Friday, March 13, 2020

1888 Message Study : From Battle To Victory




Memory Text:  Daniel 10:19 And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.


I was watching a video of James Rafferty once, and he asked a question. "What chapter in Daniel is the one we never study?" I smiled, for I had asked that question in the past, with an additional twist. "What chapter in Daniel is the one we never study, and which contains the secret for victory in the Christian life?" The answer is, of course, Daniel 10, of course following on Daniel 9. The experience that Daniel had, near the end of His life, was important and necessary for him to, according to Daniel 12:13, "stand in thy lot at the end of the days." In Daniel 9, he humbled himself and corporately identified with the sins of his people. What occurs in Daniel 10 that is also absolutely critical? And how is it central to the fundamental meaning of the 1888 Message?

The great center of attraction, Jesus Christ, must not be left out of the third angel's message. By many who have been engaged in the work for this time, Christ has been secondary, and theories and arguments have had the first place. — Review and Herald, 3/20/1894; Selected Messages, Vol. 1, p. 383.

The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people …This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Savior, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety, it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. — Christ Our Righteousness, p. 24; Testimonies to Ministers, p. 91, 92

I have had the question asked, "What do you think of this light that these men are presenting?" Why, I have been presenting it to you for the last forty-five years—the matchless charms of Christ. This is what [I] have been trying to present before your minds. When Brother Waggoner brought out these ideas in Minneapolis, it was the first clear teaching on this subject from any human lips I had heard, excepting the conversations between myself and my husband. — A. V. Olson, Through Crisis to Victory, p. 48, quoted from Ms. 5, 1889.

Let us look at Daniel 10 and see this in the experience of the prophet.

Daniel, after receiving additional light from Gabriel, is seen fasting and praying. We have already seen Daniel as a man of intense prayer, but now we see him also mourning and fasting. What grave historical circumstances led Daniel not only to pray but also to mourn and fast?

Upon the occasion just described, the angel Gabriel imparted to Daniel all the instruction which he was then able to receive. A few years afterward, however, the prophet desired to learn more of subjects not yet fully explained, and again set himself to seek light and wisdom from God. "In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all. . ..

Daniel wanted more understanding of the vision of Daniel 11, which was given before this chapter, for we see in Daniel 12, the prophet did not even then understand everything. (Daniel 12:8-10). When the Book of Daniel ended, there were still things He did not understand, for it was "sealed" until the time of the end. 

There is a second reason why Daniel was agonizing in prayer. The events of Daniel 10 took place in 535 BC. Just one-year earlier Cyrus had given a decree authorizing the rebuilding of the temple and had even provided materials to carry forward the task. (Ezra 1:1-4) The first wave of Jews had enthusiastically returned to Jerusalem and quickly laid the foundations of the temple and the altar (Ezra 3:8-10). At first the Samaritans feigned to have great interest in the rebuilding of the temple and offered to help (Ezra 4:1-2). But when they were rebuffed by Zerubbabel (Ezra 4:3), the opposition began. The opposition eventually became so great that for a time the building of the temple was suspended. A letter was sent to Darius demanding to know who gave permission, and He searched the archives, and found the decree of Cyrus. Darius sent a letter renewing the decree of Cyrus. (Ezra 6:7-13). As a result of this confirmatory decree and due to the help of Zechariah and Haggai, the temple was finally finished in the year 515 B.C.

Daniel was praying and fasting for He was grieving over the opposition that the Jews in Jerusalem were experiencing. Daniel's prayer and fast takes place on the first month of the year, Nisan, that is, precisely during the time of Passover and of the unleavened bread. He did not let any "meat or wine" touch his lips for three weeks, which would have been expected in the ritual meals of Passover. Jews justify Daniel's decision to transgress the commandments of eating the lamb and the four cups of wine on the grounds that the interruption of the Temple's construction warranted such a fervent response. (Doukhan, Secrets of Daniel, p. 158.) 

Daniel receives his vision on "the four and twentieth day of the first month" immediately after the week of Passover concludes (from the night of the fourteenth to the twenty-first).  Critics use this verse to say Daniel does not really advocate a vegetarian diet, assuming that after the three weeks, he would again eat flesh and wine, but they are missing the point of the passage. He, as a vegetarian, based on Daniel 1, would still have normally partaken in the Passover ritual meal, but was normally a vegetarian, with the benefits mentally and spiritually seen in various chapters of Daniel. He was so intensely into his prayer and fasting for his people that he did not observe Passover. There were times when Jesus prayed all night, even though we have laws regarding our need for physical rest. Daniel was willing to sacrifice himself for others. 

Fast on Passover Esther 4:16. Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.

Esther called for a three-day fast before she went to see the king. The three days lasted until the first day of Passover—so they fasted that year instead of eating the Passover festive meal.

Daniel then receives a glorious vision. Daniel 10: 5 "Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz. His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude"

In these verses, we see a magnificent vision of Christ. The description is virtually identical with that of the glorified Christ in Revelation 1:13-16. This seems to indicate that Daniel did not see Jesus as He was garbed at that very moment, but rather as He would be garbed upon His inauguration as High Priest after His ascension. 

The others fled and Daniel was left alone, and even heard Christ speak to him. The result -

Daniel 10:8 "Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength."

Daniel, the man described, in chapter 6, as having no error or fault in him, (meaning in his work as a leader in the Babylonian empire), is humbled by the vision He saw. We have seen this theme elsewhere in Scripture. Saul was humbled by the vision of Christ He saw. Isaiah, in Isaiah 6, realizes that he is a "man of unclean lips" when He sees the "glory" of God. Moses was humbled at the glory of the burning bush. Later, Moses prayed to God to show him His "glory." In Exodus 34:6, God shows him His character. 

"And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth."

We are told in II Corinthians 3:18 "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

This principle, "By beholding, we become changed" will be actualized in the final generation, as seen in Revelation 18:1, where we see that the whole earth will be "lit with His glory." The 144,000 are described in Revelation 14:4-5. "These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. Revelation 14:5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

We have much inspired counsel in the absolute importance and necessity, and certainty as we respond to God's love, to behold the "matchless charms of Jesus Christ." 

"...Christ is our example. By beholding Him we are to be changed into His image, from glory to glory, from character to character. This is our work. God help us rightly represent the Savior to the world." –1SM 172 (RH Aug. 13, 1901).

"By beholding we are to become changed; and as we meditate upon the perfections of the divine Model, we shall desire to become wholly transformed, and renewed in the image of His purity. It is by faith in the Son of God that transformation takes place in the character, and the child of wrath becomes the child of God..." –1SM 335-338 (ST December 26, 1892).

"Satan is determined that men shall not see the love of God, which led Him to give His only-begotten Son to save the lost race; for it is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance. By presenting Jesus as the representative of the Father, we shall be able to dispel the shadow that Satan has cast upon our pathway, in order that we shall not see the mercy and love of God's inexpressible love as manifested in Jesus Christ...

"...Christ is our example. By beholding Him we are to be changed into His image, from glory to glory, from character to character. This is our work. God help us rightly represent the Savior to the world." –1SM 172 (RH Aug. 13, 1901).

"A legal religion has been thought quite the correct religion for this time. But it is a mistake. The rebuke of Christ to the Pharisees is applicable to those who have lost from the heart their first love. A cold, legal religion can never lead souls to Christ; for it is a loveless, Christ less religion.... 'This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent' (John 17:3). By beholding Christ, you will become changed, until you will hate your former pride, your former vanity and self-esteem, your self-righteousness and unbelief. You will cast these sins aside as a worthless burden, and walk humbly, meekly, trustfully, before God. You will practice love, patience, gentleness, goodness, mercy, and every grace that dwells in the child of God, and will at last find a place among the sanctified and holy." – 1SM 388 (RH Mar. 20, 1894).

"As we associate together, we may be a blessing to one another. If we are Christ's, our sweetest thoughts will be of Him. We shall love to talk of Him; and as we speak to one another of His love, our hearts will be softened by divine influences. Beholding the beauty of His character, we shall be 'changed into" the same image from glory to glory.' 2 Corinthians 3: 18." –DA 83 (1898).

"It is a law both of the intellectual and the spiritual nature that by beholding we become changed. The mind gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is allowed to dwell. It becomes assimilated to that which it is accustomed to love and reverence." – GC 555 (1888).

"It is a law of the human mind that by beholding we become changed. Man will rise no higher than his conceptions of truth, purity, and holiness. If the mind is never exalted above the level of humanity, if it is not uplifted by faith to contemplate infinite wisdom and love, the man will be constantly sinking lower and lower. The worshipers of false gods clothed their deities with human attributes and passions, and thus their standard of character was degraded to the likeness of sinful humanity. They were defiled in consequence." – PP 91 (1890).

"It is growth in knowledge of the character of Christ that sanctifies the soul. To discern and appreciate the wonderful work of the atonement, transforms him who contemplates the plan of salvation. By beholding Christ, he becomes changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord. The beholding of Jesus becomes an ennobling, refining process to the actual Christian. He sees the Pattern, and grows into its likeness, and then how easily are dissensions, emulations, and strife adjusted. The perfection of Christ's character is the Christian's inspiration. When we see Him as He is, desire awakes to be like Him, and this elevates the whole man; for 'every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.'" –RH August 26, 1890.

Beholding Christ means studying His life as given in His Word. We are to dig for truth as for hidden treasure. We are to fix our eyes upon Christ. When we take Him as our personal Savior, this gives us boldness to approach the throne of grace. By beholding we become changed, morally assimilated to the One who is perfect in character. By receiving His imputed righteousness, through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we become like Him. The image of Christ is cherished, and it captivates the whole being (MS 148, 1897).  {6BC 1098.1} 

Striving to Become Christlike. --Beholding Christ for the purpose of becoming like Him, the seeker after truth sees the perfection of the principles of God's law, and he becomes dissatisfied with everything but perfection. Hiding his life in the life of Christ, he sees that the holiness of the divine law is revealed in the character of Christ, and more and more earnestly he strives to be like Him. A warfare may be expected at any time, for the tempter sees that he is losing one of his subjects. A battle must be fought with the attributes which Satan has been strengthening for his own use. The human agent sees what he has to contend with--a strange power opposed to the idea of attaining the perfection that Christ holds out. But with Christ there is saving power that will gain for him victory in the conflict. The Savior will strengthen and help him as he comes pleading for grace and efficiency (MS 89, 1903).  {6BC 1098.2} 

As one becomes acquainted with the history of the Redeemer, he discovers in himself serious defects; his unlikeness to Christ is so great that he sees the necessity for radical changes in his life. Still he studies with a desire to become like his great Exemplar. He catches the looks, the spirit, of his beloved Master. By beholding, by "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith," he becomes changed into the same image. {6BC 1098.6} 

It is not by looking away from Him that we imitate the life of Jesus, but by talking of Him, by dwelling upon His perfections, by seeking to refine the taste and elevate the character, by trying--through faith and love, and by earnest, persevering effort--to approach the perfect Pattern. By having a knowledge of Christ--His words, His habits, and His lessons of instruction--we borrow the virtues of the character we have so closely studied, and become imbued with the spirit we have so much admired. Jesus becomes to us "the chiefest among ten thousand," the One "altogether lovely" (RH March 15, 1887).  {6BC 1098.7} 

Daniel 10:8, Daniel's "comeliness was turned into corruption." He had beheld the glory of God, and it humbled him, and enabled him to "stand in his lot" at the end of days. We all need to see the glory of God, in order to rightly appreciate His holiness, the horror of sin, and of our need to truly repent from Laodicea, or self-righteousness. We need to understand the danger of Laodicea, a state described as "naked." If someone is spiritually naked, or without the "robe of Christ's righteousness", then he is not converted. Satan takes control of every mind that is not decidedly under the control of the Spirit of God. -- Lt 57, 1895 (TM 79)

The perils of the last days are upon us. Satan takes the control of every mind that is not decidedly under the control of the Spirit of God. Some have been cultivating hatred against the men whom God has commissioned to bear a special message to the world. They began this satanic work at Minneapolis. Afterward, when they saw and felt the demonstration of the Holy Spirit testifying that the message was of God, they hated it the more, because it was a testimony against them. They would not humble their hearts to repent, to give God the glory, and vindicate the right. They went on in their own spirit, filled with envy, jealousy, and evil surmisings, as did the Jews. They opened their hearts to the enemy of God and man. Yet these men have been holding positions of trust, and have been molding the work after their own similitude, as far as they possibly could. . .. {TM 79.3}

The warning of the message to Laodicea is more severe than we have grasped. It is not simply urging us to be "more on fire." It is a warning that the vast majority of the Christian world in the last generation is not truly converted, and thus being influenced by Satan. Thus, we read in Revelation 13:3 that "the whole world wonders after the beast." The converts are not renewed in heart or changed in character. They do not renounce their pride and love of the world. They are no more willing to deny self, to take up the cross, and follow the meek and lowly Jesus, than before their conversion. In a genuine revival, when the Spirit of God convicts the conscience, the earnest, anxious inquiry will be heard, "What must I do to be saved?" And this not merely for a day. With every truly converted soul the relation to God and to eternal things will be the great topic of life. But where, in the popular churches of today, is the deep conviction of sin? where is the spirit of consecration to God? The spirit that controls the world rules in the church. Religion has become the sport of infidels and skeptics because so many who bear its name are ignorant of its principles. The power of godliness has well-nigh departed from the churches. Heart union with Christ is a rare thing now. The majority of church-members know no tie but that which joins them to an organized body of professed Christians. Love of pleasure and thirst for excitement are everywhere prevalent. Picnics, church theatricals, church fairs, fine houses, personal display, have banished thoughts of God. Lands and goods and worldly occupations engross the mind, and things of eternal interest receive hardly a passing notice. {4SP 294.2}

There is a great deal said about religion, and many claim to possess religion. But true religion is very rare. There are many external forms, but in many cases, these only serve as a cloak to cover up the most soul-destroying selfishness. {10MR 54.2} 

Gabriel comes to Daniel as he humbled himself and sought for more understanding. Gabriel reveals a truth we need to understand. The opposition to the Gospel occurs even in the experience of God's angels, not merely, for example, with human beings on earth, such as in Jerusalem. Here we discern how human events in the visible earthly realm were being influenced by powers in the invisible cosmic realm. The battle became so intense that it was finally necessary for "Michael" to come to Gabriel's aid.

We read again in Daniel: [Daniel 10:12, 13 quoted].  {11MR 99.1} 

By this we see that heavenly agencies have to contend with hindrances before the purpose of God is fulfilled in its time. The king of Persia was controlled by the highest of all evil angels. He refused, as did Pharaoh, to obey the word of the Lord. Gabriel declared, He withstood me twenty-one days by his representations against the Jews. But Michael came to his help, and then he remained with the kings of Persia, holding the powers in check, giving right counsel against evil counsel. {11MR 99.2} 

Good and evil angels are taking a part in the planning of God in His earthly kingdom. It is God's purpose to carry forward His work in correct lines, in ways that will advance His glory. But Satan is ever trying to counterwork God's purpose. Only by humbling themselves before God can God's servants advance His work. Never are they to depend on their own efforts or on outward display for success. {11MR 99.3} 

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Several questions emerge as we read this verse. Who is the prince of the kingdom of Persia? Who is Michael? And what are these powers fighting about? We must first of all recognize that the prince of the kingdom of Persia is not the same as the king of Persia. There are 420 uses of the word 'prince' in the Old Testament and not once is the word used to denote a king. In actual fact, the word is most frequently used to describe military commanders. Daniel 10:13 makes it abundantly clear that Gabriel and Michael were working on two fronts. First, they were contending with the prince of the kingdom of Persia and secondly, they were working with the kings of Persia. Thus, there is a clear-cut distinction between the prince of Persia and the kings of Persia. Who is this prince of the kingdom of Persia? And who is Michael who stands watch over Daniel's people? 

Before we can answer these questions, it is imperative to realize that in ancient cultures it was believed that every kingdom had its own particular 'guardian angel' which looked out for the interests and welfare of the nation. That being the case, the prince of the kingdom of Persia would be Persia's guardian angel and Michael would be Israel's guardian angel. Let's begin by checking Michael's ID. 

Michael is a fascinating personage. In Scripture the name appears five times, always in apocalyptic passages where Michael is in conflict with Satan. Michael's very name is a challenge to Satan. It means, 'Who is like God?' In Revelation 12:7-9 it is Michael who casts Satan out of heaven. It is of more than passing interest that at the beginning of the great controversy, Michael is spoken of as having his angels and Satan is spoken of as having his. At the conclusion of the great controversy, Jesus will come with his holy angels (Matthew 24:31) and Satan and his angels will be cast in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41).   

In Jude 9 Michael contends with Satan for the body of Moses. There can be no doubt that Michael had come on this occasion to resurrect Moses from the dead (see Deuteronomy 34:56; Matthew 17:3). In other words, Michael is the angel of the resurrection. Is it a coincidence that when Jesus comes to resurrect the dead at His second coming, he will 'descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God?' (I Thessalonians 4:16; see also John 5:26-29 where we are told that the voice of Jesus will resurrect the dead). 

The book of Daniel makes three references to Michael. Two of them are found in the chapter we are presently studying (verses 13, 21) and the other one is in Daniel 12:1. This last verse is of particular importance for two reasons. First, Michael is spoken of as the great prince who stands watch over Israel. That is to say, Michael is Israel's guardian angel. Second, Michael is the deliverer of Israel and the one who resurrects those who sleep in the dust of the earth. 

Michael must also be identified with the enigmatic personage who in the Old Testament is called the 'Angel of the Lord'. Though the scope of our present study will not allow us to examine every reference to the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, it is imperative that we take a look at a few key passages.

The first passage we must take a look at is Zechariah 3:1-5. This passage leaves no doubt that the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament is the same person as Michael. In this passage the Angel of the Lord is in conflict with Satan and the issue of the conflict is Israel (verse 2). Of particular significance are the words: 'The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan' (verse 2) These are the very words which Michael uttered to Satan when He came to resurrect Moses (Jude 9). Thus, a comparison of Zechariah 3:1-5 and Jude 9 reveals, without any shadow of doubt, that the Angel of the Lord is Michael.   

In Genesis 32:11, 24, 26, 30 we find Jacob praying for God to deliver him from the wrath of his brother, Esau. This time of anguish is known in other places of Scripture as the 'time of Jacob's trouble.' In fact, Genesis 32 is in the background of the time of trouble spoken of in Daniel 12:1. As Jacob was praying, the Angel of the Lord (see Hosea 12:3-5) laid hold of him and they began to struggle. The result of the story is well known. Not only did the Angel deliver Jacob from the wrath of his brother but he also blessed him and gave him a new name. At the conclusion of this episode, Jacob called the place Peniel—for I have seen God face to face, and my life has been preserved' (this word is frequently translated 'delivered' in the Old Testament). Can anyone doubt that the Angel of the Lord in this story is God? 

In Exodus 14:19-20 we are told that the Angel of God led Israel in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night to protect them from their enemies. Significantly, this Angel is identified as God in verse 24. 

The episode of the burning bush is well known. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses and announced that he was going to deliver Israel (Exodus 3:8) from their bondage to the Egyptians. One cannot help but remember that Michael is spoken of as the end-time deliverer of Israel in Daniel 12:1. A close inspection of Exodus 3:2-14 reveals that this Angel is also God (see John 8:58-59).  

In Joshua 5:13-15 (Amplified Bible) this same Angel is identified as the Prince of the host. As we saw in our study of Daniel 8, the name, 'Prince of the host' is found in only one other place in Scripture, Daniel 8:11 where Jesus is called 'the Prince of the host.' In fact, as we have seen before, Jesus is referred to in Daniel as 'the Prince of the host,' 'the Prince of princes,' the 'Prince of the covenant,' and 'the great Prince.'  

There can be no doubt, then, that Michael is Israel's Guardian Angel. He is Israel's protector and deliverer from the power of Satan. He is God! Michael is none other than Jesus Christ!! What an appropriate name for one who is in contention with Lucifer who declared 'I will be like the Most High.' (Isaiah 14:14) In response to Lucifer's aspirations Jesus' name throws out the challenge: 'Who is Like God'? 

We are now ready to identify the prince of the kingdom of Persia. This identification is really a no brainer. If Michael the Prince is Christ, then the prince of the kingdom of Persia must be Satan. Jesus called Satan the 'prince of the world' on at least three occasions. (John 14:30; 12:30-33; 16:11).

The prince of the kingdom of Persia (Satan) was working to influence the minds of the kings of Persia so that they would halt the work of rebuilding the temple. At the same time, Gabriel was doing his utmost to influence the minds of the kings of Persia so that they would authorize the continuation of the work.  

For three weeks, while Daniel was mourning and praying, Gabriel struggled with the prince of Persia and with the minds of the kings of Persia. And at the very end of this period, Michael Himself came to aid Gabriel in his struggle. There is no doubt that these 21 days should be understood as literal days. However, it is tempting to understand them in a broader sense as well by applying the year/day principle. Cyrus gave his decree to rebuild the temple in the year 536 B.C. and the temple was finally finished in the year 515 B. C., exactly 21 years after the decree was given! During this whole period Gabriel was struggling with Satan and with the kings of Persia (notice the plural in Daniel 10:13). The book of Ezra itself explains that the work of rebuilding went on according to schedule because 'the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they [the Samaritans] could not cause them to cease. . ..' (Ezra 5:5) 

In short, it is as if Gabriel were telling Daniel: 'I know you have been mourning, fasting and praying for three full weeks because you wanted a clearer understanding of the end-time elements of the vision of Daniel 8. The very moment you started to pray, I had every intention of coming immediately to answer your plea as I had done the previous time you prayed (Daniel 9:20-23) but this time I was delayed. You see, I was involved in this conflict with the prince of the kingdom of Persia. He was influencing the minds of the Persian kings so that they would halt the rebuilding of the temple. But at the end of the 21 days, Michael came to help me and we prevailed. The opposition you have seen by the Samaritans is really the visible manifestation of this invisible conflict. But now I have finally been able to break away and help you understand 'what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.' (Daniel 10:14)." Don't miss the significance of the word yet. This word seems to imply that the vision (chazon) had already been partially explained in Daniel 9 (the 70 weeks) but that there were yet many days in the vision which had not yet been explained. 

The perspective presented above is corroborated by the Spirit of Prophecy: 

"Untiring in their opposition, 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 of 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 [Daniel 10:13 is quoted]. 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 years." Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, pp. 571-572 

"The king of Persia was controlled by the highest of all evil angels. He refused, as did Pharaoh, to obey the word of the Lord. Gabriel declared, He withstood me twenty-one days by his representations against the Jews. But Michael came to his help, and then he remained with the kings of Persia, holding the powers in check, giving right counsel against evil counsel." Ellen G. White, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, volume 4, p. 1173 

In response to Gabriel's words, Daniel now bows to the ground and is left speechless. The vision (mareh) fills him with sorrow and his physical strength is gone. Furthermore, he is left breathless. Gabriel remedies the situation by giving back Daniel's speech and by strengthening him.

Before further explaining the vision to Daniel in chapter 11, Gabriel informed the prophet that the battle with Satan was not over:

'. . . now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince." 

What Gabriel is telling Daniel is this: 'I must now return to continue my struggle with the prince of Persia (Satan). There is still work to do. I must still make sure that the decree of Artaxerxes is given on schedule to mark the beginning of the 70 weeks and the 2300 days. And when the kingdom of Persia has fallen, I must continue to do battle with the prince of Grecia (Satan in control of the Greek kingdom). But before I continue this battle, I will take the time to show you the events which will transpire from this point on. These events have already been written in the scripture of truth, that is, in God's calendar; therefore, their fulfillment is absolutely certain.'

Let us keep our eyes, our faith, our hope on Jesus. The outcome of the Battle is sure. I once asked Merwyn Maxwell, Seminary Professor, what he felt was the essence of the books of Daniel and Revelation. He smiled and simply said, "God wins."    God bless you all.

~Pastor Tom Cusack