Daniel was coming to the end of his long and eventful life. Perhaps all of us envision a quiet and peaceful old age, but that is not happening for Daniel at this point. He began this last section in a state of mourning and then moved into a state of shock. He had to be divinely resuscitated to have the strength to receive and record his last prophetic vision. His heart was heavy as he learned more about the future of Israel. This vision covered much of the history that will take place in the inter-testament period during the Persian and Greek Empires.
Daniel also learned more about the battles in the angelic realm. There is no peace on earth, and obviously there is no peace above the earth as well. There will be war all around Israel in the Middle East. There will also be war in the heavenly realm as good and bad angels fight for Israel’s soul.
Someone has said “To be forewarned is to be forearmed.” God is opening his “Book of Truth” so the Jews in Israel will know what is happening in these dark days and will not be deceived by Satan’s lies. Israel’s future will not be rosy, but they will survive to see the coming of the Messiah.
DAY ONE: DANIEL SOUGHT HELP IN HIS GREAT TURMOIL.
Read: Daniel 10:1-9
A. DANIEL MOURNED FOR HIS NATION.
This took place in the third year of King Cyrus’s reign over the Persian Empire. The first group of Jews had returned to their homeland. Back in Israel, the work on the rebuilding of the temple had begun and then was stopped by Israel’s enemies (Ezra 1-3). Obviously, Daniel did not return to Israel with them. It is presumed that either he was too elderly to make the trip or he was still needed in Babylon to finish out his call from God to write down all of the revelation God had given to him.
Daniel was in deep mourning over his people. He was undoubtedly still troubled over the previous visions that showed Israel’s 490 years of chastening still to come. Perhaps he still couldn’t understand why and how Israel would continue to suffer. Daniel began praying for more insight and understanding. He fasted and refused to anoint himself with the regular lotion that suggested joy. Since Daniel would have been in his mid to late nineties, three weeks of fasting would have left him in a weakened state.
B. DANIEL’S PRAYER WAS ANSWERED WITH A VISITOR AND A VISION.
One day in April while Daniel and some friends stood beside the Tigris River, a vision of a supernatural being suddenly appeared to him. The question naturally arises – who was this person? He was obviously not human, but was he an angelic being or a divine being? Some scholars think he was an angel and some think he was a preincarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ. There are arguments for both positions.
Daniel’s friends obviously saw the light surrounding this person but did not stay around to see the person himself. Daniel had been visited by angels several times before, but this visit was frightening enough to make Daniel faint.
- Describe the appearance of the visitor in verses 5-6.
- How is this similar to the description of Christ in Revelation 1:13-17; 2:18?
- What does linen symbolize in Leviticus 16:4?
- What happened to John when he saw the glorified Christ in Revelation 1:17?
- What do you do when you are sad or confused about your nation’s circumstances?
- What is the condition of your nation at this time? How often do you pray for your nation’s leaders?
DAY TWO: DANIEL WAS STRENGTHENED TO HEAR THE MESSAGE.
Read: Daniel 10:10-19
A. THE MESSENGER COMFORTED HELPLESS DANIEL.
Daniel was in no condition to hear and comprehend the message the visitor had come to bring. As a prophet, he needed to be alert and strong. So the messenger did several things to help strengthen Daniel for his work:
He touched Daniel to impart physical strength.
He reminded Daniel of his value to God at this time.
He told Daniel there was no reason to be afraid because he was sent in response to Daniel’s own prayer.
B. THE MESSENGER EXPLAINED HIS DELAY.
Daniel might have wondered why there was no sense of urgency for God to answer his prayer. Daniel had waited anxiously for twenty-one days. As the messenger explained his delay, we are privileged to have a unique look into the activity in the spirit realm.
A high ranking evil angel (assigned by Satan to influence Medo-Persia against Israel) had detained him. A spiritual battle had been taking place between Daniel’s messenger and this evil prince for twenty-one days until Michael came to help. Satan’s princes have a good reason to enter into this fight. They would not have wanted the messenger to deliver this new revelation about Israel’s future. The destiny of the nation is at stake. One of Satan’s major tactics is to blind human beings to the truth. (2 Corinthians 4:4) Nonetheless, the good messenger prevailed and is now here to give new understanding about Israel’s future.
C. DANIEL BECAME FAINT AGAIN.
This new conversation about spiritual warfare caused Daniel to lose strength again. Daniel was again touched and given strength and advice. The messenger told Daniel not to be afraid but to be strong. Daniel is highly esteemed by God, so he will be told what Israel needs to know in order to accomplish God’s will. When we collapse in times of crisis, we may lose our greatest opportunity to bring glory to God.
- What does Paul say about spiritual warfare? (Ephesians 6:10-12)
- Understanding the power of evil forces can cause great fear. What is the overriding principle we are to remember? (1 John 4:4)
- What are our greatest sources of strength in times of anguish?
- What is your usual first reaction when you become afraid?
- Daniel was strengthened by the assurance of God’s love. Read Deuteronomy 33:27 and meditate on what it means to rest in his everlasting arms.
DAY THREE: THE MESSENGER REVEALED GOD’S TRUTH.
Read: Daniel 10:20-11:1
A. THE MESSENGER’S STRUGGLE REVEALS A LITTLE KNOWN REALITY.
We have just studied a brief glimpse into an area of reality of which most human beings are totally unaware. Nations are the object of supernatural influence. Both God and Satan have assigned powerful angels to influence rulers and nations in their policies – especially in their policies that concern Israel. There is an ongoing battle raging behind the scenes of international events. These battles are invisible to the human eye, but the results of the influences of the supernatural beings can be seen throughout the pages of history.
It appears that Michael is the angel assigned to Israel. The messenger sent to Daniel indicated that he would soon return to join with Michael in the fight against the princes of Persia and Greece. When God chose one nation on earth to represent Him and to carry out His plan of redemption, He knew that nation would become a special target of Satan. It seems that He has assigned an outstanding angel to defend this nation. But another supernatural being will come alongside to help. God is faithful to provide the help we need to fight our spiritual battles.
B. THE MESSENGER REVEALED A LITTLE KNOWN BOOK.
Another interesting fact that we learn in this unique passage is the presence of a book that is called “the Book of Truth.” Obviously there is a divine record in heaven that reveals human history. We are told that God knows the beginning and the end. Since He lives outside of time, he can see the whole scope of human history at once. What is already recorded in heaven will now become a part of the written scriptures on earth. This helps us to understand how God can reveal prophecy that is fulfilled with 100 percent accuracy. (Daniel 10:1)
- What advantage do you think the Jews would have in knowing the details of the bitter warfare between Egypt and Syria that raged on for decades?
- What nations today are most openly fighting against Israel?
- What promise was given to Abraham in regard to God’s protection of Israel? (Genesis 12:2-3)
- God provided a mighty angel to protect Israel so they did not need to worry about being completely destroyed by Satan’s plots. What is Michael’s title as given in Jude 9?
- What does Scripture say about our worry today? (Philippians 4:6-7)
- How do you demonstrate God’s peace in your personal life?
DAY FOUR: THE MESSENGER REVEALED DETAILS OF COMING WARS.
Read: Daniel 11:2-11:19
A. THE MESSENGER REVEALED HIS MISSION.
God gave Daniel a preview of what will happen to his people now that they are restored as a nation back in their homeland. This revelation is amazing in its detail. Former visions gave a broad picture of empires that will come and go. Now this prophecy is given in such detail that those who want to discount supernatural revelation are stunned. Only God can reveal the future, and He most often does so in a veiled manner. This is an exception because Israel will need to know how to react as these specific events unfold. It will seem that God is not in control and that Israel will surely be overtaken and completely destroyed by these events. So, God tells the stories of their battles and reveals the outcome.
B. DANIEL WAS GIVEN A UNIQUE HISTORY LESSON.
Three more Persian kings will rule. The fourth will be Xerxes (known in the book of Esther as Ahasuerus).
The fourth will fight against Greece.
Mighty Alexander will arise to conquer the world but will die early. His kingdom will be divided among four generals since Alexander had no heirs. Two of his generals will become kings over their territories and will fight each other for supremacy.
The kings of the South (Ptolemies who ruled Egypt) will become strong. The kings of the North (Selucids who ruled over Syria) also will become strong. There will be a continuous conflict between the Ptolemies and the Selucids during which the land of Israel will be invaded first by one and then another. Both kings wanted control of the land of Israel. Two attempts of arranged political marriages tried to bring the two factions together. They failed miserably and only intensified the conflict.
At one point in time Israel tried to rebel against Egypt and was defeated. (11:14) Eventually Israel came back under Syrian control. Ultimately the control of Syria passed to the infamous Antiochus IV. We have already met this tyrant in chapter 8.
- Look on a map of the Middle East to find the locations of Syria and Egypt. Where is Israel in connection to these two lands?
- What attribute of God is evident in this revelation?
- How have we been forewarned today about events yet to come?
- What does Scripture promise in Revelation 1:1-3?
DAY FIVE: AN EVIL GREEK TYRANT COMES TO POWER.
Read: Daniel 11:21 – 35
A. ISRAEL FACED HER DARKEST DAYS UNDER ANTIOCHUS IV.
Antiochus III had been called Antiochus the Great. He waged the fiercest campaign of all of Alexander’s successors in trying to reunite the Grecian Empire, but he did not succeed. He was stopped by the rising power of Rome, returned to his own country in 188 B.C. and died a year later (11:19). His son, Seleucus IV Antipater (187-176 B.C), heavily taxed his people to pay Rome, but he was poisoned by his treasurer Heliodorus. This paved the way for the rulership of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who ruled from 175-163 B.C. His story is given more attention than all of his predecessors combined because he foreshadowed the little horn of chapter 7 who is identified as Antichrist and is also identified as the little horn of Daniel 8.
The throne rightly belonged to a son of Seleucus IV, but Antiochus seized the throne and had himself proclaimed king (v.21; verses 22-25 describe his rise to power). He was a ruthless and manipulative usurper who planned to unite his unstable empire through imposing Greek religion and culture on all of his subjects. The Jews found themselves on a collision course with this king who sent troops into Jerusalem and killed thousands of Jews before plundering the temple.
Antiochus invaded Egypt twice but was never successful in gaining control over this land. He took his frustrations out on the Jews. As we have already studied, he tried to wipe out Jewish worship until the Jews (Maccabees) finally rose up and rebelled. Antiochus died insane in 163 B.C. in Persia.
- The previous prophecies used symbols to represent nations and rulers. Why do you think these events were given in literal language?
- History reveals that these prophecies were fulfilled literally in great detail. What does this tell you about the way you are to interpret Daniel’s prophecy?
- When have you thanked God for His amazing revelation of the victorious ending of history?
- God’s people should live in peace knowing He is our helper in the battles of life.
Daniel received this vision in 537 B.C. He was enabled to look into the future and see the details of the strained Egyptian-Syrian relations between 300 B.C. and 175 B.C. Some scholars have estimated that the first 35 verses of chapter 11 contain 135 fulfilled prophecies. We might wonder why so much detail is given and it would certainly be easy to get bogged down in the battles, regime changes and political intrigues. Nevertheless, we have to remember that the Jews actually lived through each detail and needed to know what was happening and what the results would be. This chapter fills in part of the gap of 400 years between the Old Testament and the New Testament. It was a time of great travail for the Jews, but the worst is yet to come as we complete the last verses of chapter 11 in the next lesson.
PRINCIPLE FOR THE WEEK: God is faithful to give us adequate preparation for the future battles in our lives.
CHALLENGE: Look up in a concordance or computer program how many times God’s people are told: “Do not be afraid.” Learn to rest in Him daily.
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