Sabbath School Lesson for March 7-13, 2020
Chapter 10 of Daniel introduces us to his final vision. Quite elderly now, Daniel reveals a vision given to him about a spiritual battle that ends in victory for Michael our prince (Daniel 10:21).
- the trials experienced by the returning exiles draw Daniel to his knees once again to plead for his fellow Jews there–Daniel 10:1-3 (Sunday)
- a heavenly being, clothed in priestly garments, is introduced to him in the vision–Daniel 10:4-9 (Monday)
- an angel touches Daniel three times to enable him to stand, to speak, and to be strengthened-Daniel 10:10-19 (Tuesday)
- Daniel sees the spiritual battle that rages behind the scenes of our earthly struggles–Daniel 10:20, 21 (Wednesday)
- the Son of Man, Prince of the host, who we learn is named Michael, comes to the rescue of His saints (Thursday)
Ezra, chapter 2, tells us of about fifty thousand Jews being able to return to their homeland. Unfortunately, they were immediately under attack there from their enemies, including the Samaritans, who wrote dangerous words to the Persian king, trying to influence him against the returning exiles.
So, in 536 B.C., the third year of Cyrus’ reign, Daniel found himself once again in mourning and prayer, this time over the situation in Jerusalem. He implored God to intervene and stop the persecution of his countrymen back home.
While in deep prayer, Daniel is given a vision that he continues to relate in the remaining chapters of his book. The events portrayed to him mirror the spiritual forces of evil versus the forces of good that make up the history of our world. Full of symbolism, but also full of hope, we are given a more complete picture of our Lord and Savior that can carry us through any trials we may be called to endure on this sin-laden planet. He is our conquering hero.
Memory Text: ” ‘O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong! ‘ “ Daniel 10:19 NKJV
The angel Gabriel, before giving the seventy-weeks prophecy (in Daniel 9), told Daniel that he was greatly beloved (Daniel 9:23). He is reminded that he is greatly beloved twice in chapter 10, once in verse 19 and also earlier in Daniel 10:11.
How God must love us to allow us to share in the comfort Daniel received from this vision. To dismiss it would mean a great lost opportunity to increase our faith, particularly in these troubling last days before the conflict is over.
Sunday: Fasting and Prayer, Once Again
Ezra 4:1-5 helps us understand why Daniel is mourning and praying for the Jews who have returned to Palestine. God’s people were understandably dubious about accepting help offered by their former enemies.
When they refused their help, the surrounding tribes, most notably the Samaritans, began a letter campaign to turn the king’s mind against the returning exiles, and the persecution took many other forms after that.
Daniel was troubled upon hearing this news. Although close to 90 years old, Daniel does what he does best. He prays about the situation. And God does not disappoint his faithfulness.
Three things can be observed and utilized from Daniel’s prayer life…
- He was persistent in prayer, often leading to years without an answer from God or any action done to remedy things.
- His prayers were mostly intercessory in nature. In humility, he always identified with his fellow Jews and put their needs before his own.
- His concrete requests prompted God to take real measures to answer his prayers in a way that best fulfilled God’s will.
Read Daniel 10:2, 3 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17. What does it mean to “pray without ceasing” and what evidence is there that Daniel was persistent in his prayer life?
Read Job 42:10. Why is it important to pray for others, and how does it often benefit us? What does this kind of prayer teach us about the intercessory role of Jesus for us in heaven?
Read Daniel 10:12. How does this verse show us that Daniel’s prayers prompted God to act? Why does God desire our prayers? What do they do for our relationship with God?
Monday: A Vision of the Prince
At the beginning of the vision, Daniel is shown a man, obviously supernatural, clothed in linen with a golden waistband. His brilliance was so overwhelming, His presence caused the men who were with Daniel to flee in terror (Daniel 10:7). The description of this being sounds similar to those of the Son of Man. As a result, Daniel lost all strength and fell into a deep sleep.
The being Daniel saw sounds very similar to the one John saw and recorded in Revelation 1:12-18. This passage gives us confidence to believe that Daniel also saw Christ Himself in vision. In John’s vision, He calls Himself “the First and the Last”… who is “alive, forevermore”.
John also saw this heavenly being carrying a sword, and having great strength in His countenance. We are impressed and encouraged by Christ’s role as Commander or Prince of the host in heaven, and will see later in the vision how He fights for His saints here on earth.
Read Daniel 10:4-9. What marks this as a supernatural being?
Read Revelation 1:12-18. What similarities do we see in John’s vision, and how are we confident that it is the Messiah, or Christ?
Read Joshua 5:13-15. How does Joshua’s encounter with this being further our understanding of Jesus’ role in heaven?
Tuesday: Touched by an Angel
Chapter 10 informs us that Daniel was touched three times by an angel. The number three typically refers symbolically to the three persons of the godhead: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). Isaiah saw angels in vision, singing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:3).
Therefore, we might conclude that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all involved in the events that took place in Daniel’s vision.
His three touches had different outcomes:
- Daniel is able to rise from his trembling knees and stand before the angel.–Daniel 10:10, 11 We, too, must stand up for our Father God, and someday we’ll stand before the rest of the universe on Judgment Day.
- Daniel is able to speak.–Daniel 10:16, 17 Jesus, the Son of God, is considered the Word. The Lord, who spoke our world into existence.
- Daniel is able to find strength.–Daniel 10:18, 19 It is the Holy Spirit who gives us strength to follow God and to bless us with spiritual gifts that strengthen, or edify, the church.
Read Daniel 10:10, 11 and Ephesians 6:11. In what ways does God help us stand, and when?
Read Daniel 10:16, 17 and John 1:1-3, 14. What qualifies Jesus to be our Defender in the heavenly courts? At what times has Jesus’ word been important to all His creation?
Read Daniel 10:18, 19 and Ephesians 3:16. Why is the Holy Spirit uniquely qualified to reach us inwardly? How has He strengthened you?
Wednesday: A Great Conflict
The last two verses of Daniel 10 give us the first glimpse of a great spiritual battle in heaven, waged between Christ and Satan.
The struggle of the angel to influence the kings of Persia and later of Greece, something Daniel had fervently prayed for, required the supernatural intervention of Michael the prince. In other words, the battle was so fierce, Christ was required to come to Gabriel’s aid (Daniel 10:21).
God’s angels were working in behalf of the exiles, at the same time Satan and his angels were seriously trying to undermine and diminish their accomplishments in Jerusalem.
How this battle looks on the heavenly side, our finite minds can only dimly comprehend. But suffice it to say, Someone more powerful than us is fighting our battles. We have only to trust in His ability to defeat our real enemies and our spiritual ones.
God, once again, has everything under control.
Read Daniel 10:13 and 20. Why was this particular earthly conflict so important that Christ Himself had to intervene?
Read Daniel 10:21, Revelation 12:7, and 20:2. Why do you think war is used to describe this heavenly struggle? How serious must it be, and why are we not allowed to actually see it take place? Who proves to be the strongest in battle?
Read Ezekiel 28:11-19. Why is the king of Tyre used here to describe Lucifer and his fall from heaven? How does this verify that human struggles often mirror those going on in heaven? How does this help us to understand them better?
Thursday: A Victorious Prince
It is easy to see that Jesus, the Messiah, is the main character throughout the book of Daniel.
- In Daniel 7:13, He’s the “Son of Man”.
- In Daniel 8:11, He’s the “Prince of the host”.
- In Daniel 10:21, He’s “Michael your prince”.
Often, His titles include us…He’s identified as the Son of MAN and Michael YOUR prince. The Word, who became flesh and dwelt among us is forever linked to humanity with ties of love (John 1:14).
This earthly/divine connection enables us to have a better idea of the kind of God we serve. He’s “full of grace and truth”. His love (grace) and justice (truth) come together beautifully in the most perfect demonstration of the Father’s character.
At the birth, life, and death of Christ, we saw close-up His love. But He also has a victorious Prince role to play for us, by which He provides the justice our universe is also hungry for.
Read Deuteronomy 34:5, 6, Jude 9, 2 Kings 2:1, Matthew 17:1-3, and John 1:4. Why did Michael contend for Moses’ body? If Elijah represented those who go to heaven without seeing death, who does Moses stand for? Why are we confident that Michael is Christ Jesus, our Messiah?
Read Revelation 12:10 and Colossians 2:15. If Satan is the accuser of the brethren, who is Michael?
Read John 12:31, 32 and 2 Corinthians 4:4. Why is Satan considered the “ruler (or god) of this world”? Besides accusing us, what else does he do? When was Christ lifted up, and how did this affect Satan’s rule over us?
Although Gabriel’s name isn’t specifically mentioned in Daniel 10, most Bible scholars believe he is the angel who touched the prophet three times, giving him strength to receive the astounding visions shared with us in the next two chapters of Daniel.
Perhaps the main reason for this assumption is the two previous mentions of Gabriel’s name in Daniel. See Daniel 8:16 and Daniel 9:21.
Gabriel’s closeness to God was expressed in Luke 1:19, in the announcement of John the Baptist’s birth. “And the angel answered and said to him, ‘I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God…’ “
These words “show that he holds a position of high honor in the heavenly courts…Of Gabriel the Saviour speaks in the Revelation, saying that ‘He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John’ (Revelation 1:1)…Wonderful thought–that the angel who stands next in honor to the Son of God is the one chosen to open the purposes of God to sinful men.” Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 99
The passage in Daniel 10, where Gabriel appeared, reveal three messages God would like all of us to receive:
- “Oh, Daniel, man greatly beloved…”–God wants us to feel loved.
- “Do not fear, Daniel…”–God wants to give us peace.
- “Now I have come to make you understand…”–God wants us to have understanding.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was also given these messages when Gabriel appeared to her (Luke 1):
- “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you…”–God’s love
- “Do not be afraid, Mary…”–God’s peace
- “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son…”–God’s understanding
Even the three angels’ messages, spoken in highly symbolic language in Revelation 14:6-12, bring us these same messages:
- “worship Him who made the heaven and earth”–God loves us.
- “Babylon is fallen”–God brings us peace.
- “If anyone worship the beast and his image…”–God gives us understanding.
May God reward you with these same blessings of love, peace, and understanding this coming week.
Next Week’s Lesson: From North and South to the Beautiful Land (Daniel 11)
To read the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly or see more resources for its study, go to https://www.absg.adventist.org/
Other Outlook blogposts by Teresa Thompson, are at http://outlookmag.org/author/teresathompson/