Chapter ten is the setting for the final and fourth great prophetic vision found in the book of Daniel. In this chapter, we are impressed with the great controversy between Christ and Satan, between good and evil, and between truth and error. We will find the evil agencies of Satan endeavoring to frustrate the plans to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. It has always been Satan’s aim to keep men from understanding the plan of salvation. But in the end, God triumphs and Satan and all his agencies are destroyed.
Verse 1: King Cyrus
“In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia [around 536/535 BC]a thing [the fourth great prophetic vision] was revealed unto Daniel [at age 88], whose name was called Belteshazzar [in the Babylonian language]; and the thing [the fourth great prophetic outline, found in Daniel chapters 11 and 12] was true [it will all come to pass], but the time appointed was long [for it will cover a period of time spanning from the Medo-Persian Empire in 539 BC until the very Second Coming of Christ]: and he [Daniel] understood the thing [the fourth great prophetic outline], and had understanding of the vision.”
It is important to note that in verse 1, Cyrus is referred to as the “king of Persia.” He is not the “prince of Persia” found in verse 13. More on this later.
Cyrus is the king of the world’s superpower, the Persia empire. As we will see, the forces of evil are trying to influence him to renege on his support of the Jewish people to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple.
This fourth prophetic outline is called “the thing.” It is not called a dream or a vision. It is “the thing.” It is a further explanation of chapters eight and nine, which focused on Christ’s work as both Lamb and High Priest. These prophecies also unmasked the false system, namely, the Church of Rome.
“The time appointed is long.” This fourth prophetic outline will show that the conflict between good and evil has been long. Just long enough to unmask the workings of Satan. The principles of his rebellion against God and His government must be unmasked for all to see, so that sin would never rise a second time.
Verses 2–3: Daniel’s Sadness
Cyrus had made a decree in 537 BC, that enabled the Jewish people to begin the long process of returning to Jerusalem and rebuilding the Temple. See Ezra 1:1–4. But as this time, the Samaritans exercised fierce opposition against the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple. This is likely, the source of Daniel’s sadness.
Certainly, the devil was against Cyrus’ support of the Jews and was trying to persuade him to withdraw that support. It has always been the devil’s aim to frustrate the gospel. If he could prevent the Jews from rebuilding the temple and reestablishing its services, then he could more easily misrepresent the plan God has in saving man. Therefore, Daniel sought the blessing of God for His people through fasting and prayer for three weeks.
Verses 4–6: Heavenly Visitor
“The four and twentieth day of the first month,” would put us at the time of Passover, according to the Jewish calendar. Here we find, Daniel fasting and praying during the Passover season in response to the great trial facing the Jewish people.
Then Daniel sees a heavenly visitor. Who might this be? It is the Son of God, who has pledged Himself to be the Passover Lamb. The description of Jesus in this passage is similar to the one given in Revelation 1:13-17.
In this description, Jesus is described as “a certain man,” meaning “one man.” As we know, there is only One who could have paid the price for the sins of the human race. Angels could not have paid the price for man’s redemption. Our sins are against God and His law. The price of our redemption was the life of the Lawgiver and our Creator, Jesus Christ.
Verses 7–13: Daniel’s Vision
Daniel alone saw the vision of Jesus, yet those around him were affected by Christ’s presence. Daniel himself lost his strength and fell into a deep sleep. Gabriel touched him and Daniel awoke.
For the second time, Gabriel reassured Daniel that he was greatly beloved of God and of all the heavenly hosts. He comforted Daniel with the words, “Fear not,” verse 12. Daniel’s prayer had been heard, and heavenly agencies were already at work in battling the forces of evil. There was no need to worry, for God was in control.
But a battle, nonetheless, was taking place. “The prince of the kingdom of Persia” was at work.
The Hebrew word for “prince” is sar. This word is never used in reference to a human king. It may refer to a chief servant or commander of the king, but not to the king himself. Therefore, the “prince of the kingdom of Persia” is not in reference to Cyrus, who is called the “king” in verse 1.
The word is often used in the book of Daniel in reference to supernatural beings. See Daniel 8:11, 25; 10:13, 21; 12:1. Therefore, we could conclude that the “prince of the kingdom of Persia,” was nothing less than an evil angel assigned to the Persian kingdom, or perhaps, even assigned to influence the king of Persia throughout his life.
This gives us some insight to the workings of Satan. Satan’s rebellious organization is bent on influences leaders all around the world. Second, they are assigned to tempt men where they are weak and susceptible. Third, these evil angels are specialists. Some are assigned to tempt men with evil thoughts, immoral acts, and even poor decision-making.
Commenting on this time in history, Ellen G. White wrote, “Untiring in their oppositions, the Samaritans ‘weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius.’ Ezra 4:4, 5. By false reports they aroused suspicion in minds easily led to suspect. But for many years the powers of evil were held in check, and the people in Judea had liberty to continue their work.
“While Satan was striving to influence the highest powers in the kingdom of Medo-Persia to show disfavor to God’s people, angels worked in behalf of the exiles. The controversy was one in which all heaven was interested. Through the prophet Daniel we are given a glimpse of this mighty struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. For three weeks Gabriel wrestled with the powers of darkness, seeking to counteract the influences at work on the mind of Cyrus; and before the contest closed, Christ Himself came to Gabriel’s aid. ‘The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days,’ Gabriel declares; ‘but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.’ Daniel 10:13. All that heaven could do in behalf of the people of God was done. The victory was finally gained; the forces of the enemy were held in check all the days of Cyrus, and all the days of his son Cambyses, who reigned about seven and a half year.” Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, pages 571, 572.
Why did God allow such a struggle? If Michael could come in and defeat Satan, why must men and angels struggle against the forces of evil? First, Satan must be unmasked. In this situation, it was evident that Satan was working against the plan of salvation in his attempt to prevent the rebuilding of the sanctuary. It became evident that Satan influences others to work against the people of God.
On the other hand, God also gives men and women the opportunity to exercise their power of choice. By choosing the right, they are stronger against the wiles of the devil. In choosing the right, the character of man is being fitted for God’s heavenly kingdom.
We might now ask, “What is history?” With this behind the scenes warfare, we might now say, “History is simple an accumulation of decisions that men have made while they were being influenced by both good and evil forces.” In the judgment, it will become evident, which forces men allowed themselves to be most influenced.
Who is Michael? Michael is none other than Jesus Christ, who Jude identifies as the archangel. See Jude 9. Archangel, when referring to Christ, means the Leader and General of the angels. Christ Himself is not an angel, but He created all of them, and is, therefore, their General. See Colossians 1:15–18.
It is the “voice of the archangel” that raises the dead at the second coming of Christ. And whose voice raises the dead? It is the voice of Jesus. Jesus said, “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that in the grave shall hear his voice [the voice of the Son of man], and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” John 5:28, 29
Michael means who is like unto God? Of course, it is Jesus who has shown us the Father, and has set before the human race the true character of His Father. And here, we find Michael, or Jesus Christ, engaged directly against the forces of evil.
In the end, Michael will destroy all the forces of evil at His Second Coming. See Daniel 12:1– 2.
Verse 14: Understanding Promised
Gabriel comes to Daniel again to give him prophetic understanding. The forthcoming prophecy does explain in detail major events in the latter days, while the entire vision [the chazon] covers a period of over 2500 years.
Without a doubt, the people of God will face must opposition. According to Revelation chapter thirteen, God’s people must face and overcome the “worship of the beast,” “the worship of the image of the beast,” and the “mark of the beast.” They will be faced with laws that will prevent them from buying and selling. Eventually they will face a death decree. These are things that Daniel and his trusted friends face while living in Babylon. But as God delivered them, He will also intervene for us.
Verses 15–17: Daniel Loses Strength
“And when he [Gabriel] had spoken these words unto me, I set my face toward the ground [for I desired to again pray for my people], and I became dumb [speechless]. 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 [the mareh] my sorrows are turned upon me [for I see the trials that await God’s people throughout the centuries], and I have retained no strength. 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.”
This behind the scenes struggle between good and evil forces, no doubt, reminded Daniel of the vision [the mareh] of the Papal apostasy that would magnify himself as the mediator between God and man. How tragic that men try to act the part of God, and persecute all who refuse to acknowledge their arbitrary power.
Verses 18–19: Daniel Strengthened
Gabriel touches Daniel again and strengthens him. He repeats, “Fear not,” and adds a third time that Daniel is loved of God. This admonition was not simply because he was a helpless human being in need of divine intervention, but because heaven really loved Daniel.
The Bible tells us that God’s thoughts towards us are as the sand of the sea, saying, “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God, how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” Psalm 137:17, 18
Verse 20: Prince of Persia and Prince of Grecia
Gabriel and heavenly forces would continue in their struggle with the forces of evil for the spiritual welfare of the king of Persia and the people of God. When, of course, the kings of Persia let go of their hold on divine guidance and seek the dark side, then their empire would come to an end and be replaced by the kingdom of Greece.
Verse 21: Michael, Your Prince
In closing, Gabriel says “and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.” Indeed, there is none like Jesus.
It is clear, that Gabriel is deeply interested in the salvation of man. He is engaged against the forces of evil on our behalf. And there is none like Jesus, who shares in the salvation of man. In fact, who loves the human race more than Jesus? He has done more for us than we could ever fully comprehend. The love of God for a rebellious world, will be our study for eternity.
How could the angels love a sinner like me? How could Jesus love me even more than they do?
We would do well to remind ourselves every day that there is none like Jesus who is interested in the salvation of man. The angels also, every one of them, are actively engaged in this conflict between good and evil. They bring so many blessings from the throne of God. They are ambassadors of God’s heavenly kingdom to bring light and love to our little world. How about us? Do we care about our own salvation as much as they care about us? Do we care for our loved ones as much as they do? Are you willing to engage in this battle between good and evil? Are you willing to be mightily influenced by the good angels? Are we now ready for this last and fourth great prophetic outline?