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Current study: Spiritual Warfare

14 September 2012

Week 37 - Daniel 10-12 - 14 September

September 14 Daniel 10-12

Daniel 10 opens with a fasting, praying and ointment free Daniel. Was he praying for those who left for Jerusalem a year before? Was he aware they had arrived safely and that the tabernacle’s treasures were intact? Did he know from the reports of Ezra that work had begun on the temple, only to be stopped by opposition? Did he know that the Jews were facing hardship in Jerusalem? Or did he want to know more about the fantastic visions he’d received? We’ll never know the complete reason. I know that it’s hard for me to go for three hours without food. Daniel was doing on three weeks. The mighty prayer warrior was seeking answers from God. Daniel ended his fast and three days later he received another vision.

Daniel was standing by the Tigris River. Daniel had an experience similar to Paul’s (Acts 9:1-7; 22:9). He could see the vision but the people with him could not.

On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river ( that is, the Tigris) 5  I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 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. 7  And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. 8 So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength. 9 Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground. Dan 10:4-9 (ESV)

Daniel was filled with awe. His strength left him and the vision caused him to fall asleep (faint?) Does the description of the man remind you of the man John saw? John’s response and Daniel’s response were very similar.

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14  The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15  his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16  In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. 17  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Rev 1:12-17 (ESV)

Did Daniel see Jesus? What an honor! Daniel had a long and faithful ministry. He suffered persecution and twice was nearly killed. God used all of the events in Daniel’s life to bring him to a place where he could see and know the mind and heart of God. Daniel didn’t try to take shortcuts. He didn’t cave to peer pressure. He ran the race and God used him greatly.

Daniel received a preincarnate visit from Jesus Christ. But Daniel wasn’t the only one in the Old Testament to see Him. Jesus appeared in various times and in various ways, meeting the needs of the saints of old. He met their needs then just as He meets our needs today. But today, we look back at what He did on the cross. Daniel and the Old Testament saints looked forward to the first coming of the Messiah.

·         Abraham, the pilgrim saw Him as a traveler (Genesis 18).
·         Jacob, the schemer/liar, saw Him as a fighter/wrestler (Genesis 32).
·         Joshua, the mighty warrior, saw him as the Captain of the Lord’s armies (Joshua 5:13-15).
·         Isaiah, the Old Testament herald, saw Him as the King on the throne (Isaiah 6; John 12:37-41).
·         Daniel and John, the Jewish exiles, saw Him as King-Priest. They both received visions of the future.

As Daniel was brought to his feet (was it Gabriel that helped him up? We know it can’t be Jesus because Jesus wouldn’t need Michael’s help and Satan can’t withstand Him). As he conversed with the being, we discover that a war is constantly raging in the heavens. We find out that Daniel was searching for wisdom as he fasted and prayed (although I’m sure he also expressed his concerns about the Jews as well).

Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. 13  The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, 14  and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.” Dan 10:12-14 (ESV)

Daniel’s prayers were answered, but not right away. Through this we can see that sometimes our prayers are answered but it’s heavenly war that keeps the answer from us. Paul told us that:

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. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Eph 6:12-13 (ESV)
“Ghosts and goblins” aren’t anything to play with. Demons are real. We need to stand firm against the onslaught of cosmic posers and spiritual forces of evil. We can only do that with God’s armor, and we’ll only become strong through prayer and reading/studying God’s Word. Daniel was effective because he kept his eyes focused on God. We need to follow his example.

Daniel’s strength was restored and he was able to hear and record God’s message to him – and to us. Daniel was comforted by the heavenly  being.

Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.  Dan 10:12 (ESV)

And he said, “O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened. Dan 10:19 (ESV)

Daniel probably learned more than he ever expected that day about God’s plans – and about spiritual warfare. We should learn from Daniel’s life. Do you sometimes pray but it seems that God isn’t listening? Is it because there is spiritual warfare happening around you – or is your disobedience hindering your prayers? Do you stay “prayed up” and in the Word, or is it sort of hit-or-miss and on Sundays you expect a fill up for the entire week? Are you more like Daniel, or more like … sigh. I want to be more like Daniel! How about you?

We read Daniel’s long and complex vision. The details get cloudy, we lose our place (I do anyway). Is it really necessary to read all this? YES IT IS!

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.  2 Tim 3:16-17 (ESV)

All. We need to read the difficult stuff and the boring stuff the same way we read the easy and exciting stuff. ALL Scripture is here to make us competent to do our work for God. when it’s difficult, take some extra time to pray and ask God to help you figure it out!

Back to chapter 11. Some of the vision had to do with prophecy that’s already been fulfilled (but it wasn’t when Daniel saw the vision; that’s why it was prophecy). Fulfilled prophecy gives us proof of the truth of the entire Bible.

Persia. The Persians were more considerate of the Jews than the Babylonians. Satan didn’t like that (he’s always trying to destroy God’s people). When Michael and Gabriel won the war in the heavenlies, it allowed Darius and Cyrus to look kindly on the Jews. Cyrus wrote the decree that allowed the Jews to go home and rebuild the temple (Ezra 1:1-4).

Greece. Alexander the Great, of course! He defeated the Persians in 332 and died in 323. Alexander’s conquests allowed Greek culture and language to spread, and that allowed the Gospel to be easily passed from town to town.

Kings of the North (Syria) and South (Egypt).  Daniel’s prophecies came true as the world saw Ptolemy I II, III and IV, Selecus I and II, Antiochus II and III and Antiochus Epiphanes come and go. History proves Daniel’s words – and therefore God’s words – to be true and faithful.

From 11:36 to the end of the book, the vision once again shifts to the time of the end. We get additional details about end time battles and the ultimate battle of Armageddon. But the best part of this vision – the return of Christ and the institution of the millennium kingdom.

God has promised a kingdom to Jesus.

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:30-33 (ESV)

Jesus will one day give His kingdom back to God.

Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 1 Cor 15:24 (ESV)

 Satan knew about god’s promise, and he tried to tempt Jesus to accept all the world’s kingdoms instead. Jesus refused. He reminded His disciples of the promise and told them not to speculate about when it would happen.

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.  42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Matt 24:36, 42-46 (ESV)

The when isn’t important. What we do with our time before it happens is what counts. We should watch and notice the signs of the times, but we should keep our hands busy with God’s work, and not looking for a “sign” in every headline.

Daniel’s visions have been amazing. The praying man of God was used to give us a glimpse into future history. But that’s not all he’s done for us. Through him, we see it’s possible to stay away from the world’s temptation by staying in God’s Word. We know that our prayers are heard and answered, but sometimes those answers are delayed by heavenly warring. If those answers are delayed, we know that God’s got it under control – even a delayed answer is part of His plan!

Daniel – God is my judge – is an amazing example of living a godly life. We should strive to “Dare to be a Daniel” and stand alone, if needed. If we’re devoured by those lions, it’s part of God’s plan. If we come out of the furnace unsigned, we need to praise and glorify God.

What part of Daniel was most interesting to you? What spoke to you? What parts of your life will be changed now that you’ve read and studied this short book? Please let me know.

Next week is a busy week because we are covering all of part of five different books. It’s been a great ride so far. Congratulations for continuing in the good habit of Bible study. I pray that after the year ends you will continue on reading and studying every day. You’ll be amazed at the fresh insights you gain each time you take the Read Through the Bible Challenge.

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