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Sabbath School Lessons on Daniel
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 12: When Kings Go to War *
Introduction: Daniel is now an old man. In the series of dreams and
visions which have been a critical part of his life so far, God has
revealed to him the sweep of history on earth. The lesson for us is
that God controls kings, kingdoms and the future. This week Daniel
reveals another dimension to history - the conflict over the course
of history in the supernatural. Let's dive into our study which gives
us a rare glimpse into the cosmic conflict between good and evil!
- The Messenger
- Read Daniel 10:1. How does this revelation compare in time
to the other visions and dreams of Daniel? (This is the
latest we have studied. The third year of Cyrus, according
to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, is 536 B.C. Jewish
exiles had begun to return and rebuild the sanctuary.
Daniel, now an old man, appears to have retired from
public office. Compare Daniel 1:21.)
- Daniel 10:1 speaks of both a revelation and a vision.
Are these two the same? (Daniel seems to have first
received a "revelation" which he did not understand.
The later "vision" helped to give him understanding.)
- Read Daniel 10:2-3 & 12. Why is Daniel fasting? What is
going on? (We have this picture of a revelation about war
and the future. Daniel is upset by it. He fasts for three
weeks hoping to understand the revelation. A vision then
comes to him to help him understand the original
revelation. Notice, by comparing Daniel 1:12, that his
diet seems to have changed over the years. With age and
influence, he now has control over the way his food is
prepared so that he does not violate any of the Levitical
- Read Daniel 10:4-6. Who is this messenger?
- Read Revelation 1:13-16. If you were the police, and
you were taking a description from Daniel and John,
would you think they saw the same person?
- Compare the description of the messenger who
came to Daniel? (John's description of Jesus in
Revelation seems quite similar to Daniel's
description of his messenger. On the other hand,
Gabriel has been the prior messenger to Daniel.
Perhaps the identity of the messenger will
become clearer as we continue.)
- Read Daniel 10:7-9. What do you think terrorized Daniel's
companions? They did not see the messenger, why should
they be afraid? (Perhaps they saw the brilliance without
seeing the being.)
- In Daniel 10:12 the messenger says "Do not be afraid."
Why does the messenger appear as he does if he does
not want Daniel to be afraid?
- Read Daniel 10:10-11. What further clues do we find
about the identity of the messenger? (Gabriel would
be more likely to say "I was sent" then would Jesus.
Unless there are two heavenly beings here, this
suggests the messenger is (again) Gabriel.)
- What else is said to Daniel to comfort him?
(That he is highly esteemed.)
- What overall reaction is God seeking from Daniel? (God is
God and He does not want us to forget this. For that
reason, His messengers come in glory. However, at the same
time, He does not seek to terrorize those who are esteemed
- What do we learn about God's concern about our
understanding? (Daniel is a model for us in desperately
seeking to understand God's will. God shows that He
rewards a hunger for understanding. One of His priorities
is to help us understand His word.)
- Spiritual Warfare
- Read Daniel 10:12-13. What does this tell us about the
identity of the messenger? (The messenger can hardly be
Jesus. It boggles my mind that Jesus could be detained or
require the assistance of Michael. This settles the
identity of the messenger in my mind. It must be Gabriel.)
- Who is this "Prince of the Persian Kingdom?" (Read
John 12:28-32, John 14:30-31 and John 16:10-11. These
texts in John clearly point to Satan as the one
formerly known as the "Prince of this World." The
"Prince of Persia" may refer to Satan or one of his
top lieutenants. There can be little doubt that this
is a supernatural figure.)
- How long( Daniel 10:13)is Gabriel kept from his God-given mission to come to Daniel? (Threce weeks.)
- When I ask God for something and it does not happen
(or does not happen soon), I conclude one of two
things: my faith was faulty or God said "no." Can we
add another possible reason for why I might not get a
quick, favorable answer? (This text tells us that
God's messenger might have gotten into a tussle with
Satan or one of his henchmen - and the answer was
- What is your reaction to this possibility? (I do
not like to hear this. It makes the forces of
God seem less powerful if they can actually be
bogged down in battle with the forces of evil.)
- Let's skip down and read Daniel 10:20-21. To what battle
must Gabriel return? (He will return to his battle with
the Prince of Persia.)
- Who else is involved in that battle on the side of
the bad guys? (The Prince of Greece.)
- Who is the Prince of Greece? (The introduction
of another supernatural "prince" of evil causes
me to conclude that these are top lieutenants of
Satan and not Satan himself.)
- Is Satan organized? (The implication is that
Satan assigns a top lieutenant to be in charge
of the fight for the triumph of evil in each of
these world empires.)
- Read Revelation 12:7-9. Do you think this was a physical
- Are we a part of this battle? (Read Ephesians 6:10-12. We are a part of this supernatural battle.)
- Read Ephesians 6:13-17. Paul uses words that would be
appropriate for a physical battle with supernatural
forces. But, is this battle physical? (No. This is
- With Ephesians 6 in mind, go back and read Daniel 10:13
again. Is this a spiritual or a physical battle?
- Is the "Prince of Persia" the same as the "King of
Persia?" (No. The "prince" is an evil angel - one of
Satan's henchmen. The King, on the other hand, is
Cyrus - the King of Medo-Persia.)
- When we read that Michael is helping Gabriel with the
King of Persia, what do you think this means? How can
Cyrus "detain" (v.13) Gabriel?(This all makes sense
to me now. I was troubled by the idea that Satan has
such physical power that he could detain God's
messenger three weeks. That is not happening.
Instead, the logical conclusion is that there is a
giant spiritual battle going on over Cyrus. Because Cyrus has free choice, both Satan’s “prince” and God’s messenger, Gabriel, are hard at work to win over Cyrus. Gabriel is encouraging Cyrus to do the “right thing” (presumably
with regard to his authority over the work of God's
people to rebuild Jerusalem and the sanctuary). Satan
is not in God's league when it comes to physical
power. However, God is voluntarily "weakened" when it
comes to us because God gives us free choice.)
- Read Daniel 10:20-11:1. How do you understand this? (This
tells us that Gabriel and Michael have been locked in
spiritual combat with Satan's agents over the hearts and
minds of the leaders of Medo-Persia. Part of this overall
spiritual battle is to take out time to give Daniel
understanding about the future.)
- There is a current American television ad for an Internet
company which provides consumers with competing home loan
offers. The ad pictures an entire crowd of bankers who
are competing with each other to lend you money for your
home. Have you ever thought that God and His angels are
literally struggling against Satan and his angels for your
- If you could trade places with God, would you do the
same thing for humans? (If I gave up my son for
humans, part of me would have a "take it or leave it"
attitude because I would be insulted that anyone
would turn down an offer like that. Another part of
me would say "I've given up my son, I want to be sure
it was worth-while by saving as many as I can.")
- Have you given thought to how your actions and decisions
impact the supernatural war?
- We talk about helping people with their physical
needs, how are you helping others in this huge
- Is your influence helping God or Satan?
- Friend, there is a supernatural battle going on over your
soul and the souls of others. Will you join forces with
God, and engage in this supernatural battle for the
salvation of others?
- Next week: The Time of the End.
* Copr. 2004, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.