Year 3 Day 42
Read - Daniel 10
Message - Scott Woodburn
Whilst we don't often give much thought to unseen spiritual realities, the Scriptures paint a picture of warfare in the spiritual realms. Paul was hindered by Satan in his attempts to return to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 2v18) As Jesus completed His work at Calvary there were consequences in the unseen world. John would write "Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back." (Revelation 12v7)
No wonder the Apostle Paul would tell us "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." (Ephesians 6v12) We may not think about unseen spiritual realities but we are forced to admit that while we deal with what is seen, what is unseen plays a major part in this world.
Daniel would receive a vision that confirmed these spiritual realities. It was the third year of Cyrus (v1) and by this stage the Israelites had started to return home and would soon engage in the work of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. This work would be opposed in both the visible and invisible realms.
Daniel's vision gave him a glimpse of a man, yet this wasn't a routine regular guy. Daniel tells us that this man was "clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz round his waist. His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude." (v5-6) This finely dressed figure caused Daniel's companions to flee (v7) and Daniel to fall on the ground in a deep sleep (v9).
Who was this man? Some argue for good reason that this was an angel but there is a striking similarity between this figure and the individual who speaks with John in Revelation 1. It is my belief that just as Christ spoke to John on Patmos, so it was Christ who spoke to Daniel on the banks of the river Tigris.
Jesus once reached out and told John not to fear (Revelation 1v17) and in this passage Christ reaches out and counsels Daniel in the same manner (v10&12). As Daniel returned to his feet (v11) Jesus told him that his prayers had been heard in heaven and Christ had come with an answer. The people had returned home and the temple would be rebuilt but Jesus informed Daniel of a great spiritual battle that was taking place in the unseen realms.
A demonic spiritual power was described by Jesus as "the prince of the kingdom of Persia" (v13) and this fallen enemy of God's people had fought against the purposes of Christ for twenty-one days. The angels are the host of Almighty God and so Jesus, who is the commander of the Lord's army, had sent the angel Michael into battle on His behalf.
This is an extraordinary glimpse into the spiritual war that continues to rage. But let's be clear about a couple of things. Firstly, the battle is not equal - Jesus is not weaker than Satan. Secondly, the battle is not in doubt - Jesus has defeated Satan. Yet with those caveats we must also say that the battle between good and evil continues and will do so until the return of Christ. Satan knows he is defeated, yet he rages for he knows his time is short. Day by day the forces of the Lord continue to make ground until the last day when Christ's enemies will be placed under His feet.
The scale of this reality caused Daniel to fall silent needing the touch of Christ before he could speak once again (v15-16). The prophet admitted that he had no strength or breath any longer (v16-17). But Daniel was not the one called to fight the battle. Jesus was going to continue the war against Satan's forces in Persia and then He would take the fight to the demonic forces of Greece (v20). Christ's war against the enemy is constant, He fights it with His heavenly host (v21) and our Champion will never taste defeat.
What are we to make of this? Brothers and sisters, do not be surprised by the vindictiveness of the enemy and never marvel when the battle comes to the door of your church or home. We do not wrestle with things seen but instead we wrestle with that which is unseen. Take up the full armour of God and attend to the ordinary means of grace which are the weapons of the church. Hear the Word of Christ once spoken to Daniel and now spoken to you, child of God "greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” (v19)
Q44 What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us? The preface to the ten commandments teacheth us, that because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.