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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!

  1. The Messenger

    1. 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.)

      1. 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.)

    2. 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 dietary laws.)

    3. Read Daniel 10:4-6. Who is this messenger?

      1. 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?

        1. 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.)

    4. 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.)

      1. 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?

      2. 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.)

        1. What else is said to Daniel to comfort him? (That he is highly esteemed.)

    5. 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 by Him.)

    6. 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.)

  2. Spiritual Warfare

    1. 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.)

      1. 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.)

      2. How long( Daniel 10:13)is Gabriel kept from his God-given mission to come to Daniel? (Threce weeks.)

      3. 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 delayed.)

        1. 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.)

    2. 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.)

      1. Who else is involved in that battle on the side of the bad guys? (The Prince of Greece.)

        1. 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.)

        2. 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.)

    1. Read Revelation 12:7-9. Do you think this was a physical battle?

      1. Are we a part of this battle? (Read Ephesians 6:10-12. We are a part of this supernatural battle.)

    2. 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 spiritual warfare.)

    3. With Ephesians 6 in mind, go back and read Daniel 10:13 again. Is this a spiritual or a physical battle?

      1. 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.)

      2. 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.)

    4. 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.)

    5. 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 allegiance?

      1. 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.")

    6. Have you given thought to how your actions and decisions impact the supernatural war?

      1. We talk about helping people with their physical needs, how are you helping others in this huge spiritual battle?

        1. Is your influence helping God or Satan?

    7. 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?

  1. 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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