Daniel 043 – The Invisible War (Part 4)

Daniel 043 – The Invisible War (Part 4)
Daniel 10:14–11:1 • Dr. Andy Woods • November 26, 2017 • Daniel


Andy Woods

The Invisible War (Part 4)

11-26-17      Daniel 10:14-1:1         Lesson 43

Good morning everybody.  If we could take our Bibles and open them to the Book of Daniel, chapter 10 and verse 14, continuing on in our studies in Daniel 10 as we continue to talk about The Invisible War, Part 4.   I hope everybody survived Thanksgiving; your indigestion is okay and everything.  That was something else, that was quite a feast.

Have you been tracking with us?  We have been in, the last several Sundays, the Book of Daniel.  Here’s sort of an outline of the chapter.  We saw the setting; the setting is in verses 1-3.  Cyrus, of Medio Persia is the king; the Gentile king in the background as this chapter unfolds, and that’s not just true with chapter 10, it’s also true with chapter 11 and chapter 12.  This would be the third year of Cyrus which makes these events about 536 B.C. Daniel’s last major prophecy.  As we have mentioned many times he is in his mid-80’s at this time and yet the Lord is still using him.  The return that the nation of Israel had expected was now happening as well; the nation of Israel had been in captivity for 70 years and now that cycle was ending and the first wave had gone back into the land of Israel from Babylon (which is modern day Iraq)  about 350 miles to the east of the city of Jerusalem.

Daniel is in prayer.  It’s interesting to me that as we study the Book of Daniel how frequently this man, what little we’re given of him, is in prayer.  To Daniel prayer was as natural as breathing.  It was as natural as exhaling; it was as natural as inhaling.  It was the privilege that he had to commun­­icate with his God, his creator and his redeemer.   And that’s why Paul, in the New Testament, tells us to emulate this and we should pray, 1 Thessalonians 5, “without” what? “without ceasing.  It’s   not something coerced or forced but just a natural part of life.  Daniel, as he encounters problems is perpetually in prayer, not just speaking to God but wanting to hear from God as well.

So a messenger arrives, Daniel being in prayer about the future of the nation now that the seventy year captivity has ended and an angelic being, verses 4-9, arrives to answer Daniel’s prayer request. And beginning in verse 10 this angelic being begins to explain some things.  The first thing the angel, I think it’s Gabriel, explains is why is it that Daniel prays for something twenty-one days earlier and yet the heavens were as brass and there was no answer?  The angel is very clear that this is not because God didn’t hear Daniel.  It’s not because God was unconcerned about Daniel and his inquiries for truth; it’s just there was a spiritual conflict in the heavenlies for twenty-one days, or three weeks, inhibiting the message from getting through.

This really is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible because it describes the invisible war, the spiritual war that’s taking place all around us.  As the Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against” what? “flesh and blood.”   Your enemy is not people; your enemy is not your cantankerous neighbor.  You enemy is not your mean-spirited boss.  Your enemy is not the American civil liberties union, or whatever liberal group may be out there.  Your enemy is Satan; Satan is using (in most cases) the minds of people that don’t even know He’s out there, that He exists, to wage war on your life.  Should you ever get to a point in your life where you begin as a Christian to hate people, because that’s easy to do because people can be a little bit difficult… amen!  We’ve lost focus; the enemy is not people!  The enemy is the adversary that uses people.  He uses unbelievers, and sadly he can even use believers.  Paul, as I understand his ministry didn’t waste his time being angry at people.  He spent his time standing in the full armor of God, understanding who his true enemy was.  So this explanation is given, particularly in verses 12 and 13, one of the greatest treatments of spiritual warfare in the whole Bible, which is what we went through by way of teaching last time.

And then the explanation continues as Gabriel, the heavenly messenger, how do you explain the reason for the delay, now explain the reason for his visit.  When the angel finally broke through to get to Daniel what was the purpose for which Gabriel was dispatched.  We pick that up there in verse 14 of Daniel, chapter 10.  Daniel 10:14 says, “Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.”   Notice that word, “understanding.”   There’s a lot of people today that sort of have an attitude that I don’t want to know about Jesus, I just want to know Jesus.  Don’t give me facts, give me a relationship.  Don’t give me information but give me intimacy with God.  That is a mindset that is so prevalent today if I were to put quotes from various people who teach this we would be here all afternoon going through these quotes and citations.

The church of Jesus Christ, the body of Jesus Christ, more than any other time in my lifetime (that I can think of) has moved into an experiential mindset where teaching is downplayed if it’s done at all and the emotions and the experience are played up.  The reality of the situation is the heart cannot rejoice in what the mind cannot comprehend.  Did you hear that?  The heart cannot worship or rejoice in what the mind does not comprehend.  In order for worship to be authentic we have to understand God.  We have to understand what He’s done for us.  All of that involves didactic teaching.  A church that is not a teaching church, by definition, is not a worshipping church.

Did not Jesus say in John 4:24 that we are to worship the Lord “in spirit and truth.”  [John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”]   You’ll notice how the two are merged together.  On one end of the extreme you have people that just want to experience God with no teaching or learning whatsoever.  On the other end of the stick you have people that just want to learn about God but the fact that they are learning are never, for whatever reason, allowed to transform the human heart.  The Bible is about both; it is about teaching, understanding, information which we would call knowledge, but God never intended knowledge, and this is the mistake that’s often made, to be the last step.

Knowledge in and of itself was never meant to be the final step.  Knowledge was designed by God to be a first step; it was to move into wisdom, which is knowledge applied.  But how can you apply knowledge to be wisdom if you don’t have what first?  Knowledge.  The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind cannot comprehend.  And so as we study these various passages in the Book of Daniel we keep running into this phrase “understanding.”  God wants to give us understanding in proper balance.

You’ll notice this expression, “latter days” and “future.”  The angel was dispatched from heaven to reveal to Daniel what Israel’s final conflicts would be before her covenants are fulfilled.  God has given to the nation of Israel many covenants.  Once those covenants are in fulfillment the kingdom of God will have come upon the earth but before the kingdom is coming a great conflict.  The information about that conflict is going to begin in chapter 11, verse 2, and it’s going to go all the way through the end of the book, chapter 12 and verse 13.  It’s a tremendous vision that Daniel is about to receive that will start from his own time period; it will leap forward into the empire of Greece and a lot of information centuries after Daniel had left the scene, four centuries to be exact, will be spelled out in great detail.

And then beginning in verse 36 of chapter 11 the vision will leap forward into the distant future, a time period still future from our angle.  And it will describe the tribulation period and the glorious manifestation of the kingdom that is to come.  This is what the angel is making Daniel aware of in terms of what he is about to receive, a vision starting from about 536 B.C. going all the way to the end of human history, prior to the manifestation of the kingdom, Daniel 11 and 12 to be specific.

That’s why the angel came; that’s why there was such a war in terms of getting this information to Daniel concerning the importance of the vision that he is about to receive.

The more the important the assignment from God the greater the spiritual warfare; because Daniel was about to receive something great from God there was tremendous spiritual conflict in the heavenly places.  I know this just from my own life; whenever it seems like all hell has broken loose, either in the church or in my family or in my personal life, my wife and I have gone through this to a point where we just say to ourselves, you know what, let’s be encouraged because God is getting ready to do something good; maybe He’s getting ready to do something BIG.  And I’ve noticed that every time I have any spiritual victory of any quality there is always a season of conflict or warfare that precedes the manifestation of that victory.  And I just share that with you today by way of encouragement because some of you are under great attack, great setbacks, great frustrations.  And rather than finding yourself in a place of discouragement because of that it might be time to think of that by way of encouragement because unless God was going to do something significant in your life you would not have a bullseye on your back.  The fact that you have been targeted means, by definition, that God wants to do something very significant through your life.  This is the kind of thing that’s happening to Daniel here.

Daniel, beginning in verses 15-19, reacts to this; there’s a reaction that he has when he comes into contact with this angelic being.   You have a problem described, verses 15-17, and then a solution described, verses 18-19.  Did you know that any problem in your life God already has an answer.  I made reference to this book before but it was sitting on my desk and I decided to bring it up again as I was thinking through this prior to preaching and teaching this morning.  One of my favorite professors at Dallas Seminary was J. Dwight Pentecost.  He’s most known for his teaching on deep theology but he has a little book you might consider getting your hands on this.   The title of it is “Life’s Problems: God’s Solutions.”  Isn’t that a great title?

It’s sort of like what we’re seeing here in verses 15-19; problem, verses 15-17, solution, verses 18-19.  It’s sort of astonishing looking through the table of contents of Dr. Pentecost’s book looking at the subjects that he deals with from a biblical angle.  He mentions 15 problems.  Let me know if any of these problems beset you: Number 1, guilt.  Number 2, suffering.  Number 3, disappointment.  Number 4, something that encompasses all of us, worry, anxiety.  Problem number 4, doubt.  Problem number 6, I’m glad I’m free of this one, irritability.  Problem number seven, discourage­ment, Lord, I’ve been plowing away so long and nothing good has happened; I’m just discouraged.  Number 8, monotony or boredom.  Number 9, resentment.  Why is it that I’ve been walking with the Lord for so long and yet this person that treated me unfairly in the past I just can’t seem to shake it, I can’t seem to get it out of my mind.  Every time that person’s name surfaces I have this lingering resentment towards that person because I’ve been dealt with unfairly.  You’ll be shocked to discover the Bible deals with that situation.  Number 10, pressure.  Number 11, loneliness.

Number 12, inferiority, Worm Theology, Lord, it’s just me down here, can I steal 30 seconds of Your time; I’m just a worm, I’m just a lowly person, and we develop sort of an inferiority complex.  We look at other Christians that seem to be so successful in the spiritual life and yet we’re not and we think we’re somehow inferior in comparison to them.  You know, the Bible deals with the subject of inferiority.

How about this one, knowing God’s will.  The Bible deals with that.  How about this one (number 14 I believe this is) living for Jesus Christ in the business world.  Wow!  A whole chapter on that, I think we’ve seen some examples of how to deal with that one just by studying the Book of Daniel.  And then I think we’re here at number 15, materialism.  How do we look at the subject of money, getting ahead, keeping up with the Jones’ and all of those subjects.

And as I kind of leafed through Dr. Pentecost’s book I didn’t see any psychology.  I didn’t see any human potential empowerment type teaching.  I just saw Scripture, Scripture, Scripture, Scripture, Scripture.  That’s one of the reasons I loved him as a teacher; he never talked about things unless it had some kind of basis or foundation in the Word of God.  You know, 2 Timothy 3:17 talks about how Scripture equips us for how many good works?  “Every good work.”  [2 Timothy 3:17, “so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”]  Well what does the word “every” mean?  Well, here’s what it means—every, anything that you’re going through, any problem that you have,  you might be saying to yourself well, I don’t have any problems today.  Well, cheer up,  yours will show up tomorrow or next week or next month, problems and difficulties are part of living in a fallen world.  No matter what it is, think of the realm of problems that people have.  There is something in the Scripture that deals with every single problem.

And why wouldn’t God deal with our problems?  He’s already fixed the greatest problem, hasn’t He?  What’s the greatest problem?  That I, as a sinner, without Christ am on my way to hell.  Can you think of a more severe problem than that?  And yet God, through Jesus Christ and His shed blood and His resurrection from the dead has fixed that problem.  And if He’s going to fix the greatest problem why wouldn’t there be things in His Word that would help us through life’s, what I would call secondary problems, minor problems.

Problem, verses 15-17 we see that pattern; solution, verses 18-19.  What exactly is Daniel’s problem that he is describing.  Notice verse 15, “When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless. [16] And behold, one who resembled a human being was touching my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke and said to him who was standing before me, ‘O my lord, as a result of the vision anguish has come upon me, and I have retained no strength. [17] For how can such a servant of my lord talk with such as my lord? As for me, there remains just now no strength in me, nor has any breath been left in me.”

What is Daniel describing here?  He’s describing weakness that he feels.  Why does he feel weak?  I think there’s a lot of reasons for that; one of the reasons is he, as a sinner, is in the presence of holiness now.  If this being is not Jesus Christ it’s a messenger of Jesus Christ authorized to execute the will of Jesus Christ.  Wouldn’t all of us in that circumstance feel a state of weakness, insecurity, inferiority, a feeling like we don’t belong.  And yet there’s a solution to that, isn’t there, called the transferred righteousness of Christ, what the Protestant Reformers called an alien righteousness.  Why is it called an “alien righteousness”?  Because it’s a righteousness that is foreign to our natural selves.  It’s a righteousness that has to come from the outside in.  It’s a doctrine that we call imputation or the transferred righteousness of Christ.

We stand this morning, we stand today, we stand this afternoon, we stand this evening not before God on the basis of things that we have mustered up and done; that would be self-righteousness.  The Bible never teaches self-righteousness.  It teaches transferred righteousness.  Paul, in the Book of Philippians, chapter 3 and verse 9 writes this: “and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own” do you see that?  “not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”  Because it comes from God it’s an alien righteousness and it’s received only one way… faith alone in Christ alone!

Daniel may have been referring to his need for that transferred righteousness.  If you look there also at the end of verse 16 it talks about anguish that he was experiencing and he retained no strength because the visions that he is seeing bothered him.  How do I know that?  I know that because at the end of Daniel 7 Daniel essentially said the same thing about the conclusion of that vision, the four beasts,  you’ll recall back in Daniel 7.  It says, “As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself.  [Daniel 7:28]

And then if that weren’t enough he says the same thing at the end of Daniel 8, the vision about the ram and the goat, at the very end of that vision it says, “Then I, Daniel, was exhausted and sick for days. Then I got up again and carried on the king’s business; but I was astounded at the vision, and there was none to explain it.”  [Daniel 8:27]

The suffering that the nation would encounter prior to the manifestation of the kingdom and the fulfillment of the covenant, as glorious as that kingdom would be, Daniel was bothered by the suffering that his people would endure.  And as we study Daniel 8 we’re going to have another prophecy about that suffering.  The kingdom will come for Israel but it will be preceded by great tribulation.

If you look there at the beginning of verse 17 Daniel raises another issue.  He says, “For how can such a servant of my lord talk with such as my lord?”  In other words, who am I to talk to God?  Who am I to plead my case before God?  Who am I to converse with God?  Who am I to under-stand God.  After all, who am I?  I’m just a finite being.  And yet God is infinite, He is omniscient—all knowing, omnipotent—all powerful, omnipresent—everywhere at the same time.  Who am I exactly?

One of the things that we’re doing at our home, and I hope your home is doing this as well, is with my family, specifically with my daughter, we’re reading a chapter of the Bible every single night.  I let my daughter pick what book we’re going to study; she reads a verse, I read a verse, she reads a verse, I read a verse.  It doesn’t take long, five, ten minutes, it just gets us thinking about things of God as we get ready to turn in for that evening.  And I said to her what do you want to study?  She says I want to study the Book of Job.  I said oh no, first of all that’s got forty-two chapters in it.  Do you understand that Sarah?  Yeah, I understand.  And secondly every time I’ve studied the Book of Job God treats me like Job.  But we were studying through the end of Job last night, Job 9:32-33 and this is what Job said.  It’s directly on point with what Daniel is talking about.

Job says, “For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, that we may go to court together.  [33] “There is no umpire between us, who may lay his hand upon us both.”  We all know the story of the Book of Job; we know the problems that Job faced and in Job 9 Job is saying if I could just get into the presence of God and explain to him my circumstances, but how can I do that?  He’s in heaven, I’m on the earth.  He is infinite, I am but a mortal finite being.  What I need is an umpire, Job says, “who may lay his hand upon us both.”

Did you know that the oldest book of the Bible (in terms of date of writing) is the Book of Job?  Job even precedes the writings of Moses in the Torah and the Pentateuch—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.  Job precedes the Pentateuch by at least six centuries, six hundred years before Moses came on the scene and gave us the Book of Genesis we have the Book of Job.  And I believe that this is why the Book of Job deals so aggressively with the subject of suffering.  God knew that this is something that would bother us all our days.  And so God says right out of the gate, the very first revelation I’m going to give is going to deal with something that haunts human beings, even Christians that have been walking with the Lord for decades, this subject of suffering.

And we know that Job suffered.  And he calls out here for an umpire, someone that could represent him before God.  I don’t have an umpire, I’m a man and God is God!  And isn’t it interesting that that inquiry is made in the oldest book of the Bible and when the rest of the Bible shows  up and starts to be written over the course of 1500 years that the rest of the Bible is answering that question.  I have no umpire, I have no mediator, and  yet there’s a solution, isn’t there, as there is an umpire, and there is a mediator. Job specifically wanted someone who could lay hands on us both; I’m a man and He is God, I need someone in the middle.  Who better qualified to be that mediator or that  umpire than someone who was not just God but man.  The unique God-man in the person of Jesus Christ is that umpire.  Only He can do it.  He’s man, He can represent  us before God.  And He’s also 100% God, He represents God before man.

There are many, many people today that are busy praying to statues, biblical characters, praying to Mary, praying to whoever else and yet they have no business taking their requests to such a character or such a figure.  Why is that?  Because Mary (and I love Mary, I love the role that she played in the outworking of God’s purposes) but Mary, the last time I checked, was a sinner just like the rest of us.  She was not both God and man; that’s why 1 Timothy 2:5 is very clear, it says there is “one mediator,” not two, not three, not four, not five, “one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus.”

And the ignorance of human beings in simply stating that there are many paths to God, not understanding this most basic, most rudimentary, this most fundamental idea that only a mediator representing God and man in what the theologians call the hypostatic union, Jesus being 100% God and 100% man, only such a person can qualify.  And this is what Job is crying out for.  It seems to me Daniel, to a large extent there in verse 17 is crying out for the same thing. “who am I” to talk to God?    But you can through the person and the work of the unique God-man, Jesus Christ.

Isn’t it interesting that we have the most foundational fundamental problem being articulated here and  yet God has an answer for it.  Even before Job knew what the answer was God had an answer; it was just a matter of time to allow redemptive history to be progressively unfolded.  The greatest problem we have has been solved in Jesus Christ.  The greatest cry of the oldest book of the Old Testament has been solved in the person of Jesus Christ.  And today, in the year 2017, almost 2018, we come to God with our concerns and we just think God doesn’t have it under control.  God, you helped me… and we suffer from the curse of a short memory, we really do.  We’ve forgotten what God did in 2016, 2015, 2014, all the way back to 1966 (the date of my birth) some of you are a little older than that, not that much, 1979, 1980, go back and think what God has done in  your life.  Think about how He has, by grace, helped you over and over and over and over again.

This is the benefit of journaling.  I think we should have journals that are about as thick as the Book of Acts and bigger.  The miracles that God has done, the help He has given.  I’m not even talking about salvation here, I’m just talking about basic things He does and we should have an attitude where we go before Him with… not with a heavy heart but with a heart of expectation and optimism where we say to the Lord, you know, I don’t how You’re going to do this, I don’t know how You’re going to fix it but I can’t wait to find out.  See, I used to want the method God was going to use but the reality of the situation is God’s never revealed any method He’s used to rescue me.  He just says trust in Me!  I am the same yesterday, today and forever!

God hasn’t changed His character.  We think He’s changed because we change.  But God never does.  And so Daniel is approaching God with this weakness that he has, in trepidation, with also (I believe) with an attitude of optimism and expectation and what happens there in verses 18-19; man has a problem, God has a solution.

Notice, if you will, verses 18-19. It says, “Then this one with human appearance touched me again…” I’m going to stop right there, he “touched me again.”  This is not the first time Daniel has been helped and assisted by God; this is something that we’ve read about all the way through the Book of Daniel, crisis—God touched.  Crisis two—God’s second touch.  Crisis three—God’s third touch.  And we kind of come before the Lord and we think we’ve used up all of the coins in our piggy bank–God’s not going to listen to me this time.  For God not to listen to you or to listen to me “this time” would involve God changing His character, wouldn’t it?   Which is something that cannot happen.  Malachi 3:6 God says I change not.  [Malachi 3:6, “For I, the LORD, do not change.”]

He is immutable; He is changeless.  The God that helped you in the past can’t wait to help you in the present.  If He suddenly changed His mind that would encompass, would it not, a change in His character, something that we know is a theological and a biblical impossibility.  You should not feel guilty or bad about going to God over and over and over and over again with recurring issues, recurring problems in your life.

Daniel 10:18, “Then this one with human appearance touched me again and strengthened me.”  [19] He said, ‘O man of high esteem, do not be afraid. Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!’ Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, ‘May my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.’”  Daniel had a problem, a weakness, God had a solution.  The word “again” reinforces the fact that this is a relationship that he had with the Lord, no matter what the problem was God kept ministering to that point of need.

We have made reference to the fact many times in this study that the angel keeps referring to Daniel as  a “man of high esteem,” great esteem.  And you may be saying to yourself that’s not what I am; this week I had this failure and that failure and this setback, and this discouragement over here.  How could God refer to me as a person of great esteem?  Well, you are not, and I am not, a person of great esteem in self-righteousness, am I?  But if we stand through the alien righteousness of God, a righteousness not derived through our own ingenuity but a righteousness that has been given to us by faith, you become a person of great esteem.  In fact, I would say this, that God looks at you right now as if  you’re just as righteous as Jesus Christ.  Did you know that?  Even though you had an argument with your spouse on the way over to church today.  God looks at you positionally as if you were just as righteous as Jesus Christ Himself, not through self-righteousness but through alien righteousness, and transferred righteousness.

And you’ll also notice here in verse 19 the reference to “Peace.”  What is the cross of Jesus Christ all about?  It is about bridging the gap between God and man and bringing reconciliation or peace between the two.  And a lot of people, a lot of Christians, live their life today as if God is mad at them.  A lot of people will transfer their own relationship with their earthly father, which could have been very (to use modern day psychology) very dysfunctional, and they will transfer that to God.  And they will think well, my earthly father was never pleased with me, my earthly father was always angry at me so that’s how God is.

The reality of the situation is God is not angry at you because if you’re a child of God we have the doctrine of propitiation, which is the satisfaction of divine wrath,   His wrath against your sins has been satiated, it has been satisfied; you are no longer an enemy of God, you are a friend of God.  The holiness of His character has been satisfied because of what Jesus did and you’ve received what Jesus has done by way of faith.  So therefore the only attribute left for God to express towards you is the attribute of love.  1 John 4:8 doesn’t say God is loving, it says “God is love.”  His character is a character of love.

And you say well, pastor, you don’t really understand, I’m under the disciplinary hand of God right now because of wrongdoing that I’ve done.  Let me let you in on something: that is not His wrath towards you; discipline itself is an act of love.  “Whom the Lord loves the Lord” what?  “chastens.”  [Hebrews 12:6, “For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives.]

The neighbor’s kids act up; I’ve never spanked the neighbor’s kids.  I’ve thought about it several times but I’ve never done that.  When your own act up and you see the destruction that they will bring into their lives by pursuing a wreckless course any loving parent corrects that child.  So even the correction of God in your life today, if that’s going on, is a sign of His love.  You say well, wait a minute, Pastor, you don’t really understand; I mean, I just lost my job, I have all kinds of health problems, I’m going through some great valleys right now.  Let me tell you something, that too is a sign of God’s love because the Book of James, chapter 1:2-4 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, because these things” James 1:2-4 goes on and explains are necessary for the perfecting of our faith.   [James 1:2-4, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, [3] knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. [4] And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”]

Daniel here is made aware of the peace that a person comes into with God when they’re in God’s provision.  And isn’t it interesting that positional peace can be quickly followed by experiential peace.  I mean, if there’s peace between myself and God because of what Jesus has done then why should I allow my heart to be so filled with fear and anxiety all the time?  If that’s happening I am acting or living outside of my position; my practice hasn’t caught up with my position.  Jesus has come into the world, not just to give us positional peace but experiential peace.  This is why the Apostle Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing” except a house payment?  It doesn’t say that?  “Be anxious for nothing” except that ornery in-law that I had to deal with over Thanksgiving?

It says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer” well, there’s the problem, we’re holding onto all this stuff and we’re not releasing it to God by way of prayer, “…but in everything by prayer and supplication,” supplication means supply, God supply this need, “with” (here’s a good one for the holiday) “with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God.” Verse 6, and what does God say He’ll do, verse 7, “And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension” why is it called peace “which surpasses all comprehension”?  Because the world can’t figure it out.  Why is that?  Because the world says you have experiential peace when everything in your life is working out.  Well, there’s a little problem with that; we’re living in a fallen world where things oftentimes don’t work out from the human vantage point, do they?  That’s why the world is visiting bars and drug abuse and numbing the pain through substance abuse, because they can’t tap into this peace.  And yet the child of God can.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all” human “comprehension, will guard” that’s a military term, “your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  It’s not just the positional peace that God wants us to have; we have it if we’re “in Him” but the experiential peace.  It reminds me very much of the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 8 and verse 24.  It says, “And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea,” anybody in a storm this morning, this afternoon, “so that the boat was being covered with the waves;” and I love this little part of the verse at the end of Matthew 8:24, “but Jesus Himself was asleep.”  I love it!  In the midst of a storm there is Christ enjoying a nap.

Can I ask you a question, just a basic Bible question?  Where is Jesus living right now?  He’s living inside the believer, isn’t He?  Paul, in the Book of Galatians, Galatians 2:20 says, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me,” in other words, this same napping Jesus in the midst of a storm is in  your life as  you go through a storm.  [Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”]

What’s He saying to you?  Take a nap, take it easy.  This experiential peace that you have, it doesn’t come and go based on circumstances of life; as you walk in Me what  you’ll discover is I have not only given you positional peace but the privilege of moment by moment by faith, practical experiential peace.  I don’t know of any better good news than this, do you?

Daniel here is made aware of peace.  Notice what it also says here.  “Do not be afraid but be courageous” we could spend three hours on that couldn’t we?  Did  you know that fear has no place in the life of the child of God.  We’re afraid of so many things; afraid of the future, afraid of Monday morning, afraid of this afraid of that, and the reality of the situation is if we’re walking in fear we are living beneath our privileges.  Christ has done everything that can be done to rid the human mind and the human heart of something that plagues it every day of its life in its natural self, its fear.

And yet what does the Bible say?  2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”  I know that every time in my life when I’m afraid I can look at my own emotions and I can look at my Bible and say that’s not coming from God.  The emotion of fear that I am feeling right now cannot be coming from God because of the verse we just saw, “God has not given us a spirit of timidity.”   Well, if it’s not coming from God where is it coming from?  It’s coming from either our own sinful nature that always wants to be in control of everything all the time; that’s why we’re upset, we can’t control everything and so we go into an emotion of anxiety.  Or that spirit of fear is coming from the adversary himself who has targeted my mind.

The child of God has no connection to fear other than fear of the Lord, which would be a respect for God.  Proverbs 28:1 says, “The wicked flee when no one is pursuing,” it’s the unsaved, it’s a manifestation of the unsaved; it’s a characteristic of the unsaved.  Fear is not the child of God because the verse goes on and it says, “But the righteous are bold as a lion.”  That’s your position in Christ.  Not only are  you righteous but you can be as bold as a lion; you can “in Christ” take on the worst circumstances that a human being can imagine and “in Christ” you can walk through that storm with peace just as real as Jesus sleeping on that boat on the Sea of Galilee.

“Do not fear, be courageous,” and then the explanation continues, where we learn of ongoing struggle.  Look at verse 20, “Then He said to me, ‘Do you understand why I came to you?  But I shall now return to fight against the Prince of Persia.”’  [Daniel 10:20]   The angel says I fought my way in to get you this answer Daniel, and guess what I got to do now?  I got to fight my way back out.  This same evil spirit over the empire of Persia, that we have spoken of in our prior sermon, that stopped me from getting through, that bound me up for twenty-one days, I’ve now got to fight my way back out.  What a picture, is that not, of the invisible war?  We looked at many of these verses but these verses, more than any other verses I can think of in the Bible, along with Daniel 10 pull back the veil and give us, as mere mortals, insight into the spiritual war that is happening all around us.

He continues on in verse 20, and he says, “so I am going forth,” now watch this, “and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come.”  This same Persian fallen spirit, and by the way, Persia was known for its hatred of the nation of Israel, not so much at the time that Daniel had this vision because Cyrus was allowing the nation to go back after the seventy year captivity had ended, but a few centuries down the line is going to develop a man named Haman, from Persia, who will develop a plot to exterminate the Jewish people.

I am firmly convinced that that same fallen spirit over Persia is still there.  I believe that largely explains the insanity that we see from the modern state of Iran the Islamic Republic of Iran, a nation that’s probably one of the greatest troublemakers, one of the greatest state sponsors of worldwide terrorism today.  I think a lot of these things are explainable if we were simply to pay attention to God’s Word.  This Persian spirit, this demon over Persia, perhaps it was Satan himself, I don’t know, opposed me, Gabriel says, for twenty-one days, I finally am breaking through to get you the message but now I’ve got to turn right around and I’ve got to fight my way out.

And once Persia is off the scene there’s going to be another empire called the Empire of Greece, that’ll be just as demonically energized as Persia.  How do we know that?  Because in the prophecies of the times of the Gentiles (that we have studied) Daniel is very clear of the various empires that would trample down the nation during this terrible time period.  First would come Babylon, the head of gold, Daniel 2; the lion, Daniel 7.  Then would come the chest and arms of silver, Daniel 2, the bear, Daniel 7.  Then would come the leopard, that’s Greece, who was the belly and thighs of bronze in Daniel 2, leopard, Daniel 7, then would come the iron legs, the Roman Empire mentioned there in Daniel 2 and the terrifying beast in Daniel 7.

You remember the prophecy that was given in Daniel 8?  These two empires, first Medo-Persia, then Greece, were named by name.  And here we are in Daniel 10, the vision that he is seeing here and those two empires are named specifically, the names Persia and Greece are named in the biblical text, Daniel 8:20-21, and Daniel 10:20.  [Daniel 8:20-21, “The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia. [21] “The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king.”  Daniel 10:20, “Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come.”]

And let me tell you something; Persia was bad, Greece is worse.  How do you know that?  Because I’ve read ahead a little bit.  Daniel11 is going to focus, primarily on the empire of Greece.  First, Alexander the Great and then the division of Alexander the Great’s empire amongst his four generals, and then arising from Seleucus, the Seleucid dynasty, about 165 B.C., about 400 years after Daniel saw this vision, is going to arise a man named Antiochus Epiphanes who is a forerunner of the antichrist, who will  usher in the greatest wave of persecution the nation of Israel will experience before the antichrist himself shows up.  And isn’t it interesting that through all of this God is faithful 100% of the time.  One of the statements I like to make is every time someone attacks the nation of Israel not only does the nation of Israel survive but they get a holiday out of it.  Haman, of Persia, tried it and he failed, the Book of Esther explains that, a holiday comes out of it called Purim, the Feast of Lots.

As we continue on in the prophecy, Daniel 11, Antiochus Epiphanes, of the Empire of Greece tried the exact same thing, even desecrating the temple of the Jewish people in between the testaments, the close of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament, and yet Israel will survive against all odds and they’ll even get a holiday out of it called what?  Anybody know?  Hanukah, or Dedication, or Feast of Lights.  You’ll even see Jesus Christ in the New Testament, John 10:22, celebrating that feast.  [John 10:22, “At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem;”]

Isn’t it interesting that no matter what comes at God’s people God is always faithful.  You say well, that’s all great scholarship and academics.  Isn’t it true for your life as well?  I mean, has God changed?  Didn’t we just see that “God is the same, yesterday, today and forever.”  [Hebrews 13:8]  If the God who does not change has demonstrated so much faithfulness to the nation of Israel in her history, then what are you worried about Monday morning for?  What are you worried about Tuesday for, or Wednesday, or your retirement years, or is this job going to come through, or is that job going to come through, or your finances, or your health, or a negative report that shows up on the X-ray, from the doctor, or whatever the issue is why are you worried about it?

God, who helped Israel in the past will help you in the future and in the present.  I hope this study in Daniel is not just something that’s in our minds intellectually and academically and yet we haven’t gone into wisdom whereby we are applying it consistently.

Verse 21, “However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth.”  Daniel, the truth is coming; the truth is the vision given in chapters 11 and 12, the rest of the vision.  Verse 21, “Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.”  The only way, Gabriel says, that I got through to answer this request as I was being resisted by the Empire and the Principality over Persia is Michael helped me.  We saw that last time, did we not, in Daniel 10:13.  [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.”]

There’s a war in heaven for twenty-one days between Gabriel and Michael and the Prince and Power over Persia, the two overcame.  The angel got through; the prayer request was answered, the vision was delivered.  And now Gabriel says, with Michael’s help, and only with Michael’s help, I’ve got to fight my way back out.

Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21 is the first references to Michael in the Book of Daniel.  Michael is going to show up again in Daniel 12 where we learn that Michael has a specific function which is to stand guard over  the nation of Israel.  [Daniel 10:21, “However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.”]  Gabriel has his function; he delivers new insight.  Michael has his function, he is the entity that guards the nation of Israel. Isn’t it interesting how ordered God is, how different angels do different things.

The end of chapter 10 into chapter 11:1 I believe is one of the worst chapter breaks in the whole Bible. Chapter 11, verse 1, belongs at the end of chapter 10.  Now we all know, do we not, that the Holy Spirit did not put these chapter breaks in.  Many times the chapter breaks are very helpful but other times they handicap us as Bible readers because they bifurcate unnaturally one section from the other when God never intended for bifurcation to be there.

So I’m going to conclude with chapter 11, verse 1, which in my mind should be chapter 10, verse 22.  So when the Wood’s Study Bible comes out [laughter] that’s how it’s going to read.  Chapter 11, verse 1 says, “In the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him.”  Now Gabriel, perhaps Michael, is talking about what they’ve done in the past.  They helped a king, protected him, called “Darius the Mede.”  Now  you say “Darius the Mede,” I’ve read about that somewhere before, and yes you have.  He’s the King in Daniel 6.  He’s the king that was fooled into throwing Daniel into the Lion’s den but regretted it; he was a good king.

And isn’t it interesting that these angels, these good angels had a function of protecting him and encouraging him.  The amount of information we’re given here about angels, good and fallen, in the politics of humanity is mind-numbing, it’s mind-blowing.    And you’ll notice that they wanted to protect him and to encourage him.  That word “encouragement” is so significant because when you’re in the height of battle the number one weapon that the devil has against us is just plain and simple discouragement.  And how we need, how those in public office that are on the right side of things, need encouragement.  How spiritual leaders need encouragement.  How those that are on the front lines need encouragement.  In fact, this need for encouragement is so significant that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit has placed into the church is the gift of encouragement, exhorting…hey, good job, you’re doing well.

You know, the Bible says life and death is in the power of the tongue.  It’s amazing what one aptly spoken word of encouragement can do for a leader.  In fact, there’s a guy in the New Testament that was so good at this, his name was called Barnabas, Acts 4:36, which translated means son of encouragement.  This guy was such an encourager and believe me, Paul needed that as he was out on these missionary journeys.  This guy was such an encourager that they nicknamed him son of encouragement.  [Acts 4:36, “Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement),”]

How we need that today in the body of Christ.  Critics are a dime a dozen; encouragers are in very short supply.  We need that in the body of Christ, we need that in the State of Texas concerning many of the righteous people that God has placed over us.  When was the last time you sent them a word of encouragement, via e-mail or whatever.   You know, you took a stand on this issue and I appreciate that, thank you!  In fact, that kind of thing happens so frequently when you send it they’re likely to send you a response saying thank you because they’re just not used to receiving that.  So this encouragement is so significant that these angels encouraged Darius, a good king.

As we continue on next week we will take a look at the remainder of this vision.  Persia and Greece, through it all though what is God doing?  He’s emphasizing His sovereignty and He’s emphasizing His faithfulness.  And that can be true in  your life today.  For the very first time in your life you can receive what we would call the sovereignty of God and the faithfulness of God, the benefits of the cross, simply by trusting in what Jesus has done for you.  As we have explained this morning, Jesus has done it all.  That’s why we call it good news; He’s bridged the gap between sinful humanity and a holy God.  He simply asks the lost sinner to trust, not in what they do for themselves but what He has done for them.  And if they will do that, even as I’m speaking, in the privacy of their own thoughts and the quietness of their own heart they are entered into a real with God.  It’s not something you have to raise a hand to do, walk an aisle to do, join a church to do, give money to do, but it’s a matter of privacy between you and the Lord where the Lord places you under conviction and you respond to that convicting ministry by receiving from the Lord a free gift called salvation.  John 3:36 says, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life but he who does not obey the son will not see life but the wrath of God abides on him.  We would invite you today to leave here certain that you’re “in Christ” having the life of God, no longer a candidate for the wrath of God, by trusting in what Jesus has done, in your own thoughts and quietness and privacy as the Spirit of God places you under conviction.  If it’s something you need more information on them I’m available after the service to talk.

Shall we pray.  Father, we’re grateful for this chapter and what it reveals to us about the invisible conflict. Help us to walk out these things, this week, Father, as we walk with You, and as we continue to abide with You and lean upon Your changeless and uncompromising character. 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.