Daniel 10:1 – 11:1 – Daniel Foresees a Great War Army

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(Photo: John Snyder/Wikimedia Commons)

Daniel Chap 10 leads us into Chap 11.  Chapters 10 – 12 are all connected together by the word which was revealed to Daniel in this chapter 10. So we want to pay attention to what is said here in order to better understand what follows.

Dan 10:1-2111:1

10:1  In the third year of Cyrus, King of Persia, a word, or message, was revealed to Daniel, also called Belteshazzar. (1:7)  The word is true and concerned a large army for war. (11:13) Daniel received understanding of the word through a vision given to him.

The specific dates that Daniel notes for his visions and for other events give credibility to his book, that he wrote, as being an accurate historical account. For some reason, the Hebrew words “tzava gadol” (צבא גדול) are translated differently in Bible translations.  The simple meaning, and agreeable to the context here, is “a large army”.  This was Daniel’s fourth and last vision.

v 2  In those days, Daniel was mourning for three weeks of days (21 days).

It could be that Daniel was mourning because the Jews had been allowed and encouraged to return to Judea and to rebuild the Temple and the city of Jerusalem, but most of them had not chosen to do so, and the work was also being hindered by those opposed to the return from exile and the restoration of worship of YHVH in His chosen city.

v 3  Daniel was refraining from his normal and comfortable routine during these three weeks.

If one is in distress of soul, eating normally and personal indulgence become less important or necessary.  Daniel disciplined himself during the three weeks because of a higher priority weighing on him than loving himself.  He was in a partial fast, depriving himself of pleasant things.  He presented himself as a living sacrifice before God. (Rom 12:1-2)

v 4  Daniel was standing on the banks of the Tigris River on the 24th of the first month, just a few days after the Passover and Week of Unleavened Bread (which occurs in the first month on the Hebrew calendar).

Daniel was mourning even during the week of Passover.  This is the time that the Jewish people celebrate God taking them out of Egypt and slavery to bring them into the land of Canaan as an inheritance.  Yet, most of the Jews were not identifying with, nor enthusiastic about YHVH and His heart’s desire.

v 5-6  Daniel looked up and saw a man there who looked and sounded “other-worldly”.

The description given here is similar to what Ezekiel saw, and what John the Apostle saw, when they each saw YHVH/Yeshua/Jesus with the glory that was His before His incarnation, and after His ascension back to Heaven. (Ezek 1:28Jn 17:5Rev 1:13-15)

v 7  Daniel was the only one who saw the vision; the other men with him did see it, but they were terrified, and fled and hid themselves.

The other men obviously knew, like those with Saul on the road to Damascus, that something was going on, but the Lord was singling out Daniel and Saul to discern what was actually occurring.

v 8-9  Daniel was left alone after his companions fled, gazing at the vision, and the blood drained from his face.  He heard the Man speaking, and fell into a deep sleep, with his face to the ground.

Daniel is seeing the Lord in glory, and becoming as a dead man.  He is greatly distressed, and felt helpless, with no strength in his body.  The fact that Daniel fell into a deep sleep while listening to the Man indicates that the voice was calming, not threatening or alarming, although he was done in by the great vision which he had just seen.

v 10  A hand touched Daniel, and set him trembling on all fours.
He had no physical or emotional strength to stand on his feet.

v 11  For the second time, Daniel is told that he is greatly beloved.  And the Man told him to understand the words that he was sent to speak to him, and for him to stand up in his place.  When Daniel heard this, he stood upright, trembling.

Daniel would surely be comforted hearing that he was greatly beloved, but he did not know what to expect, and stood up trembling when the Man told him to get up off his hands and knees.

v 12  The Man told Daniel not to be afraid, and that from the first day that Daniel humbled himself and prayed to get understanding his words were heard by God, and the man was sent in response to them to give him the answer.

The man wants Daniel to feel secure, and to know that his prayers have been heard from the beginning of them three weeks ago.  The answer to the prayers for understanding was already set in motion.

For us it is important to know that if our hearts are right before God, and we are seeking understanding of a burden that is from God (which we know is so in Daniel’s case, from all that we have already read and studied), then our Father in Heaven will hear and answer.  The answer may not come immediately, but we are to continue to pray and intercede in faith until the answer does come.  We may not always have a heavenly messenger be sent with the answer, and it may not always be connected with spiritual warfare in the heavenly realm.

Daniel is great man of real prayer, wholly dependent upon God, and full of faith and wisdom.  We need to become this, too, if we are going to overcome the evil forces of this world arraigned against us, especially in the last days.  This could be the central message for each of us personally and as the Body of Messiah from what we are learning from our study of the Book of Daniel the Prophet.

We are also loved by the Father because we love His beloved Son, Yeshua/Jesus.

We need to hear and believe what the Lord is saying so that we are standing on the Rock when the storm hits.

v 13  The prince of the Persian kingdom resisted the “Man” for 21 days, the three weeks that Daniel was praying and denying himself normal pleasures of eating and bodily grooming.  Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help the “Man”, who was being detained by the kings of Persia.

This is a clear example of spiritual warfare taking place in the heavenlies. (Eph 3:10)  We have here one of those scenes that gives us pause, as we consider who the “Man” is, and why He would need Michael to come to His aid.  From the description that Daniel wrote in vv 5-6, it is clear that it could only apply to the Son of God.  That this Man is not also Michael, the archangel, is also clear from this v 13:  Michael went to help the Man, and is called one of the chief princes.  He and the Man are clearly not the same entity.

For us as believers in Jesus, there is an obvious question:  why would the Lord require any help to defeat any foe or enemy?

Yeshua/Jesus is YHVH of Hosts/Armies (Josh 5:13-15Jn 12:37-41Is 6:1-13), and from what we do know regarding the Lord’s strength, He is unequaled.  He is the 8-Star General, and has authority over the angels, who are at His service.  Therefore, just as He came as a flesh-and-blood mortal Man (Bar/Ben Enosh), but overcame the “stronger” spirit-being Satan’s temptations in the desert, and defeated the devil by His death on the cross, the Son of God in weakness is stronger than all of the angelic and demonic forces put together.  He created them all, and none can overcome Him! So, during the spiritual battles being waged now until the final consummation comes, which is determined,  Jesus can still withhold His power until the appointed time comes for the final battle in the great war. (Rev 19:11-21)  This is what He also did when He wrestled with Jacob:  He let Jacob wrestle all night with Him, and said that Jacob had prevailed.  But just to remind Jacob who the stronger really is, He made Jacob lame in his hip. (Gen 32:22-31)  The Lord also calls upon us to join forces with Him, and the Holy Spirit enables us to fight the good fight of faith for the sake of the gospel and of the Kingdom of God, and glorify the name of Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah. (2Cor 10:3-6)

We also see that apparently each nation has its ruling angelic prince.  Here we have one unnamed that is the prince of Persia, another in v 20 who is the prince of Yavan, and here and in Ch 12 of Daniel, a named angel, Michael, is called the great prince standing up for Daniel’s people – the Jews. (Gabriel is the only other named angel in the Bible.)  Yeshua is the King of kings and Lord of lords; He has delegated authority to others under His sovereign rule.  The angels are His messengers and ministers. (Ps 104:4Heb 1:7)  Even now our Father in Heaven has angels watching over children who have come to Yeshua. (Mt 18:1-12)  During the 1000-year kingdom still to come, the Lord will be the King, and the saints will be given to rule and reign with Him. (Rev 20:4-6Dan 7:25-27)

It may be also that the enemy of God and of His people had a sense that Daniel’s prayer was very significant, and he wanted to discourage him from getting an answer from a heavenly messenger.  The whole Book of Daniel has been under spiritual attack:  in Judaism it has been relegated to the Writings, rather than being placed with the Prophets; it is taught within both Judaism and Christianity that Daniel is not the author of the book, and that the book was written centuries later by someone using Daniel’s name; it is claimed that the amount of specific prophetic details could not have been known before they happened (these critics obviously do not believe at all in prophecy or that the Scriptures are the Word of God, who knows and oversees all things); the details about the future wars in the end-times — until the coming again of the Stone and Son of Man from Heaven to destroy forever the kingdoms of this world opposed to His — are definitely something that the devil wants to be ignored by even the elect.

v 14  The Man says that He has come to give Daniel understanding of what will happen to his people – the Jewish people – in the latter days, for the vision is for days to come.

Once again we have a clear word that the vision about Daniel’s people concerns some later time after Daniel, and we will learn that the complete message about the “great war” is to be full-filled at the time of the end.  What Daniel did already know was deeply worrying to him.

v 15  While the Man was speaking with Daniel, Daniel put his head down toward the ground, and could say nothing.

v 16-17  Behold, one looking like a human being touched Daniel’s lips, and Daniel opened his mouth and began to speak to the one standing in front of him:  “My Lord, because of the vision my pains have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength.  For how can this servant of my Lord talk with You, my Lord?  As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me.”

Daniel was identifying deeply with his people in the future suffering that he was given to see. (9:26-278:23-267:23-2712:1)  I believe that we, too, should be distressed over what is yet to come, even while we have a blessed and living hope in the future salvation of Israel, and in the glory that is to come, both to the Lord Yeshua, and also to us whose trust and hope is in Him.  We can not really intercede if we do not identify with a very tender heart, like Daniel, with the overwhelming reality.  Jesus wept over His city Jerusalem for what He knew was coming to the city and to the people, because they would not come to Him for life and peace. (Lk 19:37-44)

v 18-19  Again the one looking like a man touched Daniel, and gave him strength.  The Man told Daniel not to be afraid, and again that he was greatly beloved.  “Peace to you, be strong; yes, be strong!”  Daniel was strengthened, and told his Lord to speak, because He gave him strength.

Daniel was now prepared in his spirit to hear what the Man came to tell him, even though it would be difficult to take in.  Daniel was a mature man of God.

v 20  The Man asked Daniel if he knew why He had come to him.  He would need to return soon to fight with the prince of Persia, and that when He would go, the prince of Yavan would come.

There is warfare in the heavenlies between angels loyal to YHVH and those who are not. (Rev 12:7-12)

v 21  Before the Man would go back to fight against the princes of Persia and of Yavan, He would tell Daniel what is written in the  Scripture of Truth.  He also tells Daniel that only Michael, the angel-prince of Israel, came to support Him against these foes.

As Michael, the archangel, volunteered to help his Lord, let us also be prepared to volunteer in the day of His power to stand for righteousness, for truth, for the name of the only true God and Savior – God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah. (Ps 110:3a)

11:1 The Man also told Daniel that in the first year of Darius the Mede (539 BC), He had stood to strengthen and protect him.

This Darius was the king who defeated the Babylonians the night that the Babylonian king Belshazzar was killed, and the writing was on the wall. This is the Darius who greatly respected Daniel, and was very happy and relieved when Daniel was protected from the lions by the God of Israel. (5:30-31) He declared to his whole kingdom that Daniel’s God is the living God, and is to be feared and respected. (6:19-28)

We are learning from the man Daniel, and from his book, that in order for us to be faithful in our own generation, we need to be people of prayer who know and believe what God says. He has given us His Word in the Bible. We see that most of Daniel speaks about what will take place in the end-times, in the times that we are living and entering into leading up to the glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ to judge the nations and to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Let us learn to believe the Word of God, and to pray according to it, so that we, like Daniel, will be faithful and true witnesses of our God and Savior, and can help others receive the gift of eternal life which we have freely received through faith in the name of Jesus/Yeshua for salvation.

This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, August 29, 2020, and reposted with permission.