Activity Of Angels In The Heavens
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Daniel, and notice the portion which begins with chapter 10, verse 10. We have suggested to you that the book of Daniel is filled with visions which Daniel interpreted for others or for which he sought the interpretation for himself as those visions were given to him. When we come to chapter 10 we come to the last vision which Daniel had. We reminded you that this chapter represents an introduction to the interpretation of the vision which is found in chapter 11—an interpretation which is followed by what we might refer to for want of a better term as an appendix in chapter 12.

We told you that before we look at the interpretation of the vision itself, we wanted to look at several things in this particular section of the book of Daniel which are brought to our attention in a forceful manner in which they are not presented in any other portion of the Word of God.

We spoke to you about theophanies, which are the appearances of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the earth before He came as a babe in Bethlehem's manger. Now we want to speak with you about the activity of angels in the heavens, for the most part unseen by men. Next, the Lord willing, we want to talk with you about the Scripture of Truth. These things are revealed in this portion of the Word.

Work Done By Angels

We are not going to read the entire portion, but will call to your attention from this portion of the Word of God several verses which deal with the subject of our present discussion. We discover that Daniel had been in prayer in relation to the vision for which he sought interpretation, and we read in verse 10:

Daniel 10:

10And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.
11And 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.
12Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

Notice this verse particularly:

Daniel 10:

13But 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.

More accurately, “…he remained there with the kings of Persia.” Then if you will glance down to verse 19, you will read:

Daniel 10:

19And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.
20Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.

Then will you notice in verse 1 of chapter 11:

Daniel 11:

1Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood to confirm and to strengthen him.

The word him refers to Michael in verse 21 of the preceding chapter. Then will you notice, please, in chapter 12:

Daniel 12:

1And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
2And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

We are going to stop our reading right there, reminding you that every personage to whom reference is made in these passages of Scripture, with the exception of Daniel, is an angel, either good or bad. This is Daniel's revelation concerning the activities of angels in the heavens.

Shall we bow our heads together for prayer, please: Our Father, we are grateful that we have the opportunity of looking again into the Word of God. When we come to look at this subject which is so much misunderstood by many and which can be a great blessing if we are able to understand it, we ask for that instruction of the Holy Spirit that will give enlightened minds and will enable us to understand what is before us. Grant, Father, that the needs of hearts may be met through the Word at this moment. For we pray in Jesus' name and for His sake. Amen

The Importance Of Angels In The Book Of Daniel

The study of angels, or angelology, is such a detailed subject that it would be foolish for us, in the limited time that we have available to us, to try to think about everything that is said about angels. But since we are studying the book of Daniel, I thought it well to give to this subject the amount of time that the Holy Spirit gives to it in the book of Daniel itself.

From time to time we have made comparisons between the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation. We have before us a very good comparison. The book of Revelation is full of references to the activity of angels, and the book of Daniel proportionately even more so.

We have learned in our study that there are twelve chapters in the book of Daniel. I would like to suggest to you that eight out of those twelve chapters have something to say about the activity in the heavens in relation to the angels. Since that is true, I am going to suggest that, outside of a few basic facts which it will be necessary for us to consider, we limit our consideration of angels to the suggestions which Daniel makes in relation to them.

Condemning Three Attitudes In Relation To Angels

I think it would be well for us to recognize before we get into the study itself that the Bible condemns three attitudes that are commonly held in relation to angels. If we recognize those three attitudes, then we will be on our guard in the study; we will not be led astray, and we will not be led to extremes.

The first attitude that is condemned in relation to angels in the Word of God is the attitude that was held by the Sadducees. We do not ask you to turn to any certain passage of Scripture because many are the references in the New Testament, especially in the Acts of the Apostles, to the attitude held by the Sadducees.

Condemning Those Who Do Not Believe In Angels

The Sadducees were a group of Jews who did not believe in the Resurrection and who did not believe in the reality of angels. The Lord Jesus Christ rebuked this attitude, and said the reason they did not believe in angels was that they did not know their Bibles; any individual who studied the Scriptures carefully would have to agree that angels were active.

It is an interesting thing to me to notice that God—it seems purposely—let the angels make whatever announcements needed to be made to the Sadducees in regard to spiritual things. And it seems to me that He must have done that to convince them that angels were real. For example, when the Sadducees sought proof for the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, the proof that they received was at the hand of angels.

Later, the Sadducees accused Peter of preaching in the name of Jesus and insisted that he be cast into prison. But in chapter 5 of the Acts of the Apostles, there is the story of how an angel—an angel seen by human eyes, if you please—deliberately opened the doors of the prison and led Peter out right in the sight of the Sadducees. It was as though God were saying, “Now you have to believe in angels, for angels are real.”

Condemning Those Who Worship Angels

Turn, please, to Paul's letter to the Colossians, chapter 2, and remind your hearts that the Colossian letter was written primarily to dissuade individuals from certain false ideas that were being promulgated by certain Jewish teachers. One of the theories which prevailed in the early New Testament church and which had to be constantly combated by the Spirit of God through the Word of God, was the theory of Gnosticism. The book of Colossians was written for the primary purpose of combating that theory.

One of the things which characterized that theory was the idea of judging other individuals in relation to worship by saying that they were not what they ought to be unless they worshipped according to certain rules, regulations and practices. In chapter 2 of this Colossian letter, verse 18, the Apostle Paul takes that up:

Colossians 2:

18Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
19And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

Notice particularly verse 18, a reference to the worshipping of angels. If you had time to examine that phrase in the context, you would discover that one of the things which the Gnostics were teaching was that if you showed true humility, you must admit that angels were a superior creation to man and were worthy of worship. Angels should be used as intermediaries between God and man; you could not expect to go to God directly; you must go through Michael, through Gabriel, or through someone else, and in so doing render him worship that you might ordinarily render God.

I suppose that if we recognize the work of angels as supernatural beings, there is a possibility that some people might misapply that suggestion and find themselves worshipping angels. This is rebuked in the Word of God, and we would like for you to keep that in mind.

Condemning Those Who Are Not Informed Concerning Angels

The third attitude which is condemned in the Word of God is the attitude of ignorance in relation to angels. If you should take the time to follow through the Word, in such places as I Corinthians, chapter 6, you would find the Holy Spirit rebuking the ignorance of individuals in relation to angels. There the Christians were rebuked because they had not taken the time to study the Bible and to find out that we, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, will some day sit in judgment upon angels. When the rebuke was forthcoming from the pen of the Apostle Paul, it was as though he was amazed at their ignorance. He said: “What, don't you know that we shall judge angels?” (I Corinthians 6:3).

Origin Of Angels

If we have clear in our minds the attitude that we ought to have in relation to angels—that is, an understanding of their ministry in our behalf—we are ready to proceed with the discussion of our subject. One other basic thing I would like to keep before you is the matter of the origin of angels, which is not mentioned in the book of Daniel. We find in the book of Daniel a reference to both good angels and bad angels, and if you have not studied this subject before, you might wonder exactly where angels come from.

There are some individuals—adults—to whom I have spoken at different times who believe that angels are little babies before babies are born on the earth. There are other individuals who believe that angels are people who have lived on this earth and have died and gone to Heaven and have become angels. You need to recognize that angels are a separate section of God's creation. In fact, they are the first creatures mentioned in the Word of God.

Turn with me, please, to the book of Job, which is the oldest book in the Bible. You might think that the book of Genesis is the oldest because it comes first and because it talks about the creation of the earth. But the book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible. Job lived before Abraham lived; Job lived before Moses lived. Job was a Gentile, if you please, and he had a tremendous knowledge of God. I make mention of that because some people get the idea that the first people on the earth who had any real knowledge of God were the Jews. That isn't true. Job was a Gentile in the land of Uz. He was an Edomite, of the nation that was later cursed by God because of the things of which they were guilty. Job was dealt with by God in a very special way. In chapter 38, there is recorded a conversation between God and Job. It is rather one-sided; God did the talking except for one brief sentence. Notice verse 1:

Job 38:

1Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
2Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
3Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.
4Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
7When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
8Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?

Angels At The Time Of Creation

We are going to stop our reading right there and refer back to verse 7, where we read:

Job 38:

7When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

The phrase, “the sons of God,” is one that is used in the Old Testament almost exclusively in reference to angels. Here is a verse of Scripture which says that when God created the earth, the sons of God shouted for joy. When God created the earth, the angels were present and rejoiced in the mighty creative work of God.

Origin Of Bad Angels

Turn in the book of Job to chapter 4, please, as we notice what Job had to say about the origin of bad angels. Certainly these angels who sang together and rejoiced at the creation of the world were good angels. But in chapter 4, verse 18, we find Eliphaz making this definite statement to Job:

Job 4:

18Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:
19How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?

Notice the last part of verse 18, “and his angels he charged with folly.” If you are not familiar with this subject, study carefully Isaiah, chapter 14, Ezekiel, chapter 28, and Revelation, chapter 12; you will see why it was that Eliphaz said that God found it necessary to charge his angels with folly.

Purpose For Creation Of Hell

Briefly, we will give you a summary of those chapters. Lucifer, now known as Satan, the Devil, was the chief of all God's angels. He lusted for the power that God had. He was so attractive and so beautiful that he had great influence over all the angels in Heaven. When Satan lusted after God's throne, it was necessary for God to cast him out of Heaven to the earth. When He did, Satan drew with him one-third of all the angels in Heaven. From that time on, a distinction was made between God and His angels and the Devil and his angels. When God found it necessary to cast the Devil out of Heaven, He had to prepare an eternal dwelling place for him because it could not be that he would dwell with God for all eternity. So God prepared Hell for the Devil and his angels.

We are reminded in the book of Ezekiel that when men began to turn their backs on God, it was necessary for God, figuratively or literally—you can decide—to build an addition, an annex, to Hell because He didn't plan it big enough for everybody to go there. He prepared it for the Devil and his angels. When men turned their backs on God, there was no other place for them to go but to Hell, the place that had been prepared for the Devil and his angels.

Form Of An Angel When Appearing To Daniel

Having brought these facts to your attention, I would like for us to notice together what Daniel has to say about angels. The first thing that I would call to your attention is in chapter 8. Turn back there, please, where we began our discussion and notice verses 15 and 16:

Daniel 8:

15And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man.
16And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.

These verses describe how Gabriel appeared to Daniel by the River Ulai. The voice that instructed Gabriel to give understanding to Daniel was the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ. But the thing that we would like to emphasize from these verses is that when angels do make their appearance to human eyes, they have the appearance of a man.

I suppose you have seen a great many pictures, the conception of artists, in relation to angels. Always you see them sitting about with wings on their backs, and you know immediately that they are angels. The Bible gives no foundation for such a conception of angels. The Bible teaches that when angels made their appearance to men, they always appeared as men; and unless they indicated by some divine act before they left, the individuals to whom they appeared did not have any idea whether they were angels or not. Sometimes they did not realize they were angels until after they had left their presence.

Angels Appear To Abraham As Men

You will remember that the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews, takes advantage of that truth to drive home a good lesson that we all need to learn. In Hebrews, chapter 13, Paul suggests that we be given to hospitality, and he reminds us that because some individuals were given to hospitality, they entertained angels unawares. Of course the reference is to Abraham, who, when he saw three strangers coming toward his tent door, invited them in and gave them something to eat; he found out afterward that they were angels. He did not know it at the time (Genesis 18). So when angels make their appearance, they appear as men, and there is nothing about them, such as a halo or wings, to indicate that they are any more than average human beings.

Satan's Angels Have No Body

We would like to remind you that there is a difference between good angels and evil angels in this respect. The Bible teaches, and you will find this to be true if you will take the time to study it in detail, that when the angels were cast out of Heaven, they were deprived of any kind of body at all.

The Reality Of Demon Possession

The angels who are good angels and who come down to earth have, as we have already mentioned, a form that you can see, a form like a man. But evil angels do not, and they are absolutely helpless unless they have a body through which they can operate. That is the reason they always want to go into some body—in order to do whatever work they need to do for the Devil. That is the reason demon possesion is a reality, why it is possible for human beings—not Christians, thank God, but unsaved human beings—to be possessed with demons.

Conflict Between Angels

Turn, please, to Daniel, chapter 10, and notice again a portion of the Word which we read earlier, a portion related to the activity of Gabriel, for he was the good angel who was discussed in verses 12 and 13; the bad angel who is not named is referred to as the prince of the kingdom of Persia . Notice also in verse 13 a reference to Michael, who was a good angel. Remember what we read in those verses of Scripture. There was intense activity in the heavens. These good angels were fighting against these bad angels because the bad angels were attempting to intercept the message which the good angels were carrying from Heaven to earth.

Angels Ministering To Us

All this activity that was going on was not seen by the human eye. Daniel would not have known about it if the angels had not told him about it. But this is not an unusual thing at all. I am of the opinion from my study of the Word of God that good angels are constantly surrounding us and ministering to us even though we do not see them with our human eyes. In all probability, we would not see them unless God were pleased to open our human eyes that they might be seen.

Unseen Angels As Elisha's Protectors

Turn, please, to II Kings for a story which you will find very familiar. We call it to your attention because to my mind it is one of the most interesting stories recorded in the Word of God. You will keep in mind that Elisha, the prophet of Israel, and his servant, as well as the Israelites, were completely surrounded by the enemy at Dothan. The servant of the man of God was greatly concerned about it. Notice in chapter 6, verse 15:

II Kings 6:

15And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
16And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

That wasn't a great deal of comfort to the servant because he knew that the armies of the Syrians far outnumbered the armies of the Israelites, and he thought that maybe Elisha was just doing some wishful thinking. So you'll notice in verse 17:

II Kings 6:

17And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
18And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the Lord, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

Limitless Numbers Of Angels

Elisha knew that the army of angels was there even though the servant did not. Perhaps you are wondering, with all the people there are in the world, how there could possibly be enough angels to take care of all the people who are dependent upon God for their protection and their care, when angels are not omnipresent nor omniscient.

Daniel, chapter 7, presents to us another truth related to angels, which perhaps will answer the question that is before us. Notice verse 9:

Daniel 7:

9I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
10A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

This innumerable company of individuals in verse 10 was angels. You will notice how they are designated in our English text to indicate their great number: ”thousand thousands, ten thousand times ten thousand.” If you were to examine this in the Hebrew text, you would discover that the word in Hebrew is not, “thousand thousands,” nor is it, “ten thousand times ten thousand.” Rather, it is a word which describes a limitless number. But in the day when the King James Version was translated, people were not as used to big figures as we are today. To them a thousand thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand were beyond their imagination. So they put those down as the unlimited number of angels.

Hebrews, chapter 12, tells us the number of angels that are in the heavens today, and that number is “innumerable,” which means exactly what it says. It is absolutely impossible to count the number of angels.

Angels Differ In Rank

If you will go back to Daniel, chapter 10, you will notice another suggestion in relation to these angels. It is that they differ in rank. Some of them are more important than others. I have already referred to the fact that originally Lucifer was the chiefest of all the angels of God. But in this one passage of Scripture—Daniel, chapter 10, verses 12 and 13—we are told that there are two archangels, two chief angels, who are operating for God. One of them is named Michael and the other is named Gabriel. Below Michael and Gabriel are numerous classes of angels, described in such passages of Scripture as Colossians, chapter 1, verse 16, which speaks of good angels, and Ephesians, chapter 6, verse 12, which speaks of fallen angels—principalities, and powers, and wicked spirits in heavenly places.

Angels Watch Over The Affairs of Men

Turn back, please, to Daniel, chapter 4, as we begin to look at some of the things to which the good angels are assigned as they are suggested to us in the book of Daniel. One of the good things to which the good angels are assigned is watching over the affairs of men. We notice in verse 13:

Daniel 4:

13I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven;
14He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:

Then you'll notice in verse 17:

Daniel 4:

17This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

Generally speaking, the angels are assigned to watch over the affairs of the nations. Now we may think sometimes that certain nations have gone too far. We don't need to worry about it. God has assigned certain angels to watch. When a nation has gone beyond the point that God intends it to go, the angels will hold a meeting in Heaven and will decree the downfall of that particular nation, and that nation will fall.

You may not always realize that it is done by these angels because they may turn the nation whose destruction they have decreed over to another nation for defeat as they did Nebuchadnezzar, but it is by the decree of the watchers. Sometimes I have a feeling of frustration when I see the nations of the world today in their ceaseless activity one against another—all of it seemingly without thought of what is right and what is good. And then I remember that God has assigned angels, generally speaking, to watch over the affairs of the nations. They will decree the end when the end is due.

Michael Is Watching Over Israel

Turn back, please, to Daniel, chapter 12, and notice a specific statement concerning the nation of Israel:

Daniel 12:

1And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

Here is a distinct and definite statement that Michael is assigned to look after the best interests of the nation of Israel. One of the reasons the nation of Israel has never been destroyed, though it has suffered more than any other nation in the world, is, I believe, the activity of Michael in their behalf.

An Angel To Watch Over America

Now I am going to state an opinion. I cannot give you a verse for it, so it is worth no more than any other human opinion that you might hear. But I do believe it is true. I believe that just as certainly as Michael was assigned to look after the spiritual interests of the nation of Israel, God assigned certain angels to look after those nations that are attempting to walk in the will and in the purpose of God. I like to think—perhaps I am wrong, but I like to think—that God has assigned an angel to look after the interests of America, not because America as a whole is Christian, but because there is a believing remnant in the nation that is praying that God somehow, someway, will undertake.

I don't know how you feel, and it is difficult to make a statement like this without getting involved in a political discussion, and we believe such has no place in the pulpit. But I would say to you, purely from a personal standpoint, that the only logical explanation that comes to my mind for our rescue from some of the dire straits in which we have found ourselves is on the basis of divine intervention. I believe the only way we can explain it is that God has assigned to us an angel who has looked out after our interests.

Evil Angels Combat Good Angels

Notice again in Daniel, chapter 10, that as God has good angels to look out after the interests of those who are his own, the Devil has evil angels to combat the efforts of the good angels. You will notice in verse 13 the phrase, “the prince of the kingdom of Persia.” That is one of the Devil's angels. You will notice in verse 20 that the prince of Persia is mentioned again, and also the prince of Grecia. These two individuals are members of the armies of the Devil. They are evil angels.

Perhaps you are wondering why it is that they are mentioned in connection with Michael and Gabriel. The answer will be forthcoming when we get into Daniel, chapter 11. When we get there, we will discover that the thing that Gabriel was going to talk to Daniel about was the final end of Persia and the final end of Greece. God had decreed their end, and he was sending that message to Daniel. The Devil still had a use for Persia, he still had a use for Greece, and he did not want that message to get through. The evil angels of Persia and Greece, then, were thwarting the power of the good angels of God. Beloved, I would have you realize that this is the conflict that is constantly going on in the heavens, unseen by human eyes.

Turn back, please, to Genesis, chapter 28. You will recognize that that passage of Scripture describes a dream which is familiar to every Sunday School scholar—the dream of Jacob's ladder, so-called. You will remember that Jacob fell asleep and dreamed that a ladder reached to Heaven, and as he beheld that ladder in his dream, he noticed, in verse 12:

Genesis 28:

12And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

Jacob dreamed that the angels of God were going up and down a ladder from earth to Heaven busily engaged in the interests of the saints of God, as becomes evident when you realize that Jacob was greatly concerned about his own material needs.

Prayer In The Name Of Jesus

Turn in your New Testament, please, to the Gospel of John, chapter 1. You find here the New Testament explanation of Jacob's ladder. The Lord Jesus Christ was talking to Nathaniel, and in verse 51:

John 1:

51And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

If you meditate upon both of these passages of Scripture together, you will discover that what Jacob dreamed about and what the Lord Jesus Christ talked about was the ministry of prayer. Our prayers are not acceptable at the Throne of Grace unless they are prayed in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the meaning of the statement that “the angels will be ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” As we pray, angels carry God's answer back to us.

Speed of Travel by Angels

Go back to the book of Daniel, as I remind you again that this activity is not seen by human eyes unless God has some specific purpose for it. In Daniel, chapter 9, we learn that the angels, in their ministry of carrying our requests and returning with the answers, travel faster than any mortal could possibly imagine. In chapter 9, Daniel was praying, and he had not been praying very long. We read in verse 23:

Daniel 9:

23At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

How quickly did Gabriel come with this answer? Glance at verse 21. Daniel said:

Daniel 9:

21Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.

The word translated “swiftly” here is a word which speaks of such speed that there is no English word which will accurately describe it, so the translators just used the word “swiftly” as the best word we have.

Do you understand what happened? Daniel began to pray; as soon as he addressed his prayer to the Throne of Grace, God called Gabriel and said, “Get down there with the answer.” Before Daniel had a chance to say, “Amen,” the answer was forthcoming.

Hindrances To Angels Bringing Answers To Prayers

But in chapter 10, there is an entirely different story because in this chapter, as you realize from our repeated reading from it, Daniel prayed one day, two days, three days; he prayed for twenty-one days before the angel Gabriel came and touched him on the shoulder and said, “I am here with your answer.”

Look at verse 12. It was not that Gabriel was slow in his travels. It was not that he had so much to do in answering prayers for other people that he could not answer Daniel's prayers. It was rather that he was intercepted in his journey. In verse 12, we read:

Daniel 10:

12Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.

He went on to say, “I left Heaven as soon as your message got there, but I didn't get very far from the Throne of Grace until one of the Devil's angels, by the name of the Prince of Persia, intercepted me, and we had a battle royal. It lasted for nearly three weeks, and I finally decided I wasn't going to get here with your answer unless I did something about it, so I sent a special SOS call to Heaven, and lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me” (Daniel 10:13).

Our King James Version says, “And I remained there with the kings of Persia,” but the original text says, “He remained there with the kings of Persia.” That is, “Michael stayed there and fought the battle, and I came on with your answer, and here I am.”

I have often wondered, as I have read this passage of Scripture, what would have happened if Daniel had stopped praying the first day? I verily believe that many of us are defeated in our prayer life because we fail to realize that the battle is constantly going on and that we need to keep on praying, so that when the angel gets through with our answer, we will be there to receive it.

Guardian Angels

As we think about the assignment of these good angels, may I suggest to you that they are assigned for specific protection. I believe that for every child—the Bible very plainly teaches it in all of the Gospels; in chapter 18 of the Gospel of Matthew if you want to take time to read it sometime—born in the world, there is assigned a guardian angel. Now the Bible doesn't call him a guardian angel. The Bible refers to him as the angel of the child (Matthew 18:10), and that means that he looks out after the interests of that child.

I do not know whether that angel ceases to look after the child when he becomes grown or not. Perhaps he does. But this much I can say with authority: Every child has a guardian angel. I like to think that that angel takes you on as his personal responsibility from the day you are born until the day you die. Whether he does or not, we do know that God has assigned angels to look out after your interests. That is the reason in Hebrews, chapter 1, we are told that angels are ministers—servants, if you please—to the heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14).

Angels For Our Protection

A good illustration of that is found in Daniel, chapter 6. You will remember that this chapter describes the incident of Daniel's being cast into the lions' den. Hope for his life was gone. Nobody thought he would come out alive. But somehow the king hoped he would, and the next day after Daniel had been placed in the lions' den, the king went and called to him to see if he might still be alive. In verse 22, Daniel said:

Daniel 6:

22My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

Of course you are at liberty, if you find it difficult to believe what I am saying to you, to say that this was not a real angel, that this is just figurative language. But if you take that liberty, you will take a liberty that is not warranted by the language. There is only one thing we can believe: God sent a literal angel to close the mouths of the lions that they might not hurt Daniel. I believe that angels are engaged in the same ministry today, and I believe that only when we get to Heaven will we discover how many times our guardian angel, if we may use that term, was on hand to protect us from some immediate danger. I am quite sure that if I were to give you the time, many of you could stand to your feet and tell of some experience that you describe as a narrow escape. You were almost harmed; you were almost killed; but somehow you were not, and you don't quite have the explanation for it. Well, I believe the explanation lies in the fact that God had your angel looking out for you.

Ushered Into Heaven By Angels

In the gospel of Luke, there is a very precious thought along this line. If I am right in assuming that a guardian angel is assigned to you the moment you are born and looks after you all the days of your life, it is that same angel which takes you home to Heaven when you die. In Luke, chapter 16, there is the story of a rich man by the name of Dives and a poor man by the name of Lazarus. We are told that when the rich man, Dives, died, he was buried; but when Lazarus died, he was carried to Heaven by the angels (Luke 16:22).

We think about our loved ones dying, and we talk about a cold journey of death, a cold river of death. Well, actually we shouldn't talk that way. When a child of God dies, God, Who is observing the whole picture, calls to one of the angels and says, “Go down and get him now. It's time to bring him home.” When the breath leaves the body, the spirit is borne in the arms of the angel into the presence of God. That is a beautiful thought to leave. I believe there is a thought available along that line for every one of us in relation to the coming of the Lord. We read earlier in our discussion in Daniel, chapter 12, that at the end of this age, when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back, Michael the archangel shall stand up, the great prince which standeth of the children of Israel. Immediately there is a reference to the resurrection of the Jewish nation.

If you should take the time to follow the activities of Michael through the Word of God, you would find that Michael is always about when there is a resurrection. It seems that Michael has a special task assigned to him, and that is the watchcare of the bodies of the redeemed. Sometimes you have the opportunity of laying one of your loved ones in a grave site that you can visit often. You know where the body is. You don't have to wonder what happened to the body; you know it is there in the grave site, and you know it is preserved in whatever manner you made provision for it to be preserved. But there are other people who are not so fortunate. They have loved ones whose bodies are lying somewhere where nobody knows where they are, and they are tortured with the thought that they know not where the body of that loved one is.

A Body Purchased By Christ

Don't look critically at them, and don't say they ought not to be so interested in the body in which the loved one dwelt. Remember, that body was purchased by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is precious in the sight of God. Remember, it is so precious that God someday is going to take that body and change it into a glorious body like unto the body of the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:21).

But these individuals who know not where the body of their loved one lies sometimes are quite concerned. They have expressed that concern to me, saying, “I don't know where my loved one is.” Now when Jesus comes, you say the dead in Christ shall be raised first, and then they which are alive and remain shall be caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air (I Thess. 4:16,17); now what about those people the location of whose bodies is not known? Maybe they were blown up in the war; maybe they were lost at sea; we don't know. Well, it is a great comfort to my heart to know that the angel Michael has the responsibility of keeping the record of where the bodies are, and he knows.

Now, of course, that is beyond my little two-by-four mind to understand. I cannot understand how he can do it, but the Bible says he does. For example, he is the only one who knows where the body of Moses is today. When the Lord Jesus Christ comes, Michael is going to see to it that the body of Moses is raised from the dead, and together we are going to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. And so will he do with every child of God.

In these eight out of twelve chapters in the book of Daniel, Daniel brings to our attention truths about angels that are not found anywhere else in the Word of God. I trust that we will have a realistic approach to the mystery of angels, not to worship them, not to be afraid of them, and not to hesitate to trust God to assign one of them to watch over us and over our best interests.

Shall we bow our heads together for prayer: We are grateful, our Father, for thy watchcare over us, and we thank Thee for the watchcare which Thou hast manifested in the ministry of the angels for the heirs of salvation. We would thank Thee for all of those many times that Thou in Thy goodness did send an angel to shut the lion's mouth, figuratively speaking, and to make it possible for us to continue when certainly we would have been hindered otherwise. As we remember that the forces of evil are constantly fighting against the forces of good, we should be faithful in our praying. We should be faithful in our holding onto God until the victory is won. Grant that our perspective may be right in this truth. For we pray in Jesus' name and for His sake. Amen.

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