The Invisible War (Part 2)
11-12-17 Daniel 10:2-11 Lesson 41
If we could take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Daniel, chapter 10 and verse 2, seeking to cover, God willing, verses 2-13 this morning. Some of you are laughing, it’ll never happen. The title of our message this morning is The Invisible War, Part 2. We started last time introducing the Book of Daniel. Here are the four major parts of Daniel 10, and actually that fourth part there leads into chapter 11 and 12. [I. The Setting (10:1-3) II. Arrival of the Heavenly Messenger (10:4-9). [III] Explanation of the Heavenly Messenger (10:1–11:1). [IV] The Prophecy of the Heavenly Messenger (11:2–12:13).]
But Daniel, chapter 10 and verses 1-3 reveals the setting of the book, as we’ve briefly talked about last time. We have the historical setting, verse 1 and then what was happening in Daniel’s personal life, verses 2-3. You recall verse 1, we talked about how Cyrus, of Persia, was in power when Daniel receives the vision, his last vision here at the end of the book. And so all the way through chapters 10-12 that is the empire in place, Media-Persia; Cyrus is the leader at this time. We talked about how also verse 1 indicates that this was the third year of Cyrus, which would make the date about 536 B.C.
Daniel is what we would call a seasoned citizen at this point in his life, probably in his mid-80’s. The nation of Israel had primarily gone back, not all but many had gone back in the first return. God was very clear that the nation would be in captivity for 70 years and then would return from that captivity 70 years later. The first return from Babylon has already taken place. Daniel probably stays behind because of perhaps his age, or perhaps because of how serious he took his role as a member of the government of Persia.
But we move from the historical setting to the personal setting, verses 2-3. Daniel was personally bothered by something and we start to get a glimpse of that in verses 2-3, and notice what these verses say.  “In those days, I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks.” That word “mourning” there is very interesting to me because Daniel’s heart was burdened about something. And that often can dictate, it can often determine our own personal walk with the Lord. Do we sense a burden? Do we sense a broken heartedness? Do we sense a mourning over the things that God mourns over? Do our hearts break for the things that break God’s heart? Do you find yourself grieving over the state of Christianity or the plight of the lost or any of these types of subjects.
As we walk with the Lord we discover that we develop certain burdens for things that break God’s heart. Daniel was in that type of relationship with the Lord. He was burdened to the point where he was mourning for three weeks. He says in verse 3 that “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 here is doing something that I believe has largely been lost to the modern church. He was not just in prayer but he was in a season of fasting. He was depriving himself of certain physical pleasures, like eating, for a season.
If you jump down to verse 12 just for a minute, it talks there about how he had been humbling, in the middle of the verse, humbling, you’ll see the word humbling himself before God. [Daniel 10:12, “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.’”]
As you study the concept of fasting in the Bible it’s interesting that something fasting does, and I don’t recommend you partake of this unless you let your doctor know what you’re thinking about doing, but there is a reality of fasting, depriving oneself of certain pleasures, perhaps food, even for a season. It has an effect on us where it brings us to the end of our physical self. It brings to our awareness of our dependence upon God for physical sustenance. And so when somebody in the Scripture many times is very serious about something they often enter into a season of fasting.
I think most of the time our seasons are of feasting than fasting. When Paul talks about “I buffet my body” many people misunderstand that Paul was not saying I buffet [pronounced: buff fay] my body. [Laughter] We do a lot of buff-faying rather than buffeting sometimes, amen.
But Daniel here is entering into this season of fasting because his heart was broken about something. And he had been praying for a period of about three weeks and he got no answer. Ever felt like that with the Lord? You pray and pray and pray and pray for something and the heavens are like brass. Well, we’re going to discover in this chapter that there’s a reason there was no answer. It had to do with the spiritual conflict. The answer was on its way but the devil, in the invisible war was doing everything within his power to prevent Daniel from getting the answer to his prayer. More on that later.
Daniel, what was bothering him was the future or the destiny of the nation of Israel. What is the future? Certainly in Daniel’s prior prophecies he had been given glimpses of the future here and there but he wanted a panoramic view. He wanted a vision of what God had in store for the nation of Israel now that it appeared as if most of the prophecies concerning Israel had been fulfilled or were in the process of being fulfilled. The whole level of interest or curiosity revolved around what God said about this seventy years of captivity. Now that season is ending and what is the future beyond that point in time. This is why Daniel is fasting; this is why he is mourning and this is why he is in prayer.
And what happens as you move down to verses 4-9 is the arrival of a heavenly messenger. The heavenly messenger is described, verses 4-6, and then as this heavenly messenger is described you get an interesting description of the response, not only of Daniel but also of Daniel’s friends that were with him at this time.
Notice if you will verses 4-6: “On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris,  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.  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.”
First of all notice how real this experience was; it happened on a specific date. It says very clearly here “On the twenty-fourth day of the first month,” if I’m understanding my Jewish calendar correctly this would be during the month of Nisan, it’s during the Passover season and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, if I’m understanding my calendar correctly those Jewish holidays were coming to an end. They commemorate very significant events in the life of Judaism, as we have talked about many times in the past. And yet something else is about to happen. It’s interesting that things in the life of Israel correspond with, correlate with these various feast days. And something very significant is about to happen… the revelation of a vision of such extensive detail that no other vision in, really the whole Bible perhaps, gives so comprehensively a package, a picture that God has in store for the nation of Israel.
You’ll notice that Daniel here gives the geographical components. He says I was receiving this vision while I was along the Tigris. [4, “On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris,”] That’s where Babylon stood; that area sometimes is called Mesopotamia, which means between the rivers. In Hebrew it’s called Shinar. It’s the same part of the world I believe where the Garden of Eden once stood; it’s the same part of the world where the tower of Babel once stood. It’s the same are that the children of Israel were taken 350 miles to the east to what today we would call modern day Iraq. It’s between the Euphrates and the Tigris, between the rivers. Daniel is giving us calendar, he’s giving us geography because he wants us to understand that this was not just a token of his imagination; this was a real vision that happened at a real time in history at a real specific geographical locale.
And as you look there at verses 4-6 it says the heavenly messenger arrives. It sounds an awful lot like Jesus Christ. In fact, if you were to take this description that’s used here in Daniel 10:4-6 and you were to compare it to the description of the glorified Christ that John saw on the island of Patmos at the end of the first century A.D. and you were to read Revelation 1:13-14 the descriptions there are almost identical.
[Daniel 10:4, “On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris,  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.  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]
Revelation 1:13-14, “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.  His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire.  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.”]
And so consequently many, many people believe that this appearance of this so-called angelic being, which may not have been an angel at all, could have been a reference to Jesus Christ Himself. There is an Old Testament reality of something called, sometimes in theology, a Theophany, or a Christophany. What are those? Those are preincarnate appearances of Jesus Christ. These are references to Jesus Christ before His incarnation, what I like to call Jesus before the manger.
If you’re looking for a very good book that documents many of these I recommend the book by Ron Rhodes, Rhodes is spelled R-h-o-d-e-s, where he documents all of these in the Old Testament. The title it if Christ Before the Manger. And there is no doubt in my mind that Christ appeared many times in the Old Testament. One of the occurrences is in Joshua 5:14 where Joshua, entering the Promised Land discovered an angel that was there to meet him and greet him, and it says in Joshua 5:14, “… And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, [and said to him, ‘What has my lord to say to his servant?’”]
Let me tell you something about a true angel, an angel that’s not Jesus. I hope we all understand that Jesus was not an angel; Jesus created the angels. A true angel will never receive worship. John, in the Book of Revelation two times tries to worship the angel that gave him the vision; he does it in Revelation 19:10; he does it again in Revelation 22:8-9 and both times the angel said, here’s the paraphrased version, hey buddy, knock it off. You don’t worship me, I’m just a servant. You worship the Lord.
[Revelation 19:10, “Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’” Revelation 22:8-9, “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.  But he said to me, ‘“Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God.”’]
But in Joshua 5:14 the angel that Joshua bowed down to never rebukes Joshua. That sort of gives me positively that that angel was not just an ordinary angel, it was perhaps what we would call the angel of the Lord, a preincarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. An ordinary angel in his glorified state will never receive worship because Matthew 4:10 says, “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”
And by the way, that should go for a true servant of God. A true servant of God will never receive the accolades that come his or her way. In fact, those things are sort of embarrassing to him. What he will do is deflect those back to the Lord because if a creature steps into the position of receiving glory that only belongs to God that creature is in a lot of trouble because the Book of Isaiah, chapter 42 and verse 8 God says I will share My glory with no one. [Isaiah 42:8, “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.”]
But when an angel (apparently) in the Old Testament, received these bastions of glory and honor I don’t think there it’s an ordinary angel; I think it’s a theophany or a Christophany, I think that’s what Joshua saw in chapter 5. Many would argue that that’s what Daniel is seeing here. So if you want to believe that this representative from heaven is Jesus you have no problems with me.
However, I’m a little bit reluctant to ascribe such an interpretation to Daniel 10. The reason it makes me sort of reluctant is because this angel dispatched from heaven had to fight a fallen angel for 21 days. You’ll see a reference to that in Daniel 10:13 which hopefully we’ll be getting to today. [Daniel 10:13, “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.”]
It’s very difficult for me to believe that Jesus Christ had to fight a demon for 21 days to break through since Jesus, as God, possesses the omni’s, I’m not talking about a hotel, here I’m talking about omniscience, all knowing, omnipresent, everywhere at the same time, and omnipotence. How could omnipotence fight a demon for 21 days; it seems to me that there wouldn’t be any battle there at all. Yet Daniel 10:13 is describing a battle. So maybe this is Jesus Christ, maybe it isn’t; I don’t know if it’s something worth starting a new church over. But there is an interesting discussion on this here in Daniel 10 that takes place in the commentaries.
I’m more of the mind, if you disagree with me we can still be friends at the end of the day, Amen, that this angel is probably Gabriel. Why would it be Gabriel? Because Gabriel has a special role in the providence of God. He is the angel that comes and discloses new insights. It after all was Gabriel who came to the parents of not just Jesus Christ but also John the Baptist. You’ll find Gabriel’s name mentioned in Luke 1:19 and verse 26, who was revealing what was happening in the wombs of both Mary in the case of Jesus Christ, and also Elizabeth in the case of John the Baptist.
[Luke 1:19, “The angel answered and said to him, ‘I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.’”  “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth.”]
Of course it was Gabriel that revealed the ram and the goat vision in Daniel 8, you’ll find Gabriel’s name mentioned in Daniel 8:16 and it was also Gabriel who revealed the prophecy of the 70 weeks; you’ll find a reference to that in Daniel 9:21-22. [Daniel 8:16, “And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, ‘Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.”’ It seems like consistency would dictate that this also would be Gabriel, but I am willing to get to heaven and be surprised and discover that it really wasn’t Gabriel, maybe it was Jesus Christ. [Daniel 9:21-22, “while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering.  He gave me instruction and talked with me and said, “O Daniel, I have now come forth to give you insight with understanding.”]
But what is very interesting to me is not so much the description of this messenger but the response of not just Daniel but also his friends to this heavenly visitor. Notice the response of Daniel’s friends. Notice, if you will, Daniel 10 and verse 7, “I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread” you should underline those words, “a great dread, “a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves.”
It is interesting that when God reveals Himself in His glory either through a Christophany or a Theophany or through a vision of His glorified state, or even through an angel that is a messenger from God, the reaction of fallen human beings from cover to cover in the pages of God’s Word is dread and fear. The Book of Isaiah, chapter 6 and verse 5, Isaiah had a vision where he saw the Lord. Wouldn’t that be interesting, to see the Lord. What is Isaiah’s reaction exactly? “Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips,” wait a minute, I thought you were the prophet Isaiah; I thought you mouth was holy, I thought your mouth declared the oracles of God; yet even Isaiah and that most important part of prophets anatomy or body, his mouth, itself was unclean in the presence of holiness. Isaiah says, “And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”’ Isaiah trembled, he was undone, he was in great tumult himself just witnessing for a moment the holiness of God.
You’ll notice that Daniel’s friends, they don’t just sense this fear or this dread that they begin to hide. Doesn’t that remind you of something? Isn’t that what Adam and Eve were doing in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3:8, after the fall? [“[They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day,] and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” What did John do in the Book of Revelation where he saw the glorified Christ in A.D. 95 on the Island of Patmos. Remember it was this same John whose head leaned against the chest of Christ in the Upper Room 60 years earlier. What does John say? He says, “I fell at His feet like a dead man.” [Revelation 1:17, “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last….’”]
Why does this keep happening? Why is it that when fallen human beings come into the presence of either God or His messengers the reaction is always fear? And if you can’t understand this you don’t understand the gospel. The reaction is fear because God and those who execute His judgment are holy. What is the dominant attribute of God? What do the seraphim say around the clock, day and night, twenty-four/seven in the presence of God? [Isaiah 6:1, “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.  “Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.”  “And one called out to another and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.’”]
I’ll tell you what they don’t say; they don’t say love, love, love is God Almighty. They don’t say grace, grace, grace is God Almighty. Now is God loving? Of course He is. Is He gracious? Of course He is. But His overriding attribute is holiness. They say “Holy, Holy, Holy, is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY.” You know, that’s repeated in the Book of Revelation, chapter 4 and verse 8, it’s talking about the angels in the presence of the Lord, calling out to one another and saying what? “‘HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, OF HOSTS, THE WHOLE EARTH IS FULL OF HIS GLORY.” This, of course creates a problem for human beings steeped in original sin because you are now in the presence of a being that has a right to execute judgment. That’s what happens when the holiness of God encounters the depravity of man.
It’s interesting that Adam and Eve weren’t gripped with fear before sin entered the picture. But once sin entered the picture everything changes; they’re hiding from God. You see, if I come in this morning and I see our security officer out there and I haven’t done anything wrong I’m very comforted by his presence. But if I came in at 85 miles an hour that’s different; I don’t like his presence. His presence bothers me because now I am in the presence of somebody who has the authority to execute judgment on me. And this is the issue with God and man. Man, when he comes into God’s presence doesn’t just say thumbs up, and as the little T-shirt goes that some of the youth wear, “God’s rad and He’s my dad.” I’m troubled by this; I’m troubled by the fact that we have become so accommodated to the grace of God that in general we’ve lost sight of His holiness. The reaction of fallen people is always fear; it’s always an uncomfortableness, as it should be if we are depraved and He is perfectly upright.
The right reaction to God is the reaction that Peter gave in Luke 5:8 where Peter saw the Lord perform a tremendous miracle involving the miraculous catch of fish and there in a nanosecond either saw a glimpse of the holiness of God and what does Peter say in Luke 5:8? “Depart from me: for I am a sinful man.” That’s the reaction that people should have towards God if they understand His holiness. And if we were ever to get a glimpse of His holiness and our sinfulness suddenly the gospel of Jesus Christ makes complete sense because Jesus entered history to be that provision to bridge the gap between the two. He paid the price for our violations of His holiness through His sacrificial death on the cross and I am related to God by grace, by way of faith, and consequently Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no” what? “condemnation” watch this, “for those that are in Christ Jesus.”
But woe to the person that’s not “in Christ Jesus.” Woe to the person who has never trusted in the provision of Christ, has never been clothed with the blood of Christ, has never been declared positionally righteous through alien righteousness. What is that? Righteousness coming from the outside; righteousness that we don’t deserve, imputed or transferred righteousness. A person that’s never received that gift, what is the sum total of their life? They are on a collision course with the God of the universe. How could God in His holiness not do anything other than judge such a person?
And so it is interesting to me that Daniel, not exactly a garden variety pagan, a pretty spiritual man wouldn’t you agree, Isaiah the same way, John the same way, it is interesting to me that when these men of God actually come into contact with the holiness of God the reaction is always fear and it doesn’t describe itself as just dread, it says “great dread fell upon Daniel’s companions.” [Daniel 10:7, “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.”]
Daniel himself it seems as if he goes into sort of a trance, if you will. Look at verses 9 and 9, “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.  But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into” watch this, “a deep sleep” you should underline deep sleep, “on my face, with my face to the ground.”
Here Daniel is about ready to receive one of the greatest revelations of God, perhaps in the whole Book of Daniel, and God makes it very clear that I’m coming to you while you’re asleep. Now I started thinking about this this week; do you realize that God does His greatest work when we’re asleep? Think about that for a minute. Genesis 2, how did Adam meet his wife?
Genesis 2:18-22, “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.’”  So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He” that’s God, “took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.  The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.” The whole thing happened while Adam was asleep.
What a blow to human works and self-righteousness where we think that our contributions are so important to executing the plan of God. What if Adam had gone out and tried to meet his own need? He would have married the member of the animal kingdom that’s probably closest anatomy wise to a human. You know who he would have married? He would have probably married an orangutan. [Laughter] And that describes a lot of marriages today, doesn’t it? [Laughter] There are an awful lot of single people that see this need in their life and they’re out shaking the bushes, I’ve got to make this happen so they’re n all the dating sights, and this and that and they get married to someone that’s just like an orangutan because they never waited on the Lord.
What do you do with those massive needs in your life, whether it be marriage, meeting the right person, having the right career, starting the right business? Here’s exactly what you do? You do to sleep and you let the Lord handle it. And that is so contrary to the way we think because we are so works oriented we think that we’ve got to get out there and sort of help God. You know, the Bible is full of people that tried to help God. And I think when it comes to this issue of salvation hell itself is filled with people that are trying to help God. God, let me contribute something, in our flesh, in our fallenness, in our self-righteousness, in our works orientation. That’s how we are by nature and God is saying go to sleep! Commit your plans to the Lord, the Bible says, and your plans will be established. Give it to the Lord. Quit trying to manipulate and orchestrate all of these things that you don’t have the power over to control anyway.
Genesis 15, let’s talk about the Abrahamic Covenant for a minute; the greatest covenant in the history of the universe, the Abrahamic Covenant. How did that covenant come about? Genesis 15:12 says, “Now when the sun was going down, a” what? “deep sleep” same terminology, “fell upon Abram….” Genesis 15:18, “On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, [saying, ‘To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:’”]
Daniel is agitated by something, he is bothered by something, he goes to prayer and what does the Lord do to deliver perhaps the greatest revelation the prophet has received up to this point in time? He puts him into a deep sleep. Now if this is not a pattern of God I don’t know what is. To me the application is very simple; we need to learn the discipline of waiting on the Lord. And let me tell you something, I hate… hate waiting on the Lord. I just hate it because I have to sit down, I have to relax, I have to quit scheming and manipulating and I have to trust the Lord to bring about a result. My flesh hates that and yet that’s what we’re called to do. And the more we try to interfere with it and make it (whatever “it” is) happen the more we mess things up.
You know, Abraham and Sarah tried to help the Lord. It’s called Genesis 17. Genesis 15 leads to Genesis 17; they had the promise there’s coming one from Sarah’s barren womb who will be the progenitor of the nation of Israel. That individual was Isaac; he’s going to be born, we learn about Genesis 21. But you know what? They just got tired of waiting so they came up with a scheme. Sarah says I want you to go and impregnate your slave woman, Hagar… I notice that Abraham doesn’t argue with her too much. He does just that and what comes out of that? And by the way, they stand in arrogance there in Genesis 17 and say look Lord what we did for you! What a laugh that must have been in heaven. And what came out of that was the Ishmaelite’s; Ishmael who became as we know biblically the perpetual enemies of the nation of Israel, they are enemies to the nation of Israel even right not to this day as I’m speaking. The mess we make of things when we don’t go to sleep and trust the Lord.
You’ll notice now as we move into part 3 here, the explanation of the heavenly messenger. What took you so long? I mean, I’ve been at this, I’ve been interceding, I’ve even been fasting for how long? For 21 days, and God has an answer. So what do we think? I guess God doesn’t care. I didn’t pull up to Wendy’s, tell them what my order was, drive up to the window, pay my money and get my immediate meal. That’s America! We have everything fast, quick. I even get frustrated when my WiFi’s not working correctly. Because we want everything now and fast and speedily and that’s what the culture says to us.
The problem is God doesn’t work that way. God has never worked that way! God is not going to work that way in your life. He is not going to work that way in my life. God doesn’t care about my schedule. Now I may care about it greatly; God doesn’t care. Things will happen on His schedule. In fact, as one person said you want to make God laugh? Show Him your schedule. Show Him your plans. So we’re always asking, Lord, what happened? Why the delay? Well, we discover in this chapter that there was a logical reason for the delay. The delay had to do with a reality called spiritual warfare.
So we have, verses 10-13 an explanation of the delay and then we have what follows, an explanation of the visit. First the explanation by the heavenly messenger of the delay, then we have the content of his visit, the vision itself which will begin in chapter 11 around verse 2. But before that we have some introductory thoughts on this vision. And even before we get to the introductory thoughts on this vision we have an explanation of what took God so long to answer this prayer request.
Notice, if you will, Daniel 10:10, “Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.” That’s interesting; that’s what we would call divine provision. Daniel 10:7-9 problem; Daniel 10:10 provision. You see, for every problem man has God has an answer. Did you know that? The greatest need we have, redemption, because of our depravity and His holiness God has an answer—it’s called Jesus Christ.
Every problem you’ll ever face in your whole life God already has an answer for. One of my professors, the late J. Dwight Pentecost, wrote a book, I’d recommend this book to you, I love the title, it’s called Man’s Problems, God’s Answers. Do you have a problem with anxiety? God has an answer. Do you have a problem with bitterness? God has an answer. Do you have problems in marriage? God has an answer. Do you have self-image problems? God has an answer. On and on we could go; the problem is we don’t take time to wait on God, we don’t take time to investigate the answer. What we end up doing is marrying the orangutan.
What we end up doing is creating the Ishmaelites because our nature is so impatient and so works oriented and we think it can’t just be that easy to wait on God. It’s like when your father-in-law buys lunch; what do you want to do? You’re reaching for your wallet, well can I leave the tip? Because we always think we’ve got to contribute something to the work of God. And we’re like that with the Lord, you bought the lunch Lord, I know it says “it is finished,” I know that but let me do something, anything! And pride works so heavily in us where we want to contribute and it requires humility to recognize you can’t fix anything. You know, people look at a pastor like he’s got some kind of answer to every problem in life that people have. Let me tell you something, I don’t even know where my car keys are half the time. How am I going to have an answer for you. The only thing I can do is direct you back to God. God has the answers. It’s just a matter of learning about those answers and waiting upon Him.
So provision is given. By the way, it’s the same provision that John had on the Island of Patmos in A.D. 95, the same thing happened to John, remember John was fearful, he placed his right hand on me. Verse 11 continues on and it says, “He said to me, ‘O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words I’m 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.” Notice here that Daniel had a reputation in haven. Do you realize what the Bible teaches about the doctrine of angels? Do you realize that the angels that were created are so innumerable we can’t even put a human count on it? That’s why they’re analogized to what? Stars! With modern day astronomy telescopes what are they telling us? What the Bible said all along, you can’t number the stars, there’s too many of them. The angels are that way.
And let me tell you something about these angels. They understand holiness big time! How do they understand holiness? Because that’s what they say in God’s presence around the clock. My father-in-law’s favorite hymn in the hymnal, because he’s a retired dentist, the song is what? Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. They know holiness, these angels. I’ll tell you something else they know; they know creation. They know all about the creative power of God because Job 38:4-7 talks about their applause as God was bringing the heavens and the earth into existence. [Job 38:4-7, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,  Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it?  On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone,  When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”]
I’ll tell you something else they know about; they know all about judgment. Why is that? Because they watched Lucifer lose his position in heaven and a third of them following Lucifer. And did you know this? That the plan of salvation is not open to the fallen angels. They know all about judgment, they know all about holiness, they know all about the creative power of God. Let me tell you something they don’t know much about. Grace. Why is it that when Moses constructed the tabernacle he was told over the mercy seat, where the sacrifice was to be administered on the day of atonement that there were to be inscribed there cherubim, angels watching.
Why is it that almost everywhere you go in the New Testament, whether it’s the end of 1 Peter chapter 1 or Ephesians chapter 3 around verse 10, many other passages I could give, why are the angels always watching? Because they’re learning something. What are they learning? They’re learning about an attribute of God that they are not familiar with. What would that attribute be? That God is a God of grace. How are they learning about grace? By watching God deal with an underserving sinful humanity. That blows their mind. God is using the present age of grace to fill out gaps in angelic understanding regarding the doctrine of God and the theology of God, because angels, as created beings, are not omniscient, they have to study and learn just like anybody else.
So what I’m trying to get at is this: heaven itself is always watching, watching this sermon, watching how we interact with each other, watching how we treat each other because they are learning in the process of the manifold grace of God. Everywhere you go, everything you do heaven itself, and I don’t know how many angels there are, countless, I know a third fell, but two-thirds is still a pretty big number, they’re watching everything you do. So what does that mean? That means you have a reputation in heaven. Did you know that? Now that’s a scary thing or it could be a good thing. This is why every private sin is a public scandal in heaven. So we understand that?
And this angel speaks to Daniel and calls him a man of high esteem. Jesus doesn’t do it here in verses 11, He does it in verse 19 and if your memory is good, I know it’s been a while since we were in Daniel 9, He does the same thing back in Daniel 9:23. Daniel had a stellar reputation in heaven. Do you know why? It’s very simple, because Daniel honored the things God honors. Daniel respected the things God respects. And such a person in heaven, which is constantly watching, is held in the highest esteem. Not that Daniel was sinless and lawless and perfect but he had a general respect for the things of God. Now you go through the Book of Kings, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, why do we call them the books of 1 and 2 Kings? Because the books contain a lot of Kings. And you go through the northern kingdom, I think there was about 19 kings and the southern kingdom, 20 kings, only 8 good, and it says this over and over again, this king was good, this king was bad, this king was good, this king was bad. It keeps saying that over and over again.
And at some point you have to ask yourself why are some kings good and some are bad? Is it one is a Republican and the other is a Democrat? Is it that one kept inflation under control and the other one didn’t? The answer is very simple. A good king always respected what God respected. An evil king was the opposite. Do you want to build your reputation in heaven? Then you develop a heart which honors the things that God honors. You value the things that God values. That’s who Daniel was, who he is called here a “man of high esteem.”
It says there in verse 11, of high esteem, understand” what “I am about to tell you.” Did you know that God has not given us a book to confuse us. That God wants us to have understanding. Remember Daniel 8:16, “‘Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.”’ 2 Peter 3:18 says, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Colossians 1:9 says, “that you may be filled with the” what? “knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
I don’t know what your view of God is. Is Jesus a university professor that just babbles on and on and makes no sense? Or is He the God of communication who wants you to understand His Word and what He is doing. You know, Jesus, in the Upper Room Discourse says that’s the difference between a friend of God and a slave. The slave (you can find this in John 15) doesn’t even know what the master is doing. But the friend of God is granted understanding of what God is doing. [John 15:145, “You are My friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”]
Beloved, as you grow in your relationship with the Lord what you’re going to naturally discover is God is going to take corridors of your understanding and start to expand them. And I’ll tell you something, it bothers me that so many in the body of Christ, I’ve even heard people at Sugar Land Bible Church say you know, I’m not going to go to that study over there because I’ve heard all that. I’ve been at this for a long time and I learn something from God all the time; every sermon that I study for I learn something. Every person I listen to I learn something. It’s a scary thing when a Christian thinks that they have somehow arrived because what that shows me is they’re not really walking with God in intimacy. If they’re walking with God in intimacy do you know what’s happening to them? They’re seeing more and more and more and more and more… are you still, as we end 2018 still stuck on the same old truths that you learned in 2017 where there’s no further growth? No further development? You, all of us, need to really take our spiritual temperature.
God sent a messenger to Daniel to expand his understanding and why is Daniel such a receptive vessel? Because he wanted understanding. That’s why he’s praying. Let me ask you a question: do you want understanding? Do you want more or is this just sort of a ritual that we go through on Sunday morning when we’re looking at our watch saying when is this going to be over. Don’t you realize I have lunch plans. It is astonishing to me the impatience people have with hearing from God. I heard of one pastor and I don’t know if I should repeat this story for fear someone will do this to me. I was at a conference recently and this pastor in the eyes of some congregant or parishioner was going on too long. Do you know what the guy did? He held up his car keys; honest to God story. Now don’t do that here, please. He held up his car keys, in other words, the message is I’ve got somewhere to go.
The reality of the situation is people have a very short attention span for the things of God and the church marketers know that. I’ve heard churches advertise this way: half an hour in and out. It reminds me of Burger King basically. We don’t go beyond this point, we’ll stop for the football game, … football game, I know this is Texas and I can get myself lynched for saying stuff like this, seriously? Football game? Basketball game? Baseball game? We’re talking about the eternal Word of God here. We’re talking about heaven and hell and spiritual conflict and spiritual warfare and all of these grandiose topics and you’re looking at your watch saying gosh, I’ve got lunch plans and I’ve got a football game.
Beloved, if that’s your attitude Sugar Land Bible Church is not for you, there’s probably about 4,000 churches in the Houston area alone that would cater to exactly what you want. May we never lose our appetite for the things of God. When I get opportunities to sign some of the books that I’ve written I put this Scripture in it every time. It’s 1 Peter 2:2, which says, “Like newborn babes long for the pure milk of the word, so that you may grow thereby in respect to salvation.” When I run into a Christian that says I’ve heard that, I’ve learned that, I know that, do you know what I say in my heart? I hope I never get like you! I hope I am always yearning for more so that I may “grow thereby.” There’s so much that can be said there even in 1 Peter 2:2, which I won’t do.
But Daniel is granted understanding because you know what? I’ll tell you something about Daniel… and by the way, you’re never too old for this. Daniel wanted understanding. I don’t know what happens to people as they get older, the curiosity and the things of God seem to dissipate. That wasn’t Daniel at all. He’s in his mid 80’s and he’s still as hungry as he was when he was but a teenager. Daniel 12:8 says, “As for me I heard but could not understand; so I said, ‘My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?’” I want to understand Daniel says. And that’s why Daniel was honored here.
And consequently he is told to stand up. Why is he told to stand up? Because the provision has been made, stand up, bask in the provision of God. Stand up, put on the full armor of God. Take your resources that God has given you. You don’t have to fear God, stand before God. And of course that’s our plea to you at Sugar Land Bible Church. People come and they hear messages like this, they could be afraid of God. The reality is fear in the life of the Christian of God has no place. Why is that? Because we stand up before God not on our own resources; if you’re standing before God on your own resources you should be afraid. But if you stand before God through the resources that He has allocated then there is no room for fear.
Have you received the resources of God? Have you received the simple gospel message that Jesus, through His sacrificial death on the cross, through His resurrection from the dead has bridged the unfathomable chasm between divine holiness and human sinfulness. Everything that needs to be done to bridge that gap has been done, nothing to contribute. Jesus says “It is finished!” We just receive it as a gift. Well, how do you receive a gift from God? Only one way. By faith! Because the Book of Hebrews, chapter11 and verse 6 says “without” what? “faith” it is what? difficult… NO, it doesn’t say that, “impossible to please God.” As the gospel today has been proclaimed in this church, perhaps people listening via media, our exhortation to you is to trust in this provision which has been made and stand up under those resources just as Daniel was instructed to stand up.
Well, I made it through verse 11, didn’t quite get to verses 12 and 13 but that’s all right because when we reconvene next time, verses 12 and 13, perhaps more than any other place I can think of in the whole Bible pulls back the curtain and pulls back the veil and gives you a glimpse into the reality of spiritual warfare and the angelic conflict that you can’t find anywhere else in the Bible, spare perhaps just a few other pages. So that’s the direction we’re going next Lord’s day. Shall we pray. Father, we are grateful for this Book and Daniel and what he went through and the role model he represents. And we’re so thankful for Your provision for us. I pray that you’ll help us to walk out these truths this week as we walk in intimacy with You. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said… Amen.