A Myth Based Upon a Myth

Does this story of Daniel and the prince of Persia prove that our spiritual warfare can determine the outcome of angelic battles? Again, this idea assumes (based upon a few scriptures) that there are regular angelic battles. But let’s take a leap in the dark and say that, yes, there are regular angelic battles. Does this story about Daniel prove that our spiritual warfare can determine the outcome of angelic battles that perhaps do occur?

The question is often asked by those who promote this particular myth, “What if Daniel had given up after one day?” The answer to that question, of course, no one actually knows, because the fact is that Daniel didn’t stop seeking God in prayer until the unnamed angel arrived. The implication in asking it, however, is to convince us that Daniel, through continued spiritual warfare, was the key to the unnamed angel’s breakthrough in the heavenlies. If Daniel had quit doing spiritual battle, supposedly the angel would never have made it past the prince of Persia. They want us to believe that we, like Daniel, must continue in spiritual battle, or else some evil angel may triumph over one of God’s angels.

First, may I point out that Daniel was not “doing spiritual warfare”—he was praying to God. There is no mention of him saying anything to any demonic angels, or binding them, or “warring” against them. Daniel, in fact, had no knowledge that there was any on-going angelic battle until three weeks had passed and the unnamed angel appeared to him. He spent those three weeks fasting and seeking God.

So let us rephrase the question: If Daniel had quit praying and seeking God after one or two days, would that unnamed angel have failed to get God’s message through to him? We don’t know. May I point out, however, that the unnamed angel never said to Daniel, “It’s a good thing you kept praying, or else I would never had made it.” No, the angel gave credit to Michael for his breakthrough. Obviously it was God who sent the unnamed angel and Michael, and He sent them in response to Daniel’s prayer for understanding of what was to take place in Israel’s future.

It would be an assumption to think that if Daniel had stopped fasting or seeking God, God would have said, “O.K. you two angels, Daniel has stopped fasting and praying, so even though I sent one of you to take a message to him on the first day he started praying, forget about getting that message to Daniel. It looks like there never will be an eleventh or twelfth chapter in Daniel’s book.”

Daniel obviously did persevere in prayer (not “spiritual warfare”), and God responded by sending angels. We, too, should persevere in prayer to God, and if God so wills, our answer could come by the agency of an angel. But don’t forget that there are plenty of examples of angels delivering important messages to biblical people where no mention is made of anyone praying a single prayer, much less praying for three weeks.[1] We need to remain balanced. Furthermore, there are scores of instances of angels who gave messages to biblical people that include no mention of those angels having to fight demonic angels on the way from heaven. Those angels may have had to fight evil angels in order to deliver their messages, but if they did, we don’t know about it, because the Bible doesn’t tell us.

So on we go to a third commonly-believed myth.

[1] See, for example, Matt. 1:20; 2:13,19; 4:11; Luke 1:11-20, 26-38.