From Battle to Victory

Chapters 10–12 of Daniel form one literary unit in the book of Daniel. Daniel 10 is an introduction to the vision (Chaps 10–12), which was given two years after the Jews had returned to Palestine. The vision is divided into three sections: the prologue (Dan 10); the vision proper (Dan 11:2–12:4); and the conclusion (Dan 12:5–13)—this last section functions not only as of the conclusion to Chapters 10–12 but to the whole book of Daniel.

When Cyrus permitted the Jewish people to return to their country, Judea, there were about 50, 000 people who heeded the call and returned. Those who were under the age of 47 had been born in Babylon, and those over 55 would have been able to remember the glorious times of Jerusalem. Among those who returned were the poor who had nothing to lose, and those who had title to a property. There were also Zionists who returned out of religious zeal, and a few of the clergy.

Those who returned faced political disappointments, hardships, and spiritual decline; deprivation and insecurity were some of the challenges they faced. A succession of poor harvests and partial crop failures made things even more challenging (cf. Haggai 1:9–11; 2:15–17). Within the first twenty years of their return, they experienced very little progress. The country seemed not able to regain its spiritual and political independence.

However, God had not deserted His people. This evidence was shown to Daniel, and his prophecy was recorded in the last section of the book (Chaps 10–12). This prophecy focused on encouraging the people of God and strengthening the faith of those who were diligent seekers of His truth.

Notice John Calvin’s introduction to these chapters:

The tenth chapter now follows, which Daniel introduces as a preface to the eleventh and twelfth. He relates the manner in which he was affected when the last vision was presented to him. This he briefly explains as referring to events about to occur until the advent of Christ; and then he extends it to the final day of the resurrection. God had previously predicted to his prophet the future condition of the Church from its return from Babylon to the advent of Christ, but in the eleventh chapter be more distinctly and clearly points with the finger to every event, as we shall perceive in proceeding with our comments. In this chapter, Daniel assures us that the prophecies, which he is about to discuss are worthy of more than ordinary attention.[1]

The vision took place in the third year of Cyrus (536/535 BC). The Jewish people who were willing to leave Babylon were already in Jerusalem. The altar of burnt offerings had been rebuilt (Ezra 3:1, 2), and the foundation stone of the new temple had been laid (Ezra 3:8–13). Daniel, who was an older man at that time (in his nineties), was not physically in Jerusalem, but his heart was with his people.

The vision is a follow-up to what has been shown in previous visions, only this time with greater details. It must have been an impressive sight for Daniel to see the vision; Daniel desired to understand it. Daniel committed himself for three full weeks of prayer and fasting. The Bible says: “At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. (Dan 10:2–3).

Daniel mourned for three full weeks. His cause of mourning is not told but could be due to the opposition the Jewish people faced from the Samaritans (Ezra 4:15). The Samaritans sent reports to the court of Persia so that the rebuilding of the temple could be stopped. Daniel 10:12–13 suggests that the angel was “struggling to influence” Cyrus, which “indicates that a vital decision of the king was at stake.”[2]

Daniel 10:3–4 is referred to as one of the Daniel fasts: the first fast is about ten days (Dan 1:12), and the second fast is about twenty-one days (Dan 10:2–3); thus, Daniel’s fasting is usually ten or twenty-one days. Biblical records usually require only three days for the act of repentance (Exod 19:10–15; Esther 4:16). Daniel multiplies his prayer time by seven—adding up to twenty-one days (3x7=21). In Hebrew, such a prayer is called bein hametzarim, that literally means: “Between the borders,” “Between the strait,” or “in distress,” which was a traditional Jewish mourning period, between the Seventeenth of Tammuz and Ninth Av, that takes place in the midsummer of each year (July–August), “Between the Fences.”[3] This prayer title is taken from a verse in the book of Lamentations 1:3. Jeremiah says: “Under affliction and hard servitude; She dwells among the nations, She finds no rest; All her persecutors overtake her in dire straits [bein hametzarim]” (Lam 1:3). The concept of a border or restrictions relates to the additional mourning period that is traditionally taken on during this period. The three weeks of mourning culminating with the destruction of the city and the Temple on Tisha B’Av.

Daniel’s prayer and fast took place in the month of Nisan (March/April), which is during the time of the Passover and the unleavened bread. Daniel wanted to convey to the reader that his food was of the simplest kind. His fast can be categorized as complete abstinence from meat products, animal flesh food, sugar, sweets, dairy products, and eggs—a vegan or plant-based diet. Daniel’s fast excludes all leavening products, including yeast. His food was comprised of natural products.[4] Daniel’s fast is based on Jewish fasting principles and is represented in the experience of the prophet (Dan 1:12; 10:3). The foods that should be taken during this time are vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, seeds, legumes, and herbs. Water is the only beverage allowed.

After Daniel prays and fasts, he sees a certain man in verse five, which resembles that given in Joshua 5:13. Both Daniel and Joshua introduce their visions with the same words: “I looked up and there before me was a man” (Dan 10:5; cf. Josh 5:13). Like that of Daniel’s vision, Joshua’s vision took place after the Passover celebration (Josh 5:10–12) as Joshua and his people prepared to enter Canaan. The Hebrew word, sar, translated as “commander” in Joshua is the same as translated as “prince” in Daniel (Josh 5:13–14 [the Heb. sar hatsava, “the commander of the army”]; Dan 10:21). Sar refers to the high priest in Chapter 8 (Dan 8:11), and the fighting prince, Michael (Dan 10:13, 21). Therefore, the word sar echoes the account of Joshua and that of Daniel.

While in vision, there were four physical accompanying symptoms or phenomena that happened to Daniel. First, he saw the vision but those with him did not see it (Dan 10:7; cf. Acts 9:7; 22:9). Second, there was no strength in Daniel (Dan 10:8). Third, “there was no breath left in me,” said Daniel (Dan 10:17). Fourth, strength finally came to him (Dan 10:19).

The vision, beginning with verse 9, “switches from sight to sound”[5] as

Gabriel wrestled with the powers of darkness, seeking to counteract the influences at work on the mind of Cyrus. . . . All that heaven could do on behalf of the people of God was done. The victory was finally gained; the forces of enemy were held in check all days of Cyrus, and all the days of his son Cambyses.[6]

These verses (5–21) describe the conflict between good and evil contesting for the minds of the earth’s inhabitants. When individuals succumb to evil, they become agencies for Satan, but when resisted they constitute a powerful agency against the attacks of the devil.

At the climax of the vision, Daniel sees one of the chief princes, Michael, Hebrew Mika’el, meaning “who is like God.” Moreover, “no one is like God except the Son of God (John 10:30), who intercedes for His people (1 John 2:1, 2; Heb 7:25).”[7] Michael is a name used in the Bible only in apocalyptic passages and for one who is in direct conflict with Satan. As a name, Michael appears in the Bible only five times: three times in the Old Testament (Dan 10:13, 21; 12:1) and twice in the New Testament (Jude 9; Rev 12:7). All references to Michael belong to the apocalyptic genre in form, in character, and in content, that tells of the end of the world. The role of Michael consists of the tripartite paradigm in the eschatological patterns: crisis—present; judgment—imminent; and vindication—future.[8] In other words, Michael “is the hope for the vindication of salvation, the transcendence of death, that provides the believer with the strength to endure the present crisis.”[9] Therefore, Michael plays a triple pattern of mediation role in both the temporal and spatial spheres.

On the temporal sphere, Michael bridges the gap between man’s life here on earth and God’s promise of eternity. He makes a transition from this life to the next. He also guarantees the physical and spiritual safety of God’s people. In the spatial sphere, Michael intercedes between us and God the Father and defends us before the Father in the ongoing investigative judgment. His role spans the past, the present, and the future. In New Testament times, Michael withdraws from the present—instead—He gives way to Christ “whose saving accomplishments . . .embrace past, present, and future on behalf of Christians in the New Testament.”[10] Christ becomes the mediator between man and God (1 Tim 2:5).[11]

With all the insights one can get from Daniel 10, we are admonished to pray like Daniel, without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17). We ought to plead with God for understanding of His Holy Writ. Furthermore, to pray that Satan’s power will be crippled and the universe will experience salvation so that all would get to know the “Saviour of all men” (1 Tim 4:10).

Watch and pray (Matt 26:41); pray and work!

Youssry Guirguis currently serves as a full-time Lecturer at Asia-Pacific International University (AIU), Muak Lek, Thailand and also as an adjunct professor at the Adventist Institute for Islamic & Arabic Studies at Middle East University (MEU), Beirut, Lebanon.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

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[1]John Calvin, John Calvin’s Bible Commentaries on Daniel 7- 12 (North Charleston, SC: Jazzybee Verlag, 2012), 167.

[2]“Mourning” [Dan 10:2], Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary (SDABC), rev. ed., ed. Francis D. Nichol (Washington, DC: Review & Herald, 1976–1980), 4:857.

[3]Sheila G. Arnold and Antonio Q. Arnold, We Are Living in the Finished Work of Christ: God Draws, Jesus Saves, the Holy Spirit Seals (Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2008), 292.

[4]Susan Gregory, The Daniel Fast Collection: The Daniel Fast / The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2017), 165.

[5]Jacques B. Doukhan, Secrets of Daniel (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2000), 160.

[6]Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press, 1917), 572.

[7]Gerhard Pfandl, “Who Is Michael in Daniel 12:1?” in Interpreting Scripture: Bible Questions and Answers, ed. Gerhard Pfandl (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute, 2010), 264.

[8]For further information, see Bernard McGinn “Early Apocalypticism: The Ongoing Debate,” in The Apocalypse in English Renaissance Thought and Literature: Patterns, Antecedents and Repercussions, ed. C. A. Patrides and ‎Joseph Anthony Wittreich (New York, NY: Ithaca, 1948), 2–39.

[9]Richard Freeman Johnson, Saint Michael the Archangel in Medieval English Legend (Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 2005), 10.

[11]There are three identifications for Michael as Christ. First the resurrection at the second coming; second, the meaning of Michael; and third, Jesus and Michael are called the archangel. For further information, see Pfandl, “Who is Michael in Daniel 12:1?”, 263–264.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/10270

That is an interesting assumption. The Hebrew calendar has 2 new year’s days. These three weeks of Daniel’s fast were NOT in the month of Nisan. Had Daniel fasted in Nisan, he would have not eaten of the Passover lamb. A man of God as Daniel was who refused to eat the vile food that King Nebuchadnezzar commanded him to eat: Daniel WOULD NOT fast when God commanded him to eat the Passover! His fast was around Yom Kippur while Daniel was struggling with the desolation of the Temple. The first two days of Tishri were feast Days. Then Daniel’s fast followed beginning at the 10 days of AWE and continuing through Yom Kippur.

The author (Youssry Guirguis) of this article needs to do a complete rewrite.

Michael is one on the chief princes Daniel 10:13. Thus, Daniel identifies that there are more than one chief prince. Yes Christ is Michael, but Satan, who wants to be “like the Most High” (cf Isaiah 14:14) has a counterfeit Michael (the other chief prince that Daniel identifies, who will stand in the endtime).This, endtime chief prince was identified in Daniel 9. In the endtime when Daniel 9 repeats: there is a final decree to rebuild Jerusalem, the time counts down to the inauguration of President George Bush II (20 January 2001), he fails to keep America safe on 9/11/01, he confirms the covenant with many for one week (17-23 Sept 2001), in the midst of the week (20 Sept 2001) he took away Christ’s Sacrifice and Oblation), and when he left office the counter protestant price of the covenant title passed to Obama, then Trump, and it will soon pass to Michael Pence.

The promise is that knowledge will increase in the endtime. Knowledge has increased. Why then this ignorance among God’s people?

Is this Another assumption?

Satan wants to be like God. “be like the Most High” he wants to be Michael.

Beware tradition is being mixed with truth in this article.

As mentioned in past threads EGW states that Michael stood in 1844, but His standing in Daniel 12:1 is in the future.

She states that when Michael stands in Daniel 12:1, the Time of trouble begins, but the outpouring of latter rain follows that Time of Trouble. (that cannot be Christ standing)

She further states that when Michael (Christ) stands in the endtime he will say “It is done” the Investigative Judgment will end, probation will be over, and the 7 last plagues will fall.

We know there are 2 Michaels to stand in the endtime because when one stands the Time of Trouble begins and when Christ stands the 7 las plagues begin and Christ does not stand twice after 1844.

Let’s be clear. In DANIEL 10, Michael is referred to as “one of the chief princes (or archangels)” so obviously this can’t be Jesus since if he is only one of many then he is not God’s one and only Son. The name MICHAEL means “who is like God?”. Jesus is not “like” God, he is God! In Colossians 2 it says that in him (Jesus) dwells the fullness of the Godhead (Diety) bodily. In Hebrews 1 we are told that Jesus is far greater than the angels. If we say that Michael is Jesus then we fall into the same league as the JW’s and the Mormons. Michael is not Jesus. He is an archangel, a messenger from God and according to Hebrews 1, angels are servants sent to care for us. Jesus came to save us. He is, in the words of Isaiah, the Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. We do not worship an angel, we worship the Creator God. Whoever said that Jesus is Michael got it wrong and the sooner we own up to that the better.

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Wouldn’t anyone who was in mourning, “ate no choice food, no meat or wine touched my lips” and used no lotion while in a hot and dry environment for three weeks be delirious too? Coupled by the fact that only Daniel was privy to the vision would support the diagnosis of a possible delirius state of mind that triggered Daniel’s visions. He might have been inspired but various factors can be trigger points that can fuel hopes, dreams and wishes.

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So much of chapters 10-12 matches the situation faced by the Jews in the time of Antiochus IV. It refers to the conflict between the Ptolemies and Selucid kings, and his rise during this time. This article doesn’t even consider this, ignores it, and focuses on overall spiritual themes, themes of diet and fasting, and pinpointing the vision and temporal circumstances during the time of Cyrus, as per EGW. That’s fine…but it is not a real analysis of the text, and different possibilities of its interpretation.

I also agree, Daniel would not have been fasting during Passover. That’s a stretch.

Thanks…

Frank

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The following few thoughts resulted from a little research prompted by the essay and Frank M.’s comment:

In reviewing this article and the current adult SS lesson, it is strange that in this section of Daniel concerned with prophecies about the impact of the Grecian empire on the Jewish nation, one of the most reviled figures in Jewish history, the Greek leader Antiochus IV Ephiphanes, is not even mentioned. One would think that his desecration of the Temple in Jerusalem and his bloody attempt to exterminate the Jewish race, their culture and law would be prominent enough to warrant a significant place.
Indeed, to this day, Jewish people celebrate the annual festival of Hanukkah which came about because of the Maccabean revolt resulting from AE’s atrocities.

I also looked at the pertinent section of Ellen White’s book, ‘The Story of Daniel the Prophet’. She wrote that the account of prophetic interaction between the Jewish nation and the world empires of the time switched from Greece to Rome at Daniel 11:14. The relevant chapter is entitled ‘Chapter XV The Fourth Kingdom (Chapter 11:14-22)’

https://m.egwwritings.org/en/book/1236.882#882

Admittedly, this section of scripture is quite cryptic and thus open to differing views but I believe most all other interpreters do not agree with her division, especially because terms like ‘the king of the south’ and ‘the king of the north’ are found both before and after v14.
It’s interesting that the SS lesson mentions the short lived alliance between Antiochus II (north) and Ptolemy II (south) brought about by the marriage of Ptolemy’s daughter Berenice to Antiochus (11:6) but not the parallel later alliance when Ptolemy V married Antiochus’ III daughter Cleopatra I (11:17), I guess because after v14 the Adventist view has moved on to Rome.

If one sets aside the idea of her divine inspiration, it appears that one reason Ellen White made this division is in the belief that the term ‘the prince of the covenant’ must refer to Jesus Christ. Other commentators who disagree point out that there were other princes and covenants mentioned in various historical records that fit the time frame of the Greek empire. (Some believe the ‘prince’ mentioned in v22 was Onias III, the honourable high priest who was replaced by his underhanded brother Jason because AE accepted Jason’s bribe (2Maccabees 4:7-10)).

Also, I wonder if ignoring AE here (whose actions others see described in some detail in 11:21-39) is an attempt to minimize his importance elsewhere, in particular to support the Adventist understanding that the prophecy of the abomination of desolation and 2300 evenings and mornings of Dan 8:13-14 had nothing to do with AE, a view not shared by other expositors.

Not surprisingly, the SS lesson also reinforces Ellen White’s view by maintaining that the ruler referred to in v20 as ‘the “one who imposes taxes” must be Cæsar Augustus’ and ‘a “vile person”’ mentioned in v21 is Tiberius. Others say the tax collector or ‘exactor of tribute’ was the infamous Greek Heliodorus who attempted to plunder the Temple but was divinely thwarted (2Maccabees 3:1-40), and the vile or despicable man who came to power in v21 was none other than AE.

For those interested in further study, I think the account linked below written by a Bible teacher and historian who makes use of sources such as the Jewish encyclopedia, the ancient Jewish historian Josephus, and the apocryphal writings 1 & 2Maccabees is worth reading:

https://godskingdom.org/studies/books/daniel-prophet-of-the-ages-book-3

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Henry,
Does “soon” still mean April 2nd, 2020 as you have been stating for quite a while?

So, Elmer, at that time he ate meat and drank wine? What changed since the first days in the King’s palace when he asked not to eat the food they intended to serve him?

On another note, I am always puzzled seeing the Adventist battle to explain every single detail of the obscure sessions of this book. The negative part is that the more studies are done, the greater the diversity of opinions that results. Aka confusion. Let alone the “adjustments” needed in order to make 1844 fit into it. Amazing!

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