Today’s Scripture Focus: Daniel 10:4-14
Chapters 10-12 of Daniel form a single vision—Daniel’s fourth and final one. This vision is of a final great conflict. Prior to this vision, Daniel had been reading the words of Jeremiah, who had witnessed the final days of Jerusalem before its destruction. Jeremiah wrote that Israel’s punishment would last 70 years. Daniel, now in his 80s and realizing the 70 years was almost up, began to cry out to God to remember this promise and have mercy on God’s people. The angel Gabriel comes to Daniel and lets him know his prayers have been heard, but many events are yet to come over a period of 70 “weeks”.
Immediately after this encounter, the first party of Jewish exiles returned to Jerusalem. However, they faced severe opposition to the point of ceasing the work of rebuilding the city. In order to identify with his brothers and sisters in the homeland, Daniel entered a period of mourning. For three weeks he prayed, abstained from choice food and wine, and neglected a skin care regimen that made life more comfortable in the desert. During this disappointing time, Daniel received this final vision of great conflict. Today’s scripture focus details the spiritual conflict that took place in the heavenly realms, foreshadowing the earthly conflict to come.
While Daniel is praying by the river side, a Heavenly Messenger appears. The scripture does not identify who this being is. It is probably not Gabriel, as Daniel had previously interacted with this angel, and this Messenger caused Daniel to lose control of his physical body and fall to the ground. Some have speculated this was a theophany—an appearance of God or the Son of God. However, this explanation is also troubling as the Messenger mentions needing the help of the angel Michael. God doesn’t need help! This being, then, is most likely one of the highest order of heavenly creatures, who ministered at the throne of God.
God had heard Daniel’s prayer the very first day he prayed, and had sent an answer. However, the Messenger had been detained by conflict with “the Prince of Persia”, a demon with jurisdiction over this territory. The conflict was apparently so intense that the Messenger called for another angel, Michael, to sidetrack the prince so God’s message could be delivered to Daniel. Rather than get caught up in the identity and nature of the spiritual beings mentioned in this chapter, it is important to focus on what God wanted Daniel to know—there is a God in Heaven. This God was more powerful than any force—natural or spiritual—that comes against God’s people.
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
Today’s scripture focus deals with evil forces opposing the message of God. How does evil interfere with God’s message today, and what can Christians learn from how Daniel responded to spiritual conflict?
Is there anything in today’s scripture that especially speaks to you?
What questions would you like to ask about today’s scripture?