Thursday Evening Update: Spiritual Warfare

Responsive Scripture Reading: Psalm 96:2-3, 7a-10

Songs: Holy, Holy, Holy; You Are Holy

Oral Interpretation of the Scriptures – Talent for Christ winner Emily Wiedemeir (First Baptist Church, Carroll, IA)

Male Voice – Talent for Christ winner Zac Singletary (First Baptist Church, Wellington, OH)

Invitation to 2011 Conference in Denver, CO

Offertory: Piano – Talent for Christ winner Sarah Parsons (Youngs Corners Fellowship Church, Wadsworth, OH)

Service Awards for Youth – presented by Lance Augsburger and John Greening

Song: Sovereign God, by written by Lance Augsburger (Conference Youth Program Director)

Daniel 10 -- Dr. Dan Davey

Introductory Comments:

  • There are 4 visions in the second half of Daniel. Ch. 7-8 are apocalyptic; Ch. 10-12 are more revelatory w/o symbols.
  • Ch. 10:1-11:1 is the preparation for Daniel to receive the vision.
  • I approach this with incredible fear but incredible joy.
  • J. Vernon McGee “We are moving into a very eerie section. Maybe you would call it weird or strange. The veil of the spiritual world is partially and momentarily pulled aside and we look temporarily in the unseen world.”
  • My goal is to awaken us to the unseen battle that surrounds us.
  • I’m not asking you to agree with my conclusions. Just to be good Bereans.

Notes about the Body of the Message:

  • Verse 1, Daniel is probably about 90 years old by this time.
  • Cyrus issued a decree that any Jews could leave Babylon that wanted to.  Zerubbabel took 42,000 back to rebuild and repopulate Israel. There was progress being made according to Ezra 4 but also adversaries.
  • Daniel did not go back with the 42,000—probably due to his age.
  • Daniel writes in his preface in an inclusio fashion; Daniel wanted us to know that the message is true and what is written about that message is true.
  • Daniel begins to lay out for us in measured fashion: “true is the message; great is the conflict.”
  • Verse 2-3, Daniel is struggling with some information. We are not certain what the information was, but likely it was the 70-week vision—also could be the struggles of his people back in Israel. Either way, Daniel’s heart is with his people.
  • Verse 4, the timing of this is incredible.  The first month Nissan is set apart to be the Lord’s Passover. Daniel takes some time away from the city and his obligations to go somewhere along the Tigris River where he is engaged in praying and mourning and fasting and humbling himself (v. 12; Lev. 23 “afflict yourself”).
  • Verse 5, a man with 7 identifying marks appears to Daniel (similarity to Rev. 10?).
  • Verse 7, this is so overwhelming that the men with Daniel ran and hid (and this was a good angel!).
  • Verse 8, Daniel sees this vision alone and he is without strength (as a result of his prayers/fasting, etc).
  • Verse 9, he falls flat on his face to the ground.
  • Verse 10, the messenger touches him and causes him to tremble (move to his hands/knees).
  • Verse 11, Daniel is given strength and stands to receive the message.
  • Verse 12, Daniel is told not to fear b/c his words have been heard by God and the messenger is here as a result. The earthly veil is moved away just for a moment so that we realize that God hears prayer and dispatches help in response.
  • Verse 13, the angel sent by God is blocked by demonic forces. Michael the archangel comes to his aid. We see a long-term strategy of Satan, to block the helpers of God’s people.
  • From the time of Daniel writing (6th century), Greece is going to come into play (335 B.C.). That's at least 2 centuries of spiritual warfare described here in Daniel 10.
  • [Aside] What do you know about the underworld?

~(Job 1:12; 2:6) God sets the limits and no one can go beyond those limits w/o permission from God.

~Daniel 10 is making it clear that God has permitted demonic domain.

~God has dispatched his angels to assist world leaders, unbeknown to them. This is one of the most incredible things we see in 11:1 “to confirm and strengthen” or “causing to be strong” Darius the Mede. “I stood up to be a supporter and a stronghold for him” (Wood). This is Joshua language, military language. Perhaps this is why Peter says to submit to and honor our leaders; we do not know what is taking place at this level. We must pray for them.

~There is a spiritual battle taking place here in Daniel.

~God never gives his reasoning to Daniel as to “why” for 21 days a spiritual battle is taking place.

~There is a reality of the unseen world that is at war with your soul. In your congregation. Among our missionaries. In the pastoral staff. Etc.

~And we think we can just offer up our 5-minute daily prayers? And if God doesn’t answer in the next 24 hours, we’ll do just whatever we decide to do?

~We have read the passage “we wrestle not against flesh and blood” but none of us believe it! “I would be okay if it weren’t for this deacon, the rebellion of my daughter, etc.”

  • Who was Darius the Mede? Various views:

~Appointed by Cyrus to rule Babylon in 539 B.C. (5:31, “received the kingdom”; 9:1, “made king”)

~Nabonidus Chronicle called him “Ugbaru” and Darius is not mentioned in this document or any other period literature.

~Donald Wiseman from British Museum said it is the same person as Cyrus the Great.

*Father of Cyrus was Persian; mother was Mede.

*Just as the evil angels are plotting and fighting, God has his angels battling on behalf of empire leaders. Cyrus is the empire leader. “An intense heavenly battle and if indeed this hypothesis is accurate (Darius=Cyrus), that in the first year what was it that was being battled?” (Miller)

*Cyrus makes the edict and says “Jews can go back.” Satan says “No!” And there is an incredible spiritual battle going on.

 

Concluding Thoughts:

  • We never stop fasting and praying. Daniel was not aware of what was going on around him during that time. (Luke 18, unjust judge, praying continually) When Jesus returns, will he find the faith? It’s not about whether our prayers are answered the way we want. I’m glad some of my prayers weren’t answered the way I wanted.
  • Daniel was spiritually prepared for ch. 11-12 because of ch. 9-10. He was a confessor.
  • Verse 19, the angel says “shalom” “be strong” (Eph. 6:10-19). The underworld is not revealed to us for the curious, or to bring people in to hear our preaching, but to teach us how to prepare to fight our great spiritual battles.
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