by Mike Ratliff
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-12 (NASB)
There is a great deal more going on in the spiritual than those of us in the temporal know about. All in Christ who still live and breathe are in the world, but are not part of it. Some, of course, live as if they are part of it, but we are called to be separate from the fleshpot world while being filled with the Spirit. Why? Of course if we are in love with this world, this present age, we will become encumbered and distracted from what we should be doing. Also, the world system, its things and its ways are all controlled by our enemy and his rulers, authorities, cosmic powers who do all they can to keep people blind in this present darkness. When believers are temporally focused they are being influenced by evil, if not controlled by it.
1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar; and the message was true and one of great conflict, but he understood the message and had an understanding of the vision.
2 In those days, I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks. 3 I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed. Daniel 10:1-3 (NASB)
We now move two years after the time when Daniel received the vision of the Seventy Weeks we read in Chapter 9. In Chapters 10,11, and 12 we read of the last vision Daniel received. We will concentrate on Chapter 10 in this post. Prior to receiving this last vision, Daniel was mourning for three weeks. He ate no delicacies. He ate no meat and did not drink any wine. He let his body take on a position of abject mourning springing from a humble and broken heart. Why would he do this? He was fasting and praying. We will see in v12 and following that Daniel was praying for wisdom, knowledge and discernment about the Jews their place in the coming empires and the end times.
4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris, 5 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. 6 His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult. 7 Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves. 8 So I was left alone and saw this great vision; yet no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength. 9 But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground. Daniel 10:4-9 (NASB)
Who is this man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz? His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning. His eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze. What was his voice like? The sound of his words like the sound of a tumult. Again, who is this? It isn’t Gabriel. This description is far greater than his. Read this:
12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; 13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. Revelation 1:12-15 (NASB)
We know that this passage from Revelation is John’s description of our Lord Jesus Christ in His glorified state. Do you see the similarities? What was Daniel’s response to seeing Him compared to John’s at seeing Christ? They both fell as dead men. Notice also how the men with Daniel were so terrified that they fled. Is this the pre-incarnate Son of God Himself or another angel?
10 Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said to me, “O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. 12 Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.” Daniel 10:10-14 (NASB)
The hand and words here are those of Gabriel who had visited Daniel previously. Notice also that God does hear the prayers of His people and does answer them. Here we are given some insight into the spiritual realm. Gabriel could not come to Daniel when he was sent because of the resistance from “the prince of the kingdom of Persia.” Who is that? He was one of the rulers of this present darkness as Paul told us in Ephesians 6. Daniel was so stricken with grief and mourning that he fasted and prayed fervently. This is spiritual warfare. Because of Daniel’s continual service to God, fasting and praying, Gabriel was given assistance from Michael, one of the chief princes. Was the “man” Daniel saw first Michael? Gabriel could not withstand the power of the evil princes of darkness without Michael’s help. Gabriel was given a message for Daniel about what would happen to his people in the latter days.
15 When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless. 16 And behold, one who resembled a human being was touching my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke and said to him who was standing before me, “O my lord, as a result of the vision anguish has come upon me, and I have retained no strength. 17 For how can such a servant of my lord talk with such as my lord? As for me, there remains just now no strength in me, nor has any breath been left in me.”
18 Then this one with human appearance touched me again and strengthened me. 19 He said, “O man of high esteem, do not be afraid. Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!” Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, “May my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” 20 Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. 21 However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince. Daniel 10:15-21 (NASB)
Satan engages in heavenly warfare in an attempt to thwart God’s work. The prince of Persia was somehow anointed in a way that kept Gabriel from reaching Daniel at once. Michael is one of the chief angels in Heaven.
7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Revelation 12:7-9 (NASB)
This passage describes a war in Heaven. We know that our enemy stands before God accusing the brethren day and night. (Revelation 12:10) He is doing that right now as you read this and I write this. He is telling God how unworthy we are to be called Christians. He is telling God things to incite Him to allow suffering and pain in our lives to discourage us. He does not believe that God’s grace is sufficient for us. However, we know that Satan is right about something. We are not deserving of anything good from God for our sakes. However, for the sake of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood purchased us from darkness and death to save us from the Father’s wrath, we have right standing before Him.
We must pursue prayer and fasting as Daniel did. Daniel loved the Lord and served Him day and night. God mightily used him because of his faithfulness. He fasted and prayed and mourned for his people and God’s glory. Are we doing the same thing for our brethren? The visible Church is sick. It has been compromised. It is full of false teachers and preachers who scatter the true sheep to fill the pews with false sheep. They bring the world into the church instead of being separate from it. Are we broken hearted over it? Are we fasting and praying for her sake? If Christians will humble themselves and pray, God will hear from Heaven and answer. His will be done.
Soli Deo Gloria!