At the beginning of thy supplications - We are not informed at what time Daniel began to pray, but as remarked above, it is most natural to suppose that he devoted the day to prayer, and had commenced these solemn acts of devotion in the morning.
The commandment came forth - Margin, “word.” That is, the word of God. This evidently means, in heaven; and the idea is, that as soon as he began to pray a command was issued from God to Gabriel that he should visit Daniel, and convey to him the important message respecting future events. It is fair to conclude that he had at once left heaven in obedience to the order, and on this high embassage, and that he had passed over the amazing distance between heaven and earth in the short time during which Daniel was engaged in prayer. If so, and if heaven - the peculiar seat of God, the dwelling-place of angels and of the just - is beyond the region of the fixed stars, some central place in this vast universe, then this may give us some idea of the amazing rapidity with which celestial beings may move. It is calculated that there are stars so remote from our earth, that their light would not travel down to us for many thousand years. If so, how much more rapid may be the movements of celestial beings than even light; perhaps more than that of the lightning‘s flash - than the electric fluid on telegraphic wires - though “that” moves at the rate of more than 200,000 miles in a second. Compare Dick‘s “Philosophy of a Future State,” p. 220. “During the few minutes employed in uttering this prayer,” says Dr. Dick, “this angelic messenger descended from the celestial regions to the country of Babylonia. This was a rapidity of motion surpassing the comprehension of the most vigorous imagination, and far exceeding even the amazing velocity of light.” With such a rapidity it may be our privilege yet to pass from world to world on errands of mercy and love, or to survey in distant parts of the universe the wonderful works of God.
And I am come to show thee - To make thee acquainted with what will yet be.
For thou” art “greatly beloved - Margin, as in Hebrew, “a man of desires.” That is, he was one whose happiness was greatly desired by God; or, a man of God‘s delight; that is, as in our version, greatly beloved. It was on this account that his prayer was heard, and that God sent to him this important message respecting what was to come.
Therefore understand the matter - The matter respecting what was yet to occur in regard to his people.
And consider the vision - This vision - the vision of future things which he was now about to present to his view. From this passage, describing the appearance of Gabriel to Daniel, we may learn,
(a) That our prayers, if sincere, are heard in heaven “as soon” as they are offered. They enter at once into the ears of God, and he regards them at the instant.
(b) A command, as it were, may be at once issued to answer them - “as if” he directed an angel to bear the answer at once.
(c) The angels are ready to hasten down to men, to communicate the will of God. Gabriel came evidently with pleasure on his embassage, and to a benevolent being anywhere there is nothing more grateful than to be commissioned to bear glad tidings to others. Possibly that may be a part of the employment of the righteous forever.
(d) The thought is an interesting one, if we are permitted to entertain it, that good angels may be constantly employed as Gabriel was; that whenever prayer is offered on earth they may be commissioned to bring answers of peace and mercy, or despatched to render aid, and that thus the universe may be constantly traversed by these holy beings ministering to those who are “heirs of salvation,” Hebrews 1:1, Hebrews 1:4.
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” 5T 635.1Read in context »
Daniel was a man to whom God had given great skill and learning, and when he fasted the angel came to him and said, “Thou art greatly beloved.” And he fell prostrate before the angel. He did not say, “Lord, I have been very faithful to You and I have done everything to honor You and defend Your word and name. Lord, You know how faithful I was at the king's table, and how I maintained my integrity when they cast me into the den of lions.” Was that the way Daniel prayed to God? 3SM 353.3Read in context »
“I set my face unto the Lord God,” the prophet declared, “to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: and I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession.” Verses 3, 4. Though Daniel had long been in the service of God, and had been spoken of by heaven as “greatly beloved,” yet he now appeared before God as a sinner, urging the great need of the people he loved. His prayer was eloquent in its simplicity, and intensely earnest. Hear him pleading: PK 555.1
“O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love Him, and to them that keep His commandments; we have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from Thy precepts and from Thy judgments; neither have we hearkened unto Thy servants the prophets, which spake in Thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. PK 555.2
“O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto Thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither Thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against Thee.... PK 555.3Read in context »
The Lord will lead His people and guide them. The commandment will go forth from God as to Daniel, to help those making earnest intercession to the throne of His grace in their time of need. HP 87.5Read in context »
If the students who attend our colleges would be firm, and maintain integrity, if they would not associate with those who walk in the paths of sin, nor be charmed by their society, like Daniel they would enjoy the favor of God. If they would discard unprofitable amusements and indulgence of appetite, their minds would be clear for the pursuit of knowledge. They would thus gain a moral power that would enable them to remain unmoved when assailed by temptation. It is a continual struggle to be always on the alert to resist evil; but it pays to obtain one victory after another over self and the powers of darkness. And if the youth are proved and tested, as was Daniel, what honor can they reflect to God by their firm adherence to the right. FE 87.1
A spotless character is as precious as the gold of Ophir. Without pure, unsullied virtue, none can ever rise to any honorable eminence. But noble aspirations and the love of righteousness are not inherited. Character cannot be bought; it must be formed by stern efforts to resist temptation. The formation of a right character is the work of a lifetime, and is the outgrowth of prayerful meditation united with a grand purpose. The excellence of character that you possess must be the result of your own effort. Friends may encourage you, but they cannot do the work for you. Wishing, sighing, dreaming, will never make you great or good. You must climb. Gird up the loins of your mind, and go to work with all the strong powers of your will. It is the wise improvement of your opportunities, the cultivation of your God-given talents, that will make you men and women that can be approved of God, and a blessing to society. Let your standard be high, and with indomitable energy, make the most of your talents and opportunities, and press to the mark. FE 87.2
Will our youth consider that they have battles to fight? Satan and his hosts are arrayed against them, and they have not the experience that those of mature age have gained. FE 88.1Read in context »