While Daniel was fasting and praying he was waiting on God for answers concerning what he read in God’s word regarding Israel. Although Daniel did not know it at the time there was a spiritual battle taking place trying to hinder Daniel from receiving the answer he had been seeking. In these passages of scripture Daniel is going to have a spiritual realm revealed to him about a war that is taking place around us.
Read Daniel 10:4-9
Daniel left Babylon and traveled to the Tigris River which would have been twenty miles away at its closest distance from Babylon. Daniel had others with him probably because he was a high ranking official who never traveled alone wherever he went. As Daniel was praying suddenly a man appeared who was floating above the Tigris River and although Daniel could see him the rest of his party could not. Although the people with Daniel could not see the man but they felt his presence and fled similar to the Apostle Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9:1-7)
Who was this person?
Theologians are not in agreement with whom this man was with some saying he was an angel sent by God while others say it was Jesus. White is a symbol of purity (Isaiah 1:18; Daniel 11:35, 12:10) and Saints in Heaven are depicted wearing white (Revelation 3:5; 6:11; 7:9) so we know this was a Holy person who was Jesus Himself or it was someone who just left the throne of God who was still shinning from the Glory of God. Those who say it was Jesus refer to Ezekiel 1:26-28 and Revelation 1:12-16 which show the similarities of passages of scripture referring to Jesus. Those who say it was not Jesus use the fact that the man was delayed and Jesus could not be delayed by anything.
It is not my intent to discuss exactly who this was but to only point out that there are people who disagree on who this was. What we do know for sure is that they were sent in response to Daniels prayers.
Read Daniel 10:10 -12
“From the first day you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before God (Fasting) your words have been heard and I have come because of your words.
Have you ever prayed and felt like God was not listening?
Daniel prayed and fasted for three weeks without an answer to his prayers but this did not discourage him from continuing to pray and humble himself before God.
Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
To ask, seek and knock is a continual action and Jesus is telling us that we should seek after the things of God even when we do not get the answer as quickly as we would like. Daniel was not detoured because his answer from God did not come quickly but it focused him all the more to stay diligent in prayer.
The first thing Daniel is told is that he is fully loved. One of the lies that we can start believing when our prayers are not answered is that God does not love or care about us. We might think that God has abandoned us or worse does not care about our situation. It is easy to quit praying when you do not think God is listening or cares and then we have a tendency to go and handle things on our own by our own wisdom and strength.
Pastor Tony Evans says people treat prayer like the national anthem. The national anthem is sung or played before a sporting event but it has no bearing on the outcome of the game. It is easy to start believing that our prayer life has no bearing on our lives and although we are commanded to do it we really do not believe that it has any bearing on our lives. We are self-sufficient people who rely on ourselves for all the answers when part of humbling yourself is to totally rely on God. Daniel’s posture of fasting and prayer was his acknowledgment that the answer he was seeking could not be reached in any other way than by God. Daniel did not rely on his own wisdom or resources but instead he went to God for the answers that he needed.
Read Daniel 10:13-20
The man let Daniel know that he was detained by another evil force but that Daniels prayer was heard immediately. The Angel Michael is the chief prince over Israel (Daniel 12:1) and he is the one who oversees all the affairs of Israel as a nation. There are several things we can learn from this encounter that I believe are important for us to remember as we go through our daily lives.
The War is between good and evil
Evil angels are mentioned in the Old Testament over 100 times and more than 160 times in the New Testament according to James Boyce’s commentary on Daniel. As followers of Christ and believers in God’s Word we have been told throughout scripture that there is a war taking place that we cannot see. This belief will go against culture who says that everything is caused naturally and therefore whatever our senses tell us is the only things we can actually believe in. If you can see it, taste it, hear it, feel it or smell it then you can make a case for it but the Bible tells us there is a world that goes beyond all our senses.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
One of Satan’s greatest lies is to get you to believe he does not exist and that he is not someone along with other fallen angels we should even consider thinking about. Who do you think is behind every broken relationship? Who do you think is behind a church split? Satan is the destroyer of everything good and is behind the scenes impacting our culture.
“While God can, of course, override the united resistance of all the forces of hell if He chooses to do so, He accords to demons certain limited powers of obstruction and rebellion somewhat like those He allows to humans. (The New American Commentary, Stephen R. Miller, Pg. 286)
Just like in the book of Job, God allows things to happen for reasons that go beyond our understanding and knowledge. Although we are not told why God allowed the three week delay in Daniel getting his answer, we can know that God was doing something in Daniels life for a purpose that only God knows about. If you are praying and it is delayed then you know you need to keep on praying because God is going to use it to grow you or to answer your prayer request at the perfect time.
The War is over Gods established institutions
- A) Government
Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God
“The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me”
Not only does this passage tell us that the Kingdom of Persia was influenced by evil angels this man then lets us know in verse 20 that the prince of Greece (another evil angel) will come when Greece is the dominant world ruler under Alexander the Great. As we already said the Angel Michael has the task of fighting Satan and his evil angels for the Israelites. (Jude 9; Revelation 12:1-9) and this battle would continue for two centuries.
What was going on that would be such a battle?
The struggle was over the decisions regarding the Jews in the book of Esther, Ezra and Nehemiah and that they had been given permission to go back to their country they were taken from seventy years earlier and rebuild the temple and the city. The rebuilding of the temple and the city would be a precursor for the Messiah to come to the earth. Satan knew God’s plan to redeem his people and Satan knew all the prophecies regarding the Messiah and that He would ride through Jerusalem on a colt. (Zechariah 9:9)
Daniel’s concern was about and the lack of people who went back to rebuild the temple and the city even though the King allowed them to leave. Daniel also heard reports of fighting among the Jews that was delaying the temple being built.
One of the reasons we should continually pray for our own government and other countries as well is because there is a spiritual battle that is raging that we cannot see. God will use these struggles for purposes we may not ever understand but our responsibility is to pray.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
We need to pray more than we complain about our government and its leaders. We need to pray that God would use them for His purposes. Remember, the King Nebuchadnezzar was an evil king and yet God changed him and if God can change King Nebuchadnezzar than God can change anyone.
“Behind the scenes of international events there rages great supernatural conflict invisible to the human eye.” (The Most High God, Dr. Renald E. Showers, Pg. 147-148)
- B) Church
Another institution that God established is the church. The Church is called to take the truth of God and to be a light to a world that is lost in darkness. Unfortunately too many churches are known for their disagreements rather than demonstrating the love of God for one another.
Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
If Satan can disrupt the church then he can disrupt the churches mission. Satan wants to destroy as many lives as possible and one of the ways he does that is by making the church less effective. The church will never be destroyed but when a church loses its focus it is not on the mission that God has called it to be on.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
How many churches do you know that are caught up in church disagreements more than they are about telling others about Jesus Christ? We lose our focus because there is an enemy that does not want us to be effective in what God has called us to do. Churches should be a place of truth coupled with love, acceptance and accountability but they are known as places of division. It is one thing to divide if a church begins teaching false doctrine but most church splits are over trivial things or pride issues. Be careful that you do not cause disunity in a church you might just be an instrument of Satan by causing the church to lose its focus on what is really important.
- C) Family
The family was established in the Garden when God created Adam and Eve. (Genesis 2:24) Satan attacked Adam and Eve and they turned on each other. Satan’s plan has always been to destroy what God meant for good and the family is no exception. It does not take much to see that the family and marriage has been under attack in America as people have been trying to redefine what marriage means and who can legally be married. We can blame law makers and organizations for trying to destroy the Biblical definition of marriage but the reality is that there is an evil that is pushing for its destruction.
“If he can destroy your family, he can do more damage than simply destroying the present generation. By destroying your family, he increases the potential to destroy future generations. .. The tragedy today is the many Christians think they are fighting flesh and blood in their marital and parenting issues, rather than realizing that Satan has an agenda to destroy their home. Whoever controls the family controls the future.” (Victory in Spiritual Warfare, Tony Evans, Pg 27)
Satan has a plan to destroy your family; do you have a plan for him not to? Prayer is your number one tool to keep Satan from destroying your marriage and your family and I would encourage you to pray diligently for God’s protection and wisdom.
- D) Individuals
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God created humans as a special creation but some want you to believe you are not a special design and that you came from the animal kingdom. Not only do they want to take away that human beings are special they want to distort what it means to be a man or a woman.
Satan hates you because you were made in an image of God and when you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ God will work in you to return you back to the original design. (Romans 8:29)
“If Satan can cripple or destroy an individual, he is that much further along in crippling families, churches and societies.” Victory in Spiritual Warfare, Tony Evans, PG. 26)
This is why it is important that as Christ Followers we understand what is really going on behind the scenes and why people are trying to do away with the specialness of the human race and the uniqueness of being made a male or a female.
“How we perceive our enemy will largely determine how we fight against Him.” Erwin Lutzer
You have to look past how someone is acting and see how Satan is trying to destroy them. We have to look what is behind the gender neutral debate and see that there is an enemy of God who wants to destroy people by destroying their identity. This will change your perspective on people who make you angry because you will see that Satan is using them to destroy relationships which ultimately will destroy themselves.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
In our government, our churches, our families and in our own lives we do not need to just pray for something we should also be praying against some things.
How do we know what to pray for? God’s Word
Read Daniel 10:21
The War is over the Book of Truth
John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
Many debates have been waged about what so called “Holy Book” is the right one. Do the Christians or the Muslims or the Jews have the right book? Satan wants to distort the truth so that people do not see God’s plan for them as individuals. Bring the Bible up in any debate and you will see people either get angry with you or dismiss you immediately because they do not believe it. The Bible has never been disproven and it is God’s word to us to guide, correct and instructs us in how to know Him and how to live.
Daniel wanted to know more about God’s chosen people and that set off a Holy War. When you try and discover what God is telling you in His word you must be prepared for a war. Daniel chapter eleven is the message the man had for Daniel that was so contested because it was about the future of Israel.
Israel would go through many sufferings and having the truth of God’s word would give them hope that God would not forget them through this time of suffering and pain.
The Book of Truth is God’s plan for the world and we can know that plan.
1 Timothy 2:3-6 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
The Book of Truth tells us there is only one way to Heaven and there is a cosmic battle for people to not know that truth. (John 14:6) Daniel was praying God’s Word back to Him as he was searching for answers and praying for Israel. We need to search the scriptures and pray the things that God has already revealed to us as well as wisdom for the things we do not understand. (James 1:5)
We must remember there is more going on behind the scenes than we can see and know through our senses. Our prayer lives and our time in God’s word must increase for our sake, our families sake, o and our governments sake. God has given us another glimpse of the spiritual war that is happening and for now until the end of time it will rage so we need to make sure we remember that it is going on and learn to fight it with prayer and Gods word.