Daniel 10:13, 20
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, see, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me…
And now will I return to fight with the Prince of Persia (ver. 20). In these verses we have opened out the fact that there is war in the realm supernatural. To understand them, it is absolutely necessary to revise the English version. We read thus: "And the prince of the kingdom of Persia stood against me twenty and one days, and behold Michael one of the chief princes came to help me, and I gained the superiority there by the side of the kings of Persia And he said, Dost thou know why I came unto thee? And now I will return to war with the Prince of Persia, and while I [thus] go forth [to war], behold the Prince of Javan will come. But yet I will show to thee that which is written in the book of truth. And not one is there showing himself strong with me against these [the princes of Persia and Javan] except Michael your prince; I also in the first year of Darius the Mode stood in order to strengthen and for a fortress to him" (i.e. Michael). This reading of ours is necessary to make clear the meaning of our homiletical culture. Lest any should be surprised at the fulness of the revelation in Daniel as to angels and the angel-world, we may observe that there are two epochs in Hebrew history, when angels are specially prominent.
1. The time of the judges. Destitute of direct revelation or prophetic guidance.
2. The period of the Captivity. One of special trial, incident to contact wit h heathenism.
I. THE ANTAGONISTS.
1. On the side of God.
(1) The Angel-God. The Logos. The "certain man" of ver. 5. The Lord Jesus. The speaker throughout (vers. 13, 20 - Daniel 11:1).
(2) Michael. His name means, "Who is like unto God?" and implies that, however high is the scale of being, there is an infinite distance between him and God (see Daniel 12:1; Jude 1:7; Revelation 12:7). The following propositions seem clear about him: He is not the Logos; for he is here distinguished from him. "One of the chief princes," one of the principal in the hierarchy of heaven. "Your prince," the angelic representative and guardian of the Jewish nation. "The great prince who standeth for the children of thy people." An archangel.
2. On the side of the world. The "princes" here named are the supernatural power standing behind the daimoniae, who stood behind the national gods, and were represented by them. They are spirits of evil, inspiring the worldly anti-Divine action of the great empires of earth.
(1) The "Prince of Persia."
(2) The Prince of Javan; i.e. Greece.
II. THE WAR. The war was on behalf of Israel, and may be described as being prosecuted through three supernatural campaigns. We consider them separately.
1. The first campaign. (Daniel 11:1.)
(1) The antagonist. Not mentioned here by name, but, following the analogy of the rest of the description, is certainly the celestial "Prince" of Babylonia.
(2) The casus belli. The occasion of conflict. This, doubtless, was the necessity of placing on the Babylonian throne one who would be favourable to the return of Israel from the Captivity.
(a) Michael carried on the war.
(b) The Christ supported him.
This order is reversed in the next campaign.
(4) The victory. Lies with the Divine in every case.
2. The second campaign. (Ver. 15.)
(1) The antagonist. "The Prince of Persia.'
(2) The casus belli. The obstruction raised against the restoration of the temple, at the instigation of Israel's enemies.
(a) This campaign was carried on by the Angel-God himself.
(b) But aided by Michael. Here should be noted the doctrine that angels and men may be co-workers together with God.
(c) Was synchronous with Daniel's prayer. All the way through the twenty-one days the prayer was being answered through a mighty conflict carried on in a higher world.
(4) The victory. Specially mentioned: "And I gained the superiority there by the side of the kings of Persia."
3. The third campaign. (Vers. 20, 21.)
(1) The antagonists. The "princes" of Persia and Javan.
(2) The casus belli. All that, in their worldliness, was attempted by Persia afterwards, by Greece, by Alexander and his successors, especially Antiochus, to the sore detriment of the Jewish people.
(3) A speciality. Only Michael in this great contention was on the Christ-side. Note:
(a) There is, then, liberty in heaven as on earth to do or not to do - to go forth to war or to rest in peace.
(b) Michael made a noble use of liberty.
(c) By endowment he towered above others "One of the chief princes."
(d) Therefore to him were great responsibilities entrusted. He was made the guardian spirit of the Hebrew nation and Church. "To whom much is given" etc., seems to be a law of all moral worlds. "Michael your prince. To a subordinate spirit God will not entrust a work demanding special power and greatness."
(4) The victory. Again not expressly mentioned, but sure. The following deductions from the whole subject should, perhaps, have special mention and emphasis:
1. The Church has many and powerful enemies.
2. It abides under most powerful protection. What Michael was to Israel of old, that, and more than that, is the Lord Jesus to Israel now; and he has many helpers.
3. Its destiny is in conflict in the worlds above, as well as here below.
4. In the holy war here, the humblest may take a share. The Son of God stooped to avail himself of the help of Michael; so he ever stoops to accept the humblest contribution, the lowliest service.
"The Son of God goes forth to war,
A kingly crown to gain;
His blood-red banner streams afar;
Who follows in his train?" R.
Parallel VersesKJV: But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.