Something like that happens to Daniel in the 10th chapter. Daniel is not ill, but he is in a crisis. That is when he has a vision of Jesus Christ. Something is terribly wrong in Daniels world ~ READ Dan. 10:2-3. Daniel is in deep grief and that is when the Lord Jesus Christ comes to Daniel: READ Dan. 10:3-6. How do I know this is Jesus? Because we have the fullness of the revelation of God’s written word, and the words of Daniel sound so similar to the words of John when he first meets Jesus in the book of Revelation: READ Rev. 1:12-16. In Daniel, the brilliance of the chrysolite, the flash of lightning, flaming eyes, like one who is beyond description.
Daniels response is similar to John’s response in Revelation. READ Dan. 10:7-8. READ Rev. 1:17. Jesus reassures Daniel with words of comfort: READ Dan. 10:10-12.
Daniel is facing a crisis. Dan. 10:1 tells us that Daniel received his revelation in the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, that is, in 536 BC. The year is important because that is the year the 70 years of exile ended and a group of Jews returned to Jerusalem. Last year we studies Nehemiah during the Thursday morning Bible Study. Nehemiah likely knew Daniel ~ they were both in the court of the King of Persia. Daniel was third in command and Nehemiah was the winetaster. 49,000 Jews returned to Israel in 536 B.C., but not Daniel. At first there was enthusiasm, but then the work of rebuilding Jerusalem took it’s toll. The work stopped.
What caused Daniel to “mourn for three weeks”? I have a guess. I think Daniel was disturbed for the same reason his co-worker and co-laborer in the Lord was greatly distressed. READ Neh. 1:1-3. Daniel is in tears over the plight of the people of God. We’ll leave Nehemiah behind by saying he is led by God to risk his life by going to the King and getting permission to go to Israel and lead the people to rebuild the walls. Daniel is the visionary. He is given insight into the heavenlies and a promise of assurance of total victory.
We learn from Daniel 10 there are two worlds: this world and the world of the spirit. Over and over in Daniel we’ve had glimpses of the heavenly realm: READ Dan. 7:2. There is a correspondence of what is happening on earth to what is happening in God’s realm. A former King that Daniel served gives a testimony: READ Dan. 4:37. Earlier, to the same King, Daniel includes these words in the interpretation of a dream: READ Dan. 4:2-3. God is watchful. God is orchestrating the comings and goings of world events: READ Dan. 2:20-22. There is a heavenly realm that intersects with this world.
Five centuries later, when Jesus comes to earth as a man, he gathers disciples and teaches them the Lord’s prayer. Listen to the middle phrases: “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done. On earth, as it is in heaven.” This earth is real. And there is a greater heavenly realm. God uses Daniel to reveal the big picture that there is something greater in the heavenly realm than what we see on earth. This world is put into perspective.
God gave Daniel a vision of Jesus: “Daniel, this is Jesus.” “Do not be afraid” Jesus says to Daniel (Dan. 10:12). He assures Daniel he has been with him through all trials. Like the wonderful essay, “Footprints in the Sand.” A man sees in a dream for most of his journey in life two sets of footprints, one belonging to him and the other to the Lord. The man is confused because he notices “at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints…” He says to the Lord, “I don’t understand why, when I needed you the most, you would leave me.” The Lord whispers, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, Never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you." ~ (Mary Stevenson) //// I’ve heard a gentle whisper many times in life: “Carl, this is Jesus”
Daniel is given a vision of the big picture. One purpose is so to calm our fears. Dan. 10 is also a reminder that there is a heavenly realm. Dan. 10:1 provides a key word: WAR. The message of the vision is true and it concerned a great WAR. A heavenly war. When Jesus is revealed to Daniel, he first reassures him to overcome his fears, then Dan. 10:12-14 explains why Jesus waited three weeks to go to him: READ.
Before I continue in Daniel 10, I want to share what I believe is going on in our world. /// It is easy to see secular society is determined to remove God from the public square, to take God out of schools, government, our thinking. Along with the effort to remove God, the secular world is denying/// evil. In 2002 when President George Bush declared Iran, Iraq and N. Korea the “Axis of Evil,” secular society howled. Evil is removed from our language. Do you ever hear any politician talk about it? any TV news stories? Any societal leaders? If you believe in the absence of God, you have to also remove evil. Apart from God, the only solution is to innately get better and better. Sin/ is/ inconvenient.
Christianity affirms the fundamental truth that there is evil, there is sin, and the only way to find peace and wholeness is to be reconciled to God, to repent of the evil within and receive the forgiveness of sins. Those who deny God will never understand Daniel 10 because God reveals the absolute truth that there is good and evil.
Ephesians 6:12 says it this way: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Our battle is not ultimately against other humans. Sometimes we focus on the abortionists, the pornographers, the godless politicians, the corrupt business leaders, the drug dealers, as if they were the source of problems. They must be held accountable, but the real problem is bigger. The problem/corrupt people on earth are unwitting players of spiritual forces they know nothing about. They are responsible for their choices, yet they are also in the service of evil beings who influence them.
Eph. 6:12 makes a great caption for Daniel 10. The “prince of the Persian kingdom” in Dan. 10:13 cannot be a man because no man could hinder the Lord. This must be some sort of demonic force. Jesus is describing a battle in the heavenly realm with an evil being seeking to stop God’s work. I do not understand details of how it works, but it is enough to know there is a heavenly war, and on earth we see a shadow of the greater war.
In Dan. 10:15-17 Daniel describes how he is overcome by the vision, how he is so overwhelmed it even effects his breathing, “My strength is gone and I can hardly breath.” The conversation continues with Jesus: READ Dan. 10:18. this is a difficult world we live, but take courage, be strong, be strong! Understand the ultimate battle is being fought on a realm we cannot see, but like the wind, we see the results, we see the destruction, we see the chaos. Evil is a power attempting to overthrow good…
Here is the promise of assurance from the lips of Jesus. …READ Dan. 10:20-11:1. This is all mysterious to us. But it is saying that there will continue to be upheavals in the world, the Persian are present, Darius was two years previous to the present time of Cyrus, and later will come the Greeks. The great war in the heavenly realm will continue. Details of the coming war and the final battle are the next two chapters, the Last Battle is in Daniel 11 and the amazing promise of the Resurrection in Daniel 12. Daniel 10 is like the pulling back of a curtain, giving a glimpse of a vision of the bigger cosmic picture of what is going on so we can have confidence to stand firm.
A couple of powerful lessons:
~ The prayers of believers are immediately heard by God. Jesus tells Daniel in Dan. 10:12 that his prayers were heard in heaven the moment he sought wisdom from God. As one person said, “This ought to encourage all of us who wonder if our prayers ever reach beyond the ceiling. The tiniest whisper from a believer on earth is shouted throughout the courts of heaven. God hears us when we pray and our petitions reach him the moment they are formed in our hearts.”
~ Unseen spiritual warfare may delay answers to our prayers. Our deepest, most heartfelt prayers are sometimes delayed because of “static” coming from the other side of the curtain as angels and demons battle in the invisible realm. When you pray for those that don’t know God, when you pray for world atrocities, when you pray against evil… “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces…”
~ This present earth is real, but there is a spiritual realm that is even greater.
Behind the movement of men and nations unseen spiritual forces are at work. No one could have known simply by looking at the Persian court that a great battle was going on between Jesus and the “prince of Persia.” But when the curtain is pulled back, we see angels and demons battling against each other while human leaders are completely unaware of what is going on.
May God bless all you who believe and who have decided not to quit. May we be a community of faith who stands firm in the face of great opposition. I am struck by the words of the angel in Dan. 10:19 READ. Twice he says “Be strong” as if he knows how tired Daniel is and how easy it would be to give up.
This is God’s word to all of us today. Are you under attack from the enemy? Never give up! Do you feel like quitting? Never give up! Are you fighting for your marriage? Never give up! Are you trying to be strong in the face of temptation? Never give up! Do you face a barrage of criticism for doing what you know is right? Never give up! Are you tired of the struggle? God’s word is clear. Never give up. To affirm there is evil is not encouraging by itself, but it firmly roots us in the reality of how to explain what is going on in this world. There is evil. The encouragement comes from the fact that God in Christ is greater than evil. A cosmic battle is raging, we see a shadow of the effects of the battle on this earth, yet we know that Jesus Christ has already won the victory through his death and his resurrection from the dead. Let the people of God take courage. Never give up. Amen.