Our faith teaches us that the world we see is not all there is; rather, there is a whole other world that is invisible to us and inhabited by various kinds of spirits. Scripture occasionally gives us a peek into this world that exists unseen all around us.
We previously looked at a story from 2 Kings, in which God unveiled a hidden army of angels. In this article, we’ll look at a fascinating passage from the apocalyptic Old Testament book of Daniel that reveals the fascinating nature of spiritual warfare for individual angels.
In the 10th chapter of the book Daniel, the prophet Daniel has been fasting for three weeks, when he is suddenly visited by angel.
Here’s what he says the angel looked like:
“There before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.” (Daniel 10.5-6)
When the angel touches him, it sets him “trembling on [his] hands and knees.” (Daniel 10.10) But the angel reassured him, telling him that he was “highly esteemed” and that he had been sent to him to help him in response to his prayers and fasting.
That’s when the angel reveals something fascinating about the nature of angelical warfare.
The angel explains that he would have come sooner but was prevented by other spiritual forces and had to be saved by another angel. Here’s what he says:
“The prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.” (Daniel 10.13)
Michael, of course, is St. Michael the Archangel, who we learn from other parts of Scripture is the leader of God’s angelic armies fighting against Satan.
The angel says he needs to give Daniel information about “what will happen to your people in the future,” explaining that his “vision concerns a time yet to come,” after which the angel will need to return to fighting alongside Michael:
“Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.” (Daniel 10.20-21)
Here’s something we can learn from this amazing passage:
Angels are not omnipotent; they don’t just automatically win. Evil remains a force the good must fight. And there are ups and downs. Sometimes evil forces even appear to achieve small victories against the good side.
In other words, similar to as it is with humans on earth, the daily nature of the spiritual battle remains dramatic.
Let us be comforted that we are not fighting alone, but have the support of God’s angelic armies. But let us also remember, with God’s help, to continue the fight.