On This Date in 536 B.C.

On April 23, as I was standing on the bank of the great Tigris River, I looked up and saw a man dressed in linen clothing, with a belt of pure gold around his waist. His body looked like a precious gem. His face flashed like lightning, and his eyes flamed like torches. His arms and feet shone like polished bronze, and his voice roared like a vast multitude of people. Daniel 10:4-6

Daniel was distressed. And so he prayed. He was distressed for His people. After seventy years of captivity in Babylon the Jews had been granted permission to return to their homeland. Less than fifty thousand returned (Ezra 2). The rest had grown accustomed to life in Babylon, a land of idolatry. More distressing than the malaise of those who stayed was the plight of those brave souls who returned to Israel. Daniel longed for them to be successful in restoring the temple and re-building Jerusalem. They had an enormous task and faced enemies of several varieties.

Daniel prayed. And fasted. On the twenty-first day of his fast, an angel – probably Gabriel – appeared to Daniel. It was April 23, 536 BC. He explained that he had begun his journey on the first day Daniel began to fast and pray but he was intercepted by a demon, the prince of the kingdom of Persia. For twenty-one days he fought against the evil angel, then Michael, a powerful archangel, came to his assistance. That ended the battle. Gabriel proceeded on his assignment. To say that he shocked Daniel by appearing to him as he walked along the bank of the Tigris River would be an understatement. Daniel felt the life go out of him. He fell to the ground.

Daniel’s experience gives us a glimpse into the spirit world. David Jeremiah writes, “In the invisible realms rages a battle that powerfully influences events in our world.” (Agents of Babylon). We cannot escape that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Many Christians prefer to ignore spiritual battle. Out of sight, out of mind. But we have a part to play in the battle for souls. Our part is fasting and prayer. Will we follow the example of the Jews who settled into the sinful lifestyle of the Babylonians? Or will we, like the brave souls who migrated back to Israel, assist in the re-building of the broken walls of faith in our nation?

Daniel was given a vision of things to come. Some events the angel showed him have not yet taken place. Others have. One Bible scholar estimated that 135 prophecies from Daniel’s vision have been fulfilled. These deal with the rise and fall of powerful empires.

A wise person observed: “the fate of the world is in the hands of nameless saints.” We are those nameless saints. Nameless to the world, but observed and treasured in Heaven.  

Prayer: As Daniel was faithful to his calling centuries ago, I want to be faithful to pray for my world in my century.

About Rose McCormick Brandon

An award winning personal experience writer, Rose McCormick Brandon is a frequent contributor to faith magazines, devotionals and compilations, including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Rose is the author of Promises of Home: Stories of Canada's British Home Children. One Good Word Makes all the Difference, He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me (and Vanished: What Happened to My Son. She's a frequent contributor to The Testimony, Today's Pentecostal Evangel and other faith magazines in Canada, U.S. and Australia. Rose also writes about Canadian history, specifically the era of Child Immigration from Britain. Read her stories of child immigrants at: http://littleimmigrants.wordpress.com
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