Variety of Angelic Service
Daniel 10:11-21
And he said to me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright…

It is quite legitimate for us to reason from God's conduct towards men in the past to his probable conduct towards men now. If in his wisdom he employed his angels to be ministers of good to Daniel and to Israel two thousand years ago, we may conclude that it is an exercise of wisdom to do the like to-day. Perfect wisdom will only change its plans, so far as new circumstances and needs arise. Hence there is instruction and consolation for us in this Scripture.

I. ANGELS ARE EMPLOYED TO BRING TO MEN ASSURANCE OF THEIR ACCEPTANCE WITH GOD. This angel, who was probably Gabriel, was commissioned to assure Daniel that he was "greatly beloved." Every doubt upon that head was completely removed. The angel knew what were God's dispositions of mind towards Daniel, and he was empowered to convey the intelligence. There is nothing unreasonable in this; no improbability that beings of refined nature exist in nearer relation to God than do men; no improbability that they perform acts of service for men. That which is naturally probable is made certain by the written revelation. It is often the case that we cannot account for our moods of feeling, our hopefulness and our despondency, by any known events. Who shall say that these states of mind are not the result of angelic visitation? That we are not conscious of the presence of angels is no proof that they do not visit us. Their ethereal natures may be impervious to human sight, except by miraculous interposition. Elisha's servant did not perceive the angelic host sent for their protection until God had specially opened his eyes. Once and again this angel assured Daniel of his interest in God's love, charged him to dismiss his fears, and brought to him heavenly peace.

II. ANGELS ARE EMPLOYED TO INFORM THE HUMAN UNDERSTANDING. One main object of Gabriel's visit to Daniel was to shed light upon passing events, and to enlarge Daniel's comprehension of God's government. So high was God's esteem for Daniel, that Gabriel was despatched on purpose to dislodge ignorance and doubt from his mind. He assures him that the want of visible answer to prayer is no proof that God has not heard, nor that he is unwilling to reply. On the contrary, Daniel's prayer had taken effect from the very beginning, and measures were at once set in motion in accordance therewith. The prayers and lastings of good men are links (ordained by God) in the chain of causes and effects. As soon as man interceded for Israel, Gabriel was despatched on business of high importance to the kingdom of Persia. And Gabriel was further charged to unfold to Daniel what was in the volume of God's purposes - the series of vicissitudes through which Israel would be destined to pass. God's thoughts were loftier than Daniel's; his designs had a wider scope and range than his servant's. Nothing short of the establishment of permanent righteousness will satisfy God.

III. ANGELS ARE EMPLOYED TO INCREASE OUR STRENGTH. It is noteworthy that as Daniel's needs arose one after the other, the angel was prepared to meet each one. Daniel was prostrate; the angel set him upright. Daniel was so stunned with the intelligence, that he was dumb; the angel opened his mouth, and gave him speech. Daniel fainted under a sense of awe and wonder; the angel imparted new strength with his touch. We are impressed with the considerateness, the tenderness, the thoughtful sympathy, of this angelic visitor. There was strength imparted to his physical nature by a touch; there was strength imparted to his soul by the angel's words. According to the constitution of man's nature is the agency employed by God. The angel who strengthened Christ Jesus in the garden of suffering can also strengthen us.

IV. ANGELS ARE ENGAGED TO PROTECT THE INTERESTS OF THE CHURCH IN PALACES AND IN COUNCILS OF STATE. There are times when they can best serve us, not at our side, but at a distance from us. Probably Daniel was agitated in soul, because for three weeks no sign of answer came from heaven. Yet, all the while, answer had come, though he was unconscious of it. Daniel was concerned, not for himself, but for the well-being and fortunes of Israel. But he might rest assured that God had more at heart these interests - than man, however zealous, ever can. This report of Gabriel opens to our minds a new view of angelic ministration. It is evident that they do perform their service on earth, for the most part, unseen by human eyes. Gabriel had been with the kings and statesmen of Persia. So important to Israel's well-being was his presence in that court, that for three weeks he had remained there. His power was limited; he could not be in two places at once, nor could he accomplish his mission without the assistance of Michael. For the time being, it was better that Daniel should remain in ignorance of the fact. His continued fasting and prayer were essential to complete success. In what fashion Gabriel rendered service we are not told. Most probably he had power to influence the views, the motives, the ambitious of men. A thousand subtle agencies were at his command, by which he could direct the counsels of men and bring about the purposes of God. Angelic influence, then, is a factor in state concerns which we do well not to ignore.

V. ANGELS HAVE OFTEN TO CONTEND WITH EVIL SPIRITS IN FULFILLING THE BEHESTS OF GOD. There can be little doubt that the language here employed by Gabriel, viz. "the prince of the kingdom of Persia," refers to one of the leading spirits of darkness, one of the fallen angels. There are principalities and powers in hell. Satan is termed the "prince of this world," "the prince of the power of the air." An antagonist of Gabriel would be fittingly an evil spirit. Gabriel speaks of fighting with him. There was hot warfare. So we read in the Epistle of Jude that Michael disputed with the devil about the body of Moses. That some bold and crafty spirit, in the confederate host of hell, should be told off to do some particular evil work is probable enough; and that such, having subordinates under him, should be styled leader or prince of a particular earthly empire is equally probable. This earth, then, is the scene of mighty conflicts. Angels here have their combats as well as men. Here, perhaps, is being fought out the crucial conflict between the Creator and his rebellious creatures - the conflict between righteousness and wickedness. Gabriel, though "excelling in power," is not omnipotent. Some things even an angel alone cannot do. They learn that in union is strength. Michael is sent to help him - Michael, who is set apart as the prince or protector of Israel. Gabriel cannot be long spared from the particular scene of conflict. During a temporary truce he visits Daniel This accomplished, he returns to the troublous scene in the court of Persia. - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.

WEB: He said to me, Daniel, you man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright; for am I now sent to you. When he had spoken this word to me, I stood trembling.

The Character of Daniel
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