Robert Jeffress - The Invisible War
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. All around the world, people are engaging in conflicts with other nations and even citizens within their own borders. And yet the most fiercely fought battles aren't taking place across borders or on our city streets but they're taking place in the spiritual, unseen realm. Today, we're looking at Daniel chapter 10, which exposes the mysterious and insidious spiritual battle raging all around us. Demonic warfare threatened Daniel and it threatens us today! My message is titled, "The Invisible War" on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.
The Bible reveals that there is an invisible, but a very real war going on in the universe between the forces of God and the forces of satan. It is this invisible war that explains the unrest among nations we read about every day. And it's this unseen war that explains the unrest you're facing in your life as well. Writing many decades ago, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, "Not to realize that you are in a conflict means only one thing: and it is that you are so hopelessly defeated and so knocked out as it were that you do not even know it. You're unconscious. It means that you are completely defeated by the devil. Anyone who is not aware of this fight and conflict is in a drugged and hazardous condition".
Daniel 10 is one of those rare instances in which God allows us to peek behind the curtain of the visible world and see those invisible forces that are controlling not only what is happening in the headlines every day, but the things, the struggles, the opposition you're facing in your life as well. And it's that invisible war we're going to see demonstrated today. If you have your Bibles I want you to turn to Daniel 10. Daniel 10. We are coming to the final vision - chapters 10, 11, and 12. Now, the actual vision, which is the most dramatic of all the visions, doesn't actually come until chapters 11 and 12. But when we come to chapter 10 we find the preamble to that vision.
I heard one noted Bible expositor say there is nothing he could find at all in Daniel 10 worth preaching about. I beg to differ. All scripture is inspired by God and it's all profitable, and all I had to do was read this through once and see immediately the great application for us in our own lives as well as in God's plan and program for the future. Now, let's look at chapter 10 beginning with verse one, when we see Daniel receiving a heavenly visitor. Look at verse one, "In the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia, a message was revealed to Daniel who was named Belteshazzar. Remember that was his name given by Nebuchadnezzar. And the message was true and one of great conflict, but he had understood the message and had an understanding of the vision".
Now, this gives us the time that this vision came to Daniel. It was in the third year of the reign of Cyrus, or sometimes known as Darius. Remember in the first year of Cyrus' reign Cyrus told the people they could begin to go back to Jerusalem. And this was the fulfillment of the prophesy Isaiah had made 150 years earlier before Cyrus was even born. Now, we're in the third year two years afterwards. God reveals this vision to Daniel. What had happened by the time Daniel received this vision about 43,000 of the Israelites had gone back to Jerusalem. Amazingly, many chose to stay in Babylon. They had become so comfortable in that pagan lifestyle that when they had the opportunity to leave, they said: no, we'll stay where we are. And that caused great distress to Daniel. We'll see why.
Look at verse 2. "In those days i, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks". For three weeks he mourned, he prayed, and he fasted. Why was he so distressed? Now, he was distressed over several things. God had apparently fulfilled this prophesy to allow the Jews to go back, and yet so few Jews were actually going back. And then he heard a report we'll find later in the chapter that says the progress on the temple, rebuilding the temple, is not going well. There were so few Jews who had returned back to Jerusalem that the progress on rebuilding the temple was slow. And not only that we find out that it took 7 months just to clear the rubble of the temple that had been burned down by Nebuchadnezzar. So it looked like that God was not going to be able to fulfill his promise. And Daniel was discouraged.
Have you ever come to that place in your life where you felt like God had told you something? God had promised you something, but now things weren't working out like you thought they ought to? You pray and you pray and something just seems not right. It seems like God is not answering his promise to you. That's how Daniel felt. And so he spent an extended period of time in prayer and fasting. Daniel was discouraged. He didn't know if God was going to fulfill this promise or not.
And so look what happened. He received a heavenly visitor. Look at the beginning of verse five, "I lifted up my eyes", remember he's in the midst of this time of prayer and fasting, "I lifted up my eyes and looked and behold there was a certain man dressed in linen whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of uphaz. His body was like beryl. His face had the appearance of lightening. His eyes were like flaming torches. His arms and his feat the gleam of polished bronze. And the sound of his words were like the sound of a tumult". "Now, I, Daniel, alone saw the vision while the men who were with me did not see the vision. Nevertheless a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide for themselves".
Now, what was it that Daniel saw? Who was it that Daniel saw that caused such dread and later left Daniel almost lifeless? From the description it is very clear whom Daniel saw. And if you don't have it in mind yet turn over to revelation 1:12. Look at this description. Remember John had been exiled to the island of Patmos. He was there because he refused to bow down to before the emperor. And it was there while he was in exile on Patmos that somebody appeared to him. It was the Lord Jesus Christ. And look at the description in verse 12. John says, "Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw 7 golden lampstands. And in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man clothed in a robe reaching to the feet and girded across his chest with a golden sash. His head and his hair were white like wool, like snow. And his eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze when it had been made to glow in a furnace. And his voice was like the sound of many waters".
Now, look a verse 16. "In his right hand he held 7 stars and out of his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword. And his face was like the sun shining in its strength. 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 last and the living one. And I was dead and behold I am alive for evermore. And I have the keys of death and of hades'". Verse 19. "Therefore write the things which you have seen, the things which are, the things which will take place after these things". That's an outline right there of the Book of Revelation. And then he says in verse 20. "As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lampstands are the seven churches".
The reason Jesus appeared to John at Patmos was to encourage him that he was still in control. And that's the reason that Jesus appeared to Daniel earlier-500 years earlier. He said: I'm getting ready to show you a vision of things you're not going to completely understand. They're frightening, but know that I am in control. Ladies and gentlemen, do you have that assurance? Do you know God is in control of your life? Now, that's why Jesus appeared to the prophet Daniel here. Now, look at verses eight and nine. He says, "So I was left alone and I saw this great vision. Yet no strength was left in me for me natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength. But I heard the sound of his words and as soon as I heard the sound of his words I fell into a deep sleep on my face with my face to the ground".
This is what happens when somebody comes face to face with God. You know, when you really come face-to-face with God you can't help but tremble and fall to your knees. Remember the story of Isaiah? Isaiah chapter 6? When Isaiah saw that vision of the Lord high and lifted up, the train of his robe filling the temple, the angels flying around singing: holy holy holy. What did Isaiah do? He fell to his feet and said woe is me for I am a man of unclean lips. None of us is worthy to stand in the presence of God. John wasn't. Daniel wasn't. We aren't. The Bible says we've all sinned. We've all fallen short of the glory of God. It is only when we wrap ourselves in the righteousness of Jesus Christ that we are worthy to stand in his presence.
So what happened? Look in verses 10-21. He had just seen a vision of the resurrected Christ. Now, God sends a heavenly helper to help Daniel as well as reveal the vision to him of the future. Look at verse 10, "Then behold a man touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees, and he said to me, 'oh, Daniel. Man of high esteem understand the words that I'm about to tell you and stand upright. For I have now been sent to you.' and when he has spoken this word to me I stood up trembling". Now, I want you to underline the phrase in verse 11, "Man of high esteem". This is a phrase that is used repeatedly to describe Daniel and specifically it is how God viewed Daniel. He thought of him as a man worthy of his esteem.
Now, look at verse 12. The helpers conflict. "Then the angel said to me", now he is not named, but some people think it's Gabriel. I don't think it's Gabriel because Gabriel was named a few chapters before. It's an unseen angel, but it's a good angel. "Then this angel said to me, 'do not be afraid, Daniel. For from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God your words were heard and I've come in response to your words'". Now, how long had Daniel been praying? Verse 2 says he's been praying for 3 weeks, for 21 days. The angel said: now, I want you to know as soon as I heard God sent me to answer your prayer. But notice verse 13. "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for 21 days". How long is that? Three weeks. "Then behold Michael one of the chief princes came to me for I had been left there with the kings of Persia".
In other words this good angel said: you've probably wondered why I didn't come earlier. I was on my way. The moment you started praying, but I was hindered for three weeks from coming because of the prince of the kingdom of Persia. And I was thwarted from coming until finally Michael, who later in chapter 12 is identified as the defender of Israel, until Michael came and cleared the way for me to be able to come. Now, the question is in verse 13 who is the prince of the kingdom of Persia that could keep an angel from coming to Daniel? Now, obviously this is not a human prince. No human being could stop an angel. The Old Testament tells us of an occasion in which one angel killed 186,000 Assyrian soldiers. So no human being is going to be able to stop an angel.
It's very clear here that the prince of the kingdom of Persia is a demon, a fallen angel that did heavenly battle against this good angel who was attempting to answer Daniel's prayer. This verse reminds us that there is an unseen but very real war going on between nations as well in our own hearts as well. Ephesians 6:12 says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but it is against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places". The Bible says there is an unseen but real war going on, and this war is going to especially manifest itself in future attacks against Israel.
What I'm saying to you is that throughout history all the attacks against Israel have been demonically inspired. And the reason is: satan has a special interest in wiping Israel off the face of the earth, because if he can do that, if he can accomplish that, he can negate the promise that God has made to take care of Israel. He can discredit Almighty God. God has not made a promise to take care of any other nation in the world. You understand that, don't you? No nation has ever been promised that it will survive until the end time. America has not received that promise. Greece has not received that promise. Egypt has not received that promise. Only Israel has been promised that she will survive until the end.
And so satan wants to do everything he can to discredit God's purpose. And that's why since the beginning of Israel's day satanically inspired leaders have tried to destroy Israel and keep God from fulfilling his purpose. We're going to see next week in chapter 12 that were it not for Michael the Archangel who is called the defender of Israel - had it not been for Michael the Archangel, Israel would have been destroyed. And were it not for Michael who will take a stand at the end of time Israel would be destroyed under the antichrist. But God has given Israel Michael to be her defender. And that says something to me very very clearly.
Any nation that opposes Israel is on the losing side because they are opposing the plan of Almighty God himself. And we need to remember that as a nation. God said to Abraham: I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you. I believe right now behind the Chinese government that is persecuting millions of Christians, behind the human leaders of China there is a demonic force that is inspiring the persecution of God's people. And in the last day there will be a human leader, the antichrist, who will be demonically inspired to try and destroy Israel.
Now, that's the vision that Daniel saw. Look at verse 14. Now, this good angel said: I was coming. I wanted to deliver this message to you, but I was prevented from doing so by the demon, the prince of Persia. But look at verse 14, "But now have I 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". As you've heard before there are those who say: all the book of Daniel, all the Book of Revelation have already been fulfilled. It's just history. No. The Bible says this is yet future. It is yet to come.
And look at verse 20, "Then he said", the angel said, "Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia. So I'm going forth and behold the prince of Greece is about to come. However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one that stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael, your prince". The good angel says: Daniel, I'm going to reveal this to you, but I'm going back to do battle with the demon, the prince of Persia, and the one who is leading Greece as well.
You know what that says to me? It says to me spiritual warfare is never over. There's never a time you and I can relax and say: we've succeeded. We're victorious. The Bible says we will fight against the spiritual forces of darkness until the day the Lord returns for us. Ephesians 6:12 again says, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood". You've heard me say before that word "Struggle" is the Greek word "Pale". It refers to wrestling match in the Greek times. It was a life and death match. Whoever lost a wrestling match would have his eyes gouged out first and then be executed.
The Bible says that is the kind of struggle you and I are engaged in right now. Our struggle is not against other people. Your struggle is not against that obstinate boss you work for. It's not against that unloving and uncaring mate. Your struggle is not with that rebellious child who won't obey you or God. No. Our struggle is not against flesh and blood. It's against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the heavenly forces of wickedness in the high places. And that's why if we're going to win this battle we have to put on the full armor of God.
I want you to imagine for just a moment you're driving home one evening at dusk. You're listening to the news on the radio and you hear a news report that a lion has escaped the local zoo, and it was last seen roaming up and down the streets of your neighborhood. As you pulled into your driveway before you got out of your car don't you imagine you might look around? Your eyes might dart back and forth to see if there's any movement in the shadows at all. And only when you felt it was okay you would run into your home. And yet you really wouldn't feel safe until that lion had been apprehended. Ladies and gentlemen, a lion has been loosed.
1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be of sober spirit. Be on the alert. For your advisory the devil roams about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour". Make no mistake about it. Satan is after you. He has a blueprint for your destruction that includes the defilement of your conscience, dividing your family, destroying your relationship with God. And he will not give up until he has succeeded. Daniel 10 is a reminder of that invisible but very real war that is going on in your life. Ephesians 6 reminds us that our only hope for winning that battle is to put on the full armor of God. Paul wrote, "Finally, be strong in the Lord in the strength of his might. Put on the full armor of God that you might be able to stand firm against the schemes, the methodeia, the blueprint for destruction of the evil one".