The Invisible War (Part 3)
11-19-17 Daniel 12:12-13 Lesson 42
Good morning everybody. If we could take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Daniel, chapter 10 and verse 12. Daniel 10:12, continuing to move through the Book of Daniel and the title of our message this morning is The Invisible War, Part 3. If you’ve been tracking with us in Daniel you’re familiar with this outline. This outline will give you the last three chapters of Daniel, the one that we’re talking about today as well as chapter 11 and on into chapter 12. Chapters 1-3, you remember, is historical; it gives you the setting. Cyrus, of Medo Persia, as we have studied, is in power when Daniel received this vision.
The year would be the third year of Cyrus and Daniel would be in his mid-80’s. And I think that’s important to understand his age because what he is going through here, as we’re going to study very clearly this morning beginning in verse 12 is a time in his life of what we would call extreme spiritual warfare. And I bring up his age because a lot of people have a view that you can retire from Christianity. It’s sort of like people think you reach a certain age and life is supposed to get easier, I’ve already had my warfare, now it’s time to just enjoy the golden years.
The reality of the situation is Daniel faced warfare as a teenager (as we have studied), he’s facing warfare of his most significant dimensions as an 80 year old. And one of the things I know about the devil is he never takes a holiday. He never takes a weekend off, a week off, never goes on vacation. And this is the kind of thing we have to understand about Satan is as long as you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and you’re walking with Christ by way of faith warfare is just what is normal regardless of your age, young or old, in the Christian life.
If course, as we have studied the return from Babylon, the Seventy year captivity is already happened, the return is already underway, Daniel of course is staying behind in Babylon, which was conquered by Persia. And as he is doing this he begins to seek the Lord; he begins to humble himself and pray, for about 21 days with no answer. He is seeking the future for the nation of Israel now that it looks like the seventy year captivity had ended; most of the prophecies up to this point in time, the near prophecies anyway, revealed the future for the nation up to the time of the captivity.
But what about the rest of the story? Now that the captivity has ended what is the future for Israel? Daniel is seeking insight; God wants to give him this insight. The devil, as we’ll see today, is working overtime preventing him from getting this insight.
So that is sort of a paradigm if you will for the life of the Christian. You hopefully in God want to have insight; God wants to give you that insight and Satan is at work in your life with all sorts of issues and distractions and worries to prevent you from receiving from God what God wants you to have. You see, every time you move to a new level in your growth in Christ the devil ups his game; “new level, new devil,” as I’ve heard it said before.
And you would think Daniel would get sort of a relief from this and it doesn’t work that way. He’s in his 80’s, God has done great things through him and for him as we’ve studied in the Book of Daniel and yet here’s the adversary continuing to wreak as much turmoil and havoc as can be done.
But the heavenly messenger finally does break through (we’ve explained a little bit about that last time) to provide Daniel insight. And then what follows beginning in verse 10, really all the way into the first verse of chapter 11, which to my mind the end of chapter 10 it’s a terrible chapter break. You all know the Holy Spirit didn’t put these chapter breaks in here… Stephen Langton put those in, I think around the 1600’s if I’m remembering right. But the chapter break really ought to go after verse 1 of chapter 11. And chapter 11 verse 1, I believe to be included with chapter 10.
But it is an explanation that spans those verses where the heavenly messenger is explaining to Daniel a lot of things. One of the things that the heavenly messenger starts to reveal is why it took him so long to break through to Daniel in Persia to answer his prayer request. And we’ve studied verse 10 last time, verse 11 last time. [Daniel 10:10, “Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.  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.”]
And now we pick it up with verse 12; chapter ten and verse 12. Notice this explanation of the heavenly messenger, notice the first part of verse 12, “Then he said to me, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel,’” I think that exhortation is some of the strongest words that we need to have today in the body of Christ. So many people in Christianity operate on the basis of fear and you know that you’re operating on the basis of fear because your mind is filled with anxieties and worries. It took me many, many years as a Christian to discover this but anxiety and worry, I believe, is one of the greatest sins the Christian can commit against God.
Philippians 4:6, by way of commands, says, “Be anxious for” what? “nothing,” it doesn’t say everything except the house payment; be anxious for everything except maybe that guy that happened a couple of weeks ago that broke into that church as you saw on the news, and shot people. The Lord doesn’t say “Be anxious for nothing” except that situation, as horrible as that type of situation is. I mean, the Bible is very clear that we ought to “be anxious for nothing” but what’s the answer, “but in everything by prayer…” if you’re nervous about something pray about it. That’s the best source of anxiety relief you can have. “But in everything by prayer and supplication,” supplication means supply, “with” we’re getting ready to celebrate this holiday this week, aren’t we, “with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
And what does God promise to do in return? [Philippians 4:7] “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard” it’s a military term, stand guard over “your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” And we ask well why isn’t God doing what He’s promised to do in Philippians 4:7? Well, the answer is we haven’t done what God has told us to do by way of command in verse 6. We are letting constantly anxieties into our minds, we live in fear. And yet the command here to Daniel is so clear as he is receiving this vision which no doubt caused him a great deal of anxiety, thinking about the future for Israel and the suffering that she would go through, the angelic visitors are very clear in verse 12, “and he said to me do not be afraid.”
That’s what Jesus said to John on the island of Patmos in the Book of Revelation, in the first century, when Jesus appeared in His glorified state. In the Book of Revelation, chapter 1 and verse 17 it says basically the same thing, “Do not be afraid.” [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,’”] And you go through the Bible and you know what you discover with Christ as He is interacting with the disciples; He says over and over again, “Fear not.” I used to have the number in my head how many times He said that; I don’t remember the number but it’s a lot. Look it up in your concordance, over and over again, “fear not, fear not, fear not.” And so when I, as a Christian, am afraid I am rebelling against the command of God.
And you know that when you begin to operate in fear or anxiety you’re stepping outside of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” You start operating in fear and anxiety and you automatically know where those thoughts are coming from. They’re either coming from the fallen nature or perhaps from the adversary himself.
Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare,” a trap, “But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.” Notice that, that trust is the opposite of fear. That’s why fear or anxiety is a sin, because when I’m in anxiety, an anxious state or worry I’m obviously not trusting. You can’t trust and worry simultaneously; those are two different mental habits. When we’re in fear we’re not trusting; when we’re trusting we’re not in fear.
And I just love the simplicity of this command. Don’t be afraid! Be courageous! And as this explanation is given the angelic being, who as I tried to explain last week I personally think is Gabriel, Gabriel unfolds one of the greatest truths on the doctrine of angels anywhere in the Bible. The doctrine of angels is the subject of angelology—what does the Bible say about angels? You’ll be shocked when you study this how frequently the Bible mentions angels.
In fact, Billy Graham, the great evangelist, wrote a book that I think is perhaps his greatest, Angels: God’s Secret Agents. But you go through his book and he mentions in this book every reference to angels in the Bible; it’s astonishing how frequently they are mentioned in the Biblical text. And so we have a whole area of systematic theology on this called angelology, the doctrine of angels. Now angelology would also concern ourselves with good angels and the fallen angels, Satan and those that fell with Satan.
Did you know a third of the angels fell with Satan. You say well where is that in the Bible? It’s in Revelation 12:3-4 and verses 7-8. [Revelation 12:3-4, “Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.  And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. Revelation 12:7-8, “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.”]
And those fallen angels fight against the good angels. And what you have here in verses 12-13 is probably one of the key pieces of information that tells us about the reality of the angelic conflict. It’s interesting, the Bible never tells us, never tries to prove this reality; it doesn’t try to prove the existence of angels and fallen angels and spiritual warfare. It just tells us it’s a reality. It’s as much a reality as the law of gravity or anything taking place in the physical world that we can observe. In the hidden spiritual realm, in the hidden spiritual world this is an ongoing reality, hence I’ve entitled the sermon The Invisible War.
Notice the last part of verse 12 as this angel is explaining what has happened and why there has been this delay for twenty-one days or three weeks. The angel says, “for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself” now stop for a minute, how did Daniel humble himself? If you go back to verses 2-3 you’ll see that he was fasting. You’re not going to bring up fasting are you, Pastor, on Thanksgiving weekend. [Laughter] So I guess I won’t, maybe we’ll make reference to it after you’re all five pounds heavier next week when I can really heap some guilt on you (and myself by way of extension).
Back to verse 12, “for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before God your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.”
Look at that! Prayer changes things. Prayer changes things in the heavenly realm. Prayer changes things in the angelic realm. The angel came through because of Daniel’s words and because of his prayers. The greatest lie that Satan wants you to believe is your prayers don’t matter, your prayers don’t count, you’re wasting your time with prayer. And yet the Bible says “the prayer of a righteous man,” James 5, is powerful and effective! [James 5:16, “…The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”]
 “for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before God your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.” Well what took You so long? That’s not in the text.  “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days…;” “your words were heard, “ in fact, they were heard when you first uttered them, “Daniel, O man of esteem,” by way of prayer. [Daniel 10:11, “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.”]
And yet there was a twenty-one day, a three week delay in you receiving the answer. Why is that? Because I, as the angel, could not get through to answer your prayer request and give you the insight that you requested because I was being resisted by an entity called the king of Persia, or the prince of Persia, “the prince of Persia withstood me, as the angel, for twenty-one days.” Now who is the “prince of Persia”? Simply put he is one of the fallen angels; maybe it’s a reference to the fallen angel, Lucifer; we can’t know for sure. We know that Satan is not omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent; he has to move just like we do. That’s why in the Book of Job when God asks the angels, including Satan, where have you come from, Satan says, from going to and fro over the earth. [Job 1:7, “The LORD said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ Then Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.’ Job 2:2, KJV, “The LORD said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ Then Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.]
Well why would he have to go “to and fro over the earth”? Because Satan is a created being. In fact, in the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 28, verses 12-17 it talks about the fact that he was the model of perfection in the day of his creation.
[Ezekiel 28:12-17, “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.  “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared.  “You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire.  You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you.  By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.  “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, that they may see you.”]
I think a lot of people get their theology from the movie Rocky and they believe in what’s called dualism. Dualism is the idea that you’ve got two equals plugging this thing out and you don’t know who’s going to win until the end. That’s why in the movie theaters everybody is chanting Rocky, Rocky, Rocky, because here he’s matched, probably under matched against Apollo Creed and we’re sitting on the edge of our seats because we don’t really know who’s going to win until the end. And a lot of people take that concept and import it into the Bible. A lot of people think the battle between God and Satan is some kind of Apollo versus Rocky.
But let me tell you something about this: this is NO contest. I mean, really what’s interesting is the fact that God even allows the contest. Satan is completely mismatched against God because he is a created being. God, by virtue of the fact that He is God has the” Omni’s” going for Him, not the hotel. Omniscience, all knowing; Omnipotence, all power, Omnipresence, there is no created being that shares that with God or else God couldn’t be what? God ! Man does not have those capacities. Satan does not have those capacities. And even though Satan is a created being and we know that there’s no contest here the Bible makes us aware of this ongoing reality of spiritual warfare, which apparently went on for 21 days. Satan himself or perhaps demons over Persia stopped and did everything within their power to stop the answer to prayer from getting through.
Because Satan is not omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent he has to orchestrate his world system through a complex array of fallen angels that fell with him. Now some of those fallen angels did something really bad in Noah’s day, which we don’t have time to go into, Genesis 6 talks about it, and so they are in a place of incarceration. 2 Peter 2:4-5, 1 Peter 3:20; Jude, verses 6-7.
[Ephesians 6:12, “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.” 2 Peter 2:4-5, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;  and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;” 1 Peter 3:20, “who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.” Jude 6, “And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day,  just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”]
I don’t know how many of them are incarcerated but many of them are free because “we wrestle not against” what? “flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and rulers of this dark world.” Satan has to orchestrate the world system through these fallen angels that aren’t incarcerated because he can’t be everywhere at once. That’s why it’s interesting, you listen to a lot of Christians and they say man, I was just having a hard time getting up this morning to read my Bible, the devil was doing this and the devil was doing that and I don’t mean to burst your bubble but it probably wasn’t the devil. I think Satan has more important people to pick on than yourself, not to insult anybody. He’s probably picking on Billy Graham or somebody like that; or maybe it was the devil, I don’t know.
Even Paul himself, there are times in his life where Paul was opposed, not by Satan, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, but a messenger of Satan. [2 Corinthians 12:7-10, “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!  Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.  And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”]
See that. So I believe that this fallen power over Persia could be Satan but it could be one of his demons that he uses to orchestrate the world system. And this would explain, would it not, the turning of Persia against Israel. See, it was Persia, under Cyrus as we saw earlier through the three returns that the Babylonian deportation was ending. But there would come a time when Persia herself would turn against the nation of Israel and that happened just a few decades later, about 483-374 B.C. through a man named Haman, who developed a plot to exterminate the nation of Israel, which is always not a smart thing to do. Every time something like that happens not only does the nation of Israel survive but they get a holiday out of the whole thing. In this case they got a holiday out of it called Purim, or the Feast of Lots.
But Persia would turn against Israel. Now question: what modern day nation is represented by Persia today? Iran! The history of Persia is very easy to document. Persia goes all the way through world history starting in Bible times. And Persia was changed to the name Iran in 1935 and in 1979 she became Islamized. That’s the whole significance of the toppling of the Shah in 1979. You might remember that, with the long gas lines and Jimmy Carter and that whole era. But he was replaced by the Shah with the Ayatollah and ever since that point in time Persia has become Islamized.
Why did that happen? Maybe this demon is still there; have you ever thought about that, still causing trouble. It is interesting that the biggest problem on planet earth today, other than the Soviet Union, people tell me is Iran which biblically is known as Persia. The same part of the world where Haman developed a plot to exterminate the Jews is the same part of the world where the former leader of Iran says we are going to wipe Israel off the map. Now how can you understand a statement like that absent a knowledge of the angelic conflict. But as you move into the angelic conflict and start to understand it statements like that fit the pattern, do they not?
So a demon or Satan, or one of his representatives was opposing godly forces in Persia and this demon aimed warfare at the angel dispatched from heaven to answer Daniel’s prayer request. And this war took place in heaven for three weeks or twenty-one days. Why is Satan doing that? You’ll find the answer in the Book of Genesis, chapter 12 and verse 3, where God has promised to bless the world through the nation of Israel. God said when He formed Israel, with the calling of the patriarch Abram, “I will bless those who bless you and the one who curses you I will curse.” Why is that? Because “in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” God has purposed to bless the entire world through the nation of Israel. God blessed Israel, not for Israel’s sake alone but that she might be a channel, a vehicle, a mediator if you will, of divine blessings to all of planet earth. God made a sovereign choice to do this.
You say well why didn’t God use another country? You have to ask God about that. God, as God, makes sovereign choices. This is one of the things He sovereignly decreed to do. And this is interesting how literally that prophecy has come to pass. The Scripture itself comes to us from the pen, the writers of the Hebrew race. There’s only two books that people think are Gentile and those two books might not even be Gentile when you start to look at the data. That’s Luke and Acts. Every other writer, it’s indisputable that they are the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If you don’t have a Jewish race, beloved, you don’t have a Bible. The Savior Himself was not a Presbyterian, nor a Methodist, nor a member of a Bible church. He was Jewish. His genealogy is clearly documented in Matthew 1:1-18 and that’s why He said to the Samaritan woman at the well, “salvation is of the Jews,” [John 4:22, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.”]
And then the coming kingdom itself will not be headquartered in Washington D.C. and that’s something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. It will be headquartered in the city of Jerusalem. Isaiah 2:2-3. [Isaiah 2:2-3, “Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.  And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”]
And here’s the deal; the moment God puts His hand of blessing on a person’s life, as was the case with Abraham and his descendants, is the moment the angelic conflict kicks in and Satan himself begins to oppose what God is doing. New level, new devil. And we always say Lord, use me, Lord, bless me, and we ought to count the cost because the moment you step into the position of usability is the moment you’ve got a target on your back. And this is what is happening.
I don’t know why Satan thinks the way he does; many people ask me that. He seems to do things that are illogical and I think it has to do with the fact that his intellect, as brilliant as it is, has become corrupted. Fear of the Lord, Proverbs 1:7, is the beginning of what? actually it says “knowledge,” it does say wisdom later. But it says, Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…;” your brain works correctly when it’s submitted to the authority of God. You remove yourself from the authority of God, Paul indicates, Romans 1, that we become foolish, the mind doesn’t think right. And this is what happened with Satan. Ezekiel 28:17, “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom….” His mind is not logical, it isn’t rational. In his mind he thinks he can be God. Now how logical is that, to try to overthrow God. Does that make any logical sense?
Did you know that Adolf Hitler, towards the end of World War II started wars with countries that his advisors tried to talk him out of? What are you doing, you can’t win this; it doesn’t make any logical sense. Well, who’s to say his mind was thinking logically, particularly at that point in his life. This is how Lucifer is, this is your enemy, the devil. And he has worked in history to stop these three blessings from coming to the earth; he hasn’t done very well with that because two of the three are here, we’re just waiting for the third. The Scripture is here, the Savior has come, we’re just waiting for the Kingdom. But Satan in history is trying to stop these blessings from transpiring.
And one of the things that Satan is trying to do, watch this very carefully, is he is trying to keep Daniel ignorant of spiritual realities. The greatest weapon that Satan is using today is Scriptural, biblical ignorance. If a person is biblically and Scripturally ignorant… now ignorant is not a putdown, it’s not the same thing as saying someone is dumb or someone is stupid, if you say someone is dumb or stupid that’s a putdown because you’re saying they don’t have the ability to get the truth. Ignorance means they have the ability to have truth, they just don’t have it; it’s absent.
And what Satan was seeking to do with Daniel, what he’s seeking to do right now as I speak, is keep people scripturally ignorant, scripturally illiterate. And there is a whole war that goes on here for twenty-one days to prevent Daniel from having this insight that God wanted him to have. Daniel wanted to have, Satan wanted his eyes shut. This is why Paul, in the Book of 2 Corinthians, chapter 4 and verse 4 says, “The god of this age has blinded the mind,” he is trying to shut people’s eyes so they can’t see reality. And I’ll tell you one thing; America’s Founding Fathers understood this; they passed in 1642 in the State of Massachusetts the old Satan Deluder Law and the legislation, which is in Supreme Court cases quoted, this is a real law. It says, “It being the one chief project” not side project, “chief project of that old Deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of Scriptures, as in former times,” what former time? The dark ages, before the Protestant Reformation occurred in Europe, people that founded America, as you know, came from Europe. They came out of a nightmare where the Scripture was inaccessible.
And so the first order of business is we’re not going to let that happen again, we’re going to pass a law where we’re going to establish grammar schools where everybody can learn to read, to get a better job and pick the right stocks? No, so we don’t have a recurrence of the dark ages. The whole reason the dark ages were the dark ages is people were intellectually dark because they did not have a knowledge of the Scripture. So they said this: “It is therefore ordered… that after the Lord hath increased the settlement… they shall… appoint one within their town, to teach such children to read…they shall set up a grammar school to instruct youths….” That is the beginning of American public education, to teach the Bible.
And here today, and I don’t mean to get too far off into this but we have an election coming up in December where a judge, in the state of Alabama is being [can’t understand word, sounds like pillard] over and over again. Why? Because his crime was setting up the Ten Commandments in his courthouse; how could he do such a thing like that? Now I realize there’s a lot of issues in that and I don’t mean to go too far into that but that, in my humble opinion, is really what’s happening here because he had the audacity to bring the Ten Commandments into public life, not once as a lower court judge, but once again as the chief justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court. He did it twice. How could you do such a thing like that, bring God into public life?
See how far removed we’ve gotten. The whole point of public schools is to teach the Ten Commandments and to teach the Bible; that’s the whole logic of a grammar school. So those that started the country understood the primary strategy of the devil is to keep people ignorant and that is exactly what’s happening here in this passage. That’s why there’s this warfare for twenty-one days, to keep Daniel from understanding and to keep Daniel’s people from understanding.
What is the very first lie Satan told? Genesis 3:1, “Indeed, has God said….” That’s his opening conversation to the human race. Don’t believe what He has revealed up to this point in time, doubt it and stay ignorant of it. In Matthew 13:19 is says, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one” that would be the devil, “comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.” The last thing Satan wants is for the Word of God to enter a mind and take fruit. That’s why he works overtime to ban the Bible, throw the Bible out. Even churches today, sadly, are not teaching the Bible line by line, verse by verse. That’s the reason why when you’re sitting and listening to a sermon like this your mind goes off track so quickly. Gee, I’ve got to talk to so and so today, let me pull out my day timer. And I’ve got to eat lunch somewhere, where am I going to eat lunch? And the mind so easily gets distracted from truth. And you see this as a preacher and a teacher; you see this war going on constantly, the distractions that come up that would not come up any other time, take place when the Word of God is being taught.
What is the explanation for this? It’s spiritual warfare. Sugar Land Bible Church, I believe, is being raised up by God strategically to help eliminate this knowledge gap that exists, not only in this church but around the world. I believe this, that God wants to use this church to teach the Word of God, not just to its flock but to anybody that wants to hear it. We’re not moving, we’re not budging, we’re not changing, we’re going to teach the Word of God every single time these doors open and we know that this is not an easy road because Satan hates that. The testimony of the Scripture from cover to cover reveals this truth.
And what’s happening here in Daniel 10 is just the same stuff, different day. So a twenty-one day war takes place, waged by Satan and his emissaries against the angel dispatched from heaven to keep the nation of Israel spiritually uniformed, because if a person is uninformed spiritually they are a sitting prey, a sitting duck if you will, to the deceptions of the devil. This is why the Book of Ephesians, chapter 6, tells us to put on the what? “full armor of God,” we’ve done studies on those pieces of armor; one of them is the belt of truth, the first piece of armor you put on, the belt of truth. If you don’t have the belt of truth on you’re susceptible to Christ’s description of Satan as the father of lies. As you walk with Christ every single second of your life, whether it be through media, social media, books, conversations, even from your own carnal imagination will arise lie after lie after lie after lie after lie after lie and there is no defense against a propaganda war of that magnitude… without the belt of truth.
As we continue on with the doctrine of angelology, the second part of verse 13, “then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the king of Persia.” Now we get reference to another angel that gets into the fight. Angel 1, probably Gabriel; Angel 2, fallen angel, the prince over Persia, and the war was so severe that now a third angel, Michael, this, by the way, is our first reference to Michael in the Book of Daniel, at least by name, you’ll find his story being picked up, Michael’s anyway, in Daniel 12:1. [Daniel 12:1, “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.”]
But Michael as to assist Gabriel to fight this demon, or maybe it’s Satan himself, so that Gabriel can get through this conflict and answer Daniel’s prayer request. And this whole war goes on for three weeks or twenty-one days. That, Daniel, is the explanation why your prayer wasn’t answered immediately. It’s not that God doesn’t love you. It’s not that God doesn’t care. It’s not that God didn’t hear you. There’s a war going on. You know, we face, a lot of times as Christians, unanswered prayers.
And there’s a lot of explanations, I think, why prayers go unanswered. And one of them that hardly gets covered is this issue of spiritual warfare. We pray, we don’t get an answer, we immediately think God didn’t hear us. We think God is unconcerned, God doesn’t love us. Did you know it could be a completely different explanation? Maybe it could do with an angelic war that’s going on, that you can’t see through human eyes but the Bible tells you that it’s there. Let me tell you something about the invisible war, the invisible world—it is REAL! It is a reality!
Here are some of the verses that I just thought of this week depicting he invisible war. They pull back the veil, they pull back the curtain, and they give us as mere mortals, as mere human beings, vision into the spiritual world. One of them is the Book of Job, chapter 1 and verse 12 where Job had a whole bunch of problems. Amen. And everybody thought they knew why Job was having his problems. Job himself thought he knew. The reality of the situation is nobody knew; Job didn’t know, Elihu didn’t know, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, his so-called counselors didn’t know. But we know. Why do we know? Because we read the first chapter. It has to do with a conversation that took place between God and Satan in heaven that Job knew nothing of. [Job 1:12, “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.’ So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.”’]
It’s kind of an interesting thing to think of, isn’t it. Did you know that as I speak there are possibly conversations in the spiritual world happening about you and me? Jesus said that one time to Peter, didn’t He? Luke 22, around verse 31 if I remember right, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has requested permission to sift you like wheat;” wow! How would you like the Lord to say that to you some time. I would just as soon the Lord kept that to Himself. Requested who? God, in heaven, a conversation about Simon Peter that Simon Peter didn’t know anything about.
One of my favorite spiritual warfare passages is in 2 Kings 6:15-17 where Elisha and the servant are talking and the servant is troubled because the enemy is closing in. It says, “Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’  So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’” Now that’s comforting; we’ve got two-thirds on our side.  “Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’” I pray that this servant would see what I just talked about. “And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” For an instant he could see into this spiritual world and he saw an angelic army protecting them, Elisha and the servant, and therefore there was no need of fear.
Or take 1 Chronicles 21:1, David had a thought one day, I think I’ll number the troops of Israel today. And we know from 1 Chronicles 21:1 that the devil is the one who put that thought into David’s mind. [1 Chronicles 21:1, “Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.”] Daniel 10, we’re talking about it here.
How about Peter? Matthew 16:21-23, Jesus says I’ve got to go to the cross and die. Peter takes Christ aside and rebukes Him. This is not going to happen to you. I believe Peter probably spoke out of good intentions but a lack of understanding. [Matthew 16:21, “From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.  Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.’  But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”’] And Jesus just skips to the root of the problem and who put that wicked thought into Peter’s mind, and He said “Get behind Me,” who? “Satan!”
Ephesians 6:12, you know, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,” but against principalities and powers and rulers of this dark world, what does that word “wrestle” mean? It means conflict, protracted conflict in the life of the child of God because of the reality of spiritual warfare. And if you want a great chapter on spiritual warfare I’d recommend to you the Book of Revelation, chapter 12. Other than Daniel 10 I can’t think of another chapter of the Bible which pulls back the veil, pulls back the curtain and discloses the reality of spiritual warfare.
Now cheer up, it’s about to get worse because as a Christian, listen to me very carefully, you don’t have one enemy; you’ve got three. What are those? The world, the flesh and the devil. All three of them tag team on you all the time. And if you’re not in the Word you’re just not aware of it. First of all, the enemy, Satan himself, we’re seeing evidence of that, aren’t we, in these passages that we’ve commented on this morning. What about enemy number two, the world, the flesh, and the devil. Let’s go to enemy number 1, the world; what is that? The word translated “world” is the Greek word kosmos, where we get the word in English cosmopolitan, it’s the system of the air or the atmosphere or philosophies of the day which seek to alienate the child of God from God.
The primary characteristics of the world system are 1 John 2 around verse 16, “lust of the flesh and lust of the eyes” and the “pride of life,” that’s the world system. [1 John 2:16, “the For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”] It’s going to be that way until the second coming. We’re not living in God’s kingdom right now, as many are falsely teaching. We are living behind enemy lines in the devil’s world. And in the devil’s world the devil’s world functions according to rules, “lust of the flesh,” “lust of the eyes” and the “pride of life.” And let me tell you something; those three things will alienate your affection from God very, very quickly.
Paul, in his final letter, says in 2 Timothy 4:10, “Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me.…” Now all of the Reformed theologians and all the Calvinist interpreters trip over themselves trying to explain why Demas was not saved. Let me tell you something; Demas was saved. How do I know that? Because Paul mentions Demas as a companion with him in his ministry in other passages of Scripture. I mean, is the Apostle Paul going to let into his ministry group an unsaved person. That’s ridiculous. So what happened to Demas? He had the Holy Spirit, he had everything that Paul had in terms of blessings and yet the world system worked in his mind so severely and aggressively that over the course of time he departed, not from the faith but from fruitful service in God. That is the world system.
And then we have “lust of the flesh,” what is that? That’s the sin nature which you inherited at the point of physical conception. And then you heard the gospel and you received the new nature and you know what happened to that old sin nature? It’s still there! Anybody notice that? In fact now you’re probably more aware of it than ever because the Holy Spirit is inside of you and the flesh, Galatians 5:17, lusts against the Spirt and the Spirit lusts against the flesh. [Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” KJV]
And yet God has given us provisions that we can access by way of faith where we can turn down the yearnings of the sin nature. Reformed theology destroys this idea, destroys it! It teaches the doctrine of one naturism, that the child of God no longer has a sin nature. That is not what we teach here; that is not what we believe. We believe in the dual natured view of the Christian. We should live according to the desires of the new nature but that old nature, which has been rendered inoperative and defeated is not eradicated nor is it annihilated. And that old nature will be there until your dying day or the rapture of the church, whichever comes first, to draw you back into sin.
Dr. Jim McGowan and myself, on our Facebook live feeds have done several shows just on this subject. You can find those archives at the SLBC Facebook page if you’re interested in that, or my You Tube channel, Andy Woods, just type in Pastor’s point of view, you’ll find it. We’ve done in depth teaching on this. The reason we think this is significant is because how do you fight a war against an enemy that you don’t even know is there? Or no one has ever taught you about it?
It’s like today, the full struggle with what I would call consistent Islam; nobody wants to use the word “Islamic terror” they want to use the words drive by shooting, workplace violence, yet anybody with a few brain cells can rub them together and see what’s going on, this poisonous… I’m not against Muslims, I’m against the ideology of Islam. And yet we have, as policy in the United States of America this idea that we cannot attribute acts of terror to a poisonous ideology called Islamic Fundamentalism. Well, you start thinking that way you can’t win any war because you can’t win a war where you are told that your hands are tied and you can’t define the enemy.
See, and this one natured idea of the believer, that the believer really doesn’t have a sin nature as many, many people teach, the only thing that does is it destroys the spiritual life because you can’t overcome an enemy that you don’t know exists. So you have not one, not two, but three enemies and I have them too. And those enemies will tag team on you over and over again; they cannot steal your salvation, they cannot derail your path to glory but here’s what they can do. They can render you fruitless, ineffective, and inoperative in the Christian life.
So what does the Christian need to do? The Christian, living in the devil’s world, living in a body that still has a sin nature has to start studying these three enemies. The concept that I use to describe this is three dimensional warfare; you’re fighting enemies on three fronts all of the time as a Christian. You have to understand who each one is, how each one operates and then you have to understand the resources that God has given to the believer to overcome each one, because for every enemy there’s an answer. For every enemy there’s a resource. I mean, back in my basketball days, college, high school, we would spend hours and hours and hours watching films of the other team that we were facing that week; we would watch them play over and over again. So when we stepped onto the court we knew them probably better than they knew themselves. Is it man to man defense, is it half-court trap, zone defense, who are their best players, who are their highest scorers, who are their best defenders. We had that knowledge because we were aware of who the opponent is.
And that’s how the child of God has to become relative to the Word of God, relative to the three enemies. You have to study them over and over and over again and you have to study how God has equipped us to overcome each one. If you don’t do that you may be going to heaven but you’re not a soldier of Christ that Christ can use to expand His purposes on the earth. May God help us understand this. May God help us understand that we are no longer, in the United States in “country club Christianity.” Even the United States itself is becoming progressively hostile to Christians and it frustrates me to no end to watch church after church after church teach nothing other than how to improve your life in three steps, your best life now, whatever they’re into. We are NOT from the pulpit being equipped for the reality of the war that we are in—lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, the pride of life.
The world, the fallen angelic world; the flesh, the fallen nature itself, and if that weren’t bad enough you’ve got Satan and his demons who wreak havoc in the life of the child of God. For what purpose? Not to take your salvation, that’s given to you by grace; to render you ineffective during your earthly sojourn.
Back to Daniel 10:13, “…then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.” The Persian government is going to make no sense a few decades down the road because of what Haman is going to do. The Persian government today makes no sense logically; it’s incessant hatred for the nation of Israel, which they call the little Satan, and by the way, do you know who the big Satan is? It’s the United States. Why is Israel hated? A lot of reasons but they see Israel, the only functioning democracy/republic in that part of the world, that tiny nation, a nation that has some semblance of western values in a sea, a literal sea of Islamic dictatorships. And they don’t like it. They don’t like it because they don’t like western values. And they see Israel as a little United States.
So the whole name of the game here is first we’re going to deal with Israel, then we’re going to deal with the United States. This is the reality that we’re in, politically, ideologically. And so these governments do things that are irrational. We say well, why do they do that? The angelic conflict. Why is it that in this country we spend money as if there’s no tomorrow? Why we wrack up, I think we’re close to 20-21 trillion dollars, why do we wrack up trillions and trillions and trillions of dollars in debt which we couldn’t pay back if we wanted to? That makes no logical sense.
Well, my answer is who’s to say it’s related to logic? It’s related to the angelic conflict. Governments do insane and irrational things. As I speak today around the world our brothers and sisters in Christ are being persecuted by their own governments, literal stoning’s happening in Middle Eastern countries, literal crucifixions, something that looks like it comes out of medieval times or even biblical times; people put in cages and burned to death, people put in cages and drowned to death, and we look at that and we say that’s irrational. Well of course it’s irrational; it doesn’t come from the human mind. It doesn’t come from logic. It comes from Lucifer himself, whose wisdom has been corrupted.
And we understand something like this, then all of a sudden Paul’s injunction in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 starts making sense. “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,  for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” Paul knew a little something about a government that gets out of control because he just got released from prison when he wrote these words. Paul is writing these words under a diabolical lunatic named Nero who is lighting Christians on fire to illuminate his garden parties. Now how much logical sense does that make? And Paul says that’s why we are to be, as God’s people and God’s church, in intercession for the institution of human government, which easily goes awry. Paul himself was a victim of that multiple times in his Roman imprisonments and other imprisonments.
And so it is incumbent upon the New Testament to be in prayer so that the gospel can go forth in an unrestrained way. You fight the angelic conflict with prayer, you don’t fight it by screaming and yelling, and I have a lot of Christians that I know that are trying to bind Satan, even in people’s prayer lives you hear them says “bind Satan.” Why are you doing that? The Bible is very clear that Satan will not be bound until the thousand year kingdom. Until that point in time he roams about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. [1 Peter 5:8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”]
And in replacement theology churches you’ll never hear a sermon like this. Why is that? Because they bought into the doctrine of amillennialism which teaches that Satan is bound right now. Are you kidding me? I mean, what newspaper are you reading. The Bible never says Satan is bound now; it never says I have the ability to bind Satan now. It says stand up, put on your armor and fight the good faith as you’re living in the devil’s world, and fight on all three levels, three-dimensional warfare, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life. The world, the flesh, the devil! Look, you get to the end, do you want to wind up like Demas, who obviously was saved but was rendered ineffective? Is that what you want? I don’t think anybody sets out to want that. Well, how do I not end up like Demas? I have to become aware of three dimensional warfare.
So Daniel, your prayers were answered by God when you started praying. The moment you prayed the request was being answered, it just took a while for the request to get to you because of the reality of spiritual warfare. A tremendous set of verses on why sometimes prayers are unanswered, why God is not unconcerned, we should not interpret a lack of an answer as a lack of concern on God.
And you know, isn’t it interesting that we always want to blame God for everything. My prayer request didn’t get answered; it’s God’s fault. Well, if we could understand the spiritual conflict maybe it’s Satan’s fault. This is what bothers me about insurance companies calling hurricanes and tornados acts of God; why are you blaming everything on God? There’s another opponent out there, is there not.
So may God help us understand these things as we seek to live for Him in the devil’s world in these last days.
Shall we pray. Father, we’re grateful for these just two verses that we went over today and what they teach us about the conflict that we’re in. I ask, Father, that You would help us in these last days stand amidst this conflict. I ask, Father, specifically if there is anybody here today that does not know You personally, anybody listening or watching via the internet or social media that does not know You personally, I ask specifically that the Spirit of God would convict them of the sin that they are committing against God as I speak that is sending them into a Christ-less eternity which is unbelief. There’s only one sin, Lord, You won’t forgive and that’s dying in unbelief, having gone through one’s life having never trusted in Christ for salvation. We’re thankful, Father, for the gospel, which means good news, which means Jesus did it all for us. He died on the cross, He rose bodily from the grave, He has done everything possible to bridge the gap between fallen humanity and Your holiness and You simply ask human beings to do one thing, which is to trust exclusively in what Jesus has done. We don’t, as You have instructed us, Lord, not to trust ourselves but we trust You because you said “It is finished!” And we ask if anybody is listening that has never done that that they would do that right now as I speak, in the quietness of their own minds, in the privacy of their own hearts they would exercise faith in you, for “without faith” Hebrews 11:6 says “it is impossible to please God.” We just ask that today the gospel would go out and many people, as they prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving will be thankful for the ultimate gift that You can give a person, and that’s salvation. 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….”