My last column ended with these words: “ ‘Michael, your prince’ is the One who was/is the champion on God’s side in the great controversy. And He will save His people.”
Consider, Michael, Jesus, “the great Prince who has charge of your people” is in charge of God’s work here on earth and He has never lost a war. He has at His command all the angels of heaven and will always be successful in the battle with Satan.
Satan also has angels — “one third of the angels fell from heaven when Satan was cast out.” That means that for every evil angel, God has two and He guarantees success in our battles too!
If you feel overstretched by temptations and from the allurements all around, just remember that with Jesus on your side you are always in a majority and will be successful in your battles.
The phrase “your people” makes it certain that the prophecies pertain to the destiny of God’s people, both in the Old Testament and New Testament times. The themes of chapters 8 and 9 are continued in chapter 11.
In Old Testament times, literal Israelites were God’s people and all terms must be related geographically to the points of the compass radiating from a Palestinian centre. In New Testament times, Israel means the redeemed, and the meaning of these terms ceases to be local inasmuch that God’s Israel is scattered all over the world.
If we are to make sense of prophecy and current events, it is vital for us to understand this. Remember that the angel said that he had come to give Daniel an understanding of things to come and these events are recorded in Chapters 11 and 12.
We find such terms as the latter day “king of the north.” A spiritual “Babylon” and an “Egypt” that denies it knows God. The use of these terms, as with “your people” reminds us that the church is at the heart of all prophecy and all else is present because of relationship to it for good or evil.
The language of Daniel 11 is not symbolic but literal. Daniel chapters 2, 7 and 8 are prophetic symbolism. But in Daniel 11 there are no multi-element images, no beasts or horns. Even so, its language is far from easy to understand! It is cryptic, many metaphors employed and many pronouns do not seems to have clear antecedents. The cryptic language Daniel 11 has led to many interpretations.
To correctly understand prophecies we must take the time to prayerfully study the Bible and history to find the message that God has for us. As the Apostle Peter wrote, “you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,” so read, pray, study for yourself before consulting with trusted scholars and believers. (2 Peter 1:20)
Do not be misled by any single translation and be very careful of any footnotes in study Bibles. Let the Bible interpret itself.
Charles Wright correctly warned, “These modern attempts to correct the text of Daniel so as to bring it into closer harmony with the records of Maccabean times … are highly suspicious.”
Ian Cotton is the retired pastor of the Creston Seventh-day Adventist Church.