Daniel 10:2, 3 In those days I myself, Daniel, happened to be mourning for three full weeks. 3 Dainty bread I did not eat, and no flesh or wine entered into my mouth, and in no way did I grease myself until the completing of the three full weeks.
Daniel was concerned about fellow Jews who in 537 B.C.E. had returned to Jerusalem. That’s a nice reminder right there; to pray for our brothers and sisters.
Jehovah noted Daniel’s actions and heard his prayer and immediately sent an angel to strengthen and reassure him.
Daniel 10:12 And he went on to say to me: “Do not be afraid, O Daniel, for from the first day that you gave your heart to understanding and humbling yourself before your God your words have been heard, and I myself have come because of your words.
Yes, Jehovah heard and acted on the first day Daniel started praying. But didn’t verse 3 say that the angel arrived three weeks later? Well, it turns out he had a good excuse.
Daniel 10:13 But the prince of the royal realm of Persia was standing in opposition to me for twenty-one days, and, look! Mi′chael, one of the foremost princes, came to help me; and I, for my part, remained there beside the kings of Persia.
I suppose the first thing to note is the account never mentions why one of the other 100 million angels couldn’t have come. More importantly, it tells us why this angel was delayed by revealing that this ‘prince of Persia’ was actively stopping him. Who was this ‘prince of Persia’?
The angel was obviously not referring to Persian King Cyrus, who was favourable toward Daniel and his people. Additionally, how could a human resist an angel?
The only being that could resist an angel must be a fallen angel, a demon, an agent of the Devil, who had been given control over the realm of the Persian Empire.
The angel goes on to reveal more in Daniel 10:20:
…now I shall go back to fight with the prince of Persia. When I am going forth, look! also the prince of Greece is coming.
So there wasn’t just a demon assigned to Persia. There was also one assigned to Greece. What can we conclude from this?
That there are invisible world rulers, demon princes who share control of the world under the authority of Satan the Devil. This chilling state of affairs was something the Apostle Paul wrote about at Ephesians 6:12:
we have a wrestling, not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.
Wicked spirit forces: demon princes.
And Daniel’s experience confirms, that when Paul said ‘we have a wrestling,’ he didn’t just mean generally. Yes, there is the spirit of the world and the endless distractions and temptations of modern life. But in Daniel’s case, demons actively worked against a response to prayer; angels have to battle through them to bring Jehovah’s messages to us.
We always value responses to our prayers but I’m sure that this reminder will help us to appreciate even more the work Jehovah’s invisible organisation puts in, the battles they must wage, to bring us his answers.
Reference: w11 9/1 The World’s Secret Ruler Exposed