21. But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.
21. Verum indicabo tibi quod exeratum est in Scriptura veraci: et non unus qui se roboret, vel, qui viriliter agat, mecum in his, nisi Michael princeps vester.
I omit the interpretation of those who say that after the departure of the angel the prince of the Greeks came forward, because God ceased to afford assistance to the kingdom of the Persians. This is altogether different from the Prophet's sense, and we must hold the explanation which I have adopted. The angel now adds the object of his mission -- to make Daniel acquainted with what he will afterwards relate. He again attracts our confidence towards his message, not only for the sake of the Prophet privately, but to assure all the pious how free Daniel's writings were from any human delusion or invention, and how fully they were inspired from above. I will announce, therefore, what has been engraven, or ensculptured, in the Scripture of truth. By this phrase, "the Scripture of truth," he doubtless means the eternal and inviolable decree of God himself. God needs no books; paper and books are but helps to our memory, which would otherwise easily let things slip; but as he never suffers from forgetfulness, hence he needs no books. We are aware how often holy Scripture adopts forms of speech according to human customs. This clause implies the same as if the angel had said, he brought nothing but what God had already determined before, and thus the Prophet would expect a full and complete accomplishment
He next adds, There is no one who supports me in this duty except Michael, whom he calls prince of the elect people. It is surprising why the angel and Michael alone fought for the safety of the people. It is written, Angels pitch their camp in a circuit around those who fear God, (Psalm 34:7,) and then but one Church existed in the world. Why, then, did not God commit this charge to more angels than one? Why did he not send forth mighty forces? We acknowledge that God does not confine himself to any fixed rule; he can help us as well by many forces as by a single angel or by more. And he does not make use of angels as if he could not do without them. This is the reason of that variety which we observe: he is first content with one angel, and then joins more with him. He will give to one man a great army, as we read of Elisha, and as other passages in Scripture afford us examples. (2 Kings 6:17.) the servant of Elisha saw the air full of angels. Thus also Christ said, Can I not ask my Father, and he will send me, not one angel only, but a legion? (Matthew 26:53.) Again, the Spirit of God assigns many angels to each of the faithful. (Psalm 91:11.) Now, therefore, we understand why God sends more angels, not always with the same purpose or intention, to inform us that he is sufficient to afford us protection, even if no other help should be supplied. He provides for our infirmities by bringing us help by means of his angels, who act like hands to execute his commands. But I have previously remarked this is not an invariable practice, and we ought not to bind him by any fixed conditions to supply our wants always in the same manner. God seemed, at least for a time, to leave his people without help, and afterwards two angels were sent to contend for them; first, a single one was sent to Daniel, and then Michael, whom some think to be Christ. I do not object to this view, for he calls him a prince of the Church, and this title seems by no means to belong to any angels, but to be peculiar to Christ. On the whole, the angel signifies that God did not put forth his full strength in contending for his Church, but shews himself to be a servant to promote its safety till the time of deliverance should arise. He afterwards adds -- for the next verse may be treated shortly, and ought to be connected with this in one context.