David Jeremiah - The Archangel
The real hero in this story is an angel by the name of Michael. When God wanted to give this message to Daniel, the Bible says that the message was delayed and detained through demonic activity. And we'll tell you the story as we go forward. But the story really begins in Daniel's own heart. The story begins with a distressed Daniel. He's in despair.
And let me explain to you why. The Bible says that, "In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel... The message was true, but the appointed time was long... In those days," Daniel says, "I was mourning three full weeks. I didn't eat any pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, and I didn't anoint myself at all, till all those three weeks had passed". In other words, Daniel said, "I'm gonna get a message from God, but in the meantime, I'm in a period of fasting and mourning".
And we don't know for sure until we read why he's so sad. King Cyrus has proclaimed amnesty for all the Jewish people and allowed them to go back to the city of Israel, and rebuild their temple, and rebuild their city. Remember, the Jewish people have been in captivity for 70 years. The 70-year period is up, and Cyrus says, "You can go back and rebuild your city". Why would Daniel be sad over that? Well, he was sad because only 50% of the people went back. The other 50% had become so comfortable with their Babylonian style of life they didn't want to go back to their roots. They didn't want to go back and be the Jewish people that God had called them to be. And on top of that, the 50% who did go back didn't take their opportunity very seriously.
The Scripture records that when they got back there, they build the foundation of the temple, they actually put an altar on the slab, but they didn't continue the project. They got discouraged. And Daniel loved his people, and he mourned for them, and he wept for them, and he didn't eat, and he was distressed over the fact, the malaise of the people of Israel. And so God is going to send to Daniel a message in which he is going to discover that the dark days for the nation of Israel are not yet over. Here in chapter 10, as Daniel prays to God concerning the Jews' failure and their attempt to reestablish themselves, God is going to give Daniel a prophecy that is one of the most remarkable prophetic truths you'll find anywhere in the Bible.
Verses 4 through 9, the description that personifies it, Daniel said: "I was by the great river, that is, the Tigris, I lifted up my eyes and I looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude". It is literally a description of one of the angels from heaven, the angel Gabriel. And when he sees this man, having fasted and mourned for 21 days, Daniel is caused to fall on his face in what the Bible refers to as "a deep sleep". And then he discovers something that is really outside of the realm of our comprehension in many respects.
Verses 10 through 12: "Suddenly," he said, "a hand touched me, and made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. And he said to me, 'O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.' While he was speaking this word to me, I stood up trembling," says Daniel. "And he said to me, 'Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.'"
Now we are to discover why the delay took place. Here's the intriguing part of this story that you hardly ever hear anybody talk about or anybody ever address. Verses 13, and 20, and 21: "The angel said to me, 'The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days.'" How long was Daniel fasting and praying? Three weeks. "'And behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.'" "And he said, 'Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth.'"
Now, let me just unpack this for us. These two versus reveal an often overlooked truth. A battle is waging in the invisible world that powerfully influences the events of each day we live. As the Apostle Paul says, "We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and powers, and rulers of the darkness of this age, and against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places". In other words, while we may not see it, there is an unseen battle that is raging all around us in the world in which we live today.
You say, "Why is that true"? Because when Satan was kicked out of heaven, he took a third of the angels with him, and organized them into his band of evil angels. And they are highly organized, and they are about the business of the satanic purpose. The Bible says that when Gabriel left heaven to come down here and deliver God's answer to Daniel concerning his prayer that Satan dispatched his angel, the one called the prince of Persia, and this angel intercepted God's angel, and the two angels had a battle. It was a titanic collision between good and evil. And this continued to go on for 3 long weeks. Why didn't Daniel get his answer? He couldn't possibly have known. But the answer was on its way, but it was delayed by satanic intervention.
Now, the Bible says that this battle that's going on between the prince of Persia and the angel Gabriel, who's on his way with the message from God, is finally won. And it's won because Michael, one of the chief princes of God, is sent from heaven to help Gabriel out in the battle. Michael is the unsung hero of this story. His name means, "Who is like God"? He's the leading warrior in the great heavenly battle against Satan in chapter 12 of Revelation. It goes like this: "There was war in heaven: and Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought back". In the book of Jude, he's called, "The archangel Michael".
"Archangel" means "top angel, number one angel, priority angel". Michael's the only one in the Bible who's given that title. There's no other archangels mentioned in the Bible, which leads me to believe that when the Scripture says that, "One day, the Lord himself shall return with a shout, with a command, and the voice of the archangel," Michael's gonna be the one who announces Jesus is comin' back. He's the archangel of God.
Well, we learn a little bit about the details that previewed this vision in verse 14 and 15: "The angel said to me, 'Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days.'" Who are his people? The Jews. What will happen to the Jewish people in the latter days. "And when he had spoken such words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless".
Daniel says, "The angel came and he told me what was gonna happen to my people in the future". And he said, "The message was so overwhelming I couldn't deal with it. I turned my face toward the ground and I could not speak". So traumatic was this prophetic news for Daniel that the Bible says he had to be strengthened three times. You read of it in verse 10, verse 16, and verse 19. And due to Gabriel's patient administration, Daniel is now ready to receive the prophecies that God sent from heaven.
That brings us to the presentation of this vision, which is in chapter 11. I am not going to preach on every verse in chapter 11. I'm not going to comment on every verse, but I want you to get the overview of what is about to happen. God is going to tell Daniel what will happen to his people from the moment he gets this message all the way through to the very end of time. And the 11th chapter of the book of Daniel is organized around 5 different men. And these men are representatives of epochs of history throughout the future for Daniel. And I'm going to just give you a little sampling of what God is going to tell Daniel. All of these kingdoms in some way affect the Jewish people in an adverse manner.
And the message begins with the first king, whose name is Ahasuerus. Say that with me, "Ahasuerus". The Bible tells us about him in these prophetic words. Look at your Bible, chapter 11, verse 2: "'Behold,'" Daniel, "'three more kings will arise in Persia, and the fourth king shall be far richer than them all; and by his strength, and through his riches, he shall stir up all against the realm of Greece.'" The first prophecy the angel brought to Daniel concerned the future of the Persian government, under which he was currently serving. During the time of Ahasuerus, the Jewish people went through a major, major crisis? Read the book of Esther.
And then, the next man who comes on the scene, according to the prophet, will be a man by the name of Alexander. We know who he is. He is the great Grecian soldier. Verse 3, of chapter 11 says: "'A mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.'" The second king referenced is Alexander the Great, who came on the scene 150 years later. And the description in Daniel chapter 11, verses 3 and 4 is Alexander the Great to a tee. And it was during that time under Alexander that, once again, the people of Israel suffered greatly.
He was defeated, according to the Scripture, in a very special way. Read verse 4, it describes what would happen to Alexander hundreds of years in the future: "'When he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not among his posterity nor according to his dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be uprooted, for others beside these.'" What do we know about what happened? When Alexander had arisen, that is, when he was at the peak of his career, he died. Thirty-three years of age, some people think he was poisoned.
His only possible family members who could have picked up his kingdom were, listen to this, an illegitimate son, a brother with mental disability, and the unborn child of his pregnant wife. All of these people were murdered within a matter of just a few months after his death, leaving no posterity whatsoever to Alexander. Daniel tells us that this leader's great empire was, "Broken up and divided toward the four winds of heaven," verse 4. And history confirms that prophecy, does it not? Telling us that it was split into four parts, each of them ruled by one of Alexander's generals.
After Ahasuerus and Alexander, the third king whose name starts with an "A" is Antiochus the Great. Daniel 11:10 introduces us to this king, whose wars against Egypt were marked first by defeats, and then by victories. The Romans finally take control of Syria, taxing the people heavily for causing so many problems. To pay this tax, the king of Syria sent a tax collector to plunder the temple in Jerusalem. Notice, again, how history affirmed Daniel's prophecy. Daniel 11:20: "'There shall arise in his place one who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom; but within a few days he shall be destroyed, but not in anger or in battle.'" And that's what happened.
And then we meet the most wicked man whose history is recorded in any book you will ever read. His name is Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus, literally, "The madman". He was among the most wicked people who ever walked on this earth. I'm talkin', more than Stalin, more than Hitler, anyone you can think of. He had no claim to the Syrian throne, but he decided he would try to get his way into power through bribes and gifts. And he stirred up a battle against the South, but he couldn't win on the battlefield.
So the two stalemated kings agreed to a peace treaty. Verse 27 of Daniel 11: "'Both these kings' heart shall be bent on evil, and they shall speak lies at the same table; but it shall not prosper.'" Sounds like some of our peace treaties, doesn't it? Soon, Antiochus vents his anger on Israel. Now, watch carefully: "'Forces shall be mustered by Antiochus, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress;'" that's Jerusalem, "'and they shall take away the daily sacrifices,'" remember, we studied that, "'and place the abomination of desolation in the temple.'" And this is what happened, men and women.
When Antiochus Epiphanes invaded Jerusalem, he erected and image of Zeus in the Jewish temple, and he demanded that the Jews worship that image. He stopped all the Jewish sacrifices. He himself sacrificed a pig on the Jewish altar, and the temple was desolate so that no Jew could go there because Antiochus Epiphanes had made it an abomination.
But do you remember what happened? Do you remember that there was one rebel who stood up. Listen to the prophecy, verse 32: "'Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.'" And that was the Judas Maccabeus revolt that ultimately ended up in the way we celebrate Hanukah, if you remember. And the apocryphal books tell us of this family of brave Jews who led a revolt against Antiochus and finally brought his reign to an end.
But there's one king left. And he hasn't lived on the earth yet. He's the final "A" in the list of five "As". He's the Antichrist who is to come. And here's what I want to say to you, men and women. If you can go back, starting with Ahasuerus, and every prophecy that God made concerning him is true, and Alexander, and Antiochus, and Antiochus Epiphanes, all of them. Trace them. Here's the prophecy, here's the fulfillment. Here's the prophecy, here's the fulfillment. All of them perfectly fulfilled. Now we have one prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled.
What do you think will be the outcome of that prophecy? It will be exactly as God says it will be. And I not only say that because I believe it, I can prove it from the Scripture. God bats 100% whenever he makes a prophetic statement. He doesn't miss any of 'em. He doesn't come close. He doesn't make almost. He doesn't go beyond it, or in front of it. What God says is gonna happen, happens. And he sends his prophecy through his angel Gabriel. And no wonder the prince of Persia didn't want that gospel message to get through to Daniel. Because it is one of the keys to believing in the living God, that when he speaks, his Word is authoritative, it's inerrant, and you can demonstrate it by the prophetic truths that you find in the Scripture.
And the Bible says, "One day there's another ruler coming on this earth. His name is the Antichrist". We don't know who he is. But I want to remind you of something, that he could be alive even today. Because nothing is left before the Rapture that needs to happen. And when the Rapture comes, the Antichrist will be revealed. And he won't be revealed as a little boy, he'll be revealed as a 30, 40-year-old man. So he could be in preparation somewhere on the earth right now. And if you go through the 11th chapter of the book of Daniel, you will see that while it doesn't tell you who it is. He's gonna do great damage in the tribulation period, but then he will ultimately be defeated.
Now, I want to thank you for you attention, and hangin' in here with me on this. But let me just tell you, in one single chapter of the Bible, we have covered an entire era of history that was accurately predicted in detail long before it ever happened. An unknown writer has said that, "The book of Daniel is suited to be a battleground between faith and unbelief because there is no neutral position you can find between those two places". If God said it and it happens, it's true. Just as surely as God fulfilled every prophecy in this Book that we can trace, God is telling us the truth when he says, "It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment".
And I don't know, sometimes, friends, I feel like I don't do this very well. I feel like if you could understand that God is telling the truth, if you could just believe that, and you had not yet received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you would run to this altar to do it the first chance you got. It's not of a matter of opinion. It's not a denominational thing. It's not David Jeremiah. It's the Word of God. The Word of God, which has been demonstrated to be true over and over and over again. God's Word never fails. And God says, "It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgment".
If you know Jesus Christ, you will never face judgment for your sin. Because when you put your trust in him, you gain everything that he did when he died on the cross. And all of your sin is judged at the cross in Jesus Christ. But if you don't receive him, you wills stand someday before this Holy God and he will say, "I can't bring you into my heaven, because you did not deal with the sin issue in your life". We don't have to pay for our sins, because God sent his Son to do it. What we have to do is believe that, and accept it, and receive it, and we can become Christians. And when we become Christians, now we're ready to meet God, whenever that time might come.