10 And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.
11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
14 Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.
15 And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.
16 And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength.
17 For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.
Daniel Regains His Strength and Understands the Reason for Christ’s Appearing
Now the scene suddenly changes.
It is no longer Christ who stands before Daniel, but an angel. There is a specific reason for us to interpret this section of the passage in this way. If this were still Christ speaking to Daniel, we would be forced to conclude that Christ had little or no power, because the prince of Persia (v. 13) who withstood the messenger would be able to stand firmly against Christ and, therefore, demonstrate more power than the Son of God possessed. This, of course, would be impossible. It is therefore safe to conclude that the one now standing before Daniel is an angel-probably Gabriel-who again has made his incredible journey to Daniel’s side from the third heaven-an astronomical distance, described in chapter eight. This holy messenger speaks words of comfort to this choice servant of God.
But imagine Daniel’s confusion:
One moment he sees the pre-incarnate Christ, and the next moment the angel Gabriel, who lifted him up, and delivered a message from the Lord. The words uttered by this heavenly being are words you and I certainly would want Jesus to say to us when that great day arrives as we stand before Him: words of comfort, love, and appreciation for our faithfulness to the cause of Christ during our witness on earth.
But the angel had even more to say to Daniel.
We begin to see this revelation take on a new dimension, as Gabriel speaks of the kingdom of Persia’s power, and how a demonic spirit that controlled the ruler of Persia had “withstood” God’s angel, probably Michael, for twenty-one days. Throughout the Bible we read of many rulers of the world who are controlled by these evil, demonic spirits. In Isaiah 14:12-14, we find that Satan fell because he wanted to be like God. In Luke 10:18, Jesus said, “I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven“-a reference to the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2).
Today, Satan is still in control of heaven number one, and heaven number two.
That’s why he can approach the end of heaven number two and keep up his incessant verbal abuse of God’s people- the brethren (Revelation 12:10). The Bible says that Satan is still the god of this world system.. . that he is the prince of this world (John 12:31). That’s why you and I do not wrestle against flesh and blood-against other human beings-but instead against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual (literally, spirit) wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).
Peace… Not Fear
Fallen angels are everywhere, and Satan is the head of them, holding the designated title of prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). This prince of the first and second heaven, along with millions of his demonic spirits, has the ability to control political leaders.
It was the prince (or ruler) of ancient Persia who was controlled by one of these demonic agents. This enemy of mankind is powerful, but not all-powerful. Ultimate power and control belong to Yahweh.
The message here is clear:
“Daniel, I know that what you’ve heard in your visions is emotionally devastating to you. You feel sorry for your people and are saddened to realize what will happen to them in the latter days. But don’t be afraid. Your God is strong- omnipotent, or all-powerful. He is in control of the affairs of men. His angels surround you, and they represent the power of your almighty God.“
This sounds much like the comforting words spoken by Jesus in John 14:27:
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” That was the angel’s message to Daniel. He wanted to remove all sense of dread from Daniel’s heart. He wanted him to know that it was exclusively the enemy, Satan, who put timidity into his spirit. If he relied on the mercy and faithfulness of God, that fear would vanish (2 Timothy 1:7).
Gabriel was putting this angelic warfare into perspective:
There are good angels, and there are bad angels. The angels of God stand with the Lord’s people to comfort them, and hold them up when times get tough. Such angelic beings were also available to our Savior. Jesus said in Matthew 26:53,
Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? What power-to literally snap His fingers and be able to command the arrival of twelve legions of angels, a legion in a Roman army being seven thousand men! (See also Matthew 4:11.) Hebrews 1:14 says,
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
Our guardian angels are there to protect us.
They are the elect or holy angels, numbering into the millions (1 Timothy 5:21; Hebrews 12:22). On the other hand, millions of evil angels also fill the heavenlies. These are the “devils” (literally, demons or fallen angels) mentioned often in God’s Word, and Satan is the prince of these demons (Matthew 9:34). Together he and his minions control the minds of leaders who are the personification of evil-the holocaust-producing Josef Stalins, Adolph Hitlers, and Idi Amins of our world. I have spoken of these heavenly beings in some depth because they are integral to our understanding of this introduction to the last revelation received by Daniel.
Message of the Latter Days
The message was again difficult for Daniel to hear and accept-but this time he understood it.
He did not need further clarification. He knew there would be a horrendous persecution of Israel (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:22; Revelation 12:13), and that it would occur during the latter days, a term equivalent to the time of the end.
Today, with an existing European Union, a nation called Israel, and Jews in control of Jerusalem, we find ourselves with an increasing number of signs pointing to the time of the end. As you’ll recall, Daniel’s end-time prediction began when the prophet stated under Nebuchadnezzar’s reign: “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, that has sent me to tell thee, Nebuchadnezzar, what shall be in the latter days.” For us moderns, the handwriting is on the wall. The seventieth week of Daniel is rapidly approaching. But the good news for believers is that prior to the beginning of the seventieth week, we will be raptured (Revelation 4:1).
At this point, Daniel fell to the ground, speechless.
When he recovered, he became aware that the “lord” was standing in front of him. If you’ll notice in the text the word lord has a small l. If this were deity, the word would have a capital L as its first letter. This means that a different angelic being has come to comfort him. Daniel’s response is one of humility. He feels lowly and unworthy, not fit to stand in the presence of this holy being sent by his heavenly Father with a message of comfort, which is to “fear not.”
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE